Publisher: HarperTEEN


Hunted by Meagan Spooner | Book Review

March 15, 2017 Book Review, Young Adult 4 ★★★★★

Hunted by Meagan Spooner | Book ReviewHunted by Meagan Spooner
Published by HarperTEEN on March 14, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
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5 Stars
Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

*happy sigh* Boy, did I love this book. I love Beauty and the Beast. Always have, always will. I’m pretty picky with B&B story lines because I kind of have a favorite (*cough* A Court of Thorns and Roses *cough*), but Hunted by Meagan Spooner has definitely taken a spot next to ACOTAR on my list of favorite retellings! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. This story is super unique, while still remaining true to the elements I’ve come to love from Beauty and the Beast. It felt very much like a fairy tale, but one that Meagan has made her own. She added some twists that kept me guessing!

2. I was immediately captivated by Beast and his voice. At the end of every chapter there’s a piece of his mind—what he’s thinking and feeling. He’s not just a man trapped in a beast’s body. He’s both. He refers to himself as “we” and is struggling every day to not be lost in this primal, violent creature that is trying to take over. Sometimes he’s more of one than the other. Here’s a quote from one of his sections that I just loved, and it perfectly illustrates his beautiful voice and his split personality.

“She moves like beauty, she whispers to us of wind and forest—and she tells us stories, such stories that we wake in the night, dreaming dreams of a life long past. She reminds us of what we used to be.

She reminds us of what we could be.”

Beauty’s presence in his life helps him push the beast away, but it is a constant battle that I loved witnessing. I wish I had gotten to learn more about his past. I love what I did learn, though, and I particularly love how his past was used throughout the book.

3. Things started out very slowly, but it was so worth the wait. This was partly due to the fact that Meagan’s writing is gorgeous and partly because the climax and resolution were so beautifully perfect for the characters. I got to a point where I read slower to try and savor the story. I literally didn’t want it to end.

4. I loved Meagan’s usage of Russian folklore to shape the story. Reading about “The Tale of Ivan Tsarevich, the Firebird, and the Gray Wolf” was wonderful and I’d never heard of that story before. I want to go look for it now and read it.

5. Beauty’s character is great. She’s still bookish, but also a fierce hunter. Beast captured her because he needed a strong hunter to capture the thing that would put an end to his curse. I loved this twist, and I loved the feisty, fearless heroine we got as a result.

6. Hunted is very light on the romance, but I love slow burning love stories so I was fine with this. Do I wish there had been a little more of the sweeping love story in the Disney movie? Kiiiind of (I never say no to romance), but I think the ending of Hunted is so much sweeter because of how Meagan chose to treat the romantic element. There are subtle hints of intrigue throughout the story, and I loved that. It also felt realistic and less Stockholm Syndromey than it might have otherwise (I’m not saying the Disney movie feels Stockholmy, just that there was potential for it here depending on how the author chose to write it).

7. Seriously, the writing is gorgeous.

8. The ending. *swoon*

All in all, I have found a new favorite in Hunted. I went and pre-ordered it as soon as I was finished because I need a copy to sit on my shelves that I can pet whenever I want. I really hope Meagan Spooner chooses to write more fairy tale retellings because


Beastly by Alex Flinn | Mini Book Review + Movie Thoughts

March 13, 2017 Book Review, Young Adult 22 ★★★★

Beastly by Alex Flinn | Mini Book Review + Movie ThoughtsBeastly by Alex Flinn
Published by HarperTEEN on October 2, 2007
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Retelling, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought it!
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4 Stars
I am a beast.

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright--a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever--ruined--unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.

I was really worried about reading a modern take on “Beauty and the Beast.” I love that story so much already that I was worried Flinn was going to ruin it. I absolutely loved it! I love the transformation Kyle makes from being a complete jerk to being Prince Charming. I mean, he was so mean and self-centered… and he really hurt people and didn’t care! He makes a complete 180, and the difference is amazing. I can see many people falling for this guy!

He meets Lindy because of her father. He got into some major trouble, and the only way to get himself out of it was to essentially give his daughter to the Kyle. Their relationship goes from absolute loathing, to tolerance, to curiosity, to a blooming romance. I love the amount of concern Kyle shows for Lindy and her well-being.

I really liked Will (Kyle’s blind tutor) and Magda (Kyle’s housekeeper) too. They were entertaining i nthe same way that Lumiere and Cogsworth are from the Disney movie.

All in all, it was a great story. Kyle’s thoughtfulness and generosity were highlights for me. If you love Beauty and the Beast, this book will not disappoint you at all. I’d recommend it to people who enjoy modern retellings of timeless fairy tales.

My thoughts on the movie version:

I was really excited to see what Hollywood was going to do to Beastly. I loved the magic of the story, and the characters were wonderful. When I saw who was playing Lindy, though, I was majorly disappointed. I’ve never been a fan of Vanessa Hudgens, and I did not think she did a very good job playing this role. And then when I found out that Mary-Kate Olsen was cast as Kendra (the witch), I almost boycotted watching it. But then it came out on DVD, and so many of my friends loved it… so I decided to try it. I thought it was just ok.

Alex Pettyfer was totally not who I pictured as Kyle. I was looking for the tall, dark and handsome type… more like Paul Wesley (Stefan from The Vampire Diaries). This guy just did not seem like he had enough going for him to be able to cause such pain in the lives of his classmates. His “beastly” look was also not what I pictured, but I liked it. It worked. Like I said, Vanessa and Mary-Kate were not the right people to cast, in my opinion… but Mary-Kate did do a great job at looking witchy. I loved Neil Patrick Harris as Will. That was a wonderful choice.

Overall, I am SO glad I read the book before the movie came out. It would have ruined the book for me if I had seen the movie first. The acting and special effects were “meh” for me, and I will most likely not watch this again. The book is so much better, so you should definitely read it, especially if you enjoyed the movie.

 


Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh | Debut Author Book Review (+ Giveaway)

June 17, 2016 Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult 3 ★★★½

Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh | Debut Author Book Review (+ Giveaway)

Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh | Debut Author Book Review (+ Giveaway)Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
Series: Ivory and Bone #1
Published by HarperTEEN on June 7, 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieBound iBooks The Book Depository Add to Goodreads
3.5 Stars
A prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.

Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.

As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Julie Eshbaugh’s debut novel, Ivory and Bone, hosted by The Irish Banana Review! I’m so happy to be reviewing Julie’s unique pre-historic fantasy novel today! This is the first novel I’ve read set in the old, olden days (mammoths, people!) and I really enjoyed it. As always my main points are bolded. :)

1. This book is narrated by a boy, Kol. Already, this is a unique and refreshing change for me from the usual female narrator. Even more unique, though, is that the story is written in second person. Kol is essentially telling the story to the reader as if they were his love interest, Mya. It was super hard for me to get used to this, but once I did I found it to be very well done and fun to read… especially when I discovered why it was written this way.

2. You can tell that Julie did a lot of research on the prehistoric era for this novel, and she really brought the time period to life for me. Kol has a close encounter (or two) with some saber-toothed tigers and mammoths. We also get to read about stretching animal skins to make blankets and clothes, tribal lore, and hunting/gathering to survive. The setting and time period really was my favorite part of the book.

3. I liked Kol a lot. He’s such a good, sweet person, with a strong sense of loyalty and a good set of morals. I enjoyed his voice and his thoughts, and am so happy Julie chose to have him narrate the story.

4. I hated Mya from the very beginning, but I gradually started to like her as I learned more about her and her story. I’m still not her biggest fan, but the potential is there for me to like her more in the future.

5. The romantic aspect of the story is very minimal for the most part. The real focus was on the setting and the world of the story, which I really liked. There’s no insta-love and no love triangle. Again, yay unique and refreshing! The romance that was there was very slow burning and filled with tension, just the way I like it.

6. There are a LOT of characters in this story, and I had a little trouble keeping everyone straight. As such, I didn’t really connect with anyone but Kol. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing, though, since I really got to know Kol. I loved seeing everything through his eyes.

7. I think it’s worth mentioning that there’s a lot going on in this story, but really only during the second half. The first half of the book set the scene, and then things really picked up for me. Definitely hang in there if you’re feeling iffy because I really enjoyed where things ended up going. Old secrets and mysteries surface and there’s some action and suspense that had me flipping the pages as fast as I could.

8. Julie’s writing is very lovely, although some descriptions and stories were a little bit long for me at times. Even so, her writing is very flowing and she does a wonderful job of painting a picture in your mind.

Bottom line, this is a very strong, unique, refreshing read that had me truly captivated. I loved Kol’s storytelling, and I really loved the prehistoric setting. I’m excited to see where things go next!


About Julie:

Julie Eshbaugh is the author of the upcoming Ivory and Bone (HarperCollins, 2016). She used to have trouble staying in one spot, having lived in places as varied as Utah, France, and New York City. Julie eventually returned home to the Philadelphia area, where she now lives with her husband, son, cat and dog. Her favorite moments are when the unexpected happens and she cheers loudest when the pitcher gets a hit.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


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Tour Schedule:

6/6: Quite the Novel Idea – Q&A
6/7: Alexa Loves Books – Review
6/8: The Forest of Words & Pages – Guest Post
6/9: Swoony Boys Podcast – Review
6/10: Avid Reader – Fashion Inspirations
6/13: The Irish Banana Review – Review
6/14: Such A Novel Idea – Guest Post
6/15: No BS Book Reviews – Review
6/16: The Book Cellar – Top 10
6/17: That Artsy Reader Girl – Review

 


A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray | Book Review + Giveaway

January 5, 2015 Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult 38 ★★★★★

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray | Book Review + GiveawayA Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Series: Firebird #1
Published by HarperTEEN on November 4, 2014
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Time Travel
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Source: From the Publisher
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5 Stars
Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

This book sounded amazing before the cover image released, but once the cover was revealed I was even more excited about it! For once, the book lived up to its beautiful cover. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. As much as I loved this book, I had a very hard time getting started. The pacing across the first 100 pages or so is very slow and cumbersome. I actually set this book down back in November because I just could not hang in there, and I was so sad it would end up being a DNF. I’m so glad I gave it another chance, though, because it ended up becoming a new favorite!

2. I’m not usually a fan of parallel universes or alternate dimensions because books that contain them are usually repetitive and the differences between those worlds are never exciting or unique enough to hold my attention. In this case, however, I could not wait to see where Marguerite and Theo traveled to next.

3. My favorite parallel universe was Russia, and is where the bulk of this book takes place. Even though the characters never change time periods, this particular universe feels like it’s a couple hundred years behind ours. Marguerite is the daughter of the tsar, and lives in a candlelit castle. Lieutenant Markov (a.k.a. Paul Markov, suspected murderer of Marguerite’s father) is Marguerite’s personal body guard, and oh wow is he swoony! I loved getting to see so many sides of Paul, but this one was my favorite.

4. I really liked Marguerite. I liked that she was willing to take the less popular road and give Paul a chance to prove that he did not kill her father. I liked her tenacity and her crusade for truth. And I loved her relationship with her dad. So sweet.

5. I’m not going to try and explain the ins and outs of how they travel between dimensions and everything because that’s for you to discover as you read, but I found the “science” fascinating.

6. The focus in this story is primarily on romance, but there’s also this quest to find out if Paul killed Marguerite’s dad or not, a battle against an evil corporation looking to use the Firebird for evil, and the fight to stay alive and return home. There’s a lot going on, and there’s so many twists and turns and revelations. What you think is going on is not what’s going on.

7. The romance is super unique. You’ve got Theo and Paul. They make up the love triangle. But then there’s Lieutenant Markov, who is Paul but not really Paul. He’s Paul from Russia. And Marguerite loves Lieutenant Markov, but maybe not Paul. So basically it’s a love square with Theo and Paul from two different dimensions. By loving Paul is she cheating on Lieutenant Markov? So yeah. Complicated.

8. I could have done with fewer flashbacks to what happened before Paul supposedly betrayed Marguerite’s family. Those were kind of boring and took me out of the suspense of what was going on then.

9. There were some pretty romantic quotes. I just loved the romance!

All in all, I really enjoyed A Thousand Pieces of You and can’t wait for the next book in the series!

Somehow I ended up with an extra hardback from the publisher, so I’m giving it away to someone who thinks they might love it as much as I did! I’m feeling generous so I’m willing to ship internationally, and I’m currently publicizing the Debut Author Challenge so you get extra entries if you sign up!

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Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White | Book Review

October 6, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 4 ★★★

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White | Book ReviewIllusions of Fate by Kiersten White
Published by HarperTEEN on September 9, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Historical Fiction, Romance
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

I had not heard much about Illusions of Fate, but I thought it sounded like something right up my alley. I’ve been on a bit of a fantasy kick lately, and that cover is amazing. Then I heard from Jamie that Stephanie Perkins highly recommends it, and I pushed it right to the top! I loved the idea of magic being a huge story element, so I was excited to begin. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I love this place called Albion. It seems to be kind of a conglomeration of the Regency era in England and historic New York City. There were times I felt like I was sitting in Central Park, and there were times when I felt like I was sitting in an Austen-esque sitting room with lavish couches and tea on the table.

2. The nobility are the ones who hold magical powers! I felt like part of this exclusive club that I was let in on this secret, along with Jessamin. Different people hold and develop different powers, so no two nobles are the same. I liked that.

3. Jessamin is a very exotic-looking girl from the island of Melei, who comes to Albion to study at a prestigious school. Think Oxford. People from her island are not well-liked, so she is a bit of an outsider. She sure does catch the eye of Finn, aka Lord Ackerly. Something extremely romantic and rare happens between the two of him, and he is immediately captivated by her. His arch nemesis, Lord Downpike, has finally found Finn’s weakness. It’s Jessamin. She’s very spunky and not the kind of girl who sits back and lets people protect her, much to Finn’s chagrin.

4. Finn is super swoony. He’s 19, but not. And he’s so proper and romantic. And chivalrous. With these proper mannerisms and personality traits, though, he was not incredibly open with his feelings, which was a bit disappointing. He reminded me a tiny bit of Mr. Darcy. But just a tiny bit. He’s broody and opinionated and stubborn. But not as romantic.

5. I simply adored Jessamin’s friend, Eleanor. I could not get enough of her! She’s hysterical, and so much fun. I would love it if she would get her own book.

6. I think my favorite part of the story is the beginning. Everything is super mysterious and intriguing. Books are hawks as well. Who is Lord Ackerly? What is Lord Downpike hiding? Why does Finn’s house have so many doors that lead to random places? And the feeling of the book was just a bit eery and unsettling.

7. As the book moved forward, mysteries were solved very quickly, and information was kind of dumped on us. I began to get a little bored also, when things quit happening. The beginning was exciting, and there were all these ominous feelings going on. But then the excitement stopped for a while and I felt like I kept reading the same scenes over and over again.

6. I think the book was too short for the story it had to tell. I would have loved a more developed Albion, more depth to the characters (Finn has lived a LOT), and less of an easy and predictable ending. I think this might be one of the very few situations where I actually wanted a sequel. It was all just too formulaic, which was disappointing because the idea was super unique and could have been played with a lot more.

All in all, Illusions of Fate was a fun read. While it could not hold a candle to some of my favorite fantasies, it does have some unique elements that made it a worthwhile read. If you’re looking for a standalone fantasy, with a little mystery and romance I would have no problems recommending Illusions of Fate. While it lacks strong world building, there is a character named Sir Bird that I’m sure you’ll be fond of.


Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi | Book Review

March 20, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 11 ★★★★

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi | Book ReviewShatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #1
Published by HarperTEEN on November 15, 2011
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

I’m part of a really exciting book club with Karin and Kat, called The Transatlantic Bookshelf, and Shatter Me was our first read! I’ve had my eye on it for a long time, so it was nice to finally have an excuse to read it. Sadly, Karin did not finish it. She’s considering trying it again later, but did just not love it this first time around. Kat and I both enjoyed it, though. I figured I’d put my thoughts together here! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I don’t really see the hype. I mean, I liked the book. I really did. But I guess when you hear every good thing possible about a series, almost anything would be disappointing. I guess the best way to put it is that I don’t see why Shatter Me stands above any other book out there. My mind was not blown like I had hoped.

2. Mafi’s writing style really irked me at first. There is a lot of repetition of words and thoughts, plus a lot of thoughts are crossed out (actually, strikeout would be the best term), with new thoughts added behind. It took me quite some time to get used to, but I did end up getting myself to a point where I could skim over them. I have to hand it to Mafi, though, she has a very unique writing style. It’s unique enough, though, that you might take a while to appreciate it like I did.

3. I love the idea of this story. I love that Juliette’s touch is fatal, but sexy Adam is immune. So to see how she is being able to finally touch someone… it was powerful. Not being able to hold a person’s hand, or to hug them? That’s hard. Humans need human contact. So when Juliette discovers she can have that, it was like she all of a sudden discovered how to see.

4. The romance was kind of a slow burn, but also kind of insta-lovey. And I’m not sure if I will be able to decide exactly which one it is. On the one hand, Juliette and Adam meet in a rather deceptive way. She thinks he is someone totally different than he ends up being. For a while she really hates him. But then she starts to recognize him for some reason, and becomes intrigued by his complete caring for her. On the other hand, once she realizes she can touch him, there was kind of a romantic explosion if you will. And I felt like feelings happened really fast. But then you learn things and discover maybe it’s not so insta-lovey. *shrug*

5. In any case, the romance was pretty swoony. Mafi knows how to write sultry scenes.

6. I hate Warner. He’s the guy trying to make Juliette a weapon for The Reestablishment, and he is slimy and creepy. Kind of serial killery. And I’m scared abotu what role he might have in future books.

7. I LOVE ADAM. Can I have him? He is just so sweet and loyal and courageous. And I will be reading the next book for Adam alone.

8. Too much metaphor? I think so. What do you think?

All in all, I enjoyed Shatter Me but do not really understand the hype. The writing style takes a while to get used to, but once I did I appreciated the glimpses it gave us into Juliette’s true thoughts. The idea of the story has me super intrigued, and I will be reading the next book because I have a crush on Adam and can’t wait for more of him.


The Prince by Kiera Cass | Mini Book Review

February 3, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 2 ★★

The Prince by Kiera Cass | Mini Book ReviewThe Prince by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #.5
Also in this series: The Selection
Published by HarperTEEN on March 5, 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 64
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
Amazon Add to Goodreads
2 Stars
Before thirty-five girls were chosen to compete in the Selection...

Before Aspen broke America's heart...

There was another girl in Prince Maxon's life...

Don't miss this thrilling 64-page original novella set in the world of the New York Times bestselling novel The Selection.

I was really excited to read The Prince, because I was intrigued by his life before the Selection. I wanted to get to know Maxon on a more intimate level so that I could better understand his decisions and is desires in a wife. While I did enjoy reading about his life before, I was a bit disappointed in the little information I received.

I would not label this as a prequel to the story, even though it is listed as being .5 in the series. A very small part of this takes place before the Selection, and even then it’s only a few days before the girls are selected. This “other girl” the synopsis mentions was not even worth mentioning, and I felt like I was a bit deceived. I was expecting some sweeping romance that Maxon was forbidden to pursue, or some unrequited love that caused him to choose the Selection over finding love conventionally. That’s not the case at all.

I enjoyed delving into Prince Maxon’s thoughts, but I also felt like I was wasting my time because of the subject matter of the book. I felt like Maxon was an open book in The Selection. I pretty much knew how he was feeling. Most of this book tells the exact same story as The Selection. It’s just from Maxon’s point of view. But like I said before, I was not wondering what he was thinking during The Selection. Instead of getting a new story, I got to read all about which girls were selected again. I got to read his first conversation with America again, just with his inner dialogue. I got tired of reading the same thing. Some of the sentences seemed to be taken straight from The Selection. I started wondering what the point of this novella was.

I’m sure my feelings come from the fact that I read The Prince the day after I read The Selection. Everything was very fresh in my mind, and I did not need to be re-reading things. I feel like this book is not really worth it if you’ve read The Selection, unless it has been a while and you would like a refresher before jumping into The Elite. If you’re wanting an easy way to decide if you DO want to read The Selection, this would be a good way to do that. I’m disappointed that I did not learn any more about Maxon than I knew before, however, I do think it was nice of Kiera to write this in a way that does not make this novella a mandatory read.


Uninvited by Sophie Jordan | Book Review

January 27, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 5 ★★★★

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan | Book ReviewUninvited by Sophie Jordan
Series: Uninvited #1
Published by HarperTEEN on January 28, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
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4 Stars
The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan's chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she's destined to become a murderer.

When Davy Hamilton's tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn't feel any different, but genes don't lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he's not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

I loved Sophie Jordan’s Firelight trilogy, so I was very excited to learn of her new project! The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report? Count me in! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I found this story to be terrifyingly plausible. Uninvited is set in the not so distant future where people are tested to see if they have a specific gene that, in the government’s eyes, guarantees that that person will someday kill a someone. Once that person has been diagnosed with this gene, their life is essentially over. They are immediately treated as though they have already murdered someone. It’s so scary to think that science could someday overrule a person’s moral framework. Isn’t that so scary? And so real?

2. Another scary aspect of this story is that a lot of the crime happened because these people are marked as killers. If you go around a put a sign on someone that says, “Hey! This person is going to kill someone someday, and it could be you!” don’t you think those people might end up being targets themselves? I mean, there’s a huge possibility that a person who would not have otherwise killed someone, might just kill that “killer” to prevent them from possibly killing. PLUS, these “killers” are going to live up to their label because they are being punished as someone who already has. I mean, why not kill that person you hate if your life is views as being worthless anyway? What more can the government do? What kind of twisted logic is this? In an effort to lower the crime rate, I seriously feel like the government in this book raised it instead.

3. So, we have all of these “killers”. One of them is sweet, innocent Davy who had her entire life ahead of her until that life-changing phone call made her lose her family, her boyfriend, her friends, EVERYTHING in a matter of seconds. And there’s nothing she can do about it. She will never EVER prove anyone wrong. Boy, did I feel for her. I was just like Davy in high school. I was viewed as being the person who had a bright future and was liked by everyone. I just kept thinking about what I would have done if I were in Davy’s shoes. I don’t even have words. Scared, terrified, heartbroken, hopeless, defeated. None of those words equal the pain of what something like this could do to a person. I connected with Davy so much, and felt for her SO much that it hurt me. She handled it so well. I was proud.

4. Because of Davy’s past, she was given the opportunity to be trained instead of sent to a detention camp. The government thought that they could train her to not give in to her killer instincts. She ended up going with two other carriers from school, both of which she liked. There’s Gil, who was very sweet and caring and then there’s Sean, the guy with the bad boy exterior who is so much more than what you see on the surface.

5. Speaking of Sean, I LOVED him. I was having a hard time with this book until I got to know Sean better. I loved how broken and worn down he was when I first met him, and then how Davy gave him a reason to act like a human. He immediately felt very protective of her and shielded her from a pervy teacher and a bully. He always seemed to be there when she needed him. She was his reason to live, and I loved seeing his dormant, feeling side awaken when he had a reason to wake it up.

6. I mentioned before that I had a hard time getting into this book before, and that’s because it is so depressing. I felt awful for the characters and the abuse they went through. Some of them deserved it, but not Davy, Gil, and Sean. They were just confused teenagers trying to figure out how to survive under their knew title of “HTS Carrier”. I swear that none of them would hurt a fly, but that doesn’t matter. AHHH. The feels.

7. There’s still so much we don’t know, and I closed the book feeling hopeful but also a little anxious! I’m just so concerned!

Uninvited is a book that resonates so deeply because of all the feelings is brings out in its readers. This horrific world in which these characters live is even more horrific because it seems so real. I just could not stop thinking about how devastating it would be to find out that people trusted a scientific theory more than they trusted me, their loved one. I love that Sophie Jordan made me think and feel so many things. I can’t wait to see what happens to these characters! PLEASE bring on the second book!

DISCUSS: So, what are your thoughts? I feel like this review was much more philosophical than most of my reviews are. What do you think of the idea presented in this book–that human beings are not able to make moral decisions that go against their DNA? Are you as scared of this idea as I am?


The Selection by Kiera Cass | Book Review

January 24, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 15 ★★★★

The Selection by Kiera Cass | Book ReviewThe Selection by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #1
Also in this series: The Prince
Published by HarperTEEN on April 24, 2012
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 327
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
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4 Stars
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

If you’ve paid attention to reviews of The Selection in the blog world, you know the kind of love hate relationship people have with this book. They love it, or they hate it. I haven’t really seen a middle ground. I’m not sure why, but I’m intrigued. I’m always intrigued by books who get received this way, but I’m also leery of them at the same time. It took me a long time to finally get to this book, but I really enjoyed it! As always my main points are bolded. :)

1. I’m just going to throw it out there and say that I LOVE The Bachelor. It is one of my favorite TV shows, and Mondays are much less dread-worthy when a season of The Bachelor/Bachelorette is running. I was immediately in love with the idea of this book for that reason. The girls apply, they get selected to be a part of this crazy dating game, there’s girl drama, there’s a handsome prince. I mean, come ON.

2. America applies to be selected because she promises her love, Aspen, that she will. She is of higher class than he is, so marrying him means literally marrying down. And Aspen does not have the heart to let America do that when she could easily avoid it. So he makes her apply, because then he knows she did everything she could and he does not have to feel bad for holding her back. And of course, she is selected. She goes into this game for the money, and the money alone. She flat-out TELLS the prince this. They agree to be secret friends. I love that this happens. I have so much respect for America for being upfront and honest with Prince Maxon. I love that he likes her enough to be her friend. In the midst of an out of this world game in a dystopian society, a sense of normalcy rises from these two. It’s realistic. And I love that America chooses to hold on to Aspen. But that prince is cute… and sweet… and oh, crap. Is she falling for him? That is the question. And surprises happen.

3. The relationships tear me in both directions. I like Maxon and I like Aspen. I like who America is with both of them. Maxon is understanding and caring. And he has no clue about girls, which makes him so endearing. I love watching him try. And Aspen is honorable and so concerned and unselfish. I don’t know how to feel! I love it when a book does this to me.

4. This totally read like a first book, which was a bit disappointing. What I mean is that the stage was set, but not a lot happened. It’s like the first episode of The Bachelor when we’re introduced to the girls, we decide who we hate and love, and nothing really happens because there’s so many people involved. Relationships are not really happening yet. I feel like nobody is really attached to anyone, and there’s not much dating or deciding on Maxon’s part. The other girls are just background scenery. Meh. That’s ok, though, because there are more books. I just would have loved a little more meat to this first one.

5. The society of this world is really interesting. I like the caste system and all the political stuff behind the game… and the rules… the attacks against the kingdom… and the culture. I hope to learn more about this world in the next book.

All in all, this was a great read! I’m excited to continue the series, and I am hoping for more drama and confusion from the characters. If you like dystopian novels, definitely give this one a shot!


Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi | Book Review

January 6, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 8 ★★★★★

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi | Book ReviewInto the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi
Series: Under the Never Sky #3
Also in this series: Under the Never Sky, Through the Ever Night
Published by HarperTEEN on January 28, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
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5 Stars
Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it's time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do-and they are just as determined to stay together.

Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won't even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because Cinder isn't just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he's also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

Into the Sill Blue was a beautiful and exciting ending to one of my very favorite trilogies. I have always complained and ended up really hating the final book in a series or trilogy, because authors usually do everything I wish they wouldn’t. Or they don’t do anything I wish they would. Veronica wrapped this story up so perfectly, and I loved every word. I feel like so much of what I loved is already mentioned in my reviews of Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night, so I will keep my review short and sweet so as not to spoil it for anyone. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. In my review of Through the Ever Night, I mention that it is so much better than Under the Never Sky. Into the Sill Blue is even better! I love Veronica Rossi’s creativity and what she does with this world. I love these characters. I love the non-stop action and the heart-pounding sequence of what-ifs and questions.

2. I love the relationships between characters, whether they are romantic, familial, or friendly. These characters truly care about one another.

3. I feel like there was less of an emphasis on romance in this final installment, which was fine. The entire book was all bout making it to the Still Blue. As Perry and Aria tried to bring the Dwellers and the Outsiders together, conflict arose. New relationships were forged. Sacrifices were made. Bonds were broken. These characters have reached desperate times. The Aether is getting more and more volatile. It’s time to do or die, and not everyone makes it through this book alive. Tears were shed, and my heart broke a little.

4. There were a lot of strong emotions, which I felt right along with the characters. At times, it was hard for me to see my beloved characters go through such low lows, but the high highs made up for it.

5. SO MUCH ACTION. Like I said, this book is do or die. These people have to fight to make it, and they have to fight hard. There is danger everywhere, and I was flipping through these pages as fast as I could.

6. I still love Veronica Rossi’s writing. She just knows how to write scenery and emotions and action and feelings. She knows how to develop strong characters.

Really, I’m at a huge loss as to how to review Into the Still Blue. I finished this book over a month ago, and I still just don’t know how to express my love for it without ruining everything for you. It was a stunning conclusion that left me speechless. Literally, I guess. I can’t wait to see what Rossi has in store for us next!