Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review: The Selection

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Synopsis (From Goodreads): 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 the palace and compete for the heart of the 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.

Life is hard for everyone who lives on the outer castes, and America (who is a five) knows all too well what it's like to watch families scramble to find food. When 'the Selection' begins, a chance for one lucky girl to be chosen by the Prince to marry, she knows this will be good for her family. While it will give her family money for food and other necessities, she also doesn't want to put her name in the lottery as she is in love with someone else. Aspen is a six who she has been sneaking around with, if the two want to be together America will have to become a six and Aspen doesn't want to see her become even more hungry and poor than her current situation so he encourages her to place her name in. America doesn't think she stands a chance of being selected since she is only a five and only 35 girls will be selected, so she agrees.

When her name is selected, and she is only one of the few fives, she has no desire to change herself for a guy that she doesn't want, or even think she has a chance of liking let alone loving. Then she meets Maxim, but it's hard for her to pretend to like Maxon and play the game when she's still in love with Aspen.

Okay, so when I read the catchphrase of "the hunger games meets the Bachelor" I instantly thought it was about girls being picked to fight to the death for the chance to marry the prince. So, I was wrong, and when I got over the fact that no one was going to die in this competition, it turned out to be an entertaining read. It's more like the Bachelor in a very distant future.

America was a strong lead who is torn between love and family. She knows this Selection will be good for her family and provide enough money for them to have enough food to live comfortably without struggling, but then she loves Aspen even though he is in a lower caste than herself. She doesn't care about breaking the rules to sneak out after curfew just to see him. Then there's Maxon. He is a bit of a naive prince who doesn't know about what happens to the lower castes and America would never have pictured being able to relate to him, but he is just a normal guy with a personality.

Keira Cass creates a compelling romance told through this messed up Cinderella story set in a dystopian world. But it doesn't stop there. There's growing tension from rebel threat, and even the strong competitive nature from the contestants you'd expect when watching the Bachelor and I look forward to seeing where the rest of this trilogy lead. I recommend this story for anyone who loves a good romance, or just want to cheer for the underdog.

Source: Audible
2012 Debut Author Challenge: #4 of 12
2012 YA Reading Challenge: #15 of 50

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

When do you know you're finished?

I'm nearing the end of my YA Paranormal and I know that once I hit 'The End', it's not really over. Even as I write I can see a whole lot of work that I need to fix, especially after my first reader (who is quite harsh on getting everything perfect) finishes... yeah, I like reading through my MS and see bright blue blocks of highlighted notes that tells me what I can do better. But I know that it DOES make my story better.

The writing is the easiest part of the novel, then you've got the editing and the rewriting. So, how do you know when you've finished that MS?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Insecure Writers Support Group

After such a hectic month of the A-Z challenge, and actually finishing (YAY), I learned there are so much more monsters out there than I could have thought. I even succeeded in not using the most common, no vampires, werewolves or zombies around here (although, some of the ones I did sneak in were actually described like that... but so much more cooler).

Thinking I was going to get a nice, well deserved break, I stumbled upon Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group and thought, what they hey, this is something that I need to join.

At the present time, my insecurities revolve around time. I'm only four months into being a full-time teacher and I'm already as tired as anything. Sometimes I just don't know whether my time can be split any further. I'm already devising lesson plans for 7 classes, as well as trying to figure out how to control the students (or even if I can control the students), then I'm trying to read as much as possible, blog and keep up with social networking, participate in my critique group and write. I'm sure there's not enough hours in the day, especially when all I want to do when I come home is crawl up in bed.

I'm sure once I've been at the teaching thing longer I'll be able to get my schedule in order, but in the mean time I really don't want to 'not' have time for any writing, apart from the need to finish and perfect my novels, writing is also a means of escape for me and I'd think I'd go crazy if I didn't have that.

Well, that's my insecurities on a plate. What are some of your insecurities today?
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