Sunday, October 21, 2012

Halloween Review: The Monstrumologist (The Monstrumologist #1) by Rick Yancey

Overall Impression1/2

Halloween Rating:
got pumpkin rating from here

Source: Bought

Publication Date: July 2010

Short Synopsis (Goodreads)hese are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for nearly ninety years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me . . . and the one who cursed me.
So starts the diary of Will Henry, orphan and assistant to a doctor with a most unusual specialty: monster hunting. In the short time he has lived with the doctor, Will has grown accustomed to his late night callers and dangerous business. But when one visitor comes with the body of a young girl and the monster that was eating her, Will's world is about to change forever. The doctor has discovered a baby Anthropophagus—a headless monster that feeds through a mouth in its chest—and it signals a growing number of Anthropophagi. Now, Will and the doctor must face the horror threatening to overtake and consume our world before it is too late.
My Review: This book is a PERFECT Halloween read. There are monsters, there is mayhem, and there's blood. But it's not your average read. Mr. Yancey does a superb job of creating an engaging and enigmatic character in young Will Henry. 

These books are presented as journals discovered and published. Will Henry wrote down his experiences with the Monstrumologist years after they happened which lends an astuteness and observation quite beyond what a normal 12-year old could accomplish. It even gets quite philosophical at times. While the mystery of the book and its conclusion were a draw, the main reason I kept reading was Will Henry. He's just so adorable and he tries so hard and is actually quite capable. But he's so alone, and the Monstrumologist is all that he has and he'll stick with him. Awww, little Will Henry!

At first I didn't like the Monstrumologist, he was very distant and seemed just obsessed with his work. Turns out he has a conscience and I was quite impressed with some of his actions throughout the book. He is very personal and it's hard for him to show affection, and there is still the element of Master and Assistant, but for all that, he's actually a pretty decent guy for Will Henry to be with. Especially as other characters come to light, Will Henry could be a lot worse off, but Doctor Warthrope will look out for him. He was a pretty layered character as well and I look forward to seeing what adventures he takes Will Henry on next.

I must admit that the most disturbing images in this book were ones that concerned the human body and bacteria. Monsters with mouths in their stomach and long claws are nothing to ignore to be sure, but the descriptions of other more mundane things were the most disturbing and will stick with me the longest. Not really for the faint of heart or those with a weak constitution. 

Overall, this was a fantastic read. I am really impressed with the atmosphere that Mr. Yancey was able to create and how much I love Will Henry and came to like the Monstrumologist. Definitely a series I am wanting to continue. The question now is, do I keep reading it all at once (the fourth book doesn't come out till next year) to get the scary gross things over with quickly, or spread it out, with happier less wormy books in-between because even with time, this book will still stay with me. Choices choices!

The reason for the 1/2 star off is because the end was a little lack luster. Things just kind of concluded. Maybe it's because it's the start of a series (a fantastic one at that) but the last 20 or so pages of the book did not quite grab me as the rest of the 420. That's a pretty good average if you ask me!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Game of Thrones Sigil Typography by Stefan Halbuer

So I was perusing Geek Art Gallery (for a couple of hours, but we won't go into that...seriously a really great combination of geeky pictures and products and great short films, you should check it out) and came across this and just had to share.

Artist Stefan Halbuer has really come up with something. I love the backgrounds and colors and it's just awesome-sauce! Enjoy!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Ban This Book by Grant Snider

I came across this really awesome comic that deals with banned books week by Grant Snider and just had to share. You should check out his website here.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Blogger Interview: A Bookworm Belle

As bloggers we all try to make our blogs useful and fun, a place where people can find good book recommendations (or warnings) and a place to chat (because we're all obsessed, and we're OK with that).

I came across one such blog that I was very impressed with. A Bookworm Belle is a fairly new blog, but you wouldn't be able to tell from the content. She created (among other awesome things) a four part series on how to encourage young readers. I don't have any kids yet, but I am for sure looking forward to reading to them when I do. A Bookworm Belle's advice really helped me think on some things that I hadn't thought about before and I will for sure be looking back on it when the time comes to read to my own "Young'n". Here's a link to the series:

Part 1 : the Do's
Part 2: the Dont's
Part 3: A Guide to Storytime
Part 4: Book Recommendations

And feeling that it would simply be inadequate to point you to these posts I reached out to A Bookworm Belle for an interview and she graciously obliged. I had a lot of fun coming up with questions and she gave some really good answers, so without further ado, Anya from A Bookworm Belle!

  • So Anya, when did you start blogging and how did you come up with your blog name? - I started A Bookworm Belle recently, in June of this year. I wish I had started it much earlier! The name comes from my favorite Disney princess, Belle of "Beauty and the Beast". She was a bookworm like me, and I've always identified with her and her love of reading. 
  • What are some of your earliest bookish related memories? - I remember staying up late past my bedtime as a kid, reading Goosebumps books and Nancy Drew mysteries under my blanket with a flashlight. I pretty much still do that, I just read Stephen King instead of R.L. Stine. I also recall checking out Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret from my library when I was 12, and attempting the bust-increasing exercises detailed in the book. They seem to have worked, though not as quickly as I had hoped for when I was doing them. 
  • Do you re-read books a lot or do you mostly read a lot of books just once? - Most books I end up reading once, though MANY books are on my re-read list. I feel like many of the classics I hated as a teenager deserve a second chance through the eyes of adulthood. 
  • What advice would you have for people who have just started blogging or would want to start? - Stop putting it off and get started! I waited a YEAR before finally putting my plan into action, and I wish I had started earlier.
  • What kind of books do you mostly read and review? - Hmmm, that's a tough question to answer. Technically, it's supposed to be classics. I'm attempting to read as many books from the 1001 Books To Read Before You Die list (which is mostly made up of classics) as I can and blog about my experiences. But I also read new releases, graphic novels, children's books with my son, and nonfiction. My to-read list is ever-changing, and the blog so far reflects that. 
  • What are some of your most anticipated reads for this fall? - Fevre Dream, by George R.R. Martin, and The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and The Real Count of Monte Cristo, by Tom Reiss. I've been wanting to read some G.R.R.M. ever since I got hooked on the Game of Thrones TV show, but didn't want to invest myself in yet ANOTHER epic series to read. A friend told me about Fevre Dream, and I added it to the to-read list as soon as I read "vampires on riverboats" in the reviews.  The Black Count is the true story of Alexander Dumas's father, a man who rose above his station in Napoleonic-era France, despite being black. Monte Cristo is my favorite book ever, so this will be a real treat for me!
  • What are some of your favorites that you've already read this year? 11/22/63, by Stephen King. He really outdid himself with that book, and I was sad to have finished it. Anyone who thinks his work went downhill after The Stand will re-think their position after reading 11/22/63
  • Do you have any quirky reading habits? I refuse to buy a book if it has the movie adaption cover! It cheapens the book, don't you think? I also have this thing where I can't stop reading a book just anywhere. If I have to stop reading and take a break, I have to get to the end of the chapter first. It bothers me to stop willy-nilly mid-paragraph!
  • Do you do Audio books, e-books, or just the printed word? Mostly the printed word, but I do love my Kindle. It's convenient to be able to read a huge book about the French Revolution without having to carry a giant hardcover around. If I had to choose, though, gimmie a good ol' paperback any day. Old book smell is a musty perfume that I'll always adore, and no gadget could replace that. 
  • What inspired you to write/share the post about encouraging young readers? - My friends! I have had a few friends ask me how I got my 4-year-old son to love books, and what they can do to teach their preschooler to read independently. The answers are so simple that I thought I'd share them on my blog, so that anyone could channel that innate curiosity in their child into a lifelong skill and passion. I made the whole thing into a 4-part series in which I talked about what worked and didn't work with my child. how to make the most of storytime, and gave a list of recommended books.

Thanks so much for being so thoughtful with your blog posts Anya, and for sharing a little bit about yourself today!

You all should go and check out A Bookworm Belle, you'll be glad you did!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Banned Books Week Review: The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain #1) by Lloyd Alexander

Overall Impression:

Source: Gift (won from Bibliopunk)

Publication Date: first published 1964

Short Synopsis (Goodreads):Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper wants to become a hero, joined by Eilonwy, the strong-willed and sharp-tongued princess; Fflewddur Fflam, the hyperbole-prone bard; the ever-faithful Gurgi; and the curmudgeonly Doli--all of whom have become involved in an epic struggle between good and evil that shapes the fate of the legendary land of Prydain.

My Review: I've been meaning to read Lloyd Alexander for quite a while, his type of fantasy seemed just my style, but have not gotten around to it. When I won it from Bibliopunk I thought 'This is it, I'll finally read it!', but other books inevitably got read first. It wasn't until I saw an email from Macmillian listing it as one of their top most contested books for Banned Book Week that I was like 'What? Banned?! What for? Now I MUST read it' and so I did.

I thought that this book was going to be good, but slow. It ended up being quite the opposite! I was surprised at how sparse Alexander could be with the intermediate details and how stuff just kept happening. The adventure literally starts in the first chapter, and that like, never happens! Usually there's a bit of a lead up and background, life is all ho-hum, but this honestly starts off right away.

It's quite impressive actually, how much Alexander can explain in so few of words. I actually really thought that there was genuine character growth for Taran and a lot of the other characters had depth to them. Yes, things did indeed get a little simplistic sometimes, but it was a fairly fleshed out story and I look forward to seeing what else happens in the series.

Bringing this back to Banned Books Week, Macmillian said on a little post that they did that the reason "this book and the rest in the series have been challenged [are] because it has religious themes that have been seen as blasphemous or pagan", which I found to be stretching it. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but this book really didn't have that type of feel to me. It's just good ol' fashioned fantasy. Worth the read, but not worth the ban.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October Halloween Read

So, it's October!!! Can you believe it? Not I!

I live somewhere where we don't really have the seasons...and falls my favorite, so it's a bit of a bummer.

This doesn't mean I can't get into the Halloween spirit by reading some spooky reads, though!

Before Halloween my goal is to read the following (at least):

The Monstrumologist by Rick Vancey

This has been on my TBR for quite a while. I have heard very good things about this book, and most especially how perfect it is for October and Halloween. I found it a few months ago at a thrift shop but just haven't had the time to read it. This month, I'm making the time!...and I'll probably end up sleeping with my lights on

Frankentstein by Mary Shelley

This is a classic that I have never had the chance to read. Again, found it at a thrift shop (LOVE finding bargain book deals) and wanted it for my collection. I just remembered that I had it the other day so dug it out and am now for sure reading it this month.

I also wanted to read it to get the original story in my head so that I could get into This Dark Endevour by Kenneth Oppel that is about the apprenticeship of Franenstein and is really quite good (and the covers are so a dark way!)

How about you?


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