Friday, November 30, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky


Five stars.

Charlie is a wallflower. He blends into the crowd, and observes life as it happens around him. Written in letter format to an unknown person, Charlie tells stories from his high school life and the people who make a difference in it. There's Brad, the lovable closeted best friend. Sam is the girl that means the world to him, despite her flaws. His English teacher, family, and a few other friends in his clique make appearances, and each one in turn shapes his life. He tells tales of love, sex, drugs, and music in a narrative that's both heartbreaking and vivid, and is something that everyone can relate to.


I cannot begin to explain this book and how I feel about it. It has been a favorite for a long time, and I first read it in junior high. I'm in college now, and I thought it was time to reread it (especially with the movie coming out), and perhaps see if I had outgrown it. I'm glad to say, I didn't. I've only taken more away from it. I think everyone needs to read this book, and I sincerely hope that you love it as much as I do. I cannot recommend it enough.

It's detailed and emotionally charged. I found myself both laughing with Charlie and crying with him. Old stories from my own high school days were conjured up, and I couldn't help but to look back at my memories and look at them in a new light, when seen with his tone in mind.

Slay Bells by Jo Gibson


Four stars.

Slay Bells follows a group of teenagers who are stranded at a mall set to open that weekend, only to have it delayed as a blizzard comes. It's scary enough in an empty mall, but what's making it worse is a Santa Claus who knows who's been naughty, and plans on punishing them all, one victim at a time. Mixed with a teenage romance plot line and old feelings that are stirred up from a childhood crush, there is plenty of action going on for "Santa" to watch.


Well, the first thing that stuck out to me about this book, is that it's a bit obsolete. They couldn't call for help because they had no cell phones, there was no automatic alarm response system set up in the mall. Though a plot like this is completely possible these days, I think it would have been far more complicated for the murderer to remain so mysterious for so long.

The plot was a bit predictable, but over all I was drawn in by the mysterious song lyrics of warning that "Santa" left behind, and I was constantly led astray while trying to figure out who had done it.

This is a good book for lovers of Christmas, but want their stories with a twist of murder mystery.

The Snowman by R.L. Stine


Four stars.

Heather hates her Uncle James. Her friends, boyfriend, and even her neighbors know that she loathes him with a passion. After all, how many times had they heard her say that she wished he was dead? Her bleak, stressful life seems to lighten a bit when a mysterious boy with snow white hair walks into the diner where she waitresses. Intrigued, he asks her out and she agrees, and she's happy, at first. It's not long after that this boy "Snowman" begins acting weird- asking for money, not calling her back. But when he jokes around about killing her uncle, he goes too far. He couldn't have really killed him... Could he?

I thoroughly enjoy The Snowman by R.L. Stine. It's fast paced, well detailed, and hard to put down. It is a bit predictable towards the middle, but all in all I liked it.

I feel that RL Stine effectively pulled at my emotions. I grew to love Snowman, and I loathed her Uncle James to the point of wishing him dead myself. My heart raced when hers did, and I was often just as surprised as she was at the happening events and circumstances.

I recommend it for preteen/teen readers who enjoy the Thriller genre.

Vampireville by Ellen Schreiber


Four stars.

VampireVille is the third book in the Vampire Kisses series, and I found it to be more engaging than either of the first two.

Once the only goth in Dullsville, Raven Madison is soon finding that the city is earning a darker side. It started with the arrival of her knight in black metal armor, Alexander Sterling, who moved into the haunted, abandoned mansion in town. Then, it was the too skinny inked up boy named Jagger Maxwell, who thirsted for far more than just Raven's attention. And in this installment, Jagger's sister, Luna makes her way to the Dullsville scene. But she has an odd interest in one of the boys in town- Raven's own nemesis, Trevor. It's up to her and Alexander to figure out what Jagger and Luna are really planning, and they better do it quick; there are lives on the line.

Funny, dark, and addictive as always, Raven Madison continues to be a character that I simply adore. This novel didn't disappoint, and made me eager to start the next book almost immediately

Kissing Coffins by Ellen Schreiber


Four stars.

** spoiler alert ** Kissing Coffins is the second book in the continuation of sixteen year old Raven Madison. At the end of the first book, she is left with the empty mansion of her (was) boyfriend Alexander Sterling and a mysterious note. She's heartbroken and confused- she thought she had found someone whose darkened lifestyle had matched hers, surely he couldn't just leave her like that... Could he?

Hellbent on seeing Alexander again, and with a clue acquired from inside Dullsville, she devises a plan to try and find her Gothic Mate and bring them together once more.

She first finds a mysterious white haired boy, who claims to know Alex, and promises to help her find him, but something doesn't quite seem right about it to Raven.

Unsure about the truth of the Sterling family, and this new, pierced boy Jagger, Raven soon finds that there may be more truth than legend to the town's rumors, and that maybe Alexander isn't the only one who has a constant thirst in Dullsville...

I think this book is a great continuation to the first novel, Vampire Kisses. I thought that this book had more suspense and drama, not to mention more of Alexander and Raven. I found myself grateful that Raven took initiative and decided that just because Alex left, didn't mean she would just give up and sulk about the love she'd lost. She plotted and tried to hunt him down. I didn't like the way that Becky, Raven's best and only friend, came off in this book though. I no longer found her to be an enjoyable character. I recommend this book to young adults, those who read the first book, and those in search of an easy to read, easy to follow paranormal romance.

Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber


Four stars.

In a small town full of pink sweaters and country clubs, sixteen year old goth Raven Madison definitely stands out. Her love of vampires and her dark choice of dress set her apart from the crowd, and make her the target of ridicule in this town. She has one friend, and she searches for something more. Someone more like her, who shares a love of darkness. But, she's sure there's no way that'll happen Dullsville.

That is, until rumors start flying that the "haunted" old mansion on Benson Hill has a new family moving in. They look creepy, they dress too darkly, and they even say that the son hangs out in a cemetery. It spells trouble in perfect Dullsville, but Raven is ecstatic. Her emotions are only made stronger when a new rumor circulates- that the Sterling family is a family of vampires.

Could she possibly find someone like her in this town, or better yet... Could those rumors be true, and can she join him in eternity?

All in all, I really like this book. It's a young adult novel that's a fast read but entertaining nonetheless. I feel that Raven is a character I could relate to, even if a bit too young. Though modern vampire romance novels seem to all fall under the misconceived "copycat of Twilight" genre, I think this one stands on its own two feet.

I recommend it for pre/early teens, or anyone looking for a lighthearted vampire book without the horror or suspense aspects in it.

Mosh Pit by Kristyn Dunnion


Five stars.

I positively adored this book.

Not recommended for the faint of heart, this book is full of drug use, profanity, and sexual references. If you don't mind all that (like me), then I cannot recommend it enough.

The book follows the story of lesbian protagonist Simone and her "best friend" Cherry, into a Gothic/Punk world of heavy metal, moshing, and crime. Simone's feelings haven't always been innocent towards Cherry, and Cherry uses this to manipulate her. Cherry gets swept up with a shady young man, and Simone is left to decide just how long she can watch her friend spiral deeper and deeper into drugs and trouble, when Cherry has no desire to be saved. The entire novel is speckled with Cherry's blog entries, a great way of showing her perspective. What I found to be even cooler was the soundtrack that adorned this book- bands and songs are mentioned in these blog entries, as well as by Simone throughout of the novel.

As part of the underground (as well as LGBT) scene, I found this book incredibly relatable. It gives a voice to an aspect of society that most publishers turn away. Once I started this book, it was nearly impossible for me to put it down.