Friday, October 2, 2015
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Genre: Thriller, mystery, Supernatural,
Rating: 4/5 stars
Synopsis:John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it.
He's spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential.
He's obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn't want to become one. So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules he's written for himself, practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation.
Dead bodies are normal to John. He likes them, actually. They don't demand or expect the empathy he's unable to offer. Perhaps that's what gives him the objectivity to recognize that there's something different about the body the police have just found behind the Wash-n-Dry Laundromat---and to appreciate what that difference means.
Now, for the first time, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can't control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.
Dan Wells's debut novel is the first volume of a trilogy that will keep you awake and then haunt your dreams.
Thoughts on the Overall Book: I picked this book up expecting something akin to I Hunt Killers and…didn't really get that. The synopsis of this book fails to mention the supernatural element so that was a little jarring. Once I got past that though, I was able to enjoy the book more.
Cover--Yea or Nay: It's kind of bland, but I do like it, I think it works for the kind of book this is.
Characters: John Wayne Carver…I'm still a little unsure how I really feel about him. While I was able to sympathize and even relate to Jazz Dent in I Hunt Killers I'm not sure I was totally able to do that with John who is definitely more of a psychopath and rather frightening. Maybe I liked him because of that? I enjoyed reading about him and from his point of view too. It was an interesting perspective to have and I totally applaud the author for being able to get into that character--and just for going there in the first place. I know how scary that can be as an author. So I don't know that I can say I really liked him, but I did like reading about him. It was interesting reading about the other characters from his point of view too. I actually liked his friend Max and Brooke as well. I sort of felt sorry for his mom, but at the same time, I think she could have done more to understand his condition and not just either freak out or pretend nothing is wrong, but I guess that's just human nature. Mr. Crowley was an interesting character. (view spoiler)
The Romance: None. I don't even think I'm going to call a budding romance between John and Brooke yet.
Writing Style: I did love the writing style. As I said before I always applaud authors for going out of their normal comfort zones (or at least I hope they are) and writing characters who go beyond reluctant or anti-heroes to maybe even past dark hero status. To put yourself in the head of a potential serial killer is a feat of skill, especially if you can make it sound accurate which Dan Wells does. And the fact that it's in first person makes it even better, and makes the reader experience some uncomfortable moments.
Accuracy/ Believability: Despite the supernatural element, the psychological depictions of John's character are spot on, and I really appreciate the research the author must have had to do into psychological disorders and serial killers.
Problems/What bothered me: As I mentioned before, my only complaint was that I thought demons were more boring than serial killers. I know there's something wrong with me...
Conclusion: 4 stars. I do look forward to continuing this series. Now that I know what I'm getting into, I think I'll be able to pick up the next book with fresh eyes and enjoy it more without the jarring realization that it's supernatural.
Recommended Audience: Girl or guy read, 17 and up. Fans of I Hunt Killers, who would like to see it crossed with Supernatural would like this. And for the record, it's actually less gritty than I Hunt Killers as well. Even though I think this is classed as 'adult' I would say, at least the first book, reads like YA.
(Read this review with spoilers on Goodreads)
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Genre: YA, contemporary
Rating: 3/5 stars
Synopsis: Denton Little's Deathdate takes place in a world exactly like our own except that everyone knows the day they will die. For 17-year-old Denton Little, that's tomorrow, the day of his senior prom.
Despite his early deathdate, Denton has always wanted to live a normal life, but his final days are filled with dramatic firsts. First hangover. First sex. First love triangle (as the first sex seems to have happened not with his adoring girlfriend, but with his best friend's hostile sister. Though he's not totally sure. See: first hangover.) His anxiety builds when he discovers a strange purple rash making its way up his body. Is this what will kill him? And then a strange man shows up at his funeral, claiming to have known Denton's long-deceased mother, and warning him to beware of suspicious government characters…. Suddenly Denton's life is filled with mysterious questions and precious little time to find the answers.
Debut author Lance Rubin takes us on a fast, furious, and outrageously funny ride through the last hours of a teenager's life as he searches for love, meaning, answers, and (just maybe) a way to live on.
Thoughts on the Overall Book: Dark humor, a hearse on the cover--had to check it out. I had a couple complaints about it, but overall, I will admit it was definitely a quirky, and funny read.
Cover--Yea or Nay: Totally yes. That plus the title is what made me pick this book up.
Characters: Denton Little is overall not a bad protagonist. For the most part, he's a pretty nice guy and kind of quirky. The problem I had with him was that he was a little wishy-washy. Maybe he was just a too accurately portrayed teenage boy, but I don't hold the belief that they're all like that either. I would have liked him better if he could have just stuck to liking one girl. Just because he was going to die, didn't give him the right to do that, especially since it was kind of a mistake the first time. But apart from that, I did like him, and his narration was quirky and sarcastic and darkly humorous which is exactly what I expected from this book. I really liked his best friend Paolo, he was funny, typical side-kick kind of guy. I did like Denton's girlfriend Taryn, but I had to feel sorry for her because Denton practically cheated on her. This book had a pretty good cast of supporting characters, I particularly liked Denton's brother Felix and then Phil was a character who was annoying and enjoyable to hate. So it had a fun variety of characters who usually ended up surprising you in some way.
The Romance: This was my main problem with the book. I hate love triangles. And the fact that this one happened more or less by accident, but then Denton didn't do anything about it irked me even more. I really saw no reason his sleeping with Veronica furthered the plot at all, it only caused trouble that didn't really have to do with the story line. And Taryn was trying to be supportive but Denton was making that hard. (view spoiler)
Writing Style: I did like the writing style. It was easy reading, fast-paced and funny. I always appreciate dark humor and making fun of death. Denton made a good narrator. The idea of knowing your death date was really interesting and kind of made a neat twist on normal every day life with the new customs of pre-mortem funerals and self written eulogies. I find this sort of thing hilarious anyway. There were times when the plot got a little on the ridiculous side, like the strange rash Denton develops. It was just a little far fetched, especially when he ended up being totally purple. But I guess this is the kind of book where you just have to go along for the ride. There was a bit more espionage sort of story like to this that I was not expecting. I won't say too much in fear of spoilers but it made for a more interesting story than I thought this would be at the beginning.
Accuracy/ Believability: Not really applicable.
Problems/What bothered me: There was a little too much dirty humor in this book. It's a guy book, and I expect guy humor, yeah, and I can deal with that, but this was a little more graphic than I like usually. Plus the all too casual way the characters slept together bothered me because it just seemed like a 'last night on earth' kind of thing and I get annoyed by that, especially in teen fiction. Particularly since no one seems to have a problem with it, even the parents.
Conclusion: 3 stars. A quick fun read with a surprising cliff-hanger. I'll probably read the next book out of curiosity, but this wasn't really a favorite either.
Recommended Audience: Guy read or girl read ages 18 and up due to content. If you like dark humor or quirky contemporary novels check this out.
(Read this review with spoilers on Goodreads)
Monday, September 7, 2015
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Hey guys, back with my August wrap up! I read 11 books this month and pretty much made my quota for the summer :) It will have been 35 in all! I apologize for the quality of these videos, I was trying to different setting to find more light but it ended up being worse than before :P Hope everyone's reading was as good this month!
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Genre: YA, contemporary
Rating: 4/5 stars
Synopsis: From the bestselling author of THE BOOK THIEF
Before THE BOOK THIEF, Markus Zusak wrote a trilogy of novels about the Wolfe Brothers: THE UNDERDOG, FIGHTING RUBEN WOLFE, and GETTING THE GIRL. Cameron and Ruben Wolfe are champions at getting into fights, coming up with half-baked schemes, and generally disappointing girls, their parents, and their much more motivated older siblings. They're intensely loyal to each other, brothers at their best and at their very worst. But when Cameron falls head over heels for Ruben's girlfriend, the strength of their bond is tested to its breaking point.
We're proud to present these novels together for the first time, and to be introducing American readers to THE UNDERDOG, never before published in the United States. Fans of THE BOOK THIEF won't want to miss reading the novels that launched Markus Zusak's stellar career.
Thoughts on the Overall Book: I decided to just review this addition so I can review all three books together in order to compare them. They were, of course, brother stories, and that always makes me enjoy things so much more and I really did love reading about the Wolfe brothers.
Cover--Yea or Nay: Meh, it's okay. Nothing really special, but I do like silhouettes as opposed to character impersonators.
Characters: These are definitely character driven stories, so having good characters is very important, and I ended up really liking Cameron and Ruben Wolfe. Their dynamic was so true to life between siblings and especially brothers that I couldn't help but love them. Just the way they interacted, and lovingly abused each other and always got into trouble together was so perfect. It's obvious that the author had lots of personal experience between siblings, so many writers can't get it correctly and I think it's because they either are only children or had a poor relationship with their siblings. These books were perfect though, and even the 'chick flick' moments between them were perfect, not too mushy, but enough to get the point across. I also liked reading about the rest of their family. Their overachieving older brother who originally thought they were losers and their older sister who they were protective of as they should be, which I thought was sweet. And their parents having to deal with it all and not going crazy, like the boys, I came to appreciate them as well. What I loved most though, was how the dynamic on the family only grew through the hardships they went through and became closer. None of the characters in this were static, they were all very dynamic and enjoyable to read about. Oh yes, and how could I forget Miffy the Pomeranian? I grew to love that dog as much as the boys did, even though they would never really admit it ;)
The Romance: No romance until book three Getting the Girl and that romance between Cam and Octavia was actually very sweet and enjoyable to read about. And don't worry, despite what it sounds like, it's really not a love triangle between her and the brothers, otherwise I would have hated it. I didn't totally understand the problems that ensued from Octavia's standpoint, but I liked how it was quietly reconciled. Book Three, however, really turned more into a story about the brothers reconciling than an actual romance which only got more points from me.
Writing Style: I think it's fair to point out that the first book The Underdog was the author's first novel and it tells, it really wasn't that good, and the writing style was a little jerky, but the second one is much better and the third even better than that. It's written in Cam's voice and Cam being a teenage boy, it is understandable that the thought process is a little disjointed and it actually made it easier for me to get into his head. I really liked how there was a little extra bit at the end of each chapter though; in the first book, it was a recounting of one of Cam's dreams, in the second, a conversation he had with Ruben, and in the third, one of his writings that he took up. I really like it when authors do stuff like that and it kind of helps to end the chapters and go to the next more smoothly.
Accuracy/ Believability: Not much you can mess up in contemporary, but I will say again that the relationship the brothers shared was very true to life.
Problems/What bothered me: Not really any major problems, I was afraid things would get messier than they did in the third book, but everything turned out right. Several times I wanted to shake my head at the boys for the choices they made, but they were very realistic characters and I can't hate them for being human.
Conclusion: The Underdog: 3 stars Fighting Ruben Wolfe: 4 stars Getting The Girl: 4 stars. I really enjoyed this series and I'm glad I decided to pick them up. I wanted brother stores and I was not disappointed. The brother feels at the end of Fighting Ruben Wolfe were lovely and I actually teared up during the 'he ain't heavy, he's my brother moment' in Getting The Girl Just lovely :)
Recommended Audience: Good guy read, ages 17 and up, if you love sibling stories, definitely check these out, you won't be disappointed.
Monday, August 24, 2015
Genre: YA, mystery, contemporary
Rating: 4/5 stars
Synopsis:Fourteen-year-old Laura Horton doesn't quite fit in. She lives in a grand crumbling mansion on the edge of town that everyone calls "the haunted house," and she has more in common with her parents' eccentric artist friends than with the girls at school. So when loner Leon Murphy moves in next door, Laura avoids him at first; she doesn't need anything else different or weird in her life. But when Laura becomes obsessed with uncovering the history of her house--the Visconti House-- she finds that Leon understands her need to know what happened to the lonely Italian gentleman who built it. Together, Laura and Leon begin to unearth the mansion's history, a history of elegant dances, thwarted love, and secret rooms. In their quest for the truth, the unlikely pair forms a deep friendship. But will their friendship, sparked by a shared interest in the past, survive the present?
Thoughts on the Overall Book: I actually got this book because I thought it was a ghost story, but it's not, it's actually just a mystery. However, I was still not disappointed with it and found it to be a very nice charming little almost coming of age story.
Cover--Yea or Nay: I do like the cover, I am always rather fond of simple silhouette artwork.
Characters:Laura was a nice character to read about. She was very quiet and slightly unassuming, but at the same time I was instantly drawn to her. Maybe because I was a little bit like her, though when I was younger. By the time I was her age I was a firebrand. Still, she's the kind of character a lot of introverted, artistic people can relate to, shy, for the most part living in her own world, and pretty much misunderstood and outcast from "normal" people. Her struggles were very realistic with the need to fit in, even if she wasn't entirely sure that she wanted to fit in with the other kids, and struggling through being for the most part alone. I also really liked Leon. He too was quiet, but more for his own reasons than that he was actually shy. He was more like I was at that age, secluded by choice, and he saw in Laura a kindred spirit that eventually grew into a friendship. I also liked the supporting characters, they provided a colorful backdrop to the story, but it's really Laura and Leon's story. I actually find it interesting and enjoyable that so much characterization can be crammed into such a short book, but it was.
The Romance: There's a little romance between Laura and Leon, but it grows from friendship and I enjoyed seeing that a lot.
Writing Style: It's a very simple, yet descriptive style. I was instantly pulled into this book from the first chapter, and was able to relate to Laura. The characters made the book come alive, but the storyline itself was intriguing enough to make me keep reading. I love stories set in old houses, especially old houses with secrets and this one did not disappoint. While not necessarily sensational in any way, there was still the anticipation of finding out about Mr. Visconti and his house, and seeing the friendship between Laura and Leon grow. This book actually reminded me of The Secret Garden in many ways, it kind of had the same feel to it.
Accuracy/ Believability: Not really anything to be accurate about, it's just a simple contemporary mystery.
Problems/What bothered me: Nothing, it was just a nice little story.
Conclusion: 4 stars. I had a feeling when I saw the cover of this book that I was going to like it, and even if it wasn't what I thought it was going to be, I really enjoyed it. The ending was nice and happy and this made for a good in-between book for months of heavy reading.
Recommended Audience: Girl read ages 13 and up.