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i was born amidst salt and smoke to wake dragons out of stone.

Currently reading

The Immortal Rules
Julie Kagawa
Smart Girls Get What They Want
Sarah Strohmeyer
The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Emily M. Danforth
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Charlaine Harris
Rachel Cohn
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The Iron Daughter
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Progress: 49/359 pages
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A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5)
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The Selection

The Selection - Kiera Cass Before any of the ARCs came out and I heard some stuff that made me shudder and turn away, I had been planning to read The Selection because of the beautiful cover. Now that's it's been released, I just couldn't stay away--it seems like every review is either a five-star one praising it to no end, or a one-star one criticizing everything about it. So I wanted to see which end of the spectrum I would fall on. As it turns out, I'm sort of in the middle. This book was just sort of 'meh' for me.I hate making comparisons to other books in my reviews, but this really reminded me a lot of The Hunger Games. There's the Caesar Flickerman-esque character who interviews them, the food porn, the adorable younger sister, the poor families with a lot of mouths to feed. It got a bit annoying after a while because I kept thinking, "Haven't I read something like this before--oh yeah." I don't expect every single book I pick up to be so incredibly groundbreaking that it's overflowing with new things we haven't seen tried before--most dystopian books I read all have a few tropes in common--and there's nothing wrong with that. But you come to a point where you can almost guess what's going to happen next because you've seen it done so many times before.Most of the characters weren't anything new, either. America is likable enough, especially when she's around her maids (who I absolutely adored), but everyone else just sort of fell flat for me. Marlee and Tiny were okay, I guess. I can only pray there'll be some redeeming quality found in Celeste since she's apparently sticking around for at least one more book. I don't feel like we ever really got to know any of the other girls very well. The two love interests--I feel they need their own paragraphs here because I'm going to need to rant for a moment.I started out liking Aspen. Really, I did. I don't mind a bit of forbidden love here and there. But then he made the comment about not wanting America to provide for him because he should be providing for her.Really, Aspen?And thus ended my five minutes enjoying his character.Maxon was downright annoying sometimes. I can't stand the way he kept calling everyone "my dear" (I hate pet names, especially pet names people who barely even know you try to give you) and the way he spoke sometimes made me think he either should have a.) had some sort of accent we were not previously made aware of, or b.) been a lot older than he said he was. There were moments toward the middle of the book where I would come so incredibly close to liking him, and then he'd open his mouth and something stupid would come out and I'd facepalm and move back to square one.Besides all that, some parts of this book just rubbed me the wrong way. The heavy focus on ~you have to get married~ and the way everyone seemed so set in their gender roles (except for, on that one occasion, America, who I applaud for seeing nothing wrong with a household where the woman is the main provider) is not the kind of stuff I like to see in books directed at young girls. I've recently been fortunate enough to come across quite a few books about girls who kicked ass, so it was sort of weird to be dropped into a world where all most of the girls are doing is swooning over a guy. If that's just ~the way this world is~ then I certainly would like to see it change before the series is over.I don't know. I'm sort of with America on this--I'm only here for the food.EDIT: I originally had this book at three stars, but after re-reading some of the more sexist and anti-feminist passages over again, I've decided it does not deserve that. A three-star book I would recommend to some people if I truly believed they would enjoy it. I would not recommend this book to anyone. So yeah.