Monday, December 5, 2011

Rotters, by Daniel Kraus

Rotters, by Daniel Kraus

"Grave-robbing. What kind of monster would do such a thing? It's true that Leonardo da Vinci did it, Shakespeare wrote about it, and the resurrection men of nineteenth-century Scotland practically made it an art. But none of this matters to Joey Crouch, a sixteen-year-old straight-A student living in Chicago with his single mom. For the most part, Joey's life is about playing the trumpet and avoiding the daily humiliations of high school.

Everything changes when Joey's mother dies in a tragic accident and he is sent to rural Iowa to live with the father he has never known, a strange, solitary man with unimaginable secrets. At first, Joey's father wants nothing to do with him, but once father and son come to terms with each other, Joey's life takes a turn both macabre and exhilarating." -- From the jacket cover

By far-- by FAR-- the creepiest, most disturbed thing I have read to date.

Am I the only one thinking, ".... how does Daniel Kraus know all the precise, knitty-gritty details of how to rob a grave?"

I half expected to find the bio in the back of the book: "About the author: DANIEL KRAUS is a writer and currently resides at Iowa State Prison, where he's serving a 20 year sentence for--you guessed it-- digging up dead bodies, robbing graves, and other sorts of general mischeif. Rotters is his first book. You can write him at put 'Daniel Kraus' as the subject line."

It's so crazy disturbing. It's so sick and wrong on so many levels. But it's so good at the same time. It's like the ultimate horror movie stuck inside a book. I mean, the hurricane scene? With the flooded cemetery and the bodies floating everywhere? And let's not even start at what Boggs may or may not have done to Val's body. Or the Rotters book itself.

I loved Harnett's heroism, the way he was so tied to the past, even though his own intentions weren't pure in the least. A piece of my soul just might have died when he finally bit the dust. And Joey as a character himself was excellent to follow through this crazy-wrong book.

Let's just leave it as: not for the weak heartened. Not in the least. Not just super gorey and super creepy, but simply disturbing. BUT GOOD.

Devoured, by Amanda Marrone

Devoured, by Amanda Marrone

Conceptionally, this book is great. Remember the evil queen in Snow White? "Mirror, Mirror on the wall..." Well, the Mirror's still around, and it's causing as many problems as it possibly can, because that's how it gets it's evil little kicks and giggles. Fantastic idea, Ms. Marrone. Kuddos, indeed.

While the writing style of the book seemed, well, lacking, and the execution of a lot of the book wasn't stellar, and the character development was so-so, the whole idea of the book was really original.

Also, I loved the way Remy, the dead little sister, haunted our main character, Megan. While in other popular books that will remain unsaid *coughcoughTHATIHATEcoughcough*, where the little sister pops up, walking around like she's alive, watching everything, making comments about her sister's life, visiting celebrities.... Remy can only see certain things, certain people, is vastly confused, and frustrated. I love the way she throws temper tantrums, leaving pools of river water everywhere, scaring the crap out of anyone who had the ability to witness it. Poor Remy just needs to find Daddy, dang it! Where's Daddy, Megan?

Plus the digs on Disney Land and all the Disney types? Loved it, even if I am one who loves the Magic Kingdom. Hiding dead bodies of murder victims underneath the kiddie rides IS pretty disturbing. And makes for great reading.

All in all? Easy read. Concept was original and interesting. I think it would have been more successful if the writing had been higher quality. Still enjoyed it.

"Real Live Boyfriends: Yes. Boyfriends, Plural. If My Life Weren't Complicated, I Wouldn't Be Ruby Oliver," by E. Lockhart

"Real Live Boyfriends: Yes. Boyfriends, Plural. If My Life Weren't Complicated, I Wouldn't Be Ruby Oliver" (Ruby Oliver #4) by E. Lockhart

Now I'm a big fan of Ruby Oliver. BIG FAN. Most people who read these books are. It's one of those you either love-in-the-sort-of-super-gushing type of way, or you hate it, and according to Goodreads, the vote is YES on Prop Ruby Oliver.

(See here for my previous gushing on this series)

But sadly, this is my least favorite of the series. There seems to be less randomness than usual, less lists, less footnotes... and I think Ruby only said "Spankin" once!

Also, I liked the old covers better.

However, there was a seriously brilliant scene about an intended Meatloafery... You know how sometimes you come across things and you're like, "DANG, I wish I wrote that...."? This is one of those things. Sheer random genuis.

This is to be the final book in the Ruby Oliver series.

Oh Roo, I'll miss you.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Splendor Falls, by Rosemary Clement-Moore

The Splendor Falls, by Rosemary Clement-Moore

"Don't be obtuse princess. It's only because I'm a gentleman that I haven't let you know that I find Victorian ruffles insanely hot." -Rhys

Alright so... essentially, I enjoyed this book. I say this AFTER I finished it. If you had asked me at page 150, 250, 350... I would have said something along the lines of... "WHAT THE FREAKING FREAK IS THIS BOOK ABOUT?!?! JFIOSDJIOHJFASKMCLKAJSJRIOWJdsjfioweioafnewhjioajeklrj! CAN WE GET ON WITH IT ALREADY?!?"

Truly, I would have given it up... had it not been for Gigi. Thank goodness for 6-pound fluffy reject designer handbag dogs... because she saved this book.

The Splendor Falls is a 513 page book. Of the Young Adult Urban Fantasy Genre. However, it isn't until page 405, yes that would be FOUR HUNDRED AND FIVE, that MAGIC is confirmed as part of the plot.


It's not even BROUGHT UP until a few pages earlier (page 393, to be exact).

That's a lot of pages to read of Sylvie Davis mucking around Bluestone Hills, not knowing what's going on. There's a few ghostly encounters and some skepticism towards the motives of the Teen Town Council, particularly Shawn Maddox, and some love/hating going on with Welsh hottie Rhys, as well as some prime time pouting over the loss of Sylvie's ballet career... but other than that, it's just mucking around the family mansion-turned-almost-open-inn, and gardening.

That's where Gigi saves the day. Like I said, good ol' reject designer handbag chihuahuas. :)

Anyways, once the whole magic thing is FINALLY put on the map, the books lights up like a Christmas tree, and it becomes so much more entertaining, exciting, and pleasing to read. I truly believe that if Ms. Clement-Moore had condensed the first 400 pages into like, 150, or 200 tops, then it would have flowed faster, easier, and been simply more pleasing to read. There was simply a TON of material to get through.

Because Sylvie's quest for info on her ancestors took her to all different sources all over the course of the book, it became patchy, confusing, and as a reader, you felt like the information was all over the map, and yet wasn't drawing any conclusions, for Sylvie or you as a reader. Also, often during coversations throughout the book, I felt like they jumped topics without making sense on many different occasions. Am I the only one who felt that? Like, they were alluding to one thing, like Hannah, and then all of a sudden they were talking about the Welsh legends, with no segue whatsoever? I got confused..... or, not confused, but thought it was really strange and RANDOM...

AND WHAT THE HECK DOES THE TITLE "The Splendor Falls" MEAN? Am I just stupid and can't make the connection to anything? I mean, there are a couple of LITERAL slips and "falls" during the course of the book... Hannah falling in the river, Clara down the stairs, and of course, Slyvie's epic fall that broke her leg in the first place etc., but I wouldn't have referred to them as SPLENDORific in anyway. And there weren't any sort of WATERfalls along the river, splendor or otherwise... Someone please explain it to me?

See, as much as I seriously dislike the one-word title craze going on amongst the YA genre, at least you can generally UNDERSTAND the reference. Grrrrrr.

Anyways, I'm glad Gigi didn't end up dying in some sort of heroic deed at the end or anything, because I REALLY would have been pissed off. Like, seriously pissed off. Like, throw the book at the wall pissed off.

And I don't even LIKE chihuahuas.

The book just need less of the "what's going on?" feel (first 405 pages), and a whole lot more of the really good last 100 pages feel.