Monday, January 30, 2012

To Whom Shall I Look When I Am Lost? - The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey

Just the facts:

Overall: 4 stars

Addiction Level: I read it when I had spare time.

Believe-ability: I daydream about the created world and wonder how I fit in.


This is the second book in the Monstrumologist series. I have taken great care not to give away any spoilers, but there is some inherent risk in reading this review. My review for the first book in this series can be found here. Continue at your own risk.

     In this second volume of tales from the dark, Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry are again chasing after a mysterious and deadly monster. What makes this book different from the first ended up being what I most enjoyed and most disliked. What do I mean? Well, I’ll tell you.

     In The Curse of the Wendigo, Dr. Warthrop discovers that his well-meaning mentor, Dr. von Helrung, has decided to prove the existence of the Wendigo, a monster that Warthrop believes is a complete fable, to be regarded with the likes of vampires and werewolves. After all, Dr. Warthrop has devoted his entire life to the study of monstrumology and if he says they don’t exist, then they DON’T EXIST. (Sorry to ruin the fantasies of all the Twihards out there). In a turn of events, Dr. Warthrop learns that his former-BFF has undertaken the task of discovering this monster and returning the evidence to Dr. von Helrung. So, of course, it follows that Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry find themselves hot on the trail of this man and monster in an attempt to save the credibility of the entire monstrumology profession.

     Now, from the surface, it looks as if this book is much the same as the first, which it is (and which is great, since I loved the first). The Curse of the Wendigo is full of suspense and fright, which is one of the greatest things these books have to offer. If you’re looking for that alone, you can’t go wrong with choosing this series. However, there are some huge differences between the two books when you actually get into it. Actually, there wasn’t much that I actually disliked. But, I felt like the story was a slower pace than the first and I felt like the writing wasn’t quite as involved. Two things counted as a negative isn’t so bad, right?

     As far as what I loved, it can be summed up in one idea – character development. When I finished reading The Monstrumologist, I already loved Will Henry, but I was kind of on the fence about Dr. Warthrop. Now that I’ve finished The Curse of the Wendigo, I love Will Henry even more and I’m beginning to see what kind of a person Dr. Warthrop truly is. The Curse of the Wendigo reveals so much about Dr. Warthrop’s character that I find it hard to not want to like him. (In an honest effort to not reveal any spoilers, I won’t say much more about Dr. Warthrop, except that perhaps he deserves more credit than you might think?)

     Overall, a great book (4 stars) just not as great as the first. Onward to The Isle of Blood and whatever secrets it may hold!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Meet the Family (Part 3): Heidi

AKA: No known alias.

Stats: 3 year old German Shepherd who understands English and German.

Book character she most admires: Kolya Vlasov (City of Thieves). Heidi (a sometimes deserter herself) admires Kolya’s need to be free from the Red Army and adventurous lifestyle. She looks up to Kolya’s unwavering positive attitude and the belief that everything will turn out right in the end.

Favorite Activities: Running and playing outside, stealing toys from Lacey, and stalking Allie like prey.

Bio: Heidi is the first dog we’ve ever adopted. She was relinquished by her original owner because she was “too much to handle”. Ever since we brought her home, we realized that was not the case. Although she loves to spend most of her time outside, she is a model citizen when she’s in the house. Heidi is a wonderful, sweet, and loving companion. Each day she looks forward to trying to snuggle under the blankets and wake me up in the morning by putting her wet nose in my face.

Friday, January 20, 2012

“The eye sees not itself”: Crossed by Ally Condie

***Do not read if you have not read Matched!
Turn around and walk away!***

Just the Facts:

Overall Rating: 3 stars

Addiction Level: I read it every waking moment.

Believe-ability: The setting was believable.

Dystopia Factor: The world has been turned upside down, and all hope is lost.


I have waited over a year to finally read Crossed, and I find myself somewhat disappointed with it. I am having a hard time pinpointing my disappointment.

Matched ends with Cassia choosing Ky over Xander, her Match, and she is sent to a work camp to correct her behavior. She is determined to escape from Society and find Ky. This means giving up her “perfect life” in favor of pursuing her true love.

Crossed opens with Cassia waiting for her new work camp assignment, while Ky is on the frontline of the war against the Enemy watching the young boys around him die. Both Cassia and Ky escape from their situations with companions in tow hoping to find freedom, life, and each other.

Crossed is told in alternating points of view between Cassia and Ky. I am not a huge fan of alternating points of view, because it can create either a greater understanding of the story or confuse the heck out of readers. Before Cassia and Ky find each other, the alternating perspectives mostly work giving the reader additional insight. Once they find it each other, it becomes a frantic juggle to keep track of who’s telling the story and what their M.O. is. Personally I do not think enough character or plot development is gained by the two perspectives in this story to warrant it. Condie had me reading greedily with just Cassia’s point of view in Matched and confused with both Cassia and Ky’s points of view in Crossed.

I enjoyed Cassia’s search for Ky, because it seemed so pure. Her mission was simple: Find Ky. Yet, she does not know who she was really searching for. She was searching for the idea of her true love and found answers to several nagging questions.

I do not like Ky; I do not think he is worthy of Cassia’s love. Perhaps it is because I feel like he is holding out. Cassia, nor Ky, can see Ky. Indie, a new character in Crossed, on the other hand can see through his façade. At the end I know who he is somewhat, but I do not like him.

As Matched ended with the hint of The Hunger Games, I was eager to see the direction the rebellion would take. After reading Crossed I am not sure the Rising is any better than the Society itself. Both are very structured and regulated. In The Hunger Games I had higher hopes for District 13 than they lived up to. I am not sure what to expect of the Rising or the Society in book three.

My hopes and predictions are:

· Cassia chooses Xander or to be single.

· The Rising successfully infiltrates the Society and abolishes the totalitarian government.

· Condie chooses to tell the story in one point of view.

· Redeemed should be considered as the title.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

When Things Don't Go According to Plan - Legend by Marie Lu

Just the facts:

Overall: 4 stars

Addiction Level: I read it every waking moment.

Believe-ability: It was believable.

Dystopia Factor: The world is starting to disintegrate. (To the characters, at least.)


     I’ve waited for Legend to be released for months. I finally have a copy. And, now it’s over. Already! Agh! Why does this always happen? Dang books that I have to wait for!

     Told from alternating points of view, Legend is about two teens from opposite sides of the track. Day, the Republic’s most wanted outlaw, is being hunted down by June, the Republic’s prodigy soldier, who believes Day murdered her brother. Along the way, we are introduced to many supporting characters and learn that things are not always what they seem. Interesting thought coming from a dystopian book, no? ;)

     Now, on to why I loved the book. - The characters. Period. Legend is a shining example of how to make characters feel real. Even the supporting characters, like Thomas and Tess, are fully created. These are characters that you would really like to know, or not. – The dialogue. The way that June and Day speak is very natural. It feels familiar and comforting to me. (I know, you think I’m strange for saying so.) – The visual elements of the book. Legend has an almost post-modern feel to it. Lu uses a different text and text color for Day and June, which I really enjoyed. It reminded me a bit of The Book Thief, which uses some of the same text manipulation techniques to help tell the story. And lastly, romance doesn’t rule in Legend. Yes, there is some attraction, but it is not the driving force behind the story.

     Although I am giving Legend four stars, (which is great coming from me) I feel I must point out one of the reasons that caused Legend to fall short of my five star standard. Legend is too short! I know that there is more of the story to be told, but I feel like we only catch a glimpse of June’s realization that their society isn’t perfect and shouldn’t be fully trusted. I like instant loathing and rebellion, not slow realization!

     I do have hope that the following books will dive into the dystopia deep end and that, for me, means more longing for books to be released. Too bad there isn’t some instant-book-release-inator. Maybe I should invent one? I’d make it look like a futuristic vending machine. E-6, please. :)

Can’t Wait Books of 2012 Completed: 1/5

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012 Book Club Books

Our book club is dedicated to reading young adult dystopia novels thanks to The Hunger Games. We meet at the beginning of each month. Join as we read the following books in 2012.

January: Crossed (Matched #2) by Ally Condie

February: Divergent by Veronica Roth

March: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

April: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

May: Legend by Marie Lu

June: The Beach by Alex Garland

July: The Scorch Trials & The Death Cure (Maze Runner #2 & #3) by James Dashner

P.S. Review for Crossed coming soon!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Strange Things Are Happening to Me - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Just the facts:

Overall: 3 stars

Addiction Level: I read it when I had spare time.

Believe-ability: It was believable.

     Family secrets, a decaying orphanage, and a series of vintage photographs are the basis for this unusual young adult story. When Jacob’s grandpa dies mysteriously, the teen determinedly sets out to find out more about the strange life his grandpa supposedly lived.

     I’m not sure what to think of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. At first, I thought it was going to be creepy like The Monstrumologist; it wasn’t. Then, I thought the idea of children with special abilities was the driving theme; not sure it is. Time travel? Maybe. Weeks later, I’m still trying to figure out what the overall idea is.

      I found the characters to be a little flat (with the exception of Jacob’s grandpa) and I can’t say that any of them particularly stuck with me. But, it is still a unique read and worth the time.

     I think a second read will be in order and an open mind towards the second book (which will hopefully answer some of my lingering questions). If you’re looking to read something different from the other young adult novels around, you should grab yourself a copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.


Friday, January 6, 2012

The Perfect Society at What Cost? Matched by Ally Condie

Just the Facts:

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Addiction Level: I ignored the hubby and puppy until I finished the book.

Believe-ability: It was believable.

Dystopia Factor: The world has been turned upside down and all hope is lost.


I waited eagerly for Matched to be published, because some critics said it was going to be the next best thing since The Hunger Games! Wow! Aren’t we boastful? It was the first book published on my kindle, and it was definitely worth the money I paid for it.

Matched is set in a futuristic perfect world where everything is regulated. (Matched is very reminiscent of The Giver in this aspect.) It seems even love can be calculated in a scientific manner. One thing unique to this society is the Matching: teens are matched to their future mates at 17 whom they will marry at 21 and have kids with at 24.

Cassia is matched on her 17th birthday. When she views her match on her port (computer), the images of boys (both of whom she knows) appear. She is told there is a glitch in the system, and she is matched with only one boy. However, she begins to wonder she could be in love with the wrong boy or both boys! Pick up this book to see who Cassia chooses!

As a side note: Matched took the best parts of The Giver (which I cannot stand), combined it with hints of Fahrenheit 451, and topped it off with a dash of The Hunger Games. This is a sure read for dystopia fans.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 & 2012 Blessings

Two thousand eleven has had many blessings, because God has been very good to us. I would like to highlight my top five in no particular order. They are:
  • Graduating with my master’s!
  • Moving up to the next teacher level!
  • New and renewed friendships!
  • Crafting with Mum!
  • Walking away from an automobile crash

I have had the opportunity to read many awesome books. (See our Best Books of 2011.)

Two thousand twelve has many delightful things yet to be unfolded. Rather than making a list of resolutions, I will make a list of goals (Thanks Beth Revis!) and must read books (Thanks Esso!).


  • Leave work (school) by 4pm every day
  • Walk (almost) every day
  • Daily Devotion

Books I Need to Read:

  • Crossed by Ally Condie
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  • Middle Ground by Katie Kacvinsky
  • The Witch and Wizard Series by James Patterson

Happy New Year and Happy Reading!