Monday, June 25, 2012

Greatest Mysteries of the Unexplained by Lucy Doncaster and Andrew Holland

Description: A compelling compendium of some the world’s most mystifying conundrums, from strange quirks of nature to supernatural phenomena, this collection of scintillating investigations presents the theories surrounding a diverse range of topics that defy straightforward explanation. Tales are recounted in vivid detail and incorporate all the latest scientific research and conclusions.     
     Where possible, specially chosen images accompany the stories to help explain a particular riddle or provide a deeper insight into the nature of the unknown generally. Including investigations into prophecy and the paranormal and religious and medical marvels, this book attempts to discover the truth behind the greatest enigmas of the universe. It is sure to both bewilder and intrigue.

Review: I definitely enjoyed and liked this book. Was it the best supernatural book out there? Nope. But it was a fun read. As the description says, there are pictures, although they are in black and white. Even though the description says "where possible," there are more pictures than someone may expect. Nearly every other page has a picture.
     The chapters are organized well, except for Chapters 4 and 5. Chapter 4 is "Paranormal Powers" and Chapter 5 is "Seers and Oracles." Most of the parts in both chapters were about the same type of thing: people who can "see" the future.
     In the "Mysteries of the Cosmos" chapter(the last one), the views and theories are complete and utter crap, to put it simply. Even though any sensible person would know that none of these theories could possibly be true, the authors write about them as if they could be 100 percent true. This bugs me because it's theories like that that make people with an interest in the unexplained look crazy to the rest of society. One of the theories is that humans had lived on the moon or Mars before migrating to Earth, completely ignoring the fact that the atmosphere of both are not able to support humans.
     A few things I really liked about this book were that it had a lot of big ideas, and it really gets the reader to ponder about life and our world. Also, it provides good insights, and the themes are interesting to discuss with other people. I definitely learned quite a few things from this book.
     Overall, this was a good, informative read. Sometimes it gave too many details that didn't seem relevant to the main subject, and it was confusing in some parts because of that. I would recommend this book to people who are interested in paranormal and supernatural things, or if you just want a good summer read.
                                                              Overall Grade: B   

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Summary: Everything is in ruins.

     A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

     So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

     Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

     But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

     And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.
                                                                                 -Summary from

Review: I loved this book, a lot more than I expected to. I love Edgar Allan Poe, and when I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. I wasn't expecting to be super impressed, since it's a retelling of Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death." Sometimes retellings aren't as good as you expect them to be, since the original is amazing. This is not the case for this book. It was amazing.
     The storyline is not mostly about Prince Prospero, but instead through the eyes of a teenage girl living in his era. The plague has taken over everyone's lives, but, as the rich do in Poe's story, the wealthy party and ignore the dying people everywhere.
     One thing that Bethany Griffin did do differently from Poe's story is that she developed the type of world that they lived in more. It's hard to tell whether it's in the future, the past, or an alternate reality like ours, but different. I liked this aspect of the book, because it kept me wondering. I have only recently heard of steampunk, but I know that this is definitely it. I loved reading about the different inventions that they had.
     I won't say anything about the ending except for that it is a major cliffhanger, so if you don't like those, wait until the second book comes out to read them one right after the other, since it doesn't come out until 2013(bummer, right?). I cannot wait for the second one to be released, I will definitely be reading it. I would recommend this book who likes steampunk, post-Apocalyptic worlds, unique YA novels, or, of course, Edgar Allan Poe's short story("The Masque of the Red Death").