I picked up Uninvited without knowing what to expect. As it began, I figured it would be a light, but adventurous YA book where the main character might have some crisis and then fall in love. I suppose maybe I was kind of right, but I was not expecting to be so enthralled by the book or feel real fear, horror, and disgust at the society in the book. Uninvited was not light by any means. I could feel my pulse pounding and the goose bumps forming on my arms when I realized that what was happening to Davy could happen to any one of us one day.
Uninvited was terrifying to read. It wasn’t horror, creepy, or supernatural. It was the kind of every day horror as you watch something slowly happen. If our government or any society could ever isolate the “killer” gene and somehow mark people, everything would and could change exactly how it did in the book. Wouldn’t you want the carriers of the gene separated from the normal population? Are you looking at a carrier because you feel real fear or is that what you think you should feel? By separating the carriers and stripping their opportunities from them, are you creating more of a killer when you’re trying to stop one? When normal people lash out in anger or defense, is that somehow more rational than when a carrier does it? What makes some violence okay? Davy’s life was completely flipped upside down and I felt so terrified for her.
Uninvited had me asking all sorts of questions and I loved how many questions it raised that are relevant to society. Is who we are genetic or part of the environment we are raised in? What makes some violence okay and other acts not okay? Do we behave in the way that is expected of us and would we behave differently if people expected something else?
I am incredibly impressed with Uninvited. It was so horrifying to read in some parts because I could imagine being Davy and it was agonizing to watch everything just get worse and worse for her because of one DNA test. It was awful, but definitely worth reading. I loved that she stayed optimistic and she didn’t let her fear take over in some of the worst situations. I felt protective of her like Sean because she was a girl and she wasn’t brought up in the tough world that a lot of other carriers were and she didn’t know how to tread in certain situations. With so many of the carriers of the gene being male, the fact that Davy was a female was also terrifying and I think nearly all women would be able to grasp and feel that terror for Davy.
Still, the book was YA and I think I actually loved that it kept some familiar tropes because it balanced the book out. There was a little bad decision making and romantic areas and Davy definitely clung to Sean, but I absolutely loved it. I love it when a book makes my spine tingle in fear or anticipation and Uninvited definitely gave me a glimpse of quite the horrific scenario that is so incredibly plausible, you can’t help but think.. what if? I highly recommend it. It would be a wonderful book club book because of all the questions it raises and discussions you could have about the subject matter.
I do hate this cover, though. I think it makes it look like a ghost story. I don’t know why.
I typically do not read much nonfiction unless it is about a subject I care deeply about. I typically avoid crime nonfiction because True Crime always reads like a lifetime movie to me, but I do make exceptions for some books, like Helter Skelter. I was intrigued by this book, especially after discovering that Leonardo DiCaprio will be playing the infamous H.H. Holmes in the upcoming movie. I had been eyeing it the past few times I’ve been book shopping, but I think that’s what led me to finally pick it up. I kept putting it down after realizing it wasn’t just based on a true story, it was completely nonfiction.
The Devil in the White City takes place in Chicago during the creation of the World’s Fair at the end of the 1800s. H.H. Holmes took up residence and even had a hotel during that time period and was thought to have killed a lot of people, but he also murdered other people in other cities he visited or stayed for any length of time.
The Devil in the White City is almost two separate stories. The first would be about Daniel Burnham, the World’s Fair, the architecture and history of how that fair came about what sort of conflicts stood in the way. It is about Chicago’s fight to be included and to stand out after the U.S. realized it needed to make it’s mark on the world and not be outdone by the building of the Eiffel tower. The world’s fair changed the course of history in ways I had not thought about, such as the type of the electricity chosen (mostly due to the fact that Telsa wasn’t charging near as much as Edison), that ended up being the type we continue to use in our homes to date.
The second story was about the serial killer, H.H. Holmes. From his beginnings to his time in Chicago, the book explored his character and the personality he had that charmed the pants off of just about everybody and led to him being able to get away with murder. Because of the pressure of the World’s Fair, Chicago was more distracted than ever, with tons of visitors coming in and out, during a time when the world didn’t keep track of it’s citizens the way it does today. Those things also made it easier for Holmes to get away with murdering dozens, if not hundreds of people.
Because of that connection, I can see why the author chose to lay out his book the way he did and to include both stories. However, they fail to really come together in a nice way. I felt like I was reading two books about two very different types of things. The disappointing part is that the good stuff, the stuff about Holmes, takes up the end of the book almost entirely, but it seems as if a lot of readers who were more interested in Holmes couldn’t make it that far. I feel like the author made us wait to really give us the dirt and the violence and kind of glossed over the small disappearances at the beginning and spent more time on things like steel, trees, and what the next big thing to be built would be.
If you can make it to the end, it’s worth it. I feel much more satisfied after finishing than I did through the entire first half of the book. The author does not forget about Holmes and does end up giving up real closure and spends time on his character, it just takes him quite some time. And even though some parts of the architecture battle bored me, I feel like it was pretty interesting now that it’s all over.
The Devil in the White City will make a really good movie because seeing the fair come together will be awesome. It was just a little tedious to read about. And I think Holmes will seem even more sinister if the movie does the same back and forth from him being charming and then killing someone and then going back to the building of the fair. I think the fast paced nature of the movie will turn out much better than it ended up being in the book.
I do recommend reading this. I knew nothing about Holmes or the World’s Fair, so I feel like I learned a lot about how that time period impacted our country and how easy it was for a charming person to get away with just about anything. He was certainly a psychopath in a society not used to dealing with one or knowing to be cautious. It was all pretty fascinating. ...more
Hold On You was a short, but sweet and kind of raw second chance romance. Nate and Madison didn’t do so well the first time around, but 10 years later, Madison ended up back in her hometown and back into Nate’s life.
Like all of M.S. Brannon’s books, it was darker than you’d initially expect a second chance contemporary romance to be. Nothing about her books are wholesome because there is always an underlying issue, emotion, or darkness threatening to break apart the lives of her characters. Nate had a major issue with fighting, drinking, and wanting to drink himself into oblivion.
I enjoyed the book and I liked the way things turned out for Madison and Nate. My only issue was that everything happened so fast and seemed a little over the top. I wish I would have gotten a lot more backstory of who they were before and who they were now before just jumping headfirst into crazy town with both of them. I wish that Madison was more.. introspective so I could have gotten the chance to learn about her motivations and feelings before she finally admitted them to Nate. I wish there was more of a lead up to Nate’s fighting. Basically, I just wanted a longer and deeper story than what I got. It just kind of felt like the tip of the iceberg.
However, I did enjoy it and I do recommend it for fans of contemporary romance with a bit of rawness and reality to it. ...more
If you wondered what M.S. Brannon would do after her Sulfur Heights series came to an end, she has certainly shown that she isn’t going to stop writinIf you wondered what M.S. Brannon would do after her Sulfur Heights series came to an end, she has certainly shown that she isn’t going to stop writing and that she’s going to test herself as a writer by writing in various genres. I liked her contemporary romances, but this series is definitely way different. It’s more suspenseful and violent than her other books, but with the same rawness and terrifying underbelly of society that I loved in her Sulfur Heights series. I enjoyed Pay Dearly and I have a great feeling that the series will improve even more with each installment as she gets comfortable in this new genre.
I loved the duel point of view layout of Pay Dearly. At first, we met Josslyn, a detective with a tragic and violent past, who couldn’t be bought and fought against the seedy side of her town. We also met Nikolai Petrov, a criminal from Russia who murdered people without hesitating, but had a revenge plan in place for those he used to work for after they wronged him.
Being a fan of M.S. Brannon, I’m used to duel POVs, but typically with those involved in relationships. In Pay Dearly, it seems we have two warring sides. Josslyn was actively chasing after Nikolai, believing him to be involved in a string of murders. But I can’t help but wonder… will these two end up being on the same side?
I love that I’m kind of in uncharted territory here with the author because I honestly have no idea what she’ll do with the plot and how it will all unfold. All I have is a handful of theories and I’m excited to find out what happens next.
My biggest complaint? I just want the next book. ...more
Queen of Shadows was the best book in the series so far and it was amazing! It was emotional, adventurous, epic, awesome, dark, magical, romantic, and powerful. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was worth every minute of the torturous wait for it to release.
Celaena became her true self in this novel. She was fierce and she did not forget Ardalan, her friends there, or her promise to Nehemiah. She was as cunning as she needed to be in order to exact revenge, line up the factors and pawns in her plan, and save the people she cared about from the wrath of the King of Ardalan.
I was shocked by so many revelations in the book. So many things went wrong, but others went exactly as planned. Celaena had friends to combat with who didn’t trust the person she became. She had friends taken over by Valg demons and princes, threatening to destroy the soul of the people she loved. It was heart wrenching and amazing to see her make the difficult choices to formulate a plan to do the impossible.
If I didn’t already love this series, Queen of Shadows cemented my love for it by delivering everything I could have ever wanted. While some things came to a close and I feel satisfied to a degree, I realize that this is FAR from being over and Celaena isn’t ready to relax just yet. There is so much she still needs to do and I can’t wait for the next installment. This series is just absolutely incredible.
Sarah J. Maas has quickly climbed to the top of my favorite authors list and I know her next installments to this series, as well as her other series, will only continue to wow me.
Guys… this is a must read. It’s dark, magical, adventurous, and just amazing. I can’t imagine anyone not fully enjoying it, unless you can’t stomach any sort of blood or violence (which I know some readers are like and they just refuse to read books with violence of any kind, but I admit, I’m not really sure what on earth people like that even read or bother with.)
READ THIS SERIES! I haven’t felt so completely amazed and sated by a book series in such a long time. I will definitely reread these, which is a rare occurrence for me. I can’t wait for the next two books! ...more
Heir of Fire was absolutely spectacular! It was the turning point in the story when I realized that Celaena was more than who we thought she was and that her future lay beyond her role as simply the King’s Assassin or a rebel. I felt so shocked by everything I learned about her and her backstory. I thought I knew everything about her, especially after reading The Assassin’s Blade novellas. Heir of Fire was also the book that kind of shifted direction and became more of a fantasy to me than it had been before, where the author explored magic, the Fae, and the fate of the world in more detail.
The Throne of Glass series is amazing and I can tell that the story is being told in the best way possible. I am constantly surprised and impressed by Sarah J. Maas and I love that this isn’t your run of the mill story with fantasy elements thrown in here and there, but a truly epic story meant to span over several books and meant to tug at my emotions and inspire so much in the reader. Heir of Fire was perhaps the most surprising book yet and I’m incredibly excited to read Queen of Shadows after this.
I’ll admit, I was a huge fan of Chaol and I kept seeing posts about some Rowan character before I started reading Heir of Fire. I was devastated and somewhat annoyed that there would be some sort of new love interest. Like, hasn’t she had enough? How on Earth could Chaol not be 100% perfect for her? I was not happy. I have quite a strong stance on unnecessary romance and flip flopping heroines, so I’m glad I can say that this series does not do that without good reason. Circumstances lead Celaena to withdraw from Chaol after her departure in Crown of Midnight (and it’s NOT just about her overreaction) and those same circumstances led her to other paths with much more difficult choices. Despite how it initially sounds, she’s not the kind of character who falls in love or flits from man to man. She forms strong bonds with people and sometimes, those relationships grow and change as a result of situations and circumstances. And Celaena had some very big secrets to reveal in this book that shocked me. It all kind of makes sense now and I now fully trust Sarah J. Maas to do what’s best for her characters and I’ll stop being all judge-y and apprehensive beforehand. I promise the author knows what she’s doing and will not disappoint anyone.
Heir of Fire was so amazing, but I feel like I’m spoiling major stuff by talking about the plot or who she met or why she was in some other area… I had no idea what to expect, so I don’t want to spoil anyone else’s experience. I will say that she was a hell of a lot tougher than I ever imagined and I grew to respect her a lot. I kind of felt like she was taking Nehemiah's tragedy too far at the end of Crown of Midnight, but she really showed me that she wasn’t overreacting and she carried a lot grief and guilt with her, that ultimately made her stronger and more determined after her training sessions with Rowan.
I cannot even begin to express how much I love this series. It gets better and better with each book, which is rare. It’s well written, heart stopping, full of action, and just completely amazing in every way. It’s not a series to skip, even if all of the hype seems too much for you. It lives up to every bit of hype and it’s just as awesome as we all say it is. Hop on this bandwagon. I promise you won’t be disappointed!...more
I am NOT a novella person. I’m really not. I feel like they are meant for like people who immerse themselves in all things relating to the story and I’m not really like that as a person. However, I do read some novellas if I hear that they truly add to the story and I’ve heard some awesome things about the novellas for Throne of Glass.
I loved The Assassin’s Blade collection. I wondered about Celaena’s past and I craved more information about her days as an assassin and I wanted to know about Arobynn. The book was awesome and I got so much backstory. I couldn’t believe how she was betrayed by those she cared about.
The only thing I am kind of concerned about is how quickly Celaena gains the affection of good men. I’m just worried about future love interests or triangles because I wasn’t NOT expected her and Sam to be rivals at the beginning of The Assassin’s Blade novellas and they love story was very swift. Had he not died, I’m not sure they would still be together because he resented some things about their situation and they didn’t really have the same goals.
Still, I’m super invested in the series and I felt Celaena’s pain so much while reading. I can’t wait to to continue the reread, finally read Heir of Fire, and get my hands on Queen of Shadows. ...more
Always Watching was a much anticipated novel for me. I liked Still Missing and enjoyed Never Knowing, but I was tired of the same situation in both of those books. The stories were told from the main character’s POV as they were talking to Nadine, their therapist. It was a brilliant strategy, but I was really upset to see that it was repeated in her second book. Always Watching, however, wasn’t set up the same way and it was ABOUT Nadine, which intrigued me.
I was hooked from the first page. I felt like I knew a little bit about Nadine, but I had no idea her life was so complicated. Her patient had ties to a “healing center” that ended up being more like a cult. The crazy part was that Nadine had spent some time there as a child and left with a slew of issues she had never really recovered from. I like how Nadine had suppressed her memories and how her current case connected to her troubled past and complicated family problems. I even enjoyed the way her past seemed to connect with her daughter’s present.
As far as contemporary suspense novels go, I enjoy Chevy Stevens and I always enjoy reading her books. I like that her characters seem relatable, while also having severe problems or circumstances. I like that some of her ideas seem original or over the top so that I’m not expecting things to happen and they aren’t predictable. There’s none of the legal or romantic issues like so many suspense novels, so they seem really character based, which I enjoy.
My criticism, however, is that the endings aren’t done very well. Everything builds and builds and then the reader finds out the truth or gets to the bottom of whatever is happening and then, instead of wrapping up, the story continues. As it continues after that point, it starts to get to be too much. I’d rather have the book end right after the major resolution instead of puttering on with tiny issues that aren’t necessary. It makes the book feel anticlimactic as a whole, even though it was doing a good job for the most part.
I definitely recommend Always Watching because I enjoyed it and I like getting to see what Nadine was like after having two characters talk to her about such crazy stuff in the first two books. Always Watching can be read without having read the other two, as it’s not part of a series, but she was a minor character in the author’s other two books. ...more
I enjoyed The One. I just needed to have a conclusion and find out what happened. I thougReview originally published at love literature art and reason
I enjoyed The One. I just needed to have a conclusion and find out what happened. I thought America would be sent home a million times, but I was rooting for her the entire time. It really broke my heart when she wasn’t the only person Maxon was looking at. I was super invested in the story and finding out if she’d make it to the end and win his heart and trust.
While The Selection isn’t the best series ever, it was addicting and I enjoyed reading it. It wasn’t nearly as shallow and ridiculous as I thought it would be and I kept waiting for it to get worse, but it never really did. I still maintain that the series is enjoyable as long as you weren’t expecting it to be the next Hunger Games. I feel like the people I know who hated this series were just simply expecting something else. I expected it to be shallow, catty, filled with love triangles and other stupid YA tropes and I was impressed by how much better the series was than I expected.
The One certainly explored the society a bit more and dealt with the rebellion, but it’s still not super dystopian focused like other YA books. I liked that the rebellion and the caste system were things that America had to deal with and she brought a refreshing perspective to Maxon because of her status as a Five.
Overall, I recommend the series. The rest of the books appear to be a spin off after The One. Which bothers me because I totally bought The Heir ahead of time in preparation for the insane need to have the next book and then it turns out that I didn’t need to buy it. That’s besides the point, though. As a trilogy, The Selection was good. It wasn’t the next awesome YA dystopian, but it was a fun and unique story. ...more
The Luxe was a fun and shallow historical fiction. It involved a few prominent families aReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason
The Luxe was a fun and shallow historical fiction. It involved a few prominent families and the gossip and scandals surrounding them. It was like reading Gossip Girl set in New York in 1899 where everyone has their own agenda, but no one is clear about it because they don’t want to cause a scandal and ruin their family name.
I enjoyed the mindless drama, but the overall plot was kind of predictable once the book laid out everyone’s interests. No one was really each other’s friend. They had their own goals in mind. I figured out what must have happened to Elizabeth and I was glad to see I was correct in my early assumption.
While there was plenty of drama and backstabbing and complications in relationships, it lacked the actual romance that I thought it would have. Even the few couples who seemed to be in love despite the odds never really seemed like it. It’s one of those things where I think if the people actually got what they wanted, it wouldn’t last very long because the appeal is in the taboo nature of the relationship in the first place.
Still, I devoured the book quickly, so I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. If you’re in the mood for a dramatic historical version of Gossip Girl, then it’s perfect. The story kind of ended abruptly, but I’m not really that engrossed enough to buy the sequels. ...more
I knew The Elite would test my enjoyment of the series. I really liked The Selection, butReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason
I knew The Elite would test my enjoyment of the series. I really liked The Selection, but I was afraid the second book would be disappointing. However, I’m still shamelessly enjoying the series and frantically ordering the next book, regretting my decision to buy paperbacks over the kindle version because I can’t have the next book NOW.
I liked The Elite. Maxon narrowed down the selection to 6 girls. He frequently told America that she was his first choice, but that he had to follow the rules and narrow the girls down like he was supposed to. He was waiting for her to choose him and the crown. At least that’s what he kept telling her.
America was super wishy-washy and sometimes annoying because she didn’t know what she wanted, but I actually liked that because I felt like it was realistic. I’m definitely Team Maxon all the way. I think Aspen is terrible and not really even an option B. However, Maxon was still spending his time with the other girls, probably getting closer to them and what if he was lying? What was he telling the other girls? What if America put all of her eggs in that basket and it turned out that he was awful and super good at being fake?! I was freaking out along with her. While America was completely rash and awful with her reactions, I completely understood it. She should probably have had more faith in him, but she was also kind of new at the whole trusting thing. Especially someone in Maxon’s position. I felt for America, even though I was shouting at her to just trust him because I didn’t think he was lying. I genuinely thought Maxon was a good guy. However, I was just as uncomfortable with the idea of him spending time with the other girls seriously as America was and I could see how doubts about his feelings, despite him saying America was #1, could surface.
Things really got crazy in The Elite. America did some crazy things and she really struggled with her feelings and her belief in herself. Because choosing Maxon wasn’t just about choosing him as a person, but choosing to be a princess. Unlike some of the other girls who associated being a princess with fame and power and riches, America wanted to also make a good princess/queen and actually make a difference and be strong enough to handle the politics and struggles that would come with the position. I admired America for asking herself if she was capable of handling it. (If I didn’t hate Aspen before, when he told America he didn’t actually think she was capable of being a princess and making tough decisions, I wanted to murder him.)
In some ways, this book is a tad shallow with the competition and the jealousy that comes along with it. In some ways, the book was back and forth with drama and love triangles. But I’m surprised by how it wasn’t the catty and stupid series I expected. I never really thought America was torn between two guys. She was torn between two choices that would forever change her life. Being a princess and also being with Maxon or Not.
I devoured The Elite. I ordered The One before I even finished the first few chapters because I knew I didn’t want to wait long for it. I like the series. I still understand why people are disappointed. The Elite didn’t explore the government issues as much as some people might have hoped, but I think it’s a bit much to expect it to suddenly change focus now. It’s about the selection and America’s place in it and I’m okay with that. Perhaps by having low expectations, the series has wowed me more than it has others. But it’s a heck of a lot better than I ever expected based on what some of my friends and fellow reviewers have said. ...more
I really enjoyed Confess. So far, Colleen Hoover has yet to disappoint me. (Except for thReview originally published at love literature art and reason
I really enjoyed Confess. So far, Colleen Hoover has yet to disappoint me. (Except for that one time she recommended a book I didn’t end up liking). I wasn’t sure I would read Confess until I started following @confessyourtruth on Instagram, where I got to see the kinds of confessions people submit that inspired the novel. Apparently, the confessions used in Confess are all real and inspired the author.
I admit, I was frustrated because I wanted to know how Owen and Auburn could possibly know each other and what crazy lives they were living that they couldn’t be honest with each other about their secrets. I wanted to know their secrets, but neither of them were forthcoming about anything. Their connection to each other was undeniable, but conflict kept them from having an easy time exploring that connection.
I hate when there is conflict for the sake of conflict. I don’t like when certain things are placed just to create a plot device and be difficult. I am always amazed by Colleen Hoover’s ability to write a legitimately conflicted story. There was a really good reason why Owen and Auburn couldn’t just date and be happily ever after and I never saw it coming. With contemporary romance, I’m convinced there are only so many issues that could prevent relationships from forming and I’ve had to have seen most of them. So many contemporary romance novels are predictable, but somehow Colleen Hoover always gets me and surprises me. I love being surprised by books, especially in a genre that rarely gives me surprises.
The artwork and the confessions were a great addition to the novel. I liked how they were so easily weaved into a believable plot with characters I could root for. I loved watching the story unfold and getting the points of view of Auburn and Owen throughout.
I definitely recommend Confess. Colleen Hoover does not disappoint. Her books are amazing and well thought out. She’s one of my favorite contemporary authors. Despite reading several (almost all) of her novels, she still surprises me with her plots, which is really hard to do! Confess was a sweet and artistic romance with characters I loved. ...more
The Tenth Circle had such an interesting plot. Daniel Stone was a comic book author. LaurReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason
The Tenth Circle had such an interesting plot. Daniel Stone was a comic book author. Laura Stone was a college professor who specialized in teaching Dante's Inferno. Their daughter, Trixie, was a confused adolescent that was somehow between being a kid and being a woman and struggled with her identity and place in the world. The book even had some sections of Daniel's graphic novel which featured a man with the ability/curse to shape shift into a beast and going into the depths of Dante's hell with Virgil to find his missing daughter. Obviously, there were some pretty major parallels there.
I'm amazed by Jodi Picoult's ability to tell a complex story with so many facets and layers of humanity. I was captivated by each character's story and the connections they had to each other. I highly enjoyed the majority of the novel and couldn't wait to see how it all ended. I love the author's ability to write, her plots, and the way she layers a plot on top of a legend or story.
However, as with all of her other books I've read, I feel vaguely disappointed by the ending. I don't know what else I could have wanted when I sit down to try to pin point what went wrong for me. I couldn't figure it out with her other books, either. But there's something unsatisfying about her endings. The story builds and builds with new and exciting avenues, but it's like it all fizzles out at some point and I'm left wondering what the entire point was. Maybe that's just her style or maybe she's like Stephen King and doesn't know how to end things. Endings typically don't make me mad or upset me, but I always feel so apathetic when I finish her books and it certainly affects my overall rating and enjoyment of the book.
Honestly, I feel like Jodi Picoult put way too many issues and ideas in the book and couldn’t find a way to tie it together well because there was so much going on. So instead of feeling like I just read this well thought out book, I’m left feeling like I read a book designed to be shocking and deep, but wasn’t actually either of those.
Despite all of the characters having complicated lives, I felt like I never truly understood the motivations of them. Trixie had a ton of issues. A broken heart, rape, cutting, suicide, identity crisis… but I didn’t feel like I ever knew why she felt that way and why she did the things she did. It’s like the author couldn’t focus and really explore one major theme, so she just peppered in a ton of other craziness to keep us guessing.
If you’re a fan of Jodi Picoult, The Tenth Circle is a good book and worth the read. If you’re not sure about her, I’m not sure if I liked or disliked the book because I’m not quite sure if I’ve fallen for the writing style that is Jodi Picoult yet, so I don’t know if I’d recommend it. ...more
I have avoided this series for a long time now. I was afraid it would be another book witReview originally published at Love Literature Art and REason
I have avoided this series for a long time now. I was afraid it would be another book with a pretty cover and a useless story. I've seen so many people end up disappointed by the book and I'd been warned it's just about has shallow as you'd expect from a story that resembles The Bachelor. Still, some of my friends rave about it. The people I follow on Instagram rave about it, too. Curiosity got the best of me, especially when I had a coupon at Barnes and Noble expiring and they placed it so nicely right by the checkout.
I really liked The Selection. However, I get why it has such mixed reviews. It's ALL about expectations. If you were expecting The Hunger Games or something similar with an interesting world and you wanted to explore a dystopian and figure it out, you would likely be disappointed. While The Selection is dystopian and futuristic, it isn't the focus of the plot. Perhaps it will be later on, perhaps not. It's rightly titled.. it's about the Selection. It's about a small slice of the world and the main character isn't an all knowing being who would immediately be skeptical or question anything. It's not that kind of story.
America and her family were lower caste people. They struggled to make ends meet. America was secretly in love with a boy from a lower caste than herself. In her world, girls didn't get to marry down. They married up and it elevated the family, like the old days of marriage. Her relationship with Aspen would surely never go anywhere, but like any teenage girl, she hoped that her family would want her to be happy. The royal family had a son, the prince, who was of age to get married. The girls in royal families married outside of the country to form foreign alliances. The boys, however, get to marry someone in the country. To give everyone a fair shot and to meet people he'd otherwise never see, they created the Selection. Every eligible girl (between certain ages) could volunteer to be a part of the selection. It wasn't mandatory, but girls were excited. Not only was it a chance to marry a prince, but also to go to the palace and experience everything that came along with it. The family of the selected girls would collect a stipend and the girl, even if not selected, would be elevated to a higher caste. America didn't want to volunteer, but her family and her secret love urged her to apply. Of course, since she's the main character, she was selected.
I'm pretty sure there's a lot about the world that we don't know and based on the small bits of information about what the society knows about history, I'm guessing there might be something wrong. But The Selection really didn't dwell on that very much. Instead, it featured America and her experiences at the palace as part of the selection.
I am not a big fan of The Bachelor or the idea that women should be competing for one guy's love, but I realized that it was basically the plot, so I was expecting a lot of shallow stuff, catty girls, fights, betrayal, girls setting each other up for failure, and girls falling all over themselves for the prince. However, it wasn't really like that. The Selection focused on the events in the palace, but in a tasteful way. There were some girls who were cattier than others, but most of them respected each other. America didn't get all stupid over the prince. They formed a friendship and she was rude to him, but also honest with him, which I loved. She didn't try hard to be something she wasn't. She rooted for her friends that she made along the way. Also, the prince wasn't a douche. He was quite likable.
I liked America a lot. She was passionate about a lot of things. She was a genuinely good person. I enjoyed her perspective. While parts of the book were things I expected, like the feelings she developed for the prince or the conflict of picking between him and what was at home, the book had plenty of opportunities to be shallow and full of tropes and it never quite stooped that low.
The Selection isn't the jaw dropping dystopian action novel that some readers expected, but it's also not the juvenile, catty, and shallow dystopian version of reality television, either. I think it's disappointing if you have the wrong expectations, but if you just want a good YA series that is different, it's worth reading. I'm anxious to read the sequel and I'm curious as to what may happen. America proved to me multiple times that she was not too stupid to live, so the first book was a hit! ...more
Bound by Flames was fun and full of adventure like the first two books., so I enjoyed it. ItReview originally posted at Love Literature Art and Reason
Bound by Flames was fun and full of adventure like the first two books., so I enjoyed it. It felt like a conclusion, but I think there are more books in this spin off series coming out. and there is certainly room for more books in the plot The series so far has made me want to read the main series, Night Huntress, which is more urban fantasy than this spin off, or so it seems.
While I enjoyed Bound by Flames, I did not like how repetitive the plot was. How many times can Leila be kidnapped by Vlad's enemies and skate through and be saved without any lasting harm? How many times is Leila going to disobey Vlad and whine about his protectiveness? I just.. I don't condone guys being overly controlling, but at some point, you should try not to ignore the advice or direction of someone who has been alive since the beginning of time and knows exactly what sort of dangerous people are after him. It isn't a game and it's not cute to keep ignoring the dangers. It was frustrating because she never put herself in his shoes and tried to see where he was coming from. I'm sure if she did, the conflict wouldn't be so dire and perhaps he wouldn't lose all control and start melting concrete with his powers, but I just crave a series where two lovers actually work together as a team. Aside from that complaint, the series was pretty awesome and I really liked the magic in this particular book.
As much as I enjoyed the series, I was kind of glad this was it for now. I don't know that I'll continue the series, but that's because I'm hopeful that I'll love Night Huntress even more. I definitely recommend this spin off. You can pick it up without reading the main series, which I didn't read, and you won't be lost or expected to know who is who. It's a fun urban fantasy and paranormal romance blend and I'm glad I decided to pick it up....more
Despite the fact that Leila was a little mopey and made some drastic decisions, I felt like it was understandable and believable. It was obvious during Once Burned that Vlad fell for her. Everyone could see it. But he had to admit it. And if he wasn't going to, then she would just go. Besides, Vlad is hard to read, so of course if he was trying to not be in love with her and was all stony, she would interpret that as him not caring.
I hate that the synopsis makes it sounds like there's a love triangle. There's no triangle, only Maximus just trying to stretch a straight line between Leila and Vlad into a triangle he can be part of. Twice Tempted was definitely the installment that dealt with betrayal. Who could Vlad trust? He's had one dude come back from the "dead" to attack him and this time, he's wondering who was behind the attacks on Leila.
Despite the initial drama, Leila and Vlad find their way and things become a bit more permanent. Also, without spoiling too much of the plot, I like that it did what was necessary to solve a conflict that all vampire/human relationships have. Because of Vlad's proposal in book one, I think readers were all wondering what Leila would do.
My only issue is that Leila is a terrible decision maker. Well, I mean, she's not too stupid to live or anything that bad, but she doesn't quite understand what happens when she puts herself in danger. She may think she knows what she's doing, but she's young, not as strong as the people she's up against, and she's naïve. Even if things work out, she gets hurt. Yet, she acts like Vlad is overprotective for no reason instead of realizing just how terrifying it is to see someone you love, who isn't as tough as you, consistently get into danger and almost die.
I loved the drama and the action, though, and I'm glad I picked the series up and continued to read it. I like the urban fantasy feel. I definitely recommend the series so far.
The Night Prince series has some pretty good reviews, which is what prompted me to check it out once the paranormal romance mood struck me. It seemed to be a shorter series and it was also only $4 for kindle, which is why I bought it.
I really enjoyed Once Burned. It was a vampire paranormal romance, but before anyone starts rolling their eyes, it was pretty well done. For starters, Leila/Frankie, the heroine, is kind of awesome. She was snarky, independent, and everything I expect from an urban fantasy girl and it was out of place to see a character so strong and witty in a paranormal romance. It offset the very alpha and controlling love interest in a really good way.
Leila was not an unsuspecting human. She worked for a vampire in a circus. She had powers of her own. She couldn't touch very many people without frying them because of the electrical currents in her arm. She also glimpsed pasts and futures when touching a person or an object. I liked that she had her own talents and was using them in a circus act and fending for herself. She ended up being kidnapped and accidentally linked to one of the most powerful vampires on the planet. Vlad. That Vlad. The Impaler. Aka Dracula. It turned out that he was actually pretty decent, though violent. Leila and Vlad immediately had a connection, despite Leila's stubborn resolve to ignore it completely and date someone else.
I liked the paranormal plot and the way everything was high stakes, violent, and dangerous. I didn't think it was too over the top or that the vampire lore was overdone. I liked that Vlad was what you kind of expected, but he wasn't too caveman alpha male or too sleek and elegant like so many vampire guys. The romance was great because I really liked both of the characters and their back stories. While I love paranormal romance, it can be a little redundant when you get alpha male characters and then weak and gasping heroines that melt into puddles whenever they are in the same room alone together, so I found Once Burned to be incredibly refreshing. Leila might have been melting a little, but she used snark to try and counteract her feelings. I loved it!
I definitely recommend Once Burned if you enjoy paranormal romance and want something that has the fun of an urban fantasy with likeable characters and a compelling plot. It's definitely worth the $4. I think that's a steal. I would have totally paid a full $10 for it. I'm not surprised at all that the author also has an urban fantasy series because I totally got that vibe from the Night Prince series and it made me want to pick up the Night Huntress series, too. ...more
Like, the first two books were cute and kind of interesting if I just ignored the logistics and lack of depth. I still don't understand why people rave about this series like it's the best thing since sliced bread. Have any of them heard of K.A. Tucker? Colleen Hoover? Katie McGarry? Was this only all the rage before those authors were writing things?
I hate to sound harsh, especially after rating the first two books fairly at 4 and 3 stars. But I just could not do it anymore.
Book one deals with a gang member and a rich girl in Illinois. They both went to college in Colorado at the end, which was a nice change of pace. Because of the gang presence in their previous area, Alex arranged for his mom and brothers to move to Mexico when he moved to college. And then Carlos was dealing with some craziness in book two. So he moves to Colorado to be with his brother and get some good influence. Somehow, he also gets involved with a gang, but it's still like, not the way of life for that particular area.
Two brothers in the same family have been involved with gangs and have suffered the consequences of their choices and have tried to be better influences on their younger brothers. The only way for book three to even have had Luis be remotely involved in a gang is for him to literally not be on planet earth for his entire childhood and to be utterly unaffected by anything. Or, he's part of a family that doesn't ever talk about anything ever. I'm sorry, but Luis would have to be dumb and completely unaffected by his childhood, family, and surroundings for him to have chosen gang life. And even then, people join gangs because they are affected by their surroundings. We've already decided that Luis is completely blind to anything happening around him so what would make him join or even participate in gang activities? Family? Please. They obviously don't speak to each other about anything that matters. Loyalty? To what? He literally has no idea what color the sky is if he's that unaware of his surroundings.
I already watched two brothers cling to a gang in order to be loyal to themselves, their race, and their family. And I watched what happened, I watched them learn their lessons. I couldn't do it again. Luis was Alex if Alex was also given a million ways out and just didn't bother to pay attention.
Also, why on earth would this family ever move back to an area with gang problems when they lived in a nice area? And if they did, why would they move into the SAME HOUSE is same bad neighborhood. I'm not saying they should have moved to the rich side, but Illinois has to have "slightly ghetto, but still an upgrade" neighborhoods. Why would Alex ever go back to the town with the gang he was jumped out of? I'm pretty sure if you get jumped out of a gang, they still don't want to see your face and the active gang members are not allowed to talk to you and I know that from like handful of prison and gang documentaries.. So, it feels like a dump plot device to create the same situations as book one and two to give the reader the SAME story with different characters that are actually mostly the same.
I thought it would be good because the first two books dealt with unaware white girls who had no idea about anything Mexican or poor. Nikki was Mexican and she also knew about the poor side of the town since her dad was a doctor and operated on Alex (and probably a gazillion other gang members if they are so prominent). But Nikki was just like a Mexican version of the other two love interests in that she had no idea what it was like to have culture, be poor, understand Mexicans, or have a clue as to what is happening. It was disappointing enough to not have the author explore the culture divide and class divide in the first two, but to have a character ignore her heritage and the only real thing that showed it bothered her was when she screwed up homemade flan? Ugh.
Not only did Nikki and Luis irk me, but the OTHER brothers decided to be terrible, too. Alex moved his whole family to the town for no real reason and didn't tell his wife first. Carlos flirted with a girl IN FRONT OF his girlfriend and told the girl he was a bachelor?! Not only was I done with this book, it made me basically dislike everyone else.
If you enjoyed the first two books, but kind of thought they were far fetched, this book is like the icing on the cake. It's too much.
This review is harsh, I know. But it was agony to sit through the author regurgitating the formula of all of the other books. In the first two books, I thought perhaps the author just chose to keep things light and not delve into gang, race, or social issues. But the events of the third book show me that she didn't just want to keep things light, she just wanted to ignore the effects of all of the hard hitting things she inserted into her books and just keep using a formula that worked for her. The books have gangs in order to create a conflict, not because the author wanted to have characters who were affected by their situations or to say anything real about anything.
I don't recommend this book unless you just want a light romance that has cookie cutter characters. I expected too much by wanting anything deeper than that. #sorrynotsorry ...more
I liked Perfect Chemistry enough to be curious about the rest of the series. Since all ofReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason
I liked Perfect Chemistry enough to be curious about the rest of the series. Since all of the books are available to download on Kindle from my local library and are quick and easy to read, I figured I might as well read them all.
For a light contemporary YA romance, Perfect Chemistry and Rules of Attraction are good books. They are full of conflict, emotions, and romance with all of the right lessons learned and changes made. I get why so many people have raved about this series.
I enjoyed Rules of Attraction and liked the characters. I liked getting to see Alex and Brittany from the first book and getting to see Alex's younger brother change his ways and grow as a person. However, I feel like it was pretty similar to the first book in the sense that the guy is in a gang and falls for a girl who has no idea what that might be like. There's something unbelievable about it all. It doesn't have the realness that I look for when I read contemporary romances and it was just too.. easy.
I know I'm being picky, but I think it's because I'm a huge Katie McGarry fan and she tackles the poor and mixed up youth in a way that is believable and real. She kind of digs underneath the exterior and shows us why they are the way they are and how they are awesome people, just like she exposes the richer characters and shows how their family life can be less than perfect.
In this series, I feel like Alex and Carlos are in their gang just to be a plot device and I don't sense the reasons why someone would join. I have no idea if the author has experience with gang members or mixed up youth, but I feel like the author must either be too far removed to truly express a person's motivations in a sympathetic light, or only vaguely educated about what gang life is like. Also, I feel like the author doesn't quite capture regular people, either. Everyone is a little too much of who they are supposed to be. The popular girl is shallow. The gay guy is funny and quirky. The tomboy girl is more complex that you'd expect. It's not like the characters are all cookie cutter, but none of them really... break their molds.
This is a YA romance I recommend to fans of light contemporary with a little fluff and a happy ending. If you're looking for something that captures the complexities of class and culture, it's not really the right series.
With that being said, of course I've downloaded the next book. The series is fun, cute, and I have no idea what else to read right now. And sometimes, books like these are the best medicine for times when you don't know what to read and want a story that makes you feel good. ...more
I should just stop trying to read billionaire romances that everyone else loves. I get inReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason
I should just stop trying to read billionaire romances that everyone else loves. I get into a mood where I want to read romance with a bit of spice to it and I think that maybe I'll find of these I'll enjoy. And then I don't. I just need to stop trying.
There's something so cold and clinical about these types of situations and it loses all of the things I love about a good romance novel, where two people just click and can't avoid each other. The contract and the I'm-going-to-take-over-your-life-and-work thing just sucks all of the romance out of it for me. I mean, sure, I like the fact that the guy gets to take control and those things give him extra power, but I think it's a shitty plot device designed to create a situation in which the heroine wouldn't think to refuse and makes being bent over a desk by your boss seem more... reasonable? I don't know.
I think I just need to stick with regular people romance (as in no powerful and controlling billionaires) and paranormal romance (when a guy's need to take control can be part of his animal instincts and not just him being a rich jackass).
Rush was better than Fifty Shades because Mia wasn't annoying and she didn't refer to any inner goddess or bite her lip a thousand times. Also, I think it was better because, while the arrangement was crappy and not something I like, at least I could pretend like the characters knew what they wanted because they had a history of knowing each other and being in the same circles and weren't strangers. So, if you like these kinds of romances, it's better than Fifty. I prefer the Bared to You series over this one, though, because Mia didn't have quite as much spunk as that heroine and because Gabe was also older and I'm not really into the 15 year age gaps.
(Also, I think it's hilarious that people say the contract aspect makes it a rip off of Fifty Shades when Fifty Shades is freaking Twilight fan fiction in the first place, but that's another story).
Overall, it wasn't bad, if this sort of story if your thing. For me, these just don't work. The only one I ever really enjoyed was Fixed on You by Laurelin Paige, and even then I wonder if I did because I expected to hate it more. In any case, because I realize that I should just not be reading these books in the first place, I'm giving it 3 stars to be fair. ...more
People rave about this series, yet I've only ever read one book by the author and didn't enjoy it very much. When I saw this was available through my local library, I decided I'd give it a shot. I really enjoyed the book, despite my initial reservations. It's not the best YA contemporary romance I've read and I do prefer the way that Katie McGarry tackles the tough issues and "other side of the tracks" characters, but I felt like Perfect Chemistry was well done and better than I imagined it would be.
I didn't really like that the main character was in a gang. I'm all for poor meets rich romances, but I kind of lose all respect for people who actually join a gang. However, I grew to like Alex as a character and understood why he made some of the choices that he did. I would have preferred he just been in a certain lifestyle without actually being a part of a gang, but I guess I got over it once I got to know his character.
I liked Brittany and I enjoyed getting a glimpse of her stressful life. I liked that she was so good to her sister, who had some physical and mental disabilities, and I think dealing with that made her a better person than she appeared. However, I wish she didn't place so much effort on being perfect and I wish she spoke her mind more often. I liked that Alex was the spark that made her more herself.
The conflict was great and I'm glad I picked this up. I might have enjoyed it more had I not just read Take Me On by Katie McGarry that deals with a similar situation, but Perfect Chemistry was super addicting and I devoured it in less than a day, so I still highly recommend it if you like YA contemporary romance and I'm bumping up what might have been 3 stars to a 4 because I enjoyed it so much. The series is available through my library, so I'll definitely grab the sequel. ...more