Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween - A "Treater" for you all

Here's the short story I said I was going to post. I entered it in a YA Halloween writing contest on Absolute Write. Didn't win anything but it was fun to write. It's a pretty big deviation, stylistically, from what I normally write but it was still fun to experiment. So enjoy and I hope your Halloween was spooktacular!

Jack looked into the pillowcase. A sugar high yelled back. The lady in the doorway smiled. You’re too old. Jack looked at his friends. No they weren’t.


He stumbled to the street. He opened the sack again. Everything was twitching. The Twizzlers had a hole in it. Something was growling.

The pillowcase started swinging. It whapped Jack in the leg. He already lagged behind. No one could see his candy spazzing.

The pillowcase wigged out more. The snarling got louder. Jack cringed thinking of hugging it to his body. He couldn’t let his friends see.

Little candy bars jerked and twitched against his stomach. Each poke made his guts flop. Jack shivered. The wet on his neck made the cold worse.

Jack looked behind him. Then in front. The streets were darker. Porch lights were shut off. There were fewer houses to turn to. Jack’s friends still laughed and shoved. Jack shivered.

Pain dug across Jack’s stomach. He sucked in cold air getting colder. It hurt his teeth. He looked down and moved the pillowcase. There was a spot of blood on the sack. The one on his t-shirt oozed bigger.

Home was a green sign on the corner. It flashed at Jack. He beelined down the street. The pillowcase still squirmed. His friends didn’t notice.

Every house was dark. It wrapped around him as he zipped by. It slowed him down. His porch light was on. Ugly orange mums were out. His gut churned.

The curb grabbed his toe. The shadows pulled the sack out of his arms. The dewy grass yanked his knees down. The wet soaked through his jeans. The cold got colder.

A gust blew. Snickers skin slapped his face. The pillowcase was in front of Jack. The shadows gnawed half of it. It bled Milky Ways on the grass. It was still.

Jack’s heart knocked at his ribcage. It pulled at his throat. It beat in his ears.

The blood spot on the sack glared back. Jack touched his finger to his stomach. He cringed. He looked down. He pulled the t-shirt up. The gouge stared back. It was polluted with t-shirt fuzz.

The pillowcase was still.

Jack’s street was stagnant. The shadows stole the noise.

Something poked his calf. Jack swat. He looked at his leg. It was nothing.

Something poked his back. Jack hit. The sting echoed. His hand was heavy. He looked. It was nothing.

Nothing pricked up his arm. He couldn’t look. The back of his neck tore. Pain played dancing stars in his eyes. Skin popped. Little daggers ripped. Nothing was out of breath. Nothing snarled in Jack’s ear.

Nothing stopped Jack’s scream. Jack’s face hit the ground. Babe Ruth crinkled. She caught his fall. Ugly orange mums were out. Jack’s porch light was on.

Jack’s porch light went off.

Contest Reminder!

You have roughly 20 minutes to get your final entries in for my glorious Halloween contest! Hurry hurry!

My Favorite Pumpkin

While I didn't get a pumpkin this year (I honestly have no idea why, I just realized a few days ago that I didn't have one and completely brain farted on the date, duh), I spent literally hours carving this one last year. I took the cheap route and found a stencil online that I liked and since I didn't feel like paying for it, I printed it out and drew it myself. Fun times!

The flesh of the pumpkin was close to two inches thick so it was a bitch to carve the thing. I kept having to take breaks because I was working the muscles in my hands so hard and by the time I was done, I had blisters, some of them popped. But I was really happy with the results so I think they were worth it! And at least last year we had some trick-or-treaters to see it. We didn't get any this year. Thus is the curse of living on a main road with no sidewalks. We're not exactly a prime trick-or-treating area. I used to live in a couple, but not anymore. Boo.

The Ghost at the Camp

A town over from where I grew up (and from where I live now), there's an old cemetery down a dirt road and at the end of that road is an abandoned sleep away/day camp. When I was in high school, we went down to that road at night and totally freaked ourselves out with stories of the Green Lady in the cemetery and the supposed mass murder that happened at the camp however many years ago (which was the reason why it was closed, of course). There was a rumor that the ghosts moved around the supposed killer's rusty truck that was still there so when you went there, it was in a different place every time you saw it.

Of course, this makes for excellent story-telling and a pulse-pumping Friday night. But the murder story wasn't true, I found out years later. Green Lady, well, that's a different story. But the camp, when I went there during the day to take pictures, I still thought it was all true, as a 16 year old is wont to do.

My dad gave me a new 35 millimeter camera for Christmas so me, him and my best friend went out there because I wanted to take some pictures. During the day. It was still illegal to drive down that road but the police don't really take notice of anything like that during the day. They just care about the punks at night. It is a private road, after all.

So I took some pictures of the graveyard (with its nubs for stones and single standing gravestone that's said to be the Green Lady's and she takes care of it) and the creepy, rundown camp at the end of the street and developed the film. Nothing special, really, except for one photo with this white flash in a window of one of the bunk houses. I couldn't tell what it was and it was on the negative as well but I didn't think twice about it for about a year.

Until I took a photography class the following year. That picture kept nagging me so I decided to blow it up and find out what was in the frame. I blew it up and blew it up and blew it up . . . and freaked the fuck out.

This wasn't an orb. It was a person. A pure white woman (not as in skin tone but instead of a black silhouette, it was white) and it was obvious by the way she was standing she was in a corseted bustle dress. She was standing in the window of the bunk house. There was nothing in that window when I took the picture and I took multiple pictures of that same bunk house. Just that one frame was affected. And in hindsight with multiple years of photo and negative processing behind me, there's no way anything could have happened to those negatives in the developing stage that would coincidentally affect that single photo frame and create the shape of a woman without doing anything else to any of the other frames. Not even close.

I often dream of people from older times without faces and this white silhouette reminded me of those dreams. I wish I still had my test strips but they, along with the drawer I had them stuck in, suffered water damage when my basement flooded two and a half years ago. Needless to say, I was pissed. I think I just ended up throwing it out because the water ruined the image. I was pissed.

So while no mass murder ever happened at that camp, I'm convinced something happened on those grounds many years before. Why else would this woman be walking around in a bunk house wearing a bustle dress? The connection isn't there but I'm sure if I did my research a little better, I could find something with that land. So no mass orbs this time. Just a full on figure. It still gives me tinglies.

Ghosts in the Lourve?

In the spirit of Halloween, today I'll be sharing some paranormal stuff that's happened to me, some with visual evidence. I'll even share a story that I wrote for a Halloween contest on a writing forum I'm on. But first, spookiness in the Lourve.

Back in 2006 I spent six months in Europe as a study abroad student (something I recommend EVERYONE do) and I traveled all over Europe. I made a short overnight stop in Paris because it wasn't high up on my to-visit list (it just never really appealed to me). So the following day after my one night, I was wandering around because I had a lot of time to blow before I caught my train so I took the Metro from my hostel to the Lourve which is like "central downtown" Paris in terms of things to see and such.

Not too many tourists know that there is a Metro stop underground at the Lourve. Most just go to the glass pyramid and wait in the huge line that forms up there. If you go underground, it's like getting a fast pass. While I didn't actually go in the Lourve (I didn't have that much time to spare and I did want to walk around a little more), I took some pictures of the underground lobby. Down there they have an inverted glass pyramid that sits right below the big entrance one above ground and a bunch of carvings and statues all over the place. It's one decent-sized room and you can stand in the middle, spin in a circle and see all of it.

So first I took a picture of the inverted pyramid because it was just so cool-looking. Then I turned around and started taking pictures of the statues and reliefs. I looked down at the camera's screen and it was filled with orbs. I figured some dust had kicked up or something. I wasn't too far from the Metro tracks, even though something like that would have shown up in the first picture too since it was the same room, but that had to be it, even though I couldn't actually see any dust. So I took another picture. Same thing. I walked to the other side of the room to get some statues. Ditto.

Mind, the picture of the pyramid was crystal clear and these carvings are in the same room. If you're looking at the pyramid, all you have to do is turn around and you can see the carvings. So how can dust be on one side of the room and not on the other?

Now let me just say I'm not a big believer in orbs, especially nowadays because our cameras are getting so high tech and are capable of picking up so much definition around us that it's only natural, for a 10 megapixel camera to pick up some particles that we wouldn't otherwise see. But this I just couldn't explain. Nothing was wrong with my camera. One side of the room had clear pictures, the other didn't. The room might have been 20 by 20. Maybe. Once I went outside, the pictures were clear.

Here, look (these are sequential) -

The inverted pyramid. As you can tell, it's pretty big but the room isn't that huge. It's big but not like auditorium big or anything like that. And the picture is clear. Nothing funny, just people heads and glass. Then I turn around to get some pictures of the carvings.

WTF? Dust storm? Yeah, I'm a little confused at this point since all I did was turn around. the inverted pyramid is at my back right now, nothing separating it from me and the rest of this room. Just space. So I try to take another picture.

Great. What the hell's going on? Let's try it again . . .

Ok, I'm head-desking at this point. How about a completely different shot?

Mother's ass! Why can't I get a clear shot of these things?

The first picture I took after emerging from underground. Nice and crystal clear. So what the hell happened?

What do you think? How would you explain an open room and being able to get a clear picture on one side and not on the other. Is it the place or the things I was trying to get pictures of? Would this freak you out?

80s Awesomeness! ~ 35

You know, I don't know what's freakier: the face on the chick it the bed or the skeleton thing over her. That's one asexual female right there.

A Nightmare on Elm Street spawned a franchise that just wouldn't die. And apparently it's not going to die all over again because they've started to re-make them . . . O_o Why can't the good stuff be left alone?

But how scary was, and is, this movie? You can't go to sleep because you'll die but if you stay awake long enough you'll die. And in this movie, dying of sleep deprivation is much more appealing than getting sucked into Freddy Kruger's world. Wes Craven tapped into an inescapable fear and banked on it. Smart guy! But he gave us an awesome movie in the process; one that's truly creepy, terrifying and filled with big 80s hair . . . and a young Johnny Depp. Who could forget him?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Freaky Friday :|: 35

Title: Dying to Dance
Author: Nicole Davidson
Published: May 1996
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pages: 192
The dance world evokes lovely images of grace, balance and beautiful movement, but not for Carrie Clark. the aspiring dancer finds herself the prime suspect in a murder case after her arch rival, who stole her dancing partner, is found dead. (from
Editorial Review:
A fast-paced, well-written page-turner. Carrie, a competitor on the ballroom-dance circuit, finds herself suspected by everyone; her brother, her closest friends, and the police, of murdering Miranda, an unscrupulous rival. Carrie is trapped in a net of circumstantial evidence, stolen CDs, and her partner's defection and eventual disappearance. Forged paintings, blackmail, bloodstains, class rings, and a loyal boyfriend smooth the young woman's progress in her own investigation and on the dance floor. This one offers what YAs crave: a plucky heroine, a lively mystery, snappy style, satisfying ending, and budding romance. Buy it, and give it a solid B+ for the genre.Doris A. Fong, Benson Polytechnic High School, Portland, OR (from School Library Journal on
Well at least the premise, or what the premise is mired in, sounds original enough. There are a lot of dance books out there but not too many about ballroom dancing involving teens. Pretty interesting. The storyline isn't one for the books but this one has potential, especially considering the review. You never know.

Contest Reminders!

The contest for my ARC of Secret Society ends tonight at midnight, EST! Be sure to get your entries in by then!

Only one more day to get your entries in for my massive Halloween contest! It ends tomorrow night at midnight, EST! Be there or be square!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

And the winner is . . . + Reminder!

The winner of my Going Away Shoes contest is . . .


Congratulations! I'll be emailing you shortly. And thanks to everyone else that entered!

And you only have 2 days left to get your entries in for my massive Halloween contest! Time's running out!

Fright Fest - The Birds

Alfred Hitchcock was a genius, but you don't need me telling you that. You already knew, right?

The Birds is one of the most terrifying movies ever made if for only one thing - no music. What kind of suspense can you have when you can tell what's going to happen by the tempo of the music? Hitchcock felt the same way. So he took it out altogether. No creepy music leading up to spooky parts that you still jump at any way. Nothing. But. Silence. You don't know what's coming or when. You are just as scared at the people in the movie because those movie lives don't have a soundtrack either. They're hiding out but they can't tell what's going to happen by the sound of the music. Why should you?

Another insanely scary element of this movie - animals acting freaky. And not just, "hey, Fido's getting a little twitchy" but hordes of animals are staring at you and, quite probably, plotting your death. I mean, what would you do if you walked outside your door and blanketing your roof were hundreds of birds? On the power lines, birds. On the lawn, birds. On your car, birds. They're everywhere and you have no idea why and you have no idea what they're going to do.

Until they start attacking. Indiscriminately. And with animals, there isn't a motive, there are no specifics. There's just pure, unadulterated instinct and you're seriously FUBAR because there are way more of them than there are of you. And they peck. To death.

This movie will have you looking at birds in a whole different light. And, really, animals in general. Because who's to say something like that can't happen? Why not? Nature's already pissed at us for what we're doing to the planet. Like the animals won't turn on us next, huh? And what are you going to do? Go duck hunting? The, uh, pecking order (har har) has violently changed and humans are no longer the top beasts in the food chain. Now we're the animals and what we originally knew as animals are the ones hunting us for sport.

If you don't find that extremely freaky, I don't know what'll scare you.

I couldn't find a short original trailer for the movie so this is a fan-made one. Pretty good, actually.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

You Like Me! You Really Like Me!

More awards. :) This time I swear I didn' let them build up. They've only been sitting in my inbox for a couple of weeks. I just hit the lucky jackpot! LOL!

First up, the absolutely amazing Miss Cindy at simple life and reading has bestowed upon me the Superior Scribbler Award! Thank you, thank you!

- Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends

-Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award. -Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.

-Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!

-Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

I've already added my name to that list so I'm going to pass on that. I'll turn this one around to -

Ellz Readz
Blogs with Bite
Book Reviews by Jess
An Addicted Book Reader
Poisoned Rationality

Next up, the most wonder Elie at Ellz Readz has given me the Heartfelt Award! Thank you so much!

Do you reach for a cup of cocoa or tea when you're relaxing, seeking comfort, sharing a plate of cookies with family and friends? You know the feeling you get when you drink a yummy cup of cocoa, tea, or a hot toddy ? That is what the Heartfelt Award is all about, feeling warm inside.

Rules : Put the logo on your blog/post. Nominate up to to 9 blogs which make you feel comfy or warm inside. Be sure to link your nominees within your post. Let them know that they have been nominated by commenting on their blog. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

I'm giving this one to Sharon of Sharon Loves Books and Cats. She's just a genuinely awesome person!

Moving on to the bodacious Adrienne of An Addicted Book Reader, she's given me the Honest Scrap Award! Muchos gracias!

This is the Honest Scrap Award. It is for those bloggers who write from the heart. The rules are to pass it along to seven bloggers and then list 10 honest things about myself. Here are those deserving of this honour, bloggers who write from the heart and touch me because of it (and I'm going to try to nominate blogs that haven't already received this award, so that doesn't means I don't love yours!).

Let's see . . .

Reviewer X
Mrs. Magoo Reads
Opinionated? Me?
Hey! Teenager of the Year
Rhiannon Hart
Reading in Color
Wondrous Reads

And 10 honest things about me--

1. I'm a sick Lost Boys fan (as in the vampire movie). You can take that to mean however you want it.
2. Brett Favre can go fuck a pig.
3. Yankees rule! Both of my parents and 3/4 of my family are from New York. Who am I going to root for? The Mets?
4. Halloween is my favorite holiday (is it obvious?).
5. I love being scared.
6. Santa Cruz, California is my favorite vacation spot.
7. I will be living in California in the not-too-distant future.
8. I write. A lot.
9. I have the body of a 60 year old . . . on the inside.
10. I've taken a few too many hits to the head over the years.

And last but definitely not least, Lindsay at Just Another Book Addict =) has bestowed upon me the One Lovely Blog Award! Thanks a bunch!

Here are the rules of the "One Lovely Blog Award": Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

So Many Books, So Little Time
Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm
Good Books and Good Wine
I was a teenage book geek
Gofita's Pages
Read Into This!
Princess Bookie
Reality Bites . . . Fiction Does It Better

Page Turners
Bloody Bookaholic
Book Chick City
Mindful Musings
Library Lounge Lizard
Crystal Reviews
The Hiding Spot

Thank you, everyone, and congrats!

Contest Reminders!

My contest for Going Away Shoes ends tonight at midnight, EST! Be sure to get your entries in by then!

And only 3 whole days left to enter my massive Halloween contest! With all the stuff that I'm giving away to one exceptionally lucky winner, you don't want to miss out! So get on it!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Vampire Beach by Alex Duval

Omnibus featuring Bloodlust and Initiation, both first published in 2006.

Jason Freeman is stoked when his family relocates to DeVere Heights, Malibu. The kids at his posh new high school are surprisingly friendly, and pretty soon Jason's part of the in-crowd. He even gets to meet the hot-but-unattainable girl.

Then, the morning after one off-the-hook party, a girl washes up on the beach dead. There's no explanation - except a suspicious-looking bite mark on her body.

Now Jason has to admit that what you don't want to know can hurt you. And when an o
ld friend pays him a visit, they have no idea that they're about to put themselves in mortal danger. Literally. (book back blurb)

How are you put in mortal danger theoretically? That irked me.

Anyway, I've had this book for about 10 months, I'm just getting to it now and I just realized, when I picked it up to read it, that it was an omnibus. I had no idea. Gotta love my observant self.

So we have rich kids. In Malibu. The new kid that gets accepted. Rich kids have fangs. New kid gets tossed in the middle of it. How freakin' ORIGINAL. See, when I see the words 'beach' and 'vampire' together, my mind immediately goes to The Lost Boys so when I finally picked this up (after some puttering around, I kept going to Barnes and Noble, picking it up and putting it back down) and bought it, I was half-expecting something somewhat similar. Oh silly me. I should have known this wasn't going to trend towards the good.

What a yawn fest. Seriously. Jason wants Sienna but can't have her because she's his buddy's chick but none of the other girls entice him. That is the damn focus for 2/3rds of the first book. Internal back and forth and back and forth - oh god she's so beautiful but I shouldn't want to kiss her because she's Brad's chick but I want her but I can't but I can't help myself but I have to . . . SHUT THE FUCK UP! Talk about getting totally hung up. On both books, no less.

Also in both books, absolutely nothing going on except parties and pretty people for two-thirds of them. Anything worth reading is all shoved and resolved within the last third of the book. Thank god they both only took me an hour to read each. I might have had to stick this thing in a punkin' and to some chunkin'.

The pretty, popular crowd, aka the vampires, weren't your typical rich kids. They were actually down to earth and normal, which was nice and refreshing. That refreshing quality also made them boring as shit. And they're vampires. WTF? Jason is the typical new kid without too much awkwardness, unless he's around Sienna. And he's around her a lot. They accept him but he's the cool kid for being friends with the pretty people AND guys like Adam who's a movie geek that never had an in before now. Add in the bratty sister and the overly concerned parents and you're good to ride the cliche mobile down the trope highway.

Adam had the funny lines. Jason is not a compelling character at all. The events of both books really happen around him as opposed to to him. He just ends up getting himself involved because he's the main character and he'd be even more boring than he already is if he didn't. Sienna turns out to be a little on the slutty side because what would the books be without some teenage romance angst? Dani is your typical younger sister that's as one dimensional as the page I read her on. Who else? The popular guys . . . Zach . . . cardboard. Jason's friend from Michigan, Tyler, twitchy and was pretty much the only one with potential but the author likes rapid fire and clean-cut resolution so that didn't play out like it could have. Am I missing anything? Doubt it.

Oh right. The nice vampires. That don't kill people. And can go out during the day. And donate to charity. That exist because it's a hereditary trait . . . JESUS FUCKING CHRIST. They weren't just emasculated. They didn't even have vaginas. They were just downright eunichs, neuters that needed to get back to their damn bridge game or something. Seriously. Can we cycle back in REAL vampires please? WTF is the point in being this all-powerful supernatural being if you can't even use any of it? And have to go to high school? WTF is with vampires and high school? It was cool with the original Buffy. It was still cool with the series. By now it's so tapped out that that ass is raw. Can we let it heal, please? For the sake of vampire balls? Vampires used to be something to fear. Now they're something to snuggle. *yak*

I think a little more time could have been spent tightening the plot, not to mention editing out all of the typos, than rushing two books out in a year. Quantity over quality, huh?

I'd recommend these for a beach read but, in all honesty, I don't even think they're worth that. They're just not exciting or compelling or even all that interesting to be honest. The second book definitely had more potential than the first but I'll be damned if I read yet another book where I have to wait 120 pages before anything of interest starts to happen. I guess if you feel so inclined to reading them, they'll literally only take about an hour to finish each. Dense is not the word I would use to describe these books. But really, I wouldn't waste that hour. You could be doing better things, like raking leaves.

Gilda's Club Teen Essay Contest Extended

The Gilda's Club NYC Teen Essay Contest is a contest for teen writers wanting to express how their lives have been affected by cancer. For all of the entry information, visit my original post here.

I just received an updated press release indicating that due to the national advertising spots the contest has received, the contest postmark deadline has been extended to November 6th. If you were planning on sending in an entry, now you have more time! Good luck!

Monday, October 26, 2009

And the winner is . . .

And the winner of my ARC of The Amanda Project: Invisible I is . . .


Congratulations! I'll shoot you over an email shortly. And a big thanks to everyone that entered! But be sure to stick around. I just might have a few more copies of The Amanda Project popping up and raring to be won! Stay tuned!

Putting the Duh in Dubya

It was recently revealed in a memoir by former Bush administration speech writer, Matt Latimer, that Bush denied giving JK Rowling the Presidential Medal of Freedom because he felt her Harry Potter books promoted witchcraft.


If you didn't think Bush was a tool before, I hope this changes your mind. And no, I'm not making this up. I'll repeat myself--

President George W. Bush denied giving author JK Rowling the Presidential Medal of Freedom because he felt her books promoted witchcraft. It's funny in a depressing and slightly suicidal way.

To be fair, he also denied the late Ted Kennedy the honor during his dictatorship because Kennedy was too liberal, just in case you didn't know were Bush stood in the mix.

BUT, but, of course Charlton Heston was bestowed the honor by none other than Dubya himself. Because he's a hardworking man that represents the values and honors of the United States. President of the NRA. Slightly nuts. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

Charlton Heston = Good. JK Rowling = Bad. Guns = Good. Reading = Bad. Get it?


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Contest Slurry

Ends 10/26

ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley candle - Christina at {Insert Book Title Here}

Ends 10/29

2 signed copies of The Espressologist by Kristina Springer - Free Book Friday Teens

Ends 10/31

Signed copy of Nightshift or Strange Angels, both by Lili (Lillith) St. Crow (Saintcrow) - Book Chick City

Rowan of the Wood and Witch on the Water, both by Christine and Ethan Rose plus a stake - Taschima at Bloody Bookaholic

Ends 11/1

Dust of 100 Dogs by AS King plus a couple bookmarks - Meghan at Meghan's Book Blog

Hold Still by Nina LaCour - Senfaye at A Maze of Books

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow - Darcy at Library Lounge Lizards

Break by Hannah Moskowitz - Chelsea at The Page Flipper

Ends 11/2

Hold Still by Nina LaCour - Lauren at Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf

Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick - Tina at Fantastic Book Review

Ends 11/3

Stealing Death by Janet Lee Carey - Tina at Fantastic Book Review

Ends 11/4

Candle Man by Glenn Dakin - Tina at Fantastic Book Review

Ends 11/5

Mirrorscape by Mike Wilks - Tina at Fantastic Book Review

Ends 11/6

Signed set of 3 books from the Wicked series by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie - Ashley at Books Obsession

3 copies of The Midnight Guardian by Sarah Jane Stratford - Kristi at The Story Siren

3 copies of Spider by Linda Strachan - Jenny at Wondrous Reads

Ends 11/7

Hold Still by Nina LaCour - Kelsey at The Book Scout

Hate List by Jennifer Brown - Devyn at The Faerie Drink Review

Immortal edited by PC Cast - Faye at Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm

Ends 11/13

Tote bag made by Katie Alender - Ashley at Books Obsession

Ends 11/15

Vampires by Joules Taylor and Werewolves by Jon Izzard - Eleni at La Femme Readers

Ends 11/21

Gossip Girl by Cecile von Ziegesar and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen by Dyan Sheldon plus girly goodies - Andrea at Buried in Books

Ends 11/27

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent - J Kaye at J Kaye's Book Blog

Ends 11/30

Choice of 1 of 3 wicked paranormal books - Elizabeth at From Rambling to Interviews

Added to the Halloween Pumpkin Pot!

The last bit of goodness added to my massive Halloween pumpkin pot! What Halloween giveaway would be complete without a candy goodie bag, huh? None, I tell you! So I'm throwing one in, filled to the top with awesome candy of all kinds plus a few little Halloween toys to spooky up you day!

Less than a week left to get all your entries in for this massive giveaway! So be sure to head on over to the contest post and comment, comment, comment! And check out what else you can win, in case you forgot. :)

Contest Reminders!

If you still want a chance to win my ARC of The Amanda Project - Invisible I, be sure to get your entries in by midnight tonight!

Also, you only have one more week to get all your entries in for my massive Halloween contest! The deadline for that one is Saturday, October 31st at midnight! Hurry, hurry! You don't want to miss out on the insane amount of stuff you could win!

Added to the Pile + 16

It was Michelle Moran week in my mailbox! I received some bookmarks directly from the author herself but I scored in the contest sector for her books! I won The Heretic Queen from Paradox at Paradoxical and Cleopatra's Daughter from Dannie at Opinionated? Me? I've wanted the latter for a while and, you know, persistence pays off. After entering numerous contests, I finally won a copy! Yay!

In ancient Egypt, a forgotten princess must overcome her family’s past and remake history.

The winds of change are blowing through Thebes. A devastating palace fire has killed the Eighteenth Dynasty’s royal family–with the exception of Nefertari, the niece of the reviled former queen, Nefertiti. The girl’s deceased family has been branded as heretical, and no one in Egypt will speak their names. Nefertari is pushed aside, an unimportant princess left to run wild in the palace. But this changes when she is taken under the wing of the Pharaoh’s aunt, then brought to the Temple of Hathor, where she is educated in a manner befitting a future queen.

Soon Nefertari catches the eye of the Crown Prince, and despite her family’s history, they fall in love and wish to marry. Yet all of Egypt opposes this union between the rising star of a new dynasty and the fading star of an old, heretical one. While political adversity sets th
e country on edge, Nefertari becomes the wife of Ramesses the Great. Destined to be the most powerful Pharaoh in Egypt, he is also the man who must confront the most famous exodus in history. (from

The marriage of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is one of the greatest love stories of all time, a tale of unbridled passion with earth-shaking political consequences. Feared and hunted by the powers in Rome, the lovers choose to die by their own hands as the triumphant armies of Antony’s revengeful rival, Octavian, sweep into Egypt. Their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome; only two– the ten-year-old twins Selene and Alexander–survive the journey. Delivered to the household of Octavian’s sister, the siblings cling to each other and to the hope that they will return one day to their rightful place on the throne of Egypt. As they come of age, they are buffeted by the personal ambitions of Octavian’s family and court, by the ever-present threat of slave rebellion, and by the longings and desires deep within their own hearts. (from

Things I've Learned from Books + 25

If you wear enough white pancake make-up, vampires will think you're one of them. Never mind their ability to sense humans in the vicinity. The whiteness will knock them off their homing devices. Apparently they're akin to zombies in that respect.

The Pie Graph of Awesome

Grab a pen. Take notes. There will be a quiz. I thank my friend Squid for this. She originally thought I had something to do with this. I wish.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Parliament of Blood by Justin Richards

First published in 2008.

George Archer, Liz Oldfield and Eddie Hopkins have made a rather unfortunate discovery: vampires actually exist, and they really do feed on human blood. Using a labyrinth of tunnels beneath Victorian London, these sinister creatures are intent on destroying the human race, and they'll start by taking over the most powerful place in London - the Houses of Parliament.

Through their research on ancient mysteries and a secret London gentleman's club, George, Liz and Eddie come up with a plan to beat the vampires at their own game. And they'd better do it soon, before they become the vampires' next meal . . .
(book flap blurb)

What an awesome book. Really. Now here's a guy that knows how to play with the lore, not ass rape it.

First off, I was surprised by how British it was. Usually with British books, when we get them, they're Americanized. Like the Harry Potter books. Most of the British colloquialisms were removed apparently because we wouldn't get it. But this one appeared relatively untouched. There are even 'ou' spellings, British punctuation and everything. I liked it. It didn't insult my intelligence (because, really, Americanizing is pretty insulting) and it made the read feel that much more authentic.

While I pretty much raced through it, I felt it did meander a bit at times. The dawdling at the work house, for instance. I felt too much time was spent there in comparison to the relevance of the place to the greater plot. Yeah, it's a little wordy but I've read worse and even though there were a few too many words, it still remained interesting and I wanted to keep reading. That's really what matters, right?

Out of all the characters, I felt the closest to Eddie. I felt like he was the one character where we were really able to get into his head and his feelings and understand them. Plus he's a snarky little shit and I just really liked that. Sir William's a pretty cool dude. I wouldn't mind working with him. George was a bit of a stiff, especially for someone his age, but he proved useful and not nearly as anal-retentive as he first appeared. I think I liked Liz the least. That's not to say I didn't like her but I felt she didn't really add much to the overall story. I was neither here nor there about her but really just meh.

Plus I felt her "big role" would have been easily found out by the vampires. That was the only part of the book that I had a hard time believing in. By the time we get to that point in the book, we know what the vampires are capable of, what their powers are and so on. Considering that knowledge and the situation, I didn't find her situation plausible and I think they would have ripped open her neck for playing them. But that's just my opinion.

Now the lore part, totally awesome. Richards has all the basic constructs of vampires; fangs, light sensitivity (not combustion level but sensitive), blood drinking, plus he even went with the water fear and the connection to home soil. I loved that part, how they keep their soil on them. Very smart! The Great Lie, though, was quite possibly the best part. It twists the lore just enough that it still maintains its integrity but creates for something new and interesting and YES! I don't want to give it away but let me just say that it takes a "standard" part of the lore that's in favor of the vampires and turns it right against them. Very awesome. And then there's the hibernation bit of it as well. That was another one of the parts of this book's lore that I loved the most, vampires switching places in order to not inundate the planet. No wonder there was discord!

I loved all of the twists this book had to offer, especially with Liz's father. He was such a dynamic character, and one of my favorites, even though he didn't appear much in the book. He was such a strong presence that from the moment he was introduced, even when he wasn't in scene, his presence permeated the pages. Really, no wonder the Reverend wanted to keep Liz away from the theater. While the reason, to me anyway, was pretty obvious as soon as it was introduced, the way it came to light, and then dark, was totally cool.

This is an excellent, and creepy, book about vampires. It makes them a little more realistic, a little sexy but very dangerous and very undead. You can't become a vampire until you die and then you get to claw your way out of your grave. It's probably one of the most traditional pieces of vampire lore and one that I liked the best. It gives them the juxtaposition of being appealing but at the same time truly the abominations that they are. They are undead, as they should be. People shouldn't want to be that but there's a side with a draw that, for some, is irresistible.

Read this book. Now. The vampires will appreciate it.

80s Awesomeness! ~ 34

You know you had one. Or six. We all did. I think I remember having two but I only really remember one. Her yarn hair was excellent for cutting and man did she look like a punk when I was done with her! My cousin had one, and might even still have it, and kept it around kind of like a security blankie. Me, I just had a blankie.

But these were probably the one type of doll that I could actually tolerate simply because they didn't have beady eyes. They were just stickers. Not glass orbs that you swore blinked when you looked at them out of the corner of our eye. They were the least threatening of all doll-like things. If they're still around, I will allow my theoretical children to have these dolls. But no others.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Freaky Friday :|: 34

Title: Crash Course
Author: Nicole Davidson
Published: July 1990
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pages: 224
When eight teenagers sign up for an intensive SAT prep course to be held over Thanksgiving weekend in a remote lakeside cabin, they little suspect that oneof them will be murdered! Their teacher goes off for help and never returns, leaving the teens to wonder if there is a lunatic killer loose in the woods . . . (from
Editorial Review:
Kelly Peterson and seven other high school students have enrolled in an intensive SAT course, to be held at a secluded cabin during Thanksgiving vacation. Tragedy strikes on the first night of their trip when Brian Lopez, Kelly's closest friend, drowns in a nearby lake. Brian's longtime (and possessive) girlfriend, Paula, had been with him, and claims he died from a struggle with an unknown assailant. When their teacher goes in search of help but doesn't return, the group is convinced that a madman must be stalking the area, waiting to pounce on his next victim. The book's main flaw is that not much happens until its midpoint, and readers expecting an action-packed thriller won't have the patience to sit through this drawn out story. (They'll also see through the author's manipulative ploy of casting suspicion on most of the characters.) In addition, the setting is contrived: it's highly unlikely that any school would sanction a retreat 10 miles from a telephone or any transportation. Davidson's effort pales in comparison to others in this genre. (from Publisher's Weekly,
I'm sensing a theme with this author. The summary alone screams forced. The thing is, maybe this wasn't as contrived as it sounds now when it was published back in 1990. You never know. Then again, the plot as it stands is rather unfeasible with or without the force. Eh. What are you going to do? At least we have a cover for this one.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

New YA Imprint for Sourcebooks

Sourcebooks, which you might know from the Jabberywocky imprint, will be launching their new YA line, Sourcebooks Fire. Personally I think they could have gotten a little more creative in the line-naming but at the very least, the books look pretty cool. Previously any YA titles, including Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble, were printed under the Jabberwocky name. Now any new prints of older YA books from Sourcebooks will be printed under the Fire line. Fire won't discriminate about the types of books they print, just so long as they're YA so look for a range of books from fantasy to romance and everything in between.

Those are the covers to some of the books that will be released by Fire in 2010. Personally I'm most looking forward to Recognized, about the teens that "invented" the seance. Granted the explanation right there is faulty as seances have been happening for much more than 150 years but regardless, it still sounds interesting. And that grunge rock font on We Hear the Dead is everywhere. And I just love that cover in general. I may just dye my hair that color . . . wouldn't match my eyebrows though . . .

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Added to the Halloween Pumpkin Pot!

Yes! There's more! But I expect there'll be only one more addition after this one. I can only imagine what it's going to cost to ship this thing!


Sleepy Hollow (How much better of a Halloween movie can you get? And Johnny Depp . . . hello?)
The Lost Boys (Right. Like you didn't know I was going to slip this one in there, huh? How can I give away vampire DVDs and not give away TLB?)

To see all the rest of the awesome stuff you can win, check out the contest post!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

And the winner is . . .

The winner of my A Quiet Belief in Angels contest is . . .


Congratulations! I'll be emailing you shortly. A big thanks to everyone that entered!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fright Fest - The Exorcist

Nothing says "burn the Ouija board" like "Let Jesus fuck you."

I was maybe 6 or 7 when I first saw this one and, surprisingly, it didn't disturb me like Poltergeist did. Although I would never use a Ouija board by myself after that but that's besides the point. Doesn't negate the disturbing factor.

I mean, come on. An innocent girl likes having some fun with what everyone thinks is a toy and all of a sudden her bed turns into a vibrator without the coin slot, she cam mimic and owl and her mouth becomes a pea soup dispenser. Damn you, Milton Bradley!

But seriously, Hollywood better not fuck with this one. I understand they've sapped all of the original buckets and have nothing better to make than books into movie and remakes of classics and while they did re-release The Exorcist a few years ago with some bonus scenes, they left it alone. As it should be. No more touchy.

The original is the best. Even lacking all of the technological movie advances of today, the effects, and Linda Blair's acting, still make for some creeptastic scenes. Not only will make you look under the bed before you go to sleep, it'll disturb the hell out of you. Or into you, as it were. This was a movie of its time that was genuine horror. There wasn't any gore, no big boobied hoes screaming. Its purpose was to inflict genuine terror. Ask anyone who went to see the original release back in the 70s at the theater what their reaction was like. See if they were capable of sitting through the entire movie. Most weren't. Either they were afraid or so horribly disturbed that they couldn't keep watching.

What was more was that this was supposed to be based on a real case of exorcism. I think the boy was from Maryland. Obviously it was jazzed up for Hollywood. I'm not convinced that Linda's character (for the life of me I can't remember her name) would have survived after the exorcist twist (I mean, come on, that disconnected her brain stem from her spinal chord, she would have died when the thing left her) but the horror and the extent of the damage to the body was similar. While I'm disinclined to believe that people can actually be possessed, to think that someone went through something similar is enough to make my stomach churn.

If you're looking for a real bone-chilling fright, go with The Exorcist. Even I had a religious experience during this movie. And that's saying something.

Contest Reminder!

Just a reminder to everyone that my contest for A Quiet Belief in Angels ends tonight at midnight, EST! Be sure to get your entries in by then!

And just a note, if you're going to buy a bag of Child's Play, get it at Target. They rob you at CVS. That is all.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Contest Slurry

Ends ???

2 Vampire's Assistant by Darren Shan prize packs including 3 books and a locker mirror - Darcy at Library Lounge Lizard

Nancy Holder prize pack including5 books and a tin of mints - Liviania at In Bed With Books

Ends 10/18

Simply Irresistible by Jennifer Banash - Sophie at Mrs. Magoo Reads

Ends 10/19

Going Bovine by Libba Bray - Chelsea at The Page Flipper

Ends 10/21

Vampires by Joules Taylor or Werewolves by Jon Izzard - Taschima at Bloody Bookaholic

Ends 10/22

One of a slew of books from the Austin Teen Book Festival - Sab H at Crystal Reviews

5 signed copies of Duplikate by Cherry Chava - Free Book Friday Teens

Ends 10/23

Signed copy of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick - Jess at Book Reviews by Jess

Signed copy of Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill - Elie at Ellz Readz

Ends 10/25

Hold Still by Nina LaCour - Alea at Pop Culture Junkie

Nightworld by LJ Smith with all books plus a Halloween goodie bag - Cheryl and Amber at Just Your Typical Book Blog

Demon Princess: Reign or Shine by Michelle Rowen - Cheryl and Amber at Just Your Typical Book Blog

Ends 10/27

2 Vampire's Assistant by Darren Shan prize packs including 3 books and a locker mirror - Elise at Reading Rocks

Ends 10/29

Little Black Lies by Tish Cohen - Shakespeare's Muse at Reading Rocks

Ends 10/30

Signed copy of Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater - Tina at Fantastic Book Review

Signed copy of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick - Darcy at Library Lounge Lizard

Ends 10/31

Signed copy of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick - Kelsey at The Book Scout

10 copies of Beautiful by Amy Reed - Kristi at The Story Siren

David Inside Out by Lee Bantle - Devyn at The Faerie Drink Review

Prada & Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard - Pirate Penguin's Reads

4 copies of Vampires by Joules Taylor or 4 copies of Werewolves by Jon Izzard - Blog with Bite

Signed copy of Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue by Hugh Howey - Tina at Fantastic Book Review

Ends 11/1

Little Black Lies by Tish Cohen - Sara at The Hiding Spot

Ends 11/2

2 Vampire's Assistant by Darren Shan prize packs including 3 books and a locker mirror - Right here on Bites

Ends 11/13

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - The Book Vixen

5 copies of The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent - Kate at The Neverending Shelf

Ends 11/15

4 books from a pile of 16 YA choices - Faye at Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm

Things I've Learned from Books + 24

You will not benefit in the slightest from aspiring to be the "pretty, popular" chick. You'll only end up wanting to kick your own ass for such superficial frivolities in the end.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Teen Read Week October 18th - 24th

Teen Read Week, head up by YALSA, starts tomorrow and runs until next Saturday. This year's theme, read beyond reality. From the ALA website, "This year's theme is Read Beyond Reality @ your library, which encourages teens to read something out of this world, just for the fun of it."

About Teen Read Week

Teen Read Week is an initiative of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Teen Read Week started in 1998.

Why is it important to celebrate? For a lot of reasons! Teens have so many options for entertainment, so it's important to remind them to spend time reading for pleasure: it's free, fun, and can be done anywhere! Research shows that teens who read for fun have better test scores and are more likely to succeed in the workforce. Also, it’s a great chance to let your school or your public library communities know how important teen services are! Let teens know the possibilities that exist within your doors, and within the covers of books.

So be sure to pick up a book with unreality and read it this week! As if you weren't going to anyway. :)

The Vampire's Promise by Caroline B. Cooney

3 books in one consisting of Deadly Offers (originally The Cheerleader), Evil Returns (originally The Return of the Vampire) and Fatal Bargain (originally The Vampire's Promise) - Published in 1991, 1992 and 1993, respectively

There's a vampire living in the creepy old tower at the bottom of the hill, but he's not your usual creature of the night. This vampire makes promises and grants wishes . . . for a price.

When he offers Althea, Devnee, and Lacey the things they want most, the girls must decide how much they are willing to pay.

Simple arrangements, evil consequences. The girls will learn to be careful what they wish for . . . but they'll learn it the hard way.
(book back blurb)

That blurb is a bit of a misnomer because Lacey doesn't fit into that. Her situation's entirely different and is actually the polar opposite of the other two girls. But I'll get back to that in a moment.

Normally I review these compilation books separately because they are separate books but it just would have been redundant, even for a series so a 3 books in 1 review is what you're going to get.

The first two, Deadly Offer and Evil Returns are pretty much the same story, just with different names. Both girls are considered plain, boring and invisible. I think under any other circumstances they would have been considered just normal girls but these books are about severe stereotypes. You get one mould and that's what you fit into. So you have the plain Janes that want nothing more than to be pretty and popular and loved and not dull.

They both live in this old Victorian mansion and a vampire lives in between these inside and outside shutters in the tower room of the house (I'll come back to the vampire in a moment). He bleeds into their lives, offers them wishes, or really answers wishes, in return for a life. In order to get you have to give. They wish for popularity and smarts and friends and boyfriends and in return the people that were once popular get tapped by the vampire and, essentially, trade places with the Janes.

In the end the Janes feel guilty, rescind their wishes and feel that it's better to be plain and normal and boring and win people over the old fashion way instead of sucking the life from those that have what you want in order to achieve it. Nice, happy, resolved endings.

Seriously, those two books were the exact same thing. So much so that I thought it was a waste of my time to read the second one but I kept reading thinking that maybe something different would happen, you know? No. The exact same storyline with the exact same characters, just with different names.

The third book, Fatal Bargain, was the redemption. It was completely different than the other two. Whereas the first two had the extreme stereotypes (the jocks, the pretty girls, the plain girls, the popular people), this one had more balance. People weren't shunned but at the same time you were able to get into their heads and see what they were thinking about everyone else around them. They all fit their own moulds but the walls weren't so high that they couldn't climb out of them. The characters actually had depth. They had dimensions and at the end of the story they were something more than paper dolls.

What I didn't get was the insistence that Lacey was an airhead. It was said a fair amount of times but her actions didn't reflect those words. She ended up being the strongest out of the entire group and when I said she didn't fit the mould of the other two, Althea and Devnee, she never made any wishes. That was never the situation in this story.

The other two girls lived in that house with their families but in the last book, the house was abandoned and the kids were partying in it. They had woken up the vampire and he wasn't in a wishing mood. He gave them the option of sacrificing one for him to feed on so the rest could leave. That was it. No pretty looks or popularity to be given. Lacey didn't make any wishes. None of them did.

The writing was very stagnant from one book to the next. I preferred the third on all levels only because of the variety from the last one. It was more multidimensional and fulfilled the horror motif better than the other two.

There were some gaps in the plot, like Althea and living in the house. Her parents never made an appearance. In fact, it kept sounding like she lived in that house by herself. That really bothered me.

In all three books, the vampire had the same descriptions. Considering these were limited points of view, it read to me like all these kids saw this vampire with the same eyes. In every single book, the vampire's skin was the color of mushrooms. Would they really all make that same observation?

And in the last book, the vampire declares that if someone sacrifices themselves for the group, he cannot take them as a victim. It appeared that that applied to one character but when another did the same exact thing, it didn't obviously to serve the plot. Hole much?

And the writing was updated, which irked me. It's as if the new generation wouldn't understand the terms used in the early 90s. It really hit me that it'd been updated was when I caught the mention of the word DVDs. Not in 1991 they weren't. I mean, was that necessary? Is a VHS tape that much of an anomaly to teens today?

And for the vampire, I went both ways with him. First, I honestly don't think this was a standard blood-drinking vampire. His victims, when he was done with them, were all exceptionally tired which led me believe that he was a more psychical vampire that drained energies as opposed to blood. A very different take that I really liked.

There was nothing sexy about him, which is also a nice twist. He's decay and rot and swamp and everything you'd think death would be. His cape is woven of the souls of the people he's killed. He's intangible and tangible all at the same time depending on the strength of his power and he can seep into you if you allow your wishes to be brought to fruition. He's a disease that penetrates the mind and seeps into your soul. Very creepy and very different. I liked it.

What I didn't get, though, was that he occupied the shutters in the tower. I had a hard time picturing that. The idea was that if the shutters were ever opened, it would unleash the vampire so to prevent that, there were shutters both inside and outside the windows. I just didn't get it. In the last book we see just where the vampire resides and by that book it's clear that he is confined to the tower until someone releases him. I don't think it centers around the shutters as much as the first book intoned.

So, the bottom line is that the last book, Fatal Bargain, is the best out of all of them. It has the most depth, it's the creepiest, the least superficial and the most well-rounded. The other two, pick one, read it and move on. The writing, to me anyway, culminates in that final book. The first two were just way too similar and stocked with cardboard characters for my liking.

But all three of them get bonus points for the creep of a vampire. It's not something I see often, a vampire in this form, and it makes me like it even more. He's portrayed as the evil, disgusting piece of rot he actually is and it makes the character that much more spine-chilling.

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