Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Recap on Assassin's Apprentice

See this book?
I reviewed this books here ages ago, and I even told you what it was about and all that good stuff.
However, I also wrote this review on Goodreads:

"This book made me realize a number of things:


1. I like the idea of killing people for fun and profit

2. You can't trust your uncle

3. I like men who whine a lot and play with dogs

4. I would like to read people's minds, but I do not want them to read mine

5. Poison is an interesting topic, and discussing it with strangers online can lead to tragic relationships with gay Nazis who live in other countries

If you keep these things in mind, you will be able to enjoy this book more."

For some reason, this particular review has collected a following, and I keep getting messages that more people 'like' it. 
I wrote this damn thing like two years ago. It doesn't really tell you what the book is about.
There are now 29 fans of this review.
I am trying to figure out the meaning of this phenomenon.
So far, all I can think of is that people like bizarre and elusive facts about my personal life more than real book reviews.
Understandable, of course, but it still doesn't seem right.
In fact, it seems wrong.
Very wrong.
Oh, but you should still read this book; I mean, I only read it like three times.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Soul to Steal- Rachel Vincent

She's done it again.
I think each book gets better.  Meaning if this series ended up with twenty books, the last one would be so good you'd probably faint just thinking about it.
However, I do not think there will be twenty books.  Unfortunately. But I still think everyone and their mother should read them.
I swear, this is like my new Harry Potter.  Only Vincent writes books faster and doesn't have the insanely huge following Rowling does.
So now, Kaylee is having problems with her boyfriend, who, as we all know, has acted like an idiot in the past, and she has to find a way to forgive him.  Throw in a few possessed not-quite-humans, some nasty demons, and jealousy galore, and you have My Soul to Steal (Soul Screamers, Book 4)
Nash's ex-girlfriend, juvenile delinquent inhuman Sabine, has just shown up to try to lay claim to the damaged Nash and wreak havoc upon Eastlake High.  Meanwhile, Kaylee can't decide if she should forgive Nash or not, though she does know she doesn't want Sabine to have him, since, well, aside from being competition, she's a bitchy slut (personally I don't think having sex with your boyfriend in high school makes you a slut, but  throwing around all the 'ooh look at me i has sex lots and you don't' crap does). And of course, the newly-freed from Netherworld torture Alec is sleeping in Kaylee's living room.
Kaylee is not very popular in the Netherworld.  She just keeps showing up and messing up the machinations of the resident hellions.  While in earlier books I was all, 'Go Kaylee!  You and your Harry Potter complex are awesome!  Save everyone!' I now see why Nash did not want her getting involved.  Hellions can be hard to shake.  Much worse than Voldemort.  I mean, Voldemort liked killing and torturing people, but once they were dead, well, he couldn't do anything to their souls and they were pretty much free to be dead.  But when you have someone like Avari after you, well, that can be a little more complicated.  Hellions live in the Netherworld and can visit the regular world as well, and live forever, and also take possession of your soul and torture it forever, no free death cards. As in, Potter boy, you may have been the chosen one, but you ain't got nothing on Kaylee Cavanaugh.  She repeatedly puts herself in harm's way, and she risks more than death.
And she wasn't chosen, she just rose to the cause.
Now, if certain characters (*cough* Nash, Uncle Brendon, Tod, Harmony, Kaylee's dad) had given her MORE INFORMATION FROM THE BEGINNING, then perhaps some of the very bad things could have been avoided.
Nash may have been dumb, but he is clearly very sorry and is trying very hard to make things right, and what can I say, I just can't resist a hot guy who's sorry.  I probably would have forgiven him early on.  But that's just me.
Plus, he can be pretty useful, what with being the same species and having connections and whatnot. If she's going to fight off hellions, she needs him.  There are just not many suitable alternatives in her area.
And fighting off hellions is hard.
This book unfolds like a mystery and reveals more depth in the characters than they showed in the other books.  Kaylee's bravery is masking her insecurity, yet she still fights. She is a teenage girl, and she will have teenage girl problems, but when it comes to things that really matter, she's a lot more mature than most teenagers I know. I mean, I probably couldn't have faced down hellions when I was in high school, and I generally considered myself much more intelligent and mature than my peers.  However, if Kaylee were in my high school class, I think I would have wanted her as a friend. She's a badass. And now she's a badass with a puppy.
Yes, there are PUPPIES in this book.  But I don't want to spoil it for you, so no more details on puppies.
Instead, let's just say that this book has all those twists and turns,as well as the emotional turmoil, suspense, hellions, and death you can come to expect from Soul Screamers. 
Only, this one is better.  It has puppies. ;)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Posh and Prejudice- Grace Dent


Part One: Chavspeak

So Shizza's keepin' it real, working down at the Mr Yolk for pay and making her mum all buzzing for bringing in money, and of course still seeing that Wesley Barrington Bains II bloke, since he's pretty choong and all, and then she finds out she passed her exams and gets to go on to study in Sixth Form like one of them boffins.  Shizza's pretty chuffed about that; finding out she ain't some dumb rude, and she can go places all proper-like.  And 'Superchav Academy' is also gettin' with it, since they got all this new stuff inplace and are making the school more than just a place for the charvers to go when they ain't skiving off and smoking grass, and so Shizza gets all these new classmates who are so totally up themselves. Like Joshua, who's pretty well-minted and lives over on some fancy posh street where everyone's too up themselves to even decorate for Christmas like an regular family would, 'innit.
Shizza knows that Joshua's buff, and sure he's got all that fancy shit, but she ain't into that type of faker who thinks 'yeah, i got money so i'm better than everyone, and me mum is so wealthy she's supporting some scrounging kid in Africa just to make herself look good' and all that crap.
Shizza turns out to be pretty damn good at her A-Levels, and so totally gets King Lear, but of course Wesley ain't into that stuff; he's gonna be a plumber or some shit so she has to talk to other people about it.  Not even Carrie wants to talk about it; all she ever does is skive off and get tanned, so Shiz ends up hangin' with all these sharp kids who actually know what 'smart casual' means and going to a bashment at Joshua's house, and yeah, so he's choong, and he keeps texting her about all this business he wants to do with her, like he's tryin' to get her up the duff almost, innit.
Problem with Joshua, course, is that he's SO DAMN UP HIMSELF.  It's all about JOSHUA, you know, since he's the richest kid at the school, and is all, 'I'm going to go to Oxford; clearly, universities such as Durham are not good enough for someone such as me and I'm going to be on television with the prince' and so on.
Shiz learns way more than Shakespeare at her school; now she sees how other people look at her; what with Joshua's mum going on about having to feed those chavs from the projects in her house.  And then since poor Uma's family all got locked up, she's gotta keep it real with her Staffy all on her own, and ain't no one wants to hang with that chav.
So while all this crap is goin' on, Shizza realizes she ain't too into this town no more; she doesn't want to move in with Wesley Barrington Bains II, she's thinking she wants to go to London, 'cos that's where things are happenin.'  London's got way more than Essex, no doubt; and she sure wants to get away from all this 'ooh look at Shizza; she's such a chav with her chav friends and busted up house and that's all there is to her' which ain't true, but she ain't exactly got her own floor in her house like that prig Joshua's got. It's not easy keepin' it real in Essex when no one gets along 'cos they all think they're better than everyone else, no matter who they are.

Part 2: Regular English
I was never really into 'Pride and Prejudice;' there was way too much strolling about wondering who everyone shall marry for my liking, but 'Posh and Prejudice' is quite something else.
So Shiraz is back, and it looks like things are going pretty well; she's in her Sixth Form, she's smart, she's making friends, she's increasing the peace and making her school a better place.  She's rubbing elbows with the upper crust even.  Funny thing is, she doesn't feel like she fits in; her mother is too busy complaining about her not making money and saying she shouldn't be in school, she's really interested in Shakespeare but her boyfriend doesn't really get that sort of thing, and no one else in her family does either.  Not even Cava-Sue because that girl is just too into her boyfriend Lewis and the idea of traveling around the world to pay any attention to Shiraz. Carrie Draper isn't either; all SHE cares about is beautification and style.  So that leaves Shiraz talking to posh rich kid Joshua.  But Joshua is a bit too full of himself to really be worth it, and his mother doesn't even like to acknowledge Shiraz or any of her ilk from school because she (surprize!) thinks they're a  bunch of chavs.
I have to say, I never met a chav I liked, but this book makes you think about it.  So maybe someone comes from a family that is constantly in and out of jail and has a refridgerator in the front yard.  Maybe they wear nothing but velour jumpsuits and fake gold.  Maybe they don't even have a house and just live in a caravan like a bunch of pikeys.  Or maybe they have everything they ever wanted and are told they're better than everyone.  It doesn't mean you're better than them, or they're better than you, because you can't really categorize people that way.  There's usually something besides where they come from, what their home looks like, what their clothing style is, and what they're told they can do in life that makes them who they are.
Of course, I knew all this sort of thing beforehand, since that's what we're taught in school, but I tend to think your parents mess you up a bit because they tell you how they're better and sometimes it rubs off.  And also, people get miscategorized.  Shiraz may come from a really poor chavvy family, but she actually has things to say and ideas that make her not so chavvy.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Diary of a Chav: Diva Without a Cause- Grace Dent

You ever wonder how the 'other half' lives?
I've often wondered who the other half were, and why were separated into only two groups.  But if you come from an avaerage American family, you're probably not in the same half as Shiraz Bailey Wood.
Yes, she was named after wine.  That's how tacky her family is.
I first read this book when it was called Diary of a Chav.  But then they renamed it.  And the series is originally British, but for some reason Americans felt the titles should be different in this country, which has made me thoroughly confused as to which ones in Britain are the ones I'm reading now.
BUT . . . you want to know what this is about.
Since I consider myself an honorary limey, seeing as to living there for so long and knowing more of their slang than most Americans do, and when I meet British people here and they always think I'm originally from Britain. Yeah, seriously.
A Chav is basically a poor trashy British person.  Originally they were called charvers or charvs in Northern England, but since this takes place in Essex, we'll let it slide.
Shiraz's diary is full of hilarity; her mother yells at her for going to school, drinks Peach Lambrella 'cos she thought it sounded pretty, and tells her daughters to wear their matching pink jumpsuits to parties so people think they have money (I know, pink jumpsuits are not what your typical rich person wears).  "Shizza's" sister, Cava-Sue (don't ask me where that name came from; I'm not even sure I want to know), went off to college, thoroughly pissing off dear mummy because she's not working and giving mum money.  Mum is a bit obsessed with money; most likely because she has none.
Cava-Sue is trying to get away from the Chav Lifestyle and move on to the slightly more prestigious Emo Lifestyle, and "Shizza" is pretty sure she'll be able to become famous and go on Big Brother and live off of that forever, which does sound like the ordinary teenage chav's dream. The problem she has is that although her family is a bunch of chavs, she actually has a brain in there somewhere.

What I love about this book is the slang.  British slang is great, especially Chavspeak (yes I just made up that word). And then she rolls off crap like this: "I wish I could flutter my eyelashes and remember funny lines from Dog the Bounty Hunter that make boys laugh."
Is that how to hook a teenage boy?  Geez, I had no idea.  No wonder I didn't get any dates in high school.

Shiraz attends the so-called "Superchav Academy" but does NOT think she's a chav (you probably will though), but does admit that that Uma girl down the street is. Her brother likes to refer to her as a 'lesboid' and gets the 'bogtrots' pretty frequently, so he's definitely a chav.

Throughout Shiraz's secret diary, she gets a crush a Wesley Barrington Bains II, and of course always refers to him this way, and then when her sister runs off to London to be a real emo chick, she gets her family on a television show to get everyone happy again. "I sure like the sound of that Kirsten-who-is-trained," they all say about the show. 'Cos, ya know, she's trained.  She's keepin' it real.

And yeah, just by looking at the cover photo, you can kind of figure out what a chav is.  Velour hooded jumpsuits with stilleto heels, fake gold chain, huge hoop earrings; that's what they like.

There's some great descriptions of their Chavvy friends and acquantainces which are pretty hilarious too, like the family whose door has been busted down by the police so many times they just have it stuck shut and everyone comes in through the back. And Wesley Barrington Bains II sounds pretty much butterz to me, but Shizza is still pretty hot for him. 

You must remember that she is 15, so no matter what lifestyle she lives, she's still gonna think some pretty whacked-out things, but of course the charver girl in her exacerbates the situation.  And of course, when teenagers are thinking, anything that makes their thoughts more bizarre (such as living it up Chavstyle [yes I made that up to]), is pretty much guaranteed to be funny in that "Good lord them thar teenagers are so peculiar these days" way.

Recommendations:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Wondrous Strange - Lesley Livingston

I thought I was done with fairies.  I thought I had 'outgrown' them, or that I had seen it all, or they just weren't as fascinating as they were when I was 15.
Of course, I have suffered many disappointments since then.
First, there was this absolute piece of garbage, which is basically thinly veiled poorly written erotica. No, I am not prudish, and yes, I do enjoy a good sex scene.  But this did not have good sex scenes.  It had stupid sex scenes that didn't even always make sense. And it was so angsty. 'waaahhhh i don't want to be a fairy princess, i can't get over that other fairy dude i was with and they caught me in the tabloids wahhhh hey let me have sex with everyone i see!' 
Yes, excellent move there, fairy princess.  That makes perfect sense. Especially since there really isn't much in the way of plot.
Now, there are some books in which sex is important, such as Kushiel's Dart. And it was well written and the book had plot. Of course, it had nothing to do with fairies.
I tried to read Wicked Lovely because the name is cool, but I got bored.  Yes, there were these edgy characters, but they somehow seemed bland to me. And so I saw this one and I thought, 'it looks like wicked lovely. meh.'
But then, while I was sitting in Borders using the wifi, I got a message on Goodreads from Lesley Livingston, telling me I would like her book.  Since I was in Borders at the time, it seemed like a good time to go look at it.
So I did, and I said, 'hey, this might actually be good!'
And it is.
I finished this book the other night.  There was something about the way it was written that made me like it.  I suppose lines like 'THERE'S A HORSE IN THE BATHTUB!' helped a bit. And Bob.  I liked Bob.  Everyone likes Bob.  You can't not like Bob.
Kelley, the cover girl, was very "I'm seventeen, but I can make it in the big city, oh yeah I can, look at me I got gumption" and all that.  She was intelligent, she had a heart, she was interesting.  She didn't believe most things at first (of course, they never do right away, even Harry Potter had to ask again, to be sure), but then she came around to see the fairies! Oh the fairies!  They pop up everywhere when you're least expecting it.  And they often have no idea what's going on, which makes it even MORE FUN!  Ha ha!  The fairies don't know EVERYTHING! The fairies don't even know if all the other fairies ARE fairies!  They only know the famous ones, or the obvious 'not of the mortal realm' ones (you know the type. they have wings, or something all demonic about them like the Netherworld creatures in Soul Screamers).
Sonny, the other main character was also likeable. He was a non-fairy living in the fairy world (a changeling, stolen from the mortal realm), and he noticed something about Kelley that no one else seemed to have picked up on.  Clearly, he was fairly intelligent, considering NO ONE ELSE figured it out. Of course, it took him a little while, but hey, good enough. And the fact that he thought she was damn fine probably helped. He was also honorable and strong and manly. Yum.
Of course, these two characters are drawn to each other. They are the POV characters, they think each other is attractive, and while there may be setbacks such as, 'hey this hot dude keeps stalking me, i better tell him to bugger off,' but of course he won't.  He can't.  That's just not how it works.  It was fated. Duh.
Fairies, as the tradition goes, cannot really be trusted.  But neither can mortals.  And since fairies like to be all 'riddle me this, young lassie,' or 'i'lll make you a trade BUT I WIN EVERYTHING HAHA!' it's good to have smart tough main characters.
The biggest difference from the traditional changeling fairy stories I've heard is that the mortal baby was taken and not replaced with a sick fairy baby that was just going to die. In fact, in this version, it was an almost exclusively mortal babies being stolen and the mortals did not get fairy replacements.
So, in conclusion, you should read this book because:
1. It's not a poorly diguised piece of bad erotica
2. There's twists and stuff
3. The fairies just keep popping up everywhere!  It's madness!
4. The main characters do not suck
5. While some of the fairy lore is traditional, they do change a few things, and that keeps it interesting
6. The cover girl wears pretty dresses

And there you have it.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Across The Universe EPIC Contest!

See this book?
You WANT this book.
I want this book.
You can enter to win this book.
http://networkedblogs.com/bEl28

She calls it the EPIC Contest of EPIC, because there are . . .

100 PRIZES TOTAL!

All you gotta do it go to the link, blog about it, fan it on Facebook (http://facebook.com/acrosstheuniversebook)
Or . . . preorder it!  Or all three!

Note the link above which you can click on right now to preorder the book. Yes I am so helpful.

And I know not long ago I complained about things being Epic, but I think this time I will let it slide. :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Soul to Lose -Rachel Vincent

Hey, are ya'll sick of me talking about Soul Screamers yet?  Because I'm not! HA HA!

This one was actually the first.  It's an e-book prequel, like Reaper, only it's about Kaylee, and it costs like $2.  It's another short one. I read it quite fast.
I really wish I had read this book sooner.  I mean, I really really really wish I had read this book sooner.  Like really, for serious, why oh why didn't I just read it online when it was free in 2009?
In this one, Kaylee does not know she's a banshee.  She has no idea why she gets these 'panic attacks' which make her scream uncontrollably and see shadowy things and get all freaked out.  This is because her uncle is a douchebag who REALLY ought to have told her, 'hey! you're a banshee.  i am too.  let's discuss.' But he didn't.
Instead, Kaylee ends up in the psych ward with all these people who are . . . well, they're in the psych ward. And then there's the doctors, who are clearly idiotic and never there, and the stupid rules, and it's like a prison, and the description is pretty accurate.
If only I had known.

If only Kaylee didn't have an idiot uncle.
I mean, he marries this woman who would sacrifice the souls of multiple people just so she can stay young like her banshee un-human husband, he takes in his brother's banshee kid and does not tell her anything about her heritage which she really needs to know so she doesn't end up in the PSYCH WARD, and her cousin is clearly treated way better by her parents than Kaylee is, which you really shouldn't do when you adopt a kid, even if it isn't your kid but your neice (STILL FAMILY, YO!) and then he sends his dumb wife to take care of her when she ends up in the psych ward, even though he actually understands the situation way better (seriously, was he hoping maybe she could just STOP being a banshee if they pumped her full of enough ativan and haldol?), and even after this fiasco he STILL doesn't tell her why she screams. Ugh.
Not that her father is much better, considering her ran off to Ireland going, 'wahhh my wife is dead, here bro, you take my kid, i want to go back to the Emerald Isle and mope for 15 years or so.'
Amazingly enough, Kaylee is pretty resilient to all this pathetic family care and develops into a very strong character and goes on to My Soul to Take and learns that way.
But before that, she meets an interesting character named Lydia in the psych ward who is not psychotic and actually understands Kaylee but won't talk, and I really wanted to know more about her (Rachel please bring her back?) but she is still a bit unknown.
This is the sort of book that you'll want to read if you're already a fan of the series.  If you read it without having read any of the others, you'll be all like, 'whaa . . . ?' and then you'll HAVE to read My Soul to Take just so you figure out what is actually going on.  But if you're already a fan, then this just gives you more background . .  and more questions.
And it will also make you try your damnedest not to end up in a psych ward.  That part was not exxagerating.  Not a bit. And I was glad that her uncle somewhat exonerated himself in the end.  Somewhat. I still think he needs a good whipping.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Reaper- Rachel Vincent

Hey guys, check it out!  This Book is FREE!  For serious!
However, you can only get it as a e-book.  Since I don't like reading on the computer screens for too long, I borrowed a Nook to read this.  It's not long, but it is good, as Rachel Vincent's books like, ALWAYS are.
This one is not about Kaylee. This one is about Tod, Nash's dead brother who keeps popping up in Nash and Kaylee's personaly lives and their shenanigens with the Netherworld.
A prequel to Soul Screamers, Reaper tells the story of Tod and Nash as delinquent banshee brothers.  There's a nice twist- instead of hearing Nash complain about Tod being annoying, it's the other way around!
Now . . . I'm not a big fan of Nash.  But Tod I think is smarter than Nash (like that's difficult).  He's also got this hidden side that you'll only know about if you read it, which you should, because it's FREE.
There's a lot of cool stuff in this one.  You get to meet Levi, Tod's reaper boss, you catch a glimpse of Tod's humanity before his, erm, undeadity? Reaperness? I'm not sure there's a real word here . . .
This book also portends to the future.  Apparently there is something that happens to Reapers that we don't hear about from Kaylee (because she doesn't know, of course). And at least as far as My Soul to Keep, it doesn't seem to have happened.  In fact, it seems to not be happening at all thus far, but we shall have to wait and see in the upcoming My Soul to Steal to see if it will start, or if maybe there's something about Tod that's just a bit different.
Oh, and this book is really short. Like 50 pages short.  Technically, a 'novella.'
So, to put it simply, you should read this book because:
1. It's FREE
2. It's short
3. It's good.

Honestly, I can't think of three better reasons to read a book.

Other titles you may enjoy:





Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Soul To Keep - Rachel Vincent





Seriously, y'all, you stay away from those balloons full of this wicked substance. Just once and you're addicted, and unless you have Netherworld blood in you (you don't), you'll be either dead or insane within two weeks.
Why do people start this stuff, also known as 'frost?' Well, no drug test in the human world can detect it.  It gives you quite a high, but beware, you will start seeing things that other people don't think are there (but actually, they're OUT TO GET YOU).  If you stay away from frost, and make sure your friends do too, you'll likely never see anything in the shadows that you don't want to see.  Such as hellions who want your soul.

Kaylee, our bean sidhe heroine from the first two books, discovers that people are huffing this stuff around campus.  And then weird stuff starts happening to her.  Suddenly, she can't sleep for fear of ending up in the Netherworld unintentionally.  People she knows are going insane.  She can't figure out HOW this Netherworld venom is getting into her high school. She doesn't know who all is on it or how to get them off of it, because she knows nothing good could ever come of it.
Her stupid jock boyfriend isn't much help (as usual). I mean, he may be the only guy in school who is the same species as her, but he's really not that bright. Or useful.  His dead brother seems to have more brains.  Another thing Nash, said stupid boyfriend, does in this book that irritates me is that he's all, 'yeah, there's loads of human-esque Netherworld beings running around up here; it's not just bean sidhes,' and then goes into no detail.  I wanted to know how common these were, what they looked like, what I should do should I come across one, if any of them were dangerous, if any of them were suitable replacements for a useless bean sidhe boyfriend, etc.
Of course, because of the Demon's Breath, and because that hellion of greed Avari from My Soul to Save is still out to get Kaylee, all hell turns loose.  Literally.  Since these two incidences are linked, Kaylee is forced to save EVERYONE again.  She has some dead, or undead? help, however. And they're all just as pissed off as her.
Now, back to Demon's Breath.  This is worse than meth.  This is worse than heroin.  This stuff pretty much destroys you.  There aren't going to be any radio slots for former demon's breath addicts talking about their lost teeth and how all these people died because of them and how nobody likes them anymore.  Because there aren't any.  They just go nuts and are tormented by jerks like Avari, or they die, and are forever tormented by jerks like Avari.  So if something says 'hallucinogen,' think twice: it might not just be all in your head.

Next up in the series: My Soul to Steal
DO NOT MISS IT!  JANUARY FIRST! THIS SERIES IS GENIUS!  I LOVE THE CRAP OUT OF IT!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What is up with this?



 How much did this model get paid? It's the same picture of her on both books, only they've been reversed and photoshopped.

I even did my research here; these aren't even from the same publishing company; one's from Hachette Group and the other is Macmillan Group.

Is this a stock photo from the internet that anyone can use?  Or is this some girl who apparently has a fantastic agent who can get her on the cover of multiple recent books and double her paycheck with one photo?

I admit, I have not read either of these books, so I don't even know if this girl's looks even make sense to the stories. But I keep seeing both of them all over the place and it drives me mad that they USED THE SAME PHOTO ON BOTH COVERS.

Are publishers caring less and less about their cover art? Do they just go for whatever is cheapest? Was the photographer of this girl just incredibly affordable?  Has ANYONE else noticed this?

Here is similar but completely different case:

Do you see the similarity?  Clearly, there are different girls on each cover, but the whole wispy-purple-look-at-my-pretty-outstretched-arm is kind of . . . erm, the same idea?
I cannot for the life of me find out who is responsible for the Soul Screamers covers.  I love this series and I think the covers are pretty, but I don't think they represent the books very well.  I'm sorry; that girl does not look Irish.  And she always has these dance move looking poses on the cover, which makes no sense; they really ought to put a screaming pasty girl on the cover. Also, she's got these flowy dresses.  KAYLEE DOES NOT WEAR FLOWY DRESSES TO SCHOOL. She dresses like a normal high schooler, and she isn't a dancer. She's too busy trying to figure out how to keep people alive and stuff, you know, like Harry Potter does.
Now, I have not read Bleeding Violet YET, but from the blurb, the cover seems to make sense.  It's about some crazy girl who always wears purple. And there is the word VIOLET in the title, meaning the book should probably be that color. I mean, Red Sky at Morning has a RED cover.  And while I know that Bleeding Violet was published first, I do not know whether that cover design was created before the cover of My Soul to Keep. So I don't know if anyone was ripped off for their design or not.

I have also noticed that many books use the red-black-and-white color scheme to catch people's attention.  I blame this on Twilight. Young impressionable females see this color scheme and immediately think 'OMG it'll be just like TWILIGHT! Or they think, 'Is this a NEW Twilight book?' And bookstores keep using it to attract teens.  Like Borders.  Yes, I love Borders, I have a membership, I get discounts, I email their customer care all the time telling them how to make things better even though they really don't give a crap, but they ARE SO TOTALLY RIPPING OFF THAT COLOR SCHEME TO MAKE MONEY.
Not that I blame them; I think it's a good color scheme, and probably helped make Twilight popular.  It's just so eye-catching, unless you have red/green color blindness (that's the most common type; I learned in high school biology), that it WORKS. Most authors who get this color scheme on their book are probably quite happy with it (this is conjecture).  I mean, they could end up with something YELLOW.  Can you imagine?  That's like, the WORST color to use in advertising ever (I learned that in high school art class).  No one would want to read that book. Their eyes would naturally skip over it because they'd assume it was crap without even realizing it. Or at least I would.  Maybe that's why I haven't read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Or maybe I haven't because it's really long and I have all these shorter books to read that I'm pretty sure I'll like better. Or maybe it's because I'm EXPECTED to, so therefore I must REBEL and not read it. Ha! I was expected to like this yellow book and absolutely hated it. I feel that this proves my point. Oh, and yes I see the yellow on North of Beautiful, but since it's blonde hair I don't think it really counts.  Plus it's contemporary (makes marketing a bit different), and I think it looks boring anyway. Like it's about some pretty blonde girl who cries because she's got a zit and a few extra pounds than she would prefer (okay, maybe I should read the description, but it's much more fun to make assumptions).

My point to this whole article is basically that books covers are just not usually up to my standards (I am entitled to these since I am a part time artist).  Get more creative, people.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Things Reviewers Say That I Hate

Don't you get tired of reviewers saying the same things over and over about completely different books?
You know, you'll see a new fantasy series, and they'll say, 'It's like The Lord of the Rings!' or, 'No one has made anything this epic since The Lord of the Rings!' But clearly people have made things as 'epic' as The Lord of the Rings since so many books get this remark. And then you read the book, and you think, 'What? This is nothing like The Lord of the Rings. In fact, I like it way more than the Lord of the Rings.  There's no random songs that take up two pages for no apparent reason in this book.'

I mean, since Tolkien created Middle Earth, and since it was the first majorly successful fantasy series, people like to compare other fantasy series to it. And sometimes people steal from it.  They do, it's true, but that doesn't mean it's fantastic. And just because it's a good fantasy series, it doesn't mean it's anything like Tolkien's work.  I mean, they should say WHAT it is that makes the book good, instead of saying 'it's like THIS; the end.' Because when they do that, you can't be sure they actually read it.

Then of course there's the modern popular stories, and people just say, 'It's like TWILIGHT' just to get people who like Twilight to read it. 'This is better than HARRY POTTER,' just because Harry Potter is so ridiculously popular, and the book is, in fact, NOT better than Harry Potter.  I'm sorry, it's not. Everything I've read that had that remark on the back was nowhere near as good as Harry Potter. Like that Lost Years of Merlin series. It was awful. I couldn't get 30 pages into it. Bloody terrible, sappy crap.
And even Harry Potter was compared to other books. Like Narnia. And of course, The Lord of the Rings.  Even though I found Harry Potter to be significantly different from those two series.  They're all fantasy.  There's magic.  That's it.  Tons of books have those characteristics. Maybe if you like one of them, you'll like the others. You could just pick up any random fantasy novel, and there you go. It's just like them!  Only it's not at all!

It's also funny when people compare His Dark Materials to Narnia. I mean, Philip Pullman hates Narnia.  He thinks it's terrible.  He thinks the message is awful. But since they're both fantasy and written for young people, they're JUST LIKE the other!

Then there are certain words that are totally overused. For example, 'compelling.'  'This book is so compelling, I loved it.'  So you had the book, and it was good!  You liked reading it!  That's ALL you said!  You didn't say WHY it was good at all!

Then of course there's 'epic.' Yes, I know I just used that term earlier when I was complaining about The Lord of the Rings. But seriously. Sometimes, a book tells a tale that is considered an epic.  It's a tremendous, ambitious story.  It's long. It's big. But many people will say, 'dude, this is EPIC,' when really they just think it's awesome. Get a new word. Make one up if you can't think of one; I don't care, new words make it more interesting. I really don't think you can use the same word to describe both Spiderman and The Iliad.

I realize that comparing books does give the reader a better understanding about what the book is like, but people just do the same over and over. I mean, I did mention that the last book I read, Girl Stolen, was kind of like some of Caroline B Cooney's books.  But I also pointed out how it was different.  And I told you what the plot was.  So you wouldn't just see it and think, 'Oh, this is JUST LIKE Caroline B Cooney!' Because it's not.  It's a different book.  There are some similarities I noticed, but honestly, there was more to it than that. And really, if you wanted a book that was JUST LIKE another book, why don't you just read the same book again?  The Hobbit, is, in actuality, EXACTLY like The Hobbit.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Girl, Stolen - April Henry

So my ARC of this great little book kept telling me I needed to read it, so I did.
And yes, this book was worth the read.  It's about a blind girl with pneumonia who accidentally gets kidnapped because a guy came to steal her stepmother's car, and oops!  Cheyenne was lying in the backseat!
This book reminded me of the Caroline B. Cooney books I read as a teenager, since it had the thriller angle, and a teenage girl caught in the middle of something bigger than her, and also it was very adept at telling me to read it.
The difference is that Cheyenne is a better heroine than anyone I ever read in Cooney's books.
For instance, Cheyenne is sick and blind, but she isn't stupid.  She figures out ways to improve her situation that a lot of 16-year-old girls wouldn't figure out.  I don't think Janie Johnson was anywhere near as clever.
I also liked that you could hear the 'bad guys' part of the story.  Griffin, the one who accidentally kidnapped her, is not just some hardened criminal stereotype.  He's an actual character with flaws and  conflicts and circumstances that made him who he is.  The other 'bad guys' weren't as complex, but Cheyenne had less contact with them, so it makes it harder to convey their full personalities.
This is the kind of book lots of reluctant readers would enjoy.  It's not too long, exciting things happen, and it has a few twists. It would be interesting for both girls and boys.
Once I finished, my thought was, 'Dogs are the greatest things ever! That's the moral of the story!' which of course makes me happy since I love dogs.  There were only two canine characters, but they were good.  And the book showed that even mistreated mean dogs can still be wonderful if you treat them right. It also illuminated how a guide dog can improve the life of a blind person.
In my opinion, a book that has thrills, smart heroines, and an inspiring message about dogs is definitely a good read.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

7 Things in Literature/Pop Culture that I really don't quite get.

 There's a lot of things I don't understand. These are only a few.

1. High School girls who obsess over their status as 'slut' or 'not slut.' This has never happened to me.  Does it happen that often?  Really?  Because popular media seems to think it does.  Was I really that out of the loop in high school?
Examples in literature: Thirteen Reasons Why, Goth Girl Rising, The Boyfriend List

2. People who go to rehab or a psychiatric ward and ACTUALLY receive help. Like, they have GOOD DOCTORS and THEY GET BETTER. In my experience, this does not happen to anyone. They just stay the same or get worse.  Most people have to fake feeling great just to get out of those hellholes. And then something happens and they end up back in there a few months later.
Examples in literature: Wintergirls, Hunger, It's Kind of a Funny Story, Hate List


3. Books about rich snotty girls who have everything they could ever possibly want but still act like bitches. Who would want to read that?  Even more, who would PUBLISH that?  It's like, 'hey young impressionable females, you really ought to act like spoiled shallow idiots because then EVERYONE WILL LOVE YOU and you will be FILTHY RICH.'
Examples in literature: The A-List, Gossip Girl, The Clique, The Ashleys, Pretty Little Liars

4. Why do certain authors publish a new book at least once a month?  How do they do that?  Besides using ghost writers  like James Patterson? And why do these authors get so popular when they kinda suck?
Best example in literature ever: Nora Roberts.

5. Why are vampires so popular?  Is it REALLY just because of Twilight?  I mean, there's all these other vampire stories all of a sudden.  Not just in books, but on TV.  Bloodthirsty, an excellent book, used this strange pop phenomenon to great hilarity.  So did Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story.  But MOST people want to know about the vampires who fall in love with human girls. And everything is fine, once you tell everyone that the human girl will be a vampire eventually anyway. Not like with Dracula, in which he was an actual DEMON, who did BAD THINGS like kill people, even though he liked that Mina chick, but she managed to survive and he died like he was supposed to because of Van Helsing and those dudes. Dracula was inspired by Vlad the Impaler and his father, Vlad Drakul.  And NO ONE liked them.  They were REALLY NASTY MEAN JERKOFFS who liked to slowly torture people to death.  How the HELL did that become sexy? I would like to point out one of my old favorites when it comes to vampire stories: Look For Me By Moonlight.  This had this teen girl who found the vampire alluring, like Mina did, but she did NOT become a vampire for all time and have mad crazy sex with him every night for eternity.  Because he was BAD. She was into it for a while, but she realized how BAD it was. Based on my vampire mythology research, vampires are supposed to be alluring, but they only do that because they want to suck out all your blood and kill you. And they do this because they're BAD. But nowadays, they're bad but with a heart of gold and love for humans and conflict and ANGST my GOD the ANGST! Dracula never got angst.  He just went about his business preying on people and being BAD.

6. If vampires are so popular, why does everyone like angels all of a sudden? And why are vampires and angels never in a showdown? It's just vampires and werewolves in a showdown, but personally I would think angels and vampires would be more antagonistic to each other.
Examples of Angels in Literature: Hush, Hush, Halo, Fallen


7. Why are zombies funny now? Carrie Ryan got the traditional zombie with The Forest of Hands and Teeth, but then there's all this Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, and what have you. They're DEAD.  They just eat people and make them dead.  Who the hell even came up with zombies anyway (if anyone knows, please elucidate me)?

 So yes.  If you understand why all these things happen, please let me know.
Because I really don't get it.