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Monday, August 31, 2009

Zombie Mayhem and Madness.

Zombie Week is off and running (for those of you who don't know, go check it out), and though I was hoping The Forest of Hands and Teeth would get to me soon enough to participate, it doesn't look like that's going to happen. I do have Pride and Prejudice and Zombies waiting to be read on top of my TV. (That is, it's on top of my TV waiting to be read, not it's waiting for me to read it while sitting on top of my TV. Because that would be just weird.) But I don't know if I'm in the mood for Regency Zombies. *gasp* I know, I can't believe I said it either, but it's true.

Anyway, to occupy some zombie time, here are some fun ghoulish things to take a look at:
  • Win a copy of World War Z: Velvet vvb32reads is hosting a zombie giveaway. Calculate the amount of time you'd last, and you're entered to win
Here's mine:
The Zombie Bite Calculator

  • She's also having a Zombie Haiku Challenge, the coolest thing since sliced bread...um, sauteed brains. So go get your creative on.

  • Zombies on the Brain: check out the zombie downlow @ Zombies on the Web, and find links to papers on zombies, a delineation of zombie types and a cool dinoaurs-zombie cartoon.

Or just sit back and accept the fact that they're coming for you:

Sunday, August 30, 2009

In My Mailbox (2)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. Stop by and check it out, and share your own finds!

This week was a fairly good one in terms of book acquisition. Not that I need any more books, mind. Or, I always need them, but never have room...

Anyway, I seemed to be getting books from all sectors this week.

Literally in my mailbox, I got my signed copy of Famous Family Nights, compiled by Anne Bradshaw. You may remember I won this on Goodreads (yay for winning, yay for Goodreads -- no matter what Nathan Hale says!)

I also broke down and bought the first volume of
Night World,, which compiles L.J. Smith's Secret Vampire
Daughters of Darkness and Spellbinder.

From my library's ongoing book sale, I got
Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Belly Laughs by Jenny McCartney (no, I'm not pregnant. I've just heard it's really funny),
and Dragon's Breath by E.D Baker

While there, I picked up the purse load of books that was waiting for me, including:
Savvy by Ingrid Law (started this, loving it)
Ash by Malinda Lo (done, review to come)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
and Deerskin by Robin McKinley.

Lastly, from book club, I grabbed next month's read, A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton.

So good stuff this week. That should tide me over for a while.

Mentioned in this thread:

Now playing: Cold War Kids - Dreams Old Men Dream
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Review: 'Madapple' by Christina Meldrum

Time/ for another review of a book I read this summer (I've been slacking on posting these; I will try to do better).
This is another of my favorites. This was nominated for many things, among them, as a finalist for the William C. Morris Award, honoring debut authors and "celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature."
So here is my Goodreads review; stick around for bonus material.

Madapple Madapple by Christina Meldrum

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Let me start by saying that in some weird way, this book blew me away.

Madapple is the story of Aslaug Hellig, a bright girl who was raised in near isolation by her genius -- but disturbed -- mother. When Aslaug's mother dies, Aslaug goes to the only place she can remember her mother having taken her. The place, it turns out, is a former monastery-turned-church, run by an aunt she never knew she had. Aslaug moves into the church with her aunt Sara and her children, Sanne and Rune, and gets caught up in the distrubing world they have created for themselves.

Madapple mixes religion, mythology, psychology and (of all things) botany to create a very captivating and disturbing world for Aslaug to live in. Told through chapters set alternately in the present and in the past, Aslaug's story is revealed slowly and cryptically, making the book a potentially challenging read for some, but for those that can hold on to the threads and being to weave them together, the result is fairly stunning. Also, some themes and subject matter may be too adult and/or inappropriate for some readers, but for those who persevere and can handle the dark subject matter, Madapple is a strange little gem. It is little wonder that Meldrum, a first time author, was a finalist for the Morris Award.

View all my reviews >>

Bonus Material:
I'm telling ya, if you're an adult leery of reading "teen' fiction because you think it's all fluff, read this. If you're a teen looking for something unusual, read this. (If you're a teen with parents who may disapprove of adult themes, read this in secret...)

This is one of my absolute favorite covers this year. Stunning and eerie and perfect.

Find out more about the William C. Morris Award here, for which Meldrum was a finalist.
She was also nominated or awarded with:
ALA Best Book for Young Readers for 2009
Kirkus Reviews Best Young Adult Books for 2008
Top Ten First Novels for Youth, 2008

Visit author Christina Meldrum's site here for various goodies, including a gallery of the various plant life mentioned in the book.

Read my buddy April's review here for a different perspective.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Contest at BookMac

BookMac is having an awesome contest to celebrate their 100th post, so I thought I'd spread the word to you.
Here's the dish from their blog:

Guess what!? We now officially have written 100 posts! Wowza! That, in my opinion deserves to be acknowledged, so, we're going to have a contest to celebrate this amazing accomplishment!

So here are ALL the books you can win, (we're very generous):

Wicked Lovely
Eye Like Stars
My, My Elf and I
This Lullaby
Academy 7
A Kiss in Time
The Midnight Charter

The last book is the Midnight Charter, a cool new book that's due out sometime in December!

BUT, 1o books just isn't enough...so we're also giving away $10 to Barnes and Noble!!!

Now, because 100 is one of our favorite numbers, if we can can get 100 followers by the end of this contest, we'll double everything, that means 10 more books, and 10 more dollars!

So WHAT are you waiting for, go and enter!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Waiting on" Wednesdays (5)

This meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. Stop by and see her blog.

This week, I have been thinking about/wishing for/wanting a book that I can't get my grubby little paws on for another two weeks. That book, the sequel to The Knife of Never Letting Go is The Ask and the Answer.

from Goodreads:

We were in the square, in the square where I'd run, holding her, carrying her, telling her to stay alive, stay alive till we got safe, till we got to Haven so I could save her - But there weren't no safety, no safety at all, there was just him and his men...Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd has carried a desperately wounded Viola right into the hands of their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss. Immediately separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor's new order. But what secrets are hiding just outside of town? And where is Viola? Is she even still alive? And who are the mysterious Answer? And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode...
"The Ask and the Answer" is a tense, shocking and deeply moving novel of resistance under the most extreme pressure. This is the second title in the "Chaos Walking" trilogy.

Mentioned in this thread:
The Knife of Never Letting Go
Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown.
But Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in a constant, overwhelming, never-ending Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets.
Or are there?
Just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd unexpectedly stumbles upon a spot of complete silence.
Which is impossible.
Prentisstown has been lying to him.
And now he's going to have to run...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Teaser Tuesday (4)

The meme hosted by Should Be Reading, so stop by and check out her blog!

To participate:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
The plan is to read 4, maybe 5 books this week, and I am going to tease you with all of them:

from Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

He looked gaunt, as though he'd been a while without food. My nose told me, even over the smell of gasoline, oil, and antifreeze permeating the garage, that it had been an equally long time since he'd seen a shower. And, under the dirt, sweat, and old fear, was the distinctive scent of werewolf.

from Ash by Malinda Lo

Ash woke up suddenly in her own bed, her heart pounding. She sat up, gasping for breath as though she were being suffocated, and she saw the early morning light coming through the curtains. She ran to the window and looked out; her father was coming slowly up the hill. When she heard him come into the house and close the kitchen door, she realized she had been gripping the windowsill with white fingers. She let go, feeling foolish. But just as she began to turn away, she saw something gleaming on the windowsill. In the spaces where the paint had cracked, gold dust glittered.

from Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The rules of the Hunger Games are simple. In punishment for the uprising, each of the twelve districts must provide one girl and one boy, called tributes, to participate. The twenty-four tributes will be imprisoned in a vast outdoor arena that could hold anything from a burning desert to a frozen wasteland. Over a period of several weeks, the competitors must fight to the death.

from Savvy by Ingrid Law

When my brother Fish turned thirteen, we moved to the deepest part of inland because of the hurricane and, of course, the fact that he'd caused it. I had liked living down south on the edge of the land, next to the pushing waves...But it was plain that Fish could live nowhere near or nearby or next to or to close to or on or around any largish bodies of water.

I have high hopes for all of these!

I guess it's Show Misty the Love Week...

...because I got another award! Woot woot! This one came from Miss Eliza over @ Strande and Random Happenstance (ready, everybody? "Thank you, Miss Eliiiiza!"). She also gave it to April @ Good Books and Good Wine, Kate @ The Neverending Shelf, Erica @ The Book Cellar and Susan @ Well Mannered Frivolity. Congrats, ladies!

The Award:
The Humane Award

What's it all about?:
Is to honor certain bloggers that are kindhearted individuals. They regularly take part in my blog and always leave the sweetest comments. If it wasn't for them, my site would just be an ordinary book review blog. Their blogs are also amazing and are tastefully done on a daily basis. This award is to thank them for their growing friendships through the blog world.

So I would like to nominate:
April @ Good Books and Good Wine, even though I know she already got one. This is about people being encouraging and participating in your blog, and April does that. (On Goodreads, too, in fact)
Allison @ Read Into This! (^ditto)
and Jenn-ay @ My Tea Time is My Book Time
and some people that I maybe don't chat with quite as much as those three ladies, but who always leave very nice things and/or have lovely blogs:
Velvet @vvb32 reads
Lauren @I Was a Teenage Book Geek

Monday, August 24, 2009

What Are you Reading? Mondays (4)

Well, it's a Manic Monday once again, so it's time for "What Are You Reading?", a meme hosted by J. Kaye. Check it out and tell us what you are reading.

Last week, I read
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale, which I reviewed here,
and Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, which I have yet to review. The rest of the week I kept picking things up and putting them down. I read most of a Time magazine (this week's; check out the article on food), but nothing was catching my fancy because I knew what I wanted, and I was getting sick of waiting.

Fortunately, most of what I have requested has come in at the library, or is in transit, so tomorrow morning, I am going to pick up this week's prospective reads:

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Deerskin by Robin McKinely
Ash by Malinda Lo
Shirley by Kaoru Mori
Also gonna try to get through Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, which is a reread for my bookclub (this week!).

I don't know that I'll get through all five, but here's to hoping...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Woot Woot! (got an award)

Got a Lemonade Award from Jenn-ay over at My Tea Time is My Book Time (thanks, Jenn-ay!) The Lemonade Award is for blogs that show Attitude and/or Gratitude (I googled). I am super happy. I love awards, I love lemonade, and I love attitude (and all those loves means a lot of gratitude); perfect!

So, in the spirit of passing it on, sharing the lemonade, if you will, I would like to nominate:

April @Good Books and Good Wine
Allison @ Read Into This!
Juju @ Tales of Whimsy
Miss Eliza @ Strange and Random Happenstance
Book Chick City
and Kristen @ Bookworming in the 21st Century

Keep on being deliciously sweet and sour, gals!

Fun Fun Fill-In the Blank

Found this on WORD for Teens's blog, who found it somewhere else, etc. It's fun, you should give it a try (and you should comment with your link: I want to see everybody else's!).

Using only books you have read this year (2009), cleverly answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title. It's a lot harder than you think!

Describe Yourself: Graceling
How do you feel: GloomCookie
Describe where you currently live: The Hollow Kingdom
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: The City of Ember
Your favorite form of transportation: Industrial Magic
Your best friend is: Ethan Frome
You and your friends are: Kindred
What's the weather like: Shiver
Favorite time of day: Sunshine
What is life to you: A Certain Slant of Light
Your fear: The Knife of Never Letting Go
What is the best advice you have to give: Being a Pig is Nice
Thought for the Day: Love That Dog
How I would like to die: Snakes and Earrings
My soul's present condition: The Book of Lost Things

Books featured:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Going stir crazy...

...but help is on the way!

My eyes have been driving me nuts lately, so I've had nothing really to do but lay in bed with my contacts off and read (because I cannot function without my contacts and have no glasses). So basically, I've worked my way through everything here that I want to read, and am getting antsy.
But I just looked at my library account online, and I have 4 great (hopefully) books in transit!
Ash (eee!)
The Hunger Games 'bout damn time
Savvy ditto ^
Shirley by Kaoru Mori (my desperate attempt to fill the Emma gap)

I can't go tomorrow, Sunday they're closed, but Monday, you know where I'll be!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Win a whole bunch of stuff from Bloody Bookaholic

Bloody Bookaholic is giving away, um, everything. Check this out:

There are going to be a bunch of books to give away, options:
- Signed copy of Dreaming Anastasia + Goodies
- Hardback Another Faust
- Hardback Prophecy of the Sisters
- ARC Eyes Like Stars + Backstage Pass Bracelet and some Theater-Theme Swag.
- ARC The Dark Divine
- ARC Hush Hush
- ARC Give Up The Ghost
- ARC Ash
- ARC Behind Every Illusion
- ARC Shiverjavascript:void(0)
- ARC The Demon's Lexicon
- ARC Betraying Season
- ARC Any Given Doomsday
- Dead Until Dark
- Gossip Girl 1st Book
- The Black Tatto + poster
- Vampire Academy
- Frost Bite, a Vampire Academy Novel.
- Shadow Kiss, a Vampire Academy Novel.
- Blood Promise, a Vampire Academy Novel.

20 books, now I am going to have 3 winners.

Winner number One gets to pick 7 books out of the bunch.

Winner number Two gets 3 books out of the bunch.

Winner number Three gets 1 book out of the bunch.

Crazy, right? So head over and check it out!

What's Your Six?

Today is my best friend's birthday (Happy Birthday, Dana), and it got me thinking about birthdays in general, which got me thinking about people and life, which got me thinking about a book I want to read (go figure).

Not quite what I was Planning: Six Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure, by Rachel Fershleiser (Editor), Larry Smith (Editor) is exactly what it sounds like. Little gems of six word summaries of people's lives.

from Goodreads:

Deceptively simple and surprisingly addictive, Not Quite What I Was Planning is a thousand glimpses of humanity—six words at a time.
One Life. Six Words. What's Yours?
When Hemingway famously wrote, "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn," he proved that an entire story can be told using a half dozen words. When the online storytelling magazine SMITH asked readers to submit six-word memoirs, they proved a whole, real life can be told this way too. The results are fascinating, hilarious, shocking, and moving.
From small sagas of bittersweet romance ("Found true love, married someone else") to proud achievements and stinging regrets ("After Harvard, had baby with crackhead"), these terse true tales relate the diversity of human experience in tasty bite-sized pieces. From authors Jonathan Lethem and Richard Ford to comedians Stephen Colbert and Amy Sedaris, to ordinary folks around the world, everyone has a six-word story to tell.

I'm going to go think for awhile on what my six might be. I would suggest you do the same; it may come in handy in the future...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Review: 'Book of 1,000 Days' by Shannon Hale

Make sure to hang around for today's bonus material, where you'll find some links to supplementary material and read-alikes.

Book of a Thousand Days Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a retelling of the little known Grimm Brothers tale "Maid Maleen,' but fairly drastically reworked. Dashti was born a mucker girl on the Asian Steppes, but when her mother dies and she has no family left, she finds work as a ladies maid for Lady Saren, daughter of the ruler of Titor's Garden. But when Dashti arrives to begin her work, she learns Lady Saren is to be shut up in a tower for seven years for disobeying her father and refusing to marry Lord Khasar; and Dashti must be shut up with her if she is to fulfill her vows as a ladies maid. What follows is the Dashti's telling (via a diary with brush-and-ink illustrations) of her entombment with Saren, and their adventures there after, from the terror of Lord Khasar to Dashti's healing mucker songs, to Khan Tegus, the nice, funny and out of reach ruler who may hold the keys to the girls' freedom.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I stayed up half the night reading it (just one more page-ing myself to death). There was a slight magical realism feel to it. Dashti ia an intersting character, very intelligent and strong, but also very meek and hyper-aware of her "place." It is enjoyable to watch her grow and come into her own. Lady Saren, who is very troubled and somewhat annoying, is also an enjoyable character, even in spite of her "unenjoyableness" because it is equally pleasant to watch her grow and heal as well. Lord Khasar is truly terrifying; so many of the characters are fully realized and engaging, as is the world.

Hale's reworking of the tale is fascinating, and expands beautifully on the original (which I looked up and read when I finished). The changes she makes make sense and add to the story wonderfully.

The only drawbacks for me were:
-- there are times when Dashti's storytelling is too sedate.
-- The Lord Khasar thread is tied up a little too quickly and conveniently. There are things I really liked about it, and I liked what it brought out in Dashti, and the choices she made, but I would have liked a little more build-up and tension in the actual resolution.
-- on a personal note, the names of places sometimes got to me. I don't know if they were traditional or made-up, but the constant repetition was a bit irritating.

Overall, though, I would definitely recommend this to fans of Hale, fairy tale retellings, strong female characters, etc.

View all my reviews >>

Bonus Material:

If you want to read the "Maid Maleen" tale yourself, go here.

For similar books, try:
The Goose Girl, also by Shannon Hale. It is a retelling of a fairy tale by the same name, and is the first in a series called The Forests of Bayern.

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier, which retells my favorite childhood tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses.

A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce, which retells the Rumplestiltskin tale.

Anahita's Woven Riddle by Meghan Nuttall Sayres. This is set in a similar location, and has a slight fairy tale feel.

Now playing: Sara Bareilles - Fairytale
via FoxyTunes


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