My thoughts and opinions on… After

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Today I want to talk about a book that many people may know about before reading this update. I want to talk about the book named After by the author who is named Anna Todd.

After is a about a girl named Theresa (Tessa) Young. Tessa enters her first year of college. At the beginning of the semester she meets a boy named Hardin Scott. Hardin is your typical bad-boy. He has tattoos. He has piercings. And he has an attitude.

It is no surprise that Tessa and Hardin do not get along. However, for some reason the two have a strong attraction toward one another. The two can’t seem to leave the other alone… and a relationship grows. It is a tumultuous relationship with a lot of anger, jealousy, and bickering. However, it is an important relationship for Tessa… that is until Tessa finds out the truth about Hardin and his past intentions.

After is a great book. You may know about it because of the movie that was released of the book on the Netflix television streaming service. However, reading the book takes you to another level. When you read this book you truly get into the heart of the characters. You learn more about who they are and about why they do the things that they do.

I really liked the Tessa as a character. She is a kind, a smart, and a nice girl who learns to be a little more wild and impulsive because of Hardin. Hardin seemed liked a conflicted guy with many things running through his mind. He seemed very angry and belligerent but I was won over despite what I initially thought of him.

I enjoyed this book overall. However, I thought there were far too many sex scenes in the book. I know that many people may not mind those scenes and may expect to see those scenes in the book after they watch the film but they were not my cup-of-tea. There were too many sex scenes and all of them were unecessary.

I also thought that this book lagged at certain points. The flow and pace of the book could be better. There is too much focus on certain things and not enough focus on others.

Despite my critiques of this book, I have to say that I enjoyed it immensely. I give this book a 5-star rating. Overall, I think this book has many great points: I love the characters. I love the drama. And I love the emotions and the love between Tessa and Hardin (the good and the bad.)

The book After has four other sequels and I plan to read the rest of them. I can’t wait.

Always with infinite love,
Selena London

My thoughts and opinions on… Requiem

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I recently finished the final book in the “Delirium” trilogy by Lauren Oliver. The last book in the series is named, “Requiem.”

I have to say that I liked this book.  However, my favorite book out of the bunch is still the first book named, “Delirium.”

One of the things that I loved about “Requiem” was the love triangle between the main character named Lena and two boys.  The two boys are named: Alex and Julian Fineman.

Alex was in “Delirium” but was barely in the second book in the series named, “Pandemonium.”  I was glad to see him back on the page. 

Alex is a strong person.  However, he does not always act kind or friendly.  Still, he is a strong and a smart person who always does what he needs to do to survive.  He thinks on his feet, he questions authority, and he takes bold chances. 

Lena met Julian in the second book in the trilogy when Alex was missing.  I liked Julian a lot in “Pandemonium”… however, at the end-of-the-day I hoped that Lena and Alex ended up together.

Julian is different from Alex.  He is kinder and more thoughtful.  He also loves Lena and even confesses his feelings to her.  However, though Julian and Lena have many scenes together I still felt like Lena would be better off with Alex.  There’s nothing wrong with Julian.  I just don’t think Lena and Julian belong together the same way that Lena and Alex do.

However, there were a couple of negative things that I found in, “Requiem.” One negative thing that I found in this book was the book’s pace.  “Requiem” sometimes slows when I think it would be better for the book to keep going in a fluid pace.  There are also other instances in the book where I wished the author wrote more detail.

Another thing that bothered me about this book was its pessimistic tone.  This book is similar to “Pandemonium,” the second book in the “Delirium” series, because of its dark subject matter.  There were times when I did not feel like picking up “Requiem” to continue to read where I left off because the events in the book were too sad and depressing.

Despite these critiques, there is one stand-out thing that I liked about “Requiem” and the “Delirium” trilogy in general: the prose.  Lauren Oliver writes with beautiful description.  Lena is a kind and a thoughtful person.  Her insight into the world around her was both beautiful and poetic.

Overall, I enjoyed, “Requiem.”  Still, I have to give this book a 3-star rating.  It was a great book in certain ways… but it was too somber to be something that I’d like to pick up again to read.

Always with infinite love,
Selena London

Book News: Check-out these great “Smart Girl’s Guides” from American Girl

American Girl is a popular brand of iconic dolls.

American Girl sells many different kinds of dolls… from historical dolls to modern day look-alike dolls. American Girl also makes books that tell a story of the lives of the different historical dolls.

Finally, American Girl sells books that are meant for young girls to teach them different life lessons that will help them as they get older.

Those books are named “Smart Girl’s Guide” books. Here are a few of the “Smart Girl’s Guide” books that are out there: Tough Stuff, Making a Difference, Knowing What to Say, and Race and Inclusion.

These books are great for young girls. They can help them to figure out life and all the things that they may encounter as they get older.

It seems like American Girl knows what it’s doing.

Always with infinite love,
Selena London

Book News: This is what Rick Riordan had to say about the casting of Annabeth Chase

[left] Alexandra Daddario [right] Leah Sava Jeffries

It looks like things are moving forward with the Percy Jackson and the Olympians television show on Disney+.

However, some controversy hit the media. The actress who was chosen to play Annabeth Chase is a girl who is named Leah Sava Jeffries. And she is African-American.

In Rick Riordan’s books, the character of Annabeth Chase is an important role. Annabeth Chase is one of the main characters of the books who works with Percy Jackson to save the world from the threat of evil gods. And the character is written as a Caucasian girl.

It seems that people have many things to say about this casting decision. The controversy surrounding the casting decision reached Rick Riordan’s ears.

This is what he had to say about it:

This post is specifically for those who have a problem with the casting of Leah Jeffries as Annabeth Chase. It’s a shame such posts need to be written, but they do. First, let me be clear I am speaking here only for myself. These thoughts are mine alone. They do not necessarily reflect or represent the opinions of any part of Disney, the TV show, the production team, or the Jeffries family.

The response to the casting of Leah has been overwhelmingly positive and joyous, as it should be. Leah brings so much energy and enthusiasm to this role, so much of Annabeth’s strength. She will be a role model for new generations of girls who will see in her the kind of hero they want to be.

If you have a problem with this casting, however, take it up with me. You have no one else to blame. Whatever else you take from this post, we should be able to agree that bullying and harassing a child online is inexcusably wrong. As strong as Leah is, as much as we have discussed the potential for this kind of reaction and the intense pressure this role will bring, the negative comments she has received online are out of line. They need to stop. Now.

I was quite clear a year ago, when we announced our first open casting, that we would be following Disney’s company policy on nondiscrimination: We are committed to diverse, inclusive casting. For every role, please submit qualified performers, without regard to disability, gender, race and ethnicity, age, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other basis prohibited by law. We did that. The casting process was long, intense, massive and exhaustive.

I have been clear, as the author, that I was looking for the best actors to inhabit and bring to life the personalities of these characters, and that physical appearance was secondary for me. We did that.  We took a year to do this process thoroughly and find the best of the best. This trio is the best. Leah Jeffries is Annabeth Chase.

Some of you have apparently felt offended or exasperated when your objections are called out online as racist. “But I am not racist,” you say. “It is not racist to want an actor who is accurate to the book’s description of the character!”

Let’s examine that statement.

You are upset/disappointed/frustrated/angry because a Black actor has been cast to play a character who was described as white in the books. “She doesn’t look the way I always imagined.”

You either are not aware, or have dismissed, Leah’s years of hard work honing her craft, her talent, her tenacity, her focus, her screen presence. You refuse to believe her selection could have been based on merit. Without having seen her play the part, you have pre-judged her (pre + judge = prejudice) and decided she must have been hired simply to fill a quota or tick a diversity box. And by the way, these criticisms have come from across the political spectrum, right and left.

You have decided that I couldn’t possibly mean what I have always said: That the true nature of the character lies in their personality. You feel I must have been coerced, brainwashed, bribed, threatened, whatever, or I as a white male author never would have chosen a Black actor for the part of this canonically white girl.

You refuse to believe me, the guy who wrote the books and created these characters, when I say that these actors are perfect for the roles because of the talent they bring and the way they used their auditions to expand, improve and electrify the lines they were given. Once you see Leah as Annabeth, she will become exactly the way you imagine Annabeth, assuming you give her that chance, but you refuse to credit that this may be true.

You are judging her appropriateness for this role solely and exclusively on how she looks. She is a Black girl playing someone who was described in the books as white.

Friends, that is racism.

And before you resort to the old kneejerk reaction — “I am not racist!” — let’s examine that statement too.

If I may quote from an excellent recent article in the Boston Globe about Dr. Khama Ennis, who created a program on implicit bias for the Massachusetts Board of Registration for Medicine in Boston: “To say a person doesn’t have bias is to say that person isn’t human. It’s how we navigate the world … based on what we’re taught and our own personal histories.”

Racism/colorism isn’t something we have or don’t have. I have it. You have it. We all do. And not just white people like me. All people. It’s either something we recognize and try to work on, or it’s something we deny. Saying “I am not racist!” is simply declaring that you deny your own biases and refuse to work on them.

The core message of Percy Jackson has always been that difference is strength. There is power in plurality. The things that distinguish us from one another are often our marks of individual greatness. You should never judge someone by how well they fit your preconceived notions. That neurodivergent kid who has failed out of six schools, for instance, may well be the son of Poseidon. Anyone can be a hero.

If you don’t get that, if you’re still upset about the casting of this marvelous trio, then it doesn’t matter how many times you have read the books. You didn’t learn anything from them.

Watch the show or don’t. That’s your call. But this will be an adaptation that I am proud of, and which fully honors the spirit of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, taking the bedtime story I told my son twenty years ago to make him feel better about being neurodivergent, and improving on it so that kids all over the world can continue to see themselves as heroes at Camp Half-Blood.

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The Percy Jackson and the Olympians television show will be released on Disney+. You can sign-up for Disney+ on the Hulu television streaming channel.

The casting decision that gave Leah Jeffries the role as Annabeth Chase is a very controversial one.

So, what do you think?

Always with infinite love,
Selena London

Book News: The casting list is finalized for the Percy Jackson and the Olympians television show on Disney+

Percy Jackson and the Olympians is a book series that is popular for kids and for teens. The book series is written by the author who is named Rick Riordan.

Rick Riordan’s popular books sparked interest with Disney executives for them to make a television series based off of Riordan’s novels.

Now, things are finally getting underway. Disney and Riordan decided on a list of actors and actresses to play the iconic Percy Jackson characters. Check-it-out below:

Walker Scobell plays Percy Jackson. Walker was previously in the movie named, “The Adam Project.”

Leah Sava Jeffries plays Annabeth Chase. Leah was a regular on the television show named, “Empire.” She was also on the television show named, “Rel.”

She recently finished work in South Africa on a movie that is named, “Beast.” Leah plays the daughter of the actor who is named Idris Elba in that movie.

Aryan Simhardri plays Grover Underwood. Simhardri was on the Disney movie named, “Cheaper by the Dozen.” He was also on, “Spin.”

Charlie Bushnell is Luke Castellan. He was on the Disney+ movie named, “Diary of a Future President.”

Dior Goodjohn is Clarisse LaRue. She was in numerous commercials for stores like J.C. Penny and ABC Mouse at the age of 3-years-old.

She was also on the Fox television show named, “Glee.” She played the young Santana Lopez on the television show.

It is great that things are getting underway for Rick Riordan’s television show named Percy Jackson and the Olympians. I will check-out this television show when it is finally released out on the Disney+ television streaming channel on Hulu.

Always with infinite love,
Selena London

My thoughts and opinions on… Well Met

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The next book that I have read is the book named Well Met. The woman named Jen DeLuca is the author of this book. Well Met is a book about a woman who is named Emily.

Emily just moved to a new town to help out her sister. Her sister was injured in a car accident and needs help to take care of her sister’s daughter. Emily recently broke-up with her ex-boyfriend and needed a change. This constituted that change. While Emily takes care of her niece, she gets roped into volunteering for a home-grown Renaissance Fair that is held in that small town. The Renaissance Fair is led by a man named Simon. Emily and Simon don’t get along at first. But as Emily’s summer at the Renaissance Fair continues on she finds herself getting thrown into the mix with Simon. A love-match flourishes.

I enjoyed this book. This book was written very well. Emily has many thoughts and worries. You get right into Emily’s head when you read this book. I liked the idea of Emily and Simon. The two seemed to have a lot in common. Emily seems to love volunteering at the Renaissance Fair. Simon views the Renaissance Fair as a project that he keeps-up with to commemorate his deceased brother.

I was happy at the end of the book when Emily and Simon managed to finally get together. The two have a fight; however, the two make up and are happy together.

I hear there are two other books out there that are semi-sequels to this book. The first book is named Well Matched. Well Matched is about Emily’s friend named Stacey. Stacey is searching for her own happily-ever-after. The next book is named Well Traveled. Well Traveled is about another character named Lulu Malone.

I give this book 4-stars. I enjoyed the book so much that I would even read the two semi-sequels.

Always with infinite love,
Selena London

My thoughts and opinions on… Pandemonium

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I read a book a few months ago named Delirium. Delirium is a book written by the woman named Lauren Oliver. It is the first book in a trilogy. Recently, I read the second sequel to the book named Pandemonium. I really enjoyed the book named Pandemonium. Let me tell you more about both and why I enjoyed Pandemonium as much as I did after I finished the book.

First, let’s review the plot to Delirium. In Delirium, a girl named Magdalena (Lena) Haloway is about to go through a procedure that will stop her from falling-in-love. In Lena’s world, love is viewed as a disease. It is deliria.

People believe that deliria is an old-fashioned concept. It does not have a place in the modern world. It makes you irrational, angry, and out-of-control.

On the day that Lena is supposed to be matched to her future husband she meets a boy named Alex. Alex is a part of the resistance to this anti-love society. Lena instantly falls-in-love with Alex.

The two’s relationship leads her down a different path than she anticipated. She escapes from her hometown and does not get the procedure done that will remove love from her psyche. She rebels instead. Sadly, Alex does not manage to escape into the Wilds with her. She enters the Wilds alone.

In the sequel named Pandemonium, Lena no longer lives in the city of Portland. She lives in the Wilds. She is a part of the resistance that is trying to change society so that people can love freely again. Lena faces hardship-after-hardship as a resistance member. Still, she does find love again with a boy named Julian Fineman. However, it is hard for her and for Julian to reach safety in the scary and the dangerous world that she lives in.

I really like this book. One of the reasons why I liked it is because the main character named Lena is a brave and a strong woman. Lena is a good example of a smart, a capable, and a tough person who feels intensely about things and about people. She discards the old things that she was taught about deliria and embraces a life with love. I like books with characters in them who are able to overcome obstacles and immense levels of pressure and manage to strive for the life that they truly want… people like Lena.

I also liked this book because I like to read books with the element of love in it. In Delirium, Lena falls-in-love with Alex. That love moves her to make bold and daring decisions. However, something happens to Alex in the first novel. As a result, he is barely in the sequel named Pandemonium.

In Pandemonium, Lena falls-in-love with a new boy named Julian Fineman. I found Lena and Julian to be a sweet couple. The two face much together… and despite the challenges that they face the two persevere. They survive. Lena and Julian rely on each. The two are able to fight and to reach safety with one another.

The next thing that I liked about this book are the chapters where Lena discovers that her mother is alive. Lena’s mother was not a full supporter of the new government regime and was taken away when Lena was ten-years-old. Lena always thought that she was dead… but she discovers that her mother lives.

I want to learn more about Lena’s mother. I hope that in Requiem there will be more chapters that showcase Lena’s relationship with her mother.

Overall, I give Pandemonium a full 5-star rating. I enjoyed this book despite the book’s dark tone and the dark world that Lena lives in. I will definitely pick-up the last book in the series to find out what happens to Lena, Alex, and Julian. I am also eager to see who Lena ends-up with.

So the question stands: are you an Alex-girl? Or are you a Julian-girl? And, no, this is not a re-hash of the Edward vs. Jacob debate (since Edward always wins.)

So who do you think should win Lena’s heart in the Requiem… the next book in the trilogy?

Always with infinite love,
Selena London

Book News: The Summer I Turned Pretty will be a television show on Amazon Prime Video

Have you heard of The Summer I Turned Pretty? The book series is by the author named Jenny Han. Jenny Han is the author who has written other books like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Now, The Summer I Turned Pretty will be a television series on Amazon Prime Video.

The Summer I Turned Pretty is about a girl who is named Isabel (Belly) Conklin. Isabel goes to First Beach every summer to spend time at a beach house with her mom. She also shares the beach house with two boys: Conrad Fisher and Jeremiah Fisher. Belly has had a crush on Conrad for years. But now it seems like Jeremiah has a crush on her, too.

The Summer I Turned Pretty will be released on Amazon Prime Video on June 17. Will you be watching?

Always with infinite love,
Selena London

Book News: John Green’s book named Turtles All the Way Down will now be a HBO Max movie

John Green is a well-loved and respected author. He has written fantastic Young Adult novels like The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, and Looking for Alaska. Those three novels have become amazing movies that are touching, emotional, and enjoyable, too.

John Green wrote a New York Times Best-Selling novel named Turtles All the Way Down that was released in the year 2017. The title of the book references the works of the famous fantasy author named Terry Pratchett.

Now, Turtles All the Way Down will be a new movie on HBO Max.

Avid fans of John Green now know the two actors who will play supporting actors in the new film. The actress named Cree Cicchino plays the character who is named Daisy. Her latest television role before doing this film was on the “Sex and the City” sequel television show. The “Sex and the City” sequel television show is named, “And Just Like That.” She was also in the Netflix movie named, “Mr. Iglesias.”

The actor named Felix Mallard plays another supporting role in the film. He is Davis in this new movie. Mallard is on the Netflix television show named, “Ginny & Georgia.” He was also in the Netflix film named, “All the Bright Places.”

The actress named Judy Reyes is also in the film. Judy Reyes was a regular on the television show named Scrubs.

I love all of John Green’s novels and movies. My favorite book and movie of his is The Fault in Our Stars. I can’t wait to see Turtles All the Way Down when it is finished being filmed.

John Green is an executive producer on his new movie.

Always with infinite love,
Selena London

My thoughts and opinions on… Between You, Me, and the Honeybees

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The book that I want to review today is named, “Between You, Me, and the Honeybees.” The book is written by the author named Amelia Diane Coombs.

“Between You, Me, and the Honeybees,” is a book about a girl who is named Josie Hazeldine. Josie is a different type of protagonist than what you might be used to reading about. Josie is a nervous girl. She deals with social anxiety and depression. The things that move her forward is her mom, her family’s honey business, and her best-friend who is named Nancy (Nan.) Josie has a good relationship with her mom. However, that doesn’t mean that everything is okay with her and her mother at the start of this book.

At the beginning of the book, Josie finally graduates from high-school. Her mother believes that she is going to attend college in the fall. However, Josie did not send in the paper work to enter college. Instead, Josie hopes to stay at her hometown of Volana to run the family business: a honeybee farm known as Hazeldine Honey.

That’s not all that Josie is hiding that summer. Josie meets a new kid who visits that town of Volana. His name is Ezra. Josie immediately likes Ezra… however, he is a Blumstein. The Hazeldine family and the Blumstein family were enemies for years. However, Josie is still drawn to Ezra regardless of the family feud.

I give this book 3-stars. The story is slow-going. The relationship between Josie and Ezra is cute. However, the biggest draw-back to this story is the premise of the novel. Josie loves working at her family’s honeybee farm and wants to work at the farm in her future. Due to this premise, there is a lot of talk about bees, honey, bee-keeping, and the like. I hated that. The background of the book was odd and weird. I learned more about honeybees and honey in this book than I would ever like to know.

I think that you should avoid this book. It is not really an engaging read. I felt like I was sloughing through the book as I was reading it instead of enjoying the experience. You should try something else for your next read.

Always with infinite love,
Selena London