My just-turned-3 year old cousin went nuts over this book. It's actually pretty scary for that age (they aren't kidding about the "not a bedtime storyMy just-turned-3 year old cousin went nuts over this book. It's actually pretty scary for that age (they aren't kidding about the "not a bedtime story" warning on the cover), but, at least for my cousin, it was just scary enough to be titillating. He asked to read it five times in a row, and after the first time he would jump off the couch and hide (giggling) when he knew the wolf was about to jump out. I really liked the touch-and-feel elements of the book--the fact that they are hidden and you have to reach in blindly, nervously, to see what will be revealed reminds me of the blindfolded Halloween activity with bowls of cold spaghetti guts and peeled grape eyes. This is the perfect story for the preschooler who wants to read something scary. A definite must for a spooky Halloween storytime....more
I got an ARC, but it felt so wrong to experience Night Vale without Cecil Baldwin's voice that after just two pages I decided I'd better wait for theI got an ARC, but it felt so wrong to experience Night Vale without Cecil Baldwin's voice that after just two pages I decided I'd better wait for the audiobook.
I read this for a book club, and the other book club attendees loved it. They loved it because it was new and different and fresh, because it compelleI read this for a book club, and the other book club attendees loved it. They loved it because it was new and different and fresh, because it compelled you to continue reading because you just had to know what was going on, and because it was beautifully written.
I concede all of the above points. It is new and different and fresh, it's beautifully written, and this isn't a book you can really bring yourself to DNF. But when I reached the end, my reaction was, "Huh. Well, that was...weird." I spent the day leading up to my book club discussion trying to figure out if I thought it was good-weird or bad-weird, but in the end, it was just...weird. I didn't like it, but I didn't really dislike it either. I just find it kind of bafflingly odd.
If you like weird, you might love this. This book is weird from top to bottom, inside and out. It's got a weird structure, weird characters, weird interconnected stories, and a weird blend of myth and reality. The book is divided into seven parts, and each part is weird in its own unique way.
This isn't something I would have picked up without the book club impetus, and this is one of those times when I really could have lived without that extra push. I don't feel like precious hours of my life were wasted with this one, but I don't feel like they were really put to good use either.
In sum: Just really strange, leaving me with feelings of ambivalence.
P.S. I also have no idea why this is marketed as YA, other than the length and the fact that Marcus Sedgwick had previously published in that genre. It's really not YA in theme, tone, or the age of its central characters, so, uh, what else is there?...more
I was really, really excited to read this book. I adore Grant's Newsflesh trilogy--it definitely makes the list of my all-time favorite books. So I fiI was really, really excited to read this book. I adore Grant's Newsflesh trilogy--it definitely makes the list of my all-time favorite books. So I figured I would adore this one as well. I...didn't. It was okay, and I suspect I may have enjoyed it more if I didn't have such high expectations, but in the end, it was no Feed.
Part of the issue I had with Parasite is that the premise is actually remarkably similar to that of the Newsflesh books. It's still zombies, only the zombies are caused by quasi-sentient parasites meant to make you super healthy instead of a combo common cold/cancer cure. But, I mean, even the idea that zombies were caused by attempts to improve human health and quality of life is the same.
Also, Sal and Nathan were no George and Shaun. I didn't actually like any of the characters except one secondary character who shows up every once in a while (view spoiler)[and who turns out to be evil, oops (hide spoiler)]. Sal was an incredibly difficult protagonist to root for because she was just kind of a naive nitwit. There were times when I hoped she would be killed by zombies. ((view spoiler)[But I suppose it would be too much to hope for that Mira Grant would kill off another protagonist in the first book of a series, heh. (hide spoiler)] for Newsflesh.)
And in another boring parallel to Newsflesh, there was a secret lab with a mad scientist doing terrifying, unethical experiments in order to further their fight against a big, evil conspiracy. Been there, read that book.
Overall, the book was decent, but the boring characters weren't strong enough to make the sameness of the premise palatable to someone who has read and loved the Newsflesh trilogy. I would rather spend my time rereading that series instead.
Thanks to Orbit and Edelweiss for the advance reader copy.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Note: I received an electronic ARC of this title from the publisher.
Here's what made me really dislike this book: Most of the characters were assholesNote: I received an electronic ARC of this title from the publisher.
Here's what made me really dislike this book: Most of the characters were assholes, the "big secret" of Moreau's island was withheld for so long I got incredibly bored, and, worst of all, Juliet is one of those protagonists who doesn't do any protagging--she's just dragged along by the current of plot rather than being an active force in the story. I also really hated the ending.
Also also, love triangle. (At this point, I really don't even have to say anything else about that, do I?)
There were some interesting ideas here (most of them taken from the original story, I believe, though I haven't read it so I can't say for certain), but overall this one fell flat for me....more
Note: I received an ARC of this title from the publisher through NetGalley.
I wasn't sure what to expect going into this book. I don't usually read smaNote: I received an ARC of this title from the publisher through NetGalley.
I wasn't sure what to expect going into this book. I don't usually read small press books (quality is too hit or miss), and I've never read m/m romance before, but I just couldn't pass up this intriguing premise. And I'm so glad I didn't. This book was awesome.
I read a lot of romance (generally of the straight variety), and I was so thrilled by this novel because none of my usual romance pet peeves were present. The romance did not comprise the entire plot. The couple experienced tension in their relationship that was not the result of a love triangle and which was resolved by one or the other of them manning up and using their words to explain their feelings and/or apologize. And Wyatt and Ash were just all around super cute together.
I'll admit I was a little leery of reading m/m, not because I find m/m sex icky or whatever, but because I'm not sure what I think about the trend of women writing m/m erotic fiction for an audience comprised largely of other women. Is it just as offensive as straight men's obsession with f/f porn? I'm not sure. But this novel? Not erotica. There are a couple sex scenes of about the length and graphicness of the sex scenes in your typical romance novel. But really, this book is actually a super creepy ghost story/mystery that just happens to include a romantic subplot involving two men. And that is what I want to see more of in bookstores and libraries.
To that end, I think I'm actually going to purchase this for my own library. And that actually says a lot for the awesomeness of this book, because not only is it freaking $17 for a paperback (go with the $8 ebook if you can!), I live in a small city in Wyoming and I'm pretty sure there's next to no audience for m/m paranormal romance. But this book is good enough that damn it, I'm going to try to find the audience for it.
If you're into urban fantasy or paranormal romance with an extra helping of creepy, this is the book for you....more
This alternate ending to Feed fell far short of the original. There's a reason the ending to Feed is the way it is, and it's because this one was pretThis alternate ending to Feed fell far short of the original. There's a reason the ending to Feed is the way it is, and it's because this one was pretty unsatisfying. While this version is technically a worst case scenario, it didn't have the same gut-wrenching emotional charge that the real ending provided. (view spoiler)[After all, the worst part about Georgia's death wasn't actually her death--it was Shaun's grief, the necessity of him delivering the kill shot, and his struggle to deal in a world without her. That was missing in this version, which makes it, in my opinion, much less compelling. (hide spoiler)]...more
My mind keeps doing an accidental mashup of this title and the title of the first book. I don't think Ms. Littlefield and her editor anticipated the pMy mind keeps doing an accidental mashup of this title and the title of the first book. I don't think Ms. Littlefield and her editor anticipated the possibility that people would start thinking of her novels by the title Afterbirth, but there you have it.
I'm still annoyed by the lack of consistency in her portrayal of the zombies (and, honestly, annoyed that she calls them Beaters instead of zombies--everyone knows if zombies showed up, we'd just call them zombies), but this was certainly a page-turner, and I loved the times when the POV rotated to a couple of the other characters (who, quite frankly, are more interesting than Cass). I'm interested to see where she takes the third book....more
Oh, this book. I am having a really difficult time articulating my thoughts on this one. This is not the sort of book I would normally pick up. It isnOh, this book. I am having a really difficult time articulating my thoughts on this one. This is not the sort of book I would normally pick up. It isn't the sort of book I would normally enjoy. But it was brilliant, and heartbreaking, and lovely, and terrifying, and I am so glad I read it. However, I'm not sure how it would go over with its target middle grade audience. I loved it, but I somehow doubt that your average twelve-year-old would get the same enjoyment out of it.
A Monster Calls tells the story of thirteen-year-old Conor O'Malley. His mother is undergoing treatments for cancer that don't seem to be going so well, his father has long since moved to America and started a new family, and he hates his grandmother's increasing presence in his life. And Conor has been having a horrible nightmare. Then the monster shows up, a giant, menacing yew tree who visits Conor. Conor is unafraid of the tree, since it pales in comparison to his nightmare, but he finds himself frustrated by its insistence that Conor has called him and that the monster must tell Conor three stories in exchange for the tale of Conor's own secret nightmare.
The whole book is accompanied by gorgeous, haunting black and white mixed media illustrations that add depth and mood to the story. This wouldn't be the same book without the illustrations, which is the mark of a great illustrator.
I found the book terrifying. Because really, I have a hard time imagining anything more scary than being a thirteen-year-old only child of a single parent, and watching that parent die of cancer. I happen to be the only child of a single parent, and when I was younger, the only fear that could cause me to totally break down and sob just from my own imaginings was the fear of my mom dying, leaving me totally alone (extended family didn't really count, since they weren't home like my mom was). So this book struck a chord in me because of that.
I didn't really expect to like the story, when I realized how obviously metaphorical everything in the whole damned book was. I'm not usually one for metaphor--I like my books to say what they mean and mean what they say, and too much literary styling drives me bonkers. But for some reason, it worked here. I would love to see this discussed in a literature class (but of course it won't, since books for children are totally dismissed by literary scholars).
I'm not quite sure who to recommend this book to, since it falls into such a genre gray area, so I guess I'll just have to recommend it to everyone. Read this book. It's a slim volume, with large text, huge margins, and tons of (beautiful) pictures, so it's only a couple hours of your time. I don't think you'll regret it....more
This book started out as the scariest, goriest YA novel I have ever read. Not a criticism, just an observation. I actually loved the suspense, and eveThis book started out as the scariest, goriest YA novel I have ever read. Not a criticism, just an observation. I actually loved the suspense, and even the gross-out factor was fitting for a book about the zombie apocalypse. The first half or so was really solid. We're introduced to our main character, Alex. She acquires a realistically frustrating and bitchy little kid, Ellie, and then Tom, the young ex-soldier with PTSD, enters as the love interest. The book becomes the three of them versus the world, and their struggles to survive while getting to know one another and working out their new family dynamic in a newly zombie-filled world were fantastic.
...Then the second half happened. It was like the second half to a completely different novel. The two halves don't combine to make a whole. It's like the author had a really good idea for the beginning to an apocalyptic novel, and then she had a different idea for another apocalyptic novel, and she just decided to mush them together haphazardly. (view spoiler)[First, Ellie is kidnapped. Then Tom is injured. Alex goes to get help, but when she gets back, Tom is gone. Exit Ellie and Tom. For the whole novel. The second half is about Alex navigating the weird fortified town she finds herself in, and she hardly even thinks about Ellie and Tom at all, which is absolutely ridiculous considering the dynamics set up in the first half. The first half was all about the three of them figuring things out together, and in the second half it's just Alex figuring out the weird cultish town. (hide spoiler)]
I'll probably pick up the second book in hopes of a return to the sensibility of the first half, but my hopes are not terribly high.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I had a hard time connecting with the characters. This is largely due to the fact, I think, that all three of the main characters spend most of the boI had a hard time connecting with the characters. This is largely due to the fact, I think, that all three of the main characters spend most of the book interacting only with their own thoughts. My favorite fiction is full of great dialogue and secondary characters, and this book just didn't supply either of those things, in my opinion. I found myself quite bored, despite the fast-past nature of the plot....more
4.5 stars. I nearly gave it five, but that would be like saying I loved it as much as Feed, and I didn't, not quite. It was slow to start, and the fir4.5 stars. I nearly gave it five, but that would be like saying I loved it as much as Feed, and I didn't, not quite. It was slow to start, and the first nearly 300 pages were full of endless boring exposition(view spoiler)[, and I missed Georgia (hide spoiler)]. However, the second half of the book more than makes up for the iffy beginning.
Now that the rating quibbles are out of the way, please forgive me for venting some emotion here using bad language: HOLY FUCK, MIRA GRANT.
This book made me cry (in public, no less). It made me scream. It made my heart race, it made me groan in sympathetic embarrassment, and it made me laugh.
The shock we received in Feed struck me to the point I thought that nothing Mira Grant could do in future books could have as big an impact. And, well, nothing did, not quite, but it came damned close. Twice. And several smaller shocks also felt like punches to the gut. I have to hand it to this author: she doesn't hold back and she doesn't cut the reader any slack, and her books are much better because of it.
And the twist ending had me grabbing a pillow to muffle the screams I couldn't help but make at one o'clock in the morning when I finally finished the book.
If you enjoyed Feed, there is no doubt in my mind that you will love Deadline. And if you haven't read Feed, please, please do.
(view spoiler)[Also, is anyone else going to have nightmares involving zombie mosquitoes and/or grocery store produce misters now? *shudder* (hide spoiler)]
Spoilery addendum re: the twist at the end (copied from a comment on Wendy Darling's review): (view spoiler)[Throughout the whole book, I kept thinking that there were really vague hints that George would come back, but I chalked it up to wishful thinking. Cloning didn't occur to me (though I wanted to smack myself for not thinking of it when I got to the end), and I kept getting hung up on the whole Shaun shot her in the spine and watched her die thing. You just don't come back from that, heh. But OH MY GOD am I excited for the next book now. I love Georgia, and one of the reasons I didn't like this book quite as much as Feed was because she wasn't in it (hallucinations don't count).
I am really, really looking forward to the scene where Shaun encounters clone!George now though. Because it's going to go something like: Shaun: Oh, hey, George. What's up? Georgia: *blinks* I...expected some more melodrama to accompany our reunion, considering the whole resurrected-from-dead thing. Shaun: But you are dead. I know that. Georgia: Um. Mahir: *faints* Shaun: Wait, you're not a hallucination?
It will be brilliant. Unless Mira Grant decides to make it tragic, like a deathbed reunion as Shaun breathes his last, or something. I wouldn't put it past her. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This book blew my mind. I'm picky with my stars, and this is my first five-star book of 2010 (out of 40). It's a book about zombies, sure, but the zomThis book blew my mind. I'm picky with my stars, and this is my first five-star book of 2010 (out of 40). It's a book about zombies, sure, but the zombies are almost overshadowed at times by political intrigue and newsroom-esque drama.
I love the future Grant has created: The zombie apocalypse came, and the world neither ended nor was saved. The world has had to learn to live with the "infected," and blog culture has come to dominate society--bloggers report the news, create the news, and serve as the world's primary source of entertainment.
I enjoyed the novel from start to finish, but what really blew my mind was a certain event that happens about 3/4 of the way through the book, which made me sit up and take notice of this author--she's not afraid to take risks with her fiction, and I really admire her for that. (view spoiler)[I mean, she killed off her protagonist. Her first person protagonist. In a genre novel. You've got to have real guts combined with real skill to do that and pull it off. I got more worked up over that scene than I have for anything in a work of fiction in a long time. In a good way. (hide spoiler)]
I'm supremely excited about the prospect of a sequel.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more