Book News: Julie Powell is dead

You may have heard of a movie named Julie & Julia. That movie is based off of a book also named Julie & Julia, a memoir of the author herself.

In the book and the movie, Julie starts a blog. Her blog is about one thing: cooking all of the recipes in Julia Child’s cookbook named, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Her time limit? One year.

Now, the writer of the novel, Julie & Julia, and the inspiration for the movie is dead.

Julie Powell died of cardiac arrest on Wednesday, October 26. She was forty-nine years old. She died at her home in Olivebridge, New York.

The movie Julie & Julia stars the actress named Amy Adams. Amy Adams is Julie.

R.I.P. Julie Powell

Always with infinite love,
Selena London

Book News: Rick Riordan will release “Percy Jackson and The Chalice of the Gods” in the fall of 2023

Rick Riordan wrote a new “Percy Jackson” book that will be released on September 26, 2023. The book is named, “Percy Jackson and The Chalice of the Gods.” This is the first Percy Jackson book that is all about Percy Jackson since “The Last Olympian” novel was released in the year 2009.

“Percy Jackson and The Chalice of the Gods” will take place after “The Heroes of Olympus” books and before Rick Riordan’s saga named, “The Trials of Apollo.”

In this novel, Percy studies at an alternative high-school in New York City. He hopes to attend college in the fall at New Rome University… however, he needs three recommendation letters from three gods before being accepted into the school.

Percy Jackson is an iconic character for many kids and young adults. It is great to hear that Rick has written a new book from the perspective of Percy Jackson. Rick wrote many books in Percy’s world from the perspective of other heroes. It is wonderful to be able to visit Percy’s eyes once again.

Always with infinite love,
Selena London

My thoughts and opinions on… “Beautiful Creatures”

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The newest book that I have read is named, “Beautiful Creatures.” The authors of the novel are two women named Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

“Beautiful Creatures” is a book about a girl named Lena Duchannes. Lena moves into the town of Gatlin, North Carolina. In this new town she meets the love of her life named Ethan Wate.

The two are inexplicably drawn to each other. However, something separates that two. Lena is a “Caster.” That means that she is a witch with strange powers.

A shadow hovers over Lena. She fears that on her sixteenth birthday she will be Claimed as a “Dark Caster” despite her own volition. And if that happens she will be parted from Ethan forever.

I really loved this book. I was drawn into the mystery, the magic, and the love between Lena and Ethan. This book is all about the love between the two characters. Ethan tries desperately to figure out a way for him and for Lena to be together… despite another thing that impedes the two’s relationship… the town’s fear and hatred toward Lena.

There is also a prophecy that says that Lena must turn into a Dark Caster on her sixteenth birthday. Ethan tries everything he can to stop that from happening. His love for Lena encompasses everything… he doesn’t listen to the murmurings of the townspeople, the prophecy that looms above the two… instead, he focuses on being with Lena despite-it-all.

Another thing that is great about this book is the cast of characters in it. Each character is rich and filled with life. There is Lena’s uncle named Macon Ravenwood. Macon is Gatlin’s town recluse. However, he loves Lena and is a good man despite everything. He tries his best to protect Lena and to be there for her.

Another bigger-than-life character is Lena’s cousin. Her name is Ridley. Ridley was Claimed as a Dark Caster on her own sixteenth birthday. Lena feels that she will be forced to follow the same path as Ridley regardless of what Lena wants for herself.

Ridley is dark and dangerous. She causes problems for Lena and for Ethan in the town. Ridley wants Lena to become a Dark Caster like her. She wants to separate Lena and Ethan from one another forever. And she doesn’t take “no” for an answer.

I think you will like this book if you love books like Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Divergent. This book is similar to those books. It is a book about love and about destiny… with a bit of magic and mystery thrown in.

I give this book a 5-star rating. I loved it.

Always with infinite love,
Selena London

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 women 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