Quarterly Reading Wrap Up | Spring 2019

Hey guys! How’s it going? So I’ve been thinking about how I can be more active in the bookish community, and one way I thought about it a quarterly reading wrap up! I read a lot of webtoons and comics, and I’m slowly picking up the novel reading habit again, but instead of doing monthly wrap ups, I’d do quarterly and talk about the titles I’ve been actively reading or given a chance.

So quarter one was filled with a bunch of webtoons and some bookish goodness, and I’ve liked the majority of what I’ve read. So let’s jump into the webtoons first, shall we? I’ll show my ratings as I go, even though most of these series aren’t done yet for the webtoons.

Webtoons

All of these webtoons can be found on LINE Webtoons.

Dogged by pain and misfortune from the very beginning, Shin-Ae decides she wants nothing to do with people nor anything to do with romance. Although content with her unsocial, boring, loveless existence, her lifestyle is challenged after she ruins an unsuspecting strangers’ clothes.

I Love Yoo by Quimchee is one of my favorite webtoons to date. It’s one I’ve kept up with for a long time and I can’t wait until it picks back up again! (Quimchee is taking a well-deserved break right now.) But there’s been ALL KINDS of drama and one big reveal that will be coming up but was sort of introduced and OOF I NEED TO KNOW WHO SHE IS. And also: new best boy??? I’m 10000% here for it.

★★★★★

Witness what the gods do…after dark. The friendships and the lies, the gossip and the wild parties, and of course, forbidden love. Because it turns out, the gods aren’t so different from us after all, especially when it comes to their problems. Stylish and immersive, this is one of mythology’s greatest stories — The Taking of Persephone — as it’s never been told before.

Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe is my new favorite obsession. Not only is the artwork super different and beautiful (like each character is represented by a different color and it’s lovely), but the story itself is amazing. I love, love, love myths and so the retelling of one of my favorites is just pure perfection. There’s cute moments, frustrating moments, sad moments. It’s a great story and I highly recommend it.

★★★★★

Seven boys. Best friends. Their fates intertwined through the good times together, but also the tough times, as they have gone their separate ways and suffered greatly as a result. When all is almost lost for these boys, one is given a special chance to go back in time and help his friends fix the mistakes that led them down this path. He’ll do anything to save them, but can he? Or is he too late?

Save Me by Big Hit Ent. & LICO is about BTS and, being a BTS fan, how could I say no? I mean, I was saying no at the beginning, but then I couldn’t stop my curiosity and now I’m hooked because it tells the story between their music videos and why certain things happened. It’s super good so far. If you’re a BTS fan and you’re trying to piece together the mystery of their music videos, then this comic might be a good read for you.

★★★★☆

Sori is a special young girl – kind, caring and principled well beyond her years. Unfortunately, these are NOT the personality traits generally celebrated in middle school – especially Sori’s, where she’s bullied mercilessly for defending the defenseless until she herself becomes a target. To escape, she transfers to a new school where the same old problems begin to play out all over again – that is until a mysterious trail of letters leads Sori on a magical scavenger hunt through the hidden world that exists right below the surface of her new middle school. The mail trail is the work an anonymous guardian angel, whose mission seems to be to provide a soft landing for Sori at her new school. But who is this person? And why did he choose her? With each letter, secrets are revealed and bonds are formed – as Sori learns about friendship, flora, fauna and finding the good in people in this strange new environment.

Your Letter by Hyeon A Cho is SUCH a great story so far. Seriously, not only is the artwork lovely af, but the story itself is just so pure and something that I didn’t realize I’d been wanting until I read it. Of course I’m hoping for a romance to blossom between the two main characters, but also I love how their friendship started over this one boy. It’s sweet and sentimental, but also has consequences of actions and it’s just… Just read it.

★★★★☆

Getting crushed by your crush. Coming out to your parents. Learning that your sister is your biggest dating rival. High school sure does have its share of twists, turns and moments of high drama. To get through it all with your smile and sanity intact, you’re going to need some friends. Really good friends. Friends like Johnny, Mariel, Gaby and Martina who, one way or another, will find a way to get through their teenage years together.

The Four of Them by Mai Hirschfeld_ is a coming of age story about four teens just being teens and dealing with relationships, whether they be romantic, familial, or platonic, school life, emotions, and more. It’s another sweet series that I’m really loving and the artwork is so lovely! And, as the description says, there is drama and I’m really interested to see how the different threads of drama unfold as time goes and how far into their teenaged lives we get to see.

★★★★☆

Edith is not your typical heroine. She struggles with her confidence, her morals, and life in general by not only holding herself to high standards, but her men as well. Enter two less-than-perfect men: one who may be the Prince Charming she’s been waiting for to deliver a fairy tale ending, the other a brash reality check who does NOT believe in happily-ever-after. What will Edith do? Will she sacrifice her standards? Or keep searching for that mythical white knight who may or may not exist in the first place? Funny, messy and sexy, Edith’s journey is relatable to anyone who’s ever left their heart on the battlefield of the dating world.

Edith by Swansgarden really surprised me. One day I was just browsing around the site and saw this unique art style and decided to take a peek. Well, not only do I love the art style, but this story is so different from what I’ve been reading because it deals with an older protagonist (like in her 20s or something), and there’s a lot of mental illness, tough decisions, forgiveness – or lack thereof, and more. The story is a little bit mature in theme, but it’s definitely something to check out if you’re interested.

★★★★☆

An ancient warrior created a pact to keep the world at peace. After ages, this pact still stands because of the spirit warriors who guard it. Aigon’s dream is to join these warriors, but unknown to everyone, the pact is about to get broken by a group of rebels hiding in plain sight

Spirit Warriors by Yaruno ad L.Bobler follows a group of kids who are looking to become spirit warriors (shocking, I know), and how they each go about finding their spirit and how they train and learn to master the power associated with it. Of course, it doesn’t seem to work out with every student, but it’s very early on in the series and I’m really interested to see what happens. It’s kind of cliche and predictable, but also just really good. If you like fantasy, check this one out!

★★★★☆

In school, Tooru is known as “The Prince”. He’s smart, popular, and can have anyone he wants. So why is it that he can’t think of anyone but Yamamoto, the plainest, dullest guy in the entire school?

Plain Boy & Prince by amanduur is the cutest and cheesiest and most glorious thing I’ve read. Seriously, I’ve been giggling and laughing so much and it’s just the cutest thing. It’s a boys’ love story following the Prince of the school who instantly falls for the most dull looking boy, and how the dull looking boy starts to also feel the feels, and just… go read it before I fangirl like crazy, thanks.

★★★★★

“Monsters can’t feel love” they say. Well, I think otherwise. “There’s a person I like… but other than the problem that she’s a girl… I find out she’s a monster!”

Monsters Don’t Blush! by Flowerfully is another super cute story that is a girls’ love story that follows a girl wanting to tell her crush how much she likes her, but she’s often blocked from getting near the girl to let her know how she feels. It’s very early on in this series, but I can’t wait for the next update because, just like the Plain Boy & Prince story, there’s much giggling and cuteness to be had.

★★★☆☆

Books

This is going to be separated into two parts: Book I’ve read and books I’m currently reading.

Books I’ve Read

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

You can check out my full review here!

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black was a book that hadn’t been on my radar until I saw literally everyone reading it. When I started to read it, I wasn’t all that into it. I felt the writing was super choppy and didn’t really encapsulate everything that was going on in every scene. I didn’t really feel for the characters until the last third of the book. Honestly, the end of the book is what saved this from a two star rating because THAT ENDING THO. Overall it was a good read for the latter part of the book and it definitely made me excited to read the next book.

★★★★☆

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.

You can read my full review here!

The Chase by Elle Kennedy was kind of a let down for me because I really loved her Off-Campus series that I read a few years ago. I saw the main protagonist, Summer, was a pretty whiny individual. Yes, she had some mental health issues and dyslexia, which was nice to see in a novel, but her overall character was just… too… whiny. That’s the best way I can put it. And I felt like Fitz was super two dimensional. I wanted to know and see more of his computer/video game side, but alas, we only got brief glimpses of it. I’m more interested in reading the second book in this Briar U duology, but we’ll see how it goes.

★★★☆☆

The Art of War meets “The Artist’s Way” in this no-nonsense, profoundly inspiring guide to overcoming creative blocks of every kind.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is a self-help kind of book that talks about ways to break through to your inner creative and really make the best use of your time with it, but, uh, I didn’t like this book. At all, or much at all.

It boasts a lot about showing you how to break past those blocks and be creative, but the most I got out of it was, “stop procrastinating and just do it.” I actually DNFed it because it was just not for me. This doesn’t mean you might not find value in it – you might! My husband liked it much more than me and said I’d like it, but alas.

★★☆☆☆

Books I’m Currently Reading

A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together. 

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell. 

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is one of my current reads and I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I have been. Not only did it hook me from the first chapter, but it’s feeding my inner vampire heart because, yes, there are vampires and they’re different from other kinds of vampires I’ve read about, and just yes, please. I’m about 35%-ish through the book right now and am definitely enjoying it, but there are some things that I’ve been questioning as it goes that I’ll talk about in my review when it comes.

I recommend it if you’re looking for an urban fantasy adult read with witches, vampires, mystery, and magic.

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the 10 consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Wars were fought for them, and won by them. One such war rages on the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where 10 armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson is the first book in the Stormlight Archive and OOH BOY, is it a long book. I’ve been listening to the audiobook for months now (it’s over 45 hours long), but it is SO good. The world building is phenomenal, the characters are awesome, the plot is intricate and complex, and it’s quickly (or not so quickly, given its size lol) become one of my favorite books – and I’m only 71% of the way through it! I am, however, in part four, which is the last part, so the end is coming for this first book and I am not ready for it.

If you’re looking for a high fantasy novel that you can really dive deep into and be stuck in for a while, then I definitely recommend this book. And I especially recommend the audiobook because the voice actors do a very great job with their roles.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is a fan favorite, as I’ve noticed, and I got 40% of the way through before I stopped. Not because I wasn’t enjoying it – I was, for sure! – but I just wasn’t in the mood to read it at the time. I do plan on picking it back up soon, though, so look forward to that review when it comes! What I have read so far, though, is action packed and very dark and it speaks to that darker part of my soul, so it’s very much appreciated.

If you’re looking for a heist book with a lot of unlikely people coming together, definitely pick this up.

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.

When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe’s place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.

There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe’s independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Circe by Madeline Miller is a story that takes place in the world of the gods, and though I’m still fairly early on (only 5% of the way through) it’s really good so far. I was bored at work one day and decided to look this title up and read a sample because I’d been hearing good things about it, and boy, am I hooked. The writing style is different, but full of a life of its own. It’s got cruelty (as the gods are very cruel), loss, humanity, and that’s just within the first early section of the book.

If you’re looking for a myth retelling – or a unique myth story – check this one out!

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. 

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po. 

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone. 

Graceling by Kristin Cashore is a fantasy story that I’ve been interested in reading for a long time, but had never picked it up until I watched Hannah from A Clockwork Reader on YouTube recommend the book to someone who might be looking for a romance in fantasy. And, well, if you know me, you know I love both of those things, so of course I picked this up (luckily my husband owns the books so it was easy enough to get).

I’ve only read the first chapter, but I already have SO many questions! It’s already off to a fast start with many characters and abilities that I can’t wait to learn more about.

If you’re looking for a YA fantasy with romance, check out this companion series! I hear not every book focuses on the romance, so you might find a book that fits your tastes more.


AND THAT’S IT! Wow, I’ve actually been reading a lot more than I thought I was lol I’m also glad that I’ve enjoyed most of the books I’ve read so far this year. I actually find it interesting that when I’m reading lately I’ve got a more critical eye and I’m finding more faults in things than I was when I first started blogging. It’s crazy, but I’m liking that I’m being more honest with myself about my thoughts on books.

Let’s Chat!

What have you been reading lately? What was your favorite and least favorite book from the first quarter of the year? What would you recommend to me? Let me know!

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.