Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Book Review #666 - This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl


This is a collection of the journals, fiction, letters, and sketches of the late Esther Grace Earl, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 16. Photographs and essays by family and friends help to tell Esther's story, along with an introduction by award-winning author John Green who dedicated his number 1 bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars to her.

My Rating: 3.5/5

This is a very hard book to review as it is so much more than just a book - it is a life, a life that is very much alive in every single page. 

The book is told through Esther's own personal journal entries, her long detailed letters to family members which helped portray not only what an awesome person Esther was but also how talented she was with her writing. 

The love and support that Ether had with her family and that her family had for her was evident in every page. 

Because of the amount of photos and the glossy pages used in the book, it made the pages quite thick and in turn made the book really heavy. I found because of this I couldn't really read this book for long periods of time as it hurt my wrists. 

Through her father's words and the Earl family's work through their foundation they have ensured that Esther will live on and her star won't go out. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Book Review #665 - The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass


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 a palace and compete for the heart of 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.

My Rating: 4/5

I had been putting off reading this book ever since it was first released because, I admit, I judged it by its cover. A girl in a fancy dress is not really my thing. 

I'm not sure what ultimately made me decide to give it a try, but I am glad I did as not only did I enjoy it, I completely devoured it. 

I loved all the unique names used throughout the book and how the surname ties in with with the occupation they are destined to have. 

When I first discovered the plot was basically The Bachelor, I seriously considered not finishing it as I absolutely despise all form of reality television. 

I loved the idea of ranking society and the fact that America went from a 5 to a 3 gave great insight into how both ends of the spectrum work. 

I loved the rivalry and camaraderie between the girls although it was a little overwhelming as most of them only existed in the background. I'm looking forward to The Elite as now there are fewer girls it will be easier for them to develop.

The only issue I had with this book was the world building. The explanation given for how Illea came to exist left me rather confused and there were numerous holes in the explanation. 

The romance in this book was a lot tamer than I thought it would be considering the plot which I loved and it enabled America and Maxon to develop a strong friendship. 

As for Aspen, I found myself hoping that he would have died in one of the rebels raids as I am not that fond of him or love triangles which I can see developing if Aspen doesn't disappear. 

I loved America's family especially May who reminded me of Primrose Everdeen and I really hope we get to see more of them in future books. 

The whole aspect with the rebels was interesting but I just wished there was more depth in this area.   

Monday, October 24, 2016

Book Review #664 - The Storm (The Rain #2) by Virginia Bergin


"I'll tell you a weird thing about apocalypses - a thing I didn't even know until I was in one: they seem pretty bad, don't they? Well, take it from me: they can always get worse."

Three months after the killer rain first fell, Ruby is beginning to realise her father might be dead . . . and that she cannot survive alone. When a chance encounter lands her back in the army camp, Ruby thinks she is safe - at a price. Being forced to live with Darius Spratt is bad enough, but if Ruby wants to stay she must keep her eyes - and her mouth - shut. It's not going to happen. When she realizes what is going on - the army is trying to find a cure by experimenting on human subjects - Ruby flips out . . . and makes an even more shocking discovery: she's not useless at all. The Storm begins . . . 

My Rating: 3.5/5

Given the way The Rain ended I was really interested to see where the story would go from there. 

The huge buildup in the first book was Ruby being reunited with her father and half-brother Dan. This happened late in the book and was a MASSIVE disappointment for both Ruby and the reader for reasons I can't mention for the sake of spoilers. 

Ruby's behaviour in this book was even more reckless than in the first book. 

In The Rain, Ruby cared about her appearance way too much whereas in this book she didn't care about her appearance at all. It was an interesting way to show Ruby's mental stability. 

The book is made up of largely Ruby's inner monologue and as she doesn't have a filter she is very honest. She can get rather annoying at times, usually when she goes off on useless tangents. 

The romance between Ruby and Darius again felt rather out of place as it did in the first book so thankfully it was not that big of an issue in this book. 

When Ruby went to the army base about half way through the book, I found this portion rather boring and this was largely because Ruby's inner monologue stalls and she is is not at her witty and humerous self. 

There were also numerous plot twists around this time that were never fully answered or developed.

The book ended rather open ended, possibly leaving the door open for a sequel.