Sunday, April 27, 2014

Of Books and Monsters

I don't know how about you, but I don't particularly like the word 'monster'. Usually these monsters have a name, like boogeyman, vampire, chimera, troll, or even genetically mutated toads, who are still toads nevertheless. But even so, when people are afraid of something, and it also happens to seem unnatural, they tend to call it a monster (given it's a living thing). So what I want to talk about here are some books that feature these so called 'monsters' and some other monster stuffs. I have to admit, the word leaves so many possibilities. So here we go...

What comes to my mind first when I start thinking about books with monsters is a book I'm currently reading, INTO THE DARKNESS by K.F. Breene. It's not even 200 pages and the only reason it's taken me over a month to get 67% in is that I'm no good at all when it comes to ebooks. I NEED to have a printed copy in my hands (plus I'm also an awfully slow reader). INTO THE DARKNESS features some big sexy paranormal guys, but what I have in mind actually are some other weird things that have popped onto the pages. As of where I am now, I've not seen a name being given to them, so they classify as 'monsters' pretty well.

As for the book itself, what got my attention was the cover. It's in a way similar to a story idea of mine that I love more than any book I've ever read. So I got a bit scared and wanted to see how similar it really is. INTO THE DARKNESS was free on Amazon (and still is at the time of writing this post), so I took the chance and began reading the first ever book on my Windows 8 Kindle. With a relief I can say, the contents aren't in any way similar to my story idea - chances weren't big in the first place, but I guess this motherly instinct of my creations kicked me in the gut. I didn't start blindly, though. When you go to Goodreads and start reading the reviews, the warnings '18+ only!!' pretty much scream in your face. I'm 17. I haven't read many Rated R books. So... lucky for me, I guess, I'm a very thick-skinned person and haven't yet found a reason to blink when blinking wasn't needed for my slowly drying eyes. Cut out all the sex part that I pretty much meh through, there's something still that keeps me interested. Breene's writing is funny and her protagonist is no weakling. So far I like it very much and if anyone else is interested, you can find it in the links below. Oh yeah, the book has sequels!

Goodreads * Amazon * Author's Page * Facebook

And who wouldn't love some zombies? Unfortunately, I can't say I've read many zombie books (in fact, I think I've only read one), but they leave so many possibilities as well. The apocalypse can start with anything from viruses to nature's will to unknown. There are so many zombie books in my TBR list I can't even begin to say how badly I want to have loads of money and years of nothing but free time.

I bought WORLD WAR Z for my sister for Christmas last year because she said they'd just watched the movie at school and that it was awesome. I haven't read it yet, but she has now - she told me it was nothing like the movie at all and was so much more awesome. She told me about some scenes, so many of them that had not been featured in the movie, and I can agree with her. So I guess I recommend all zombie-lovers to pick it up.

The only zombie book I have read is a bit different. Maybe you've heard of it; it also got it's own movie. WARM BODIES is a funny zomromcom with an ass-kicking heroine and without all that cheesy romance stuff we find so often in YA paranormals. In fact, the author, Isaac Marion, has said that he wrote it for adult audience and had never even heard of Twilight before publishing his book. WARM BODIES is more about finding words and being human, and I loved it. My sister has a copy (again, her and the zombies. She believes zombie apocalypse will come one day, by the way). Our friends gifted her a copy of the prequel, THE NEW HUNGER, a few days ago as a late birthday present. A sequel is coming as well, but so far we don't have a cover nor a title. For those of you who have seen the movie but haven't read the book: movie follows the original story quite well, but they've cut out some awesome parts, so I very much recommend you to read it.

What else have I read that has monsters?

How about THE DEVOURING books by Simon Holt? I've read the first two in the trilogy in Estonian translation and am now waiting for the third one to be reduced in price. These translations tend to be awfully expensive, you know. Anyway, I liked these books a lot. They might be a bit horrifying to those who can't stand gore (like me) or get scared easily. But I didn't find them otherwise scary. I'm hoping to learn more about the smoky monsters, especially Quinn, in the third book FEARSCAPE. For those who haven't read them and might be interested: no para-rom with the monsters there. They're completely what you'd call 'evil'.

Goodreads * Amazon * TBD

There are loads and loads of books I could feature in this post that have something you could call a 'monster'. I'll add some clickable covers below which will take you to their Goodreads page. These are books I haven't yet read but would really like to. It will only be a small fraction, of course, but hopefully some of you will find your next read!

So yeah, you can mainly find zombies, vampires or demons of some kind from that list. That's why I said I don't like the word 'monster'. We have a better name for all of them and it's really hard to find something unique. I'd be happy to read about your opinions and picks, though! Feel free to add your ideas in the comments!

I promised to talk about stuff aside from books as well. I don't know if you know, but I enjoy making all sorts of arts. And what's a better way to express yourself than to put heads and legs and spikes and tails together to create your own monsters? And you know what? I love to show off!

Here's something I made yesterday after finding some awesome polymer clay tentacle stuff on deviantART. It's only my third time ever to use polymer clay, but I like the result.

I also got a little inspiration from Julie Kagawa, author of THE IRON FEY and BLOOD OF EDEN books, who makes small polymer clay dragons and sells them on Etsy.

I'm a little more familiar with needle felting. Proof is that I constantly have my fingers full of puncture holes.

You know, I kind of love Slenderman (or Slendy). Are there any fictional books with him? (EDIT: Found out there are, but not many like what I was hoping for.) He's a perfect monster, don't you think? I once even made my sister a Slendy bookmark for her birthday.

I think amigurumi is cool as well. I can only make snakes, though.

I've loved drawing since I can remember. Now I enjoy both traditional and digital art. For the longest time, I only drew animals and other creatures that could as well be classified as 'monsters'. It's only lately that I seriously began studying human anatomy. But monsters continue to be awesome, too.

Who says monsters can't be cute? Or have broken hearts? Therefore being labeled as 'monster' is not certainly a bad thing, in case someone got offended that I posted their favorite book and called the creature a monster. I repeat, I don't like the word either, but it got me to write quite a lengthy post.

So that was my talkative side musing over monsters in books and monsters in general. I think I'll be doing more of those, the "Of Books and Fill the Blank" thingies. You can even tell me what you'd like to hear about and add bookish or non-bookish photos of your topic. Also, tell me what do you have in mind when you think of monsters. Do you agree with what I brought out or do you have your own understanding of the word?

In this conclusion I will add a photo of my sister's bookshelf.

She still hopes to find a human skull from where those three have come from, from the forest behind our house.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

#1 Cover Love - April 2014

In hopes of making this blog more livelier, I decided to start with my own original monthly post (or perhaps not so original, I wouldn't know if it has been done before). The idea is to share my favourite cover from the releases of the current month.

I love pretty things. Especially pretty art on book covers. I'm familiar with photomanipulation myself, have designed free covers on the online free book and writing site, Wattpad, and even dreamed of becoming a professional cover designer - if I had professional skills. I also like to get critical over what I see as manipulation and design flaws. They say you're not supposed to judge a book by it's cover, and that is why I'm not going to discuss the contents; only the covers. My picks and comments are just my opinions though. Feel free to share your own! :)

And the cover of the month is...

...Plus One by Elizabeth Fama!

I love the blue-violet colors, the day and night element and how they present two different people in love. They blend into one another, two fitting pieces, like they really are 'One', as the simple but beautiful title suggests. I like that the font effects aren't flashy, but blend into the cover as well. There's not a thing I dislike. This cover is both cute and gorgeous, one of my all time favourites. I'll definitely be buying myself a copy, greatly thanks to the cover itself!

Some others that caught my eye:

The Geography of You and Me Love Letters to the Dead Frozen

Let me know what you think of my picks and what your own favourites are! :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Review - Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Another review from about a year ago, a quite short one, with minor changes. Like always, the link to original is at the bottom of the page :)

Genres: YA / Supernatural / Romance
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

My review:
First few pages in and I was very critical. Everything sounded too rushed, too simple and I didn't feel like taking anything seriously. I found flaws in dialogue and characters' personalities - like the sudden bursts of anger, etc. But getting further in, I found myself enjoying it a lot more than I had expected to. I admit, I really loved it.

I only bought this book because it cost less than half it's normal price. And when I see a YA book on low price on a bookstore's shelf... well, that's gonna be the last I'll see of this money. I never was very excited about werewolf stories, although I haven't read many. But SHIVER was worth the time I spent on reading it (note that I'm a terribly slow reader, alas, something that really annoys me about myself).

It might've been Sam's character that really got me to enjoy this story. Although I've said I like badboys, I absolutely melt for shy, sensitive and sweet guys. I often feel like we need more dudes like him! Grace's character, on the other hand, was perhaps a bit too practical for my liking. But she didn't get annoying, and that's what is most important.

Four stars, because I found the beginning to be a little less than the rest.

Click here to see this review on Goodreads.