Happy Lunar New Year! According to the lunisolar Chinese calendar the Lunar New Year falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice and for the Gregorian (the commonly used) calendar it is the New Moon between January 21 and February 20. It is a day to celebrate gods and family members that have come before us, as well as to spread well wishes of “good fortune or happiness, wealth and longevity”. (All information in this paragraph from wikipedia).
To celebrate Lunar New Year, I thought I would write a post about how I celebrated the calendar new year! I wish you all both a Happy 2019 and a Happy Lunar New Year!
I have a confession to make: Books with PIP! was a total surprise. One day instagram was a place for me to post pictures of my cats and occasional travels and the next I posted book reviews two days in a row. When I posted the first picture of PIP! with a book I knew I had found my thing.
Around the middle of December, I decided to plan out my reading for the rest of the month. After my very successful Thanksgiving readathon I decided I wanted to do another one to celebrate the end of 2018, beginning of 2019.
I picked out my New Year’s Day book right away: Believe Me by JP Delaney. I picked that book because it is a thriller (I can usually read a thriller in one sitting) and I had just read (and loved) Delaney’s first book, The Girl Before .
I had a harder time picking out a New Year’s Eve book until I discovered that the third book in the Icon Trilogy by Vanessa Fewings (which I had started a while back) was available.
I have another confession to make: after a friend gave me the 50 Shades books (because she read them and loved them and wanted me to read them and love them) (I didn’t) I kept on reading Romance Novels. They are usually quick and light hearted reads. There may be some drama and fights, but everything is usually resolved in a few chapters and everyone gets their happy ending.
I have a third confession to make: I love, LOVE Hallmark movies for these same reasons. And the 50 Shades movies – they are the rare case where I like the movies better than the books. The grammar is better.
And that is how I celebrated 2018 and rang in the new year: reading romance and triller books, watching the Hallmark Channel.
December 30: I realize that I need to reread books one and two of the Icon Trilogy, The Chase and The Game. I have a moment of panic when I realize that I will now have to read 3 books in two days to make my deadline, but I believe in myself and the power of my eyes. Also, I am stubborn. I finish book 1 and start book 2.
December 31: Here’s the biggest flaw in this reading plan. #ADULTING. I have an 8 hour shift at work. I finish book 2 before I go in. I am home by 930 pm and dive right back in. At this point I realize two things: 1. I am never going to finish book 3, the Prize, by midnight and 2. This is my challenge, my rules. I decide that if I finish the book by 3 am – which is technically still December 31 on the West Coast – it counts. I pause at about 1130 to take pictures of PIP! and Sam with a split of champagne (because #catladylife) and then I finish the Prize a little after two am.
- BOOKS READ: The Game, The Chase, The Prize
- THE AUTHOR: Vanessa Fewings
- PIP! SAYS: 3.5 Paws for the Series
Tobias Wilder is many things. A billionaire Tech genius. A philianthropist. A museum owner. An art thief. Lara Leighton is also many things. The daughter of a renowned art collector. A forgery spotter. An investigator. He is Icon, an infamous art thief and she is a member of the team trying to catch him. As Lara chases Tobias from London to LA she is forced to face the truth: she is falling in love with a thief.
These books were just the thing I needed to end the year. When I ask myself “what do I want to be when I grow up” sometimes the answer is “Art Historian”. One of my favorite places in the world is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. These books combine art appreciation, a little bit of mystery, a transcontinental chase and a bit of romance. At times I found myself frustrated with both Zara and Tobias, and more than once I wanted to reach into the pages to yell at them. The romance in these pages is steamy but even better is the mystery. What kept me turning pages was picking up the clues and pieces and fitting them together.
January 1: Happy New Year! This is day I’ve been waiting for. I have baked goods and junk food and an entire day in front of me with a new book to read. It’s glorious – I spend the day hanging out on the couch with Sam and my book and I eat approximately three slices of chocolate bread with peanut butter. I finish the book around 4pm. Then I get a really crazy thought: could I really finish ANOTHER book? I assess my TBR pile and decide to stick with thrillers. The Death of Mrs. Westaway it is. More chocolate bread and I finish the book at some point that night. I didn’t note the time because by that point my eyes were on full revolt and I went to bed and watched a Hallmark movie.
- THE BOOK: Believe Me
- THE AUTHOR: JP Delaney
- PIP! SAYS: 4.5 Paws
I planned to read this book in one day, but actually, I read this book, cover to cover, without stopping. (Except for more tea and snacks). One of my favorite things in the book genre thriller is the unreliable narrator. It adds another layer to the mystery – figuring out what is really happening in the story (and not just what the narrator is telling you). This story is told by Claire Wright, acting student and struggling actor. When one of the less than reputable jobs she is forced to take to keep a roof over her head ends in murder she becomes entangled in a police investigation. Is she the trap or the target?
I thought I had this one figured out. I thought I knew what Claire was doing. Turns out, I was pulled into her story, exactly as she planned. Delaney and Claire executed this twist perfectly. And Claire turned out to be one of the most unreliable narrators I have ever read. After all, it does say LIE right there on the cover.
- THE BOOK: The Death of Mrs. Westaway
- THE AUTHOR: Ruth Ware
- PIP SAYS!: 4 PAWS
When faced with the lowest moment in our lives who among us wouldn’t wish for something, anything to bring relief? Hal Westaway finds herself in a such a situation, money rapidly running out, with a debt that must be paid. She has no way of paying, no way out, and no hope when she receives a letter that her grandmother has dies and that she is a beneficiary. Except Hal’s grandmother died years ago, and the name of her mother in the letter is not the right name. But Hal is terrified and desperate. So she makes the journey to Trepassen to meet that family that is not really hers in the hope that she will find some relief.
What Hal finds is three uncles, two cousins, an angry housekeeper and a room that has bots on the outside of the door. She also finds that for her, there is no turning back: not from the house, or from the truth.
There is more than one mystery to be unravelled and the few crumbs that the author drops here and there were enough to keep me turning the page. However, this book is missing a sense of urgency that most thrillers have. This book reminded me of an Agatha Christy: the reader has most of the pieces but cannot fit them together. When Ware lays down the last piece is it a great twist to an intricate mystery.
TL; DR: I read 5 books in 3 days from December 30 to January 1. I loved spending a holiday with a book so much that I’m planning on reading a whole book on most major holidays! Next up: Valentine’s Day!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!