aveyardThe poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers. To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.
Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the center of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control. But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

The Silvers hold the highest ranks in society; they are privileged, rich, and beautiful. Mare, however, is a Red; she steals money for her family and they work for the Silvers or are sent to war. Mare has some ideas about how to steal more money to help her family in a desperate time, but these go awry. Instead of being executed or punished, she finds herself in a job at the palace, thanks to a compassionate man she meets on the street. But it turns out that working in the palace isn’t a stroke of good luck after all.

There is a fantastic ensemble of characters in this book, from the cruel and snobbish Silvers, to the bitter and enraged Reds. Nobody is happy in this society where there is constant war and attacks on both groups. There is an added element of technology with most of the Silver King’s guard consisting of sentinels, security, and soldiers. We have the King, the Queen, their two sons, and the rest of the royal court. They are privileged and have been trained by the best. Their powers are strong and used on everybody, and there are not many secrets in the Palace.

Mare is trained for a higher position in the court, which strengthens her powers. She is mostly hated by the royal family, but seems to have found a friend in Maven and a love interest in Cal; both are Princes and both want change. There is as much focus on the characters as there is on the world building. With the addition of technology and powers, the battle and training scenes are fantastical and large, with some taking place in arenas. There are many people that get hurt, die, and there is a constant paranoia that you can never trust anybody.

The narration is all told from one perspective: Mare’s. There are plenty of action scenes and the characters are unrelenting and set in their ways. When there is powerful magic involved, it can be intimidating and challenging. Mare has just discovered her powers and everybody around her has been trained since birth, leaving her reliant on anybody who seems trustworthy. We get a fully rounded world with its history to draw us into the story.

Having recently read the Selection Series by Kierra Cass, and Pawn by Aimee Carter, I often found myself trying to compare the stories. Red Queen stood out among the others due to the greater detail in the world building and the complexity of the unravelling story. There were fun plot twists, along with a couple of shocking ones that have driven me crazy because I want to read more. I was impressed with the way this story was put together and I was flying through the pages of the last third of the novel to see how it ended. It’s a bit sci-fi and a bit fantasy, with battling kingdoms and servant standing against their rulers. Red Queen was an entertaining story that I definitely recommend you read.

cass_the-oneI don’t know about you guys, but I hate reviews that ruin things for me. We bloggers should really diversify into writing reviews, rants, and raves. Reviews can give people an idea of what the story is about, in case they were considering giving it a read. Rants can complain to others who have already read the book about what bothered them. And, finally, raves can fangirl with readers who loved the book just as much as they did.

This is going to be a review/rave of The One. Why? Because I loved this book SO MUCH, but don’t want to give too much away. I want to allow you to have the same experience I did reading The One, instead of stealing that pleasure from you.

I loved The Selection and I loved The Elite, so there was no way I wasn’t going to start reading The One right after I finished the second installment. Nothing and no one could keep me from it!

The One continues on with America and the competition for Maxon’s heart. If you don’t know by now, which I don’t know how you wouldn’t, once the prince comes of age, he hosts the selection. Thirty or so girls from the kingdom in a certain age range are chosen to compete in this selection. From those girls, Maxon chooses his wife.

Sound familiar? Yes, because it was compared to The Bachelor

Even if you don’t like the show (I don’t either), I still recommend picking these books up. They are SO MUCH better! I promise!

Besides having the tough decision of picking his future wife, Maxon also has to learn how to rule his kingdom and lead his army. This is why he hosts the selection. I guess he doesn’t have enough free time to get out. What a shame!

The rebellion is still going on, and it’s getting worse. America is taking any chance she can get to speak to the public and ask them to fight, to protect themselves, and to not give up. America does this against the King’s wishes, knowing it will put a target on her back.

She wants Maxon and the girls to do the same. But the girls think America is out to get them, and Maxon is afraid of what his father might do.

The ending was crazy. It was an emotional roller coaster that I wasn’t prepared for. It was intense and amazing as well. I will tell you that America made her choice between Maxon and Aspen, but I won’t tell you who!

Overall, The One was an amazing end to the ‘trilogy’, and I was sad to see it ‘end’.

Thank you so much for stopping by! Let me know if you’ve read these books!

demetrios_I'll meet you thereIf seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

Hardcover, 400 pages  Expected publication: February 3rd 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

This story makes for a great summertime read: hot weather, long boring days, and fun parties at night. The setting of Creek View is a small town where everyone knows everything about each other. People date, break up, hook up, hang out and in Skylar’s case, work… a lot. Skylar doesn’t drink or do drugs; this sets her apart at times from her friends at parties as the “straight-edger”. She lives in a trailer park with her mother and her best friend Dylan has a baby. This is what she knows, her life is full of friends and family, and for the most part, is comfortable. That is, until her future plans of college seem unclear and she begins doubting everything.

Although the summary does portray the story,  we also get some of the book from Josh’s perspective, and it’s not in a traditional way. He gets a page every here and there and written more like a diary passage than regular narration. Josh and Skylar know each other from before he left, she even got close to his brother. But something is different about Josh when he returns home, and it’s not just the fact he lost a leg in the war. His whole persona has changed, and over the summer they get to see those changes in each other.

Overall, the story is more pensive than full of humuor. It deals a lot with big issues like sex, careers, and future goals. Both Skylar and Josh are in very defining points in their lives. She is torn because she her future goals are no longer realistic. Josh is angry and suffers post war nightmares. They find a friendship, and lean on each other for comfort.

What I really enjoyed about this story is their slowly developing friendship and them getting to know each other for who they are now; who they have become since life’s decisions hold so much more weight in their futures. I recommend this book to those that enjoy contemporary romance. There is great character development and a couple of steamy scenes!

cassidy-looking for jjAlice Tully almost has a normal life. Her foster mother, Rosie, is one of the warmest people she knows. Someone who finally gets her and listens to her and tries to make things better. Someone who is finally there. Alice has a boyfriend, Frankie, who she mostly can’t believe wants her. And she has a wonderfully ordinary job waiting tables at a local café.

But all of that is about to fall apart because Alice has a past. Sooner or later it is going to catch up with her. No matter how much Rosie tries to make things right, things will never be better.

Someday soon, Alice is going to have to face the past that she has been running from. She is going to have to remember January Jones; the girl that she was six years before. The girl that killed her friend on a lonely stretch of shore by the lake that also drowned a league of cats.

Looking for JJ starts with a powerful premise that exists in shades of grey. It’s centred on some difficult questions that don’t have right or wrong answers, though everyone has opinions on the matter. When a child kills another child, who is at fault? And how long must the child pay for her crime?

Looking for JJ seems to be inspired by the James Bulger murder. The media frenzy and public interest in Alice’s past bear similarities to that of Bulger’s killers, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson. Around this atmosphere hovers the question: can a person ever be free from such a violent past – and should they?

Perhaps the way people react to this novel says more about them than it does about the issue, but for my part the answer is no. Alice talks about regret. We see that her counsellors have had to push her to re-join a world that she doesn’t always think she deserves. She doesn’t think it’s fair for her to be happy.

And she’s right. She doesn’t deserve to be part of this world and it isn’t fair for her to be happy. Not because of her crime: she was ten and Cassidy’s depiction of her shows a far sweeter character than Venables or Thompson.

It also shows a character that has not given the slightest consideration to her victims after the fact. Alice’s life is not tied up in her past until the past threatens to harm her. She has never given the murder in depth thought; never considers how else she might have handled things until someone asks her. A child killing another child in anger might be forgiven. That child growing up and never deeply analysing her motives, behaviour and emotions – never even shallowly analysing the pain she caused her victim’s family and the victim – cannot be forgiven.

Therein lays the core of this novel. It will be judged based on the character and morals of the reader, not the author. And, for my part, I can’t sympathise with Alice no matter how she’s changed and how kind she is now because I can’t see any sympathy in her for the people she has hurt.

Looking for JJ certainly stirs some powerful emotions. It’s the kind of issue that everyone has an opinion on, but no one will agree on the right one. Because Alice was so determined to ignore the past there was less introspection than I would have liked, but it was a satisfying read.


Looking for JJ – Anne Cassidy

Point (2004)

ISBN: 9780439977173

Cass_The EliteSome of you may know just how stressful the ending of 2014 was for me. If you don’t…well, now you do. I’m attending school, working, and doing everything else under the sun. Blogging and reading is my getaway, but it was hard to get away when there was no time to do so.

I needed a book that would distract me from everything going on around me. I needed something that would capture my attention entirely and consume my mind.

When I picked up The Selection, I didn’t know that it would do that and more.

I wasn’t too happy when I heard that this trilogy was comparable to the show The Bachelor. I absolutely hate that show; I just don’t understand why people would go on national television to compete and embarrass themselves for a person who probably won’t give you a rose at the end of the day.

But I had already purchased the entire trilogy, the covers were beautiful, and the ratings on Goodreads were amazing, so I couldn’t turn it down. I loved The Selection more than I ever thought I would, and picked up The Elite within five minutes of finishing it.

The Selection started with 30-35 girls, but The Elite takes off from when there are only six left! America is the lowest caste still in the running, competing against twos, threes, and fours. Time is running out and the girls know that Maxon has to make his decision very soon!

Besides taking part in this competition, at first against her will, and then for the delicious food and comfortable bed, America is still struggling with the hardest decision she’s ever had to make; Maxon or Aspen?

If things weren’t tough enough in the castle, Aspen is now a guard, Maxon is confessing his love, promising to end the competition as soon as she gives him permission, and things between the girls are getting ugly. Think that’s it? No! To top it all off, the castle is being attacked by rebels.

Whew. I thought The Selection had a lot going on, that was nothing compared to The Elite.

Overall, I loved The Elite, as well as the rest of the trilogy! I couldn’t get enough of America and the world she struggled to live in. What I loved the most about her was that she was blunt. She didn’t change. She remained the same person, with the same thoughts and beliefs, no matter how much glitter and glamour was thrown at her. She was the girl I came to know in the first book, but so much stronger.

Beside that, I spent the entire first book wondering what it would be like for Maxon and Aspen to meet. I wanted to see how they would act towards one another, and how comparable they would be. Obviously Maxon didn’t know Aspen was the boy America told him stories about, but it was interesting to see how similar and different these two were.

Again, I LOVED The Elite, and I wish I could go into more detail and completely fan girl, but I don’t want to ruin the story for you all!

Thank you so much for reading!

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