The One by Kiera Cass | Review and Look Back!

Once upon a time…

I read The Selection Selection. Then I read The Elite Elite.

I was thrilled to discover a novella – The Prince Prince released between the two books and then a special book containing that story, another novella and a ton of extras between the release of The Elite and The One. I could barely contain my excitement and I was quite put out with the local bookstores when I found out that most of them didn’t even stock copies of The Selection Stories The Selection Stories but I finally managed to get my hands on one and then I read through the series again!

Unfortunately, I had also recently read a young adult series (don’t ask – truly… you don’t want to know) that was written by another author I respected and admired – only to discover that the series itself was not at all what I was expecting – It just goes to show that I should listen to my son when it comes to books to read or not read!

That experience sent me into a funk where I suppose you could say I temporarily lost my love of reading. Even books that had previously been favorites – seemed terrible to me. It was a rough time and it was exceedingly difficult to write positive reviews for books that I knew were just being affected by my funk.

It took quite a bit of time but I finally found my way through and began to enjoy reading again. I’ve since gone back to read many of the books I did not enjoy during that period of time and they were indeed as wonderful as I suspected – the second time through anyway.

I’d love to say that I rushed out to get a copy of The One at that point but I wasn’t sure of it. After all there were so many things that I wasn’t sure of. Was it only the other series that put me in my funk? Could it possibly be my new-found obsession with Inspirational fiction that turned me off the Selection series?

So I waited… and waited… and waited.

imageI didn’t even know the series had been expanded into 5 books with even more novellas and extras slotted for a second installment of The Selection Stories. Imagine my surprise and elation to discover that happy news just a few nights ago when I snagged the kindle version of The One and started feverishly reading!

I was sucked back into a world I had desperately missed… I just hadn’t realized it.

I enjoyed, tremendously, sinking back into America’s world. It was like wrapping a warm, fuzzy blanket around me – reading about my favorite characters, rooting for the ones I wanted to win –  I say ones because I was not just rooting for America. When I followed the series before, a lot of people were rooting for America to LOSE the selection and choose Aspen. I was not. I was rooting for Maxon all along!

Along the way I’ve rooted for others to go or stay and I have to say, after reading to the end of The One, I’m a little surprised to say I miss a certain character. I didn’t think I would. In fact, at one point, I actually found myself hoping this person would be one of the casualties of a rebel attack (and for those of you who have read The One, I may not be talking about the person you would immediately think of) but I was truly saddened when they weren’t there anymore. It was quite a shock, let me tell you.

Technically speaking, I could be a lot more open in this review because there are spoilers out there everywhere! Even Kiera Cass herself has filled her blog with spoilers because of the next book that’s coming this May. You kinda have to know where the story went because The Heir is the next step and entirely due to what happened in The One. But I’m not one who puts spoilers out there – even when I really want to, because I have had more than one book ruined for me by spoilers and I feel it’s only fair to allow someone the chance to read a book on their own terms. If you want to seek out spoilers, there are plenty out there and they’re not hard to find but you won’t find any here.


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Now… about the book:

Some of the complaints I’ve heard over the last three years –

  • Kiera Cass doesn’t do enough world building – Well, in case you haven’t actually read the series, let me tell you right now that America is supposed to feel isolated. She has been sheltered and protected her entire life, even from the worst her caste has been exposed to. Since she was part of a lower caste, she didn’t exactly get to do a lot of traveling. Add to that, she barely leaves the castle once she is chosen for the selection and it all makes perfect sense. And I must say that Kiera does a spectacular job of building the world America is in!
  • Is yet another love triangle really necessary – Well we may find them annoying but they are a necessary evil sometimes. In this case, it wasn’t just a tool to push America into Prince Maxon’s arms… it was the push she needed to enter, it was the catalyst for her to be chosen, and it was the impetus that kept her there when she really didn’t want to be.
  • Kiera’s main character is ridiculously immature – Yes, America is immature but there are many good reasons for that and they unfold little by little throughout the entire series. It’s not just a ploy Kiera uses… although it does make for some very interesting mishaps.

To say I am happy with the series would be a tremendous understatement. This is definitely one of my absolute favorite book series! It’s one that I will happily read over and over and over again, and then pass on to my daughter when she’s old enough.

It’s just an all-around great series!

A lot of people have also complained about the series being extended. I have to say that I feel sorry for those people. No, this genre isn’t for everyone but to those of us who love it – this is GREAT news! I for one, can hardly wait and I’m kinda glad I just found out about it. Having to wait nearly a year after rediscovering how much I LOVE this series would have been torture!

I would also like to say how truly grateful I am that Kiera has given us so many novellas with extra, behind-the-scenes info! There is so much more that makes perfect sense when we read them. It doesn’t just give us more of the story to be excited about, it gives us vital bits of back-story that bring a lot of the story into a better focus for us.

Authors sometimes forget in their quest to make a quick-paced book, that we are not in their head. There may be things about the characters or the history that is left out in the interest of pacing or flow but it isn’t always easy for the reader to fully understand the characters without this information or history. Novellas are an excellent place for that! You can add short scenes that really have no place in the main book, but that are essential for understanding the characters or the world around them.


All in all, a fantastic series and one I’m tickled to discover will continue… for at least two more books!


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More about The One from HarperTeen:

The Selection changed America Singer’s life in ways she never could have imagined. Since she entered the competition to become the next princess of Illéa, America has struggled with her feelings for her first love, Aspen—and her growing attraction to Prince Maxon. Now she’s made her choice . . . and she’s prepared to fight for the future she wants.

Find out who America will choose in The One, the enchanting, beautifully romantic third book in the Selection series!



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You can also find more information and/or buy the book from these popular sites.

DON’T MISS the BONUS Epilogue for The One at Unlock The Selection!

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© JCMorrows 2015


Our third trip back to Sugarcreek! | “Joyful” by Shelley Shepard Gray



Shelley Shepard Gray is most certainly one of my favorite writers! The very first book of hers I read was Hidden. That was it. I was hooked.

Since that time, I have read more and more of her books and with every one, I become a bit more of a fan.

I picked up Joyful and I simply could NOT put it down. It is that fantastic a story!

Joyful shows the growth of an author who has honed her craft over the years but it also holds the same talent that has always been there.

Shelley excells at taking a normal, average story that we could read anywhere and draw us in to it. This is a story that we could just as easily read about from a contemporary viewpoint but Shelley’s love of Amish culture brings an extra special touch to it.

We first met the Beilers (in this new series anyway) in Hopeful and we have had three books now to see their special circumstances, and isn’t it amazing how many parallels there are between Hopeful (the first book in the series) and Joyful (the third) – A Beiler man who is ferhuddled by a young woman from the Sugarcreek community…

And yet there are so many differences as well. Miriam and Elizabeth are two very different women, with two very different temperaments and very different life experiences.

In Joyful, we get a close look at the Beiler family again. This wonderful family has such heart and the members of it will capture yours.

If Shelley decides to continue with Sugarcreek (and I truly hope she does…), she has plenty more characters we would all LOVE to know more about in the years to come.

At least I know I would.

And if they’re even half as terrific as Joyful, she’ll have even more fans flocking to snatch up her books!




Here is a bit more about “Joyful”:

A young Amish couple gets a second chance at love in New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray’s final book in her Return to Sugarcreek series.

Randall Beiler is doing his best to put his family and the farm’s needs first, even forsaking love. But though he tries, Randall knows he needs help caring for his younger siblings and keeping the house together.

When his brother offers pretty Elizabeth Nolt a job taking care of the house and cooking for the family, Randall is furious—and guilty about the way he once broke Elizabeth’s heart. But when he learns that Elizabeth and her grandmother are struggling to make ends meet, he knows the offer, no matter how painful, is the right thing for everyone.

Elizabeth wants to refuse—to stay far away from the man who hurt her—but she needs the money. Though she vows to protect her heart, spending time in the Beiler household makes Elizabeth realize that, while she’s older and wiser, her love for Randall still burns strong.

Randal, too, seems to want something more. But does he want Elizabeth because he truly loves her—or because he needs a housekeeper? If Randall sincerely wants something more, he must find a way to show Elizabeth—or risk losing his chance at love forever.


You can find more information and/or buy the book from these popular sites.




God Bless!
Happy Reading!


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“A December Bride” by Denise Hunter | It still works for February – the month of LOVE!

20140224-081745.jpgOK mom. I have to take back what I said… I LOVE this book!

When I started reading the book, I was sure it would end up on my “not a favorite” shelf in GoodReads.

I could NOT have been more wrong.

It’s a FANTASTIC story. And now I find myself determined to go hunt down the rest of Denise Hunter’s Chapel Springs stories.

I seriously misjudged this novella and I’m so glad I gave it a proper chance. Otherwise, I might never have discovered how wonderful is truly is!

It is possible I’m not the only one who might jump to the wrong conclusion so I’m going to give you a couple of hints that I really don’t think will kill the story.

The synopsis might give you the wrong idea – especially if you’ve ever read Zebra or Harlequin romance novels. You might expect it to be one of those things where the two characters make a shady deal about getting married and then doing a “quicky” divorce later.

It’s NOT! Thank GOD!

Granted, the reasons for the “fake” engagement are not all that altruistic or even honest but they do not drag marriage through the mud like I was afraid they would. This is truly a good, decent, Christian story. And, while I hold that courtship is still the best way to head toward a marriage – it could be said that this is about what they have. They’re “engaged” before they even kiss and there’s a minimum of physical contact because the whole thing isn’t real anyway.

A terrific story, excellent writing, real characters and great world-building! And it’s easy to get right into the story – even if you haven’t read any of the others that Denise has written. I didn’t even realize this was part of a continuing series until I got to the end and saw “other books by Denise Hunter…” – which I now have to read…of course.


If you haven’t already decided to read it, here’s a brief synopsis from GoodReads:

What started as a whim turned into an accidental – and very public – engagement. Can Layla and Seth keep up the facade in Chapel Springs this holiday season – for the sake of her career . . . and his heart?

Under normal circumstances, Seth Murphy, the best friend of Layla O’Reilly’s ex-fiance would be the last person she’d marry. But the news of their upcoming (and phony) nuptials convinces a big client that Layla may be high-society enough to work for his agency, a coup that would put her fledgling home-staging business on the map.

Seth has secretly loved Layla for years, even when she was dating his best friend. Maybe she’ll never forgive him for the way he hurt her back then, but he has to try. And Layla is willing to keep up their engagement farce until she’s landed her client. For Layla, it’s the chance to save her career. But for Seth, it’s his last chance to win her heart.

For more people convincing you this is a GREAT book, click HERE to read more reviews on GoodReads.

There are even more people who have reviewed and LOVED it on Amazon HERE and you can snag the e-book while you’re there too! And if you like better, HERE is their link.

And don’t forget to visit Denise Hunter’s website HERE!




Disclaimer: I received the book free from the BookLook Blogger program
in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of “The Prince” by Kiera Cass

PrinceI absolutely love having the flip side of a story! You always wonder what is going on in the other person’s head. It’s awesome to find out! Hardly any author does this and I always love it when they do!

Great job Kiera! Love It!

Oh and BTW… I hardly ever buy kindle books but I could not live without this one!

Check it out on GoodReads

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Review for “The Elite” by Kiera Cass


Another fantastic book for this series.
Terrific character development. I know a lot of people were mad about how this one went along but I enjoyed it.

A lot of people are annoyed with America at this point for flip-flopping but I can actually see where she’s coming from. It’s hard being a teenage girl with her heart being pulled in two different directions.

I can not wait for the third book. April is sooooo far away


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Review of “The Selection” by Kiera Cass

SelectionI can understand why so many people didn’t “get” this book. It is a fairy tale in the most sincerest form with just a bit of modern craziness thrown in.

The caste system wouldn’t be understood by people who have grown up with big screen televisions, opulent parties, new clothes whenever they feel like it and positively tons of wasted food. The caste system exists now. It’s just not a big part of the rules.

I applaud Kiera Cass! This is a tremendous story! It flows beautifully and the characters are incredibly real. Can’t wait to get into The Elite!

Check this out on GoodReads


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God Bless You!