BOOK REVIEW : THE SELECTION BY KIERA CASS


10507293Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Published: April 24th 2012 by HarperTeen
336 pages
Source: Purchased

Click here to find it on Goodreads

I am pretty late to the game when it comes to the Selection series. I’m pretty sure this was on my TBR back when I was reading the Hunger Games. However, I finally picked up book #1 and i’m very very very happy with how much I enjoyed it.

America Singer comes from a very poor family, so when she is asked to sign up for a competition to help them financially, she can’t say no. Much like the popular TV show, the bachelor, 35 outstanding girls are selected to move into a palace and compete to become Prince Maxon’s future bride. America is welcomed into the royal lifestyle with amazing food and gifts from the prince. She is surprised by his generosity and how much she really does begin to like him. The only problem is that she is in love with someone else back home.

I enjoyed this lovely dystopian/romance so much more thanI thought that I would! It sucked me in from the very first page, when I met miss America Singer. America is such a kind hearted, down to earth main character. She is never afraid to be her true self and I love her funny/stubborn attitude. Prince Maxon is simply everything that a girl would want in a prince. I must say, I don’t think I would be as cool as America is when it comes to sharing him with so many other beautiful ladies.

I was afraid that the Selection would be too girlie and princessie for me personally, but I was so wrong. It’s like reading this book gave me that chick flick fix that i’ve been needing! At this point, having only read the first book in the series, I’m totally rooting for America and Maxon. I have no idea what’s in store for book #2 and #3, but I am excited to find out! If you’ve read the Selection series already, let me know your thoughts in the comments below (without spoiling the other books for me.) XOX.
maria

MARIA’S MAY WRAP UP (2015)

The-Bear-Claire-Cameron-Chatelaine-Book-Club1. The Bear by Claire Cameron ★★★★★
This thriller is extremely different from the ones i’ve previously read. It’s told in the perspective of a five year old girl, who’s family is attacked by a bear on a camping trip. The writing style seriously blew me away. Anna would say the funniest things as she described her surroundings, but the narration was also very sad because she didn’t fully understand what was going on. Very unique! This story will be staying with me for a while.

2. Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick ★★★★★ REVIEW
8953
I read Freak the Mighty this month along with my 7th grade students, during my practice teaching. I can’t believe I didn’t come across this wonderful story of friendship before. It was very touching and eye opening. I highly recommend it to EVERYONE.

51E+7V-PDyL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_3. The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson ★★★★★
I finally took the Brandon Sanderson plunge and started the Mistborn trilogy. Being so busy with my practice teaching, it took me nearly all month to finish this book. That being said, I enjoyed every minute of it. It is not something that I would have wanted to rush through anyway. I love the magic system, as well as the characters. Looking forward to reading book #2. 

4. On Dublin Street by Samantha Young ★★★★★ REVIEW{B852F324-CE01-43F3-9B99-C82D53DE27BD}Img100
This hot little new adult romance blew me away! The characters are wonderful, flawed, beautiful… I really can’t wait to get my hands on the other books in this series. I want them now!


5. Killing Floor (Jack Reacher #1) by Lee Child ★★★
Killing-Floor-by-Lee-Child
I was surprised by how much I was enjoying this mystery thriller. I thought that Jack Reacher was a freaking awesome main character. He always kept things interesting. That being said, I grew a bit tired of this one leading up to the end and just wanted it to be over. I’m still getting used to these chunky adult books.

6. Find You in the Dark by A. Meredith Walters ★★★★16081754
The writing and the characters in Find You in the Dark didn’t impress me as much as in On Dublin Street, however I did end up liking Maggie and Clayton’s story. A lot of times, I found myself frustrated with the decisions that they were making, especially in the beginning. But then it hit me – Maggie was just too much like my high school self. I made stupid decisions too, so who am I to judge? It definitely was not what I had expected, but the last half of the book really surprised me. I am interested in finding out what happens next… 


Let me know if you’ve read any of these books in the comments below!
maria

MARIA’S APRIL BOOK HAUL (2015)

11166069_10153178984205465_1714532663_n1. Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting
2. On Dublin Street by Samantha Young
3. Find you in the Dark by A. Meredith Walters
4. Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire
5. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
6. The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
7. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
8. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
9. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
10. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
11. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
12. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
13. Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
14. Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
maria

MARIA’S APRIL WRAP UP (2015)

228198901. A Time to Reap by Jonas Lee ★★★★
Carter goes to a school for kids of the future that can time travel and read minds. When an explosion goes off at the Academy, Carter saves a girl by using his ability. Soon, he realizes that his powers are stronger when she is near. I have really been enjoying books about time travel. I highly recommend you check out this new author. 

120000202. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz ★★★★
I read this book in one sitting and loved it much more than I had expected! Both characters are very well developed and felt very real to me. Aristotle and Dante are extremely different, but become such amazing friends. I feel as though I learned a lot while reading this book. It also made me incredibly happy!

89091523. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell ★★★★ REVIEW
Attachments is about a guy who falls in love with the a girl by reading her emails. It is a very light, funny read. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the things that Jennifer and Beth said in their emails. It wasn’t my all time favorite Rainbow Rowell book, but I loved it just the same.

115057974. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie Mcguire ★★★★ REVIEW
Travis Maddox. What can I say? When I started reading this book, I thought that it was going to be dumb… But of course, I became enthralled with this bad boy like everyone else and ended up obsessing over this book.

157459505. Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire ★★★★ REVIEW
This is the sequel to Beautiful Disaster. I picked it up immediately after finishing the first book, despite it being the exact same story told in Travis’s point of view. I grew a bit bored with the same dialogue, but also really enjoyed being inside of his head.

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6. Landline by Rainbow Rowell ★★★★
REVIEW
I am so glad that I picked this up! Another fantastic book about going back in time, or in this case – talking to your husband of the past through a magic phone. Landline has got to be one of my new favorite Rainbow Rowell books. I really loved it! I grew extremely attached to Georgie, the main character. This book made me THINK and FEEL a lot! I highly recommend it.

225572727. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins ★★★★REVIEW
Such a thrill. I devoured this, not wanting to put it down until I had it all figured out. The main character, Rachel, is somewhat of an alcoholic who rides the same train day after day. She becomes fascinated with a certain house that she passes on her route, happened to be somewhere at the wrong time and ends up getting herself involved in a missing person case.

87095238. The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) by Richelle Mead ★★★★
It took me a little while to jump back into this vampire/alchemist world, especially since I haven’t been reading as much paranormal lately. Nonetheless, I always have so much fun while reading Richelle Mead’s books. So far, I don’t think I like the Bloodlines series quite as much as her Vampire Academy or Georgina Kincaid series, but that could change. I am excited to read the third book to find out more about Adrian and Sydney.
maria

BOOK DISCUSSION: ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES BY JENNIFER NIVEN

18460392Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Published: 2015 by Knopf
388 pages
Source: purchased
Click here to find it on Goodreads

“You are all the colours in one, at full brightness.”

Caution! Spoilers ahead!

Thoughts before starting the book?
Mackenzie: I didn’t really know what it was about or what to expect. The lady at the bookstore recommended it to me and said it was very good and I heard good things online. I also heard they were making a movie adaptation and that got me interested because it’s not too often that a new release already has a movie in the works.
Mallory: I don’t even think I had heard of it until you guys suggested it. I was a little upset that they made the comparison to The Fault in Our Stars because let’s be honest, we all know someone is going to die when that happens.
Maria: I sort of had high expectations because of it being compared to The Fault in Our Stars and Eleanor and Park, but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did.
Marissa: I didn’t know anything about it going in so I just kind of blindly jumped in.

What were your first thoughts on Finch?
Mackenzie: Finch I really liked but he was a weird character. I loved how he cared so much about Violet. It was interesting to hear his point of view about like and stuff.
Mallory: I adored Finch right from the get go. He seemed to have such positive thoughts about everything, even after we learned about his growing up. I loved that he wasn’t afraid to change his personality from week to week and no one could bring him down.
Maria: I wasn’t sure how i was going to feel about Finch. The fact that he was so “out there” and had suicidal thoughts made me wonder if I would be able to connect with his character. The more I read, the more I loved him! He was smart, funny and full of adventure. He narrated his parts of the story amazingly! I don’t think I will be forgetting his character for a long time.
Marissa: I really fell in love with Finch’s character. He was so easy to picture and seemed like a loveable guy.

And Violet?
Mackenzie: Violet was just okay for me, though I felt bad for her loss, she was like every other high school student except she wasn’t living life until she met Finch.
Mallory: With Violet I felt so bad for her, Finch was exactly what she needed to bring her life and joy back to her.
Maria: I thought that Violet was a sweet girl. I was glad that she was there for Finch. She understood him more than anybody and accepted him the way he was.
Marissa: I wasn’t sure about Violet at first because I was worried she’d be a super annoying and popular girl, but I started to like her more once we got more of her story.

What did you think after Finch talked Violet down from the balcony but she continued to let everyone call him Theodore Freak?
Mackenzie: I understood because she didn’t know him well, but she could have stood up for it. It really frustrated me that she went with the popular kids and ignored him.
Mallory: I was really disappointed in her character then. I understand she didn’t want everyone knowing it was her but it really bugged me how she let everyone keep calling him that. I think if someone saved my life I’d be forever grateful and would stand up for them no matter how unpopular they were.
Maria: I didn’t really think too much of it… I don’t think I expected her to change right away, or to defend him right away either. The pacing was done right in this book. It wouldn’t have seemed as “real” otherwise.
Marissa: I really thought she’d be the bigger person and stand up for him. Super disappointing.

What did you think of the wanderings?
Mackenzie: I really liked it and that’s when I started liking Violet as a character and loving Finch. Even though he has problems he is a great person. I loved their adventures and how it brought them together. Violet finally started to live after her sister’s death.
Mallory: Sooo cute. So so cute. Like better than any date I’ve read in a story. The wanderings made me so happy I found myself smiling the whole time they were out. It really got Violet to live a little more and you could really see both characters coming out of their shells a lot more.
Maria: I thought that this was an awesome part of the book. It took the characters on so many adventures. They didn’t stop at just two, they kept finding new wanders to visit. These places brought the characters closer together and helped them be themselves despite what they were going through. It makes me want to go on my own wanders.
Marissa: It was so fun since they were so unusual. I thought it was pretty great that Finch was able to get Violet in a car again after the accident.

Did you like the use of the alternating chapter points of views?
Mackenzie: Yes because they were two very complex characters that had two different stories and two different points of view. If there wasn’t both of their points of views, especially Finch, I think it would have ruined the story.
Mallory: At first I only liked Finch’s chapters. So getting to Violet’s got a little slow for me. But once I started liking her I found that it made the book fly by a lot faster than if it had been just one point of view.
Maria: I think that it was done really well! Both characters were written so good, they really each had their own voice in the story. I especially loved Finch’s point of view.
Marissa: I really liked getting a boys point of view, it was a nice change.

What did you think of the writing style?
Mackenzie: I loved it! It was beautiful and I loved the metaphors that Finch had and it felt a lot like John Green and Rainbow Rowell mixed together which I loved. This book should be put into schools. It could help so much and give others information.
Mallory: You can tell the author has dealt with this in her life (if you read the authors note at the end you will find this information). So much emotion came through her words. It makes a whole different story when you can feel the emotion they are conveying through the story telling.
Maria: I absolutely loved it. It surprised me so much.
Marissa: I liked it a lot. It was almost poetic. And I agree with Mallory, so much emotion was conveyed through it all.

Did you like the parts about the use of post it notes? When Finch would have them all over his walls and then Violet started using his method?
Mackenzie: Yes it was a nice twist to the book and very creative and original. It was cute. This book would have really affected me when I was younger and it would have been great to read it while I was still in school.
Mallory: It’s cool things like that that really stick out to me in a book. Staring at the cover I wondered how the post it notes would come into play. And it’s funny how them writing simple little words on them would hit me right in the the feels. I loved the part where they would write good words and post them and then write bad words and crumple them up.
Maria: It was definitely a unique part of the story. Finch was a unique character so of course it fit well. I agree with Mallory, it’s these little things that are going to reach out to young readers.
Marissa: Yeah it made me want to cover my room in post it notes!

Did you think Finch was going to kill himself? And if so, how did you think he was going to do it?
Mackenzie: I wasn’t sure. I kept going back and forth. I thought Violet would have helped him get better. After he left and barely answered I knew he would since it was only Violet’s perspective. I really think he could have gotten better, it was so sad. I had no idea how, he changes his mind so much I couldn’t even guess.
Mallory: Yes and no and yes and no. My mind was so back and forth with this. I kept thinking no, even after he swallowed the pills. I didn’t think he was going to leave Violet like that, especially after having helped her get over the death of her sister. After him leaving I knew he would. But how really stumped me. I thought he was going to crash his van.
Maria: I don’t know how to answer this at all! It was definitely in the back of my mind the entire time that I was reading the story, but I fell so hard for the characters that I couldn’t help by HOPE that the author wouldn’t do that to me! I actually cried when it hit me, and I felt a bit of hatred towards Violet for telling her parents (not going to lie). Basically, I was sitting on my couch, crying, saying no no no no no, please be alive, you have to help Violet, you have to finish the project, you have to LIVE!
Marissa: I sadly knew he was going to, I just didn’t know when or how. I wanted it to be a happy ending but after he moved into his closet I definitely knew it was going to happen. I kind of thought he was going to crash his van by going too fast.

Did you like the use of the back story? Eg Finch’s dad beating him and Violet’s sister dying in the crash (showing us that anything can drive someone to think that suicide is the only answer).
Mackenzie: Not really because it was sad but his dad really didn’t make a difference at all and I hated him. It was interesting to hear about Violet’s sister because it played a big part in her story.
Mallory: It makes me feel so bad knowing the one thing can make such a harsh difference in someone’s life. I want to help all the people going through suicidal thoughts.
Maria: I appreciated it. It had me putting myself in their shoes and understanding their situations a lot more. The whole mental illness aspect of the book really had me interested. It really hit me hard and opened my eyes up.
Marissa: The back story let us see into Finch’s world so much and how he felt alone in his family which I liked a lot. I wanted to know more of Violet’s story other than just her sister.

What was going through your mind when Violet went to find him?
Mackenzie: That I hoped he was alive and she could bring him back home but I knew deep down that he was already gone. I reread it at least three times.
Mallory: I had such a dreading feeling. I didn’t want her of be the one to find him. I looked ahead a few paragraphs and when she said she found him I thought he was alive and felt so relieved. Then kept reading and the dread settled in a little more. I can’t imagine the haunting feeling of finding someone like that.
Maria: I was freaking out. Hardcore. It was like I knew what she was going to find, but I didn’t want to bring myself to believe it. I read that part of the book over again just so I could deal.
Marissa: I felt so sad for her the whole time especially since Finch’s mom made her go find him. It was so sad.

And final question, were you happy that she was brave enough to finish the wanderings without him?
Mackenzie: Yes, I knew that she would find something he left behind when she went. It was so beautiful but so sad.
Mallory: The way she did them and found all of his little clues was so adorable it made my heart hurt. But it was nice to see her not coop herself up and away from everyone, but go out and get the closure that she needed. I think for the heaviness of the story the ending was a lot happier than I expected it to be.
Maria: Yes! I was really sad and I don’t know how she did it, but I was so proud of her. I was happy with what Finch left behind for her and I think that finishing the project helped her heal.
Marissa: I loved that she had the courage to do so and was able to get a final goodbye through them. I was reading the last wandering in my religion class and was crying when she read the song he left. So sad but so romantic.

Can we just take a second to also appreciate the name UltraViolet ReMarkeyable?
Mackenzie: Yes!! That was so cute!!
Mallory: If a boy ever gave me a name like that I would cry. Sooo adorable.
Maria: Yes! Everything about this story was so flipping cute and original
Marissa: Gah, so adorable!

Rating on Goodreads?
Mackenzie: ★★★★★
Mallory: ★★★★
Maria: ★★★★★
Marissa: ★★★★

BOOK REVIEW: DARK LEGEND: THE SUPERNATURAL CHRONICLES

22036395Title: Dark Legend : The Supernatural Chronicles
Author: R.A. Reene’
Published: August 2014
300 pages
Source: Author
Click here to find it on Goodreads

Maria’s thoughts:
Alex, was raised as a pure witch by her grandmother and aunts. It isn’t until her fifteenth birthday that she learns the truth about herself: she is a hybrid, half fairy and half demon. Alex is forced to move to a supernatural town and start magical schooling. Being the new kid is even harder than usual because Alex is now known as the demon girl. She manages to make a few new friends and gets used to her new life there. Throughout the book, she discovers more and more about her family and her past. All of her life, she was told that her parents were dead, but she never really knew what had happened to them. Alex also finds out about her evil uncle Sama’el, who is trapped in the underworld, and she does everything she can to stop him from getting out.

I have a special place in my heart for paranormal/supernatural books, so when we were asked to read this book in exchange for an honest review – I was beyond excited. I found the storyline really intriguing. It was never boring, and the pacing was done really well. It especially picked up towards the end of the book. However, I have to admit that I did not feel attached to any of the characters. I liked Alexandria, Eleanor, Emilie and Kat, but unfortunately I didn’t find myself connecting with them. Overall, I thought that this book was a decent quick read. I enjoyed the dialogue, the magical school setting and the supernatural elements. I just wish that I would have been more “wowed” by the character development. The ending leads readers to believe that the author may be releasing a second instalment, so if any of you are interested in a new YA paranormal series to read – keep your eyes open for that!

3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Mallory’s thoughts:
At 14 years old, Alexandria Grimaldi finds out that she has been lied to her entire life. She is not the witch she thought she was, but rather a demon. Her parents were both thought to be killed shortly after her birth, so Alexandria lives with her grandmother and two aunts. What Alexandria also doesn’t know, is that her evil uncle Sam’ael is looking for her, to kill her. When her family is under attack, they seek refuge in a supernatural community. Since Alexandria is a demon, they don’t really want them to live there, but finally grant them permission. As Alexandria attends her new school she tries to go through her normal life while trying to keep away from her uncle.

To be honest, the synopsis of this story made me so excited. The plot was like nothing I had heard before. Yet this was a major let down for me. I was interested up until the fourth or fifth chapter. From there, the lack of grammar skills, the drab and boring characters, and the inability to provide proper descriptions to tie up loose ends had me shaking my head. Nothing seemed to happen for a reason and the plot jumped around more than anything I’ve ever read. I dragged through this, feeling as though it was a chore to finish this book and there was no action to live up to my expectation. By the end, I felt like nothing had really been cleared up and I felt relieved that the story was finished. If there is another instalment, I will probably not be interested in reading it.

Unfortunately, I had to give this one a 2/5 star rating.

FRIDAY READS (#20)

It’s finally the weekend again!

It has been a crazy busy week for me. With getting back to the gym, business and resume classes, job interviews, it’s been hectic.

Tonight is my last class for the week and then it will definitely be time to indulge in some binge reading.

10025305I’m currently four chapters into Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare, the second book in the Infernal Devices series. You can click here to find it on Goodreads. I am really enjoying this series so far. I just finished Clockwork Angel and my review will be coming up for that soon so make sure you keep an eye out for that.

8755776Next on my list to read is City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare. Going back to the Mortal Instruments series, this is the fifth book in the series. You can click here to find it on Goodreads. I’m so excited to get back into this series and to figure out what my main man Jace is up to.

Other than that I don’t have much else planned. I’m in the mood where I want to read every single book in the world right now so I have no idea what I’m going to pick up next!

I hope everyone has a great weekend, let me know what you are reading this weekend!
mallory-name-design-1