Monday, September 15, 2014

Girl of Nightmares Review (aka an excuse to use Supernatural GIFs)

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
Published: August 7, 2012

Synopsis from Goodreads: Girl of Nightmares, the acclaimed sequel to Kendare Blake's Anna Dressed in Blood.

It's been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can't move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they're right, but in Cas's eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he's seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he's asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong...these aren't just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn't know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn't deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it's time for him to return the favor.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
You don't understand how excited I was to finally get my hands on Girl of Nightmares. I read Anna Dressed in Blood over Christmas last year - yeah, I know great choice for a holiday book, right? - and I couldn't wait to read the sequel. But, me being a weirdo and liking my series books to match each other, I decided to wait until the paperback of Girl of Nightmares released before reading it. I thought it came out in June but somehow I read something wrong and it released in July. Don't ask how I confuse myself in these ways. I barely understand my own functionality sometimes.

Anyway, Girl of Nightmares definitely has a different tone from the first Anna book. The first book had ghosts and creepiness on practically every other page so much so that I actually wouldn't read in bed at night when I knew no one else was awake. Yes, I'm a scaredy cat, chicken, or whatever you wish to call it and fully I admit it. No shame there. I'm not usually one to read horror stories at all but when I read the synopsis for the first book all I saw was:
 Protagonist: "Cas" + Occupation: "Ghost Hunter" =
 The Only Logical Train of Thought:
 ...Oh Misha, strange, adorable Misha...
I'm sure you'd would immediately make the same connection in your head. Don't lie. You know it's true.

Back to the point, the sequel though was much different. Ghost hunting wasn't Cas's main focus anymore. He was heartbroken over Anna's sacrifice for him and his friends and even more so when she began appearing to him while being tortured in every imaginable way. Most of the book deals with Cas trying to figure out how to find Anna and how to help her. It wasn't quite what I was expecting after the first book but it held its own even without the amped up creep factor.

My favorite part of the book was definitely Cas's narration. He would take a scene that should have been horrifying and throw in witty sarcasm at the strangest times. It made for the perfect mix of drama, action, and humor breaks.

His skin is black as a struck match, cracked and oozing liquid metal heat, like he's covered by a cooling layer of lava. The eyes stand out bright white. I can't make out from this distance if they have corneas. God I hope they have corneas. I hate that creepy weird-eye shit. - Cas, page 63
Carmel and Thomas have their share of great one liners as well. Also, I have to say, they make a really cute couple though for a lot of the book, I couldn't really figure out if they were actually together or not. Then again, Cas was a little confused about that too so it's not a big deal. Still, they were super cute like Sam-lost-his shoe cute.

This book is everything a sequel should be. It shows the impact the events of the first book had on the characters and the ways in which it changed them. It's not just a repeat of the same kind of things that the first book had. A lot of just stuff happened is packed into these pages but it didn't get boring at all. And the end...
It was a really perfect ending. Kendare Blake has hinted that she might not be done writing about Cas and the gang yet but even if she doesn't, I will be completely satisfied with how this left me. So, if you like horror, action, all the supernatural stuffs, and romance with tidbits of humor thrown in for good measure, I strongly suggest you pick up these books. They're quick, easy reads but they're definitely worth it.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Liebster Award 2.0!!

This post is dedicated to
for nominating me.
Oh my gosh! My second Liebster Award! I'm super honored to be nominated again and a million chocolate frogs to Andie for nominating me. If you didn't know, liebster in German has several meanings including dearest, sweetest, kindest, nicest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, welcome, and sweetheart. Now take all that and apply it to blogs and BAM! Liebster Award. I love these awards because they help new bloggers get discovered and get recognition for their awesomeness. And now, on to the stuffs...
The Rules
There are so many variations of these rules that these are slightly different from when I first got nominated, but as these are the ones Andie posted so I'll stick to them.
  • Thank and link back to the person who nominated you.
  • List 11 facts about yourself.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers (You can't nominate the blogger who nominated you.)
  • Let them know about the nomination, and 
  • Ask them your 11 questions.
11 Facts About Me
1. I just added Grimm to my list of fandoms. Why? Monroe-isms.
2. I'm generally a quiet person. Unless I'm comfortable around you, in which case, you'll probably need to tell me to shut up.
3. As a quiet person, I don't people very well and social situations make me uncomfortable.
4. I'm Filipino but if you judged me by what I eat on a daily basis, you'd think I was Italian.
5. My family and I recently added a new cat to our already large pride of cats. Her name is Jessie because she's colored like a cow and the cowgirl's name in Toy Story is Jessie. She makes cat number nine.
6. I don't smoke or drink (because I think both are rather terrible) but I do have a hopeless addiction to coffee.
7. My favorite color is green.
8. If I could live in any fantasy world, I would hands down choose to live in Hogwarts. 
9. My current biggest regret is not skipping class when I studied abroad in London to go to the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 premiere. In retrospect, class wasn't that important (well it was but, I mean, it was the last Harry Potter movie ever) but at the time I figured I'd never study in London again so I'd soak it all up while I could. 
10. I want to own my own indie bookstore and run children's book club nights in it because I don't think enough kids read anymore. 
11. My closet mainly consists of Disney, book, and TV show related graphic t-shirts. I honestly don't know what happened to my normal, non-crazy-fangirl clothes. I think the dryer monster ate them with half my socks. Damn dryer monster... 

My 11 Questions from Andie
1. Make up a book genre. What would you name it? What would it be about?
 Good god, just going to start off with a hard question, hm? How about something like "modern myth". It would sort of be like the Percy Jackson series in the way that it takes old legends/mythologies and brings them into the modern world but it wouldn't be limited to just mythology or gods. It could be like pirates in modern time or faeries, wizards, dragons, knights, elves, dwarves, etc. - anything you'd generally find in typical fantasy but moved up into the 21st century.... I have a feeling that this is a thing already and I just don't know about it yet.
2. If you could give books/reading a flavour, what would it be?
Ever have a seven layer bar? I used to make them all the time then work happened. It's butter, condensed milk, graham cracker crumbs, butterscotch, chocolate, coconut, and almonds all layered on top of each other then baked to create this warm, gooey, crunchy amazingness. That's what reading would taste like to me.
3. Recommend 3 of your favorite books. Why did you chose them?
- Legend by Marie Lu - because I love the world building in this and I'd totally live in Antarctica.
- Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell - because it's soooo freaking cute!!
- His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman - because it's my favorite fantasy series of all time.
Side note: I purposely didn't go for the obviously choices of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and the Hunger Games. Though if you haven't read those, you need to get on that like now. Like RIGHT now.
4. If you could pick one book to define your personality, what would it be?
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I feel like that's almost a cliché choice but I relate to the Cath the most out of any character I've ever read.
5. In your opinion, what TV show/movie would make a good book?
Okay, this is a hard question because basically all the shows I watch relate to books somehow. I can't say The Walking Dead or Sherlock because they're based on books. Once Upon a Time is basically Disney fanfiction which originated from fairy tales that came from books - same goes for GrimmSupernatural already has a book series that's based on the show though I haven't read it. Argh!!! I don't watch anything else!! Even Castle has a book series already! Gilmore Girls. I'm going to go with Gilmore Girls because it's basically the only other show that I've watched and loved that's not related to a book. If it became a book though, Rainbow Rowell should definitely write it.
6. Who is your favorite villain? And I'm sorry but you can't pick Voldemort.
Can I pick Loki? I know he's not a book villain but he's my favorite superhero villain of all time. Plus, you know, Tom Hiddleston. =) 
7. What book-to-movie would you want to direct? Cast the characters yourself.
Can I re-direct Percy Jackson and make it follow the book? I'd keep Logan Lerman as Percy because he's adorable and I thought he did pretty good but he has to go back in time and become younger. Other than that, I really suck at fan-casting because I really suck at knowing the names of actors these days. When I was about 13, I used to do this to my favorite books all the time.
8. What were your favorite books as a kid? If you didn't read as a child, then what were the first books that got you hooked?
Aside from Harry Potter, I really liked reading fairytales from the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christen Andersen and anything related to Arthurian legends. I also read basically everything Tamora Pierce wrote (Daine was my personal favorite) over and over and over again until my books were practically falling apart.  
9. Who is your favorite author? Why?
I actually don't have one and this is a point of anxiety for me. O.o
10. If you could invite 5 authors, dead or alive, to dinner who would you invite? And why?
 JK Rowling, Rick Riordan, Neil Gaiman, Tamora Pierce, and Phillip Pullman. Why? Because each one is freaking awesome in their own right, their books have been up there in my list of favorites for the longest, and it's their books that take up the majority of my shelf space. Can you image the conversation at that dinner though? It'd be amazing.
11. Poems are really underrated nowadays. What/Who are some of your favorite poems/poets?
Eeep! I love poetry! The Romantic poets like Percy Shelley, William Wordsworth, William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning are probably my favorites. Edgar Allen Poe (does he count as part of the Romantic Era?) has been on of my favorites since my mom read me "The Raven" and "Annabel Lee" when I was little. And, of course,  Shel Silverstein is my favorite for a good laugh.
Bonus Question: What's a famous bookstore you would love to visit and why?
The Last Bookstore in LA because of this:

This is a video from booktuber Little Book Owl when she and Benjamin of Tomes visited.
My 11 Questions for My Nominees
1. (I'm stealing this from Andie's bonus question because I want to know of more cool bookstores.) What famous bookstore would you most want to visit?
2. What book have you read that sadly didn't live up to all the hype around it?
3. What book totally exceeded your expectations?
4. Who is your OTP? Why?
5. What are your bookish pet peeves?
6. Where do you stand on the eBook vs. print book debate?
7. What's your favorite book/series and why? Or, if you have more than one, what are they?
8. If you could choose one book or series to become a movie, what book would it be?
9. Which book-to-movie adaptation do you most want to redo?
10. Because it's coming up soon, have you ever dressed as a book character for Halloween? Which one?
11. My awesome boyfriend just got me a replica time-turner. Do you own any cool non-book bookish things? Or what bookish item would you most want for your collection?

And the Nominees are...

To be announced ASAP
Sorry. I didn't want to put off posting this any longer than I have already. This is the hardest part of Liebster Awards. Finding awesome new blogs is one thing but finding awesome new blogs with less than 200 followers isn't always easy.

Nominees so far:
Ella @ Once Upon a Bookish Time
Izzy @ The Reading Izzy
Jennie @ A Bookworm Called Jennie
Emily @ Forever Literary

Super thank you again to Andie for nominating me and a round of butterbeer to go with your chocolate frogs for asking such awesome questions!

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel Vol. 1 Review

The Graveyard Book Vol. 1 by Neil Gaiman
Published: July 29, 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads: What happens when "happily ever after" has come and gone?

It Takes a Graveyard to Raise a Child.

Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead.

There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy—an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family.

Each chapter in this adaptation by P. Craig Russell is illustrated by a different luminary from the comic book world, showcasing a variety of styles from a breadth of talent. Together, they bring Neil Gaiman's award-winning, nationally bestselling novel The Graveyard Book to new life in this gorgeously illustrated two-volume graphic novel adaptation.

Volume One contains Chapter One through the Interlude, while Volume Two includes Chapter Six to the end.

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Yay!!! My first graphic novel review!! I've been wanting to read a graphic novel for a long time but I hadn't known where to start. Then, this lovely little book happened upon my path and TA DA! problem solved.

I read The Graveyard Book a long time ago when it was first published. My hardcover edition doesn't even have the Newbery Award sticker on it yet. My memory of the story was a little fuzzy though I remembered the basics and, of course, I remembered all the feels about the ending. Those feels, man, those feels.... I had been thinking about rereading it recently but with a TBR as long as mine is, I just didn't get to it. But then, I found this and it killed two birds (a bird and a half since it's only half the book? Maybe...? Don't kill the birds.) with one stone.

I have to say, I really enjoyed the experience of reading a graphic novel. I don't know about other graphic novels, but this one made for a quick light read. Each chapter was illustrated by a different artist but the designs of each one were similar enough in style to work together seamlessly. None of the art or characters were particularly scary even though they consist of ghosts, werewolves, vampires, and ghouls. Though, that was to be expected considering it's technically a middle grade book. My favorite chapter was the one with the Sleer. The way the artist made their dialogue look smoky and how it was designed to wrap around Bod or swirl along the edges of the frame definitely evoked the sense of creepy, disembodied, whispery voices talking in unison and filling the room.

Maybe I'm remembering the novel differently, but one thing that I didn't like so much in the graphic novel edition was each chapter seemed to be its own story. It was very episodic like each artist picked their favorite part of the novel and said "Yeah, I want to design that part" but then they never got together to work out how the parts connected properly. Each chapter had its own beginning, middle, and end which normally I wouldn't mind but, in this, each storyline seemed almost too separate from each other to be able to work together to form one main storyline. This also made the characters rather on the flat side as one thing then another happens and no real character development is done. Silas was by far my favorite character when I read the book and I remember him the most but I feel that even he wasn't really used to his full potential.

I still want to reread the actual novel version of The Graveyard Book - maybe I will around Halloween. The graphic novel edition was definitely a fun read regardless of its semi-disjointed feel. I'll still gladly read volume 2 when it comes out at the end of the month. I'd recommend this to any fans of Neil Gaiman and any newcomers to the graphic novel genre.
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