Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: New Adult Romance/Retelling
Book Description: It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.
Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.
My thoughts: I love it when a fairy tale re-telling has enough similarities to remind me of the original, but is unique and different enough to be it's own story. The prince isn't a real prince, but an actor who plays a prince in a movie. Cinderella is a beautiful young woman who has lived a nightmare.
There were a few times when I found myself shedding a few tears. I felt for Ella as she was bullied because of an accident that left her scarred. Her scars run deeper than physical. The emotional trauma was worse.
I can't say that Brian's one of my favorite characters. He's a player. He uses people to get what he wants. His love for Ella was one of the only redeeming values that I found in him. I have to admit, that as the story progressed, he became more enjoyable to read about. I loved the banter and playfulness between Cinder (Brian) and Ella.
Ella on the other hand was a very likable character. Her spunk and strength got her through some pretty bad moments. One of the step-sister's seemed a little too evil for me. Even though the book explains reactions, Ella had the right to be more bitter.
This book contains innuendo and language. I wouldn't recommend it to a younger YA reader. It is more of a NA read.
Read a Guest Post by Kelly Oram
Hey everyone! First I just wanted to thank Lisa for letting me stop by and tell you about my new book. I’m very excited to be here. Cinder & Ella is a contemporary spin on the classic fairy tale Cinderella. I’m a huge fan of Cinderella. It’s been my favorite fairy tale ever since I was a little girl and I am so excited to share my version of it with you.
Since Ella and Brian have been getting all the attention during this blog tour, I promised some of my other characters that they could come with me today and introduce themselves. So, Juliette, Vivian, and Rob, as promised, they’re all yours. Behave yourselves!
Vivian: Hey guys! I’m Vivian Euling, Ella’s best friend. And this is Rob Loxely, Ella’s…
Vivian: Is that what you’re calling it?
Juliette: *snickers* Rob’s a complicated guy, but we love him anyway. Hey everybody! I’m Juliette Coleman. I’m Ella’s stepsister. Well, one of them.
Vivian: The good one.
Juliette: The awesome one. And just FYI, I totally resent the term “ugly” that is so often associated with my role in this tale. I’m not ugly! And you know, most of the stepsisters in all these Cinderella retellings aren’t bad looking either. Megan Dodds, who played the stepsister in Ever After is gorgeous. Why does everyone always have to call us the ugly stepsisters? It’s not cool.
Rob: I think it’s meant to be more, metaphorical—ugly on the inside.
Vivian: Oh stop. You know he doesn’t mean you, Juliette. He was talking in general—in terms of most Cinderella retellings.
Rob: Actually, I was talking about Ana.
Juliette *sigh* Yeah, she really doesn’t help the pro-stepsister cause much, does she? She’s not all bad though, you guys, seriously. She’s just…going through a rough time.
Vivian: *snorts again*
Rob: *raises eyebrow*
Juliette: *sighs again* Fine, lets not talk about Anastasia. We’re supposed to be talking about the book anyway.
Vivian: Yay! I love this book! And in it, I have the awesome privilege of playing the Fairy Godmother. I get to dress Ella all up and take her to the ball where she meets her prince. So fun!
Juliette: Um, actually, Brian and Ella’s meeting was my doing. You gave her the dress, but I got her into the ball, so I say we’re both her fairy godmothers.
Vivian: You just don’t want to be the ugly stepsister.
Juliette: I’m not!!! Ana is the ugly stepsister!!!
Vivian: And she plays the role to perfection.
Juliette: Right, so since I’m obviously not the ugly stepsister, and I’m the one who finally introduces Ella and Brian, I think we should get to both be fairy godmothers. It worked for Sleeping Beauty. She had three.
Vivian: All right, fine, you can be a fairy godmother too. *grins at Rob* I guess that makes you our third.
Rob: *raises another eyebrow*
Vivian: Hey, wait, what is Rob in the story anyway?
Rob: Ella’s friend.
Vivian: Yeah, but I mean, like, in the Cinderella scheme of things. You don’t really have a label.
Juliette: Sure he does. He’s Jacque.
Vivian & Rob: Who?
Juliette: You know, the mouse who’s Cinderella’s friend in the Disney version? Jacque? And Gus?
Vivian: *laughs* You think he’s the mice?
Juliette: Yeah, and the dog, and the pumpkin.
Rob: I’m the pumpkin?
Juliette: Well you drove us to the ball didn’t you? It was your car that was her carriage, so yes, you are the coachman who provided the coach. And you’re the mouse. You’re Cinderella’s… friend—
Juliette: —who was there for her when no one else was. You’re the one who always liked her from the beginning, and the friend who kept her from going insane while she was being tortured by her stepfamily. If you need an example in people terms, you’re that weird best friend who dressed up as Zorro in the Hillary Duff movie, and you’re that gay best friend from the yoga place in Robin Palmer’s book Cindy Ella.
Rob: Excuse me?
Juliette: Metaphorically speaking, Rob.
Vivian: Actually, Juliette’s right. I mean you kind of are the mice. You’re the BGF—Best Guy Friend. Most Cinderella’s have one. Ella Enchanted had that lawyer elf guy, and Shrek had Donkey.
Rob: First I was the mice, and now I’m Donkey?
Juliette: I guess it’s a good thing this is a contemporary retelling, huh?
Rob: No, you what I am? I’ll tell you what I am. I’m the sucker. I’m the chump who gets the shaft when the dumb prince shows up and steals my girl from me. And because I care about Ella and want her to be happy, I have to suck it up and be a good sport about it or I look like a total jerk. And in the end, what do I get? I get stuck with the two psycho chicks who compare me to rodents. You know what? Come to think of it, I don’t even really like this book all that much. I want to be in a different book!
Juliette & Vivian: *share a shocked glance*
Juliette: *mutters to Vivian* I think that’s the most I’ve ever heard him speak.
Vivian: *nods and mutters back* Is it just me or is her really sexy when he’s pouting?
Juliette: Definitely. Then again, when is Rob not sexy?
Rob: *gapes at Vivian and Juliette in complete bewilderment*
Juliette: *pats Rob’s knee and gives him a sympathetic smile* Don’t you worry your pretty little head Rob Loxley. You are going to be adored by everyone who reads this book, and I’m sure there is girl out there somewhere just waiting—dying—for you to come and be her hero.
Vivian: Yeah. I wouldn’t be surprised if you had your own fairy tale retelling just waiting to be written.
Rob: *scowls at both Vivian and Juliette, but calms down* Whatever. Just as long as you two aren’t my fairy godmothers.
Vivian: *rolls eyes* Juliette and I are awesome fairy godmothers. Cinder and Ella are epic. People will be retelling their love story for generations to come.
Juliette: Yup. All thanks to us. We rock.
Vivian: And so does the book. You should all go read it. Right now. Thanks for having us on the blog today!
Juliette: Yeah, this was so fun!
Rob: A real blast.
Vivian: Cheer up Donkey. You know you had fun.
Rob: *sigh* Just read the book, people.
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