01 The Write Elements: 2011

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers #35 Lost Brother

I haven't read the first book in a while. It took me about as much to remember the horror of what happened in the last one, The Children of the Lost. To recap, there was someone (not the bears as some of the locals were thinking) abducting innocent children. No one had a clue why and the reason that Frank and Joe were sent to investigate the disappearances that happened years ago was that one kid mysteriously turned up, Justin Greer.
The case was a rollercoaster to read. They seemed to be having dead-ends a lot in the story and the breaks weren't much of a breakthrough. At the end, *spoiler* Frank had been kidnapped himself, although the reasons why are still unknown.
Later in this book, Lost Brother, of course, you would think of the possibility that he was a bribe to get Joe to stop investigating.
Once I really got into this book again I just couldn't put it down. I was in suspense the whole time, reading about the two brothers who had separate stories in the book, but had the common goal to find one another (mostly).
It was hard reading what was happening to Frank. Hard to also imagine what anyone might have been feeling. "Lost" is perfect in this instance. They were trapped but not exactly. There were kids that were okay and comfy but others that were definitely running scared. It didn't make much sense and I wasn't able to draw much from it. All I know is those who "resisted" were punished and I felt a sting of anger realising what could have been done to Frank (think back to Justin) if not for ________.
Needless to say, I'm going to search as hard as Joe for the third book. Hopefully it'd go smoother for me. Who knows, it might pop up somewhere, maybe through a hatch.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

James Bond adventure: Double or Die by Charlie Higson - not completed

It wasn't a bad way to go. I was curious about how story can mostly revolve around a crossword puzzle. It was interesting to see how minds were to decipher (since it was already done) these clues, I could see the cog's turning. It's truly amazing to turn your own ideas into a book and to come up with riddles as a base, I was in awe. Unfortunately, I think it might have taxed Mr Higson's brains too much. The story got dull after all those high speed chases, explosions and threats (totally Bond). I know it's nice for a change of pace, but it was too much. I started to develop a headache. Sadly, I didn't complete the book.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Hardy Boys undercover brothers - Mad House (graphic novel)

the hardy boys have a lot of different series now, from the old traditional blue hardcovers to these undercover brothers books in colour. the one thing they never lost was their cool, their wit and their sense of justice (always done after some cool scenes and stunts). i've been a fan for a long time, so i decided to go with the flow. it's interesting to see the boys in colour and not on black and white but i welcome this change. it's extra fun for anyone because it shows the hardy boys in action, taken from franklin's vivid writing and amazingly brilliant creation, we have modern day james bonds (who also makes his way in the novel :)). the fun story has been spun by scott lobdell (writer) and daniel rendon (artist).  

Friday, 14 October 2011

Scream street #10  Rampage of the goblins

Although i'm not sure these are the kinds of boobytraps and curses laid for usual pyramids, they are creative and intriguing :)
Only Donbavand could have thought up "chloroworms"  or farting goblins using their gas for propulsion. Haha. Childish as it may seem, it likely brings laughter to kids and amazement from me. His series is still going strong, what can I say?

Monday, 10 October 2011

Starline by Kiyama Hiroto

I couldn't resist. This is one of my favourite and sweetest Japanese songs :)

Kiyama Hiroto
基山 ヒロト











yozora ni matataku hoshi-tachi tsuyoku hakanaku kagayaki
taisetsu na egao tame ni
kibou wo egaku ryuusei ni nare

mada hitoribocchi tayorinai hikari demo
mada kurayami ni kiesou na kodoku demo

aa mitsuketan da mune ni aru ohisama
hatashitai to kokoro kara negau yume

yozora ni matataku hoshi-tachi tsuyoku hakanaku kagayaki
taisetsu na egao no tame ni
kibou wo egaku ryuusei ni nare

sousa hitorizutsu ga atsumatte tsunagatte
motto kono sora wa risou e to KIRAmeku yo

aa sorezore ga seiza no hitosubu
koko ni ite iin da ne to omoeru ne

tatoe haruka hanaretetemo kanashii kizuna da to shitemo
mabushii hikari ni mo nareru
sono sonzai de zutto kageyake

KIRAKIRA hitomi ni utsushite agetai
kotaete ikun da mitete hoshii yo zutto todoke

yozora ni matataku hoshi-tachi tsuyoku hakanaku kagayaki
taisetsu na egao no tame ni
kibou wo egaku ryuusei ni nare

tatoe haruka hanaretetemo kanashii kizuna da to shitemo
mabushii hikari ni mo nareru
sono sonzai de zutto kagayake
kibou wo egaku ryuusei ni nare...

English Translation

The stars that twinkle in the night, with a strong flickering shine
For that precious smile
I'll draw out my hopes and become a falling star

Even if it's an unreliable lonely light
Even if it's loneliness that might disappear in the pure darkness

Ah, I found the sun in my chest
A dream from my heart I wish to be fulfilled

The stars that twinkle in the night, with a strong and flickering shine
For that precious smile
I’ll draw out my hopes and become a falling star

Yes, one by one they come together and connect
This sky will shine more and more towards an ideal

Ah, each one is part of a constellation
It lets us think that it’s fine for them to be here

Even if we’re separated far apart or if we’re bonded by woeful ties
they can become bright lights
And with that existence, shine forever

I want them to reflect in those bright, bright eyes
I’ll be responding, so I hope you’ll always watch and it reaches you

The stars that twinkle in the night, with a strong and flickering shine
For that precious smile
I’ll draw out my hopes and become a falling star

Even if we’re separated far apart or if we’re bonded by woeful ties
they can become bright lights
And with that existence, shine forever

I’ll draw out my hopes and become a falling star

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Labyrinthus by FJ Collins - not completed

The Oracles of Léoht: Book One - Labyrinthus by FJ Collins

To not judge a book by its cover is a basic thing. Unfortunately for me, looking at Labyrinthus, it left much to be desired. I borrowed this book, so when I opened it to its first page and I see someone stuck a sticker there and that the face is "laughing", I couldn't help think: this is a sign. 
I do admit I probably didn't give it a fair chance but flipping through the book, and reading the dialogue no less, I didn't really want to. Usually I can find one thing captivating about the book, even if the description isn't great, the dialogue could be witty, or vice versa. Well this didn't happen. 

Monday, 1 August 2011

TRACES - Roll Call by Malcolm Rose

Roll call - Luke Harding

In the end, I guess, the killer thought that they were the victim and killing the Emily Wonders would be "poetic justice" (not really in those words, and as wrong as it is, I think I understand where she was coming from)

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Hands-on History: Projects about Ancient Greece by Marian Broida

My friend and I were prowling the children's section of the library when I stumbled upon this book. It's a little odd for people our ages, I warrant that, but the point was that it was the only place in the library that even had books on Greek history. I wanted a book to find bits on the accessories and the clothing of the people in Greece, but I found this one instead. It was mostly on crafts but I wasn't thrown off. I love to learn about this country's myths. Plus, now I learned about how to create a Herakles Knot and a Spartan Shield. Even to write my name in Greek, sort of - the letters are
Ι (for j as well; this is Iota) Α (Alpha, A) Δ (Delta, D) Ε (Epsilon, E) It was informative, as a children's book can be, and had me realize that even as a picture in a book, the art of assortments, like pottery, were magnificent! I truly hope to venture to Greece some day

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Enchantment Place - anthology - was not done

Image from Shelfari

The "Enchantment Place". To be honest, I did not... could not see the appealing factor. I merely flipped through the pages and it was then I thought of the book as nothing that was able to hold my attention at all. It was kind of dull in dialogue, and the stories here and there were no where near exciting. I found some of it so tiresome and lacking I just couldn't make myself read the entire book. It wasn't worth diving into. Even with the "benefit of the doubt" that some authors might have done the book a little justice, I'll never find out. It wasn't what I was hoping for in this book. I wanted pages - any or possibly all of them (as one would expect from any good book) - that would grab you and never let go. Sorely disappointed, I guess. There just wasn't enough.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

TRACES Luke Harding Forensic Investigator : Lost Bullet by Malcolm Rose

Image from Shelfari

I actually have read his series before, but I decided to give it another gander. There's something about how well thought out the stories are.
Luke Harding is one of the more intriguing detectives that I've come across. He's already an expert at investigating death, only at sixteen. It's a feat!
This crime was something else. Like I said, the story would have to be thought through, if such a large factor, as a storm, would 'contaminate' the crime scene. A lot of the evidence could simply be washed away. It's plainly a grievance that most people grumble about.
But the obvious grace is that it gets you thinking. As a reader, it's cool to get a chance to ask questions and sooner or later find out what the answers are. Which is what I did throughout just the first few pages. It was a thrill. I liked guessing games when I was younger, especially if I know the clues and solutions as Soon as possible (permit me a laugh)
Of course, if you're not into over-thinking things, go with the flow of the book :)
I figured this book isn't one for those not interested in science-y ways of solving crimes, but the good author injected a little humor in it. For example, he wrote "..Malc replied dryly." See? :)
Thankfully Luke is also one with a sense of humor, though if you read the book you'll realize something about Malc and these jokes. Frustrating yet funny to see how they interact, as close to friendship as a robot could have (*may be spoiling for a book somewhere later to the end*)
Soon you'd start to realize the probable reasons for the deaths.
This book got me thinking a lot about religion and science, in total. And there's also discrimination by the Visionaries against the white community, as in general they believe the latter is an abomination. Only those incredibly indepth books can handle the prejudice. Look at Things Fall Apart, for instance.
And "Lost Bullet"'s idea of being a being without sin was to shave himself clean. To be a baby again. This book is descriptive, no one can dispute that. The scene after is uncomfortably vivid, however, as it brings about another murder.
Not only that, but there are definitely going to be complicated references to something so unmistakably mild, like a flavour chemical "2-furylmethanethiol" which is, surprisingly, "roasted coffee beans".
(No shocker here, the author Malcolm Rose studied Chemistry, and lectures on the subject.)
I could understand thoroughly about the differences between science and religion, but even Ethan did not see it as murder. All in all, it would come down to a test and if Lost Bullet fails or passes, you'll have to find out. Little hint: it was a befitting punishment (one way or another, people committing crime would pay, so not a giveaway exactly) totally and completely.. though unusual :-/
I truly enjoyed reading about the duo - Malc (Mobile Aid to Law and Crime) and Luke himself. It was technology with a human touch.


Monday, 2 May 2011

No Rest for the Wiccan by Madelyn Alt

Image from Shelfari

I'm so glad I love the idea and characters of this book otherwise I'd run in the other direction. It's not that the plot isn't well done, it is; I just loathe it when it has to once lead to a story about spirits and ghosts. I'm not the biggest fan of them, if you hadn't guessed from the making-a-break-for-it (and I can't even do that quick enough) analogy.
Madelyn Alt is actually one of the wonderfully elaborate authors I know of, and she could definitely evoke the fear from me, as well as the sympathy toward Maggie, as the key events started going down in Mel's 'humble abode' (that's the spoilt sister as anyone would find out).
To be honest this would be the fastest I've ever read a book. Not only could I not put it down, my eyes felt like they were the pendulum of a grandfather clock; never have I skimmed through paragraphs, especially for *cough* unsavoury bits, like that and manage to take it all in.
Then there was that ever-so-evident love-triangle. I kept wondering what Maggie would do about it, that maybe it'll happen in this book. This being drawn out, though does make for an interesting read, so I'm able to hold out for a little while longer to see what her choice might be. I'm expecting some big climax in the story for it as well as for the actual plot. I can't wait to find out :)


Saturday, 23 April 2011

Young Bond: Blood Fever by Charlie Higson

Images from Shelfari

Higson definitely knows how to write a thriller and it's so unbelievably vivid that you could feel yourself being sucked in. The atmosphere he creates is amazing, I literally got the feelings you'd usually be getting from a chase (all good adventure-type books will have them), my heart wouldn't stop thudding. 
Zoltan, one of the characters from 'Bloodfever', said that even the toughest men call out for their "Mama..." before they die. Unfortunately, I never thought the 'experience' could hit me so soon :( 
There is a fine line between good and bad. I could hardly tell who was really who; but those who have sharper eyes could definitely figure it out, especially with the amount of detail Higson writes with. In a way that's a hint to the book, how someone nice couldn't be all That great a person, after all. 
The book also had me realizing how old Bond probably was when he started being a "lady's man" :-P

Saturday, 19 February 2011

The Groovy Greeks and the Rotten Romans (Horrible Histories Collections) by Terry Deary

Image from Shelfari

Actually I was on a fence between 'liking it' and, well, the other hand. I'm a huge fan of Greek mythology but I decided to pick this up to try my hand and see if I was able to stay awake reading through the bit (actually Half) about Romans. 50-50. There are creative parts, like letters and short stories in the book, of course. Honestly, I understand this book is non-fiction so I have no hindrance about that (since it was oh-so-detailed), but it sometimes got a little dry (zzzZZZ). I guess it's my doing since I'm not one to jump at the chance to read factual stuff, nevertheless I truly did like reading this book and the series because another point is, obviously, it isn't wearying as a usual textbook. All in all, though, "I Liked It" - enough for the three stars on Shelfari :)

Friday, 18 February 2011

Terror of the Nightwatchman by Tommy Donbavand

Image from Shelfari

Sometimes you don't even need a supernatural story to have a sophisticated everything. Admittedly, the series isn't for my age group but I'm not one for that stopping me. I wholly enjoyed the plot, it wasn't at all lacking, and there was definite wit between the three main characters. I had a smile on my face the whole way.
The whole series so far was always entertaining and I can't wait to check out the rest of it ( or maybe I should; after all, wouldn't want to exhaust the books - to have too much of a good thing and then have nothing :-o )

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus by R. L. La Fevers

Image from Shelfari

Honestly if you don't have much of an interest in Egyptology, this book might get you skipping some bits (which are actually interesting to know). If they are facts, I have the drive to read it because coming from a textbook would just make me yawn - eight times in the span of two hours while I did a subject (snore).
Theo is a lot of fun, definitely amusing and entertaining, and I hardly say that about a lot of characters, I like her ways of noticing the tiny details, since she's still young - but with a vast knowledge on removing curses, might I add - but especially when the plot is set in 1907. I like her because she reminds me a bit of me, if she doesn't like someone, she doesn't like someone - unless they prove otherwise.
There are words there that you'd never hear in our century, however it's not ye olde English, so they are still understandable :)
The other characters are not boring at all, it's either a you-love-'em or you-can-tolerate-them moment with each, from learning about Will's abundance in siblings (which Theo actually wonders "[doesn't] anyone in his family have a real name?") to Grandma Throckmorton, who's being kept in the dark is almost making the protagonist tick a little (to ease curiousity :-p I'm just mentioning that Theo is sworn to secrecy and the phrase went through my head 'if grandma only knew..' - read on!).
If you hadn't guessed I've been thinking of this review throughout the book, but I have to say, the ending was brilliant and so.. significant! Loved it all! I can't wait for the fourth book, which most should've known the title by now: Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Image from Shelfari

Poirot is a new detective for me but he's been solving cases by Agatha Christie since forever, and now I know why. He's a brilliant man with a moustache to match his great powers of deduction (if you read his cases, you'll know it's quite large).
Though if I remember, there were some long-winded speeches (which I didn't skip but I did get a glazed look over my eyes) but there always is. I think it's to confuse. So not only does the Queen of Crime keep me guessing, she comes up with the least expected guilty party - seriously, I tried to keep up with the intuitive thoughts here and there. Realizing 'whodunit', I was stumped. Who knew?
She's living well up to her name.
This time Poirot had friends to discuss with, however he still had his thinking time. It was a lot of fun to read, and I'm picking up more of her books, especially those on Poirot. Basically you get a two-in-one by using my grey matter and picking up a little French along the way, *cough*which is one of the crucial points for the murder*cough*. I can't wait for one of the next books I'm looking out for: The Mystery of the Blue Train.
(And yes, I made the connection. Poirot has a thing for terrors on trains :-P)

This is a last note: sad thing about it is, this is another book of hers that I found which has a typo error. The back cover gives the synopsis, however the first name of the victim (they put it as Simon, I think) is slightly different then that of the actual story, Samuel Ratchett :(