The Two Sisters of Borneo (Ava Lee #6) by Ian Hamilton

If you missed the reviews on the previous novels in this series, you can check out these links:

The Water Rat of Wanchai
The Disciple of Las Vegas
The Wild Beasts of Wuhan
The Red Pole of Macau
The Scottish Banker of Surabaya

The Two Sisters of Borneo
(Ava Lee #6)

By: Ian Hamilton

two sisters of borneo

Ava has been in Hong Kong looking after Uncle. She has also set up an investment company with May Ling Wong and her sister-in-law, Amanda Yee. One of their first investments — a furniture company owned by two sisters in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo — runs into immediate problems with a Dutch customer. Ava goes to the Netherlands to investigate, but her life is threatened when she is confronted by a gang of local thugs in Borneo. Out of the shadows comes a mysterious man from Shanghai – IMDB

One of my favorite series ever and one of the most random discoveries that was a pleasant surprise is diving into the Ava Lee series. I picked up the first book of the series, The Water Rat of Wanchai because of its Hong Kong location title. Six books in now and almost 4 years since I read the 5th book, I have a lot of catching up to do but the most important thing is that, the world is still so amazing to jump into. The best thing about this book series is the whole commitment of being fairly self-contained. The investigation in question may have characters from previous books but they always have sufficient information to make sure they are outlined enough even without knowing about the previous books.

Over the course of the books (and I urge you to start this series from the beginning), Ava Lee has developed a lot and still has a lot of room for it. Its really nice especially in The Two Sisters of Borneo because it hits close to home both with her personal issues but also with the investigation she dives into showing us that Ava Lee is very much a tough woman but also vulnerable in her own way as well making her very human and keeps adding new elements and twists to her forensic accounting skills. While I love the self-contained aspects of these books, the other characters have also grown and as we get to know Ava’s family and friends more, they become these staple characters and have built at this point to something that can be described as the first phase over with in the Ava Lee series at the end of this one. To me, that is a pretty smart move because it will give it a whole new dynamic but I won’t say how to avoid any spoilers.

I am getting ahead of myself to lets reel it back in. The Two Sisters of Borneo brings us to yet another exotic Asian location paired with a European location as well. Ava meets some interesting people to say the least. It is no doubt there is always a great plan at play. The best part of these mysteries is that while we can see the game at play, there is always a fairly surprising twist. In this case, it was a bit more obvious (for me) however, the whole process was still a page-turner. Its always the big reveal that has an eye-opening experience and how Ava chooses to approach the mastermind to retrieve the compensation or return of wealth that makes it even more intriguing. There’s a whole array of different people that seem like they will get another chance to come back as Ava Lee steps further into what I’d say is a phase two to the series. While a lot of foundation as already been done, there is a real sense of a second build in foundation here to get ready for more great mysteries to come.

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Dream Book Conference Panel!

Dream Book Conference Panel is today’s topic inspired by Eventbrite.  The question for this dream conference panel is: All true bookworms have their dream list of authors they’d love to meet, but what if you could plan your perfect panel of authors (or even characters) you’d love to hear speak at a conference?

While the most logical way of a conference would be to group authors writing the same genre to come together, I also feel that grouping authors that somewhat contrast their style or even in the time frame they write makes for a look at their creative process in a different way. See, just deciding how to put together panelists is hard enough. Here are some three groups of authors that I’d like to see be at my dream conference panel.

Young Adult

i am number four Maze Runner

My first group goes to the most common genre: Young Adult. Although I have been slowly falling out of the YA genre, I do quite admire the creativity these authors have done. Pittacus Lore is pretty much the elder of Lorien and he also is the author. Now, the question is no one knows what this person looks like. I mean, if he is from Lorien and reciting the Lorien Legacy, well, then he probably is an alien. While I am Number Four is a pretty disappointing movie, let me assure you that The Lorien Legacy series is one of my favorite Young Adult series and that is why I’d like to see how they created it. At the same time, James Dashner can be the same. He has created a story out of kids stuck in a maze and carried into a dystopian world. There is something here to learn from these two authors just how they build their creative process and brainstorm or fall into the characters that they created, whether it is character development or world building.

Thrillers & Mystery

Gone Girl Before I Go To Sleep The Cuckoo's Calling

Who wouldn’t want to be in a panel with authors who write captivating and intriguing mystery thrillers that keep us guessing with mind-blowing twist and turns. Gillian Flynn, S.J. Watson and Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) needs to have a panel where they discuss how to build suspense and mystery. Thrillers are the tricky pieces of work, whether its books or movies, because they need to create a level of suspense that divulges enough information slowly to peak interest, build character enough to stay intrigued and make the reader want to keep guessing what is going on before most of the time making sure that it is absolutely the one thing they never imagined could happen.

Gillian Flynn is known mostly for Gone Girl but her other two novels, Sharp Objects and Dark Places both have almost as good of a story. She has written three pieces of novels that are all intriguing to read, making her a person who needs to talk about the thought process of writing a mystery. Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson is the only novel that I have read. His second novel is called Second Life which I need to find, however, its been a few years since I’ve read Before I Go To Sleep and I can still remember the feeling of suspense till today. Its a captivating read with lots of secrets. How do you keep secrets hidden and give just enough hints to keep it abstract and not ruin it? Finally, Robert Galbraith, who is the pseudonym of J.K. Rowling, but I do this deliberately because I want to pick the brain of Robert Galbraith, the person who wrote a mystery thriller and is making a series out of it, making a new detective, Cormoran Strike, rise. We all know J.K. Rowling as the mastermind behind Harry Potter but we need to dial it back and learn how she writes for adults and thrillers.

Chinese in North America

Joy Luck Club water-rat-of-wanchai Everything I never Told You

Some of you might think this is an odd combination, or just the title of the conference might not be appealing. However, my take of having a panel of Amy Tan, who is the veteran in the writing about Chinese-American life and contrasts, Celeste Ng, who is a more modern version of writing about a Chinese-American family and some racism issues in their time frame and Ian Hamilton, who is writing a Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant and somewhat of a femme fatale/strong female figure, shows off the diversity of the characters and actually shows a bigger picture of not only writing about Chinese but in general, it can be useful when writing about other cultures and the difficulties of adapting to the new world or even racism while weaving it into a different genre.

The Joy Luck Club is pretty much pure fiction about mother and daughter relationships while Celeste Ng is the relationship of a Chinese-American family, taking on the different voices as they solve the mystery of their missing daughter and the secrets that are revealed might just help decipher what really happened. While, Ian Hamilton would bring in a fresh voice as a non-Chinese crafting the dangerous adventures of Ava Lee, a Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant and has built quite the series as he takes Ava Lee to many different places in the world solving case after case. This panel could give good insight on what it is to be an author writing about Chinese culture and even seeing the world through someone with a different background and upbringing and/or family structure.

What would be your dream author conference panel? Why? 

Eventbrite is the largest self-service ticketing platform in the world that helps people find and plan events. If you are interested in looking for or planning conferences in your local area, this conference management page HERE may be something you would like to check out.

The Scottish Bank of Surabaya (Ava Lee #5) by Ian Hamilton

Its been a while since I’ve dived into the Ava Lee series.  I really love the whole Chinese-Canadian roots for this intelligent, brave and tough forensic accountant.  I’m still thinking this series would be prime for TV but then, maybe not for various reasons that don’t bother me but might bother other viewers.  Without being too offensive, if you’ve read it and know the character, you might know what I’m talking about.

I have reviewed all the previous books if you missed it.  You can find it here:

#1 The Water Rat of Wanchai
#2 The Disciple of Las Vegas
#3 The Wild Beasts of Wuhan
#4 The Red Pole of Macau

Now, let’s check it out! 🙂

The Scottish Banker of Surabaya (Ava Lee#5)

By: Ian Hamilton

scottish banker of surabaya

After the events of The Red Pole of Macau, Ava has slowed down to heal from all the physical damage (if not a little, her mindset about her business as well).  That is until her mother introduces her to a woman in need who has a bunch of Vietnamese investors that fell for an investment scam and lost a lot of money.  Being forced into taking the business, Ava flies to Vietnam and then Surabaya hoping to figure out and trace back the money. This leads her to a Scottish banker in Surabaya who runs Bank Linno who ends up having a rough clash with her and takes it to a more personal issue.  While Ava has finally figured out where the money has gone, the situation gets more complicated when she realizes that its related to one of the biggest Italian mobs and their grand scheme of money laundering. Faced with difficult decisions and dangerous situations, Ava must try to make the best choice while things also get more personal as she realizes that there is something Uncle (her partner) is hiding from her about his health.

I love this Ava Lee series a lot.  I stumbled on this book completely be accident and honestly, its one of the series that has a lot to love.  The adventure and the wit in all the stories are great.  The cases themselves are unique and feature a whole travelling adventure just to track it down with compelling characters each time.  What the previous few books did lack was diving a little more into Ava’s personal life and her relationship with Uncle.  We saw signs of her personal life being a part of the picture in the previous book and when things get more personal, the stakes get higher, making the story even more intriguing.

At this point, after 4 books, jumping into this one, Ava Lee is a character I know fairly well of.  She’s connected with me and I look forward to what she’s up to.  This time, Ava Lee is given a much more dangerous situation and she even gets into a few bad tangles herself.  Those tangles are the turning point for her character and I think that is the game changer here.  One that is tough to swallow but also one that shows us what Ava is capable of.

I still struggle a little to understand why branding is a such a huge thing in these books.  I wonder if its to show the class that Ava is or the type of person she is or its just brands that stick out.  I don’t think that talking about Adidas workout gear or Brooks Brothers shirts or Cartier watches are details that matter so much.  They don’t quite bother me as much as it did in the earlier books but its still something I have a hard time wrapping my head around the reasoning of choosing that.  It feels like meticulous unnecessary details.  Still, thats not enough to pull away from just how awesome this novel is.

For a series to run for so long and after 4 books, still manage to drag me right into the story and craving for what will be next in the following novel.  It definitely something that I never expected when I spontaneously picked up this book after the bookstore shelf.  I love pleasant surprises and this fifth book is one that you don’t want to miss! 🙂

Have you read the Ava Lee series? What are your thoughts on it?

July Reading Recap!

I’m a bit more back on track now! At least book recaps are on time, right? Well, relatively! Confession time: I almost forgot to do this one…

As I’m working hard to finish up the Fantasia Festival reviews, I’m working hard on getting things back in a certain system on the blog. Enough of my rambling, lets move on…

Its been a good run for reading in July up until the last one right now thats taking me FOREVER to read, I’ll tell you which book it is at the end 😉

If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

If I Stay

Mia is a teenage girl who goes through a day of her life following an accident which takes the life of her family.  She relives the scattered moments of the past while seeing how her family, boyfriend and close friends deal with her endangered situation.

I really wanted to fall in love with this book.  It has a great premise and the setup of the whole book was pretty special.  Its a countdown of the hours as she goes through her life in the back seat.  She’s in between life and death and she gains clarity of what’s happened in the past and how everyone reacts to her. Its a lesson about appreciating the little things in life before its too late and at the same time, facing life courageously.  The only problem was that, as well as the story starts, I started losing a connection with  Mia as the story went along in the middle but what does redeem itself is the ending few hours before she makes a decision and through her eyes, we get witness the important people in her life.

If I Stay is set to be released in theatres a little bit.  I can’t remember if its in August or September.  I’m still debating whether I will go see this.

The Red Pole of Macau (Ava Lee #4) by Ian Hamilton

The Red Pole of Macau

In this 4th book of the Ava Lee series, we follow Ava as she heads over to Hong Kong to help her half brother and his partner deal with a business transaction gone bad over in Macau.  Much to their surprise, the Macau side is lead by a powerful and ruthless triad society leader.  Going solo this time for the first time since the start of this series, Ava is not only about business but personal stakes are involved when she is also acting to protect her family.

Up till now, this one has to be my favorite Ava Lee novel.  The fact that she’s not flying around or even engaging in her normal forensic accounting analysis is beside the point because for once, I felt like I was getting closer to understanding Ava a little more and this case itself was exciting and adrenaline pumping action all the way through.  An awesome page-turner!

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The maze Runner

Thomas wakes up in a lift with strange boys surrounding him.  Everyone arrived the same way and only remember their names.  They are in what they call The Glades.  Locked in at night but surrounded by a maze that constantly change.  The maze runners go out everyday hoping to find a way out while they are all assigned jobs to keep the Glades functioning.  Except Thomas’s arrival triggered the arrival of a girl, in turn causing major changes that challenge their survival.

The Maze Runner was a pleasant surprise.  The whole story is fast-paced and intense.  As Thomas searches for a way to escape from the maze with the others, they also are challenged with avoiding being hunted.  There are secrets he has to keep and memories that he tries to find.  As things flip around, the only thing we will worry about is how they will not die in the process. Plus, the ending was totally kick-ass.

The Maze Runner is due to be in theatres in September and as much as I worry that it might be not a good adaptation, I have high hopes that if done right, they might have a great franchise on their hands.  Its has the right material to be a hit, the question now is whether it delivers.

OVERALL…

I didn’t read too much in July and that has to do with this book below:

A Game of Thrones

Thats right, my lovelies! A Game of Thrones is killing me.  Its not boring just crazy long at 835 pages.  I’m only at 65% and I’m starting to wonder when I’ll lose track of the events going on.  Still, I’m soldiering on because its not a bad novel.

After this, I have a little special something planned for the blog related to reading.  Every section has had their time to shine and now its time for a Reading month.  Not just any reading month but one where I’m going to flip through all those independent authors here on the blogosphere that I’ve backlogged and stored on my tablet and I’m going to work on reading as much as I can in a month. A few have reached out to me over the last few months and with everything going on, I never got around to reading it.  Here’s my way to repay everyone 🙂 Better late than never, right?

What have you been reading? Have you read any of these novels?

A-Z Book Survey :)

Its been pretty much Hong Kong dominant over here so for a little intermission, I landed on a cool book survey over at Lizzy’s My Little Book Blog.  I thought it’d be fun to give it a shot.  I should really get around to doing a movie one though ;). Go and check out Lizzy’s blog because its full of cute quotes and awesome book reviews.

This survey was originated from Perpetual Page Turner right HERE! Its my first time visiting and it looks pretty awesome also 🙂

Lets start this survey, shall we?

AtoZsurvey-1017x1024

Author you’ve read the most books from:

Charlaine Harris.
I originally thought it had to be Lucy Maud Montgomery but Goodreads proved me wrong.

Best Sequel Ever:

Catching Fire

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Currently Reading:

The maze Runner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Usually its Hot Water or Tea 🙂

E-reader or Physical Book:

Physical Book is my first choice
(but I’m slowly getting into e-books to be more space efficient)

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School:

Granted I’ve graduated from high school a LONG time ago,
I thought this when I read it in high school and thinking back I’d still do it:
Landon Carter from A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

Rebecca

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

I read this in high school for a project.
I had been the last to pick the book so I was left with slim pickings and my teacher suggested to read this one and it was a definite winner.

Hidden Gem Book:

the night circus cover

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Important Moment in Your Reading Life:

Restarting to read fiction after not having time for it during my college and university years.
I realized how essential it was to my life and how much balance it was as a form of escape and imagination.

Just Finished:

The Red Pole of Macau

The Red Pole of Macau by Ian Hamilton

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

HORROR

I read one once and it took me a really long time to get it out of my head.

Longest Book You’ve Read:

hp5 cover

I don’t track page numbers but I’m guess one of those Harry Potter books. Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix

Major Book Hangover Because of:

sharp objects

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn made me have to take a break from reading because of the intensity the book built up.
Her characters and stories are haunting and it makes you ponder the values and meaning of alive and just how scary human nature and the likes really can be.

Number of Bookcases You Own:

2 (although one of overstacked)

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

Charlie and the chocolate factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Road Dahl

Preferred Place to Read:

Either in my room on my comfy office chair or sitting outside with a nice light breeze

Quote that Inspires You/Gives You All The Feels From a Book You’ve Read:

The invention of hugo cabret

Reading Regret:

I haven’t read a full-length Sherlock Holmes mystery.

Series You Started and Need to Finish (all books are out in series):

Agatha Christie is the only one I can think of, specifically Hercules Poirot

Three of Your All-Time Favorite Books:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Unapologetic Fangirl for:

Lorien Legacies by Pittacus Lore

Very Excited for this Release more than the Others:

Unfortunately I’m more current on movie releases than books so I don’t know.
But if there was a new Gillian Flynn novel, I’d be pretty excited 😉

Worst Bookish Habits:

Not using proper bookmarks!

X Marks the Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

PS I Love You

P.S. I Love You by Cecilia Ahern

Your Latest Book Purchase:

Divergent

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Zzz-Snatcher Book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

The Casual Vacancy

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling takes this one ONLY because I wanted to finish this book before my vacation earlier in June

Here you have it! A little book survey fun for this lovely Friday 🙂

Any of you would like to join in remember to link back to me and of course to Perpetual Page Turner because they deserve the credit for putting this together!

You can even drop me a comment about your favorite quotes, books, major book hangovers, Zzz-snatchers and fictional characters you would probably date in high school, etc? Love you to hear your answers and maybe inspire some new book recommendations 🙂

Happy Friday, my lovelies!

May & June Reading Recap!

Its been a while since I’ve done a reading recap and I’ve been way behind with my reading challenge.  I’m hoping that as work slows down, my energy will return and my focus on reading will pick up.  It also helps when I have a captivating book in my hands.  I’m starting to think that as I read more.  I’m becoming a harder audience to please.  Or maybe I just didn’t like the style of the book.  That can happen, right?

Lets get started 🙂

Dead Ever After (Sookie Stackhouse #13) by Charlaine Harris

Dead Ever After

It took 13 books but Sookie Stackhouse finally came to an end.  The last few books have been a chore to get through with more meaningless parts than actually good stuff.  But, the writing style is always so easy to read that it doesn’t take much effort to go through it quickly.  Dead Ever After is the final book and I guess the question is how does Charlaine Harris wrap this up.  She has to pack Sookie’s dangerous, crazy and romantic life all up. In the foreword or whatnot, she justifies that its how she’s wanted this to end.  Right off, the setup of the novel is different, featuring a mysterious side story which reveals itself in the end, supposedly maybe wanting to give it a little thriller-esque sort of feeling.  Except, its become so predictable that although this last book wasn’t bad, I wasn’t exactly enthused. After having some time to digest it, I really didn’t like the ending at all.  It wasn’t just that it didn’t meet my expectations but it faded out some pretty important characters.

Seeing as True Blood was what got me into this, I’m more curious as to how this last season will go.  Will they change the ending from the novel? Lets just say, if they do keep it the same, I won’t be quite so pleased. I just don’t really see how the series would build itself to that ending.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent

I bought this book in hopes of reading it before going to see the movie.  Obviously, that didn’t happen as I planned.  But thats okay, because apparently, the movie was really good and that comes from friends that actually read this and enjoyed it.

I had extremely low expectations when I first started this book. I honestly have no idea why.  Maybe its the worry that all these teenage books (Harry Potter aside) might end up like Twilight.  Still, this one did well.  I made it through the whole book in a rather quick pace.

Divergent has a great premise.  The concept behind the whole story works really well and the characters were developed decently.  At least the main characters were done well.  It might have benefited from having a little more emphasis on some key characters rather than just our main characters Tris and Four.  While there is a lot to like, I can remember the beginning taking me time to adapt to because the writing style seemed so amateur, maybe. It had something I didn’t quite like but I couldn’t really figure out what it was but that only lasts for a few chapters until it picks itself up and carried me straight to the end.

I don’t know how bad the movie can be but when I get a chance to see this, I’m going in with an open mind.  Plus, I’m already planning out when to get the second book and continue with the series.

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

The Casual Vacancy

I can’t say for other people who read this but I definitely picked up this one and hesitated and hesitated over an over again because I was not only curious to see how J.K .Rowling would do in the books for an older audience but also I had my doubts.  What eventually made me pick up the courage and read it was that it was unfair that I knew nothing of the plot and I had already judged it.  I’m just that kind of person and I won’t be that kind of person.

For the record, I wanted this book to be good.  It was just so damn long and the pace was so slow.  The story itself touches on morals, integrity and just so many social issues as well all embedded in a little town.  It sets off by one character’s death which allows us to see a bunch of characters and their lives, viewpoints and how there’s a lot of friction and just how self-centred and ugly everyone was.  I spent a good part of it really hating on the characters and in the beginning its a bit confusing because there’s a mountain of names and characters introduced throughout the first few chapters.

I don’t remember this book a lot other than the surprisingly good ending but I do also remember thinking how J.K. Rowling had gotten really sexually explicit in some descriptions.  I didn’t really think she would go there.  I’m not saying its a bad thing but I guess thats what makes her stand out.

I just can’t help but wonder if maybe she just needs more practice as its just her first step into the books for adults or maybe she’s more geared for books for the younger audience?

The Giver (The Giver Quartet #1) by Lois Lowry

The Giver

When I was in elementary/high school, I know that some classes got to read The Giver.  However, my English teachers never did so I never knew what it was about either.  Now, The Giver is a short novel. Its a bit over hundred pages.  Its also the first I knew that its actually part of a series.  Believe me, you will know also when you reach the end of this book.

The Giver is about a dystopian world which is the opposite of what we have now.  Its in a space of Sameness where everyone has their life planned out for them and in routine.  This world is emotionless and colorless and painless.  Our main character,Jonas has one of the rare jobs which no one had got chosen for since 10 years ago called The Receiver.  His job is to work with The Giver who will pass him memories.  They are the ones who others believe see beyond and carry the burdens and knowledge that others do not have.

The Giver is a great book.  I loved it a lot and I read through it extremely fast because everyone was written well and developed in a good way.  Of course, the book being short also makes certain details blurred over but in general, the events that went on and just the inner struggle of our character is one that is intriguing all on its own.  Its about seeing a world living in ignorance.

From my Goodreads review, I end it asking this question: Can you imagine a life without memories and everything is simply black and white? Simplicity has its pros but it also strips away the desires and wants that are what motivates us everyday. However, remembering more and feeling more also brings on more pain so would you choose to fully experience life or be in a simple and protected world where your choices are made for you?

The movie looks like its going to be good with a decent cast.  Jeff Bridges possibly in a more serious and heavy role.  This one I have to see.  I’m not sure how anyone can ruin this book adaptation and my fingers are crossed that they won’t.

The Wild Beasts of Wuhan (Ava Lee #3) by Ian Hamilton

The Wild Beasts of Wuhan

Jumping into the third book of this Ava Lee series, all the complaints from the second one has pretty much subsided in this one.  Ava Lee is sent on a mission to recuperate money on some fake paintings which takes her around the world to Wuhan, Hong Kong, London and New York.

All in all, this one is quick-paced and fun to read.  Its a definite page-turner and reminds me of the Ava Lee that made me fall in love in the first book.  It carries suspense and less violence but at the same time, she carries intelligence and this time around, we get a good look at her personal thoughts on her relationship and her family.  We dive into her awkward family and I’m pretty sure the next book is going to be head-on involved with a family member.

There really is nothing to complain about in this one because its a satisfying read and I’m hoping the next books will have the same greatness to it 🙂

OVERALL…

As I was writing this up, I realized how many novels are actually series.  Its really amazing how there isn’t really any standalone books anymore.  I mean here’s 80% series.  Of course, there are good and bad but for the most part, Sookie Stackhouse kind of overstayed her welcome whereas Ava Lee is still a work in progress.  I’m only the third book in and there’s probably already a few more if I’m not mistaken. However, that is a series that I think deserves more attention and would make a pretty awesome TV series or movie.

On that note, I can’t wait to see The Giver in theatres and I’m hoping its a wide release, but I’m willing to travel further to see that since I’m so in love with the book. I also just finished another book that will be adapted into a movie soon but I will post about that in the next recap.

I’m on a reading spree and I have a bunch of books lined up with a few independent writers in the mix once my tablet behaves and lets me load my ebooks again.  I’m working on that while I read some physical books 🙂

What movie adaptation are you looking forward to this year? Did you read any of these books? What are your thoughts on it? Any interesting reads that you’d like to share?

February 2014 Reading Recap!

February ended in a flash! Maybe its being super busy and I looked forward to reading on my bus ride early in the morning and after work because this was my mind-clearing time to submerge into another world not filled with deadlines and numbers.  Some days it was even hard to even stay awake on the bus but still, I kept at it as much as I could 🙂 Lets see what books I got through! Continuing on from last month which you could find HERE if you missed it!

4) The Disciple of Las Vegas (Ava Lee#2) by Ian Hamilton

the disciple of las vegas

This is the second book in the Ava Lee series.  You can check out my review of the first book, The Water rat of Wanchai HERE!

The Disciple of Las Vegas follows right after Ava Lee arrives back in Toronto and with a rather pushy, demanding and controlling Chinese/Filipino client who has been lead to believe that his brother in Toronto has conned money from his business operations for his gambling addiction.  She ends up following the paper trail and not only building relationships but also breaking a few as well to track down the significant amount of money and defend the parties while trying to keep her name clean and surviving this ordeal. While, at the same time, a former client has sent for killers to take revenge on her and they could be ready to attack her at any moment.

The intensity of this second one is almost as good as the first one.  The case itself is rather intriguing and the turn of events show a different side of Ava and also allowing us to shine a bit of light into her personal life more.  At the same time, we can see that she’s not the, as I mentioned in the first book, overbearing feminist but rather she’s human like us, except you don’t test her limits because she could also be very deadly.  There are very blurry limits to how far she’d go to get the information she needed and to complete the task.  At the same time, in this one, we get to see her losing a bit of the normal control she would have because of a more dominant figure as the client.  The only thing I found unnecessary for this novel was the constant product placement.  Descriptions of her clothes being from Giordano or her Cartier watch or her Brooks Brothers shirt.  Once or twice is understandable but it repeats itself quite a bit, but then, maybe I’m being slightly picky. Still, this is a great read and for the adventure and mystery, its well worth your time 🙂

5) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

the book thief

I’ve been wanting to read the Book Thief for a really long time but never got around to picking up the book at the bookstore.  However, a while back, I did, especially after all the reviews on how great the movie is.  I still have to give that a shot.

The Book Thief is about an orphan Liesel who ends up with foster parents and finds joy in her books and reading during the WWII in Germany when Hitler was in power.  The everyday life and how she grew up with her friend Rudy and eventually their family keeping the secret of hiding a fugitive.  It was about the poverty and how lives were and how the Book Thief became the Book Thief all in the eyes of our narrator, Death.

That was probably the most unique part of the story, being narrated and witnessed by Death.  The story ended up being moving back and forth with little inserts of notes from Death.  Whats also refreshing is that its in short chapters to document different things happening while being separated into 10 different sections containing different phases and events that come up.  As much as its about Liesel’s life, its also about her foster family and her friends and the effect that war had on them, the choices they made, etc.

The Book Thief starts off slowly as we learn about the little girl that Death encountered the first time when he went to take away her brother’s soul and then we follow everything else bit by bit afterwards.  As much as its slow, it never feels like it drags on but does it very efficiently.  Its a fantastic (and unique) reading experience 🙂

OVERALL…

I have one more novel but I had read it in anticipation for Recommendation Month as its written by a fellow blogger.  That will go up next week 🙂

Its been a good month for reading yet again.  This time, I enjoyed all of the novels quite a bit and I especially look forward to the next novel in the Ava Lee series.

Have you read these novels before? What are you reading now? What are your favorite mystery thriller or young adult/historical fiction?  I’m not much of a historical fiction person but this one has me intrigued 🙂

Just a note, since next month, I’m going to be focusing on fellow bloggers and their novels, although I still need to seek out one or two more, I’d love to hear some suggestions. Also, chances are if I’m doing full reviews, there won’t be a March recap 😉