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Book Review: The Selection Stories by Kiera Cass

The selection storiesTitle: The Selection Stories: The Prince & The Guard

Author: Kiera Cass

Series: The Selection Novellas

Genre: Teen Dystopian (sort of)

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Overview: 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. 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.

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The Review: 

Reading these novellas was the perfect way to amp myself up for The One – the conclusion to the The Selection trilogy. These short stories show a bit of behind the scenes action surrounding the two love interests within the trilogy. The Prince is from Maxom’s perspective that takes place within the timeline of The Selection (book 1), while The Guard is from Aspen’s perspective and takes place alongside The Elite (book 2).  As it had been over a year since I read books 1&2, these novellas were the perfect way to refresh my memory before diving into the conclusion.

My favorite story was The Prince. Reading from Maxom’s POV was totally delightful, and I would especially love it if an entire book was written from his perspective. It was neat getting an inside look to the selection process and experiencing some of the mixed emotions Maxom felt while entering into it. I always liked him, but this novella made me love him even more. While The Prince is not essential to the main story, I still recommend it highly, as I think most Selection fans will enjoy it.

The Guard was an interesting story, but it wasn’t anything profound. You see, in my mind, Maxom is so right for America that I haven’t ever entertained Aspen as a real possibility. I often find scenes America shares with him frustrating, and just don’t agree with many of his decisions. That said, however, it was great to read about his interactions with the other people of the castle and to see what a positive influence he had on all of them – specifically America’s maids. While I recommend The Prince for purely entertainment purposes, I recommend The Guard for certain plot points that will help make The One (the final book) more enjoyable.

What’s next? I am going to hole myself up in a room for a day and completely devour The One. I want to savor it, because it’s the trilogy ending I’ve been most anticipating for the past year, but I know it’s not going to take me much longer than that to read. If you’re like me and are sad to see this series come to an end, keep hope, as Cass is releasing the novella, The Queen (detailing Queen Amberly’s own selection journey) which will be released in early December. I, for one, am stoked to get my hands on that, even though it’s just another novella. Heck, I love the concept behind the story so much I’d be willing to read books about all of the selections within this world – keep them coming Kiera!

If you haven’t read The Selection and want to, now’s your chance – our YA Escape Reality Book Club (which anybody can join, provided they love YA novels), has chosen The Selection for May’s official book, and I can’t wait to talk about it!

Otherbooks you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: The Queen by Kiera Cass

PrintTitle: The Queen

Author: Kiera Cass

Series: The Selection Novella

Genre: Teen Dystopian (sort of)

Release Date: December 2, 2014

The Overview: Before America Singer’s story began, another girl came to the palace to compete for the hand of a different prince…. This prequel story takes place before the events of The Selection and is told from the point of view of Prince Maxon’s mother, Amberly. Discover a whole new Selection with this inside look at how Maxon’s parents met—and how an ordinary girl named Amberly became a beloved queen.

the queen

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

I am on a Selection craze and have been since I picked up the first book over a year ago. As I’m currently savoring The One (the final book in the trilogy) I find myself incredibly sad that the story is coming to an end. This makes me even more excited to check out The Queen when it comes out in December – I simply cannot get enough of this series. Aside from my obsession, I find Amberly’s selection journey to be just as curious as America’s and look forward to finding out more about her. She’s easily  one of my favorite characters!

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki Hawkes

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Escape Reality Book Club – May 2014’s Selection!

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Hosted by your’s truly and Charlotte at Apathy and Rhetoric

Your votes have been counted and the results are in!

May 2014′s official book club book is:

selectionTitle: The Selection

Author: Kiera Cass

The Overview: 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.

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So what happens now?

If you missed the Escaped Reality Book Club launch post, click here for more details.

Otherwise, you are all invited to join in the fun!

We will be reading The Selection throughout the rest of May and geeking out about it on our official Facebook page, followed by a meeting at Menchies Frozen Yogurt for those of you in the Southern Utah area.

This blog reaches a global audience, so not everybody will be able to make it to the meetings. Because of that, if you read the book and want to be included in the discussions, Charlotte and I will be willing to host a twitter conversation (#escaperealitybc) for anybody who shows interest (just send me a message through our Facebook group, or leave a comment).

 I hope you all enjoy the book! :-)

by Niki Hawkes

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

The selection storiesTitle:  The Selection Stories: The Prince & The Guard

Author: Kiera Cass

Series: The Selection 0.5 & 2.5

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Release Date: February 4, 2014

The Overview: 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.

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 at The One, the eagerly anticipated final novel in the Selection trilogy.

The selection stories 2

 Hosted by Breaking the Spine

 Of all the book releases coming out in 2014 I have to say that I am most excited about The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass. As it doesn’t come out until May 6, I have strategically avoided reading these short stories until their physical release in February. I’m hoping they help make the wait a little more endurable. If you haven’t read this series yet, it is a romantic dystopian (much like Matched and Delirium) revolving around America, a reluctant candidate in a competition to marry a prince. I loved both The Selection and The Elite and look forward to learning a little back-history on some key characters before picking up the final novel.

What book are you waiting on? 

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: The One by Kiera Cass

15844362Title: The One

Author: Kiera Cass

Series: The Selection #3

Genre: Teen Romance

Release Date: May 6, 2014

The Overview: The Selection changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. And now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen.

America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the competition approaches its end 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.15844362 2

 Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Nik’s Notes: 

 The other day I was trying to figure out which sequel I’m most excited to read… with all of the amazing books coming out, it surprised me that I’m most looking forward to The One (even over Allegiant and Champion… I know, crazy!). I enjoyed every minute of The Selection, and am still incredibly eager to find out what happens next despite the fact that The Elite delivered an entirely different (although still good) type of story. I sincerely hope it doesn’t let me down, as I have a very long time to wait for it.

 This series is perfect for fans of romantic (rather than edgy) dystopians.

What book are you waiting on?

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Book Review: The Elite by Kiera Cass

16248068Title: The Elite

Author: Kiera Cass

Series: The Selection #2

Genre: Teen Fiction

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Overview: 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.

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The Review:

I can’t tell you how many reviews for this book I’ve read so far – it seems that almost everybody read it (and loved it) before I did. The Selection was sweet, romantic, and engaging, and I loved the element of competition in a slightly dystopian setting. It was exactly what I was in the mood for – a fun, lighthearted read – and I picked up the second one immediately (which is something I don’t usually do – all you have to do is check out my “Currently Reading” shelf on goodreads to see how scattered I am with books). Anyway, although I liked this one, I don’t feel as though I got what I signed up for.

The first book was lovely. It was breezy, romantic, and fun, and even though I expected a little turmoil to show up in this second book, I wasn’t prepared for the level of stress I felt while reading it. I had to fight the urge to write a story-rant review – and that tells me the author did and exceptional job of getting me emotionally involved. I was so invested in these characters that I wanted to scream at them to stop being such idiots. I have never gotten so worked up about a book and have spent the last month or so trying to figure out why it affected me so much.

And I think I finally figured it out…pacing.

Cass used several different elements to throw angst at me for almost the entire end half of the book. It was subtle and slow building until I was riding the proverbial snowball down the mountain. I kept reading faster and faster to try to get ahead of it, but I never did. I practically begged for her to throw me a bone, and she ignored me. From her author’s note at the end,  I think she did it on purpose… and that pisses me off. At first, I was angry at the story, the characters, and the situations they put themselves in. After a month of reflection, I am now pissed at Cass for writing it well enough to do that to me. It was truly evoking and I have to applaud that.

Overall, this was a very well-done book. It sticks with you long after you’ve finished it… at least it did with me. Even though it is the second book in the series, I feel like each one is drastically different as far as the emotional payoffs (or lack thereof) are concerned. It was an emotional roller coaster and I can’t wait to see what ride I’m getting on next. I will probably pick the third book up the day it comes out.

Recommendations: Because I’ve read so many reviews, I know a lot of people enjoyed the series as much as I did. It’s technically a dystopian, but it’s definitely not the most well-conceived society of the genre. I would recommend it to people who lean more towards the romantic dystopians such as Delirium and Matched rather than the more conceptual ones like Hunger Games and The Fifth Wave.

 Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes