My Thoughts On: Cloaked in Red by Vivian Vende Velde

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Title: Cloaked in Red

Author: Vivian Vande Velde

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Year Published: 2011

Format: ebook

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Synopsis:

So you think know the story of Little Red Riding Hood, the girl with the unfortunate name and the inability to tell the difference between her grandmother and a member of a different species? Well, then, try your hand at answering these questions:

-Which character (not including Little Red herself) is the most fashion challenged?

-Who (not including the wolf) is the scariest? 

-Who (not including Granny) is the most easily scared?

-Who is the strangest? (Notice we’re not “not including” anyone, because they’re all a little off.)

-Who (no fair saying “the author”) has stuffing for brains?

Vivian Vande Velde has taken eight new looks at one of the world’s most beloved (and mixed-up) stories. You may never look at fairy tales in quite the same way again. – (Goodreads)

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My Thoughts:

*Since this book is made up of eight relatively short stories, there is probably going to be SPOILERS here.

I’ve been eyeing this book for roughly a year or so, but I could never bring myself to pay the $12 I always tended to see it priced as and I wasn’t much for paying for digital books at the time (I tended to wait and see what I could find on promotion on Amazon for free). It wasn’t until I lent a friend a copy of The Changeling Prince, also by this author (and that I also have not read), and listened to her talk excitedly about it and how she read it three times in about the two weeks she had it, that I caved in getting this book. (It also helped that it was an special promotion in the Amazon Kindle store that month for $1.99). I am very happy that I purchased and read this book as I thought it was rather imaginative, especially since there are eight very different retellings of a single fairytale, Little Red Riding Hood.

1) The Red Cloak – This one is about a shy girl, who prefers to blend into the background, but one day her lovey-dovey dyes her oatmeal colored cloak, a bright, look-at-me, red. She is severely embarrassed about this, so when her mother asks her to deliver dinner to her grandmother, and since she does not want to hurt her mother’s feelings, she wears the cloak on the way, but in order to avoid people seeing her in it she walks through the woods instead of close to the village like normal. This proves to be a bad decision as she runs into some trouble with a woodcutter who wants to kidnap her and use her for ransom. This was a great tale to start off with! I loved how it did a reverse roles thing and made the hero of the original tale the villain and, to some extent, the villain of the original tale the hero.

2) The Red Riding Hood Doll – This tale was very interesting in the fact that Little Red Riding Hood doesn’t start off as a real person, but a doll. A young seamstress, who works with her mother, is unhappy and wishes for a child of her own in hopes the child will love her as much as she loves it. So, in a fit of rebellion the young seamstress, Georgette, makes a life-like doll with a red cloak. Still the doll is not alive, which prompts her to go to a field that she heard had magic powers and she makes a wish to give the doll life. This is a classic example of ‘be careful what you wish for.’ The doll, now a beautiful girl, ditches her creator/mother to go off with some boys. I did not like this tale as much as the first or some of the others as I felt Georgette’s overall reaction to the now girl leaving was rather bland. She put so much heart into making this doll and refuses to sell it, but when it comes alive and simply leaves, she brushes it off almost like it was nothing.

3) Little Red Riding Hood’s Family – This one puts even a more supernatural spin on the tale, it turns out old granny… well, she’s a werewolf. And Roselle (Red Riding Hood)? Yeah, she’s a witch. This one was probably my least favorite out of all eight of these stories. It had great potential, but just sort of turned into a frog at the end. The whole revelation about the grandmother was done poorly and what I mean by this is Roselle knows her grandmother is a werewolf, but before we find out of her granny’s full moon problem, and she enters the house and wonders what all the funny noises are and where her sick grandmother is – it is like she didn’t know at all herself. Not to mention she just turns a seemingly random vampire into a frog… What?

4) Granny and the Wolf – I really loved this tale because it shows how strong and kind people can be. Red Riding Hood’s grandmother, a rich widow, is supremely kind and believes one most show kindness to all. She saves a wolf, which subsequently follows her home, and it leads to problems, but in the end is able to keep the wolf a secret and chase away her gold digger suitor. I just really loved the grandmother in this one so much!

5) Deems the Wood Gatherer – This one is my absolute favorite retelling! It follows the woodcutter instead of Red Riding Hood or her grandmother and mentions other fairy tales like the Three Little Pigs and Hansel and Gretel. Unfortunately, for all the other nice characters involved, the woodcutter has very poor eyesight, and where he thinks he is helping he just ends up ruining the lives of those around him, except for the wolf’s. Those poor pigs… I really enjoyed this one because of that. Here you have this generally nice man helping others, but unknowingly destroying their livelihoods, and thinking they would have been lost without him.

6) Why Willy and His Brother Won’t Ever Amount to Anything – This one also didn’t leave much of an impression on me, like number two. It’s a very quick story about two boys Isolda, Red Riding Hood, and her family know and how they live to completely in a fantasy world that they don’t even really see the actual world before them. They only amount to becoming writers. This story just seemed lacking especially when compared to some of the others, but it did hold slight humorous charm.

7) The Little Red Headache – I felt extremely bad for the wolf in this one! He is so nice, yet because of the speaking barrier, he is unable to communicate is good intentions causing horrible misunderstandings between him and Little Red Riding Hood. He just wants to give her back her basket for crying out loud! I really did enjoy this tale quite a lot. I loved how it played on the wolf just being a misunderstood character.

8) Little Red Riding Hood’s Little Red Riding Hood – This is probably my second favorite tale and it has a Sleeping Beauty feel to it, I suppose. A fairy godmother means to part the gift of intelligence on a newly born girl, but accidental gives this gift to a red cloak, which she then gifts to the baby instead (do to her old age the fairy godmother can only grant one wish per day). The cloak keeps the girl out of trouble through the years, even though she is a total brat, and changes it’s form (lighter in the summer and thicker in the winter) when the need arises. The girl treats it like crap and it eventually slithers away when she unwittingly releases it from it’s bond. Loved it! It even has a very brief and vague reference to Superman. It was great that the cloak was very loyal and duty bond, but was also essentially trapped.

Sorry, that this review had a good number of spoilers, but I didn’t really know how else I could talk about this book. Overall, I found these stories to be very enjoyable and quick reads and would recommend them to anyone who enjoys retellings of fairy tales, Little Red Riding Hood in-particular. However, if you are looking for anything in-depth, I would avoid this work, as there is no real world or character building. They are just pure fun.

Rating: 4 out of 5

My Thoughts On: Yoki Koto Kiku by Koge-Donbo

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Title: Yoki Koto Kiku

Author: Koge-Donbo

Publisher: Broccoli Books

Year Published: 2006

Format: Paperback

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Synopsis:

In the ancient House of Nekogami, sibling rivalry is a game of life and death. The family patriarch is dead, and his grandson Sukekiyo is the rightful heir. There’s just one problem — Sukekiyo is away at war, his fate unknown. Only one person can inherit the family fortune, and the triplets Yoki, Koto, and Kiku won’t let Sukekiyo’s fiancée, Tamayo, walk away with everything. With a fortune at stake, it’s kill or be killed as the Nekogami clan goes up against demons, thieves, and each other to protect the family — and the cash! – (Goodreads)

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My Thoughts:

Yoki Koto Kiku is a one-shot manga that has been on my shelf, unread, for about as long as it’s publication date in English… I don’t know why. I really enjoyed what I have read of one of Koge-Donbo’s other works Pita-Ten (I’m on volume four), so I had relatively high expectations for this manga. Unfortunately, it fell short.

The art is what I have come to expect from this author’s works – very cute and cuddly characters. I find the character designs to be very refreshing, like a spring time breeze carrying the soft sent of flowers, as it is very dissimilar to the other manga-artists styles I normally read. I will say this, if you don’t like chibi, super adorable, characters then the art in here (or most of this author’s books) is not for you.

The story, while entertaining, was very bland. It follows the course of the siblings as they fight over the family inheritance in order to achieve their own dreams and when I say fight, they are trying to murder each other. Not to mention trying to kill their older brother’s fiancé whilst hoping he dies in war, so he can’t claim the money for himself. The story is broken up mainly into four chapters, three of which focus on each individual triplet. This was a good idea in order to get the reader more invested in the characters, but it just didn’t seem to pan out. The chapters just weren’t long enough and though they were slightly humorous, they just had no development. I was left feeling like everything was disjointed and randomly strewn about, especially when you through in the fourth chapter which mostly follows a soldier who had mistaken Yoki as his sister. Overall, all I liked that chapter probably the most, but it didn’t seem to offer to much to the story as a whole.

So, while I found the art to be candy-coated and refreshing, and the story vaguely comical, it did not offer anything new to the manga scene. I would recommend this manga if you just won’t a quick, light read – something to entertain you for about an hour, but nothing so engaging that you will remember it for years to come. If you don’t read Yoki Koto Kiku you probably aren’t missing much, yet, as I stated, it is an easy, quick-paced read.

Rating: 3 out of 5

My Thoughts On: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

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Title: The Lightning Thief 

Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Book #1)

Author: Rick Riordan

Publisher: Disney Hyperion Books

Year Published: 2005

Format: Hardcover

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Synopsis:

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse-Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends — one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena — Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods. – (Goodreads)

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My Thoughts:

I’m going to be perfectly honest right at the beginning – this book took me roughly two years to read and it’s not even that I disliked it. In fact, I really loved it. There is a semi (not really) complicated story behind this. I first started this book, as I said, about two years ago and I stopped reading rather early on when it mentioned Athena having children. Athena is a virgin goddess, she shouldn’t have any demigod kids! I closed the book. Now, I knew this book had a movie adaption, that is actually how I found out about the Percy Jackson series to begin with, so I just decided to watch that instead. Of course, low and behold, I really enjoyed the movie and decided to give the book another shot. It was by chance that before I started again that I found out it was later explained how Athena had her children, instead of the regular way she thought them up and delivered them down to her lovers. I was able to accept this explanation and moved on. Of course, I started to like it so much that I immediately went out and bought the whole series in hardcover (a boxed set; I gave the paperbacks I had of the first two books to my cousin), the Ultimate Guide, what was out of the Lost Hero series, and the Kane Chronicles. Yeah, I went I bit crazy. Then college happened, the book was put aside again, until later in the year when I started reading it with my roommate – we didn’t finish it. Finally, about two weeks ago a picked it up for the last time and completed it. Yeah, that’s my story. Boring, right? Anyway, on to the review.

This book starts off with Perseus (Percy) Jackson who thinks he is just a normal boy, but it turns out he couldn’t have been more wrong. He is actually the son of a god and a mortal – a demigod. He is caught in the middle of an oncoming war between two of the big three, Poseidon and Zeus, and must stop the fighting before a World War III breaks loose. The pacing in the book is great. It has a good balance between action and humor, and it is just plan amazing. This book is also a pretty good way to learn about some Greek mythology if you are interested as well, as Percy is new to the Greek myths and is finding out all about it as the book progresses.

Percy travels with others on his quest, Grover, his best friend, and Annabeth, a daughter of Athena. What I really loved about these characters is that they were so different, so unique in their own ways, but complemented each others so well. If one of them had a weakness, the other was able to make up for it; these character really seemed to teach about working together rather than trying to take on everything alone. Below are my individual thoughts on each of these three special and gifted characters:

Grover – If you’ve seen the movie than I will warn you that Grover is personality is completely unlike what it is portrayed as in the film adaption. In film he is complete confident, a womenizer even. However, in the book he is more timid and unsure of himself and he grows exceptionally throughout this first book. He is certainly the underdog character whom proves himself over and over. You just can’t help but love him or find yourself wishing that he were real so you could hug him.

Annabeth – I didn’t really like her at first and it was not because she was a daughter of Athena, but because she was coming off really stuck up and mean. Really, she seemed to stepped aside to watch the new guy get bullied by some of the other campers just so she could apparently evaluate his skills. So, it took me awhile to warm up to her, but about halfway through the book she really started to show how kind she was. Not only that, but she had every reason to be proud of her intelligence; I think I just needed to see it in action while working as a team rather than the times we see it before these three start traveling together.

Percy – Forget that he is twelve; he has to be one of the sweetest and bravest male leads I ever come across in my reading, which is saying something as he is competing against Charlie (Perks of Being a Wallflower), Harry (Harry Potter), Ponyboy (The Outsiders), and many others. The loyalty he shows for his mother and friends is just awe-inspiring. He also has to be one of the funnest characters in the book and I couldn’t be happier that we are following his point-of-view as he not only comes to terms with something that completely changes his world, but as he fights against all odds to save the most important person in his life. Percy Jackson is a gem among gems and I really look forward to his growth in the rest of the series.

I did have a few problems with this book that prevented me from giving it a full five out five and they my seem like small reasons to others, but they were enough to make me pull back a bit. Two of the reasons actually centered around Annabeth and her reactions to certain things and since the are spoiler-like I am going to put the next bit in spoiler tags, so read them at your own risk. Continue reading

My Thoughts On: Crumbs by Elora Bishop

????????????????????????????????????????Title: Crumbs: A Lesbian Hansel and Gretel

Author: Elora Bishop

Publisher: Smashwords and can also be found on Amazon as well as Barnes and Noble 

Format: eBook (2012)

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Synopsis:

Greta’s never ventured beyond the refuge of the Heap. Outside, the Ragers lurk, ever hungry and hunting. But Greta and her brother, half-starved and now alone, must risk death for the dream of safety they hope to find within the metal forest. Once there, nothing is as it seems: in the confines of a crumbling old candy factory, the woman who rescues them with sweet words and sweeter treats harbors a dangerous secret.

The novella CRUMBS is the lesbian retelling of the classic fairy tale, “Hansel and Gretel.” It is part of the series SAPPHO’S FABLES: LESBIAN FAIRY TALES. – (Goodreads)

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My Thoughts:

I plunged into Crumbs with relatively no expectations and surfaced with mild satisfaction. This novella had a lot of potential that just always seemed to slide by before the story could completely capture it. The characters live in a post-apocolyptic world where Ragers (essentially zombies though with slight differences) roam, looking for fresh flesh and muscle to devour – this aspect of the story isn’t utilized as much as it could have been. Nearly all the ‘I want a human for an appetizer’ action is sacrificed (literally, it just breezes right by) in order for Greta to meet her potential love interest sooner.

This brings me to the romance of this Hansel & Gretel re-imagining, which, for the length of the novella, I thought was decently done. I wish there had been some more suspense or drama though, something that would just make me go, “wow, I really want these two to get together already!” In some respect it was hard to get invested in the relationship (and characters) because everything just flew by like a Peregrine Falcon. Really, there were points that I just wanted more. Maybe a bit more conversation when they were eating the pastries or more of a backfire to Greta’s quick conclusions about the siblings her and Hans are staying with. Just something.

Crumbs is good for what it is, but I can’t help but wish it were longer. I feel if it were longer I may have become more invested in the characters, family relationships, and romance because it would have had that extra stretch to develop. This was most certainly an interesting take on a classic fairy tale and I would recommend at least giving it a go. This novella is part of a series called Sappho’s Fables: Lesbian Fairy Tales and I do plan to check out the rest of them to see how all of them play out, especially Braided (a Rapunzel retelling).

Rating: 3.5 cakes out of 5

My Thoughts On: Iron Man Beneath the Armor by Andy Mangels

Iron Man Beneath the Armor

Title: Iron Man: Beneath the Armor

Author: Andy Mangels

Publisher: Del Rey

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Synopsis:

HE LIVES! HE WALKS! HE CONQUERS!

In the age of high-tech warfare, he’s the ultimate smart weapon: man and machine combined for maximum impact. He’s Iron Man, AKA millionaire industrialist and visionary genius turned superhero Tony Stark–and he’s rocketing onto the big screen in the most eagerly anticipated new action movie of the year. Now discover everything you need to know about this sensational superhero, including

• the fascinating history of Iron Man, down through the decades, from 1960’s comic book character to twenty-first-century cinema star
• an inside-out overview of his armor’s design evolution through the years, including special powers and weapons capabilities
• a complete character breakdown of Tony Stark/Iron Man, and everyone in his universe, from Virginia “Pepper” Potts and James Rhodes/War Machine to such villains as Mandarin, Crimson Dynamo, Fin Fang Foom, and many more

Find out all there is to know about this classic character in the only reference that puts the pedal to the metal!  – (Goodreads)

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My Thoughts:

I don’t read many nonfiction books, but when I saw this in the bargain area at the Barnes and Noble by me and with my current obsession with superheroes, especially Iron Man whom this book is about, I just had to have it. As you may know, I am relatively new to these types of comics having been almost strictly into the manga form for around ten years, so finding a book that was solely about my current favorite Marvel Hero, Tony Stark, was pretty much the happiest part of my day. I loved learning about the journey this character has taken; of the struggles and triumphs he made during his many years of publication. Now, this book only goes up to around the year 2009, so it only brushes upon the current movie line (which is the first Iron Man movie, yet to be released) and comics up to that point, but I still feel it was very informative.

It probably won’t offer anything new to those who have been following this character of the Marvel Universe for years and know all the artist, writers, and story lines; however, for people just entering (like myself, kind of) this book is a nice place to start to get some of that back history. It even goes over other characters who generally appear in the world of Iron Man or had played some sort of role in the character’s life like Pepper Potts and Kathy Dare. The book doesn’t focus so much on them (though I was decently satisfied with the info I received on them) as it does the different artist and writers who have worked on Iron Man, his villains, his armor, and his ever altering story. It was just really nice to see how Tony Stark (Iron Man) and everyone else who has worn the suit evolved and changed. As kind of a bonus, I suppose, there was a section about some of the armor mentioning when the particular suit first appeared and the logistics of it, which I must say was neat. (The Prometheum and Extremis armors were very intriguing.)

Since this book is kind of dated now, it has been a good number of years since it’s publication and many things have happened to the Iron Man character (that I know of) during the time between now and then, there is probably a more current and updated one out there. However, I do think if you are browsing a bookstore, online, a yard-sale, or wherever you may purchase your books and you come across Iron Man: Beneath the Armor and it’s not overly expensive, your interested in the rich history of this character, and your a newcomer to the mechanically superior  world that Tony Stark lives in (or even if you just want a bit of a refresher), I think this is a good book to pick up and enjoy.

Rating: 4 out of 5

My Thoughts On: Who Censored Roger Rabbit by Gary K. Wolf

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Title: Who Censored Roger Rabbit?

Author: Gary K. Wolf

Publisher: Smashwords (2010, ebook version)

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Synopsis:

Gary K. Wolf creates a wonderfully skewed and totally believable world made up of equal parts Raymond Chandler, Lewis Carroll, and Walt Disney. A riotously surreal spoof of the hard-boiled detective novel. Packed with action and laughs. Wolf s cult classic, highly praised novel is the basis for the blockbuster Walt Disney/Steven Spielberg film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. (Goodreads)

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My Thoughts:

I’ve been a fan of the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit since I was little and when I found out it was based on a book, I knew I just had to read it. Unsurprisingly, the book and movie are very different, though they have the similiar type of feel. This is also probably one of the rare cases where I feel the movie is better then it’s book counterpart (which could very well be due to my long standing love of the movie). If you’ve seen the movie, but never read the book because you didn’t want to read what you already saw then you need not worry here.

The two main characters, Roger Rabbit (the toon) and Eddie Valiant (the detective), relationship/partnership remained very close in both of the media outlets, which I felt was nice. Jessica Rabbit, however, was so different I barley recognized her! I ended up really enjoying Jessica’s personality in the book; she was cunning and devious, and really knew how to work her strengths to her advantage. It was interesting to see how things played out between these three compared to its more friendly, I guess, movie version.

The book was pretty much a ‘who killed who and why’ type story and some parts of the mystery I figured out before the big reveal, but there was part at the end that had me a bit blindsided. It was this part that actually had me questioning Roger’s feelings for Jessica. Another thing, which I’ve seen somebody else mention, was the use of thought bubbles for the too characters. The idea was really cool, but at times the execution of it seemed kind of stilted and awkward – something that may have worked better in a visual form.

So, that’s pretty much all I have to say on that really. The mystery was decently predictable, but left some surprises and it was interesting to see such a difference in Roger and Jessica’s romance. I think this book is worth a try at the very least.

Rating: 3 out of 5

My Thoughts On: Hollowed by Kelley York

Hollowed

Title: Hollowed (first book in the Half Light Saga)

Author: Kelley York

Publisher: Smashwords

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Synopsis:

All 18-year-old Briar Greyson wanted was to figure out this whole living-away-from-your-parents thing. Apartment, steady job, cool roommate? Check. Noah, her adorable (albeit elusive) boyfriend? Check. Everything in the life of Briar was pretty good.

Then she and her roommate are attacked on their way home one night. Briar wasn’t supposed to survive.

Instead, according to the two guys who saved her, she’s turning into the things that attacked her: a vampire. Totally crazy and Not Okay. Now Noah’s secrets are coming to light, and he wants Briar dead. Then there are the vampires who attacked Briar to lure out her sister.

Her sister…who died years ago. 

(Didn’t she?)

The city’s body count is rising, and Briar wants to help put a stop to it. But first, she has to figure out who the real enemy is: the vampires, the boy she loves, or the sister she thought she’d lost. (Goodreads)

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There is a ton I could say about Hollowed by Kelley York (author of Hushed), but the first thing I want to write is, that despite it being a paranormal romance (and to some that may or may not be a bad thing), it is a very good book. I will admit the main character, Briar, bothered me sometimes like a mosquito buzzing in my ear and trying to drink my blood leaving behind an uncomfortable itch and this was mainly because I felt like there were a few times were she was kind of pointing fingers. She was calling people out for their ‘five year old behavior’ when a good number of her own actions and reactions were no better. Outside of this I did like Briar (and she did kind of have some leeway for her actions), she redeemed herself in my eyes frequently with her rather spunky attitude though, I admit, it took awhile. The other characters were all great, especially Oliver, Daniel, and Fred. They were all very rounded and had personalities and pasts that really made me feel for them.

The story itself was predictable at times, yet that in no way made it less enjoyable. The best parts, I think, contained Oliver. That boy had me gushing and I hope to see a lot more of him in the future books. Kelley York has proven to me that she is close to a master at story telling, but my initial dislike of Briar and to some extent her relationships left me in a limbo for a tiny bit. Still, I eagerly await the next book in the Half-Light saga.

Rating: 4 bites out of 5

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Other Reviews for this Author:

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Hushed

My Thoughts On: Clover by Clamp (Complete Series, Spoilers)

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Title: Clover (1-4)

Author: Clamp

Publisher: Tokyopop

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Synopsis:

“Kazuhiko is a young, but already deeply wounded black ops agent of a baroque, retro-tech future – pulled out of retirement to escort Sue, a mysterious waif, to a destination she alone knows. Sue and Kazuhiko have never met, yet she knows him, having grown up since the age of four with her only human contact, two distant voices: that of her elderly “grandma,” General Ko, and of Kazuhiko’s dead girlfriend, Ora. And Sue has been kept in that cage all these years because of what she is, and what the Clover Leaf Project found her to be – a military top secret, and the most dangerous person in the world!” –  (Goodreads)

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WARNING: Possible Spoilers Ahead

Clover is a four volume manga series by Clamp and a series I was much looking forward to. However, sadly, it was rather lackluster. The art, while beautiful, was very sparse. I think I can see where Clamp was going with that and sometimes it really worked to convey the emotion of the characters, but it really ended up leaving things rather dry more than not. The story itself is supposed to be taking place in a futuristic type world, but the art hardly shows that at all and you’re left in a time limbo.

Now that I mentioned the story, let’s talk more about that. In short it was lacking. It didn’t have the depth I was hoping for at all. That’s not to say that it was horrible, it just felt very generic at points. The first two volumes follow Sue and Kazuhiko as the latter escorts the former to place she wants to go. Sue, is a government secret and they are attacked rather frequently on there journey. The two characters are hardly developed and there is so much singing that I feel a lot of story that could have been told just wasn’t. Volumes 3 & 4 are basically prequels to volumes 1 & 2. Volume 3 shows the previous romantic relationship Kazuhiko was in and Sue’s connection to it, while Volume 4 centers around Gingetsu and Ran and how they meet. In light of this I would recommend this reading order:

Volume 4

Volume 3

Volume 1

Volume 2

For me, Volume 4 was certainly the highlight of the series. I wish it was more about Gingetsu and Ran rather than Kazuhiko and Sue as they are just more interesting. Now, if they had used all four volumes to tell the story of Kazuhiko’s and Sue’s journey to Sue’s happiness instead of just the first two than I feel the story would have been better, more solid. There would certainly be more substance to it anyway.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad series, but it didn’t really bring anything new to the table. I was actually rather disappointed as I usually really like Clamp (not including the ending of Wish). I would recommend this series to people whom have already experienced some of Clamp’s other work, but if you are new to them or manga itself I would suggest checking out something else by them first like Kobato or Card Captor Sakura.

Clover 3

Rating: a solid 3 out of 5

My Thoughts On: In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz

Title: In a Glass Grimmly

Author: Adam Gidwitz

Publisher: Dutton Children’s Books

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Synopsis:

Take caution ahead—
Oversize plant life, eerie amphibious royalty, and fear-inducing creatures abound.

Lest you enter with dread.
Follow Jack and Jill as they enter startling new landscapes that may (or may not) be scary, bloody, terrifying, and altogether true.

Step lively, dear reader . . .
Happily ever after isn’t cutting it anymore. –

(Goodreads) 

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When I heard Adam Gidwitz was coming out with another novel I knew I had to have it. In fact, I nearly cried with joy when I finally had the book in my hands. It’s absolutely gorgeous looking. I’m mean, come on, just look at that cover! Anyway, back to the subject at hand. This book is a companion book to Adam Gidwitz’ first book, A Tale Dark and Grimm, so that means you can read them in any order you like. You don’t have to know anything about the first book in order to read the second, which is kind of nice.

Jack and Jill are two cousins that leave their homes after two separate and horribly scarring events. They team-up with a talking frog named, Frog and when they eventually accept a quest from a shady old woman the adventure begins. They end up going through several different trails in order to, hopefully, complete the quest they have been given, none of which are a cake walk.

Now, Jack and Jill are not as likable as Hansel and Gretel from the author’s first novel, A Tale Dark and Grimm, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t likable at all. Again I found myself liking the male protagonist a bit more than the female as Jill bothered me for a tiny while. However, their time on page also seemed to be more even than it was for their predecessors. Though there trails didn’t seem as horrible (not that they were anything to sneeze at).

The ending, sadly, was kind of disappointing for me. That’s not to say it was a horrible ending per say, it was okay. I just wanted more of the emotional impact family-wise that I was expecting and looking forward to. It felt that, in some ways, it really built up for it, but when everything was said and done fell kind of flat. I was happy about what Jack and Jill received in the end, which was a nice experience. I still love how the author inserts comments throughout the story!

Overall, this novel was quite good and I was pleased with it. I think it lived up well to the last book (though slightly below) and I’m glad that I got the chance to read it. I would recommend this book to anyone how likes fairy tales, especially the ones that aren’t polished and cleaned of bloodshed and other gruesome things (like vomit and stomach acid). In a Glass Grimmly is a quick, fun, and easy read. It pulls you in and makes you wish that you had a three-legged frog companion named, Frog.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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 Other Reviews for This Author:

A Tale Dark and Grimm

Book To Movie: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower                                                                                                                                                                      

Studio: Summit Entertainment

Author: Stephen Chbosky                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Director/Screenwriter: Stephen Chbosky

Publisher: MTV Books                                                                                                                                                                                                              

 

Synopsis:

“This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.” – (Goodreads)

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My Thoughts:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower has a special place in my heart, so when I heard there was going to be a movie adaption I was determined to go and see it. After a few unexpected bumps in the road I was able to pull some money together and, along with some friends, headed off to the theater. It has been about a week since I have seen this film, but I really needed to let the feels set in before writing up my thoughts on it. Honestly, I was fully expecting to cry during this movie.

About two or so minutes in I was starting to get nervous though. The relationships seemed to be playing differently than the way they did in the book and it felt like it ‘jumped’ between times. What I mean by that is it felt like at some points it was in the present, but at other points it was at the time the book took place. Yet, after a few minutes of that it seemed to smooth out. The relationships also started to play out more like the book’s as well.

The acting in this movie was phenomenal! Logan Lerman (Charlie), Emma Watson (Sam), and Ezra Miller (Patrick) were all so true to the characters they were portraying. They really made the watcher feel as if they were there with them and experiencing what they were experiencing. I should mention though that I did feel the movie lost a tiny bit of it’s emotional investment because when you are reading the book it is letters from Charlie to an anonymous person, whom I also liked to believe was myself. By imagining that it was me he was writing to it gave a bit more of a personal touch, however; in the movie he doesn’t write as many letters and it is slightly harder to imagine that they are to me. That’s not to say this movie didn’t produce any emotion, on the contrary, it was an emotion overload. Seriously, I was swimming in the feels! I did not end up crying, but I was holding the tears back and my eyes stung.

This was our general reaction to the movie (created by the lovely Blezon ) :

Both the book and movie deal heavily with drugs, rape, and other issues that may make some people feel uncomfortable. These issues, in my opinion, do not deteriorate the message of the book/movie at all, but in fact enhances them to there fullest potential. It makes me happy to find an author/director that isn’t afraid to tread into dangerous waters and is willing  to work with, instead of against, so many social taboos. It in no way gives a message that doing drugs or what not is alright, but more that different people handle different things, well, differently. It’s, to put it simply, beautifully done.

Overall, this was a lovely adaption to the book. I would recommend this movie to fans of the book and people have not read it. It’s a glorious movie that is easy to get invested in and attached to the characters. So, if you are looking for a movie about life and a movie that will give you hope, I point you here. Here to The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Thank you, Stephen Chbosky for both a extraordinary novel and a magnificent movie. They were both awe-inspiring! Also, thanks to all the actors and actress for bringing this book to life and thanks to my friends for coming to share in the feels. I can’t…

 Rating: 5 out of 5