Book Review: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

When Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own (only better), things seem marvelous.

But there’s another mother there, and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.

Coraline will have to fight with all her wit and courage if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life.

Usually I’ve read the book before I’ve seen the movie, this wasn’t the case when it came to Coraline. I absolutely LOVED the film, it was creepy and interesting, and just a lot of fun to watch. So going into this book, I had pretty high expectations of it. I figured that the book is almost always better than the film, so this has to be one heck of a story.

It really is a great book, but it just wasn’t what I expected. I thought the creepiness of the story would be more prevalent than it actually was, and there were a lot of differences from the film. So that of course took a while to get used to. But once I was into the story it was such a wonderful delight.

I really enjoy creepy stories, and though this didn’t really creep me out, the subtlety of it was quite nice. There were a few scenes of course that had me a bit paranoid, and I really enjoyed those the most.

My advice to anyone going in to read this that has seen the movie first, go in expecting a completely different story! They felt very different to me, but I loved them both.

Coraline

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

 

Review to come:

Breed: A NovelBreed: A Novel by Chase Novak

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm is the most famous by far of all twentieth-century political allegories. Its account of a group of barnyard animals who revolt against their vicious human master, only to submit to a tyranny erected by their own kind, can fairly be said to have become a universal drama. Orwell is one of the very few modern satirists comparable to Jonathan Swift in power, artistry, and moral authority; in animal farm his spare prose and the logic of his dark comedy brilliantly highlight his stark message.
Taking as his starting point the betrayed promise of the Russian Revolution, Orwell lays out a vision that, in its bitter wisdom, gives us the clearest understanding we possess of the possible consequences of our social and political acts.

I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this book as much as I did. I read 1984 and loathed most every minute of that torturous book, but I was really into this one. It did take a minute or two to get used to the fact that the animals were the focus of the book, and not just that, but get used to the fact the the animals were anarchists of sorts.

This book was extremely entertaining, and while I wasn’t surprised at the turn Animal Farm took, it didn’t stop me from wanting the Farm to stay as idealistic as the animals first agreed upon. For a while the Utopian society they dreamed up was something I was hoping would work well for the animals and allow them to live their lives without the reign of a farmer such as Jones. But with power, comes those who will use it against those whom they have sworn to treat as equals.

The ending in particular was great. Those last few sentences were a perfect description of how I’d come to see those specific characters. Overall, I really enjoyed this book.

Animal FarmAnimal Farm by George Orwell
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

 

 

 

All caught up on book reviews now!

Currently reading:

Coraline

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

 

Book Review: Crashing Eden by Michael Sussman

For one boy and his friends, the path to Paradise comes at a cost—one they may not be prepared to pay.

When a biking accident leaves 17-year-old Joss Kazdan with the ability to hear things others can’t, reality as he knows it begins to unravel.

A world of legends exists beyond the ordinary life he’s always known, and he is transported to the same Paradise he’s studying in World Mythology. But the strange gets even stranger when his new friends build a device that delivers people through the gates of the Garden of Eden.

Now Samael, the Creator God, is furious. As Samael rains down his apocalyptic devastation on the ecstasy-seeking teens, Joss and his companions must find a way to appease Samael—or the world will be destroyed forever.

I was fortunate enough to win a free ebook of this and I was quite excited to start reading.

Early on I found this book to be fast-paced, and I generally like to read books where the chapters don’t drag on and on. So this was perfect for my preference, but at the same time I felt that there was a lot missing because of the fast pace. At times, especially towards the end, it felt like the story was being forced a certain direction and I didn’t necessarily “buy” what the author was selling.

Other than that hiccup in the story, I did enjoy this book as a whole. Joss was a pretty interesting character, and though he had some major flaws at the beginning of the story, towards the end he turns a new leaf. I particularly enjoyed his interactions with his younger sister because it was mostly then that we saw Joss’s sweet side. He’s not exactly on the best of terms with his parents, and his interactions with his only friend doesn’t make it seem like he’s that nice of a guy.

All in all there’s not much I can say without giving away spoilers, but I feel as though the story could’ve been structured a bit better, maybe filled in some gaps the story seems to leap through. But it is an interesting read nonetheless.

Crashing EdenCrashing Eden by Michael Sussman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

 

 

I’m behind on posting my reviews! But I’ll be catching up soon. Review to be posted tomorrow:

The Bell JarThe Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Book Review: Eye of the Tempest by Nicole Peeler

Nothing says “home” like being attacked by humans with very large guns, as Jane and Anyan discover when they arrive in Rockabill. These are professionals, brought into kill, and they bring Anyan down before either Jane or the barghest can react. Seeing Anyan fall awakens a terrible power within Jane, and she nearly destroys herself taking out their attackers.

Jane wakes, weeks later, to discover that she’s not the only thing that’s been stirring. Something underneath Rockabill is coming to life: something ancient, something powerful, and something that just might destroy the world.

Jane and her friends must act, striking out on a quest that only Jane can finish. For whatever lurks beneath the Old Sow must be stopped…and Jane’s just the halfling for the job.

I’m not entirely sure what it was about this book, but for me it wasn’t as addicting as the previous one in the series. I still enjoyed Jane being more assertive and she’s definitely come into her own, but this book felt as though something was missing.

There was no shortage of action, and though the story took a few twists, for the most part it wasn’t quite so shocking come the end. I definitely felt the lack of supporting characters in this book. Jane is a wonderfully entertaining character all on her own, but with the previous novels I’ve become accustomed to the presence of a group full of individuals surrounding Jane. In this book we feel that hole from the lack of characters, but we also get a lot more time with Jane. Obviously she’s the main character so we always have a lot of time with her, but really there’s always a ton of other characters and a lot of other things going on that we aren’t ever really focused entirely on her. This book we get a bit more Jane time, and we do get to see her from a different viewpoint.

I did enjoy the story, but compared with the others it didn’t quite live up to what I’ve come to expect from the Jane True series. I am interested in seeing where this will go next though. The ending was quite hilarious to me for obvious reasons, but also it allowed for a lot more craziness to undoubtedly happen in Jane’s life. It’ll be interesting to see how she copes and if she will continue to keep on growing.

Eye of the Tempest (Jane True, #4)Eye of the Tempest by Nicole Peeler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

 

 

Review to come:

19841984 by George Orwell
FINALLY finished reading it!

 

 

 

Currently reading:

Crashing EdenCrashing Eden by Michael Sussman

Book Review: Tempest’s Legacy by Nicole Peeler

After a peaceful hiatus at home in Rockabill, Jane True thinks that her worst problem is that she still throws like a girl – at least while throwing fireballs. Her peace of mind ends, however, when Anyan arrives one night with terrible news . . . news that will rock Jane’s world to its very core. After demanding to help investigate a series of gruesome attacks on females — supernatural, halfling, and human — Jane quickly finds herself forced to confront her darkest nightmares as well as her deepest desires.

And she’s not sure which she finds more frightening.

I seriously plowed right through this book, and for good reason! Jane True is back and in my honest opinion, better than ever! She’s still the same slightly awkward yet funny sex-on-the-mind girl we’ve come to know and love, but in Tempest’s Legacy we finally see Jane come into her own. No longer does Jane have to rely on others to fight battles for her, no longer is she satisfied to sit back and watch, she wants to get in the thick of it all. Not only does she want to be in the battle, but now she can honestly add something offensively to raids and attacks and no longer hinder and make others feel the need to protect her. Though obviously that’s easier said than done. With Anyan the ever protective barghest and Ryu always watching out for Jane, it’s sometimes tough for her to unleash everything that she’s capable of.

I really enjoyed reading this because for once romance wasn’t the sole focus of the book. Don’t get me wrong, I loved reading the steamy scenes of Jane and Ryu, but after a while it got old. I wondered if we’d ever see Jane toughen up and feel more comfortable with her skills. I was pleased to find that in this book we were able to meet a new side of Jane. She’s become a good fighter, and even though she’s not always confident in her abilities, I can truly say that we’re able to see a great improvement in what she’s capable of doing. Not only can we see it, but Jane and everyone around her notices her progress as well.

I can’t really go into much detail for fear of giving away too much of the plot. But one of the big events that’s found out early on in the story was a great contributing factor to push Jane to her limit, and it was only then that I finally saw how strong she was. This book packed more than enough action into the mix, as well as some much loved barghest time. Anyan has been a favorite character of mine, and in this book we finally get a better look at him as a character.

When all is said and done, I’m quite literally ready to jump into the next book in the series!

Tempest's Legacy (Jane True, #3)Tempest’s Legacy by Nicole Peeler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

 

 

Up next:

Eye of the Tempest (Jane True, #4)Eye of the Tempest by Nicole Peeler

 

 

 

Also still reading 1984! It’s finally less tedious for me to read, I’m about three-quarters of the way through with it. I’m hoping to finish it this coming week/weekend.

19841984 by George Orwell

Book Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill.

As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.

As a brown-eyed girl, I’ve always loved colored eyes because I don’t have them. So two different colored eyes made me jealous with wanting because how awesome is that? But wait there’s more. People with two different colored eyes means that the person is graced with a specific gift? WHAT IS THIS MAGIC.

That’s what we learn when reading Graceling. In this world certain individuals are graced with particular talents. Some talents may be small, such as being an extremely good swimmer, and being able to hold your breath underwater for longer than usual. While other graces may allow a person to read minds, or be extremely gifted with swordsmanship. All in all each grace sounds pretty awesome to someone who isn’t graced with an exceptional skill. That is until we meet Katsa, her grace is a bit unusual, and the fact that she’s a woman with this particular skill is quite unnerving for anyone who meets her. She is graced with the ability to kill a man with her bare hands.

As in any world people with skills such as these are put to use for the benefit of others. Katsa is no exception, and her uncle the king has been making use of her exceptional skill level by making Katsa do his dirty work and doling out punishments to his subjects. While reading we get a sense of Katsa and her grace and we learn that although it may come in handy and she’s certainly more than capable of protecting herself, she’s not exactly free to do as she likes. Which is of course ironic because Katsa has so much power yet feels so helpless when it comes to the king because to him she is just a possession that is used to further enforce his power over others. Even though she’s the one with extreme skill level, the king is constantly pulling the puppet strings, constantly making Katsa feel as though she must hold back.

While reading I found myself loving Katsa’s character more and more. FINALLY! A female main character that can hold her own and doesn’t need a man to protect her. I found her to be of a kind nature underneath her rough and tough exterior. She most definitely has a soft spot for people that she cares for, and although she isn’t the most forthright about her emotions, she feels strongly for them and would protect them no matter what.

I also found Katsa to be unexpectedly funny! As she’s young and most people avoid her gaze as well as being near her altogether, she hasn’t had much practice in socializing, especially not with boys who are interested in her. I thought it was hilarious that she had no idea how to read signals and that the thought of someone liking her and wanting to marry her terrified and disgusted her all at the same time.

Her romantic awkwardness wasn’t solely limited to that area, but also extended to merely joking with people. She was quite uncomfortable with any lightheartedness at the beginning of the story and I thought it was incredibly interesting that killing a person was second nature to her, but laughing and being silly wasn’t something she was comfortable with. Her emotions were quite mysterious to herself, and it made for a fun read when the reader would know things about her before she even knew them herself.

Once you get into the story you’ll find yourself absorbed in Katsa’s world. Her friends and the people that she meets are all as interesting as her own character, sometimes even more so. It makes for a fun read and I found myself not quite ready for my journey with Katsa to end.

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

 

 

Up next:

19841984 by George Orwell

Book Review: Tracking the Tempest by Nicole Peeler

Tracking the Tempest begins four months–and one eyebrow sacrificed to magical training–after the close of Tempest Rising. During that time, Jane’s been busy honing her supernatural powers and enjoying her newfound sense of confidence. Rockabill may not yet be heaven, but she’s realized it’s home. Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and Ryu – Jane’s bloodsucking boyfriend – can’t let a major holiday go by without getting all gratuitous. An overwhelming dose of boyfriend interference and a last-minute ticket to Boston later, and Jane’s life is thrown off course.
But Ryu’s best laid plans inevitably create more upheaval than even he can anticipate, and Jane winds up embroiled in an investigation involving a spree of gruesome killings committed by a being of tremendous power . . .

. . . who, much to Jane’s surprise, happens to be another halfling.

I’m not sure why I find this series as appealing as I do. I don’t love the books, but I find myself getting sucked into them nonetheless.

Tempest Rising (the first book in the series) took me quite a while to warm up to, and even then I wasn’t floored by what was happening. The book only picked up towards the end, and that seems to be quite the pattern. Tracking the Tempest was of the same format.

It’s only been a few months in Jane’s life when we’re reacquainted with her in this follow-up. She’s been doing her usual night swims, now mixed with training sessions with Nell, and of course the ever present monthly sexcapade with her vampire boyfriend Ryu. While reading this I found their “relationship” to be of the typical vampire/”human” variety. He’s so hot, she wants him oh-so-much, and they indulge in passionate love-making. While definitely a cliche of this genre, the scenes would quite certainly make even the most prudish of individuals tingly in all the right places.

Other than a few battle scenes I can honestly say that I remember next to nothing that happened. The details didn’t stick with me, and I often found myself wondering where the story was headed. Also it didn’t help that one-third of the story felt full of fluff, and half the time I couldn’t help but wonder if the ever useful thesaurus was always at the ready.

That being said, there is still something that compelled me to keep reading. I’m not entirely sure what it was, but I did grow fond of Jane’s development towards the end of the book. We also get a sneak peek at the end of the book and are able to read a bit of third installment. From the excerpt I must say that I actually want to continue on with the series; it already feels as though it’s going to be better than this second book.

In no way is this a bad book, but I can’t say that I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s a fun read if you aren’t really looking for something to take very seriously.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Up Next: Graceling by Kristin Cashore