Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Book Review #677 - Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (Part Two - Chapters 7-20)

This is part two of my review. Part one can be found here

My Rating: N/A

I actually really enjoyed Scarlett during these chapters. Her naiveness really made me laugh at times. 

Rhett Butler is introduced and I loved how he didn't conform to the way of life then, he would have fitted in really well in the 21st century. 

I loved the historical element being set during the US Civil War. We are given such a real insight into not only the impact the Southerners had being on the losing side of such a conflict, but the war itself. 

Being an Australian and not knowing anything about this conflict, I feel like I've already learnt so much already and I'm not even a quarter wau through the book. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Book Review #677 - Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (Part One - Chapters 1-7)

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Civil War, Margaret Mitchell's epic love story is an unforgettable tale of love and loss, of a nation mortally divided and its people forever changed. At the heart of all this chaos is the story of beautiful, ruthless Scarlett O'Hara and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler.

My Rating: N/A

I have been wanting to read this book for a very long time but the sheer size of it has always intimidated me which is why I decided to break it into parts to read it, which is also how I am going to review it. 

The story is set in the American south in the build up to the US Civil War which as an Australian I knew nothing about other than it was the end of slavery. 

I am struggling with Scarlett and her spoilt, childlike manner and hope she matures as the book progresses. 

The only negative thing I have found about this book so far is the slaves' dialogue in that I am finding it really hard to decipher as words are spelt the way they are pronounced rather than how they should be spelt. 

I am shocked at the way women were treated then especially how for unmarried women, eating in public is frowned upon and how they stuff themselves full of food and then tighten their corsets before they go to any party or event. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Book Review #676 - The Walking Dead, Book 2 (#13-#24)


My Rating: 3/5

I didn't like this book as much as the first one. This book contained way too much personal drama especially for a post-apocalyptic book. 

There was way too much focus on romantic relationships, some because of the portrayal of them on the TV show I couldn't get my head around like Carol and Tyreese. 

I loved that Michonne was finally introduced as she is one of my favourite characters. 

Overall I was a little disappointed with this one and am not sure I am going to continue on with this series. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Book Review #675 - The Heir (The Selection #4) by Kiera Cass


Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she'd put off marriage for as long as possible.

But a princess's life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can't escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests.

Eadlyn doesn't expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn's heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her . . . and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn't as impossible as she's always thought.

My Rating: 3/5

I didn't realise this book wasn't told from America's perspective until I started reading which I was really disappointed about as it wasn't easy to like America but I had FINALLY gotten to the stage where I found her bearable at the end of The One. 

I found Eadlyn equally as painful and found the boys participating in the selection much more interesting. 

I found it much more interesting to hear from the person holding the selection rather than someone participating in it as it followed more of the pressures from all different sources rather than the competition within. 

I loved the strong family dynamic especially between Eadlyn and her brothers - which in contract is entirely different to what Maxon had. 

The ending threw up two major plot twists both of which I never saw coming which I loved because I seem to be very good a predicting these books. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Book Review # 674 - Witch's Canyon (Supernatural #2) by Jeff Mariotte


Twenty-two years ago, Sam and Dean Winchester lost their mother to a mysterious and demonic supernatural force. In the years after, their father, John, taught them about the paranormal evil that lives in the dark corners and on the back roads of America...and he taught them how to kill it.

Sam and Dean have set out on a road trip to the Grand Canyon, but this is no vacation for the brothers. On a stretch of deserted ranchland just beyond the canyon's stunning vistas, mysterious murder sprees have occurred every forty years. The area's inhabitants have been few and far between in years past, but a nearby mega-mall is about to celebrate its grand opening and attract thousands of fresh victims.

The Winchester boys are determined to protect locals and shoppers alike, but they never anticipated they'd be fighting a group of killers this vicious, this vindictive, this . . . dead. A deadly horde of animal spirits and human ghosts has arisen to terrorize this tiny corner of the Arizona desert. If Sam and Dean can't figure out why, the wide-open spaces of the West will once again become a desolate frontier . . . and the witch's canyon will be the brothers' final resting place.

My Rating: 3/5

The death count in this book is so much higher than I remember there being in any average Supernatural episode. 

Because of the amount of characters this book had, there was very little of Sam and Dean - or less than one would expect in a Supernatural book. 

The supernatural element in this book was interesting although it took WAY too long to develop. All the action was in the last 50 or so pages. The first 300 pages were mainly deaths and out of character dialogue. 

I felt like the author was restricted by the fact this was a novelisation of Supernatural. If he had been able to branch out and develop the characters and the story the way he wanted then the book would have been 100% better. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Book Review #673 - The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass


The time has come for one winner to be crowned.

When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants.

My Rating: 4/5

I hated America's indecisiveness in the second book and so I loved that not only does she finally come to a decision in this book but her love life is not a dominant part of the plot like in the previous books. 

I loved the amount of plot development there was in this book. I felt like more was discovered in this book than the first two combined. 

In my review of The Elite I actually accurately predicated a fair amount of the plot twists and so I was more shocked by my accuracy than what was actually happening. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Book Review #672 - Welcome to Dead House (Goosebumps #1) by R.L. Stine


11-year-old Josh and 12-year-old Amanda just moved into the oldest and weirdest house on the block--the two siblings think it might even be haunted! But of course, their parents don't believe them. You'll get used to it, they say. Go out and make some new friends. 

But the creepy kids are not like anyone Josh and Amanda have ever met before. And when they take a shortcut through the cemetery one night, Josh and Amanda learn why.

My Rating: 3.5/5

My brother and I used to love the Goosebumps series when we were growing up. A few weeks ago I was clearing out my childhood shelves and found our collection. I remembered how much I loved them, and so though why not read them now as an adult.

Like most Goosebumps books (the ones I remember anyway), the book starts off with a family moving into a new home. Neither of the children Amanda and Josh were too happy about the move, but it's the family pet Petey that takes the move the hardest. 

One difference I noticed reading this now is just how predictable it was. 

The house they are moving to is in a town called Dark Falls, oh and the house was given to them for free in a will of an uncle that no one has actually heard of. 

Anyway, I really did enjoy the 20 or so minutes it took me to read this book. Each chapter ended with a mini cliffhanger which used to keep me reading way past my bedtime as a child but definitely helps the pacing of the story as you simply don't want to put the book down. 

There were a few things that I thought were a little morbid for a children's book that probably wouldn't have been in the 1990's. 

The ending was open ended and I know there are a few Goosebumps books that have sequels, but this doesn't seem to be one of them which is odd considering how it ended. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Book Review #671 - Nightmares! (Nightmares #1) by Jason Segal and Kirsten Miller


Eleven-year-old Charlie Laird is desperate for a good night’s sleep - or even just a nap. Ever since he moved into his stepmother’s mysterious purple mansion, Charlie’s life has become a living nightmare.

A terrifying witch haunts every second of his sleep and now the dread that fills his dreams is creeping into the waking world. As President Fear and his fellow Nightmares feed off the unease that is spreading rapidly across the town, the Nightmare world threatens to take over.

Only by finding the courage to face their deepest, darkest fears can Charlie and his friends conquer the creatures of the night and save the day.

My Rating: 3/5

I haven't read a fiction book written by a celebrity before and so I was a little skeptical of the writing quality. I would say that the writing was rather patchy but it was better than what I had been expecting. 

Charlie, the protagonist is going through a hard time. His father has remarried and both his father and younger brother seem quite happy to have his new step-mother replace his real mother. 

Charlie is also not happy that his father decided to move them into the step-mother's house as not only does it not hold any memories of his mother but the new, creepy house starts giving him nightmares. 

Because of the lack of sleep and resentment towards his family, Charlie is quite mean to them through the first portion of the book. The authors did a good job at not making Charlie too unreasonable whilst expressing his feelings. I found that I didn't hate Charlie here like most readers seem to have. 

When Charlie's nightmares begin, this is where the story really picks up. When Charlie has a nightmare, his soul goes to the Netherworld. When Charlie's nightmares escalate and seem very real, Charlie opens the portal between the Netherworld and the waking world. 

This portal leads Charlie on an adventure that enables him to face his fears and conquer them. He meets many different types of creatures along the way including the son of Medusa. 

This book conveys strong messages of confronting your fears and the importance of family. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Book Review #670 - Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven


Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

My Rating: 5/5

Given how much I enjoyed All the Bright Places, I picked up this book before even reading the synopsis.

The book has duel narration shared between two outcasts.

Jack who can't recognise faces (even his family) and keeps this fact secret from everyone. 

I found his condition really interesting and it was obvious how much research was done on it to convey it so strongly. 

The other narrator was Libby. While Jack has become good at hiding his problems, Libby cannot as she carries it around with her as Libby turned to food when her mother died and subsequently put on so much weight she was bedridden.

Whilst I loved Jack and Libby's individual stories and struggles I didn't care much for them as a couple. I thought they were both perhaps too strong for a split narrated book. 

There were a lot of pop culture references throughout which is not something that I usually like but I found that I liked the Supernatural references throughout.

Jack's condition was interesting but I never really understood why he didn't tell anyone about it. I know he didn't exactly have the best relationship with his father but his mother seemed approachable.

Overall I really enjoyed this book, just not as much as All the Bright Places.