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review 2017-12-17 08:58
Origin by Dan Brown
Origin - Dan Brown

Professor Robert Langdon is invited to the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao to a presentation by one of his former students, futurist Edmond Kirsch. Kirsch's presentation is supposed to be revolutionary, presenting the answer to humankind's two oldest and most intriguing questions;Where do we come from? and Where are we going?

But before Kirsch can launch the gist of it, he's killed by a bullet to the brain. Someone doesn't want his findings to be made public, but Langdon is prepared to do anything to thwart their plans. Even go on a run with the future queen of Spain, be accused of kidnapping, and dodge an assassin from a Catholic sect...


Whenever I pick up a book categorized as a thriller I expect to be thrilled. Dan Brown has been failing at that in the last three installments in this series, with this last one being the absolute worst of the bunch.

Instead of mysterious, suspenseful and thrilling, I got boring, dull and plodding. It started off slow, slightly hurried up along the plot, yet never really picking up pace to even get to the level of "interesting" with its nonlinear narrative jumping backward, forward and sometimes even sideways in time resulting in severe loss of momentum at most inopportune times.
It was unnecessarily overcomplicated and filled with redundancy and unnecessary side-plots (that ended up not leading anywhere and/or didn't provide the "oomph" the author probably wanted), until the main story arc got lost in the twists, turns and spirals (pun utterly intended) provided by the fillers and ballast of the rest of it.

In the end, the final revelations of Kirsch's discovery and who was really behind his televised murder and why, came at a point where I wasn't excited about what happens next, but eager for it all to end.
The real "murderer" was no surprise, since I expected something along those lines; everything was set up too nicely for it not to happen the way it did. And the revelation about our origin and destiny certainly didn't inspire the awe and internal debate that was supposed to, I guess. It wasn't anything new—not the past and certainly not the future.

So what was this book really about? Why was it really written? It didn't bring anything new to the table, it wasn't intriguing, it wasn't thrilling. It also didn't adhere to the canon established in Inferno if the conversation about babies between the future kind and queen of Spain was any indication.
Was it really just for the money?

If it was, that's even more disappointing.

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review 2017-12-16 22:01
Book Review of Chase Tinker and the HOUSE OF DESTINY (The Chase Tinker Series, Book 3) by Malia Ann Haberman
Chase Tinker and the House of Destiny (The Chase Tinker Series, Book 3) (Volume 3) - Malia Ann Haberman

For eight agonizing months Chase Tinker's guilt over the despicable act he committed on Halloween night has been eating away at his heart and mind. His life gets even more complicated when secrets about the ancient Relic in the attic are revealed, right before an unwelcome caller arrives on Chase's birthday.

 

Despite these problems, his biggest concern is that his family's Dark Enemy, the Marlowe Family, is becoming more powerful with each passing day, fueled by the magic they continue to pillage from the many magical beings in the world. If Chase and his family are ever going to win, they'll need a whole lot of magical help. They must destroy the most evil threat the world has ever known.

 

Review 5*

 

This is the third book in The Chase Tinker series. I absolutely loved it!

 

Chase Tinker is a wonderful character and I really liked him from the first time I met him in the first book. I have enjoyed watching his development from a frustrated teen into someone who I would be proud to know.

 

In this third book, which is told mostly from Chase's point of view though other characters also have their say, Chase is still having to deal with new magical powers that he struggles to control. Not only that, the Marlowe's are still intent on finding the Relic hidden in the attic of the Tinker house. But now one of their own has turned on them too, leading the Tinkers to find assistance from other magical beings. However, there's a problem. The Marlowe's are stealing all the magic and if Chase and his family don't stop them, all will be lost. Can they stop them before it's too late?

 

This is a wonderful story full of adventure, danger and mystery, and I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat as Chase, Andy, Nori and Persephone face danger once more. There are several twists and turns that keep a reader guessing. I found myself on a roller coaster of emotion from beginning to end. The story is full of imaginative prose that guides the reader in such a way that it runs like a movie in the mind's eye and is easy to picture. I love the way the secrets of the house were revealed and what it means to be a Tinker. I also love the way the characters' grow and develop throughout this series. This book doesn't end with a cliffhanger, but it still left me looking forward to reading the last book in the series, Chase Tinker and the House of Mist, as soon as possible. Though I am dreading it too, as I don't want the series to end.

 

Malia Ann Haberman has written a entertaining and exciting story for middle grade children. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and imaginative. The flow is wonderful too. I would definitely read more of her books in the future.

 

I highly recommend this book to middle grade readers aged 9 to 14. However, I also recommend this book (and series) to adults who love reading middle grade fantasy, or to those who are fans of books like Harry Potter. - Lynn Worton

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review 2017-12-16 01:06
Where's a Sherpa when you need one?
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey - Diana Sudyka,Trenton Lee Stewart

When we first met the intrepid, orphaned quartet that made up a large part of the Mysterious Benedict Society we were left feeling that surely this couldn't be the last adventure that they'd be on together...and we were absolutely right. The whole gang is back in the second book in the series by Trenton Lee Stewart titled The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey. (Note: A new illustrator, Diana Sudyka, has penned the drawings for this book and forthcoming books in the series.) The beginning of the book starts off with the kids separated and trying to live as close to normal as possible. The reader is once again following the main character, Reynie, as he heads to meet up with everyone on the anniversary of their last adventure together. However, when they are all reunited at Mr. Benedict's house they are met with a very unpleasant surprise. (No spoilers here!!) What follows is a treacherous journey (hence the name of the book) that takes them on boats, trains, and up the side of a mountain in another country. While the central theme of friendship and working together is still present, this book is much darker in tone and a sense of foreboding lingers over every page. (In some ways, it reminds me of the progression of the Harry Potter series.) The illustrations again accompany a portion of the text and even though it's a different illustrator the sense of whimsy is ever-present. Overall, very enjoyable and fun to see how the author expands on each of the characters personalities and abilities. (Constance plays a much larger role in this book.) I have to confess that I've had the third book in the series gathering dust on my desk at work (and a copy of it here at home) but I haven't felt an overwhelming urge to pick it up just yet. I have a feeling this will be one of the first books I get to in the new year. XD If you read the first book in the series then I'm confident you'll enjoy the sequel. 8/10

 

 

A sample of the new illustrator's style [Source: Kinder Books]

 

 

What's Up Next: The Time Quartet series by Madeleine L'Engle

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Scythe by Neal Shusterman

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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text 2017-12-13 18:38
Perfectly suited to be a Shonen Jump Manga
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Manga Classics - Mark Twain

*Disclaimer: reviewing uncorrected eARC via NetGalley.

 

I loved this so, so much. Huck Finn was always my favourite Twain book, so this got a boost just for being imho a great story. I really liked the art style; basically Tom & Huck can be read as mischievous, good-hearted but troublemaking Shonen Jump heroes anyways, so it's just a super fun ride.

 

The subject matter and choices in adaptation deserve some comment, though. There's definitely what we'd call in 2017 "problematic" content around slavery and the portrayal of black people in general. Maybe it's just because I haven't re-read this book as an adult, but I really appreciated the way the Manga Classics adaptation helped the satire of the story stand out, making it clear how crazy the white kids' approach to their situation was, how little true empathy they had for the black (slaves') experience when it came down to it, and how illogical and absurd much of the adults' behaviour was as well. I remember reading this and watching movies a couple decades ago and thinking it was mostly a fun, at times emotional, kids adventure story. Reading this adaptation, it's MUCH clearer to me that Twain was commenting on slavery and a transformation in one boy's understanding of his world, justice and ethical behaviour. Huck learns to see Jim, the "runaway" black slave, as a full human and feels empathy for him by the end of the story, a big transformation from where he makes fun of him and treats him like something less-than-human at the beginning.

 

Appreciated the artist & adaptation notes at the end that spelled out some of the decisions that went into making the adaptation and grappling with how to tell the story. I thought this had great pacing (especially compared to some of the other Manga Classics adaptations that are obviously summarizing and racing through large portions of the story), the art was lovely, dynamic or funny and always expressive, depending on what the scene called for. I'd watch an anime based on this.

 

Language use is preserved from Twain's original, which at times is hard to puzzle out, since it's diving into some pretty heavy accents or dialects. Between that, N-word and the content around slavery, I wouldn't recommend this for cautious/beginning readers. But again, I loved it, so if you're up to sounding out the words and playing some guessing games as to content, definitely give this a shot.

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review 2017-12-12 17:32
Secrets in Death by J.D. Robb
Secrets in Death - J.D. Robb

Lieutenant Eve Dallas is in one of her husband's bars, having a drink with a colleague, when a notorious gossip journalist stumbles from the bathroom and collapses. COD: knife would to the brachial artery.

It turns out, the gossips journalist had a side business—blackmail, so it must've been a mark that did her in. The only problem is finding out the correct culprit.


A decent story, yet nothing substantial to write home about. Dead bodies weren't piling up, so it wasn't a serial, and the danger and urgency was extremely low, the investigative process into the blackmail business wasn't really surprising in terms of what they dug out, I couldn't really bring myself to care about the victim and all her victims, the killer was predictable, and the pacing was very spotty.

The second murder was definitely overkill, and it felt like the story ran a little too long, slowing the tempo even more.

A solid story, but nothing out of the ordinary.

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