[Book review] 172 Hours on the Moon – Johan Harstad

I think we could have picked a better book for the 20th book of the bookclub…

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172 Hours on the Moon starts off with a prologue set in 2010 where NASA contemplates on sending people to the moon. In order to boost interest and in turn funding for research, they thought it would be a great idea to send teenagers alongside real astronauts to live inside this secret (until now) space station and broadcast it. To choose the 3 teen candidates, they will hold a lottery. So from the prologue, you can only imagine what’s to come: Big Brother(the reality show) but with smart people and 3 kids.

The book jumps from different perspectives and it’s mostly filled with teen angst. The 3 teens chosen were a Norwegian girl named Mia, a French boy named Antoine and a Japanese girl named Midori. Mia, at first, didn’t want to go because she thought it was for the geeks and eventually relented (after being pissy at her parents for submitting her name to the lottery) so that she can further the career of her band. Then Antoine wanted to leave because he got dumped and needed to get away. Finally, Midori wants to escape the humdrum life of Japan. We also encounter a senile old man living in a home who used to be a caretaker at NASA.

The first half of the book went by so fast. A year literally flew by and so did any sense of character development. A whole year passed in one chapter. No lie. Finally, it was their time to go to the moon. The 3 teeens were on their way to New York and somehow weird things happened. A missing J5 terminal, a plane QU crashing, and a 6E painted on a hobo’s jacket warned them not to go to the Moon, but did they listen? Nope. If I had a warning like that, I would think twice. And obviously, there’s a significance to those letters which will be revealed later on.

The interesting part is when they’re actually on the Moon and things started to go wrong. Like a horror movie, people go to investigate the problem, and of course, start dying one by one. Who shall remain? Are our teen heroes alive?

I give this a 2/5. It was OK and I have to admit, I was actually scared at the end of the night after reading this. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot of useless things that added nothing to this book. Particularly:
– Why are we seeing Antoine’s Ex-gf’s pov when we barely got to know our protagonists? This isn’t even a character development driven book so who cares?
– Kuchisake onna urban legend (could have picked a better one)

And like any horror movie, you’re left with the what-just-happened? feeling. Nothing makes sense. Like Freddie Kreuger, is he a ghost? What is he? Same with the big bad in this book. What it really is and what it really wants…. you don’t know. But I will say – props to Harstad for using this uncharted big bad territory and intertwining real events in NASA history with the novel.

[Book review] Day 21 – Kass Morgan

On top of my book club where we read approximately a book a month (I say approximately because of scheduling conflicts), I also read on my own – for fun. I signed up for Goodread’s 2014 Reading Challenge [link here] and challenged myself to read 30 books by the end of this year. So far I’m doing good and I’m 2 books away from completing this challenge. I’m close to completing my 29th book and I have a whole list of things to choose from to read for my 30th.

I want to take it a little bit further than just reading and I’d like to share my thoughts on some of the books I’ve read this year. I’ll slowly go through them and we’ll see where it takes me.

The last book I read was Day 21 by Kass Morgan. This is the second book in her ‘The 100’ (pronounced the hundred) series.

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Quick summary of the previous book The 100 – We are in the future and people are living in The Ark which is a bunch of spaceships orbiting space due to the fact that there’s radiation on Earth caused by nuclear warfare. On the ships, Adults who commit crime get executed while children under 18 are sent to prison. Since they are running out of resources (oxygen being one of them), the adults decided to send these delinquents to Earth for recolonization. Mostly because they want to test if Earth is safe and sent a bunch of kids no one cares about.

That being said, if you are a fan of The 100 (tv show on the CW), you may want to avoid this book unless you ship Bellarke. You can consider it an Alternate Universe fanfiction for that relationship. This book will not provide any more insight than the show gives you. It’s similar in name, character names and premise but that is where it ends. If you read it, you have to be careful to separate the two like how you wouldn’t want to judge a movie based on the book, right?

So back to Day 21, we are here with 4 different points of views: Clarke, Bellamy, Wells and Glass. Clarke, Bellamy, and Wells were among the children sent to Earth whereas Glass serves our point of view on the Ark. She was going to be sent down too but she escaped.

We continue on the journey where Clarke and Bellamy bond some more. Octavia has gone missing. Wells is still pining for Clarke. Glass and Luke are spending their last moments together before there is no more oxygen.

I think that Day 21 is a lot more fun to read compared to The 100 in the sense that the plot is a lot more exciting than introducing characters to you. You get to skip all the world building aspect and focus on plot. When you read The 100, you’re seeing Earth for the first time like the characters but now that you’ve had the time to explore, let’s go further from our safe zone and see what else is out there.

We are introduced to Earthborns. One in particular is Sasha. She’s the daughter of the president of the Earthborns. She claims that they are not the ones who killed some of the kids and that another faction is responsible for it. For the majority of the book, you try to figure out whether that’s true or not but while you ‘guess’, you’re left with images of Wells and Sasha wandering around and bonding.

On the Bellarke – I mean Bellamy and Clarke portion of the book, they are both running off into the forests to look for Octavia who has disappeared, most likely abducted. On their adventure, they fall in love, hate each other, fall back in love – it’s all very unrealistic.

Then finally we have Glass who is trying to do a Jaha (from the show) and spacewalk her way to the Phoenician side of the Ark (aka Rich people with more oxygen than the rest).

A lot of things occur in the last few chapters of the book. You’re left with so many questions. So so so many. BUT I love The 100 (tv show) and I give it 3/5 stars meaning – I liked it! It was all very exciting and touching towards the end.

Again, if you watch the show, please consider that the book and the show are totally different things.

Afternoon tea at T-buds (First book club meeting)

I started a book club at the end of November and we had our first meeting this past Sunday. I chose T-Buds, Tea lounge & Creperie. You are able to walk-in and sit downstairs, or for those with reservations (moi), you are seated upstairs in their tea lounge.
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The tea lounge area.

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At the back of the room, there is a display of all their teas for sale.

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Prior to arriving, I had already looked at the menu and had settled on afternoon tea. The tea I selected was the White silver dew buds.

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This was an interesting way to steep the tea but to be quite honest with you, I’m not sure if it’s the most effective way. Either that or their tea was just bland (for all parties at my table…) In fact, towards the end, I tried my friend’s black tea & I had dumped the tea leaves directly into the water while placing the filter over my cup instead. Not much of a difference but by that time I resorted to drinking something else.

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The afternoon tea came with a goat cheese quiche. Sorry but I really hate goat cheese!!! Thankfully, they replaced it with a spa salad.

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Unlike other afternoon tea places where there is a set sandwich menu based on the season (some places don’t even change the menu…), at T-Buds, it’s based on whatever they have that day. They had roast beef, tuna and cucumber. I obviously did not have the roast beef and substituted it with more cucumber. I wasn’t fond of the tuna sandwich to be quite honest but that’s just me.

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This is the first time I had cinnamon scones and I really liked it. It came with creme fraiche, jam, and fresh fruits.

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I’d love to tell you what these are but no one came by to explain anything. 🙂

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Afternoon tea also comes with sparkling jasmine tea! I had to ask about it at the end since someone must have forgotten to give it to me. In her defense, it was her first day. They were nice enough to give one to everyone at our table.

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My friend R had planned a date with her boyfriend after our meeting so she had a grain salad and french pressed coffee. She was the only one at the table to order coffee at a tea place…

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My other friend ordered from the dessert crepes section of the menu seeing as she had eaten lunch not too long ago. She had picked the Irish Strawberry which consisted of fresh strawberries, our signature chantilly and Bailey’s Irish Cream. I remember her saying “Mmm…Bailey’s”.

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Lastly, Yuk‘s sister ordered from the Sandwiches & wraps section of the menu. She ordered the The gladiator (glad-I-ate-here) savoury crepe. (I would like to point out that I let her take the picture and she had focused on everything but the wrap) It consisted of hand-rolled beef meatballs in a basil tomato sauce with provalone and parmesean cheeses wrapped in a savoury crepe. Seeing as I’m a vegetarian, I can’t tell you how it tasted like but I can say it smelled really good! She actually really liked it as well and would’ve ordered another but was deterred by the price.

I would definitely return here to try their brunch menu! I am now off to figure out where to go for my next book club meeting. Maybe somewhere haunted? (I know it may seem random but it related to one of our discussion topics at our meeting)

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T-Buds, Tea Lounge & Creperie
Website
647 352-3622 | 647 352-3624
3343 Yonge St., Toronto, M4N 2M4