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First Some Fiction

I like books a lot - not so surprising, anyone on BookLikes probably does. Since book blogs helped me a great deal (what to read, what's new, what books can be recommended if you like reading about a particular subject etc.) I decided to start one myself. On First Some Fiction you'll find reviews as well as recommendations and other bookish stuff for lots of different genres because even though I have my preferences I tend to pick up "the occasional random book" that turns out to be surprisingly good...cue a post!

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (Not A Book! Well, not originally, I think they made a book of it later...)

Just an update on what I've been doing lately, since I wasn't reading...woah, that sounds crazy huh? Well,

Lizzie Bennet Regrets Nothing

That's right! You might wonder now what I've been doing instead. Don't worry: this post is all about informing you exactly of what! For those of you who recognised the gif, YES INDEED I'VE BEEN WATCHING THE LBD!

And of course, for those of you who have no idea what 'The LBD' is, I'll explain!

The LBD stands for The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and simply takes less time to type. It's an awesome web series (which you can watch for free on youtube) based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice - the 'Lizzie Bennet' kind of gave that away, huh?
Anyway, I really, really, really enjoyed it because the actors are genius in their roles as Jane Austen's characters. Of course some things differ from the actual story, but that's what makes it fun and realistic for this time period! The plot is pretty much the same (we still have a marry-crazy mother, an energetic younger sister, a Wickham and a certain mister Darcy) but I love how they worked it out for this series! Also, the episodes are only 4/5 minutes long so you can watch one whenever you feel like it or have some spare time.
Interested? Here you go!

Oh by the way, Hank Green developed this (with Bernie Su) so if you didn't have enough reasons to give this a shot, now you do (;

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

I Hunt Killers - Barry Lyga

I bought this book a few months ago, during one of those big book events where you can buy books for less. As usual, I'd chosen about twelve books or so at first and had to select the ones I really wanted (which is always a difficult progress.) Fortunately, 'I Hunt Killers' made it and had been standing on my bookshelf ever since...Until now!

 

Title: I Hunt Killers
Author: Barry Lyga
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 
ISBN:
9789022563076
What's on the back:
 
It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful field.

Except for the body.
Jazz is a likable teenager. A charmer, some might say.
But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, "Take Your Son to Work Day" was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could--from the criminals' point of view.
And now, even though Dad has been in jail for years, bodies are piling up in the sleepy town of Lobo's Nod. Again.
In an effort to prove murder doesn't run in the family, Jazz joins the police in the hunt for this new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret--could he be more like his father than anyone knows?
From acclaimed author Barry Lyga comes a riveting thriller about a teenager trying to control his own destiny in the face of overwhelming odds.

 

So as for the review:
I'd never heard of Barry Lyga before - but then again, I have to confess thrillers are not really my scene. I tend to read romance, fantasy, supernatural and contemporary books. However, this one seemed so interesting, I had to give it a go! And interesting it surely was. As it says on the back Japser "Jazz" Dent is the only son of notorious serial killer Billy Dent. And when I say serial killer, I mean serial killer. This Billy guy's offed over 123 people (if we count Jazz' mother too, like Jazz himself does.)
To sum that up: Jazz has a very disturbing dad and an even more disturbing past. He was raised by a sociopath and this has obviously left some nasty mental scars, which is noticable throughout the whole book. For example: Jazz tends to hear Billy's voice in his head pointing out particular things about people and telling him what he should do and how he should act (to be like Dear Old Dad.) So that part was worked out really well - there's (more than) enough attention for Jazz' personal problems.
The plot was pretty good too: fast-paced, though sometimes interrupted by Jazz doubting himself. Overall I enjoyed it, even though I wished Jazz'd gotten over this idea of him being as terrible as his father near the end - it got a bit repetitive. But then his girlfriend showed up and managed to get some sense into the boy (go Connie!)
And did foresee who the bad guy was? (Well, except for Billy that is. That guy is just plain disturbing.) Nope! My suspicions were raised high several times while reading - I even came up with this dr. Jekyll & dr. Hyde theory - but the other bad guy turned out to be someone I didn't expect him to be.

 

What I really liked: 
+ The psychological part of the book about how Jazz coped with the trauma of being brought up by a serial killer. Who gave him lessons. And tried to brainwash him. And made him do things.
+ The main character Jazz. He's just very interesting.
+ Jazz' friends Howie and Connie. Howie is the kind of best friend you could always depend on, no matter what. He'd stay by your side forever, even if your dad turns out to be a monster, he'd still go on nightly hikes with you to do some research work on who the killer is this time round. As for Connie, she's a great girlfriend. And she's black. So this might just be me, but I feel like I read a lot about white people. Like, usually the main character of a YA novel is white (and the story's set in North America.) Of course there are always other characters with different nationalities/origins, but sometimes I think it would be lovely to read about other cultures than our own...I, for one, would love to read a good story that takes place in Asia. Now, back to I Hunt Killers...
+ Billy Dent. I know I've called him disturbing several times already, but at the same time he's the perfect villain. He's so crazy and yet not. He's just...He gives me the creeps.

What I didn't like so much:
- Although I found Jazz an awesome character, at some point I did get frustrated with him and just wanted him to stop making a fuss of being like his father. I mean, he'd just done things his father would never do!
- I didn't totally get the ending. Well, a part of it. How Jazz connected some dots in the ending which never got explained but hey, that could just be me!

In the end I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to explore the thriller genre of YA books and to anyone who likes a book that gives you the creeps but is not feeling up to downright horror.

She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

She Is Not Invisible - Marcus Sedgwick

she is not invisible by marcus sedgwick

 

Title: She Is Not Invisible
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
ISBN: 978 1 78062 134 0
Published by: Indigo

 

What's on the back:
Two dried mice.
A fluffy raven called Stan.
A suicidal Austrian biologist...
Is it coincidence or something more sinister that draws them together? Many strange things collide in Laureth Peak's life one hot August weekend. Perhaps strangest of all is the way her dad had been acting lately And now he's disappeared. It looks as if his obsession with coincidence might have fatal consequences.

As Laureth sets off for New York with her strange younger brother, Benjamin, she has little faith in herself. But she has a burning determination to find her missing father. She has just one clue to follow; his notebook.

Does it contain salvation, or madness?

My reading experience:

Before I read this book I'd never heard of Marcus Sedgwick before. However, I have to confess that I did find She Is Not Invisible on another (Dutch) bookblog. That review left me quite curious, so when I came across this book in Waterstones I didn't hesitate and bought it; I'm glad I did!
While reading I concluded that She Is Not Invisible is one of those peculiar books that are a bit different. Don't worry, I mean this in a good way! Of course I'll explain:
One of the first things you learn in chapter one is that Laureth is blind. (Now, this information was not on the back of my copy nor was it on the front of the cover or mentioned in any of the reviews printed in the book to make you read it. When I did some research I found other blurbs of the story in which Laureth's blindness does get "highlighted". ) I actually liked the fact that it was not mentioned on the back of my copy. Since I'd read the other review I knew the main character would be a blind girl, but if it weren't for that I would've only found out while reading. The reason I thought this to be so great is simple. Never is there a fuss being made about Laureth being blind in this book! Yes, of course she encounters people who react in all different ways to her disability but Laureth herself is pretty cool about it, for someone who can't see a damn thing. It's just a part of who she is and that's one of the things I really liked about She Is Not Invisible.
Secondly, like almost all books this one too contains its share of love. Refreshingly enough, it's not about the romantic kind of love. There's no drama about misunderstandings (well, maybe there is a bit of those...Just not like that) and there's no love triangle. (Hallelujah! Nothing wrong with those, but sometimes you just want to read about something else.) Love in this book is more about family, and since that is very important too I'm happy there is a book like She Is Not Invisible to enjoy!
Also, the story is just seriously interesting. All the stuff about coincidences - I won't say too much about it - I loved it. And the number. Of course the number. 354. *Nods mysteriously. *

 

Other pros:
+ Again, how the writer describes Laureth's blindness. For example, since she's always been blind she doesn't know what colours are. I'd been wondering about that a few days before, I mean how do you imagine something in your mind's eye if you don't know any colours? And colours are also hard to describe to someone who can't see them...Just think about it!
+ The coincidences that ocurre in the book or really happened and are just used as examples. They managed to make the occasional shiver run down my spine.
+ The cover. Yes, I admit, I tend to judge a book a bit by its cover. But hey, I just appreciate the work some cover artists put in a book (; Anyway, if you take a look at the cover you'll see the face of a girl against a city background which basically representates Laureth in New York. Plus where normally the girl's eyes would've been is the title with the word Invisible printed just a tad bigger. Major hint to blindness!

 

So why haven't I given this book five stars? Well...I was promised 'an absorbing and fast-paced thriller' or 'a rollercoaster of a thriller'. And although She Is Not Invisible certainly is fast-paced and absorbing, I couldn't help but not see this book as a thriller. Yes, it definitely is about solving a mystery but I experienced it more as a story about a journey. A story which really makes you think, to quote Waterstones.
And sadly the ending seemed a bit abrupt to me. I won't spoil it for you guys but...I think the conclusion just differed from what I expected. With that said, I want to remind everyone that this book is great and I'd encourage you to read it!
In the end I think if you're looking for a thriller you'd still enjoy this. However, if you're looking for "Something Else" you'll enjoy this book even more.