I cannot let myself just put this book down after finishing it. It is the book I cannot avoid the temptation of writing my own review. Normally, I am not thrilled about young adult novel much, but, of course, this book is an exception. I have got this novel several months ago in the form of first draft with its title being just ‘A’, the name of the main character. Calling him just a character sounds inappropriate somehow. The character of ‘A’ in this book is not just a character, he is individual, human being, and has personality. You’ll understand what I’m babbling about after reading it.

Title: Every Day

Author: David Levithan

Pages: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Published: August 28th 2012

ISBN: 0307931889

Language: English

Goodreads’s rating: 4.56 out of 5 from 9 ratings (24 May, 2012)

Every day is what a presumably sixteen year old boy has to conquer. The boy calls himself ‘A’, the name he chose several years ago for keeping him sane. A is a drifter. He does not know why and there is no explanation of it. He just ‘drifts’ into new bodies every day. Every morning, he wakes up in a new body, a new life, or the old life of someone else. Every body he drifts into is around his age. He had no idea what happened at first. He just thought this was how life went on for everybody, but soon, he realized it was not. Everybody was talking about tomorrow together. That was when he knew something was off.

A has his own rule; do not interfere other people’s lives. He leaves the body every midnight the way it has been. He does not try to change and he does not try to make anything better, just keep it not to get worse while he is in control. He has many bad experiences trying to interfere the lives of bodies’ owners. However, his rule is forgotten the minute he sees Rhiannon, Justin whose body he’s applying’s girlfriend. He does not only see the sadness and lack of confidence in Rhiannon, but the beauty and brave heart also. He lets himself, or in this case, Justin’s self, surrounding her. He thinks he loves her. He knows he loves her. He builds hopeless hope. Every time he changes bodies, he tries to get back to her. And that causes a lot of interruption in the body owners’ lives. He desperately tries to hold her with him, but she’s slipping away. She cannot do what he wants her to do. She cannot be who she should be. And when A finds out that maybe there’re other people out there being like him, the drifter, it’s when he has to choose which is more important; his life and love, or other people’s.

You can say that Every Day is a unisex novel. It represents many types of love as many as a book can convey including love in families, friends, opposite sex, same sex, and humanity. It’s universal love. No matter what you are, no matter what you do, there’ s love everywhere although sometimes you cannot see it. There’s also the complicated relationship of human. The story does not sensationalize the acts or the situation or the physical excitement much, but it drives you deep into emotional experiences, the profundity of human psyche, the delicacy of minds, the understanding of the world and people surrounding, and the concern of physical and internal appearances. But you are also to be aware that a novel and its story are just the opinion of the writer conveying through characters’ minds which may or may not be agreed by your own opinion or the common regulations.

The character of ‘A’ is unisex. He does not know and does not choose to be male or female. The idea of sex and what rules it do not affect him and it’s understandable considering the way he ‘grows up’. Drifting to many teenagers’ bodies lets him show the different sensations and emotions and the process of minds of adolescents. It represents teenage crisis, the troubles of the individuals or the people surrounding them. Adolescence is the age of seeking for individuality and departing from society. They need to rebel against the conformity framing and controlling their lives. The other characters are dimensional. Rhiannon, for instance, has human capability and personality. She is dubious, realistic, and slightly self-absorbed. Although they’re in the age which sees love as the whole universe, the author pushes the reality to be alive in their fancy world. Love is not the conqueror. The conqueror is us, what we decide to do to overcome the burden. He defines a lot of things in different ways in this book and demonstrates the ugly truth that ‘life must go on’. The occurrences in daily life, human logic, living together, and human connection are also issued.

The story does not contain only profound thoughts, there’re also sense of humor and other emotions in young adult novels’ concern. The story is comprehensible, not too serious. It’s the book that has you sit and think, not drive you with all the action pact. The ending is perfect for me. It’s touching, gripping, and selfless. The choices are laying for us to choose and it depends on us to make the ultimate sacrifice or let the devil comfortable consume us. This book impresses me as a young adult novel can do. I don’t know if there’s a sequel but hope.

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DIY: Little twisted Kindle cover.

My handmade Kindle cover!

I am proud to present this book! It hooked me from the short overview the agency gave us, the very start. The book has not been published yet but its time is pretty near and it also gets good feedback in Goodreads and from worldwide. It’s so hot, as if being the flame itself, to be honest; everyone wants to read a copy. I’ve got this book in PDF file as the final, translatable manuscript so I guess it’s almost the same as the published copies. The author commits such a not inconsiderable success.

Title       : I Hunt Killers

Author  : Barry Lyga

Pages    : 368

Publisher : Little, Brown

Published : April 3rd 2012

ISBN      : 0316125849

Language : English

Goodreads’s rating         : 4.09 out of 5 from 79 ratings (16 Mar, 2012)

Jasper Francis Dent, or Jazz for short, is a charming seventeen-year-old boy, but what makes him different from any other ordinary popular guys in high school is his father. Billy is the notorious, legendary serial killer of Lobo’s Nod, the imperceptible, tranquilly small town. Most people in US know his name. He has a group of fan club and websites dedicated to him. He is the living nightmare emerged from Hades to many people with his statistic victim up to hundred, but not to his son. Billy raised Jazz with gentle cruelty, something Jazz misconstrues as love. Jazz’s mother has ‘gone away’ since he was eight. The boy is not convinced that mommy had run away, instead, he truly believes that his Dear Old Dad had killed her. That is the tragic for him. Jazz has to suffer another tragic, though. Since his father was arrested four years ago, he has to try to live on his own and convince the social worker that his senile dementia grandmother is capable of taking care of him.

Jazz is doing well at that part; he is a great liar, the second greatest liar to his father. He can manipulate people. But the thing he is really suffering from is the sociopathic part in him. He doesn’t know that a look in people’s eyes means sorrow. However, he has good friends to help him get better conscious mind, Howie and Connie. But his freaking ordinary routine is interrupted when a new serial killer happens to wander around the town. And it’s obvious like a super spotlight on billboard for Jazz that the killer is following his father’s artistically meticulous murder procedures. Jazz has some egregious feeling that everyone will turn their eyes on him in fierce accusation now. He is the son of that vile Billy and he is absolutely capable of it. Suddenly, Jazz is not certain with his self-control anymore. It stirs some part in him. His future is fragile and he doesn’t know if he did kill someone already. Anyway, he is sure of one thing; he needs to catch this killer. But the killer has his own agenda for him, too. Will he outwit this killer and identify him before he will be approached by this very killer?

Well, this book actually attacks me with the plot, I mean, the sociopathic plot. I’m bleeding now. It quite reminds me of the Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay (Dexter is freaking hot with his…freaking but simple mind). Jazz is a replica of Dexter in mini version. I can say bad boys are attractive. But Jazz is not exactly bad, neither is Dexter.

Although the book is considered to be in Young Adult category because of the protagonist’s age, somehow, that’s not the appropriated category (and I’m grateful for that). I Hunt Killers has an intense protagonist’s voice. The style of writing, language, and the processes of mind of the characters are rich. My attention in this book falls to the characters mostly. Jazz is adorable, especially the conflict in his mind. His little sociopathic ability is sometimes almost funny. He convinces that he is crazy or going to be crazy, but he is totally in control and has good nature obviously. And he manages to be like other teenagers; he makes mistakes, bad decisions, and has flaws, with the seventeen years of experience in life (and thirteen years of it under psychopathic father’s fault treat. Another interesting character is Conny, Jazz’s teenage girlfriend. I appreciate her authority and logic she tries to put on Jazz. These kids are not mere teenagers. Of course, there is identity crisis (although in some different way for Jazz, his crisis is, um, quite a real crisis). They also wrestle with life, endeavor to understand what’s going on in someone’s mind and maintain the ethics and virtue of social awareness. There is sex, violence, and death mixed up in every part. And, oh, the homosexual element, sorry, I cannot help the temptation of pointing it out although it’s the least bit 😛 Anyway, not that this book is too complex and profound. The murder clue and investigation are not too subtle. Your nerve won’t be explode and your brain won’t be cooked as if you’re reading in a microwave. However, it’s not Young Adult literary, though, as I’ve said, you will not find such oh-I-love-you-so-much or I-can’t-live-without-you scenes. It’s dark, but quite light also, not too dark. It’s the first book in the series so I guess the next one will be more intense and purposeful. I can’t wait for the next book 🙂

Also, it has been optioned for television series. For more information –> http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118040463 .

“Warner Bros. TV has acquired rights to young-adult novel “I Hunt Killers” and plans to develop the project as a series with producer Joel Silver…”

Wow, I’m looking forward to the series!

Let’s move on to another one of my favorites of all time. Many people may know this book already as it’s been quite popular. This is the book I highly recommend to anyone who likes all grown-up books and takes a little fancy to fantasy world. It’s not that fantasy with witchcraft flying things around and kids shrieking, we will leave that to the magic creation of Harry Potter. Fortuitously, our protagonist here is also named Harry too, but he is the thirty-something Harry and seems to always get himself in troubles (un)intentionally.

Title       : Storm Front: A Novel of the Dresden Files

Author  : Jim Butcher

Pages    : 352

Publisher : ROC Fantasy

Published : April 1st 2000 (first edition)

ISBN      : 0451457811

Language : English

Amazon’s rating : 4.1 out of 5 from 422 reviewers (9 Mar, 2012)

Goodreads’s rating : 3.94 out of 5 from 37,847 ratings (9 Mar, 2012)

BN’s rating : 4 out of 5 from 1,891 ratings (9 Mar, 2012)

Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is a wizard, a real practical and technical wizard, and he is often overwhelmed by a feeling of super boredom when everyone keeps asking if he is really serious about the business. Of course, the concept of paranormal in modern world is quite complicated; people do not actually believe it, but the world is full of them. But if you have any problem, Dresden is your man. He is good at wizardry; Lost items found, paranormal investigations, etc. Not that he will conjure love potion for you, though. If it really works, he should try it with himself first.

However, Harry Dresden also works for the Chicago P.D. as a consultant. He can solve a lot of problems which only God knows how for normal people. One fine day, a woman comes to him, asks him to find her husband. Easy money, this job should not cause him a big problem, but there’s also another case nearby that needs his attention. Karrin Murphy, the director of Special Investigations and his sort of best and only friend, drags him to a grisly double murder and it is obviously committed with black magic. Suddenly, Harry Dresden finds himself in the centre of a highly influential businessman, sexy journalist, crazy warden from magical White Council who desperately needs to put an execution on him, and very, very bad dark magic. Harry has to face with the evil of human and struggle with the temptation of doing it himself. He is haunted by the past, the black magic, and the demon in himself. And the most important thing is that the lost husband seems to be greatly involved in every aspect of this problematic commotion.

The first thing I can say about this Dresden Files is that it is really awesome. I have already been a fan of adult’s crime novels and children’s fantasy novels, and it’s marvelous when I eventually find them combined together in an appropriate way; not too serious adult fantasy, but not too…fantasy. I like the fantasy elements through the different perspective. The story of this book is highly intense, well-organized, well-planned, and contains an interesting plot with meticulous details. It gives the atmosphere like Harlan Coben’s (I’m his fan!). The protagonist’s voice is strong and confident. There are sense of humor, the sarcastic one, the truth of humanity, family relationship, and human frailties. The witchcraft in the story is unique; no spell or witchcraft for everything. Its dimension based on reality and society. It’s profound and touching, highly emotive. It’s also logical, showing the performance of the characters which will affect the consequences later and the motive of that performance, the logic process of human.

The language is stable and mature, full of rich details. The conversations get along with the characters and the background of each character well. And you could not miss those wily little ugly fairies. In brief, it’s really awesome and unputdownable. And the most important thing, for those who love Yaoi (homosexuality), I have to admit that I cannot help put my imagination to the characters of Harry and Morgan…A long indelible feud and complicated relationship…How could you ignore that?  :p

Books in the series:

Fool Moon: The Dresden Files, Book2 / Jan, 2001

Grave Peril: The Dresden Files, Book3 / Sep, 2001

Summer Knights: The Dresden Files, Book4 / Sep, 2002

Death Masks: The Dresden Files, Book5 / Aug, 2003

Blood Rites: The Dresden Files, Book6 / Aug, 2004

Dead Beat: The Dresden Files, Book7 / May, 2006

Proven Guilty: The Dresden Files, Book8 / Feb, 2007

White Night: The Dresden Files, Book9 / Feb, 2008

Small Favor: The Dresden Files, Book10 / May, 2009

Turn Coat: The Dresden Files, Book11 / Mar, 2010

Changes: The Dresden Files, Book12 / Mar, 2011

Ghost Story: The Dresden Files, Book13 / July, 2011

Cold Days: The Dresden Files, Book14 / To be continued

There was also a TV series of this novel in 2007 and I had watched all of it. It was done pretty well and entertaining enough for broadcasting, got 7.8 out of 10 from 55 ratings on IMDb. Paul Blackthorne was adorable playing this Harry role 🙂 . It was also made as a video game in 2010 and a graphic novel ‘The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle’ following by ‘Storm Front’.

This is one of my favorites of all time and I can say that a few of hundreds books have won this honor award so far. What fascinate me are the characters and the atmosphere. I’ll let you consider it yourself.

Title       : Happenstance Found: The Books of Umber

Author  : P. W. Catanese

Pages    : 368

Publisher : Aladdin

Published : December 22nd 2009 (reprint edition)

ISBN      : 1416953825

Language : English

Amazon’s rating : 4.9 out of 5 stars from 15 reviews (21 Feb, 2012)

Goodreads’s rating : 3.91 out of 5 stars from 619 ratings (21 Feb, 2012)

Barnes&Noble’s rating : 4.5 out of 5 stars from 25 ratings (21 Feb, 2012)

Sequel : Dragon Games: The Books of Umber

The End of Time: The Books of Umber

Happenstance just awakens. The boy doesn’t know who he is. He feels as if he has just emerged from nothing. He knows enough to live, breathe, and hurt, but the fountain of knowledge does not allow the very fact he desperately needs to know; who he is. He finds himself in an ancient city buried under millions tons of pumice. He is surrendered to the weirdest trio led by an ecstatic and enthusiastic man named Lord Umber.

Lord Umber and his company, including a metal pincers hand young archer, Sophie, and cursed-to-speak-all-truth Oates, never think they’ll find a human being there. But Umber takes the situation and they escape the angry volcano just in time before it bursts to life again. Lord Umber is the mystery himself; he is a wealthy merchant, adventurous explorer, intelligent inventor, and collector of spectacular magical things. However, no one knows the truth. No one knows who he really is. He manages to keep his past to himself.

As Lord Umber takes young Happenstance to his home in Kurahaven, Hap’s talents are to be found. Apart from his sparkling vivid green eyes which happen to see through the dark and in a long distance, Hap also has a great talent of jumping. He can leap to the sky until the gravity takes its responsibility and drags him down. He lands graciously with no effort. The library also suits him well as he can understand almost every language.

But the danger is also lurking around. In the world full of hideous monsters and unexpected things, Hap finds himself in vicious danger when ‘something’ is hunting him. And what about Lord Umber? What the story is he keeping from everyone? Who is he exactly? And who is Hap too? There’re plenty of questions and loads of mysteries the boy is determined to find out.

This Happenstance Found: The Books of Umber is really intriguing, rolling with its fantasy and sci-fi mixed together. As I’ve said, the characters and atmosphere impress me. The story is the combination of magical world at about the colonial edge and the sense of modern world, in which you’ll discover in the story.  The story runs at appropriated speed; not too fast, and not too slow, lets the audience absorbs the situation.

The emotion of the story is also another element to be concerned. The story is expressive, has sense of humor, a lots, by combining it with the personalities of the characters and the conversations. It also can lead the audience’s feelings well with all the emotions a novel can contain.

About the details and characters, they are not too shallow, but also not too complicated or profound either. Each character is distinctive, bears its own background, and has individual personality and thought. That provides the rich diversity of atmosphere.  The story is comprehensible. There’re also various interesting monsters and creatures. The language is not too challenged for a foreigner though some narrative should be illustrated a little more. The imaginary world in the story is quite so fantasy, so it may suit with the fantasy lovers. But I’m sure the general audience will be doing fine with this unique book. It’s really entertaining, unputdownable, and a page-turner.

I’ve been thinking of which book to be my first review. I also have thought about my first book I got as a present when I was six, Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. But I want to leave that to the imagination through the eyes of children. I cannot recall what I thought at the time and now, I definitely think different. Then, I end up with this book.

Title       : Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Author  : Ransom Riggs

Pages    : 352

Publisher : Quirk Publishing

Published : June 7th 2011 (first published January 1st 2011)

ISBN      : 1594744769

Language : English

Amazon’s rating               : 4.1 out of 5 stars from 657 reviews (14 Feb, 2012)

Goodreads’s rating         : 3.71 out of 5 stars from 28,098 ratings (14 Feb, 2012)

Barnes&Noble’s rating  : 4 out of 5 stars from 2,970 ratings (14 Feb, 2012)

‘So one day my mother sat me down and explained that I couldn’t become an explorer because everything in the world had already been discovered. I’d been born in the wrong century, and I felt cheated.’

Jacob Portman always thought he was an ordinary spoiled heir to the millionaire parents. He lived in Florida and kept low profile at school. Jacob loved adventures and loved his grandpa’s stories. His grandpa told the excellent stories about monsters he used to hunt and fight, special pack of children, and unusual photos including the photo of floating girl, two-mouthed man, and invisible boy. However, as he grew up, Jacob started to realize those stories were just the old man’s imagination because of his tragic past. The only amazement was that those children in the foster home could survive the genocide and gas rooms in Nazi’s age.

Anyways, the peace in Jacob’s life was stirred up when his grandpa called for help. The boy thought he forgot to take his pills, but he never imagined he would find only grandpa’s body in the back wood. The police concluded his grandpa had been attacked by local wolves but Jacob knew better. And that started his journey, his own adventures to the mystery and secret, the secret that had been hidden for over fifty years.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was one of my first books I read in requirement. It was a unique, remarkable, distinctive, and spooky novel. You could feel its peculiar air from the cover. The bizarre photos were inserted through the story and helped the audience kept up with the narrative. Combining with the photos, the story was strong, emotionally touching, and extraordinary. The story went at speed, no time for prolongation, and I like that. It was full of adventures and entertainment with dry and sarcastic sense of humor which lightened the atmosphere. The setting and character’s mind were well narrated and detailed, accommodating the imagination.

For the characters, the personalities were differently created for each character. They were logic even they were practically only kids, which I thanked the author. You don’t know how many irrational and annoying characters I had to endure with in modern novels.

However, there were some details, small details, I thought should be mentioned or clarified a little more. And I had to admit that I personally didn’t appreciate the ending much. Well, I was an ignorant space age person. I did like wealth and comforts. Unfortunately, I was not that wealthy, so I had some issues with spoiled rich kids. I was jealous, jealous with the capital J. I wanted to be like them. Therefore, I was a little upset when Jacob chose the path led to the end though it was understandable, lol.

I’ve heard that Tim Burton had some interest in this book. Perhaps we’ll see it as motion picture soon!

This is my very first blog, first post, and first…um…introduction?

I have A LOT of things to write, but I don’t know how to start. I basically use this blog for posting some book reviews and maybe something a little interesting (for me) in my life, so that I can remember I have had those days. Anyways, English is not my mother tongue. And I have to admit that after learning it for nearly 20 years  (including my kindergarten A, B, C~~), English is still my weakness and in ‘developing’ status. Don’t ask me why I type English on my blog. This way I can expand my horizon and, yeah, according to its developing status, I should keep developing it, shouldn’t I? I also need to be active since my life seems to be gradually stagnant. I’m just afraid that after a while, I’ll find myself just sitting still, finding no purpose or goal of my life. That would be sooooo lifeless.

I’m considering this blog to be book reviews because my life happens to base on loads of books now. My job requires me to read hundreds of books. And I also had to read many books when I was studying too. Books in this case are novel books, fictions, literature, and so on. I’ve read many good books and a lot of bad ones. But don’t worry, I won’t review them so long as I did in my exams. That will take me ages to analyze and synthesize every important detail and aspect. I guess I’ll go to them superficially ( please, professors, don’t be shame on me).

That’s it. This is my first introduction… Ok, I didn’t introduce anything. I just draw the line of this blog. And again, my English skills are limited, so I ap0logize for any mistakes and lack of expressions.

….What should I say in the end? ….Thanks 🙂 . . . . . ?

PS. As I said ‘book reviews’, it also basically implies that I have read the story all over. If you need to know the end of the story I have reviewed, leave your e-mail in the comment section and I will give you the privilege of knowing the end. I understand all your needs as I can be such an impatient reader who flips to the last page of a book before even starting it too :p