Review: ‘Cinder’ by Marissa Meyer


Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future

I know I’m coming a little late to the whole Cinder thing and many of you will have already read it, but IF YOU HAVEN’T THIS IS REALLY GOOD YA.

Take Cinderella, stick her in a future Earth and make her a second-class cyborg. Stir in some political intrigue, a terrible plague and a handsome prince, and I’m so there!

One of the things I really enjoyed about Cinder is the richness of the characters. The wicked stepmother is suitably loathsome (but also kind of tragic). The stepsisters are interesting; Pearl is as shallow and cruel as you’d expect — the fairytale required that someone do it, I suppose — but the younger girl, Peony, is lovely and cares for Cinder despite what the rest of the family think of her.

Likewise, Kai isn’t just a two dimensional Prince Charming looking to marry a hot girl with glass shoes. He’s charming, sure, but also funny, kind and terribly conflicted about some of the diplomatic and personal sacrifices he’s asked to make to save his people. I’m not usally one to crush on the typical main character (I was Team Simon, not Team Jace, for example) — but in this case, it’s all about Kai.

Of course, there aren’t really any other alternatives, unless you count the doctor researching the plague cure, and he’s more of a crazy grandfather type. ;)

Cinder‘s plot moves along at a good pace, the story (and Cinder herself) taking the reader from one event to the next without leaving you time to get bored. There is a plot twist but I saw it coming from the first hint in the first two or three chapters — I don’t really think Meyer intended it to be an OMGWTF moment at the end of the book, though, and I never grew frustrated with the characters not figuring it out like I do in some books.

The only thing that was a little unsatisfying is that the ending is a bit of a cliffhanger. My advice would be to buy the second book and have it to hand so you don’t have to wait to dive into it when you finish this one.

Five stars! :)

Blog hop: ‘The Problem With Crazy’ – donating to charity

Crazy teaserNEW

As you guys will know, I am CRAZY about A Problem With Crazy. So I’m super-excited to tell you all that it’s on sale at Amazon and iTunes this weekend! The money you save can be used to buy a box of tissues — you’re going to need them. xo

A word from Lauren: donating to charity

I’d like to think I’m a good person. I try to do get with the whole ‘Do unto others’ program, I occasionally bake cakes for people I love and I even pick up my dogs’ business when I’m out taking them for a walk (and I have two—that’s potentially a lot of you-know-what).

That’s why, when I wrote The Problem With Crazy, it was important for me to work with a charity and donate a portion of sales to them. One of the main reasons I wrote the book was to raise awareness, but I think with an illness that affects so many people and just devastates lives, you kind of need to do more than that.

So, a few months before I hit publish, I contacted Huntington’s NSW, the state body in my, um, state, to ask if I could donate a portion of sales to them. The team there were lovely, but to my surprise it wasn’t as simple as ‘Wham, bam, we’ll take your money, ma’am.’ No, instead they wanted to read it first to make sure it was suitable.

Cue = Lauren having a panic attack.

Don’t get me wrong. Part of me was jump-up-and-down excited that I was getting an industry professional to fact-check me, but another part was freaking the hell out. What if they hated it? What if I offended them with some hideously incorrect fact that I totally made up? What if my manuscript turned into a zombie and tried to eat their brains? (I never said my freak out was rational.)

Thankfully, they ended up contacting me and saying they liked the book and that they would be happy to have me on board. Hell, one of the people who read it even said she thought it would have been a good book to read when she was a teenager going through the same thing.

And so I am now a proud sponsor of Huntington’s NSW. And I couldn’t be happier.

Huntingtons NSW


The problem with crazy is that crazy, by itself, has no context. It can be good crazy, bad crazy . . . or crazy crazy—like it was when my ex-boyfriend sung about me on the radio.

Eighteen-year-old Kate couldn’t be more excited about finishing high school and spending the summer on tour with her boyfriend’s band. Her dad showing up drunk at graduation, however, is not exactly kicking things off on the right foot—and that’s before she finds out about his mystery illness, certain to end in death.

A mystery illness she is likely to inherit.

When your whole life goes from adventure and ecstasy to sad and suicidal, what’s the point? Not knowing who to love, and who to trust . . . where does it end?

The Problem With Crazy is a story about love and life; about overcoming obstacles, choosing to trust, and learning how to make the choices that will change your life forever.

Blog hop clue

Want to win one of five eBook copies of The Problem With Crazy, a paperback edition, or one of three $5 Amazon gift cards? Collect the clues hidden in the other blogs on the hop and enter to win. To find all the other blogs and the Rafflecopter link, go here.

Blog hop clue E: YOU

About Lauren

Lauren K. McKellar is an author and editor. Her debut novel, Finding Home, was released through Escape Publishing on October 1, 2013, and her second release, NA Contemporary Romance The Problem With Crazy, is self-published, and is available now.

As well as being a magazine editor for a national audited publication on pet care, Lauren works as a freelance editor for independent authors, and was a Runner Up Editor of the Year in the Publishers Australia awards in 2013.

Lauren is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia and is obsessed with words–she likes the way they work.

Lauren_McKellar Author Pic

Easter NestPitch Hunt is now on

NestPitch’s agent round is now on!

Aboriginal BilbyThe Slush Bilbies (including yours truly) have sorted through the entries to help the Nest Bloggers whittle down the entries. The top seventy-two entries have made it through and are waiting for agents to hop on by to make requests.

Now that the finalists have been revealed, I thought it’d be fun to flag which of them I consider to be part of Team Cass — the ones I put forward to the Nest Bloggers. They are in order by age bracket.

1. Who Do You Love the Most? (Picture book)

2. The Discarded (YA sci-fi)

3. The Theory of Everything (YA fantasy/steampunk)

4. Coveted (YA urban fantasy)

5. Reverse Cascade (YA contemporary)

6. Helica (NA sci-fi)

7. Captain (Adult historical)

8. Hair of the Dog (Adult urban fantasy)

9. Why Knot? (Adult women’s fiction)

10. Circle of Fur (Adult women’s fiction)

Excitingly, I see a few requests in there already too!

If you know anything about me, you’ll know I don’t read women’s fiction and rarely read historical or contempoary. But I know good writing when I see it. ;)

Please remember that until the agents have finished making their selections, comments are for agents only. If you want to cheer on your favourite prior to then, you can do it in the comments of the main post on each Nest Blogger’s blog, not the individual entry posts. Or, you know, here.

To find out more about the Nest Pitch Easter Pitch Hunt go here, and the Rules and Conditions here. You can find the full schedule here and the participating agents here.

Good luck to everyone who has made it this far. May your nest be filled with lots of chocolatey requests.

This Writer’s Space: Kendra Leighton

This Writer's Space

Today on This Writer’s Space I have Kendra Leighton, who I’m very, very jealous of. Read the below and you’ll see why! ;)

Where I Write

I’m very lucky to live in an unusual house in the middle of nowhere (no distractions!). It’s a converted chapel and used to belong to a book collector, meaning huge windows for daydreaming out of, and more bookshelves than I could ever fill. (The floor-to-ceiling shelves you can see in the picture cover literally every section of wall that doesn’t have a window!)

Kendra Leighton Writing Space

I can write pretty much anywhere. Favourite places are the sofa and the kitchen table, though the kitchen can be dangerous — too much temptation to distract myself with food when I hit a tricky scene! I’ve probably written everywhere in my house it’s possible to sit down.

Where I’m Inspired

My best ideas often come when I’m not in front of my laptop. I planned most of my debut novel, Glimpse, on long walks with only a dog and some music for company. Those walks were so very inspirational, that the countryside I walked through features strongly in my novel — and I named one of Glimpse’s characters after the dog! (Susie, in case you’re wondering.)

Kendra Leighton Inspiration

To Be Read

I’m a big fan of audio books, since I can listen to them while I work (I’m a chocolatier, and work from home most days). However, I always have a small TBR pile of ‘real’ books as well: books I couldn’t get on audio, picked up at events, or just wanted to own. For me, nothing beats the experience of reading a physical book.

Currently on my bedside table are Banished by Liz de Jager, Fractured by Teri Terry, Geek Girl by Holly Smale, and Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Fantasy, dystopia, and contemporary; funny and gritty: as long as it’s YA, I’ll read it!

Kendra Leighton TBR

About the Author

Kendra Leighton is a YA author from the UK. Glimpse, her debut novel, was inspired by Alfred Noyes’ poem ‘The Highwayman’. It will be published in June by Much-in-Little, an imprint of Constable & Robinson.

Kendra Leighton





Double cover reveal: ‘Elsker’ and ‘Tur’ by S.T. Bende

Before I reveal these smexy new covers, I should tell you there’s a bit of a story that goes with this. You may remember how in July last year I took part in the NA Crush Tourney, in support of a piece of epic hotness named Ull, the hero of S.T. Bende’s The Elsker Saga. I even wrote poems. True story.

You may also remember how last month I wrote about a small press folding, and the authors who were left behind. S.T. Bende and Ull were among the many casualties of that collapse.

But, like all good heroes, that wasn’t enough to keep Ull down. He’s coming back, with a set of gorgeous new covers to mark his return! Fan yourself, ladies and gentlemen!

Elsker (The Elsker Saga #1)
by ST Bende

You don’t win the heart of an immortal assassin without making a few enemies along the way.

Kristia Tostenson prefers Earl Grey to Grey Goose and book clubs to nightclubs, but when she transfers from her one-stoplight town to Cardiff University in Wales she falls in love with Ull Myhr.  Her new boyfriend isn’t exactly what she was expecting.  He’s an honest to goodness Norse God – an immortal assassin fated to die at Ragnarok, the battle destined to destroy Asgard and Earth.  Kristia’s crazy visions are the only thing that can save their realms.  Her orderly life just got very messy.


TUR (The Elsker Saga #0.5)
by ST Bende

Inga Andersson is the envy of every girl in Asgard. On the surface she has it all — great friends, a job as Odin’s personal fight choreographer, and a happy ever after with her realm’s hottest assassin. But when evil invades Asgard, her perfect world comes crashing down. Someone is planning to kill off the gods, and Inga’s best friend Ull is first on their list. With the Norse apocalypse a nanosecond away, Inga has to decide how she’ll spend her final moments of freedom. Because from the moment this battle begins, Inga’s happily ever after will be nothing more than a memory. 

Some things are worth fighting for.



Enter to win one of several ebooks!

 Author Info

Before finding domestic bliss in suburbia, ST Bende lived in Manhattan Beach (became overly fond of Peet’s Coffee) and Europe… where she became overly fond of the musical Cats. Her love of Scandinavian culture and a very patient Norwegian teacher inspired the ELSKER series. She hopes her characters make you smile and that one day pastries will be considered a health food.

You can follow ST Bende on Twitter @stbende, or send an e-mail to

ST Bende


Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Bookish Things I’d Like to Own


My first thought when I saw this week’s The Broke and the Bookish theme was, “What, only ten?”

Then I realised most of the bookish things I’d like to own are actually books, and that’s specifically excluded by the question. Curses! Also, as much as I’d like a an actual wand from the Harry Potter world, a teleporting McCaffrey dragon or Cinder’s lie detector, I decided to exclude things that, well, don’t exist. (My birthday is on Friday, if you’re feeling generous!)

One: more bookshelves. I have six large bookshelves, plus a smaller one in my son’s room for his books and a skinny one in the dining room with reference books on it (where else would I keep them?). I don’t actually need more shelves at the moment, but what I’d love to be able to do is replace the two flimsy ones I own. One of them has a cracked back panel. It makes me sad when I look at it.

Two: Lord of the Rings jewellery. There’s a lot to choose from in gorgeous LotR-inspired jewellery, especially since the movie. The One Ring and Arwen’s necklace are the most common, followed by the leaf brooch the hobbits get from Galadriel. The image below is inspired by Nenya, the elven ring. The Hobbit Jewelry offer it with a blue stone, which would be my first choice. 


Three: a comfy reading chair. Have you ever heard of a chair and a half? I hadn’t. It’s basically a place for curling up with ALL OF THE CUSIONS to read a book.

Four: this Steampunk golden snitch pocket watch. Because Harry Potter. And steampunk. This one’s on Etsy.


Five to eight: these four awesome t-shirts. I love t-shirts!

TShirtAmazeRed TShirtHarryPotter TShirtMalificent TShirtStorytellers

Nine: a gold Pernese dragon sculpture. How gorgeous is she? And seriously, you should check out the other sculptures by this artist — they are amazing! I could own ALL OF THEM!


Ten: wall-mountable cover art for my own books. This sounds kind of vain, but I can’t wait till I have the cover art for Isla’s Inheritance and its sequels so I can hang them on my loungeroom wall and bask in the glow of having published something. :)

What bookish thing would you love to own?

Cover reveal: ‘The Book of Ivy’ by Amy Engel

The Book of Ivy
by Amy Engel

Release Date: 4 November 2014
Entangled Teen

Note from Cass: This isn’t necessarily the final, official blurb; I stole it from Goodreads because I like to have some words to give context to the beautiful cover.

In a future where girls no longer control their own fates, sixteen-year-old Ivy Westfall has the power to give girls back their choices. If she’s willing to commit murder to do it…

After a brutal nuclear war, followed by famine and disease, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over who would govern the new nation. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual. This year, it is Ivy Westfall’s turn to be married. Only her bridegroom is no average boy. He is Bishop Lattimer, the President’s son. And Ivy’s mission is not simply to marry him and bear his children. Her mission, one she’s been preparing for all her life, is to kill him and restore the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer turns out not to be the cruel, heartless boy her family warned her to expect. And as Bishop and Ivy navigate a tentative friendship that evolves into something more, Ivy is torn between loyalty to her family and following her own heart.

About the Author

Amy Engel was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas; California; Missouri; Washington, D.C.), she settled in Kansas City, Missouri, where she lives with her husband and two kids.  Before devoting herself full-time to motherhood and writing, she was a criminal defense attorney, which is not quite as exciting as it looks on TV.  When she has a free moment, she can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping. The Book of Ivy is her debut YA novel. Find her online at or @aengelwrites.

Author Links:

 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png

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