Musing Monday 6/28

This week’s musing asks…

What do you think of books that receive a lot of hype? (think of the “Twilight” saga, or “Harry Potter”, or“The Da Vinci Code”). Do you read them? Why, or why not?

It depends. I sometimes jump in the hype and read them and sometimes I don’t. I am probably still one of the few people that hasn’t read the Twilight Saga yet. I have all the books now but just haven’t gotten around to reading them. I read the Harry Potter series during the hype and no regrets there. I joined in The DaVinci Code trend late but that was a good read too. I guess, if it gets a lot of hype I’d be curious and give it a try. I did try getting into The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I couldn’t get into it. I read the first few pages and nearly snoozed my eyes off. I am still trying to figure out what’s so great about it. Anybody know?


Sunday Salon: Review of After



Sorry I haven’t been posting up reviews like I usually do. Don’t get me wrong, I have been reading. Quite a lot actually but I haven’t had the time to post the reviews as I have had lots of books to catch up on so the reviews are all lined up ready to be written and posted. So the reading is getting along well, it’s the posting that hasn’t. Anyway! today’s review features After by Amy Efaw.

Devon Davenport was a straight A student, and a top soccer athlete. Yet she does something that is totally out of character for her; she dumps her own baby into a dumpster. No one except her knows why she did this. In fact, Devon is in denial herself. Yet when she’s sent to a juvenile detention facility, reality crashes all over her.

I normally don’t read these types of books. It’s not my type (even though I love young adult fiction). Yet I was drawn to the book, and have heard good reviews on other book blogs I follow. When I started reading this book, for me, it started off a little slow, yet as you go with Devon through her issues and what she goes through in the juvenile facility, the book started to get more interesting and I couldn’t let it go.

I had issues with Devon. I couldn’t believe she was that stupid to deny her pregnancy and I hated her attitude towards her lawyer who was only trying to help. It just seemed as Devon wanted to dig a hole deeper around herself and I almost wanted to give up on her for being this way. It actually got to the point where I nearly put the book down and walked away because I got so angry at her. Yet as the story progressed, you see changes in her, and it’s as if she started to “grow up”. I started feeling sympathetic towards her, and eventually at the end, I noticed that I actually did like her. She got herself up and tackled her issues eventually leading to an ending which I really did not expect.

I enjoyed reading this book. It was fast paced, and Devon’s development as a character was excellent! it was interesting how your attitude towards her changes and I ended up applauding her. Although the story revolves around Devon, the plot is all right and she does meet other characters – however none really do stand out except for one named Karma (whom I thought Devon was going to punch in the face – if only she did). The relationship between Devon and her mom is mentioned and indeed interesting and you have to wonder if that may have anything to do with Devon’s present situation.

If you were to ask me what I didn’t like this book (besides Devon’s attitude in the beginning), I’m not sure. I suppose the plot could use a little more work. It does tend to run flat and dry at times and if you’re used to books with a lot of characters, this one may take some time to get used to. There’s not many as the story does revolve around Devon.

Otherwise, it’s a great book that tackles the issue of teen pregnancy. It was realistic, and straight to the point. It’s a fast read so I advise to give this book a try. You’ll see what I mean from hating Devon, to supporting and liking her in the end.

I give it a 8 out of 10.

Sunday Salon: Review of The Birthing House

The Birthing House

The Birthing House

It’s been a while since I’ve read a horror book. Yet I kept on finding this one through book blogs I’ve been hopping through, and also through book newsletters I get through e-mail. I did take it out of the library numerous times, but always having to return it because of the due date. Finally, I managed to dig in and read.

Conrad and Joanna are trying to save their marriage. Conrad, decides to buy a large old Victorian house that used to be a birthing house for pregnant women (who were usually pregnant outside of wedlock and needed a place to hide for 9 months). Just as Conrad is about to move in, the previous owner gives him a photo album of the history of the house and its’ inhabitants (midwives, and young pregnant women). While leafing through the album, Conrad found something odd and literally impossible; several pictures featuring his wife. The nightmare then begins, as an old crime is re-enacted, and Conrad and Joanna become unwilling victims of the house with a past that doesn’t sleep.

Oh my. Where to start. There were plenty of parts where the hair on the back of my neck stood to one end. It hit me by surprise too. (If any of you have read it, remember the popsicle doll part? argh!) I had the misfortune of reading that part at night right before bedtime. So, there is plenty of horror and suspense. The thing is, although the horror parts are very well written and enough to keep you on the edge of your seat, the storyline and characters don’t really give the story substance or depth.

I didn’t really like Conrad, or Joanna. Conrad hasn’t grown up yet and still acts like an 18 year old teenager who still on raging hormone syndrome. Joanna doesn’t help much with things either as she appears to be whiny, selfish, and acts like a B-movie diva. Despite the book’s great horror moments, Conrad ruins it all with his Lolita moments with Nadia, his constant thoughts about not getting any “action”, and his immaturity just has no boundaries. It can be quite eye rolling and very tedious.

What also bugs me, are some moments where things are mentioned, and then are just forgotten. Like the snakes Conrad has as a hobby. One of them undergoes a miraculous conception…..and….that’s it. Then you have that strange family that used to live in the house before Conrad. They had children – not very normal children. Bad things had happened to them while in that house. Nadia used to babysit the kids. Then they moved out. Hrm. It’s these kinds of details that needed explaining to make the plot and story more enjoyable and thus, more comprehensible.

Now here’s the part that really bugged me. There was one single chapter dedicated to how he and and old ex girlfriend spent the night together making love. It was descriptive. It was long. It was very detailed. At that point I thought to myself “Why would you write a chapter all about that, and why should I care?” I actually skipped ahead. I found it unneccesary and didn’t add anything to the story. So they had sex. Whatever. If I wanted detail and the dirt I’d get myself an erotic novel. I believe it’s not needed here.

The ending was all right. It was something I did rather expect out of a horror novel. Although it did leave me feeling rather as if there should have been a lot more to it. Nevertheless it did succeed in getting me scared in certain parts of the book. It was too bad it fell short in other areas, and the chapter I mentioned above just nearly killed the book for me. Overall, if you don’t mind these shortfalls and just want to read it for the thrills, go right on ahead. The horror moments of the book do deserve credit.

I give it a 5 out of 10.

Sunday Salon: Review of Wizard’s Funeral

Wizard's Funeral

Wizard's Funeral

Wizard’s Funeral is book two of the Red Pavilions series by Kim Hunter. It’s one of the lesser known fantasy works out there (that I know of) and I picked up the first book by chance at the local library book sale. I read the first book before I started this book blog, however if you want to know more about it, my review for it is here (Caroline C is my name under the review). It is greatly recommended you read Knight’s Dawn before you jump into Wizard’s Funeral.

The King Magus has been declared dead, and his sucessor is a young boy whom Soldier had met in his previous adventures. Yet there have been some that would prefer if the young boy would be dead. Soldier decides it’s his responsibility to protect the boy and his mother, yet also he has other problems of his own when his wife goes missing and Zamarkand is left in a political chaos.

If you have read my shelfari review on Knight’s Dawn, I wasn’t really expecting much from this book. I decided to keep going with the series because there was an element of political intrigue that was interesting, and also I was curious as to the mystery behind Soldier’s past and who he really is. It wasn’t a bad book, but there were a couple of things that I didn’t like. Yet let me get to what I liked about Wizard’s Funeral.

The funeral of the King Magus described in this book was very unique and different. It was a meeting of creatures from every myth and legend you could think of, yet instead of making it sound like a total chaotic mess it was an interesting mixture and blend. It was also interesting as Soldier was the only human invited, and the other creatures thought he was the oddity in the funeral instead of the other way around. I thought that was the most interesting part of the book and have never read anything like this in any fantasy novel I have read. This definitely stood out.

Another thing I liked are the characters, there’s a bit of a witty black comedy involved and sometimes it comes when it’s least expected. I did jot down quite a few memorable quotes that I thought were well written and got a chuckle out of me. Aside from the previous characters mentioned in Knight’s Dawn, there are some new ones involved in this book but it’s a healthy amount so the reader is not confused. Soldier’s new friend Goldgath brought more to the plot, thus making it more enjoyable to read. Also, I enjoyed the giant cliffhanger ending. I wasn’t about to give up on this series, but it was not going to be in my top priority list to read either, but the ending changed things and now I want to know what’s going to happen.

The plot and storyline was all right, but still not great. There’s one part of the plot where Soldier arrives at a certain destination, only to go back to Zamarkand ONLY to find out he wasn’t needed there in the first place! then he makes the trek back to where he originally wanted to go to. What in the world was that all about??? and what a waste!! I didn’t know what was the point of that! there wasn’t any big revelation, or anything that is character revealing, or anything to advance the plot. I thought it was strange and extremely unnecessary.

At times I sometimes reflected back on my reading, and wondered where is this plot going to? it just seems so haphazard and to me, it feels as if this series is just going nowhwere. What seems as if Soldier is going in the right direction, something else distracts him. Also, it seems as if he doesn’t really care about his past and is not even making an effort to find out. It’s odd and not what you’d expect from a behavior of a normal human being. What I also don’t get is some of these character names. They are the most odd and most obscure ones I have ever read so far and are just beyond strange.

Overall, still not the greatest of fantasy series I’ve been reading. However I am not going to give up on it. The ending of this book caught me off guard and although there are a lot of unanswered questions, I am hoping the third and final book of this series will provide a lot of closure. It’s not the greatest, but it’s not a terrible read either. I give it kudos for making such a unique and different plot with very different characters with their own unique personalities. Do pick this trilogy if you want something different, but don’t expect a lot either. It’s definitely not your average fantasy.

I give it a 5 out of 10.