Friday, August 27, 2010

The Reformed Vampire Support Group ~ Catherine Jinks

"If being a vampire were easy, there wouldn't have to be a Reformed Vampire Support Group."

Published: 2009
Pages: 362
Where I got it from: Library
First Line: "Nina was stuck. She didn't know what to write next."


Nina Harrison was fanged when she was fifteen, in 1973. Fifty years later, she still looks fifteen, and lives with her aged over-seventy mother. Being a vampire isn't as much fun as you would think, either. It means nausea, boredom, never seeing the sun, and killing guinea pigs for breakfast unless you fancied turning murderess. If that wasn't bad enough, she has a support group that meets every Tuesday night. And her fellow vampires are, for the most part, a whiny lot of mopes who never do anything. Never do anything, that is, until they discover one of their members staked in his coffin. Somewhere out there is a slayer, and there's nothing to do but track him down before he finds the rest of them. Nothing is ever easy; along the way the group must escape from werewolf-fight enthusiasts, find some way of keeping out of the daylight, kill their guinea pigs without attracting too much attention, and hardest of all, keep their own members from spreading their disease. It's a lot to handle when you haven't done anything for fifty years!


Ever since Twilight came out and I made a hobby out of hating it (seriously, there is so much fun to be had hating Twilight) I have been torn between seeking out vampire books with REAL vampires in them, and being totally sick of all things vampirical. So it was with mixed emotions that I picked up this book. But Catherine Jinks doesn't try to make vampires glamourous (a fact that never fails to endear an author to me). Nina is an awkward, sickly little girl, and her friends are no better. The idea that "vegetarian" vamps would be sickly and lethargic was neat, and not something I'd come across before. Jinks also respected the old traditions enough to keep the vamps out of the sun, and to give a good reason for the lack of deadly garlic!

As for the characters (always my favourite part), Dave is lovely. How can you not love the rocker-turned-vamp? He's just so cute and emo! And even the appearance of the good-looking teen werewolf didn't tick me off like it should have. Reuben is an anger management boy I could have loved more, if I'd let myself. And Bridget! I LOVED Bridget! Seventy-plus year old vampires RULE!
Nina's voice for her "autobiography" is realistic enough for a fifty-one year old fifteen year old girl. I won't say she didn't annoy me, because she did at times, but she definitely had a good handle on her story.

The ending got a little ridiculous. That's all I'll say.

Overall I'd give it three out of four stars. It was fun, and light, and there weren't any sparkly sunshine moments. That's all I asked!


Some Good Quotes:

"The plain fact is, I can't do anything much. That's part of the problem. Vampires are meant to be so glamorous and powerful, but I'm here to inform you that being a vampire is nothing like that. Not one bit. On the contrary, it's like being stuck indoors with the flu watching daytime televistion, forever and ever."

"I didn't want to complain too much, because that's what vampires do. They complain too much."

"There's only one thing worse than being a vampire, and that's being an elderly vampire with bad hips."

"There's no way we could make you do anything that you don't want to do. Not us. We don't have what it takes."
For some reason, this particular argument struck a chord. Reuben's scowl yielded first to a pensive expression, then to a slow and sweet (though slightly crazed) little smile.
"I dunno about that," he said. "If you wanted me to take you dancing, I reckon I would. And I hate dancing."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Kin ~ Holly Black and Ted Naifeh

"Hey everyone! Guess what? Faeries are real! Totally real and all around you. You know, Faeries. The Little People. The People of Peace. The Good Neighbours. We're going to take over your town."

Series: The Good Neighbours: Book One
Published: 2008
Pages: 117
Where I got it from: Library
Format: Graphic Novel
First Line: "My name is Rue, like Kangaroo or like "You'll rue the day we met, mwa-ha-ha!"


Rue Silver doesn't worry. Not ever. It's pointless, and only makes a person feel sick. So when her mom disappears for weeks, and her dad sits at home doing nothing, she's not worried. When she starts seeing strange creatures that no one else can see? Nope. Still not worried. But she doesn't have to be worried to find out the truth. And when her father is taken in as a murder suspect for the disappearance of one of his students as well as his wife, Rue knows it's time to stop ignoring the hallucinations that might not be hallucinations. The strange world that's always been just next door, filled with not-so-good neighbours.


I don't really know how I feel about this book. It was well put together, and the art was neat, but it just didn't grab me like I thought it would. I mean, faeries? Missing mothers? Swans??! How could this not be awesome?
But yeah. Just didn't do it for me.
I'm a little bit jaded, I think, because of how many times I've read the girl-secretly-faerie story. Rue was a good character, and I especially loved her friends, and the strange faerie boy who helps her! But I wasn't really sympathetic with her problems, or her mother and father's relationship, or the missing girl's brother. At all. I just didn't FEEL for them.
On the other hand, this was the first book. It had a lot to do in terms of setting up the plot, the backstory, and the world. Both worlds. When it was done, I DID have a good firm foundation about these things. And I will totally read the second book!
The art was good for the story, I think. The grayscale ink drawings are all angular and have a goth/punk/grunge feel to them. It made the story feel down to earth and gritty, without taking it too far.
And I LOVED the Spiderwick Cameo! :D

Overall, I think I'd give it two and a half stars.


Some Good Quotes:

Lucy: "I need a quadruple shot. I want my blood to run black with java."

Rue: "Do you know where she went? My mother? Did something happen to her?"
Tam: "Over the river and through the woods."
Aubrey: "Control that, Tam."
Tam: "Sorry."

Justin: "This is the part in the movie where that guy says, "Zombies? What zombies?" just before they eat his brains. I don't want to be that guy."

55 Quirky Questions for Readers

The Literary Lollipop made this questionnaire, and I'm a sucker for jumping on the bandwagon! So here goes!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Book Buying Ban in September

I can do this. *deep breath* Hello. My name is Kendra, and I have a problem. I buy books. A lot of books.
Admitting it is the first step.

I am BANNING myself from buying books in the month of September, because my TBR pile (though not numbering thousands, like SOME people ;) adds to over two hundred, if not three.

And let's face it, I just really can't afford it! It's getting ridiculous!

Bella, at A Girl Reads is hosting this event, and I've signed up to make it official. I've tried to put myself on a ban or budget before (wow, that was a lot of B's), but I always slack off, or give up completely. Because I'm a WUSS and an ADDICT. This way? It's public, staring me in the face, and you guys have to promise to laugh at me for ALL ETERNITY if I fail, okay? ^_^

Here's my own, self-inflicted guidelines:
  • No purchasing any new books (not even if it's a REALLY GOOD DEAL and WHAT I'VE ALWAYS WANTED FOR MY WHOLE LIFE). This does NOT include buying new books for other people, but it DOES include getting other people to buy a book FOR me, with the promise of paying them back in October ;) Yes, I know how my mind works. I would have found that loophole and abused it!
  • No getting books out of the library *sob*
  • No borrowing books from friends or family. Not even my sisters, who live in the same house. No borrowing even from a different BOOKSHELF in my own HOUSE.
  • I don't have a goal to get down to yet. I don't know my TBR pile intimately enough to make that call. So, my goal for now is just to read as many books as possible ^_^
Self-inflicted guidelines are the worst, since now I can't complain about them to anyone but ME.
This is going to be a really hard month...

Unseen Academicals ~ Terry Pratchett

"The thing about football - the important thing about football - is that it is not just about football."

Series: Discworld #37
Published: 2009
Pages: 400
Where I got it from: Library
First Line: "It was midnight in Ankh Morpork's Royal Art Museum.*
*technically, the city of Ankh Morpork is a Tyranny, which is not always the same thing as a monarchy, and in fact even the post of Tyrant has been somewhat redefined by the incumbent, Lord vetinari, as the only form of democracy that works."


When Vetinari strongly encourages the wizards to renew the timeless tradition of football, it's understood that drastic measures must be taken. Mr. Nutt, a candle dribbler at the university, is called up from the basement to coach the new football team. No one knows anything about him (not even himself), and he looks like a goblin, but when the selection of cheeses at teatime is at stake, anything goes.

Meanwhile an unlikely romance is sparked between Trevor Likely (Nutt's street urchin boss with a hidden talent for kicking cans), and the new kitchen maid Juliet (drop-dead gorgeous with an IQ that would make a troll sympathetic). Juliet's best friend Glenda tries to stave Trev off while at the same time befriending Mr. Nutt, and bossing the wizards around from her Night Kitchen domain.

As the match draws near, everyone gets more and more tangled up in things that have nothing - or everything - to do with football.


Wow. I love Terry Pratchett. So much.
I mean, SO much.

I don't even like sports, but this was fantastic! The biggest hurdle I had to overcome with this book was getting over my North-Americanism, where football has everything to do with just shoving people around and hitting hard, so what was the big deal with how the game was before the wizards stepped in? Oh, right. Football. And Pratchett's...British. Got it. I can keep up, really I can!

His characters are what get me every time. All of them, even Juliet (who by all rights should have ticked me off), were lovable in their own way. Glenda was a peach, Nutt was adorable, the wizards did not disappoint, I wanted to hug Pepe all the time, and Trev? I could have happily kidnapped Trev and kept him in my basement forever. He was that good.

I don't know, the books about the wizards are usually my least favourite Discworld books. Maybe it's because Rincewind gets on my nerves, maybe I have a deep psychological problem when it comes to talking about school, maybe I'm just prejudiced against pointy hats. Whatever the reason, it didn't surface this time. Even Rincewind had his "OMG I LOVE YOU" moment:

"I would like permission to fetch a note from my mother, sir."
Ridcully sighed. "Rincewind, you once informed me, to my everlasting puzzlement, that you never knew your mother because she ran away before you were born. Distinctly remember writing it down in my diary. Would you like another try?"
"Permission to go and find my mother?"

I gave it four stars out of five. Because I can.


Some Good Quotes:

"I see evil when I look in my shaving mirror. It is, philosophically, present everywhere in the universe in order, apparently, to highlight the existence of good. I think there is more to this theory, but I tend to burst out laughing at this point."

"I would not like it thought that I do not buy my own paperclips, sir. I enjoy owning my own paperclips. It means they are mine."

"The female mind is certainly a devious one, my lord."
Vetinari looked at his secretary in surprise. "Well, of course it is.
It has to deal with the male one."

Monday, August 16, 2010

Read Your Own Books Read-a-thon Wrap-Up

(When asked what he'd read and liked that year)
Justin Timberlake: You mean like a book?


I love celebrities. They're so cute.

The Readathon went awesomely. I had a blast, and got some longed for reading done, too!

Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats ~ T.S Eliot
The Outcasts of 19 Schulyer Place ~ e.l konigsburg
The Phantom Tollbooth ~ Norton Juster
Light From Heaven ~ Jan Karon: STARTED!!

So that's...

60 + 304 + 272 + 40 pages of the Jan Karon
= 676 pages

Not a lot, but I'm happy ^_^

And did I mention it was fun??
Okay, no more readathons till I catch up on these reviews!
Or at least get some of them done.
Well, maybe just one ;)

Thanks to Monica for hosting this! And congrats to all who participated!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Read Your Own Books Read-a-Thon Update the first

I'm so bad at these update thingies. But, when I'm reading, I don't want to stop to blog. And when I'm not reading, it's because I need to be somewhere else!
So here's my first and last update for this particular readathon. I've read TWO whole books:

Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats ~ T.S Eliot
The Outcasts of 19 Schulyer Place ~ e.l konigsburg
The Phantom Tollbooth ~ Norton Juster: STARTED!!
Light From Heaven ~ Jan Karon: STARTED!!
Enter Three Witches: a story of Macbeth ~ Caroline B. Cooney (I gave up on this one. :P Too many things happening this weekend to be epic about this readathon!)

I also read a new Marvel comic that I picked up second hand and was too excited about to wait! Gambit #2: Honour Among Thieves. But I don't know that comics count in this readathon, so I won't count it :)

And since I'm not sleeping for some reason tonight, and the readathon doesn't end until nine tomorrow, I'm totally gonna finish the Phantom Tollbooth now.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Read Your Own Books Read-a-Thon!

It seems like the only way I can get any reading done is to do it in a group!

Yes, this means another readathon.

Pathetic, I know. I don't even have any of the reviews up yet from the last one, and I haven't talked about my attempt at 2010 Author Debut Challenge, but hey. Why not? ^_^ I am a sporadic reader what can I say??
my last readathon was devoted to library books I had out. THIS readathon is all about the books I own, that keep staring at me sadly from the shelves when I pass them over for shiny library books.
Thanks to Monica S at The Bibliophilic Book Blog for putting this on.

SO to begin with, I will be reading:

*drumroll plz*
Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats ~ T.S Eliot
The Outcasts of 19 Schulyer Place ~ e.l konigsburg
The Phantom Tollbooth ~ Norton Juster
Enter Three Witches: a story of Macbeth ~ Caroline B. Cooney

And if I get through those, I have about two hundred others that I can start on! Including Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. Now THERE'S a book that's been staring at me reproachfully for many years.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Read-a-Thon Wrap-Up

Hah. Well. This is late.
I'm sorry! I was out on Sunday night and so was too tired to post, and then my internet broke the next day and....LIFE TOOK OVER.
HOWEVER! I will say that this was my very first readathon, and it was awesome. I found so many new people, and so many new books. My TBR list has grown ridiculous amounts!
And I didn't do too badly myself ^_^

Unseen Academicals ~ Terry Pratchett
The Good Neighbors; book one ~ Holly Black
The Reformed Vampire Support Group ~ Catherine Jinks
Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron ~ Jasper Fforde: STARTED!

I'll have to review those, soon, I know. I WILL WORK HARDER!
Hm, today is apparently a capital letter type of day.
I really want to thank Wallace at Unputdownables for hosting this. I had a great time, and read some great books. And I will totally be doing more readathons! It might be the only way I get myself to read lots like this again!