I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (YA romance) - I have been anxiously awaiting the release of The One and was pleased to find that Kiera Cass decided to give us something to placate us in the meantime. This book is two separate novellas that give the viewpoints of Maxon and Aspen. If you've been following The Selection series, you will know it's about a competition between 35 young girls wishing to become the wife of Prince Maxon. The main character, America, is in the competition but still has feelings for her old BF Aspen, who is a guard at the palace and watching the competition unfold. It's the ultimate love triangle, not to mention all the tension between the competitors. (Do you watch The Bachelor on TV?)
This book is enjoyable, but there's really nothing new that happens. It's basically the same story as The Selection and The Elite, but it tells where the guys were and what they were doing/thinking when events occurred. You will hear how nervous Maxon was about the competition and how he accidentally met America before it started and liked her immediately. Aspen's perspective is basically about his devotion to "Mare" (nickname for America) and his dislike for Prince Maxon.
If you love this series as I do, you might want to hear these short novellas but, as I said, the story doesn't really progress from the ending of the last book. There's a preview of The One at the end but, again, nothing really new happens.
PERFORMANCE - The stories of Maxon and Aspen each have a different narrator. They both do good jobs, though I think they pronounce the name of the country differently than Amy Rubinate. Amy is back to narrate the preview at the end.
OVERALL - If you are thinking about listening to this series, don't start here. Start with The Selection and then hear The Elite. The series is easy listening, romantic and thoroughly enjoyable. There is no sex and only a little mild violence, so it's recommended for all ages. Not a book for guys.
STORY (YA fantasy scifi) - Cress is the third book in The Lunar Chronicles series. Like the first two, it is a futuristic twist to a classic fairy tale. Cinder(ella) is a cyborg mechanic with a mean step-family who dreams of attending a ball and meeting Prince Kai. Scarlet (similar to Red Riding Hood) has a boyfriend named Wolf and has been searching for her lost grandmother. Now we add Cress, who is a long-haired computer hacker trapped in a lunar satellite (like Rapunzel in her tower). The characters are all working together to foil an attempt by the evil Lunar Queen Levana to extend her reign to Earth, and the author has done a masterful job of combining the characters and stories together into one clever plot.
This is a fun, easy listen which works well as a break between "heavier" books. It is fast-paced, with lots of action and touches of romance. You should listen to the books in order, as each one introduces a new fairy tale character to the overall plot. Cress comes to a nice stopping point, but the adventure will continue into future book(s) as the plan to thwart the conquer of Earth by Queen Levana continues...
NARRATOR - Good job, but nothing special.
OVERALL - Recommended for listeners of all ages -- a great story for family listening.
STORY (young adult romance) - This is Book 3 in The Selection series. "The Selection" starts with a bunch of girls (maybe 25) competing for the heart of Prince Maxon. In "The Elite" the field is narrowed to a handful, and finally the winner is announced in "The One." This series has been such a fun escape that I hate to see it end but, at the same time, I don't think I could have waited any longer. It's not deep high-quality literature. It's a short, easy listen that will make you feel good. The story is set in a dystopian future society and combines elements of the fairy tale Cinderella with the TV show The Bachelor. There's catty young girls, a dreamy prince, a juicy love triangle, sweet romance...and a wonderful ending.
PERFORMANCE - Amy Rubinate has a distinct voice and reading style. The only word that comes to mind is "smoky," but that's a poor description. I didn't like her performance for about the first hour of the first book but have thought it was perfect ever since.
OVERALL - There's no cursing or sex, though there's one scene with some hasty clothing removal that comes close. You should absolutely listen to the series from the beginning. Yes, it's a fairly immature fairy tale, but you will probably love it as I did. Recommended for teenagers as well as older women who are young at heart.