Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Selection by Keira Cass [Book Review]

The Selection 
by Keira Cass 
338 pages 
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Format: Ebook 

Prepare to be swept into a world of breathless fairy-tale romance, swoonworthy characters, glittering gowns, and fierce intrigue perfect for readers who loved Divergent, Delirium, or The Wrath & the Dawn.
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape a rigid caste system, live in a palace, and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her, and competing for a crown she doesn’t want.
Then America meets Prince Maxon—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

This is a series is one that has been on my TBR pile seriously for six years. I saw it everywhere in the book world and it had been suggested to me countless times. 
For whatever reason, i avoided reading it and getting invested in the series. At least for me, when there is too much hype I get turned off. However, that being said... I wish I'd read this so much sooner! 
The Selection begins with America Singer (she sings. No, really...) and as ridiculous as her name is, I did come to find myself rooting for America and overlooking these things rather quickly. 
While this book has the typical love triangle and parts of it are a tad bit unbelievable (like Aspen ending up at the castle as well AND you would think Royalty would have better security...) I did enjoy it and find it a very enveloping read.

I love when a book hooks me, and ultimately the "hook" factor is what really sets books apart for me. I was hooked while reading The Selection and proceeded to read the next two in the series within three days.

I loved the "Bachelor-esque" aspect of this book and really enjoyed the relationships created between the contestants. I felt Cass did a wonderful job at highlighting both sides of these relationships, on the one hand they are all each other has -- but they're also competing.

I felt at times like Maxon was a bit too forgiving to America, but this was the only occassion I had issues suspending belief.

I listened to these via Audiobook thanks to my beloved Scribd subscription (Scribd is a total game changer).

While these are not life altering books, I do find them to be very cute and engrossing. Definitely worth a read!

Have you read The Selection series? What did you think? Comment below and let me know! :) 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

THE CRUEL PRINCE (The Folk of the Air) by Holly Black [Book Review]

Title:The Cruel Prince
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: January 2018
Paperback: 384
Of course I want to be like them. They're beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

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.

Source: Scribd 
Format Read: Audio Book


I once wrote an entire post regarding how I was just not into fairy's back in 2010. You can find that here. 

Now, in 2019 I can officially say that I enjoyed THE CRUEL PRINCE. I heard so much about this book I had to put aside my preconceived notions regarding Fae tales and give it a chance. Ultimately, I'm happy I did. 

Our main character, Jude lives in an in between world of sorts. She was raised in the real world, our world, and then was taken to the High Court of Faerie and was forced to fit in. Her parents were dead and she had only their killer to see as a father figure. Just that alone would lead to some wicked issues, but add faeries on top of that and you have a story filled with deception paired with disadvantage. 

Things I liked: 

The world building in this novel is masterful. I LOVED the details and the darkness felt palpable even through the page. Holly Black made every minute detail related to the world of Fae. Something as small as a tea cup would be described and bring you further into the world of fae. Acorns abound and I loved it! 

I love Vivi and found her character to be very believable. She was in many ways the most likeable character in the book for me and I am excited to have more of her story in book two. 

I loved the slow build of this novel. The pacing was very well done with a slow reveal and build up that left me needing to continue to discover what was going to happen. 

I enjoyed the twisty family dynamics and the very real relationship they all had. Jude is fully aware she should be upset about her parents and even being in the Court. However, it's all she's ever really known. 

Things I didn't like: 

The first half of the novel felt different than the last half. It felt to some degree like the beginning had one set of goals and the second half had another. There was so much great build up that it kept building and building, but then everything changed. I was still ferociously reading to discover what was going to happen, but it felt... different. 

I did not like the love interest at all. I like bad boys and hate to love storylines. What I do not like is when a person is so incredibly hateful but yet somehow the protagonist likes him anyway. I get that Carden has his own things going on, but he isn't a nice guy. Towards the end I didn't feel that sense of understanding that others seemed to feel. He was still the guy who allowed others to be incredibly mean and cruel so... not a fan. 

I wanted to see more training. There was such a great intrigue subplot where Jude joins other Fae to truly prover herself and I wish we'd seen more of the development for it. I wanted to see what set her apart and made her great. Things were alluded to but we didn't see enough of it. 
I enjoyed the Cruel Prince and will be reading The Wicked King when it is released on January 8, 2019! Some of my observations may be due to a lack of reading when it comes to Fae stories, but I did enjoy The Cruel Prince and am eagerly awaiting the next one. 
I'm very hopeful for more understanding from Carden and very excited to delve back into the twisty world of the Fae High Court. 

How I Plan My Writing and Reading Life in a Bullet Journal...

Bullet Journal's have been everywhere recently and I really wish I could tell you that they're overhyped and that using a traditional planner is just as helpful for your daily life. I am always wary of things that everyone swears by. I'm always afraid I'll get into something that redirects me from what is actually helpful for me. But....

I LOVE my bullet journal. I fully believe it made me a better person and redirected me to the things in my life that actually matter and that I actually care about. The beauty of bullet journaling is that it can be whatever you want and whatever you need AND you can change it at the drop of a hat. 

I began a new journal for 2019 pictured below (isn't it gorgeous?!). So, I thought with the new year and this brand new set -up it would be the perfect time to show you how the Bullet Journal Method works for me! Granted, I don't Bullet Journal traditionally like Ryder Carrol's book. I do create my own planner with to do lists, and keep track of goals to better my life. 

I've found, by writing down my goals I am MUCH more likely to hit them. 

I begin each notebook with future logs, trackers, and large scale goals. Below is my initial 2019 book tracking list. After each book I complete I will keep track of the title, author, date completed, along with a general star rating. This page will hold 75 books. 

I do like to make my Bullet Journal relatively pretty - the below spread is my pretty and fun Book Log for 2019. The one below keeps track of the date completed/my feelings on the book. This one is just to satisfy me visually. PLUS this list holds over 100 titles, which I'm hoping I may be able to hit this year. 

Whenever a title is completed I will color in the book and keep track of the title. I am SO excited to fill this in! :D 

Once a book is completed or a book is purchased, I place the plan for review below by month to sort out my posting plan. 

I am attempting to be more serious with my writing goals this year and am determined to finish my first draft and edit/complete all the things. 

The below log is a general goal for each month, whether it be drafting, editing, querying, etc... 

I tend to work as a I go with the journal. I will start by tracking January, setting those goals and go based on what is completed. I know some people will plan out an entire year but I KNOW things will change and will not put that down in ink just yet. 

This list below is a year in pixels so I can keep track of my productivity throughout the entire year for writing. Some people do habit trackers with multiple things tracked in one graph BUT that's way too much for me to handle. This tracker is just for writing and things related to writing so I can (hopefully) stay accountable. 

As I said earlier, I do attempt to make my journal a tad pretty and artistic. My art skills are horribly limited, but I do like to do nice literary cover pages! 

I track reading and writing goals in my monthly as well as my weekly planner as well, however it is much more limited. The monthly tends to be my big goals for the month and my plan for getting things done. 

So... do any of you bullet journal or want to know more about it? I have truly found so much joy from making my own pages and being able to make it everything I need at the time. If there's something pressing that I need to track, I can add a special tracker and personalize it to fit everything I need. 

What do you think? :) 

Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs all images from the In the Castle and Story Book Castle by Lorie Davison