The Selection by Kiera Cass: Book Review

Hello readers, I’ve just finished reading The Selection by Kiera Cass. My really good friend Imee recommended me this book! There are going to be spoilers!

 Goodreads synopsis:

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete in for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Commentary: Prince Maxon was my favorite character in the novel. He was lovable, sweet, and very kind to all around him. He was definitely a Prince Charming, he treats all of the selected like a true gentleman. I really had my doubts about Maxon at the beginning of the novel since I thought he was shallow for wanting a Selection, but once I read about his motive to why he wanted one, I thought it was rather sweet. I had a feeling that he had fallen for the protagonist from early on, so I wasn’t surprised that he chose her for the elite. He’s been so kind and romantic to America, though she kept insisting that they stay just friends.

I felt America was an okay protagonist; she wasn’t the greatest nor the worst. I did find Prince Maxon to be the second guy in the novel because America was in a relationship with Aspen from the start of the novel. I did not find the love triangle annoying…yet. I felt that her feelings were indeed very much conflicted for both men. She was in love with Aspen for two years; of course it’s not going to be an easy process to get over him once she was in the contest. I liked the pacing of the book. I am glad that she did not fall in love with the Maxon immediately. Though, I did feel that she jumped to conclusions very quickly. For example, when America spotted Aspen holding the hand of another girl, she quickly believed that he had moved on to another girl after he broke up with her, and luckily, she listened to him once he became a palace guard. But, I really liked that she is humble and did not have to change herself in order to get the prince to like her. She stayed true to herself and her motives are good since her family gets paid in checks because she is in the Selection. She thinks of her family a lot more than herself.

I liked Aspen; I couldn’t hate him because he was so good to America with the little he had. I felt that he had her best interest in mind and he never wanted her to suffer like himself. His caste number was six and America’s was five, he did not want her to live in poverty. He knew that he had to break up with her in other for her to have a better life. He’s a hard worker, sacrificial, and willing to make America happy no matter what. When he spoke of the draft, I did not expect him to become a palace guard. Near the end of the book, he tells America that he still loves her. I was a bit sadden that I know that America will end up choosing Maxon over him.

Celeste had to be the most interesting selected because she started drama and was ambitious. She was the typical mean girl who wanted the prince from the beginning. The royals had no idea that she was cruel to the other girls since she concealed her personality very well. Marlee, is America’s friend in the Selection, and she is the favorite selected of the people. I just want to know why she is in the contest if she does not like Maxon. I had a feeling there was something mysterious about her.

I wasn’t a big fan of the writing. When I was reading the novel, I felt it was more like a fan fiction. I felt that there was more description and not enough dialogue. I was disappointed that the girls did not really have to compete with each other. What I mean to say is that, I felt that the girls were just there. I thought there were going to be contests to win dates, not just lessons on royalty. I wished that the author would have described the relevant girls more. I really felt that there was focus on only four girls: Kris, Marlee, America, and Celeste. Hopefully in the sequel, the author writes more about the six chosen girls left remaining. I was a bit shocked that the prince eliminated so many girls after the rebel attacked the palace. I hope that there is more information about why the Kingdom of Illea has enemies. So far, there are two rebel groups, the Northerners and the Southerners. The Northerners raid the palace more, but are seeking an object or weapon (it has not been revealed yet), while the Southerners are more brutal and violent. I forgot to mention that the book is supposed to be a dystopian. I heard some people call it Hunger Games meets the Bachelor, but I feel its more like the Bachelor because the girls aren’t forced to kill one another like the Hunger Games. Besides, America singer is no Katniss nor a political symbol to overthrow the government. Somehow this book did remind me of Cinderella in a way. Girl goes from poverty and wins the heart of the prince, basically Cinderella. Lastly, I hope the author explains why there are caste systems, and how they were formed. I’m pretty positive that America be the one to win the Selection competition. I’m still going to finish the trilogy, and luckily I’ve stayed away from spoilers on Tumblr. The book is a bit predictable, but I was entertained nonetheless and I can’t wait to read The Elite.

Final Rating: 👑👑👑

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell:Book Review

“What are the chances you’d ever meet someone like that? he wondered. Someone you could love forever, someone who would forever love you back? And what did you do when that person was born half a world away? The math seemed impossible.”

Hello world, I just finished reading Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park and boy, do I feel incredibly sad after reading the ending. The only Rainbow Rowell book that I have read was Fangirl, which is amazing book! I decided to read Eleanor and Park for this month’s December reads. I loved it.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

 

Characters:

Eleanor comes from a broken home and is seen as an outsider because of her appearance while Park comes from a respectable family. Eleanor and Park, I found both protagonists to be relatable and realistic. I liked both protagonists equally, and loved how the story was told in two perspectives. I did like how they did not like each other at first, but then slowly they start falling for each other. I want to praise this book for not having a love triangle. The relationship between the two protagonists was realistic. Park was so cute! I like how he loved comics and made mix tapes to Eleanor. Park was an incredible boyfriend to Eleanor, especially when he helped her get away. I was crying my heart out when I was getting near the end of the book, such as Eleanor not calling or replying to Park’s letters. I did not want their relationship to end at all. I was rooting for them the whole time, but I did cheer up when Park finally received a letter from Eleanor and it had just three words. Moving along, I did not like Eleanor’s stepfather, Richie; I did not like him very much at all. When reading, I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Eleanor’s living situation. Sabrina, Eleanor’s mother, was attached to her new husband even though he mistreated her and was abusive. She always wanted to please her husband, even if she thought it was the best for her kids. I was glad that Eleanor and her family was able to move away from Omaha and begin their lives again. I liked how Park’s mother changed over the course of the book. She went from being a judgmental mother who disliked Eleanor to gradually liking Eleanor and accepting that her son’s relationship. I did not like Tina at first and thought she was a horrible bully to Eleanor. I thought that she was over the top especially when I thought that she kept writing horrible messages on Eleanor’s schoolbooks, until I found out that Richie was responsible for harassing Eleanor. Tina did have her redeeming moment when she hid Eleanor in Steve’s garage from her wild stepfather.

Quotes:

“You can be Han Solo,” he said, kissing her throat. “And I’ll be Boba Fett. I’ll cross the sky for you.”

“The first time he’d held her hand, it felt so good that it crowded out all the bad things. It felt better than anything had ever hurt.”

“Nothing was dirty. With Park. Nothing could be shameful. Because Park was the sun, and that was the only way Eleanor could think to explain it.”

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

Concluding thoughts: I was glad that I picked up Eleanor and Park because it was amazing and fantastic. I also recently learned that DreamWorks bought the rights to Eleanor and Park, so there is a possible chance that it will become a movie. I am very excited for it to become a movie and I think it would do well like other contemporary books that have been adapted. I would recommend this book to anyone. I did enjoy that the book took place in the past rather than present times and had many musical references of the 1980s. Lastly, I feel that this book deserves a sequel. I’m crossing my fingers that there will be one and hoping Eleanor and Park reunite again. 

 

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Holiday (2006):Movie Review

I’ve just watched an incredible movie. It’s called The Holiday (2006), a light-hearted, Christmas themed, romantic comedy about two women who have bad luck with relationships, but they learn to love. There are two protagonists, Iris Simpkins (Kate Winselt) a woman who has been in love with her ex-boyfriend Jasper Bloom for the longest time, and Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz) a woman who discovered that her boyfriend has cheated on her with his secretary. Both women experience heartbreak and decide that they need to take a holiday to get away from their problems and find peace. Amanda lives in Los Angeles and decides to take a vacation to the United Kingdom. On a website, she finds Iris’ home on display and contacts her immediately. Iris decides to have a home swap for the holidays with Amanda, and each woman begins her journey to a foreign land. The movie alternates between both women and their experience in their vacation. Iris enjoys the life of luxury while staying at Amanda’s home. She befriends Amanda’s next-door neighbor, Arthur Abbot, and her love interest Miles (Jack Black). Amanda finds Iris’ home to be lonely until she meets Graham (Jude Law), who happens to be Iris’ brother. This movie had me quite entertained. I loved both perspectives and seeing how much each women was learning to love again and changing the lives of others around them. I really loved Iris, she was so cute and helpful, and such a blessing to Arthur and Miles. Graham was very adorable too! At first, I thought that he was a playboy when he kept receiving phone calls from Sophia and Olivia, until it is revealed that he is a widower and those girls are his daughters. My favorite part had to be when Iris finally got over Jasper and realized that she could finally move on and be happy herself. Iris was very inspiring and very relatable. My favorite quote of the movie was when she told Miles, “And then, there’s another kind of love: the cruelest kind. The one that almost kills its victims. It’s called unrequited love. Of that I am an expert. Most love stories are about people who fall in love with each other. But what about the rest of us? What about our stories, those of us who fall in love alone? We are the victims of the one sided affair. We are the cursed of the loved ones. We are the unloved ones, the walking wounded.”Another part I enjoyed was seeing Amanda cry for the first time and her realizing that she loved Graham. I am so glad that I watched this film. It was festive, funny, enjoyable, and sad at some parts. I would really recommend this movie for the holidays! Go watch it with your friends or your family, or yourself. It will make you feel happy and better about yourself. I have to say that it’s one of my favorites so far, and I am beyond satisfied. It was exactly what I needed. I loved the characters, the plot was great, and the soundtrack is amazing!

Final Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

“An angel sat on one shoulder, a devil on the other. Both of them wore my face.”

It’s been such a long time since I’ve completed a trilogy. Today I finished the last book to the Mara Dyer Series. It’s not my favorite series, but it was an entertaining at some parts and frustrating at other parts. I read all three books on my kindle, but I would not buy the physical books as beautiful as the covers may be. Many of the booktubers I follow loved the series, but I really tried my best and I did find it a tad overrated. I’d like to apologize in advanced, since this review will have spoilers, so you have been warned! Let’s get on with the review!

Goodreads synopsis:

Mara Dyer wants to believe there’s more to the lies she’s been told.

There is.

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.

She should.

She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.

She will now.

Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.

Retribution has arrived.

  • What I liked:

    – This book was gruesome and Mara was like an assassin!!!
    – Mara, Jaime, and Stella breaking out of Horizons together
    – That whole road trip to New York
    – Dr. Kells having the mutation G1821, but she was not an active carrier.
    – Daniel finally believing Mara. It was one of the best moments when Daniel realized that his sister was not crazy the whole time.
    – Finding all that evidence of Dr. Kells experiments. I liked how Jaime, Daniel, Mara, and Stella all teamed up
    – Learning about how many boys Dr. Kells had to kill in order to get results. Jude was the only one to have survived the tests while others died.
    – I thought Jude was dying in the beginning of the book, did not expect him to show up again near the end. He really made the book interesting.
    – Reunion with Noah
    – Chapters with Noah’s perspective
    – Mara and Noah finally being with each other, despite what anyone said
    – I love Jamie and Daniel; they are my favorite characters in the whole series.

    What I disliked:

    – No epic fight between Mara and David Shaw
    – David Shaw just disappeared as quickly as he appeared in the books.
    – The pregnancy test
    – Some parts were slow.
    – Why did Stella have to go? Why?
    – Noah appeared way to late in the book.
    – Dr. Kells died to soon, it would have been cool if she had escaped Horizons and then battled Mara later on in the book.
    – Mara’s “death”, though I like Mara and Noah as a couple, I would have loved the book much more if Mara had died. It was really sad when Mara chose death in order to save the ones she loved. It was such a heartbreaking scene, and I thought that was going to be the end of the story. I feel that she would have died as a hero if she stayed dead, while Noah would have continued to live on.
    – I wish the epilogue took place years later instead of a couple days later

Final Thoughts: I have mixed feelings about the series. I loathed the first book, the second book was the best, and the final book was a bit exciting, but definitely better than the first book. I was more excited to read about her grandma and how the past and present sort of merged together. Mara was much more violent in this book, but she had to do what she had to do. She tried to get rid of her villains, but she did not have to rely on her power. I was not expecting Mara to become physically violent, which was a bit alarming. She was not the same girl from the second book. During the whole journey to New York, I thought Mara was becoming mentally unstable since she was weak and she would listen to her reflection. When Mara decided to cut her stomach, I seriously thought she was ill, but it was revealed that two small drugs were stuck in her stomach thus making her feel weak and stopping her from using her power. For the climax, I thought there was going to be a huge fight near the end of the book when Noah’s father, David Shaw finally made an appearance. It was revealed that David was the one responsible for hiring Dr. Kells and funding her experimentations. I was not that surprised to know he was the one behind everything, I had a feeling since the second book that he had to be the bigger villain. I really did enjoy seeing the flashbacks of Mara’s grandmother. Again, I did have a feeling that Abel Lukumi was the professor and the grandfather of Mara. I do like his power, which I believe is immortality. After the whole Mara “dies” and Noah “dies” scene, I really wanted to finished the book and not in a good way. It took me a while to get to the end of the book, but I finished. I liked the last sentence of the book: “My name is not Mara Dyer, but my lawyer told me I had to choose something”.

Final Rating: ★★★☆☆ 😶

Movie Review: Rusalochka

I watched Rusalochka (1976) a couple days ago, it’s the Russian adaptation. The Little Mermaid, the story, is one of my favorite tales of a tragic princess. As much as I love the Disney adaptation, I wanted to watch a movie adaptation closer to the book and that’s how I found Rusalochka.

I thought it was a beautiful adaptation. Viktoriya Novikova portrayed the little mermaid perfectly, I really felt that she was spot on. I really love how the director expanded the movie such as the little mermaid receiving help and guidance from her friend Sulpitius while she was on human. I liked how the the witch took the little mermaid’s hair color instead of her voice, I was not expecting that. The little mermaid was given a certain number of days to make the prince fall in love with her. If she failed her task, she would die. If someone gave up his life for her, then she would never die and live eternally. Fate was not in the little mermaid’s favor when she agreed to the witch’s deal. Once she became human, the prince was already falling for the princess who rescued him. In this version, the little mermaid did not have to kill the prince after he marries the princess. She chooses to die and has no regrets of her short life on land. Sulptius, on the other hand, tries to demonstrate to the prince that it was the little mermaid who rescued him instead of the princess. He battles the prince and dies in order to let the little mermaid live eternally like a dream. In the end, the prince realizes how foolish he was of not realizing that the little mermaid rescue him. He tries finding her all over the kingdom and he watches her disappear into the air.

I did cry at the end of the movie because the movie ended tragically. I really appreciated it. It was such a fun movie and I would definitely watch again. By the way, this movie is on YouTube, in case you are interested of watching the film.

My rating for this movie is a 5 out of 5. 🙂

Book Review: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgramage

I finished reading Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage today. I haven’t read a Murakami novel in the while; the last book I read was The Elephant Vanishes (collection of short stories). His newest novel intrigued me, I kept seeing this book being praised a lot and I thought it was going to be amazing as many said it would be, but I thought it was okay.

Plot: Tsukuru Tazaki, a thirty-six year old man, who feels like an “empty vessel” or a “colorless person” because his group of high school friends (Aka, Shiro, Kuro, and Ao) rejected him sixteen years ago. He tries experiencing death to get over them, but deep down, he misses his perfect group of friends. As a result of being isolated from them, he tries to avoid visiting his hometown and would rather live in lonely in Tokyo. His girlfriend, Sara, convinces him to visit all his friends to seek answers to why he was kicked out of the group of friends and heal his wounds.

The group of friends really seemed perfect in the beginning of the novel, but as I kept reading further on, I discovered that the group itself was crumbling since Tsukuru left Nagoya to study engineering in Tokyo. The group itself was not perfect as Tsukuru believed. I really thought it was his lack of personality that lead to the group rejecting him, but boy was I wrong. Instead, it was all due to a lie that Shiro told her group of friends while Tsukuru had no idea what he did to make his group leave him. I was shocked! I did get really mad to know that the other friends did not try contacting him at all. I was really annoyed. The reason why Tsukuru was not told was because he was the “strongest” of the group to survive without them…I did roll my eyes a bit since the protagonist was pretty bland…anyways, I really liked the chapters where Tsukuru met with his old friends to discover the answers to his questions. Kuro’s chapters had to be the best for me.

I really felt that this book could have been shorter. I felt there was too much repetition in the book. I wished that this book had included more chapters about Tsukuru’s high school days. Mini rant: Tsukuru, I get it, you’re a colorless person…thanks for reminding me for the hundredth time. I didn’t mind the weird erotic dreams and the description of his private parts, I looked past that, but I really was annoyed that the book ended with Tsukuru going to sleep…I just wanted to know if he ended up with Sara or not…Well, I guess it’s one of those book that you, the reader, decides if she accepted his proposal or not.

I give this book a 3.5 out of 5. It was an okay book, but enjoyable.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer: Book Review

I kept seeing this book series whenever I was looking for a new series to start. The cover looked amazing and it convinced me to start the series. I knew it was going to be a Cinderella retelling, but I had no idea what it was going to be about. I just finished the book and it was great. This review will have a bit of spoilers so be warn!

Cover: I love the cover! 

Characters: My favorite character from the Lunar Chronicles so far is Cinder. I thought that she was amazing, the author developed her character. She was a cyborg who constantly felt like an outsider with her step family who did not love her (except for Peony, her stepsister). She was the girl with the mysterious backstory that had no recollections of her memories prior to her cyborg surgery. She’s sarcastic and very tomboyish mechanic who can’t blush or have tears due to her surgery. I can’t wait to read about her in the next book. Prince Kai, was very charming from the beginning of the novel. I enjoyed his scenes with Cinder, from their first meeting at the marketplace to their dance at the ball. It was interesting to see how he transitioned from being a prince to an emperor. He has many problems that he wants to resolve such tensions between the Lunar Kingdom and Earth. May I say, that I loved Queen Levana as the villain. I really thought she was a Queen Bee. Although I have not read the other books in the series (I will eventually get to them), I am excited for her story! 

Plot: This was more than a Cinderella retelling. The author really took time to create this world. It’s in the future and there’s conflict between the Moon and Earth. It really reminded me of Sailor Moon! (for example: Cinder kept saying that lunars have magical powers). The plot, I thought was really interesting. You have Cinder as an outsider cyborg who is in fact Princess Selene (this gets revealed till the very end). The main conflict that I found in the story is that Queen Levana does not want to sign any peace treaties with Earth and wants marry Prince Kai in order to become Empress and later dominate the entire world. Cinder is the one to let Kai know of what Queen Levana is plotting thanks to a mysterious lunar girl whose guardian is Sybil Mira (thaumaturge of the Lunar Kingdom).  There are two other subplots that I can think of such as Prince Kai’s determination to find Princess Selene and marry her instead of Queen Levana, and secondly, Cinder being immune to lemutosis. 

Sad Moments: I was sad to see Peony die. I had hope for her to survive since Cinder was given the antidote for lemutosis. I did shed a tear when Cinder was removing her id chip. Then there’s the part with Cinder discovering Iko’s personality chip in her room. Lastly when Prince Kai told Cinder “Was it all in my head? A Lunar trick…You’re even more painful to look at than she is” (Kai realizing that Cinder is both Lunar and cyborg. 

Shock Factor: I was not as shocked to learn that Cinder was Princess Selene, but I did find it shocking that Lunars were immune to lemutosis. 

Would I recommend this book? Yes. If you’re a fan of the fairy tale retellings, this book is perfect for you. I am really excited to continue reading the Lunar Chronicles 

My rating is a 4 out of 5 🙂

Jackaby by William Ritter: Book Review

“I have a gift that is, as far as I have found, unique to me. It allows me to see truth where others see illusion – and there are many illusions, so many masks and facades. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”  – Jackaby

I won an advanced reader’s copy of the novel through a goodreads giveaway. For anyone interested in buying the book, it goes on sale September 16, 2014. Winning a free book did not influence my opinions. The Cover: Did anyone feel the cover? It’s so soft and it feels very different from your typical paperback. I loved the cover of the novel, it was quite beautiful. I loved the  details of the cover such as the woman in red. It is one of my favorite covers of 2014. The Plot: Abigail Rook is not your typical Victorian socialite, she seeks adventure and travel,  and would rather get her hands dirty be seeking a husband to maintain her. She arrives to New England after having a disappointing experience excavating dinosaurs.  Abigail seeks a employment right away because she is in need of money and meets Jackaby, her future employer who is a detective. The people of New Fiddleham view Mr. R.F. Jackaby as a maniac since he deals with the supernatural. Naturally, he is talented in his work, he is compassionate and kind to supernatural creatures. The duo works together in order to solve the mysterious murders in New Fiddleham with some help from the police force. The Characters: Abigail definitely proved that she was not your stereotypical girl, she worked hard for her job. Jackaby, I had no complaints about his character. For some reason, I kept imagining Matt Smith as Jackaby because he reminded me of the eleventh doctor. At the same time, Jackaby really reminded me of Sherlock since he sees what others can’t see.  Then there is Charlie Cane, who I thought was adorable, I thought he was human until the middle of the book. The side characters were great, I would have loved it if Jenny the ghost had a bigger backstory, the same going for Douglas the duck. The Villian: I knew it! I loved how he was a creature rather than a person! The Romance: Thank the heavens that there was no love triangle in this novel. It would have ruined the novel for me that is. I didn’t not like how some of the characters in the novel tried to ship Jackaby and Abigail, I did roll my eyes during those parts. Jackaby and Abigail make an awesome team, I loved their friendship. The only two characters that developed some feelings for each other were Abigail and Charlie Cane. I did want to them together, but it’s okay that they did not become a couple. I would like to see the author wrote more stories about Jackaby. The novel is relatively easy to read and it is only 299 pages long. I would recommend this novel for anyone wanting to read a short mystery book with a hint of fantasy. For a standalone novel, I thought it was really good and I would really love more of Jackaby’s adventures. My rating is a 4 out of 5 😀