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

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Colin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz

Colin Fischer cannot stand to be touched. He does not like the color blue. He needs index cards to recognize facial expressions. But Colin is Wayne Connelly’s best–and only–hope of proving his innocence after Wayne is accused of blowing up a birthday cake in the school cafeteria. Colin and Wayne quickly set off on a journey to prove Wayne’s innocence, but neither realizes just how far their investigation will take them or that it will force Colin to consider the greatest mystery of all: what other people are thinking and feeling.

Colin Fischer is a modern-day Sherlock Holmes. He’s a boy with Asperger’s syndrome who sees clues in the unlikeliest of places, and whom readers will root for right up until the case is solved . . . and beyond.

Colin Fischer was a hilarious read for me. I particularly loved the way Colin interacted with others, that is…when he interacted at all. He’s very much so as uncensored a human being as possible to be. If he thinks it, you will hear it, and if he observes it, it will undoubtedly be going into his journal. Obviously this makes him an easy target for bullies in his school. Most of the kids in his class have known about him and his “disability” since they were young, yet instead of embracing it and looking past it, they alienate him for it.

But one day while in school Colin’s observations and curious nature come in handy when he witnesses an incident. This is the real turning point in the book for me, because this is where we learn a lot more about Colin and his interest in solving mysteries.

The whole story was really fast paced and I rather enjoyed that aspect. The footnotes scattered throughout took a bit getting used to at first, but once you’re into the flow of the story they only enhance everything going on and make things that much funnier. I also liked the contrasting of home life with his school life. While the kids at school don’t understand him well at all, his parents are used to his behavior. But being used to his behavior doesn’t always make it easy, and we particularly notice this whenever Colin’s younger brother Danny is around.

I really liked this book and I would recommend it to anyone. You’ll definitely chuckle throughout the majority of it.

Colin FischerColin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

 

 

Almost caught up with all of my reviews! One more to go:

Animal FarmAnimal Farm by George Orwell

 

 

 

 

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: Origin by Jessica Khoury

Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home—and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.

Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia’s origin—a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.

The premise of Origin is quite interesting, and is what originally compelled me to enter the ARC giveaway I won for this book. Pia is a modern scientific success, she’s the first immortal to be churned out of a remote laboratory in a rain forest in South America. She’s lived a coddled life by those scientists around her, because of course she’s the prize and joy of all the hard work they’ve been putting in day in and day out. Though she first comes off as a bit spoiled, we come to see that not all is as wonderful as Pia first describes to the reader.

I particularly liked that she really and truly loves the laboratory she’s grown up in, and has come to call home. That all changes when a newcomer arrives and throws her well-balanced world off kilter.

I really wanted to enjoy this book much more than I did, but I can’t say that I loved this read. It was interesting of course, but at times the read wasn’t as easy flowing as I like. Also I was a bit disappointed by her immortal…abilities. I don’t want to spoil anything so that is all I will say on that topic. But I felt that there could have been more to what she was able to do. Other than immortality, for the most part, Pia is a normal teenager; aside from the fact that she’s grown up around scientists as oppose to kids her own age.

Her home is full of adults, who keep nothing but secrets from her, and I did enjoy finally learning about all of the mysterious secrets the adults had been keeping to themselves. All in all it was an interesting read, yet not enthralling enough to keep me turning that page late into the night. It’s a good read, but you won’t get fully absorbed in it until much later in the story.

OriginOrigin by Jessica Khoury
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

 

 

Reviews to come:

Crashing EdenCrashing Eden by Michael Sussman

 

 

 

The Bell JarThe Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

 

 

 

Currently reading:

Colin FischerColin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller

 

 

 

The Girl in the Blue BeretThe Girl in the Blue Beret by Bobbie Ann Mason

Book Review: The Magnificent 12: The Call by Michael Grant

Twelve-year-old Mack MacAvoy suffers from a serious case of mediumness. Medium looks. Medium grades. Medium parents who barely notice him.With a list of phobias that could make anyone crazy, Mack never would have guessed that he is destined for a more-than-medium life.

And then, one day, something incredibly strange happens to Mack. A three-thousand-year-old man named Grimluk appears in the boys’ bathroom to deliver some startling news: Mack is one of the Magnificent Twelve, called the Magnifica in ancient times, whatever that means. An evil force is on its way, and it’s up to Mack to track down eleven other twelve-year-olds in order to stop it. He must travel across the world to battle the wicked Pale Queen’s dangerous daughter, Ereskigal–also known as Risky. But Risky sounds a little scary, and Mack doesn’t want to be a hero. Will he answer the call?

This is a right little adventure of a book, it’s unexpectedly funny, and takes you on a journey you would never have seen coming.

Mack is a kid who has so many phobias that I was surprised he managed to function daily. Despite all of his fears, he lacks the ability to stand down to bullies. This trait in a school where bullies come together to torture their classmates is quite a foolish one to have. However, this one seems to work in his favor because of course, Mack is a hero…of sorts.

Interwoven with Mack’s story is another character named Grimluk who has already been through the trials ahead of Mack. His story served to provide the readers with a bit of background and to let us know what will be in Mack’s future. Ultimately we find that Mack must defeat the evil Pale Queen’s daughter, as well as the Pale Queen herself, by rallying the Magnificent 12.

Known as the Magnifica, these individuals as well as Mack himself, each possess a certain quality that will help them defeat the Pale Queen. Although I often wondered how Mack would be able to defeat the Queen, once I got a taste of what he alone was capable of, by just uttering a few words, I found that the twelve Magnifca once rallied together would be a force to be reckoned with.

Although seemingly ordinary, Mack proves to be more than meets the eye. He shows courage and perseverance in the face of trouble, and before the book is up he will meet certain phobias head on and through his struggles you will find a few giggles escaping you.

The Call (The Magnificent 12, #1)

The Call by Michael Grant
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

 

 

 

Up Next/Currently reading:

I’m still trudging along with 1984! It’s slow going.

19841984 by George Orwell

 

 

 

Also reading:

Tempest's Legacy (Jane True, #3)

Tempest’s Legacy by Nicole Peeler

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