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Archive for February 2012

Sleepless by Thomas Fahy

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SleeplessEmma Montgomery hasn’t been sleeping well. She has gruesome nightmares, and when she wakes up, she isn’t where she was when she fell asleep. And she’s not the only one. Many of the students at Saint Opportuna High are having nightmares and sleepwalking too. When teenagers start turning up dead, Emma and her friends start to wonder if they might have had anything to do with the deaths. They need to stick together to keep themselves awake…and to figure out what’s causing them to kill in their sleep. (From Amazon.ca)

This book caught my attention because of its’ cover. I was expecting something thrilling and maybe something with paranormal characteristics in the book.

I was wrong. What I thought was going to be a thrilling read turned about to be not so scary or thrilling at all. The writing style felt like you were reading a screenplay (or something close like it). The plot wasn’t too bad but it could have been better, and none of the characters really stood out for me.

One part I did not understand at all was the addition of the New Orleans voodoo thing. I thought to myself, hey this is going to get interesting. Nope. I don’t even know WHY it was added into the plot. Was it to deceive the reader into thinking voodoo was involved??? NOTHING was done with it and it turned out just to be a page filler.

When the big mystery was finally revealed, the ending was all right, but not the greatest and by that time I was rather disenchanted with the whole novel and I wanted it to be over and done with. It’s rather unfortunate but so much more could have been done with this plot and book but looked as if not much effort was put into it at all.

None of the characters really stood out for me. The romance between Emma and Jake wasn’t that great and I couldn’t really connect or have attachments to anyone. They were all cardboard like with barely any personality at all – although I’d have to say Jake was the one with the most personality at best.

Aside from the cover, this book could have been made into a movie and would have turned out much better. It’s a short book, so it can be read in one sitting (however because the plot was a bit slow to begin with it took me longer than usual). I would say pass this on unless you’ve no idea what to read next.

I give it a 4 out of 10.

Written by Karoline

February 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Posted in 4, Review

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Fat Vampire by Adam Rex

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Fat VampireDoug Lee is undead quite by accident—attacked by a desperate vampire, he finds himself cursed with being fat and fifteen forever. When he has no luck finding some goth chick with a vampire fetish, he resorts to sucking the blood of cows under cover of the night. But it’s just not the same. Then he meets the new Indian exchange student and falls for her—hard. Yeah, he wants to bite her, but he also wants to prove himself to her. But like the laws of life, love, and high school, the laws of vampire existence are complicated—it’s not as easy as studying Dracula. Especially when the star of Vampire Hunters is hot on your trail in an attempt to boost ratings. . . . (From Amazon.ca)

I started to like this book a lot, it was hilariously funny and puts a whole new twist to the vampire theme. However there were just some parts of the book that did not sit well with me and the book suddenly became something that I did not expect. Perhaps it was the author’s intention. Perhaps not.

At first I thought Doug was comical. He was certainly someone you could either relate to (as being a social outcast in the school class system) or someone you made fun of (oh come on, I’m sure there are times you DID laugh at them for some reason or another don’t be so high and mighty thinking you didn’t). Then as the book progresses, you realize some of the reasons why Doug isn’t well liked.

Turns out, Doug is…a jerk. His comments towards minorities and other groups aren’t that funny at all and it may offend some readers. His treatment of Jay is also why he’s a jerk. For a best friend, Jay tends to take a lot in, and although he may seem like a loyal sidekick, Doug treats him like dirt and likes to openly make fun of him in front of other friends to make himself look better. As the book progresses, at first, Doug may seem all right, but then as you turn the pages, you see more of his true colors show, and they’re not what they seem. He turns out to be not very likable at all.

The plot in itself is pretty good. At first. Then it just flatlines throughout the second half of the story. I’m not sure why there was such a big mystery behind Sejal and her case of ‘The Google’. I don’t know why the explanation of it took such a long time to be revealed. In fact that rather annoyed me because she kept on mentioning it and I’m asking each time; ‘WTF is that?!’ when it was revealed I almost just about gave up trying to figure it out. Werewolves, and vampire hunters are then added into the plot, but none of that really makes it stand out or makes the plot move forward. A lot of the time I felt some things were definitely rushed and some characters just disappear. Then the ending has somewhat of a Donnie Darko flavor to it and this is where I wonder if I really liked the book, or I didn’t.

It was, all right I suppose. It had a great potential to be an excellent book, but then the plot stops, characters disappear, and you’re left with a rather mediocre read. Yes, Doug is a jerk and that may turn some readers off from this book but I was more concerned with the plot itself. There were just too many loose ends to let me fully enjoy the story.

I give it a 6 out of 10.

Written by Karoline

February 27, 2012 at 6:56 pm

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Words Spoken True by Ann H Gabhart

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Words Spoken TrueAdriane Darcy was practically raised in her father’s newspaper offices. She can’t imagine life without the clatter of the press and the push to be first to write the news that matters. Their Tribune is the leading paper in Louisville in 1855. Then Blake Garrett, a brash young editor from the North with a controversial new style of reporting, takes over failing competitor the Herald, and the battle for readers gets fierce. When Adriane and Blake meet at a benefit tea, their surprising mutual attraction is hard to ignore. Still, Blake is the enemy, and Adriane is engaged to the son of a powerful businessman who holds the keys to the Tribune’s future. Blake will stop at almost nothing to get the story–and the girl. Can he do both before it’s too late? (From Amazon.ca)

What I really liked about this story is the rich historical detail and effort put into it. The setting is easy to picture, and as the story progresses, you certainly can feel the tension and the civil unrest there was during this particular time. So this aspect of the book was exceptionally well done.

I really liked reading the characters in this book as well. I loved Adriane! she certainly was a very strong character (although, it was also good that she displayed her vulnerabilities as well, to make her more ‘real’). However what I liked about her the most is her strong independence and her willingness to make her own proper choices despite her betrothal and her social status. I liked how she made her own decisions and was willing to accept those consequences – even to the point of disappointing her own father.

I also thought the villain in this book was very well done. He’s creepy enough while maintaining a facade and fooling others (he fooled me at first). Blake on the other hand is also well done (although he’s your typical gentleman you find in these kinds of novels) but the chemistry he has between himself and Adriane is well written and they go well together.

The plot is well written, and the mystery part of the book is all right although it was rather predictable who the culprit is. The pacing is also well done although I thought it did drag its’ feet towards the last third of the book. Despite this small shortcoming, the book was still a great read and I absolutely enjoyed it. Most definitely recommended for those who like a nice clean historical romance with a rich setting, or those who are into inspirational fiction.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Written by Karoline

February 23, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach

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Wake Unto MeA haunted castle, a handsome young man dead for four hundred years, one heck of a scary portrait of a witch, and a treasure hunt — not to mention a princess for a roommate! — all await 15 year old American girl Caitlyn Monahan when she earns a scholarship to a French boarding school. There are secrets behind the stone walls of Chateau de la Fortune, buried for centuries along with the mystery of who killed Raphael, the charming ghost who visits Caitlyn at night. But as Caitlyn unearths the history of the castle, nothing scares her as badly as the secret she learns about herself, and the reason she was chosen to come to the Fortune School. And nothing breaks her heart as badly as falling in love with a dead guy (From Goodreads)

First of all, bonus points to a very beautiful cover. Really loved it. Second, I really liked this book. The best of it was the setting description of the boarding school and the overall mood throughout the book. It was dark, it was gothic, and it held a lot of secrets ready to be revealed.

Caitlyn overall, was a good character to read. She wasn’t over the top whiny or moody like some protagonists I’ve come across. She’s realistic and likable. The chemistry she has between herself and Raphael is well done (and Raphael is VERY crushworthy).

The plot does develop a little slower than some. The descriptions of France and its’ buildings is well done so picturing the setting is easy and establishes the story so readers will have a clear picture. I liked how the story carries the reader through different time periods, but also it’s like time traveling through dreams. It’s interesting, for sure and the transitions aren’t confusing, it’s pretty much clear and easy to read. The ghost story part of the book was very well done. I wasn’t expecting the outcome and it caught me entirely off guard. The treasure hunting aspect (yes, there’s a lot to pack into this plot!) was good and interesting, and it wasn’t too overdone.

There was one thing that really did bother me, and that was towards the ending. It got a little too convenient and well to be frank, rather cheesy. I thought it should have been done differently or..perhaps that particular event with Thierry just should not have happened. In my opinion, I found that part to be just so predictable and if the rest of the book hadn’t been so great, the score based on that ending alone would have been lower.

Great for YA fans who want a little bit of everything (a ghost story, a romance, a treasure hunt, and a bit of historical fiction). It’s worth the read. Some might be put off with the slow development of the plot so this might not be for some who prefer something fast paced.

I give it a 9/10

Written by Karoline

February 21, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Posted in 9, Review

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Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

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life as we knew itMiranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove. (From Goodreads)

No matter how much of this type of book I’ve read in the past another one comes along and it instantly becomes a favorite, replacing the previous one. This one take a little more of a realistic turn (sans aliens and zombies) and goes for what would happen if the moon is knocked closer to earth. Major natural disasters occur, and the weather changes drastically.

I admired Miranda’s mom. A lot. She was strong and held her family together, preparing everything in advance when things get worse later. It was as if she had everything under control – something extremely difficult to do especially when the majority of the public are probably panicking and running amok. I also liked Matt who also was strong and acted like the backbone of Miranda’s family too.

It did take me a while to like Miranda. There were times when she acted like a spoiled self centered selfish brat, but then there were other times where she would sacrifice anything to help her family. You do tend to forget that she’s just a sixteen year old girl because of her behavior. She acts like an adult at times, but then reverts to her age the next. It’s the same with Johnny too, and he’s younger than Miranda. It’s in crisis situations like these where you see children literally grow up when they should be having fun at their age.

The story is told in a diary format, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Miranda doesn’t fill her entries with flowery writing, at times it can get a little whiny and her priorities get a little mixed but her descriptions of what’s going on and how the world is during this crisis is cut and clear. It may not be as graphic as some other post apocalyptic books are, but since this is meant for younger readers, the amount of details is just right.

It’s a great post apocalyptic book for younger readers, and I think it’s also a great ‘starter’ book for those that just want a taste of these kinds of books. It’s not over the top graphic detail, but just enough to know that the world Miranda lives in, is filled with a lot of difficulties and hardship. Yet it outlines the importance of family togetherness to survive through the ordeal. This was a great read, and I do recommend this book for readers of any age.

I give it an 8 out of 10.

Written by Karoline

February 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm