Book Reivew – A Practical Guide to Vampires by Treval Vorgard

Title: A Practical Guide to Vampires

Author:  Treval Vorgard (this is a pen name)

Illustrator: (22 different Illustrators) directed by Kate Irwin

Format: Hardback

Published: 2009

 

Never thought you would see a regular book review from me?  Thought you were doomed to read reviews of comic books and Manga?  Well dear readers I grant you a small reprieve with an actual book!  It is a small thin book but it was a pleasure to read all the same.  Though this is being presented to you mid November this book was actually picked up by me and read in the middle of October so the season was calling for such a book as this.  Not to mention my brain has been itching to write an idea I have with werewolves and vampires but that is another store for another time – literally.

 

Anyway this book was sitting on the main display at the library and it with another book drew my attention in and I decided to grab this book.  I have done my fair share of research on vampires and werewolves and the various legends and I’ve decided it was high time I look a little deeper.  Now I will tell you right off that this book did not take me much deeper.  Though it is classified as a non fiction book it is more fiction than not.  Though the book had its short comings it was still an amusing read.  At the very least I decided to keep reading it when a friend was asking me to play a game with her.  I am a fiend when it comes to games particularly puzzle games and that was the type of game I was being offered.  (I muliti- tasked and read and played at the same time.)

 

Over all it was a quick read and gave you a glimpse of vampires and what they are like but nothing in particular detail, the drawings were quite nice and really for a children’s book it was quite good.  I will also admit that this book introduced me to some added monsters I did not know about such as the Illithid and I was amused at the vampire games listed in the book.

 

So if you are looking for a light read, want a basic gasp of vampires or have a kid that is intrigued by the creatures of the night this book is the place to go.  It  is easy to read and follow and the side notes from the author who is just as much a character of the book as the fiction and story that is created in this non-fiction format are somewhat amusing.  Over all I would give this book a 3 out of 5.

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Book Review – The Light by Michael Grant

Title: The Light

Author:  Michael Grant

Format: Hardback

Written/Published: 2013

Way back at the beginning of this blog one of the first few books I reviewed was a book called Fear by Michael Grant.  It was the fifth book in the six book series and I found that it had put a very rotten taste in my mouth.  That rotten taste is still there with some of the dark and disturbing imagery impossible to remove or forget no matter how much I try to.  Yet, despite it all having been through that horridly difficult book I had to see the series to the end.  I had to know how the FAYZ ended and who walked out alive and who didn’t.  In some ways it is a compulsion, and so when I realized the book was out and in the library I picked it up.

With a deep breath I opened the book and started to read hoping I would not have to trudge through the same horrors that I did before.  I wasn’t worried about the formatting which was another issue I had with Fear I just didn’t want to be left with more gruesome imagery at least not more of the kind that actually gets to me. (Yes the book was gruesome filled with a lot of death and destruction but it didn’t get to me as much as what was contained in Fear).

When I started the book Fear I was annoyed right off as Michael seemed to be going for something new and wiring the perspective of two people in the same scene at once it was confusing and annoying as I was trying to read and re-read to figure out if the thoughts and words belonged to the character Gaia or Diana.  Then things went to ‘normal’ and the book read like all the other books read where I was turning the next page wanting to know what would happened next horrified at the death of some and hoping for the death of other character.  There were moments where I was disturbed by this book particularly when it came to the character Alex but it was fortunate that his parts were not long or prevalent like the disturbing moments in Fear were.

In all, the book was a quick read for me despite being a little over 400 pages long.  It was hard to put down as I wanted to know who lived and who died and a lot of people died I will tell you that!  I found myself caring for some of the characters again rather than being put off by them and the last character I thought I would ever find myself concerned over was the one I hated to see go the most.  So, despite my complaints, Michael Grant can be a decent author – I mean of his seven books I’ve read, only two can I say I loathed.  Those are some pretty good odds in my opinion!

Thus I will give this last and final book a three page rating.  Some of you may notice that this is the same rating I gave Fear which I loathed but I will admit at the time I was much more generous with my ratings and if I could go back and re-rate fear I would give it a solid two placing The Light clearly above it.

As to the series as a whole considering I mentioned how I recommended in the past to others, might still recommend it but caution people that it can get very dark and gruesome.  If I were to rate the whole story from the first book Gone to the last The Light I would give it a three page rating, it had the potential to be a four page series but Fear just really drags it down that much.

Book Review – Vampires Don’t Sparkle

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Title: Vampires Don’t Sparkle
Editor: Michael West
Published: 2013
Format: Print and eBook (most of the review done by print book)

In Vampires Don’t Sparkle, editor Michael West has managed to take the vampire and make it awesome again. He got rid of the current trend of sexy, sparkly, undead love interests that make teenage girls swoon, and instead has replaced it with something dark, something unique. Gone are the cheezy “I want to suck your blood” types that 1950s B-level horror flicks brought us. Gone are the neauveau un-scary un-dead. What he’s left us with is, well, awesome.

I was going to pick a favorite, and I sort of can’t. Vampire Nation, for instance, felt like it was a bit too short, but I couldn’t imagine it ending any other way. Even stories that needed work, like I Fuck Your Sunshine were good enough (in this case, the author attempted a Russian-esque sounding narrator and it didn’t quite work), and with minor changes would have been incredible. So really, I’m just going to tell you to read the book. There are some incredible authors in this anthology, and they’re worth their weight in words. Also, I’m not big on prologues and introductions, but I read Michael’s and actually agree with every word he said.

As for a rating, I hee’d and hawed for a bit, and… Well, there is one little footnote worth mentioning. On the very back cover, it says A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to cancer research institutions to fight the real horrors of cancer. And since the book was hovering somewhere around there anyway, I’m going to tell you to buy the thing. It’s absolutely worth a read, and, well, if buying it can cure a very much real horror of the non-sparkly un-dead kind (note: I haven’t today said that I wish cancer would get cancer and die, so I’m saying it now…), then there’s no reason you shouldn’t pick up a copy.

Book Review – Ninety-Nine Shades of Grey by Ridiculo.us

When I saw this project on Kickstarter, I thought it was hilarious.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get my money pledged in time to do what I really wanted to do, which was name a color.  (Shade 46 would have been floofy kitten grey. Alas.)  And there were several delays to getting my book, mainly Ridiculo.us having to print a whole lot more than planned all at once and then their publisher being under water for a bit after Hurricane Sandy.    But the book got here just before Christmas, and when I saw the Ridiculo.us logo on the envelope, I squeed a little, ignored the Christmas cards, and turned all my attention to this book.

From the back cover:  Since its publication, 50 Shades of Grey has rocketed to the top of the bestseller lists around the world, quickly becoming the fastest selling paperback of all time. [Insert shudder here.] But there’s more to this story than meets the blindfolded eye.  You see, 50 Shades of Grey left something out…namely 49 additional shades of grey.  Why would the publisher do this?  What are they trying to hide?  

And yes, I giggled.  A couple times.  Then I opened the book.

If you haven’t caught on yet, ninety-nine shades of grey: a book for people who like the color grey is pretty much what it sounds like.  After the title page and introductions, we have 99 two-page spreads, one for each shade of grey.  There’s a note for each section (light, medium and dark), and then each color spread has a few key features – artwork on the left, then the shade number and color as well as HEX, RGB, and CMYK codes so you can digitally replicate the shade(s) that you’ve fallen in love with.  You can start with #001 this shade of grey and end with #99 we should hang out sometime.

As for my floofy kitten, it didn’t quite make it in, but there are several that I’ll give honorable mention to: #024 is the all-to0-creative litterbox sandcastle and #066 is dexter the cat grey (and since I have no better option, I’ll assume that the floofy kitten grew into Dexter).  There are names that are contemporarily creative (#076 is rock, paper, MONSTERS!), giggle-worthy (#029 is grandpa’s toupee), or just a bit odd (#037 – symphony of zebra butt, in D minor).

Readers also get a bonus of a few key explanations.  For instance, remember shade #001, this shade of grey?  Well, #001, #042 and #090 string together to form a note – this shade of grey/is in love with/this other shade of grey – sent from a guy to his girlfriend.  And #052 is a series of 0s and 1s – spelling out the word ‘grey’ in binary, which is totally something I’d think about doing if I hadn’t been so hung up on floofy kitties.

The good folks at Ridiculo.us also threw in a few demographics, and I’ve been able to discern that exactly one other person in my current state of Tennessee helped out.  I wonder if we like the same shades of grey?!

Bottom Line – the book isn’t meant to be taken seriously, but it’s sort of funny to have around.  Give it to your colorblind friends, anyone who’s into a bit of humor, or people who just couldn’t stand that that other book series left out half the spectrum (or that it sold as well as it did).   I wish it would have been bigger (coffee table sized would have been awesome!) and that there weren’t quite so much white space on the pages, but I still think it’s awesome.  I doubt this is anything you’ll ever find at your local library, but I think you’ll want to have a look-see.  Four out of Five.

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