Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Book Review: Magic Bites

TITLE: Magic Bites
Book 1 in the Kate Daniels series
AUTHOR: Ilona Andrews
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, mystery
PREMISE: Kate's mentor is murdered and she goes on the prowl for his killer. Only that killer leads her straight to the weres and the vampires, people she'd love to avoid.
MY REVIEW: If the Sookie Stackhouse and Buffy the Vampire Slayer series ever joined together and had a love child book series, it would probably look something like these books. Now, I'm not bashing this series, I actually quite enjoyed it. I'm just saying, that once again, it's not overly unique. Plus, sometimes the writing was a bit weak and I kept mixing up characters for some reason.
But other then those minor grievances, this is a decent series. I love Kate. She was hilarious and ninety percent of the reason I kept reading. I loved watching her and Curran butt heads (ten bucks says they wind up together in some way or form down the road). I'm also dying do find out what exactly Kate is because really, it wasn't very clear in this first one, unless I missed it? Possible, I was mixing up stuff right and left for awhile there...Plus, on top of that, we have mysteries! I love me a good mystery.
So despite some of the flaws, this series is enjoyable and a respectable addition to the urban fantasy genre (of which I seem to be reading much more of these days...). I look forward to reading more and rec this to many urban fantasy fans.
WHO SHOULD READ: Urban fantasy fans, Kelley Armstrong fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five swords

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Book Review: Enchanted Glass

TITLE: Enchanted Glass
AUTHOR: Diana Wynne Jones
CATEGORY: Childrens
GENRE: fantasy
PREMISE: Aidan has been having a tough time: his grandmother just died leaving him on his own and now creepy night stalkers are chasing him so he goes to see the old wizard Jocelyn like his gran told him to if he found himself in trouble. Only problem is old wizard Jocelyn just died leaving his grandson in charge instead...
MY REVIEW: I have a big bias about Diane Wynne Jones. As far as I'm concerned, she's one of those rare writers out there who simply cannot write a bad book. Occasionally she'll write something that I don't enjoy as much as her other work, but said book will still be enjoyable and I can bet there will be one or two characters I'll end up loving to death by the end of the book.
That said, Enchanted Glass...may not be Jones best work (I still think Chrestomanci Chronicles and Howls Moving Castle are her at her best) but it's still good and still enjoyable. For one I found the story kind of sweet what with Aidan finding a place he belongs and whatnot. I have a soft spot for those kinds of stories. Plus, this one is full of loveable characters. My absolute favorite was Stashe. Come on, what's not to love about a girl who's not afraid to smack around Titania, queen of the fairies or call her a cheap trollop?
That said, I found the ending a bit chaotic and abrubt but other then that, I found this to be Jone's usual quality work: unique magic worlds, well written, funny, and with engaging characters. As always with Jones I'm eager to see what she has in store for us next.
WHO SHOULD READ: Diana Wynne Jones fans, fantasy fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five wire rimmed glasses

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

In My Mailbox (10)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren telling people what new books we've gotten over the week. Links go to the books Amazon page if you want more info on them.

From the Library:
Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore.-Looked interesting so I picked it up.
Vampire Kisses Series Book 4: Dance With a Vampire by Ellen Schreiber
Vampire Kisses series Book 5: The Coffin Club by Ellen Schreiber-I've sort of become addicted to this series. It's so silly but I enjoy them anyway.
Shade by Jeri Smith Ready.-Debut novel from this year I believe.

Hunger Games Book 3: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.-Have already read and reviewed this here on this blog. I thought it was wonderful (beware if you look my review up it has some spoilers).
Vampire Academy Book 4: Blood Promise by Richelle Mead.-Trying to finish up VA in time for the sixth book's release in December.

So that's it. What did YOU get in your mailbox?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Book Review: City of Glass

TITLE: City of Glass
Book 3 in the Mortal Instruments series
AUTHOR: Cassandra Clare
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: Urban fantasy, romance
PREMISE: Valentine is on the move and is invading the glass city. Clary and her friends are now trying to fight back by getting Shadowhunters and Downworlders to work together...
MY REVIEW: As I said with City of Ashes, these books are not high literature. They are actually pretty average. But I like them anyway. The world is interesting, the characters enjoyable (yes, even Jace though I want to smack him more then once), and it's just utter silly fun. If you want a fun not horrible mindless guilty pleasure, these books fit the bill.
I will say however I found this book to be a little...lackluster? I still enjoyed it as much as the other two, don't get me wrong. But it was just so darn predictable. We knew Valentine would get defeated (it was just a matter of how and who would live, no major suprise deaths in here either other than Max), I saw the thing about Jace not really being Clary's brother coming from a mile away too. I also must say, Clare sure jumped through a lot of hurdles with that explanation, didn't she?
But again, dispite the flaws, these books are addicting fun. I look forward to Clockwork Angel which I think will really tell us Clare's writing ability because she will be dealing with different characters and historical settings. If she manages to make these characters their own people and not Jace and company version 2.0 in victorian england, then I will say she has talent instead of just potential like I have been saying before (and still say after this book because while I again see much improvement from the last two books...she's still not phenomenal). I also look forward to the Fallen books as well though not as much as Clockwork Angel because I'm dying to see Shadowhunters in victorian england ;rubs hands in anticipation;.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those who read and liked the first two Mortal Instrument books
MY RATING: Four out of Five steles

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Book Review: Mockingjay (warning: SPOILERS!)

TITLE: Mockingjay
Book 3 in The Hunger Games
AUTHOR: Suzanne Collins
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: science fiction, adventure, trilogy
PREMISE: The rebellion against the capital is in full swing and the rebels of District 13 are using Katniss as their figurehead. Only she's not sure if she trusts them, not sure if she wants to lead, is not even sure about anything really.
MY REVIEW: First (in case you missed it in the title) this review has some spoilers so don't continue reading if you haven't finished it yet. For those that have, take a moment to squee with me. Because Collins has seriously done a fantastic job on this trilogy. I love when authors do things that are not neccessarily the popular route and Collins did that with Mockingjay. For instance, she easily could have made this book all about the love triangle but she didn't (yay!), she easily could have made it so the rebels were obviously in the right, make everything black and white so to speak but she didn't. In fact, there's a big question mark if the rebels in charge of things will be better then the Capital.
Basically, this book doesn't really go the route you expect it and as I said I love that. I also highly approve of what Collins did. I'm sure people were expecting battle after battle and lots of loving with Katniss and the two suitors. But instead most of the war ends up being political and to me that makes since because really wars mostly are political (I mean look at the wars going on now if you don't believe me) and I think people forget that a lot. I also love how Collins handled the love triangle. If you must have a love triangle plot device in your books, please do it this way. I'm sure a lot of Gale fans are extremely disappointed but it could have been a lot worse. She could have totally assasinated Gale's character or Peeta's character in order to make the choice easier for Katniss but she had them both be reasonable and actually leave the choice up to her. Thank you. Granted, Gale was a bit more of an ass in this book, but considering the stressful situations they were in and whatnot...it's understandable where he's coming from even if I (and Katniss) didn't agree with it. For you Team Gale fans, I'm sorry but hey if you want a new person to ship Gale with how about Johanna? I kind of found her to be a little awesome and he did go to District 2 after, right? Just throwing that out there for all you fanfic writers to play with ;)
I would also like to take a moment and mourn some of the deaths in the book: Finnick (big sob for me there, I kind of loved him), Madge, Prim (another big sob because she was turning into an awesome person and her death just royally sucked), Cinna (still bummed about that),and even some minor characters that we got to know in the third book (I found Boggs kind of cool for instance). I would also likewise take a moment to whoop about President Snow and President Coin (who I despised by the end, particularly after she suggested another Hunger Games for the Capital children WHO HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT, sorry about the rage caps).
So to put it bluntly: this book is awesome. Very much worth the wait (though I still kind of feel this trilogy is a tad overhyped sometimes, but I feel that way about my equally beloved Harry Potter so please don't take offense to that) and an excellent trilogy all around. Can't wait to see what Collins has in store for us with whatever she writes next. While I wait, I'm going to check out her other series, The Gregor series which is a childrens series apparently.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read and loved the first two books, anyone inclined to pick this trilogy up.
MY RATING: Five out of Five bow and arrows

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Book Review: Darkfever

TITLE: Darkfever
Book 1 in the Fever series
AUTHOR: Karen Marie Moning
GENRE: Urban fantasy, mystery
PREMISE: When Mac's sister is killed while she's abroad in Ireland, Mac goes on a search to find her sister's killer. What she discovers is that she and her sister are not who they thought they were and a whole world she never knew existed....a dangerous world.
MY REVIEW: This book isn't bad, but it isn't brilliant either. It is one of the many books out nowadays that lay somewhere in between and are mostly there to satisfy the consumer's need for such books (urban fantasy is really popular nowadays I've noticed...). Me, I found myself kind of getting into the books despite some of the flaws. It's probably going to be the series I turn to in order to tide myself over until the next Sookie Stackhouse.
The flaws are that like I said it's pretty standard urban fantasy fare: tough chick with unique gift finds herself drawn into the fantasy world where naturally hot guys are drawn to her because of said gift, yadda yadda. Then there's the fact that the writing...is kind of weak and the book itself kind of feels...I don't want to say trashy porn because there is more to it than that but it sort of has that feel of harlequin romances if you catch my drift.
But despite this...I found myself liking it and am curious about where it's going. I can't help but like Mac. She's bold and funny and for a nice change not whiny. I found myself really rooting for her. I also loved when she would clash with Brannons, who by the way is very hot (and may or may not be eighty percent of the reason I'm continuing with the series). Plus, I kind of found the world and what is going on intriguing. So...best series in the world? Not really. But kind of addicting nonetheless.
WHO SHOULD READ: Urban Fantasy fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five old bookshops

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In other totally unrelated news: I have Mockingjay! For those that haven't gotten their copy yet, Target (at least the one I work at)has it on sale this week for 12.59 (it comes out to less then 14 dollars with tax). Not bad, right?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mockingjay Talk

So Mockingjay is officially out today but I sadly won't be able to get to a store tomorrow in order to get it. So I am stubbornly staying away from any and all reviews that are going to be posted until I finish. But here are some things I hope are in Mockingjay:

1)A Satisfying conclusion to the Gale/Peeta mess. By satisfying I mean the author doesn't cop out on the love triangle. She doesn't villianfy one guy in order to make the other the obvious and best choice (like a certain vampire book did that shall not be named ;cough;Twilight;cough;), that one of them gets killed, etc. etc. and for the last time, I don't care which one she ends up with. In fact I'd even be happy if Katniss ends up on her own.

2)A satisfying end to the Capital. Or at the very least and end to the Hunger Games and the Capital's messed up ways.

3)President Snow dies. Sorry, if ever there was a person I did not want to live through this, it's this douchbag. God what a jerk/insert whatever explitive you want here.

4)Cinna is okay. Cinna was one of my favorites so I want him to be alive at least. Because at the very least then we would get more pretty outfits ;)

5)Effie and the salon girls get a clue. These few characters were funny in a way and I wanted to like them but their utter ignorance kept me from fully loving them so I hope someone clues them in and they grow as characters.

6)Whatever else Collins has in store for us I am game for. I'm sure there will be a twist or two that I won't be expecting like in Catching Fire so I'll just mostly sit back and enjoy the ride like I did with the last Harry Potter book.

So happy reading to those who do have Mockingjay (plese don't give me spoilers). I shall review the minute I'm done with it and I'll warn if my review has spoilers cause it's just polite.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Book Review: Mistwood

TITLE: Mistwood
AUTHOR: Leah Cypess
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: fantasy, mystery
PREMISE: Isabel doesn't remember much beyond the time her king found her and she is told she is the shifter of legend. But is she really the shifter and is her king who he says he is?
MY REVIEW: In theory, this book was a intriguing idea. Unfortunately that's all the book really remained: an intrigueing idea that never turned into brilliant or inspired. Part of the issue is that it's kind of dull most of the time. The author tries but it's like she couldn't decide if she wanted this to be fantasy or court intrigue and it mostly ended up being court intrigue that was kind of poorly played out.
The writing is flat, the characters are flat. Everything is mostly just flat because the author didn't explore things as much as she could have. Now I will say for a first novel it could have been a lot worse and this isn't the most horrible book this year because there are good things about it. It's just not at all what I expected and just not good enough to really crow about. So most I can say is decent first effort.
WHO SHOULD READ:...not sure really, anyone interested I guess?
MY RATING: Three out of Five shifters

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

In My Mailbox (9)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at Story Siren that tells people what books we've received over the week. Links are to the books amazon page if you want more info on them.

From the library:
Kate Daniels Book 1: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews.-Been hearing good things about this series and my library finally had a copy of it so here we go.

Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones.-It's Jones, need I say more? I was so pleased my library had this.

Also like probably about every other book blogger this week I'll be getting my hands on a copy of Mockingjay when it hits stores this Tuesday. Can't wait!

Book Review: Vampire Kisses Books 1-3

TITLE: Vampire Kisses-The Beginning
Books 1 through 3 in the Vampire Kisses series
AUTHOR: Ellen Schreiber
PUBLISHED: 2009 (for this edition, 2006/07 for the first ones)
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: Vampires, romance
PREMISE: Raven lives in the dullest town imaginable where she doesn't fit in due to her fascination with vampires. But things start to look up when a creepy family moves into one of the old mansions in town...
MY REVIEW: I had no idea what to expect from this series as it's not one of those vampire books people really talk about much. So I went in with no clue what to expect. What I got was an hilarious vampire book series that despite its flaws was very enjoyable.
I won't lie and say it's the best. It's actually not. The writing isn't terrible per say, it's just not something to really brag about. Plus a lot of the stuff going on is very dubious and you must suspend a lot disbelief while reading or at the very least not question things too much. Plus, Raven can sometimes be a little immature. Actually the whole tone of the books is very middle school which I'm pretty sure is the target audience for these books. Which is fine, middle schoolers need some love in the book department that isn't stuff like Gossip Girl or Clique (which by the way, is finally ending!).
But the flaws are easily overlooked because really the books are kind of charming. Raven is the main reason I found myself enjoying these. She's freaking hilarious and I found myself mostly reading just to see what she'd do next because you honestly never knew what crazy thing she was going to do. It was fun seeing a spunky heroine with a great family (she has INVOLVED parents! I was beginning to think involved parents in YA were a myth!) and though I would have appreciated a little more character from Alexander, he and Raven were cute together and I'm rooting for them.
The book I got from the library was a three book in one edition that had the first three books in the series so I'm already about halfway through it (there are currently seven books) and I kind of like what is going on, even if the plot is very loose and very random. I look forward to reading more of this series.
WHO SHOULD READ: Middle-schoolers/younger teens, Twilight fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five bats

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Movie Review: Scott Pilgrim VS The World

TITLE: Scott Pilgrim VS The World
RELEASED: August 2010
PEOPLE INVOLVED: Michael Cera, Anna Kendrick, Kieren Culkin, bunch of relative unknowns (who are awesome and I bet will be seen again).
GENRE: Comedy, Romance, Action/Adventure
PREMISE: In an alternative video game like world Scott meets and falls for Ramona Flowers. But before he can even think of dating her he has to fight and defeat her seven evil exes.
MY REVIEW: This movie is probably not for everyone. It's quite chaotic and not everyone will get the sense of humor to it. But if you're willing to just sit and enjoy it for the comedy that it is, you will enjoy the heck out of it. At the very least, you can't deny that the action scenes are awesome. The graphics in this movie are really very creative and if they don't get an Oscar nod for that this year my faith in Hollywood will be shattered (again, mind you my faith in them right now is already tenous and has been ever since Dreamgirls lost best original song to that hideous song from Once or whatever it was; Princess and the Frog music losing last year didn't help matters). Okay, enough Oscar ranting. Back to Scott Pilgrim.
This movie is just utter fun really. There are a TON of video game references, even the fights themselves elude to things like Guitar Hero (Scott has a guitar battle with one of the exes, I kid you not). Then there are just the utter hilarious characters. I know there is this hatred among geeks/guys/whoever for Michael Cera. Me, I can take him or leave him. Some movies I think he's good in (Superbad, Juno, Year One), others not so much (Youth in Revolt, but that wasn't really his fault I think). This time I think he had a role that suited him. The girl who played Ramona was also just brilliant. I hope we see more of her. But my utter fav characters were Kim Pine (there needed to be more of her), Wallace (brilliantly done by Keiran Culkin, yes he's related to THAT Culkin), Scott's sister (the awesome Anna Kendrick), and Knives (the girl playing her is new I think, but I bet this isn't the last we'll see of her).
I will say the beginning of it is kind of random but once it slows down a bit and starts getting in the storyline the movie gets really good. Other highlights are Chris Evans as Evil Ex number two (my favorite of the exes...not sure why and what this says about me...) and Brandon Routh of Superman fame playing an evil ex (who got superpowers due to being a...I'll just let you watch but trust me it's hilarious). So all in all if you give this movie a chance and are willing to suspend disbelief (okay,a LOT of disbelief), you're in for an enjoyable and creative experience. Can't wait till this comes on DVD.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Michael Cera fans, Gamers, fans of the comic book
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five evil exes

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Book Review: Ruined

TITLE: Ruined, A Ghost Story
AUTHOR: Paula Morris
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: paranormal
PREMISE: Rebecca is sent to live with family friends in New Orleans. While there she discovers not only a ghost but family secrets that run deep into history...
MY REVIEW: First I'll get the bad stuff out of the way. The ending was kind of chaotic and abrupt. Then there's the fact that I kept getting the feeling that the author was trying to emulate Meyer's writing style in order to appeal to Twilight fans. I understand this because that's a big demographic and a way to get published but I don't like because frankly Morris is a much more creative and better writer then Meyer is. Rebecca's constant comparing of New Orleans to New York in the beginning also kind of got irritating but thankfully she never got near the level of Bella Swan whining.
That said, I enjoyed this a lot. I was wary of it in the beginning due to the above reasons but then it suddenly started picking up and getting really good. I love the take on ghosts, the setting of New Orleans is wonderful (and really makes me want to visit the city), there are genuine creepy moments, and it turns in a way you really don't expect. Or at least I certainly wasn't expecting. The fact that it's written well is just a bonus.
Like Shadowed Summer this book appealed to my ghost story cravings that for some reason always happen around this time of year and go on through Halloween. I look forward to more from this author (this is her debut novel). If you want a spooky ghost story this book is perfect.
WHO SHOULD READ: Ghost story lovers
MY RATING: Four out of Five wandering ghosts

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Book Review: Radiant Darkness

TITLE: Radiant Darkness
AUTHOR: Emily Whitman
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: retelling
PREMISE: A retelling of the myth of Persephone told to us by Persephone herself.
MY REVIEW: If you know the basic idea of the myth of Persephone I probably don't need to explain it that much to you. This one takes that tale but makes it so that basically Persephone chose to go below instead of being kidnapped against her will. It was an interesting idea and that's all there is to this book really: just an interesting take on the story.
The writing is pretty good. It's very easy to picture all of this and I can tell the author did actual research on Greece which was very nice to see and much appreciated. But really, it wasn't overly unique or mind blowing. It was just a nice take on a old well known myth. That's pretty much all I have to say about the book.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of greek myths
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five pomengrate seeds

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Book Review: Chosen

TITLE: Chosen
Book 3 in the House of Night Series
AUTHOR: P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: Vampires, drama
PREMISE: Zoey and friends return in an angst filled installation of the House of Night series.
MY REVIEW: Okay, I officially give up on this series. I just can't read it anymore. I was willing to give it another shot because it seemed like in the second book things were actually going someplace...but it seems that no we are STILL dragging and dragging the plot. It doesn't help that all the flaws that I was somewhat able to ignore in the series are kind of magnified in this book.
First, the writing is bad. I'm sorry it is. I've tried to overlook it, but no longer. Second, Zoey continues to be a Mary Sue and now her Mary Sue is catching because her friends are turning into Sues as well. Stevie Rae is not only a fledgling who managed to escape her doomed fate of dying...she's suddenly become a new type of vampire! Which makes no absolute sense whatsoever.
When the plot isn't being ridiculous and dragging, we get Zoeys utterly ridiculous love life (I felt the whole Loren thing was a major cop out in order to make Zoey look better), more Christian religion bashing (which I still take offense to even though I'm not even a big fan of the church), more making fun of the stereotypes (which is ironic as the whole series is basically one huge stereotype), more Zoey is so special and perfect but really this is all a big nuisance for her and she doesn't like it one bit (yet we're reminded again and again that Zoey is special by either her or her peers).
So I'm sorry. I will no longer be reading these books. I just can't take it anymore. So House of Night, I bid farewell. I'm off to find vampire books that are actually good.
WHO SHOULD READ: House of Night fans
MY RATING: One out of Five crescant moons

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In My Mailbox (8)

This is a weekly meme by Kristi over at The Story Siren that tells people what books we got over the week. All my links are to Amazon if you want more info on them.

From the library:
House of Night: Chosen by P.C.Cast and Kristin Cast.-what is it about this series that keeps me reading despite the fact that it's pretty bad?
Mistwood by Leah Cypess.-2010 author debut novel.
Ruined, A Novel by Paula Morris.-more of that southern gothic thing that I'm kind of into right now. Eager to read this one.
Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber-Haven't heard much about this series but it looks interesting. As I'm trying to give each of the vampire books a try...here we are.

Bought from store:
Mortal Instruments Book 3: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare.-Finally finishing my guilty pleasure trilogy. That way I'll be all caught up when Clockwork Angel comes out on the 31rst.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Movie Review: Kick-Ass

TITLE: Kick-Ass
PEOPLE INVOLVED: Nicolas Cage (no, really), and various unknown guys (although I did recognize the guy who plays Dale one of my favorite characters from Greek...I just don't remember his name right now).
GENRE: action/adventure, comedy, parody?
PREMISE: an ordinary kid decides spontaniously to become a hero, forgetting that there are reasons there are only superheros in comic books.
MY REVIEW: I will say this once: HEED THAT R WARNING. Parents seem under the mistaken impression nowadays that if it's got superheros in it then it's okay for kids to watch it (no really, I had to explain to one guy why he shouldn't under any circumstances take his kid to see Watchmen). Not only is there curse words galore in this film (I tried to keep a running count and lost track after about the fiftyith f-bomb), theres sexual content, bloody action scenes, and disturbing imagery that a kid really doesn't need to see. So please, don't try and let your kid tell you he/she can handle it. This movie was not made for them. It was made for adults.
But for adult comic book movie goers...it's all right. I won't say it's brilliant because sometimes it got dumb. Plus I got tired of cursing which to me felt like those high school guys you know who curse every other word because they think it makes them look cool. The action blood parts were...kind of gruesome and yet comical as well. Sort of an extreme version of the Monty Python bit with the blood spray (I don't need to tell Python fans what I'm talking about right? No? Good).
One of the best things in this though is Nicolas Cage as the crazy father. I'm not sure what this says about Cage but for me he's at his best when he's playing the totally out there characters and this guy...is so totally out there he makes the JOKER look sane. No, really. Another highlight is the girl who plays Hitgirl. A lot of people took issue with a girl her age doing a role where she goes around killing people and curses enough to make a sailor blush. Pardon the pun but I thought she well...kicked ass in the role. I can't wait to see her in other stuff and hope she makes it.
Honest, this movie isn't for everyone. For the hardcore comic book fanatics it's kind of like a dark satire on comic books. Me personally, I just thought it was okay. I have a feeling Scott Pilgrim (which I'm hopefully going to be getting to soon) will be much better.
WHO SHOULD SEE: fans of the comic book
MY RATING: Three out of Five superhero weapons

Friday, August 13, 2010

Book Review: Catching Fire (beware of spoilers)

TITLE: Catching Fire
Book 2 in the Hunger Games Trilogy
AUTHOR: Suzanne Collins
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: Science fiction, adventure
PREMISE: Katniss is dealing with the outcome of her win at the Hunger Games as whispers of rebellion against the Capitol start...
MY REVIEW: Well, as you know I absolutely loved The Hunger Games when I finally picked it up last month (late to the game as always...). Catching Fire...is actually BETTER then The Hunger Games. It topped it and took this trilogy in many surprising ways.
For example I totally wasn't expecting another Hunger Games. I mean after they started talking about the Quell and Snow started to talk about punishment I started to dread they might pull something like that but it was as much of a shock to me as it was Katniss and Peeta. I sort of saw the rebellion starting but that was only because when you rule in such a way that the Capital is doing...you're bound to get a rebellion on your hands. You would think the Capital would have read up on their history...I loved how Collins had it all play out though. I also totally wasn't expecting the District 13 angle either.
Now as for the love triangle, I am still Team I Don't Give a Damn. I would also like to say THIS is how you do a believable love triangle. I will be the first to say I am more then a tad tired of the love triangle bit which has been overdone/overused in the past few years but Collins does it RIGHT. Gale and Peeta both have their good points and their bad points. You can actually see how the triangle came about and (this is a really important detail) you can actually see Katniss with BOTH OF THEM. Far too often with love triangles the author does one of the following: a)tilt odds in one guys favor so the girl (and the reader) basically go to him no matter what), b)have second guy be downright annoying so the girl doesn't even really like him and she eventually gets rid of him, c)has one of the guys offed (I'm hoping Collins doesn't go this route but I have faith in her abilities so I don't think this will happen). In other words the triangle is merely used as a small plot device and then when the author gets bored with it goes for the cop out.
Getting back on topic, the second book has excellent pacing. New characters are introduced, the plot goes in a completely different direction and it all leads up to one major cliffhanger that has me dying to read Mockingjay. Luckily I only have to wait August 24rth. I feel for those of you that got into this when the first book came out...you guys must be frothing at the mouth in anticipation by now. I feel your pain, I was that way with the seventh Harry Potter book. August 24rth cannot come soon enough...
WHO SHOULD READ: those that have read The Hunger Games
MY RATING: Five out of Five mockingjays

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Book Review: Shadowed Summer

TITLE: Shadowed Summer
AUTHOR: Saundra Mitchell
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: Paranormal, mystery
PREMISE: Iris lives in a small town where pretty much nothing happens. Then she and her friend make contact with a ghost. A ghost who starts haunting Iris...
MY REVIEW: For the most part I enjoyed this. It was more of that southern gothic thing that is going around (and as I said in my review of Beautiful Creatures: Bring it on!) and was pretty well written for amount of pages it was. You got a very good idea of who these characters were, the setting was perfect for a spooky ghost story, and there were even some twists. Not much twists but twists nontheless.
That said...I wish it was longer. Because I felt like this could have been much longer and made even deeper if it were a full novel. Although maybe less of Collette because I kind of found her to be very annoying. Plus the drama between her and Ben and Iris seemed kind of forced and thrown in just because nowadays you apparently can't have a YA novel without any romance or drama.
But other then that, this was a very satisfying novel, if a bit short. If you're in the mood for a spooky ghost story, this book does the trick. I would also like to say from experience that it's best read during a summer thunderstorm, because the storm helps set the mood of the book. May I just say that this would make an excellent tv movie? Well...as long as it's not a tv movie done by Hallmark or Disney Channel (because then the twist with Ethan and Iris's gay uncle would be thrown out of the plot and I kind of loved Iris's gay uncle). I can see it working well on Lifetime or ABCFamily maybe...
WHO SHOULD READ: Ghost story fans
MY RATING: Four out of five rock throwing ghosts

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Book Review: The Iron King

TITLE: The Iron King
Book 1 in the Iron Fey series
AUTHOR: Julie Kagawa
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: Faeries, fantasy
PREMISE: Meghan Chase's brother is replaced by a changling and everything she thought she knew about her life changes and she goes after him into the world of the fairies...
MY REVIEW: I want to get one major qualm I had with this series out of the way first: it is not an original idea. This plot device is very similar to pretty much every other faery book out right now (in fact this reminded me a bit of Faerie Path in the beginning...thankfully it's much better written). If Tithe and Labyrinth crossed over and fused and added a bit of Spirited Away into it the result would be this book. So...original it is not. Plus Meghan's character could use some fleshing out because she had slight Mary Sue tendancies but I'm hoping that's just because there's going to be character development later on.
Other than those two things...I enjoyed this a lot. The writing itself is pretty good for a first novel. Kagawa's descriptions are very vivid without crossing that over-the-top flowery line that makes me cringe. Her view of faery land is not overly unique but I love the setting she puts them in and the idea of how the Iron Fey got created...makes total sense to me.
Then there's the humor, I chuckled quite a bit through this, which is something that doesn't happen often in faery books, most are pretty serious. While there were serious things happening, it was balanced out by fun character interaction. I loved Puck and the Cat. Those two made this book for me. I also was intrigued by the promise of more plot coming our way at the end.
So to sum it up, the book isn't terribly original but it's pretty enjoyable anyway. Kagawa is a promising writer and I think this series has a lot of potential and look forward to more. Iron Daughter is out now for those that wish to read the sequel.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Tithe, fans of Labyrinth, faery fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five faery wings

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Book Review: The Musician's Daughter

TITLE: The Musician's Daughter
AUTHOR: Susanne Dunlap
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: Historical fiction, mystery
PREMISE: When Theresa's father is murdered and his violen stolen she goes on a quest to discover why. Her journey takes her from her comfortable life near the palace to gypsy camps and learns things about her father she didn't even know.
MY REVIEW: Don't you hate when summarys of books make it sound way more interesting than the book itself actually is? I do. I'm also afraid that's kind of what happened with Musician's Daughter.
It's not that it's a utterly horrible book. There are good things in it. It's a great peek into a time and place that we don't hear much about so that part was interesting. It was also well written (to a point) and there were things in it that were thought provoking. However, it was slightly...boring.
The story drags a lot in the beginning and then halfway through you pretty much have already guessed who the culprit is. As for that so called epic romance thing that was promised in the book summary? Didn't happen. At all. They didn't even kiss! Really, why promise that the book is going to have this big epic true love when you're not going to have a romance in it to begin with? Normally I'm not one to get bent out of shape when there isn't romance (I know books can be good without it) but considering the summary promised me this great romance I felt slightly...cheated. I hate books that promise exciting big things but fail to deliver on what they promise.
But I'm trying to keep in mind that perhaps the author didn't write the summary because other then these annoying things the book was rather decent. Not overly fantastic but not a complete waste of time either. Just somewhere in between those.
WHO SHOULD READ: musical history fans I guess...
MY RATING: Three out of Five violens

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Book Review: Shadow Kiss

TITLE: Shadow Kiss
Book 3 in the Vampire Academy series
AUTHOR: Richelle Mead
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: Vampires, drama, romance
PREMISE: Rose and company return in the third novel in the Vampire Academy series. Rose is near the end of her guardian training, and is dealing with her relationship with Dimitri, a growing unease in the morai court, and another strigoi attack and is seeing ghosts...
MY REVIEW: Wow. What an improvement from Frostbite which was only really interesting till the last hundred pages or so. Plus, not as much summarizing as Frostbite suffered. This whole book had interesting things going on. The consequences from Frostbite are still effecting Rose and her friends (we get more Eddie and may I just say, I kind of love him?). The effects of Rose's bond with Lissa are starting to show up in Rose and finally there is commentary on the slightly unfair system between Moroi and dhampirs and royals and non-royals. It's really actually addressed here in the books whereas before there was a brief mention by others that it was sort of unfair but now the characters are starting to realize things need to change and I can't wait to see what consequences there are.
As with most of these books the huge stuff takes place in the last hundred pages are so and as always Mead packs a punch. I both love and hate her for it. There is a cliffhanger in this book that is downright EVIL. I won't give it away for those that haven't gotten this far in it yet but...be prepared guys, just be prepared. So now, things that I particularly loved in this one.
There was more Christian (and thus more Christian and Rose banter). Christian is frankly my favorite character in this series. I love Rose too, and Dimitri and Adrian are hot and all but Christian...I just love him. More Adrian as well (which means more great Adrian and Rose banter that is second only to the Christian and Rose banter). Rose character GROWS. She really starts to grow up in this book. So does Lissa. I surprised myself by finding Lissa to be kind of awesome in this book whereas before I could take her or leave her. We also see more of the what guardians go through to become guardians and man it's no joke. Also as I said before, more court intrigue and the characters are starting to really fight against the status quo in this.
Thus far this is my favorite Vampire Academy book. But I'm only halfway through so that may change. Still highly reccomend this series to all.
WHO SHOULD READ: those who've read the first two books, Twilight fans, House of Night fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five silver stakes

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In My Mailbox (7)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at Story Siren asking what books we've recieved or have gotten this week.

Just two books from the library this week:
The Musician's Daughter by Susanne Dunlap.

Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman

Friday, August 6, 2010

Book Review: A Spy in the House

TITLE: A Spy in the House
Book 1 in The Agency series
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: Historical fiction, mystery
PREMISE: In victorian england Mary is taken under the wing of The Agency, a group of women spies. Her first case is to investigate a company suspected of illegal wrongs.
MY REVIEW: First the bad: obviously this is not terribly realistic. It would be wonderful if it was, but as the author said it's not. Second, the authors writing wavers a lot. Sometimes it's good (her dialogue is wonderful), sometimes it fell to old trap of telling and not showing, and then sometimes the book itself lagged.
But for the most part I enjoyed this. Mary is a great heroine (a bit Sueish but I'm hoping that's because it's the first book and her character hasn't been fully developed yet). The setting is also great and author actually did research on Victorian times and how people operated. But the really great thing about this book was Mary and James together. It didn't even matter if they were kissing (which they did very little of), when they were together their personalities sparked and watching them deal with each other was thoroughly entertaining.
I for one am looking forward to the next book which comes out later this month (fast writing girl, keep it up!). If you're in the mood for a fun victorian mystery that has entertaining snarking going on, this book is for you.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the Gemma Doyle trilogy, victorian england fans, mystery fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five ladies gloves

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Book Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

TITLE: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
AUTHOR: E.Lockhart
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: drama
PREMISE: Frankie discovers a secret society in her school that her boyfriend is a part of. Tired of not being taken seriously, she wreaks a little havoc on them and her boarding school.
MY REVIEW: I really don't get all the praise heaped on this book. Do not get me wrong, I appreciate the message behind it. Frankie is also a very nice change from the Bella Swans of the world. Plus parts of it were downright hysterical and had me going "go girl!" So in that aspect, I enjoyed it.
However, the writing leaves a lot to be desired and sometimes I felt like I was being spoon fed the message by the author. Really, I get it, girl power and all that. I don't need it spelled out for me time and time again. Plus, I didn't particularly understand character motivations and characters weren't well fleshed out to me.
Basically, I liked the idea of the book...I just don't think it was that well executed. So most I can say about this book is just another YA book. Which is why I'm puzzled about the all the awards it got, but maybe I'm the only one with the issues about it. Who knows?
WHO SHOULD READ: Girls looking for a strong female lead
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five boarding school uniforms

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wednesday Weekly Chat (3)

1)Huge and Pretty Little Liars
Nothing much going on in Huge right now, although I would just like to say that Paul Doosey makes the cutest dad ever.
Pretty Little Liars-No!!! Geek boy is possibly part of the plot? I like him! I wanted Hanna to dump the stuck up blond guy and get together with him instead...also, am I the only one tired of Aria and Mr. Fitz? It's a constant repeat of "we can't be together, not appropriate". Yeah, I know. So STAY APART ALREADY. Because personally I think Aria is much cooler when she's NOT with Fitz or angsting over her relationship with Fitz. Nothing more to add with my babble this week aside from Alex and Spencer=very cute couple and only one more episode?!
2)So Cassandra Clare's big news was that she was continuing Mortal Instruments with two more books? Um...yeah, so? I mean no offense to Clare or anything but I already figured there would be more books after City of the Fallen...Whatever, still looking forward to them.
3)Am I the only dork looking forward to this flick:

I know a majority of it will be dumb, which is why I'm going to wait till it hits dvd to rent it out of the dollar rental machines (I love those things). But man, the anti-Twilighter in me is loving this. I think my favorite joke is a tie between Jacob's contract line and the wolf pack dancing to "It's raining Men" (I'm probably going to have that in my head now during the wolf pack parts as I read Breaking Dawn this month...). Much love to the script writers for that one.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Book Review: Alice, I Have Been

TITLE: Alice, I Have Been
AUTHOR: Melanie Benjamin
GENRE: Historical fiction
PREMISE: Alice Liddel, the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland, tells her story.
MY REVIEW: I have a confession to make: I had no clue that Alice Liddel existed and that there was an actual girl who the book was based around. Yeah, I know. I fail as a book lover. So in that aspect, this book was really interesting to me. I will warn you, if you don't want your views on Alice in Wonderland tarnished forever, this book may not be for you.
But if you want some insight to Alice Liddel herself, this book is really interesting and definitely well written. This is an excellent first novel that makes these historical figures come alive and helps you easily picture and understand the events happening. I will say, that the first parts of it kind of dragged (and were a little uncomfortable to read what with the pedophilia implications) but once you get through it, it's pretty good. There are some great lines in it and it's very thought provoking.
So all in all, a very interesting look at Alice in Wonderland in a way that I don't think has been done before. Benjamin is apparently working on a second historical novel and I have a feeling I'll picking that one up as well, depending on what it's about (I'm kind of hoping she does one on the Peter Pan kid...because after that last bit at the end, I'm very curious about what his life was like).
WHO SHOULD READ: older Alice in Wonderland fans interested in the story behind the book
MY RATING: Four out of Five white rabbits

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Book Review: Linger

TITLE: Linger
PART IN SERIES: Book 2 in the Wolves of Mercy Falls
AUTHOR: Maggie Stiefvater
PUBLISHED: July 2010
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: werewolves, romance, fantasy
PREMISE: Sam is no longer shifting as he used to but that doesn't mean life is perfect. A new werewolf arrives to complicate things for him, Grace, and Isabel and Grace is growing more ill by the day...
MY REVIEW: It's always a nice surprise when an author makes the second book even better then the first and Stiefvater definitely did that here. One thing I much appreciated? No love triangle. She makes complications in Sam and Grace's relationship that does not include another love interest. Thank you. I was beginning to think authors didn't know how to write anything other then multiple love interests anymore, I'm happy to be proven wrong.
Another new thing is the added pov of Isabel and the new guy Cole. Some may find four shifting POVs interfering but I found that it worked really well here. I also really enjoyed the addition of Cole and Isabel. Isabel is frankly my favorite character in this series (my second is Rachel...she's hysterical) and so I loved that we saw more of her. I also liked that Stiefvater made Cole and Isabel's relationship very different from Sam and Grace. They themselves are different characters so naturally their relationship would be different. It was also rather more entertaining. No offense to Sam and Grace but sometimes their relationship could be very eye-roll worthy. Cute, but cliche at the same time. Isabel and Cole were more complicated to me and I liked that.
I will warn that Stiefvater leaves off at a rather abrupt cliffhanger. It's a good cliffhanger but a cliffhanger nontheless. But it definitely makes me look forward to the next book. Hopefully the author won't take too long on it.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those who've read Shiver, Twilight fans, werewolf fans
MY RATING: four out of five wolves

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In My Mailbox (6)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren telling people about the new books we've gotten over the week.
Got a few this week:
Bought at store:
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa.-Can't wait to read this, I've been hearing good things about it.
Hunger Games Book 2: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.-Hunger Games. Nuff said.

From Library:
The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y.S.Lee. Historical fiction thing about female spys. Looks really fun and can't wait to read. Is a debut novel from this year. Second novel in the series is out in August.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E.Lockhart.-Another I've been hearing good things about.

Free ebook from Kindle:
Darkfever series Book 1: Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning.-Kindle freebie that looked interesting.

That's all I got in my mailbox.