#BookReview The Vampire’s Assistant by Darren Shan

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The Vampire’s Assistant was an excellent young adult novel that is full of thrills and chills!

I watched the movie adaption of this series YEARS ago, and I had been dying to pick up this series. Unfortunately for me, the bookstore is big and full of millions of books so I’d forget what I was looking for the minute I walked in. Luckily for me, I walked into a bargain bookstore and found an old, extremely damaged version of this book for clearance – so of course I bought it! A little water never hurt anybody!

I hadn’t read the first book in this series, but jumping right in was super easy! This book was fun, full of silly frights and awesome character development, and made me remember why I loved vampire novels in my youth!

This book is quick – it moves fast and keeps you interested at every turn. There’s some really creepy bad guys, Evra (the snake boy), a wolf man, and some awesome parental-yet-not-so-parental adults hanging around. It’s definitely the type of horror book I would read as a kid (but it doesn’t scare me at all now – adult me has worse things to be afraid of…like politics and bills…ick).

I highly recommend this book to anyone considering introducing their children to YA books with horror or vampires in it. It’s fun and creepy in all good ways! It’ll keep the adults interested too!

Four out of five stars!

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BooKReview Hercufleas by Sam Gayton

Comment below – what is your favourite young adult novel?

Give me a shout-out on Twitter using the hashtag #briarsreviews if you read this review! Briar’s Reviews on Twitter – @ReviewAlholic

And check out Darren Shan:

http://www.darrenshan.com/

@DarrenShan

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#BookReview Life of Pi by Yann Martel

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I have been yearning to read this book for a long time. Everyone I spoke to was obsessed with this book to the n-th degree, so I figured I might feel the same way once I read it.

I was highly mistaken.

I found this book to be slow moving and boring, even though it is well written. This book was just not for me (which happens, by the way. Not every reader has to like every book ever written). That being said, I still wanted to give it a quality review. For me, the stars are low – but keep in mind this book is still excellent and the idea was intriguing.

To keep the plot short: A boy is trapped on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger after his family was trying to move their zoo animals across the sea. Tragedy strikes, and now Pi (our lead) is stuck with Richard Parker (our cat).

I found that this story went in many different directions. At first, this story seemed to be all about animals and how Pi’s father ran a zoo. I thought there might be more information in regards to him opening a zoo in the future, or having some great story arc involving it. Unfortunately, this didn’t go very far. It seemed to just be an introduction into the character rather than making it an integral part of the story (except for the animals on the lifeboat, of course). Then religion is thrown into the mix!! Pi enjoys practicing three different religions and this causes strife with his family, and then the plot point is essentially gone. There could have been lots of room for improvement in this discussion further along in the book, but all we get is that Pi is “praying” a lot. To me, having all of these opportunities to follow through with these plot lines was a bit of a waste. Why just have these points as an intro to the character? Why not use them to your advantage?

I also found this book to be SO FREAKING SLOW AND BORING. It’s inspirational, but when it’s close to two hundred pages of “stuck on a boat, send help, I am praying, there’s a tiger, i need to drink water” over and over, it gets a little tiring.

When I look at other reviews and theories about this book, I understand the theme is about religion. You can pick your story to follow God – just like picking apart this book. There’s multiple stories to follow, and you can pick the one you like. I don’t know how I feel about this theme and the way it is presented, but it worked.

This book also has some gore in it, so if you don’t want to read about an animal being ripped apart in description then this book might not be for you!!

Pros:
1. The chapters are short – I like when books don’t make long chapters. Having a chapter that lasts one hundred pages tires me out. Having the opportunity to stop where I want to with a small chapter is a nice quality about this book.

2. The cover – The cover is absolutely gorgeous. It’s simple, it’s colourful and it gets to the point. I appreciate a well thought out cover.

3. Beautiful language – Yann Martel can present a scene well with his words. There are some moments in this book where I got lost in his choice of words.

Cons:

1. Slow and Steady doesn’t always win the race.

2. Religion. This seems like a bad place to put it, but I know many people who would lose their minds having religion be a theme in the book (some would have it as an AMAZING PRO). That being said, I’m putting it in cons because of the strife it may cause some readers. There’s also times I think that religion was mentioned to much, like the author was trying to hit us over the head with it. Just because you leave religion out for one page doesn’t mean we’ll forget about it!

3. The story drags with the same thoughts and concepts.

Overall, this book was not my cup of tea. It is beautifully written and was a unique take on religion I hadn’t seen before. I had high hopes and expectations for this book, but it didn’t bode well for me. I blame a lot of the really great reviews and everyone saying it was the best book ever to make me have such high expectations, but putting the blame on them really won’t get me anywhere, will it?

Two out of five stars.

 

Did you enjoy this review? Why not check out another you might enjoy? #BookReview Hope Has Two Daughters by Monia Mazigh

Check out Yann Martel on twitter! @WriterYann

Give me a shoutout on twitter! @ReviewAlholic

 

#BookReview The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort

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The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort was an interesting novel that left me completely disinterested.

As someone going into business, this book intrigued me. I also really want to watch the movie, but I wanted to read the book beforehand, so that helped me with picking this read. I thought this book would be over the top exciting, since that’s all I’ve heard about the movie, but alas it was not. This book was probably my most boring read of the year, and that’s not an over-exaggeration.

This book is said to be non-fiction, but Jordan Belfort’s opening lines at the beginning of the book also say he may or may not have changed the timelines, which lead me to believe it’s not 100% accurate. (But is anything 100% accurate in a memoir? You are relying on memory, which can tell some pretty epic lies…but that’s another story). Reading about all the antics within his career was definitely interesting – it’s not something I really thought about. All the drugs, alcohol, prostitutes, etc and all the craziness tied in together was definitely the basis of a really cool read. But, this book fell flat. The first “book” (it’s separated into books that have chapters in each) was fast paced and epic! I was hooked to every word I read! But Book two and onward left me feeling “meh”. It was slow paced, then it would suddenly pick up pace for two pages, and go back to boring again.

That being said, Jordan’s life is definitely worth a read – but maybe by a different author? This is Jordan’s first book, so with a little more experience and skill this book could have knocked it out of the park. Jordan definitely has talent in writing, it just needs a little more tweaking before he becomes a really great author.

As the narrator, Jordan does come off as that wealthy rich kid stereotype everyone hates. It is sometimes annoying listening to his ranting about how much money he makes, and his hot wife, and how he cheats and does drugs and will absolutely quit but never does. That felt like it was 60% of this book – the same comments being repeated in different ways. “I’ll quit…” then he doesn’t, “I’ll stop!…” then he doesn’t, and so on. There’s also no remorse for what he does. He is destroying lives, but hey, I’m rich so whatever! That’s what I got out of this book. There was no life lessons at the end, no big “Ta Da! I’ve done well!”, it’s just him being rich and all of the bad things he does in his life, and the end! His penis, erection and everything about his sex life is mentioned numerous times – and of course, according to him it’s god walking on earth. He rarely insults or looks down on himself, but will quickly do it to anybody else.

Overall, I’m sure Jordan’s life was and is interesting, but his story could have been told better. It’s almost as if he hasn’t learned anything in his life, or at least that’s how it’s portrayed. And, better yet, there’s another book in this series if you want to continue reading because HE DOESN’T FINISH HIS STORY IN THIS BOOK.

2 out of five stars.
Why? It had so much potential, and was so great in the beginning, but tumbled far down about one quarter into the book.

 

Did you enjoy this book? Check out another read you might enjoy! #BookReview So Near the Horizon by Jessica Koch

Murderous May: The Girl on the Train – BOOK REVIEW EXTRAVAGANZA!

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Book Review
Book Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins

Introduction: I have had this book on my shelf for AGES. I had been dying to read it but I never had the time. And then, with a hint of luck, I had to go sit during a long appointment and I had all the time in the world to read this book! And I read about 85% of the book in one sitting and finished it one day later. I not only wanted to read it because of all the fantastic reviews I had read about it, but because I want to watch the film adaption as well. I always love reading the book before seeing the movie – hence why I haven’t watched many movies lately! So many are based on good books!

Review:

This book has been compared to Gone Girl since it hopped on the suspense/mystery novel scene – and while you can definitely say they are similar (because of, you know, murders and mystery) they are both fantastic in their own ways. They are two separate entities that shouldn’t be compared! Unless you are using them in a list of the best suspense books in the last decade, then list them together!

This book follows Rachel, a drunk, angry, depressed, bitter woman who has been divorced by Tom. Slowly throughout this book we are introduced to her back story – a glorious tale woven so beautifully by Paula Hawkins. Tom is now married to Anna, the other woman in his and Rachel’s relationship, and it all goes downhill from there. When a girl that Rachel has seen is missing, Rachel decides that she has to help this mystery.

Reading this book from Rachel’s, Anna and Meghan’s point of view is truly incredible. Rachel isn’t totally reliable because of her being an alcoholic, Anna sounds like the not-so-perfect housewife Tom probably desired at some point, and Meghan gives an inside view to the outside view Rachel has been watching. These three tales woven together are just so beautifully written that it’s hard not to want to tell everyone to read this book just to show them how three separate characters who barely interact can haveĀ  their lives so entwined with one enough.

So is all this hype worth it? I would say yes. Don’t put this book in some high and mighty place in your mind and then be disappointed. I decided I would read this to see the movie – all the comparisons to Gone Girl made me quite suspicious so I didn’t leave my standards high. But, surprisingly, this book was excellent. If I would have given it silly expectations, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much.

If I could describe this book in a few words, I would give it – insanity, murder, and suspicion. Every time I thought I had an idea of where this book was going, Paula had to go and shake it up like a magic eight ball. Typically I can see the ending from a mile away, and this book was different. I did NOT expect the ending. Will the reader guess it? Potentially, but it’s not a dead giveaway – which is why I like this book! Paula didn’t make it obvious and made the reader work for it if they wanted to guess.

Overall – this fast-paced, mind-blowing novel is definitely what I needed in my life! It lived up to the hype, and I’m excited to watch the film now! The psychological, murderous novel full of absolute insanity is spectacular! I can’t wait to read more by Paula Hawkins! Her and Gillian Flynn need to write a book together…because the insanity between the two of them in one book? That’d be killer!

Five out of five stars.

Positives:
1. Fast-Paced
2. Unpredictable Twists and Turns
3. Unreliable Narrators
4. Well Developed Characters
5. Complex Plot with a Layered Storyline
6. Unique Concepts

Negatives:
1. Comparisons to Gone Girl
2. Over-Hyped? Maybe.

Positive & Negative All Wrapped Up In One:
1. Dual (3 to be exact) POVs
2. Stereotypical Relationships
3. Black-Out Drunk Moments

Film Review: Zulu (1964) starring Stanley Baker, Michael Caine

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Film: Zulu (1964)
Director: Cy Endfield

Producer: Stanley Baker, Cy Endfield

Starring: Stanley Baker, Michael Caine

Introduction: A dear friend of mine recommends past films to me that I should watch. He tends to pick older films that I might not have heard of or wouldn’t see hanging around the local big brand shops that sell movies. He lent me Zulu so I could see Michael Caine in his first big role, and I couldn’t say no! I remember my Father used to love this movie, so I felt a little sentimental watching it for the first time.

Quick Plot: The film follows the British Army’s 24th Regiment of Foot in 1879. During this time, there was a battle against the Zulus – where the British army gets defeated. This movie chronicles some of the events that happened.

Review: I wasn’t sure if or how I would like this film. I never enjoyed war films and it had always been hard getting into them. While watching this film, I did tend to lose a little focus, but that was because it wasn’t a genre I typically enjoy watching. I wanted to watch this movie to see Michael Caine in the beginning of his acting career, since I find him one of my favourite actors.

This film moves slowly, but it is filled with extravagant details and imagery. The Zulus walking through the fields of the dead bodies of the British soldiers and theĀ  waves of Zulus and soldiers attacking each other,

Overall, I found this film to be beautiful but slow. This film was definitely not a film made for me – I prefer fast moving, action packed and sometimes mysterious movies. This film was more a fictional documentary of the battle of the Zulus. But, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t fantastic. It is definitely a movie I suggest to film goers. Seeing Michael Caine in his prime, the beautiful imagery, and the way the story was captured within this film is a real treat!

I give this film 85% out of 100%.

Batman: The Killing Joke – Book Review

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Batman: The Killing Joke is an excellent graphic novel following two of comics leading stars: Batman and the Joker.

Introduction: I have always loved superheroes – Adam West’s Batman was a key staple of my childhood. Slowly as I got older and Marvel and DC were the beckoning lights at the movie theaters, I became totally obsessed with everything superheroes, super villains and comic books. I began collecting them, reading them, and trying to get my hands on every adaption possible. So, I decided to watch The Killing Joke animated movie. I was so enchanted and enthralled with the film that I had to see the famous comic/graphic novel it was based on. It was a short search – a local store had it in stock the first time I went to look for it, and the rest is history.

Review:

This comic is so simple in theory, but so complex in art. A joker origin (of sorts), a splash of James and Barbara Gordon, some tragic ultimatums, Batman, and beautiful art.

The introduction to the Joker’s “back story” is so interesting. The Joker has always been this mysterious character, and the reader is welcomed into one theory of how the joker came to be. But the joker says it himself – he prefers his past as multiple choice. So is anything he tells us actually true? That’s up to you to decide.

The Joker is cunning and intelligent, as well as insane and wild. The reader gets to see his thought pattern and how truly manipulative he is when he takes control of the plot and causes his destruction. But then, he makes it worse by not only physically torturing his victim, but try to mentally destroy him as well. How can someone be to cruel yet so smart? It’s an incredible reading experience for fans of the Joker.

The ending leaves viewers with many questions – one that we may never know the true answer to. This cliff hanger wasn’t as troubling as other cliffhangers have been for me in the past. It leaves it off at the perfect ending – the reader questioning the events that happened. This leaves the reader to interpret the ending in their own way. What truly happened and what are we to believe?

Brutal is one word to describe this novel – there are graphic scenes, ones that changed DC comics dramatically – and it’s not for the lighthearted.

Overall, I really enjoyed this graphic novel. It changed my views on the Joker and Batman, and I really appreciated the little splash of Barbara Gordon (one of my personal favourite characters DC has ever created).

For those who are fans of the film / want to watch The Killing Joke animated film: The plot is very similar, but there are a few changes. These changes don’t impact the end of the story, but it may change some of your personal feelings/understandings of the characters.

Five out of five stars.