The Selection by Kiera Cass

Author: Kiera Cass
Pages: 327
Genre: YA / Distopian
Source: Amazon Vine Program

America Singer leaves her home behind to compete against 35 other girls for none other than winning the heart of her country’s prince. While this book is somehow compared to The Hunger Games, all I kept thinking about was The Bachelor. Full of makeovers, interviews, dates with the Prince, and the inevitable girls being voted off, all while the Prince of Iléa. narrows down his selection to the one girl who will be his future wife and Queen of Iléa.

I loved the dystopian aspects of the novel (don’t I always?) - the story opens with some insight into America and her family, which was vital in order to understand the caste system in this future world. Families are labeled by caste depending on their career and income while all future family members continue to be labeled with the same caste (career, income, etc.). Neat concept if you ask me. While I was interested in the dystopian-ness of the story, I was not too thrilled with the story overall. I would also like to note, that I did not base my review on any of the author’s antics or mean-spirited commentary with a fellow reviewer(s).

America Singer (ugh – that name! – and she does sing, just in case you were wondering) was an unremarkable heroine. While likeable and very talented (not only did she sing, but she also knew various languages and played several instruments), there was really nothing about her that stood out. I originally looked forward to the competition between the selected girls (because yes, I am a fan of The Bachelor/Bachelorette) – but there was no cattiness or raunchy behavior. Instead I found the girls to be dull. I was thinking maybe The Hunger Games comparison came from the girls duking it out on random competitions (think Survivor) where the last man (or in this case woman) standing was the winner – but that wasn’t the case either.

I found the writing was juvenile at times. I would have liked to understand more of the political background and less of the characters and their personal lives, but it seems the author and I were not on the same page. I also thought it was wordy – in fact, too wordy at times.

Fans of reality television and dystopians (those with a lighter edge to them) may enjoy this one. Sadly, I was not a fan and do not plan on continuing with this series.


2012 Reading List

[via WeHeartIt]

1- Deadly Game - Christine Feehan (completed 1/03/12)
2- Preadatory Game - Christine Feehan (completed 1/04/12)
3- Murder Game - Christine Feehan (completed 1/07/12)
4- Unleashed  -Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie (completed 1/09/12)
5- Street Game - Christine Feehan (completed 1/11/12)
6- Ruthless Game - Christine Feehan (completed 1/11/12)
7- Lothaire - Kresley Cole (completed 1/12/12)
8- The Fault in Our Stars - John Green (completed 1/15/12)
9- Tales of Terror From the Tunnel's Mouth - Chris Priestley (completed 1/17/12)
10- Lover Mine - J. R. Ward (completed 1/19/12)
11- The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight - Jenifer E. Smith (completed 1/22/12)
12- Lover Unleashed - J. R. Ward (completed 1/22/12)
13- Monster High: The Ghoul Next Door - Lisi Harrison (completed 1/24/12)
14- Goddess Interrupted - Aimee Carter (completed 1/25/12)
15- Ripple - Mandy Hubbard (completed 1/25/12)
16- Secrets of an Accidental Duchess - Jennifer Haymore (completed 1/27/12)
17- A Rogue by Any Other Name - Sarah MacLean (completed 1/29/12)
18- Dead to You - Lisa McMann (completed 1/31/12)
19- Once Upon a Wicked Night - Jennifer Haymore (completed 2/03/12)
20- The Flight of Gemma Hardy - Margot Livesey (completed 2/05/12)
21- Dearly, Departed - Lia Habel (completed 2/06/12)
22- Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box - Mira Grant (completed 2/06/12)
23- Dreamless - Josephine Angelini (completed 2/07/12)
24- Deadline - Mira Grant (completed 2/09/12)
25- Tempest - Julie Cross (completed 2/15/12)
26- On the Day I Died - Candace Fleming (completed 2/16/12)
27- Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea - Sophia Nash (completed 2/16/12)
28- Bennett & Camilia - Nora Roberts (completed 2/19/12)
29- The Gilly Salt Sisters - Tiffany Baker (completed 2/22/12)
30- The Husband Hunt - Lynsay Sands (completed 3/03/12)
31- The Darkest Seduction - Gena Showalter (completed 3/05/12)
32- When a Scot Loves a Lady - Katharine Ashe (completed 3/07/12)
33- Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L. James (completed 3/10/12)
34- Fifty Shades Darker - E.L. James (completed 3/12/12)
35- Fifty Shades Freed - E.L. James (completed 3/14/12)
36- Firelight - Kristen Callihan (completed 3/19/12)
37- Ember - Kristen Callihan (completed 3/19/12)
38- The Immortal Rules -Julie Kagawa (completed 3/21/12)
39- The Book of Lost Fragrances - M.J. Rose (completed 3/22/12)
40- How to Be a Proper Lady - Katharine Ashe (completed 3/24/12)
41- A Night Like This - Julia Quinn (completed 3/27/12)
42- The Duke's Perfect Wife - Jennifer Ashley (completed 4/04/12)
43- A Beautiful Evil - Kelly Keaton (completed 4/09/12)
44- Fated - Alyson Noel (completed 4/13/12)
45- The Girl With the Clockwork Collar - Kady Cross (completed 4/19/12)
46- Until I Die - Amy Plum (completed 4/26/12)
47- My Wicked Gladiators - Lauren Hawkeye (completed 4/27/12)
48- Countdown - Mira Grant (completed 4/27/12)
49- Return of the Viscount - Gayle Callen (completed 5/02/12)
50- The Bride Wore Pearls - Liz Carlyle (completed 5/04/12)
51- The Warrior Laird - Margo Maguire (completed 5/10/12)
52- Loving on Borrowed Time - Olivia Cunning (completed 5/15/12)
53- Twice Upon a Time - Olivia Cunning (completed 5/17/12)
54- The Pirate Next Door - Jennifer Ashley (completed 5/23/12)
55- Beautiful Disaster - Jamie Maguire (completed 5/25/12)
56- Blackout - Mira Grant (completed 6/04/12)
57- Eternal Rider - Larissa Ione (completed 6/06/12) 58- Immortal Rider - Larissa Ione (completed 6/08/12)
59- Lethal Rider - Larissa Ione (completed 6/10/12)
60- Heat Rises - Alice Gaines (completed 6/11/12)
61- Pleasures of a Tempted Lady - Jennifer Haymore (completed 6/12/12)
62- Lessons From a Scandalous Bride - Sophie Jordan (completed 6/13/12)
63- Brief Encounter - Alice Gaines (completed 6/13/12)
64- Storm Bound - Alice Gaines (completed 6/14/12)
65- First Comes Love - Katie Kacvinsky (completed 6/17/12)
66- The Marriage Bargain - Jennifer Probst (completed 6/18/12)
67- Bared to You - Sylvia Day (completed 6/19/12)
68- How a Lady Weds a Rogue - Katharine Ashe (completed 6/21/12)
69- Weekends Required - Sydney Landon (completed 6/21/12)
70- Not Planning on You - Sydney Landon (completed 6/21/12)
71- Vacation With a Vampire - Michele Hauf; Kendra Leigh Castle and Lisa Childs (completed 6/25/12)
72- Moonglow - Kristin Callihan (completed 6/26/12)73- Wicked Nights - Gena Showalter (completed 6/28/12)
74- Samurai Game - Christine Feehan (completed 7/04/12)
75- Try Me - Olivia Cunning (completed 7/05/12)
76- Past Midnight - Jasmine Haynes (completed 7/07/12)
77- What Happens After Dark - Jasmine Haynes (completed 7/08/12)
78- The Principal's Office - Jasmine Haynes (completed 7/09/12)
79- Rock Me - Cherri Lynn (completed 7/10/12)
80- Unleashed - Cherri Lynn (completed 7/11/12)
81- Royal Bridesmaids - Stephanie Laurens; Gaelen Foley and Loretta Chase (completed 7/12/12)
82- Thoughtless - S.C. Stephens (completed 7/15/12)
83- Effortless - S.C. Stephens (completed 7/16/12)
84- By His Desire - Kate Grey (completed 7/17/12)
85- Hearts in Darkness - Laura Kaye (completed 7/18/12)
86- Weekend Agreement - Barbara Wallace (completed 7/19/12)
87- The Future of Our Past - Kahlen Aymes (completed 7/20/12)
88- Gabriel's Inferno - Sylvain Reynard (completed 7/23/12)
89- On the Island - Tracey Garvis Graves (completed 7/24/12)
90- Mating Season - Alice Gaines (completed 7/25/12)
91- Gabriel's Rapture - Sylvain Reynard (completed 7/26/12)
92- Try Me - Diane Alberts (completed 7/27/12)
93- Take This Regret - A. L. Jackson (completed 7/30/12)
94- Seven Years to Sin - Sylvia Day (completed 8/01/12)
95- The Stranger I Married - Sylvia Day (completed 8/03/12)
96- Pride & Pleasure - Sylvia Day (completed 8/06/12)
97- Risking it All - Jennifer Schmidt (completed 8/6/12)
98- Heart of Danger - Lisa Marie Rice (completed 8/10/12)
99- He's the One - Jack Beckenham (completed 8/13/12)
100- Ask For It - Sylvia Day (completed 8/16/12)
101- The Rise of Nine - Pittacus Lore (completed 8/22/12)
102- Don't Forget to Remember Me - Kahlen Aymes (completed 8/23/12)
103- Double Time - Olivia Cunning (completed 8/24/12)
104- Seducing Cinderella - Gina L. Maxwell (completed 8/30/12)
105- Every Day - David Levithan (completed 9/06/12)
106- Tell Me You Want Me - Amelia James (completed 9/08/12)
107- The Time Keeper - Mitch Albom (completed 9/12/12)
108- Forbidden - Jacquelyn Frank (completed 9/18/12)
109- Hot & Haunted - Megan Hart; Lauren Hawkeye and Saranna DeWylde (completed 9/19/12)
110- Tempt Me - Olivia Cunning (completed 9/20/12)
111- Rogue Rider - Larissa Ione (completed 9/26/12)
112- Honor Student - Teresa Mummert (completed 9/28/12)
113- Love Unscripted - Tina Reber (completed 10/01/12)
114- Love Unrehearsed - Tina Reber (completed 10/02/12)
115- Reflected in You - Sylvia Day (completed 10/04/12)
116- On Dublin Street - Samantha Young (completed 10/06/12)
117- Dark Storm - Christine Feehan (completed 10/08/12)
118- Slammed - Colleen Hoover (completed 10/09/12)
119- Point of Retreat - Colleen Hoover (completed 10/10/12)
120- The Marriage Trap - Jennifer Probst (completed 10/11/12)
121- Bound to You - Bethany Kane (completed 10/14/12)
122- Improper Relations - Juliana Ross (completed 10/15/12)
123- Love's Rhythm - Lexxie Couper (completed 10/17/12)
124- Broken Hart - Ella Fox (completed 10/17/12)
125- Unravel Me - Kendall Ryan (completed 10/18/12)
126- Blindsided - Sayer Adams (completed 10/19/12)
127- Tangled Web - Jade C. Jamison (completed 10/23/12)
128- Love Left Behind - S. H. Kolee (completed 10/23/12)
129- Wrong Bed, Right Guy - Katee Robert (completed 10/25/12)
130- Honor Thy Teacher - Teresa Mummert (completed 10/25/12)
131- The Marriage Mistake - Jennifer Probst (completed 10/27/12)
132- Release Me - J. Kenner (completed 10/30/12)
133- Shattered Hart - Ella Fox (completed 11/01/12)
134- Tempting the Best Man - Jennifer L. Armentrout (completed 11/03/12)
135- Hot Ink - Ranae Rose (completd 11/03/12)
136- Fade Into You - Kate Dawes (completed 11/03/12)
137- Fade Into Me - Kate Dawes (completed 11/04/12)
138- Fade Into Always - Kate Dawes (completed 11/04/12)
139- Tempting the Player - Jennifer L. Armentrout (completed 11/05/12)
140- Leave Me Breathless - Cherrie Lynn (completed 11/07/12)
141- Take Me - Olivia Cunning (completed 11/08/12)
142- Playing for Keeps - R. L. Mathewson (completed 11/09/12)
143- Madversary - Jade C. Jamison (completed 11/10/12)
144- Naked - Raine Miller (completed 11/11/12)
145- All In - Raine Miller (completed 11/12/12)
146- Devoured - Emily Snow (completed 11/15/12)
147- Come Away With Me - Kristen Proby (completed 11/16/12)
148- Perfection - R. L. Mathewson (completed 11/17/12)
149- Her Forbidden Hero - Laura Kaye (completed 11/19/12)
150- The Proposition - Katie Ashley (completed 11/20/12)
151- The Edge of Never - J. A. Redmerski (completed 11/21/12)
152- Checkmate - R. L. Mathewson (completed 11/24/12)
153- Rock the Heart - Michelle A. Valentine (completed 11/27/12)
154- This Beautiful Thing - Amanda Heath (completed 11/28/12)
155- Exposed to You - Beth Kery (completed 11/28/12)
156- In Flight - R. K. Lilley (completed 12/01/12)
157- Mile High - R. K. Lilley (completed 12/01/12)
158- After the Music - Christine Feehan (completed 12/03/12)
159- This Man - Jodi Ellen Malpas (completed 12/06/12)
160- Letting Go - Jennifer Foor (completed 12/10/12)
161- Losing It - Cora Carmack (completed 12/12/12)
162- Loving Hart - Ella Fox (completed 12/17/12)
163- Under the Mistletoe Wih Me -Kristen Proby (completed 12/18/12)
164- Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn (completed 12/19/12)
165- Tidal - Emily Snow (completed 12/24/12)
166- Wallbanger - Alice Clayton (completed 12/27/12)
167- Holiday Hoax - Jennifer Probst (completed 12/27/12)
168- A Very Naughty Xmas - Stephanie Julian; Olivia Cunning; Raven Morris; Cherrie Lynn and Cari Quinn (completed 12/29/12)
169- Someone to Love - Addison Moore (completed 12/31/12)

Books read this year: 169
# of pages read this year: 49,288


Manic Monday Recaps (Week 3/26/12)

Happy Monday friends!  I hope you all the weekend.  Mine was a very productive one.  I got a lot of spring cleaning done and the husband who's been out of town for 10 days gets back today.  I'm so excited!

Here's what I plan on reading this week:

Here's what I read last week:
- The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
- Firelight by Kristen Callihan
- Ember by Kristen Callihan
- The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose

I reviewed the following:
- The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove [review]
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett [review]

Have a great week friends. Happy Reading!


The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Title:  The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Pages:  522
Genre: Fiction
Source:  Purchased
Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.  [via GoodReads]
I will not sit here and write another summary of this story since I'm sure that those of you who have not read the book have seen the movie... although I do recommend you still read the book. 

As fascinated as I found the stories of Aibileen, Minny, Skeeter, Hilly, Celia, and Elizabeth to be, I still, somehow found The Help to be rather long.  Don't take me wrong, I was engrossed, fascinated, disgusted, moved and, on more than one occasion, found myself with tears in my eyes, but I still found it to be so long.  What would normally take me a day or two to read took me almost three weeks.  This doesn't necessarily mean that I wasn't (remember all of the wonderful praises I mentioned above) into it, I just think that the serious subject matter was one that I had to read in short increments at a time. 

I found The Help to be both funny and serious.  I did laugh and cry.  Ms. Stockett did a wonderful job of making me go through a slew of emotions while reading her story... and isn't that what immersing yourself in a book is all about?  All in all, although I felt it to be long, I still do not regret spending my time reading it.  It's a lovely story... one that should be told.  It's uplifting, hopeful and effective.

My Rating:


The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate

Title: The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove
Author: Lauren Kate
Pages: 235
Genre: YA/ Teen
Source:  Purchased
Natalie Hargrove would kill to be her high school's Palmetto Princess. But her boyfriend Mike King doesn't share her dream and risks losing the honor of Palmetto Prince to Natalie's nemesis, Justin Balmer. So she convinces Mike to play a prank on Justin--one that goes terribly wrong. [via GoodReads]
The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove is a retelling of MacBeth.  Natalie is obsessed with becoming the next Palmetto Princess.  She is part of the popular/mean girl clique in her school.  She has the perfect style, friends and dreamy boyfriend and becoming Palmetto Princess is just the next thing for her to conquer - and she will stop at nothing to get what she wants..

Quite frankly, I read ithis book in a couple of hours flat.  I'm not sure what it was since this book is dark, none of the characters were likeable.  And by unlikeable I mean they were just "mean" people.  They all did bad things to their friends, to each other... Yet somehow I was compelled by Natalie's story.  Maybe it was that I had an inkling of hope that she would somehow make it out a better person in the end.  Ladies and gentlemen, I reference you back to the first line in this review...  obviously it never ends well in Shakespeare's tragedies, as we all know.

This is Ms. Kate's debut novel which was recently re-released with a new cover - which by the way is much nicer than its predecessor.  Her writing style is simple, yet succint.  I liked that.   I also really liked that, although at first glance, the surface seemed to just be another "mean girls" tale, instead it ended up being a dark and rich story that will prove that actions, even the most insignificant ones, do have consequences.

In conclusion, I found The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove to be a very engaging read. 

My Rating:


Manic Monday Recaps [Week 3/19/12]

 [via WeHeartIt]

Well hello there!  It's was almost 2 weeks since my last post and so much has happened since then.  But I must confess,  I have several things to blame for my non-existent blog posts:  Work (it just got real busy there for a while); Pinterest (because I'm OCD about it and can't stop pinning everything, as some of you may already know); and Christian Grey (ahem).  That's right for the past couple of days all I've done on my spare time - is read, dream and think of Christian Grey.  Yes, I know he's a fictional character... but a girl can dream, right?!  Luckily, my husband is not the jealous type.  For those of you who don't know who Christian Grey is, please let me introduce you to him.

About a week ago, I had the opportunity to meet several authors that were down in Miami for the Dark Days tour.  My friends, and I (and the hubby, who's my official photographer) all went down and had a ball learning more about Lauren Oliver, Claudia Gray and Dan Wells.  Here are some pics from that night:

Here's what I plan on reading this week:

Here's what I read over the past two weeks:
- Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
- Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James
- Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James

Have a great week friends. Happy Reading!
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