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February 3, 2018

Books read in January

I seem to be doing a lot of reading lately so I thought I share what I read. In a way, I'm sort of keeping a list of what I read here on this blog.

01/ Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend > link
What I like: 
(1) The beginning of the book – it's starts out pretty good & I like the tone, a little bit fun, a little bit serious, a whole lot of things that make you have great expectations about the book.  

(2) Nevermoor's uniqueness – Nevermoor has its own unique weirdness and rules and many fascinating aspects such as wacky gadgets, normal but slightly different holiday events, not-quite-normal form of transportations  

(3) Jupiter North –  the quirky mentor which I like and I sort of expected him to be quirky but he doesn't seem to be around much, at least, it seems he just leaves Morrigan alone a lot & he seems to be always off doing something exciting that doesn't involve Morrigan 

(4) Jack, Jupiter's nephew – I like him a lot even though we know very little about him. So he's a bit stand-offish, wears an eye-patch but he have reasons. If Jack had been the central character, I might actually like the book better.  

(5) The trials – the ones Morrigan needed to pass in order to join the Wundrous Society and stay in Nevermoor, I really like the one where Morrigan answers questions but the paper she writes on starts to burn at the edges and threatens to self destruct and only returns to normal when Morrigan gives it satisfied and honest answers.

What I didn't like:  
(1) The name Morrigan Crow – I don't like her name and she also have a crooked nose to match which I suppose it's not bad but really? I'm sure I'm pronouncing it wrong each and every time which in the book is like a million times. She doesn't have a nickname and she doesn't even like it when Jupiter shortens her name to Mog/Mo and in fact, she keeps correcting him. I guess she likes her name but I don't. 

(2) The magic – I honestly expected magic and was greatly disappointed. They just don't seem to be magic, it's more like inventions and talent but there is magic but not what I like though. 

(3) Lack of humor - not to say there aren't any but I wouldn't mind a lot more humor as I think everything about Nevermoor seems to be set up for something humorous or fun but it always seems not to be the case.  

(4) This sentence – "Wires dangled from the ceiling like entrails from a carcass." – okay, so it's one sentence but I find it strange being there suddenly. I actually stopped reading and then got disgusted by it. It just seems to me that they throw this in for kicks because the book is not dark at all but I do find this little bit of imaginary unnecessarily. This isn't a horror book, right?

(5) Vampire dwarf – they throw this in for what reason? Sorry, not a fan of vampires, not even if they are vampire dwarf. Do they just throw this because they needed more weird characters? I mean there is a giant cat already there so why not a vampire dwarf?

(6) The villain – he is a bit boring, he just shows up and doesn't do much. He'll probably do something in the second book but this isn't the second book. See, this is why I don't like book series. They just spread things out so you have to read the next book and the next book to get anywhere.  

(7) The ending – I didn't care for the reveal at the end about Morrigan because we are basically told nothing about the reveal. But then again, it's quite conventional in that, it's the old, Morrigan is a certain being who is quite powerful, yada yada.

I seem to have a lot of opinion on Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow but only because it really is a good book but I guess I was kind of disappointed and a little bored by the book. I don't think I'll be reading the next book.

02/ A pocket full of murder by R. J. Anderson > link
The twists aren't twists at all. I actually expected the reveal about Quiz and I sort of guessed who the murderer is. I do like Quiz a lot and I kind of wish he remained as he was instead of being whatever the reveal was. What bothers me is how they make Isaveth & Quiz sound so grown up when she is supposed to be 12 and he's what 13 or 14? Okay, so children matures quickly when they are forced to grow up fast but the way they are written, Quiz and Isaveth might as be adults. And the magic - well, it's there but it doesn't do much which is kind of sad. Overall, A pocket full of murder is a decent read.

03/ A ghostly secret - A ghostly southern mystery by Tonya Kappes > link
I like the idea of a woman, Emma Lee Raines, helping ghosts solve the mystery of their deaths and move on to the next whatever. I also like the granny - she's definitely a fun character. This is a very short story so don't expect too much details or character building but I think since it's a part of a series (the 7th book), it really is meant to be read one after the other. I enjoyed reading and finding out the mystery which turned out slightly different than I imagined but it got solved to a satisfying end.

Cover note: The girl is too old to be the ghost, Betsy Lynn Brady, who is supposed to be ten years old and if you tell me ten-year olds looks like this then I don't know what to think or if she is the protagonist, Emma Lee Raines, she would be too young. I guess what I'm saying is that, the cover is misleading - this isn't a YA book nor a children's book though there's nothing racy or inappropriate in it.

movie / cover 1 / cover 2
04/ Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen > link
I saw the movie first and it sort of make reading the book a better experience. There were some events that are switched in the movie that I think moves the story better but overall the book is a satisfying read.

Cover note: I got the Penguin edition with a half-dressed woman painting on the cover (see cover 2) which I think it's kind of stupid and doesn't fit the book. I brought it online thinking I would get the nice cover (see cover 1) but apparently that version never existed in print. I think someone at Penguin is randomly picking paintings for the covers and don't even bother to find out what the book is about. If you look at all the Penguin classic releases, you'll know what I mean. Of course I know I'm being picky and I guess I'm sort of a prude but I like my classic books to look, well, classy.

Favorite quote: "Whether she thought of him so much, while she drank her warm wine and water, and prepared herself for bed, as to dream of him when there cannot be ascertained; but I hope it was no more than in a slight slumber, or a morning doze at most; for if it be true, as a celebrated writer has maintained, that no young lady can be justified in falling in love before the gentleman's love is declared, it must be very improper that a young lady should dream of a gentleman before the gentleman is first known to have dreamt of her."

05/ Shadow weaver by MarcyKate Connolly  > link
I'm really not sure how I feel about this book. I like it and yet, there's a part of me sort of didn't. I guess it's a bit predictable but not really But it's a decent read. This is part of a series but I think it can be a stand-alone.

Favorite quote: "It's my favorite sort of day: stormy. Rain pelts the mansion in a wild rhythm, and the shadows shiver between the trees outside my windows. Everything is cast in lovely shades of darkness."

The Fearless Travellers' guide to Wicked Places by Peter Begler
06/ The Fearless Travellers' Guide to Wicked Places by Peter Begler > link
It's an adventure book (think The Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland) with lots of familiar themes that are twisted into something more sinister/creepier. If you don't mind that, than you'll enjoy this book. Though it had been a good read, I guess I'm too much of a scaredy-cat to really enjoy the book. There is a scene with a clown pulling out his teeth - gross and totally freaked me out! (I am officially freaked out by clowns after reading this book) - but it's actually not that scary unless you're me.  I really hate all the false hope - like when I thought the good guy is going to win and don't, tons of these false moments, very frustrating but that's how most stories are but at least there is a happy ending which I like. I also like the relationships between the siblings - they actually like each other! Not to say relationships like these doesn't exist in other books but it's just so rare. And also I like the magic umbrellas - they seem like weapons of good or something. I wish they have added more humor. I guess with a book like this, humor should be there somehow to balance out the creepiness and the bad things.

Cover note: My copy is a UK edition where 'Travelers' is spelled with two L's  - Travellers. Somehow it just seems like whenever they release books in the U.S., words like this always gets corrected to the U.S. usage and I just don't see the point.

Favorite quote:  "In the darkness of this place, trouble begins when you say no, when you run, when you turn away from the truth of who you are. This world is a shape-shifter, an ever-changing show, a place where what appears real is fake and what appears fake is real. Here, you always want what you don't have and always have what you don't want. So to survive, you must say yes to all that appears. Being scared is okay. It is expected. But don't let that stop you from what you must do. And what you must do is never say no. Fearless Travellers charge forward, taking whatever comes. That is the secret. Say yes. Be yes. It is the only way to get back home."

07/ Finding beauty in the beast by Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee > link
This is a sort of 'Beauty and the Beast' retelling but without magic or curses but somehow it feels like a fairytale. I wish the ending is a little bit longer. They could have added more scenes between Corbin and Rose and not just summed up their story like there's no time because the beginning of the book is moderately slow. I did sort of thought the scene with Corbin & Rose in the rain is a bit unfinished, I thought she is going to face her fears but it got interrupted and I wish there is some extension of that. I sort of wonder why Corbin & Rose seems to be able to read each other really well but then I think it's because they are the same, they see themselves in each other. Perhaps the writing is a little sentimental but I did expected this from the author as I read her previous two books. It felt a little rushed at the end but overall, it's a good read and I would say one of the better 'Beauty and the Beast' retelling I had read and I read a lot of them.

Favorite quote: "Someone was with her. A man. He was kneeling next to her bed, though she couldn't remember going to bed. His gray eyes, glistening in the soft light, were focused on her hand, which he held on her pillow. His black hair fell across his forehead, and Rose recognized the straight nose, the faint burn scar across his cheek, the strong, bearded jaw, the subtly smiling lips. A breath later, her eyes closed, and when she opened them again, he was gone."

What books have you read lately?
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