Sunday, June 17, 2012

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was my favorite movie of 2010. It's funny and quirky and I just love it. I always wanted to read the graphic novels that inspired the movie, so when the new full-color version of Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life was available on Netgalley, I jumped at the chance.

Basically, the graphic novel and the movie are practically identical. I felt a little disappointed because I already knew the jokes and stuff. It wasn't too bad because I like the jokes. Scott is 22 and in the band Sex Bob-omb. He is dating a 17-year-old, but then he meets Ramona Flowers, the girl of his dreams. Ramona comes with baggage in the form of seven evil exes. In order to date Ramona, Scott will have to battle them to the death.

Precious Little Life introduces the story and shows the battle with the first ex. It was a very fast read. I find graphic novels to breeze by, and they almost feel more like watching a movie than actually reading to me. So, that is my theory for why the book and movie seem so identical. I highly recommend both the Scott Pilgrim movie and the books. I plan to read further into the series myself.

I received my full-color ebook of Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life from Netgalley, courtesy of Oni Press. It will be available August 8th.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Mother may I go out to swim?
Yes, my darling daughter.
Fold your clothes up neat and trim,
But don't go near the water.

You may think you know mermaids. These are not your typical mermaids, these aren't your little mermaids or Ariels. These mermaids will hold you underwater while they devour the life force from your body. These mermaids hold a grudge and they will make you pay.

Calder White is the sole merman in his family. His three sisters call him home to Lake Superior with news that Jason Hancock has returned. Jason Hancock is the man they have been hunting for years. His father promised him as payment when their mother saved his life. Now Calder and his sisters are going to collect that debt by killing Jason Hancock.

They plan to get close to him through his daughters. Unfortunately, the older daughter, Lily, gets to Calder. Soon enough, they are bonding through Tennyson and Bronte poems (I love when characters fall in love over poetry!). Then Calder is in a real bind. He has to consider his loyalty to his mother and his family, plus he will finally be free from his sisters once they kill Jason Hancock. Yet he loves Lily and knows that she will be devastated if he kills her father.

The premise of this book was what initially intrigued me. I don't know of any other mermaid books out there yet. Killer mermaids are indeed a scary concept. The book had me from that starting point. They almost lost me at a couple points along the way, but overall I enjoyed this story. Scary mermaids, vendettas, mythology, (love) poetry, and sooo many secrets and lies, this book basically has everything. Imagine what a great beach read it would make, though it might make you a little skittish about taking a swim.

I received my copy of Lies Beneath from Netgalley, courtesy of Delacorte Books. It will be available June 12th.

Bad Hair Day by Carrie Harris

Kate's back after just defeating the zombie apocalypse through the use of SCIENCE! Now, she is taking a special program that allows students to shadow doctors and surgeons at the local hospital. Kate is assigned to work in the morgue, but soon after her mentor is arrested for murder. Dun dun dun.

Someone, or something, mauled a man to death. Soon after, a young woman is killed the same way. Then Kate's best friend's boyfriend is attacked. He lost a lot of blood, and whoever attacked him was very strong, and very hairy. The football team just turned into zombies, but could these murders be the work of werewolves? Yes, well, sort of...

It's pretty cool how these books have very scientific explanations for seemingly supernatural problems. I wanted to read this right after I read Bad Taste in Boys, just to be able to stay in the same universe. I think I like this book even better than the first one. Kate ends up having to deal with her internship, a charity event she keeps having to bail on, jealousy because Aaron (Now her boyfriend, score one for us nerdy girls!) is being pursued by his buxom classmate at his internship, and then the whole werewolf issue. Yet again, this book was short and incredibly fun and funny. Please, Carrie Harris, keep writing more books in this series.

I received my copy of Bad Hair Day from Edelweiss, courtesy of Delacorte Press. It will be available November 13th, 2012.

Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris

Kate's just your typical high school nerd. She is an aspiring doctor who helps monitor the football team. A football team which happens to su-uck. Her number one crush, Aaron, plays as quarterback, but Kate is too much of a nerd to even form a coherent sentence around him.

One day, Kate finds some strange vials in the Coach's office. It appears as though he might be juicing his players in order to win a couple games. For those with less football knowledge than I, which seems impossible, juicing refers to using steroids as an unfair advantage. These aren't your typical steroids, however. Football players are soon throwing up thick black goo, they have sickly grayish complexions, and oh yeah, they want to eat their fellow classmates.

It's up to Kate to save Aaron and the rest of her classmates! This book is actually a whole lot of fun to read. It's short and silly, though there are some very gory moments. Some of Kate's laments could get a bit grating at times, but overall I like a smart heroine who can still kick zombie behind.

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

I feel that Hemlock can be best described as Veronica Mars, except with werewolves. Mac's best friend Amy was killed by a werewolf. They found her mangled body in an alley with a clump of white hair in her hand. Their group had been inseparable, Amy and her boyfriend Jason, Mac and Kyle. After the attack, Kyle was the one who ignored Amy's calls. Jason was the boyfriend who left her to walk home. Mac has dreams about that night, and she imagines seeing Amy all the time.

The government has officially acknowledged the existence of lupine syndrome. Werewolves are taken to concentration camps and forced to live the rest of their lives behind a fence. Amy's grandfather had been lobbying for greater rights for werewolves. Understandably, after his granddaughter was murdered, he takes a different stance. He invites Trackers into town to find and kill the white wolf. Jason starts hanging out with the Trackers, who are awful, racist, right-wing southern people. In the meantime, Mac and Kyle grow closer together. Mac starts to investigate Amy's murder herself. As the truth comes out, it's a drama bomb exploding all over the place.

I really enjoyed the premise of the book, especially the real world setting and how a very supernatural issue was dealt with in the setting. It's awesome how there's no indication of who's a werewolf until you actually see them transform. Even I imagined pretty much every character as being a werewolf. It really adds an air of mystery to the book.

Anyways, back to my Veronica Mars comparison, Mac wasn't nearly as awesome as Veronica. I actually read this a while ago, but I don't have much of a lasting impression of her either way. She had some cool moments, but she was a little bland. Amy really fits as the Lilly Kane character. She seems like she was a lot of fun. Jason would be the Logan Ecchols, and he is an arrogant jerkhole. The only difference is that I liked Logan Ecchols but Jason sucked. Darned werewolf racist. Kyle is too awesome to be Duncan, plus he's not really Amy's brother and the Mac/Kyle story line doesn't fit. So, three out of four (Technically four out of five because the other-side-of-the-tracks bad boy makes a perfect Weevil) isn't too bad. Yes, I am concluding with a paragraph comparing the characters to TV characters. No, there isn't anything you can do about. Because I am the reviewer and you are not, and I need some way to finally end this freaking review.

I received my copy of Hemlock from Edelweiss, courtesy of Katherine Tegen books. It's available for purchase now.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Yes, I finally got around to reading what was one of the most popular books of last year. You know, only after borrowing it from the library ebook website about three separate times. Finally, I am victorious!

Divergent tells the story of a world where everyone is divided into factions to create order among chaos. Beatrice was born into Abnegation, a faction of modest and selfless people. She never felt as though she completely fit in her faction. All of the 16-year-olds take an aptitude test to determine what faction would be the best fit. Beatrice doesn't completely fit with only one faction, therefore she is divergent. She doesn't quite understand what this means for her, but she is told that she must not tell anyone her results. It could put her in danger, though she doesn't know how.

At her choosing ceremony, Beatrice joins the Dauntless faction. They are the brave and daring ones, the ones she admires as they jump off trains at school. It is the first time she has been away from her family, the first time she spends time with people not from Abnegation. She renames herself as Tris. Dauntless is a very challenging faction, especially for someone not born into the faction, for someone small and so used to selfless and kind people.

The majority of the book details Tris' struggles with her new faction and her fellow inductees. She makes some slightly two-faced friends and clashes with some horrible human beings, and she becomes a romantic interest for her slightly older trainer. Soon enough, the big plot change occurs that sets up the sequel and gets everything in motion for what will inevitably be a war, as you do when you're in a dystopian universe.

So there it is, I finally read it. I actually feel incomplete because now I have to read the recently-released sequel, Insurgent. Sigh, a young adult loving reader's work is never done. Was the book everything I had hoped? Honestly, the summary on the book jacket doesn't really tell me what to expect, which is probably a positive. A lot of what happened made me angry or uncomfortable or sad, but there were some great moments as well. Overall, I'm willing to continue with the series. I'm always up for a fight.