Friday, October 29, 2010

Book Blogger Hop, Follow Friday and a Giveaway

This week's question for the Hop:
"What is the one bookish thing you would love to have, no matter the cost?"
A reading room that's all tricked out! 
I want it to have a full coffee bar, and the comfiest chairs ever and bookshelves everywhere and a big screen tv (sometimes I need background noise), and giant beautiful windows and comfy blankets and pillows and ... and... and.... XD There's so much!

 This week's question for Follow Friday:

If you have, or would have a daughter, what book
would you want your daughter to read?

 Well... let's consider this? What age are we talking about here?

Young: Stephen Kellogg, David Weisner, Magic Treehouse,  to name a few
Mid-Grade:  I would like to encourage books like Cornelia Funke's stuff for slightly younger kids
YA: I can tell you what I will try to keep my daughter from reading... and that is anything Twilight-esque... anything where the girl thinks life isn't worth living unless she's in a relationship, anything where the relationship is unhealthy and abusive and yet still touted as an amazing love story.
As for what I would hope she would read? Things like Harry Potter, Narnia, Lord of the Rings, The Hounds of the Morrigan, Percy Jackson... 


Don't forget to enter my Spooktacular giveaway! All you need to do is leave a comment with your email address to enter!

Go HERE to enter!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

REVIEW: Nation by Terry Pratchett (Audiobook)

By Terry Pratchett
Read by Stephen Briggs

Mau had been getting ready to trade his boy soul in for his man soul when a tsunami destroyed his home. Coming back to carnage instead of a warm greeting from his village, he finds death and destruction... and Daphne.

Daphne had been on a Schooner at sea when the tsunami hit, breaking her ship upon the island. Alone and afraid, she discovers Mau burying his dead, and, after one attempt at foolishness, decides he's not so bad, and that they must communicate.
Together, they forge a friendship that will take them from childhood to adulthood, and surpass prejudice to form a Nation.

Character Likability:
Mau: Possibly the most conflicted character in this story, Mau has to deal with having no soul, having no gods, drowning out the voices of the past, dealing with the voices of the present and figuring out how to make a future. By having his people washed away, he finds out more about them than he ever would have had life continued on as it always had. He's a pretty heavy character, and often has to take on serious endeavors.
Daphne: An incredibly likable girl, Daphne had been sick and tired of her role in society...  so while at first she makes a hasty choice, she quickly realizes how wrong she was, and that now all the rules have changed.
Ataba: Foolishly holding on to the ways of the past, even though greater things are being uncovered all around him... rushing to keep those things hidden, even if it results in his death... he is an excellent example of what can happen when one closes ones eyes to the evidence around them and instead chooses to blindly follow what they have been told is right.
Other Characters: There are a plethora of interesting supporting characters in this story, all of whom are appropriately wicked, or appropriately pleasant. All of them are enjoyable.

Quality of Writing:
This work has been touted as some of Pratchett's finest... and while the topics are serious, often dark and much heavier than your normal Pratchett novel (honestly, Pratchett often plays with some heavy topics, but he manages to do it so humorously that you're able to laugh at the subject matter without being weighed down entirely by it... he often makes us laugh at ourselves before we know what we're doing) they are still interesting and the story flows smoothly.

This one had a bittersweet but realistic ending.

This plot deals with a lot of heavy issues. Religion, Individual vs. Society, Civilized vs. Barbaric, the transformation from Child to Adult and where exactly those boundaries lie... and who defines them. It plays with the concept of what actually makes a Nation, and with the ambiguity of defining things like that in the first place. The gods and adulthood are all very similar to the concept of 'Nation' in this novel, all of them being difficult to define. Daphne, herself, goes a long way to debunk a lot of the mysticism behind Mau's culture... when she works out that while there are traditions, like spitting in the beer and then singing the "beer song"... that really, the spit defuses the poison (the beer is poisonous unless it's spit in and sung to) and the song... well, it doesn't really matter which song you sing, so long as it's a specific length, ie, the length of time needed for the spit to react and de-poison the beer... there is a lot of that sort of thing in this book, and at the same time, there are magical elements that cannot be explained away through science. I don't think Pratchett was out to say religion is hokum and science can explain it all away, I think he was just pointing out that it's a wavering line and sometimes things that should be solvable with religion actually require science, and sometimes things that should require science really require some belief. Really, there is a lot to think about in this book, for those who care to really dive into what an author is trying to say... and for those who don't? It's still a really good, touching story about two people who have lost everything, only to find so much more.

Believability of World:
This is Pratchett's first non-Discworld novel since 1996... so a knowledge of his other works is not necessary. You can pick this one up and dive in, it is a stand-alone... and the world it exists in is an alternate version of ours, around the 1860's (It is mentioned that the Origin of Species was recently published)

Audio Quality:

Stephen Briggs does another fantastic job. This is the 3rd Pratchett book I've listened to as read by him, and they have all been amazing.

Overall Grade: B+

Monday, October 25, 2010

REVIEW: A Hat Full of Sky Audiobook

 A Hat Full of Sky 
By Terry Pratchett
Read by Stephen Briggs

Tiffany has begun her journey as a witch, starting out as an apprentice to Miss Level, a rather odd witch who usually drives her apprentices off through no fault of her own. Unfortunately, Tiffany's apprenticeship is disrupted by the arrival of a hiver, a parasitic creature that takes over a person's being and causes them to behave VERY badly. With the help of Miss Level, Granny Weatherwax and the unforgettable Nac Mac Feegle, Tiffany begins the battle of her life, to win her body back from the hiver.

Character Likability:
Tiffany: Tiffany is a determined, logical young girl who is 100% Pratchett Witch material. While Tiffany herself is not one of my favorite Pratchett witches (that would be Weatherwax and Ogg to name a few), she is likable, and the fact that she's supplemented by the Nac Mac Feegle helps to offset her seriousness.
Nac Mac Feegle: ACH CRIVENS! The Nac Mac Feegle are hilarious, and in each book in this series (especially in the audio versions) I found myself laughing out loud at them.

Miss Level: She's a very interesting witch and I am quite amused that so many young witches were frightened by her. I like her quite a lot.
Granny Weatherwax: Probably my favorite Pratchett witch... she is dead serious, but kind of nutty-goofy in her own way, and prone to kindness when it least suits her.

Quality of Writing:
I find that all of the Tiffany Aching series is fast flowing and entertaining... mostly because you can't wait to see what the Feegle do next!

I love the solutions that Pratchett comes up with for his books. Sometimes I see them coming, and sometimes I don't... mainly because he often wraps them up in the lore of discworld, which is something I don't know!
This ending was no exception. It was clever, and allowed for another of my all-time favorite Pratchett characters to show up. Won't name any names though ;)

First off, I LOVE Pratchett's ability to name his books. He'll probably always get a 5/5 from me on that. I've yet to see him miss the mark on the name. Hat full of sky refers back to Tiffany's beloved Grandma Aching... and actually, at one point in this audio... she says the line "When I am old, I shall wear midnight"... and I Shall Wear Midnight is the last of the Tiffany Aching stories, so I was quite impressed by the set-up.
Anyhow, this story begins with Tiffany getting ready to leave home so she can train to be a witch. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to her more experienced witch mentors, she has learned the trick of stepping out of her body... and at one point, when she does, something called a hiver comes in and takes her over. She is left to struggle with it internally, while everyone else is trying to figure out what is going on externally. It showcases some of Tiffany's power that even she has no idea how to use, and it plays on the themes of fairytales (as do all the Aching books) and making assumptions.

Believability of World:
If you're familiar with other works in the discworld series, then this is a very well founded world... same as if you've already read the other Tiffany Aching book before this... but if you're coming into this one without reading anything else, I recommend you put it down and pick up the beginning of the Aching series first. Pratchett has built himself a very complete and complex world, and you need a little background!

Audio Quality:
Stephen Briggs does such a wonderful job reading Pratchett stories! These stories have a girl as the main character, but having a man read them isn't off-putting at all. He does it wonderfully, and his representation of the Nac Mac Feegle is phenomenal. I had read this book before listening to the audio, and I think he does it 100% justice.

Overall Grade: A (The Nac Mac Feegle always make me laugh out loud reading these books, I think they're some of my favorite literary characters of all time. Even if you tried to read the discworld series and didn't like it... pick up the Tiffany Aching series. They're hilarious... and Stephen Briggs makes the Feegle sound so amusing!)

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox Monday
Go HERE to check out the linky list for In My Mailbox Monday

Nothing! (haha! I did it!)


A signed copy of Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia

Matched by Ally Condie

The Hunted of 2060 by Ami Blackwelder


The Water of Kane and other legends of the Hawaiian Islands by Mary Kawena Puku'i

Take the Cannoli by Sarah Vowell

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Spooktacular Book Blog Giveaway Hop!!

Welcome to the... 
I will be giving away the ever creepy, ever enjoyable retelling of a classic favorite...

You will have until October 31st to enter, and this giveaway IS International!

How To Enter:

All you have to do is post a comment with an email address so I can contact you if you win!
(sorry for making it so crazy large, but I've gotten several entries with no emails already!)

And, of course, don't miss out on the fun, there are 86 other blogs having awesome giveaways!

Just follow this linky list to go to the other giveaways!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Book Blogger Hop, Follow Friday and a Review!

Book Blogger Hop

"Where is your favorite place to read? Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?"

I have a little love seat in my home, on this love seat, I have one of those pillows with the little arms that shoot out the side to prop you up. I lay on the love seat, my back against the pillow, my feet against the armrest on the far side... and end up in a slightly reclined, mostly sitting position, perfect for propping the book on my legs, perfect for hours of reading, perfect for sipping a nice warm drink as I flip pages, and perfectly spaced if a fluffy little kitty wants to come and curl up on my lap :)


What are you currently reading? Basically, what book is that?

I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

This is the last in the Tiffany Aching series featuring what are possiblly my favorite discworld characters, The Wee Free Men. Otherwise known as Nac Mac Feegle, known for shouting things such as "Ach, Crivens!" and "wailywailywaily"... they make me laugh out loud when I'm reading, and they issue complaints such as "Ach, I kicked meself in me own heed!" How can you not like such feisty little fighters?


The Strangers Outside
by Vanessa Morgan

Two sisters, Jennifer and Louise, return to their remote holiday cabin after a day at the seaside. But little do they know they’re being surrounded. Shortly after their arrival, the girls will come face to face with THE STRANGERS OUTSIDE. When the assailants make their intentions known, things take ashockingly terrible turn and an intense battle for survival
will begin.

Character Likability:
Jennifer is an almost wholly unlikable character. She's down on herself, she's down on life, she's just down. She's also whiny and worthless in a pinch. You find out later she has more reason for that than you suspect, but still, she is a passive character, even in her own life.
Louise, the older sister, is much more likable. She's stronger, determined, and trying to make a better life for both her and her sister. She refuses to let negativity bring her down and is appropriately in shocked disbelief at the attitude of her sister.

Quality of Writing:
This was a fast flowing, action packed story. There were no lulls, there were no parts where I was just wishing the story would get on with it... it was constant action from start to finish.

It was an interesting ending, but I would have liked to have seen either more back story on the events leading up to this (the bit about the psychics contacting people) or more alarm from the characters at the very end. I know these are the determined, decisive characters, but still, I wouldn't be willing to split up with the people I found after what had happened... and I certainly wouldn't want to go back to my house by myself!! I think the thing that threw me the most in the whole story was Louise saying she was just going to go home at the end. If you had really just escaped something so terrifying, could you really just decide to go right back again... alone?

A very interesting idea, and something that could definitely be a longer story. The motivation of the Strangers is left unexplored and that isn't a bad thing. It leaves the reader wondering "Why?!" and admittedly, reflecting a bit on their own lifestyles and wondering if they'd be chosen too. I mean, I know I'm not as helpless and somewhat pathetic as Jennifer... but still... creeeeepy!
Setting the girls on vacation in an unfamiliar setting helped too, because it threw them off, they were unable to do exactly what needed to be done when it needed to be done, and it made sense as to why... it wasn't just one of those "Oh gee, I'm a lame scared girl" situations you see so often in scary settings. The description of the Strangers, also, was incredibly creepy. There is a line about them seeming to have faces that were too big... and it's imagery like that that just creeps me out in stories... when you take a human feature and describe it as "wrong" somehow.

Believability of World:
Believable. It was set in this world, and it felt like it. I could imagine looking out my own window and seeing the Strangers, and that's creepy.

Overall Grade: B- (This was a really fun, creepy read PERFECT for Halloween!)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cast Your Villain Entry

For mine:

The Villain: Porphyrion from The Lost Hero

My casting:  The Jolly Green Giant 

Go HERE to join in the fun!

Waiting On Wednesday

This week's Waiting on Wednesday?

The Warlock
by Michael Scott

As far as I can find, this book doesn't have a cover yet, so I posted the cover from the first book in the series!
Release Date: May 24, 2011

Before I first started reading this series I thought, "Oh great, something else profiting off the success of Harry Potter... blah"

I quickly realized this book offers something totally different from the Harry Potter series, and to think of it like that was wholly unfair. Michael Scott is an expert in faerie tales and mythologies, and you can tell that his background is rich in these topics when you read these books.

They play with being immortal, and with being at historical events and possible even being the cause of them.

REVIEW: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

  The Lost Hero
by Rick Riordan

**NOTE: I WOULD NOT recommend reading this series without having read the Percy Jackson series first... 1. You just won't care as much about certain characters as you should (such as Rachel) and 2. The fact that Percy Jackson is missing won't be quite as big a deal to you as it should be... not to mention you'll be missing out on so much backstory that it will really detract from the experience**

Jason wakes up on a bus, not remembering who he is or how he got there, but he's surrounded by people claiming to be his girlfriend and his best friend. He suspects that isn't right, though... he suspects he doesn't actually know these people at all. Then, when the bus arrives at its destination, a class trip to the Grand Canyon, Jason finds out that his suspicions were right, and that he is destined to partake in a deadly prophecy.

Character Likability:
Jason: The victim of severe memory loss, you travel through this story watching odd bits of information come to him without him knowing why. Based on his knowledge, the things he says and how he acts, it's not to hard to figure out things about his parents and his circumstances... but you still like Jason and feel a bit sorry for him. He wasn't my favorite of the main characters, but seeing as how he doesn't know himself, it's a little hard for the reader to really know him either. I honestly find myself wondering how much I will like him when he gets his full memory back.
Piper: Piper is a half Cherokee/ half God... which has real potential to make for interesting stories later on... in fact, I think she could have her own spin off series involving Native American gods, since, with the background you do get concerning her and her father, you learn there are a lot of issues there with being a Native American. She starts the story off kind of weak, and really evolves as a character, finding her own strength and learning to believe in herself. By the end of the story I'm quite fond of her... although I do think it will be interesting to see how the author handles her and Jason. Piper is the girl on the bus who thinks she's Jason's girlfriend, and thoughts like that just don't go away, for her and for Jason... but as Jason remembers more, he remembers that there might be a girl where he came from who meant something to him. It will be interesting to see if the author makes this other girl likable, and to see what happens for Piper.
Another thing I found interesting about Piper was her issue with going to a camp called Camp Half Blood... and it makes me wonder if someone pointed out to Rick Riordan that this was used as a negative term by some peoples, or if he knew it all along.
Leo: My favorite of the main characters, Leo, felt the most real. Possibly because he doesn't have such a fantastical family history. He's just a kid who got the short end of the stick... even if the short end has gods attached to it. He's got a tragic past, and when he gets to Camp Half Blood, he really questions his future... seeing as how he believes he's bad luck for his cabin mates. He has a fun little sense of humor though, quirky without being over the top or forced, and the way he's always creating things is really entertaining. He's bright without being unbelievably brilliant... he still feels like the kid he is... and he appropriately is upset when bad things happen.  I enjoyed his honesty with himself as well. There's one point where he's forced to tell Jason the worst things he thinks about him, and Leo is able to admit to himself that those were his thoughts, not ones he was forced to think (think "Harry/Ron" syndrome)... and I was really glad to see that one of the "side" characters (because it's obvious that Jason is the Percy character from the last series) is given a lot of really cool powers and personality.
Other Characters: You see a return of beloved characters from the Percy Jackson series here... Annabelle, Thalia, the kids from the houses, Chiron... notably missing... Grover and Percy. A new character that was introduced was their teacher, Gleeson Hedge from the school they met at (another faun) who is a funny little guy, and is refrained from being annoying by not being involved TOO much in the story. He was a nice, cute little touch. Also added was Piper's father, Tristan, who is haunted by both his heritage and Piper's mother leaving him. One final character I adored from this series was Festus, the Bronze Dragon (as seen on the cover of the book). I truly enjoyed Festus and thought he was the cutest dragon ever. Of course there were the gods... but they stuck pretty much to how you'd expect them to be. There were some villians that were interesting as well, but half the fun of a Rick Riordan book is trying to figure out what nasty you're about to meet, so no names mentioned for fear of spoiling the fun!

Quality of Writing:
Riordan dives right in with mystery and action. Jason wakes up not knowing who he is, and pages later, they're fighting for their lives. The action and adventure keep up, with practically no lulls... and I was a bit appreciative of the fact that Riordan wrote in them catching sleep whenever they could... because you seriously wondered how these characters had the energy to keep going! Ahh, the benefits of being half god. Seriously though, a dynamic, engaging read.

You saw the end of this one coming, but that didn't make it any less interesting. I LOVE Riordan's explanation of things, and I can't wait to hear more of it. I think it's creative and downright believable. I'd love to go into detail about it... but that would be serious spoiler territory.
I also really enjoy the wrap-up on Piper's Dad... using characters from earlier in the story, you can't help but feel satisfied with the outcome. It also really pulls together the title of the book, and promises a lot more fun adventure to come.

The plot in this one, as far as I'm concerned, is amazing. I absolutely LOVE Riordan's ability to bring all of these ancient myths into a book for kids and make them 100% intense and exciting. It's really paying tribute to all of these old, classic, amazing stories that are often presented so dryly that children take no interest. In this particular book, the way Riordan is dealing with the different aspects of the gods is ingenious. It calls into question things you took for granted in the former books (The Percy Jackson Series) and it also makes you seriously think about the gods themselves, and how different cultures viewed the same thing from different angles. Honestly, the plot in this series has me even more interested than the plot in the Percy Jackson books ever did. I think Riordan is doing something really creative and fun here.

Believability of World:
Believable. This is a book that's like the Harry Potter ones... it's set in our own world, just with this amazing, mysterious world existing along side it. And I still am amused that this is Riordan's explanation of ADD and ADHD. I think that's a wonderfully imaginative solution to what I think is an over-diagnosed problem.

Overall Grade: A+ (Seriously. This books ability to be both interesting and educational is phenomenal. Would I have my children read this? YES. Would I tout this book and try to get as many other people to read it as possible? YES. Will I sing its praises far and wide? YES. I *really* love these books... and if you're avoiding the Riordan books for any of the following reasons:
1. You avoid books that are over-hyped, on principal
2. You saw the movie and it was silly (which it was, ESPECIALLY the end, grr)
3. Mythology is boring... *yawn*
Then CUT IT OUT. These books deserve to be read. They are wonderful stories... all of what I've read by Riordan so far, which includes the entire Percy Jackson series, The Red Pyramid and The Lost Hero. Read them, or, if you have no interest, then at least let your kids read them. They'll learn something.

And check out Rick Riordan's blog here:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology

The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology

This book was kind enough to solve my issue with anthologies right on the front, with a blurb that said these were all new stories. You have no idea how much I appreciate that kind of thing!

Most of these stories were pretty fun, and well written.
Thanks to the convoluted idea that this should be some 'deep and meaningful' collection, the editor of this anthology threw in at least one real stinker. Not that the story itself was bad, but it just WASN'T a zombie story. AT ALL.

Other than that, most of the stories were really enjoyable. There were a few that I personally thought were really bad, and I explain why after the jump (where I review each story individually).

Individual Story Reviews Behind Jump!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

In My Mailbox

For me, this has been a very Terry Pratchett filled week!
(Also, please vote for a Harry Potter Character Tombstone phrase, poll is to my right in the sidebar!)
Go join in In My Mailbox fun @ The Story Siren

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris

From the Library:
The Wee Free Men Audio Book
Guards! Guards! Audio Book
Hat Full of Sky Audio Book
Wintersmith Audio Book

VOTE! For your favorite Harry Potter Character Tombstone!

Hi Folks!
This was my Mini Challenge for the Halloween Read-a-thon!
I asked people to create a tombstone phrase for a Harry Potter Character 
(they got to choose which character)

Now, readers, I ask you... please vote on your favorite one! 

The poll is in my sidebar, right at the top... so cast your vote!
Votes will be tallied this weekend and a winner will be announced!

Thank you!

For the Read-a-thon, I read:
The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
The New Dead (Anthology)
St. Lunatic High School Volume 1
St. Lunatic High School Volume 2
The Walking Dead Book 1
Beasts of Burden

Reviews to come!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Halloween Read-A-Thon Mini Challenges!!

YA Addict asked what the scariest book I ever read was... well... the answer, sadly, is this...

 I actually would hide this book in locked cabinets as a child, it scared me so much... and I STILL think about those stories. I'm sure they'd be silly now, but they scared the bajeebus out of me as a kid.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday and a GIVEAWAY

Another week, another Hop and Follow... and Giveaway!

This weeks giveaway only lasts the weekend, ending 10/17, so check it out HERE!
The prize is an Emily the Strange Prize Pack!

Now on to the Hop:

Book Blogger Hop

The Question This Week:

"When you read a book that you just can't get into, do you stick it out and keep reading or move to your next title?"

If I can't get into a book, and it's not totally awful, I'll put it down and pick it up again later. Sometimes that later is a couple of hours, sometimes it's a couple of days, sometimes it's years.

A current example of this? The Familiars. I picked it up and started reading it, but I was still so engrossed in the story I'd just finished (Maria V. Snyder's Spy Glass) that I just couldn't get into The Familiars. I suspect I might pick it up again this weekend though!

Now for Follow Friday!

The question of the week:

What is your reading suggestion this week?

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury is my favorite choice for Halloween reading.



WINNER of the Coraline Giveaway!

First let me say, Wow! and Thank You!! To all the people who entered!

The winner of the Coraline Doll and Coraline book is:

Fi-Chan (Bookish Escape)


I will be contacting you shortly :)
Make sure you check out my current giveaway

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Halloween Read-A-Thon Mini Challenge!

Hello, and Welcome to a Mini Challenge for:

What is the challenge you ask?

Well, we are all familiar with the Harry Potter Series... whether you've read it and love it, despise it or just won't read it on principle, seen the movies, or just heard more about them than you ever cared to... we all know what it's about and who the main players are!

Your challenge?

Create a tombstone catch phrase for one of the characters.


"Here Lies Mad Eye Moody,  I think..."

"Hermione Granger,
Beloved Daughter, friend and
insufferable know-it-all"

Tombstone #1: "Here lies Hagrid"
Tombstone #2 (right next to #1) "And Here"
Tombstone #3 (next to #2) "And Here"

... hopefully that makes sense! The funnier the better!
On the 17th I will put entries up for public voting, and we will narrow it down to one winner!

To Enter, just leave a comment on this post with your tombstone catch phrase and an email address where I can contact you if you win! 
This contest is International.

The Prizes:
An Emily the Strange Gift Pack, including:

Emily's Secret Book of Strange

Emily the Strange's Odd-I-See Ouija Board

Emily the Strange's Little Black Address Book

Good Luck!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

This week, I'm listing a favorite of mine... Harry Dresden.

The next installation is being called "Ghost Story"

Supposedly it's coming out April 5th, 2011

I'm not sure how accurate this synopsis is... seeing as how it's pretty vague and the only one I could find, lol!

Meet Harry Dresden, Chicago's first (and only) Wizard PI. Turns out the ‘everyday’ world is full of strange and magical things - and most of them don't play well with humans. That's where Harry comes in. But he’s forgotten his own golden rule: magic - it can get a guy killed. Which didn’t help when he clashed with unknown assailants with his murder in mind. And though Harry’s continued existence is now in some doubt, this doesn’t mean he can rest in peace.
Trapped in a realm that’s not quite here, yet not quite anywhere else, Harry learns that three of his loved ones are in danger. Only by discovering his assailant’s identity can he save his friends, bring criminal elements to justice, and move on himself. It would just be easier if he knew who was at risk. And had a (working) crystal ball. And access to magic. Instead, he is unable to interact with the physical world - invisible to all but a select magical few. He’s also not the only silent presence roaming Chicago's alleys. Hell, he put some there himself. Now, they're looking for payback.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Story Contest at A Life Bound by Books

Here is my entry for the story contest over @ A Life Bound by Books (Click HERE to go to the contest):

The Good Mother

*     *     *

Our lake is haunted.

Long ago there was a Mother who fell asleep by the water. While she slept her child crawled into the water and was lost.

The Mother, unwilling to accept her child’s death, dove beneath the waves and disappeared.

Supposedly, she searches for him still. Children roaming near the lake on the night her child disappeared will disappear too. She waits to wrap them in her watery embrace.

When I was small, there was a boy who lived on our lake. His name was Danny.  He was older... but he was more like a child than any of us. My parents said not to talk about it. It wasn’t his fault, he was harmless, our parents said.  His mother had been cruel and had broken him and we should never talk about it. My older cousins said his mother had gone mad. She had tried to drown Danny in the lake when he was just a baby, but Danny’s father had found her and saved him. Saved him as much as he could.

Now Danny walked and he smiled. He walked and he smiled and he scared us with his silence.

Then one day, he spoke to me.

”Hey there, hey there,” he said, “Little boy, little boy, come see, I have a secret.”

Of course I didn’t go. I said my Mother was calling and ran away, and Danny walked on, smiling his secret smile.

The next day we heard that a young boy had disappeared from a house on the other side of the lake. He snuck out while his parents weren’t looking and fell into the water.

A year passed, people forgot the tragedy. Danny walked his quiet circuit along the lake road.

I was sitting outside when I heard a quiet shuffle. There was Danny, staring at me with his silent grin.

“Hey there, hey there,” he said, “Little boy, little boy, come see, I have a secret.”

“I can’t, Danny,” I said, “it’s going to rain, I have to go inside.”

Danny shrugged, and I watched from the window as he shuffled off.

The next day we heard that an infant disappeared from his cradle. This time, no one said it was an accident.

The police came and questioned everyone, even Danny, but he smiled his silent smile and they said he was harmless.

Another year came and went, but this time, no one forgot last summer.

I was eating a popcicle, trying to keep cool. Suddenly Danny was there. He looked haggard, like he’d been walking too long.

“Hey there, hey there,” he said,  his silent smile hanging like a skeleton’s grin, “Little boy, little boy, come see, I have a secret.”

“What secret?” I demanded.

He said, “Mommy wants a hug...”

“Your Mom is in a mental hospital. Everyone knows,” I said.

“No,” his smile widened, his teeth bigger than any teeth should be, “that was old Mommy. This is new Mommy. She says I’m not hers. She loves me, but I need to find her real son, if I don’t she'll be mad. I don’t want her mad. Old Mommy got mad and she had to leave.”

I knew the story.
I was on my porch, huddling inside before Danny could blink.
Then I heard the retreating steps of his slow shuffle.

“Danny’s been drowning children!!!” I told everyone.
“Stop it, Danny’s harmless,” my Dad said.

The next day we found out Danny had disappeared. They think he slipped into the lake and drowned.

Book Blogger Hop, Follow Friday and a Giveaway

Book Blogger Hop
Crazy for

The question for this weeks Book Blogger Hop is this:
What's your favorite beverage while reading or blogging?
Mine? COFFEE! 
This time of year, my coffee of choice is Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte... soon to be followed by Starbucks Ginger Spice Latte... woe unto my wallet during the holiday coffee season!

Question of the Week:
How many reviews do you like to do a week?
I would *like* to do, at the very least, 1 movie review, 1 book review and 1 graphic novel/manga review a week... with more book reviews, possibly... but I often wonder if I would drive readers insane doing that?

Please tell me what you think...
How many reviews would YOU want to see a review blog do a week?
Do you like the variety of topics?
Or would you rather things like manga and movie reviews be found in a different location on the site?

Also, don't forget my Coraline Giveaway... in which... there will be a few extras thrown in that aren't shown, lol!

Just click the picture to go to the giveaway and enter!
Thank you!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

REVIEW: The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi

The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi

***NOTE: There is an aspect of this book, where it references a literary classic, that I feel should be discussed... but would be a huge spoiler... so if you read this review, and have read the book, and wonder why I don't talk about it, it's because I don't want to ruin the reading experience for anyone else!***

Eva has lived her entire life underground with her robot, Muthr. While running through countless tests to prepare her for the world above, it becomes all Eva can think about... being outside. One day, she gets her wish... but not in the way she had hoped. A Hunter attacks their sanctuary and forces Eva to flee, leaving behind all she knew... and discovering that everything she had trained for is completely useless... because the world above them isn't what the computer programs said it would be.

Character Likability:
Honestly, and it pains me to say it, I really didn't care for any of these characters, except maybe Otto, the Waterbear. Rovender was obviously running from something... but DiTerlizzi didn't really use or explore that until the last pages of the book. There was a potential for a lot of painful, heart-wrenching history there... and it was, for the most part, left unexplored. Muthr I enjoyed at the beginning of the story. She's a robot, all of her reactions were very robotic. She had programming and it was strict and untrusting and I liked that... but then towards the end, Muthr 'had to rewrite her programming as she went' and suddenly became much more human. I thought her shift to doing so seemed sudden and unlikely, and frankly I liked the idea of her becoming more of a problem as time went on, which didn't happen. Besteel, the Hunter who stalked them for reasons unknown, really was nothing but a cruel, mindless hunter until the end of the book, where we got to see a little of his backstory. It wasn't enough to save him from being very one-dimensional though. He hunted. The end. Otto, the giant Waterbear, was probably the character I most connected with... he expressed emotions, his motivations were clear, he didn't need backstory because he was essentially their mode of transportation (think Appa, if Aang had been able to telepathically communicate with him) He was simple in dialect, yet smart enough to stay alive, as he should have been. Now on to Eva Nine, the main character. The truth? I found her annoying. She didn't listen to good advice, ever... and constantly got herself into trouble. She all of a sudden, after just meeting him, gave Rovender the nickname of Rovee... which, for whatever reason, annoyed the heck out of me (I think I felt it a bit presumptuous for her to be giving nicknames to someone she just met) She didn't really offer much to the group, other than being something no one had seen before (Humans are rare) and through the entire book, except for when she was hiding in the hallway with her stuffed toys, I never really felt connected to her. She would resolve not to do things, and then end up doing them and thinking "Oh, this is great!"
I was watching these characters as they traversed this strange new land, but I wasn't emotionally invested in any of them.
Quality of Writing:
This book didn't take me long to read, but I still felt it took me much longer than it should have. There was SO much description of the world around them that, for me, it really bogged down the story. I recall sitting there reading and realizing I'd just read several pages of nothing much happening other than the characters walking and describing the world around them in tedious detail. My biggest problem with that was that, despite all that detail, the world didn't suck me in. Tony DiTerlizzi is a MASTER Illustrator... one of my favorites... but as a writer? Not as much.
At the end of the book, I was actually starting to get excited and interested. They explain the word WondLa, and end up finding something that might help explain Eva's mysterious existence... something human... and they make a groundbreaking discovery. One that I find really interesting and exciting... and my brain begins plotting things about how Eva had started the story where she did, and what that could mean for the Human race, and then I started thinking about genetics and a bunch of fun science... and then I get to the last page... and almost all of that is taken away. It leaves me fearing for the plot of the next book.
I gave the plot a high rating because I *really* like the idea of this book. Unfortunately, I can't go into the detail I want to, because it would really ruin said plot, but the concept is interesting and holds a lot of potential. Eva was living underground on what she thought was Earth, but when she's forced to the surface she realizes that she's not where she thought she was. This begins her long quest to find out what happened both to the world she thought she lived in, and the peoples she comes from.
Believability of World:
I think the over-description of this world really pulled me out of it. Most of this book was spent describing what the characters were seeing... in a lot of descriptive detail. It became a bit tedious for me, and I found myself wishing for more character development.
Illustrations and Extras:
I think the best part of this book were Tony DiTerlizzi's illustrations... but even those I found a little jarring. They were often placed either pages before or after the event they described... and I disliked it when they came before the event and gave away something that was about to happen.
Now, I had seen this book described as Novel/Graphic Novel/Virtual World... and the Virtual part was ok, but very kid-oriented...which is fine, since it's a kid's book... but Graphic Novel? No. This was a novel with illustrations to open each chapter, and sometimes another illustration within the chapter... but Graphic Novel it was not. I was really expecting more, illustration-wise... and I think this book would have benefited highly from being a flat out Graphic Novel (then DiTerlizzi could have skipped all of that description of the world, and just drawn a lot of it).
Overall Grade: D (I just could not get into this story. I feel really bad giving it such a low grade, because I *wanted* to love this story so much, but I just didn't... and I was also really annoyed to open up the book and find it was Book 1 of a series. Maybe I missed where this was touted as a series, but I really thought this was a single story... and frankly, I won't be in any hurry to read the second one. I will read it, I'm sure... because I'm curious as to whether or not it will redeem itself at all (I have seen this happen before)... but be as excited about it as I was for the first one? No.)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday

This week I am waiting on...

Due Out on Oct 12, 2010

After saving Olympus from the evil Titan lord, Kronos, Percy and friends have rebuilt their beloved Camp Half-Blood, where the next generation of demigods must now prepare for a chilling prophecy of their own:

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

Now, in a brand-new series from blockbuster best-selling author Rick Riordan, fans return to the world of Camp Half-Blood. Here, a new group of heroes will inherit a quest. But to survive the journey, they’ll need the help of some familiar demigods.

I admit, I'm a total Percy Jackson dork. I thought this series of books, along with Red Pyramid, were a LOT of fun. If you haven't picked them up yet... do so! And go on over to Breaking the Spine to join in on Waiting on Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

REVIEW: The Dark Hunters, Volume 1

The Dark Hunters, Volume 1

Kyrian of Thrace is a vampire hunter with a dark past, a dark present and a dark future...
Amanda Devereaux is an Accountant with quite the strange family... one that always seems to drive the 'normal' boys away... 
Suddenly the two of them find they are stuck together, and an unlikely bond forms.

Character Likability:
Kyrian is your typical machismo jerk in the beginning, He knows everything, he doesn't need any help... he's got it covered. The more vulnerable he becomes throughout the story, the more likable he is. He loses points for falling in love too fast though.
Amanda is strong willed, and able to protect herself. Likable insofar as being a strong female... but she loses points with me for "falling" too fast, as well.
Quality of Writing:
I found this incredibly wordy, with a lot of info dropping for a Graphic Novel. The big blocks of text put me off in certain sections... but overall the story was ok, and it flowed nicely.
Very nice cliffhanger ending for the first volume.
The two main characters get stuck together through a case of mistaken identity... and Amanda is dragged into the freakish world of her family she's struggled so hard to avoid. The background of Kyrian has me interested, and his reason for being what he is also holds a lot of interest... but I see this story falling into a typical plot problem with Manga... by the end of the first volume, the characters seem to be in love... Kyrian is even pondering whether or not they're Soul Mates. Now... I can only hope in later volumes, "Soul Mate" means something different than "Omg the one I'm supposed to be with forever"... but the way it's going right now, it seems that, once again, with very little rhyme or reason, the two main characters are in love.
Quality of Illustration:
This manga was a bit of a conundrum for me. First, I'm not even sure I should be calling it a Manga. It's very obviously emulating the Japanese comic art style... and I was fairly impressed with the rendering of Kyrian... he hits the manga style pretty close.... but Amanda still has that creepy, "Non-Japanese person trying to emulate the look of Manga" look... and what bothers me is that she really waffles between having that look and not having it. I should probably dig up visuals to really explain this, but it's something about facial feature placement and line quality that is just off.
Now, admittedly, this is a well illustrated novel... and if that's not something that bothers you... and you like vampire hunter stories, pick this up. It's possibly one of the best non-Japanese manga I've read.

Overall Grade: B-

Monday, October 4, 2010

REVIEW: Zombies vs. Unicorns

Zombies vs. Unicorns

Zombies vs. Unicorns is a series of short stories, alternating between Zombie story and Unicorn story.

I think the only thing I would ask for from this... more of a conclusion on who won from the two narrators. Their banter was funny and amusing... I would have liked more of a conclusion from them. 


Friday, October 1, 2010

Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday and a GIVEAWAY

Book Blogger Hop

"How do you spread the word about your blog?
(e.g. Social Networking sites, Book Blog Directories, comments on other blogs...)"

I enter my giveaways on sites that list them, I twitter, I am a member of GoodReads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Paperback Swap and a few other literary pages. I try to blog, at the very least, once a week with a review. I join in things like the Blogger Hop, Follow Friday and Waiting on Wednesday... although not just to spread the word... I really like seeing the answers to the questions, or seeing what people are waiting for. I've also joined in several upcoming Blog Parties... I joined one book blog directory... but for the life of me, can't remember which one!!

What books have bitten you??

I am listing books that I often find my mind wondering back to:
The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O'Shea, Summerland and Cavalier and Klay by Michael Chabon, Little Black Book by A.S. Byatt, George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones series, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Halloween Tree and Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, Animal Farm by George Orwell, The collected works of William Shakespeare, The collected works of Roald Dahl.


Also, please feel free to stop by (by clicking the giveaway picture below) and join in on my 100 Followers Coraline Giveaway... where winners will receive both the book, Coraline as well as a 6 inch Coraline doll!