Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass Review (spoiler alert)

The Selection by Kiera Cass
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published by HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Buy It: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | BAM
Rating: 3/5 Stars

Synopsis: 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.

This novel has the typical dystopian and love-triangle premise with a Flavor of Love twist. For some reason Cass' writing style reminded me a lot of Suzanne Collins' diction. Also, I thought that America's personality was very similar to Katniss. This book was easy to get into, an easy read,  but generally, I found that the plot and the characters were cliché. The only thing that I found unique about this novel is that for the first time I am rooting for the the heroine's second love interest.  

Strengths & Likes: 

1) There are many characters, but I didn't feel overwhelmed by trying to remember them all. Obviously, when writing any story or book for it to be at all realistic it has to be clear that there are other people in the world, but in a lot of cases authors take too many characters and make them part of the essential plot. Cass did a very good job at making sure the reader knew who to focus on. 

2) I appreciate how Prince Maxon is not the typical arrogant ladies man. It makes sense that he would not have a lot of contact with the outside world and other women. As a whole, I found that Maxon was a very well rounded character with a lot of depth. 

3) The chemistry between Maxon and America is very cute, I love how they start out as friends and their relationship develops further. I feel it is because they started out this way that it was really easy to see why the were attracted to one another and allowed their relationship to gradually unfold. 

4) I was happy that America didn't just jump back into her relationship with Aspen right away. It was clear that America has some pride and is not the type of girl to be dropped and picked back up again. She makes these guys work for her attention and feelings instead of desperately going after them. Of course her old feelings are there and she can't help but want to go back to how things were before she was picked in the Selection but that's now how life works. We make choices and we have to live with the consequences.  

Weaknesses & Dislikes: 

1) I thought Cass' explanation as to why the USA collapsed was unrealistic. Logically, it doesn't make any sense that because the United States owed a lot of money that the Chinese would start a war with us because war only brings on more financial problems, as we all know from experience. 

2) It's not enough that the main character's name is America, but her full name being America Singer and her occupation is a Singer? Really? 

3) It was obvious that Aspen was going to be selected into the draft and somehow he would find a way to be serving at the palace. How else could this love triangle keep going if America's first love was not present?

4) I didn't like Aspen's freak out to America making him dinner. I understand his feelings behind it but he could at least act grateful and then brood quietly after thanking his girlfriend for the meal. Instead of that overdramatic freak out. 

Favorite Quotes & Moments: 

1) "'So you’re choosing him over me?' He asked miserably.

'No, I’m not choosing him or you. I’m choosing me.' That was the truth at the core of everything. I didn’t know what I wanted yet, and I couldn’t let myself be swayed by what was easy or what someone else thought was right. I had to give myself time to decide what was best for me."

2) "'I hit your thigh!'

'Oh, please. A man doesn’t need that long to recover from a knee to the thigh.'"


3) “If you don’t want me to be in love with you, you’re going to have to stop looking so lovely. First thing tomorrow I’m having your maids sew some potato sacks together for you.” 




4) "You’re too beautiful for your own good. Once you leave, we’ll have to send some of the guards with you. You’ll never survive on your own, poor thing.”







Wednesday, March 20, 2013

If I Should Die (Revenants 3) by Amy Plum ARC Review

3/5 Stars
Details of the Book
paperback ARC, 405 pages
Published by HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository |

Summary taken from GoodReads.com: I will not lose another person I love. I will not let history repeat itself.

Vincent waited lifetimes to find me, but in an instant our future together was shattered. He was betrayed by someone we both called a friend, and I lost him. Now our enemy is determined to rule over France’s immortals, and willing to wage a war to get what they want.

It shouldn’t be possible, none of it should be, but this is my reality. I know Vincent is somewhere out there, I know he’s not completely gone, and I will do anything to save him.

After what we’ve already fought to achieve, a life without Vincent is unimaginable. He once swore to avoid dying—to go against his nature and forsake sacrificing himself for others—so that we could be together. How can I not risk everything to bring my love back to me?

For me, this was the best book of the trilogy. There was a lot of action and drama that it was hard to put the book down. In some ways, I feel that there was too many things going on. In my opinion it could have been split into two. There are two major plot lines in this novel, Vincent's death and the war with Violette and the numa. Because this novel has two major plot lines, I think that the climaxes were rushed and seemed melodramatic by the end.


Strengths/Likes:


1) This book wasn't slow or boring, it held my attention through the beginning to end with all of the action and drama.


2) I enjoyed how Amy Plum wove the revenants into our history, it made it seemed very possible that there are revenants who live among us now and throughout the history of man. 


3) There is a happy ending at the end of the book, there is nothing left to wonder, and all the loose ends are tied up. I have been craving a book with a happy ending after reading trilogies such as The Hunger Games and a few others that made me depressed after reading them. 


Weaknesses/Dislikes:


1) The solutions to the major problems for the characters were too easily solved. I can't go into a lot of detail with this because I don't want to ruin the book for anyone, but I couldn't take the characters struggles seriously because of how quickly and easily the solutions were found. 


2) I complained about this in my review of Die For Me that there was not a lot of development in the characters' relationships. Couples pop up out of nowhere and not a lot of detail is given as to why they suddenly developed or appeared, making it almost impossible to feel attached or involved in their union.  


3) The writing style is not my favorite. Although I have not mentioned this in my reviews of the the other novels in the trilogy, I find it odd that the language keeps switching from French to English. In the middle of speaking English, the author adds in a few french phrases to prove that the speakers do in fact speak French. In general, I don't mind this but in this novel it kept switching up the languages in the middle of a dialogue that it became annoying. I took French and Spanish courses, and if I really wanted to I could throw in a few phrases from both languages into my every day speech but it would be confusing for whoever I was talking to and does not prove that I'm fluent in either language.  


4) I stand by what I said in my reviews of  the first two novels, that this trilogy reminds me a lot of Twilight. Violette representing Jane of the Volturi, and with this final war that it reminds me of the ending of Breaking Dawn. 


5) There were so many characters in this book, and in this trilogy that it was hard to become attached to most of them. I won't say who but a few characters die in this novel and I didn't feel attached enough to them to be sad about it. 


Favorite Quotes/Moments:



1) "There was something right about us: It was bigger than just two people in love. When we were together, it had been like the one of nature's true and rare beauties; like an impossible beam of sun-light piercing through black clouds, bathing the patch of earth before you in gold. Together, Vincent and I had created something beautiful" (63).

2) "And, with that thought, something hardened inside me. A refusal. A rejection of the fate being shoved onto me. Even though I had no idea what form it would take, I would find a solution. Because a solution must exist" (63).

I'm sorry that I didn't give so many details about this book, I was trying really hard not to spoil it for anyone. For those of you who are dying to have your questions answered, you can message me here or on my tumblr account and I'll try to answer them to the best of my abilities. 

Coming Soon: Review of The Selection by Kiera Cass

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Until I Die (Revenants #2) by Amy Plum Review


3/5 Stars
Details of the Books
Hardcover, 353 pages
Published by HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 8, 2012
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository |

Summary (taken from GoodReads.com): Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love.

As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.

In Die for Me, Amy Plum created a captivating paranormal mythology with immortal revenants and a lush Paris setting. Until I Die is poised to thrill readers with more heart-pounding suspense, spellbinding romance, and a cliff-hanger ending that will leave them desperate for the third and final novel in the series.

I enjoyed this book much more than the first installment of this trilogy. From the middle until the end I was hooked and couldn't put the book down. Vincent and Kate are an absolute treasure and I'm so grateful that they were not another couple that is suffering from a love triangle. Although I was not in their corner in the first book, I am happy to say that the tables have turned and I am now officially their supporter. It's still not the most amazing trilogy I have encountered but definitely not a bad read. 


Strengths/Likes:

1) The huge cliff hanger at the end of the book. If I didn't have the third book in my possession I would be freaking out. 

2) Despite my feelings about Vincent and Kate in the first book, I really liked their relationship in this one. In my opinion, their relationship escalated really quickly, so it was hard for me to take them seriously, but once I let that go, I was able to fangirl properly over their cute moments. 

3) I like that Kate is not a damsel in distress. I'm tired of the main girl in books and movies that rely on their guy to save them. Like, hello? You are in the middle of a war of immortal beings and you're not learning now to defend yourself? Therefore, I was pleased that Kate has taken measures to protect her self and fight with her zombie family. 

Often in books, the main heroine is praised a lot by those who love her. It's also typical that she would not feel that this praise is deserved, in which most cases I agree with her. This book is one of the few exceptions where I feel that Kate deserves the praise she gets from those around her. Clearly, she's intelligent with everything she knows about art and literature, she can speak two languages, and is able to translate a few others. I think this is pretty impressive. Also, she has no problem speaking her mind and seems pretty level headed considering the situation she has gotten herself into. 

4) The plot twist in this book was pretty brilliant. Although, I thought it was obvious, I felt that it was well worked into the entire plot of the story and made the cliff hanger all the more excruciating. 

5) The plot was well executed. Nothing felt rushed, overdramatic, or out of place. The book had a good rhythm and I felt it was the perfect length for everything the author was trying to accomplish. 

6) The different types of relationships in the novel, there is family, mutual love, unrequited love, heterosexual and homosexual relationships. I felt that this really added to dimension of the characters, because it's unrealistic to only focus on the love of a family and just heterosexual relationships. 

Weaknesses/Dislikes: 

1) There are a lot of characters in this book, and all of you know how I feel about that by now. I generally like all of them but it's a lot to keep up with and more characters means less detail about each one. 

2) It was a really slow start to the book, especially not being a huge fan of the first book, I was already pushing myself to read it. The slow start just kept giving me more of a reason to put the book down and walk away. 

3) The characters in this book continue to remind me of the Twilight characters. Violette is very similar to Jane of the Volturi. I should have mentioned this in my of Die for Me but Charles and Jasper are very much alike as well. 

Favorite Quotes and Moments:

1) "Desire is a funny thing. When I'm with you--in body--I'm constantly on the defensive. Against myself. We haven't known each other long, and I need you to be sure of what you want before we... go further.

'I know what I want,' I said.

 Vincent ignored that and continued. But here, when touching you isn't even an option... well, I want you so badly it hurts" (174).

2) "'So I ride up on my old wartime bike to your camp,' I continued, ignoring his protest. 'Keep in mind, you haven't seen another human in weeks. What do you do, soldier boy?' I said doing my best Greta Garbo impersonation.

Vincent leapt on me, pushing me backward onto the couch and kissing me enthusiastically all over as I dissolved into a fit of hysterics" (189).

3) "'So now I have strawberry breath.'

'My favorite,' he responded with a teasing smile.

'Wanna try?' I proposed, and leaned forward for a kiss.

'Mmm,' he said, nodding thoughtfully. 'Good. Good. But just for the record, I think I prefer Kate au naturel.'" (269).

4) "The smile that lit his face whenever he first caught a glimpse of me. His hand clutching mine as we walked the city streets. The look in his eyes before we kissed. Those experiences were now trapped in the past. And the future that I had imagined with him now drifted into oblivion like those mangled flowers. I had lost him" (353). 


*COMING SOON: Review of Amy Plum's If I Should Die.*