Friday, December 31, 2010

Out with a Bang Readathon: Book Sentence Mini-Challenge


I'm still involved in the read-a-thon, and not getting much reading done. Too many things going on. But I am getting more reading in than usual, and getting closer to finishing my books.

And Reading Teen is having a mini-challenge. Use three or more books to create a sentence or phrase. Here's mine:

"Darling Jim, For the love of Pete, dust the tower, the zoo and the tortoise!"

And now, back to reading!

I Wanna...Feed by Mira Grant

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.

NOW, twenty years after the Rising, Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives-the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will out, even if it kills them.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Out with a Bang Read-a-thon: Photo Montage Mini-Challenge


Andrea of Loud Words & Sounds is holding a mini-challenge requiring you to provide three images that best represent the theme of the chapter that you are currently reading. My current book is:


Now, before I do the mini-challenge let me warn any readers of possible SPOILERS! I just finished the Busted section of the book and am now beginning "Blood Everywhere" on page 821. Here is my photo montage...

There is currently a dome over the city of Chester's Mill, cutting it off from the rest of the world.
Neighbor is turning on neighbor. Some are deceitful and lying, some are mentally unstable, and others are just plain scared...
...and there is a mysterious black box, which may be behind the mysterious appearance of the dome.







That's it in a nutshell! Now back to reading!

Out with a Bang Read-a-thon Update


I haven't had much time to read during the read-a-thon as yet, but I have made a dent. I had to work a good portion of today, and will be getting back to reading again in a bit.

At this point I have about 250 pages left in Under the Dome and 160 pages left in Darling Jim. We'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Out with a Bang Readathon


I am participating in the "Out with a Bang" Readathon for the next few days, in hopes of finishing up a couple of books before the new year. This Readathon, hosted by The Bookish Type and Book-Savvy, will run December 29-31.

My goal is to try to finish up Darling Jim by Christian Moerk and Under the Dome by Stephen King.

I won't be able to really join in until this afternoon, as I have some things to do today. But I'll be sneaking in a little reading this morning. I will also need to take some time over the next few days to take down Christmas decorations and such, but I still endeavor to read more than usual and perhaps even finish both of the books mentioned.

Let the reading begin!

What's Releasing? (12/29/10 edition)

Books that are releasing the week of 1/4/11:

The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards

The highly anticipated new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Memory Keeper's Daughter
 
With revelations that prove as captivating as the deceptions at the heart of her bestselling phenomenon The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Kim Edwards now gives us the story of a woman's homecoming, a family secret, and the old house that holds the key to the true legacy of a family. 

At a crossroads in her life, Lucy Jarrett returns home from Japan, only to find herself haunted by her father's unresolved death a decade ago. Old longings stirred up by Keegan Fall, a local glass artist who was once her passionate first love, lead her into the unexpected. Late one night, as she paces the hallways of her family's rambling lakeside house, she discovers, locked in a window seat, a collection of objects that first appear to be useless curiosities, but soon reveal a deeper and more complex family past. As Lucy discovers and explores the traces of her lineage00from an heirloom tapestry and dusty political tracts to a web of allusions depicted in stained-glass windows throughout upstate New York-the family story she has always known is shattered, Lucy's quest for the truth reconfigures her family's history, links her to a unique slice of the suffragette movement, and yields dramatic insights that embolden her to live freely. 

With surprises at every turn, brimming with vibrant detail, The Lake of Dreams is an arresting saga in which every element emerges as a carefully place piece of the puzzle that's sure to enthrall the millions of readers who loved The Memory Keeper's Daughter.

Fang (Maximum Ride Series #6) by James Patterson

Angel says that Fang will be the first to die, and Angel is never wrong. Maximum Ride is used to living desperately on the run from evil forces sabotaging her quest to save the world—but nothing has ever come as close to destroying her as this horrifying prophetic message. Fang is Max's best friend, her soul mate, her partner in the leadership of her flock of winged children. A life without Fang is a life unimaginable.

When a newly created winged boy, the magnificent Dylan, is introduced into the flock, their world is upended yet again. Raised in a lab like the others, Dylan exists for only one reason: he was designed to be Max's perfect other half. Thus unfolds a battle of perfection versus passion that terrifies, twists, and turns . . . and meanwhile, the apocalypse is coming.


Also available this week:

Monday, December 27, 2010

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (12-25-10 edition)

NOTE: A reminder that you are free to email me about any giveaways that you are having, if you want me to blog them, and I'll be happy to try to post them even if I am not entering them. Just include a link to the giveaway, what you are giving away, how many copies are being given away, and the deadline in order to assure being included. Email me at nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com.

Here is a list of some giveaways going on in Blogworld*. Please note that new giveaways that were added this week are indented in Blockquotes:
DeRaps Reads is giving away your choice of four books. Deadline is December 30. International!
Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm is giving away your choice of three books. Deadline is January 1. International!
The Book Butterfly is giving away $45 to CSN Stores. Deadline is January 3.

Eating Y.A. Books is having a big birthday bash throughout the month of December. A different book is being added each day for the first 21 days of December! Deadline is...I guess January 4. International!

Splash of Our Worlds is giving away your choice of a book previously reviewed on their blog. Deadline is January 15. International!

Sparkling Reviews is giving a color Nook! Deadline is whenever 1100 followers is reached. International!

Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf is giving away a gently used ARC of Wither. Deadline isn't mentioned, nor whether or not it's international.

*Courtesy Note: Please keep in mind the many, many hours of work that goes into me compiling this list each week. Please be courteous and thoughtful, and do not steal my text. Either recreate your own list, or link to this list and direct your readers here for giveaway information. Thank you so much for your consideration.

Mailbox Monday (12/27/10 edition)

Image licensed from bigstockphoto.com
Copyright stands

Mailbox Monday is brought to us by The Printed Page. I've been holding my books for the last month, and opened all of my packages on Christmas Eve (being a single woman without kids, it's the only way to have something under the tree!). Here are just some of the books I've received over the holiday season:

31 Hours by Marsha Hamilton
Won through Dewey's Read-a-thon

When Carol Meitzner jolts awake in the middle of a long night, she knows — as surely as a mother can know — that her son, Jonas, is in danger. 

His girlfriend doesn't understand why, but she knows she has somehow lost him. Jonas won't answer his phone. And no matter how carefully she shapes them, he won't return her messages. 

His father says it can't be as bad as they fear. 

But it is. 

Jonas is in a safe-house beneath the Brooklyn Bridge. There, in the belief that he can change the world, he ponders his newfound faith — and his specialized training. Over the next 31 hours, he will cleanse himself, mind and body, in preparation for the violent action he means to take when the subways are most crowded. 

Jonas' isolation brings on an inevitable cascade of events. And as this stunning novel moves through the streets and subways of New York we see how lives can accidentally intersect — and how they might tragically fail to. 

Carried by Masha Hamilton's elegant and powerful prose, 31 Hours is a compelling story about the helplessness and frantic hope of the people who can save Jonas — and countless others — if only they can reach him in time.

Home to Woefield by Susan Juby
Won through Library Thing's Early Reviewers

(From a member's review): Sweet and funny tale that follows Pru, a New Yorker who. Upon learning that her uncle has left her a farm, believes that her dreams of a small, self-sustaining farm have come true. When she sets eyes on the neglected farm, complete with ramshackle buildings, a recently burned barn and acreage that can just about sustain a limited amount of weeds, her natural optimism sees only possibilities.

Pru is not alone on the farm, her livestock consists of a lone sheep that has been only half-sheared. It was her late uncle's belief that sheep prefered their "haircuts" to be completed in stages. Together with the depressed sheep, Pru discovers gathers several neighborhood misfits, each with wounds and secrets that define them.

Living on the property is Earl, the 70-something foreman who is astonished by Pru's optimistic dreams for the place. Earl is burdened by secrets. Across the street is Seth, who seems to watch everything that goes on at the farm. He write a celebrity blog while he remains safely within his parents' home. His drinking helps him to forget the high school drama teacher and the scandal that still haunts him. The youngest is the organized and driven Sara, an 11 year old who needs both a home for her prize winning chickens, and an escape from her parents.

The story is told from the point of view of each member of this eccentric group. As they band together to face the challenge of making the farm work, the unlikely group of friends becomes a family. Learning to appreciate what makes each of them special and, more importantly they are able to accept the deeply held secrets that had damaged each of them.


Lipstick in Afghanistan by Roberta Gately
Won from Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing

Roberta Gately’s lyrical and authentic debut novel—inspired by her own experiences as a nurse in third world war zones—is one woman’s moving story of offering help and finding hope in the last place she expected. 

Gripped by haunting magazine images of starving refugees, Elsa has dreamed of becoming a nurse since she was a teenager. Of leaving her humble working-class Boston neighborhood to help people whose lives are far more difficult than her own. No one in her family has ever escaped poverty, but Elsa has a secret weapon: a tube of lipstick she found in her older sister’s bureau. Wearing it never fails to raise her spirits and cement her determination. With lipstick on, she can do anything—even travel alone to war-torn Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11. 

But violent nights as an ER nurse in South Boston could not prepare Elsa for the devastation she witnesses at the small medical clinic she runs in Bamiyan. As she struggles to prove herself to the Afghan doctors and local villagers, she begins a forbidden romance with her only confidant, a charming Special Forces soldier. Then, a tube of lipstick she finds in the aftermath of a tragic bus bombing leads her to another life-changing friendship. In her neighbor Parween, Elsa finds a kindred spirit, fiery and generous. Together, the two women risk their lives to save friends and family from the worst excesses of the Taliban. But when the war waging around them threatens their own survival, Elsa discovers her only hope is to unveil the warrior within. Roberta Gately’s raw, intimate novel is an unforgettable tribute to the power of friendship and a poignant reminder of the tragic cost of war.

April & Oliver by Tess Callahan
Won from Jo-Jo Loves to Read

(From Publisher's Weekly:) In this memorable debut, Callahan offers a uniquely funereal love story that focuses on a stagnant friendship-turned-untenable romance between unlikely life-long friends. To deal with the death of her immediate family, as well as the scars of childhood abuse, April assumes the role of the jaded wild child; Oliver, her once-inseparable childhood companion, has become her polar opposite, an engaged law student poised for success. Estranged during Oliver's college years, the two reconnect with troubling results. Callahan's descriptions are vivid, and often paired with charming flashbacks to more innocent times, providing stark contrast to the tumultuous course of April and Oliver's young-adult lives. Callahan's narrative takes some supporting-character detours from the principles' love-hate relationship, including an abusive boyfriend; a manipulative and dangerous family friend, and April's strong-but-slipping Nana. Callahan's poetic style and grasp of emotion gives proper weight to April's loss and Oliver's secrets, and is sure to engage, sadden, and enthrall readers, especially in a bittersweet, somewhat surprising finale.

Thunder and Ashes: The Morningstar Strain by Z.A. Recht
Won from Readaholic

A LOT CAN CHANGE IN THREE MONTHS:
Wars can be decided, nations can be forged...or entire species can br brought to the brink of annihilation. The Morningstar virus has swept the face of the planet. infecting billions. It hosts rampage; its victims don't die, but are reborn as cannibalistic shamblers. 

SCATTERED ACROSS THE WORLD, EMBATTLED GROUPS HAVE PERSEVERED.
For some, survival is the pinnacle of achievement. Other hoard goods and weapons. And still others leverage power over the remnants of humanity with a mysterious cure. Francis Sherman and Anna Demilio want only a vaccine, but to find it they must cross a ravaged landscape of the infected and the lawless living. 

THE BULK OF THE STORM HAS PASSED, 
leaving echoing thunder and softly drifting ashes. But for the survivors, the peril remains, and the search for a cure is just the beginning...


I won Kill the Dead, but the publisher sent me both that and the first book Sandman Slim! They're awesome!

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
Won from Readaholic

Life sucks, then you die. Period. 

Unless you're James Stark, a hitman in Hell for eleven years before escaping back up to Hell-on-earth L.A.—looking for revenge, absolution . . . love, maybe. 

But Hell's not through with Stark.Heaven's not either.

Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey
Supernatural fantasy's best antihero returns, in the high-octane follow-up to Richard Kadrey's acclaimed Sandman Slim
James Stark, a.k.a. Sandman Slim, crawled out of Hell, took bloody revenge for his girlfriend's murder, and saved the world along the way. After that, what do you do for an encore? You take a lousy job tracking down monsters for money. It's a depressing gig, but it pays for your beer and cigarettes. But in L.A., things can always get worse. 

Like when Lucifer comes to town to supervise his movie biography and drafts Stark as his bodyguard. Sandman Slim has to swim with the human and inhuman sharks of L.A.'s underground power elite. That's before the murders start. And before he runs into the Czech porn star who isn't quite what she seems. Even before all those murdered people start coming back from the dead and join a zombie army that will change our world and Stark's forever. 

Death bites. Life is worse. All things considered, Hell's not looking so bad.


Received from Secret Santas:

Both of my Secret Santas did such a great job at choosing books for me! 


Received from Kelly of Reading With Martinis...

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos. 

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own. 

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

The second Secret Santa...I recognize the name on the box and am sure I've probably won books from them before, but I can't tie the name to a blog. But they did a great job in choosing books for me!

The Passage by Justin Cronin

“It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.” 
 
First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors. But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey—spanning miles and decades—towards the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.

With The Passage, award-winning author Justin Cronin has written both a relentlessly suspenseful adventure and an epic chronicle of human endurance in the face of unprecedented catastrophe and unimaginable danger. Its inventive storytelling, masterful prose, and depth of human insight mark it as a crucial and transcendent work of modern fiction.



The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

In the world of the near future, who will control women's bodies?
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable. 

Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now.... 

Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid's Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

 Dracula by Bram Stoker

The punctured throat, the coffin lid slowly opening, the unholy shriek as the stake pierces the heart—these are just a few of the chilling images Bram Stoker unleashed upon the world with his 1897 masterpiece, Dracula. Inspired by the folk legend of nosferatu, the undead, Stoker created a timeless tale of gothic horror and romance that has enthralled and terrified readers ever since.

A true masterwork of storytelling, Dracula has transcended generation, language, and culture to become one of the most popular novels ever written. It is a quintessential tale of suspense and horror, boasting one of the most terrifying characters ever born in literature: Count Dracula, a tragic, night-dwelling specter who feeds upon the blood of the living, and whose diabolical passions prey upon the innocent, the helpless, and the beautiful. But Dracula also stands as a bleak allegorical saga of an eternally cursed being whose nocturnal atrocities reflect the dark underside of the supremely moralistic age in which it was originally written — and the corrupt desires that continue to plague the modern human condition.

Books I bought myself:

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. 

Who do they think should pay for the unrest? 

Katniss Everdeen. 

The final book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins will have hearts racing, pages turning, and everyone talking about one of the biggest and most talked-about books and authors in recent publishing history!!!! 

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness.


I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

From out of the night come the living dead with a single purpose: to destroy Robert Neville, the last man on earth.





Thanks to everyone! And a special thanks to my Secret Santas! You guys did great!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What's Releasing? (12/22/10 edition)

Books releasing the week of 12/28/10:

What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz 

In the late summer of a long ago year, a killer arrived in a small city. His name was Alton Turner Blackwood, and in the space of a few months he brutally murdered four ...







True Grit by Charles Portis

Charles Portis has long been acclaimed as one of America's foremost comic writers. True Grit is his most famous novel—first published in 1968, and the basis for the movie of the same name starring John Wayne. It tells the story of Mattie Ross, who is just fourteen years of age when a coward going by the name of Tom Chaney shoots her father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robs him of his life, his horse, and $150 in cash money. Mattie leaves home to avenge her father's blood. With the one-eyed Rooster Cogburn, the meanest available U.S. Marshal, by her side, Mattie pursues the homicide into Indian Territory.

True Grit is eccentric, cool, straight, and unflinching, like Mattie herself. From a writer of true cult status, this is an American classic through and through. This new edition, with a smart new package and an afterword by acclaimed author Donna Tartt, will bring this masterpiece to an even broader audience.


Also available this week:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (12-18-10 edition)

NOTE: A reminder that you are free to email me about any giveaways that you are having, if you want me to blog them, and I'll be happy to try to post them even if I am not entering them. Just include a link to the giveaway, what you are giving away, how many copies are being given away, and the deadline in order to assure being included. Email me at nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com.

Here is a list of some giveaways going on in Blogworld*. Please note that new giveaways that were added this week are indented in Blockquotes:

Talk is Cheap is giving away an ARC of Sapphique. Deadline is December 18. US only.

Good Choice Reading is giving away The Dark Divine and The Lost Saint, plus nail polish. Deadline is December 19. US/Canada only.

Libby's Library is giving away $100 for CSN Stores! Deadline is December 22. US/Canada only.
Avery's Book (and other fun stuff) Nook is having a follower contest and giving away gift cards to Amazon or Book Depository. Deadline is December 22. Limited internationally!
Cuzinlogic is signed up for the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop and is giving away books, gift card and more. Deadline is December 22. International!
Flippin' Fabulous is giving away books of choice to 2 winners via the Book Depository. Deadline is December 23. International!

Read Now Sleep Later is giving away 10 books! 9 US/Canada and 1 International! Deadline is December 25. International!
A Good Addiction is giving away an ARC of Everlasting. Deadline is December 26. US only.
The Book Butterfly is giving away $45 to CSN Stores. Deadline is January 3.
Eating Y.A. Books is having a big birthday bash throughout the month of December. A different book is being added each day for the first 21 days of December! Deadline is...I guess January 4. International!

Splash of Our Worlds is giving away your choice of a book previously reviewed on their blog. Deadline is January 15. International!

Sparkling Reviews is giving a color Nook! Deadline is whenever 1100 followers is reached. International!
Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf is giving away a gently used ARC of Wither. Deadline isn't mentioned, nor whether or not it's international.
*Courtesy Note: Please keep in mind the many, many hours of work that goes into me compiling this list each week. Please be courteous and thoughtful, and do not steal my text. Either recreate your own list, or link to this list and direct your readers here for giveaway information. Thank you so much for your consideration.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I Wanna...Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her. 

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club . . . and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

CHALLENGE: Zombies! Satisfy your hunger! Reading Challenge


Zombies! Satisfy your undying hunger! Reading Challenge 2011 is all about zombies! And I love zombies, and I have a slew of zombie books just waiting for me. I've been waiting for a challenge like this!

Challenge Rules & Info:
  • Challenge STARTS January 1, 2011 and ENDS December 31, 2011
  • Sign up by filling your info in the Mr. Linky {If you don't have a blog, you can use your FB, Goodreads, etc}
  • Read at least 10 Zombie books this year. They don't have to be ALL about Zombies, just have Zombies in them. Remember, the more the merrier! Here's a LIST of zombie books that may help :)
  • The books can be print, ebooks, and audio books.
  • Reread books ARE allowed, BUT, the review must be rewritten. You cannot use old reviews.
  • There will be a post up each month with the Mr. Linky to have the reviews posted.
  • Challenges are open to non-bloggers. A review must be written and posted on a literary site, such as GoodReads, Amazon, etc.
  • Grab a button to show your Challenge spirit!
  • Lastly, have fun reading!
Here's what I've got on my list so far (all on my shelves waiting already):
  • Day by Day Armageddon by J.L. Bourne
  • World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
  • Rise Again: A Zombie Thriller by Ben Tripp
  • Breathers: A Zombie's Lament by S.G. Browne
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
  • Dead Souls by Michael Laimo
  • Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist
  • Thunder and Ashes by Z.A.Recht
  • The Living Dead by John Joseph Adams
  • Dead Sea by Brian Keene
  • I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
  • Dust by Joan Frances Turner
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
  • The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia by Peter Dendle
And more that I may like to read, but don't have yet:
  • Beyond Exile: Day by Day Armageddon by J.L. Bourne
  • Feed by Mira Grant
  • Hater by David Moody
  • Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry
  • Monster Island by David Wellington
  • Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
  • Pariah by Bob Fingerman
So feed your hunger for everything zombie! Join the Zombies! Satisfy your undying hunger! Reading Challenge!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What's Releasing? (12-15-10 edition)

Here's what's releasing the week of 12/21/10:

Identical by Ellen Hopkins

Kaeleigh and Raeanne are 16-year-old identical twins, the daughters of a district court judge father and politician mother running for US Congress. Everything on the surface seems fine, but underneath run very deep and damaging secrets. What really happened when the girls were 7 years old in that car accident that Daddy caused? And why is Mom never home, always running far away to pursue some new dream? Raeanne goes after painkillers, drugs, alcohol, and sex to dull her pain and anger. Kaeleigh always tries so hard to be the good girl -- her father's perfect little flower. But when the girls were 9, Daddy started to turn to his beloved Kaeleigh in ways a father never should and has been sexually abusing her for years. For Raeanne, she needs to numb the pain of not being Daddy's favorite; for Kaeleigh, she wants to do everything she can to feel something normal, even if it means cutting herself and vomiting after every binge. 

How Kaeleigh and Raeanne figure out just what it means to be whole again when their entire world has been torn to shreads is the guts and heart of this powerful, disturbing, and utterly remarkable book.


The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli

A unique and sweeping debut novel of an American female combat photographer in the Vietnam War, as she captures the wrenching chaos and finds herself torn between the love of two men. 

On a stifling day in 1975, the North Vietnamese army is poised to roll into Saigon. As the fall of the city begins, two lovers make their way through the streets to escape to a new life. Helen Adams, an American photojournalist, must take leave of a war she is addicted to and a devastated country she has come to love. Linh, the Vietnamese man who loves her, must grapple with his own conflicted loyalties of heart and homeland. As they race to leave, they play out a drama of devotion and betrayal that spins them back through twelve war-torn years, beginning in the splendor of Angkor Wat, with their mentor, larger-than-life war correspondent Sam Darrow, once Helen's infuriating love and fiercest competitor, and Linh's secret keeper, boss and truest friend. 

Tatjana Soli paints a searing portrait of an American woman’s struggle and triumph in Vietnam, a stirring canvas contrasting the wrenching horror of war and the treacherous narcotic of obsession with the redemptive power of love. Readers will be transfixed by this stunning novel of passion, duty and ambition among the ruins of war.


Solitary: Escape from Furnace 2 by Alexander Gordon Smith

After a failed escape attempt from Furnace, Alex is trapped in solitary confinement, where the real nightmares live.







Also available this week:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

REVIEW: The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace (audiobook)

Synopsis

The "dazzling, exhilarating" (San Francisco Chronicle) debut novel from one of this century's most groundbreaking writers, The Broom of the System is an outlandishly funny and fiercely intelligent exploration of the paradoxes of language, storytelling, and reality.




About the Author
from Barnes and Noble Biography

Born in Ithaca, NY, and raised in Champaign, IL, David Foster Wallace grew up athletically gifted and exceptionally bright, with an avid interest in tennis, literature, philosophy, and math. He attended Amherst and graduated in 1985 with a double major in English and Philosophy. His philosophy thesis (on modal logic) won the Gail Kennedy Memorial Prize. His English thesis would become his first novel, The Broom of the System. Published in 1987 during his second year of grad school at the University of Arizona, the book sold well, garnering national attention and critical praise in equal measure. Two years later, a book of short stories, Girl with Curious Hair, was published to admiring reviews.


In the early 1990s, Wallace's short fiction began to appear regularly in publications like Playboy, The Paris Review, and The New Yorker, along with excerpts from his second novel, a complex, enormously ambitious work published in 1996 as Infinite Jest. Surpassing 1,000 pages in length, the novel was hailed as a masterpiece ("[A]n entertainment so irresistibly pleasurable it renders the viewer catatonic," raved Newsweek. "[R]esourceful, hilarious, intelligent, and unique," pronounced Atlantic Monthly), and Wallace was crowned on the spot the new heavyweight champion of literary fiction.


Hyperbole aside, Infinite Jest, with its linguistic acrobatics (challenging complex clauses, coined words, etc.) and sly, self-referential footnotes, proved to be the template for a new literary style. Subversive, hip, and teeming with postmodernist irony, the book attracted a rabid cult following and exerted an influence on up-and-coming young writers that is still felt today. The scope of Wallace's achievement can be measured by the fact that one year after the publication of Infinite Jest, he was awarded the MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant."


Nearly as famous for his nonfiction as for his novels and stories, Wallace produced mind-boggling essays on assignment for magazines like Harper's. In contrast to his sad, dark, disturbing fiction, these essays -- subsequently collected into such bestselling anthologies as A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again Everything and More (1997), (2003), and Consider the Lobster (2007) -- were ridiculously exuberant, fairly bursting with humor, energy, and good cheer. Yet Wallace himself suffered from clinical depression most of his adult life. He was treated successfully with anti-depressants, until side effects from the drugs began to interfere with his productivity. At his doctor's suggestion, he stopped taking the medication.The depression returned, and he did not respond to any further treatment. In September of 2008, at the age of 46, he committed suicide.


Wallace's influence on contemporary literature cannot be overstated. Descended from post-war superstars like Thomas Pynchon and Don De Lillo, his style is clearly visible in the work of postmodernists like Jonathan Safran Foer and Dave Eggers. His untimely death was mourned by critics, writers, and millions of adoring fans. As author David Lipsky stated in a tribute that aired on NPR in September, 2008: "To read David Foster Wallace was to feel your eyelids pulled open."


My Thoughts

Oh my. I really don't even know how to summarize this book. Uh...a woman's grandmother goes missing from a nursing home, her excessively verbose boyfriend becomes overly insecure with their relationship and problems existing within their relationship become evident, the past returns, a bird becomes an evangelist, phone lines are crossed, alternate dimensions discovered...uh...that's just a little taste of what is going on in this thing.

This audio book was like a story with ADD. It was so hard for me to follow what was going on. So many characters and times that went all over the place. I don’t know how much of my difficulty in following the story was the fact that it was an audio book rather than the written word. There were a lot of one-sided conversations and recitation of old documents and transcripts, strange dialogue and rambling stories.

However, on a positive note, moments of the book exuded quirky dialogue that I loved:
“I could bludgeon you with my belly!” (NOTE: I want this on a t-shirt!)
”Time does not exist. I ATE IT! It’s in here. See? See the jiggle? That’s time- jiggling! Run! Run away! Fetch me my platter of fat, my nine cattle, or I’ll envelop you in a chin and fling you at the wall!”
”Lenore, it’s simply that I love you. You know that. Every fiber of your being is loved by every fiber of my being. The thought of things about you, concerning you, troubling you, that I don’t know about, makes blood run from my eyes-- on the inside.”
“Have you ever had intercourse with someone assumed to be of infinite size?” (Asked by the same individual above with the bludgeoning belly, and who is working to gain “infinite size”!)
There were also outrageously named characters like (all spelled phonetically, since this was an audiobook):

Peter Abbit (Peter Rabbit?)
Judith Preeth (Judas Priest?)
Rick Vigorous

Do you have any idea how much I DISLIKE Rick Vigorous?! Jeez, his babbling stories drove me nuts. He is a very annoying man.

I had high hopes for this story, as I had heard such good things about it. But holy moley! To me this was just a babbling mess with about 5 different storylines wrapped up in one story. And not in a neat and brilliant sort of way, but in a mish-mash of confusion. And I don’t even know what to make of the ending. It felt like everything was left open-ended with nothing resolved. It felt like there was NO ending-- it just broke midway through the storyline. Perhaps if I had read this story instead of listening to the audiobook I may have a different takeaway and it would make more sense to me. But as it is, the audiobook made absolutely NO sense to me at all!

So I was not a fan of this one, but that's just me. There are obviously plenty of people out there who disagree with me and feel that this was a brilliant story! But for me, it shone dimly.


My Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (12-11-10 edition)

NOTE: A reminder that you are free to email me about any giveaways that you are having, if you want me to blog them, and I'll be happy to try to post them even if I am not entering them. Just include a link to the giveaway, what you are giving away, how many copies are being given away, and the deadline in order to assure being included. Email me at nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com.

Here is a list of some giveaways going on in Blogworld*. Please note that new giveaways that were added this week are indented in Blockquotes:

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away a copy of Christmas with Southern Living. Deadline is December 12. US only.

Jo-Jo Loves to Read is giving away up to 2 copies of the audiobook The Brave. Deadline is December 12. US/Canada only.

Debbie's Book Bag is giving away a copy of Daily Guideposts. Deadline is December 14. US/Canada only.
Libby's Library is giving away a copy of Sundays at Tiffany's. Deadline is December 14. US/Canada only.
Fire and Ice is giving away 2 copies of Crescendo. Deadline is December 15. US only.

Fire and Ice is giving away Firelight. Deadline is December 15. US only.
Library of Clean Reads is giving away a copy of Sunday at Tiffany's. Deadline is December 15. US/Canada only.
In the Hammock is giving away a copy of Sunday at Tiffany's. Deadline is December 15. US/Canada only.
What's That Buzz is giving away The Pirate Queen. Deadline is December 16. US only.
Talk is Cheap is giving away an ARC of Sapphique. Deadline is December 18. US only.
Good Choice Reading is giving away The Dark Divine and The Lost Saint, plus nail polish. Deadline is December 19. US/Canada only.
Martha's Bookshelf is giving away a copy of  The Remains. Deadline is December 22. US/Canada only.
Libby's Library is giving away $100 for CSN Stores! Deadline is December 22. US/Canada only.

Read Now Sleep Later is giving away 10 books! 9 US/Canada and 1 International! Deadline is December 25. International!

Eating Y.A. Books is having a big birthday bash throughout the month of December. A different book is being added each day for the first 21 days of December! Deadline is...I guess January 4. International!
Splash of Our Worlds is giving away your choice of a book previously reviewed on their blog. Deadline is January 15. International!
Sparkling Reviews is giving a color Nook! Deadline is whenever 1100 followers is reached. International!
*Courtesy Note: Please keep in mind the many, many hours of work that goes into me compiling this list each week. Please be courteous and thoughtful, and do not steal my text. Either recreate your own list, or link to this list and direct your readers here for giveaway information. Thank you so much for your consideration.

CHALLENGE: Dystopian Challenge

Dystopia Challenge
Hosted by BA Reading Challenges, the object of this challenge is quite simply to read more books of the dystopia genre. She has a list of Dystopian novels on her other blog to kick start or for ideas.

How To Participate

  1. Decide which challenge level you'll be doing (further below) - post-apocalyptic is also allowed seeing as they cross over sometimes..
  2. Grab the code for the badge down below and post it on a side bar or in a signature (if you want to participate, but aren't blogging, don't have a social network profile or aren't on a forum -  Submission For Non Bloggers).
  3. Create your own post to let all your readers know you’re taking part in the challenge and at what level (if you're really proficient you can list your books!). Make sure to link back to this page with either one of the buttons or a text link..
  4. Use the link form on her blog to enter into the challenge by sharing your challenge post url and your name (either your name, blog name, or both). Please don't use the comment form to participate, only to comment on the challenge or something else..
  5. Submit your reviews (if you choose to review them, but that is optional) on the review page.
  6. When you’ve completed you’re challenge let us know on the completion post. If you're using a tag or category I recommend sharing the link back to that so everyone can find them
Challenge Levels
  1. Asocial–  Choose 5 books to read
  2. Contagion – Choose 15 books to read
  3. Soldier – Choose 30 books to read
  4. Drone – Choose 50 books to read
  5. Conditioned – Choose 75 books to read
For extra hard challenges
  1. Brainwashed – Choose 76-125 books to read
  2. Totalitarian – Choose 126-200 books to read
My goal is to be "Asocial", but I hope for "Contagion"! Here is a list of books that I have so far for me to choose from:
  1. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  2. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  3. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
  4. Fatherland by Robert Harris
  5. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
  6. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  7. Anthem by Ayn Rand
  8. Armageddon's Children by Terry Brooks
  9. Island by Aldous Huxley
  10. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  11. Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
I will update this list with reviews as they are completed, and will change this list as needed.

CHALLENGE: Off the Shelf!

Off The Shelf!This challenge is being hosted by BA Reading Challenges. The goal of this challenge is to read those books you own copies of, but have never got around to reading. If you don't have many that you own, but have a massive TBR shelf you're welcome to read those ones as long as you don't add new ones. You don't need to actually get rid of your books after you've read them, this is just to read them.

How To Participate

1. Decide which challenge level you'll be doing (further below) - do not include books that you buy from the start of this challenge.
2. Grab the code for the badge down below and post it on a side bar or in a signature (if you want to participate, but aren't blogging, on a social network or forum - Submission For Non Bloggers).
3. Create your own post to let all your readers know you’re taking part in the challenge and at what level (if you're really proficient you can list your books!). Make sure to link back to this page with either one of the buttons or a text link..
4. Use the link form below to enter into the challenge by sharing your challenge post url and your name (either your name, blog name, or both).Please don't use the comment form to participate, only to comment on the challenge or something else..
5. Submit your reviews (if you choose to review them, but that is optional) on the review page.
6. When you’ve completed you’re challenge let us know on the completion post. If you're using a tag or category I recommend sharing the link back to that so everyone can find them

Challenge Levels

1. Tempted– Choose 5 books to read
2. Trying – Choose 15 books to read
3. Making A Dint – Choose 30 books to read
4. On A Roll – Choose 50 books to read
5. Flying Off – Choose 75 books to read

For extra hard challenges

1. Hoarder – Choose 76-125 books to read
2. Buried – Choose 126-200 books to read

I am signing up for the "Trying" level, although I hope to "Make a Dint".

This challenge will be running January 1 - December 31, 2010.

Sign up here

Books read:
  1. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  2. Cheap Cabernet by Cathie Beck 
  3. The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst
  4. Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey by Jane Goodall
  5. Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan
  6. Any Minute by Joyce Meyer
  7. The California Roll by John Vorhaus 
  8. Purgatory Inn by Ernesto Jose Herrera 
  9. Home to Woefield by Susan Juby 
  10. Smonk by Tom Franklin

CHALLENGE: Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge 2011


The Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge is hosted by The Book Vixen.

Details:
  • Runs January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011 (books read prior to 1/1/11 do not count towards the challenge). You can join at anytime. You can sign up on The Book Vixen’s blog.
  • The goal is to outdo yourself by reading more books in 2011 than you did in 2010. See the different levels below and pick the one that works best for you. Nothing is set in stone; you can change levels at any time during the challenge.
  • Books can be any format (bound, eBook, audio).
  • Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are fine.
  • You can list your books in advance or list them as you read them. It is not required that you review the books you read for this challenge but feel free to do so.
  • Post this reading challenge on your blog so you can keep a list of the books you’ve read for this challenge. Please include a link back to this post so readers can join the challenge too.
  • You do not have to be a book blogger to participate. You can keep tabs on books you’ve read for this challenge on Goodreads or LibraryThing if you’d like (maybe make a shelf for “Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge”). If you are not on either of those sites then you can list the books you read for this challenge in the comments on my wrap-up post, which will be up at the end of 2011.
Levels:

Getting my heart rate up – Read 1–5 more books
Out of breath – Read 6–10 more books
Breaking a sweat – Read 11–15 more books
I’m on fire! – Read 16+ more books

I will be shooting for the "Getting my heart rate up" level, and shoot for 5 more books than 2010. Since the year hasn't ended yet, I'm not sure what the exact number is for 2010 yet. We'll get back to that.

Considering how little I read in 2010, surely I can do this! Right?

CHALLENGE: New Authors Challenge

Hosted by Literary Escapism, the goal of this challenge is to find authors that you've never read before.

Here are the guidelines outlined on her blog:

1. The challenge will run from January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011.

2. Since this is an author challenge, there is no restriction on choosing your novels. They can definitely be from other challenges. However, the authors must be new to you and, preferably from novels. Anthologies are a great way to try someone new, but only a third of your new authors can be from anthologies.

3. I want this to be an easy challenge, so you can pick to do either 15, 25 or 50 new authors. It all depends on how fast you read and how adventurous you want to be. For me, I’m trying another 50 new authors. If you reach your goal halfway through the year, don’t stop. Any new author you try can be added to Mr. Linky. We all want to know about your new experience.

4. After reading your new author, write your review and then come back here and add your link to Mr. Linky. Make sure you include your name and the author, but adding the title is completely up to you.

5. Bloggers or Non-Bloggers alike are welcome.

My goal is to discover 25 new-to-me authors. Here we go!

Authors discovered:
  1. Carrie Ryan
  2. Cathie Beck
  3. Uwem Akpan
  4. Pat Frank
  5. Emma Donoghue
  6. Joyce Miller
  7. Carolyn Parkhurst
  8. Alice Hoffman 
  9. John Vorhaus 
  10. Wendy Wax
  11. Ernesto Jose Herrera
  12. Susi Wyss 
  13. Susan Juby
  14. T.H. Waters
  15. Charles Martin 
  16. Richard Harvell
  17. Melanie Benjamin 
  18. Jennifer Talbot Ross 
  19. Michael Connelly 
  20. Cathy Maxwell 
  21. Tom Franklin

CHALLENGE: Wish I'd Read That Challenge 2011

My Love Affair With Books 

Hosted this year by My Love Affair with Books, the goal of this challenge is to read all of those books that you've been wanting to read and haven't gotten to.

Challenge Guidelines:

*You can join anytime between now and Dec 31st 2011*1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.
--Non-Bloggers: Include your information in the comment section.Non-Bloggers can post their review on sites like Goodreads, Librarything, Shelfari etc

2. There are four levels:

-- Curious – Read 3 books.

-- Fascinated – Read 6 books.

-- Addicted – Read 12 books.

-- Obsessed – Read 20 books.

3. Any book format counts.

4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.

5. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2011.

6. When you sign up under Mr. Linky, put the direct link to the post about the Wish I'd Read That Challenge. Include the URL so that other participants can find join in and read your reviews and post.

7. All the participants must leave their email in the comments section and mention if you want to be reminded when the linky for reviews is put up.

8. There will be one Linky which will be put for the challenge on January 1st 2011. All the reviews throughout the year must be linked on the linky.

9. Finally, there are prizes! YES! There were will be TWO randomly selected participants who will win a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate. The 1st  winner will be chosen at the end of 6 months , on 1st July and the 2nd winner will be chosen at the end of the year 2011.

I'm going to sign up for the "Fascinated" level and strive to read at least 6 books that I've been dying to read. The ones that I currently have on my list are:
I will update this list with reviews of my books completed for this challenge as they are done.

This challenge will begin January 1st!