October Reads

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?

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11 thoughts on “October Reads

  1. I read Mrs. Peregrines in 2011. It was fascinating and I made the mistake of making it my beach book that summer on vacation. I don’t remember much of the first few days of vacation that year because all I did was read. I could not put that book down! My husband, intrigued but the fact that I had my nose buried in this book for days, read it when I was done. He loved it! I wasn’t crazy about the second book but I think I’ll read both again before seeing the movie. I was very surprised to see a movie coming out for this book but it definitely deserves the attention it gets. I just hope that people who read the book aren’t disappointed by the movie since that is what seems to always happen to me. The characters and places I imagine are always disappointing to me when seen thru someone else’s imagination. XOXO 🙂

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  2. Been awhile since I picked up a book but I’m either going to read The Talisman by Stephen King & Peter Straub for the bazillionth time (probably one of my favorite books ever besides the Dark Tower series) or Joyland by Stephen King. I admit I read King books almost exclusively. He’s been my favorite author since the late 80s.

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    • I’ve never read any Stephen King novels! Too much of a scaredy-cat, haha. Loved the movie versions of Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, although I don’t know how similar they are to the books. What draws you to Stephen King books in particular?

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      • I don’t know. I hate horror movies but I love horror novels. Most of his books start off slow but then… BAM! They pick up and it’s hard to put them down.

        The Green Mile was originally a 6 part serial novel. One 100 page book a month for 6 months. I’d read those in a day and then have to wait a month for the next part! The movie is pretty close to the book but of course a few differences.

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  3. I do miss reading during commutes! I used to have an hour commute each way – if I wasn’t reading, I was knitting. I mean, I’m not complaining since I’m so close now via subway but… 😛
    Oh “The Couple Next Door” sounds like a story ripped from newspaper headlines! 😮 And I know what you mean about the rubbery finish on book covers. I think it’s a trend – I’ve seen them at the bookstore and have thought they’d get grimy fast.
    Ahhh those photos from the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children book are REAL? People are so WEIRD. I have no interest in that movie… I’m not a fan of Tim Burton movies! Ugh Sweeney Todd.
    I’m guiltily reading Fifty Shades Darker… in advance of the movie release, and for science. Kill me now.

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    • I can only imagine all the knitting and reading you did during a TWO HOUR commute! So jealous of the short commute you have now!
      You’re right, The Couple Next Door does sound like something from newspaper headlines. Ugh, I haven’t noticed the rubbery book covers on other books yet – now I know to avoid!
      Haha, my fiance was saying that since photography was fairly new in that era, there probably wasn’t a “dress nice and smile at the camera” standard back then. My argument was, getting your photo taken was expensive because it was a new thing…why would you cover your two children in clown masks?! There was another one of the same children pulling ribbon out of each other’s mouths…WTF. Anyways, I enjoy a handful of Tim Burton’s animated movies, but not his live action ones at all…ugh to Sweeney Todd is correct!
      LOL. How is Fifty Shades Darker going for you? I did skim it quickly way back when, which is why I don’t remember it at all!

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      • Back then, didn’t they have to stay still for a LONG time to get their photos taken? Like, at least 30 seconds? Imagine having to hold your pose wearing a weird ass costume!

        Fifty Shades of Crappier is even LESS fulfilling than the first one. Now they’re trying to make it some mystery rather than a romance. There’s even worst sex in this one… ugh, I am so mad at myself for getting sucked in. One saving grace: it’s a fast read and yes, you can totally skim it and get the gist of it. I think I’ve lost more brain cells reading this than an alcoholic binge.

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  4. I read Ms. Peregrine’s a couple years ago before the sequel had come out and I thought it was totally cool and different, but yes a little creepy. Still, I’m interested to see how the movie comes out!

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