July 30, 2010

Review: Neil Gaiman

I know Neil Gaiman has been around for awhile, but I've recently read a few of his more famous books. Here are a few that I especially liked. Also I've read InterWorld & Neverwhere, but it was a while ago and would hate to review them when they aren't fresh on my mind.

The Graveyard Book

About: Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead.
There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy-an ancient Indigo Man beneath a hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer.
But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack-who has already killed Bod's family...

Review: I enjoy Neil Gaiman's books so much. He really pulls you into the story and his descriptions are just amazing. When I first began reading this book I immediately couldn't put it down. I love that he mad so much happen in just the graveyard. There were secrets, each ghost has its own personality and stories to tell. All the characters are so unique as well. I especially liked Elizabeth 'Liza' Hepstock, the local witch ghost who helps Bod out of trouble and becomes his friend. Of course I loved the characters Bod and his guardian Silas. They had a very unique relationship. Silas obviously cared about Bod but never truly showed any emotion towards him. I also like how Bod is so independent, making his own decisions to go to school, and he's very brave for being (I believe) only 14. The whole book is just one fun adventure, intense, lovable book. (front flap)

About: The day after they moved in Coraline went exploring...In Coraline's family's new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close. The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own. Only it's different...At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there's another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.
Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only rescue. She will have to fight with all her whits and all the tools she can find if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself. (front flap)

Review: I actually saw this movie before I read the book. I really enjoyed being able to imagine all the characters from the movie as I read, it made it fun. The book and film are very similar in their plots and time line events. Although the movie added a few characters such as Wybee and the whole thing about his grandmother's doll, it didn't ruin the book for me. Some of the things that happen in the book they did leave out in the movie, but again that's understandable for books into movies. I really enjoyed this book, it was fun, interesting and oh my, Neil Gaiman's writing is just amazing. He really keeps his narrative leaving you a bit terrified...for example when he writes "Her other mother's hand scuttled off Coraline's shoulder like a frightened spider". I am swept away by the way he describes things. I have to admit, I did get a little confused at times by the way he wrote things, so it was easy to have seen the movie to help imagine. I like the character Coraline, she's a little bratty and liked getting her own way, but yet she is brave and very smart. She stands up to the other mother, who even scared me at times. I highly recommend reading the book before seeing the movie, because they just add to one another, each one is well written and well thought out.


About: Tristan Thorn promised to bring back a fallen star. So he sets out on a journey to fulfill the request of his beloved, the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Foster-and stumbles unto the enchanted realm that lies beyond the wall of his English country town. Rich with adventure and magic, Stardust is one of the master storyteller Neil Gaiman's most beloved tales. (front flap)

Review: I wish I would have read this book before I saw the movie. I liked the movie a lot and was expecting characters and events that were in the movie, but were not in the book. While i read this book I kept waiting and anticipating moments to happen like they did in the film but I was just left feeling like it would happen later on but never did. Such as Robert De Niro's character in the film, Captain Shakespeare, I kept expecting him to act like he did in the movie bu he wasn't anything like how they portrayed him. It didn't feel like a let down in the book, it just felt like if I had read the book first, the movie would have been even better. Surprisingly the movie is just base on the book, there are so many differences between the two. The book follows a different story line completely, while the movie just picked up bits and pieces from the book that were good. I did have a hard time reading it because of this. Although I do enjoy both the book and the movie, separately. I still think this isn't one of my favourite books by Neil Gaiman. I didn't find myself connecting to any of the characters as much, I wanted more of a love story between Tristan and Yvain, but Yvaine was always very rude. It wasn't until the very end that they fell in love. But I do recommend reading this if you have yet to see the movie.

July 28, 2010

Need To Read

I feel like I've been reading a lot lately, and I love that. Here are the books I am currently reading and need to read...

-Bonechiller by Graham McNamee (from the library)
-Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote (I'm about half way through this one, and its so good)
-Peter and the Secret of Rundoon by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson (A $3 find)
-The Art of Dreaming by Carlos Castaneda (This one seems interesting, bought by my boyfriend for me from amazon)
-American Gods by Neil Gaiman (Borrowed from the boyfriend)
-The Dead & the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer (The second book after Life As We Knew It)

July 27, 2010

New! The Replacement

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

About: Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.
Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.
Edward Scissorhands meets The Catcher in the Rye in this wildly imaginative and frighteningly beautiful horror novel about an unusual boy and his search for a place to belong.

After looking at Amazon.com's New Releases, and passing the enormous amount of vampire/werewolf books, I stumbled upon this one. Its been a while since I've read more of a fantasy book but it sounded very interesting. Definitely one I would just borrow from the Library, nothing I would buy.

New! Split

Split by Swati Avasthi

About: Frustration is the emotion most prevalent in this novel about escaping the ravages of domestic violence—if that is even possible. After trying to prevent his father from beating his mother further, 16-year-old Jace is kicked out of his Chicago home. He arrives, swollen and bloody, at the doorstep of his brother in Albuquerque. It’s been five years since 22-year-old Christian fled the violent home front himself, and the brothers’ reunion is defined by awkward negotiations of acceptance and suspicion. With ground rules set, Jace is allowed to stay and resume school, but the specter of their father continues to haunt them—as does the chilling uncertainty of what may be happening to their mother in their absence. (from amazon.com)

I'm usually not a big reader of the more tragic, emotional novels (I think they just make me too sad), but this particular one sounds very interesting. I've had it on my 'To Read' book list for a while and need to push it to the top of the list.

July 23, 2010

Review: Leviathan

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
About: Is it the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

Aleksander Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl disguised as a boy in the Birtish Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With the Great War brewing, Alek's and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way...taking both of them aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever. (from cover flap)

Review: I took a break from the depressing end of the world books to a WWI setting book. I was left a little disappointed with Scott Westerfeld when I read his Uglies Series books, they were boring and it was hard for me to imagine any settings in the story. But Leviathan is exhilarating to say the least. When I started the book I got a little confused by some of the things he described, it was a bit hard to imagine. But the book has amazing illustrations to go along with the story and it made the book 10 times better. It helped me imagine the story as well as really get to know and love the characters. It felt like each character was their own person, with unique personalities and not all fabricated by the same author. Deryn and Alek start out on two very separate journeys but they are both so much fun to read. Deryn a tomboy who wants to fly, she's brave and funny. Alek is cute, he's the heir to the thrown and you can tell has a royal air about him, with his perfect English, maturity and an elegant presence. I even liked Count Volgor, Alek's guardian, and Dr. Nora Barlow. The machines and fabricated animals Westerfeld invented are just amazing. The animals were created from DNA by Darwin, fabricated to special animals, lizards that can talk, bats that shoot metal spikes, whales full of hydrogen to fly. Also his Clanker machines are way cool, there are two footed 'Stormwalkers' and even a giant 8 legged 'Herkules' full with cannons, machine guns and lookout post. Sadly the book mad me angry. It leaves me, literally just hanging there. I finished the last chapter, turned the page expecting more as the story climaxed and...nothing, it just ends. So now I have to run out and get the second book. But damn it, it doesn't come out until October 5th! So now I just have to wait.

July 22, 2010

Review: Life As We Knew It

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

About: It's almost the end of Miranda's sophomore year in high school, and her journal reflects the busy life of a typical teenager: conversations with friends, fights with mom, and fervent hopes for a driver's license. When Miranda first begins hearing the reports of a meteor on a collision course with the moon, it hardly seems worth a mention in her diary. But after the meteor hits, pushing the moon off its axis and causing worldwide earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes, all the things Miranda used to take for granted begin to disappear. Food and gas shortages, along with extreme weather changes, come to her small Pennsylvania town; and Miranda's voice is by turns petulant, angry, and finally resigned, as her family is forced to make tough choices while they consider their increasingly limited options. Yet even as suspicious neighbors stockpile food in anticipation of a looming winter without heat or electricity, Miranda knows that that her future is still hers to decide even if life as she knew it is over. (from amazon.com)

Review: It feels like all I've been reading lately is end of the world, zombie, apocalyptic/post apocalyptic books, but I just can't get enough of them! Life As We Knew It was simply amazing. I read it mostly online from 4shared.com and couldn't stop reading after the first chapter. Miranda is a typical teenager, and though I'm slightly older than she is, I could still relate to her. At times it felt as though it was my family, because it reminded me a lot of my own and my mom and brothers and I found myself getting very attached to each character. Her feelings, her family, her worries, fears and happiness were easily portrayed through the book, I felt for the character, I felt happy when she did, worried and scared with her. The way the book is set up, written as a diary, is so interesting to read. I liked how realistic everything was, the way they rushed to the grocery store to stock up on food, and just the way Miranda, her family and neighbours respond and react to everything happening. Although the whole time I was waiting for something extremely major to happen, Pfeffer kept the intensity to a minimum but really put a reality on things that would happen to Miranda and her family. Such as the lurking gray sky, the horrible blizzards, the illnessess and deaths having to ration their food, wood, electricity and water. In the end I was just overjoyed with the way things ended in this book. This is the first book in The Last Survivors Books, and I've already begun reading book two, The Dead and The Gone.

July 21, 2010

New! Zombies vs. Unicorns

Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

About: It's a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths--for good and evil--of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies. Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan. This anthology will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn? (from amazon.com)
I know, lately it feels like all my posts have been nothing but Zombie books. But I swear there are a variety of reviews to come, just have to finish reading the books. This book looks really fun, just a bunch of fun short stories of the epic battle between which is better, Zombies or Unicorns. So if your looking for an edgy quick read, check this one out.

July 18, 2010

Review: The Dead Tossed Waves

The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
About: Timid, thoughtful Gabry has grown up safely in the city of Vista. She lives in a lighthouse with her mother, Mary, the daring heroine of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, whose job it is to kill Mudo—zombies—as they wash ashore. Then one night, Cira, Gabry's best friend, and Catcher, Cira's brother, convince her to sneak outside Vista's walls. With the attack of one Breaker—a fast zombie—everything changes: a friend is killed, Catcher is infected, and Cira is imprisoned and destined for the Recruiters, the army that protects the loose federation of cities left after the Return. Feeling both guilty for having escaped punishment and self-destructive after the revelation that Mary in fact adopted her, Gabry pushes herself to cross the city's Barrier again. (about from amazon.com)

Review: Despite slightly bashing the first book, I really do enjoy these books. They're thrilling and intense and really exciting zombie books. But, with the same flaws in the first book, Ryan still tends to repeat herself a lot with the characters thoughts and feelings. If you tell me something once in the book, I'll remember their feelings till the end. Throughout the book Gabry says she isn't like her mother, Mary (from the first book), who is brave and strong. Honestly Mary was kind of a baby in The Forest of Hand and Teeth. Maybe just because I dream about fighting zombies and how bad ass I would be cutting of heads and rescuing people, but the girls in Ryan's books aren't tough, even though they've been brought up with the ever present existence of zombies, they still seem to slink back and cry about things instead of fighting. And again in this book there is a love triangle. Gabry, loves Catcher, but then Elias, the new love interest comes in and she finds herself intrigued but frightened by him. I have to say I liked Elias better of the two, only because he was strong and tough and took on the zombies and has a hidden past. Gabry looses loved ones, and finds out about her past and has to kill people, so I can understand why she cries a lot in this book, but I still just want to slap her and tell her to get over somethings. Don't get me wrong I do enjoy these books, but sometimes I just find myself getting frustrated with the main characters. Although I did start feeling bad for Gabry, everything she loves gets taken away. I honestly found myself just wanting everyone to leave her alone and let her and Elias be together, but that's not how Ryan's books go. She really puts in perspective that in times like these, nothing is safe and everything you love can be taken away. I love Ryan's writing and descriptions, I really feel as if I'm running right along side them through the forest running from the Recruiters and zombies. I think I almost liked the first book better, with the Sisterhood, it kept me to want to keep reading a bit more. But once again Ryan leaves you on a cliff-hanger, hungry for the third book, which needless to say, I am excited to read.

July 12, 2010

New! 28 Days Later: London Calling

28 Days Later: London Calling by Michael Alan Nelson

About: Connecting the movie 28 Days Later to its sequel 28 Weeks Later, this original graphic novel continuation focuses on Selena, one of the three survivors of the first film, as she embarks on an epic journey to return to Great Britain. Joining a team of American war journalists hell bent on venturing into the heart of Infected territory, they must learn the cold, hard truth of what it takes to survive in the U.K. after the Infection has spread. (about from comixology.com)I enjoyed these movies so much. They are intense and realistic, and lets face it, no one can resist a good zombie movie. I hope these books are just at good as the movies. I've been looking for an awesome graphic novel to start reading. This one just might be it. For a full review, check it out HERE.

July 7, 2010

Review: Neal Shusterman

I am a big fan of Neal Shusterman. His books are always eventful and intriguing and I can never put them down until I am done reading the entire book. With unique ideas and interesting plot lines and characters, his books are fun and easy to read.

About: Set in the future, the second civil war is fought over abortion. To end the war, a compromise is reached that ends the practice of abortion but creates an alternative called "unwinding." Between the ages of 13 and 17, parents or guardians can choose to have their children unwound, which involves having every part of their bodies harvested to be "donated" to another person so, technically, they don't really die. The complex and compelling plot follows three teens whose stories intertwine when they escape while on their way to the harvest camps. This gripping, thought-provoking novel is guaranteed to lead to interesting discussions about abortion, adoption, organ donation, religion, politics, and health care. (from amazon.com)

Review: This book was really good. I really liked the characters, Conner, Rev and Lisa. They were all had their own personalities and unique stories of how they got sent to be unwound. Its thrilling and intense. Although its been awhile since I read it, I enjoy being able to still envision and imagine everything in this book. I own this book and its definitely one I will re-read over and over again.

Skinjacker Trilogy:

About: Following a fatal car accident, teenagers Nick and Allie collide with each other on the way toward the light and are shoved into an alternate state of existence. No longer living but not yet at the end of their journey, they land in Everlost, a color-bleached plane populated with child and teen spirits. There are rules in Everlost that new "greensouls" must learn to survive: keep moving, don't fall into a routine, don't seek the living, watch out for gangs, and steer clear of the McGill, Everlost's resident monster. Such rules are immortalized in the many books on Everlost penned by Mary Hightower, the leader of a large community of souls residing in the inanimate ghosts of New York's Twin Towers. Enamored of Mary, Nick begins to settle in, while Allie fights to escape. (from amazon.com)

Review: From beginning to end this book was thrilling, mysterious and so much fun. Once again Shusterman has created lovable and relateable characters in his stories. The whole idea of the book is intriguing to me, the kids ruling the world 'inbetween', the terrified McGill, the sweet yet sinister Mary who takes care of the children and gives them routines to follow. I like how Nick doesn't just follow Allie around and do what she says, they both have very strong personalities. Nick stays to help guide the children away from Mary's 'helpful' ways. While Allie doesn't want to fall into routine like Nick does and wants to go back home to see her family. The whole journey for these two is eventful, I honestly can't wait to re-read this book that's sitting in my bookshelf. I also need to add the second book in this trilogy to my collection, that I have yet to buy.

About: Some young people, when they die, lose their way on the path toward the light and end up in Everlost, a sort of purgatory between life and final peace that the light brings. Everwild continues the story of Allie the Outcast; Nick the Chocolate Ogre; and Mikey McGill and his sister, Mary Hightower, that began in Everlost. Nick continues to oppose Mary, who believes that her destiny is to keep all children in Everlost forever, preferably in her care. One of his new allies is Zin, a girl who can "rip" things from the living world into Everlost. Allie meets other "skinjackers," Afterlights who can possess people in the world of the living, and learns from them matters both exhilarating and horrifying. Mikey gains more control over his power to change himself and even learns to extend his ability to others. (from amazon.com)

Review: I haven't read this book yet, but it is next on my list on books to buy. I honestly cannot wait to go to Barnes and Noble and purchase it.

July 2, 2010

Need To Read

I know its been awhile since I've posted. Still finishing up reading some books, but while you wait I decided to show you the books I need to read.

-Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (yes I know, I still have to finish re-reading this one)

-Deadly Little Secrets by Laurie Faria Stolarz
(A new book in a series of 2. I'm really excited to read this one)

-The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas Pere
(A classic, bought by my boyfriend at a used book store!)