Posts tagged ‘Books’

July 27, 2012

Not your Usual Case of Schizophrenia

Last week or so, I did a post raving about my newfound love of Dan Wells, an unbelievably awesome horror/fantasy author. Well, I’m here to tell you folks that he’s done it again with his recently released novel The Hollow City. Following the trend he created in I am Not a Serial Killer, Wells toys with the idea of another mental illness, Schizophrenia.

Michael Shipman is a young man whose life seems to be perfectly normal, despite his debilitating unexplainable fear of electronic devices. When he wakes up in a hospital after a strange two week disappearance, doctors diagnose him with Schizophrenia and send him back to a mental facility he had attended as part of his therapy for anxiety. The only problem is that the focus of his delusions matches the victims of a serial killer.

Hollow City was interesting to me, mainly because it showed the breakdown of a man’s reality. That sounds absolutely horrible, but in the end that’s what Hollow City was to me. Shipman goes through this stage, believing that he’s perfectly normal and he only has mild anxiety only to realize that it’s all a delusion. Nearly everything he believed about his life was created by his own mind, and somethings he thought to be real actually existed. There is an amazing fantasy element that the novel is centered around, in a round about sort of way.

I’m going to start giving books a star value now, it seems legit. For Hollow City, I would award 4 1/2 stars.

July 8, 2012

Finding Dan Wells.

So I was just at work, minding my own business, when my boss requested that I clean up the YA section. As you might guess, that’s my favorite part of any work day. I bopped on back to the display, and instead of actually working…I scanned the covers for something interesting. This cover popped out at me:

Image

It looked AWESOME, The girl on the cover didn’t seem to be killing herself or floating in water, she looked strong, ergo my immediate interest. Plus, you can’t beat a dystopian future that has the Manhattan skyline in it. So I devoured it (and not in a literal book eating sense). The female protagonist was brilliant and I was surprised at the amount of actual research that had gone into creating the background for the genetics in the book. The woman who wrote the book (and i assumed it was a woman because the characters voice just sounded so, well, feminine) had to be like a scientist or something, like Kathy Reichs! I was wrong. There’s no other way to say that; Dan Wells, is a man, and doesn’t seem to be a super scientist (but if he is please feel free to tell me!)

After finishing Partials I had this strange hope that there would be a second book in the series already published. Like the first book was just on the NEW book display by chance, or because of a misfile. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case (Fragments will be released in 2013). I set off to find something else by him, and I did.

I Am Not A Serial Killer is about a teenage boy named John Wayne Cleaver who has a particular set of rules to stop his sociopathic tendencies from forming into well, actual serial killer tendencies. He is unpredictable, charming, funny, and strangely, easy to relate too. Wells also takes time to explain why John’s sociopathic tendencies are so strong. Whether it was the family owned mortuary he lived and worked at, or his abusive absentee father, there are highly plausible explanations. The novel was amazing. In addition to having this intensely interesting pyschological profile for his main character, it’s a fantasy/horror novel. Think, demons, murders, and an internal battle between the sociopath identity he denies and the guy he wishes he could be.

I finished it in a few hours and then made my boss get me the next two novels. Mr. Monster, and I Don’t Want to Kill You. They are equally amazing, and I recommend Dan Wells in general as a writer. I’m off to read some more, Hollow City by Wells was released on the 3rd, and I received it from my boss yesterday . Happy Reading!

May 2, 2012

Judgmental Bookseller Ostrich!

I’m trying this post again, because my code was acting funky, Sorry for the repeated posts!

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April 30, 2012

Book Marketing

I’ve been taking some advertising and marketing classes for pure entertainment, and I really actually like them. As a result, I took a gander at some book marketing strategies that companies, authors, and agents have been doing and I decided to do a quick rundown of the strategies they use.

First, the book trailer.
Possibly the most annoying thing every created by the internet. It’s a book commercial. These things can make even the best books look kind of boring, and I just have never really liked them. But I understand their purpose, these spots are usually only 30seconds, and whether they’re aired on TV or just on YouTube, they let people know that books are coming out.

Then, my personal favorite: Author interaction.
Plenty of famous authors have had websites since the internet began, but they couldn’t interact with their fans in a quick and convient way (yeah email existed, but who answered those?). Twitter, (which has connected me to many of my favorite authors in recent years) is an awesome way for authors to get in touch with potential readers, agents, and publishers. It’s also great for people who have already been published who want to let people know about their books!
One great example of this is an author who I began following recently, S.M. Boyce. Her book is a fantasy called The Grimoire: Lichgates (you can get it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords). She followed me on twitter, and I decided to follow back. Then a few days later she tweeted that her book was free on Amazon for the day. I downloaded it to my kindle, and I’m really enjoying it.

Third is publisher promotion:

Those are just published Pinterest pages, but you get the idea. Publishers spend time promoting their books in ways they havent before, and I love it. They promote new releases, and old titles, and just plain interact with fans of books. Except now, publishers aren’t these weird book middle-men. They’re these cool groups of people who are passionate about what they do, and they spend lots of time on twitter, Facebook and Pinterest letting people know about cool new products (aka awesome new books).

I miss my childhood though. When I would just go to the bookstore and see shiny new book covers, and choose them based on how cool they looked. I still do that a lot, but it’s getting harder since when I’m at school the closest bookstore is a Walmart.

This post is going to get a follow-up of all my favorite author/publisher twitter pages and Pinterests.

April 9, 2012

Finally – A Bookstore

Prior to yesterday’s visit to my favorite lovely bookstore. I hadn’t been book shopping in a legitimate place for about 2months — to me that’s a freakishly long time and I don’t know why it’s been that long. Nonetheless I picked up some books, and some nice gossip from my coworkers.

In case you haven’t heard about 50 Shades of Grey, (our main topic of discussion) it’s the erotic twilight fan fiction that gained it’s own (not very unique) cast of characters, that has a major BDSM (look it up I shall not discuss this) theme. Nonetheless the book’s been recognized in the NY Times. Our gossip ranged from the original print price of the book (over $30) to who bought it most recently (a 40 year old man who came in with his young daughter). It seems interesting from what I’ve heard, but I don’t think I’ll be reading it anytime soon. If anyone out there on the interwebs has gotten to it (and you aren’t embarrassed to admit it) let me know how it was!

On to things I did buy!

This is a brilliant sounding dystopian that I heard about a few months ago and never picked up because I’m cheap in real l life. I found a copy of it half off in my store. So add employee discout to that, and I bought it!

This book sounds like What Happened to Lani Garver and i LOVED that book. So I decided to give this one a shot too!

Can I also just mention how friggin pretty the covers of these books are? They’re so simplistic and gorgeous, and I love it!

March 7, 2012

Five Reasons to Love Historical Fiction. *Spoiler Alert* The Reasons Are Books.

So I’m a bit obsessed with a few genres, steampunk, historical fiction, and fantasy being among them. The other day I tweeted a bit about how I wanted to see more new historical fiction, because I think it’s a fabulous genre that gives a personality to time periods that most people don’t really bother to learn about. Literary historical fiction (i’m giving it that name) is one of my favorite subgenres of it because it gives a new twist to old writing, and as a fan of old and new writing alike I love when an author takes time to recreate a favorite tale.

Witch Child by Celia Rees was one of my first forays into historical fiction, and as a child I refused to acknowledge that I was learning something worthwhile about history while I read it. Now however, after learning quite a bit about the Salem Witch Trials, I see this as a relatively accurate portrayal the time, with a much more fantastic ending. Mary, the main character fled England for America after her grandmother was tried and convicted of witchcraft. Once in America, she finds herself living in a puritanical colony where the same frenzied witch hunt begins.
As Rees’ describes it, it becomes a story of a woman living in two worlds. In the puritanical society in which Mary finds herself, she is considered to be strange despite the fact that no one knows her past. Whereas in the Native American society she ensconces herself in towards the end of the novel, she is revered for her abilities and knowledge.
This story and the follow up novel Sorceress, are among my favorite historical fiction stories because they not only chronicle the  life of Mary, but show how the past and future connect, when her descendant, a Native American teenager named Agnes stumbles upon her diaries (the contents of Witch Child), and goes through a journey that allows her to find herself.

Ophelia by Lisa Klein is pretty much my favorite example of Literary Historical Fiction, because it puts Ophelias perspective into Hamlet. Aside from Macbeth, Hamlet is my favorite Shakespeare play of all time. So reading what Klein had to say about Ophelia, and how her relationship with Hamlet developed was probably one of my favorite parts of the story; Since Ophelia had little to no character development in the actual play. She was perceived to be a wishy-washy female who was governed by her love for Hamlet. In this story however she is strong, intelligent, clever, and she is definitely someone I would want as my new best friend.
I’m looking forward to reading more of Klein’s work now that I’ve rediscovered her (I bought this book several years ago, and forgot about it till recently). The books she writes all seem engaging and entertaining and most importantly, they’re all historical fiction. (Cue my happy dancing).

I think that most of the Historical Fiction novels I enjoy have female heroines because I like to see how the women interact with their time period, and this one is no different. Set in 1912, A Company of Swans by the much loved Eva Ibbotson, is a fantastic read. It’s centered around Harriet Morton whose only dream is to become a ballet dancer. However when she is offered a professional position, it conflicts with the desires of her strict father, her nanny, and her newly appointed fiance. In true storytelling tradition, she flees to join the ballet company who happens to be going on a tour of the Amazon, a new and wild land that’s mostly jungle. Over the course of the novel she finds love, passion, and most importantly she discovers what it is she wants out of life. Since it is set in a more contemporary time period, it’s actually a little more interesting to see the character development, and compare it to historical fiction novels set in earlier time periods. All of Eva Ibbotson’s books are wonderful, but this one and A Countess Below Stairs deserve honorable mentions for historical fiction.

Ann Rinaldi is famous for her Historical Fiction, and rightly so. Her Novels are well crafted, Interesting, and have always seem to be in the Civil War or American Revolution. At least the 5 I have read are. The Girl in Blue is among my favorites, the second; Finishing Becca, and the third being The Secret of Sarah Revere. Girl in Blue is the one I choose for this, because Sarah Louisa is a bold young girl who after finding out she is to be wed to her despicable neighbor (do you see a trend?) runs away from home. She then concocts a plan to join the army, and does so successfully, fighting alongside her male counterparts. Of course she can’t do that forever, because like Mulan, she gets injured and found out. As a result she becomes a spy for Allen Pinkerton. The book is really really good, and as a young girl I spent nights mulling over what it would be like to fight for the US. Then I realized that I don’t like sports, or fighting, and most of what she did actually just sounded like legal torture. Nonetheless, Ann Rinaldi’s a dynamo, check out her awesome website!

Lastly will be another Celia Rees’ book, because I can’t confine this one to an honorable mention at the end of a bit about Witch Child. Pirates! gets a whole quote.

“I stood with Minerva as our first fight came, pistols primed and slung about me, my cutlass honed and as sharp as a razor, my axe hanging heavy from my belt. I could not keep my legs from shaking, my knuckles were white from gripping the rail, but Minerva had a stillness about her, her features as calm and expressionless as if they had been carved from ironwood. I’d seen the look before, on the faces of Phillis and Thomas and the other slaves when confronted by Duke in his fury. It was not resignation, more a refusal to show any reaction to whatever fate was about to enfold her. I was green and sick with nervousness. She put her hand on mine to steady me, whispering through the cannon’s roar.” -Excerpt from Pirates taken from Celia Rees Website.

This story is a tale of slavery, piracy and adventure. It takes the reader on a journey with main characters who have to do things that they never imagined themselves doing. Whether it’s killing a man in cold blood or running for their lives. Rees’ takes a slave and her mistress who become unlikely friends and sends them off in a battle for some semblance of equality. This book was one that I read as a child because I thought the idea of pirates was cool, and I’d never heard of a woman pirate before. Rereading it as an adult it just sparks a desire for a simpler life where gold was currency, and you didn’t need to be on twitter to know about other peoples lives. Though, the pirate things sounds dangerous, but cool.

I think that Celia Rees and Ann Rinaldi sparked my long lasting love with historical fiction, and I genuinely hope that the market is ready for them, and writers like them again. After years of vampire romance and dystopias, It’ll be truly refreshing to see the past again.

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February 6, 2012

Books! Books! Books!

This month I’m planning on reviewing several things, and it might be easier if I make a list, so that I keep on track.

First off is the follow-up to Demi-Monde.

Then I think I’ll go for The Revisionists.

The Mirage (out tomorrow!) will hopefully be next when I get my hands on it.

Also Bedbugs, which I’ve been meaning to read for months.

It’ll be a fun, steampunky, ghosty, alternate reality, ball of wibbly-wobbly timeywimey awesomeness in books. :]

January 18, 2012

Divergent by Veronica Roth

This is the long and short of Divergent. If you have read the Hunger Games Trilogy in any capacity you will find parallel themes and ideas, and because of that you might not like the series. However there are a few distinct reasons to read Divergent, and then maybe give the rest of the series a try if you feel up to it.
The main character Beatrice is the classic girl under the thumb of her society. In her case unlike Katniss, the society isn’t an evil main government, but a Puritanical faction called the Abnegation who are billed as The Selfless. Now if you think that is a made up word, it’s not. the definition of Abnegation is the act of renouncing or rejecting something, or self denial. She, like any proper teenaged girl feels as if she is being repressed by her society, and envies, despite her teachings, the freedom of other factions, particularly that of the Dauntless. Of course as there is in most dystopian novels, the government gives their young a chance to choose their future, and in Divergent there is an aptitude test that places the young in a neat set of boxes, and gives them the chance to choose one of two factions. Beatrice has her mind made up early in the novel. She cannot stand the life of self-deprecation she is forced to live as a part of the Abnegation, all of which is proven early on in the way she studies herself in the only mirror in her house while her mother trims her hair, or the easy way she lies to others. In a true puritanical style those things are both frowned upon in her faction. So when the aptitude test every student must take allows her choose another faction she takes it.

This is also where the title come into effect. Divergent is the title she’s given. It means that though the majority of the population can only choose between two factions, she can choose between three. For a reason not explained till the end of the novel Divergence is a dangerous thing. That is all that is explained to Beatrice, and to the reader, and it ends up becoming a background feature of the book’s plot-line until nearly the end of the novel. What I found more interesting, and what is essentially made to keep the readers atten

tion, is the character development in Beatrice, her instructor Four, and the Dauntless as a whole.
Beatrice chooses to become Dauntless in the faction ceremony, and it allows the reader an in depth look into the differences between them, her original faction, and the other factions. While the Dauntless are billed as more or less the “Cool Kids” they’re the faction who call themselves brave. Don’t get me wrong on the surface they are. They’re brave for facing their fears, for doing the things that most other people woul

d refuse to do, and most of all they’re brave for defending the colony. However the novel reveals some breaks in the Dauntless ranks that show the cracks in the fundamentals of not just their faction, but the whole society that Beatrice lives in.
I won’t go on, lest I get into the meat of the novel, but that is essentially why Divergent is a

book that should be read. It allows the reader the chance to really get to know the society, and its functions before showing the breakdown. The characters are multidimensional and quite interesting to get to know, and though I didn’t love every little thing about the story; as an overall piece, it’s worth reading. It’s definitely one of those “I read this whole novel in one sitting” books, and the action scenes are also impeccably written

Buy: On AbeBooks

December 6, 2010

The Bride’s Farewell

I’ve been a huge fan of Meg Rosoff since she released How I Live Now back in 2004, and although The Bride’s Farewell, isn’t as new as her new novel Vamoose, which I still haven’t gotten my hands on yet, it was the last of her novels to be released here in the States. I’ve read this novel around 6 times, and the last time I read it I wrote a critical paper for one of my classes on the main character, and how she switched gender roles, and was atypical for the time period in which the author was having the character live. Nonetheless, The Bride’s Farewell is an enchanting novel, and in a mere 214 pages you get brought into the characters life, and fall in love, not only with her but the world in which she lives.

At the start of the book, you get introduced to Pell Ridley, who has decided to run away on the morning of her wedding to escape the marriage she dreads. The story from then on is of how she survived leaving the house, as a woman, alone in the year of 1850 something. While there are brief interruptions of her formative life, each one gets its own chapter, and serves mainly as background information, as to how Pell got to that point. For those who have read Meg Rosoff’s other works, Pell Ridley is similar to How I Live Now‘s Daisy, in that she is strong, and opinionated, but entirely different otherwise. While Daisy gives into her love, Pell rejects it, and if you’re looking for a book that is filled with romance and adventure, only one of those things will be fulfilled with this book, and it’s certainly not romance. Pell lived an exciting, life, and the story does not end with her death, but rather a new sort of beginning for her character.

I sincerely hope I haven’t given too much of the book away, but it is one that I have thoroughly enjoyed time and time again, and for fans of Rosoff’s earlier work this book will be a great read, until her upcoming book There is No Dog, which is slated to be released in Spring 2011 in England, is made available to American publishers.

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