Reviewing 2021 Releases: Twice Shy, The Intimacy Experiment and Meet Me in Paradise

Hi everyone! Today’s post is very exciting, because I’m having a lucky streak in April with all the amazing new releases that I have been reading, and I want to share some of my thoughts about these books:

Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle

Maybell Parish has always been a dreamer and a hopeless romantic. But living in her own world has long been preferable to dealing with the disappointments of real life. So when Maybell inherits a charming house in the Smokies from her Great-Aunt Violet, she seizes the opportunity to make a fresh start.Yet when she arrives, it seems her troubles have only just begun. Not only is the house falling apart around her, but she isn’t the only inheritor: she has to share everything with Wesley Koehler, the groundskeeper who’s as grouchy as he is gorgeous—and it turns out he has very different vision for the property’s future.

Convincing the taciturn Wesley to stop avoiding her and compromise is a task more formidable than the other dying wishes Great-Aunt Violet left behind. But when Maybell uncovers something unexpectedly sweet beneath Wesley’s scowls, and as the two slowly begin to let their guard down, they might learn that sometimes the smallest steps outside one’s comfort zone can lead to the greatest rewards.

4.5 stars

This is such a sweet, wonderful slow burn, sunshine/grumpy romance with a good dose of forced proximity.

When each of the main characters was introduced I had a brief moment of thinking I wasn’t going to like them, but it was a false alarm, I ended up loving both of them. And the same happens to them, they have a bad impression of each other at first, but then slowly that changes and it was beautiful to see. Wesley was so precious, once he got over his extreme shyness and grumpiness, he was still shy and grumpy but he was also kind, sweet and charming. And Maybell was such a genuinely nice, caring character, she was easy to root for.

I do think the shift from antagonism to liking each other was a bit abrupt, but I got over it because Wesley and Maybell were wonderful together and once they were together, they approached every situation and misunderstanding with so much compassion and care, which was very refreshing, because there wasn’t some dramatic conflict, they faced obstacles together and got through them. This is not an angsty romance at all, it’s just a sweet, lovely romance and I loved it for it.

The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan

Naomi Grant has built her life around going against the grain. After the sex-positive start-up she cofounded becomes an international sensation, she wants to extend her educational platform to live lecturing. Unfortunately, despite her long list of qualifications, higher ed won’t hire her.

Ethan Cohen has recently received two honors: LA Mag named him one of the city’s hottest bachelors and he became rabbi of his own synagogue. Taking a gamble in an effort to attract more millennials to the faith, the executive board hired Ethan because of his nontraditional background. Unfortunately, his shul is low on both funds and congregants. The board gives him three months to turn things around or else they’ll close the doors of his synagogue for good.

Naomi and Ethan join forces to host a buzzy seminar series on Modern Intimacy, the perfect solution to their problems–until they discover a new one–their growing attraction to each other. They’ve built the syllabus for love’s latest experiment, but neither of them expected they’d be the ones putting it to the test.

4 stars

My favorite part of this book are the main characters, both of them are very compelling, likable and easy to root for. The heroine is badass and prickly and the hero is a complete cinnamon roll and they are so cute together. They slowly become close and it was entertaining to witness their encounters, Ethan got really flustered when Naomi was around , and Naomi was so surprised by how much she liked him, which was kind of funny.

This is a very sex positive book, from the modern intimacy classes to the steamy scenes between the main characters, which was great and especially the classes added an interesting element to the story. And while I’m not someone who enjoys books that deal with religion, the way this book talks about religion and faith and the interception with romanctic relationships in modern times was very smart and thought-provoking.

My main issues with this book are that it was a bit longer than it needed to be, so there were some parts that were a bit too slow. Also, Naomi let go of her defense mechanisms when it came to relationships really easily, which seemed a bit out of character. And finally, the last part didn’t work so well, Naomi was completely unprofessional which was so out of character, and both of the main characters get to give speeches about their feeling at the end, which felt a bit forced.

Meet Me in Paradise by Libby Hubscher

Ever since her journalist mother died on assignment, Marin has played it safe, refusing to set foot outside the state of Tennessee. Her wild-child younger sister, Sadie, has trotted the globe as a photographer, living off of art and adrenaline.

When Sadie returns from a tough assignment abroad and looks a little worse for wear, Marin reluctantly agrees to a sisters’ spa weekend on the tropical island of Saba. But her lifelong fear of travel is affirmed when Sadie misses the flight, Marin’s luggage gets mixed up with another passenger’s, and an episode of turbulence sends her hurtling into the lap of Lucas Tsai, the handsome stranger who stole her sister’s seat.

For the first time in a long time, Marin has to step outside of her comfort zone as she explores the island with Lucas and learns what she’s been missing out on. With each breathtaking new experience, Marin gets closer to her real self, the man she’s falling for, and the heart-wrenching truth about why she’s there in the first place.

4 stars

This book destroyed me, I cried so much reading it, which doesn’t happen often. I thought this was a romance book, and while there is a romance in the book, this is definitely women’s fiction. The focus is on the main character’s personal growth and her relationship with her sister, and it was such a gripping story.

Most of this book is spent seeing the main character basically coming back to life: learning to face her fears, reigniting her passions, and connecting with others. The journey she goes through is captivating. The romance is also a significant part of the book and while I liked both main characters and liked them together, I wish they had a bit more chemistry. Still, it was fun seeing this two very different people go in adventures together, get to know each other and fall in love.

The final part of this book is so heartbreaking, the reader knows early on that something devastating is going to happen, but the main character doesn’t know and seeing her come to the realization and deal with the consequences is really sad.

Have you read these books? Did you like them? What 2021 releases have you loved?
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Book Reviews: The Gilded Wolves & The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi

Title: The Gilded Wolves

Author: Roshani Chokshi

Publishing date:  January 15th 2019

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 388

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.

Goodread | Amazon

The Gilded Wolves is the story of a ragtag group, each with individual motivations that make them work together to steal magical artifacts from a powerful organization. The strongest element of this book is the characters, they are all very different from each other, they are interesting and they are easy to root for. The relationships between them are complex and captivating and they have a beautiful found family. Also, there are some amazing ships in this book, the romances are subtle, angsty and full of tension.

While I wasn’t really invested in the plot, I think the way the author used the plot to talk about the looting of global south countries by colonial European countries during this time period was very well done. The way this book addresses colonialism, colorism, and slavery, without it taking over the book, adds depth to the story. Also, while I didn’t really care about the plot, I liked the ending, it was sad and angsty and twists kept coming.

One of the main issues with this book is that the magic system isn’t explained, not even the abilities of some of the main characters, which are used often throughout the book to get them out of trouble. A part of this magic system is a mix between science and magic that helps them build artifacts and, since the magic isn’t explained, there’s no way to know how the artifact that they use in the heists are built or how they work, so a lot of times, it feels like these cool inventions came out of nowhere to solve all the problems.

Another issue with the book is that it is a bit confusing, the pacing is so breakneck that sometimes it’s hard to understand all the discoverings that the characters make and how they are making them. Sometimes it’s even hard to understand what is happening because everything happens so fast. Also, the breakneck pace means the characters are always in the middle of a heist, and since I wasn’t that invested in the plot, all I wanted was more time with the characters to get to know them better.

Overall, The Gilded Wolves was a fun, fast-paced story with amazing and complex characters and a very light magic system.

3,7 stars

Title: The Silvered Serpents

Author: Roshani Chokshi

Publishing date: September 22nd 2020

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 416

Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost — one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumored to grant its possessor the power of God.

Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into the icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.

As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.

Goodreads | Amazon

I liked this book a lot more than The Gilded Wolves. I think partly it is because I went into this with the right expectations, so I knew there wasn’t going to be a lot of explanations about how the world and the magic system worked. It’s still a pretty cool world and magic system even things are not really explained in detail.

The main characters are still amazing and the relationship between them got so angsty and so much more complex in this book, because all the characters are trying to deal with their grief over what happened in The Gilded Wolves and some are not handling it well, which is messing with all the relationships. Also, there’s so much longing in this book, everyone is longing for someone else and not only in a romantic sense, and it was very painful to read at times. Zofia and Eduardo are my favorite characters and their relationship is the best, I can’t wait to see where it goes in the next book.

This is another heist book and it isn’t outstanding but it’s interesting enough. Mostly, I was invested in everything that was happening because I didn’t want anything bad to happen to the characters, and this book did such a good job of keeping me at the edge of my seat for the last chunk because so much happens. While there were some predictable aspects, the plot was overall more engaging than the plot in The Gilded Wolves, I think partly because there weren’t as many things happening, so it was easier to follow and be engaged in the story. There’s a change of setting and the characters end up in a strange and magical place and it was interesting seeing them explore it, which is something I really appreciated about the story.

Overall, The Silvered Serpents was an angsty story full of complex relationships, longing and grief, but also a fun adventure with twists and turns that will keep you at the edge of your sit.

4 stars

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Have you read these books? What historical fantasy books do you recommend?

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Reviewing Romance Books: Party of Two, The Switch, Headliners and The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics

Hi everyone! I’m really excited to have 4 mini review for you today of books that I really, really enjoyed. I gave all of these books 4 stars and I would totally recommend them!

The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite

Goodreads | Amazon

Lucy has helped her father with his astronomy work for years, so when she finds she finds a letter from the Countess of Moth after his death, looking for someone to translate an astronomy text, she knows where to go. Catherine expected to hand off the translation and wash her hands of the project—instead, she is intrigued by the woman who turns up at her door and she agrees to let Lucy stay. They start to fall in love, but sabotage and old wounds threaten to sever the threads that bind them.

Historical romance is not usually a subgenre that I read, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from a historical romance with queer characters. I thought it may be angsty and sad, but I am so glad it isn’t. This is a cute and interesting story and the romance is just SO SOFT! Lucy and Katherine are strong, smart and passionate and they care for each other so much and want what’s best for each other. The plot revolves around sexism in STEM back in 1816 and I was invested!!! I was frustrated over the situations Lucy had to face and I was rooting for them in their fight against the patriarchy.

My only little complaint is that the “fight” the characters have in the third act didn’t make any sense to me, I literally read the conversation 3 times and I didn’t understand what happened and why they got to the conclusion that they did at the end of that conversation. But is is a very small issue and I ended up really loving this book.

Party of Two by Jamine Guillory

Goodreads | Amazon

Party of Two is about  Olivia Monroe, who just moved to LA to start her own law firm and who meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and discovers too late that he is none other than senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but a sweet gesture convinces her to give him a chance. They date in secret for a while but when they decide to go public with their relationship, the media attention may prove to be too much.

I really enjoyed Party of Two! The characters were great, flawed but likable, and I could see why they liked each other. They were both successful, ambitious, smart and kind and they both cared about helping their communities. I really enjoyed that the book actually shows them go out in dates, get to know each other and slowly fall in love. The progression of the relationship felt realistic. I also appreciated that, as always with the books in this series, it didn’t shy away from addressing white privilege, racism and even incarceration of black and brown youth.

My issue with this book is that it did drag a little for me once they went public with their relationship, but overall it was still really enjoyable.

Headliners by Lucy Parker

Goodreads | Amazon

Headliners (London Celebrities, #5) by Lucy Parker

Hedliners is about two tv presenters, who have a very public rivalry, are forced to work together resurrect a sinking morning show and save their careers —and someone on their staff doesn’t want them to succeed. When mishaps start to happen on set, Sabrina and Nick find themselves working together to hunt down the saboteur and discovering they might have more in common than they thought. When a fiery encounter is caught on camera, the public is convinced that the reluctant cohosts are secretly lusting after one another. The public might not be wrong.

I loved this book! The main characters are tv presenters that don’t like each other but have to work together and it’s awkward and hilarious. I laughed out loud so many times while reading this. This book does an amazing job showing how the relationship between the main characters slowly evolves and changes. That is really important because Sabrina has a very real and valid reason to hate Nick, so the slow pace really worked with the story.

Sabrina and Nick are adorable together and the best part about this book is that they both act like adults, who TALK to their significant other, don’t assume the worst, and actually trust each other. There is no miscommunication in this book, and beyond that, the opposite of that trope is present in this book. Both characters are so good at communicating, and that’s not the only refreshing thing about this book, Lucy Parker steps away from the “romance formula” in the third act of the book, which I truly appreciated. My only issue with this is that it dragged a little bit in a few places, but overall it was great!

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Goodreads | Amazon

The Switch: The funny and utterly charming novel from the bestselling  author of The Flatshare (English Edition) eBook: O'Leary, Beth: Amazon.es:  Tienda Kindle

The Switch is about Leena Cotton, who is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical from work, so she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen. Leena proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Just like that, Leena stays in the samll village and Eileen goes to Londo and both of them have adventures that change their lives.

I enjoyed The Switch a lot. I loved the journey each main character goes on and the changes they both experience. Grief is a esencial part of those journeys, especially for Leena, and I appreciated that this book addresses grief in a very realistic way and it does a good job of showing how the characters relationship with grief changes with time. While Leena’s journey is mostly about overcoming grief, Eileen steals the show with her journey of self discovery and of helping the people around her.

The secondary characters in this book are captivating and adorable. It is very interesting to see Leena and Eileen have to interact and build relationships of their own with people in the other woman’s life. The romances in this book are not the focus of the story, but they are present and I really liked them. Since this book was focused on so many other things related to the character’s personal growth, the romance feel a bit rushed. But overall, the love stories in this are really adorable.

Beth O’Leary is very ambitious, each main character in this book has a completely separate plot and romantic subplot and, because of that, the stories aren’t as flesh out as they could have been, still both plots were engaging and cute.

Have you read any of these books? What romance books have you enjoyed lately?
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Mini Reviews: The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon + Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai

Hi everyone! Today I have mini reviews of a couple of romance books I read recently: one that just came out and another that will be out soon. Without further ado, here are my thoughts on them:

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon

(Release date: June  9th 2020)

Samiah Brooks never thought she would be “that” girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she’s been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah-along with his two other “girlfriends,” London and Taylor-have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men, no dating, and no worrying about their relationship status . . .

For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she’s always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy, honey-eyed Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? When it comes to love, there’s no such thing as a coincidence. But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

I really liked Samiah, the main character in this book, she is a smart, hard-working and successful woman working in a tech company, which is a very white and male environment. This book did a good job of showing all the hardships that she, as a black woman, faces in STEM and how those hardships are different than the ones faced by other people of color like the love interest, Daniel, who is part-Korean and part-Black.

Samiah’s relationship with the two women that she meets at the start of the book when they all find out they were dating the same guy without knowing it, was the highlight of the book. Their support for one another and their unconditional friendship were things I really enjoyed reading about. And the first 10% of this book when they all find out the truth was hilarious and maybe my favorite part of this book.

My main problem with this book was that so many moments between the main characters when they are getting to know each other and start flirting and liking each other happened off page and I was so frustrated! I’m reading a romance book, I obviously want to see them fall in love, I don’t want to be told that they fell in love in all this little moments that I didn’t get to read about. Also, the fact that he lied to her for almost 90% of this book didn’t sit well with me.

Despite not loving the romance in this book, I loved the female friendship so much that I will read the rest of the series to get the other two women’s love stories.

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai

(Release date:  April 21st 2020)

One minute, Katrina King’s enjoying an innocent conversation with a hot guy at a coffee shop; the next, a stranger has live-tweeted the entire episode with a romantic meet-cute spin and #CafeBae is the new hashtag-du-jour. The problem? Katrina craves a low-profile life, and going viral threatens the peaceful world she’s painstakingly built. Besides, #CafeBae isn’t the man she’s hungry for…

With the internet on the hunt for the identity of #CuteCafeGirl, Jas Singh, bodyguard, friend, and possessor of the most beautiful eyebrows Katrina’s ever seen, comes to the rescue and whisks her away to his family’s home. Alone in a remote setting with the object of her affections? It’s a recipe for romance. But after a long dating dry spell, Katrina isn’t sure she can trust her instincts when it comes to love—even if Jas’ every look says he wants to be more than just her bodyguard…

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

I went into this book with low expectations after liking but not loving the first book in the series, The Right Swipe. Thankfully, I enjoyed this book more than the first. Girl Gone Viral has two sweet, kind main characters – Katrina and Jas – and I loved them both and I really enjoyed their slow burn romance. I was really glad that Alisha Rai didn’t feel the need to use miscomunication as a plot device, there were two big moments were miscomunication could have been used to create more drama and angst, but it wasn’t, the characters actually talked to each other and expressed their feelings and concerns.

Most of this book takes place in Jas family farm and because of it, his family is a big part of the book and I really liked them as secondary characters and I enjoyed seeing the complex family dynamics and the conflicts between them and how they had to learn to communicate better and how their relationship evolved. Besides the storyline of Jas and Katrina in the farm with his family, this book had subplots revolving each character – the going viral storyline and the trial/pardon storyline – which I didn’t find interesting and so I was glad those were small parts of the book and at the end I liked the way they were both resolved.

Have you read any of these books? Are you planning on reading them? What good romance books have you read lately?
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Book Review: The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night

Title: The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night

Author: Jen Campbell

Publishing Date:  November 2nd 2017

Genres: Adult, Mystery

Pages: 212 pages

“Spirits in jam jars, mini-apocalypses, animal hearts and side shows.
A girl runs a coffin hotel on a remote island.
A boy is worried his sister has two souls.
A couple are rewriting the history of the world. 
And mermaids are on display at the local aquarium.

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night is a collection of twelve haunting stories; modern fairy tales brimming with magic, outsiders and lost souls.”

Goodreads| Amazon 

I read this book for the 7 in 7 Readathon and, especifically, for the challenge to read a book outside my comfort zone. I don’t usually like anthologies and the stories in this one had magical elements, I have never read an anthology with this type of elements before, so those are the reasons I chose this for that challenge. I ended up really enjoying this book, it was really well written, I loved a few of the stories and I didn’t hate any of them, which is always a risk with anthologies. Here are my thoughts about each story:

Animals (3.8 stars): 

  • Beautiful & captivating writing
  • It’s thought provoking: it discusses love, abusive relationships, giving up too easily versus trying until everything turns ugly, & a loveless world versus a world obsessed with love.
  •  It was predictable in terms of the relationship between main character and Cora, but it had a surprising element at the end.
  • I could have used more details about the world in which this takes place.

Jacob (3,5 stars): 

  • This was a cute and simple story about a kid asking a bunch of question that seemed random but that were connected to a need of estability in a time where everything in his life was changing.
  • I’m amazed at Campbell’s ability to write in very different tones and styles. This is completely different from the first story.
  • The voice of the main character, who is a kid, is compelling.

Plum Pie. Zombie Green. Yellow Bee.Purple Monster (3,5 stars):

  • I liked the way this addressed disfigurement and bodily differences through a metaphor of characters that were part human and part plant.
  • But I didn’t find this as captivating as the others.
  • As with the first story, I could have used more details about the world in which this takes place.

In the night (3,2 stars):

  • It had funny bits and I really liked the narrator
  • It had a nostalgic feeling to it, but I didn’t necessarily understood the point it was trying to make or the meaning behind it.

Margaret and Mary and the End of the World (5 stars):

  • This story was heartbreaking and infuriating and the best one of the book
  • I loved the references to fairytales, art history and religion
  • It deals with heavy subjects like eating disorders and sexual assault

Little Deaths (3,2 stars):

  • This was way too short
  • Interesting concept revolving around ghosts
  • An intriguing way to look at death

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night (5 stars):

  • This story is a conversation, an interesting – even if it seems random at first – conversation.
  • The ending is surprising and really good, and it left me feeling so sad.
  • It’s one of those stories that even if they are short, they pack a punch.

Pebbles (3,2 stars):

  • I liked the fact that it was a f/f story and that it features a celebration of pride.
  • Campbell was trying to say something about war in this nooks and, there was a very obvious point she was trying to make about how people romanticise war, but I could find a deeper meaning or maybe there wasn’t one.

Aunt Libby’s Coffin Hotel (4,2 stars):

  • The story had a cool concept about a hotel where people can come closer to death and spirits and prepare themselves for death and it’s basically a scam, that’s where the story begins.
  • It ended too abruptly. It was getting intriguing and creepy and then it ended
  • The way it dealt with the fear of death and what comes after dying, was really interesting.

Sea Devils (3,5 stars):

  • I think I don’t completely understand the relationship between the sea devils and the real devils of the story.
  • Maybe the point is that sometimes we think evil is in somethings or some places when it’s not, but we don’t see actual evil when it’s right in front of us.
  • It left me sad but it had a good ending.

Human Satellites (3 stars): 

  • The concept of this story was interesting, it’s about this thing that they find in space that it’s like a planet made of screens that play scenes from the past, the present and the future  and how people react to it.
  • I didn’t really understand the point of the story, I feel like the idea was  interesting but it lacked a bit of development. Maybe that’s just me not getting what the story was trying to say.
  • It was too short.

White Bright Hearts (3,2 stars): 

  • I liked the way it talked about being different and about bodily difference in particular.
  • This story was a bit all over the place, sometimes it jump from one thought to the other quite abruptly.
Overall rating: 4 stars 

Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it? Do you want to read it?

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Mini Reviews of 4 Hercules Poirot Novels by Agatha Christie

Mini Reviews

Agatha Christie created a character called Hercules Poirot, who appeared in 33 novels, one play, and more than 50 short stories published between 1920 and 1975. Recently, I started to read Agatha Christie books, first I read And Then There Were None (review), followed by Murder on the Orient Express in which the main characters is Poirot. After that, I started to make my way thorugh a bunch of Hercules Poirot books and I decided to review them a few at a time here on the blog. These are the first reviews:

Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the orient express

(Published 1934) – 4 stars

What more can a mystery addict desire than a much-loathed murder victim found aboard the luxurious Orient Express with multiple stab wounds, thirteen likely suspects, an incomparably brilliant detective in Hercule Poirot, and the most ingenious crime ever conceived?

  • I really enjoyed the setting of this book, the train is stuck in the snow in a secluded area, so there’s no way out, all the characters are stuck together in the same place and Poirot has no information that wasn’t provided by those involved in the murder. I just like that kind of setting the most.
  • I liked that this was told by an omniscient narrator that is unobtrusive and only gives the facts.
  • I love the way this book was structured because we are shown the method that Poirot uses to solve the murder and the way he organizes the information, which I thought was really compelling and fascinating. It was my favorite thing of this book.
  • I really liked the ending, it was surprising because it’s hard to imagine how elaborated the plan is, so much so, that when the connetion between some of the characters was revealed, I still didn’t guessed the answer to the mystery.
The Mysterious Affair at Styles

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Published 1920) – 3,4 stars

Who poisoned the wealthy Emily Inglethorpe, and how did the murderer penetrate and escape from her locked bedroom? Suspects abound in the quaint village of Styles St. Mary–from the heiress’s fawning new husband to her two stepsons, her volatile housekeeper, and a pretty nurse who works in a hospital dispensary. Making his unforgettable debut, the brilliant Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is on the case.

  • This was the first Poirot book and it definitely established the fact that these books were not gonna be action packed or the detective chasing the murderer around. Poirot books are about the conversations with the people involved and the clues in the crime scene and the slow and thoughtful evaluation of the information, which I find fascinating and intriguing and I think it’s the reason I enjoy this book so much.
  • I didn’t like the narrator in this book at all. It was narrated by a character named Hastings and he was so annoying, he keep inserting his own theories that made no sense, he was swayed by everything and he made fun of everything Poirot did or said. His narration frustrated me so much and was the main reason I gave it a low rating. 
  • I really enjoyed that there were lot of viable suspects, everyone had secrets (many not related to the murder) and because of that, they were acting in a suspitious way.
  • I found the ending logical but not satisfying, I didn’t though it was as clever.
  • This book shows that Poirot is a romantic, which added a fun an cute element to the story.  I really liked that.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd(Published 1926) – 4 stars

Roger Ackroyd knew too much. He knew that the woman he loved had poisoned her brutal first husband. He suspected also that someone had been blackmailing her. Now, tragically, came the news that she had taken her own life with a drug overdose. But the evening post brought Roger one last fatal scrap of information. Unfortunately, before he could finish the letter, hwas stabbed to death…

  • In Christie’s books, there’s these ‘smaller mysteries”, these questions that need to be answered before solving the mystery of the murder.  I liked that, in this book, the clues allowed the reader to figure out those small mysteries and  I was actually able to solve them, which was fun.
  • The ending of this book is spectacular, the twist is brilliant and I didn’t see it coming at all. The worst is that I noticed a clue right at the beginning that pointed to the killer and I still didn’t figure it out, I think it was because it was the only clue that pointed to the actual murderer. Anyway, this book has one of the best endings to a mystery that I have ever read.
  • But – like I have mentioned before- I do have the feeling that to have that very surprising ending in this book, there’s not as many clues or information that point to the actual murderer. I feel like the reader couldn’t have solved this before Poirot reveals the answer to the mystery, at least not by following the clues.  Which I think it’s not the point of a mystery book, I like to feel that I could have solved it.
 Evil Under the Sun

Evil Under the Sun

(Published 1941) – 3,8 stars

Set at the Jolly Roger, a posh vacation resort for the rich and famous on the southern coast of England, Evil Under the Sun is one of Agatha Christie’s most intriguing mysteries. When a gorgeous young bride is brutally strangled to death on the beach, only Hercule Poirot can sift through the secrets that shroud each of the guests and unravel the macabre mystery at this playground by the sea.

  • It had a secluded setting, which I really enjoyed, because I feel like it intensifies things. This takes place on an island that while it’s not entirely cut off from the world, it did felt a bit separed and isolated.
  • I really liked that this book wasn’t told by one character that it’s part of the story, like a lot of the Poirot books. In this one, we get different perspectives and that means we get a lot more information and particulary we get a lot of information that Poirot has and that he probably wouldn’t have share if another character was telling the story.
  • I really liked the twist in this book, because they discover something and it seems like it’s pointing them in one direction but it’s too obvious, so when it’s time to the reveal and everything is explained, it’s surprising and a bit far fetched, but I still enjoyed it.
  • I liked the overall theme of the book, there’s a lof ot talk about evil in this book and at the beginning I didn’t understand the purpose, but then by the end I really liked the message. It was kind of a commentary on the shaming and vilification of women. 

 

Have you read any of these books? Did you enjoy them? Have you read any Agatha Christie books? Which ones? 

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Choosing a Reviewing Style | Discussion

Choosing a Reviewing Style

I want to start by saying that this is not a post about the ‘right’ or ‘best’ reviewing style, it’s about how everyone has a different style when it comes to writing reviews. I have been meaning to talk about this for a while because I have tried multiple reviewing styles in the time I have been blogging, but I still haven’t found MY reviewing style, the one that’s right for me. That’s why I wanted to discuss it with you guys, to see what you thought about it.

When I talk about reviewing style I’m talking about several things:

1) The type of review

There’s so many different types of reviews, you can review books by making a list of reasons to read a book, a list of likes and dislikes or pros and cons, a long text or a short text, a review with different sections, a bullet point list, you can make reviews so many differents ways. None is better than other, it’s a matter of personal preference.

This first item on the list is the one that’s more independent, because the next few items are closely interconnected with each other. Still, it’s a very important part of the review! Here are some examples of the types of reviews that I have written since I became a blogger:

List of Likes and Dislikes: The Deal by Elle Kennedy 

Reason to Read: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson 

Review with Different Section: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Long Text: How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

2) The review focuses on your experience with a book in a implicit or explicit way. 

When you are sharing your opinions about a book, it’s clear that those opinions are related to your experience reading the books, but you can choose how much of your experience makes it to your review. By experience I mean everything from how you felt ot what you thought while reading, stories about why you decided to read a book or about why a book is relatable to you and other things like that.

When you talk about a book, your experience reading that book can be implicit, for example, ‘the characters were well developed’ or ‘the pace was off’, even when you don’t say it your opinion is based on your experience while reading the book.  Other times, when you talk about a book, your experience can be explicit, for example, ‘I waited to read this book until the series was completed because I’m always scared that the last book in a series will suck’.

This point is the one I have the most trouble with when I’m writing my reviews. Sometimes I feel like the experience can overtake the review and it can push the book to a second place.  I feel when this happens the review ends up not being that helpful to someone deciding whether to read a book or not. At the same time, I love reading reviews when people manage to drop little bits of their experience in the review. 

Examples on my reviews:

The experience is explicit:  The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski 

The experience is implicit:  When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez

3) You use first person or you don’t.

This is related to what I was talking about in point 2, if your review is focused on your experience with the book, then you tend to use first person and if it isn’t focused so much on your experience, you tend to not use first person.

What I have noticed is that most people, when they are writing a review,  tend to write in first person; they say things like I think, I feel, I thought, I felt (This different use of verb tenses is adressed in the next point).

Examples on my reviews:

Example of using first person: Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Example of not using first person: Review of God Smites by Ishara Deen

4) The verb tenses you use to write your review

Mainly, people use past or present tense when they are writing their reviews. The decision of which tense to use is related to the second point in this list, because when people focus their review on the experience they had while reding the book they tend to say ‘the book was great’. Instead, when the review is more focused on the book as a things that exists and not a things that one has already experienced they tend to use present tense, for example, ‘the books is great’. Nonetheless, this is not always the case!

Examples on my reviews:

Present tense: If the Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman 

Past tense: The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

My reviewing Style

How I used to write reviews: almost always there were lists of some type, especially lists of likes and dislikes; my experience while reading the book was always explicitly present in my reviews; I wrote in first person and past tense.

How I’m writing my reviews now: I have been writing just text and not other types of reviews;  my experience while reading the book is always implicit;  I don’t write in first person and I write in present tense. I made this change because I wasn’t happy with the way I was writing reviews, but even when I feel like my reviews are better written lately, I feel like I have less fun writing them. I think my experience while reading the book needs to be explicit more often.

What I want to try next: I want to mix up the way I write reviews again and try to find the reviewing style that suits me. But I want to know your opinions first. Tell me about your reviewing style!  Do you write in first person or don’t? What types of reviews do you write? Do you write in present tense or past tense? Do you make your experiences while reading the book explicit or not? I would love to know all your opinions and comments about this! 

This got really long.  If you read it all, thank you! If you read a part of it, thank you too!

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