The Heir by Kiera Cass

Title: The Heir
Series: The Selection #4
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: May 5th 2015
Source: Purchased
Summary from Goodreads:
Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon’s heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own. Eadlyn doesn’t expect her Selection to be anything like her parents’ fairy-tale love story. But as the competition begins, she may discover that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she always thought.


The Selection series is a bit of a guilty pleasure reading for me. I am aware of some of the series’ faults, and yet, they do not seem to detract from my overall entertainment wile reading. So I will caveat the review by saying, if you have not enjoyed the series thus far, then The Heir is also probably not for you. I also listened to The Heir’s audiobook which I found to be very well done.

The Heir starts off a little different. Spoiler alert - it’s about America and Maxon’s daughter, Eadlyn. Not going to lie, Eadlyn is not my favorite character but I do appreciate that it seems to be intentional. She is self-centered, bratty, whiny, and closed-off. But as the story progresses she starts to change her ways and slowly becomes a bit less of a brat and a bit more likeable. She does make mistakes and while on the one hand I wanted to shake some sense into her, on the other hand, I gave credit to her being a real, sometimes stubborn teenager. I do love the relationship she has with her brothers and parents, it is full of love and annoyance; it all felt very honest.

Similar to the previous books in the series, there is a secondary kind of behind the scenes plot line about the state of the country. While the caste system is no longer in state, the people of Illea are not happy. Aside from that, the plot focuses mainly on Eadlyn and the contestants. The Heir was entertaining; I enjoyed listening to all the dates and the drama among the contestants. At this point I have favorites but I am still undecided. There are a good variety of good matches and potential winners. I am unsure of who will actually win her heart but I do believe there will be a slight twist in the following book.

My biggest reservation was the cliffhanger ending, the book just ends. I will for sure read the last book but I do wish this one did not end so abruptly. Overall I found The Heir to be a light fun read that transports the reader back into the crazy world of Illea and into more Selection dramas!


Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman

Title: Legacy of Kings
Author: Eleanor Herman
Series: Blood of Gods and Royals #1
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Source: BEA

Summary from Goodreads:

Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancée, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the salacious and fascinating details of real history, New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known: Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.


Legacy of Kings has so much going on that I am having a hard time figuring out where to start my review. Maybe with an introduction to the characters (since there are so many)? There's Katerina, a small-town girl with special abilities and a tragic past who is hell-bent on seeking revenge. Her childhood friend and sweetheart, Jacob, who sets out to compete in the Blood Tournament in an effort to make a name for himself. There is Alexander who will some day be known as Alexander the Great but is currently known as the deformed and powerless Prince. There's his most loyal friend Hephaestion whose pride constantly gets the better of him. And his power-obsessed sister who is determined to prove herself worthy of respect, no matter what. There's also Queen Olympia who is dabbling in something dark and dangerous all in the name of love. And lastly, across the sea, there is Zofia, who runs away from an arranged marriage only to find herself in a more unfavorable predicament. 

I think that's everyone who matters, but as you can see, it's a LOT. I love multiple POVs but even I have to admit that this might have been just a TAD too many. Yet, I enjoyed the story that each of their perspectives weaved together. It was a promising start to a new series with history and mythology, magic and mystery, deception and power-plays and more. I don't really now all that much about Alexander the Great but  I love getting glimpses of history, even if they are fictitiously told. And I am really intrigued by the characters I've met so far and the roles they will play in the future. 

It wasn't a perfect book, I can't say I was 100% immersed in the story 100% of the time, but there was enough that I liked to keep me entertained throughout this massive book. And I am not sure how much my expectations got away from me. It could also be that because there were so many characters, I didn't form a deep bond with any one of them just yet. But again, I see the potential and I am excited for the next book. Now that the foundation is set, I think this series could turn into something really great. So yes I recommend this one. Just don't expect TOO much just yet. :) 


Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten list is "Last Ten Characters Who are Fellow Book Nerds"

Nicole's Top Five

Ashley's Top Five

What are your top ten?


Court of Fives by Kate Elliott

Title: Court of Fives
Author: Kate Elliott
Series: Court of Fives #1
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Source: eARC provided by Publisher in exchange or an honest review (thanks Little Brown!!)

Summary from Goodreads:

In this imaginative escape into an enthralling new world, World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott begins a new trilogy with her debut young adult novel, weaving an epic story of a girl struggling to do what she loves in a society suffocated by rules of class and privilege.

Jessamy's life is a balance between acting like an upper class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. But at night she can be whomever she wants when she sneaks out to train for The Fives, an intricate, multi-level athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom's best competitors. Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an unlikely friendship between a girl of mixed race and a Patron boy causes heads to turn. When a scheming lord tears Jes's family apart, she'll have to test Kal's loyalty and risk the vengeance of a powerful clan to save her mother and sisters from certain death.


Court of Fives was not quite the book I expected it to be and still, it completely pulled me in.

I was enraptured by Jessamy's home life - her father ran a tight ship to avoid bringing attention to his Commoner wife and mixed-blood children in a world where blood and status meant everything. I was enraged by some of his decisions and their ramifications on Jessamy and her family. I was disgusted by the  world in which Jessamy lived in and how cruel the upper class Patrons could be, one in particular. I was energized by Jessamy's skill in the Fives games and thrilled at her chance to shine. I was both wary and hopeful of her relationship with Kalliarkos and surprised by his behavior towards Jessamy and her family. I was shocked by that ending and wickedly delighted for what that means for the story. I am restless for the next book.

The exploration into this world and the characters that Jessamy is up against was intoxicating. Elliot's writing had me RIGHT THERE with Jessamy so many times and I was in a constant state of fear and awe. This world is DARK and DANGEROUS but if anyone can take it on it is Jessamy. And there is the promise of SO MUCH MORE. And the characters are so grey - I don't know what to make of them. There are so many places Elliott can take this story - as she already showed us in this first installment. It was a wonderful start to a new series.

Basically, I am captivated by both these characters and this world and I can't ask for a better place to be after reading the first book in a new series. For those of you who like intricate fantasies, then this is a must read!


Stacking the Shelves (134) - July 25th

Stacking the Shelves - hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews - features books that you bought, borrowed, rented from the library, received for review, etc.


Rogue by Julie Kagawa

Title: Rogue
Series: Talon #2
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: April 28th 2015
Summary from Goodreads:
Ember Hill left the dragon organization Talon to take her chances with rebel dragon Cobalt and his crew of rogues. But Ember can't forget the sacrifice made for her by the human boy who could have killed her—Garret Xavier Sebastian, a soldier of the dragonslaying Order of St. George, the boy who saved her from a Talon assassin, knowing that by doing so, he'd signed his own death warrant.

Determined to save Garret from execution, Ember must convince Cobalt to help her break into the Order's headquarters. With assassins after them and Ember's own brother helping Talon with the hunt, the rogues find an unexpected ally in Garret and a new perspective on the underground battle between Talon and St. George.

A reckoning is brewing and the secrets hidden by both sides are shocking and deadly. Soon Ember must decide: Should she retreat to fight another day…or start an all-out war?


Rogue is a fantastic sequel; I actually believe it is stronger than Talon. The plot is more action driven, the team is on the run, and there are risks and danger at every turn. Rogue, similar to Talon, is told from multiple points of views. In this case, I think it allows the reader to see all three sides of the dragon world spectrum, Talon, rogues, and dragon hunters. We learn what Dante, Ember’s brother is up to in Talon, and hear some of his planning with the secret organization. The reader gets glimpses into Cobalt and Garret’s thoughts and well as, Ember scattered thoughts and feelings.  The audio version has multiple narrators so the transition between POVs was very easy to follow.

Even though action and adventure were the driving force of the plot, there was still a good bit of romance. I am not a fan of the love triangle, as always, at the moment my team is losing. Luckily a lot of the love triangle-ness of the story comes out in the latter half of the book. It does linger throughout the story but really takes over the plot at the end of the book.

Rogue builds on the various plot lines and turns them into a tangled web of intricate deception and lies. The background history, fight scenes and overall fast moving plot makes Rogue a great sequel. I look forward to the rest of the series!


How Far Would You Go For Your Favorite Books?

Welcome to Thoughts for Thursday! This feature is our outlet to talk with you about whatever we currently have on our minds. It might be bookish, it might not! Now for this week's thought:

How Far Would You Go For Your Favorite Books?

Created by Christina @ Christina Reads YA | Tagged by Kay @ It's A Book Life

1. We would give up the internet for a month for a signed first edition of this book: 
 Nicole: Umm... I actually can't think of a book that I would want a signed first edition of bad enough to give up the Internet for a month. I go on vacation for a week without internet and I feel like the world has ended.

Ashley: I am with Nicole on this one, I can't think of a book I would want a signed edition of so bad that I would give up the Internet for a month.

2. We would give up pizza for a year if it meant we could sit next to this author on a long plane ride: 
Nicole: Jay Kristoff. And I LOVE Pizza so Jay if you are reading this you better be flattered and I expect a plane ride of witty remarks and a sneak peek at the rest of the Illuminae series. ;)

Ashley:  Maggie Steifvater I think she has so much awesome personality and she is one of my favorite authors.

3. We would sit through a 1,000 hours of commercials if it would ensure that Hollywood made this book into a (really good) movie: 
Nicole: The Red Rising Trilogy staring Pierce Brown himself because this series is EPIC and Pierce Brown is HOT.

Ashley:  The Lunar Chronicles. I love re-watching Disney movies, so I can totally see re-watching the Lunar Chronicles, plus the books are fantastic!

4. We would never read a new book again if it meant we could live inside this this book: 
 Nicole: HARRY POTTER. I would sell my soul to live in this world so giving up reading is a no-brainer.

Ashley: HARRY POTTER. There really is no debate here at all.

5. We would let our Google search history be made public if it meant we could be best friends with this author: 
 Nicole: Sarah J. Maas. My Google search history isn't even embarrassing but even if it was riddled with inappropriateness, I would still make it public to be best friends with Sarah because she is awesome (just attend one of her events and you will see).

Ashley: My Google search history is not really embarrassing, it is full of sewing, weather, books, and tv.  I would make it public though to be best friends with Rainbow Rowell.

6. We would donate everything we own to Goodwill if it meant we could date this book character in real life: 
  Nicole: STURMHOND. And I would donate MY FAMILY to Goodwill if it meant I could date Sturmhond. My god, I love him.

Ashley: ROAR.  Goodness, Roar for sure. 

How Far Would You Go For Your Favorite Books?

We tag anyone that wants to participate :)


Daughter of Dusk by Livia Blackburne

Title: Daughter of Dusk
Author: Livia Blackburne
Series: Midnight Thief #2
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Source: eARC provided by Publisher in exchange or an honest review (thanks Disney-Hyperion!!)

Summary from Goodreads:
After learning the truth about her bloodlines, Kyra can’t help but feel like a monster.

Though she’s formed a tentative alliance with the Palace, Kyra must keep her identity a secret or risk being hunted like the rest of her Demon Rider kin. Tristam and the imprisoned assassin James are among the few who know about her heritage, but when Tristam reveals a heartbreaking secret of his own, Kyra’s not sure she can trust him. And with James’s fate in the hands of the palace, Kyra fears that he will give her away to save himself.

As tensions rise within Forge's Council, and vicious Demon Rider attacks continue in surrounding villages, Kyra knows she must do something to save her city. But she walks a dangerous line between opposing armies: will she be able to use her link to the Demon Riders for good, or will her Makvani blood prove to be deadly?

In this spellbinding sequel to Midnight Thief, Kyra and Tristam face their biggest battle yet as they grapple with changing allegiances, shocking deceit, and vengeful opponents.


When I first read Midnight Thief, I marveled to you all how FULL it was. SO MUCH happened in that book to introduce us to a brilliant world and cast of characters. It was well-balanced with action, mystery, and romance and all around well-written, especially for a debut novel. It was one of my biggest surprises last year with how much I enjoyed it. So it is with great enthusiasm that I am now telling you how similarly wonderful Daughter of Dusk is.

In Daughter of Dusk, Kyra finds herself divided between the people and city she grew up with and the Demon Riders, who her blood calls to. As war threatens to break out between the two, Kyra struggles to protect everyone she cares for. One of her most defining features is her overly large heart and she goes on this remarkable journey to accept that there are just certain lines that she’s not willing to cross. Watching her find a way to fight while staying true to herself was amazing. Her actions were so commendable and she is just such a likable character.

I loved the politics at play in this book. There was an obvious power struggle between the members of the council and I was surprised by quite a few developments. The entire situation in Forge was a fascinating one to watch unfold and I never knew which direction the story would take. I also loved learning more about Kyra’s heritage, which is further revealed in this book. This is another area in which Kyra grew tremendously and needed to learn to accept herself. There was a new relationship that emerged that had an interesting dynamic and I am pleased with where it left off.

The romance definitely has a stronger presence in Daughter of Dusk. It is not without some angst and it got pretty complicated at times but that could be expected due to each of their circumstances. I still shipped it and I LOVED the ending. I also loved the greater exploration into the secondary characters, particularly Flick who got a little romance of his own.

This book and this duology at large have pretty much everything one would hope to find in a story. It’s exciting, thoughtful, unpredictable, and unique.There is a wonderful cast of characters with so much growth and Kyra herself is particularly badass herself. I definitely recommend it!


Top Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters


Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

Title: Never Always Sometimes
Author: Adi Alsaid
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Source: BEA15 & NASArcHop

Summary from Goodreads:
Never date your best friend. 

Always be original. 

Sometimes rules are meant to be broken. 

Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliché high school kids—the ones who sit at the same lunch table every day, dissecting the drama from homeroom and plotting their campaigns for prom king and queen. They even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they'd never, ever do in high school.

Some of the rules have been easy to follow, like #5, never die your hair a color of the rainbow, or #7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he's broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It's either that or break rule #10, never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember.

Julia is beautiful, wild and impetuous. So when she suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green. It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover that by skipping the clichés, they've actually been missing out on high school. And maybe even on love.


Never Always Sometimes is not a book that is going to work for everyone, but it is one that (mostly) worked for me. It is a very realistic portrayal of unspoken affection and bad timing and I will always applaud and appreciate those kinds of stories even if they are difficult to read and don't always lead to a happy ending. I thought it was extremely brave, honest and well-done on Adi Alsaid's part.

I really liked Dave and Julia, flaws and all. They were fundamentally good people, even if they didn't always make the right choices. I think we can all relate to that. And they had a familiarity with each other and easy banter that I just LOVED. The humor in this book was right up my ally. They were also the type of best friends that spent all of their time together and blocked out the rest of the world. So when they decide to complete their Nevers list it was if they were letting the rest of the world in, and subsequently discovering it for themselves for the very first time.

I love storylines that are centered around completing lists and so I had fun with this premise. Naturally, it led to all kinds of internal and external discovery and I really enjoyed watching these characters grow. There is something about Adi Alsaid's writing, or perhaps his perspective, that just mesmerizes me. It's like he sees people and situations differently, and in turn, makes me see people and situations differently.

My only real problem with the story was #7 on the Nevers list - never hook up with a teacher - and Julia's attempts to cross it off. Although she was mostly joking around, I thought she took things too far and it just made me extremely uncomfortable and sympathetic towards the teacher. Although I will admit that the jokes, and the slam poetry poem, were quite hilarious. This didn't go on forever, and that is why it didn't impact my reading experience too drastically but it was there, and it was unwelcome.

I obviously can't go into details about the ending, but this is where most people are going to be divided. The way things played out was not according to "HEA rules". It was messy and unfortunate and definitely not OK. Many readers are going to be frustrated with Dave, as was I, but don't forget to hold Julia accountable for her part in all of it too. That being said, I understood it. I think the way both Dave and Julia acted was very realistic, especially for teenagers. And I think it took a certain amount of courage for these characters to own up to their actions, try to right the wrong as much as possible, and, when things didn't go as hoped, move forward. I wouldn't want every story to end this way, but I applaud the honesty because frankly, sometimes life isn't always perfect. But you usually get second chance and it's what you make of them.


Stacking the Shelves (183) - July 18th

Stacking the Shelves - hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews - features books that you bought, borrowed, rented from the library, received for review, etc.

What I'm Reading

What books are stacking your shelves? 

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