Daily Archives: Jul 3, 2014

Minutes Before Sunset (Timely Death Trilogy #1)

Read on 3rd July, 2014

Author: Shannon A. Thompson

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5 Stars 🙂

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She was undoubtedly a shade, but I didn’t know her.

Eric Welborn isn’t completely human, but he isn’t the only shade in the small Midwest town of Hayworth. With one year left before his eighteenth birthday, Eric is destined to win a long-raging war for his kind. But then she happens. In the middle of the night, Eric meets a nameless shade, and she’s powerful—too powerful—and his beliefs are altered. The Dark has lied to him, and he’s determined to figure out exactly what lies were told, even if the secrets protect his survival.

He had gotten so close to me—and I couldn’t move—I couldn’t get away.

Jessica Taylor moves to Hayworth, and her only goal is to find more information on her deceased biological family. Her adoptive parents agree to help on one condition: perfect grades. And Jessica is distraught when she’s assigned as Eric’s class partner. He won’t help, let alone talk to her, but she’s determined to change him—even if it means revealing everything he’s strived to hide.

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First of all, I would like give a huge thank you to Shannon A. Thompson for providing me with a copy of her book.

“Minutes Before Sunset” is an absolutely stunning novel that completely messed with my emotions. I laughed with the characters, cried with them, felt all warm and fuzzy inside, was heartbroken, proud and sympathised with the pain in their lives.

I loved learning all about the shades, the Light and the Dark with Jessica. I also discovered the full prophecy alongside Eric and the betrayal he felt by everyone keeping it from him was palpable.

All the characters were so humane, so relatable, even when they shouldn’t have been. There was also a lot of sass, sarcasm and witty banter mixed into all the relationships – particularly that of Jessica and Eric. The characters each had their own quirks, their own flaws, and that’s what made them so perfect. Most of all, we were with them as they learned to love in spite of everything.

Miss. Thompson twisted the concept of Light and Dark, reversing the well-known roles, changing the time-old dance and making it her own. Brilliant and true, “Minutes Before Sunset” is thought-provoking, bringing real-life lessons and morals from a world of the supernatural.

I loved how Jessica’s relationship with Eric during the day paralleled with Shoman’s relationship with the nameless shade at night. These relationships provided a refuge for the characters, a much-needed solace. There was a lightness in the air that made my heart soar, and when they fell in love it was beautiful and seamless, a tune to which my heart melted. Shannon’s depiction of love is like none that I have read before, sweet and without angst. Theirs is the love that you wish you could have.

The ending… Without giving anything away, it was heart-wrenchingly sad yet full of hope. It was the perfect solution, but the one you wished didn’t have to happen. I also loved how the fireworks was brought full-circle, it was a very nice touch.

“Minutes Before Sunset” is brilliantly written and left me aching for more. I highly recommend it to all, particularly those interested in young adult and a unique branch of the supernatural.

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The One (The Selection #3) – Contains Spoilers

Read on 2nd June, 2014

Author: Kiera Cass

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4 Stars 🙂

As my recent reviews have contained spoilers, I tried my best to keep this spoiler-free, but towards the end it just didn’t end up happening. The fact that this is the third and final book in the trilogy didn’t help either… I apologise with all my heart, and I will try my upmost to do spoiler-free reviews in the future (after “City of Heavenly Fire”, that is).

I have also used the “royal we” in my review, but feel free to disagree – good conversations often stem from conflicting opinions.

In the words of my past self:

The teaser to “the One” [i.e. the first four chapters] was… Interesting. While I was totally face palming and mentally yelling at both America because of her stupidity and Maxon because he infuriated me, it ended on an intriguing note.

2 stars (because of how un-America it was)

You can see by my 2 Star review that I wasn’t very impressed by the teaser to “The One” – I was put off by the stunt America pulled and how un-America it was. To be honest, I was embarrassed for her.

I was actually so close to putting it down, to not reading it, but I’m SO glad that I did read it! This book was beautiful, intriguing and certainly had the spirit of the previous two books.

The Rebels are something that has been a constant in the past two books, yet we weren’t really told anything past the fact that there were two types of rebels – the Northern and the Southern rebels. Fortunately, we found out a lot about the rebels quite near the beginning of the book. Thus, we were introduced to Augustus and Georgina, the former who was previously known as “the strange rebel girl who curtsied to America in the woods”.

Georgina, I have to say is one of my favourite characters. She was just so likeable and her friendship with America was touching and beautiful. Looking back now, I don’t suppose I have any real reason why I like her so much, but she’s just one of those characters that you latch onto. I really enjoyed reading about her, especially when the tea party scene came about, but I’ll get back to that one later.

The whole ideas behind the Northern and Southern rebels were intriguing, and throughout the book we gradually discovered more and more people we had been introduced to throughout the series to be part of the “Northern Star” rebellion.

The amount of times my heart melted where Maxon is involved is ridiculous, the first of said instances being when Maxon takes America onto the roof because she wants to feel the rain. This scene was so perfect, it stripped down Maxon and America’s relationship to its core – a breath of fresh air in the bustle of the Selection and a much needed reminder not only to the characters themselves, but to us as well. This scene really resounded with me. It was a very pure moment, and also when America fully realises that she’s in love with Maxon.

Leading up to this book, we’ve all been lead to hate Celeste. So when America finds Celeste crying in the library, we’re just as shocked as her. We see Celeste in a brand new light; we understand her and her motives for everything she’s done; we forgive her as America does. This brings about the biggest character change – Celeste goes from the second-most hated character (the first will always be the king) to one of our favourite characters (she’s my personal favourite of the other Elite), eagerly awaiting her next scene. Honestly, it is a great reminder in our lives to not judge others, and to forgive. Who knows, you might gain a life-long friend as America did.

The encounters between Aspen and Maxon, while not deliberately amusing, had me laughing so hard. I mean, I felt really sorry for Maxon, but there was a certain hilarity with America, Aspen and us readers knowing what was happening but Maxon being oblivious? He was kind of cute though, in a sad way. Does that make me mean? I’m really not sure…

When America tells the everyone to “Fight” on the Report after being dealt to heavy news of the (Southern) rebels attacking by Caste, it has an astounding positive impact on the people. We find out from August and Georgina that because of her words those of the lower Castes are keeping their tools with them as they walk about (e.g. axes and scissors), which, they believe, is largely why the death toll isn’t higher. This just made me feel so proud of America and all warm and fuzzy inside.

I feel really bad saying this because she’s actually older than me, but I found Paige so cute! And I get really annoyed when my sister calls me cute, but whatever. Paige touched my heart with her kindness and generosity towards America, especially when she had every reason just to keep to herself. I’m so glad she did though, because they were able to get her a job and some food. Although we only met her briefly, I loved her courage and compassion. I would have loved to hear more from her, but I’m glad she got a happy ending :).

I cried when Maxon saw the love letter in Aspen’s room that America had written and tried to help – again, oblivious to the situation. It made me feel so sad inside…

I was so happy that Marlee was in this book as well! I had no idea that Marlee was “Mallory”. I love that she also has some sway in the Kitchens. I’ve always adored her character :). I really liked how America, when she was feeling the most pain, wondered how Marlee got through her caning – instead of being full of self-pity and whatnot, she felt sympathy for Marlee and what she went through. Many of us wouldn’t have done that.

The tea party. I love the idea and I legitimately squealed when Celeste offered to put America in touch with some of her friends – did I mention that I love Celeste? She’s amazing. Anyway, I thought it was so cool that America turned the tea party into an event of rebel conspiracy – so brilliant. Though, at first I sadly didn’t remember the Italian princess… I loved how everything came full circle! And when America approached Maxon with the idea – priceless!! Such a great scene, certainly one of my favourites. Then again, the whole book – excluding the beginning – was filled with my “favourite” scenes and my “favourite” characters. I just can’t pick! There’s too many amazing moments.

I found Anne’s infatuation with Aspen a little sad. If only because the only person I ship Aspen with is Lucy. Anne was such a strong, loyal character and I really had high hopes for her happy ending but, the end of the book… 😦

The Convicting. I had many theories about this, one of which was, Why do I have a feeling that America’s man at the Convicting will be someone she knows and cares about? It just sounds like something Kiera Cass/the King would do to us/her… (End of chapter 18) At the beginning of chapter 19, the morning of the convicting I literally reacted like so: *claps hands like a four year old in wonder at America’s dress (the Convicting)* Ooh!! Pretty, pretty!! 0.0 All in all, the Convicting… Wow. I don’t really know what else to say about it. You’ll understand if you’ve read the book.

In the beginning, the Elite were very stand-offish towards one another, isolating themselves. So when they bonded, it melted my heart. They became so close, like sisters with Queen Amberly as their mother. *wipes tears away* The camera scene with Maxon? (Page 168) Priceless. I tried sharing it with my Mum and sister (I was legitimately laughing that loud), but they didn’t think it remotely funny because they hadn’t read the books. Grrr… Please tell me that you guys enjoyed it as much as I did! – I refuse to believe I’m the only one.

Let’s talk about America’s dad. I loved him so much and when he died it was a crushing blow, I was not expecting it in the least. 😭 I’m so glad that Maxon got her four (technically three) days with her family, he’s such a sweetheart. It also felt right that Lucy and Aspen went with her (I didn’t see the foreshadowing on that one, I thought I was alone on that ship). The letters… Wow. It was so heartbreaking, yet satisfying that he left those letters to his family. “My father was a Northern rebel.” I did not see that one coming, but as America pieced everything together, it all made sense. Inside I was like YES!!! That is SO EPIC!!! Whoot! I mean, how awesome is that?

On a similar note, CAN I KILL KOTA NOW? Please? PLEASE???!!! *begging on my knees* Right from the word go he was rude, unappreciative and just so horrible. His reaction to their father’s generosity? Full on rejection and disgust. And then, he went further and exposed Aspen and America’s relationship for what is was not, going so far as to say that he’d go to Maxon with the incorrect news of their relationship. Again, can I PLEASE kill him? I’ve always disliked him, but now that dislike has turned into loathing. However, how Lucy reacts to the news that Aspen and America dated leads me to believe that *gasp* Aspen is so dating Lucy!! *squeal* I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I ship it!!!!

Maxon requests America back at the palace immediately – does that sound ominous to you? It did to me, but it turns out that it was the exact opposite. A house. A house and a marriage proposal. *squeal* I love Maxon! He is so amazing and adorable! *fangirl gush* They’re about to get married, spend the perfect night – and then, of course, he has to find out about Aspen and America at the worst possible time in the worst possible way. My response: NO!! That’s NOT how it’s supposed to end!! He wasn’t supposed to find out about Aspen that way!! *crying* America loves YOU Maxon, not Aspen!! Don’t let her go! Kiera Cass, HOW COULD YOU??!!!! Yep, that pretty much sums it up perfectly. And then there’s his letters… There’s a whole chapter of them, so sweet, touching, adorable and Maxon. I just… Couldn’t even. (My friend Merryn showed me this – it describes us fangirls perfectly, just imagine it about books).

Let’s talk about the wedding. This was essentially my thought pattern as it played out…

*lightbulb* The guards are Southern rebels! (Theory)
– proven true
NO!!!!! KEIRA CASS, YOU CAN’T MAKE US FALL IN LOVE WITH CELESTE AND THEN KILL HERE OFF!!!! YOU HEARTLESS WOMAN!!!! Grrr… *murderous glare*
Yes Maxon, you idiot! It only took a crazy rebel breakout for you to realise that you were about to ruin both your lives by marrying Kriss, did it? Not to mention, almost dying… *rolls eyes*
Mayhem. Crazy, brilliant, climactic, mayhem.
Poor America, forced to wait…
Gavril’s a North Star? Awesome!
YES!!!!!!!! THE EVIL TYRANT KING IS DEAD!!!!!! Party!! But poor Queen Amberly… *sniffs, holding back tears*
YES!!!!!! I KNEW IT!!!!! LUCY AND ASPEN ARE A THING!!!!! They are just so perfect for each other!!! ^_^
MAXON’S DISSOLVING THE CASTES!!!! YES!!!!!! *squeal*
Anne… 😦

Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Keira Cass’ books always make me feel so light and full of joy. Fun fact; after finishing “The Selection” all I could do was dance around the kitchen listening to Disney music. I feel like doing that now 🙂

*sigh* I really should start making my reviews spoiler-free…