Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summer Reading Recommendations

Nothing beats a fun summer book, right? I've been reading a lot this summer so far (anything to beat this Florida heat!), so I wanted to share with you some fabulous summer reading recommendations.

I'm definitely no YA book blogger (trust me- there's tons of better reviewers out there than me), but here are just a few I've personally read over the past month or so. Hope you like!

The Selection, by Kiera Cass
Book 1 of 3 (The Selection Series)

"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."

What I loved about this book: 
Me and the other ladies at work totally got hooked on this series! I loved seeing the heroine, America, grow up and mature over the series of the three books. She just had a caring heart for so many people throughout the whole story, and wasn't afraid to back down on her values. Although the love triangle can get a little bit annoying, most of that went away with book 3. Some of the girls at work thought they saw some plot points coming, but there were moments where I was both surprised and thrilled with the direction the author took.
Overall: Super fun to read! Very girly, yet still thrilling and exciting!

The Kiss of Deception, by Mary E. Pearson
Book 1 of 3 (The Remnant Chronicles)

"A princess must find her place in a reborn world. She flees on her wedding day. She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.  She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father. She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love."

What I loved about this book: 
I just absolutely loved the character development in this book, their interactions, timing, and witty banter. The characters were just entertaining. The author switches the point of view in various chapters, so sometimes you would be reading the heroine's thoughts, other times the assassin's thoughts, and then it would switch to the prince. That definitely kept me on my toes! From a romance perspective, this wasn't the steamiest book, but it did have that element of a love triangle. Towards the end of the book, with the last few chapters, I could totally see the author setting up this book for the next one in the series, The Heart of Betrayal, which is comes out next week! Can someone say cliff-hanger?!
Overall: Enthralling! Loved that there was a bit of mystery and magic in this book. Characters seem solid, mature, and well developed.

Ruby Red, by Kerstin Gier
Book 1 of 3 (Precious Stone Trilogy)

"Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust."

What I loved about this book: 
I love, love, love time travel books. That's a big element in a lot of adult romance novels, which is more my wheel-house, so I was super intrigued by this book. However, instead of travelling back in time and staying there, the Ruby Red series has Gwyneth and Gideon jumping back and forth between the past and present. They used their time-travelling abilities to uncover secrets and discover how to close the loop of the time travel gene. I loved each of the three books in this series. Book 1 was great because it introduced the characters, and you can see Gwyneth and Gideon start crushing on each other. Book 2 was just absolutely entertaining. You can anticipate the author setting up some of the mysteries for Book 3. And then in Book 3, the author lets you think you know what's going on, but you have no idea! Total shocker in the end!
Overall: Just a really fun read. Loved that there was no love triangle- just one guy and one girl. Loved how the whole story played out. Bonus- they made movies from these books in Germany. Watch them with the English dubs. Adorable!

The Shattered Court, by M. J. Scott
Book 1 of ? (The Four Arts #1)

"The royal witches of Anglion have bowed to tradition for centuries. If a woman of royal blood manifests powers, she is immediately bound by rites of marriage. She will serve her lord by practicing the tamer magics of the earth—ensuring good harvests and predicting the weather. Any magic more dangerous is forbidden.

Lady Sophia Kendall, thirty-second in line to the throne, is only days away from finding out if she will be blessed—or perhaps cursed—with magic. When a vicious attack by Anglion’s ancient enemies leaves the kingdom in chaos, Sophia is forced to flee the court. Her protector by happenstance is Lieutenant Cameron Mackenzie, a member of the royal guard, raised all his life to be fiercely loyal to the Crown.

Then Sophia’s powers manifest stronger than she ever imagined they would, and Cameron and she are inextricably linked in the process. As a witch unbound by marriage rites, Sophia is not only a threat to the established order of her country, but is also a weapon for those who seek to destroy it. Faced with old secrets and new truths, she must decide if she will fight for her country or succumb to the delicious temptation of power."

What I loved about this book: 
Ok, for all the description about "witches", this didn't feel like a super nerdy sci-fi book. It had the magic element, but it wasn't too overpowering for those of us who don't normally read in that vein. Also, this is not a YA book. Sorry! It does have adult scenes, so just fyi. It's a recently released book (April 2015), so there's not much info out there on how many books will be in this series.
Out of all the books on this page, this one was the most dark and adult. I loved the hero, Cameron's, devotion for Sophia. You can tell he cares for her deeply, and I can't wait to see more of that play out in the next book. The author does a great job of creating this whole new world and city of Anglion- it's very intricate and unique. I never felt like I knew what was coming with this book, and her details and descriptions were totally captivating.
Overall: Totally worth picking this one up! I just loved everything about this book- start to finish!

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