Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Why We Broke Up'I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.

Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.'

I thought the whole concept of this book was really unique and was intriuged by it from the start. I was also really excited as it was written by Daniel Handler, who happens to be one of my favourite authors, so I am happy to say I wasn't too disappointed.

The writing style was one of the main things that I enjoyed throughout the book, as expected. Daniel Handler's writing is hilariously witty and sarcastic, and it really made the banter between Min and Ed believable.

I also really liked the characters, particularly Min and Al. I felt sorry for Al when Min got too caught up by Ed to really pay much attention to him anymore, but he was still there at the end when they, inevitably, break up. I wasn't so much a fan of Ed as he was too sure of himself and I could pretty much guess what was going to happen from the start.

This isn't the kind of book where you are waiting to find out what happens, as you can tell from the title and the synopsis what the entire novel is leading up to. I found that due to that it could be a little dragged out at times, and I felt it could have been a little shorter for a bigger effect.

I just want to mention the illustrations by Maira Kalman that are dotted throughout the book. They were absolutely amazing, and complimented the writing well. This book is definitely a pretty one to have on your shelf!

Overall, I gave Why We Broke Up 4/5 stars.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Coraline by Neil Gaiman


'Coraline's often wondered what's behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her "other" parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures.'

Continuing with the spooky theme this month, I decided to read the famous Coraline by Neil Gaiman. I'm so glad I did!

The concept and writing style of the book together made it very creepy. I wasn't terrified, but definitely creeped out by the fact that this little girl was exposed to this monstruous 'other mother'.

I also really enjoyed having Coraline as a main character; she was vulnerable, but very brave, and faced a lot of events throughout the book with maturity that you wouldn't expect from a girl of her age!

The only problem that I had with this book was that at times it seemed dragged out and at others far too rushed. I think I probably would have benefited from reading Coraline  a few years ago, because it is a children's book, but overall, I did really enjoy it and gave it 4/5 stars!

What did you think of Coraline?

Monday, 8 October 2012

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1) 'Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.'

First of all, I absolutely LOVED this book. I devoured it with 24 hours, both the fast paced plot and humourous writing making it an easy yet captivating read.


Characters - Cas is quite full of himself, quite a cocky character throughout the novel. At times he did irritate me a little, but overall, I really enjoyed reading about him. I also liked Carmel and Thomas, who both turned out to be different to what my first impression of them was. And of course, Anna. I really loved reading about Anna, and felt for her throughout all her struggles. Her story was sadder than I expected it to be, and I think it made me appreciate everything that she had gone through a little more.

Plot - The plot was fast paced and action packed. Kendare Blake really doesn't beat around the bush when it comes to major points in the plot line, and I loved it. New events unfolding in every chapter really made this novel a page-turner.

Gore - Kendare Blake really didn't hesitate to put gory and sometimes chilling scenes into a YA novel, which I appreciated! I think more YA authors need to branch out and not tone down what have the potential to be gory/scary scenes.


Well, actually, there's only one thing I didn't like about this book, and that was the romance. Don't get me wrong, I love a bit of romance in YA, but it has to be developed properly and not be anywhere near insta-love. Unfortunately, Anna Dressed in Blood had one of the weirdest romances I've ever read about.

The romace wasn't necesarily insta-love or even completely under-developed. It just seemed too rushed towards the end, seemed to come out of nowhere. One minute, Cas was thinking about how he still couldn't trust Anna, how he was still wary of her, how he still had to kill her, and in literally the next chapter he was madly in love with her?

I really didn't understand where the romance came from, and it definitely needed to be developed a lot more, but other than that, I really loved this novel and would highly recommend it for a Halloween read!

4/5 stars.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)'When a local boy is killed by wolves, Grace's small town becomes a place of fear and suspicion. But Grace can't help being fascinated by the pack, and by one yellow-eyed wolf in particular. There's something about him - something almost human. Then she meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away...

A chilling love story that will have you hooked from the very first page.'

This novel is told from both Grace and Sam's point of view. I thought the transitions between their two perspectives were well done; there was no jumping, and the writing really did flow.

The writing style of this book was perfect; elegant, descriptive and flowing. I really enjoyed Maggie Steifvater's writing, and hope to enjoy it again some time soon!

The romance between Sam and Grace was very cute and I really enjoyed watching their relationship blossom! I didn't have any kind of problem with the insta-love that you often find in YA novels; Sam and Grace's relationship developed, for me, at the right pace.

The only problem I had with this book was that it was far too long for the amount that happened in it. There wasn't too much of a plot, and I felt some aspects of the book were dragged on far too long. I therefore decided to give Shiver 4/5 stars, but if it had been around 100 pages shorter, it probably would have been a 5!

What did you think of Shiver?