It’s a Very Popular Night to Leave Town – (“Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights” – A Book Review)

“Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights?” (All The Wrong Questions ?4)
Author: Lemony Snicket
Published: 2016

On Goodreads

WITN

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt Full bolt

 

Why are the snack so terrible? Why are we stopping? What’s the rest of the story?

A train ride! The big reveal! Librarians! Volunteers! A series finale! Lemony Snicket jumps on the train that run through the town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea where many familiar faces are also leaving town. Usually the train doesn’t stop until it reaches the city, but tonight it did. A murder is afoot and Lemony is hot on Hangfire’s trail. In this epic conclusion, will he finally discover who this villain is? Why is the Bombinating Beast important?

 

Before proceeding with this conclusion, here are a few other questions to consider:

  1. Do you think your curiosity might get you in trouble?

[ ] No.       [ ] What kind of trouble do you mean?

  1. If you are following someone and they go someplace dangerous, are you curious enough to keep following them?

[ ] Yes.     [ ] What do you mean by “dangerous”?

  1. If someone offers you an apple, should you take it?

[ ] That sounds familiar.     [ ] Bad apples are bad news.

  1. A train departs from Stain’d-by-the-Sea late at night and travels at top speed toward the city. When does it arrive?

[ ] Just in time for a crime to be committed.      [ ] Too late.

 

Lemony Snicket is in the thick of it when Hangfire kills somebody important and frames S. Theodora Markson for it. With the help of his allies, Lemony hopes to solve the case and stop Hangfire before the train reaches the city, and more importantly, before somebody else winds up dead.

 

Final books of a series make me sad. It means the end of a story and if it’s a really good one, like this one was for me, then you don’t want it to end. I tried to take my time with this book so that it would last, but there was no chance of that. This book, like the ones before it, moved fast from one moment to the next. It was a wild and unpredictable train ride. I couldn’t put this book down.

Many characters returned for this epic conclusion. From Sharon Haines of book three to Ms. Murphy the actress from book one. Like every great finale, there was nostalgia for the previous books. And that was really emphasized through the characters and their stories. I really enjoy when a finale can slip in things that remind me of its previous books. Its reiterates the journey that got me and the characters to this end game.

I really loved that Lemony wasn’t alone and that his friends: Moxie, Jake, Cleo, and Kellar were with him. However, every move he made toward finding Hangfire risked him losing them and that made me nervous. This series is fantastic for making you jittery with anticipation. I know I was.

The mystifying element that Lemony Snicket usually brings to his stories, like the poisonous fungus of The Grim Grotto, for example, is brought to life. Shocked and stunned, the mythical beast that Lemony has been surrounded by throughout the series isn’t so mythical, putting the people on the train in even further danger. It was actually a little scary. Lots of teeth and rather ugly.

WITN - Villains Wiki

All of the questions ever had are answered in this book. The simple answer is one I didn’t expect. It was heartbreaking and shattered everything I knew from the previous books, putting what I knew about the big cameos and Kit Snicket’s arrest together. I was mindblown.

mindblown

And yes, I imagine Milly Bobby Brown as a young Kit Snicket.

 

The end or is it? While the series ends with this book, it didn’t feel like the end at all. It was left trailing and I took it as only the beginning of something else. After all, this does take place before A Series of Unfortunate Events. This ended phenomenally with Lemony walking into the metaphorical sunset rather depressingly, but left me wondering what happens next. I wish there was more!

This was an epic conclusion to a fantastic series. Truly. I recommend it wholeheartedly for those who enjoy the smart, adventurous, yet perilous story of secrets that leads to questions that leads to an unhappy ending. Because, this story didn’t have that happy ending. Not a single tidbit. In fact, you’re left feeling like you were left out in the rain without an umbrella, but I hear people enjoy a good story like that. So, if you do, this one is for you.

 

Quotables

“We invited villainy aboard, I thought. And now its terrible mess was everywhere I looked.” (Lemony, p. 92)

“There is no point in delaying crying. Sadness is like have a vicious alligator around.” (Lemony, p. 147)

“Even the noblest of volunteers can associate with the wrong people.” (Lemony to Ellington, p. 200)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Demons by Imagine Dragons

 

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A Top Drawer Education – (“Shouldn’t You Be in School?” – A Book Review)

“Shouldn’t You Be in School?” (All The Wrong Questions ?3)
Author: Lemony Snicket
Published: 2014

On Goodreads

SYBIS

 

My Rating: Full boltFull bolt Full boltFull boltFull bolt

 

What are they teaching their students? Where did she hide it? Does anyone else feel sleepy?

Is that smoke? Fires are coming up all over the town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea and apprentice Lemony Snicket is on the case. So is S. Theodora Markson, his chaperone, but she is easily distracted by Sharon Haines, a teacher, who insists on helping. But, is she really helping? Lemony must put his sleuthing to good use and call on his allies if he hopes to figure out who’s been starting these fires. What are the secrets of the Department of Education? Are these fires connected to the academy? Is all of this somehow connected to the notorious villain Hangfire?

 

With fires popping up everywhere and kids disappearing to a new academy brought up by the Department of Education, Lemony Snicket is determined to get to the bottom of it all. Amid this, his worries for his sister, Kit, and her arrest peaks to a whole new level of worry. Ellington Feint comes out of the shadows, having escaped her own arrest and Lemony doesn’t know if he can truly trust her after the many times she’s double-crossed him. Only the promise that he’d help her get her father back from Hangfire keeps him from turning her over. Afraid, of endangering his friends, he must now rely on them if he hopes to end these fires.

SYBIS

Third book in the series, the story has intensified immensely. While Moxie was hurt at the end of the last book, the danger for Lemony and his friends is even higher now. I really loved that Lemony’s friends didn’t give up on him or walk away even though it was dangerous to join him on his mission. I find this to be inspiring because everyone should have friends that will stick with them through the hard parts of life, though they might not always be comprised of dangerous women with knives or trying to put out fires or take down nefarious villains. It’s important to have a person you can rely on and who’ll do anything for you and vice versa. This is a great show of that. It’s completely heartwarming.

SYBIS

The new addition of Wade Academy into the setting of Stain’d-by-the-Sea reminded me so much of Austere Academy, the fifth book of A Series of Unfortunate Events, though much more dangerous since it wasn’t necessarily an educational environment. The place is accessible by train, really showing just how isolated it is from the town, while also leading Lemony to discover more to the big plot Hangfire has. Each time a new setting has been introduced it’s just as surprising to me as it is to Lemony. They’re like monuments to the town—The Black Cat Coffee, Hungry’s, the Library, Lost Arms, and others.

The VFD has its reveal. Sort of. Not really. It’s not a secret at this point, especially with Lemony’s offhand mentions. The deeper understanding of what VFD is about is impressive, but you still don’t know everything about it. If you did it wouldn’t be a secret. So while we understand Lemony’s part, kind-a sort-a, there’s still so much to be in the dark about. That kind of mystery, where it’s more heroic and adventurous and filled with clues is more fun and always capturing my attention.

If I could join this secret society I totally would. To get up the gumption to be so brave and find optimism even in the darkest of moments, it would be amazing. I must say, though, the foreshadowing for ASOUE is heavy and even giggle worthy.

ATWQ

Something I haven’t mentioned yet, is how clever Lemony himself is, not just in his maneuvers, but in how he thinks and talks. I know I’ve talked about the books overall being clever, but Lemony really has all the cards. While looked down upon by adults, he is quite possibly smarter than all of them. He really thinks outside the box and the results are phenomenal. I’m in awe of this character.

 

Need I say what I’ve said for the last two books of this series? Original and dangerous and surprising. There’s never a dull moment. From light humor to moments of sorrow to the great A-Ha! Go read this!

 

Quotables

“Children are the future of the world, and we must keep them safe from harm.” (Sharon to Lemony, p. 41)

“It is not pleasant to have a number of people glaring and sighing at you at the same time, even if you meant for them to do it.” (Lemony, p. 52)

“The treachery of the world will continue no matter how much you worry about it, L.” (Kit to Lemony, p. 106)

“There’s more to a library than the library.” (Ellington to Lemony, p. 171)

“Everyone tells you it’s all right to cry, but not enough people say it’s all right if you don’t want people to know.” (Lemony, p. 174)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? On Your Side by Thriving Ivory.

 

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Get Scared Later (“When Did You See Her Last?” – A Book Review)

“When Did You See Her Last?” (All The Wrong Questions ?2)
Author: Lemony Snicket
Published: 2013

On Goodreads

WDYSHL

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Did you get the message? Who has the formula? What’s for breakfast?

There is a new mystery in the nearly inkless town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea. Cleo Knight has gone missing and S. Theodora Markson and her apprentice Lemony Snicket are on the case. While Markson believes this to be cut and dry, a term often meaning simple and to the point, Lemony thinks otherwise.

Is she a runaway? Or was she kidnapped? He seems to be asking all of the wrong questions. As he gets closer to figuring out what happened to Cleo, a bigger mystery unfolds, revealing something that could save Stain’d-by-the-sea. One that is dangerous and lead by the villainous Hangfire, who can mimic anyone’s voice.

But, before you go on to read this book and discover what more troubles Lemony is getting into, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Have you seen the missing girl?

                    [ ] No.                  [ ] Why would I tell you?

  1. Why aren’t her parent worried?

                    [ ]  That’s odd.            [ ] Well, some parents are like that.

  1. Can you read a note written in invisible ink?

                    [ ]  I’m not sure.        [ ] “         .”

  1. Is it safe to follow a suspicious woman through the streets of an empty town?

                    [ ] Probably not.                  [ ] Wait, where did she go?

Lemony Snicket is still reeling from Ellington Feint’s double-cross and can’t but wonder where she might be, and with the Bombinating Beast that she stole off with. Now, possibly a part of Hangfire’s scheme, which is still a mystery, a young woman, a chemist, named Cleo Knight has gone missing and S. Theodora Markson insists they go on the case. Along the way he discovers that Cleo was onto something that may just save this town. With the help of old and new allies, Lemony is on the case and determined to find out how a mythical beast ties into this ongoing mystery.

Ever since I read A Series of Unfortunate Events (and out of order, too, though it still made sense and was somehow even better that way), I’ve wanted to read more of Lemony Snicket, hence I’ve gotten my little fingers on All The Wrong Questions. He makes a mystery more than a mystery. It’s a curious, art piece of a puzzle that I wanted to put together. There’s more than just the who dun it. There’s all of the in-between, and there is a lot of that.

This is often the book when readers say, “This is a fragmentary plot.”, which here means that this book is a part of a much bigger plot that has yet to be reached. Ib other words, while you’re left hanging by the end, you’re also satisfied. A strange feeling that is. And freaking amazing. Book series that do this are exemplary. Working like puzzle pieces and creating a good long story, which is the beautiful point of a series! Just amazeballs.

mind blown

Lemony is still a mysterious as ever and leaving fun Easter eggs. While I can’t tell you about them because I hate being spoilery, I will say that there are some amazing mentions, and a cameo that really made me giddy. This series takes place before the Baudelaire orphans were born. A prequel of sorts, yet not at all. A beginning that’s not really a beginning.

This book took me deeper into the town and how it became drained of ink, its main source of income. It’s quite dreadful that the greed of this town lead to the extinction of a sea and its population of octopus, which painfully relates to the world and how greedy people are over similar resources. Delving into the history behind a story is always fun because it shows you more than what you’ve seen so far and just pulls you in that much deeper, making the imagery that much stronger. In the process of following every small lead Lemony gets to this mystery, he discovers Ellington Feint, and she’s got her own plan. A plan that he just can’t stay out of, proving he is a loyal and kind person, who’s almost thirteen.

Lemony meets Jake Hix, the young man who works at Hungry’s Diner and is in lover with the missing chemist, Cleo. This new ally, much like the Bellerophon brothers, the taxi drivers, and Moxie, the journalist, help him with this new mystery. Each character really encompasses something unique and so creative, that it makes you laugh out loud. I read this and thought, people don’t work like this and they certainly exist. They don’t hand out helping hands like this, and it leaves me hoping and wishing that they did. I just find these characters to be fascinating and filled with the extraordinary abilities of true heroes.

The artwork of this novel is something to behold. All done in the shade of one color-purple in this book-is both goofy while it edges on sophisticated and loud, capturing scenes perfectly. They’re crowded and truly give off the lighthearted feel for the book to show that it’s enjoyable on a level that isn’t overly frightening. Dangerous and humorous more than anything.

WDYLSH

After reading this, I was left wanting more. I’m so glad I bought the entire series before starting them. Clever plots and heroic allies within these pages kept me from putting this down until I’d finished it. There’s always something surprising around the corner and by the end you realize you’re left with more questions so you have to read the next one.

Quotables

“How could someone who was missing be in two places at once?” (Lemony Snicket, p. 1)

“Boredom is not black licorice, Snicket. There’s no reason to share it with me.” (Moxie to Lemony, p. 119)

“You’re chasing mysteries, Snicket, but you’ve been a mystery yourself since you arrived in town.” (Moxie to Lemony, p. 198)

“No reality has the power to dispel a dream.” (Associate to Lemony, p. 274)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Here’s To The Night by Eve 6.

 

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Ghosts Don’t Throw Rocks (Nancy Drew: Ghost Stories #2 – A Book Review)

Nancy Drew: Ghost Stories #2
Author: Carolyn Keene
Published: 1985

Nancy Drew 

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

 

When I thought about creating a collection of ghost stories I knew that Nancy Drew would face her most intriguing challenge yet as a young detective. You see, Nancy doesn’t not believe in ghosts; but the many unexplained happenings in each mystery almost leader her to think otherwise.

-Carolyn Keene

A creepy vampire in a cave. A ghost haunting a hospital room. A witch that helps the dead talk to their living loved ones. Nancy Drew takes on cases that seem to defy the natural world. With her best friends’ Bess and George, they’ll solve some spooky mysteries. Will they be able to solve these terrifying cases or are they in over their heads?

 

This book includes:

-Vampire Cave

-Dark Crypt

-Geist of Meyer’s Mall

-Witches’ Brew

-Phantom of Room 513

-Forest of Fear

 

Yep, I read Nancy Drew. I found this book back on the $.10 shelf in my college library and every once in a while I digress to younger days. Plus, it said ghost stories and though I haven’t read Nancy Drew until now, I know one key fact about her. She doesn’t believe in anything supernatural.

Much like Scooby Doo, Nancy always finds the crook at the end of the mystery. I can’t help that I was so hopeful that there’d be that one mystery that she couldn’t explain, like Scooby Doo and Zombie Island. Even the gang had the occasional unexplained phenomenon. I won’t give away what the stories held because I might as well give them away and I don’t want to do that to you.

Scooby-Doo Classic and Modern

One particular thing had me irked as I read though. There were slight handed comments from characters about Nancy’s friends, Bess and George. They made my jaw drop and not for any kind of good reason. A few times, Bess’s weight had been rudely mentioned as if to say she was overweight or that she eats too much. I’m a woman who LOVES food. LOVES! And I don’t tolerate weight shaming. It’s so cruel. I was very surprised to read that and felt so terrible for Bess. Then a character in one of the short stories commented that George was such a weird name for a girl. My head cocked to the side and I squinted, rereading that segment with such dismay. I would’ve loved to see Nancy stick up for them, but she had been in on a couple of these moments.

What I can take away from all of this is that times have certainly changed and I’m glad.

Each story was quick and cute and the book was finished in a day. Keene was very articulate and made sure the reader knew exactly what was going on. Am I a mystery reader? Decidedly, no. The genre just isn’t for me. I enjoy a little mystery, but only when it’s entwined with another genre that I like. I think the only exception I ever made to the mystery genre was Veronica Mars and that’s because she’s so witty and sassy. The complicated lovefest between her and Logan Echolls is something to behold as well. It certainly does make the heart melt. I think I need to go re-binge the series.

Nancy Drew

If you’re a Nancy Drew fan than take a peek at this collection of short stories. It’s like getting a nice bookshot out of the classics section.

 

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Try Everything by Shakira.

Party Goes Murder (The Cabin – A Book Review)

The Cabin
Author: Natasha Preston
Published: 2016

Cabin - pintrest

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

They think they’re invincible…

Mackenzie joins her friends on a weekend escape to a cabin in the middle of nowhere so that they can have fun before everyone heads off to university in the fall. Sparks fly and alcohol is flowing and in the morning two people are dead with the only possible suspects being the ones in the house.

Mackenzie, determined to get herself and her friends off the list of suspects, investigates, going to great lengths, but what she discovers shocks her to the core. Everybody she thought she knew is hiding secrets and she isn’t so sure that her friends are really innocent anymore. Could the people that she trusts so wholeheartedly be capable of such a heinous act? Everybody tosses blame, increasing suspicions and fears. And when the killer is revealed, Mackenzie fears that the worst has yet to come.

 

When I read the back cover of the book I was intrigued. This is about a killer tracking a group of kids and knocking them off one by one. But it’s not. I was thrown back by this. I felt like the description was completely different from what the book was truly about. I didn’t expect a murder mystery. I was intrigued though. Like peeling back petals of a flower, you slowly discover that none of these characters, even Mackenzie, are who they seem.

What is happening

 

The repetition really got under my skin. I was losing it. There were certain points that Mackenzie kept repeating throughout the whole book. As the reader, I didn’t need her to tell about the things her dead friends would never get to do again. I understood that the first time she thought about it. I understood that when their bodies were discovered. I also couldn’t stand how she kept saying that she couldn’t be falling for Blake, the brother of one of her dead friends. Instead of thinking it all the time, I would’ve liked to see her deflect these feelings more if it bothered her so much. I just felt like she was whining too  much.

Would I read this book again? Probably not. I was thrown off balance too much with it. Between Mackenzie and Blake’s back and forth Will I? or Wont’t? I was dizzying. All of the characters had such short fuses and their emotions ran so red hot that I couldn’t take it seriously. The idea of this story is so good. It truly is, but I feel like it needed more work to get me invested.

 

Quotables:

“His gaze was intense like he saw everything. I didn’t want him to see anything about me.” (Mackenzie about Blake, p. 5)

“The secrets you hide from yourself are always the most dangerous.” (Blake to Mackenzie, p. 21)

“My stomach turned over in fear. The killer could want more blood.” (Mackenzie, p. 194)