[Review] Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first. Continue reading

[Review] Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that Miss Peregrine’s children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

-Goodreads

Writing (world building, characters, style, etc.):

I’m a little conflicted when it comes to the style of this book. While I find the use of slightly-creepy vintage photographs unique and interesting, I feel like they had the opposite effect than what was intended. I imagine the pictures were used to make the book feel more realistic, to make the reader feel more emotionally attached to the characters because they were supposed to feel so real. You had pictures after all, you were reading these people’s story. However,  I felt like the pictures didn’t allow me to imagine freely nor were they creepy enough. Most of the time, I found myself disappointed that my imagination and the actual pictures were so different. And as a result I couldn’t really immerse myself fully.

Furthermore, I didn’t like the protagonist all that much. The whole point of going through everything he went through was to find out more about his grandfather, however he never even asked. Every chance he had, he never got the point of actually asking about his grandfather, information was just given to him (conveniently until the end). Also some of his decisions made me think that he was a bit selfish and loveless towards his parents. He did redeem himself at the end, but no, not really.

I didn’t like that some of the characters were never mentioned again after their introduction. Also, with a few exceptions, they never really did anything with their powers. Yes, this isn’t a book about super heroes, but that’s what I was interested in reading about, what they could do and what they did with their powers.

Did I learn anything? Did it make me think? 

There was one event in the book that doesn’t really make sense or is hard to imagine being possible due to the lack of explanation on some things. Maybe it’s explained in later books?

Overall feelings: 

It was a good book. I don’t don’t know if I’ll continue the series, yet. I honestly think this is going to be one of those rare cases where I like the movie more than the book.

Score:3/5

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Have you read the book? What did you think? Did you like it? Who was your favorite character?

 

 

[Review] Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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Writing (world building, characters, style, etc.):

I didn’t finish this book.

Did I learn anything? Did it make me think? 

I was bored.

Overall feelings: 

While some of the dialogue was hilarious, it wasn’t enough to keep my interest. I read 162 pages and I didn’t really enjoy what I read so… I think it’s safe to say that this book was not for me. I might give it another chance later on, but for now, I have other books to read.

Score: 2/5 book 2 icon

[Review] Vampire Academy Review

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Writing (world building, characters, style, etc.):

I’m just going to go a head and say it, I don’t like Rose. She’s the type of character I’ve never liked. I just can’t relate nor do I like her type of attitude. Why does she have to be rude, disrespectful, bitchy, and aggressive? I know she’s supposed to be badass and wild and strong etc, but rude and bitchy doesn’t equal awesome. She’s not all bad of course, she’s an amazing friend, but I just couldn’t relate to her. I really hope her character is developed more in later books. I think this is a case of bad first impressions. I can see the potential of her becoming one of my favorite characters, just not right now.

Over all the book was well written, the style and pace was easy to get into. I found myself losing track of time, which hadn’t happened in a long time. However, there were several mistakes that somewhat ruined the momentum. It was nothing major, but I did notice them.

Did I learn anything? Did it make me think? 

Now that I’ve read the book, I can honestly say that I liked the movie just as much as the book. Maybe it’s because I watched it first, but if it hadn’t been for the movie I would have probably never developed an interest for the book.

I think it’s interesting that they talked about depression in a vampire book, though I don’t really have any strong feelings about how it was executed in the story. Also, does Rose have a drinking problem? Abandonment issues? Or is she being a “typical” teenager. If she’s supposed to represent your typical teenager, that bothers me. Not all teenagers are reckless, get drunk, and have sex at parties. I feel like we should give them more credit. I also don’t think books and the media in general should be normalizing this type of behavior. Underage drinking and drug use are a problem. I also have a problem with slut shaming and though I think it was handled OK in the book, a more realistic and less convenient solution or outcome would have been nice.

Overall feelings: 

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and I hope to continue the series. I also really hope for a sequel to the movie. I really enjoyed the movie 😛

Score: 4/5book 4 icon

[Review] A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Reptile Room

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A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Reptile Room

The Baudelaire children have escaped Count Olaf’s evil clutches and are now living with another distant relative, Dr. Montgomery Montgomery aka Uncle Monty. After their ordeal with Count Olaf the Baudelaire children are understandably apprehensive about this Uncle Monty they’ve never met before, however, their worries are soon put to rest when their uncle shows them kindness, gives them their own rooms, things to invent with, things to read, and things to bite. Things are looking good for the Baudelaire children, and for a short time they feel they can be content with their current situation. But as we all know, this isn’t a happy story…

Writing (world building, characters, style, etc.):

I think the one thing I didn’t like about the style of the first book was how simple the writing was, specially the dialogues. However, in this book that was almost completely omitted which immediately made it that much more enjoyable to read. I’m fairly certain this is done on purpose as to match the young readers’ academic level and age as time and the story progress. I love the Baudelaire children, they’re just so likeable. I absolutely love how evil, despicable, and down right awful Count Olaf is. I think this is the first time I’ve read a villain that is just bad. No complicated tragic backstories, no “it was all a misunderstanding”, no making me “understand” the reasons behind the villain’s actions. I like how Lemony Snicket doesn’t sugar coat it – sometimes people are just bad. It’s refreshing.

Did I learn anything? Did it make me think? 

I’m not sure. But one thing I hope children get out of this book is that vanity and showing off can most certainly be your downfall.

Overall feelings: 

I know it’s only the second book, but so far this is my favorite book of the series. But I do hope the Baudelaire children’s characters are developed a bit more later on. I hope later books don’t keep following the same formula as the first two books.

Score: 5/5book 5 icon

[Review] Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

-Goodreads
Writing (world building, characters, style, etc.): 

I loved the character descriptions in this book. There was enough detail to have a clear picture of who the characters were personality wise and what they looked liked without being bogged down with unnecessary details that added nothing to the story. The world building was well written as well, although there were a few times I had a little bit of trouble picturing the settings. I wish there had been a little more details when describing the palace, but this didn’t really affect how much I enjoyed the book. I really liked Marissa Meyer’s style, it’s easy to read and understand without it feeling childish.

Did I learn anything? Did it make me think?

I don’t really think that the purpose of this book was to be very thought provoking and that’s perfectly fine. I suppose I did learn a little bit about how manipulation and politics work and how when there’s compromise neither side is truly happy. Then of course there is the obvious issue described in the book, discrimination. I think it would have been interesting if the author had delved a little more into the refugee situation mentioned in the book, perhaps there’s more of it in later books.

Overall feelings:

I really liked this book. This is by far one of the best books I’ve read in recent months. I can’t wait to continue the series!

YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD BE AMAZING?! If the series was turned into an anime! Not a movie, unless it’s animated, not a TV show, AN ANIME! OMG that would be so amazing! Can you imagine how epic that would be? Some please do this! Please!

Score:book 5 icon

Have you read Cinder? What were your thoughts?

What my 6th grade Korean students will be reading

The new school year is about to start and I happened to see some textbooks laying around in the teacher’s lounge. To my surprise, in between the  textbooks,  I saw a stack of copies of Wonder by R.J. Palacio! I’m not sure what class this is for, but it’s so exciting!

Although my students, and I think younger students in general, are very good at accepting classmates that might have disabilities, Korea overall still has a problem with discrimination against those mentally and physically disabled.

Not so long ago, I read an article where a student with a learning disability was expelled from his high school after “concerned” parents made a petition to the school to expel him. Their reason was that his behavior was disrupting the other students’ learning.

That’s why this is so exciting! In teaching students about people with disabilities this awful prejudice against them can be eradicated.

The Korean title of the books translates to “Beautiful Child”, if I’m not mistaken.