review

The Tea Dragon Tapestry (Tea Dragon #3) REVIEW

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The Tea Dragon Tapestry by Katie O’Neill

Published October 27th 2020

Genre: Graphic novel, Middle grade

Pages: 128

Source: Netgalley – in exchange for an honest review

Over a year since being entrusted with Ginseng’s care, Greta still can’t chase away the cloud of mourning that hangs over the timid Tea Dragon. As she struggles to create something spectacular enough to impress a master blacksmith in search of an apprentice, she questions the true meaning of crafting, and the true meaning of caring for someone in grief. Meanwhile, Minette receives a surprise package from the monastery where she was once training to be a prophetess. Thrown into confusion about her path in life, the shy and reserved Minette finds that the more she opens her heart to others, the more clearly she can see what was always inside.

Told with the same care and charm as the previous installments of the Tea Dragon series, The Tea Dragon Tapestry welcomes old friends and new into a heartfelt story of purpose, love, and growth.

The Tea Dragon Tapestry is the last book of the Tea Dragon series. I read all the previous books and loved them and this one was no exception. In this one, we conclude the story of Greta and Minette. Greta is still caring for Ginseng and has now to create a piece to impress Kleitos, so that he accepts her as his apprentice. Minette is having recurring dreams and still trying to find herself after her life in the monastery. 

I love these characters so much. Also, the art is stunning. Every panel is wonderfully illustrated, it feels like a true piece of art.

The books of this series all feel comforting and warm, something we all need sometimes.

I’m sad to be leaving these characters behind but I can’t wait to see what the author will do next.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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The Haunting of Hill House REVIEW

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The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Published October 16th 1959

Genre: Horror, Gothic

Pages: 182

Source: Bought it

First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, the lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

In The Haunting of Hill House we follow Luke, Theo, Nellie and Dr. Montague as they try to find proof of supernatural activity in Hill House. When they first arrive, everything seems fine. The reluctance of the groundskeepers to stay after sunset is odd but everybody brushes it off. Certainly nothing bad could happen… Or could it?

I watched the Netflix series and it is one of my favorites! The stories are different, though. The characters have the same names but nothing in the stories is the same, except for Hill House, of course. Even though the Netflix series is better, the book was still enjoyable. It was suspenseful and the chemistry between the characters was perfect. I found myself laughing out loud with some of the things they said, which is rare in a horror book.

All in all, a great book.

Rating: 4 stars

“Fear,” the doctor said, “is the relinquishment of logic, the willing relinquishing of reasonable patterns. We yield to it or we fight it, but we cannot meet it halfway.”

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The Book of You MINI-REVIEW

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The Book of You by Claire Kendal

Published April 24th 2014

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Pages: 384

Source: Bought it

A terrifying psychological thriller about obsession and power, perfect for fans of Gone Girl and Before I Go to Sleep.

Clarissa is becoming more and more frightened of her colleague, Rafe. He won’t leave her alone, and he refuses to take no for an answer. He is always there.

Being selected for jury service is a relief. The courtroom is a safe haven, a place where Rafe can’t be. But as a violent tale of kidnap and abuse unfolds, Clarissa begins to see parallels between her own situation and that of the young woman on the witness stand.

Realizing that she bears the burden of proof, Clarissa unravels the twisted, macabre fairytale that Rafe has spun around them – and discovers that the ending he envisions is more terrifying than she could have imagined.

But how do you protect yourself from an enemy no one else can see?

(Spoilers! Trigger warning: This book contains stalking and scenes of rape, drug use and violence)

Clarissa has been stalked for some months and nothing seems to stop Rafe from doing it. She has considered going to the police but she needs strong evidence to do so. So she decides to write The Book of You that describes all the incidents with Rafe. When she’s called for jury duty, she’s hopeful that it will mean time away from him but that might not be entirely true.

This book was terrifying. The way the author wrote it made me feel what Clarissa was feeling and it was scary. I don’t even know what words to describe it other than that. 

If you want a really heavy thriller, read this one.

Rating: 4 stars

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Full Dark, No Stars REVIEW

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Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Published November 9th 2010

Genre: Mystery Thriller

Pages: 340

Source: Borrowed

A new collection of four never-before-published stories from Stephen King.

1922
The story opens with the confession of Wilfred James to the murder of his wife, Arlette, following their move to Hemingford, Nebraska onto land willed to Arlette by her father.

Big Driver
Mystery writer, Tess, has been supplementing her writing income for years by doing speaking engagements with no problems. But following a last-minute invitation to a book club 60 miles away, she takes a shortcut home with dire consequences.

Fair Extension
Harry Streeter, who is suffering from cancer, decides to make a deal with the devil but, as always, there is a price to pay.

A Good Marriage
Darcy Anderson learns more about her husband of over twenty years than she would have liked to know when she stumbles literally upon a box under a worktable in their garage.

1. 1922 4 stars

Conflict is brooding between Wilfred and his wife, Arlette. She wants to sell her father’s land and move to the city but Wilfred cannot let that happen. After a lot of discussion, Arlette still doesn’t bulge so Wilfred, with the help of their son, Henry, must do the unthinkable. But, after that night, their life hardly goes back to normal. Henry is changed, and Wilfred must face the consequences of their action.

This story is written in the form of a confession letter, which I liked. There’s always this feeling of dread for the future and, I must say, the ending did not disappoint.

A great way to start this collection, for sure.

2. Big Driver – 5 stars

Tessa Jean is just a cozy mystery writer. Her novels have collected a significant amount of following, so it comes to no surprise when she’s invited to speak at an event. It’s just another one, speaking, autographing books, taking some photos, answering questions, Tessa has done it a million times before. After the event, she takes a shortcut. Everything is going well and Tessa thinks she’s getting home quicker when suddenly, the road is blocked. She doesn’t react fast enough and the nails on the road slash one of her tires. Alone in the middle of a deserted road, Tessa waits for help. And it arrives, in the form of a giant man, who might not be what he seems.

I was glued to the pages the entire time. I loved Tessa Jean so much! The story reads as a classic mystery but much bloodier and gruesome.

One of the best stories in the book.

3. Fair extension – 4 stars

Streeter’s time is ending. He has terminal cancer and not much hope for the future. Until he meets a strange man called Elvid. Suddenly, his life changes, but at what cost? This story was surprisingly heartbreaking. Really interesting addition to Full Dark, No Stars.

4. Good Marriage – 4 stars

Darcy is having a perfectly ordinary day. Until she literally trips on her husband’s secret. Now, it’s up to her to decide what to do with it.

Even though it wasn’t as good as Big Driver, it was a pretty fun story. A good way to finish up the book.

Overall rating: 4 stars

Wrap up

September Wrap up

This month I read some fun things.

  • People Don’t Do Such Things by Ruth Rendell – I got this on the Serial Box app and really liked it! I loved how detailed the audiobook was and, if you have the chance, choose audio for this one!
  • The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George – I finally finished this one and now I feel empty. This was such a big story, I can’t believe it’s over. If you want to know more about Cleopatra, pick this one up, it’ll be worth it.
  • Rat Queens Vol. 1 by Kurtis J. Wieb – I had been meaning to read this one and finally did! It was so fun! I’m really looking forward to reading the next volumes.
  • Rocannon’s World by Ursula K. Le Guin – This was another attempt at an Ursula Le Guin book and it failed. I wanted to like it so much! Sadly, I don’t think this author, or at least this series, is for me.
  • Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas – This was the Literally Dead Book Club pick of the month and I’m so glad I read it! It was eerie, it was spooky, I loved it!
  • The Book of You by Claire Kendal – This has been on my shelf for some time and I finally picked it up. It follows a woman who is being stalked by a co-worker and that’s all you need to know. Trigger warning: detailed descriptions of rape.

And that was all! I’m currently reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (I needed something light after all those serious books) and I’m having fun. What books did you read in September? Let me know!

book haul

September Book Haul

This month I bought some more books:

  • The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben – I’ve had my eye on this book for some time and finally decided to buy it!
  • To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini – I have a very special place in my heart for Paolini so of course I had to buy his newest release
  • Dissolution by C. J. Sansom – I saw this in my favorite used book shop and knew I had to buy it. It has been recommended to me so many times!
  • Rose: The Last Light Vol. 1 by Meredith Finch – I know nothing about this but I recently read Rat Queens and needed a new fantasy graphic novel to fill in the void
  • Vanity Dies Hard by Ruth Rendell – I’ve been trying to get more into Ruth Rendell and this seemed like the perfect opportunity

What books did you buy this month? Let me know!

review

Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #1) REVIEW

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Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Published September 10th 2019

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 448

Source: Bought it

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

Gideon the Ninth was one of my most anticipated books of last year. It promised action, necromancers and lesbians. We got most of that.

The story starts off great. Gideon is trying to flee the Ninth House and is stopped by Nonagesimus, the Reverend Daughter of the Locked Tomb and she proposes a deal. Gideon is to come with her to pretend to be the Ninth House Cavalier and help Nonagesimus become a Lyctor. After that, she is free to go wherever she wants. Gideon accepts and the book goes on from there.

The pacing of this book was not great. Nothing happens in half of the book and when stuff really started to happen, I was too confused with all the characters with big weird names that seemed to be all the same. I think I’m pretty good at keeping track of people in books but I couldn’t do it in this one. I was at 60-70% and still had no idea who some of the characters were. I thought about giving up many times but just kept going, hoping it got better. It did, in some aspects, but, overall, it is a mediocre book with many issues.

Will I read the sequel? Maybe? I think I’ll wait to see what people say about it.

Rating: 3 stars

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy #1) REVIEW

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Published October 12th 1979

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 208

Source: Bought it

Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”) and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox–the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.

Where are these pens? Why are we born? Why do we die? Why do we spend so much time between wearing digital watches? For all the answers stick your thumb to the stars. And don’t forget to bring a towel!

It’s another ordinary day for Arthur Dent. He’s laying in front of the bulldozers to protect his house from being demolished when his friend, Ford, arrives. He convinces Arthur to go to the pub and, while his house is being demolished, Ford explains how the Earth is about to be destroyed. A few minutes go by and, as it turns out, Ford was right. Luckily for Arthur, his friend is able to save him and thus begins an unpredictable journey through the Universe.

This was such a quirky book. Everything was ridiculous but, sometimes, provided some interesting commentary on humanity. However, because it focused so much on the comedic part of the situations, the characters lacked. They were interesting and all of them had their gimmick but there was not much else besides that.

Nonetheless, it’s a light read so, if you want to read something fun and quick, consider picking it up.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was the first Douglas Adams book I’ve read and, even with all it’s problems, I’m interested in continuing on with the series and read some other books from the author like, for example, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

Rating: 3.5 stars

“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.”

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The Other People REVIEW

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The Other People by C. J. Tudor

Published January 23rd 2020

Genre: Mystery Thriller

Pages: 400

Source: Bought it

She sleeps, a pale girl in a white room . . .

Three years ago, Gabe saw his daughter taken. In the back of a rusty old car, covered in bumper stickers. He was driving behind the car. He watched her disappear. But no one believes him. Most people believe that his daughter, and wife, are dead. For a while, people believed that Gabe was responsible.

Three years later and Gabe cannot give up hope. Even though he has given up everything else. His home, his job, his old life. He spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, sleeping in his camper van in service stations, searching for the car that took her. Searching for his daughter.

Katie spends a lot of her life in service stations, working as a waitress. She often sees Gabriel, or ‘the thin man’ as she has nicknamed him. She knows his story. She feels for him, because Katie understands what it’s like to lose a loved one. Nine years ago, her father was murdered. It broke her family apart. She hasn’t seen her oldest sister since the day of the funeral; the day she did something terrible.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people that want to hurt them. Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows that if they ever find them, they’re dead.

Gabe’s daughter has been missing for three years and her body has been identified and buried. But Gabe swears it’s not possible. On the day of her disappearance, he saw her in a stranger’s car, just in front of him, the moment she and her mother were supposed to be dead in their home. Gabe has been looking for her since her disappearance and, when he finds the car where he last saw her, he gets thrown into a series of events that might change his life forever.

The Other People started a bit slow but, when it started going, it was wonderful. The characters were really interesting and, even though you could guess the story and what had happened to get where they were, the journey was amazing. I recommend it.

It was the first book I read by C. J. Tudor and, now, I want to read them all.

Rating: 4.5 stars

“People say hate and bitterness will destroy you. They’re wrong. It’s hope. Hope will devour you from the inside like a parasite. It will leave you hanging like bait above a shark. But hope won’t kill you. It’s not that kind.”

Wrap up

August Wrap Up

Because I started The Memoirs of Cleopatra, I didn’t have a lot of time to read other books so this wrap up is going to be a bit sad. Let’s start!

  • The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in this One by Amanda Lovelace – it was very similar to her previous books. I preferred the first one but, if you like her poetry, you will like this book
  • Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill – this anthology retells classic fairy tales from a different perspective. I really liked how she transformed these well known stories into something more. I will, for sure, read more books from her
  • I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara – this was my first true crime novel and I really enjoyed it. I listened to the audiobook and I was impressed. It could be slow at times but it was well-done. If you’re interested in true crime, try this one

Have you read any of these books? Let me know!