Dec 29, 2009

Review | Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Ben H. Winters and Jane Austen

Title: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters
Series: N/A
Genre: Fiction - Fantasy/Humor
Publication: September 15, 2009 by Quirk Books
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher for review
Rating: ★★

Synopsis: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters expands the original text of the beloved Jane Austen novel with all-new scenes of giant lobsters, rampaging octopi, two-headed sea serpents, and other biological monstrosities.
As our story opens, the Dashwood sisters are evicted from their childhood home and sent to live on a mysterious island full of savage creatures and dark secrets. While sensible Elinor falls in love with Edward Ferrars, her romantic sister Marianne is courted by both the handsome Willoughby and the hideous man-monster Colonel Brandon.
Can the Dashwood sisters triumph over meddlesome matriarchs and unscrupulous rogues to find true love? Or will they fall prey to the tentacles that are forever snapping at their heels?
This masterful portrait of Regency England blends Jane Austen’s biting social commentary with ultraviolent depictions of sea monsters biting. It’s survival of the fittest—and only the swiftest swimmers will find true love!

Thoughts: This novel takes Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility and adds extra content and chapters with sea monsters that include scary lobsters, man-eating clams, giant octopi and even cities in giant underwater domes.

First off, I wanted to say that this book was better done than Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. There were a lot more monsters in this one than there zombies in the first one which was the main reason why I accepted this book. I was surprised at how much more content there was and that was definitely better.

The novel is smooth and fits well with the original story with alterations that only make the story more enjoyable. Most changes took place in the different settings, but there were also a few physical changes in the characters which I very much enjoyed and sometimes a little surprised about.

Compared to the first one, this one was a lot more enjoyable, the gore and blood still similar and sometimes silly even a bit funny at times. There were also illustrations like in the first one which added to the story and I enjoyed looking at.

I must admit I liked the novel, but still not as much as I had hoped I would. This would probably enjoyed more by people who liked the original S&S, but I am not sure if others would enjoy it much.

Dec 24, 2009

Review | How to Score by Robin Wells

Her Life Coach
Museum curator Sammi Matthews isn't just in a dating slump, she's putting men on the injured list. After giving one date a black eye and cracking another's rib, Sammi decides she needs professional help. Enter life coach Luke Jones, who advises Sammi on how to overcome her klutziness. And their phone sessions work! Sammi soon meets a sexy FBI agent who seems to know just what she needs.
Is Changing Her Life
When his brother Luke goes into federal protection, FBI Special Agent Chase Jones agrees to cover for him. Then Sammi's hot voice sizzles down the line, and the usual "phone only" rule is out. With "Luke" coaching her by day, and Chase dating her by night, Sammi's confidence soars, along with her appeal. Chase falls hard, but how will Sammi feel if and when he comes clean? Chase would rather she break all his bones than risk breaking her heart.
In Ways She's Never Imagined

Thoughts: I enjoyed this book more than I expected to. It played out like a chick flick: cute, funny and romantic. It is a nice fluffy read for a relaxing weekend or for those long summer days. It is easy to get into and the story is a bit different so it kept me entertained and coming back for more, something I hadn't expected.

The main characters, Chase and Sammi, are very likeable. Their personalities are really different but they are so funny and opposite that you can't help but enjoy them and their conversations. The other sets of characters, that included a forty-year old man who was an aspiring rapping accordian player and a dog with a leather fetish were also fun and entertaining.

I loved the fun and light romance of this book. It was a quick and enjoyable read that had plenty of silly, if not a bit corny, humor along with sweet and believable romantic moments and an ending that is nicely satisfying in every way.

Dec 17, 2009

Review | Frozen Fire by Tim Bowler

Title: Frozen Fire by Tim Bowler
Series: N/A
Genre: YA- Fantasy/Mystery
Publication:  June 19th 2008 by Philomel
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Rating: ★★

Synopsis: It starts with a phone call. “I’m dying,” a voice tells Dusty. Who is he and how has he gotten her cell number? Dusty wants no part of this strange boy . . . until he begins saying things that only someone who knows her intimately could say—things that lead her to think he knows the whereabouts of her brother, who disappeared over a year ago. Suddenly drawn in, Dusty very much wants to save this boy. Trouble is, she cannot find him. Part human, part spirit, he won’t let himself be found. He is too dangerous, he says. There are mobs of people who agree and who want to see this boy dead . . . and who will hurt anyone who stands in their way.

A gripping, hair-raising mystery about a boy not of this world, and a girl determined to protect him.

Thoughts: It was not gripping, hair-raising, and barely really a mystery. It was not a very good psychological thriller either. It is a book I would not recommend.
It starts exactly like the inside flap says, with a phone call from a mysterious boy who knows intimate secrets that Dusty has never shared with anyone. Its mysterious and exciting and I want to know who he is? Why is he calling Dusty? How does he know these things? 
And then it sort of falls flat from there. There are a few fast paced, and somewhat suspenseful scenes that were a little better, scattered here and there, but I really wanted to put the book down and not finish it.

Towards the middle and mostly at the ending, the motive of Dusty becomes confusing and I really couldn't enjoy the story because I couldn't "get" the purpose of her actions, and really didn't understand her decisions. I didn't even like her. Or her parents, missing brother, or even her friends. The characters are so flat, so boring. I just really couldn't "get along" with anyone, because they were all so plainly similar.
I am still not sure what happened at the end. I feel like I read to the second to last chapter, and then stopped. And it's not that the story just stopped, because it had an ending. A very unsatisfying ending that is. I was left thinking, "Wait, what? That's it?" when I finished the last sentence. I have no idea what the ending really meant.

Dec 10, 2009

Review | Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Last year, Annabel was "the girl who has everything; at least that's the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf's Department Store. This year, she's the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong. Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen's help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.

Thoughts: I liked it. But not as much as I had hoped. I've read one other Sarah Dessen book, Someone Like You, and I loved that one. This one, not so much. I can't explain why because I really only have good things to say about it.

The story all together was very realistic, very easy to relate to. There were many parts were I could think, "I've been there," and I was able to enjoy the book so much more. There is also a wide range of topics written about and blended well together that I can't help but love Dessen's writing style. There was a lot of tough stuff, a lot of different issues that many teens go through and I liked that.

The characters are likable. I think Annabel was a great character and very similar to girls of that age. Owen is a bit less realistic to me, just a bit, but still great. I actually really liked him :) The rest of the characters, the family and friends, were also really great, each with their own unique personality.

I would definitely recommend this book to YA fans, as well as Dessen fans, if you haven't read it. Although it is not one of my favorites, it is a good read.

Dec 3, 2009

Review | The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Series: The Forest of Hands and Teeth #1
Genre: YA - Horror
Publication: July 2009 by Gollancz
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Rating: ★★

Synopsis: In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But, slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future - between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

Thoughts: I was pretty excited to pick this book up because I'd heard so many good things. I was expecting a zombie full, action packed sort of book. But instead, I was left pretty disappointed.

It started out interesting enough, with an attack, a beginning to a love story, and hints that there might be many secrets which would explain why everything was the way it was. It seemed like it was setting it off to be a great story. But then it kind of stopped being interesting. There was no real explanation to why there were zombies, no real reason to why Mary was in love with Travis, no real background to her family or her lost friendship with her brother. It felt like there was too much going on, but nothing was really happening. There were chunks and pieces of what felt like some mystery, some romance, some horror, but nothing really concrete.

Although there were some really great and descriptive scenes, full of gore and mayhem, I think the characters lacked personality and any connection with each other. Mary seemed sort bland, being nothing more than selfish, caring really only for what she wanted. I didn't really feel the bond between her and the other characters. I saw no real connection between her and Travis, her best friend or her older brother. The other characters just seemed to be just there.

I really thought the ending was terrible because it seemed quickly done in order to keep the reader wanting more for the sequel, but there were too many loose ends to provide a satisfying ending. It was really abrupt leaving too many unanswered questions, sort of like stopping the book blindly somewhere just to call it an ending.

I think I may be one of the few readers who didn't enjoy this book, but I still think that if you want to read it, go ahead and pick it up. You might really enjoy it like many others have. As for me, I'm still undecided whether I'll pick up the next book, The Dead-Tossed Waves, which I can only hope to be better.