Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year World

Seeing as we are on the verge of leaving the most amazingly chaotic year, I thought I would wish you all a Happy New Year. In 2012 the Middle East began a revolution, London pulled off an amazing Olympics, we watched the downfall of Mitt Romney, re election of Obama and we survived yet another apocalypse and all the while dancing to Gangnam Style. Sparing a thought for those that didn't survive the end of the world, I welcome the new year with a cautious optimism. I am not going to make a new years resolution because no one really keeps them so all I can promise is more of the same sarcastic reviews and cake. Not for you but for me, I promise to eat a lot of Lemon Cakes because it is going to happen whether I plan it or not so I might as well say I have a new years resolution I will keep .


Happy New Year everyone.








Sunday, 30 December 2012

Super-Human [The Ultimates Vol 1] - Mark Millar

Title - Super-Human [The Ultimates Vol 1]
Author - Mark Miller
Rating - 3 out of 5 cupcakes
Graphic content rating - 6 out of 5 cupcakes [do the maths kids]
Synopisis

Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. The X-Men and Magneto. Strange beings with incredible powers have risen up to challenge the old order, and ordinary citizens are scared witless. The government's solution: a small but lethal army known as the Ultimates, created to protect humanity from the newly risen threats to mankind!



Review

I am a Marvel fan but for a while I felt that I couldn't possible claim to be so unless I read the comic books and after falling in love with the Avengers movie, it felt like the right time to start. So enters my comic book wise friend with the recommendation of The Ultimates. As a comic books go it is a very hooking one. While radically difference from the movie franchise it has a decent story line. My major issue with the book was that I had an expectation going into the book and the new face of the characters did not match it. Even the characters that are not in the movies like the Pyms were portrayed to be a total dick head and don't get me started on how they treated Banner. As for Antman,instead of being the smart doctor at the heart of The Ultimates he is just a selfish wife beater.

While the billionaire, genius, philanthropist is the hero of my heart, I always had a fondness for poor old Bruce Banner and he comes out as a total wimp who does stupid thing that would seriously disqualify him from my Marvel Brainbox award. As for Stark well he was the same womaniser so nothing has changed, or so you think. Tony in fact has cancer and is going to die within five years. Despite the many failings of my expectations the most surprise came from the the resident Azgardian hunk demigod Thor. He is not the violent and slightly erratic stranger from another world but in fact a peace activist who has a serious clash with authority, basically a hippy. The one character that was pretty much the same in the movies as in the comics is Fury, right down to the at casting choice.

This book was a lot more Watchmen and a lot less Avengers but this was actually quite enjoyable. The movie draws a lot of it's visual inspiration from here. The helicarrier and even Hulk's prison.

Despite the coldness of the characters and the obvious dick headedness of the heroes I actually enjoyed the intensity of the book. Mind you it is not the Hulk decks Thor funny but rather a trip down twisted ally which is enjoyable in its own right.

I give this book 3 out of 5 for a slightly erratic but fun ride to the dark side of comic land.

Friday, 28 December 2012

In My Mailbox #5

This meme is hosted by The Story Siren.

After weeks of no new books today I decided to splash out and indulge myself to a few goodies, including my first ever comic books and a Doctor Who shirt. So now I am pleased to announced that instead of being just a geek I am a full fledged bona fied nerd.  

Here are my hauls this week.


Book Haul
Hood - Stephen R. Lawhead
Ultimates Vol 1 & 2 - Marvel
Guards! Guards! - Terry Pratchett (Because it was recommended to me as an amazing starting point into the disk world  )
Among Others  - Jo Walton
Falling Sky - Skyler White
Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer (Because I always wanted to read it but never got around to it)
The girl with the dragon tattoo - Stieg Larsson

Ebook Haul
Chosen - Sarah Swan
Angel Evolution - David Este
Fire - Kristine Cashore
Vanish & Hidden - Sophie Jordan

 
 

Friday, 21 December 2012

Drink, Slay Love - Sarah Beth Durst

Title: Drink, Slay, Love
Author : Sarah Beth Durst 
Rating:  4 out of 5 cupcakes
Cover Rating: 3 out of 5 cupcakes
Synopsis

Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire... fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.

Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King's feast -- as the entrees.

The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do?


Review

I remember loving the whole vampire genre but then you know what came along and then now I am eternally frightened of opening any other YA vampire orientated book. This book was surprisingly good.  This book is funny, unconventional and takes a more sarcastic look at the whole vampire relationships and lo and behold this book has UNICORNS as the antagonists.

I was actually in awe of this book, I found myself laughing at moments  that should be intense but come out as rather over the top. Durst has you laughing about shiny vampires and chasing unicorns, which by the way is as ridiculous as it seems. There are two ways you can look at this book, if you took this book as a serious interpretation of yet another vampire book you are going to hate it but if you take is as a parody of the too popular vampire genre then you will have one seriously good read.

I actually like Durst's portrayal of the vampires, they are cruel, emotionless and really don't care about using anyone and anything as means to their end. In that respect these vampires were not  comical at all but then the they are staked by the horns of a were-unicorn, not to mention Evan's need to say that he has  hero complex pretty much every few pages. This book is very funny and very entertaining, one of the best parody reads I have come across so far and by far the best thing about this book is that there is no love at first sight crap which adds a touch of realism to this book.


So I give this book 4 out of 5 cupcakes 




Purchase 
Amazon | Barns & Nobel

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Croak [Croak #1] - Gina Damico

Title: Croak
Author: Gina Damico
Rating: 4 out of 5 cupcakes
Cover Rating: 2 out of 5 cupcakes 

Synopsis:

Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex's parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape.

But Uncle Mort's true occupation is much dirtier than shoveling manure. He's a Grim Reaper. And he's going to teach Lex the family business.

She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can't stop her desire for justice - or is it vengeance? - whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again.

Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her reaper skills?Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex's parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape.

But Uncle Mort's true occupation is much dirtier than shoveling manure. He's a Grim Reaper. And he's going to teach Lex the family business.

She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can't stop her desire for justice - or is it vengeance? - whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again.

Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her reaper skills?

Review:

This book had me reading till 4am in the morning despite the face that I knew good and well that I had to get up at 7am but with a book this good it is damn well worth it.

The book starts light and seriously funny. I love Lex, her I hate everyone attitude makes her very endearing to me. Probably because it reminds me or me and Digger, well damn I have never felt such contained sexual attraction before.

Admittedly the book gets slower around the middle of the book but it is so damn hooking and mysterious you don't care so you push through like the good little soldiers you are. I seriously love this book but damn it is frustrating waiting for that romance moment and I am a little disappointed that  scene wasn't written but left as an after thought.

Don't be fulled by the lightheartedness of this book, in the last couple of pages it takes such a dark turn you wonder if you were reading the same book at all. It actually brought tears to my eyes.

The verdict

I give this book 4 stars out of five.


Purchase this book 

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Atlantis Rising [Warriors of Poseidon#1] - Alyssa Day

 WARNING ADULT CONTENT
Title: Atlantis Rising
Author:Alyssa Day
Rating:4 out of 5 cupcakes

SYNOPSIS

Beautiful social worker Riley Dawson comes closer to understanding her intense connection to the ocean when she meets a handsome stranger on the shores of Virginia Beach. He's arrived, reborn from the fathoms below, to fulfill an ancient mission for the God Poseidon and--with Riley--experience the pleasures of human desire.

REVIEW

I've been hesitant in writing this review since this book is one of my all time favourites. I have read it so many times, it is actually unbelievable. Along with a handful of others, this is the book I pick up when I want to read something but don't feel like mentally investing on a new series.

This book has all the monsters of the paranormal genre but introduces the Atlantian warriors which feels original however to abet my sense of fair play I will do the criticising first. First the whole band of warriors fighting evil thing  is a little too Dark Hunter (Sherrilyn Kenyon) and Black Dagger Brotherhood (J.R. Ward). While I am a fan of both worlds,  it has been done before which takes away from the originality of the story. Another  issue with this book is that there is so much going on, Vamps are taking over the world, shifters are ripping humans apart, there is some sort of  war pretty much everywhere you look.

I love Riley, yea she is a little bit on the side of crazy, making out with some stranger she barely even knows with a very strong indications that he was NOT human and can kill her in an instant if he so wishes it and all of this AFTER almost getting raped. Really Ms Day that is what counts as romantic these days. The answer to that is actually, surprising even to myself is HELL YES.  Conan satisfies pretty much everything we want from a fictional male. The bad damaged hero with one hell of a sex drive. I made a distinction because in real life I'd much rather trade him for a nice block with a great mind and hopefully the same sex drive.

The reason I love this book is not really because it introduces some complicated characters and an emotional story line but because it is simple, fun and seriously butterfly worthy. I think it is worth reading, although probably not as many times as I have read it. It has good girls with kick ass powers, prince's with one mighty fine asses and a vampire goddess as an adversary. As PR goes, it is a very good example of one.

The verdict.

I give this  book 4 out of 5 stars, for the simple pleasure of reading about characters I enjoy.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Wings [Wings #1] - Aprilynne Pike

Title: Wings
Author: Aprilyn Pike
Rating: 1 our of 5 cupcakes
Synopsis

Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful--too beautiful for words.

Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.

In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever

 
Review

This book was bad and I mean bad, seriously it was bad. It was like reading a 13 year old work on Wattpad and even then I have seen better. It is so bad I don't even know where to begin critizing. The overall story was shallow and there was no real writing style. It was as if Pike was giving fact after fact, sort of like a shopping list. It made the whole story choppy and had no flow.

To be honest I don't even know why I bough this book, perhaps it was a faint memory of liking this book or the fact that I bough the two books really cheap, Since there is no way in hell I would waste my time reading the next one I think I will do a giveaway (yaye, my first ever!)

The whole plot is cliched. Laurel, beautiful and extremely naive to the point I want to kill her and David who is the hot science geek (he appeals to me but I still hate the fact that he is the geek who doesn't know that he is hot) and endless pages of food description. Yes, you read right. Apart from being the most irritating teenager on the planet of the earth Laurel has one messed up relationship with food. Now I am proud of being a full blood carnivore and I really don't care if other people want to turn themselves into a human rabbit but this book put way too freaking much emphasis on Laurel and her rabbit food. Yes she eats like she is a 2 day old bunny but why the hell does she feel guilty for eating pears and juice. It was just irritating, I mean seriously if I suddenly started eating salad and soda my family would drag me to the doctors but Laurel's mummy dearest just lets her drink sprite because “she couldn't argue with the 140 calories per can. That was 140 more than water. At least this way she knew Laurel was getting more calories in her system, even if they were 'empty.'”

I saw this online and it reminded me a lot of Laurel.


To top this whole shebang off, her blood is see through. Tell me something fellow humans, how the hell do you not know your blood is see through at the age of 15. Really, really are you kidding me, this is the sort of story that deserves a Star Trek facepalm because ordinary facepalm is simply not enough .
 

By this point I did not think the story could get any worse and then the pimple arrived. 15 year old Laurel gets a pimple on her back and then it grows into epic gigantic proportions until it burst (not a pretty image here) and before you can say preso chango wings come out of it because queue the drums Laurel is a Fairy or in Pike's spelling a faerie.

I have to sort of grudgingly give credit to the last 100 or so pages because after 200 pages of playing Tetris in my head the plot finally kicks in but by this time it is too damn late.


     

   

      Wings (Wings, #1)
   

 

    

Monday, 10 December 2012

Harry Potter Series - J. K. Rowling

Title - Harry Potter
Author - J. K. Rowling
Rating [Books] - 5 out of 5 stars
Rating [Films] - 4 out of 5 stars



It is time for the holidays people, get excited. To get the blogosphere in the mood for the season I decided to review the books I love the  most and even some I really hate just because the holidays can be a bit of a nightmare sometimes.
Synopsis

The books chronicle the adventures of a wizard, Harry Potter, and his friends Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The main story arc concerns Harry's quest to overcome the Dark wizard Lord Voldemort, whose aims are to become immortal, conquer the wizarding world, subjugate non-magical people, and destroy all those who stand in his way, especially Harry Potter.

Review

To start this  little journey, I have chose the biggest selling book series of all time with more than 400 million copies sold world wide and the films alone have made a freaking massive $7,706,147,978  (my brain fails to comprehend this number right now) and to top it all of the whole franchise is only second to Star Wars. I am of course talking about Harry Potter. Now I know it is not every ones cup of tea, but when the whole potter universe is worth more than $15 billion you know they gotta be doing something right.

When I decided to review Harry Potter I decided to read (cheat and listen to the audio tape) pretty much all the books, making mental notes of all the things I disliked about the books and since the films are such a big part of the Potter experience I will also be comparing the two.

Trying to find negative things to say about Harry Potter seemed like an immense task especially since I had idealised the books for such a long time but when comparing parts of the book it became apparent that my subconscious had hidden things I disliked so as to get me to be more in love with the books.

So things I like about Harry Potter (get ready for some gushing happiness). For me Harry Potter is really where the love affair with books really began. I read it and suddenly I was there, I was a student at Hogwarts. The Potter books create this magical world that gets in your heart and head and refused to leave. It create dreams because, lets face it we all have, at one point or another wanted our future to be different. To wake up and be magical and powerful, that is what fundamentally gets people hooked. The idea that the underdog can wake up and find that he is not as helpless as he has always thought himself is a powerful lure indeed.

The world of Hogwarts is simply magical, Rowling's style of writing presents a delight to the senses. It engages the mind to be as creative as possible even while the tale is told through, essentially a child. For those of us that started reading this at a young age it made us relate and for the adults that read it to us, it became a mix of fascination and curiosity. "What next is?" really the most important question a reader can ask.

The films of Harry Potter are a visual delight, I am especially fond of the way the first two films were directed. So full of colour and intrigue. Simply marvellous. My favourite film and arguably my favourite book is The  Prison of Azkaban. The reason being, for the first time in the Potter franchise things got darker. They were suddenly more mysterious than before, this book is really why the phrase 'and the plot thickens' was created.  I really loved the addition of Sirius Black in this book, it gave the book more depth than just 'I am Harry Potter, my parents are dead and the only family I have hate me'. With the introduction of Sirius, the book suddenly becomes filled with hope (even with the dark setting). This book also shapes Harry into a more rebellious fighter (remember how he kicked Snape's arse) and Hermione well into a smarter Hermione.

This book also introduced one of my favourite Potter creatures of all time, The Dementors. Now am not sure whether I love them or despise them with a passion but either way they are the best of what Ms. Rowling's mind can come up with. They are simply magnificent, they remind me of a weird interbreeding of The Grimm Reaper and a succubus and the best part, if they kiss you they suck out your soul.

My favourite family in the book are the Weasley's. Apart from being a realistic portrayal of a family, they also have the twins which are possibly the best doubly act since Laurel & Hardy. They simply crack me up and they are a very good point to stop admiring and start criticising. In the final battle of Hogwarts Fred's death is left unseen as is the death of Remus and Tonks. They are very big character's and the fact that their deaths were left unseen is disappointing.  I mean don't you remember the sadness that you felt as you watched Dumbldore or Dobby die, well I think as major characters they deserved their deaths to be mourned by the fans/

This not the only time the films have left some important things out, for example the Dursley in the films are rather two dimensional. They are not explored very well and can seem rather cartoonish. While preparing to write this review I was reminded of how cruel they really are and I was disappointed that this was not explored as much as it could have.

Continuing on the theme of things that were left out, I believe most fans would agree with me when I say that the films underplayed the role of the house elves in the world of Harry Potter. In The Goblet of Fire the elf Winky was an important plot revolver but she along with Dobby were left out and seriously marginalised over the course of the series.  Hermione's pet project S.P.E.W  was completely forgotten which is very disappointing because this project showed her not as a teachers pet high achiever but as a caring person who took initiative to fight for the rights of the house elves.

If you have read through that long list then it will become clear that most of the issue with the Potterverse is in the making of the films rather than the writing of the books but there are few things that are in reverse. J.K. Rowling is a truly great writer but she does not have the  best fight scenes, she uses the same few fighting spells which can become rather tedious after a while. The films allow the directors to drop some of these words and work with images. I especially love the affects created when two spells hit each other and the patronus charm come to life but perhaps  the biggest visual delight in the whole series is the battle of Hogwarts. While watching it in 3D did not make the effect any more special than it actually was, watching it in the big screen really showed the amount of time spent on the  effects so they were simply delightful.

The Harry Potter books are great, for many reasons but one thing that really blew me away was Rowling's foresight when it came to writing them. Yeah like all books there are some continuity errors but some of the things that have been hidden within the books so that they make sense only after you are near to the end. The best example for this is Professor Snape. The fact that Snape is not as evil as he had seemed for so long took me by surprise to say the least. I actually remember what it felt like when I found out so many years ago.

Alright I feel Like I have been writing forever and by this time am sure pretty much everyone but  a die hard Potter fan has stopped reading. I don't feel like I am being fair in giving this a rating since I do idealise the books but rate it I will but since I reviewed the films as well as the books I will give them a score too.

I gives the books 5 out of 5 because while they do have their mistakes, they are written in a way that is very impressive and captures the imagination of children and adults all  around the world.

I give the films 4 out 5 stars, while they are fantastic some of my favourite things were left out of the films which made me just a little bit sad.

Before I leave I would like to leave you with one final thought in the word of Minerva McGonagall “Ever child in our world will know his name!” and indeed those words seem to have come true.