June 24, 2010

Top 10 Heroes

After getting a little depressed and semi sad from all the evil villains, I needed a happy post for all the characters we know and love. Here's to the brave Heroes and beautiful Heroines (mostly main characters) of my favourite books.

10. Stacey Brown from the Nightmare series by Laurie Faria Stolarz
She may not be one of the best literary character, but she is still pretty cool. Stacey goes to Hillcrest Boarding School, she's a typical 16 year old. Has a gorgeous best friend with a hot boyfriend, her grandmother taught her Wiccan, has terrifying nightmares about people dying, and a girl she used to babysit was murdered. The thing I admire most about her is throughout the series she listens to her instincts and dreams and doesn't care what people think about her and her Wicca. I mean the girl goes through a lot in these series yet still tries to move on and better the person she is. Yup, heroic.

9. Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
He's the perfect romantic hero, and the love interest of Elizabeth Bennet. In the beggingin he's somewhat cocky, but after Elizabeth defiantly declines his proposal he has a new realization of how his behaviour is perceived by others. Over all he's dashing and loving and let's face it, who doesn't want a Mr. Darcy.

8. Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Atticus is a respected and hard-working lawyer and father of Jem and Scout. He is one of the most upright characters, in this book and in all literature. He is brutally honest, has high moral, He goes to great pains to teach his children on the importance of being open-minded, generous neighbors and citizens. We could all learn a few things from good ol' Atticus Finch.

7. Siruis Black from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
He's Harry's parents best friend and god father. The guy is pretty cool, his long black hair, rebel attitude, drives a motorcycle, an Animagus, I mean the guy spent 12 years in Azkaban and escaped, that makes him even cooler. Sadly, we all know his demise in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. But Siruis, don't worry, you'll always be in our hearts.

6. Alice from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll Once Alice falls through the rabbit whole she experiences nothing but nonsense. While I would be baffled and completely confused by some of the characters she meets, she actually handles it all very well. Being only seven and a half years old, she seems to conduct herself like a somewhat older child. Alice is very tough for a child, she isn't scared to talk to people, or boast her opinion, or say what she's thinking. I must admit I always wanted to be Alice as a child, and was slightly jealous of her pale blue knee-length dress with white pinafore over top. I guess I'll just have to fall down a rabbit hole.

5. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Game Series by Suzanne Collins
What I like more than anything about Katniss is the fact that she doesn't complain. There's nothing I hate more than a winy, 'I'm just going to cry about everything' type of girl character. When thrown into the Hunger Games, Katniss takes charge and becomes a worthy tribute among the other districts. The girl can hunt, survive, heal, kill, yet she has a kind heart and she loves her family. Also she has two cute guys that are in love with her, I admire that. She is easily one of my favourite girl characters.

4. Robert Langdon Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
(Due to not finding another Robert Langdon picture, I had to settle for Tom Hanks, but he is not at all my Robert Langdon)

Dan Brown described Langond to be "the man he wishes he good be". Langdon is a professor of typography, he's good looking, he's really smart, he's pretty much like Indiana Jones, (does not including whip or Nazi's). Who wouldn't want to be this guy? I know I would be the girl in the front row, eyes closed with "I Love You" written on my eyelids of Professor Langdon's class room. He saves the Vatican, solves puzzles and always get the girl in the end, now that says heroic.

3. Harry Potter from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
He defeated the Dark Lord as a baby, an amazing Quidditch player, natural spell caster, and very attractive. He's a great friend, kind, but minus his teen angst in a few of the books. But who can blame him, I mean the kid has been through a lot. Constant fear of Voldemort, he's an orphan, everyone dies around him, so its understandable for him to say 'poor me' every once and a while. We'll forgive you Harry. From his lighting bolt scar to his jet black hair, Harry Potter is a born hero.

2. Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
The Great Lion, King of the Beasts, guardian and savior of Narnia. He's a talking lion, who is compassionate, magical, mysterious and that sweet lion face just makes you want to hug him. C. S. Lewis, described Aslan as an alternate version of Christ. The form he might have appeared in a fantasy world. Which makes sense since throughout the series he is gentle and loving, even Christlike if you will. Aslan is an amazing character and yes, I want him as a friend.

1. Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein
I really wanted to add every Lord of the Rings character to this list. Aragorn, Gandolf, Faramier, but I thought long and hard about it and realized before elves, man, and wizards, the hobbit, Samwise Gamgee, was the most heroic. Being no more than a lowly gardener for the Baggins', throughout the books he's devoted to helping Frodo even though its not his task to bear. I mean Sam even takes on Shelob, he's a born friend and bad-ass.

June 23, 2010

Top 10 Villains

They are the foul, cruel and heartless fiends in literature. We just love to hate literature's villains. But without these wicked characters, our stories wouldn't be the same. This is my top 10 list of the worst/best literary villains.

10. Mrs Coulter from His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip PullmanShe's beautiful and elegant and chief "Gobbler", and not nearly as friendly as she sounds. She wants to amputate children's souls, or their "daemons", for scientific purposes. Eventually she sees her evil ways but lets face it, she's no Mary Poppins.

9. The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank BaumThe Wicked Witch of the West is always trying to kill Dorothy and her companions, for her silver slippers. She tries to starve the Cowardly Lion, burn the Scarecrow and uses wolves, bees, winged monkeys and crows to try and kill Dorothy. Even the Wizard is afraid she will kill him. Finally Dorothy has enough and throws a bucket of water on her. Overall the Wicked Witch of the West is just plain mean.

8. Count Dracula from Dracula by Bram Stoker
If his peculiarly sharp teeth and decaying castle don't scare you, I don't know what will. Dead and buried in a great tomb in the chapel of his castle, Dracula returns from death as a vampire and lives for several centuries. Although Stoker did not invent the vampire, it has been responsible for many theatrical, film and television interpretations. Even my dad was terrified of the old black and white Dracula movies. Dracula has been scaring us for centuries.

7. The Queen of Hearts from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Most literary villains resort to plotting and trickery, but Wonderland's toddler trantrummy Queen gets straight to the point. 'Off with her head!' The Queen of Hearts is constantly ordering people to be decapitated, if it doesn't get more evil than this, than I just don't know.

6. Cruella de Vil from The Hundred and One Dalmations by Dodie Smith
Likes: Fur coats, pepper, hot things, one side of her hair is white, the other black. Dislikes: Animals. Creuella is vile, she has a sinister interest in the Dalmatians and treats them like clothing to be worn. When she first sees the spotless skins of the newborn puppies she is revolted and offers to have them drowned at once. To some she may seem like a normal pampered heiress, to others a monster. I guess it depends on what you think of dogs.

5. Iago from Othello by William Shakespeare
Behind the smiles and jokes, Iago's mind is pure evil. He's an envious, petty, backstabbing, corrupt, conniving character. He has been said to have no motive for destroying the life of every major character in the play, other than revenge.

4. Sauron from The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
The unsleeping eye of Sauron constantly scours Middle Earth for the One Ring. All he wants is control and power over all of Middle Earth. "The Eye was rimmed with fire, but was itself glazed, yellow as a cat's, watchful and intent, and the black slit of its pupil opened on a pit, a window into nothing." *Shiver* He's just over all intense.

3. Hannibal Lecter from Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
A sophisticated and brilliant psychiatrist, aslo a cannibalistic serial killer. He sautees the brains of the living, enjoys human liver, he appreciates opera, if only he'd known that eating people is wrong.

2. Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
He aims to take over the wizarding world and the "Muggle" world as well. True we do feel some symathy for the character. He's an orphan, a "half-blood", friendless. Yet he is so feared that no one dares to say his name, referring to him instead by "You-Know-Who" or "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named." Sadly though, the "most powerful Dark wizard who ever lived" is defeated time and time again by Harry Potter. Thats got to put a damper on things for The Dark Lord.

1. Satan from Paradise Lost by John Milton
A beautiful youth, charismatic and persuasive, a tragic figure, best described by his well known words: "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven". His motive for attempting to overthrow God is that he believes himself to be more beautiful, more powerful, and thus rightfully deserving of the Throne of Heaven. Satan is the rebel's rebel, the villain's villain - "Hell within him for within him Hell/ He brings...". It doesn't get much more evil and villainous than this.

June 21, 2010

New! Procession

Procession of the Dead by Darren Shan

About: Shan's dystopic thriller, the first in a trilogy already published in the U.K., is an excellent, twisting foray into a world of deceit, murder, and mystery. Capac Raimi arrives in an unnamed city, a place ruled by a man known as the Cardinal, and quickly realizes that he has no memory of his life elsewhere. When the Cardinal kills Capac's uncle and offers Capac a job based on a dream and Capac's Incan name, the young man's life takes a turn for the fantastical. While training to serve the Cardinal, Capac embarks on a strange, gripping search for clues to both the disappearances of his friends and his own past. The dialogue is realistic, the characters and settings are vivid, and the plotting is tight, complemented perfectly by a bleak, desolate tone. Any fan of postapocalyptic fiction will find it absolutely riveting.
This book sounds like a must read for me. It has all the things I enjoy in a book. Postapocalyptic, check. Thriller, check. Murder, check. Main character a guy, check. UK author, check. Yes, I cannot wait to check this one out! Putting on hold...NOW!

(review from amazon.com)

June 9, 2010

New! The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin

I heard about this book on another book blog, Stop, Drop and Read, and thought it sounded very fun. I think I might just have to read it.

The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk

About: Will Halpin is the new kid at school. This is a tough situation even in the best of circumstances, but Will is also deaf, and his self-image isn’t great (he compares his body to a “sedentary manatee”). Having left a school for the deaf, Will survives at his first public school with a lot of lip-reading, texting, and the friendship of another social outcast, Devon Smiley. Together, the two students become a duo of misfit Hardy Boys who investigate the death of a classmate while on a field trip to the Happy Memory Coal Mine.

Review: Wicked Lovely

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
About: High school junior Aislinn and her grandmother have followed strict rules all their lives to hide their ability to see faeries because faeries don't like it when mortals can see them, and faeries can be very cruel. Only the strongest faeries can withstand iron, however, so Aislinn prefers the city with its steel girders and bridges. She takes refuge with Seth, her would-be lover, who lives in a set of old train carriages. But now Aislinn is being stalked by two of the faeries who are able to take on human form and are not deterred by steel. What do they want from her?

Review: Over all, the book was good. The hard thing was, I had no feelings towards Aislinn, I didn't really like her and she didn't appeal to me in the slightest. Her 'boyfriend', Seth, I imagined him good looking but I tried to imagine him without all his nipple, eyebrow and other piercings, I don't find that attractive at all. I really liked Keenan, The Summer King and his girl Donia, a Winter Girl. I liked them so much more than the mail characters. The book was entertaining, the ending was predictable, I do want to finish the series. But I will still be renting them from the library, nothing I'd buy.

Review: A Great And Terrible Beauty

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

About: Gemma, 16, has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother’s death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls’ academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions "for a bit of fun" and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the "others" and rebuild the Order.

Review: Despite not enjoying Going Bovine, I actually enjoyed this book a lot. I like time period books and this one was interesting with the girl's school, corsets, gypsies and unusual powers. Gemma wasn't an annoying main character either, sometimes I did get angry at her for being stupid, but other than that I liked her. The whole plot and idea of the book was exciting. The last 10 chapters or so kept me up until 2 am reading, wanting to find out more and what happened next. I have already put a hold on Rebel Angels, the next book in the series. Libba Bray, you have redeemed yourself.

To Read...

These are the books I currently have to read...

-Wick Lovely by Melissa Marr
-A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
-Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secret by J.K. Rolling (re-reading)
-The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (already read)
-The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan (Sequel)

Review: Diana Wynn Jones

I've recently read these books after falling in love with the movie Howl's Moving Castle, an adaptation of the book by Hayao Miyazaki. These books aren't a series but they all continue in the same world and Sofie and Howl make appearances in all of them. But I have yet to read the third one Castle in the Air. But here are the reviews for the books I did read and fell in love with even more than the movie.

Howl's Moving Castle

About: Sophie Hatter reads a great deal and soon realizes that as the eldest of three daughters she is doomed to an uninteresting future. She resigns herself to making a living as a hatter and helping her younger sisters prepare to make their fortunes. But adventure seeks her out in the shop where she sits alone, dreaming over her hats. The wicked Witch of the Waste, angered by "competition" in the area, turns her into a old woman, so she seeks refuge inside the strange moving castle of the wizard Howl. Howl, advertised by his apprentice as an eater of souls, lives a mad, frantic life trying to escape the curse the witch has placed on him, find the perfect girl of his dreams and end the contract he and his fire demon have entered. Sophie, against her best instincts and at first unaware of her own powers, falls in love.

Review: I absolutely love the Hayao Miyazaki's film of Jone's book. I used to fall asleep watching it almost every night. Finally I decided to read the book which I instantly fell in love with. I love all the characters: Sophie, Howl, Michael, Calficer. The book is a bit different from the movie, like the ending and some other minor things the movie left out. But I enjoy when it expands on the characters and you learn more about them through the book. I actually recently bought the book and can't wait to re read it. I don't suggest any particular order, watching the movie or reading the book first. Because either way they are enjoyable.

House of Many Ways

About: Sheltered teenager Charmain Baker is sent by her domineering great-aunt to house-sit for a distant relative, the royal wizard. She finds that his residence has magical rooms and hallways. She soon learns that there is trouble in the seemingly peaceful kingdom of High Norland. The treasury is disappearing, and no one knows where the money is going. Princess Hilda invites Sophie Pendragon, the main character from Howl's Moving Castle, to come help solve the mystery, with her husband, Howl, disguised as an annoying preschooler, and the fire-demon Calcifer. A lubbock, and its offspring, the lubbockins, threaten the kingdom, and it's up to Charmain and her nascent magical talents—and her new friends—to save the day.

Review: I liked the plot in this book a lot. I was afraid somethings in the book wouldn't conculde or really have a point, but they all did and added to the story. Jone's characters are always unique and Charmain isn't an exeption. She's a head strong, bratty, book worm of a girl, but I still like her. I was all giggly when Howl and Sohpie came into the story, you really have to read Howl's Moving Castle to appreciate their characters in this book. I like the way Jone's can tell a story, this book was just as fun as her last, and I can't wait to read the next.

Wicked Lovely Series

Melissa Marr just release her fourth book in the Wicked Lovely Series, Radiant Shadows. The series begins with Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange, Fragile Eternity and now Radiant Shadows. I have to admit I don't know too much about these books. I actually just started reading Wicked Lovely and I'm 11 chapters in. Its interesting so far, a little hard to follow at the beginning but it began to make sense.I'm usually not a huge fantasy book person, especially when they are modern fantasy, but I am enjoying reading these, and people have said they are good so we shall see.

Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr

About: Half-human and half-faery, Ani is driven by her hungers. Those same appetites also attract powerful enemies and uncertain allies, including Devlin. He was created as an assassin and is brother to the Faerie coolly logical High Queen and to her chaotic twin, the embodiment of War. Devlin wants to keep Ani safe from his sisters, knowing that if he fails, he will be the instrument of Ani's death. Ani isn't one to be guarded while other fight battles for her, though. She has the courage to protect herself and the ability to alter Devlin's plans-and his life. The two are drawn together, each with a reason to fear the other and a reason to fear for one another. But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of Faerie. Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?

-I'm not sure if her books follow the same people, but I know they are all in the same realm. It will be a while till I can review this book since I have three more to read before it. But I will be sure to review all of them soon.

Review: The Hunger Games Trilogy

True, we are all still waiting on the third installment of Suzanne Colins' Hunger Game series, Mockingjay, to be released on August 24th. But while we are in anticipation I thought I would write my reviews on the first two books in The Hunger Games Trilogy.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Colins

About: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to death before-and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Review: I first read this book from 4shared.com at work. I had to download the PDF file and read it on a computer screen, which hurt my eyes to no end. But I had to kill time at work somehow. Unfortunately, i fell completely in love with this book. I honestly cannot stop either thinking about it or wanting to read it over and over again. I found it very much like our world today and how it could easily be in the future. With the reality TV shows and materialistic things we have now, Suzanne Colins' world doesn't seem too far off from ours now. I liked everything about this book including the following: the setting of the districts and they way the Capitol is, the whole plot line about the hunger games and of course the characters-Peta, Gale Rue, Haymtich, Cinna and Katniss. I'm usually not a huge heroin fan but I like Katniss a lot. I enjoy so many things about this book and if your into thrilling, amazing, adventurous, heart filled, cool, intense, sad...pretty much any type of book, check this one out.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Colins

About: Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellmark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all she has returned to her family and her long time friend Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back completely on her. And their are whispers of rebellion against the Capitol-a rebellion Katniss and peeta might have helped create. Much to her shock, Katniss fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws nearer for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitols cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

Review: This book is just as good as the first in its series. The first book leaves you off at the train station, literally. After Katniss and Peeta arrive back in District 12 they are at the train station and the book ends. Book two picks up right where the other leaves off. Its a lot more tragic and nail biting for the character you already know and love. And again, just leaving me in a floating ship, book two ends and through all my frustration of them just leaving me hanging, I just can't wait for the 3rd book to come out.

-There are rumors of them releasing The Hunger Games movie in 2011.

Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

About: Mary knows little about the past and why the world now contains two types of people: those in her village and the undead outside the fence, who prey upon the flesh of the living. The Sisters protect their village and provide for the continuance of the human race. After her mother is bitten and joins the Unconsecrated, Mary is sent to the Sisters to be prepared for marriage to her friend Harry. But then the fences are breached and the life she has known is gone forever. Mary, her friends and family, set out into the unknown to search for safety, answers to their questions, and a reason to go on living.

Review: I like the whole post apocalyptic setting with the ever present zombies or the 'unconsecrated' just on the other side of the fence lining their homes. It was intense, interesting and intriguing. People died which is natural for in that kind of setting, so I liked it. The one thing I didn't like about the book was the main character, Mary. She was very annoying with her whole ocean fantasy and she cried a lot. Also she claims she is so in love with Harry's brother Travis, but it bothered me how she never kisses him or embraces him. All she does is talk about how she wants to kiss him and wants to touch him even though she had plenty of chances. But when she wants to leave the fence or save his life, shes right there doing those things. Also Ryan seemed to repeat herself a lot about Mary's feelings and dreams. I mean I got that Mary wants to see the ocean, and that she misses her mother, and that she wants to see that ocean, and that she loves Travis, and that she wants to see the ocean, and that there's something beyond the forest and that she wants to see the ocean...do you get my point here? Despite all this I liked this book and I can't wait to read the sequel.

-The sequel is The Dead Tossed Waves.

Review: Going Bovine

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

About: Cameron, a 16-year-old slacker, whose somewhat dysfunctional family has just about given up on him, when his diagnosed of Creuzfeldt-Jacob, or 'mad cow' disease, reunites them. Cam is motivated to go on a journey by a pink-haired, white-winged angel Dulcie and leads him to take up arms against the the Dark wizard and fire giants that attack him, and to find Dr. X, who can both help save the world and cute him. Cameron's companions include a Mexican-American game-master hypochondriac dwarf and a viking god trapped in a lawn gnome. They go on a road trip to find Dr. X and to save world with Spring Break parties, happiness cults and jazz concerts along the way,

Review: I started to read this book in the 'Look Inside!' feature on Amazon.com and really wanted to read it. I liked the way the it started out and the charaters and plot line. After about half way through, I got bored. Bored of the endless running around and not really knowing if Cameron was dreaming or not. I ended up not liking any of the characters and after finding out about the author it was hard to imagine Cameron, the main character, in his own voice. I kept reading it through the author's voice trying to be a typical teenage stoner kid, trying to save the world. I had to rush through the last couple chapters just to finish the book. Overall it was an alright book but a little to normal extremes to me.

-I'm going to read A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray and see if she redeems herself.

Rainy Day Books

I decided to make a blog dedicated to my love for literature. I will be writing about the book I've read, new books coming out, and books in my personal library. Check back often for new book review and updates on Book For A Rainy Day!