Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Zombies Vs. Unicorns - Justine Larbalestier and Holly Black

This is a book I'd been hearing a lot about because of the authors that I follow on Twitter. I guess the idea for the book started out by an argument between these two authors, Justine Larbalestier and Holly Black, about which were better, unicorns or zombies. This led to several short stories being written by several different YA authors.

Now, I honestly have to say, I was a little leery about the book. While I do enjoy zombie movies, and have enjoyed a few zombie books, I just assumed I'd be more on Team Unicorn, because of when I was a little girl and all the unicorn and rainbow stickers I had. I have to admit that I leave the book more Team Zombie, but not completely unsympathetic to the Team Unicorn.

Starting the book did nothing to relieve my leeriness. The first unicorn story actually is a bit of a zombie story, and while somewhat interesting, kind of made me say ho-hum. The second story, a zombie story, (they alternate), I didn't quite feel was maybe teen appropriate? I don't know, the language and some of the storyline was a bit shocking after the unicorn story. And hey, we're talking zombie stories, so there you go. The next story, unicorn story, also was kinda dumb in my opinion, but then, we got to the zombie story by Carrie Ryan, and I was hooked. From then on the stories got better and better, ending with two really good ones. Since Carrie Ryan did hook me with her story, it is only one more reason that I must soon read her book The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

So, I will recommend this book to teens, and tell them that the first 2 or 3 stories just get you a taste of what unicorns and zombies are about. Keep reading through those, it gets a lot better!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Flappers: Vixen by Jillian Larkin

I found this sitting in the stack of ARC's at the bookstore a couple weeks ago. I took it home, but wasn't quite in the mood for it until I finished the Mortal Instruments series. It wasn't too bad of a book. I enjoyed reading about the time period.

Basically we follow 3 girls that are "flappers". The first is Gloria. Gloria is a society girl getting ready to marry a high society man. Turns out though that her family is having problems, and she needs this marriage to help them. But Gloria wants to live free, be a flapper, go to speakeasies, and is actually attracted to the wrong kind of man for this time period.

Her best friend Lorraine is actually more of a trendsetter, drinking, gets the bob first, and dressing quite stylishly, or scandalously in this case. But Lorraine is jealous of Clara, and her jealousy will do their friendship in.

And finally there is Clara, Gloria's "country cousin" sent by her parents to help make sure the wedding goes off without a hitch. Clara however was sent here due to her own bad judgement and dipping into the whole flapper scene in New York. We learn that her past is not one she is proud of, but in Chicago, Clara finally finds that she might fit in if she reinvents herself. At least until all the dirty secrets from her past come out.

I'm assuming the series will go on to follow where each of them go after this book. But maybe not. Maybe each book will follow three new flappers? Guess we'll have to wait and see. I may or may not continue with the series. It won't be something I'll buy, only check out for free. But I will recommend it to more mature readers at my school who enjoy the historical information and the romance.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday - City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Waiting on Wednesday is a Weekly Event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

So, as I just blogged, I am now a fan of the Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare. There's not a lot I know about the new one, because I hadn't been following Cassandra Clare on Twitter as she was posting excerpts. Also, I read the hardcover edition of City of Glass, and it was the paperback version that had a chapter in the back. Of course I can always read that at the store.

SPOILER: Now that we know Jace and Clary can be together, I am looking forward to reading on and seeing where things go. So, I'll be waiting till April 5th, 2011 for this. As good as the book is, it is not one that I am dying to have to read now. So it will be nice when it comes out to have it to read.

The Mortal Instruments Series 1-3 by Cassandra Clare

Okay, because I'm so behind on blogging, and I read all three of these books right in a row, I'm going to do a blog about all of them at the same time.

I follow the author of these, Cassandra Clare, on Twitter, and I have been reading all her fans comments and the books are there at the store with a jacket blurb from Stephenie Meyer (authoer of the Twilight series). So, I decided to pick one up when I finished with my Gateway nominees. And I was hooked. Now, there may be some spoilers in this if you haven't read these yet, so keep that in mind as you read on.

Our main character is Clary. We start out with Clary going to a club with her best friend Simon. This guy catches her attention, and she kind of follows him when she notices these three tough looking young people follow him into a back room. Turns out the cute guy is a demon, these three tough people are ShadowHunters, or Nephilim. When Clary's mother disappears, and Clary gets attacked, it turns out that she too is one of the ShadowHunters, because her mother was. Jace, Alec, and Isabelle are the three Shadowhunters she sees. She is soon tied up in this world. She has a bit of a crush on Jace. We learn her friend Simon has a bit of a crush on her. So, we have a love triangle. As we go through the books we learn that the evil person in the Shadow Hunter world was a man named Valentine. Also a Shadow Hunter, but one who wanted to rid the world of ALL downworlders, which are vampires, werewolves, fairies, and warlocks. So, as I read in many reviews, this sounds a little like Voldemort in Harry Potter. Then, I feel a bit of a Star Wars connection as we learn that Jace is Valentine's son, but so is Clary. So it's like Luke and Leah. SPOILER!: We learn in the third book though, that Jace is not actually Valentine's son, so the romance is okay. But while I kind of assumed that this must be coming at some point, because of the continued romantic feelings between the two, for awhile that was just kind of icky. So I was very glad in the 3rd one when it turned out they weren't related.

I also kind of wonder, these are people with angel blood, and Jace's name is Jace because of his initials are JC. Um, Jesus Christ? Hmm.

I did enjoy this series, and as you can see from the next blog I'm going to post, my Waiting on Wednesday post, that I will continute to read it. I'm not sure if I'm going to read the prequel, or I will at some point, but no hurry for now. So, I will recommend it, and I will continue to read it, but you have seen my comparisons and my questions, so judge for yourself.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Hollywood Ending by Robyn Sisman

My latest chick lit read. It was okay. It's kind of hard for me to relate to a movie star main character, but I did enjoy the setting of her moving to London. It's always fun to think about moving to a foreign country and falling in love. It was a bargain book, so cheap, so worth the money. Not sure if I will seek ou any more by this author, but would probably read if it was cheap.

The main character is Paige, who goes off to London to try Shakespeare on stage after having some issues with a leading man in her latest movie. There she stays in Ed's hhome that he rents out the main floors of. Ed is a documentary maker, and he is not looking forward to having a spoiled American starlet in his home. He also is trying to sell his company which is on the verge of financial problems.

Of course the two opposites are attracted to each other, and through trials and mishaps they fall in love.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Paranormal State by Ryan Buell

I'm so behind on blogging! I actually have 4 other books to post about AFTER this one. Oh well, I'll try to get one tomorrow, and two on Tuesday as I don't work at all on Tuesday and should be done grading for my online teaching job for the next 2 weeks by then.

So, I remember when I heard Ryan Buell was going to be writing a book. I was very excited. And the date in the computer at work kept getting moved back. Finally, this past September came, and it was released. And I, well, I was broke, and couldn't buy it right away. Then, I bought it, but because of reading for the Gateway nominee list, I wasn't quite sure when I could fit it in. But it was the first book I picked up to read after all the Gateway nominees were read. And I really have to say I enjoyed it.

I do love Paranormal State. Some people have said it is boring, and I can see their point. No, it is not all sensationalized like the Ghost Hunters show is. But, that is a reason I can't hardly watch Ghost Hunters, but love Paranormal State. When something happens on Paranormal State, you see it, and don't doubt it. There have been some really spooky episodes. This book goes through all the episodes and cases from the first season. The first thing that really stood out to me was learning about where the term "dead time" came from. Dead time is the time on the show when they go to different parts of the house/building, and try to communicate with the ghosts, or find evidence. So, you would assume, dead time, means communicating with the dead. It's usually around midnight, often around 3 am, the time which is said to be opposite of when Jesus died on the cross and the time when evil comes into the world. But, this is not where this name actually came from on the show. To Ryan and the rest of the PRS staff, it meant turning off all cell phones and other electrical equipment that could cause false readings or noises to occur and blow any chance of real evidence.

It was very interesting to hear about things that you didn't get to see on the show because of trying to fit it all into the half hour time slot they have. So many more details, or evidence to the contrary of an actual haunting.

The other entry I really enjoyed reading about was when Christopher Moon was on the show and brought the Frank's Box. This was neat to me because I have attended two separate ghost hunting classes and weekends with Christopher Moon, and he really got me interested into the scientific aspect of ghost hunting. All the stuff he talked about at the weekends, or most of it, really made sense based on the things we know about physics and the physical world. Now, this Frank's Box. I totally agree with several of the things Ryan and the other PRS members said about this in the book. First, Chris tends to immediately interpret what is heard out of the Box. Whether people agree or not, I think everyone should hear what they think, then compare. My thought on Frank's Box, it uses radio waves. And knowing, again with physics, that radio waves just keep going forever, there are waves bouncing around out there all the time, why does it mean it is a spirit, and not just what is coming through that area at the time? I have great respect for Chris Moon, don't get me wrong, this just brought up my questions about the Frank's Box. I would still definitely attend a ghost hunting weekend in Iowa with Chris Moon again.

Anyway, if you are a fan of the show, or ghost hunting in general, this is a very interesting book in my opinion. I do love that Ryan Buell is a fan of many of my favorite things as well, Buffy the Vampire Slayer being one of them, his dog is named Xander, after one of the BTVS characters. I do not enjoy always reading Buell's very liberal political views on Twitter. But hey, that's his opinion, and I have mine, and differences in political opinions to me, is not a good reason to not like or be friends with someone, so, I just read past those for his ghost related posts. Now I'm just waiting for the show to start up again. Hoping this season isn't already over, that there will be more episodes coming up in the next year.