Hey guys! I’ve been doing my best to get caught up with my reading goal, and so far I think I’ve been making good progress! Of course, I still have a long way to go, thanks to my slacking off the last few months. I think I’ll get there, though! This last week I’ve been stepping up my reading game, so I got quite a few books read. Check it out!
A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Austere Academy | The Ersatz Elevator | The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket
Synopsis: The Austere Academy: Truth be told, within the chapters that make up this dreadful story, the children will face snapping crabs, strict punishments, dripping fungus, comprehensive exams, violin recitals, S.O.R.E., and the metric system.
The Ersatz Elevator: Within the chapters of this story, Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire encounter a darkened staircase, a red herring, some friends in a dire situation, three mysterious initials, a liar with an evil scheme, a secret passageway, and parsley soda.
The Vile Village: Nobody in their right mind would read this particular book about the lives of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire on purpose, because each dismal moment of their stay in the village of V.F.D. has been faithfully and dreadfully recorded in these pages. I can think of no single reason why anyone would want to open a book containing such unpleasant matters as migrating crows, an angry mob, a newspaper headline, the arrest of innocent people, the Deluxe Cell, and some very strange hats.
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I had hoped to finish a lot more of these books this month, but it just didn’t happen. Since I’m living my last days as an Northwest Vista student, I’ve been trying to read all of them while I still have access to them in the library. I only have a few more to go, so I’m going to do my best to finish them!
I’m not that crazy about these books, but they are intriguing. Plus, I’ve come this far, so now I want to know what happens! I so appreciate that although these might be considered as children’s books, they are pretty fun to read even as an adult. I feel like there are a lot of things that would go over a kid’s head in them, so yeah. I still like the characters pretty good, but the adults just get on my nerves because they’re so dumb. I guess that’s how it’s supposed to be for these books, though! They’re as outlandish as can be, but I think that’s what makes them interesting.
I am currently reading book 8, and I hope to finish it soon!
Rating: The Austere Academy: 3.75/5 Stars
The Ersatz Elevator: 4/5 Stars
The Vile Village: 4/5 Stars
Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie
Synopsis: A teenage murder witness is drowned in a tub of apples… At a Hallowe’en party, Joyce—a hostile thirteen-year-old—boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no-one believes her, she storms off home. But within hours her body is found, still in the house, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub. That night, Hercule Poirot is called in to find the ‘evil presence’. But first he must establish whether he is looking for a murderer or a double-murderer…
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I can’t tell you much about this book, other than the fact that there’s a Halloween party in it, haha! Funny enough, this book doesn’t really have much to do with Halloween at all. A girl dies at the Halloween party, and that’s all there is to it. The rest of the book is just the usual stuff. I’m perfectly fine with that, but somehow, I didn’t like this book as much as some of Christie’s other works. I think this one was a bit boring, and it even dragged on a little. I did think that the ending was pretty cool though, even though I slightly suspected who the murderer was.
The stuff with the wishing well and the garden was probably my favorite part, because I felt like Michael was the only character with much substance. Which is ironic, considering what happens with him. I didn’t really become invested in the story until near the end, and I don’t think I could tell you much about anything that happens in the middle. That’s how bored I was. Although I hate to slander any Agatha Christie books, I just can’t say I liked this one very much.
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo
Genre: Magical Realism
Synopsis: As one enters Juan Rulfo’s legendary novel, one follows a dusty road to a town of death. Time shifts from one consciousness to another in a hypnotic flow of dreams, desires, and memories, a world of ghosts dominated by the figure of Pedro Páramo – lover, overlord, murderer.
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I read this one for my school’s book club. Being the president of this book club, I found it slightly embarrassing that I read this and was utterly confused the entire time. Like, I pretty much faked my way through that book club meeting. But after that meeting, and after thinking over it a while, I think I understand this story a little more.
Basically, the hard part is that there are multiple viewpoints, but it isn’t always clear who is talking. Then, many of the characters are ghosts, but it doesn’t outright say who is alive, and who isn’t. I thought it was an interesting story, but I often had to stop and go back a little to find out who the heck was talking, and most of the time I couldn’t figure it out. Plus, some story stuff in general was really confusing, such as the beginning. For example, the protagonist is going to this town to find his father, and he hitches a ride with this random guy. As it turns out, this guy is the protagonist’s half-brother, but the protagonist has zero comment on the fact and the story kept going, never to see this random guy again for the rest of the book. That was just weird.
I realize that the author broke many rules of writing in this story, which I actually admire and appreciate. He inspired many other writers. Still…I feel like things could have been a little more clear. Either that, or I need to read it again, because I got the impression that it’s supposed to be something you read multiple times in order to get anything from it. That’s completely fine, it’s just something I don’t happen to have the time for.
I did like the whole concept with the ghost town and everything, and I liked the backstory of the protagonist’s father. I also thought the stuff with the preacher was a nice touch, too, since I like a good gray-area character. As for the protagonist, I cant tell you much about him. I didn’t realize until someone pointed it out in the book club meeting that you don’t even know his name until somewhere after you hit forty pages (the book is in first-person). It hit me then that I literally went the entire book not knowing the main character’s name, and even as I write this, I STILL don’t know what his name is. I’m going to put that on me for not paying attention, haha!
Anyway, I would recommend this, but I honestly don’t know who to recommend it to, exactly.. I did enjoy it somewhat, but I will say that’s it not a book for everyone.
Rating: 3.50/5 Stars
Seven Dirty Secrets by Natalie D. Richards
Synopsis: On her eighteenth birthday, Cleo receives a mysterious invitation to a scavenger hunt. She’s sure her best friend Hope or her brother Connor is behind it, but no one confesses. And as Cleo and Hope embark on the hunt, the seemingly random locations and clues begin to feel familiar.
In fact, all of the clues seem to be about Cleo’s dead boyfriend, Cyrus, who drowned on a group rafting trip exactly a year ago. A bracelet she bought him. A song he loved. A photo of the rafting group, taken just before Cyrus drowned. And then the phone calls start, Cyrus’s voice taunting Cleo with a cryptic question: You ready?
As the clock on the scavenger hunt ticks down, it becomes clear that someone knows what really happened to Cyrus. And that person will stop at nothing to make sure Cleo and her friends pay. Can they solve the hunt before someone else winds up dead?
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I don’t even want to linger on this one long, because this was just a bad book. While I wasn’t crazy about Five Total Strangers, I was invested in it at least a little. This one? Not at all. It was a struggle just to keep reading. Like, I was super close to DNFing it, but it is a shorter book, so I struggled through it. So what’s so bad about this book? Well, I’ll gladly tell you.
First of all, the characters were dumb as rocks. The protagonist is trying to get into the college, but I don’t even know how she finished high school, because her critical thinking skills are whack. I hate to be harsh, but she just made stupid decisions. And then her BFF is supposed to be this perfect genius, but even she was dumb. Everyone was just dumb. I feel like this whole book could have been avoided had she just not been stupid, but alas.
Also, the whole thing with the police brutality stuff and her half-brother was weird. I feel like the author didn’t even try, which was disappointing. I don’t mind it when books try to tackle political issues- I even welcome it. But this author stereotyped the crap out of it, and it had no substance in the book, then was forgotten halfway through the book. I think the author’s editor had the same thoughts I did, because somehow a whole editor comment made it into the published copy talking about it. I mean, I know mistakes happen, but really? I was totally confused what I got to that paragraph, but I had to stop and laugh for a bit when I realized it was a freaking editor comment right in the middle of a perilous scene.
And what the heck was that ending? I honestly didn’t care whether the characters made it into their dream college or not, but it never said what happened to them at the end. Were they all arrested? Did any of them go to jail? It says nothing about that! It just drops off in the middle of a scene! I sat there wondering if I had missed something, because I wasn’t satisfied. But at this point, I don’t think even a proper ending would have satisfied me. The whole book was just weird and didn’t really go anywhere.
I do like a good thriller, but this wasn’t it. I’m sorry to say I can’t recommend this to anyone. I feel like it had so much potential, but just didn’t make it.
Rating: 2/5 Stars
The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe – Stacy King
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I found this at my school’s library and promptly borrowed it, because I love Edgar Allan Poe, and I love manga. Smash those two together, and you’ve got a book that I will most certainly enjoy. And I did enjoy it! It had my favorite Poe tales in it, including The Raven and A Tell-Tale Heart! The art did each story so much justice, I was so happy to see it! Yeah, it was really creepy, but it was the perfect thing to read over the last week of October, into November. I especially loved The Fall of House Usher. I had never read that one, or The Masque of the Red Death, before, so it was nice to read it for the first time with the art.
If you’re a Poe fan, and you want to read a manga, I highly recommend this one!
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Seasons of Chaos by Elle Cosimano
Synopsis: As immortal Seasons, Jack and Fleur wielded powerful magic in their roles as a Winter and a Spring. Yet there wasn’t magic strong enough to keep them apart, and they risked everything for their love, for the freedom to live their lives as they choose—together.
That choice came at a cost. Jack sacrificed his Winter magic—and his immortality—to ensure their survival. Although he’d do anything for Fleur, he can’t deny the emptiness he’s felt since. Or the fear that his choice to give up his magic may have doomed them after all.
The world they thought they left behind is still dealing with the fallout of the rebellion they started. With Professor Lyon as the new Chronos, Seasons are free to do as they please. But not everyone is happy with the change in leadership. When an old enemy seeks revenge, the world’s most powerful magic runs wild and unchecked, creating global chaos.
Thrust into the middle of a new war, Jack and Fleur are faced with the aftermath of their choices. But are they strong enough to save the world from a storm that’s spinning out of control?
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I don’t remember what I said for my review of the first book, but I know it was good things, because I LOVE Seasons of the Storm. Like, it’s up there in my all-time favorite books. But this one? I’m close to hating it. This seems to be a trend this year, loving books (*cough* American Royals *cough*, but hating their sequels. Honestly, Seasons of the Storm didn’t even need a sequel. It could have been just fine on it’s own. But noooo, we had to have a sequel! And in my opinion, it ruined the first book, and I’m not the only one to say that, according to a couple Goodreads reviews.
The whole thing with Lyon and Gaia was kind of pointless, I think. I did like Douglas as a villain, but I thought his story was pointless, too. He didn’t get any good backstory except for a tiny tease of how he died the first time. Oh, speaking of Doug dying, that was pretty dumb, too. Literally 90% of the book is from Doug’s point-of-view. I was annoyed with that at first, since Jack and Fleur got barely any time in the book (and don’t even get me stared on Chill, Poppy, Marie, Julio, and Amber, the OG characters). But as the book went on, I was a little intrigued by his thoughts on the matter. And then, as if his point-of-view never existed, he just dies. I really would have liked his death to be from his perspective instead of Jack’s, because it would have felt a lot less dumb, I would hope. But no. After Doug getting super long chapters to himself, and Jack getting barely any time, we suddenly have Doug’s death (which was something he feared the entire time) from Jack’s point of view. To say I was disappointed is an understatement!
I had only a couple problems with the first book, but I had many with this one. It felt like nothing happened the entire time. I was bored stiff! As I said, the first book could have been completely fine on it’s own! Even when I finished the first one last summer and found out there was a sequel, I was nervous because I felt completely satisfied with the ending. Yes, Jack was a human, and yes he missed having his magic. But I was fine with that! And then this second book comes along making me think that he was going to take back his magic, but then he doesn’t! And although I said that, this book is entirely predictable, because I knew pretty fast that he wasn’t going to get his magic back. I KNEW he would become Father Time and Fleur would become Mother Nature as soon was Lyon and Gaia died, because DUH. Who else would that magic go to? This was also disappointing, because even though the book ends on a happy note (which wasn’t really happy, I’ll touch on that in a moment), I didn’t feel like the characters were all that happy with their own ending.
That ending TAINTED my favorite scene in Seasons of the Storm! I don’t know how everyone feels about the last scene, but it did not make me happy! In the first book, I sobbed because it was sad. In this book, I cried because I was just mad (and I was already upset about something else, so that didn’t help (#ENFPEmotions)). The whole ice skating scene at the end just really made me mad, because that was SUPPOSED to be a special scene in the first book. Yes, I liked the callback to it, but just the fact that Fleur has all those powers now, and Jack doesn’t and he misses his magic, just annoyed the crap out of me.
And what about the other OG characters (uh oh, I’m getting started on them)??? They were barely in it at all! They were literally the reason I loved the first book so much, because their chemistry together was perfection! Also, I hated kai, because she was so pathetic. I hate to be harsh, but I couldn’t stand her. One second, she’s this boss lady with a bow and arrow, and the next she’s cowering in terror. There was no in between! This made me dislike her so much! Why the heck did Jack trust her so easily, too? I mean, she literally tried to kill him multiple times, and even succeeded once at the end of the first book. Yet, he’s the one feeling bad for her and everything. At first he doesn’t trust her at all, then all of a sudden they’re besties. I don’t get it!!!
This is getting pretty long, so I’ll stop here. I highly, HGHLY recommend the first book, but maybe it’s best that you skip out on this second one. But who knows? Maybe you’ll like this one. To each their own!
P.S. RIP the one random kid at the end, that was SO unnecessary.
Rating: 3.75/5 Stars
I really wanted to read more than these, but oh well! I’ve got a lot of reading to do in my near future, and I’m probably going to do a 24 hour readathon once I get out of school. But what about you? What did you read this month? Let me know in the comments below! And as always, God bless y’all and have a great night!