Book News: Check out this American Girl X Harry Potter collab

Some of you may have heard of American Girl. American Girl is a company that creates historical fiction books for young girls. These historical fiction books are aimed at girls who are around eight years old and older.

The American Girl books are all historical fiction books that focus on a young girl who lived sometime in the past. There are also 18 inch dolls that you can purchase with these books. These dolls are based off of the fictional main characters in the books.

There we originally six American Girl characters that stared in the books. These American Girl characters are iconic. The girls are named: Felicity, Kristen, Josefina, Addy, Samantha, and Molly. The only original American Girl books and dolls that are being sold presently are: Josefina, Addy, Samantha, and Molly.

However, now American Girl releases a new line of accessories that you can purchase for your own American Girl doll to wear and to own in style. The accessories are Harry Potter-themed accessories.

These accessories include a cloak, a chest, the Sorting Hat, clothes, and more. This new collection is amazing. Take a peek at what American Girl has released above. You may just be in the mood to celebrate this up-coming Halloween season by dressing up your daughter’s American Girl doll in the latest Harry Potter attire.

After all, I know that you would have loved something like that for your American Girl doll when you were young, too.

Always with infinite love,
Selena London

My thoughts and opinions on… “Well Played”

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“Well Played” is the next book that I have read recently. It is written by the author who is named Jen DeLuca. “Well Played” is a semi-sequel to DeLuca’s first book named, “Well Met.” It is a semi-sequel because it tells the story of a side character from “Well Met” who was not the main character of that book.

“Well Played” is similar to “Well Met” because the main character in “Well Played” volunteers at a local Renaissance Fair. The Renaissance Fair background adds a touch of color and a touch of life to the book.

“Well Played” is all about Stacey Lindholm. Stacey is a fun girl. She’s the girl who always has a smile on her face. However, Stacey doubts herself when her close friend, Emily, is engaged. Stacey wants more from her life. She wants a real relationship. She wants someone to connect to.

Stacey decides to send a message on-line to her past hook-up named Dex Maclean. She hopes that a correspondence will lead the two to a more meaningful relationship between them.

However, the truth is that the person who writes back to Stacey is not the person that she believes it to be. The question is: how will Stacey deal with this revelation? Will the true man-in-question be the type-of-guy that she is truly looking for? It is a true Cyrano do Bergerac type-of-situation.

“Well Played” was a great book. Stacey has her own voice and her own story in this novel. Stacey is a smart and a fiesty woman hidden beneath a facade of laughter and of fun.

The drama is great in this book. Stacey goes through many ups-and-downs in her relationship with the-man-behind-the-screen. It is also a story of a woman who wants more from her life than what she has in front of her. It is a story of a woman who tries to create her own real “happily ever after.”

The one down side to this book is that I think that Stacey deserves to be woo-ed more than she was by the man-in-question. Stacey is a strong woman but a little chivalry is something that I think many woman can appreciate.

There is one more added thing that makes this book a fun read. In this novel, we get to see a little bit of Emily and Simon. Emily and Simon are the main couple in the first installment of this series. It is great to see them again and to see how the two are doing together.

“Well Played” is a great romance novel with a fun Renaissance Fair background. It is sweet, fun, and filled with great banter between the two main characters. I give this book a 4-star rating.

Always with infinite love,
Selena London

Book News: Rick Riordan releases a new book named “The Sun and the Star”

Rick Riordan is the popular young-adult writer of the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” book series. Many of Rick Riordan’s books are set in the modern world where gods and godesses of old have demi-god children. Demi-gods are half-mortal and half-god children. He wrote other books with various gods and godesses set in the modern world such as “The Heroes of Olympus” book series, “The Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard” book series, and the “Kane Chronicles” book series.

Now, Rick Riordan releases his newest book in the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” world. The book is named, “The Sun and the Star.” The book is written by both Rick Riordan and the author who is named Mark Oshiro. “The Sun and the Star” is about a character who is named “Nico di Angelo.” Nico is the son of Hades. Hades is a Greek god of the Underworld. Due to his lineage, Nico has strange and powerful powers.

Here is a summary describing “The Sun and the Star” which can be found on Rick Riordan’s website:

“As the son of Hades, Nico di Angelo has been through so much, from the premature deaths of his mother and sister, to being outed against his will, to losing his friend Jason during the trials of Apollo. But there is a ray of sunshine in his life–literally: his boyfriend, Will Solace, the son of Apollo. Together the two demigods can overcome any obstacle or foe. At least, that’s been the case so far…

Now Nico is being plagued by a voice calling out to him from Tartarus, the lowest part of the Underworld. He thinks he knows who it is: a reformed Titan named Bob whom Percy and Annabeth had to leave behind when they escaped Hades’s realm. Nico’s dreams and Rachel Dare’s latest prophecy leave little doubt in Nico’s mind that Bob is in some kind of trouble. Nico has to go on this quest, whether Mr. D and Chiron like it or not. And of course Will insists on coming with. But can a being made of light survive in the darkest part of the world? and what does the prophecy mean that Nico will have to “leave something of equal value behind?”

Nico will have to face demons both internal and external as his relationship with Will is tested to the core in this standalone adventure featuring two of the most popular characters in the Percy Jackson saga.”

It is great that Rick Riordan still has stories to publish that are set in Percy Jackson’s world. I will be excited to see what else he has in store for his fans next.

Always with infinite love,
Selena London

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 the first two Percy Jackson movies that stared Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson, the role of Annabeth Chase is played by the actress named Alexandra Daddario. Alexandra Daddario is a Caucasian actress.

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