DISCLAIMER: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Monsterland is the new theme park created by media darling Vincent Conrad. In this reality, vampires have been found in hiding, werewolves have been discovered in the Everglades, and a virus has broken out that turns humans into mindless zombies. The story centers around three outcast high school teenagers who receive complimentary opening day tickets as well as three high school preps who are the enemies of the outcasts.
Wyatt, our main character, is excited to try out the park despite his mother and step-father's concerns, anxious to try out Zombieville, Werewolf River Ride, and Vampire Village. But once inside, things start to change, and Vincent Conrad may have secrets both inside the park and out.
Overall this was a fun, fast-paced, "turn your brain off" read. Cash does a good job at making the main characters likable and conveying a sense of evil in his villain. My only critique is that there are quite a few main characters to keep up with and while the book if paced appropriately, it does begin to feel rushed towards the end. Where I feel like he shines is by making this park believable - not in the sense of having actual monsters but in describing the park, merch, and layout.
I would recommend this book to anyone that is a fan of the horror genre or those, like myself, that are theme park junkies.
This was my first venture into the world of Discworld, the imaginary, middle-aged land created by Sir Terry Pratchett. The story follows Mort, a young, awkward peasant who is chosen to become the apprentice to Death. He starts off by learning the ropes on what Death does as they travel across the countryside but in an act of laziness, Death prematurely hands over the job to Mort... and things quickly go awry.
Overall this was a funny, original story that makes me want to read more Discworld novels, but per my research, I have learned that Pratchett's stories range from great to terrible. On most lists, Mort is ranked as one of the better Discworld novels which is a little disappointing to me. If this is the best he has, a story that I found to be slightly above average, it may be a while before I pick up another. My main criticism of this book is that the last third seems to be drug out unnecessarily. I would have been a fan of quicker pacing towards the climax.
I would describe Pratchett's writing style to be the Douglas Adams of fantasy - strange, off the wall, dry humor that is funnier in retrospect than it is when you're currently reading it. If you're looking for a light-hearted, not very serious novel that takes place in medieval times, pick this up. Also, if you're wanting to get started into the Discworld novels, this is a good place to begin.
I had previously read a book by John Green ("An Abundance of Katherines" and I thought it was complete literary garbage. But after reading so many good reviews and so much hype for this book I thought I would give it a try. Here goes:
Girl has cancer and meets a boy who had cancer at a church-sponsored cancer support group. They fall in love until... cancer. The story isn't really much more than that, but I liked it. Green gives these characters depth and personalities and unlike his other stories, I found myself cheering for them. The writing isn't anything spectacular, but what would you expect from John Green, but it does flow at a nice pace. The only problem I have with this book is that I feel it was written (and heralded) for one reason: cancer. Having read the book around 2 years ago and watching the movie around a year ago, I feel that he pulls the reader's heartstrings which makes the book seem better than it actually is.
If you're looking for a tearjerker of a book and you happen to like young adult love stories, pick this up. I've read a total of three John Green novels and this is the only one I would take home if they all sat in a dusty box marked "Books - 5 cents" at my local Goodwill.
Following up the events of Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades, The Last Colony picks up right where the action left off. We find our heroes taking life easy in a settlement serving in public roles and enjoying the simple life. However, when the prospect of colonizing a new planet comes up, it is simply an offer they cannot refuse. Unfortunately, they've only been told part of the story. They realize this when they land up on an unknown planet and are told they are being hunted all over the galaxy. Enter not one but two big bad guys and things heat up fast as they discover their true purpose and how much they can really trust the Colonial Union.
This book follows Scalzi's equation for success: humor, fast-paced, kick-ass sci-fi action, and likable characters. He does a great job at creating personas that the reader can really develop feelings toward whether it is sympathy, hatred, or anything in between. Scalzi also does a good job at expanding on the world he created in the first two books. If you're a fan of sci-fi space operas make sure you pick this up but after you have read the first two as they build up the story and make it sweeter.
This book was intended to be a conclusion to the Old Man's War trilogy but he has since written several additional volumes including Zoe's Tale, essentially this same story but told from the perspective of Zoe. If it is half as good as the first three have been, I can't wait. Scalzi has also written novellas to fill in the gaps between novels which I hope to read one day as well.
Overall this series is young in publication but has already been voted on numerous "Best-Of" sci-fi lists. Read them and you'll see why.
New Year's Day on 2011 I had made a resolution to read more. I was finishing up optometry school and wanted to be more literary and well-read so I decided to set little goals for myself regarding the number of books I wanted to read each year. I created a Goodreads account to help track this and here's the numbers year-by-year as well as my favorite books. Each year, I post my Top 5 books I read that year to my Facebook and I have compiled a Top 25 books I've read over the past 5 years. Enjoy.
25 "Up in the Air" by Walter Kirn (2011)
24. "The Unlikely Disciple" by Kevin Roose (2011)
23. "Caught" by Harlan Coben (2012)
22. "The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving" by Jonathan Evison (2013)
21. "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins (2011)
20. "The Book of Joe" by Jonathan Tropper (2013)
19. "Pines" by Blake Crouch (2015)
18. "Heaven's Shadow" by David S. Goyer (2012)
17. "Star Wars Ep 3: Revenge of the Sith" by Matthew Stover (2013)
16. "2001: A Space Odyssey" by Arthur C. Clarke (2012)
15. "A Reliable Wife" by Robert Goolrick (2011)
14. "Feed" by M.T. Anderson (2014)
13. "What We've Lost Is Nothing" by Rachel Louise Snyder (2014)
12. "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" by J. K. Rowling (2011)
11. "One Last Thing Before I Go" by Jonathan Tropper (2012)
10. "Epcot Explorer's Encyclopedia" by R. A. Pedersen (2012)
9. "Everything, Everything" by Nicola Yoon (2015)
8. "The Art of Fielding" by Chad Harbach (2013)
7. "The Perfect Son" by Barbara Claypole White (2015)
6. "We Are Called to Rise" by Laura McBride (2015)
5. "The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry" by Gabrielle Zevin (2014)
4. "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein (2014)
3. "Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes (2013)
2. "The Martian" by Andy Weir (2015)
1. "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline (2014)
2011: 31 books
2012: 35 books
2013: 68 books
2014: 100 books
2015: 71 books
So its that time of year again where I list the top books I've read this year. I know it is still a few weeks from the end of 2015 but as of now I have managed to read 71 books. And here are my favorites...
5. "The Perfect Son" by Barbara Claypole White
4. "Pines" by Blake Crouch
3. "Everything, Everything" by Nicola Yoon
2. "We Are Called to Rise" by Laura McBride
1. "The Martian" by Andy Weir
I love to read and to discuss books. My preferred genre is sci-fi but I like to read mostly anything.