The Vampire’s Assistant by Darren Shan

The Vampire’s Assistant by Darren ShanTitle: The Vampire's Assistant
Author: Darren Shan (Blog, Twitter, Facebook)
Series: The Saga of Darren Shan #2
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Middle Grade
Pages: 256
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Paperback
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Darren Shan was just an ordinary schoolboy--until his visit to the Cirque Du Freak. Now, as he struggles with his new life as a Vampire's Assistant, he tries desperately to resist the one temptation that sickens him, the one thing that can keep him alive. But destiny is calling ... the Wolf Man is waiting. Summary from Goodreads

When I read the first book, A Living Nightmare, I thought The Vampire’s Assistant movie was an adaptation of the first two books in the series. … I was wrong.  The movie’s actually an adaptation of the first three books so I didn’t expect what happened in this book at all.

A Living Nightmare was almost exactly like the first half of the movie adaptation with some changes like most movies have.  However, the only thing The Vampire’s Assistant book had in common with its movie adaptation was that Darren and Mr. Crepsley joined the Cirque du Freak.  Everything else was completely different and completely new to me.  Now, that wasn’t a bad thing or anything.  I just wasn’t expecting most of the things that happened in the book.

I liked this book a lot better than the first one.  The first one was slow because it was building up the characters and the layout of the story.  This book was much faster paced and I read it in two days, which is good since it was due back to the library today.  Finished it in the nick of time.

This series is categorized as young adult, but I’d say it’s actually written more for middle grade readers than teenagers.  In some ways, the books seem very juvenile.  I like the story enough so the books hold my interest.  I look forward to reading the third book and actually catching up with the movie.

three-starsthree-starsthree-stars

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

The Dark Divine by Bree DespainTitle: The Dark Divine
Author: Bree Despain (Blog, Twitter, Facebook)
Series: The Dark Divine #1
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Pages: 384
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Format: ARC
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Grace Divine--daughter of the local pastor--always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared and her brother Jude came home covered in his own blood.

Now that Daniel's returned, Grace must choose between her growing attraction to him and her loyalty to her brother.

As Grace gets closer to Daniel, she learns the truth about that mysterious night and how to save the ones she loves, but it might cost her the one thing she cherishes most: her soul. Summary from Dust Jacket

I had the chance to borrow an ARC of The Dark Divine from my friend Debbie.

UBThe Dark Divine is Bree Despain’s debut novel and I really enjoyed it. From the minute I started reading The Dark Divine, I wanted to know more about Daniel.  I wanted to know what happened between Jude and him.  I wanted to keep reading so I knew everything.  Not a single part of the story was slow for me.  I wanted to keep reading.

Now that I’ve finished the story, I still want to know more.  Even though I think the ending wrapped everything up nicely, I still have questions.  Those questions are along the lines of what happens to the characters now or how are they going to deal with that, etc. I guess I’ll find out in the next books.

five-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-stars

Fire by Kristin Cashore

Fire by Kristin CashoreTitle: Fire
Author: Kristin Cashore (Blog)
Series: Graceling Realms #2
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Pages: 480
Publisher: Dial
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Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored--fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green--and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.

Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story. Summary from Dust Jacket

Even though, Fire is a prequel, sort of, to Graceling, you don’t have to read Graceling before you read Fire because there’s only one cross-over character.  But, once you read Fire, you’ll want to read Graceling.

I really enjoyed Fire and it has earned a spot on my Favorites shelf.  I thought the story was very intriguing and captivating.  There were a lot of elements I enjoyed immensely, such as friendship, betrayal, heartbreak, grief, and love.

I loved the concept of monsters and their powers just as much as I loved the concept of Gracelings and their Graces.  It was interesting to see mind powers from so many different points of view.  I loved watching Fire grow into herself and becoming the woman she wanted to be.

I also loved the delicate weaving of the cross-over character into the plot.  Even though he didn’t have a huge part to play in this book, I think the effect he had on the inhabitants of the Dells could be used in future books like Bitterblue. (Bitterblue is a sequel-ish book to Graceling that Kristin Cashore’s currently working on.) However, even if she doesn’t tie all three books together through the cross-over character, I still thought his role in Fire was interesting.

five-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-stars

Signed Linger ARC Contest

Linger is the second book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater.  It’s scheduled to be published July 20, 2010.  If you don’t want to wait until July to read Linger, you can enter a contest, hosted by Karin’s Book Nook, for a chance to win an autographed copy of the Linger ARC (advanced reading copy).

On Maggie’s website, she says, “[Linger is] about after.  What happens after you discover there are werewolves in the wood, after you’ve fallen in love for the first time, after you’ve lost what you think you can’t live without, after you’ve become someone you can’t live with.”

I read Shiver in August and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I’ve said this before, Maggie Stiefvater is so talented and does a great job of forming the story and pulling you through it.  I definitely recommend Shiver, especially if you’re a Twilight fan.  Once you read Shiver, I’m sure you’ll want to read Linger.

New Moon

I have now seen New Moon twice and it’s better than Twilight for all the reasons Twilight bugged a lot of the fans and non-fans.  The special effects are better, the acting is better, the adaptation is better, and all the little nuances are better.  For example, I loved that Victoria’s hair is actually red instead of strawberry blond.  The sparkling was done better too, which definitely added to the story since that’s a part that most fans love.

I actually only have four complaints about the movie, but they’re super small, which is a miracle. The first, what the heck did they have Alice wearing throughout that entire movie?  Her outfits were so unflattering and made her look frumpy.  The second, the circling around Bella’s room during the months she was a zombie made me motion sick.  The third, the new Volvo.  It’s not silver.  The fourth, the flashback with the old Volvo added to the inconsistency with the new Volvo.

I didn’t get a chance to go to a midnight showing.  I decided to be responsible and go to bed so I could go to work the next morning.  (However, I didn’t end up getting to sleep until 4:00 am on Thursday night anyway because of the antibiotics I’m taking. Grrr!)  But, I’m glad I waited so I could go with my niece Megan.  We had fun at the movie together, which made all the difference.  (Pardon the pictures.  They were taken with my crappy phone camera.)

Waiting in Line In the Theater

On Saturday, I went to the Twilight Lexicon New Moon Movie Event with my friend Ali.  Corey and I hang out with the Vigues all the time, but I’ve never really just hung out with Ali.  It was a lot of fun to go to the movie together and we’ve decided to hang out with just the two of us more often.  (Also, if you’re wondering, neither Ali nor I won any of the raffle prizes.  We’ve decided we’re just unlucky.)

It was fun to see the movie with all my other friends too.  We have so much fun together and we always look forward to our get togethers.  This time around, it was a little crazy because we were trying to help Lori and Laura with everything for the movie event, but it was still good to see them and all of our out-of-town friends too.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing the movie a third time next week with my in-laws.  And, I’m actually trying to talk Corey into seeing it tomorrow.

All you Twilight haters need to see New Moon because it’s better.  It also captures the essence of the Twilight Saga almost perfectly so you’ll understand better why the fans enjoy the stories so much.  Plus, there’s a lot more action for you manly men.