Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review: Darkhouse by Karina Halle


Darkhouse (Experiments in Terror #1)

Karina Halle


Publication Date: May 1st 2011

Publisher: Metal Blonde Books

Pages: 326

Genre: Horror, Paranormal

With all the vampire, werewolf and faerie books out there, it's easy to become numb to all things supernatural. The antidote? Darkhouse introduces two real and unforgettable characters, Perry Palomino & Dex Foray, amateur ghost hunters who are "attractive, relatable and oddly heroic," "flawed but loveable," "slightly crazy" and just the most endearing pair to ever tackle the paranormal...just don't call them normal. Darkhouse is a thrilling and sexy new take on concepts like Supernatural and The X-Files, bringing a breath of fresh air to a genre that has been inundated with the dead.


When I first read Darkhouse I was absolutely blown away. It combined so many of my favourite things: great done characters, mockumentaries and ghost hunting. Yes, those would be a few of my favourite things, do not judge.

Anyway, I stumbled across this book quite by accident, in other words it was being offered as a free book to try reading, and so I was like "Why not?", of course I was not expecting the level of writing that it held. Something about the prose captures my generation (I am twenty-three, while Perry Palamino is Twenty Two) perfectly for me. Reading it was almost like hanging out with my friends, I recognized the inside jokes and felt included.

This could have a lot to do with the fact that I can't help but see so much of me in Perry. Both of us are graduates who are not being given a chance to use what we studied (I currently work at a mall store and PetSmart, I studied Japanese and Graphic Design), due to economy and luck. We both live at home with our familes, and we both have major issues in our past (I will admit that Perry's wins hands down though, my troubles were of a very different sort). I think a lot of people in their twenties will connect well with Perry, because she is us, yet at the same time she is one-hundred percent her own character.

Also, I would totally fall in love with Dex, I have trouble believing him as a character, because he's just so close to the dream guy (yes complete with his crazy self).

Anyway, back to the book itself. Darkhouse is paranormal, but for me it is very inspired by horror. I got an adrenaline rush reading this book the first time (less so the second, but I did know what was coming this time around). There are a few times where I would get lost because my brain would rush past words trying to get to the next part to find out what happens next

It surprises me so much that this book isn't as well known as other books as it really is magically delicious.

I mean what is better than two slightly crazy people trying to film a ghost hunting documentary show for the internet?



I recommend this book to anyone who likes ghost hunter shows, mockumentaries and horror books. I also recommend this book for people who love paranormal but want to try something unique. There are so few paranormal books that treat ghosts horror style like this, really guys, give this book a chance.




4.5 Bookmarks



Book Review: WWW: Wake by Robert J. Sawyer


WWW: Wake (WWW #1)

Robert J. Sawyer


Publication Date: April 7th 2009

Publisher: Ace Hardcover

Pages: 354

Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Caitlin Decter is young, pretty, feisty, a genius at math-and blind. Still, she can surf the net with the best of them, following its complex paths clearly in her mind. But Caitlin's brain long ago co-opted her primary visual cortex to help her navigate online. So when she receives an implant to restore her sight, instead of seeing reality, the landscape of the World Wide Web explodes into her consciousness, spreading out all around her in a riot of colors and shapes. While exploring this amazing realm, she discovers something-some other-lurking in the background. And it's getting more and more intelligent with each passing day...


I'm honestly at a loss for words. Why do I not read Science Fiction in non-dystopic form more often? And I don't mean space ships and future when I say Science Fiction, but I mean actual science is at the basis for the book. For example, WWW:Wake included Math theories, Physics, Information Science, Study of the Consciousness, Semiotics, Physical Anthropology and many theories on the world wide web, which were all described out for the readers to understand.

The book has many perspectives but the blind girl Caitlin is the main character for this first book and her situation is the main focus. She is given a chance to maybe see again. At first it doesn't work quite right and then she sees the internet which is where things get interesting. As this is going on we read a being coming into consciousness and throughout the first half of the book I am plagued with the question "why"?

In fact the first half of the book I wondered why there were so many completely unrelated points of views, yet slowly but surely they mentioned each other and then a couple of them became intertwined. I know there are more books in the series so I assume that the ones that didn't truly meet up may in the future, I am particularly interested in the fate of Hobo, the half Chimp, half Bonobo signing ape.

Honestly I can see why Sawyer is one of the biggest names in Science Fiction. I want to rave about this book to the world, to everyone I meet.

Also just adding on that this book made me feel smart as well, and that's always good.



I recommend this to anyone who adores Science Fiction, anyone who took classes in any of the scientific knowledge I mentioned above. Fans of Helen Keller and her story, lovers of the internet in a scientific nature, lovers of apes that have learned to sign and the theory behind that, and people who love a story that weaves itself together.




5 Bookmarks



Saturday, April 28, 2012

Read-a-thon Book Review: A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunch


A Curse Dark as Gold

Elizabeth C. Bunc2


Publication Date: March 1st 2008

Publisher: Scholastic Inc

Pages: 396

Genre: Historical, Fairytale, Fantasy, Young Adult

This ravishing winner of the ALA's William C. Morris YA Debut Award is a fairy tale, spun with a mystery, woven with a family story, and shot through with romance.

Charlotte Miller has always scoffed at talk of a curse on her family's woolen mill, which holds her beloved small town together. But after her father's death, the bad luck piles up: departing workers, impossible debts, an overbearing uncle. Then a stranger named Jack Spinner offers a tempting proposition: He can turn straw into gold thread, for the small price of her mother's ring. As Charlotte is drawn deeper into her bargains with Spinner-and a romance with the local banker-she must unravel the truth of the curse on the mill and save the community she's always called home.

Once again we find me delving into a fairytale adaptation. This one an adaptation of "Rumpelstiltskin". Like Snow White & Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede, this one can also fall in as historical fiction with its half-accurate portrayal of millworking during the Industrial Revolution. Charlotte Miller and her sister have just become orphans and Charlotte is determined to keep the mill running and their town alive, no matter what it takes. When a mysterious debt from her father is slapped on her out of no where, however, she finds herself hard pressed to try and get the money for it.

Though loosely based off the fairytale, A Curse Dark as Gold is very much its own book. The plot is put together like a puzzle, each character having its own secrets and part to play, and it begs me to use my brain to put the pieces together and try to figure out what in the world is going on and why the characters are doing what they are doing.

All the characters have reasons, and if you talked to them they would assure you they are good ones, even it seems terrible. Even the mysterious debt in the beginning reveals itself in the end, bringing the book full circle (which is one of my favourite writing techniques to read).

I this hadn't been slated as my third book during Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon, I'm sure I would have finished it up in one day, unfortunately it was a bit too taxing on my overly tired brain at the time. I'd love to reread it sometime soon however, especially knowing everything that is revealed to me.




If you like fairytale adaptations, you will enjoy this book immensely. It's more historical than fantasy, so if you enjoy that there's a plus there as well. And if you enjoy strong heroines who are stubborn to a fault to protect her livelihood and people than I recommend this book as well.



4 Bookmarks



Friday, April 27, 2012

Update: A Journey Through Keeping up a Blog

I have not written an update in a long time, so I thought I'd write one to catch all of you up to speed.

First of all the Read-a-Thon was an absolute blast, though I was such a crabby patty after work on Sunday due to lack of sleep. I then spent a couple of days away from books recovering and now I'm getting back into the swing of things. I ended up winning two mini-challenges and getting gift cards that will be going towards ore books, yay!

Of course due to having two part time jobs, I have no life, thus the reading is slowing down a bit. I do have six reviews in archive ready to post so I may end up putting those up as I catch up.

Speaking of my book reading rate, I have passed my 100th book for the year! Slowly, but surely, it seems as if my "A Book a Day" goal might be possible.

Author Spotlight will be switching soon from Maria V. Snyder due to the great news of being a part of newest Experiments in Terror's book's blog tour! I plan on rereading all the books in that series and posting reviews before my review for the blog tour has to go up. On the side bar there is a link to it which will show you that on May 6th I will be putting up a guest post from Karina Halle, the author, and May 11th will be when I put up my review. This is my first blog tour, and hopefully far from my last, so I'm super excited.

The last note is that during my next day off I plan on finally getting my blog design up, it is becoming really imperative that I get a 3 column layout as I seem to be adding widgets all over the place, also I have the design all ready so it's silly to not get it ready and up.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Book Review: Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund


Academy 7

Anne Osterlund


Publication Date: March 14th 2009

Publisher: Speak

Pages: 272

Genre: SciFi, Young Adult

With a past too terrible to speak of, and a bleak, lonely future ahead of her, Aerin Renning is shocked to find she has earned a place at the most exclusive school in the universe. Aerin excels at Academy 7 in all but debate, where Dane Madousin?son of one of the most powerful men in the Alliance? consistently outtalks her. Fortunately Aerin consistently outwits him at sparring. They are at the top of their class until Dane jeopardizes everything and Aerin is unintentionally dragged down with him. When the pair is given a joint punishment, an unexpected friendship?and romance?begins to form. But Dane and Aerin both harbor dangerous secrets, and the two are linked in ways neither of them could ever have imagined. . . .
First of all, the summary is a tad bit hyped up, the secrets that they learn aren't really that important to anyone but themselves, but that's just a minor issue as I enjoyed this book greatly.

I don't read a lot of true SciFi (as opposed to Dystopian SciFi) though I'm not quite sure why, but I have a huge love for stories that take place in schools like this, so that's what led me to this book in the first place, but I have to admit, I greatly enjoyed the setting for this book and the characters.

Both Aerin and Dane are flawed, not coming from perfect backgrounds and avoided in school for different reasons, but both are smart, excelling at the school as the two top students.

The book is a quick read and there's a lot to it that feels very traditional Young Adult (like before paranormal young adult were popular--contemporary young adult which are almost always coming of age stories). Though set in a fantastical setting, the story is about two characters learning about themselves and their past and growing from it.




I recommend this to anyone who enjoys to SciFi or boarding school stories. Also to anyone who enjoys rebellious teens with reasons to be that way and having them grow up. It's not a super serious novel, but the prose is well done and it is a hard read to put down.


4 Bookmarks



Book Review: Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier


Cybele's Secret (Wildwood #2)

Juliet Marillier


Review of Wildwood Dancing (Wildwood #1)

Publication Date:
September 9th 2008

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Pages: 432

Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, Faerie

Scholarly eighteen-year-old Paula and her merchant father journey from Transylvania to Istanbul to buy an ancient pagan artifact rumored to be charmed, but others, including a handsome Portuguese pirate and an envoy from the magical Wildwood, want to acquire the item as well.


I am currently debating whether or not this or Wildwood Dancing is better. It is another hard decision, as both find themselves on my favourite's shelf and I really need to purchase them both. It was also a good idea to read it instead of listening like I did with Wildwood Dancing because I finished it much quicker and got to enjoy it at a much faster speed.

Marillier's research is fantastic. This book is not set to mirror an actual fairytale, but is more a quest and adventure that Paula is sucked into. It takes place in Istanbul as opposed to Transylvania and as I just mentioned the author's research is fantastic about the place. I felt as if I had been shoved into Turkey's past and was enchanted by pretty much everything.

The plot meanders, but at the same time it isn't slow or annoying in its meandering. It is following a path still and keeps us interested, though not taking us to the point directly. The characters once again are depth filled and interesting. The prose is enchanting. Literally there really isn't anything bad I can think of about this book's construction (I'm sure others could due to personal tastes, but not I).



I honestly loved this book so much I could go on talking about it for days. You don't have to read
Wildwood Dancing to enjoy this book, though it'll help explain the situation with Tati if you do. I recommend this book for lovers of historical fantasy, Istanbul and the idea of the Other Kingdom of fae and magical beings. And if you enjoyed Wildwood Dancing you will enjoy this as well. 


5 Bookmarks



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Read-a-thon Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver


Delirium (Delirium #1)

Lauren Oliver


Publication Date: January 1st 2011

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 470

Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult

THEY SAY that the cure for Love
will make me happy and safe
forever.
And I've always believe them.
Until now.

Now everything has changed.
Now, I'd rather be infected
with love for the tiniest
sliver of a second than
live a hundred years
smothered by a lie.

Delirium was the first book on my Dewey's Read-a-thon list. It is a book I bought at V-Stock using credit because I kept hearing about it and its sequel that had been just coming out. It also turns out goodreads.com had kept recommending it to me over and over, but the cover hadn't caught my eye or I must of not read the blurb very well, because I kept rejecting it.

What was wrong with me? This book has elements that remind me of The Giver by Lois Lowry and "Stupid Perfect Love" a short story by Scott Westerfield in the anthology Love is Hell, and coincidentally the work by him(it is a fantastic story) that got me to actually go and read Uglies, but I digress. The element that hormones and love are a disease is a theme that is ingrained in the human consciousness. We as humans find ourselves falling in love, and therefore becoming vulnerable to those we love giving them the ability to tear our hearts out and stomp them rather visciously on the floor, causing all sorts of symptoms (And I'm not just talking about significant other, I'm talking about all love, family and friend love included. You know you've been there before readers). So logic of course says, why don't we get rid of it? And that's where these books are fantastic. It weighs in your mind, is love a good thing or a bad thing? Would you live without love? So many people would say yes, and so many others would say no.

Delirium goes through this point beautifully, showing us people "cured", "uncured" and as with Lena's mother, "uncurable". We are shoved into a world of propaganda against love. A world that is fleshed out an highly detailed in its belief system, thanks to blurbs at the beginning of each chapter that help to flesh out what these characters are brought up with: a combination of religion, science and forced propaganda, the twisting of Mary Magdalene being a perfect example of that.

The characters are a variety of types and we see how each one reacts when faced with the reality that the "cure" is not as amazing as they thought it would be, and will they risk their lives to keep the love and passion? Or will they just skirt the borders and rebel only if it seems safe?



I recommend this to lovers of dystopias in the traditional way, in the "makes you think" way. I felt as if Oliver approached the theme of love in a careful and interesting way. I also recommend this to people who enjoy good world building in dystopias. This book really does make Wither seem like a weak shadow of a book. I flipflopped between 4.5 and 5 bookmarks for this, but in the end, because it did make me think and I liked it a lot, for now I will give it 5.


5 Bookmarks



Waiting on Wednesday: Enchanted


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming novels we can't wait to read. This week’s choice is:

Enchanted

Alethea Kontis


Expected Publication Date: May 8th 2012


It isn't easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past - and hers?


Why
Me, obsessed with fairytale adaptations? Never! ... Anyway the plot sounds interesting, a bit of the frog prince,a bit of forbidden love and the joy of sisters named for the days of the week, which is oddly enough a thing I adore. Also I read a quote where Sunday is the 7th daughter of a 7th daughter which is a fun superstition I enjoy in fantasies (Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede also has that.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review: Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George


Tuesdays at the Castle

Jessica Day George


Publication Date: October 25th 2011

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Pages: 254

Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade

Tuesdays at Castle Glower are Princess Celie's favorite days. That's because on Tuesdays the castle adds a new room, a turret, or sometimes even an entire wing. No one ever knows what the castle will do next, and no one-other than Celie, that is-takes the time to map out the new additions. But when King and Queen Glower are ambushed and their fate is unknown, it's up to Celie, with her secret knowledge of the castle's never-ending twists and turns, to protect their home and save their kingdom. This delightful book from a fan- and bookseller-favorite kicks off a brand-new series sure to become a modern classic.

When I was reading Flora Segunda part of my issue was that it was not the type of book I was expecting. Tuesdays at the Castle was the book I was expecting. Due to it's middle-grade nature, I had designated this as a before bed book, which turned out to be a mistake as I couldn't stop reading it and ended up halfway done before I realized it ("just one more chapter, then I'll be done"). An then as soon as I woke up (to a day off) I just had to finish it, so I did.

This book in short is absolutely magical. I want to own it and reread it over and over again. The only books that I love about as much as this or more that cater towards younger readers is The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, and the Deltora Quest series.

The moral of this story is don’t mess with magical castles, as they will mess with you right back and it's absolutely splendid how it does that, with help from the royal children of course. The way they all hold themselves in an impossible situation was brilliant and I truly enjoyed reading it.

Once again I don’t feel the need to review anything spoilerific, so straight on to the conclusion/recommendation.

I 100% recommend this book to anyone who enjoys light hearted fantasy, who enjoys buildings who are a character of their own and the feeling of overcoming impossible situations. I recommend this to any fan of Jessica Day George, especially if you liked Dragon Slippers because the writing is a similar vein (though much more polished, I love seeing authors improve).


4.5 Bookmarks



Monday, April 23, 2012

Book Review: Palace of Mirrors by Margaret Peterson Haddix


Palace of Mirrors

Margaret Peterson Haddix


Publication Date: September 30th 2008

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Pages: 304

Genre: Fantasy, Fairytale Feeling, Young Adult

"Somewhere in the world I have a tiara in a little box. It is not safe for me to wear it...It is not safe for me even to tell anyone who I really am. But I know -- I have always known."

Cecilia knows that she is not just another peasant girl; she is actually the true princess, in hiding until the evil forces that killed her parents are vanquished. A commoner named Desmia is on the throne as a decoy.

As she gets older, Cecilia finds it harder to study statesmanship and palace protocol secretly at night and then pretend that she has nothing on her mind other than scrubbing the gruel stains out of her best apron by day.
Cecilia knows that it is time to take charge. Along with her best friend, Harper, she flees to the capital city, determined to reclaim her throne and face the danger head on.

When Harper and Cecilia reach the famed Palace of Mirrors, they discover complications: Princess Desmia believes an entirely different version of the story.

Acclaimed author Margaret Peterson Haddix returns to the charmed world of Just Ella, where a princess-in-hiding and a pretender to the throne discover that nothing is as it appears.
As I read through the first half of this book, I was resigned that I would not enjoy it, that the characters were flat and the plot clichéd. Cecelia struck me as particularly not so clever and Harper a moody love interest. However, as soon as Cecelia reaches the city with Harper the book takes a turn that honestly surprised me. The book went from clichéd to unique and interesting. Cecelia grew as a character, though Harper was still pretty moody.

Palace of Mirrors takes place in the same world of Haddix's Just Ella, which I have not read, though it is apparently an interpretation of Cinderella, and because of this book I plan on picking up Just Ella as soon as I can.

The book is light in its prose, unlike the more serious and more in depth fairytale like stories that I tend to read, but I enjoyed the contrast, and its freshness as soon as it hit the second half entertained me greatly.



Though this is technically not a fairytale adaptation, I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys them or at least the writings of Gail Carson Levine, because Haddix's book is reminiscent of Levine's style. Do keep up past the first half even if it seems droll, because the second half is totally worth it.


3.5 Bookmarks



Book Review: The Nature of Monsters by Clare Clark


The Nature of Monsters

Clare Clark


Publication Date: May 7th 2007

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Pages: 400

Genre: Historical, Horror, Adult

1666: The Great Fire of London sweeps through the streets and a heavily pregnant woman flees the flames. A few months later she gives birth to a child disfigured by a red birthmark.1718: Sixteen-year-old Eliza Tally sees the gleaming dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral rising above a rebuilt city. She arrives as an apothecary’s maid, a position hastily arranged to shield the father of her unborn child from scandal. But why is the apothecary so eager to welcome her when he already has a maid, a half-wit named Mary? Why is Eliza never allowed to look her veiled master in the face or go into the study where he pursues his experiments? It is only on her visits to the Huguenot bookseller who supplies her master’s scientific tomes that she realizes the nature of his obsession. And she knows she has to act to save not just the child but Mary and herself.With exquisite prose, dark humor, and a historian’s eye for detail, Clare Clark has created another transporting novel.

I thought this book would never end, but finally I have defeated it. Now I have read The Nature of Monsters once before and I remembered it fondly as a tale of great horror and distaste. I had apparently forgotten how slow a read it was compared to what I am usually reading (Young Adult and Juvenile).

The world of this book is horrific, intriguing and historical. It's focus is on London in 1718 and the several things that happen during that time period, most focused on the scientific pursuit of deformed babies. Superstition says that a mother's imagination is the cause of a baby's deformity and it is this "theory" that the main "scientist" of the book focuses upon.

Eliza is a character of great naivety in the beginning, mistaking lust for love and being duped by her husband to be and appearing to be sold away by her mother afterwards. For all of that she finds herself learning and aged by her situation and all the mistakes she makes.

The world of 1718 London drowns you out, the prose, the environment, nothing kicks your mind from the time period.

The thing about this book though, is I love the impression it leaves on me, but I hated reading most of it. I just don't have the patience for it apparently.



This is not a light, easy Young Adult read, however if you enjoy historical, gothic horrors and are intrigued over the nature of what makes a monster, I recommend to give this book a try. Perhaps read another book while reading this one if it feels to slow. I really do remember it quite fondly after I finish.


3 Bookmarks



Sunday, April 22, 2012

Readathon: The End

I AM SO TIRED EXCUSE ME WHILE I PASS OUT. It's a tad bit early, but it's Hour 24 Darnit D<


  1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
    Hands down the last few, with thoughts of work and how tired I am crushing in on me, thus the slightly early turning in.
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
    Anything from Rick Riordan works really well. The fast pace, tons of action, light prose combination makes it super to get lost in for hours. Delirium also worked well for me, and if I had gotten to Hunger I think that would have done well as well.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
    No? Maybe possibly making sure the mini-challenge links are in working order before posting them up? 
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
  5. How many books did you read?
    2 and 2/3rds
  6. What were the names of the books you read?
    Delirium, The Sun of Neptune and A Curse Dark as Gold
  7. Which book did you enjoy most?
    Delirium, though it now feels forever ago since I read it. It also really lent itself to the mini-challenges.
  8. Which did you enjoy least?
    I enjoyed them all pretty equally. I guess the least was A Curse Dark as Gold, but it's a slower paced book (aka not super fast).
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
    As long as chance and fate allowed me to I totally am going to. This was my first readathon and I enjoyed it a lot. I will definitely read again, and if I can think of something I may host a mini-challenge. Those were a def highlight of the event

So finished two books, almost finished a third. Read about 1300 pages, and for from around Hour 3-Hour 13, Hour 17-24.... Which means I was able to read for about 18 hours WOO! Hopefully I won't oversleep next time *laughs*

All in all I'm pretty darn proud of myself. Thanks to the readathon peeps for hosting this and the many mini-challenge hosters (and to chance and the muses for my wins). Thanks for the support on Twitter and visits to my blog. I love you all an Good... Morning?