Saturday, August 3, 2013

Review: The Arena Wars by Samantha Hoffman

by Samantha Hoffman
Rating: 3 out of 5 wine glasses

Samantha Hoffman combines the paranormal world with really life dilemmas - such as physical handicaps and Alzheimer's. I see some reoccurring themes between her novels - The Arena Wars and Zombieland. The protagonist's love interest is never perfect and deals with a physical determent somewhere in the novel. The love interest always teases the protagonist about hot he is.

My favorite part of the book is the story about how werewolves are created. First to turn into a werewolf you have to first have werewolf genes. Second you must get bit by a vampire and if your werewolf genes fight off the vampire infection successfully then you can transform into a werewolf at your own discretion. If your body can't fight off the vampire infection then you die. Also once you become a werewolf you no longer age so werewolves are all different ages depending on when they turned -so a child could stay a child forever if that is when the change takes affect.

I think this novel would be a good teen read since reader's get to experience the heroine's internal conflicts on life, love and between what is wrong and right.

The Goodreads' book synopsis gives too much of the story line away but I liked the unexpected twist at the end. I was a little confused on why Roger and Elias had scars if they could completely heal, but I got over this discrepancy. Hopefully, there will be more background on Elias' plan with Alanna and devolve the vampire encounter that turned  Alanna into a werewolf in the next book, War of Hearts.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday's Featured Freebie: Forbidden Forest by Tenaya Jayne

TGIF. Just to make your day even better here is this Friday's Featured Freebie that you can download to get lost in this weekend for absolutely FREE.

Forbidden Forest (Legends of Regia #1) by Tenaya Jayne

234 Pages
Published: October 13th 2012
Currently Free on Kindle and Nook

Born in shame. Cast from society. Shape Shifter/Elf hybrid, Forest must fight for any respect she can get. Targeted in her youth by a vampire noble who placed an illegal slave mark on her, she is forced to obey him, no matter what.

Slipping the grip of her master and abandoning the prejudice of Regia, her native world, Forest takes a job on Earth, guarding the portal, using her skills as a warrior to enforce Regia's laws. Now, called home for a black ops mission, Forest must put aside her own prejudice to transport the vampire prince, Syrus, through enemy territory in a time of war.

Prince Syrus, mage and master of the Blood Kata, wants Forest more than he's ever wanted anything. In spite of their mutual mistrust, their attraction cannot be denied. Through the danger of their mission, and the secrets they both keep, it doesn't matter what they feel. Forest is forbidden. - Goodreads

Need some visual reinforcement to put you in the mood? Check out the book trailer...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Book News & Review: The Book Thief

Book News: The Book Thief is Coming to Theaters 

In case you haven't already heard - they are making The Book Thief by Markus Zusak into a movie. According to IMDB, the release date is going to be November 15th of this year!!!! It is hard to believe that it will be out in theaters before the end of 2013. 

I love the choice for Hans Hubermann - Geoffrey Rush, who I just adored as the speech therapist in The King's Speech. I can smell OSCAR nominees written all over this movie. 

I was very conflicted while writing my review and rating The Book Thief. Regardless of my rating, this book contains a beautiful story where hope and despair are so intertwined it is impossible to separate them because it appears as though one cannot exist without the other. This story is worthy of the big screen.

Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 wine glasses

I had really high expectations going into this book because both my sisters and my mom LOVED and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED it, so I am sad to say that it isn’t one of my all-time favorites. However, the book has many good aspects.

Liked –

The majority of the character have many dimensions to them. You really get to experience faults and triumphs of individual characters and humanity as a whole. For example, Rosa Hubermann, while I don’t condone her parenting methods or vocabulary usage, she loves Liesel and is an inspirational woman who remains strong and resilient in difficult times. Rosa Hubermann and Frau Holtzapfel capture the essence of German women - their main concern isn't how best to show affection but how to survive.

While the book conveys the tough reality of living during those times, there are sparks of light humor, reflecting the glimmer of hope people still held. Rudy’s mischievous but go-lucky behavior, Rosa’s over-the-top swearing, Liesel’s small everyday triumphs and Hans causal humor provide an outlet of hope for the reader so they don’t get overcome with dread and despair. The incident when Hans tells his wife that he was checking out some other woman was one of these moments when I actually laughed out loud.

The book contains a lot of little events and stories about Liesel, Rudy, Max and Hans. These little stories such as the Jesse Owens event make this book so beautiful, it is almost like a diamond with all the different colors radiating/reflecting in the light. However, the way the book is divided, it interprets the novel's flow. Sometimes the book feels like a string of short stories which makes me feel less immersed in the story but if you agree with the opinion that The Book Thief is actually Liesel’s journal with Death’s side commentary then it at least makes sense why the author wrote it that way.

Rudy and Liesel’s Relationship – I am a hopeless romantic at time and yes... I understand she is only 10 -14 years old during the course of the book, but I loved watching their friendship grow and change as the book progressed. There is something special and innocent about young budding love. 

I enjoyed the side commentary by the narrator, Death. It was interesting especially how Death sees war as a new boss. This perceptive on how Death views the world reminded me of Death’s character in On A Pale Horse by Piers Anthony.

Didn’t Like – 

When I first started the prologue I was skeptical on the writing style and how Death, continuously, not only foreshadows but comes right out and tells you this person is going to die – now you spend the entire book waiting for it to happen. Death says he reasoning is to soften the blow. As the book continued, I came to like this foreshadowing less and less. I would have preferred to pretend there was a possibly that Rudy and her could end up together but Death felt the desire to "soften the blow" by continuously remaindering me that they would not – instead of getting decked once in the face when the truth unravels, I felt like I was punched continuously in the gut with every reminder. Maybe that is the impact the author was intending.

The book is very artistically written which caused me to have to re-read paragraphs and pages to make sure I understood what was going on. For this reason, I think it would be an excellent book to do for book club or in a middle/high school English class. This is a book you can actually discuss for an entire book club meeting and still have tons of questions left unanswered. I would like to hear more people’s opinions on the two books that Max writes – The Standover Man and The Word Shaker – and the purpose of them and the roles they play.

The novel was creative and unique – but I got annoyed with the continuous description of colors and the beautiful crafted sentences. The girls in my book club said the colors that death was seeing may not just be the actual physical colors of his surroundings but the aurora of the people, souls and the world around him. Almost like he has special shades that tint the way he views the world. This concept makes me actually appreciate the colors in the book.

Final Words

This is a unique novel that contains many memorable characters with thought provoking ideas about what it was like to grow up in Germany during WWII and how hard it was to survive, love and be courageous. The more I discuss this book with people and do an analysis the more I am captivated by all the concepts this book encompasses, but I still left in a dismay by the way the story was presented. Therefore, I am left wondering if I am missing the beauty of the book since I fail to appreciate its style like my fellow reader counterparts or maybe my expectation bar was set to high before I even opened the book.
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