Jan 31, 2012

Review | The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss

Title: The Thorn and the Blossom
Author: Theodora Goss
Series: None
Publication: 01.17.2012 by Quirk Books
Source: Publisher
Challenges: None

Summary: One enchanting romance. Two lovers keeping secrets. And a uniquely crafted book that binds their stories forever.

When Evelyn Morgan walked into the village bookstore, she didn’t know she would meet the love of her life. When Brendan Thorne handed her a medieval romance, he didn’t know it would change the course of his future. It was almost as if they were the cursed lovers in the old book itself . . .

The Thorn and the Blossom is a remarkable literary artifact: You can open the book in either direction to decide whether you’ll first read Brendan’s, or Evelyn’s account of the mysterious love affair. Choose a side, read it like a regular novel—and when you get to the end, you’ll find yourself at a whole new beginning.
Thoughts: This book was short and sweet, just like it sounds. The unique format is what intrigued me at first, and since I like anything with a love story, I was really looking forward to see what this would be like. Like mentioned, this is a two-sided love story which I thought was great because we got both sides of the story. How often does that happen? I started with Evelyn's side because I felt I would connect with the female character easier (obviously) and I am glad I did.

Evelyn decides to take a week off from school to "find herself" and ends up in the small town of Cornwall, where she meets Brendan Thorne. Instantly, they hit it off and spend every day together. An unexpected event causes Evelyn to flee though, leaving Brendan behind with just the memory of what they shared. Later in the book they meet again and even though it feels like there might be a happy ending, the author leaves it up to your imagination to figure out where the rest of the story goes.

Reading Evelyn's account left me feeling unsatisfied and I was really disappointed there wasn't more to the story. But there was! I waited about a day or so before flipping over to Brendan's side of the story. While reading his side, there were a few things that started making that hadn't before and other small details that changed the story a bit. The Tale of the Green Knight, a story that Brendan shares with Evelyn when they first meet, plays an important role throughout the book. It not only shapes the their careers in the story, but as a reader, you can't help but wonder if like the summary says: "...if they were the cursed lovers in the old book itself ."

The only problem I had with this was that I wish it would've been longer! It was too short I think, and even though it was a great story, I think it could've been developed just a little more by adding a few more pages. I thought the author did a great job though, in intertwining the tale and the lives of Brendan and Evelyn, piecing everything together beautifully. I definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a short fairytale to quickly dive into.

About the author:

Theodora Goss's publications include the short story collection In the Forest of Forgetting (2006); Interfictions (2007), a short story anthology coedited with Delia Sherman; and Voices from Fairyland (2008), a poetry anthology with critical essays and a selection of her own poems. She has been finalist for the Nebula Award, Crawford Award, and Mythopoeic Award, and on the Tiptree Award Honor List. She has won the World Fantasy and Rhysling Awards.
Website | Twitter
Buy the book: Amazon

Jan 19, 2012

\\ Blog Tour \\ Review | Fangs Rule: A Girl's Guide to Being a Vampire by Amy Mah (Vampire)

Title: Fangs Rule: A Girl's Guide to Being a Vampire by Amy Mah
Series: N/A
Genre: Paranormal
Publication: March 10, 2011 by Reardon Publishing
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: The guide is fully illustrated by manga Artist Heby and is written in an easy to follow A - Z format explaining everything a teenage vampire girl would need to know about living life as a modern Vampire.

* What is fashionable to wear when eating out?
* Fang maintenance & how to keep your claws sharp.
* Should you let a boy bite you on the first date?

Easy to understand clear advice is given to every day problems.

Example: When you get an urge to bite:

"We all get those normal urges to bite things, and I must point out it is very normal. Claws are all well and good in a fight but a bite gives the extra advantage of getting a refreshing drink at the same time."

Lots of girls worry about showing their Fangs in public believing that to show your fangs is rude, but don't be shy they can be a girls greatest asset (ok second greatest asset) if a boy is being rude to you, don't just snarl at him, just bite him! You are a vampire why do you think you have sharp teeth if not for sinking them into a boy that is being rude to you.

Thoughts: I jumped at the chance to review Fangs Rule because it sounded like something that would be fun and enjoyable, but also because I liked the cover. I was right because not only was it fun, but it was a humorous, cynical, journal-like guide on what it is like to be teenage vampire girls these days. And let me tell you, all those movies don't have it right. It is obvious from the start that we humans really know nothing.

Lady Amelia Mistress of the Night Mare and Alpha Female from the Family of the Pink Bat, or Amy Mah for short, has been a teenage vampire for quite a few hundred years now. She was raised by humans until adopted by the Pink Bat family, and then had a lot of things to learn. To help all the teenage vampire girls on how to handle being a vampire, she decided to create this enjoyable guide that pretty much explains what you need to know.

Fangs Rule was a quick read for me, but it is a fun book to get into. There is no real story, but we get to learn a little bit of Amy here and there with her explanations and suggestions. She is definitely a witty and sarcastic girl that you can't help but bond with. There are also great illustrations throughout the pages that are very colorful and eye-catching.

There are some grammatical and spelling errors in the book that bothered me a bit, but they didn't really interrupt the flow of the book. There is also plenty of sexual references that are not too explicit, lots of sarcasm, and many definitions that will have you laughing out loud.

Fangs Rule is an great and beautifully illustrated book that I am sure vampire fanatics (like myself) can enjoy and learn from! I definitely recommend this to 13 + readers and anyone looking for a quick, manga style book that teaches a thing or two about vampires. I look forward to learning more about Amy Mah in future books.

Jan 18, 2012

Review | Christine by Stephen King

Title: Christine
Author: Stephen King
Series: None
Publication: 09.07.2004 by Signet (first published 1981)
Source: Library
Challenge: None

Summary: It was love at first sight.

Just another lovers' triangle, you say? Not quite. There's a fourth here, the second lady, the dark lady. "Cars are girls," Leigh Cabot says, and the dark force in Stephen King's new novel is a 1958 Plymouth named Christine.

She is no ordinary car, this white-over-red two-toned survivor of a time when high-test gasoline was priced at a quarter a gallon and speedometers were calibrated all the way up to a hundred and twenty miles an hour...a time when rock and roll in all its first crude power ruled America...a time when speed was king.

Arnie Cunningham is determined to have Christine at any price, and little by little, Dennis and Leigh begin to suspect that the price of his growing obsession may be terrifyingly high, its result blackly evil. As Arnie sets feverishly to work on the seemingly hopeless job of resorting Christine, Christine begins to develop a terrible life of her own. Or is that only imagination? Dennis continues to hope so...and then people begin to die on Libertyville's dark suburban streets and roads...and the time comes when Dennis can no longer deny the horrifying truth: Christine is alive.

Thoughts: This was officially my first Stephen King novel. I am proud of myself for getting through this. I listened to it, yes. It took me three check out's at the library to get through the whole thing and it took me months. Was it worth it? Oh, yes. Stephen King is popularly known for being awesome. He has a bunch of books and is really famous and everything. Everyone has heard of him. So obviously, I needed to read at least one of his novels in my life. And I am glad I did.

What I liked:

• Christine
 is a creepy book: Really, I wasn't sure what to expect when reading this type of horror novel, but I am usually not scared easily when it comes to books. But this book, although not really scary, is really creepy. It takes about half of the book before things really start getting spooky and even though we all know what Christine is capable of, I was horrified by how graphic the killing scenes were. It made me freak out a bit and at night I thought about it once or twice while laying in the dark.

• The characters: Dennis was my favorite character pretty much and Arnie's best friend. He narrates the whole book and although he is missing from a chunk of it, he is probably the best character to describe what happens throughout the story. He is there from beginning to end, and sees it all. I instantly liked Dennis because of his relationship with Arnie. They have best friends all their lives and it was obvious that even though Dennis was slightly popular while Arnie was not, they were true friends that remained together.

Arnie, the main character of the book, is obsessed with Christine. He falls in love with her the moment he sees her and although his personality changes a lot throughout the book, I felt sorry for him and really wanted him to be okay. I know that what was happening to him was something he tried to fight, but couldn't.

Leigh, Arnie's parents, Dennis parents, and all the others (because there was a lot!) added a lot to the book and I never had trouble with keeping track of who was who. This is partly because they all had unique names, but each character was described with such detail that their differences were immediately notable.

• The writing: Stephen King's novels are long and so detailed, but I think that pretty much made Christine a great book. Some might think that there is way too much detail, but I don't think so. I enjoyed every word and am glad I got through the whole thing. It was definitely a lengthy read, but worth it.

What I didn't like:
• The ending: Christine has a this-is-the-end-but-not-really kind of ending where you are left wondering if there will ever be a second book or something. I couldn't decide if this was a good or bad thing, because in the end, I was sort of left with a creepy feeling that she's still out there ready to keep killing...

• The different POV: This changes constantly throughout the book, going from third to first, switching characters often. It didn't confuse me or anything, but I wish this would have remained consistent throughout the book instead of changing so much.

Overall: Christine was a great first book to read by a new author to me. Stephen King obviously knows what he is doing and wrote a fantastic book that I was captivated by. I was able to understand and connect with all the characters and couldn't stop listening to learn what would happen next. Very detailed and lengthy, Christine feels very real. I definitely recommend this to those who enjoy horror novels and King's novels.

About the author:
Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine in 1947. He made his first professional short story sale in 1967 to Startling Mystery Stories. In the fall of 1973, he began teaching high school English classes at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels. In the spring of 1973, Doubleday & Co., accepted the novel Carrie for publication, providing him the means to leave teaching and write full-time. He has since published over 50 books and has become one of the world's most successful writers.
Website | Amazon 

Jan 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a great first day of the new year. I was out with my family the whole day and just now had a chance to wish everyone a happy new year! 

Here are my book related goals for this year:

Read 75+ books
I only read 54 last year. I was really sad. I hope this year I have more time to read.

Read only 1 book at a time 
I have the habit of reading too may books at once and sometimes I don't finish all of them.

Complete challenges 
I joined them to complete, so I hope I can do that

Comment & comment
I always take the time to comment and I definitely want to continue that

Keep up with reviews
I tend to fall behind A LOT on reviews.

Attend author events:
I got to go to a few in 2011. I want to make that a lot in 2012 :)

I think that's most of them. Of course, my goals for the blog change all the time. We'll just see how the year goes. I'll be posting regularly again soon. Hope you all had a great weekend!