Friday, July 31, 2015

Happy Birthday, Harry!

Today is Harry Potter's birthday!  Let's all celebrate with butterbeer and pumpkin pasties.  And with a re-read of Sorcerer's Stone, yes?

May your day be magical.  

funny animated GIF

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review: Stardust by Neil Gaiman


Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian-English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords, ships that sail the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes and all the rest."

Review: If this book were a resume and submitted to me as an application, I would definitely give it an interview.  On paper, it's everything I'm looking for in a book.  In person, however, I was a little less enchanted.

Not that there isn't a lot to love here - there is.  I love that this fairy tale was written unashamedly for adults, not a children's book that adults are also allowed to love.  The atmosphere reeks of magic and imagination, the humor is dry and alluring, and the adventure is charming and entertaining.  But somehow that unidentifiable sparkle wasn't there for me.  

The characters were all lovely on their own, but their relationships to each other were far less developed.  Tristan is a little dim-witted, but in a delightfully blundering way.  Yvaine was understandably upset with her situation, but softened as time went by.  I didn't connect to the romance between them.  Yvaine just seemed so far out of his realm to me, and I didn't get what they liked about each other.

In this regard, I think the film did much better than the book.  The relationship between Tristan and Yvaine was much more believable and swoon-worthy.  The film did a good job of staying true to the morbid humor of the book, and what changes they did made sense to me.  (Although, I confess, I really liked how things worked out between the witch and Yvaine in the end of the book, even if it was a little anticlimactic if you're expecting a battle.)

I understand why so many love this story, though.  I may not have been completely enchanted, but this book was bizarre in the best way, and gave me a quick adventure in a very unique world.  

Review in a GIF:

Bottom Line: I wasn't swept off my feet, but I think that's a case of it's-not-you-it's-me.  This fairy tale is funny and dry and adventurous and delightfully weird.  I'd recommend it, though I might recommend the film more.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Book-to-Film: Trailers Galore

Several trailers were released this week for book adaptations, all of which I am excited for!  Here are three that have stood out to me:

Personally, I thought The Maze Runner film was superior to the book.  While I declined to read the rest of the series, I think I will be seeing this film sequel.  This means that I'll be watching the film without knowing what to expect, or have any idea what the plot is or who lives and dies.  I'm actually kind of excited, since this lack of knowledge so rarely happens to me with book-to-film adaptations.

Some people don't realize that the James Bond films are all based on books, so if you're one of them, consider yourself enlightened.  James Bond films are always a thrill, though I do have issues with the pervading sexism throughout this series.  This new film, Spectre, looks to be more of the same, which is to say that it looks to be excellently plotted and full of action and yet probably will contain both subtle and blatant sexism.  

Lastly, I give you the final installment in the Hunger Games series: Mockingjay Part 2!  This is the film I am most excited about for the entire year, and it's also the film that I hope takes the greatest liberties with its subject matter.  I had a lot of issues with the book, but I have high hopes for this film.  I think that switching the medium from print to film will do a lot to resolve my issues with the story.  That's my hope, anyway.  Although I'm pretty sure I'll be heartbroken at the end, I'm still really looking forward to seeing it.

What about you?  Will you be seeing any of these?  What are your thoughts on them?  

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds

I'm participating in today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's prompt is:

Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds

I feel like handing out high-fives whenever I find a fellow book nerd in literature.  Being bookish is not my whole identity, but it is a pretty significant chunk of it.  So when I find other book nerds, I always feel like I've found a kindred spirit.  Here are a few of my fictional kindred spirits:

10. Pretty much everyone in The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
This book is basically a long love note to literature.

9. Liesel in The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
How can you not love a girl who channels her rebellion into stealing books?

8. Cath in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Cath is my introverted, nerdy homegirl.  I adore her.

7. Celaena in Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
I like how Celaena defies the bookish stereotype (athletic, sword wielding, etc.) proving that books are for everyone.

6. Matilda in Matilda by Roald Dahl
I badly wanted to be Matilda from about ages 7-9.  (I know what you're thinking: "until she was 9... riiiiiiight.")

5. Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Proving once again that improving your mind through literature is a worthy endeavor.  Mr. Darcy would agree.

4. Lincoln in Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
He reads emails instead of books, but I can still understand his compulsion to read, even though my reading habits are (happily) much less creepy.

3. Tyrion Lannister in A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
What Tyrion lacks in physical ability he makes up for in cunning, wit, and intelligence.  That he is so often underestimated is a frequent and grave mistake in the books.

2. Jo March in Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Though I've always disliked Jo's impulsivity (dodges tomatoes) I do relate to her longing for stories.

1. Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Hermione taught me and a whole generation of others that when you're in doubt, go to the library.  That's still a motto of mine, years later.

Who would you add to this list?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Weekly Words: Annonymous

Friday, July 24, 2015

Feature Friday: Bookish Baby SWAG

I haven't mentioned it a whole lot on here before, but I'm due to have a baby in a few weeks.  Between getting the nursery ready, going to doctor appointments, preparing Harper to be a big sister, and normal life responsibilities, I haven't done a whole lot of shopping for our (still nameless) baby boy.  

That doesn't stop me from dreaming of some bookish SWAG I'd like to gift this little boy, though.  Here are some things I've had my eye on:

Harry Potter Inspired Hooded Bath Towel
This Harry Potter Hooded Bath Towel is EVERYTHING.

Harry Potter Quilt Pattern
This Harry Potter Quilt is the cutest thing I've seen in a while.  (Though it appears that you can only buy the pattern, not the finished quilt.  It's okay, though, just hex someone to make it for you.)

harry potter chapter one skirt
This skirt apparently has the entirety of chapter one from The Sorcerer's Stone printed on the fabric.  Just think, if you ever forget your book when you start nursing, you'll always at least have Harry Potter to keep you company.

Hogwarts Houses Bib
Hogwarts Houses Bib.  They won't be sorted until they're 11 years old after all, might as well represent them all.

Marauder's Map Onesie
This onesie could not be more perfect.

Very Hungry Caterpillar Hat
It's not Harry Potter, but this Hungry Catapillar hat is adorable.

And lastly, some bookish baby art never goes amiss.

Tell me, have you ever decorated a nursery before?  Do you plan on indoctrinating a love of books into your children like I do?  Are you drooling over that Potter quilt, too?  Tell me your thoughts!

(NOTE: Dear family and friends, this is not a request for gifts.  
We are well taken care of.)  
(But if you must know, that Potter towel is my favorite.)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan


Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "Polly Waterford is recovering from a toxic relationship. Unable to afford their flat, she has to move miles away from everyone, to a sleepy little seaside resort in Cornwall, where she lives alone above an abandoned shop. And so Polly takes out her frustrations on her favourite hobby: making bread.

But what was previously a weekend diversion suddenly becomes far more important as she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, and each loaf becomes better and better. With nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, with local honey (courtesy of local bee keeper, Huckle), and with reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes and bakes.... And people start to hear about it. Sometimes, bread really is life...and Polly is about to reclaim hers."

Review: Goodness, rarely have I experienced such severe bread cravings while reading a book.  If you come away from this review with anything, I hope it's that you absolutely must have fresh, artisan bread on hand while reading this book.  Seriously.  This is not a suggestion.  You will not survive this book otherwise.  (The author appears to be aware of this, as she includes several recipes in the back of the book.  Smart woman.)

This book is warm and delicious.  I was cozy and happy while reading, and spent the majority of my time in this book feeling quite content.  Besides constantly wanting to eat bread, this book also made me desperately want to travel to forgotten English islands, just to experience the salty air and reflect on life next to old lighthouses.  It was lovely to watch Polly come into herself and find contentment.  She was a delightful protagonist, and I was heartily cheering for her.  (I mean, she has a pet puffin.  It is impossible not to root for someone who has a pet puffin, I tell you.)

The rest of the cast was equally delightful.  I liked how each cast member felt unique, and contributed to the story in ways that felt organic and distinctive to their personalities.  I liked how the atmosphere of the tiny island town came to life in these pages.  Really, if Polbearne were a real place, this book would be its best tourism hook.

While there was a lot to like here, I didn't completely fall in love.  I mean, I LIKED this book a lot, and I'm glad I read it.  But it didn't shine quite as brightly as I wanted it to.  I liked each of the characters individually, but I didn't feel the chemistry between Polly and anyone else.  I didn't think the romance was really all that significant to the story, anyway.  I felt like the overarching story was about Polly's eventual centering of herself, not about Polly's love life.  So the more the book focused on her romance, the more I squinted while reading.  

Still, I think this book was a sweet story that made me think hard about how important it is to find and engage in your passions.  I'd recommend it to readers looking for a quick, happy read, so long as they have a few loaves of bread nearby.

Review in a GIF:
eating animated GIF

Bottom Line:  This book was warm and sweet and entertaining, and made me gain 45 lbs from all the bread I craved while reading.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Book-to-Film: Verona, a Romeo and Juliet retelling

Sony to Develop a 'Romeo and Juliet' Reimagining Titled 'Verona'
From DNA:

Sony Pictures is in talks to develop a reinterpretation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, titled Verona.The film company has tapped Joe Roth to produce, with Neil Widener and Gavin James on hand to write the script, said The Hollywood Reporter. Verona is the name of the city that became the setting of Shakespeare's famous tale.Details of Verona are still kept under tight wraps. It is, however, reported that the story will revolve around "a love affair between two teens from opposing Italian families, but the script is said to re-imagine the classic love story through a lens of an epic, 300-style world."

While I personally love Romeo and Juliet, it is not because of its romance.  I've always felt like the play reads like one big cautionary tale against being impulsive.  For that reason I actually really like the overdone Baz Luhrmann version, because that's the only film version I've seen that doesn't over-glamorize Romeo and Juliet's choices.  (Or, at least everything was over-glamorized in that version, so their own decisions didn't feel out of place.)  I mean, they were in a difficult situation, yes, but they handled it really, really poorly.  Being in love doesn't mean you have to abandon reason.  
I'm not sure portraying this story in a 300-style world will be any better, but I guess at least it's creative?  I'm willing to suspend judgement until I see it, though, I confess, this is not the direction I would go with this particular story.  We'll see.

What are your thoughts?  Have you read Romeo and Juliet, or seen a stage or film version?  What are your thoughts about the play?  Who would you cast in the title roles?  Are you interested in seeing a version of this story in a 300-style world?  What would you do differently?  Tell me your thoughts!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ten Books That Feature Diverse Protagonists

I'm participating in today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's prompt is:

Ten Books That Feature Diverse Protagonists

Diversity is such a wonderful thing.  How boring would it be if we were all the same?  Books featuring diversity give us the chance to experience the world through the eyes of someone different from us, an extremely valuable (and, I'd argue, vital) practice for anyone.  Here are ten books that feature diverse protagonists for your reading pleasure.  

Lara Jean is half white, half Korean, and all adorable.  Her story is sure to resonate with anyone who has a sister, who has ever had a crush, or who has ever been to high school.  I liked this book, but the rest of the blogosphere loved this book.

Khalid and Shahrzad's story is overflowing with Arabic influences.  The food, clothing, customs, architecture, and even the names of the characters made me want to visit the Middle East.  Or at least eat some baklava. 

Sudasa's story takes place in a futuristic India.  Also, that cover is rad.

Speaking of gorgeous covers, this book.  Wen is clearly of Asian ancestry, and this book tackles racism head on.  Can't wait to read the sequel!!

Ananna's world is fictional, and full of fictional beings.  But I liked that the entire human cast was not white.  A too-large percentage of fantasy books take place in worlds that resemble Medieval Europe.  

Liyana lives in a desert tribe, whose customs and beliefs make me think this book could easily take place in Saudi Arabia, or maybe Egypt.  Also, this book is really highly underrated.  I wish more people read it, so they could experience the magic, too.

Elisa is not your typical queen in many ways.  But this series is refreshingly unique in that not only does Elisa bend expectations, but so does the whole cast: the good guys have darker skin, and the bad guys have lighter skin.

This adult contemporary novel is like a batch of fresh, warm bread.  I loved getting lost in it, and have recommended it many, many times.  (It takes place in Japan, and the characters are Japanese.)

Here's a nonfiction option for you!  McBride is half white, half black.  His novel describes his own life, and the life of members of his family, with an honesty that makes you realize that flawed people are often still good people.

I can't make this list without this book.  It's one of my favorites.  Pi is Indian, very young, and possesses one of the most interesting minds I've ever encountered.

What are some of your favorite books that feature non-white protagonists?  I'd love to add to my list!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Weekly Words: George Dyer

Libraries quote - George Dyer

Friday, July 17, 2015

Feature Friday: The Best Parents in Literature

From Mental Floss:

30 Of The Best Parents in Literature

It’s hard to find good parents in fiction. A lot of books deal either with the lack of a parent or a parent’s complete unsuitability for the role. But there are a few good ones out there, parents who make you think, “Gee, I wish my parents were like that.” Behold: Parents (or parental types) we wish were ours—or that we wish we could be.



















Who else belongs on this list?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Review: The Martian by Andy Weir


The Martian by Andy Weir
Rating: 4.75 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. 
After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. 
But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

Review: I have to start by giving a shout out to Bridget from Dog-Eared and Dog-Tagged.  It was her review that pushed me into giving this book a try.  Science was always my least favorite subject in school, and SciFi is a very hit-or-miss genre for me, generally speaking.  So if it weren't for her review, I might never have picked up this book at all.  Thanks to Bridget, I just had a great experience with a SciFi book!  Me!  And a SciFi book!  Wonders never cease.  So, thanks, Bridget!!

The first thing that drew me in with this book is the fact that I had no idea how it would play out.  Part of that is because I am not very scientifically minded, so I had absolutely zero clue as to what Mark Watney would have to do to stay alive.  But, even if I was scientifically minded, I would still have no idea how this book would play out, because the odds stacked against Watney are impossibly high.  Like, astronomically high.  Literally.  He could die at any moment from a thousand different causes.  So, watching him trying to find a way to stay alive, find a way to contact earth, and get rescued, was incredible.

That underlying tension on every page, knowing Mark's every breath could be his last, made this book so much more suspenseful and gripping than I was expecting.  I mean, reading about a guy who spends a long time stranded and alone might sound boring to some.  (And, let's be honest, Cast Away starring Tom Hanks, to which this book has been frequently compared, really was pretty boring to me.)  But Mark wasn't just hanging out on an island with a volleyball, waiting to be rescued.  He was on a foreign planet.  He was surrounded by elements that were constantly trying to kill him.  So he was extremely busy.  Staying alive required massive amounts of ingenuity and determination on his part.  Plus, Mark is a remarkably funny character, especially considering his circumstances.  We, the readers, can't help but root for him to overcome his impossible odds.

It did help, though, that the whole book wasn't from his point of view.  Besides Mark, you read chapters from the perspectives of various people in NASA, Mark's shipmates with whom he flew to Mars, and a few others.  Their points of view, motivations, and agendas were not only interesting, they rounded out the whole story.  And nothing felt contrived, either.  I mean, of course Mark's story would be headline news. Of course his shipmates would be dealing with huge amounts of guilt and grief.  Of course it would be a central question whether it was worth the billions of dollars to rescue one person.  Of course people would disagree on the best course of action.  So while I loved being in Mark's head, I also loved those chapters from Earth.

I should note that this book is very technical and scientific.  But I should also note that I was able to follow along without too much difficulty.  I do wonder, though, how much of the science in this book is real.  Like I mentioned, I am not particularly scientifically minded, so I have no gauge for it.  I just accepted what was in the book point blank, because I had no reason to doubt it.  But I'm a little curious if Mark's exploits on Mars would actually work for a non-fictional being.  Granted, I hope no non-fictional being is ever in his situation, but I'm still curious.  

In the end, I felt like book in a word could be described as "life-affirming."  The human race does a lot to make me bitter and jaded.  Looking at the news can be the most depressing thing in the world.  But for every creep out there, for every selfish, hate-filled soul, there is someone else who is kind.  Someone who is compassionate.  Someone who is trying to make the world (universe?) a better place.  And, in the end, it's not so bad to be a human.  Not so bad at all.

Review in a GIF:
happy animated GIF

Bottom Line: The Martian was gripping, intricate, surprisingly funny, and ultimately a very affirming story. I would happily recommend it, both to fans of SciFi as well as to those who normally might not give this kind of book a try.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Book-to-Film: Goosebumps by R.L. Stine (Trailer!)

The Goosebumps Trailer has arrived!  My ten-year-old self is kind of geeking out, though the rest of me is not all that interested in this film.  What are your thoughts?  Are you intrigued?  Will you see this movie?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Last Ten Books That I Returned To The Library Unread

I'm participating in today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's prompt is:

The Last Ten Books I Returned To The Library Unread

The original prompt asked to list the last ten books that came into my possession.  I thought my answers to that question would be to close to my answers to this prompt from a few weeks ago, so I changed it a little.  

I'm actually quite fastidious about my library books.  I really hate returning books to the library unread, so I try really hard to only check out a reasonable number of books I know I can read before they're due.  But occasionally a bunch of my requests will come through all at once, and I don't always get to them all.  Or sometimes, I'm just not in the mood for that book, so it gets sent back unopened.  Here are the last ten books I've returned to the library unread:

I actually did start this one, but I didn't get very far.  It seemed like a good book, it just wasn't what I was in the mood for.

I do love me some Shannon Hale, and I've been wanting to read this series.  But I ended up reading her third Princess Academy book instead.

This book sounds amazing.  I just ran out of time.

I love Clarke's The Assassin's Curse duology, so I will read this book someday.  Just not yet, apparently.

Did anyone else see that miniseries based on this book last year?  I thought it was really well done, and have been itching to read this book ever since.  Though I'm apparently not itching hard enough.

The American Civil War is not my favorite era to read about, but I do like spy stories.  I'd like to give this book another shot.

Hello, this book is about dragons.  Why didn't I read it??  I have no answers here.

I devoured Chima's Seven Realms series.  I want to do the same to this series, but just haven't started yet. 

This one hurt to return unread.  I still want to read it really badly, I just didn't have the time when I had it in my possession.

I still want to read this one, too.  I might wait until the whole series is released before re-attempting to start, though.

Tell me, how many books do you check out from the library at once?  How often do you return books unread?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Weekly Words: Annonymous

Love this

Friday, July 10, 2015

2015 Second Quarter Reading Report

A huge thank you to Janssen at Everyday Reading for hosting this quarterly link up!

I only read 11 books in April, May, and June, which, coincidentally, is the exact same number of books I read in the first quarter of this year.  The reading stars have not aligned for me to be keeping up with my Goodreads challenge.  But never fear, I am still determined to make my goal of reading 52 books this year!  Happily, several of the books I've read this quarter were really phenomenal, and have pushed me to get out of my slump and not let my reading fall too far behind.  

Here's what I read this quarter:

  • The Heir by Kiera CassPerfectly adequate. This book was exactly what I thought it would be: entertaining and light and completely without closure.
  • 5 to 1 by Holly BodgerThis is a great idea, with not-so-great execution.  I mostly feel like this book was a missed opportunity.  I wanted a lot more than I was given.  I enjoyed reading it, but not enough to widely recommend.  
  • The Husband's Secret by Liane MoriartyA thought-provoking novel about choice and identity and family.  A sad and poignant story that will fuel many future conversations.  I'd recommend reading it with strawberries and chocolate, just to balance your emotions.
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick NessA compelling, powerful, surprisingly short, and inventive story that will probably make you cry for all the right reasons. 
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa TahirA wild and thrilling fantasy adventure, featuring compelling characters living in a violent and dangerous world.  This book gets an A+ for its addiction factor.  Read it if you need an exciting and absorbing tale.
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasThis Beauty and the Beast retelling is a must for adult fairy tale fans.  It has everything: suspense, action, romance, beauty, and magic.  I have a feeling this won't be the last time I read this book.
  • The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee AhdiehA sumptuous and epic love story, rife with tension and suspense and a lot of intrigue that will completely consume you. 
  • The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren WeisbergerNot without issues, but still an interesting and mostly entertaining read.  Especially if you've ever had an impossible boss before.  I'd recommend seeing the film over reading the book, though.  Meryl Streep is a fantastically horrible Miranda Priestly.
  • What Alice Forgot by Liane MoriartyA wonderful and moving and hilarious novel about memory, identity, choice, family, and love.  Highly recommended!
  • The Winner's Crime by Marie RutkoskiA superb second installment in the Winner's trilogy.  The suspense and tension will prevent you from putting this book down even for a moment, and then when you finish you can join me while I pine for book 3.
  • Red Queen by Victoria AveyardThere was a bit of a slow start, and there are definitely parallels to Red Rising, but on the whole I loved reading this electrifying book.  (Excuse the pun.)  Recommended to fans of X-men, and/or Pierce Brown.

And now, some graphs:

Although I didn't read as many books as I would have preferred, the ones I did read were overwhelmingly good!  So glad to have spent so much time on such great reads.  

Bring it on, third quarter.  Bring. It. On.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Review: The Heir by Kiera Cass


The Heir by Kiera Cass
Rating: 3.5 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she'd put off marriage for as long as possible.

But a princess's life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can't escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests.

Eadlyn doesn't expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn's heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her . . . and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn't as impossible as she's always thought."

Review: This book starts a new story line twenty years after the events of the last book, but I feel like no time has passed at all.  This story commences a new Selection at the palace with Princess Eadlyn, and we are thrust into the drama alongside her.  Reading this book I was very much entertained, and felt like this Selection is what I wish the TV show The Bachelorette was: fun and funny and endearing and light.  (The TV show is much trashier than the courtly Selection.  The King and Queen would never put up with that shenanigans in the palace.)

The biggest question I've received about this book is how it's different from the previous three books.  And, honestly, other than starring a new protagonist, it's really not much different at all.  There are still plot holes.  There is still a lot of angst.  All the issues outside who will marry whom are not treated with nearly enough attention.  But all the good from the previous books are still to be found here as well: namely, that it's just so bloody entertaining that I'll read it anyway.

I find I have very little to say about this series than I have already said in my past reviews (here, here, and here).  It is a light, fun series, and I've enjoyed getting lost in this fluff for a few hours.  My largest complaint is that this book ends very abruptly.  There's no real rising action, climax, and denouement.  The book just ends, suddenly and without warning, in the middle of everything that's going on.  It's not so much a cliff-hanger as a head-scratcher.  I mean, it just doesn't make any sense to end the book there.  That poorly-chosen "end" spot for this novel left a sour taste in my mouth, and I wish I had waited until all the books were released before picking up this one.  But, alas.  C'est la vie.

If you enjoyed The Selection then I'd read this book.  Considering that they're extremely similar, if you liked one, you should like the other.  If The Selection didn't do it for you, then skip this one.     

Review in a GIF:
funny animated GIF

Bottom LinePerfectly adequate. This book was exactly what I thought it would be: entertaining and light and completely without closure. I really should have waited until all the books were released before starting to read.