Thursday, December 23, 2010

Review: Pop by Gordon Korman

PopPop by Gordon Korman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Marcus moves to a new town, he doesn’t have any friends. While practicing football for impending tryouts, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with former NFL star Charlie Popovich, nicknamed “The King of Pop”. Charlie is a charismatic prankster, and the best football player Marcus has ever seen. But when his behavior starts getting more and more erratic, Marcus learns the secret that Charlie’s family is desperate to hide: Charlie is suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s from the concussions he sustained while playing professional football.

As Marcus starts at his new school, he meets the starting quarterback: Troy Popovich. Right from the beginning, Marcus and Troy disagree — about football, about Troy’s ex-girlfriend Alyssa, but most of all, about what’s good for Charlie’s future. Marcus is betting that he knows what’s best for The King of Pop. And he will risk everything to help his friend.
I don't usually read books about sports but this was an exception...and boy am I glad I made an exception in this case. Yes, there's a lot of football talk and I mostly skimmed over those parts but this story is also about friendship, family, and compassion. Charlie has a secret but he doesn't really know it. His family tries their best to keep his secret from those who know him but Marcus is determined to find out "what's with this guy?" Most adults know how devastating the effects of Alzheimer's are on the family of those who are afflicted with it but I wonder how many young adults are aware of it. I think this story does well to show the progression of the disease and the heartbreak it is for those who know and love someone suffering with it. Pop made me laugh and cry...this is a story that will stay with you long after you read the last page.

View all my reviews

Friday, November 26, 2010

2010 Reading Challenges

As the new year is approaching fast I took the time to review how I've done so far on reading challenges I'm participating in. I've concluded that I've failed miserably:-( I came really close on the 2010 Audio Book Challenge...only two left to go but I doubt I'll make it since It's not really my thing. If I commuted to work I would probably listen to more audio books but my drive is a very short one. I fell really short on the 2010 Support Your Local Library Challenge. I use my local library a lot I just don't read as fast as I used to. The same goes for the 2010 E-Book Reading Challenge. I'm happy to announce that I reached my goal for the 2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge (so I don't feel like a complete loser). I even read read 10 more than the required 12. This year when I sign up for 2011 challenges I think I'll be a little more realistic in setting my goals. What about you? How did everyone else do on their 2010 Challenges?


Book Blogger Hop: Nov. 26-29

It's Friday and time for the Book Blogger Hop!

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event hosted over at Crazy-for-Books where book bloggers and readers can connect to find new blogs to read, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! This is my first hop and I'm really excited to participate.

This week's question comes from Sarah who blogs at Writer, Reader, Dreamer:
 "What is your favorite book cover?"
Recently I learned that Melissa Marr wrote her first novel for adults. It's release date is June 28, 2011 and it sounds fantastic! The cover alone makes me want to read this looks so sinister. I've watched enough Criminal Minds to know that whatever is in that barn can't be good. The story has all the elements that make up one darn good scary book!

From Goodreads:
The New York Times bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely series delivers her first novel for adults, a story about the living, the dead, and a curse that binds them. 

If you would like to join in the fun, here are the rules:

Your blog should have content related to books, including, but not limited to book reviews.
1.  Enter your book blog link in the Linky List below
In your link, please state the main genre that you review:  eclectic, contemp. fiction, ya, paranormal, mystery, non-fiction, etc.

Please do not list every genre you review - if you are review a variety, please put eclectic!  The Hop gets jumbled up if the title is too long, so please limit to one genre.  I will be limiting the number of characters in the title to ensure the Hop doesn't look messy!  Thank you!

Example:  Crazy-for-Books (eclectic adult fiction) 

2. Post about the Hop on your blog.  Spread the word about the book party!  The more the merrier!  In your blog post, answer the following question (new question each week!).  
3.  Visit other blogs in the Linky List!  Make new friends!  Follow new book bloggers!  Talk about books!  Rave about authors!  Take the time to make a quality visit!  Check out other posts and content, make a new friend!  Don't randomly follow someone if you never intend on actually following them!  No spamming please!  (Please do not leave your link and not visit other blogs - it's just not cool and not in the spirit of the Hop!)
Heres the Mr. Linky 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Stephen King Short Stories

Stephen King's newest book is out... Full Dark, No Stars. What better way to spend my Thursday night than curled up on my couch diving into this new collection of short stories from the Master of Horror. I was surprised to learn that the e-book version is the same price as the hard back copy from Amazon and considered buying the hardback but alas I couldn't wait so I promptly downloaded. I've been reading great reviews and many reviewers are commenting that he has truly gotten back to his roots (Neil Gaiman's review). So far I would have to agree and I'm not even through the first story:-) On the subject of short stories I'm curious to know how many folks like to read them. I have mixed emotions on this subject. Short stories are good if you don't have a lot of time to invest in a novel. They're kind of like those mini Snickers bars- small but satisfying. On the other hand, if you really want to get lost in a book a short story can just leave you wanting more. In the case of Full Dark, No Stars the stories are really novellas...longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. I guess that's a happy middle:-) If you're a new Stephen King fan (or want a trip down memory lane) below are some of King's other short stories and novellas:


Never trust your heart to the New York Times bestselling master of suspense, Stephen King. Especially with an anthology that features the classic stories "Children of the Corn," "The Lawnmower Man," "Graveyard Shift," "The Mangler," and "Sometimes They Come Back"-which were all made into hit horror films.

"Unbearable suspense." (Dallas Morning News)

From the depths of darkness, where hideous rats defend their empire, to dizzying heights, where a beautiful girl hangs by a hair above a hellish fate, this chilling collection of twenty short stories will plunge readers into the subterranean labyrinth of the most spine-tingling, eerie imagination of our time.

From Goodreads
Different Seasons (1982) is a collection of four novellas, markedly different in tone & subject, each with a journey theme. The 1st is a nonhorrific tale about an innocent man who carefully nurtures hope & devises a wily scheme to escape from prison. The 2nd concerns a boy who discards his innocence by enticing an old man to travel with him into a reawakening of long-buried evil. In the 3rd, a writer looks back on the trek he took with three friends on the brink of adolescence to find another boy's corpse. The trip becomes a character-rich rite of passage from youth to maturity. These 1st three novellas have been made into movies: "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" into Frank Darabont's 1994 The Shawshank Redemption (available as a screenplay, a DVD & an audiocassette), "Apt Pupil" into Bryan Singer's 1998 film Apt Pupil (also released in 1998 on audiocassette), & "The Body" into Rob Reiner's Stand by Me (1986). The final novella, "Breathing Lessons," is a horror yarn told by a doctor, about a patient whose indomitable spirit keeps her baby alive under extraordinary circumstances. It's the tightest, most polished tale in the collection.--Fiona Webster

From Goodreads

In the introduction to Skeleton Crew (1985), his second collection of stories, King pokes fun at his penchant for "literary elephantiasis," makes scatological jokes about his muse, confesses how much money he makes (gross and net), and tells a story about getting arrested one time when he was "suffused with the sort of towering, righteous rage that only drunk undergraduates can feel." He winds up with an invitation to a scary voyage: "Grab onto my arm now. Hold tight. We are going into a number of dark places, but I think I know the way."

And he sure does. Skeleton Crew contains a superb short novel ("The Mist") that alone is worth the price of admission, plus two forgettable poems and 20 short stories on such themes as an evil toy monkey, a human-eating water slick, a machine that avenges murder, and unnatural creatures that inhabit the thick woods near Castle Rock, Maine. The short tales range from simply enjoyable to surprisingly good.

In addition to "The Mist," the real standout is "The Reach," a beautifully subtle story about a great-grandmother who was born on a small island off the coast of Maine and has lived there her whole life. She has never been across "the Reach," the body of water between island and mainland. This is the story that King fans give to their friends who don't read horror in order to show them how literate, how charming a storyteller he can be. Don't miss it. --Fiona Webster

From Goodreads
Many people who write about horror literature maintain that mood is its most important element. Stephen King disagrees: "My deeply held conviction is that story must be paramount.... All other considerations are secondary--theme, mood, even characterization and language."
These fine stories, each written in what King calls "a burst of faith, happiness, and optimism," prove his point. The theme, mood, characters, and language vary, but throughout, a sense of story reigns supreme. Nightmares & Dreamscapes contains 20 short tales--including several never before published--plus one teleplay, one poem, and one nonfiction piece about kids and baseball that appeared in the New Yorker. The subjects include vampires, zombies, an evil toy, man-eating frogs, the burial of a Cadillac, a disembodied finger, and a wicked stepfather. The style ranges from King's well-honed horror to a Ray Bradbury-like fantasy voice to an ambitious pastiche of Raymond Chandler and Ross MacDonald. And like a compact disc with a bonus track, the book ends with a charming little tale not listed in the table of contents--a parable called "The Beggar and the Diamond."--Fiona Webster

From Goodreads
In his introduction to Everything's Eventual, horror author extraordinaire Stephen King describes how he used a deck of playing cards to select the order in which these 14 tales of the macabre would appear. Judging by the impact of these stories, from the first words of the darkly fascinating "Autopsy Room Four" to the haunting final pages of "Luckey Quarter," one can almost believe King truly is guided by forces from beyond.

His first collection of short stories since the release of Nightmares & Dreamscapes in 1993, Everything's Eventual represents King at his most undiluted. The short story format showcases King's ability to spook readers using the most mundane settings (a yard sale) and comfortable memories (a boyhood fishing excursion). The dark tales collected here are some of King's finest, including an O. Henry Prize winner and "Riding the Bullet," published originally as an e-book and at one time expected by some to be the death knell of the physical publishing world. True to form, each of these stories draws the reader into King's slightly off-center world from the first page, developing characters and atmosphere more fully in the span of 50 pages than many authors can in a full novel.

For most rabid King fans, chief among the tales in this volume will be "The Little Sisters of Eluria," a novella that first appeared in the fantasy collection Legends, set in King's ever-expanding Dark Tower universe. In this story, set prior to the first Dark Tower volume, the reader finds Gunslinger Roland of Gilead wounded and under the care of nurses with very dubious intentions. Also included in this collection are "That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French," the story of a woman's personal hell; "1408," in which a writer of haunted tour guides finally encounters the real thing; "Everything's Eventual," the title story, about a boy with a dream job that turns out to be more of a nightmare; and "L.T.'s Theory of Pets," a story of divorce with a bloody surprise ending.

King also includes an introductory essay on the lost art of short fiction and brief explanatory notes that give the reader background on his intentions and inspirations for each story. As with any occasion when King directly addresses his dear Constant Readers, his tone is that of a camp counselor who's almost apologetic for the scare his fireside tales are about to throw into his charges, yet unwilling to soften the blow. And any campers gathered around this author's fire would be wise to heed his warnings, for when King goes bump in the night, it's never just a branch on the window. --Benjamin Reese

From Goodreads
Stephen King-who has written more than fifty books, dozens of number one New York Times bestsellers, and many unforgettable movies-delivers an astonishing collection of short stories, his first since Everything's Eventual six years ago. As guest editor of the bestselling Best American Short Stories 2007, King spent over a year reading hundreds of stories. His renewed passion for the form is evident on every page of Just After Sunset. The stories in this collection have appeared in The New Yorker, Playboy, McSweeney's, The Paris Review, Esquire and other publications.

Who but Stephen King would turn a Port-a-San into a slimy birth canal, or a roadside honky-tonk into a place for endless love? A book salesman with a grievance might pick up a mute hitchhiker, not knowing the silent man in the passenger seat listens altogether too well. Or an exercise routine on a stationary bicycle, begun to reduce bad cholesterol, might take its rider on a captivating-and then terrifying-journey. Set on a remote key in Florida, "The Gingerbread Girl" is a riveting tale featuring a young woman as vulnerable-and resourceful-as Audrey Hepburn's character in Wait Until Dark. In "Ayana," a blind girl works a miracle with a kiss and the touch of her hand. For King, the line between the living and the dead is often blurry, and the seams that hold our reality intact might tear apart at any moment. In one of the longer stories here, "N.," which recently broke new ground when it was adapted as a graphic digital entertainment, a psychiatric patient's irrational thinking might create an apocalyptic threat in the Maine countryside . . . or keep the world from falling victim to it.

Just After Sunset-call it dusk, call it twilight, it's a time when human intercourse takes on an unnatural cast, when nothing is quite as it appears, when the imagination begins to reach for shadows as they dissipate to darkness and living daylight can be scared right out of you. It's the perfect time for Stephen King.

From Goodreads

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Short and Sweet Book Review: Three Little Words

Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter
Published January 8, 2008 by Atheneum
ya memoir, Hardcover 320 Pages
"Sunshine, you're my baby and I'm your only mother. You must mind the one taking care of you, but she's not your mama." Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent nine years of her life in fourteen different foster homes, living by those words. As her mother spirals out of control, Ashley is left clinging to an unpredictable, dissolving relationship, all the while getting pulled deeper and deeper into the foster care system.
Painful memories of being taken away from her home quickly become consumed by real-life horrors, where Ashley is juggled between caseworkers, shuffled from school to school, and forced to endure manipulative,humiliating treatment from a very abusive foster family. In this inspiring, unforgettable memoir, Ashley finds the courage to succeed - and in doing so, discovers the power of her own voice.

From Goodreads

I chose this book because I thought it would be a good read-a-like for those who had read  A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer. While A Child Called It spoke of the horrors of child abuse at the hands of Dave's mother, Three Little Words described the ways in which child protective services many times fails children in the system. Ashley spent nine years of her life in fourteen different foster homes. By the time she was saved from this dismal existence, including one abusive foster home that would make the headlines, she had put up protective barriers that hardly let anyone in. She was always waiting for the next person to give up on her and send her on to places unknown. When Ashley finally found her forever home with the help of her Guardian ad Litem, Mary Miller, she describes her experience as this:

" I felt safe enough to allow sunlight to sweep the shadows from my life"

This is a book that will stick with me for a long time. It makes you want to go out and make a difference for kids who have suffered the atrocities of the foster care system. If you would like to read more about Ashley Rhodes-Courter, you can visit her website at

If you're interested in reading more books on the topic of child abuse, check out my reviews of Lessons From a Dead Girl and House Rules.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Slice of Cherry

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on....
Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves (web site)
Published Jan. 4, 2011 by Simon Pulse
Hardcover 512 pages

Happiness is a bloody knife.

Kit and Fancy Cordelle are sisters of the best kind: best friends, best confidantes, and best accomplices. The daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer, Kit and Fancy are used to feeling like outsiders, and that’s just the way they like it. But in Portero, where the weird and wild run rampant, the Cordelle sisters are hardly the oddest or most dangerous creatures around.

It’s no surprise when Kit and Fancy start to give in to their deepest desire—the desire to kill. What starts as a fascination with slicing open and stitching up quickly spirals into a gratifying murder spree. Of course, the sisters aren’t killing just anyone, only the people who truly deserve it. But the girls have learned from the mistakes of their father, and know that a shred of evidence could get them caught. So when Fancy stumbles upon a mysterious and invisible doorway to another world, she opens a door to endless possibilities....

From Goodreads

Looks like some good stuff! Happy reading this week:-)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a fun meme hosted at The Story Siren where we share what books we received this week.

Here's what I got...
Paper Towns by John Green
ya, hardcover 305 pages
Published October 4, 2008

When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.

Printz Medalist John Green returns with the trademark brilliant wit and heart-stopping emotional honesty that have inspired a new generation of readers.

From Goodreads

I've been wanting to read this one for awhile so I had a chance to borrow it from the school's reading teacher. So far I really like it:-)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Top Five "Books That Haunt You" and New Blog Design

Happy Halloween to everyone in blog land! I don't know about you but this is my favorite time of the year...scary movies on t.v., candy, leaves are falling, and of course the time to read good old spooky stories:-) Danny at Dreamy Blog Designs just installed my new blog design and it's absolutely gorgeous! I wanted something that would reflect my love of horror literature (in particular zombies) and she didn't disappoint. I just love the little girl with the striped leggings!

Dreamy Blog Designs

Danny also has a fabulous blog at Bewitched Bookworms that she runs with four of her friends. There you will find great reviews of ya novels and fun contests/giveaways. Please stop by her blogs when you have a chance and consider her when shopping for a blog makeover:-)

In honor of Halloween I decided to do a post on my top five "Books That Haunt You". I got the idea from

Number 5
From Goodreads:
"What of the penetrating cold terror of an old hotel, a haunted place of seductive evil with a malevolent will of its own--and a five-year-old boy of innocent beauty whose mind mirrors the nightmarish secrets of its past?

Behind every door of the Overlook's 110 empty rooms there is a chamber of horror. Little Danny knows of these things because he has the terrible power--

Number 4
From Goodreads:

Swan Song is rich with such characters as an ex-wrestler named Black Frankenstein, a New York City bag lady who feels power coursing from a weird glass ring, a boy who claws his way out of a destroyed survivalist compound. They gather their followers and travel toward each other, all bent on saving a blonde girl named Swan from the Man of Many Faces. Swan Song is often compared to Stephen King's The Stand, and for the most part, readers who enjoy one of the two novels, will enjoy the other. Like The Stand, it's an end-of-the-world novel, with epic sweep, apocalyptic drama, and a cast of vividly realized characters. But the tone is somewhat different: The good is sweeter, the evil is more sadistic, and the setting is harsher, because it's the world after a nuclear holocaust. Swan Song won a 1988 Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel. It's a monster of a horror book, brimming over with stories and violence and terrific imagery--God and the Devil, the whole works.
Number 3
From Goodreads:

A national bestseller — 7 million copies sold. Prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial, Vincent Bugliosi held a unique insider's position in one of the most baffling and horrifying cases of the twentieth century: the cold-blooded Tate-LaBianca murders carried out by Charles Manson and four of his followers. What motivated Manson in his seemingly mindless selection of victims, and what was his hold over the young women who obeyed his orders? Here is the gripping story of this famous and haunting crime.

Number 2
From Goodreads:
In Mary's world there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.
The Guardians will protect and serve.
The Unconsecrated will never relent.
And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But, slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future-between the one she loves and the one who loves her.

And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?
And the number 1 is...
From Goodreads:
A haunting and powerful collection of stories from one of America's finest writers, with a new Introduction by Patrick McGrath.
Eerie, unforgettable, and by turns terrifying and hilarious, Shirley Jackson's collection of stories plunges us into a unique, brilliantly etched world where the uncanny lurks in the everyday and where nothing is quite what it seems. In "The Lottery," Jackson's most famous work and one of the greatest—and scariest—stories of the twentieth century, a small town gathers for an annual ritual that culminates in a terrible event. In "The Daemon Lover," a woman waits, then searches, for the man she is to marry that day, only to find that he has disappeared as completely as if he had never existed. In "Trial by Combat," a shy woman confronts her kleptomaniac neighbor, and in "Pillar of Salt," a tourist in New York is gradually paralyzed by a city grown nightmarish. Throughout these twenty-five tales, we move through a variety of emotional landscapes full of loneliness and humor, oddity and cruelty, banality and terror, and searing psychological insight. No reader will come away unaffected.
The only collection to appear during Jackson's lifetime, The Lottery and Other Stories reveals the full breadth and power of this truly original writer.
 And there you have it, my top five "Books That Haunt You." It was difficult to pick a number one from so many good horror books but The Lottery has always stood out to me. I find it even creepier that when it was first published people thought it was based on a real town and wanted to know where so that they could go and watch. The Hunger Games seemed to be based on the same idea which is probably why I liked that series so much.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Follow My Book Blog Friday

Today is Friday and you know what that means! Time to visit and discover new blogs. Please leave a comment and let me know if you are a new follower and I will do the same:-)

 This week's question: what are you currently reading?Basically what book is that?

I'm reading Zombies vs Unicorns! 

 Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View.

This week I have a guest blogger who is kicking off my "Fright Knight" feature, Stephen King  related posts. Lone Wolf at Unscripted is reviewing Stephen King's novel IT. I am inviting the Friday Followers to check out her review here and her talented and original, writing here.

To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { } and any one else you want to follow on the list
  2. Follow our Featured Bloggers - What Book is That
  3. Put your Blog name and URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
  5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
  7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post! 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Guest Blogger Review: IT

Let me introduce to you, constant readers, a talented young lady and a very dear friend of mine... Lone Wolf. She's the brains behind my new feature "Fright Knight", Stephen King related posts. She's also responsible for my new tagline (coming soon with my new blog design). We were discussing blogging and books when she told me had just read IT. My heart went aflutter when I realized she is now a Stephen King fan too! I asked her to be a guest reviewer for my blog and after reading her thoughts on IT, she made me want to read it all over again. Below is her review. Be sure to stop by her blog Unscripted  to read some of her original writings too. She's a gem on the web!

 IT by Stephen King
Genre: Adult fiction, horror
Published September 15 1986
Hardcover 1138 pages

From Goodreads:
They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they were grown-up men and women who had gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But none of them could withstand the force that drew them back to Derry, Maine to face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name. What was it? Read It and find out...if you dare!
IT awaits the seven with unease, trembling while it feeds. The seven are strong it knows but It does not feel real fear. Why should it? The seven are weak, gone are their childhood days. Forgotten are the Barren's of play and with that hopes rays are dulled. They could be herded down to the faded light, down to where everybody does the dead man float. It enjoys this thought, and with it terror blooms. This time there is no hope because the seven have grown, they haven't any room stored away for imagination, thus no power. IT isn't wrong in its assurance it tells itself. So, it kills on. Twenty-seven years IT has been at rest. Twenty-seven years of refused mayhem and gore, now IT feels a new thing... What is IT? Suddenly, IT knows, IT remembers and It must have; Vengeance. With that need IT calls their watchmen, (Micheal Handlen) and to its own agent of hell: ( Henry Bowers) Stephen King's IT sets free all phantoms fathomed with a no nonsense edge. As IT changes form to breed fear into a small town, your fascination is fueled by a variety of characters and story-lines connected by a common shadow of a traumatic past. IT, takes you in farther with off beat layers of humor; you'll never feel this good laughing in the face of evil. This story is guaranteed to bring out the child in you while mirroring the once chilling, thrilling, and most fulfilling wonders of youth. I invite you to follow these seven children, to share in all their delight and fright... "Won't you join the circle?"

A Lone Wolf  production all credit reserved to Kim Skelton.
Thank you Kim for allowing me the great honor of being your
friend and guest book review author.
To your avid readers:
Happy hunting.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Full Dark, No Stars

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on....

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
Published: November 9 2010
Hardcover 352 pages

From Goodreads:
A new collection of four never-before-published stories from Stephen King.

The story opens with the confession of Wilfred James to the murder of his wife, Arlette, following their move to Hemingford, Nebraska onto land willed to Arlette by her father.

Big Driver
Mystery writer, Tess, has been supplementing her writing income for years by doing speaking engagements with no problems. But following a last-minute invitation to a book club 60 miles away, she takes a shortcut home with dire consequences.

Fair Extension
Harry Streeter, who is suffering from cancer, decides to make a deal with the devil but, as always, there is a price to pay.

A Good Marriage
Darcy Anderson learns more about her husband of over twenty years than she would have liked to know when she stumbles literally upon a box under a worktable in their garage.
 I've been a Stephen King fan since I can remember. Stephen King has gotten back to his roots with Under the Dome and I'm expecting great things with this short story collection.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a fun meme hosted at The Story Siren where we share what books we received this week.

Here's what I got...

Zombies vs Unicorns by Holly Black
Hardcover 432 pages
September 21, 2010

From Goodreads:
It's a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths--for good and evil--of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies. Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan. This anthology will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?
 Another trophy to add to my Carrie Ryan Collection, her short story  Bougainvillea. Can't wait to read this little beauty! I'm also very excited to read Libba Bray's Prom Night. I thoroughly enjoyed Going Bovine and am very curious to see how her zombie tale plays out. Even though I am firmly on Team Zombie, I believe The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn by Diana Peterfreund has definite possibilities. I considered getting this book on the Kindle but would have missed out on the awesome cover, fun fonts, and little zombie and unicorn graphics.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Read A-Likes and Review

 This wasn't the way it was supposed to go.

You're just a typical fifteen-year-old sophomore, an average guy named Kyle Chase. This can't be happening to you. But then, how do you explain all the blood? How do you explain how you got here in the first place?

There had to have been signs, had to have been some clues it was coming. Did you miss them, or ignore them?

Maybe if you can figure out where it all went wrong, you can still make it right. Or is it already too late?

Think fast, Kyle. Time's running out. How did this happen?

In his stunning young-adult debut, Charles Benoit mixes riveting tension with an insightful—and unsettling—portrait of an ordinary teen in a tale that is taut, powerful, and shattering.

High school senior Tyler Miller used to be the kind of guy who faded into the background—average student, average looks, average dysfunctional family. But since he got busted for doing graffiti on the school, and spent the summer doing outdoor work to pay for it, he stands out like you wouldn’t believe. His new physique attracts the attention of queen bee Bethany Milbury, who just so happens to be his father’s boss’s daughter, the sister of his biggest enemy—and Tyler’s secret crush. And that sets off a string of events and changes that have Tyler questioning his place in the school, in his family, and in the world.

In Twisted, the acclaimed Laurie Halse Anderson tackles a very controversial subject: what it means to be a man today. Fans and new readers alike will be captured by Tyler’s pitchperfect, funny voice, the surprising narrative arc, and the thoughtful moral dilemmas that are at the heart of all of the author’s award-winning, widely read work.
I decided to write a Read-Alike post about these two books since they were both so similar. Kyle and Tyler are both on the "outside" looking in. They both wish for the attentions of a girl they think they aren't worthy of. They each make decisions that will alter their life in very significant ways. Kyle is a hoodie. He tries to give the impression he doesn't care about much including grades and what his teachers think of him. He scoots through life attempting to be invisible except to the girl he cares about most. What's most interesting about this story is that it is written in second person point of view. It's as if you are the one going through the life of Kyle and experiencing his life firsthand. The other interesting aspect of You is the beginning starts out with the ending. The reader learns right from the start how this is all going to end...tragically. I like to read books that have unconventional methods and this one didn't disappoint. I will say that the hype about this book didn't exactly live up to my expectations though. It was still a good example of how difficult it is to fit in and that high school isn't a positive experience for everyone. I would have liked to have seen Kyle's relationship with his family explored a little more though. Twisted, on the other hand, did demonstrate the family dynamics in a much more in depth way. Tyler didn't fit in at school either but not for the same reasons as Kyle. Kyle had his fellow hoodies to commiserate with while Tyler was a loner until the change in his physical appearance attracted the attentions of the most popular girl in school, Bethany. Bethany wouldn't have given Tyler a second look until he shows up at school his senior year tan and muscular from the all the physical labor over the summer. He also gained bad boy status when he committed a crime and had to serve probation. Gaining the attentions of Bethany started a chain of events that would result in Tyler having to make very drastic decisions about how he wanted to live his life and what it means to be a man. As I mentioned earlier, Tyler's relationship with his family was very central to the story. They weren't unlike many families who do the best they can and sometimes make mistakes in the process. I am giving twisted a 5 star rating. I really felt like the author had a good handle on the emotions of all of the characters and really felt their struggles and pain. I'm giving You four stars because I had a more difficult time getting to know the characters on an emotional level. And finally, I would like to add that Laurie Halse Anderson has become another favorite author of mine. The next book I would like to read of her's is Wintergirls...a story of grief, guilt, and the devastating effects of anorexia.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Short and Sweet Book Review: Lessons From a Dead Girl

Lessons from a Dead GirlLessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Leah Greene is dead. For Laine, knowing what really happened and the awful feeling that she is, in some way, responsible set her on a journey of painful self-discovery. Yes, she wished for this. She hated Leah that much. Hated her for all the times in the closet, when Leah made her do those things. They were just practicing, Leah said. But why did Leah choose her? Was she special, or just easy to control? And why didn’t Laine make it stop sooner? In the aftermath of the tragedy, Laine is left to explore the devastating lessons Leah taught her, find some meaning in them, and decide whether she can forgive Leah and, ultimately, herself.

In my quest to read books that have been challenged or banned, in honor of Banned Books Week, this book was second on my list. My first was Laurie Halse Anderson's, Speak. The theme of this book was very difficult to read about-sexual abuse made even more difficult to read by the fact that it was a child who sexually abused another child. It really opened my eyes to how some who are abused go on to become abusers. At times it was difficult to feel sorry for Leah as she was so cruel and manipulative of Laine. Then you realize how tortured and in pain Leah was and what ultimately leads to her untimely demise. What was most heartbreaking for me was the fact that Laine's childhood seemed stolen and what a tragedy that would be. While I was so happy for Laine that she made some true friends, it was disheartening to see her (and her friends) rely so heavily on alcohol use to have a good time. I would recommend this book for an older teen for that reason.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September Zombies!

Oh my goodness! How could I have forgotten that September is Zombie Appreciation month?!?!? vvB32 has been celebrating zombies all month and is having a giveaway for Zombie vs Unicorns. I'm "dying" to read this one as it has a story from my favorite author, Carrie Ryan. I'm supposed to convince you, the reader, to see things my way and join team zombie...

Carrie Ryan and The Forest of Hands and Teeth series!

What an amazing series and what sparked my interest in "zombie lit." I've always enjoyed reading post apocalyptic all time favorite, Stephen King's The Stand. When I read about Carrie's first book, The Forest of Hands and Teeth I just knew I had to read it. I was hooked and would "kill" to have an ARC of her upcoming third book, The Dark and Hollow Places. To tide me over in the meantime I read Carrie's short story in the anthology Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Romance. Hare Moon gives readers a little look  into Sister Tabitha's world and how she came to be the seemingly cold-hearted Sister she is in TFHT.

If I haven't convinced you so far, check out the trailer for Carrie's second book The Dead-Tossed Waves.

If you want to join in the fun just go here and do the following:

1. Sign guestbook (if you haven't already).

2. Read each team captain's post (links are below) and leave them a comment.

3. Pick a team.

4. Grab the team badge of your choice below and create a blog post with your team preference and link it back to this post ( Make a persuasive statement for your team so that your followers will be compelled to vote for your team too.

Note: all commenters of your post will be eligible to win this book too!

Don't forget to include your post link in comments on this post.

Offer ends Sept. 30, so hurry!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Book Review: The Reapers Are the Angels

The Reapers Are the AngelsThe Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From Goodreads:

Zombies have infested a fallen America. A young girl named Temple is on the run. Haunted by her past and pursued by a killer, Temple is surrounded by death and danger, hoping to be set free.

For twenty-five years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself and keeping her demons inside her heart. She can't remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her on a personal journey toward redemption. Moving back and forth between the insulated remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond, Temple must decide where ultimately to make a home and find the salvation she seeks.
I read this book because it received good reviews here on Goodreads and because I'm a huge fan of "Zombie Lit." I was hoping it would be similar to The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan and while it didn't disappoint it was a very different book. Temple is a tough as nails character who is near and dear to my heart now. I wished she had let people into her heart a little more but I understand why she didn't. She had lost too much and didn't have a very high opinion of herself. The relationship between she and her nemesis was a very interesting one indeed. I would have liked to have seen it end on a little more hopeful note but then again, I don't really like endings that are all tied up in a neat little bow.

View all my reviews

Ban This!

In honor of Banned Books Week (September 25-October 2), Bites and Steph Su are celebrating the freedom to read by having a month long celebration. If you have a blog you too can participate in the fun by creating a post about banned books then adding your post to Mr. Linky here. In honor of this important event, I read Laurie Halse Anderson's book Speak which has been challenged in school libraries. You can read a post on Laurie's blog about a particular challenge to her book here.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (web site)
Published April 23, 2001 by Puffin
Genre: Young Adult
Paperback 198 pages
Literary Awards: National Book Award Nominee for Young People's Literature (1999), Golden Kite Award for Fiction (1999), Horn Book Fanfare Best Book (2000), BCCB Blue Ribbon Book (1999), Edgar Award Nominee for Best Young Adult (2000) Edgar Award Nominee for Best Young Adult (2000), Printz Honor (2000), South Carolina Book Award for Young Adult Book Award (2002), ALA's Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults (2000)

From Goodreads: 
Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that's not safe. Because there's something she's trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth.
What a powerful book this was to read. It's been awhile since a book brought me to tears...a lump remained in my throat long after I closed the book. As a parent I know how clueless we can be sometimes but I was especially distressed to see how Melinda's parents couldn't see that there was something much deeper beneath the surface of their daughter. I would encourage parents to read this thoughtful story. Sometimes we forget how difficult it is to be a teenager on an average day let alone how it must feel to deal with such a traumatizing event such as rape. I felt the story was completely appropriate for a young adults to read and for those who wish to keep this compelling story out of hands of young adults are living in a fantasy world. We simply cannot shelter our children from all of the perils of the world. Writers like Laurie give a voice to teenagers and hope that anyone can survive the atrocities they might encounter in life. I've heard the phrase from parents that certain books are just too deep for someone so young however they are kidding themselves if they don't acknowledge that our kids are dealing with these "deep" issues now. I've added two other books written by this author, Twisted and Wintergirls. I will also be reading Lessons From a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles since it made the 2009/2010 Banned and/or Challenged book list. If you're interested in seeing this list and others check out Banned Books Week at the ALA site. While you're there check out the Banned Books map to see where in the world these books have been banned or challenged.

And Finally I will be wearing my "I'm With The Banned" t-shirt on Monday to celebrate this worthy cause!
You can buy your own at Upstart!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Short and Sweet Book Review: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (web site)
Publisher: Doubleday, June 1st 2010
Hardcover 293 pages, ya

From Goodreads:
The wondrous Aimee Bender conjures the lush and moving story of a girl whose magical gift is really a devastating curse.

On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents’ attention, bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the cake. She discovers this gift to her horror, for her mother—her cheerful, good-with-crafts, can-do mother—tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes a peril and a threat to Rose.

The curse her gift has bestowed is the secret knowledge all families keep hidden—her mother’s life outside the home, her father’s detachment, her brother’s clash with the world. Yet as Rose grows up she learns to harness her gift and becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is a luminous tale about the enormous difficulty of loving someone fully when you know too much about them. It is heartbreaking and funny, wise and sad, and confirms Aimee Bender’s place as “a writer who makes you grateful for the very existence of language”
On the day I bought this book I was looking for a good Chick Lit book like Good Grief by Lolly Winston. I noticed The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake on the Bestseller list at Amazon and decided to give it a try. What a gem of a book this was. What grabbed my attention from the description was "loving someone fully when you know too much about them." Rose's gift (or curse) allowed her to feel the feelings of others in the food that they prepare. Rose learns more about her mother than she would have liked to have known when she eats the lemon cake her mother baked for Rose's ninth birthday. What a burden that would be to realize your parent's deepest fears and regrets...especially at such a young age. I really enjoyed this book even though it was a bit of a downer. Her brother's story is a bit tragic and at times the mother and son's relationship made me feel a little uncomfortable. What I loved most about Rose is that she isn't your typical teen, some reviews pegged her as an underachiever but I saw Rose as someone who didn't have the same concerns as many teens and was happy with the little things in life. Her sense of humor had me laughing out loud at times. The end of the book was a bit puzzling to me and I had to Google other readers thoughts on what actually happened. I would recommend this book to young adults...especially those who enjoy something a little quirky (best word I could find to describe).

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a fun meme hosted at The Story Siren where we share what books we received this week.

Here's what I got...

You by Charles Benoit
Aug. 24, 2010 by Harper Teen
233 pages

This wasn't the way it was supposed to go.

You're just a typical fifteen-year-old sophomore, an average guy named Kyle Chase. This can't be happening to you. But then, how do you explain all the blood? How do you explain how you got here in the first place?

There had to have been signs, had to have been some clues it was coming. Did you miss them, or ignore them?

Maybe if you can figure out where it all went wrong, you can still make it right. Or is it already too late?

Think fast, Kyle. Time's running out. How did this happen?

In his stunning young-adult debut, Charles Benoit mixes riveting tension with an insightful—and unsettling—portrait of an ordinary teen in a tale that is taut, powerful, and shattering.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Reading Teen Back to School Giveaway Bash

I discovered this contest this morning and it looks awesome! You choose one book from a collection of highly anticipated books to help with the depression (or elation) of back to school month. If there is enough interest there will be a second winner! Check out this post at for information on how to win. I'm hoping to win Dark Song by Gail Giles-looks awesome!

Ends September 24th, 2010

August Wrap Up

Well...I've been missing in action for the month of August. We went on vacation to Tennessee, I've started a new job, and now I have a terrible summer cold. I didn't get a lot of reading done but what I read, I really enjoyed. Sadly I didn't complete the Dystopian challenge. I hoping that I meet my goals for the other challenges I've been participating in!

The highly anticipated book Kiss Me Deadly came in the mail. I read and loved Hare Moon by Carrie Ryan. It was fascinating to finally read Sister Tabitha's story and learn how she came to be the person she is in The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I haven't read any of the other short stories yet but the reviews I've seen on the internet are good.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake Was a sweet and strange story. I was looking for something quirky and funny. I wouldn't exactly call it funny but it was quirky.

Still Missing is an Adult Fiction book that I wouldn't recommend for young adults. I chose this one because I had been reading good reviews on it. It was highly disturbing at times and had a great twist at the end- I love twists!

I won a book from Goodreads and another blog which I haven't gotten to yet. My TBR pile is huge!
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