Thursday, March 30, 2017

Book Review #692 - The Crown (The Selection #5) by Kiera Cass


In The Heir, a new era dawned in the world of The Selection. Twenty years have passed since America Singer and Prince Maxon fell in love, and their daughter is the first princess to hold a Selection of her own.

Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult—and more important—than she ever expected.

My Rating: 3/5

The cliffhanger from The Heir is quickly dealt with in the first few pages, enabling the story to continue it is usual fast manner. 

I loved that America and Maxon had a larger role in this book especially being able to see how their relationship has evolved. 

Due to circumstances, Eadlyn doesn't interact very much with any of the Selection boys in this book. There are other events in her life that make the Selection less important.

This causes her to have another mass elimination of the Selection. It was during this moment that I realised that I didn't really prefer any of them over the others. 

The guy Eadlyn ends up choosing at the end was no real surprise to me as I felt like he was the only one she even had remotely any chemistry with even though that chemistry was skimmed over or downplayed. 

The ending felt rather rushed and I was disappointed with the amount of unanswered questions I was left with, particularly to do with Eadlyn's decision about the monarchy. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Book Review #691 - Rebellion (The 100 #4) by Kass Morgan

Centuries after nuclear war destroyed our planet, humanity struggles to rebuild. It’s been a month since the dropships landed and the Colonists joined the Hundred on the ground. The teens, once branded juvenile delinquents, are now leaders among their people.

The Colonists and the Earthborns are celebrating their first holiday together when, to everyone’s horror, they’re attacked by a group of strangers whose unusual battle cries fill the air. The newcomers kill scores of people, seize prisoners, and pillage crucial supplies. When hotheaded Bellamy and his analytical girlfriend Clarke discover that Wells, Octavia and Glass have been captured, they vow to get them back at all costs. But as they go after their new enemies, Bellamy and Clarke find themselves increasingly at odds, unable to agree on a plan to save their friends. 

Meanwhile, Wells, Octavia, and Glass are being slowly brainwashed by their captors, religious fanatics with one goal: to grow their ranks and “heal” the war-ravaged planet… by eliminating everyone else on it.

But centuries of radiation exposure have taken their toll, forcing the cult to take drastic steps to survive. And unless the rescue party arrives soon, the teen captives will face a fate more terrifying than anything they could imagine. In this thrilling fourth installment, the hundred fight to protect the people they love on the dangerous planet they always dreamed of calling home.

My Rating: 3.5/5

This book was released about 2 years after the initial trilogy and doesn't add anything to the overall story. 

The plot in this book is nothing we haven't seen before. A new threat kidnaps some of Clarke's friends, and Clarke and the remaining friends go on a quest to rescue the kidnapped friends. 

Whilst the plot was really basic, I just loved being back in this world and surrounded by these familiar characters. 

I would absolutely love if the author decided to continue on with the series but overall I am satisfied with how it ended. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Book Review #690 - Tales of the Peculiar (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children #0.5)


Before Miss Peregrine gave them a home, the story of peculiars was written in the Tales. 

Wealthy cannibals who dine on the discarded limbs of peculiars. A fork-tongued princess. The origins of the first ymbryne. These are but a few of the truly brilliant stories in Tales of the Peculiar—known to hide information about the peculiar world—first introduced by Ransom Riggs in his Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series.

Riggs now invites you to share his secrets of peculiar history, with a collection of original stories, as collected and annotated by Millard Nullings, ward of Miss Peregrine and scholar of all things peculiar.

                                      My Rating: 3/5

This book contains 10 enchanting fable-like stories rich in peculiardom folklore. Whilst it didn't add anything, I loved being immersed back in this wonderful world.

The book very much reminded me of The Beedle and the Bard and I'm sure it's where the inspiration for its existence came from.

Each story was entirely unique and I loved all of them for a variety of different reasons. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Book Review #689 - Homecoming (The 100 #3) by Kass Morgan

Weeks after landing on Earth, the Hundred have managed to create a sense of order amidst their wild, chaotic surroundings. But their delicate balance comes crashing down with the arrival of new dropships from space.

These new arrivals are the lucky ones—back on the Colony, the oxygen is almost gone—but after making it safely to Earth, GLASS’s luck seems to be running out. CLARKE leads a rescue party to the crash site, ready to treat the wounded, but she can’t stop thinking about her parents, who may still be alive. Meanwhile, WELLS struggles to maintain his authority despite the presence of the Vice Chancellor and his armed guards, and BELLAMY must decide whether to face or flee the crimes he thought he’d left behind.

It’s time for the Hundred to come together and fight for the freedom they’ve found on Earth, or risk losing everything—and everyone—they love.

My Rating: 5/5

I think this is my favourite book of the series so far. Where book 2 hinted at possible things happening, this book delivered them. 

There was less of Clarke in this book which I disliked as she is by far my favourite character. Wells and Glass (my 2 least favourite characters) narrated a large portion of the book. 

Whilst the TV show may be a long way past where the book currently is, in general terms (the plots are ENTIRELY different), I love the amount of depth the book has compared to the show. 

Like with the show, these books always end on a cliffhanger and so I will be most definitely be picking up book 4 very soon. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Book Review #688 - Little Women (Little Women #1) by Louisa May Alcott

Following the lives of four sisters on a journey out of adolescence, Louisa May Alcott's Little Women explores the difficulties associated with gender roles in a Post-Civil War America.

My Rating: 4/5

I read this book as part of my 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die challenge. 

This is a much loved, timeless classic and it's not hard for me to see why after finishing it. 

Set during the US Civil War, this heart warming story follows four sisters namely Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy through their struggles of having to grow up fast with their family thrown into hard times. 

Jo was by far my favourite character as I think she was most like myself. After reading a biography on the author I got with the book I can see that Jo was based on her and is somewhat autobiographical. Jo also seems more of a modern woman rather than a 19th century one. 

I loved how realistic the characters were and this was shown through their flaws. Meg was easily jealous of other people's wealth, Jo had a bad temper, Beth was extremely shy and Amy was selfish. I loved how over the year that this book is set, all four girls manage to overcome their flaws. 

The language used is that one would hear in the 19th century and I found this quality really draining at first. It also made this book feel a lot longer than what it was. 

The setting in this book was also very realistic. I felt like I was time travelling to the 19th century every time I opened the book. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and really want to read the sequel/companion books in fact I have already ordered them. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Book Review #687 - The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Beautiful, flaxen-haired Buttercup has fallen for Westley, the farm boy, and when he departs to make his fortune, she vows never to love another. So when she hears that his ship has been captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts (no survivors) her heart is broken. But her charms draw the attention of the relentless Prince Humperdinck who wants a wife and will go to any lengths to have Buttercup. So starts a fairy tale like no other, of fencing, poison, true love, hate, revenge, giants, bad men, good men, snakes, spiders, chases, escapes, lies, truths, passion and miracles, and ... a damn fine story.

My Rating: 4.5/5

This book contained just about everything you could possibly want in a book - action, romance, good v evil, and even a fairytale like plot. 

The book has a very timeless feel to it in that it feels like it was written centuries ago not in the 1970's. 

The characters were my favourite aspect of this book simply because they were all unique and memorable. My favourite character was Inigo and I loved his whole quest for revenge. 

Like the characters, the writing style was unique. It reads as a book within a book with the author acting as though he is annotating an original of the same story. There were one or two occasions where I felt like this was ruining the flow of the story but mostly I loved it. 

The comedic moments in this book (which is a lot) stems from the fact that no point does this book ever take itself seriously. 

I have now read more than a few books on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die List and this book is better than almost all of them so I am not sure how this book did not make the list. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Book Review #686 - Stormbreaker (Alex Rider #1) by Anthony Horowitz


They told him his uncle died in a car accident. Fourteen-year-old Alex knows that's a lie, and the bullet holes in his uncle's windshield confirm his suspicions. But nothing prepares him for the news that the uncle he always thought he knew was really a spy for MI6 Britain's top secret intelligence agency. Recruited to find his uncle's killers and complete his final mission, Alex suddenly finds himself caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

My Rating: 2.5/5

This book was fast paced and full of action and adventure from the very first page. 

Alex Rider is a reluctant hero, but entertaining protagonist. His introduction into the life of a spy was a little rushed and I wished there was more build up to the training aspect of it, especially if we are to believe later on that Alex is a professional. 

I've never really been a fan of the espionage genre so the fact that this book takes a rather simplistic approach to the topic was a huge positive for me. 

The plot was rather unbelievable and the amount of action really tried to cover up this fact which might work for the children the book is targeted for, but for me it was annoying. 

This is a really long series, in fact it takes up almost an entire shelf on my TBR and so I'm interested to see how the characters and more significantly, the plot develop. 

Also, funnily enough soon after finishing this book my nephew randomly picked this movie out on Netflix to watch and like almost every single book to movie adaptation, the book was 100% better. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Book Review #685 - A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard


On 10 June 1991, eleven-year-old Jaycee Dugard was abducted from a school bus stop within sight of her home in Tahoe, California. It was the last her family and friends saw of her for over eighteen years. On 26 August 2009, Dugard, her daughters, and Phillip Craig Garrido appeared in the office of her kidnapper's parole officer in California. Their unusual behaviour sparked an investigation that led to the positive identification of Jaycee Lee Dugard, living in a tent behind Garrido's home. During her time in captivity, at the age of fourteen and seventeen, she gave birth to two daughters, both fathered by Garrido. 

Dugard's memoir is written by the 30-year-old herself and covers the period from the time of her abduction in 1991 up until the present. In her stark, utterly honest and unflinching narrative, Jaycee opens up about what she experienced, including how she feels now, a year after being found. Garrido and his wife Nancy have since pleaded guilty to their crimes.

My Rating: 4/5

The main thing I thought before reading this book is I wonder how graphic or how much detail will it divulge and the answer I got was a lot. She doesn't sugarcoat anything and goes into a lot of detail about a lot of traumatic events. 

The amount of abuse Jaycee endured over 18 years in captivity is just horrifying and was impossible to read at times. 

I found that the line between reality and fiction blurred a lot throughout the book as it is unimaginable that this kind of thing can happen to a young, innocent child. 

While Jaycee is the first to admit that her writing style and ability is not the best, I admired her bravery in sharing her story. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Book Review #684 - Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.

In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

In “What It Was Like, Part One,” Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay “What It Was Like, Part Two” reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.

Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (“If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high”), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (“My bungee cords now earn points!”).

Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and—of course—talking as fast as you can.

My Rating: N/A

I am really picky about what non-fiction books I read, especially celebrity memoirs. Gilmore Girls is however one of my favourite TV shows of all time so I was really excited to read this book. 

The writing style was very witty, humorous and free flowing which made it a very fun and quick book to read. 

This book covers a lot of Lauren's life without going into too much detail or depth. 

I read this book cover to cover and ended up finishing it around 3:00am as I just wanted to get to the last chapter where Lauren talks about the Gilmore Girls revival which ended up being well worth it as the last sentence of the book was really promising.