Monday, December 31, 2012

End of 2012 Book Survey

Jaime from The Perpetual Page-Turner created another yearly book survey! I think they're so much fun! Here's her original post.

1. Best book you read in 2012?

Click here for my full list of the best books I read this year!

2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn’t?

Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card

It turned out to be an okay read, but it was nothing particularly spectacular. Meh.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

I guess it wasn't that suprising since I didn't know what to expect, but I ended up really enjoying it.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green was the only one I read this year that put me on a mission to get everyone in the world to read.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

Though I did discover a couple of series, none of them particularly blew me away.

However, Naoko Takeuchi's Sailor Moon series was rereleased, and I love them! I discovered Sailor Moon back in the '90s, so a rerelease of something I already knew and loved doesn't really count as a discovery.

 6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

JOHN GREEN! I also read something by Charlotte Bronte for the first time, and I think she's great!

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
I read manga for the first time! Even though I watched the Sailor Moon anime while it was still on television, it wasn't until years later that I started looking for the books. I was having trouble finding them until this wonderful rerelease!
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

I couldn't put these down:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Sailor Moon Volumes 1-5 by Naoko Takeuchi

9. Book you read in 2012 that you are most likely to re-read next year:

Sailor Moon 4 and Sailor Moon 5 by Naoko Takeuchi. I've only read from 1-5 so far, and those two were my favorites. Sailor Moon really steps in up in these two books.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink                                                                            The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Sailor Moon 3 by Naoko Takeuchi
(truthfully, I love all the Sailor Moon rerelease covers, but this is my favorite)

11. Most memorable character in 2012?

Mr. Rochester (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte)
Jane Eyre (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte)
Augustus Waters (The Fault in Our Stars by John Green)
Usagi/Sailor Moon (Sailor Moon Series by Naoko Takeuchi)
Mamoru/Tuxedo Mask (Sailor Moon Series by Naoko Takeuchi)
Chibiusa (Sailor Moon Series by Naoko Takeuchi)

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green


14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?

Seriously, it's 2012 and I just now read something by John Green? I'm ridiculous!

I also can't believe I waited so long for Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. I've wanted to read that ever since it came out! The same goes for Crusade by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie, but who knows if I'll even finish it this year.

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2012?

 "Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am souless and harmless?"
-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

16. Shortest & longest book you read in 2012?

Shortest: A Separate Peace by John Knowles, 196 pages

Longest: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, 462 pages (which isn't even that long)

17. Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and dying to talk to somebody about it? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

There were a few episodes in Jane Eyre that I can't talk about without spoiling anything... and of course, Sailor Moon's badassery in the Black Moon story arc. Oh, and also Sailor Pluto in the same story arc.

18. Favorite relationship from a book you read in 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Usagi/Sailor Moon and Mamoru/Tuxedo Kamen (Sailor Moon Series by Naoko Takeuchi)
Usagi and Chibiusa (Sailor Moon Series by Naoko Takeuchi)
Hazel and Augustus (The Fault in Our Stars by John Green)

19. Favorite book you read in 2012 from an author you read previously.

Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink

20. Best book you read that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else:

The only reason why I read Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith was because Annette Curtis Klause spoke positively about it.


There was also a Book Blogging/Reading Life portion of the survey that I chose not to fill out this time around since I haven't been the most active in that department.

Looking Ahead:

1. One book You didn’t get to in 2012 but will be your number 1 priority in 2013?

I said this last year, and I'll say it again: Across the Universe by Beth Revis.

Plus, I really, really, REALLY need to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and Life of Pi by Yann Martel.

Oh wait! I also need to catch up on a few series by reading these books: Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick, Destined by Aprilynne Pike, Hidden by P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast, The Dark and Hallow Places by Carrie Ryan, and Circle of Fire by Michelle Zink. Oh, and the rest of the Sailor Moon books as well.

Yeah, I've got a lot of reading to do.

2. Book you are most anticipating for 2013?

The answer I gave to the last question is only a portion of my TBR. Do I look like I have time to anticipate any more? However... I'm totally excited for the rest of the Sailor Moon books... not to mention the Sailor Moon art book. Did you hear me? ART BOOK. *dances, sings, falls over*

3. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging in 2013?

CATCH UP. My TBR is out of control. But, there are a lot of books I'd like to reread... Let's see if I can READ ALL THE BOOKS in 2013.
(Heh. Doubt it.)

One thing I've been feeling lately... I need to meet an author I'm a fan of. Though I'm a major book nerd, I haven't met any authors yet. I must go to a bookish event and get something signed.


Thanks for taking the time to read (or at least skim) all of that! I hope everyone else had a fabulous year in blogging and reading; let's make 2013 even better!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Best Books I Read: 2012

Ever since The Critiquing Critica was born, I've posted an annual list of my favorite books that I read throughout the year. For this list, I didn't really pay attention to ratings since I'm starting to get annoyed with my own rating scale, but all Best Books can be assumed 5/5 Stars and Runner-Ups can be considered 4.5/5 Stars. If I reviewed any of these books, I linked the title.

So, here's my yearly list, in no particular order.

Best Books

The Fault in Our Stars by: John Green

I could never name my favorite author when I was asked. Now, I immediately answer "John Green." I don't care if anyone read the summary and didn't find much interest; neither did I. Go read this book. The writing is wonderfully-crafted, as are the unique (and funny) primary characters, Augustus and Hazel. John Green painted a perfect picture of emotions, and it takes a special writer to truly capture grief as he did. I cried a lot as I read this book, and I oftentimes think of it now. The Fault in Our Stars is so unforgettable - how could I not name it as one of my favorite books?

The Dead-Tossed Waves by: Carrie Ryan

Carrie Ryan's The Dead-Tossed Waves is the sequal to The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and I loved both. Once again, Ryan proved to be an excellent writer, and she added plenty of twists and turns in the plot, following a new character we didn't know in the first book. This character, Gabry, did what any decent character should do throughout a novel - grow. Her metamorphisis made her stronger, less fearful, and more sure of herself. This brought more hope into a rather dark and bleak novel about a zombie-apocalypse. Carrie Ryan's series is the only zombie-related series I read, as she creates a frightening vision of the Unconsecrated that I could personally never understand or care about in any other format than hers.

Jane Eyre by: Charlotte Bronte

I never wanted to put this classic down, and was sad to see the story end. Though Jane Eyre was written in the 1800s, there is something about it that's so incredibly fresh, and I'm not just talking about Jane being so femminist for her time period... does anyone know how excited I was for an ugly love interest!? ALAS! NORMALCY! I'm so sick of these 'perfect' love interests that actually have glaring flaws. I'm sick of reading about perfect hair and eyes and other things that can be perfect like hands and teeth and backs! (Crazy run-on sentence! Whoo!) Anyway, Mr. Rochester outdid them all, even though he's so ugly that Jane told him several times.

A Separate Peace by: John Knowles

Since I wasn't sure what this book would be about, I definitely wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did. Like most contemporary novels, it kept me reading and reading with much interest and emotion. Gene and Finny's friendship is indeed a complicated one, and it is also an irritating one as Gene plays head games with himself in fits of jealousy. The domino effect of events that follow one act of Gene's anger is saddening, all told from Gene as an adult looking back on rather unpleasant teenage years.


Sailor Moon 4 and Sailor Moon 5 by: Naoko Takeuchi

"International revival." That's what Wikipedia called it. My reaction as were other fans' reactions. Rereleasing the manga was the spark, and I began my mission to READ ALL THE BOOKS! This year, I only got around to reading the first five, of which volumes 4 and 5 were my favorites. In these books, the second story arc entitled Black Moon is told, and Sailor Moon is a much stronger heroine than in the first story arc, making the already awesome story even more bad-ass. Though some complain about this new translation, let's face it: It's SO much better than nothing. I may not have been a fan of all of Sailor Moon's twenty years of existence, but have been for fourteen of those years upon my first discovery. Something that sticks with someone this long has to be good.


Prophecy of the Sisters by: Michelle Zink

This is my second time reading Prophecy of the Sisters, and I enjoyed it even more than the first time! Michelle Zink's writing can be described as darkly pretty as she tells the story of two prophecy-burdened twin sisters in the 1800s. The plot of this book contains magic and creepy events, making the storyline easy to devour. I really loved this one!

Guardian of the Gate by: Michelle Zink

This sequal ended up being as good as the first! The writing still maintains greatness as the plot gets more fun complicated. I can't wait to see how it all turns out in the last book in the series, Circle of Fire. It's definitely an awesome trilogy thus far, and I doubt Circle of Fire will disappoint.

Unfortunately, I didn't read a huge group of books that made my Best Books list, but who knows what next year will bring.

Did you agree/disagree with any of my choices? Tell me about all the cool books you read in 2012!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Favorite Musical Singles of 2012 (Part 4/4)

This is the final post displaying my favorite musical singles of 2012! I hope you've enjoyed the previous three posts as well as this one. Please leave your favorite singles in the comments; I'd love to hear what you have to say!
"Made of Stone" by Evanescence
Need an angry song? Here's "Made of Stone." Evanescence is back
and heavier than ever while maintaining a level of epicness, and this
song certainly demonstrates that. Like many Evanescence songs,
"Made of Stone" is something I can call a theme song of mine. It'll
keep anyone singing along with their head bobbing. Since there's
no official music video or lyric video for this promotional single,
here's an unofficial lyric video:
"She Wolf (Falling to Pieces)" by David Guetta ft. Sia
This song represents one of those times where pop music can be
beautiful. The piano bit is so pretty, as are the electronic bits.
The lyrical metaphor is just wonderfully written, and it's something
just about anyone can relate to. Plus, it's hard not to love the
wolves in the music video. Though David Guetta doesn't usually
impress me, he's undoubtedly made some magic with Sia.
"Castle of Glass" by Linkin Park
"Castle of Glass" is one of my all-time favorite Linkin Park
songs with its chilled electronic feel. There's nothing one can't
love about it. The music's great, the vocals are so easy to listen
to, and the lyrics are decorated with emotion in the most peaceful
way. The video has a specific meaning to it, and I'm utterly
fascinated by the glass constantly flying around the band. That being
said, why doesn't this single get radio airplay? People need to request
"Powerless" by Linkin Park
This is another of my favorite Linkin Park songs, and (much
like "Castle of Glass") I didn't even realize it was a single since
I've never heard this one on the radio. The two that I usually
hear, "Lost in the Echo" and "Burn it Down" are great songs, but
they sound way to similar for them to both be singles. Anyway,
"Powerless" is a highlight from their latest album, Living Things.
The piano leads this song, but electronic elements pick up
throughout, creating a beautiful sound. The music video includes
scenes from the film adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and a lot of the movie audio
is potent in the video, so I recommend looking up a video of
just the song's audio.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Favorite Musical Singles of 2012 (Part 3/4)

 This is the third post consisting of my favorite singles released in 2012. Part four will come later in the week.
"It's Time" by Imagine Dragons
I discovered this song from watching the trailer for The Perks of
Being a Wallflower and began hearing it on the radio shortly
after the trailer's release. There's something about this song that
describes life, kind of like how Radical Face is good at describing
life. It's ordinary and it's extraordinary. Between the music and the
meaning, "It's Time" makes me want to cry and smile and be happy.
"Breathing Underwater" by Metric This is the second Metric song on this list, and though I love the first one listed, "Breathing Underwater" is the one I tend to favor. The feel of it is so light and carefree; I can't  help but love it. I hoped it would be a single when I heard it from their album Synthetica and almost had a heart attack when I finally heard it on the radio.
"National Anthem" by Lana Del Rey
"National Anthem" is the last of the three Lana Del Rey songs
one can find on this list, and it took the longest to grow on me
out of all the songs on her album Born to Die. However, it's one of her
best. The song itself is unique in its general feel, and it includes a catchy
chorus and intense bridge. Still, the video is probably most popular
amongst the general public since Lana embodied both Marilyn
Monore and Jackie Kennedy without trying too hard to look like either
of them. After all, Lana Del Rey is strictly Lana Del Rey.
"Love Bites (So Do I)" by Halestorm
For a change of pace, give this single a try. "Love Bites (So Do
I)" is such a fun rock song. It's hard not to like something so badass
and lyrically exciting. Even the title sounds awesome. But if
rock isn't really your thing, just listen to Lzzy Hale's ending two
notes. Holy. Cow.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Favorite Musical Singles of 2012 (Part 2/4)

This is the second post consisting of my favorite singles released in 2012. Parts three and four will come later in the week.
"Lost in Paradise" by Evanescence
One of my favorite songs EVER. Like Evanescence always does, they
created an amazing, tear-jerking ballad. There's nothing to complain
about with this one. Amy Lee's voice is powerful like usual, the
music and lyrics are deep as usual, and the piano leads the way
like a beacon of greatness. There's no official video for this single
yet, so here's the beautiful lyric video. Go follow along with the
lyrics and get chills.
"Storm the Sorrow" by Epica
A big and bold single from Epica, a very worthy symphonic
metal band! This song displays outstanding vocals and lyrics amid
music that's completely epic. Mark Jansen's grunts are limited
to the bridge, creating cross-over appeal for those who don't care
for that style of vocalizing. Plus, the music video happens to be
my favorite Epica video.
"Hats Off to the Bull" by Chevelle
Chevelle's such a cool band, and the single "Hats Off to the
Bull" (released during the previous February) seems to help
enforce that. Anyone looking to rock out with the volume turned
way up? Listen to this song. Then go to one of their shows and
hear it live; they do a great job.
"Breath of Life" by Florence + the Machine
This song is the lead single from the film Snow White and the
Huntsman, and it made the end credits for that movie so much
better. I can't describe this song's genre... There's Florence's voice
plus a choir, exceptional lyrics, and of course the theatrical music...
It's the genre of Florence. And it's very fun to sing.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Favorite Musical Singles of 2012 (Part 1/4)

Since 2012 is coming to a close, I thought I'd share my favorite singles released this year!
This will be the first of four posts. Each of these four posts will contain four videos of my favorite singles, making that a total of sixteen songs to expect over the course of the week. I will post the other three posts every other day this week.
Initially, I tried to order these numerically, making it more of a countdown, but the order ended up relying on how much I love the artist, it felt biased in result. So, I decided to randomize them. Plus, I just love these songs so much.
I hope you enjoy these four great songs as well the others coming within the week!
"Youth Without Youth" by Metric
This is an awesome, fun song that makes me feel BA whenever I listen to it.
The album that this single came from, Synthetica, is a fantastic album
that has multiple tracks that are just as cool (or even cooler) than this

"Summertime Sadness" by Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey brings a heavy darkness to indie pop with
"Summertime Sadness," and the video does that darkness justice.
It's both mellow and melodic, and even though I wasn't a fan from
the get-go, the greatness ofthis song, as well as the other tracks on
her debut album Born to Die hit me like a ton of bricks.
 "The Other Side" by Evanescence
"The Other Side" is a promotional single from my favorite band's
latest self-titled album (which I loved). Though it's not a happy song,
it's definitely upbeat and catchy both vocally and instrumentally.
As a promo single, it has no official music video, but it does have
an official lyric video in which I have posted.
"Ride" by Lana Del Rey 
Lana Del Rey released a new edition of her debut album (The
Paradise Edition) which includes a bunch of new songs for us
to love, including this single. The song itself is very pretty and
melancholy, but the video doesn't do much for me, personally.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Paradise | Lana Del Rey

Indie-pop artist Lana Del Rey has recently released a new EP entitled Paradise, an addition to her album Born to Die (though it can also be purchased separately). Now, I can tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed Born to Die, but it took a long time to grow on me. When I wrote the review of that album, I wasn't the most fond of it, but I wrote an edit at the bottom explaining that every slight bit of positivity I found became magnified and granted it another star.

Paradise didn't take that extra time to grow, for Lana Del Rey has improved. The very first track (and single), "Ride" still has everything Lana did well on Born to Die. Her voice is relaxing, the music and lyrics are moving... but it's just... better. I didn't have to try and love it; I loved it immediately, especially the strings and how they become even more present towards the end. I totally didn't cry a little the first time I heard it, either. "Ride" is easily one of my favorites.

"American" is the next song, and the strings are still taking the stage, but it does have its poppier elements as well, which somehow reminds me of Bjork's "All is Full of Love" at times (but only on an instrumental level). It's a bit gloomy without being too much; it's nostalgic. Really, that's the best way to describe most of Lana Del Rey's Paradise. It feels incredibly nostalgic.

The next planned single is called "Cola", and oh my goodness, it's weird. Just go listen to those beginning lyrics and anyone will see what I'm saying. As a whole, the song is more fun-sounding than the previous tracks, particularly the chorus. The bridge takes an unusual turn since Lana decides to show off a bit vocally and hits notes that she doesn't normally attempt. "Cola" is definitely my least favorite song from Paradise; it simply doesn't do much for me.

Oppositely, "Body Electric" is one of my all-time favorite Lana Del Rey song. It's very eerie. Sure, Lana Del Rey has made darker music than most, but this song takes it to a whole new level. It was one of the two songs I was most excited to hear from this EP, the other being Lana's cover of "Blue Velvet." I loved hearing it on Lana's H&M commercial and wanted to hear more. She's great with this kind of music, and I hope she continuous to offer quality music such as this.

"Gods and Monsters" seems to be the most pop-friendly song on the album, and I simply cannot relate to it at all. Musically, it sounds catchy, but lyrically, I feel extremely detached. It seems to be about someone extremely reckless without a good sense of what's good for her. Though the general meaning isn't bad and something I'd actually like to hear about, I find myself wishing Lana Del Rey could be more feminist lyrically. I think I'll be able to appreciate this more with time if I can get past the certain irritation I feel.

"Yayo" (whatever that means) returns to the melancholy mood that was set towards the beginning of the album. I'm a little confused lyrically, but there's nothing wrong with the song. It's quite relaxing. If I were to compile a ranking list of the tracks of Paradise from best to worse, "Yayo" would be the middle ground.

The album ends quite peacefully with "Bel Air," as it is reminiscent of a lullaby. The whole feel of it is very different than the rest of the album. Even though it still has a darkness to it, it's so much lighter than the rest of Paradise as well as Born to Die. It's more pretty than it is anything else, like the single that introduced me to Lana Del Rey's music, "Video Games," but it's still very different than "Video Games." It has more of a film score-type of magic to it, too good for real life. That being said, "Bel Air" is another one of my favorite Lana Del Rey songs.

Paradise has a lot to offer. As good as Born to Die is, in the grand scheme of things, it has quite a few repetative sounds. Paradise breaks Born to Die's habits since this EP is different, offering a sound that's even more chilled-out and pretty. It's more soulful and jazzy than anything, breaking from traditional indie pop. The music this woman is making goes to show that some genres will never die, even if they are often hidden by the generic radio stations that will play the same five songs that sound the same until audiences are finally ready for another generic set. At the end of the decade, century, or any other length of time, quality music is still quality music.

4.5/5 Stars

(If you read my review of The Family Tree: The Roots by Radical Face, you know that I was ready to give up star-ratings. As of now, I am unsure... I hope to post about this sometime soon.)

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part Two | Screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg and Stephenie Meyer | Directed by Bill Condon

*This review contains spoilers for those who have not read the novel.

Much like with Breaking Dawn: Part One, I didn't have high expectations for this final Twilight film. Though the second half of first part managed to exceed my low expectations in the end, it was because of the way the corniness fell away during times of action. I did not expect much of any action in Breaking Dawn: Part Two, simply because I thought that the two-part split would not work. Everything that I envisioned to be most entertaining on screen happened in the first part, so I thought Part Two would be a bit boring, leaving room for the inevitable gushiness that the movies in this series tends to bring - except for this one.

The filmmakers threw a major curve ball at me, and I love it!

In this film, Bella thinks she has the 'forever' she's always wanted as a vampire, and she has to deal with the quirks that come with the lifestyle. (This includes hunting and trying to look human.) But of course, the Volturi become suspicious of her mixed-breed daughter, Renesmee, and the Cullens know they can't convince them that she's harmless without some help. Even with Jacob and the wolf pack on their side, it may not be enough despite Jacob's strong connection to Renesmee.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's start at the very beginning... The opening credits.

Yes, I'm even critiquing the credits. That's probably not normal, but seriously - the credits looked awesome! The names and background kept switching from a normal woodsy scene to red. Despite the cool-looking credits, they went way too fast; it felt odd. Really, the beginning of the movie felt a little bit sped up.

As I mentioned earlier, the corny element I always complain about in this series is barely there. Of course, there's affection, but it's cute. It's sweet. It doesn't make me roll my eyes. And I'm not just talking about Edward and Bella's love story, I'm talking about Renesmee's protector, Jacob. Breaking Dawn is the book that really made me fall in love with Jacob. He's a dependable, all-around good guy and Taylor Lautner did a great job portraying him in this film.

Another thing that contributed in making me take the movie seriously is the film score, which was much better compared to some of the other films in the series.

I know I've said this every time, but I'll say it for the final time now: This is the best movie in the series. Though I've said it before, I've often meant 'well, this is a little better than the last one.' Breaking Dawn: Part Two buries the previous four movies in the ground because for the first time, they tricked the audience. (I promise not to spoil.) They changed something without changing anything, and that made it the good movie it was. If they did not throw the curveball, this movie would have been as boring and nearly uneventful as I predicted. It was the BEST part.

Am I saying that the movie got it right and the book got it wrong? No. The fact of the matter is, some things in books don't work well on screen. (Honestly, I've even seen movies with original scripts that I thought would have been better in novel formation...) The filmmakers knew that they couldn't possibly target a movie audience unless they made things a little more eventful even if there's nothing wrong with the book.

Don't think that this adaptation isn't true to the book either, because it is.

Anyhow, the very end was sweet, just as the book's ending was. I liked that they put actors' names with character faces at the end along with occasional pages from the books. In fact, this movie's ending note was perfect... I'm sad to see it all go now. But, I'll always have the books to revisit as I wish; for at the end of the day, The Twilight Saga offers good fun and an enjoyable love story that made me happy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Dilemmas with Cinemas

I have a problem. Truth to be told, I have a series of problems.

There are so many movies that I want to see, but I only end up seeing no more than six a year. (How often does the average person go to the movies a year anyway? Is six a normal number?) Either way, I don't get to see nearly as many as I want. Since I'm an avid book-lover, I tend to go see movies that are based off of the books I've read. When you take into account for how many books series' there are, that's a lot of film adaptations. But... why do I even need to see to see these adaptations? Honestly, I've always felt like it was some sort of fan obligation. Though my curiosity would drive me crazy in some cases, there's always the rare occasion where I really don't care.

November 16th is the perfect example. Since I enjoyed the Twilight books (DON'T JUDGE ME), I feel obligated to see Breaking Dawn: Part 2. But quite frankly, I'm just so pessimistic about this movie! The two part split was utterly unnecessary and every film adaptation in this series has been corny. Besides, all of the interesting events in the book have already happened in the first part; why should I bother with this movie? I have nothing to go for.

However, I do want to see Lincoln, which debuts on the same day. Steven Spielberg's magic glorifying my favorite president in movie form? I'm in! And am I the only one completely enthralled by this movie's TV spot? It's even better than the theatrical trailer. Has anyone else ever seen a TV  spot better than the theatrical trailer? Not I.

Watch it; it's only about 30 seconds:

So, why not see both? Well, my mother really, really, really wants to see Breaking Dawn: Part 2 for one thing, and for another thing, going to the movies is overly expensive. By the time I get my popcorn, soft drink, and cookie dough, I feel like I'm pouring money down the drain. The fact that the food is overpriced isn't the only problem, though. I can't even consume everything I buy! I always buy a small soft drink and popcorn, but smalls aren't even small! How can someone eat/drink all of that? It's ridiculous! If you ask me, they shouldn't even be called small, medium and large; they should be called, big, bigger, and huge.

Not to mention how embarrassing it is to cry in a movie theatre. But the worst part isn't that I cry at nearly every movie, the worst part is that I've also cried during the trailers. When I saw the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 trailer in the cinema, I probably looked like I was having major respiratory issue. (TRAILERS ARE AMAZING, OKAY!?)

Yet at the end of the day, despite all of my complaints about going to the movies, it's something I really do like to go out and do. It would be wonderful if my complaints did not exist; then I'd be able to go more often and actually see all (or at least most) of the movies I'm interested in. Until that day comes, I will remain choosy.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Family Tree: The Roots | Radical Face

As I watched the wonderful movie trailer for Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I noticed the great indie music playing and had to find out what it was. From this search for a song, I ended up discovering Radical Face. Radical Face is a one-man-band consisting of a talented musician named Ben Cooper. This particular album, The Family Tree: The Roots, is the first of what is said to be a trilogy of albums, and it is currently the only album of that trilogy released.

The first song is more of an intro, and it is called "Names." It has a rainy background as Cooper comes in singing with his guitar ever so peacefully. Since it's so subtle, it doesn't really prepare one for the next song, "A Pound of Flesh," which is led by a pretty piano line throughout its entirety. Of course, other instruments and Cooper's voice comes in to begin the first verse, adding layers to the great song. Though one can imagine what a song called "A Pound of Flesh" would sound like, I can assure it's quality music. From Cooper's lyrics, to the music itself, to his vocals, the song is catchy and relaxing. It's the epitome of indie music, and that example doesn't just stop there, it continues in every track.

"Family Portrait" follows, beginning with a choral sound and then stopping for the piano, and eventually guitar, drums, and Cooper's voice. The melody is a bit odd-sounding, almost quirky. Lyrically, the same can nearly be said, though they're more unusual than quirky. More than anything, Cooper is telling a story, which is really what this trilogy of albums is all about anyway. Still, I can't get into this particular song.

The fourth track is called "Black Eyes," and unlike the other songs, it has an eerie melody to it. This seems to help demonstrate the angry lyrics in a crazier way than they might have been on any other album. Don't get the idea that the lyrics aren't well-constructed, though, for they are actually quite good. And though this song is full of rage, it isn't loud and obnoxious. Much like humans dealing with anger on a day-to-day basis.

In "Severus and Stone," the pretty element found earlier in The Family Tree: The Roots returns. But it's a bittersweet sort of pretty, because it's actually a very sad song about the death of a twin brother. Honestly, I cried. Ben Cooper's lyrics paint a picture that's almost too clear, making it more like poetry than typical song lyrics which are often too vague. This song is certainly a highlight from the album and one of my personal favorites.

Like a lullaby, "The Moon is Down" is a soothing, subtle (but not in a bad way) love song. Seriously, Ben Cooper might sing one to sleep while listening to this track. There's beauty in the simplicity, like with most of my favorite indie music. "Ghost Towns," the seventh track, brings a bit of a different feel than "The Moon is Down." It's more upbeat, more of a walking song than a sleeping song, but still touched by the melancholy reality of physical separation though love is still present. I enjoyed it.

A distant thunderstorm can be heard in the next song, "Kin," which sounds like a rainy-Sunday song even after the rain effects are gone. There's nothing bad about this song (other than the fact that it'll be annoying when stuck in one's head at night) but it just doesn't please me as the rest of the songs do.

But, a love theme returns with "The Dead Waltz." This time it's almost a dreamlike story, yet it's still so realistic. Untainted by negativity that can prevent love as described by "The Moon is Down" and "Ghost Towns." Though I like it better than the last song, it still doesn't seem to entice me as much despite the lovely lyrics.

"Always Gold" is the tenth track on The Family Tree: The Roots, and probably the most likely to do well as a single. The beat of this song is clapped out, giving it a more spunky feel in the verses, but the chorus removes that vibe in order to bring the listener chills. It frustrates me that I can't really explain why this song is as great as it is, so just go listen to it. Go listen to this entire album.

Cooper saved an amazing song for last on this album, and that song is called "Mountains." I am at a loss for words for this song. Truthfully, it's hard for me to describe any of these songs, and it's quite obvious since this review is so poorly written in its repetitiveness. All I can seem to say is this: It's amazing how well Radical Face describes life. I don't think I've ever heard it described so well until now, and this goes for both the music and lyrics. Life isn't a black-and-white subject, it is a grey area. Things aren't just sad or just happy, but often bittersweet, since life comes with a magical combination of positives and negatives that balance each other out. But then again, this doesn't go for just "Mountains," it goes for the whole album.

On a more specific note, "Mountains" is about a boy who lost his mother and is assured that she's still there watching over him. Each night he has a hope of seeing her once more, and it almost feels like everything is okay. The piano is beautiful, as usual, and Cooper's voice is calming, as usual. But there's something about the semblance of it all, the way in which the message is carried out, the way in which it was written.

For whatever reason, Radical Face's The Family Tree: The Roots is difficult to explain and describe. The lyrics are moving. The music is calming. Sure, similar instrumentation is used over and over again in each track, but the tracks don't blurr together either. It doesn't make it boring in any way. The reality of real life is demonstrated in such a beautiful, poetic way...

This is one of those albums I can't help but reccommend to anyone and everyone.

(As of now, there will be no more star-ratings.)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Classics: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Note that this is not the cover of the
edition cited.
Orphaned at a young age, Jane Eyre's childhood with her aunt had been one of terrible mistreatment though she'd done nothing to deserve it. Later, she gained liberation by going to a badly-run school, but it is at the ripe age of eighteen where her life seems to really begin. Jane needed a change, and becoming a governess seemed to her a bright future.

Then she met Mr. Rochester, and life would never be the same.

Jane Eyre was a rather groundbreaking piece of work for the 1800s as it is such a feminist novel. Where would we be without women like Charlotte Brontë to blatantly state such equality? Even now, after all these years, it contains a particular uniqueness and holds a place in many a heart, including my own.

That being said, Jane Eyre is one of my favorite novels. Whilst reading it, I never wanted it to end. When I reached the last page, I felt a bit of a pang inside, for I could read about Jane and Mr. Rochester forever if Charlotte Brontë willed the story to last so long. For not only is this an interesting story, but Jane is relatable, and Mr. Rochester is quite passionate as well as different than most love interests.

Of course, Jane is admirable for her amount of feminism. She thought of her feelings (though she cared for others) and therefore said and did what she felt she needed to do in order to be happy. But even before she grew to be an independent young woman, she had still contained a unique spirit when she was younger still. As a child, Jane had been forced to hold in a lot of anger toward her aunt and cousins. Watching her finally release some of that felt refreshing, especially since I tend to think similarly to her when I am angry. She felt she didn't need to be nice to those who wronged her, unlike her friend from school, Helen, who is a very forgiving and peaceful young lady. Everyone should long to think as positively as Helen, to be as sure as themselves. Still, different as they were, both girls' characters leave a memorable, even admirable, impression.

Now, onto the subject of Mr. Rochester, the man Jane Eyre would come to love. Mr. Edward Rochester happens to be my favorite love interest, as his romanticism is most favorable and swoon-worthy. He's not an ordinary man; he has idiosyncrasies that almost strike as odd. But the best part about him? He's not perfect. Not even close. In fact, one thing I admire in this novel is this: Jane Eyre is a story that contains a love interest who is described as ugly. Thank God. It is probably strange to wish for an unattractive love interest, but let's face it: Not every girl is going to fall in love with/ be loved by the hottest guy one the planet. This fact has rarely even been depicted in love stories, and it takes away from a romantic connection when you hear the main character blab about her boyfriend's appearance. If a female is reading this right now and is becoming quite disappointed by such a statement: Wake up.

Besides, another thing I loved about his book is that it shows how someone's physical appearance may seem to change as you get to know a person. Are they still unfavorable in general appearance? Yes, but that shouldn't matter. Anyone who says it mattered to Jane is confused, for she loved Mr. Rochster purely as anyone could ever love. Jane has even told Mr. Rochester that he isn't handsome, but does anyone care? No. Mr. Rochester is handsome in my book because his character is handsome. Jane could certainly say the same.

Jane and Mr. Rochester's relationship frequently made my heart flutter and mouth smile, but if either was ever discontent, my heart sank. Of course, interesting twists concerning these two characters came along, and the way Jane deals with them makes her stand out as a female character. As previously mentioned, Jane did whatever she could in order to make herself happy, even if the costs were unfortunate.

One of my favorite quotes said by Jane: "Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am souless and harmless?" (Brontë, 2011, p.255) Any idea how many times I would like to say that?

Anyway, the ending of Jane's autobiography is a well-deserved happy one. I couldn't stop smiling, of course, until I reached the end of this beloved tale. Sometime soon I hope to reread this story, as it means so much to me.

Although the time to review such a classic like Jane Eyre is long gone, I will still give it 5/5 Stars. It is one of my favorite books containing a couple of my favorite characters, and it is unforgettable and enjoyable to say the least.

Brontë, Charlotte (2011) Jane Eyre. London: Harper Press

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tantalize | by: Cynthia Leitich Smith

Quincie's family resturant is undergoing renovations. Not only will it be an Italian resturant, but a vampire-themed Italian resturant. However, that's not the only part of Quincie's life that seems to be changing, either. First of all, a dear friend of hers gets murdered. Kieren, her werewolf love interest, seems suspicious. But Quincie knows he will have to go and find a pack soon, leaving her behind. Though this saddens Quincie, she seems to get her mind off it by getting the new chef ready for the reopening of the resturant.

Somehow, all these things are connected. But will Quincie figure it all out in time?

Tantalize screamed at me in the bookstore when I thought I should pick up something quick and fun to read. Okay, fine, I'll admit that Annette Curtis Klaus' blub on the back of the book helped in my decision-making, but still, Tantalize looked like just the paranormal book I was in the mood for. But, as with many books that are simply meant to delight and entertain, Tantalize had a number of good points and bad points.

Ironically, one thing that stood out about Tantalize is that even though it's paranormal, it flows like a contemporary book. Readers are in the rather realistic day-to-day setting that is Quincie's life, with the exception of her werewolf best friend/love interest and the climax. I liked that. Why is this ironic? Because the only time I've read a paranormal book that was written in a way that reminded me of contemporary novels was when I read Annette Curtis Klaus' The Silver Kiss and Blood and Chocolate.

But, I'm not saying that Annette Curtis Klaus fans are garunteed to love Tantalize, because I'm a fan of her books and I didn't love Tantalize. Sure, it's not terrible, but it's not... not that great.

The typos in the beginning didn't bother me too much, but what really made this book suffer was the plot and characters. Unfortunately, I didn't really like any of the characters, except for one of Quincie's possible love interests. Of course, that guy turned out to be a cliche psycho. As far as the rest of them, Kieren wasn't quite there enough, Quincie's uncle and girlfriend are just too negatively strange, attempts at sexiness from anyone came off as bizarre, and Quincie was just vulnerable.

Worse yet, the plot remained predictable and corny. I predicted the antagonist, and the corny bits often came from the antagonist (once this person had been revealed).

On the bright side, I enjoyed the resturant setting in which the characters were in majority of the time. It was quite refreshing, as I don't even think I've ever read a story in a resturant setting before. And besides, Italian is my favorite. The best part about this resturant, however, is the vampire theme. Plenty of people would go to a resturant like that in real life, so why isn't there one? This element contributed to what made this story fun.

Another thing a bit unusual about Tantalize is the werepeople. No, this book isn't just limited to werewolves and vampires, but it expands to other shape shifters, like cats and opossums! When it came to this aspect, it took me a while to understand that Quincie wasn't the only one who knew about these shape shifters, for they are actually quite commonplace in the world Cynthia Leitich Smith envisions. Usually in paranormal romance, the paranormal elements are some huge secret, so this was different. Although I don't like opossums, let alone wereopossums.

In the end, Tantalize proved itself to be a semi-entertaining novel with ups and plenty of downs. So, I don't reccommend this unless one is seeking a little non-serious vampire fiction that's enough to keep the pages turning.

2.5/5 Stars

Leitich Smith, Cynthia. Tantalize
Cambridge: Candlewick Press

Monday, August 20, 2012

Blood | In This Moment

American metal band In This Moment is back with a new album, Blood, which was just released August 14th. Though this new direction is darker and a bit different lyrically, the sound is definitely still representative of the band in more ways than one.

First on the album is an intro entitled "Rise With Me," which is electronic based, effective, and epic. Soon, Maria Brink comes in with her signature vocals, belting out repetative lyrics in a way that doesn't make them sound repetative. This intro certainly promises a dark atmosphere to the album.

With an intro like that, the album's title track seems a bit more, dare I say, fun? But not quite out of place either. "Blood" took a while to grow on me, particularly the verses, which do not feature much singing nor screaming, but yelling. The chorus is what saves this song, as well as the guitar solo during the bridge. As "Blood" can cause headbanging, I'm sure it'll do well as a single on the metal charts for a while.

"Adrenalize" comes next, with a heavy intro. Anyone will know what awesomeness they're in for when Brink says "Adrenalize me" in a nearly robotic way. Quickly, the verse comes in, where Brink's voice is a bit synthed-up amid the (totally cool) guitar riffs. Just about every listener should feel like a badass when listening to this song, or at least overwhelmed as if one just saw Kate Beckinsale in Underworld for the first time. "Adrenalize" is a track that'll get people pumped, even more so than "Blood." Honestly, this better be used in a movie trailer sometime soon.

"Whore" is the fouth song, bearing the loveliest of titles. Though it opens with a semi-mellow guitar line, the verse soon becomes quite emotional in the most obnoxious way. Maria Brink is not singing, but only sometimes screaming. Much like the verses of "Blood," it's more like yelling. However, she does actually sing and scream in the chorus and pre-chorus, which sounds much better. The chorus is very powerful sounding (musically) with tortured lyrics.

If listeners thought the theme couldn't get any angrier after "Whore," the next song proves them wrong. "You're Gonna Listen" demands attention, with Brink screaming "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" during each chorus. The verses aren't even half as heavy as the chorus, and Maria is singing quite nicely during that time, but this is still one of the heavier songs.

As if introducing a more sinister side of Blood, "It is Written" is the creepiest thing In This Moment has ever created. With that, it's the most effective interlude I've ever heard. Am I sure if I like it? Not really. It's great that Maria Brink is talking about the measures of her passion for music, but it's lyrically a bit extreme.

The seventh song is called "Burn," and it is by far my favorite. It opens with an eerie piano before the guitars come in for the rest of the intro, but the piano part returns for the verse. More than anything, the chorus is what blows everything else on this album away in some way. It just feels so nostalgic to me, taking me back to the time I first discovered my own love for rock and metal music as well as the time I started listening to In This Moment. Plus, Maria Brink's voice soars. In some way, "Burn" reminds me of the general vibe of the music on Beautiful Tragedy, In This Moment's debut album, except Maria's vocals have improved so much since then. Also, the bridge has a heavy breakdown that I found enjoyable.

"Scarlet" comes next, opening with acoustic guitars. For whatever reason, the vocal line almost sounds familiar, but perhaps it's just catchy in its own right. Eventually, the tempo picks up and the vocal line gets even better with the great guitar line, making it stand out more than I initially expected.

Another intro/interlude comes next, "Aries," which is also creepy, though not as overly sinister as "It is Written." Really, it's not sinister at all. It brings a hopeless sense of longing as Brink narrates in echoes.

Just in case fans missed elements from In This Moment's sophomore album, The Dream, they incorporated a song on this album called "From the Ashes." Like the music found on The Dream, "From the Ashes" is lighter. Unlike the other tracks on this album, it's more free-spirited and positive. Although it momentarily breaks away from the darkness of Blood, the track is not out-of-place. It's still relatively heavy, especially the guitar riffs of the bridge. In other words, it's still In This Moment.

"Beast Within" is the eleventh track of the album, and I must say I have a love/hate relationship with it. Musically, it's fantastic. Lyrically... kind of annoying amid some brilliant lines. What irks me about it is that the band is practically trying to throw a random attempt at sexiness in your face. The verses and pre-chorus don't really affect me at all; it's the chorus that kind of makes me wonder. Musically, I love the chorus. And I love almost all of the lyrics, but I strongly feel as though the third line had been misplaced. If you take the third line from the chorus, it sounds like vengeance.

The next song is "Comanche." Immediately, I am reminded of Marilyn Manson due to the way Maria Brink's voice is electrified. Following the typical Blood pattern, I'm not particularly enthusiastic about the song until the chours, which is filled with screams " or die, let me hear your war cry!" But, it's definitely not the best from the album.

"The Blood Legion (Legion)" is the last of regular tracks, though not the last song. Again, I am reminded of the vibes from the albums The Dream and A Star-Crossed Wasteland as the song begins. Maria's voice sounds nice in this mellow setting, which consists of quite a bit of the song before it changes over to heavier guitars and drums. "The Blood Legion" does what In This Moment does best, as it is a song filled with great riffs as Maria Brink's empowering voice fuels wonderful lyrics of strength.

Honestly, they could have just ended the album there; it would have been a great closer. However, In This Moment decided to be a little more creative with closing the album with "11:11." Or so it would seem. Right away, the song grabs my attention, for it reminds me of the eerie music found in the movie The Woods. The song consists of airy effects and Maria vocalizes in multiple layers, like a choir of Marias. But then the lyrics come in. "Baby baby baby baby baby..." are majority of them. Not impressive. I'll give them credit for the meaning of the song and for the Beautiful Tragedy reference (which are all found in between the series of baby-ing). Unfortunately, Maria's voice (the top layer singing the lyrics, not the choral-like vocalizing) doesn't sound so wonderful on this track.

Well, In This Moment definitely got more creative during Blood, and I loved to see their music get a bit darker than usual. There were a lot of standout tracks on this album, and I do believe that Blood is superior to their previoius work. (Funny how I say that everytime they release a new album.) Amid all this praise, I will say I don't know how I feel about the multitude of songs without standout verses, but then again, all those epic choruses kind of make up for it.

Though I love this album more than A Star-Crossed Wasteland, I'm unsure if I will grant it .5 less than A Star-Crossed Wasteland. Why? Because while they experimented more and I liked the general direction better, I feel there were a couple of flaws on Blood. While A Star-Crossed Wasteland's good songs weren't as good, there weren't really any slip ups. So... 4.5/5 or 5/5 Stars?

If I cut technicality and went with my In This Moment-loving heart, I'd probably say 5/5 Stars. But, you can decide for yourself.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars | by: John Green

Hazel is living with cancer, and everyday she must carry around her oxygen tank in order to breathe. Her lungs just aren't doing well in her fight against the cancer she believes will eventually kill her. During this bleak time of negative emotions and physical struggle, her caring mother makes her attend a Support Group at a local church. Since Hazel doesn't even like Support Group that much, she didn't expect it to completely change her life forever. She didn't expect to meet Augustus Waters.

Together, the two of them journey through life exchanging books and ideas, even love.

The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green's newest novel, and it is also the first I've ever read by him. After watching his Vlogbrothers videos on YouTube, I had already determined that John and his brother Hank are perhaps the coolest people on Earth, so I was definitely looking forward to reading one of John's novels. However, I held off on this book for a while because I had a feeling it would make me cry, and I was right.

John Green is a remarkable man. Only he could write this a story in such a way where I might be sobbing one minute and giggling the next. Augustus Waters and Hazel Lancester are such unique and amusing characters (which is most evident in their dialogue, which I find relatable), and that's half of the reason why their relationship ended up being so engaging. The other half, unfortunately, is the tragic manner in which it all happens. With these utterly human characteristics, I couldn't put this book down; I flew right through it.

Of course, the complexity of Peter Van Houten was also an interesting factor to see play out among these pages. There was a lot of his character that I didn't expect, but I won't give anything away.

I already know I'm not the best journalist out there; my heart has always been with creative writing and I hope it always will be. Though I never considered myself to be the most astonishing writer anyway, after reading this book, I feel like a really crappy writer. John Green's just so... good. He'll grab your emotions and won't let go even if you already feel kind of miserable. But, that's not to say there's no hope in this book, because there is. Sadness isn't the only thing readers will feel when reading The Fault in Our Stars. Like I said earlier, there's humor in this book. There's humor and friendship and love. There's life.

One of the many, many things I loved about this book is the honesty. Everyday, we hear the same things about anyone that dies, not only cancer victims. Once someone dies, everyone loves them. People that barely talked to them suddenly think that they were best friends. Everyone talks about how strong they were as they fought. But most of these people don't even know what they're talking about. The people closest to the victim do know how hard it all can be, how hard it was. I don't know why people get so weird when someone dies, so appreciative and caring of someone they didn't pay much attention to in life. If it were that simple, of course it would not be an issue. But there's an extremity to it that's just so melancholy and fake about it, and it makes me sick.

The Fault in Our Stars is one of my favorite books, and I really can't say enough about it. Words of appreciation don't seem to do it justice. Still, I can't stop thinking about it, how each element came together so perfectly. It deserves all the praise it gets; there will never be another novel like this.

5/5 Stars

Green, John. The Fault in Our Stars
New York: Dutton Books

Friday, August 10, 2012

Brother Odd | by: Dean Koontz

Brother Odd is the third book telling the story of Odd Thomas, a man with strong intuition and can see the dead who have not crossed over. But there are also more sinister things he can see that others cannot.

After months at St. Bartholomew's, the monastery Odd Thomas has been staying at in order to find refuge from the hectic supernatural life he leads, Odd Thomas sees such sinister things that may be a sign of impending death. More specifically, he sees them lingering around the disabled children at the school at St. Bartholomew's. Meanwhile, there are a couple of brothers at the monastery that Odd Thomas does not believe he can trust, for he suspects that there is much more than meets the eye.

There is something odd happening at St. Bartholomew's, and if there's anyone who can figure it all out, it's Odd Thomas.

When I began to read Brother Odd, I felt as though I would never finish this book. In other words, the start was slow. Of course, Koontz needed to give readers a good understanding of the setting, St. Bartholomew's Abbey, as many readers may not be accostomed to such a setting. This was done in a way that was a bit babbly, kind of like when historical fiction writers ramble about all the information they know about a time period and the plot suffers. Thankfully, Brother Odd did not continue to go on like this. When Koontz made the enviornment well-known, he no longer persisted and the plot was in motion.

And from then on, I rarely ever felt like putting the book down.

Dean Koontz's writing is descriptive and humorous as Odd Thomas narrates, but there are definitely some heartfelt moments in the midst. For one thing, Odd Thomas is an interesting and sympathetic character. Each time he spoke of losing Stormy, my heart sank a little. He seems like such a nice guy with good intentions, and it sucks when bad things happen to kind-spirited people - even if they are fictional.

Speaking of which, while Odd Thomas is at the monastery, he talks to a couple of the disabled children there as the plot progresses. Being an overly sympathetic person, some of the backstories of these kids really felt like a knife in the chest. Especially Jacob and Florrie (aka Christmas). Those two contribute to why this novel is as good as it was; they gave this story so much more meaning to it. Honestly, without Stormy, Florrie, and Jacob, I probably wouldn't have seen quite as much in this novel.

Still, there are even more standout characters involved. All the characters are carefully crafted and likeable, and each of them had a backstory (which could be a bit tedious at times, but I think it's generally a positive factor). Brother Knuckles was a favorite of mine because of his troubled past and toughness, while Brother Romanovich stood out more and more as the story progressed. Readers will definitely be amused that Elvis Presley is a character, and an enjoyable one at that.

Despite all of the lightness previously mentioned, this is a suspenseful novel where creepiness was always a factor. Though it was indeed a bit eerie, there's nothing particularly frightening about this book. I couldn't really feel the suspense as much as I would have liked to. In the end, the who/what/when/where/why was surprising to a degree, but I must say the way to finally stop the antagonist was very predictable.

Though Brother Odd hit some good notes, I do feel it could have been better if the suspense factor was more potent. But overall, it wasn't bad at all and was indeed more than entertaining.

3.5/5 Stars

Koontz, Dean. Brother Odd
New York: Bantam Dell