Book Review: The Cruel Prince

cruel-prince-cover.jpgBook-cation Location: Forests!

Book: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy
Print Date: January 2018
Goodreads Score: 5 stars

Short Review: An epic fantasy that you will not be able to put down!

Book Summary

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.

Long Review: First off I have to say that I LOVE the cover of this book!  My cover is the Exclusive OwlCrate edition! I am so happy this is the version that I have in my book collection. I held off on buying this book because I just knew it was going to be the one that was in the January OwlCrate. I’m just bummed that it took me this long to get to it!

This book has everything and then some that you would want in a fantasy. A tragic backstory for the main character, mythical creatures, good vs evil, battles, magic, spies, royalty, mystery, and betrayal! My eyes devoured every word of this one and I wanted more by the time I turned the last page. The twists were dramatic and exciting and the characters are amazing.

Lets start with Jude first. Jude is a wonderful main character. She is perfectly balanced and as the book went on you were able to get inside her head even more. I loved the strength that she has, about her circumstances, about her goals, about the big twist that I can’t talk about as I don’t want to spoil anything! I really enjoyed her relationship with Madoc too. She really should hate him with every fiber of her being yet she doesn’t. She has been treated as one of his own even tho she is mortal so it provides an very interesting dynamic to her story.

Speaking of relationships with her family members, lets talk about her twin Taryn. I don’t particularly care for her. It’s hard to imagine that she is of the same blood as Jude as they are so different. I can’t say much else about her other than her lack of spine in all the situations that involved Cardan and his group really bothered me. I would never have acted that way if my sisters were the ones being threatened.

As for Cardan and his group, I both liked and hated most of them at some point. I’ve read enough books to know that Cardan isn’t what he seems in the beginning and yet he still didn’t end the book where I thought he would. He has a very complicated yet pampered life as one of the heirs to the throne. I loved the twist in this book that it’s not the first born heir that automatically takes the throne, the current King chooses. Tiny spoiler alert…but once you read you will know this is revealed early on…the King doesn’t choose Cardan!

The author did an exceptional job building this world and I can’t wait to go back to Elfhame when The Wicked King comes out next year!

BOOK-CATION IDEAS!

As I mentioned above the Book-cation location for The Cruel Prince is Forests! Obviously you can’t really visit the realm of the Faerie, but I know of a few forests that will give you a bit of that magic!

  • Hoh Rain Forest. This forest is located in Washington near the town of Forks. (Yes that Forks, WA where the sparkly vampires are.) The crystal clear streams and moss covered trees are beautiful to behold. Some of the trees even have mushrooms that are wrapped around the tree trunks and reminded me of steps for little creatures that belong in a fantasy world.
  • Black Forest.  The birth place of the Brother’s Grimm fairy tales is the Black Forest in Germany. There are so many places to visit here that you can visit castles and stay in small bed and breakfasts along the way!
  • Hallerbos Forest. The final forest on the list that I have for you is located in Belgium. The floor of this forest is blanketed in bluebells in the spring time and makes it a magically beautiful site to behold. If you are there when it is foggy out you will also get a glimpse of the darker side of fairy tale forests.

“Because you’re like a story that hasn’t happened yet. Because I want to see what you will do. I want to be part of the unfolding of the tale.”
~Holly Black, The Cruel Prince

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Book Review: The Selection

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Book-cation Location: Castles & Gardens!

Book: The Selection by Kiera Cass
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Dystopian
Print Date: April 2012
Goodreads Score: 4 stars

Short Review: It’s a dystopian version of the Bachelor only better!

 

 

Book Summary 

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To 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. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Long Review: Okay, I am very behind the game on this one!  I’ve had several people recommend this book to me and I am so glad I finally had time to read it! Overall I love the story. It reminded me of Hunger Games where it has a sort of reality show display of something to make the people of the lower caste groups feel like they have a chance. It really is a dystopian version of the bachelor tho as 35 women are chosen to take part in the Selection to try and win the Prince’s heart/the crown. On the first day they meet the prince they all take turns talking to him and then he chooses which women he wants to keep to move forward in the competition. You have all the typical characters too, the mean girl, the over dramatic types, the little miss goodie good, and of course the jealousy! Add in a little bit of war and politics and you have the Selection. I’m going to be honest here, I don’t like the Bachelor. (Cue the gasps of horror as what woman doesn’t love it) However, I did like this version of it in the book which I admit, surprised me. I enjoyed meeting all of the characters and I look forward to seeing how they all work together throughout the series.

Prince Maxon, so far, has surprised me. He wasn’t as much of a pompous jerk as I expected him to be. I actually really liked him by the end! As for the other man in America’s life, Aspen, I both loved and hated him throughout the book. He just wants to be good enough for her and he is so dedicated to his family. This of course has me torn between which man is best for America, but you will have to make up your own mind about that.

I really enjoyed the world that Kiera Cass has created here. The idea of your status in life never changing based solely on your ancestors abilities and being assigned a number one through eight. Our main character America is a 5 which makes her leap into the Selection all the more exciting. I very much enjoyed the history that was provided in the book and the way it was done. Rather than reading a boring chapter in the beginning of how Illea came to be, we learn it through a history lesson that the Selected are receiving.

Based on the reviews I’ve read, you either love or hate this book. While it has not sky rocketed to the top of my best book ever list I did enjoy it. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series!

BOOK-CATION IDEAS!

As I mentioned above the Book-cation location for The Selection is Castles & Gardens! The actual location of Illéa doesn’t exist, and hopefully a place like it never does, but I think by visiting the castles and gardens you will feel like you have stepped into the palace as a Selected.

  • Borthwick Castle. This castle is toward the top of my list of places that I would like to stay while traveling through Scotland. This beautiful 600 year old castle was once home to Mary, Queen of Scots!  https://www.borthwickcastle.com/
  • Olissippo Lapa Palace Hotel.  This hotel is located in Lisbon, Portugal and was built during the 1800’s. There is a palace wing, villa lapa, and a garden wing. I bet America would recommend the Garden wing! http://www.olissippohotels.com
  • Sheffield Park & Garden. This is what I envision when I picture Prince Maxon and Lady America walking the grounds together. Just beautiful!   https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk
  • Longwood Gardens. Located in Kennett Square, PA and has over 1,000 acres of garden to explore. America loved the outdoors, and especially the garden, so I imagine this is a perfect place to visit to channel her character.  https://longwoodgardens.org/
“I don’t think any girl in all of Illéa could have been smiling more than me.” 
~America – Kiera Cass, The Selection

Book Review: The Culling

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Book: The Culling by Ramona Finn
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Sci-Fi
Print Date: November 2017
Goodreads Score: 3 stars
Giveaway: $50 Amazon gift card

Short ReviewAn interesting twist on a dystopian story.

Book Summary 

In a solar system where The Authority decides who lives and who dies, only one of their own assassins can stop them.

Glade Io is a trained killer. Marked at a young age as an individual with violent tendencies, she was taken from her family and groomed to be a Datapoint, a biotech-enabled analyst who carries out the Culling. She is meant to identify and destroy any potential threats to the human colonies. But when she’s kidnapped by rogue colonists known as the Ferrymen, everything Glade thinks she knows about the colonies, and The Authority that runs them, collapses into doubt.

Pulled between two opposing sides, and with her family’s lives hanging in the balance, Glade is unsure of who to trust—and time is running out.

Long Review: This was, in my opinion, your typical dystopian story that made things somewhat predictable. I did however enjoy the added sci-fi twist to the story. The thought that technology has advanced so far that you can literally sync your brain with a computer is kind of creepy. What was even creepier is that these same people that are synced with the computer then have the ability to kill anyone through the act of culling.  I couldn’t help but wonder how terrifying life must be in this world that the author has created. To know that at any moment the Authority could decide you are a threat and BAM, you can’t even defend yourself!

The characters are each interesting in their own way. My favorite is Kupier. From the moment he is introduced you immediately like him.  He is very driven, a great leader, and loves his family. Glade is a tough nut to crack. One minute you think she really is like a robot and then the next you find she is capable of emotion and you are able to peel back a layer to her. One of my favorite parts was getting to see how Glade unraveled all of the knew knowledge that she was given about the Authority by Kupier. She has gone her entire life thinking one way and is know basically being told its all been a lie. From the moment that Jan Ernst Haven gets introduced I am immediately suspicious…but I will let you be the judge.

This was not by any means my favorite book, but it is a quick and fun read that I think you will enjoy!

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About the Author
Ramona Finn writes about courageous characters who fight to live in broken, dystopian worlds. She believes a person’s true characters is often revealed in times of crisis, and there is no greater crisis than the worlds that she drops her characters into!

She grew up sitting cross-legged on her town’s library floor–completely engrossed in science fiction books. It was always the futuristic world or the universe-on-the-brink-of-extinction plotlines that drew her in, but it was the brave characters who chose to fight back that kept her turning the pages.

Her books create deep, intricate worlds with bold characters determined to fight for their survival in their dystopian worlds–with a little help from their friends. And, of course, romance is never out of the question 😉  WebsiteGoodreadsFacebook

To enter the Giveaway for the $50 Amazon gift card Click Here!

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Book Spotlight: Premonition

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Book: Premonition by Leigh Walker
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Sci-Fi, Romance
Print Date: July 2017
Giveaway: $25 Amazon gift card
Enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post! 

Before you start reading the book summary and author interview, take a moment to create the following playlist and get ready to dive into this new Division Series!

 

Promo image 1.png“THE DIVISION” PLAYLIST
The Other Side – Bruno Mars
Elastic Heart – Cia
Leave Out All the Rest – Linkin Park
Look What You Made Me Do – Taylor Swift
I Don’t Wanna Live Forever – ZAYN and Taylor Swift
Starlight – Muse
We Found Love – Rihanna
Princess of China Coldplay and Rihanna
Attention – Charlie Puth
Dusk Till Dawn – ZAYN and Cia

Book Summary 

For fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent…this exciting new science-fiction romance series, filled with twists and turns, will take you for a wild ride! 

When Riley heads off to boarding school for a summer work-study program, she knows it’ll be demanding. What she doesn’t expect? To be thrust into an intense physical training program described as special, exclusive and worst of all–top-secret. She signed up for tuition assistance, not to be held in a secret government facility for boot camp…

Welcome to The Division, the government agency that’s so classified, most United States senators have never heard of it. 

The Division wants Riley bad, but she can’t figure out why. Skeptical of what she’s being told, Riley’s determined to uncover the truth. Boot camp is intense, physically and mentally draining. The upside? One of her new teammates is the cutest boy ever. Watching Finn hit the gym wearing a tank top doesn’t suck–although sometimes his brooding attitude does. But when training forces Riley to confront her tragic past, even Finn’s big biceps aren’t enough to make her want to stay…

Beware: The Division isn’t something you just walk away from. You better run. 

Riley realizes her capabilities and strengths are greater than she’d ever imagined. But she also learns she wasn’t just chosen for this special program…

She was made for it.

About the Author
Leigh Walker lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children. She has a degree in Journalism and a law degree.

She’s never been to the Naval Shipyard prison in Kittery, ME, but she’s driven by it…and boy, is it creepy!

Leigh has lots of books planned for The Division Series. She loves to hear from readers, so feel free to email her at leigh@leighwalkerbooks.com.  WebsiteGoodreadsFacebook

Interview with the Author

Q: Wow, you’re interviewing yourself…how pompous!

Right? It’s to tell people more about the series, lol. Although I should admit that I normally talk to myself a lot, so this isn’t much of a departure.

Q: Tell us about “The Division” – it’s a bunch of teenagers with psychic powers, right? How did you get inspired?

Everyone on the team has psychic powers, yes. I was watching “Stranger Things” on Netflix and I WAS SO PSYCHED they were testing poor Eleven for psychic powers. But I was also like, YEEHAW! Because I LOVE psychic powers, and I can’t remember the last time I saw or read something that included them. I’ve always been obsessed by the concept, and there’s so many variations of powers, so many incarnations it can take… Anyway, after watching that show and having that reaction, I thought, other people must love this stuff, too, I can’t be the only one. So I wanted to give us all more!

Q: Tell us about the main character, Riley Payne.

Riley is a ‘normal’ girl dealing with a lot. Her father and sister died in a car accident and her mother started drinking heavily after it happened. She just wants to get out of her house and go to boarding school, but she gets more than she bargained for when she abruptly gets recruited into a secret agency…

Q: The ‘secret agency’ is The Division, correct?

Yes. It’s a secret cell of teenagers who were genetically engineered with psychic gifts. They work for the American government to combat domestic terrorism.

Riley thinks they’re nuts, of course. Until she unlocks her powers, then she’s blown away by what she can do.

Q: As the series goes on, you get into genetic engineering, fated love, eco-terrorism, loyalty, isolation, human nature, climate change…some pretty heavy themes. But would you describe the series as a difficult read?

I don’t think so, but certainly some parts were hard to write – like about Riley missing her dad and her sister. I still cry when I read those parts. And in the second book, an eco-terrorist is introduced, and some terrible things happen in the book. So yeah, there’s definitely a heaviness to some of what the characters are dealing with. But they’re teenagers, and their youth is sort of a tonic against everything they’re dealing with. They still care about their friends. They still want to hang out, tell stories, joke around. They are still very interested in falling in love. I think my writing style is naturally light and breezy, so it’s sort of a counterpoint to the storyline. If that makes sense, lol.

Q: What’s your favorite part of this series?

Riley and Finn’s relationship. They have so much on their plates, and they’re so young, but they genuinely care for each other in a way that makes me ache.

Q: What do you do when you’re not writing?

 I have three large, unruly boys who like to play every sport and eat as much food as possible. When I’m not at my computer, I’m busy carting them around and grocery shopping. But I also love to relax with a great book or television show – I am currently completely obsessed with Riverdale, OMG!!!

Thanks for having me! Happy reading!!!

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So I don’t know about you, but I’m officially ready to purchase and dive into this book!  To purchase a copy from Amazon Click Here!

 To enter the giveaway Click Here!

 

 

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