Book Review: “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine #1)

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Author: Ransom Riggs

Available In: Hardcover, Audiobook, eBook for Nook, eBook for Kindle.

Maturity Level: 16+. There’s very little sexual content, but there’s a quite a lot of gore and violence.

You May Like This Book if: you enjoy dark, brooding, vaguely Lynchian  settings and time travel.

You May NOT Like This Book if: you don’t like fantasy or YA, or if you’re averse to violence and gore.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Jacob has it all, really. His mother is heiress to a massive drug/convenience store chain, and he’s grown up not really having to want for much. However, the only things from his childhood that he truly values are the times he spent with his grandfather and his stories about strange children and wondrous sights. When his grandfather is killed in mysterious circumstances, Jacob decides to take a trip to the island where it all began, off the coast of Wales, and uncovers a secret that he will fight to the death to protect.

Overall, I was fond of this book, but the one thing that made it nigh impossible for me to get through it sometimes was Jacob’s attitude. He is something of a brat. He whines too much. I felt very little sympathy for him when he ended up in dangerous situations, and at times I had to put the book down because I just couldn’t stand his entitled, superior, slightly emo mentality. He also doesn’t appear to change very much over the course of the story—he simply becomes more dramatic and annoying.

That aside, I really did like this book. The peculiar children, the time loops, and the Lynchian setting are all right up my alley. It would have gotten a full four stars and moved up a letter grade had the MC been more likable, but I still enjoyed it.

Pros

  • I love the photos! I’m a ghost photography buff, so the effects were quite interesting to see. They did break up the flow of the book a little bit, but I didn’t really care.
  • Lynchian setting.
  • Nerdy references to shows such as Father Ted.
  • Miss Peregrine. Who is awesome. ‘Nough said.
  • The peculiar children. Who are awesome. Again.
  • The Nazi-Hollowghast parallels.
  • The concept of the time loops.

Cons

  • Plot is kind of slowmoving—I was over halfway through the book before it really caught me.
  • I really didn’t like Jacob, which made it difficult to connect with him.
  • All adults are jerks here (aside from Miss Peregrine, who can still occasionally be a jerk).
  • Romance was kind of squicky.

Favorite Scene (s)

  • Pg 192-194, when Jacob is just kind of hanging with the peculiar children.
  • Pg 238-239, when Emma and Jacob are exploring the sunken ship.

Favorite Line (s): “We cling to our fairytales until the price for believing them becomes too high.”~ pg 16 of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Star Rating on Goodreads:  3.5 stars out of 5.

Final Grade: B. Might reread, will probably read other books in series even though I feel like this stands better on its own.

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Book Review: “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green

Title: The Fault in Our Stars

Author: John Green

Available In: Hardcover, eBook for Kindle, eBook for Nook, Audiobook.

Warnings: R for sexual content, bodily fluids, and disturbing imagery.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS AND OPINIONS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

I knew going into The Fault in Our Stars that this was going to be one of those books that had me completely raw and broken at the end. Even so, I was not prepared for how thoroughly John Green did this—and I loved every second of it.

Hazel Grace Lancaster has been terminal since she was thirteen years old. Whether she would die was never a question; now, with the “miracle drug” Phalanxifor shrinking her tumors and keeping her cancer under control, the question is when she will die. Hazel’s reaction to this is not unreasonable—she sinks into torpor, watches tons of America’s Next Top Model, reads her favorite book and waits.

Then, she meets Augustus Waters, gorgeous Survivor with a capital S, and slowly but surely, she begins to fall in love.

Overall, this story is a beautiful one—life affirming, even, despite the death which hangs over so many of the character’s heads throughout the course of the book. The characters are very real and very raw; they are not the stereotypical “brave” cancer patient that Hazel details at several points in the book. They are brave, for sure, but they are also broken, afraid, lonely, and angry. Not a single character in this book is spared from the harsh reality of the ending—even the non-sufferers are affected, just as is the case in real-life cancer cases. And at the very heart of the story, there is a romance between two doomed children who haven’t really had the chance to experience life, and who are determined to do so one way or another. Mixed in with all this bleakness are sparkling moments rather like the titular stars, the hilarious and heartwarming blended smoothly with the darkness and blood and Hazel Lancaster’s struggling breaths. John Green has definitely crafted a book for the ages here, and there is not a person in this world that would not benefit from reading it.

(NOTE: I usually have a Pros and Cons section to my reviews right about now—however, for the purposes of this book, I have had to retitle these sections Things That Made Me Laugh/Aww and Things That Made Me Cry, since a.) I couldn’t really find any cons and b.) when I tried to they all ended up falling into the latter category. )

Things That Made Me Laugh/Aww

  • Hazel’s voice. She’s funny in a dry sort of way, and the way she perceives the world is very interesting.
  • Hazel’s obsession with An Imperial Affliction. I think any reader can relate to this sort of love for a book.
  • Isaac.
  • The romance. There are so many wonderful moments between Hazel and Augustus throughout the book, with my very favorites being on the plane to/from and in Amsterdam.
  • The Anne Frank House. Best scene ever.
  • Hazel’s diagram for Augustus after their “night” together in Amsterdam.
  • Van Houten showing up to Augustus’ funeral.

Things That Made Me Cry

  • That Hazel blames herself for causing the people around her to suffer.
  • Van Houten being a douche.
  • Gus’ recurrence. I pretty much cried through the last 70 pages.
  • The scene on page 244 with the G-tube, when Hazel has to call 911. At this point I was literally bawling.
  • And then again, pg 247 when Hazel is reading him poetry and just starts adding words.
  • The ending. So perfect ❤

Star Rating on Goodreads: 5 out of 5.

Final Grade: A+. Will definitely reread at some point.

Friday Reads + Book Goodies

I’ve had a pretty awesome week as far as books go. My PaperBackSwap membership has started paying off, with books that I don’t want leaving the house at least once a week, while ones that I do want trickle in. It’s helping me keep my book budget down, which in turn allows me to buy more new books. Which is awesome, considering that there are SO MANY great books coming out right now!

Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to one of the aforementioned awesome new books, which was released exactly ten days ago:

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

How to describe The Fault In Our Stars? Well, if you haven’t heard of it or read it or gotten your hands on it at some point in the last ten days, then you are missing out. My usual Pros and Cons review notes have been tentatively re-titled Things That Make Me Laugh/Aww and Things That Make Me Weep, Sniffle, and Cry Like a Baby. I’m not going to say much more, because I’m over halfway through and will probably have my review up early next week, and also because I don’t want to spoil this book for ANYONE. If you’re questioning whether or not you should pick up this book, my answer is unequivocally “Yes.” Even if you don’t like “sad” books. Even if you “don’t read” YA. Even if you’ve never read  a John Green book before. GET THIS BOOK.

It’s one of those books that simply demands to be read.

TFiOS has kind of been dominating my thoughts recently, obviously, but I’ve also received a ton of other interesting/awesome/fun-looking books recently, courtesy of fellow users of PaperBackSwap and the wonders of Amazon.

I’ve been waiting to pick these two up for ages, and when I found them on PBS, I decided it was about time that I snagged them.

TFiOS (and yes, that is a signed copy sticker on there– I took a picture of that too :D) and Paranormalcy, which has been recommended to me by several people including the lovely adkwriter15. (I figured I might need that one as a feel-good once I got done with TFiOS– just in case the worst happened/happens.)

I’ve heard great things about Kleypas’ historical romance, and I’m a devoted fan of Bones, so these were kind of a no-brainer for me.

What great books have YOU gotten your hands on recently? Have/are you read/reading TFiOS? Feel free to comment and let me know!