Wednesday 31 March 2010

Mind Games - Book Review

Mind Games by Carolyn Crane

What is it about:
Mind Games heroine Justine Jones isn't your typical kick-ass type - she’s a hopeless hypochondriac whose life is run by fear.
She's lured into a restaurant, Mongolian Delites, by tortured mastermind Sterling Packard, who promises he can teach her to channel her fears. In exchange, she must join his team of disillusionists - vigilantes hired by crime victims to zing their anxieties into criminals, resulting in collapse and transformation.

Justine isn't interested in Packard's troupe until she gets a taste of the peace he can promise. Soon she enters the thrilling world of neurotic crime fighters who battle Midcity’s depraved and paranormal criminals.

Eventually, though, she starts wondering why Packard hasn’t set foot outside the Mongolian Delites restaurant for eight years. And about the true nature of the disillusionists.

What did I think of it:
Sometimes you come across a concept and it sounds so cool you just have to read the book. Queen Victoria hunting demons? Check! Nazi Vampires? Check! Neurotic crime fighters? Check!

Those who read my previous reviews may know a cool concept isn't always enough (don't get me started on the nazi vampires again), but luckily Mind Games sure delivers.
Justine is a very likeable person and I couldn't help feeling annoyed at those who made things difficult for her. The story is well written, engaging, unique and the concept of the disillusionists intriguing. I liked how things weren't divided in black and white as in so many stories, but how it shows the world as it really is: a wide variety of shades of grey.

So any negative things in this story?
Well, the book is written in the present tense and I usually hate to read stories in present tense as it creates a distance for me, but in Mind Games I only actually noticed it was written in present tense somewhere halfway through the book, so I must confess that in this case I can't say it's a negative thing.

So I'm left with only one major setback:
I'll have to wait for book two in this trilogy until september!

Why should you read it:
Neurotic crime fighters!
Seriously: if you like well written Urban Fantasy you really should try this book, if only for the unique concept.
If on the other hand you're expecting and want vampires, werewolves and the likes, stay away from this book.

Sunday 28 March 2010

Imaginary Friends - Book Review

Imaginary Friends - edited by John Marco and Martin H. Greenberg

What is it about:
This book contains 13 tales about imaginary friends, those companions - some human, some not - conjured from imagination in times of need.

What did I think of it:
As with all anthologies this book has both good stories and less interesting stories, but all in all it was a great read, although at times very sad as you could expect from a subject like this.
My favourite stories were:
- ‘Stands a God Within the Shadows’ by Anne Bishop - An original and touching take on the Lady of Shalott story
- ‘Say Hello to My Little Friend’ by Kristine Kathryn Rusch - A disaster dating story, very funny in my opinion
- ‘Suburban Legend’ by Donald J. Bingle - About the nastiest imaginary friends you can have
- ‘Greg and Eli’ by Paul Genesse - A young boy finds the best friend he could ever have
- ‘Images of Death’ by Jim C. Hines - A woman’s struggle to deal with Death

Why should you read it:
These five stories alone are enough to go read this book, but there’s eight more and who knows: your favourite might be among them.

Thursday 25 March 2010

Jane Slayre - Book alert!!!

Some of you may remember me mentioning 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' and telling everyone how I'd love for someone to do the same with 'Jane Eyre' or 'Agnes Grey' as well.
I've got good news!
Someone actually made a new, more bloody version of 'Jane Eyre'! No zombies this time, but vampires.
Go here to read what Sherri Erwin has to tell about her book.

Sunday 21 March 2010

Touched by an Alien - Book Review

Touched by an Alien - Gini Koch

What is it about:
Marketing manager Katherine "Kitty" Katt joins forces with gorgeous aliens from Alpha Centauri to protect the Earth, kick evil alien butt, and save the day with hairspray and rock and roll - not necessarily in that order.

What did I think of it:
As this is a very girly book I will let Voodoo Bride tell you all about what she thought about it, but I can say the action scenes were cool.

What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
This is a great book! It has witty humor, gorgeous aliens, a heroine I could really relate to and a fast paced story packed with lots of action. The romance part of the story didn't overshadow the main storyline while still adding an extra layer to the story and even though the story is kept light by the humor used throughout the book the plot and action still are exciting enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. Kitty is a strong heroine, but luckily she isn't a macho bitch as so many other strong heroines. Instead she is fun, nice and quirky. All in all a delightfully fun read.

There's going to be a sequel in December and I can tell you that I'm going to make sure to get hold of it.

Why should you read it:
Fans of romantic urban fantasy and science fiction will love this book.

Discussion Questions:

1. When dealing with aliens, what do you think is more likely: the scary, super-smart, totally different species entirely aliens? Or the pretty-much just like humans, easy to relate to, here to save Earth aliens?
I think it's more likely that if there are aliens (and I think that's very likely btw) that they are totally different from us. Maybe even so different that we wouldn't even recognise them as life. But those kind of aliens are very hard to write about and relate to, so for my fiction I like the more human and/or monster kind of aliens.

2. Did you think it was convenient that Kitty's parents were so accepting of the aliens and that they both had "secret" jobs?
Ofcourse it was convenient, but hey! It worked for the story so I don't mind one bit. It's fiction not real life.

3. Did it seem that Kitty's sex life actually helped focus her and make better decisions and conclusions?
Well, getting some always helps with relaxing and when being relaxed you can think better and make better decisions, so I would say: Yes!

4. Which one? Jeff or Christopher? Why?
He's cool, empathic and nice. He's got everything Christopher lacks in my opinion.

5. The parasites had a very strange and grossly exaggerated form when they manifested. Do you think this was a little over the top, or just totally kick butt and you would love to take on a giant slug?
It was totally kick butt and I'd take on a giant slug anytime, anywhere, anyplace! Bring on the salt!

Wednesday 17 March 2010

The Backwoods - movie review

The Backwoods

What is it about:
Two British couples are on holiday in Spain, but their holiday is interrupted when they discover a young girl imprisoned in a cabin.

What did I think about it:
I got this movie as it has Gary Oldman in it and I love Gary Oldman. He's a great actor. It turns out that Gary Oldman is the only good thing in this movie. Not only is his character the voice of reason in this story, his character carries the movie. When his role in the movie is played out the story completely falls apart and the movie left me with a serious feeling of "Huh? What just happened and why?"

Why should you see it:
If you're a fan of Gary Oldman, you could try this movie, but otherwise you can go without seeing it.

Sunday 14 March 2010

Trapped in a Restaurant Meme

Meme Game Questions:

1. In MIND GAMES, heroine Justine Jones can’t figure out why tortured mastermind Sterling Packard never sets foot outside the Mongolian Delites restaurant. What if you were somehow trapped in a restaurant, what sort of restaurant would you prefer?
I'd love to be trapped in a Chinese Wok Restaurant as you can pick your own food there and because I love chinese food.

2. What if you won the fancy $100 dinner to a restaurant of your choice, and you could dine with any character from any book, movie, or history. Who would you choose?
Hmmmm... difficult question. I'm torn between Tsar Nicholas II and Qui-Gon Jinn....
Ok: Tsar Nicholas II

3. Choose three characters to dine with for a lively dinner party (you can define lively however you want).
Daemon Sadi (Black Jewels series)
One of the zombies from Zombieland
Should make for a very interesting dinnerparty.
I could even place bets on which one of them was still standing at the end of the party.

Wondering what this meme is all about?
Check The Thrillionth Page

Tuesday 9 March 2010

Daybreakers - movie review


What is it about:
from IMDB: In the year 2019, a plague has transformed most every human into vampires. Faced with a dwindling blood supply, the fractured dominant race plots their survival; meanwhile, a researcher works with a covert band of vamps on a way to save humankind.

What did I think of it:
A highly entertaining movie. The plot was paperthin, but the effects and action looked really good. Especially Willem Dafoe and Ethan Hawke did a great acting job, but all in all the actors did a good job. There were one or two moments when I thought the characters acted a bit too gullible, but those few slip ups could easily be overlooked.

Why should you see it:
If you like vampire movies with great acting and cool special effects and don't mind a plot so small you could write it on a post stamp you should go see this movie.

Tuesday 2 March 2010

A Great and Terrible Beauty - Book Review

A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray

What is it about:
It's 1895, and after the death of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma's reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she's being followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence's most powerful girls - and their foray into the spiritual world - lead to?

What did I think of it:
As both my owner and Voodoo Bride love to read girlish books, I can't escape having to read them too from time to time. This book is pretty good I must confess. The story really held me in it's grip even though it's a Young Adult book and therefor there's a lot of teen drama and girls acting like morons. (I really wonder if my owner ever acted like that in her teens.)

There were times I could just kick Gemma, but all in all I must say the characters acted true to what you could expect from teenage girls (mostly) and it was refreshing that all of them had both their good and bad sides and that Gemma isn't that super special besides her strange gift. It's the first part of a trilogy, but pleasantly enough it ends in such a way that you don't feel frustrated you do not have the next book ready right away.

(I must confess we did read book two closely after reading this book and that my owner ordered book three and both her and Voodoo Bride are waiting for it impatiently.)

My one big objection to this book was that it's written in present tense, but luckily the story is so compelling that I could get over that once I got into the story.

Why should you read it:
If you like a Victorian setting, a well written and compelling story and don't mind teen drama this is your book. Best thing: if you like it, there's two more!

To list all three:
A Great and Terrible Beauty
Rebel Angels
The Sweet Far Thing