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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Impossible by Nancy Werlin and Titus and Atreus by Meridi Myers

This week's a twofer.


from 
pages 160-161



from
Titus and Atreus
by Meridi Myers
pages 19-21


Both reviews will post later in the week, with a bonus giveaway in the Titus and Atreus review.  Just a little heads up. :)

Teaser Tuesday: I Heart You, You Haunt Me and Changeless

It's that time again, and this week is another two-fer. Enjoy!



from
 pages 61-63

Hey!  That's another giant flower on my head!

and



from
Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate, #2)
by Gail Carriger
pages 10-12

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs

Bone Crossed (Mercedes Thompson, #4)
by Patricia Briggs

Wow, this is so late in coming.  Realized tomorrow's time for another Teaser Tuesday, so I'd better get the review from last week's TT up...Oops.  Anyway --

Bone Crossed is the 4th book in the Mercedes Thompson trilogy.  Mercedes (Mercy) is a VW mechanic (the irony is not lost on her) and a "skinwalker" capable of shapeshifting into a coyote.  In Bone Crossed, Mercy finds herself on the run from a very angry vampire queen.  But Mercy may just be running into more trouble than she's running away from.  Out of the frying pan, as they say...


Briefly, I just want to tell you that I liked this, just as I always do.  I wouldn't be on book 4 if I didn't like it.  No, it's more than that.  I may read this many books in a series that I think is okayish and fun, but I own each of these books.  In something like this that I know I am going to tear through and be done with I would generally get from the library (CIP: I've never bought a Laurell K. Hamilton book); but I like these enough that I would actually reread them.  So yes, I liked this book, and I think if you like [urban fantasy/strong female leads/sexy supernaturals/a writer who shows restraint in description] you'll like these and should pick one up.
From here on out, thar be spoilers.




If you've read the series, you may have been wondering, like me, how book 4 would pick up the thread.
[If you haven't read the series, you shouldn't be reading this.  Serious spoilerage is about to occur.  You will not be warned again.]
At the end of book 3, Mercy has been the victim of a bizarre and magically-achieved rape, and she's barely holding it together.  I thought the way Briggs wrote the scenes and the end of book 3 was heartbreaking and understandable (and hey, it made me love dickhead werewolf Ben a little bit.  More than a little bit.  Not gonna lie).  I thought it was a smart and risky move on Briggs part, and I wondered how she was going to deal with the aftermath of having strong Mercy feel like prey.  I have to be honest, I thought she handled it very well.  It felt realistic and not overdone; there wasn't a ton of wallowing, which would have been uncharacteristic for Mercy, but she didn't just let Mercy brush it off, either.  I think the incident really helped further Mercy's and Adam's (and Ben's) characters, and helped deepen the relationship dynamics.  By the end of book 4, you get the feeling that, though it will be an ongoing battle for Mercy, she will be the strong and resilient heroine we've come to love over the course of the series.

If you saw my Teaser or my Character Connection, both of which centered on Stefan, you will know this is a Stefan book.  Oh, Stefan.  Where to begin.  I told you in the CC that with Stefan and me, it's not a lustful thing*, but some sort of unidentifiable pull that says he should be my friend.  I was so excited to see that Bone Crossed was going to give me some more Stefan.  And though I could have had a little more Stefan, I think Briggs is wise in giving us Stefan in sips; keeps the mystery.  But, also wisely, she ups the game a tad with Stefan.  I mean, not so much as to make things precarious (I don't know how else to word it), but enough to ensure that we know Stefan is there, is always going to be there, and always wants to be there.  It makes him a little more dreamy.  And did I mention it turns out he's great with kids?  Yeah, I want more Stefan books.

Alright, I really didn't mean this to turn into a spoilery ramble on the boys in MT's life, but sometimes you just can't help yourself.  But aside from the boys, there's all the usual mystery, danger, supernatural hoodoo, etc.
Long story short, this is another strong book in a strong series, and I am eager for Silver Borne.


*Not totally true.  There's some lustful there.


BONUS MATERIAL:
Patricia Briggs' website has fun stuff and news on new and upcoming works, including MT #6

You can also read an excerpt of Bone Crossed, or any other book in the series (if you haven't read any of them, start with this excerpt for Moon Called)

Or take a look at Briggs' Map of the Tri-Cities to get an idea of Mercy's world.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Be My Guest, Robby of Once Upon a Book Blog!


Today we have Robby from the uber-fantastic blog, Once Upon a Book Blog.  Robby's pretty good at doing, you know, awesome.  Reading awesome books, writing awesome reviews, awesomely interviewing awesome authors -- that sort of thing.  Today, Robby's going to give us a little of that awesomeness via that never-ending question, what do I want to be (when I grow up) and why?  Why YA?  We've all been asked that at one point or another, I think, and Robby answers quite awesomely. ;p
Take it away!



Being a teenager in our present day world is difficult. Pressure surrounds us, whether it is from our parents, our teachers, our friends, ourselves. We have homework and jobs and waning sanity and sometimes it feels like there is no way out.
But there is. YA.
The reason I read YA is because I want to escape. I want to read a book about someone with issues and problems, someone who will get through those problems and move on with their lives. I read for strength and because, some days, I just really need someone to relate to.
And there are quite a few different kinds of YA literature, and they’re all wonderful.
There are the purely romantic reads, all about love and relationships, more summer reads.
There are the intense reads, books about serious issues and conditions and these books are my favorite. The books that end on a hopeful note, the calm after the storm. These are the books I always find myself reaching for.
There are paranormal reads, which seem to be all anyone really wants to read anymore. These books have romance and serious topics, but also thrown in to the mix is another world of magic and mystery.
And, of course, there are the books that balance this perfectly.
Those are my favorites.

I’m also a hopeful writer. Someday, I hope to see my books on bookshelves all around the world.
I want to balance these elements. I want to write books about love and hate and everything that comes along with being a teenager.
Life is not all sunshine and romance. Life is not all turmoil and distress. Life is everything and life is always moving.
The best authors, the ones who really understand, incorporate all of this in to their books.
One day, I hope to be one of those writers.


Interested in guest blogging on Book Rat?  Fill out this form: it's quick, it's easy, and it has a sheep!
And it means you are automatically entered into my Random BMG Drawings! 

In My Mailbox: March

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

I do mine a little differently -- no shocker there. I know I won't post about an IMM every week (and it's so much more impressive when I post them all together ;p) so I make one grand IMM post at the end of the month, debuting on the last Sunday.


In March, I decided to treat myself, since it was my birth month, after all. (Who am I kidding? I treat myself every month, and I would have bought these regardless...)
I had intended to do an IMM for you. Infact, I recorded one, and I was quite funny and charismatic (;p) -- but I got so many books this week that the thing was too damn long to upload!  So you got this instead; plus side?  There's a rattie appearance from Mama Warbucks herself!  It comes across super dark in the beginning for some reason -- not in the actual video, only the uploaded version.  So thanks for that, Blogger.  But it does get better(ish).  The end is priceless; worst face to freeze on, ever.

video



BOUGHT:
Changeless by Gail Carriger
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (!!! I think you know how I feel about this series...)
This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn
Sorcery and Cecelia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede
Glass Soup by Jonathan Carroll
Fledgling by Octavia Butler (super excited about this one; I loved Kindred)
20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth by Xiaolu Guo
Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris
Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
Alis by Naomi Rich
Magyk by Angie Sage
The Ear, the Eye, the Arm by Nancy Farmer
The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney by Suzanne Harper
The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer
Life As We Knew It by Susan Pfeffer
Soulless by Michael Golden
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
Effigy by Alyssa York
Maledicte by Lane Robins
The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdich
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Penelope by Marilyn Kaye
The Exorsistah by Claudia Mair Burney
How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend by Janette Rallison
The Circus in Winter by Cathy Day
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
Fang by James Patterson
Boxen by C.S. Lewis
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Composer is Dead by Lemony Snicket

Plus Goodies and Gifties:
The Exorsistah by Claudia Mair Burney (yep, another copy)
The Anti-Valentine's Handbook by J. More
The Death of Jayson Porter by Jaime Adoff
Freefall by Ariela Anhalt
Alice surprise supplies


WON:
O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell from vvb32 reads. Super excited for this; she also sent me an Ugly Doll and the most adorable little fairy tale notepad -- thanks Velvet!!!
Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd from The Shady Glade
The Monster Variations by Daniel Kraus the Shady Glade
Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore from Red House Books
Hey, Big Sketcher prize pack from Emma.

FOR REVIEW:
Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder
The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
Billie Girl by Vickie Weaver
The Sea and the Silence by Peter Cunningham
The Caliphate by Andre Le Gallo
Bailey's Day by Robert Haggerty
Skin and Bones by D.C. Corso
Zan Gah 1&2

I think I got them all.


In case you were wondering:
----------------
Now playing: Cold War Kids - Welcome To The Occupation
via FoxyTunes

Friday, March 26, 2010

Contest Reminder

Just a quick reminder: the Birthday BWB Bashy goodness ends in just under a week, so if you haven't entered, go do it.
Also, for the sake of making my life easier, I am ending the Alias Alice contest on 4/1 as well, so enter that one while you're at it.
Good luck!

Friday Face Off (11)



This week we have another case of what may be the same cover model. Not quite sure, but if not, these two could sure pass for each other. What do you think? Same girl? Same photo with different edits? And more importantly,
who did it better?

vs.

Touching Darkness (Midnighters#2) published 2006
Shelter Me published 2009


Last Week on FFO: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Follow Me To Freedom went round for round in an incredibly close smack-down, with Extremely Loud pulling out the win.  You thought Follow Me to Freedom was busy and garish, and while I think you're right and agreed with you in the beginning, the more I look at the two, the more I begin to side with the loser.  Hmm...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Character Connection: Stefan


Got a little something fun and fresh for you guys today.  My buddy JG is pleased as punch to present a new meme of her very own today, and I of course had to join in and play along.
Back on Vday, you may recall my post about my lit crushes, which was inspired by JGs post.

Well, JG decided to make that a regular thing.
We all know characters have a way of worming their way into our hearts and minds and taking over our brains.  There are the ones you crush on, the ones you wish you knew, the ones you wish you were.  So every Thursday, JG is going to spotlight her fave characters, and invites you to do the same.

It was perfect timing for me, because as you know from this week's Teaser Tuesday, I am reviewing Bone Crossed this week, which is part of the Mercedes Thompson series.  In my review, I intended to tell you about one of my favorite characters, Stefan the vampire.  And then along comes the Character Connection, and what was going to be a little blip in the review is now a full-blown spotlight.
I give you Stefan:


How to describe Stefan?  He makes me feel like I should know him.  He's a centuries old Italian vampire, best of the best, capable of doing things very few can -- and yet, that's not his appeal at all.  He's not some mysterious, all-powerful, intimidating creature.  He drives a Mystery Machine van and wears Scooby Doo tshirts.  He has a modern sense of humor that no centuries-undead creature has a right to have.  He's fiercely loyal and intense, but funny and silly at the same time.  When I read the Mercedes Thompson series, I sometimes riffle through the pages, skimming for a glimpse of the word Stefan, so I know how long it will be until he makes an appearance.  And that's the thing -- he's not even a main focus of the books.  But he shines.
It's not a lustful thing, any kind of literary crush, really.  I just wish I knew him and could call him up on the phone and have Scooby Doo marathons.  I feel like he'd be a great addition in my life, and like everyone should have the opportunity to have funny, frustrating, good-"guy" Stefan in their world.  It's a hallmark of a good writer to make me physically want a character to be real and part of my world, and it's a good bit of the reason I like Patricia Briggs and her Mercedes Thompson.  Stefan is my literary friend, and I want more of him.

Do you have any characters like that?  The ones that you really just wish you knew, so much  that you feel it like a tiny whole in your life?  [she says with unintentional melodrama]
I'd love to hear about them; I'm always on the lookout for a great character connection.
^_^

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Wild Things List

Here is my tentative list for the Wild  Things Challenge.  I am almost positive I will not finish, but god, I love a good list.

1.5 The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
1.10 Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (pushed hardcore by GR/real friend Jadin)
1.15 Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (on the DCPL Teen Faith and Spirituality list)
1.20 Black Maria by Diana Wynne Jones (on JOSIE's shelves)
1.25 Son of the Shadows and Child of the Prophecy by Juliet Marillier (author = NEW ZEALAND)
Buddy Bonus: tbd

2.5 tbd (debating Brave Story, Eidi: The Children of Crow Cove or The Thief Lord, all translated Batchelder winners)
2.10 Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn (set in JAPAN)
2.15 The Beguilers (IRELAND'S BISTO AWARD) + A Little Wanting Song (AUSTRALIA'S CBC AWARD)
2.20 Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson + An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 by Jim Murphy (disclosure: Fever is a reread)
2.25 How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (set in ENGLAND) + The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm BY Nancy Farmer (set in ZIMBABWEI) [I chose world dystopias as my theme)
Buddy Bonus: Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier + the tale of The 12 Dancing Princesses (disclosure: Wildwood Dancing is a reread for me, not for Lydia)

3.5 tbd - I will be doing a Linda Grace Challenge pick
3.10 The Help by Kathryn Stockett (book and audio) - up for debate. I bought it from Children's Book of the Month Club, but many don't categorize it as YA. Comments?
3.15 genre #17: LGBT - Debbie Harry Sings in French by Meagan Brothers (MC cross dresses)
3.20 The Last Exit to Normal by Michael Harmon (LGBT) + All Over But the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg (NONFICTION)
3.25 I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder (POETRY) + Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard (DRAMA - on ALA outstanding list) + either Cloudwalker: Contemporary Native American Stories or Immortal: Love Stories with Bite (short story anthologies)
Buddy Bonus: Gather Together in My Name by Maya Angelou

4.5 Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
4.10 Demons of the Ocean (Vampirates - series recommended to me quite enthusiastically by friend's son)
4.15 If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (one of my librarians' picks)
4.20 Jumper by Steven Gould (on ALA's 100 most frequently banned of the '90s)
4.25 Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (deals with controversial topic - almost used for 4.20)
Buddy Bonus: tbd

There may be some swap outs, but this is the plan.  For now.  Wish me luck (and come join me!)

Wild Things YA Reading Challenge

I've been telling you about it for a few weeks, and showing you options (read: pleading for help.) So I give you:
THE WILD THINGS YA READING CHALLENGE

This is exactly as I posted it in the group. If you do not have a Goodreads account, you may not be able to access some of the links, and if you are not a member of Wild Things, you may not be able to get to the treasure trove of links and lists I put together for the challenge; that alone is reason to join. Just saying...
Anyway, enjoy, and remember:
I would love if you participate, even if only to read one book. There is no obligation to finish, or even to intend to.  The challenge is for fun and for something to stretch our reading habits with.  Here is my list that I am absolutely positive I won't be able to finish.
There will be prizes.
Again, just saying...


Here it is, folks. The "Challenging" Challenge.

PLEASE NOTE: This thread is for a discussion of the tasks ONLY. Any changes to these tasks will be updated here, so check the date on this post. There will be a separate thread for everyone’s points as tasks are completed (which will open on the day the challenge starts).

Ground Rules and Notes:
1. The Challenge begins at 12:00 A.M. local time on 1 April 2010 and ends at 11:59 P.M. local time on 30 June 2010; for a book to count for the challenge, it cannot be more than 1/2 read before 12:00 AM on April 1st.
2. This Challenge is just for fun, so make sure you enjoy yourself and all the books you will be reading!
3. All books must be classified as Young Adult or Juvenile Fiction; the only exception to this is if you happen to get 'Adult Books Suitable for YA' in "Genre Roulette." If you local library classifies the book you chose as juvenile-young adult, then the book may be included.
4. All books must be at least 100 pages long to count for any of the tasks, unless you can make a good argument for why it should be allowed.
5. Re-reads are NOT allowed unless you can convince me or it falls into one of the following categories: it is a book you never finished, it is a book you didn't like but want to give another chance, it is a buddy pick, one book of a multi-book task is a reread, etc. The goal is to try new things, not reread old ones, but if you think it fits or feel it's reasonable, it probably is; just ask. :)
6. Audio books and electronic books (unabridged), such as Kindle, all count for this Challenge. Page counts will be according to the GoodReads page count.
7. When reporting completion of tasks, please make note of the number of pages for the first edition listed on Goodreads (as was done in the first challenge) -- this is to keep things fair since there will be prizes awarded. The point-count Leaderboard will be updated as often as I am able or as necessary. If you find discrepancies in the point totals, please notify me. If you change a book to a different task, please notify me. Thank you.
8. "Buddy Bonus" tasks are completely optional, and give an additional 5 points apiece. If every single task and buddy bonus is completed an additional 5 points will be awarded, bringing the point total to 325 points possible.
9. Because this challenge is more "challenging" I am willing to work with people on it. There is leeway. If you absolutely cannot fulfill the terms of a task, alternate options will be provided or you may suggest an alternative that works for you.
10. I have created an email for purposes of communication beyond that provided here. It is WildThingsChallenge4@gmail.com. Feel free to contact me with questions or concerns, or if you come across useful sites and lists.
11. HAVE FUN! This isn't homework. Try to have fun with it, and if you absolutely hate a book beyond the mere "comfort level" thing, pick a new one!

There will be prizes, though I don't know what they will be yet (if anyone has suggestions or wants to donate a prize, email me). I intend to have 2 winners: 1 top point getter (determined by completion date and page count) and 1 random participant. This way, even if you know you can't finish, you still have a chance at a prize.
Prizes awarded are at my discretion.


Please note: Folders have been established for Lists associated with this challenge (to help you find books), for discussion, for point reporting, and for the Buddy Bonuses/Genre Roulette. If You would like to sign up for the Buddy Bonuses, please post a comment in the Buddy Bonus folder.


OFFICIAL SECTION, with a twist (broadening, out of the box, better readers mash-up) (1):
1.5: Read a selection from our group Top Ya Novels list that you previously had no intention of reading.
1.10: Read a book that someone in the group (or on Goodreads) has been "pushing" you to read, but that you've avoided because it's in a genre you don't normally read.
1.15: Read a book from any thread in a folder that you never go into (ie, I have never once opened the mystery folder, or the Religion folder; I would choose a book mentioned in a thread in one of these folders)
1.20: Read a 4- or 5-star book from a WT member you've never conversed with, and then discuss it with them. There are nearly 1,000 of us; scroll to the bottom of the page or click members in the right-hand menu to browse for someone you don’t know. [Please note: you will not be penalized if whoever you pick doesn't respond to you to discuss the book. The goal here is just to browse an unknown members shelves, get an idea for what other people are reading, and read something they really liked and see if you do, too.]
1.25: Read 2 books from a series (or 2 books from 1 author) from a different culture, or in a genre you don't read.
Buddy Bonus +5: Buddy gets to pick 1 book for you to read that fits any of the above. This is in addition to what you read for each task.


BROADENING YOUR HORIZONS (2):
2.5: Read any book that is NOT in your native language (ie translated into your language), or that was originally published in another country.
2.10: Spin the globe (or point on an atlas) and read any ya book written by someone from that geographic area, or set in that area. If it lands in your geographic area, respin/point. If you do not have access to a map or globe, message me and I will give you a geographic area to read from. See Challenge 4 Links and Lists folder to help you get started.
2.15: Read 2 award winners from 2 different countries other than your own (ie, the award is from another country; the book does not necessarily have to be). Books do not have to be originally in different languages, etc. Each book just has to have won an award in a country not your own (each book = a different country).
2.20: Read 2 books, 1 fiction and 1 non-fiction, about a real event (current or historical) that is NOT a part of your cultural heritage (ie, took place in another country, revolves around another ethnicity or belief, etc) or that you do not know a lot about (ie Civil Rights movement, Crusades, FGM – whatever you would like to learn more about).
2.25: Read 2 books from 2 cultures/countries that revolve around the same topic or theme (or similar) -- MAY NOT use your own culture/country. Examples of topics and themes: coming of age, death and grieving, humor, young love, etc.
Buddy Bonus +5: You and buddy choose together 1 fairy tale (preferably from another country to read, and 1 retelling based on that fairy tale [tale obviously does not have to be 100 pages long -- together they should meet the 100 page requirement. A good place to start to find an original tale to work with is Sur La Lune].

READING OUT OF YOUR BOX (3):
3.5: Look on GR for "Best of" lists in a genre you don't read, and read something from one of the lists that interests you OR read a book for the monthly pick (April, May or June) for Linda Grace’s Ongoing Challenge. Make sure you mention which option you chose when reporting points.
3.10: Read a book and listen to the audiobook version OR watch a movie adaptation.
3.15: Genre Roulette or Misty Pick! When ready for this task, sign up in the Challenge 4 Sign Ups folder and a genre will be randomly assigned to you for you to choose a book from OR you can request a Misty-pick, and I will choose your book for you from your assigned genre.
3.20: Read any two books from our most neglected folders, LGBT, Multicultural, Non-fiction, or Religion and contribute to discussion. [Note: the book does NOT have to already be mentioned in one of these folders, it just has to fall into the category. Though if it is not, in order to "contribute to the discussion" you should make a thread for it. Yay!]
3.25: Read three books in 3 different non-traditional forms: drama (does not have to be 100 pages), poetry, short story anthology, epistolary/diary, audiobook. In the Discussions thread for the Challenge, briefly tell us whether these forms worked for the story, and what you thought.
Buddy Bonus +5: Buddy looks through your GR shelves and picks 1 book in a genre or style that seems neglected.

BUILDING A BETTER READER (4):
4.5: Read any book and write a detailed review that examines what you read, what you thought and felt, and whether you would recommend it.
4.10: Read a ya book and discuss it with or recommend it to a young adult in your life. OR have a young adult in your life recommend a book to you and discuss with them why they like it.
4.15: Ask a YA librarian to recommend their "little known gems" in a variety of genres, read 1, discuss it with the librarian if possible. If you do not have access to a YA librarian, please mention this in the Discussions thread and one will be provided for you via the magic of the internet, librarians in the group, and/or the Librarian List found in Challenge 4 Links and Lists folder
4.20: Read any book dealing with a controversial issue, or a topic that is well out of your comfort zone, and create and post discussion questions for it. See the Banned Books List in the Challenge 4 Links and Lists folder or choose your own book that you deem “well out of your comfort zone.”
4.25: Read any YA book and do 2 of the following:
-- written response to the book
-- drawing or other art form inspired by the book
-- character interview
-- poem
-- make a photo collage or slideshow that represents the book to you
-- make a book trailer
-- make a music playlist inspired by the book
-- Or pitch your own idea!
There are links in the Challenge 4 Links and Lists folder to help you with some of these (such as the photo collage)
When you have done your two things, upload them somewhere and provide links, or email them to me at WildThingsChallenge4@gmail.com and I will upload them to a set Wild Things Challenge account and provide the link to all compiled results at the end of the challenge.
Buddy Bonus +5: Read your buddy's book from 4.20 and answer the questions.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Affliate News

Got some fun news for you guys.  I am now an affliate of Kristen of Bookworming in the 21st Century!

I know you have seen her awesome blog around the 'sphere.  Kristen has got to be one of the most ambitious bloggers I know.  In fact, she's the one who got me into the blogging game.  We were both in a YA group on Goodreads (Wild Things, which is the group I am running the challenge for...more on that tomorrow), and in the group, she told us about her blog, and going to the 2009 ALA conference, and I started following and before I knew it, I had a blog of my own.  It just looked like too much fun.

So what does this mean for you?  It means that I am going to keep you updated on what's going on with Kristen's Bookwormy goodness, any contests she has and special hooplas and whatnot.  Add this to the updates I promised you from Natalie of Mindful Musings and the special mentions of my favorite blogs and bloggers, and I've decided to do an Affiliates and Friends Friday Follow-Up (you know I love my alliteration).  Every other Friday, I am going to give you a rundown of what's going on in my friends' neck of the woods, so that you can go check out all the yummy goodness for yourself.  And who knows?  Maybe some of that yummy goodness will belong to you.

Yay.

^_^

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Be My Guest, April of Good Books and Good Wine!


This week we have April of Good Books & Good Wine, one of my very first blogger buddies!  (Actually, we were Goodreads buddies before either of us ever got into the blogging game.)  She's got a really cool thing going on right now that she would like to tell you about; I have to warn you, it may cause you to agonize for hours and feel a little Sophie's Choice -- but maybe that's just me...
Take it away, April!

Thanks, Misty! I guess I can take it from here.

If you've been to my blog, you probably know that I am attempting to compile the Top 100 YA books as compiled by bloggers/readers/space aliens who have stopped by the blog. 

You're probably wondering why on earth anyone would want to take on that task.

Well, friends, if there's a top 100 list for Beach Reads, isn't it just as valid to have a list for young adult books. I mean, there are obsessive-compulsive teens out there living in a void because they don't know the top 100 YA books. FOR SHAME. 

Of course when you look for something and don't find what you are looking for, and I googled, then you should just do it yourself. Hence, the list was born.

Little did I know School Library Journal was doing the same thing. I was pretty angry at first, since it looked like I was ripping off SLJ. I'm sure we've all had wonderful ideas and then we get so excited about those ideas -- only to find out someone has beaten us to the punch. Well, I'm here to say do not give up on that idea. Find a different take on the idea. I know my readership is different from SLJ's readership. Why should I give up or let go of my idea? 

In other words, Goonies never say die. That is all.

The nominating may be over, but that doesn't mean you still can't have your say; tell me and April what your picks would have been, and then head over to GB & GWto see if yours made it on the list & then vote and let the agonizing begin!

Interested in guest blogging on Book Rat?  Fill out this form: it's quick, it's easy, and it has a sheep!
And it means you are automatically entered into my Random BMG Drawings!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Face Off (10)


This week I need you to give me a hand in choosing a winner.   One clear, hands-down winner, please.  Quick, before they get into another slapping match!  (I could do this all day)  You know how this works:
 who did it better?


   vs.  

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close published 2005
Follow Me To Freedom published 2009

Last Week on FFO:  Two hair-raising dystopias went missing head to obscured head, with Genesis beating Birthmarked by a full head, at least.  You felt Birthmarked was too cluttered and busy.  I agree, and will add that the colors seemed a bit off.  For doom and gloom coloring, Genesis did it better.

Have something you want to see put to the smackdown on Friday Face Off?  Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George


Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow
by Jessica Day George


The lass leads a lonely life.  She lives in a remote little Norwegian village that is blanketed by a strange, never-ending winter.  Her mother refused to name her, and she is largely disregarded by all but her father and her beloved eldest brother, Hans Peter, who seems to the lass to be hiding a deep pain.  But when the lass is blessed with the strange ability to be able to speak to animals, her life begins to change.  People of all kinds seek her out for help -- and then, so does an isbjorn, a massive polar bear with a trouble and a loneliness of his own.  When the isbjorn promises the lass that her family will be wealthy if she will agree to live with him in a remote castle for a year, the lass agrees and finds herself in a strange palace of green ice, waited on by even stranger servants.  But the plush surroundings mask a dark secret, and soon the lass must decide to risk everything she has ever wanted for something she never knew she could have, and embark on a fantastic and daunting journey that has the potential to change the world in which she lives in this well-wrought retelling of the tale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon".


It's hard to write about something when it's either very bad or very good, so this will be a (fairly) short review:

There is very little I didn't love about this story.

Something to understand about me: I am a tabber.  I have a crazy amount of those little post-it flags in just about every color, and as I'm reading I tab things I like or want to be able to find again.  There are no tabs in this book -- I flew through it too fast, and was too absorbed to reach for the tabs.

Jessica Day George followed her passion and chose to study Norway, and that passion shows.  She crafts a story that is layered and has depth beyond what is generally seen in a fairy tale or retelling.  The traditional elements are there: the downtrodden heroine who, it turns out, has some pluck; the rags to riches; the fantastic element; the danger and tension; the family dynamics, good and bad, and the sort of "karmic" balance -- everything works together to create one of the strongest retellings I've ever read.  George's love of Norway and fairy tales help her create a rich and believable base for a story that shines and flows beautifully.  Things are well developed and rich.  It is very visual and alive, and thoroughly enjoyable.  The romance-aspect was enjoyable and not at all creepy, which I was initially worried about.

The only drawback for me was that, compared to the rest of the story, the end felt a little rushed and underdeveloped.  It wasn't a complete bust by any means, but after so much layering and depth, I would have liked to see that followed through to the conclusion; an opportunity to pack in a bit more oomph was missed, but this should not at all keep you from picking up a copy.  Now.

The "Beauty and the Beast"-esque story that is "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" has captured many writer's pens lately, but I have trouble believing that any of the other retellings will top George's.


BONUS MATERIAL:

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow wasn't technically due to be reviewed for a couple of weeks, but I did my first Teaser Tuesday vlog this week, and I wanted this to be the one to kick it off, so it got bumped up.  You can check out the vlog here and get a feel for the story.

Check out Geroge's site, which has a section for Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow.  It includes reviews, interviews, a bit about why she wrote it, and an "inside joke."

Read the original tale, East of the Sun, West of the Moon for yourself.

Or read one of the other YA retellings of the tale:
East by Edith Pattou
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
East of the Sun, West of the Moon by Nancy Willard (play format)
or Mercer Mayer's 48 page retelling of the story (same name).

You may remember East and Ice from Friday Face Off (week 4).  Ice won.  So now, how about a mini-FFO?  Who did it better, Ice or Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow?  It's a shame you can't get the full effect; the detail in both is gorgeous in person.


Jessica Day George told me this is her favorite thing that she's written, and that love shows.  <--- That made it sound like we're buddies and chat all the time, which, though cool, is not the case.  She told me in a teeny tiny little conversation we had, that was actually on a completely unrelated topic.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Lit O' the Irish

Happy St. Patrick's Day to ya!  As a pasty little Irish (American) girl, I thought I'd share a little Emerald Isle book love with you today.  So while you're drinking your Irish coffee or your green beer, why dontcha pick up one of these Irish lovelies to peruse?  (Assuming you can still see straight.)

Ireland is home to some of the most popular/famous/complex novels and writers in history, inlcuding:
  • James Joyce (Ulysses, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Dubliners, Finnegan's Wake, etc)
  • Pulitzer Prize winner Frank McCourt (Angela's Ashes)
  • Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels, countless hilarious satiric pieces)
  • Bram Stoker (Dracula)
  • Samuel Beckett (famous playwright, Waiting For Godot among the many)
  • Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl!)
  • CS Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia)
  • John Banville (Booker Prize winner for The Sea)
  • Anne Enright (Booker Prize winner for The Gathering)

The Sheila Variations posted this list of the top 50 Irish Novels, based on voting from The Irish Times and the James Joyce Center:

James Joyce Ulysses (1922)
James Joyce A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)
John McGahern Amongst Women (1990)
Flann O'Brien At Swim Two Birds (1939)
Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Grey (1891)
Jonathan Swift Gullivers Travels (1726)
Flann O'Brien The Third Policeman (1967)
Bram Stoker Dracula (1897)
John Banville The Book of Evidence 1988
Patrick McCabe The Butcher Boy (1992)
James Plunkett Strumpet City (1969)
C. S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950)
Edna O'Brien The Country Girls (1960)
Samuel Beckett Molloy (1951)
Patrick Kavanagh Tarry Flynn (1948)
Brian Moore Judith Hearne (1955)
Elizabeth Bowen The Last September (1929)
Lawrence Sterne Tristram Shandy (1760)
Jennifer Johnston How Many Miles to Babylon? (1974)
Kate O'Brien The Land of Spices (1941)
Samuel Beckett Murphy (1938)
John McGahern The Barracks (1963)
Maria Edgeworth Castle Rackrent (1800)
Roddy Doyle The Woman Who Walked Into Doors (1996)
Seamus Deane Reading in the Dark (1996)
William Trevor Felicia's Journey (1994)
Jennifer Johnston The Captains and the Kings (1972)
William Trevor Fools of Fortune (1983)
Molly Keane Good Behaviour (1981)
Colm Toibin The South (1990)
Sam Hanna Bell December Bride (1950)
Somerville and Ross The Real Charlotte (1894)
Brian Moore The Emperor of Ice Cream (1965)
Eugene McCabe Death and Nightingales (1992)
James Stephens The Charwomen's Daughter (1912)
Keith Ridgway The Parts (2003)
J G Farrell The Siege of Krishnapur (1973)
Aidan Higgins Langrishe Go Down (1966)
Francis Stuart Black List, Section H (1971)
Charles Maturin Melmoth the Wanderer (1820)
Christopher Nolan The Banyan Tree (1999)
John Banville Birchwood 1973
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu Uncle Silas (1864)
George Moore A Drama in Muslin (1886)
George Moore Esther Waters (1894)
Thomas Kilroy The Big Chapel (1971)
William Carleton The Black Prophet (1847)
Deirdre Madden The Birds of the Innocent Wood (1988)
Hugo Hamilton Surrogate City (1990)
Sean O'Reilly Love and Sleep (2002)


But you can find some great Irishness right here in the States, too! Just grab yourself a copy of anything by
  • Cormac McCarthy
  • Flannery O'Connor
  • Jeffrey Eugenides
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Mary Higgins Clark
  • Henry James
  • Conan O'Brien (!)
  • Anne Rice
  • John Steinbeck
  • Nora Roberts
  • JD Salinger
  • Kate Chopin
  • Nicholas Sparks

Check out this list of Irish authors  or this one of Irish-American authors for more, and may the luck of the Irish be with you!

The Orange Shelf


For your viewing pleasure, here is a peek at my orange shelf:


And half of my blue shelf, apparently.  As you can see, the orange shelf is pretty tidy compared to most of my shelves.  Shame it doesn't always look like this.  But because of space issues, my orange and yellow shelves are really one and the same, and it normally looks like this:


And if I'm being honest, that's even on the tidy side.  Normally there is various bric-a-brac there as well...

Orange books not pictured:
This is All: the Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn
 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (which is yellow and orange)
Solace of the Road (which is kinda peachy)
Soulless (the Christopher Golden book, not the Gail Carriger one)
Of Bees and Mist (resides on another shelf.  And by shelf, I mean the top of my tv)
Mosquito (which has a yellow and orange striped binding, but which is massive and doesn't fit well anywhere)
The Love Wife and The Circus in Winter (both of which are a reddish orange)

Peek at my other shelves:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

Alright, folks.  Mentioned yesterday that I was changing things up for Teaser Tuesday.  So here it is: not only my first Teaser Tuesday vlog, but my first vlog ever.  Few flubs, but not bad, if I do say so myself (and I do).  Enjoy.



pages 56-58
As always, review to follow later in the week.
:)

Side Notes:
I misquoted a line; towards the end, it should say Hans Peter's face was white and strained, not his voice...
Yes, I had just gotten out of the shower.  Figured I'd better make use of the brief time my house is quiet to get my first vlog TT done, wet hair or no. :)
On the wall behind me = purses.  Had nowhere else to put them, so that's my new design element.
I don't know if you can see it, but I have a ginormous spider bite on my forehead.  And I know just the bastard that did it.
It irritates me that everything isn't quite synced up.  Sorry about that.
The bookmark thing is a neat story.  I was reading S&M, I&S late into the night one night, and I reached blindly for a bookmark in the little thingy above my bed, and I came up with one I didn't even know I had -- and it has polar bears on it.  Too weird, when reading a story about a polar bear.  Thought I'd share it with you.
Alright, that's the end of the first reinvented Teaser Tuesday.  Hope you enjoyed it.  I did.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Few Site Announcements

Read these if you care, or if they affect you (though you won't know until you read it...mwahaha):

Some upcoming changes:
  1. I've decided to do my own thing for Teaser Tuesdays from now on.  Nothing against the meme by Should Be Reading, but I never followed the rules of the game anyway (random page, 2 lines); I always made it my own, so I figured why not completely make it my own?  From now on, I am going to do a TT vlog, and read you a part of a book whose review is upcoming.  This way, if you are sufficiently teased, you can find out in the review later in the week if you do in fact want to read the book, and you can hear the words (which is nice) and get a more extended snippet than a normal TT piece.
  2. I am going to start doing something called the Kid's Corner where I will review (and maybe read to you) a children's book.  There are so many great ones out there, and I know some of you have children, or at least access to children (she says in a non-creepy way), and would like great books to share with them.  When possible, I am going to read these books with my neighbors (ages 6 and 10), and get their opinions on them to include in the review.  All are welcome to hijack Kid's Corner and include it on their blogs.
  3. Be My Guest (if it continues) is going to have a perk (beyond that of getting your name out there and stretching a bit).  Because you are doing me a favor in giving me a post that is ready to go (for the most part), I decided to start having random drawings for the Guests.  They will be utterly random -- you never know when they'll happen or what you'll get, but if you've ever Been My Guest, so to speak, you are automatically entered.  This means if you are a guest in January, you may randomly win a prize in December -- you never know.  Just a little bonus.
  4. There may be a new review policy and contest policy coming.  Not sure yet, just debating.
  5. I've also been debating a new meme called Dinner and a Movie(adaptation). (Or something along these lines.  Maybe).  Basically, I would give you a review of a book that has been made into a movie, a review of the movie, and a recipe (with pictures!) of the dinner/treat I made to go along with it, all on a theme.  I have been lacking the impetus to do it as yet, but it should be coming sometime soon.  We'll see.  Does that sound like something you'd be interested in?
  6. I still intend to have a linking post at the beginning of each month for you to link up your best/favorite posts from the month before.  I really like the idea, and you seem to, too.  But I can't settle on a name.  1/2 of me would like to keep changing it with something silly (like cheesy song references), but I don't want it to be confusing.  Thoughts?

In other news:
  1. The Wild Things YA challenge is creeping up, and it looks to be a doozy.  It will be on here (potential tasks were posted a few days ago), and all are welcome to participate.  It will run from April through June.  There may be goodies, especially as I am going to ALA in June; just saying.
  2. Did you hear that ^?  I AM GOING TO ALA!!! Can I get a squee?
  3. I have over 400 followers (thank you) so there may be some sort of prize pack in someone's future.  Not right now, as I have 2 giveaways and a swag thing going at the moment, but we'll see.
  4. I'm affliated with Natalie of Mindful Musings,  but I've been a bad affliate and haven't done shit about it, so expect to see some occasional updates about the awesomeness that is Natalie in the future.  I'll also be randomly spotlighting some of my other favorite bloggers, just because they deserve it.
  5. Jane in June is coming, you already know that.  Just wanted to update you on a few things:
  • lots of cool people are signing on, including authors with funfun giveaways.  
  • I am looking for people to write "Dear Jane" letters for a fun showcasing idea I have.  They can be long and flowery or short and sweet; whatever you want to say to Jane (and the world).  If you're interested, fill out the form; all the cool kids are doing it.
 K.  That's it.  Discuss.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Be My Guest, Tara of 25 Hour Books!


Today's BMG is going to shed light on a very serious topic: PABD.  Tara of 25 Hour Books, a PABD expert is going to walk us through the stages of PABD, what it is and how to -- well, not cure it, exactly, but learn to live with it as best we can.  Tara, take it away.



P.A.B.D. has plagued me on and off for my entire life. I know many bookworms who are faced with the same problem. Please read on to see if you have PABD and see how you can help yourself or others suffering from this disorder.

So what is P.A.B.D.?

Post Amazing Book Depression - The over-whelming sad feeling one gets after finishing a great book.
Signs of P.A.B.D.
  • missing characters
    • often includes talking about characters in day to day life
      • ex. I wonder what Katsa and Po are doing.
      • ex. Do you think Cat and Bones will get married?
      • ex. If she doesn't choose Eric, I don't know how I'll survive.
        • (side note: If your friends do not understand the above phrases, you need new friends.)
    • hearing songs that remind you of certain characters/scenes
  • constant rereading of the same book
    • extreme cases can lead to the reading of fan-fiction
  • stalking of the author
    • constantly checking their blog for updates
    • Googling interviews in which the book (or series) are mentioned
    • joining multiple fansites
  • lack of interest in other books
    • finding yourself staring at your bookshelf and seeing nothing worth reading
    • wandering around the bookstore/library picking up and putting back books


    How to live with P.A.B.P.

  • Find other books by the same author.
    • Is there more in the series?
  • Search for books with similar themes.
    • Thanks to the hard work some dedicated book lovers, you can find sites that help you find books similar to those you love.
    • Use Amazon to see what others are buying that liked the book.
  • Have a rebound book.
    • Keep a favorite book on hand to immerse yourself in.
  • Force a friend to read the book
    • This will give you a chance to experience reading the book through someone else.
    • You will then have someone to endlessly discuss the book with.

Books Known to Cause PABD

Do you have PABD? What book caused it? How do you deal with it?


Thanks for shedding light on this very serious disorder plaguing the book-loving community, Tara.
Be on your guard, people.  Don't fall victim to P.A.B.D. -- but if you do, let me know what book did it!


Interested in guest blogging on Book Rat?  Fill out this form: it's quick, it's easy, and it has a sheep!

Friday, March 12, 2010

ALIAS: Alice



Allow me to introduce myself; my name is MÄ—lyna, but you may refer to me as the Cerulean Queen. I normally do not stoop so low as to address myself to the peasantry, but perhaps you could help me...

There is a girl. A little chit of a thing, insignificant, really. Except...
Except that this chit, this girl-thing took what wasn't hers and she -- it pains me to tell you so, she drank it! A potion of my very own making, and she took it and drank it as if it were nothing more than a commoner's pint of ale, or a peasant's soporific!
This is the very thing she did, I tell you!
It was set upon the little table, just so, in its clever cut-crystal glass, just so, with a neat little label, you see, just
so.
I am quite beside myself.
More cannot be made, you see, and I must have it back! I'll to the juicery with her, and extract it just so, drop by drop, into my clever cut-crystal bottle with it's clever little stopper and its neat little label, and I'll place it back upon the little table, just so, where it belongs.

But there is a difficulty. This girl, this chit, who calls herself "Alice" -- well, my people tell me she is quite hard to find. We get such conflicting reports, you see.



Some have told us she is merely a little girl, all blond-haired and blue-eyed, and no, butter wouldn't melt in her mouth and flamingos wouldn't hurt their heads on her croquet balls.
Such a thing should be easy to catch, my Queen, not a problem at all...
So they told me.
But she was not so easy a catch as all that.

Then, some said she is not really a little girl at all; it was a disguise, the hair and the eyes and the tinkling little voice.  No, no, my Queen, she is far craftier, they said.
She has dark tresses, and wears little yellow dresses, and she's quite a slippery thing... [off with his head]

But no, wait! my Queen!  She is not a simple little girl but a princess!  She had every right to drink your potion, surely? [off with his head]

No, of course, my Queen, she had no right to even touch -- but she is a princess, and she has imaginative powers the likes of which we have never seen, you see, she can create weapons of mass destruction, or at least mass weirdness, and we lowly servants could certainly not be expected to face such -- [off with his head]


Alas, my queen, she is not really a little girl at all, you see.  She is a rather large girl, a woman, really, with and she can fight!  She has something they call a "black belt" in some strange style of fighting, and she flips people over, just so!  Surely, it was she that drank your potion, my Queen, but my Queen -- [off with his head]


So, you see, I am in a predicament.  I've precious few servants left with their heads attached, and I really must get my potion back.  My soup is so tasteless without it.
So if you have seen her, this "Alice"-girl, this pretender to a throne, this black-belted valkyrie, you would tell me, wouldn't you?

I can offer you a reward...
You simply must find her!!!                              (<--- click me!)


Friday Face Off (9)

Continuing the dystopian theme from last week, and the hair-in-the-face theme from the Impossible FFO, I give you two new dystopias, Genesis and Birthmarked.  They both have a dark, oceany cover, and they both have the hair thing going on.  Both have made it onto my tbr list, but the question remains, which has the more striking cover?
who did it better?

  vs.

Genesis published 2009
Birthmarked TBpublished March 2010


Last Week on FFO:  Two dystopias, Never Let Me Go and The Unidentified, went big-eyed face to big-eyed face; The Unidentified blinked first, and Never Let Me Go won.  You thought the eyes in NLMG were more striking, and were irritated by the illegibility of TU; I agree.


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

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

The Year of the Flood
by Margaret Atwood

I normally write my own synopsis, but this one just about says it all, so
from Goodreads:

The times and species have been changing at a rapid rate, and the social compact is wearing as thin as environmental stability. Adam One, the kindly leader of the God's Gardeners—a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion, as well as the preservation of all plant and animal life—has long predicted a natural disaster that will alter Earth as we know it. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women have survived: Ren, a young trapeze dancer locked inside the high-end sex club Scales and Tails, and Toby, a God's Gardener barricaded inside a luxurious spa where many of the treatments are edible.

Have others survived? Ren's bioartist friend Amanda? Zeb, her eco-fighter stepfather? Her onetime lover, Jimmy? Or the murderous Painballers, survivors of the mutual-elimination Painball prison? Not to mention the shadowy, corrupt policing force of the ruling powers . . .

Meanwhile, gene-spliced life forms are proliferating: the lion/lamb blends, the Mo'hair sheep with human hair, the pigs with human brain tissue. As Adam One and his intrepid hemp-clad band make their way through this strange new world, Ren and Toby will have to decide on their next move. They can't stay locked away . . .
 



I'm a big fan of Margaret Atwood and the dystopias she creates.  When I picked up The Year of the Flood, I didn't realize at first that it was a sequel to one of my favorite books (not only by Atwood, but in general), Oryx and Crake.  Now, you can read TYOTF on it's own, it does stand alone, though it may be bizarre at times, and you will most certainly miss out on some inside stuff.  You can read it on its own, but I would highly recommend picking up both.  Here's why:

Atwood is a master of tone and voice.  Nowhere is it more evident than here, in The Year of the Flood.  She is able to weave together two stories from two very different people, in two different tenses (Ren in first person, Toby in third) and she blends them together effortlessly.  She makes it feel so natural to switch back and forth between the two, and works in their experiences and connections and lives seamlessly, juggling it all expertly.

Everything in TYOTF is so visual and present and real.  The world she has created in Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood is some of the most memorable and full dystopia I have ever read.  All of her bases are covered: the human element, the natural/animal element and the environmental/ecological, the political, the financial, the religious -- everything has been thought of and everything has a part to play to build a world that will creep under your skin and take hold.

There's a great amount of tension and "what next"ness.  It's one of those books that you sometimes want to put down and think about what you just read, while at the same time, you don't want to let it out of your hands.  She has an uncanny ability to write about the worst in humanity in the most grimly believable way, and yet show you glimpses of what's best about humanity; you know there's a bright lining, if only somebody could get at it.  You end up caring so much about these people and what happens to them; you want so much for the bad guys to get theirs and the good guys to come through safe and whole.  But at the same time, Atwood lets you have precious few illusions; it is dystopia, after all.

And I really don't know how to say more than this without giving something away.  There are so many layers to unpeel to get at the heart of this book, and it is well worth multiple readings.  I only hope there's more.   And that I don't have to wait too long for it.


BONUS MATERIAL:

The Year of the Flood has its own website with significant things from the book that I can't really tell you about without being spoilery, except to say: check out the God's Gardener music.  Gotta love an interactive reading experience. It also has links about non-profit environmental groups, and a drop down list titles "neat stuff" -- so you know I like that.

You can participate in the book, too, by taking the God's Gardener Hymn Challenge on the site and on youtube.

I enjoyed this review of TYOTF by Joshua Chaplinsky, as well as this one by blogger buddy, She.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Suggestions wanted

Okay, awhile back, I told you how I was going to be running a challenge on Goodreads in the Wild Things group.  The goal for this challenge is to get out of our little reading boxes and stretch a bit.  The challenge starts on the 1st, so I have to get the tasks up soon.  I am going to post the rough list of tasks.  Any input you have is wanted, especially as I am going to hold the contest on here, two.

OFFICIAL SECTION: [This is a section we always have, but I tweaked it to suit our new purpose.]
5 pts: Read a "Top Ya Novel" from our group list that you previously had no intention of reading.
10 pts: Read a book that someone in the group (or on Goodreads) has been "pushing" you to read, but that you've avoided because it's in a genre you don't normally read.
15 pts: Read a book from any thread in a folder that you never go into (ie, I have never once opened the mystery folder, or the Religion folder; I would choose a book mentioned in a thread in one of these folders)
20: Read a 5-star book from a WT member you've never conversed with, and then discuss it with them.
25: Read 2 books from a series (or 2 books from 1 author) from a different culture, or in a genre you don't read.
Buddy Bonus: Buddy gets to pick 1 book for you to read that fits any of the above.  This is in addition to what you read for each task.


BROADENING YOUR HORIZONS:
5: Read any book that is NOT in your native language (ie translated into your language).
10: Read any book written by someone of another culture, ethnicity or viewpoint.
15: Read 2 award winners from 2 different countries other than your own (ie, both the book and the award are from another country). [There would be lists, some we have already]
20: Read 2 books, 1 fiction and 1 non-fiction, about a real event (current or historical) that is NOT a part of your cultural heritage (ie, took place in another country, revolves around another ethnicity or belief, etc)
25: Read 3 books from 3 cultures/countries that revolve around the same topic or theme (or similar)
Buddy Bonus: You and buddy choose together 1 fairy tale from another country to read, and 1 retelling based on that fairy tale.

READING OUT OF YOUR BOX:
5: Listen to an audiobook.
10: Look on GR for "Best of" lists in a genre you don't read, and read something from one of the lists that interests you.
15: Genre Roulette! [There will be a list or graphic for this, and randomly generated numbers.]  + Misty pick [This task is open for debate.  Do we want a Misty Pick?  I have the list of genres, I can make 2-3 recommendations for each genre (which would give 50-75 choices); from there, it can either be assigned, or you could choose off the list.  If it's assigned, it would be kind of neat, since I'll have the list of who got what in genre roulette.  I can give them something completely different).
20:Read any two books from our most neglected folders (GLBT, Multicultural, Non-fiction, Religion) and contribute to discussion.
25: Read three books in 3 non-traditional forms: drama, poetry, short story anthology, epistolary/diary, audiobook.  In the Discussions thread for the Challenge, briefly tell us whether these forms worked for the story, and what you thought.
Buddy Bonus: Buddy looks through your GR shelves and picks 1 book in a genre or style that seems neglected.

BUILDING A BETTER READER:
5: Read any book and write a detailed review that examines what you read, what you thought and felt, and whether you would recommend it.
10: Read and discuss a book with a young adult in your life.
15: Ask a YA librarian to recommend their "little known gems" in a variety of genres, read 1, discuss it with the librarian, and let us know some highlights in the Challenge Discussions thread.
20: Read any book dealing with a controversial issue, or a topic that is well out of your comfort zone, and create and post discussion questions for it.
25: Read any book that you almost chose for one of the tasks in Sections 2 or 3 (ie a cultural or genre choice), and do 2 of the following:
 -- written response to the book
 -- drawing or other art form inspired by the book
 -- character interview
 -- poem
 -- make a photo collage or slideshow that represents the book to you
 -- make a book trailer
 -- [insert your original ideas here]
Buddy Bonus: Read your buddy's book from 4.20 and answer the questions.

The buddy bonus will be a partner thing for the group.
Some of these tasks may not make sense to you, not being members of the group.  They are things we discussed (like the Misty Pick and the Genre Roulette)

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