Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Summary from Goodreads:

You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.

Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?

Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery... who makes you want to kiss back.

Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

Blending faded decadence and the thrilling dread of gothic horror, April Genevieve Tucholke weaves a dreamy, twisting contemporary romance, as gorgeously told as it is terrifying—a debut to watch

My thoughts:

For awhile I have been trying to find that perfect horror read. When I first saw the cover and read the summary of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, I was instantly sold. I couldn't wait to be immersed in this gothic town where eerie things happen. Turns out it's your everyday teenage drama book with a miniscule amount of horror.

Not that this was a necessarily bad thing. I just wanted to experience the thrilling dread that was talked about in the summary of this book. Instead, the book has River who is constantly "grinning crookedly, or flashing a "wicked smile". This must be Edward Cullen's long lost brother! Seriously, you can't escape this. It's even in the summary from the book! I knew that should have been my first indicator to stay away from this. Another thing is River has to weird power called a "glow" His grandfather also has a power, his is a bit different and is called a "burn". The glow makes people see things, hallucinations of all sorts. River tends to use it for evil purposes. Such as making kids believe they just saw the devil or to have them commit suicide. Also the glow has a soothing effect on people, so you are able to have them do whatever you want. The only catch River has in using the glow is that he must have physical contact for it to work.

I don't know what to make of Vi. I liked how she wore her grandmother's clothes. Every time I pictured her I imagined her as a girl plucked out from a different era. She doesn't seem to do much with her life except read books and hang out with her friend Sunshine and brother. Things change when she meets River. Almost immediately Vi falls in love with him. (Of course she does! How could she not resist his "crooked smile".) Vi begins to unravel the mystery that is River. She realizes he has lied to her countless of times, and used his glow on her to seduce and almost rape her. WTF!!! Knowing all of this she STILL wants to be with him. Oh Vi you fail to realize you are being manipulated by him!

Characters I found likeable were Neely and Jack. Neely has no powers but he expresses his anger physically a lot. Compared to River he is practically a saint. I felt bad for the guy he constantly has to fix his brother's messes. The book was trying to set the stage for a future love triangle between Vi, River, and Neely. I wasn't seeing it though. Vi is too in wuv with River to barely even notice Neely half the time. Jack is one of the little kids River terrified with the vision of the devil. In my opinion his scenes in the book outshines Vi's. Would of rather had more scenes with Jack than River and Vi's romance ones.

Plot wise it wasn't all that bad except I didn't feel scared or the horror that was intended for this book. Only some 30 pages worth of some horror, but that was it. I kind of feel cheated in way because I wanted to read that something that scares you beyond belief. Too bad it wasn't this.

Rating: C

Book trailer for Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

Summary from Goodreads: 

In this fable, the first man on earth to count the hours becomes Father Time. The inventor of the world's first clock is punished for trying to measure God's greatest gift. He is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years. Eventually, with his soul nearly broken, Father Time is granted his freedom, along with a magical hourglass and a mission: a chance to redeem himself by teaching two earthly people the true meaning of time.

He returns to our world--now dominated by the hour-counting he so innocently began--and commences a journey with two unlikely partners: one a teenage girl who is about to give up on life, the other a wealthy old businessman who wants to live forever. To save himself, he must save them both. And stop the world to do so.

My thoughts: 

I didn't expect the Time Keeper to be such a downer of a book. Sometimes I contemplated whether or not to finish the book because many parts were depressing. I did finish the book, and I'm truly glad I kept on reading. 

In the story we learn about Dor (the Time keeper) the first person to begin measuring time, Victor (a rich elderly man who wants to be immortal), and Sarah (who wants to die after her crush rejects her). As I'm reading the book I'm wondering how are these three stories being told relate to one another. Later on in the book everything comes together on how and why their lives are intertwined. 

I was on an emotional rollercoaster while reading this. Practically in tears by the end! Even though it was a tearful read for me, I liked how it ended on a happy note.

Rating: B 

Unoffical book trailer for The Time Keeper

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Summary from Goodreads:

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.
I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish.

My thoughts:

Expecting zombies in Wonderland with Alice in Zombieland? Think again! I was expecting this to be a retelling of Wonderland with plenty of zombie bashing. After reading this book, I have to say the title misled readers to believe it revolved around the Wonderland world. Even though it barely has any aspects of Wonderland in the book, it wasn't that bad.

So our main character Alice has always lived a very sheltered life. No dating, sleepovers, etc. All because her dad believes that monsters lurk out at night waiting to eat them. Alice has never believed her father, and has always thought he was mentally unstable. The one night she finally manages to get her family out of the house, is the night everything falls apart. The monsters she never believed in gruesomely took the life of her family members.

Alice's life is turned upside down. She now lives with her grandparents and goes to a new school. On her first day her new friend, Kat, introduces Alice to the most popular clique in school. They are notorious for being bullies around the school and have a bad rep. Makes me wonder how the hell they became so popular. I guess they must have bullied there way to the top. The leader of the clique is Cole. When Alice first looks at Cole, she has this vision of the two of them making out. It was insta-love from there sadly. Typical intense attraction for each other with barely any buildup. The thing is I liked both of them together, but the insta-love made it so predictable.

Zombies are not your typical zombies in this book. According to Cole and his rag-tag zombie fighting team you can only kill the zombies in the spirit realm. Once in the spirit realm you shouldn't speak because it has the ability to make things actually happen. As Cole explained, "So, if you say something like, 'This zombie is killing me,' and you're convinced that he is, in fact, killing you, he absolutely will succeed in killing you, and there will be nothing more you can do to stop him.". Also in the spirit world one can bring weapons along, but it doesn't kill the zombies. It only disables them or slows them down.. To eliminate a zombie in the spirit world, one must truly believe that they can defeat a zombie. When a person has the will to kill a zombie, a glow emanates from the hand. If you get bitten by a zombie, there is an antidote that has to be used within an hour. Interesting ideas on how zombies were presented in the book, but at times I found it all too complex. I missed the traditional elements of zombies lore throughout the book. Classic ideas such as zombies shouldn't be tampered with much. I think it should stick more to the original ideas. That's just me though.

This was not Alice in the world of Wonderland killing zombies. Even though, that would have been awesome if the author did go that route. I still found some moments where I was rooting for Alice and her friends to overcome the zombies. Other than that it's your typical insta-love story that's pretty much everywhere.

Rating: C

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Waking

Summary from Goodreads:

From the writer of Zenescope's smash hit Wonderland trilogy and Image Comics' The Gift comes Raven Gregory's newest tale of horror! In the big city, police detectives investigating routine murders discover that the victims of these crimes are coming back from the dead in search of those responsible for ending their lives. Now the detectives are in a race against time to find the source of the recent "wakings" before the victims deal out their own brand of bloody justice. Meanwhile, a father with an incredible ability must choose between avenging his daughter's death - or losing her forever!

My thoughts: 

The Waking goes beyond the typical zombie horror plot everyone knows about. Yes, we all know that zombies kill for practically no other purpose than to eat human flesh. It's refreshing to read a comic series such as the Waking, that strays away from the stereotypical zombie themes.

The four detectives in the story play a pivotal role in discovering the zombies. I loved the funny and witty dialogue the detectives had. It gave the story some levity. The detectives begin to unearth some truths about why zombies are rising. Complicated decisions are made, and life for all of them are changed with the aftermath.

I was actually rooting for the zombies this time around. It's not like the zombies were targeting random people. They were exacting there revenge on the person that murdered them. Once they killed off the person responsible, they ceased to exist. Even the detectives in the story were questioning whether or not the zombies were doing the right thing.

Tons of gore with some nudity here and there. Don't let this sidetrack you though! The Waking's unique take and compelling story will definitely win zombie fans over.

Rating: A

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Allegra by Shelley Hrdlitschka

AllegraSummary from Goodreads:

Allegra thinks being at a performing-arts high school will change her life and make her a better dancer. But high school is still high school, complete with cliques, competition and cruelty. Allegra's refuge comes in the form of a class she doesn't want to take--music theory, taught by a very young, very attractive male teacher. Soon all Allegra can think about is music composition--and Mr. Rochelli. But has she misunderstood his attention, or is he really her soul mate?


My thoughts:

I was very hesitant to begin reading this book. The whole student/teacher romance was something I personally didn't want to read. After finishing the book, I realized the book doesn't go there. It focuses  mostly on music, dance, and teenage confusion. 

I didn't know what to think of Allegra at first. Throughout the first couple chapters she was extremely judgmental towards others and demanding. She threw a hissy fit when her teacher Mr. Rochelli decides not to sign her drop papers. Even worse she forged the papers to get out of his class. He was kind enough to say he signed the release form, but then changed his mind. Allegra wasn't even gracious enough to say thank you for the save. I swear at times I wished someone would just put her in place!

As I continued through the book, I realized Allegra has social anxiety. She puts up a wall with people and is reluctant to let them in. I finally understood why she acted the way she did. 

Starting out in a new school gave Allegra the perfect opportunity to make friends. She meets Talia, Spencer, Molly, and Sophie. Once they find out Allegra's dad is a part of the band called Loose Ends, they want to meet him. I was uncertain if they truly wanted to be her friend or not. Sometimes it seemed they only cared about her father's band practices and autographs.
Allegra finds out her parents are separating. The comfort of making music with Mr. Rochelli makes her forgot about her home life. She able to confide to him about her home troubles. He even tells her about his own problems of how his mother died a year ago. Instead of the student/teacher relationship they had earlier in the year, it blossoms into a friendship. She interprets this wrongly and thinks that he might be in love with her. He makes it clear immediately to her of how she is his student and he is her teacher. Ultimately, her "friends" find out about the relationship Allegra and Mr. Rochelli have been having. They jump to the conclusion of it being more than friends. Allegra denies it, but they think otherwise. Everything spirals out of control for both of them.

The book almost had me in tears the last couple chapters. I wasn't expecting everything to unravel the way it did. Despite the lives of both Allegra and Mr. Rochelli being changed forever, the book does end on a fairly happy note.

Quote from book: 
"The pain is not so bad when someone else gets it. Part of me even wants to embrace the pain and remember those magical moments of composing, when the surge of music swept through is, intangible until the notes were on the page and then brought to life through the combination of instruments."

Rating: A

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ultimate Comics X-Men #29

Kitty Pryde vs. Jean Grey! Both ladies have there own views of how the mutant society should live. In the last issue Kitty confronted Jean and told her Utopia (Kitty's safe haven for mutants) was not joining the mutant sanctuary called Tian. This opened up a can of worms leading us to World War X. (Spoilers below!)

James' sick of feeling like he is Kitty's shadow. He doesn't agree with her ideas or her vision anymore. The two of them have an awkward talk about the situation. By the end of the conversation, Jimmy makes it clear he is going to be on his own.

Colossus is alive and has made it to Utopia. He spots Storm and Blackheath embracing each other. He doesn't look to pleased about this.

Nomi's sitting in the wildlife of the sentient seed writing, when a huge barrel with a bomb attached to it detonates. Luckily, Nomi survived the attack. The sentient seed the mutants live in didn't fare so well. Most of the area is now unlivable. The culprit of the attack happens to be Farbird (Jean Grey's follower and believer of Tian) Nomi pulled him from the sky, and the remaining life the sentient side has entangles him. Kitty and the other mutants seek answers from Farbird, but he is not budging.

Meanwhile conflict arises between Jean Grey's war council and Jean Grey. The war council doesn't believe it is necessary to have a war with Utopia. They tell her how this was not a part of the mission of peace. Jean has other plans that don't involve peace and shows them the top secret soldiers.

Storm's outside patrolling the Utopia lands when she sees the top secret soldiers. She doesn't last long when she confronts them. They slam her to the ground leaving her fighting for her life. Colossus comes to her aid and smashes the soldier against a tree. She quickly goes to warn the others of the attack while Colossus stays back to defend Utopia against the soldiers.

A meditative Kitty is contemplating why everything is happening to her beloved Utopia. All of a sudden she hears that Utopia is being invaded. In that moment she wonders where James could be. Shockingly, James is in Tian bowing down to Jean, and maybe pledging his allegiance to her too.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this month's issue a lot. So much going on, yet it all fit together wonderfully. James' betrayal of Utopia totally came at a shock to me. I know he has his own beliefs and sometimes disagreed with Kitty. Still I wasn't expecting him to be bowing to Jean! I'm predicting this is all part of a plan to take down Tian secretly.

Jean makes it seem that Tian is all awesome and perfect. It's the complete opposite! Her own followers are not even agreeing to this war that she is starting. Her downfall could potentially be by her own people.

Such a strong issue with surprising plot twists and of course the return of Colossus. Kitty doubting her own ideals of violence wasn't expected either. Normally she is positive on her stance of no violence. I think Kitty might give the violence thing more thought after the latest attack from Jean.

Rating: B+

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Catwoman #22

Last month's issue of Catwoman was beyond disappointing. It was a bore and chore to read. I never really cared much for Rat Tail and was happy to see him fall through the sinkhole to his death. This month's issue Catwoman is on a mission to rescue Rat Tail. Ugh, just when I thought he was a goner. Why Catwoman? Why! (Lots of spoilers ahead!)

Catwoman mourns Rat Tail's death as she watches cement being poured in the sinkhole he fell through. She thinks that Rat Tail could possibly be alive down there. Before she begins her journey underground, Catwoman has help from Alice Tesla. Alice has a bunch of devices and equipment to aid her survival. It doesn't come without a price. Alice asks Catwoman to steal a diamond from a funeral home, and test out the GPS on her way there. When she gets there a security guard ambushes her. Catwoman has the upper-hand in the battle, forcing the guard to give her the information on the whereabouts of the diamond. Alice gives Catwoman the items necessary for the trip in exchange for the diamond. Catwoman is now under Arkham trying to find which direction Rat Tail might be located. Caught off guard, she becomes captured by the people living underground.The leader of the tribe, Dr. Phosphorus, starts to question Catwoman. She doesn't even let him finish before she starts pummeling him. Underestimated by Dr. Phosphorus, Catwoman is forced into a deal. She's to spy on the other faction called the Warhogs, and make a trade with them. The trade consisting of goat, silver, and his......daughter?! It's a done deal as long as they agree to find Rat Tail.

I loved the Catwoman series when it first began. Not so much anymore. Especially, the last couple issues with Rat Tail. Never cared or liked his character. When I thought the whole Rat Tail plot line was over, I was hopeful the series would get back to what it was when it started. Wishful thinking of me to think that though. It just keeps getting worse. Seriously, the dude fell hundreds of feet below the earth and Catwoman thinks he might be alive! Where is the logic in that??!!

One thing that irked me was the brief return of Gwen and Trip. This guy Trip comes off as a total a-hole. Gwen's telling him about how she betrayed Catwoman. All of a sudden this guy flips out, punches a punching bag, and says "That's what I want to do to your pretty head.". Gwen doesn't even seemed fazed by it! I just don't get it.

There are some things I did like. The cat that she dubbed ugly is her sort of side kick. He follows her around in the grounds of Arkham. I thought that was a fun detail added into the comic. Also the addition of a new character, Alice Tesla. She is tech savvy and insanely intelligent. Catwoman this issue would have been
 screwed without her help.

So what has happened to the Catwoman that we all know and love? It's like she has been replaced by an awful Bizarro version. I don't even know what to expect next month. Such a shame because I was loving Catwoman early on. 

Rating: D+