Saturday, 25 June 2016

Sarah's Review of The Crown by Kiera Cass



I just finished The Crown by Kiera Cass and once again I love it! The Crown is book #5 in The Selection Series and the writing was so exceptional. Not a single book let me down. Cass has such an exquisite way with words that simply draws you in and keeps you turning page after page.
In this last book, The Crown, we find Princess Eadlyn nearing the end of her very own Selection while also taking on so much more responsibility with being crowned Queen. Princess Eadlyn is realizing that even though initially she hated the idea of having a Selection and being forced to choose a partner, that maybe it won't be so bad after all. She is finding great friendships among the remaining boys and is realizing how wonderful having someone by her side could truly be. Having her whole life in the spotlight could be a little less invasive if she were not doing it alone. Even though Princess Eadlyn is still weary that she will find a true love like her parents, she is still hopeful. And as the Selection nears the end she finds herself falling more in love than she ever could have imagined but with these new feelings she must face one of her biggest and most challenging decisions she will ever have to make.

I am very happy with how Eadlyn has evolved and grown up over the short span of these novels. She is finally looking out of her people and the lives of those around her, instead of her own happiness. Her maturity at the end of the book is truly admirable considering where she was when she started the Selection. Sometimes being forced into something you are not quite sure you want can have very noteworthy opportunities and life changing experiences one could never have dreamed. Eadlyn's character development did happen quickly, but being in her situation sometimes you have to grow quickly in order to keep up and achieve what you are destined to do. The petty, egotistical, selfish Princess we met in The Heir has suddenly transformed to a selfless, caring, moral young woman who shows empathy, love, ambition and intelligence in her decision making. She is putting the lives of those around her first and is ruling the country, or trying to, like a real queen.

Another thing I thoroughly enjoyed were the blossoming friendships not only amongst the Princess and the boys, but amongst the boys themselves. I was glad to see Eadlyn finally opening up and allowing people to penetrate the walls she had built around herself. We also see how being open and honest is really the only way to be. I admire all of the qualities that the boys possess and how unique each of their relationships are with the Princess. The love that wins out in the end is somewhat predictable part way through but it did feel a little bit rushed. I wished we could have seen their interaction and relationship blossom a little bit slower and get more of a look into it before becoming an all encompassing love for each other. I am thrilled, however, that Princess Eadlyn truly got to follow her heart in the end even though it may have been an unconventional choice. I also admired the Princess's friendships with Neena. One can only hope and dream of having such a great friendship in our own lives. The utmost heartfelt respect and genuine affection they have for one another is inspiring.

The Crown is a perfect ending to a typical YA novel full of teen drama and romance. A very light read that will keep you engaged and it may even sweep you off your feet if you give it a chance.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Sarah's Review of The Heir by Kiera Cass

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I love it when I pick up a book and can get lost in their world, and that is exactly what happens with these books. Kiera Cass does an excellent job of allowing you to escape into the world she has created. I originally had read the first three books in the Selection series one after another and I wasn't sure if I would pick up the other two, but I am so glad that I did. I loved reading about America Singer and Prince Maxon, so it only made sense to continue on with their story of their daughter, Princess Eadlyn, entering into her own Selection. I love how we now get to see the process from the perspective of the royal family, instead of from the outside.

The Heir is book four in The Selection Series and it is where we first meet Eadlyn Schreave, the first born child of Prince Maxon and America Singer, now King and Queen of Illea. Eadlyn is actually a twin, but since she was the first of the two she is next in line for the throne.
Princess Eadlyn always loved the story of how her parents met, fell in love and then lived happily ever after, but she didn't think she would want anything like that. She was content being by herself and felt she was more powerful that way. Unfortunately, as she sees it, she has to enter into her own Selection because some things you just can't escape. Eadlyn is very skeptical about love in general and even more so about the prospect of finding love in such a random way, but things begin to happen to change her opinion. Her Selection begins with thirty-five eligible bachelors and after meeting a few of them and getting to know them better she starts to wonder if her own happily ever after could be possible.

Cass does another magnificent job of describing just the right amount of detail to place you right into the palace walls. You can easily picture where they live and walk the halls along with Princess Eadlyn throughout the whole book. Her characters come alive from the pages, all of them revealing just enough as you go through the Selection with the Princess. In the beginning I found Eadlyn's characteristics to be rather predictable and stereotypical, but then she digs deeper and we get to know the real Princess. She has so many levels and is easily relatable to no matter where you come from. Eadlyn's emotional side begins to break through and we see behind the mask that she wears so well. We see beneath all of the walls she has placed around her, right into the heart of her soul and we realize that she too is vulnerable. 

I love how her friendships with the boys develop and how necessary they all are. Eadlyn had grown up believing she was so powerful and was hesitant to let anyone in. But upon opening up and getting to know a select few, she is realizing just how important friendships and relationships are to her existence. We all need a few close people in our lives to lean on and having a best friend is so important. Just one special person with whom we can open up and be ourselves with makes a world of difference and Eadlyn is quickly discovering that.

I just love these books and I can't wait to see how Eadlyn's Selection ends! What a fun, quick read.


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Letters to Lincoln by Tracie Podger Blurb:   What do you do when your husband dies unexpectedly? You write him a letter, of cours...