Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review: The Selection

The Selection
The Selection by Kiera Cass

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not as bad as I thought it would be, but not as good as it should have been.

I am going to make this fairly simple and separate this into things I liked and things I did not like about The Selection.

Things I Liked:
1) The background on the History of Illea. I found the background to be believable and explanatory of the society in which they live. It was interesting that the members of society were separated into castes based on what service they could provide for society.

2) Maxon and America seemed to have good chemistry. It started out as a sort of friendship and then of course things got complicated. But they seem to need each other in a way. Maxon doesn't have to put on a show when he is around America and she can be herself as well. I was glad she opened up to him from the beginning and didn't distance herself just because of her past relationship.

3) Maxon seems like a pretty decent man. I'm sure he has his flaws, one probably being that he has been way to sheltered but that is to be expected, but beyond that Maxon seems like the kind of Prince who really cares for his subjects. Which leads me to my 4th thing I liked.

4) Maxon listens to America's insight about problems in society. He listens to her when she tells him about starvation, children being punished harshly for law breaking, and even cuts back the payments made to the girls family so that he can improve things in society such as education and help end starvation. If you have ever seen the movie Ever After you will see a similarity between this in The Selection and how Henry reacts to Danielle's insights into society. Henry was originally sort of your typical spoiled Prince. After meeting Danielle he decides he wants to build a University where anyone can study. (And he wants to invite the gypsies to the ball. LOL.) I kept picturing Maxon as Prince Henry and imagining him busting into his parents bedroom ranting about how there are people starving and how could this be happening. He seems to want to do a good job as leader.

5) There are rebels attacking the palace....and America is not the one leading them. I know it sounds sort of weird for me to stay but I think this adds an important element to the story. It contrasts the wealth and leisure the royal family enjoy. Here they have this wonderful palace and fancy clothes, but they also have to worry about rebels attacking the palace and which set of rebels it might be.

6) America stands up for her maids. I liked that she cared about them and did not ask them to do things for her which she could do herself. She was rather independent. (Or as independent as you can be when you are a potential princess.)

Things I Did Not Like:

1) Most of the background history came in one big info dump in Chapter 17. I felt it would have been better to sprinkle it throughout the book or at least have this sort of scene in the beginning of the book. Instead of the girls in The Selection reviewing history of Illea, I think it would have been better if America's mother was quizzing the girls (May and America) on the history of the country. Then again it might have been better absorbed in the 17th chapter than if it was in the 2nd or 3rd chapter. Who knows.

2) Aspen and America have so much of a "physical connection" Lust and Hormones that they do not think about the gravity of the consequences to their actions. I mean I get it...I really do but HELLO....bad things can happen guys. Really bad. These are deadly games to play.

3) Celeste, way to stereotypical villan. I expected the girl to come strolling around the corner and grab America, tie her to some train tracks, and then stand there twirling a fake mustache while rubbing her hands together. GIRL WAS SERIOUSLY OFF KILTER! She was too over the top. Nothing she did was shocking because I pegged her as the underhanded and dramatic one from the beginning. So predictable.

4) I could just about predict EVERYTHING that would happen. The happiness America radiated while having her picture taken, got her chosen as a contestant. Maxon was going to start to like her as more than a friend. Aspen would show up at the palace and what she thought was a relationship with another girl would not be a relationship with another girl. Crazy Witch Celeste would totally douse Kriss with whatever was in the wine glass. Which she did..and of course Kriss ran away. Spoiling the party. I even knew Maxon was going to not believe America when she told him Celeste was a bad egg. While this is great and all when it turns out I am right, I wanted some twists, some turns, I wanted to be surprised!

5) America makes unwise choices. She does not consider the consequences of her actions. She does not straight up tell Maxon from the beginning that Celeste is cray cray. She does not form an alliance with the other girls to get Celeste booted. Her first interaction with the Prince begins with her getting a sudden case of claustrophobia and trying like some mad animal to escape from the palace into the garden. Then she yells at him. She DOES NOT tell Maxon that Aspen is the guy she was trying to avoid by not going home. (True Maxon might have taken it a little too far and found some sort of heartbreaking punishment or sent Aspen to war.) And I really wish she would have told Aspen from the start to stay away from her. Or at least kept her maids in the room...

So because of these reasons I had to give this just three stars. I plan to read the next book in the series because I hope to see some changes and growth for America and Maxon as well. Plus I really want to see Celeste fall flat on her face....but I predict that might be a long time coming. I am pretty sure Celeste will be the only other contestant in the running besides America. It will come down to these two and I want to see who Maxon chooses.

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Review: Quidditch Through the Ages

Quidditch Through the Ages
Quidditch Through the Ages by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You know, I don't know why being a Potterhead I never made an effort to read this before now. I guess I just didn't really care that much about the Quidditch portion of the books because while interesting I always considered them filler. After reading this, I might look at Quidditch in a whole new light. I felt the background of this wizard sport was interesting. As the "author" talks about the early broom sports in Europe you can see the bits and pieces that would later come together to form the game we all wish we could play. As with all of J.K. Rowling's books this one is detailed and comes together in such a way that readers forget they are reading about a fictional sport and begin to believe that Quidditch could be a reality. I liked the part about America having it's own broom sport based off an element of a European sport. Like that has never happened in the real world. ;)

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Behind on Reading

I need to read 13 more books to reach my 90 book goal on Goodreads. I have shamed my family. LOL.

AND I am one book behind. I was way ahead earlier this year, but a series of Did Not Finish books progressed into a I am slowly reading the books I have on my shelf. This is the danger of the internet. Procrastination. I need to get hopping and push through.

Oh and my husband stopped driving a semi-truck so we moved back to my home state and now I'm surrounded by family 24/7. But I'm so glad to be home. You have no idea. I am BACK IN CIVILIZATION! There are numerous book stores here! And a huge library.

Right now I'm reading Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce and on my brand new Nook Simple Touch (with Glowlight...I'm so happy. Kudos to husband's being out of town on your birthday and the guilty that follows.) I am reading The Selection by Kiera Cass. I've heard mixed reviews of The Selection but I hope I have a good experience.

I NEED to get hopping on the sequels and hot reads of 2011 and 2012:
  • The Iron Legends by Julie Kagawa (Iron Fey Series) Finished
  • Outpost by Ann Aguirre (Sequel to Enclave) Finished
  • Thumped by Megan McCafferty (Sequel to Bumped which I really didn't like but I'm hoping book two might pull through.)
  • Timepiece by Myra McEntire (Hourglass Series)
  • Unearthly by Cynthia Hand 
  • Rebel Angels by Libba Bray (Sequel to A Great and Terrible Beauty)
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (Heard GREAT things about this one but I have yet to read it.)
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Once again, heard great things but haven't gotten to it yet.)
  • City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (I've yet to start this series)
  • Crossed by Ally Condie (Sequel to Matched)
  • Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (I always hear good reviews of books but hesitate to read them cause I don't want to be disappointed. Ugh so many books)
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Sequel to Divergent which I liked)
  • Warm Bodies by Issac Marion (NOT YA - The author made that very clear. I kind of like the concept of this book and I'm willing to give it a shot. Plus there is supposed to be a movie made of it.....which actually looks entertaining.)
But I don't think I have enough time left in the year for some of these as they have a lot of pages. It is kind of a good thing that I now have internet. I can now talk to what few friends I actually have and keep up on book reviews from bloggers I follow. However, I waste so much time looking at funny pictures of cats or....heaven forbid if they put me back on Prednisone for my Lupus.....posting crazy stuff on the boards of Goodreads.

And here is a picture of my wonderful new NST with GLOWLIGHT!!! (No more lamp on making hubby angry.)

The pink strap is a bra strap I inserted so I could keep the cover closed. I think it contrasts with the lime green very well and does no damage to the cover when inserted.