Thursday, 29 July 2010

Review: Play dirty (Sandra Brown)

Play DirtyI really wasn't sure what to expect from this book. While I don't normally read crime/thriller/mystery books, I couldn't put this down.

I wasn't sucked in by the book immediately, but pretty soon I was caught up in its world, mentally begging a character not to make a move that you know he's going to make, and gradually growing to like the "good" guys and really hate the "bad" guys.

I didn't entirely accept all of the story — the romance and the villain's motivations were somewhat unbelievable — but all in all, the book was well told, with details that brought it to life and made the characters seem believable.

And while I don't usually like secrets about the main character being kept from the reader, it worked very well in this instance. This is the first book I've read by Sandra Brown, but it's clear she's a talented author who knows exactly what she's doing, and she revealed the extra clues and final story perfectly, I thought.

And there were a couple of little twists in there that I liked.

Parental warning? Not really needed. Very little description of any violence, and while there are a couple of sex scenes, they are (except for the last one) actually necessary to the story's development. Just trust me on this one.

In fact, read the book. You'll see what I mean.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Vampires suck

Vampires, I think, are best to stick to the odd horror flick, although comedies with them can be pretty good as well. But romance? Doesn't do it for me. I gotta agree with these guys: I'm sick of the modern vampire-romance genre.

But today I saw this: Vampires suck. (Technically I wonder if they would suck, since they're more famous for biting, but I suppose they need to draw the blood out somehow. Yes, I know it's meant to be a pun, but it's a stupid pun and I just like these things to be accurate as well as, y'know, punny.)

I thought the trailer was awesome when I thought it was just a spoof, like the Minesweeper movie. But apparently it's going to be an actual movie, which will no doubt be terrible.

But I still like the trailer.

Friday, 16 July 2010

I'll tell you a secret

I'll tell you a secret: I wish I could be Christian.

I wish I knew there was a god out there. I wish I thought there was life after death. I wish there was some cosmic plan out there, a being looking after us all, some sense of right and wrong in the world. I wish there was some hope, some eternal scheme for this world, some purpose in us all being here. I wish there really was a god who listened to me and cared about me and loved me no matter what, even if I don't feel the need for one. But it would be nice, to think there was a god like that out there. It's a nice fantasy, I think.

I'll tell you a secret: I wouldn't want to be a Christian.

I'd struggle with the restrictions, the theological contradictions, the hypocrisy of modern Christians, the corruption of the church. I'd feel guilty, because as a Christian you're more aware of "sin" you commit, and I'd worry and stress out about everything I did wrong, always feeling I didn't measure up, even though part of the point of Christianity is that you don't need to measure up. If I'm to be honest, when I was a Christian I was emotionally pretty screwed up, and I hated myself for always feeling I didn't measure up to the Bible's standards. I wouldn't want to live according to the Bible's ethics and morals instead of mine. I wouldn't know how to talk to people, whether to talk about it and be condemned by everyone as a freak and a traditional, backwards-thinking fundamentalist, or to not say anything and feel I'm betraying what I believe in.

I'll tell you a secret: I don't think I'm being contradictory. Not at all.

I'm just being human.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

What are you looking forward to?

I was cruising some book blogs the other day, when I came across a blog where people were invited to list the upcoming book that you were most looking forward to. Out of curiosity (and to see if I was right — I banked on Mockingjay being an easy winner), I wrote down the rough results. Besides, I figure if everyone's looking forward to Book X, as long as Book X isn't about vegetarian vampires, maybe there's something I'm missing out on that I should be checking out.

The clear winner of the event was: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I was right! Go me. This book definitely deserves its place; it's the third in the Hunger Games trilogy, and it seems like pretty much every YA book blogger has read the first two books and can't wait for the third. I'm not quite sure what dystopian means, but I think this book is it. I do know what thrilling and fast-paced mean, and this book is those things, too.
Release date: 24 August 2010

Mockingjay had a very close runner-up: Matched by Allyson Condie. There's been a lot of hype about this book, which isn't even released till November. For one thing, it has a beautiful cover. For another thing, it has forbidden love and stretching society's rules, and that's gotta appeal to most YA readers. The plot reminds me a little of Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, which I really liked. I'm not sure how good this book will be, but I have to admit I'll probably be pre-ordering it anyway.
Release date: 30 November 2010

Beautiful darkness by Kami Garcia was third on the list, although some way behind the two top ones. I was quite surprised at this entry, since I hadn't previous heard of either the book or the author. It's a sequel to Beautiful creatures, which I also hadn't heard of — seems like I'll have to do some ferreting.
Release date: 12 October 2010

The DUFF ("designated ugly fat friend") by Kody Keplinger was, unsurprisingly, fourth on the list. I have to say, this book doesn't appeal to me at all, although it seems to rival Matched in terms of hype. While I like the attitude the book seems to have about challenging bookish heroines and cliches, I read a thoughtfully written bad review by Good Books & Good Wine, which has utterly put me off it. I didn't even enter a contest I saw to win a free copy. That's how much it turned me off.
Release date: 7 September 2010

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White was next, which I was pleasantly surprised to see. I've been reading Kiersten's blog for a while, and she seems like such a sweetie — which makes me wonder how many people have heard about the book due to her online presence. I'm definitely not saying that in a negative way: good on her for smart marketing. I can't remember offhand what the book's about, although the title hints at its theme and it has a cool cover. But as I've said, she does seem to be a sweetie, and I may well fall for the smart marketing ploy and buy it based partly on that, too.
Release date: 30 September 2010

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater was no surprise (I really need to read Shiver; I may not like vampires, but the jury's still out on werewolves); and nor was Clockwork angel by Cassandra Clare (which sounds like a good series, although I read part of the first book and it was just a bit young for me). And in the eighth and final place was Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick, which I hadn't heard of but should have, since it's the sequel to the slightly-too-popular Hush, hush. Actually, I shouldn't judge, since I haven't read Hush, hush; I'm just sick of immortal heroes being the one true destiny for high school girls. But everyone seems to like Hush, hush: maybe I should give it a chance.
Release dates: 5 July 2010 (Linger), 31 August 2010 (Clockwork angel), 14 October 2010 (Crescendo)

What do you think? Did your favourite make the list? Have you had a chance to sneak a read of any of the ARCs yet? What upcoming book are you most looking forward to?

Friday, 2 July 2010

Haiku away the blues

Last Friday in the sub-editing office
It's near the end of the week. You're starting to get sick of work. You've been sub-editing trivial community story after trivial community story all week, you're sick of the inanity, and you just want your weekend. What do you do?

In the case of my esteemed colleague Tobias Brockie, you write haiku:

i wish i could stop
caring for tense and grammar
but i never will

i always think of
headlines for things that happen
to me every day

i think that's a sign
that i am dangerously
near losing my mind


The worst thing is that the complete lack of caps and punctuation bugs me. My fingers are itching to fix it....