Nostalgic tales: Dream Lake

Title: Dream Lake
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Type of Book: Trade Paperback
Pages: 336
Genre: romance, contemporary, paranormal–ghost

Ahh miss Kleypas but you truly know how to make my toes animate themselves and start singing a mighty fine tune. But seriously, if you guys thought Sam Nolan was delicious, y’all best make room because Alex Nolan is just sinful and no amount of finger biting will make you turn away. Although I haven’t read Crystal Cove the third instalment, Dream Lake is my overall favourite.

Alex Nolan bad soul, heavy drinker, the youngest of the Nolan kids who suffered the most thanks to his parents’ alcoholic ways. Got married and divorced made him a very bitter man. Highly believes the world is better off if it just left him the hell alone. Which I will say he probably is better off. Sadly enough for him and delightful giggles for us readers the supernatural just got thrown into the mix. If that wasn’t enough on Alex’s plate wait till he meets his lady-in-waiting, cute, bubbly, petite and so much sunshine you need sunglasses Zoe.

She needed a house to get a fixing for her ill grandmother and he was the best in town.

A real opposite attract kind of couple, in the previous book Rainshadow Road we got a sample of these individuals, once more the author plays the magic bit around but it’s a lot more tone down in comparison with her previous novel. Mostly I think is because of there being a ghost in the mix and his tale is equally as sad. A ghost who can’t remember isn’t as sad as a ghost who can’t remember and the lost-love who never stopped loving/waiting for him. What worked really well too was the theme of alcoholism and how it affects not only the abuser but the people around them as well and I found the author did a good job is highlighting the dangers of it without making it seem cartoony or over dramatic.

Throughout the book Alex and Zoe go through many rough patches, Alex and his devils coming to haunt him and Zoe who behind her upbeat-ness hides tons insecurities and loneliness. Nobody said love between the broken would be easy; however it was nice to see how both of them, by being with each other were in fact healing one another and together became stronger. I truly do recommend this book, a great read, great writing style and gourmet dishes Zoe cooks up will have you drooling all over.

Grading: 5/5

Meli<3

Michelle’s Paper Garden: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan


Title: Saga Volume 1
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Publisher: Image Comics
Year: 2012
Type: Paperback
Number of Pages: 160 pages
Genre: graphic novel, fantasy, science fiction, romance, adult

Summary: When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From New York Times bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40), Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.

This specially priced volume collects the first six issues of the smash-hit series The Onion A.V. Club calls “the emotional epic Hollywood wishes it could make.”

Collects Saga issues #1-6

[http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15704307-saga-volume-1]

Review:
Where to begin? The art is fantastic and the character design is unbelievable. There is a character who is a grease monkey (slang for a mechanic) who is actually a monkey. I thought it was clever. One of the bad guys is a robot prince with a tv for a head, which is kind of weird but I assume that was the point, and another is a super creepy spider lady who invaded my nightmares for about a week and reminded me why I should not stay up until three in the morning reading scary comic books. Anyway, everything about this graphic novel was visually stunning.

Now, the story is a tale as old as time, but I like the classics so I was completely fine with the whole star-crossed lovers racket. Besides the non suicidal Romeo and Juliet plot, this comic contains a wisecracking ghost, a tree that turns into a rocket ship, magic, sarcasm everywhere, and bounty hunters. The star-crossed lovers thing is completely overshadowed by all the awesome.

Oh and the best thing about it is that it is entirely narrated by the lovers’ newborn baby, who is sarcastic and I loved it. Speaking of cool character, Lying Cat is the greatest. She can tell when you are lying and voices is by calling you a liar outright. I got attached to her. I also got extremely attached to Izabel,the ghost babysitter that helped save their lives and now follows them around. She’s sassy.

Oh I almost forgot. Remember I was praising the art before? Yeah, the artist (Fiona Staples) is very accurate with body parts. Mind all of the nudity because they show everything! If you freak out over a nip slip, then do not read this book because you will get the mother of all nose bleeds. There are a few sex scenes, as well as a brothel planet where no one is afraid to show anything off. Huh, I actually just noticed that there is some minor nudity on the front cover (everyone scroll up). Hey, breastfeeding counts.

Aside from the nudity, there is also a lot of blood and guts. At some point someone’s head explodes and there are a lot of battle scenes. There is a war going on, after all. Those who have read Hack/Slash won’t even bat an eyelash. Those who have read Runaways may be a little freaked out. You should all go and read both of those now. They are both fantastic, completely different from one another.

In short, this is a very funny and interesting graphic novel that kept me wanting more. I would recommend it and I would recommend Brian K. Vaughan’s other works, which I will eventually review. :)
5/5

Nostalgic Tales : Girl of Nightmares

Title: Girl of Nightmares

Publisher: Tor Teen

Author Kendare Blake

Type of book: Hardcover

Pages:332

Genre: Romance, Fantasy supernatural, horror

So it finally happened, the ending, the conclusion, the final round between good and evil. I didn’t want it to end.

Once more Madame Blake takes us on a magnificent journey, time has passed since Anna Korlov made the brave decision of descending into hell to save Cas and his friends, and while everyone is grateful for her sacrifice the only one to still ponder about it is Cassio. Where did she end up going? Is she content? And what of the Obeahman, is he truly gone? Thankfully all these questions and more get revealed in this stunning sequel.

Cas is restless, angry and generally heartbroken, he feels that nobody really understands and I think in a way he cocooned himself from life itself. He is haunted by visions of his beloved Anna causing him to lose sleep, and if that’s not bad enough our once ghost busting trio have a rift. If I saw anyone who might want to reconsider their role in the group, I wouldn’t have called that person out first. I guess sometimes supernatural experience can either make you bond together like The Ghost Busters, or fall apart like so many music bands we know today.

Despite their fallen member Cas’s waste no time in conjuring his next move. Rescuing Anna— which everyone is so against it but you know what they say “love makes you do crazy things”. I just would never imagine venturing into the deep red tomb of evil would be it. It’s a bloody fantastic ride to get there let me tell you that. However, they can’t do it alone and a trip to England is proving to unfold many mysteries and a new ally/enemy named Jestine. The best way to describe this girl would be as Cas’s female version, but more mature? Perhaps just knowledgeable and better skilled? The part where they venture away to London though does highlights some very interesting places I did not know about and perhaps I will want to see from afar of course.

Either way I was torn between being thankful that she was there when they needed help and hating her when we find out her true reason for sticking around and what it might mean for Cas and his position as…the guy who fights which goes bump in the night?

All in all I felt the book was too short, I knew it had to end but it happened way too soon so that is just my little thing, overall I enjoyed it Anna got what she deserved. Of course the sappy romantic in me wanted them to be together…even if he had to die…THERE I SAID IT I WOULD HAVE NOT MINDED IF HE DIED! Wow that feels nice to let that out. I think though, reflecting on the ending again, it kind of showed mirrored what we all wanted, or at least what I wanted. that even in death, love triumphs all or something of the latter. The selfish part of me also says that it wouldn’t be a bad idea if she did continue with this story…just one more, but I know that won’t happen so I’ll settle and just let it continue in my head.

Nevertheless, I love this author to bits and if she comes out with another work I will tune in so please look into this :)

Grading : 5/5

-Meli

Michelle’s Paper Garden: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

Title: The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles #1)

Author: Kady Cross

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Year: 2011

Type: Hardcover

Number of pages: 473 pages

Genre: science fiction, steampunk, young adult, historical fiction, mystery

Summary: In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the “thing” inside her.When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no “normal” Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch….

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she’s special, says she’s one of “them.” The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.

Griffin’s investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help–and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff’s little company of strays apart, and it isn’t long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she’s on–even if it seems no one believes her.

[http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9166877-the-girl-in-the-steel-corset]

Review:

I was so excited about a steampunk murder mystery story with a badass heroine that as soon as I got this book for Christmas, I dropped my schoolwork and the other book I was reading to dive into this tale. Then I started reading the thing and it held my attention for the most part. I was a little annoyed with the love at first sight thing because I am so very tired of that idiotic concept. Griffin King, the super rich and handsome hero, accidently runs over Finley Jane, the supposedly badass heroine mentioned above, and just like that they are attracted to one another. Bleh. Oh, and then there is a love triangle that includes a devilishly handsome criminal mastermind who is very obviously a nobleman as he gains and loses his cockney accent. He also falls in love with her very quickly.

To top it all off, there is an almost second love triangle going on between three secondary characters, who are honestly more dynamic and interesting than those mentioned in the previous paragraph. The attraction is more believable and sweet than the instantaneous love experienced by the others.

Enough with the mushy stuff and on to the murder mystery! The mystery is kind of lame. Now, I may have been slightly ruined after reading A Game of Thrones and trying to wrap my head around that complex web of a plot, but the twists in this book were pretty easy to solve. It took one or two clues before I guessed the whole evil plot and before I guessed most of the supposedly shocking twists about the characters, as every single one of them has a twist. Maybe others will find the mystery more challenging, but I thought it could have been concealed a little better.

The actions scenes were interesting. The main characters have powers and these powers make for some really cool fight scenes; they were usually well described fight scenes too that most likely involved at least one murderous automaton. On the topic of automatons, the steampunk theme was well done; it was always present, though sometimes the machines were only mentioned in passing.

Overall, I liked the book. They explained most of the mysteries that popped up throughout the book and for the most part the characters were interesting. The main character was a butt-kicking, abnormally strong girl, which was a nice reprieve. However, now this might just be me, but I think the author could have finished it all up nicely in one book. There is no reason for not one, but two sequels. I will read the sequels because I want to know why she is dragging on the story for another two books, but my expectations are not too high

3.5/5

I’d recommend it, but don’t expect too much. It’s a young adult mystery novel, not Sherlock Holmes, so it may be very easy to figure out.

Nostalgic Tales: Rainshadow Road By Lisa Kleypas

Title: RainShadow Road

Publisher: Piatkus Books

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Type of Book: Paperback

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Adult, Magic Realism, Chick Lit

This book was given to me based on a win from Goodreads and I am not especially lucky so you should all know how ecstatic I was to have finally won something. So many thanks!!!

On with the Review:

This story is particularly juicy, our main character Lucy, the forgotten child in some sense. She (Lucy) undergoes a massive betrayal, not only does her conniving boyfriend break with her, and yes there was another woman and that woman is, you guessed it! Lucy’s younger, prettier and attention-hogging sister Alice! Needless to say life just crumbled for Lucy after that. It doesn’t take long for Lucy to be rescued, even when she claimed she didn’t need saving. Typical damsel response pshh if only she knew…

Sam Nolan is the essence of Hakuna-Matata. He lives by a simple no-strings attach and everyone is happy life style that I thought “this guy wants to die a bachelor and I’m okay with that” He is kind, witty, science loving nerd, with a face worthy of being a Disney prince (this is based on my visual impression of him, totts could different on readers) but better looking. Oh and all male.*cheeky smile*

When those two collide, Lucy gets ready to run for the hills, but divine intervention or whatever is at work does not let that fly by. I really enjoyed the way their relationship grew. Unlike other romances we get the sexual tension and then the inevitable “your place or mine” speech, but this time it was different. These two’s shared a friendship and a deep companionship that I loved observing and it felt more genuine. So 10 points awarded to Mademoiselle Kleypas!

So ladies and gents, they do get down and dirty after Lucy convinces herself that some less OCD-ness is needed and with her sister being a, well let’s be frank, a narcissistic bitch it was bound to happen. Whoever said stress relievers aren’t handy obviously isn’t getting the right kind. Nevertheless, the drama-juice keeps running as more secrets pop up about her family and her dear ex-boyfriend. We also get a deeper look into Sam’s rough past which explains why he chooses the way of the bachelor.

There are also a few side stories I saw happening and usually I think too many characters getting involved in too overwhelming but this author, she be crafty y’all. I actually wanted to venture more into, but I think Lisa Kleypas next book will give me what I am looking for.

I think this book is fabulous and I could not put it down so well written and breathtaking with lip curling upwards moments. THE ONLY PROBLEM I HAD was the magic, I really didn’t know there was going to mention of it. Yep it happened…a curve ball right in the groin. I kind of wish there wasn’t any, but I suppose it’s a great icebreaker, that little “think outside the box and eat that weird color chocolate because obviously it meant to be there.” Maybe for others the magic-mentions will be pleasing, it could be perhaps she wanted to just be different and try her hand at something more meh the way Kleypas thinks is BEYOND MY UNDERSTANDING. All in all to me on the other hand this story was so beautiful I feel that component was an extra added and you didn’t have to go there.

Oh and let us not forget that dear Alice, learns her lesson and that’s all I am willing to say. When that moment happens I whooped out loud and gloated, but Lucy was much more graceful than I would have been.

Grading : 4.5/5

With mucho Amor
-Meli

Words for Dessert: The Dark By Lemony Snicket


The Dark
Lemony Snicket; Jon Klassen
Little Brown Books, 2013
Hard Cover
40 Pages
Children’s Lit.

Laszlo is afraid of the dark.

The dark lives in the same house as Laszlo. Mostly, though, the dark stays in the basement and doesn’t come into Lazslo’s room. But one night, it does.

This is the story of how Laszlo stops being afraid of the dark.

With emotional insight and poetic economy, two award-winning talents team up to conquer a universal childhood fear.
-Taken from GoodReads

I’m a big fan of children’s literature and since one hasn’t been reviewed on here before I thought now was a good time to bring it up.

I chose this children’s book to review first because there are several things about it that called out to me before I even read the pages between the covers. To list them: 1) Lemony Snicket 2) Jon Klassen and 3) The Dark; to elaborate, I really enjoyed “Lemony Snicket’s” style of writing and when I saw the book come in waiting to be put on the shelves at work, I was wondering how it would work for a book “catered” to a younger audience (at my work we shelve it in the 3-5 age range). I’m a huge fan of Jon Klassen’s illustrations and a quick glance through the book was enough to make me fall in love with his work all over again. The Dark. As a child (And shhh. don’t tell anyone, even as an adult) the dark scares me. No matter what age, I was sure that it would be relatable.

The story is short and simple and the ending really sweet. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I’m happy my curiosity compelled me to pick it up. The story is about not being afraid of the dark. I wouldn’t expect anything less from Snicket’s style by giving the Dark a voice. It was a little creepy at first because I’m a scaredy-cat and in my mind I wanted to tell Laszlo not to listen to it but, he’s a brave child. More than myself. Seriously… I wouldn’t have left my room.

The ending brought a nice smile on my face, it’s cute and I really enjoyed it. Jon Klassen’s illustrations fit perfectly and I couldn’t have imagined a better artist to do it. I really hope they pair up more often! (or for Klassen to write more books but that’s another post)
All in all. I definitely recommend this book! I know I put my employee recommends sticker all over every copy we had in store haha. 5 out of 5 for me! Give it a go if you find it at your local bookstore!

:D

Have you read this? Did you love it as much as I did?
Do you read children’s literature? What’s your favourite?

Until next time~
Sam

Michelle’s Paper Garden: The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

Title: The Time Machine

Author: H.G. Wells

Publisher/ Year: Signet Classics in 2002, originally published in 1895

Type: Paperback

Number of Pages: 118 pages

Genre: Science Fiction, classics, dystopian

Summary: So begins the Time Traveller’s astonishing firsthand account of his journey 800,000 years beyond his own era—and the story that launched H.G. Wells’s successful career and earned him the reputation as the father of science fiction. With a speculative leap that still fires the imagination, Wells sends his brave explorer to face a future burdened with our greatest hopes…and our darkest fears. A pull of the Time Machine’s lever propels him to the age of a slowly dying Earth.  There he discovers two bizarre races—the ethereal Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks—who not only symbolize the duality of human nature, but offer a terrifying portrait of the men of tomorrow as well.  Published in 1895, this masterpiece of invention captivated readers on the threshold of a new century. Thanks to Wells’s expert storytelling and provocative insight, The Time Machine will continue to enthrall readers for generations to come.

[http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2493.The_Time_Machine]

Review:

I hated this book. I feel terrible saying that I hate it because it’s a classic, but I couldn’t stand it. It’s a small book, but I had a hard time finishing it. The main character, simply known as the Time Traveler, is a horrible person who embodies the white man superiority that was very much present when the book was written. He doesn’t really care that the Eloi, the futuristic humanoids, are the food of the monstrous Morlocks, and wants to take the Eloi Weena back to his own time, but he had no intentions to treat her as an equal; she would be more like a pet or a wonder for the people of his time to marvel over. He then lets her die in a fire. The main character had no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

1/ 5