The One by Kiera Cass

The One by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection
Published by HarperTeen on May 6, 2014
Genres: Love, Romance, Contemporary, Royalty
Pages: 323 : Hardback edition
Source: Checked out from my local library
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The time has come for one winner to be crowned.

When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.

So I know I talked a lot in my review of The Elite about how I was getting a bit tired of the story and it was suffering from middle book syndrome, but oh my god this one made trudging through that SO much better! I literally just finished this and let me just tell you that I am a wreck.

This had so many twists and turns, and I want to talk about so many spoiler alerts but gah! Just go read it!

Anyways, I really liked that this didn’t focus so much on the whole “Who do I love more? Aspen or Maxon?” thing and focused in more on the ending of the selection and the political side of this entire world. We are introduced to so many cool characters this time around (including one named Paige! Woo!) and I just cannot wait to buy this for myself to read again and again.

There was also so many times when I had to reread things to make sure I was reading it right, and then gasp aloud at my shock of how the story was progressing. I expected this to be more fluff and just blah blah blah, but it ended up being so, so, good and I can’t wait to buy the one that is coming after this (called The Heir, I believe?).

So if you suffered through the second one and have made it this far then do yourself a HUGE favor and read this right now! It’s so worth it and I think I must have finished in the span of one day. Two thumbs (or crowns?) up!

The Opal Crown by Jenny Lundquist (Review & Giveaway!)

The Opal Crown by Jenny Lundquist
Series: The Opal Mask
Published by Running Press on October 28, 2014
Genres: Love, Romance, Royalty, Mystery, Intrigue
Pages: 368 : Paperback
Source: Received from the publisher for an honest review

Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

In the year since she was betrothed to the crown prince of Kyrenica, no one has suspected that the Masked Princess has been a decoy. That Elara, the secret twin sister, has been pretending to be

Princess Wilha all along. The royal family has kept Elara’s identity hidden from the world, and for the girls, swapping lives has not been easy. Galandra is quickly declining, and the sisters continue to be a pawn in the Guardian’s ever-changing endgames.

 

But the stakes rise when Elara and Wilha’s younger brother, Andrei, takes the Galandrian throne after their father’s death, and he reveals the girls’ deception to Kyrenica’s royal family. Viewed as traitors, Elara and Wilha realize they are now fighting for their lives—and for their country. However, with only one crown and one throne to overthrow, Elara and Wilha must decide who will become queen. Or rather, the next savior for their people.

The sequel to the Princess in the Opal Mask.

About Jenny:

Jenny Lundquist grew up in Huntington Beach, California, wearing glasses and wishing they had magic powers. They didn’t, but Jenny-Lundquist-Author1they did help her earn a degree in intercultural studies at Biola University. Jenny has painted an orphanage in Mexico, taught English at a university in Russia, and hopes one day to write a book at a café in Paris. Jenny and her husband live in northern California with their two sons and Rambo, the world’s whiniest cat.

Website | Twitter | Facebook |Pinterest | Goodreads

 

This review is spoiler free!

Jenny Lundquist has done it again with another decadent and thrilling novel in the Opal Mask series! Right from the beginning we are thrown back into this (sometimes terrible) world of deception and intrigue. I really liked how Elara and Wilha seemed to have matured and a bit older in this novel, whereas before they were more unsure of themselves. I mean who doesn’t love some kick-ass leading female characters?

Galandria (still loving that name) is thrown in turmoil and tons of civil unrest as the royals try to figure out who to trust and who to keep close to them. Despite how decadent the name sounds, Galandria itself is pretty much in shambles as the citizens are scrambling together to find basic necessities for themselves, while keeping revolution and uprisings at the forefronts of their minds.

I wish there could have been more at the end, but the epilogue sort of sated my appetite for that. Is it too much to hope for another novel in the series? It would be interesting to see the story from Andrei’s point of view a little more, since he is as conflicted as his sisters. Definitely a 5 out of 5 star book!

 

Giveaway Details:

(1) Winner will receive a $25 Amazon or Barnes &Noble Gift card and a set of THE PRINCESS IN THE OPAL MASK and THE OPAL CROWN. US Only.

(4) Winners will receive a set of THE PRINCESS IN THE OPAL MASK and THE OPAL CROWN. US Only.

 

Rafflecopter Code: a Rafflecopter giveaway

theopalcrown

Tour Schedule

Week One:

10/20/2014- Tales of the Marvelous– Review

10/21/2014- The Reading Nook Reviews– Interview

10/22/2014- A Dream Within A Dream– Review

10/23/2014- Two Chicks on Books– Guest Post

10/24/2014- The Paige-Turner– Review

Week Two:

10/27/2014- A Backwards Story Interview

10/28/2014- Bibliophilia, Please– Review

10/29/2014- Stories & SweetiesGuest Post

10/30/2014- Jessabella Reads– Review

10/31/2014-  Me, My Shelf and I Guest Post

Reluctantly Royal by Nichole Chase

Reluctantly Royal by Nichole Chase
Series: Suddenly Royal #3
Published by Avon Books on August 26, 2014
Genres: Royalty, Romance
Pages: 384 : Paperback
Source: Purchased on Amazon
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Maxwell Jameson Trevor, prince of Lilaria, hates his royal role. Despising the limelight, he takes solace in his art studio and steers clear of any drama. But when one of the newly discovered royals passes away, Maxwell’s brother Alex asks him to break the news to the old man’s granddaughter. Though he hates to be the bearer of doom and gloom, he doesn’t want the poor girl to find out from the tabloids. For Maxwell knows all too well how devastating that could be.

Coming from a broken home and modest background, newly ordained Lady Meredith Thysmer has seized her chance to make a better life for herself and her son. She’s not afraid to use her best assets to get what she wants. But when the unpretentious yet devastatingly handsome Max delivers his news, her plans for the future come crashing to a halt. In the challenging days ahead, Max’s compassion, humor, and steadfast loyalty to Meredith and her son win her over. She quickly finds herself doing something she swore would never happen again: falling in love. And yet Maxwell still refuses to completely drop his guard. Somehow Meredith’s got to find a way to seduce this reluctant royal.

I’m so sad that this is the last one of the series! Once again we are thrown into the lives of the D’Lynsal family and we finally get to meet the mysterious mild child, Max. He’s quiet, not quite brooding, but very private, which made me want to get to know him even more.

Meredith, our female protagonist, is also sort of private, to a certain extent, so getting to read from her point of view as well was also enthralling. Nichole Chase managed to give each character a very distinct voice and had me gobbling this novel up fairly quickly just so I could see what they were going to say and do next.

I think the entire trilogy had a nice overall story arc, as well as taking the time to spend on the personal lives of the different family members and their significant others. Though I wish the series could have gone on longer, it did end in a good place. These novels are perfect for anyone who loves reading about romance, royalty, and a very Nora Roberts’ esque story tie-in (where they all seem to link up in the series, but can also be read alone).

I can’t wait to see what Nichole Chase will put out next!

The Selection Stories: The Prince & The Guard by Kiera Cass

The Selection Stories: The Prince & The Guard by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection
Published by HarperTeen on January 1, 2014
Genres: Love, Romance, Contemporary, Royalty
Pages: 227 : Paperback edition
Source: Checked out from my local library
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Two novellas set in the world of Kiera Cass’s #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series are now available in print for the first time.The Prince and The Guard both offer captivating views into the hearts and minds of the two men fighting to win America Singer’s love. This collection also features exclusive bonus content, including a sneak peek atThe One, the eagerly anticipated third novel in the Selection series.

Before America arrived at the palace to compete in the Selection, there was another girl in Prince Maxon’s life. The Prince opens the week before the Selection begins and follows Maxon through the first day of the competition.

Raised as a Six, Aspen Leger never dreamed that he would find himself living in the palace as a member of the royal guard. In The Guard, readers get an inside look at Aspen’s life within the palace walls—and the truth about a guard’s world that America will never know.

 I loved reading this from the different viewpoints of Maxon and Aspen! I liked Aspen’s point of view because we had more of an insight to the political side of things and how there is unrest in the castle and the outlying rebels as well. Even though I’m not a huge fan of Aspen (like at all) I did like his commentary and it made me appreciate his character more.

Maxon’s section on the other hand I thought was way too short and I would have enjoyed reading a lot more about him and his thoughts. He seems to be the most confused about the whole Selection (weird since the whole thing focuses around him) and I liked seeing the thoughts he had on different events (and on America!).

There is also a section at the end which goes over the castes more in-depth and the family tree’s of America, Maxon, and Aspen which was extremely interesting since it also had notes about the families that were first forced into the caste system. All in all a great companion to the original series!

Princess in the Spotlight by Meg Cabot

Princess in the Spotlight by Meg Cabot
Series: The Princess Diaries
Published by HarperTeen in 2000
Genres: Princess, Romance
Pages: 256 : Paperback edition
Source: Received through PaperBackSwap
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No one ever said being a princess was easy.

Just when Mia thought she had the whole princess thing under control, things get out of hand, fast. First there’s an unexpected announcement from her mother. Then Grandmere arranges a national primetime interview for the brand-new crown princess of Genovia. On top of that, intriguing, exasperating letters from a secret admirer begin to arrive.

Before she even has the chance to wonder who those letters are from, Mia is swept up in a whirlwind of royal intrigue the likes of which hasn’t been seen since volume I of The Princess Diaries.

(I actually hate this cover. That blue is awful.)

On the other hand I do love this book! Another stunning addition to the Princess Diaries series. Mia is as hilarious and honest as the last book and I really like this one too because we’ve gotten over the whole “I’m a princess!?” thing and can move on to better issues.

While, this one was also less action packed than the first, the same common themes are there that make this series so spectacular. It’s such an easy read and the entire series is one worth picking up for girls all around. I literally cannot say enough good things about Meg Cabot’s writing and how it stands as a beacon for other YA writers out there. She is definitely a trend setter!

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
Series: The Princess Diaries
Published by HarperTeen in 2000
Genres: Princess, Romance
Pages: 256 : Paperback edition
Source: Received through PaperBackSwap
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What? A princess??

Me??? Yeah, right.

Mia Thermopolis is pretty sure there’s nothing worse than being a five-foot-nine, flat-chested freshman, who also happens to be flunking Algebra.

Is she ever in for a surprise.

First Mom announces that she’s dating Mia’s Algebra teacher. Then Dad has to go and reveal that he is the crown prince of Genovia. And guess who still doesn’t have a date for the Cultural Diversity Dance?

I think I read this back in elementary school but I can’t be 100% certain, but regardless of that I love this series! Meg Cabot once again perfectly personifies a “real” teenage girl through the format of a diary and shows all the feelings that most girls (even if they’re not princesses) go through in high school.

Mia is hilarious and so truthful and you can connect with her so easily because while she may not think too highly of herself, you can tell she has some really wonderful qualities. Even if she may not be so observant sometimes (like Josh? Yuckkkk. Michael and Mia all the way. I ship it).

Also, since these came out awhile back it’s funny to see how the technology and times have changed. For instance when Mia tries calling her friend Lilly and can’t because Michael is on the Internet. Ahh early 2000’s. Still love this series though, I think it stands the test of time and is perfect for young girls all around.

The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Elite by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection
Published by HarperTeen on April 23, 2013
Genres: Love, Romance, Contemporary, Royalty
Pages: 336 : Paperback edition
Source: Purchased on Amazon
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The hotly-anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller The Selection.

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

This book suffers pretty badly from mid-series slump syndrome. I could not get into this and towards the middle of the book I was fuming. The plot kept going around and around and around in circles. The whole thing could have been at least 50 pages shorter than it is now.

There were probably 3 exciting parts to the whole thing and no, that does not include any of the raids or the tension between America and Maxon or America and Aspen. Just ugh! Both of those components were just rehashed two times over from the first novel and it was just soooo slow and bad.

I did like the political aspect that the novels are starting to get into more, but there needed to be a balance of all the glitz and glamour of the palace too, which just wasn’t there this time around. I’m hoping that the final book in the series will go out with a bang and have some more interesting plot twists.

Needless to say, I will be finishing the series once I get my hands on the last novel because now I’m too invested to not read it. I have high expectations and hopes for the next one (no pun intended)!

The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection
Published by HarperTeen on April 24, 2012
Genres: Love, Romance, Contemporary, Royalty
Pages: 327 : Paperback edition
Source: Purchased on Amazon
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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.

Please note: This is a reissued review and some of these thoughts are from the first time I read/reviewed the book from a year ago.

Okay, I finished this book in two days because I loved it so darn much! It was so sweet and girly and I just loved the descriptions of all the dresses and the palace itself (I’m a huge sucker for prince/princess type stories).

I will have to say, though, that I was surprised about a few things. First of all, I thought there would be more emphasis on the whole TV show part of the Selection itself. Which, also surprisingly, I sort of liked! It wasn’t as superficial that way. It focused more on America and what she was going through and her feelings surrounding not only the Selection, but the current state of Illea and much more.

I loved America’s character! And Maxon as well, though I can’t stand Aspen (I’ll get to that in a second). America started out a little generic but you can really see her grow throughout the story and become more mature and serious about the entire situation. She’s not prejudiced and knows right from wrong and wants what’s best for all the castes.

I also expected Maxon to be more stuck up and shallow (just like America thought) but in actuality he’s just a confused boy who’s trying to choose a wife in this sick twisted game. He’s never been in love and never ventured outside his palace so he’s confused and intrigued by everything happening in his country.

Moving on to Aspen. I just cannot stand that guy. He’s sexist, chauvinistic, and rude. There’s one line in particular that had my inner feminist recoiling in anger where he says to America, “I’m not some charity case, America. I’m a man. I’m supposed to be the provider.” (Pg. 50) Oh piss off Aspen, you jerk.

Anyways, I can’t wait to read The Elite! Hopefully it will be just as exciting as this one was!

The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist

The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist
Series: The Opal Mask
Published by Running Press on October 22, 2013
Genres: Love, Romance, Royalty, Mystery, Intrigue
Pages: 352 : Paperback
Source: Borrowed from my local library
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Every Fairy-Tale Ending Has a Price. . .

Orphaned as a child in the crumbling village of Tulan, Elara is determined to learn her true identity, even if it means wielding a dagger. Meanwhile, in Galandria’s royal capital, Princess Wilha stands out as someone to either worship or fear. Though no one knows why the king has always made her conceal her face—including Wilha herself.

When an assassination attempt threatens the peace of neighboring kingdoms, Elara and Wilha are brought face to face . . . with a chance at claiming new identities. However, with dark revelations now surfacing, both girls will need to decide if brighter futures are worth the binding risks.

I picked this up pretty much solely for the cover alone, but boy am I glad I did! Not only is the cover gorgeous, but the story itself is so much more in depth than I thought it would be!

We are brought into this often unfair world of Elara and Wilha, as they are surrounded by the opulence of castles, beautiful dresses and masks, and jewels. I loved reading the descriptions of all of the items, but more than that I loved how the story takes us on this journey of self-discovery for the girls.

Despite the fact that there is a boat load of royalty in this book, I thought it was interesting to see how the girls dealt with the situations very differently in a very real manner. I felt that these characters, while doubting themselves, were both very strong and could easily walk off the page and exist in the real world.

If you’re going to read this settle in for a long night because you will not want to put it down! And I can’t wait to start reading the next one! Definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year!

Recklessly Royal by Nichole Chase

Recklessly Royal by Nichole Chase
Series: Suddenly Royal #2
Published by Avon Books on March 25, 2014
Genres: Royalty, Romance
Pages: 332 : Paperback
Source: Purchased on Amazon
Rating:
coral5
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Catherine has spent her life being the perfect princess. She’s kept her hands clean, her head down, and most importantly-men at arm’s length. After all, most men are after only one thing, and for Cathy there’s a lot more at stake than her bed; she has to worry about the fate of an entire nation. But at the rate she’s going, Cathy is afraid she’ll give the Virgin Queen a run for her money. She is tired of waiting for someone good enough to come along. She has a plan, and it all hinges on seducing the one man who seems utterly unimpressed by all things royal. The one man she is tempted by more than any other . . .

When David arrives at the royal wedding of his friend, the newly ordained Duchess Samantha Rousseau, he expected to feel uncomfortable and out of his element, but he wasn’t prepared to be targeted by Prince Alex’s gorgeous younger sister. With Cathy’s giant blue eyes, killer figure, and sense of humor, it won’t take long before he gives in. But when he finds out just how innocent the crown princess really is, will he play the part of knight in shining armor or the dashing rogue?

This is the second book in the Suddenly Royal’s series and I loved it just as much as the first! Similar to the first one, Recklessly Royal was extremely fast paced and was such a cute read. I can’t get enough of this series and I know there is another one coming out in July that I’m extremely excited for!

In this second part of the series we focus on the main character Catherine who is Alex’s little sister. Her relationship with David is sort of complicated because she does not want to put his privacy in jeopardy due to her being a royal. Throw in some shady backdoor business and other mysteries and you have a sweet little romance novel!

Sometimes I felt the book was a bit repetitive, but all in all it was just an adorable romance novel and I’m a sucker for royalty romances so this was just perfect for me. I’ve also been in somewhat of a reading slump lately, and this pulled me right out of that!

Overall, just a very cute book and I’m excited to read the next (and sadly last) one in the series soon!