Book Review: The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by: Stuart Turton

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Can’t you see, these masks we wear betray us. They reveal us” – The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by: Stuart Turton

Initial Thoughts: It was definitely the title that drew me in. It rolls off the tongue nicely and it is very memorable. I ended up reading a version of the book called The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, but the internet assures me that it is the same book as The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. 

Summary

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn HardcastleThe 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m.
There are eight days, and eight witnesses for you to inhabit.
We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer.
Understood? Then let’s begin…” – Goodreads

The Review

It has been a week since I finished this book, and I held off reviewing for a week to gather my thoughts. I could summarize my entire thoughts by just one word, wow. I was expecting a fun murder mystery type of novel with some twists and turns, but I didn’t even begin to imagine the intricacies of the plot and the depth of the characters. There are very few books like these, and they need to be treated as gems of genius.

The novel starts out with a man waking up in the forest grounds of Blackheath mansion. He does not know who he is or why he is there. There is only one word upon his lips. A name. Anna.  Continue reading

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Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by: Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Borrows

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Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true” – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Borrows

Initial Thoughts: I had found The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by chance while I was browsing through Walmart.  It was the title – the super long and strange title – that drew me in. As I found out later while reading, I wasn’t the only one who was curious about what a potato peel pie was made of. I’ll give you a hint… potatoes.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Summary

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.”

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever. ” – Goodreads

The Review

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie society was an absolute delight to read. My only regret, why didn’t I come across this book sooner!

It’s January 1946, and the war is finally over. Now, London is slowly beginning to rebuild itself. In the mix of everything is writer Juliet Ashton, whose book Izzy Bickerstaff Goes to War, is the best work she has ever written (to her great dismay). While trying to find a new subject to write on, Juliet receives a letter from the island of Guernsey. The letter is from a man named Dawsey Adams who bought Juliet’s previously owned copy of the poetry of Charles Lamb. In his letter, he reveals that he and his friends created a literary society by accident during the German occupation called The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Enraptured by this letter, Juliet begins a correspondence with Dawsey and the members of the society. As Juliet learns more and more about the German occupation of Guernsey, Juliet rediscovers her passion for books and for telling stories. Continue reading

Book Review: Tokyo Tarareba Girls vol. 1 by: Akiko Higashimura

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Initial Thoughts: One of my favorite mangas is none other than Akiko Higashimura’s Princess Jellyfish (Kurajehime). When I first watched the anime version, I kept saying to the screen over and over “Tsukimi is just like me. I am just like Tsukimi.” We basically have the same personality, except that I have never drawn a jellyfish before. Now, Akiko Higashimura is back with her new manga, Tokyo Tarareba Girls, otherwise translated as Tokyo’s “what-if” women. I was so excited for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the English translated version from Netgalley.
Tokyo Tarareba Girls, Vol. 1

Summary

I spent all my time wondering ‘what if,’ then one day I woke up and I was 33.” She’s not that bad-looking, but before she knew it, Rinko was thirty-something and single. She wants to be married by the time the Tokyo Olympics roll around in six years, but…that might be easier said than done! The new series by Akiko Higashimura erupts with sharp opinions on girls and tons of laughs!!” – Goodreads

The Review

After being on a short hiatus for a month, it is nice to get back to reviewing books. When I came across Tokyo Tarareba Girls, I had just finished reading volume 1 of Princess Jellyfish. After reading both mangas, I would say that Princess Jellyfish is made for a young adult audience, and Tokyo Tarareba Girls is geared towards women in their twenties and thirties. Continue reading

7 Amazing Book Titles

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stack-of-books-1001655_1920Sometimes you can’t just judge a book by its cover. Sometimes, there are fetching titles that are just enough to just pique your curiosity. Here are a few books that I had the urge to read because the title drew me in…

  1. They Both Die at the End – Adam Silvera

They Both Die at the End
Oh the bleakness! Oh the finality! A few months ago, I was browsing a bookstore where I saw the title of this book written on the spine of a hardcover novel. Without seeing the cover, I quickly plucked the book from its shelf. My first thought was “wait… what do you mean, they die? I don’t want them to die! Wait… but who exactly are they?” My second thought was “that’s a bit of a spoiler alert, right?”

They Both Die at the End is about two teenagers will die within 24 hours. Fate draws them together, and they spend their last day trying to find meaning to their lives and deaths. Continue reading

7 Books I Really Want to Reread

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It has been nearly a year since I reread a book. When you have a to-read list on Goodreads that is more than double the size of your read shelf, (I think I have 1800 books on my to read shelf), it’s difficult to find time to reread books. If I had infinite time on my hands, these are the 7 books that I really want to reread…
1. Interview with the Vampire by: Anne Rice 

 TInterview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1)his is the story of Louis, as told in his own words, of his journey through mortal and immortal life. Louis recounts how he became a vampire at the hands of the radiant and sinister Lestat and how he became indoctrinated, unwillingly, into the vampire way of life. His story ebbs and flows through the streets of New Orleans, defining crucial moments such as his discovery of the exquisite lost young child Claudia, wanting not to hurt but to comfort her with the last breaths of humanity he has inside.

I first read Interview with the Vampire when I was in high school. It was so different, hypnotic and captivating. Louis and Lestat seemed to just jump right off the page and into my mind. If there is one thing that I adore about Anne Rice (and there are many things), it is her ability to create characters who just come to life effortlessly.

My review of Interview with the Vampire.

2. Anna Karenina by: Leo Tolstoy

AnAnna Kareninna is a sophisticated woman who abandons her empty existence as the wife of Karenin and turns to Count Vronsky to fulfil her passionate nature – with tragic consequences. Levin is a reflection of Tolstoy himself, often expressing the author’s own views and convictions.

If I ever read Anna Karenina again, I will need to have a lot of time on my hands to plow through this nearly 1000 page book. When I read Anna Karenina, I was only in high school. It would be nice to revisit this brick-of-a-book when I am older with a greater understanding of life.

3. Carry On by: Rainbow Rowell
Carry On (Simon Snow, #1)

Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is like a love letter in novel form to fangirls everywhere. Carry On is a spin off of Rowell’s book Fangirl. The main character in Fangirl, Cath, writes Simon Snow fan fiction and throughout the course of the novel she is working on a story called “Carry On Simon.” I read Carry On about a month before I read Fangirl, and I loved Simon Snow and Baz. It is just such a fun read, I can’t wait to chuckle outloud and swoon again. Continue reading