Tag Archive: 2014


It’s late, but I’m excited to share what I got for Christmas. I’m proud to say that I didn’t buy any of these, so I’m keeping to my book buying ban. Chad actually bought all of these books and movies for me. He’s too good to me.

I also received some book and movie related goodies such as an Edgar Allen Poe candle, “The Raven” figurine and poem, and The Nightmare Before Christmas Yahtzee. This Christmas was amazing all around, and I loved everything I got. Let me know in the comments some of the stuff you received or even something you gave someone else. If you’ve made a similar post, you can leave a link in the comments. I love looking at book, movie, or video game hauls.

*All descriptions for books taken from Goodreads and all descriptions for movies taken from IMDb. All pictures link to their respective Goodreads or IMDb pages.

mistbornMistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
Genre – Fantasy

(The Final Empire) In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with color once more?

In Brandon Sanderson’s intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage – Allomancy, a magic of the metals.

 

Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
Genre – Fiction/Thriller

The first rule about fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.

In his debut novel, Chuck Palahniuk showed himself to be his generation’s most visionary satirist. Fight Club’s estranged narrator leaves his lackluster job when he comes under the thrall of Tyler Durden, an enigmatic young man who holds secret boxing matches in the basement of bars. There two men fight “as long as they have to.” A gloriously original work that exposes what is at the core of our modern world.

 

Un Lun Dun – China Miéville
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

What is Un Lun Dun?

It is London through the looking glass, an urban Wonderland of strange delights where all the lost and broken things of London end up . . . and some of its lost and broken people, too–including Brokkenbroll, boss of the broken umbrellas; Obaday Fing, a tailor whose head is an enormous pin-cushion, and an empty milk carton called Curdle. Un Lun Dun is a place where words are alive, a jungle lurks behind the door of an ordinary house, carnivorous giraffes stalk the streets, and a dark cloud dreams of burning the world. It is a city awaiting its hero, whose coming was prophesied long ago, set down for all time in the pages of a talking book.

When twelve-year-old Zanna and her friend Deeba find a secret entrance leading out of London and into this strange city, it seems that the ancient prophecy is coming true at last. But then things begin to go shockingly wrong.

 

American Supernatural Tales – S.T. Joshi (Editor)
Genre – Anthologies/Horror

The ultimate collection of weird and frightening American fiction. As Stephen King will attest, the popularity of the occult in American literature has only grown since the days of Edgar Allan Poe. American Supernatural Tales celebrates the richness of this tradition with chilling contributions from some of the nation’s brightest literary lights, including Poe himself, H. P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and-of course- Stephen King. By turns phantasmagoric, spectral, and demonic, this is a frighteningly good addition to Penguin Classics.

 


 

The Shining
Rating – R

A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.

 

 

 

 

Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie
Rating – TV-14

Naruto and Sakura are captured in a parallel world by Madara, who’s intentions are to steal the jinchuuriki from Naruto.

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Nemo
Genre – G

After his son is captured in the Great Barrier Reef and taken to Sydney, a timid clownfish sets out on a journey to bring him home.

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CramAThon Conclusion

I thought I better post my wrap-up of the CramAThon since it’s been almost a week since it’s ended. Life is finally calming down after Christmas, and I hope everyone had a great holiday. I didn’t read as many books from my TBR as I initially planned. I only read two books, but I did manage to finish three of the challenges.

The books I finished were:

  • The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
    • I enjoyed this book, but there were some moments that dragged. Maybe I’m a little biased because I watched the movie before reading the book. Either way, I do hope to continue the series to see what happens next.
  • Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge
    • This was an okay read. It wasn’t what I was expecting, and I feel it could have been done a lot better. The fairy tale stories were darker, but there wasn’t a whole lot added to them to make them stand out.

The challenges that I finished were:

  • Read a children’s book.
  • Read a hardback.
  • Read a book in verse. (or poetry)

Only one of the books on my TBR were actually read, even though I did start several others. However, once I started reading Savage Spawn by Jonathan Kellerman, I lost all of my momentum. Since I only read two books for the CramAThon, I picked several other books to fulfill my 60 book reading challenge on Goodreads. I should be able to finish it by tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

CramAThon TBR

Sorry I haven’t been that active lately. The holidays have been crazy, and I’ve been incredibly busy. Since my schedule for posting has been all over the place, I’ve decided to participate in the CramAThon hosted/created by Whittynovels.  I’m hoping this gets me back into reading and maybe back into posting every week.

The readathon is to help you complete your Goodreads reading goal by reading a bunch of small books. I’m excited about this because I get the chance to read some of the books that I might normally skip over. I’ve already completed my Goodreads goal to read 40 books. I’ve managed to read 53 books so far, but I hope to make it to 60 by the end of the year.

The CramAThon starts on Saturday, December 20th and ends on Wednesday, December 24th. Below is the list of challenges just to make it more interesting:

Challenges:

  1. Read a children’s book.
  2. Read a hardback.
  3. Read 2 books in 24 hours.
  4. Read a graphic novel.
  5. Read a book in verse. (or poetry)
  6. Read a novella.
  7. Read 5 books total.

I’m going to shoot for completing five of these challenges. I won’t be able to complete numbers 4 and 5 because I don’t have any unread graphic novels or own any books in verse. Here are the books I’ll be reading:

Of course I don’t expect to read every one of them, but I’m going to try. I’m going to count the three novellas by Marissa Meyer as one book since they’re pretty short. Child of God and A Feast of Snakes are two books I’ve been wanting to read since college. The subject of Savage Spawn intrigues me, and I’m really interested to see what it has to say. Overall, I’m just excited about all of these books and can’t wait to start reading them. Let me know if you’re participating and what you plan to read.

Black Friday 2014 Book Haul

Of course when Bookoutlet has a Black Friday Sale I’m going to participate, especially since I didn’t have to leave the safety of my apartment to fight people to the death for deals. Here are all of the books that I bought on Black Friday:

*All descriptions taken from Goodreads, and all pictures link to their respective Goodreads pages.

Something Strange and Deadly – Susan Dennard
Genre – Young Adult/Horror

Philadelphia 1876. The Dead are rising. A zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor Fitt. Whoever controls the Dead Army has her brother. She avoids her mother’s choice of husband for the lab of Spirit Hunters, including the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel. The situation threatens her reputation, and the lives of everyone in the city.

 

 

 

 

The Islands of Chaldea – Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Jones
Genre – Children’s/Fantasy

The brand new and final novel from the magical and whimsical pen of ‘the Godmother of Fantasy’, Diana Wynne Jones; co-authored with her sister Ursula Jones.

Aileen was supposed to grow up magical – just like the other women in her family. Unfortunately, she’s just found out that the magic seems to have skipped a generation… but that’s not her biggest problem right now.

In her world, there are four Islands of Chaldea. The largest and most magical island has been cut off from the other three for decades – and is slowly draining the magic from them.

But now a prophecy has come to light. Someone from Aileen’s island will gather a man from each of the three islands, bring down the magical barrier, and unite them with the fourth island again. And according to the king, that someone is Aileen’s Aunt – who insists on dragging Aileen along. AND the boy Aileen is sure she’ll marry (one day); AND the local boy with more brawn then brain. Someone seems to want to stop them too… someone with an interest in keeping the Islands apart. But still, with magic on their side, nothing can go wrong. Right?

 

Plus One – Elizabeth Fama
Genre – Young Adult/Romance

It takes guts to deliberately mutilate your hand while operating a blister-pack sealing machine, but all I had going for me was guts.

Sol Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller in an America rigidly divided between people who wake, live, and work during the hours of darkness and those known as Rays who live and work during daylight. Impulsive, passionate, and brave, Sol deliberately injures herself in order to gain admission to a hospital, where she plans to kidnap her newborn niece—a Ray—in order to bring the baby to visit her dying grandfather. By violating the day-night curfew, Sol is committing a serious crime, and when the kidnap attempt goes awry it starts a chain of events that will put Sol in mortal danger, uncover a government conspiracy to manipulate the Smudge population, and throw her together with D’Arcy Benoît, the Ray medical apprentice who first treats her, then helps her outrun the authorities—and with whom she is fated to fall impossibly and irrevocably in love.

Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights—and a compelling, rapid-fire romantic adventure story.

 

NOS4A2 – Joe Hill
Genre – Fantasy

NOS4A2 is a spine-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill, the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns.

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.

 

The Curse of the Wendigo – Rick Yancey
Genre – Young Adult/Horror

While attempting to disprove that Homo vampiris, the vampire, could exist, Dr. Warthrop is asked by his former fiancé to rescue her husband from the Wendigo, a creature that starves even as it gorges itself on human flesh, and which has snatched him in the Canadian wilderness. Although Warthrop also considers the Wendigo to be fictitious, he relents and rescues her husband from death and starvation, and then sees the man transform into a Wendigo.

Can the doctor and Will Henry hunt down the ultimate predator, who, like the legendary vampire, is neither living nor dead, whose hunger for human flesh is never satisfied?

This second book in The Monstrumologist series explores the line between myth and reality, love and hate, genius and madness.

 

All Seeing Eye – Rob Thurman
Genre – Fantasy

Picking up a small pink shoe from the grass forever changed young Jackson Lee’s life. Not only did its presence mean that his sister Tessa was dead—murdered and stuffed in the deep, black water of a narrow well—but the shoe itself told him so.

Tessa’s death triggers an even more horrific family massacre that, combined with this new talent he neither wants nor can handle, throws Jack’s life into a tailspin. The years quickly take him from state homes to the streets to grifting in a seedy carnival, until he finally becomes the cynical All Seeing Eye, psychic-for-hire. At last, Jackson has left his troubled past behind him and found a semblance of peace.

That is, until the government blackmails him. Helping the military contain the aftermath of a bizarre experiment gone violently wrong, everything Jackson knows about himself will change just as suddenly as it did with his little sister’s shoe.

And while change is constant…It’s never for the better.

 

The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien (Audio Book)
Genre – Classic

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when it was first published in 1937. Now recognized as a timeless classic, this introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular world of Middle-earth recounts of the adventures of a reluctant hero, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent.

The giveaways have officially ended! Thank you to everyone who entered and participated. I’m very excited to have had so many entries. The $15 worth of books giveaway was the most popular, so I’ll have to do more of these in the future.

The winner for Angelfall by Susan Ee is . . .  Molly M.    Congratulations!

The winner for the $15 worth of books from Book Depository is . . .  Diana.   Congratulations!

I have already sent the winners an e-mail, and they will have one week to reply to claim their prizes. If neither one replies by next Wednesday, I will pick another winner. I’ll pick someone every week until the prizes are claimed.

I really enjoy doing giveaways so I can give back to all my wonderful followers, so don’t worry if you didn’t win this one because there should be more in the future. Thanks again everybody!

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for every like, comment, and follow that I receive, and I decided I would host giveaways to show my appreciation to all my followers. I’ll be hosting two separate giveaways this time, one will be for a new paperback copy of Angelfall by Susan Ee and the other will be for $15 worth of books from Book Depository. The Angelfall giveaway will be only for those in the United States, but the other is open internationally. See the information below for each of the giveaways.

*If you win, all of your  personal information will be kept confidential. I only need your name and address to ship the book, but they won’t be shared anywhere.


Angelfall

Angelfall – Susan Ee
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

*Description taken from Goodreads.

 

L1nhbobWhile I was shopping for books on Amazon, I accidentally bought two copies of Angelfall. Rather than go through the process of sending it back, I decided to give it away to one lucky winner instead. It’s in brand new condition and has just been sitting on my shelf mingling with the other books.

The giveaway will last about two weeks, starting November 27th. It will end on December 10th at midnight. I wanted to make sure it has time to get there for the holidays. I’ll be shipping the book through the US Post Office one business day after receiving the winner’s information.

*Click on the picture to the right to see a bigger image.

 

Click the link below to enter the giveaway.

**US only. Good luck!

Rafflecopter Giveaway!

 


$15 Purchase From Book Depository

I wanted to give my international followers a chance this time and this is the best way I could think of. You’ll be able to receive $15 worth of books from Book Depository. It can be one or more books, so long as the total doesn’t exceed $15.

Shipping is free at Book Depository so there’s no need to factor that into the total. The only exception will be if you’re not on Book Depository’s free shipping list. Be sure to check this link to make sure you’re eligible. It looks like most countries are covered but just double check. Unfortunately, if you’re not on that list, you won’t be able to enter the giveaway.

The giveaway will start on Novemeber 27th and last through midnight on December 10th. This is my first time doing an international giveaway, so it should be exciting for all of us. 🙂

 

Click the link below to enter the giveaway.

**International. Good luck!

Rafflecopter Giveaway!

I thought I might combine these two months together for this wrap-up. I didn’t read many books or watch many movies in each month. However, I apparently read lots of four stars books these past two months. Finally, I’m caught up with these wrap-ups! Woo!

*All descriptions for books taken from Goodreads and all descriptions for movies taken from IMDb. All pictures link to their respective Goodreads or IMDb pages.

Anya’s Ghost – Vera Brosgol
Genre – Young Adult/Graphic Novel
My Rating – ★★★★

Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn’t kidding about the “Forever” part.

Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.

Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.

Or so she thinks. Spooky, sardonic, and secretly sincere, Anya’s Ghost is a wonderfully entertaining debut from author/artist Vera Brosgol.

Review: I went into Anya’s Ghost without fully reading the description, and I found that I enjoyed it a lot more than I probably would have had I read it. It was nice to go in kind of blind. The story is surprisingly dark and a lot different than I expected. I really liked the ending because I didn’t see it coming at all. Aside from the story, I thought the characters were very well-written and realistic. None of them were 100% likeable and to me that just seems more accurate. The graphic style is fun and simplistic. It’s not as detailed as a lot of graphic novels but it’s perfect for this story. If you’re into graphic novels I would definitely recommend this book.

 

The Surprise Party – R. L. Stine
Genre – Young Adult/Horror
My Rating – ★★★★

It’s been a year since Evan died in the Fear Street woods. A year since Ellen moved away, and “the gang” split up. Meg Dalton felt as if she’d lost her best friends. Everyone changed. Even her boyfriend Tony was acting moody, strange. But when she heard that Ellen was returning for a visit, Meg had the answer: she’d bring them all together again with a surprise party for Ellen!

That’s when the terror began…the phone calls…the threats…the bizarre acts of violence. “Cancel the party—or else,” the whispered voice on the phone told her. Meg was scared, and with good reason. Whoever wanted the party stopped woud try anything—even murder! But why? The dark Fear Street woods held the answer…if Meg dared to discover the truth!

Review: The Surprise Party is very similar to other books in this genre by R. L. Stine. It has all of his usual mystery aspects and predictability. The suspects are all typical and very obvious. Meg is too trusting of everyone and that was a bit frustrating for me, but the book was fun to read and fast paced. Of course, as usual, the ending was a bit crazy and out there. Up until the end of the story, everything made a lot of sense though. Stine’s books are always entertaining to read, and I would recommend them if you’re already a fan of his.

 

Scarlet – Marissa Meyer
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy
My Rating – ★★★★

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Review: Scarlet is a fun read. A bit predictable, but fun all the same. The plot is very interesting and keeps you entertained. I really liked the world but wish there was more world building. You just don’t get to see enough about how everything operates. On the other hand, the characters are what really drive the story. I enjoyed seeing Cinder’s point of view again and was glad to see other characters had returned as well. I didn’t like Scarlet as much as Cinder, but she isn’t a terrible character. She just has a few traits that irked me. Out of all the characters though, Thorne is by far my favorite. The Lunar Chronicles is a series that you should absolutely check out because all the books are fun, easy, and provide a nice change of pace.

*As an added bonus for Scarlet, I’ve been provided with an audio sample to share with you from Macmillan Audio. Click here to listen to the first chapter of the audiobook.

 

Spirits of the Noh – Thomas Randall
Genre – Young Adult/Horror
My Rating – ★★★★½

Kara Harper is finally starting to fit in at her boarding school in Japan-after all, nothing bonds you with your classmates like having an ancient demon put a curse on you. Hoping life can go back to normal now that the demon has been put to rest, Kara joins her friends Sakura and Miho in putting on a play for the Noh drama club. It’s the story of the Hannya, a snake demon who inhabits the body of a beautiful woman. When a few members of the Noh club go missing, Kara fears that the real Hannya has been awakened by the curse. Then Miho is abducted, and Kara must find her before the Hannya destroys her. But the demon is wily, and may be hidden in the last place any of them would think to look . . . .

Review: I’m loving this series. Spirits of Noh is a nice addition to the first book and doesn’t just provide a bridge to the third book. It’s as good as Dreams of the Dead and I am really looking forward to the third book now. The characters continue to develop and the plot remains intriguing. I still love the setting, and the descriptions constantly make me want to go to Japan. The only negative I have about this book is that Kara seems to have regressed a little. How she feels about her dad’s relationship has changed from the first book. Other than that the book is very fun and enjoyable. The book is classified as young adult horror and lives up to the genre while not being overly scary. I think everyone that enjoys young adult should give this trilogy a chance.

 

The Night She Disappeared – April Henry
Genre – Young Adult/Mystery
My Rating – ★★★★

Gabie drives a Mini Cooper. She also works part time as a delivery girl at Pete’s Pizza. One night, Kayla—another delivery girl—goes missing. To her horror, Gabie learns that the supposed kidnapper had asked if the girl in the Mini Cooper was working that night. Gabie can’t move beyond the fact that Kayla’s fate was really meant for her, and she becomes obsessed with finding Kayla. She teams up with Drew, who also works at Pete’s. Together, they set out to prove that Kayla isn’t dead—and to find her before she is.

Review: The Night She Disappeared is really short and fast paced. There aren’t that many details and you don’t really get to know the characters, but the story is pretty interesting. The story is told through four different perspectives, one of which belongs to the killer. This allows the reader to know more than the characters and makes everything more suspenseful. As the book begins wrapping up things get really exciting. It was a lot more intense than I expected. If you’re in the mood for a quick mystery, this is the book for you.

 


 

Blazing Saddles
Rating – R
My Rating – ★★★★

To ruin a western town, a corrupt political boss appoints a black sheriff, who promptly becomes his most formidable adversary.

Review: Blazing Saddles was surprisingly funny. I know Mel Brooks is well-known for his comedy, but I was just worried this one might not be as good as some of the others like Young Frankenstein and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Those are two of my favorite movies. The plot is a little silly but that’s to be expected from a satire like this.  It’s not a movie that will stick in my mind forever, but it’s definitely enjoyable. If you’re a fan of comedies, this is certainly one to check out.

 

The Brothers Grimm
Rating – PG-13
My Rating – ★★★★

Will and Jake Grimm are traveling con-artists who encounter a genuine fairy-tale curse which requires true courage instead of their usual bogus exorcisms.

Review: The Brothers Grimm is a fun movie, but it’s very silly. It’s entertaining, and the acting is perfect for this type of movie. The fact that Will and Jake are con-artists really makes the story go in a more interesting direction. It wasn’t as predictable as I thought it would be, and I really enjoyed it. There were a lot of scenes that caught me off guard, and I found myself laughing quite often. It’s hard to recommend this to a certain group of people, but if you read the description and think it sounds interesting, you’ll probably really enjoy it.

 

Saving Private Ryan
Rating – R
My Rating – ★★★★★

Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

Review: Saving Private Ryan is such a fantastic movie. I always avoided this movie because the opening scenes are so graphic, but I’m glad I finally watched it. The acting is great, but Tom Hanks stands out as my favorite. It’s easy to get attached to all of the characters and genuinely concerned any time they’re in danger. It’s very unpredictable and just a beautiful story overall. If you haven’t seen it then you really need to. This is a movie that can be enjoyed by everyone and not just fans of war movies.

August 2014 Wrap-Up

The August wrap-up is here! Let me know if you’ve read or watched any of these and what you’re thoughts were or if you want to read or watch any of these.

*All descriptions for books taken from Goodreads and all descriptions for movies taken from IMDb. All pictures link to their respective Goodreads or IMDb pages.

The Fever – Megan Abbott
Genre – Young Adult/Mystery
My Rating – ★★

The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie’s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town’s fragile idea of security.

Review: I have a full review of The Fever. Overall, The Fever wasn’t a great mystery. Even though the red herrings were plausible and made sense, the true reason for the outbreak seemed silly. The characters were dull and at times had some inappropriate thoughts about other characters. It was an okay book, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it. Others have enjoyed it though, so it’s always up to the reader.

 

Overnight – Adele Griffin
Genre – Young Adult/Mystery
My Rating – ★★★★

Everyone expects Caitlin’s sleepover birthday party to be perfect. She is one of the Lucky Seven, the group every sixth-grade girl wants to belong to. But those inside this enchanted circle know it’s often less about feeling accepted and more about watching your step. Of the Seven, Gray is the easiest target for the others, and tonight she disappears. As the girls search for Gray, some of them worry. Others have secrets they’re not telling, even to the police. And as the truth gets harder to hide, new emotions erupt, friendships become shaky, and a power struggle ensues. The Lucky Seven is in danger of falling apart. And as for Gray, she’ll need to call on all of her wavering courage just to survive this turbulent night.

Review: While it’s listed in the young adult genre, Overnight is a middle grade read. I can see why some might not like this story. Some of the girls are a bit cliche and can make some terrible decisions, but I think it’s rather an enjoyable read. It was surprisingly scary for a middle grade book. Though it may not be for some. It was for me because one of my fears when I was little was what happened to Gray. There were plenty of moments of yelling at the characters to do something and then being frustrated when they didn’t do it. The characterization is interesting because while there are cliches such as the shy girl, mean girl, spoiled girl and so on, it doesn’t take away from the story. It’s interesting to see how everyone reacts in this situation. At first, they don’t think much about what happens, but as time progresses and no one has found Gray, they begin to worry about what happened to her. Overall, it’s an engaging story and a page-turner, and I would recommend it.

 

Zombie Blondes – Brian James
Genre – Young Adult/Horror
My Rating – ★★

From the moment Hannah Sanders arrived in town, she felt there was something wrong.
A lot of houses were for sale, and the town seemed infected by an unearthly quiet. And then, on Hannah’s first day of classes, she ran into a group of cheerleaders—the most popular girls in school.
The odd thing was that they were nearly identical in appearance: blonde, beautiful, and deathly pale.
But Hannah wants desperately to fit in—regardless of what her friend Lukas is telling her: if she doesn’t watch her back, she’s going to be blonde and popular and dead—just like all the other zombies in this town. . . .

Review: I actually forgot that I had already read this book years before. I don’t think that’s a good sign for this story. Nothing really stood out in this novel, and I found myself more frustrated at the main character than anything else. Hannah is very judgmental of others, and she makes rash decisions about the boy that tries to help her. When she’s warned not to hang with the popular girls, of course she must do so. The father is another big issue I had with this book. They just moved into town, and he decides it would be a great time to leave his daughter alone. This seemed like a ploy to get the father out of the picture so all the bad stuff could happen to Hannah. It’s sad that the story fell flat for me because I really liked the first chapter and the ending, but everything in the middle wasn’t that great. I probably wouldn’t recommend this book.

 

Killing Mr. Griffin – Lois Duncan
Genre – Young Adult/Mystery
My Rating – ★★★

High school can be tough. But with teachers like Mr. Griffin it can seem impossible.

They only planned to scare him. But sometimes even the best-laid plans go wrong.

Review: I found out this book was on the banned list, and I can see why since it deals with students killing their teacher. Killing Mr. Griffin has an intriguing plot, and its keeps you wanting to find out what happens next and what will happen to these students. While the plot is interesting, the characters can be annoying at times, and they’re forgettable. Throughout the crime, it’s easy to pick out what the characters are doing wrong and what will cause them to be caught (not that I want them to get away with their crime). It might be that I watch and read a lot of mysteries and thrillers, but as a character was doing something, I knew that it would end up getting them in trouble later. I loved how peer pressure played into this novel and how it showed how far pressure can make someone go. I didn’t really like how the ending was done. It’s a silly way to explain what all happened because the reader is told all of the details through a mother’s dialogue to her daughter (one of the students involved). However, everything is resolved, and it’s a good ending for this type of story. It’s worth reading.

 

The Time Machine – H.G. Wells
Genre – Classic/Science Fiction
My Rating – ★★★

“I’ve had a most amazing time….”

So begins the Time Traveller’s astonishing firsthand account of his journey 800,000 years beyond his own era—and the story that launched H.G. Wells’s successful career and earned him his reputation as the father of science fiction. With a speculative leap that still fires the imagination, Wells sends his brave explorer to face a future burdened with our greatest hopes…and our darkest fears. A pull of the Time Machine’s lever propels him to the age of a slowly dying Earth. There he discovers two bizarre races—the ethereal Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks—who not only symbolize the duality of human nature, but offer a terrifying portrait of the men of tomorrow as well. Published in 1895, this masterpiece of invention captivated readers on the threshold of a new century. Thanks to Wells’s expert storytelling and provocative insight, The Time Machine will continue to enthrall readers for generations to come.

Review: The Time Machine has a unique storytelling method. Besides the beginning and end, it’s entirely told through the traveler’s dialogue. He explains what happened to him when he traveled to the future. There was a lot of thought put into the aspects of time travel. It’s so well done that it makes you wonder if Wells did invent a way to travel in time. I did really enjoy the beginning and ending. There were some boring moments in the story. Especially when the traveler first starts his story. The social commentary can sometimes drag on and made me wonder when the he was going to talk about anything else. However, once the traveler met the Eloi and the Morlocks, the story became really interesting. It’s definitely worth reading, especially if you want to see where science fiction began.

 

The Murder Farm – Andrea Maria Schenkel
Genre – Mystery
My Rating – ★★★½

A whole family has been murdered with a pickaxe. They were old Danner the farmer, an overbearing patriarch, his put-upon devoutly religious wife, and their daughter Barbara Spangler, whose husband Vincenz left her after fathering her daughter, Marianne. Also murdered was the Danners’ new maidservant, Marie, who was regarded as slightly simple. Despite the brutal nature of the killings and the small village where it has taken place, the police have no leads. Officially the crime is unsolved. And then a former resident returns home The Murder Farm is an unconventional detective story. The author interweaves testament from the villagers, an oblique view of the murderer, occasional third-person narrative pieces and passages of pious devotion. The narrator leaves the village unaware of the truth, only the reader is able to reach the shattering conclusion.

Review: I have a full review of The Murder Farm. It’s a unique and enjoyable story. It’s a mystery that keeps you guessing and turning the page. While we don’t get to know the characters that well, I feel they all have distinct voices and are interesting enough to keep the story going. The story is told in a very uncommon way, but it works for the plot. If you’re looking for a short mystery, you should definitely give this book a chance.

 

Dreams of the Dead – Thomas Randall
Genre – Young Adult/Horror
My Rating – ★★★★½

Kara’s afraid to go to sleep until the nightmares come when she’s awake . . . .Sixteen-year-old Kara Foster is an outsider in Japan, but is doing her best to fit at the private school where her father is teaching English for the year. Fortunately she’s befriended by Sakura, a fellow outsider struggling to make sense of her sister’s unsolved murder some months ago. No one seems to care about the beautiful girl who was so brutally murdered, and the other students go on as if nothing has happened. Unfortunately, the calm doesn’t last for long. Kara begins to have nightmares, and soon other students in the school turn up dead, viciously attacked by someone . . . or something. Is Sakura getting back at those she thinks are responsible for her sister’s death? Or has her dead sister come back to take revenge for herself?

Review: Dreams of the Dead really surprised me. I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. I loved the plot and especially the characters in this story. The characters were so realistic and relatable. Having the story set in Japan only added a bonus to this story. I’ve always wanted to go to Japan and this story made me want to go even more with all the amazing descriptions. The combination of plot, characters, and setting really made me think about animes and mangas. This added to my enjoyment of the story. The horror aspect of this story was scary but not too much. It was the perfect balance of intriguing and scary elements. There were also a few surprising twists with how the characters dealt with the demon and other students which were interesting. The only thing I didn’t like was how the main character responded to her friends thoughts about the demon, but other than that I enjoyed everything about this story. I would definitely recommend this for anyone interested in starting to read horror or if you want a story set in Japan.

 


 

Justin and the Knights of Valour
Rating – PG
My Rating – ★★½

A young boy becomes a man as he embarks on a quest to become a knight.

Review: Justin and the Knights of Valour is an entertaining movie. However, it’s not an amazing movie. It didn’t capture my interest as much as I would have liked, and I found myself bored during some scenes. It felt as though I had seen most of what happened in this story but in better movies. It’s predictable and most of the characters are cliches. On the other hand, I did enjoy that women were not just damsels in distress, and the movie portrayed them in two different lights which is always nice. It was interesting to watch, but it’s not my favorite. I’m sure others have really enjoyed it, so it’s always worth checking out.

 

Rio 2
Rating – G
My Rating – ★★★½

It’s a jungle out there for Blu, Jewel and their three kids after they’re hurtled from Rio de Janeiro to the wilds of the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in, he goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel, and meets his father-in-law.

Review: I didn’t expect much out of the sequel to Rio because sequels have a tendency to not be as good as the original, and I only liked Rio (★★★), so I was worried about this movie. However, I found that I liked this one a bit more than the first one. Of course it’s predictable in some areas, but it had a few surprises at the end that I didn’t expect. I have to say that my favorite scenes were the ones with Nigel and Gabi, especially Nigel because I love the evil ones. It was fun to see how they reacted to each other, and I wanted even more scenes with them. Overall, Rio 2 is a fun movie, and I would recommend it.

 

The Great Gatsby (2013)
Rating – PG-13
My Rating – ★★★★

A Midwestern war veteran finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor.

Review: This version of The Great Gatsby sticks fairly close to the book while also adding it’s own elements to the story such as changing the arrangement of dialogue or making a character have certain body language that conveys the right emotion. These additions changed some scenes so they would make more sense, at least to me. I felt they made everything flow easier and made character decisions make more sense. I liked the modern music because it gives it a different twist than the other adaptations. I have to say that I liked this one better than the 1974 version. It’s definitely worth watching.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy
Rating – PG-13
My Rating – ★★★★½

A group of space criminals must work together to stop a fanatic from destroying the galaxy.

ReviewGuardians of the Galaxy is such a fun movie. It’s extremely funny, and Chad and I laughed throughout the movie. I actually wasn’t expecting it to be as funny as it was, but I was pleasantly surprised. They are very unique characters and each one of them add their own charm to the team. There is plenty of action throughout this movie and really cool easter eggs. The only problem I had with the movie was the weak villain. He doesn’t pose as big of a threat as I would have liked and the audience doesn’t really learn anything about him to make him more developed. I still can’t wait for the sequel though. I hope it’s as good as this one, if not better. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to get into the super hero movies. It’s the perfect place to start.

Birthday Book Haul + Book Club

A little late on posting my birthday book haul since my birthday was on November 5th, but today I had some time to do a post. I’ve already read both Saga volumes, and I have to say that the fourth one cannot be published fast enough. I need it in my life because I have to know what happens next. The anticipation will be the death of me.

*All descriptions taken from Goodreads, and all pictures link to their respective Goodreads pages.

Saga, Vol. 2 – Brian K. Vaughan (Writer), Fiona Staples (Artist)
Genre – Science Fiction/Graphic Novel

From award-winning writer BRIAN K. VAUGHAN (Pride of Baghdad, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist FIONA STAPLES (Mystery Society, Done to Death), SAGA is sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the universe. Thanks to her star-crossed parents Marko and Alana, newborn baby Hazel has already survived lethal assassins, rampaging armies, and horrific monsters, but in the cold vastness of outer space, the little girl encounters her strangest adventure yet… grandparents.

Collects Saga issues #7-12.

 

 

Saga, Vol. 3 – Brian K. Vaughan (Writer), Fiona Staples (Artist)
Genre – Science Fiction/Graphic Novel

From the Hugo Award-winning duo of Brian K. Vaughan (The Private Eye, Y: The Last Man) and Fiona Staples (North 40, Red Sonja), Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the universe. Searching for their literary hero, new parents Marko and Alana travel to a cosmic lighthouse on the planet Quietus, while the couple’s multiple pursuers finally close in on their targets.

Collects issues 13-18.

 

 

Long Lankin – Lindsey Barraclough
Genre – Young Adult/Horror

Beware of Long Lankin, that lives in the moss. . . .When Cora and her younger sister, Mimi, are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Byers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome. Auntie Ida is eccentric and rigid, and the girls are desperate to go back to London. But what they don’t know is that their aunt’s life was devastated the last time two young sisters were at Guerdon Hall, and she is determined to protect her nieces from an evil that has lain hidden for years. Along with Roger and Peter, two village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries — before it’s too late for little Mimi. Riveting and intensely atmospheric, this stunning debut will hold readers in its spell long after the last page is turned.

 


 

On to the book club portion of this post. I’ve been wanting to join a book club, but I haven’t found any that consistently pick books that I will enjoy. So, I decided that I wanted to start my own, in a sense. My book club members will consist of just Chad and myself. 🙂 This way I will be able to pick books that I know I will like while having someone to read and discuss with. Of course Chad picks out books he likes too, and we go through and decide which of our choices we would both like.

If you would like to “join” this unofficial book club, just let me know in the comments. I would love to have discussions on these books, and I’m always up for buddy reads.

Our first choices for this month include the following:

It – Stephen King
Genre – Horror

The story follows the exploits of seven children as they are terrorized by an eponymous being, which exploits the fears and phobias of its victims in order to disguise itself while hunting its prey. “It” primarily appears in the form of a clown in order to attract its preferred prey of young children. The novel is told through narratives alternating between two time periods, and is largely told in the third-person omniscient mode. It deals with themes which would eventually become King staples: the power of memory, childhood trauma, and the ugliness lurking behind a façade of traditional small-town values.

 

 

Shadow’s Edge (#2)- Brent Weeks
Genre – Fantasy

Kylar Stern has rejected the assassin’s life. The Godking’s successful coup has left Kylar’s master, Durzo, and his best friend, Logan, dead. He is starting over: new city, new friends, and new profession.

But when he learns that Logan might actually be alive and in hiding, Kylar is faced with an agonizing choice: will he give up the way of shadows forever and live in peace with his new family, or will he risk everything by taking on the ultimate hit?

 

Where I’ve Been + NaNoWriMo

Some of you may have noticed over the past few days that my blog had been suspended. I’m finally back and everything is fixed. The problem came from my most recent post Ten Items I Would Want in a Zombie Apocalypse. One of the pictures I included contained a link that caused problems with WordPress. My blog was automatically suspended and it happened as soon as I posted. It took three days of working with the support team to get my blog back up. It was very frustrating to say the least, and I thought I was going to lose all of my posts and hard work. Turns out my link didn’t violate terms of service because I only linked to a larger version of the picture. So long story short, my blog is back and I didn’t lose anything.

On that note, make sure you’re careful with what pictures or gifs you link on your blog. Make sure to save copies of your work because if you do violate the terms of service, they can permanently suspend your blog and remove all of its content. You probably won’t get a warning either (I didn’t). I’m sure most of you know this already, but I wanted to spread the word just in case. The only good thing about all of this is that the support team was really friendly and helpful. Once they responded, it took less than a day to get everything up and working again.

A special thanks to Molly and Diana. They helped keep me motivated and optimistic about all of this. You should definitely check out their blogs because they are wonderful.

 


 

On to happier news! I’ve decided to participate in NaNoWriMo next month. It’s very short notice since it begins on Saturday but that’s mostly due to not being able to access my blog for the first half of this week. I did try NaNoWriMo last year, but it didn’t go as well as I had hoped. This year, however, I’m not going to push myself to write a certain amount every day. I’m just going to see how it goes and how much I can accomplish.

I might not be as active on my blog as I have been. I want to focus a lot on writing and try to get some of this story put together. I’ve been wanting to work on this novel for a long time and it’s about time I start. I’ll still try to post as often as time permits, but if you don’t see anything at least you know what I’m up to. In the meantime, you can still contact me through Goodreads, Twitter, or my contact page. I’ll still be checking all of those every day.

Feel free to add me as a buddy for NaNoWriMo: hncook4