Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Contest Reminder!

Just a reminder to everyone that my contest for Albatross by Josie Bloss ends tonight at midnight, EST! Be sure to get your entries in by then!

Book Wars (17)

Soulless bagged it by a breadth and this week, it's all about braaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiins!!! FIGHT!

Never Slow Dance with a Zombie


I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

First published in 2006.

The Myth

Alice Liddel was an ordinary girl who stepped through the looking glass and entered a fairy-tale world invented by Lewis Carroll in his famous storybook.

The Truth

Wonderland is real. Alyss Heart is the heir to the throne, until her murderous aunt Redd steals the crown and kills Alyss's parents. To escape Redd, Alyss and her bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, must flee to our world through the Pool of Tears. But in the pool Alyss and Hatter are separated. Lost and alone in Victorian London, Alyss is befriended by an aspiring author,to whom she tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Yet he gets the story all wrong. Hatter Madigan knows the truth only too well, and he is searching every corner of our world to find the los
t princess and return her to Wonderland so she may battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts. (book back blurb)


This book was fucking awesome. I really have no other words to describe it. Fucking awesome.

So it takes some liberties with the original Alice in Wonderland. Such is what happens when things fall into the public domain. I read some reviews about how people were so pissed off that Beddor bastardized the original so much and disrespected it and blah blah blah. You know, if you missed the unabashed drug references in the original, you're blind to how innocent Alice in Wonderland is not.

The world that Beddor creates is just amazing. The Checkerboard Desert. Mount Isolation. Wonderland itself. I loved the caterpillars in their mushroom land. Everything that we originally knew with Alice was expanded and made so much richer. There's a real story there instead of a flight of fancy. It'll be hard for Disney to screw with this one.

When Alyss traveled through the Pool of Tears and started doubting where she came from, I too started to doubt whether it was all a dream. Just the intricate way it was handled. It wasn't over the top screaming tantrums but one pivotal moment that had Alyss realize that she needed to start to acclimate. I was both saddened and questioning because she was giving up on Hatter, and Hatter is not one to give up on, and she was becoming a drone which she so wasn't.

Alyss is both strong and vulnerable. Fragile and unbreakable. I loved her character and I only wish all female characters in YA books showcased this kind of realistic strength that Alyss exuded. She wasn't really some spoiled little brat and she truly went through all those hardships alone. It hurt to read yet I was compelled to keep doing so.

I also liked the relationship aspect with her and Dodge. Despite that when she came back so much time had past and the man she re-met wasn't the same Dodge she left behind, she still had those feelings for him and he for her. Yet she would be willing to give him up if he chose the side working against her. She wasn't so weak to follow him into darkness but he left a soft spot on her, that's for sure.

Redd is a psychotic bitch, and what faerie tale would be complete without one? Hatter Madigan is an official literary crush for me. Hello sir! I loved General Doppelganger and the Knights. The Cat even had his funny moments despite the fact he was on the antagonist's side. Gives the Cheshire Cat a whole new meaning.

There really isn't anything not to like in this book. Alyss is a strong, relatable character and her story just sucks you in. The world Beddor created (not to mention his drawings, awesome!) just gives Wonderland a whole new, and good, light. I honestly can't wait to finish reading the series. It makes me wish my TBR pile weren't so big so I can jump right into them. Blast this OCD of mine.

But really, go grab this one. Buy it. I gobbled this up and I really think you would too.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Awards Catch-Up

I got a bit of an awards back-up going on here so I'm going to do one big post. I'm only going to pass on the awards that I've never received before now, just so I'm not here formulating this post for two hours. I have a story to type!

I received the 'Who Loves You Baby?' award from Ari over at Reading in Color. Thanks so much, hun!

From Mary Ann over at Mary Ann DeBorde Writes I received the Humane Award. Thank you, my fellow zombie!

From Corrine over at Lost For Words I received the Honest Scrap Award. Thanks bunches!

From Krista over at Up the Tower of Books and Beverly over at The Wormhole I received the Bliss (Happy 101) Award. Thanks loads for the happy, guys!

Beverly also gave me the Your Blog is Sooooooo Kewl Award. A huge thanks again!

Isn't he cute??? I'll pass this one along to three other bloggers -

In Which a Girl Reads
Blog with Bite

From Jennifer over at Reading with Tequila (great blog title!) I received the Sexy Blogger Award. I'll take a shot of 1800 with that too, please. Thanks a bunch!

Three more sexies get this one -

Pirate Penguin Reads
Ellz Readz
Tuning Into YA Books

And from Dark Wyrm Reads (oh god, I feel like an ass because I can't remember your name! Why do I want to say Markus?) I received the Beautiful Blogger Award. A huge, huge thank you to you!

The rules after you've received the award:

1. Thank and link to the person that gave you the award
2. Pass the award onto 15 bloggers you’ve recently discovered and think are fantastic
3. Contact said blogs and let them know they’ve won
4. State 7 things about yourself

I'm only going to pass this on to three since that appears to be my theme today.

The Book Bundle
A Sequence of Continuous Delights
Falling Off The Shelf

And I'm going to skip the seven things about me because I've done that before. :)

Thanks, everyone and congrats to the recipients!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Author Bites - Aimee Friedman on the Sea

A huge thanks to Aimee for stopping by and talking about her book, Sea Change. It was one of those surprise books for me that, had it not been in my reading pile, I probably wouldn't have picked it up but thank god I did! And after talking with Aimee a bit, come to find out we have quite a bit in common when it comes to the ocean!

It’s right there in my author bio, in the back of Sea Change: I don’t know how to swim. I can doggy-paddle for a few seconds and I can bob, like a sea horse, in the shallow end of a pool. But actual, long, graceful strokes and kicks that slice the surface of the water and propel me forward? No way. I grew up in New York City, far from any swim-able bodies of water. And instead of going to summer camp, where most normal kids learn to float on their backs and blow bubbles in the chlorine, I spent my summer days in the air-conditioned library, working my way through nearly every book on the shelves (which may explain why I became an author). By the time I was old enough to realize that swimming was a very useful life skill, fear had stiffened my feet, keeping them rooted to the sandy floor of the ocean. Patient friends have tried to teach me over the years, but I’m a terrible pupil, never letting go of a sturdy edge, never venturing into the deep end.

Despite all this, I have always been drawn to water. I love soaking in a hot, bubbly bath. I love the sound a wave makes when it breaks around a dock’s stilts. I’m most at peace on a beach, the sea lapping around my ankles and the surf roaring in my ears. Maybe it’s because I was born a Cancerian crab — if you believe in astrology. Maybe—as I’m sure Sea Change’s Miranda would say — it’s evolutionary, a kind of desire all people have to go back to their aquatic roots. As Dar Williams— a favorite singer of mine whom I listened to while writing much of Sea Change— sings of the ocean: “It’s where we came from you know, and sometimes, I just want to go back.” And yes the ocean can be dangerous, and dark, and deep…but maybe that’s also part of its appeal.

But many people have asked me why, if I can’t swim, would I write a novel so water-oriented? A novel all about sea life, whose main character loves to swim, and loves a boy who is tied to the ocean. Perhaps the best answer, though, is that water is so unknowable to me. Because I’ve never quite conquered it, the ocean holds so many more mysteries for me than it might for someone who’s explored its murky depths. When I look down from the railing of a ferry boat, as I did the day I got the idea for Sea Change, I invent a whole host of life and secrets beneath the waves.

That day, many summers ago, I saw dark, silvery, half-distinct shapes around the boat, which got me thinking about mermaids. It’s surprise that “The Little Mermaid” had been my most beloved fairy tale as a child, and I began to wonder: what if the roles were reversed? What if the land-dweller was a girl, and the creature from the sea a boy? When the ferry docked, I took the subway home, sat down, and wrote out an outline for what would become Sea Change.

Maybe one day I’ll gather my courage and take real, serious swimming lessons, from a weathered teacher who knows the water like the back of her hand. Until then, though, I’ll stay in the shallow end of the pool, and continue to write down stories of what may be in the depths.

A Vote and a Giveaway

If you haven't heard already, April over at Good Books and Wine is holding her own voting for the top 100 YA novels of 2009. She put a lot of work into compiling this list and even what it's been whittled down to, it's pretty extensive. Voting is open until March 31st so be sure to get your votes in by then!

And over on YAnnabe, Kelly's carrying on the Unsung YA Heros event she held a few weeks ago. You might have noticed some bloggers posting about their favorite sleeper books of the year around that time. Well now Kelly is having a giveaway featuring some of those unsung heroes as well as compiling a list to blogs, including mine, that are having giveaways for those listed books. Kelly's giveaway ends on April 12th but those held on other blogs end at different times. You'll have to take a look to find out so be sure you do!

Things I've Learned from Books + 47

Mirrors can either work for you or against you. Treat them right. Because Kane just might be on the other side and the Mirror World isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

New York Book Week

Even though BEA is shortened this year, New York City will still be going all out for books and authors for New York Book Week. Check it out!


Annual Event is Created to Attract Attention to Books - May 23 - 29, 2010

New Initiative Draws Widespread Support

Norwalk, CT, March 18, 2010: BookExpo America (BEA) organizers have today announced the official debut of New York Book Week, a concept which embraces all literary and book activity in New York City and which is designed to draw attention to authors, books and publishing. The program, which was conceived as a way to expand on the presence of BEA in New York City by making even more authors available to the community, has grown to include a wide range of author events at various literary venues. BEA, North America's largest book industry event, annually attracts approximately 1000 authors to its convention. Some of the participating organizations and venues already involved in New York Book Week include Times Talks, the 92nd Street Y, The New York Public Library, The Brooklyn Public Library, Symphony Space, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and selected member stores of IBNYC (Independent Booksellers of New York City) including Housing Works, PowerHouse Arena and Book Culture, among others.

"I am thrilled that New York Book Week is poised and ready to debut in a significant and meaningful manner," notes Steve Rosato, Show Manager for BEA. "One of the things that we most wanted to do when we made the decision to keep BEA in New York City for the next few years was to work closely with the community. New York is the publishing capital of the world and there is already an enormous amount of literary activity taking place in the city. It seemed only natural that all of us should band together and call attention to our individual and collective efforts. That's what New York Book Week is all about."

The BEA marketing staff has created a logo for New York Book Week which will be used on web sites, advertising, event programs and listings by all participants in New York Book Week. In turn, BEA has created a dedicated New York Book Week web page on its own site which will feature listings of events and will include participants' own logos. While some venues and bookstores have created their own programming independent of the authors who are appearing at BEA, other venues have utilized the formal "Public Events" Author Submission List which BEA officials requested from publishers in Fall 2009 as part of the official submission process for BEA special events. More than 100 top authors were submitted by publishers to be considered for New York Book Week events.

Some of the authors and notable personalities who will be participating in various events associated with New York Book Week include: Lee Child, Jonathan Franzen, Ira Glass, Sara Gruen, David Means, Edmund Morris and Scott Turow, among others. Further details about New York Book Week and a listing of various events are available at:

For further information about New York Book Week please contact Roger Bilheimer,

For more information about BEA please visit and connect with BEA on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.

And the winner is . . .

The winner of my copy of Sea Change by Aimee Friedman is . . .


Congratulations! I'll be sending you an email shortly. And a big thanks to everyone who entered! Be sure to stick around for Aimee's guest post right here on Bites!

80s Awesomeness! ~ 56

Billy Idol!!!

Aside from the fact that he's a giant bucket of sex, Billy Idol made some kick ass rock/punk music back in the 80s (and is still doing it today). From 'Dancing With Myself' to 'Cradle of Love' to 'Rebel Yell,' Billy was always rocking out with that signature sneer. Some may compare it to Elvis's trademark lip curl, but when it's paired with bleach blonde spikes and head-to-toe leather, it's like comparing apples and computers.

Dancing With Myself

Billy Idol | MySpace Music Videos

Why I Don't Twit, Twat or Tweet

Or have a Facebook fan page.

Or a MySpace page.

Or any other number of social networking tools for this blog.

Because I'll be damned if I can remember them all. When I was 18 I had a slightly drunken nose to chin collision with a guy twice my size. My nose crunched like a piece of styrofoam and exploded in a torrent of blood. When I woke up the following morning, my head was screaming but I still went to work. Under florescent lights for roughly 45 minutes, I ended up sprawled out at the front of the drug store I worked at screaming. An emergency room visit later and I had a concussion and I slipped into Vicodin land for the weekend. When I emerged from my haze, I left my memory behind. For the following three months I lost a good 80% of my short term memory. After that it slowly came back but not fully and it doesn't function as a normal 26 year old memory should.

Even if I could remember to keep on top of all those social networking thingies, I wouldn't bother with signing up for them. I think Twitter would be excellent for a type of emergency response system but for normal every day people . . . I just don't give a shit what you're eating, if you're in the shower (which is really fucking stupid, by the way, why not just hang a sign on your front door that says, I'm vulnerable, come rob me?), if you're going grocery shopping or whatever. And I'll be damned if I share that kind of stuff with anyone. It's not necessary.

And, in my eyes, it's not necessary for this blog to be linked up all over the place like Facebook and whatnot. Why? Why am I marketing my eyeballs out of my sockets? So I can shill more ARCs from publishers? Nah. So I can get more followers? If people haven't figured out by now, that number is insanely superficial and doesn't accurately portray just how popular any blog is or isn't. To get money? I lose money on this site and I have nothing I want to sell. So why am I going to pimp myself all over the place? Word of mouth has worked just fine up until now so I think I'll stick with that.

Plus, it's time focused on an area of my life where it shouldn't be. I'm a writer. I need to spend my time writing and editing if I want any kind of hope of getting published. To essentially waste my time promoting my book review blog in all of these places would take away my writing time. I procrastinate enough normally without all those distractions. Now if I were promoting my writing blog for the sake of my book that's coming out, entirely different story. This blog is a hobby. If other people want to join me in my hobby, great! If not, oh well! No skin of my back. But I'm not going to stress out over promotion. If I get found, I get found. If I don't, I don't.

So no, I will never have a Twitter. It's hard enough for me to update my personal Facebook page status once a day let alone having to stress over keeping a Twitter account updated. This blog will never have a fan page on Facebook that I create. If someone wants to create one for me, super! But I won't do it. Why? You guys come here. I'm not going to say anything different there that I wouldn't here. Redundancies are time wasters in my eyes.

I am on Goodreads. I do have my site tracked by some blip sites. I comment on other bloggers' posts that strike me as wanting to comment on. I email back and forth with bloggers and publicists and authors. I host a couple of events simply because I want to. But that's about as interactive as I'm going to get. If you want to contact me, feel free! I'm not going to stab you with a fork. But for the most part I blog in a bubble. I do my own thing and I only get involved in things that I feel passionate enough to get involved in. Everything else, meh. I'll leave it to the super passionate book bloggers to handle. They're much better at it than I am.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Freaky Friday :|: 56

Title: Blood Reunion, Vampire Twins #4
Author: Janice Harrell
Published: March 1995
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pages: 240
Anne Marie, tormented by her brother's monstrous transformation, fights for control of her life as her brother, hunted by those who know his terrible secret, seeks his father's lethal protection. (from
Yup. Still want 'em. God, how I love used book stores.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Yup. I've already signed up for this. If you want to stay on top of books and events at BEA, you're going to want to sign up too.


Show attendees will be able to discover new titles, show promotions, and author events online

Norwalk, CT, March, 9, 2010: Officials at BookExpo America (BEA) are pleased to announce a new cooperative venture with Above the Treeline, a leading provider of business intelligence tools to the publishing industry, to create an online catalog of new titles on exhibit at BEA. Called "Books@BEA," participation in the online catalog will be free to all book publishers exhibiting at the New York event which will be held at the Javits Center in New York City on May 25-27, 2010.

Books@BEA will be created using "Edelweiss" a new internet-based service from Above the Treeline that supplements or replaces traditional print catalogs. Edelweiss was formally launched at BEA last year and has since seen rapid and widespread adoption within the publishing community as publishers seek to reduce their catalog costs while reaching a wider community of catalog readers on the Web. Today, Edelweiss is comprised of approximately 350 active catalogs containing more than 30,000 active titles from nearly 600 publishers and their respective imprints.

"We're thrilled to debut Books@BEA because it's yet another added value to both attendees and exhibitors and demonstrates BEA's commitment to keeping pace with the evolution of the industry," notes Steve Rosato, Event Director, BEA, Reed Exhibitions. "Our partnership with Above the Treeline will make it easier for Booksellers and the media to find exciting new titles and authors and for publishers to promote and sell their books."

"It's all about bringing people and books together," says John Rubin, CEO & Founder of Above the Treeline, "It's why our customers use Edelweiss and it's why we all come to BEA. Books@BEA will make it easier for everyone to keep on top of the hot titles and to find the undiscovered gems."

Participation in Books@BEA will be free to all book publishers exhibiting at the show, but will be limited to new titles. Access by catalog readers-booksellers, librarians, the press, and anyone who wants to know more about new titles-is also free and open to all, but will require a simple registration process. For titles from publishers who are not current Edelweiss customers, Books@BEA will be open to catalog readers for a limited period preceding and following the event. For further information on how you can participate in Books@BEA, email []

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Book Wars (16)

The Dark Divine took home the gold last week. This week it's bustles and corsets and vampires. Oh my! FIGHT!

The Parliament of Blood



Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Better Late Than Never

I was part of Starry Night's 'Introducing . . .' segments at the beginning of the month. Yeah, I know. It's the 23rd. Sue me. But if you'd like to learn a little more about me, just check out my own personal appearance on Nadine's blog!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Book Survey

Every once in a while I get the urge to answer these little questionnaires that I see floating around all over the place. This one I saw on quite a few blogs but I'm lifting it from Brooke Reviews.

Rules of this survey - no two answers can be the same book, all books must be fiction.
  1. Book next to your bed right now: I'm breaking one of the rules right now. The Darwin Awards 4: Intelligent Design by Wendy Northcutt. I highly doubt it's a mortal sin to keep a work of non-fiction next to my bed. Although some of the stuff in there reads like fiction but, sadly, is not.
  2. Favorite series: The Blood Coven series by Mari Mancusi
  3. Favorite book: Fade to Blue by Sean Beaudoin
  4. The one book you would have with you if stranded on a desert island: Why We Suck by Dr. Denis Leary
  5. Book/series you would take with you on a long flight: The Devouring series by Simon Holt
  6. Worst book you were made to read in school: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Just hand me the razor now.
  7. Book that everyone should be made to read in school: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  8. Book that everyone should read, period: The Things They Carry by Tim O'brien
  9. Favorite character: It's turning out to be Hatter Madigan from The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
  10. Best villain: Lestat from The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice, although he's more of an antihero
  11. Favorite concept series: I had to look this one up. Apparently a concept book doesn't have characters, dialogue or plot. Since I like some substance in my books, and I'm not a fan of the literary genre, I don't have an answer for this one, especially since the definition of a concept book varies from person to person.
  12. Favorite invented world: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  13. Most beautifully written book: Tricks by Ellen Hopkins
  14. Funniest book: Breaking another rule. Bite me. Why We Suck by Dr. Denis Leary

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Added to the Pile + 28 + Contest Reminder!

First the contest - today's the last day to enter my Sea Change contest! It ends tonight at midnight, EST so be sure to get your entries in by then!

And a big thanks to Bonnie over at Earth Shaker Books for adding more to my pile!

Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure has only begun. Pressed by love for his brother and a bad conscience, the hero undertakes a quest which leads to captivity, conflict, love, and triumph. In three years, Zan-Gah passes from an uncertain boyhood to a tried and proven manhood and a role of leadership among his people. (book back blurb)

The volcanic turbulence that shakes Dael's mind carries him to vicious extremes. It is Zan's task to calm his brother and lead him away from thoughts both destructive and self-destructive. But even the paradise of the Beautiful Country will not erase them. (book back blurb)

Things I've Learned from Books + 46

Apparently the Fey and mannequins are interchangeable for they both emote as much as the other and if female, can be the epitome of perfection. Makes me feel a little bit better about myself.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Blog Tour - Merlin's Harp by Anne Eliot Crompton

First published in 1995, re-published March, 2010 by Sourcebooks.

Nivienne never thought she'd be in direct contact with barbaric Humans - let alone help them. She's only heard stories of the evil that occurs outside the forest. But her dear friend Merlin has brought word that Arthur's kingdom - where Humans dwell - is threatened by the Saxons. If Nivienne doesn't help it, it could be the end for her own peaceful home. Nivienne must now learn to trust the Humans and her heart. Even more difficult than going to war alongside your enemies is discovering you are falling in love with them. (book back blurb)

Well this was, um . . . not good. Really, at all. I don't think it's ever taken me so long to read a book so short. Like wading through snow up to my hips. It's so overwrought and drowning in such flowery language that it's hard to connect to anything that's going on in the story. I often found myself having read a page without really reading it and only skimming it when I went back over it.

To Crompton's credit, she stuck very closely to faerie lore which is to her benefit but even greater to her disadvantage. Because she stuck so closely to the lore, I felt nothing for Nivienne. Faeries are traditionally heartless and don't emote as humans do. That certainly came through in the reading but at the same time it also made me not give a crap about Nivienne. And so help me if she said, "I, Nivienne," one more time, I was going to put my hand through the pages and slap her. I get it goes with the tone of the writing but it's overwritten so, to me, it was just annoying.

Plus Nivienne constantly refers to herself as brown. Maybe my eyes aren't working correctly but fish lips on the cover is a white girl. And can I say how much I hate it when people purposely push out their lips in a vain attempt to make them look fuller? The Olsen twins do it all the time. Makes me want to throw things at them and see if I can get them to stick.

But more to the story, the whole Saxon war I felt was glazed over. I was three quarters of the way through the book before I realized that we'd already moved beyond that. For me, the focus of the story wasn't quite right and what was being talked about was secondary to the greater problem going on in the background. The characters just kind of glided through their surroundings as if they were inconsequential and didn't matter to their greater scope of things. The urgency of the Saxon threat in the blurb is unfounded in the story and barely appears to make a dent in the consciousness of the characters.

It didn't help that the text was, within chapters, non-linear. Nivienne kept having these sort of flashbacks where she'd go off on tangents about what happened in her past because something in the present reminded her of it. It started to ebb towards the end but it was really prevalent in the beginning. I often found myself having to read back a few paragraphs because I'd realize that I had missed a time jump. Very jarring and interrupting. That's one of the motivating issues I had with getting into the story aside from not connecting with Nivienne.

The best part was the last few chapters where Arthur and Mordred got into it. It's really the only part that's not completely glossed over with insubstantial nothing. I think if that part of the story was more played up, not only would Nivenne have become a more well-rounded character, it would have made the story stronger. I got to see facets of Nivenne in those few scenes that were absent the entire story (presumably because of her Fey nature) that I really liked. But too little too late, really.

Overall, I really appreciate that Crompton kept so close to the lore even though it was detrimental to the success of the main character. I liked how she played with the King Arthur legend and made it her own. Other than that, I think the writing style is trying too hard and what story is there is drowned by it. The MC isn't human and thus I couldn't connect with her for 95% of the story because, for all intents and purposes, she remained emotionless. I think if the writing weren't so flowery and the story were told from someone else's perspective, or Nivienne was allowed to emote a little more, it could have been much better. As it stands, I couldn't rightly recommend this one. Read Le Morte d'Arthur. Much better.

My apologies to Paul at Sourcebooks.

80s Awesomeness! ~ 55

Nothing says California teens like pot and surfing. Plus this movie had some big name actors before they were anything big; like Sean Penn as Spicoli. He who now reaches for Oscars played a pre-Bill and Ted Bill/Ted but really doped up. And who could forget the swimming pool scene with Phoebe Cates? Surely not any teen guy ever since that movie came out.

(for some reason I can't hear any sound on any YouTube Videos, hopefully it's not permanent)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Freaky Friday :|: 55

Title: Bloodchoice: Vampire Twins #3
Author: Janice Harrell
Published: November 1994
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pages: 240
Struggling against her own thirst for blood, Anne Marie is stricken by the recklessness of her brother, whose appetite drives him to commit a terrible crime and makes him target his sister. (from
Still looking good. I've started scouring used bookstore sites to nab this series. Even amidst all the vampire fluff out now, this stands out to me.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Through the Faerie Glass by Kenny Klein

Published February, 2010.

Contrary to today's sanitized depictions, the hobgoblins, imps, sprites, elves, and other magical creatures embodied in folklore can be quite nasty. Kenny Klein draws on folkloric record - ancient songs, stories of forest and field, legends, myths, and sagas - to reveal faeries' true nature: where they live; what they do; their desires, fears, powers, proclivities, and enchantments.

Entertaining and enlightening, this unique guide explores human interactions with Mab the Faerie Queen, Puck the prankster, Reynardine the fox man, Jenny Green Teeth, and an array of other legendary fey. It includes rituals and spells for faerie protection, tells the reader how to enlist faerie help in finding lost objects or gaining inspiration, and offers practical
tips for those who dare to venture into the world of the Faerie. (book back blurb)

I read Field Guide to the Little People before this particular book on faeries so when I picked this one up, I thought it was going to be kind of along the same lines: pretty straight forward of the whys and hows of faeries. Actually they're more like a collection of essays. Not in and of itself bad but if it's not really your learning style, or you're looking for something a little simpler to get into, this might not be your bag.

In all honesty, I had some trouble getting into this book. I wouldn't say it's overwrought but I just found my mind wandering at far too many parts of the book. Yes, the lore is fascinating and some of the tales are pretty cool but overall, I would have liked something a little more concise than such a thorough analysis of Faerie. I wasn't expecting it.

There were parts that I ravaged through. For instance, I found it absolutely amazing how closely faerie lore and the Old Testament mirror each other and how, according to the Old Testament, there were multiple gods that created the world, not just one. But it was that one that decided to make his own world, Eden, that can likely mirror what we know of Faerie. Just those parallels Klein drew I thought were immensely fascinating.

But the rest of it, I think you really need to be in a particular mindset to read through this book. Mainly, you need to be ready to sit through lectures about theories and deep analysis of old writings. At times I felt like I was reading one of my English texts (not actually your standard text but a lot of them were filled with essays that read like this book) so I thought it was a little off-putting.

I can't really use this book as reference for any of my work simply because it's not too easy to reference anything. I much prefer something along the lines of an encyclopedia where information is easily obtained. Here I'd have to wade through too much information to find what I was looking for. What information I gathered from it has proven pretty useful and believe me, it offers a lot of worthwhile information, but I wasn't thrilled with the execution.

If you're looking for what is rightly a collection of essays on the theories and analyses of the faerie world, you'll want to read this book just to develop your knowledge of the Fair Kind. But if you're looking for something for, say, writing your own work and need something to reference, I'd recommend Field Guide to the Little People. I won't say don't read this book. In fact, I think anyone that's looking to write about faeries, or just learn more about then in general, should read this book and take notes because it offers some insightful information. But I don't think a second reading is all that rendered.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Book Wars (15)

Just Listen just won last week. This week it's the dark and the slight. FIGHT!

Wondrous Strange


The Dark Divine

(Psst! I need recommendations for Book Wars! Help me out!)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

500 Followers Love Contest!

So I hit 500 followers over the weekend. Woohoo! Thank you all! And to show my appreciation, I'm going to hold a contest (not like my 300 followers contest held at around 415 followers). With this one, I'm going to have two winners who will get to choose their choice of any of my Five Bites books! Excluding Labyrinth by ACH Smith. That book is out of print, exceptionally rare and runs for about $150. You can buy that one yourself.

Review list of books rated Five Bites

Titles Include:

Albatross by Josie Bloss
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Field Guide to the Little People by Nancy Arrowsmith
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Amanda Project: invisible i by Stella Lennon/Melissa Kantor
A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz
The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick
Fade to Blue by Sean Beaudoin
Tricks by Ellen Hopkins
Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
Why We Suck by Dr. Denis Leary
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Horse and His Boy by CS Lewis
On Writing by Stephen King
The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures/Ghosts and Hauntings/Secret Signs and Symbols/Witchcraft (choice of one)
Cirque du Freak: Tunnels of Blood by Darren Shan
Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant by Darren Shan
The Vampire Hunter's Handbook by Rafael Van Helsing
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician's Nephew by CS Lewis
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Rennie Brown and Dave King
How to Live with a Neurotic Dog by Stephen Baker
Images of America: Santa Cruz, California by Sheila O'Hare and Irene Barry

(don't let anyone tell you I don't give positive reviews!)

So the fine points one more time:
  • Two winners
  • Each get to choose one book from the above list (excluding Labyrinth)
Dig? Just fill out the form below and we're good to go! Thank you, everyone, for helping me to get to this milestone!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Maximum Ride 1 adapted by Narae Lee

Published in 2009.

Fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride knows what it's like to soar above the world. She and all the members of her "flock" - Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman, and Angel - are just like ordinary kids, except they have wings and can fly! It may seem like a dream come true to some, but for the flock its more like a living nightmare when the mysterious lab known as the "School" turns up and kidnaps their youngest member. Now it's up to Max to organize a rescue, but will help come in time? (book back blurb)

This was my first manga book and it will probably be my last (except for the Labyrinth ones, I'm still seriously considering getting those). First, can someone please tell me how 'manga' is pronounced? I keep saying it like the Italian word for 'eat.' I've also pronounced pilates like pee-lats because I'd never heard it pronounced before. Can someone help me out here?

The thing is, I don't know what's normal for manga and what isn't. It's not like reading a comic book/graphic novel. I like comics. I enjoy them. But this was just weird. For instance, is it normal to have a characters actions spelled out around them (like when a character was shaking, 'shake' was actually written around the character)? I just found that annoying.

I also found the drawings really distracting, probably because they were really detracting from the plot, which was hard to follow because there were more drawings than plot-related words. I had a hard time catching onto the plot because I felt it was buried under the pictures. Every once in a while I'd grasp hold of it and like what I was reading but then I'd lose it again. It'd just get buried underneath all the busy artwork, which I don't even really like. I've always been kind of freaked out by manga-style drawings (way too angular) so that didn't help the book's cause any.

This was another BEA random grab that has taught me to be way more selective about the books I nab this time around. I just saw 'James Patterson' and pretty colors and yoink! Not again.

In all honesty, I can't tell if I liked the story. From what I've gathered of the plot it's not bad. It doesn't sound too much like my thing to read but I've heard good reviews of it. But I'll have to read the actual novels to really find out. So consider this review based purely on the manga aspect of it and not on James Patterson's work. It's safe to say I'm not a manga fan and I won't be picking it up again any time soon (unless it's Labyrinth, I might just suck it up for that). I'll leave this one to the real manga fans out there.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Jon Stewart at BEA!

I tossed around the idea of buying a ticket to this and ultimately decided I didn't feel like getting up that early in the morning. And I really don't feel like listening to Condoleezza Rice. So if I want to see Jon, I'll just get (free) tickets to a taping of his show. Plus I could always bumrush him at 9:30 when the breakfast gets out and turn into a squealing fangirl then. What? Not good?


Sarah Ferguson, John Grisham, Sara Gruen, and Christopher Hitchens are Among Authors Headlining Special Events

Norwalk, CT, March 4, 2010: BookExpo America (BEA) has today announced that Jon Stewart will return to BEA in 2010 where he will be the Master of Ceremonies for the Author Breakfast on Thursday, May 27. Mr. Stewart's first appearance at BEA was in 2004 and his humor as well as his rapport with the audience is fondly remembered as a stand out moment at a BEA Author Breakfast. Among other notable luminaries, Mr. Stewart will be introducing Condoleezza Rice who has written a family memoir which will be published in October, 2010. The speaker program is a highlight of BEA activity and it brings considerable attention to new books by famous personalities and accomplished writers from the worlds of literature, film, politics, comedy and a range of other fields of endeavor. The other speakers who will be featured in the special events program include Cory Doctorow, Sarah Ferguson, William Gibson, John Grisham, Sara Gruen, Christopher Hitchens, Patton Oswalt, Richard Peck, Mitali Perkins, and Mary Roach.

BEA will be taking place over two days this year, and it will occur in mid-week. The dates for the Breakfasts and Lunch are: Children's Author Breakfast, Wednesday, May 26; Adult Author Breakfast, Thursday, May 27; and Adult Author Lunch, Thursday, May 27. Officials note that an Opening Night Reception is planned for Tuesday evening May 25 at 6pm, and the show's traditional evening of entertainment (i.e. BEA's "Saturday Night") on behalf of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) and the Association of American Publishers' (AAP) Get Caught Reading Campaign, is also planned to take place on Tuesday, May 25. It will occur at Town Hall at 9:00pm. Details on these two events will be forthcoming in the near future.

"I am amazed by the exceptional array of talent and distinguished public figures who have made themselves available to speak at BEA," notes Steven Rosato, Event Director for Book Expo America. "We are incredibly fortunate to have these authors assembled at our show and I know that will be a great draw for BEA and will ensure that these events will sell out. Above all, I am thankful to the publishers who support us, and who bring their authors to BEA so that we might all enjoy meeting them, and hearing what they have to say. It's a very unique and special opportunity for anyone who is part of the book industry and who attends BEA."

Officials note that despite the fact that the convention will have one less Author Breakfast this year due to the shortened schedule, there will be more author programming than ever before. After a successful debut last year, the Author Stages will return to the convention floor and a new stage has been added so that there will now be a Downtown Stage, an Uptown Stage and a Midtown Stage. Programming for the Author Stages will be worked on and confirmed through the coming two months (March and April). "Our focus remains on quality vs. quantity," Rosato states. "Certainly, the Author Breakfasts and Lunch are a reflection of the quality events that we can deliver based on the wealth of talent that is delivered to us from publishers. The Author Stages proved to be a fantastic opportunity last year for showcasing authors from all walks of life in an intimate setting for booksellers and the media. I know that we will have amazing content and dialogue on all three stages. It will be jam packed!"

The line up of speakers and events includes:

WEDNESDAY, May 26, 2010
Presented in cooperation with the Children's Booksellers and Publishers Committee [A cooperative committee of the American Booksellers Association (ABA), Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC), and the Children's Book Council (CBC)] this opening-day breakfast will feature Cory Doctorow, author of For the Win (Tor Books / Tor Teen); Mitali Perkins, author of Bamboo People (Charlesbridge); and Richard Peck, author of Three Quarters Dead (Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers). Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, and author of Helping Hand Books: Emily's First Day at School (Sterling Children's Books) will be the Master of Ceremonies.

THURSDAY, May 27, 2010
8:00AM-9:30AM THURSDAY BOOK & AUTHOR BREAKFAST (Special Events Hall)
Thursday morning will feature Condoleezza Rice, author of Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family (Crown); John Grisham, title TK (Doubleday); and Mary Roach, author of Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void (W.W. Norton). Jon Stewart, author (along with the writers of The Daily Show) of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race (Grand Central Publishing) will be the Master of Ceremonies.

This year's lunch will feature Christopher Hitchens, author of Hitch-22: A Memoir (Twelve/Hachette Book Group USA); Sara Gruen, author of Ape House (Spiegel & Grau); and William Gibson, author of Zero History (G.P. Putnam's Sons). Patton Oswalt, author of Zombie Spaceship Wasteland (Scribner) will be the Master of Ceremonies.

Things I've Learned from Books + 45

Sometimes school isn't bad at all. The rest of the time it's a beacon of Hell from whence all evil springs forth. One step through those doors and you may never come out. Good luck!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Parental Ratings: Boss or Bullshit?

Yeah, I couldn't think of an alliterative word that was an antonym for bullshit. So let that be your 50s flashback for the day. You're welcome.

It appears that Common Sense Media has started filtering into reviews on If you're not sure what Common Sense is, it's a website that rates everything from books to movies to video games on a family level; namely age appropriateness. There's been some pushback because of the way its been implemented on because it takes negative issues found with a book out of context. Basically, if it's a book about a girl getting her period, it'll just highlight things like emerging sexuality and puberty instead of the overall story and leave parents to base their opinions on that. While it's noted in the Publisher's Weekly article that they're changing the way the system is implemented on, I still take issue with it overall. Especially this quote -
"We don't make a judgment. We rate based on age appropriateness."

Common Sense book reviewers are selected from professional reviewers, teachers, librarians, or people with experience in publishing. To help them assess what age level is best, reviewers are given a sophisticated developmental grid that relies on input from psychologists.
Well that have it all down pat then, don't they? They've got psychologists in there and they know, beyond a shadow of subjective doubt, that they're rating 100% accurately.

But really, isn't what is deemed age appropriate based purely on a person's judgment of what is appropriate for an age group? They're basing their opinions on statistical data garnered from controlled testing on a small sampling of people. They're then blanketing their findings across the board and are actually indicating that the ratings are purely objective with "not too many" errors. I'm sorry but the egotism alone is a turn off.

To say they've narrowed age appropriate ratings down to something as finite as math is fallacious, at best. I was reading Stephen King, John Saul and Anne Rice at 11. By far not age appropriate but it's not like reading that work harmed me. It just meant that I was reading at a far higher level than my peers and my parents encouraged it. What parent wouldn't encourage accelerated learning? They encouraged it because they let me know that if I had any questions, I could always ask them. CONVERSATIONS! KIDS AND PARENTS! Foreign concept in this day and age, I know.

One parent in the article indicated she didn't have time to screen everything her children watch and read. Um, but she has time to scour ratings websites to find opinions not her own and base her reasoning on those? Why does EVERYTHING need to be screened? Why can't children just be trusted? Just a little? Why not let them read what they want to read and make it clear that, as a parent, you are open for discussion if they don't understand something? Is there no time for that either? We are raising a world of pussies from how much we shelter our children nowadays. We're also raising a world of idiots for how they mimic the likes of Beavis and Butthead and Jackass and instead of blaming the absentee parents, the cartoons and the video games are to blame. It hurts.

So I'm calling bullshit on parental ratings on anything. Maybe if parents were actually parents like they used to be and started parenting their children and not relying on websites and panels and shrinks and the courts to parent their kids for them, we'd have well-adjusted, well-read kids that would have a modicum sense of personal responsibility and haven't been coddled into ripe, pink vagina land. God forbid an 11-year-old reads a book for a 12-year-old. May the earth shatter in half.

80s Awesomeness! 54

Corey Haim!!!

Corey Haim was a huge child star in the 80s. Known for movies like The Lost Boys (of course), Dream a Little Dream, License to Drive and Lucas, he had it all. Then the downslide into drugs came and Corey became lost in a dark world. He battled with drug addiction for years, jumping in and out of various levels of sobriety. He tried numerous times to turn his life around and get back into acting, most notably within the last few years.

He stared in the reality TV show The Two Coreys with his longtime friend, Corey Feldman, for a couple seasons before Haim's dissolution back into drugs put too big of a strain on their friendship to continue. But despite that, they remained close and Haim continued to struggle while continuing to do what he loved - act.

As is the path of far too many young actors, Corey Haim died on Wednesday morning. Causes are yet unknown but most are leaning towards a drug overdose for obvious reasons. What a great vindication it would be for him for the autopsy to reveal that it wasn't drugs that killed him. It would stick it to everyone that thought he would die like every other fucked up druggie addict. It would also be justice to his ailing mother, whom he was taking care of and who has now lost everything in her world.

I've only hung out with Corey once and while it was during a time when he wasn't at his peak, I could still see the person, underneath it all, that the rest of our friends saw for years - the kind, gentle person that loved and cared for the people around him. The outpouring of love for him after his death is greatly overwhelming. But, like his ex Nicole Eggert said on Larry King, maybe if he saw all of that during his life, instead of getting constantly kicked while he was down, his outcome would have been a little brighter.

Now we have to endure the loss of a great human being who was on the brink of turning his life around, who loved life as much as he humanly could, and truly enjoyed entertaining. Gone is Lucas and Sam and Dinger and Les but at least we have those memories to ensure that he will never be totally gone. And god, will he be missed.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Freaky Friday :|: 54

Title: Bloodlust, Vampire Twins #2
Author: Janice Harrell
Published: October 1994
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pages: 240
The thrilling story of a sister and brother torn apart by the unthinkable secret that is their destiny. Horrified by her true nature, Anne Marie denies her cravings. Must she cut herself off from her twin brother to avoid becoming a vampire? Paul plunges into his father's legacy, but will his new power destroy Anne Marie--and himself? (from
This sounds like a really intriguing series. It's something different. Amazing that a brother/sister duo can be refreshing. But I guess when they're pushed up against a bunch of teen paranormal romances, they are going to stand out, aren't they?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Albatross by Josie Bloss + Contest!

Published February 1, 2010.

Everyone at Tess's new school warns her that Micah is bad news - a heartbreaker. And a girl named Daisy is acting like she owns him. Still, Tess can't ignore her attraction to this brooding, brilliant, friendless emo-guy who can turn on the charm - or heart-shredding scorn - at a moment's notice. Starting over in a new town after her parents' split isn't easy for Tess, and Micah feels like her first real connection. But then their bond suddenly feels like shackles.

Caught in an obsessive triangle of jealousy and codependence, can Tess learn to break away and find herself again?
(book blurb)

Here is what the press release that came with the book had to say about this title:

Despite pop culture's obsession with brooding, supernatural antiheroes like Edward Cullen, one of the most common critiques of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series is the unhealthy relationship between Bella and Edward - that Edward is a bully and Bella is a doormat. Yet teen girls thrive on this unbalanced relationship dynamic. Perhaps this is because they so rarely find an alternative in the literature of today.

As a response to this trend, young adult novelist Josie Bloss penned Albatross (Flux, February). A complete departure from her previous, lighthearted Band Geek books, Albatross is a dark and tense story of codependency and psychological abuse in teen relationships. The distinguishing element is that the ultimate message is one of hope, but not without some truly distressing poor decisions made on the part of the protagonist.

I have never read a release about a book that was so accurate it could have knocked a fly off of a cliff from 3 miles away. This book is everything Twilight needs to be. I read through this one in a day (would have been a sitting had I not had to work), I couldn't get enough of it, probably because I saw a lot of myself in the protagonist. While I didn't come from the same type of family situation save for the divorce (my dad is nowhere near a prick like Tess's is), I was of a similar temperament in high school. I dated guys that weren't good for me, that treated me like crap but I was so desperate for the attention that I took it and asked what I was doing wrong when something completely out of my control happened. It was eerie and at points I was actually nauseous, it hit that close to home.

It's funny how when you see such a prick of a character like Micah from a third person perspective, it really easy to see how much of an asshole he really is. And holy shit is he ever. But standing in Tess's shoes, and I can see myself doing this at her age, you eat it up. You want this unattainable person. Don't you always want what you can't have? He keeps himself distanced from Tess, taunting her, teasing her and leaving her wanting to come back for more. But while the secondary characters (mainly Tess's friends) say that Micah destroys any girls he touches, I think he just has a knack for attracting vulnerable girls. Or they're drawn to him, either way. Because they're so vulnerable (like Tess having to deal with a divorce and a schmuck for a father), and they're vying for attention, what he gives them, they take.

You can clearly see the Bella and Edward dynamic in Tess and Micah and I really hope anyone that reads this book that loved Twilight and loved Bedward's relationship will see how it really is and how destructive it is. It's easier to match symptoms when you have something to match them against. Being in it you may be blind to it but relating with Tess and seeing what she's going through, maybe it'll help some girls escape a destructive relationship that's been romanticized by current YA fiction.

The writing is simple yet poignant. It tells the story in Tess's words and how only she would see it. It hurts to be inside her head when she's struggling with her feelings for Micah. It'll make you want to shout at the book to drop him. You'll be right along with her inner voice telling her to run away and you'll get disgruntled when she caves yet again. The story rips at you and, hopefully, will make you evaluate your relationships a little more thoroughly. Is that guy of yours pushing and pulling at you? Maybe it's time to drop him. The parallels between Tess and her mother are scary but disturbingly true so many times yet so many fall to repeating history on a subconscious level.

The ending is very Lifetime movie but not sickly sweet. It's positive without being sappy and leaves you with a good feeling that everything will work itself out. There isn't a prince that saves Tess's day. Only Tess did that and that just reiterated the overwhelmingly powerful message this book has. No one else can get you out of it except you. You need the strength to do it. You just need to listen to that inner voice of yours.

I absolutely loved this book. If you're looking for an antithesis of Twilight, you will too.

Contest Time!!!

Fill out the form below for your chance to win a copy of Albatross!

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