Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Wrap Up

I am just going to give a brief wrap up of this week and prepare you for what's coming next week! Hold your horses, this is going to be a wild one because since it's the 31st, I am just going to recap the entire month since we've been open for one month as of yesterday! Woo, congratulations me! *high five*

REVIEW - GOOD IN BED by Jennifer Weiner
REVIEW - DROUGHT by Pamela Bachorz
A Debate With Myself - Print versus eBooks
REVIEW - Manhunting by Jennifer Crusie
REVIEW - ASHES, ASHES by Jo Treggiari
REVIEW - SKINNY by Diana Spechler

The Book Brat's View - Romance in Fiction (a new feature)
The Book Brats 100 Follower Appreciation Contest! GIVEAWAY!
REVIEW - GLOW by Amy Kathleen Ryan

So stay tuned!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

In my Mailbox (2)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren to catalog everything you've acquired in the bookish category in the past week. This week I bought some books, checked out some books, traded for a book which will not be pictured here, and won a book. Let's see what I got!

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan - their Facebook page makes it out like they think this will be bigger than The Hunger Games. It's next on my to read list, so we'll see. It's obvious they're putting a lot behind this one trying to promote it. But I found out about this contest through Shelf Awareness and it was on Facebook and 1000 people won, so probably a lot of reviews of this one coming!

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston (Amazon Bargain Books)
Strange Angels by Lili Saitncrow (Amazon Bargain Books)
Secrets of the Sea by Nicholas Shakespeare (Amazon Bargain Books)
The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby (Thrift Store)
Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding (Thrift Store)

Looking for Alaska by John Green
The Lying Game by Sara Shepherd
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender

So thanks to St. Martin's for choosing my name to win this book! I'm a sucker for science fiction as you might have realized by now. It's strange I've gone an entire month (yes, today is my one month blogoversary!) and not said one thing about Farscape or Aliens or anything like that.
So what did you guys get?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Follow Friday! (5)

Follow Friday is of course an awesome meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read. This is Follow Friday number five for me, and I've discovered so many awesome blogs and found some really great followers through it!

Remember, if we reach 100 followers by Monday that means we'll be assured a giveaway! I'm just kidding, even if we don't get there I'll start the giveaway. I love you guys that much! *squeeee*

And make sure to check out the two featured bloggers this week, The Book Addicted Girl and The Little Book Blog!

Okay, time for the question!

Q Let's step away from books for a second and get personal. What T-Shirt slogan best describes you?

Maybe it doesn't describe me as much as how I treat the world, LOL. I'm always vague and shifty eyed and weird. I keep it vague!

So how about you guys? Let me know!

Book Brats 100 Followers Giveaway!

I signed on this morning after a long bout of sleeping and an angry fit of rage at my manuscript and found that I now have 93 followers! For our first month anniversary being only two days away, let me just say right now how grateful and adoring I am of everyone who has followed me! And since I'm a nice girl who loves to shower people with gifts, I have decided (well, you've already heard this) to have a 100 followers Book Brats giveaway!

That's right! On August 1st I'll put up the entry form. I have a signed paperback copy of Margaret Ronald's adult urban fantasy novel Wild Hunt to give away, as well as some bookmarks, buttons, and postcards! But my favorite piece? I'll make you a beaded bookmark from your choice of colors. If you pick pink, though, I have Swarovski crystals to use. So shiny and sparkly and yay!

So be sure to tell your friends, your mother, your dog, etc to join Book Brats and enter in our contest on Monday.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Skinny by Diana Spechler (REVIEW)

Want a quick read about the ups and downs of a young woman dealing with binge eating after her father's death and her adventures at fat camp? Then Skinny might be for you.

SKINNY by Diana Spechler
368 Pages
Published May 1st, 2011 by Harper Perennial

After her father’s death, twenty-six-year-old Gray Lachmann finds herself compulsively eating. Desperate to stop bingeing, she abandons her life in New York City for a job at a southern weight-loss camp. There, caught among the warring egos of her devious co-counselor, Sheena; the self-aggrandizing camp director, Lewis; his attractive assistant, Bennett; and a throng of combative teenage campers, she is confronted by a captivating mystery: her teenage half-sister, Eden, whom Gray never knew existed. Now, while unraveling her father’s lies, Gray must tackle her own self-deceptions and take control of her body and her life.

Visceral, poignant, and often wickedly funny, Skinny illuminates a young woman’s struggle to make sense of the link between hunger and emotion, and to make peace with her demons, her body, and herself.

When I entered a contest and agreed to participate in an author discussion, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into with SKINNY. I thought I would be getting a book about one woman’s acceptance of herself. I rarely read into details about things and this has often led me down weird paths with books. SKINNY was kind of a discussion about acceptance and body image, but more so about grief, blame, and realizations about one’s self and one’s life. Gray is a 26 year old (note: I think the math might have been wrong because unless she spent several months in the hospital, she would have been 27 during camp if her father died on her 26th birthday fourteen months before she was in the hospital after 7 weeks of camp – small nitpick, but I could very well be wrong) New Yorker who has lost her dad and blames herself, diving straight into an eating binge before finding out she might have a half sister. She signs up to be a camp counselor at a fat camp in North Carolina (yay NC) in order to lose her fifteen extra pounds and to meet this sister she never knew she had.

The story is well paced and interesting, keeping me wrapped up in the storyline, especially the last 150 pages (read one morning when insomnia and a perky cat woke me up at 6 AM). For the most part, the characters intrigued me, especially Spider the allergic camper and Gray’s boyfriend back home Mikey, an up-and-coming comedian. The one character I really disliked, though, was Gray herself. Her whining was constant and by the end I really found myself wanting her to shut up. She blamed herself for things she had no responsibility over, cheated on her boyfriend who loved her, and ignored her own issues that prevented her from getting better. She wasn’t fat, she was just someone who needed to come to terms with herself. And a therapist wouldn’t have hurt.

I give this book props for the main male non-boyfriend love interest, Bennett. Not really because I found him too exciting, but because he was a Carolina Hurricanes fan. This really must be the first book I’ve ever read with a Hurricanes shout out. I used to live in the NC mountains so I enjoyed the setting and understood that well. Overall, the strength of this story lies less in the characters but more in the story. Even if I disliked most of the characters (especially Gray and her co-counselor Sheena, who I thought was exceedingly stupid and vindictive for little reason), I enjoyed the pace of the story and the flow. It kept me hooked, maybe because I wanted to see if the characters changed for the better. The ending, though, left a little to be desired. Gray found peace and moved on, but it wasn’t fulfilling like I had expected.

Despite the characterization faults, Spechler’s writing is engaging and fun. I was drawn in immediately, which was hard to do considering I started it at the beach with the ocean calling my name. I’m definitely interested in reading more from this author, just as long as Gray is not involved.

VERDICT: Besides annoying characters (including the MC), SKINNY is a fun, quick read for young women who have gone through grief and bouts of self esteem issues. It’s more of a 3.5 than a 4, but since I round up…


NOTE: This book was provided for free by Harper Perennial in exchange for participation in an author discussion hosted by The Next Best Book Blog on Goodreads in August.

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Waiting On' Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

What's your "waiting on" pick this week?

Want to participate? Grab the logo, post your own WoW entry on your blog, and leave your comment below!

This week I've selected a book none of you have probably heard of, but by one of my favorite authors, Joan Slonczewski. I've been reading her books - feminist hard science fiction, so probably something a bit out there for most of you - since I was a teenager and I've gone through two copies of A DOOR INTO OCEAN. So when I heard she had a new book coming out, of course I was excited. It will be released September 13th from Tor and will be 448 pages long. And if you haven't read any of her books, check out a sample of A DOOR INTO OCEAN here. And order it. A used copy isn't really expensive!

by Joan Slonczewski
Published by Tor, September 13, 2011

One of the most respected writers of hard SF, it has been more than ten years since Joan Slonczewski's last novel. Now she returns with a spectacular tour de force of th e college of the future, in orbit. Jennifer Ramos Kennedy, a girl from a rich and politically influential family (a distant relation descended from the famous Kennedy clan), whose twin brother has died in an accident and left her bereft, is about to enter her freshman year at Frontera College.

Frontera is an exciting school built with media money, and a bit from tribal casinos too, dedicated to educating the best and brightest of this future world. We accompany Jenny as she proceeds through her early days at school, encountering surprises and wonders and some unpleasant problems. The Earth is altered by global warming, and an invasive alien species called ultraphytes threatens the surviving ecosystem. Jenny is being raised for great things, but while she's in school she just wants to do her homework, go on a few dates, and get by. The world that Jenny is living in is one of the most fascinating and creative in contemporary SF, and the problems Jenny faces will involve every reader, young and old.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (2)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

So this week I am reading SKINNY by Diana Spechler. I started this one last week at the beach, and besides the fact I want to stab the main character and shut her up, it's pretty decent. My teaser will come from page 156.

"Because I think it's poisonous to get that close to spilled paint and all that other stuff. You shouldn't be naked around spilled paint."
There are some good witticisms in this book, so if you can deal with an extremely annoying main character, maybe you should give it a try. Since Book Brats is dedicated to books that 20-somethings want to read, you should note that the main character is only 26, so right in our age range!

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (1)

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It's your chance to see what your friends are reading and what they're planning on reading this week.

I'm sadly still reading Skinny by Diana Spechler, mostly because my real life and writing have gotten in the way of reading as usual. Hopefully once this manuscript is done I'll have a chance to read again and apply for jobs. But I do have some things that I plan on reading this week, like Bossypants by Tina Fey for one, and then I have Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris. I hope to get these read and reviewed by this time next week, but that isn't looking promising at this point.

So what are you guys reading? I want to know!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

In My Mailbox (1)

This is my first time participating in In My Mailbox, hosted by The Story Siren, so I'm a bit nervous. It's a meme where you share what books you've gotten for review, bought, traded for, or acquired in some way. We'll see how this goes.

So as everyone knows, Borders is going under, so I stopped by yesterday and picked up two books. I received one book to read from Harper Perennial so I can participate in a book discussion with the author over the course of August on Goodreads. I picked up six today at the used book store! So I think overall, good haul this week.

Skinny by Diana Spechler
: A woman dealing with the loss of her obese father (and some body issues) becomes a camp counselor at a weight loss camp. I needed some chick lit in my life and I'm reading this now. Thanks Harper Perennial! I'm reading this for an author discussion hosted by The Next Best Book Blog next month on Goodreads. Kudos to this book for a Carolina Hurricanes shout out.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray:
I've been wanting to read this for awhile since it's about mad cow. I wanted to be a virologist for a few months in high school so this is up my alley.

White Cat by Holly Black: I've been putting this off for some reason, but I bought it and will read it soon. After I read Bossypants and Bad Taste in Boys I think.

Tithe by Holly Black
Party Monster by James St. James
Clair Voyant by Saralee Rosenberg
You Dropped a Blonde on Me by Dakota Cassidy
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Evermore by Alyson Noel
Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

I'm a bit wary about the last three (one of my friends is on a crusade against Evermore, for instance), but I picked them up since it was buy 2 get one free today!
(And I got Pathfinder with Karl Urban since it's probably the only Karl Urban movie besides Priest I haven't seen, and I'm seeing that this week FINALLY.)

So what did everyone else get? I'm excited to know!

PS! Once I get to 100 followers I plan on doing a mini giveaway (I'm poor, have no job, and owe the US government $90K, so nothing extravagant). The prize will be a signed book, some swag left over from NYCC, and a handmade beaded bookmark. So tell your friends, tell your neighbors, once I get to 100 followers, the entry form will go up!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Follow Friday! (4)

FOLLOW FRIDAY! And this is my FOURTH ONE! Wow, it feels like yesterday was my first! How time flies, eh?

Follow Friday is a meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read, so check them out, and this week's featured blogs are We Fancy Books and A Novella's Tale, so CHECK THEM OUT! Awesome sauce!

Q. Name 3 authors that you would love to sit down and spend an hour or a meal with just talking about either their books or get advice on writing from?
Wow, this is a tough question, and I am going to have some weird answers, so stay with me.

While most teens read YA, I read the Dragonriders of Pern. And if you haven't read the Dragonriders of Pern, you are missing out. This series changed my life and got me into actually writing.

The closest I ever got to meeting her was having lunch with someone who took a class with her in college. She's actually a microbiology professor in addition to being a science fiction writer.

I didn't start out with his fiction, but it's just amazingly breathtaking. And I DEVOURED Underground a couple years ago. It was just heartbreaking, and true. Check it out.

So what are your answers? I'm curious to find out!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari (Review)

REVIEW: ASHES, ASHES by Jo Treggiari

Post-Apocalyptic New York meets I Am Legend - but sadly nowhere near as fun and thrilling as it could have been.

A thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl's unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares.

Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.

Published June 1, 2011 by Scholastic

343 pages


ASHES, ASHES by Jo Treggiari appealed to me because I was growing tired of dystopias, or more correctly, dystopias that are not really true dystopias. BRAVE NEW WORLD is my favorite book ever, so anything that uses the term dystopia in the description is automatically under more scrutiny for me, and sadly, a lot of YA authors, publishers, and bloggers apply the term where it doesn’t fit – and this isn’t really their fault. The definition has been really muddled as of late. Some people have even described the post-apocalyptic world of ASHES, ASHES as dystopian when it isn’t – there was nothing supposedly utopian about it to begin with, nor was there suppression of thoughts or personality or beliefs. Likewise with my other recently reviewed book, DROUGHT – the situation is bad, yes, but it just doesn’t fit the qualifications to be a dystopian society.

And is it just me or do a lot of the bad guys in dystopian novels actually have a point in their evil machinations? They might be Machiavellian, but they’re often times not stupid and actually might possibly be doing the right thing in the wrong way…

But less rant, more review! And there may be minor spoilers, but nothing more than you'd get from reading the synopsis above.

ASHES, ASHES is the story of Lucy, the last survivor from her family who has trekked from New Jersey to the remains of New York City in an attempt to survive. She’s survived floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, and a plague to make it this far, but she’s alone. Lots of bad stuff happens to her, and we are introduced to this as we hear about her back story – she was a loner, forgotten by those around her, and lucky. In New York, living on the edges of the Hudson Sea, she is fending for herself as best as she can. Note, I had some problems with the geography of this book, but since I lived in New York City for two years, this could be why. Unless these earthquakes drastically changed the landscape of New York by thousands of feet… I’ll get to that. And the smallpox vaccine loses its effectiveness after 10 years, so another plot hole. Okay, there were a lot of plot holes.

Lucy has been out on her own for a long time when suddenly, after a year of surviving well on her own, she is discovered by the designated love interest Aidan. I have to admit, he was rather bland in the characterization department, but he draws her back with him towards an encampment halfway into the novel. This is when the action really begins after a slow, somewhat plodding start. It was, though, promising and left me wanting to read more. By the time we meet the other characters, though, the story devolves into obvious turns that can be seen a mile away, and these new characters turn into either shells, forgotten tertiary scenery, or stereotypical foils.

But I give this book one thing. It got me involved in a fun conversation with a friend about guessing where the book was going next, and more often than not, I was either right or came up with something that really would have been more fun.

By the end, I found myself rooting for Lucy to buck convention and go for the much more interesting secondary male character over Aidan. Del, the designated foil of the story, was trite and possessive, but I felt like she was angry at Lucy for trying to claim her boyfriend after a few days of showing up in the camp. I quickly found Lucy to be bratty and hard to connect with because of her actions and her instant attraction to a guy she met while escaping dogs in a tree. And he might have been stalking her. Maybe. There were cat fights over a boy within moments of Lucy’s arrival at the survivor camp, which was stupidly placed two miles away in plain sight from the big bad’s lair. They could have easily left the city, but instead they just set up shop right where the much better equipped devilish scientists could pick them off whenever they needed a test subject.

After ill-conceived escapades, I never felt any connection to the main characters. In fact, I was still hung up on Henry, who we were supposed to believe was just there to flirt until the end of time. He had personality! The author also has a tendency to end the chapter on a cliffhanger, and then completely forget that the cliffhanger happened. I thought this was a bit…odd. By the time we reach the end, our special snowflake Lucy has the chance to save the world…and doesn’t want to. Really? Oh, that might be because the villain is being unreasonable for no conceivable reason. She’s bad for the sake of needing a bad guy.

The ending is wrapped up with neat, convenient little bows, giving a good conclusion but not the one it could have been.

VERDICT: A slow, meticulous buildup leads to catty drama and a dull climax, but if post-apocalyptic girl drama is your thing, don’t miss it. Also suggested for lovers of the words hummock and hillock, they’re used about every other page.


PS. A small cover quip, but the characters and world described look nothing like what the cover portrays. A small nitpick.

EDIT: Okay, I think they must have edited the cover because I have one version here on my page (a good representation of Lucy) and another on my Kindle copy which looks like generic YA heroine. Weeeeird.

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

Waiting On' Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

What's your "waiting on" pick this week?

Want to participate? Grab the logo, post your own WoW entry on your blog, and leave your comment below!

So this week, albeit several hours late, I have selected THE MARRIAGE PLOT by one of my favorite authors, Jeffrey Eugenides. He comes out with a novel once every nine years, but so far each one has been better than the last. Reviews so far for THE MARRIAGE PLOT are mixed, but I'm excited! It comes out October 11th, and if I am still living in the Raleigh area then (I am hoping to move back up to New York City or the Washington area by the end of the year), I want to go to his signing on October 30th. And I honestly rarely go to author signings, mostly because I'm poor. Here is a synopsis.

Madeleine Hanna was the dutiful English major who didn't get the memo. While everyone else in the early 1980s was reading Derrida, she was happily absorbed with Jane Austen and George Eliot. But now, in the spring of her final year, Madeleine has enrolled in a semiotics course and, for reasons that have nothing to do with her studies, life and literature will never be the same. Not after she falls in love with Leonard Morten -- charismatic loner and college Darwinist. And certainly not after Mitchell Grammaticus resurfaces in her life, obsessed with the idea that she will be his wife. The triangle at the heart of this novel is at once age-old and completely fresh and surprising.
So pumped!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Manhunting by Jennifer Crusie - REVIEW

objective: Find a Rich, Handsome and Successful Man

Kate Svenson may be a dynamite businesswoman—but after three failed engagements, she's decided she's hopeless at romance. What she needs is a Business Plan to help her find Mr. Right.

The Cabins resort is ripe with eligible bachelors, all rich and ambitious—just her type. But they're dropping like flies, and after fishing Kate's latest reject out of the swimming pool Jake Templeton is convinced that Kate is nothing but trouble. Especially for him.

A man who's sworn off ambition and a woman hanging from the top of the corporate ladder don't have much in common. But in that unpredictable territory known as the heart, anything can happen….

Published by Harlequin, December 2007
288 Pages

Read April 2010

Okay, cheesy goodness, but not an impressive book - even for chick lit

NOTE: This is a review from the Book Brats Archives since I've been slacking this week. Thought you might want to read SOMETHING.

I will try to make this as spoiler-free as possible for the enjoyment of everyone who wants to know my review without having read the book, but probably you already know what happens anyway by just reading the book jacket.

Kate is a 35 year old businesswoman/workaholic who wants a man, but not just any man. She wants the perfect husband after failed engagements and the fact she sets her bar too high to get anything besides failed relationships. So her friend suggests she goes to a resort in the middle of nowhere Kentucky where she is sure to find the man of her dreams. Cue the entrance of Jake, a man who used to be rich and powerful in the world of business before he got tired of it and gave all his money to his brother Will to open the resort. Now he manages the landscaping crew for all intents and purposes. He's a simple man who isn't looking for a relationship, least of all marriage!

See where this is going? Yeah, so did I. But this is a romance book, so I will forgive that. What I won't forgive is how the author finally decides to hook them up. The first 200 pages were pretty good, four star material stuff, and then all of a sudden the characters have the sudden urge based on conversations at a bar with other people that they must have sex THEN RIGHT THEN OH MY GOD NOW NOW NOW. Then the rest of the book is filled with them hooking up, breaking up, crying, screaming, and getting back together. Don't worry, not a spoiler, I would hope if you were interested in a romance novel that you knew that was a given eventually.

Manhunting is your average romance novel by Jennifer Crusie. It wasn't as good as Welcome to Temptation which is my all time fave Crusie novel, but it wasn't as bad as some. As a 23 year old, I didn't really identify with Kate, but that didn't stop me from reading. I enjoyed the majority of the book, but it was as if Crusie got to page 200 and said to herself, "Great, now they need to hook up." It was just sudden with no real purpose. I also had trouble at times believing that Kate would ever do what she did.

All in all, I give this book three stars. It was cheesy goodness, and only the last few pages really threw me off.

VERDICT: If you want a good dose of Jennifer Crusie romance (which I suggest), skip this one and head for Welcome to Temptation - my favorite. Read this only if you're 40.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Follow Friday! (3)

And first, a word from our sponsors, Meggie's Brain. Meggie has been working on her magnum opus for the past week nonstop, which is why Megan has still not finishes ASHES, ASHES. Trust me when I say that this will be resolved soon. Until then, please enjoy Follow Friday and maybe a Review from the Goodreads Archives tomorrow!

Q. What do I do when I are not reading?

I am currently working on my own YA project, editing an adult urban fantasy manuscript and readying it for querying, and I am looking for a job in the NYC or DC areas (anyone have any ideas? LOL). I have six years of higher education and have yet to productively use it. I also make jewelry for my cats and watch Netflix like a madwoman! I knit, scrapbook, collect postcards via Postcrossing, collect stamps, collect souvenir fridge magnets, and travel. I enjoy long walks on the beach and moonlit strolls through the park. Oh, wait, not a dating ad? Crap. (Any potential suitors, particularly hot single NHL players, please email me.)
I will actually get out there and do some following tomorrow, but right now I am about to pass out. Just thought I would do this before I forgot! Can't wait to hear what everyone else does with their non-blogging time :D

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (1)

Waiting On' Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

What's your "waiting on" pick this week?

Want to participate? Grab the logo, post your own WoW entry on your blog, and leave your comment below!

Megan's First Pick - 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

I almost ordered the Japanese version since I minored in Japanese Language in college. That probably would have been my dumbest idea ever, but hey, that is how excited I am about this book. Almost 1000 pages of what is sure to be Haruki Murakami excellence. The first printing in Japan sold out on less than a day and it sold over a million copies in Japan. If you haven't read some of his other works, do it now. The man is a master storyteller and the type of author I can only aspire to be. And since there is not a short plot write up available (look on Wikipedia and prepare for spoilers possibly), here is a blurb about it from a magazine.

“1Q84” -- the letter Q and the number 9 have the same pronunciation in Japanese -- is Murakami’s first novel in more than four years. It opens with a woman named Aomame, which means “blue bean,” listening to Czech composer Leos Janacek’s “Sinfonietta” in a Toyota Crown Royal Saloon cab. The chapters alternate between Aomame and a male character named Tengo.

1Q84 is described as a "complex and surreal narrative" which "shifts back and forth between tales of two characters, a man and a woman, who are searching for each other." The themes consist of murder, history, cult religion, violence, family ties and love.

1Q84 will be available October 25th from Knopf, but you can preorder it now on Amazon or any other site. Needless to say, I'm psyched.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along, just do as following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Be careful not to include any spoilers so as not to ruin the book for others!
Make sure to share the title and the author so other TT participants can add the book to their TBR piles!


Yes, I know I haven't been reading like a good girl, but writing called, and when writing calls, you answer. I've gotten 14K in five days, and I'm going to try and get to 20K in a week. I think that's a respectable goal. But back to the meme! And beware, this book is slowly coming close to becoming a DNF - and I'm on page 52 and it's not getting better.

A thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl's unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares.

Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.

"Lucy hurried along the narrow track - a muddle animal trail worn into the grass by sharp deer hooves when they came down from the heights to drink from the lake. Beyond the scrublands the ground rose sharply."

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday is Here! Follow Friday!

Well, it's only been Friday for 7 minutes, but oh well, Friday Friday Friday, ohhhh! That means time for the fun activities that Friday brings to the book blogging world, even if this is only week 2 for me, the Diva Extraordinaire. Okay, I haven't been very diva-y this week. After only a week, being a writer has called me back to a manuscript that I should have started querying two months ago. But yep, that's not for this blog. Let's continue! And I'll post more of these tomorrow morning when I wake up, which is when I'll ACTUALLY do some hopping and following. Until then, I will leave you with the first question and answer of the day

Q. Let's step away from besties...What is the worst book that you've ever read and actually finished?
This is not a difficult question for me. Sharon Green's CONVERGENCE. Read it, hated it, hated the characters, hated the five POVs of the exact same mundane events, but I liked the plot. She just ruined it with a heavy hand for tea drinking scenes. When in doubt, tea makes everything better. Remember this when you decide to write a book. Just say no to tea.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Debate with Myself: Print Book versus eBook

So I know in the past year that eBook reader prices have gone down and made switching to eBooks a lot more tempting. I know that up until December 2010 I bought about 5 books a week on average to devour, mostly from my local used bookstore (Edward McKay in Raleigh, NC - go visit any of their locations if you get a chance, the Greensboro store is also fantastic). And then the wonderful happened - I got a Kindle for Christmas from my adoring parents.

Note my eyes kind of sparkling and going googly here as I reminisce.

eBooks are definitely more expensive than used books, especially since I'm used to reading stuff that is 6 months to a year old and priced roughly $2 or $3 a book. The Kindle spoiled me, though, because I got easy access to just about anything and everything I could want minus Joan Slonczewski's amazing books which came out about the same time I was born back in 1987. My book buying has decreased, although I do buy books and get plenty off of Paperback Swap (I share an account with my mother of all people). These are mostly political books, trade paperbacks or hardcovers, and old favorites I want to replace with a new copy, like my ruined copy of Expendable by James Alan Gardner that has been read about 50 times since I got it as a freshman in high school circa 2001.

Pros for eBooks - easily accessible, often cheaper than new books (not always, mind you), convenient to carry around (took fifteen books with me on a trip to the UK in January with no back ache, and a Kindle is much easier to carry around on my formerly daily train commutes into NYC than a hardcover).

Cons for eBooks - you don't get that paper feel, the new book smell, the satisfaction of breaking into a book - you don't get to treat it like it's a book. I look at my Kindle as something like a portable computer that has the same shape as a book, but just isn't a book.

I love my Kindle. I love my physical books in my at-home library (roughly 500 books in boxes, shelves, drawers, and the floor of my closet). But as someone who has lived the life of a professional, a student, and an average at-home reader, I honestly think the Kindle wins.

I want to know what you think! Just comment on this blog and tell me because I'm dying to know if I'm alone in the eBook love affair.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Storm Born Volume 1 by Richelle Mead

For fans of the series and newcomers alike, Storm Born Volume 1 is a great introduction to the Dark Swan series by Richelle Mead.

Eugenie Markham never asked for any of this. Until now, she''s been content with her job as a freelance shaman, battling and banishing Otherworldly creatures. When a prophecy suddenly makes her the Otherworld''s most popular bachelorette, Eugenie finds herself fighting off unwanted supernatural suitors, as well as the evils that begin emerging from her past...

120 pages
Published September 20th, 2011 by Sea Lion Books

Read July 2011

So it isn’t every day that I do reviews of comic books or graphic novels. Okay, fine, the only one I ever did was Watchmen and that was a long time ago. When Sea Lion Books contacted me and asked me to do a review of the first two parts of the STORM BORN by Richelle Mead graphic novel (Volume One is coming out September 20th), I had a moment of hesitation before I signed up. PS, these two parts are now available at comic book stores as issues 1 and 2, so you don’t have to wait around for the compilation book to come out!

I haven’t read STORM BORN yet, but I probably should have – it’s on my TBR list. That isn’t an issue for those new to the graphic novels. STORM BORN is about Eugenie Markham, who is a shaman taking on the critters of the Otherworld – djinns, kereses, so on and so forth. There is action, suspense, and lighter moments along the road (sexy times anyone?). In issue 1 we’re introduced to her life and her job while in issue 2 we get deeper into the action setting up the conflict.

Just reading this introduction to the series makes me want to read more of these graphic novels and the series itself. I can only assume for people who HAVE read the Dark Swan series in book format it will be equally as satisfying and interesting, having a graphic take on what they’ve already read. One problem I had with the graphic version was an overload of back story in almost every cell while Eugenie recounts her life, her training, and things that seem directly copied and pasted from the book a bit heavy-handedly.

Overall, I loved this introduction to the series and can’t wait to pick up STORM BORN the novel and the rest of the issues of the comics or the graphic novel when the compilation comes out.


VERDICT: For fans of the books or newcomers alike, STORM BORN the comic series is great fun.