Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Harry Potter Rakes in the Bucks

Whoever said books today were expensive have never bid on a rare first edition of Harry Potter before. According to CNN.com, this limited print paperback sold for over $19,000. Damn. They're charity proceeds, of course, but still. Damn.

The way they describe it; a paperback limited printing of only 200 copies that were released before being mass produced. Does that sound like an ARC to anyone else? On top of all of that, it was autographed. Imagine getting your hands on an ARC of the Sorcerer's Stone. Holy shnikes. Depends might need to get involved. And credit counseling.

That still pales in comparison to the $50,000 winning bid of a hand-written and autographed prequel of the series. $19.99 doesn't seem like so much money anymore, does it?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Shut the Fuck Up Already

Read this article. Now. Did you read it? Well what the hell are you waiting for? The rest of my post won't make a damn bit of sense if you don't read it. It'll take five minutes. Just do it. You done? Ok.

How's your forehead? Is it dented yet? Need an ice pack? How about some Advil? Tylenol Migraine maybe? Or perhaps some Topamax to stop the twitching.

In the words of Denis Leary, open ass, insert head.

You know, there will be very few times I actually defend whatever integrity that might exist around Twilight, and this is one of them. YA ISN'T FUCKING LESSER, DAMMIT! No, Meyer isn't Jack Kerouac but who is other than Jack himself? Why must things be as they were in the past to be just as good? While Twilight has a tendency to make my eyes bleed, it also makes me re-evaluate the position of women in society, gender roles, religious roles, the concept of life and death. Yes, all that is in TWILIGHT. Odd though, I know, but it is there. Why must the youth of America read to someone else's standards in order to reach a goal set by someone else?

I may not Twit, Twat or Tweet but is Twitter not a beneficial program to have connected to these new timey devices called cell phones to alert students to lock downs and mad gunmen on campuses? Virginia Tech, anyone? There's a reason why most of the age bracket gets their news from The Daily Show with John Stewart, ok?

For fuck's sake we're getting the same information and having the same conversations as the hippies 35 years ago just in a different language. Instead of groovy it's awesome. Instead of man it's dude. Instead of yeah it's like. What the hell's the difference when it's all the same thing? Does Generation Dead not touch upon social diversity, stereotypes and human differences the same way those beatniks did? Is it really so bad that Daniel Waters says that message with zombies as opposed to fist-pumping tie-dye? Seriously, same difference, man.

Just to warn you right here, I've been amped up on Denis Leary for the past week. Read his book. Saw him live on Saturday. Be prepared for Fuck Force One in three, two, one . . .

I'm what these dipshits call a Millenial. I'm at the old end, 1981 being the official start. I was born in 1983. And guess what? My fucking IQ is 12-fucking-6. I have a fucking Bachelor's in fucking English with a minor in creative fucking writing that I 4.0'ed my way through. I consistently fucking tested in the 90th fucking percentile and up in state school testing all twelve fucking years and graduated with a fucking honor cord wrapped around my goddamn neck and honors tassels in my fucking eyes. I can debate and write my way out of any fucking scenario, on any intellectual fucking level and I grew up on Stephen fucking King, Christopher fucking Pike and RL fucking Stine.

So they can take their fucking poetry and brown acid and "real literature" and sit on it and fucking spin. I'm going to go over here and read my Stephenie fucking Meyer and my JK fucking Rowling and my Daniel fucking Waters and my Caroline B. fucking Cooney and enjoy myself. And then have conversations with my fucking peers who also fucking enjoyed themselves and talk about the same goddamn things that kids our age were talking about forty fucking years ago, just using different fucking filler words and then get our social fucking commentary from South Park and The fucking Daily Show.

So piss it.

This expletive enema brought to you by Joe Pesche, the MAFIA and a pepperoni pizza. Remember people, don't piss off the little Italian girl, mkay? Not good.

The Chronicles of Narnia - Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

First published in 1951.

Narnia . . . the land between the lamp-post and the castle of Cair Paravel, where animals talk, where magical things happen . . . and where the adventure begins.

Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are returning to boarding school when they are summoned from the dreary train station (by Susan’s own magic horn) to return to the land of Narnia - the land where they had ruled as kings and queens and where their help is desperately needed.

Don’t get me wrong. I liked this book. I really did. But compared to the others I just found it kind of lackluster and a little unfocused. The book is called Prince Caspian but the emphasis didn’t seem to be on him; it was on the children and how they saved the day. I was expecting something a long the lines of the life and times of Prince Caspian, or something like that. The history that we do get of him is passively told for a couple of chapters (which was interesting nonetheless) and everything else was about the re-emergence of Old Narnia.

Prince Caspian was definitely more of a secondary character than the focus of the book. It almost seemed that he was just fodder for another adventure for the children which was kind of irritating. I was sad at the end, however, when we’re told that Peter and Susan were getting too old to travel back and forth between the real world and Narnia. Very Peter Pan moment right there.

Overall I guess I wasn’t as impressed with this one as I was with the others. It is a little disheartening to go into something thinking you’re getting one thing and get something else. Like I said, it wasn’t bad by any means. It’s still a fantastic story but I think the power of a title comes into play here. If the title of the book is Prince Caspian, I expect him to be the main focus of the story, not a secondary plot line.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Added to the Pile Index

This is my title spin a different book showcase meme, where I highlight the books that I received in a given week. Personally I feel 'added to the pile' is a more accurate description than any other title for me since while a few books come by mail, a bunch still don't. I'm an equal opportunity obtainer.

And, uh, why am I indexing this? Because my memory sucks and the sporadic posting will make it harder to remember which number I'm at. This makes it easier. Let my tired brain have this one. Plus it's easy to just point to this post should the FTC ever decide to audit me. Yay.

Added to the Pile + 1

Added to the Pile + 2

Added to the Pile + 3

Added to the Pile + 4

Added to the Pile + 5

Added to the Pile + 6

Added to the Pile + 7

Added to the Pile + 8

Added to the Pile + 9

Added to the Pile + 10

Added to the Pile + 11

Added to the Pile + 12

Added to the Pile + 13

Added to the Pile + 14

Added to the Pile + 15

Added to the Pile + 16

Added to the Pile + 17

Added to the Pile + 18

Added to the Pile + 19

Added to the Pile + 20

Added to the Pile + 21

Added to the Pile + 22

Added to the Pile + 23

Added to the Pile + 24

Added to the Pile + 25

Added to the Pile + 26

Added to the Pile + 27

Added to the Pile + 28

Added to the Pile + 29

Added to the Pile + 30

Added to the Pile + 31

Added to the Pile + 32

Added to the Pile + 33

Added to the Pile + 34

Added to the Pile + 35

Added to the Pile + 36

Added to the Pile + 37

Added to the Pile + 38

Added to the Pile + 39

Added to the Pile + 40

Added to the Pile + 41

Added to the Pile + 42

Added to the Pile + 43

Added to the Pile + 44

Added to the Pile + 45

Added to the Pile + 46

Added to the Pile + 47

Added to the Pile + 48

Added to the Pile + 49

Added to the Pile + 1

Eh, what the hell, right? This is my version of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox thingy. The majority of my books ride home with me in the car but lately my mailbox has been seeing a few (or will, at least). The reading pile's still huge and I'm not going out and rounding up books but I have been winning them so I might as well join in the fun, right? Despite the sporadickness of it all. And I changed the title to more accurately fit my book-getting method. In My Mailbox would just be a misnomer for me.

So this week I got my copy of Zombie Queen of Newbery High by Amanda Ashby that I won from Free Book Friday Teens. It was sent straight from her in New Zealand which explained why it took close to a month to get (I've only heard of the slow shipping from that area until now). It was supposed to be signed too but isn't. Eh. I'm not going to complain about it. I just wanted to read the book!

Quiet, unpopular, noncheerleading Mia is blissfully happy. Rob - super hot football god - has asked her to prom! Life couldn't get any better. Enter Samantha - cheerleader queen and miss Popularity - who has made it quite clear that Rob should be her prom date. Mia is desperate to make sure she doesn't end up dumped in front of the whole school. So with prom in just a few days, she turns to Candice - her holistic, hypochondriac best friend - and decides to try a love spell to make Rob stay with her. Unfortunately, she ends up inflicting a zombie virus on her whole class instead, and she is their zombie leader! At first, she loves all the attention. But when she learns from zombie hunter hottie Chase that her classmates will actually try to eat her in a few days, she's not too thrilled. She's sure she and Chase can figure something out, but in the meantime, she's suggesting that no one wear white to prom, because things could get very messy. (book back blurb)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

80s Awesomeness! ~ 4

Who could forget--

I mean really? More importantly, who could remember what the hell they actually were? I had a few of the stuffed animals. They were these teddy bear looking things that folded in on themselves to make a ball. Kind of like an opossum. That's pretty much all they did but they were awesome, right?

I had the books too. And then, of course, was the TV show. Because every toy had to have it's corresponding time slot, right? Or was it the other way around?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Freaky Friday :|: 4

Title: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Author: Alvin Schwartz
Published: July 1986
Pages: 128
Publisher: HarperCollins
A wonderful collection of tales about eerie horror and dark revenge designed to captivate and enthrall readers for hours. There is a story here for every reader - tales of lovers who come back from the dead, skeletons with torn and tangled flesh who roam the earth, and people who stand on graves to be grabbed by death. (from The Flesh Farm)
Non-Editorial Review:

Come on people... there is no way you could convince me that this collection of books didn't scare the living shit out of you as a child. Pondering the days of my own self-shitting I wonder if the publishers had any idea of the impact these books would have on kids. To this day they are still printed in mass quantity and sell like hot cakes around the globe.

Many would agree that this book in particular started their fascination and addiction to the horror genre. If you look at these short stories more closely, you see they are basically mini-scripts and with the imagery of Stephen Gammell they send the stories to a frightfully personal level. Considering most of these stories have been passed down for centuries, I don't believe there would have been any other pair of men who could have collected and twisted these stories into this excellent compilation.

Some highlights include a young man withering away after peering into a mysterious man's face, a preacher who dares to spend a night in a local haunted house only to be awakened by a mysterious woman, and a woman carrying her own severed head in a wicker basket for safe keeping.

A must-have for horror fans, regardless of age! (from The Flesh Farm)

Ok, yeah. There was a major poop factor with these stories. Major. I mean, just look at the drawing on the cover. If that doesn't have your mind going bat shit in the dark, I don't know what will. These stories scared the piss out of me and you know what? If I read them again, I'm sure the pee would be right there again. The pictures are freaky as hell. Some of them I couldn't even look at, they just creeped me out so much.

And holy crap. I didn't know these books were as old as I am! Well, a year younger but still. Maybe I did know that. I can't remember. I don't think I did. Anyway, if you need a good enema, be sure to pick up this book. And a clean pair of pants. And maybe some wet wipes for cleanliness' sake.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thanks for boosting paranormal romance, Twilight

Not that that's a bad thing but I'm not a fan of what it's egging on, or what's the egger. USA Today points out that because of Meyer's books, there's been a surge in teen paranormal romance manuscripts that publishers are seeing. And because editors want to get in on this cash cow, they'll snag up something like Twilight, but different. Something with more drama, maybe. Or taking place at an academy. Giving Gossip Girl fangs.

The truth of the matter is, and know this, what you see on the shelves is a solid year, upwards of two, behind what editors and publishers are buying now. Go ahead and try to sell a paranormal romance now. I dare you. Unless it's something so exceptionally different and fantasmagorically insanely written, it's not going to get bought. The market's saturated with this kind of book so, and this is grounded in absolutely nothing but my own logic, the only authors that are going to bank on this kind of upheaval are those with series already out. The House of Night series, The Vampire Diaries, Vampire Kisses. I know I'm missing some. Wait a year or two, when what's being bought now cycles out and see how the market changes.

Now, you probably think I'm just, yet again, ranking on Twilight. Well, kind of. I'm just sick of it. I'm sick of it getting credit it doesn't deserve. I'm getting sick of the unwarranted comparisons to JK Rowling that's being made of Stephenie Meyer. The two aren't even in the same universe. I'm sick of the Twihards giving Meyer credit for inventing the vampire, the love triangle, the I Heart Humanity vampire, books, the ya genre, vampire stories in general and how everything, in some fashion or another, is a rip off of Twilight.

I'm. Sick. Of. It.

Yeah, thanks for getting more kids to read. Nevermind JK Rowling actually single-handedly revolutionized the young adult genre with Harry Potter (which has been statistically proven) and for which had she not done it, something like Twilight probably would have never seen the light of day. But for all Twilight's worth, perhaps those readers should just stick to fanfiction. A fair amount of it is better quality (which is saying something) and it has all of the same melodrama as the published stuff but for free online.

And the irony is here I am bitching about it, drawing more attention to it and wasting my time. An even bigger irony, I've deemed Spine-Breaking Spawn next up on my to-be-read list. Why? Because I don't want it looking at me from my TBR pile anymore and I have other, more worthwhile vampire stories to read, like Mari Mancusi's Blood Coven series and Beth Fantaskey's Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, plus The Vampires Promise series by Caroline B. Cooney, Vampire Beach (although I don't know how good this one is) and Parliament of Blood. Not to mention a couple of vampire compilation books, Vampire Stories from New England and Vampire Stories from the classicists like Bram Stoker, DH Lawrence and Anne Rice (although the last can be questioned). Spine-Breaking Spawn is the NyQuil I have to swallow and the rest is the tub of icing I use to wash the green death taste out of my mouth. Prepare yourself for the review on that one, what with Edward giving a whole new meaning to the term "eating out" and all.

You know, it wouldn't be so bad if the mania around Twilight weren't so psychotic. The actors in the Harry Potter movies don't get death threats from diehard fans that they'll be killed if they screw up the characters. Fans of Draco Malfoy don't scratch at their necks when they see the kid that plays him because their reality synapses has failed. I've said it before. These books are decent fluff. If you want to shut your brain down and take a couple hours and pile through them, you'll be entertained. I was. But this is just ridiculous.

So yeah. Just let me sit here and bitch and moan every once in a while as I pray to whatever sadistic god that may be listening to ease the pain a little sooner. Until then I have things like this and this.

The Chronicles of Narnia - The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis

First published in 1954.

Narnia . . . where horses talk and hermits like company, where evil men turn into donkeys, where boys go into battle . . . and where the adventure begins.

During the Golden Age of Narnia, when Peter is High King, a boy named Shasta discovers he is not the son of Arsheesh, the Calormene fisherman, and decides to run far away to the North - to Narnia. When he is mistaken for another runaway, Shasta is led to discover who he really is and even finds his real father.

This is my favorite book in the series so far. I loved the imagery and the story that’s being told here and the will that this this weak little boy (because that’s what he really is) does have. I can picture almost an Egyptian-like feel to the world that Shasta’s in, and I really don’t think that’s unintentional.

As someone that’s as nonreligious as they come, even I picked up on the Moses in the reeds homage this story paid. I knew going in that CS Lewis had some heavy Christian themes in his Narnia series. I guess it goes right along with write what you know, right? At least he did something different with it. He was given an image to color and it looked like one that everyone else had. He just used different crayons.

I would have liked to have seen some more of Bree, though. He seemed to have a pretty big conflict towards the end of the story, with his dignity and walking back into his land a relative stranger. The story certainly hops around enough that that could have been a possibility to have in there instead of just a passing mention of what he did with his life at the very end. That part just seemed to be left hanging and, really, it was the only part that left me a little unfulfilled.

I liked the integration of the original children (well, the LWW children, anyway) into this very different tale. Being someone that’s pretty unfamiliar with The Chronicles of Narnia, I like how they’re used as sort of fishing wire to string the stories together, even at the very end of The Magician’s Nephew (although that would be only if you were even remotely familiar with LWW).

Overall, an excellent book and I can’t wait to keep plowing through the series.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

8 Things Modern Vampires Could Learn from 'The Lost Boys'

With all this talk lately about ‘Twilight’ and My Chemical Romance walking around all “wah wah wah cry cry cry,” kids these days probably think vampires are whiny douchebags. But if you’re my age, you learned everything you needed to know about vampires two decades ago from ‘The Lost Boys,’ a film in which vampires are a cross between the Goonies and ‘Ride the Lightning’-era Metallica. Consider school officially in session, kids. Here’s what you should really know about vampires.

And before you ask, yes, that IS Jack Bauer.

No, I didn't write this, unfortunately. This masterpiece of an article is brought to you by the masterminds of Cracked. For those of us that have been rabid vampire fans since long before Stephenie Meyer even had the brain fart idea for Edward and his vapid little Bella, we're kind of ripping our hair out here. Every vampire I've come across lately I've just wanted to do nothing more than shove his whiny ass in a tanning bed and lock it shut. Seriously, if your life were that bad, skip the Coppertone and go to the beach already instead of inflicting your eternal simpering on everyone you come in contact with.

Now, before we get to the article, let me just outline the very few carnal requirements of a vampire. Considering the lore can change so drastically, there's no use going with crosses and holy water or even sunlight sensitivity. Bram Stoker's Dracula was fully capable of walking around in the daytime. But there are a few--

  • Fangs - Lets just think of this logically, ok? What are your incisors for, historically speaking? Ripping meat off the bone. With these little rubbed down nubs of teeth we have, you're not going to be able to puncture something and keep your clothes clean, are you? No. You're going to end up tearing it apart like Jeffrey Dahmer at Thanksgiving. Just from an evolutionary perspective, fangs are a must for vampires. The ONLY vampires that don't have fangs that can escape this requirement, the vampires of Near Dark. Why? Because they have Sevren and he's a bitch-ass motherfucker. See example. Those things in Twilight? Not vampires. Fairies. Fey. Just because people have a blood fetish doesn't make them vampires, mkay?
  • Drinks Human Blood - Again, we're going back to evolution here, ok? Vampires do not have the luxury of Whole Foods and mineral supplements. A vampire's survival is based on his or her consumption of human blood. Human blood contains all the vital components for a vampire's survival. Animal blood does not. As Lestat once said, feeding from rats will keep you alive, but it's not sustenance. By nature humans are omnivores; we eat both meat and vegetables. To become vegetarian or vegan is to counter nature and thus revolt against natural design and 1) ingest food that the body can't handle and 2) deprive the body of what it requires by nature. Vampires are the same way. Have a chicken or a terrier every now and then but your main sustenance must be human blood. It is a vampire's nature. (That's not to say vegetarians or vegans are somehow inhuman, but for argument's sake, I'm using the reference in terms of going against natural and biological order, which is what abstaining from meat is doing.)
  • Be Evil - Ok, the very foundation of a vampire is a reanimated corpse possessed by an evil spirit or demon. Yeah, pretty much a zombie. Not to schmexy, is it? But a vampire is, by nature, an abomination of religion, a defiance of whatever god may exist, created despite His or Her will. Vampires are, in essence, inhuman. Sure they may look and act like a human, but what's at the very core, what pushes them forward, is inherently evil since they, you know DIED before they became vampires. They're not called the Undead for nothing, people. Once a vampire, they are no longer human and thus to emit human emotions like love would negate their very existence. That doesn't mean I don't like me some vampire romance, but that's beside the point. Let me put it this way, would you fall in love with a cow? OMG, NO!, right? Then why would a vampire fall in love with a human? Same difference. Both creatures are capable of emoting, only one in the two party relationship is human, and one serves as a major food source for the other. We are the cattle of the vampire world. I'm sure the cows think us damn evil for how much we slaughter them. Consider vampires just higher up on the food chain than us.
Ok, that's pretty much it. Everything else is up for interpretation. But those are pretty much the defining characteristics of a vampire. Take those three elements out and you have something closer to a Fey than a vampire, which is what Twilight is. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig, right?

I'll give you the vampire fact number one since I think it's the best out of all of them. To get the full effect, you must read the article for it comes with movie clip action. Tough to beat, I tell you.

Vampire Fact #1 - They listen to awesome music.

Most people think vampires spend all their time listening to Bauhaus and The Cure, but think about that for a second: If you’re going to live forever, do you really want to spend all of your time smoking cloves and letting Peter Murphy bum you out? What are you going to do? Slit your wrists and sit there watching them instantly heal over and over again for a few centuries? Yeah, great - sounds like a blast.

While it’s true that many vampires prefer to brood in the shadows, wearing black eye makeup and writing lame poetry about Autumn, there are just as many who prefer rocking out to the smooth stylings (and outrageous stage antics!) of famed saxophonist Tim Cappello. When you’re blessed with eternal youth you have two options: sit around and whine about it, or go out and PAR-TAY.

Read the rest of the facts here.

Interview with Melissa Marr

The Children's Bookshelf over at Publisher's Weekly has an interview with Melissa Marr where she talks about her upcoming release, Fragile Eternity, working on the fourth book, currently called Skin Starved, and pokes at the potential for more in the future. After you're finished reading the interview (and if you're like me and haven't read the book yet), head on over to the HarperTeen website and read Wicked Lovely for free for a limited time. Can't get any better than that, right?

Here's a snippet from the interview--

Speaking of book four, what’s next for the series?

Right now I’m in revisions for the fourth book, which I’ve been calling Skin Starved. It will either come out in summer or fall of 2010 and, like Ink Exchange, it will feature a different set of protagonists. Book five will come out in 2011 and will go back to the original protagonists. In Skin Starved, the primary protagonists are Devlin, who readers meet in Fragile Eternity, Ani from Ink Exhange, and a third character we haven’t met yet. Seth is in Skin Starved, too—we see him, but it’s not his story.

I do not have a title for the fifth book yet, and I’m not sure what I am doing for the sixth—If I’ll do a stand-alone or a fringe companion book to this world. But in the immediate future, I’m gearing up to go out on tour for Fragile Eternity, from mid-April until around June 6.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Catching Fire Released Bumped Up and Win Lunch with Collins!

Unless you've wedged yourself firmly under a rock, you're going to know that Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games is one of the biggest names in YA titles and its sequel, Catching Fire, is highly anticipated, to put it lightly. Really, people are salivating to get their hands on the next book, originally set to be released on September 8th but has now been bumped up to September 1st in the hope of garnering more readers, with a 250,000 copy first printing.

On top of that, Scholastic is holding its own contest for teens ages twelve to seventeen to win lunch with Suzanne Collins and her editors in New York City as a grand prize or an ARC of Catching Fire and a mockingjay pin as a runner up. The contest is running from March 16th to May 15th so if you're interested, check out this article for more information on what you need to do and how to enter.

You know, I haven't even read this book yet and I'm excited for its sequel's release. Hey, if Stephen King liked it, that's good enough for me!

The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

First published in 1950.

Narnia . . . the land beyond the wardrobe, the secret country known only to Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy . . . the place where the adventure begins.

Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor’s mysterious old house. At first, no one believes her when she tells of her adventures in the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund and then Peter and Susan discover the Magic and meet Aslan, the Great Lion, for themselves. In the blink of an eye, their lives are changed forever.

You know, I can’t help but question whether a book like this would be published today. There’s a lot of telling, not so much showing, a lot of action is skimmed over and it’s very obviously a religious allegory (not that that would make it ineligible for publication). I couldn’t help but think that as I read it but at the same time I couldn’t help but think just how magical the story actually is.

Compare the circumstances to other works now and you don’t have all that much that is original but then, back in 1950, this was the epitome of original. There was nothing else like this story except for facetious fairy tales that carried very little depth. This was the basis for portals and other worlds and magical creatures that authors today either consciously or subconsciously pull from for their own stories. So no, it’s not original today but it is the very reason it’s not original today, because it was so original and magical then that it was bound to spurn derivatives.

This is a classic fairy tale despite the obvious Jesus references (if I could find that YouTube video, I’ll post it, with Aslan as Jesus). It’s light and airy and the kind that, obviously without me saying it, will stand the test of time for many more years to come. The children are eternally relatable , their wishes are forever there in the reader, to escape to a magic land and become king or queen. There’s nothing in there that couldn’t appeal to anyone, at any time, reading it.

When comparing this book to something like Stardust by Neil Gaiman, I think the voice of Narnia just stands out. This was Lewis’s voice. He was born to write these types of fantastical stories in the style of an age-old fairy tale. While Gaiman’s idea for Stardust was on the level of awesome, the voice just wasn’t right. There was a sort of force there, a trying too hard. I use Gaiman as an example because (aside from the fact that I can’t think of any other authors that have tried to write like this) he’s a magnificent writer and writes amazing stories. Stardust was an experiment for him, not his usual voice so it’s not chalked up to him not being able to write. That old timey style voice of fairy story telling is bestowed only on a select few. Lewis was one of those few.

These stories are capable of transcending time with ease and are written in such a way that they’ll never go out of style. Sure, you’d have to be either really damn good or someone of Gaiman’s status in the publishing industry to get something like this published now, and even then there’s no guarantee of equivalence, but it doesn’t erase the fact that Narnia was published, does exist and will continue to exist for generations. There is a classicism about these stories that just can’t be erased and just can’t be mimicked unless you’ve been bestowed with the voice to do it.

Yes, there is so much that could be expanded on in Narnia but what’s already there on the pages is amazing. Perhaps it is because it’s the epitome of a fairy tale and someone who’s much more critical than I can might be able to see how empty of a plate it might be but to me, there’s just enough there to trust the reader. It’s not bogged down in worldbuilding infodumping or unimportant backstory or research masturbation on the part of the author. All that’s there is what’s important to the story at hand, and nothing else. It goes from point to point seamlessly and with little to no fat and, for me anyway, makes the experience of the read that much more enjoyable.

The world misses fairy tales like this, in all their simplicity but I don’t think there can be much more than what there is now without an inundation which would only devalue what’s already available. Let’s hope the world never has to know what it’s like to live without Narnia.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sisterhood Award

I gots another one. This time it's {Insert Book Title Here} that's handing the honor on over. Thank you, darling! So here's how this one works . . .

Here are the rules to spread the sisterhood spirit:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate up to 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

Tagging, tagging. Who shall I choose this time?

1. The Story Siren
2. Shooting Stars Mag
3. In Bed With Books
4. Steph Su Reads
5. cupcake witch
6. Bean Bag Books
7. Presenting Lenore

I think lucky number seven is a good number to give, don't you think? I think so.

Shareable Teen Books

I've seen this thing on a few different blogs but I've bookmarked it from Teen Book Review so they get the credit over there. Now maybe the last book thingy I did like this didn't turn out so bad but this one I'm bound to be uber-pathetic in. At least I have one more to add to the pile since I just won a copy of Wintergirls from Lenore. Woohoo! But still, it actually needs to be read.

The following list of books teens love, books teens should read, and books adults who serve teens should know about was compiled IN ABSOLUTELY NO SCIENTIFIC MANNER and should be taken with a very large grain of salt.

Put an “X” next to the books you’ve read
Put a “+” next to the books you LOVE
Put a “#” next to the books you plan on reading
Tally your “X”s at the bottom
Share with your friends!

1. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy / Douglas Adams
2. Kit’s Wilderness / David Almond
3. Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian / Sherman Alexie
4. Speak / Laurie Halse Anderson #
5. Feed / M.T. Anderson
6. Flowers in the Attic / V.C. Andrews
7. 13 Reasons Why / Jay Asher #
8. Am I Blue? / Marion Dane Bauer (editor)
9. Audrey Wait! / Robin Benway
10. Weetzie Bat / Francesca Lia Block
11. Tangerine / Edward Bloor
12. Forever / Judy Blume
13. What I Saw and How I Lied / Judy Blundell
14. Tyrell / Coe Booth
15. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants / Ann Brashares
16. A Great and Terrible Beauty / Libba Bray
17. The Princess Diaries / Meg Cabot
18. The Stranger / Albert Camus
19. Ender’s Game / Orson Scott Card
20. Postcards from No Man’s Land / Aidan Chambers
21. Perks of Being a Wallflower / Stephen Chbosky
22. And Then There Were None / Agatha Christie
23. Gingerbread / Rachel Cohn
24. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist / Rachel Cohn and David Levithan #
25. Artemis Fowl (series) / Eoin Colfer
26. The Hunger Games / Suzanne Collins #
27. The Midwife’s Apprentice / Karen Cushman
28. The Truth About Forever / Sarah Dessen
29. Little Brother / Cory Doctorow
30. A Northern Light / Jennifer Donnelly
31. Tears of a Tiger / Sharon Draper
32. The House of the Scorpion / Nancy Farmer
33. Breathing Underwater / Alex Flinn
34. Stardust / Neil Gaiman X
35. Annie on My Mind / Nancy Garden
36. What Happened to Cass McBride / Gail Giles
37. Fat Kid Rules the World / K.L. Going
38. Lord of the Flies / William Golding X
39. Looking for Alaska / John Green #
40. Bronx Masquerade / Nikki Grimes
41. Out of the Dust / Karen Hesse
42. Hoot / Carl Hiaasen
43. The Outsiders / S.E. Hinton X,+
44. Crank / Ellen Hopkins
45 The First Part Last / Angela Johnson
46. Blood and Chocolate / Annette Curtis Klause
47. Arrow’s Flight / Mercedes Lackey
48. Hattie Big Sky / Kirby Larson
49. To Kill a Mockingbird / Harper Lee X
50. Boy Meets Boy / David Levithan
51. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks / E. Lockhart #
52. The Giver / Lois Lowry X
53. Number the Stars / Lois Lowry X
54. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie / David Lubar
55. Inexcusable / Chris Lynch
56. The Earth, My Butt and Other Big, Round Things / Carolyn Mackler
57. Dragonsong / Anne McCaffrey
58. White Darkness / Geraldine McCaughrean
59. Sold / Patricia McCormick
60. Jellicoe Road / Melina Marchetta
61. Wicked Lovely / Melissa Marr #
62. Twilight / Stephenie Meyer X
63. Dairy Queen / Catherine Murdock
64. Fallen Angels / Walter Dean Myers
65. Monster / Walter Dean Myers
66. Step From Heaven / An Na
67. Mama Day / Gloria Naylor
68. The Keys to the Kingdom (series) / Garth Nix
69. Sabriel / Garth Nix
70. Airborn / Kenneth Oppel
71. Eragon / Christopher Paolini
72. Hatchet / Gary Paulsen
73. Life As We Knew It / Susan Beth Pfeffer
74. The Golden Compass / Phillip Pullman
75. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging / Louise Rennison #
76. The Lightning Thief / Rick Riordan
77. Always Running: La Vida Loca / Luis Rodriguez
78. how i live now / Meg Rosoff
79. Harry Potter (series) / J.K. Rowling X, +
80. Holes / Louis Sachar
81. Catcher in the Rye / J. D. Salinger X
82. Push / Sapphire
83. Persepolis / Marjane Satrapi
84. Unwind / Neil Shusterman
85. Coldest Winter Ever / Sister Souljah
86. Stargirl / Jerry Spinelli
87. Chanda’s Secrets / Allan Stratton
88. Tale of One Bad Rat / Brian Talbot
89. Rats Saw God / Rob Thomas
90. Lord of the Rings / J.R.R. Tolkien
91. Stuck in Neutral / Terry Trueman
92. Gossip Girl / Cecily Von Ziegesar
93. Uglies / Scott Westerfeld
94. Every Time a Rainbow Dies / Rita Williams-Garcia
95. Pedro and Me / Judd Winick
96. Hard Love / Ellen Wittlinger
97. American Born Chinese / Gene Luen Yang
98. Elsewhere / Gabrielle Zevin
99. I am the Messenger / Markus Zusak
100. The Book Thief / Markus Zusak #

Yeah, not even worth tallying up. I have good intentions, I just need to get my ass in gear and follow through with them. To be fair, from what's in my tangible TBR and paper TBR, next to none of them are on this list so I think some slack is deserved, don't you?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Children's Choice Finalists

Every year children get to nominate their favorites for the Children's Choice Book Awards, and then vote on who gets the ultimate prize during Children's Book Week in May. Voting is going on from March 16th to May 3rd and the age groups range from kindergarten up through young adult books.

The finalists include Lauren Myracle for her book Thirteen, Meg Cabot for Airhead, Paper Towns by John Green and Jeff Kinney as author of the year for his book Diary of a Whimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules.

Go here for more information on the Children's Choice Book Awards and find out how to cast your vote for favorite books and author. Just be sure to get your votes in by May 3rd to make them count!

The Seventh Tower - Aenir by Garth Nix

First published in 2001.

The dream world Aenir is not a safe place. One wrong step can lead to danger, entrapment…or death. Tal and Milla must fight their way through this shifting landscape. They are searching for the Codex, a magical object that will decide the fate of their worlds. Many creatures stand in their way–from the cloud-flesh Storm Shepherds to a swarm of venomous Waspwyrms to a horrifying figure named Hazror. Tal and Milla cannot leave Aenir without the Codex. But finding it might endanger them more than they’ve ever dreamed… (www.bn.com)

This book is by far the best out of the three that I read. The writing shifted away from focusing on the world and pushing the world and started focusing on plot and action and ‘are they going to make it out alive?’ About halfway through the book I remember thinking, ‘now we’re getting somewhere.’

So long as Tal doesn’t think because he definitely is a little on the pansy side, not to mention that superiority complex comes back into play every now and then. I don’t like reading about that because without Milla, Tal would be vulture food and he really hasn’t seen that yet. However I’ll give him points for pushing himself more than he ever has, especially with Hazror and the Codex, where he was essentially carrying a door with a dislocated shoulder out from under a mountain that was falling on them. I’d probably do the same thing without crying as much as he was but good for him for reaching beyond his comfort zone, at least physically.

While Milla is still pretty two dimensional, I’m liking her even more just because of how strong of a person she really is. Stubborn as all hell but strong nonetheless. The best moment for her is seeing her in her prime, fighting at the castle. She really is a warrior (not that I doubted that before), not to mention a real leader in a dire situation. Again, without her, Tal would have been captured because he never would have left his brother behind without Milla’s insistence. She really is a great character and is my favorite in the series.

And I really like the Geico gecko in Aenir. He’s something like a Kushkar (I believe that’s the name), this little talking, fighting, walking history book of a lizard. I want one. I wonder if he can save me money on my car insurance. I don’t know if he’s supposed to look like a talking gecko but that’s the image I immediately got from him.

There were a few things that bothered me about this one. There were a few instances of keyboard mashing here, especially with the lizard’s name and his language. It took me as long to sound out the name of his language as it did for me to read a page. Is that necessary? There were less conveniences in this one but they were still there in the shape of the Storm Shepherds and the Codex (although the Storm Shepherds were sometimes more detrimental than they were helpful so they get a partial pass). And some of Tal’s revelations just seemed kind of contrived. Like the guilt he had for taking Milla’s shadow. It’s only when he hears her name that he’s like, ‘oh yeah, I feel guilty about that.’ It just didn’t sit right with me.

Sushin is the biggest issue I have with all of the books. Even at the end of this one, with the reader getting an inkling of what he actually is, he just seems like a character there for no other purpose than to give Tal these struggles and journeys. He’s the antagonist but for no reason that we know. I want to find out what his problem is but at the same time I really don’t because I’m afraid it’s going to be something insubstantial. He’s nothing but a piece of motivating force for action at this point and I’m getting kind of aggravated by it. I like to know why my villains are the way they are. I don’t like just seeing them being evil without a point or used as a catalyst for plot in the stories.

If you can make it through the first one, I’d actually recommend reading these because they do get better as they go along. I’m not about to run out and buy the next book in the series to find out what happens (although finding out about the history of the wars and The Forgetting is pretty damn intriguing) but when I get a chance (who knows when that’ll be with the size of my TBR pile), I wouldn’t mind finishing them. I’m just not in a rush to do it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

80s Awesomeness! ~ 3

This week, let's rock out to--

Tears For Fears!!!

With songs like "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" and "Shout," how could you not want to get up and dance to this radical 80s band? It's hard to mention the 80s without saying something about Tears For Fears.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Friday, March 20, 2009

Freaky Friday :|: 3

Next up on Horror Whores . . .

Title: Song of the Vampire (sequel to The Band)
Author: Carmen Adams
Published: March 1996
Pages: 153
Publisher: Avon Flare, a division of HarperCollins
Who sleep by day . . .
and play at night.

Even if they're wild and exciting . . .
and speak of romance in the moonlight.

Who foretells a terrible danger . . .
that lurks in the shadows of darkness.

Unless you're ready to face the evil . . .
and destroy it - or die.
I'm short on more editorial reviews for this one and I really wanted to reread it this week for Freaky Friday but seeing as how insurance has been sucking away my soul for the past month, I just couldn't get it in. But I did read a random chapter and I still loved every second of it. And you're going to laugh at me when I tell you why. Because it reminds me so much of The Lost Boys. I'm convinced that's why I've hung on to it for so long. I just can't part with it.

Thankfully, even though this is a sequel, you don't need to read The Band first to get what's going on. I'm proof of that. For all the cheese (and there are some pretty big blocks), this is probably one of my favorite vampire books ever. Look for a review for it early next month (as I'll be done with the insurance stuff and have my free time back). I really want to reread it now.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Seventh Tower - Castle by Garth Nix

First published in 2000.

I’m having issues finding a synopsis for just this book instead of the entire series and the book I have is a three-in-one so that’s not all that helpful either. So I’ll try and sum this one up for you.

Tal has bound himself to Milla, and vise versa, in order to get himself back to the castle. In exchange for his safe return, he must get Milla a Sunstone in order for her to take it back to the Icecarls. Getting back into the castle, since Tal hasn’t heard of anyone actually doing it, proves much more difficult than climbing up a mountain. He’s pushed to the physical and mental limits that even he didn’t know he had, not to mention he starts to question his own standing in life. When Tal and Milla are captured by henchmen of Sushin, Tal’s mortal enemy for unknown reasons, he has to figure a way out of the mess he’s in and help Milla because it is his fault, after all, that she ended up trapped in his world and incarcerated in the Hall of Nightmares.

I have to say, this one is much better than the first, not only in writing style but in exposition as well. I think it had a lot to do with it shifting back and forth between Tal being someplace foreign and Milla being someplace foreign so there’s a lot more explanation going on which helps to develop the story in my head a little better. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its moments of ‘what is that?’ because it just gives you a name without a basis for comparison, but it’s quelled a lot.

By the end Tal gets over his “Milla’s barely a step above Underfolk” superiority that he carried for a large enough chunk of this book that it was still annoying. The girl saved his ass time and time again yet he saw her as beneath him, in some fashion or another. Product of his upbringing, I know, but usually, when someone stops death from taking your life, you’re grateful, not expectant that that’s how it should be regardless. Granted Milla isn’t exactly a daisy to be around but at least she doesn’t have the caste mind that Tal has.

I was getting pretty annoyed with all of the conveniences that seemed to surround Tal to help him out of otherwise futile situations. The more I see and understand these Spiritshadows and shadowguards, the more I see them as deus ex machina pieces that serve to make the journey easier for the MC, to help him out of situations he’d otherwise get stuck in. A security blankie. The things just proved too useful.

As did Uncle Ebbitt. Aside from the fact that his “wacky” demeanor felt contrived, at best, he always seemed to appear at the most opportune moments to help Tal along. When he was in the Pit, that was supposed to be an illegal holding cell. You’d think it’d be under better guard and an Underfolk with a hacksaw in a cake wouldn’t be able to get by and give it to Tal. Or how Ebbitt comes in to save the day just at the moment Tal’s able to get out of the Pit.

I did like Milla’s ability to thwart Fashnek and his crystal globe of nightmares. That, to me, made sense because she’s not of that world. She holds powers that they don’t know of so to see her exhibit something that was otherwise unfamiliar was almost expected. The execution of relaying why she had that power seemed a little forced, but the power itself was pretty cool.

With Tal leveling out and doing things for the greater good instead to protect his image, not to mention the stilts of the story getting shorter, the books are getting more tolerable. It’s decent but I’m still leaning towards this kind of high type of fantasy to not really be my thing. It’s a little much, especially when the emphasis is on the world instead of the characters, the situation or the plot.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blog designed by TwispiredBlogdesign using MK Design's TeaTime kit.