Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wish you were dead by Todd Strasser

While this book is supposed to be a thriller and it had it's moments, it simply didn't create enough suspense to create a roller coaster ride one expects with a thriller. At the same time, it's supposed to be about the world of blogging and social networking, but failed to delve deep enough.

After someone blogs about being teased and wishing the bully were dead, said bully suddenly disappears. Everyone is suddenly on edge and speculating about what could have happened, especially Madison - the last person to see the girl. With no new news, life slowly starts to go on until another student disappears - another student the blogger complained about. What's going on and what's the mystery behind the new guy that Madison can't help but feel attracted to? He's hiding something and it doesn't help Madison's nerves when she starts receiving mysterious notes about danger.

This book was not as thrilling as it could have been. It was almost as if there were too many lulls in the story and not enough moments of suspense. Certain characters were thrown into the story, possibly as red herrings without being developed enough to really be taken in that direction. The true killer comes completely out of left field but almost in a fashion where you wonder where that came from. Madison has a "creepy" email stalker that doesn't seem to serve much purpose except connecting to the Internet theme, maybe? There were the occasional "diary" entries from the kidnapper, but those were mediocre additions. The whole novel wasn't terrible, but it could have pushed further. This is up for an Abe Lincoln award but it doesn't seem to have any real guts. You don't really feel the character's pain at the beginning - only a little. If she wants this person dead so badly, I personally thing I should feel the same way. Unfortunately that didn't happen. If this is supposed to be about the evils of blogs or social networking, it should have been a more prevalent aspect of the story. It was simply the catalyst and nothing more. So much more could have been done afterwards to carry on the theme and create thrills. If this is supposed to be about Madison searching for answers, not hiding at home and speculating. Everyone comes to her with the answers as opposed to her finding them on her own.

This book simply leaves you wanting more thrills and less waiting around for something to happen.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Animal Land by Makoto Raiku

There is a time when women are not ready to be mothers. In this case a strange woman has abandoned her child, allowing him to float down a river. Somehow the baby ends up in a place full of animals. Rescued by Monoko a tanuki, the child discovers his rare ability to speak different animal cries. Now Monoko as the child's 'mother' will venture into the dangers of the animal kingdom to ensure her 'child's' survival.

Black Heart Crypt by Grabnestein

This is a creepy story perfect for Halloween. Its rated for middle school readers. There are a couple of pretty gruesome scenes in it that may make it unsuitable for some of the younger tweens. Its perfect for 7th & 8th graders. Zack Jenning's dog Zipper chases something into a nearby graveyard where Zack witnesses an eerie conversation among ghosts. He can see ghosts you see. He is from a long line of relatives who could see ghosts. His father chose to give up his gift. A short time later there is a ghost attack in a hardware store and father calls in his three gifted aunts for help and protection. Halloween is fast approaching and ghosts can wreck havoc on Halloween night and something is clearly afoot. The twelve notorious Icklebys escape from the crypt in which they have been locked for a long time. Their goal is to kill the boy Jennings in revenge for having been locked up in a crypt by his great aunts. There is some implausible, doesn't work for grown-ups stuff in this story but I think it will work just fine for kids. Zack, his grandpa (a ghost and nephew to the three aunts), and his aunts battle to send the notorious Icklebys ( twelve or is it thirteen of them) on their way forever, to get back Norman Ickes' stolen body from his distant relatives and generally restore peace. Go ahead read by sage candle light, the ghosts will leave you alone, I promise! JDW 9/24

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dust and Decay - Jonathan Maberry

After the events in Rot and Ruin Tom Imura has been training his younger brother Benny, Nix Riley, Lilah a.k.a the Lost Girl, Chong, and Morgie how to fight and quiet the zombies that live out in the Rot and Ruin. Morgie is the only one who doesn't go with as they leave town to follow a plane Benny and Nix saw flying over the Rot and Ruin. As they venture out from the town they run into bounty hunters who are working for White Bear. They find out that there is a price on their heads, and they are worth more alive than dead. After an attack by a white rhinoceros they come upon Brother David's place, with no Brother David. Chong thinks that the attack is his fault and runs away. Tom decides to go looking for him leaving Lilah, Benny, and Nix at Brother David's. Later that night a zombie attack on Brother David's place forces Lilah to separate from Benny and Nix. Eventually everyone makes their way to the Wawona Hotel, either by being captured by White Bear, or making it on their own. The hotel has been turned into the new Gameland. Gameland is run by White Bear and Preacher Jack, and it is where kids are put in pits with zombies and people bet on who will survive. The battle for the Rot and Ruin begins and ends at the Wawonda Hotel. Will our heroes survive the battle, or will White Bear and Preacher Jack continue to control the Rot and Ruin?

I absolutely loved this book. I like how Jonathan Maberry didn't just make it about people fighting zombies, he made it about what it means to survive when 90% of the world are zombies. He has created characters that you care about, and ones that you can't help but hate. You can place yourself inside the mind of any character, and feel like you are actually there with them. I hope he writes a third book or even a fourth book, because to me the story isn't done yet. Rot and Ruin along with Dust and Decay are two of the best zombie books I have read, and I highly recommend them.

T.B. 9/21/11

Monday, September 19, 2011

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid The Book of Scary Urban Legends - Jan Brunvand

Urban Legends have been a part of folklore for a long time. All are told by a person who said it happened to a friend of a friend. From the Vanishing Hitchhiker, to Bloody Mary, to Spiders in the Cactus, to the Kidney Heist, to the Kentucky Fried Rat. These stories have become part of our culture. Even though the location of where the story happens (like the urban legends that happen on college campuses) changes, the essence of the story remains the same.

So the next time you have a party or a sleepover, and you want to give people a good scare tell them to go into the bathroom and say Bloody Mary three times in front of the mirror, or after you hear about an escaped convict with a hook for a hand, and you come home from being out with your girlfriend/boyfriend and discover a hook in the side of the car door. If you are at a boarding school or college make sure you turn on the lights if you hear strange sounds coming from your roommates side of the room. Last, but certainly not least, if you are babysitting young children, make sure you check on them, and if the phone rings make sure it's not coming from inside the house.

If you want to read more urban legends you can check out Jan Brunvand's other books, and I also recommend the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series.

T.B. 9/19/11

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I finally finish the this amazing trilogy!!! Personally I enjoy this book, in had been a couple months since I had finish Catching Fire. I decided to pick up Mockingjay because there is so much suspense at the end of each novel.
This time Katniss Everdeen is ready to fight the capital and rescue Peeta, but she only sees the deaths she believes she has caused. In this book we see Katniss in District 13 and meeting with President Coin. She visits what is left of District 12 and slowly a love triangle unfolds between Katniss, Peeta and Gale. To make matters worse Peeta is being tortured in the capital and as well on live television, Katniss is willing to do everything so Peeta is rescued. Katniss is determined to kill President Snow, but she is so confused who to believe? In who to trust? At the end we discover that in so many fatalities Prim, Katniss's sister, ends up dying. Now more than ever Katniss feels so sick mentally and physically, she is just simply tired of this confusion.
In the book we will learned how does Katniss after all this she ends up having a wonderful family with the person she realizes she truly loves. This is a must read book or I should say trilogy!!! RPA