Review - True Blood Volume 1 - All Together Now

* Disclaimer: A copy was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for a honest review*

Title: True Blood - All Together Now
Book #: 1
Author: Alan Ball, David Tischman, Mariah Huehner and David Messina
Release Date: June 25th 2013
Pages: 158
Publisher: Diamond Book Distributors

My Rating:

Blood and passion mix on a hot rainy night at Merlotte's as Sookie and the usual suspects settle in for the long haul.

Until, that is, they find themselves unexpectedly trapped by avengeful, vile creature who feeds off the miserable shame of others — and none will survive the morning unless all their dirty little secrets are revealed.

 So Sookie, Bill, Eric, Sam, Tara ,Jason, and Lafayette are forced to dig deep and tell painful tales of their pasts — the kind you never willingly reveal.

My Thoughts

I'm a huge fan of the true blood series but I must admit I've only read the first book - don't worry I have almost all of them and I will read them eventually - and I am addicted to the TV show. This being said, this comic was a different experience for me since it never crossed my mind that this could be done.

The artwork is amazing, there's two kinds of drawings of the characters in this comics and I fell in love with the drawings by J. Scott Campbell. The way he portrayed some of the characters, especially Bill and Sookie, made them almost look like some superheroes, like the ones you would maybe find in a Marvel comic, and I found that fascinating.

In terms of the plot, I have a bit of mixed feelings, but this could be solved in the next volume of this series. To me, it seemed like all the trouble they went through with the Imp Shaloop was for nothing since Eric did not show any symptoms after he was stricken by it. But maybe he will start showing it on the next volume. We’ll have to wait and see.

I actually enjoyed the fact that the authors decided to go deeper into the characters’ past mostly because they had to share some deeper and painful memories that otherwise we wouldn’t know about. My favorite ones were by Sookie and Eric, because through Sookie’s memory we could understand a bit more of her relationship with her parents and how her ability affected them, and Eric’s because it showed us a more caring side of him and if you watch the show you know how hard he tries to conceal this.

When it comes to the characters, I think they did a pretty good job showing their personalities when in comparison with the TV show, but I did not like their Sookie’s impersonation since she came across way too sweet, and on the show she does not come across like this. I am looking forward for the next volume.

New Additions

I've heard so much about these books that once I saw they were cheap I had to buy them.

Title: City of Bones
Book #: 1
Author: Cassandra Clare
Pages: 442
Publisher: Walker Books

Title: Hush, Hush
Book #: 1
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Pages: 391
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

I'm quite excited about reading these books and I really hope that they live up to my expectations since when they first came out people couldn't stop talking about them. We shall see how it goes.

If you've read them let me know in the comments.

Series Highlight - Midnighters

The Books

Title: The Secret Hour
Book #: 1
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Release Date: February 19th 2004
Pages: 297
Publisher: Eos

Buy on:  Amazon |   The Book Depository

My Rating:

Nobody is safe in the secret hour.
Strange things happen at midnight in the town of Bixby, Oklahoma.
Time freezes.
Nobody moves.
For one secret hour each night, the town belongs to the dark creatures that haunt the shadows. Only a small group of people know about the secret hour -- only they are free to move about the midnight time.
These people call themselves Midnighters. Each one has a different power that is strongest at midnight: Seer, Mindcaster, Acrobat, Polymath. For years the Midnighters and the dark creatures have shared the secret hour, uneasily avoiding one another. All that changes when the new girl with an unmistakable midnight aura appears at Bixby High School.
Jessica Day is not an outsider like the other Midnighters. She acts perfectly normal in every way. But it soon becomes clear that the dark creatures sense a hidden power in Jessica . . . and they're determined to stop her before she can use it.

Title: Touching Darkness
Book #: 2
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Release Date: March 1st 2005
Pages: 336
Publisher: Harper Teen

Buy On:  Amazon |   The Book Depository

My Rating:

Bixby, Oklahoma, is full of secrets.some come out at midnight.some should stay hidden.
As the Midnighters search for the truth about the secret hour, they uncover terrifying mysteries woven into the very fabric of Bixby's history, and a conspiracy that touches the world of daylight.
 This time Jessica Day is not the only Midnighter in mortal danger, and if the group can't find a way to come together, they could lose one of their own . . . forever.

Title: Blue Noon
Book #: 3
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Release Date: February 6th 2007
Pages: 378
Publisher: Eos

Buy On: Amazon |   The Book Depository

My Rating:

The darklings will hunt once again.
 The secret hour when time freezes arrives every night at midnight in Bixby, Oklahoma. It's a dangerous time, when five teenagers are the only humans awake and dark creatures crawl out of the shadows, but at least the midnight hour is regular and predictable.
 Until suddenly, the blue time comes . . . in the middle of the day.
The noise of school stops. Cheerleaders are frozen in midair, teachers brought to a standstill. Everything is the haunted blue color of the midnight hour. The Midnighters can't understand what's happening, but as they scramble for answers, they discover that the walls between the secret hour and real time are crumbling. Soon the dark creatures will have a chance to feed after centuries of waiting, unless these five teenagers can find a way to stop them.

The Author

Photo by Samantha Jones

Scott Westerfeld is an author best known for his young adult trilogy, The Uglies. He was born in Texas and spends most of his time in New York and Australia.
You can check a list of facts made by him by clicking here.

My Thoughts

I absolutely loved this series from start to finish, my only complaint would be that there should be more books! I even remember back when I read them, that I didn't want to read the final book because I didn't want to finish the series.

These books are a very easy ready and extremely hard to put down. I was completely submerged in the story and it never actually let me down in any circumstance, and this is very rare in the books I read.

From these three books my favorites are probably the first and the last. The first because it's the beginning and you get the oportunity to know the characters and bond with them and the last mostly because it's so filled with tension and I was always excited to know what was going to happen next.
I must admit that when I bought these books I didn't know what to expect, I actually didn't even know what they were about since the description was so vague in the backcover. But I got a special deal and bought the entire trilogy for a low price so I brought them home and after a while I started reading them.

The main characters are incredibly interesting since they all have very particular personalities and powers. It was very amusing to see how they changed and grew over time and how they managed to deal with eachother even when they didn't share the same opinions. If I had to choose a character it would be Des since she was the one who had a special understanding of numbers and also because she was the loner.
Jessica was also a very interesting character since she was the one who didn't know what was happening and had to learn how to deal with her life changing all of a sudden.

On top of having superpowers, this book also presents us with fantastic monsters that you could not make up even in your wildest dreams.

If you like young adult mixed with paranormal stuff you should most definitely read these series.

Review - Dead Space: Martyr

Title: Dead Space: Martyr
Author: B.K. Everson
Release Date: July 14th 2010
Pages: 416
Publisher: Tor Books

My Rating:

We have seen the future.

A universe cursed with life after death. It all started deep beneath the Yucatan peninsula, where an archaeological discovery took us into a new age, bringing us face-to-face with our origins and destiny. 

Michael Altman had a theory no one would hear.

 It cursed our world for centuries to come.

This, at last, is his story.

My Thoughts

This book will only make sense to those who have played, or at least know the story behind, the Dead Space games.

This book was freaking brilliant when it comes to introducing us to Altman. From the games we are only presented with the fact that he is the founder of a religious movement, called unitology and that he died misteriously.
These informations will make you assume that he is evil or, as the rest of the believers, completely ignorant about the Marker and its intentions and effects. Well, this book may change your view on him.

Since the beginning of the book we follow Altman and the events that led to his involvement with the Marker and how he became 'the founder' of this so called religion. These events are not easily predictable and you will be surprised at how the first Marker, the black one, was discovered and delt with.
Nothing in this book is random, everything makes sense and everything will tie together in the end, which was one of the reasons that made me like it so damn much. I must confess though that in the beginning it was a little slow for me, mostly because I like it better when the main events of a book start right away, but with this book there needed to be a slow start so that you could get to know Altman as a human being and relate to him or at least connect in a way that you could almost experience his journey as your own.
There is no need to say that I became a 'fan' of Altman and that this makes me want to go back to the Dead Space games and yell at Isaac to not believe everything that he his told, but part of me knows that Isaac already knows that.

There are also little details that made me 'fangirl' a little to hard, such as when the name Ishimura appeared out of the blue and made me go 'SO THAT'S HOW THEY GOT THE NAME FOR THE SHIP!'. I won't spoil any other details so that you may have the opportunity to find them yourself.

Even though this book covers a good part of the questions that may have aroused from the games, it still doesn't cover some important ones, in my opinion, like 'why doesn't the black marker change people into necromorphs once they die but the red marker does?' and 'why and how did the first red marker end up on regis VII?'. Well maybe on another book from this franchising these questions will be answered.

All in all I enjoyed this 'Dead Space: Martyr' quite a bit and I would highly suggest it to everyone who loves the games.

Get it on Amazon Uk

Series Highlight - Samuel Johnson

The Books

Title: The Gates
Book #: 1
Author: John Connolly
Release Date: October 2009
Pages: 293
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

My Rating:


 Young Samuel Johnson and his dachshund Boswell are trying to show initiative by trick-or-treating a full three days before Hallowe'en. Which is how they come to witness strange goings-on at 666 Crowley Avenue.
 The Abernathys don't mean any harm by their flirtation with Satanism. But it just happens to coincide with a malfunction in the Large Hadron Collider that creates a hole in the universe, a hole through which can be glimpsed a pair of enormous gates. The gates to Hell. And there are some pretty terrifying beings just itching to get out...

Title: The Infernals (US) / Hell's Bells (UK)
Book #: 2
Author: John Connolly
Release Date: May 2011
Pages: 268
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
My Rating:

Samuel Johnson is in trouble. Not only is he in love with the wrong girl, but the demon Mrs Abernathy is seeking revenge upon him for his part in foiling the invasion of Earth by the forces of Darkness. She wants to get her claws on Samuel, and when the Large Hadron Collider is turned on again, she is given her chance. Samuel and his faithful dachshund, Boswell, are pulled through a portal into Hell, there to be hunted down by Mrs. Abernathy and her allies. But catching Samuel is not going to be easy, for Mrs. Abernathy has reckoned without the bravery and cleverness of a boy and his dog, or the loyalty of Samuel's friend, the hapless demon Nurd. Most of all, she hasn't planned on the intervention of an unexpected band of little men, for Samuel and Boswell are not the only inhabitants of Earth who have found themselves in Hell. If you thought demons were frightening, just wait until you meet Mr. Merryweather's Elves...

Title: The Creeps
Book #: 3
Author: John Connolly
Release Date: October 10th 2013
Pages: Still Unknown
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Samuel Johnson is not in a happy place. He is dating the wrong girl, demons are occupying his spare room, and the town in which he lives appears to be cursed. But there is some good news on the horizon. After years of neglect, the grand old building that once housed Wreckit & Sons is about to reopen as the greatest toy shop that Biddlecombe has ever seen, and Samuel and his faithful dachshund Boswell are to be the guests of honour at the big event. A splendid time will be had by all, as long as they can ignore the sinister statue that keeps moving around the town, the Shadows that are slowly blocking out the stars, the murderous Christmas elves, and the fact that somewhere in Biddlecombe a rotten black heart is beating a rhythm of revenge. A trap has been set. The Earth is doomed. The last hope for humanity lies with one young boy and the girl who is secretly in love with him. Oh, and a dog, two demons, four dwarfs, and a very polite monster.
We Wish You a Merry Christmas, and a Happy End of the World.

The Author

According to his website, John Connolly "was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1968 and has, at various points in his life, worked as a journalist, a barman, a local government official, a waiter and a dogsbody at Harrods department store in London. He studied English in Trinity College, Dublin and journalism at Dublin City University, subsequently spending five years working as a freelance journalist for The Irish Times newspaper, to which he continues to contribute."

Other than this series, John Connolly has written "Charlie Parker" - which is a series - "The Book of Lost Things" (will have a review of this one at some point) and "Nocturnes".

My Thoughts

"The Gates" is a very good example of why you shouldn't judge a book by its short description. When I first picked it up, I really didn't have high hopes for it, but after a couple of pages I did not want to put it down. It made me laugh out loud, it made me scared for the characters and most importantly it got me immersed in the story.
This book as a wonderful mix of science, humor and fantasy. You can actually learn some facts while reading it, if you pay attention to the footnotes that it offers - it has a lot of footnotes, some are funny and some are just science explanations. Even though it presents the readers with science information, the writing is amazing since it's very easy to understand and the story itself is very fast paced which is a bonus in my opinion.
The characters are basically Samuel and his dog, along with two of his friends, a demon called Nurd who plays a very important role in the story and Mrs. Abernathy. I absolutely loved the fact that Samuel had a dog (a freaking daschund which is so adorable) which, as all dogs do, never left his side and actually helped him when he needed. I also appreciated the fact that Samuel had to struggle A LOT during this story, which made me even more interested in it.
I completely loved this book and its now a part of my all time favorites.

"The Infernals" is a wonderful sequel to "The Gates" and it presents us with the same characters as the previous book, but it also has some very hilarious and interesting additions to it.
Once again, we are presented with several science facts and some very funny footnotes.
When it comes to the story itself, this time there's a very interesting plot twist. This time Samuel is in Mrs. Abernathy home, HELL. You would think that Samuel would be automatically doomed, but the author has a very peculiar defition of Hell and therefore you never know what to expect from it.
I personally enjoyed the first book of the series a bit more, but this usually happens with me.

These books are aimed at young adults, according to the author, but I would highly suggest it to people that are on their early teens - or anyone who enjoys reading books with a 'hell' theme, like myself.

I cannot put down in words how excited I am about the third (and final?) book of this series.

E-readers vs. Books – Do we need to choose?

Which one is better, the e-reader or the printed book? This has been a topic of discussion amongst book lovers ever since the first e-reader came out into the market. But do we really need to choose between those two, or can we compromise?
Since I own an e-reader and also several printed books, I decided to do some research and take a deeper look into the subject.

Why are e-readers “better”?

One of the main reasons people say e-readers are better than actual books, has to do with the ecological impact. Even though the manufacturing process of an e-reader still isn’t perfect, with the carbon emissions still being high, it’s well known that deforestation is a real problem for us, and every year many trees are taking down in order for books to be made. Well, ‘what about the carbon emissions?’ you may say; the amount of carbon emissions required to make an e-reader are the same as the emissions required to make forty to fifty books.

When it comes to the actual process of reading, some e-readers have e-ink technology which makes it easier to read (in comparison with tablets or computer screens for instance) and also deliver a realistic paper-like texture. They also make it incredibly easier to highlight and bookmark everything you wish, and e-readers also offer in-book search engines so you never have to spend long periods of time looking for a particular quote or word.
E-readers provide internet connection which makes it easy to search and buy new books, connect with other people and also cross reference any information.
Another aspect of e-readers that make them so popular, is the fact that they allow a reader to carry hundreds of books at a time without having to worry about carrying extra bags.

Why are books “better”?

With books you never need to worry about its battery life and you never need to charge it or worry about buying international plugs for it.
It’s also easier to share them (there are some restrictions that prevent sharing on some e-books) and if you can’t afford to buy a specific book you can always check your local library or second hand stores. You also never have to worry about reading in the park, under the sun since books do not have screens and therefore do not reflect sunlight – this only applies to the tablet-like e-readers and not the e-ink e-readers. There is nothing better than smelling and touching a new or a very old book. Reading becomes a completely different experience when you are holding a book in your hands.

Something else to consider is the fact that books can be cheaper than buying an e-reader and the subsequent e-books. You can always rent from a library, borrow from friends and family or buy a book at a second hand store, and since e-books are nearly the same price as a printed book you end up saving money. Another situation that people don’t consider is “losing” your e-book or your entire digital collection. It’s very easy to delete a book by mistake or having a virus on your computer that deletes everything you have and yes, it’s also easier to forget a book at the bus stop but how many people do you know that have lost their entire printed collection?
Also, when thinking about the authors, buying printed books provides them more royalties then buying e-books.
And let’s face it, having a bookshelf filled with books is always a treat for the eyes… and the soul.

My Thoughts

I own a Kobo Glo and I am in love with it. I love the fact that it allows me to read in the dark without hurting my eyes, and the fact that it has an e-ink screen which makes me believe (not entirely) that I am reading an actual book. I also like the fact that I can carry several books at a time in it and that I can buy books without leaving my house (I’m not the most social person).

I must admit though, it’s not the same experience. Books look good, especially the ones that have very detailed covers or the ones that are special/collectors editions. I like smelling them and I like touching them, and I like staring at my overflowing bookshelf. So I know for a fact that I won’t ever stop buying printed books. But I also love my Kobo.
Sometimes e-readers are just more convenient to have and sometimes it’s better to sit down and read a printed book. So personally I don’t think I have to choose between the two.

Obviously there’s more to it than just the subjects that I mentioned above and it would take me forever to go through all of them, but from the readers’ perspective, I think these were the most relevant ones.

Books for Kids – Captain Underpants

With different gaming technology and their marketing strategies, having kids read actual books is becoming harder and harder these days.
Having a 9 year old niece, I would know. Getting her to sit down and read a book used to be a pain, since she saw it has punishment more than a fun activity.

This all changed one beautiful day, when a friend of hers let her borrow a book that he had gotten for his birthday. The book was called “Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds”.
Long story short, she fell in love with the book. I found her sitting on the living room by the window, all by herself, reading and laughing and having fun. I got way too excited about this, mostly because I love reading and at that moment I felt like I could now share this with her.

I ended up convincing her mother to buy the rest of the available collection in our country, and she has been loving these series.

When I was a little girl I had the opportunity to read the first book and even though I forgot the plot, I never forgot its name. And let’s be honest, who could forget a title like “Captain Underpants”?

The Adventures of Captain Underpants (Captain Underpants, #1)
Source: Goodreads

Title: The Adventures of Captain Underpants
Series: Captain Underpants
Book #: 1
Author: Dav Pilkey
Release Date: September 1st 1997
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Scholastic

 First published in 1997, "The Adventures of Captain Underpants" tells the story of two friends, Harold and George, who love to pull pranks on people and write comic books for fun. Until one day they decide to order a 3-D Hypno-Ring and use it on their school principal Mr. Krupp, turning him into Captain Underpants. Since that day, everytime someone snaps their fingers, grumpy Mr. Krupp turns into Captain Underpants.

The author and illustrator of these books, Dav Pilkey – you can find his “full biography” here – uses not only comic like, black-and-white drawings but also several pages of flip-o-ramas – which my niece said to be her favorite part of the books - to engage readers.

Something curious about these series is that they made the 2013 Banned Books List, due to “offensive language” and also because they were found “unsuited for age group”. As an aunt and someone who read the books I cannot understand why these books made this list. I do not find the language offensive at all and neither does my niece, and if the people in charge of coming up with this list think that children will start defying every authority figure they find because of these books, they are highly mistaken.

But then again, I’m not a mother and I can understand that some parents are more protective than others and want their kids to not be exposed to silliness maybe? I honestly don’t know… Either way I’m here to discuss the books. If you want to read more about this list and what Dav Pilkey had to say about it click here.

Birthday Books

First things first, why did I decide to start a book blog? The short answer is because I was slacking off on my reading habits and the long answer is because I thought it would be fun and help me meet people who also love books. Plus, anything that makes me improve my english writing skills is welcome. 

I turned 22 this past wednesday, May 1st, and everyone knows what that means... BOOKS! I got some as gifts and I couldn't be happier. Two were presents from family and friends and one I bought for myself because I simply loved the book in question.

Without further due, let's get to the books.

First book I received was "Dracula" by Bram Stoker. It's a beautiful edition with the cover resembling leather and embossed writing. This is a Canterbury Classics/Baker & Taylor Publishing Group edition from 2012.
I have been meaning to buy this book ever since I can remember but I had a tendency to forget all about it everytime I set foot on a bookstore. I decided to read it because I saw the movie when I was little and it got me addicted (and terrified aswell) to vampires.
This book was a lovely gift from my sister.

This next book, I bought for myself, because I have been looking for it for a while and I found this edition completely beautiful. It's "The Brothers Grimm: 101 Fairy Tales". I believe that almost everyone has read or seen the Disney versions of some of these classic tales but few are the people who have actually read the originals fairytales... And I am one of those people. I grew up watching again and again all the Disney movies but I never read an actual Grimm story and that has to change.

As you can tell it's also a Canterbury Classics/Baker & Taylor Publishing Group edition from 2012, with the same leather-like cover and embossed writing as the previous book I mentioned. 

More books from Canterbury Classics can be found here.

The final book I got is "Brisingr" by Christopher Paolini. It's the third book on the Inheritance saga and my edition is from Corgi Books (Transworld Publishers) from 2010.
I decided I wanted to read this saga when I first got introduced to the video game Skyrim and I realized I haven't really read any books that had dragons in them. Weird reason I know.
I do not own the rest of the saga yet, but it is in my plans to buy them soon.

And that's it. These are the books I got for my birthday. I also got for myself a book diary which allows you to set up a reading plan for the year, and also provides reading log sheets.