Thursday, December 3, 2015

Book Review: The Selection (The Selection #1) By Kiera Cass

"The Selection was no longer something that was simply happening to me, but something I was actively a part of. I was an Elite."
(p. 327) 

Title: The Selection
Series Title: The Selection (Book 1) 
Amount of Pages: 327
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Geared Towards: Teens
From: Library
I was not paid for this review

Summary (From Front Flap): 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 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 a 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.

Wdebo's Review: I am not ashamed to admit that I am a lover of reality television, especially dating shows. The dystopian Bachelor-esque premise as well as its gorgeous cover was honestly what attracted me to the book in the first place. Though the intent was good, the execution was lacking. However, even with that, the story, for some reason, was still so addictive. 

The first thing that truly stands out to me after reading this book was just how cheesy it was. America is painted as such a perfect person, and you're reminded of it constantly. From her beauty to her kindness and of course we cannot forget about her one little candid/stubborn quirk which of course is a quality the Prince finds endearing. Some of the things that America gets herself into are so over the top can be classified as truly "why America why?" moments. Additionally, even after reading 300 pages I felt like I couldn't connect with any of the characters, even America who I am supposed to be rooting for the most. 

Additionally, for a book that is set up in a dystopian society, there is not much in that regards that was brought into the novel. More succinct and enticing backstory, action or fear could have been written in. Honestly, nothing felt very dystopian-like except for the dating gameshow plot. It honestly just seemed like a twisted monarchy with an added caste system. There was so much room for additional plot that could have been added to create a richer story but those details were sadly left behind. 

However, despite its many flaws, I do have to admit that the story was addicting. I completed it in one sitting and I still had no idea how. Even though I did find myself shaking my head at the story multiple times, I still wanted to see what happens. Even though I am not sure if I will be continuing with the series, I am happy that this book was able to provide me an entertaining couple of hours.  

Cafe Chit Chat: Absolutely gorgeous cover. The blue dress and icy background are such a great mix. (A) 

All in all, though this is definitely no literary gem, if you do decide to pick it up, it is a great way to spend a couple hours. 

Grade: B-

Wdebo :)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Book Review: Sophomore Year Is Greek To Me By: Meredith Zeitlin

"And I know it's my grandmother. 
And she's crying. 
And then she opens her arms to me, and it's like no one else is there but us." 
(p. 184) 

Title: Sophomore Year Is Greek To Me
Author: Meredith Zeitlin
Amount of Pages: 336
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Geared Towards: Young Teens +
From: Author Publicist
I was not paid for this review

Summary (From B.O.B): When Zona's mother married an American and moved to New York City, her huge Greek family cut off contact. Now her dad wants to uproot her entire life to move to Athens for the second half of her sophomore year and meet possibly hostile relatives on their turf? Thanks...but no thanks. 

Wdebo's Review: Because of college, it's been such a long time since I've been able to read a book for fun. So I'm not sure if it was the fact that I hadn't read a YA book in so long, but it was difficult for me to get into Sophomore Year is Greek to Me. It started out very slow and Zona was personally just not a preferable character. I felt like I spent most of the time in the beginning, questioning and hoping that I did not act like her as a high schooler. Her constant whining and groaning just made it difficult for me to connect to her as a character. However, I really enjoy how the setting and characters were laid out in the beginning, it was very easy to understand the story from the get-go without much guessing involved. I also really liked Zona's NY friends, you could truly feel how much they cared for each other which was great.

As the story progressed, so did Zona's maturity. The writing as well began to become more and more engaging. It was great to see Zona grow as a person. I really enjoyed seeing her learning to embrace her family. I did appreciate how this story is family oriented. It centers around Zona's close knit ties with her father and her dog, Tony, as well as her embracing her Greek side who have just learned about her existence. And since these topics were a bit part of the story, I really wished it was delved in more then it was. It felt as if the writing could have explored more of the issues she faced.

The story was divided into four main sections: Zona in New York, Zona in Athens, Zona with family and Zona post family. Each section presented a new issue for Zona to experience and conquer and I feel like they could have been tackled more in depth. Additionally, I was not sure about Zona's time in Athens and her new group of friends. Personally, her Athens friends just did not impress me much. They were just not very good friends and had some questionable actions. Zona could have done so much better.

I did really like how her family time was described. It was sweet to see them learning how to interact and make up for lost time; however, some of the conflicts between the uncles that were brought up felt unfinished or rushed when the story ended. However, other conflicts that were brought up throughout the books I felt were well ended. It showed that life is not a fairy tale and even if it doesn't end badly, it is not perfect and we still have a lot to do even when there is a conclusion or answer. Zona had to deal with some real world shit and she handled some of those issues admirably and for others, as stated before, it could have been better molded.

I also felt like the character of Alex as a romantic interest felt a little too pushed. It felt like the story was trying to take on too much topics and should have taken some of them out.

Cafe Cover Chit Chat: I really like this cover. The blue, model and decorations contrast each other very well and the set up is adorable. (A) 

All in all, though the story did have a rocky start as well as some plot issues, the novel does become more and more engaging and ended satisfactorily.

Grade: B

Wdebo :)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Singin' Saturday: Summertime Record-Yuki Yucky

Hi All! Long time no talk! I am currently in my last year of college and am entering into my busies term (AKA thesis writing hell) but will be graduating in September so I will have much more time to post and read! Can't wait to see y'all then~

Title: Summertime Record (Piano Version)
Artist: Yuki Yucky
Langauge: Japanese
TTS: None

Wdebo's Notes: I love this song so much and Yuki Yucky's piano version is absolutely gorgeous. The original is a vocaloid song and is part of the Kagerou Project which is about teenagers with supernatural abilities.

Her voice is absolutely gorgeous and I have spent many hours listening to this song while doing homework.

Listen and Love!

Wdebo :)