The Chase Book Review

Title: The Chase
Series: Briar U #1
Authors: Elle Kennedy
Publisher: Elle Kennedy Inc.
Publish Date: August 4, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Fiction – Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 378
Format: Kindle eBook

Everyone says opposites attract. And they must be right, because there’s no logical reason why I’m so drawn to Colin Fitzgerald. I don’t usually go for tattoo-covered, video-gaming, hockey-playing nerd-jocks who think I’m flighty and superficial. His narrow view of me is the first strike against him. It doesn’t help that he’s buddy-buddy with my brother. 

And that his best friend has a crush on me. 

And that I just moved in with them. 

Oh, did I not mention we’re roommates? 

I suppose it doesn’t matter. Fitzy has made it clear he’s not interested in me, even though the sparks between us are liable to burn our house down. I’m not the kind of girl who chases after a man, though, and I’m not about to start. I’ve got my hands full dealing with a new school, a sleazy professor, and an uncertain future. So if my sexy brooding roomie wises up and realizes what he’s missing? 

He knows where to find me.

Diving back into the stories of the college students of Briar U was something I was really looking forward to! I remember loving the original four books of the first series, instantly hooked on the hot hockey dudes and the beautiful girls they fell in love with.

This story, though? It… kind of fell flat for me. But that’s not to say that it still wasn’t enjoyable as far as entertainment value is concerned.

So let’s talk about the characters first:

Summer is Dean’s sister (he’s the main lead in The Goal) and as such, she’s drop dead gorgeous like her brother and has just a big of a personality as he does. And as much of a sex drive as he does. Of course she’s more than just that, and it’s often revealed and talked about throughout the story how she wants to be seen as more than just her family’s money or more than just her looks: she may not be academically smart, but she’s got a lot of passion for fashion, which is what she’s studying; she believes in woman power and building other women up instead of tearing them down; and she had an orbit about her that draws people in.

She’s also a lot of drama. Like. Holy crap, a lot of drama. I found myself often thinking that a lot of her reactions were over the top and that they didn’t really warrant to be as such for the situation. I get that’s supposed to be her personality, but a lot of the reactions seemed forced or even out of character.

Colin Fitzgerald is one of the hockey players for Briar U and he’s a tattooed, video game designing man who wants to work for a big game company when he graduates. He’s even made his own video game and has others he knows beta test it, which is pretty cool. He’s also very sexually driven, I found throughout this story, which is fine but sometimes I thought it was a bit much. He also has a bit of social anxiety, which is understandable given his back story and the way he grew up.

So, as far as plot goes: there was a lot of back and forth between Summer and Fitz (obviously, it’s not called “The Chase” for nothing) where they would often inner monologue how they’re very attracted toward the other and they want to get in each other’s pants, but never know what the other is thinking.

My biggest issue with this was how it made the characters feel so shallow and kind of two dimensional. So much of the plot centered around the sexual aspects that I felt it took away from the characters and their growth, because I actually did find the stuff happening outside and around them interesting.

I found that the anxiety was handled really well, though, and it was very believable how the characters tried to cope with their anxiety, either on their own or with help from another.

Overall, I found this to be a book that focused highly on entertainment value than on character development, which is fine, but I still wish we could have seen more come out of the characters. Some of the situations felt forced or rushed or pretty unbelievable, but otherwise it was a fun story with steamy scenes and some laughs.

★★★☆☆

The Wrath & the Dawn Short Stories Reviews

thecrownandthearrowTitle: The Arrow and the Crown
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #0.5
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Genre: Young Adult – Romance, Fantasy, Short Story
Pages: 9
Format: Free eBook

Seventy-one days and seventy-one nights had come and gone since Khalid began killing his brides. This dawn, Khalid would mark the loss of the seventy-second girl, Shahrzad al-Khayzuran. Khalid didn’t know how many more of these dawns he could take. And there was something about this latest girl that piqued his interest. Not only had she volunteered to marry him, but at their wedding ceremony, she had seemed not the least bit afraid. In fact, what he had seen in her eyes was nothing short of pure hatred. She was about to lose her life. Why wasn’t she afraid? Why did she hate him so? He had never before gone to his wife’s chambers before her death at dawn. Tonight would be different.

That was it? I was expecting more, that’s for sure. It didn’t really add much to the story at all, but we got to see the very beginning from Khalid’s point of view. I mean, it was fine. You could tell he hated what he had to do, and he could see the hate burning in Shazi’s eyes, but it leaves so much that I wish could have been added. Seriously wish there was more.

3/5 stars

themothandtheflameTitle: The Moth and the Flame
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #0.25
Publication Date: March 22, 2016
Genre: Young Adult – Romance, Fantasy, Short Story
Pages: 37
Format: Purchased eBook

It started as playful, if barbed, banter before rising to a fateful wager with a most notorious rake—the Captain of the Guard, Jalal al-Khoury—who may have finally met his match in a lovely, if haughty, handmaiden, Despina. But she, too, seems to have met her match in the handsome Jalal. What begins as a tempestuous battle of will and wit in short order becomes a passionate affair spurred on by tragedy of the worst kind.

This short story had me holding my breath and my heart racing. I thought that this was such a better short story than the last, and I was not disappointed.

This story follows the handmaiden, Despina, and the Captain of the Royal Guard, Jalal. Both of these individuals have their own tasks with which they have to think about and attend, and then when they run into each other one day, it seems like it just goes from there.

Despina, though I was weary of her in The Wrath and the Dawn, turned out to be a really intelligent young woman with a strong will and a sharp tongue, and this short story definitely continued to show that. I enjoyed reading from Despina’s point of view to see what it was like serving the calipha and her interactions with Jalal. It was funny at first, playful even, and then things became more serious as time progressed.

Even Jalal was likable in this story! I don’t really remember what I felt for him when I read the main book, but in this one we got to see a couple glimpses from his point of view and we got to learn a little bit more about him and his… “reflections.” He’s funny and tries to be charming, and I love how Despina can disarm him with her own retorts.

What made me really enjoy this was the heart racing moments they had together, for sure. There was one scene in particular that I was like, “Yesyesyes!” I also enjoyed reading about Despina’s interactions with the calipha because we got to see a little bit of who this girl was before the things that happened in the main book. I wish that their relationship could have turned into somewhat of a friendship, but it didn’t happen that way.

I just wish that the last chapter could have been a little different? I’m not really sure what I was expecting… Well, I do know what I was expecting, but it didn’t happen the way I hoped, so I’m disappointed only in that aspect, haha! But otherwise I think that seeing the progression of time and feelings was useful. I only wish there could have been one more chapter in between the last two to further dive into Despina’s, and even Jalal’s, feelings of one another.

Overall, I think this short story added to the main one because we got to get more from two of the important side characters. I loved this a lot and highly recommend it if you’ve read The Wrath and the Dawn.

I rate this short story 4.5/5 stars.

The Winner’s Curse Book Review

thewinnerscurseTitle: The Winner’s Curse
Series: Book #1 in The Winner’s trilogy
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance, Dystopian
Pages: 355
Format: Hardcover – Won in contest

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love.

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction.

Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

I have never been so conflicted about a rating on a book as I was with this one. It’s not that I didn’t like it, but I was just kind of neutral about it.

The story starts out in an interesting way with a girl of high society out and about in the market with her friend when they come upon an auction for a slave and she buys him despite her better judgement. It then goes on about her desire to not become part of the military like her father wants, of not getting married too young if that’s the only other option, and of not falling for someone she knows she shouldn’t and can’t have.

I honestly thought that this story was meh at best. I wasn’t overly blown away by it, nor was I super invested in any of the characters. There was enough in there, though, that made me want to continue and find out what happens next, but it was just okay.

Kestrel is a very strategic person, always trying to think two steps ahead of everyone else. She leads her life a lot through logic and cleverness, and she isn’t afraid to stick up for herself and make decisions regarding her life or supporting the decisions she makes. I thought that she was kind of distant, though, like I couldn’t really connect to her or her situations. I thought that she was kind of bland and didn’t really show much emotion other than cleverness or annoyance/anger. I remember one time – maybe two – in the book where she laughed or smiled genuinely in a situation, and that’s just something I just find hard to believe. I thought she was an okay character and her real self really came out around Arin.

Arin is the slave that Kestrel buys and already he’s got a kind of wildness in his eyes when she buys him, a defiance that shouldn’t be there in a slave. I think that where Kestrel leads with logic, he leads more with emotions and allows himself to feel situations more than Kestrel does. I thought that he was the more interesting of the two, honestly. He seemed much more honest when we read from his point of view and not nearly as bland. I enjoyed reading about his backstory in the parts where it happened, and of his protective nature over Kestrel.

I think that my favorite parts were the romance parts because that was when both of the characters truly seemed to come alive. Both of them bounced off each other in ways that were beautiful and golden and I thought that it was rich and lively and wonderful.

Kestrel’s friendship with Jess and Ronan didn’t seem genuine in the least. I thought that through the majority of the book that Jess would betray Kestrel because that’s just the vibe I got from her. And then I could plainly see Ronan’s affections for Kestrel even if she wanted to deny them. They didn’t really seem like they were part of the story, but rather fillers for when it was needed.

And though I could understand Kestrel being angry at being kept as though she were a slave later on in the book, I think that she didn’t really take the time to understand that the people who had just captured her had been slaves for the last decade. I was waiting and hoping that she would have put herself in their shoes at least once, to understand where they were coming from and to understand why they were so upset with the Valorians, but she didn’t, and I think that was my greatest disappointment.

Some parts were entertaining and lot of it was kind of dragging. I don’t really know how I feel about the book; I wanted to love it, but ended up kind of being meh about it.

I will say, though, that despite my complaints that I am interested to see what happens next and how things are going to go from here. I hope that the second book gets better.

I rate this book 3/5 stars.

Accompanying video: The Winner’s Curse Book Review | Spoiler Free

The Selection Novellas Reviews

So I recently just read all of The Selection novellas by Kiera Cass, and rather than do separate reviews for them, I’m just going to combine them into one review here. There’s a few spoilery kind of things in the reviews, just so you’re aware.

theprinceTitle: The Prince
Series: The Selection 0.5

Before thirty-five girls were chosen to compete in the Selection…
Before Aspen broke America’s heart…
There was another girl in Prince Maxon’s life…
Don’t miss this thrilling 64-page original novella set in the world of the New York Times bestselling novel The Selection. Also features a teaser to The Elite, Kiera Cass’s hotly anticipated sequel to The Selection.

In this novella, we got to see part of The Selection from the viewpoint of Prince Maxon, and I was actually excited to read from his perspective because I liked his character when I read the first book. In this we saw him dealing with his emotions before the Selection process and I think that he stuck true to his character: he was shy, but confident, and tried to make the right decisions.

And then there was this girl from France who just kind of made a situation in the novella seem kind of abusive and I was like, “Um, yeah no.” Trying to make Maxon think he was in love with her and he just didn’t know it? Yeah, no thanks. She was nice up until that point and then BAM.

Then we saw him during his first encounter with America and a few more after, and I really enjoyed those scenes, being able to get his thoughts on what had just happened and all of that.

There wasn’t much to go on here, but it was nice nonetheless to see from Maxon’s point of view. If you’re a fan of the series, give this a read!

3.5/5 stars

theguardTitle: The Guard
Series: The Selection 2.5

Before America Singer met Prince Maxon . . .
Before she entered the Selection . . .
She was in love with a boy named Aspen Leger.

Don’t miss this digital original novella set in the captivating world of Kiera Cass’s #1 New York Times bestselling Selection trilogy. This brand new 64-page story begins just after the group of Selected girls is narrowed down to the Elite and is told from Aspen’s point of view. The Guard also features a teaser to The One, the thrilling conclusion to The Selection trilogy.

So when I originally started this I thought I was going to read a bit more from Aspen’s point of view before he became a guard, and maybe his journey into it, or something like that. But this novella was about his time in the palace when America is going through her Selection and the various times they meet in The Elite.

Frankly, I’m not a huge fan of Aspen, so I had to push through this one. I found him kind of annoying like I did in the series, but it was still good to get a perspective from him.

He was confident in his role as a guard, but a lot of his thoughts were only about America. When he had a talk with Lucy, I was hoping for something else to happen, but he just went right back to thinking of America, which is fine since he was still infatuated with her.

Overall, I thought him to be a little too dependent on America. He tried so hard to show he still cared, but I didn’t really get that from him. I got a desperate boy trying to win back the heart of the girl he made brokenhearted.

The plot of the novella did follow some different sequences, though, and we did get to see him in action a little bit, which was cool. I wanted to know more about the rebels and see more fights, but alas, it didn’t happen.

3/5 stars

PrintTitle: The Queen
Series: The Selection 0.4

Before America Singer’s story began, another girl came to the palace to compete for the hand of a different prince….

Don’t miss this digital original novella set in the captivating world of Kiera Cass’s #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series. This prequel story takes place before the events of The Selection and is told from the point of view of Prince Maxon’s mother, Amberly. Discover a whole new Selection with this inside look at how Maxon’s parents met—and how an ordinary girl named Amberly became a beloved queen.

This was actually my favorite Selection novella and I wish there had been more!

This novella followed Queen Amberly when she was in the Selection back in the day. I found her to be reserved and polite, knowing a little bit more strife than some of the other girls that were there. I think that it was kind of adorable that she had been in love with (then) Prince Clarkson ever since she was a little girl from having seen him on TV and whatnot and the fact that that little girl crush continued on into her Selection process.

It was nice to see Clarkson take an interest in her and show some concern in his own way for her because of her medical condition. From there, their subtle romance took off and I actually thought that it was really kind of cute and enticing.

The plot itself showed a glimpse as to why Clarkson became the king he was due to his parents, and it showed how Amberly handled that situation. The two seemed kind of made for each other, which was sweet.

Definitely give this novella a go if you’re a fan of the series.

4/5 stars

thefavoriteTitle: The Favorite
Series: The Selection 2.6

While America Singer’s heart was torn between Aspen and Prince Maxon, her friend Marlee knew exactly what she wanted—and paid the price.

Revisit the captivating world of Kiera Cass’s #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series in this digital original novella. Told from Marlee’s point of view, this all-new 64-page story returns to the fateful Halloween when Marlee and Carter were discovered, and reveals how that night—and Prince Maxon—changed their lives forever.

This novella took place during the events in The One and I actually really enjoyed this novella, too. It follows Marlee during the time she’s going to be beaten for treason, and it also goes into flashbacks about her and Carter first meeting and the times in between to their first kiss and beyond.

I was super suspicious of Marlee at the beginning of the series, but as it progressed I saw that she was really just a genuine friend, and after her little rendezvous with Carter, it kind of really showed that her heart was elsewhere.

This novella was divided into two parts, and I was honestly hoping the second part had more to do with a little bit into the future of their lives, but it was during one of the attacks from the rebels. As with the other novellas, I just wished for more because I wanted to see how they’d act and react in certain situations.

I really liked the characters explored in this novella, and though I wish the plot in the second half had been a little different, it was still good nonetheless, though there were some parts where I questioned why something was funny or why something had to happen the way it did.

Either way, check this novella out if you enjoyed the series.

3.5/5 stars

*All novellas were read in ebook format on my nook Simple Touch.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Book Review

meandearlandthedyinggirl

Title: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Author: Jesse Andrews
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Publication Date: March 1, 2012
Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary
Pages: 295
Format: Purchased Paperback

“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews is a story about a senior in high school who’s just trying to live his day to day life on friendly-but-not-friendship level turns with every major group in his school. He has one friend, Earl, whom he hangs out with and makes films with. One day his mom forces him to hang out with this girl named Rachel, and soon finds out that she has leukemia. Greg (the main character) and Earl decide to make a film for Rachel, but what will it be about?

Okay, well, this book confused me quite a bit. To understand why, let me take you through a few things first.

I can understand where the humor would upset a lot of people. I wasn’t laughing at anything, really, and was offended and unnerved by some of the things that were said in the book, but at the same time I can understand cultural and regional references as to how people talk or act and stuff like that.

I felt that the plot, or at least the majority of it, had nothing to do with Rachel or her disease or making a film about/for her. It was all over the place, talking about different people, different things, and some of it felt like it really didn’t need to be there.

I thought the first third of it was good and coherent, but when the parts with Rachel surfaced, we barely even got to know her. It was kind of frustrating because it is called “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.” Not “Me,” or “Me and Earl Make Films,” or whatever.

Okay, so I thought the main character, Greg, or the “writer” of this book (since this book’s POV is from that of someone writing a book) was very selfish. He was also kind of clueless in a lot of places. I thought his heart was in the right place on a few occasions, but it was otherwise just him rambling about his days and what he did and how much his films sucked. I found him to be extremely frustrating and annoying.

Earl was a more complex character, but wow was he a potty-mouth. I understand teens swear, and the environment in which they grow up in can affect that, but wow. Was not expecting that. It was kind of annoying at times, but I did enjoy trying to read his parts in his voice with an accent I can only imagine. I liked him in a “he’s cool” way. Well… yeah. I honestly don’t know what to say. I did like, though, that he really understood the situation and that he tried to get Greg to understand and see it, too.

Rachel was a sweet, quiet girl suffering through a life-sucking disease. We barely got to see her or get to know her at all throughout the book, which I thought was frustrating because, again, it should have included her more, in my opinion.

The plot of the book is a tough one to explain. It’s from the perspective of a teen who has just lived through these events, but sometimes it read like a novel, other times like a screenplay. It was confusing a lot of the time, and other times it felt like it didn’t serve a point. I thought that some of the chapters or paragraphs were filler while others made a bigger impact. It really focused in on how much “Greg sucks” and how down on himself he is a lot, and I think that was probably the most frustrating.

Unfortunately I don’t really know what to think about this book. I think that it was definitely different from the kind of books I’m used to reading, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

I might see the film and do a film review of it later on, but I’m still deciding as I was very confused by this book.

I rate this book 3/5 stars.