Friday, July 9, 2010

I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It by Adam Selzer

No spoilers.

I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It
Author: Adam Selzer
Year of Publication: 2010
Genre: Fantasy, YA, humor
Pages: 177
First Line: "Watching a vampire make out with an idiot is kind of like going to the farmers' market and noticing just how many farmers have lost fingers in on-the-job accidents."

Summary: Eighteen-year-old Algonquin "Alley" Rhodes doesn't need to watch Twilight to know what it's like to be around vampires. Her school is teeming with them -- along with zombies and werewolves, of course. A few years ago, all the post-humans "came out of the coffin," and now they're just a normal part of life. But the movies don't tell the real story. Real vampires are brooding, self-absorbed jerks who run around acting all emo. That's what Alley thinks, anyway.

Then one night Alley goes to the Cage to review a local band, the Sorry Marios, for her school's blog. Alley's known for her sarcastic wit, and she can't wait to rip apart the band's set. But when a special guest singer, Doug, hits the stage, his soft, crooning voice stops her heart. He seems like a real goth, not like the lame wannabes at her high school. And for the first time, pale skin and black clothing are hot to Alley.

When she and Doug start dating, Alley's so swept off her feet she doesn't suspect anything, despite a few odd signs: he never changes his clothes, his head is a funny shape, and he says practically nothing out loud. Finally, her best friends clue her in: Doug isn't just a really sincere goth. He's a zombie.

Alley knows she has to break up with Dough but soon learns that zombies are awfully hard to get rid of. And the school's vampire clique, a group as tightly knit as the Mafia, has its own plans for Alley's future. will Alley survive her little experiment in dating the undead?

Source: Back of book

Review: A truly amusing book. Not fantastic literature or anything, but a quick and fairly rewarding read, poking fun at pop culture's recent fascination with vampires, werewolves, zombies, etc. The ending, while I won't give it away, is more what I wish Meyer had done with the Twilight series. Original and very funny, plus easy to read. I understand, from the author's website, that IKAZAILI has been optioned by Disney for a Disney Channel Original Movie. I imagine that its quality would suit the book well, as it's not worth it for the silver screen, but I'd love to see a film production of this.

Worst part: I felt the vampires were really irrelevant, and thrown in there just for kicks.

Best part: The 1930s references. Considering my own obsession with the era, I was pleased.

Grade: B

Other Books by This Author: Get Suspended and Influence People, Pirates of the Retail Wasteland, I Put a Spell on you, Andrew North Blows Up the World and The Smart Aleck's Guide to American History.

53 / 50 books. 106% done!

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

Vague spoilers -- some spoilers for the entire Twilight saga.

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Year of Publication: 2010
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Pages: 178
First Line: "The newspaper headline glared at me from a little metal vending machine: SEATTLE UNDER SIEGE -- DEATH TOLL RISES AGAIN."

Summary: Bree Tanner can barely remember life before she had uncannily powerful senses, superhuman reflexes, and unstoppable physical strength. Life before she had a relentless thirst for before she became a vampire.

All Bree knows is that living with her fellow newborns has few certanties and even fewer rules: watch your back, don't draw attention to yourself, and above all, make it home by sunrise or die. What she doesn't know: her time as an immortal is quickly running out.

Then Bree finds an unexpected friend in Diego, a newborn just as curious as Bree about their mysterious creator, whom they know only as her. As they come to realize that the newborns are pawns in a game larger than anything they could have imagined, Bree and Diego must choose sides and decide whom to trust. But when everything you know about vampires is based on a lie, how do you find the truth?

Source: Back of book

Review: In true Meyer fashion, her characters are below average, as is the writing style. Just like her other novels, however, the story itself is original, creative, and interesting. With this novel, she does a better job at forming the universe which readers missed out on in the Twilight saga. Though I haven't compared the end scene with Bree's scene in Eclipse, I'm curious to. I feel some parts in this were added to the conversation which didn't take place in its mother novel, but I could be wrong. I was very interested in Fred's character and somewhat shocked by Riley's. He is not as I imagined him in Eclipse. The added Volturi plot was very interesting as well. It's a quick read and definitely worth it if you've read the rest of the series. You could even, for the most part, read and understand without having read Twilight. This made me wish Meyer did this for other characters, as well, especially Quil and Claire.

Worst part: The characters were flat as always with Meyer.

Best part: The idea of the story. Meyer is a great story teller. Many people won't admit to it, but it's true. She's great at weaving plot lines -- just not great with characters and the actual words.

Grade: B (almost a B+)

Other Books by This Author: The Host, Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and (the failure of all enders), Breaking Dawn Fail.

52 / 50 books. 104% done!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Title: Hex Hall
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Year of Publication: 2010
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Pages: 323
First Line: "Felicia Miller was crying in the bathroom. Again."

Summary: Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father -- an elusive European warlock -- only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries start to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Source: Back of book

Review: So, really, this book was scattered, and basically everything was stolen from Harry Potter. Sophie managed to be a mix of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, as she was the main character and living in an unconventional family situation (Harry), was teased by everyone (Ron), and always went to books for help (Hermione). Aside from that, there was the whole bathroom scene, quite like HPatCoS, plus all the ghosts, one of which reminded me of Moaning Myrtle. I won't say I was disappointed in this, because I hadn't had a lot of faith in it to begin with, but seriously, it was blech. Not really worth the time or effort, in my opinion.

Worst part: None of it seemed to be original.

Best part: There were some characters, such as the faeries and some shapeshifters, that I liked, but they weren't in the book much. I also liked that the school was located on Graymalkin Island. I'm not sure how many people got that Macbeth reference, though.

Grade: D

Other Books by This Author: No others at the moment, it seems.

51 / 50 books. 102% done!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Zombie Haiku by Ryan Mecum

Some spoilers.

Zombie Haiku
Author: Ryan Mecum
Year of Publication: 2008
Genre: Poetry, sci-fi/fantasy
Pages: 139
First Line: "To whoever might find this, my name is Chris Lynch, and I'm pretty sure I'm dying."

Summary: What you hold in your hands is a document from the early days of the zombie plague. Little is known about the author before his infection -- only that he was a poet. This facsimile of his actual journal recounts the events of humanity's darkest hours, through the intimate poetry of haiku. Inside you'll find increasingly disjointed and terrifying three-line poems (all in the classic 5-7-5 syllable structure), and follow the undead poet on a journey through deserted streets and barricaded doors.

Experience every eye-popping, gut-wrenching, flesh-eating moment of the eventual downfall of the human race from the point of view of a zombie, and gain insight to help you survive -- if you can.

Source: Back of book

Review: Really interesting, to be totally honest. I was surprised at the ability to give so much plot with a series of haiku. I was also particularly impressed with how the plot circled from Chris Lynch to the poet and back to Chris Lynch. Very creative and very quick. Definitely worth the hour or so. Plus, the illustrations are interesting.

Worst part: It was hard to believe a zombie sitting to write this stuff down as it happened. But if you can over look that, it's awesome.

Best part: One particular haiku was just "brains" five times, then seven, then five. That was funny.

Grade: A

Other Books by This Author: Vampire Haiku and I understand Werewolf Haiku will be available in September.

50 / 50 books. 100% done!

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

No spoilers.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Year of Publication: 2008
Genre: YA, sci-fi
Pages: 265
First Line: "I used to be someone."

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Jenna Fox has just awoken from a year-long coma -- so she's been told -- and she is still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. But what happened before that? She's been given home movies chronicling her entire life, which spark memories to surface. But are the memories really hers? And why won't anyone in her family talk about the accident? Jenna is becoming more curious. But she is also afraid of what she might fin out if she ever gets up the courage to ask her questions.

What happened to Jenna Fox? And who is she, really?

Source: Back of book

Review: Not spectacular but not horrendous. The writing style was vaguely annoying, and I hated the poems that were sprinkled around, but it didn't ruin the book. None of the characters were very dynamic but they weren't awfully flat, either. Just a mediocre book in general, I think. The idea was interesting but I think it would have been executed better by another author. Scott Westerfeld comes to mind, specifically because of the Uglies series. Probably not worth the time unless you're really stuck for something to read.

Worst part: The lack of description of technology other than what was directly related to Jenna's story was annoying. It made it difficult to imagine her world. Also, the Dane thing confused me.

Best part: I liked Alyss a lot. She was a cool character.

Grade: C+

Other Books by This Author: The Miles Between, A Room on Lorelei Street, Scribbler of Dreams and David v. God

49 / 50 books. 98% done!