Book Review: Extinction Parade Volume 1 by Max Brooks


Title: The Extinction Parade Volume 1
Author/Artist: Max Brooks, Raulo Caceres
Published: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Avatar Press

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Max Brooks, the best selling Zombie writer in history, unleashes an all-new horror epic! As humans wage their losing fight versus the hordes of the subdead, a frightening realization sets in with the secretive vampire race: our food is dying off. This is the story of the vampire’s descent into all-out war with the mindless, hungry hordes of the zombie outbreak as humanity tries to survive them all! This collected edition contains the entire first chapter of Extinction Parade

Courtesy of banners04

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World War Z redefined the Zombie genre for me. Extinction Parade takes it one step further, by introducing a secondary supernatural creature: the vampire. In this volume Brooks sets up an epic battle of zombie vs. vampire and the winner maintains the right to hunt and feed on the dwindling human population. It’s a riotous bloodbath with gore and violence. The art is beautiful, and something that I’m drawn to when I’m looking for graphic novels to get into. The story line is something different and I’m interested to see where it goes in further volumes.

The aspect of vampires v. zombies is something that I’ve thought about–especially since both beings at their core are reanimated corpses. I found it fun to read and to see the differences between the two. The vampires that are portrayed in this book are what I consider traditional vampires. Strong, badass and rather nasty when it comes down to it. I am intrigued by the vampire’s caretaker and I am going to grab later volumes of this to figure out the story line that’s happening there.

Overall: pink3 Bloody, gory and violent this graphic novel throws together two of the undead supernatural creatures in a knock down drag out fight for food. It’s vampires v. zombies and the prize? Us.

Book Review: Black Science Volume 1 by Rick Remender


Title: Black Science Volume 1
Author/Artist: Rick Remender, Matteo Scalera and Dean White
Published: November 13, 2013
Publisher: Image Comics.

Rating:kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Grant McKay, former member of The Anarchistic Order of Scientists, has finally done the impossible: He has deciphered Black Science and punched through the barriers of reality. But what lies beyond the veil is not epiphany, but chaos. Now Grant and his team are lost, living ghosts shipwrecked on an infinite ocean of alien worlds, barreling through the long-forgotten, ancient, and unimaginable dark realms. The only way is forward. The only question is how far are they willing to go, and how much can they endure, to get home again?

Courtesy of banners04

 

 
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To be completely up front and blunt, I enjoyed this. I like that straight off there’s a ton of action and story development. There’s a great underlying plot and it’s smart. The writing and dialogue are very smart and fast paced. There’s enough explanation and exposition that it’s not an info dump alongside great illustrations. It does remind me a bit of the television show Sliders (seriously, look it up it was amazing.)–but the differences are strong enough that I’m not feeling like it’s fan fiction.

The characters are well written and unique with their own voices. The aliens that they encounter aren’t the most creative, but I think with the way this story is going and conflict we as readers are thrust into when the story opens, it’s easily ignored. The art though—I keep coming back to it. The lines are great and the colors are brilliant and saturated with an interesting quality to them. I will be reading this series as it progresses, and I’m interested to see where it’s going from the ending point. I’ve been on a manga kick for so long that it was a little different to pick up a traditional graphic novel/comic book and read it, but I found Black Science to be a good trap door back into that genre.

Overall pink3 beautiful art with a clean, slick, well written story line makes up an interesting comic book. Worth checking out and reading.

Book review: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini


Title: Starcrossed
Author: Josephine Angelini
Published: May 31, 2011
Publisher: Harper Teen

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it’s getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she’s haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they’re destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.

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I wanted to like you so badly. Greek mythology? Tempting fate and destiny? High school? Small town? Sounds great right?

Nope.

What I get instead is a character named Helen, who is so different from everyone else. She’s beautiful. She’s smart. She’s athletic, freakishly fast and strong. She’s an outcast, the product of a single parent household. She has an overbearing father who wants her to take pills for agoraphobia, a best friend named Giggles and she’s tall.

Whoa, hold up, tall female alert.

I’m sorry. I read this. I really wish I hadn’t. I wish I had listened to my better senses and put it down, to take it back to the library. The writing is really hard to swallow, it shifts between juvenile prose, and something that’s trying entirely too hard. Helen is so hard to get attached to, and I see shades of various other ‘heroines’ in her. There’s nods to Twilight, and The Mortal Instruments series (don’t get me started on the ending), and a few other characters that I know I’ve seen before. Within the first thirty pages she’s going on a tirade about how she hopes “she doesn’t have to breathe the same air as the Delos family”. And that’s my thing right there. Helen is melodramatic one moment and emotionless the next. And I’m not going to get into her reincarnation, or the ‘insta-love’ between her and Lucas. I skimmed the last 100 pages, and even that was too much.

Overall: pink2 Don’t bother. I should have listened to the reviews on goodreads.

Book Review: Half Bad by Sally Green


Title: Half Bad
Author: Sally Green
Published: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Viking Juvenile.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
You can’t read, can’t write, but you heal fast, even for a witch.

You get sick if you stay indoors after dark.

You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one.

You’ve been kept in a cage since you were fourteen.

All you’ve got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.

Easy.

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Oh, Half Bad, I wanted so very much to like you. So many people talked about you, you have glowing reviews, and normally you’d be something that I would reach for. I only finished you because I have completion issues. My major problem with this book is it takes SO LONG for anything to happen, that by the time it does I was bored and wanting to put it away. I felt no connection to Nathan at all. I don’t know if that’s from the first few chapters being written in second persona narration, or if he’s just that flat.

And there’s the other kicker. Nathan is half white witch, half black witch, hence the ‘Half-bad’ title of the book and his branding. He doesn’t distinguish himself from anything else. There’s no swaying to either side, he’s staunchly in the middle, with a supreme (though rightfully earned) hatred of the white witches. I do think it’s a cleaver play that while the black witches are traditionally portrayed as evil–the white side, the traditionally good witches, are vile and disturbing on so many levels. I guess it’s a perspective thing. The best thing about this book for me was Gabriel. He was a breath of fresh air and lightened things up a bit. It’s irritating when the secondary characters are more rounded out and have more of a personality than the main character.

There’s insta-forbidden-love without any context, and fulfillment, and the ‘love interest’ is missing for three-quarters of the novel only to come back in the last few chapters as a pawn/bargaining piece. I wanted so much more from this book, I really did. There’s so much violence and hatred toward the main character, and there’s so little development/action that I find it incredibly frustrating.

Overall: pink2 Don’t buy into the hype. Seriously not sure if I’m going to pick up the second in the series.

Book Review– 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil


Title: 3:59
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Published: September 17, 2013
Publisher:Balzer + Bray

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Josie Byrne’s life is spiraling out of control. Her parents are divorcing, her boyfriend Nick has grown distant, and her physics teacher has it in for her. When she’s betrayed by the two people she trusts most, Josie thinks things can’t get worse.

Until she starts having dreams about a girl named Jo. Every night at the same time—3:59 a.m.

Jo’s life is everything Josie wants: she’s popular, her parents are happily married, and Nick adores her. It all seems real, but they’re just dreams, right? Josie thinks so, until she wakes one night to a shadowy image of herself in the bedroom mirror – Jo. Josie and Jo realize that they are doppelgangers living in parallel universes that overlap every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. Fascinated by Jo’s perfect world, Josie jumps at the chance to jump through the portal and switch places for a day. But Jo’s world is far from perfect. Not only is Nick not Jo’s boyfriend, he hates her. Jo’s mom is missing, possibly insane. And at night, shadowy creatures feed on human flesh. By the end of the day, Josie is desperate to return to her own life. But there’s a problem: Jo has sealed the portal, trapping Josie in this dangerous world. Can she figure out a way home before it’s too late?

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This is a quick read chock full of twists and turns, believable science fiction and a dark splash of fantasy and horror. Where it falls short however, is the entire plot is given away in the synopsis and the ending is a little too neat–a little too packaged.

I’m going to start with the things I did like. It’s got a very Alice In Wonderland, mirror flip-turned-upside down vibe going on. From the first page the author leaves the reader unsettled. Something’s coming, and it’s really hard to pin point just what is going on. I think what makes this really effective is that it’s not just one thing, but a group of things, stacking on top of each other. When Josie and Jo switch places, I think the story really starts to shine. The glaring contrast between the two girls really gives light to the ‘good twin v bad twin’ battle. Though in this case they’re doppelgangers. I figured out one of the twists early on, after Josie alters her appearance to look more like Jo.

The story doesn’t really pick up until after the switch, when Josie learns that there’s more to Jo’s world than the girl had initially let on. Josie for a few chapters flounders, trying to get her footing and deal with the people who look just like those she left in her own universe, but act so very different. The characters are different enough that they stand out and separate from their alternates. One of the very obvious differences in Jo’s world is the introduction of the Nox. I really would have loved to see more about them, rather than the flash bang description and then a rather disturbing scene further along in the book.

One of the things that I did really enjoy is nothing was exactly what it seemed. Everyone had their own agendas and secrets. I did see the major twist coming from a mile away, but it didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the book. I did feel as though everything was packaged up neatly with a bow–even the heart-wrenching moment, there was closure there. I would have preferred a little rawness to this, but I can see why the author kept it neat.

Overall: pink5 Quick read that plays with science and fantasy on a real world scope. A little too neat of a finish, and predictable but still enjoyable.

Book Review: Paper Towns by John Green.


Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Published: September 22, 2009
Publisher: Speak.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life — dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge — he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues — and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

picadillypink In reading The Fault in Our Stars, I discovered John Green. I found him to be a bit pretentious (okay, a lot pretentious) but the way he crafted his world, and his way with words won me over. The Fault in Our Stars reads like a movie, and I’m glad I experienced both mediums. Curiosity got the better of me, and after a friend’s non stop barrage of tweets about Green’s other works I picked up Paper Towns from the library. I let it sit around for a few days before I picked it up and started to read.

Almost instantly I’m greeted by the same prose, the same slightly overbearing pontification of word-smithing, and yet I chug on. I try to connect with the plot, with the characters with this whirlwind of a hope of a chance of a female named Margo Roth Spiegleman and her ever present, yet cast aside straight man Q. Let me tell you, if I have to read the words Margo Roth Spiegleman again, it’ll be all too soon. What frustrates me so much with this novel is the time Q spends chasing this girl and she’s not even what he really wants. Q doesn’t even know what he wants (and here in might be the main purpose behind the story–but still).

What I take out of it, is it’s a love letter and a goodbye note left by Margo Roth Spiegleman to Q. I really like the reaction she has later on in the book. She’s wanting to be free from the societal bounds she’s put on herself–and I think Q and the Scooby Gang going after her completely undermines that. It’s a drawn out process and maddening in it’s plodding progression. Yes, it’s a coming of age story, yes it’s the last hurrah before graduating high school and stepping into the grand void of the unknown.

I wanted to love this book so hard. I wanted it to be something that after reading I went out and purchased and put on my shelf, like I did with TFiOS. I also tried really hard to keep from drawing comparisons of the two, but they just kept happening. Things would creep in, details, narrative nuances that I couldn’t help but notice. I prefer TFiOS, though I can’t deny that Paper Towns is well written and there’s an audience for it, it just didn’t happen to float my boat.

This particular quote has stuck with me though, and I can’t seem to shake it.

“– I mean at some point, you gotta stop looking up at the sky, or one of these days you’ll look back down and see that you floated away, too.” I liken this as a warning to Q, not to get so wrapped up in Margo, but at this point there’s really no turning back. Not for Q, or the reader.

Overall: pink3 Would I recommend this? Yes. Would I own this? No. I am going to read Green’s other works though.

Book Review: Breaking Free by Brandy L. Rivers.


Title: Breaking Free
Author: Brandy L. Rivers.
Published: June 10, 2014
Publisher: Goodreads.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
They say that dreams can come true, but as a Dreamwalker, Devlin had yet to experience anything but nightmares. Then again, the druid had been held by sadistic vampires and dark mages for twenty years, forced to do their bidding. Newly escaped, he stumbles upon a dreamrealm where he can’t resist a little werewolf.

Jamie just wants someone to call her own. She feels like she’s been waiting for an awfully long time, when a man who teases her memory begins to visit her while she’s dreaming. From the moment she feels his turmoil, she’s drawn in, wanting nothing more than to heal his broken soul.

Before Devlin can decide what to do, he has to make a trip to Edenton. His first goal is to make sure someone who can’t remember him is safe and happy. The little werewolf of his dreams happens to live there, and she’s even more irresistible in real life.

When you’ve been taught all your life to run, what will make you change? Can Jamie convince her mate to stay and fight? Will he risk everything to have what he needs? Or run to save them all?

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I could not put this book down. I devoured it in a matter of an hour and a little bit, and it blew my mind. Devlin is by far one of my favorite male leads of anything I’ve read this year. He’s strong, smart, sensitive and tough. He’s been held prisoner for years, but some seriously nasty villains, and despite torture and terrible things happening to him, he remains true to himself–a healer not a fighter. Which just makes me so happy.

Jamie is another great character, she grew on me pretty steadily throughout the novel. I really love their chemistry together, and the fact that the female character was the stronger in the relationship. Devlin is not an alpha male–but it works so well with Jamie who pulls him out of everything and works to make their world better. This is the fourth book in a series, but it didn’t feel like I was coming into the story mid-way. Characters from previous books show up and are mentioned but there’s enough context to determine who is who without giving away their stories.

Overall: pink4 I loved this. I’ve already purchased the other books in this series.


I was given a copy of this book for honest review.