Archive for April, 2014


Red Bang Review

Genre: Fiction

*I received a free copy of this book from the author for an honest review.

Red Bang by Brandt Monroe is about a man named Adam Murphy. He’s a Hollywood screenwriter who doesn’t quite know what to do for his career. Jess, his wife, used to be a Los Angeles publicist until she lost her job. In need of money, Adam decides he will take a chance on a new opportunity offered by a billion-dollar company called The Company. Adam ends up getting the job, but it’s not exactly what he was led to believe.

The Company portrays itself as a sort of work playground filled with benefits; however, Adam finds out that there’s little room to breathe from all the meetings he must attend to all the urgent e-mails he gets every few minutes. Plus, The Company wants Adam to be innovative while keeping up with his every day tasks. He must either learn the customs of The Company on his own or fail miserably. To succeed he must deal with competing employees and create an alliance with a distant Company founder before he is fired. While he is facing this difficulty at work, Adam has to also help Jess through her growing depression from the gloomy weather and from feeling unaccomplished.

This novel is filled with references. The references consist of modern technology, pop culture, entertainment, and so on. Some pass unnoticed, while others are hilarious and memorable. It’s easy to relate to the main character through the use of these references because he seems more realistic and it makes him a unique character. Even if the reader doesn’t understand every reference, it doesn’t take away from the book. There is enough explained about each reference to make the reader understand why it was used and even provide some new information. While the story is well-written, I do wish there were shorter chapters and not only months with short breaks every now and then. Sometimes I found myself wanting a break but the end of the chapter was still many pages away.

The characters are the highlight of this story. My favorites being the protagonist and his family. Adam is witty and sarcastic, and I found myself enjoying his personality. I love his comebacks and responses to other people, especially with Jess. Adam and Jess go well together. They seem like a fun family, and their humor bounces off of each other perfectly. Plus, their daughter Kate is adorable. I even enjoyed Adam’s competition with his nemesis, Romy.  It was interesting to see the contrast between Jess and Romy. Both are motivated women who want to do something great, but Romy has the tendency to squash people beneath her while Jess works with others to solve problems. It was nice to see determined women taking charge while showing a difference in how they obtain power. They didn’t have the same methods, and I liked that a woman could be in charge without stepping on others (Jess). All of the characters are believable because they are not perfect. They slip up and make mistakes. It makes them feel human, and it’s even more realistic since The Company is based on actual American companies.

While The Company is a fascinating place, I would not want to work there. However, it provided a great location for the story. I loved that American companies were poked fun at for their customs with new employees and for the “fired” ones as well. The novel brought forth the main problems in them and created this insane work environment that I’m sure a lot of people would fail in. A lot of the products being developed by The Company are similar to things we have in the real world but that doesn’t take away from creative aspect of the story in any way.

Red Bang is an enjoyable read. It has relatable characters and takes place in a realistic world. I enjoyed watching Adam develop through the story. While the story is based off of real life companies and products, it refrains from being predictable and has a satisfying ending. If you’re looking for an interesting story with lots of real-world references, you should definitely check out Red Bang. You won’t be disappointed!

My Rating: ★★★★

I have finished reading Red Bang and Casting Shadows Everywhere and both books were a pleasant surprise. I will most likely have a review up for Red Bang this Tuesday. I actually started reading Trapped by Michael Northrop a while ago, and I still haven’t finished it. It’s taking me forever to read. I’m not particularly enjoying it, but I’m planning on finishing it tomorrow after work. Anyway, here are the books I plan on reading next:

Geek Love – Katherine Dunn
Genre – Horror/Fantasy

Geek Love is the story of the Binewskis, a carny family whose mater- and paterfamilias set out–with the help of amphetamine, arsenic, and radioisotopes–to breed their own exhibit of human oddities. There’s Arturo the Aquaboy, who has flippers for limbs and a megalomaniac ambition worthy of Genghis Khan . . . Iphy and Elly, the lissome Siamese twins . . . albino hunchback Oly, and the outwardly normal Chick, whose mysterious gifts make him the family’s most precious–and dangerous–asset.

As the Binewskis take their act across the backwaters of the U.S., inspiring fanatical devotion and murderous revulsion; as its members conduct their own Machiavellian version of sibling rivalry, Geek Love throws its sulfurous light on our notions of the freakish and the normal, the beautiful and the ugly, the holy and the obscene. Family values will never be the same.

This Song Will Save Your Life – Leila Sales
Genre – Young Adult/Contemporary

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

*Descriptions taken from Goodreads.

I’ve been wanting to read Geek Love ever since it was recommended to me by a classmate. He, of course, told me about some of the creepy and disturbing things that happen within the book, so I’m prepared for it. This sounds like a very interesting story. I just recently discovered This Song Will Save Your Life, and it sounds really good. I’m excited to find out what happens.

April 2014 Movie Haul

Today, Chad and I went to yard sales. I didn’t have any luck finding books, but we did buy a lot of great movies. All of these movies are VHS except for Red Dragon which is a DVD. We also bought another VCR (which works perfectly), so now we have a total of three. All of the movies and the VCR cost us under $15. I think that’s pretty awesome. There are more yard sales next weekend, so I might get more goodies. Here are the movies that we got today:

*All descriptions taken from IMDb.

The Silence of the Lambs
Rating – R

A young F.B.I. cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims.

Director: Jonathan Demme

Writers: Thomas Harris (novel), Ted Tally (screenplay)

Stars: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney

 

Red Dragon
Rating – R

A retired FBI agent with psychological gifts is assigned to help track down “The Tooth Fairy”, a mysterious serial killer; aiding him is imprisoned criminal genius Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter.

Director: Brett Ratner

Writers: Thomas Harris (novel), Ted Tally (screenplay)

Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes

 

The NeverEnding Story
Rating – PG

A troubled boy dives into a wonderous fantasy world through the pages of a mysterious book.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Writers: Wolfgang Peterson, Herman Weigel

Stars: Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver, Tami Stronach

 

 

The Rescuers
Rating – G

Two mice of the Rescue Aid Society search for a little girl kidnapped by unscrupulous treasure hunters.

Directors: John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman

Writers: Margery Sharp, Larry Clemmons

Stars: Bob Newhart, Eva Gabor, Geraldine Page

 

Doug’s 1st Movie
Rating – G

Doug and his pal Skeeter set’s out to find the monster of Lucky Duck Lake. Though things get really out of hand when some one blurts out that the monster is real.

Director: Maurice Joyce

Writers: Ken Scarborough, Joe Aaron

Stars: Thomas McHugh, Fred Newman, Chris Phillips

 

The Flintstones
Rating – PG

In this live-action feature of the cartoon show, Fred Flintstone finally gets the job he’s always wanted, but it may just come at a price.

Director: Brian Levant

Writers: Tom S. Parker, Jim Jennewein

Stars: John Goodman, Rick Moranis, Rosie O’Donnell

 

Good Will Hunting
Rating – R

Will Hunting, a janitor at MIT, has a gift for mathematics but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life.

Director: Gus Van Sant

Writers: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck

Stars: Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck

 

Total Recall
Rating – R

When a man goes for virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real, or does he?

Director: Paul Verhoeven

Writers: Philip K. Dick, Ronald Shusett

Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside

 

A Beautiful Mind
Rating – PG-13

After a brilliant but asocial mathematician accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn for the nightmarish.

Director: Ron Howard

Writers: Akiva Goldsman, Sylvia Nasar

Stars: Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly

 

Mad Max
Rating – R

A vengeful Australian policeman sets out to avenge his partner, his wife and his son whom were murdered by a motorcycle gang in retaliation for the death of their leader.

Director: George Miller

Writers: James McCausland, George Miller

Stars: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne

 

Double Jeopardy
Rating – R

A woman framed for her husband’s murder suspects he is still alive; as she has already been tried for the crime, she can’t be re-prosecuted if she finds and kills him.

Director: Bruce Beresford

Writers: David Weisberg, Douglas Cook

Stars: Ashley Judd, Tommy Lee Jones, Bruce Greenwood

 

Lethal Weapon
Rating – R

A veteran cop, Murtaugh, is partnered with a young suicidal cop, Riggs. Both having one thing in common; hating working in pairs. Now they must learn to work with one another to stop a gang of drug smugglers.

Director: Richard Donner

Writer: Shane Black

Stars: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey

 

Lethal Weapon 2
Rating – R

Riggs and Murtaugh are on the trail of South African diplomats who are using their immunity to engage in criminal activities.

Director: Richard Donner

Writers: Jeffrey Boam (screenplay), Shane Black (story)

Stars: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci

 

Lethal Weapon 3
Rating – R

Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh pursue an arms dealer who is a former LAPD officer.

Director: Richard Donner

Writers: Jeffrey Boam, Shane Black

Stars: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci

 

 

Lethal Weapon 4
Rating – R

With personal crises and age weighing in on them, LAPD officers Riggs and Murtaugh must contend with a deadly Chinese crimelord trying to get his brother out of prison.

Director: Richard Donner

Writers: Shane Black, Jonathan Lemkin

Stars: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci

 

A Bug’s Life
Rating – G

A misfit ant, looking for “warriors” to save his colony from greedy grasshoppers, recruits a group of bugs that turn out to be an inept circus troupe.

Directors: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton

Writers: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton

Stars: Kevin Spacey, Dave Foley, Julia Louis-Dreyfus

 

Fantasia
Rating – G

A collection of animated interpretations of great works of Western classical music.

Directors: Norman Ferguson, James Algar

Writers: Joe Grant, Dick Huemer

Stars: Leopold Stokowski, Deems Taylor, Corey Burton

The Broken Review

Genre: Romance/Thriller

*I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review.

The Broken by Shelley Coriell is about a woman named Kate Johnson and a man named Agent Hayden Reed. The story follows these two as their lives become intertwined by a similar foe, a serial killer named the Broadcast Butcher. Kate has spent three years trying to get away from this killer, and Hayden has done months of research, trying to stop the killer before he/she strikes again.

Kate was the first victim of the Broadcast Butcher and she managed to survive but not without being scarred physically and mentally. After the attack, she lives her life on the run to ensure her safety. Hayden, on the other hand, wants to find the Butcher, and in order to get closer to the killer, he must find Kate. Kate is the only survivor, and she has leads that will help with the investigation. Hayden has to earn Kate’s trust and must learn her dark secrets to finally stop the killings.

This novel was interesting, and I did like it for the most part, but there were some problems. There were a lot of red herrings, and once the reader found out who the killer is, it seemed kind of random. When the killer revealed himself/herself, it was a bit of an info dump. The killer wasn’t exciting, and I was kind of disappointed with who it ended up being. I actually forgot about this particular character until the end. There were also moments in the book that I felt weren’t plausible and really didn’t make much sense. Some examples: Sergeant Lottie King is an older heavy-set woman who wears three inch heels while working in the field, Kate being with Hayden while he investigates the case, and Smokey Joe being with Kate while she is in danger of being killed by the Butcher. It doesn’t seem like Lottie would be able to get much work done, and it seemed kind of silly. It didn’t seem safe to have Kate or Smokey around Hayden while he was investigating the case. The butcher wanted Kate, and it seemed to put her and others in unnecessary danger. I know Hayden doesn’t play by the rules but having them around didn’t seem like the best idea.

However, I did enjoy the characters. I loved their different personalities, and it was nice to see memorable secondary characters. Smokey Joe was one of my favorites. He was spirited and at times, very useful. Smokey held his own, and his fighting spirit was something to be admired. Kate’s fighting spirit was great as well. Even though she was on the run and feared the killer would try to find her, she still managed to go on with her life. She didn’t want the past to represent her, and she was pretty independent. Hayden desperately seeks justice and order. It was interesting to see Kate break his shell and make him rethink his obsession with control. The romance between Kate and Hayden was alright. I did like how their relationship started, but the confession was kind of odd to me and seemed out of place.

The Broken was an entertaining read. The characters were likable and provided some great moments in the novel. There were some problems I had with the plot, but I did end up liking the overall story. The killer was not the best or most memorable, but the plot was enjoyable. I would recommend this book. I will most likely be picking up the second book The Buried because it tells Hatch’s story. The synopsis sounds really interesting, and I’ll get it when it’s released later this year.

My Rating: ★★★

While I was reading The Broken and We Are The Goldens, I also managed to finish The Moth in the Mirror. So I was able to read two books and one novella this past week. I love feeling so accomplished at the end of each week. I think I’ll make reading more than one book at once my goal for the rest of the year. I’m not sure I will do it every week, but I will do my best. Of course, I might skip a day or two here and there to do other things or catch up, but I’m enjoying myself so far. Plus, my TBR pile isn’t looking as scary as it used to. Anyway, here are the next two books I will be reading:

Red Bang – Brandt Monroe
Genre – Fiction

Adam Murphy is a Hollywood screenwriter who has clearly lost his way. His wife, Jess, is a Los Angeles publicist who just lost her job. With the bills mounting and nowhere to turn in the City of Angels, Adam takes a chance on a complete life reboot – taking a job in Seattle at a billion-dollar, Fortune 500 technology behemoth and bringing his family along for the ride.

While working at The Company is a gloriously heady, benefit-laden playground for today’s smartest minds, Adam quickly realizes he has descended into a foreign land where the language, customs and politics will either make him stronger or cause a meltdown of epic proportions. Faced with a ‘win or fail’ attitude, Adam must find a way to deliver an innovative new product, defeat his political nemesis, align with a mysterious Company founder, and save his wife from a weather-induced depression all before The Company finds out he has no idea what he’s doing.

Inspired by the unbelievable things that go on behind closed doors of America’s largest companies, and bolstered by a warm-hearted, humorous look at one family’s fight against a Stepford-like culture, RED BANG will take you on a hilarious journey into the ridiculous hive mind of today’s tech giants.

Casting Shadows Everywhere – L. T. Vargus
Genre – Young Adult/Thriller

In his own words, 15 year old Jake is a “huge pussy.” He flinches. Always. He’s too timid to make a move on Beth, the buxom girl of his dreams, and too busy getting face-slammed into lockers by bullies to do much else. He seeks the guidance of the biggest badass he knows, his cousin Nick.

Nick is a professional burglar and makes Jake his apprentice. They stalk suburban neighborhoods night after night, ransacking houses for jewelry and sweet valuables. Nick teaches Jake the finer points of breaking and entering along with his dark philosophy – that there is no right or wrong in the world, just a series of events that happen without meaning.

At first, adopting Nick’s callous worldview helps Jake get over his fears and confront his tormentors, but he also unleashes an aggression in himself he never thought possible. And as he learns more about his cousin, he realizes that Nick’s crimes go way beyond burglary.

In the end, Jake must face not only the monster in his cousin but also the one in his own heart.

*Descriptions taken from Goodreads.

I was fortunate enough to receive these books for free. Red Bang is an ARC that is expected to be published on May 19th of this year, and Casting Shadows Everywhere was published on May 11th of last year. If anyone is interested, Goodreads is having a giveaway for Red Bang. Both of these stories sound really interesting, and I’m excited to start reading them.

Beautiful Blogger Award

I was nominated for the Beautiful Blogger Award by littleonionwrites. Thank you so much! Her blog is amazing, and it’s such an honor to receive this award. This is the second award I have been nominated for, and it really helps motivate me to keep working on this blog in my spare time. I appreciate everyone’s support!

The Beautiful Blogger Award is an honor bestowed by fellow bloggers to show how much they love reading your blog and appreciate the beauty in your words.

Rules:

  • Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo.
  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them.
  • Nominate 7 (yes, only seven) other bloggers and say a little something about them.

My Nominees:

1. Lydia Devadason – This is such an entertaining blog. It has great advice for parenting while also telling funny stories. Of course, I don’t have a child, but I love reading all of her posts.

2. Callum McLaughlin – I really enjoy reading his poetry and his discussions about different writing topics and books.  Plus, he has a debut novel out now, which is pretty awesome.

3. A Writer’s Life For Me – It’s motivating to watch a person accomplish their goal of writing a book, and she is on her third one now! I love when she adds her progress reports to the end of her posts.

4. See It Or Skit It – I’m a big fan of lists and movies, and this blog combines both! She has top tens, and it’s easy to find what movies I need to watch next or ones that I should probably skip. Her movie reviews are great as well.

5. Brilliantly Novel – Diana’s blog is similar to mine in that we both blog about books. She has been blogging longer than I have though and her reviews are well organized. I enjoy all the quotes she posts as well.

6. Honey Lemon Tea – If you’re looking for a variety of topics, you should check out her blog. She posts recipes, tea of the month, book reviews, and even health tips. It’s a nice combination of topics that makes me crave food and reading at the same time.

7. via GiantGag.com – I love this blog. It’s filled with funny pictures, and I probably spend way too much time just looking through all the pictures posted every day.

Ready Player One Review

Genre: Science Fiction

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is a science fiction novel that takes place in 2044. In this futuristic world, the real world is falling apart, and most people would much rather spend their time logged into the OASIS. The OASIS is a virtual utopia that lets the player be who he/she wants to be and do what he/she wants to do. When the creator James Halliday reveals that he has left easter eggs in the OASIS with promises of power and riches to anyone who can figure them out, most of the world joins in to win this fortune.

Like most of humanity, the protagonist Wade Watts has spent a large portion of his life trying to figure out the first easter egg. Years have been spent trying to solve Halliday’s riddles that are based around 80’s references. One day, Wade discovers a clue to the first puzzle, and his name ends up on the scoreboard. With the world watching, Wade must hurry if he hopes to beat thousands of other competitors who have joined the hunt. The race for fame and fortune has officially begun.

Ready Player One is filled with 80’s references. They consist of television shows, video games, movies, and so on. There is so much nostalgia, and it’s a lot of fun to understand the references. The details of some video games and movies are entertaining, and it’s interesting to actually feel like the reader is inside the video game or movie. While the references are great, there are moments where they seem to be thrown in just for a nostalgic effect. Some don’t really have a purpose other than to make the reader feel a certain way.

Besides the references, the world is quite unique and engrossing. There is so much to learn about the OASIS, and I enjoyed that whenever a question popped up in my head, it was answered within the next few paragraphs.The world is not entirely realistic, but it has a certain charm about it that makes it entertaining. The story is also engaging. Near the beginning, there does seem to be a lot of information given to the reader, and it would have been nice for it to be spread out more. However, after the first few chapters, the story picks up and takes the reader on an adventure. There are a few moments where the plot drags for a while, but it’s pretty quick to pick up the pace again.

For the most part, it wasn’t predictable, and a few surprises here and there occur that have a nice touch. I did like the villain, and I felt he was an actual threat to the protagonist. The ending is to be expected, but overall, it was satisfying. It was enjoyable and intense. I believe I squealed at one point because I was getting excited for the final confrontation.

Ready Player One is an enjoyable read. There are plenty of 80’s references to satisfy anyone’s need for nostalgia. While there are a few issues, the novel is entertaining and keeps the reader wanting to find out what happens next. The finale is intense and should be quite fulfilling for most readers. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is looking for a unique story.

My Rating: ★★★★

I finished reading Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Red Dragon, and let me just say, they were pretty awesome. I’ll have my short review up for both in my monthly wrap-up. However, if anyone would like a full review on any of the books I read, just let me know. I would love requests if there are any.

The Broken – Shelley Coriell
Genre – Romance/Thriller
Pub. Date – April 29, 2014

He took her life, but left her alive.

Three years ago, reporter Kate Johnson was the first victim—and only survivor—of the Broadcast Butcher. Scarred both physically and psychologically by the brutal serial killer, Kate lives life on the run, knowing that one day, he will find her and finish what he started.

In the pursuit of justice, you sometimes have to step outside the law.

Agent Hayden Reed spends his life chasing monsters. The only way to stay sane is to detach, but the second the Broadcast Butcher case crosses his desk, Hayden knows this is the case that might just cost him his soul. To catch this vicious murderer before he strikes again, Hayden must find Kate and earn her trust. For it’s her darkest secrets that hold the key to stopping this madman once and for all. . .

We Are The Goldens – Dana Reinhardt
Genre – Young Adult/Contemporary
Pub. Date – May 27, 2014

Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.

When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellaya. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They’re a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell’s a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she’s happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it’s wrong, and she must do something about it.

*Description taken from Goodreads.

I received both of these books from Netgalley. It’s really exciting to be able to read a book before it’s published and share my opinion on it. I requested The Broken, and I was pre-approved for We Are The Goldens, which is really amazing to me. I’m sure most users get way more pre-approved books, but since this is my first one, it’s very exciting. Both of them sound really interesting, and I’m looking forward to reading them.

April 2014 Book Haul

Wow, I almost went two weeks without any new books. So close, and yet, so far. In other news, I’ve been keeping up with my new reading strategy, and I’m really liking that I’m able to enjoy more than one book at once. I want to make my TBR pile smaller. Of course, it doesn’t help that I keep buying more books, but shhh, we won’t discuss that. I’m also really enjoying Daughter of Smoke & Bones and Red Dragon. On Sunday or Monday, I will post what two books I will be reading next. Anyway, on to the book haul!

*All descriptions taken from Goodreads.

The Fairest of Them All – Carolyn Turgeon
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

What if Rapunzel was Snow White’s evil stepmother? From the author of Godmother and MermaidThe Fairest of Them All explores what happens when fairy tale heroines grow up and don’t live happily ever after.

Living in an enchanted forest, Rapunzel spends her days tending a mystical garden with her adoptive mother, Mathena. A witch, Mathena was banished from court because of her magic powers, though the women from the kingdom still seek her advice and herbal remedies. She waits, biding her time to exact revenge against those who betrayed her.

One day Rapunzel’s beautiful voice and long golden locks captivate a young prince hunting in the forest nearby. Overcome, he climbs her hair up to her chamber and they fall into each other’s arms. But their afternoon of passion is fleeting, and the prince must return to his kingdom, as he is betrothed to another.

Now king, he marries his intended to bring peace to his kingdom. They have a stunning daughter named Snow White. Yet the king is haunted by his memories of Rapunzel, and after the mysterious death of his wife, realizes he is free to marry the woman he never stopped longing for. In hopes of also replacing the mother of his beloved daughter, the king makes Rapunzel his queen.

But when Mathena’s wedding gift of an ancient mirror begins speaking to her, Rapunzel falls under its evil spell, and the king begins to realize that Rapunzel is not the beautiful, kind woman he dreamed of.

Tender Morsels – Margo Lanagan
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

Tender Morsels is a dark and vivid story, set in two worlds and worrying at the border between them. Liga lives modestly in her own personal heaven, a world given to her in exchange for her earthly life. Her two daughters grow up in this soft place, protected from the violence that once harmed their mother. But the real world cannot be denied forever—magicked men and wild bears break down the borders of Liga’s refuge. Now, having known Heaven, how will these three women survive in a world where beauty and brutality lie side by side?

 

Hater – David Moody
Genre – Horror

A modern take on the classic “apocalyptic” novel, Hater tells the story of Danny McCoyne, an everyman forced to contend with a world gone mad, as society is rocked by a sudden increase in violent assaults. Christened “Haters” by the media, the attackers strike without warning and seemingly without reason. Within seconds, normally rational, self-controlled people become frenzied, vicious killers. As the carnage mounts, one thing soon is clear: everyone, irrespective of race, gender, age, or class, has the potential to become either a Hater or a victim. At any moment, even friends and family can turn on one another with violent intent. In the face of this mindless terror, all McCoyne can do is secure his family, seek shelter, and watch as the world falls apart. But when he bolts the front door, the question remains: Is he shutting the danger out or locking it in?

Bestial – William D. Carl
Genre – Horror

BENEATH THE DIM LIGHT OF A FULL MOON, MADNESS REIGNS. . . .

As night descends on Cincinnati, the city braces for hell on earth: The populace mutates into huge, snarling monsters that devour everyone they see and act upon their most base desires. Planes fall from the sky. Highways are clogged with abandoned cars, and buildings explode and topple. The city burns.

And when daylight comes at last, the same monsters return to human form, many driven insane by atrocities committed against friends and families. . . .

Only four survivors are immune to the metamorphosis: a smooth-talking thief who lives by the code of the Old West; a bank teller who’s put her past behind her; a wealthy, disillusioned housewife; and a desperate teenaged runaway. Together they form an unlikely quartet that must find a way to stop the apocalypse before the next full moon.

Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
Genre – Young Adult/Romance

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Every Day – David Levithan
Genre – Young Adult/Contemporary

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

Red Spikes – Margo Lanagan
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

Margo Lanagan’s electrifying stories take place in worlds not quite our own, and yet each one illuminates what it is to be human. They are stories of yearning for more, and learning to live with what you have. Stories that show the imprint love leaves on us all.

If you think you don’t like short fiction, that a story can’t have the depth or impact of a novel, then you haven’t read Margo Lanagan. A writer this startling and this original doesn’t come along very often. So for anyone who likes to be surprised, touched, unsettled, intrigued, or scared senseless, prepare to be dazzled by what a master storyteller can do in a few short pages.

Find Me – Romily Bernard
Genre – Young Adult/Mystery

“Find Me.”

These are the words written on Tessa Waye’s diary. The diary that ends up with Wick Tate. But Tessa’s just been found . . . dead.

Wick has the right computer-hacking skills for the job, but little interest in this perverse game of hide-and-seek. Until her sister Lily is the next target.

Then Griff, trailer-park boy next door and fellow hacker, shows up, intent on helping Wick. Is a happy ending possible with the threat of Wick’s deadbeat dad returning, the detective hunting him sniffing around Wick instead, and a killer taunting her at every step?

Foster child. Daughter of a felon. Loner hacker girl. Wick has a bad attitude and sarcasm to spare.

But she’s going to find this killer no matter what.

Because it just got personal.

The Nightmare Affair – Mindee Arnett
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.

Literally.

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli’s dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

So This Is How It Ends – Tui T. Sutherland
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

Something was different. She stepped hesitantly out of the subway car, her boots sounding even louder now. What was it? The graffiti. Had that been there before?
Emblazoned across the far wall in huge silver letters:

The end has come.

In New York, Kali wakes to an empty subway car, and an even emptier city. Venus and Gus survive an earthquake in Los Angeles and realize they have to deal with more than just the aftershocks. In Chile, Tigre finds himself in an unfamiliar jungle, and strangely not alone. And Amon, in Egypt, can see his path but is blind to the full picture.

They are suddenly trapped in a deserted world, five teenagers with no hope of escape. Why have they survived? What force or intelligence connects them? Drawn inexorably toward one another, they only know their future involves an experience outside anything they could have imagined. Fantasy newcomer Tui T. Sutherland creates a future in which teens have the power to complete the destruction of Earth or to save it.

The Iron Thorn – Caitlin Kittredge
Genre – Young Adult/Science Fiction

In the city of Lovecraft, the Proctors rule and a great Engine turns below the streets, grinding any resistance to their order to dust. The necrovirus is blamed for Lovecraft’s epidemic of madness, for the strange and eldritch creatures that roam the streets after dark, and for everything that the city leaders deem Heretical—born of the belief in magic and witchcraft. And for Aoife Grayson, her time is growing shorter by the day.
Aoife Grayson’s family is unique, in the worst way—every one of them, including her mother and her elder brother Conrad, has gone mad on their 16th birthday. And now, a ward of the state, and one of the only female students at the School of Engines, she is trying to pretend that her fate can be different.

Written in Red – Anne Bishop
Genre – Fantasy

As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

Chad and I recently watched Planet of the Dinosaurs. I’ve never seen it before, but Chad used to watch it as a child. He agreed to review it with me, and believe me, it’s an “interesting” movie.

*Contains Spoilers

Plot:

 A space-ship gets lost and is forced to make an emergency landing on an unknown planet. The planet looks much like Earth, only with no trace of civilization. Soon the crew discovers that there are dinosaurs on the planet, and blood-thirsty buggers at that. The crew hopes to be found and rescued, but they have to struggle to survive until then.

Chad’s Thoughts:

Planet of the Dinosaurs was one of my favorite movies as a child. I remember watching it pretty often. It was a movie about dinosaurs and the VHS case was green (my favorite color), so it had all the things my 8 year old mind wanted. I obviously wasn’t concerned with quality, plot, or characters as a child because this movie lacks all three. Planet of the Dinosaurs had a very low budget so some of the issues are understandable, but it looks like something a high school film class would’ve made.

We start out with our characters in a damaged spaceship on a crash course with an uncharted planet. The science officer confirms that the atmosphere is breatheable as they begin their descent. The ship crashes into a lake and the team swims to shore with what little equipment they can carry. After the first character falls victim to a crocodile-like monster in the lake, they decide to head inland and find somewhere safe to hide out until they’re rescued. Along their journey they encounter dinosaurs, giant spiders, and lots of desert.

The characters are all very under-developed. Each one seems to exibit just one trait. You have the well educated leader who thinks every idea he has is the best option, the experienced “soldier” who thinks every decision the leader makes is wrong, the demanding employer, his dimwitted assistant, the buff guy who goes around shirtless the entire movie and one or two others who are just there for filler. The only growing the characters do throughout the film is simply learning to live with one another, and we only see that in a flash-forward conclusion scene that shows the surviving members attempting to build a settlement and begin a new life.

If there’s a silver lining to this movie it has to be the stop-motion dinosaurs. This movie was released the same year the first Star Wars movie came out, and the special effects are absolutely terrible in comparison. The use of stop-motion, however, definitely gives the movie a unique feeling. Several scenes where the dinosaurs are fighting one another are actually quite detailed and I imagine they were pretty difficult. In several cases the dinosaurs appear to behave more realistically than the humans.

Contrary to everything I mentioned above, we really enjoyed ourselvse while we watched it. We went in knowing it was a pretty lame movie so we laughed and made jokes the whole time. The unintended sexual tension and horrendous acting alone made for quite an enjoyable movie. That said, if you go in expecting a decent plot and well developed characters, you’re going to have a bad time. This simply isnt that movie. With a bigger budget and better writing/acting, it had the potential to put dinosaurs on everyone’s mind. Instead it faded into the past without even a second glance.

My Thoughts:

I feel like a silly review is required for this film. As Chad has described, the movie is lacking in a lot of features. After the first few minutes of dialogue, I knew this would be a movie to joke around with. There are plenty of moments to laugh at, and the acting is just terrible. In some of the scenes, it even felt like the actors/actresses were about to burst out laughing themselves.

Once we gave up taking the film seriously, we ended up giving the dinosaurs dialogue to make it even funnier. The dinosaurs were just enjoying their day when humans had to ruin everything. To demonstrate this, Chad made a Gif:

See! These poor dinosaurs were just chatting about the weather, when Boom! humans are there to wreck the day.

Here is another one we titled “How I Act When Killing Spiders:”

I’m not entirely sure what the guy is waiting for. I guess he is trying to psych the dinosaur out before he decides to finish it. I do tend to do this when trying to kill a spider though, or I run away screaming for Chad to kill it.

Planet of the Dinosaurs is far from a well-made movie, and it’s quite terrible at some moments. If you do plan to watch it, just be aware that you will most likely laugh. A lot. It’s one of those films where it’s so bad, it’s funny. Of course, it’s unintentional, but we enjoyed ourselves while watching.  I would love to know if anyone has seen this. I’m not sure if anyone will want to watch it after this review, but if anyone is going to I would love to know.

Our Rating: ★★