Project Reread Update #3

Over the past few years my book collection has expanded a lot. Because I have a small apartment and as a result, limited shelf space, I decided I wanted to limit the number of books I have on my shelves with no reread value. Initially I thought I’d just unhaul books I’m no longer interested in, and one set of books that almost didn’t make the cut was The Boyfriend List. But then I remembered how much I loved that series growing up, so I gave it another chance, reread it, and absolutely loved it. Since then I started Project Reread, where I reread all the books on my shelves in order to give them a fair chance before potentially unhauling them. Here’s the latest set.

Title: Shadow of the Fox
Author: Julie Kagawa
First date read: December 23, 2018
First rating: 4.25/5 stars
Second date read: February 19, 2020
Second rating: 4/5 stars

Shadow of the Fox takes place in a world where every 1000 years a dragon can be summoned, using a prayer on a sacred scroll, to grant the summoner their heart’s desire. Because of the dangers of such a thing, the scroll is broken up into three pieces and hidden away. We follow a half-kitsune named Yumeko who lives at one of the temples guarding a piece of the scroll. After her temple is attacked by demons searching for the scroll, Yumeko flees the temple with the scroll, in hopes of placing it in safe hands at the mysterious and hidden Steel Feather temple. Yumeko teams up with a demon slayer to search for the temple, though said demon hunter does not know what she carries. 

I loved Shadow of the Fox the first time I read it, it reminded me a lot of an anime, which was a total throwback given that I haven’t watched anime in ages. It also had some of my favourite anime tropes, a rag tag group going on a quest that becomes a found-family? Love it. But unfortunately Shadow of the Fox also at one point has a creepy crawly villain and I did NOT enjoy rereading that. Since this reread and since reading and not loving the sequel, Soul of the Sword, I’ve decided Shadow of the Fox is not a title I want to keep on my shelves. I still really like this book but I don’t foresee myself rereading it again in the future, and if at some point I want to I’ll just borrow it from the library.

Title: Soul Eaters (Cracked, Crushed, Crossed)
Author: Eliza Crewe
First date read: March 22, 2017 – June 2, 2017
First rating: 4.5/5 stars (across the board)
Second date read: March 3, 2020 – April 28, 2020
Second rating: 4.5, 4.5, 4.75 respectively

Cracked follows a half-demon, half-human named Meda who believes she is the only one of her kind. One day, in the middle of one of her human meals, she runs into demons and demon hunters. Meda tricks the demon hunters into thinking she’s harmless in order to infiltrate their base and learn more about herself. 

With this reread the Soul Eaters series has solidified its position as one of my favourite series. I am so emotionally invested and connected to these characters and I look forward to revisiting their story again and again. I’m just never going to get enough of Meda’s snarky personality or Jo’s bad attitude.

Title: Stardust
Author: Neil Gaiman
First date read: December 25, 2015
First rating: 3.5/5 stars
Second date read: March 3, 2020
Second rating: 4/5 stars

Stardust follows a young man named Tristan who is tasked by the woman he loves, to catch a fallen star. Tristans love is unreciprocated and he hopes that by collecting this star he can win her over. In order to retrieve the star he needs to venture over the mysterious wall and into Faerie. 

Rereading Stardust was an interesting experience. I have thought about unhauling this book with the intention of repurchasing it because I don’t love the edition I own, but I ultimately cannot bring myself to do it because I buddy read this book with someone who meant a lot to me at the time, so I’m emotionally attached to my copy. As for the reread, I enjoyed it a lot more the second time around and I greatly attribute that to the fact that I listened to the audiobook instead of physically rereading it. Gaiman does an amazing job with the narration and now I have a newfound appreciate for Stardust.

Title: Emma
Author: Jane Austen
First date read: September 6, 2017
First rating: 3.75/5 stars
Second date read: March 3, 2020
Second rating: 4/5 stars

Emma follows an unconventional heroine named Emma who likes to play matchmaker. 

Technically I don’t think Emma should be on this list, because it was never a question of whether I was going to unhaul this book, I just recently bought a new edition and I love it and want to keep it on my shelves forever. But anyways, I’ve rekindled my appreciate for Jane Austen through listening to her stories as audiobooks and I am enjoying rereading her novels immensely.

Title: The Girl with a Pearl Earring
Author: Tracy Chevalier
First date read: February 6, 2016
First rating: 4.5/5 stars
Second date read: March 21, 2020
Second rating: 3.5/5 stars

The Girl with a Pearl Earring follows a young woman named Griet, who after her family comes down on hard times, is hired as a maid in the Vermeer household. Through Griet, Chevalier imagines the origins of Vermeer’s most famous work, Girl with a Pearl Earring.

And we’re ending things off today with a miss! I loved The Girl With a Pearl Earring the first time I read it. I thought there was something so magical about learning about Vermeer and getting into his head a bit. This second time around I started to question whether I’ve become an art snob or something because I did not feel that Chevalier did his paintings justice in there descriptions! I don’t see myself revisiting this story ever again, so this one’s in the unhaul pile.

Final thoughts: Again, my results were pretty mixed up this time around. I’m unhauling Shadow of the Fox (and Soul of the Sword) and The Girl With a Pearl Earring, but keeping the Soul Eaters series, Stardust, and Emma. I wasn’t too surprised by what I decided to keep on my shelves (I was relatively confident that I liked all these titles) but I was a bit surprised by what I’m unhauling.

If you’ve read any of these titles or plan to, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Happy reading! đź’—

Mini Reviews: Marriage on Madison Avenue, The Girl with the Pearl Earring, The Contract

Happy May everyone! This month is Asian Heritage month and to celebrate I’ll be participating in the #asianreadation? Are you doing any readathons this month? Anways, here’s todays reviews.

Title: Marriage on Madison Avenue (Central Park Pact #3)
Author: Lauren Layne
Date Published: January 28, 2020
Rating: 3.75/5 stars
Date read: February 16, 2020

In this instalment instagrammer/influencer Audrey Tate is trying to avoid a romantic scandal and her best friend Clarke is trying to fend off an ex-girlfriend’s advances, their solution to both problems is to fake an engagement.

I haven’t loved any of the Central Park Pact novels but I continued to pick them up because they were really quick mindless reads and sometimes that’s all I really want in life. I’m glad I kept up with the series though, because I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Marriage on Madison Avenue.

I love that this story goes so far as to have them plan out their fake wedding and the romantic tension between Audrey and Clarke is the most believable of the entire series. My complaint about this novel is that it follows the typical romance story plot line, and in that sense is predictable, but otherwise I enjoyed this read.

Title: The Girl with the Pearl Earring
Author: Tracy Chevalier
Date Published: May 19, 2004
Rating: 3.5/5
Date read: March 21, 2020 (reread)

Girl with a Pearl Earring follows a young woman named Griet, who after her family comes down on hard times, is hired as a maid in the Vermeer household. Through Griet, Chevalier imagines the origins of Vermeer’s most famous work, Girl with a Pearl Earring.

I love math, but I am always extremely hesitant to pick up a book with a main character who has a math background because it is completely obvious to me, based on that character, whether or not the author understands or has a true appreciation for mathematics. Yes, this may in fact make me a math snob. But what I didn’t realize, until reading this novel, was that I feel the same way about art. I think Chevalier tries to give Griet characteristics of an artist and while yes, she does have artistic tendencies, I don’t feel that Chevalier truly captured what it means to be an artist (for the record I don’t consider myself an artist). Okay, my obvious snobbery aside, Girl with a Pearl Earring wasn’t my favourite. Chevalier’s writing style didn’t quite work for me, she often describes Vermeer’s work throughout the novel and I feel that she didn’t quite do his paintings justice. Griet was a likeable enough character, but I had a hard time emphasizing with her. To end things off on a high note, I do really love the setting of the novel and I think Chevalier did an excellent job at creating atmosphere and making me feel like I was in Delft in the 1600s. 

Title: The Contract (The Contract #1)
Author: Melanie Moreland
Date Published: May 24, 2016
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Date read: February 21, 2020

After failing to get a much sought after promotion, Richard Van Ryan, as an attempt to get back at his boss, decides he is going to switch over to the competing company. The only problem is the competing company is very family oriented and knows of his reputation as a playboy. In order to rework his image he hires his well-liked, perfect seeming, personal assistant to act as his financé.

Honestly, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed The Contract. I don’t need my romance novels to be particularly realistic when it comes to the premise, the one thing I want to believe is the chemistry between the characters, and their feelings for each other. I think The Contract was successful as a slow burn romance and I really liked that Richard wasn’t particularly attracted to Katy from the get go and that his attraction to her built up slowly over time, as someone who identifies as demisexual, I related a lot to that. I also enjoyed that the majority of the novel took place in Richard’s head, as opposed to Katy’s, I really love getting the hero’s perspective. As for my cons, this just got way to cheesy for me in the end and I thought the last few chapters dragged quite a bit. The writing could also have been stronger, but overall really enjoyable read. 

If you’ve read any of these books or plan to read them, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Happy reading đź’—.