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Review: The Vampire Stalker by Allison Van Diepen

in a sentence or so: Amy is head over heels in love with a boy from a book. when their worlds collide and danger crosses over from fiction to reality, Amy will have to rely on the boy who's stolen her heart to protect her from the vampire trying to destroy her world.

Amy is obsessed with The Otherworld series, which is about two cousins trying to save the world by stalking and killing some seriously dangerous vampires. while most fans swoon over the sweet and charismatic James, Amy finds herself writing fan fiction centered around the dark and brooding Alexander. when Alexander comes through a portal between Otherworld and our world, Amy is caught between total fangirldom (hello, she's only been obsessing about him for YEARS) and fear with knowing the most dangerous vampire ever  has crossed over as well. can Alexander stop Vigo from terrorizing the entirety of Chicago? will Alexander live up to all of Amy's expectations? and how is it that Otherworld turned out to be a real place, and not just a place of fiction? can Amy be helpful in restoring balance, or will she only get in the way of Alexander's stalking of the most dangerous vampire EVAH?

while it definitely started off feeling like YA, by the end i was convinced it is more in the middle grade camp. the idea of having fictional people become real is a fun one to explore, but it never really get's deeper than "oh, that's cool". the relationship between Amy and Alexander is comfortably predictable. something that surprised me in a oh-so-awesome way was the relationship between Amy and her friends, her teacher, and her mom/sister. i love getting to know characters through their relationships, and this was a great way for us to learn more about the situation and plot. it didn't totally redeem the book for me, but reading this certainly wasn't a waste of time either.

on a fun note, this book gives some serious nods to the bookish community. Amy writes fan fiction and comments on forums. she attends book signings. she attends release parties. the hip librarian asks for advance review copies of books to help diversify the school library. if you're a book blogger, or even just an avid reader, you will get these winks and nods and love them up.  for those of you who aren't totally immersed in the bookish community, i think you'll still appreciate the insight into the bookish world. while heavily referenced in the beginning, the plot shifts on to What Are We Going To Do About The Vampire Situation, so that works out nicely.

an original idea accompanied by predictability and bookish shoutouts make for an easy and enjoyable read, if you keep your expectations in check.

fave quote: "I hated when I was stupid in dreams." (55)

fix er up: the relationship with the dad was so loosely tied in and clunky, it would have been better to just omit the whole shebang.

title: The Vampire Stalker
author: Allison Van Diepen
genre: Fantasy, Vampire, Romance
publishing information: June 2011, Scholastic Point

buy The Vampire Stalker by Allison Van Diepen from Amazon

[ftc notice: i received an advance copy of this book from the publisher for a non-biased review. i was not compensated in any way.]

West Wing Wednesday: The State Dinner

West Wing Wednesdays is hosted by Lisa the Nerd and Laura of A Little Mole. For previous West Wing Wednesdays, click on the "West Wing Wednesday" label at the end of this post.  For the details on what exactly West Wing Wednesdays are, check out the original post. 

Season 1 Episode 7: The State Dinner

what went down:
- potential that we'll actually see the first lady? and she'll be wearing manolo blahniks? yes please. 
- hurricane Sara is heading for the greater Georgia area, people are going on strike, a farmhouse in Idaho has some crazy cult action going down and will be taken by force soon but mostly people are interested in the buckle on the first lady's manolos. oh and also the state dinner is for the President of Indonesia. 
- the strike is over two-tier hiring. the staff is split over the fairness of the issue. 
- Mandy takes the lead on the Idaho standoff. we all cringe because we hate Mandy and she'll probably eff it up.
- Toby and Sam have to work together on the toast. Toby has a chip on his shoulder about it. 
- secret plans are going down with Toby and Josh. i'm interested because i think Josh is fabulous. 
- Leo tightens the reins on some negotiations. 
- Mandy discovers that the raid thing in Idaho is going to be PR disaster because the US sold the illegal weapon in question. she remains headstrong and insists she knows best. i'm not convinced because i hate her. 
- Sam is more concerned with how the prosty is dressed than the fact that he's with a prosty in broad daylight and some cheesy college cafe. but i can't blame him because she's wearing a denim jacket and pink sunglasses on her head. also, i predict she'll be someone's date for the state dinner. 
- potus takes Mandy's idea for getting the crazies out of the house in Idaho. 
- YOU GUYS. Charlie's family is missing in GA from the hurricane. :( (edit: this is not resolved in the episode)
- Mandy looks like a turd in a wig in that gaudy evening dress. all the dudes look fabulous. so does CJ.
- there's some translation issues and it's a huge oversight. i have a sincerely hard time believing that the state department would overlook the fact that there is no Indonesian language OR that the Indo-Pres wouldn't bring his own. 
- mrs. potus looks kinda white trashy. that being said, she seems to have her shit together and is aware of the happenings around the white house. 
- I WAS RIGHT about the prosty. lisa: 1 surprises: 0
- the hurricane is heading right for a cluster of ships off of a battle carrier fleet - 12,000 dudes or so. CJ and Leo decide to go to the party. 
- Mandy's idea tanked because the crazies shot the negotiator because they are CRAZY. as my husband would say, no doi. let's make that lisa: 2 surprises 0
- potus wants to talk to the battle carrier fleet and about the negotiator who was shot. but he has to go back to the party because he's the potus and all. anyway it's obviously weighing on his heart.
- Toby got TOLD from the statesman of Indonesia and was reminded that America systematically killed Native Americans so we have no room to talk re: genocide. point taken. 
- mrs. potus knows what the potus is up to and why. she later supports and encourages him while bringing him back down to earth. i kinda like her.
- Sam offers to pay prosty 10k to go home with him instead of the dude she came with. it was pathetic and sad. 
- potus goes to talk to someone from the fleet. JOSH AND MANDY ARE SNUGGLING IN THE BACK OF THE ROOM and i hate it so very much it's all i can look at until the camera zooms in far enough. and then the potus stays on the line the whole time with the fleet boy who is dying. it made me tear up a bit. 

what it means:
- we hear you loud and clear that The People only ever like to hear about FASHION and not about boring real news. 
- CJ is going to have a new romance and i'm so excited about it.
- Toby needs to let Sam write the speeches. particularly around being friendly.
- first lady knows the potus pretty well, so we may as well use her words as truth whenever they're spoken. 
- potus continues to have a big heart and the best of intentions. 

what i thought:
- i hate Josh's assistant. while i obviously don't approve of the Indonesians beheading of sorcerers (LOVE YOU RON WEASLEY), i don't like her chattering on and on about it. she's super obnoxious. also, Donna says later (after she EFFS UP HUGE) that Josh should remember all the things she does right. which is NOTHING so i hope she gets canned soon. 
- Mandy is jonesing on Josh something hard. i dislike it a lot. 
- "i can't figure out how someone like him can win an election. then i remember that we usually rig the election." - potus/the voice of truth
- Toby writes on legal pad. Sam writes on an apple laptop. thanks, Mr. Sorkin, for reminding us that Toby = old school and Sam = new age and they need each other for balance. 
- CJ and Danny (press dude) flirting was adorable. 
- as mrs. potus said, Jed (potus) is a man with a big brain, a kind heart, and an ego the size of Montana. i am loving him so so so sooooo much.
- closing shot is Leo. who even knows. 

how do you decide what to read next?

lately i've been having a super hard time deciding what to read next. i alternate between having a pile of books to read - usually only five at a time or so - to having a totally blank slate. i have a rough idea of when my review books need to be done, but not nearly as organized or well thought out of a list as i could have...

so i'm curious. how do you decide what to read next?

after about a week or so, i'll write a follow up post for this poll to chat about the results and maybe even set some goals for myself.

suggestions/pointers/encouragement/insight/random blatherings are welcome, per usual.

Twilight Re-Read Along

hello there twihards. today is the day you've been waiting for. it's the Twilight re-read along kickoff y'all!

if you haven't linked up already, you totally should. you can do that right here at Ginger's post.

so here's how this works. each Monday we'll rotate the discussion. today Ginger has the first five questions for the first five chapters. you write your own post and link it up RIGHT HERE next Monday. (since i'm hosting that week).

here's the ongoing breakdown of the discussion:

Monday, June 27: Ginger of GReads - Ch. 1-5
      *Post 5 questions for chapters 1-5

Monday, July 4: Lisa (that's meeee)- Ch. 6-10
     *Post Ginger’s answers for 5 questions on chapters 1-5
     *Post 5 NEW questions for chapters 6-10

Monday, July 11: Jacinda of Reading Housewives of Indiana - Ch. 11-15
      *Post Lisa’s answers for 5 questions on chapters 6-10
      *Post 5 NEW questions for chapters 11-15

Monday, July 18: Yani of The Secret Life of an Avid Reader - Ch. 16-20
        *Post Jacinda’s answers for 5 questions on chapters 11-15
        *Post 5 NEW questions for chapters 16-20

Monday, July 25: Jasmine of Reading Housewives of Indiana - Ch. 21-24 + epilogue
        *Post Yani’s answers for 5 questions on chapters 16-20
        *Post 5 NEW questions for chapters 21-24 + epilogue

Monday, August 1: Ginger of GReads - Round-up + Finale
        *Post Jasmine’s answers for 5 questions on ch. 21-24 + epilogue
        *Post an over-all finale/ask feedback

if you haven't signed up yet, you should totally link it up over at GReads! also, Charlie Swan says hey.
what up.

series thoughts

thanks for sticking with me through the vacay! i'll be back and scheduling soon, i'm pretty sure. you know, after i sleep 53293174 hours.

to conclude the week of reruns, i share with you this post of mine that always gets the most views each month. ENJOY.

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 gaveIronside 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. UPDATE: I'm going to give this series a try...honest.

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!