TBR Challenge #10: Paranormal

shutter

Shutter by Courney Alameda

Rating: 3/5

Why? This month’s theme is Paranormal. I actually had a totally different book planned out for this read, but for some weird reason I decided to write a review for it last week, so I had to pick a new one fast and this book was already on my bookshelf.

In this book we are taken to the last living descendant of the famous Van Helsing, yes, the one that defeated the equally famous Dracula. Micheline Van Helsing has been trained at a young age to defeat the creatures that lurk our world: ghosts, spirits, wayward souls, etc. with the help of her cameras.

During one unfortunate ghost hunt, everything that does wrong, went wrong and at the end of the night Micheline and her group of friends are not only defeated, they have been cursed with the soulchain. Now they must find out more about this curse and destroy it, or risk being exterminated by her father, Leonard Van Helsing.

Review: I was pleasantly surprised about this book. I really didn’t thing this book was going to be set in modern/present time, but it really should have clicked since they do mention ‘films and cameras’.

I enjoyed the story, it was very different from the other paranormal novels that I’ve read. Unfortunately for Alameda, I just finished read In the Shadow of Blackbirds, and that book gave me all the creeps. Having that in my head, I really couldn’t separate the two books. I guess its really unfair for Shutter because these two books have different storyline. Shutter is a lot more geared towards the action/adventure part of Paranormal where as In the Shadow of Blackbirds is historical Paranormal.

Shutter for me is mediocre. I didn’t really connect that much with the protagonist, Micheline, and at times I found her to be too whiny and naive. For a ghost hunter, who’s been trained at a young age, I feel that she made too many amateur mistakes. I admit, she had a rough 18-months, but the author didn’t really write a confused chracter, shes’s suppose to be a protagonist who is sure of herself and confident with herself. Truth be told, most of the characters in these books are a little bit too extreme, they’re too perfect, or at least the author tried to make them too perfect at the specific roles and they almost became cliche. I would have enjoyed it a lot more if she didn’t try to hard to make some of her characters really unlikable and other really likable, this is a classic evil vs good type of battle.

Like I said, the story is unique. This book reminded me a bit of the movie ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentleman’, where each character brings something different in the group and their ‘specialties’ are unique only to them. The League of Extraordinary Gentleman is one of my favorite movies, so when this vibe started, I was a bit excited and I think this concept would have been more effective if Alameda included more popular characters.

I’m not a fan of the end and for those who knows me and my book preferences, endings can make it or break it for me. I wouldn’t have minded if the ending was a tad sadder than what I’m used to, but I didn’t like who the ghost turned out to be and the reasons that the author created. I refuse to think of this as an ending to a story, it felt unfinished and I’m not really sure if the author is going to continue this story. That being said, I don’t really know if I even want to continue even if the Alameda decides to finish the story of Micheline and her friends.

 

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TBR Challenge #9: Historical

stalking-jack-the-ripper

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Rating: 4/5

Why? This month’s theme/topic is Historical and since I’m already on my Halloween Mood, I decided to pick this book up. Set during the 1800’s this book definitely has a historical aspect, and the bonus is that it’s actually centered on the famous serial killer, Jack the Ripper.

Review: I’m a fan of Ripper stories and I know that I shouldn’t be so fascinated, but anything mysterious gives me such a thrill! I really haven’t read a book that I fully enjoyed that is set around Jack the Ripper, but then again I really haven’t read a lot of them.

If I have to rate this book in terms of using the Ripper story, I would probably give it a 1 out of 5. I wasn’t at all thrilled how Maniscalco use the Ripper story in this book and I would have wished that she incorporated it in a different way. That being said, I still really enjoyed the protagonist and the overall setting of the book.

I don’t usually pick up Victorian era novels and when I do, it usually incorporates the mystery/thriller/paranormal genre within it. So Stalking Jack the Ripper is definitely up my alley. I’m actually really surprised that I enjoyed this book as much as I did, because I’ve been in a reading slump for such a long time, but I think this book snapped me out of it. I especially enjoyed the heroine, Audrey Rose. I love how modern her thinking and personality is. Yes, her type is very much a common thin these days, but in the Victorian Era, her qualities is usually something unseen. I also enjoy Thomas, he may have the sarcastic, devil-may-care attitude, but I appreciate his openness to Audrey’s passion. I’m really excited to see how they deal with their next adventure in Hunting Price Dracula.

As for Maniscalco’s writing, I’ve seen better, but I’ve also seen worse. She kept me entertained all throughout the book, but there were still some down times. Since this is her debut novel, I’ll hold of any comments until I read her other book. I’m not saying she’s a bad writer, I’m just not overly enthralled by her writing.

TBR Challenge #8: Kicking it Old School

Death on the Nile

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Rating: 4/5

Why? Agatha is my go-to author, if I want something refreshing and well written books, I grab a Christie. None of her books have ever stirred me wrong, and what’s even better is its older than 10 years since publication. So total bonus points for this challenge. As always, I loved every minute of this book and I love reading about the famous detective, Poirot, again.

Review: I’m not really sure how I can review this book without revealing too much about the ending. Basically this book is Christie’s typical novel of suspense, lies, betrayal and a love triangle, set in the exotic setting of Egypt.

I love everything about this book. I gave it a point lower, only because I figured out who the killer was mid way into the book, but that’s ok because her writing makes up for the typical story line. I’ve always been a fan of Christie’s every since I first picked up her book as a teen. Although, I’m a lot more aware of her racist comments in her books now, I still really enjoy her writing and how she weaves a mystery. I’m especially fond of this book because I’m a fan of Egypt, especially stories set in pre-war era, when Egypt is being explored. I’m very much a sucker for Egyptian history and mythology.

Back to the story.

Like I said I’m a fan Christie and I love how she writes her books. Although, Poirot is the main character, he is never the actual narrator, instead we get multiple point of views, which give us insight to all the characters present in the story. This is very effective in creating a bigger mystery at hand. We know who the characters are, we know the reasons for their vendetta, and we are left to wonder as who is daring enough to proceed with a crime with Poirot around.

I think Christie is just one of those authors that I will always keep reading and continue reading until I’m old and grey!

TBR Challenge #7: Series Catch-up

a just clause

A Just Clause by Lorna Barrett

Rating: 3/5

Why? I’ve been reading this series for a few years now and I’m not really sure if I want to continue it. I really enjoy the setting and the minor characters, but the story is starting to get tedious and repetitive. Anyways, this is the latest book in the series and I grabbed the chance to read this as soon as possible since I want to be caught up with the books. This author usually release one book a year within this series.

Review: As I’ve stated before I’m not really sure if I want to continue reading these books since it’s starting to become repetitive. I still enjoy reading about the lives of the minor characters and their progression throughout the series. I’m not really a fan of Tricia, but she’s starting to step-up as a protagonist in this book. It’s a bit awkward that the Miles sisters are undergoing personal transformations at their age, but we’ll see where the author is going with this story.

As for the mystery, this is an open and shut case. Once you get used to Lorna Barrett’s writing and her choice of villains, you tend to instinctively know who the perpetrator is going to be. I still enjoy the mindless reading, since it’s pretty easy to immerse myself in the world that I’m so familiar with. Now that I read a lot more thrillers, I’m starting to loose some of my interest in cozies, but its still a comfort read for me. Maybe my mood will change when it gets colder. Cozies tend to be easier to read in colder months.

I think only time will tell if I will continue with this series. I’m still interested in finding out what happens to the Miles Family and all the other lovely characters I’ve gotten attached to, but I do wish something different would eventually happen in the next few books, either that or it’s time for Barrett to wrap up Tricia Miles’ story.

 

Top 5: Books without Romance

top-5

This was actually a Top 5 that I had a hard time picking my favorite, only because romance is in almost every books that I have read. I’m not a fan of contemporary romance, but I do enjoy romance in my books.

Amazingly enough I was able to pick 5 books and to cheat a little bit I also added to graphic novels. Here are my picks: (these are in no particular order)

The Fourth Monkey by J.D Barker

One of my recent reads and I enjoyed it enough to add this to the list. I love the plot, the characters and the twist in the end, although cliched, it still worked for me. Definitely no romance in this book.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab

Although, I wasn’t that impressed with this book, I really did enjoy the writing and the world building was phenomenal. I’m really surprised that there is no romance in this book at all. I’m not sure about the other two, but definitely it was missing on this one.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

This book is definitely one of the top picks for me last year and still love it. I’m not usually the type to read such a heart wrenching book, but this is one of those special books that must be read by all.

The Martian by Andy Weir

Just like the previous book, this too was on my top reads of last year and the movie is just as great. I love the protagonist and the hilarious scenarios that the author created considering the circumstances.

Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick

I’ve read this book awhile back and it was one of the hidden gems that our Goodreads groups chose. It’s sad that not a lot of people knows about it and fewer pick it up to read. I agree the first half is a bit bland, but the end really made up for the tedious beginning. I really do encourage others to pick this book up about an optimistic girl with lots of hope.

Through the Woods by Emily Caroll

My first graphic novel devoid of romance, such an amazing and creepy book, best to read at night. I love it!

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

This is another one of those books that twists your heart, but still such a beautiful story that should be read by all. I love how the story discuss such a mature content, but still geared for younger readers.

 

 

 

Mid-Year Update

This Mid-Year Update is more like a Mid-Year Freak out! I haven’t been doing a lot of reading lately and the reading that I have been doing I’ve been stalling and procrastinating. ACK! Here is my post for my Reading Challenge for the year 2017, just in case you want to understand my overwhelming goal!

So here’s the quick version of an update, that’s slowly starting to make me panic!

GOODREADS Reading Challenge: I’ve read a total of 32 books out of 70!

I also set 5 other goals I wanted to accomplish this year:

  1. Finish my 12 months Challenge – I’ve been well on this challenge every month except for June. Booo…! I’m suppose to read a none mystery ‘adult’ novel!
  2. Read an adult book that NOT a mystery – ARGH! I’m not even sure why I put this challenge. I’ve actually only read 2 book for this whole year and its almost JULY!
  3. Start and Finish a Trilogy in the same year – This challenge is a tough one for me, tougher than the previous. I actually haven’t started this and this is hitting me harder than the other challenges.
  4. Finish 5 Series that I have started – I’ve actually finished one series already so four more to go. I have 2 trilogies that I only have one more book to go. So I’m fairly confident that I can accomplish this one. YAY!
  5. Read my Fixed TBR: Ummm…yea. I’ve read 5 of the 20 books I wanted to get rid off my TBR.

It’s not pretty I warned everyone and I’ve only just begun (insert crying emoti!)

On top of these ‘Mini’ goals I wanted to accomplish, I also ‘entered’ 4 Blog Challenges.

Dystopia Reading Challenge: Read 6-10 Books 

I’ve read four books so far. Not bad actually, could be worst.

Flights of Fantasy: Read 8 Books extra points for Reading books in the host’s list

I’ve read 6 books out of 8. Whaaaaat…!!! I’m pleasantly surprised. I really do want to read more so maybe I’ll try to surpass 8 books.

Motif Challenge: Read 1 Book a month that fits a certain theme.

I actually have only done three of the five months that has passed and I’m trying to finish the book for this month – Destination Unknown!

TBR Challenge: Read 1 Book a month that fits a certain theme AND write a review on a certain date. 

This, I’m proud to say, I’ve been doing well. I’ve been able to finish a book each month, except for April. Took a Holiday in April and wasn’t able to finish the book I wanted for that month. I tried tho, just didn’t make it for the month of April.

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So as you can tell I’ve been using the same books for certain challenges and goals, which I think is valid enough. I’m actually doing fairly well on the Blog Challenges, but horrible in my personal goals, as seen on the first half of this post. I really want to remedy that in this last few months of 2017. I still can’t believe we’re already half way through 2017. YIKES!

Hows your reading goal this year so far? Let me know if you’re freaking out like me, or you’re totally calm and collected because you have your sh*t together.

 

 

TBR Challenge #6: Favorite Trope

wires and nerve

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer

Rating: 4/5

Why? So I picked this book for this theme because this graphic novel includes one of my tropes ever and that is the hate-love relationship. I love these types of love story of boy meets girl and they instantly hate each other, but as the book/series progress they eventually fall in love for each other. Now I’m not saying that this graphic novel will turn into that, since it is the first in the series, but it does have the essence of it. I think eventually there will be something there.

Review: I really enjoyed reading this graphic novel and seeing all the beloved characters again. Yes, I know I wasn’t a fan of this series before, but after I read Winter I was totally floored! So of course I had to pick this up since Iko is one of my favorite characters in the original series.

I’m glad that Meyer decided to do a spin-off series on the android, but I’m not that thrilled on the graphic part. Although the story is amazing so far, I think the graphic part didn’t quite hit the mark. Meyer’s books are always so vivid and detailed when she’s describing her characters, settings and world building. The problem is that did not resonate into this graphic novel. I would have love for her characters to be more vibrant and exciting, similar to her books.

That rant over, I really did love the story. I wish I waited a bit longer to get my hands on this so that I don’t have to wait so long for the next one. This volume is filled with so much action right from the start. I love that I get to see Scarlet and Wolfe again and the whole gang. I did wish that there would have been more Scarlet and Wolfe, but that’s ok, I actually wasn’t even expecting them, so it was a pleasant surprise.

That being said, I’m really excited to see what happens to Iko and her little adventure!