Saturday, October 31, 2009

I Am Legend

First let me say, Happy Halloween!!! It's one of my favorite holidays and we've got some good fun planned for the little boy (who is 2).  He's going to be a tiger (RAWR).

So on with the review.  I've chosen a wholly appropriate book for today, I Am Legend.

After a plague almost decimates the human population turning killing off most and turning the rest into blood thirsty vampires, Robert Neville is left completely alone to fend off the vampires who come to his house at night.  Leading a completely solidarity existence causes him to turn to alcohol and fuels his rage.  But as time passes, Neville tries to learn as much as he can about the disease and to create a cure.

Written in 1954, I Am Legend helped, according to the Wiki, to popularize the idea of vampirism as a disease and one of the first stories with that concept.  So I don't know if Peeps gives it a shout-out or not, but it definitely should.  I have seen the Will Smith version which I found scary, but mostly just sad.  It showed vividly how a human will behave if left compeltely alone and it was just a sad movie.  The novella also contains that same mixtures of sadness and horror.  It really shows that a person could get use to anything.  Day after day, Neville does his daily chores,  cleaning up the dead bodies on the front lawn, making stakes, killing any vampires sleeping in the area and after a while he barely notices the abject horror of his situation as the only human in the city or in the world for all he knows.  And all the while he relives the past and what happened to his wife and daughter.  I was really struck how he managed to live through the whole thing and with his memories.  But his will to live was strong.

*highlight for sort of spoilers*
The science part is well-research albeit it is from th 1950's and I'm no biology expert but it sounds good to me.  The only part that was sounded shaky to me is the end with the "living vampires."  And I got confused between the two a lot.  I found the ending to be fitting if not sad and it actually made me a little angry, but there was really no other way.

*for the November Novella Challenge

Friday, October 30, 2009

Generation Dead (#1)

The teens of America are coming back from the dead and attending Phoebe's school.  As one of the goth kids, Phoebe is no stranger to people treating her weird, but it's weird to see her dead friend shuffling around the school.  But when of the "living impaired" boys tries out for football Phoebe is intrigued.  The living impaired rarely bother with socializing.  What makes this one different?  As Phoebe becomes more and more fascinated with him, it gets more dangerous at her school.

Was it possible for any girl, living or dead, to be sane for more than a few hours at a time?

You know, for someone who doesn't like zombies, I have read quite a few zombie books this year.  And I've enjoyed them all.  But the concept of the zombies in Generation Dead is quite different than the normal zombie shuffling around, eating brains, flesh rotting, etc.  This concept shows them, basically, "frozen" in time rather than truly undead, functioning members of society although at a much slower pace.  And I don't mind this idea at all (hey, if I can take sparkling vampires, I can deal with this) but the idea that the girl wants to date someone who has died is odd.  I get the parallels to the differently abled (physically and/or mentally challenged) plight and all, but the boy is DEAD.  And so I don't know if I can buy it on that level. 

But on another separate level, I enjoyed group classes to reach an understanding about the living impaired kids and foster community growth and all that. The back story about why the kids are coming back needs fleshing out but it was good to get quite a bit of information on that score. The political agenda and the commercializing of these poor kids felt real and it would definitely really happen. 

The characters of the book are wholy sympathetic and identifible.  Although I felt like I was being hit over the head with Pete, the villian, and his motive.  Tommy, the zombie football player, is an awesome character and I liked him.  I loved Adam a whole lot and I really liked Karen, the high fuctioning short skirted dead girl.   I hope we get more story on her in later books.  Because of course this is a series!  Of course, it is and I've already started the next book.

Oh and check out Tommy's blog, my so-called undeath, for more fun, but be forewarned about spoilers.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Grim Tuesday (Keys to the Kingdom 2) (audio)

After defeating Mister Monday, Arthur expects 5 or 6 years of rest.  But soon he finds himself back in the House after the wily Grim Tuesday tries to use Arthur's family to obtain the First Key for himself.  So Arthur decides he had better defeat Grim Tuesday and put his world back to rights.  But to do that, he must face the Nothing of the Pit in the Lower Reaches and Grim Tuesday himself.

On the second day, there was darkness.

*highlight spoilers in white*

So the formula was set in Mister Monday and continues in Grim Tuesday.  Arthur must go into the House and find the Will that belongs to that Trustee and then defeat the Trustee to gain the Key of that part of the House.  And Suzy Turquoise Blue will show up and help at some point.  But the fun is in the details and they are so many awesome details. 

I noticed the hints and foreshadowing this time around, especially about Dame Primus and Arthur's nature in the House with the wielding of the Keys.  The introduction of the Mariner is very good and I love the literary references thrown in about him.  I did get a little tired of Arthur whining about going home, blah blah, only because I know he has to get all 7 Keys and there is no way around that.  But he acts very much like a 12 year old boy should and he is very brave and reliable and good.  And Suzy is a treat as always.  She comes through for Arthur and sticks with him and so is a very good friend.

Nix is an amazing world builder and it shows in the Keys to the Kingdom series.  I like how each part of the House is explored by Arthur so we learn more and more about the House.  And hints are dropped about the Architect and the Old One and their sons in Grim Tuesday.   But Lord Tuesday, much like Mister Monday, is sort of a throwaway villain.  He is not the real danger, but rather it is the mismanagement of the House and the breaking of the Trustees' promises and their failure to live up to the Will that is the true danger.  And I find that to be a very interesting concept especially regarding the mythology of the House and who I suspect Dame Primus to be.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Shelf Discovery Challenge - COMPLETE

Yes, another challenge.  There should be a 12 step program for addicts like me.  Ah well, this looks cool.  Julie at Booking Mama is hosting the Shelf Discovery Challenge.  Here are the details:

The Shelf Discovery Challenge will run for six months (November 1, 2009 - April 30, 2010). To join me in this challenge, all you need to do is grab a copy of SHELF DISCOVERY and pick out what six books you want to read (of course, you can read more than six!) Then, after you read a book, just write a "book report" to share your thoughts with others!

The books are mostly YA or middle grade "classics" that I grew up with so I'm using this opportunity to revisit some of my old favorites and read some that I've never read before.

ETA: Here is my final list. (2/17/10)

√ 1. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (one of my absolute favorite books when I was young.  I can't tell you how many times I have read it but it's been a very long time)

√ 2. The Great Brain by John Dennis Fitzgerald (I remember getting this one from my elementary school library.)

√ 3. Sister of the Bride by Beverly Clearly

√ 4. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (never read it before)

√ 5. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (I've seen the Shirley Temple movie but have never read the book)

√ 6. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh


From book jacket:

Theodora Baumgarten has just been selected as an IASA space cadet, and therein lies the problem. She didn't apply for the ultra-coveted posting, and doesn't relish spending years aboard the ship to which she's been assigned. But the plucky young heroine, in true Heinlein fashion, has no plans to go along with the program. Aided by her hacker best friend Kimkim, in a screwball comedy that has become Connie Wills' hallmark, Theodora will stop at nothing to uncover the conspiracy that has her shanghaied.

At only 80 pages, D.A. is a very fun but very short novella (which I'm counting towards the November Novella Challenge).  First off, Connie Willis is one of my favorite writers (she wrote my favorite book, Bellwether).  And this was an excellent story and has some very cool pictures included in the story to help give more a visual idea.  Because it is a novella there is very little character development and a lot more action, but in a clever way.  I like the twist at the end and how Theodora figures out how and why she was shanghaied with the help of her friend, Kimkim.  I would like to see more of a world build for this story one day.  It would make an excellent full length novel especially if it added on at the end.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays - Generation Dead

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
Grab your current read

Open to a random page

Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

Phoebe gasped as the dead boy's hand reached out to touch her hair and let the black strands run through his fingers.  She was motionless when he brought his hand away and held it in front of her face.

p.63 Generation Dead Daniel Waters

Monday, October 26, 2009

Weekly Round-Up 10/26

What are you reading Mondays? is a meme hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog.
Check out J.Kaye's Book Blog for what others are reading.
This week I'm reading Generation Dead (Waters), Wake and Fade (Mann).  I'm listening to Grim Tuesday (Nix).

Since last week I've finished Something Wicked (Gratz) and Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me? (Rennison).

Also check out the *Another* Another Faust Contest.  It sounds like fun.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Guest Post - *Another* Another Faust Contest

So Daniel Nayeri contact me the other day about guest posting and, of course, I agreed.  It sounds like a really fun contest! 

*Another* Another Faust Contest
Hi everyone. Dina and I are about to kick off a month-long tour for our book, Another Faust, and we want to do it by announcing a contest! We are looking for the most promising writers out there (that’s YOU). And then we want to showcase their work, so that all of the Internet can bask in their awesome writing might (and, you know, give them prizes).
We want you to write your own short story, re-imagining of the Faustian Bargain. (For inspiration, check out Bedazzled, Simpsons “Tree House of Horrors IV,” and The Little Mermaid). It can be about anything you like (but let’s keep it PG-13, and under 3,000 words), and it’s open to everyone.

All you have to do is send your entry to before January 31.
Rules and details can be found here:

Make sure to read them so you don’t get DQed

And the winner gets all kinds of sweetness:
A signed copy of Another Faust
A handwritten deleted scene
A featured article & interview on our site
An author’s galley of the sequel Another Pan
Though we’ll feature the top five on our site for comments, the judging WON’T happen by popular vote (so basically, we don't care which contestant has the most friends). Dina and I will personally read them.
So, spread the word! Tweet, retweet, forward, thread, spread, embed this post.
Good luck!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

From the Library 10/24 + Books I Bought

From the Library is my Saturday listing of what I checked out from the library this week.  And I actually bought some books last weekend which is becoming less rare, but is still not a common occurrence.
Books I Bought:

Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld (This book is beautiful, how could I resist?)
In an alternate 1914 Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, on the run from the Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn who, disguised as a boy to join the British Air Service, is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts.

Another Faust - Daniel & Dina Nayeri
(I've been interested in this one since I first heard about it. I love the Faust tale.) One night, in cities all across Europe, five children vanish - only to appear, years later, at an exclusive New York party with a strange and
elegant governess. Rumor and mystery follow the Faust teenagers to the city’s most prestigious high school, where they soar to suspicious heights with the help of their benefactor’s extraordinary “gifts.”

But as the students claw their way up - reading minds, erasing scenes, stopping time, stealing power, seducing with artificial beauty - the side-effects of their own addictions. And as they make further deals with the devil, they uncover secrets more shocking than their most
unforgivable sins.

At once chilling and wickedly satirical, this contemporary reimagining of the Faustian bargain is a compelling tale of ambition, consequences, and ultimate redemption.

From the Library:

Grim Tuesday (audio) - Garth Nix, read by Allan Corduner

Arthur doesn't think he will ever have to return to the strange house that nearly killed him on Monday -- the house that contains an entire world. But Tuesday brings new challenges -- in the form of an enemy named Grim Tuesday, who threatens the well-being of both Arthur's family and his world. Arthur must retrieve the Second Key from Grim Tuesday in order to save everything -- an adventure that will include stealing a Sunship, surviving a very weird work camp, befriending a bearlike spirit, fighting the voidlike Nithlings, and traveling to the scary Far Reaches for the ultimate showdown.

 Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me? - Louise Rennison  
(Last in the series, I'v stuck with it even though the medicore middle books, mostly cause they are hilarious and have spawned a lot of the lingo my friends and I use sometimes.  I can't wait to see what Georgia does.)
For Georgia, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Just when she thought she was the official one-and-only girlfriend of Masimo, he's walked off into the night with the full hump, leaving Georgia all aloney on her owney—again. All because Dave the Laugh tried to do fisticuffs at dawn with him!
Two boys fighting over Georgia? It's almost as romantic as Romeo and Juliet . . . though perhaps a touch less tragic.
It's time for Georgia to get to the bottom (oo-er) of this Dave the Laugh spontaneous puckering business once and for all. It's like they always say: If you snog a mate in the forest of red bottomosity and no one is around to see it, is he still a mate? Or is he something more?

I am Legend - Richard Matheson
(For the November Novella Challenge.  I liked the movie even though it scared me.)
Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth...but he is not alone. Every other man, woman, and child on Earth has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville's blood.

By day, he is the hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for dawn.

How long can one man survive in a world of vampires?

Friday, October 23, 2009

All you need is love (and a sense of humor)

Today is my 5th anniversary of marriage to my wonderful husband.  We dated 6 years before we got married so we've been together for 11 years now!  In honor of this occasion, I present to you a bibliography of our life (in titles).

Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging - Louise Rennison
Practical Magic - Alice Hoffman
Kiss the Bride - Patrica (Meg) Cabot
The Kingdom Keepers - Ridley Pearson (We went to Disney World for our honeymoon)
Swift as Desire - Laura Esquivel
Great Expectations: Your All-in-One Resource for Pregnancy and Childbirth - Sandy Jones
The Baby Owner's Manual - Joe Borgenicht
The Boy Book - E. Lockhart
A Crooked Kind of Perfect - Linda Urban
P.S. I Love You - Cecelia Ahern

cross posted with Annie, I think  
I have read most, but all of the above titles.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Something Wicked: A Horotio Wilkes Mystery

"How are you, Horatio?" he asked.
"Swell.  If things get any better I'm going to have to hire someone to help me enjoy it." p.102

"No, I forget -- your parents read you bedtime stories from Raymond Chandler."  p.222

After reading Something Rotten, I just had to read the next book, Something Wicked.  I really love Horatio Wilkes.  And Something Wicked really stood up to Something Rotten and solidified the character.  Horatio is very funny and sarcastic, friendly and loyal.  And he is a great detective.

Wicked is, of course, based on Macbeth, a play that I'm not terribly familiar with.  I'm mean I know the basic plot but I've never actually read it or saw the play or anything.  But even give that, it wasn't really necessary to know Macbeth to understand this book.  I really enjoyed this book though I probably missed some inside jokes.  It reads just like a regular murder mystery but, if you are familiar with Macbeth, then you know who did it.  There are no major plot changes here, but the dialogue just crackles.  It is a fun retelling of the Macbeth story.  This would be a great way of introducing teens to Shakespeare and maybe get them to read the original afterward (as pointed out as well at What Was I Reading).  My only complaint is that there aren't currently any more Horatio Wilkes books out.  I can't wait for the next one.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me? The Final Confessions of Georgia Nicolson

If you've never read any of the other Georgia Nicolson books, then this isn't the place to start.  The last book in the series finds Georgia once again on the horns of dilemma and in the cakeshop of love.  Her Italian Luuurve God has walked off and she doesn't know what to do.  Add in Dave the Laugh and Georgia doesn't know what to do.

Much like the Princess Diaries, the Georgia Nicolson series went on just a tad too long.  Especially since in the last couple of books nothing really happens except Georgia just can't resist Dave the Laugh.  But this was a good end to a very funny series and  it does have a nice resolution that made me very happy.

I think that the dialogue in these books is so funny and hilarious and even though Georgia has a tendency to go on about things, she is so funny and the slang is so good.  I've even borrowed a lot of the language from her in everyday life.  For example, we call pajamas at my house "jimjams."  And my friends and I use "pally wally" and "nippy noodles" a lot.  So thanks Louise and thanks Georgia. You have added hilariousity to my life.

I had to read Heidi to Libby and Mr. Potato Head.  She never tires of tales of cheese.  I do.
The bit that makes her laugh the most is when the little crippled girl falls out of her wheelchair.
It's not right. p.70

Nor does the fact that she thinks just standing very still behind a small tree makes her invisible. p.194

Everyone is so bloody keen on me thinking all of a sudden.  It's not what I do. p.242

Book Title Meme

I saw this at Find Your Next Book Here and since I didn't have a review for today I thought this would be fun.

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

Describe yourself: This Book Isn't Fat, It's Fabulous (Nina Beck)

How do you feel:  Something Wicked (Alan Gratz)

Describe where you currently live: Libyrinth (Pearl North)

If you could go anywhere, where would you go? Through the Looking Glass (Lewis Carroll)

Your favorite form of transportation: The Luxe (Anna Godbersen)

Your best friend is: Eternal (Cynthia Leitich Smith)

You and your friends are: Enthusiasm (Polly Shulman)

What’s the weather like: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Judi and Ron Barrett)

You fear: The Dead and the Gone (Susan Beth Pfeffer)

What is the best advice you have to give: Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover (Ally Carter)

Thought for the day: I SO Don't Do Mysteries (Barrie Summy)

How I would like to die: Wondrous Strange (Lesley Livingston)

My soul’s present condition: Evermore (Alyson Noel)

*cross posted with Annie, I think

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays - Something Wicked

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
Grab your current read

Open to a random page

Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

Nobody was listening.  Mac and Banks had fortune and glory in their eyes, and Beth was no doubt lost in some fantasy where she was wearing a tiara.

p.10 Something Wicked: A Horatio Wilkes Mystery Alan Gratz

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekly Round-Up 10/19 + an award

What are you reading Mondays? is a meme hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog.
Check out J.Kaye's Book Blog for what others are reading.

This week I'm reading Something Wicked (Gratz), Generation Dead (Waters), and Wake (Mann), well that's my reading plan right now .  On audio I'm listening to the Keys to the Kingdom series (Nix) and I'm on Grim Tuesday now.

Since last week I've finished Beautiful Creatures (Garcia/Stohl) and I'm doing a giveaway for that.  I also finished Something Rotten (Gratz).  On audio I finished Mister Monday and posted the review for Once Upon a Marigold (Ferris).

J.T. Oldfield at Bibliofreak gave me the Humane Award: this award is to honor certain bloggers that are kindhearted individuals. Thanks so much!  J.T. always leaves the nicest comments and is participating in my Shakespeare Challenge.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Something Rotten: A Horotio Wilkes Mystery

Horatio Wilkes is spending a few weeks at his friend Hamilton Prince's house.  Hamilton's father died recently and, with his mother marrying his uncle right after the funeral, Hamilton isn't doing too well.  But when a mysterious message from Hamilton's father arrives claiming to have been murdered, it's up to Horatio to solve the mystery and save Hamilton.  But whodunit? Was it Rex Prince's younger brother or his wife, Trudy, or Hamilton's ex-girlfriend, Olivia, who was after the elder Prince to clean up the family's paper factory?  Or was it Ford N. Branff, the multi-millionaire trying to take over Elsinore Paper?  All Horatio knows is that there is something rotten in Denmark, Tennessee and he's going to get to the bottom of it.

I knew the Princes were rich, but until it was staring me in the face I didn't realize they were super-villain rich. p.18

I wasn't too sure about this book before I started.  The premise was cool, a modern day take on Hamlet with Horatio as the detective.  Horatio was always one of my favorite Shakespearean characters.  He is so loyal and good, albeit a bit of an enabler for Hamlet (less so in this book).  But I have to say that I really enjoyed it.  I mean, the murderer was a bit of a no brainer if you've ever read Hamlet or seen the play, but the fun part was seeing how the characters are transformed to modern day characters.  With players named Hamilton Prince(Hamlet, Prince of Denmark), Rex Prince, Olivia Mendelsohn (Ophelia), and my favorites Ford N. Branff (Fortinbras), Roscoe Grant (Rosencrantz ), and Gilbert Stern (Guildenstern ), I knew this was going to be fun.  It read like a young adult version of a hard boiled detective novel and has some really great lines.  The dialogue was spot-on for that genre and it even had a touch of romance.  And, of course, a much happier ending than the real thing.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

From the Library 10/17

From the Library is my Saturday listing of what I checked out from the library this week.

Drowned Wednesday (audio) -  Garth Nix, read by Allan Corduner (Grim Tuesday didn't come it yet *sadness*)

Everyone is after Arthur Penhaligon. Strange pirates. Shadowy creatures. And Drowned Wednesday, whose gluttony threatens both her world and Arthur's. With his unlimited imagination and thrilling storytelling, Garth Nix has created a character and a world that become even more compelling with each book. As Arthur gets closer to the heart of his quest, the suspense and mystery grow more and more intense. . .

The Mermaid's Madness - Jim C. Hines (Yes! I've been waiting for this since The Stepsister Scheme)

What would happen if a star writer went back to the darker themes of the original fairy tales for plots, and then crossed the Disney princesses with Charlie's Angels? What he'd end up with is The Mermaid's Madness-a whole new take on The Little Mermaid. And with Jim C. Hines, of Jig the Goblin fame, penning the tale, you can
bet it won't be "They lived happily ever after."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Random Magic Tour Oct. 15 - Nov. 25, 2009

Random Magic Tour
Oct. 17 - Nov. 25, 2009

Author site: Sasha Soren
Main blog host: The Other Shelf
Contact the tour: @RM_TheCoven

Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom 1) (audio)

Arthur is an ordinary boy until he is chosen to become the Rightful Heir to the House, a place from which all other realms originated.   Armed only with the Lesser Key of the Lower House, Arthur must defeat Mister Monday, the Trustee who holds the power over the Lower House in order to go back to his own home and saved his world from a mysterious plague.

On the first day, Arthur should have died.

"Clearly the Old One had the capacity to kill -- or easily deliver some sort of final ending that sounded remarkably like death." 

Now I've already read what's out of the Keys to the Kingdom, but I wanted to go back and do a re-read for Lord Sunday which comes out next year (March?).  And what better way than to do an audio listen.  Allan Corduner is the narrator and he does a fantastic job.  He is also the narrator of The Book Thief which he does a great job reading as well. 

I really like Arthur.  He is a smart and sensible 12 year old boy.  He has one goal in mind: to save his town from the "Sleepy Plague" and finds that in order to do that he has to defeat Mister Monday which sets forth a chain reaction throughout the House and with the other Morrow Days.  So one action leads to many other adventures.  And I also like Susie Turquoise Blue.  She is so scrappy and funny and a good companion for Arthur.

So I'm not sure if I found any extra added details or anything but I certainly notice hints of what is to come, especially with the Will.  There are a lot of unanswered questions at the end and it sets up the series quite nicely.  There is also the beginning of the mythology of the series which is my favorite part.  The House was created by the Architect as the epicenter of the universe.  The Architect goes away and leaves parts of the House in the charge of the Trustees (collectively referred to as the Morrow Days). The Trustees were suppose to find a mortal to become the Rightful Heir of the Architect, but instead split the Will of the Architect into seven pieces and hid them throughout the House and the Secondary Realms and kept the Keys of power for themselves.  Because of this the House has fallen into disrepair until Part One of the Will escapes and makes Arthur the Rightful Heir.   And that is just the beginning.  There is much more and all kinds of literary references that make the series so fun.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

November Novella Challenge - COMPLETE

The November Novella Challenge is hosted by J.T. at Bibliofreak, the novella is, I feel, a marginalized type of fiction.  Longer than a short story, shorter than a novel, sometimes called a novelette, it’s tough to define.  In general, I consider it to be somewhere between 70 and 120 pages.  Perhaps it’s better to say what it is not?  It is not a play.  It is not epic poetry.  It is not a slim book of short stories.  It is not any sort of tract or treatise or manifesto or other such nonfiction.
But it IS perfect for a few things: curling up in front of a fire on a windy night, you can finish it off in one sitting.  And, alliteration?  Awesome.

So I will participate at
Level II: Read four novellas by November 30, 2009

So my list as of today.

1. D.A. by Connie Willis
2. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
3. Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case by Garth Nix
4. A War of Gifts by Orson Scott Card

Once Upon a Marigold (audio)

It was a very cute book aimed at the younger set (grade 5-9).  I liked it a lot, but I would have loved it when I was 10!  Christian runs away from his family when he is seven and lives with a troll who at first is not too happy about it but grows to love Christian like a son.  When Christian is around 18, he begins to P-mail (that's pigeon mail) with the princess who lives across the river and they become best friends.  When he becomes a servant at the castle and discovers a nefarious plot, he runs right into trouble to save Marigold and her father.

Once Upon a Marigold is not based on any fairy tales, but is definitely a fairy tale in its own right.  It's a very sweet story with lots of fun elements including trolls, giants, evil mothers, magic and a curse.  The ending's a bit of a cop-out but it sets up the sequel.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Beautiful Creatures + Giveaway!

Ethan lives in the sleepy southern town of Gatlin where nothing ever changes, until Lena shows up at school.  The niece of the town shut-in she is immediately shunned for being different, but Ethan is drawn to her anyway.  What mysteries lie at her uncle's house and what is the connection between Lena and Ethan?  As the weather rages in Gatlin, the two of them must figure out how to save Lena from her fate.
It had been a long dull day at Jackson without Hurricane Lena, and I was starting to wonder how I ever got through eight periods without all the trouble she caused me.  Without all the trouble she made me want to cause myself. p.132 ARC

After suffering from some slow starters, Beautiful Creatures sucked me right in and all I wanted to do was read it.  It was a real page turner.  It was interesting that it was told from the boy's point of view so there is a lot he is not privy too since he is not the one dealing with the magic.  Ethan is such a 16 year old boy and the emotion you get from him isn't how you expect a boy to feel.  But it was funny because he would have these intense emotions and on the outside just act chill, like it was no big deal.  If I was reading from Lena's POV I doubt I would have loved Ethan as much as I do.  Of course, I might have liked Lena more if it was her POV.  But she grew on me and, at the last, I understood more about her.  Oddly enough, it was her cousin that I found the most interesting even though she is just a bit part.  But I wish there had been more explanation about Ethan's abilities.

In ways, this book was the perfect book for me.  Magic, romance, crazy relatives, a dog like creature wolf thing, the creepy South; all of this spells Andrea.  But there was so much book involved that I kept losing details and wondering are they important and, yes they are, no they aren't, WTF, what just happened.  WHY won't anyone answer a damn question?  WHY!!?  Everyone is so cryptic and they are all just running around not answering questions and then it is the big OMG moment at the end and I'm going well, if you had just answered one freaking question then we'd all be in a better place.

Despite that, it was well worth my time and a good read.  It really moves at a great pace and makes you want to find out what happens next. And the emotion is so real.  I got a little teary at the end.  The visuals I got from the prose were great and I could see the entire thing.  I could even hear the soundtrack. It was nice to read a good book that wasn't a series for a change.  I miss standalones and this was definitely a good one.

ETA: I'm using this for the R.I.P. Challenge


So I'm giving away my (gently read) ARC* copy of Beautiful Creatures.  If you are interested, please leave a comment below with your e-mail or Twitter name if you have one and don't want to give out your e-mail.  Contest open to US and Canada and ends on October 31, 2009.  Winner will be chosen at random.

*an ARC I received from The Tome Traveller's Weblog

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays - Beautiful Creatures

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
Grab your current read

Open to a random page

Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

I had barely made it into my bed before the sun rose, and I was tired - bone tired, as Amma would say. Now I was waiting for Link on the corner.

p. 176 ARC

I know we are suppose to do a random quote, but I picked this for a specific reason. One day I was really tired and I said that I was bone tired. My husband claimed that "bone tired" was not actually an expression and I had made it up. But I said that it was because sometimes you are tired to the bone and therefore you are bone tired. Anyway, when I saw it in this book I ran to find him and read it to him. So there! HA!

Monday, October 12, 2009

What I'm Reading 10/12 (Weekly Round-Up) +an award!

What are you reading Mondays? is a meme hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog.
Check out J.Kaye's Book Blog for what others are reading.
This week I'm reading Beautiful Creatures (Garcia/Stohl) followed by Generation Dead (Waters), Something Rotten (Gratz) and Wake (Mann).  I doubt I will get through all of that but that's my reading plan right now.  I'm listening to Mister Monday (Nix) which will be followed by Grim Tuesday (Nix).

Since last week, I've finished Ash (Lo) and The Dead and the Gone (Pfeffer).  And, on audio, I've finished Once Upon a Marigold (Ferris) and  Fairest (Levine) (reviews saved for Fairy Tale Week in November).  The review for Ophelia (Klein) went up last week too.


Amanda at the Zen Leaf gave me the Dragon Loyalty Award, a loyalty award, for those who are loyal commenters.  Thanks Amanda! I try to comment as much as can on Amanda's blog, but it's easy since she writes the best and most thoughtful reviews.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Miyuki-chan in Wonderland (Based on a Book)

Ahahahaha, okay I knew what I was getting into when I decided to watch this.  I wanted an anime Alice in Wonderland as part of the challenge and I found this.  Ya'll.   ...  ... so Miyuki-chan in Wonderland is based on yuri manga by the same name by CLAMP, a very well known manga artist group.  I've read and watched other things by them, but never anything like this.

(Remember everyone is female in this description.)

So in the first part, Miyuki is late for school when a girl dressed in a bunny suit skates by her saying she is late too.  Then they both fall down a hole where Miyuki is alone.  There she finds a girl on a door and it turns out the girl is the door and Miyuki finds her doorknobs (more like door knockers *chuckle* if you know what I mean and I think you do) and goes through to be confronted by a pair of twins who challenger her to a duel.  Once she escapes, she stumbles into a tea party where the Mad Hatter tries to seduce her.  After she escapes from them, she finds the playing cards painting the roses red and is almost punished by the Queen but runs from her and, well, you know the rest.

The second part finds Miyuki pulled into Mirrorland by her mirror image.  There the girl Jabberwocky flies her to a field with some *ahem* interesting flowers invited her to do *ahem* play (that's what she said!) but she runs away and encounters a beautiful butterfly, but accidentally blows her away with a sigh.  Miyuki herself is then blown away and lands on a chessboard controlled by Humpty Dumpty.  She plays a game against her mirror-self and when the other Miyuki loses and starts to lose her clothes, Miyuki runs to her to stop her and ends up back in her room.

So basically, Miyuki runs around escaping from scantily clad women trying to seduce her and she is so polite about it and the whole thing is freaking hilarious.  I don't know, but I laughed the whole time.  The music is this upbeat bubbly constant stuff, but it just added the general insanity of the whole thing.  Apparently, this is a whole series about Miyuki going to different lands and the same thing keeps happening to her.  It was cute, especially if you like anime, but if you like sweet non-sexual anime then this is a definite no.  Me, though, I just thought it was weird and funny.

*For the "Watch and review one other movie listed under 'Film'" part but I asked Jenny and she said this was okay

Saturday, October 10, 2009

From the Library 10/10

From the Library is my Saturday listing of what I checked out from the library this week.
 Only two this week which is good since I have a lot checked out.

Mister Monday (audio) - Garth Nix, read by Alan Corduner
(I've read this before, but I want to do a re-read or, in this case, a listen to the entire series before Lord Sunday comes out. (also for my Garth Nix challenge)) Arthur Penhaligon's school year is not off to a good start. On his first day, he suffers an asthma attack while running cross country and dreams that a mysterious figure hands him a key shaped like the minute hand of a clock. However, when he wakes up, he still has the key. That's when strange things begin to happen. Mister Monday dispatches terrifying, dog-faced Fetchers to retrieve it, a bizarre sleeping illness sweeps the city, and only Arthur can see the weird new house that appears in his neighborhood. The seventh grader knows it all has something to do with the key, one of seven elusive fragments of the Will to which he has become heir apparent, and a mysterious atlas. When he ventures inside the house, he meets more strange characters than he could have imagined, none of whom are what they seem. And, of course, he must battle Monday, who will do anything to get the key back. With the help of the key, Arthur must fight his way out.

Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace
(I've never read a Betsy-Tacy book even though my sister used to love them and read them all the time.  But lately I've seen some reviewed so I thought I'd try a childhood classic I haven't read)
Best Friends Forever:
There are lots of children on Hill Street, but no little girls Betsy's age. So when a new family moves into the house across the street, Betsy hopes they will have a little girl she can play with. Sure enough, they do--a little girl named Tacy. And from the moment they meet at Betsy's fifth birthday party, Betsy and Tacy become such good friends that everyone starts to think of them as one person--Betsy-Tacy.
Betsy and Tacy have lots of fun together. They make a playhouse from a piano box, have a sand store, and dress up and go calling. And one day, they come home to a wonderful surprise--a new friend named Tib.
Ever since their first publication in the 1940's, the Betsy-Tacy stories have been loved by each generation of young readers.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Dead and the Gone (The Last Survivors 2)

The companion to Life As We Knew It is told from the point of view of 17 year old Alex.  Worried about college, he and his family are unprepared for life after the moon is pushed out of its orbit by a asteroid.  With his parents missing and his older brother gone, Alex must take care of his younger sisters and navigate a new and dangerous world for the three of them.

*highlight white areas for spoilers*
"As long as he prayed he didn't have to think.  He didn't have to remember.  He didn't have to decide.  He didn't have to acknowledge he was entering a world where no one had laid out the rules for him to follow, a world where there might not be any rules left for any of them to follow."  p.65
I'm going to say that this was a very impressive book.  Usually sequels and especially middle books don't live up to the first book.  I think The Dead and the Gone completely lived up to Life As We Knew It.   There was very little rehashing of the events leading up to the moon crash and we get to the complex problem of living with hardly any resources very quickly.  I found it a little hard to believe that Alex's family didn't really know about it since Miranda's school made such a big deal about it, but maybe since they were in NYC they didn't think it would affect them.  I don't know.  But, while Miranda had her mom, Alex doesn't have any adults living with him to make the hard decisions so he has to make them for himself and his younger sisters and he questions his choices all the time.  And while Miranda's family had very little religion, Alex's family are devoted Catholics.  The Catholicism is very heavy in this book and while it bothered some people, I know families who are very Catholic so it was okay with me.

While I don't normally look at other reviews right before I write one, I did for this book.  It seems a lot of people had a problem with the switch from first person diary form to third person narrative.  This didn't bother me like it did others.  Only because I know that the third book (This World We Live In) will involve the characters from both books and I'm hoping that it is written from Miranda's POV.  To me that would make sense and the change of POV in TDTG won't matter since I don't like moving one person's head to another in a trilogy.  The only way I will care about the shift is if the POV alternates between Alex and Miranda and then I will call bull.  The OTHER big problem that people had so the stereotypical portrayal of a Puerto Rican family.  Now I will admit that I can't comment one way or the other on whether this is true or not.  But I will say that I remember wondering if this was really how Puerto Rican fathers acted towards their families and sons, especially.  But it played out since I know that a lot of fathers expect their sons to act a certain way, no matter their nationality and that since it was Alex's impression of his father, it might not be the most accurate.  Sometimes what we think people think about us is not the actual truth.

As dark as LAWKT was, it was nothing compared to TDTG.  Dead bodies, rats, riots and violence permeate this book and it seems completely natural given that all this takes place in a large city.  The threat of violence in LAWKT is almost non-existent since Miranda is sheltered and separated from the rest of her town, but living in NYC increases Alex and his sisters contact with others and, of course, they are teenagers living alone so it heightens the reality of their situation.  One of the good things is that you get more information on what is happening worldwide and more about the cause and effect of the moon crash. And while the ending was sad and abrupt, it was also hopeful.  TDTG could almost stand on its own.  Meanwhile, I can't wait for the third book to come out.  I have high hopes.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


In a modern telling of Cinderella, Ash is subjected to the humiliations of becoming a servant to her stepmother when her father dies.  In her grief and desolation she wishes to be taken away by the fairies, but when she meets the King's Huntress, her wishes begin to change.

"As the people swayed and stamped and sung their way around the bonfire, Ash knew that this was what the fairies were always hunting for: a circle of joy, hot and brilliant, the scent of love in the deepest winter...How it must disappoint them; that they would never be human." p.247

Honestly, you know, the Cinderella tale has never been one of my favorites1.  She is usually so weak and pathetic, very accepting and tra la la about her situation, just putting up with her stepfamily's abuse.  But Ash gave me a different insight.  It is about an abused girl who can't just walk away.  She has no one else and is usually young when her father dies so there is no where to go.  Abused children are helpless because they have no idea how to save themselves.   While Ash is not physically abused (well, not really) she is definitely mentally abused by her stepmother once her father dies.  Made to work in the kitchens and become their servant to pay off her father's debts, Ash has no way to escape this situation.  So she wishes and prays for the fairies in the forest to take her away where it would be better to serve them for many lifetimes than to serve her stepmother for one human lifetime.  So she actively seeks out the fairies, when conventional wisdom tell her that it is a dangerous thing to do and meets Sidhean, a beautiful fairy who befriends but does not take her into his world.  It is when she meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, that she begins to change her world for herself. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


In Hamlet, Ophelia is a strange creature.  Seemingly in love with Hamlet and driven to madness by the death of her father at Hamlet's hands, she is suddenly gone from the story.  But what is the true story of Ophelia's madness and how deep did her feeling for Lord Hamlet go?  Ophelia explores her background and the true story of Ophelia's love affair with the Danish prince.

Ophelia is one of my favorite Shakespearean characters.  I've always been fascinated by her.  When I was in 12th grade and we read Hamlet and had to do a project, I made a chart of her flowers and their meanings.  It was her character that got me interested in flower language.  But it was always a mystery of her real relationship to Hamlet.  It seems like they were in love or, at least courting, but you never get the full background on the situation.  In Ophelia, Klein gives a full back story to Ophelia and her relationship with Hamlet.  Ophelia's story starts when she was 12 and her family moves to the castle and she first sees the little Prince Hamlet.  And it shows their developing relationship and her part in his play on madness and revenge scheme after the death of his father.  I liked the idea that Ophelia both understood and didn't understand what was going on with Hamlet.  And that she tried to help at first, but his madness made her question everything.  I thought the ending was really good.  Although the book was slow in parts, it was well written using the language style of the play without being too hard to read.  The only complaint may be, if you haven't read the play, then parts of this might be hard to understand as somethings are glossed over.

*highlight for spoilers*

I liked the idea that Ophelia doesn't actually die, but fakes her death à la Juliet and lives on in a convent.  So she actually does get herself to a nunnery.  And she gives birth to Hamlet's son which is so wonderful and that Horatio finds her and probably marries her since it was obvious he loved her all along.  I'm not too sure how I feel about her and Hamlet marrying secretly, but it moves parts of the story along.

*end spoilers*

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays - Ash

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
Grab your current read

Open to a random page

Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page3

I cheated and did 3 this week.

"Ash stood at the front door and watched the carriage roll away with her stepmother and stepsisters inside, and then she shut the door after them. The house was silent. She took her cloak and went out the kitchen door and did not look back."

pg. 64 Ash - Malinda Lo

Monday, October 5, 2009

What I'm Reading 10/5

What are you reading Mondays? is a meme hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog.
Check out J.Kaye's Book Blog for what others are reading.

This week I'm reading Ash (Lo) and probably The Dead and the Gone (Pfeffer).  I'm listening to Once Upon a Marigold (Ferris), followed by Fairest (Levin).
Since last week I've finished Ophelia (Klein, review Wednesday) and on audio, I've finished The Wish (Levin).

I started a new challenge, the Garth Nix Mini-Challenge if anyone is interested.  And reviews went up for Life As We Knew It (Pfeffer), Wings (Pike, my first vlog), and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (movie).

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (movie) (Based on a Book)

So last Sunday, we went to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  It wasn't showing in 3D at our local theater but that was fine.  I liked it.  It was very cute and funny.  If you think it's going to be like the book, then think again.  Flint Lockwood is a failed inventor until he invents a machine that can change water into food.  When his invention is shot in the sky and it starts to rain food, everyone is excited until giant food starts to fall from the sky. The movie does include some of the iconic images from the book including the jello "sunset," pancakes on the school, and the roofless restaurant.  The animation was very curvy and fluid.
The little man seemed to like it especially the giant gummy bears.  And the little kids sitting next to me enjoyed it as well.  There were some very funny parts that made the whole audience laugh and I really liked Sam Sparks, the TV weatherperson sent to cover the phenomenon.

Check out my book review here.

Cross posted with Annie, I think.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

From the Library 10/3

From the Library is my (formerly Friday, now) Saturday listing of what I checked out from the library this week.  It was a small haul but after last week, that is good since I have a lot to read.

Wild Orchid: A Retelling of "The Battle of Mulan" - Cameron Dokey (When I went looking for fractured fairy tales as part of my fairy tale kick, I discovered Cameron Dokey who writes a lot of those.  I had no idea that Mulan was an actual fairy tale so I'm excited to read this one.)

Wielding a sword as deftly as an embroidery needle, Mulan is unlike any other girl in China. When the emperor summons a great army, each family must send a male to fight. Tomboyish Mulan is determined to spare her aging father and bring her family honor, so she disguises herself and answers the call.
But Mulan never expects to find a friend, let alone a soul mate, in the commander of her division, Prince Jian. For all of Mulan's courage with a bow and arrow, is she brave enough to share her true identity and feelings with Prince Jian?

Story Time - Edward Bloor (Recently I read a negative review of Story Time so I feel like going back and re-reading it just to check.  I liked it but it's been a long time since I read it.)
When eighth grader Kate and her Uncle George (who is two years younger than her) receive letters inviting them to attend the Whittaker Magnet School, home of nasty protein shakes and the freakish "Test-Based Curriculum," their reactions are mixed. George, somewhat of a genius, is pleased, while Kate is horrified. Still, as a search on-line reveals, their house is suddenly in the Whittaker school district, so off they go. It's not long, before they discover something very strange is afoot at their new school. For one thing, the Whittaker-Austin family has rather alarming delusions of grandeur. For another, it seems a number of people have died at the school under mysterious circumstances. Then there's the librarian called Pogo, who speaks only in Mother Goose rhymes. With the President of the United States on his way for a tour of the school, the Whittaker-Austins want to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible--meaning no dead bodies in the soft drink cooler, no shenanigans from the mushroom-pale zombie students, and definitely no unscheduled visits from the resident demon.

Blue Moon - Alyson Noel (sequel to Evermore)

Eager to learn everything she can about her new abilities as an Immortal, Ever turns to her beloved Damen to show her the way. But just as her powers are increasing, Damen’s are waning.  In an attempt to save him, Ever travels to the magical dimension of Summerland, where she learns the secrets of Damen’s tortured past; a past which he has always kept hidden from her. But in her quest to cure Damen, Ever discovers an ancient text that details the workings of time. Now Ever must chose between turning back the past and saving her family from the accident that claimed their lives—or staying in the present and saving Damen, who grows sicker every day...