alwaysanswerb’s #CBR5 Review 61: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

“St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger…

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.”

When I finished this book and it was added to my Goodreads update feed, my friend dryly asked, “Is this Twilight?” My answer, at the time, was “I haven’t read Twilight, so I can’t honestly say,” but I thought it might be a fun exercise nonetheless to compare Vampire Academy to what I know about Twilight.

  • I am pretty sure that both have “good” vampires and “bad” vampires and the “good” ones don’t kill humans.
  • Twilight banks on pseudo-chaste UST, and Vampire Academy is much less oblique about sex. The romantic leads don’t get it on though — not yet.
  • This book’s cover girl is a second-string Angelina Jolie, and the other one has Kristen Stewart.
  • Arguably, in Vampire Academy (or in the first book in the series, anyway,) the power couple is a pair of best girl friends, not any kind of romantic pairing.
  • Both series give vampires weird abilities that aren’t exactly part of traditional vampire canon, e.g. sparkly skin in Twilight; in Vampire Academy, bending, basically (in the “Avatar The Last Airbender” sense.)
  • Rose, the VA protagonist, is the prototypical snarky kickass PNR type, and Bella, well… we know about Bella.
  • Both have scenes in the woods, I’m pretty sure
  • Both are in high school, kind of
  • Allegedly the VA series does develop love triangles or pentagrams or whatever

I know none of that really tells you how I felt about the book, so to summarize that: the Goodreads plot write-up up top and cover are pretty WYSIWYG, it was fun enough, if you’re into lightweight vampire stories and sarcastic heroines you’ll be in luck.

Teresaelectro’s #CBR5 Review #4 – Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

Dead Ever After is the last instalment in the Sookie Stackhouse book saga. The novel begins with Sookie fretting about her relationship with Eric. He’s been incommunicado after the events of Deadlocked. She is abruptly summoned to Fangtasia where they have a vampire divorce ceremony because Eric has to marry that new vampire Queen of Oklahoma. Before Sookie can descend into a puddle of sadness, she is accused of the murder of a local woman (& ex-friend) who is dumped behind Merlotte’s bar. Turns out, the devil is in town bringing together Sookie’s enemies from books past to string her up with a murder wrap. In a predictable turn, Sookie makes bail and aims to solve the case with the Bon Temps Scooby Gang.

Read rest of the review on my blog.

Ashlie’s #CBR5 Review #34: Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

Vampires, supernatural creatures, violence, love triangles (quadrangles?) and mystery. This is what you can expect from each installment of this Charlaine Harris series.

These books aren’t particularly well-written, and a little obvious, but they are my brain candy and the perfect vacation read. The 10th installment means I’m closer to the end of the series, and that makes me sad. I know I could always watch the show, but as a Louisianian the accents and misappropriation of geography and what Shreveport is actually like makes my eye twitch.

I know Harris has other mystery series’, so I’ll probably pick those up too. If you enjoy a mystery and the supernatural, this series is a lot of fun.

taralovesbooks’ #CBR5 Review #47: The Green Mile by Stephen King

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Cannonball Read V: Book #47/52
Published: 1996
Pages: 548

Genre: Mystery

Having read most of Stephen King’s books, I’m not sure how I managed to never pick up The Green Mile. I’ve also never seen the movie (yet…working on that), so I went into this book only knowing the basic plot: It takes place on death row and there’s a giant guy who may or may not have done the crime that landed him there.

Paul Edgecomb is the narrator who is in a nursing home type place writing down this story that happened when he was a prison warden in the 1930s. He saw a lot of people die while working on death row, but John Coffey stood out to him. He was brought to the prison after being convicted of raping and murdering two little twin girls (but did he actually do it?). He’s a strange man – absolutely huge, but gentle and soft-spoken and seems to never stop weeping tears. Turns out, John Coffey has some special healing abilities as well.

Read the rest in my blog.

loulamac’s #CBRV review #58: The Shining by Stephen King

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The Shining was my first foray into the dark, charming, inescapable world of Stephen King, back when I was about fourteen. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was outgrowing the James Herbert and Shaun Hutson schlock horror that had titillated me. The Shining was something different; scary but in far subtler and more sinister ways. It wasn’t long before I fell in love with the Kubrick movie (I know, don’t tell Big Steve), and for many years my memory of the story, the hotel and the Torrances has been overshadowed by that. So, with the hardback Doctor Sleep burning a hole on my bookshelf, I decided to go back to The Overlook to see what I’d make of it as an adult.

For the seven of you out there who don’t already know, the book tells the tale of the Torrance family. Jack is a dry drunk who, having lost his job at a New England boys’ school, takes wife Wendy, son Danny and play-writing aspirations to a resort hotel in the Rockies where he has snared a job as the winter caretaker. The three of them will be snow-bound from October till May, and Jack sees the Overlook as a chance to get his life back on track; perhaps the last chance he and his family will get. Needless to say, things go very very badly wrong.

This time, I read an edition that had an introduction written by King in 2001. A quarter of a century older (and no doubt wiser), he said ‘there is a cocky quality to some of The Shining’s prose that has come to grate on me in later years’, and he’s right. While all the signs are there, King wasn’t yet the master story teller and wordsmith he has become. But adverbs and overblown phrases aside, the book is a terrifying study in addiction, the collapse of sanity, and the nature of evil. In the relationship between Danny and Dick Halloran (chef at the Overlook, and fellow ‘shiner’), King really hits his groove, and I can’t think when I’ve been touched by an on-page relationship more. It is Dick who helps Danny get through his trials that winter, although they barely make it out in one piece. Danny Torrance learns how to live in constant fear, and if the reviews of Doctor Sleep are anything to go by, The Overlook is still casting its long shadow over him. Bring it on.

loulamac’s #CBRV review #52: Joyland by Stephen King

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The Master’s latest offering is set in the magical world of a fading New England amusement park in 1973. Wonderfully, the fact that the novel shows much of the behind the scenes workings of the place does nothing to diminish that magic. King creates a place that is timeless yet aging, mysterious yet every-day, down-at-heel yet enchanted. As the reader you are as sucked into it as the book’s narrator and hero, Devin Jones.

Dev is a 21 year old college student who, rather than staying on-campus to work in the cafeteria, takes a summer job at Joyland. He is soon dumped by his first love and nursing a broken heart, for which his tasks manning the carny rides and dressing up as Howie the Happy Hound, Joyland’s mascot, provide some small distraction. He makes friends amongst the summer staff and old-timers, and becomes fascinated by a young woman and her terminally ill son. The thread that holds it all together, and makes the story more than just a memoir, is Dev’s interest in the unsolved murder of a young woman that happened on the (rumoured to be haunted) Horror House ride four years before.

There’s everything you’d expect from a King novel – a naïve young hero who’s about to go through life experiences that will make him grow up, the lasting friendships he makes during a time of adversity, a strangely gifted child, an older mentor, a charming dog – and more. The short (for him) novel is packed with lump-in-throat and wry-chuckle moments, and in its air of nostalgia, loss and celebration is reminiscent of The Body (later filmed as Stand By Me). The feel of King’s more accomplished work is present elsewhere too – the section where Dev is interviewed for the job at Joyland is like the good twin of Jack Torrance’s application to the Overlook Hotel – but overall the book is very much its own. The solving of the ghost story/murder mystery is secondary to the emotional journey our young hero goes on, and if I have any criticism it’s that the revelation of the identity of the killer and the final showdown are a bit clunky, but only by King’s stratospherically high standards. I can’t wait for Doctor Sleep.