In Which I Talked Myself Into Liking “The Selection”

iFail.

After pledging to desperately try and maintain this blog, I just didn’t. I mean, I don’t even have a good excuse. I did spend last weekend at the ALA Midwinter Conference in Philadelphia (um, awesome) but that was one weekend. What about all of the other weekends?! Slash the rest of the days that were spent reading book and watching copious amounts of Netflix but not blogging? Ugh.

However, I’ve decided to start back up again with a post about a book about which I could not make up my mind.

The Selection (The Selection, #1)

The Selection by Kiera Cass, is the first book in a trilogy. It’s a story about America Singer, a teenage girl who lives in a society of castes which are determined by your family’s occupation. Her family is a level 5 meaning that she and her family are artists. Not rich by any means, but certainly not lowest of the low. The book’s entire premise is centered around competition- between selected girls in the kingdom- to marry Prince Maxon. 35 Girls are chosen and they head off to the castle to fight for his heart. America is one of those girls, but her heart already belongs to Aspen, a lowly 6 who is destined to remain in poverty. After pretty much ending their relationship because he believes she is better off without him (a very Downton Abbey-Bates-esque move), America heads off to the castle to compete with the other girls.

So, this series has been described by various reviews as The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor. Naturally I was all “MUST READ THIS NOW.” Plus the cover is freaking awesome.

After about 50 pages, however, I still was not sold. I thought the writing was weak and the relationship between Aspen and America to be annoying. Then America arrived at the castle. The writing still left much to be desired, but I began to allow myself to get lost in this “dystopian” world. I put dystopian in quotations, because this particular dystopian scenario wasn’t as fleshed out as I would have liked. It was really just about the dating competition.

Having said that, I really, really liked friendship between Maxon and America. I mean, the writing still seemed weak, but the actual relationship was believable. Most of the scenes in which they were the main focus, were just them having conversations- legitimately getting to know each other. By the end of the book, I totally believed that America could potentially fall for this guy. And better yet, that is exactly what she thought as well. She wasn’t all “Oh em gee I love this guy and I must lust after him alllllll the time.” No, she simply acknowledged that there was a chance that he could win her over.

Of course, freaking Aspen had to miraculously show up and be her guard or whatever, but, to me, his character is so weak that I just think there’s no way America can ever choose him.

So after being extremely skeptical for almost half the book, I ended up totally falling for this book, and immediately purchasing the second. I heard that the second book is even better, so I’m hoping that along with the plot, that Cass’ writing develops into something that doesn’t have me cringing every-so-slightly.

 

Happy Reading!

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In Which the “Psych” Premiere was Fantastic

EVERYONE CAN RELAX BECAUSE PSYCH IS BACK.

Just so we’re clear, I live in a cable-less household, which means that I had to wait an un-Godly amount of time before viewing all the Psych amazing-ness.

Totally worth the wait because IT WAS HARRY POTTER THEMED. Two of my favorite things collided and produced an episode of epic proportions. In honor of this fabulous episode, I’ve made a list with just a few of the episode’s best moments. To give you an idea of the hilarity, I lost track of how many times I laughed out loud.

Wait- I started laughing within the first few seconds, and didn’t stop until the closing credits.

Anyway, some of the funnys from Psych’s Lock, Stock, Some Smoking Barrels, and Burton Guster’s Goblet of Fire:

1. Shawn’s accent. The first thing we hear is Shawn’s attempt at a British accent, which he completely goes for and, of course, comes off sounding all kinds of ridiculous.

2. Gus and PotterCon. So the episode involves Shawn and Gus heading to England to help with a case, which Gus uses as an opportunity to unleash his inner Geek and go to “PotterCon.” I can only assume this is ComicCon, but just Harry Potter. Obviously if this was real I’d be on the next flight to England. Gus is unapologetic (as he should be) in his love for Harry Potter and dons the Hogwarts uniform (right down to the school robes) for the entire episode.

3. Gus’ wand and broomstick. His passionate argument with the airport security man over whether or not he is allowed to bring a wand with a Phoenix feather hidden inside and his Nimbus 2000 broomstick is nothing short of genius. But also, I’d react the same way. Obvs.

4. Pottering- Jumping off of something high with a broomstick.

5. Pierre Despereaux is back! Cary Elwes is basically a genius when it comes to playing Despereaux. Of course, I spent the entire episode trying to figure out if he was truthful or not. And after watching premiere twice through…. I’m still not sure.

6. The bad buy is the same dude who played the soccer coach in She’s the Man! Every time this guy opened his mouth, I expected pre-cray Amanda Bynes to show up with that ridiculous wig on.

7. Gus tries to hit on the secretary. “Have you heard about Pluto?”

8. All of the following Gus lines:

“I thought I saw Rupert Grint, but it was just dumb old Prince Harry.”

“I am pretending to be a wizard, Shawn. Get your fantasy fiction right!”

“I came here to drink my weight in Butterbeer, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

9. The PotterCon flyer.

WHY IS THIS NOT A REAL THING. Can someone get on this? PLEASE.

10. Shawn’s take on the British accent:

“Apparently there is no ‘H’ in this language”
Shawn: “What is this man saying to us?”

Gus: “I have no idea.”

11. The epic fight scene with She’s the Man coach and Despereaux.

Amazing. And Despereaux kicks ass. WIN.

In conclusion I’d appreciate it if this show would refrain from taking break for like 10 months at a time. That’s ridiculous and I won’t stand for it any longer! And I’ve decided that Burton Guster is definitely my spirit animal. At least one of them.

Definitely.

“The Diviners” and “The Madman’s Daughter”: Two (Brief) Reviews

HA!

Totally kept my promise to myself and have written another post. NAILED IT.

This is not even an exaggeration, folks, I am that excited. <— Insert exclamation point (!!!!!)

ANYWAY. So, today I finished the second book I’ve read in 2014. WOOOOOOOOO!! I’ve decided to quickly give my thoughts on both, in the hopes that next time I can review one book at a time. This is assuming that I stave off my procrastinating tendencies. We’ll see how this goes. I predict not well.

Up first, The Diviners, by Libba Bray.

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)  My quick synopsis in less than five sentences: It’s the 1920’s and Evie O’Neill is a diviner- she has some supernatural power that allows her to see a person’s past if she’s holding an object belonging to said person. Because she is a bit of a show-off she uses her secret power at a party and reveals that some cad impregnated a young girl… obvs this gets her into trouble, and her parents ship her off to New York City to live with her uncle who, as it turns out, deals with the supernatural. There she helps Uncle Will and a small band of friends (who all end up displaying signs of being Diviners. Duh.) catch a supernatural murderer.

This book is long. Like, close to 600 pages I think. I could easily look this up, but the book is all the way upstairs in my bedroom, and I have absolutely no desire to get up off the couch. So this estimation will have to do.

Once I got through the first 100 pages, I got completely sucked in. This is not to say that the first 100 pages were boring, but you meet a lot of characters and I got caught up trying to figure out how everyone is connected. If I had just let that go, I probably would have read this much faster. The characters were all great. Evie is awesome- albeit immature, which can be annoying, but she is only 17 and living during period when the the care-free lifestyle was all the rage. It was actually a bit refreshing to read about a character who legitimately just wanted to have a good time. The rest of the cast- Memphis, Henry, Mabel,  Sam, Jericho, Uncle Will, and Theta- were all marvelous, and I enjoyed reading the chapters centered on each of them.

The mystery was extremely creepy. I mean it. I felt like I was reading an 1920’s Criminal Minds episode, but with supernatural elements. Bray takes a break from Evie’s story to switch over to scenes with the murderer and his victims…. and it’s pretty gruesome. She stops just short of describing the actual murder, but it’s too late… you’ll be officially creeped out.

There is a bit of a love-triangle here, which always tends to annoy me, but Bray doesn’t spend a whole lot of time on it. Evie ends up with one of the men by the end of this story, but since this is the first in a series, it’s pretty clear that she’ll be crossing paths with the other gentleman.

Bray constructed this story so that there was always another over-arching mystery within this one, which I believe will be explored in the next book, or even the one following that, should this be a trilogy. Over all, splendid job, Libba Bray, you’ve done an excellent job of leaving me desperate for the next installment……………..which isn’t due until waaaay later this year. UGH.

Next up, The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Sheperd

The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter, #1) Quick synopsis: Juliet Moreau is a 16-year-old orphan in London, who discovers that her father, the disgraced surgeon, Dr. Moreau is actually alive and living on a reclusive island in the South Pacific. Because she has absolutely no where else to go, she follows childhood friend, Montgomery (who has gone from family servant to her father’s assistant) back to the island. There she discovers that the rumors of her father’s madness are not, in fact, rumors, and do not even begin to cover the extent of her father’s insanity.

I was a bit timid to start this book because I’ve heard that it is quite dark. And then I said “Amy, you’re 24 years old, get over it” and started to read it anyway. And I’ll be forever grateful to myself because it was fantastic. My twitter and goodreads friends were not wrong when they said the material was dark and gritty, but it was the kind of gritty that made me desperate to turn the page and find out what Juliet’s father had done next.

Guys. He’s totally insane. Like if Hannibal Lecter and Annie Wilkes had a child, it still wouldn’t be as cray as this guy. And he’s wicked sexist to boot. Half the time, I was just furious over all the nasty/dismissive comments he made about Juliet. And then I went back to being horrified over his “experiments.”

The setting added to the dark and creepy mood. Sheperd’s description of the jungle constantly made me feel like I was trying to claw my way out of the thick vegetation right next to Juliet.

Now for the inevitable love triangle. This is where the book bothered me a bit. To her credit, Sheperd did not try to hide the fact that there was a love-triangle here, but she actually made it way too painfully obvious through Juliet’s narration. This bothered me until the end when we figure out why Juliet felt a connection with one of the gentleman, but until then, I felt like I was watching a tennis match as Juliet went back and forth between her feelings for the two.

Although, I guess if I were presented with two super hot men (the only two eligible men on the island) I’d have a problem as well. So maybe, Juliet’s struggle was realistic? I just don’t know. Still, a great book that left me needing the next one, like yesterday. Luckily, I don’t have long to wait as the next book, Her Dark Curiosity, will be released at the end of this month!

And there you have it. I managed to write another post in a timely fashion.

Sometimes I even impress myself.

Let’s see if I can keep it up, with another post tomorrow. *Gasps*

Happy Reading!

The “Welcome to 2014” Post: 7 Days Late.

Let’s talk procrastination.

I’m not sure why I’m so skilled in the art of avoiding things. I’ve definitely honed this skill over many, many years of schooling (see tests for which I could have been better prepared, posters that lack any creativity, and poorly- edited papers with lots of “teh” written instead of “the”), so it’s safe to say that I’ve had a great deal of practice.

This is all my way of saying that 2014 is officially one week old, and I’m just now writing a post for this blog. Not only that, but it’s been about 3 weeks since I wrote my last post. I have not had this blog for very long, and one would think that the least I could do is write something anything to publish.

FAIL.

So here I go.  How I spent New Year’s Day:

 

That’s right, people. After ringing in the New Year at Mass Ave Tavern in Boston, my fellow badass librarian and future roommate, Celia and I woke up on January 1 at some early hour that we are still proud of, and walked over to Barnes and Noble in the Prudential Center. LIKE THE ADULTS WE ARE. Almost. We were so proud of how responsible we felt that we decided to purchase all the books we wanted. By all the books, I mean approximately two each. Because, money. I pranced out of the store with a copy of This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith and The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg.

This Is What Happy Looks LikeThe Encyclopedia of Early Earth

I proceeded to go home and order two more books from Amazon using a gift card I received for Christmas. Do I have a problem? Probably. Do I care? NOPE.

Wait.

I care a little bit because I’m running out of space. Fast. I mean, obviously I can’t stop buying all the books because that’s a ridiculous solution, so I just need to buy/build more bookcases.

 

Specifically, THIS bookcase:

Must Have. Doctor Who TARDIS Bookcase DIY

The struggle is so real right now.

Rather than continue with my grumblings about books and my lack of space, I’m going to end this post now before I get out of control. Fingers crossed that I’ll be back tomorrow with a post about the first book I read in 2014 (The Diviners… AH-MAZING) along with a list of books being published this year that I need to get my hands on immediately.

Happy Reading!