It's Bad Bloggers Time!

I have to say that this week is much more tame compared to last week’s thirty (yes that’s 3-0) books. I brought in only 1/3 of that this time :p And there are indeed a couple of points to be awarded. Here’s how it goes:

Books Received as a Prize

7

Books Mooched

10

Books For Review

8

Books Bought

569

Library Books

1234

badbloggers

1. Leftovers by Laura Weiss – I won this book from the fantabulous blog, YAnnabe! I entered a Nerds Heart YA giveaway over there and won! Cool, eh??

2. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood – I don’t remember who was involved really, but I remember hearing a few people talking about this one on twitter…so I added it to my wishlist and then it became available on bookmooch! Lucky me 😉

3. Vicious Circle by Linda Robertson – This one was sent for review by the wonderful Juno Books.

4. Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O’Malley – So excited about this one!!! Nymeth reviewed it awhile back and I put it on my wishlist right away. Then I read the Scott Pilgrim series not realizing at first that it was written by the same guy! I loved the Scott Pilgrim series so much that I just had to get this one. I wish he had an infinite list of books he has written. He’s that good. Point to Nymeth!

5. Graceling by Kristin Cashore – Can you believe that I still haven’t read this one?? Really excited about it! And the blame for it lies on Renay for putting it on my radar and Deslily for putting me over the top. Point to both ladies!

6. The Chronicles of Vladimir Todd Book 3: Tenth Grade Bleeds by Heather Brewer – Because it’s just a cool series and I want to read them all. This is the newest one…was just released! Once again, I love the cover!

7. Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi – Nymeth’s fault again :p And Valentina’s too, lol…I’m liking this double blame thing :p I loved Persepolis and would’ve gotten to this one eventually, and when I saw that the library had it I scooped it right up!

8. Robot Dreams by Sarah Varon – I’ve heard mixed reviews about this one, but it looks good. It’s been on my radar ever since Carl reviewed it aaaaages ago! Looking forward to it. Point to Carl!

9. The Sandman Vol. 2: The Doll’s House by Neil Gaiman – I remember this being one of my favories of the Sandman books. I made a pledge to reread all of them and have only read the first so far :/ I’ve even checked this one out of the library before, but had to bring it back…so we’re trying again!

10. The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark – Completely and Utterly Bookfool’s fault :p Can’t wait to read it! But it’s non-renewable so I better do that soon!

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The Sunday Salon and Weekly Geeks: Book Trivia!

sheckSo I haven’t done a Sunday Salon OR a Weekly Geeks post in a long time and I just loved this weeks Weekly Geeks theme, so I thought I’d join in! It’s all about putting together a book trivia quiz. So I’m all in. I’m going to spice things up a bit by giving a book away in conjunction with this one. I’m giving away my copy of A Monster’s Notes by Laurie Sheck. I just can’t get into it right now, but it is a really cool book. So I’d like someone to enjoy it! The winner of the book will be the person who gets the most questions correct. Please answer questions by clicking on the “contact me” tab on top of the blog. DO NOT leave answers in the comments, because then you probably won’t win because you’ll be giving all of your answers away :p The person with the most correct answers will win the book!! I may have a second place winner who will win a surprise book too…we’ll see. Once again, click on the contact me link to answer the questions and I’ll get your answers in my email. Here are the questions! Oh, and we’re going on honesty here…please don’t google answers!!

1. In the sequel to Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, there is a sentient species that are introduced. I’m not talking about the Buggers…the other guys. What are they called? I’ll take the nickname or their real name.

2. Name three books by Haruki Murakami.

3. Name three books by Kate DiCamillo.

4. Neil Gaiman wrote a novella that follows up on Shadow from his fantastic novel, American Gods. What is the name of that novella? (hint: It appeared in Fragile Things, and no you can’t go look at the table of contents in your copy of Fragile Things :p)

5. How did Yukio Mishima, author of The Sound of Waves and Confessions of a Mask among other novels, die?

6. Give me the titles of two of Colleen Gleason’s Gardella Vampire Chronicles.

7. Who is Neil Gaiman currently dating?

8. What blogger wrote a trilogy that sadly remains unpublished called Kesterwood? (hint: it’s a fantasy novel)

9. What is the name of the evil maid in Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca?

10. Stephen King’s son writes under what name?

11. Carl’s blog, Stainless Steel Droppings is named after what series written by which author? (2 point question!)

12. What is the name of Clare and Henry’s daughter in the novel, The Time Traveler’s Wife?

13. What is the name of Audrey Niffenegger’s new novel to be published in September?

14. Interworld was a collaborative young adult novel by Neil Gaiman and which other author?

15. Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean have worked on several children’s books together. Name the MOVIE that they collaborated on. And I’m not looking for Coraline by the way…

16. The title of my blog is taken from a quote from which Shakespeare play?

17. Grendel, the tale of the monster from Beowulf was written by whom?

18. A new version of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman: The Dream Hunters will be published soon that features art by P. Craig Russell. Who did the art for the original?

19. Charles de Lint writes stories set in a fictional town. What is the name of that town?

20. Who’s writing the novelization of Where the Wild Things Are?

21. Suzanna Clarke wrote a story in her collection, The Ladies of Grace Adieu set in a fictional city that Neil Gaiman created. What is the name of that city?

22. Give me the names of three John Green characters.

23. Who is the uncommon reader in Alan Bennett’s novella of the same name?

24. There are birds in Nation by Terry Pratchett that offer quite a bit of comic relief. What are the birds called?

25. What is the name of Bod’s guardian in Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book?

26. Nic Sheff wrote a book called Tweak. It’s a memoir about growing up on methamphetamines and other drugs. His father, David Sheff, wrote a book about his son’s struggles from his point of view. What is the name of that book?

27. Comic Book Tattoo is a graphic novel adaptation of which artist’s songs?

28. The book Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman was originally a poem written for who’s daughter? And who illustrated the book? (2 point question!)

29. The Horse Boy by Rupert Isaacson is about a young boy with what disorder?

30. Name 2 books that have moved on in the Nerds Heart YA tournament.

That’s all!! This was so incredibly fun to create!!! I have a feeling it’s too easy, but maybe it’s only because I made up questions that I would know the answer to :p If more than one person gets all 32 possible points, we’ll do a drawing for A Monster’s Notes!

Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger

hardloveHard Love by Ellen Wittlinger
2001
224 Pages
5/5

I’ve come to the conclusion that the Printz award is just the absolute best literary award out there. I’ve yet to be disappointed by a book that was recognized as either the winner or a finalist. Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger adds to the list of fantastic books that has been a Printz Finalist. This one in 2001.

As with most Printz stories, this is a deeply moving novel that tackles rough issues well and deals with young adults. The young adult in this case is John. John feels as though his life is a mess. His best friend is discovering girls while he doesn’t know yet if he even likes girls. His parents are divorced and his mother, who hasn’t touched him in years, is engaged to a new man while his father would seemingly rather have nothing to do with him. John does find an escape though, and it’s in creating his own zine called Bananafish.

For those who don’t know, a “zine” is basically a self published magazine usually on 8 1/2 inch paper folded in half and stapled and tends to be very indy-like. I personally remember the days of zines fondly. I met a girl when I was in high school that published her own zine and sold copies for a dollar and I fell in love with this girl. I thought she was the coolest thing since sliced bread. I ended up making my own zine with a friend of mine and it was cheesy as hell, but it was fun.

My own story echoes John’s almost exactly. He finds a zine that’s published by a girl named Marisol and it is his mission to meet her. He does meet her one day at Tower Records while she’s dropping off new issues and they end up going out for coffee. Marisol likes John, but not in the way that he likes her…she’s a lesbian. But that doesn’t stop John from falling for her madly despite the fact that he knows that he won’t ever be with her in the way he wants to.

There were little things about John and Marisol that I just loved! Their quirky attitudes, their uniqueness, the passion and grief that they shared with each other, the fact that John swears an oath on a copy of J.D. Sallinger’s Nine Stories. They’re just an amazing couple of characters.

The book itself is wonderfully written and is actually designed like a zine in a way switching formats occasionally. Wittlinger did an amazing job creating likeable characters. And she did an even better job at setting up what proved to be a heartbreaking, yet very, very real situation. The ending is not happy, but it’s as happy as it can be. And I think it’s just perfect when books are realistic and end in that way. I could really talk about this book forever, but I’ll shut up now. It’s one of those books that you’d love to just talk about over coffee with a good friend.

This book is highly deserving of being a 2001 Printz finalist as well as deserving the LAMBDA award that it was given. Can’t wait to read more by Wittlinger!

Gone Away Into the Land by Jeffrey B. Allen

Gone_Away_Into_the_LandGone Away Into the Land employs one of my favorite literary devices…and that is using fantasy as a means of healing and as a means of exploration of a deeply “real-world” matter. In this case, the “real world matter” is abuse. In this novel, a young boy named John shares his home with his sister, his mother, and “the beast”. The Beast is his name for his father, a man that is a stereotypical sociopath who has no qualms about physically and emotionally abusing his wife and children. One day, The Beast snaps and runs off with John’s little sister.

John and his mother are left alone and go in search of his sister. But their method of search is an interesting one. They venture into a fantasy land that John has created. A land of candy, evil dictators, trains, and imagination. The lines are often blurred in this novel between the fantasy land and reality, and I did have some problems with that. I had trouble following the story sometimes because I couldn’t fully get a grasp on what was happening with the two different worlds, and I also happened to like the writing in John’s “real world” more than his “fantasy world”.

However, I want to comment Mr. Allen for writing such a powerful, inventive novel. It’s evident that he spent a lot of time with this and I’m sure the story is very personal on some level. I use the idea of fantasy and/or creativity as a means of healing all of the time with my counseling. It’s amazing what the mind is capable of doing in stressful situations and it has always amazed me and mystified me.

Overall, I think that this was a very moving novel that would’ve soared for me if it had been a little bit tighter in it’s execution.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

catchingCatching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins
2009
400 Pages
5/5

Spoiler Free Review!!!

I think it would be fair to say that Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, the sequel to The Hunger Games is probably the most anticipated book of the year. A lot comes with this kind of anticipation. We always hope for the absolute best but can’t imagine how it could possibly live up to the original. We risk our hopes being crushed by a book that’s less than stellar. We just hope that the book doesn’t turn the wrong direction. I can assure you that you need not worry with Catching Fire. In my personal opinion, it surpasses The Hunger Games.

The most I can tell you really about the sequel without giving away anything from the original is that it takes place shortly after the conclusion of The Hunger Games and there is another games. Like the first novel in the series, this one is tragic at times. Heart breaking really. In some ways even more heartbreaking than the first. There are characters that we love dearly that are tortured throughout this novel both physically and emotionally. The scary thing about this novel is that it echoes so much of what’s going on in the world today as we see countries that suffer under a dictator continue to live in misery.

Collins has given all readers a true gift with this series. It’s a feat not easily accomplished to write something so powerful. I really haven’t seen this kind of comraderie with a series since the Harry Potter series and it’s refreshing to have it again. And I have to say that I love these novels and the characters as much as I did the Harry Potter series. I just wish it were going to be 7 books long rather 3 :p

I don’t know that there’s that much more that I can tell you about this book, except for that I don’t see many people being disappointed when it’s released. It has everything that the first book had, but it also has more substance and more emotions put into it than the first. I didn’t have any qualms with the ending this time. I loved the ending actually. My heart did not stop beating for the last 20 or so pages. Truly an amazing book and I can’t wait for all of the reviews of it to start pouring in.

Catch Up Time = 3 Mini Reviews!

I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to do these books justice, but I shall try in one paragraph per book! You see, I’m horrible at remmebering details about books for longer than a week. But here goes nothing.

210 Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy

This is Simon Van Booy’s second collection of short stories and they’re just as beautiful as his first book, The Secret Lives of People in Love. Van Booy has a true gift with words. I’m sure I said the same thing, in fact, during my review of his first book. Love Begins in Winter consists of five short stories that focus around the subject of love in it’s various forms. They range from the whimsical, to touching, to heart wrenching, to uplifting. He’s one of those authors that you just sort of drool over at the cleverness of his writing. Not clever in a funny way, but clever in a “how the hell does he write this well” way. His writing is subtle, yet it just attacks the heart. As with all short story collections, there are some that I liked more than others, but overall, it was another fantastic collection!

Willow by Julia Hoban

I just loved this book! It’s a wonderful story, but it’s a very sad one. After a horrible accident, Willow has taken much of the 112blame upon herself. The flood of emotions is too strong for her so instead of dealing with emotional pain, she resorts to physical pain by cutting herself. She feels as though her life is worthless until she meets a guy named Guy in the library where she works. Guy tries everything he can to help Willow see that there are other options, but Willow is stuck in a haze that is hard to come out of. This book was written just perfectly and gives a great insight into depression and how deep it can go. The characters felt extremely authentic to me and I could tell that Hoban had truly researched the subject matter. Great read!

The Dead Girl’s Dance by Rachel Caine

31Such a fun series. This is the second book in the Morganville Vampire Series and I just had to go out and buy the third after I finished this one. The book starts off immediately where the first one left, so I can’t really talk about the plot much. But it continues to be filled with vampire yumminess and the ultra cool gang of humans that live in the Glass House. It’s a tad bit predictable, but I consider these my escape reads, so it’s all good. One thing I love so much about this series is that the characters are so great. I truly feel as if I know all of them and I’m spending time with friends when I read this series.

That’s it for today…tomorrow, I’ll be back with my spoiler free review of Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games!

Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Scott Pilgrim Volumes 1-5 by Bryan Lee O’Malley
2004-2009
960 Pages (Cumulative)
5/5

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So I discovered this amazing thing during my forced internet break called Scott Pilgrim. It’s a graphic novel series that is the brainchild of Bryan Lee O’Malley. My journey with Scott Pilgrim started with just the first book, Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life. But I realized as soon as I finished this first book that I had to go out and buy the rest of them IMMEDIATELY! Luckily, they seem to be getting popular again beause they were once hard to find anywhere in the US and now you can find them on Amazon or if you’re lucky like me, at your local Borders.

Scott Pilgrim is a 24 year old Canadian guy who lives (and shares the same bed) with his gay roomate, Wallace. He’s dating a 17 year-old high school girl named Knives, and she’s a cool Asian chick. But Scott soon stumbles upon Ramona Flowers, this uber cool rocker chick who delivers for Amazon.ca. She has cool hair, listens to cool music, she’s mysterious, and wears roller blades all the time. Scott becomes infatuated with her and realizes he has to drop Knives so that he can go after this girl that’s way out of his league. Funnily enough, Ramona takes him up on his offer of a date even though at this point, Scott seems a little crazy. Scott is soon to find out though that in order to date Ramona, he must defeat her seven evil exes.

This series literally couldn’t be any more perfect. Scott is known as one of the best fighters around, but that’s mostly due to his huge video game addiction. So he sees life as a video game most of the time, including the fights with the seven exes. There are little things (like references to Final Fantasy and extra life heads) that O’Malley puts into the series that are just perfect. Scott also plays in a punk band with his friends Stephen Stills and Kim and has a mad obsession with the Smashing Pumpkins. There are quite a few scenes throughout the series where Scott is sporting a shirt with a Smashing Pumpkins logo on it, or his Zero shirt. To top it all off, you can tell that O’Malley is a huge Pumpkins fan due to the fact that the third novel in the series is entitled Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness.

The series is incredibly smart, witty, charming, cute, and it’s actually quite deep during certain parts. Scott is at that stage in life where you start to realize that you’re not a teenager anymore, but you’re not quite ready to be an adult. When we meet him, he has no job and as I said earlier, shares his bed with a gay man. He has no game. As the series progresses, the series starts to tackle more adult issues while still maintaining it’s fun, lighthearted feel.

All I can say about this series is *gush gush gush*. Go find it! It’s so freaking good. I can’t wait for volume 6 to come out! Sadly, I think it will be the last book in this series. He does have another novel out though called Lost at Sea that Nymeth reviewed awhile ago and I’ve been dying to read it ever since!