Thursday, July 29, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday # 2

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted over at breakingthespine.

This week, I'm waiting on Mockingjay, the (sure to be amazing) third book of the Hunger Games triology by Suzanne Collins. Ever since I finished Catching Fire, I have been waiting to read the third book. And it's release is coming so soon.

Here's the synopsis from Barnes and Noble:

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12.

It sounds absolutely amazing. I cannot wait. There's also a book that I've seen floating around a couple blogs I watch called Forsaken by Jana Oliver. Like my pick from last week, I'm hoping to see a good angel/demon type of novel. I'm not a huge fan of love triangles, but we'll see how it's played out.

Riley has always wanted to be a Demon Trapper like her father, and she's already following in his footsteps as one of the best. But it's tough being the only girl in an all-guy world, especially when three of those guys start making her life more complicated: Simon, the angelic apprentice who has heaven on his side; Beck, the tough trapper who thinks he's God's gift, and Ori, the strikingly sexy stranger who keeps turning up to save her ass. One thing's for sure - if she doesn't keep her wits about her there'll be hell to pay...

Plus, I think the cover to Forsaken is pretty gorgeous.

Night Shift by: Lilith Saintcrow


Not everyone can take on the things that go bump in the night.

Not everyone tries.

But Jill Kismet is not just anyone.

She’s a hunter, trained by the best--and in over her head.

Welcome to the night shift…
[found at]

I came across the Jill Kismet series on a whim one day at my local Barnes and Noble. The premise of the story seemed really cool and it seemed like I was going to get an edgy, gritty urban fantasy novel, so I purchased the novel.

So, when I finally picked up the book this past week, I was pretty pumped to read it.

My hopes of this being the next dark, edgy urban fantasy find of mine were quickly squashed. In a brutal, bloody way.

There were good parts to this novel but there were equally bad parts, also. I’ll start off with the bad first.

First of all, Jill was like the mash-up of everything people assume these urban fantasy hunter characters should be. She wore a long trench leather coat (cliché), wore leather pants (for the reasons much like Kim Harrison’s main character Rachael), hated herself, constantly reminded people around her that the only way to stay sane in this clearly insane world was to booze it up and sleep around, hated herself, and had a cool car.

Jill annoyed the ever-living daylights out of me. Between her constant whining about herself and the “vulnerability” the author tried to give her, it made it really hard for me to like her. I’ve seen the self-hating hunter main character many a time. I was hoping to get a badass chick who didn’t hate herself for a change.

Besides, what badass chick says “frocking” when she so clearly has said fucking in the novel? There were other major out of character moments in this novel. Like, who says their knife “left [their] hand with a glitter” (157)? What does that even mean? And on page 311, after an entire book where Jill is sort of talking to the reader but not really, she pulls this, “And I don’t want to talk about that anymore” out of her hat. I think that’s a huge no-no and something that should’ve been caught by someone along the editing process.

There were some things just straight up annoyed me, like the silver charms in her hair always tinkling. Every other page the charms were tinkling away in her hair. And why were they there anyway? I mean, I think Saintcrow’s reasoning was that Jill’s mentor (more on him in a minute) gave her the charms and she just tied them in her hair. Why? That’s a reasoning I would really love to have, because it just doesn’t make sense to me. And then Saul starts doing it, for reasons unbeknownst to me.

Now, I could not get the image of Mr. Miyagi out of my head whenever Jill mentioned her mentor. I don’t know why, especially because the teacher was Russian. I just couldn’t. Except he was everything I would never want Mr. Miyagi to be. Apparently he beat Jill (to make her stronger, of course) and then talked her into this whole having a hell breed mark her for reasons that weren’t stated. With Jill’s past (she was an abused prostitute, which I think the author just threw in there to make her seem more vulnerable) I could easily see why she would be stupid enough to just trust what her teacher was saying instead of rationally thinking about the huge mistake she might be making by having herself marked. But I still wanted to know why he wanted her to have it done. And I want Jill to wake up and realize she was in a hell of an abusive relationship with this guy. He seemed like a grade A douche.

I also really hated how the glossary was in the back of the book, because right away these words were thrown at me and I had no clue what they meant and it wasn’t until I paged through the book and saw the glossary that I knew what they meant. I think it’s the Black Daggerhood books where the glossary is in the front. That’s a hell of a lot more helpful. But that could just be a personal thing.

Now, there were some good parts. Some. Not a lot. But some. I think the gore in this was well written. I thought that aspect was good. There was plenty of blood and guts and disgusting images. Which was cool, because you don’t get a lot of that sometimes in urban fantasy novels. I also loved Perry. I thought he was awesome. I want to know more about him. Hell, I want a book in his POV. He was deliciously evil, who apparently just makes Jill beat him to a bloody pulp as payment for being marked. That doesn’t sound like too bad of a trade-off to me. Supernatural abilities and the only payment is beating the crap out of the ‘breed that did it to you? Okay, sure. Could be worse. In short, I think Perry stole every scene in the book he was in and I’d love to see more of him.

I also liked Saul. Once I got past the whole domestic werewolf thing (I kept imagining a big strong werewolf with a pink apron on), I started to like him. Sure, he’s clingy and possessive of Jill for no reasons that are stated, but he’s sweet. I’d like to know more about him. And I liked Harper and Dom.

So, overall, I don’t think it was a strong start to a series. There were a lot of cliché urban fantasy moments, a whiny bordering on pathetic at times main character, and a lot that wasn’t explained to the reader. But there were some parts that might be enough for me to check out the second book. I haven’t decided yet.

Overall rating: 4/10

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Alice In Wonderland: Movie Review

Alice in Wonderland
Directed by: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter

I liked this movie. It wasn’t the best Tim Burton film, but I thought his vision of Through The Looking Glass was pretty damn cool. Wonderland looked awesome and I thought the costumes looked great.

Mia did a pretty good job as Alice, though she was a little bland at times. Johnny was wonderful as the Mad Hatter (though his Scottish brogue got to be a bit much), and I loved the Cheshire Cat. He’s always been my favorite character, and I thought he looked fantastic and Stephen Fry did great. Alan Rickman as the caterpillar was cool. And Helena made me laugh with her portrayal of the Red Queen.

The plot was pretty decent. I liked how it was about Alice’s journey in trying to find her name and who she really was. I think a lot of people can relate to that journey.

I thought the settings and how everything looked was really well done. I liked the overall atmosphere of the movie and how all the characters looked. Some were outlandish (like the Red Queen's big head) but it just works.

Definitely a movie I would rewatch. It wasn’t drop dead amazing, but it was well done.

Overall Rating: 7/10

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sherlock Holmes: Movie Review

Sherlock Holmes
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Robert Downing Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong

Oh, Robert Downing Jr. How adorable you are. I loved him in this movie. I thought he played a really good Sherlock Holmes (hopefully that doesn’t change when I get around to reading the stories). Him and Law had great chemistry, I loved their little duo. They played off one another well and I after watching them together I cannot imagine another Holmes/Watson act. Loved the humor between them.

That said, the movie wasn’t amazing. It seemed to drag a little in times and the plot wasn’t as strong a mystery as I would’ve liked. The villain was kind of the static evil character, with no real motive on why he was doing what he was doing (aside from selfish “I want to dominate all” reasons). And Rachel McAdams character might have been better played by another actress. I didn’t hate her, but I didn’t love her as the character, either.

The setting was well done, I thought that aspect was really good. They did a good job recreating London.

All in all, it was an enjoyable movie. I’ll definitely watch it again and I’ll be watching the sequel when it comes out.

Overall Rating: 7/10

Waiting On Wednesday #1

So, I want to get more involved with this blog and try to have a set number of blogs a week, even if they're just filler stuff like this.

I've seen "Waiting on Wednesday" at a lot of the book review blogs I follow, and I think it's an awesome idea that focuses on upcoming releases. It's hosted by: breakingthespine and this week I'm actually looking forward to a book I found over at Dead Book Darling called Fallen Angel. It's by Heather Terrell and looks really good. Here's the synopsis:

The first book in a dark, edgy new angel series about a girl who finds herself forced to choose sides in the battle between fallen angels, even if that means going against the boy she loves.

When Ellie Faneuil first sees Michael Chase she feels an instantaneous connection. But she does not realize how much they have in common, including the ability fly and to see what others are thinking - not to mention a taste for blood. Reveling in their new powers and their growing feelings for each other, Ellie and Michael are determined to uncover what they are, and how they got this way ... together.

But the truth has repercussions neither could have imagined. Soon they find themselves center stage in an ancient conflict between fallen angels that threatens to destroy everything they love. And it is no longer clear whether Ellie and Michael will choose the same side.

In this electrifying novel Heather Terrell spins a gripping tale of soul-mates, supernatural powers and a truth that will change Ellie and Michael‘s world forever.
It's due out December 28th. Right after Christmas, so I know what my Christmas money might be spent on, haha.
I love books that focus on Angelic beings. Especially if they're bad ass. I'm hoping this one is a bit more darker and more edgy than Hush Hush was.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Let The Right One In by: John Ajvide Lindqvist


It is autumn 1981 when the inconceivable comes to Blackeberg, a suburb in Sweden. The body of a teenage boy is found, emptied of blood, the murder rumored to be part of a ritual killing. Twelve-year-old Oskar is personally hoping that revenge has come at long last---revenge for the bullying he endures at school, day after day.

But the murder is not the most important thing on his mind. A new girl has moved in next door---a girl who has never seen a Rubik’s Cube before, but who can solve it at once. There is something wrong with her, though, something odd. And she only comes out at night. . .

I saw the movie to Let The Right One In a little while ago, so one would think I knew what I was getting myself into with this movie. But, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Lindqvist had so much more in this novel than was shown in the movie. I loved all the storylines in this story, and how each character we were introduced to somehow tied into all the others. It was great and seems like quite a job to accomplish.

Eli is probably one of the best vampires I've seen in modern literature, I really liked her. I wish we could've gotten a bit more background on her. And Oskar was a really cool protagonist. You feel for him, but you know that he's probably a little crazy. In a sea of Mary Sue/Gary Stu characters, Oskar was a breath of fresh air to me. He was different. The two characters were also really good together. I loved the whole Morse Code thing. They had that childlike innocence but were mature, too. They had a great relationship that I thought Lindqvist did a great job with.

Even the side characters were given proper time to develop. I really felt for Virgina and Lacke by the end of the novel. They all got enough time to have good backstories and become three-dimensional.

There were a couple style things that I didn't like. Lindqvist used ellipses like they were going out of style, and by the end of the book, I just wanted to start crossing them out. It got really annoying to see unneeded ellipses smack dab in the middle of a sentence. And he didn't put commas in front of names, so that kind of bugged me a little. Maybe it's just a cultural thing?

Now, this novel does have parts that might upset some readers. There is some gore. Lots of blood and inner organs and brains. So, if you're not a fan of that, you might not like the novel. And there are some touchy issues with prostitution of young boys and things like that.

I liked the setting of the novel. All the snow and ice and darkness. It really played well with what was happening in the novel.
And I loved the end of the novel. The last fifteen pages were just awesome.

So, I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who likes the vampire genre and can handle the more mature aspects of the novel. I'd also recommend the movie. It follows the novel really well and the main actors who play Oskar and Eli were great. I'm kind of nervous to see how the American version is going to be.

Overall rating: 10/10

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Say You're One Of Them by: Uwem Akpan

It's hard to give a synopsis for short story collections, so I'm just going to go through each story, give a brief background on it, and say what I did and didn't like.

The first story of the collection is "An Ex-mas Feast" which is about an eight year old boy (the narrator) whose sister starts working the streets to pay to fund his schooling and such. I think it was a good way to open the story, because it eases the reader into the cultural differences better than any of the other stories might have. It's definitely a touchy subject, seeing as how his twelve-year-old sister is prostituting herself to take care of the family and her brother, but it's not as graphic or mind jarring as the rest of the collection is. The story was okay. A good opener but not my favorite.

"Fattening For Gabon" is the next in line. It's a novella that just seems to go on forever. There were so many times I just wanted to quit reading it, but I made it to the end. (I saved the novellas for last, which was a good thing.) The writing was dry, the whole story seemed to drag, and the ending was kind of anti-climatic for me. The main subject was about an uncle trying to save his niece and nephew from slavery, which is a horrible, very powerful subject, but I just didn't enjoy the story. The chopped language really broke me from the flow of the story all the time. I understood the French, but the other language just went completely over my head, and it's used throughout the collection, so I was constantly being pulled from the story, trying to figure out what it might mean. I really wanted to like the story, but it was probably the one I disliked the most.

"What Language Is This?" followed, and this one was a short story about two friends (one of them being "you") who are told they can't be friends anymore because one is Christian and one is Muslim, and these two religious groups got into it and just were completely at war with each other. It was a good story, I really liked it. I liked seeing these two young friends trying to understand what was happening to them, it was really realistic and offered an interesting point of view. It was another story that used the POV of "you" well.

"Luxurious Hearses" is another novella about a sixteen-year-old boy named Jubril who is traveling from North Nigeria to South Nigeria because of the religious conflict between Muslims and Christians (he's both). It also dragged in times, and I felt some of it was confusing and just went right over my head at first. I'd have to put the book down and ponder it or reread the passage to get it. I liked the main story line of this boy trying to figure out who he is in this really huge, horrible war of sorts going on. There was a lot of violence in the novel and it's culturally jarring. I liked that about the story, it really immersed me in this different culture.  But it had dry writing, too, and had the confusing language that sometimes pulled me from the story. But it was easier for me to read than "Fattening For Gabon."

The last story in the collection is "My Parents' Bedroom." I think that story was the most emotional of the pieces. I read it and was just shocked at what was happening. It was my favorite of the collection, I really liked it. Definitely violent, so not for the light of heart. But it definitely helps the reader see just exactly what some of these people went through and how very horrible it was. And I think it was the best style wise.

So, overall, this collection disappointed me a bit more than the others I checked out. Sometimes it was hard for me to relate to the characters, which wasn't the case in the other two collections I read. And Akpan's writing definitely doesn't flow as well as theirs does. I just don't think the collection had the heart like the others did. It was more techincal, very distant. It was like seeing these horrible things on the news and not being directly immersed in them. Which, he's from Nigeria so I can understand why he might distance himself a bit, because I don't know what he saw or went through.  But I think "My Parents' Bedroom" was a gem of a story and worth reading.

My Rating: 5/10