Book Review- Queen of Shadows

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* This review may contain spoilers for Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, and Heir of Fire

 

Queen of Shadows by  Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury on September 1st, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Pages: 648
Goodreads
Amazon

The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

I’m having a hard time writing this review because of how much I loved the book.

You know when something is super amazing and it’s just too hard to find the right words to describe it? Well that’s this book. And pretty much every book in this series. But I’ll try….

Okay, so I’m gonna start from the beginning. Aelin is on her way back to Rifthold, leaving Rowan (who I LOVEEEEEEEEE) behind. AND SHE MISSES HIM AND IT’S SO CUTEEEEEEE. Also everyone is kind of in trouble because the King is evil and Perrington and the witches etc. etc. etc.

This book is pretty different from the first three for a few reasons:

1) Celaena is now called Aelin (something I thought would really annoy me but actually it’s kind of perfect because it’s like a whole different version of her and kind of perfect okay I’m going to stop now but I think you get the point).

2) There are more serious romantic relationships. Yeah, I know, I know, Chaol and Celaena in Crown of Midnight… but this kind of takes it to a new level. And there is a lot of NSFW scenes, which (despite me not liking romance-y books) were kind of perfect and adorable.

3) There is a lot more of a “resistance”/”rebellious force”. As in there is an actual group of people going against the King and hunting the Valg and stuff.
There are other things that make it feel a little different too, but those are the main things.

Like I was kind of saying in the first paragraph of this review, I love this book. There is no one thing that makes it great, but rather just the perfect balance of character driven and plot driven events, and how somehow there is so much going on yet it is easy to understand and it is just A GREAT STORY. It’s so entertaining and it just draws you in and doesn’t let go.

If you haven’t read this series already, please believe the hype. I stayed away from these books for so long because I was like “no way that can be that good” AND THEN THEY WERE THAT GOOD. Like yeah, they aren’t for everyone, but still. It doesn’t hurt to give them a try!

I am going to give Queen of Shadows five out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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Book Review- Heir of Fire

Don’t miss the Epic Throne of Glass themed Giveaway ending TODAY!!

This review contains spoilers for Throne of Glass (book 1) and Crown of Midnight (book 2).


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Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury on September 2nd, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Pages: 565
Goodreads
Amazon

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

Before I read this book, I was told by a few people that it “wasn’t quite as good as the first two”. I disagree. I thought, if anything, this book was even better.

Celaena is broken. Nehemia is dead, her relationship with Chaol was shattered, and now she was sent North to the very Aunt that her parents tried to keep her away from. Even worse: she is forced to train and use her magic if she wants to have an audience with her Aunt.

Then there is Rowan. I happen to love him, even if he is a jerk throughout the first half of the book. Rowan has gone through just as much heartbreak as Celaena, and their relationship evolves beautifully (once you get past the beginning, but even that is necessary for what comes next).

Chaol and Dorian are back in Rifthold, and have challenges of their own. Also, Manon Blackbeak is introduced: the Heir of the Blackbeak witches. She is cut-throat and ruthless but also awesome. I didn’t really know how to feel about her at first, but I’ve grown to love her as much as the other characters in the book.

This book is certainly action packed and emotionally loaded, and if you’ve read and liked the first two books-Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight-I definitely recommend you continue the series!!

I am going to give Heir of Fire five out of five hearts!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Crown of Midnight

Don’t miss the Epic Throne of Glass themed Giveaway going on now!

Also this contains spoilers for the first book, Throne of Glass (see my review for that here)


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Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury on August 27th, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Pages: 418
Goodreads
Amazon 

Celaena Sardothien is the king’s Champion-yet she is far from loyal to the crown, for the man she serves is bent on evil. But working against her master in secret is no easy task. As Celaena tries to untangle the mysteries buried within the glass castle, she can trust no one, not even her supposed allies Crown Prince Dorian, Captain of the Guard Chaol, and foreign princess Nehemia.

Then, an unspeakable tragedy shatters Celaena’s world. She must decide once and for all where her loyalties lie . . . and whom she will fight for.

One of the worst things in the world is Second Book Syndrome (aka when the second book kinda sucks compared to the first). BUT THAT IS NOT THE CASE WITH CROWN OF MIDNIGHT.

There is so much going on in this book. Celaena is now the King’s Campion, and is sent out to assassinate people that the King wants to get rid of. Chaol is fighting his feelings about Celaena’s new role: he is both repulsed by her actions and feeling things for her he didn’t think were possible. Dorian, who also doesn’t love the idea of Celaena’s new role, is getting over her and trying to find a way back into her life as a friend.

This book is packed with action, and balanced out with the connections between the characters. The friendship between Nehemia and Celaena is beautiful and heartbreaking, and Celaena’s relationships with Chaol and Dorian are also beautiful and hearbreaking.

Actually, beautiful and heartbreaking sums up the whole book pretty well.
AND THEN THE ENDING. WOOOOOAAAAHHHH. Not gonna give spoilers, but even though I already knew the “major reveal” at the end, it still was a huge moment and all I can really think to say about it is “WOOOOAAAAHHHHH”.

If you read Throne of Glass and liked/loved it, I highly recommend continuing the series!!

I am going to give Crown of Midnight five out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Throne of Glass

Don’t miss the Epic Throne of Glass Giveaway going on right now!!


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Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury on August 2nd, 2012
Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Pages: 404
Goodreads
Amazon

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

This book blew me away.

From the first chapter I was swept away by the story and the characters and the vivid imagery. Celaena is taken from the salt mines of Endovier, where she was kept as a slave for a year, to the royal palace, where she is forced into a competition to be the champion for the King. I know some people have an issue with Celaena’s empty threats and lack of action, but I actually liked that. It showed me a lot of who she is as a character: she has a quick temper and even at her worst she still wants to fight.

All of the characters in this book were so dimensional and intriguing. They each had their own unique voices, and I had no problem differentiating between even the smallest of characters. I loved Dorian and Chaol especially, and they both were such strong characters, yet in very different ways.
Another thing I loved about this book was even though there were some “romancy” moments and plot lines, there was no “insta-love” or anything like that. What romance there was was very organic.

I honestly would recommend this book to everyone. It’s a book that I went into thinking I wouldn’t enjoy at all, and then loved more than I thought was possible. I know that this series is super hyped up (another reason why I put off reading it for so long) but  THE HYPE IS REAL GUYS. IT’S REAL.

I am going to give Throne of Glass five out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Award Time!! The Blogger Recognition Award (x3), The Sunshine Blogger Award (x2), and the Awesome Blogger Award!

Guy’s I’m feeling the love!!! I am seriously overwhelmed by the award nominations I have been receiving recently, and I can’t thank you guys (other bloggers and readers) for supporting me and Keystroke Blog!

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This post is probably going to be a little longer than usual (considering I’m putting 3 different awards in it) but bear with me! I’ll try to make this as fun as possible. Let’s get started!!

The Blogger Recognition Award

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I was nominated for this by Jordan @ The Heart of a Book Blogger , Lauren @ Comma Hangover, and by Darque Dreamer Reads. They are all such amazing bloggers and I definitely suggest checking them out if you don’t follow them already!

The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Write a post to show your award
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers
  • Select a few other bloggers you want to give this award to

How my blog was started:

I’ve always loved to read and write. About two years ago I stumbled onto a book blog while looking for some recommendations, and immediately fell in love with the community and the idea of being able to share my love for books with other people.

About a week later, Keystroke Blog was up and running!

Advice for new bloggers:

Interact with the community!!!

That is the most important thing you can do. That is why we are all here: to share our love for books. The more you put yourself out there with your commenting and blog hopping and social media, the more connections you will be able to make, and the larger presence you will have in the community!

I nominate:

The Sunshine Blogger Award

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Sarah @ The Clever Reader  and Sydney @ Sydney’s Shelves nominated me for this one!! Both of their blogs are amazing, and I love reading their posts (you will too!! Go check them out!!).

The Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions your nominator has given you.
  • Nominate a few other people and give them 11 new questions to answer.
  • List the rules and display the award

Sarah’s questions for me:

1. What is your favorite cover so far this year?

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Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel! I’m also just dying to read this book in general. It sounds SO GOOD!!! (check it out on goodreads here)

2. Do you enjoy Audiobooks or Physical/eBooks better?

I like Audiobooks and Physical books, but not eBooks. Something about reading on a screen just really bugs me. I need to either hold a physical book in my hands or listen to it.

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3. What is your 2017 reading goal?

My goodreads goal was to read one book a week, so 52 books this year. But I’m already at 71 books, and half way though another 2, so at this point I don’t really have any goals.

4. What is your favorite genre of YA?

Probably fantasy. But it’s really hard to choose because I like so many different genres!!!!

5. If you could live in a book world which one would it be?

There are so many but I feel like I wouldn’t last a day in any of them. I’d be the body that the characters stumble on.

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Although I have to admit that being able to use magic would be awesome. Sooooo… anywhere with a lot of magic and not a lot of people trying to kill me?

6. Who’s your book boyfriend/girlfriend?

Cas from Anna Dressed in Blood!! I love him!!!

7. What is your favorite mystical creature?

GAHHHHH there are so many amazing ones though!!!!

I like Fae, but also they are kind of terrifying. Honestly I think I’m going to go with whatever Betty was in the Percy Jackson books (some kind of mythical sea-cow?). Oooh oooh or the sea-horse things that Percy rides in the water.

Okay really any of the nice creatures from Percy Jackson. Or a nice dragon.

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8. If you could meet any author who would it be?

Just one? Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Kendare Blake? Sarah J. Maas? Jared Reck? Sarah Beard? Laura Silverman? Rick Riordan?

There are just too many amazing authors out there for me to pick one!

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9. What is your anticipated read for the rest of this year?

Kind of answered this one above… but it’s totally Black Bird of the Gallows!

10. If you could have any power what would it be and why?

Uhhhhhh probably the ability to fly. That would be super awesome!

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11. What book in the Harry Potter series is your favorite?

So many hard questions!!

Probably the first one, because it is the book that started it all!!

Sydney’s questions for me:

1. What are some of your favorite movies?

Just Go With It, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and A New Hope.

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2. Do you watch adult cartoons? If so, what are some of your favorites?

Not regularly, but I love Archer!!

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3. What is a weird bookish habit you have?

I have a hard time reading when other people are in the room (with the exception of my immediate family). I don’t know why… but I do.

4. How do you keep track of your thoughts when reading a book? Like for reviews and such.

I don’t really do anything special. I just finish a book and then write the review!

5. Do you have bookish merch? What are some of your favorite shops? And do you use the stuff you buy?

I don’t buy a lot of merch, but when I do, it’s off Etsy!!

6. Favorite beverage. For reading or for just life?

Pina Colada when I’m on the beach or by the pool (to sip while reading a book, of course).

Coffee in the morning because I would probably die at this point without it (also while reading a book).

Water always because water is life.

7. What distracts you the most from reading?

When other people are around. I always feel like I’m being watched….

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Or when I have my phone near me.

8.  Best book you read in the past three months?

Ahhh that’s a hard one because I’ve read so many amazing books!!

But I did just read the Throne of Glass Series and they were all five star reads for me, so probably those (I can’t choose one of them though!).

9. What are some of your favorite foods/meals?

My all-time favorite food is Pizza Potatoes. Basically it’s baked or mashed potatoes with red sauce and cheese on it.

Yummmmm

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10. What are some fictional characters you wish you were friends with?

Another super hard question!!!

I actually made a list of characters that I would want to be best friends with, so you can see that here if you want! My answers are probably still the same.

11. What are 5 things you are grateful for?

  1. My brothers
  2. My best friend
  3. Books and authors
  4. The book blogging community
  5. Everyone who reads my blog!

I nominate:

I actually nominated a bunch of people for this quite recently, so I’m not going to nominate any more… but you can check out those nominations here!

The Awesome Blogger Award

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I was nominated for this last award by Aria @ Snow White Hates Apples! Her blog is yet another that I love, and like the others, you should totally check it out!

The reason for this award:

This is an award for the absolutely wonderful writers all across the blogging world. They have beautiful blogs, are kind and lovely, and always find a way to add happiness and laughter to the lives of their readers. That is what truly defines an awesome blogger.

The Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Include the reason behind the award.
  • Answer the questions your nominator gave you.
  • Nominate some awesome bloggers.
  • Give your nominees 10 new questions to answer.

The questions for me:

1. Favorite quote from a book?

The world will be saved and remade by the dreamers – Sarah J. Maas

I actually just got a tote bag from Society6 with this quote on it! Check out the artwork here!

 2. Best plot twist(s) of all time?

Off the top of my head? Ahhhhh….

A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck

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Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

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3. Favorite classic that few know about?

Ummm I don’t really read as many classics as I should, so I don’t really know any that “few” know about….

4. If you can only read poetry or plays for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

Probably plays? Idk, that’s a hard one.

5. A character the majority loves but you don’t?

I don’t know about “the majority”, but I really, really hate Jay from The Great Gatsby. I think he is just a terrible person. I did love the book though!

6. Literary trope(s) that you like best?

For some reason I really like the mistaken identities trope. If you don’t know what I mean… these books have it:

  • Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
  • Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
  • P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

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7. How do you pick your next read?

Honestly I’m a mood reader, so whatever calls to me!

8. A book character that’s the most like you?

That’s a tough one… I feel like I’m a lot like Hermione (from Harry Potter….).

9. Do you read multiple books at the same time or do you stick to one until you’re done?

I read anywhere between 2-5 books at a time. I usually read a few hard copies and work through an audiobook at the same time.

10. A book you’d like a movie/TV adaptation for?

Anna Dressed in Blood!!!! It was going to happen and then it didn’t?! Broke my heart. But maybe it’s for the best….

I nominate:

Questions for my nominees:

  1. What’s your favorite food?
  2. Do you eat while you read?
  3. Coffee or tea?
  4. Where is your favorite place to read?
  5. Do you have any pets? (If yes can you share some pictures?)
  6. Do you like hot or cold weather?
  7. What is your favorite genre of books?
  8. What is the first thing that comes to mind when I say “magic”?
  9. Dragons or Unicorns?
  10. What book do you force on anyone who listens to your opinions?

You’ve made it to the end! Yay! I had a lot of fun answering those questions, and hopefully you had some fun reading them too!

I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who follows and reads my blog. It really means the world to me!

Thanks for reading!!

 

It is finally here: The EPIC THRONE OF GLASS THEMED GIVEAWAY!!!!

I have been promising this for weeks. Needless to say, I’ve been a bit behind schedule. But it is here!!

Over the past two months, I’ve read all of the published ToG novels (The Assassin’s Blade through Empire of Storms) and loved them all! I don’t know why I waited so long to start this series.

Maybe I was afraid of the hype… who knows.

Anyway, I haven’t posted any of my reviews yet, but they will be going up soon (probably in the next week or so, but you probably know by now that I’m terrible at staying on schedule) . In the meantime, you have this awesome giveaway to enter!

Here’s what you can win:

(And please forgive my less-than-adequate photo taking skills….)

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You can win all of these goodies and a hardback of the next ToG book: Tower of Dawn!! (ToD will be ordered from Book Depository and sent directly to winner)

Let’s take a closer look at what you stand to win:

  1. IMG_3410This beautiful 18×18″ pillow from BookishStuff on Etsy! The case is super soft and the pillow is very plushy! The art on it features a Stag silhouette with a dark forest behind it, and a starry sky and a quote inside of it.  It says:

    the Stag, the Lord of the North. So the people of Terrasen will always know how to find their way home. So they can look up at the sky, no matter where they are and know Terrasen is forever with them.

  2. IMG_3412A one-of-a-kind handmade Journal from KleeTreasures on Etsy! This beautiful journal is hand painted and has a cute bookmark with a yellow star charm and a spiral of stars charm.
    The art on this journal features the Stag of Terrasen surrounded by a golden circle with a crown on top!
    It is small enough to be carried around in your purse or pocket!
    Also, this came all the way from Australia!! (I think that’s really awesome)
  3. A gorgeous metal stamped necklace from Bookish IMG_3413Adventures on Etsy! This necklace is silver colored and says:

    Fireheart

    It also has a little heart charm off to one side!
    This necklace will make such a cute accessory with any outfit!
    You can check out Bookish Adventures on Instagram here!

  4. A 13×13″ Tote Bag from Society6 (this is the only thing not donated IMG_3411for the giveaway, but when I saw it I was like “ahh this is so cute! I need to include it in the giveaway!”)
    The artwork features a gold dream catcher on a black background with stars and has the quote:

    The world will be saved and remade by the dreamers.

    Just so you know, that is my favorite quote from the books!!

  5. A Hardcover of Tower of Dawn (ordered from Book Depository, as said above)

How to win:

*This giveaway is going to be open to anywhere that book depository ships!!

To win, just enter the rafflecoper giveaway below!

Rafflecoper Giveaway

Good luck entering the giveaway!

The giveaway ends on September 11th, 2017 and the winner will be emailed the following day!

And keep an eye out for the upcoming reviews of the Throne of Glass series!!

Thanks for reading!!

 

Mini Reviews- The Selection Series

Hey everybody!

I’ve read the Selection Series* multiple times, and I honestly have no idea how I haven’t reviewed them on my blog yet?! Especially because my latest re-read was in June of this year (and it only took 2 days).

*It’s important to note that I am only talking about the original trilogy… not The Heir or The Crown

My reviews are all spoiler free, but if you haven’t read the whole series yet, you might not want to read the reviews for the second two books (unless you want to know some of the stuff that happens in the selection… then be my guest!)

Some quick facts:

Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: April 24th, 2012 (The Selection); April 23rd, 2013 (The Elite); May 6th, 2014 (The One)
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Dystopia
Synopsis:

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.

Goodreads: The Selection, The Elite, The One
Amazon: The Selection, The Elite, The One

So let’s get started!

Book 1- The Selection

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The Selection is exciting from beginning to end.

American Singer doesn’t want to be a part of The Selection. She doesn’t want to marry Maxon and become the Princess. But her love for Aspen accidentally gets her thrown into the world that she so desperately wanted to avoid. And then the unexpected happens: she likes it. Dun dun dun….

This is definitely one of the more “trashy” YA books, but it is SO GOOD! This is a great book to read when I need to get out of a book slump, and it’s a quick read too!

I love America as a character. She is strong willed and hilarious, and has a deep appreciation for food that is all to relatable! And, what I love even more: she loves and wants to support her family. Oh, and both her parents are alive (unlike So. Many. Other. YA. Books.).

There definitely is a love “triangle” (angle? idk) going on in this series, but it doesn’t annoy me as much as they usually do. America’s feelings are valid. And she’s not wishy-washy (for example, she doesn’t say things like: “Oh I like Asher, but I like Maxon, oh my gosh what am I going to do? My life is so hard. Boo hoo”).

Overall, this book is just plain amazing, and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a cute, quick read (although you’ll probably want to pick up the next book right after you finish this one!!), and anyone who loves dystopia and romance!

I am going to give The Selection five out of five hearts!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book 2- The Elite

16248068There are only 6 girls left in the Selection. Tensions are high, and the stakes are even higher.

America needs to choose: Aspen, the boy she has loved for years, or Maxon, the Prince she might love.

The Elite is full of drama, both from The Selection, and from the Rebel threat that seems to grow with every day. This book is just as exciting and fast paced as the first one.

As America begins to take on more duties in the palace, she also begins to learn more about what the Rebels want and what her connections are to their goal.

If you read the first book and loved it, I definitely recommend you continue the series! You won’t be disappointed!

I am going to give The Elite five out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book 3- The One

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There are three girls left in The Selection, and the time has come to choose a queen. America Singer knows that Maxon loves her, but before she commits to the crown, she has to sort out her feelings. Does she love Maxon, the prince who has snuck into her heart, or Aspen, the boy she has loved for years but broke her heart?

Meanwhile, the Rebel attacks are getting worse, and America is caught up in the middle of it. She discovers that she is connected to the rebels in more ways than one, and she uncovers secrets about her country’s history in the process.

The One is a stunning conclusion to The Selection trilogy. It is fast paced and exciting, and keeps you on the edge of your seat and guessing until the very last chapter!

If you have read The Selection and The Elite, I highly recommend you read the conclusion!! Also, if you haven’t read this series and love YA dystopia/romance, try it!!

I am going to give The One five out of five hearts!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Have you read this trilogy? What did you think about it? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!!

Thanks for reading!!