Monday, September 26, 2016

Pocket Book Reviews {September 2016} + Giveaway!

The reason why I didn't read as many books this month as previous months? Doctor Who! I've been obsessively watching it over the past few weeks, which leaves little time for reading. I'm about to start season 9, which means I'm almost caught up. I'm not a huge fan of the 12th Doctor because he's kind of abrasive, but he's growing on me. Who's your favorite doctor? What did you read this month?

Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children #3)
♥ (5 stars)

Written by Ransom Riggs; Jacob discovers a powerful new ability and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Jacob, Emma, and Addison will travelThey’ll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all. 

The beginning gives no set-up and starts exactly where the second book left off. This whole book is a whirlwind of adventure, emotion, friendship, betrayal, and family. I knew Jacob and Emma would do anything to get into the wight's fortress to save their friends, but it's how they got to that point and who helped them that made it exciting. Sharon is a fascinating man and I liked that you're not sure whether to trust him or not. Bentham is also a new and interesting character with gray morals, who set some intriguing things in motion. The whole part about the Library of Souls was incredible and super interesting and I wish there'd been more about it. And the ending! Such a sweet and wonderful end to a delightful series!

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♥ (3 stars)
Written by Dan Brown; In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on Dante’s Inferno. Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle as he races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered. 
The reason this book didn't excite me like the previous Robert Langdon books is that it lacks a storyline featuring a secret society. I think it's Dan Brown's use of these secret societies is what made his other books so memorable and interesting. That's where Inferno falls flat. While this book is thrilling, horrifying, and has a lot of Brown's well-known mix of science and faith, it's also confusing, too long, and at times annoying. I will say that the ending is terrifyingly genius. (Read my spoilery review here.)
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Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship, and Dangerous Hobbies
♥ (4 stars)

Written by J.K. Rowling; These stories of heroism, hardship and dangerous hobbies profile two of the Harry Potter stories’ most courageous and iconic characters: Minerva McGonagall and Remus Lupin. J.K. Rowling also gives us a peek behind the closed curtains of Sybill Trelawney’s life, and you’ll encounter the reckless, magical-beast-loving Silvanus Kettleburn along the way.

Absolutely delightful! I loved getting a peek into the history of some of my favorite characters, like McGonagall and Lupin. Lupin has always been one of my favorite characters and I always felt his was the most tragic, so it was both wonderful and heartbreaking to read about his life. I was kind of hoping to learn more about Professors Sprout and Flitwick since they're in all of the books, but we really don't know they're backgrounds, but I enjoyed reading these short stories immensely.

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Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics, and Pesky Poltergeists
♥ (4 stars)

Written by J.K. Rowling; These stories of power, politics and pesky poltergeists give you a glimpse into the darker side of the wizarding world, revealing the ruthless roots of Professor Umbridge, the lowdown on the Ministers for Magic and the history of the wizarding prison Azkaban. You will also delve deeper into Horace Slughorn’s early years as Potions master at Hogwarts - and his acquaintance with one Tom Marvolo Riddle.

A fascinating read! Getting a glimpse into the backgrounds of some of the "bad" guys from Harry Potter made for some interesting reading. In this collection, we get to know more about the woman we all love to hate, Umbridge, find out more about Slughorn, and even get into on Polyjuice Potion. Great read! I know this collection was about people who worked at Hogwarts, but I wish we'd gotten some info on some of the Death Eaters who had been at Hogwarts in the 7th book.

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Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide
 (5 stars)

Written by J.K. Rowling; Hogwarts An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide takes you on a journey to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You’ll venture into the Hogwarts grounds, become better acquainted with its more permanent residents, learn more about lessons, and discover secrets of the castle. 

This was wonderful! Hogwarts will always be my home, so it was wonderful journeying back to learn more about the secrets that lie within its walls from none other than J.K. Rowling herself! As a Hufflepuff, I was really pleased to see a section about the Hufflepuff Common Room, but I would've liked to get tidbits on all of the Houses, despite having visited them in the books. I really enjoyed reading this!

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Six of Crows
♥ (4 stars)

Written by Leigh Bardugo; 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.

I'm going to be honest: it took me a long time to get through this book and that's never a good sign. While I instantly liked the characters (even if they are callous and cold thieves), it took a long time for the story to really get going and I just wanted to go to the action and the heart of the story ie. the heist. That's why I took a star away. 

However, now that I've finished the story, when I look back at it, the whole set up is genius. Everything is perfectly calculated and considered and Kaz is a serious mastermind! He picked everyone on his crew for a specific reason and they're all so fascinating and so real and I enjoyed being inside all of their heads. 

I love that Kaz is cold and keeps everyone at a distance. Inej is silent as the night and resourceful. Nina is caring and skillful and sad. Jesper is hilarious and talks too much. Wylan is a total fish out of water and highly intelligent. And Mathias is among strangers and enemies but he has a good heart. I can't wait to see more of these guys in the next book. 

One thing I really liked was the timed tolls at the beginning of the heist chapters. It made it seems like the action was happening in real-time, like I could set my watch by it. So while I did have issues with the pacing at the beginning, the last 30% of the book is a gem! And oh my gawd that ending! Completely took me by surprise!

The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1)
♥ (4 stars)

Written by Rick Riordan; After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus's favor. And he can think of only one place to go: Camp Half-Blood.

Apollo is my new favorite character from this world of Greek gods and half-bloods! He's an absolute delight! He's arrogant and needy and annoying, but he's also HILARIOUS (seriously, everything he said was so funny!) and kind and caring and selfless. And he just wants to be appreciated. 

Every Rick Riordan book has a well-known and well-loved formula. There's a prophecy, demigods are chosen, they go on a guest, and things are mostly solved but leave room for a bigger story. THIS BOOK discarded that formula and I loved it! There was no prophecy and there was no formal quest and for very good reasons, which made this even more of a delight. It's like Riordan used this book to laugh at himself because he's in on the joke and he wants to throw you for a very good, very entertaining loop. 

Also, Percy and Leo are briefly in this book, which makes me so happy! But the greatest thing about this book hands down is Apollo! I've never seen a Riordan character change so drastically in one book. Apollo's change is natural and believable and makes me love him more. Can't wait to read the next one in the series!

♥ (4 stars)

Written by Rob Cham; This wordless comic book follows the exploits of a backpack-toting adventurer in a quest to find a mysterious treasure. Framed in black, the illustrations offer delightful bursts of color and are sure to entertain readers of any age.

This was an absolute delight to read! Despite the fact that there were no words, I knew exactly what was happening. The little guy has a map and has to find five colorful gems and gets the help of another little guy from the forest. The art is stunning. The background is always black and it's such a striking contrast to the bright and colorful art. The characters are cute and everything is simplistic in a lovely way. I adored this!

*Received a copy from NetGalley.

I bought a copy of Three Dark Crowns, but got a copy in this month's OwlCrate, so follow me on Twitter and retweet the tweet below in order to be entered! U.S. only. 

What did you read this month?

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~Sara ♥

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