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)!