Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Blog Redesign

A few days ago I received an email from Cierra over at Books Ahoy/ Blogovation Designs telling me she really appreciated my efforts in blogging on her blog tours and supporting her. To thank me she decided  to give me a blog redesign. I have to say that I love it. I had been meaning to have the blog redesigned for awhile now, but I have been short on the cash needed. But thanks to Cierra I now have an amazingly nice looking blog!

Be sure to check out her book review blog (one of my favorites!):

Books Ahoy

And her blog design website (you can get a blog design just as cool as mine. ;) ):

Blogovation Design

Thanks again Cierra for all you've done! You're amazing. :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Review of Bloody Chester by J.T Petty and Hilary Florido

Title: Bloody Chester
Author(s): J.T. Petty and Illustrated by Hilary Florido
Release Date: July 3rd, 2012\
Format: Paperback First Edition
Source: Publisher (In exchange for an honest review)
Publisher: First Second
Pages in This Edition: 143
Rating: 3/5 Stars

On the Cover:



Beyond the Cover:


Summary from Goodreads:


"A deliciously gruesome horror tale set in the old west.

This isn’t John Wayne’s heroic old west.

This is the real deal: a filthy, disease-ridden frontier populated by losers, lunatics, and murderers. And when you’re a skinny teenager with no family and a name like Chester Kates, your options are limited. It’s stand up and fight or roll over and die, so Chester, aka “Lady Kate,” is set to fight until it kills him.

It isn’t much of a life, but it’s at least straightforward.

Until things go all cockeyed when Chester is hired to ride his horse (also named Chester) to a ghost town and burn it to the ground. Except the ghost town doesn’t just boast a tidy collection of mangled corpses: it also has three living inhabitants . . . who won’t be budged. But Chester’s been hired for a job, and he’ll be damned if he doesn’t burn the town to the last cinder.

Thing is, he may just be damned if he does.

This horror-Western-mystery graphic novel will send a thrill—and a chill—down your spine. Funny, fascinating, and downright horrible, this is a book that keeps you turning the pages."

Review:

I love gore (even though I might not like to admit it) and love graphic novels (now that I don't mind admitting) so I figured this would be a good match for me. Bloody Chester is a western though, and I haven't really read many, so that was the one thing that I was apprehensive about.

This book didn't really wow me or turn me off to westerns. It seemed relatively to period, and the expressions seemed right for the time frame. Though the cursing was fairly frequent, I didn't might much because of the context, something I know that others will find offensive. The "N" word is used and the "F" word is used multiple times. Know that if swearing or racism even in period context bothers you, this isn't the book for you. The book also isn't for people who don't like a little blood and guts. But if you picked up the book and realized that its title was "Bloody Chester" and didn't think there would be a little gore then maybe you had unrealistic expectations. It definitely lived up to it's name.

Now to talk about the characters. One of the things I most enjoyed about this book was the development of Chester's character. You can tell in the beginning that he had little to no hope for the future and is willing to do almost anything. But as the story progresses, you can tell that he develops how he sees himself and the world around him, and he develops his own sense of self and of what's right and wrong. Though this graphic novel is incredibly short, you really manage a full range of emotion and development with his character. 

Sadly, I think the other characters weren't as developed as they could have been. The character Potter, for example, could have had been developed way more. From the small samples that I got, I could tell he was a witty and sarcastic person, but that's really the only side of him we see. The same goes for the character of Caroline. I really wish that we could have learned more about her life and seen more sides of her. 

The plot was fine, though the ending for me was a little weak. I also wished there was some more explanation. The way the whole thing was closed out was kind of vague. But maybe that's so the reader can draw their own conclusions. I usually like those open-ended type of things, but I didn't so much here.

The artwork (I can't go without mentioning this in a graphic novel review) was fine. I especially liked the artwork of scenes that took place at night. I really admire the shading and depth that went into them. The violent scenes had just enough detail to make you cringe but not to make you puke. I think that the characters could have had more expression on their faces some of the time, but overall the illustrations worked fine and added to the story as a whole.

Read Bloody Chester if you too like graphic novels and don't mind some swearing and gore. I defiantly need to put a note that this book (while having NO sexual content) probably isn't for kids younger than 14.

--Alexis
Sunday, May 6, 2012

Review of Watch Me by Lauren Barnholdt

Title: Watch Me
Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Release Date: February 8th, 2011
Format: MP3 Audiobook
Source: Library
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
Pages In This Edition: N/A
Rating: 3/5

On the Cover:


Beyond the Cover:


Summary from Goodreads:

"Ally has everything under control. She’s about to move into a house full of strangers and have her life broadcast to the world, but as long as she still has her long-distance boyfriend, Corey, nothing can go wrong. Nothing, that is, until Ally starts spending time with her housemate Drew, the hot and sensitive guy who always seems to be around when she needs someone the most.

As suspicions and lies start pulling Ally and Corey apart, she’s not sure if she can trust anyone, not even herself. Ally is about to learn the hard way that life is what happens when everyone is looking, and it doesn’t always capture her good side…."

Review:

I hadn't listened to an audiobook in a long time and thought this one would be a good one to start with. (I usually love audiobooks that are chick lit or romance.) I got it from the library so I figured no harm no foul. 

This book was just what I expected it to be. Cute, light, maybe with a couple of good plot twists. The girls are cute and the boys are cute and everyone is cute. But hey, every once and awhile you just need a book like that. The reality t.v. twist was kind of cool. I couldn't even begin to imagine what it would be like to have a camera following my every move. Ugh. That would be terrible. That aspect could have been a bit more developed though. But it wasn't as if the book couldn't be enjoyed because of that.

The characters were not developed all that deeply. Especially the characters of James and Simone; even though they weren't super main characters it would have been nice to see a bit more of what they were like. My favorite character was defiantly Drew. I loved his back story and the way he seemed to view life. I also LOVED the chemistry with him and Ally.

In terms of plot, it was predictable. Comedy romance to a "T." I think I would have liked it less if I had just read the book and not listened to it. Since I learn best through sound, I can more easily pictures scenes when they're read to me. I could so picture this as a movie. I actually think it would be a great movie, or even a t.v. series. 

Finally, I can't do an audiobook review without talking about the narrator. I don't have the name of the narrator to Watch Me handy. All I can say was her voice was just a little annoying. Nothing too bad though, and I've heard way worse. After about a couple of chapters, you get used to it and it no longer took away from the story.

Overall, listen/read Watch Me if you like romance/Chick Lit and are in for a predictably cute story about a girl who just happens to find herself on reality t.v..

--Alexis
Saturday, May 5, 2012

Review of Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Pandemonium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: February 28th, 2012
Format: Hardcover First Edition
Source: Barnes and Noble
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages In This Edition: 375
Rating: 5/5

On the Cover:


Beyond the Cover:


Summary from Goodreads:

"I'm pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,

pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
push,
push,
push,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite."


Review:

I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of this book. It took me long enough (I didn't get a copy until two months after the release date.) AND I'M SO HAPPY I GOT ONE. This book was the follow-up to my favorite book possibly ever. Delirium was so amazing, I was actually kind of worried that there was no way a sequel could ever compare. I was wrong.

This book was un-put-down-able. It rushed ahead at a break neck pace so that I couldn't help but read it for hours and hours until I was done. I don't want to say too much about the plot since it is a sequel and I don't want to spoil it for the few who haven't managed to read the first book. All I will say is WOW. The beginning, middle, and end all managed to be equally amazing. The end was a shocker though. And a mega cliff-hanger. I can't wait for the last book to come out now!

As always, Oliver manages to develop her characters in a way that most authors can't. Lena is defiantly one of the top five characters that I've read. The way she grew throughout this book was astonishing. Because the story is told in alternating "then" and "now" chapters, the way the voice changes between the two perspectives until they meet in the middle is amazing. I wish I could write like that.

As a second book, the pacing was so fast. For me, the second book in a trilogy is usually the one that is the slowest. Now that the author has you glued to the characters, they must go through some long "journey" type thing before the final book where everything is wrapped up. But Pandemonium is just what the title states it is: pandemonium. 

Again I don't want to say too much for fear of spoiling, but this book doesn't disappoint. The end (as in the last page) leaves such a cliff-hanger! I want the last book like NOW. So if you've read Delirium and haven't managed to read Pandemonium yet, you must!

--Alexis 

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Hi my name is Alexis and I'm so excited to be heading to Oregon State University in the fall. I will be majoring in English and hope to become an editor or technical writer in my future.

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With Beyond the Cover, I want to help people interested in YA with a resource to refer to. This blog will be composed of reviews as well as other book related subjects.



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