Review of Ninth Grade Slays by Heather Brewer

Ninth Grade Slays

Ninth Grade Slays

It is recommended to read Eighth Grade Bites before jumping into this book to get a better understanding on what’s been going on in the storyline so far.

If middle school stunk for Vladimir Tod, high school is a real drain. Besides being a punching bag for bullies, he’s still stalled with dream girl Meredith, and he’s being tailed by a photographer from the school newspaper. Needless to say, practicing his vampire skills hasn’t exactly been a priority for Vlad — until now. A monumental trip to Siberia with Uncle Otis is Vlad’s crash course in Vampire 101. Training alongside the most gifted vampires is exactly what Vlad needs to sharpen those mind-control skills he’s been avoiding. And he’d better get it right, because the battle brewing back home with the slayer who’s been stalking him could be Vlad’s last. (From Goodreads)

I thought this one was much better than the first. I think because there’s more to the story and plenty of background information provided. Although a little predictable, (especially when it came to who was the vampire slayer in the neighborhood) it was a fun read and interesting to go through.

What I found especially interesting is the slight cracks you see that will eventually come to the surface and quite possibly create problems for Vlad. For example; his friendship with Henry. It’s good, but you notice Henry’s changed a bit. He’s hanging out with the popular kids more and Vlad is just on the sidelines being the observer. I’m not entirely sure if I like this change in Henry. He’s such a great guy and provided the comic relief in the series. If he turns out to be a jerk I’d be sorely disappointed. Let’s not forget the other vampires that are hounding Vlad down, and the vampire slayer that’s out for him. It looks like Vlad is about to have a lot on his plate soon enough.  This is what I liked about the story so far. There’s underlying problems which are bound to explode sooner or later and this is what makes me want to continue reading the series until its’ conclusion.

I had to admit I went all mushy with Vlad and Meredith. They do make a cute couple despite Meredith being a “Barbie” (ie; always described with the color pink) which I think is the total exact opposite of what Vlad would like. Then again, I suppose it’s interesting that they both like each other despite their high school “labels”.

I’m definitely looking forward to the next one in this series. The ending got me curious as to what’s in store for Vlad.

I give it a 9.5 out of 10.

On a side note: I’m really wondering what’s up with the pink stuff and Meredith? what in the world is she supposed to be? a Barbie? argh. DEATH TO THE COLOR PINK!!!

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Book Blogger Hop 1/28

Book Blogger Hop

 

Today’s Question is: “What book are you most looking forward to seeing published in 2011?  Why are you anticipating that book?”

– I haven’t really looked at what’s up and coming this year. But! there’s one book that really gets my attention and that’s The Night Eternal. Which is book no 3 of The Strain Trilogy by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. That’s definitely on my list.

what about you guys? thanks for stopping by via the Hop! 🙂

Review of Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Incarceron

Incarceron

So many rave reviews about this book got me curious. The cover certainly is eye catching and rather lovely isn’t it?

Incarceron is a prison so vast that it contains not only cells, but also metal forests, dilapidated cities, and vast wilderness. Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, has no memory of his childhood and is sure that he came from Outside Incarceron. Very few prisoners believe that there is an Outside, however, which makes escape seems impossible. And then Finn finds a crystal key that allows him to communicate with a girl named Claudia. She claims to live Outside- she is the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, and doomed to an arranged marriage. Finn is determined to escape the prison, and Claudia believes she can help him. But they don’t realize that there is more to Incarceron than meets the eye. Escape will take their greatest courage and cost more than they know. (Taken from Amazon.ca)

The world building and concept of the book was very interesting. It took me by surprise when I found out all is not what it seems Outside. However, it disappointed me as well. It never occurred to me that it was in a futuristic setting and that little surprise took me a while to get used to. I did like how Incarceron had different types of scenery and settings, literally it was a little world of its own. That was interesting and a fascinating read.

The political intrigue within the Haavarna Court was interesting and fun to read. I liked how Claudia managed herself through all the mind games yet still managing to keep herself intact and alive. I really did enjoy reading about Claudia. She had the wits and the determination to keep going. Finn, I didn’t really enjoy reading so much. I’m not sure why, he just didn’t really grow on me as a character. Keiro on the other hand was a much more entertaining read even though he had flaws that made him look like a total complete jerk. He was more exciting to read about than Finn.

Despite these well done characters, and the concept of the story was interesting and different, the story started off a little too slowly for me, and it got confusing at times. What frustrated me was, there were so many questions I had, only to find out after reading 448 pages, that none of the questions really were answered and you’re back to square one. So not only was the book dry, you’re left with a wide open ending. Although the pace did pick up in the last half of the book, this could have definitely been a better read. I’m really not sure why it took so long for the plot to move forward, but those that want a quick story won’t find it here.

Am I going to read the sequel? yes. I did not read 448 pages for nothing. Call me stubborn, but despite slow movement of the plot in the book I still want to know what happens. If it weren’t for such well written characters I probably would not have continued reading this book until the end. However, I do encourage those that want something different to read to pick this up. It’s most certainly something I haven’t read before.

I give it a 6 out of 10.

Review of The Case Against Owen Williams by Allan Donaldson

Case Against Owen Williams

Case Against Owen Williams

Thank you LibraryThing for providing me a copy of this book! The reason why I requested this one through Early Reviewers? several things. The plot looked interesting and it’s been quite a while since I’ve read a murder mystery with a court case all in one. I thought this was rather interesting as although it took place during World War II, it wasn’t even near a battlefield, or a gunfight. This one was in a setting far away from the fighting.

Donaldson’s new novel is a literary mystery set in the fictional town of Wakefield, New Brunswick, against the backdrop of the Second World War. Following a night at The Silver Dollar dance hall, a teenage girl turns up dead in a gravel pit. The last person reported to have seen her is Owen Williams, an introverted soldier stationed with the local garrison of “Zombies”-conscripted men unwilling to serve overseas. When Lieutenant Bernard Dorkin, a young lawyer from Saint John, volunteers to defend Williams, whom he believes is innocent, he finds himself up against a theatrical local favourite leading the prosecution and a public mostly hell-bent on a foregone conclusion. The Case Against Owen Williams explores the potential for wrongful conviction and the gaps in the justice system that allow it to flourish. (From Amazon.ca)

Well, the murder mystery aspect of the story was interesting. I’d have to say I didn’t care too much for the writing style. The story did take a while to get going and for a good part of the book it was extremely repetitive. I’m sure the goal was to attempt to establish how the crime could have been committed. There were several possible scenarios. However it was being repeated at least three times and I soon started wondering if any plot advancement was going to take place. It was frustrating to read and made the plot slow to a crawl.

The possible list of suspects were interesting, albeit small as the setting does take place a in a rather small town. I did like how word does spread fast in towns such as these, and gossip remains rampant. It’s typical of a small town, and since Dorkin is an outsider, he sticks out like a sore thumb and citizens are reluctant to talk to him. I like Dorkin though. He’s very persistent and seems to be the type to strive for the greater good even though the odds are stacked against him. I considered him to be a one of those “quiet unsung heroes” and liked him for his sense of justice. Owen Williams is different and I understand how Dorkin felt when he felt irritated towards him. Owen’s a wuss. I couldn’t help but feel irritated too. He was just a spineless little twit that needed toughening up and he really didn’t help himself in regards to the court case.

I really did enjoy reading the court case part of the novel. It was interesting and grabbed my attention, it did seem like how a court case should be. I liked how Dorkin acted during court. It was a different side to him and although he was blindsided a couple of times he was still determined to prove his client innocent. However, towards the end of court, the repetitiveness of the crime came out again and it got extremely tedious to read. It came to the point where I did skip those pages as I could memorize by heart what had happened (since it was being repeated so much.)

The ending was good, a little predictable, but good nevertheless. It provided a little spark of excitement the book needed. I was not prepared for Owen’s 360 personality change and disliked him even more for it. He deserves a good punch in the face!

Despite the tedious repetitive moments, and the writing style is a little on the dry side, I’m not sure if I could say I enjoyed this book. There were moments were it was worth a read, but perhaps I’m just not used to this writing style and I felt it drag. It did take me a considerably long time to finish this book (despite it being 288 pages). I’m not sure if I could recommend this book to anyone, however, if you’re patient enough to read through the dry bits then give it a try. I would say take it, or leave it.

I give it a 4 out of 10.

Book Blogger Hop 1/14

Book Blogger Hop

 

This Week’s Question: “Why do you read the genre that you do?  What draws you to it?”

– Seeing as I read several genres, I’ll break em down and give you the reasons:

YA/Juvenile fiction: I read these after heavy epic reads. They’re light, they’re fun and they’re fast. Not to mention, they’re very very good.

Mystery/Thriller: I love guessing who committed the crime! I love the mystery and the action. Especially when I’m blindsided with a killer I have never expected, those are the best!

Fantasy: Simple. To escape.

Sci-fi: To read into different worlds, and learn about different planets and different species that *could* be out there 🙂 not to mention I like to read about different new technologies, weapons, oh! and flying cars! you can’t forget about the flying cars!

Dystopia: There are days when I just have to sit and read bleak serious stuff. This sort of thing fascinates me.

Historical fiction: As a history lover, I love to read about the past. I love to picture how it was back then.

Horror/Paranormal: To get a scare. Also, because I play several World of Darkness games (role playing games) I find these perfect inspiration.

Action/Adventure: When I feel like reading about bombs exploding, cars crashing, being on a chase. Yeah, like The Bourne Identity. 🙂

That about covers it! I read a lot of genres (being eclectic) and there’s something I enjoy in each genre. How about you guys?

If visiting from the Hop hi! welcome! here have some brownies!!! and thanks for stopping by!

Review of The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent

The Heretic's Daughter

The Heretic's Daughter

I’ve had this on my reading pile for one of the most longest time ever. I started reading it then stopped. Finally I picked it up again and had to reread as I forgot where I left off (and it had been a long time since I last read the book). I really have to stop doing that. However I can’t help it if some other book comes along and demands my attention more than the other. If only I can clone myself to read more…..anyway, I’m stalling.

A family’s conflict becomes a battle for life and death in this gripping and original first novel based on family history from a descendant of a condemned Salem witch. After a bout of smallpox, 10-year-old Sarah Carrier resumes life with her mother on their family farm in Andover, Mass., dimly aware of a festering dispute between her mother, Martha, and her uncle about the plot of land where they live. The fight takes on a terrifying dimension when reports of supernatural activity in nearby Salem give way to mass hysteria, and Sarah’s uncle is the first person to point the finger at Martha. Soon, neighbors struggling to eke out a living and a former indentured servant step forward to name Martha as the source of their woes. Sarah is forced to shoulder an even heavier burden as her mother and brothers are taken to prison to face a jury of young women who claim to have felt their bewitching presence. (Taken from Amazon.ca)

Never has a book given me so many strong emotions as this one. It’s amazing how mass hysteria can produce such irrational, mind baffling ideas that make the impossible become reality. I just couldn’t believe they could get away with accusing these innocent people (even children) with the most ridiculous charges. I could actually feel myself get angry at such injustices. Especially towards Sarah and her mother. It made me want to go in there and give everybody a good slap and wake up call. Nevertheless, I thought the book was a good read. A book that stirs such emotions is definitely worth a read. There was a point in the book (the trial part) where it literally made my blood boil and I had to set it down a couple of times, to me, that just means the book was good. Really good.

The characters in the book were very well written. I loved the relationship between Sarah and her mother. Although strained, and even cold, it’s a lot like the mother-daughter relationships today. When Sarah comes to terms with her mother, it’s sad and quite possibly filled with regrets but it changes Sarah from a naive young girl to a mature one, who now sees the world in a very different way. I also thought her relationship with her father was interesting as well and it’s an eye opener when she realizes that her parents are loving and caring even if they don’t display it openly. I really did like reading this through Sarah’s point of view. It’s amazing and I really enjoyed her character development. I also liked Martha (Sarah’s mother) as well. She was so strong willed and strong minded, she was an extremely admirable woman and her actions while in jail were extremely brave.

This book also got me to hate certain characters far more than usual. Mercy and her little sidekick Phoebe were absolutely hateful and are just as bad as present day bullies at school. Mercy really got to me though, if it wasn’t for her, Sarah’s life might have been different. Argh. Horrible hateful Mercy!

The only real complaint I have is the ‘red book’ mentioned. It is given to Sarah yet the contents within the book were never revealed. That was a bit of a disappointment for me, I was curious and wanting to know what secrets it might have, and to have it never discussed made the ending lacking. Also, the focus on Sarah’s moments in prison were a little too long winded and dragged for a bit. It could have been slightly shorter.

Pick this book up and be ready for the emotional ride. The book is well written and generates a lot of feeling from the reader. Don’t expect any happy feelings from this one though. It covers tragic events and is an eye opener on how mass hysteria can run amok, and how easily people (even family) can turn against one another.

I give it an 8 out of 10.

Review of The Merchant of Death by D J MacHale

Merchant of Death

Merchant of Death

I kept on seeing vast quantities of this series everywhere I look at the library and bookstores. Naturally I got curious and got the first book out. (Which was extremely hard to find, as usual.) (why is it that the first book in the series is always the hardest to find??!)

Bobby Pendragon is a seemingly normal fourteen-year-old boy. He has a family, a home, and even Marley, his beloved dog. But there is something very special about Bobby.
He is going to save the world. And not just Earth as we know it. Bobby is slowly starting to realize that life in the cosmos isn’t quite what he thought it was. And before he can object, he is swept off to an alternate dimension known as Denduron, a territory inhabited by strange beings, ruled by a magical tyrant, and plagued by dangerous revolution. If Bobby wants to see his family again, he’s going to have to accept his role as savior, and accept it wholeheartedly. Because, as he is about to discover, Denduron is only the beginning…. (Taken from Chapters Indigo website)

I can most definitely see how this book caters to boys. It’s practically filled with action from cover to cover, and Bobby as the main narrator does a good job to keep you interested. I still have to say, I find him hard to like. He’s a bit arrogant and cocky, and at times stupidity seems to come into his head and he makes the wrong decisions when the right ones are necessary (and life saving). However I can’t help but also be caught up in the story. I suppose the way he narrates it was good and engaging enough to keep my attention.

I do like the concept and the idea of this book. It was interesting and very different from what I’m used to reading. The concept actually reminds me of the television show Sliders (of course with obvious differences) which is one of the main reasons why I thought this book was good. Some chapters also take place on “Second Earth” (supposedly where we live) and features Courtney (Bobby’s girlfriend) and Mark (Bobby’s nerdy but very reliable friend). They’re two typical sidekicks to the story but it adds more substance to the plot and goes to show you how the fantasy element works in the book. It’s also a nice secondary storyline and gives you an insight on what happens when Bobby is away from home. Life goes on on Second Earth but I’m sure questions will be raised when Bobby and his family have extended their absence for a very long time.

Although I like the action in the book, there just seems to be something missing. I liked it but felt that I did not enjoy it as much. Although the characters are well thought out they just did not have any “feel” to them and were like wooden puppets. Except for Bobby (obviously, as he’s the main character). It would help if there’s more substance and depth to the supporting cast as well.

I’d say give this book a go if you want an action packed read without anything too complex. The worlds are well written, the fantasy element is different, and I’m going to be picking up the second one for sure. There’s lots of unanswered questions (like the whereabouts of Bobby’s parents) that I want to know the answers to.

I give it a 7 out of 10.