Category Archives: Reading

Reading Recap: Summer 2015

Summer was a bit slow for reading this year. Between working full time and getting ready for the wedding, I didn’t have a ton of time to squeeze reading in. That being said, here are my thoughts on some of my reads this summer (if not a little late!)!

Favorites

  • Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne. I was so surprised at how much I loved this book! It was such a light and easy read for being a “classic” and was so interesting! It had a good solid plot, good solid characters, and it kept me turning the pages, which is something that a book hasn’t done in a few months for me! It’s not a long read either, so if you haven’t read it, give it a try!

Somewhere in the Middle

  • King Raven https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1440942240l/73931.jpgTrilogy by Steven Lawhead. I have mixed feelings about this series.The plot was excellent; every detail was immaculately placed and insignificant moments from earlier in the series had huge significance later. It was an unique, fresh take on the story of Robin Hood that could have been amazing. There were just two big problems with this series.Lawhead has a way with words, which is very, very apparent in this series, so much so that it is to his detriment. There is just too much wording. What you and I could say in a sentence, he would say in five pages. While his imagery and verbage are impressive, I think it dulled the story down. It was just unnecessary and the plot would have moved along quicker.

    Tuck (King Raven, #3)Second, I had very little emotional attachment to the characters. I rooted for the good guys because that’s who I was supposed to cheer for and while the bad guys committed some pretty heinous acts, I didn’t really hate them either. It was a good story, but I just felt totally uninvolved and unaffected. It’s very hard for me to read books when I can’t connect to the characters, which is probably why it took me like four months to finish this series.

Disappointments

  • The Hier by Kierra Cass. I really should not have had high expectations for this The Heir (The Selection, #4)book considering how I felt about the rest of the series, but I thought a fresh take, she can improve after three books, yeah? Nope. The first three books were about a girl competing to marry the prince; in this book, it’s flipped. The princess is choosing amongst a bunch of boys competing to be her prince. I thought that it would be an interesting and different perspective, but oh my goodness, the main character (what was her name again?) was so unlikable. She was spoiled, selfish, and had no personality. Total Mary Sue. The other characters were just as vapid. If you read the first three books in the series, just stop there. It doesn’t get any better, and this is only the beginning of more to come. I also need to stop picking books based on pretty girls on the covers. :P
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Okay, I cheated a bit because I actually haven’t finished this book yet….and I’ve been reading it since February. But I only have a few chapters left! A Tale of Two CitiesThis is my first Dickens novel that I’ve read, but I could just not get into this. It was a very dense read for me, and I would lose my train of thought and have to go back and re-read the last page…or more. It really is an interesting story, but I can’t get past the writing. If you’re a fan of Dickens (then you’ve probably already read this) you’ll enjoy this book. Otherwise, unless you’re like me and read classics for the sake of it being a classic, keep looking elsewhere.

Have you read any good books lately or have any to suggest? I’m in a bit of a book slump!

The Selection Series by Kierra Cass

I received the Selection series as a Christmas gift last year and I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to read them. Ah, but what a series. I’m not going to lie, I was really attracted to this series because of just how beautiful the covers are! The pretty dress and all the tulle and… it was going to be a guilty pleasure, I knew right away.

Brief synopsis: a young girl, named America, from one of the poorer districts in society is selected to compete against 34 other girls to be Prince Maxon’s new bride. This is the Selection.

The Selection

The Selection

Despite its predictability, I could not put this book down. Anyone could see the direction the book was taking, but I wanted to eat up every moment along the way. I’m also a little embarrassed at how much I enjoyed this book.

The characters I found enjoyable. I read one review criticizing that they were all archetypes, but I didn’t find it distracting. Aspen, America’s best friend, could have used a little more development, or something – I didn’t have any emotional attachments to him. All of the characters could probably have used a little more development, but it weirdly didn’t bother me and didn’t detract too much from the story – which doesn’t really make sense, I admit. Some of the dialogue did feel contrived at times, but there were other times that it felt very natural and occasionally made me laugh.

Cass is not the best writer, but she is a great storyteller in The Selection. The characters and plot all could have used some refinement, but I still liked it. It was definitely a guilty pleasure – an all romance, character-driven plot that still felt very light and fun and was perfect for a summer quick-read. However, I might just want you to stop here because…

The Elite

The Elite

The Elite, the sequel to the Selection, was a mess. It was vapid, frustrating, and not at all entertaining. America was likable in the first book, but I couldn’t tell you how many times I wanted to slap her in The Elite! If Prince Maxon wasn’t giving her all of his attention, she would throw a hissy fit and do something entirely too drastic and still manage to get away with it. She acted like a big baby, and it wasn’t fun to read.

Aspen I found annoying. To refrain from any spoilers, I will just say he had no regard for the consequences of his actions. Any average person would fear for their life, but he kept doing the same thing over and over and it was really distracting. It was unrealistic and I kept stopping and thinking, when is his head going to be chopped off??

 

Like in The Selection, Cass gave me no reason to care for him or for what happens to him or for his relationship with America. He really could have gotten his head chopped off and I would have been okay with that. I feel like he is a wasted character that has the potential to be so much more.

Plot wise, nothing really happened. America felt like she was being ignored. She got upset, did something stupid, and Prince Maxon forgave her. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. And you have The Elite.

The One

The One

This is the third novel in The Selection Series. I don’t know what else to say about this book except it’s like a really bad FanFiction. America was perpetually crying the entire novel and her arguments with the prince were so petty and completely unbelievable. By this point, if I were the prince, she would have been long gone.

The only redeeming point in this whole series is the rebel subplot; however it is so skimmed over I don’t believe it’s given the importance it needs. It could really give some life to the story and has the potential to be something more than just a Hunger Games wannabe.

The Elite was very hard to read and The One was even harder. The style and language is boring and again, nothing happened. I have very little hope that the fourth book will be much better, but will finish the series just for the sake of finishing the series.