Book Haul: May 2020

With physical locations of libraries still closed around me, I’m finding myself buying more and more new releases. The end of April and the beginning of May were no exception. There were four releases, one at the end of April, two at the beginning of May, and one in the middle of May, that I couldn’t help but buy for my Kindle. Here’s what I bought:

  • Time of Our Lives by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
Time of Our Lives

I read the first two books by this author duo earlier this year and really enjoyed them. I’m hoping that this pair will be come auto-buy authors for me in the contemporary genre. As a result, I ordered Time of Our Lives for my Kindle. I’m crossing my fingers that third time’s the charm!

Time of Our Lives follows Fitz and Juniper, who are both going on college tours. While Fitz dreads college because his mother has Alzheimer’s, Juniper can’t wait to get some space from her large family. When their paths cross, their decisions have the potential to change their lives forever.

  • The Betrothed by Kiera Cass
The Betrothed (The Betrothed, #1)

For me, The Selection was a fun and easy to read series, although not exactly dystopian as the synopsis promised. Likewise, I expect The Betrothed to be a fun read with slightly historical elements. With The Bachelorette gone for this May, I had to find a replacement for my favorite show. The Betrothed came at the perfect time for me, so it is no surprise that I pre-ordered it.

The Betrothed follows Hollis, who always dreamed to marry the prince of her kingdom… until it happens. Now, Hollis finds herself attracted to a commoner. Will Hollis stay with the future that she always wanted or the future that she never thought possible?

  • Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2)

I read Aurora Rising earlier this year and I was surprised by how much I loved it. Needless to say, I am excited for the next book in this series (especially after that ending!) to see where the story goes so I had to pre-order it. Like with Aurora Rising, I don’t know much about what is going to happen in this book, all I know is that I am excited to read one of my favorite tropes: a ragtag group of heroes.

Aurora Burning is the second book in the Aurora Cycle series. In this book, the GIA agents are still trying to capture Aurora. Also, from the description, it seems like we’re going to learn more about Kal’s family and the Syldrathi army.

  • A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0)

I actually pre-ordered the physical copy of this book awhile ago when I ordered my Lara Jean and Peter Funko Pop’s from Barnes and Noble. I needed another item to get free shipping and I remembered that the newest book in one of my favorite series was releasing this year. This book has already generated some controversy, so I’m excited to see what angle Suzanne Collins takes in this book.

A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes follows Coriolanus Snow, the future leader of the Capitol, as he becomes a mentor in The Hunger Games.

What were your recent book purchases?

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May TBR

I am so excited to start my reading month for May because I have two new books to read by authors that I really enjoy. Both of these books are new releases in 2020 and both will count towards my 20 books to read in 2020 list (one book on the original list has a release date change, so I am making a substitution). Here’s what I plan to read:

  • Time of Our Lives by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
Time of Our Lives
Don’t you just love this cover?

Like with most books by the author duo, nothing about the plot really draws me in, despite my love of contemporaries. That being said, I did read the two books previously published by this author duo earlier this year despite my reservations and really enjoyed them, although I loved one a little bit more than the other. Since I enjoyed Always, Never, Yours and If I’m Being Honest so much, I high expectations for Time of Our Lives.

Time of Our Lives Fitz and Juniper, who are both going on college tours. While Fitz dreads college because his mother has Alzheimer’s, Juniper can’t wait to get some space from her large family. When their paths cross, their decisions have the potential to change their lives forever.

  • The Betrothed by Kiera Cass
The Betrothed (The Betrothed, #1)
This cover is so pretty too!

The Betrothed by Kiera Cass is the first book in a new historical romance series by the author of The Selection. The most popular series by this author is widely regarded as not the best written, but certainly entertaining. As a result, I don’t expect the most historically accurate story, but one filled drama and fluff.

The Betrothed follows Hollis, who always dreamed to marry the prince of her kingdom… until it happens. Now, Hollis finds herself attracted to a commoner. Will Hollis stay with the future that she always wanted or the future that she never thought possible?

What books do you plan to read in May?

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The Heir/The Crown Review

the heir the crown

I don’t not five my final rose to the final two books in The Selection series.

The Heir and The Crown by Kiera Cass take place years after the first three books in The Selection series and follow the daughter of America and Prince Maxon. The main character, Princess Eadlyn, finds herself up against a public enraged over discrimination based on former castes, her inexperience in the political arena, and her brash and somewhat cold-hearted personality. To quell the riots and earn more public favor, Eadlyn’s parents force her into her own selection.

I was definitely hesitant to pick up the final two books in The Selection series. I heard many negative reviews about these two books, mostly that they were more on their own duology, weren’t as fun as the original books, and the main character was more unbearable than America Singer. Despite my hesitations, I decided to read these two books anyway and found myself with mixed opinion.

First, I have to agree that The Heir and The Crown are more of a duology than a part of the first three books in the series. Even though we do see the characters from the first three books, there aren’t any major revelations in their stories. As for these two books, I would give them three stars as a whole, my same rating as the first three books of the series, but would give the books different ratings individually. While I really enjoyed The Heir, I really didn’t like The Crown or how it wrapped up the story, which I will describe more later.

For the main character in The Heir and The Crown, you will either love her or hate her. Eadlyn is a very strong character, but she is also very cold and blocked off, which makes it more difficult to get to know her as a character. I actually preferred Eadlyn more in The Heir because her personality seemed more inconsistent in The Crown, especially at the end. Throughout the series, Eadlyn grows somewhat as a character by becoming more sensitive to needs of the people outside the palace. On aspect of this book that I really enjoyed was I felt the unrest outside of the palace was more realistic and in depth than the whole North and South subplot within the first three books.

Similar to the first book in The Selection series, I felt the author tried to make a statement, but missed many opportunities by not completely fleshing out ideas. Since Eadlyn is a young woman, there are many people who question her authority. Additionally, Kiera Cass brings up several other relevant social issues that could have really made a statement in the novel. Instead of really making an impact with these moments and having Eadlyn really struggle as a leader to sort them out, everything was solved with the snap of Eadlyn’s fingers. Especially at the end where Eadlyn changes the country’s entire system of government, it seemed unrealistic that everyone in the kingdom would accept it without a thought when they were so critical of her moments earlier.

However, I think my greatest problem with this book was the whole romance plot surrounding Eadlyn. I hadn’t been so mad at the end of a book since I read Allegiant. Since The Selections series really hinges on the romance aspect of the book, the ending of Eadlyn’s story really left a sour taste in my mouth. *WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD.* Whenever I read a story, I hate when something occurs 75% through the final book that completely changes the entire story line. I never thought Eadlyn would end up with a character that wasn’t even in the Selection in the first place. I realize the author is trying to make a statement and do something different than the first book, but I couldn’t help but feel cheated after feeling so invested in other love interests from the first book and the majority of the second book. Since I never really got to know who Eadlyn even ended up with, I never cared about their relationship.

Overall, The Heir and The Selection aren’t extremely necessary to read if you’re already satisfied with the ending from the first three books in the series. While I enjoyed The Heir, I extremely disliked The Crown which left a bad taste in my mouth for the series as a whole. I give The Heir four stars and The Crown two stars.

The Selection Review

the selection

For a fluffy, but fun books with average characters and an average plot, I select The Selection by Kiera Cass.

The Selection follows America Singer, a member of her country’s low artist caste, as the kingdom announces a new competition where one girl will marry the country’s prince. America Singer has no interest in the crown or Prince Maxon because she’s in love with Aspen, a boy from a lower caste. When Aspen breaks up with America and she is chosen for The Selection, America seizes the opportunity to give herself space from her ex-boyfriend. Much to her surprise, America finds herself falling for Prince Maxon.

When it comes to young adult dystopian books with a competition, love triangle, and strong female heroine, The Selection is definitely not the best. However, it is also a book that you won’t be able to put down! The Selection is often described as The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games. While this book may not pack enough action for fans of The Hunger Games, it was definitely please die-hard Bachelor fans.

As for the characters, many come across as flat an one-dimensional. America Singer is a typical YA distopian/modern day Disney princess who shuns dresses, ballgowns, and marrying a prince and is constantly praised for her beauty and musical talents. None of her actions, such as literally telling Prince Maxon she’s only there for the food, really make sense. Like America, all of the other girls fall into stereotypes frequently used on The Bachelor, for example, the small town girl and the villain. Even though the character lacked much depth, I wanted to keep reading about them because I wanted to see who made it to the final few, or The Elite, just like with The Bachelor.

Like with The Bachelor, the relationships between the girls in the competition prove more interesting that the actual love interests. Like with the contestants of The Selection, both of America’s love interests are fairly standard. Prince Maxon is a perfect prince who loves America despite her declarations claiming that she will never love him. Aspen, on the other hand, is the fulfills the boy from home role perfectly. While neither relationship is particularly remarkable, there are a lot of cute moments in both relationships that will satisfy readers looking for a fun and fluffy romance book.

Like many other similar books, this book contains a sub-plot concerning war and invaders. In the first book, this doesn’t play an extremely large role. However, like the rest of the book, it seems extremely similar to other books. If you were expecting a little more depth into this area of the book, then you most likely will be disappointed. Since I was expecting that the book would rely more on romance than war, I didn’t mind the author didn’t focus on this plot.

Even though The Selection wasn’t the most earth-shattering books that I’ve ever read, I couldn’t put it down. The Selection is the perfect book for readers looking for a light and fluffy read outside of the contemporary realm. I would really recommend this book for people who want to branch out of contemporary, but not take a huge jump into a new genre or younger readers starting to pick up YA fiction. Since I enjoyed reading The Selection, but it isn’t the most remarkable book that I’ve ever read, I give The Selection three out of five stars.

Five Series I Need to Finish

blog-feature

Recently, I discussed Five Series that I Won’t Finish. I decided to turn my series post into a series! Over the next couple of weeks, I will discuss five series that I need to finish, five series I want to read, and my favorite series of all time. Today, I will be talking about five series that I NEED to finish!

When I was younger, I absolutely LOVED series. From Junie B. Jones, The Magic Tree House, The Baby-sitter’s Club, to the Pony Pals, I loved reading about my favorite characters over and over. When I got a little older, I started straying away from series and favored contemporary stand-alones. After hearing about so many wonderful series from blogging, I’ve rediscovered my love of books in a series. Here are five favorite series (that I still need to finish!):

  • The Selection series by Kiera Cass

The Elite (The Selection, #2)

The Selection isn’t the greatest series that I’ve ever read, but it is very addicting! Right now, I am watching The Bachelor. Since this book goes along well, I’m really invested in this series. When this is posted, I will be finished with the second book of the series, The Elite.

  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han

P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #2)

There aren’t many contemporary series that I’ve read, but I really enjoy this one! To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a fun and fluffy series that always puts a smile on my face. I’ve read the second book, P.S. I Still Love You, and can’t wait to read the third!

  • Rebel Belle series by Rachel Hawkins

Miss Mayhem (Rebel Belle, #2)

I really loved Rebel Belle, but wasn’t that impressed with the second book of the series, Miss Mayhem. I’ve heard not-so-positive reviews about the last book, Lady Renegades, but I’m still interested in finishing the series since I loved the first book so much. Even if the book isn’t the greatest, I hope the ending is satisfying.

  • Wolf by Wolf duology by Ryan Graudin

Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf, #1)

I read Wolf by Wolf this summer and was completely blown away by the story. I can’t wait to read Blood for Blood to see how the duology concludes! I also really want to read Iron to Iron to learn more about Luka and Adele’s relationship.

  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

I read The Lightning Thief last year and absolutely loved it! This summer, I plan to read the second book in the series. I hope it is as fun and adventurous as the first book!

 

What series do you need to finish?

May Reading Wrap-Up

wrap up

May was a hectic month for me. Between wrapping up student teaching, graduating college, and searching for a job, I am surprised that I found any time to read! Luckily, I read a few great books this month. Here are the books that I read in May (review will be linked to the title):

The Sun Is Also a Star

  • P.S. I Like You by Kasie West (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

P.S. I Like You

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (★ ★ ★ ★)

The Hate U Give

  • The Selection by Kiera Cass (★ ★ ★)

10507293

  • Alex and Eliza by Melissa De La Cruz (★ ★)

Alex and Eliza

  • Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

Wolf By Wolf (Wolf By Wolf, #1)

  • The Siren by Kiera Cass (★ ★)

The Siren

  • Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum (★ ★ ★)

Tell Me Three Things

 

What was the best book that you read in May? 

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Releases of 2016 (so far)

top ten

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is favorite releases of 2016 so far. Since I haven’t read that many 2016 releases yet, I decided to do my favorite releases so far based on their descriptions/that I plan to read. Here are my choices:

1.) The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

The Unexpected Everything

In The Unexpected Everything, Andie’s perfect life is turned upside down by her father’s political scandal. Now, she is forced to spend her summer as a dog walker and repair her relationship with her father.

I read Since You’ve Been Gone last month and loved it! I’ve heard great things about The Unexpected Everything, so I went out and bought it. If you have seen any of my thrifting hauls, you know how much I love getting books for a few coins. I have to be really excited for a book to buy it for full price!

2.) Wanderlost by Jen Malone

Wanderlost

In this book, Aubree covers hersister’s summer job of leading a tour bus of senior citizens around Europe with the cute son of the company’s owner. Where do I sign up?

3.) Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Love & Gelato

I love books that take place in Italy, so I can’t wait to read this one! In Love and Gelato, Lina discovers her mother’s old journal that her mother kept while she lived in Italy. With the help of a cute boy, Lina follows her mother’s footsteps and finds out a secret that will change everything.

4.) The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian

The Last Boy and Girl in the World

In The Last Boy and Girl in the World, Keeley’s town is sliding underwater and everyone is forced to evacuate. With a few days left in the town, Keeley’s friends decide to take advantage of the situation and go crazy. Apparently, this is loosely based on a true story, which makes me interested to read it!

5.) Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

Wink Poppy Midnight

I can’t tell much about the plot of this story from the description, but it’s been getting a lot of hype so I can’t wait to read it for myself!

6.) Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky

Kill the Boy Band

Kill the Boy Band follows a group of fangirls who accidentally kidnap a member of their favorite boy band. This book sounds hilarious, so it’s definitely a recent release that I want to check out.

7.) Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Salt to the Sea

I loved both Between Shades of Grey and Out of the Easy, so I have really high expectations for loving Salt to the Sea! In Salt to the Sea, four teenagers board the Wilhelm Gustloff to escape World War II when tragedy strikes.

8.) The Siren by Kiera Cass

The Siren

In The Siren, Kahlen was saved from drowning in the ocean, but she must repay her debt by living as a siren where using her voice leads to certain death for anyone who listens. Then, Kalhen meets Akinli and even though she can’t speak to him, they form an incredible bond that makes her want to challenge the rules. The cover of this book is beautiful and makes me want to read it during the summertime!

9.) The Season of You and Me by Robin Constantine

The Season of You & Me

The Season of You & Me centers around Cassidy Emmerich who finds herself boyfriendless and stuck as a camp counselor on the Jersey Shore. At Camp Manatee, she meets Bryan Lakewood who was left paralyzed after an accident, but it determined to regain his independence as a camp counselor. This book sounds like a perfect summer read, so I hopefully I can read it before the summer ends!

10.) Please Don’t Tell by Laura Tims

Please Don't Tell

In Please Don’t Tell, Joy believes she killed a boy at a party, but her memory of that night is hazy. Soon, Joy is blackmailed by a stranger who threatens to reveal her secret and forces her to expose the town’s dirty secrets. This book has an interesting premise and I’m interested to see how it plays out.

 

What are your favorite 2016 releases so far?