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review 2016-04-03 23:59
The Vampire Diaries: The Fury
The Fury (Vampire Diaries, No 3) - L. J. Smith
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text 2016-04-01 23:00
Femme Friday - Your Next Favorite YA Series
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Cinder - Marissa Meyer
Shatter Me Complete Collection: Shatter Me, Destroy Me, Unravel Me, Fracture Me, Ignite Me - Tahereh Mafi
Etiquette and Espionage: Number 1 in series (Finishing School) by Gail Carriger (2013-02-05) - Gail Carriger;
Beautiful Creatures - Margaret Stohl,Kami Garcia
Atlantis Rising - Gloria Craw
Divergent - Veronica Roth
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling,Mary GrandPré

I don't know what your next favorite YA series may be, but it stands to reason that it could be written by a woman. I'm not saying that it will be, but the "Big 3" of YA are all written by women (and are featured in this post). We definitely can't be ruled out or sidelined anymore in this area. That being said, there are some great series out there, here are some contenders: 

 

That I've read: 

  1. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins   - I mean, it is one of the Big 3 mentioned above and really doesn't need an introduction or explanation anymore. If you haven't read it or seen the movies yet and are reading this post, you've probably already been told to do so. 
  2. Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles - Marissa Meyer - This is a one of my new favorites! I love a good fairy tale reimagining, it's my kryptonite. The whole series was fun and left me with an awful book hangover. I've been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to get ahold of the next book set in this world, Stars Above and the first of Meyer's new series, Heartless
  3. Shatter Me Complete Collection - Tahereh Mafi - Okay, I had it bad after the Lunar Chronicles, but this one was the actual worst book hangover of my life. I reread some of it way too many times. It played with my emotions, it was written with a whole new style that was mesmerizing, it broke my heart too many times. I'm a sucker for broken characters and this series let me wallow in them until my fingers were all pruney. 
  4. Etiquette and Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger - my first steampunk! I didn't quite know what to expect, but I was intrigued by the concept. This turned out to be a great introduction because it does have some of my favorite elements of fiction. I can't always get behind historical fiction but this combined it with science fiction and paranormal creatures and seriously, what's not to love when you do all that! I'm waiting on the last book to finish off the series and so looking forward to it! 
  5. Beautiful Creatures - Margaret Stohl,Kami Garcia - I had read the first book well before I heard of the movie but hadn't finished the series yet. I was pleased with the movie, though. It brought all the visual parts in and didn't really lose much. I had a great time reading this series. The magical world that it takes place in was new and a lot of fun. Sometimes books in the same subgenre feel like they blur together, but this definitely stands out among the books about magical beings and worlds. 
  6. Atlantis Rising - Gloria Craw - I read this one last year before I knew that more would be coming out. It felt like there could be more but the first one ended on such a note that I wasn't sure if it was just wishful thinking. I can't wait to get my hands on the next one

 

 

Heard good things about: 

  1. Divergent - Veronica Roth - I only saw the movie. I'm not a fan of the way people say that if you love "this" then you'll love "that" so this one struck me wrong. Everyone says that if you loved The Hunger Games, you'll love this series. To me, it sounded like they were far too similar to make it worth reading. But I did watch the movies and they are dissimilar enough that I understood what people were talking about. All the same, I never made my way to that series. I do plan on reading it, but I'm not in rush. Everyone that I know who's read it, loved it! And I remember once reading a blog post from someone who applauded the way Tris is specifically not pretty, that it's mentioned in a way that reminds you that it shouldn't be important for a revolutionary to be pretty. 
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling - I know, it's a problem. It's a Big 3 YA and I haven't read it, but I did crack it open once or twice.... I was just a little too old when these books came out to be interested in them, and then too busy and now I might as well wait to read them with my son. He's very close to the right age to start the first one. I have seen all the movies and completely understand how wonderful the books are, I just haven't read them yet. 

 

 

Problematic - this is a blog about feminism in books, so while these are huge, they do present some problems in this department that need addressing

Twilight - Stephanie Meyer - it's been said, at length, that this series presents problems in the abusive relationship department. The main love interest is controlling and that is definitely a problem. What makes the problem worse is the HUGE following that came after this series that made everyone sound like they want to be in an abusive relationship such as this. No hitting takes places, but there is a lot of controlling behaviors that no one should tolerate. I get that Edward wasn't a bad guy, but he was a bad boyfriend. Bella wasn't exactly a role model either. At the same time she wasn't much worse than Matt Donovan in the next series I'm going to talk about. It's hard to be the only human among supernaturals, I'm sure, but she never once got to make a decision that he didn't have to approve and she was always usurped when he didn't approve. 

The Vampire Diaries - LJ Smith - just skip the books and binge watch the CW series on Netflix. The show is one of my favorites and cleans up a lot of the problems in the books. Elena is very similar to Bella in her passionate love for her love interest. It made me gag a lot. Her friends are easily duped into doing whatever vapid thing she is interested in. Okay, so that sounds harsh and I'm not trying to shame the characters. The problem is that they were hollow characters. What should have been intersections in their problems never seemed to bother them, so we mostly gloss over the fact that Elena is an orphan in the books. The show makes up for this by allowing her to be melancholy and react to this life-changing event as if her life has changed. I've said before that maybe it's my own problem for having watched the show first. The characters in the show have depth and complexity. No one is a perpetual damsel in distress or rescuer. Even the villains are layered. These books features lots of characters and it would be great if they didn't fit so well into those old, worn stereotypes. Also, the show may still be on television, but the books are from the 1990's. I don't remember if these stereotypes had quite hit trope level, but it's just a pass. Don't even bother, not in this day and age. You'll just be disappointed. 

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review 2015-10-30 18:50
Vampire by Peter Cawdron
Vampire (van Helsing Diaries Book 1) - Peter Cawdron

A literary classic that should be made into a movie ... wait a moment, wrong book.

Why anyone chooses to write about vampires in 2015 is beyond me, but here we go. Peter Cawdron did, and I read it. I knew it will scare the crap out of me, just by looking at the cover, and I was right about that.

Vampire, with the subtle (I´m being ironic here) subtitle "van Helsing diaries" reads more like a psychological crime thriller than any kind of "real" vampire story, but no worries, nothing that sparkles in any way, shape or form.

Dr Jane Langford, a psychologist, is called to action after a murder in Boise, Idaho to eval the mental state of mind of the murderer, which leads to a suicide investigation and bodies piling up fast.

Jane is the only character that is fully developed IMO while the cast of different characters are sorta there but not more, and she sure gets from all professional to (almost... almost? hard to tell) mentally breaking down. And as the center of the story she should be the one who as I reader can count on. That I can´t is the best thing, as I have to question her as well as Jane has to question what is happening all around her.

The snowy and chilly late autumn setting is marvelous, though, and gives the story this really creepy feeling and made me very feel at unease. There is an urgency here where you know something´s going to happen, and it does. The horror behind the locked bathroom door.

For a novella it sure pulls a lot of punches, but where the real genius is in the mix of Bram Stoker´s Dracula with Cawdron´s own story, where everything´s intertwined without being able to tell where reality ends and insanity begins. This is Cawdron´s strongest point here to use Dracula to not only reinterpret it in a new way (and he probably sees something in it which is not there and was never intended to be there), but to use it is a setting on it´s own, or more like a background to tell his story about.. well, a vampire, as it spelled out as the title of the book already.

But... but... but... I´m not buying it. Not completely anyway.

While the premise of the story itself is crazy fantastic there are several WTF moments. Langford doing a courtsey call to a prison after another psychologist was killed and immediately gets access to a prisoner, and even so immediately knows he is suffering from schizophrenia. Langford carrying a 45 colt in her jacket pocket which she never picked up prior and shooting it 13 times, coz why not? Fiction it is for sure.

It´s creepy as hell, and the paranoia is getting stronger with every page, all true, but I did have a hard time to overlook those inconsistencies and where Cawdron was playing armchair psychologist on his own. So torn on it, damnit. It was a fascinating read, though, and if you´re easily creeped out as I am... *shudder* The ending, however, left me unimpressed as it is really spelled out straight away, and the conclusion pretty obvious. While obvious it came rather fast too, and left the story sorta hanging in the air.

With that said, I need a Tylenol now.

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review 2015-10-28 13:51
Enttäuschend
The Vampire Diaries - L.J. Smith

Da ich kürzlich die sechte Staffel von der Fernsehserie beendet habe, beschloss ich nun auch die Bücher zu lesen mit einer großen Vorfreude denn wie man weiß sind die Bücher immer besser als ihre Adoptionen. Doch in diesem Fall bekam ich eine Klatche ins Gesicht... das Buch ist alles andere als besser, es ist schlechter! Nunja vielleicht sollte mich näher über die Bücher erkundigen, aber erst später erfuhr ich, dass der erste Teil den ich lese ('The Awakening' oder 'Im Zwilicht') für 12 jährige Empfolen ist! Und dies trifft definitif of die Figuren des Buches. Nich nur, dass die supporting characters total unscheinbar und unrealistisch bzw. beschreibunglos sind, die Hauptfigur Elena Gilbert ist hier eine 'typische' Blondine wie sie es in dem Vorurteilsbuche steht. Sie ist dumm, selbstsüchtig, die Hübscheste und Beliebteste der Schule und will immer gewinnen.
Ihr Charakter war wirklich die größte Enttäuschung.
dennoch muss ich sagen lässt es sich flüssig lesen und ist nicht ganz langweilig. Ich kann mir vorstellen, dass mein 12 Jähriges Ich dieses Buch lieben würde.
Im Fazit möchte ich allen die die Serie lieben und sich auf die Bücher freuen warnen, dass es sich nichts zum freuen gibt, aber man könnte trotzdem sie lesen zur Vollständigkeit.
Ich persönlich werde trotz der Enttäuschung weitere Bücher lesen, aber diesmal leih ich sie mir aus anstatt zu kaufen.

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review 2015-07-03 21:42
Review: The Awakening
The Awakening - L.J. Smith

Title: The Awakening [The Vampire Diaries 1]

Author: L.J. Smith

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Horror, Suspense

Rating: 2 Stars

 

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Description/Synopsis: A deadly love triangle

Elena: beautiful and popular, the girl who can have any guy she wants.

Stefan: brooding and mysterious, desperately trying to resist his desire for Elena . . . for her own good.

 

Damon: sexy, dangerous, and driven by an urge for revenge against Stefan, the brother who betrayed him.

 

Elena finds herself drawn to both brothers . . .

 

who will she choose?

 

WARNING - SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT - REVIEW BELOW

 

So, before we get down to the nitty-gritty, let's talk about the cover. There's actually several covers for this book, but take it from me, most of them are very dated. I had no idea how old these book was until I saw the original cover. Wow. Time warp back to my childhood! The one I've picked to show here is the prettiest, but also the most inaccurate. Why? Because Elena, the main female lead, is blonde. Woops! It also has that annoying CW brand marketing across the top, but I won't hold it against them. They want people to watch the show, and they should... because it's so much better than the book.

 

I'm one of those people that 9 times out of 10 will tell you that reading the book is better than watching the movie/show. It's one of those things that Hollywood has ingrained in my head for years. The books are cannon--nay, gospel--and I tend to view the movie/show attached to them as annoying attempts to remake something that didn't need to be remade. Details are always changed, and it feels like sacrilege. It makes me angry.  Now, in a strange twist of things, if the movie/show comes first and the book second, my opinion usually falls more along the line of "Yay! More content!" It doesn't bother me that the book is different than the movie, because it's just more of the thing I already loved. I'm not sure why there's a double standard, but that's how it is. Unfortunately, in this case all that gets thrown out the window.

 

The show is better than the book. Hands down.

 

The book centers around Elena Gilbert, a popular, blonde-haired, blue-eyed high-school student that always gets her way. (Gag) Her parents have just died in a car accident 3 months prior to the story's start, and she's not particularly looking forward to the new year. Her endearing, boy-next-door boyfriend gives her feelings of "meh" in general, but he's the cute jock, and she's the pretty cheerleader, and they've been friends forever. The perfect couple, right? Introduce Elena's shallow and ditzy friends, stir in a hot new boy, and suddenly Elena's dumping her boyfriend and scheming up ways to get in good with the new kid, manipulating her friends and the student body in order to finagle herself onto his radar.

 

Go ahead. Soak that in.

 

What Elena doesn't know yet is that the new hot boy, Stefan Salvatore, is a vampire, and Elena is a dead-ringer for his ex-girlfriend. Throw in a few deaths, Stefan's hotter older brother (Damon), who just wants to make Stefan's life a nightmare in any way possible, and you have... well... a really shallow plot.

 

The writing was good.  The grammar was clean, the style was engaging and clear. From a technical standpoint, there wasn't anything wrong with the story. I did manage to read it all the way to the end (though that may have to do more with loving the show than enjoying the book). The problem, for the most part, was the characters. They weren't likeable. Elena was manipulative, shallow,and selfish. Bonnie was a ditz. Matt was cute in a lost puppy sort of way, but mostly just let Elena walk all over him.  Tyler was a rapist. Caroline seemed to only be present to be snotty and jealous of Elena... though the reasoning was never really explained. I can barely be bothered to even remember who Meredith was. Damon was evil for the sake of needing someone for the rest of the characters to hate. Stefan... Stefan was surprisingly juvenile given his age, and a little bit of a lost puppy when it came to Elena.Tanner (the teacher) hated all his students for no particular reason. He just wanted to be an ass.

 

Overall, I honestly didn't like any of the characters, and spent most of the book with this feeling that nothing was actually happening. There didn't seem to be a real motive behind anyone's actions except for the immediate "I want this. Now. Right now. Why? Because I do."  This kind of barely-there plot works with the TV show because it's serialized. The first episode introduces the world (which equated to this book by the way) but no major plot issues came up... those were saved for later in the season. This book worked the same way. It was an introduction to the characters and the world... but nothing really happened. Unfortunately, the characters just couldn't hold it up on their own.

 

The romance was laughable. Honestly. Elena wasn't particularly drawn to Stefan, she spotted a hot guy and said "dibs!" She wanted him because he was the hot new guy, not because there was sexual chemistry or his personality was endearing. Stefan was intrigued by Elena, mostly because she looked like his ex-girlfriend. I didn't feel the chemistry. They were your basic teen couple that "fell in love" based on the premise that they could. It was maddening to see how flimsy the whole thing was. In fact, the most interesting part of the story was when people started getting murdered. Thank god for the irrelevant deaths of teens and a teacher, or I would have closed the book.

 

Overall, did I like the book? Surprisingly, no. I say surprisingly because I AM an avid watcher of the show. I've seen every episode of the past four seasons. I honestly thought I'd love the books. Instead, I finally understand why the show is so different from the novels. It had to change--that was the only way they could make it into half-way decent entertainment. I don't recommend the book. Seriously. Go watch the show instead. It may be your typical YA Paranormal Romance full of vampires and angsty love, but at least there's a plot.

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