Book: The Murder On The Orient Express

Book: The Murder On The Orient Expressmurder on the orient express

Author: Agatha Christie

Synopsis: Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its track by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer.

Isolated by the storm and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer amongst a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again.

Rating:

Review(Spoilers): Although this isn’t going to tell the big spoilers I feel that it is best to go into this book not knowing anything. I picked this up without knowing much about it because the adaptation is coming out. Typically, mysterious are not my thing. I find them boring and predictable. I was disappointed with how predictable this book was too.

Characters:⅖ There wasn’t much about the characters beside their relations to the murder. We didn’t get a look into anyone’s personality, not even Hercule, making the whole story very distant. Hercule’s thinking process was very interesting, as I have never thought like a detective. I did find that no one’s acts really surprised me.

Plot:⅗ While it was predictable, I did love it. The way that they all had relations and ties to this one man and all seemed to be on this one train did raise a lot of questions. I wish it wasn’t so predictable because that always seems to ruin my opinion. The entire time I did think it was one person until the last section, that was when I thought that everything was put together so smoothly that it had to have been planned.

Writing Style: ⅖ I understand how much effort is put into the writing when it comes to mysteries, especially murders, because it has to flow while giving evidence, but it can’t give anything away. When it came to the explanation it was well thought out, but it felt like he was explaining to us rather than he was trying to solve the problem. There was something about the dialogue that felt off. Of course, she did a flawless job of providing well thought out evidence for all the characters. I didn’t have a problem with any of that just with the dialogue.

Overall, I did really enjoy this story. It was a nice refresher from fantasy, and it really gives your mind a challenge to figure it out. I will be eagerly awaiting the adaptation set to come out in November.

 

Book: Flame In The Mist

Book: Flame In The Mist

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Synopsis: The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan. a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love-a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

Rating:

Review (Spoiler Free): Everyone talked about this book and how good it was, so I had to high hopes for this book. Sadly, it didn’t reach those expectations. There was a lot of confusing things and the world building was a little too far fetched.

Characters: ⅗ Mariko seemed like she was going to be a strong character. She didn’t seem to have her priorities straight, and she didn’t even start to put together a plan. Mariko’s motivation was strong and nor was it the best decisions. I had seen loads on how much feminism there was, but to me the feminism wasn’t put there for any gaining factor. It was forced, and didn’t impact her character at all.

Plot: ⅗ The plot was confusing. It seemed very choppy and not smoothly connected. I wish there would have been more world building to help make sense of the things that went down. It was very dull, and I wish I could have been more drawn into the story,

Writing Style: ⅖ A lot of the things mentioned didn’t have an explanation. There was a glossary, but not all of the words were there. The first time something is mentioned there should be a sentence to describe what it is. Instead we have to guess or go to the glossary. Her sentences weren’t overly flowy, preventing me from really connecting to the story and the characters.

Overall, I didn’t enjoy this book. I wish it had more world building, and less focus on the relationship that blumes out of nowhere.

Book: Girls Made Of Snow and Glass

Book: Girls Made Of Snow and Glass

Author: Melissa Bashardoust

Synopsis: At sixteen, Mina’s mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone. Her heart has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that normal-she never guessed that her father had cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: Win the king’s heart, become queen, and finally know.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: A magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do-and who to be-to win back the only mother she’s ever known.

Rating: 4.5/5

Review (Contains Spoilers): I received this book as an arc after winning it in a giveaway. I was so excited, and I’m happy to say it didn’t disappoint. The characters were so complex, and I couldn’t help but love and hate them.

Characters: 5/5 My favorite part of the entire book was the relationships. The relationship between Mina and Lynet was so hard to understand. There wasn’t the basic stepmother trope which was refreshing. I couldn’t begin to think how much changed between them. I WILL BE SCREAMING ABOUT LYNET AND NADIA. I didn’t expect it at all, yet it seemed so fitting. Throughout the book they went through so much, and I loved them just being there for eachother all the time. Not too long ago I read a post about lack of F/F relationships, and this book represented it very well.

I didn’t like Mina as much as I liked Lynet. Obviously she had that more villainy side that came out in the way she talked. For some reason, she reminded me of Kaz Brekker. I think it was the “Can’t love” trope going for them, but also in the way they represented themselves. Mina was constantly thinking about presentation and ways to maneuver her way to the top. She was still so well written even if she wasn’t a good character.

Lynet on the other hand was amazing to read from. I don’t know why, but I found her more interesting and more human. She did feel more childish than her age. Yet Lynet sacrificed so much for her own happiness to help her dad. Lynet did almost everything her dad told her to, and even though she was scared of becoming like mother, she tried to disappoint her father as little as possible. Such a pure soul, and the ending she really had changed. After all of this, she had realized her duties and what she needed to do.

Plot: ⅘ This plot was seemed unoriginal, but it was still shocking. Every betrayal felt real even though sometimes it wasn’t. I felt that it was a little fast, but I was eager for more, and it fed that need. There was some parts that I wish was expanded on like their powers because it felt a little skimmed. Large gaps of time threw me off because so much time passed, but the scenery or seasons never changed.

Writing Style: ⅘ There wasn’t a lot of dialogue which is different from most books. My only problem with the writing was the way it skimmed over monumental parts. Big parts of the story were wrapped up in a few sentences. That was another factor that contributed to the pacing.

In the end I loved it. This was such an amazing book, and I will recommend this until the day I die.

Book: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life

Book: The Inexplicable Logic of my Life

Author: Benjamin Alire Sańez

Synopsis: The first day of senior year:

Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief.

Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is- but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

Rating: 3.5/5

Review: (Spoiler Free) I really do love this book. Most of it hit my heart so hard, and I cried like a baby the entire time. I don’t think I liked it more than Aristotle and Dante, but I still did very much enjoy it. It did seem a little repetitive at some points.

Characters: ⅗ Salvador didn’t feel original, but I still felt a very strong connection to him. Every heartbreaking moment I was crying. Sal and Sam’s relationship didn’t feel very real to me. I couldn’t find in what way it was similar at all to my best friend. Of course, the circumstances were very different. They were the only relationship that really fit. Sal and his dad were supposed to have this great relationship, but it didn’t feel right.

Plot: ⅖ There wasn’t much of a plot. It felt more like a collection memories and moments. There was also very large gaps between these small moments. The conflict was a little too drawn out too.

Writing Style: ⅖ There wasn’t much depth, which what the author was trying to get. A lot of the dialogue seemed a little over the top in terms of the jokes. No one seemed to have basic conversations.

That was a very short review, but overall I did enjoy it. I wished I loved it as much as Ari and Dante.

Book: Frostblood

Book: Frostblood

Author: Elly Blake

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat and flame from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow their bloodthirsty king, she agrees to come out of hiding, desperate to have he revenge.

Despite her unpredictable abilities, Ruby trains with the rebels and the infuriating- yet irresistible- Arcus, who seems to think of her as nothing more than a weapon. But before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to compete in the King’s tournaments that pit Fireblood prisoners against Frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her-and from the icy young man she has come to love.

Rating:

Review (Spoiler Free): Frostblood was full of troupes making it seem very unoriginal. The book didn’t grip me or connect me to the story at all.

Characters: ⅖ Ruby felt very basic. I didn’t get much from her interactions with anyone. Arcus was cliche, and I hated him. He was very cruel in the beginning and mean, yet she found that endearing and felt that “pull” to him.

Plot: ⅗ The King’s tournament was a big part of the story. It was very short, the author just drew it out to last longer. Majority of this book is just training, and Ruby resisting and doubting everyone. The plot was full of troupes too, it made it to cliche for my liking.

World Building: ⅗ This world is very far fetched. I think that we were given the information at the right time. It did annoy me how much wrong information we were given; Ruby said that the Firebloods did this then she learns that the Frostbloods did nothing wrong. It really amounted to me doubting all the information our main character gave us.

Writing Style: The writing style wasn’t overall prominent. It didn’t connect me to the characters, making them seem really surface. Dialogue was very obvious, and included way too much banter.

I didn’t really enjoy this book, but I may continue with the story. I think it’s a series, but I could be wrong. What did you think of this book?

Book: The Trials of Apollo

Book: The Trials of ApolloThe_Hidden_Oracle.jpg

Author: Rick Riordan

Synopsis: How do you punish an immortal? By making him human. After angering his father, Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disoriented, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favor.

But Apollo has many enemies-gods, monsters, and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go… an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

Rating: 3.5/5

Review (Contains Spoilers):

Characters: ⅗ I really enjoyed these characters. I seemed that Meg’s actions were a little childish, but she wasn’t written like a child. Meg always seemed like a little sister to Apollo, and I think that we will be seeing more of her in the coming books.

Apollo was the only character we got the thoughts on, and he is the brattiest character ever. Why do the other Gods act so normal? His personality did bring so much more humor into the story, it felt forced. The jokes were only sometimes funny, and Rick trying to write more modern it really felt short to me.

The LBTQ+ characters were amazing. I liked how Apollo mentioned it, was fine with it, and quickly moved on. Will and Nico are so cute with each other. You can really see how loving they are, and their flirty jabs never failed to make me smile.

Plot: ⅘ Dull moments were almost nonexistent. I found the plot the most interesting part. I did find the Geyser scene was very stupid. The personalities were annoying, and the scene felt overall forced and fake. The ending scene was very quick. We have an entire book of build up, yet the battle scene lasts a chapter. Apollo knew exactly what to do, and there was no failed tries.

The parts about Apollo’s past lovers was my favorite part. They really gave him a human perspective. I also loved how it was not just a woman but a man too.

Writing Style: Rick Riordan writes middle grade, so it was very easy for me to read. Things are very clearly written and spelled. That did make the story very choppy, and the dialogue wasn’t very flowy.

Overall, this story was enjoyable. My inner child can come out and really enjoy middle grade.

 

Book: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Book: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Author: Jenny Han

Synopsis: What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?

Sixteen-year old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are the ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved-five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Rating:

Review(Spoilers): This one of the best contemporaries. It has such a nice relationships including the love interest, family, neighbors. I read it at a great time too, right before school starts. It made me excited for school. It makes me believe that school is better than it actually is.

Characters: ⅘ In the beginning of the book I related so much to Lara Jean. Her sister is going off, and she’s sad and scared about how different it’s going to be. My brother is going too, and I’m feeling all of those emotions too.

I liked how enthusiastic and fun Lara Jean was. She made me laugh at her decisions, and overall was so fun to read from. Her snark was funny, especially when bickering with Peter. It improved the relationship so much.

I didn’t love Peter and Lara Jean, but I did their interactions was cute. It was really opposites attract because they are completely different. Peter has that popular set of friends and baths in attention while Lara likes to hide away in crowds.

Plots: ⅗ It was very predictable, but when is a contemporary not? I liked that it kept my attention even if the first bit was a little rocky. I didn’t like the way Josh just popped in and out, not really being present but being a big part of the story. The middle didn’t have as much substance as I wanted to. The main problem didn’t really come till the end.

Writing: ⅗ The dialogue was hilarious. All the character actions flowed. Christmas scenes were my absolute favorite. They were written so well where it made me ache for that time of year.

Overall I really liked this book. If you are looking for a really cute contemporary, this is for you.

Book: Cinder

Book: Cinderimage

Author: Marissa Meyer

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder’s brain interference has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it “a matter of national security,” but Cinde suspects it’s more serious than he’s letting on.

Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder’s intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that’s been devastating for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter’s illness, Cinder’s stepmother volunteer her body for plague research, an “honor” that no one has survived.

But it doesn’t  take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for.

Rating:

Review (Contains Spoilers): I didn’t really enjoy the book. The ending did leave me absolutely speechless and was very well put together. I might read Scarlett. Most say that we actually get some world building in the next books.

Characters: ⅖ The characters were very empty. We got the same general information and emotions from them. Also, there was never any physical descriptions of anyone. The only thing I really picked up from Cinder was that she is a mechanic, cyborg, and Lunar. She was also hating on her body constantly. “If Cinder’s body had ever been predisposed to femininity, it had ruined by whatever the surgeons had done to her, leaving her with a stick-straight figure. Too angular. Too boyish.” That sentence just annoyed me because you don’t need cleavage to be considered a woman.  Kai I knew as the Prince who was scared to be king.  Their “relationship” didn’t really seem real either because he immediately turned on her. He didn’t care one bit of defense from her.

Plot: 3.5/5 It was quite boring and slow at the beginning. I had to put it aside because nothing was happening. The plot didn’t pick up until the end, then I got super into it. That ending makes me want to know more because I need closure. It was predictable, and none of the plot twists surprised me.

World Building: ⅕ This deserves its own topic because it was the worst part to me. There was way too much that wasn’t expanded. It’s supposedly set in New Beijing, yet there is no Eastern culture. We don’t look into the customs or history.

Lunars are the moon people that are terrible and ruin people’s lives. There was not really any solid proof of things the Queen Levana has done wrong besides rumors. Queen Levana was really the only thing we learned about related Lunars.
Writing Style: ⅖ The story relied heavily on dialogue. The way information was given to the readers by someone sharing it with an uninformed character. I also had a problem with the lack of emotion in the writing. Their emotions were very empty or not present in the text.

Overall, this book is not a favorite. I think I will continue with the story because I was told they get better. I also need closure for the story because the ending just left me with wanting more.

Book: Lucky In Love

Book: Lucky In Love

Author: Kasie West

Synopsis: Maddie’s not impulsive. She’s all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment- she wins!

In a flash, Maddie’s life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she’s talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun… until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now Maddie isn’t sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn’t seem aware of Maddie’s big news. And, for some reason, she doesn’t want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

Rating:

Review (Spoiler Free): I did not like this book. In almost every aspect I found it lacking. The story wasn’t as easy story to sink into. I was expecting so much more from it.

Characters: ⅖ I really did love that Seth was Asian. There aren’t really many Asian boys in books, so that was nice and refreshing. Sadly, there wasn’t much depth to his character. I honestly didn’t really care for him. He just popped up at convenient times.

Maddie was annoying to me. She just entirely ruined the book for me. I wished she was smarter with her money and life. Maddie realized that she did something that wasn’t smart, yet she goes and does it again. There is so much more she could of done with it instead of using so flippantly. There wasn’t much to her character either. She changed so quickly, like suddenly half way through the book she was a different person that cared about different things.

Plot: ⅗ The plot seemed like it could’ve gone better. The idea of her winning the lottery was such a good idea. If the idea had more of a conflict that would of been good. To me there was just a bunch of little problems way too drawn out. There were a few loose ends that weren’t tied up.

Writing Style: ⅘ The writing style was quite basic and border for the characters, but it wasn’t too choppy. It wasn’t really prominent in my opinion, but it wasn’t bad.

What did you think of Lucky In Love? I would love to talk about it.

Book: Saint Anything

Book: Saint Anything

Author: Sarah Dessen

Synopsis: Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parent’s attention and-lately- concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is the the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Charathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

Rating:

Review (Spoilers): This book was very quick and fast paced. I found myself really indulging in the characters. I wish we got more from the plot, though. The dialogue was very smooth, and helped the conversations between characters very real.

Characters: Sydney was an okay character. Half the things Sydney did was not realistic. I didn’t like how she didn’t communicate with her parents, and it made them seem like villains. I felt that she was a very surface character. There was no way for me to connect to her and her story. I really wished we got perspectives from other characters.

Layla was such a good character. The way she supported Sydney and helped her with Ames, a character who was useless and did nothing for the plot. Their friendship was something that really developed the book. I was sad to see her pushed to the side towards the end.

Mac and Sydney romance was very nice. It was there, but it didn’t take away from the overall theme. He helped her along, but in the end she did it for herself.

Plot: The overall theme for this book is something that we can really take with us. I didn’t like the way the plot taught it. Lack of communication was what really caused it. If Sydney had communicated more with her parents a lot of problems could have been solved. Her parents won’t automatically know what she’s thinking or what goes on while their gone, Ames being a creep, if Sydney doesn’t tell them.

I felt that the book was just a lot of different moments put together, it didn’t flow nicely. The moments were all so cute. It was very fast because of that. The book took me probably four hours to read. The ending did please me. It’s always satisfying when endings solve everything. It was a very loose ending. I spent most of my brain energy understanding what happened because it was all so fast. Sydney’s journey was fun to be a part of.

Writing Style: Saint Anything was, like most contemporaries, easy. There was no slang or made up words. It was very smooth. Sadly, I didn’t feel connected to the story. I was genuinely wanting to learn about the characters, but I wasn’t sucked into the story. That did lead to a drop in my rating.

Overall, it was good. My first Sarah Dessen book. I don’t think I will be picking up anymore in the near future. That may change next summer when my want for contemporaries is at its peak.