Friday, January 29, 2016

The Vampire Lestat Book Review

First off let me start off by saying this is the second book in 'The Vampire Chronicles' series by Anne Rice, the first book being 'Interview with the vampire' which I read in early December 2015 (and loved).

It's told by Lestat. The first book was Louis's POV and was Louis talking about his time with Lestat, but in this book it's Lestat and saying his side of the story including a bunch of stuff not previously known to Louis. It is written just as beautifully as the first book!

I don't want to spoil the book and it's quite hard not to to be honest, but here goes. I loved Lestat's voice and character, the imagery, the writing, the settings, everything! The only bad points, if they can even be called that as it's really my fault, is that I had to look up a lot of words as it's an Adult book and it seems my vocabulary is lacking, so it sometimes took me out of the story and annoyed me but i'm hoping from more reading my vocabulary will expand and stick in my brain. There were a few things here and there (not the vocabulary thing) that made me go o.O but nothing major or that spoiled the book. All that being why I gave it 4, not 5, stars but I still loved it!

At parts it utterly ripped my heart out, and the ending has me craving for more and to find out what happens next! Of course there is more, the third book (which I do have but that's the extent of what I have so far) 'Queen of the damned' and the 12th book in the series is actually expected to come out sometime this year...but I still have books 3-11 to read!

What to say about Lestat? He's arrogant, compassionate and stubborn at the same time and doesn't think things through to possible consequences. He is a vampire in love with humanity and trying to do right in some ways and rebelling in others. I don't know how to describe him really! In 'Interview with the vampire' Louis made him seem much more evil than he really is. In his book you get to understand why, the motives behind what he's done, and much more about him and his history.

While he's great all on his own the secondary characters also have their own personalities! There is Louis, Lestat's mother Gabrielle, Nicki, Armand, Marius, each with a personality all their own and very interesting in their own right! Heck Gabrielle is a force to be reckoned with and I ended up loving her character! She is a strong female character. Not saying I always agree with her but she is quite the force and for certain reasons I just fell in love with her!

The plot and pacing felt good to me. The book is dense in that it takes awhile to get through but I enjoyed every moment and never felt confused by it (other than lacking in my vocab but google helped me there)! Speaking of the vocab I do want to say it didn't feel pretentious, the story wouldn't have made sense otherwise and the words chosen felt carefully and rightfully chosen to accurately portray the story. If you take anything about this away take away the fact I only have a high school education here and the schools around me, aren't the best, not the worst i'm sure but not the best either. There is nothing wrong in that but those that have been to college tend to have a better vocabulary for obvious reasons. I've read some pretentious feeling books before, but not this book, as I could see the words were chosen for a good reason and without them it would not have sounded right at all and in some cases it was just me not knowing anything about the 19th century.

Overall I gave the book 4 stars and do recommend it, if you like the first book "The Vampire Chronicles" anyway and are into vampires that still drink human blood, are creatures of the night, and burn in the sunlight. This book was originally published in 1985.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov Book Review!

A very controversial book, understandably so.

Disclaimer: As always, these are my opinions, take with a grain of salt and form your own opinions. :)

The Main Character, Humbert, is a middle-aged (30s-40s anyway) man that, for one is a hebephile (the term for those attracted to pubescent kids generally around 11-14 years of age, pedophile being pre-pubescent around 7-10, there are other "philes" as well, but of course any underage attraction by an adult, regardless of what you call it, is just as wrong), and he ends up falling in love with a 12 year old girl, Dolores "Lolita" Haze, basically an old love from his teen days reincarnated.

This book is loved and hated by many. How could it be loved? It is beautifully written for one, with wordplay and prose. Also the character Humbert, while doing horrible things (none of which are in detail, it's not an erotica and Nabokov himself did say those that pick it up looking for an erotica story will be disappointed, and they would be) is actually sympathetic in ways and can have you feeling for him even while despising what he is doing. He initially justifies his fascination with young girls by calling them Nymphets and basically demonizing them, but ends up feeling guilty, and not all young girls are Nymphets to him. The sex isn't described but is implied and there were times when i'd be like "wait...what?" and would have to re-read passages from pages ago to realize I just read a sex scene because of how it is written.

The first half of the book can be very difficult, subject wise, to get through, but the second half I found much easier to stomach and no, it does not glamorize what Humbert does. It shows very plainly how wrong and damaging it is the more you read through the book.

Because of how it is written it can be quite disturbing to realize you are sympathizing with Humbert, only to catch yourself and be like "Wait...what..wait a second" because it sounds so logical and beautifully written, a huge part of the allure of the book. It gave me pause to realize what I was sympathizing with, and at times he calls the reader out for it too. It's quite..disturbing and odd, but I loved it. He truly seduces the reader with how it's written. Which makes sense as it's written as his "defense" and he'd want to seem relatable to the jury or what-have-you.

I'm not sure how to properly talk about this controversial book so i'll leave you with this. If you decide to read it do not judge the book by the first half alone, though I loved the entire book I felt it only got better as it went on personally. Also I always had google open ready to define and translate words, that did sometimes get annoying. There is quite a bit of French in it. Despite not being a long book page wise, it is dense, and full of French and words I had to look up. I only read it in 4 days because I didn't want to put it down. It's definitely a book that can take a lot longer than you'd think it would.

I gave the book 4.75 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass Book Review!

Ah, Classic Children's Literature. Believe it or not, while i've heard of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland sure, I had never read it or fully watched an adaptation of it. With what little I knew I figured I might like a movie on it (still haven't watched one yet but plan to) but wasn't sure i'd like the book. I knew it contained a bunch of childish nonsense from what I had heard and just wasn't sure about it, but still wanted to try it...I loved it! I gave the first book a 4.75 and the second 4.25 for an average of 4.5.

It is full of nonsense, but it's also fun and imaginative. It's, quite literally, a child's dream and told through a child's eyes. Even so it is still very much enjoyable for an adult. That said I don't think it's necessarily for everyone. Lots of people enjoy it yes, but some don't as well. If a lot of nonsense or weirdness isn't up your alley you probably won't like it. I also read a review where someone mentioned they read it as an anxious child and it caused them more anxiety, because Alice does have some, so warning on that. While I didn't really get that while reading I may have if I had been younger.

While a child can read this, and i'm sure many children have and do enjoy this, not all will of course. I think this book is definitely one that some will love and others will be like...huh? simply because it's not going to suit everyone's taste. Which can be said of any book really. And truth be told, I don't think I would have enjoyed this as a child. I hated stuff like Spongebob Square Pants back then because it was nonsense. I can actually appreciate that more now as an adult than I could as a child. I might have just been a weird child, I don't know lol.

If it sounds interesting to you, I think it's worth a read, if not, then don't bother unless you just want to read it because it is such a classic. I am in the category of I really enjoyed it personally, though there were a few things that didn't quite agree with me hence why I couldn't give it a full 5 stars (though I did round up to 5 for Goodreads). It was a fun enjoyable journey! :)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Book Review!

I don't think I have much to say on this book as it is pretty short, and I read it in a couple of hours (not all at once but still combined it wasn't long). I did really enjoy it though! It just sucks that society has ruined the big plot twist that Robert Louis Stevenson hid so well! If I didn't know that going in I would have enjoyed the book so much more!

Despite being a classic it was surprisingly easy to read, even if I didn't know every single word it didn't matter. I loved the ideas in it and the questions that arose. Like I said I don't have a lot to say on it but I gave it 4 out of 5 stars! I didn't hold the big spoiler that people have given away against it, that isn't the books fault. Well it is also given away on the book of the what the heck? Though that could just be my particular version. If somehow you have no idea what i'm talking about and want to read this book, don't read the blurb!

I wish I knew how to describe the story but I don't really. It's kind of a sciency-mystery and you probably already know what it's about anyway, but even so I still recommend reading it as it's still a great read anyway!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Miss Peregrine's home for Peculiar Children Book Review *No Spoilers*

My first book of 2016...didn't go so well.

I'm not sure how to describe this book in my own words without spoiling it so here is the blurb from the back of book and it's Goodreads page Here.

"A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography."

Disclaimer: These are all just my OPINIONS, nothing more. Take them with a grain of salt. Note: I get HARSH with this book even though I ultimately gave it a 2.75 out of 5 stars. If you liked this book and don't want to hear it torn may not wanna read on! You've been warned.

I really wanted to like this book a lot because the premise sounded very interesting and it has a lot of hype surrounding it. mostly just pissed me off.

The first chapter angered me so badly. I had forgotten about the blurb though and where the main character is a 16 year old boy (chapter 2 reminded me) so I was able to give some le-way there. The reason it angered me? So much of it appears to be ableism. Being disabled and having many medical issues myself, and knowing many others out in the world that do too, there were quite a few things that pissed me off. See those yellow tabs? Stuff that particularly angered me for one reason or another. Not all of them for the same reasons though.

Even trying to believe it was just part of the main character I felt the author went over-board. It's one thing to make a character flawed, I am all for character flaws as real people have flaws, but when the main character can be such a whiny arrogant pretentious spoiled priviledged jackass that we are supposed to think highly of and feel sorry for it makes it hard to like the book. There were times when I was happy when shitty things happened to the main character...and I was supposed to feel sorry for him? Normally I am an easy book crier and feeling for every character who isn't outright evil. Also if a character is MENT to be unlikable then i'd have no issue with it. I like having unlikable characters...when they are actually ment to be unlikable.

There were also other things throughout the book that irritated me, including disrespecting certain groups of people, and a few things I wasn't sure of (blue tabs). The entire book really rubbed me the wrong way. I've heard the author, Ransom Riggs, is a nice man and assuming that to be true I could give him the benefit of the doubt that some things he just wasn't aware of how it could come across and others were because it is his debut novel. That said some things still felt over-board and very irritating. Also some things just felt lazy.

It also felt pretentious at times but that is more forgivable to me, annoying but still, than other things. Also want to state the purple tabs are things I particularly liked, it wasn't all bad! The main character did show that he had a heart even if he could also be an asshat as well, and some parts of the book as i've said did interest me and have me wondering what was going to happen. I will say the main character, Jacob, does go through some character development for the better and there was a twist I wasn't expecting.

It took about 1/3 of the book to get remotely interesting to me personally, which is fine in that i'm apparently not one to give right up on a book if i'm not enjoying it, I have this habit of wanting to give them a chance. There were parts here and there that interested me but it felt slow until about 70% into the book. I did mostly enjoy the ending and with that, and a bit of the Q&A in the back of the book talking about the next one, I probably will pick up the second book in the trilogy.

Go ahead, say it, curiosity killed the cat...let's hope satisfaction brings it back. I have heard the first book in the trilogy is the best but i've heard the last 2 are better much more i'm hoping i'm in that camp.

There is the first chapter of the second book at the end, so I finally decided to read it (I wasn't sure if I wanted to at first or not) and I do like it a lot more than the first chapter of this first book. Something about these peculiar children and their journey does have me interested and addicted.

I'm not sure what that says but it looks like I might plunge on with the trilogy, though i'm not in the "I NEED to know what happens NOW" state of mind more like "meh, I wanna know but..i'll read it when I read it". Even though I ended up giving this first book a 2.5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads (2 because there are only full stars on Goodreads). Also the book and pictures are really pretty..but pretty is nothing without a good story.

As i'm going back over this review a day later after writing it originally but not yet posted i'm already losing interest in reading the next book. I don't know what i'm going to do. The last trilogy I read had me dying to get my hands on the next book...this I really tried to like it and honestly i'm thinking I was too kind on the rating now.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The books I read in 2015

First off a brief reading history for me.

I loved reading as a child but had books I wasn't allowed to read (Harry Potter being one but not the only)...which basically killed my love of reading for awhile. I have read a little as an adult but finally got into reading more in 2015 and have been really into reading since October I may still be new to being a huge reader but I have no plans on stopping!

Now that that is out of the way, what did I manage to read in 2015?

Well first I read the entire Harry Potter series (I had read the first 4 books before October as an ebook, actually reading the first 3 twice because I had read them apparently in late 2014 but it was so long because I just can't get into an ereader that I re-read them, then I got the entire series in paperback and continued where I left off-with the 5th book). I loved the Harry Potter series to say the least! I wish I could have read them as a child, but I wasn't allowed (because "evil satan devil magic" or some crap like that) and I would have been the perfect age, aging right along with Harry. However it's better late than never! Also, i'm a Hufflepuff! <3

Then I read "Across the Universe" by Beth Revis. A Sci-fi dystopian YA novel that takes you on a journey in space. I won't spoil anything. It starts out with a 17 year old girl, Amy, getting cryogenically frozen, along with her parents, in order to be awoken 300 years in the future...but she gets woken up early..and has to figure out who tried to murder her and not just her, but other frozens as well. It goes between her POV and Elder's, a 16 year old boys. I loved both of their voices and characters and the journey it took it me on! I rated it 4 out of 5 stars. It is also the first book in a once I read it I had to order the next 2. I don't want to get an entire series at once only to find out I hate it, ya know?

So while waiting I read "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley. The beginning bored me as I didn't understand the purpose of it, but by the ending I did. My version has footnotes so I was able to understand everything just fine. I loved the writing of it, the story itself, and the questions it raised. It was only the beginning that bored me when I didn't understand the purpose of it. The middle and ending, which helped me understand the beginning, I loved! I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

Then I read "Fantastic Beasts and where to find them" by J.K. Rowling. A short book I found funny and interesting. Just facts about the beasts in the Harry Potter world. Seems I gave it 4 stars..not sure why I didn't give it a full 5. Only downside I can remember is that i'd love to know more! I am fascinated with animals, even if they are fictional!

Finally! "A Million Suns" and "Shades of Earth" by Beth Revis arrived and I continued the "Across the Universe" Trilogy. Giving the last two books 4 and 5 stars respectively. I don't want to say anything about them and spoil it for anyone so i'll just say I loved the journey it took me on and how it made me think!

Ah...December already...I said I started late. I read "Interview with the vampire" By Anne Rice. It's exactly what the title says but much more interesting than the title lead me to believe! Except for the few instances where they are in the present talking about said interview...I completely forgot it was an interview talking about the past. The style of writing and world building was so beautiful and had me hooked! The vampire giving the Interview is Louis talking about his time with Lestat. It takes place in New Orleans and Paris, which I found perfect for the story. It's the first book in "The Vampire Chronicles" series and I do plan on continuing on with it.

Then I read "Sisters Red" by Jackson Pearce. It is the first book in a companion series of fairy tale retellings. While they are all set in the same world you can read them in any order what-so-ever apparently, even just picking and choosing which ones you want to read. "Sisters Red" is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. The POV's are sisters Scarlett and Rosie. I love the sister relationship! Of course they don't always get along but they do love each other. They also have their friend Silas. A werewolf aka Fenris attacked Scarlett and Rosie's grandmother when they were kids...and now they fight them. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. I did really enjoy it, for the most part. I now have the rest in the series "Sweetly" retelling Hansel and Gretel, "Fathomless" retelling The Little Mermaid and "Cold Spell" retelling The Snow Queen...which i've never even heard of. I haven't read any of them yet (as of Dec 31st, 2015) but am excited to!

Then I read "Quidditch through the ages" and "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" both by J.K. Rowling, the first being the history of Quidditch and the later being children stories for witches and wizards. Both short fun reads. 4 and 5 stars out of 5 respectively from me.

Then I read "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens...I hate to say it but I didn't enjoy this book. I love the message of it but I found it confusing and hard to understand in the beginning, and then it just got long winded and boring. Me and Dickens don't get along it seems. So I watched The Muppet Christmas Carol...and loved it! On screen..great! Book form? Not for me. But the message is a great one! It is a classic for a reason. Ultimately I gave it 2 stars after DNFing it half way through.

Then I read Krampus the Yule Lord by Brom. A Christmas horror novel. The main character is Jesse, a down on his luck musician that will do anything for his little 5 year old daughter. There is crime, murder, drugs, and language. It is about Krampus the Yule Lord and Santa...let's just say they have issues. No charcter is fully bad or good...just like people. Even though Krampus and Santa aren't exactly human. I loved some of the messages in this book, especially about loving mother goes along with Krampus being the Yule Lord. The ending blew me away after having the entire book making me go all over the place! I loved it, 5 out of 5 stars! I even learned things from it.

Then I read "The Forbidden Wish" by Jessica Khoury...I got an ARC in a Goodreads giveaway. It comes out February 23rd, 2016. It is an Aladdin retelling that I will post a full video review on. I have made a Booktube video that has yet to go up. Anyway it is told from the female genie's POV, Zahra. It starts out with her in the lamp. I loved the writing style and the beautiful world building! I never felt bogged down but I could easily picture the stuff in my head, and it was gorgeous! It has danger, adventure, romance, kick ass females, a villian. It is a wonderful journey and adventure! It had me hooked from the beginning until the end! 5 out of 5 stars. If it sounds up your alley I recommend checking it out come February 23rd, 2016!

Then I read "Love is a choice" and "As they slip away" by Beth Revis, short novellas on her Wattpad that go along with the Across the Universe trilogy. I'd recommend, personally, reading "Love is a choice" after the first or second book though it's labeled as 0.6 and I understand why, and "As they slip away" after the second. I read them both after the entire trilogy, which is also perfectly fine. 4 and 5 stars respectively.

Then I read "Not Otherwise Specified" by Hannah Moskowitz in which I have written an entire review on it Here! A YA contemporary novel about a Bisexual recovering anorexic black girl in love with ballet constantly told she doesn't fit in anywhere and even being bullied. I related so much to her and another character Bianca as well! I loved this book so much I can't describe it! I highly recommend checking it out! 5 out of 5 stars if you couldn't tell! ;)

And that was my 2015 year in reading. ^_^ Next year there is sure to be much more so i'll figure out something else then.

Friday, January 1, 2016

My 2016 Goals

I don't want to say resolutions because resolutions are never kept lol. I do however have these hopes for 2016.

1. Read more.

I will set my Goodreads goal originally to 20 but I hope to surpass that. Regardless as long as i'm reading throughout the year and enjoying the books I read I will consider that a success!

2. Read these books that I already have: Dracula by Bram Stoker, IT by Stephen King, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, Alice's adventures in wonderland & Through the looking glass by Lewis Carroll, The Strange case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, and The Complete Grimm's fairy tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.

3. Read more of The Vampire Chronicles Series (I have read the first one- Interview with the vampire).

The 12th book is apparently set to come out in 2016. I'd like to at least finish 1/2 the series in 2016 as long as I continue to enjoy it.

4. Continue with this blog, at least one post a week if not more, and my Booktube channel with at least 2 videos a week.

5. Possibly read some books based on the months. Like books by and about African-Americans in February, Mermaid books in Mermaid May, LGBT+ books in LGBT Pride month June, Spooky books in October, and Nonfiction books for Nonfiction November.

6. Starting at the beginning of December start re-reading Harry Potter for Harry Xmas and finish the entire series for a 2nd time. Because reasons. :)

7. Draw and color more.

8. Play more video games, but what I want to.

9. Save money.

10. Read at least a few spiritual books.

11. Practice with my tarot cards more.

12. Above all...have fun. ^_^