WWW Wednesday – A January Wrap Up

WWW Wednesday – A January Wrap Up

Happy Wednesday, bookish peeps! It’s been a while, but I hope your new year is treating you kindly!

Fasting with my church, school, and a new job has kept me busy since the start of the year. But I’m back with a wrap up for my top reads of January and a “must read” throwback review from December. 

So, pull up a chair and grab your snacks as I share my first check-in for 2022 on this WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words and ask readers to answer the following questions:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

What did you read last?

I have deemed 2022 my year of “rereads.” 

For January, I started rereading Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series and then moved on to one of my favorite “coming of age” books from high school called Big Girls Don’t Cry by Connie Briscoe. 

Meyer’s books have been a slight disappointment in my reread. However, I did find that reading the books in audiobook format helped bring Meyer’s characters alive more. Rebecca Soler is the audionarrator for the Lunar Chronicles series, and she does a phenomenal job with accents and distinguishing the characters’ voices from each other. Soler’s narration also helped drive home how close Meyer’s books are to the original Grimm fairytales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood (Little Red Cap), Snow White (Little Snow White), and Sleeping Beauty (Little Briar Rose).

Link: Have you read the Grimm Brothers’ original fairytales?

Honestly, if it weren’t for Soler’s performance, I probably would’ve tabled my reread of Meyer’s series by now. With Soler’s narration, though, things that irked me in my original review were made less egregious (e.g., Scarlet and Wolf’s love story). Unfortunately, Meyer’s series is still trope heavy in this second reading and has a firm spot in my “started with a bang and ended in a whimper” book pile. If you’re not a hardcore YA lover or into fairytale retellings, you may want to pass this series up.

Link: Read my original review of the Lunar Chronicles from my early blogging days

Big Girls Don't Cry by Connie Briscoe book cover

Thankfully, Big Girls Don’t Cry by Connie Briscoe was a reread that I enjoyed. Briscoe covers Black girlhood in all its imperfect and confusing glory through the story of Naomi Jefferson, who is growing up during the ‘60s. Readers get to see Naomi struggle with growing pains along with seeing how her character is impacted by the death of Martin Luther King Jr., colorism, heartbreak, gender discrimination in the workplace, and the loss of a loved one as she grows into adulthood. 

For lovers of Black urban cult classics, such as Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree and The Coldest Winter Ever by Sista Souljah, you’ll enjoy getting to know Naomi. I was happy to see that my rereading of Briscoe’s held against time. Briscoe places a lot of focus on Naomi’s career ambitions and gives space for readers to see Naomi fail and work through her reservations with working in corporate America and being “Black in America.” The only thing I would change is the development of Naomi’s love interests. If you enjoy stories built around character development and that have a slow burn romance, this is the book for you!

For my new reads, I got a chance to receive an ARC in November for How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days by K.M. Jackson, and I’d recommend this book if you enjoy the “friends-to-lovers” romance trope.

Jackson follows Bethany Lu Carlisle, Keanu Reeves’ superfan, as she receives the news that her long-time celebrity crush is engaged. For Bethany Lu, this is horrible news and is the last straw in a series of unfortunate events that cause her to struggle with the pressures of being an independent artist. Leaning on her friend, Truman “True” Erikson, for understanding, Bethany Lu sets out to win Keanu’s affection on a wacky road trip that has the sole purpose of getting Keanu to reconsider hanging up his bachelorhood for good.

Link: Have you checked out my author interview with K.M. Jackson yet?

How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days is perfect for anyone looking for a sweet romance or comfort read. Jackson shows an honest portrayal of a 35+ Black woman who doesn’t have it all figured out and is coping with mental health issues. The author does an excellent job of holding space for her character to fall apart and gives her the grace lean into her support system when she needs it. This departure from society’s belief that you have to have it all “figured out” by your 20s is refreshing. And the steamy romance between friends isn’t too bad either.

I’d highly recommend this book for any reader who’s into romance and books that have a “quest” element.

What are you currently reading?

Tales From the Folly anthology by Ben Aaronovitch

January also saw me delve back into the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch. This time around, I have been focusing on the graphic novels and short stories in the Tales From the Folly anthology that goes along with Aaronovitch’s novels. The graphic novel collections add context to what happens to Peter and the gang in between the novels, while the short stories act as “snapshots” in the characters’ lives.

I’m partial to the graphic novels over the books, though. In these graphic novels, the author goes into fuller details about The Nightingale and the wizards he worked with before the Rivers of London series officially started. Readers also get to see what Molly gets up to while Peter and The Nightingale are off fighting the bad guys in these books, which involves pastimes are different from what I’d imagined. If you think Aaronovitch’s series is hilarious in his full-length books, you’ll love reading his graphic novels.

I am also working my way through The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. One of my classmates recommended this book, and I’m happy I picked it up even though it’s super sad. 

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Hannah’s book follows Elsa Martinelli as she and her family battle through life in the American Great Plains during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression. Reading about how Elsa fights off her insecurities and the constant struggle to make a life for her children is painful. I’m about 70% through The Four Winds and am enjoying it, but I took a break to pick up a lighter read at the end of January.

As a mood reader, I don’t know what I’ll be reading next. Do you have any recommendations? 

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Happy reading!

Reading Fairy Tales As An Adult: Cinder By Marissa Meyer #BookReview

Note: Minor spoilers are included in this review

Quote from the book, Cinder:

"On the fifth step, she heard the bolts snap. The wires tore loose, like tendons stretched to the max. She felt the loss of power at the base of her calf...." - Marissa Meyer

I gave this novel 5 stars! Cinder was EVERYTHING!

You know how you see certain books in other people’s reviews and just side-eye the book and think, “really?… how old are you again? Fairy tales are for kids!” Yeah…This was one of those times where I was totally wrong!


Cinder’s story starts two centuries into the future after Earth has gone threw a destructive Fourth World War and the world is broken into new factions known as The Earthen Nations and their enemy, Luna a.k.a “The Moon.”In what we would now consider to be Asia, Cinder, a cyborg girl lives in New Beijing and works as a mechanic. Orphaned at a young age and lacking a sufficient memory of her childhood, she is adopted by the Linh family and taken in as their third daughter. However, once her stepfather dies after falling ill with the Leutomitis Plague, Cinder’s life becomes a fictional Hell. Not knowing who she really is, Cinder lives life as an outcast and her stepmother’s personal verbal punching bag. Yet, things start to look up one day when the Prince of the Eastern Commonwealth (a.k.a Asia) stops by her mechanic booth and gets her to fix his droid. From there, the fun begins. Love sparks start flying and secrets become the backdrop to a kick butt storyline.

Things that I enjoyed about this story:
1. Marissa Meyer seems to have thoroughly thought out what pieces of the Cinderella fairytale she would use to create her story. Instead of just extracting the whole tale, Meyer takes what she needs and leaves the rest of the tale alone. Her story never feels as if it was written between the lines of the Grimm brother’s fairytale or in between the scenes of the Disney film adaptation. Meyer’s story takes on a life of its own standing in the forefront in a saturated genre of literature where most stories have already been re-written to death. Her characters are well thought out and so is her setting for the story. Which brings me to point #2…

2. The setting of Meyer’s story made me extremely happy due to me not really being a fan of dystopian novels. I always feel as if dystopian writers are trying to prove something when they write about worlds that have gone wrong in their quest for perfection/one country dominance/etc.. Yet, Meyers makes me feel as if this world has naturally evolved even though she makes it clear that their was once a war that took place. Unlike her contemporaries though, she doesn’t force the issue of gore and death or other bad things upon the reader.

3. The technology in this novel was so cool! I really felt like the portscreens were really just amped up smart phones and this made me a little giddy about where technology might go in the future (LOL I know…how very nerdy of me). Cinder’s BFF/Sidekick was one of my favorite characters. Iko, a humorous droid kept me laughing continuously whenever she oogled over the Prince or did some other human-like thing to cheer her buddy.Also, the ball scene where Cinder drives the car through New Beijing’s streets seriously amused me. LMBO It was like a slight PSA about what’ll happen if we don’t learn to clean-up our Earth and recycle and all that Jazz.

4. The ending was also my favorite part of the novel besides the ball scene when Cinder danced with the Prince/Emperor. The fact that Cinder is ended with her in jail makes me giddy at what’s going to happen next. I always feel like the best stories end with the character in a hard place.

Overall, Cinder was an excellent read. That I am glad that I picked up. I am now a true believer that fairy tales are not just for kids.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer #BookReview

I gave this book 3.75 stars…Yeah, I know I shouldn’t have been so harsh but, the book lover in me couldn’t let certain details of the story fall by the wayside.


The premise of Scarlet is interesting and promising however, Marissa Meyer seems to be trying to either a) give too much detail on Scarlet’s search for her grandmother or b) have added too much fluff along this storyline. When reading Scarlet’s part of the novel I found myself wrestling not to skip ahead to the next chapter.

*****SPOILER***** The fact that she spends most of the time looking for her grandmother yet, there was no actual action until half-way through the novel was problematic for me. I understand that the Wolf pack let her father go to “warn” her/string her along but, the whole idea that no harm would fall on her until 3 weeks later is a little sketchy to me. Which brings me to my next problem with this story…Wolf.

Wolf’s character was hot and cold for me. I loved the parts of his personality that were somewhat childlike and curious however, when he got to the point where he became less transparent with Scarlet and started to back away/fall into her advances I became frustrated. Meyer’s formation of this character lacked something on this front because, I felt as if Wolf was holding back from the reader. To rectify this issue in further installments, I would suggest Meyer’s give Wolf his own chapters so the reader can hear his thoughts and understand his motives first hand instead of through Scarlet’s point of view.

Unlike, Cinder and Kai, Scarlet and Wolf’s romance while somewhat adorable and promising did not cause me to be emotionally invested in what was happening to them like when I read Cinder and Kai’s story. With Scarlet and Wolf I found myself yelling at them (mostly Scarlet) to get it together! Scarlet’s mind seemed to be one tracked and outside of that, her likeability as a character was a few notches lower than what I’d give Cinder due to her not really getting a back story outside of the “privileged kid abandoned by divorced parents who gets sent to live with her grandma in the country then has to grow a pair to rescue said grandma from the bad guys” storyline. Usually, when a character’s loved one gets taken, you understand their motives but, in this novel I felt as if Scarlet was just searching for her grandma because she had nothing else to do.

I really love Melissa Meyer’s creation of Cinder and Scarlet’s world and can’t wait til Cress and Winter come out. I personally hope Meyer’s gives Thorne and Wolf more speaking chapters so that I can get to know them better.

Predictions:
1. I am convinced that the girl who talked to Cinder in the first book through D-COMM is actually the Dr.’s daughter who is also made Thaumaturge Sybil’s slave. I think she is Cress and the next novel will follow her on Lunar and show her interacting more with Cinder.

2.I really want Cinder to apprehend an Earthen satellite or even just a netfeed to broadcast to the Earthen nations that she is really Princess Selene. I feel like her doing this BEFORE Queen Levana and Emperor Kai’s wedding would totally shake things up a bit and add some kick to the next novel.

Lastly, is anybody else wondering how long it’s going to take Kai to figure out who Cinder actually is? I swear something should have clicked in his head 350 pages ago why Queen Levana really wants Cinder. I mean seriously why hasn’t she asked for any other Lunar to be returned to her. GET IT TOGETHER KAI!