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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Mystery Boxes | Graphic Novel Review

The Mystery Boxes (Explorer #1)

Edited by: Kazu Kibuishi
Number of pages: 128

Average Rating: 3.98/5 stars
My Ratings: 4/5 stars

Published: March 2012
Read in October 2017

Summary According to Goodreads

What’s in the box? 

Find out in these seven clever stories by eight incredible comics creators!

My Thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed this collection more than I initially thought I would. It was interesting to see how so many people can take an idea of a single box, and do completely different things with it. This idea of an anthology just goes to show how creative and unique people can be!

I decided to rate each story individually, and in order they appeared in the novel:

Under the Floorboards by Emily Carroll: 4 stars

     • I really enjoyed this one, which surprised me as I didn't care for Through the Woods. The art style was creepy to fit the plot, and I liked how she relied more on pictures than words to tell the story.

Spring Cleaning by Dave Roman and Raina Telgemier: 4 stars

     • This was fun, a little bit young, but a very cute story!

The Keeper's Treasure by Jason Caffoe: 3 stars

The Butter Thief by Rad Sechrist: 4 stars

     • I really liked this one! It was funny, but action-packed and concluded well.

The Soldiers Daughter by Stuart Livingston with Stephanie Ramirez: 4 stars

     • I loved the art style of this story, and also the sweet but important message it conveys to readers!

Whatzit by Johane Matte with Saymone Phanekham: 3 stars

     • This was okay, the bright art style was easily my favourite part of the story. It was fun and light, a perfect addition to a fairly dark anthology

The Escape Option by Kazu Kibuishi: 2 stars

     • I was quite disappointed by this one, as I had enjoyed his Amulet series but I appreciate the work he did in editing this anthology together. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Dead House | Book Review

The Dead House 

Written by: Dawn Kurtagich
Number of Pages: 448

Average Rating: 3.71/5 stars
My Rating: 2/5 stars

Published in September 2015
Read in October 2017

Summary According to Goodreads

Three students: dead.

Carly Johnson: vanished without a trace.

Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, “the girl of nowhere.”

Kaitlyn’s diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night, and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn’t exist, and in a way, she doesn’t - because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson. 

Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It’s during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it.

My Thoughts

I went into this novel not knowing much about the plot. It was a random bookstore find, and I'd never heard anyone talk about it before. I love spooky things and the brief synopsis on the back had really grabbed my attention. However, I ended up quite disappointed.

This novel is told in a variety of medias including diary entries, interviews, and video clips (all transcribed for the sake of a novel). There is a lot of bouncing back and forth between "before the incident" and "after the incident" and other random periods of time, and it was not easy to keep up with. Some of the entries seemed very scattered, and I think that was supposed to be some of the thrill and mystery, but it got lost on me. 

I enjoyed the characters enough to continue reading the novel in its entirety, but would have preferred if she kept to one theme; horror or mental illness/psychological. It is hard to take a character dealing with a personality disorder, and transform it into a character that is “possessed”. I am diagnosed bipolar and struggle in similar ways as this character did, but felt like it was portrayed poorly. For me this just struck the wrong chord and I think it could have been a stronger novel without a crossover.

I think my biggest complaint about this novel is that it was just too long. There were so many things that could have been cut out since they didn't add anything to the story, and just slowed down the pacing. It is also shelved as “horror”, but I did not find it scary at all. Granted I watch and read a lot of horror, so I don’t spook too easily, but there were so many opportunities for a fright that never came. 

Overall, I was very disappointed by this novel as it had so much potential. I am a little bit slack considering this was her debut novel, but I think it could have used some more editing and re-working of the order of events. The ending was rushed and chaotic, and I’m not even 100% sure of what happened, so I don’t really recommend it.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

There's Someone Inside Your House | Book Review

There’s Someone Inside Your House

Written by: Stephanie Perkins
Number of Pages: 287

Average Rating: 3.59/5 stars
My Rating: 3.75 stars

Published: September 26, 2017
Read in October 2017

Summary According to Goodreads

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted. 

My Thoughts

Let it be known, I love Stephanie Perkins and her Anna trilogy. so this was very high on my anticipated releases. I wasn’t disappointed, but I was definitely expecting more. 

I am a huge fan of the thriller/horror genre, and would pick one up before I would a romance. I love to be scared, and this one did keep me on the edge of my seat at times, but never spooked me. When I first read the synopsis I was hooked, and as I mentioned earlier, I have been waiting for this novel for a very long time. Unfortunately, the plot was not anything unique, and didn’t completely grab me. Reading this novel was almost like reading a screenplay for another Scream movie, as the motives, the drama, and the characters were similar. As I reader I was never questioning who was safe and who the killer was, because it was revealed fairly early on in the novel - probably even by the halfway point - which was a total let down as I love to be kept guessing! There wasn’t enough suspense or thrill in this novel for me, and the most horror was the gruesome killing. I would have loved to see something more developed and diverse, but I don’t think horror is Stephanie’s strongest genre. 

The characters were much stronger than the plot was, but still basic YA. I enjoyed watching the relationship develop between our two main characters, and loved how they were both so realistically awkward with each other. I also enjoyed watching our main character Makani grow into herself and become a little bit more confident than the beginning, but I think her “big secret” was a bit overreacted. Writing a novel with this dark of a plot, I was expecting a much darker secret.

Stephanie Perkins has such a smooth writing style, she can make a grotesque scene read poetic. To make this novel even better I would have loved multiple perspectives, because a killing spree like this affects so many people and I think it would have added a lot more dimension to the story. I was still never completely sucked into the plot, but I couldn’t stop reading because her writing flows from one page to the other that I flew through it. 

Overall, this was an enjoyable read. If you are interested in the plot I would suggest going into it expecting more romance than horror, which isn’t what I was hoping for. This is a good read for the time of year since Halloween is coming up, and I think it would be enjoyed by many!