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Sunday, January 31, 2010

I've had a busy couple of weeks lately, so I haven't been able to keep up with my fellow bloggers, which makes me sad. So when I opened my Google Reader today (after I pulled myself out of the deluge), I came across some super fun stuff that my friend Velvet is doing over on vvb 32 reads.
Turns out its Vampire Week. And I nearly missed it. Velvet's having lots of super-bloody-awesome vampireness going on, and she's encouraging others to come out and play. I can play. So, we're going to have a vampy, campy good time. In multiple parts.


Some of you may recall the Vampire Wall O' Goodness, back Helluva Halloween way. Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun with that, so we're going to have a bit of a sequel. In mini form. With a twist.

Name. That. Vamp!


All of these pictures were created by people far more awesome than I. But because I want to be awesome, too, here's me, all vamped up:


Vampire Haiku:

Oh! the crisp, sharp tang,
this salty, luxurious,
perfect fine blood wine.


It's so very red
You are dripping on my shirt -
You shouldn't squirm so.

You're skin is so pale;
Also, icy icy cold -
Are you a vampire?

Okay, that last one was just for fun. Well, they're all just for fun, but you get it, right?

Well, that was fun. I wish I had time for more (and maybe I will, later). Feel free to comment with your guesses for the wall, ridicule my attempts at photo editing*, or try your hand at haiku (please!!!). I may just remember your participation down the road...

*yeah...that's what it was. Totally edited. I definitely don't look like that in real life. Honest.
My buddy E. over @ Behind the Cover of Hand Me Down Books is having a 'welcome back to the blogospere/I went to the New Moon premiere' contest (my name for it, not hers), and she's giving away something fairly awesome. And though I kinda don't wanna tell you about it (cause I want to win, of course), I would never do that to you. So...

You could win:

1 Beautiful Creatures postcard
2 Beautiful Creatures bracelets (one purple, one black)
1 Beautiful Creatures rubber dog tag necklace
2 bookmarks (one Beautiful Creatures, one Shadow Hills)
1 Beautiful Creatures sticker

Ends 2/5

See you there!

In My Mailbox: December and January

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

I've decided to do mine a little differently, because I know I won't post about this every week (and it's so much more impressive when I post them all together ;p) so I am going to make my IMM posts monthly, debuting the last Sunday of every month.  Since I neglected to do this in December, here are my IMMs for December and January.

Paper Towns
An Abundance of Katherines
The Way of Shadow
Beyond the Shadow
Shadows Edge
The Blade Itself
Comet’s Curse -- thanks, Krista!!!
Austenland -- thanks, Krista!!!
Then We Came to the End  -- thanks, Amanda!!!
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Alanna: The First Adventure, Tamora Pierce
In the Hands of the Goddess, Tamora Pierce
Woman Who Rides Like a Man, Tamora Pierce
Lioness Rampant, Tamora Pierce
Freefall -- thanks, TRT!!!

Firespell, Chloe Neill
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, Melissa Day George -- thanks, Vanessa!!!
Topless Prophet -- from author
The Princess Bride
The Lightning Thief
Hush, Hush -- thanks, Bill!!!
Fallen -- thanks, Elie!!!
Immortal -- thanks, Bill!!!
Of Bees and Mist
Beautiful Creatures
Across the Nightingale Floor
Dead Witch Walking
The Good, the Bad, and the Undead
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo -- thanks, Velvet!!!
polar bear ALPHA
Vampire Academy
Monster Blood Tattoo
Meridian -- thanks, Bill!!!
The Magickeepers -- thanks, Bill!!!
A Note From an Old Acquaintance
The Lightning Thief
*note: I know I usually link everything, and I intend to, but right now I don't have the time, so I will come back and link everything, and you can click to your heart's desire. :D

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Face Off (3)

Occasionally, you'll come across two books with rather similar covers. Whether it's completely coincidental, a sign of trends, or a blatant case of biteritus, the question remains:
who did it better?


Ghostgirl published August 1st, 2008
Virago Book of Ghost Stories published October 1st, 2006

Last week on Friday Face Off: The Friday House and Sight went head-to-head, and the results were: A TIE!  I guess that means its up to me to break it, so...though the colors in The Friday House are a nice touch, I love the simplicity/slight gross-out factor of Sight, and the offset placement of the eye.  SIGHT wins by an eyelash!

Have you seen any cover-twins? Comment with the titles!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Year in Review: Favorite Characters of 2009

2009 seemed to be the year of memorable characters for me. I don't know if I just had extremely good luck picking my books this year or if character is becoming more of a focus for authors, but that stand-outs really stood out this year.
Here are my favorite characters of 2009. If you are not familiar with them, I would suggest you become so in 2010.

Thirteenth Child Thirteenth Child (Frontier Magic, #1)
by Patricia C. Wrede
EFF -- Eff was imminently root-forable.  She was endearing, and her situation (raised to think she was a ticking time bomb) and her transformation as she begins to come into her own were fun and engaging to read, and her voice was memorable and endearing.  I eagerly await a continuation of her story.

Savvy Savvy
by Ingrid Law
MIBBS BEAUMONT --Having perhaps one of the most memorable voices of any character to come out the last year, everything about Mibbs was infectious.  She is one of the most sparkling characters I’ve ever read.  I fell in love with her story and the way she told it; well deserved Newbery.

Soulless Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate #1)
by Gail Carriger
ALEXIA TARABOTTI -- Hands-down favorite character of 2009.  I’m going stir-crazy waiting for Changeless, because I need back in Miss Tarabotti’s world and head.  There are a number of characters in this book who amuse me, Alexia Tarabotti is one of the most fun, refreshing characters I’ve come across in some time. Sassy, confident, funny, occasionally clueless and always delightful -- what more could you want?

The Hunger Games The Hunger Games (Hunger Games, #1)
by Suzanne Collins
KATNISS EVERDEEN (…and Peeta…and Cinna) -- Hunger Games trilogy -- What can be said that hasn’t been already?  Like millions of rabid readers, I fell into Katniss’ head and didn’t want to get out again.  Her plight is full of delicious tension, and I loved every minute of living it with her.  She’s resilient, smart and strong, with just a touch of naiveté, and I love it.  Peeta is a stand-up good guy, and you can’t help but root for him, even if you’re Team Gale.  And what to say about Cinna other than massive amounts of ♥ …

The Name of the Wind The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)
by Patrick Rothfuss
KVOTHE --Ever a penchant for the cocky guys have I, and Kvothe (one of his many names) gives it in spades.  Saving grace?  It seems that all his big braggart claims may be true, and this cocky little bastard is a true talented genuis, who may just have - gasp - a heart. (Well, other than mine.)

Moon Called Moon Called (Mercedes Thompson, #1)
by Patricia Briggs
MERCEDES THOMPSON -- There are lists on many a persons bookshelf comprising stories with strong female leads, and Mercy should damn well top them.  I love her world, I love her thoughts, and I love the balance she’s struck of being a truly tough, kick-ass chick who doesn’t feel the need to do away with any sign of femininity (even if it’s occasionally uncomfortable for a tough gal).

Wildwood Dancing Wildwood Dancing (Wildwood, #1)
by Juliet Marillier
JENA, GOGU, ET AL -- Retold fairy tales are some of my favorite stories, though they have a tendency towards stock characters; Wildwood Dancing is one of the best.  Jena, a strong girl in a time and place where such a thing is frowned upon, is a delightful heroine with an engaging voice.  Her tale is filled with fascinating characters, but the one that stole the show (and many hearts) is Jena’s pet frog, Gogu.  Yep.  If you haven’t met Jena and Gogu, I think it’s time you do.

The Book Thief The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
DEATH -- Not everyone loves an unconventional narrator, but I think if you give him half a chance, Death will win you over.  His narration is quirky and unusual: he gives everything away before it happens -- because when you’re Death, what’s the point in waiting?  It’s a foregone conclusion.  In this award-winning tale, it’s not about where you’re going, it’s about the journey.  Death leads you on a journey you won’t soon forget, and he does it with a style and candor that will take over your brain.  ‘Memorable’ doesn’t even begin to describe this man.  Um, entity.

Madapple Madapple
by Christina Meldrum
ASLAUG HELLIG --Aslaug is a character study in the extreme.  A brilliant girl, raised in near seclusion by an equally brilliant - and extremely disturbed - mother, Aslaug has some issues.  And while you question everything she says, and while her life sometimes makes your skin crawl, you can’t help but want to protect her and see her truimph.  A truly fascinating lead in a truly fascinating story.

Sunshine Sunshine
by Robin McKinley
SUNSHINE & CONSTANTINE -- I know this was written a few years back, but I read it this year on a naughty librarian recommendation (more coming on the Nls later…).  I adore Sunshine.  Something about her just connected with me.  And Connie just invades your head.  I typically have issues with McKinley (*ahem* grammar), and the issues are mostly outweighed by the stories.  In this one, all issues were forgotten.  I think this may be McKinley’s best character work (and not just Sunshine); the characters seem vital and real, and I felt for Sunshine, worried for Sunshine, and wanted to know her as a friend.  And I want to get my hands on some of her giant buns. (My god that sounded dirty.  Not at all what I meant; if you read it, you’ll understand.)

I Capture the Castle I Capture the Castle
by Dodie Smith
CASSANDRA MORTMAIN --I read this classic on the recommendation of a friend, after seeing the movie, which I loved.  The Mortmain family is one of those casts of characters that will always stay with you, in the best way.  They define eccentric, and Cassandra, the middle child who tells their story, is by turns the straight man to their antics and the lynchpin that holds their crazy together with her own brand of crazy.  Lovable, laughable, and all together enjoyable, Cassandra and her story has wormed it’s way into readers hearts for over half a century for a reason.

Daughter of the Forest Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters, #1)
by Juliet Marillier
SORCHA -- The idea of a story being narrated by someone who is forced into muteness, all the while undergoing crazy tasks is compelling, and Sorcha's voice came through loud and clear, even when she herself could not.  Her story is a very rich, complete retelling of the Six Swans fairy tale, by turns joyous and harrowing.  Thoroughly enjoyable for nearly everyone (I even know some guys who like this one -- that's saying something, for a fairy tale.)

The Forest of Hands and Teeth The Forest of Hands and Teeth
by Carrie Ryan
MARY -- I have friends who don’t like Mary one little bit.  They find her selfish or whiny or obtuse.  I find her none of those things, and think that she is as compelling as the world she lives in. (Which, if you didn’t know, is filled with zombies.)  I like that Mary never settles; I like she is always striving and always questioning.  Not only does she know there’s got to be more to the world, but she’s willing to risk everything to find it.

MARY KATHERINE (MERRICAT) BLACKWELL -- A delightfully warped little girl, Merricat is one of those characters who stays with you, and who makes you root for them even while you suspect they may in fact be the villain of the piece.  Brilliant.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

WoW: Exciting me in 2010, pt. 1

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

Alright, kiddos, we know I march to my own beat, blahblahblah, so here is a WoW after my own heart: a ginormous list of books that have got me a bit ravenous in 2010.  Part 1.  (so it's a little list, that will grow to be ginormous; these are just the most crucial, but the tip o' the iceberg)   ^_^

The Wise Man's Fear The Wise Man's Fear (Kingkiller Chronicle, #2)
by Patrick Rothfuss 
The Hunger Games Book Three The Hunger Games Book Three (Hunger Games, #3)
by Suzanne Collins 
Changeless Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate, #2)
by Gail Carriger
Monsters of Men
Monsters of Men
by Patrick Ness
Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story
Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story
by Adam Rex
 Bitterblue (The Seven Kingdoms Trilogy, Book 3)
by Kristin Cashore

What's got you creeping into author's houses late at night, just to get a peak?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Review: Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld

by Scott Westerfeld, Keith Thompson (Illustrator) 

Leviathan is an alternate history, steampunk inspired tale of WWI.  It centers around Alek, the fictional 15 year old son of Franz Ferdinand, whose murder was the spark that ignited the war.  Alek is awoken in the night to find his world has been turned upside down, and he is now hunted by his own country.  Meanwhile, Deryn Sharp, a 15 year old English girl who wants to be an airbeast pilot, disguises herself as Dylan Sharp and joins the force, making it onto the famous living ship, Leviathan, quite by accident, just as England is being sucked into the war.
Told from these two interwoven standpoints, Leviathan is full of contrast. 
Deryn and Alek couldn’t come from more different backgrounds or be more different people, and they are played off of each other nicely.  What was great (and a brilliant choice on Westerfeld’s part) was that there is a sense of urgency and danger in both storylines, so one never felt more crucial than the other.  Alek is on the run for his life, and is beginning to question everything he’s ever known, which could have easily tipped the balance of the story in his favor.  But at the same time, Deryn is living among strangers disguised as a boy, always trying to prove herself, and always leary, lest someone find out.    There was great tension of different kinds in each storyline, and it was fascinating to watch them begin to come together.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book (even more than the engaging characters of Alek and Deryn) was the “technology,” as it were. On one side are the Clankers, Westerfeld’s vision of the Germanic/Austro-Hungarian powers.  Their world is one of monstrous machine juggernauts of steampunky goodness.  Pitted against them are the Western powers of England, France, etc., whose world is made of fabricated beasts.  In this version of history, Darwin not only discovered the idea of genetics, but of DNA, and used it to start the science of gene-splicing and created creatures.  The Leviathan itself is a whale/beast/machine hybrid, a massive living dirigible. 
I must say, I was all for the steampunk nature of this book; it was one of the things that attracted me so strongly to it.  But as I read, I found England’s fabricated beasts and the idea of this societal genetic freeforall even more fascinating than the Clanker’s machines.  When the narrative shifted to Alek storylines, I found myself anxious to get back to Deryn.  Not only do I love “disguised” storylines (like Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness series), but Deryn’s world was captivating and rich. 
Even in all of the fantastic elements, there was a layer of truth.  Nothing was clean-cut and simple.  Even in England, there were people who found the idea of fabricated beasts immoral, frightening and repugnant.  This rang true to me, and illustrated one of the things I love so much about Scott Westerfeld: even in the midst of his far-fetched, extreme worlds, there is always a solid foundation of reality and truth to ground them.  Occasionally, shifting between the two worlds could be jarring, but I think that was part of the point, and added to the story.  Either way, both were so fully realized and fascinating that I didn’t want the book to end (and now have to wait like a madwoman for the next installment).

Bonus Material:

Visit http://scottwesterfeld.com/blog/>westerblog, Scott Westerfeld's blog, of course.  Lots of neato stuff about Scott, trailers, news, and Bonus Stuff.  We all know I'm a fan of bonus stuff. :D

Check out Westerfeld's other fantastic series and books.  If you haven't heard of the Uglies
set, you may be living in a whole.  But I also love his quirky take on vampiredom, Peeps.

Learn more with this list of books about WWI

Watch the trailer:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Face Off (2)

Occasionally, you'll come across two books with rather similar covers. Whether it's completely coincidental, a sign of trends, or a blatant case of biteritus, the question remains:
who did it better?


The Friday House published June 10, 2008
Sight published October 23, 2007

Last week, on Friday Face Off: The Dark Divine and Bleeding Violet went round for round, with an 11:5 win for...THE DARK DIVINE! Bleeding violet was "way too sexual" and too dark, though The Dark Divine had a close call due to anorexic-looking legs.

Have you seen any cover-twins? Comment with the titles!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Face Off (1)

Occasionally, you'll come across two books with rather similar covers. Whether it's completely coincidental, a sign of trends, or a blatant case of biteritus, the question remains:
who did it better?


Bleeding Violet published January 5, 2010
The Dark Divine published December 22, 2009

Have you seen any cover-twins? Comment with the titles!


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