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January Reads

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Starting off with my 2017 goals, I’ve actually read a few books already so far this year! Two of the books I’ve read are ones I picked up because of the images contained within–one which disappointed, and one which far exceeded my expectations. There’s also another mystery that I’ve decided to lump in, because I don’t want to get so behind on reviewing books and because I actually have hard copies of these three I even decided to take some photos.
I 100% picked up Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs because of the creepy girl on the cover and the creepy photos promised inside. I honestly don’t even know if I knew what it was about, but after lending it to my cousin last year she actually really enjoyed it and convinced me to finally dig into the book I had owned for years. I’m so glad I did!

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a book inspired by a collection of curious vintage photographs, but it also an emotional, fantastical, and well-written story of a 16-year-old boy, Jacob, who journeys to a remote island off the coast of Wales after the death of his grandfather. There he discovers the ruins of a home for children, only to learn, that the children may still be alive, and the world may be a whole lot different than he thought.

I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed Riggs’ novel. It’s magical and peculiar, but it also tells a really adventure-filled story. While the characters themselves are often not very distinct, mostly defined by what makes them peculiar, the exception–to a certain extent–is Jacob and I was definitely rooting for him and curious to see where he ended up in the end. I also just thought the whole book was clever and fun to read. I can see why this would make a good Tim Burton movie and it’s definitely on my list to watch soon! This is a very intriguing book, and while it’s not such a page turner that I feel the need to immediately pick up the sequels, I can definitely see myself reading book 2, Hollow City, later on in 2017.
I’ve actually owned A Mermaid’s Tale: A Personal Search For Love and Lore by Amanda Adams for years, but when going through my remaining books at home this summer to pack up and take back to NS, I came across it and decided to finally read it. I admit that then, similar to when I was first interested in the book, I was definitely drawn in by the gorgeous images and glossy pages of this book.

Sadly, a mythical story and glossy pages are not enough to sustain my interest, and it quickly became apparent that this was not a book I enjoyed. I really wanted to learn more about the mermaid lore, but Adams’ embellishing makes it difficult to tell what is what. I understand that is part of the point, but as a scientist, her style of “non fiction” just didn’t appeal to me. Her writing was often overly melodramatic and I felt no emotional connection, nor really believed any of what she was saying, even when she was writing her own life. Even the “real” people in A Mermaid’s Tale felt like they had been written out of convenience, altered to fit her story.

Finally, the story of A Mermaid’s Tale is really disjointed, and although it is divided up into chapters I wish that there was a better connection between them, and a less abrupt, sudden “ending” to the book itself. There are some nice moments of mythology shared by Adams, and some gorgeous images, but for me it is far outweighed by the negatives of this book.
If you’re looking for a book without pictures but with some pretty riveting words, I definitely suggest I See You by Clare Mackintosh. As my many book review posts have made clear in the past, I really enjoy a good mystery. Especially over the past few years when I’ve been really stressed working towards my PhD, it’s nice to just dissolve into a thriller, even one as dark and twisted as I See You.

I See You is the story of Zoe Walker, who one day spots a classified ad in the paper featuring somebody she is convinced is her… She soon realizes that other individuals featured in the ad have become victims of crimes, including murder. What if she’s next? What’s going on and who is behind this? As Zoe and the police rush to the solve a crime that hasn’t even been committed yet, one thing is for certain–whoever it is, they are watching her.

Mackintosh’s novel is thrilling and addictive and had me instantly craving another book by her–I definitely plan to pick up I Let You Go in the near future. This is a well-written, well-plotted story, and I definitely think it’s one that anyone who is a fan of dark mysteries would enjoy. There are lots of satisfying twists and it easily kept me turning the page. The only bit of disappointment was that the pivotal moment as well as the very ending didn’t quite live up to the rest of the book, in terms of feeling authentic. Ultimately though, I loved the premise and story of I See You and I loved how chilling and gripping the story was. I will definitely be keeping an eye on Mackintosh (hehe) for more books in the future.

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