The Young Elites by Marie Lu

I debated for a while on doing a post for this trilogy together instead of separately, but I’m struggling to get through The Rose Society, so I wanted to share my thoughts on the first book.

***SPOILER WARNING***

I have a lot of mixed feelings about Adelina. I find myself drawn to her struggle, and her loyalty to her sister and to Enzo were appealing.  Conversely, I was disturbed by the darkness in her character.  This darkness combined with her willingness to betray those around her makes me hesitant to see her character develop further.  I think this is why I’m struggling so much with the second book.

Violetta really surprised me.  I was not impressed with her character early in the book.  She seemed weak and naive.  I absolutely loved the twist at the end.  It completely changed my perception of her.  She demonstrated more intelligence and shrewdness than I gave her credit for, and I loved that. I also enjoyed how Lu developed the two sisters to balance how each other’s strengths and weakness.  Violetta became the reason I had hope for Adelina’s future in the series.

Enzo was an intriguing character for me.  I would have really like to see more of his story and character development.  It felt like there was a lot of untapped potential in both his tortured past and his prospective future.  It would have been fascinating to see how he went about gaining the throne, what he did once he had it, and how his relationship with Adelina was influenced by both of their pasts and then how it changed both of them.

I gave this book 4 stars.  It is fulfilling the following reading challenges: Popsugar’s 1st book in a series I haven’t read before; Popsugar’s book with an eccentric character (Adelina), and Read Harder’s fantasy novel.

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Pucked by Helen Hunting

With a famous NHL player for a step-brother, Violet Hall is well acquainted with the playboy reputation many hockey stars come with. She’s smart enough to steer clear of those hot, well-built boys with unparalleled stamina. That is until she meets the legendary team captain—Alex Waters.

Violet isn’t interested in his pretty, beat-up face, or his rock-hard six-pack abs. But when Alex inadvertently obliterates Violet’s previous misapprehension regarding the inferior intellect of hockey players, he becomes more than just a hot body with a face to match.

In what can only be considered a complete lapse in judgment, Violet finds out just how good Alex is with the hockey stick in his pants. But what starts out as a one-night stand, quickly turns into something more. Post-night of orgasmic magic, Alex starts to call, and text, and e-mail and send extravagant—and quirky—gifts, making him difficult to ignore, and even more difficult not to like.

The problem is, the media portrays Alex as a total player, and Violet doesn’t want to be part of the game.

Goodreads synopsis

I rang in the New Year with this book from Helen Hunting.  Pucked is a sports romance – two genres that I rarely read.  Don’t get me wrong, I like romance, but I prefer it to be in addition to a great plot.  Pucked was light and funny; and if you’re into a lot of raunchy sex scenes, this book is for you.  There was not a lot of either plot or character development, and if it weren’t for my desire to avoid starting the year with a DNF, I wouldn’t have made it through the first two chapters.  That said, it did grow on me a bit, and it was a fast read, which I appreciated.  Alex was cute in a nerdy hot kind of way, and I even warmed up to Violet some by the end.  I’m giving this a 2 star rating, mostly because it was entertaining in its implausibility.

This book will be satisfying a requirement for two reading challenges:  Read Harder’s book about sports, and Popsugar’s book from a genre I don’t normally read.

A Last Minute Addition

I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew.  I know this about myself, but I am always unable to heed conventional wisdom and refrain from adding more to my plate.  And so, I have decided to add another reading challenge to my list.

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2017:

  • A book recommended by a librarian
  • A book that’s been on your TBR list for way too long
  • A book of letters
  • An audiobook
  • A book by a person of color
  • A book with one of the four seasons in the title
  • A book that is a story within a story
  • A book with multiple authors
  • An espionage thriller
  • A book with a car on the cover
  • A book by an author who uses a pseudonym
  • A bestseller from a genre you don’t normally read
  • A book by or about a person who has a disability
  • A book involving travel
  • A book with a subtitle
  • A book that’s published in 2017
  • A book involving a mythical creature
  • A book you’ve read before that never fails to make you smile
  • A book about food
  • A book with career advice
  • A book from a nonhuman perspective
  • A steampunk novel
  • A book with a red spine
  • A book set in the wilderness
  • A book you loved as a child
  • A book by an author from a country you’ve never visited
  • A book with a title that’s a character’s name
  • A novel set during wartime
  • A book with an unreliable narrator
  • A book with pictures
  • A book where the main character is a different ethnicity than you
  • A book about an interesting woman
  • A book set in two different time periods
  • A book with a month or day of the week in the title
  • A book set in a hotel
  • A book written by someone you admire
  • A book that’s becoming a movie in 2017
  • A book set around a holiday other than Christmas
  • The first book in a series you haven’t read before
  • A book you bought on a trip
  • A book recommended by an author you love
  • A bestseller from 2016
  • A book with a family member term in the title
  • A book that takes place over a character’s life span
  • A book about an immigrant or refugee
  • A book from a genre/subgenre that you’ve never heard of
  • A book with an eccentric character
  • A book that’s more than 800 pages
  • A book you got from a used book sale
  • A book that’s been mentioned in another book
  • A book about a difficult topic
  • A book based on mythology

Now, I’m not completely crazy.  There are a lot of overlaps between the various challenges I’m attempting, and I will be cross-counting as applicable.  I’ve added this one because it complements the others I’ve chosen and will enable me to push my boundaries a bit further from my comfort zone.