The Selection (The Selection #1), by Kiera Cass (hardcover, 336 pages). First published 2012. Genre: young adult, dystopian, chick lit, romance. Three out of five stars.
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. And when I say “a lot”, I mean “a truckload”. Warning: this will get long.
I feel like I need to start off by saying that before I picked this up at the library, I knew nothing about Kiera Cass, her books, or the intense online drama that surrounds this book. I picked it up blind, thinking it was a fluffy YA dystopian romance that I may or may not enjoy, but would certainly provide some fluffy entertainment for a Monday afternoon. It’s a quick, easy read with very light world-building and minimal character development, a somewhat sweet love story, and a fairly predictable plotline, but like a sugary treat, it’s hard to not gulp down all the same. I fluctuated in my rating throughout, first thinking it would be a two-star book, then thinking I really enjoyed it and it was probably a four-star book, then deciding it was not that great and downgrading to three stars. Again, this was all before hitting Goodreads and the Interwebs to learn more about the series or the author.
So, I’m going to divide this review into two parts: how I feel about the book (this is my original perception of the book and remains unchanged by what I’ve read around GR), and how I feel about continuing with the series overall, now that I’ve had time to mull over the book and have learned more about the series and the author. I say this because I do feel strongly that book bloggers have an obligation to be upfront about their opinions and how they may flavor a review they’re writing, and while I did mostly enjoy this book, my opinions definitely would flavor how I might feel about any future installments in the series. It’s kind of hard to view art and a creator separately and I think it’d be difficult to not see the rest of the series in a different light. Also, I feel like it’s important to be choosy about the authors we support and promote, especially those of us who are bloggers or budding writers ourselves and want to support our sisters, or who identify as feminists and want to support authors who write feminist stories.
So yeah, this will get looooooong. Read on for the full review and my thoughts on all the drama!
After a few book-light months, I ended up reading a ton in February. Unfortunately it was a mixed bag and included a few DNFs, but overall it was still a much better month than January, December or November. Here’s the good, the bad and the meh of what I read in February 2016. If you want more reviews and bookish chatter, make sure to look me up on Goodreads! I always love making new bookish friends. :)
Live and Let Bee took me right back to Sunday nights spent watching a British crime miniseries on PBS with a big bowl of popcorn and a cozy blanket. I could practically hear the Masterpiece Mystery theme song playing in my head as I turned the pages! If you’re a cozy crime fan who’s somehow not already familiar with the Blake Hetherington series, then you need to be, because it’s one of the best in the genre I’ve read in recent years.
To understand why I’m such a fan, it probably helps to understand that I’m also a big Agatha Christie fan, so my standards for this genre are high. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years enjoying Christie’s books and the TV miniseries adaptations, and as such I suppose I’ve gotten kind of picky about books that label themselves as “cozy crime” or are compared to Christie’s work. So when I discovered Blake two years ago and started reading the series, I was pleased to see that it checked all the boxes: setting, atmosphere, dastardly twists and turns, and a huge cast of highly suspect characters (more on that later!).
Happy March everyone! This week’s TTT topic was a little open—it’s just a list of books to read if you’re in the mood for _____. I’ve been trying to get back into writing and was thinking of some of the books I’ve read that have really taught me a thing or two about writing along the way. I suppose you could say they are helping me become a better writer. (They’re all favorites and well worth re-reading just for how awesome they are, even if you aren’t a writer, BTW.) In no particular order…
I love books. I love music. So you’ll excuse the narcissism if I say that I feel like this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) was tailor-made for me! This week it’s all about music and books that go together—books that could have theme songs, songs that should become books, etc. Obviously I could go on and on about my favorite books and favorite songs but here are ten that really fit together perfectly (at least in my mind).
Consider this the book that restored my faith in YA. It was almost a five-star book but I ended up deducting half a star; I’ll explain at the end why I’m taking off half a star.
I initially added this book to my TBR list because so many of my fellow GR readers were giving it the thumbs up and dropping phrases like “teen hackers” and “space zombies”, which, let’s be real, sounded kind of cool. But it wasn’t exactly a book I prioritized, even after I got approved for an ARC from NetGalley. The ARC sat untouched and while I meant to get around to reading it, for some reason, this book just didn’t jump out at me as a “must read very soon” type of title.
I think it’s mostly because of the blurb, which does not do this book justice. It sounds like basically every YA adventure/romance blurb on the back of every much-hyped YA book ever. In other words…snoozefest. But then my husband bought me a copy for Christmas and so I finally sat down to see what the hype was all about. And boy, am I glad I did.
(Thank you to Blogging for Books for the review copy!)
I’m beginning to think that maybe autobiographies are just not my cup of tea. I’ve read a few in the past year and haven’t enjoyed any of them that much. I think it’s partly that I’m just not a huge “fan” of very many celebrities and I don’t care that much about their life stories, so it makes it a little hard to get into their autobiographies. For Neil Patrick Harris in particular, I know very little about him or his career–I actually know him better from Harold and Kumar than from How I Met Your Mother or Doogie Howser–so while many of the career anecdotes are amusing, they just don’t mean much to me.
And to be honest, if you don’t know a lot about a celebrity, reading about their personal life is kind of a snooze. It’s like sitting next to a stranger on a bus while they show you pictures of their kids. You try not to be rude and yawn, but the whole time you’re thinking, I don’t know you or any of these people. I don’t really want to hear another anecdote about your family vacation!
I think if you were a fan of Neil and his work then you’d like this book much better. The Choose Your Own Adventure-style format is fun and some of the stories are funny. The book overall was just not really my taste, I ended up skimming parts of it because I wasn’t that interested.
Choose Your Own Autobiography, by Neil Patrick Harris (paperback, 304 pages). Genre: nonfiction, memoir, humor. Two out of five stars.
I’ve loved Pride and Prejudice for years. I love books and movies with zombies. So obviously, when I found Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I fell in love! If you’ve already read the book and saw the movie this weekend, and are now looking for other titles in a similar vein, here are five of my picks you might enjoy:
Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, by Amanda Grange. What if Elizabeth Bennett’s beloved wasn’t quite the dashing gentleman she imagined him to be?
Phoenix Rising (The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #1), by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris. Corsets, check. Feisty heroines, check. Unabashed fun, check.
Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Not gonna lie, the ending wasn’t as tear-jerking as I hoped. But this was still an awesome book about (get ready) rage zombies in outer space.
The Zombie Survival Guide, by Max Brooks. You didn’t think this would not be on the list, did you?
Death Comes to Pemberley, by P.D. James. Not of the undead kind, unfortunately—just regular murder—but this is still a fun re-imagining of life with the Darcys. Also a PBS miniseries, if you’d rather watch it than read it.
Have you read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, or seen the movie? What did you think? Any similar titles you’d recommend to me? (If you haven’t read the book yet, make sure to enter my giveaway over here!)