Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

April 26

Comments: 1

A Zombie-Tinged Tea Party

by Ann-Katrina

Isaac Marion PhotoFun fact: Isaac Marion isn’t just a skilled author and pretty face, he’s also musically inclined and artistic. How’s that for a triple threat (quadruple thread if you count the pretty face)?

Well, that inspired me to ask this multi-talented man to a virtual tea party and told him he could bring three guests: an artist, a musician, and an author. Then I asked what shenanigans are likely to ensue, you know, so I can be prepared. Here’s what Isaac had to say about that…

This is an interesting question because you didn’t specify living artists, which means there are so many opportunities here beyond just meeting artists I admire, which let’s face it, is always underwhelming. For instance, I could meet Beethoven and force him at gunpoint to compose an original symphony with my name in the copyright. Can you imagine how much I’d make in royalties with a brand new release from the legendary Ludwig Van Beethoven? And I could meet Da Vinci and force him to tell me where he hid the secret map that leads to the secret vault that holds Jesus Christ’s secret sex tape, or whatever The Da Vinci Code is about. (Haven’t read it.) And speaking of Jesus, God is generally believed to be the author of the Bible, right? So I could meet God, and maybe slip some kind of magical drug into His tea that would make Him lose consciousness for a few hours, during which I could steal the Divine Battery that powers all His powers and use it to become God. This is going to be the best tea party ever!

It raises the question, though, how did you, gentle blogger, gain the power to raise dead historical figures and summon the Almighty to tea? Does this involve time travel, or the kind of dark, dead-raising magic I launched my career writing about? Because if these are zombie artists we’re talking about, that changes things. A lot. Would Zombie Beethoven still have the musical chops to compose a hit single? Or would he write me some kind of dull, plodding adagio that wouldn’t make it anywhere near the classical charts, much less dominate them? Would Zombie Da Vinci even remember where he hid Jesus’ sex tape, much less be able to teach me how to fly an ornithopter? And I don’t even want to think about Zombie God. That just sounds like bad news for everybody.

I hope I’ve answered all your questions.

Yes, Isaac. Yes, it did. A very big thank-you to Isaac and his wonderful publicists for allowing this post to happen. If you haven’t already, check out the Warm Bodies giveaway–you still have a few hours to enter. And if you can’t wait that long, then visit Amazon (or your favorite ebook retailer) and download yourself a copy because that book rocks. It’s filled with zombies.

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April 17

Comments: 4

Giveaway: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

by Ann-Katrina

Warm Bodies coverI mentioned it last month, but now the time has finally arrived. I’m giving away a copy of Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies, a twisted and surprisingly poignant zombie love story. Trust me, this is a book you want to read.

Marion uses excellent, sometimes poetic and often hilarious, prose to tell the story of ‘R’, a zombie trying to make sense of his existence. When he eats the brain of a man named Perry, he begins to experience Perry’s memories. Part of those memories include Perry’s girlfriend Julie. ‘R’ subsequently saves Julie and what happens next is an inexplicable connection that will have you glued to the pages.

Well, enough gushing about the book, on to the giveaway details. Rather than have the standard “leave a comment” to enter, I’m mixing things up a bit. For this giveaway, I’d like you to write a zombie haiku!

Yep. You read right. A zombie haiku. To enter, leave a comment with your haiku below.

In case you aren’t sure what a haiku is, it’s a short poem consisting of 3 lines. The first line contains 5 syllables, the second 7 syllables, and the final 5 syllables. Your haiku can be poignant or funny, gross or silly, just have fun with it. No profanity, please. Or, if you absolutely must include a profane word for effect, euphemize it. (Example: s**t.) Thanks.

This giveaway will run until 11:59PM EST April 26, 2011. You can enter as many haikus as you can write (however, duplicate or obviously spam haikus will not be eligible). For extra entries, you can also tweet about this giveaway or blog about it—just make sure to come back and leave a comment with a link to your tweet or blog post.

All entrants must use a legitimate email address (otherwise they’ll be no way to contact you if you win). If you do not have a website or blog, leave the space for a URL blank.

To finish up, there are a couple stipulations: You must be at least 13 years old to enter and the giveaway is open to those with a U.S. mailing address. And if you have any questions, just ask.

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March 25

Comments: 2

My Stack of Books Going into the Weekend, Planned Giveaways, and Currently Reading

by Ann-Katrina

Typically I’d do a recent arrivals post for each of the books, but this past week has been very good to me in the book department, so I’m just going to do up a collective post and then publish book notes/teasers as I read through each title. :D Sound good? Hooray!

The Dead-Tossed Waves Cover Last year I read, and reviewed, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. Although I didn’t care too much for Mary’s character, I did enjoy the intrigue and the world created.

When I was in my local Borders wishing them a heartrending farewell (sniff, sniff) I found The Dead-Tossed Waves on sale and I couldn’t resist. The reason I even waited so long was because I knew this book probably wouldn’t tell me anything I wanted to know about the Sisterhood.

Then I got to thinking, hey, I could be wrong. Maybe it’s going to be connected somehow and it will be like a slow reveal of how the zombie apocalypse in their world came to be. So I grabbed it and it’s officially in my TBR stack.

Animorphs The Invasion CoverAnimorphs The Visitors Cover Then there are the wonderful elves as Scholastic who somehow seem to read my mind and send me books I start drooling over the moment I open up the package. Animorphs!! With lenticular covers! (Yes, I’m easily amused.) I remember reading K. A. Applegate way back in the day, so receiving these books made me smile–okay, I also did a snoopy dance, too.

Behind the Gates Cover I also received a promising dystopian urban sci-fi novel called Behind the Gates (Tomorrow Girls Book 1) by Eva Gray. When I read the back cover, I was curious, but shrugged. Then I read the actual release and thought, hey, this could be good.  And then I read the first chapter and thought, I need to move this up the TBR pile.

But let us not forget about the Simon & Schuster elves who also seem to have these amazing mind-reading powers and sent me books that made me pause and say, hmmm.

Stay Cover Deb Caletti is a brand-new-to-me author, but when I read the back cover for Stay, I knew I’d be in for an emotional ride. It may even hit a little close to home. Must start mental preparations now.

Between Here and Forever Cover The other book was Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott. This will be my third official Elizabeth Scott book.

The first one I read was The Unwritten Rule, which was fun and light and touching. It was filled with teen angst and drama and discovering oneself. Basically, I enjoyed it and it’s a great way to pass a lazy afternoon.

Then I just recently finished Living Dead Girl and…words…I don’t have any. I was not prepared at all for what laid between the virtual covers of that book (I read the ebook*). When I realized how jarring a read it was, I wanted to stop so I could set my head on straight, but I couldn’t because if I did and went to sleep, I would have nightmares. Finishing wasn’t any better. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad big, the subject matter is just…again, words fail me.)

The differences between those two books was vast, but it gave me a whole new respect for Ms. Scott. She’s an automatic must-read author for me now and having finished the first chapter of Between Here and Forever, I know to be prepared for a roller-coaster of emotions.

So, to sum up, here’s what I received this week laid out in a neat list:

I can’t believe it’s almost the end of March and I haven’t done a single giveaway yet. I must rectify that. In fact, I think I’m going to overcompensate for my lack of contests.

Warm Bodies Cover Coming up next month I’ll be holding a giveaway for Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (oh my goodness am I excited about this one–and crossing my fingers that Mr. Marion will do a guest blog) thanks to the wonderful Mellony at Simon & Schuster.

Radiance CoverI’ll also be giving away my soft cover copy of Radiance by Alyson Noel. One thing I love about this book is the deckle edge paper. Definitely a nice touch, not to mention a good read.

Abandon Cover On the list of books up for giveaway is my ARC for Abandon by Meg Cabot. I have so much to talk about with that book, but I’m holding off until the official release next month. Until then, you can check out my scant book notes on the recent arrivals post.

Finally, I’ll officially be announcing my comment rewards. What are comment rewards? Well, a while ago I mentioned an idea of rewarding those who visit my blog by selecting a random commenter whenever comment milestones are reached. The commenter can then select a book from the comment rewards bookshelf.

Any comment, past or present, is game. Commenters just need to use a valid email address when commenting (no, I will not spam you or subscribe you to any mailing list and such) and are over the age of 13 (privacy thing–in case you win). Comment rewards will be open internationally.

Beastly Cover To close up, since this post is now becoming rather unwieldy, after watching a recent preview for the movie Beastly, and seeing that it was based on a book by Alex Flinn, I trotted my happy behind over to the library website and (thank goodness a copy was available) downloaded the ebook. I’m just over halfway finished and have mixed feelings.

On one hand, I love the tweak on the classic story, but on the other I’m not loving the lack of a nod to Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, or even Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, though a number of other fairytale creators (Hans Christian Andersen, The Brothers Grimm) and fairytale characters receive such nods (unless, of course, the Madames’ nods are through all the discussion of French literature–but maybe there will be a more discernable one in later chapters).

Also I’m not entirely thrilled with some of the character development and prose—sometimes it feels as though she’s talking down to her audience. But I’ll save that for an actual review though.

For now, I shall leave you to enjoy your weekend. Have fun, be safe, and don’t forget to read a book or two.

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March 15

Comments: 3

Teaser Tuesdays: Zombies Need Love, Too.

by Ann-Katrina

Teaser Tuesdays Happy Tuesday! It’s time again for another edition of Teaser Tuesdays

Here are the rules:

  • Grab your current read
  • Let the book fall open to a random page
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • You also need to share the title of the book where you get your teaser from…that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given
  • Please avoid spoilers

Warm Bodies cover This week’s teaser:

“The warbled strumming of a broken guitar, the swelling of an orchestra, the oohs and ahhs of a studio choir, and John Lennon’s weary, woozy voice, singing limitless undying love. Everyone playing this song is now bones in a grave, but here they are anyway, exciting and inviting me, calling me on and on.” pg. 63 Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

First of all, and this is so superficial of me, but I adore this cover. The color, the formatting, even the image of the man with his leg crooked just so, and the red cloth streaming from his head (which could mean so many things). Whoever designed the cover did a fantastic job of painting the desolation, and in a strange way, hope.

Enough about the cover, this book made me laugh from the first page. There is something wonderful about the narrative so far and I think I’m going to like R, the protagonist who also happens to be a zombie, quite a bit. He has this casual style of imparting his views that’s incongruous in the best possible way with what he’s describing, like how he and his friends are rotting away. I’m probably going to gobble this one up in a day or two.

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