The Selection

The Selection by Kiera Cass

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 the palace and compete for the heart of the 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.

I was very intrigued by the book trailer, which is in part how I discovered this book.  

I was so excited to read this book. Blogger friends were gushing about it, and this sounded like a fun read.   On Goodreads, it has been negatively compared to “The Bachelor.”  But it is so much more that. Yes, the premise sounds like the TV show. But although the book was centered around the competition, I felt that the entire book was about trust and friendship and loyalty. 
I absolutely adored this book. The plot was well thought out. It wasn’t too predictable, and there were some great twists. There were some thoughtful moments and I appreciated the darker current lurking under the lighter tone. I liked this book, because it was a nice change from the paranormal or sci-fi  characters I normally read about. And it wasn’t strictly dystopian. It wasn’t a hard book to get through, and I really enjoyed reading it. I spent most of the night reading, and I was up until 5 am because I could not put it down. My favorite part of the book were the characters.
 America was a strong female character, although there were points when she completely failed to see the obvious. She was stubborn girl, struggling to forget the boy who broke her heart. But she still loves Aspen, and doesn’t want to marry the Prince. Instead, they become friends, and confidantes. I love how much her character develops in the course of 327 pages. I can’t elaborate for fear of spoilers, but the changes were tremendous. Also, on a side note, I love that she’s a redhead. I am biased, being a redhead, but I would love to see more strong redheaded females in YA. 
In fact, all of the main and side characters were very well developed. I understood each character’s motive.
While I’m on characters, let’s discuss the two beaus of the book. The first love interest we meet is Aspen Leger. Aspen is a Six, a member of the serving caste. He’s America’s boyfriend in the beginning of the book. He was a likable character, hardworking and handsome, but then he breaks America’s heart, saying they could never work out.  But America only wants him. And he doesn’t even try to make it work. When America gets chose for the Selection, she feels even worse, because Aspen is the one who helped her decision to enter. And at her departure, she sees Aspen with his arm around another girl. So much for a happily ever after. 
Prince Maxon is not perfect. He is endearingly flawed, and he has although he is normally clam and can take a lot of criticism, his temper sometimes shows through. But he is extremely sweet, caring, and understanding. When America tells him she can’t love him when she still loves Aspen, he doesn’t force her to do something she’s not ready for. He is willing to let her stay in the competition to help her family, who needs the money, and in return she’ll help him from the inside. When she tells Maxon about the problems with the caste system and hunger, he sets up a program to give meals to those who can’t afford food. He listens to her when she needs to tell someone of her heartbreak. Maxon does everything he can for America, and trusts her with completely. He shows his trust by answering her questions about the rebel attacks, and telling her closely guarded secrets. Maxon is not a shallow Prince looking for someone to make him look good. He is looking for a girl who can help him with state issues, but also love him and guide him. He doesn’t want just a pretty face, he wants a wife whom he can trust. And that’s what makes him so amazing. 
This book had all the elements of a good novel in my eyes, interesting plot, character development, and a good pace. I really enjoyed reading The Selection, and I am on the edge of my seat waiting for Book 2. 

I give this book 4 stars, and I definitely recommend picking up a copy. 

Thanks to Monica at Cover Analysis for recommending this book to me. You rock!

Have a great day and DFTBA!


Cover Reveals! The Iron Legends and The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

I recently joined the hordes of fans addicted to Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series. So I was delighted to hear that 1) there will be a book released containing three Iron Fey short stories, and 2) there will be another book, a story about Meghan's brother Ethan, thirteen years after Iron Knight left off. The first book is...

The Iron Legends

Let's talk about this cover, starting with the Pros. 
1. I love the vines that you see for each novel in the series at the sides of the page. I love that for each book, they're different. 
2. My favorite parts of all the covers are the little tag lines. They give you a hint of what's to come, and I love reading them after I finish the book, when everything clicks. 
3. I have to say it. I love the dress and earrings Meghan is wearing. 
And I only have one Con:
They're not the same people as on the other covers. I am neurotic, and I like my covers to match. But honestly, I'm not buying the book for the cover. 
The next reveal is...

The Lost Prince

I've got no Cons for this one, guys. I love everything about it, from the cool designs that seem to cover Ethan's chest, to the chilling swirl of the R. But the creepy looking eyes really makes my heart stop. And look! It says "Book 1" above the title. Which means there will be more that one book! Also, did you notice how swoon-worthy Ethan is?
I am going to stop before I embarrass my self any further. I owe you guys a bunch of reviews, some of which I will be posting later this evening. 


Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready

Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready

Summary: In this dramatic conclusion to the Shade trilogy, Aura and Zachary’s relationship sizzles as the secrets of the Shift are revealed. 

Life can change in an instant, and no one understands that better than Aura. It’s been almost a year since her boyfriend tragically died. She’s finally letting go of Logan’s violet-hued ghost, but not her search to uncover the truth about her past. 

As the first in a generation that can see ghosts, Aura is convinced she has a connection to the Shift. She’s trusted Zachary, ever patient and ever by her side, with all that she knows. But when the government threatens his life in an attempt to learn Aura’s secrets, she will stop at nothing to protect herself and the one she loves...even if that means betraying her own heart.

Published: May 1, 2012
Series: Shade #3
Pages: 416

I was lucky to receive one of 20 ARCs of Shine, the final book in the Shade trilogy.  I've read the two previous novels in the series, and absolutely loved them. So I was practically jumping up and down when my ARC came in the mail. I started reading Shine a day after it came in to my mailbox and finished it late that night. I tore through the book, reading it whenever I had a spare moment.  I could not put it down. 
The plot of the story is intense and complex.  There was never a dull moment.  Shine's plot grew more an more complicated with each plot turn (and there were a LOT of them.)  

This series is amazing, so unlike any other YA out there.  And Shine is no exception. To say that it's a page-turner would be an understatement, I literally had to be forced to stop reading.  The tension and chemistry between Aura and Zachary is palpable as always, and OMG when I got to that scene (yes, that one) I probably squealed.  Which is a first, I'm not normally a squealer when I'm reading. I also must say kudos to Jeri Smith-Ready. The amount of research that must have gone into writing Shine? I don't know how she did it, the incredible patience she must possess to get through it all. But in the end, her hard work is what made the book so magical. As a side note, I loved all of the music references in the book. Music is very important to me, so I was delighted to find that music is still prominent in the last book.  Shine perfectly wraps up an amazing series and provides the answers to all major questions.

So much happens in Shine, many times throughout my reading I exclaimed aloud "Holy crap! Did that actually happen?" The action in this book is amazing.  Life and death situations are addictive for me. So I was very pleased on that front.  Also, it's well known among my friends that I LOVE Zachary Moore.  I love kilts.  He's still so swoon-worthy and broody in Shine.  And I can't wait to find out exactly what happens in Shattered, a story from his perspective that will be released this summer.  I also love Matin so hard. Just putting that out there.  

Shine is also very, very agonizing.  I just wanted to skip to the end to find out what happened.  And when I got there...okay I hate to say I didn't like the ending.  It's not as if I didn't like it, it just didn't trigger any emotions for me. I didn't connect with it as much as I did with the rest of the book. In addition I felt like the rest of the series was so different from other in it's genre.  And the ending was a bit predictable, and was something I'd expect from another book. And also the timeline is really funky. It was a bit hard for me to follow, but it made sense. 

Altogether, I freaking loved Shine.  It was breathtaking, and mind-blowing, and fuckin' mystical. (Sorry for the swear, I had to guys.)  It was the little details that made it so amazing. I'd probably give it  a 4.3 out of 5 stars. Which is still really good. You should pre-order it now. Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, where ever. Oh and if you pre-order from Constellation Books, you get a signed copy. Plus, it's shipped a whole week early!  And if you show your pre-order receipt to the folks at Kilt and Keeley, they'll send you an exclusive TeamKilt trading card. Which is awesome. You should go do that, like now. 

See you soon!

Oh and I also made a video review of Shine, if you want to see it, ask in comments and I'll post the link. 


*EDITED TO ADD: In the past, Constellation has received books 5-10 days before the release.  There is no promise of Shine to be shipped a week early.  They will however go out as soon as they're received (and signed, but they'll go out that night!)*