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.
3 1/2 stars
Alright, I’ll be totally honest. I read this book in 3 hours while my parents left me stranded in a two stories B&N, and I couldn’t afford to pile anymore books. After The Selection, I was really iffy on this book. I liked the first one, but I was really conflicted about the characters. This was more of the same.
To quote an internet meme, things escalate quickly when The Elite gets started. As far as I can tell, this escalation comes about strictly to create tension between Maxon and America, since she seems to be leaning pretty heavily towards him instead of Aspen. The character that instigates this tension is forcibly introduced in the first chapter, and there seems to be no basis for anything that happens besides it moving the love triangle along (and eventually making it a love quadrangle). This was a frustrating starting point that basically continued throughout the rest of the novel.
I love the character of America, I really do. When she’s on her own, she is a fiercely independent woman who fights for what she thinks is right and has real considerations for the consequences of her actions. As far as I can tell, the things that keep screwing up her character are Maxon and Aspen. When her decisions involve either of them, she becomes a simpering, indecisive Mary Sue who’s emotional reactions are the most poignant when she expresses jealousy. When she’s alone, she has serious debates about the two of them and makes up her mind which one to choose multiple times. But then she gets back together with the other one and her mind gets scrambled by their maleness.
At this point, I don’t like either Maxon or Aspen. Aspen, for most of this book, was once again a background character. I have a hard time remembering why she cares about him, simply because none of his qualities are ever given a chance to shine, negative or positive. Maxon, on the other hand, I can’t keep straight. The attempt to give his character more depth in this novel just made him seem completely bipolar. One minute he cares, one minute he doesn’t (or does he?). He’s so wishy-washy I want to wring him out like a dish towel. I liked him the best after The Selection, but I’ve pulled away from that a lot now.
And his character wasn’t the only one that turned bipolar, either. There were several major players who seem to have woken up at random moments with no idea of who they were previously for the sake of the plot.
Except, that is, America’s maids. Can I get a whole book just with them, please?
There’s also the fact that I still understand nothing about the rebels everyone keeps talking about. This book also reminded me there’s supposed to be some kind of a war going on with New Asia as well. America herself blows off any attempt at getting any information about any of these conflicts, so we can’t learn anything through her. Anything outside the walls of the palace is shakily world built at best, and it leaves me feeling like the wars going on outside the palace and the attacks by the rebels really aren’t important or dangerous at all.
I am really just so torn about this book. On the one hand, America without Maxon or Aspen around is a great character, the kind I want as a best friend. Every time I get annoyed with the rest of the novel, I get a scene with her and it just makes everything better. But then Maxon or Aspen show up and she becomes this different person that just annoys me, and I just want to smack her. Every time she talks about how she loves them both equally I just want to hit my head on the desk, especially because at times she seems so sure about making a decision, but then backtracks on it just as fast. The characterization in these novels just keeps throwing me off, and that makes me really upset. Can these rebels that I still know nothing about just off Maxon and Aspen and leave America to lead the country on her own? Because that would be the best book ever.
My Life is a Notebook turned three years old on the 14th and I missed it. I MISSED IT.
I guess this is just a testament to how far behind I’ve been on blogging. Getting spit out of your freshmen year of college reminds you just how much time you need to spend blogging to make everything look the way you want it to, and to keep to a schedule. I really fell behind, especially second semester, and for that I’m very sorry.
HOWEVER, I’m back now, with some GREAT things coming at you. There will be all of the reviews, all of the Top Ten Tuesdays and maybe some Stacking the Shelves if I can get my act together. There is also the super-secret thing that I’ve been hinting about all over social media, which is coming at you NEXT WEEK. I’m going to give you a three word clue: Bibliomancy for Beginners. What does that mean? Who knows!
But now we get back to this blogoversary thing. THREE years of book blogging. THREE. Wow. It’s certainly been an adventure. I’m not where I thought I might be after three years, but that’s good because it means that I have a lot more to learn about how this goes. And also time management. However, I’m still further up there then I ever dreamed I’d be when I started, and that’s all because of you guys, so thanks for that so much. Every liked post, every comment means the world to me when it shows up.
In order to thank you all for three great years AND to make up for messing up my own blogoversary, I’m giving away…
A BOX OF BOOKS.
It’s a medium sized post office box that I brought back stuff from my dorm room in. It’s THAT BIG. I don’t know how many books are going to fit in there, but for the winner of this giveaway I’m going to STUFF IT TIL IT CAN’T TAKE NO MORE!
On my rough estimate, I’d say you’re looking at AT LEAST 8 books. Probably more, but I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep. I’ve got a pile of ARCs, paperbacks, hardcovers and other goodies lying around my bookshelves to give away, and I’m going to put the cream of the crop into this box for one lucky winner.
Please be excited, because I’m excited.
Because this giveaway is so huge, it has to be limited to the continental US. Really sorry guys, but shipping this box two houses down is going to break my bank as is. If you live in the US somewhere, you’re in luck – enter below! This giveaway goes until the end of May. For every 50 entries into this giveaway, I’ll release a title of a book that’s going into the box!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Jake’s father disappears while working on mysterious experiments with the obsessive, reclusive Oberon Venn. Jake is convinced Venn has murdered him. But the truth he finds at the snow-bound Wintercombe Abbey is far stranger … The experiments concerned a black mirror, which is a portal to both the past and the future. Venn is not alone in wanting to use its powers. Strangers begin gathering in and around Venn’s estate: Sarah – a runaway, who appears out of nowhere and is clearly not what she says, Maskelyne – who claims the mirror was stolen from him in some past century. There are others, a product of the mirror’s power to twist time. And a tribe of elemental beings surround this isolated estate, fey, cold, untrustworthy, and filled with hate for humans. But of them all, Jake is hell-bent on using the mirror to get to the truth. Whatever the cost, he must learn what really happened to his father.
2 1/2 stars
Thanks to NetGalley and Dial Publishers for this eARC! This title is now available.
I am usually pretty easy to please with world building. As long as I know enough to keep me up to date on the lingo of the story, I’m fine. If the story can whizz by so fast the world building is not necessary, I never require it. But when a book keeps chucking terms and events at me with absolutely no explanation? Then I get annoyed.
I was out of my depth with this book from almost the first moment. There are multiple storylines for multiple characters straight from the gate. The character of Jake is by far my favorite, just because everything he does makes sense and he never uses fancy words. I start to lose it, however, with the introduction of Sarah. She lands in a field from out of nowhere, starts shouting names of people we’ve never met, is suddenly being chased by a wolf that is not a wolf (or is it?) and gets into the home of Jake’s godfather by pretending she’s an escaped crazy patient (or is she?). There’s talk of time travel and replicants, which gives this a distinctly scifi feel, but then we also get introduced to the Shee, which are basically fairies. Confused yet? Because at this point my head was just exploding—and this isn’t even the half of it.
I was never able to get into the groove of this book, because I only ever got half of what was going on. Every attempt I made to get into the flow was instantly thwarted by a new term or concept or event that I didn’t understand the basics of. I will say, though, that Fisher did a masterful job of tying everything together in the end of the book. Things that had been confusing before suddenly made a lot more sense, even as new befuddlements cropped up. Still, if I hadn’t been reading this for review, I probably would never have made it that far into the book. I was so frustrated for so long that I almost stopped reading.
That being said, the characters in this book had very obvious motives for everything that happened, with the exception of the butler who is still a mystery to me. Jake is searching for his lost parents, Sarah wants to rescue her parents, Venn wants to save his wife, Wharton wants to protect Jake, etc. They all have very human reasons for what they do, and I never question their actions, even when they have negative consequences. It’s rare that a cast this large has that as an almost universal quality, and that impressed me.
This book could be a great read for someone with more patience with me, or maybe the ability to read between the lines better than I can. For me, though, I just didn’t have the patience to wait for things to be explained to me until literally the falling action of the book. The concept was an interesting one, but it quickly soured on me when I couldn’t get into the action—which was plentiful—because I still had no idea how anything worked. If I can get an ARC of the next book, then I might read it for the sake of the characters, but it won’t be a must grab for me.
Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine!
Title: Of Triton
Author: Anna Banks
Release Date: May 28th, 2013
Summary from Goodreads: In this sequel to OF POSEIDON, Emma has just learned that her mother is a long-lost Poseidon princess, and now struggles with an identity crisis: As a Half-Breed, she’s a freak in the human world and an abomination in the Syrena realm below. Syrena law states that all Half- Breeds should be put to death.
As if that’s not bad enough, her mother’s reappearance among the Syrena turns the two kingdoms—Poseidon and Triton—against one another. Which leaves Emma with a decision to make: Should she comply with Galen’s request to keep herself safe and just hope for the best? Or should she risk it all and reveal herself—and her Gift—to save a people she’s never known?
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!
I’M SO EXCITED I’M BACK TO DOING THESE! It actually required the CAPS. I’ve been away at school for so long and so busy that these have been impossible because I wasn’t able to visit all the blogs that visited me. But now I’m home and finals are over and I’M BACK!
This Top 10 list is probably the weirdest, most eclectic list I’ve ever put together, mostly because I’m not ashamed to admit I usually avoid books entirely about tough subjects. These are most certainly not all young adult books, and some of them are historical fiction because why cheat halfway?
I was given this book at way too young an age, but the details of the story stuck with me. This book is a visceral showing of the foster care system, neglecting mothers, violence and sex. I honestly can’t believe I finished it.
This is a classic for a reason. It makes this list because I didn’t expect it to affect me as much as it did. What do I know about slavery or rape or killing my own children? Nothing, thank God. But this book made my stomach churn and my eyes water and left me thinking, hard.
Look, a young adult book! When I heard the premise of this book–that the main character kills a boy with a kiss because there was peanut oil in her lipstick and he was allergic–I wasn’t sure it was going to go over well with me. I wasn’t sure it would work. But there is a real dealing with of grief throughout this book, both in terms of the main character, the victim’s family and even the main character relating this to her dead mother. It worked much better than I thought.
I didn’t read this for handling of tough subjects, but I got it. Throughout this story, the main character deals with peer pressure, how far you’ll go for fame – and what happens when a room full of teens are given guns and told only one survives. My stomach was rolling with the action, and it stuck with me long after.
I’m still not sure how I feel about this book, but one thing’s for sure: this is one of the more candid, stomach churning pictures of bullying I’ve allowed myself to read.
The levels of adoration I have for this book are limitless. Despite the fact that this is billed as a contemporary romance, it really is so much more. The themes of family, love (besides relationship!) and healing after a huge traumatic incident are really strong and truly touching.
Technically, this is historical fiction. Personally, I think this is about so much more. I mean, the tagline is “I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.” This book deals with the bonds of friendship and the horrors of war all in one. I mean, the book OPENS with the main character being interrogated by the Gestapo. I very rarely cry for books, but this is one of those times.
I know that these books are pretty cookie cutter and all, but this book had such a personal bent for me that by the end of the book I was bawling my eyes out. I still can’t read about the character of the little brother without sniffling.
Okay, this is historical fiction, so I’m kind of cheating. I mean, these “tough subjects” are somebody’s life. However, what I was struck by was a rather smaller part of the book, which is the physical and sexual abuse that Thea goes through at the hands of the Emperor. It was striking in how little it was underscore.
I had almost forgotten about these books before I went looking for ones to fill this list, and now I’m struck with the need to read them all over again. These books are striking examples of what happens when you find yourself at Death’s door, when your mother overdoses and leaves you to die on your own and just about love in the face of death in general. Both it and it’s sequel just floored me.
Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.
Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
Ana was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.
In this second book in the Newsoul trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy.
4 1/2 stars
There was no way I could love this book as much as I loved Incarnate. I just had to accept that fact before I cracked the spine. The second books in series’ have a hard time measuring up as a rule. There was also no way that anything could replicate the absolute gush of emotions that Incarnate stirred up in me. With that in mind, I was ready to accept Asunder as it came. Honestly, it came pretty darn close to Incarnate.
The shining light in these books is Ana, and that stayed true for the entirety of Asunder. In a world of books where I can tell the main character is the imagination of the author, I always feel like she is a real person. She isn’t perfect, and she is always growing. I am constantly amazed that Meadows can show just how young she is compared to all the other souls in Heart, yet it never seems like a bad thing. Every other time authors have tried to make young adult characters act young, they tend to end up whiny and annoying. Ana’s inexperience and ignorance keeps her real, and can sometimes be a strength. Her relationship with Sam sometimes verges on being clichéd true love, but every time Meadows reins it in and reminds us of the age gap or another obstacle that they have to work through.
Sam, on the other hand, I’m a little bit frustrated with, though I can’t tell if that’s the reaction I’m supposed to have or not. I say that because he’s obviously frustrated with himself, and what he wants from his and Ana’s relationship and what the societal conventions are telling him. Hopefully, his choice at the end of the book is going to clear this up. What choice you ask? Don’t be ridiculous, that’s a spoiler.
The plot of this book was overall really amazing. I didn’t get the same amount of wow factors as I did in Incarnate until the end of the book, but that also may because I was more familiar with the book. Some very interesting characters were introduced, which kept subtly playing with the themes of love and relationships that I gushed over in the first book—and were also just awesome. I will say that I saw almost every plot twist coming, or at least figured it out early enough into the device that it felt that way. I’m still really conflicted about how the book ended as well, but I can’t talk about that because SPOILERS. If you felt the same, give me a shout out on social media or something and we can chat about it!
All in all, Meadows continues to delight me with every page, and this series is definitely one of my new favorites. I never usually have a huge connection to main characters, but I so wish Ana was real so we could be best friends—she certainly feels real! I respect every decision Meadows has made with Ana, Ana and Sam’s relationship and the general themes about love that run throughout the book. In multiple reviews I have asked authors to write a believable teen character and a real romance that doesn’t need a love triangle to thrive, and Meadows has gone over and above my wildest dreams. My heart may be rent asunder when I get to the end of the final book.