Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Vixen, The Randy Reindeer: Santa Takes His Pleasure by Chastity Seams

*** Rated 2 Stars ***

Well... that was.. certainly something else!
Uhm. Yea. So... ehm, not sure what to say really... Other than maybe:

I will never look at Santa Claus the same way ever again, that's for sure! I really had no idea what goes on at the North Pole!

There was Vixen, the sexy reindeer

Also there were a couple of naughty elves...

And one very angry Santa!

Was it weird! Absolutely!
Was it shit? Kinda!
And I have improved my vocabulary when it comes to a certain body part I guess, so that's... good?

All in all a fairly successful Weird Shit Wednesday read! :D

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Snowman With Benefits by Marshall Thornton

*** Rated 2 Stars ***

Cute story with a happy ending.

I am a little disappointed, as it didn't have a lot of weird. Except the snowman coming alive of course...
And it was fairly well written.

All in all an ok story. I just didn't find it very entertaining. 'Happy endings' and 'cute' isn't what I'm after when reading weird books ;)

And here are some random images I found involving snowmen just because I found them funny:

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Bay's End by Edward Lorn

*** Rated 2 Stars ***

Warning: This review will have some spoilers. I do normally try to avoid spoilers, but in this case I feel like it was the only way to explain why I rated it so low.

This book wasn't anything like I expected when I started reading it. And I will admit that is primarily my own fault. I should have read the blurb again maybe. And read some reviews. I probably would never have started reading it, or even downloaded it, if I had known what it was going to be like.

I know pretty much every other review that I have read has rated the book really high, so I guess I will be the odd one out... But i'm ok with that, it's my review and I can only write what I thought of it. So here it goes:

Now, I have read a lot of horror. And it normally takes a lot to gross me out. This book did, but not in a good way... And I realize that it comes with a warning: "Warning: Contains graphic language and adult situations." I still wasn't prepared for what would happen in this book. If you're wondering what could be so bad, here is the spoiler: Incest and forcefully performing an abortion on a teenager was waaay beyond my comfort level. In fact I very nearly did not finish it at all.

Also I had a bit of a *facepalm* moment when **spoiler** the police woman takes the two teenagers to investigate a potential crime scene when the murderer is very likely to turn up. That doesn't seem like anything a sensible person would do?

So that's my rant over. Now to more pleasant things. There were good sides to this book. I really enjoyed the first half. It was well written with good characters.

So yea, it was a horror. But instead of being entertained I'm left with a feeling of disgust and anger. This one was unfortunately not for me.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Doomboy by Tony Sandoval

Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

*** Rated 3 Stars ***

This is the story of a teenage boy. His girlfriend dies and he uses his music (heavy metal) to express his grief. What he doesn't know is that the whole town can hear him playing and he becomes a legend.

It takes you back to being a teenager, with all its teen angst, drama, friendship and rock music.

I found the artwork to be really good, and it fits the story really well. And at times it is downright beautiful. And it uses the images to tell the story just as much as with words. 
The only issue I had with the artwork was that in the beginning I had trouble figuring out if some of the characters were male or female. Long haired heavy metal boys looked a lot like the girls, which lead to some confusion.

The story is good, it includes a lot of standard teenage issues as well as dealing with the loss of someone you love.

I did however have an issue with the beginning of the story. I found it confusing, I wasn't sure what was happening or what the story was about. There seemed to be a lot of characters, and it took me a while to figure out who they were and what was happening. I'm glad I kept reading though, as it gets a lot better, and well worth reading.

All in all a good read. The story is pretty average, but the artwork makes it worth your time! 

Friday, 10 October 2014

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

*** Rated 3 Stars ***

Imagine a world where you need to keep your eyes closed. Or you might see something that will drive you crazy and you will kill those around you and then yourself. So you have to keep your windows covered, and every time you leave the house you have to wear a blindfold to make sure you will never look. Because there is something out there, something that shouldn't be seen...

I love the idea behind this book. For me the idea of having to go out into a world that is filled with creatures(?), but you have to go blindfolded or you will go mad... Knowing that they might be right next to you, and you wouldn't even know... It would be very, very freaky. So the book definitely gets points for originality. And some of the scenes described are tense and scary, making you want to keep reading to see what will happen. 

So why only 3 stars?

For me the jumping backwards and forward in time was just... too much. I don't mind getting some background story on what has happened in the past, but here it pretty much jumps for every chapter and it was just a bit too much for me. I do understand this is a way to build tension, but as I kept reading it was starting to get slightly annoying.

I also didn't like that some of the choices that were made by the characters were just... stupid and annoying. I know that people can make stupid decisions when they are under pressure, but... I still found it annoying.

And lastly: the ending. Obviously I'm not going to say a lot about it, as I don't want to ruin it for you if you want to read it yourself! But... I did not like it. There are so many other ways that the book could have ended that would have made it so much better in my opinion.

All in all a good read, and I would recommend if you're a lover of horror :)

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The 100 (The Hundred #1) by Kass Morgan

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

*** Rated 3 Stars ***

After the Earth is made inhabitable by radiation, the human race carries on living on a spaceship that orbits Earth while waiting for the day they can return home. Unfortunately there is a limit to how many people the spaceship can support, so the punishment for breaking the rules is normally execution. Teenagers get confined until they turn 18, and they get a retrial that also seems to always end in an execution. As the situation on the spaceship starts becoming desperate, the leaders comes up with a secret mission where 100 of the juvenile delinquents to Earth too see if it has become safe to live there.

I think this was an ok read. I think the story is good, though I'm not sure about some of the events in the book (I don't want to write spoilers, so I can't be more specific). Some of it seems a bit far-fetched, but I guess teenagers can come up with the strangest plans when they are in love?

It kept changing POV, which I normally struggle with, but for some reason I could keep up with this one. Barely.

But I will be looking into reading the other books in the series as I want to find out what happens next. This one ends in a bit of a cliffhanger, and the book is more then good enough that I'll happily read the rest of them.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Fearsome Magics by Jonathan Strahan

Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

*** Rated 3 Stars ***

1. The Dun Letter by Christopher Rowe - Rated 4/5
Tansie, abandoned by her mother and left to live with her poorly (and poor) grandmother, one day opens a letter addressed to her mother that might change her life forever.

I found this story fairly good, and written well. I liked the ending and the way Tansie won't let anyone tell her what she can or can't do.

2. Home is the Haunter by Garth Nix - Rated 3/5
This is about a knight travelling with his companion - a self-willed puppet that can do magic. They come to a convent and seeks refuge here from a creature called the Hag of Shadows.

This story was ok, it seemed like it was a little too long, and dragged on a bit in places. I didn't find it particularly interesting, though I did like the Puppet Mr. Fitz.

3. Grigori's Solution by Isobelle Carmody - Rated 2/5
A mathematical sum of unmaking is discovered and threatens to erase the entire universe.

Although an interesting concept, I did not really enjoy this story. It wasn't bad, just not very exciting. Even though the world is based on mathematical formulas, I just didn't buy the fact that the solution of a maths problem would unravel the world.

4. Dream London Hospital by Tony Ballantyne - Rated 2/5
A strange man (?) goes into the Dream London Hospital looking for a woman (?).

This seemed completely random to me, I have no idea what the point of the story was. It was well written, but that's pretty much it.

5. Safe House by K.J. Parker - Rated 4/5
A sorcerer from the Studium is out on a mission looking for a untrained natural magic user that the Studium wants to recruit.

I really enjoyed this story, it was funny with a nice twist at the end. One of my favorites in this collection!

6. Hey, Presto! by Ellen Klages - Rated 3/5
Polly comes from a long line of magicians, but she has always wanted to lead a more normal life. One summer she is staying with her dad, but when his assistant quits Polly has to step in.

It was a good story, about the relationship between father and daughter and how that starts developing when they 'have to' spend the summer together practicing the magic trick.

7. The Changeling by James Bradley - Rated 2/5
Hannah lives in a house in the forest with her baby. Her husband has died, and now baby Connor starts acting strange. Hannah starts wondering if he is a changeling.

This story was well written, but very dark. I felt really sorry for Hannah that is basically all alone in the world with a tiny baby to look after. And I really didn't like the ending.

8. Migration by Karin Tidbeck - Rated 3/5
Edith lives in a tall building, but she doesn't know how she or all the other people got there. Their whole lives are in the building, they never go outside. One day she wakes up and everybody has disappeared. 

I found this story to be both interesting and confusing. I still don't have any idea what really happened, but it was well written and I enjoyed reading it.

9. On Skybolt Mountain by Justina Robson - Rated 4/5
The witch Lettice tries to live a quiet life, but when it is discovered that she can do magic she has to make a choice - achieve and impossible magical task or hang.

I liked this story, it was well written and with a great twist at the end that made me increase my rating.

10. Where Our Edges Lie by Nina Kiriki Hoffman - Rated 4/5
This story is about twins that have been really close to each other since they were born. But one day something happens that will make them slowly grow apart.

I enjoyed reading about how the bond between the twins were changing, and was curious to see how it would end. Not going to spoil it for you, but I found it to be bittersweet which I liked. In real life the choices that we make aren't always just 'good' or 'bad', there is a lot in between.

11. Devil's Bridge by Frances Hardinge - Rated 4/5
Petra is a Bridgekin, which means she can make bridges to anywhere, but it comes with a price. One day she reluctantly agrees to make a bridge for a stranger, but will she come to regret it?

I really enjoyed reading this, it is quite short but this somehow fits perfectly with the story. It is really well written and one of my favorites in the collection.

12. The Nursery Corner by Kaaron Warven - Rated 2.5/5
An old woman looks back on her childhood and growing up in the 'old peoples home' that her mother works in. One day a magician comes to perform and makes a "Nursery Corner" with a rocking chair that calms you down when you sit in it. But does it come with a price?

I enjoyed reading this, and was curious to find out more about what happened when people sat in the chair. I found the ending to be really good.

13. Aberration by Genevieve Valentine - Rated 1.5/5
A woman? ghost? travels through space and time to find where she belongs.

I have no idea what this story was about. I just felt confused while I was reading it.

14. Ice in the Bedroom by Robert Shearman - Rated 2/5
After his wife commits suicide Simon gets depressed and starts having dreams/hallucinations about a different version of Hell, where there is ice instead of fire.

This story didn't really do much for me to be honest, other than make me feel sorry for poor Simon.

My view of the book in general

All in all an average collection. Like most of these anthologies there are some great stories and some that aren't really that interesting.

In some of the stories I can't really see where the magic comes in, considering the name of the book: Fearsome Magics.

So the feeling I'm left with is that it doesn't feel like I've wasted my time reading this, but it hasn't blown my mind either...

Conjuring the Shroud by Tim O'Leary

In the real world, Adrian Ocampo is a high school junior with a Mohawk, an eyebrow ring, and a crew of nerdy friends. But when he and his buddies get together to play their favorite role-playing game, he is transported to the world of Kazala, a world of elves, wizards, and monsters, a world in which Adrian is a mighty elf warrior fighting for the good of the land. 

To add to the fun, Adrian recently started dating the handsome Jesse, one of the guys in his gaming circle. In the past, every attempt they’d made to be alone had been thwarted by overly present parents. But one day, after wrapping up the game, Jesse invites Adrian to his house and explains his mother will be away all night. Excited by the possibility of finally having sex with Jesse, Adrian’s mind catapults back and forth between the real world of Jesse’s kisses and the imagined world of Kazala, where he and Jesse must battle a terrible enemy.

*** Rated 5 Stars ***

I love this book! I just sat there at the garage waiting for my car to be finished grinning like a lunatic. Luckily there were no other people waiting or it could have become awkward...

The geek in me loved the roleplay scenes mixed with the real life scenes, and it was very sweet and.. have I mentioned funny already> Oh yes I guess I have ;)

Also it promotes safe sex = bonus points!

Would recommend as a quick but great read! :)

Monday, 29 September 2014

2014 Reading Challenge

I've now finished my 2014 reading challenge by reading 100 books. I initially started out with the goal of reading 50 books, but I have been reading quite a lot of shorter books recently, and had pretty much reached 50 by April. So I decided to increase my goal to a 100.

I might have to increase it further next year, to keep it challenging! :)

Sunday, 28 September 2014

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

*** Rated 5 Stars ***

I feel like any attempt to review this book would not be good enough.

All I'm going to say is that it is extremely well written, the characters are fantastic, and that this is one of my favorite books of all times. (And it's not even one of my favorite genres.)

If you haven't read this already, you should. Read it now. You can thank me later! ;)