Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Seven 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

2.25 stars

“Nothing like a mask to reveal somebody’s true nature.”

What would you do if you woke and couldn’t remember who you are, but you know that the body you’re in isn’t yours? Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m. There are eight potential witnesses to the crime and that means eight hosts for you to inhabit. You are charged with identifying the killer by a mysterious man in a Plague Doctor costume and it will set you free of Blackheath, a hell of its own. The problem is that some hosts are smarter than others and some know more than others. Aiden has to use the hosts to his advantage while also battling a footman who wants him dead and allies who could be looking to murder him. I do want to comment Turton on capturing a very Agatha Christie-like mood. This is one of the view mysteries that I’ve read outside of Christie that I’ve felt that intense and dark mood enveloped with a light tongue-in-cheekiness. I did enjoy Turton’s ability to create scenes at times, but at others I felt so bored. I found the story and its transitions easy to put down. I didn’t hunger to come back to the story and I didn’t have an overwhelming desire to unearth who killed Evelyn Hardcastle. The story itself has captivating qualities, but Turton’s writing style did not capture me intently enough for me to speed through this suspense novel. It took me three months to read this and this novel is over 400-pages which in my opinion was far too long because there was so much exposition and setup as he is entering new hosts. I’m kind of salty to be honest. This was a novel I was anticipating and I was left feeling unsatisfied while reading. However, I will say that the ending did redeem my enjoyment overall, but the process was so unbearable that it overwhelmed my overall enjoyment of the novel.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 2.25

“None of them is your real face, or your real personality. Those were stripped from you when you entered Blackheath, and they won’t be returned until you leave.”

Aiden is not a very visceral main character. I don’t know who he is or why I should root for him to get free of the confines of Blackheath because he himself doesn’t know who he is. I found that this was both interesting to the development of the plot and overall revelations at the end about his past, but also, I didn’t care enough about him to care about who he was outside of this eternal hell. I’m just uninterested in his character.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 1.5
There are a lot of characters and to be honest, I don’t have one favorite. That’s disappointing because one would expect that at least one character would capture my heart and get my interest piqued. In reality, these characters were despicable and didn’t enhance my desire to know what was going on because I couldn’t buy that any of them were evil enough to leave their own selfish obsessions of sin and depravity to plot a murder that looks like a suicide. I guess the most interesting character was the Plague Doctor, especially towards the end because I have so many questions about how the justice system in this world works and how one becomes trapped in this kind of role as an observer.

Character Scale: 1.5

“Not all hells are created equal.”

The Villain- There were so many villains in this plot. Like I said the characters suck, but I did love this twist. What a ride and how dark. I actually bought it and was enthralled by the character’s callousness.

Villain Scale: 3.25

Overall, I was incredibly sad not to have loved this novel but I do think that many will find it to be a treat. It has a wonderful concept and while the execution fell short for me, I believe many will be pleased with this story. If it intrigues you, don’t let my negative saltiness turn you away from this novel because it may be one that blows you away. Especially if you are looking for an Agatha Christie with a Twilight Zone twist.

Plotastic Scale: 3.25

Cover Thoughts: This feels like an Agatha Christie novel in Gatsby font.

Thank you, Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Have you read The Seven 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle or plan to? What did you like about this novel or piques your interest about? Let me know down below in the comments!  

Saturday, November 24, 2018

To All the Boys I've Loved Before & P.S. I Still Love You

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

First in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Trilogy

3.5 stars

Lara Jean loves to love. She has a secret box filled with the letters she has written to every boy she’s fallen in love with. The problem is that these secret letters have been sent out and now her sister’s boyfriend (now ex because she’s relocated to Scotland for college) who she has loved all this time knows. To make matter worse, the most popular boy in school thinks she is in love with him. Lara Jean has to juggle drama like in one of her romance novels and being in love is not at all what she expects. I love the audiobook for this. The narrator is fantastic and I really connected to Lara Jean. I loved her character, her family, her baking, and her antics. I had so much fun immersing myself into the world of Lara Jean and the love life drama was so much fun. This novel isn’t incredibly complex and it won’t blow you away unless your main jam is contemporary. I’ll be honest I’m not much a contemporary romance reader, but the listening experience made it fun and I know that it helped me connect to otherwise ridiculous characters. Han is a fantastic writer who is able to create characters with depth and charm that make the drama fly by.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 4

Narration Scale: 5

Lara Jean is a fantastic female character. She leads the cast with vigor and flair. She knows who she is and what she loves (or who… well, maybe not so much). She’s passionate and her love for her family is one of my favorite things about her. I felt like I was a Covey family member and I loved the integration between Korean and American culture. Some of my favorite passages were Lara Jean’s introspection on being half-Korean and what that meant for her through stereotypes or people’s expectations.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 4

The love triangle here is no triangle for me. Josh is a character who I could do without. He annoyed me to no end and I just wanted Lara Jean to have a genuine friendship with him without the love because for me it felt like she didn’t love him, but the idea of loving him because she knew him so well. However, I’m all about Peter Kavinsky. He stole my heart, but he also needed to be smacked because he was still so hung up on his ex and it made no sense to me because he was treated so badly. Anyway, I shipped them hard.

Swoon Worthy Scale: Josh-1 Peter: 4

The Villain- I was so annoyed with how this letter thing was handled. There were NO CONSEQUENCES. None. That just doesn’t seem realistic to me in the least because most of the women I know would still have grudges against a family member if they did this. Also, it was obvious who sent the letters out. Plus, the extra mean girl stuff went way too far and I forget how crazy some girls are when they are high school to get revenge when they feel they’ve been wronged.

Villain Scale: 2

I loved the characters. The nursing home residents, Chris, Lara Jean’s dad, Margot, and Kitty. I just loved the dynamics of all the relationships. The characters were wonderful and the best thing about contemporaries are the great relationships that the reader gets to witness and become apart of.

Character Scale: 4

I was a fan of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. It has its issues in predictability and frustrating plot lines, but it is so much fun. This is just fun and when I don’t look beyond that and just appreciate it for what it is, I find myself smiling giddily.

Plotastic Scale: 3.25

Cover Thoughts: Iconic, but not a favorite.
P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Second book in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Trilogy

3 stars

Lara Jean never thought she would fall for Peter Kavinsky. Now that they are official life should be great, but things keep coming up and Lara Jean isn’t sure she can trust Peter. Even weirder is the fact that John Ambrose McClaren has shown up and Lara Jean isn’t sure the love she wrote of in her letters is a thing of the past. At first, I was loving this, but I quickly got frustrated. If I’m being honest, this is a great example of a second book that was written because there needed to be loose ends tied up. Half of this book was filler to cover all those loose ends that could’ve been fixed in a first book. Not only that but I found myself getting annoyed with the characters I once loved. Han’s writing is still sweet, but it wasn’t enough to make a weak plot carry on. All the characterization in the world can’t save a story that is based off of loose ends from a previous novel struggles to makes its own plot through another love triangle. The narration was still good, but I found my frustration with the characters made it harder to enjoy the story and my listening experience.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 2.5

Narration Scale: 4

Lara Jean lost her charm. She became that girlfriend without a trusting bone and it turned into obsessive and petty fighting. I don’t have time for such antics. Don’t even get me started on her chasing after John Ambrose. It was ridiculous and it reminded me of those stories about girls who chase after the first thing they see after a bad breakup. That was what John Ambrose McClaren was for me and it made the whole storyline just uncomfortable and I was ready to move on. Also, she is too wishy-washy. I realized that Lara Jean doesn’t know what she wants and even in the final chapter I wasn’t convinced that she was really choosing anybody because she will probably fall in love with some random stranger, she sees in a coffee shop four months down the road from the end of this novel.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 2.5

I was frustrated with Peter, too. Not as frustrated as I was with Lara Jean but I was annoyed with him because he doesn’t fight hard enough. He’s the type of person to give up on the wrong people and fight for the toxic ones. I don’t have patience for that either. This is the problem with reading about high school drama when you are an adult, it becomes annoying and frustrating. John Ambrose McClaren can just get out of the way. He’s nothing but a petty plot hole that easily could be written out of this whole narrative. He’s character is also uninteresting. He would speak and I could feel my eyes rolling into my head. Over it.

Swoon Worthy Scale: Peter- 3.5 John Ambrose- 1.5

The Villain- I’m over mean girl drama. The whole reason was just so petty and I’m happy that Lara Jean finally stood up in the right way in the end instead of carrying on with silly games.

Villain Scale: 3

I still loved the Covey family and they are hands down the best thing about this whole book. I loved the lady at the nursing home, whose name I can’t remember, she was the epitome of old lady sass.

Character Scale: 4

Overall, I’m disappointed with this follow-up. I wasn’t impressed and it left me feeling a bit sad because I really loved To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Hopefully, I’ll enjoy the final book in this trilogy.

Plotastic Scale: 3.25

Cover Thoughts: Lara Jean has the cutest outfits.
Are you a fan of the To All the Boys I've Loved Before trilogy? What is your favorite book in the series? Did you love the movie or hate it? Are you excited to possibly see a sequel? Are you a Peter Kavinsky or a John Ambrose McClaren girl? Do you think I'll like the last book? Let me know down below in the comments! 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Let's Look at 2018 Goals and Books I Said I Would Read...

Hey, everyone! Oh, how I've missed blogging and writing reviews. Seriously, I've been writing I promise, but not on this blog. For my British literature class I had to write twelve posts this semester and if you are interested on what I've been writing you can check it out here. I talked about Frankenstein, Oryx and Crake, Heart of Darkness, Virginia Wolff, "Shooting an Elephant", Sweeney Todd, Great Expectations, A Passage to India, and White Teeth. I was around and writing, but it was for school and it wasn't here where I belong, but I'm going to hopefully be around more in the spring semester!

Today, I want to talk about my goals for 2018 and how they've been going. This year has been amazing for me and while it's also been one of the hardest years of my life, it's been the best growth wise (God's good, y'all). Reading for me started so amazingly throughout the start of this year and it has still been pretty decent the last half of the year, but it's not going how I would prefer it to. Let's check in!

I am not much of a goal setter when it comes to reading, but it really helped my reading at the beginning of this year.

-I want to finish at least three series (five doesn't seem doable). I completed this one!
-I want to read five sequels (I don't have to finish the series). I've read so many this year!
-I also want to read four short story collections. I don't know why I thought I wouldn't hit this.
-I want to read three classics that are not Stephen King novels. I'm an English ed. major. LOL
-I want to read five Stephen King novels (I've already read one in 2018).

4/5 completed! 
I'm still reading a SK novel right now and I plan on finishing it before the year ends, so I may get a 5/5 on goal completion this year!

Other Unattainable Hopes: 
I really want to read all the 2018 ARCs I request.
I also want to read at least five backlog ARCs from Netgalley and 
five of the print ARCs on my shelves. 
I want to write reviews consistently and post at least one video a week. 
  • I was doing great on reading 2018 ARCs for a while, but that fell to the wayside when I picked up The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (I've been reading it since August). 30/55 I still have time though!
  • I only read one backlist ARC from Netgalley. I would prefer to focus on 2018 ARCs for the rest of this year, but maybe next year!
  • I didn't read any of the backlist ARCs I own this year, but I did read one physical 2018 ARC!
  • LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL A blogger can dream...
 Priority Reads That I've Read: 
10967 23232301 1952875 9590 12977531 28111711 20821614 
7/18 + 1 CR
I'm currently reading The Drawing of the Three. Looking at all these that I chose to make a priority, I'm glad that I did because four of them got 5 stars! 
7723 29284150 16108150 25663653 23437156 5485  24921976  23995369 762103 18882126 
I definitely want to get to All the Rage before the end of this year, but the rest? I can pass on them for now. Being a mood reader makes it hard to ensure that I'll pick up even one of these. If all I complete is The Drawing of the Three and All the Rage, I'll be happy!

2018 Releases I Listed in End of the Year Survey:
 26032825 34728667 31076583 
Out of these three, I read ACOFAS. It was definitely not worth anticipating because WOW, what a disappointment! Still wanting to pick these up, but I don't know if I will before 2018!

ARCs I Posted on TBRs:
(April TBR)
36373648 36048625 32711336 35882026 
3/4 Will I read Hooked on a Phoenix? I may give the first couple chapters a shot.
(May TBR)
5/5 WHOOP!
(June TBR)
35390436 39334593 36373425 36626748   36154243 33281816 36519545 
3/7 Well, that great feeling of hitting all those books dissipates. I would like to try The Hawkman and Lying in Wait the most, but I am still interested in One for the Rogue and Ballad for a Mad Girl.
(July TBR)
37588207 36249634 
2/2 Glad that I got to both of these, even if Bellewether was so boring that I thought I would pass out while reading.
(August TBR)
36337550 38469737 
.5/2 I've been reading The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle since August and I have begun to loathe it.
(Future TBR)
I'm picking this one up ASAP after I finish slugging through Evelyn Hardcastle.
Audiobooks I Posted on TBRs:
7095420 589836 21473404 65645 34848682 28365038 22552026 19547856 7728889 25489061  35959740 33230889 36312020 25465056 25613362 32323399 34964905 587316 26007349 36967019 36373481 15749186 12913325 20698530 40549107 37506443 
26/26 are the ones I've read this year! I do a lot of listening to audiobooks!
23878688 3554245136461454 
I've started these three and I'm waiting to get them back so I can finish them!
 36300727 21996 38255342 
I haven't gotten to these yet!

Physical Books on TBR:
25614935  393727 787660 13925 24388326 10326178 12911267 
I've read these eight physical books that I own!
27840705 105992 883438 33098649 13138635 
I'm currently reading these five! I'm definitely going to finish Uninvited and These Broken Stars soon!

22055262  20862524 147590 
1/3 The first two are backlist ARCs I've been trying to read since 2016, but I don't read on my Kindle much anymore. Endless Night was a waste of my $.99, but I'm glad I read it for Peter Likes Books' bookclub.

How many books do I have left on that one? I have 14 physical books to read left and seven are not on any other list. 
34932165 11567 36590103 2896442 18490533 29236299 21469098 
I don't think I'll be getting to any of these in 2018. Sadly, but maybe next year!
I still have ten audiobooks to read that aren't on any list. 
1812457 18879761 33385229 16331 29875363 22840421 18594594 19549841 17851885 5096865 
I probably won't get to any of these before the end of the year because I have so many audiobooks in my library holds queue, but I would like to get to one of these if I can.  

I'm pretty proud of my goals list and all that I've accomplished even if the last three months haven't been fruitful for me reading wise. Let me know if you are hitting your 2018 reading goals!

What I've Read in August & September (I'm Not Gone, Just Busy)

Hi, everyone! Wow, I miss blogging. I miss sitting down and writing my posts that don't get much attention, but make me so happy to writ...