The Selection Stories [insert squeal here] by Kiera Cass.

18172471 (1)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 at The 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.

Just in case you’ve missed my previous fangirling installments, I’m a teeny bit obsessed with Kiera Cass’ The Selection Series, certainly more obsessed than any 30 year old should be (shudder)! But I’ve never been one to read novellas, especially when they’re only available online, so I was pretty stoked when this was released last month to add to my collection of pretty covers.

Oh Maxon. Swoon.

There’s not a great deal to The Prince and The Guard really, but they still quenched my Selection thirst and will tide me over until The One is released next month.

Both novellas let us see the selection process from different perspectives than the books. In The Prince, we see Maxon prepare for the arrival of the girls, his anxieties and fears. And we also get more of an insight into his relationship with the king.

I liked finding out what he thought of America and the other girls, and becoming king. He’s just so cute, and slightly damaged which obviously hot. TEAM MAXON all the way.

In The Guard, we get a better insight into the royal guard and Aspen’s plans to win America back, set at the time of the second book, The Elite. We also see more of the sinister underbelly of the court, and the rebel attacks.

Also, there was this weird part about the guards taking drugs to enhance their abilities, which never really developed into anything but was a welcome element of intrigue. Hopefully it’ll develop into more in The One.

I think it would be hard to recommend this to anyone who hasn’t read the books, but it could be a good taster. The series is definitely not for everyone, but I think it’s a masterpiece in YA trash. I can’t get enough.

Is it May 6th yet???

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Disclosure?: Nope, I bought it!
Title: The Selection Stories
Author: Kiera Cass
Details: Paperback, 227 pages
Published: February 4th 2014 by HarperTeen
My Rating: 4/5

Monthly Round-Up

November 2013
November was a bit of slow one for me as far as reading/blogging was concerned. I found myself in one those funks where you’re just not in the mood to read anything. Thankfully that’s a distant memory and I’m really looking forward to some festive reads this December. I also did some blog maintenance and read my first blogging book. Here’s the summary.

Total Posts: 28

New WP Followers: 30

Books Read & Reviewed (5):

  • The Wolves of Mid-winter – Anne Rice, 3/5 (Review)
  • City of Ashes (TMI #2) – Cassandra Clare, 4/5 (Review)
  • Orbital Kin – James E. Parsons, 3/5 (Review)
  • City of Glass (TMI #3) – Cassandra Clare, 4/5 (Review)
  • The Prince, The Fairy and The Fouly – Jim Fitzsimmonds, 4/5 (Review)

Read but not yet reviewed

  • How to Make Money Blogging – Bob Lotich
  • Game, Set and Murder – Elizabeth Flynn

Favourites Fridays:
Most Fridays I have been posting about my favourite books or authors. Although I didn’t do so well this month.

      • #18 The Magician’s Nephew – C.S Lewis (View Post)
      • #17 The Book of Lost Things – John Connolly (View Post)

Most Viewed Posts:

      1. *Fangirl Alert* The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass (View Post)
      2. WWW Wednesday 06/11/2013 (View Post)
      3. TTT: Books I’d recommend to reluctant readers (View Post)

Books Purchased: 

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I mainly bought festive reads to get me in the mood for Christmas, which I well and truly am already. As well as Starry Night, I bought The Night Before Christmas by Scarlett Bailey.

Books Swapped: 

Swap #1: Stormbreaker by Anthony Horrowicz for The Magic of Christmas by Trisha Ashley

Swap#2: The Black Dragon by Julian Sedgewick for A Christmas Visitor by Anne Perry

If you want to get involved in book swapping in the UK visit Readitswapit.co.uk. My username is Lipsyp1.

ARCs/Giveaways:
I received these Advanced Reader Copies via Netgalley.
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*BOOK OF THE MONTH*

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*COVER OF THE MONTH*

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*MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH*

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I hope you all had a good November. And now, onto CHRISTMASSSSSSSSS!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Book Turn-offs

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (Click the image to visit them). This week the theme is Top Ten book turn-offs.

It takes a lot for a book to annoy me enough to put it down but here are the things that sometimes make me want to throw in the towel! These are in no particular order…I hate them all equally!

  1. Unnecessarily Long Chapters: I get distracted easily and when chapters run on and on I find my mind wandering. I like chapters to be short and snappy so I can dip in and out of a book and not be lost.
  2. Too Much Description: You know when the author just has to describe EVERYTHING in minute detail making the book really hard-going and putting too many images in your mind? I prefer to visualise things my own way – otherwise I’d just put a film on!
  3. Jumping Timelines: When done well this can be great (Kate Morton for eg) but I feel like sometimes it’s done to mask a dull plot, or just for the sake of it and it makes me angry.back_to_the_future 2
  4. Poor Editing/Proofreading: The odd mistake makes no difference to my enjoyment of a book but there have been a few occasions where the text is sooooooo laden with mistakes that it makes the book hard to read.
  5.  Unlikable Characters/ Characters with no Redeemable Features: Sometimes having a horrible/evil character as a protagonist can work but on the most part unlikable characters are a big turn off. I particularly can’t stand narcissistic/ shallow characters and have to really push myself to keep reading to see if they change throughout the book – they usually do, but it’s never a good start for me!  Also related is when you just can’t relate to a main character on any level.
  6. Tenuous Links: You know when there is a plot hole and the author tries to cover it up with a very tenuous link or a coincidence or something? I can’t think of an example right now but it happens quite a bit in YA Fantasy. Ugh.
  7. Models on Covers: This is impossible to get away from, especially if you read a lot of YA and Paranormal Romance but ahh I don’t like it. I don’t mind when the covers aren’t centered on the models face but when they are it makes me angry because they never look like the characters described. And again, I like to visualise characters myself – this is why I also hate most film adaptations! BOOK RUINERS.
  8. Overwiriting/Trying too Hard: I hate it when authors try to sound clever or unique by using stupidly long, or odd words instead of simple ones. Yes, it’s good to be different but a twig is a twig! Hemlock Grove springs to mind here. ‘Her heart was a flicked mold of gelatin’ – Whaaaaat? That one will haunt me forever.
  9. Obsessive Romances/Stupid Teenage Girls: You all know the ones. Those so-called romances where the girls are unhealthily obsessed with a boy, or where the girls are all ‘but it can’t be because he likes me’ when it’s so obvious that he does. Rage! Just Stop!untitled
  10. All Tell and no Show AND Preaching: I wanted both of these on this list and I could probably choose another ten to be honest. The  former speaks for itself and the latter, well I hate when the author is trying to prove a point or take the moral high ground on an important topic that just comes across as preaching. No Thanks.

That was better than therapy, thanks, Hosts! 

*Cover Reveal* When Stars Die by Amber Skye Forbes

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Title: When Stars Die
Author: Amber Skye Forbes
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Release: October 2013 by AEC Stellar Publishing
Book Design: Viola Estrella of Estrella Cover Art

Amelia Gareth’s brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims in the snowy city of Malva. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.

Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They’re searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being stalked when she accidentally harms her best friend with fire during the third trial. Fire is a witch’s signature. The shadows are after witches.

Now Amelia must decide what to do: should she continue on her path to profession knowing there is no redemption, or should she give up on her dream and turn away from Cathedral Reims in order to stop the shadows who plan to destroy everything she loves?

You can find Amber on:

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August Finds

I wanted to start sharing some of the books that I’ve found through fellow bloggers that I just HAD to add to my wishlist immediately.

In my short time as a book blogger I’ve been introduced to so many new books that would have passed me by and my book wishlist and to-be-read pile is getting a bit ridiculous now, so thanks for that everyone 😛 If nothing else, I’m hoping that this monthly post will remind me what books I got really excited about and why.

So better late than never, here are my favourite Finds from August and where I spotted them.

Click on the images to go to the original posts

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Found on: Chrissi Reads
Why: I loved Into the Darkest Corner by Haynes so I’m looking forward to this.

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Found on: Lost Inside the Covers
Why: Alice in Wonderland with Zombies. Nuff said. Plus look at that cover!!

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Found on: Book Nerds Anonymous
Why: Vampires & another cover swoon!

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Found on: Wrapped Up in Books
Why: The cover looks magical, like Christmas.

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Found on: Daisy Chain Book Reviews
Why: It sounds like YA royalty!

Thanks Guys!

Last Stand of Dead Men (Skulduggery Pleasant #8) Out Now!

‘A lot of people are going to hate me’ – Derek Landy.

Ahhh!! I SRSLY can’t wait to get my hands on this!

Click to view on Goodreads
Click to view on Goodreads

War has finally come.

But it’s not a war between good and evil, or light and dark – it’s a war between Sanctuaries. For too long now, the Irish Sanctuary has teetered on the brink of world-ending disaster, and the other Sanctuaries around the world have had enough. Allies turn to enemies, friends turn to foes, and Skulduggery and Valkyrie must team up with the rest of the Dead Men if they’re going to have any chance at all of maintaining the balance of power and getting to the root of a vast conspiracy that has been years in the making.

But while this war is only beginning, another war rages within Valkyrie herself. Her own dark side, the insanely powerful being known as Darquesse, is on the verge of rising to the surface. And if Valkyrie slips, even for a moment, then Darquesse will burn the world and everyone in it.

Published August 29th 2013 by HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks, Hardcover.

Di & Lipsy do The Selection!

A couple of days ago I officially declared my LOVE for The Selection by Kiera Cass but I was finding it hard to put my love into words so I enlisted my BFF Dianne of the Tanner to help me. Read my original post here. But if you’re too lazy to go and read that (shame on you), here’s the lowdown on The Selection again.

View on Goodreads
View on Goodreads

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.

To my delight Di didn’t hate The Selection. WIN. We talked about the book, the similarities to the Hunger Games (because we are a bit obsessed with the Hunger Games) and the TV show that will or won’t or possibly already happened (!?). And of course, we had to decide: Team Aspen or Team Maxon.

Our rant went something like this:

ME: I’d never heard of The Selection until I saw it on Amazon and WOWed at the cover. I thought it was so pretty and looked magical and I HAD to buy it. When I handed it over to you however, you did what can only be described as a guffaw and said it looked terrible.

What were your actual first impressions from the cover and the premise? DT: Oh lord. My initial reaction when I saw the cover was ‘have you given me a Princess Diaries book to read?’ The cover is hilariously awful but I kind of love it. I felt pretty amazing reading it on the tube.

I really had no idea what to expect from the premise and initially was a bit wtf until about 3 pages in when I realised it was a bit HUNGER GAMES and perked up. Oh they live in America gone wrong in the future, it’s fine this I can get into.

What did you think of America Singer initially…apart from the stupid name of course? Aw bless her, she is trying so hard to be a stereotypical “tough girl” in a “hard world” who looks after other people and has no idea what others see in her – a bit over done at this point! *Katniss*
-Yeah it’s nice to have that ‘hardness’ and it not be about violence though. That’s refreshing. It’s all about her CHARM.
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Did the similarities to The Hunger Games annoy you? I thought it was a bit of a rip off at first but I thought the Casts were actually a pretty good idea in the end… Frankly anything that is vaguely similar to the Hunger Games to fill the gap since there is NO MORE HUNGER GAMES can only be a good thing so I have no idea what you are talking about.
-Haha true dat. I was just anticipating you hating it.

How did you picture Aspen? A bit fit obviously, but what a douche.
-SUCH A DOUCHE! Almost as bad as Peeta!

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The dialogue was pretty laughable on some occasions, OK on most occasions…especially the way Maxon talks. I bet you hate him don’t you? I actually really loved him! I KNEW you expected me to be Team Aspen. I wonder if maybe we didn’t get to spend enough time with him. He sounds like a bit of a douche, but then he gets all muscles and stuff later on so maybe IDK. Wait this question was about Maxon. What?

Oh yeah. He was quite lovely. I feel like he has a nice smile.
-I REALLY DID EXPECT YOU TO BE TEAM ASPEN. I was all ready for a ‘hunger games’ debate about it. I’m a bit disappointed in you really. WE NEVER AGREE, SO WELL DONE KIERA CASS. Also…haha ‘quite lovely’. Indeed.

But would you be his ‘Dear?’ LOL. Most certainly. I feel like there is a WHOLE LOAD of unwritten dark shit going on with the country and stuff and lets be honest he is clearly going to sort that shit out. [Let’s hope so] This book is so predictable I feel like I could write the next 3 – 4 in the series.
-Yeah I really wished that element of the story was explored more. It is a little bit in the next book but still definitely not enough. It could be a really cool dystopian series if that was concentrated on more but I guess with the dystopian element being left in the background we could focus on swooning over Maxon and hating on all the other girls. I am such a girl-hater sometimes.

America is feisty though, I love her. After all, she did kick the Prince in the balls. Discuss: In the thigh IT WAS HIS THIGH. I love how often they use the word “groin” in this book. She is feisty but it felt a little forced. Oh like you have to be the feisty one who is “true to herself” right because that’s what all girls can relate to. Unless you are Bella Swan then you are just LAME.
-(Ignoring that Bella comment!)Are you sure it wasn’t the balls? Surely ‘groin’ is just YA code for BALLS?

May Vs Prim? I liked May. Much better than Prim.God Prim is so annoying.

OK we can’t put it off any longer….ASPEN OR MAXON??? Maxon. Everything about Aspen just wound me up I feel like if he ever actually had sex with America he would be like meh.
-YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS I CAN’T BELEIVE WE ACTUALLY AGREE. And now we will have to compete for his affections.

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Pick one thing you LOVED about The Selection… I liked that although it was clearly aimed at 14 year olds, there were parts that were quite dark with regards to the “dystopian” nature of the world they live in. As I said, I feel like there is a lot more of that to come out in further books. I was like 1 chapter from the end going “but how can this book be about to end they haven’t even done anything.”
-Yeah I remember flicking through the pages that were left and I was like THERE IS HALF THE BOOK MISSING, SURELY. I’m quite worried you will be disappointed by The Elite because there is still not enough Book. THERE WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH.

And one thing you HATED?
I don’t think there was any need to end this book when it did. Right in the middle of everything, its such a short book I feel like they could have expanded a lot. I can’t work out what age group exactly it is aimed at because there is quite a lot of HEAVY PETTING.
-HAHAHA HEAVY PETTING. That is all.

Now please explain to me why I loved it so much?? Because you love trash, Lauren.
-Too right.

Would you like book #2, The Elite? Yes immediately please.
-I might not see you for a few weeks. I will post it to you if you’ll post The Selection back. I NEED IT BACK PRONTO.

What else do we need to talk about?
The One (#3) isn’t out until MAY 2014 – What kind of bullshit is that!?

I refuse to believe it takes that long to write these books.

AND, THE TV SHOW: The powers that be have been trying to turn The Selection into a TV show for a while now. Apparently the first pilot starred Ethan Peck as Maxon and PETER PEVENSIE as Aspen but wasn’t picked up.
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Another pilot is said to be in production with none other than GILES!!!!! WTFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!
I had heard that this was already a straight to TV movie actually. PETER PEVENSIE IS THE PERFECT PRINCE MAXON! [He was Aspen, Di…oh never mind] Who is Giles playing, THE KING??? KING GILES???

KING GILES IS THE KING OF ALL KINGS!
KING GILES IS THE KING OF ALL KINGS!

OF COURSE HE IS PLAYING THE KING! It will fill the King Giles-sized hole that Merlin took away from me! IT HAS to get made.

WE WILL WATCH THIS SPACE!

About Di
I first met Di on the streets of London YEARS AGO (let’s not think about that!) when we used to stalk the same band up and down the country. She knew my name and it freaked me out. I signed her enormous NZ flag (YUSS, she’s Kiwi) and realised that she was even louder than me. It kind of went from there and long after said band disappeared and we got a bit grown-up (eurrrgh!) we have remained friends. Even though we live on opposite sides of London, we meet up for book-swapping, film-watching and ranting over a few (a lot of) drinks as often as possible. Di is a self-taught photographer and jewellry maker. She blogs about these things plus books and life n’ shiz at Icefloe. Go say hi, she is lovely.

TEAM MAXON!