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more batman: the animated series, please

it's hard for me to sum up in succinct terms how awesome i believe Batman: The Animated Series truly is. and not just from a nerdy standpoint, but from a legit standpoint of enjoying and recommending quality and thoughtful media programming. thankfully, the people at The Onion are much better at summing things up. in a recent review of the episode "Be A Clown", Oliver Sava had this to say:

"If Batman is a child’s response to loving parents made absent through violent force, the Joker is a child’s response to hated parents made absent by their own choice."

oh the mythos in that show.  can't get enough. 

peep the full article over at The Onion right here.  while you're at it, subscribe to their review feed of the series. oh yeah, and WATCH the series. you're welcome.

jar-jar strikes again

"A coalition of extraterrestrials representing some two trillion lifeforms across the five major planetary confederations descended on Earth Monday to speak out against "the demeaning, degrading and hurtful portrayals" of aliens in the planet's media."

full article here, at the onion.

YES i know it's from 1999. but if they reposted it on their twitter, i can blog about it! right? right.

the log lady

okay for those who have seen Twin Peaks, you might already know this...but the log lady MIGHT be the best part of the entire show.

for those of you who aren't familiar with her, she is an optional feature.  she does a cryptic preamble to compliment each episode. why anyone would be foolish enough to opt out of the log lady is beyond me. seriously, get a peep of this broad.

i. am. in. LOVE.

on to episode 4!

ridiculous reread

sometimes when i'm recommending a book to someone i get so excited talking about it that i want to read it AGAIN right in that moment. but then i remember all the books i have yet to fall in love with...how will i experience their awesome glory if i get sucked into re-reading my old loves? but i LOVE my old loves...

recently, i made a mix-tape of book suggestions for my bestie Whit. while putting the list together, i kept thinking to myself  'oh MAN that book is awesome' and 'HOLY moly i forgot how much i loved that one' and 'i can't wait until she reads THIS one' etc. 

being the nerdy list-maker that i am, i've decided to make a re-read list for 2011. that way, i have some old friends back in my TBR pile to look forward to amongst all the new literary acquaintances. 

i'll see you soon!
books i plan to re-read in 2011...at some point...seriously.

13 Reasons Why - Jay Asher. i remember this book hitting me so hard. it was all i could talk about for weeks...and now i fear that i've forgotten some of the elements that made the read so special. never fear, Mr. Asher. i shall remember why i loved your book so dearly sometime soon. and by soon i mean in the next 11 months.

Looking for Alaska - John Green. this was one of the first ya books that i read where i fell head over heels for the main character. Pudge, i miss you. let's hang out again soon, okay? also - the first time i 'read' this was on audiobook...so a paper or ebook version is totally necessary.

How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff. okay seriously, this book pops up in my memory all the time. i have no idea why, but there are some seriously vivid scenes of hiding and hope and desperation that i keep with me. i love that we, as the reader, know the true intentions behind the actions but the other characters don't and we have to hope and wait and hope and wait that things turn out. plus, there's quasi-incest. bow chicka bow wow. 

Robot Dreams - Sara Varon. the first graphic novel/comic i ever read. and what a doozy. a dog. a robot. friendship. heartbreak. YES. i may read this tonight, tbh. it literally takes like 14 minutes to read and is so beautiful.

Harry Potter - J.K. Rowling. i decided last year that i would make an annual re-reading of the HP books around Christmas. i intend to stick to that. i fall in love with Ron all over again! and Neville! and i just cannot get enough of book 4. the only thing that MIGHT hold me back is book 5. i do not care for book 5. at all. stupid Umbridge wasting our stupid time.

Chaos Walking Trilogy - Patrick Ness. i don't know when i'll re-read these...but they are most certainly my favorite books to date. SUCH a close second to HP for my favorite YA series of all time. i recommend these books to people all the time...and then get to squee with them when they come back and say "Lisa, you were so right. these books are the best thing ever". instead of wasting precious time saying I TOLD YOU SO, we launch into a discussion of how incredible they are. i'll be with Todd and Viola again this year. i will.

Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis. my favorite book/series/children literature of all time. hands down. it's a little tricky when people ask what my favorite book is...because it's Chronicles of Narnia. sure, it's a series. but it's published in single volume too so i don't care! i love this story! plus, the opening of the series (Aslan singing the world into being) and the finale (running over the tops of mountains) are phenomenal. love love love these books, and it's been too long since i've spent time with them. plus, i haven't reviewed them on the blog! perfect excuse to reread.

if i have time...
it's not you, it's me.  i still love you i just don't have time for you right now...

Graceling/Fire - Kristin Cashore. what a GENIUS, that Cashore. such excellent fantasy books with twists, unexpected views on romance, and legit fleshed out and developed female lead roles that kick ass. the details and character development are second to none. one of the best fantasy ya authors out there, imo.

Keesha's House - Helen Frost. i don't read enough poetry to know what i like and don't like in the poet department, but i know that i adored the idea behind Keesha's House. the different residents providing different back stories and voices to add to the narrative and created a cohesive story that sticks with me. 

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen. let's be real, i could read this book monthly and love it. seriously, P&P forever.

i've got it cut out for me.

Review: Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd

in a sentence or so: Fergus is surrounded by uncertainty. uncertainty about what will happen to his brother Joe in prison. uncertainty about the new girl who has drifted into his life. uncertainty about the body he found in the bog. yeah, Fergus has a lot of uncertainty to figure out.

Fergus is your typical 1980's 18 year old Irish kid. he's trying to get his driving permit, trying to figure out what girls are all about, and he's trying to stay neutral in an anything-but-neutral Ireland. what really turns his world on it's head is the body he finds in the bog. initially thought to be a missing child, Fergus soon learns that a researcher is coming to decide just how old this body is. see, the thing about bogs is they are a natural preserver. nature's little ziploc bag, as it were. so this body could be from a year ago...or 2000 years ago. all Fergus knows is he's the one who found her, and he's the one who wants to help her true story unfold.

when not pondering the mystery of the bog child, Fergus is helping his Mam and Da with their bed and breakfast. sure, his two little sisters help out here and there, but the house has never been the same since Joe went to jail. while jail time is the price that many young men are paying to fight for a free Ireland, Fergus has plans to get out of there and get into medical school. he's on the right track too...before all these distractions crop up.

Fergus feels a connection to the bog child. he senses their stories are somehow connected, that the bog child is reaching out to him, and he is determined to listen to her. you know, when he's not worried about his brother going on a hunger strike in jail, about his own role in bombs going off and killing innocent women and children, or about if Cora - the researcher's daughter - is as crazy about him as he is about her.

let me say, i adored A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd. this was definitely along the same vein of plain presentation that i found totally endearing and patient. there's nothing special about Fergus, other than he's trying to do the right thing. sure he's smart, but he's not a genius. yes he makes his family proud, but he can't figure out a way to get his brother off the stupid hunger strike. his mediocrity is what draws the reader to him and hopes for him and genuinely invests in him.

there are layers upon layers in this read. and rightfully so.  this is a coming-of-age story of a guy who's brother is in jail, country is at civil war, and THEN he finds a dead body and THEN he has romantic entanglements. you might think with all that going on the plot gets a little sloppy. not. at. all. Dowd crafts a patient tale that gives each element it's due while weaving all the pieces together into a creative and absorbing story.

fave quote: "He dragged his knuckles along the peeling paint. There was all his life till this moment and that was the past. There was all his life after this moment and that was the future." (126 | 226 Nook)

fix er up: i had a tough time getting into this. partially because i expected it to be more straightforward, like ASPC, and partially because i wasn't in the mood for this style of writing. i'm glad i stuck it out though. SO worth it.

title: Bog Child
author: Siobhan Dowd
genre: Historical Fiction, Coming-of-Age

i have a serious series problem

while doing nerdalicious reformatting of the ol' blog, i noticed i have started a crapton of series. as an avid task-completer, i've decided there are some series i'm going to continue to bookworm through...and some series i'm just crossing off the list and will not feel guilty about them. at all.

sayonara, series
those series i'm prepared to leave behind...forevah.

Gemma Doyle series. i just could not get into the future of Gemma in A Great and Terrible Beauty and i SOOOOO wanted to. which is a shame, really, since that title rocks my world.  i KNOW people love this series and i've heard time and time again to give it a shot. but there are SO many other series (as you'll soon see) that i'm genuinely interested in that i don't want to bother. so there.

His Dark Materials series. i think part of this was because the movie sucked so much. but a much bigger part was that the hubs read the second book in the series and gave it a resounding 'meh'. he then proceeded on to the final book which he didn't finish. i shall learn from his persevering and willingness to give something lukewarm a try by NOT giving it a try. i was initially interested, but now...not so much.

The Modern Tale of Faerie series. i started this series around the time i started Wicked Lovely, and i just lurved Wicked Lovely so much  more.  that being said, i still gave Ironside a try...and wasn't loving it as much as i thought. when i'm so into Wicked Lovely, why bother with finishing up the Tithe series? exactly.

The Immortals. again, i know people just adore this series so i'm in the minority here. i think this book marked the beginning of my jadedness with paranormal romance. the girl being too two dimensional. the boy being so smitten with the girl for reasons lost on me that it's nauseating. the paranormal swirling around the girl character and constantly having to grapple with feelings of 'oh my GOSH i didn't know this world existed now what do i do etc etc'. plus, i am still holding on to the horribly dated - if it were ever even real - concept that Damon bought her a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt. she's in high school, for craps sake. she's not wearing a MM sweatshirt because her secret, dark, paranormal boyfriend bought it for her OKAY?! ugh.

Shadow Children series. so the concept was crazy awesome to me, but the book was for an audience that felt too young for me to enjoy. there were some uber-cheesy elements that i wasn't such a fan of either.  it reminded me of a less-awesome boxcar children for some reason. anyway, it felt too young to sustain my interest.

meh, maybe later.
those series that i was not nearly as excited about as the rest of the world...but something prevented me from ditching them altogether.

Forest of Hands and Teeth. okay so i really really REALLY didn't like Mary. but i liked the story and the idea and the idea of the world continuing on after the first novel, so i think i might give Dead-Tossed Waves a try. i mean, it will be a new protagonist set in the same crazy world with the same solid writing...so we're halfway there. but i'm not ready to dive in full force...i can't help but be hesitant after that selfish cow, Mary.

Caster's Chronicles. i did not love this nearly as much as the rest of the blog world. i mean, at first you were hard pressed to find anything negative about this book at all. i thought i missed a crucial element or just didn't know what good ya lit was for awhile there...and then the criticisms cropped up and put my impending complex to rest. i adored Ethan's voice - i much prefer a male voice in my lead characters anyway - and i remember listening to Norah Jones the whole time i read it which was just perfect. but this didn't blow me away. the gothic part was cool. the mystery was cool. Ethan was cool. i did not love that it was unnecessarily long and repetitive.

series that i am ashamed to say i forgot about...but want to pick back up! right stat now!

Generation Dead.  i received Passing Strange from the publisher about a year ago and have yet to read it. what the hell am i waiting for?!  the differently biotic are trying to make it they only way they know how! there are zombie parties! there are zombie hunters! i loved this book. i'm a bidoof for abandoning this series. plus all i need is Kiss of Life since i already have Passing Strange...now i'm dwelling on that massive cliffhanger from the first book! gah!

The Luxe. i totally blew through the first three...i have no excuses for why i'm not finished reading the most deliciously bitchy, catty, luxurious ya hist-fic ever! Splenor, wait up for me! i'll be there soon to pick you up and read you into the wee hours of the morning.

Uglies. this one is always on my list, but never a top priority. despite the fact that i really liked it. despite the fact that i hear nothing but good things about Scott Westerfield. despite the fact that i genuinely WANT to read the series. let's do this thing, Pretties.

Princess Diaries. i think i'm intimidated by how massive this series is. but no more! i remember that i LOVE Meg Cabot and i want more of the sassy, quirky, lovable Princess Mia. i even love the movies! the worst part is, i know that i will absolutely adore the rest of the series.  i'm not the slightest bit hesitant. i just need to get over the fact that there are a dozen books in this series and just start already!

Wolves of Mercy.  a world where Werewolves are the main attraction, and not vampires? how could you not love this! and the cover...SO much love for that pretty cover. and the rest of the covers are just as pretty! i adored the love interest and the sacrificial elements and the winter setting and everything. it's winter right now! it's perfect for me to read! what am i waiting for?!

Hollow Kingdom. my first goblin-lore love, and still my favorite. i was so reluctant at the beginning of this series, and  now i'm a total fangirl. to be honest, i think i've been putting this one off because as soon as i read it...the journey is over. how lame is that? but seriously i'm going to finish the journey this year. i mean it!

Wicked Lovely. i'm just not a huge fae fan, but i did enjoy the darkness that Marr infused.  when i was editing this review and i re-read the 'choked on icicles' line, i was like oh YEAH that was awesome...let's do this thing. and her name is Ash (like from Pokemon) and i think that's pretty cool.

Ruby Oliver. i loved her voice. i loved the authenticity and pain and awkwardness and cuteness and awesomeness. i want more Ruby Oliver, darn it. and i shall have her.

Mortal Instruments. i was not nearly as in love with this as the rest of the world. i have some serious qualms with the first book...but dash it all i am so CURIOUS as to where the rest of the series goes. i have to know what happens. this is borderline guilty pleasure for me...but i do dig the paranormal crime-fighting elements. okay Cassandra Clare, i'm down for the sickness. you have NO idea how close you were to my 'meh' pile! don't let me fall.

love me true.
no rush on these bad boys. i know they'll always be there, waiting until i'm ready.

Dark Tower. this was my first Stephen King book, and it was a damn good one. now, i'm not ready to branch into the rest of his stuff, but i am interested in pursuing the rest of the Dark Tower series. the Gunslinger was SO incredible. i'm one of those people that when i find someone else who has read the book, i immediately launch into discussion - sucks to anyone around who HASN'T read it! but i'm not feeling a push to finish just yet.

Southern Vampire Mysteries. i'm a Sookie Fan, straight up. sometimes i crave these books hard core, and sometimes i just need a break. but either way - i know that Sookie is waiting patiently for me. thanks, babe. i'll see you soon. promise!

Vicky Bliss. she solves crime. she's snarky. she's clever. she has romances with snarky and clever men. it's everything i love about Sookie Stackhouse, but with normal people solving historically based mysteries. okay and she's more intelligent than Sookie. but that's okay! i love them both. it's been awhile since i've visited my gal pal Vicky, so perhaps the next novel is in order sooner rather than later...

wowie zowie. i have my work cut out for me! please tell me i'm not the only one out there who has started a series and totally forgotten about it? i know i'm not alone!

hobbit love

i'm one of those people who likes to have noise in the background all the time. which might be a little odd for an avid reader, but so it goes. i don't necessarily mind reading in the quiet, but i do adore a little soundtrack action.

so whenever i'm just toodling around on the internet (which is admittedly frequent), i like to have something on tv in the background. the problem is, of course, that daytime tv is usually pretty craptastic. which results in me putting on a movie. and over 50% of the time that movie is Lord of the Rings.

no lie - i watch the ENTIRE LotR: extended edition about monthly. upon evaluation over the certainty of that statement, i do believe it is the nerdiest thing about me. which is saying something, given my love of rpgs, board games, Zelda, reading, Arthurian legend...etc.

i legit get CHILLS over and over again when i watch them. like, this morning, i was on disk two of The Two Towers, and i was overwhelmed with the battle at Helm's Deep. like, irl goosbumps and misty eyes.

and if you don't have love for Samwise Gamgee, you are a robot. or heartless. or both. because he is seriously the most heartwarming, lovely, amazing hobbit in all of middle earth...i mean, have you SEEN what a jerk Frodo can be? ugh.

if there were ever any doubters that i'm as nerdy as i claim, let me assure you that the frequency with which i direct quote this movie while watching it and my tears over Theodan surveying the coming army, saying "so it begins", most assuredly validate my claim.

and the best part of all? i'll totally rewatch the series again in like, a month.

gtg, Elrond is reforging Anduril for Aragorn.

Review: Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

in a sentence or so: Isabel hears much about the fight for freedom. the newly formed United States want to shed the oppressive rule of the British crown. the Tories want to remain loyal to King George and hold on to the wealth and rules that brought them here in the first place. all Isabel wants is personal freedom and a life of her own choosing for her and her sister.

13 year old Isabel and her little sister Ruth can taste the hope of freedom when their mistress Miss Mary passes away. they knew that as soon as she died, they were to be free girls. their momma told them, Miss Mary told them, and it's legally binding thanks to the will that Miss Mary leaves behind. the thing is, greed can break just about any agreement. before Isabel can wrap her brain around the situation, she and Ruth are sold off by the inheritor of Miss Mary's estate into a most unpleasant household. it isn't long before Isabel realizes her fate is not up to her, but to those who exercise control over her actions.

as if the internal struggle wasn't enough for Isabel, she's been relocated to New York where tensions are building and no one is quite what they seem. there are those loyal to the British who hope for invasion. there are those push for independence of the states and speak of a secretly amassing army. Isabel is soon challenged with choosing a side. does she hope for British invasion, as her horrid mistress does, on the glimmer of hope that the British will free the slaves?  does she hope for US independence, as her friend Curzon does, so that they can finally be freed from the oppression of wealth?

an unlikely pawn in a national concern, Isabel is faced with decision after decision with no easy answer. there are no clear good guys and bad guys. there are those who mean well...but still she remains a slave. there are those who mean her harm, and are quite successful with those means.  just when Isabel discovers the delicate balance of her role in these uncertain times, her world is stripped away and she's left hollow. empty. disinterested. alone. yet the world keeps spinning and change keeps coming. will Isabel choose a side? how can she possibly gain freedom within a country struggling for freedom of its own? the ugly truth is that in a time of war, slaves are the lowest possible priority...for either side. it's up to Isabel alone to break the chains that bind her.

i appreciated that Isabel was trapped within a microcosm. it felt a natural fit to explore a slavery perspective within the framework of the American Revolution on such a personal level. but that's the glory of historical fiction, now isn't it? to explore what was going on in a wider scope and how that impacts individual stories. and how fortunate for me that the ya-lit  heavyweight Laurie Halse Anderson should write a historical fiction book set in my FAVE historical setting? good stuff.

Anderson has this way of writing that clearly identifies itself as young adult but is done so with the utmost maturity and quality.  she puts words and images to emotions that resonate strongly with me as an adult reader, but for sure make sense to young readers as well. it's a rare treat for a reader to experience an author can transcend ages as she does and retain excellent storytelling.

this is the first book in her Seeds of Revolution trilogy. Forge has already dropped, and i'll definitely be adding it to my stuff-i-should-read-in-2011 list.

fave quote: "I was lost. I knew that we were in the cellar of a house on Wall Street, owned by the Locktons, in the city of New York, but it was like looking at a knot, knowing it was a knot, but not knowing how to untie it. I had no map for this life." (49)

fix er up: it took me awhile to get into the pace of the plot. this was by no means a 'thriller' or packed with action of the conventional sort. once i was comfortable in the pace, the story just flew.

title: Chains (Seeds of America, Book 1)
author: Laurie Halse Anderson
genre: Historical Fiction


thanks to one of my fave (if not my absolute fave) bloggers Leila at Bookshelves of Doom, an issue which i thought seemed pretty laughable - only because of it's ridiculousness - has been brought to the forefront of my attention.

apparently there are readers out there who are downloading illegal copies of e-books at an alarming rate. (how they are doing this is beyond me...i'm such a noob when it comes to illegal things. seriously, i would have ZERO idea of how to buy drugs or engage in any sort of illegal activity EVER...like do you  just ask someone? do i just do a Google search of  'i want ebooks for free'? idk)

an author has recently shed some light on just how serious this problem is and how intense the impact of illegal downloading is for her work.  Saundra Mitchell, author of Shadowed Summer and The Vespertine (both of which i want to read...legally), shared this on her blog:

"[Shadowed Summer]’s going out of print in hardcover because demand for it has dwindled to 10 or so copies a month. This means I will never get a royalty check for this book. By all appearances, nobody wants it anymore.

But those appearances are deceiving. According to one download site’s stats, people are downloading SHADOWED SUMMER at a rate of 800 copies a week. When the book first came out, it topped out at 3000+ downloads a week.

If even HALF of those people who downloaded my book that week had bought it, I would have hit the New York Times Bestseller list.

If the 800+ downloads a week of my book were only HALF converted into sales, I would earn out in one more month. But I’m never going to earn out. And my book is never going to be available in your region, not for lack of trying. My foreign rights agent is a genius at what she does, and has actively tried to sell it everywhere- UK, AU, China, France, you name it, she tried to sell it there.
SHADOWED SUMMER will only be coming out in Italy, because that’s the only place there’s a market for it.

And let me tell you guys… the sales figures on SHADOWED SUMMER had a seriously detrimental effect on my career. It took me almost two years to sell another book. I very nearly had to change my name and start over. And my second advance? Was exactly the same as the first because sales figures didn’t justify anything more. I don’t blame my publisher. There’s weak demand for my books, according to my sales figures.

Meanwhile, 800 copies of my book (worth about $1200 toward my advance, if everyone paid for a copy,) are being downloaded a week."

so you might wonder, as i did, why don't people just buy the book?  here are some responses Mitchell has heard...

They don’t sell your book in my $location, so I downloaded it.

I also hear, I will buy it later, and I don’t have any money, but I want to read it. Authors should make publishers print in $region! and I hate DRM. I download it, but then I recommend it to other people to buy!

okay seriously. let's do a little research here. according to amazon.com, the paperback version of Shadowed Summer is $7.99. the hardcover is $12.47 and the ebook is $6.15. used copies are about $3.  and okay fine, maybe you don't want to straight up buy it...but there are libraries out there, no?

okay but for argument sake, let's say you have NO money (which let's be real, if you have internet access you have $3 to spend on a book) and that there are NO libraries near you (i live in a town of 1200 and i use ILL all the time...) and that the book isn't available in your region. this is what Mitchell suggests: 

"If you really love books, find a way to pay for them. The WORLD wide web is, in fact, world-wide. I bet you know someone in the region that sells the book you want. I bet even if you don’t, you can connect with a fellow book-lover in that region on Twitter.

If you REALLY can’t afford books, ask your library to order them. I love libraries. I love them so much- they buy lots and LOTS of copies, and will rebuy them if they’re very popular. Many are even starting to buy digital copies, so you can read them on your e-reader. When you check my book out from the library, you’re paying for it, just indirectly.

If you really, REALLY can’t afford books, and live in a mushroom village that has no library, then write to my publisher’s publicity department. Ask them for a review copy. And by god, if you get a free review copy- review it! Send that review to my publisher so they can use it! Post it on bookseller websites! Give the review copy away to other readers when you’re done. Pay for it with sweat equity- spreading the word is buying my books.

Because that’s what it boils down to is convenience. People who illegally download books are more interested in their convenience than in supporting the authors they want to read. It’s not hard to go to the library, it just takes time. It’s not hard to buy a physical copy and convert it to a personal digital copy if you’re willing to make the time and effort. It’s not hard to buy a legal digital copy and convert it to the format you want. Dear Author has tutorials. It’s not hard to ask someone in the $region to post you a copy.

You simply have to want to. So if you were inclined to illegally download anyone’s book, if you’re one of the people trying to find an illegal download of my brand new book that’s not even in stores yet: please buy it. Or check it out. Or ask for a review copy.
Or please read another book that’s instantly, and legally, available to you so that books continue to be instantly, and legally, available to you."

that's right. if you're not going to go through the 'trouble' to obtain the book legally, don't bother. seriously. it screws up the numbers for the author - potentially giving them an unnecessary complex - and oh yes STEALING is not okay and illegal etc.

if you want to peep Saundra Mitchell's post, check it out here.
if you want to peep Leila's post, check it out here. there's some decent convo going on in the comments.

this has really put a bee in my bonnet today. if you download ebooks illegally, you're the biggest turd in the world.

Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith

in a sentence or so: our favorite Bennet girls have much to learn if they are going to defend themselves against an onslaught of zombies unmentionables that are popping up all over the place.

while attending a funeral in, the man in the coffin - that they were all expecting to put in the ground later that day - started to stir. and then he sat up. and then he started to claw around clearly wanting some tasty brains. Mr. Bennet has seen this all before, of course. having been around for the first rise of the unmentionables and receiving some kick-ass ninja training, Mr. Bennet is ready for round two with the dreadfuls. the thing is, it's going to take a LOT more than Mr. B to take down a horde of undead. time to clear out his dojo and start training the girls!

unfortunately, Mr. B is a bit rusty with his warrior training. so if he wants the Bennet ladies to be the best warriors they can be, then he'll need to find a trainer for them. enter Master Hawksworth. tall, dark, brooding, (sounds familiar, no?), foreign, and possesses a clear interest in Elizabeth Bennett.  the girls busy their days in the dojo while the rest of Meryton welcomes a small, young, and quite insignificant supply of troops to protect them from the reanimated hordes.

Mr B. and the girls will need to rely on some very unusual allies if they have any hope of surviving the dreadfuls.  unusual ally number one: Lord Lumpley, the most high ranking man of the area who just happens to be a huge jerk (i  mean HUGE literally) proves to be much more supportive when he gets to spend time around the sweet and modest Jane.  unusual ally number two: Dr. Kickilpenny (yes! that is his name!), a man trying to understand the zombie existence to help cure the problem at it's roots, who is quirky and the definition of bumbling scientist. Elizabeth finds herself relating to the good Doctor and relaxing around him more than she'd like to admit. unusual ally number three: there's the troops that have been sent to help protect Meryton from being completely devoured...but they aren't exactly open to the idea of women warriors tainting the name of English Women everywhere.

rigorous training, forming alliances with less than desirable characters, and trying repeatedly to shrug off the obvious contempt and disdain for their horribly unladylike behavior, the Bennet sisters have their work cut out for them before the unmentionables can even get within their katana striking range.

this is about as close to fan-fiction as i care to tread. thankfully, i'm a big Austen fan and was more than a little interested in continuing with this series. Hockensmith creates some silly banter and stayed true to who i believe the Bennet family to be. i was bummed it wasn't more 'Austen' feeling in the writing, but not so bummed that it kicked me out of the story. as with PP&Z, the illustrations are silly and awesome. more than a light and silly read, however, Hockensmith weaves some drama and presents some serious decisions for all of the characters to make.

again, as with PP&Z, if you like Pride and Prejudice and you think zombie stories are fun, you'll like this. i did!

fave quote: "'Umm...what if we don't want to be warriors?' 'Then I will disown you, and you will, most likely, be torn apart and eaten by a pack of festering corpses.' Mr. Bennet moved his gaze around the room, looking at each of the other girls in turn. 'Any more questions?'" - exchange between Lydia and Mr. B (27 | 286 Nook)

fix er up: just a tad more of the Austen style i know and love would have been fabulous.

title: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls
author: Steve Hockensmith
genre: Zombies, Historical Fiction

bloody jack challenge

i've had this series on my "i need to read this sometime in the non-defined future" forevah. so when i saw a promising tweet from Kristen over at Bookworming in the 21st Century, i took it as a sign from the universe (again - having just had a sign from the universe for Twin Peaks etc).

so i'm jumping in the Bloody Jack challenge with both feet. i'm challenging myself to read the whole dang series. unless of course i don't like it...but pessimism aside, i'm giving it a go! you should too! reading is fun!

the challenge details are here.

the details about the Bloody Jack series are here (and at the contest host site, which is pretty fabs).

okay seriously, i have GOT to stop with the challenges now. sometimes i think i get more out of organizing tasks than completing tasks. (nerd alert)

yet another obsession...sigh

my friend Eriks watched Twin Peaks about a year ago, and has insisted that the hubs and i would love it.

sometimes, the forces of the universe align in such a way that ignoring something that's meant to be is impossible. in this case, the force of the universe was Amazon's Gold Box Deal and the Meant To Be was Twin Peaks. who are we to resist the lure of the Amazon beast?

so thanks to a ridiculously cheap deal, the hubs and i have started watching Twin Peaks. i've only watched the pilot and know next to nothing about what to expect or where it's going...but it's probably the best thing ever. it's creepy, quirky, over-acted, dramatic, and genuinely mysteriously fascinating. as a Law and Order junkie, i am all about a good crime solving show with overly dramatic music and crazy situations.

also, this picture is in the closing credits of each episode.

you know that's creepy as hell. it's the girl who died (that's not a spoiler, it's the opening scene. fyi) and that picture is in my NIGHTMARES from one stinkin' episode.

murder mystery + teenagers + quirky FBI agent + quirky EVERYONE IN TOWN + shady dealings = mega win (especially considering this was a sight unseen purchase).

Review: The Musician's Daughter by Susanne Dunlap

in a sentence or so: Theresa's dad is murdered and his body is brought home in the middle of the night.  the musicians who bring him to the doorstep leave her with little information and a whole lot of mystery to unravel.

Theresa loves music almost as much as she loved her father. his death is almost too much for her to bear...but she must find out what happened to him. her father had many secrets and dealings of which she had no idea, but is slowly starting to unravel. where is his violin? why wasn't he performing with the other musicians on Christmas Eve like he was supposed to?

Zoltan, the attractive musician who performed in her father's ensemble, guides Theresa to pieces of the puzzle that allow her to begin to put it all together. the first piece she discovers about her dad is that he was involved with the Gypsies. you know, unpredictable and scary foreigners who live on the edges of society? yeah, those Gypsies. and if Theresa wants to find out what happened to her father, she's going to have to find out more about them.

in the meantime, she must find a way to keep food on the table for her brother, mother, and baby-sibling-on-the-way. thankfully, she can pick up where her father left off as a copyist for her godfather who composes for the royal family...but her mom is in a hurry to get her married off. enter creepy as HECK uncle who promised a dowry to her and is shady and sketchy as you can possibly imagine. the worst part is, Theresa suspects that her uncle has something to do with her father's murder.

the allure of historical fiction carry this book. the whole 18th-century-Vienna scene is intriguing enough in itself, quite frankly. the historical details are all there, which helps the reader immerse in the cobblestone streets and houses lit by candles.  unfortunately, i felt like this wasn't as polished and put together as it could have been.  the overall story was fun with the Gypsies and the court intrigue and what not, and the author dabbles in some seriously creepy stuff with the uncle (which i LOVED)...but i felt like there was a lack of cohesiveness. like all the parts didn't quite balance out or something.

if you're looking for a historical fiction mystery with a slight romance angle and a couple dark twists and turns,
give this a read. i liked it, wanted to love it...but it didn't quite reach my expectations.

fave quote"Mirela took the medallion in her hand and gazed at it as if she were trying to read the future in her palm. 'It is a curious thing,' she murmured at last, 'to touch history. Looking into the past is very much like seeing the ages to come.'" (193)

fix er up: as i mentioned, the pieces didn't quite craft a cohesive flow and polished finished that the author was capable of. the content itself was posh and eloquent, and i really really hoped the story would be too.

title: The Musician's Daughter
author: Susanne Dunlap
genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery

Review: Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby

in a sentence or so: Sarah skips a group outing during a school field trip to go boating with local hottie, Andy. due to some poor planning, they end up stranded out in the middle of the everglades, struggling to survive.

Sarah's a bit of an outcast at school.  she got in to the prestigious (snob-a-licious) school thanks to her swimming scholarship, and the fact that her mom is a lunch lady isn't scoring her any social points with her fellow classmates either.

determined to fit in (or please her teacher), Sarah signs up for a weekend trip to the everglades. immediately regretting having to spend a weekend with four uber-snob girls, a dozen disinterested boys, and insane amounts of dangerous animals, Sarah is relieved to peep a cute boy just outside of their campground. he offers to take her out on an airboat ride, which she obviously accepts and ditches the group.

while Andy is a cute country bumpkin, thorough he is not. he forgot to put an air-cap back on the boat before they left the dock, and the boat sinks while Andy and Sarah are having an adorable little picnic. they are miles away from the campground and no one knows where they are...or that they're even together. Sarah and Andy must find their way back to civilization with almost no food, one bottle of gatorade, a baby duck (orphaned by Sarah's crazy air-boat driving), and each other.

i'm not huge on survival fiction, but i was craving something different from the typical stuff flooding the YA market at the moment.  so when i saw this on netgalley, i was pretty stoked. the details the author provides create a vivid picture of their survival, their surroundings, and the underlying beauty of such a dangerous place.

i was frustrated that i didn't feel like i knew Sarah or Andy at all before we head into the wild. a little more character development would have been appreciated for sure. i like to anticipate what a character will do - and then use that as a measure for growth or consistency. with Sarah, i wasn't sure what to expect...so that fell flat for me.

this was realistic without being over-dramatic. the reader does get to know Sarah through her ordeal in her flashes of guilt for ditching her teacher, frustration with Andy, frustration with herself, and determination to keep Teapot (the baby duck) alive through it all.

for a quick read, this was pretty good. not fabs, but enjoyable for sure.

fave quote: "The guilt and regret I suddenly feel are crushing. It had been a tiny little lie, just because I wanted a couple of hours of fun and maybe make a friend. Now look at  us. Up to our asses in alligators. Isn't that the expression?" (170|266 Nook) i wish Sarah were always this sassy...but alas, this is a rare glimpse of her sassyness, but provided some depth i was craving.

fix er up: there were elements i felt the author took on that were better left untouched. such as - the reveal of Sarah being black (idek what that was about...), Andy's father being a confederate, the gawky-not-so-much-but-still-kinda love story between them. at it's core, this was a solid read with extraneous elements i thought could be shed...or needed to be further developed.

title: Lost in the River of Grass
author: Ginny Rorby
genre: Realistic, Survival

Review: Dead to the World (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book Four) by Charlaine Harris

in a sentence or so: Eric has lost his mind - quite literally. Jason goes missing. Bill's gone to Peru. Sookie is in the middle of it all being the sassy, witty, country bumpkin we all love.

okay so this is going to be a bit difficult considering there is no WAY i can review this without spoilers to the previous books in the series. so i'll just ramble on about what i liked and what i didn't like. deal?

so in this installment of the adventures of Sookie Stackhouse, she is on her way home from Merlotte's when she finds Eric on the side of the road. only  he has no idea who he is or where he's going...perfect. she takes him in, because she's just like that (caring), and gets swept up in a turf war between the Vamps, the Weres, and some Witches.

i just love Sookie. i can't help myself - she is so dang charming. her inner monologue is the best! she's realistic and sassy and just trying to survive the crazy world with Vampires, Weres, and all other sorts of supernatural creatures.  this is obviously a guilty pleasure read for me, but that's not to say that this isn't good writing. what i lurve about these books is that i'm so comfortable in them.  i mean, it's the 4th book into the series, so i'm pretty familiar with the characters and the setting and all of that so it's like slipping into a comfy pair of sweatpants. and i LOVE me some sweatpants. but what's even more appealing to me is that the entire book is like having a sleepover. seriously - when i read these, i feel like i'm sitting across the couch from Sookie and we're eating cookie dough (in sweatpants, obv) and she's telling me a long story. there's a sense of familiarity and playfulness that you feel with a friend.

if you're a fan of the other books in the series, you'll dig this one. the fresh love interest (later Bill) is a fun twist, but it's Sookie's voice that provides the consistency and Harris's mystery that you crave to solve.

two things

one: if you have not already watched Batman: The Animated Series, i suggest you get on that before you miss out on the greatest animated series of anything ever. it's so clever. it's so dark. it features mark hamill as the joker which is SO much more awesome than you can imagine. it's so funny. it's so tricky. it's the best evah.

two: if you have seen B:TAS, start reading these. http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/tvshow/batman-the-animated-series,149/

just when you thought the AV club couldn't get any better, they started reviewing all the glory that is B:TAS.

so much nerd love right now. so much.

netgalley ftw

okay, so a few months ago i tried to get in on the netgalley action with my nook, but could NOT figure out how to transfer the .epub from my computer to my nook. i KNOW that's horribly noob of me, but it's the truth.

then i started to get an itch to read some not-yet-released YA and i knew netgalley was my best shot. so i tried again, with moderate success...except that i still couldn't get the books to my stupid nook. thank GOD for Reclusive Bibliophile who helped me put on my big girl pants and got them transferred over. turns out, it was just as easy as it seemed, i'm just a bidoof.

thanks to netgalley and my nook (and badass publishers), i'll be reading Savannah Grey, Lost in the River of Grass, and The Atomic Weight of Secrets or the Arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black


i've found a new nerd love

so i get Entertainment Weekly, right? and in it this past week, i saw that Merlin was starting up again. with this knowledge, i asked the hubs where he ended up on the whole Merlin thing. Andrew is quite well known for watching just about any and every tv show...whether he likes it or not.

okay so i ask about Merlin, and he's all sheepish and weird and super self conscious that he likes it. so i try it (thanks to netflix instant queue).

let's just say it's arthurian legend bonded with awkward adolescence , an animotronic dragon, so much angst i can hardly stand it, sassyness oozing out it's ears, and british accents. 

i'm in love. obvs.

seriously. peep this and tell me it's not the culmination of nerdy glory you've been looking for...

fingers crossed i can live my life while being obsessed with this action. spoiler alert: nope.

Review: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

in a sentence or so: Mackie, a self-aware changeling, is getting sicker by the day. the more sick he gets, the more he learns he'll need to explore the world beneath. the world filled with demons and the dead come back to life. the world he came from.

Mackie can't stand the smell of blood. and not like he feels a little faint or whatever. he literally cannot be around blood without puking and passing out. iron and steel burn his skin and he can't step on consecrated ground. it turns out that Mackie isn't really Mackie at all...he's a changeling. more common than the people of Gentry would like to admit, he's just one of the mysterious occurrences the townsfolk pretend don't exist.

when he was merely months old, Malcolm Doyle was swapped out of his crib with the character we know as Malcom Doyle. he knows that Gentry is different. that there are things no one talks about and keeps buried in their heart of hearts. that doesn't mean Mackie can go around outing himself as a changeling, however.  his entire life has been to keep his secret a secret, and to do anything to avoid drawing attention to himself for even the smallest thing (like his total weakness to blood, for example).

the problem is, secrets can't stay secrets forever. especially when Mackie is having a harder time living in the iron-heavy world. he can't even get a ride from his best friend without nearly passing out. the world Mackie came from is reaching out to him, offering to help him feel better...but can he trust them? i mean, they do steal babies after all. but again, does he have a choice? if he wants to live in a world where he doesn't belong, he needs to get help from the world that knows him.

okay, i had heard a good amount of buzz about this book. i get a little apprehensive when i read a ton of positive reviews...so i started with a chip on my shoulder about it. i did adore the cover, and the idea of a changeling, but i've been burned by the paranormal cliche before.

thank goodness Mackie is self-aware, which cut out the whole trite discovery phase. such a relief.  he knows he's different, his family knows he's different.  just how different, or how he came to be in their family, is the mystery. that makes a substantially better plot than spending time on his feelings of awareness or other's awareness, which rocked.  i loved his broken, authentic, voice. he lacks any shred of self-confidence...which is pretty understandable considering he has no sense of self.

the totally superstitious town - old world style superstition with leaving out the milk for a friendly sprite and hanging scissors over the bed - was such a cool element to this story.  there was just as much to learn about the town as there was about Mackie, and i liked the way they played off of each other.  the way the facts were revealed, both about the town and about Mackie, was fresh and innovative and exactly what i was hoping for in this read.

the themes of love, perception, and self-discovery permeate the book.  in a town that's saturated in secrets and lies, Mackie searches for truth and acceptance. his search for who he is leads him to some really freaky people, both above and below ground. because honestly, for every freaky monster below the surface there is a heartless human above.

fave quote: "Now there was an empty space around her that made me think of quarantine. It was unsettling to realize that it didn't take much to make you an outcast. All you needed was for something terrible to happen." (page 12|234 Nook)

fix er up: there were a couple sloppy plot points i felt weren't really resolved. all of these were on the fringes of the story, so they didn't really impact the core of the story flow...but were enough to make me wonder if the book would have been better without them at all.

title: The Replacement
author: Brenna Yovanoff
genre: Edgy, Fantasy

hello contest

okay seriously this contest was MADE for me.

Thank God It's Free Books Monday (tgifbm) is happening over at http://cindypon.com/2011/tgifbm-goes-to-france/. and oh my gursh is it a doosy! check it out, enter, and thank me all over the place if you win!

fingers crossed i start off f2011 on the best note evah.