The writing of this feels very forced. It was trying way too hard to have a lot of mystery and mood. I couldn't get into the story at all because of t...moreThe writing of this feels very forced. It was trying way too hard to have a lot of mystery and mood. I couldn't get into the story at all because of the writing. I think if it wasn't trying so hard the mystery could have been interesting. As it is I didn't finish.(less)
Wow this was a LOT more graphic than the tv show. I wish the tv show had stuck to the source material a bit more closely, it's honestly too watered do...moreWow this was a LOT more graphic than the tv show. I wish the tv show had stuck to the source material a bit more closely, it's honestly too watered down. Michonne is totally different. I like TV Michonne and Carol a LOT more, but I like comic book Lori and Andrea better. Rick is a toss up, we'll see how far in the crazy he gets in volume 3.(less)
Excellent volume. I'm kind of surprised by this series because I thought I would love all of the supernatural house stuff, but what I really connect t...moreExcellent volume. I'm kind of surprised by this series because I thought I would love all of the supernatural house stuff, but what I really connect to is the family dynamic. These characters feel real, and I care so much about them. I really feel for the mom, her story is so tragic.(less)
This volume took a deviation from opening doors in the house and I'm not sure I like that. Head Games also presented a lot more questions than answers...moreThis volume took a deviation from opening doors in the house and I'm not sure I like that. Head Games also presented a lot more questions than answers. I'm hoping volume 3 will answer some of them!(less)
Cell started off SO GOOD! I loved the initial chaos of the first outbreak. It was exciting and scary and really drew me into the story. Sadly, as the...moreCell started off SO GOOD! I loved the initial chaos of the first outbreak. It was exciting and scary and really drew me into the story. Sadly, as the story unfolded it went from totally awesome to ok to just plain weird. I feel like there are 2 kinds of Stephen King novels. I love it when he stays on the more physical world, where he keeps his characters with normal abilities and puts them in suspensful situations (The Gingerbread Girl short story for example). But I really dislike it when he gets "weird", where his stories take a strange fantasy turn. I tend to get frustrated and annoyed when people start developing special abilities or some crazy ghost monster thing a-la Lost starts smoking around causing trouble.
Sadly Cell turned out to be one of his "weird" stories, and would have gotten 1 star if not for the awesome first couple of chapters. The audiobook is well done, but even a good reader couldn't save this story.(less)
3/13/2012 COVER! I love the font, but I'm not 100% sure about the models. I was expecting something more artsy, maybe more of a drawn cover and less of...more3/13/2012 COVER! I love the font, but I'm not 100% sure about the models. I was expecting something more artsy, maybe more of a drawn cover and less of a fashion magazine style cover. However, I'm still EFFING EXCITED for this book and can't wait for it to release!
OMG I HAVE NEVER WANTED SOMETHING MORE FROM NETGALLEY IN MY WHOLE LIFE.
OMG this book...I tell ya, it is so unlike any YA I've ever read. It's got all of the elements of YA books and horror movies that I love. It's well balanced while still being freaky as shit. Oh and Velvet is amazeballs.
Update 10/19/2012 You guys. Velveteen is freaking AWESOME. FOR REALZ. This is probably my #1 most anticipated book of 2012, and I know this book doesn't come out until October, and of course I have it already pre-ordered, but I could not resist reading it as soon as it landed in my Kindle (thanks netgalley!!!!). And Velveteen does not disappoint. If you guys watch Danny's youtube channel (and you should, shame on you if you don't!) you know he is sarcastic, intelligent, eclectic, and a little bit creepy (and I mean that in the most admiration filled way possible) and this is exactly what you get with Velveteen.
The very best thing about this book is the main character, Velvet. She is fan-freaking-tastic. Of course I love her snarky and rude attitude that's wrapped in a bad ass goth exterior, but Velvet is SO MUCH MORE than that. This character is deep, yo. She's gone through some hardcore trauma and even though she acts all tough, I think she's a lot more wounded than she wants to admit (and you would be too if some sadist tortured you to death!).
I wanted to mention the world building too. I absolutely LOVED this interpretation of purgatory. The descriptions of purgatory aren't just descriptions, they're brush strokes. Seriously, Marks has one of the best vocabularies in YA literature. His writing is SO creative and descriptive. I found myself googling a lot of stuff just so I could get a clearer visual in my head, and I almost never bother to do that.
There are a few things I wanted to change about the story. I really wanted more Bonesaw! I really liked that character and I liked how Velvet reacted to him and I wanted more. It honestly felt like two books were being shoved together, and sadly my preferred story got neglected. (side note, when I read this back in April the synopsis made it seem a lot darker and a lot more of a revenge story, it has since changed to better reflect the actual story within which I think was a really smart move. The original synopsis would disappoint people who were looking for a horror book and got PNR and scare away people looking for an urban fantasy or paranormal story.)
I also could have done without Nick all together to be honest. I guess he was there to help bring out Velvet's soft nougat center or whatever, but he felt very one dimensional and kind of a crutch. I would have rather seen Velvet deal with her demons on her own.
All in all I really loved this book, but more so I really loved Danny's writing. I am extremely excited for whatever project he puts out next, be it another Velveteen book or something completely new. You KNOW I will be reading it! (less)
First, to the 31 people who shelved this as "steampunk", you are so, SO wrong. Just because there's a pair of goggles on the cover doesn't automatical...moreFirst, to the 31 people who shelved this as "steampunk", you are so, SO wrong. Just because there's a pair of goggles on the cover doesn't automatically make it a steampunk novel. Sorry.
The Marbury Lens is, well, weird. Good weird, but weird all the same. The best way I can describe it is half The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson and half the movie The Road Warrior. The Marbury Lens is an experiential book. It doesn't bother to give you a lot of background. You don't learn how the lens work or why Marbury is the way it is, you're just thrown into the world and are forced to sink or swim much like the main character Jack. And you're not just swimming in water, you're wading through blood and fear, sweat and pain. The Marbury Lens is violent, intense, agonizing, and completely engrossing.
What I really loved about The Marbury Lens was how it didn't hold back. I am a huge horror fan and this book did not skimp on the gory details. I felt everything in this book as if I was in Marbury too. When Jack saw a dismembered body and gagged my stomach roiled. When Jack began to question his sanity, I felt the same anxiety. In much the same way as how Jack cannot resist the pull of The Marbury Lens, I too found myself consumed by this book, despite the horror contained within it's pages.
I loved the ambiguity of The Marbury Lens. We never really figure out if Marbury is real, a symptom of post traumatic stress or worse, an imagined escape. And that's what makes it so awesome. I love it when a book is completely not the normal YA fare and I think "What the fuck am I reading!?". The Marbury Lens delivers, and the ending? Had my mouth hanging open in disbelief. I cannot wait for the second book, Passenger, due sometime in 2012.
Bad Girls Don't Die is an excellent mystery and horror novel. I thought it did an excellent job of balancing the scare factor while still keeping it a...moreBad Girls Don't Die is an excellent mystery and horror novel. I thought it did an excellent job of balancing the scare factor while still keeping it age appropriate. I think this is an excellent book for younger teens who are interested in ghost stories but don't want a lot of gore.
The best part of this book, hands down, was Kasey. There's something that is just terrifying about creepy little girls, and Kasey is a perfect example of this. When possessed she's sinister and manipulative and completely unsettling, which creates a fantastic tension. The buildup of Kasey's descent is very well paced. I really liked the main character Alexis as well, I'm so jealous of her pink hair. Actually all of the characters were great, I really enjoyed Megan and Carter as well. Unfortunately the story gets a little messy near the end and it's a bit hard to follow (and freakishly easy to predict) but the creep factor is still there.
Overall Bad Girls Don't Die is an excellent introduction to the horror genre. I think people who aren't big on the blood and gore of some of the more hardcore books of the genre will really enjoy Bad Girls Don't Die. It has the mystery and suspense without straying into the more gross aspects of the genre. (Oh and what is is about creepy dolls that just strikes terror into the heart?) (less)
I don't think I've ever read anything like The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. It is amazing, horrifying, and both a work of magical fiction and b...moreI don't think I've ever read anything like The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. It is amazing, horrifying, and both a work of magical fiction and brutal honesty. I felt like for the first time I had found someone who could understand how I feel. I identified on so many levels with this book, both physically, mentally, and emotionally. I appreciate Emilie as an artist so much more now because I realize just how much of herself she puts into everything she does. This is one of a kind, and is well worth every cent I paid and more.
The Asylum is a book, I think above all else, about women's rights. Women's rights to do whatever they want and have freedom over their bodies, minds, and lives. This includes the right to harm their bodies and to even end their life. Emilie is all about fighting like a girl and being a total bad ass, and I love watching Emily-with-a-y grow into a Victorian warrior queen. It's just totally awesome.
I also totally loved Emilie's story as well. I think it was such a perfect blend of fact and fiction that I really couldn't tell what was true and what was bleeding over into Emilie's story. The decent into madness was so slow and subtle that I found myself thinking very odd things were perfectly normal and destructive behaviors were really the only option available. And the ending? Amazing beyond belief.
On a more practical note I loved the overall presentation of this book. It is absolutely beautiful. Every page is glossy and full colored with photos, drawings, and cut outs from journals. It really adds to the story and makes it more than just a book.
I cannot recommend the Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls enough. It has so many fascinating topics. Abuse, mental illness, historical fiction, self mutilation, suicide, friendship, women's empowerment, music, photography, art, and of course muffins, tea time, rats, and leeches. So spread the plague little rats because, as we all know, dead is the new alive!(less)
Stephen King is an excellent short story writer. I've always been so-so about his novels, but I really enjoyed this anthology. In particular I enjoyed...moreStephen King is an excellent short story writer. I've always been so-so about his novels, but I really enjoyed this anthology. In particular I enjoyed the stories that were based on reality - serial killers, revenge stories, insanity. I am not as big a fan when ghosts and other paranormal things are in the stories.
My favorite stories were as follows. The Gingerbread Girl, which is about a woman trying to out run a serial killer; The Things They Left Behind, a surprisingly poignant story about a man dealing with survivors guilt after the 9/11 attacks; The Cat From Hell, a very freaky story about a truly evil cat; The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates, a story about a woman talking to her dead husband as he is waiting in limbo; and A Very Tight Place, which in it's depravity and pure gross factor, may be the most horrific story of them all.
I listened to the audio book and Stephen King actually reads the introduction and the notes at the end, which add a very interesting perspective to the collection. He talks about when the stories were first published and what he was going through when he wrote each of the stories. I highly recommend listening to this collection on audio, just don't do it as you drive home. at night. all alone. (less)
Anna Dressed in Blood is an excellent and creepy ghost story that is sure to thrill readers. It's a perfect book for the Halloween season. This myster...moreAnna Dressed in Blood is an excellent and creepy ghost story that is sure to thrill readers. It's a perfect book for the Halloween season. This mystery is excellent for anyone interested in ghosts and their motivations for haunting and how the living can help them. I seriously loved everything about this book. First off, the title is perfect. Man I love a good title. Also the setting is fantastic. The descriptions of Anna's house is so freaky and just the perfect place to be haunted. It really adds to the mystery of the whole story, and I really liked the history of the house. The house is even more scary once you learn what happens in the house while people were still alive. I also really liked Blake's writing style. The pacing of the book is very well done. The way the mystery unravels never feels forced nor predictable. I was constantly guessing what was going to happen next, and in a mystery/thriller that is a MUST. If I can guess what's going to happen within the first 50 pages you're doing it wrong. I really enjoyed the humor in this book as well. It's subtle and well placed. The overall tone of the book is firmly on the dark side, but the instances of lightness really help maintain my interest in the book. The other thing that I really appreciated was the Wiccan and witchcraft aspect of the book. Cas's mom is a pagan who does things like cleanse tools used to hunt ghosts, purifies their home and casts protection spells, and creates candles, herbal mixes, and other items that are infused with a specific intention that are sold online and at various metaphysical shops. What I loved about this is the fact that what Cas's mom does IS REAL WITCHCRAFT. This is what real witches do. They don't fly or turn into cats or shoot lasers of the their eyes (oh wait that was x-men). I loved how the witchcraft in Anna never goes into the made up "Hollywood" witchcraft that is in pretty much every book about witches ever. It's real, and I loved it. I'm very excited there's going to be another book because I am not ready to let go of Anna and Cas. The ending of Anna Dressed in Blood is exciting, suspenseful, and fairly cliff-hangery so I definitely want to read more.
I've been reading a lot of reviews that are comparing Anna to the creepy ghosty from The Grudge, but for my gamer self I kept picturing American McGee's Alice in hysteria mode:
Lord of the Flies meets The Most Dangerous Game in Battle Royale, a complex book of betrayal and brutality. Battle Royale is a terrifying tale of frie...moreLord of the Flies meets The Most Dangerous Game in Battle Royale, a complex book of betrayal and brutality. Battle Royale is a terrifying tale of friends turned enemies, paranoia, and violence with the idea that people would abandon their morals and lifetimes of friendships to do whatever it takes to survive.
Every character is featured as the protagonist of their own narrative, which gives background and understanding to why they make the choices they do. You get to experience their families, hobbies, and crushes. These characters aren't strangers, they have grown up together and this familiarity really emphasises the horror of their situation. Some use the program to enact revenge, some try to rally together only to turn on each other, and others participate in the bloodbath just for the thrill. The reader experiences the fear of the hunted, the panic of the desperate, and the guilt or triumph of the victors. You cheer on the people that you know are doomed from the start and feel guilty for enjoying the death of a ruthless character because in the end they are all just fighting for survival. There is no clear cut villain, and even the heroes must still do terrible things in order to survive. In my opinion this is the strongest aspect of the book, because an emotional connection is made to each character, only to have them murdered before your eyes.
Another aspect of this book that makes it so monumental is the idea that this could happen today. There is no unusual technology or terrain. Battle Royale has a modern setting with everyday characters who have everyday abilities. This type of government is not so far-fetched that it cannot be imagined existing today. That these children could be forced into something so terrible and their parents could do nothing to prevent nor protest it is truly horrifying.
Note, Battle Royale was originally written in Japanese and occasionally the translation can be difficult to understand. Also this is a very violent book and may not be appropriate for younger or more sensitive readers. There is also a Japanese movie of Battle Royale that is a very good interpretation of the book and one that I would highly recommend.
Overall Battle Royale is a high impact story about how desperation can change a person.(less)
This book is AWESOME as an audio book! I picked it up on a whim at the library before a long road trip and I am SO glad I did! It has great voice acto...moreThis book is AWESOME as an audio book! I picked it up on a whim at the library before a long road trip and I am SO glad I did! It has great voice actors that have accents from whatever country their story is from and the fact that the book is written as a collection of interviews really allows you to be immersed in the story. I highly recommend picking up the book on cd, it's such a great experience!(less)