Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer Blast Giveaway #8!

I got a keeper up for grabs this week!

An ARC of SHUT OUT by Kody Keplinger! Want a chance to win it? Then just fill out the form below.
  • Open to US residents 13 years of age and older only.
  • One entry per person per email address.
  • Duplicate entries will be deleted.
  • Giveaway ends August 6th at midnight, EST.

And the winner is . . .

The winner of my Summer Blast Giveaway #7, an ARC of BUNHEADS by Sophie Flack, is . . .

Ashley Suzanne!!!

Congratulations! I've already sent you an email. And a huge thanks to everyone else that entered! Hang on a second! The 8th Summer Blast Giveaway will be posted momentarily!

Added to the Pile + 86

Two books this week that feed my cheese habit. And there are oh so many more to come.


Things I've Learned from Books + 112

If you think you're stepping across the sane line into the land of crazy, be sure to tell only you're most trusted individuals about it. Chances are, anyone else won't react the way you think they will.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Published September 2010.

Three angels are sent down to bring good to the world: Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, a teenager girl who is the least experienced of the trio. But she is the most human, and when she is romantically drawn to a mortal boy, the angels fear she will not be strong enough to save anyone - especially herself - from the Dark Forces.

Is love a great-enough power against evil? (book back blurb)

DNF with a big, fat, capital RETCH. When I first got this book I thought it sounded really interesting and not too long after the ARCs were distributed rave reviews were coming out about it. Great! Then the article came out that made modern women's ovaries die. And then the revelation came that this novel is a TWILIGHT fanfiction heavily influenced by TWILIGHT. Add in Christian moralizing and 1950's gender roles and I let it slide for a while. Until now.

Oh I have not had a lulz novel like this probably since TWILIGHT. I so wanted to read all the way through so I could enjoy the lulz to the fullest extent. Alas, I could not. I'm not a fan of drowning in excessive and needless description. I'm also pretty rankled that Gabriel, THE archangel, has been reduced to cooking mushroom risotto. How Adnornetto survived this smiting, I have no idea. If she'd been fucking with Supernatural's Gabriel, she'd spend the rest of her life in a herpes commercial.

There were just far too many inconsistencies for my liking. Like that Bethany (WTF kind of angel name is that anyway?) knowing next to nothing about humans but she sure had a knack for spotting fashion. I wouldn't think she'd know what cashmere or a Peter Pan collar was. And don't forget Bethany mooing about how plain, average, boring, etc. she was. We mustn't ever forget that. Because it's repeated constantly. Right, TWILIGHT? Wait, what book was I reading?

One of the biggest kickers in the mere 100 pages that I read was the angels of Light being sent down to Earth to save people from the Agents of Darkness . . . in a very white, rich, cozy beach town. OMG THE HORROR!!!! How will they ever accomplish their mission? SAVE WHITEY! Save the white prep school! For serious, did God have nowhere else to send them or was this the place where you send the "special" kids to make them feel like they're contributing?

Other gems worth mentioning: the angels' last name is Church (you're fucking kidding me), Bethany needs to be saved by Xavier when she's drunk (just cut off her effing wings now), Bethany is a fallen angel without actually falling (sorry, you don't get to say fuck it to your mission from god for RPattz hair and turquoise eyes and get to remain in his grace, I'm not even fucking baptized and I know that), Molly (the Babylonian whore, apparently) was already chastised by the super pure Xavier for leading Bethany astray, Gabriel admits to them being human and making mistakes (uh . . . wha . . .?). Imagine what I would find if I read more than 100 pages.

What a self-serving, moralizing, preaching pile of horsefunk this is. Why was this not published with a Christian publisher? Because it's obviously trying to force a message down the readers' throat. Alexandra, maybe you feel your place is barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen with your man to protect you but don't try to teach the human race moral lessons through thinly disguised self-insert fiction. I feel bad for this girl. She's so young and already she's reaching Jerry Falwell levels of douchery. I don't appreciate being told how horrible I am for the things I do with a hypocritical vag of an angel character that would SOONER LOSE HER GOD'S GRACE THAN LOSE THE EYE OF THE HOT CAPTAIN BOY. And Molly's the immoral, demon-possessed slut.

Holy shit balls. I'd recommend this book to the young Ann Coulters of the world that believe Christianity is the all-encompassing shit and women are merely things to be controlled by the menfolk. This is TWILIGHT on steroids. It's quite frankly insulting to be preached to by a hypocrite.

To keep my tangent in check I'm going to end this here but I will leave you with some lulz-worthy quotes that made me go -

It seemed from my reading of literature that being in love meant becoming the beloved's entire world. The rest of the universe paled into insignificance compared to the lovers. When they were separated, each fell into a melancholy state, and when they were reunited their hearts started beating again. Only when they were together could they really see the colors of the world. When they were apart, that color leeched away, leaving everything a hazy gray. (pg 12 ARC)

I think the medical world would refer to that as the unhealthy obsession of one suffering from bipolar disorder.

It had been decided that a school would be a useful place to begin our work of countering the emissaries of darkness, given it was full of young people whose values were still evolving. (pg 21 ARC)

Read: influential teenage brains are easier to manipulate.

I'd listened in on the prayers of teenage girls and most of them centered on being accepted by the "popular" crowd and finding a boyfriend who played on the rugby team. (pg 27 ARC)

Fan of pigeonholes, are we?

We had predicted that our arrival was bound to make an impression but we hadn't counted on people stopping to openly gawk at us, or stepping aside as though they were being visited by royalty., (pg 29 ARC)

Modesty's an over-rated human trait anyway.

I was starting to get a sense of the extent of the damage done by the Agents of Darkness and it wasn't looking good. (pg 35 ARC, in response to an uptick in robberies, freak accidents and the flu)

Oh noes! Not teh sniffles!

That was going to be a problem during games seeing as we angels didn't have a navel - just smooth white skin, freckle and indentation free. (pg 42 ARC)

Can someone let the neo-Nazis know that the Aryan nation has relocated to Heaven? Thanks.

"They all seem lost to me," Gabe said. "I wonder if any of them really know what life is all about. I didn't realize we'd be starting from scratch. This is going to be harder than I thought." He fell silent and we all were reminded of the epic task we had ahead of us. (pg 48 ARC, in response to the normal actions of teenage girls seeing a good-looking guy)

Don't stress yourself out. We all know how horrible teenage girls can be. Maybe that option of going to Africa to deal with those silly mercenaries might have been a little easier.

The proverb that Cleanliness is next to Godliness couldn't have been more accurate. (pg 77 ARC, in response to Molly's messy locker).

Are you fucking kidding me?

We thought of technology as a sort of corrupting influence, promoting antisocial behavior and detracting from family values. (pg 101 ARC)

I hope you don't break your neck falling off of that high horse of yours.

80s Awesomeness! ~ 121

Synonymous with Rocky III, Eye of the Tiger by Survivor is a slightly harder rock piece of the 80s. Listen to it and I dare you not to start singing. Or running up a flight of stairs and jumping like a crazy person when you get to the top.

Or if you're a more recently-released Supernatural fan, it'll make you think of Dean (dammit all I couldn't find a clip of it that I could embed (see here)).

Friday, July 29, 2011

Freaky Friday :|: 121

Title: Nightmare Hall: Monster
Author: Diane Hoh
Published: July 1994
Publisher: Point

Rumours are flying round Salem University - a monster is stalking the campus, striking in the night and leaving its victims bloodied and traumatized. When Abby's friends are viciously attacked, it's terrifying. But the truth about the monster is even more horrific than Abby ever suspected. (

This is one hell of a university to avoid. But it sounds interesting enough. This is the kind of story where I'd be really pissed if the monster turned out to be something mundane. Don't disappoint me!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Banned Books Read-Out!

It's absolutely not too early to start talking about ALA's Banned Books Week and my own personal Ban This!, an annual month-long celebration of all things banned books (check out 2009 and 2010). Book banning and challenging is a year-round activity for those that insist on doing such things so really, any time is the right time for pointing out the asshattery of book banning.

This year, a special YouTube channel is being created so that anyone with a video camera, from any location, can upload themselves reading an excerpt from their favorite banned book and have it be slapped together in one giant F-U to the book banners. While I'm not a vlogger (I've only done it once), you may just see my lovely mug right here on this site reading from a banned book. I mean, how can I pass something like this up?

So expect that, along with other book banning mockery in the month of September. I'll be posting the sign-up post for Ban This! towards the end of August. I'm not sure of Steph Su will be doing the Banned Books Reading Challenge again this year but if she doesn't, I hope someone will. As book lovers, we need to stick it to the banners every chance we get!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Prom Queen by RL Stine

Published March, 1992.

A spring night . . . soft moonlight . . . five beautiful Prom Queen candidates . . . dancing couples at the Shadyside High prom - these should be the ingredients for romance.

But stir in one brutal murder - then another, and another - and the recipe quickly turns to horror.

Lizzie McVay realizes that someone is murdering the five Prom Queen candidates one by one - and that she may be next on the list! Can she stop the murderer before the dance is over - for good? (book back blurb)

Despite the fact that none of the characters are all that likable, THE PROM QUEEN is still en epic foray into old school cheese. I seriously just can't get enough of these books.

For the bad, the characters really aren't redeeming. They all go on dates with one of their friends' boyfriends behind her back and they do it shamelessly. They're all self-centered, one's exceptionally bitter and it's not like these girls have revelations at the end of the book that fix these issues. That's just how they are. They're just not appealing.

But the plot? Pretty awesome. I was definitely wrapped up in it, trying to figure out who the murderer was and why. Quite frankly a plot to kill prom queens is kind of dumb but the girls come up with some pretty good motives for why. None of them were right but at least their heads were in the right place.

I didn't see coming who the murderer was. Even in hindsight it was hidden pretty well. Granted I don't actively look for this kind of stuff and I'm not someone that picks up on it too easily so someone else could rightly guess the murderer immediately. I didn't and was kind of shocked when I did find out.

You guys know me by now; I'm a sucker for cheese and THE PROM QUEEN has it in spades. But I love it. Despite it's gouda essence, it'll still make you think twice about sitting in your room alone at night. It'll still make you wonder about your friends. It's still a good horror book and I've said it before and I'll say it again, the YA world needs far more of them.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vampires Get Graphic

From James Patterson's MAXIMUM RIDE to Stephenie Meyer's TWILIGHT, more and more popular series are being adapted into the comic/manga form. With all of the vampire craze going on now, is it really any surprise that the series responsible for giving birth to the brooding, I-Hate-Life vampire is getting it's day? Have no idea what I'm talking about? It's Anne Rice's INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, of course!

Yes! Yen Press, the same guys that put out MAXIMUM RIDE and TWILIGHT in their pictorial form will be doing it with IWTV coming next fall. But thank the vampire gods it won't be told from constant complainer Louis's point of view. I remember reading the book and watching the movie when I was 11 and hoping against hope that Killjoy would go and get a tan already for how much he hated the fang. Nope. This time around it's all from Claudia's perspective. Now the article doesn't say if it'll be movie Claudia or book Claudia (an age difference of five years, 11 versus 6, respectively) but I think it'll have a greater impact with the latter. A six-year-old telling her story about becoming a vampire? Sure she hated it but she was an evil little thing. She had Louis's morose attitude about vampire life with Lestat's will. That's a mighty combination.

I'm actually looking forward to it. I think it'll be a really good story from Claudia's perspective. While I did like IWTV, I couldn't stand Louis. Even in the movie, I wanted to smack Brad Pitt. GO GET A TAN! I actually couldn't make it past THE VAMPIRE LESTAT. In fact, I couldn't even get all the way through that one for how overwritten it was and from what I'm told, the series just gets more heavy handed. Granted Anne Rice is known for that, and for her lack of editor so it's really no surprise. While the article didn't mention retelling the remaining books in the series (obviously not in Claudia's POV), if they do I'll be more than happy to pick up those abridged, color versions over the door stoppers.

The funniest thing I found about that article was that Rice was all for others playing with her works because she was done with THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES. It's now a series in her past. "I'm writing something new right now, so I'm comfortable with other people's adaptations." So says the woman so adamant against derivative works that she sicks her lawyers on anyone that even deigns to mention the name Lestat in a context she doesn't like. So does this mean she's going to be opening up to IWTV fanfiction in the near future? I think you have a better chance of a purple pig flying out of your ass. But the comic? I'll take it for now.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Midnight Guardian by Sarah Jane Stratford

Published October 2009.

It’s 1938, and the tentacles of Hitler’s terrifying Third Reich have commenced their stranglehold on Europe. The Nazi empire will soon be clean of all bloodlines deemed tainted or undesirable…including vampires.

London’s ancient tribunal of vampires is aghast at the destruction taking place on the Continent. Though vampires try not to interfere with human politics, Hitler’s terrible plans force them into action. They resolve to send five of their most formidable vampires to Berlin— millennials that have lived over 1000 years and whose age and wisdom make them close to invulnerable— to infiltrate, disrupt, and destroy the growing Nazi war machine.

The brilliant and beautiful millennial Brigit is loath to go, but her powers are needed if the mission is to have any chance of success. She must summon all her strength to endure the separation from her lover Eamon, whom she made almost eight centuries ago, but whose lack of millennial status makes him an unacceptable choice for this operation. Though he longs to join her, his duty to Brigit is best served from afar, by nurturing their deep psychic connection and reinforcing her spirit with his fierce devotion and memories of his tender embrace.

But as the millennials attempt to penetrate and sabotage Hitler’s armies, they discover that the Nazis are more capable than any human force they’ve yet encountered and more monstrous than they'd ever imagined. Forced to take bolder, more dangerous steps, they soon attract the attention of specially trained vampire hunters loyal to Hitler and his vision of a vampire-free Europe. Exposed, deep inside enemy territory, with vicious Nazi officers and hunters at her heels, Brigit must attempt a daring escape from the Continent, guarding precious cargo that marks the only hope of salvaging their mission.

Good lord that's a long blurb. Blurbal diarrhea. Anyway, DNF. The concept seems interesting enough. Anything about the European theater during World War II will catch my attention. Throw in vampires and I'm there. But the execution left much to be desired. It was just exceptionally slow-moving, a lot of contemplating on a train ride, talking at parties, and not much else. Frankly, I was bored. I don't like being bored reading a vampire book. Vampires aren't supposed to be boring. Yet authors continue proving me wrong on that front. I mean, this book had all the elements of being totally awesome: vampires, Nazis, plot to overthrow the Third Reich, the potential for slaughter. Sounds like a fanged up Quentin Tarantino movie.

But the plot took itself far too seriously and the vampires were insanely TSTL. I'm not sure how one can live past 1,000 years and complain that their species nearly ran out of food during something like The Great War or the Black Death. For serious? Ever hear of a boat? You're effing vampires and you fail to grasp the concept of hunting and gathering? I was really taken aback by that, that the purpose of stopping the Reich from succeeding was to keep their food supply up. Does only Europe exist in this world? Really?

That was a big hurdle for me. The other was the talking heads. All they did was talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. Good mother's ass DO SOMETHING. You're effing vampires and you have to infiltrate the Third Reich like the other dissenting humans do? How about just laying the vampire smack down and ripping Hitler's throat out of his neck? Problem solved. Blame it on a rogue lawn mower to hide your identities, done. But nooooooooo. They have to go all Valkyrie and take it down like humans would. Lame. Why make them vampires to begin with if they're not actually going to act like vampires for something like this?

To their credit, they were vampires when it came to feeding. Merciless, brutal and without a concern for their victims. I applaud that in a land where vampires have all but been neutered. I only wish they applied this side of themselves more to the overall plot instead of just talking their way through things.

I don't know if this is an alternate historical fiction. It would make sense if it were, otherwise I already know the ending and the vampires are going to lose since their mission is to prevent the war from happening. Really, it's kind of like watching Titanic and not knowing the ship sinks at the end. But I don't know if this is the case because I obviously didn't get that far. I don't even think I made it until my token half-way point, I just started begrudging reading it so much. It was just dull. If you want to give me vampires, then give me the shit that goes along with them do. The book had so much potential . . . I want to see what Tarantino would do with it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summer Blast Giveaway #7!

So what is it this week? Let's take a look!

An ARC of BUNHEADS by Sophie Flack! Just 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.
  • Giveaway ends July 30th at midnight, EST.

And the winner is . . .

The winner of the sixth giveaway in my Summer Blast, for a finished copy of ANGELFIRE by Courtney Allison Moulton is . . .

Martha Lawson!!!

Congratulations! I've already sent out the winning email. And a big thanks to everyone who entered! Stick around. The seventh giveaway in my Summer Blast will be posted shortly!

Added to the Pile + 85

Got a short stack this week thanks largely to Borders and me purging my TBR pile for some trade books.

From the author for review -

From Borders' liquidation sale -

From PaperBackSwap/BookMooch -

Things I've Learned from Books + 111

Apparently some vampires fail at geography. If your race was nearly decimated by the likes of The Great War because of a food shortage, perhaps that's just Darwin's way of telling you it's your time. It's a miracle you lasted as long as you did without grasping the concept of a boat. Moving somewhere else when you're local food supply is low is just plain silly.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Contest Reminder!

The sixth giveaway in my Summer Blast ends tonight at midnight, EST! Be sure to get your entries in by then to win a finished copy of ANGELFIRE by Courtney Allison Moulton! You don't want to miss it!

80s Awesomeness! ~ 120

The Makeup!!!

It's almost painful to look at. Super heavy on the cheeks to insert some semblance of cheekbones. Super heavy on the eyes for god only knows what reason. To stand out, maybe? But in the 80s, the heavier the better. You couldn't wear enough makeup in that decade; guy or girl.

If it wasn't electric blue it was some god awful shade of orange. Whoever thought that orange was a good eyeshadow color needs to be slapped.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Freaky Friday :|: 120

Title: Nightmare Hall: The Whisperer
Author: Diane Hoh
Published: May 1994
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Pages: 198

Shea Fallon is hiding a dark secret. She's done something wrong, terribly wrong, and no one must ever find out what she did...; But someone has found out. And now Shea is being haunted by a terifying whisper on the phone. A whisper that tells her it knows what she's done...; Can Shea stop the whisperer from revealing the truth? Or is she going to have to pay a deadly price? (

Dun dun dun! The summary on Amazon was a buzz kill to I picked up this one. Much creepier and mysterious. What did she do? And who knows about it? Oooooooooo!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bye Bye Borders

Unless you've been living under a rock with that guy in the Geico commercial, you're well aware that Borders is going under. The chain book store filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February and proceeded to close out a slew of its stores across the country as a means to stem the bleeding money. Unfortunately it didn't work. When no one stepped up to make a bid for the dying company, the intended auction was scrapped and the intention to start liquidation was released. Starting Friday (as in this Friday, July 22), Borders will start clearancing out their stock. The stores will close as their stock runs dry, with all stores closing by September.

Despite the prospect of clearance-priced books (you're a big damn liar if you didn't think of that AT ALL), it's a seriously sad day in the book world because of this great chain closing. There's the laying off of nearly 11,000 Borders employees over the next several weeks, plus the intimation of what this could mean for print in general: if Borders can't make it, who can?

Indie book stores have been dropping like flies. Not only have they had to compete with the likes of chains like Borders and Barnes & Noble who could deeply discount their titles, they had to fight the online tide as well. Obviously, no one's immune to this. So with digital sales pushing out even the biggest chains, what's in it for the future of the book store in general?
I used to go to a little indie in my home town that I just loved called The Little Professor Book Store. I had my parents bring me there at least once a week, whether I bought something or not. I just loved looking at all those books. I even went to bookish events they held. Before I graduated high school they were out of business, unable to compete with the likes of Borders and BN (this is before digital reading so it wasn't even on the radar at this point). For a long time I fought the chains but with lack of options, and the internet not being the main means for much of anything at that time, I caved. I grew to love them. Whether it was Borders or Barnes & Noble, I always found a peace and contentedness whenever I walked into one of those stores. To know I'm going to be down yet another option saddens me like you would not believe.

I was never one to actually hang out at a book store, like drink coffee and sit and read. But it was comfort enough that the second I walked through those doors, I was surrounded by like-minded people. There aren't too many places you can go to get that. Not really. And now Borders will be leaving, another landmark fading from the landscape. Barnes and Noble stands alone and the indies must be scoured for. I find no enjoyment in browsing for books on the internet. It's just not the same. For all the people that still love print, the 80-something% that still prefer books to eBooks, where are they in this? The statistics aren't matching up for me. Convenience is replacing leisure.

Even if you were a loner like me and preferred to browse on your own, or if you were someone that sought bookie help whenever you could, be sure to leave a note of thanks for the Borders employees at #ThankUBorders. When you go to your local Borders to peruse their remaining stock (and don't you dare pretend to be high and mighty about it, no book lover can resist clearance books), thank the folks that are still there. They're the ones that helped feed your obsession, even if it was just stocking the shelves. They put all those pretty books out there for you to find. They were the pillars of Borders. So thank them.

Hopefully I won't live to see the day when it's nothing but a barren internet desert without a bookstore in sight.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Carrie Pilby by Caren Lissner

Published July 1, 2010.

Teen Genius (and Hermit)

Carrie Pilby's To Do List:

1. List 10 things you love (and DO THEM!)
2. Join a club (and TALK TO PEOPLE!)
3. Go on a date (with someone you actually LIKE!)
4. Tell someone you care (your therapist DOESN’T COUNT!)
5. Celebrate New Year’s (with OTHER PEOPLE!)

Seriously? Carrie would rather stay in bed than deal with the immoral, sex-obsessed hypocrites who seem to overrun her hometown, New York City. She’s sick of trying to be like everybody else. She isn’t! But when her own therapist gives her a five-point plan to change her social-outcast status, Carrie takes a hard look at herself—and agrees to try.

Suddenly the world doesn’t seem so bad. But is prodigy Carrie really going to dumb things down just to fit in?


It sounds pretty quirky and fun but when I got into it, all I got was an irredeemable character that was too good for everyone else and really wasn't willing to change.

I wanted to like Carrie. I really did. But I hated being in her head. I just can't empathize with someone that's genius enough to give Stephen Hawking a run for his money but can't figure out how or why she needs to NOT be a douche to people. Maybe it's because I'm not smart enough to understand that kind of smart. Or maybe I refuse to believe that someone that smart is so lacking in common sense. I've heard the notion that people that smart are void of street smarts and common sense. Maybe I'd like to think a person's parents would do a better job of raising their kid to not be such a prick despite their intelligence. I don't know.

Just her entire perspective on life, how she viewed other people, how she treated other people, how she felt it was her mission to right people and put them in their places, it really bothered me. I can guess that she sees the light at the end of the book but I couldn't stick around to find out. Maybe if the book were in third person it would be a little more tolerable but actually being in first, and being inside her head, I just couldn't get over how crappy of a person she was.

Of course there are multiple sides to a story and I liked the way this story was told; just not who it was about. If you can hang in there long enough you might just like it. You're going to have to put up with a pretty lame person, though. And it's not someone that's lovably lame. Carrie's just ick. I couldn't relate in the slightest. I couldn't see redemption for her and I couldn't hold out any longer.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Neener, Neener, Poo-Poo Head

When I first saw the one sentence blurb to this article in my Publisher's Weekly email, I was ready to go ape shit. Some Texas mom had a book banned for the use of poo-poo head? Are you effing kidding me right now? Our verbal repertoire is shrinking, don't you think?

But then I read the article and I got it. I actually agreed with the book banning. For all of the Ban This! stuff that I do every year, how could I agree with a book banning, right? Goes against everything I believe in. But in this case it makes sense.
Why? Because the woman's kid was suspended earlier in the year for calling another student a poo-poo head. As FUCKING ridiculous as that is, and for which I could rail on that school system for having nothing better to do than not time out, not corner, not even detention, but flat out suspend a child for calling another a poo-poo head, I get what the mother did.

Here's her kid that got suspended for calling someone that and then a few months later, they're reading a book with the same "slur" in it. Something seems unbalanced there. Kids can read it, but they can't use it?

I think the greater issue here is that this school board needs to re-evaluate how they discipline their children. Perhaps they're taking themselves a tad too seriously. Not to mention they're making themselves look like raging hypocrites and sending a mixed message to very young kids. They're losing no matter what here.

But it brings up a good point for all reading levels, especially high school level. How many books have I read that I know are in school libraries that have vulgar language? Would a student not get in trouble for vocalizing those same words in the school halls? Isn't that a bit of a double standard? How can we condemn these kids for saying things in the books we're providing to them? Do we lighten up on the rules or remove the hypocritical books? How can it be justified that it's okay to read vulgarity but not use it yourself? How can you give a student detention for saying swears found in a book assigned to them in English class?

Kind of puts people in a sticky situation. And thus 'because I said so' was born.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry + Giveaway!

Published October 5, 2010.

In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human. (

I didn't know what I was getting into when I picked up ROT & RUIN. I just knew that I hadn't heard anything bad about out it or any of Maberry's other works. Don't expect me to break that chain either. I thought ROT & RUIN was amazing.

It's one thing to have a piece of horror focus on the scary: like George Romero's Dawn of the Dead. The living dead are supposed to be scary by default and that's how the book starts off. Zombies that live out in the Rot & Ruin, in the unknown. They kill people. They're something to be feared and reviled and we're supposed to applaud those that cut them down.

Benny, just like many other teenage boys, makes rash and emotion-filled decisions without really thinking them through. He hates his brother Tom because he thinks he ran away from their parents instead of helping them. He idolizes Charlie Pink-Eye because he kills the enemy. Getting a job is probably the worst thing that could happen to him right now. Pretty stereotypical teen boy thoughts, I think. But it's what Maberry does with them, how he forms and moulds Benny into something Benny never thought he could be.

Maberry removed the freak-out horror from a horror setting but in a good way. Zombies are still things to be feared, but as we piggyback along with Benny, we come to the same realizations that Benny does - zombies were people once too. Little by little Tom breaks down Benny's facade, chips away at his barriers and gets him to see the truth. Sure, zombies should be feared but they also deserve respect. It's amazing how far a little psychology could go.

Tom employs a different tactic for dealing with zombies, one that he tries to enforce on Benny. Benny, begrudgingly, adopts it but after a while, he does realize it's a better method. It's a hard lesson he has to learn but playing with your food before you eat it isn't necessary 99% of the time.

And I'd be a big fat crank of a liar if I said I wasn't crying at the end of the book. It was the nail in the coffin so to speak and while you can kind of see it coming, you can't really brace yourself for what happens. Benny does not escape learning some horribly hard lessons but he takes them all in stride and the growth he shows by the end of the book is astronomical. One of the blurbs on the back of the hardcover is Nancy Holder saying, "George Romero meets THE CATCHER IN THE RYE . . ." and I really couldn't agree anymore.

There is so much more to ROT & RUIN than just zombies. It's a coming of age, lessons-learned story with the horror of the undead thrown in. And don't forget the snark. There's snark in spades here. You'll be equal parts engrossed and terrified. Turning the pages will be automatic and something you won't want to stop doing. If you want a new perspective on zombies and read an absolutely amazing story at the same time, read ROT & RUIN now. You won't regret it.

Giveaway time!!!

Want my finished copy of ROT & RUIN? Just fill out the form below for your chance it win it.
  • Open to US residents 13 years of age and older only.
  • One entry per person per email address.
  • Duplicate entries will be deleted.
  • Giveaway ends August 1st at midnight, EST.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Blast Giveaway #6!

Summer's going by way too fast. I'm already on giveaway number six! So what is it this week?

A finished copy of ANGELFIRE by Courtney Allison Moulton! Want it? Just 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.
  • Giveaway ends July 23rd at midnight, EST.

And the winners are . . .

Since I missed the winner of my HAUNTING VIOLET contest that ended on Thursday, I figured I'd combine the winners announcement for that and the 5th giveaway in my Summer Blast. So without further adieu . . .

The winner of my ARC of HAUNTING VIOLET by Alyxandra Harvey is . . .


And the winner of giveaway #5 in my Summer Blast, an ARC of SUMMER STORM by Kristina Dunker, is . . .


Congratulations to the both of you! I've already sent out the emails. And a big thanks to everyone who entered! Giveaway #6 in my Summer Blast will be posted soon so be sure to check back again and see what I'll be giving away this week!

Added to the PIle + 84

Just two books this week. I'm pretty sure my TBR pile is thanking me for that.

From PaperBackSwap -

And from Macmillian via Armchair BEA -

Things I've Learned from Books + 110

Zombies were people too.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

80s Awesomeness! ~ 119

Along with being a Dominos Pizza spokesthing, there was also a video game called Avoid the Noid where, you guessed it, had to avoid the noid.

Apparently you deliver pizzas and attempt to avoid the noid. Don't know what the noid is? He was kind of like what the Geico gecko is now, just far more annoying. Like The Hamburglar on crack. From what I can tell, the noid didn't last long into the 90s.

Freaky Friday :|: 119

Title: Nightmare Hall: Last Date
Author: Diane Hoh
Published: May 1994
Publisher: Point

As a dare, Demi puts an advert in the dating column of the Salem Chronicle. She has a great response but one by one, Demi's dates start having nasty little accidents. Some disappear, some even die. (

Removing the notion of The Craig's List Killer, this seems like a pretty interesting premise. Someone's got a stalker. And not the good kind. O_o

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Who The Hell Are You?

Scrolling through my Google reader there are certain blogs that stand out to me not because of their voice, but because of their lack of one. In a sea of different personalities, the inherent lack of one stands out like Snooki at Harvard. Day after day I scroll through the blog posts of these particular bloggers and I see not an ounce of them. I see memes like Waiting on Wednesday or Teaser Tuesday or whatever formulaic post is out there for people to join in. Or tons of author guest spots or cover reveals but a hint of the actual blogger? Not so much.

When I see these bloggers and their personality-less posts, I can't help but asking, "who the hell are you?" And I don't mean that in a who the hell do you think you are sort of way. Just a general, who are you? I can't even take a random guess at your personality because you barely say two words for yourself in your own blog. And I can't help but ask a follow-up question, why bother?

If I wanted straight up author interviews or book recommendations, I'd go to the likes of YouTube or look only at star ratings on Amazon. Why should I bother with someone that only regurgitates the words of others, just in a different corner of the internet?

I don't know about anyone else, but I don't visit your blog because I want to see what review you post next or what you're waiting on this Wednesday. I go there because I like YOU. I like what YOU have to say. I like the quirky way YOU say things. I like YOUR comments. If you don't offer any of that to your readers, what incentive are you giving them to keep coming back? Because really, how many other places can you find those memes or giveaways or author interviews?

So yeah, it really bothers me when I see some bloggers where one of out ten posts (and that's being generous) shows a hint of who the blogger actually is. Other than that, their contributions to their own blogs totals the post title, if that. Again I ask, what the hell is the point?

The point of having a blog is to get YOURSELF out there. Sure, you're reviewing books and helping to promote them but its YOUR voice that'll draw others in to actually take a second to read that review. If we all sounded like Ben Stein would any of us get hits? Making your blog unique to you is essential in blogging, and I'm not just talking about the types of posts you do. Like in writing, voice is pivotal.

Be you. Don't hide behind other people's words because, quite frankly, it makes you a bore. I don't go to your blog to constantly read someone else's writing. And if you're not going to provide the product that you're selling, YOU, then I'm going to go somewhere else that is actually compelling. You can post eleven billion times a day. I don't care. If I can't figure out who the hell you are from your last 10 blog posts, chances are I won't be able to figure it out within the next 10 either. So why should I stick around?

So I guess the lesson is to let your voice come through on your blog. Sure, take up some memes or create your own feature but make sure you are prominently displayed on your own blog. The books and/or authors don't sell themselves. YOU have to do it. And if I can't tell you from the jerk that just cut me off driving, why the hell should I take your recommendation for anything? You have proven nothing to me. I can't tell what books you like or don't, I can't tell how you feel about anything. If I can't figure any of that out, why should I listen to you in the first place?

I ask again . . . who the hell are you?

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Last Vampire 3: Red Dice by Christopher Pike

Published May 1995.

Alisa and her partner, Joel, are vampires. But Joel is also an FBI agent, and someone inside the government has discovered their secret. The government wants their blood, to study it, to duplicate it. They send a massive manhunt after Alisa and Joel. But using skills and abilities developed over five thousand years, Alisa manages to elude the hunt. Unfortunately Joel is caught, and taken to a top-secret base in the Nevada desert. Now it is Alisa's task to free him before the scientists break the DNA code of their blood, and transform the whole world into vampires. (book back blurb)

The body count had to have hit at least 20 within the first chapter. That's always a set-up for a win if I've ever read one. Pike doesn't pull any punches. If people need to die, then they're going to die. And do they die.

Alisa is still Alisa: a five thousand year old vampire just trying to survive and stay in her god's good graces while she's at it. The thing is, all of these human interactions are starting to wear on her and it shows. First Ray and then Joel. It's no surprise that as the series went on, Alisa has become less like a vampire and more like a human, grievous mistakes and all. Her barrier is breaking down. She's getting sloppy and it's getting people killed. And I love it. Well, not the people-killing thing but Alisa's vulnerabilities. It still reads like this slightly stilted, breath of old air type of vibe but her actions are breaking down. The words are becoming just a facade as the vampire dies and she leaves the grace she found protection under for so long.

I like the whole scientific/spiritual aspect of the story, how it started back in history and looped around to the present. I think it makes total sense that should a vampire get captured, the government would want to experiment on it. Imagine the cures! The undead armies! Kind of scary, though, don't you think? Alisa thought so.

Again, Pike doesn't spare anyone's feelings by the end of the book. Alisa was born to suffer, and suffer she will. But you care about her. She's not a floofy, sappy type of vampire. Yes, she feels love and compassion but when a job has to get done, she makes sure it gets done. Alisa is equal parts selfish and altruistic. She sure as hell doesn't want to die but if it means it'll save the greater good, she will. But she'll do everything she can to make sure that she doesn't have to make that kind of sacrifice before actually having to do it.

RED DICE is a great addition to THE LAST VAMPIRE series. I know there are three more books left that I must get my hands on. I need to see where the story goes, especially after the ending in this one. What a cliffhanger! Kind of cruel, really, since I don't have the next in the series to sate my interest. But I'll get it eventually. You can count on it! If you haven't started THE LAST VAMPIRE series yet, I'd highly recommend you do. There's a reason why it was re-released now. It's just that level of awesome.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Blast Giveaway #5!

Another week, another summer giveaway! Here's what's up for grabs this week -

An ARC of SUMMER STORM by Kristina Dunker!

Want to win it? Just fill out the form below for your chance.
  • Open to US residents 13 years of age and older only.
  • One entry per person per email address.
  • Duplicate entries will be deleted.
  • Giveaway ends July 16th at midnight, EST.

And the winner is . . .

The winner of the 4th giveaway in my Summer Blast, for an epic beach reads prize pack is . . .

Chloe P.!!!

Congratulations! I've already sent you an email. And a big thanks to everyone who entered! Didn't win it this week? Don't get your hopes up yet. The next Summer Blast Giveaway will be posted soon! Stay tuned!

Things I've Learned from Books + 109

The greater the body count, the more epic the book. Your aim should be no less than two dozen corpses within the first chapter. Any less and you run the risk of losing your readers.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Alyxandra Harvey Talks Haunting Violet and Creepy Things

Thanks to Bloomsbury here are a couple of videos of the wonderful Alyxandra Harvey talking about her most recent release, HAUNTING VIOLET, and about paranormal things in general. If you haven't already, be sure to enter my giveaway to win an ARC of HAUNTING VIOLET! And you can read my review of it while you're at it. It really was a great read. Enjoy!

Contest Reminder!

The 4th giveaway in my Summer Blast ends tonight at midnight! With the huge beach prize pack I'm giving away, you don't want to miss it! So be sure to get your entries in by then! Exclamation points!!!

80s Awesomeness! ~ 118

It's the quintessential 80s movie. It's got the language, the 'tude and the start of Nicholas Cage playing himself in all of his movies. It's your standard Romeo & Juliet fare, just with pastels and mohawks. I'm not sure who that chick in the poster is, though. It's definitely not the female lead in the film. Weird.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Freaky Friday :|: 118

Title: Nightmare Hall: Sorority Sister
Author: Diane Hoh
Published: April 1994
Publisher: Point

Everyone knows that Omega Phi Delta is the best sorority on Salem University's campus, so it's no wonder Maxie wants to join. But someone on campus is out to destroy the Omega house and everyone in it. And the worst part is that the culprit may be one of the sisters. (

I always knew joining a sorority would be a bad idea. Looks like my inklings aren't unfounded. Good to know. As if hazing wasn't bad enough.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach, illustrated by Richard Cortes

Published 6/14/11.

Go the Fuck to Sleep is a bedtime book for parents who live in the real world, where a few snoozing kitties and cutesy rhymes don’t always send a toddler sailing blissfully off to dreamland. Profane, affectionate, and radically honest, it captures the familiar—and unspoken—tribulations of putting your little angel down for the night. Beautiful, subversive, and pants-wettingly funny, Go the Fuck to Sleep is a book for parents new, old, and expectant. You probably should not read it to your children. (

It's about freakin' time adults got their own picture books to put them to sleep. The market is sorely lacking in this niche. I'm glad Adam Mansbach (and Richard Cortes) were able to fill this gap just a little more.

What can be said for a 20 page adult picture book whose blurb has more words than what's between the pages? Aside from the fact that it's absolutely brilliant? If parents can't laugh at this, then their senses of humor were tossed out with the last placenta. It's painfully real and equally funny. If you're like me and are without loinfruit, you'll laugh uproariously. If you do have offspring, you'll still laugh your ass off but it might be tinted with a hint of psychotic insanity because you can relate all too well.

My favorite lines -

Hell no, you can't go to the bathroom.
You know where you can go? The fuck to sleep.

How can you go wrong with that? What's even better is all of the art is so sweet and serene, like something you would actually find in a child's picture book. It'll just make you laugh even harder. Take a look. Open Road Media supplied me with a couple of examples to illustrate (click for a larger look) -

Soldier boy bought it for his friends, at my insistence, who have a kid. He was afraid they wouldn't laugh. They laughed their asses off. And so will you. You can buy the eBook form from Amazon, Apple, BN and Sony.

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