[Book Review] I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Fair warning: this is going to be an ode to a book. If you’re not about that life, you’ll probably want to click away from this page right now.

As I am writing this, I literally finished reading I’ll Give You The Sun approximately 15 minutes ago. Everything is fresh. Everything is vivid. This book… it’s like Jandy Nelson took a chunk of my soul and formed it into a story. That’s not to say that it’s about my life; I’ve never experienced really anything that happens in this book. But I felt it – deeply and powerfully.

Let’s take a look at my Goodreads updates:

IGYTS

As you can see, by 5% of the way through the book, I was sold. The first chapter is like a breath of fresh air, with a character I could see myself in, but in a more metaphorical way than I ever have before. Everything about this book – the narration, the structure, the descriptions, and the plot itself – is a work of art. But it is laugh-out-loud funny, too, which completely caught me off guard! I knew it was going to be poignant. I knew it was going to be powerful. A number of people had recommended it to me over the last few months, so I knew it was going to be good. But I had no idea it was going to essentially become a part of me.

You know how there are some books that get hyped and hyped and hyped and you’re SO excited to read them, and then you do and it’s just… meh? I was afraid that was going to happen here. After SO many recs, I honestly didn’t expect much. I kept putting it off because of this. But at the same time, it feels as though this week was probably the most perfect time for me to read a work of art. Honestly, that’s a story for a different day. Maybe this will be a two-part ode… but I really needed it this week.

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So, the synopsis for the book, as found on Goodreads and Amazon goes something like this:

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

And, yeah, that’s kind of what it’s about, but it also barely scratches the surface. I understand why it’s written this way – and I honestly don’t want to say much more about the plot for fear of killing some of the reveals – but seriously, people. Not even close.

 First of all, there’s Noah. Noah is the cinnamon-rolliest cinnamon roll to ever roll cinnamons. Fact. He sees the world through an artist’s eyes, and consistently emotes using titles of hypothetical paintings as a prominent part of his inner monologue. Let me tell you, I could always see the painting in my head. Noah resonated with me in the very core of my being. I’ve never loved a fictional character more.

Jude, on the other hand, I struggled with. But only in chapter 1, which is told from Noah’s point of view. To be fair, they’re both pubescent in chapter 1. Age 13 isn’t easy for anyone. Especially girls. By the time we get to 16-year-old Jude’s point of view in chapter 2, everything changes. She’s no longer the normal, popular, flirtatious girl we met in chapter 1, and so begins the unraveling of the true story.

IGYTS contains more passion, heartbreak, honesty, and hope than any work of fiction I have ever experienced. It took me 3 days to read. I could have done it in one sitting if I could have A) kept my emotions in check and B) read it consistently without stopping on every page to talk to somebody about something that just happened. No joke. This is a thing I did. I’d say I talked (in person) to or messaged  a total of 15 different people during the course of the last three days. All to talk about this book. And only maybe 3 of them had read it before. Basically, I am pushing this book on everyone I know. Shamelessly.

So, please. If you’re looking for something that will touch your heart and make you squee with joy, pick up this book.  If you want something to help deal with pain, pick up this book. If you want something that will just make you see the beauty in the world, pick up this book. It’s actually less than $7 on Amazon right now *wink wink*

As if I even need to include this, my final rating for
I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson:

5 star

Duh.

Until Next Time ❤

 UPDATE (20 minutes later): Apologies for the utter word-vomit that is this review. I had some feels and I had to get them out. If you don’t understand, then you have no soul.

Reading Wrap-up: October 2015

Allow me to begin this post with a big ol’ WOMP-WOMP-WOMP. Not only have I completely neglected my poor blog this month, but also my reading list! I only read TWO books this month, and one of them was even a re-read. What a disgrace! Hahaha I’m only joking. Sometimes things are more important than blogging and/or reading (gasp!) and for me, those things include Halloween!

I had such a great Halloween! Hoping to get a post up about our night & our costumes soon! Tutorials to follow, because I’ll have to make those from scratch again.

Anyway, the two books I read in November:

Reading Wrap-Up (2)

Reading Wrap-Up

Yeah, that’s it. Those are my two! Hopefully I can get myself back on track for November (even though I’m actually 1 ahead of schedule on my Goodreads challenge). We’ll see!!

What did you read in October? What are you looking forward to in November? You know I’m always adding to my TBR & would love some more titles on it!

I likely won’t be back tomorrow, since I’m taking a 3-day weekend, but I’ll do better next week. I miss you, blog!

Until Next Time ❤

[Book Review] The Duet + The Design by R.S. Grey

Happy Monday, world!

I had a pretty relaxing weekend spent glued to my Kindle. After finishing Queen of Shadows on Thursday (review still in the works because I have a LOT of thoughts), I really needed something light & fluffy to read while I recovered. Luckily, I have an arsenal of book lovers at my command (or at least I like to think I do), and they never disappoint me with their recommendations. This time, it was The Duet and its sequel, The Design, both by R.S. Grey, recommended by my lovely Heather (anarrayofbooks). Both books can be borrowed through the Kindle Lending Library, or are available to read for free with a Kindle Unlimited membership!

THE DUET – R.S. Grey

When 27-year-old pop sensation Brooklyn Heart steps in front of a microphone, her love songs enchant audiences worldwide. But when it comes to her own love life, the only spell she’s under is a dry one.

So when her label slots her for a Grammy performance with the sexy and soulful Jason Monroe, she can’t help but entertain certain fantasies… those in which her G-string gets more play than her guitars’.

Only one problem. Jason is a lyrical lone wolf that isn’t happy about sharing the stage—nor his ranch — with the sassy singer. But while it may seem like a song entitled ‘Jason Monroe Is an Arrogant Ho’ basically writes itself, their label and their millions of fans are expecting recording gold…

They’re expecting The Duet.

I went into this book without actually reading the synopsis. It took me a couple chapters to figure out exactly what Brooklyn was famous for, and I’ll be honest – I wasn’t thrilled with the overall premise of this book at first. I made fun of it with my husband once I got to the part where they explained that Brooklyn and Jason would be forced to team up…oh, and that she would be traveling to stay with him at his cabin in Montana until the duet was finished. I mean, really? REALLY? It seemed cheesy and forced, but I knew I would be able to find some redeeming qualities in it – and I wasn’t wrong.

The characters in this book are vibrant. I swear they are real people, and they are so much fun to read about. Sure, I was rolling my eyes on a regular basis at the tropes and the cliches, but deep down I was really enjoying the ride. I flew through this book in a day an a half and reached for the follow-up book almost immediately…

THE DESIGN – R.S. Grey

Five minutes until the interview begins.

Fresh on the heels of her college graduation, Cameron Heart has landed an interview at a prestigious architecture firm.

Four minutes until the interview.

She knows she’s only there because the owner, Grayson Cole, is her older sister’s friend.

Three minutes.

For the last seven years, Grayson has been the most intimidating man Cammie has ever had the pleasure, or displeasure, of being around.

Two Minutes.

But the job opportunity is too good to pass up. So, Cammie will have to ignore the fact that Grayson is handsome enough to have his own national holiday.

One.

After all, she shouldn’t feel that way about her new boss. And, he will be her new boss.

“I’m not intimidated by you,” I said with a confident smile.
“Perhaps we should fix that, Ms. Heart. Close the door.”

Technically speaking, The Design was in pretty rough shape. I found some heavy duty continuity errors that were just glaring me in the face and begging me to put down the book, but I also really wanted to follow through with the series, so I kept truckin.

The formula for both books is the same, but the main character in The Design is Brooklyn’s little sister, Cammie. I liked the change of perspective, and I loved reading from Cammie’s POV considering she was my favorite character in The Duet. Both sisters have a clear voice, regardless of how similar they are. Brooklyn is the more mature/ responsible one, while Cammie is clearly the younger of the two, and still working on that whole “maturity” thing.

There’s really not a lot to analyze with these books; they’re the definition of fluff. But they are enjoyable and quick reads (with moderate levels of steaminess), so I would certainly recommend them to anyone who’s looking for a surface-level read to pass the time or to recover from something a little heavier.

I’m not sure where these books fall in the Author’s list of works, but I definitely feel as though they were written by someone who could use a little more experience with drafting & outlining details. The pace changes had a tendency to be jarring, leaving me confused as to how much time had lapsed between pages, as well as the continuity errors I mentioned before, which would be easily negated by an outline or more detailed character notes. They really just need to spend a little time with an editor, which I realize is not always an option for independent authors.

FINAL VERDICT

3 star

I really did enjoy both of these books. I felt attached to the characters and had to keep turning pages to see what would happen next. I was satisfied by the conclusions, and will recommend these books to anyone who is looking for a light-hearted romance.

Until Next Time ❤

[Book Review] Anna & The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

I don’t quite know where to start with this review. I really loved Anna. She’s a LOT like me, which was a little freaky but also kind of annoying. Like, I don’t really want to read about myself all that much. The primary difference between myself and Anna, though, is the one thing that made me dislike her – her inability to communicate with other human beings. So, maybe I wish she were a little bit more like me? Who knows. I’m a conundrum.

Though this book is touted as a romance novel, it didn’t FEEL like a romance novel for the majority of the book. I still can’t decide if I think it is one or not. Obviously, the romantic relationship is the central focus of the story, but it didn’t play out in a way that was enjoyable (for me, at least), and I feel like the romance in a romance novel should be enjoyable to read. Personal opinion. You guys, I honestly fear I may be ready to move on from the angst & drama of YA, oh no!

With those two grievances out of the way, though, I did enjoy this book. I don’t want my review to come across like I didn’t. I read it pretty quickly – about 2 days – and never once was I bored or uninterested. I found all of the characters to have a unique perspective & each was interesting on his/her own, but when put together, the cast of this book is really great. The way the characters play off of each other & interact with one another feels very realistic, for high schoolers (or even undergrads).

In the long run, the majority of the plot here is driven by Anna’s inability to communicate with people – both in a literal and figurative sense. Literally, she doesn’t speak the language, which causes a few minor hiccups in her integration into boarding school life. The real problem, though, is that she is unwilling to take a chance & speak her mind and, as such, jumps to all the wrong conclusions about pretty much every person in her life. If this book taught me anything, it’s to say what I’m thinking, lest I sabotage my own chance at happiness.

I’m not necessarily put off by this method of plot development, but it is a very “YA” thing to do, and one I’m looking forward to putting behind me as I try to branch out from the genre.

Final word:

4 star

I struggled so much to write this review because I can’t really articulate how the book made me feel. From a technical perspective, it is nothing spectacular and I have clearly made a point to air my grievances, but Stephanie Perkins has a way with characters that makes them come alive & really helps you connect to the story. For that reason, this book gets more stars than my review would lead you to believe. Haha.

I hope any of this made sense to you. I’ll be accepting questions to clarify my jumbled mess of a thought pattern. I promise.

Until Next Time ❤

[Book Review] Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)

I did it. I finished Heir of Fire. I have a lot of thoughts here, so I’m going to try & organize them as best I can. I’ve tried my best to avoid spoilers for the other 2 books in the series, but if you haven’t read those & don’t want to risk it, I suggest you go back to one of my earlier reviews: [Throne of Glass] or [Crown of Midnight]!

Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.

Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.

First of all, this book took me a LONG time to read (I guess some people don’t consider 3 weeks that long for a book, but I definitely do). I just couldn’t binge-read it the way I did with the first two books. Now, this could easily be attributed to book burnout after the aforementioned binge sessions, OR it could be because the storytelling in this book changed so significantly & felt really disjointed compared to the rest of the series. My guess is it was the latter, but the whole burnout thing is maybe a contributing factor.

The thing about this book compared to the first two is that we’re following multiple concurrent story lines. This I have no problem with – I mean,  our favorite characters get separated & we start following each of them independently – duh. There was just something about the way it was executed in this book that felt…choppy? Every time I started getting invested in one of the story lines, the narrative would switch over to a different one & I’d lose my momentum. And then put the book down and not feel that burning desire to pick it back up.

The book is divided into two “Parts”, which are directly related to a decision Celaena has to make. I’ll say that Part 2 was MUCH more consistent than Part 1 & only took me a few days to read. Once I hit the 70% mark in the book, I got that fire back for the series. It was just one of those instances where the book in the middle of the series is spending so much time building up to what’s to come that nothing REALLY happens. Except for that one thing that happens in the last 100 pages. Because Damn. That HAPPENED.

Celaena’s character development is basically stunted for the first 2/3 of the book. She’s her same stubborn self, still reeling from the events of Crown of Midnight.  It takes a long time for her to start climbing out of the abyss of despair she was dropped in, but once she takes that first step, things really start to pick up.

We’re also introduced to quite a few new characters – dare I say too many? I think maybe. Perhaps not too many for the entire book, but too many in close succession, for sure. Things got kind of chaotic for a little bit during Part 1 & it was hard to keep track of the pieces that were flying in every direction and in no way coming together.

All-in-all, I did really love this book once I had finished it. I gave it 4/5 stars on Goodreads because I think it’s setting us up for something absolutely, undeniably epic in the next two installments. It just suffered a little bit from what I call “The Two Towers” syndrome – where the middle of the story is just the middle of the story & has no beginning or end of its own. Can’t fault a series book for that, but it does make it EXTRA frustrating to have to wait around for the next installment!

4 star

Have you finished Heir of Fire? What did you think?! I need to know! I need someone to talk about this book with, please tell me!

Until Next Time ❤

Ready Player One Review on the Wind-Up Books Chronicle

Oh, hello there! So I’m just back from a whirlwind adventure to Cincinnati for my BFF’s sister’s baby shower. The weekend was seriously the best & I’ll be putting together a brief recap of our escapades soon.

In the meantime, I wanted to direct your attention to The Wind-Up Books Chronicle, where I sometimes contribute book-related jibberings and have participated in my first group review of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. *Spoiler Alert: I LOVED it*


 

Head over to WUBC to check it out!

Ready Player1


 

Until Next Time ❤

[Book Review] Crown Of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2)

HOLY… Everything. Holy everything. This book. Well, this book destroyed me. Ripped out my heart & crumbled it a la Regina Mills.  Crown of Midnight is the second book in the Throne of Glass series, and it really outdoes the first in terms of eliciting emotional responses.


 CROWN OF MIDNIGHT by SARAH J. MAAS

Celaena Sardothien is the king’s Champion—yet she is far from loyal to the crown, for the man she serves is bent on evil. But working against her master in secret is no easy task. As Celaena tries to untangle the mysteries buried within the glass castle, she can trust no one, not even her supposed allies Crown Prince Dorian, Captain of the Guard Chaol, and foreign princess Nehemia.

Then, an unspeakable tragedy shatters Celaena’s world. She must decide once and for all where her loyalties lie . . . and whom she will fight for.


The instant I turned the last page of Throne of Glass, I hopped into the car with kiddo and drove to Half Price Books to pick up the rest of the series (not exaggerating). They didn’t have any in the store, so I just picked up a couple books for mini-me and we headed over to Barnes & Noble, pushing dinner back by a couple hours in the process (oops!). Anyway, I grabbed Crown of Midnight and had intentions to get the rest of the series, but Heir of Fire is only released in hardcover right now and they didn’t have any paperback copies of Assassin’s Blade. Gotta make sure the set matches, yo!

Crown of Midnight picks up basically where Throne of Glass left off, so there are going to be a few mini-spoilers for Throne of Glass in my review, because it’s basically unavoidable.

The general premise of this second installment is that Celaena is now the King’s Champion and, as such, is contracted to eliminate targets deemed to be a threat to the crown. She uses her position to continue the mission set forth by Queen Elena in the first book, investigating the secrets held within the castle while maintaining the appearance of a loyal servant to the King. All the secrets she is keeping begin to cause tensions between those closest to her, with everyone questioning each others’ intentions.

Crown of Midnight weaves a pretty intricate web, and reveals even more about Celaena’s past as the castle’s secrets begin to become her own.  We get to see the lethality of our favorite assassin on a number of occasions, as well as seeing her softer side as she  learns to trust her friends and puts their needs above her own time & time again. We experience incredible heartbreak as she is betrayed (more than once) and we finally have the opportunity to witness the power of magic in the world of Erilea.

I reiterate, this book is filled with SO much emotion. Celaena is learning about herself and what she wants for her life once she is free from the King’s command. She begins to heal old wounds, only to have them ripped wide open as her secrets begin to unravel. It’s a gut-wrenching ride from beginning to end, and I found myself in tears more than once (thank you, husband, for not laughing at me as I sobbed over the pages of this book!).

As in the first book, I found a few of the plot twists to be somewhat predictable but, unlike the first installment, it in no way affected my opinion of this book.  Watching all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place was incredibly satisfying, even if my suspicions were right on-point. And the ending….well, you really need to read this book.

Final Verdict:

5 star

No surprise here, I am OBSESSED with this book, and really looking forward to diving deeper into the story with Heir of Fire!

Did you read Crown of Midnight? Did it affect you the way it affected me? I’ve been chatting with some other fans of this series & we all agree – this book cuts through you like a knife (or maybe one of Celaena’s daggers)!

Until Next Time ❤

[Book Review] Throne of Glass

Woo! I finally jumped onboard the Throne of Glass train! I’ve felt so left out these past few months since I started blogging & following all these book blogs that are just OBSESSED with this series. I knew I was going to have to read it & finally got around to cracking open the first book last week.


Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.


I knew from the book synopsis that I was going to enjoy this book. I mean, an assassin, a land without magic (just the mention of it would indicate that magic had existed at one point in this world), and a competition to become the King’s personal Champion? Those things are all 100% in my lane. I love fantasy, so there was no way I was going to dislike this book.

This is one of those narratives that just dives right into the story. There’s no character- or world-building up front. It’s just BOOM. Immediately into the action. I love that. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate the development of characters and settings, but I love the feeling of being hooked on the story from page 1. And with this one, I most definitely was.

The story begins as Celaena is being hauled into the building at the labor camp where she has been imprisoned. She is taken to see the Crown Prince of Adarlan (who else kept reading this as Alderaan the whole time? Just me? Ok...) who will make her an offer to compete to become the King’s Champion and, after 4 years of service, earn her freedom.  That’s all within the first 10-or-so pages of the book. Sarah J. Maas definitely has this whole “hooking readers” thing down to a science.

Celaena Sardothien is a character I have been waiting for for ages – not the FEMALE character, but rather ANY character. The fact that she is a she is just the cherry on top.  She is absolutely fierce and lethal, yet she opens her heart so easily despite everything she has been through, including waking up between her murdered parents in a pool of their blood, being taken in & trained to be an assassin at the age of EIGHT, and spending a year in a labor camp at age 17 where most prisoners only survive for a few months. She also loves as fiercely as she kills, whether it’s a friend, lover, or even stranger – she is capable of such compassion.

There are many secrets throughout this book that unfold over time – when done well, it’s a thrill ride and you find yourself just hanging on for dear life. However, not all instances are done well, and I did find many of the twists and turns to be somewhat predictable. Either the foreshadowing was a little obvious, or I’m getting WAY too good at picking up on the subtle hints & putting the pieces together. That’s not a huge gripe, as I still love each and every turn the book made, but it did kind of unhook me from the story when I was just waiting for the ball that I knew was coming to drop.

I’d say the one thing that genuinely irked me throughout this book was the love triangle. I’m definitely a fan of romance in books (I don’t find it necessary, but who doesn’t love watching people fall in love? This is why shipping is a thing, right?) BUT I’m so incredibly over the love triangle thing. Will she? Won’t she? Who’s she gonna pick? Bouncing back & forth between the two… ugh. It’s exhausting & I’d rather just watch two people dance around each other for 400 pages than have the main character waffle between two men who are completely dopey over her. Also, I ship one of the guys with her SO hard it’s not even funny. So there’s that.

All said, I still loved the crap out of this book. The ending was pretty epic and leaves us wide open for book #2.  There are hints at magic throughout, and I expect that to become a bigger part of the story as the series progresses. I’m completely in love with the characters and I totally see where all the hype is coming from.

I’ve actually already finished Crown of Midnight & started reading Heir of Fire, so it’s safe to say I’m a fan of the series. I wish I had realized that it’s not complete yet before I had started, though. There is no greater torture than waiting for the release of the next installment of a series.

Final Verdict:

4 star

(only lost one star because of the love triangle)

Well, how about you? Have you read this series? Are you in the group of uber fans? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Until Next Time ❤

[Book Review] The Heir

The-Heir_612x925

Remember how I said this book was going to yank me out of my reading slump? Well, it most certainly did. Forcefully, I might add.

It took 2 pages for me to be sucked back into the world of Illea and to fall in love with the new characters. I’m not even gonna bother waiting until the end of this review to share my rating because it’s going to be obvious. Painfully obvious. This is a solid 5-star book for me. If more stars were possible, more stars it would have.

5 star

So, if that’s all you came for, there you have it. For anyone else interested, here’s my Ode to The Heir:


Selection books 1-3 spoilers ahead

I’m having such a guttural response to this book. It’s everything the original trilogy was and more. So strong is my emotional connection that I am currently writing this review on my phone, in my car, in the parking lot of the coffee shop where I just read the final page. It simply could not wait.

Intro

We launch into the story by meeting Eadlyn, the 18-year-old daughter of Maxon & America (*swoon*) and heir to the throne of Illea as the firstborn who beat her twin brother, Ahren, out of the womb by 7 minutes. We learn how much Illea has changed since her father began his rule – his first order of business obviously being to eliminate the caste system. We also learn of the unrest among the newest generation of citizens due to the older generations’ inability to move beyond the labels imposed by the abolished castes. There is significant discourse, which really sets us up for this new Selection.

Let’s Talk Characters

Eadlyn is a vastly different character from America, as most young women are from their mothers. She is growing up in the palace and, as such, has led a very different lifestyle than her mother did. Her priorities lie with the entire kingdom, rather than just her loved ones. The weight of that responsibilty weighs on her from the very beginning. I will admit that she is certainly, on some level, spoiled; but I don’t know that I would go so far as to consider labeling her entitled. She has a flair for fashion and she prizes her tiaras more than one might consider acceptable, but she is simply playing the hand she has been dealt – which is a very powerful hand. She has a confident yet reserved attitude when dealing with other people – never really letting anyone in besides her immediate family.  

Ahren is the ultimate voice of wisdom to Eadlyn’s constant self-doubt & confusion. He is so easy to adore & Eadlyn does so with every fiber of her being. His ability to be simultaneously gentle & straightforward is a complete godsend to Eady once the Selection actually begins & things start to get complicated.

The Selection boys – I don’t really want to talk about anyone in particular, for fear of spoilers. I do have my favorite ship. And a backup ship. And maybe another after that, but not really. I’m a multi-shipper & I’m ok with it. I will say I love the variety of the contestants. The different motivations they have & their personalities are so vibrant. And having a palace full of boys certainly does make things interesting.

Maxon & America. I can’t. I just can’t. These two are my favorite fictional couple of all time, I think. And they only got more adorable over the fictional 18 years that have passed since the end of The One. They are so wholly devoted to each other and to their children. It’s terribly heartwarming and gives me ALL. OF. THE. FEELS.

Returning characters, for those of you who read the first books: Aspen & Lucy, Marlee & Carter, & May Singer all have supporting roles in this book. That’s all I can specifically remember, at least. I feel like maybe I’m forgetting someone? Either way, it’s nice to catch up with them & see how their lives have also changed since the conclusion of The One.

The Skinny

Ok, so Eady is not into the idea of having a Selection, but is convinced to participate because it will distract the Country from the unrest that is beginning to get out of control. She is incredibly independent and has no desire to find a soulmate at this point in her life, but we all know things like that can change when the opportunity to find love presents itself. She spends a lot of time second-guessing herself, but also doesn’t seem to fully consider the consequences of her actions or the way they will be interpreted by the masses; this makes for some very interesting turns of event throughout the entirety of the book.

Conclusion

This book flew by way too quickly. At the end, I turned the page, saw the acknowledgements, and stopped breathing. I wasn’t ready for it to end. It was so fast-paced and I was never – not once – uninterested in what was going on. Eady’s character development throughout the story is some of the best I’ve ever read over the course of a single novel. The current state of Illea is very realistic, considering what the country has been through over the last few decades. I can’t recommend this book enough. Even if you haven’t read the first 3 books, I believe you could jump in here since the backstories of the other characters aren’t really discussed, just alluded to – more as treats for fans of the original series, I feel. Everyone who loves a good dystopian-ish fairy tale should definitely pick this up. Thank you, Kiera Cass, for not only NOT letting me down, but for exceeding my wildest expectations.  I believe this is my favorite of the entire Selection series. Now to count the days until book #5…

One, two, three…

Until Next Time ❤


PS – For fellow fangirls: Did you hear? Kiera Cass announced on her blog that Warner Bros. has won the film rights for The Selection! Who else is excited about the possibility of seeing The Selection come alive on screen? After the CW pilot fiasco, I had essentially come to terms with the fact that it would never happen. Now it still could & I am giddy. Fancast for America? Sophie Turner, of course. She’d be absolute perfection. Oh my god, this is a long PS. BYE!

Book Review: The Duff

You guys! Apparently I completely forgot to write this review. I finished the book back at the end of February & I guess I just got so caught up trying to finish Bloodlines that I spaced it. Which is a damn shame, because I really, really loved this book.


The Duff on Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.


I knew I needed to read this book from the moment I saw the first movie trailer. And now I kind of don’t want to see the movie because the book was SO much better than I expected. I kind of feel like the movie is going to change a LOT of the narrative & character motivations, simply based on what I’ve seen in the trailer. ANYWYAY…

OGF REVIEW

Let’s start with Bianca. I love Bianca. She’s snarky and cynical but deep down she’s all soft and mushy. I love her. I want to be her BFF. Hell, I’d be her DUFF, I don’t care.  Bianca’s got a lot more real-life problems than most YA protagonists. Her mom kind of bailed on their family without explicitly leaving – she just travels all the time & isn’t present in their lives.  Bianca’s the “responsible” one of her friends – the one who drives them around & doesn’t party, but always makes sure they’re having a good time (even when she’s not). Plus, when her problems get to be too much for her, she partakes in my favorite kind of escapism – sex therapy.  Maybe it’s not healthy, but it sure is relatable.

And Wesley Rush – oh, Wesley. Who isn’t in love with you? Wesley’s the entitled rich kid/ ladies man who’s actually just really, REALLY lonely. I love how he opens up around Bianca because he knows there’s something broken about her, too. They are vulnerable with each other and it’s really endearing, the bond they form.

Now, let’s get back to the general premise of the book: The DUFF. Designated Ugly Fat Friend. Politically incorrect? Sure. But also a pretty brutally honest commentary on the nature of basic human vanity. Be honest: once you heard of the DUFF, how much did you think about whether you were one or if you had one? I kinda figured it was me, even though I typically wouldn’t call myself FAT, just average. It’s definitely not one of my amazing friends. Maybe everybody feels like the DUFF when comparing themselves to the people they love & admire most? Philosophical questions inspired by the words of a YA author…

Regardless, the fact that this acronym even exists is absurd – did Keplinger coin it, or was it around & just outside the mainstream? Either way, it’s mainstream now. And it’s disgusting. Even though the message of the book ultimately swung back around to “Everyone is somebody’s DUFF”, that’s not how it’s going to be used & some poor kid is going to start getting called “Duffy” and who knows what will happen after that?  THAT in and of itself is the only negative statement I have about this book: that people are going to take this word out of context, distort it, and use it for harm. Because that’s what people do.

Sigh. I still maintain that the book itself is really great. An emotional ride, heavy on the steamy bits (without being explicit), with lots & lots of heart. Characters that are complex but still relatable. Just enough plot twists to keep things interesting (even though the ending is still PRETTY predictable).

Final Verdict (no surprise):

5 star

 

Have you read the book? Did you also see the movie? I’d love to know how they compare so I can get over this fear of ruining the whole thing with a really bad film adaptation!

 

Until Next Time ❤

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