Thursday, July 24, 2014

Book Review: The Selection Stories: The Prince & The Guard

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publication Date: February 4, 2014

Series: The Selection, 0.5 & 2.5

Genre: Young Adult Dystopia

Acquired From: Public Library


Two novellas set in the world of Kiera Cass's #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series are now available in print for the first time. The Prince and The Guard both offer captivating views into the hearts and minds of the two men fighting to win America Singer's love. This collection also features exclusive bonus content, including a sneak peek at The One, the eagerly anticipated third novel in the Selection series.
Before America arrived at the palace to compete in the Selection, there was another girl in Prince Maxon's life. The Prince opens the week before the Selection begins and follows Maxon through the first day of the competition.
Raised as a Six, Aspen Leger never dreamed that he would find himself living in the palace as a member of the royal guard. In The Guard, readers get an inside look at Aspen's life within the palace walls--and the truth about a guard's world that America will never know. 
--From Goodreads


I'm not much of a novella reader, but I thoroughly enjoyed both of the novellas included in The Selection Stories. The insights into both Maxon and Aspen were almost more than I could ask for, and it made it even harder for me to make a decision as to who I wanted America to end up with! For that reason alone, I give The Selection Stories a solid 4 out of 5 stars.
It was remarkable to get an inside view into how Maxon viewed the Selection. He seemed unsure about it from America's perspective, but reading it from his own was more than I could have expected. He was sad and uncertain, and always under the thumb of his father. It was eye-opening to see what he truly wanted out of life... Just someone to love him.
Aspen was more than I remembered from America's memories of him. I expected him to be cruel and unhappy, but it seemed that he was the exact opposite. It was a great thing to see the way his character developed outside of the memories that America had of him. It was a wonderful way to end the series. And I'm so glad I picked them up! 

Book Review: The One by Kiera Cass

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: June 5th, 2014

Series: The Selection #3

Genre: Young Adult Dystopia

Acquired From: Public Library


The Selection changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. Now, only one will claim Prince Maxon's heart...
It's swoon meets the Hunger Games in the final installment of The Selection trilogy!
For the four girls who remain at the palace, the friendships they've formed, rivalries they've struggled with and dangers they've faced have bound them to each other for the rest of their lives.
Now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen.
America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown--or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the competition approaches its end 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. 
The breathtaking finale to The Selection trilogy will make you swoon! 


I fell in love with this series the first time I picked up the first book. And I waited for what seemed like forever for the final book to see what would happen. It was an amazing story, and I couldn't wait to see who America ended up with. Thanks to The One, I finally know (no spoilers here!). And I give The One a solid 5 out of 5 stars. With no reservations at all!
It is one of the best novels I've ever read, and I know that I'll come back to it over and over again. Kiera Cass is a master storyteller, and I love every single word that comes out of her pen. She's wonderful. She creates beautiful characters and wonderful scenery. She's one of the best authors I've read in a very, very long time.
America is incredibly real with her struggles, her hopes, and her dreams. She approaches the things that come at her with strength and love, something that we should all aspire to. I felt her pain, her joy, and her love. I wanted what she wanted, and cried when she cried. America truly is a wonderful character that should be part of the greatest characters of modern young adult literature. 

Book Review: The Afterlife by Ksenia Anske

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: August 5, 2013

Series: Siren Suicides #3

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal and Urban Fantasy

Acquired From: Personal Collection


Ailen Bright is more lost than ever. Her father has betrayed her yet again, but keeps her longing for his love alive with some almost-heartfelt confessions, though few and far between. She and Hunter can never be together without fighting the urge to strangle each other with their bare hands. And to top it off, two-faced Canosa won't leave her alone. Her resolve to do the right thing is wavering as she tries to protect the ones she loves, simultaneously searching for a reason to keep on living, and the final chapter of Siren Suicides comes to a tumultuous close, bringing death, life, and love.


It may have taken me a while to get to this one, but I can't tell you how much I loved the final installment of the Siren Suicides. Once again, Ksenia Anske has done a fantastic job dealing with life, death, and the problems of adolescence. It was a brilliant novel that I can easily give a 4 out of 5 stars to. 
One of my favorite things about this novel was how Ailen had such a hard time dealing with her own feelings and uncertainty. She was incredibly real and had struggles that were almost too big for her to handle. She was simultaneously fragile and viscous. I loved reading about her struggles and her personality. 
The one thing I didn't like about this novel was the ending. It was a little bit too "soap opera" dream sequence for me. But regardless of the ending, the rest of the novel was brilliant and wonderful. I loved it, and will definitely read it again. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Back to Blogging

It's been a long time since I've blogged here, but that doesn't mean I haven't been reading for my reviews!

I've got three books to put up reviews for and will be getting to that in the next few days. I am on my reading schedule, and will be picking up with the first one on the sidebar. I apologize to those writers who have been waiting for reviews from me as I've had some personal and job issues that have kept me from following my regular blogging schedule.

So look for new reviews and recommendations in the next few days!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Book Review: My Sisters in Death by Ksenia Ankse

Publisher: Self-published

Publication Date: August 5, 2013

Series: Siren Suicides #2

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

Acquired From: Personal Collection


In the second installment of the Siren Suicides trilogy, Ailen Bright finds herself in a sticky situation. Her new supernatural abilities haven't solved anything--in fact, they've royally messed up her life. She can't be with the one person she loves (though her self-control is wavering by the second), her old, well-dressed dog of a father hasn't learned any new tricks, and her supposed siren sister doesn't seem to have her best interests at heart.
A pawn in the game between her father and the Siren of Canosa, Ailen is constantly searching for her next move. Through all the hardships, however, Ailen's self-doubt begins to dissipate as she comes to accept her new identity.


I actually tore through this book much faster than I did the first one. And as much as I enjoyed the first book, I absolutely adored My Sisters in Death. It was a wonderful ride that is definitely going to be one of those that I come back to over and over. That's why I give My Sisters in Death an easy 5 out of 5 stars.
In the second book of the Siren Suicides trilogy, you get to see Ailen really come into her own and become a Siren in the realest sense of the word. She comes into her powers and learns to embrace the new creature that she's become, even when it means embracing the darkest sides of her new personality. Anske writes the turmoil of a teenager trying to accept herself and stand up to an abusive father in the most clear and endearing way, even though it is tinted with the paranormal throughout.
I would suggest this book to anyone who loves paranormal stories with a little bit of love, a lot of angst, and a whole lot of ass-kicking. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Book Review: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Publisher: Quirk Books

Publication Date: January 14, 2014

Series: Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children #2

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal 

Acquired From:
 Public Library


The extraordinary journey that began in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children continues as Jacob Portman and his newfound friends journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. There, they hope to find a cure for their beloved headmistress, Miss Peregrine. But in this war-torn city, hideous surprises lurk around every corner. And before Jacob can deliver the peculiar children to safety, he must make an important decision about his love for Emma Bloom.
Hollow City draws readers into a richly imagined world of telepathy and sime loops, of sideshows and shape-shifters--a world populated with adult "peculiar," murderous wights, and a bizarre menagerie of uncanny animals. Like its predecessor, this second novel in the Peculiar Children series blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience. 
--From Jacket Cover


It took me quite a long time to read this one, mostly because at the start I had to go back and figure out what had happened in the last book. That was one of the things that bothered me about this one--Hollow City is definitely one of those books that could benefit from one of those Previously... sections at the start. It reminds you who the characters are all right, and what their particular peculiarity is, but it doesn't mention much about what happened in the previous book. I'd like to have seen that.
Hollow City is just as interesting and peculiar as the first book, although it lacks the uncanny insights from Miss Peregrine as she is unable to speak throughout the book. The peculiar children race from Wales, battling wights and hollowgast to find another peculiar headmistress who can heal Miss Peregrine, and in that is the adventure of this book. I can honestly say I enjoyed it, and I give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars.
Like its predecessor, Hollow City is awash with interesting vintage photographs that make the story seem even more realistic than just with the writing. Riggs has crafted another tale that will keep you up at night wondering if there really are peculiars out there, and what, exactly, might be hiding in the shadows. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Mortal Heart

For this week's Waiting on Wednesday, we're talking about one of my favorite book series. The final book in the His Fair Assassin series is called Mortal Heart, and it looks to be the best of the three!

I simply adored this series from the second I picked up the first novel, Grave Mercy. It's the kind of story that I love to read--great characters, interesting mystery, medieval background, and unconventional love. The stories are rooted in great mythology of their own making and are beautiful examples of storytelling.

Like nearly every other book series that I read, I'm dreading the day that the series comes to an end. But I know that it's going to be a great ending and that Robin LaFevers will send this one out with a bang.

The pre-release synopsis of the book sets the stage for a final installment that is just as action packed and beautiful as the first two.

In the powerful conclusion to Robin LaFevers New York Times bestselling His Fair Assassins trilogy, Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own. 

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind, doesn't mean she has. 

Mortal Heart, the third and final installment in the His Fair Assassins Trilogy is set to be released from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on November 4 of this year.