Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard


This book is a combination of two of my favorite genres: fantasy and dystopia. I’ve heard a lot of varying opinions about this book; it seems like most people either loved it or hated. I’m one of the ones who loved it. Or, at least, very strongly liked it.

Rating: [4/5]

Reading Challenge: A book based entirely on its cover

Goodreads Summary: 

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the center of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

Likes: This book deals with a lot of issues like classism and racism and rebellion from an oppressive government, all in a fantasy world where people have superpowers. I love all the different types of powers in the book. Plus, I don’t know if I’ve read a character as palpably angry as Mare. It was really interesting and different. And don’t even get me started on that plot twist. Even though someone spoiled it for me, I was still in shock.

Dislikes: The beginning was boring and difficult to get into. Honestly, the story doesn’t really start to get interesting until she’s at the palace. Also, there wasn’t quite enough world building, which I’m hoping is solved in the second book.

Resonance by S. Alex Martin


I was so excited to receive an ARC of Resonance from the author. Seriously. This book has been my constant companion over the last several weeks and has been a much-needed reprieve from the mountains of school reading overtaking my desk.

Rating: [5/5]

Goodreads Summary:

Belvun is dying. Droughts, firestorms, and a swelling desert slowly consume the planet. Cities have crumbled. Forests have burned. Five years ago, recovery efforts to reverse the damage failed. They must not fail again.

General Orcher tasks Arman Lance with the development of the galaxy’s most comprehensive planetary database. Arman will travel to Orvad, Undil’s city by the ocean, and then to Daliona, where life thrives and new discoveries await.

On this new journey, Arman will challenge himself in ways he never imagined and make friends he never thought he’d have. And as he learns what it really means to devote his life to the Embassy, he will experience the strength, diversity, and resilience of humankind.

Likes: I really love the way Arman came into his own in this book. Though this transition started in Embassy, I feel he really began to explore and form his own identity in Resonance. His inner world is rich and complex and emotional and so, so, so relatable. Arman’s open struggles with fear, identity, jealousy, and purpose are such a part of the human experience that he really feels like a real person to me.

Basically, the characters and their development are my favorite part of Resonance. I love the relationship in this book. After the slow build in Embassy, the payoff in Resonance was so worth it. The wedding scene (not spoilers; I promise!) and the birthday celebration are particular favorite moments of mine. The new side characters on the team Arman hires are also quite delightful; Rand is my personal favorite of the bunch.

The world-building. Absolutely phenomenal. The reader really gets to see a much larger snapshot of this universe and all the planets, people, technology, and animals in it. The level of detail poured into Daliona made the story so rich. Plus, the recreational activities introduced in Resonance almost rival Hologis. Also! You can explore Daliona for yourself!

And, last but certainly not least, the ending. My word. I’m still reeling. Those last couple of chapters had me on the edge of my seat and I had to will myself to read slower so that I wouldn’t miss anything. I’ve read a lot of books with a lot of cliffhangers, but this was one of the most extreme cliffhangers I have ever encountered and it is so wonderful and frustrating all at once.

Dislikes: Honestly? I liked it all. The plot, characters, world-building, pacing…I have no complaints. Resonance was really a slam-dunk for me.

Buy Embassy

Add Embassy on Goodreads

Buy Resonance 

Add Resonance on Goodreads

Embassy by S. Alex Martin


First of all, let me just say that this book was exactly what I needed to read right now. In school, all I’m reading this semester is early modern drama, lengthy pieces of literary criticism, and dry textbooks about Ireland. It’s honestly exhausting. But Embassy was like a shot of espresso on a Monday morning.

Rating: [4/5]

Goodreads Summary:

Arman Lance was supposed to travel the galaxy with his father, not watch him die. He was supposed to experience the adventures from his father’s stories, not isolate himself from the world. He was going to join the Embassy Program, fly across the galaxy, and find Ladia Purnell, a girl from another planet whom he loved years before.

Clinging to his fading hopes and dreams, Arman joins the Embassy Program to fulfill that last promise. If he can reach Ladia, he’ll never have to worry, never have to feel alone. But it doesn’t take long for his plan to fall apart when he’s confronted by his fellow Embassy recruit, Glacia Haverns, the ever-smiling adrenaline junkie who decides it’s her job to show Arman there’s more to life than chasing a desperate obsession.

Likes: Normally, I have a hard time reading sci-fi books because plot and world-building are elevated at the expense of character development. This was not so in Embassy. The characters were interesting and well-developed. Arman, the narrator, has a rich inner world and he experiences quite a lot of personal growth throughout the novel, which is always something I like.

Also, this book is perfect for anyone who likes slow-burn romances. Seriously, each tantalizing moment in this relationship’s development was perfectly paced. I may have squealed aloud in public on more than one occasion. Like, I never thought cans crumpling would make me so emotional.

Finally, it’s clear that this book was extremely well-researched. I’m not a scientist, but I am interested in physics and space travel enough to know when something isn’t even remotely plausible. There were no moments where bad science pulled me out of the narrative, which is really impressive for a sci-fi book to be able to maintain that kind of suspension of disbelief so well.

Dislikes: I would have liked to see a little more of the universe and more of the different cultures within it. The world-building was good, but I wanted more of it. There are several unanswered questions I have that I’m hoping will be answered later in the series. Which is why I’m super excited to read the sequel, Resonance, which just came out last week.

Buy Embassy here.

Add Embassy to Goodreads.

Buy Resonance here.

Add Resonance to Goodreads. 

The Heir by Kiera Cass


I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one, honestly. There are so many mixed reviews, and I read more bad ones than good ones. This book was supposed to be the sequel that never should have happened. BUT. I loved it and it’s my favorite one in the series so far.

Rating: [5/5]

Goodreads 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.

Likes: I love Eadlyn. Unpopular opinion right there. But I do. Yes, she can be selfish. But you know what? People are selfish. She’s a believable character, and that makes her a good character. This book also shows the aftermath of all the political decisions made in The One, and I think it portrays them in a really plausible way. There’s no way to quick-fix a broken government, and this book shows that really well. This book is also super feminist! Eadlyn makes a lot of really clear comments on her own agency and bodily autonomy that I really appreciated. It sends a really good message. Finally, all of the boys in her Selection are delightful. There are about four of them I would be happy to see her with. Also! Let’s not forget all of the Maxon and America old married couple cuteness.

Dislikes: I really can’t think of anything that I didn’t like about this book.

Tune in next week for my review of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard!

The One by Kiera Cass


The dust jacket of this book got torn when I moved and I was so sad. I don’t know why I thought that was necessary to share, but there you go. It was also the first book I read in the new apartment!

Rating: [5/5]

Goodreads Summary:

The time has come for one winner to be crowned.

When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, 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

Likes: Okay. The plot twists in this book were ridiculous in the best way. Once I reached a certain point in the book, stuff just kept happening. I had to put it down a few times and just stare at the wall to absorb what was happening. Plus, the romance was the best in this book. Especially towards the end. I also really liked the endings that a couple of my favorite characters got. It was really satisfying for those ends to be tied up.

Dislikes: The beginning was really slow. It was kind of hard to get into, at first. It wasn’t until I was about a third of the way through that things started getting really good. And that’s when the plot twist rollercoaster started.

Tune in next week to read my review of The Heir by Kiera Cass!

The Elite by Kiera Cass


I literally read this book in one day, if that gives you any indication of how much I liked it. Seriously, I could not put it down.

Rating: [5/5]

Goodreads Summary:

The Selection began with thirty-five girls.
Now with the group narrowed down to the six Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon’s heart is fiercer than ever—and America is still struggling to decide where her heart truly lies. Is it with Maxon, who could make her life a fairy tale? Or with her first love, Aspen?

America is desperate for more time. But the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want—and America’s chance to choose is about to slip away.

Likes: All of the worldbuilding I was missing in the first one showed up here. The way the author built these nations is so intriguing to me. It’s an interesting take on what world politics could potentially look like one day. Plus, there are some major plot twists that left me reeling.

Dislikes: There wasn’t anything in particular I remember disliking about this book.

Tune in next week for my review of The One by Kiera Cass!

The Selection by Kiera Cass


This book was recommended to me by a dear friend I met from school. She described it to me as being “a fairy tale dystopia meets The Bachelor.” And so I was immediately on board with that and got it from the library as fast as humanly possible.

Rating: [4/5]

Reading Challenge: A book a friend recommended

Goodreads Summary:

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.

Likes: I really enjoyed America as a character, as well as her relationship with Maxon and friendship with Marlee. Seeing the way the girls all reacted to the pressure of the Selection and to the competition among each other was also really interesting. I found America and Marlee’s relationship refreshing, since I love strong girl friendships in books.

Dislikes: The worldbuilding wasn’t very detailed in this book. The plot was also a little predictable.

Tune in next week for my review of The Elite by Kiera Cass! 


Fairest by Marissa Meyer


Fairest is a bridge book between Cress and the soon-to-be-released Winter by Marissa Meyer. It offers the backstory of series’s villain, the Lunar queen Levana. I was immediately interested because you hardly ever see a book that features a “bad guy” as a main character and I wanted to see what Meyer did with that unique perspective. I was not disappointed.

Rating: [3/5]

Reading Challenge: A book that scares you

Goodreads Summary:

In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Likes: This book really created some of the most complex characters I’ve ever read about. Levana is truly a villain, but she does not believe she is. She sees herself as the girl who could never be enough for anyone, and that is a theme that is explored in every part of her character development. The way she justifies her actions or sees her own motivations is simply chilling, and many times I had to take a break in order to process a character with the capacity to do the things Levana does. There were parts of this book where I genuinely felt bad for her, even though it didn’t excuse her actions in the slightest. Plus, I really enjoyed the cameos of Cinder, Winter, Kai, and Jacin.

Dislikes: It was kind of disturbing to read about her thought processes behind some of her more deplorable actions. I don’t want to give anything away, but if you’ve read the rest of the Lunar Chronicles, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Plus, the book didn’t really have a plot. It was pretty much all character development, so there were some slow parts.

Tune in next week to read my review of The Selection by Kiera Cass!


Cress by Marissa Meyer


This one is my favorite of the series so far. I seriously had trouble putting it down. Also it just occurred to me that I have read all of the main books in the Lunar Chronicles so far on trips: I read Cinder on an academic conference in South Padre Island and Scarlet and Cress while visiting family in San Diego. I guess that means I’ll have to take another vacation in November when Winter comes out ;)

Rating: [5/5]

Reading Challenge: A book by a female author

Goodreads Summary:

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

Likes: I’m slightly in love with Carswell Thorne. Not to mention Cress, who is an adorable, smart badass. Plus, it was really interesting to me to see the way she dealt with her social anxiety. That was definitely relatable. Plus, once again, all the twists were incredible. And, I no longer have any qualms about Scarlet and Wolf. My concerns were unfounded.

Dislikes: It was kind of funny on the one hand, but in all the parts with Kai, he was rehashing old theories that Cinder et al. had already figured out. He was basically a book behind. It just felt a little repetitive sometimes.

Tune in next week to read my review of Fairest by Marissa Meyer!


Scarlet by Marissa Meyer


I had this book checked out at the library and ended up buying it so I could read it on vacation! And then my 70 year old grandma asked what I was reading and explaining that was a pretty interesting experience. Also all the people on the airplane kept trying to talk to me at all of the most intense parts and it made me want to stab them with a fork okay not really but actually yes really.

Rating: [5/5]

Reading Challenge: A book with a color in the title

Goodreads Summary: 

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Likes: I was really worried that Cinder and her story were going to be barely involved and I’d have to wait for forever to get resolution, but I was actually really impressed by the way that the author integrated the stories. The plot twists and the way the author took the fairy tale and made it her own were also really wonderful. I loved all the new characters too.

Dislikes: [SPOILERS] Scarlet and Wolf’s relationship felt a little bit unhealthy at times. I have a feeling it was just situational and that once their relationship is developed a little more, it’ll be fine. But some of the parts in this book reminded me a little of Edward and Bella in Twilight and how he was always talking about how he really wanted to kill her.

Tune in next week to read my review of Cress by Marissa Meyer!