Review: The Crown (The Selection #5) by Kiera Cass

The Crown-Cover
Book Title: The Crown
Author: Kiera Cass
Publish Date: May 3rd, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: Book 5 in The Selection series
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.

Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.

Disclaimer: I purchased this book.

Review
I gotta admit I am really sorry to see this series end. No it’s not the next literary masterpiece, but it’s book crack and it’s a good escape from reality when it’s needed. And reading the final book in the series was exactly what I needed in order to de-stress. I loved Eadlyn in The Heir and I kept hoping that I’d continue to love her in this book.

I did still love her, but not as much as I did in the previous book. I did enjoy watching her heart slowly warm up to the possibility of finding a love like her parents had. She had been so reluctant to it before, so seeing her evolve was really awesome to see. Seeing her take on more responsibility was great too.

The book was really short, especially for it being the end of the series. I was hoping that it wouldn’t feel rushed, but unfortunately, in some parts, it did feel rushed and that bothered me because I didn’t want it to feel rushed. I wanted the story to unfold at the same pace the previous books in the story did. The ending was a lot more rushed than I wanted it to be. Really Cass could have spread the ending out over a chapter or two.

I do recommend rereading The Heir before you read The Crown. I really wish I had. Mostly so I could keep the different suitors in my head. I did have a couple standouts in The Heir and they continued to be standouts in this book as well. Several of them, in different ways than I ever expected. I am not going to say who she picked (if she picked anyone) I will say that it was a pretty good ending to a series that so many fellow bloggers call book crack.

Stacking the Shelves #81

Stacking the Shelves #78This feature is hosted by Tynga’s Review. It’s a way to show our readers what books we’ve added to our shelves.

This week, I bought a book, I got a book from Edelweiss and I picked up a book from the library. A nice small haul for the second week in a row.

Go forth and see what I added to my shelves.

Bought
ELW

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Received for Review
-Edelweiss-
AIOA
An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet

Library
DEVOTED
Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu

I hope you all have a fabulous week! I’ll be out of town all week, but the blog will be active with Disney related guest posts. Be sure to leave links to your haul posts so I can check them out when I get back home.

Review: The Heir (The Selection #4) by Kiera Cass

2
Book Title: The Heir
Author: Kiera Cass
Published Date: May 5th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: Book 4 in The Selection series
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads
Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon’s heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own. Eadlyn doesn’t expect her Selection to be anything like her parents’ fairy-tale love story. But as the competition begins, she may discover that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she always thought.

Disclaimer: This book was a personal purchase.

Review:
Hello again, book crack!

Okay, I’m strangely obsessed with this series. It’s like crack, as my fellow blogger, Andi said last year.

Overall, I really liked Eadlyn. I definitely liked her more than I liked America. Eadlyn had her moments where I wanted to strangle her, but they were few and far between. Her attitude about love was so similar to mine that I think that was a big part of the reason why I liked her so much. She wasn’t dying to be married, she didn’t go gaga over every boy in the palace. She was stubborn and very, very hardheaded just like myself.

She wasn’t perfect though. She had a close relationship with her brothers and her parents, but she was kind of controlling to her twin brother Ahren. There’s a moment near the end of the book that drove me absolutely crazy because of this and I definitely didn’t love her actions during this part.

I really didn’t feel a whole lot of chemistry between her or any of the Selected, however there were a few standouts: Kile, the boy she’s known her entire life. There’s a boy who is not even part of the selection, but Eadlyn seems interested in him. There’s a boy who comes with a language barrier, but I found him endearing. And finally there was another boy, who seemed to be a slight frontrunner. I honestly don’t know which boy she’ll end up with (if any of them)

I did really enjoy this book, and I definitely enjoyed Eadlyn a heck of a lot more than I enjoyed her mother. I am super excited to see if she picks anyone in the end. I am giving this book 4 stars. Oh and if someone could make me the dress Eadlyn is wearing on the cover, I’d appreciate that.

Review: Summer on the Short Bus by Bethany Crandell

Book Title: Summer on the Short Bus
Author: Bethany Crandell
Published Date: April 1st, 2014
Publisher: Roaring Press Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonThe Book Depository
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Spoiled, Versace-clad Cricket Montgomery has seventeen years of pampering under her belt. So when her father decides to ship her off to a summer camp for disabled teens to help her learn some accountability, Cricket resigns herself to three weeks of handicapped hell. 

Her sentence takes a bearable turn as she discovers the humor and likeability of the campers and grows close to fellow counselors. Now, if she can just convince a certain Zac Efron look-alike with amazing blue eyes that she finally realizes there’s life after Gucci, this summer could turn out to be the best she’s ever had.

Summer on the Short Bus is a very non-P.C., contemporary YA with a lot of attitude, tons of laughs, and a little life lesson along the way.

Disclaimer: This was a personal purchase.

Review:
There are so few books about kids with disabilities, so as soon as I saw the synopsis for this book, I knew I had to have it. As a teenager, I attended an aquatics summer camp for teens with disabilities, so Summer on the Short Bus really excited me and I was so hoping this book wouldn’t disappoint me. I wasn’t even concerned with the non-P.C. qualities that it was supposed to possess.

Yes, Cricket was a pain in the butt. She was a spoiled, pampered princess who really had no idea what it was like to grow up in the normal world. Was she ignorant, rude and, at times, downright mean? Yes, she was. It was clear to me that she was not comfortable around kids with disabilities. Truth be told, I was not very comfortable around kids with disabilities even though I have my own disability, but I honestly think that for me, it’s because I never really saw myself as disabled. So I really didn’t crucify her for feeling uncomfortable around these teenagers.

Quinn was an awesome surprise and I was really glad we got to know his story as I thought it was really important. It was important to find out how he had come to work at Camp I Can, and what inspired him to do so. I loved how Cricket slowly began to soften around him. It wasn’t a quick turnaround for Cricket, which made sense to me. It was more realistic for Cricket to be physically attracted to Quinn early on, but to have their relationship slowly grow and develop. I love the slow burn so I was excited to see it here, with these two.

This book was really an awesome surprise, but I really wish there had been more character development for the secondary characters. Especially Colin, Fantine, Aidan, Meredith and Claire. We ended up getting more than I expected about Rainbow, so big kudos to Crandell for that one. Had there been more overall character development I know I would have loved this book. With that said, I really did enjoy this book and will be giving it 4 stars.

Review: The Elite (The Selection #2) by Kiera Cass

Book Title: The Elite (The Selection #2)
Author: Kiera Cass
Published Date: April 23rd, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/Dystopian/Romance
Series: Book 2 in The Selection trilogy (My review of The Selection is here)
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
The hotly-anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller The Selection.

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

Disclaimer: This was a personal purchase.

Review:
If Maxon isn’t the one at the very end I think America needs to be committed. I’m not even kidding. He was my favorite part of this entire book. He made it clear to America that she was the one and if she wanted him to, he’d stop everything immediately and propose to her. Yet America isn’t as forthcoming with her feelings. I blame that on a little complication I’d like to call Aspen. How exactly is Aspen still even a possibility. I don’t even know at this point. 

I sympathized with America because I’ve been in that triangle and it was so hard for me to choose between the familiar boy I had loved for so long and the new boy who promised me the world and had the means to give it to me. It’s very hard because when I was with each boy and it was just the two of us, the answer seemed simple. So when America was able to steal time with Maxon and Aspen individually, she could see herself married to them so easily. I was able to connect with America because of this.

Aspen seemed more interested in making sure that Maxon didn’t choose America, than making her see why she needed to pick him. Selfish if you ask me. He also seemed to care more about his job as the guard, than he did in the first book. I didn’t warm up to him at all, which was a disappointment, as I was really hoping to like him much more in the second book.

I really enjoyed seeing more of how the world was run and the politics behind it. Thankfully, it wasn’t too heavy on the politics. If it had been, I would have been bored as I really try to avoid reading books that are heavy on the politics.

The connection that Maxon builds with Kriss was not something I was expecting. I can tell he’s interested in her, but I’ve watched enough of The Bachelor to know that she would be his default pick if America left. After finishing this book, I am positive that Maxon’s father would not allow him to not pick anyone.

Which reminds me, holy crap Maxon. I had no idea that his father, King Clarkson was that awful to his only son. I was glad we got that peek into Maxon’s life and it was something that came out of left field for me. I never saw it coming. Heartbreaking and so sad.
I’m thrilled that I have The One already so, by the time you read this review, I will have started (and maybe even finished The One) I am giving this book 4 stars just like I gave the first one and I cannot wait to see what awaits me in The One.

Review: In The After (In The After #1) by Demitria Lunetta

Book Title: In The After (In The After #1)
Author: Demitria Lunetta
Published Date: June 25th, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/SciFi
Series: Book 1 of In The After duology
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
They hear the most silent of footsteps.
They are faster than anything you’ve ever seen.
And They won’t stop chasing you…until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.

Rebellious, courageous, and tender, this unforgettable duo will have you on the edge of your seat as you tear through the pulse-pounding narrow escapes and horrifying twists of fate in this thrilling debut from author Demitria Lunetta.

Disclaimer: This was a personal purchase.

Review:
This book was mindblowingly epic. Oh my goodness, it was fantastic, fabulous and all other positive words you could think of. I am so very picky about my Sci Fi, but this one blew me away completely.

Amy and Baby were a dynamic duo, one that was quite unique to me. They were essentially sisters by circumstance and they looked out for each other, they protected each other. Despite her age, Baby seemed to be quite mature and resourceful for her age. I think that was due to circumstance as well. She was mute, never spoke a word as long as Amy had known her. A mute toddler adds another layer to this fantastic book.

Amy and Baby live in silence, communicating only through modified sign language, which again, was awesome. They think they’re the only ones still alive…but they’re not…

When they are rescued by New Hope, everything seems like it’s a dream. There’s enough food, water and all other supplies necessary and they learn that they aren’t alone and that other survivors exist. But things at New Hope aren’t what they seem and Amy begins to realize that she can’t be there and that the safety is a facade. She is scared for Baby though as Baby has secrets that only she knows and if anyone finds out, Baby will be in grave danger.

I really liked that it focused so much on the science fiction stuff and there was only a small sprinkling of romance. I think that made the book much stronger. The book didn’t drag at all which is one thing I really loved. Often, when a book is over 400 pages, there are lulls in it, but not with this one. It was action packed throughout the entire thing. If you like science fiction, I think you’ll like this book a LOT. I am giving it 5 stars and I am excited to dive into the conclusion of the duology.

Review: Pointe by Brandy Colbert

4
Book Title: Pointe
Author: Brandy Colbert
Published Date: April 10th, 2014
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Theo is better now.

She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.

Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.

Disclaimer: This book was a personal purchase.

Review:
Um…

Um…

Holy catfish, this book was far more complex than I ever gave it credit for. It’s not “just” a ballet book with kidnapping and anorexia subplots. It involves friendships, boys, choices and, even a more dark subject matter, rape and I think realizing that was important. There was definitely more than met the eye for this book. It tackled a ton of tough subjects and it was done well, really well. When you first start reading this book, you think it’s going to head in one direction, but it doesn’t and that really threw me off for a little while.

Theo didn’t always make the best decisions, but that’s what I loved about her. She was real, she was human and she was dealing with more issues than I had ever dealt with in my life. She loved and was devoted to ballet, something that never wavered throughout the book. She was loyal to her friends Sara-Kate and Philip. She had supportive and loving parents who she had put through the wringer. And there’s Hosea, he’s spoken for, but Theo cannot help but be drawn to him. 

And then, there was Donovan. Her best friend who she hadn’t seen in 4 years. In those four years there had been leads, but all had been false. Until the day, he returns. It’s an ordinary day, a day much like the previous days. Except Donovan is back. 

Theo is desperate to see him, to talk to him, but he’s not talking, his mother is honoring his request to keep a low profile. So Theo has no choice but to wait.

Waiting is hard for Theo. She likes being in control but she cannot control this situation. She cannot control anything about Donovan’s return and the legal case that will follow it. Because there will be a legal case. The person who took Donovan will be put on trial. Worst of all, Theo must testify about the last time she saw Donovan before he disappeared. Secrets threaten to come to the surface, but Theo knows that she can’t keep quiet anymore. She knows that she must spill secrets that she’s kept for four years. 

The feels were definitely there in abundance. I cried a lot in the beginning of the book and I cried a lot at the end of the book, so major kudos to Colbert for giving her readers those all important feels. This book didn’t read like it was penned by a debut author. It read much more like Colbert was a seasoned author. It was well written and beautifully written. 

I think this book was incredibly important for reasons that you’ll find out as you read the book. It touches on important topics and it does it with honesty. As I laid awake in bed after finishing it, I felt my feelings for this book only soar higher. I want to be able to give this book a full five stars, but I wanted to see Donovan more in the book. He was the one I wanted to know more about. 

Yet I understood why he wasn’t in the book that much and my favorite part between Donovan and Theo was at the end. It was beautiful, heartfelt and so damn perfect. 4.5 stars to this extremely important and beautifully written book. I definitely would recommend it to fans of contemporary YA and I will definitely read anything this woman writes.

Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

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Book Title: Open Road Summer
Author: Emery Lord
Published Date: April 15th, 2014
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Order Links: AmazonThe Book Depository
Synopsis from Goodreads:
After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

Disclaimer: This book was a personal purchase.

Review:
This book made me want to blast some country music and have an impromptu dance party.

I needed a book to wow me after a recent reading slump and so on Twitter the other day, I asked if Open Road Summer would do that for me and the response was a resounding YES. Boy were they right. This book had it all, country music, friendships, boys and family and of course those all important feels. Unlike other debut books, this didn’t FEEL like a debut book, it didn’t feel like a brand new author wrote it.

Emery Lord writes like she’s been writing books all her life. The writing is beautiful and I am so thankful for that. Oftentimes when a book cover is that gorgeous, the writing is lacking. Not in this case. It was beautiful and emotional and evocative so major kudos to Emery Lord for that. 

Dee and Reagan have been friends since they were 8 years old. They’ve seen each other through everything and now they are excited to spend the summer together. Reagan is the wild child and that wild child behavior got her into some trouble that included community service and a bad boy. Dee is an accomplished singer who is an up and comer in the country music scene. They couldn’t be more different in the family department either. Yet, none of that matters to them. They remain best friends despite disagreements and the usual ebbs and flows in a friendship.

Sweet and sexy Matt Finch appears on the scene shortly after a scandal threatens to halt Dee’s burgeoning career. Matt is everything that Reagan is not and on paper he seems to be a better match for Dee. Yet Dee is still hung up on Jimmy, the boy she left to follow her dreams.  Matt Finch was adorable and sweet and kind and basically my perfect boyfriend. He’s a good fit for Reagan though and there’s definitely mutual attraction between them early on. 

Something else that caught my eye while reading this book, was the progression of Reagan’s relationship with her stepmom Brenda. Initially Reagan paints Brenda in a very negative light, but by the end of the book, things have definitely improved between the two of them. I really liked seeing that storyline and how it played out.

I absolutely adored this book and it is absolutely getting 5 stars from me. I am definitely going to be pushing this book on all of my fellow YA Contemporary lovers.

Review: Unhinged (Splintered #2) by A.G. Howard

Book Title: Unhinged (Splintered #2)
Author: A.G.Howard
Release Date: January 7th, 2014
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Series: Book 2 in Splintered series (My review of Splintered is here)
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she’s always dreamed of.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.

As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.

If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she’ll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.

Disclaimer: This book was a personal purchase.

Review:
Second book are notoriously weaker than the first books in a series. It’s similar to what is referred to as the “sophomore slump” in high school.In these second books,character development is weaker and the writing isn’t as pretty as it was in the first book. I found none of that to be the case in Unhinged. In fact I went as far as to say that Unhinged was better than Splintered and I honestly didn’t believe that was possible.
While Splintered had the “newness” of a series which resulted in a lot of character building, getting to know a lot of different characters and scene setting, Unhinged had the expansion on the characters. We got to know a lot more about not only those who live in Wonderland but also about those who lived in the human realm with Alyssa.
The writing was, once again, absolutely stunning. I mean, wow it was vivid and descriptive. It made me feel like I was actually in the book. Very few books are able to achieve that level of vivid imagery. Making the reader feel like they are in the book is a special talent that not every author has. A.G. Howard definitely does.
I felt sort of like Alyssa throughout the book. It felt like Morpheus and Jeb were playing tug-of-war with Alyssa and by extension, me. Morpheus was exasperating and sometimes I wanted to chain him up and leave him there. But sometimes I wanted him to be all mine.I think Morpheus has more secrets than we know right now and I can only hope that the final book will give us answers about him.
Oh Jeb,I did like him in this book, even though his art appeared to be more important to him than Alyssa was. I almost wonder if Alyssa feels like she has to be in love with him since they’ve been friends forever. Do I think she cares for him? Absolutely but I’m not buying a ticket to Love-Land quite yet. Jeb clearly would do anything for her. I definitely think that he is in love with her, but like I said, I’m not sure it’s mutual…yet.
I refuse to spoil this book for those of you who haven’t read it but holy family history Batman. I definitely loved all the bits with Alyssa’s family. Particularly her mom now that she’s out of the asylum. Alyssa’s mom can definitely provide Alyssa with answers to her many questions. Problem is, will Alyssa believe that her mom is strong enough to handle it? 
There is definitely more than meets the eye with this book. This book caries within in many secrets. Secrets that may strengthen Alyssa and her family or weaken it. We just don’t know yet. This book was amazing and I cannot believe that we have to wait until 2015 for the conclusion to this series. I honestly don’t know how I am going to manage the wait. If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I would.