The Whimsical Mama

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*Blog Tour* The Jewel by Amy Ewing August 31, 2014

 

The Jewel (The Lone City #1)

by Amy Ewing

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: September 2nd 2014

Rate: 4 stars

Synopsis:
The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.
Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.
Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence… and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for. 

The first thing that caught my attention for The Jewel, was the cover. It’s GORGEOUS! I threw the don’t judge a book by its cover rule right out the window on this one. Not even knowing the summary, I knew I wanted to give this book a read. Once I knew it was a dystopian? It became a MUST read.

Violet was a fantastic main character. She was instantly intriguing and I would love to know more how these mysterious powers are passed along through families. Especially why only the females have the gene. I understand why the royalty brought in surrogates for a while, but after a while, I don’t understand why the practice wasn’t thrown out. But if it had been, there wouldn’t be a story!
The main thing I loved about Violet was that she’s a musician. As a fellow musician, I loved the emphasis on her talents. I contemplated digging through my classical cds to add them to my ipod to listen to while I read. I never did because that would’ve cut into reading time. I blew through it quickly as it was, so I didn’t want any distractions from reading! The Jewel screams to have music added to the audiobook in the style of If I Stay/Where She Went (IMHO!)
Other than the unexpected romance twist, the BIGGEST problem I had was the lack of historical explanation. I wanted to know what happened to create this government. In most cases it’s been war, but nothing is said. It’s kind of explained how this government formed, but not the situations that made it necessary. As this is a trilogy, I’m hoping it will be explained in the future!
This was totally capable of being a full 5 star rating, but I didn’t care for the eventual romance. In a way, I was hoping it wouldn’t be a factor in the book at all (I am firmly in the a book doesn’t HAVE to have romance to be a good book camp). I was also figuring the romance would be with someone else. Since I was expecting it to be with an entirely different character, I was a bit disappointed with how things panned out.
Along side Violet, there is an incredible cast of characters that gives such depth to The Jewel. I had a love-hate relationship with the Duchess. I want to know what’s happening to Raven. Lucian is totally a new Cinna and I love it. I’m most intrigued by Garnet. I want him front and centre in book 2!
Just when you think you have things figured out, Amy takes things in another direction. I’m so interested and excited to see where things go from here. The cliffhanger at the end is BRUTAL. That’s one of the downfalls of reading ARCs or starting a new series that isn’t completed. The wait is going to be a tough one! I need book 2 NOW.
I definitely recommend The Jewel to dystopian fantasy readers. It’s an intriguing and quick read. It definitely keeps you on your toes and guessing what could be coming next. I plan on continuing this trilogy and definitely plan on purchasing a finished copy! The cover is beautiful and will make a gorgeous addition to my shelves.

 

 










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Follow the FFBC The Jewel Blog Tour and don’t miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.
Amy Ewing is the young adult author of THE JEWEL, the first in a trilogy from HarperTeen, coming out September 2014.
She grew up in a small town outside Boston, where her librarian mother instilled a deep love of reading at a young age. Amy moved to New York City in 2000 to study theater at New York University. Unfortunately, her acting career didn’t quite pan out. She worked in restaurants, as an administrative assistant, a nanny, and a sales representative for a wine distributor before the lack of creativity in her life drove her to begin writing.
Amy received her MFA in Creative Writing for Children from The New School, where she was lucky enough to meet a fabulous community of YA writers who keep her sane on a daily basis. She lives in Harlem, where she spends her days writing, eating cheese, and occasionally binge watching The Vampire Diaries.
Win (1) of (3) copies of The Jewel (Us Only)

 

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*Review* The Selection by Kiera Cass June 29, 2014

***As always mild spoilers may follow***

Rating: 4 stars
Pub date: 24 April 2012 
Publisher: HarperCollins, HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance
Format: hardcover via library
Status: Book one of The Selection trilogy

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.

 

My thoughts:

Okay. Let me start this off by saying I went into The Selection with virtually no expectations and an open mind. I know The Selection is a very polarising book. It’s very divided on if you like it or not. It’s very divided between the two boys vying for America’s affection. That’s virtually all I knew going in. The Selection was recommended to me by Mary. (As usual, right? haha) I decided to wait until The One came out so I could binge the whole series. As I do. We didn’t really discuss it more than that. We have a good spoiler free relationship. She tells me I should read and eventually I do. Usually much later than I should haha. I didn’t read any reviews beforehand. I didn’t want to be swayed in anyway. Okay. Now I have that off my chest. (:

I really enjoyed The Selection. My first impression was similarity to The Hunger Games due to the eligible girls putting their names in to be drawn mixed with The Bachelor. (I’ve never actually seen an episode, but I get the gist.) The Selection came out first, but I also felt a pull to Pawn by Aimee Carter with the caste system.

I foundhow Kiera revealed info slowly was well done. In first person through America, we learn things as she does and through her musings. The dystopian world could’ve allowed for a massive info dump, but Kiera does a great job revealing as you go. I still have unanswered questions, but there are two more books and two novellas, so I’m not concerned by that yet. I much rather have things revealed slowly than info dumps.

I was surprised by how quick of a read The Selection was. I picked it up Saturday morning and was done by Sunday afternoon. Part of that was a few glorious hours of uninterrupted reading time on Mother’s Day. My hubby is the best for that! ❤

I very quickly related to America which is always a biggie for me. If I don’t like a character, it’s hard to get into the story. I could see a lot of myself in America so that made reading all the more enjoyable. She’s stubborn, independent, and musical. She starts off strong and continues to grow. She realises assumptions based on rank don’t always hold true. She’s also realising friendship can develop into romantic feelings, which to me, is the best kind of love. Her determination to help her family is inspiring.

As far as the other Selected girls go, I only really liked Marlee. She seems like such a kind and loyal friend. I absolutely hated Celeste. That list on reasons why could go on forever.

On the boy front, I can say I’m still Team Undecided. Both boys have impressed me and made me want to smack him upside the head. I do think I am leaning a smidge toward Maxon over Aspen though. That freaking ego issue. UGH. No. JUST NO.

I have to say my favourite parts of The Selection were the scenes with Maxon and America. I think they make the best of friends and I can see that blossoming into romance. I still feel on the fence about Maxon though. He did win major points with that first kiss scene though. ADORABLE.

I’m very excited to continue with my binge of this series. I recommend this to dystopian lovers. It’s not as dark on any level (so far) as The Hunger Games, Divergent or Chemical Garden, but it’s a great read. Even if you don’t love it, I believe it’s still an entertaining read.

About the author:

100 Things I Love:

Being married. Cake. The smell of Autumn. Motherhood. Books. Elephants. Back rubs. On demand movies. Actually going out to movies. Faith. Cinnamon rolls. My family. Butterflies. When my kitchen is clean. Crayons. Pink. Tote bags. Dancing. Organizing via color coordination. That my wedding dress was tea length, not floor. Baking. My house. Writing utensils. Paper. India. The sound of water. Making videos. Buttons. The word Episcopalian. Making people laugh. Layering clothes. British accents. Pinterest. Animation. Fireworks. The smell of the Ocean. My wedding rings. Aprons. Reasons to get dressed up. Sex. Pop music. Stars. Taking walks. Daydreaming. Stickers. School Spirit. My friends. Living in a small town. Japan. Singing. Painting my toenails. Pranks/ practical jokes. Painting. Stretch canvas. Costumes. Dipping my fingers in melted wax. Style. Soda. Spending an hour typing at a coffee shop. Musicals. Back to school season. Mopeds. Good hair days. Naps. Not walking up but looking at a beautiful staircase. Driving alone. My ankles. Playlists. Spending entire days in pajamas. Holidays. Telling stories. Spontaneity. Theme parks. Bookshelves. The word copacetic. Boxes. Empty journals. Surprises. Doing things in groups. Doing things alone. Getting real mail. Decorating. Small forks. A good hug. Gift cards. New Years Goals. Going out to dinner. When someone else remembers some great story about me/us that I’ve forgotten. Toy stores. Fireplaces. Breakfast foods. Journaling. Crying for a good reason. Doorbells. Pointless adventures. Voting. My birthday. Reasons to make wishes. Recycling

http://www.kieracass.com/

 

Waiting on Wednesday #36: A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd June 25, 2014

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Waiting on Wednesday” is a weekly event hosted by Jill at the Breaking The Spine. It showcases upcoming releases we’re anticipating!

 

 My pick of the week is:

A Cold Legacy (Madman’s Daughter #3)

 By: Megan Shepherd

 Coming: 27 January 2015

 Publisher: Balzer+Bray, HarperCollins, HarperTeen

 

 Summary:
After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity.

 

Why I’m excited:

 

Continuing with the cover reveal love, today I’m impatiently waiting for this beauty. The cover was revealed last week, but I already had decided to swoon over The Orphan Queen. This week, was decided to be dedicated to another favourite author I love. Megan is such a sweetheart. I got to meet her back in the fall when she came to a neighbouring city’s library. She was entertained with Punk’s “dancing” skills after being cooped up in the car driving home from the beach. I think someone developed a crush on Megan that day! I devoured Madman’s Daughter in preparation for the signing. Then when Her Dark Curiosity came up on EW, I KNEW I had to get my hands on it. I blew through it too. I just love Megan’s retellings. I even got my sister in law to read Madman’s Daughter and she loved it! (: *does happy dance*

 

Why I need you to be excited:

 

Again. Like last week, just look at the cover. Look at the covers for the whole trilogy. They’re GORGEOUS. Megan is a spectacular writer and the first two books leave you thirsty for more. I am so excited to see how things are going to go. Plus? It’s set in Scotland. You know how I love Scotland. It’s going to be an amazing ending, I just know! Get excited and get ready for the excitement!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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