The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena // Book Review

⭐️⭐️💫

Here we go again. Same book, different title. Enter married couple who, for better or worse, is trying to stay together. But everyone has secrets and they are no different. So, while Anna and Marco are next door at a dinner party, their baby is stolen away. wHo DiD tHiS??

There are adequate suspects. The perspectives shift from character to character each chapter. As this rotating narrative unfolds, we get more information about everyone’s motivations. The culprit is revealed early on and I don’t mind. At least this book isn’t going to waste my time on top of being formulaic.

Okay. Yep. The writing is serviceable. Anna and Marco are two people living in the same house. No chemistry, no tension. It doesn’t seem like there’s too much going on. I don’t recommend this to any avid mystery fans especially who are well versed in the “unstable” women trope. It seems to be the current trend and in my opinion it’s oversaturated in the genre and not done meaningfully. This is just another one in the pile.

I don’t have much to say because my feelings are pretty straightforward. All I know is I won’t be thinking about this book in about a week.

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The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider // Book Review

⭐️⭐️

Are we doing this? Is this a reference to Ezra Koenig or William Faulkner? Just, hip/superficial references scattered everywhere, not that I mind. 

I did like the first chapter concerning Toby and his tragedy, but if you ask me the other guy got ahead of himself. I’m completely torn between whether I think this book is whimsical or as the cool kids would say, “tries too hard”. So I’ll settle and say that I like this book ironically. 

The Characters:
I can’t help but feel it’s the other way around this time. Ezra is soooo beautiful but he doesn’t know or can’t see it. He’s witty and not like other the girls guys. Cassidy is the new transfer, the perfect setup cliche, so I think she got cheated out of protagonist status. Toby is the lovable, supportive friend that asks for nothing in return though secretly you want him to have the happiest ending rather than the no good main character. These characters work together. They have a genuine dynamic. The only relationship that I didn’t like was between Ezra and Cassidy when they were alone which bordered on insane moodiness, obscure reference, and a mix of subtle awkward sexual tension. I couldn’t help but feel that they were trying too hard and that these “quirky” conversations were forced. The lunch table scenes were my favorite to read simply because the focus was not on the idiot couple with their late night adventures. Jeez, it must feel great to be 17 and have a car that your parents gave you (I am the littlest bit salty that they seem to be living in some kind of Portlandia). 

The Plot:
Predictable. 
Past tense references to what they had and the fact that Eleanor and Park does it better. I don’t know how, but Rainbow Rowell just does it better in terms of giving it to me straight without the fluff. Sure there’s plenty of romanticism in E&P but in this case, I felt as if I were being spoon fed by Ezra and his life lessons of wanting to escape. Well, what’s stopping you? Honestly, I thought that this book involved issues of depression and fighting through it, but nope, it’s just a love story. A weak one at that.. 

Simply put, I appreciated that this book tried to be more, heavy emphasis on “tried”. The story lacked the most important chemistry which should have been established by the two main characters. They were like rookie comedians. You know, the ones that have their timing off and jokes about the superficial aspects of life that hardly anyone relates to because we don’t live in a manic pixie state. The truth of the matter which is: Ezra and Cassidy are terrible people. There would have been a quicker resolution if, I don’t know, they argued or talked it out like normal people do instead of coming up with clever ways to get around the subject. In the end, it became a palpable imitation of the full potential this story held. To summarize: a loner guy meeting quirky girl all packaged by a Tumblr blog aesthetic.

Jackaby by William Ritter // Book Review

⭐️

This book was mediocre in that I felt it didn’t go the extra mile. Heck, I’d argue that it didn’t even run any distance. 

Within the story’s universe, Abigail Rook mentions Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock, so the book isn’t a retelling in that regard (since there’s a certain self-awareness to its plot). Instead, Jackaby distinguishes itself by adding elements of supernatural mystery. Yet, unlike Supernatural, there is hardly any elements to make note. Well, more like things happened that ultimately was underwhelming. Magic?! Underwhelming?! 

I mean if there wasn’t the intention to build a complex puzzle, then the supernatural element should have sufficed. However, the case was cut and dry. A whodunit of sorts that when given the chance to sit down and presented with all the evidence could have been solved in the timeframe of playing a board game. Furthermore, Abigail was not the biggest help. Noticing the ordinary is not as helpful as one might imagine when it is completely irrelevent to the case. Literally it goes as follows:

Abigail: “I’ve noticed something.”
Jackaby: “I’m glad you noticed, but it doesn’t help much in comparison to what I’ve noticed.”
Marlowe: “I have already noticed what you’ve noticed.”
Jackaby: “Hardly, considering I notice much more than you can ever notice.”
Abigail: “There’s a dead body, you guys!”

To break it down, I consider a good mystery to involve multiple suspects that have convincing motives. A couple of red herrings to misdirect attention. And get this, an occasion where noticing the ordinary is key to the investigation! Since the killer is already identified to be something supernatural, you can believe how much how a cop out the ending to be. All because Jackaby didn’t notice the killer in time, countless of people die because of some coincidence. It’s on the same level of unbelievable if a detective were to question the husband on his wife’s murder and not suspect him because the detective has his back turned on the knife covered in the victim’s blood and the husband’s fingerprints! That’s so fucking stupid. 

This is a discount Sherlock Holmes with absolutely none of the wit, humor, or charm. Abigail is horrendously useless being that she has no expertise in any field. Check it out. Sidekicks are sometimes helpful doctors i.e. Dr. Dana Scully or Dr. Watson. What the hell does noticing ordinary trivial bullshit help when we are strictly dealing with the supernatural? Tell me, please, what did Abigail do in this book. The answer: nothing. Except run around being offended during a time when the 19th admendment was not ratified until 1920? I mean, she’s fucking white. That’s better than being otherwise, trust me. Oh, also, does it not bother anyone that she can go home whenever she wants if things go to shit. She’s just slumming it for the hell of it because Anna Karenina doesn’t want to be a housewife. That’s great, but why is she always judgemental of other women who do want that lifestyle. I swear, if she isn’t talking about how she’s just one of the boys she either describing Jacka-by-baby’s state of ahairs or how fucking dumb other women are. 

On that note, Jackaby is quite obnoxious. I’m not talking about the kind that’s understandable, since there wasn’t specific attention given to his character’s history. In fact, I found his abilities to be uncredible. He seems to be a bit dim, the both of them really. It was a mess from the very beginning and I’ve struggled to finish the book. I held out hope that there was more underneath the novelties but I always came up on the short end of the stick. It’s light fun, but doesn’t do much to stimulate the brain.

Best of Luck! // 03.17

Were you looking for a curated list of books with green covers? No? Well, since you’re already here stay for a bit!

So here’s a personal anecdote. My relationship to St. Patrick’s Day has always been in contention to wear green least I get pinched to death by my classmates. Now that I’m an adult, it’s about dodging vomit on the streets. Sometimes, you just want to lock your doors and escape the fanfare with a lovely book. In grand fashion, let me introduce them!

I’ve read:
Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix ⭐️⭐️⭐️
My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried by Shaun David Hutchinson ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith ⭐️⭐️
How to Love by Kate Cotugno ⭐️⭐️

The others are anticipated reads that employ all manner of greens. From forest to mint, green represents growth, wealth, and LOVE. In all fairness, green is the complimentary color to red which signals to passion. Maybe green is often used to suggest a more subdued love.

Let me know in the comments how you plan to spend the holiday!

xOOoXxOXoxox Lua

Juniors by Kaui Hart Hemmings // Book Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I finally found a book where the main protagonist values female friendship! Granted, this comes after a failed attempt at getting the guy, but sometimes old habits die hard. I know that this might seem (well it really is) disingenuous to settle for someone else when the one person you really wanted rejects you. However, I don’t think that it’s completely inauthentic. 

When the world tells you that a romantic relationship is the height of fulfillment, it can be difficult to find satisfaction in creating a strong connection between your family, friends, and even yourself. So, the journey to find yourself in someone else is what solidifies this story for me. We invest so much time searching for the one and when we think we’ve found that person, the whole world falls away. There’s nothing wrong in wanting to love and be loved but relying on someone to complete you can be a burden to more than yourself. This book shows that love comes when you accept people who accept you and vice versa.

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