Being young doesn't protect you. Horrors come for kids, too.
Never heard of Victor Lavalle before? That's OK, neither had I until I r**spoiler alert**
Being young doesn't protect you. Horrors come for kids, too.
Never heard of Victor Lavalle before? That's OK, neither had I until I received a notice from NetGalley saying that this book was available for review. After reading Lucretia, I think this is something that I think I need to fix. Lucretia and the Kroons is a prequel of sorts to Victor Lavalle's The Devil in Silver and if The Devil in Silver is anywhere near as good as Lucretia, I think I'm in for a treat. A creepy treat, but a treat all the same. (Full disclosure here, I had no idea that Lucretia and the Kroons was anything more than a standalone story. I only discovered it was a prequel after I looked up Lavalle after reading the story.)
After Lucretia's (or Loochie's) mom tries to throw her a birthday party (to disastrous results), all she wants is for her friend Sunny to come home from hospital, where she is undergoing cancer treatment. On the big day of Sunny's return, Loochie's brother comes to their apartment and tells Loochie about the Kroons, a family of druggies who lived 2 floors above them in their apartment building. According to her brother, the landlord boarded the Kroons into their apartment to let them fend for themselves, as they had become far too dangerous to deal with, and nobody had seen them in quite some time. Loochie isn't sure if her brother is telling the truth or if he's just trying to scare her, but either way he tells her to be careful, as terrible things can still happen to her even though she is young. When Sunny is kidnapped by none other than the Kroons, Loochie takes it upon herself to rescue her best friend.
What follows is hard to describe. It is equal parts horror, magical realism, and coming of age. Loochie finds herself in a world gone wrong, yet one that is strangely familiar. Loochie eventually finds Sunny and saves her, but at what cost to either girl, or the one Kroon sister that has come to their aid? Based on the description of The Devil in Silver, the events of Lucretia and the Kroons is the explanation as to how Loochie ends up in the situation she finds herself in.
I know this all sounds really vague, but it needs to be. The story is too easy to spoil and really too hard to explain it without sounding crazy. I felt like I was reading a lost Twilight Zone screenplay. I could imagine what the world Loochie finds herself in easily, and could easily picture what this would look like as a television program or even on the big screen. Everything about this story is just like our world, just a little off. I thoroughly enjoyed ever bit of it, even though it is fairly short, and will definitely be checking out The Devil in Silver in the near future....more
Well, this is certainly an unexpected surprise! To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect going into thi**Originally posted on frommybookshelf.com**
Well, this is certainly an unexpected surprise! To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect going into this novella prequel to the upcoming Dorothy Must Die (see my previous post), but if that book is as good as this prequel is, I'm going to thoroughly enjoy it.
It's been a couple of years since Dorothy returned from Oz, and life has slowly gone back to normal on the farm. Dorothy was the focus of a bit of celebrity status for a short time, but as all things, interest in her surviving the tornado waned. Aunt Em and Uncle Henry have told Dorothy to keep her stories of Oz to herself, as nobody likes a storyteller, since no one would believe her stories anyway. On the occasion of Dorothy's Sweet Sixteen birthday party, which turns into a disaster, she wishes nothing more than to be able to return to Oz. To her surprise, there is a birthday present waiting for her in her bedroom, a pair of dazzlingly red high heels...
Knowing exactly what they are for, she quickly puts them on, just as Aunt Em and Uncle Henry come into her bedroom. As she takes several steps, Aunt Em and Uncle Henry are swept with her and Toto to Oz, realizing now that she wasn't telling a tall tale. However, things aren't as Dorothy left them in Oz. Time works differently in Oz than it does in our world, and many years have passed since she was there last and not everyone remembers her anymore. The Scarecrow isn't King of Oz, as Ozma has taken her rightful place on the thrown. Glinda has gone missing. And what's with the shoes?
Seriously, I thoroughly enjoyed Danielle Paige's take on Oz. It's a wonderful place, but is equally dangerous as it is magical. She handles Aunt Em and Uncle Henry's amazement at Oz perfectly, and her version of Ozma is fantastic. Her writing is very visual, as I could clearly picture in my mind every moment of the book. I read this in one sitting (which for me these days says something) and while I vaguely had the ending predicted, it still played out perfectly.
I'm highly anticipating the release of Dorothy Must Die and subsequent books in the series. I'm sure Oz purists will have a hard time enjoying this book, but for those that can handle a revisionist version of Oz, I'd highly recommend this series....more
This is just a short bridge between Masque of the Red Death and Dance of the Red Death, so there really isn't a lot of necessary information in this bThis is just a short bridge between Masque of the Red Death and Dance of the Red Death, so there really isn't a lot of necessary information in this book (having not read Dance yet, this is an assumption, but I'd be surprised if there was something vital to the overall story in this novella). What we have here, though, are a couple of scenes seen through April's eyes, so it's interesting to get her perspective on what's going on around her. I am anxious to get to Dance of the Red Death. These books constantly surprise me by how much I enjoy them!...more
So, Humble Bundle's newest offer the other day was pretty much the entire current run of IDW's Transformers run of comics ($155 worth of comics accordSo, Humble Bundle's newest offer the other day was pretty much the entire current run of IDW's Transformers run of comics ($155 worth of comics according the website - I got it for $15, so not a bad deal). I've been curious about the current run that IDW has been publishing, so this seemed like a ridiculously good deal to me. I read the first volume of each series and actually thought they were pretty good.
The whole idea between both volumes is that the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons has finally ended with the Autobots in charge of Cybertron (a Cybertron that has changed as a result of something that happened just prior to the beginning of these two stories, and something that I'm not at all familiar with). Since the war, more and more Transformers who had fled Cybertron in the wake of the war are now returning, and see no need to have either faction on the planet anymore, as both Autobots and Decepticons are equally seen as responsible for the destruction of the planet. However, the Autobots don't see it this way and want to set up a new government to try to keep another from happening. Optimus Prime sees himself as the most visible sign of the war, so relinquishes his title as Prime, returns to calling himself Orion Pax, and exiles himself from Cybertron, leaving Bumblebee in charge. Meanwhile, Rodimus sees no point in giving up their heritage and starting over so decides to travel from Cybertron in search of the Knights of Cybertron. This is where the series splits into two.
More Than Meets The Eye follows Rodimus and his crew in search of the Knight of Cybertron, while Robots in Disguise deals with Bumblebee trying to reestablish something of a government on Cybertron and dealing with the disillusionment felt by just about everyone over this, especially the newly returned, unaligned Transformers. I've read about the More Than Meets the Eye title from several sources around the internets, and it turns out that they weren't wrong about the title. It combines a pretty decent story with some great character development and just enough wit to make something that's actually fun to read. Robots in Disguise is intriguing as well, given the way the series is dealing with the repercussions and aftereffects of the war. Overall, both series are surprisingly good (I think it would be easy for most people to write off Transformers as a whole, but these are legitimately good comics), but I did find that I enjoyed More Than Meets The Eye more. I'm really glad I bought into this most recent Humble Bundle and will be gladly reading the rest of the volumes....more
I'll be straight forward, Zombie is a highly disturbing book to read. Not only is the subject matter disturbing (this isn'tSo very, very disturbing.
I'll be straight forward, Zombie is a highly disturbing book to read. Not only is the subject matter disturbing (this isn't about your typical zombie, but that's all I'm saying about that. Spoilers!), but Oates' writing from the view point of the main character is equally disturbing. You see, her main character is a serial killer sexual deviant psychopath, and there is nothing in the book that is even remotely uplifting. We are witness to his thoughts and his actions, while also seeing how he portrays himself to the rest of the world. The book is a disturbing look into the mind of a very dangerous, sick person, and I don't know that I'd recommend this book for anyone unless you have a strong disposition.
Saying all that, I think the book is fascinating. As a character study, Oates does an amazing job, but she also makes sure that she never sugar coats her character to try to make people feel for him. No, by the end of the book, I didn't have any emotion other than repulsion about the character. I honestly can't get away from the word disturbing when I try to think of another way to describe, the book, the character, the writing style... it is simply disturbing. I've never experienced Oates' writing before, and even though the nature of this book isn't something that I would read on a day to day basis, I think I'd be interested in reading more from her in the future.
Well, no one is more surprised about me liking TALULLA RISING than I am. THE LAST WEREWOLF may top the list of books I've read recently that I thorougWell, no one is more surprised about me liking TALULLA RISING than I am. THE LAST WEREWOLF may top the list of books I've read recently that I thoroughly disliked, but I had been sent an eBook copy of the follow up, and thought I'd at least read the first couple of chapters to see if it was still as bad, IMO, as the first book. Jump ahead 3 hours later, and I hadn't put it down yet, and then finished it today. It's like TALULLA RISING is written by a completely different man. Different storytelling technique; different pacing; different everything to me.
I think what really did it for me was the fact that Jake was just sitting around, waiting to die in the first book, and in this book, Talulla actually has a purpose in trying to rescue her children. Her life has meaning, whereas by the time Jake meets her in his book and has meaning in his life again, I just didn't care if he lived or died. I'd spent so much time in the first book just slogging through him whining and whining and whining about being old, not caring, blah blah blah, that I didn't care for him. At all. I know I probably should have felt for him and his plight, but I didn't.
The action is fairly non stop in this book. It picks up roughly 9 months after THE LAST WEREWOLF, and Talulla and Cloquet have hidden themselves away in Alaska, waiting for the birth of her child. The vampires discover their hideout and attack, only to have Talulla go into labor, where they subdue her and take her newly born son right from her. However, the vampires escape before they realize there are two children, and Zoe is born shortly after. What follows is a whirlwind adventure across the globe as Talulla tries to rescue her son from the vampires and the Helios project.
I now have to take back what I said about Glen Duncan's writing before. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and if there is a follow up to this story, I'm sure I'll be picking it up. I know this is quite a reversal of attitude, but that's the amazing thing about books; they can reform your mind and opinions constantly, and that's why I love reading. ...more
Rose of Fire is a free ebook prequel to the Carlos Ruiz Zafón's The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. The story is described as telling the history Rose of Fire is a free ebook prequel to the Carlos Ruiz Zafón's The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. The story is described as telling the history of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, which intrigued me as this remains on of the main mysteries for me in the first two books of the series, The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game. However, while the story does tell the origins, it doesn't tell the complete history of the Cemetery, so while it answers some questions, it really just leaves as many questions. Part of me would like a more complete history of the Cemetery, but there's still a part of me that doesn't want it explained, that feels that the origins of the Cemetery should remain shrouded in mystery.
The ebook also includes the first four chapters of the final book, The Prisoner of Heaven, so if you are a fan of Zafón and the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, this would be an excellent read. Of course, the ebook is free, so really, how can you go wrong?...more
Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol: The Night That Changed the Life of Eliza Scrooge adapted and illustrated by Rod Espinosa is a rather straightforwCharles Dickens's A Christmas Carol: The Night That Changed the Life of Eliza Scrooge adapted and illustrated by Rod Espinosa is a rather straightforward graphic novel adaptation of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, with the rather obvious change being that Ebenezer Scrooge is now Eliza Scrooge, running a textiles shop instead of a banker/solicitor. Why this change was made, I'm not entirely sure. When I read the premise, that Ebenezer was now going to be portrayed as Eliza, I assumed that there were going to be some significant changes to the story, but there aren't. I guess I think if you're going to make a change that significant, it should have some sort of ramification on how the story is told. I mean, if all you're doing is changing the gender, just stick with the original and Ebenezer. Maybe Espinosa like drawing women more?
That said, the art isn't bad. Espinosa has a nice clean style, reminiscent of an anime/manga look. I actually wouldn't be put off checking out some of his other works, but as far as this volume is concerned, it just didn't seem to be necessary to make such a drastic change....more
This was a cute and clever quick little read. I'd place this somewhere between A Series of Unfortunate Events (which I certainly liked) and The Name oThis was a cute and clever quick little read. I'd place this somewhere between A Series of Unfortunate Events (which I certainly liked) and The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch (which I distinctly did not). It's not surprising then that this book fell somewhere in between as far as my enjoying it. One thing that this book has going for it, above and beyond its story is the actual look of the book. Everything in the book is printed in a blue tone, almost giving the book the feeling of blueprints, which is apropos given the Twins' father is an inventor of some renown and the Twins like to pride themselves of coming up with ideas of their own.
When their father is accused of stealing an idea that is used in his latest invention, the Twins find themselves in some very precarious predicaments (hence the Unfortunate Events vibe) and then they go on an adventure to try to prove their father's innocence (where Pseudonymous Bosch vibe comes from). Needless to say, precarious predicaments that the Twins find themselves in are wildly unbelievable and the adventures are fun, but for me at least, the book just lacked a certain something. Of course, there's also the fact that I'm not the target age for this particular book, but I do think my younger self would have loved this book. The adult me can appreciate the work that is put into the overall packaging though, since the book is quite nicely presented. Let your younger ones have a go at this, as I think it will appeal to them immensely....more
Well, as Cinder is basically the Cinderella story told with a cyborg as Cinderella, it is only fitting that we're given the story of how Cinder came tWell, as Cinder is basically the Cinderella story told with a cyborg as Cinderella, it is only fitting that we're given the story of how Cinder came to live with her stepmother and two stepsisters, and that is exactly what Glitches is. This is a very quick read and gives us a solid introduction to the characters in Cinder's "family", but as everyone knows the Cinderella story, you'll be instantly familiar with how this short story will turn out. ...more
Nothing special with this one, but it isn't a bad read. Just a quick short tale about a girl and the selchie who loves her, and what that ends up meanNothing special with this one, but it isn't a bad read. Just a quick short tale about a girl and the selchie who loves her, and what that ends up meaning to both of them. ...more
**spoiler alert** **Originally posted on frommybookshelf.com**
Katherine Townsend has been having visions. Nothing serious, just one minute she's in h**spoiler alert** **Originally posted on frommybookshelf.com**
Katherine Townsend has been having visions. Nothing serious, just one minute she's in her life, and in the next blink, she's in a sun-filled meadow, and blink, she's back. They happen about once a week and that's that. She's been having them since her dad died two years ago and she won't tell anyone about them because she's pretty sure they'll think it's because of her dad. She lives in a factory town that is slowly dying at a coffee shop that has almost no customers. Her boyfriend left her. She still lives with her mom. Little does she know that she just has a couple of days to save the world. She is the child of two worlds that have been separated from ours through an ancient magic, and unless she can figure out keep the worlds from crashing back together again, everyone and everything she knows will be destroyed.
OK, I really wanted to like this book. I had a hard time deciding how to review The Ivy Gate, only because I did enjoy reading it, I just felt there was a lot of room for growth. Kahler's writing is really beautiful and quite vivid and he has some great imagery, but... Well, too many times he tries to use unique sentence breaks and structures to create a sense of break in Katherine's thinking and time due to the visions that in some cases it became hard to follow what he was trying to convey. Add that to the number of typos in the book and I kept finding myself pulled out of the story.
There is also the basis of the story that I found very confusing. Katherine has a blue eye and a green eye, and this is because once upon a time there were two races on Earth before humans, the blue-eyed Erenfell and the green-eyed Til'Dara. The Til'dara were magical and the Erenfell were more scientific. Each race has a different history and mythology, but basically they were at war with each other and the Erenfell separated the planes of existence to keep the Til'Dara from destroying everything. This is where I became confused; it was never made abundantly clear how many planes of existence were made. I had the initial impression that there were two, but later it was mentioned that there were three, which made more sense with the story. It all seemed very vague. Maybe it was supposed to be, but it felt too vague for me. Or maybe I just missed something in the reading, but needless to say, I found myself more confused than not during my reading.
The book is perhaps too short, as well. By the time I was halfway through, I was already hoping that this was book one of two, if not a series, as there seemed far too much going on to wrap up everything before the of the book. Kahler did wrap everything up, and did it in a reasonable manner, but I think the book would benefit greatly if it was longer. It just seemed to me that Katherine, who started out the book with no prior knowledge of the existence of the other races and then found out she had mere days to save the world with no information from either side on how to do it, gained far too much knowledge far too quickly. I know there is a need for the suspension of disbelief in a fantasy novel, even one I would consider urban fantasy, but this just seemed to require too much of a suspension. I would like to see Kahler revisit this story someday, later in his writing career, and expand on this idea. It's a great idea, don't get me wrong, but I think it would be even better if he took time to nurture it and let it grow a little, along with his writing technique. I'll definitely be looking for more from Kahler in the future. ...more
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, and I don't think there's a better time to be a fan of the show. So much is being done to celebratThis year marks the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, and I don't think there's a better time to be a fan of the show. So much is being done to celebrate the anniversary, and one of my favorites is a series of 11 new eshorts celebrating all 11 Doctors being written by some of the biggest names in young people's literature. Each eshort is going to be released on the 23rd of the month, with the eleventh story released on the 50th anniversary date, November 23. They are keeping each of the writers under wraps until early in the month of release for their story, so really, nobody knows who is writing which Doctor.
Eoin Colfer (of Artemis Fowl fame) was selected to write the First Doctor's story. In this new adventure, the Doctor is facing off against the Soul Pirates, a vile alien species that kidnaps children and harvests either their brain power to power their ship or their organs to repair themselves, allowing them to live inordinately long lives. The Doctor had been tracking them and wanted to put a stop to their evil ways, and along the way his granddaughter, Susan, is also kidnapped by the Soul Pirates, thereby making this a personal fight for the Doctor. What follows is a brief but exciting adventure as the Doctor does what the Doctor does best, saving the day.
(Full disclosure here: I've come at Doctor Who more with the New Who than the Classic Who. I remember watching Doctor Who in the late 70s/early 80s with Tom Baker, but I never really understood what I was watching, since I never saw a full story in a row. I've watched several of the William Hartnell stories now, but haven't seen them all.)
The First Doctor was portrayed by William Hartnell from 1963-1966, and his characterization of the Doctor was different from just about every regeneration of the Doctor that we've seen since. He's slightly grumpy, slightly curmudgeonly, and not very proactive. He was more of the think it through type rather than a call to arms type of Doctor, and I've read several reviews of this short that find fault in Eoin Colfer's First Doctor, as that is not necessarily the characterization that Colfer went with. Colfer's Doctor is a little more witty and adventurous than Hartnell's Doctor, and for hardcore Whovians, I can see where this would be a problem.
However, I think Colfer is creating a First Doctor for a new generation. Kids today, and especially their attention spans, probably wouldn't hold up well to Hartnell's characterization of the Doctor, so Colfer took the basic idea of the First Doctor and updated him a little bit. He still thinks things through, but he's a little more proactive in his execution of a resolution. He's still slightly grumpy, but has a certain wit that runs through that grumpiness. I've read complaints that the Doctor drops too many current references (Harry Potter, for instance). I'm sorry, but if he went around in this story only dropping references to things that happened in the 1960s when Hartnell was portraying him, kids today wouldn't understand those references. I think that's the point that many hardcore Whovians are missing, that these stories are written not for them, but for kids, and modern day kids, not kids in the 1960s. Maybe I'm wrong, and Colfer is actually doing a disservice to the memory of the First Doctor and William Hartnell, but for this reader, I think he did an admirable job of taking the old and making it new again....more
Hard to really review/rate these little ebook teasers, as that's all they are, teasers. I guess, this one did its job, though, since I'm intrigued enoHard to really review/rate these little ebook teasers, as that's all they are, teasers. I guess, this one did its job, though, since I'm intrigued enough by the opening sequence and the first couple of chapters to want to check the rest of the book out.
The opening sequence deals with the burning of Mila's house, and the panic she feels as she tries to find her parents in the inferno to rescue them. Of course, we're not given much more than this, but I won't spoil the rest.
The several chapters from the beginning of Mila 2.0 leave me curious about the rest of the book, so I'm sure I'll be picking it up eventually. ...more
iTunes gave this one away free today, so I thought I'd go ahead and download it to give it a read. Since**Originally posted on frommybookshelf.com**
iTunes gave this one away free today, so I thought I'd go ahead and download it to give it a read. Since it's geared towards a much younger audience, I zipped through it pretty quickly. I don't know that as a kid I would have enjoyed it all that much (unless it had a dragon or some other mythical beast on the cover, I generally ignored it), but for the right young kid, this would be a great book. ...more