Book Reviews

Book Review: Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

Far from the Tree“A contemporary novel about three adopted siblings who find each other at just the right moment. Being the middle child has its ups and downs. But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family,including—Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs. And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fear are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.”    — Summary from Goodreads

5

Far From the Tree is a book that I put on my Christmas wishlist on a whim.  After glancing over the summary and seeing the ratings and beautiful cover, I decided to add it to my TBR. When I picked it up, I wasn’t expecting to stay up all night until I finished it. I wasn’t expecting to become so attached to the characters as the story went on. Most of all, I wasn’t expecting to read such a beautifully written, tear-jerking YA novel based on family.

I’ve said it once before, and I’ll say it again: there are few young adult books that realistically represent and ultimately focus on family. It seems like in most contemporary novels, the family is the side plot or ignored altogether. Not in Far From the Tree.  Robin Benway constructs a beautiful scenario to showcase three–albeit different–realistic families. She was able to incorporate several real-life occurrences–teen pregnancy, alcoholism, divorce, adoption–and fold them into a story where they didn’t feel cliche but genuine.

The three main characters–Grace, Maya, and Joaquin–all have hardships they have had to deal with in their life. When Grace puts her own baby up for adoption, she learns that she has two biological siblings, so she begins to reach out to them. The reader gets to see the relationship between these siblings grow from the awkward initial conversations to the vulnerable and open cry-sessions. Watching these bonds form is my favorite aspect of the book; at one point Joaquin stands up for his Grace, and it is one of the sweetest scenes I have ever read.

The topic of adoption is also handled very well by Benway in Far From the Tree. We get to see Grace’s perspective after giving up Peach as well as her determination to find her birth mother. On the other side, we see Maya and Joaquin’s frustration and anger toward their biological mother for giving them up in the first place. Adoption has had a different impact on all three of the kids. Maya feels like she doesn’t belong in her own family while Joaquin is having trouble accepting that a family can love him after he spent his life in foster care.

Overall, this was an absolutely fantastic read. I finished it at the end of 2017, and it easily became of my favorites of the year if not one of my new favorite contemporaries ever. I adore the focus on the family. While each character has their own side story that may include romance, the relationships that are focused on are the ones within families. Far From the Tree will make you laugh and cry (and then cry some more). Even after some thought, I don’t think there is any flaw in this book or anything that I would want to change. It is perfect the way it is.

 

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Book Review: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Turtles All the Way Down

Author: John Green

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Published On: October 10. 2017

Genre: Contemporary

5         Turtles All the Way Down

I have never experienced the feeling of reading a new John Green book. I read all of his other books years after they were published. After his success with TFIOS, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever experience the feeling of a new John Green book. But here we are. All these years of waiting–worth it.

This book exceeded all of my expectations. I thought TATWD would mimic his other novels–boy/girl meets another girl/boy, tragic life situations, young love, etc. And while there were some similarities, the overall tone of the book different from his others– rightly so due to the nature of the book.  For someone who wrote about teen cancer and death, I didn’t think I could read another book of his that was sadder and darker but TATWD is just that. It may not be the heartbreaking romance novels, but it pulls on your heartstrings in a way other books can’t.

Aza Holmes, a 16 year old from Indianapolis, suffers from crippling anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. She fears the microbes living in her body and has the constant need to change the bandaid on her finger. Aza finds herself in what she calls “thought spirals” where the intrusive thoughts about microbes, C. diff, and her overall existence took over her mind. Daisy, her spunky friend, doesn’t quite understand Aza’s fears but supports and love her nonetheless. And then there’s Davis, the boy across the river who happens to be the son of the missing fugitive billionaire.

After reading the premise, I thought that the search for Davis’ father would be the main plot. However, much to my liking, Turtles All the Way Down did not turn into a classic Nancy Drew story and instead focused almost solely on Aza inner turmoil. This book’s focus on mental health was refreshing. It didn’t offer a superficial ending where she was “healed” because it doesn’t work that way in the real world. There are good days and bad days, and even after years of counselling you can still have those bad days. It showcased Aza’s inner monologue as her logic fought with the intrusive thoughts her anxiety threw at her. Without spoiling, there is an instance where we read this inner battle for 2-3 pages until she finally succumbs to the thoughts. The amount of emotion and effect Green was able to pack into those pages was raw and beautiful.

Instead, TATWD focused on Aza and her relationships, which to me was the most heartwarming part of the story. Her friendship with Daisy was so realistic. They loved and cared for each other fiercely but they had conflicts. Daisy would get frustrated with Aza’s anxiety but at the end of the day was always there for her. And then there is her relationship with Davis which is unlike any other romantic pairing I have read in YA fiction. They understand each other on deep level and have very enlightening conversations but (spoiler) it doesn’t work out. Neither can give with the other needs at that moment. It’s a story of first love that is different from any other. I highlighted this quote because it really captures the essence of their relationship:

‘You remember your first love because they show you, prove to you, that you can love and be loved, that nothing in this world is deserved except for love, that love is both how you become a person, and why.” 

That is just one of many beautifully written lines you will find in Turtles All the Way Down. Sure, it may not have an epic romance per say or an exciting mystery. However, this book packs a powerful punch with its realism. Ava’s struggles are present in many people in the world today. Struggling or not, I believe everyone can find a piece of this book to relate to or find comfort in. It’s just that good.

 

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Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Book Review

This is a hard review for me to sit down and write, because I have so many conflicting feelings about this book. Honestly, it was one of the more frustrating books I have ever read, but I didn’t want to put the book down. I was definitely intrigued, and mainly wanted to see how Oliver would wrap up the whole ending, which is completely bittersweet by the way. So overall, I liked this book. It wasn’t the best or anything and definitely had flaws, but nevertheless still a good read. Now that I got that out of the way, let’s delve into the specifics.

The characters in this book were the big thing for me. This book is told from the perspective of the “mean girls” of the school, and I absolutely hated them. They would say something and I was rolling my eyes, because I just couldn’t handle their attitudes. From the pov we are reading from, it is actually a bit sad, because they do these mean things and there are times when they don’t even know they are doing it. Even so, you learn that this book is about redemption, so you are clinging to the book, hoping that they will change their ways or at least attitude. Samantha was just a great character for me, because you don’t want to like her at first, but as you go on this journey with her, you see some subtle changes.

Another unique part of this story is it’s plot. It is a groundhog day sort of deal, but the middle of the book really begins to drag for a few pages. The same thing is happening over and over, and Sam at this point still hasn’t changed. However, her last few days solve this issue because they are very good and some are quite touching. In fact, my favorite scene of this entire book is the day she spends with her family and going out with her sister. It was seriously one of the cutest sibling scenes I have ever read! It also the real turning point for Sam, because she is starting to accept death in a way, and is trying to right her wrongs.

So yeah, the characters and overall story, while they may not be fantastic, were still pretty good. Here’s my main issue: all of these”redemptive” actions Sam takes really mean nothing. Because of the way the story is set up, after the final moment, all of her friends and family won’t remember what she went through the past 7 days except the last one. She kisses a guy that has loved her for years when she knows she will be gone in a few hours. We also never see what happens after the car accident, which I think would have been a great way to show how the people around Sam felt after she died.

As I said, this is a difficult book to review. I haven’t felt this conflicted over a book in a long time (I have no idea how I am going to rate this book!) If it sounds like a book you may enjoy, read it. I can’t really say whether you will love it or hate it, because after reading other reviews, they are very mixed.

 

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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell Book Review

1

Before I get into the specifics, let me just say that  this wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. I went into this book with pretty high expectations due to the hype surrounding the novel. I had heard from countless people stating that even if you didn’t like the Simon and Baz shorts in Fangirl, that this was completely different. As someone who didn’t care for that aspect of Fangirl, my hope for this book was renewed, but I was unfortunately disappointed. Really, the saving grace of this book for me was the ending and climax.

First off, the pacing of this book drove me insane. It’s awkward in the beginning because we are thrown into the last year of Simon’s schooling, but with all things considered, I feel Rowell still did a good job of filling us in on everything we needed to know. Honestly, the first half of the book really dragged, and the few plot points that did occur were extremely predictable. That being said, once you get to the last 100 to 150 pages, SO many things happen, and while it’s a tad overwhelming, it is extremely exciting and intriguing.  As I mentioned before, this was definitely my favorite part and the saving grace of this book.

Then, we have the characters. I’m going to straight out say it- I don’t like Simon Snow. I thought that as the book went on I would grow to like him, but I was really more annoyed and frustrated with him, and could honestly care less about what happened to him. Not exactly good traits for a main character. Baz on the other hand was at least interesting, and we could see a layered character with several different emotions. Penelope was a carbon-copy of Hermione, so naturally I loved her and her boldness to pieces. Then there was Agatha, and I still don’t know why she has a pov, because she honestly contributes nothing to story at all. Now, the few and far apart Lucy chapters were very intriguing and it was probably one of my favorite story lines. So much information is revealed in these short chapters, and while reading them I had several realizations about the story.  While I may not have liked all of the characters, I do appreciate the fact that they all have distinct voices. This book changes point of view several times, even within the chapter, and you knew which character you were reading from without even looking at the name. That is something that other authors have not been able to accomplish, so props to Rainbow Rowell, because it is difficult.

This is one of the strangest fantasy books I have read, because it doesn’t feel like a fantasy! At most, it feels like a contemporary with magic thrown in. You don’t know much of anything about the World of Mages or how things works. Their spells are pop-culture references, which is honestly the most bizarre part of it all for me. Seriously, there are intense scenes where they are spelling nursery rhymes!? I love references in books, but in a fantasy it seems oddly placed. That being said, I still loved recognizing certain references, especially the spell “these are not the droids you are looking for.” XD Also the Insidious Humdrum was just a weird villain, but I can’t say much about him without spoiling.

So for me, Carry On definitely did not live up to what I was expecting. However, just because this book wasn’t for me, I won’t say it wasn’t a good. It just didn’t mesh with me very well, but at the same time, someone else could read it and love it! Another big thing for me is my general disliking for the enemy-to-lover trope, which is a big part of this book, so if that doesn’t bother you, Carry On is definitely a book I would recommend. This story is a different twist on fantasy, as well as a hint of satire, making the overall tone of the novel unique. Definitely give this book a try, and see what you think about this book.

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Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas Review

Author: Sarah J. Maas Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3)

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Published On: September 2, 2014

Genre: Fantasy

5         Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3)

As you may know, I have jumped on the Throne of Glass series, and I have absolutely fallen in love with it. Right now, I am up to date with everyone else, and have to wait for Queen of Shadows (which is thankfully only a month away!). If you haven’t read this series, or just the book Heir of Fire, do not read any more of this review, because you don’t want this great series to be spoiled!!

Where do I even begin to write a review on such a wonderful book? Normally I try to break reviews down into characters/plot/writing, but there are three different storylines going on in this book. I’m just going to discuss all of these, because I have so much to say

First we have the Manon storyline. I’ll be honest- I really didn’t care for her chapters. I wasn’t really hooked until closer to the end of the book. I constantly wanted to go hurry up and finish her chapters so I could get more of the exciting bits in other character’s perspectives. But I will admit, as they went on, I grew to like them much more. This was a perfect developing storyline for the entire series, and I really can’t wait to see how the King’s plan unfolds. IT was mentioned that the Thirteen weren’t eating the weird meat, which was used to control the witches, so I want to see how they act since they aren’t influenced by the King. Also, after I finally figured out what the heck a wyvren was, I enjoyed the dragon training much more.

Then we have the “what’s going on in Adralan” chapter that were split between Chaol, Aedion, Dorian, and a couple from Sorscha. I really loved these chapters, because we got to see everything in Adralan and two familiar characters. I, like many others, was EXTREMELY annoyed by Chaol! I mean I understand that your job is to protect the kingdom, but if the flipping the PRINCE supports Celaena, I think you can to buddy. Eventually he came to his senses. Then we have Aedion, who was the jerkiest Jerk ever, until Oh wait, he’s not a jerk at all. The full-out loyalty that Aedion showed to Aelin was so adorable, and I really really hope he gets out of jail and we get our Aedion/Aelin reuinion. Speaking of him being in jail, that was just one of the may terrible things that went on in the end. I mean I loved Sorscha and Dorian together, and they both deserved happiness, and her head is just cut off. Not only that but now Dorian has that collar on! I CAN’T HANDLE DORIAN BEING A SLAVE. Nope. Nope. Nope. We need to save him and fast, before the worst father of the century does something.

Finally, we have the glorious Celaena chapters. Basically, these were always my favorite to read, because it’s Celaena. She travelled to visit her aunt Maeve, and she has to do all this training to prove her magic. Enter in Rowan, the meanest trainer ever, that I absolutely came to adore. The relationship that formed between Rowan and Celaena was so awesome. You could see their respect for each grow each chapter, and their friendship just became so important. They have all these adventures together and they really grow close, close enough to where she frees him from Maeve and he performs the blood oath to Aelin. I can’t wait to see this duo further into the series, and I’m oddly excited for Rowan to meet Chaol and Dorian.

Heir of Fire was just brilliant book for developing. Every single thing in this book, had some ties to development.

  • Celaena learns to control her power and finally accepts her role as Queen
  • Chaol discovers that he actually want to support Celaena and Dorian’s magic
  • Manon is part of the King’s army for the endgame climax (I can’t wait for her and Celaena to meet!)
  • We learn a lot more about Terrasen and Aelin’s background
  • The world is expanded and we learn about all kinds of different monsters/creatures
  • WE LEARN WHERE A WYRDKEY IS

I could go on forever about how great of a 3rd book in a series this is, but I’m making myself stop. This book was the first time we really stepped out of Adarlan, and the first time we saw a glimpse of what was to happen. Sarah is planting all these seeds now, and I can’t wait to see them blossom.

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Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas Review

Author: Sarah J. Maas Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Published On: August 15, 2013

Genre: Fantasy

5         Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)

Crown of Midnight is a the sequel to Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass, which I adored with all my heart. If you have not read Throne of Glass or Crown of Midnight yet, what is wrong with you do not read this review. It will have some serious spoilers for the series that you will want to experience while reading. Normally at this point I would give a little non-spoilery summary, but even the summary could give things away if you haven’t read the first book, so I’m just going to avoid that. Go read the books, then you can come back and discuss.

If you would have told me that this book would manage to be even better than Throne of Glass, I wouldn’t have believed. Now I know that I was wrong to not believe you. More often than not, sequels are a bit of a letdown for me, but this one was extraordinary. There are so many things to discuss, but this review can only be so long, so I will I finatry to divide everything up as best as possible.

Crown of Midnight opens up to Celaena doing her Champion-work for the King, and it is revealed that she isn’t actually killing the people she is supposed to (which wasn’t a surprise, knowing Celaena). It was all going along fine until she got the order to kill Archer Finn, who was said to be a traitor to the King. This was really the beginning of the plot as we learned more about the rebel group and the treacherous things the King has done. At this point, we start learning a ton about magic, especially the wydrkeys used to create the portals. There are three keys total, and if you possess them all you can basically rule the world. At this point we aren’t sure where they are or how many the King has. Sarah J. Maas puts a lot of detail and explanation when explaining her world, and it just makes it so much better.

The characters are still the characters I loved in the first book, just enhanced ten times. Celaena managed to become even more epic as a character. Before I delve deeper in the characters, I must say this: Celaena and Chaol’s relationship. I have loved Chaol and his connection with Celaena since the beginning. These two are absolutely perfect, and their scenes together are adorable. But just because I love Chaol, doesn’t mean I don’t love Dorian! I may not like him as much with Celaena, but he is still an awesome character. He develops so much in this book with his magic, and I can’t wait to see where it takes him. Now for the feels, because Nehemia. I was so heartbroken when she died, especially when we find out she planned it to push Celaena toward the main goal.

The entire scene where Celaena finds Nehemia is a devastating scene. This is one of the first times we truly see Celaena crack. I mean she almost killed Chaol, who she deeply cared about (she killed like the entire rebel group for him). Thankfully Dorian’s magic saved the day and we still have Chaol with us.

While there were are many great scenes in this book, my favorite is hands down the climax. Celaena goes in the tunnel to open a portal to talk to Nehemia and all hell breaks loose (literally). Chaol, Dorian, and Celaena are all present and everyone learns some interesting facts to say the least. The twist of Celaena being Fae shocking me, but what shocked me more was her knowing about! We have spent two books in her head and nothing. After learning about it though, small instances and lines throughout the books all made sense. There was actually quite a bit of hidden foreshadowing that I never caught.

You think that Celaena’s faeness is the big twist about her in this book, but Maas proves us wrong. Let’s just say we may be calling Celaena Aelin in the future. At this point I was ready to believe anything, so Celaena being the lost princess of Terrasen was pretty normal. All I could think was that in my favorite books, the character ends up being a lost princess, because hello Cinder!

Overall, I absolutely loved this book. Celaena’s relationships with everyone grew so much and we got to know a little more about our mysterious assassin. I know this review was an absolute mess, but that’s probably because I have too many emotions and read this about a week ago. I’m truly loving the direction this series is going!

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Throne of Glass Review by Sarah J. Maas

Author: Sarah J. Maas Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Published On: August 7, 2012

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5 out of 5

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

I honestly don’t know how I will make it through this review without babbling about how great this book is, but hopefully I will be able to control myself. For those of you who don’t know what Throne of Glass is about, here’s my little summary that I can give to you without spoiling.

Celaena Sardothien is the most well-known assassin in all of Ardalan. When Prince Dorian offers her freedom from the worst prison ever, she knew there was something bigger going on. He said he would give her freedom on one condition: if she competed in the King’s competition to find the next royal assassin. There she will have to face 23 deadly competitors in competitions, and if she wins, all she has between her and freedom is three years of service. Things were going great until the other competitors started showing up dead everywhere. Will Celaena be able to figure out what’s brutally killing the assassins? Or will she be the next victim?

There you have it. If you haven’t read Throne of Glass yet, DO NOT CONTINUE READING THIS POST. Seriously, this is a book you want to read for yourself, so run to your nearest book place and go read.

Oh, how to begin a review of a book like Throne of Glass. I am tremendously mad at myself that it took me this long to get on this train. But now that I’m on it, I’m here for the rest of the ride. This book really outdid itself when it came to introducing characters, setting a series plot in motion, and building a new world. With each page, you grow more and more attached.

Sarah J. Maas has created some very interesting characters. Celaena is the pinnacle of awesome, butt-kicking female protagonists in young adult books. She can fight better than all the men in this book and is very sassy with he remarks. The two guys in this book, Dorian and Chaol, are also great in their own ways. This story actually has a love triangle I can get behind. While I am an absolute Celaena/Chaol supporter, I still loved her time spent with Dorian. Her interactions with the two are really nice, especially as you see them growing closer to one another.

The whole idea of the competition for the King’s champion was to say the least, very wonderful. Chaol made Celaena hold back when she was with the guys, but when she finally showed her real skills, they knew better than to misjudge this little lady. It was easy to call that it would be her vs Cain in finals, but the whole thing with him and the portals made up for it. The scene where Celaena is fighting Cain and the beast is so intense you are almost ripping pages to keep going. I really liked how the competition wasn’t everything to this book, because we also go to see a side of the magic in this world. Everything from Queen Elena visiting to Nehemia and the wydrmarks really gave a small taste of what was yet to come in the series.

There are so many lovable parts of this book, but here are a few I especially enjoyed…

  • Chaol very slowly realizing how he feels about Celaena
  • Celaena’s sassiness with Kaltain
  • The constantly switching point of views
  • The last battle verus CaiI re
  • When Celaena proves herself to her competitors

Throne of Glass was a great starter book in what I will presume to be a great series. With every page you love the characters and this story even more. There are aspects of action, mystery, competition and romance that insure for an exciting tale. I absolutely loved Celaena’s personality and watching her defeat the obstacles set in her way. I can’t wait for more!

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P.S. I Still Love You Review

Author: Jenny Han 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Published On: May 26, 2015

Genre: Romance

Rating: 3 out of 5

You have probably heard of Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. It was a pretty popular romance book that came out last year. I absolutely loved it and it was one of my first reviews on this blog! If you haven’t read the first book, I suggest you stopping now, because there are going to be a lot of spoilers. If you haven’t read the sequel yet, the spoilers for you start after the goodreads blurb right below.

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

 

 

Last year I read Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I Have Loved Before and I absolutely fell in love with it. It was one of those cute and cliché pretend relationship that turns into a real one and it was great. One of the better romance books that I read last year. So naturally, I was very excited for the sequel P.S. I Still Love You, especially after the first book’s ending. I just wanted more of this story. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed.

The characters were pretty much the same as they were in the last book. Lara Jean is like this cute little yapping puppy; she adorable but can get on you absolute last nerve. She just seemed afraid the entire book, but toward the end she got more confident in herself, which I really enjoyed. Peter is Peter, and I love all the cute moments he has with Lara Jean in this book. Of course, jealousy wasn’t the best color on him, but what do you expect in a cliché romance book. I really enjoyed the addition of John in this book. As much as I liked him as a character, I was really glad him and Lara Jean didn’t get together and ruin the entire Peter plot line. Overall, I liked the characters as much as last time.

This is where I get to my real issues: the plot. There really wasn’t anything too exciting to this book plot wise. I thought at the beginning the video recording would be the main thing, but that blew over pretty fast. The whole Genevieve story and her secret wasn’t that great, because you knew Peter wasn’t actually with her. Even the “competition” between John and Peter wasn’t that long. I just felt like this book didn’t have the story line that kept you reading like the first book.

However, Jenny Han’s writing style is still amazing. I just love the way she writes her stories. She is also amazing at writing love stories, which was by far my favorite part of this whole book. Lara Jean and Peter together are just so adorable I can’t explain it. When she added John into the equation, I didn’t know what to think. I loved John, but I loved the couple together as well. Just so much cuteness in one book.

P.S. I Still Love You had some great scenes despite everything. Like the very fast but very adorable reconciliation of Peter and Lara Jean. I honestly wasn’t expecting them to work things out so fast, but I was glad they did. It gave us a whole book of cute moments of them being together. At the same time, I also loved the part at the nursing home when John and Lara Jean had to spend the night, and they escaped to play in snow and sing Frozen. And of course, you had to love the reconnection of old friends and the intense attacking game.

Overall, I did enjoy the book, but it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. Maybe I was just expecting too much from this book. There really wasn’t too much of a story going on. This book’s saving grace is all the cliché fluff that is fun to read. If you read the first book, I would definitely recommend reading this for all the cuteness. If you haven’t read the first one, what are you doing! Jenny Han has a pretty cute story here if you enjoy romance books.

 

P.S. I want a Lara Jean in my life to bake me all the things she does or her recipe book, because she is constantly making something that sounds amazing.

 

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The Heir by Kiera Cass

The Heir (The Selection, #4)
BEST COVER EVER
Author: Kiera Cass

Publisher: HarperTeen

Published On: May 5, 2015

Genre: Romance/Dystopian

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

We all thought that Kiera was done with The Selection series after The One, however she had other plans. This book follows Eadlyn, Maxon and America’s older twin daughter, as she goes through the selection process herself as she tries to choose a prince. Below is the Goodreads summary and beneth that is spoiler city, so don’t read the rest of the review if you haven’t read the book.

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

The Selection series was kind of a guilty pleasure read for me. They weren’t the best books and they were extremely cheesy, but I still enjoyed reading them. Personally, I don’t think it was necessary to add on to this series; however, I was able to read a cute story, so I was fine with it. There are many likable aspects of this story just as there are unlikable aspects.

I enjoyed the characters, but Eadlyn and I have a love/hate relationship. While it’s admirable that she recognizes she deosn’t need a man, it got really annoying hearing her complaining the entire time. She is so shocked that the people of Illea don’t like her, but in reality it’s totally believable. I did find that she got a bit better as she went through the selection, and grew closer to some of the boys, but for the most part she annoyed me. My two favorite characters were Kile and Henri. These two are both adorable in their own ways, and I loved all their moments alone with the princess. For the rest of the selected, there are a few okay ones, but most of them are just straight up creeps. I actually really liked the fight scenes, because we saw how protective Maxon is over his daughter. Also, America and Maxon are just cute parents.

The interactions between Eadlyn and the selected are the better scenes of the book. I especially love the improtu baseball game and the talent show they put on for her. You think that Eadlyn will slowly change her mind, but she never really does until abruptly at the end. However, I think after the food throwing incident, she realized how big the problems were, and she put a bit more effort in. (Which by the way, I don’t udnerstand why everyone is angry about not being told what to do. Very confusing.)

I feel like I would have enjoyed this book much more if Eadlyn’s attitude changed quicker. America, for example, didn’t want to do the selection, but at least there was a steady development as she started liking Maxon. Eadlyn’s mind was set on her being the most powerful (she was very egotistical)and not needing anyone to help her rule. There were exceptions to these times of course. In the end, after pages upon pages of complaining, she finally realizes that she wants to finish the selection with a ring on her finger. Of course, when this realization was stated, it shocked me as there was no former evidence to her having many thoughts like that.

One more thing, and I’ll stop ranting about Eadlyn. She is so manipulative. I mean she tried to break up Ahren and his girlfriends when they were literally *perfect*. I loved the twins’ relationship with one another and their closeness, but you don’t meddle with your twin’s love life like that. Eadlyn didn’t care what Ahren would feel, she just wanted to keep her in the palace with her. This lead the Ahren eloping which caused America to have a heart attack. I SWEAR IF AMERICA DIES WHEN HER STORY IS ALREADY OVER I AM GOING TO BE VERY MAD.

Overall, this was an okay read. I still like the idea of the selection and it’s enjoyable enough to sit down and read it. Mostly all the scenes with Kile or Henri were my favorite. Don’t go into this expecting to fall in love with the main character, because you most definitely won’t. If you hated reading from America’s point of view, just wait until you meet her daughter. I am however exicted to see this new and improved Eadlyn in the following book. It’ll be interseting to see if my opinions of her change once she actually starts trying at the selection. Nice and easy read that doesn’t involve to much thought. 

 

Book Reviews

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Author: Morgan Matson   

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Published On: May 4, 2014

Genre: Contemporary

I’m not sure if I will be able to capture the perfection of this book with words, but I’ll try. For those of you who haven’t read Since You’ve Been Gone, this review may have some spoilers, so I would suggest reading it and then coming back. However, I will leave those of you who haven’t read the book with a short summary.

Emily wasn’t the bold type. She didn’t go to parties and wore the same sort of outfit. That is until she met Sloane. With Sloane at her side pushing her to do things, Emily was a new and improved version of herself. They were the best kind of best friends. The summer they had planned out was going to be epic, until Sloane disappears. No calls. No texts. The only thing she left behind was a list of crazy adventures for Emily. Some were easier, some were harder, but they all pushed Emily to things she normally wouldn’t do. As Emily goes the summer checking things off the list in hopes of finding Sloane, she meets amazing people and has great experiences. Maybe the summer wouldn’t turn out as bad as Emily thought.

I wanted to wait until Summer to read this, but I couldn’t. The concept was very appealing to me and it looked like a super fun contemporary. This book has humor, adventure, friendship, and even some romance. Reading it puts you into this extreme state of happiness. (If you can’t tell I really loved it) Enough with the gushing, let’s talk about the book.

The main thing I enjoyed about this book was the characters. I loved how close Emily, Frank, Dawn, and Collins grew over the summer. They were all helping with the list and had some amazing experiences together. You could see them grow closer and closer each chapter. A prime example of the developing friendship is Frank and Emily. They meet and Emily doesn’t really feel comfortable around him at all. But with each running session we seem them warm up to each other more, and then we have then staying up all night just talking. That scene on the beach was their true icebreaker. I guess you learn a lot about someone when you stay up all night with them. Since You’ve Been Gone had one of my favorite aspects when it comes to relationships: a budding friendship. When I read romances, my favorite thing is watching the two become friends. I do not care for love at first sight or anything. This book was great at it, and they didn’t even get together until the very end.

Another thing about this book that made it stand out was the extra things. The playlists and the constant flashbacks were great. We don’t meet Sloane really until the end, but we already know so much about her character just from Emily’s memories. Speaking of the end, I was really scared we wouldn’t get Sloane. I don’t know why I was thinking it, but I was so scared that they would never really find Sloane, but just a letter that explained what happened.

Overall, this was a pretty predictable book, but still very enjoyable. We knew Frank and Emily would get together, and we knew that when Frank went to New Jersey it was to break up with Lisa. However, it’s still entertaining to watch characters that don’t know what is going on. One of the best scenes is when Frank and Emily are in the car driving to Sloane, and it is just pure awkwardness. The last time they were together, Emily ran away from him (literally). In the end, they finally talk and everything turns out.

This was a super fun contemporary, and it makes me want to read more summer books! Winter is finally over and now I want to read all kinds of cute little romances! This was actually my first Morgan Matson boo. I’ve heard that this is her best of the three, but I still think I want to read her other books. Has anyone read them, and do you think I should?