The Elite by Kiera Cass – Review

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“Sometimes I feel like we’re a knot, too tangled to be taken apart.”
Kiera Cass, The Elite

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America Singer is now a part of The Elite, the six girls who Prince Maxon has narrowed down his search to. But is her heart in it? She thinks she loves Maxon but does America really want to be a princess? Does she have what it takes? Emotions are running high this late in The Selection. The competition is not only so Maxon can choose his hearts desire but also a princess test in some ways. This late in the game the queen and Silvia, the girls overseer, begin giving them tests to see if they have what it takes to be a good queen. While all this is happening, the rebel attacks on the palace are getting worse and worse.

Review

Is it just me or has America been getting on anyone else’s nerves? She cries all the time and she’s kind of vindictive. I mean I would be upset too if I kept seeing my boyfriend making out and spoiling other girls but she keeps him hanging, she doesn’t have a real conversation with his until she’s forced to at the end of the book, and she keeps acting out without thinking it through. I want to like her. I know she has good intentions, but she’s just not as noble as Katniss. She’s not really sacrificing anything.

I can’t take the back and forth with Aspen and Maxon either. I’m not either one of their biggest fans but she’s being cruel to Aspen by running to him only when she’s upset. He seems to actually be planning a future with her and she just wants to see if she can do better. Maxon has turned into a horn dog in this novel too. I liked it better when he was more faithful to America, but I guess that’s what happens when you start stringing someone along.

I’m loving the rebel attacks in the book. I feel like that whole aspect of the story adds texture to the book. Like HEY WHILE Y’ALL PLAY BACHELOR, WE’RE JUST GOING TO KEEP TEARING YOUR PLACE APART. It’s almost comical how the monarchy keep up The Selection process with basically a war raging in their country.

I don’t feel as if I am in love with these books. My favorite dystopian series is Legend and I feel like I’m actually a part of that fangirl group. These books are just fast paced and a train wreck. I can’t stop reading until I finally know Aspen or Maxon! Or what will happen with the rebels??? I mostly can’t stand every character in these books. They all have super-mega flaws and they suck. And America cries so much. SO MUCH.

I gave this book 4/5 stars. Mostly because it’s done a good job of keeping me sucked in even when it’s not as great as I think it should be.

The Selection by Kiera Cass Review

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“That was the truth at the core of everything. I didn’t know what I wanted yet, and I couldn’t let myself be swayed by what was easy or what someone else thought was right. I had to give myself time to decide what was best for me.”

-Kiera Cass, The Selection

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America Singer is happy with what she has. Yeah, her and her family were born into the Fives caste. And yeah, her boyfriend is a step lower at the Six level. But America just wants to live the simple life. Five and Six are just a number and she’s already found the boy of her dreams. But has she really?

The Selection happens every time a prince of Illea needs to find a wife. Thirty-five girls between ages sixteen and twenty participate in The Selection, which is basically just like a season of The Bachelor. He wines and dines these girls and slowly narrows them down until he finds The One.

America has no interest in being the princes plaything. He seems cold, and rigid. Why give up Aspen for that? Even if he is below her caste and moving down a caste rarely happens. But when trouble in paradise happens America decides to enroll and to make the best of it. If not, just for the good food and for the money that gets sent home to her family. She soon realizes Prince Maxon is not the cold, boring suit she thought he would be. Could she actually love him AND get over Aspen?

REVIEW 

There has been so much hype about this series for the past three years or so. SO.MUCH. I had to give it ago. I’m usually not the biggest fan of straight up romance, but I do love YA and I enjoy most dystopian novels.

The beginning of this novel was kind of slow for me. I did not feel very connected with the characters until the last third of the book. I know America is a teenager, around the age of 17 I am guessing, but she seems so childish in the beginning. Even though she cares deeply for her family, I just got a sense of childish stubbornness from her and it made me not like her very much. It was also hard for me to like Aspen, he seemed like such a horn dog! And I couldn’t tell if he was using her in the beginning.

Once America arrived at the palace I started enjoying the novel much more. I love her maids and Maxon. I like how stiff he is because he’s a teenager too and is learning how to juggle becoming regent one day and courting all these girls. America does stand out in the group of bachelorettes. She has a kind heart and her stubbornness turns into good. She starts to use it to stand up for what she believes in and I think she grows as a person.

To be honest, I didn’t miss Aspen at all. Good riddance! He just wasn’t my cup of tea. And I feel as if America and Maxon struggle with them things. They both just want to be true to themselves. She wants to get over her heartbreak and do whats best for her family. He wants to improve as a ruler and war strategist and find a girl who will love him back. I feel as if they are more cohesive than her and Aspen.

All the while, there are Northern and Southern rebels attacking the palace sporadically. It seems as if they are searching for something within the palace walls but the monarchy has no idea what for. They are also getting increasingly more violent with their attacks. I love this extra aspect of the book. It adds some suspense to the love story. It also makes you wonder if the monarchy will continue their love connection competition for their son or if he will just have to send everyone home eventually to keep them safe for the war that begins raging.

I gave this book 4/5 stars on Goodreads. I love the way it ended and I will definitely be purchasing the next novel.

I’m a Reading Teacher! :)

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It’s official! (Well almost…) I got the call yesterday at 3pm. My interview was at 1pm and they called me at 3!!! As of the upcoming school year, I will be a 7th grade reading teacher! I start on August 10th for new teacher orientation with the district. I’m just waiting for everything to go through HR and for them to call me next week to let me know what paperwork needs to be done.

I haven’t taught in middle school before so I’m a tad bit nervous but a lot a bit excited! I had 3 interviews prior to the one yesterday so I had some practice. It made me feel relaxed and more confident. One job I turned down, and the other two I won’t hear about until next week. Guess it doesn’t matter anymore! 🙂 I feel as if a heavy weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

We have been staying at my moms house until I find a job. Our lease was up July 16th and we had no idea which district I would be in for the upcoming school year. Being just married, unemployed, and living at your moms for two months is not ideal. I feel like it must be more uncomfortable for my husband because it’s not his family we’re living with and I have two little brothers who can get obnoxious.

I am so thankful for this job. I loved teaching 2nd grade last semester but my passion is for reading and middle grade/YA literature. It was meant to be! And I loved the reading coordinator and my principal when I interviewed with them. They seemed very laid back and friendly people. They’re trying this new interactive style with the reading and writing classes (they’re split) this year and the coordinator asked me if I would be comfortable coming to school dressed as a book character… Of course, I respond with:

“I CAN TOTALLY DRESS AS KATNISS AND COME TO SCHOOL!”

But really, does that not sound like fun? Maybe it’s the inner theater nerd in me.

I also need to give a thanks to my mom. She helped me find the position. She was job hunting online at the crack of dawn every morning for me. It just so happens that this new position is at her school. She’s going to be a newbie too. She’s their new librarian/technology specialist.

If anyone out there who blogs about education or is a teacher, I would love some tips and/or advice about moving from elementary to secondary. Or if you just know of some cool reading activities or projects I would love to hear about them! I’m thinking about implementing an Interactive Student Notebook with my reading classes. I’ve been researching via blogs and Pinterest for ideas. Those seem the most organized way to keep everything together. But the idea of first creating and coming up with everything in it seems a little daunting as well. I’ve never bought anything from my Teachers Pay Teachers account (I just used the free things usually) but I think I’m going to have to start purchasing some good materials just so I am prepared.

Book Cover Appeal

Alright, we all do it. I do it, you do it, we all do.

Even if you are picking the ugliest book of them all to read out of pity, you are still judging a book by it’s cover.

I personally don’t look at it as a bad thing. You have to look at the cover don’t you? The cover and spine are what’s going to be showing on your bookshelf. Is it not? The cover is a part of what makes it marketable. Sure, it’s not the most important part, but most people do judge based on the cover.

When you’re strolling and perusing around Barnes & Noble, or Half Price, or Hastings, what makes you pick up a book? Is it the color? The picture or design? Is it the swirly font? Is the title blaring at you in neon green print?

I picked a few of my favorite book covers to share with you today. And my little brothers are bored out of their minds since they don’t have any VBS, basketball, or tennis camps this week so they offered to model a few of the books, whilst trying on old Halloween costumes…. They’re 7 and 9 years old.. I don’t know.

My first book is:

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I love the WildWood Dancing cover because it is so busy. I feel like every time I look at it I spot something new. It’s also one of my favorite books so I feel very attached to the characters on the front. It gives off an ethereal vibe to me.

Next up with Harry Potter modeling is The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

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I haven’t actually read this book yet. I’m a big fan of middle grade novels like Percy Jackson and Charlie Bone. I love the cover of this one because gives off adventureness. That’s a flying tiger on there. Who wouldn’t want to read about super cool flying animals? And the blurb at the top says it’s a mix of Hunger Games and Harry Potter. I love both of those! I’m going to try and finish this one before school starts.

Tiger’s Curse and Tiger’s Quest by Colleen Houck

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There are other books in this series but these two covers are my favorites. I love the design around the borders and how the design kind of puffs out. It’s very pleasing to those of the tactile-feeling club. I really like how it shows the difference between the two characters as well. They both have a tortured side but one represents the darkness more than the other. I just like the colors together too.

Next with Bobo Fett modeling is: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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How can you not? This cover is beautiful. The color scheme, the design, the silhouettes, all of it! It’s just as breath taking as the writing.

Cress by Marissa Meyer

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All of her covers are intriguing but I love the story of Rapunzel. This novel and Cinder are my favorites in the series but this cover is the best! I love how she is tangled up in her hair and the running scheme of red on al the covers. It’s very aesthetically pleasing.

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And I had to post a picture of the spines because they’re just as important to the book picking process as the cover is. My favorite spine of them all is The Night Circus. I had never heard anything about The Night Circus when I bought the book. I just walked by at Barnes & Noble and fell in love with the cover and spine. It’s the simplicity of it I think. It’s as elegant as the novel itself.

Stolen by Lucy Christopher – Review

“Lets face it, you did steal me. But you saved my life too. And somewhere in the middle, you showed me a place so different and beautiful, I can never get it out of my mind. And I can’t get you out of there either.”

― Lucy Christopher, Stolen: A Letter to My Captor

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This story starts out with 16 year old Gemma, in an airport. She’s one of those girls who is pretty but fades into the background of her parents busy life. At the airport her and this cute, 24 year old get coffee and he winds up kidnapping her. You find out later that he (Ty) has been watching her since she was 10 years old. Creep, right? Yeah just keep reading. It will blow your mind. Anyway, he kidnaps her and whisks her away to the Australian outback. He’s kind of like a super-mega boy scout and seems like he can survive anything in the wilderness. As the story unfolds you realize he’s just this lost little boy who was dealt a shitty hand in life. Not that it makes kidnapping okay, but you as the reader start to feel for him. You’re also hating him right along with Gemma, while feeling terrified for her life, WHILE kind of, sort of being attracted to this perfectly sculpted Abercrombie model-looking man-child. (That’s a lot of hyphens, I know.) But this book is that emotionally confusing!

There’s a quote in this book that says something like “How can you hate someone once you begin to understand them?” This should definitely be the tagline for the movie if it becomes one. It sums everything up. Because yeah, Ty is actually a little crazy and emotionally disturbed. Then on the other hand, he’s sweet to Gemma and takes care of her like she’s a porcelain doll. Sort of in an obsessive way, but you can tell he actually wants to talk to her and understand her. It’s insane.

The ending of this book almost tore me apart. I couldn’t decide what side of the moral line I wanted to stand on! Does this minor suffer from Stockholm Syndrome, or was there actually some cosmic, destiny thing pulling them together? Were they exactly what they both needed? I felt just as confused as Gemma in the end. I’m glad she was smart and told the truth though. He’s the one who made the wrong choices, regardless of how strong his feelings were. It’s not right to take away someones freedom and everything they know. Especially when they’re 16 and you’re 24! But I loved this book way more than I anticipated. I read it within 24 hours of purchasing it. I give it 10 stars out of 5.

Omg… and the camel. Loved the camel! Read it to find out more.

Happy Readings 🙂

My Summer TBR

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Summer will be ending for teachers in August. In most Texas schools around the Dallas area, we go back around the 15th. This is my summer TBR list that I haven’t finished yet. Three of the books (The Wrath & The Dawn, Midnight Thief, and Stolen are books that are fairly new.) I added them to the list because they sound awesome!

I actually went and bought Stolen yesterday after watching Read by Zoe’s booktube video about her favorite books read in 2014. If you read my post yesterday, you know I have a problem with just going out and buying things I see in YouTuber videos! They just make the things they’re advertising sound so good. And Zoe didn’t steer me wrong! I started Stolen last night around 8:30 and read until 1am. I’m halfway done with it. I may actually finish it today and post a review tomorrow.

I put The Wrath & The Dawn, The Selection, and Throne of Glass because they’re so hyped up on Instagram, YouTube, blogs, etc. My copy of Throne of Glass is actually signed by Sarah J. Maas. I got it at last years Texas Teen Book Festival and a friend got her signature for me while I waited in Garth Nix and Marie Lu’s lines.

I just stumbled upon Midnight Thief yesterday as I was spending my birthday Barnes & Noble giftcard. I have seen a few things on Instagram here and there about it and it kind of gave off a The Thief Lord vibe. Maybe it was the name? Probably the color of the book too and how the characters are supposedly sneaking around a city.

I bought The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige right when it came out, which was during the school year. Reading during the school year isn’t impossible I was just also planning a wedding at the time so I had very little time to myself. And it was my first semester teaching outside of my student teaching and I was trying extra hard to be the best teacher ever. I can’t wait to read this one. I loved Dorothy Must Die. I’m all about fairytale retellings. And Paige has such a witty way of writing. Love her!

Lastly, Drums of Autumn is on there off to the side because if you have ever read a Gabaldon book you know they are a time investment. I’m all about big books but I can’t just read these while I’m waiting in the lobby at my doctors office or while I’m waiting at the car wash. I feel like this style of literature needs my complete, undivided attention. I like reading these in a comfy reading nook. Or while I’m sitting outside. I don’t think I will finish this one by the end of summer but I will be reading it while I’m reading the others. I like to take little Outlander breaks. It’s a nice escape.

Happy readings 🙂

And here is a link to Zoe’s book YouTube channel!

 If you haven’t checked it out before, you should! Some weeks I constantly watch beauty and lifestyle vloggers and some weeks I’m all about booktubers and writing youtubes.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwNqxZRSLVW0Vy6JiSh_Y3A

Goooooood Morning!

What’s your favorite time of day?

My favorite time of the day is right when I wake up, stumble into the kitchen all bleary eyed to make a cup of coffee, and then sit down at my computer to peruse the interwebs. I like the peace and quiet before the day starts. Even during the school year I try to wake up a little early just so I can sit with my coffee and check out what’s going on in the world. And by “what’s going on in the world” I mean what’s going on with all the bloggers and vloggers I watch and occasionally I’ll stop by some of my favorite Reddit pages.

This can be dangerous though… How is that dangerous? You may be wondering. Well, I’ve just been catching up with Ingrid Nilsen, Tanya Burr, and ReadbyZoe and now all I want to do is go out and buy everything from Topshop, Story, Bauble Bar, and all the books Zoe was recommending this morning! Advertising at it’s finest! I never let myself by anything before noon though. I know better. I’m weak when I first wake up and start watching/reading everyones updates. I know I have to let myself wake up and go to work or at least think about these hefty purchases before they happen. I have to stop and think:

Des, is this really a good idea?

Is this going to hurt your bank account?

Buyers Remorse! Buyers Remorse! Buyers Remorse!

Or my favorite…

Des, do you really need that?

No… I don’t. But it’s so easy to succumb to the morning grogginess and the fact that it’s quiet and no one is awake to see you spend your paycheck on all of the things YOU DON’T NEED. Sigh.

But after that guilt trip I decide I’m hungry and make breakfast. I love breakfast! Maybe because it’s the one time of day that it’s completely normal to eat sweet things like maple and brown sugar oatmeal or pancakes with butter pecan syrup. I can hear all the gasps from all you healthy people out there who eat asparagus and tomatoes for breakfast…

Ricardo usually isn’t awake until 9:30 so I either catch up on my shows, write some blog posts, call my grandmother, or read until he gets up. Well lately I’ve been getting up and applying to different districts and/or calling/emailing them but hey! let’s not talk about the boring stuff like job hunting. Reading and blog posting are much more fun!

I think I like mornings best because they’re my “Me time” of day. They’re when I’m by myself and I can nerd out or be lazy and drink coffee if I want to. I can get kind of grumpy if I don’t get to relax with my cup of Joe in the morning. It makes me feel like a big chunk of my daily routine has been taken away. Those of you out there who are little on the OCD side with me know exactly what I’m talking about.

When is your favorite part of the day?

Bookish Interview – Ricardo

Hi guys! This is my husband Ricardo. I thought I would try something new today. I LOVE doing book reviews on here but sometimes you have to spice things up! I thought it would be cool to do some bookish interviews. My first being, Ricardo.

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We have very different tastes in books. He likes classics and darker books, whereas I like YA and middle grade books. He reads a lot of Chuck Palakniuk and Stephen King.

Where is your favorite reading nook?

Probably anywhere nice and quiet… and warm. I think the best time I’ve had reading is in the middle of the night.

What are your all time favorite books?

Probably Les Miserables or The Three Musketeers. I really like the style and prose. Historical fiction feels like reading fantasy that might actually have happened.

I also really like To Kill A Mockingbird. It is historical fiction too and it makes me feel like I was in that time. I feel like it was really easy to get invested in those characters. My favorite character would have to be Scout because she’s so boisterous and adventurous.

What was your favorite childhood book and why?

Harry Potter… that was the first time I felt really invested in a book/series. Before that? Probably The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Who is your favorite author and why?

Victor Hugo. He writes like he’s telling a story out loud, making it up as he goes, yet precise. I like when I can’t predict where the author is going.

What would you say is your favorite literature genre?

Historical Fiction

If you could choose one literary character that you identify most with; who would it be and why?

I guess Hermione. I get told I have that personality a lot. Pretty nerdy and pretentious… but I’m also kind of dumb. Maybe if Ron and Hermione were the same person? That would be more accurate.

If you wrote a novel, what would your novel be about?

Umm, sword and sandal type fantasy… with magic… and wait there’s a twist it’s actually in the post apocalyptic future.

Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

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I have had this sitting on my bookshelf for several months now. I could never find it at Barnes & Noble so Ricardo ordered it for me for Valentine’s Day last year. I have seen it all over Instagram since it came out. I think this story really appeals to people who enjoy reading escapism stories. It’s very white night and shining armor rescues the princess story. Which I love! It’s not easy to pull off these stories. They can come off real cheesy if you’re not careful. This novel on the other hand is very magical and breathtaking.

It starts off with a girl named Veronica, she’s basically been kicked while she’s down her entire life but she has this one good friend who practically “shares a brain” with her. Her friend, Mackenna, is a theater/musical loving thespian who moved to a different state at some point but they have remained in constant contact. Mackenna has inherited a small cottage in Scotland and her and Vee take a trip there in the summer. Pre-Scotland vacation, Vee is having visions of a handsome, kilted Scot leading up to their trip across the Brig’a Doon. Once across the bridge both of the girls meet the handsome princes Duncan and Jamie. But is it meant to be? Is true love worth giving up your dreams? Is it worth losing your best friend?

I think this story is great for those who love the book or show Outlander. It’s like the teen equivalent to Claire and Jamie. I LOVE the Outlander series but this was a nice break from having to read 5,000 pages. It’s romantic, witty, and it’s about how the power of friendship can save you when everything else feels like it’s falling apart. There’s cute guys in quilts fighting in tournaments and modern day, Italian pizza in Doon! Every girls dream right? I give this book 5 stars. It’s one of the best fairytale books I’ve read. I love how Corp and Langdon blended reality with the perfect fairytale kingdom.

If you’re interested in purchasing this novel it’s going to be on sale tomorrow during Amazon’s Prime Day sale. I’ve seen the authors posting this info via Instagram today and yesterday.

I Don’t Know About You, But I’m Feeling…24!

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I turned 24 on July 11th! And guess what we did that day… we moved! We moved in the middle of the day in 100 degree weather. Fun right? That part sucked a little but we had a lot of fun that evening. My best friend, Tab, helped us move and she stayed over had a Modern Family marathon with us. We snaked on some assorted Nothing Bundt Cakes my dad and his girlfriend had bought me that day. There were some vanilla raspberry, lemon, red velvet, and chocolate ones. They’re so cute and tiny! They’re literally mini bundt cakes that look like cupcakes. I didn’t feel too bad about eating some because we had to have burned 1,001 calories easily that day. We were living on the second story in our apartment building and it was no joke moving all the furniture out.

I posted a picture of the gifts my husband and best friend gave me too because they’re so cute and festive! I love my little piñata! It’s kind of an inside joke between me and Tab but we always joked I was Hispanic on the inside because I’ve always been fascinated with the culture and language. And I’ve always had a thing for hispanic guys… starting with Howie from the Backstreet Boys. She told me “Because you’re Hispanic now!” (My new name is Chavez.) I thought it was cute!

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She gave me the piñata (filled with Kit Kats!), the nail polish, and Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan. I have been NEEDING this book since it came out. I love how it’s written from Percy Jackson’s point of view. It makes me love it even more! This is going to hold me over until his new Magnus Chase series comes out. I’ve been having withdrawals.

My husband was super sweet and got me Sperrys. They’re one of those things that I’ve stopped and stared at while moseying around the mall but would probably never buy myself because they’re a little pricey. It was nice that he noticed that 🙂 Then he got me a $50 Barnes & Noble card! Heck yeah!!! My favorite kind of giftcard! I’m saving it for a day that I can go up there and get a coffee and hang out and read my new books that I buy with it. My best friend and my husband kind of rock.

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The day after my birthday, when we didn’t have to do moving hooie, my best friend and her sister planned a little party at their house and made me homemade enchiladas! THEY WERE THE BEST EVER! And I even got birthday candles on them!!! They surprised me and invited 3 of my other friends and we all had about 5 heaping helpings of enchiladas and then went out for some late night karaoke off of Lower Greenville in Dallas. I didn’t actually sing last night but some of our friends did and it was great entertainment! I love karaoke! Next time I’m going to brush up on my O*Town lyrics.

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These were the chicken and sour cream enchiladas, but there were also some cheese/chili con carne ones.

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Me and the bestie at The Crown & Harp

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Me and the hubby ❤