Friday, March 29, 2013


Croak by Gina Damico


Okay, okay, I'll share the amazon summary to maybe give a feel of how this book reads, "Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex’s parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. 
But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than shoveling manure.
He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach Lex the family business.She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can’t stop her desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. Will she ditch Croak and go rogue withher reaper skills?" AMAZON LINK OF LAUGHTER

Actually, that amazon summary as usual sucks.

I'll do one!

Lex, short for Lexington, is 16, and referred to as 'Tyrannosaurus Lex' at her school as she went delinquent when she was 14. Before then, she was a straight A student, well liked, yadda yadda yadda; but then one day she woke up with a lot of unexplained rage inside of her. Then someone would set her off and wind up with a black eye. She has a twin sister named Concord, or Cordy who has supported her and stuck by her despite her rage. The sisters love each other to pieces. Their Mom is in love with American History, hence the twins names, and their Dad is an alright guy. The parents have stuck with her for this entire debacle of delinquent behavior but have reached their last straw. They decide that to curb her outrageous behavior, some good hard labor at her Uncle Mort's farm will do wonders.

So she's sent to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer.
In the town of Croak.
Which turns out to be a town set up for Grims.
Yeah, Grims like the Grim Reaper.
But this story has a very welcome twist.

The Grims actually function as soul transporters. There's two types of Grims: Killers and Cullers. The Killers actually release the souls from the bodies and the Cullers get the soul into a container for safe transportation.

There's a really neat system of how the whole town functions and the author has built the town of Croak as well as the world of Grim with such precision that I'm not left asking questions about how anything works or who does what, etc. Love it.

There's a great humor that takes place through the whole story and each character that is introduced has very individual pluck.

I guess the novel makes death seem a bit more bearable.

Lex seems kind of like an obnoxious character at first, but she warms up as she starts to discover a place that accepts her for what she is and flourishes. Like Croak was her missing piece, and everyone else in Croak is just as awesome as she is.

I have the second book and am way too eager to embark on it, so cheers!
I'll take my scattered brain onward!

Happy reading!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Confusion of Princes

A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix

I don't know how this gem escaped my notice for so long, but alas I have found it AND read it! HUZZAH!

An amazon summary, "Garth Nix, bestselling author of the Keys to the Kingdom series and Shade’s Children, combines space opera with a coming-of-age story in his YA novel A Confusion of Princes.
 Superhuman. Immortal. Prince in a Galactic Empire. There has to be a catch…. Khemri learns the minute he becomes a Prince that princes need to be hard to kill—for they are always in danger. Their greatest threat? Other Princes. Every Prince wants to become Emperor and the surest way to do so is to kill, dishonor, or sideline any potential competitor. There are rules, but as Khemri discovers, rules can be bent and even broken. There are also mysteries. Khemri is drawn into the hidden workings of the Empire and is dispatched on a secret mission. In the ruins of space battle, he meets a young woman, called Raine, who challenges his view of the Empire, of Princes, and of himself. But Khemri is a Prince, and even if he wanted to leave the Empire behind, there are forces there that have very definite plans for his future." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

I'm just going to ignore that. Refer to my previous complaints about book summaries. I truly wonder if the authors even get to see the book summaries before the books are published. OY VEY.


So this is a super science fiction book. I mean, I had to ignore some of the more intricate technology jargon so I could get to the meat of the book. Don't get me wrong, it was easy to understand in context once I really replaced 'long fancy name' with 'device that enables things'. Sometimes, I should be smacked. I know.


It's like I haven't written a blog in a week. Whoops.


So Prince Khemri is raised in isolation and basically given this AWESOME SUPER IDEAL to expect once he's connected to the imperial mind (Imperial Mind = ruling body of princes; do not make angry) and the first chapter or so of the book is a huge explosion of world building, the technical details of everything, and if the book is going to make sense at all, PAY ATTENTION TO THE FIRST CHAPTER.

Basically, Khemri starts to explore the real world vs. his illusionary world and it's full of surprises. Refer to the book summary from amazon.

I want to talk about the meat of the book.

The book reads as this crazy curious exploratory thing but at the heart of it, it's a story of how Khemri discovers humanity. I feel like it's kind of a play on 'if we let technology do too much for us, we lose focus of what matters - OTHER PEOPLE'. I know, CRAZY RIGHT?

But I love it.

While at times I had to get my brain to really process what the heck was which fancy device doing what, it was definitely action packed and filled with wonder. It wasn't an easy book to put down.

I will say that the summary makes it sound like 'Raine' was the big catalyst in him questioning the empire, but the more Khemri learns about the empire, he has already begun to question it well before Raine came into the picture. Raine was just the catalyst that really tipped one of his many decisions.

I don't really want to say too much else about the book because I think I'll end up putting the entire book out here.

Although I will say that I hope there is NOT a sequel. It would be neat to see a companion book about a different character, same world, but I do think this book is quite a stand-alone book; any sequels would just degrade the story.


Yeah, I'm good with this.

Happy reading!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Brides of Rollrock Island

The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

This book took me a bit to get through as it was aggressively chilling., let me review it and maybe that sentence will make more sense.

Amazon summary, "On remote Rollrock Island, men go to sea to make their livings—and to catch their wives.

The witch Misskaella knows the way of drawing a girl from the heart of a seal, of luring the beauty out of the beast. And for a price a man may buy himself a lovely sea-wife. He may have and hold and keep her. And he will tell himself that he is her master. But from his first look into those wide, questioning, liquid eyes, he will be just as transformed as she. He will be equally ensnared. And the witch will have her true payment.

Margo Lanagan weaves an extraordinary tale of desire, despair, and transformation. With devastatingly beautiful prose, she reveals characters capable of unspeakable cruelty, but also unspoken love." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

So, there are a few things that I'm still puzzling about with this book, but I was really awe struck by the writing style. The author has very aggressive writing while managing to switch between different character's perspectives to give the 'Selkie' seal-wives story true depth.

So once upon a time Misskaella was a young child who looked a bit funny and had a natural magic about her that drew the seals to her. She accidentally draws the seals off the beach and into the town for a couple days. An elder of the island realizes the signs and instructs her to construct an 'x' on her chest by tying cloths from shoulder to hips. Misskaella does and the seals return to the sea. So Misskaella was often bullied/harassed by her siblings and her mam didn't seem to particularly care for her either. As she grows older, none of the lads of the island will take her as a wife and all of her siblings have been married or left for the mainland. Misskaella grows bitter and seeks out the seal bull and draws a man from the seal one night. They lie together and Misskaella bears his child but cannot keep it and so she bestows a wrap on him before returning him to the sea.

With her heart encrusted with bitterness, she obliges a man who seeks a seal wife. It begins the end of happy days on Rollrock Island.

The narration switches from different characters to give a more complete grasp on how this strange old magic grips the island in turmoil. How one woman's bitterness can affect so many.

It was a very strange, harrowing tale and I'm probably going to be dwelling on it for a bit. I enjoyed the story in a sense, but I'm a bit creeped out and keep returning to the word 'bizarre'. I think this tale will stay with me for a long while.

Another tidbit: this is a selkie tale, but not in the traditional sense. Yes, the woman emerge from seals and their coats they shed can return them to their seal form. But the story is so chilling. It's not a normal fairy tale I suppose, it seems to be a throwback to how fairy tales used to be told; as warnings with no happy endings. Before Disney. It's pretty wicked sweet.

Happy reading!

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I've been 'hmm'-ing and skeptically 'aah'-ing about this one a bit. I've had it finished for a few days but have remained unsure of what to say about it.

So here's an amazon summary, "An all-new series from the masterful, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

"There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark's Eve," Neeve said. "Either you're his true love . . . or you killed him."
It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them-not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain. He has it all-family money, good looks, devoted friends-but he's looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys:" AMAZON LINK OF FAIL

So the Amazon summary cuts off the summary that the book provides. I'll finish the rest of it: "Adam, the scholar-ship student who resent the privilege around him; Ronan the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little. For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn't believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore. From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love leads us to a place we've never been before," (Stiefvater, book summary on cover, The Raven Boys).

Hmm. Skeptical aah.

First, I did like the book despite having thrown it into a pile of clean laundry when I was done with it simply because the ending of the book was infuriating as everything else about the book.

The book was infuriating as it had a lot of wound fists. The author dropped a lot of subtle hints and clues about the great mystery, but let's pretend every hint/clue was a ball. Let's pretend that every ball was picked up and slowly wound up to the breaking point of releasing the ball. However, only three balls have truly been thrown, and countless more balls remain either on the ground or wound. The entire book you're just waiting for what happens with the other balls. That's the infuriating wound fists.

The styling of the book was slightly maddening too as it shifted perspective as it followed different characters around and let the reader in on their personal thoughts, feelings, reflections, etc of what was currently happening. At first it was pleasant as we were not stuck with one person but all of them, but then as the action started to build and the wound fists were letting lose their balls, it was maddening as hell.

So let's start with some basics. There are five characters we TRULY care about: Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah. So who's who and why do they matter?

Blue is a young woman who has grown up with the super natural. Her mother, Maura and relatives Calla and Persephone are all psychics of a sort. They do readings for people and are aware of the otherworldly. (There are also two others (Orla and Jimi) but they're unimportant but probably important in a later book, or else why would they be there? BALLS DANG IT.) Blue however, cannot see any of the super natural or is attuned to it in any sense. She is an amplifier for them though, so if they touch Blue or if she is present during a reading, they get a clearer picture or more information.Now Blue has grown up knowing that when she kisses her true love, he'll die. So she has the kiss of death. Or she could just kiss a lot of people that aren't her true love, but she wouldn't do that as she's a sensible character. Blue's household gets a little topsy turvy when Neeve, a friend of Maura's comes to stay. When Neeve is greeted at the door by Blue she tells Blue that this is the year you'll fall in love.

I want to take a moment and point out that Neeve said this is the year you'll fall in love. She did not say this is the year you will find your true love, or anything in regards to true love. Since I also read The Scorpio Races by this author, I know she's a crafty wordsmith so it's important to pay attention to minor details like that. However, Blue's character automatically equates that falling in love this year means she'll fall in true love and anxiety ensues. I believe that is the intended reaction for the reader to feel as well, but Neeve's character has not proven to be a reliable voice through the book, so there is entirely the possibility that she's just full of crap. Neeve is an enigma and frustrating and like ten balls just for her.

Whatever, moving on.

So there's Gansey who's obsessed with finding the ley line that will lead him to Glendower; a sleeping king from ancient times. Gansey has thought to himself once in the book about his knack of being able to find things that he wants to find and wants to find Glendower. He believes that in order to find Glendower, he must find a ley line that will lead him to it.

A ley line is a line of energy that cannot be seen but there are peculiarities that happen upon the ley line that hints at it's existence. Any sort of magic is more amplified on the ley line, and when Blue treks upon it, well things get a little interesting.

It is said that Glendower will grant a favor to whoever wakes him and sometimes the characters wonder about what favor they would ask. It doesn't seem to be that big of a deal as the adventure lies in finding Glendower.

I'm getting a little disjointed and rambly, so I'm going to stop here.

I did like the book, I found it very infuriating, and I know this is the first one in the series, but I truly wonder what's going to happen in the second given all that was alluded to in the first book.

Five SPOILER things before I leave this. More like musings on the book.
-I wasn't surprised Noah was a ghost. I just wasn't. There were too many peculiar oddities about his character that made me suspicious about his true nature.
-I'm unnerved about Neeve's comment about when seeking a god there are always devils. I think this has to do a lot with the second/third book and probably a wrap up in the fourth. This is the Raven Boy cycle, and I believe cycle implies four.
-What is up with Ronan making a baby Raven? I should repharse, he took the raven out of his dreams. Is this the implication of a wizard as Neeve was implied to be a witch? Or is Ronan Glendower waking up? The Raven is a sign of Glendower, and Ronan is already set up like a king, so I'm not ruling out that Ronan could be Glendower somehow.
-Neeve implied that Blue should learn how to use her other talents, yet Neeve vanished on the ley line at the end of the book. What talents does Blue have to learn how to use? We know she is an amplifier and can make Noah more solid when he appears, but what else could she do? Side note, I really hope she doesn't turn into some weird sort of goddess thing as was slightly hinted at it with the little origin we got about her father.
-Adam became the eyes and hands of who? Adam also is altered somehow, someway. We do not know HOW or HOW this will affect anything. Adam states that the ley line is awake, and Ronan reveals that the trees know a rumor about a king being buried on the spirit road (the spirit road is also known as the ley line, however it's usually referred to as a particular part near an old church where Noah's bones are buried so Noah can be a ghost around them with more ease again, yeah this book is a little trippy) the trees also believe the rumored king could be Gansey's king. BUT WHO IS ADAM NOW THE EYES AND HANDS OF? This could mean that someone (maybe a demon???) is seeing through Adam and Adam is serving as a spy. This could mean that someone (maybe Glendower???) could possess the use of Adam's hands at any time. I DON'T KNOW. WAY TO BE VAGUE AND MYSTERIOUS BOOK. ALL THESE FREAKING BALLS. It's like a ball pit just waiting to erupt. The real story will be revealed in the later books I hope. As long as it doesn't pull a LOST (TV series where the plot doesn't make sense and the characters don't seem to matter, and there is youtube video that sums it up quite nicely) and introduce a lot of things in the first season (book in this case) and then never references the weird things in later seasons (books).

A lot of 'hmm's and skeptical 'aah's indeed. I did like the book though, even if only for the confounding mystery bits.

Happy reading!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Fluffy Dip

Fluffy Dip (left) which I've already enjoyed a bit of.
Strawberry halves (right).
 I have a love of strawberries.

As such, I love dips that I can dunk strawberries into, but I also love to just eat them plain.

My favorite dip is 'Fluffy dip'. I don't know what the real name is, but it's something I've had since I was young. It's a cold, sweet dip.

-7 oz of Jet Puff Marshmallow Creme
-8 oz of Cream Cheese

1. Wash, cut the leaves and unsavory bits off the strawberries off, and then halve the strawberries.
2. Blend marshmallow creme and cream cheese together in a medium sized bowl.
3. Dip strawberries halves.
4. Eat strawberries halves.

It's a pretty easy recipe.

I know a few folks that hollowed out the strawberries instead of halving them and filled them with the dip. I've also seen strawberries left whole and dipped. I just prefer halves because it seems easier to dip and enjoy.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

My Book of Life By Angel

My Book of Life By Angel by Martine Leavitt

Disclaimer: This book is narrated by the main character, Angel, who is a sixteen year old prostitute. If that makes you uncomfortable or perhaps you just don't want to read about it, then please, do not read this review.

Second disclaimer: As far as prostitution goes, there is a lot of implied sex, but mostly the things that are disclosed is that particular client's fetish or desire for what they want Angel to do. It never goes into graphic detail of what's happening to her. It's implied and shows the emotional reaction.

Amazon summary, "When sixteen-year-old Angel meets Call at the mall, he buys her meals and says he loves her, and he gives her some candy that makes her feel like she can fly. Pretty soon she's addicted to his candy, and she moves in with him. As a favor, he asks her to hook up with a couple of friends of his, and then a couple more. Now Angel is stuck working the streets at Hastings and Main, a notorious spot in Vancouver, Canada, where the girls turn tricks until they disappear without a trace, and the authorities don't care. But after her friend Serena disappears, and when Call brings home a girl who is even younger and more vulnerable than her to learn the trade, Angel knows that she and the new girl have got to find a way out." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

This is a heavy book. And by heavy, I mean it weighs on your soul/spirit/thinking being (whatever you like to think of it as). 

The style of writing is unique as it appears on the page like a poem/prose but it doesn't seem to read like it. Then again, isn't the harshest live's full of the most poetry? ...okay, a little philosophical there, so let me back up.

This book is about Angel, a girl who was snuck into prostitution at age sixteen. Before that, her mother died and to fill in the hole of her soul, Angel begins to shoplift the display shoe from stores. So she always has one shoe, but never a pair. I think that was great symbolism to show how unbalanced and off-kilter she became after her mother died, but I digress.

So as time goes on, Angel gets caught and brought back home, repeatedly. Her Father develops a, "What do I do with you?" while he's grieving for her mother (his wife). Angel continues to go to the stores and shoplifts but one day Call sees her and calls her out on it. He claims he won't tell if she'll have a meal with him. They get Chinese food together and they begin to see each other more and more at the stores. Soon, Call has given Angel candy (candy is drugs) and Angel returns to her home high on the candy. Her brother Jeremy (11) enjoys her 'sugar high' and they play together a lot before her father returns home and understands what is truly going on in her blood. He demands she leave until she can clean up her act, and then she falls in with Call.

Call begins to give her up to his friends for pleasure before he has her working the streets as a prostitute.

Through Angel, we encounter a handful of other girls who also work the streets and also the clients who purchase their services. Angel has a very powerful voice that carries through the whole book.

This book was very powerful and kind of heart wrenching.

The tender-hearted beware.

I'm unsure if the style of writing worked for me or not. I do enjoy that we got her voice unfiltered, but I think it could have been accomplished with 'normal' writing as well. However, I was taken aback when I came across only a paragraph or a line on a page. It drove the emotional point home.

SLIGHT SPOILERS BUT THINGS I WANT TO SAY: I think the use of the characters, Serena, Widow, the nameless girl of Asia's, and Melli were interesting in their own right. Serena is Angel's friend, but she disappears one day and doesn't turn up in any of her usual spots. However, as the reader, we only see Serena through Angel's memories and never meet her. However, her presence is quite sharp throughout the book. Widow is a prostitute that works on the same street as Angel and I viewed her as the adult version of Angel; what Angel could turn into if she never got out of the business. Widow doesn't remember her real name, or her mother's name, and it's implied that she doesn't remember a life before the one she has right now. Asia is a pimp alongside Call, and at one point Angel meets this nameless girl and the nameless girl seems clueless, as if she hasn't truly experienced a prostitutes world yet. As if she is willfully ignorant to her place and what goes with it. Then there is Melli, who is only 11 years old that Call picked up from a group home. Angel sees Melli as her own angel and tries to shelter her from the business for as long as she can. To preserve innocence I suppose. But once Melli's innocence is truly shattered, we get to see Melli break. Melli used to play solitaire and always lost but never cheated. After her innocence is shattered, she only holds the cards and does not play with them any longer. Melli also does not speak.

The book is full of such intricate symbolism that I'm finding myself stumbling to dilute the meaning. Perhaps that is the book's charm.

Happy reading!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Just One Day

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

First disclaimer: I've read Gayle Forman's If I Stay and Where She Went which are both very beautiful books. It was in the time before I began this blog *wiggly fingers* so I have not blogged about them. However, come a rainy day and I pick them up again, I'll be sure to blog about them.

Second disclaimer: This is an older, young adult story. It begins with the ending of senior year of high school and the beginnings of college. With that in mind, sex does come up. It's not porn, it's never like, "THEY DID THIS, AND THAT AND OOOO LA LAAAA". No, it just kind of happens in the 'you don't get to see anything but you know it happens' sense. So really, it wasn't that big of a deal. Sex happens. Sex happens with people who are a lot younger than 18. That is all.

So an amazon summary to get over disclaimers, "A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!" AMAZON SUMMARY THAT TEASES ABOUT SEQUEL

On a super side note, and I'm sure this is just because I get a little obnoxious sometimes, and sleep deprived and whatever else that concocts madness, there were several typos in this book. There were a few instances of missing words, and some blatant spelling errors. But again, they were few and far between. HOWEVER, editor/publisher/author/whoever can help the book before the world gets it; be a little more careful? Eh? Than I can be a little less obnoxious. Maybe.


(I've started to replace Batman with anything that could be a religious reference in my speech. Life improvement +1,000.)

My brain is so distracted.

Let's try this again.

So Just One Day is about Allyson or 'Lulu'. Allyson's life has been dictated by her parents, or more specifically her mother since day 1 it seems. Every moment has been mapped out and planned out so she can become a successful doctor. As a graduation present, Allyson's folks sent her on a European tour which her best friend Melanie also goes on. Allyson always goes with the flow except for this one time; she and Melanie sneak away from the tour to see a mysterious boy perform the Twelfth Night in a park. She meets the mysterious boy 'Willem' at breakfast and immediate sparks happen between them. Willem dubs her Lulu and Allyson goes to London with him on a whim; on the eager chance of adventure.

They spend a marvelous day in London doing things that take Lulu's breath away and for once it seems that she's actually lived. They trundle through the city in weird ways with no plans and seem to fly by the seat of their pants. That is until the next morning she wakes up alone without him.

Thus begins her year after him where she fumbles through college and meets a collection of interesting people along the way and truly begins to discover herself outside of the guidelines of her mother.

I really fell in love with this book and I cannot WAIT for the sequel.

I think this is a better book of tackling the awkward transition from high school to college, discovering what friendships really mean, and discovering your own sense of self.

Really awesome read.

Happy reading!

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Freaks by Kieran Larwood

This makes number three. Unreadable.

Alright first, when it has the claim of 'weirdest crime fighters ever', I immediately think of many, many strange superheroes in the DC universe, Marvel Universe, Astro City Comics, and even Dark Horse universe (those were all comic book universes. SO NERDY AM I). So I got pretty stoked about it, especially with the cover and the description. Here's what I'm talking about with the description.

Amazon summary, "Weirdest. Crime Fighters. Ever.

Sheba, the fur-faced Wolfgirl, can sniff out a threat from miles away. Monkeyboy clambers up buildings in the blink of an eye -- then drops deadly stink bombs of his own making (yes, THAT kind)! Sister Moon sees in the dark, and moves at the speed of light. Born with weird abnormalities that make them misfits, these FREAKS spend their nights on public display, trapped in a traveling Victorian sideshow. But during the day, they put their strange talents to use: They solve the most sinister crimes. And in a dank, desperate world of crooks and child-snatchers, they're determined to defend London's most innocent victims: the street urchins disappearing from the city's streets." AMAZON LINK OF LIESSSSS


I made it to page 82 out of 223.

This book had a weird style of writing. By weird, I mean it's clearly intended for children (young adults? It seems like children from the tone) to read, and yet it actually reads like it's for an adult that likes to read children's fiction. There's a difference. I'll elaborate.

In the beginning of the book, Sheba (the Wolfgirl) is introduced to London. So she's telling us everything she's seeing. Alright, that's fine. But what is this? "Soon there were clusters of houses, then small hamlets with their own inns and churches, followed by the junk mountains," (Larwood, page 21, Freaks). They also use 'paupers', 'mudlarks', and other like terms to describe the different type of folk of the city. I don't think that hamlet, pauper, or mudlark are terms that are commonly known to younger adults (or children, damn book). I could be wrong, but even I was a little thrown off by hamlets. I wondered if it was a Shakespeare reference before looking it up and going, "Oooohhh, why not just say villages?" Perhaps it's a period thing. If it is, I would suggest making the voice more like the period.

A lot of the characters in this story seem to be unaffected by the period in which they interact. There's not a lot of racism, prejudice, etc etc in their voices that would reflect the period. They kind of amble around and go like, "Man, I hope we solve this mystery" and nothing happens. (Twenty points if you got that reference.)

Let me begin about Sheba. First of all, she's got amnesia (I am so sick of amnesia characters. OH MAN, I DON'T KNOW MY PAST BEFORE THE BOOK STARTED, I BET THAT WILL COME INTO PLAY WITH THE STORY. HUR DUR HUR). Second of all, she's a Wolfgirl. Let me refer back to my nerdy self knowledge; Wolverine from the Marvel universe. Wolverine has amnesia of sorts depending on where in the timeline you read Marvel universe comics, and he's 'WOLVERINE'. Wolverine has supreme animal-like senses, a wicked healing ability, and enhanced physical capabilities. He's also got wicked claws and had adamantium bonded to his skeleton (and claw things). WOLVERINE WIKI, EDUMACATION STARTS WITH WIKI AND LEADS ELSEWHERE
Anyways, let me draw some more similarities between Sheba and Wolverine. Sheba has nails that look a little more like claws, small sharp teeth, and when she's frightened/angry/excited, her nose puckers into a snout (which I really question where she gets the extra flesh/muscles/skin etc to make a snout), her eyes flash, her skin bristles, and she growls. Wolverine has claws, has fangs, and definitely snarls/growls etc when he's angry.
So when I was reading this I got really annoyed. I found myself muttering, "She's the female Wolverine; she's a child, has been tweaked slightly to suit the authors needs and probably to avoid copyright infringement, but she's a female Wolverine." I didn't get far enough into the book to find out if her amnesia gets cured, or if she has healing factors, or blah blah blah.

Moving on.

So the book introduces us to other freaks and I'm sure they're fascinating as all get out as well, but they're 'shrouded in mystery' *wiggly fingers*. There's a point of suspense, and there's a point of annoyance. This is annoying. Yes, the book does deliver the physical description of the characters to a point, but it doesn't reveal their past lives much and seems to want to work into a 'appearances aren't everything, it's the personality that counts' but, it wandered around this idea a lot. I'm not entirely convinced that they're anywhere near as important as Sheba, hence me ignoring them.

So Sheba is part of a Freak show and is bought by another Freak show (nothing says victimizing characters like slavery!) and taken to London with all the other Freaks. There she begins to 'act' in the Freak show when a little girl named Til comes in, isn't scared of her but more in awe, gives her a marble and runs (as she snuck into the show). The perspective follows Til for a chapter to discover that she was a mudlark and as she was picking through the mud, some large red tentacle pulled her down into the mud. THUS THE MYSTERY BEGINS.

And my interest was done.

It went all scooby doo (Scooby Doo I would say is represented by the two-headed lamb), and seeing as I was already over a third of the way through the book and they weren't fighting crime yet, I'm done.

There just wasn't a whole lot happening to hold my interest, and yes they did kind of lead bits and pieces of clues here and there (like Sheba being very curious about an exhibit) that would probably lead to a big reveal, but alas, I find myself uncaring.

Unreadable number three.

Happy reading.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Anatomy of a Single Girl

Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky

I have TWO disclaimers for this book! TITILLATING ISN'T IT?

First disclaimer: I didn't fully comprehend this is a sequel to Anatomy of a Boyfriend and gleefully read this book anyways. I probably missed out on some quality character building time and coming of age confidence, but I think the second book hinted and covered a lot of what transpired in the first book that I feel comfortable not reading it.

Second disclaimer: In case you couldn't tell by the title or the book cover, this book does have sex in it. Sex as a topic, sex as a scene, and ways to be safe about sex. If that makes you uncomfortable, read no further. However, I would say that the sex scenes are reduced to simply stating they had sex, where they had it, and very mundane details. It's not anywhere near a pornographic novel, but it more refers to sex like talking about the weather; it's there, everyone is familiar with the weather, but no one needs to discuss it in detail to know exactly what the weather is. So if that doesn't dissuade you, carry on.

Now, to the amazon summary so you can have a more depicted picture of what you're getting into, "With Judy Blume-like honesty and insight, this sequel to Anatomy of a Boyfriend is about life after first love--romance, sex, friendship, family, and the ups and downs of life as a single girl.

After everything that happened—my first boyfriend, my first time, my first breakup—jumping back into the dating game seemed like the least healthy thing I could do. It’s not that I didn’t want to fall in love again, since that’s about the best feeling ever. But as a busy college premed still raw from heartbreak, which is the worst feeling ever, I figured I’d lie low for a while. Of course, as soon as I stopped looking for someone, an impossibly amazing—and devastatingly cute—guy came along, and I learned that having a new boyfriend is the quickest way to recover from losing your old one.    The moment we got together, all my preconceptions about romance and sex were turned upside down. I discovered physical and emotional firsts I never knew existed. I learned to let go of my past by living in the present. It was thrilling. It was hot. It was just what the doctor ordered.   But I couldn’t avoid my future forever.   In Daria Snadowsky’s daring follow-up to Anatomy of a Boyfriend, eighteen-year-old Dominique explores the relationship between love and lust, and the friendships that see us through." AMAZON LINK OF DRAMATIC NOISES

So Dom, Dominque, whichever you like better isn't exactly the most charming of narrators. I gathered based on context clues that her first relationship she liked because she was in love and sought to strengthen that through sex. In the end, when they went off to college, it seems that they broke up and Dom was super heart broken about it. There are a lot of words in this book that seem to 'over-emphasize' what happened; just as a heads up.

So Dom has returned home for the summer in kind of an inner turmoil of lamenting about her dead relationship, trying to enjoy her friendship with Amy, and of course bumping into Guy. Guy just so happens to be smart, handsome, and completely at ease with himself. Good thing she bumped into him in a hospital.


I'm actually not going to spend time summarizing this book because it would just be one 'girly' situation to the next.

HOWEVER, the 'girly' situations are well thought out as we see Dom's initial reaction, how she works through it, and what she decides on (all reasoning seems sound most of the time, other times it is irrational and she DOES admit to it).

It is a good exploration into the quest of sex-ships versus relationships and while it does take place for a college freshman soon to be college sophomore, I think there is a lot that sexually budding teenagers could relate to. There's another HOWEVER here, I don't think the book really encourages sex. It just enlightens the possibilities of what is, what could be, and seems to generate a carpe diem attitude. AND ALSO HOW TO BE SAFE. YAY SAFETY!!!

Also, there's a particular moment I laughed at; when Dom manages to hit Guy's man tackle with a plate (on accident). Goodness gracious.

This book isn't particularly full of laughs, but it is charming and is a bumpy exploration book.

I do like how it leaves without a resolute ending because hopefully, at such a young age, life isn't going to end.


Personal growth, better understanding of self, better understanding of relationships, and all kind of meshed into this book.

Happy reading!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Monstrous Beauty

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama 

An amazon summary, "Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences. Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean - but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago." AMAZON LINK OF WEIRD

So that summary wasn't half bad, although I draw severe issue with the line, "When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences." It's not her decision to be on land that comes with horrific and deadly consequences that she's unaware of, she's totally aware of the crap she had to do just to be on land. All of the other stuff is simply a result of humans.


So the book begins with Hester being in crush (I'm not going to call it love, I'd settle for unrequited love) with her friend Peter, and they have a very cute friendship. Hester is hung up on not being in love or being with someone due to the genetic craziness in her family. Her mother died giving birth to her, her grandmother died giving birth to her mother, and her great grandmother died giving birth to her mother, etc etc. It's not a determined medical complication or anything like that, it just appears that the mom's start to waste away once the child is born.


So Hester goes about her life trying not to get close to anyone to prevent herself from falling in love, etc. She winds up at a party due to Peter and wanders off to the beach to a cave where a dude from the party tries to hit on her but a mysterious man saves her and Hester wanders away safely with no idea who her savior is.

The neat thing about this book is that is flashes back and forth between Hester and Syrenka. Syrenka is a mermaid (No, not like The Little Mermaid) that longs to be on land with Ezra. Syrenka's parts happen in the 1870's area. In the prologue of the book there's a scene of Syrenka falling in love with a human man a long time ago (Mermaids are immortal) and accidentally drowns him before falling to anguish. So Syrenka became more careful about the humans she has encounters with and Ezra kind of happens upon her (and she on him). So they start a love story.

Meanwhile Hester is trying to figure out her medical issues and having little 'rules' that will help in her current life to prevent misfortune. However, she begins to wonder about a curse that appears to happen in the little historical church of her town. It turns out that Hester is a bit of a history buff and does her research at the library (like a badass) and the mystery starts to slowly reveal itself.

The story itself is pretty neat and I picked out some quotes this time to highlight particular parts or phrases I enjoyed.

"She should have remembered this from her school assignments: the only way to look anything up on microform, other than educated guessing or browsing, was to know the exact date of the event you were searching for," (Fama, page 79, Monstrous Beauty). This happens in the middle of her doing research at the library, so I probably more enjoyed this for the simple geek factor AND willing to put in time and effort into something worth knowing. Yay for not solely relying on Google! WHOO! INTELLIGENCE!

So we already know that Hester's family has a long line of female's giving birth to females and then promptly dying for unknown reasons. I found this quote beautiful as Hester really delves into that situation, "She cried for Malcolm [her father] and her grandfather for losing Susan [Hester's mother], for Susan for losing her entire future, and for Nancy [Hester's step-mom], who filled another woman's shoes with such grace," (Fama, page 100, Monstrous Beauty). That entire sentiment really shows Hester's passionate nature where with a closer look at the book, she may seem to operate and make decisions based on logic, intelligence, etc; but those decisions are often prompted by an emotional reaction. I think that Hester has the right affection for her step-mom and I'm terribly glad that this seemed to be another book where the mother dies, the mother figure is still present with Nancy. She might not be the biological mother, but she is the mother that Hester knows.

Okay, one last quote and I'll be done here. I just found this silly/adorable and a good characterization of Hester and Peter's relationship. To preface this conversation, being a history buff, Hester works at a re-enactment area where they bring the old Plymouth to life for tourists (Yes, the original Plymouth of America).  "[Hester] 'I'm way too tired to change. I'll just be a dork for another fifteen minutes.' He [Peter] patted her head. 'You're not a dork, you're adorkable,'" (Fama, page 108, Monstrous Beauty).

Final thoughts on the book. It was one of the more likable mermaid tales I've read simply because it ran as far away from The Little Mermaid as it could (within reason, I mean they have to be half-fish people to be mermaids). It wasn't the best thing I've read as I got mildly annoyed with the character as I kept figuring things out WAYYY before she did, but I thought it had a lot of good fantasy and mystery elements to it. Towards the end got a little weird, but it did wrap up well-enough.

Happy reading!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Level 2

Level 2: Book 1 of the Memory Chronicles by Lenore Applehans

An amazon summary before I expose how far I read and why I CANNOT FINISH THIS CURSED TEXT, "In this gripping exploration of a futuristic afterlife, a teen discovers that death is just the beginning.
Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost—family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.
Then a girl in a neighboring chamber is found dead, and nobody but Felicia recalls that she existed in the first place. When Julian—a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life—comes to offer Felicia a way out, Felicia learns the truth: If she joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, she can be with Neil again.
Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself at the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind." AMAZON SUMMARY OF NOOOO

I'm going to clarify something.

I read books for fun at this stage in my life. I no longer have to read Heart of Darkness or The Grapes of Wrath or any mandatory educational texts.

As such, I feel no qualms in putting down a book that has quite literally given me a headache.

This, this book is atrocious. And here's why.

1) I gave this book an overly fair chance to DO something. I read to page 188 and then calmly set the book down before seeking out some Tylenol. Then sentence, "A wave of psychological nausea pounds me into submission," just made me STOP and will my brain into a safer place of remembering the awesome of Seraphina (Page 188, Level 2, Applehans).
2) The book is only 281 pages, I am less than 100 pages from the end and nothing quite makes sense still. NOTHING. They keep quipping random 'history' and memories of this TRAGIC GIRL (like bloo hoo hoo everywhere) and again, brain hurt.

So this is what I've learned in the 188 pages that I read.

There's a girl named Felicia and she's dead (and we don't know how, even at page 188) and she's in some sort of Limbo area. It's referred to as Level 2 periodically because it's one step after death (I think). So they spend their time reliving their memories and accessing other people's memories for credits (like a giant Facebook but with memories) and it really sounds like the Matrix on religion.

Oh yeah, they have these awesome [/sarcasm] little religious gems tucked in everywhere. The book expects you (the reader) to be familiar with the Christian faith. As such, you're also supposed to believe in the Greek mythology of the five different rivers of the Underworld. The book also wants you to think it's totally cool that it's trying to immerse you in a religious matrix where the guardians of the matrix are upset with God for making them work in the Matrix. They explained it as there are the angels who were opposed to God creating humans went to hell, the angels that gave unwavering support to God got to hang out in heaven (like cool kids), and then the 'luke-warm' angels (I'm not kidding they actually say luke-warm) were sent to monitor Level 2. Which is limbo? They make it seem like Limbo, it's basically full of people who need to come to terms with their life and death and then get to Heaven.

Now the angels who are in Level 2 are eventually referred to as the Morati (which suspiciously reminded me of Moriarty like the Sherlock Holmes villain, no I don't think there's a connection there but I got absurdly hopeful). The Morati are super upset that God put them there and are using the HUMANS AS BATTERIES TO AMASS POWER TO FIGHT GOD. Over half of that was the premise of the Matrix. On page 123, the main character Felicia thinks, "It sounds like something straight out of The Matrix." HUR HUR HUR.

So the world of Level 2 is basically a giant space of bee hive looking things. Inside the bee hives each person has their own memory interface or 'cell' and there's not a lot of common space to hang out in. There are roads that connect all the different bee hives. That's all I got for you.

Now Felicia is too dumb to live. At the beginning she's like, "Man, this limbo weird world sucks, but I'm tired so I'm going to go relive more memories. LOL. I HAVE A TORMENTED PAST. WEIRD ALLUSIONS TO THINGS. Also, I might be a hacker." Felicia gets 'rescued' by another character who she hate/loves/hate/hate/hate/is deeply attracted to/loves/HATE can't make up her mind about. His name is Julian and he's drop dead gorgeous and blah blah blah. He's less annoying than Felicia, but still pretty annoying.

The book has given me no reason to care about Felicia because she's gaga in love with Neil and has allegedly done something horribly tragic that she can never think about so we (the readers) have no idea what she's done.

I just don't care. I don't care.

This paragraph really made me gag, "[Neil just called her pretty] It catches me so off guard, a hot blush blooms in my chest and rapidly spreads up my neck and across my face. I know I'm attractive, physically at least. Plenty of people have told me that through the years. Little does Neil know how ugly I am on the inside. He can't see the scars," (Level 2, page 131, Applehans). OH GOD, I KNOW I'M PRETTY, BUT IT'S SO DIFFERENT WHEN NEIL TELLS ME, BUT HE WOULDN'T LIKE ME IF HE KNEW MY DEEP DARKEST SECRET OH GOD PASTTTTT. I just brain vomit at that.

Felicia herself is completely irrational when she decides to do something and then a male character quips some logic into her plan, she miraculously reconsiders and decides to do something more reasonable. It's always a male character that rationalizes her too, as if all female characters cannot have a mind to think for themselves and are only obsessed with flirting/love/painting nails.

So things happen, it's revealed that in Level 2 if you get unhooked from the system you can start performing matter manipulation which sounds kind of cool but then she is able to do it, makes real clothes for herself, and then proceeds to use her ability to paint her nails.

I'm just done. This book is unreadable.

That makes two.

I'm really glad I had some Tylenol.

Happy reading.

Edit: DISCLAIMER. I didn't like this book because the writing was horrible and the bringing together of the composition was terrible, the characters were utterly unlikable, and nothing exciting happened.

HOWEVER, I do not take issue with the 'Christian' content of the book, I find it interesting when authors try to use Christian concepts and themes in their books. That never discourages me from reading a book. However, if you write a horrible book, I'm not going to like it regardless if it has Christian themes or not. If you write a horrible book that has any other religious based content in it, I'm not going to like it. If you write a horrible book about murder, rape, mystery, science fiction, or any other genre or 'touchy topic', I'm not going to like it.

If you write a horrible book, I'm not going to like it.

That's the end line.


If you don't like what I blog about, guess what? YOU DON'T HAVE TO READ IT.

The internet is this marvelous thing where you (THE USER, YES YOU) get to pick and chose EXACTLY what you view.

Don't like what I have to say? YOU DON'T HAVE TO READ IT.

Close the window. Go enjoy something you do like. IT'S OKAY.

Oh my goodness. Calm down.

Have a nice whatever time of day your are viewing this.

Happy reading.