Thursday, December 31, 2009

Some Winners, Some Reminders

And winners of my Vampire Taxonomy contest are . . .

Karly and vampira2468!!!

Congratulations! I'll be emailing you guys shortly. And a big thanks to everyone who entered!

Also, one huge reminder, the 12 Blogs of Christmas ends tonight! That's 12 contests across 12 blogs, including this one, ends tonight at midnight! Hit the list below below to be sure that you've entered them all! Have some more exclamation points!!!

Day 1 - The Neverending Shelf - 4 books, $10 iTunes gift card, swag
Day 2 - Literary Escapism - 6 books
Day 3 - Library Lounge Lizard - 12 books, swag
Day 4 - Bites - 3 books
Day 5 - Ellz Readz - 8 books, swag
Day 6 - Book Rat - 5 books
Day 7 - Luxury Reading - 5 books, invisible bookshelf
Day 8 - Princess Bookie - 12 books, swag
Day 9 - Shooting Stars Mag - $10 Borders gift card
Day 10 - vvb32 reads - 10 books, swag
Day 11 - The Shady Glade - 6 books, swag
Day 12 - The Page Flipper - 4 books

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Book Wars (4)

By a hair, the World of Faeries books by Maggie Stiefvater won last week's battle. Now onto this week's . . . FIGHT!

Gone series


The Hunger Games series

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Contest Reminder + Does this hook you?

Just a reminder to everyone that my contest for two copies of Vampire Taxonomy ends tonight at midnight, EST! Be sure to get your entries in by then!

Now, I can't remember if I mentioned it here or not but I'm entering my manuscript into Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Contest for YA. Not only do I have to finish editing it (really, I'm almost done) but I want to get all of the elements ready to submit for the start date since it's only open to the first 5,000 entries (each for YA and standard novel). One of those elements is I need a hook. One thing I'm not good at: writing short.

Blech. It's so hard for me to condense and it'll rightly take me longer to write a 100 word hook than it would to write the 55,000 word manuscript. So I need your help. I've started writing my hook and while I'm still finagling it, I'd like your opinion on the first sentence. Please, be honest. Brutally if need be.

It's just another earthquake until Sylfaerie Stallone pistol-whips someone with a goo gun.
Help me!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Well isn't that speshul . . .

You know, I'm all for gay pride and expressing one's sexuality, whatever that may be, but I REALLY don't need an avatar of some form of mutilated beaver shot in my followers list advertising hot gay Asian sex. Really don't need that and while I'm sure every teen, regardless of gender, has seen a beaver shot, I don't need to give them a daily reminder of just what it looks like on my blog. Holy crap.

On that note, I also learned how to block a follower. So in case you didn't you and you find some form of genitalia popping up on your followers list, just go to your dashboard, click the number of followers you have to the right and then click on the offender's avatar to block. Go Hustler! but I don't need a crotch in my face every day. Thanks.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday Contest Slurry

Ends 12/31

12 Blogs of Christmas, Day 10 with 2 winners, 5 books each plus swag - Velvet at vvb32 Reads

12 Blogs of Christmas, Day 11 with 11 winners, 11 books and swag - Alyssa at The Shady Glade

12 Blogs of Christmas, Day 12 with The Vampire Diaries, books 1-4 by LJ Smith - Chelsea at The Page Flipper

Ends 1/1

ARC of Captivate by Carrie Jones - Shakespeare's Muse at Reading Rocks

Ends 1/5

Darklight by Lesley Livingston - Sara at The Hiding Spot

Ends 1/6

Explorer X-Alpha by LM Preston plus a poster - Nadine-Stella at Starry Night

Ends 1/8

Signed copy of Taken By Storm by Angela Morrison - Lizzie at The Books Obsession

Ends 1/10

3 copies of Freaks and Revelations by Davida Willis Hurwin - Beth and Nathan at in BetweeN the pages

Ends 1/12

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - Right here on Bites

Ends 1/20

400 Followers Giveaway with a potential for 4 winners and 9 books to choose from - Natalie at Mindful Musings

Ends 1/31

Awakening Contest with 3 books - Cherry at Cherry Mischievous

Must Love Black by Kelly McClymer + Challenge Completed

First published in 2008.

Sounds like a coffee-loving, seclusion-seeking goth girl's dream job. Philippa isn't fazed by the fog-enshrouded mansion on a cliff, the weirdest twins on the planet, or even the rumors about ghosts, 'cause when she meets the estate's hot gardener, Philippa's pretty sure she's found her dream boy, too. Too bad Geoff's already taken . . . by a girl whose wardrobe is head-to-toe pink. Still, Philippa can't get Geoff out of her head. What will it take to lure him to the dark side? (book back blurb)

Meh. Yeah, that's pretty much it. Meh.

First, I wasn't totally convinced this chick was actually goth as goth takes more than dressing in black and liking black rainbows. She seemed like kind of a superficial goth; someone that dresses in black and pouts all the time at other people's happiness but put a set of abs you can bounce a quarter off of in front of her and she goes gaga. Totally not goth.

And what's with the twins?

Seriously, was red rum involved? I haven't even seen The Shining and I couldn't stop thinking about these guys while reading this book. I mean, what does a set of ten-year-olds have to be morose about? Yeah, their mother fell off a cliff (is it bad that I'm trying not to laugh at that? I mean, who accidentally falls off a cliff?) but they were lacking sunshine even before then. Apparently mummy was a The Cure listener before she took a dive. So what's their deal?

I just felt it was all rather contrived. The goth part anyway. And I was fully disappointed about the ghost part. How lacking that was. Don't go into this book thinking you'll be getting anything on the supernatural side because it's so finite that if you blink, you'll miss it. Why even mention ghosts at all? It holds absolutely no bearing on the plot.

Mostly it's about Philippa trying to get the twins' father to stop being a workaholic and start paying more attention to them all the while trying to figure out how involved the gardener and the pink chick really were. It's pretty lacking on anything exciting and, really, it's overall pretty mundane. The part with Geoff was interesting enough but definitely not enough to hold the entire story together.

The ending was pretty rushed as well. One turn of the page and everything's all dandy. The girls have their daddy back and the Geoff issue is settled and everyone lives a happily summer after. That's it? Boo.

So yeah, Philippa's really not as goth as she likes to think she is, the twins need to be exorcised, Daddy and Lady BV need a laxative and Geoff should just put his shirt back on. Overall, this book's pretty forgettable. It's something different against everything else that's out there with the premise but in terms of plot, it leaves something to be desired. I'd recommend reading this only if you have nothing else to do.

And with this review, my 2009 YA Challenge is officially completed. Yay! I was afraid I was going to miss it by a book and I would have been really pissed. Now time to set up 2010's.

Added to the Pile + 22

Nothing in the mail and I didn't buy anything but I got one book for Christmas and a $50 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble. That won't be spent until after the new year since I need calendars and those prices are cut in half once 2010 hits. And the book I got was The Darwin Awards 4 by Wendy Northcutt from my dad. Apparently he found it fitting for me. What? Me find humor in stupid people eliminating themselves from the gene pool? Nooooooooooo.

I also got some other fun things for Christmas including a new printer/fax/copier/scanner that I asked for. New pretty printing and scanning! Yay! I also got an Indo Board (again, I asked for it) which is a balance board people use not only for exercise but to develop skills for surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding. It's also an excellent way to rearrange your face without the excessive cost of plastic surgery. If you ever get one of those, use a bed without hard edges as a balance because if you suck, you're going to want that mattress catching your face. And I got this make-up kit from Bare Minerals that I was drooling over in the store but no one but my mom knew that I wanted it. Then my step-mom apparently had a mind meld and got it for me. I squeed. Funky eyeshadows! Yay! I also got a bunch of little stuff, a bunch of funky stuff, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on dvd. More yay! What'd you get?

Named after Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, The Darwin Awards pays homage to those who improve our gene pool . . . by removing themselves from it.

Most of us know instinctively that igniting a blasting cap in our mouth is a recipe for disaster. Darwin Award winners do not. Most of us have basic sound judgment that eliminates the need for NO SMOKING signs at ammo dumps. Darwin Award winners do not. Whether it's head-butting motorcyclists, thallium-snorting soldiers, or hatchet-wielding men who mistake a body part for a chicken neck, there's no shortage of creative Darwin Award winners. There's a reason the instructions say, "Don't heat your lava lamp on the stove." Only a Darwin Award winner would learn the fatal reason why.

Filled with over a hundred new tales of evolution in action, science essays by guest writers, and a parody research paper supporting Intelligent Design,
The Darwin Awards 4 shows that when it comes to common sense, natural selection still has a long way to go. (book flap blurb)

Things I've Learned from Books + 34

If you're looking into taking up the job of ghost hunting, be prepared for 90% horseshit (or any other kind of feces you can imagine) and the rest lacking any logical explanation that may leave you wondering if you forgot that you've been drinking or if someone slipped you something.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

80s Awesomeness! ~ 43

Valley Girls!!!

Like, totally. Fer shur. If you had big hair (well, who didn't?), hung out at the mall and sounded like you sucked helium and got a lobotomy (not necessarily in that order), then chances were you were a valley girl. Other tell tale signs were side pony tails, the "hottest" fashions and a good tanned sneer. I'm not sure which valley these chicks were from since there are a few valleys in the Los Angeles area (San Fernando, Death, whatever, does it matter?). Apparently sounding like a total tool was the "it" thing in the 80s, that is, if you swung in that crowd, or wanted to be in that crowd. Me, if someone told me to "bag my face," I'd go grab a plastic bag and tell them to play with it. And then I'd get a dictionary because what the hell does that mean anyway?

Freaky Friday :|: 43 (A Day Late)

Do you blame me? Oh well . . .

Title: Second Sight
Author: Sinclair Smith
Published: April 1996
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Grayson was blind, but thanks to an operation, she can now see. However, deadly visions of a murder begin to appear before her and it feels as if she is at the scene of the crime. Something doesn't quite add up and then Grayson realizes that she has seen more than one murder. (from
Well that's interesting. Not sure how I feel about it, just on a premise level. I don't know how horror it is but it's definitely mystery. But I guess that can be scary too. Still, considering the other books, it would be worth a shot, I think.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Book Wars (3)

Last week's winner was unanimous - Vampire Academy! Maybe I should pick that series up . . . ? And onto this week . . . FIGHT!

World of Faeries


World of Wicked Lovely

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak + Contest!

First published in 2005.

By her brother's graveside, Liesel Meminger's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Grave Digger's Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up and closed down.
(book back blurb)

Nothing says Merry Christmas like having your heart torn out and stomped on by some red and black-wearing pus hole. You know, for whatever reason, I don't know why, I'm irrevocably drawn to books taking place during World War II, more specifically the European Theater and many times, the Jewish plight and what they went through. I spent a semester researching concentration camps for a paper for a class called Jewish Literature. Talk about depression. And I mean verifiable. Do you now they found 3 tons of human hair at Auschwitz when it was liberated? 3 tons. 6,000 pounds. Can you even imagine how much, visually, that is? And Dachau is a constant presence in this book as the town, Molching (Mol-king) is a walk (they don't say how far but far enough for the starving Jews they march through the town) down the street. Close enough to smell, that's for sure.

But this book offers a different perspective. Liesel is the daughter of a Communist, or a suspected Communist, that's sent away to live with some foster parents because her mother is being taken away. Her brother was supposed to go with her but he didn't survive the trip, however he does make a posthumous appearance a couple of times in order to guide Liesel on her way. It's in this foster home that Liesel grows up a good blonde German, except she has brown eyes. She's halfway to Aryan but if push came to shove, it wouldn't be enough.

Her Mama (foster mother) is a bulldozer but her Papa (also foster) is the loving, caring, consoling parent in her life. He's the father she never had and offers her the helping hand that she never had. The boy next door, Rudy, becomes her best friend but she loses him all too quickly. And her family too. For a girl so young she certainly loses so much. But in the end she gains back something so intensely important to her that it could rightly heal the wounds that have been torn in her psyche for years. It's because of this regained entity that she ends up surviving, after all. She owes so much.

What I liked most was how the third person omniscient narrator was Death. And he isn't some dude in a black robe swinging a scythe. Or so he says. But it offers such an amazing and clear perspective of what's going on not only with Liesel but all around her that it just sucks you in. All of these World War II stories are about how death affects life. Well how about how life affects Death? He is, after all, haunted by humans. And he tells a damn good story too, that's for sure. And he's not subtle either. When he alludes to something, it's very blatant but it doesn't ruin anything. It just prepares you for what's coming.

Even for its length, even for how long it took me to read it (longer than normal, a little more than a week), I didn't want to put it down. The story builds up at the end to the prologue at the beginning and you can't help but want to know what happens in between to get to that point. What's the deal with the Jesse Owens incident? What's with the kiss? What is with Liesel's compulsive kleptomania?

The Nazi stronghold isn't the dominating force of this story but it fuels it. Liesel is where she is because of the Nazis. She becomes the person that she does because of the Nazis. She writes because of the Nazis. Without them, would Death have even taken an interest in her? Would he even want to tell her story? Would she even have a story without the Nazis?

And, again, it's a damn good story. It's coming of age in Hell. True to form Hell. Where the wrong eye color can get you kidnapped. Where reading can get you in a camp. Where not joining the right (or, well, Reich) party can get you shipped off to die. Where you lose everything that you've ever loved, even, at times, the words that held you together. Teens today think they have it tough. Right.

If you like stories set during World War II, if you want to read about a girl with such strength and emotion that it'll tear your heart out, if you want a good cry, read this book. It certainly won't disappoint.

Contest Time!!!

Fill out the form below for your chance to win my copy of The Book Thief! Contest ends 1/12 at midnight, EST. Open to US residents only. Good luck!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monster Mash!

So I was nominated by Eleni over at La Femme Readers for her new-fangled Blog Monster Award! Yay! Thank you so much! Here's the deal -

It signifies all the bloggers out there who constantly work hard to keep an updated and insightful website. They aren't afraid to take a bite with their honest reviews and enjoyable content. You amaze me, you inspire me so I call you a blog monster.

And my nominees are -

simple life and reading
Ellz Readz
Steph Su Reads
Sharon Loves Books and Cats
J Kaye's Book Blog
Rhiannon Hart
Hey! Teenager of the Year
Opinionated? Me?


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Contest Slurry

Ends ???

The Maze Runner by James Dashner - Stormi at Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

Ends 12/22

2 Christmas prize packs with 8 books and a box set each - Kristi at The Story Siren

Ends 12/23

Immortal edited by PC Cast - Elie at Ellz Readz

Ends 12/27

$20 Borders gift card - Ari at Reading In Color

Ends 12/28

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst - Sophie at Mrs. Magoo Reads

Reviewed Giveaway with 3 books - Allison at Read Into This!

Ends 12/29

2 copies of The Maze Runner by James Dashner - Steph at Steph Su Reads

2 copies of When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead - Steph at Steph Su Reads

Ends 12/30

Box of Books contest with 12 books - Faye at Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm

3 copies of Freaks and Revelations by Davida Willis Hurwin - Alea at Pop Culture Junkie

Ends 12/31

12 Blogs of Christmas, Day 3 with 3 winners, 4 books each plus swag - Darcy at Library Lounge Lizard

12 Blogs of Christmas, Day 4 with 3 books - Right here on Bites

12 Blogs of Christmas, Day 5 with 5 winners, 8 books and swag - Elie at Ellz Readz

12 Blogs of Christmas, Day 6 with 5 winners, 1 book each - Misty at Book Rat

12 Blogs of Christmas, Day 7 with 5 books - Vera at Luxury Reading

12 Blogs of Christmas, Day 8 with 3 winners, 12 books - Cindy at Princess Bookie

12 Blogs of Christmas, Day 9 with a $10 Borders gift card - Lauren at Shooting Stars Mag

Pre-Kick Off Contest with choice of 1 of 3 books - Cindy at Princess Bookie

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain - Tina at Fantastic Book Review

Ends 1/2

Strand Books contest with 2 books and swag - Sharon at Sharon Loves Books and Cats

Ends 1/4

Firespell by Chloe Neill gift pack - Angela at Dark Faerie Tales

Ends 1/5

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl - Sophie at Mrs. Magoo Reads and Brooke at Brooke Reviews

The Real Real by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus - Kelsey at The Book Scout

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan - Right here on Bites

Ends 1/8

Signed copy of Firespell by Chloe Neill - Kristi at The Story Siren

Ends 1/11

200 Followers Contest with 2 signed books - Katie at Sophistikatied Reviews

Ends 1/31

3-book series by Mayrose Wood - Sophie at Mrs. Magoo Reads

Things I've Learned from Books + 33

While stealing may make your ass grass, sometimes it's for the greater good.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

New Haircut

Around February of this year my hair went from being at the small of my back to just under my ears (that nice block of hair was sent down to Florida for Locks of Love). It stayed that length until, well, today. Going 9 weeks between haircuts when it's short and has a propensity for growing more than the normal half-inch a month is not a good thing. Plus, when I don't have the humidity to hold my natural curl, I end of with something that looks like hat head at the end of the day; flat on top and curly on the bottom. Very strange. And ugly. So I straightened it on Wednesday for the first time since I cut it and people at work went ZOMG! I liked it too but it needed to go chop chop. I wanted something punky but within the realm of the ability to wear it to work (they're pretty liberal, but not that liberal). And this is what I came up with . . .

My step-mother says it's very Pat Benatar (which I actually agree with) -

It's also my first foray into fringe. I've never had it before. What do you think?

80s Awesomeness! ~ 42 + 400 Followers!

Holy shitballs, really? 400 followers? Actually, 401 as of this post. Wow! Thank you all! I hope I live up to it! Now, onto the 80s -


Yeah, that's right people. The term 'goth' is so totally 80s. Used to describe people that dressed in black and listened to "darker" bands like The Cure (which, when you listen to their music, is more aligned with emo today as opposed to goth), it could be derogatory or complimentary depending on the mouth it comes out of. But whatever it is, the term's transcended time. While goth girls looked like something closer to mainstream Madonna wannabes than the white-faced, black-lipped chicks/dudes of today, the term still meant the same thing. The look's (and the sound's) just evolved.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Freaky Friday :|: 42

Title: Amnesia
Author: Sinclair Smith
Published: January 1996
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
From the author of The Waitress and Dream Date comes a suspenseful new thriller that plays on a classic horror premise. Young adults will be spellbound by this riveting tale of a girl who awakens alone in the dark and doesn't know where she is or who she is--until a terrifying stranger takes her "home." (from
Reader Review:
when i first started reading point horrors Amnesia was the first book i read and it scared me, but i was only 11, since then i really recommended sinclair smith to other point horror fans because i think her books are great, since im 16 know and have grown out of point horrors and im reading steven king, i still think Amnesia is one of the best books i've ever read. (from
This one kind of reminds me of the premise of The Maze Runner by James Dashner. His is a book of a boy that wakes up someplace where he has no idea where he is and barely knows who he is. Dammit. Now I'm curious as to how the two compare. Sinclair Smith is a win at this point as far as I'm concerned, and I've never read any of her books.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Christmas Poem by Yours Truly

To Hell With Norman Rockwell . . .

Twas the night before dinner of the holiday kind;
My wife’s on amphetamines and I’m losing my mind.
My testicles were grabbed by her fist without care
For I didn’t know the green beans didn’t go there.

I asked for fresh turkey cause that kind’s the best.
And dear Kevin claims it was all in good jest.
But since there’s now wild poultry shitting in my shoe,
I want to weld his ass to the toilet seat using the strongest of glue.

Will someone get this fucking bird out of here?

Linda’s got a list of who can eat what and when—
Constipation for Nana and acid reflux for Ken.
So now our bathroom’s filled with laxatives and Tums;
When it comes to bodily functions, god forbid people remain mum.

Rod’s car’s got an exhaust leak yet he backs it up the driveway.
Carbon monoxide death be damned; gasoline’s a good smell to have around anyway.
What holiday’s complete without your token screaming baby?
At this point a jackhammer to my skull really wouldn’t faze me.

Who the hell invited all these people to spend the night?
Linda said she heard the weather’s supposed to be a fright.
Considering I heard record warmth and sun, I have to wonder
Whether the dyslexic meteorologist fed people a blunder.

Oh Jimmy! Oh Charlie! Oh Nancy! Oh Claire!
The dog really doesn’t like it when you stick ornaments up there.
C’mon Carol and Bill, would you help me out a little here?
For the safety of my keepsakes, pen your young up somewhere.

The kitchen’s ablaze and the smoke detector’s going off.
Why the hell is Frank’s mouth starting to froth?
Apparently swallowing Alka-Seltzer and Coca Cola too
Will make a distant relative of Cujo out of you.

So help me, Frank, if that takes the lacquer off the table I’m sticking your head in the oven.

The turkey’s now de-stuffing my antique couch
And Greg, the hemophiliac, just arrived and I swear I heard ‘ouch.’
Now here’s Kathy and her emo boyfriend, Nick.
Does he wear eyeliner and her jeans to purposely be a prick?

Rosemary’s baby just vomited on my widescreen TV,
Proof positive that an exorcism would be good: flee, demons, flee!
Too bad I already called the priest and he told me nice try.
They actually need to sizzle under holy water for the evil brand to fly.

My Christmas tree that I had spent hours perfecting
Now lies askew against the wall, the notion of holiday it’s now vehemently rejecting.
Only half of it is lit at any given time
And the angel’s getting sodomized by a holly vine.

Where the shit did you kids learn about that?

Linda just yelled at me for swearing at the children.
Obviously she doesn’t know that my outbursts are prudent.
220 over 180, how the hell am I not dead?
I guess drowning it out in eggnog works in nitrate’s stead.

There are crayons in my canned cranberry sauce
And the youngest of Carol’s spawn just told me to fuck off.
Whose brilliant idea was it to let Greg chop potatoes?
Blood’s not good as far as gravy goes.

I think our neighbors just called the cops
Because the door is echoing with authoritative knocks.
Turns out Cousin Willy got caught with his pants down again
And thinks we’re nothing sort of a bail bondsman.

I don’t care about Bubba. Maybe a round of Christmas Bitch and a wreath on your dick will teach you to keep your clothes on, asshole.

My house smells like farts and there’s bird shit on my china.
I really hope this pain in my chest is nothing more than Angina.
I’m expected to be smiley and greet our guests with Christmas cheer.
To that I say bite me you all. Just let me self-medicate with beer.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Book Wars (2)

Last week's winner was . . . Morganville Vampires! By a pretty big majority to boot. Now let's get the fight on for this week! FIGHT!

Blue Bloods series


Vampire Academy series

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

12 Blogs of Christmas, Day 4

On the fourth day of Christmas your gnarly Bites blogger gave to thee - fun from the Blood Coven series.

Merry Christmas my fellow bloggers! Today is the fourth day in Elie's 12 Blogs of Christmas and do I have something wonderful for you all. One winner will receive the 3 books of Mari Mancusi's Blood Coven series: Boys That Bite, Stake That! and Girls That Growl.

Awesome, right? Just fill out the form below for your chance to win! The contest is open to US residents only and will end at midnight on December 31st. Good luck!

Did you miss a day? Be sure to check out The Neverending Shelf for Day 1, Literary Escapism for Day 2 and Library Lounge Lizard for Day 3. Also, make sure to head on over to our Master of Ceremonies, Elie at Ellz Readz, for awesome Day 5 fun!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan + Contest!

First published in 2006.

Nick's just seen the girl who dumped him walk in . . . with a new guy. What else can he do but ask the strange girl next to him to be his new girlfriend for the next five minutes?

Norah would do anyt
hing to avoid conversation with the not not-friend girl who dumped Nick . . . and to get over the Evil Ex whom Norah never really totally dumped. What else can she do but answer Nick's question by making out with him?

With one electric, unexpected kiss, the five-minute couple of Nick and Norah set off on an uncharted adventure called the "first date" that will turn into an
infinite night of falling in and out (and in and out, and maybe in and maybe out) of love. Theirs is a first date of music, laughter, heartache, confusion, passion, taxi driver wisdom, and a jacket named Salvatore. And of course a killer soundtrack.

As Nick and Norah wander through the middle-of-the-night mystic maze of Manhattan, they share the kind of night you want to never end, where every minute counts and every moment flickers between love and disaster.
(book back blurb)

You know, I really liked this book. I was a little worried I wouldn't because I kept hearing all over the place that the language was a little too hip for its own good and when I think of something like that, I automatically think of those trying-too-hard Clique-type of books that just overreach to the point of dislocation. So I was half-expecting something like that but I got was language that was really grounded and really normal.

Okay, not totally normal but what teen is? It borders on stream-of-consciousness with punctuation (thank god, I can't stand walls of text without a break to mimic "real" SoC, blech) and it actually feels like you're in the alternating heads of Nick and Norah as the story bounces back and forth between the two. Some of their thoughts are pretty out there, but then again, so are most of mine but they're situationally charged. They make sense in the moment. They're realistic, not superfluous. They're true to the voice of the character, not the author writing the character. I loved it. I thought the swearing as a little much. I mean, I swear like a fucking sailor and even I don't say "fuck" that much. Other than that, I thought the voices, the moments, the crazy thoughts, were totally cool and totally true to the makings of Nick and Norah.

The only character that I didn't truly believe was Trish, Nick's ex-girlfriend. I thought she was a little much and I just had a hard time believing that someone could actually be like her and still be taken as seriously as Norah tends to take her. She just didn't hit the right nerve with me. It's kind of hard to put my finger on but it has to do with all the "bitch" she says and what she gets away with. It irked me.

I liked how Norah isn't Trish. You know what I mean? Norah is the rich girl from the rich neighborhood with the dad who knows all the celebrities, but she's not Trish. She's not a bitch, she's not popular, people don't strive to be like her. She just is. In flannel. And Nick isn't a jock. He's not even really that cool of a band guy. He's the nerd that doesn't get any ass. Doesn't help that he doesn't want the ass that's thrown at him but that's besides the point. He's normal. He's attainable. He isn't a prick that all the girls fawn over (really?). He just is. In ugly shoes.

My favorite part about this book was the relationship. Again, REAL. This isn't love this story is talking about (although the blurb would say otherwise). It's SOMETHING. It's something that feels awesome and could so be taken to another level but thank god for that old couple that walked in at just the right time to make them realize that maybe they shouldn't be doing that just yet and let's just step back because I Wanna Hold Your Hand.

That, right there, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, is the essence of this book. Nick brings it up a couple of times and it makes so much sense and its so ingenious. It isn't about this gut-wrenching, wrist-slitting love that all these books talk about because you don't get that right away. Eventually if you're lucky, but not right now. In the beginning, and maybe for a while, there's just I Wanna Hold Your Hand. It's a simple act of caring that screams so much and means so much more than fucking and sucking and biting and stalking. It just is. You can chase and be chased. You can like without grabbing. You can have fun without hauling overboard. You can work shit out and still have someone standing there when you're done. It's simple and it's in that simplicity that it's so great and fathomable and deeper than any sparkly glitter love could offer. Nick and Norah know more about each other in one night than Edward and Bella know about each other in four agonizing books. There's more than smell and hotness. There's hand-holding. There isn't a fear that that person won't be there or won't call because you know they will. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon. There's no need in agonizing. It'll be okay. Your hand will be held.

If you want a realistic budding relationship, something that has longevity, that burrows far below superficiality and into a person's being, into a person's hand, if that's your type of love story, then pick up this book. This is probably the most realistic teen book I've read yet with the most realistic characters (not to mention the most relatable), the most realistic situations and a plot that'll just suck you in and spit you out and have you wondering if you just got laid or a beat down. Awesome. Totally awesome.

Contest Time!!!

You want my copy of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist? Just fill out the form below!

The question, name and email are all requirements. +2 for new followers/subscribers, +3 for old followers/subscribers, +3 for links up to 3 (for a total of +9).

The contest will end on January 5th at midnight, EST! Good luck!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Contest Slurry

Ends 12/18

First 3 Ruby Oliver books by E. Lockhart - Sharon Loves Books and Cats

Ends 12/19

Dust of 100 Dogs by AS King - Sandy at Pirate Penguin's Reads

Ends 12/20

When Autumn Leaves by Amy S. Foster - Sophie at Mrs. Magoo Reads

Ends 12/21

Marni by Marni Bates - Ms. I at YA Bookmark

Contest Full of Ninja Awesomeness with 8 books - Tales of the Ravenous Reader

Ends 12/23

Set of Ruby Oliver books by E. Lockhart - Kristi at The Story Siren

Ends 12/29

2 copies of Vampire Taxonomy by Meredith Woerner - Right here in Bites

Ends 12/30

200 Followers Contest with 2 winners and 3 books - Lizzy at CornucopiaofReviews

Ends 12/31

5 book prize pack - Chelsea at The Page Flipper

12 Blogs of Christmas, Day 1 with 9 winners, 4 books, a $10 iTunes gift card and swag - Kate at The Neverending Shelf

12 Blogs of Christmas, Day 2 with 2 winners and 6 books - Jackie at Literary Escapism

Ends 1/1

2 'There's a little freak in all of us' t-shirts - Kristi at The Story Siren

Ends 1/8

Year's Worth of Books with 12 books - Lauren at Shooting Stars Mag

Ends 1/10

A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper - Adrienne at An Addicted Book Reader

Ends 1/12

Going Bovine by Libba Bray - Callie at Handle Like Hendrix

Things I've Learned from Books + 32

Any bitch (or man-bitch for that matter) that says The Beatles suck and are overrated deserves to get punched in the throat. Repeatedly. For rock and roll would not be what it is today without The Beatles.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

80s Awesomeness! ~ 41


Nothing says awesome like 2D fun. It's a simple concept - get the frog across the road without getting him squished. It's not as easy as it looks, though, so don't get too cocky. This right here is the peak of video game engineering in the 80s, let me tell you. Right up there with Donkey Kong.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Freaky Friday :|: 41

Title: The Boy Next Door
Author: Sinclair Smith
Published: February 1995
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Pages: 160
Randy falls for the strange boy who moves into the deserted house next door and soon shares his fun in scaring people--but his tricks begin to turn deadly, and she realizes she does not know him at all. (from
Summary 2:
The bestselling author of Let Me Tell You How I Died delivers nail-biting new chills and thrills when a young girl discovers that the charming boy next door is really very dangerous--and that he's not really living next door. He's in the crawl-space under her house. (from
The second summary sounds so much more creepy! The more I post about this author, the more I want to read these books, I'm telling you! Being creeped out (at least fictionally, anyway) is fun!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Series on the Horizon

Rick Riordan (of Percy Jackson fame) is releasing a new series starting May 4th, 2010 (happy one-day-early birthday to me!) that centers around ancient Egypt. The first book in the series, obviously, will be The Red Pyramid and will feature Carter (14) and Sadie (12) Kane who just so happen to be descendants of Egyptian magicians who battle currently released gods. How cool, right?

This is planned to be a multi-book series (the article didn't mention just how many) and, like Harry Potter, the protagonists will age one year per book, so it'll start as middle grade and evolve into something more YA. YA needs more ancient Egypt. Like soon.

So I shall be stalking my local bookstore come May for this book. What's really intriguing is that while Riordan was teaching, he said that next to ancient Greece, his students loved ancient Egypt. I'm just realizing now how many younger kids have a love of ancient Egypt. I, too, was obsessed and couldn't find enough books about the subject to satiate my appetite. What is it about this particular civilization that draws kids in? The mummies? The gods? The mystery? I've yet to meet anything that wasn't at least intrigued by this dead civilization.

Come May 4th, you'll know where to find me.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Book Wars Index

Book Wars is a weekly Wednesday posting (mainly it's my way of breaking up the Waiting on/Wishlist Wednesday block dominating my blogroll update list) battling two similar books or series against each other. You vote and only one will come out victorious. The winner of the previous week will be revealed with the following week's set of books. The last link posted is still open. If you have any suggestions for battle, email them to me. Now FIGHT! (This feature is currently suspended until further notice.)

Morganville Vampire series vs. The Vampire Diaries - Morganville Vampires

Blue Bloods series vs. Vampire Academy series - Vampire Academy

World of Faeries vs. World of Wicked Lovely - World of Faeries

Gone series vs. The Hunger Games series - The Hunger Games

Twilight series vs. Harry Potter series - Harry Potter

Shiver vs. The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Shiver

Skeleton Creek series vs. The Devouring series - The Devouring

Wintergirls vs. Tricks - Wintergirls

You Are So Undead to Me vs. Zombie Queen of Newbury High - You Are So Undead to Me

The Luxe vs. The Season - The Luxe

Graceling vs. The Warrior Heir - Graceling

Girl in the Arena vs. The Maze Runner - The Maze Runner

Fallen vs. Hush, Hush - Hush, Hush

Just Listen vs. Forever . . . - Just Listen

Wondrous Strange vs. The Dark Divine - The Dark Divine

The Parliament of Blood vs. Soulless - Soulless

Never Slow Dance with a Zombie vs. I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It - I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It

Jumping Off Swings vs. After - Tie

Seven Tears into the Sea vs. Sea Change - Seven Tears into the Sea

Sirena vs. Midnight Pearls - Midnight Pearls

Aquamarine vs. The Water Mirror - The Water Mirror

Ingo vs. The Tail of Emily Windsnap - Ingo

Water, Ascension Trilogy, Book 1 vs. Indigo - Water, Ascension Trilogy, Book 1

Blood and Chocolate vs. Tantalize - Blood and Chocolate

Scarlet Moon vs. Shiver - Shiver

Wolf Moon vs. The Wereling: Wounded - The Wereling: Wounded

A Walk In Wolf Wood vs. Nevernever - Nevernever

How to be Popular vs. King Dork - How to be Popular

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl vs. Finding Cassie Crazy - The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl

Nicola and the Viscount vs. Ready or Not - Nicola and the Viscount

Fever 1793 vs. The Luxe - Tie

Kristy's Great Idea vs. Double Love - Kristy's Great Idea

Anne of Avonlea vs. The Secret Garden - Anne of Avonlea

The City of Ember vs. How I Live Now - How I Live Now

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