Book 479: The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events #3) – Lemony Snicket

If I weren’t reading this for book group, I don’t think I would keep reading the series. The exponential increase of negativity and darkness is too much for me. I’ve struggled with the balance of the darkness and the humor. Thankfully, the one person in our group who has read them told us that they’re not all as doom and gloom as the first few and that other story lines develop, so needless to say I’m looking forward to that.

This one was once again even darker than the one before, and the reason I wrote about the above. There was a scene where the person who was supposed to be the Baudelaire’s guardian offered them as a sacrifice instead of themselves and I was like WTF, this is just too much. I also felt the appearance of Count Olaf and the rapidity of the demise of the guardian was even faster than the previous books.

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Book 478: The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events #2) – Lemony Snicket

I’m still not sure what to think about these. This one got so much darker so much faster than the first book. I’m also trying to figure out why these books are okay for kids.

I mean I get it, but it’s a bit overwhelming when you think about how dark and how dangerous these books are. Thankfully there’s a lot of (light and dark) humor that it sort of balances out.

I actually really enjoyed Montgomery Montgomery and was sad how that ended, but I’m continuously amazed at how idiotic the adults are, which really is why we’re reading these books this year because of the whole Trump elections thing.

What I enjoy most about the series so far is that Snicket’s language skills are incredibly great and with a town called Tedia (think tedium), Lousy Lane, and there are even more ways in which he plays with language.

Recommendation: The series is good and I’m enjoying it so far. I’m fascinated by Count Olaf and all of his pawns, but I’m concerned that we won’t get that far with these characters because these are children’s books.

Opening Line:The stretch of road that leads out of the city past Hazy Harbor and into the town of Tedia, is perhaps the most unpleasant in the world.”

Closing Line: “They stood together in the moonlight, and kept waving, even when Bruce shut the doors of the van, even as the van drove past the snake-shaped hedges and down the driveway to Lousy Lane, and even when it turned a corner and disappeared into the dark.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers.)

Book 474: The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) – Lemony Snicket

snicket-lemony-the-bad-beginning-a-series-of-unfortunate-events-1For book group this year my friends and I decided to go with Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. The deciding factor was the recent presidential election and outcome. With a dark four years ahead of us my friend Dalton’s reasoning mad perfect sense:

It’s the story of 3 kids constantly surrounded by adults who are either actively evil, or incredibly stupid and ignorant. All of the kids I work with feel like they are these kids, surrounded by the hate and stupidity of the adults in this country.

I mean if I were a high school student now I’d be asking WTF are the voting age people thinking. I mean, I’m asking myself the same thing and I’m a voting member of the population. Seriously guys, WTF?

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Book 472: In the Lake of the Woods – Tim O’Brien

obrien-tim-in-the-lake-of-the-woodsAdd this to the list of “WTF was I thinking waiting so long to read it?” books. I’m pretty sure I received this book from a former supervisor two jobs ago now. I’ll have to shoot her an email to verify it, but for some reason I have that in my mind. Either way I’m glad I read it and still thinking why it took me so long.

Whoever gave this to me for some reason compared it to Gone Girl, so if you have plans to read that don’t read this review because I’m going to spoil a few big things in that book AND this one. So this is your warning, don’t read anything until the recommendation if you don’t wan spoilers. I’ll keep the spoilers out of the Recommendation because I do think it was a great book and can see why the comparison is made, but I’ll rip the band-aid off and say this one is better 😀 Continue reading

Book 462: The Courtesan – Alexandra Curry

curry-alexandra-the-courtesanWhen Dutton reached out to me about a copy* of this book for its new paperback release I jumped at it because of my trip to China this summer! What I didn’t realize was that it was predominantly set in two of the cities I visited: Suzhou and Beijing! It was really neat to read through the fictionalized life of Sai Jinhua and actually feel like I know what and where she was talking about for the post part!

This is a debut novel that I probably would not have read just because I don’t read too many, but with my trip to China, the cover and having someone reach out to me about it, I figured I would give it a chance and I’m glad I did. Add in that the book also featured a subplot line about the one non-English classic from Asia I chose for my Classics Club list: Dream of the Red Chamber and it was well worth the read.

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Book 459: Girl Underwater – Claire Kells

kells-claire-girl-underwaterI’m not one to generally read debut novels unless I hear from a friend that it’s great. However, with all of the great books coming out of Dutton recently, when they reached out to me about this one and I was intrigued by the blurb, I of course said yes.*

This being said, I of course probably should’ve re-read the blurb on the back before I started, but I didn’t and it was a bit of a shocker to all of a sudden be thrown into a plane crash! But if I would’ve re-read the blurb I would’ve remembered that it was set in Boston, and a large part of my excitement reading the book would’ve been lost! Thankfully, it was well written and interesting AND I got to experience the Boston portions as if I had NO idea (because I didn’t) that they were there! Seriously, she spent a half page on Anna’s Taqueria! [Anna’s website] Swoon!

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Book 454: The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3) – Deborah Harkness

Harkness, Deborah - The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3)Where do I begin with this?

It’s very rare that a series starts off and continues to pick up steam the entire way through. In my previous experience, there is usually a middle-book slump. In the case of Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy the middle book of the trilogy, Shadow of NIght, was the stand out, followed closely by The Book of Life and in a distant third, the trilogy opener A Discovery of Witches.

This could be because the entire series takes place over about a year (give or take a few months because of time travel), but more than likely I think it has to do with the amount of action continuously increasing as the series moved forward. This wasn’t necessarily a good thing as I’ll talk about below, but that’s my conjecture. Continue reading