Monday, January 31, 2011

Read Dreaming Anastasia for Free!

If you haven't read Joy Preble's Dreaming Anastasia yet, then now's your chance! In celebration of the sequel, Haunted, being released, Sourcebooks is making Dreaming Anastasia available for download from all major eBook outlets from February 1 to 7th. So just head on over to Barnes and Noble or Borders online (or wherever else you happen to buy your eBooks) starting tomorrow and download a free copy of Dreaming Anastasia while you can! I know I'm going to be taking this deal up since I've been wanting to read this one for a while. Now's the perfect time to do it.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Things I've Learned from Books + 86

With the right jaws wagging, a bad reputation can haunt you for centuries despite the fact that there's next to no evidence of even your very existence left. Gossip blows.

80s Awesomeness! ~ 95

Shoulder Pads!!!

Nothing says delicate femininity quite like looking like a linebacker. Now, ladies used to say such shoulder padding "completed" the look. It looked more "put together." Compared to what, I'm not sure but I'm glad we've de-evolved to a more incomplete look in the years following this pandemic.

Freaky Friday :|: 95

Title: The Curse
Author: Cynthia Blair
Published: October 1994
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pages: 320
While Garth, the victim of an ancient spell, searches desperately for the key that will free him from his family's ancient secrets, Miranda eludes the secret admirer who is dogging her path. (from
And we're on to a new author! From the summary, the two elements seem pretty disconnected but I'm sure they'd come together at the end. I'd give it a chance.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

And the winners are . . .

Just a couple of winners to announce -

For A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler, the winner is -


And for The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff the winner is -


Congratulations, you two! You should be seeing your books soon. And a big thanks to everyone that entered!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler + Contest!

Published October 2010.

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she's been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home - her constant battle with hunger and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go to places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power - and the courage to fight her own inner demons? (book back blurb)

I don't normally set expectations for things because if whatever it is doesn't live up to those expectations, you have no one to blame but yourself. So outside of reasonable expectations, I don't go into things like, say, most books, all ramped up for it thinking it was going to be something great. Usually. Unfortunately I did that with this one and, sad to say, my expectations were not lived up to. My bad.

I guess going in the concept I had brewing of an anorexic girl as Famine was beyond what this story provided. And that's okay, but I wasn't all that impressed with where it went. And I do think that's thinking outside of my original expectations of it.

Lisabeth is anorexic and for some unknown reason, Death knights her into Famine to spread the doom piece all over the world. Her outward battle with her new-found powers and the bitch that is War blatantly mirrors her inner struggle with her eating disorder. I get that. But I couldn't help but feel that the story was missing something.

The writing's pretty good and it helped that the story was short so I zipped through it pretty quickly. I liked how Lisa's problem is portrayed in conjunction with her friends that want to help her and her "friend" that enables her. It's a good dynamic. But tied in with being Famine, I just felt the connector was a little flat.

Lisa goes from petulant denial that's she's anorexic to fully accepting the fact that she's anorexic in only a matter of pages but there wasn't really any big revealing action that caused that epiphany. One moment it was denial and the next she was kind of going over herself as Famine and the word just sort of fell into her thoughts. And she was okay with that. I didn't like that.

But the lack of a 'why' was what really turned me away from the story. Death kind of latched onto this sick girl, gave her these crazy powers, all to teach her a lesson? Why? It just seems like such an infinitesimal thing for such an infinite being to do and the explanation for it wasn't anywhere near what I felt it needed to be in order to properly explain that why. At the end of the book Lisa isn't suffering from Special Child Syndrome. She doesn't differ from any of the other thousands of anorexics in the world. So why her? That question wasn't answered for me and that really bothers me.

Overall it's a decent book. I liked all of the characters and the situations they were put in but I just didn't feel it was strong enough to carry the premise. There were a few too many holes in a very interesting topic for me (the Horsemen) that were left unexplained. I honestly don't know if I'm going to venture further into the series as it comes out. If I don't have anything in my pile to read, maybe because I wasn't uninterested. But I'm not itching to grab the next book.

Contest Time!!!

Want my ARC? All you have to do is fill out the form below for your chance to win. Open to US residents 13 years of age and older only. One entry per person per email address. Duplicate entries will be deleted. Contest ends February 15th at midnight, EST.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Added to the Pile + 64

Two more books this week, both from PaperBackSwap. Thanks to everyone that helped me with my little instant acceptance issue on PBS. I did have everything set to auto-accept. Problem solved!

Elevated and adopted by none other than the reigning King of the Mantle of Dracul, Miranda goes from high-school theater wannabe to glamorous royal fiend overnight. Meanwhile, her reckless and adoring guardian angel, Zachary - fighting in human guise as the princess's personal assistant - has his work cut out from him with the Master's Death Day gala fast approaching. Can Zachary save his girl's soul and redeem himself before all hell arrives, quite literally, on their doorstep? (book back blurb)

Everyone knows that high school is the best part of life (You're kidding, right? Here's the deal: High school sucks.).

But poor Gert Garibaldi is struggling to fit in. (If I'm struggling, it's to survive, not fit in. Who wants to be a "pops" or a "giggle"?)

Her best friend, Adam, has made a new close friend, and Gert can't seem to understand their "guy talk." (Holy Mother of the Homos, they're gay, not Hallmark cards.)

When Gert's mother gives her a diary to record all her high school memories (You think I like pink? That I picked this out? Let me tell you about the Hello Kitty comforter I'm still trying to kill.), Gert begins working through her feelings on paper, and soon things are looking up. She realizes that she's a young woman, and that adolescence means lots of growing and changing. (Excuse me while I go vomit.)

But fortunately for Gert, the camaraderies (peer pressure) and excitement (subzero temperatures) of Homecoming are just around the corner. Gert is feeling like an injection of school spirit. (Overwhelming need to crawl into a small hole and never come out!)

Who knows what could happen next? (I turn sixteen, get my license, learn to pluck my brows correctly and pretty much decide I can survive. Maybe. I'm not sure about that last part.) (book flap blurb)

Things I've Learned from Books + 85

If every teenager with issues were tapped to be horsemen of the Apocalypse, the world would have imploded millennia ago. Let's let the kids drive themselves safely to the age of 18 first before handing them the ability to butt hurt our planet entirely, okay?

80s Awesomeness! ~ 94

Most Triumphant!!!

Such an eloquent term. So much better than awesome, righteous or bodacious. If something is most triumphant, it rightly can't get any better. I would think the 80s were, well, most triumphant. Right Bill and Ted?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Freaky Friday :|: 94

Title: Vampire's Kiss
Author: Nicholas Adams
Published: March 1994
Publisher: HarperCollins
Will her first kiss be the kiss of death? Finally Susan is in love. Drew is tall, handsome, and hiding something. Shortly after he arrives, things start to happen in the small town where Susan lives, Weird things, scary things. First a girl is found dead on the beach near Susan's house, then another girl turns up completely drained of blood. Drew seems to know a lot about the murders, but does he know more than he is telling? (from
Dun, dun, dun! Seems pretty typical of a teen vampire story. Granted it wasn't so typical back in the early 90s. But as ordinary as it seems, I'd be willing to give this one a chance. What can I say? I have a weakness for fangs.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

2010 Squee!!mers

It's not often I go buck nutty over a book. And I think, having been doing this for long enough, that when I do go crazy ravey over the awesomeness of a book, my readers tend to listen. Now that 2010 is over, I thought it'd be nice to take a look back through the past 12 months at the five-biters that I've posted. The ones that made me go SQUEEEEEEEEEE!!!! and want to scream it's fantabulousness from a megaphone. So, my readers, I present you with the Squee!!mers.

A Field Guide to the Little People by Nancy Arrowsmith

Aside from the fact that it's been around since the 70s and its popularity has pushed it into a reprinting years after its discontinuation, it's an epic guide for all things faery. Useful for the faery nut or your fantasy writer, if you want a hint at a plethora of different Fey, this is an awesome book for you. The twinkling little glitter bugs aren't littered about in this
book. Oh no. It's straight and narrow direct from lore these nasties are.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Language. It's all about the language with this one. In a voice so stunning Anderson takes you through an acid trip of a problem, making you feel every little inch of pain and suffering the main character does. It's fearless and harrowing at the same time. Anderson isn't afraid to go where the story needs to go in order to make a point. She doesn't hide behind fades to black but rubs your nose in the problems, daring you to solve them before the MC.

Albatross by Josie Bloss

Called the anti-Twilight by the very author, this book is everything that every teenage girl needs to read about that Edward-type. Having written it as a rebuttal to the likes of Twilight and its romanticizing of abusive relationships, Bloss rips off those rose-colored glasses and lets you see what the relationship really looks like from the outside. Guaranteed you will be screaming at the MC, and for good reason. And hopefully it'll get you to look at the rest of those YA "romance" books in a different light.

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

If you're a writer, a fantasy writer, and want to be reduced to a pile
of heinously jealous tears, then you'll want to read this one. I've yet to come across a more amazing world than Beddor's Wonderland. He took Alice to places I never thought she'd go, gave her a personality I never thought she'd have and put her through situations I never thought she'd be in. It's a world Carroll wishes he could have written but it was a children's book after all, right?

Draw the Dark by Ilsa J. Bick

A present-day historical fiction with maybe-not-so-much hints of fantasy, this book sucks you in slowly and before you know it, you're riding a bullet and praying to whatever god you believe in that you crash into something squishy. Between the writing, the imagery and the play on little-known historical facts, you won't want the book to end, and you'll be damn pissed when it does. Because while the pages end, the story doesn't and there's still more of the MC to share. But he's gone to his sideways place, hasn't he?

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland

Want your inner crazy feminist to start rearing her ugly protesting head? Then just pick this one up because, chances are, you'll be so engrossed by the injustices of women portrayed here that you won't want to stop reading. Not to mention there's an amazing MC and an unconventional love story for the time period that's glorious to get through. If you don't feel anything reading this book, then you must be dead on the inside.

Traitor by Gudrun Pausewang

You'll be hurtling through this book so fast you'll get to the end and blow
through a few empty pages before realizing it's over. And because of where it ends, when you do realize it's done, you'll want to stand in a rain storm, look up and scream nooooooooooooo! Told from a POV we Americans rarely get to see (I think), you'll latch onto the MC and ride the same tense, fearful ride she hangs on to for the duration.

The Demon King & The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

With an expert balance of high fantasy imagination and real world relateability, Chima's created a series of novels that'll introduce you to a new world and make you fall in love with it and its people all at the same time. Between the two main characters battling their lives out on the pages and the expertly placed secondary characters making their worlds go round, you'll tear through these books like a savage, left weeping at the end because the third one doesn't come out until later this year.

The Clearing by Heather Davis

Another Twilight antithesis, this one doesn't come on as strong as the likes of Albatross but it flashes the same message. You can't help but cheer for the MC as she struggles to break free of her past and come to trust others again. And it'll tear your heart out to see her do this with someone so immensely unattainable, and not in the popular way. It's a book of hope that'll give it to you straight but let you know there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas

As you may have guessed, I rally behind the books with empowering messages and this one is no different. Caught in a horribly disgusting situation, the MC tries to make it out of the precipice herself and unlike the friend-failing in The Clearing, here, just as likely, the friends are there for her, ready to lift her up and support her. Even just reading this you'll get squicked out by the power play going on and you'll be rooting for the MC all the while.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Crazy by Han Nolan

Published September 13, 2010.

Fifteen-year-old Jason has fallen upon bad times-his mother has died and his father has succumbed to mental illness. As he tries to hold his crazy father and their crumbling home together, Jason relies on a host of imaginary friends for guidance as he stumbles along trying not to draw attention to his father's deteriorating condition. (from

After coming off of A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler, walking into another book with an exceptionally similar plot garnered a particular set of high expectations. Unfortunately Crazy did not meet them and I ended up not finishing this one.

As I said, the plotlines of this and A Blue So Dark are really similar: a teen living alone with a mentally unstable parent while being their sole caretaker and trying to balance their own lives at the same time. Both are relative loners and both try to pass off their parents' illness as if it's something they can take care of. But where A Blue So Dark pulls you into the MC's feelings and emotions, makes you live them right along side the character, Crazy pushes you away because, well, there are already a lot of voices in the MC's head and there really isn't any room for you.

There is a disconnect between the reader and the characters because of the lack of intensity on the part of the MC. Instead of showing what's going on, we get the kid's life dictated to us by the talking heads in his head. Frankly I found it grating that the guy created his own sitcom and expected us to feel what he was feeling based entirely on the tellings of several different voices throughout the story. Really I am shown nothing and told everything about Jason and his father. All of the flashbacks are not relived with intense feeling from Jason but "witty" asides from the cast of characters in his head. Am I supposed to feel bad that his father tried to bury him in the backyard because the rest of the characters take it as a joke. And their voices are a hell of a lot louder than Jason's. And I get it's a coping mechanism but I think maybe it was a little too good because it pushed me away from the severity and realism of what was going on.

I felt more for the secondary characters that Jason has those school psych meetings with. Their problems aren't tempered by the voices in Jason's head because they know nothing about those kids. So there's finally peace. Those characters are allowed to come through and be themselves. I can actually see them. Jason? Not so much. He's hidden too far behind his headful of talking heads. It's kind of hard to keep reading a story where I just can't connect to the main character. At least for me, anyway.

Maybe if you can appreciate the type of quirky going on in this book you'd like it but it was put up against some pretty stiff competition. And not intentionally. Crazy just didn't elicit the same emotions for me. I didn't feel much for Jason and I had a hard time trying to look around of veil of voices talking at me the entire time. When I was finally able to, all I saw were the secondary characters. Not Jason. Personally, if you want a story about a teen having to handle a mentally ill parent, read A Blue So Dark. If you insist on reading this one, read it first, and then pick up A Blue So Dark for comparison. But don't read A Blue So Dark first because it will set the bar far too high and Crazy won't come anywhere near it.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Added to the Pile + 63

Two books this week: one surprise and one requested.

From Macmillian -

Deuce lives in an enclave, deep underground. Her friends are her family; her life revolves around training to become a Huntress, one of the elite cadres who protect the enclave.

Deuce is partnered with a mysterious Hunter named Fade, who is said to have lived in the surface world as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters - or Freaks - which seem to be growing more and more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade's long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they've ever known. (book back blurb)

And from HarperCollins -

Emily Webb is a geek. And she's happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she's never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she's definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls' boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates - also named Emily - is found mysteriously murdered.

The thing is, Emily doesn't know why she's doing any of this. By day, she's the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it's no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she's not just coming out of her shell . . . there's something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely - something not human?

As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she's not the only one this is happening to - some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters - and how many people will they kill to get what they want? (book flap blurb)

Things I've Learned from Books + 84

If you have more friends in your head than out, then you may want to seek some kind of psychiatric help. If you actually have conversations with said head friends, have someone seek help for you.

80s Awesomeness! ~ 93

That's right. The Pogo Ball. You know you had one. The disk on mine was purple with sticker things on it. It was yet another way to rearrange your face when you were little. Because nothing spells safety like having your loinfruit trying to balance on a ball.

Freaky Friday :|: 93

Title: Santa Claws
Author: Nicholas Adams
Published: December 1991
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pages: 192
Chrissie is killed by a wild animal. The sheriff says there is only one set of tracks found around her body--animal tracks. But Cory wonders how he could have gotten Chrissie's bracelet before the police arrived. (from
I couldn't find any information on a few of the author's books so I have to skip ahead to this one. I take it this is set at Christmas? Please? I'm getting a werewolf vibe coming from this one. It's a little scant but it could be something. Maybe.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Backlogged Winners

Despite the books having already gone out, I don't want to leave you all hanging with winners from a couple of my more recent contests, especially since I normally announce them.

So first, the seven winners from my Holiday Book Grab Giveaway, in order from one to seven -


And the winner of my ARC of Girl Parts by John M. Cusick -


Congratulations, everyone! I hope you enjoy your books!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dangers Untold, Hardships Unnumbered, Word?

What is the definition of a word? And I'm not looking for the Webster variation.

A word is a cluster of squiggly lines and curves of varying lengths.

Early in our lives we are taught that these clusters are more than just blobs of ink or pencil. They say something. This is how we communicate from one human being to the next. They say something because somewhere, at some point, someone said they did.

Then, once we learned how to say those words, we were taught that they actually meant something. When we said a word, we were not just pronouncing the sound of those combined squiggles but releasing the meanings and connotations behind those squiggles into the world. Where did those meanings come from? Somewhere, at some point, someone said those clustered squiggles meant this, that and the other thing. Being the good sheeple we are, we all nodded out heads yes and spit forth the language created for us by some dudes we don't know.

But what no one taught us is that we are gods. We are gods ruling over a language. We have the ability to give language power and life. We make it be, make it thrive, make it mutate, make it sing. But just as we have the power to give life to words, so we have the power to take it away. And while words fade from our repertoire over time, the scary ones, the ones that make us speak in whispered tones or cringe away, stay behind, haunt us. Why? We are their gods. Why do we hand these words the power to bring us to our knees?

Nigger. Spic. Gook. Wop. Slant-eye. Mick. Flip. Wetback. Cracker. Kike. Fag. Dyke.

Scary words, made scary by none other than . . .
us. Words that are much easier to leave festering under the bed like rotting pizza, their stench masked by fake odors from aerosol cans, living in a land of 'la-la-la, I can't see you so you don't exist' than being dredged out from the mess and confronted head on and purged as waste from our world. Why are more people not willing to confront these dirty words, like Sarah did to Jareth, and say, "you have no power over me?"

I know. Easier said than done. And I'm sure I'd get slapped with the "white privilege" moniker because, since I'm the color of Casper's albino cousin, my views are inherently racist because I wasn't subjected to the same setbacks as those with darker skin tones. Nevermind the wop mentioned above, or daigo, guido, guinea, dog, grease face. I'm white, so I don't know.

Do I not? Maybe. Depends on who you ask. But does it mean I can't think that searching and destroying 'nigger' and 'injun' in a classic published in 1884 and set in the deep south is a monstrosity? Am I allowed to think that act a desecration of a classic work? Because it is.

Anyone that actually believes that The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn is racist material simply because of the mere presence of the word 'nigger' is an uneducated moron. You are. Why? Because chances are you never even read the book because coming across 'nigger,' despite its context, is an affront to your person. So what do you do? You get offended. You make such a stink about it that you get the likes of Alan Gribben to publish a cannibalized version perfect for the politically correct world we live in. Nevermind that the text has now been raped of its splendor. You will no longer be offended and can safely read this masticated version of a classic safely tucked into your cocoon of happiness.

Words are powerful things. They can love as quickly as they can destroy. Our civilization as we know it is based on words. But they're only as powerful as we make them. And all of the absurdity of this misdirected power-pointing needs to stop. It's sanitizing our culture. Instead of confronting these problems head on and eradicating them, we're sweeping them under the carpet and living in ignorant bliss.

Blacking out texts is not a way to live. People deserve to be educated. Children have a right to ask questions and teachers and parents should be giving answers, not throwing blankets over their heads. No matter how much you ignore that rotting pizza under your bed, its stank will only get stronger. It won't go away. It won't disappear on its own. Ignoring it and pretending it doesn't exist is not the answer; it just furthers the problem.

It's time to remove the power from these words that hurt. We're the ones that turned that power on ourselves to begin with. So why do we keep handing the sword to the enemy with which to hurt us? It's time to grab that sword back and strike the enemy down.

If you run now, you'll be running for the rest of your life. So stop, turn around and make a stand.

You have no power over me.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Suck On This Year by Denis Leary

Published December 2, 2010.

Yeah. You read it right.


It's hip and cool.

Don't know what it means?

Well, don't worry. Neither did Denis. Until it was explained to him by his teenage kids and nieces and nephews. And some of the people at his production company. And most of his fellow cast members on FX's hit show Rescue Me.

And then all of us here at the publishing company.

LAUGH YOUR FRIGGING (or Fat or that Other F Word) ASS OFF.

"Why is it abbreviated?" Denis asked.

So you can only imagine how hard it was to explain to him the idea of 140 characters or less - the basic Twitter communication formula. It turns out that Denis is not very nimble when it comes to math (he failed it twice in high school and had to blackmail a nun in order to graduate).

But one thing he can do is funny, so once we got past the fact that he can't multiply or subtract or even basically navigate his way around the internet - he started coming up with stuff like this:
So we showed him how to post these comic tweets and just recently we asked him to pick some of the best from the last twelve months to place into the book you currently hold in your hands. Just remember, if you get the opportunity to have him sign it - make sure he spells your name right. And don't ask him to do any long division. (book flap blurb)

I'm probably going to break my "your review needs to be longer than the book blurb" credo. Why? Because the book blurb is longer than the book itself. I kid you not. The "book" is 104 pages long. Roughly half of those are pictures. Each remaining page contains 1 twit each, 140 characters or less. There's nothing to judge here. No plot structure or character development. No use of proper grammar or cliches. You either think the guy's funny or you don't.

Considering I think Denis Leary is nothing short of a god, I find him, and his most recent book, quite hilarious. I'd already seen 1/3 of the snarks since I follow him on Facebook and Twitter but that's okay. I don't mind helping his kids through college despite my own heinous student loan debt.

Really, all this is book is is another piece of Denis Leary fun added to your growing pile of Denis Leary stuff. You will get through it, literally, in about 5 minutes. 10 if you keep getting pulled away. Any longer and I might start to question your reading competence. So if you're a fan of Denis Leary, you're going to want to nab this one up. It's nowhere near as good as Why We Suck but it'll make you laugh all the same. That is if you have a rather self-deprecating and un-politically correct sense of humor.

Added to the Pile + 62

As much as I love PaperBackSwap, I think they've changed the way they do things. I haven't gotten a notification email from them letting me know that one of my Wish List books has come up and if I want to accept it. Instead I just get an email letting me know that a book's shipped. They've skipped a couple of steps there. Is this happening to anyone else? Like the option to accept a book has been removed and the site accepts the request for you?

Anyway, I got two from PaperBackSwap this week (whether I wanted them or not) -

From Sourcebooks, a finished copy -

And a Christmas book I forgot to mention when I did that particular Added post -

Things I've Learned from Books + 83

Nothing beats an angry Irish guy. If you get insulted by one, don't try and fight back. You will lose and lose hard. So just slink off now to save yourself what little dignity you have left.

80s Awesomeness! ~ 92

Before the teeth-fix, before the ego, Tom Cruise did a crazy fantasy movie called Legend where he had to save the light from the dark and fight a devil dude with two major phallus symbols affixed to his head. You can't get more fantasy than this epic 80s movie, what with the faeries, unicorns and don't forget the random bursts of glitter. It's all an LSD win.

Freaky Friday :|: 92

Title: Final Curtain
Author: Nicholas Adams
Published: June 1991
Publisher: HarperCollins Publisher
Pages: 160
Couldn't find one!
Well, it's a vampire book by the cover. Based on the previous books, it's bound to be uber-cheesy and cliche but . . . it's vampires. How bad can it be?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Cousin is a Sadist and Other Idiosyncrasies

You know, I don't like Twilight. Read my reviews of the series to find out the details of my reasonings but I think I make it pretty clear. But I have my cousin to thank for introducing me to those literary abortions because she had them first. Then her mom borrowed them. Then my mom borrowed them. And, well, since they were in my house, I might as well see what all the fuss was about, right?

After I recovered, she dragged me to the movies to share in the pain that was epic constipation faces at super close-ups followed by really spinny screens. The spinny screens probably wouldn't have been so bad if we weren't sitting so close. But god, I was like in the movie and not in a good way. Soon after that particular foray was Christmas and thus began the Twilight one-up. Who could get the other the worse of the Twilight gifts.

She started it with the movie picture companion book, t-shirt and keychain. I followed with the second movie picture companion book, craptastic Jacob crap and a parody book for balance. I couldn't, in good conscience, give all that pain without easing it a little. And it went from there.

This year, though, try as I might, I couldn't really find anything good. Of course, as I was from the beginning, I was on the lookout for a life-sized cardboard cutout of one of the characters because, you know, walking into her house with that thing all done up would have been epic. But I hadn't been able to find one. And this year was scant on Twilight shit anyway since the movie and the holidays didn't coincide.

But trust my cousin, the evil human being she is, to find the Twilight shite like the guided sparkle-seeking missile she is. Here I am, going to the likes of Hot Topic and Barnes and Noble, for they never failed me before, until now. She? She goes to iParty and there, laying upon the isle like a feather mecca off the west coast of Brazil, Twiheaven. Or hell, depending on who you are. Oh thanks to iParty you can have a whole Twiparty, complete with being able to eat off of Edward's face. But what did she find that I could never? What did she get to first and bestow upon me like herpes in a whore house?

That's right. It's life-sized, it's constipated and it's guaranteed to scare the shit out of anyone that walks into your house. It's so horrifying, even my dog wanted to kill it.

So where does this monstrosity stay? Face to the wall in the recesses of my closet, otherwise I might have nightmares.

But you know, I was thinking, in order to make it more palatable, maybe I should dress it up a little. But I'm not sure how. That's where's you guys come in. You all need to give me some ideas about how this bitch could be prettied up. A wig? Clown make-up? A tutu? All three? Help me de-sparkle-lax my apartment. The form below will guide you through the dressing process. From the suggestions I get, I will chose the best suggestion per body part and throw them all together like a jigsaw puzzle from hell. What do you get for participating? Peace of mind that at least a little, tiny piece of Edward has been stamped out forever. And you'll get to see the end result.

Help me help you help me. Just help.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

ARC Review Update

Lately I've been staring at my TBR pile and wanting to cry a little. Not because of the books themselves because books are inherently awesome. Who would cry over a book they'd want to read? But my TBR pile looks like this -

The stack on the far left are ARCs for review alone. The rest is a mix of BEA titles, PaperBackSwap/BookMooch books and a handful I've been dumb enough to purchase. And then I have my NetGalley list which consists of the following titles -

Crazy by Han Nolan
Alison's Wonderland by Alison Tyler
Tyger, Tyger by Kersten Hamilton
The Secret of Ka by Christopher Pike
Annexed by Sharon Dogar
Demon Hunts by CE Murphy
Eight for Eternity by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer
Lovely by Kris Starr
Captive Spirit by Liz Fichera
Ghost Shadow by Heather Graham
The World Above the Sky by Kent Stetson
Tricker's Girl by Hilari Bell
Roman Games by Bruce MacBain
F**k it by John C. Parkin
Views from the Loft by The Loft Literary Center
My Soul to Keep by Rachel Vincent
The Hypnotist by MJ Rose
Spy Glass by Maria V. Snyder
Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Carrie Pilby by Caren Lissner
Losing Romeo by AJ Byrd
The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey
The Sevenfold Spell by Tia Nevitt
The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group by Catherine Jinks
Those That Wake by Jesse Karp
The Lying Game by Sara Shepard
Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Grilled Cheese Please! by Laura Werlin
Savannah Grey by Cliff McNish
The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird
Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky
Mystify by Artist Arthur
Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby
Everything I Was by Corrine Demas
What Can't Wait by Ashley Hope Perez
One Hundred Candles by Mara Purnhagen
My Favorite Band Does Not Exist by Robert T. Jeschonek

So it's with this massive list in mind that I say I've come to the conclusion that I will only now consider ARCs from those that I currently have standing relationships with. In other words, don't cold call me. If I've already accepted a product from you then I will consider more but with a much stricter eye. I will have to really, REALLY want to read it in order to accept it. If I haven't, please don't knock on my door and try to pitch me your sale. I won't bite. As you can see, I'm a bit overwhelmed so adding more works to my pile is not on my list of things to do.

I'm not doing this to be bitchy or thumb my nose at the indies or debuts out there or anything. I just can't take on any more without going at least halfway insane. I need to make a sizable dent in my reading pile before I open up my ARC receipts full tilt.

If you ignore this post and submit to me anyway and I see that you're not on my bypass list, your email will be deleted unanswered. You can't be bothered to put forth the effort to follow my guidelines, I can't be bothered to respond to unsolicited emails. That's only fair.

So please, if you've sent me stuff in the past, don't be afraid to ask again. I will still consider it. To everyone else, the answer is no. Please don't even try. It'll be a wasted email.* These new guidelines will remain in effect until further notice.

*While this may sound bitchy, I have had authors try to convince me that they're above my guidelines and I should just consider them anyway. Um, no. I create my guidelines for a reason. At least this way if I still get someone trying to convince me otherwise, I'll feel less guilty about pointing this out and telling them to piss off. I don't think cordiality is rendered when a person has already told my guidelines to go fuck itself.

Added to the Pile + 61

Only one book this week (I like how I say 'only' when I get a single book but all those singles certainly add up) and I bought it myself because I really need to finish this series. My fingers are still crossed for a resurgence of horror (real horror, not pussies with fangs) in YA.

It's been a year since Reggie first discovered the Vours, and the winter solstice is approaching once again. It will be another night of unspeakable horror for those unlucky enough to be taken by the Vours, because this time, she won't be able to stop them. The Vours have imprisoned Reggie in a psychiatric hospital, where she is subjected to a daily routine of unfathomably sadistic experiments. Her life is a living hell, but she won't give up. They attacked her brother. They killed her friend. And Reggie will never stop fighting back. (book flap blurb)

2011 ARC Reading Challenge


Oh yeah. I have those. A lot of them nice and backlogged. What better way to clear them out than signing up for So Many Precious Books, So Little Time's ARC Reading Challenge? Goal-setting is fun. I'm signing up for the platinum level: 30 or more ARCS to read. Yeah, I have a lot of get off of my plate.

1. Crazy by Han Nolan
2. Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
3. You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin
4. Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann
5. Deadly by Julie Chibbaro
6. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
7. Mystify by Artist Arthur
8. The Poison Eaters and Other Stories by Holly Black
9. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
10. Alison's Wonderland by Alison Tyler
11. The Limit by Kristen Landon
12. I'll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip. by John Donovan
13. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
14. Stay by Deb Caletti
15. Eight for Eternity by Mary Reed & Eric Mayer
16. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, adapted from Siobhan Down
17. Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury
18. Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick
19. Cleopatra Confesses by Carolyn Meyer
20. Pathworking with the Egyptian Gods by Judith Page and Jan A. Malique
21. The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey
22. The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma
23. Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
24. Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach, illustrated by Ricardo Cortes
25. Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
26. Carrie Pilby by Caren Lissner
27. Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
28. The Babysitter Murders by Janet Ruth Young
29. The Blending Time by Michael Kinch
30. In the Arms of Stone Angels by Jordan Dane

2011 YA Historical Fiction Reading Challenge


Yup. I have a few of these types of books in my TBR pile. So sign up for YA Bliss's YA Historical Fiction Reading Challenge I did. I don't have very many so I'm going to stick with level one for now: 5 books. I think I can handle that.

1. Deadly by Julie Chibbaro
2. Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury
3. Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
4. The Midnight Guardian by Sarah Jane Stratford
5. Shelter Me by Alex McAulay

2011 Off The Shelf Reading Challenge


What better way to help purge by TBR pile than to join Bookish Ardour's Reading Challenges' Off The Shelf Reading Challenge? I need all the help I can get. I'm going to do the on a roll level with 50 books to read. That should help me along nicely.

1. Suck On This Year by Denis Leary
2. Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff
3. The Immortal by Christopher Pike
4. A Season of Eden by JM Warwick
5. Num8ers by Rachel Ward
6. Die Softly by Christopher Pike
7. Of All The Stupid Things by Alexandra Diaz
8. Party Summer by RL Stine
9. The Vampire Is Just Not That Into You by Vlad Mezrich
10. The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike
11. Fat Vampire by Adam Rex
12. The Last Vampire 2: Black Blood by Christopher Pike
13. Fearscape by Simon Holt
14. The Last Vampire 3: Red Dice by Christopher Pike
15. The Midnight Guardian by Sarah Jane Stratford
16. Shelter Me by Alex McAulay
17. The Forbidden Game, Volume 1: The Hunter by LJ Smith
18. Let Me Tell You How I Died by Sinclair Smith
19. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk: A Century by the Sea by The Santa Cruz Seaside Company
20. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
21. The New Girl by RL Stine
22. Fear by RL Stine
23. Goosebumps: Ghost Beach by RL Stine
24. Goosebumps: The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb by RL Stine
25. Soldier Boys by Dean Hughes
26. Witchblade, Volume 1 by Ron Marz, illustrated by Mike Choi
27. The Girl's Guide to Werewolves by Barb Karg
28. Stupid Christmas by Leland Gregory
29. Shift by Charlotte Agell
30. The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

2011 YA Reading Challenge


Why wouldn't I sign up for For The Love of YA's YA Reading Challenge? I mean, it's really what my blog is about, YA reading that is, plus it constitutes about 95% of my TBR pile. Fits, right? I'm going to go all out and do the mega size, 50 or more books read this year. That should nominally dent my pile.

1. Crazy by Han Nolan
2. Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
3. The Immortal by Christopher Pike
4. You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin
5. Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann
6. Deadly by Julie Chibbaro
7. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
8. Mystify by Artist Arthur
9. A Season of Eden by JM Warwick
10. The Poison Eaters and Other Stories by Holly Black
11. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
12. The Limit by Kristen Landon
13. Num8ers by Rachel Ward
14. Die Softly by Christopher Pike
15. I'll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Wait. by John Donovan
16. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
17. Stay by Deb Caletti
18. Of All The Stupid Things by Alexandra Diaz
19. Party Summer by RL Stine
20. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, adapted from Siobhan Dowd
21. Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury
22. Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick
23. The Vampire is Just Not That Into You by Vlad Mezrich
24. The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike
25. The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey
26. Fat Vampire by Adam Rex
27. The Last Vampire 2: Black Blood by Christopher Pike
28. Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
29. Fearscape by Simon Holt
30. The Last Vampire 3: Red Dice by Christopher Pike
31. Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
32. Carrie Pilby by Caren Lissner
33. The Midnight Guardian by Sarah Jane Stratford
34. The Prom Queen by RL Stine
35. Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
36. The Babysitter Murders by Janet Ruth Young
37. Shelter Me by Alex McAulay
38. The Forbidden Game, Volume 1: The Hunter by LJ Smith
39. The Blending Time by Michael Kinch
40. In the Arms of Stone Angels by Jordan Dane
41. The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima
42. Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry
43. Let Me Tell You How I Died by Sinclair Smith
44. The Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston
45. This Girl is Different by JJ Johnson
46. The New Girl by RL Stine
47. When I Was Joe by Keren David
48. Fear by RL Stine
49. Ashfall by Mike Mullin
50. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

2011 E-Book Reading Challenge


I'll say it right now, I'm not a fan of ebooks. But thanks to NetGalley, I have a whole slew of them that need to get read. What better motivation than to sign up for the E-Book Reading Challenge at The Ladybug Reads? I'll be doing the obsessed level at 20 books since that's about half of the NetGalley copies I need to read and I fully plan on making a major dent in that list.

1. Crazy by Han Nolan
2. Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann
3. Deadly by Julie Chibbaro
4. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
5. Mystify by Artist Arthur
6. The Poison Eaters and Other Stories by Holly Black
7. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
8. Alison's Wonderland by Alison Tyler
9. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
10. Stay by Deb Caletti
11. Eight for Eternity by Mary Reed & Eric Mayer
12. Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury
13. Cleopatra Confesses by Carolyn Meyer
14. The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey
15. The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma
16. Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach
17. Carrie Pilby by Caren Lissner
18. The Babysitter Murders by Janet Ruth Young
19. In the Arms of Stone Angels by Jordan Dane
20. The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

2011 Horror and Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge


I think it's pretty obvious by now that I'm a bit of a horror freak. So when I saw Book Chick City's Horror and Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge, I jumped at it. Everyone needs some good horror in their lives. Plus I have a few good books waiting in by TBR wings just itching to get added to the list. Just to warn, this'll probably be more horror for me than urban fantasy but you never know. The year just started. I'll start at the minimum 24 and see if any additions are rendered later on.

1. The Immortal by Christopher Pike
2. Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann
3. Die Softly by Christopher Pike
4. Party Summer by RL Stine
5. The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike
6. The Last Vampire 2: Black Blood by Christopher Pike
7. Fearscape by Simon Holt
8. The Last Vampire 3: Red Dice by Christopher Pike
9. Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
10. The Prom Queen by RL Stine
11. The Forbidden Game, Volume 1: The Hunter by LJ Smith
12. Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry
13. The Magicians by Lev Grossman
14. Let Me Tell You How I Died by Sinclair Smith
15. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
16. The New Girl by RL Stine
17. Fear by RL Stine
18. Supernatural Noir by Ellen Datlow
19. Goosebumps: Ghost Beach by RL Stine
20. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
21. The Sleepwalkers by J Gabriel Gates
22. Goosebumps: The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb by RL Stine
23. Thaw by Rick Jasper
24. Mayhem by Artist Arthur
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