Friday, December 31, 2010


Happy New Year guys!

Have you made your resolutions yet? I usually don't keep most of them, but one of them is to try to read as much as I can. (One I know I'll be able to keep.) I'm also going to try to fulfill the Book Chick City horror/UF reading challenge, which looks to be fun.

Rather than list the other resolutions, how about a list of some of the books I'm planning on reading?

1) Bespelling Jane Austen This is another one of those "classics mixed with horror" books, but looks to be pretty good.

2) Hit List by Laurell K Hamilton. I usually have a love/hate relationship with her books, but they're still fun for me in a "like a trainwreck" sort of way. I mean, only LKH would pen in a magic car swooping in to save the soldiers & a naked fairy that suddenly appeared out of nowhere. (This was in Divine Misdemeanors & was rather out of place in the book, which made the scene even funnier. Oh LKH... I still love you for putting out stuff like that.)

3) Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire. If you haven't read the October Daye series, you need to start. It's a pretty fun series & one of the few that has a magical heroine is weak magically & stays weak. (So far, anyway.) She makes up for her lack of magical prowess by honing other skills such as her brains & body. Good stuff.

There's more, but those are the ones that immediately come to mind. Mostly because they all fit in with the reading challenge, I admit.

What are you guys looking forward to reading this year?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Book Review: The Paris Secret by Angela Henry

Title: The Paris Secret
Author: Angela Henry
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: 01/17/2011
ISBN: 9781426891083

If the DaVinci Code & Julie Kenner's Play or Die series had a baby, I think it might be a little something like this. While it doesn't entirely fill the shoes of these two greats (hey, those are mighty big shoes), it definitely satisfied my cravings for hot romance & historical mystery during the holiday season.

Less than twenty-four hours after fleeing to Paris, Maya Sinclair is the prime suspect in a brutal murder—and targeted by the real killer. When she's viciously attacked in the gardens of Versailles, Maya barely escapes with her life thanks to sexy French journalist Simon Girard.

Simon has been investigating the mysterious death of his brother, an art forger with ties to the woman Maya is suspected of killing. Still healing from heartbreak of his own, Simon reluctantly joins forces with Maya, who has awakened feelings within him he thought long dead.

Their search for answers uncovers the existence of a secret society, and puts them on a quest to find a missing crucifix rumored to hold the key to everlasting life. Together, Maya and Simon race through Paris one step ahead of a killer who will do anything to ensure some secrets remain buried forever...

This really was fun to read. Simon & Maya have a lot of chemistry together in & out of bed. Something I found refreshing (and might be considered slightly spoilery) is that while the relationship is left up in the air until the end of the book, our dynamic duo didn't fight their desire to bed each other early on in the book. It's pretty much a romance staple for our romantic leads to deny the lust between the two of them, so it was nice to see a couple that did the opposite of that. There's still a little angst in the relationship, so it's not completely smooth sailing for them. Also interesting is the mystery of the crucifix- while there were a few bumpy spots to the hunt, the historical aspects were obviously well researched & lovingly detailed.

While the historical parts of the story were well done, at times the story just seemed a little too large for the page count of the book. The later parts of the book seemed a little too glossed over for how important they were, plus some of the discoveries at the end seemed a little too coincidental. However, it felt less like an oversight or "easy way out" than it was an attempt to fit into a specific page count or to keep in tone with the quickly paced ending. I can't help but feel that if there had been about 10-15 more pages to the book, it would have been perfect.

Overall this was a very fun book to read & I really loved the characters in this book. (Brian & Jerrod were two of my favorites, short as their time in the story was.) I just wish that the ending had been a little more fleshed out to fit the story that preceded it. It's still well worth reading, if only for the romance built between the two lead characters.

(ARC provided by NetGalley)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays! (Now with more Life Day!)

Happy Holidays everyone!

If you're not familiar with the travesty that is the Star Wars Holiday Special, now is the time to become acquainted. In 1978 George Lucas had a vision, a vision of Star Wars on the little screen. It was to have singing, cartoons, and wookies. Lots and lots of wookies. Wookies cooking! Wookies being harassed by Imperial guards! Wookies strapping themselves into holographic fantasy machines! (Yes, that one actually does happen.)

Sounds good so far? What if I told you that the majority of the film is spoken in Wookie-ese? A language comprised of howls, grunts, and other non-English noises? That's part of what made the show so horribly bad. Well, that & having Bea Arthur run the Mos Eisley Cantina. (Although in her defense she did her best to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.)

While there is a full version of this up on google video, Rifftrax has also released an audiotrack that will have you laughing regardless of how savvy you are on the Star Wars world. If you're not familiar with Rifftrax, they're a group of former MST3K cast members that decided to band together to form a company doing what they do best: mocking movies.

I don't have a link to a full version of the Rifftrax version, but you can find a collection of some of the best snippets at this link here. You can probably find a version on the internet that has the audio & video synched up, but of course I'm totally not telling you to download it off of one of the many torrent sites out there. (But if you do, make sure to donate a dollar to the Rifftrax site so they can keep bringing the funny.)

If you're curious, Rifftrax has also done tracks for films & shows that aren't as immediately identifiable as bad as well as films that truly aren't. (They riff for the fun of it.) Youtube has a plethora of these available, with one of the finest Rifftrax being for the film Twilight, especially the piano scene. One of my other favorites has to be the riffed version of Nic Cage's The Wicker Man, easily one of the worst films ever made. (On a non-Rifftrax related note, here's someone's homemade trailer for the movie where they turned it into a romantic comedy & actually made it into something that looks watchable.)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have a nice Christmas Eve!

Regardless of what you celebrate, have a wonderful day & make sure to give those special people in your life a huge hug!

Today's video fun comes courtesy of Dr Elmo, Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Another day of holiday fun!

I know this video is as old as the sands of time, but it's still one of my favorite videos to watch on any time of year. Some guy with a lot of spare time on his hands has programmed his lights to synch up with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Wizards of Winter!

If you're curious, they also did another one for Halloween...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Book Review: Need by Carrie Jones

Title: Need (Need #1)
Author: Carrie Jones
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Release Date: 12/23/2008
ISBN: 1599903385

Before I start this review, I’m going to be honest about one thing: I’m going to be spilling some spoilers about the book. Potentially big ones. I try not to post spoilers but this impacted my decision about the book. If you don’t want to know the spoilers but want to know how I felt about the book overall, I liked it for the most part. There’s just one part to the book that kept me from liking it as much as I would have otherwise.

Zara White suspects there's a freaky guy semi-stalking her. She's also obsessed with phobias. And it's true, she hasn't exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But exiling her to shivery Maine to live with her grandmother? That seems a bit extreme. The move is supposed to help her stay sane...but Zara's pretty sure her mom just can't deal with her right now.She couldn't be more wrong. Turns out the semi-stalker is not a figment of Zara's overactive imagination. In fact, he's still following her, leaving behind an eerie trail of gold dust. There's something not right - not human - in this sleepy Maine town, and all signs point to Zara.

For the most part this is a decent book. Many YA readers will like it, but some will find it a little lacking in comparison to some of the meatier & more complex books out there, such as the ones by Holly Black or Melissa Marr. Jones tries to straddle the fine line between producing something along the lines of Black/Marr & something more family friendly, but doesn’t entirely succeed. Her characters are interesting enough & the growing affections between Zara & Nick are cute. It’s just that the book kind of read like Jones wrote it as she was going along, throwing bits & pieces in as she went along. It’s not a terrible book but it does feel like it could have been a lot better.

Now for the part that really, REALLY irritated me. This is a spoiler. You’ve been warned.

Zara discovers that she’s the daughter of the pixie king & that her mom only slept with him because otherwise it would mean there would be more death and blood draining. Zara assumes that she’s the child of rape, only for her grandmother to say “it wasn’t forced- she consented”. That bothers me because it obviously seemed to be consent under duress. She didn’t want to do it but agreed because she had no other good choice. That still counts as rape & I would have imagined that an EMT (who has undoubtedly seen some horrific things in her time) would have known that. I’m horrified to think that some girls might read this & assume that consent under duress makes it not rape. What if some guy forces himself on a girl & she assumes “I initially said yes”, “I was too drunk to say no”, or “he said he’d kill me or someone else if I didn’t let him” means that it was consensual? I know that Jones didn’t mean for it to come across this way, but she’s got to understand that her phrasing in that scene was horrible & could have been put better. I'm honestly horrified that some readers might come out of this book thinking that consent under duress equates to consensual. I'd go on, but you get where I'm going with this.

Overall though, this book wasn’t bad & while I absolutely HATED that one scene in the book, I’m curious enough to want to read the next one in the series. I just know that for many, that one scene will be enough to put them off of the rest of her books.

Another day of funny!

Rather than wait to post this on Friday, I figured I'd go ahead and post this now.

I've found this really funny video on youtube, of a prank this guy played on his girlfriend's kids when it came to Christmas presents. The result is this rather cute and funny video.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book Review: Can't Say No by Jennifer Greene

Title: Can't Say No
Author: Jennifer Greene
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: 01/10/2011
ISBN: 978142689105

I stepped out of my usual reading habits (which swing towards YA & UF) to check out this reprint of a Jennifer Greene book from NetGalley. I couldn't help but be intrigued by the plot synopsis as well as by the title, which happens to be one of my favorite songs from Oklahoma!. Upon reading it I was surprised to discover that the book was originally printed in the 1980s- if I hadn't known that then I wouldn't have known. The book manages to stay fresh, despite being 25 years old.

After tragedy strikes, Bree Penoyer's feelings of guilt leave her speechless-literally. Tired of always being the good girl and just letting things happen to her, Bree decides it's time to take life into her own hands. She dumps her lucrative but uninspiring career and her sweet but boring fiancé, and escapes to her late grandmother's rustic cabin in South Carolina to find herself again.

Her solitude is immediately disrupted by her new neighbor, Hart Manning, a sexy but arrogant rogue who doesn't seem capable of taking no for an answer. The last thing Bree wants is an affair, especially with a self-proclaimed womanizer like Hart. But she can't deny he arouses her as no man ever has, and when at last she finds her voice, she's very ready to say yes!

This really was a cute read. I'll admit that it isn't the deepest fare out there & some of the coincidences are a little hard to swallow, but it's kind of like a cupcake. You can't fault it for being what it is. I was also surprised to see that I rather liked the character of Hart. He's a stubborn mule of a man (something the author herself admits), but there's just something endearing about him. I do admit that I was a bit disappointed towards the end that we didn't learn more about him & what his past might have held, but there was enough character building to satisfy me & keep the interaction between him & Bree going.

Readers who are frequent readers of romance will find a lot of familiar territory in here & will also find a lot to love. If you aren't a fan of romance then unfortunately this isn't going to be the book that will draw you in. It's good, but it is going to best satisfy those who are fans of the genre. Again, I really have to give Greene props for writing a book that could stand the test of time & still appear fresh- especially with a heroine who works in the computer field, something that has drastically changed in the past 20+ years. It's not many who are able to do that.

(ARC provided by NetGalley)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Book Review: Unthinkable by Shirley Duke

Title: Unthinkable (Night Fall)
Author: Shirley Duke
Publisher: Lerner Publishing
ISBN: 076136157X
Release Date: 08/01/2010

The Night Fall series seems to be channeling a multitude of sources in Unthinkable. On one hand it's similar to Goosebumps (as one goodreads reviewer put it) but it also bears many similarities to series such as Fear Street as well as the slew of similarly themed books that abounded during the late 80s & early 90s. And I'm comparing them in a good way.

Unthinkable follows Omar, an aspiring young writer who spends much of his time writing short stories to post on his facebook account. He's already garnered over 1,000 fans & it's a good way to pass the time without Omar having to think about how his father deserted him & the rest of the family. When one of his latest stories- one featuring a girl being strangled in the woods- comes true, Omar's little stories start getting some big attention in a negative way. Then more stories start coming true & the talk shifts even further from public adoration to horror. Is Omar really causing these stories? And if so, how can he make them stop when his writing seems to control his every action?

This story started with a bang, which is a very good thing considering that it's such a short story. The pacing of this is incredibly fast paced & the author does an incredibly good job of keeping the reader interested in the story. Unfortunately that's where the book hits a bit of a snag. While the story is fleshed out enough to make it as a short story, the tale begs for at least another 50-100 pages so it can be complete. Some of the events in the book just happen a little too quickly. Many readers will wish for just a little more time & description inbetween events, just so when the big stuff hits there will be enough time for them to have settled down from the last surprise & so the next big development will have the punch it deserves. (Although I think this was something required by the publisher rather than a decision by the author herself.)

Now don't take that to mean that the book is bad. No, far from it. This story was awesome & as a series in the vein of Goosebumps & other series aimed for a younger audience, this is perfect. Not only is the book short enough for those in that "inbetween" stage (where you want more than a 40 page book but aren't ready for longer stories), but it's also age appropriate for the younger readers. There's death, but no gore or sex. The book's projected age range is 11-18, an ambitious range but one that it does accomplish for the most part. There was enough here to keep someone well out of that age range spellbound so if I liked it then you can be sure that the teens will as well.

This was an enjoyable book to read & something that I know will thrill a pretty wide variety of readers. This is only one book in what is currently a 6 book series with more to come, so to get the wider picture you'll have to get the other books. (Which I am now putting in my "to find & read" list.)

(ARC provided by NetGalley)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Book Review: American Vampire by Jennifer Armintrout

Title: American Vampire
Author: Jennifer Armintrout
Publisher: Mira
Release Date: 03/01/2011
ISBN: 0778328783

If you're wondering if this is a series, I don't have an answer for you. This story in Armintrout's newest can stand alone by itself, but it can quite easily start off a new series in itself. As far as tying into Armintrout's other vampire series Blood Ties, I can't honestly answer that either. There's not enough detail here to determine whether it's part of that canon, but Armintrout could easily declare that it is if she wanted to. What I can tell you is that this was a blast to read.

Welcome to Penance, Ohio - hell on earth! Graf's a vampire, and he loves it. He's free to indulge his every dark, dangerous and debauched whim. Until a road trip takes him somewhere he never expected. Now he's trapped in Penance, a town that no-one has been able to leave for five years. And he's stuck protecting Jessa who's beautiful, tempting...and very, very human! The townsfolk know she's tied to their troubles and don't look kindly on strangers, meaning Graf and Jessa have only each other to rely on. Which is making it harder for Graf to control his desire to devour her...But if he can keep his bloodlust in check, their bond could be the key to uncovering the secrets that lurk within Penance and delivering the town from it's curse.

Where to start? There's so much about this book that was interesting. The premise of a town that nobody can leave or enter would have been able to carry the book by itself, but adding vampires just made it a little bit cooler. (Hey, supernatural creatures make just about everything better!) I loved Jessa's weary acceptance of the life she's had to put up with for the last five years. It made both her previous actions as well as her reluctant attraction to Graf that much easier to believe. I also loved the attention to detail, such as the lack of luxuries in a tiny town cut off from civilization. You really begin to realize how much everyone's cut off when you read about your heroine using homemade soap & getting gaspy over a rare bag of flour.

Also interesting is the mystery behind the bloodthirsty creature (It, not Graf) that's been terrorizing everyone and keeping everyone inside the town. Some might be able to piece together the puzzle midway through the book, but Armintrout still has a few surprises left in her bag of tricks by the end of the book.

I'll admit that the book was a little slow to start, but once you're hooked, you're hooked. I do hope that there's a bit more, even if it's just a short story or a prequel. This really was just that fun to read.

(ARC provided by NetGalley)

December Giveaway Winners!

Tadah! The winners for this month's giveaway are:

Kys: The Flappers

Twimom101: Real Live Boyfriends

Congratulations guys! I've sent each of you an e-mail asking for your snail mail! If you didn't get the e-mail, drop me a line at geniebrownhair *at* hotmail *com!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Funnies: Oldie but goodie!

This is old as a redwood tree and already been proven to be fake, but I can't help but laugh each time I see it! I figured that with my area getting snow, it's appropriate!

A first grade girl handed in the drawing below for a homework assignment.

After it was graded and the child brought it home, she returned to school the next day with the following note:

Dear Ms. Davis,

I want to be very clear on my child’s illustration. It is NOT of me on a dance pole on a stage in a strip joint. I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the recent snowstorm. This photo is of me selling a shovel.

Mrs. Harrington

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book Review: Tempest's Legacy by Nicole Peeler

Tempest's Legacy (Jane True #3)
Author: Nicole Peeler
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: 01/03/2010
ISBN: 031605660X

One of the drawbacks of reading things before publication date is that you know that you'll have that much longer to wait before the next book comes out. And trust me, once you finish the third book in the Jane True series you'll want to start the next one immediately. A lot happens in this book. A lot.

After a peaceful hiatus at home in Rockabill, Jane True thinks that her worst problem is that she still throws like a girl - at least while throwing fireballs. Her peace of mind ends, however, when Anyan arrives one night with terrible news . . . news that will rock Jane's world to its very core.

After demanding to help investigate a series of gruesome attacks on females -- supernatural, halfling, and human -- Jane quickly finds herself forced to confront her darkest nightmares as well as her deepest desires.

And she's not sure which she finds more frightening.

First off, this book rocked. Big time. Not only do we have some resolution to some of Jane's previous issues, but the ending of this book leaves us with the possibility for the plot to go just about anywhere. Jane really comes into her own in this book & it's really, REALLY refreshing to see a heroine who isn't all "gritty grit-grit" or "so tough that she chews up iron pipes for dinner & poops bullets" but doesn't fall into the "I'm going to cry my way to safety & let all the men take care of me". Jane isn't a pushover in this book, but she doesn't fall into that UF heroine cliche. Also awesome are the other women in this book- they kick just as much butt & I can't wait to see Jane interact with them some more. (I'd elaborate on who they are, but I don't want to spoil anything.)

Another thing of note is Jane's interactions with both Ryu & Anyan. Ryu's not taking too well to Jane's reactions in the previous book & it's good to see how Jane responds to Ryu's attempts to woo her back. I'm probably spoiling a little too much when I say that, but I have to say it.

I honestly can't find any faults with this book- I liked what Peeler did with it & I love where the direction is going. Maybe it's a little fangirlish, but it is what it is. And this book is awesome with a side of fun sauce. The only thing I regret about this is that my ARC will expire after a certain amount of time & I'll then have to wait to buy a copy to keep my collection up to date.

(ARC provided by NetGalley)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Take Book Chick City's Horror & Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge 2011!

Love reading horror? Urban Fantasy? Both?

Why not try Book Chick City's book reading challenge? All you have to do is try to read 24 books in this genre in 2011! Here's the details: (taken directly from BCC's website)

Challenge Details

Timeline: 01 Jan 2011 - 31 Dec 2011

Rules: To read TWENTY FOUR (24) horror & urban fantasy novels in 2011 (24 is the minimum but you can read more if you wish!)

You don't have to select your books ahead of time, you can just add them as you go. Also if you do list them upfront you can change them, nothing is set in stone! The books you choose can crossover into other challenges you have on the go.

You can join anytime between now and the later part of next year.

At the beginning of Jan 2011, you will find a link to add your reviews.

You don't have to have a blog to join in - for those without a blog just FILL IN THIS FORM and I will add you to the list - just join the discussion in the comments section to let us know when you've read a book and what you thought of it! :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Book Review: The Maltese Mummy by Trina Robbins

Title: The Maltese Mummy (Chicagoland #2)
Author: Trina Robbins
Artist: Tyler Page
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Release Date: 04/01/2011
ISBN: 9780761346159

A friend has vanished, a mummy's amulet is missing, and there's a weirdo out there looking for human brains and hearts. The Chicagoland Detective Agency—run by Megan, Raf, and his talking dog Bradley—have more than enough cases on their hands (and paws). But Megan's too busy for private-detecting. Her haikus have won her tickets to meet drop-dead gorgeous rock star Sun D'Arc. Raf is sure that Sun is too good not to really be bad. He must be involved in one of their cases. But which one?

While I enjoyed the first volume to this series, I'll admit that it did have its flaws. The only two of note was that the dialogue between our young heroes didn't seem to flow all that well & some of the book's messages were a little awkwardly placed. (I know I wasn't the only one who noticed that.) The Chicagoland team seem to have listened to what the crowd had to say because not only was the interaction better, but the messages in the book was worked in better. (Although in this book the message is more educational than anything else.)

The artwork also seems to have improved, being more playful & confident in this volume. While I was a bit surprised at some of the stuff mentioned by the story's villain later in the book, parents will be able to show this to their kids without having to worry about any truly objectionable material.

Overall this really was a great read & one that I truly think kids will love.

(ARC provided by NetGalley)

Book Review: One Hundred Candles by Mara Purnhagen

Title: One Hundred Candles (Past Midnight #2)
Publisher: Harlequin
Release Date: 03/01/2011
ISBN: 037321023X

Ever wonder what it might be like to talk to ghosts? How about being part of a family business where the goal is to scientifically disprove the existence of said ghosts? If you’ve ever wondered what it’d be like then this book is for you.

I’ve opened a door that cannot be closed.

It’s taken a long time for me to feel like a normal teenager. But now that I’m settled in a new school, where people know me as more than Charlotte Silver of the infamous Silver family paranormal investigators, it feels like everything is falling into place. And what better way to be normal than to go on a date with a popular football star like Harris Abbott? After all, it’s not as if Noah is anything more than a friend...

But my new life takes a disturbing turn when Harris brings me to a party and we play a game called One Hundred Candles. It seems like harmless, ghostly fun. Until spirits unleashed by the game start showing up at school. Now my friends and family are in very real danger, and the door that I’ve opened into another realm may yield deadly consequences.

While I liked the first volume in this series, I have to admit that Purnhagen definitely kicked it up a notch in this book. Charlotte has a lot to deal with- her crush on Noah seems to be going nowhere & the supernatural event in the previous book is causing lots of problems between her parents. (Her mom is more sympathetic to the supernatural, her father still isn't.) Many books in this vein have the heroine hiding events like this from her family, so when you do get books like this it's interesting to read how it affects a family- especially one that bases their whole career around debunking stuff like this.

The pacing in this book is much better than in the previous book & now that the groundwork has been laid, we get to see much more character development & supernatural spookies. The only downfall is that some readers might be able to guess at what's going to happen about halfway through the book, but odds are that they'll be having so much fun that they really won't care about that.

Readers won't have to have read the previous book in the series to know what is going on in this book, but it'll help. The previous events are summarized briefly in this book, so they won't feel too left out in the dark. This really is forming into a promising series & while it isn't going to knock Soul Screamers out of its spot as my #1 favorite UF teen series, it's up there in my top 5.

(ARC provided by NetGalley)

Friday, December 10, 2010

December Giveaway: Real Live Boyfriends & The Flappers!

Hi all! Time for this month's giveaway!

This month I'm giving away another two books to two lucky people because hey- it's the holiday season & it's the time to be generous!

The first book is called The Flappers: Vixen by Jillian Larkin!

Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination. Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they? Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . . Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . . From debut author Jillian Larkin, VIXEN is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties . . . when anything goes.

The second book is called Real Live Boyfriends* & is by E. Lockhart!

Ruby Oliver, the neurotic, hyperverbal heroine of the The Boyfriend List, The Boy Book, and The Treasure Map of Boys, is back! Ruby Oliver is in love. Or it would be love, if Noel, her real live boyfriend, would call her back. But Noel seems to have turned into a pod-robot lobotomy patient, and Ruby can’t figure out why.Not only is her romantic life a shambles:Her dad is eating nothing but Cheetos,Her mother’s got a piglet head in the refrigerator,Hutch has gone to Paris to play baguette air guitar,Gideon shows up shirtless,And the pygmy goat Robespierre is no help whatsoever. Will Ruby ever control her panic attacks?Will she ever understand boys?Will she ever stop making lists?(No to that last one.) Roo has lost most of her friends. She’s lost her true love, more than once. She’s lost her grandmother, her job, her reputation, and possibly her mind. But she’s never lost her sense of humor. The Ruby Oliver books are the record of her survival.

Both of these awesome books are ARCs (one of which hasn't come out yet) & you could win one of them!

How do you enter? Well, one of two ways:

1) Follow my blog.
2) Enter via the linky entry below.

I'll be choosing one winner from each entry format!

The contest is going to run from now until December 17th at midnight.

Friday Funnies: The Cash4Gold prankster letter!

I know this has absolutely nothing to do with books, but this is quite possibly the funniest thing I've read in a very long time:

Click on the letter to get a better view.

If this is real, this is quite possibly the best trolling attempt ever.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Book Review: The Little Prince, illustrated by Joann Sfar

Title: The Little Prince
Author: Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Illustrator: Joann Sfar
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: 10/18/2010
ISBN: 0547338023

Joann Sfar (creator of Vampire Loves & The Little Vampire, among others) has given The Little Prince the graphic novel treatment, the first (as far as I know) for this timeless story. Undoubtedly this will be met with mixed initial reactions. Fans of Sfar will love seeing him apply his hand to this story while some others might raise an eyebrow at the idea of this being done.

The story is unchanged from the original book. The tale follows a young boy (the titular Little Prince) as he travels from his home & beloved flower in search of other planets. He finds very little that interests him & it is only when he arrives on Earth that he discovers beings that he can truly interact with.

There's quite a bit to like about this retelling. I'm a fan of Sfar's style, which is instantly recognizable in this book. For the most part his art style works to give the story a dreamy quality, although occasionally it does tend to be a little on the creepy side.

While I'll admit that I haven't read the original story, this rather creepy Prince panel just seemed a little out of place in the script.

Overall though the book is an enjoyable read & apart from one or two panels, Sfar's artwork really does fit the story well. The style is dreamlike & really does carry the emotions of the story quite well, from the initial introduction of the Prince & the Pilot to the "choose what you want to believe" ending.

This might not be for all readers or age groups, but if you're a fan of Sfar or of the original book you'll definitely want to check this out.

(ARC provided by NetGalley)

Book Review: The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Title: The Vespertine
Author: Saundra Mitchell
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Release Date: 03/07/2011
ISBN: 0547482477

Like your supernatural books with a little historical edge to it? Then you'll probably love this book. Want it to progress at a fast rate with lots of shocks & thrills? Then you'll probably be slightly disappointed. While this book is excellent, it isn't one of those types of stories.

It’s the summer of 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is new to Baltimore and eager to take in all the pleasures the city has to offer. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. However, a forbidden romance with Nathaniel, an artist, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own—still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him. When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.

Rather than go quickly to the thrills or chase scenes, Mitchell decides instead to start her story with Amelia after the fact & slowly build up the suspense for what will eventually happen. We're told that something will go wrong, but what exactly it will be is only slightly alluded to in the beginning of the story. It's a smart move, as it gives the otherwise optimistic beginnings of the book a bit of an ominous tone. While there's not a huge amount of detail given to Amelia's heart throb Nathaniel, the richly written atmosphere more than makes up for it.

It's just that the book's description makes this seem like there's more action & supernatural elements to the book than there is & I can't help but feel like this might be a bit misleading for some. The paranormal aspect is interesting but to me it just seemed to be a little underdeveloped at points. I wanted to see more of Amelia's abilities as well as (trying not to be spoilerish) some of the other talents mentioned in the book. The big emphasis is on the social problems rather than the paranormal ones & while I loved that Amelia's abilities played a bit of a backseat for the first part of the book, it just needed a bit more meat to it.

Overall though this is a nice tale & it's sure to find a nice following, especially with the sequel (The Springsweet, only click on this link if you want to be slightly spoiled plot-wise) coming out in spring 2012.

(ARC provided by NetGalley)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Book Review: Witches (Fables #14) by Willingham & Buckingham

Title: Witches (Fables Vol 14)
Author: Bill Willingham
Artist: Mark Buckingham
Publisher: Vertigo
Release Date: 12/7/2010
ISBN: 1401228801

Since I usually catch up with the adventures of our beloved Fables when the individual issues are collected into volumes, when I got this in the mail today (literally about an hour prior to writing this review) I immediately sat down to read it. After all, important stuff happens in this volume.

Where to begin? First we've got the problem of Mister Dark, the embodiment of everything you are & should be afraid of. He's preparing himself for something sinister, something that will undoubtedly effect not only the fables but mankind in general. If that's not bad enough, the tensions on the Farm are rising. Totenkinder has run the witches of the 13th floor for years, but now she's got competition for her leadership in the form of Ozma. Things aren't going all that well for Bufkin either- he's trapped in the remnants of Fabletown's office with a whole host of newly released monsters- including a powerful djinn & a very, VERY mad Baba Yaga. Meanwhile in Flycatcher's kingdom there's trouble as well. A drunk goblin has eaten one of the other citizens of the kingdom. The other goblins are threatening to revolt if the offender is put to death, but pardoning the gob's crimes might be just as bad.

This volume is awesome. Not only does it have the reappearance of several people and items mentioned in past volumes, but the artwork is as stunning as is par for the course in this series. Oh, and you get to see how Bufkin reacts in an emergency situation. It doesn't get much better than that. (Until the next volume, anyway.) Also cool is that this volume draws upon the whole Rose Red situation, emphasizing the showdown between good & evil that's undoubtedly coming in the next volume.

If you've been collecting the series so far, you absolutely cannot miss out on this volume. I have to admit, I was a little suspicious about what would happen after the fall of the Empire, but this current story is awesome & is a nice change after the previous Jack-centric volume.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter is Coming: Game of Thrones on HBO!

If you haven't heard of the upcoming Game of Thrones on HBO, then don't worry. You'll be hearing more about it soon. (For a better image of the picture above, click on it. For some reason it isn't translating well to the resizing.)

The show's based on the bestselling series by George R.R. Martin called A Song of Ice & Fire. What's awesome about this book series is that it's fantasy but much of the initial focus is in the historical accuracy as well as the world & character building. While the series obviously takes place in a world where magic does exist in some form, Martin strives to keep as much of the book's background historically accurate for a society that's set during the Middle Ages. You've got power plays, young marriages, as well as other things that takes place during such time periods such as political marriages. As the story progresses the fantasy angle gets more of a foothold & is that much more believable for the groundwork that Martin put into the first volume.

If you're curious there's quite a few new pictures out & about, such as this absolutely gorgeous wallpaper here that I discovered via the Game of Thrones twitter account. The official HBO site can be found here, complete with video teasers! (I'm excited that it has one of my favorite actors, Peter Dinklage, starring in this show. Not enough for you? What if I told you that one of the actors from LOTR was in it as well?)

Unfortunately the book series itself isn't finished yet, but hopefully the fifth book should be out soon. (The books in this series are prone to delays but are well worth the wait, believe me.)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Want to read it so bad: Blood Work,The Hollows Graphic Novel

I'd discovered a week or so ago that there was going to be a graphic novel prequel to Kim Harrison's awesome Hollows series, but recently I discovered some pictures that are going to be in the book itself.

The artwork looks amazing so far & what is interesting is that the book is going to be told from Ivy's point of view rather than Rachel's. If you want to see more of the book, you can see all of these pictures on Harrison's own website!

The book is due out on July 12, 2011 & from the website it looks like we can expect more to come!

Book Review: Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

Title: Pale Demon (The Hollows #9)
Author: Kim Harrison
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: 02/22/2011
ISBN: 0061138065

If you’ve been on the fence about the Hollows series, this book will bring you back to the series. I can’t say anything without spoiling the book for you, but rest assured- this book was awesome. This has to be one of the best books in the series so far. It doesn’t beat out the first book as my favorite Hollows read, but it’s up there.

This book finds Rachel trying to find a way to the witch convention in San Francisco, but when no flight will carry her, she has to make her way West with the last person she thought she’d travel with: Trent Kalamack. He too has a reason for heading to the West Coast, but he’s not spilling the details. Since the only other option is to not travel & be put to death or go to the ever after with Al (which is almost as bad), Rachel’s left with no other options. Stuck on what has the potential to be the worst road trip ever, Rachel & crew (oh yes, Ivy & Jenks are there too) discover that anything that can go wrong, will. Especially when you have to deal with assassins, secrets, & a soul eating demon that can not only walk during the day, but also can come & go as he pleases.

Where to begin? For starters, you’ll love that even though not everything is resolved in this book, Harrison does her best to address many of the concerns & questions that fans have been having over the series. I won’t state which ones get the most attention, but I opine (as Pierce would put it) that the many people will be satisfied in one way or another.

Also wonderful is the maturing of Rachel. She’s still the type of person who is capable of insane feats of magic, but this Rachel is one who no longer sees things (as she puts it) in the “black and white” views as she did at the beginning of the series. This shows in many of her actions in this book & the decisions she makes during the course of her adventures in this book.
This is an awesome book & one that anyone following along with the Hollows series NEEDS to read. Not breeze through in the store or library, but read. This was just sheer awesomeness & I really feel like I can’t say enough good things about it. I loved this book.

(ARC provided by NetGalley)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Check out Rabid Read's book giveaway contest!

Hi all! I'll be posting my own book contest in a few days, but until then check out this contest by Rabid Reads!

She's giving away books by some of her favorite authors, Kelley Armstrong & Rachel Vincent- check it out, it's pretty easy to enter!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Book Review: Mystify (Mystyx #2) by Artist Author

Title: Mystify (Mystyx #2)
Author: Artist Author
Publisher: Kimani
Release Date: 02/01/2011
ISBN: 0373534310

If you were on the fence about the first book, then rest assured that this entry will put you solidly in the “crazy about Mystyx” camp.

Sometimes being an outsider is the best way to fit in…

Sasha Carrington has grown up feeling like an outsider, and her parents are too concerned with scaling the Lincoln, Connecticut, social ladder to even notice her. They’d be really horrified to know about the supernatural abilities Sasha and her friends Krystal and Jake possess. But as part of the Mystyx, Sasha has found her place.

Now her parents have suddenly taken an interest in everything she does, and their timing couldn’t be worse. Sasha’s father wants her to become BFFs with snooty Alyssa Turner, who hates Krystal for stealing her boyfriend. Then there’s Antoine Watson, the boy Sasha has liked forever, the boy her parents would never approve of. But with the dark side getting more dangerous by the day, and the Mystyx’s own powers growing in unexpected ways, Sasha is facing choices that could affect her friends, her love life—and even her destiny…

I liked the first book in the series, but I have to admit that I enjoyed this book more than the first one. Sasha’s a pretty tough cookie & a little more assertive at times than Krystal was in the first book. (Although I do have to say that Krystal seems to be coming into her own in this book as well.) It also helps that the chemistry between Sasha & her crush Antoine is really well written & comes across nicely. Readers will really find themselves rooting for these two.

The book still has a bit of the growing pains that the first volume did, but Author is getting more comfortable with the characters & the plot, which comes across in her style. You can really tell that she had a lot of fun writing this entry. I just really wish that there were more questions answered in this volume- I found myself really getting frustrated along with the characters that there weren’t any real answers to their questions just yet. Even so, I really do recommend checking this book out- it’s well worth reading.

(ARC provided by NetGalley)

Making Santa's 'Good' list: rgz and First Book partner up to give books to low income teens

The only thing better than seeing teens picking up books is seeing people rally together to get books to low income teens.

If you know any groups or organizations that could help put these books in the hands of teens, let them know! If you don't know any groups, then you can still help out by doing the following: (taken directly from rgz's website)

Post to Facebook and tweet your beak off about these books using the hashtag #novelgift.

Here’s a tinyurl link to their registration page:

Or you can link to this blog post:

Then, get in touch with every group you can think of that works with young adults–schools, after-school programs, church youth groups, community centers, etc.—and let them know that these books are available now.

The five-minute online registration these groups can use is here:

First Book is also eager to answer questions, either by email to, or by phone at 866-READ-NOW or 866-732-3669.

If you participate, drop us a note at to be included in our blog roll of thanks to run December 31.