Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

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 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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August 9

Comments: 8

Sunday Salon: Monsters, Zombies, and (Smokin’ Hot) Angels, Oh My!

by Ann-Katrina

Sunday Salon Welcome to another (late) edition of The Sunday Salon…

It’s been a fair while since my last Sunday Salon post and I’m writing this one late at night rather than in the morning, but I say it’s better late than never.

Raaaawwwwr! Scary Psychologically Abnormal Monsters Abound

The Night Monster Cover My current reading pleasure is The Night Monster by James Swain. I’m rounding the last fifty or so pages and will most likely finish it up tonight.

The story so far is about an ex-cop (detective) turned private investigator Jack Carpenter who’s on the hunt for a missing college basketball star, who also happens to be one of his daughter’s friends and teammates.

The case is personal to Jack because he discovers it’s connected to a case that he’d been investigating for sixteen years—a case involving an abduction that he hadn’t been able to stop.

So far, the book is great reading, though I’ll admit the first three-quarters of the book was fast-paced and even left me a little breathless and now that I’m nearing the end, and the action should be picking up, it seems to be trundling along at almost half-speed. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not necessarily a good thing either.

Even if the book’s pacing never picks up again, I still think it’s a great read. I hope to have my full review up some time this week.

And speaking of reviews I hope to have up this week…

It’s Twilight, with Zombies and Better Writing (and Only Marginally Better Editing)

Generation Dead Cover I’ve finished reading Generation Dead by Daniel Waters and absolutely loved it. There were some laugh out loud funny moments and the characters are all highly well developed. The writing is tight and flows well.

What I found highly interesting is that it’s Twilight, with zombies. The pacing of the book is similar to Twilight in that it meanders for the first three-quarters of the book and then for the last quarter, the action suddenly picks up. The difference with this book and Twilight is that the action is built from the beginning. We see the villain and watch him ramp up his campaign of evil.

Tommy Williams is described as having pale skin, and despite being dead, it’s not decaying or foul-smelling—he smells rather earthy actually. He’s also good-looking, strong, and feels stone-hard and cold when he’s touched. Sound familiar? Yes, it’s a zombified version of Edward Cullen.

Phoebe Kendall is described as being very pale, doesn’t realize her own physical beauty, can’t seem to sort out her romantic feelings and is inexplicably drawn to the new zombie in town despite knowing next to nothing about him. Bella Swan anyone?

Finally there is Adam Layman who is a living, breathing, hot-blooded teenage boy who happens to be one of Phoebe’s best friends. Despite his feelings for Phoebe, which he chews down and swallows, he helps her get closer to Tommy simply so he can be near her. Sounds vaguely familiar…oh that’s right, Jacob Black.

I also spotted similarities to Alice and Rosalie Cullen, and a few other characters from Twilight sprinkled throughout. There were even a couple references to vampires that made me do a double-take and giggle.

At the end of the day, I could probably dissect both books and write an essay, but I’ll save that for some other time. Instead, I’ll share my Sunday sketch (yay! I finally did one…and on a Sunday) of the Generation Dead love triangle.

generation-dead-bw

It originally had a bit of color to it (Phoebe’s eyes and lips), but since I didn’t scan it—took a picture with my digital camera because I’m lazy—I decided it looked better in black and white. Also, it shouldn’t be too difficult to see who I hope Phoebe ends up with—*cough*Adam*cough*

Smokin’ Hot Angel, Oh My!

Hush, Hush Cover I’ve started reading Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, but had to put the title aside and read a few other things. Why? I’m entirely too excited to read it. I’m worried that I’ll breeze through it and I would like to savor it.

When I finish the Night Monster, I believe I’ll take a few days to write reviews of all the books awaiting reviews (sad to say, quite a few) and then I’ll be picking up Hush, Hush again.

And…I may have a surprise in store for Today, I Read… newsletter subscribers coming up. That’s the only hint I’ll give. :)

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August 9

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Recent Arrivals: Kiss of Life by Daniel Waters

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here’s the latest arrival: Kiss of Life by Daniel Waters

Kiss of Life Cover

First line: Phoebe.

Beautiful Phoebe.

Through the glass watch Phoebe leave bus walk to house phoebe green skirt green eyes skirt trailing hair flowing black and shiny in the sun.

Initial thoughts: OK, so reading the first line (or few lines really) to create this post nearly made me cry. For those of you who haven’t read Generation Dead, this is a spoiler.

Adam died at the end of that book and came back as a differently biotic person (aka zombie). This book, obviously, opens with what’s actually going through his mind and seeing his loose, choppy train of thought hit me like a sledgehammer.

In Generation Dead, the characters were so well developed that I actually cared what happened to them and I was a bit distraught when Adam died, especially under the circumstances and before he could say the three little words that he carried around in his heart for the special girl next door.

I can’t deny that I’m looking forward to reading Kiss of Life, even if it’s bittersweet.

Book description:

The phenomenon that’s been sweeping the country seems to be here to stay. Not only are the teenagers who have come back from their graves still here, but newlydeads are being unearthed all the time. While scientists look for answers and politicians take their stands, the undead population of Oakvale have banded together in a group they’re calling the Sons of Romero, hoping to find solidarity in segregation.

Phoebe Kendall may be alive, but she feels just as lost and alone as her dead friends. Just when she reconciled herself to having feelings for a zombie — her Homecoming date Tommy Williams — her friend Adam is murdered taking a bullet that was meant for her. Things get even more confusing when Adam comes back from the grave. Now she has romantic interest in two dead boys; one who saved her life, and one she can’t seem to live without.

From the back cover:

"You didn’t move, Tommy! He pointed the gun right at me, and you didn’t do anything!"

"I…"

"All you had…had to do was…move," she said; "it wouldn’t have hurt if he shot you. But you just stood there, and…and Adam’s dead! He’s dead, Tommy!"

She looked at him, her eyes blurry with tears. He’d stopped trying to talk, and the mask of concern had fallen away from his face as he stood there.

Just stood there.

"He’d be alive if it wasn’t for you, Tommy," she said, whispering so all of the gawkers wouldn’t hear.

He’d be alive, she thought, and you and I would be together.

Book Details: 416 pages; Hyperion Book CH; Pub. May 12, 2009

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August 8

Comments: 2

Recent Arrivals: Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here’s the latest arrival: Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

Generation Dead Cover

First line: Phoebe and her friends held their breath as the dead girl in the plaid skirt walked past their table in the lunchroom.

Initial thoughts: I learned about Generation Dead when I found Karin Librarian’s Say It Again Saturday post. After going back to read her review, I fell in love with the idea and simply had to have the book. With phrases like “differently biotic” or “living impaired”, how could I not? The description alone promised this book would be a hoot.

Book description:

Phoebe Kendall is just your typical Goth girl with a crush. He’s strong and silent…and dead.

All over the country, a strange phenomenon is occurring. Some teenagers who die aren’t staying dead. But when they come back to life, they are no longer the same. Feared and misunderstood, they are doing their best to blend into a society that doesn’t want them.

The administration at Oakvale High attempts to be more welcoming of the “differently biotic.” But the students don’t want to take classes or eat in the cafeteria next to someone who isn’t breathing. And there are no laws that exist to protect the “living impaired” from the people who want them to disappear–for good.

When Phoebe falls for Tommy Williams, the leader of the dead kids, no one can believe it; not her best friend, Margi, and especially not her neighbor, Adam, the star of the football team. Adam has feelings for Phoebe that run much deeper than just friendship; he would do anything for her. But what if protecting Tommy is the one thing that would make her happy?

Book Details: 416 pages; Hyperion Book CH; Pub. May 2008

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