Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Vampire Academy

Author: Richelle Mead
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth's magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi: the fiercest vampires--the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa's best friend, makes her a Dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir's Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger... and the Strigoi are always close by.

Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard dawn, lest the evil 
undead make Lissa one of them forever.
My Review:
I was thoroughly disappointed. I mean, I truly couldn’t give it a higher rating even if I had wanted to. The plot wasn’t all that special. The writing style, seriously, it wasn't that great. The characters were bland and not very relatable. I wanted to like this book, I really did. But just too much about it ticked me off. I couldn’t stand the main character’s sassy attitude. The constant flirting and casting off of clothing was truly unnecessary. I could tell when the author was just writing to please. I’ve heard that alot of people really enjoyed this series. I’m at a lose why... So I guess it's a must that the vampires actually bite the victims and think about sex while they’re at it. Sigh... I hate to put this book down so, and I'm sure there's alot of people that would like it, but I personally couldn't stand it. So forgive my ranting and raving if you please!
Ok, casting aside all other prejudices I have against this book, the characters themselves never really found their way into that “I care what happens to you” portion of my brain. Even the characters I wanted to like, the author’s over all portrayal of them just left me all around irritated. We have one guy I liked, who ultimately turns villain. There goes one. Another, supposedly the bad-ass character, who just becomes a love sick dope at the end. Nothing else to it. There goes another. The one character I really, truly wanted to like, the one who kept it together throughout the entire book, just disappointed me at the end. Yeah. Rip of the main character’s clothes. That’ll get you points with the female audience. Obviously it did. Why?...
I hate to say this, but... It's like one of those books, where you're thinking "Hey! I could've made this better. Much, much better!" I think the description is also a lie, or at least very misleading. I mean what I expected to happen never did. I expected it to be a tad more epic. What happened focused around a high school like academy for vampires. It was all the beer and sensuality of the average modern teen novel, just with blood suckers. I mean, we get to the climax, and NOTHING HAPPENS!!! It just... *plop* ends...
Between the profanity and sensuality, I don't think there's anything else to complain about... Which isn't saying a whole lot, now, is it? There’s alot of mentioning of “blood whores” or sex while drinking blood. There’s two instances where Rose has her clothes stripped off by a guy while making out. Second time, she is left completely naked. The guys, I might also mention, stayed dressed. Hello!?!?! There’s drinking and partying, and lots and lots of flirting. There’s also alot of immature name calling and excess language. Also hints of depression and wrist cutting. There's a couple animals brutally killed but really, the description wasn't enough to make you squirm. Not much violence otherwise, or nothing terrible to speak of.
Favorite Character: N/A
Favorite Quote: N/A
Recommended: N/A
Over-all Rating: ★★☆☆☆
~ Darkitty
***Later this week: The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack***

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Author: Stephan Chbosky

Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.
Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

My Review:
I feel the need to compare this to I am the Messenger. Same type of issue for me. It would have been really, really good, but only if he had left certain aspects out of the plot. I loved all the song and book references. I loved the flow of the letters, not quite like a journal but not quite like something you would actually tell other people. It was anonymously personal. Honest. I didn’t want to give just two stars, for the main reason that it was just really well written. I just wish alot of it had been left out. It could have been better...

On a side note, I found this psychological ride both extremely interesting and frightening. We start to suspect something is wrong with Charlie, but throughout the story there are so many thoughts he wonders and actions he preforms that make him so relatable. If there was one thing I liked about this story, it was the honest sincerity. I would have preferred a bit more innocence, though...
One of those rare instances where I cannot choose a favorite. If I could, I believe Charlie’s friend Patrick was one of the few I liked, but the homosexuality was greatly disturbing for me. Even some of the other likable characters I was turned off from constantly. It felt like everyone was having sex. Everyone had major flaws or issues. I think I found Charlie’s English teacher the most down to earth type of character, with no surface flaws. Or at least none that were ridiculous blown out of proportion.
I found the way this story unfolds quite interesting. We’re reading the letters of a fifteen year old boy, Charlie, who is not writing to us, but to someone he knows. Maybe not well, but he knows them. He’s writing anonymously. He’s writing about his first year of high school. Now while I’ve never gone to “public” high school, I did find though that this story felt a bit off. Of course, then I realized the reason that they were making such a big deal about certain “issues” was the time frame. This book was published over 10 years ago. And the story takes place another 10 years before it’s publication. So the setting is older than I am. No wonder I felt so lost.
It’s just there was so much detail. TMI. I mean, it was a great book otherwise. But uncomfortable. The writing style really hooked you, drawing you into the story. But there was alot of inappropriate content that just left me really disturbed and unfocused for several days. I didn’t need to know that so-and-so went somewhere with such-and-such and did this-and-that. There was outright sex. And rape. And child molesting. And a pretty intense gay relationship. And drug abuse. There’s also an abortion. And he mentioned the sexual “m word” waaay too many times for comfort. Awkward!!! There is also quite a bit of language, and some physical and I believe even some emotional abuse. All around not your happy-go-lucky type of story.
Favorite Character: N/A
Favorite Quote(s): N/A
Recommended: Older teens & up.
Rating: ★★★☆☆
~ Darkitty
***Next week: Vampire Academy***

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Author: Ransom Riggs
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children , an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
My Review:
I really, really, really liked this book. That doesn’t happen quite often. Not exactly what I was expecting, but still really good! I wouldn’t describe it as a page turner, not really, but it did leave me very hesitant to turn off my light at night. And I also did read through it rather quickly, three days tops. I also found it interesting in that while we know or at least we assume that the main character, Jacob, is not crazy, the psychological elements thrown in were, to me, fascinating.
The characters were strange, there’s nothing else to be said. As we get deeper into the story, we find that all these peculiar children Jacob’s grandfather described to him, are, in fact real. The levitating girl, to the invisible boy, to the super strong siblings, to the mysterious Miss Peregrine...
I found this book very original, not quite what I was expecting, but I wasn’t at all disappointed, either. It was just nothing like anything else I’ve picked up before. I think I can see why some people might not enjoy it, but I found it intriguing. I raced through it, getting alot of slack jaw from family when I returned it to the library so quickly. It’s starts off, reeling you in bit by bit. While it’s hard to describe without ruining the plot twists, I find that the climax may have been bit, well, confusing, since we’re left feeling like there’s more to be explained. Sequel, maybe? I’m not sure at this point. While the conclusion was over all satisfactory, I do hope to see more from this author in the future.
Ok, we can all tell that these photos have been manipulated. I read another book quite similar in concept to this, The Fool and the Vanisher, and while I actually love the idea of black and white photos in a fiction, I find books like this rather odd. Odd, in a good way. I mean, there’s a reason there in the fiction section, but sometimes glancing at these bizarre photos is a bit creepy. But over all, I found this part of the book fascinating, even if it is rather strange, or peculiar...
There was language in this book. I wouldn’t say there was a ton, but it was pretty strong. I really hate when an author does that, it dampens the reading experience in my opinion. I can see when it’s called for, occasionally, but everything in moderation. There was also some gory details. Nothing too grotesque, but this isn’t a book I’d recommend for younger readers. There’s one scene where they have to “revive” a corpse, and the guy is really torn apart, disfigured beyond recognition, with lots of lovely description. Nasty.
Favorite Character: Millard
Favorite Quote(s):
I turned to him in amazement. "I don't mean to be rude," I said, "but what are you people?"
"We're peculiar," he replied, sounding a bit puzzled. "Aren't you?"
"I don't know. I don't think so."
"That's a shame."
“...Should we sit on our bums and wait for them to come through our front door? What if rather than clever disguises, this time they bring guns?”
“That’s what I'd do,” Enoch said. “Wait till everyone’s asleep and then slide down the chimney like Santa Claus and BLAM!” He fired an imaginary pistol at Emma’s pillow. “Brains on the wall.”
“Thank you for that,” Millard said, sighing.
Recommended: Older teens & up.
Rating: ★★★★★
~ Darkitty
***Next week: The Perks of Being a Wallflower***

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Gotta Love Those Lists!

This is a general list of what I devoured this past year. In total, 69 books. I bunched nonfiction(italicized) and fiction(bold) together, did not included textbooks (though I could have), nor manga, comics or graphic novels (though I did read a whopping 330 volumes). I am pleased that I read more novels than last year, but still a bit disappointed in myself for not reaching my goal of 100... (I may come back and add the authors later).
The Vile Village
The Hostile Hospital
Best Seat in the House
A Treasury for Cat Lovers
The Carnivorous Carnival
A Tiny Step Away From Deepest Faith
Isle of Swords
The Replacement
Tales from Outer Suburbia
The Rumpelstiltskin Problem
Castle in the Air
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
All I Need to Know I Learned From My Cat
The Book Without Words
Princess of Glass
Flora's Dare
I Can't Keep My Own Secrets
House of Many Ways
Not Quite What I Was Planning
It All Changed In An Instant
Atlantis Complex
I am Number Four
Pay the Piper
The Mystery of the Fool and the Vanisher
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Muddle Earth
Mermaid's Mirror
Benny and Omar
Hangman's Curse
Kenny and the Dragon
The Ribbajack
Don't Give up, Charlie Brown
Anna and the French Kiss
New Moon
Caring and Feeding of Sprites
The End of the Beginning
Cirque du Freak
Lost and Found
Over My Dead Body
Till Death Do Us Bark
Modern Fairies
Lemony Snicket
Sorcery and Cecelia
I am the Messenger
The Vampire's Assistant
The Velveteen Rabbit
The Ruins of Gorlan
Tunnels of Blood
Vampire Mountain
The Slippery Slope
Eyes Like Stars
Wondrous Strange
Year of Goodbyes
Perchance to Dream
Beautiful Creatures
The Woman in Black
Bloody Jack
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Beautiful Darkness

This is a list of 100 books I would like to tackle this year. There are definitely others (and I know deep down I won’t get to them all), but alot of these I’ve already started, set aside, or have been meaning to read for quite some time. If I’m in the middle of a series, I just listed the next book. If it’s the beginning of a series, I just listed the first. This list may change, but for now.... They truly are in no order of importance whatsoever... (again, I may add the authors later).
Curse of the Blue Tattoo
Flora’s Fury
Prince of Thorns
Trials of Death
Why We Broke Up
The Night Circus
My One Hundred Adventures
Lemonade Mouth
The Pillars of the Earth
The Humming of Numbers
Troll’s-Eye View
The Power of Six
Red Riding Hood
Radiant Darkness
Small Steps
The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack
Clockwork Orange
So Silver Bright
Dark Life
Night Road
Marcelo and the Real World
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Grand Tour
The Secret of Ka
Relic Master
The Floating Islands
Sebastian Darke: Prince of Fools
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Montmorency: On the Rocks
Thirteenth Child
Water for Elephants
Isle of Fire
The Iron King
The Grim Grotto
And Then There Were None
The Book of Mordred
Peter Pan
When You Reach Me
The Subtle Knife
Clockwork Angel
If I Stay
Nightmare Academy
The Storyteller
The Thief
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Un Lun Dun
The Diamond of Drury Lane
The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Thirteen Reasons Why
Heist Society
Make Lemonade
The Red Necklace
The Way of Shadows
A Great and Terrible Beauty
I am Mordred
Wicked Lovely
The Seventh Dwarf
Castaways of the Flying Dutchman
Blood Red Horse
Number the Stars
The Burning Bridge
The Alchemyst
The Princess Bride
The Graveyard Book
The Hobbit
The Red Pyramid
Vampire Academy
The Way of Shadows
For the 12x12 challenge(some of the books from the above list are missing from this list and there are others that are not present above):

~ Darkitty

New Year, New Start

As this last year came to a sudden close, I realized that I wanted to start fresh with my blogging. While I will not lie and say my writing is near perfection, I think college classes have helped improve my skills. Therefore, I prepare my entries now in advance to make sure they are worthy of public viewing. I hope to be able to keep up with my reviews this following year. I am certain to have plenty of time during the remainder of my Winter Break, and I did prepare a few reviews in advance from some books I had read back in December of 2011. I hope to update weekly, or at least every other week. I will not review outside of the Young Adult genre, unless something else catches my eye. I’d like to state that most of what I review will probably be geared toward an older young adult audience. With the occasional manga series review, perhaps a non-fiction thrown in to keep it varied, maybe a juvenile or adult book now and again, I will no longer continue my movie reviews (that blog has been deleted) nor will I pursue my idea of music reviews. Maybe in the distant future, when I secure more followers and have more free time. Let it be stated that though I created this blog back in December of 2010, I refreshed it this January of 2012. Most of what I review, I hope to be newly published, or only the first in a series. If I finish a series, I will come back with updated reviews. Most of the time. I may end up contradicting myself later on. While I’d like to keep my reviews of recently read books, I may occasionally reach into the past to talk about a long ago read book that I thoroughly enjoyed. I will not review books with less than a four star rating from myself, since I don’t think they’re worth the time or effort.

I will be participating in the 2012 DAC (Debut Author Challenge), reviewing one of the select few books per month. This a tentative list, and so my options shall be constantly changing, depending on if I can get my hands on the books in time. DAC runs from January 31st, 2012, through January 31st, 2013. Each book will be reviewed after it’s specific month of publication (later if I can’t get it in time). I will not choose the books in advance, since I'm not certain what I'll be able to get in time.

~ Darkitty
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