Sep 26, 2009

Review | And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

First there were ten - a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to any of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they're unwilling to reveal - and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder, and one by one they begin to fall prey to an unseen hand. As the only people on the island, unable to leave and unable to call for help, they know that the only possible suspects are among their number. And only the dead are above suspicion.

Thoughts: The last mystery book I read, was about twelve years ago, and it was the Two Minute Mysteries. Even though I loved that book, I've always avoided the mystery section at the library and at bookstores. This book, I happened to pick up because it came along with the computer game. I never got to play the game, because I wanted to read the book first, and I just got to the book after its sat on my shelf for about 2+ years.

So finally picking it up, I was surprised on how wonderfully good this book was. It was a quick paced, and nail-biting story that had me turning every page quickly to find out more. Up until the end I was at a loss to who the murderer truly was, and that just made it so much the better.

Following the Ten Little Indians children tale, each person on the island begins to die the same way as each of the Indians. One of them must be the murderer, but who? There was no one to trust, and going crazy awaiting the next ones death.

I loved the plot, the simple yet captivating writing style, and the suspense in every page. Agatha Christie writes a thrilling and short story that all mystery lovers must read, and even non-mystery lovers like me. I will definitely pick up another one of her books in the near future!

Sep 25, 2009

Review | The Giver by Lois Lowry

Jonas' world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community.
When Jonas turns 12, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. Now, it's time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

Thoughts: I know many people my age who have read The Giver, because it was assigned reading in junior high and high school. I heard of it in 6th grade from a fellow classmate and even though I was curious, I never read it. Anyways, I've heard from some that it's an okay book, and from others that its a great book.

One day the boyfriend, his best friend and I are hanging out. We make a quick trip to Target and while we wandered around, the boyfriends best friend walks away, and we find him later in the book section. He was looking around for a while, and finally decides to get The Giver. It's one of his favorite books, and he's read it fourteen times before(!). He's so excited about reading it (or maybe we've bored him) but he starts reading it right away, and just follows us around with his nose, literally, in the book. He read it twice that night. So I borrow it from him a few weeks later, and it takes me a while to get to it but finally I get to reading it.

This book is beautifully written, and deeply disturbing. It is a haunting story of what human-kind would have to do, and the sacrifices we would have to make in order to create and maintain a Utopian society.

I loved the authors writing style, the way the book deals with disturbing and complicated themes, but I thought it might be a little too complex and powerful for ten and eleven year old's. I found this book very hard to read, only because of the plot, how it develops into a painful experience through Jonas eyes, and the struggle that he goes through in the end. I found the ending very intense, and have heard different interpretations of what it means from a few friends.

I highly recommend this book to anyone 14+ because I'm not sure if many younger readers will appreciate or understand the emotional roller coaster this book puts you through, especially when its assigned reading at school.

Sep 18, 2009

Review | Dancing with Ana by Nicole Barker

Beth is a lucky girl... She comes from a loving family. She has three best friends. She loves to surf and lives five minutes from the beach. She also recently discovered that the boy she's grown up with has the most amazing green eyes... Beth has every reason to smile. Every reason to be happy. Every reason to feel blessed.

Then why is she sticking her fingers down her throat?

Thoughts: This is a quick and enjoyable book that deals with teen issues, such as weight problems, anorexia, and divorce. Beth is a typical teenager, but inside she is suffering from her parents divorce, and the distance that is growing between her and her father. Instead of talking about it, she closes up and does not tell her three best friends what's going on emotionally inside her.
When the four best friends begin to diet to lose a few pounds, Beth finds herself unhappy when she finally reaches her goal and the diet soon escalates dangerously and she doesn't know how to change the situation she's in or what's causing it. The people who love her begin to help her, by showing her support and she learns to deal with the pain differently and soon begins to eat again.
This story, although good, was too short to satisfy me. I do not think that all the events that took place in the book could happen over three weeks. Realistically, it would have taken a few months for all this to take place, and maybe the author could have made the book a bit longer.
Another thing that I didn't like too much was the ending. The book is only 170 pages long and with about twenty pages left, the author added a solution to everyone's problem and a happily ever after, which to me seemed a little forced. There definitely should have been more pages to make the conclusion more realistic than what it was.
I think this was a good book, that talked about many problems teens today face. The characters are detailed well, and you feel like you know them, but a little more length would have helped bunches. I also thought the title of this book was great, I loved it, especially after reading this.

happy reading :)

Sep 11, 2009

Quick Reviews #5

100 Bullets Volume 3, Hang Up on the Hang Low by Brian Azzarello
Life is a bitch...and then you die. Or at least somebody dies. Most likely, when you enter the shadowy world of 100 Bullets, it's a whole lot of people. That's just what a young man named Loop is about to find out.With a gun and 100 rounds of untraceable ammunition--courtesy of the mysterious Agent Graves--he's set out to find the father he never knew, and find out first-hand what the underworld is really like. It's going to be worse than he could possibly imagine.
Thoughts: Similar to the last two that I read, this one goes a little more in depth with this story and the main character. Although it is a great story, I don't think it would work well as a stand alone. The graphics are great, the dialogue is good and the story gets more interesting every time, so I want to read the fourth one.

Crank by Ellen Hopkins
Kristina is introduced to the drug while visiting her largely absent and ne'er-do-well father. While under the influence of the monster, Kristina discovers her sexy alter-ego, Bree: "there is no perfect daughter, / no gifted high school junior, / no Kristina Georgia Snow. / There is only Bree." Bree will do all the things good girl Kristina won't, including attracting the attention of dangerous boys who can provide her with a steady flow of crank...
Thoughts: A powerful novel about drug addiction and its consequences, written in short poems that flowed well. This book tells the story of a young girl, and her encounter with "the Monster," a heartbreaking story of what drugs cause. It is a very realistic book, the poetic format adds an extra dimension to it, and the story is altogether depressing and insightful.

Vampire Haiku by Ryan Mecum
Vampire Haiku is a poetry journal written by a vampire whose life spans for centuries, starting during the birth of America. The undead poet was turned into a vampire hundreds of years ago and has lived through (and possibly caused) some of America’s defining events. Although many of the haiku stand on their own, the hundreds of haiku also flow together to tell one story of being a vampire, living during the entire history of America, and forever longing to find and be with the woman who turned him into a vampire many years ago as he crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the Mayflower.
Thoughts: I really enjoyed this quick, delightful and a bit gross book. Made me laugh quite a bit. My favorite haiku was in reference to the Twilight series:

"If this were real life,
Ed would have looked at her neck--
Bite, dead, burp, credits."

The Walking Dead, Vol. 1 Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman
An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months, society has crumbled: There is no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. Rick Grimes finds himself one of the few survivors in this terrifying future. A couple months ago he was a small town cop who had never fired a shot and only ever saw one dead body. Separated from his family, he must now sort through all the death and confusion to try and find his wife and son. In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally begin living.
Thoughts: Based on post-apocalyptic times, this graphic novel is full of zombie horror and people learning to survive. The images are all black and white, which I wasn’t too happy with, since I prefer gore and bloody images. The storyline was great, although the beginning wasn't too strong: a man waking up from a coma and the world is pretty much dead and eating the living; it could've been a bit more original.

Sep 2, 2009

Quick Reviews #4

Jessica Z by Shawn Klomparens
When Jessica Zorich met a tall, charismatic artist at a San Francisco party, her life had been all about coping: with a baffling and dangerous world, with a mostly inane job, and with a sweet but meandering relationship with her upstairs neighbor. But Josh Hadden doesn't cope: he's a man of action, of big visions, and of relationships that span the globe; a man certain of his passions, politics, art, and desire. And what Josh desires most is Jessica..
Thoughts: I'd heard good things about this book, so when I saw it I picked it up, but was not at all what I expected. I was surprised it wasn't chick-lit or a romance story, but much more than that. More mature in a way, with no happily-ever-after, and a terrorist thread that ran through the whole novel and made it even more thought provoking. The story seemed a little vague and in the end you are left feeling like you never really knew the characters, and that didn't satisfy me. It was a good plot, but as it developed it could've been better I think.

30 Days of Night, Volume 1 by Steve Niles
In a sleepy, secluded Alaska town called Barrow, the sun sets and doesn't rise for over thirty consecutive days and nights. From the darkness, across the frozen wasteland, an evil will come that will bring the residents of Barrow to their knees. The only hope for the town is the Sheriff and Deputy, husband and wife who are torn between their own survival and saving the town they love.
Thoughts: I almost wish this wasn't a graphic novel because it's a great storyline for a long, interesting and scary book about vampires. The idea I think is very unique, although there are a lot of vampire books out there now. I loved the setting, which I think is what made it more particular and story builds up well, even though it is written in such limited space. The art was great, the images blurry causing a snow storm looking kind of effect, and the blood and gore was done well enough to look pretty scary. If you've seen the movie, this is very similar except for a few changes, and you'll enjoy slightly more.

Reading Club, Volume 1 by Cho Ju-Hee
Fear and insanity take hold in Korea's first horror comic for girls! After getting stuck with the job of cleaning her high school's long-forgotten library, a 9th grade girl stumbles across a suspicious looking book. Simply opening the book causes her to see unspeakable horrors - does she dare read it? If she does, she could find something more terrifying than she ever imagined...
Thoughts: Mostly, I think this is blah. I think the idea is good, but it seems written very quickly, like forced together in a way. Some parts don't seem to make much sense to me, and the characters aren't interesting enough for me to care much about them or what happens next. I'm pretty sure I won't be reading the next one.

So two out of three isn't bad.
Hope everyone is enjoying their books.
Happy reading :)

Sep 1, 2009

Quick Reviews #3

Ever since she was eight years old, high school student Janie Hannagan has been uncontrollably drawn into other people's dreams, but it is not until she befriends an elderly nursing home patient and becomes involved with an enigmatic fellow-student that she discovers her true power.

Thoughts: As soon as I stared reading this book, I couldn't put it down. The storyline, I thought was great and very unique. I also really liked the way the book is written, in short sentences and sometimes fragments, made it interesting. It was a great story, and I can't wait to pick up the next book, Fade, which continues Janie's story.

At the age of ten, Miranda Cheever showed no signs of Great Beauty. And even at ten, Miranda learned to accept the expectations society held for her—until the afternoon when Nigel Bevelstoke, the handsome and dashing Viscount Turner, solemnly kissed her hand and promised her that one day she would grow into herself, that one day she would be as beautiful as she already was smart. And even at ten, Miranda knew she would love him forever.
Thoughts: I've read many of Julia Quinn's books, and even though most of her books develop the same way and seem very similar, I was still able to enjoy this one very much. Although it started out a little like the rest, this one contained different problems for the characters and I wasn't too sure what to expect next, even though I was pretty sure there would be a happy ending. I can't wait to read her most recent book, which is based on one of the smaller characters from this one.

Halley and Scarlett have been best friends for years, sharing secrets, clothes, and crushes. People know Scarlett as the popular, flamboyant one; Halley is just her quiet sidekick. Then, at the beginning of their junior year, the balance shifts. First, Scarlett's boyfriend Michael is killed in a motorcycle accident; soon afterward, she learns that she is carrying his baby. For the first time, Scarlett really needs Halley.
Thoughts: My first Dessen book, and I was not disappointed at all. Very familiar to what it was like growing up for me and for friends, problems with family and being close to people your own age, I was able to relate to the book and to the characters. Although I was never faced with the same situations, the author's voice and writing make it very easy to visualize and understand what both girls where going thorugh. I loved her writing style and I hope it remains the same throughout all her books, which I plan on reading soon!

That's it for now, happy reading everyone :)