This month’s book post features TWO books. I’m a speed reader and usually go through 3-4 books a month during my transit to and from work, but I normally only focus on one in my blog posts. However, both of these books have been getting some hype, so I wanted to share my thoughts on both of them.
The first book is called the The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena. It’s a book in the suspense genre. If you have seen some of my other book posts, you will know that I love this genre.
This book is about couple named Anne and Marco Conti, who attend a birthday dinner with Cynthia and Graham, the couple who lives next door. Their babysitter cancelled last minute, so Anne and Marco leave their 6 month old daughter Cora at home, but bring a baby monitor with them and take turns going next door to check in on her every half an hour. However, when the couple calls it a night and returns home at one in the morning, Cora is missing from her crib. The rest of the book is dedicated on investigating who the kidnapper is. Of course, suspicions point towards the parents, but as the investigation continues, the secrets of everyone around them begin to unravel as well.
The book jumps between focusing on each of the characters in every chapter, but mostly the parents and the detective on their case. With the exception of the detective, every character in this book is…rather despicable. Everyone is self-serving, even the parents. They all withhold information that would aid in Cora’s search, because it would expose their own dirty secrets.
The pace of the book was good – it doesn’t dwell on anything for too long, and bit by bit, the reader finds out snippets of each character’s secrets and motivations, which makes you want to keep reading to find out more.
This is also a really random observation, but I hate the material of the book cover. Think NARS rubberized packaging. There are fingerprints all over the book! I passed this onto a coworker after finishing it, so it even has double the fingerprints on it 😛
The second book I read was Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, written by Ransom Riggs. This book is obviously getting a lot of hype these days due to the recent release of the movie. I’ve had a bit of a “history” with this book. When it started getting more attention (maybe in 2014?), the creepy cover drew me in and I wanted to buy it. I looked up reviews of the book, and they were very mixed, so I didn’t end up purchasing it. When the movie trailer came out, I got intrigued all over again. It just so happened that one of my coworkers had bought it and finished reading it, and was nice enough to let me borrow it from her.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is about a boy named Jacob. Jacob grows up listening to stories his grandfather tells him of living in a children’s home when he was young, with children that possess special skills. Jacob is shown all of these old photos, and is fascinated by it all. However, as he grows up, he begins to think that his grandfather has been lying to him all these years, and that the photos have been altered. When his grandfather dies, his last words are peculiar and something Jacob doesn’t understand. Jacob begins to investigate, which leads him to a world he thought didn’t actually exist.
The children’s home reminds me slightly of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngers from X-Men, although the children don’t train or hone their skills in the children’s home. Miss Peregrine’s home is only meant to protect the children from the outside world, and give them a place to grow up feeling safe. Jacob learns that this home, as well as all of the other homes that house peculiar children around the world, is under threat, and his special skills can help them.
I really enjoyed this book – it was fast-paced and definitely a page turner as well, although it ended in a way that makes me not sure if I’m curious enough to continue reading the second and third books.
I loved that the author included old photographs dispersed throughout the book. I thought that he had included these photos after writing the book and had photoshopped them to fit with the story, but he states at the back of the book that he had gotten his hands on these vintage photos from collectors around the world, and had written the story around these photos.
You’re telling me these photos are REAL and people COLLECT them? Uhhh…no thanks. I don’t want any gifts from creepy Santa, that’s for sure.
I haven’t seen the movie yet, but it seems that the book is quite a lot darker than the movie. Tim Burton seems to have gone in the Alice in Wonderland direction and made the movie much more fantastical and alive with colour, whereas when I read the book, I pictured something more monochromatic and gothic, like Sweeney Todd.
What have you been reading lately?