Monday, August 31, 2015

[Blog Tour] Gaia by Karen Ann Hopkins (Review + Guest Post + Giveaway)

Hosted by Kismet Book Touring

Welcome to my tour stop for the second book in The Wings of War series, Gaia, by Karen Ann Hopkins. I'm new to this series and I'm really excited to share the love! I will reviewing both Gaia and Embers -which is the first installment in the series. Also, I'm featuring Karen's Guest Post in which she'll be sharing her Dream Cast for some of the amazing characters in this series. And don't forget to check out the giveaway at the end of this post!


Embers by Karen Ann Hopkins
The Wings of War #1
Published October 21st, 2014
Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy


Premise:There are descendants of angels walking among us. Ember is one of them. And she may be the only hope mankind has as the rapture approaches and evil rises.Embers is an epic paranormal adventure about an eighteen year old girl who discovers that she's immune to fire and any other injury when she’s in a horrific car crash that kills her parents. Following a violent episode with her aunt's boyfriend, Ember flees Ohio to live with an old relative in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Ember's exuberance at escaping a bad home life soon turns to trepidation when she finds out that she's a Watcher, a descendant of angels. While Ember learns about her heritage and the powers that go along with it, she strikes up friendships with two young men who live in a frightening walled compound in the forest. Inexplicitly drawn to one of the men in particular, an impossible romance develops. But it is cut short when Ember discovers that her new friends are fighting on the opposite side of a war—one that’s been raging between two factions of Watchers for thousands of years. When the compound’s inhabitants threaten the townspeople, Ember takes action, sealing her fate in the ancient battle of good versus evil—and the grayness in between. Ember is up to the challenge, until she realizes that she isn’t only fighting for the lives of the locals and the souls of her new friends. She also might be one of the few champions who will make a stand for all of mankind as the rapture approaches and the end of days begin.
Embers is a dark and gritty YA novel that’s the first book in the series, The Wings of War.



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Review


My thoughts:

I'm new to Karen Ann Hopkins book but I've heard amazing things about her books and her writing style and now I can honestly say that they live up to the hype. 

I'm not going to summarize the book because I think the description given is pretty accurate and it's better if you go into it not knowing exactly what you're in for. I'll only say that the end of the world is coming, but it's not quite here yet. First, Ember must fight smaller battles, so don't go in expecting the world to go up in flames right away.

The beginning was kind of slow and a bit confusing to me. At first I had a difficult time establishing a time-line for the events such as the accident, the encounter with the priest and the prologue. But little by little everything begins to fall into place and the action starts building-up and before you know it, you're so deep into the story and its character that you can let go of the book. 

The world building is amazingly well done considering that it's a huge world full with a lot of different supernatural beings with different set of rules and powers. The characters were really multi-dimensional and well developed. I liked the way they toyed with the line that divides what's right and wrong, good and evil, it gave them much more depth. 

Ember is a great protagonist. She's bad-ass but not so much that it takes away from that relatable quality of her character. I really enjoyed seeing the world through her eyes and discovering all of her powers along with her. 

Sawyer is an impossibly gentle soul trapped in an awful life which requires him to do awful things to survive. I won't go much deeper into it's character, because all of his mysteries are better when you discover them yourself. 

I really liked Ivan and Ila too. Ivan was very sweet and shy and my heart went to him for all he'd been through. Ila was a seriously bad-ass character. She's is very cryptic and she has this grandma-like sweetness to her but she still is very active and amazingly strong. The mentor being the one who tell the girl she is different was pretty refreshing. I know it's been done before, but not as many times as the version where the mysterious guy with whom she inevitably falls in love, is the one who tells the girl the truth about who she is.

This first installment ends with a bang, it's like everything explodes and the story rises up to its full potential and there's fighting, deep emotions and suspense. It left me with a sense of closure but still very excited for what's coming next. I don't know how people managed to sit still while the next book was in the making. I'm really glad I get to jump right into it!

Rating:




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Gaia by Karen Ann Hopkins
The Wings of War #2
Published July 26th, 2015
Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy

Premise:
As the Demons grow bolder and the walls between the planes of existence weaken, Ember is forced to develop her powers as quickly as possible, and she seeks out a powerful earth Watcher to continue her supernatural lessons. Her glimpse of the future demands she fight the dark forces spreading across the earth.
But her new mentor has his own agenda, making her question everyone and everything she ever trusted.
When Ember is thrust into the world of the Watchers, she learns of their plans—ones that defy the scripture and make them enemies of the Celestial Host. Ridding the world of evil gets complicated when it becomes impossible to take sides.
As Ember struggles with morality, she soon discovers that there’s something more frightening than anything she’s faced before.






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Review


My thoughts:

OMG! This series is so freaking fantastic, you guys! I'm having a hard time reviewing this one because I'm so agghh! Why did it have to end there?! I was dreading those last few pages, I didn't want it to end because now the waiting for the next one is going to kill me!

I don't know if this happens to anyone else but me, but I tend to get suspicious when the book covers are too pretty. Like they are too good to be true. And this book covers are freaking gorgeous! But I'm relieved to say that, in this case, the beautiful covers are the perfect complement for the gorgeous story inside...

I know I'm not making much sense, but I'm writing this right after finishing the book and my mind is in pieces... Let me breathe for a while...

Okay, here we go...

Gaia picks up right where Embers left off which is great since I started this book as soon as I finished the first one and the transition was seamless. The big difference between this installment and the one before is the pace. Since the very beginning there's action and honestly just a whole lot of crap going on, which I love. So make sure you're comfortable and don't have to be anywhere else soon, because you won't be able to put this thing down once you pick it up.

I'm not going to go into much detail about the plot, because I stand by what I said in my review of Embers. It's way better if you don't know what you're getting into. The surprises hit you in the face like a brick and it's freaking awesome. 

I should not be amazed at the world-building since it was already pretty well done in Embers. But the depth it shows in Gaia was monumental. I've not read the Bible since I was a kid, but I still got most of the references and the way its text found its place in the backstory of the characters and their purpose was superb. Everything was really well put together and I can't wait to see how all the revelations dropped here and there play out in the next book.

Onto the characters now... I loved Horas addition to the gang. His character makes me really happy for some reason, I loved his relentless teasing and how he could be so sarcastic and snarky even in the most dire moments. I just love him to bits. 

I also really enjoyed spending time with Piper, since she was often mentioned in the first book but we didn't see much of her all in Embers. Also Timmy! I'm glad they both had a place in this book, because I felt like we should know these characters that meant so much to Ember.

Ember keeps growing as a character throughout this book. Her powers are growing and she's also discovering where her loyalties lie. She struggles a lot to find balance between right and wrong in this book, because everything is mostly different shades of grey and I really enjoyed seeing her trying to make the best decisions in the most impossible situations. She's just overall a great main character. 

We finally meet the famous Insepth in this book and he's a handful. He's really powerful and cocky and unbelievably resourceful. But he's also mysterious and has his own agenda. Sawyer also got his mystery back. We know he really cares for Ember, but there's still just something about him though. I think I trust him, but the thing is that every freaking character in this book made me uneasy! I had a really hard time trusting people in this book. When things were nice and quiet I could feel myself just waiting for the other shoe to drop, thinking "I don't trust you Karen! I know you're up to something!". And then bam! Like an nuclear explosion everything went to hell and then there were even more characters and HUGE revelations and my heart could barely take it when it ended. 

I can't wait for the next book. This series is one of my favorite angel-themed series of all time. It's very different than what I've read before on angels and I'm enjoying it immensely. I sincerely recommend it to anyone who likes paranormal fantasy, especially people who are looking for more than just a story, because this world is phenomenal and you won't want to get out of it. 


Rating:


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[Review] Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Starcrossed #1
Published May 31st, 2011
HarperTeen
Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy


Premise:How do you defy destiny?Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.


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Review


My thoughts:

I thought I would enjoy this book more than I actually did. It wasn't bad by any means, but it was not exactly what I was expecting. I think I've been reading a lot of books lately that have an awesome bad-ass main character who is not afraid of being herself and Helen didn't fit in that category for me, so I felt kind of disappointed. 

The writing and pace were pretty good. It's written in third person but it has a feel like it's Helen's point of view for the most part. Regarding the pace, it wasn't that action-packed per se, but it had a lot of huge moments of discovery and revelations and that kept it fast paced for the most part. It was slow at the beginning and at first I didn't understand what the hell I was reading, but the more you read, the more sense it makes. I really enjoyed it and although it took me a few days to get through it, I kept thinking about it when I wasn't reading.

Helen, the main character, has always know she was different, weird even, but she did her best to hide it and fly under the radar. But everything she has done to make herself blend in goes down the drain when the Delos family arrives at the small island where she lives. Because, she can't stand the sight of them. She hates them and doesn't really know why since she has never met them before. Soon she discovers they are the missing piece she needs to complete the puzzle of her life, they will help understand who she is and why she is that way. Together they will embark themselves in a dangerous journey in which they'll find out their roles in an ancient prophecy destined to repeat itself.

For the first half of the book I didn't care much about Helen, I found her to be too whinny and kind of a coward to be honest. Always worried of what the other people would think of her. I grew tired of her hiding her talents, her beauty and everything she was so she could be accepted, also it was kind of Mary Sue to me the fact that people hated her on that grounds. She was way too perfect but insecure about herself and that made me mad, I wanted to scream at her "quit whining about being perfect!". The second half of the book was more bearable because she was distracted with other matter to be too concerned about being beautiful and better than everyone else.

I really liked Lucas, he was sweet and caring and protective of the ones he loved. The fact that he was able to tell when someone was lying was something to think about. I don't think I could be with someone who would expect me to tell the truth every single time. I couldn't stand to hurt his feelings over and over again without the privilege of those little white lies I tell everyday, like "how do you think I look with this completely hideous tie?" "do you think I've gained weight?" Nobody needs to hear the truth all the time. That also made me think of how painful would be for him to just simply go around living life knowing every time someone told a lie to him and having that feeling of betrayal simmering inside him. I would go insane. I think his character has a lot of possibilities to consider and an immense potential for greatness. 

The family dynamics in this book are kind of weird. For one we have Helen's family which is tiny, being just her and her dad. Then we have the Delos family which is just madness like it tends to be when a family so big. But I liked how the whole mythology was woven into the family itself. 

I really liked the mythological side of the book. The Greek mythology behind the story infused the book with all of its best elements. The intrigue and the plot twists, betrayals and different prophecies kept the story far too interesting to put the book down just because I didn't like the main character. 

There's insta love, ladies and gentlemen. I'm sorry to announce this, but the author manages to sell insta-love to us by making it a huge part of the mythology surrounding the characters. I don't know yet if I will forgive her that dirty trick. I still enjoyed the romance in those tiny moments they were together getting to know each other a bit, even though it had me rolling my eyes sometimes at how quickly their feeling were developing. 

There were other points of the story that had me rolling my eyes because they weren't believable enough. I won't say exactly which bits for the sake of avoiding spoilers, but some of them had to do with the way Claire and Matt acted around Helen. 

There is a lot I still don't understand but I guess it all will make sense when I finish all the book, which I think I'll do, but not for the time being. Just as an example of what's to come, there's the mystery of Daphne... I hated her from the get go, and I don't trust her. I don't know what will happen in the next books, but I have this feeling that she will be forced to reveal her true face. 

It was good enough, it had a very complicated and rich mythological base, a huge cast of characters that managed to be unique even thought here were a lot of them, a lot of intrigue and suspense and secrets. It was a fun read, but it's not the best mythological fiction I've ever read. I'd still recommend it though, not in any hurry but it deserves a chance. 

Rating: 




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About the author

Josephine Angelini is a Massachusetts native and the youngest of eight siblings. She graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in theater, with a focus on the classics. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

[Multi-Review] To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1 & #2 by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1
Published April 15th, 2014
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Young Adult Contemporary Romance



Premise:
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.






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Review


My thoughts:

This book was adorable, heart-warming and sweet. It's written in first person, from Lara Jean's point of view and the writing was truly compelling, it really drew me in to the main character in a way that made me feel like I was her best friend and I liked that. The pace wasn't too fast nor too slow, it was normal for a contemporary read. 

I really liked the main character. She was really especial and unique. She reminded me a bit of Lola from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, because they both are so quirky in their own way. I liked that she wrote letters to say goodbye to people when she was ready to let go of them. I used to do something similar when I was in middle school and maybe even on my first years of high school. I would write letters to the boys I liked and then never send them, just keep them hidden. 

I liked the relationship she had with Josh, although I imagine it would have been very painful for her being in love with him for so many years and having to bottle up all those feelings while her sister dated him. 

The thing about Lara Jean (The name annoyed me so much for no real reason, I can't explain it to you, it sounded too weird, I don't even know) is that she pulls you into her mind and makes you side with her. I felt so drawn to her that I would take her side in every fight she got into, because I felt like I understood her so well. The only thing we didn't agree on was Margot. She admire her so much and I hated her for being always so patronizing and knocking off everything Lara Jean tried to do. Like: "Yeah, I know you can do that, but I'll always be better than you at  it". I hated her attitude and I truly admired Lara Jean for putting up with her. 

I didn't like Chriss either. She wasn't that good of a friend and I understood why everyone kept telling Lara Jean that they didn't get why she was friends with her, because I didn't feel like she contributed in any positive way to Lara Jean's life. 

I really liked Peter. He was kind of a complex character. I usually don't like his type. The type of guy who's too concerned with what other people think about him, to be himself. But he would always do or say something incredible sweet to Lara Jean and my heart would melt. I think they are really good for each other, he helps her come out of her shell while she helps him to be more of himself.

The character that truly stole my heart though, was Kitty. She was adorable! Such smart and mischievous little girl. She never failed to bring a smile to my face. I absolutely loved her.

The ending though... I hated it. It didn't give me closure I wish it had. It just stopped right before the point where it should have ended, and it made me feel cheated, like I had to go and read a whole other book just so I can get the ending that should've been there!

Overall this is a great contemporary read. It's a romance, but it's also about family and friendship and conquering your fears. I really enjoyed it and I'll be picking the next one right up.

Rating:




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P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
To All the Boys I've Loved Before #2
Published May 26th, 2015
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Young Adult Contemporary Romance



Premise:Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?
In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.



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Review



My thoughts:

I liked this book too. Although I don't think I liked it as much as the first one. 

This book picks up just where the last one left off and Lara Jean and Peter make up and decide to give it a try at a real relationship. We get to see them on their first date and everything is just really cute at first, but then trouble comes knocking at their door when a video of them from that ski-trip that caused them to break up in the first book, goes viral on the Internet and they become the juiciest piece of gossip at school. 

With his happening we get to see the double standard that exists for this kind of situations. Everyone is saying Lara Jean is a slut, but Peter doesn't get any shame for being in the video, even though he's as much part of it as she is. That drove me insane, but also I know that's what actually happens in real life. It's always the girl who gets called names and shamed in public for taking part in these kind of videos, and the guy is barely even remembered and when he is, it's like he's a freaking hero for getting laid or whatever. It's freaking maddening!!

Breathe... Breathe... okay, moving on!

The truth is that there were a lot of moments in this book where I felt like everything was just dragging on and nothing important was happening. Like the scenes with Criss, who I still don't like. She never did anything of importance in the book and every time she appeared in a scene I could feel myself rolling my eyes at her.

Margot grew on me a little in this book, but mostly because she was out of the way. This book was truly about Lara Jean and her boys, which I realize sounds pretty bad but it's not like that, I promise!

I was sad that Josh was barely around in this book. The friendship he and Lara Jean had was really adorable and genuine that I was really disappointed that they couldn't work through their issued and stay friends.

I like that we got to know one of the other boys! I'm not saying who it is, so I won't spoil you. Let's call him boy #2. Boy #2 was a really great guy! He was fun and sweet and confident without falling into the cocky category. He treated Lara Jean really well and they made the perfect little couple in my eyes. 

I liked Peter in this book too, especially at the beginning. But around the middle I just grew tired of him and his antiques. He would keep running to Gen every time she would call him and I never felt like he would put Lara Jean before her in any situation. There was always some excuse for him to put Gen first and I resented him for that.

I don't really know if I liked the end to be honest. It was fairly predictable and I kind of knew it would happen like that, but I didn't think the excuses for all the fighting were good enough and I didn't feel like all the issues were actually resolved, just overlooked. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I thought it was quite good, not better than the first one, but still. I think this series is worth a try if you like unique main characters, nice family atmosphere and romantic drama in your contemporary reads, like I do. I'll be checking out more of Jenny Han in the future.

Rating:
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 About the author



Jenny Han (Han like Han Solo, not Han like hand) was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. She went to college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go Heels!) and she went on to graduate school at the New School in New York City, where she received her MFA in Writing for Children. She lives in Brooklyn.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

[Multi-Review] The Selection: Books #1, #2, #3 & #4 by Kiera Cass

The Selection by Kiera Cass
The Selection #1
Published April 24th, 2012
HarperTeen
Young Adult Dystopia


Premise:
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.




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Review


My thoughts:

I honestly didn't think I was going to enjoy this one as much as I did. I was expecting it to be pretty mild and for some reason I thought of it as historical fiction (plot twist: it's not!) which I don't really enjoy for the most part. But I was surprised at how fast I became drawn to the story. I'd read other reviews that said the beginning was kind of slow so I was prepared to hate it and I started reading it thinking of it as little more than a chore.

Oh, boy was I wrong! America's voice is so captivating I couldn't put this thing down, I read it in one sitting. I was so curious about the world she lived in and her secret relationship with Aspen that I didn't feel like the beginning was slow at all. Things were happening, at least in my eyes. Maybe it wasn't action-packed or anything, but it was fairly good for a beginning. 

The thing is this is the opposite of a chore, it's like what you do when you're supposed to be doing chores, to avoid doing them, you know what I mean? Like you know you shouldn't be doing it, giving that you have so much stuff to do (important stuff!) but you can't help it, it sucks you in.

This story takes place in what would be the United States after several World Wars, but now it's called Illéa. People are divided in castes designated by numbers from One being the royal family, all the way through Eight, being the outcasts. These castes are hereditary and determined pretty much what kind of life a person will have, their profession and social status.

America Singer is a Five, she's in the artists caste. She's a musician as well as her mother, while her father and little sister are painters and her little brother doesn't really know if he's any good at anything. The Singers are not the worst off, but they definitely struggle to make ends meet and their jobs don't provide a stable enough source of income to sustain a family of five the whole year round. So when, America receives a letter informing her that she's in the right age category to take part in The Selection, her family is so excited they can barely contain themselves.

The Selection is a contest hosted by the royal family, when a prince comes of age, in the hopes of finding the new princess of Illéa. In this contest, a girl from each province, no matter which caste she's from, is chosen to go live at the palace and mingle with the other contestants and especially, with the prince himself, and her family receives a generous compensation while she's away. As the prince gets to know them, he's supposed to narrow the list down until he decides whom he will marry. This whole process is televised to the whole country, so everyone can see him court the girls and hopefully fall in love. It's pretty much like The Bachelor or some similar TV shows out there.

America didn't want to enter the contest in the first place. She had dreams of her own. She had been dating Aspen, a Six, in secret for a while, and she was in love with him, she wanted to marry him and she didn't care that he was of a lower caste than she was. But her family kept pushing her and so did Aspen, arguing that he wouldn't be able to forgive himself if she missed the opportunity of having a better life than the one he could provide for her (which was even worse than what she was used to). I hated America's mom for being so pushy, I hated the way she manipulated America and tried to make her feel guilty for wanting something for herself. It was her responsibility to take care of her family, not America's and I couldn't stand her snob-ish ways. 

America is a complex character. She has strong beliefs about justice and what's fair, and that can be her best and worst quality at The Selection competition. She has a sweet side to her that will make you love her and want to be her friend. But also, she doubts herself a lot and ends up making poor decisions more than a couple of times and that irritated the crap out of me. 

Since America's the main character you could say there's a love triangle going on. But taking into account what the Selection is, you have a lot more combinations possible for a couple. Let's talk about some of the most relevant characters in this book.

Aspen, America's secret boyfriend was a douche at the beginning and broke America's heart and mine in the process. I hated the way he handled things when America was announced as one the Selected. His way of thinking about life and his sense of pride were profoundly sexist and that prevented me from liking him as a love interest. I'm not saying this way of thinking is only his or that he's the one to blame for it, but for me he embodied in a way and at least at the beginning of the book, the way men thought of women as inferior to them. 

I really liked Prince Maxon, he was really sweet, even though he was kind of oblivious and there were scenes in which I really wanted to punch him in the face for not having a clue about life outside of his bubble. But again, it's not like I could blame it all on him, because that's the way he was raised and I finished the book thinking that he and America could be great together, because they complemented each other.

Among the Selected, Marlee is worth mentioning, since she's like America's best friend and I thought she was really sweet to her and I really liked that America had someone who wasn't out to get her during the competition. On the other hand, there's Celeste, who's a complete bitch just for the sake of being one. I thought this one was the most stereotypical character in the whole book and I didn't like her at all. She felt really flat, no backstory, just a spoiled rich girl with no redeeming qualities. I wish Maxon would've been ballsy enough to kick her out as soon as she started pulling her stunts to try and eliminate the competition.

Moving on to the writing. I thought the writing was pretty simple but yet really captivating, I couldn't put the book down even though there were many moments that had me rolling my eyes. I don't really know if it was the plot or the writing but somehow, I felt like I was watching one of those TV shows that you know is not the best, but still can't stop watching it. 

The ending was crappy, I felt like we were in the middle of the book when it was suddenly over. It made me want to pick up the next book immediately but also I felt cheated. 

Overall this book is pretty good. Not because of excellent writing or world building, but the sheer drama of what's going on will have you glued to the pages because even though you're hating some of the decisions the characters are making, and you want to yell at half the cast, the story is still entertaining and you want to know how it ends. I would recommend it, but I'd strongly advice that you lower your expectations before going into it. 

Rating:




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The Elite by Kiera Cass
The Selection #2
Published April 23rd, 2013
HarperTeen
Young Adult Dystopia


PremiseThe Selection began with thirty-five girls.Now with the group narrowed down to the six Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon's heart is fiercer than ever—and America is still struggling to decide where her heart truly lies. Is it with Maxon, who could make her life a fairy tale? Or with her first love, Aspen?America is desperate for more time. But the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want—and America's chance to choose is about to slip away.







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Review


My thoughts:

This book made question my life decisions, especially my decision of picking up this series in the first place. I know I wasn't completely sold on the characters in the previous book, but this one made me hate them all and I was about to put it down and be done with this series for good on multiple occasions. 

This books picks up right where the previous one left off. Now there's only 6 girls competing for Maxon. America is one of them and so are Marlee and Celeste. But now there's also Kriss, Elise and Natalie and I thought we would get to know them all a little bit better.

With this, I hoped that we would get a bit more about Celeste and maybe she would stop being this one-dimensional character, and we would learn why she's how she is. But oh no! She's worse than before if you could even imagine that. And there still are no reasons why she's a bitch, we just have to accept that she is. 

The other girls also felt kinda flat. Like, take Kriss for example, she was okay, but I felt like she didn't have anything that would make her stand out. She was sweet I guess, but so were a lot of the other girls and for the life of me I couldn't find a plausible reason for Maxon to have kept her over them. The same with Natalie, she was completely forgetable, nothing especial about her and I even had to look up her name to write this review. Elise I got. I didn't like her, but I understood why she needed to stay since she had important connections as well as Celeste. 

The romance between Maxon and America in this book was all of two scenes and the rest was just drama and fighting and yelling. I hated Maxon during the book. I know that he had some good moments before, that he could be kind, but in this book he was so oblivious, so self-absorbed that I didn't want America to end up with him, because I knew he would keep breaking her heart over and over again, every time he put duty or appearances over her or what was right. I didn't understand why he would spend so much time with other girls if he truly just loved America. 

And America wasn't much better. She kept whynning about Maxon not paying her enough attention, but she was still sneaking around to see Aspen. I even liked Aspen better than Maxon in this book for how much time he spent with America, at least with him it was clear that America was the only girl he had eyes for, unlike Maxon. 

Overall, the whole book was ridiculous. The decision making was awful. Some of the things Maxon did were not something you just take in stride and say "it's okay, let's move past this" as he expected America to do. The explanations and the thought process behind some of their actions (America's and Maxon's) were completely absurd and didn't make sense at all. Then at the end in one of the big arguments they had, he dared say he didn't trust her! Are you fucking kidding me?! How could he be so inconsequential?! He knew everything that was happening and didn't do anything, didn't even thought of telling America. I lost all my respect for him in this book and I just didn't care for him at all by the end of it. 

This book was a complete disaster but I can't deny that even if it made me completely furious and I didn't agree with anything of what was happening I still got through it in one sitting. It entertained me even if it was completely ridiculous, maybe because of it. And now I'm continuing the series only because I want to see how it all will end up. 


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The One by Kiera Cass
The Selection #3
Published May 6th, 2014
HarperTeen
Young Adult Dystopia

Premise:The time has come for one winner to be crowned.When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants.









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Review


My thoughts: 

This is the last book of this series in which America is the protagonist. I enjoyed it a bit more than the disastrous second installment but it was far from perfect. 

As I expected, this book picked up exactly where the second one left off. America is packing her things and preparing herself for leaving the Palace after her speech about getting rid of the castes was aired on national television and everything went to hell. 

As you could probably guess she doesn't end up going home just yet. She stays to fight another battle in the Palace. But now it's not just Maxon who doubts her, but also the King seriously hates her guts and is willing to do everything in his power to get rid of her. 

There's only four girls in this book, but it is fairly clear since the beginning that the final decision would be between America and Kriss. Celeste is still there somehow and now we do get to her a little bit better, but I don't think her backstory made any difference at this point, she's still a bitch. In this book we finally get to find out the true motives of each of the Elite girls for wanting to win the Selection. 

There was plenty of drama in this book too. Not only romantic drama, but also this one is the most political of the series and there's a lot of political drama. The rebels are freaking everywhere and Maxon has a lot to deal with in that sense.

But the romantic drama is still there. Maxon is still going on and on about not being sure of America. And I get it, I mean I know she's been seeing Aspen on the side, but he doesn't so I don't see why is he complaining, really... They both had made so many mistakes and hurt each other really badly, it's like every time they open their mouths you can expect a fight, quite literally in fact. 

I was disgusted by the first romantic scene in this book. America lost every last trace of sympathy and respect I had for her when she sunk to Celeste's level. And Maxon was so cruel to her. Their whole relationship drove me insane for the most part, it was ridiculous how they would get mad at each other for the tiniest things and they they would yelled and stomp their feet like little kids and then just walk away without having solved anything at all. They got so caught up in their own pride that they refused to say "I love you" before the other one said it, and that was like half of the book. There were cute scenes, like the one in the rain, but it was mostly fighting and finger pointing and I just couldn't get over the fact that the book was about to end and America still hadn't told Maxon about Aspen.

In this book we get to see the king's true colors. We suspected he was an ass since the beginning obviously but now we really know he is ruthless, always trying to tear America down because she represents the change he doesn't want. But if we're being honest she doesn't make it easy on herself. I understand of principles, but it's like she's always asking for trouble,  it's frustrating as hell! Like come on! You know he's going to kill you if you pull one more stunt and she goes and does it again... She must have no brain, that's the only explanation.

The ending was fine I guess. But I felt like it was too easy. They never had to actually deal with their issues and got kind of a free pass and  forgot about everything that had happened like it was nothing. 

I don't even know why I still like this series. Seriously is beyond me how can I find this entertaining when there's so much that is wrong in these books. But I do. I can't put them down, I've read the three books in two days and I'm going into the next one completely resigned. I actually like this series despite its awfulness or maybe because of it, as I have said before.

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The Heir by Kiera Cass
The Selection #4
Published May 5th, 2015
HarperTeen
Young Adult Dystopia

Premise: Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she'd put off marriage for as long as possible.But a princess's life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can't escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests.Eadlyn doesn't expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn's heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her . . . and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn't as impossible as she's always thought.




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Review


My thoughts:

This book tells the story of next generation, after Maxon and America got married and became King and Queen. It's told from Eadlyn's point of view. She's their daughter and the heir to the throne.

A lot of things have changed since we left Maxon and America in the previous book. They have had four children, the castes have been eliminated and now the first born in the royal family is entitled to be the next ruler, even if she's a woman. And Eadlyn was born a few minutes before her twin Ahren, so she will be the next queen. 

Eadlyn has grown up knowing everything that's expected of her and also very conscious of what the country used to be like with the castes system. Her parents have made sure to tell her of all the adjustment that had been made so the country could work without the castes. She knows it all has been hard work, but there's still people unhappy with the government. So it's no surprise when she doesn't understand why people can't just be happy already. 

The problem still stands. Despite their best efforts Maxon and America haven't been able to make everyone happy, and their people are starting to rebel. They need a distraction while they figure out the next step, so they ask of Eadlyn what they swore they would never do. Eadlyn has to host her own Selection. 

Of course, Eadlyn says "hell to the no" as soon as they bring it up, since she considers herself an independent woman who doesn't need a man to rule her country. But no matter how much she protests, it's been already decided and she must go through with it. But she negotiates a full set of new conditions while she secretly plans to get rid of all her candidates before things get out of her control. She will put on a good show but there is no way she'll actually get married to any of those guys.

I didn't like Eadlyn at first. She comes off as really bratty and self-centered. She takes on the worst parts of the job of being a princess and let that govern her life. She's kind of blinded to the reality of others and is pretty oblivious of the message she sends with all of her antics because she thinks she's entitled to do whatever she pleases. We get to see a few cracks in the armor throughout the book and the whole experience is pretty amazing. 

I really like Kile and Henry and Erik as possible love interest material. And I'm really looking 
forward to see how the dates go in the next books. I know we've had some dates in this book, but Eadlyn's heart wasn't really into them. Even then, some of the dates have gone pretty well, while others have turned out to be completely disastrous, you never know which Eadlyn you're gonna get in each date, though, so they are all pretty interesting and kind of funny.

I love that we get to see a little of America and Maxon, and that they seem to have left their childish selves in the past. But I don't like that they've fallen too much into protocol and are no longer as vivid and fresh as they were in the novels before this one. I understand they've grown up and are now more mature and I really appreciate that, but now they're like in the other end of the spectrum. I still hoped to see that different kind of royal life for them and they just seem to be more of the same, like they've been transformed into the stereotypical royal family. Puaj!

I loved Kaden and Olsten, they were adorable and I hope we get to know them a bit better in the next book. I didn't like Ahren that much though. He was protective of Eadlyn and that was cute, and I understood that he was in love, but I felt like he was a bit of a coward for some of the things he did and that his promises of being always there for Eadlyn were empty one. I know I wouldn't have done that to any of my siblings, not in a million years, especially not when they're in such precarious situation as she was. He didn't even care that his family was struggling to keep the country together... that infuriated me, because everyone always was saying how selfish Eadlyn was, and yet she was giving her life for her country amusement and Ahren was just looking out for himself and his happy ending over everyone else's. Such double standards!

Overall, I think I like the drama and the main character of this book more than I liked America and Maxon in the second and third book of this series. I think the love interests are more interesting too and I felt less offended reading this installment than the ones before it. I really hope things don't take a turn for the worse in the next book. Fingers crossed. 

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About the author

Kiera Cass is a graduate of Radford University with a B.S. in History. She grew up in South Carolina and currently lives in Christiansburg, Virginia with her electrical engineer hubby, car-obsessed son, and princess-loving daughter. She's a #1 New York Times bestseller. She's also a valued customer at her local cupcake shop. 
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