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review 2017-11-07 07:04
Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas by Jun Asuka
Tim Burton's the Nightmare Before Christmas (Manga) - Tim Burton

Title:  Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas


Author:  Jun Asuka (Original Script by Tim Burton)


Artist:  Jun Asuka


Genre: Horror / Adventure / Romance / Halloween / Christmas / Adaptation 


Year Published: 2004


Year Read: 2017



Publisher: Tokyopop


Source: eARC (NetGalley and Edelweiss)



Content Rating:  Ages 8+ (Some Scary Images and Scary Situations)

 

 

Nightmare

I would like to thank NetGalley, Edelweiss and Tokyopop for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

4.5 stars 

Introduction: 

Now, I will start going into fangirl mode here since I will be talking about one of my most favorite animated movies of all time! I will admit that when I was little, I was actually terrified of Tim Burton’s classic animated movie “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” due to the scary visuals presented in the film. But, when I started watching this film way back in high school, I suddenly fell in love with this creepy yet memorable movie and it has become one of my most favorite films to watch during Halloween (next to “Hocus Pocus,” of course)! So, when both NetGalley and Edelweiss gave me a copy of the manga adaptation of “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” which was adapted by Jun Asuka, I was jumping around with glee since I never would have thought that a manga version of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” would ever be made!

What is this story about? 

Based off the classic animated film, Jack Skellington is the scariest creature in Halloween Town, but unfortunately, he has started to get tired of doing the same old things every year for Halloween and he goes out into the woods to discover more things to do. One day, while he was out in the woods, he discovers a door that has a Christmas tree on it and he ends up going through the door and discovering Christmas Town and Santa Claus. It was then that Jack decided to become Santa Claus that year and deliver some “presents” to all of the girls and boys in the world. Unfortunately, Sally, the ragdoll that loves him, has a terrible premonition about Jack’s Christmas turning into a disaster and Sally has to stop Jack from becoming Santa Claus and delivering the presents to the kids before it is too late!

What I loved about this story: 

The story: Wow! I was quite impressed with this story! “The Nightmare Before Christmas” has always been one of my most favorite animated movies of all time and I was so excited to finally be able to check out the manga version of this movie! As I come to expect, the manga version of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” was completely faithful to the original movie, from the dialogue to the situations that happened in the film. I loved revisiting the movie in manga format since it was quite unexpected for me to see this movie in manga form rather than in a regular graphic novel format and it just made this manga so original to read through! I also loved the fact that this manga focused more on Jack and Sally’s relationship with each other than the movie did and I loved the fact that we get more focus on Sally’s perspective of the whole situation in this manga since I wanted to see more from her character in the movie and this manga did a great job at fleshing out Sally’s character even further. 

Jun Asuka’s artwork: Jun Asuka’s artwork was both creative and adorable to look at! I loved how Jun Asuka’s artwork was faithful to original designs of the characters from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” movie as they look just as creepy as in the movie, but with a bit more anime style added for effect! I also loved the way that Jun Asuka designed Sally in this manga as Sally is drawn in a much cuter style than in the movie and it makes her into a more endearing character to read about in this manga!

Nightmare

What made me feel uncomfortable about this story: 

The reason why I took off half a point from the star rating was because the copy I got seemed a bit incomplete. It seemed like the bottom half of the pages were cut off a bit and there was a bit of dialogue that I ended up missing because it got cut off at the bottom. Luckily, I have seen the movie enough times to figure out what is going on and I probably would have given this manga a five-star rating if I had not received an incomplete copy of this manga.

Final Thoughts: 

Overall, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” manga is a joy to read if you are a fan of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and of manga in general! I would highly recommend it to manga and horror fans alike!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-11-03 00:38
My American Nightmare
My American Nightmare: Women In Horror Anthology - Azzurra Nox,Nicky Peacock

I'm late, as usual, reporting the rest of my Halloween Bingo squares...but this one was for Terrifying Women!

 

Ghosts, zombies, slashers, abductions, creepy dolls, and of course witches are included in this selection of creepy short stories. All written by women  My American Nightmare  contains everything from macabre to disturbing, perfect for Halloween time reading. With all stories set in the United States of America, some stories are historically set, some are current, the stories range from new horror to familiar retellings.    With all short story collections I enjoyed some stories more than others, however with Halloween right around the corner I gobbled up all the stories and appreciated the atmosphere that they gave to this time of year.  

One of my favorite stories was the Ballad of Sorrow and Lila which shows the power of strong feelings and why a bully never wins.

I also enjoyed The Pickman Sisters of Salem which will reverberate with any who loves Hocus Pocus.  

The last story in the grouping was a perfect send-off.  Mr. Button's Tea Party had a lot of elements, abductions, dolls and disfigurement; however, the creepiest part was that it felt like something that might actually happen to a person or a story you might hear about on the news.  This is one that I would have loved to see expanded upon. 


Overall, these short stories show that women in horror makes for a wonderfully spooky mix. 

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review 2017-10-29 00:36
My American Nightmare - Women in Horror Anthology
My American Nightmare: Women In Horror Anthology - Azzurra Nox,Nicky Peacock

This is a perfect for book to read this time of year. With Halloween Coming quickly. I had a blast scaring myself. This is an Anthology. it has 19 stories in the book. Each story is written by a different author. The stories run the range of every ghoul and goblin in the Halloween line up. From Ghost to zombies. These are short stories, but the creep factor grabs you quickly. There are several stories in this book I would love to read a whole book on. 

 

Picking a favorite story would be impossible for me. I really loved the first one, yea I know picking the first one is lame. But it is about a zombie apocalypse.  How a virus ends up effecting the whole country. The story takes place in Pennsylvania. A girl and her family are trying to escape their hometown but it ends up being too late. The mother gets sick first then the father. The girl ends up being alone and just as she forms a plan to escape she ends up with a sore throat. The first sign of being affected. I also have to admit I would love to read a full book on this story, it ended way to soon for me, but it really stuck with me. 

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review 2017-10-10 16:40
Historical anachronism happens fast
This is the Way the World Ends: An Oral ... This is the Way the World Ends: An Oral History of the Zombie War - Keith Taylor

This poor novel had the bad sense to be published in August, this year of our Lord 2017, though, presumably, it was written earlier. EVEN SO, at the very moment of publication, it was already woefully historically anachronistic. I'm going to blame this, like so much else, on the Trump administration, and the unbelievable chaos and unprecedented violation of governmental, social, and ethical norms that we've seen in this fine country, the US of A, since then. Writing near future science fiction is an unbelievable bitch.

 

This is what got me. So, This is the Way it Ends is avowedly a love letter and a riff on Max Brooks' World War Z, which is also glossed with the subtitle An Oral History of the Zombie Wars. The writer here, Keith Taylor, notes in his introduction how taken he was by the retrospective and documentary feel of World War Z, and how, after expecting a raft of novelists to take up the style, he decided to fill the gap when no one did. This is the Way it Ends is successful in this Brooksian ventriloquism for the most part, and it you like this sort of thing, then this is the sort of thing you'll like. (Well, other than a metatextual spin wherein Keith Taylor, current novelist, inserts himself inside this fictional narrative as "Keith Taylor," the documentarian for the novel. His intro dragging on fictional zombie narratives was way too clever-clever. It's the kind of thing that's fun to read to your wife after you write it, but shouldn't make it into the final draft.)

 

Like Brooks' novel, this one takes place a dozen odd years after the initial zombie outbreaks, after humanity has gone through the meat grinder of a full on zombie apocalypse and come out on the other side, shaky, diminished, but still standing. This is the section that got me: a centrist Republican, one who shepherded the US through the zombie wars, tells a story from mid-2019. Apparently, there are outbreaks happening all over Europe, and there's more and more worry about the zombie threat. At a bipartisan meeting, a reporter asks if maybe the US should close its borders. A democrat steps up, and in an act of partisan showboating, begins reciting the Emma Lazarus sonnet that is carved into the statue of liberty. "Give us your tired" etc. At this point everyone goes nuts, freaking that closing the borders is evil, and certainly no sane (or not evil) person would suggest such a thing. The Republican president is rueful: if only those stupid liberals knew better. 

 

So here's the problem with this. First, let me tell a joke: at an intersection with four corners, on each corner stands an individual: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, a centrist Republican, and an alt-right nutjob. Someone drops a case of money into the center of the intersection. Which individual gets it? The alt-right nutjob, because the rest of these beings are purely fictional. Second, Trump already tried, and has been moderately successful, in implementing his Muslim ban, just recently adding to the seven Muslim-majority countries he's put on the shit list. Though the courts have put on the brakes a little, public outcry was nowhere near uniform. In fact, I think I was in a minority for thinking that was self-defeating and cruel, in addition to racist. The Trump administration is working hard at curtailing literally all immigration, legal and illegal, and we don't have anything near a zombie fucking outbreak to point at, though you wouldn't know it from some Brietbart articles, boy howdy. No one reads sonnets anymore; those are for effete liberals and they are decidedly not in charge. Third, what is this word, "bipartisan"? I do not understand this strange concept. 

 

In some ways, this anachronism is adorable, and it dovetails into some blindspots Brooks had in WWZ. The farther Brooks gets from his worldview, the less compelling his narratives get -- the American housewife one is a big fucking mess, but then I have a whole thing about the housewife in fiction. Ditto with Taylor. As a native Brit with a Mongolian wife who spends a lot of time in Mongolia and Thailand, his grasp on pan-Asian politics is pretty great. Americans? Yeah, not so much. I'm not picking on him here though. I'm not sure I understood (even as someone who purported to at least a modicum of wokeness) how unbelievably racist and isolationist the United States is until the last election. And that election technically didn't involve zombies! 

 

Except it totally did and we're all going to die. The horror of reading horror fiction for me these days is in how unscary it all is. It's nowhere near as terrifying as considering a malignant narcissist who considers Nazis "fine people" starting World War 3, the one that will kill us all, while tweeting on the shitter one Sunday morning. In the words of Mira Grant, rise up while you can. 

 

 

 

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review 2017-09-11 22:00
Quick Thoughts: The Nightmare Charade
The Nightmare Charade - Mindee Arnett,Cassandra Morris

The Nightmare Charade
by Mindee Arnett
Book 3 (final) of The Arkwell Academy
audio book narrated by Cassandra Morris

 

 

It’s her junior year at Arkwell Academy, and Dusty Everhart just wants to be alone with her boyfriend, Eli Booker.  But fate is literally keeping them apart.  See, Dusty is a Nightmare, who can enter Eli’s dreams to find clues to the future, but an ancient curse predicts that any romance between them is doomed to end in tragedy.  Dusty and Eli are willing to take that risk, but the authorities disagree—and have assigned a chaperone to make sure their relationship is strictly platonic.

As if that’s not bad enough, they’ve been recruited by the Department of Intelligence for Magickind Secrecy (D.I.M.S.) to use their dream-seer bond to help recover the most powerful object of black magic known to magickind.  The Animus Mortem can raise the dead by stealing the souls of the living…which makes tracking it down a genuine matter of life and death.

To make matters worse, one of Dusty’s friends is accused of murder and is counting on her to clear his name.

Dusty has too many dreams, too many commitments, and too many people looking over her shoulder, but a Nightmare seldom plays by the rules.  Curse or no curse, chaperone or not, she has to go deep into Eli’s dreams if she’s going to find the truth—and discover a way for them to truly be together at last!



The concluding book of this young adult Arkwell Academy is a pretty great round up of the trilogy altogether.  My thoughts about this last book is really no different than what I'd thought of the first two books:  The Nightmare Charade is very enjoyable, and it has a lot of great potential to expand upon its world.  I still feel like it's missing something to make it rank more in the awesome category, but I DO have to give the book props for managing to keep my attention so well.  Whether that's because it's a mystery, or simply because of how easy it is to read, I'm not sure; however, I DO know that I gleaned a good amount of entertainment from it, and even got some feels wrenched out of me towards the end.

The truth, though, is that there is little about this book I can think of to complain about.  Maybe that Dusty still seems so easy to push around by her teachers and her ex-boyfriend.  Or maybe that there were some moments wherein I got a little lost as to what was going on (although that could have been because I was listening to the audio book and lost focus at some points).  The ending certainly felt a little more angst-ridden than I would have liked, but I sort of saw it coming miles away.

The main villain--the guy who killed the previous book's villain, as well as kidnaps two Nightmares--was a bit of a surprise to me, however, and I DID find myself a bit blindsided; though whether this was in a good way, or a bad way... I'm really not sure.

Once again, the characters, our kids, are great when they get together to investigate the murder and kidnappings--Dream Team, indeed.  I'm just glad there's so much camaraderie between our main couple and their "side-kick" best friends.

And maybe I've thought of one more thing to quibble about:  Our two main characters kind of fall flat compared to the two "side-kicks," if I were really to be honest with myself.  Dusty has a way of sounding kind of dull in her narration, and aside from the fact that Eli isn't a typical, young adult novel broody teenage boy, he's actually a bit ordinary and boring.  While it's true that I like that he's not the standard YA main male character, I also wish there was more to him in this book--he feels less interesting than he did in previous books.

In contrast, Lance and Selene are both pretty awesome and cool, especially Selene with her badassery, trying out for the Gladiator team and flying around with her Siren wings, owning the battle with just her badass, badassery alone...  Selene was always a great character from the beginning, and I love that she stays true, as the supportive best friend throughout.

Note to author:  Selene needs her own book.

As far as the romance between Eli and Dusty is concerned, while I'm glad that the two of them never faltered in their feelings or their determination to be together in spite of the Dream Seer Curse, I DID feel like Dusty dwelt a little too much on Eli and their love and their entire "Fated to be Torn Apart" scenario.

Otherwise, The Nightmare Charade is still a readily enjoyable book that doesn't have all those over-exhausted YA cliches to bog it down.  I'm certainly content with what I got out of it, book, series, and all!


***

Halloween Bingo 2017


This book may also work for these other squares:

  • Murder Most Foul:  The murder actually happens off-stage, and only mentioned at the beginning of the book, so this might be a stretch.
  • Amateur Sleuth:  Dusty, Eli, Selene, and Lance are definitely not law enforcement, as young teenage students investigating a murder, a kidnapping, and the possible rebirth of an old nemesis.
  • Monsters:  There are any number of creatures mentioned in this book, including Dusty, who is a Nightmare (or a half-kind Nightmare), which is a creature who feeds on people's dreams.  Then there is Selene, who is a Siren; and a phoenix is even presented; mermaids are mentioned... I mean, basically, The Arkwell Academy is a school for different kinds of magic creatures.  (On a separate note, I may or may not use this book for the Monsters square instead, depending on my mood.)

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/09/quick-thoughts-nightmare-charade.html
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