Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thinner: Review

Author: Stephen King (as Richard Bachman)
Age range: 18 & up
Content: Moderate romance, moderate sexual content, high language, moderate violence
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pages: 320
Where to get it: Barnes & NobleAmazonTargetHalf-Price Books

Billy Halleck is fifty pounds overweight and, as his doctor keeps reminding him, on his way to heart attack territory. But he has a caring family, an expensive home, and a successful career as a lawyer. He is both a beneficiary and a victim of the American Good Life. Then, in a moment of carelessness, Billy sideswipes an old gypsy woman as she's crossing the street, and her ancient father passes a bizarre and terrible judgment on him. Caressing Billy Halleck's cheek like a lover, the gypsy whispers, "Thinner." Six weeks later and ninety pounds lighter, Billy is more than worried. He's terrified and desperate enough to toy with the forces of evil that are melting his flesh away... day by day. 

First off, I'm against authors writing under different names. I don't like it and I don't think it's beneficial to the book, the story, or the writer. Every time a well-known writer writes under a different name, it never goes well. The books never leave a lasting impression. At least, not a good one. Thinner is no exception.

It's sloppy. Billy Halleck was a very confusing and somewhat selfish character. I didn't relate to him, feel sorry for him, or feel encouraged by him. Billy handled his debacle lethargically and selfishly. I could never tell if he felt remorse for killing the gypsy woman or just purely wanted to rid the curse for his own gain (pun totally intended). His relationship with his wife and daughter was confusing, but not in a way that can be played off as endearingly "complicated." I could tell he loved them and wanted to keep them safe. As his curse progressed, the lines got more blurred, but still not blurred enough, I felt. Although, his personality didn't alter much, transitioning from before the curse to after the curse. It just didn't make sense. King didn't create a character that I wanted to be victorious in the end.

The writing was cloudy. There were a lot of instances when I found myself reading through a lot of crap that added nothing to the story and really slowed down the tempo. The parts that did move the story along were just as offbeat. Matched with the predictable plotline, it was a bitch and a half to read through. It was hard for me to finish this book and hard for me to want to read it. Partly because of the slow pace, but also because I didn't really care if Billy Halleck lived or died in the end.

There was not a lot I liked about this book, but the one thing that stood out to me was the concept. The concept of an once overweight man struggling with losing too much weight was just enough ironic and terrifying and opened up the right amount of questions to be answered throughout the course of the story. I wished King had done more with it.

Surprisingly enough, Thinner has been adapted into an HBO movie (I think). I don't know why, considering it's been receiving bad reviews since its publish in 1984. I can't imagine it being good, so I haven't watched it and I probably won't.

None of the content is particularly high, per se. It is pretty gruesome and twisted. The mental pictures that flooded my mind whilst reading weren't pretty, but the way King described a lot of it was confusing, which, in a way, saved his readers from too graphic of content.

I recommend this if you're a die-hard King fan. I've read a few reviews online written by people who adored this book. Personally, I love his books, but this one just isn't a winner for me. I don't hate it enough to not like King anymore. He's written plenty of stuff that I've loved. Thinner just missed every mark somehow.

I can't believe October is nearly over. It's going to be November next Saturday. How weird is that? I'm kind of glad October went by so fast. It's not my favorite month. Mostly because I don't really like Halloween. Anyway. I hope you found my review helpful and I will be back probably pretty soon. Okay. Bye.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Looking for Alaska: Revisited Review

Author: John Green
Age range: 13-17
Content: Moderate romance, mild sexual content, moderate language, mild violence
Genre: Teen Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Young Reader's Group
Pages: 368
Where to get it: Barnes & NobleAmazonTargetHalf-Price Books

Miles "Pudge" Halter is obsessed with last words and exhausted with his boring life at home. He leaves for Culver Creek boarding school in search for what dying poet Francois Rabelais called "The Great Perhaps." Much awaits Pudge at Culver Creek, including the lively and lovely Alaska Young, who pulls Pudge into her labyrinth of suffering and catapults him into The Great Perhaps, straight and fast.

Firstly, I accidentally took a flash photo way too close to my face and the flash on the iPhone 5s is stupidly bright and painful. My eyes hurt a lot right now, so I apologize in advance for any typos. Secondly, I'm kind of, sort of, majorly confused. The cover above is the special 10th anniversary cover that they're publishing in January. Which is freaking awesome and I love the cover. I think it's beautiful and perfect. BUT Looking for Alaska was published in 2006, so "technically" the 10th anniversary isn't until 2016. So yeah, I don't know what that's about. But I saw that that was happening, reread the book, and now here I am, re-reviewing it just for you. Hope you enjoy.

When I first read and reviewed this, in 2011, I liked it. I didn't fully understand the metaphors and was annoyed by the long lectures in Dr. Hyde's religion class. I mostly just skimmed through the dialog, which I found funny, and the relationshippy parts, which I found fascinating. (I also thought Alaska was the coolest female character to ever grace a novel with her presence which I do not think anymore. More on that in a second.) Alas, although I love her and chuckle at her naive approach to literature, I do not agree with twelve-year-old Keely or the way she read and judged this book.

I still love this book, mostly because I just love John Green. I love him as an author and as a person. I actually did an entire (probably way too long) post primarily about John Green, why he's amazing, and my general overview of all of his books. Link to that is here.

Writing-wise, Looking for Alaska is funny and deep and charming, but as John Green books go, it's not my absolute favorite. I think as he kept writing books, his writing got funnier and more creative. Looking for Alaska was his first novel. So most (if not all) of its elements are rooted from John's past experiences and emotions which makes it rawer and almost more pure than his other novels.

The plot was interesting and dramatic without being too hectic. I liked the before and after format and awkwardly funny situations the characters often found themselves in. The pranks they pulled were hilarious. I wish I was the type of person who did crazy funny things like that.

John Green's characters are so easy to relate to and endlessly witty. I love Pudge. I've always loved Pudge. I related to him on many levels. Being insecure about my weight. Not feeling cool enough. Getting swallowed up by other people's big personalities in social situations. Sitting idly by, complacently watching everyone else find their Great Perhaps. But I think every teenager can relate to those things. Alaska, on the other hand, was tricky. She was too big of a force, too exciting of a person for me to be able to relate to her in the way I could relate to Pudge. She was interesting and wild and cool, but she just wasn't my favorite this time around. She was really manipulative and kind of ruined Pudge's life. If things hadn't ended how they did, his life would have plunged into the gutter because of her.

My eyes are really hurting now, so I think I should end this post now. (I might add more stuff to this post tomorrow.) I love Looking for Alaska. It's a great read that challenges you to think about life, love, and loss. I highly recommend that you read it, but not on a plane. It's definitely a cry book. I think the 10th anniversary cover is beautiful and I can't wait until I get to see it on the shelves at bookstores. I'm going to go take a nap or something because my eyes are on fire. Alright. Bye.

Monday, September 29, 2014

BZRK Reloaded: Review

Author: Michael Grant
Age range: 13-17
Content: Moderate romance, mild sexual content, mild language, high violence
Genre: Teen Science Fiction
Publisher: Egmount USA
Pages: 448
Where to get it: Barnes & NobleAmazonHalf-Price Books

Noah and Sadie realize their trapped in a war they can't get out of. The biots that have taken hold of the president finally start to kick in with horrifying consequences. The Armstrong twins are damaged, but unbroken. The war for sanity continues... 

This will be short because I feel like I've exhausted how much I like this BZRK series to the point of ridiculousness. I'm tired of hearing myself talk about this series so I can't imagine how a reader would feel.

I have done two reviews of the first book which you can find HERE and HERE. I've also read this book BZRK Reloaded, twice. Once in 2013 and again a few months ago. I kept forgetting that I hadn't reviewed it yet and when I finally did decide to review it, I didn't remember anything about it. I'm glad I read the BZRK books twice. They make so much more sense when you read them more than once. And they're really easy to read, so it practically takes no time to re-read them.

I'm not gonna go super in depth about why I like this book because all of those reasons are the same as my reasons for liking the first one. I love the BZRK books, so much that I re-read them. (Which hardly ever happens.) They're my favorite out of all Michael Grant's books. They're amazingly well-written and perfectly plotted. The sciencey stuff was well researched and very thorough. And I think the third book is coming out in November or something. Maybe October. It's called BZRK Apocalypse and I'm super excited to read it.

Okay. Brief review. But I do encourage you to click on the links to my two other BZRK book reviews. I go a lot more in depth about the different aspects I liked and what's really awesome about the novels. I apologize for the short post, but I have been burdened with the heavy load that is algebra 2 (pray for me). Alright. Happy finish to September and I shall return in October. Bye. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Stories I Only Tell My Friends: Review

Author: Rob Lowe
Age range: 16 & up
Content: Moderate romance, no sexual content, mild language, no violence
Genre: Autobiography
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 320
Where to get it: Barnes & NobleAmazonTargetHalf-Price Books

A teen heartthrob at 15, an international icon and founder of the Brat Pack at 20, and one of Hollywood's top stars to this day, Lowe chronicles his experiences as a misunderstood child actor from Ohio uprooted to the wild counterculture of mid-1970's Malibu, where he embarked on his pursuit in Hollywood.

 I find it incredibly difficult to review autobiographies. So yeah. Let's see how this goes.

Honestly, I was underwhelmed with this book. I wasn't expecting it to be super spectacular or anything, but the book as a whole still left a very vanilla impression. As far as autobiographies go, this wasn't my favorite or my least favorite. It's just kind of floating around in the middle. 

The writing was good, simple, and easy to read. I liked how he talked about his mom. That was cute. The whole book was very sweet and personable. It's always interesting to learn about actors' lives. What happened to them before they were famous and while they were famous. Because you don't really know about that world unless you're in it and most of us aren't. So I think it's really cool when actors as big and famous as Rob Lowe write books to serve as a little window to his life.

I recommend this to people who like Rob Lowe. Pretty simple. If you want to know more about Rob Lowe, you should read this. I read it because I really liked The Outsiders and St. Elmo's Fire and thought he was super hot. Great reason to read a book, right.

Rob Lowe has written a second autobiography called Greasers & Socs. I might read it. I don't know. The cover was super cool and gold. It was published pretty recently, too, I think. It's still out in hardcover.

Overall, I liked this book. I won't read it again, but I'm happy to add it to my collection of autobiographies. I'm glad I read it. So I hope you enjoyed this quick little review and found it helpful enough. Thanks for reading. Bye. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Song of Ice and Fire: Series Review

Author: George R.R. Martin
Age range: 18 & up
Content: Moderate romance, high sexual content, high language, high violence
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Pages: Around 700-1000 each
Where to get it: Barnes & NobleAmazonTargetHalf-Price Books

An epic fantasy series about knights, princes, princesses, kings, and queens.

Heyyo. It's been a while since I've done a review. I'm feeling a tad rusty and out of it. And I've got a cold which is making me very dizzy. Man, this'll be fun.

Woo, I feel like this post has been a heck of a long time coming. I finished these books a while ago and only did a full review of the first book which you can find HERE, if you're interested. I go a little bit more in depth on what the book is about in that post. Like, the summary is way more detailed. Anyway, after writing that one and reading the rest of the series, I realized that if I reviewed each book individually like I did the first one, it'd kind of be a waste of time. All of the reviews would have been carbon copies of each other and, well, that's lame. So, here, is my first full series review of the heftiest series I have ever read and the most commonly misnamed series, A Song of Ice and Fire.

As a whole, I loved the series. I loved the characters. It's definitely one of those series that makes your brain hurt. There's so many different characters and story-lines to keep track of, but it's honestly one of the greatest book series I've ever read. The writing is impeccable and so so detailed. It's definitely a challenge to force yourself to be diligent enough to finish even one of the books, let alone five. I don't know how I did it. I don't know how I kept up with all the story-lines either. Some of the chapters aren't even in chronological order. Some are an hour long, some are half a year long, and a lot of them overlap with each other. All while introducing new characters every couple of pages. Whew. Not gonna lie. I'm relieved that I'm finished with the series.

The content is very graphic and explicit. I do not recommend this to teens or kids. This is absolutely an adult series. The whole thing is hectic. Out of all of them, I think the first one is the most mild. It's still not mild. Just because all the characters are at their youngest. As the series goes on, the books get progressively more insane because the characters get older. The fifth one was a riot. The only reason I put the romance at moderate is because not a lot of what they do is romantic. I mean, they do stuff, it's just not in a romance setting.

There is a TV show spun off of the book series. I only watched a few episodes. I don't know. I didn't like visually seeing everything, you know? It was different, reading through all this hectic, crazy stuff. Watching it was too much for me. I'm sure it's a good show though. Based on the episodes I watched, they stuck pretty true to the book. So I guess if you're not a big book person but still want to know the story, the TV show is a good substitute.

All in all, I loved this series. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a challenge and, I don't know, castles? There are a lot of castles in this series. Anyway, I'm going to go now. Take a nap or something. Yeah. Read A Song of Ice and Fire. Okay. Bye.