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review 2018-09-24 02:59
Thoughts: The Name of the Star
The Name of the Star - Maureen Johnson

The Name of the Star

by Maureen Johnson
Book 1 of Shades of London

 

 

The Day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion.  For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school.  But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city--gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific work of Jack the Ripper in the autumn of 1888.

Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses.  Except one.  Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect.  But she is the only one who saw him.  Even her roommate, who was with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man.  So why can only Rory see him?  And more urgently, what is he planning to do about her?

In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.



I haven't read a lot of YA in a long time, at least a couple years, maybe, or four.  Honestly, I don't remember, because I just kind of drifted away from it.  I might have read one YA book here and there, but I think I eventually gave up picking up anything YA unless by an author I know I love.

But all of that isn't really the point of this review.

I'm glad that I randomly chose The Name of the Star as my read for his year's Halloween Bingo, for the Baker Street Irregulars square (see end of post).  And I'm glad that it turned out much more interesting and fun than I had initially anticipated.  Mind you, I didn't expect it to be bad or anything, I just wasn't really expecting anything at all.

But I found myself quickly loving Rory's tone and her dry snark, and her random tendencies to get excited about the strangest things--like no hockey today!--and loved that she was extremely honest.  And I loved that she wasn't the typical mopey, outcast, and misunderstood YA heroine who is hated on by all the girls, but whom every male has a secret lusting attraction towards.

Rory was just an ordinary girl who traveled to England for high school, who became just another student at Wexford, who made friends and went to class and stressed about homework, like any other normal high school girl.  She had friends, both boys and girls, and there were no mean girls or overly broody alpha boys.

And then she picked up a fancy new gift after a near death experience, and ended up being the sole witness of a Ripper murder.

The truth is, I normally would have hated how dragged out a lot of this book ended up being in the beginning, and even some parts in the middle.  There was a very mundane, everyday feel to each chapter, like a boring "A Day in the Life of Aurora Deveaux."  But Rory's voice and her telling was actually kind of fun, and while a lot of detail was probably excessive, I found I enjoyed the short tangents into her family and her life back in Louisana.  Call me contradictory, because I probably would have condemned another book for being so banal.

But Rory made it interesting.

It took a while for the actual story to start up, truth be told, and meanwhile, there was a nagging voice in the back of my head wondering if we were ever going to get Rory involved in these Ripper copycat murders.  And the moment she starts seeing the ghosts, it wasn't hard to figure out how things would go from there--aside from the continuation of mundane, everyday activities, because I hadn't expected the book to keep that up.

I suppose for many others, this book might come off boring, as there is very little action, and a lot more focus on Rory's school life and her interactions with her fellow Wexford classmates.  I would have liked to have seen more scenes with her and the squad of youths known as the Shades, really, but I'm guessing that will take place more in later books.

Meanwhile, I will admit, I truly enjoyed The Name of the Star a lot, much more than I had thought I would, and that makes me extremely happy.  I will also admit that there was a point that I stopped reading this book at night because I was afraid of seeing the ghostly Ripper at my bedroom door...


***

Halloween Bingo 2018
(mystery that involves children/teens in crime solving)


Other Possible Squares:

  • Genre: Suspense
  • Ghost stories
  • Supernatural
  • Darkest London
  • Amateur Sleuth
  • Terrifying Women
  • Murder Most Foul

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/09/thoughts-name-of-star.html
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text 2018-09-17 23:14
It's Monday! Plus a Halloween Bingo Update, Just Because... | 09/17/2018
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organise yourself.  It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile!  So welcome in everyone.  This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey.  Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.  And here we are!

 

 


 


I've been pretty out of touch over the weekend, because of a lot of family things.  My big brother just got engaged and had a party for it.  There was food involved and lots of the happy!

There was partying and fun had by all, and also an appetizer called Bacon Crack that involved maple syrup, brown sugar, honey, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.  Unfortunately there is no photo to speak of because I pretty much demolished said appetizer before I thought to take a picture.  We'll compensate another time when I can figure out how to make this appetizer and show it off.  All we need to know is: Yummy!

Meanwhile, this meant that I didn't really have a whole lot of time to read... although to be fair, I DID spend a good amount of free time NOT DOING A DARN THING AT ALL!  During that time, I tried to read one of my Halloween Bingo books, but kept getting distracted by the four month old Bichon Frise my brother brought up with him while he was in town.

Everyone, meet Bear:

 


And just because I can, here's a double whammy of cute.  Here's a pic of the only few seconds that Bear and Baby weren't getting on each other's nerves.

 


You're all welcome!  =D

 

 

What I Read Last Week

 


My 'books read' for last week looked pretty pathetic.  But that's mainly because I found myself starting a million books instead of finishing anything.  And also, life happens.

 

 

What I'm Currently Reading

 

 

 

What I'm Planning to Read Next

 

 

 

Other Plans On the Blog

 

As far as Halloween Bingo goes, I'd been wanting to update every week, maybe on Fridays or Saturdays.  But with the weekend being so busy, that didn't happen this past weekend, so everyone get's the all-purpose 'It's Monday!' update post instead.  And also, it wasn't like I had a lot of update to make, being as how I'm still only at two books read despite all the many squares on my card that have been called.

My plans have pretty much been a bit mussed up.  But never fear, I'm not really going hardcore reading challenge go-getter this year, so I'm going to just aim to finish all the books I'm planning to read for Halloween Bingo, whether or not I finish them all within the allotted Halloween Bingo time.

I will probably have two new reviews ready to post sometime this week: for The Liar's Club series, and for The Name of the Star.  Meanwhile, I'm hoping to finish up Dance of the Gods at least by tomorrow, then work on Get Well Soon.  I'll be reading The Color of Magic on and off, though I'm hearing great things about it, so it might suck me in.  I need to find time for The Big Over Easy, and more importantly, I also need to get start on Valley of Silence as soon as I finish Dance of the Gods, if only because I need to get it read before it auto-returns to the e-book library next week.

Then I'm going to see about my next Halloween Bingo update, probably to be posted this coming Saturday, on 9/22.

Not... too much... right?


And just for kicks, here's my table/card visual aid if anyone's interested.

 

Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called: 09/09/18
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
~*~*~*~
Called: 09/05/18
Read:  
Called: 09/03/18
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called: 09/17/18
Read:  
Called:
Read: 09/03/18
~*~*~*~
Called: 09/01/18
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
~*~*~*~
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called: 09/13/18
Read:  
~*~*~*~
Called:
Read:  
Called: 09/11/18
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read: 09/06/18
Called: 09/07/18
Read:  
Halloween Bingo 2018
Ani's Book Abyss

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/09/its-monday-plus-halloween-bingo-update.html
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review 2018-09-09 19:53
Thoughts: Lake Silence
Lake Silence - Anne Bishop

Lake Silence

by Anne Bishop
Book 5 of The Others

 

 

Human laws do not apply in the territory controlled by the Others–-vampires, shapeshifters, and paranormal beings even more deadly.  And this is a fact that humans should never, ever forget...

After her divorce, Vicki DeVine took over a rustic resort near Lake Silence, in a human town that is not human controlled.  Towns like Vicki’s have no distance from the Others, the dominant predators that rule most of the land and all of the water throughout the world.  And when a place has no boundaries, you never really know what’s out there watching you.

Vicki was hoping to find a new career and a new life.  But when her lodger, Aggie Crowe–-one of the shapeshifting Others–-discovers a dead body, Vicki finds trouble instead.  The detectives want to pin the man’s death on her, despite the evidence that nothing human could have killed the victim.  As Vicki and her friends search for answers, things get dangerous-–and it’ll take everything they have to stay alive.



Lake Silence starts a new story arc in the world of The Others, and while as enjoyable and as endearing as the preceding five book story arc about Meg Corbin and her life as a mail sorter in the Lakeside community... it also doesn't escape my attention that this book regurgitates a lot of the same conflicts and plot points that took place in the five previous books of this series.  The story itself picks up after the global events of the Meg Corbin story arc, wherein a group of rebellious humans have decided that they can pull a fast one over on the Others without fear of retaliation, all along forgetting who the predators at the top of this food chain happen to be.

Lake Silence details a different story with a different set of characters, but the concept is exactly the same.  One girl becomes special to a group of Others in the village of Sproing, and they all band together to protect her when she becomes the target of more villainous, yet also ignorantly stupid humans who plan on breaking rules and pissing off Elders.  While it felt like a whole lot of plot happened in this book, the truth is, one simple plot point just got dragged out as a build-up to the newest global conflict that will probably take place in the following books after this one.

It's the exact same set-up as Written in Red had, but with a different set of characters.

What amuses me is that, no matter that I've already read this story, and seen those trees, and witnessed that gruesome killing... I'm still curiously drawn to this book, and very much enjoyed it.  Even though I had to put the book on hold about three months due to real life stuff and a massive reading slump of epic proportions, once I was able to check the book out from the library again and continued, I couldn't put it back down.

And the truth is, if I hadn't already read this story in the first five Others books, I think I would have absolutely given this a perfect 5-Star Rating.  To be honest, Lake Silence had more going for it than just the banal, everyday happenings of a mail sorter who just happens to show up and become special to a group of Others... JUST BECAUSE she is able to sort mail properly.

In fact, I like Vicki DeVine a lot more than I liked the ultimate Mary Sue who is Meg Corbin.  Vicki is just as strangely special and sometimes a bit flighty.  But she also shows a maturity that Meg did not have, mainly because of the basis of their character creations.  And Vicki has a much more interesting stream of conscience that sometimes borders on the nonsensical, yet also seems to ask the same questions we, as the readers, will sometimes ask when certain events of a book takes place.

But other than that, really, there wasn't much to Lake Silence.  The writing still proves kind of juvenile, even in the face of bloody, gory deaths and, and quite serious conspiratorial conflicts.

Am I going to continue reading these books?  Oh, most absolutely, I am!

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/09/thoughts-lake-silence.html
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text 2018-09-09 04:27
Random Reading Updates: The Big Over Easy
The Big Over Easy - Jasper Fforde

The Big Over Easy

by Jasper Fforde
Book 1 of Nursery Crimes

**Any subsequent updates I decide to make will be added to the top of each new re-post.**

 

Halloween Bingo 2018

 



Progress on 9/8/2018:  5 of 383 pages (1%)

Briggs drummed his fingers on the desk for a moment.

"Do you want to hear me play the trombone?"

"Might it be prejudicial to my career if I were to refuse?"

"It's a distinct possibility."

"Then I'd be delighted."


Okay, so call me immature, but for some reason, after reading this passage, the first thing I thought about was, "Wow, that escalated fast!"

Okay, so maybe my mind was in the gutter, and maybe I somehow connected trombone with some strange... euphemism... for other things.  After all, Mary Mary is interviewing for a new position with Briggs as her superior... and the whole trombone thing just kind of came out of nowhere.  O.o

Anyway, don't mind me.  Moving right along.

This is my first foray into Jasper Fforde, and I've heard and read a lot of great things about his Thursday Next books, of which are also on my TBR for some day.  So I'm kind of glad that this book was listed as an approved suggestion in the Halloween Bingo 2018 - Modern Noir reading list!  While I'm not very familiar with the 'noir' genre, I'm also not sure I was up for hardcore 'noir,' especially reading about what kinds of elements populate it.  And also because I might be remembering the chaos that was our 2017 Halloween Bingo buddy read for Classic Noir.

Anyway, off I go, starting a whole new book before finishing the other three!

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/09/random-reading-updates-big-over-easy.html
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text 2018-09-08 17:20
Halloween Bingo 2018 | Update #1

 

 
 

I feel like I'm slacking, seeing so many with four plus books already read.  At least I've finished my second book and have started three new books for Bingo!  Of course, looking back now, I think I usually start Bingo this way anyway--with fewer books read, and several books started... and then all the books get finished at the same time nearing the middle of the game.

I still haven't quite decided how I'm going to mark my card, but I've got a bit of an idea forming... which is really to say, I saw some others' ways of marking their bingo cards, and I'm going to shamelessly borrow a bunch of ideas.

So this first update will have no marked card, just yet.  And before anyone wonders, no, it probably won't be anything fancy at all.  I'm just not feeling motivated enough to come up with anything fantastic, and have been playing with the idea of recycling what I did back in 2016, just using book covers to mark my card.  Honestly, I kind of like the way that looked, though I'll also have to come up with a "called" marker to go with it... or not.

Meanwhile, everyone can enjoy my "I spent a lot of time creating and recreating because I obviously had too much time on my hands and no respect for the concept of sleep" visual/card/table tracking thing... just scroll down.  On a side note, I decided to hunker down and figure out how to map a table using html rather than just creating one in word, doing a copy and paste, and hoping that everything copied over properly.  At least this time, having created this visual completely using html and uploaded pictures... I've got an easier script to work with.  The previous one just looked way too messy...

Ahem... moving along now.

 

 

Updated Marked Card:


Coming soon!

Called Square:  TBA
Read Square:  TBA
Called and Read Square:  TBA
Bingos:  TBA

 

 

Currently Reading:

 

FOR FOR FOR
OR    
   

 

 

Squares/Books/Called Dates/Update Post Links/Tentatives:


Basically I'm listing everything from called dates to read dates, to the covers of books I'm planning to read (or would like to read) for each square, in a new, fancy table/array/visual (whatever you want to call it) for everyone's perusal!

Progress:  4 squares called || 2 books read || 0 squares completed
(on my card only)

Squares called that I do not have:
TBA

Bingo Calls Thread
The Best and Worst of Halloween Bingo 2018
Report Your Bingos!

October Group Read | Discussion Thread -- Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

(links coming soon!)

 

 

Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
~*~*~*~
Called: 09/05/18
Read:  
Called: 09/03/18
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read: 09/03/18
~*~*~*~
Called: 09/01/18
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
~*~*~*~
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
~*~*~*~
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read: 09/06/18
Called: 09/07/18
Read:  
Halloween Bingo 2018
Ani's Book Abyss



Here are also some books that I would love to read for Bingo, but I have not officially allocated to any particular square.

 

 



And these books I have already decided on specific squares, but I'm still kind of on the fence about them:

 

For these corresponding squares

 

For these corresponding squares

 

 

Wild Card Author:

 


I haven't decided which author to use as my Wild Card yet, but I've been considering using Nora Roberts, as she is a writer of a lot of crime thrillers, romantic suspense, and supernatural, including the Circle trilogy I've chosen for this year's bingo.

Other authors I'm also considering are: Susanna Kearsley, who writes Gothic with a bit of supernatural; Elizabeth Peters, who has a lot of cozy mysteries; or another obvious option, Agatha Christie!

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/09/halloween-bingo-2018-update-1.html
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