Sunday, November 14, 2010

REVIEW: New Moon: The Twilight Saga, Book 2 by Stephenie Meyer

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

New Moon is the second book in the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, and I liked this one a bit better than the first, a review of which can also be found here in my blog: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.

While reading Twilight, I didn't much care for Bella's character; she seemed very superficial and wishy-washy, and didn't treat her supposed friends very well, as if she was only using them when she didn't have Edward around. By the start of book two, and as a continuing theme throughout, it becomes a bit clearer why she's like this: it's truly as if she's incomplete without Edward.

This very concept is put to the test in New Moon as Edward and the rest of the Cullen family suddenly leave Forks. Edward feels it's in Bella's best interests for her to forget about him, believing he's responsible for all the danger surrounding her. Little does he realize however that said danger doesn't leave with him and his family, but instead is left behind with Bella in Forks. Now Bella has to not only fight to make it through every single day feeling as if a piece of her has been ripped out by Edward's leaving, but she's also in more immediate danger from outside influences seeking revenge.

New Moon is a fitting sequel to Twilight and it left me looking forward to Eclipse, the next book in the series. I also plan to finally watch New Moon the movie now that I've finally read the book. :)

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Friday, May 21, 2010

REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

My Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

It is now year six at Hogwarts for Harry and his friends. Support for the evil Lord Voldemort is growing stronger by the day, many of his supporters, aka the Death Eaters, have managed to take control of key positions within the Ministry using the Imperius Curse, allowing them to control the other person without their knowledge or consent.

Back at Hogwarts, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore has decided to tutor Harry in preparation for his forthcoming battle with Lord Voldemort. Together they explore the memories of several people from the young Tom Riddle's past, including Dumbledore's himself. Dumbledore feels it's important for Harry to understand the past events which shaped Tom Riddle and how they forged his growth into Voldemort. He also feels these memories should help Harry track down the hidden Horcruxes in which Voldemort has stored pieces of his soul in order to render himself immortal. For in order for Voldemort to be completely destroyed, all of his hidden Horcruxes must be located and destroyed.

This being book six, and the second to last book in the series, it didn't contain nearly as much action as previous books and this was even more apparent in the movie version. Instead, it seemed to contain a lot of "back story", sort of like an appetizer before the main meal or the prep work prior to a big assignment. There was certainly a lot of useful information here however and I didn't like the book any less for it; it was very deep and insightful into what makes Voldemort tick. But unfortunately, much of that didn't transition well to the movie and many of the memories that Harry and Dumbledore explored in the Pensieve were left out completely. If I hadn't read the book prior to watching the movie, I'm sure I would've felt like I was missing a lot of the little nuances which pulled it all together.

Towards the end of the book, an extremely significant event occurs, the exact sequence of which makes a very big impact on events in the final book. I really don't know how to say much more without giving away a major plot point for people who haven't read this far (or saw the movie) yet, but suffice to say you're definitely left hanging on the edge of your seat at the end. Had I read this book immediately upon it's release without having the final book ready and waiting to dive into, I'm certain I'd have gone crazy waiting a year for the conclusion!

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

REVIEW: Afraid by Jack Kilborn

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

A helicopter crash just outside the small town of Safe Haven, Wisconsin has unleashed a group of terrifying fighters on a mission. These top-notch special forces mercenaries have government training, a strong thirst for murder, and even stranger, brains that have actually been chemically altered to allow them to be controlled by outside influences. The mayhem they release on this small Wisconsin town is the stuff that nightmares are made of! Though this book may tend to get a bit gory at times, true lovers of the horror genre won't mind one bit as it only adds to the terror. What will happen in the end? Will anyone in town escape the hands of these madmen? Will the Red-ops team get what they came for?

Jack Kilborn is a pseudonym for author J.A. Konrath, known previously for his police thriller Jack Daniels Mystery series. Though this book is his first foray into the horror genre, it clearly shows that he's certainly no amateur when it comes to writing some well and scary horror!

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Friday, April 30, 2010

REVIEW: Breathers: A Zombie's Lament by S. G. Browne

My Rating: 8 out of 10 stars

First, I must apologize for the tardiness of this review. I read this book while I was living on the road (out of my RV) during my cross-country move from Massachusetts to California. Because of this, it probably didn't get the full attention it deserved as my mind was so often preoccupied with all sorts of major real-life decisions, and I often went for days on end—sometimes even a whole week—without reading, and then when I came back to it, I had sometimes forgotten important details and found myself having to read previous chapters to refresh my memory. With that disclaimer out of the way, let me now attempt to give a fair review of this book despite my lengthy and erratic reading of it.

Andy Warner has recently lost his wife, his home, and all that he owns, including his own life! Yes, you heard correctly. Both Andy and his wife died in a car accident along Santa Cruz's Route 17, a steep, curvy road that winds through the Santa Cruz mountains in California. After his death however, Andy came back to life as a zombie, while his wife did not. Though zombies are now accepted as a normal but undesirable part of society, they are not afforded any rights and are treated as second class citizens, or worse! Zombies aren't allowed to live on their own and must have a legal guardian so Andy is living in his parents' basement while attending Undead Anonymous meetings to learn to cope with his situation.

As one of several zombies in his area, Andy and his friends do their best to remain under the radar and avoid confrontations with the extreme zombie-hating Breathers. But unfortunately, trouble has a way of finding him, and while Andy does his best to try to readjust to society, society isn't being so kind in return. Andy's story is a multifaceted one that will at times pull at your heart strings, while on the next page crack you up with its dark humor. I shall be on the lookout for more from this talented, new author.

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