Review: Chewy Noh and the Phantasm of Winter by Tim Learn

chewy-noh-and-the-fantasm-of-winter

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Release date: July 15, 2015
Format: eBook
ISBN: 1505851459
Pages: 312 (eBook pages)
Goodreads || Book Depository || Amazon

Chewy Noh has many problems. Besides his mom becoming a mu-dang—a Korean fortune-teller possessed by his dead grandmother who can read minds—the school bully, Kent, is still on the warpath to get Chewy kicked out of school. With his secret ability to win at everything, none of this bothers him until he starts disappearing for no reason while a mysterious force attacks his fellow students, and he must scramble to figure out what’s going on before he becomes its next and final victim.

MY THOUGHTS

4 stars

I received an electronic copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Chewy Noh and the Phantasm of Winter is the second book in a middle-grade series by Tim Learn. I have written a review of the first book: Chewy Noh and the Fall of the Mu-Dang. You don’t need to read the first book in order to enjoy this second one, but it would give you a better background on the characters and the family history of Chewy.

Chewy is an 11 year old Korean boy who has a strange superpower. He has the ability to perform perfectly on all tests, in any format. This includes games like basketball and chess. But behind his superpower are some family secrets that are starting to cause some chaos in his life. He begins to disappear and reappear with no conscious memory of what happened. His classmates and friends become unconscious and are trapped in a coma. Chewy suspects that there are magical beings or spirits involved and he must get to the bottom of the situation before anybody else is harmed.

This second book in the series has a great plot! It was action-packed and extremely unique. It weaves together Korean mythology with everyday troubles that Chewy faces at school. As Chewy fends off attacks from his bully (who we met in Book 1) and his new teacher who is suspicious of his perfect test scores, he is also burdened by the fact that his family history might have something to do with the spirit that seems to be out to get him.

I thought the Korean mythology in this book was the most interesting aspect. I’m familiar with a little bit of Chinese and Japanese mythology, which shares similar aspects with Korean mythology, but it was fascinating to learn more about it and the names of different mythological creatures. I also really liked that it wasn’t an info-dump and that we learnt about the mythology through an original story arc that was incorporated into the book. The Phantasm of Winter definitely includes a lot of Korean culture and I really enjoyed it.

I really liked how well the different story arcs were integrated. The events of the past and the Korean mythology really come into play throughout the whole book. It was a well-developed story and everything made sense together. There were a couple of awkward chapter transitions between the chapters of the past and the chapters of the present, which made me feel like I was jumping around all over the place. But ultimately, everything that happened made sense together. There were a couple of things that were left unresolved but I expect that they’ll be resolved in the next book.

I liked the characters in this book a lot more than I did when I read The Fall of the Mu-Dang. I still thought that their dialogue was too mature for their age but they didn’t do anything that I wouldn’t expect a fifth-grader to do. The bullies were also mostly absent in this book, which made it a much more pleasant reading experience for me, because those kids are nasty. We also have the addition of Chewy’s cousin, Su-Bin, in this book and she very much acts like an ally to Chewy. I really liked that we had our very own awesome threesome, just like Harry, Ron and Hermione, and I wish we had seen more of this threesome.

I thought that the book was the perfect length. I finished it in about 2-3 hours and the ending left me wanting to know more about Korean mythology, as well as where Chewy’s story is heading. Chewy Noh is a really fun middle-grade series and I recommend it if you’re looking for a fast-paced middle-grade book that you can finish in one afternoon.

Pastry Book Tag

pastry-book-tag

I have the biggest sweet tooth, so when Jesse @ Books at Dawn tagged me to do the Pastry Book Tag, I just had to do it. I was so excited that I even modified my usual tag header into a pastry-themed one.


CROISSANT: NAME A POPULAR BOOK OR SERIES THAT EVERYONE (INCLUDING YOU) LOVES

clockworkangel clockworkprinceclockworkprincessIs there anybody out there who actually doesn’t like The Infernal Devices?! I love this series so, so much. Clockwork Princess is probably my favourite series finale ever!


MACARON: NAME A BOOK THAT WAS HARD TO GET THROUGH BUT WORTH IT AT THE END

alittlelife Man… this book.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara was amazing but my heart suffered such a beating. This novel gave me so many feels and I just felt emotionally drained after each chapter. It was also a 720 page book so it took me forever to get through it.

But it was completely worth it because A Little Life has become one of my favourite books of all time. It’s truly beautiful.


VOL-AU-VENT: NAME A BOOK THAT YOU THOUGHT WOULD BE AMAZING BUT FELL FLAT

i-was-here I was expecting a lot of great things from I Was Here by Gayle Forman but unfortunately, it fell a little bit short. Just One Day is one of my favourite YA books, and I also loved her If I Stay duology, so I thought I Was Here would blow my mind. It wasn’t a terrible book by any means – I still gave it 3 stars – but I was just expecting a lot more from it.

I just found the plot to be a little bit lacking and I don’t think the issue of teen suicide was dealt with well enough. I also wasn’t a fan of the romance.


PAIN AU CHOCOLAT: NAME A BOOK THAT YOU THOUGHT WOULD BE ONE THING BUT TURNED OUT TO BE SOMETHING ELSE

findingaudrey Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella was one that I was pleasantly surprised by. Going into the book, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to connect with the main character, who’s only 14 years old. But I ended up loving Audrey’s voice and really connected with her.

I was kind of worried that the anxiety aspects of the book wouldn’t be handled well but I was so wrong about that. I was also a bit wary of the book because I thought it would be a ‘love cures all’ kind of story but I didn’t find that to be the case at all.


PROFITEROLE: NAME A BOOK OR SERIES THAT DOESN’T GET ENOUGH ATTENTION

missperegrines hollow-citylibrary-of-soulsI read the Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children series recently and my mind was blown by how great it was! I also have reviews for Hollow City and Library of Souls.


CROQUEMBOUCHE: NAME A BOOK OR SERIES THAT’S EXTREMELY COMPLEX

snowlikeashes icelikefireSnow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch has such a grand and complex world. There are 8 kingdoms in this world – 4 are Season kingdoms that only experience one season all year round; the other 4 are Rhythm kingdoms that experience all four seasons. The magic system is also really complex and will be explored further in Ice Like Fire, I’m sure. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.


NAPOLEON: NAME A MOVIE OR TV SHOW BASED OFF A BOOK THAT YOU LIKED BETTER THAN THE BOOK ITSELF

gossip-girl This is an interesting one. I can’t think of a movie adaptation that I thought was better than the book. And I don’t really watch a lot of TV (I mainly watch Japanese dramas and variety shows). But one that sticks out in my mind is Gossip Girl.

I read the Gossip Girl books by Cecily von Zeigesar about a year or two before the TV show came out and my 14 year old self thought they were really good. But the TV show is sooo much better than the book series. I’m glad it deviated from the books.


EMPANADA: NAME A BOOK THAT WAS BITTERSWEET

morehappythannot I don’t have an image of empanadas being bittersweet. To me, they’re just awesome, but we’ll roll with it.

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera was a book that I gave 4.5 stars to. But I thought the first third of the book was just boring. I didn’t like the characters and didn’t connect with any of them and I was really close to quitting the book. But it got exponentially better after the 100 page mark, and the end of the book gave me so many feels. I ugly cried for a really long time.


KOLOMPEH: NAME A BOOK OR SERIES THAT TAKES PLACE SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN YOUR HOME COUNTRY

theminiaturist Pretty much every book is set in a country other than Australia so I had a lot of options for this one. I decided to go for something a little different and not choose something set in the US or the UK.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton is set in 17th century Amsterdam in the Netherlands. This is the only book that I’ve read that’s set in 17th century Amsterdam and I found the setting and the whole time period to be fascinating! I learnt so much about Dutch history from this book and I thought it was a wonderful read.


PATE A CHOUX: NAME A FOOD FROM A BOOK OR SERIES THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO TRY

toalltheboys ps-i-still-love-youI was not creative with this at all but I couldn’t think of anything.

Because this is a pastry/sweets challenge, I decided to go with all of the cookies and cakes that Lara-Jean from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and PS. I Still Love You. All the baked goods that were mentioned in this duology made me so hungry!


I TAG:


Review: Chewy Noh and the Fall of the Mu-Dang by Tim Learn

chewy-noh-and-the-fall-of-the-mu-dang

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Release date: September 8, 2014
Format: eBook
ISBN: 1505814804
Pages: 386 (eBook pages)
Goodreads || Book Depository || Amazon

Chewy Noh has problems. He was born with them. Two weeks after his birth, the family fortune-teller saw bad things in his future…and she was right. The school bully hates him and will stop at nothing to get rid of him. His mother suddenly can’t get out of bed, complaining of horrible headaches. And worst of all, the secret his grandmother is hiding may be at the root of it all. But why should he worry? He’s a superhero with a power no one’s ever seen before!

MY THOUGHTS

35 stars

I received an electronic copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

Chewy Noh and the Fall of the Mu-Dang is the first book in a middle-grade series by Tim Learn. This will be a five-book series, with two books released so far (A review for Book 2 will be up in a couple of days).

When the author asked me if I would like to read and review Book 2: Chewy Noh and the Phantasm of Winter, I was a little bit hesitant to accept because I had a whole pile of ARCs from big publishers that I was trying to get through, and reading two more books seemed like a massive task I did not want anything to do with. But after reading the description for the book, I knew I had to read this series! It’s full of fun and adventure, and I would have loved this book as a pre-teen reader!

Chewy Noh is a Korean boy who recently moved from South Korea to the US with his mother. He’s incredibly smart and gets perfect scores on all his tests. But what you don’t know is that his ability to perform perfectly on tests is a superpower that he has been granted by a mu-dang (a Korean shaman/fortune-teller). His power starts to make him some enemies at school and these bullies will do anything to get Chewy kicked out of school. On top of that, there are some family secrets that are causing strange changes to his mother and his life.

I thought this book had a really fun and exciting plot. I loved how adventurous it was and I really enjoyed being along for the ride. The book was so packed full of action and had me wondering what would happen next. There were times when I thought the transitions between events could have been smoother – I felt like sometimes I was being jerked from one event to the next. This was probably a result of there being too many plot lines. It was a little bit hard for me to follow all of them and integrate them. I was just a bit confused at times about what was happening and why it was happening. There was also a little bit of unnecessary information at times, or descriptions of mundane events, which made the book feel very long. I think it could have been a whole 100 pages shorter.

The book had some chapters set in the past, describing the family’s history and secrets, and I thought these were some of the most interesting chapters because we got to see a lot of Korean culture. The book also transitioned very seamlessly from ‘past’ chapters to ‘present’ chapters. But there were also some chapters (mostly in Part 2) that all ended on cliffhangers, which I didn’t really like. It made the book feel overly dramatic and I didn’t think it needed to be that way.

The writing in this book was very easy to read, and I flew through this in about 3 hours. This book suffers a little from lack of editing, probably due to it being a self-published work. The writing isn’t as smooth and polished as I’m used to but I didn’t have too much of an issue with it since it’s a middle-grade book that’s supposed to be about the characters and their adventures. As long as there isn’t a huge number of typos, I’m fine with a little bit of weird grammar and awkward sentences.

I loved our main character, Chewy, and his best friend, Clint. They have such a great, supportive friendship and I really enjoyed the scenes where they were together. But other than those two characters, I didn’t really like anybody else in the book. Our bullies are terrible people and behave in ways that I could’ve never imagined. I’m glad I’ve never met anybody like them. They were really hateful and manipulative and I just found them to be despicable and their behaviour was honestly disgusting. The problem that I had with all of the characters was that they seemed to be a lot older than they actually were. They’re supposed to be fifth-graders but they say and do things that I would expect from much older kids. It just wasn’t believable and I almost had to imagine that they were high schoolers instead (I also hope that no 11 year old is capable of doing the things that these kids do in the book).

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It had a lot of things that would appeal to a middle-grade audience, as well as an older audience too. It was action-packed and has some diverse characters that you don’t see in very many books. If you enjoy reading about superheroes and their adventures, I think you would really like this story.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Author Duos I’ve Love To See Write A Book Together

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is author collaborations I’d love to see. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the team at The Broke and The Bookish. I feel like I chose a lot of authors who have similar writing styles to pair together, instead of being creative and choosing vastly different authors. But oh well. Why change things up when they work?


1. Jandy Nelson & Gayle Forman

jandynelson gayleformanCoincidentally this was the example that Jamie from The Broke and The Bookish gave for this week’s prompt. I agreed so much with it! I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson is my favourite YA book, and the Just One Day/Year duology by Gayle Forman is also one of my firm favourites. I would love to see a collaboration between them. It would have the most beautiful writing!


2. Tahereh Mafi & Ransom Riggs

taherehmafi ransomriggsThis is kind of cheating because I still haven’t read the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi… (I did recently read the Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children trilogy by Ransom Riggs though). I just had to put this down as a collaboration though because they’re a married couple. I think they’d work so well together and it would just be an awesome time!


3. Cassandra Clare & Rick Riordan

cassieclarerickriordanCheating again because I haven’t read anything by Uncle Rick yet. Sorry! I will get onto that mission soon. One day I will be caught up. One day.

A while ago when I was at a Cassie Clare event, she mentioned that she absolutely loves Rick Riordan. So for Cassie’s sake, I’d love to see them get together and write a fantasy series!


4. Jenny Han & Becky Albertalli

jenny han View More: http://thedecisivemoment.pass.us/becky-headshotsJenny Han and Becky Albertalli both write the sweetest books! I mean there are cookies and baked goods on almost every page of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and there are Oreos in Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda.

Yup, I want this collaboration solely because of food. I have a sweet tooth okay?! Who can resist cookies?


5. Patrick Ness & Maggie Stiefvater

patrickness maggiestiefvaterI’ve only read one Patrick Ness book (as I’m writing this up I am reading my second, A Monster Calls), but I’ve been told by many that he’s a bit of a literary genius. Maggie Stiefvater is a jack of all trades and a genius herself.

What happens when two geniuses come together to write a book? Best. Book. Ever. Undoubtedly.


6. Sarah J. Maas & Sara Raasch

sjmaas sararaaschThe Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas and Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch are two of my favourites. They’ve both got AMAZING worlds and some fierce female protagonists. I’d love to see them come together and create another epic world and charming characters. Plus they’re both young and they could be besties (coz I’m totally in a position to decide this).


7. David Levithan & Patrick Ness

davidlevithan patricknessSo remember what I said about Patrick Ness being a literary genius? To me, David Levithan is a literary genius. I’ve loved every single one of his books that I’ve read. They’re both incredible writers and I think they could come together and write a fantastic diverse book. It would have great writing and can you imagine the feels you would get? (coz feels are totally additive like that)


8. Maggie Stiefvater & Holly Black

maggiestiefvater hollyblackMaggie Stiefvater is a really quirky writer and her books have a really great paranormal/creepy vibe (speaking from my experience with the Shiver trilogy and what I know about The Raven Cycle). When I read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, I kind of felt the same vibe. They both write paranormal books set in creepy small towns.


9. Ransom Riggs & Marissa Meyer

ransomriggs marissameyerI think this would be a really cool collaboration! I LOVE Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and I also love Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. I would love to see a sci-fi series (maybe another fairytale retelling?) featuring peculiar children with special abilities. Or maybe the peculiar children from Miss Peregrine’s can time travel to the future?! I want this!


10. Sarah J. Maas & Susan Dennard

sjmaas susandennardI think this collaboration is already happening actually. If you weren’t aware Sarah J. Maas and Susan Dennard are besties. It would be awesome to write with your best friend. I think they’d bring out the best in each other and they probably know each other so well that their book would be super seamless and cohesive. Plus the writing process would be so much fun!


Do you agree with any of these collaborations? Which authors would you like to see write a book together? And which released collaborations do you love and recommend?

Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls. Patrick Ness.

Publisher: Walker Books
Release date: May 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 1406339342
Pages: 215
Goodreads || Book Depository

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

MY THOUGHTS

5 stars

For a really long time, I was reluctant to pick up this book because I’d heard that it was a heart-wrenching story and that’s exactly what it was. It was a sad but absolutely beautiful story with some equally beautiful illustrations by Jim Kay. I’ll keep this review short and sweet because the book is a short one, and it’s probably also best that you go into it without knowing too much so that you can take from it your own messages.

13-year-old Conor is having a rough time. He’s being bullied at school. His mother is battling cancer and is incredibly sick from the chemotherapy. His father has a new family over in America and his new wife pretty much wants him to cut off ties with Conor and his mother. Conor is being forced to live with his grandmother, who’s not like the other smiley grandmothers in the world. And on top of all of that, there’s a monster who visits him in the middle of the night and leaves a terrible mess in his room the next morning.

I really felt for Conor and connected with him on an emotional level in this book. I felt all of his struggles and pain, and I couldn’t help but feel attached to his story. There were times when he acted like a little bit of a brat, particularly at the beginning of the book, but given the circumstances, I can forgive a young boy for not being a perfect angel. I actually thought that he handled his emotional struggles very well and I admired how strong he was when he needed to be.

The monster that visits Conor tells him three stories. These stories were my favourite aspect of A Monster Calls. They had a fairytale-like quality to them and I thought the messages and lessons they contained were very interesting. I wouldn’t have minded a whole book of just those stories to be honest, but I loved how these stories fit into the plot of the book overall.

There are some beautiful illustrations throughout the whole book. These illustrations appeared mainly during scenes where the monster visited Conor. They were slightly creepy, all in black and white, and were very intricate. I loved looking at them and trying to pick out little details that I would have missed at first glance. I thought Jim Kay’s illustrations really brought the story to life and enhanced it. I definitely recommend the illustrated edition of A Monster Calls!

I feel like this is a book I could recommend to anybody. I think everybody, including children and pre-teens, could take something away from this book. The ending of it affected me so much and had me reflecting on some of my own past and present experiences. And like I had anticipated, I ugly-cried for a while after it was over.

Review: Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan & Deborah Biancotti

zeroes

Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Release date: September 22, 2015
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 1925266958
Pages: 496
Goodreads || Book Depository || Booktopia

One bag of stolen drug money.
One bungled bank robbery.
Six teenagers.
Six unique powers.
One action-packed week.

These teens have powers that set them apart. But don’t call them heroes. They are the ZEROES.

Ethan, aka Scam, has a voice inside him that will say whatever people want to hear, whether it’s true or not. Which is handy, except when it isn’t – like when ‘the voice’ starts gabbing in the middle of a bank robbery and lands him in a whole lot of trouble. The only people who can help are the other Zeroes, who aren’t exactly his best friends these days.

After Scam’s SOS, Nate, aka Bellwether – the group’s ‘glorious leader’ – summons the other Zeroes for a rescue mission. But when the rescue blows up in their faces, the Zeroes find themselves propelled into whirlwind encounters with ever more dangerous criminals. And at the heart of the chaos they find Kelsie, who can take a crowd in the palm of her hand and tame it or let it loose as she pleases. Can they put aside their differences and work together to keep everyone safe – or will it be the worst week of their lives?

MY THOUGHTS

35 stars

Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts has been pestering me to read Zeroes for a couple of weeks now so I finally picked up a copy. My bookstore had signed copies so when I saw it, I had to pick it up. I’ve just finished reading the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children trilogy, so what better way to prolong my feels than to pick up another book about kids with superpowers?

Zeroes is the first book in a new urban fantasy series (does anyone know how many books?) with a diverse cast of characters. It was thrilling and exciting, and a really quick read. Despite being 500 pages, I finished this in almost one sitting because the chapters are very short. The writing flowed very smoothly and it was a joy to read. I also couldn’t tell which author wrote which chapters, which is a testament to how seamlessly the book was woven together and edited. This book is a multi-POV book, written from six perspectives, but it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the book because it flowed so smoothly from one perspective to the next..

This book is set in Cambria, California in an urban setting. Because of this, there was very little world building required. I went into the book half-expecting it to be set in Sydney, Australia because all three of the authors are based in Sydney. But let’s be real… when are books ever set in Australia? It’s been a while since I’ve picked up an urban fantasy book though so I really appreciated the familiar setting in Zeroes.

I really enjoyed the pace of the writing for most of this book. The beginning of the novel was very eventful but the pace and excitement levels of it really dropped off for 100-150 pages in the aftermath of the rescue mission, as we were getting to know the characters. The writing became very reflective and it just felt slow and draggy to me. There wasn’t much action or plot during this section either, so I felt like I was just sitting there waiting for something to happen. Luckily it picked up at around the halfway mark when I started liking the characters more – it became a character-driven book rather than a plot-driven book.

The characters had some interesting and unique abilities that I’ve never encountered before. They were kind of mind-boggling at times but the authors did a great job at explaining them. I still had a little bit of a hard time understanding how Kelsie and Nate’s powers worked though. They both have the ability to control groups/crowds in some way, but I couldn’t grasp how these abilities actually worked. Most of their superpowers also seemed more like a curse than a blessing.

“Your power is a blessing. But as far as I can tell, the rest of these guys are pretty much cursed.”

I had a hard time connecting with the characters until about the halfway point. While the book is written from all six perspectives of the Zeroes, the first half of the book is mostly narrated from Ethan and Kelsie’s points of view, and I didn’t really like either of them until the very end of the novel. I didn’t like them individually. I didn’t like them together. My dislike for them just made it really hard for me to enjoy the first half of the book.

When Anonymous, the handsome and well-dressed guy of the group, finally made his appearance, I became enamoured with the book. He was by far my favourite character because his story was so interesting. He’s the guy who is invisible to the world – people forget about him as soon as they turn their backs to him. As the book progresses, he develops friendships with some of the other Zeroes and they were so heartwarming to read about. I also enjoyed Flicker, a blind girl who is able to see the world through the eyes of others. I really connected with her character and her perspective was my favourite to read from.

The other two characters, Crash (a girl who can control all things electronic and crash them) and Nate, the charismatic ringleader of the Zeroes, I could’ve done without. I have zero thoughts or opinions about Crash – her superpower is kind of cool though and she’s pretty much the one who saves the day each time. She barely appeared in this book and the only time we really got to see her was when she was rescuing everyone. And Nate… wow I just hated this guy. He wasn’t in the book very much either, but he came off as obnoxious and it appears that he has some selfish, ulterior motives.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. The plot was fast-paced and exciting but what stood out to me the most were the characters and the dynamics between them. I’m not sure if this needs to be a series though – I was thoroughly satisfied with how this book ended, and you can definitely read it as a standalone.

My Life In Books Tag

my-life-in-books-tag

Hey all! I feel like I haven’t done a tag for a while so today I’ll be doing the My Life In Books Tag, which I thought was really interesting. I was tagged by Cristina @ My Tiny Obsessions. Go check out her post and her blog if you haven’t already!


1. FIND A BOOK FOR EACH OF YOUR INITIALS

justoneday landline zeroesJ: Just One Day
L: Landline
Z: Zeroes

I loved both Just One Day and Landline and hopefully I’ll love Zeroes just as much the others!


2. COUNT YOUR AGE ALONG YOUR BOOKSHELF – WHICH BOOK IS IT?

the-dream-thievesI have multiple shelves so I chose my hardcover YA shelf since it’s my favourite 🙂

The Dream Thieves is the second book in The Raven Cycle, which I have yet to read. But I own the three books that are currently out so I will be marathoning them in November, don’t you worry! I’ve heard amazing, amazing things about it, so I can’t wait to finally read them! And I’m weirdly excited for the last book to be released, even though I haven’t started the series yet…


3. PICK A BOOK SET IN YOUR CITY/STATE/COUNTRY.

theflywheel narrowroadThe Flywheel by Erin Gough is set in Sydney, which is where I was born and bred. I absolutely love this book!

My second pick is The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan, which won the Man Booker Prize last year. It’s set partly in Australia and partly in Japanese Prisoner of War camps.


4. PICK A BOOK THAT REPRESENTS A DESTINATION YOU WOULD LOVE TO TRAVEL TO.

isla I could have chosen any of Stephanie Perkins’ books but I chose Isla and the Happily Ever After for this because this novel features so many different cities!

A lot of the book is set in Paris where Isla and Josh go to school but they’re also New Yorkers so parts of the book are set in New York City as well. I’ve been to New York before but I would totally love to go again! In the novel, Isla and Josh also take a trip to Barcelona (I think?) and that would be really awesome as well.


5. PICK A BOOK THAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE COLOUR.

allthelight paperweightI don’t really have a favourite colour… but I love blues and greens. I particularly love forest green, mint, teal, aquamarine, navy (okay so any shade of blue or green).

I chose All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr because it’s got so many shades of blue. And I also really love the colour of Paperweight by Meg Haston!


6. WHICH BOOK DO YOU HAVE THE FONDEST MEMORIES OF?

harry-potter-and-the-prisoner-of-azkaban I had so many options for this question. My childhood was spent reading books by Enid Blyton – I loved the Adventures of the Wishing Chair and The Enchanted Forest. I also remember my Year 2 teacher reading Blinky Bill, and Snugglepot and Cuddlepie to us (I now own hardcover illustrated versions of those books).

But ultimately I have to go with a Harry Potter book because that series was my childhood. I chose my favourite, which is The Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s also my favourite of the movies!


7. WHICH BOOK DID YOU HAVE THE MOST DIFFICULTY READING?

ulysses This has to go to Ulysses by James Joyce. I read this back in June in celebration of Bloomsday (which is the day that Ulysses is set in – yes this massive book takes place within 24 hours).

This beast of a book took me 2 whole weeks to get through and I wanted to quit so many times during my reading of it. The writing was super hard to understand and my edition had almost 700 pages, even with the tiny text that it was printed in. The stream of consciousness sections just made me go “WTF?!” so many times!


8. WHICH BOOK IN YOUR TBR PILE WILL GIVE YOU THE BIGGEST SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT WHEN YOU FINISH IT?

the-complete-works-of-oscar-wilde I am a huge fan of Oscar Wilde. My favourite classic of all time is The Picture of Dorian Gray (though To Kill A Mockingbird is a very close second).

I’ve loved everything of his that I’ve ever read, especially his short stories for children. I ended up buying this Complete Works of Oscar Wilde in my last year of high school because I wanted to read some of his lesser known works. It’ll probably take me forever to get through but I’ll feel a huge sense of accomplishment when I do!


That is all for today! Can anyone guess my middle name? 😀

I’m going to tag a couple of people:

Review: Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

library-of-souls

Publisher: Quirk Books
Release date: September 22, 2015
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 1594748403
Pages: 461
Goodreads || Book Depository

MY THOUGHTS

45 stars

This review doesn’t contain spoilers for the first two books in this trilogy, so feel free to stay if you want to hear my thoughts on what I think of this finale to the trilogy! I also have reviews on Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children and Hollow City. I’ve put the synopsis for Library of Souls at the end of this review so you won’t be spoiled accidentally 🙂

I thought Library of Souls was an amazing finale to the Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children series. There was action on every page and I just found it to be very fast-paced and engaging. I finished this 460 page book in just two sittings. There were so many great things about this final instalment and it was definitely just as enjoyable as the first two books. It wasn’t as creepy and eerie as the first two books – it’s more dangerous and action-packed – but just as good!

First, let’s talk about the plot. Just like the first two books, Library of Souls starts off with a bang. We have an epic action scene from the very first chapter and it was one of my favourite parts of the book. It was extremely exciting to see our main character, Jacob, learn about and embrace his abilities, and it was even more exciting to see him put them to use. As with Hollow City, this third instalment keeps up a consistent level of action and excitement that had my heart racing for most of this book. The climax had me on the edge of my seat and the last 150 pages were so incredibly intense and amazing that I just devoured it. The only thing that I didn’t enjoy about the plot was that the twist was a little bit predictable. The little hints that we received weren’t as subtle as they were in Miss Peregrine’s and Hollow City so I had kind of expected it. It just didn’t have the same shock factor that the first two books had.

Another thing that I missed in this book were our cast of regular characters. I had enjoyed them so much in the first two books and I really missed their presence and their idiosyncrasies in Library of Souls. The novel definitely got better for me when they finally appeared in the second half of this book. I did enjoy the addition of some new characters though and they filled the void I had in my heart 😀

I really loved the intricate world that Ransom Riggs has created. We get to learn a lot more about time loops and time travel in this book and I think some of the lingering questions I had were answered in Library of Souls. I also loved the idea of the Panloopticon and thought it was extremely interesting. The nerd in me was loving the Panopticon reference and I also love that Ransom Riggs incorporated the inventor of the Panopticon, Jeremy Bentham, into his story (as a pretty major character as well)!

As with the first two books, I loved the setting and world. In Library of Souls, we’re taken to the dirty slums of Victorian England, which is one of my favourite, favourite, FAVOURITE time periods. The photographs acted as wonderful visual aids that enhanced the image of the setting in my head. I thought the photographs were so wonderfully used in this book. None of them were unnecessary and I think I enjoyed this set of photographs the most out of the three books (though I really love the photos in Miss Peregrine’s too because that was the start of the whole journey).

I thought Library of Souls was a fantastic ending to the trilogy and Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is a fantastic series overall. What I loved about this final book was that everything was resolved. We get a proper ending and we get to see what happens to Jacob when all the dust has settled. There were a few things that I thought were too conveniently resolved but I’d rather have a happy and completely resolved ending than an open-ended one. And the ending scene was such a satisfying one.


LIBRARY OF SOULS SYNOPSIS

The adventure that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children and continued with Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls. As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.

They’ll travel from modern day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all. Like its predecessors, Library of Souls blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience.


Have you read Library of Souls? I’d love to discuss your thoughts and feels with you! But try to keep it spoiler-free!!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books That I Should Have Quit

books-i-should-have-quit

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by the team over at The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is ten bookish things I want to quit or have quit. So what I’ve decided to feature today are ten books that I finished reading, but should have quit or DNFed. I actually rarely DNF books (and I haven’t DNFed anything this year) but in hindsight, these are the ones I should have given up on. All of these books received 1 to 2.5 stars from me.

1. 99 Days – Katie Cotugno

This book had the most frustrating characters and plot. The main character, Molly, makes the same mistakes over and over again. By about page 100, I realised that she was repeating the same mistakes that drove her out of town in the first place but I was hoping that she’d redeem herself. Unfortunately, that never happened and the book pretty much ended where it began.

2. The Replacement Wife – Rowena Wiseman

It was obvious from the first paragraph that this novel (novella?) had terrible writing. But I was hoping that the plot would be interesting enough for me to overlook it. Sadly, the plot was terrible and the main character makes one bad decision after another. She was selfish and annoying and it was pretty hard for me to deal with her. I ended up finishing the book because it was only about 150 pages long but the ending was also very unsatisfying.

3. Starry Night – Isabel Gilles

A couple of pages into the book, it became apparent that I wasn’t going to connect with the writing. It sounded very juvenile and the characters also did not act their age. I persisted, but the plot didn’t do anything for me. There were so many unnecessary things that happened in the book and none of it was very original either (to be fair, it’s a contemporary so not many things can be original… but you know what I mean).

4. The Selection – Kiera Cass

I don’t think I need to elaborate on this one. I only continued because I had already bought all three of the books in the trilogy. Plus there’s something very addictive about crappy and underdeveloped plots.

5. Ulysses – James Joyce

My problem with this book was the writing. I found it super hard to understand what was going on and there were so many stream of consciousness sections! I had to refer to summaries online after each chapter to make sure I was following. Besides the difficulty I had understanding the text, the rest of it was pretty good. It was a bit long and draggy at times because this beast of a book is all set within 24 hours.

6. Even When You Lie To Me – Jessica Alcott

This book really bored me. This book was sectioned off into months and we got to see what happened to the main character each month of the year. I found this to be so problematic because there were some months where nothing happened, but we still got a whole chapter on it! The main character is very negative and self-deprecating and I hated reading from her perspective. I should have DNFed this because I had no idea what I was supposed to have taken away from the book after I finished it.

7. Fans of the Impossible Life – Kate Scelsa

To be fair, there was nothing that gave me ‘DNF alerts’ while I was reading this novel. Most of the problems I had with it were the messages (see my linked review for my rant). But I really disliked the writing style of this book. It was written from three different perspectives and each perspective was written in a different person narration. I didn’t understand the point of it.

8. Love Hurts – Malorie Blackman

This is a collection of short stories curated by Malorie Blackman. After the first couple of stories, I realised that this was a collection of excerpts from previously published works! There were about 25 stories in this anthology, but only a handful of them were original short stories! Some of the excerpts were unnecessarily long and some were only a page long. I felt really cheated.

9. Risk – Fleur Ferris

This was another book that had writing that I couldn’t connect with. The main character’s voice was very juvenile and I thought the characters didn’t act their age. I kept persisting because this was the first ever book for #bookclubaus but I really didn’t like this book very much.

10. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews

I didn’t find this book to be funny at all. I couldn’t connect with Greg, the main character and I didn’t like Earl or the dying girl very much either. I just found this novel to be very boring.


Do you have any books that you wish you had quit?

Review: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

hollow-city

Publisher: Quirk Books
Release date: February 24, 2014
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 1594747350
Pages: 396
Goodreads || Book Depository

MY THOUGHTS

5 stars

Hollow City is the second book in the Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children trilogy. This review doesn’t contain any spoilers for the first book so feel free to stay if you want to know if the trilogy is worth pursuing (it is!). But check out my review of the first book too! I’ve put the synopsis for Hollow City at the end of my review so that you won’t get accidentally spoiled if you haven’t read Book 1.

So, Hollow City. Man, I loved this book! I was trying to decide what rating to give this instalment and was shifting back and forth between 4.5 and 5 stars. Ultimately, I think it deserves at least a 4.75, if not a 5. It had about the same amount, or maybe less, creepiness and eeriness than the first book. Those of you who thought the first instalment wasn’t scary enough, probably won’t enjoy the lack of spookiness in this book either. But I thought the story, plot and characters were so enjoyable that it doesn’t really need to be more scary.

Hollow City was just as action-packed and exciting as the first book. Unlike Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, there weren’t any bits that were slow or draggy. This book kept up a consistent level of action and excitement and it had me engaged the whole time. There was so much badassery in this novel and so many instances where I was bouncing up and down in my seat from the exhilaration.

Ransom Riggs has done it again – another twist that I didn’t see coming. I didn’t expect the twist in Miss Peregrine’s, and I totally did not see this twist coming. There were absolutely no signs of it at all. What I think this book lacked that the first book had was a really epic climax and ending. The end of Hollow City was still epic but the epicness all occurred in a span of about 30 pages, and ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. So I was left feeling not as satisfied as I was when I finished Miss Peregrine’s. But it did leave me really excited about Library of Souls, which I’ll be picking up from the bookstore first thing tomorrow morning!

The photographs in this book were just as beautiful and magical as those in the first book. There were a handful that were so creepy and scary that I could only glance at them for a couple of seconds before covering them up. I loved what they added to the story and I thought they were used really effectively. There were a couple at the beginning of the book that I thought were a bit unnecessary and just having the text would have been enough. But I appreciated how skilfully Ransom Riggs was able to shape his story and his world around the photos that he had.

The reason why I liked Hollow City just a little bit more than Miss Peregrine’s was the world and the setting. It was definitely my favourite aspect of this sequel. All of the places that the characters travelled to were really interesting. I love reading historical fiction and London during WWII is one location that I’ve always loved but haven’t read a lot about. I’m glad that we get to experience quite a lot of what 1940s London was like. In addition to London and September 1940, the book takes us to the countryside and to different decades and centuries. The characters enter several different time loops and I thought it was great that time travel was explored so much in Hollow City.

We meet some crazy new characters in this novel, and they were all so unique and interesting. I’m excited to see what kind of a role these new characters play in the final book, Library of Souls. And as you can probably tell, the next review to go up on this blog will be of Library of Souls 😀


For those of you who have already read Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, the synopsis for Hollow City is below.

HOLLOW CITY SYNOPSIS

September 3, 1940. Ten peculiar children flee an army of deadly monsters. And only one person can help them – but she’s trapped in the body of a bird. The extraordinary journey that began in Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children continues as Jacob Portman and his newfound friends journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. There, they hope to find a cure for their beloved headmistress, Miss Peregrine. But in this war-torn city, hideous surprises lurk around every corner. And before Jacob can deliver the peculiar children to safety, he must make an important decision about his love for Emma Bloom. Like its predecessor, this second novel in the Peculiar Children series blends thrilling fantasy with vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience.