Posted in Book Review

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

RATING:🌕🌕🌕🌕🌘

Published: April 01, 2014 (First published April 21, 1999)

Publisher: Haikasoru

Format: Paperback

Pages: 647


The good people aren’t always the ones who get saved.

Synopsis:

Koushun Takami’s notorious high-octane thriller envisions a nightmare scenario: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan—where it became a runaway best seller—Battle Royale is a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world.

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Posted in Book Review

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

RATING: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗

Published: June 18, 2019

Publisher: Kokila

Format: e-Book

Pages: 323


“Our country’s history is full of invading foreigners who thought they knew us better than we knew ourselves.”

Synopsis:

A coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks a Filipino-American teenager takes to uncover the truth about his cousin’s murder.

Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story.

Hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole horrible truth — and the part he played in it.

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Posted in Book Review

Encoded by Richard Nebdal

RATING: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

Published: June 25, 2020

Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing & Rights Co.

Format: e-ARC

Pages: 242


Synopsis:

Not even his wife knows that Paul Elliot, ex-military officer and now the President of the United States, fathered an illegitimate child during the Vietnam War.

As a personal favor (and totally off the record), the President asks aging PI Richard Braddock to come out of retirement and find his daughter. No one, not even Paul Elliot, is prepared for what Braddock uncovers: A high-tech plan, ten years in the making, that will bring the United States to its knees without a single shot being fired.

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The Phantom of the Opera: The Graphic Novel by Tomi Varga

RATING: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

Published: October 20, 2020

Publisher: A Wave Blue World

Format: e-ARC

Pages: 128


Synopsis:

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, the iconic gothic romance, is retold with all the spectacle its legend demands in this devoted graphic novel adaptation that marries stunning artwork with Gaston Leroux’s haunting prose.

Everyone has heard the whispered tales of the phantom who lives beneath the opera house, the mysterious trickster behind all the little mishaps and lost things. But no one has ever seen the monster . . . until now. When the promise of blossoming love lures him out from his intricately constructed hideaways in the labyrinthine building’s walls and cellars, a hideously disfigured artist trains the lovely Christine to be the opera’s next star for a steep price. Does she choose her newfound success or her beloved Count Raoul? This doomed love triangle threatens to combust when a tragic death, a series of betrayals, and increasingly dangerous accidents cast the players of The Palais Garnier into a heart-wrenching horror story that will echo through the ages.

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Posted in Book Review

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

RATING: 🌕🌕🌕🌖🌑

Published: March 17, 2009 (First published June 1926)

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Format: e-Book

Pages: 286


Synopsis:

Considered to be one of Agatha Christie’s most controversial mysteries, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd breaks all the rules of traditional mystery writing.

The peaceful English village of King’s Abbot is stunned. First, the attractive widow Ferrars dies from an overdose of veronal. Not twenty-four hours later, Roger Ackroyd—the man she had planned to marry—is murdered. It is a baffling, complex case involving blackmail, suicide, and violent death, a cast that taxes Hercule Poirot’s “little grey cells” before he reaches one of the most startling conclusions of his fabled career. 

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Posted in Book Review

Her Eyes Under Water by Romona Simon

RATING: 🌕🌕🌕🌗🌑

Published: April 19, 2020

Publisher: Self-published

Format: e-Book


Synopsis:

People have been disappearing in the vast and pristine wilderness of 1970s Montana. One evening, restless university student Julia Strauss meets the captivating Alex Bowman and finds him irresistible. He is handsome, polite, and mysterious. If someone seems too good to be true…

This is a romantic suspense novel inspired by true events. The hero is Mr. Perfect when he is with the heroine. However, this cultivated persona melts away to reveal something frightening and unforgiving when they’re apart. Will Julia be able to see beyond the haze of her infatuation before it’s too late?

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Posted in Book Review

Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook & Ryan Estrada

RATING: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

Published: May 19, 2020

Publisher: Iron Circus Comics

Format: e-ARC

Pages: 204


Synopsis:

When Kim Hyun Sook started college in 1983 she was ready for her world to open up. After acing her exams and sort-of convincing her traditional mother that it was a good idea for a woman to go to college, she looked forward to soaking up the ideas of Western Literature far from the drudgery she was promised at her family’s restaurant. But literature class would prove to be just the start of a massive turning point, still focused on reading but with life-or-death stakes she never could have imagined.

This was during South Korea’s Fifth Republic, a military regime that entrenched its power through censorship, torture, and the murder of protestors. In this charged political climate, with Molotov cocktails flying and fellow students disappearing for hours and returning with bruises, Hyun Sook sought refuge in the comfort of books. When the handsome young editor of the school newspaper invited her to his reading group, she expected to pop into the cafeteria to talk about Moby Dick, Hamlet, and The Scarlet Letter. Instead she found herself hiding in a basement as the youngest member of an underground banned book club. And as Hyun Sook soon discovered, in a totalitarian regime, the delights of discovering great works of illicit literature are quickly overshadowed by fear and violence as the walls close in.

In BANNED BOOK CLUB, Hyun Sook shares a dramatic true story of political division, fear-mongering, anti-intellectualism, the death of democratic institutions, and the relentless rebellion of reading.

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Posted in Book Review

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

RATING: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌕

Published: June 04, 2007 (First published 1934)

Publisher: HarperCollins

Format: audiobook & e-Book

Pages: 347


I believe, Messieurs, in loyalty—to one’s friends and one’s family and one’s caste.

Synopsis:

Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.

Isolated and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must identify the murderer—in case he or she decides to strike again.

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Posted in Book Review

After the Funeral by Agatha Christie

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RATING: 🌕🌕🌕🌘🌑

Published: March 01, 2000 (First published March 1953)

Publisher: Berkley

Format: audiobook

Pages: 256

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Synopsis:

The master of a Victorian mansion dies suddenly – and his sister is convinced it was murder…. When Cora is savagely murdered with a hatchet, the extraordinary remark she made the previous day at her brother Richard’s funeral suddenly takes on a chilling significance. At the reading of Richard’s will, Cora was clearly heard to say: ‘It’s been hushed up very nicely, hasn’t it…But he was murdered, wasn’t he?’ In desperation, the family solicitor turns to Hercule Poirot to unravel the mystery.

 

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Posted in Book Review

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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RATING: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗

Published: October 31, 2017 (First published February 24, 2015)

Publisher: Tor Books

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 429

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“Purity without balance is its own corruption.”

Synopsis:

Kell is one of the last Antari―magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes―Red London―and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

 

 

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