Home  |  Reviews  |  Vlogs  |  Interviews  |  Guest Posts  |  Fairy Tales  |  Jane Austen  |  Memes  |  Policies

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A few more Halloween Goodies

I've been meaning to post these for, um, ever, so that I could show them to Donna at Bites for her Halloween contest/madness. But I am a procrastinator, so here they are:

I can't draw out of my head, I have to have something to look at, so --
this is a picture of a stone cemetery angel which I found in the book Hell House, and which I found creepy, and had to (try to) draw

and this is a page from the (so cute) book Cinderella Skeleton. I have drawn other pages from this book in the past, I just love it so much. Isn't she darling?

Lastly, this is .... me, I'll admit it. I was Captain Sally Goldwench. And my neighbor had just given me a thank you gift, so I am holding silicon bakeware. Very pirate chic.

Well, Donna, there's my proof* that I got my creative on. And now have shared it with the world. Oh, man.

*Are we on the honor system? Should I have taken pictures of me holding my drawings?

Dystopian Challenge

You all have figured out by now that I like dystopian fiction, right? Well, since I knew I'd be reading it anyway, I decided to go ahead and join a little dystopian challenge:

It runs from October 15th through the end of the year, and the goal is to read 1-4 dystopian books. So far I've read 2 and it's been 2 weeks. So, yeah, I like dystopian...

I have read
The Ask and the Answer and

The Forest of Hands and Teeth
(and I still need to review both...),

and am reading

Y: The Last Man.

For the rest, I'm going to pick a few off of my dystopian list and try to work that down a bit. I'm looking at choosing from the following:

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood, which I just bought

Jennifer Government by Max Barry

The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson

If you've read any of those and want me to lean toward them, or if you've read any great dystopic fic that you think I may not know about, please, chime in...

Happy Halloween!!!

Alright, folks, it's the big day. Last chance to get in some points in Helluva Halloween (if you don't know what I'm talking about, where the hell have you been?) A few lucky people are going to be receiving some little treaties*. I've been buying randomness all week.

I'm not going to lie, it's going to take me a few days (read: a week or so) to tally up everything and check links, so I will announce the winners as soon as I can.

This is the first year in my quarter-century of existence that I have not been able to dress up and take someone trick-or-treating, which makes me sad, but when I got home from work (where I did wear a spider ring and a skeleton t-shirt with a flashing heart -- had to get some sort of costuming in there), I found out that I won the Spooktober Awesomeness over at Ellz Readz. I chose The Historian and Blood Promise (I get a treat bag, too!)

THANKS, ELIE!!!!!!!!!!!!! (<--- that's lucky 13...). Also, I won another Halloweeny book the other day. I randomly entered a comment contest through Fresh Fiction by commenting on a guest post by author Amanda Grange, and I won her book My Darcy, Vampyre -- and I received it the very next day!


Lastly, I won the book Cranioklepty: Grave Robbing and the Search for Genius, from the website's contest. They asked the question: "If you could steal a skull, any skull, whose would you choose, and why?"

My smart-ass answer:
Is it completely sacrilegious/horrible to say Jesus? Because, I mean, come on. That would be one powerful skull.
If not Jesus, probably Cleopatra. I am intrigued by her. And what with facial reconstruction tech, it would be interesting to see if she was worth the hype.


*Of the trick-or-treat variety, not the Treaty of __________ variety. If you didn't know this, you're disqualified, and probably a mouth-breather.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Spotlight On: Vampires

Well, folks, I think today is going to be the last Helluva Halloween Spotlight (for this year, anyway). So I figured we could go out with a bang or a bite. Since I can't think of any exploding Halloween creatures, I chose bite.
Today we turn the spotlight on vampires (but just a normal spotlight. Nothing too bright, just in case).

But really, what is there to say that hasn't already been said? If you don't want to be undead and bloodthirsty forever and ever, everyone knows, just don't get bit. Um, just stay away from any fluid exchange. But there are some other tips to take into account...

Some safeguards to prevent rising as a vampire:
  • always to treat your open wounds with boiling water
  • never rebel against the Church
  • make sure you're buried upside down
  • have a scythe or sickle placed near your grave
  • do not allow your corpse to be jumped over by an animal, especially a dog or cat
If you fear that a loved one is going to rise from the grave, or that a cemetery near you may be infested, use this simple trick from the old country: lead a virgin boy on a virgin stallion through the graveyard. The horse will balk at any infested sites. Or, of course, you can always just dig up the grave and note the state of decomposition. If they are pink and plump, stake 'em.

Now let's have some fun, shall we?

This is the wall of vampire awesomeness. It's fun, it's scary, it's yummy to look at, and it could earn you points. Click on it and get a good look. For each little square, you can earn 15 points in my Helluva Halloween contest by emailing me the name of the character, actor and movie, 5 points apiece. If you only know 2, that's 10 points, etc. Don't cheat and google, people, show your know-how. Now, I originally had one here that was a little easier to distinguish, but I decided that wasn't a challenge. So now it's super close-up. This will run until Nov. 1, at which point I will put the original up, as well as the answers.
When you think you've got 'em figured out, email me @ mbradenwf@gmail.com with your answers.

Now, here are some things for you to chew on:

Here's a list of vampire books for teens, courtesy of Suite 101 [dot] com

Here's a list of vampire novels and a list of vampire series' for teens:

Vampire Novels:

  • Sucks to be Me: The All-true Confessions of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire (Maybe)by Kimberly Pauley (Wizards Of The Coast, Inc. | August 26, 2008)
  • Suck It Up by Brian Meehl (Random House Children's Books | May 13, 2008)
  • Tantalize by Cynthia Smith (Candlewick Press | February 1, 2007)
  • Thicker Than Water by Carla Jablonski (Penguin Young Reader Group | February 13, 2006)
  • High School Bites by Liza Conrad (New American Library | December 23, 2005)
  • Peeps by Scott Westerfeld (Penguin Young Reader Group | September 2, 2005)
  • Vampire High by Douglas Rees (Random House Children's Books | September 9, 2003)
  • Midnight Predator by Amelia Atwater-rhodes (Random House Children's Books | May 14, 2002)
  • Shattered Mirror by Amelia Atwater-rhodes (Random House Children's Books | September 11, 2001)
  • Demon in My View by Amelia Atwater-rhodes (Random House Children's Books | May 9, 2000)
  • In the Forests of the Night by Amelia Atwater-rhodes (Random House Children's Books | May 11, 1999)

Vampire Series':

Night World by L.J. Smith (Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing)

  1. Secret Vampire (June 3, 2008)Daughers of the DarknessSpellbinder
  2. Dark Angel (November 18, 2008)ChosenSoulmate
  3. Huntress (June 23, 2009)Black DawnWitchlight

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Penguin Young Reader Group)

  1. Vampire Academy (August 20, 2007)
  2. Frostbite (April 15, 2008)
  3. Shadow Kiss (November 18, 2008)

House of the Night by Kristen and P.C. Cast (St. Martin’s Press)

  1. Marked (May 1, 2007)
  2. Betrayed (October 2, 2007)
  3. Chosen (March 4, 2008)
  4. Untamed (September 23, 2008)
  5. Hunted (March 3, 2009)

Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith (HarperCollins Publishers)

You may also be interested in:

Finding out more about the history of this bloodthirsty menace here

Taking this quiz to determine if you are infact a member of the undead.

Checking out this list of vamps in film, or this one of vamps on TV.

The Vampire Library

Vampire [dot] com

The Vampire Name Generator: find out your undead name. Mine?
The Great Archives determine you to have gone by the identity:
Goddess of The Ghastly
Known in some parts of the world as:
Scourge of The Vile
The Great Archives Record:
Vile, foul, filthy and greedy: this creature knows nothing of light.

Vampire Rave [dot] com: a vamp social networking site (yep)

Temple of the Vampire a vamp based church (uh-huh)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Review: The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

I've been meaning to add this for awhile, as I read and reviewed it on Goodreads at the end of the summer. But better books were calling my name, and this got pushed back. But even though I didn't really like this book, I thought I would go ahead and add the review now, that way those of you who are into this sort of book can have a shot at it for the 100th Follower contest. (I do like the fact that I used the word "debaucherous," however...)

The Luxe is about turn of the century New York socialites falling in love and misbehaving. New York's darling debutant, Elizabeth Holland is poised to marry one of the most eligible (and debaucherous) bachelors in the city, but her perfect life is not what it seems.

The Luxe reads like Gossip Girl meets Edith Wharton. Sadly, it has all of the shallowness and poor writing of the former, with little of the intelligence and power of the latter. Godbersen does her best (I guess) to make the time period interesting and appealing to today's teen girl audience, but the result is predictable, flat and strange. It really is as if the GGs had put on costumes and were playing at The Age Of Innocence*: their actions and dialogue is not well-suited to the time or the story. This isn't to say that they can't be scandalous; I don't buy into a white-washed history. I know people always have skeletons in their closets, regardless of the morés of the time. More so, even, in a repressive society. Wharton demonstrated that expertly. But the actions of the characters in this book seem too careless and intentionally shocking, and as such seems silly. It's hard as well to feel for the characters. They have very few redeeming qualities, and I was torn between wanting them to have the happy ending that was (obviously-parading-as-stealthily) coming and seeing them get what they actually deserved.

The structuring was a bit weird for me as well, especially when it came to conversations between the characters. One character would say something, and then Godbersen would spend a whole nice-sized paragraph describing something (the rich scene, someone's dress, some incident from the past, whatever), and then the character who was spoken to would respond. By that point, I was completely out of the flow of conversation and had no idea what had been said in the first place and had to look back to follow the thread of dialogue. It was a strange choice on her part and her editor's. And though some description of finery and scene were necessary, they were a bit overdone and tended to overwhelm the story (or maybe mask a lack of it); if I had had to read about 'pocket doors' one more effing time, I may have had a fit of hysterics like some of the characters were prone to.

This is not to say that teen girls won't find this book just heart-flutteringly terrific. If Godbersen set out to write a soap opera dressed up as historical literature, she succeeded at that, and there is a market for it, as demonstrated by the very successful series that has sprung from this book. For me though, it's a shame it didn't live up to its pretty cover.

Bonus Material:
The BM is going to be fairly short and sweet today (unlike my review...;p)

Of course, these books have their own site. And like the books it's beautiful. You can enter to win the whole series, download wallpapers and profile backgrounds, and read letters from author, Anna.

I mentioned Edith Wharton a lot in my review, so maybe you want to skip over the fluff and go straight for the stuff, ehh? (okay, that was lame). Anyway, you can read or listen to various works by Wharton here thanks to the fantastic Project Gutenberg.

Here's a trailer that uses bits of various period piece films. Lovely, if anachronistic...

*Yes, I am aware that they did in fact have an episode where they did this. I didn't watch it, but I'm sure it was better than this book. So just get yourself a copy of that episode.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go: Chaos Walking, Book 1 by Patrick Ness

I am a big fan of dystopic fiction, and The Knife of Never Letting Go is one of the most compelling pieces of dystopia I have read in awhile.

Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown. His birthday is coming, when he will take his place among the men of his community: a community of only men, where each can hear the others' thoughts. The inhabitants of Prentisstown -- man and beast alike -- are afflicted with Noise: a continual stream of thoughts and images from every male creature. There is no stopping or shielding Noise, it is just a way of life. But when Todd stumbles upon a hole in the Noise, things begin to change in Todd's life and he finds himself on the run from all of the people he's ever known, and discovering along the way that all he's known to be true may not be.

I loved Todd's voice. It did take some getting used to; and not just Todd's voice but the steady stream of all voices, down to Todd's dog, Manchee, or the crocodiles that want to eat him. But Noise has a different font (or many), and once the transition into Noise has been made, all of the voices become very compelling and interesting. Ness manages to make them distinct, which is no easy feat. He also keeps the sense of urgency going through the story without ever making the reader think "Oh, enough already!", or without giving away too much information too soon, so that the revelations along the way are spoiled. The action remains taut and the narrative quick-paced and interesting.

The Knife of Never Letting Go is the first in a trilogy, Chaos Walking, and Ness couldn't have made that more clear. First, there is no way that the conflicts of the story could have been resolved in one book; second, the ending is so abrupt that it would leave most readers extremely irritated if it was not to be continued. The ending still may irritate some, but it certainly makes you want to read the next in the series, The Ask and the Answer...

Really, there's not much more I can say with out giving something crucial away. There's a lot of crucial in this book. But if you can't feel for Todd and get caught up in his story (that is, if you have the attention span to handle Noise), then I don't think you're human. I'm just saying.

Bonus Material:

Patrick Ness's site, with various random bits for you to consume.

This won a whole mess of stuff, like:
2008 Booktrust Teenage Prize
2008 Guardian Award
2008 Jame Tiptree Award
2009 Carnegie Medal (shortlisted)
2009 Manchester Book Award (longlisted)

This book has some pretty sweet covers. It's one of those "I want to own them all" things. Which is your fave? (mine's #2)

Here's a little interview with Ness where he talks a bit about the book. All the while, Get the Party Started is playing. Not sure why...

*Review coming. I just finished it and have a LOT to say, and can't say it because again, it's all crucial. :}

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Review: Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez

I've been sitting here for about ten minutes staring at an empty blogger post page, wondering where exactly to begin with this book.

There's a question I've been asking myself lately about the quality of authors' writing, and when -- if ever -- is it okay to let things slide?

I had some issues with this book, but it was also one of the rare books where I felt it was sort of okay to let some things slide. Why? Because when a book is about:
zombies (human)
zombies (bovine)
teen sorceresses determined to end the world
horny teen minions
Ancient Gods
tentacled hell beasts
graveyard guardians (ghosts)
dead terriers (ghosts)
determined mini-golfers (ghosts)
obese werewolves (main character)
balding vampires (main character)
spectres in a magic eight ball
a diner designed to end the world
mail order hoodoo catalogues*
and a tiny, tiny town with more paranormal activity than just about anywhere (see Law of Anomalous Phenomena Attraction**)
I guess it's understandable that some of the actual writing may fall by the wayside. Maybe? It is a lot to juggle.

Alright, let's be honest. This is not a book you go into thinking it's going to be great literature. And you wouldn't be wrong. It was a little like reading Shaun of the Dead or a Scary Movie script. It was silly and slapsticky and fun. There definitely needed to be a better copy editor, and the characters may have been a bit flat, but they are all memorable, the entire ridiculous cast of them.

But I digress. Because other than the list up there, I haven't actually told you what the book is about. Duke (the massive former-trucker werewolf) and Earl (the middle age, balding vampire with a penchant for Hawaiian shirts) are on the road as usual when they stop for a bite at Gil's All Night Diner in the nowhere town of Rockwood. They settle in and Duke beings wolfing (couldn't resist) down his food, when they are set upon by zombies. They dispatch them and learn from the diner's operator, Loretta, that the zombies are a regular occurrence and are on the verge of ruining her business. Oh, and she needs a new water pipe laid. Would the Sirs, Werewolf and Vampire, like to stay and lay the pipe and maybe help sort out the zombie problem? (answer: yes)
But the problem is much bigger than zombies, and Duke and Earl soon realize that the fate of the world lies in Gil's greasy spoon. Ghouls and antics follow.

So, as I said, it's like reading a scarody (scary parody. Sometimes, I am too amused by myself). It's funny and light and vulgar and gross, but there are some really great elements in there, and it is certainly memorable. The writing is very simplistic, and it at times has a sort of film noir feel. I have a feeling Martinez had fun writing it, and it is fun to read, even if just as a throwaway Halloween read.

Bonus Material:
A. Lee Martinez's site


The book has its own Wikipedia page, which politely explains the novel's title:
The title of this novel is a play on the phrase "all night diner." However, it is an "all fright diner" due to the encompassing supernatural elements.
Thank you, Wikipedia.


Surprisingly, this was nominated for a 2006 Alex Award. The award is given to adult books that may have special appeal to teens. I found this book in the teen section, which surprised me from page one, because it is incredibly vulgar and not at all "teen." Or maybe I'm a prude.


The book did contain a very helpful description of the "average zombie":
Your average zombie is not a killing machine. Their fighting prowess springs from a single-minded determination and a certain walking corpse stick-to-itiveness.
This would have been beneficial in my Spotlight On: Zombies post...


Random quotes that amused me:
Earl reached into the pool of empty beers. "Damn it Duke! If that's the last beer, I'm going to have to kick your ass." Like Arthur with Excalibur, he withdrew a full beer. "You got lucky."

The vampire glanced at the floor. His shadow was indeed gone again. It did that quite often. Sometimes disappearing for hours or even days. Earl always hated that. He just knew that wherever it went, it was having a better time than him.

Reality is like a fruitcake: pretty enough to look at, but with all sorts of nasty things lurking just beneath the surface.

The other men saw that the herd had surrounded them unnoticed. The cow bells should have warned them....Melinda raised her head and uttered a low, haunting howl. The rest of the herd joined her in a bloodcurdling moan that seemed to bubble up from the sulfurous pit of Hell itself.

Here's a (really bad but funny) fan made trailer

*Crazy Ctharl's Hard-to-Find Sorcerous Emporium, "Prices so low, you'll question the collective dream of sanity....The darkness approaches, and Ctharl says everything must be sold before the Lords of Doom swallow the world!"
**Law of Anomalous Phenomena Attraction = weird shit attracts more weird shit.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Quick reminder

Just a ^ ^

There is only one week left in the Helluva Halloween Contest, so if you want in, now's the time.

Remember, you can link all the posts you want in the challenge portion, but if you want them to count for points in the contest, you must be a follower and you must mention the challenge in the post somewhere. I will be checking.

Also, make sure I have a way to contact you. There will be two winners based on point totals, and 1 winner chosen randomly.

Thank you and goodnight.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Review List

Here are the books I've reviewed, yo.*
Alpha by title

American Born Chinese Gene Luen Yang
and Falling, Fly Skyler White
Anahita's Woven Riddle Meghan Nuttal Sayers
Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol
Ash Malinda Lo

Bailey's Day Robert Haggerty
Beauty Robin McKinley
Before I Fall Lauren Oliver
Bell and the Beau Beverly Jenkins
Betwixt Tara Bray Smith
Billie Girl Vickie Weaver 
Blood Bound Patricia Briggs
Bloodsucking Fiends  Christopher Moore
Bone Crossed Patricia Briggs
Boneshaker Cherie Priest
Book of 1,000 Days Shannon Hale
Bound Donna Jo Napoli
Breathers: a Zombie's Lament S.G. Browne
Bumped Megan McCafferty

The Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook  Jason Heller
Castle Waiting: Lucky Road  Linda Medley
Chalice  Robin McKinley
Changeless by Gail Carriger
The Chaos  Rachel Ward
Cloaked Alex Flinn
Concrete Operational Richard Galbraith
Curse Dark as Gold Elizabeth C. Bunce

The Darcy Cousins Monica Fairview
Daughter of the Forest Juliet Marillier
The Dead Girls' Dance Rachel Caine 
Deerskin Robin McKinley
Delirium Lauren Oliver 
Dracula in Love by Karen Essex
Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando
Dust of 100 Dogs by AS King

Ella Minnow Pea Mark Dunn
Emma Kaoru Mori
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate  Jacqueline Kelly
Extraordinary Nancy Werlin
Eyes Like Stars Lisa Mantchev

The Fairy Folk and She Mary-Anne Grosse Ivie
Fallen Lauren Kate
Feast of Fools  Rachel Caine
Firespell by Chloe Neill
First Daughter Eric Van Lustbader
The Forest of Hands and Teeth Carrie Ryan

Gil's All Fright Diner A. Lee Martinez
Glass Houses Rachel Caine 
The Goose Girl Shannon Hale
The Graveyard Book Neil Gaiman

Hater David Moody
Heist Society by Ally Carter
How I Live Now Meg Rosoff
The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins
Hush: An Irish Princess' Tale  Donna Jo Napoli
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (part 1: the review)
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (pt 2: the rant)

I, Coriander  Sally Gardner
Ice Study Maria V. Snyder
I Heart You, You Haunt Me Lisa Schroeder
Impossible Nancy Werlin
In Dreams Begin Skyler White
Inside Out Maria V. Snyder
Iron Butterflies Birute Regine (guest review)
The Iron Daughter Julie Kagawa
The Iron King Julie Kagawa
Iron Kissed Patricia Briggs

Jane Austen: A Life Revealed by Catherine Reef
The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret C Sullivan
Juniper Berry  MP Kozlowsky

The Knife of Never Letting Go Patrick Ness

Last Snow Eric Van Lustbader
Let's Eat! Denise Burroughs
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
The Lightning Thief Rick Riordan
Little Brother Cory Doctorow
A Little Wanting Song Cath Crowley
The Looking Glass Wars Frank Beddor
The Luxe Anna Godbersen

Madapple Christina Meldum
Magic Under Glass Jaclyn Dolamore
Manifest Artist Arthur
The Mark Jen Nadol
Matched Ally Condie
Meridian Amber Kizer
Midnight Alley  Rachel Caine
Miss Bennet and Mr Bingley Fenella J Miller
Moon Called Patricia Briggs
Mr Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman by Maria Hamilton
Mr Darcy Goes Overboard by Belinda Roberts
Murder at Mansfield Park Lynn Shepherd

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Nightshade Andrea Cremer
No Hope for Gomez!  Graham Parke
Numbers  Rachel Ward

Oblivion Road Alex McAuly

Only Mr Darcy Will Do by Kara Louise

Odd and the Frost Giants Neil Gaiman

Paranormalcy  Kiersten White
Plain Kate  Erin Bow
Politically Correct Bedtime Stories  James Finn Garner
Pride and Prejudice: the graphic novel by Nancy Butler
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Seth Grahame Smith
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: the graphic novel by Seth Grahame Smith
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls Steve Hockensmith
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After by Steve Hockensmith
The Princess and the Hound  Mette Ivie Harrison
Princess of Glass  Jessica Day George
Princess of the Midnight Ball  Jessica Day George
Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

Quip Factory  Caleb Spalding Atwood

Random Magic Sasha Soren
Rapunzel's Revenge  Shannon Hale
Red Moon Rising Peter Moore
The Replacement Brenna Yovanoff
Repossessed A.M. Jenkins
River Marked  Patricia Briggs
Rosemary and Rue Seanan McGuire

Savvy Ingrid Law
Sea Glass Maria V. Snyder 
The Sea of Monsters  Rick Riordan
Shadow Hills Anastasia Hoppcus
Shiver  Maggie Stiefvater
Singer Jean Thesman
Skin and Bones D.C. Corso
Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer by Maureen McGowan
Son of the Shadows Juliet Marillier
Soulless Gail Carriger
Steel Carrie Vaughn
The Stinky Cheese Man + The True Story of the Three Little Pigs  Jon Scieszka
Stray  Rachel Vincent
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow Jessica Day George
Supernaturally by Kiersten White
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie Alan Bradley

Thirsty M.T. Anderson
Thirteenth Child Patricia C. Wrede
The Three Incestuous Sisters Audrey Niffenegger
Titus and Atreus Meridi Myers
Topless Prophet Alan Markovitz 
Troll Bridge  Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple
Tweet Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick

Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
Unearthly  Cynthia Hand
The Unidentified Rae Mariz 

A Weekend with Mr Darcy by Victoria Connelly
We Have Always Lived in the Castle Shirley Jackson
What Would Mr Darcy Do? by Abigail Reynolds
Wickham's Diary by Amanda Grange
Wildcat Fireflies by Amber Kizer
Wildwood Dancing Juliet Marillier 
Winter's Passage  Julie Kagawa
Wise Man's Fear   Patrick Rothfuss
Witch Child Celia Rees
Witch Craft various

The Year of the Flood Margaret Atwood

Zan Gah: a Prehistoric Adventure + Zan Gah and the Beautiful Country Allan Richard Shickman
Zombie Blondes Brain James
Zombie Haiku Ryan Mecum

Mini Reviews & Odd Lots:
Failed it or Nailed It: East, Ice and Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow
Princess Academy  Shannon Hale

*yep, I said 'yo'

Have I told you lately...

***contest closed***

...how awesome you are? (a part of me really wanted to say 'that I love you', but I refrained. Damn song.)

Know why? Because

I think we should celebrate. Let's all go out to dinner. Sound good?
Or maybe we should just have a contest. Sound better?
I thought so. So here's what I'm thinking. I'm thinking that I would like to offer one lucky fantastic follower the choice of any book I've reviewed (winner's choice) or will review before the contest ends, lets say November 30th. That should give me time to get some more yummy reviews in, and I'll make sure to work in some good stuff that I know everyone wants to read. (I've been reading it all, just haven't had time to review.)

So here's how this will work. Next time I have a chance, I will start a post with links to all of my reviews. You, my lovelies, can go through and read them if you want, see if there's anything you might want to own your very own self. I will keep adding to the list and you can keep changing your mind until the 30th rolls around, and then I will pluck one of you from a hat and you can tell me which spanking new book you want. Easy peasy.

So if you are a follower, and if you would like to own something I've read and shared with you, let me know by commenting with your email address.

And if you would like to comment* on any of the reviews**, well then, I may just want to give you 5 extra entries each time.

And if you want to link this contest or tweet it or something, well then, maybe I want to give you another 5.

And if you blog this, then maybe that means 10.

And if, oh if, we get to 150 followers, then maybe I'll want to add a 2nd winner...

*only legitimate comments count, not "hey, blah, blah, great mehmehmeh." I want to know you have a brain and have read what my brain said to your
brain. And I want you to come back here and let me know that you commented and want it counted.

** And oh! Hey, I also hit 100 posts! I believe it was with my
Thirsty review , so I'm thinking there's an extra entry in there for people who comment on it...

Did I mention this was international?
Did I also mention that I am an English major, and that you should help me out and do a little of the math for me? (hinthint, nudgenudge)

[psst. My friend Elie just reached 100 followers, too. And I know you want to join the club (all the cool kids are doin' it. So you should hop over there and check her out. It just may make me want to give you another 5 for following her, too. I'm in that kind of mood.]

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pememberly Ball RSVP

Pemberley Ball
November 20-22, 2009
3-day party
event postings will be up each day
from 6pm - 8pm PST
(you're welcome to participate when you can)

Misté , la Marquessa

Bonjour! Je m'appelle Misté. Oh, pardon. Where are my manners. I should speak in the Anglais, oui? My name is Misté, but you will call me The Marquessa, s'il vous plait. I am visiting my rich friend, Monsieur Darcy and his new wife, Elizabét.

Is not this gown lovely on my maid? I hired her specifically for the fitting of my gowns. It is too tiring. Of course it will look far more fetching on me when I wear it to the Darcy's ball. It will contrast so much darling with my hair brown and my eyes green, do not you think?

Pray, what are you wearing for the Darcy's grand fete? You will not forget to RSVP, of course...

My Monsieur Darcy. Il est trés beau, nôn?
(from Pride and Prejudice, 1995)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Spotlight On: Shapeshifters

Today's Spotlight? Shapeshifters. You may think that this is just a fancy term for werewolves, but the fact is that there are many types of shapeshifters, and that girl you know who's as annoying as the gnat in your room that you can't seem to get rid of -- well, she may just be that gnat.
(quick side note: the most disturbing thing about this --->
picture for me? His feet.)

So I think it's time to shine the spotlight on shifters and learn how to tell a friendly shifter from the kind that views you as dinner.

But this is easier said than done. There is no tell-tale way to, well, tell this tale. Some shifters are influenced or even controlled by the moon; some aren't. Some seem to need a specific item to shift; some don't. Some are especially hairy or seem to like to squirrel things away; some don't. That guy you know who always seems to wear loud, garish clothes? May be that he's a wereflamingo. But he may just like Hawaiian shirts. The best rule of thumb is to trust no one, of course. But if you must interact with other "humans," be cautious and commit the following to memory:

5 Myths about shapeshifters:
  1. All shifters are controlled by the moon. False. The truth is, moon-related incidents from other strange phenomena (naked cavorting in a clearing: witches and lunatics.) have crossed into the shifter lore, but are often incorrect.
  2. Shifters can be recognized by their copious amounts of hair. False. Some may be especially hairy, but there are hairless breeds of shifter, too (bald werecats, naked weremole-rats, etc) as well as only slightly hairy shifters (werepigs, wereelephants, etc). And of course, you can't forget the non-mammalian breeds, like werealligators and various werebirds. [note: if you see a feathery human, that is a good indication of a shifter, though a generally harmless one, so long as you stay away from the beak area.
  3. Shapeshifting is a curse from God, so as long as I go to church and am pious, I'm covered. There are many schools of thought on this, and there are reports of shifting being punishment, but really, the truth is that whether the first shifter was cursed or a natural FON*, going to church isn't going to save your skin (from ripping into shreds when you shift uncontrollably and eat your congregation. Though that will teach Mary with the good brownies at the church bake sales. Pride cometh, Mary...)
  4. Shapeshifting is a disease that is easily communicable. False. Maybe. Though shifting may be a symptom of a disease, there hasn't been any concrete evidence to suggest that it is easily communicable. At least, according to the government. It is true that there is no vaccine, however. So put down the bottle of anti-snake oil and walk away.
  5. If you kill a shifter in their animal form, they will retain that form. False. When a shifter dies, they revert to their human form. So be careful if you swat that gnat. You may have some 'splaining to do.

Tricks to protect yourself:
  1. Trust no one.
  2. Stay in on nights of the full moon, just in case.
  3. If you are bitten by anything, ever, seek treatment immediately. Better yet, cut off the infected limb.
  4. Carry a package of Snausages at all times. These are invaluable if you come across a hungry werewolf/dog/coyote and some types of werebear and -cat.
  5. Beware Berserkers. They may have started this whole ball rolling, and they're most certainly bad news.
  6. If their name is Justinian, just walk away.
  7. Stay away from Calvin's Transmogrifier
Famous Shifters:

Traveling American werewolves --
London version:

Paris version:

Coyote Shifter:

Teen Idol Weres --

Jacob Black:

Scott Howard:


My all-time favorite were --

For more, check out:
Shapeshifter movies
Shifter books
The shapehifters entry on Super-Wiki.
Dark Pretenses
Cryptozoology [dot] com
The Clan of the Cats
Rialian's Realm where you can find out if you are a werecat.
The Werewolf Cafe
This article on western Michigan shapeshifters (makes me glad I'm from eastern Michigan)
A sample chapter of Moon Called, Patrica Briggs' series about a shapeshifting coyote.

If you are ever unfortunate enough to become a shifter yourself, stock up on tear-away clothing. Shifting can get expensive.

Watch the video of TV On The Radio's "Wolf Like Me", or watch this fan created vid (using Final Fantasy, I think):

So who's your favorite shifter?*
*freak of nature
* +5 Helluva Halloween points.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

In My Mailbox: 10/18/2009

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

Last week I was late with my post, and this week I am early. It's all about balance, people.

This week I received my copies of Some Girl's Bite (Chicagoland Vampires #1) from Fantasy Dreamer's Ramblings and Wrong Mother, from Bridget at Readaholic (thanks, gals!)

I also bought Artemis Fowl 4: The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer for $1! Brand new copy, from a store, 1 buck. Crazy, right? I need to go back and dig through the bin.

I have Sunshine by Robin McKinley on its way to me from Paperback Swap (this is my first swapped book! Yay!)

From the library I got a few things I mentioned in my last post (finally picked them up on my way home from an unintentionally hilarious wedding today -- my family should never be allowed in a Catholic church):
Lost In Austen (movie)
Fire by Kristin Cashore (are you as excited as I am?)
Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife , by Mary Roach
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (which I have been waiting and waiting on)

So I got some great stuff, which is on top of all the other great stuff I have waiting for me to read it (Y: Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan, Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore, Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez (which I'm in the middle of), The Good Ghouls Guide to Getting Even by Julie Kenner, Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, and Death Makes a Holiday: a Cultural History of Halloween by David J. Skal). And I have zero time.

In this post:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...