First, let me say that I am not actively religious, so this book review is being written...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian!
First, let me say that I am not actively religious, so this book review is being written from that perspective. I don't normally broadcast my religious views, but since christian theology plays a pretty heavy role in this book in this case I feel it is relevant.
Original Sin was an interesting book. I actually considered buying it before because of the intriguing title and cover, but ended up dismissing it after reading the back. Of course, I went home and immediately changed my mind, but when I went back to the used bookstore it was gone; it had become the Book That Got Away.
O woe! O misery!
When I went back to the used bookstore recently, I saw a copy sitting in the exact same place, mocking me. Well, I wasn't about to make the same mistake twice, no sir. I bought that bitch.
This book deals with magic in an interesting way. Our main character, Moira, is a witch, but she has been indoctrinated into a Catholic school (Olivet, I believe), to train on demon-slaying. She represses her powers, even though she could give Hermione Granger a run for her money when it comes to witchcraft, because Magic is Evil.
But seriously, all magic in this world is Evil. Even if you're trying to use magic for Good, since magic is Evil you will end up corrupted by it anyway, and either get your fool-ass killed or become corrupted and/or possessed by a demon. I don't really get the point of this, since it's pretty clear that their holy water and prayers don't work too well on the demons, but whatevskis.
Moira is pretty stock as far as characters come. Her mommy is the grand-high-witch equivalent of "Mommie Dearest." As if that weren't enough of a filial fuck-you, Moira's sister, Serena, is helping their mother. Oh goody. Skye, the police sheriff in the town where this story takes place, is a bit more interesting, but she's a stereotype too. Cop with Heart of Gold Willing to Break Rules for the Greater Good. She's dating this guy named Anthony who is a total douchecanoe, and for some reason has it in for Moira. (There was a lot of backstory missing. If I hadn't already looked this book up on Goodreads, I would have thought that maybe I was reading book #2. Nope.)
Bee-tee-dubs, they have a pretty interesting sex scene. Let's just say that I was beginning to wonder if Skye had gotten herself possessed by the demon Lust, because damn.
The demons themselves were pretty neat--and scary. When people in town started dying, with only mysterious marks to link their suspicious deaths, I was like, "Oh shit, things are getting real!" Even the christian stuff wasn't too over-the-top. I thought it was interesting how Brennan tied it in to Celtic folklore, and managed to create something pretty unique from an overdone genre.
My complaints are that the book was a little slow to start, and that the author could have given us more back story to work with in the beginning. I spent most of the first 100 pages shaking my head and going, "Who the hell is Rafe? Why is Fiona trying to kill Moira? Why does Anthony hate Moira so much that he's willing to get her killed? Why is everyone in this book such an asshole?" The dialogue was a little wooden in some places, and a lot of the "oh no! what's going on? witches! GASP! to the spook-mobile!" stuff was really repetitive and annoying. This wasn't a long book by any means but it took me a long time to read because the action was spread too thinly.
This was far better than I thought it was going to be, but I can also see why many others found it to be a bore. If you don't mind waiting a bit for your exposition, check this out. If not, don't.
I really hope she's not planning on eating that apple...
This book was a lot of firsts for me. It is very dark, so if you do not like graphic sex or dude on dude sex or dude on chick on dude sex, or really hardcore BDSM and/or dubious consent, you should not read this book. I've never read menage erotica before, so um, wow, this was one hell of a gateway.
The story revolves around three childhood friends--Evie Girl, Paul Guy, and Danny Boy, as they call themselves. Evie and Paul were lovers in high school, and Danny was their friend, but then she went to New York to pursue her art. When she comes back, she discovers that Paul and Danny are roommates, and Paul is engaged to a woman named Trish, who Danny professes is a bitch.
Paul has never gotten over Evie, and he is heartbroken when Danny claims he wants to be her boyfriend. To make matters even MORE complicated, Danny and Paul have been sleeping together for the last couple years. Paul is an extreme masochist, who gets off on emotional and physical pain, the more severe the better. In fact, he's been put in the hospital before. Danny is a retired dom who used to get paid $2,000/hr for his services. Enter the hottest shower sex scene ever.
Paul is sad about marrying Trisha because Trisha is the epitome of WASPiness, and won't even let Paul go down on her. He doesn't want to give up his exciting and adventurous sex life, but out of a strong sense of loyalty, not to mention his own masochism, he is going to do it anyway. Paul also has buckets of issues with his father and brothers, who hate "faggots," and he is afraid of what they might do if they find out that he wants to spend the rest of his life with a man (and a woman).
As the days count down to Paul's wedding, the three of them spend their time together pursuing wild sex. Evie discovers her own fetish as a voyeur, and paints Paul and Danny together. But their love for one another is bittersweet, as it seems as though each of them is destined for tragedy.
I liked this book a lot. Which says something, as most erotica usually has me rolling my eyes in disgust and saying, "REALLY? REALLY?" There was some eye-rolling and wincing here, too, but Beyond Eden was well written enough that I found myself really enjoying the way the characters related to one another, and the dialogue was surprisingly sharp and witty.
Another of Kele Moon's books was available on netgalley and I immediately requested, and received, that one for review as well. As far as erotica goes, this one is quite good, and if Beyond Eden is the gold standard for all of Ms. Moon's works, she may well become one of my instabuy authors.
What is with this fascination of zombies? I seriously don't get it. Zombies = dead, rotting...moreYou can read more books at my blog, The Armchair Librarian!
What is with this fascination of zombies? I seriously don't get it. Zombies = dead, rotting corpses who want to eat your brainssss. Did I mention the rotting corpse part? Ghosts, okay, they don't have bodies anymore; they can't rot. Vampires, they have magic powers; they can't rot (usually). Zombies are the roadkill of the undead; they are definitely corpses. When you want to have sex with a corpse this = necrophilia. Ergo, Julie wanting to jump R's bones (in the--yechh--literal sense) = necrophilia.
Oh and in case that weren't disgusting enough, Warm Bodies is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, which, funnily enough, I also hated. In fact, this is pretty much a blend of Romeo and Juliet, Twilight, and World War Z. Since I didn't like any of those books, I suppose it's not surprising that I didn't like this one.
But it's hard when everyone around you is singing this book's praises. My brother and sister won't stop yammering about it, and kept a countdown of the days until the movie's release. My lit-snob mother fawns over the book, saying how "sweet" R is.
Yes. Sweet in the, "My, how rank you smell today, Mr. Zombie" sort of way.
The premise is interesting enough, I suppose. It's about a philosophical zombie (I know, the irony) who thinks that there might be more to life than Brains. He marries another 'R' zombie (Rosalie) in his zombie church, and has zombie children with her. Then one day he goes into a compound and eats the brains of Perry (Paris), which fills him with the memories of Perry's relationship with Julie (Juliet). He brings Julie back to the zombie compound to "keep her safe" (facepalm), 'M' (Mercutio) disapproves, the zombies want to eat Julie, Julie and 'R' go back to the human compound. 'R' pretty much forgets all about his commitment to Rosalie but it's OK because she did too! LOL. She's cheating on him and he doesn't care because he's a zombie and the end.
I couldn't buy the world-building. I couldn't stand the inconsistencies. I didn't understand how 'R' could be so verbal in his head and still sound like his speech was being provided in-stream via 90s rural dial-up. I didn't buy Julie getting over Perry's death so quickly. I didn't understand why 'R' suddenly developed a case of multiple-personality-disorder. I thought the idea of zombie school was ludicrous. I was annoyed by the lack of subtlety.
This book just isn't for me, and I'm not going to annoy myself further by proceeding. I call DNF. It's time to move on to brighter, more alive pastures.
The more I think about it, the more this series reminds me of Nightmare on Elm Street. The Vours are flipping creepy, and so are fearscapes, and I thank my lucky stars that this is fiction or I would be having such nightmares right now, you have no idea.
Fearscape was a satisfying conclusion to the Devouring series. I was looking through reviews and I can understand why there is a divided consensus--as with any storyline with a love triangle, one "team" is inevitably going to be disappointed with the choice, and yes, after a while, all the fearscapes do start to get repetitive.
Gratuitous gore. Monsters. Pus. Infection. Dead bodies. Scary anthropomorphized shit.
Yeah, yeah, okay. (Note: I made the mistake of reading this book while eating breakfast. Baaaaad idea.)
In Soulstice, the book ends with Reggie being taken away to an asylum for experimentation by evil doctors working with the Vours because of her idiot father. In Fearscape, Reggie is trying to combat insanity, but her strength is dwindling rapidly and the fearscapes are starting to take a toll on her. Aaron and Quinn join sides along with Machen to get her out--
...Before the next Sorry Night.
I enjoyed this series, and the way psychology and mythology were integrated into the plot and storyline. The foreshadowing was very apt, and he never used more words than he had to. I applaud Mr. Holt for quitting while he was ahead.
Confession time. I love books about video games. In fact, I probably like books about vid...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian!
Confession time. I love books about video games. In fact, I probably like books about video games more than I actually like playing video games. That sub-sub-genre of cyberpunk is just so totally open to exploring new futures in video game technology--for better, or for worse...
DUN DUN DUN.
At first I wasn't too sure I was going to like Erebos. As other reviewers have pointed out, the translation is a little iffy because while it's set in London, the teenagers use American slang. Oh, and because they're referred to as sixth-graders, I assumed that they were in middle-school. Nope. They're actually sixth-years: the equivalent of being a senior in HS.
The main character, Nick, is also a total ass-clown. His bitter thoughts and hateful attitude were incredibly galling, and it's hard to like a book where you want to take the main character and repeatedly punch him/her in the face. The way he stalked Emily, treated his friends like crap, and lied to everyone about everything made me seriously consider DNFing Erebos.
But I didn't, because I was so in love with the premise. And because the characterization was good and rational, even if the character himself wasn't. Why? Because the plot moves at a cracktastic pace, and Nick--and his friends--undergo actual character development.
I KNOW RIGHT.
That never happens.
It's hard to explain the plot without giving everything away, but basically copies of a bootlegged game called Erebos are circulating around Nick's school. It's so addictive that people are bowing out of class to play it. Nick is insanely jealous, and tries to wrangle a copy--but the kicker is that those who have the game are forbidden to talk about it. Or they get kicked out. For good.
If you want a copy, you have to wait to be given one.
Eventually, Nick does manage to get his copy and the game is like a hyper-realistic version of Runescape or WoW. Except... preternaturally intelligent. The game knows when he lies about his real name. The game knows when he starts trying to find information about it. It's almost as if the game is alive. And that's when things start to get really scary, because in order to advance levels in the game world, he has to complete tasks in the real world. And some of those tasks cause people to get hurt. Might even cause people to be killed.
So when Nick ends up getting banished from the game when it pushes his limits too far, he and a couple other renegades set out to find the sinister secrets beyond Erebos: namely, who is the creator? and what, exactly, are they trying to accomplish?
To reiterate: DUN DUN DUN.
A huge, glompy thank-you to netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book. It had been on my to-read list for ages and wasn't at the library, so I despaired of ever obtaining a copy until now.
As a die-hard Labyrinth fan, The Iron King was music to my fangirl-shipping ears. Meghan...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian!
As a die-hard Labyrinth fan, The Iron King was music to my fangirl-shipping ears. Meghan was a kick-ass character, the world-building was well-researched and spot-on, and the romance was underplayed, leaving room for further development.
My silly library only bought books #1, 3, and 4 in the first series. I suppose somebody alerted them to their mistake because what did I see in the just-in section but Iron Daughter--the book I've been lusting after for months and months and months.
I read it.
Correction. I read part of it. I couldn't actually finish the whole thing.
Because. It. Was. Terrible.
Apparently it picks up in the second half. Well, I didn't get that far. You know what happens in the first half? Meghan is having PTSD about Machina. She is still in the Winter Court as part of her promise. She is "in love" with Ash (when did this happen?), and he's ignoring her to stay in his mommy's good graces and that makes her boo-hoo-sad. She spends a lot of the first fifty pages crying. One of Ash's older brothers (I think Sage?) makes inappropriate comments about how he'd like to help her "forget" his younger brother. Ash tells her that he wouldn't mind killing her. Meghan is like, "No, it's okay, I trust you. I love you." I'm like, BITCH SHOW SOME MOTHERFUCKING SPINE.
Seriously, what happened to this girl? She had some gumbo in the first book. She was spicy. She wasn't the smartest kid in the class, but at least she could stick up for herself. At least she put her own self-preservation before ogling the fey equivalent of Playgirl.
You know a book is bad when the voice of reason is an anthropomorphized cat fey, and the only decent love interest also happens to be the comic relief and therefore isn't going to end up with the stupid little Suetard because nice guys are never cannon. Only assholes are cannon.
What the actual fuck.
It was as if everything I liked about book #1 was taken away in a conspicuous attempt to piss me off, and everything that irritated me a little was suddenly THE BEST THING EVER OMG LET'S PUT IT IN EVERY PARAGRAPH--NO, EVERY SENTENCE--SO NENIA WILL BE ANGRY! :D
Congratulations. Your sordid plan worked. Nenia is angry. Nenia is so angry she created new shelves to adequately convey her scorn for this pitiful mockery of a sequel. Nenia is so angry that she is referring to herself in third person in an attempt to mitigate the true depth of her rage.
One of the most fascinating things about the human mind is the fact that it works. I mean,...more You can read my reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian.
One of the most fascinating things about the human mind is the fact that it works. I mean, think about it. The brain is so complicated that it puzzles scientists with Ivy League Degrees, it contains billions and billions of neural networks, it's squishy.
And yet, it generally gets the job done.
But sometimes things go wrong, and Stuff is a collection of case studies about people who take their love of collecting and owning things too far.
This was extremely uncomfortable to read. Not just because it made me eyeball my messy room and go, "Oh God, I'm a hoarder!" (it did), but because I felt the subject was handled very badly. Stuff is voyeuristic; it's the book equivalent of those nineteenth century trips to the mental asylums to point and laugh at the crazy people.
In the tradition of the TV show, Hoarders, Frost visits several clients with hoarding problems. Their houses are absolutely disgusting. They are having marital problems, financial problems, and experience large amounts of stress, guilt, and self-loathing.
And yet, the subject was treated without sympathy.
It was condescending.
Why this book has such a high rating is beyond me. I suppose it taps into those same mental pathways that make people watch shows like Nanny 911 and Nip Tuck.
Plus, hoarding is tied to underlying psychological trauma? What? Psychology isn't "cut and dry." People can have problems without underlying psychoanalysis-friendly reasons. I wonder now if that Southpark episode about Mr. Mackey and Stan's hoarding problems was making fun of this book.
I won an ARC of Invisible Sun, the sequel to this book, in a giveaway. When I saw the prequ...moreYou can read my reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian!
I won an ARC of Invisible Sun, the sequel to this book, in a giveaway. When I saw the prequel for sale at my library's bookstore for one dollar, I was like, THE PRICE IS RIGHT.
...I have a problem.
But anyway, in Invisible Sun there were a lot of things that didn't make sense. Like, why does Mimi call Durango "cowboy"? How did Mars get terraformed? Why does everyone speak the curse words of every language fluently? Even though everyone is, predominantly, white? And where did Regulators come from? (Not to be mistaken with the Stephen King novel by the same name.) None of these questions were answered to my satisfaction in Invisible Sun, so I thought Black Hole Sun might be the ticket.
That isn't to say that I don't love this series. I do. Really. At first, I wasn't so sure but the snarky banter grew on me and I just skimmed over the foreign curses because what I imagined them to mean (may your ancestors choke on a barrelful of rancid sardines!) is probably a lot funnier than what they actually do mean (**** @#($)@*##@$@# ****!!!!!!). I can hear that on the freeway any time I want, you know. All I have to do is merge without signaling and the curses, they just fly.*
*I am a responsible driver and would never do this. My sister, on the other hand...**
**My sister is a responsible driver and would never do this, either.
I'm bummed that the Regulator culture isn't described in more detail because it's pretty bizarre. They operate on tenets of honor, like the samurai, and kill themselves to spare themselves the shame of failure. Their greatest honor is to die a "Beautiful Death," a death of battle, so they can go to--I am not kidding--Valhalla. Oh, and they have to cut off their pinkie finger, like the Yakuza.
What kind of a cultural melting pot formed this group, that it would be such a hodgepodge of strange and violent customs from across the world? I don't know. I'd like to know. Backstory, Mr. Gill!
I mean, really. You've got an awesome concept here. Work it!
The Black Hole Sun series comes perilously close to being over the top. It doesn't quite reach that point, at least not for me, but it's close. I think a lot of the snark could be sacrificed to make the transitions between scenes smoother and less hurriedly choppy.
As it is, this is a fun, light-hearted romp through space, and highly reminiscent of the Power Rangers or Beetle Borgs, or one of those other 90s-era teen superhero franchises. Why it isn't a TV series already is beyond me.
When it comes to Emails from an Asshole I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, Lindsay is funny as hell and I nearly died laughing at some of the wei...moreWhen it comes to Emails from an Asshole I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, Lindsay is funny as hell and I nearly died laughing at some of the weird stuff he pulled in these emails. On the other hand, the man is a complete troll, and his actions are antisocial, insensitive, and border on harassment. Not cool.
To see if you would find this book funny, consider the following IMAGINARY scenario.
Hello! I am a self-published author and trying to get myself out there. I have a few ARC copies [sic] of my new book and was wondering if neone out there would be willing to R&R! email me at *******@gmail.com for details.
To *******@gmail.com, from me
I am interested in obtaining a copy of your book. I have to say I absolutely love the concept; it's a total riot.
Please feel free to send me a copy at *********.
To me, from *******@gmail.com
Thank you for your interest in my book. I have sent you a copy. I look forward to hearing what you think.
Several months later...
To *******@gmail.com, from me
Nenia, I loved your book. Seriously, what a great idea- so "novel," if you'll pardon the pun. I want to order 100 copies immediately for my shop.
To me, from *******@gmail.com
OMG!!!! Yay! That is SO EXCITING! What did you like about it? And wow! 100 copies? I can't wait to tell all my friends! What's the name of your store? OMG THIS IS SO GREAT! I AM SO HAPPY!!!!!!
To *******@gmail.com, from me
It was very absorbent, though I think the grains of the paper could be a little finer. My store is called Rusty's Novelties and Gifts. We sure would like to include your book! Please let me know about the copies as soon as possible.
To me, from *******@gmail.com
Wait... I don't understand. A joke shop?
To *******@gmail.com, from me
The paper is a little too rough the way it is right now. Don't get me wrong, it's a great idea, but I got some papercuts while wiping and it doesn't really flush all that well. I think it's great how you actually included a silly story on the pages, but that might have to go. Maybe we could blur it a little so we can focus on the texture.
From *******@gmail.com, to me
WHAT THE FUCK YOU USED THE PAGES OF MY BOOK TO WIPE YOUR ASS?!?! THAT WASN'T TOILET PAPER YOU ASSHOLE THAT WAS AN ACTUAL BOOK. THAT I WROTE.
YOU BETTER BE FUCKING KIDDING.
To *******@gmail.com, from me
Oh, Nenia! You kidder!!! That's just the kind of attitude we like to see here at Rusty's Novelties. Ha! Hahaha! An actual book. Hahahaha. I love it. Maybe we could include a subtitle: All the shit that's fit to print!
From *******@gmail.com, to me
To *******@gmail.com, from me
Okay, so I'm ordering 100 copies, and changing the titles to Horrorscrape and Cloak and Splatter to give it that comedic edge. Also, we're making it look less like a book and more like actual toilet paper.
If you found this scenario extremely funny then you will probably like this book. If you find foul language, sadistic humor, poop jokes, and racist/misogynistic undertones offensive, you will probably hate this book. I have a pretty high tolerance for things like that but this book even grated on me at times (esp. his email regarding the position of hockey coach for the special needs kids. That was kind of disgusting).
As you may or may not know, I hold a B.A. in psychology. Something that I am inordinately proud of, despite the fact that a B.A. in psychology gets yo...more
As you may or may not know, I hold a B.A. in psychology. Something that I am inordinately proud of, despite the fact that a B.A. in psychology gets you almost nothing in today's job market. What can I say, though? I love learning about what makes people tick, and it was the only class I ever took in high school that I well and truly loved.
Animal Behavioral Science plays a somewhat major role in gathering preliminary data. Before you can test on humans, you have to test on animals (and before you test on animals, you have to do major paperwork). When I found out this was a book about researchers in the field of Language and Cognition (one of my favorite classes in college), and Bonobos (apes, though frequently called "sexy monkeys" because they have sex- constantly- and are the only animal besides humans to do 'it' in the missionary position), I was like:
But then, as I began to get into the meat of the plot, I realized that the monkeys played a secondary role in the story. Despite the title of this book being Ape House, it should really be called Sorry Excuses for Human Beings Working Their Neuroses Out Through Their Careers. John, in particular, made me want to slap a bitch (preferably him). The way he treated his wife was disgusting. The moment he told his wife she couldn't go to L.A. to fulfill her dream because he wanted to fulfill HIS HERE- with her at HIS SIDE- I knew I wasn't going to like him. When he whines about how miserable he is about his life despite being married to a woman who still looks 20 at 40, who is great in bed, and who can cook restaurant quality meals, I wanted to throw up.
Amanda was likable, but she didn't have a spine so I couldn't really sympathize with her all that much. Cat is a repulsive excuse for a human being- and no, I'm not just saying that because she's a reporter. Yuk, yuk. When she sneaks into a hospital by lying about being one of the patients' daughters, and then begins to harass the patient- who is a bombing victim- by mocking them and taking pictures, I was like, WHY ISN'T THIS WOMAN IN JAIL?!
Isabel reminds me of that crazy woman in Stephen King's Rose Red. Dr. Riordan, I think her name was. She's the stereotypical borderline-autistic scientist who cares about nothing but her research, research, research and god help you if you get between her and her funding.
All these characters, on their own, are bad enough as individuals but put them together and you get a migraine the size of Texas- and EVERYTHING is bigger in Texas, folks. Think about it.
I was really disappointed by this book, and can't believe it was written afterWater for Elephants, which I loved, because it has a definite 'first-novel' feel to it. I glanced through other reviews to see what other people thought (since this book's rating isn't super high), and it appears other low-raters have reached a consensus opinion.
The academia didn't seem kosher, and apparently it isn't. Though now that I'm a writer myself (sneer, sneer, sneer- that sounds so pretentious), I'm a bit more forgiving of that. It's hard to write about what you don't know. One of my friends/editors recently ripped me (in jest, and lovingly, as is her way) about getting some facts about guns wrong. I'm not a gun expert. In fact, I've never fired one. So it's natural that someone who's never done research would get some things wrong.
But she apparently doesn't follow her own rules, either. Consistency is important, especially in the absence of actuality, and Gruen does not do this. Plus, apparently all those poor monkeys apes get horribly mistreated later on in the book so I'm glad I stopped reading before that happened. When the evil, goatee-wearing villain was laughing at them in their cages, I got flashbacks of Tom Felton in the new Planet of the Apes movie, and was like, "NOOOOOOO - I KNOW WHERE THIS IS GOING."
One thing I credit this book with is giving me the perfect word to describe unfriendly hi...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian!
One thing I credit this book with is giving me the perfect word to describe unfriendly hipsters: snarly.
Apart from that, though, it was a bust.
The title is great, and the premise is, too. I love the idea of two teenagers meeting in a bookstore through a notebook, and going on adventures that bring them closer and closer together. It's like a scavenger hunt, and the prize is your soulmate.
I think my problem with Dash & Lily is, eponymously enough, Dash and Lily. they did not strike me as realistic characters and really grated my cheese.
Dash, because he's just so cynical and grouchy and annoying. And pretentious. STOP NAME-DROPPING BOOKS AND QUOTING THE THESAURUS. This is a guy who asks for the complete unabridged thousand-dollar Oxford Dictionary as a Christmas president. Lolwut. He's sixteen.
Lily, because, well, she's the complete opposite. We're set up so hard to like her that I didn't like her because apart from her likable traits--loving kittens, rainbows, sunshine, Christmas--she didn't really have any traits. This is a girl who uses the word "Yay!" to excess in her narrative. Eep.
Plus, this book has something that the reviewer Lucy, from GR, has dubbed missing parents syndrome. Where the heck are these kids' parents? And why are they letting them run around NYC unsupervised to be molested by well-meaning Santa Clauses, and stuff things behind cardboard cut-outs of black comedians' oversized butts? I don't get it.
I just know someone is going to hate on me for giving Graffiti Moon a one-star review, tel...moreYou can read my reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian.
I just know someone is going to hate on me for giving Graffiti Moon a one-star review, telling me "I didn't get it," or whatever. That's one of the bummers about getting older, I suppose. You stop "getting" young adult books that try to be all hip and happenin' because you're no longer jive and jiggy with the times. Ya dig?
Graffiti Moon tries to be profound. Sometimes it even comes close to succeeding, but it's very affected.
It's like listening to a hipster talk. They may have some interesting insights about the world, but you will never be entirely sure if they are pulling this stuff out of their bums, stole it from someone else, or are just being ironic and trying to f**k with you.
Graffiti Moon takes place in Australia. It's about six teens who end up pairing off and having deep and meaningful conversations and all the while, they're hunting down these two graffiti artists who work together--Shadow, and Poet. One does the stencils, and the other does the stanzas. Little do the girls know that the tormented souls they're lusting after are the boys in their own group. Gasp!
(Don't worry, this isn't a spoiler. They pretty much admit it in the first chapter.)
In a way, this is like an art-focused version of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. The movie version, that is. Not the book. The book sucked. I loved the mystery and the music, and how the teenagers all went on their little life-changing journeys while trying to seek out the elusive band.
This was like that, except more humble. Because they were projecting their own hopes and dreams and wishes and expectations on something as humble as a graffiti artist and his secret identity.
While this isn't a badly written book, and indeed manages to be quite beautiful in some parts, I'm definitely not among the target audience. I can say that without question. One of my friends pointed out that actually going to Australia and taking part in their youth subculture makes a difference.
She's probably right. She's right about most things. ;)
This just wasn't for me. But I have a younger sister who's an artist, so we'll see what she thinks.
To quote Britney Spears, Oops! I did it again. I fell for another pretty cover. So hit me...moreYou can read more reviews on my blog, The Armchair Librarian.
To quote Britney Spears, Oops! I did it again. I fell for another pretty cover. So hit me, baby, one more time, because I really ought to know better by now.
Here's a general rule of thumb: Pretty cover is to quality of book as expensive sports car is to size of man's ding-dong.
(Though obviously, there are exceptions.)
Oh, Garet. Garet, Garet, Garet, you are such a Sue, and you don't even know it.
Your name is Margaret but you call yourself Garet, or Marguerite.
Your mother drilled it into your head when you were a kid that you were a beautiful bird, a special snowflake bird.
Your mother was beautiful, and looked thirty at sixty-one. You think you're plain and yet you also keep saying you look just like your mother.
You have migraine aura that are actually repressed powers manifesting themselves.
You are incredibly stupid for someone who claims to be so intellectual.
You call yourself 'steampunk' because you don't use your cell phone.
You never even had a chance for character development. Nope. You were doomed from the start.
Because you are a copy of Bella Swan, and if a copy becomes more generic after each copy, what happens when the original was never original to begin with? Hmm?
While I was whining about this book in my status updates, my GR buddy Ade made a very insightful comment:
I blame Stephanie Meyer for everything. I really do. It feels like all the New Adult books are watered down versions of FoS, and FoS has spawned a whole cast of shitty erotic "romance" novels, and FoS came from Twilight, and Twilight basically copied that Vampire Diaries. Stephanie Meyer is the root of all of my book problems. If it wasn't for fucking Bella and Edward, none of this would have happened.
I don't know about you, but the boys and girls featured in this collection of short stories weren't much like me at all. Her first book, The God of An...moreI don't know about you, but the boys and girls featured in this collection of short stories weren't much like me at all. Her first book, The God of Animals, was really impressive. Clearly, Aryn Kyle is as big a fan of animals as author Sara Gruen. I really like when authors write about things they feel passionate about; that passion really shows through the story and makes it glow. I learned so much about horses!
Boys and Girls Like You and Me is not about animals. It's about boys and girls whose lives pretty much belong in the archived files of F My Life. Sex, drugs, poverty, frenemies, bad jobs, bad bosses- pretty much every middle class dilemma you can possibly think of occurs in this anthology.
The strangest aspect of these stories is that it doesn't really tap into "real" emotions (read: I realize that this is a work of fiction, but I also think that contemporary fiction should try to mirror realistic behavior just for the reader's sake). All of the stories seemed very emotionally distant. This might have been on purpose but I kind of suspect not. Mostly because she has another strange habit, which is that she glamorizes despair, making it seem romantic, tragic, cinematic.
Real despair is an ugly thing; there is nothing beautiful or romantic about suffering.
I kind of wonder if Ms. Kyle is from a wealthy family, because I have noticed that authors from upper-middle-class/upper-class families do tend to portray poverty as if it were some kind of big adventure. You know, like slumming.
For the most part, I enjoyed these stories. They were a bit depressing so I took a hiatus from reading, and in the meantime I read some of the other reviews for this book and pondered what effect her upbringing had on these vignettes. The best advice I can give you is this: don't go into this expecting The God of Animals. In fact, don't go into this with any expectations at all. That would probably be best.
Captive Queen takes place in the twelfth century and chronicles the story of Eleanor of Aquitaine, in the middle of her life, when she first meets Hen...more
Captive Queen takes place in the twelfth century and chronicles the story of Eleanor of Aquitaine, in the middle of her life, when she first meets Henry of Anjou. Thirty-year-old Eleanor is not happy with her ascetic husband, Louis, who is incapable of meeting her sexual demands and whose plain lifestyle bores her, and whose treatment of her native Aquitaine brings her pain. She falls in love with Henry immediately, who is eighteen, in the prime of his life, and more than happy to do what Louis cannot. Eleanor contrives to get an annulment of her marriage with Louis and the new couple are presently bedded and wedded (in that order, precisely).
So why didn't I love this book? I'm not entirely sure. I was certainly all set to. Pretty cover aside, Eleanor really is a fascinating historical figure. She was a woman years ahead of her times, who was not content to be ruled by a man. The sad thing is, because she was a woman, what she wanted really didn't matter - queen or no - and her headstrong nature only served to infuriate the men she was married to. Her convoluted story, beginning at fifteen with her marriage to Louis, her marriage to Henry at thirty, the birth of her many children, the rise and fall of Thomas Becket in her husband's good graces, and her ultimate imprisonment, are all absolutely fascinating, and on par with the insidious Borgias, the cold Medicis, and the crazy Tudors. By all rights, my reaction should have looked like this:
There were several things about Captive Queen that really put me off. They were apparent from the beginning but gradually worsened, to the point that the story I would have awarded a 3 or a 4 was quickly becoming at most a 2.
1. The writing is very chunky. There is almost no white space on the page. AND THERE IS SO MUCH OF IT. Eleanor's life is really too long and eventful to be chronicled in one mere volume, and the author's frequent skipping around through time was confusing. It would have been far better for her to make this a series. Or, failing that, simply the story to such an extent that it is a constant, but sparse, narrative, like E.L. Konigsberg's A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver (one of my favorite stories about Eleanor of Aquitaine).
2. The constant, constant, constant sex. Quite honestly, this took up much of the narrative in the first fourth of the book, and the language was always the same. Henry is always mounting and thrusting and admiring Eleanor's (or whomever he happens to be doing's) bosoms, shapely figure, etc. I get the point of showing their passion, but was all this repetition reallllly necessary to the plot? Reallllly?
3. The portrayal of Eleanor as a victim bothered me. I mean, yeah, OK, her lot sucked. But she was powerful. Captive Queen made her seem like a slutty, whiny, greedy baby-machine, and she really wasn't like that at all.
4. Henry is domineering and often cruel. When a village, for example, fails to bring what he deems proper dinings for royalty, he orders them to tear down their prized defensive walls, one stone at a time. He cheats on Eleanor with countless women, sowing bastards left and right, even forcing Eleanor to bring up one of them in her own household as if it were her own. He takes a fourteen-year-old mistress, and when she dies shortly afterwards of untreated breast cancer, he begins sleeping with his middle son's thirteen-year-old betrothed.
Kitty's House of Horrors is sort of a throwback to those "locked room" turn-of-the-century mysteries. Except, you know, a hell of a lot creepier. Para...moreKitty's House of Horrors is sort of a throwback to those "locked room" turn-of-the-century mysteries. Except, you know, a hell of a lot creepier. Paranormals are continuing to come out of the closet, albeit grudgingly, and Kitty is suspicious - but not surprised - when she gets an invite from a producer of SuperByte productions to be a member of a Jersey Shoresque supernatural reality TV series. After some hesitation, she accepts.
The show takes place in a mountain retreat. The other guests? Two female vampires and their male human servant, two male shifters (were-seal and werewolf), a male aura reader, a female mediator, a male magician, a female voodoo witch, and a male skeptic - who basically is supposed to be convinced of the supernatural during the course of the show. Oh, and Kitty, of course.
At first, the show goes pretty well. The isolated location of their cabin causes some tensions at first, but then the guests start to relax and accustom themselves to the outdoors, and even start having fun. Walls are lowered, and Kitty learns a bit more about the other paranormals out there - until a seance goes horribly, horribly wrong, and the female mediator, Tina, senses something dark and evil surrounding their cabin. Something that frightens her so much she doesn't want to speak about it. At all.
. . . And then, people start dying. One by one. Because something out there is hunting them. And it might just be part of a bigger conspiracy.
I really liked the way Vaughn set this book up. All of the characters were interesting, and unlike other PR writers out there, Vaughn is definitely not afraid to kill off her characters. Some of my favorites ended up dying, and I was pretty bummed by the end of the book.
I also like the overall direction the series is taking. I get the feeling Vaughn is leading up to some kind of overarching conspiracy, a last stand kind of thing. Going from book 2 to book 7 was a bit of a leap, but now that I know that these books are at the library I'll be catching up pretty soon!
A great addition to the Kitty Norville series, and perfectly readable as a standalone. Recommended for urban fantasy fans and mystery lovers.
Abby Goodwin has always, well, been good. Her younger sister Maya, on the other hand, is the problem child - the one who soaks up all the attention be...moreAbby Goodwin has always, well, been good. Her younger sister Maya, on the other hand, is the problem child - the one who soaks up all the attention because of her recklessness with boys, drugs, and curfew. Abby has always been protective of her sister, because who else will? Everyone else - friends, family, teachers, you name it - all gave up hope for Maya's redemption long ago.
Except for Abby.
This loyalty is tested, however, when Jefferson Andrews, Mr. Popular, their town's own personal Golden Boy, shows up dead. Maya was his latest squeeze, and their relationship was already on the rocks. Plus, Jefferson was a dealer, and used Maya's drug use to get her in his snare. All the signs seem to indicate that Maya was guilty, if not of killing him, then of leaving him to die.
But Abby refuses to believe this.
The Deadly Sister is a nonstop mystery, narrated from the point of view of Abby as she does her own little Nancy Drew schtick.
My sister gave this to me to read. I recently read (and loved!) The School For Dangerous Girls, and when we went to the library she picked up this book off the shelf and said, "Hey, isn't this that guy?" It was. She read TDS and gave it to me, saying that it was a must-read with a killer plot twist.
I really enjoyed this. My sister reallllllly shouldn't have told me about the plot twist, though, because I spent the whole book thinking about what it could be - and I actually did guess the twist! I was so proud of myself, too. Kind of sad . . . but anyway, guessing the plot twist aside (and I didn't guess all of it - it's hard to impress me/surprise me because, as I said, I've read a SHIT TON (yes, that's a metric measurement) of books), this was extremely well-written and just as enjoyable as his other book.
I am going to have to find more books by this author for sure!