Title: Who Could That Be At This Hour?
Series: All The Wrong Questions
Author: Lemony Snicket
Published by: Little Brown
Release date: June 17th 2014
Length: 288 pages
Genre: Middle Grade
Why I read it: I read Snicket’s previous Series of Unfortunate Events books, and loved them.
What it’s About: A teen aged Snicket becomes the apprentice of S. Theodora Markson, and the two travel to a small semi abandoned town to steal an object of great value. While in the town of Stain’d by the Sea, Lemony meets a series of…..interesting people and gets swept up in a bigger mystery than he realized.
The Review: This series is supposed to be a prequel to Snicket’s Series of unfortunate events books. And I read somewhere (maybe goodreads, I’m not positive) that as the books progress characters that we met in SOUE will make cameos. That being said, you do not have to have read SOUE in order to read this series. Or at least not this book. It reads like a stand alone series.
What I liked: The silliness was just a fun as it was in SOUE, in fact that was pretty much the only indication that it was even remotely related to SOUE. The wacky characters were funny and irritating at the same time. The setting was just as wacky as the characters and, let’s face it, it wouldn’t be half as entertaining to read if it wasn’t. Also the time period is ambiguous as it is with SOUE, and it has a feel that it could be set anywhere. I like how Snicket never mentions a recognizable landmark like Big Ben or the Statue of Liberty. You as the reader can imagine it taking place in any country you wish. I Also like how it wasn’t like SOUE. In SOUE, you knew that it wasn’t going to end well. Bad things were supposed to happen to the Baudelaire’s, but in this series, the outcome could be good or bad.
What I didn’t like: Like I said above, some characters were irritating. Like The Mitchum’s. I understand that they were supposed to be the useless police officers, but they really were very useless, and their arguing was just tiresome. And don’t get me started on their kid. he was a nightmare. And Prosper Lost for me just wasn’t a needed character at all. He didn’t add anything to the story, and just seemed like a filler character. Another thing I didn’t like was that Snicket gives very little background information on himself. I know that it’s supposed to add to the mystery, but when he says things like ” I had an unusual education” I’d like to know more about this education myself.
Would I reread it? Most likely, yes.
Would I purchase it? I did purchase it, and no regrets about it.
Would I recommend it? I would if you loved SOUE. I’d love for my 8 year old nephew to read it, but I think he thinks too literally to get the silliness.
Love it or Leave it? Somewhere in the middle. I’d give it 3 out of 5 stars.
Title: India Black
Author: Carol K. Carr
Length: 296 pages
Genre: Mystery, historical fiction
Why I read it: Looked interesting
What it’s About: India Black is the madame of a brothel in Victorian England, and one day a customer, who happens to be a government agent, dies, leaving behind a case of sensitive government secrets. Soon one of India’s prostitutes goes missing along with the case and India is enlisted to recover the case.
The Good: Did I mention how much I love a kick-ass heroine? Well, India doesn’t disappoint. She is snarky and sarcastic, and able to hold her own against the boys in the book. She doesn’t seem to be afraid of much.And she is witty and smart.
The Bad: Except for India there are no other stand out characters. And even India can be a bit grating. I think the book would have been better if it weren’t in first-person. I think getting a break from India’s inner thoughts would have been welcome.
Final Thoughts: I hope the other books in the series are better.
Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Length: 395 pages
Genre: Mystery, thriller
Why I read it: I am unashamed to admit, I am a Gillian Flynn fangirl
What it’s About: On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary Amy Dunne goes missing. The prime suspect is her husband Nick.
The Good: I, for one, was not invested in either Amy or Nick. I didn’t like either of them, but I didn’t hate them either. This was good because when Flynn wanted the reader to feel like Amy was the wronged wife, I felt it. When Flynn wanted us to feel Nick’s desperation, We would. It was a great tactic to keep us guessing what the outcome would be. Flynn once again showed her flair for writing a perfect twist. The book went in a direction I wouldn’t have seen coming, and she did it in such a way that it made me need to keep reading.
The Bad: the first part of this book was boring. I had no desire to read it, and when I did read it, I would put it down soon after. I would have liked a little more with Amy’s parents. They seemed a little too perfect and it simply didn’t seem enough that their books were the motive behind anything that Amy did.
Final Thoughts: Read this book. Even if you, like me, feel that the first part is boring, it picks up and is worth struggling through. I feel like I need a palate cleanser book after reading Gone Girl, and that rarely happens anymore.
Title: Pretty Little Liars
Author: Sara Shepard
Length: 286 pages
Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller
Why I read it: Re-read
What it’s About: Three years after their friend Ali disappears, Hannah, Spencer, Aria, and Emily start getting messages from an anonymous person. The texts claim to know the four girls secrets, secrets that only Ali knew. But soon after the texts start, The girls learn that Ali’s body has been found.
The Good: I will give the it this, it is a compelling read. Why? I honestly don’t know. For me I think it’s a mix of things, it makes me ask questions. Like Why does Ali, hold so much power over people? Why does this anonymous A care about secrets of Ali’s friends? I also want to learn more about the girls. It’s no Christie, but I love the whodunit aspect of Ali’s death and A’s identity.
The Bad: I will not rant about how inappropriate these books are for impressionable teen girls. I don’t really believe that anyway. Hopefully if you are reading the books, you are smart enough to know it is fiction and shouldn’t be imitated. What I do think is a big flaw with it is that Shepard seemed to use the story as one big ad for various products. I don’t need to know what brand of jeans a fictional person is wearing. Adding the brand doesn’t add depth to the story, and Shepard seemed too preoccupied with her own personal logo quiz. For as fascinated as I am with the characters, the book, at least this one is drawn out too long. It’s a fast read, but that’s because you want to know if any questions will be answered.
Final Thoughts: I honestly don’t know how I feel about this book. It has it’s likable points, but I don’t like it, and I don’t hate it. I do honestly like the television show better, and actually started reading the books because of the show, but it’s one of the few times that the original material doesn’t measure up.
Title: Dark Places
Author: Gillian Flynn
Length: 345 pages
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
Why I read it: I liked Flynn’s first Novel, so I thought I’d give this one a go.
What it’s About: When Libby was seven her mom and two sisters were killed. Libby escaped, and testified that her Brother Ben had been the murderer. Twenty-five years later, Libby meets Lyle a member of the Kill Club, and is soon questioning if her brother is guilty of the crimes after all. With Lyle’s help and money, Libby sets out to find out the truth of her family’s murder.
The Good: As with Flynn’s debut novel, Dark places was just as gritty and just as gripping. Flynn has shown time and again that she has a flair when it comes to imagery, and I honestly had a difficult time putting this book down. And I’ll admit I didn’t truly relate to any of Flynn’s characters, but I did like a majority of them. I think the only exceptions were Diondra and Trey. Also, the twist at the end, unlike with Sharp Objects, I would not have guessed, and that was, I think the best part. The pacing was perfect, and I liked the story being told from Libby’s perspective in the present day, and both Ben, and Patty’s perspective in 1985 in the hours leading up to the murders.
The Bad: I honestly can’t pinpoint any one particular thing I didn’t like about the book. Although I do think that Flynn put pressure on herself for it to be just as good, if not better, than Sharp Objects, and that in itself was where the book failed. I will say this, I really HATED Diondra. More than once she had me rolling my eyes, and I just wanted to slap her. Or shake her.
Final Thoughts: Another good story from Ms. Flynn. I can’t wait to get started on Gone Girl, and I look forward to the movie.
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Length: 228 pages
Genre: YA, Mystery
Why I read it: Recommendation
What it’s about: Ten Teenagers go to a remote island and are killed one by one.
The good: This modern retelling of Christie’s And then there were none, was fun to hear about, and as with ATTWN, it was interesting to find out who would be killed next and how they would be killed.
The bad: I seriously HATED every single character. There was not one I liked and wanted to know more about. The worst of them being the main character, Meg. She just came off as whiny, and had little to no backbone to her. I get she was trying to protect her friend, but she was letting her friend disrespect and control her. Then there was the ending. The last paragraph was so cheesy, it failed horribly. Plus, with this kind of book, I hated that it ended sort of happy. it was too expected, and too much.
Final thoughts: Stay as far away from this book as possible. if you want to read a good murder mystery, this is not it. Stick with the original by Cristie.
Title: And then there were none
Author: Agatha Christie
Length: 247 pages
Why I read it: Book club, a love for all things Christie
What it’s about: Ten strangers are summoned to a remote island by a Mr. U. N. Owen. Once there, they hear a gramophone message stating that they were each guilty of past murders. Shortly thereafter, they all begin to die one by one.
The good: First off, Christie is a master of building suspense. In this book, it was done brilliantly. One of the girls in my book club pointed out that, one of the best things Christie did was keep the characters strangers. Not only to each other, but to the reader. By doing this, you wouldn’t know if you could trust anyone. Second, the fact that as the murders progressed, they got more violent, which was both horrifying and exciting. By not really knowing the cast of characters, Christie made it so that you didn’t get emotionally invested in a character, and you couldn’t help but wonder who was going to die next and how. I honestly couldn’t figure out who the killer was. It was a lot of fun to discuss some of the characters and why we thought they could be the killer. We then went on to discuss just how much thought the killer went to to pick out the people he brought to the island. Or if the accused were actually guilty, and if they were how they could go for years, seemingly without feeling that guilt.
The bad: The ending. In most cases, I hate when the author ends the book without us knowing who the killer was. But this is one of the rare cases that I think the story would benefit from such and ending. Christie could have kept readers guessing for generations. I mean it got to the point when I was reading that I had to make charts reasoning out why it could be each person on the island. That it the one flaw with the book. That one flaw is the reason I didn’t give the book a rating of five.
Final thoughts: Despite the one flaw, I would definitely recommend the book to anyone. Especially anyone who is new to Christie or mysteries.