Book Review: Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas

Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas was totally a cover buy for me – isn’t the artwork on the cover gorgeous? Another reason that I picked up the novel is that I had heard that Maas is an excellent storyteller.

Genre: Adult Fantasy

Blurb:

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.

My thoughts:

After reading this book, I am now a fan of Maas. Her story-building is extremely skillful as she creates characters that you grow to love. As Crescent City is an adult fantasy, there is a gritty edge to the characters as well as the author’s representation of them (be warned that there is swearing involved). Maas’ honest representation of her characters, however, make the story more believable and realistic despite it being set in a setting created in the author’s mind.

The first 200 pages of the novel is slow-going as the reader is introduced to the intricate world of this new series. However, soon the pages of this 803 page tome are quickly turned and enjoyed. Once I became invested in the story, I could not put it down. Luckily I read the major part of this novel over the weekend so I could spend hours curled up on the sofa with the images of the novel.

What I loved about this story is that it wasn’t predictable – there were times when the storyline surprised me. By the end of the novel, I was fond of many of the characters and I look forward to seeing more of them in the next book in the saga. If you enjoy fantasy, Crescent City is a must-read. I enjoyed this novel so much that I know I will reread the book.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This novel was the 46th novel in my book pledge for 2020)

A Mother’s Day Drawing

Last weekend families in many parts of the world celebrated Mother’s Day. To be honest, the day was similar to what I have experienced since we were asked to stay at home. This year we could not go out, and my family could not go shopping for flowers and treats. My daughters, however, did not let the day go by without giving me the gifts that they had made for me.

My youngest drew a picture of me reading on the sofa – a sight that is frequently seen in my home. In addition, she animated it (I am unable to post the animated version here). Her digital portrait of me still makes me smile. I love it so much that it is my new profile picture for my Instagram account. 🙂

What has made you smile during the past week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Book Review: The Silent patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is a thriller that I picked up because of the recommendation of other bookstagrammers. I opened the novel with anticipation as I had not seen anything negative about the story.

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Blurb:

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him…

My thoughts:

I did not see the end coming of this novel – and I love that the author took me by surprise! The unexpected twist had me shaking my head in glee. The perfect ending!

Throughout the novel there are many red herrings as the author leads the reader down a certain path. I made so many guesses on what had happened; guesses which I had to re-evaluate from time to time. Slowly, Michaelides gives hints and small clues which increase an understanding of the story.

Readers are told the story from 2 POVs – that of the therapist, and that of the patient’s diary. Through the two points of view, I was introduced to how the lives of both the patient and the therapist are intertwined and how they each impact one another’s lives. The pacing of the story is perfect for this genre and the author drew me in and kept me reading.

This is definitely a thriller to pick up and enjoy. For a debut novel, it packed a punch. I look forward to reading another of this author’s novels.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This novel was the 45th novel in my book pledge for 2020)

Rock Art

Yesterday I chose to go another route for my morning walk and I came upon this beautiful addition to someone’s garden. The owners of the home have been working on some rock art during their time of social isolation.

The colour of the rocks and stones attracted my eye, as did the patterns and the sayings that had been painted on the larger stones.

I could not help but smile at the rhyming phrases.

What has made you smile the past week of social isolation?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Book Review: Harvey Comes Home by Colleen Nelson

While at the OLA Super Conference at the beginning of this year, I could not resist a signed copy of Colleen Nelson’s middle grade novel Harvey Comes Home. I also could not resist photographing it in front of the tulips I pass by on my morning walk.

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Middle Grade, Animals

Blurb:

A dog’s world is a world of scents, of adventure. When a runaway West Highland Terrier named Harvey wanders out of his old life guided only by his nose and his heart, lives begin to converge.

Austin, a young volunteer at Brayside retirement home, quickly finds that the audacious Harvey inspires Mr. Pickering, a bitter resident coping with memory loss, to tell stories of his childhood. Moved by the elderly man’s Dust Bowl recollections of grinding poverty and the perseverance of his friends and family, Austin begins to trade his preconceived notions for empathy. But is it enough to give him the resolve to track down Harvey’s original owner?

Supported by striking illustrations from acclaimed artist Tara Anderson, Colleen Nelson immerses readers in a rich and unflinchingly human tale of struggle and hope—all inspired by one curious dog.

My thoughts:

The story of Harvey, the dog, is told alongside that of Mr. Pickering, a senior at the Brayside retirement home, and a young boy named Austin. Through these stories, readers will not only experience adventure but they will also learn what it looks like to be empathetic (as well as learn a little history). Austen is a young boy who slowly learns the importance of listening to others and of being empathetic to both Mr. Pickering and Maggie, Harvey’s unknown owner.

Young readers will love this story of a dog who goes on an adventure. They will connect, as well, with both Maggie and Austen especially if they own a dog or would like to own one. Harvey Comes Home is a story that will touch the hearts of young readers and encourage them to follow Harvey in more of his adventures.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This novel was the 43nd novel in my book pledge for 2020)

An Array of Spring Flowers

After a number of days during which the skies were grey and rain fell, I was once again able to go on my morning walk. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of blossoms I saw on the trees in my neighbourhood.

Both the small blossoms and the larger ones were a pleasant sight to behold.

Some of the petals have already fallen on the ground due to the battering by the wind. However, some of the plants do have a little protection in the form of wooden fences.

The daffodils, though, are sturdy and nothing prevents them from showing their glory.

I love seeing the flowers in the gardens – they bring joy to my walk.

The variety of the flowering bulbs are a delight to see:

And even though some tulips have been battered by the wind,

others are only now considering to show their glory.

I will enjoy the sight of these blossoms and flowers during the length of their beauty. It is always a pleasure to see them on my walk.

Are you enjoying blossoms and flowers on your daily walk?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post is linked to Jo’s Monday Walk challenge)

Re-Reading with Audiobooks

In June, Laurie Forest’s next book in The Black Witch Chronicles, The Shadow Wand, will be released. I look forward to its release and, in the meantime, decided to re-read the stories. Looking through my local library’s audiobook section, I noticed that the novels were available in mp3 format. I decided to give the performances a listen.

Listening to The Black Witch in audio format has increased the level of my appreciation for these novels. The book is expertly read and allows me to enjoy the story while working on creative projects, or while I am out walking.

I have listened to the first novel in the series as well as the two prequel novellas. The performances of all of these were excellent and I could not stop listening – the stories are just as good when reading them!

Now I am waiting for the next audiobook in the series – my hold will take a few months to get to me. The wait is tempting me to join Audible!

I give these audiobooks ⭐️⭐️ 5 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This novel was the 44th and 46th novel in my book pledge for 2020)

Currently Reading: Crescent City

I have read a lot of good things about Fantasy author Sarah J. Maas – all of them good. Recently she has released the first novel in an Adult Fantasy series she has written and when I saw the stunning cover, I knew I had to purchase it and immerse myself in the story.

I am 200 pages into this 800 page novel – and it is starting to get interesting. I suspect I will soon be unable to put this one down.

What are you currently reading?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

Book Review: Siri, Who Am I? by Sam Tschida

When I saw the title of this novel by Sam Tschida at the OLA Super Conference, I had to pick it up. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by the title Siri, Who Am I?

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Blurb:

Mia might look like a Millennial but she was born yesterday. Emerging from a coma with short-term amnesia after an accident, Mia can’t remember her own name until the Siri assistant on her iPhone provides it. Based on her cool hairstyle (undercut with glamorous waves), dress (Prada), and signature lipstick (Chanel), she senses she’s wealthy, but the only way to know for sure is to retrace her steps once she leaves the hospital. Using Instagram and Uber, she arrives at the pink duplex she calls home in posts but finds Max, a cute, off-duty postdoc supplementing his income with a house-sitting gig. He tells her the house belongs to JP, a billionaire with a chocolate empire. A few texts later, JP confirms her wildest dreams: they’re in love, Mia is living the good life, and he’ll be back that weekend.

But as Mia and Max work backward through her Instagram and across Los Angeles to learn more about her, they discover a surprising truth behind her perfect Instagram feed, and evidence that her head wound was no accident. Who was Mia before she woke up in that hospital? And is it too late for her to rewrite her story?

My thoughts:

I had so much hope for this read, particularly because the scenario is so true to modern-day life. However the novel fell a little flat for me. There were moments when I felt bored by the story and wished that it would move on a little faster.

I felt no connection at all with the main character, Mia. Her portrayal in the novel was one dimensional and not very interesting to read. One would expect that she would grow in character during the story when reading the blurb. But even though her growth was suggested, it was glossed over and did not resonate with me. In addition, the romance did fall a little flat.

Siri, Who am I? is a novel with not much substance – maybe a little like the Instagram influencers. This was an okay read for me and not one I would pick up again.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️ 2 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This novel was the 42nd novel in my book pledge for 2020)

A Deserved Vacation

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

They entered the restaurant filled with excitement and wonder. The vacation was turning out to be one filled with first experiences and memorable moments. The light shining through the windows onto the neatly set tables suggested that they deserved to be among the people experiencing this luxury despite what many people back home said. Sitting at the table, they smiled at one another. They had worked long and hard to get here and now was the time to enjoy the grandeur of this place. Now was the time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post was inspired by Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle. The challenge asks for bloggers to write a story in 100 words or less in response to the photo prompt.)