October 22nd, 2018 by Pingwing
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
By Hank Green
Source Received from the publisher
Published by Dutton on September 25, 2018
Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Carls just appeared. Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship–like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor–April and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world–everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires–and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.
Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity, and her safety that this new position brings, all while being on the front lines of the quest to find out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.
I was really intrigued by this book when I first heard about it. When I received a copy from the publisher, I was excited to get into it.
I feel like I should preface my thoughts about this book by noting that I finished reading my most-anticipated book of 2018 right before I finished reading An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, and I was experiencing a major book hangover. I don’t think anything I read after it could have held my interest too much in light of that reading experience, so while I wanted to love this book, I think part of the reason I couldn’t totally get into it was because my mind kept wandering back to the book I’d just finished.
Anyway, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing was an interesting book. There was a lot going on, and I liked that I never knew what to expect or what would happen next. And I liked April May’s voice, and I thought the book made some interesting points about social media, fame, and the media.
I never felt emotionally invested in the story or its characters though. The story was interesting but I didn’t feel all that caught up in it. It was one of those books that I liked, but didn’t love, and those are the most difficult books to review sometimes!
The ending felt a little abrupt but I believe that there is going to be a sequel, which I’d be interested in checking out.
October 21st, 2018 by Pingwing
October 15 – 21
It’s been another busy week and weekend. I’m constantly feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day to work, sleep, read, catch up on my shows, work on the blog and my Supernatural rewatch, etc. But at least there’s coffee, which helps.
I received two books this week from Raincoast as part of the swag for their Teens Read book preview (which are always fantastic):
The Gilded Wolves, Roshani Chokshi; and
We Told Six Lies, Victoria Scott.
Thank you Raincoast! I’m looking forward to reading both of these!
I only finished one book this week, but it was a good one: The Witch Elm by Tana French. I just love her books!
I’m still reading The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White, but I’d better finish it soon because book club is this week!
I posted three reviews this week:
China Rich Girlfriend, Kevin Kwan;
Vengeful, Victoria Schwab; and
Ring in the Year with Murder, Auralee Wallace.
Time for more coffee, some reading, and hopefully some catching up on my shows! Happy Sunday!
October 19th, 2018 by Lil Pingwing
Ring In the Year with Murder
By Auralee Wallace
Series: An Otter Lake Mystery #4
Published by St. Martin’s Paperbacks on October 31, 2017
It’s been a tough year for Erica Bloom. And with hours left on the clock and a killer crashing the party, it’s not over yet…
This New Year’s Eve, Erica’s resolution is to have a great night―even if it kills her. She is, after all, at the party to end all parties: a Great Gatsby–themed gala sure to be the talk of Otter Lake, New Hampshire. With her perfectly finger-waved hair, borrowed pearls, and scarlet flapper dress, Erica is determined to be unflappable, despite the presence of her ex, Sheriff Grady Forrester, and his hot date, a bubbly blonde who has a hard time holding her drink. Literally. . .
In a plot twist as bizarre as a game of Clue, Grady’s girlfriend almost drops dead after her drink is poisoned. Who put the killer ingredient in her appletini? Suddenly the tables have turned and the sheriff has become the prime suspect. Now Erica has until midnight to clear the man she still loves―and in so doing just maybe win him back. That’s if the killer doesn’t pop the cork again… and turn a New Year’s smooch into a kiss of death…
Erica is determined to have a good time on New Years Eve before she begins what she calls the year of the adult. After a disastrous year of romance, she is facing spending an evening with with ex-boyfriend, his girlfriend Candace, and at a party hosted by a rich architect who seems to have eyes for Erica. However, it quickly becomes apparent that something is wrong when Erica’s best friend’s dog becomes sick after drinking from Candace’s cup. Who wanted to poison Candace? Will everyone think it is Erica?
I think one point that was very unique and interesting to me in this book was that no one died. Usually, cozies have at least one death, and I was almost waiting for Grady’s girlfriend Candace to pass away early on in this book but I am happy to say that she didn’t — I’m really liking the development of her character so I’m happy to see her stick around.
I also love that Freddie got a dog in this book! Stanley! An adorable, elderly dog! Throughout the book Freddie refuses to admit that he likes the dog or will be keeping it, but of course he is won over by the dog and adopts him permanently.
I also enjoyed that this book really took place in one evening — all the potential murder and mayhem took place during the New Year’s Eve party and that offered a bit of a unique timeline. The book also used a lot of flashbacks from the morning after a la the hangover and they were awesome. It was so fun to piece together why Freddie and Erica woke up in bed together and appeared to be incredibly hung over. I have to say that each of the books in this series seems to have different characteristics to it which means that they do not get stale or boring.
This book was a great addition to the series.
October 17th, 2018 by Pingwing
By Victoria Schwab (as V.E. Schwab)
Series: Villains #2
Published by Tor on September 25, 2018
Magneto and Professor X. Superman and Lex Luthor. Victor Vale and Eli Ever. Sydney and Serena Clarke. Great partnerships, now soured on the vine.
But Marcella Riggins needs no one. Flush from her brush with death, she’s finally gained the control she’s always sought-and will use her new-found power to bring the city of Merit to its knees. She’ll do whatever it takes, collecting her own sidekicks, and leveraging the two most infamous EOs, Victor Vale and Eli Ever, against each other.
With Marcella’s rise, new enmities create opportunity–and the stage of Merit City will once again be set for a final, terrible reckoning.
Wow. I don’t even know where to start reviewing this book. Not only was it my most-anticipated book of 2018, I think it was my most-anticipated book ever! I can’t remember the last time I was this excited for a book to come out. After all, Victoria Schwab is one of my favourite authors, and Vicious is one of my all-time favourite books. When I first read it back in 2013, it was a stand-alone. When it was announced back in 2016, I think, that Victoria Schwab was working on a sequel, I couldn’t handle my excitement! It was a long wait until release day arrived, but it was 100% worth the wait.
Prepare yourself, because this will be a long review. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about Vengeful! (I also tweeted at Victoria Schwab as soon as I finished reading, and woke up the next day to see she liked and retweeted – basically the highlight of my year!)
Prepare yourself, because this is going to be a long review. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about Vengeful! (But I’ll try and keep this spoiler-free so I won’t get into plot specifics)
I reread Vicious right before my Vengeful pre-order showed up, so when I started reading this, I just wanted to be thrown back into Victor’s world. So when the book opened with Marcella, a new character, I was a bit thrown and not sure how I felt about that.
But Marcella was just what I needed. She was awesome. I read this during the Kavanagh mess in the US, and there was something about Marcella and her story that felt kind of cathartic or something.
There was one death in the book that made me really sad (there are lots of deaths in this book). I won’t say more, to keep things spoiler-free, but it was towards the end of the book, and by the time I finished reading, I was having an emotion overload. This book took its characters to some dark places, and I loved it, but it was heartbreaking in a way too.
And I can’t believe it, but Vengeful actually made me have feelings for Eli! We got a look at his background and it made Eli a more rounded-out character to me. I didn’t know I wanted to learn about his past, but it turns out I did!
There was another new character, June, and she and her abilities were so intriguing. I am really impressed with Victoria Schwab’s ability to get me to be so invested in new characters in this book. When I finished re-reading Vicious I just wanted to read more about Victor and Sydney and Mitch, and Eli. But I became so interested in Marcella and June as well, and I love the way their story intertwined with Victor’s and Eli’s.
I feel like the end of this book left a possibility for a third, but that might be wishful thinking, because I love this series and the characters so much. I am quite satisfied if it’s a duology and ends here.
I’m writing this review about two weeks after I finished reading, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I’ve been tempted to pick it back up and re-read it already, and I think I will make it a goal to re-read it before the end of the year. I love Victoria Schwab’s writing, and all of her books that I’ve read are fantastic (I particularly love her Shades of Magic series).
But there’s something about Vicious and Vengeful that are extra-special to me, and I can’t articulate what that is. I just know that I love these characters and their world, and I know that writing this book was something that Victoria Schwab struggled with (she discusses re-writing the book completely in this interview ), and I’m so grateful for this book.
This will definitely be one of my favourite books of the year. If you loved Vicious, I hope you love Vengeful too!
October 15th, 2018 by Pingwing
China Rich Girlfriend
By Kevin Kwan
Series: Crazy Rich Asians #2
Published by Knopf Doubleday on June 16, 2015
On the eve of her wedding to Nicholas Young, heir to one of the greatest fortunes in Asia, Rachel should be over the moon. She has a flawless Asscher-cut diamond from JAR, a wedding dress she loves more than anything found in the salons of Paris, and a fiance willing to sacrifice his entire inheritance in order to marry her. But Rachel still mourns the fact that her birthfather, a man she never knew, won’t be able to walk her down the aisle. Until: a shocking revelation draws Rachel into a world of Shanghai splendor beyond anything she has ever imagined. Here we meet Carlton, a Ferrari-crashing bad boy known for Prince Harry-like antics; Colette, a celebrity girlfriend chased by fevered paparazzi; and the man Rachel has spent her entire life waiting to meet: her father. Meanwhile, Singapore’s It Girl, Astrid Leong, is shocked to discover that there is a downside to having a newly minted tech billionaire husband. A romp through Asia’s most exclusive clubs, auction houses, and estates, China Rich Girlfriendbrings us into the elite circles of Mainland China, introducing a captivating cast of characters, and offering an inside glimpse at what it’s like to be gloriously, crazily, China-rich.
I read and enjoyed Crazy Rich Asians a few years ago, and I had to see the movie adaptation when it came out. Right after my best friend and I saw the movie (which was fantastic), I knew that I had to read the rest of the series! Fortunately my BFF loaned me this book, and I started to read it almost as soon as I got home from the movie theatre.
This book was so fun! It also made me so hungry – there were so many descriptions of delicious food! I really enjoyed reading this and getting to spend time with characters I remembered from Crazy Rich Asians (especially Astrid!). And I was very excited for Rachel and Henry’s wedding!
This book was just as fun as Crazy Rich Asians and now I can’t wait to read the third book in the series, Rich People Problems.