Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Goodreads Reading Challenge | Five

My goal this year is to finish 50 books. After each five books I finish I will be posting a list and short review of each. I will try not to reveal any spoilers in these short reviews.

1. People Who Eat Darkness: The Fate of Lucie Blackman by Richard Lloyd Parry
Plot synopsis: People Who Eat Darkness tells the true story of Lucie Blackman's disappearance while working as a hostess in Japan in the Roppongi district. The book covers Lucie's disappearance, the eight month long search, her remains being found, and all through the trial that follows. 

I came across this book on Goodreads. It was recommended to me as being similar to another book I read, but I can't remember which book. Gone Girl, probably. I enjoyed this book but it certainly had it's problems. But first, I'm going to be honest here and tell you that I actually had no idea this was a true story until after I finished the book. Kind of embarassing... I was 11 years old when Lucie Blackman disappeared and I don't really remember hearing about her story at all. That meant that, once I finished and found out it was a true story, I was even more crushed by it.

Really my only problem with the book was that I felt it should have been much shorter. It really started to drag on once we went into pretty much every characters background. Especially once it got to the suspects story. Hearing the fates of not only Lucie, but what her family went through was absolutely depressing. I'm not sure if you were necessarily supposed to take either of her parents 'sides', but if so I was definitely on the side of her dad and sister. The most fascinating part of the story was when he went into all the craziness of the how and why of what happened to Lucie.

2. The Zodiac Legacy: Convergence by Stan Lee
Plot synopsis: When twelve magical superpowers are unleashed on the world, a Chinese-American teenager named Steven will be thrown into the middle of an epic global chase. He'll have to master strange powers, outrun super-powered mercenaries, and unlock the mysterious powers of the Zodiac.

I feel bad saying this, but I actually had to force myself to finish this book. It's not that it was necessarily bad, far from it, it was just written for a much younger audience than me. And I've read kids books in the past, like I'm pretty sure the All The Wrong Questions series by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) was not written with a 26 year old in mind, but this one was just too young. I almost felt like I was being talked down to. The art was really nice, though. I gave my copy to Adrian's little brother so hopefully he enjoys it more than I did.

3. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
Plot synopsis: Calamity Physics: The resulting explosion of energy, light, heartbreak, and wonder as Blue van Meer enters a small, elite school in a sleepy mountain town. Blue's highly unusual past draws her to a charismatic group of friends a St. Gallaway and their captivating teacher, Hannah Schneider. A sudden drownig, a series of inexplicable events, and finally a shocking death lead to a confluence of mysteries. And Blue is left to make sense of it all with only her gimlet-eyed instinct and cultural lexicon to guide her.

I read Night Film last year after it was suggested to me by my sister Nicole. After I was finished with it I immediately wanted to read another book by Marisha Pessl. Lo and behold, I opened up my gift from my sister on Christmas morning and she had given me Special Topics!

This is by far my favorite book I've read so far this year. It reminded me a lot of The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler, which I read last year and also loved. It was a little hard to get through at times, with all the movie and literary references in the footnotes (real and fictional), but other than that I found the story to be very engaging; especially near the end. I really liked Blue as a character, but she made me so sad at times. Though she had a great relationship with her dad, she also had such a lonely life. I won't get into the mystery part of the plot in this post. I don't want to spoil anyone and I plan to write a full review at a later date. After two books, Marisha Pessl has definitely become one of my favorite authors.

4. Veronica Mars #1: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
Plot synopsis: Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She's traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.
Now it's spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is not a simple missing person's case. The house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica's past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

5. Veronica Mars #2: Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
Plot synopsis: The Neptune Grand has always been the seaside town’s ritziest hotel, despite the shady dealings and high-profile scandals that seem to follow its elite guests. When a woman claims that she was brutally assaulted in one of its rooms and left for dead by a staff member, the owners know that they have a potential powder keg on their hands. They turn to Veronica to disprove—or prove—the woman's story.

I'm not going to get too much into the story of these books, since they're both mysteries (because duh..) and I don't want to spoil anything.

As a fan of the Veronica Mars tv series (and movie!) reading these books was such a wonderful experience. I read them back to back over a couple of days because I couldn't stop! Every characters 'voice' sounded just like did on the show and it really felt like another episode. While both mysteries weren't very hard to figure out, especially the first one, they were still fun to read. I only wish there was more Logan, but I can kind of see why they kept him mostly out of the books.

Alright, so that's the first five books I've finished this year. As I'm posting this I've only finished 6 books which means I'm 4 behind schedule. At the moment I'm trying to read a book that is over 700 pages and it's also a little hard for me to get into, for some reason. I've been taking breaks from it to read other books, like both Veronica Mars books, so it's going to take me a while to finish. Hopefully my reading picks up over the next couple of months or it's going to be very hard for me to finish this challenge.

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