Coraline was a Goodreads Recommendation to me sometime back and I had just read the book' summary and had heard of Neil Gaiman and thought to myself w
Coraline was a Goodreads Recommendation to me sometime back and I had just read the book' summary and had heard of Neil Gaiman and thought to myself why not? So I downloaded the book and there it sat for a few months while I sifted through some others or got busy with life or was just too lazy to do anything. However recently I was plain bored and figured a quick read would do wonders, not to mention help me kill time in the process and viola! I notice Coraline and finally dig in.
To my utter surprise I was so sucked in into this book I dint notice the time and was left complaining of only the book being too short! Yep only a book that's so good that you don't wanna put it down makes you feel that.
Coraline was a quick, crisp and wonderful read not to mention a bit dark and creepy (as so many of the book' reviewers have already mentioned). Its one of those rare children books which even adults can enjoy wholeheartedly and be left wanting for more.
This is my first foray into Gaiman' work and I couldn't have asked for a better introduction. The language in the book is simple enough considering it's meant for kids but that in no way means it compromises with the plot or the characters. The whole button eyes things is really creepy and somehow as much as it can scare the crap out of you just imagining something like this or dreaming of it, it makes this book all the more spooky and eerie which kinda makes it more awesome.
In Coraline Gaiman has brilliantly captured a child who makes a lovable protagonist, far better than some of the harebrained annoying YA heroines to be honest. Its so refreshing to read a character that's not shown as just another silly child or perhaps a child who is suffering from some serious ailment and hence being hovered upon so much that the poor thing can't have the least bit of normalcy in his/her life or is a love sick utterly disgusting mess of a teenaged girl who can't get over a ridiculously attractive boy just because of how hot he is not because they really were in love or anything close to that.
Being an avid fan of horrors myself I tremendously enjoyed the concept of this parallel world/dimension Coraline gets sucked into and how she handles things head on.
Despite being an only child of a couple who work from their home on computers, she is neglected by her parents who choose to leave her to her own devices. However this doesn't really make her into one of those rebels or worse a whiner, instead she chooses to make the most of her time by indulging in an activity that she loves doing - exploring.
There isn't a dull moment with her, an explorer by heart she wins you over with her never give up attitude coupled with the naiveté only a child may possess. She is a brave little gal who clearly knows(even for her age) what she wants and isn't the least bit confused about it. Not to mention how insightful she is as can be reflected from these lines:
“I don't want whatever I want. Nobody does. Not really. What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I ever wanted just like that, and it didn't mean anything? What then?”
“Because,' she said, 'when you're scared but you still do it anyway, that's brave”
Coraline through her simple innocence and yet rigid determination is a breath of fresh air amidst the lot of so many cringe worthy nauseating pathetic excuse for protagonists.
This book is an absolute must read for everybody. ...more
"Dead flesh and sharpened scalpels didn't bother me. I was my father’s daughter, after all. My nightmares were made of darker things."
Megan Shepher"Dead flesh and sharpened scalpels didn't bother me. I was my father’s daughter, after all. My nightmares were made of darker things."
Megan Shepherd' The Madman' Daughter holds an interesting premise. Its the thought that made me want to pick it up and give it a shot. Inspired from H. G. Wells' classic The Island of Dr. Moreau (which I haven't read so far) the book is a gothic dark thriller. Or so the blurb mentions.
The book begins so well, its first chapters are promising and the writing is quite engaging. The way the surroundings are written for each scene, is almost chilling and gives an eerie feeling to the whole thing. Your interest level is also aroused as Juliet' the book' female protagonist narrates her tale.
Fallen from privilege as she works as a cleaning maid in a university while trying to constantly ward off a lecherous professor you want to get to know Juliet. Her Story. The scandal that resulted in the downfall of her once prestigious family and the dark secrets held - by her as well as her past unknown to her.
Historical fiction always has held a charm for me. There is a certain enchanting quality, the old world charm as it's called that fascinates me when I read about the times gone by. It is easy to imagine things in a modern world scenario, and sometimes that' what takes away certain elements from the story for me. After all in the age of the world-wide web, smses, constant facebooking, skype and what-not things aren't hard to happen. The world seems shrunken as if truly in an oyster. All of this has become the norm off course. You don't wonder how to stay in touch with anyone anymore - chats, skype, Facebook all are just a click away. The journey across the world doesn't take months, you can book a ticket and catch the next possible flight if you want to the most remotest destination of the world. There is certainly no end to what technology holds for us in the future.
But to imagine a world where none of this could happen is riveting.
So take this scenario and throw in the elements - a world without the modern technology as we know it today, an island far-off from civilization, imagine the natives as deformed grotesque creatures. Imagine a girl who doesn't know the horrors that are in the waiting for her as she reunited with her estranged father. Add an old friend to the mix, spice up the plot with a lucky castaway and you have the perfect dark fantasy in the making. Or so it seems.
Like I said - the premise is interesting, the execution unfortunately after a few chapters slipping.
It doesn't take a genius to decipher the meaning of the title. Juliet, the heroine as is clear from the title is the daughter of a madman. Once regarded as the best physiologist in London, Dr. Moreau is now an absconding criminal. He has fled England owing to the arrest warrants issued against him and is not interested in returning ever again. His wife and daughter - Evelyn and Juliet, become unfortunate victims of the circumstances that arise out of the situation. They are driven to poverty owing to the scandal as well. Her mother, who was a lady in every sense of the word becomes a mistress to a wealthy old man to sustain their livelihood but unfortunately leaves Juliet orphaned at the age of 14.
As a 10 year old she was too young to understand what caused the downfall of her family exactly, though she perfectly remembers her father and his ways. His choice of tobacco, drinks, the way he dressed or put her to bed and the way he smelled. But most of all she remembers his lab and the screams that emitted from it late at night. As well as sneaking in to learn all that her father prohibits.
In a time considered as too weak to take up science, women were shunned in the medicinal world. Dr. Moreau is no different from the rest of the men, as he keeps his daughter away from his lab however takes his servant - Montgomery under his wing to teach the young boy all he can. It is from Montgomery that Juliet learns what she cannot overhear or see her father teach in biology to the boy.
Now as a 16-year-old Juliet works hard as a maid for a living thinking her father is dead as well, but hoping for the contrary in some part of her mind. And to her surprise and horror her wishes are granted. She finds a piece of evidence that leads her to Montgomery, who went missing all those years ago along with her father and is led straight to her father across the world.
You would think this is where things finally get interesting but you couldn't be any more wrong.
The book becomes focused on the love triangle more than it does on the horror part. Though it does spring up every now and then but it becomes clear even in the midst of living with monsters and a father who is clearly in need of help, Juliet is more attentive of her love life.
Clearly the focus was shifted on trying to create a romance in midst of all the horror when it should have rather been on the characters trying to I don't know - stay alive and get the hell away while at it. And maybe fall in love somewhere around that time.
More than the struggle to stay sane and/or alive the characters, well those involved in the love triangle at least, seemed more focused on the conflict of their feelings here. With Juliet getting drawn to Edward' golden eyes - nope not starting on that one. This will all be sidetracked if I began on that rant; while once again, she is attracted to Montgomery, whom she had a crush on as a little girl. And the boys feeling jealous of each other and trying their best to win the affections of their lady-love.
It is more important for them to win the girl than to stay alive or maintain their sanity. After all what is it but insanity when a man who has been shipwrecked for almost twenty days finally is rescued and instead of trying to thank his lucky stars and not waste their job walks into a tropical island full of horrors to protect an unknown girl just because she appeared to be more beautiful when he was dying. And he knew - even before she did what she was heading into and wanted to save her. Clearly the man knocked loose a few screws when he survived while he had the chance to do so.
The insta-love really doesn't help the plot as per me and after a while where all I read was about ripped corsets, roaming hands and warm bodies I gave up on the book.
I would have mentioned the bits about the vivisection of this book but it seems in the next parts of this trilogy even the author will conveniently use them only as and when necessary - the gothic part is only a plot device here, not the focus of the book as it should be.
This is in a way a Twilight where there are no vampires and werewolves but creatures out of the norm - and where the hero named Edward, will get the gal in the end even when he doesn't have fangs, sparkle or can jump across trees or read minds or do anything that is extraordinary except be a hopeless loverboy. Though Montgomery does have a penchant for taking his shirt off as and when he can just like Jacob.
I am a huge fan of classics and horror/goth happens to be a genre I enjoy a lot, so when the two meet I thought perhaps I would be in for a ride. TurnI am a huge fan of classics and horror/goth happens to be a genre I enjoy a lot, so when the two meet I thought perhaps I would be in for a ride. Turns out I have never been so wrong! I have got nothing against the classic, nor am I averse to watch a well made adaptation of the book, heck even an audio book could work perhaps for me but I just couldn't finish reading this book; that I know the story perhaps was a reason but turns out epistolary novels aren't really my thing. Bram Stoker has created a classic. This is a masterpiece for sure in terms of content but the writing really really got to me. The beginning of the book was something that really got me hooked on I liked the way Jonathan was written and Dracula captured my attention from the get go. But the further you go into the book the more it becomes a task to just stay awake it seems. Especially with the letters among the women - Mina and Lucy; not to mention the whole monologue that Jonathan noted down as narrated by Dracula to him kinda reminded me of Meredith' rambling from Grey' anatomy. I do happen to like the show however it really doesn't mean Meredith' monologues at times doesn't annoy me.
The rating is purely for the concept and plot alone and nothing else.
It seems like there is a theme in the making here for me where Mr. Gaiman' books are concerned. The first book I read of his was CorRating - 2.5 stars
It seems like there is a theme in the making here for me where Mr. Gaiman' books are concerned. The first book I read of his was Coraline and I loved it, next came American Gods and it bored the crap out of me, following which I read The Ocean at the End of the Lane & loved it. Once again I ventured into Mr. Gaiman' works - his earlier release this year - Unnatural Creatures: Stories Selected by Neil Gaiman, an anthology edited by Gaiman which comprises of 16 short stories, one of which is penned by Gaiman himself.
The stories range from horror to science fiction and are in varying capacities appealing to readers. The complete list of the authors and their stories is as below :
1. (picture of weird line), by Gahan Wilson 2. The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees, by E. Lily Yu 3. The Griffin and the Minor Canon, by Frank R. Stockton 4. Ozioma the Wicked, by Nnedi Okorofor 5. Sunbird, by Neil Gaiman 6. The Song of Theare, by Diana Wynne Jones 7. Gabriel-Ernest, by Saki 8. The Cockatoucan; or, Great-Aunt Willoughby 9. Moveable Beast, by Maria Dahvana Headley 10. The Flight of the Horse, by Larry Niven 11. Prismatica, by Samuel Delany 12. The Manticore, the Mermaid, and Me, by Megan Kurashige 13. The Compleat Werewolf, by Anthony Boucher 14. The Smile on the Face, by Nalo Hopkinson 15. Or All the Seas with Oysters, by Avram Davidson 16. Come Lady Death, by Peter S. Beagle
I loved some of the stories, some of them were well written, some not so engaging to me personally.
Somehow with the title, came expectations which were not met completely. Werewolves, dragons, griffins, weird carnivorous things do sometimes make engaging reads but if and if only the book sustains the theme. Considering this was an anthology that was summarized as a collection of short stories about the fantastical things that exist only in our minds - as mentioned on the blurb, I was prepared for all sorts of creatures but reading a sc-fi themed story right in the middle of a book in which I had just read a take on the popular fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, was kinda weird to digest.
I really am too bummed out at the moment to rate each story individually, so will just list my favorites of the list - The Griffin and the Minor Canon, The Cockatoucan; or, Great-Aunt Willoughby ( which I loved the most ) and the very first one with no title but a weird squiggly line.
" Adults should not weep, I knew. They did not have mothers who would comfort them."
Some of the beautiful gems I came along in this book are already" Adults should not weep, I knew. They did not have mothers who would comfort them."
Some of the beautiful gems I came along in this book are already mentioned but I simply felt my heart go out to the simplicity of this one line - so naive from a child' innocent POV and yet so poignant at the same time, if only it could be.
To be quite honest I don't know what it is about Gaiman' child protagonists that somehow simply gets to me, they usually don't work for me. The authors either try too hard and the kid ends up sounding way too dumb or too worldly wise, both of which can be annoying if not handled correctly but are possible if written and conveyed convincingly, which they don't always do.
Gaiman to my utter delight just gets them right, I adored Coraline and I am in love with The Ocean at the end of the lane now. The kids are wise but not in a way that's in your face - its like hearing a child solve a problem for you in his/her raw simplicity which you couldn't even get a grip on because you saw it on with your adult glasses and to a child it was simply a question that had an answer to it all along. Sometimes kids can get what adults don't - a child' mind and heart is more open than that of an adult, it just lets you in if it likes you, it doesn't question everything and it isn't a skeptic or a cheater.
The last time I had read Gaiman' work it was American Gods - I don't know why but I just dint connect with the book and its characters like I did with this one or Coraline. May be because the way Gaiman writes, the way his characters and their thought processes are conveyed when the voice happens to be that of a child simply delights me.
I am aware that the protagonist of this book isn't a little boy, not anymore but the story is about the time when forty years back he was one. Just a little seven year old boy in Sussex who encounters three women on a farm who live by the end of the lane in a farm called the Hempstocks. And a creature that somehow finds its way to his house and becomes what is one of the worst nightmares a child could have. A stranger who makes him feel a prisoner, a captive within the confines of his own home. Someone who can destroy everything that he holds near and dear and ruin him irrevocably. It is the three women become his saviors, saving him and his family from the clutches of the vile creature.
I loved the characters - the naive boy whose innocence broke my heart when he suffered, so much so that I wanted to protect him . At one point he asks his father a question which is so simple and yet so poignant, so utterly moving in its rawness when he says
Does it make you feel big to make a little boy cry?
The three women who were downright brilliantly written in a way that every time I came across them all I was reminded of was Greek mythology' three fates - with each of them representing a facet of time - the all knowing past as the wise grandmother who has seen it all, who knows everything and whose experience can benefit you when in a crisis, the ever busy present as the mother who is always on her toes running around a house doing chores taking care of the things that need attention and the future who is the daughter of the house, hopeful,strong and unyielding with faith yet not experienced enough always to know if something has been missed or went wrong yet determined to make things right if they need be and keep at them persistently until its right.
Gaiman' prose is so beautiful I could almost weep with joy. It was no wonder than that I devoured the book in a single day and would revisit it soon when I really want another shot at this beautiful work.The book which marks the return of Gaiman into adult fiction after a hiatus is truly a perfect blend of horror, fantasy and gorgeous storytelling. A must read for absolutely everyone.
I normally don't end up liking vampire books these days, not to mention books that somehow screw up history or make a crappy paranormal fantasy by rehI normally don't end up liking vampire books these days, not to mention books that somehow screw up history or make a crappy paranormal fantasy by rehashing/destroying classics like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies also by Seth Grahame-Smith but somehow this one did manage to get a thumbs up from me.
I liked how the book dealt and executed the story-line of Abraham Lincoln' life as a man with dual lives that of a ordinary boy who would rise to become one of the most widely known man ever - the 16th President of The United States and that of a boy who would grow to become a skilled vampire hunter, a facet of his life which would be a closely guarded secret known only to a handful of people, not even his own family would have an inkling to this part of his life and experiences.
I suppose the reason this book worked for me was in the way it was written and the characters who worked. Finally a book about vampires wasn't written about a shiny creep who is also a stalker,watching over the gal even while she slept who like an idiot would fall madly in love with him just because he sparkles, even though he is out there for her blood. Literally! So thank you Mr.Smith for a vampire book I could enjoy where vampires are portrayed as should be.
Now only if this could have been possible with this book........
Ever read a book so bad it momentarily blinded you and then somehow made you feel as if you had bloody spots dance before your eyes? I just did - theEver read a book so bad it momentarily blinded you and then somehow made you feel as if you had bloody spots dance before your eyes? I just did - the worst book of my life to date. Honestly I can't for the life of me fathom how can crap such as this even get published really.
Set in a town called Blackwater this book deals with an experience that Ray, the book' hero went through as a child and for some reason can't remember what it was, though it affects his whole personality and in extension his life.
Recently dumped for being the dumb looser that he is, Ray tries to find closure to the biggest mystery of his life. A call from his childhood buddy Kevin, who went through the same thing acts as a catalyst for him as he packs his bags and gets ready to know the truth .
And it is from this point on that shit hits fan.
Ray on his arrival comes across strange characters, has some pretty weird experiences and for half of the book just sits on his ass waiting for his friend to disclose the big secret. And yeah in between the waiting he crosses paths with the richest guy in town Crawford and his business associate Lily, who are interested in him because he is the last piece of the dumb puzzle that is the mystery of this book. Also for a brief breather bumps the uglies with the town' local diner' waitress Emma.
Coming across as a Sci-fi book in the beginning how the hell does it even cross territories and delve into paranormal, voodoo or some other shit is beyond me. Really I am not making this up, the CIA, NSA - Russian & American governments trying to one up each other to gain the powers of the occult is just about the most bizarre thing I have ever read. This book makes freaking twilight & fifty shades seem like literary masterpieces. And that's saying something.
I have come across fanfictions better written than this piece of crap.
Over halfway through this book and I just wanted to scream at someone.
I dint care what the hell the big mystery was, if Ray was kidnapped by aliens and made to watch endless reruns of Kardashians or if he had to listen the whining of every Twihard gal .
I couldn't give a damn if Santa himself abducted him, tied him down and made him listen to endless Justin Bieber tracks. Frankly if it had helped speed up the slow death that is this book I would have had someone shoot Ray in the first 3 pages itself.
The plot never escalates and by the time it does I had lost the will to live or at the least read this awful book. The character of Ray doesn't connect at all - he certainly is the most boring protagonist I have ever encountered.
Definitely the worst book of 2013 in my list. Never in my prior experience on Goodreads have I ever wished for a negative rating system as I have for this book.
I had to endure this torture because Netgalley provided me a free ARC in exchange for an honest review. ...more
I am usually not inclined to read YA Paranormal romances. The reasons being they are too boring, too cliche and too predictable. Ever since the worldI am usually not inclined to read YA Paranormal romances. The reasons being they are too boring, too cliche and too predictable. Ever since the world was taken over by vampires that 'sparkle' YA romances got even worse. Its as if there is a competition to write the most douchiest characters ( Okay, so that's not even a word but you get the gist). The hero has to be this brooding stalker-like guy who you are instantly fawning over because OMG he is so HAWT. Like really you seriously feel like poking the girl in her eyeballs, shake her enough to rattle her bones and tell her at the top of your voice to get a life because she will undoubtedly be sulking in at least a quarter of the book how HAWT he is and he won't even notice her, then be amazed he does notice her, followed by feeling herself being unworthy of him since he could win the award for being the most handsome stalker that existed in history even if he is sickly pale and creeps her out by staring into distance even when with her falling into a brooding silence while little old her is just another plain jane he finds edible. And I am not kidding here about the edible part - the guy would suck her dry if he hadn't realized there is someone finally foolish enough to be around him willingly and do the deed with him at long last, even when she is scared out of her mind - since he has probably spent a century or so as a lonesome nomad and being a virgin too. He had after all given precedence to his hunger pangs opting for a life of abstinence for the past 100 or so years of his undead life. And oh the last part of the book unless its the finale which does give a happily ever after even if it has creepy and disturbing after effects - usually ends with some problem or other threatening to split up the girl from the wuv of her life. Yeah you probably wanna poke your eyeballs out for reading the crap even knowing what's coming your way.
This is where ADIB kinda goes different. Its not the usual Paranormal fare that's served these days. I came across this book on Goodreads by chance and am so happy that I did. The first thing that immediately grabbed my attention was the cover - the creepy, gorgeous cover art. Its not everyday that I find a cover that can be described as equally fascinating and sorta creepy. The next thing of course if the tag line and the synopsis. I knew I had to read this one even if I would hate it just to know the story and also check out a new author in the process and boy am I glad I made the right choice.
ADIB - (I am lazy to write the whole thing repeatedly) is basically the story of a ghost called Anna and Cas - a ghostbuster - though don't call him that. And yeah a heads up don't equate him to Buffy too. So as I was saying Cas is in the business of eliminating the undead who can't move on past their death into the afterlife or whatever as something stops them from passing on. He comes in and provides a friendly little shove to them, and life goes on. Its his legacy, something passed on through his family for generations. So after finishing off his last assignment, Cas & his mom move into a new town that is said to house the haunting site of one of the most terrifying spirits there is - Anna. A girl who was murdered at the age of 16 over fifty years ago is the town legend. Its said she haunts the place that was her home once and anyone unlucky or stupid enough to set foot in her house is never seen again. 27 victims of such instances are said to have been unfortunate enough to succumb to the fate.
Cas comes into town thinking he will get a low down on Anna, figure what holds her back, kill/banish her spirit and be once again on his merry way. That is until he actually meets Anna. Stronger than any ghost he has ever encountered, terrifying that most things he has seen; Anna is not what Cas imagined her to be. Sparing his life on their first encounter Anna piques Cas' curiosity until he no longer has anyone or anything else on his mind, just her - the fearsome, aggressive, terrifying ghost who has killed just about everyone ever to cross the threshold of her home but not only does she spare him when he does the same, she saves him too.
Getting help with his newly formed Scooby gang, Cas discovers Anna' story and is baffled to realize he is in love with a girl with whom he can never truly be. Helping to slay the demons that plague her Cas involuntarily raises a monster that is the stuff of his most terrifying dreams.
Hands down Blake I am delighted to say is the finest writer I have discovered in this genre so far. I am a fan now and will devour her books so long as they keep me hooked. I loved how Blake had given even the cat Tybalt so much character. Her prose was crisp and flowing and though the book was dealing with ghosts and death it was infused with a steady dose of humor.
I found myself liking Anna a lot even if she was initially painted as a bloodthirsty ghost who enjoyed breaking people limb from limb - literally !
It was so refreshing to not see the girl as this shallow idiotic wailing thing even when she was a ghost and a victim of her awful circumstances too. Another thing that actually appealed to me. I mostly came across YA romances dealing with Paranormal where the girl is portrayed as this naïve innocent stupid human who doesn't realize what she is getting into until finally shit hits fan and she realizes OMG I am in love with a Vampire/Werewolf/Shapeshifter or whatever spooky creepy otherworldly demon or thing that came to be the hero of the book. ADIB as a breath of fresh air had the hero human and the girl as the otherworldly entity.
I am gonna read the sequel of this one asap to find what happens to Anna and Cas.
Though one thing that I would love more would be to find the story of Malvina - what happened to her and how can someone be so cruel. I get strict disciplinarian parents. But this is beyond the norm. For a mother to be such a hideous thing, its unimaginable. So it would be something if someday it would be possible to get in her head.
The most disgusting characters sometimes make the most fascinating leads - Hannibal for example. And oh it wouldn't hurt to know what became of her leech of a fiance too.
"There are two kinds of folks who sit around thinking how to kill people: psychopaths and mystery writers. I am the kind that pays better" - Richard"There are two kinds of folks who sit around thinking how to kill people: psychopaths and mystery writers. I am the kind that pays better" - Richard Castle, Castle.
I am a huge fan of the show Castle, so reading this book when I recollected this line it wasn't a big surprise for me. Castle is not on my list due to the murder mystery factor of course - Nathan Fillion & Stana Katic get the trophy for luring me in on that. Its a guilty pleasure. What the show lacks in ah let's say real mystery when it comes to murder plots and whodunits it more than makes up in the insane chemistry of Nathan - Stana and of course the deliciously incredible dialogue writing.
Reading Barry Lyga' I hunt killers somehow made me feel Mr. Lyga could be voicing the same opinion. I love mystery books and may be something is wrong with me but serial killers - the crazy psychopathic kind really really work for me; provided the author has done a good job and the plot does intrigue me. This one hits the check marks on all the right options.
Mr. Lyga, I believe is an excellent mystery writer who captures the workings of a psychopath' mind perfectly.
I hunt killers delves into the life of Jasper Dent, the 17 year old son of America's most notorious serial killer who had officially killed a hundred and twenty-three people before his arrest, four years prior to the setting of this book. He assumed various identities - Green jack, the artist, etc making the police run in circles before he ends up behind bars not due to the diligence of the FBI or the ground breaking work of a homicide squad from upscale New York or Washington but because of a recently widowed Sheriff of small town Lobo' nod - Dent' hometown, where he had settled blending in as a harmless sales executive.
Jasper or Jazz refers time and again to his father as'dear old dad'.
Raised by a lunatic and now under the custody of another (his grandma, which makes him her caretaker rather than the other way around) Jazz wants to be a normal ordinary teenage boy. He doesn't want to end up in the foster system understandably or worse become like his dad. Having being an involuntary yet loyal assistant to his dear old dad in his killings, Jazz is scared that he will off course follow in the footsteps of his father, continuing a legacy he so despises. To retain his sanity, he finds support in his best friend Howie, a hemophiliac and his girlfriend Connie.
Hounded incessantly by various branches of media as to have his byte, get his memoir published or sell the rights to a film based on his family; all this in between taking care of his grandma who is sliding into Alzheimer' and giving him a tough time with her crazy mood swings it is unsurprising Jazz is pissed a lot of the time.
As if it wasn't enough that there is a serial killer on the loose again and Jazz' as possible as normal life in a town where everyone knows who or rather what his dad is, is thrown off kilter when bodies start dropping suddenly. Not to mention the hell it unleashes that the guy is also aping Jazz' dear old dad' signature, his MO right down to the initials of his victims. Now with the homage of a fan, a groupie to his dad Jazz is at his wit' end. He however does not allow this pressure to dissuade him into having a breakdown but rather thinks his unusual upbringing will be helpful to catch the culprit , as unlikely as that is considering he is still a teenage boy. Ah well... at least he did not save the day consciously due to his wonderful insights on a criminal' mind or his profiling genius and was thankfully not seen uttering something along the lines of 'Elementary my dear Watson... Err Howie towards the end.
The characters of Jazz and Howie are well written. Hell even grandma is amusing though I couldn't warm up to Connie. May be because I dint find her appealing or just because I dint like the fact that Jazz is into her because he considers her 'safe'. His dad had all sorts of victims, he raped, tortured and murdered except for African American women. Connie is an African American gal and hence Jazz is with Connie. Not to mention she too is with him because her dad also deems it inappropriate that Connie is dating a white boy. Their relationship seemed based on their mutual daddy issues rather than any real attraction and feelings, which makes it shallow. Not that I can expect more out of a couple of 17 year old. But...
I loved the writing of this book. It is creepy, engaging and almost inappropriately so for a book about serial killers and gruesome deaths - hilarious. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the scenes, especially the dialogues of Howie, something which I was pleasantly surprised to do so considering the nature of this book. Some books are so wicked its an absolute sin to like them but you can't help yourself and give into the temptation - this is exactly one of them. The last book which I so loved was Gillian Flynn' Gone Girl. Like Flynn' Amy Lyga' William Cornelius Dent aka Billy is a real piece of work. The man gives you the creeps, even when present as a VO, but he also makes the book oh so good. There is something almost hypnotic in characters this dark that they lure you in, make you fall prey to them. You can't help but hate em but you can't ignore em as well. Had it not been the YA group of Goodreads that I am a member of and the latest challenge on it - I would have missed out on a pretty good book. Adding another fantastic writer to my collection is a treat.
She screamed. Her screaming was beautiful. But, truth be told he missed the crying.
To say I was excited at the prospect of reading 'Game' Barry Lyga She screamed. Her screaming was beautiful. But, truth be told he missed the crying.
To say I was excited at the prospect of reading 'Game' Barry Lyga' second book in the Jasper Dent series would be an apt description of what my state of mind was when I picked up this sequel to Lyga' insanely amazing first book in the series I Hunt Killers, which I had enjoyed tremendously and have reviewed it here.
So when I read the above mentioned quote on the first page of the book itself, naturally the bookworm within me jumped with joy thinking Yes! this is gonna be one helluva ride. Unfortunately as it happens in instances like these, there was a crash.
Lyga continues Jasper' saga in this book after the events of the earlier book. So Jasper is still dealing with the repercussions of his so-insane-he-is-kind-of-a-genius serial killer dad escape from prison, while he handles a crazy grandmother at home, deals with his schools and studies, pays a visit to The Impressionist, a psycho groupie of his dad, all the while healing from the trauma he underwent physically at the end of the earlier book. Not to mention he is trying to put a lid on his emotional and mental scars. Again. And Oh! While at it he is also tackling the issues that plagues every human being that walks the face of this earth once he/she hits puberty - Hormones & Sex.
Yes Jasper Dent is having an eventful life. So far so good.
However the first instance of craziness (not his dad' kind!) pops up when a detective from the homicide department of the NYPD knocks on Jazz' door to seek his help to nab the new serial-killer on the loose in Brooklyn. Because people can totally buy that right?
This guy goes by the name of the Hat-Dog Killer. Yeah the name so does speak of class doesn't it? Not to mention of the terror it invokes.
For those who didn't get what I am implying in the above sentence.
So, naturally Jazz for all his protest cannot stop himself from going ahead and agreeing to help the might NYPD. After all he has a tattoo now that declares he hunts killers...........
Anyway, Jazz lands up in NY and turns out not just the NYPD but also the Feds are involved in the investigation. Hence while Jazz is playing the super sleuth that he is, his hemophiliac friend Howie has been assigned the duty to babysit Grandma with the help of Jazz' aunt Samantha, who makes an appearance in this novel.
To add cherry to the pie Jazz' girlfriend decides to spring up in NY too so they could have that much awaited booty call that's been on their to-do list for a while now but so not happening.
Nothing wrong with that. Everyone needs a stress buster, and what can be more stressful than trying to nab a serial killer? May be running a household in this economy but we don't have to explore that here.
From there on I don't think I want to even delve into what this book further holds. Because yes, in a one-off instance as was the case in the earlier book I could understand how Jazz was brought on into a police investigation. But this one is literally too far fetched.
I get it Jazz is a genius and all and has a wicked dad who could be called as the Antichrist himself based on his record but seriously ? A teenager helping NYPD & the FBI nab a serial killer???!!! Yeah so totally possible huh?
Does having an insight into your crazy father' mind guarantee a nobel prize as well? Because some geniuses have been branded crazy at first.
So the thrill, mystery, horror and all that I was looking forward to in this book goes down the drain the instant Jazz is summoned.
Honestly I would have had a jolly good time if the books were rather centered around William Cornelius aka Billy Dent rather than his son and his Scooby gang. The man is a freaking nightmare on the loose. And that's exactly where lies his appeal. But Lyga kinda ruined that here as well.
The last time I read him I just had this image of James Purefoy' character Joe Carroll from 'The Following' pop into my head. This time uh.. I am confused about what got into Lyga.
The lure of IHK was Billy to me, not a bunch of teenage sleuths and to my dismay this book was ruined by the said gang. Connie is all horny and when not horny than dumb, Howie is hitting on Samantha which even Jazz finds a little disturbing and Jazz is well Jazz.
The rating is divided on this basis - 0.5 stars for the good beginning, 0.5 stars for knocking off an insane character in an insane way & 1 star for the humor that was the only consistent factor in this installment.
The funniest line of this book IMO:
If I think she' hot and it turns out she's a psychopath, then what does that say about me? I'm totally not ready for that kind of therapy.
As its clear I find this one a complete letdown from the earlier book, wouldn't really recommend it to anyone.
The thing with sequels, which I have come to discover sadly, is they tend to not live up to their predecessors.
Having read Blake' prevRating - 2 stars
The thing with sequels, which I have come to discover sadly, is they tend to not live up to their predecessors.
Having read Blake' previous title in this series Anna Dressed in Blood, which I had liked immensely was the reason I went for this one. To read on and know the fates of Cas & Anna, after their encounter with the demon Obeahman. To know how Cas is dealing with the fact that he was attacked by the demon that killed his father & losing the girl (technically a ghost) he loves and Anna' fate after she dragged the demon with her to wherever they both ended up.
The beginning isn't all that great to be honest, Yes I am glad Cas is trying to pretend at least he is moving on but is still moping around, pining for Anna. All those close to him, his mom, Gideon, Morfran , his best friends - Carmel & Thomas, see through his pretense but don't let him sulk much. They don't act all cheery but they refuse to let him be bogged down too. Which is good, only it isn't since in his mind & heart Cas still wants to be with Anna or at least that's what he thinks is the reason he keeps her seeing everywhere.
However this isn't your average teenager who is reeling in the aftermath of losing his first love, Cas is afterall a ghostbuster,though he hates to be called that. So his normal visions of Anna include watching her throw herself down a building, watch half of her face disappear & watch her walk into a furnace to make a pretzel out of herself. And he considers this just a byproduct of his overactive imagination and the stress of his job.
Only it's not his imagination, not his mind playing tricks on him when he happens to have these visions. What happens is that Anna who is stuck in some sorta hell with the demon Obeahman, is being tortured daily to please the sadistic dead bastard and whatever he chooses is the punishment fit for her today, happens to be the vision that comes across Cas. Being bonded with his Athame, Anna somehow becomes visible to Cas while she cannot see or hear him until Thomas intervenes and Cas learns the truth of Anna' fate.
With at least half the book being about trying to find a way to free Anna from Obeahman & his hell, Cas & company are busy. However this does not interfere with their social lives as we have a minor dose of teen angst when Carmel dumps Thomas to try to get a shot at a normal life only to come back raging when Thomas & Cas are in London trying to get Gideon' help.
From thereon is a predictable tale of a secret order, old customs & family, a rebel and a new champion/wielder of weapon in this case. Cas & company go through some trials, practice some voodoo, have childish antics and finally win over the dreaded Obeahman, freeing Anna and another 28 souls trapped within him on whom he fed.
Also Cas frees his dad, who was still a captive of the demon but doesn't catch a glimpse of his departing soul which should be a bummer but thankfully isn't. I am not really a fan of reunion melodramas.
Cas comes back from hell, and lives to save another day while Anna finally is at peace.
The book had a happy ending only I wasn't happy with what I read.
Let's suppose somebody abused you sexually. You still had a choice, though not a good one, about what to tell yourself about the abuse. -Albert Ellis
Let's suppose somebody abused you sexually. You still had a choice, though not a good one, about what to tell yourself about the abuse. -Albert Ellis
Trying to find the correct words sometimes to describe your thoughts can be very exhausting.
I say this because, reading Lyga' Boy Toy was in a way a very disorientating experience for me. Having finished this book yesterday I found myself at a loss of words to write a review and hence I procrastinated.
And while I had by today formed a rough sketch of what I would write in my head I couldn't decide where to begin. At times like this I do the only thing I can. I resort to Google. I search things through this enormous search monster all the time for different matters and needs, sometimes I use it to help me find some words.
But not all problems can be solved so easily as is the case in Josh' situation here.
The book told from Josh' POV alternates between his past and his present.
Josh, a brilliant boy gifted with eidetic memory, is the son of two people who are the complete opposites of each other. And that is not a good thing in his case.
His mother, a practical woman believes to live her life with facts and concrete truths, while his father who works in an ad agency as Josh himself puts it - sells one lie at a time to the world. He lives his life in fantasy, in creativity. While facts & fiction do sometimes attract each other, they do not make the most pleasant bedfellows.
And so the year Josh turns 12, his parents find themselves in a predicament, that has them fighting more than usual. Knowing that in a couple of years Josh will be headed for college, they will need to start making the financial arrangements needed sooner than later. While they aren't in any dire financial condition, they make just about a hand to mouth existence.
Josh' dad believes his son can finish college by earning a scholarship, since he is a valuable player on his school' baseball team and is a brilliant student. His mom believes in having a contingency plan wherein she believes should Josh for any reason not be entitled for a scholarship or fails to get one they should be prepared as much as they can to help their son gain the education he deserves, particularly since Josh is interested in heading to Stanford which is quite expensive.
Now while the faith his father has in Josh is commendable. his mom does raise a valid point in the argument and so pursues a job to help with the education fund. Something which his father absolutely detests.
Being the only child does not help him much either, so Josh finds his refuge in the friendship of his best friend Zik, a boy who has troubles of his own at his home. They are friends with Rachel and Michelle.
It is on Rachel' birthday that a horrific moment leads to the exposure of the secret Josh has carried around.
It comes out in the open that Josh, for the past 4 months has had a sexual relationship with his history teacher Evelyn Sherman, who he calls Eve.
Under the pretence of having Josh help her with research for a project, Eve sought the permission of his parents allowing Josh to spend time at her home each day after school for a couple of hours. While in the beginning there is a pretence that there is a truth to this excuse, Eve uses the time to befriend Josh and win over his trust and in thus manipulating the situation, she seduces Josh.
As Josh pleads the fifth, during the trial where Eve finally accepts she is guilty, you are baffled. You don't realize why Josh does so even after being explained by the judge that pleading the fifth is the right of a witness who does not wish to speak anything fearing prosecution and not of an abuse victim who has taken the stand to give testimony.
At 18 now, Josh has behavioural problems and is understandably still under therapy. His almost as peaceful as possible life is once again thrown off kilter when he learns that his former teacher who was sentenced for abusing him is gonna be out on parole.
Josh has been so deftly manipulated that he comes to believe that the actions of his past have been of his own doing. That the sexual relationship he happened to have at age 12, with a woman twice his age was his own choice, his own wish. That the undoing of Eve' life is his fault. He finds himself guilty that she lost her job, ended up in jail and cheated on her husband, thus jeopardising her marriage because of him.
After 5 years of battling the demons of his past, how Josh finally manages to overcome his issues is the story of Toy Boy. How in finally realising that he was the victim here and not the culprit, Josh finally sets himself free from the guilt he had been unduly carrying around, helps him move on in his life.
Tackling the issue of rape itself is not an easy thing when writing a book whether a memoir or fiction, so kudos to Lyga for not only managing to write about child molestation but has also making the book about male rape, a subject which is seldom raised.
Josh finds himself as the culprit and not the victim in the situation not only owing to the manipulation but because he cannot bring himself to accept the position of one. He cannot recognise the truth that has been staring him in the face for years now.
In finally accepting the one thing that he never wanted to consider Josh let's go of his demons and stops having the episodes he calls flickers as he says it to himself
I was molested. When I was twelve. And everyone else in the world knew it except for me.
What Lyga has managed is to make this book which could have ended up as a perverted piece of fiction, to come across as the horrific, disturbing, gritty work which explores the state of mind of a victim, who even after years is still dealing with the aftermath of the ordeal he underwent and suffers from a guilt for having had the experience but for totally the wrong reasons. A victim of sexual abuse who suffers from a sort of Stockholm Syndrome who heals after 5 years.
One of the most popular classics, The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux had been on my TBR for a long while now and I just got a chance to read itOne of the most popular classics, The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux had been on my TBR for a long while now and I just got a chance to read it.
The thing with classics sometimes is, they come with huge expectations. And sadly expectations aren't always fulfilled. As it so happened in this case, I was met with disappointment at the end of it actually.
While the book is a great mix of horror, mystery and romance its a bit tepid as per me. The phantom is a creepy guy who though gifted musically couldn't make me sympathize with him and Christine seem to be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. All in all, this book is a forgettable classic for me.
For the likes of me Vampire literature in the world is divided in two eras - that before twilight and the one after it. This is not to say every bookFor the likes of me Vampire literature in the world is divided in two eras - that before twilight and the one after it. This is not to say every book written about vampires before twilight is a masterpiece or those written after are all pieces of junk - there are of course exceptions to every rule. But you do get vary of whats headed your way once you pick up a book in today' time long after twilight has officially wrapped up - as you pick up a book and read one word in its summary or see it mentioned anywhere in the excerpts or reviews - vampire. And the reason for it is pretty obvious. May be Meyer dint see it coming when she was writing her dream, but she unleashed a nightmare upon the literary world when doing so. You cannot ever forget this series is also responsible for the one which led to the coining of the term - mommy porn.
Anyway, skipping over my obvious distaste; let's get down to Holly Black' The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. I was quite vary of reading it as is given but reading so much praise for Black' works i got curious and couldn't help but pick up her latest title. Thankfully I wasn't disappointed.
TCGIC' protagonist is 17-year-old Tana Bach, who lives in a world which sorta was reminiscent of True Blood inspired by Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series to me; in the sense that the world knows vampires exist and they live among humans. The similarity ends there of course. In Tana' world coldtowns exist - places which are quarantined zones where vampires co-exist with those humans they have infected, the people whose luck ran out on them, forcing them to be trapped and of course those junkies who wish to be turned.
These coldtowns are controlled by the government. People infected can enter these places if they are infected or crazy enough to take the risk, at their own will but leaving a coldtown is next to impossible, Not to say there aren't ways to do so but its a rigorous process. You need markers - a sort of coupon/currency that even allows you to approach the officials to make the request, but even then there are numerous medical tests that you need to pass in order to be deemed safe enough to allow exit from the coldtown.
Tana needs to head to the nearest coldtown after she finds herself and her ex Aidan as the sole survivors of a massacre at a sun-down party. Aidan has been infected and while escaping the vampires who attacked her friends and killed them Tana too is bitten by one of them. Fearing the worst, Tana figures if she could be quarantined for 88 days in the basement of her home, the time to sweat out the infection she will not turn. But the roadblock in her path happens to be her father' request to stay away from home fearing the safety of Tana' younger sister Pearl. Tana' dad who already lost her mom to this disease and had to kill his wife when she tried to drain Tana, cannot stand the thought of going through the same thing all over again. And so Tana sets off to coldtown with Aidan and Gavriel, the vampire who surprisingly helps her escape in tow.
Once inside, Tana realizes all the feeds that the world witnesses being broadcast from coldtown couldn't be further away from the reality of what actually it is.
There is something about the last say 20% of the book that I couldn't really happen to like much, but I would say this I would pick Tana over Bella any day. Tana, finds herself embarking on a relationship with a vampire too but she does realize its not all roses and rainbows. She sees Gavriel for the monster that he really is and does question herself.
She knows becoming a vampire could grant her immortality and allow her to stay young and beautiful for ever as well, but she also sees the monster that she could turn into. Tana unlike Bella, isn't interested in giving up her humanity even for the guy she happens to like. In the end as well, she is making an effort to fight the infection and avoid turning into a vampire, even if it may be a futile attempt.
I liked how Black has made Tana out to be this desperate, scared girl on the run, who isn't a damsel in distress per se. She is trying her best no matter what comes her way and isn't afraid to do whatever it takes. She doesn't wait around for people to come rescue her, but tries to get out of whatever mess she has landed herself up in. The attraction between Tana and Gavriel also isn't merely superficial as well. And thankfully Gavriel isn't seen hovering around Tana incessantly, or watching her sleep creepily.
Black' TCGIC isn't a love-story between a human and a vampire, rather its just a part of the story of the girl trying to stay alive and not turn into a monster. A girl trying to give her best shot at fighting a battle she seems bound to lose but not without giving it her best shot before she does so.
Imagine a scenario, nothing grand at all really – just an ordinary day. Lets say its a boring Tuesday night. You are exhausted and the weekend feels lImagine a scenario, nothing grand at all really – just an ordinary day. Lets say its a boring Tuesday night. You are exhausted and the weekend feels like a million years away to you already, you are pissed off as it is. And then you think about your empty stomach growling .You are fed up with the steady stream of take-outs. You plan to whip up something quick and open your fridge and to your dismay realize you are pathetically low on supplies.
You decide a quick trip to restock your fridge is the need of the hour too, so despite the frustration and a slight bout of anger you make the trip to the nearest supermarket. To your relief, it’s not too crowded but still there are people around. Browsing through the aisles you are quick enough to throw things in your trolley and just then you drop something, anything. It’s an ordinary moment, and before you know it a friendly co-shopper or the helpful employee working there, picks up the item and hands it over to you. You smile at the person politely, thank them, finish your shopping and move on. Before you reach home, the friendly stranger is already long forgotten by you.
Only this stranger cannot dismiss you that easily.
You don’t even realize this but you are about to have one of the most frightful experiences possible – you are about to be stalked.
Frightened yet? No. Well then, imagine you are a single parent too then. And not only does this stranger obsess over you but your child as well. Is the answer yes yet?
Has to be.
Linda Huber’ The Paradise Trees explores this very fearsome scenario. Alicia Bryson, a single mother is the protagonist of Huber’ tale. Alicia has her plate full the summer she has to return to her childhood home, a small village in Yorkshire.
She has to make sure her eight year old daughter Jenny enjoys her little trip, make the call about her dad, whose health is deteriorating by the day all the while as she tries to overcome the trauma of growing up in the very place with the father who was horrible to her, so horrible in fact that the moment she turned 16 she chose to get away from her home and her father.
What Alicia doesn’t realize is amidst all of this, she has someone, a stranger who bumps into her once, keeping a watchful eye over her every move.
Alicia has Margaret, her aunt for help and company to take care of her father as she moves into her old home. A nurse herself, Alicia is beyond disgusted at having to have touch her father even remotely owing to his treatment of her in her childhood & teen years. A horrible, horrible man, her father is a religious fanatic, who took things too far to punish the acts of his daughter, he considered inappropriate, even when none of it was her fault. However 5 strokes have rendered him mostly incapable of taking care of himself. And while his older sister Margaret, has stood through everything with him, she finally has to resort to calling Alicia when he suffers a fifth attack.
As Alicia continues to try to persuade her aunt to let her have her father moved to a care home, she continues to battle the memories of the moments when she suffered at the hands of her father, all the while as her mother stood a silent witness to her suffering. Whether her mother agreed with her father’ methods of discipline or was she so terrified of her father that she dare not go against him, will continue to stay a mystery to her. Alicia can only believe her mother went to her grave with the regret of not having been the mother she oughta have been.
In midst of all these troubles, Alicia finds some happiness in the form of old friends and new along with her daughter, who is having a whale of a time especially because of her new pets.
As Alicia finds herself finally happy with the prospect of a possible romance, her world is shaken when her daughter is abducted, which is a parent’ worst nightmare come true.
Told from the point of view of Alicia and the ‘Stranger’ following her in alternate chapters, Linda Huber’ debut offering is a thrilling read. The chapters told from the Stranger’ POV are especially well written and are definitely goosebumps inducing.
The only grievance I had with the prose was the repeated use of the expression ‘sigh’. Now I know it’s not a crime to use a word, a phrase or expression more than once but really the number of times I read – Alicia sighed, she sighed, let out a sigh of relief got on my nerves. The expression occurred at least once per chapter I think. Otherwise I quite enjoyed myself completely.
I was provided an advance readers copy for reviewing courtesy of Legend Press and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review of the book. This review is in no way influenced and is solely based on my opinion.