Thursday, June 27, 2013

Having Contracted A Significant Case of Amor Deliria Nervosa

Book 1
By Lauren Oliver

Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

They say that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever.

And I've always believed them.

Until now.

Now everything has changed.

Now, I'd rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second
than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.

Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until ninety-five days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, when she falls in love.

I don't really know what I thought going into this. I guess I knew it was pretty popular, and it was about a society where love was 'cured' and that the main character was bound to rise up and fight the system, but I didn't really have any other expectations. And I think that perhaps that was best.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Peculiar Paperback Plus a Pair of Pencil Pushers

I don't normally post updates about a book's second release, but when it includes so much extra content I felt I had to make an exception.

The paperback release of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children includes not only an interview with the author, but also extra peculiar pictures and the entire first chapter from the upcoming sequel, Hollow City (due out in January 2014).

Here's one of the exchanges interviewer Jason Rekulak and Ransom had in their conversation:
Can you tell us how you came to write this book?
Which came first: the story or the photographs?

I have no idea where most of my ideas come from, but Miss Peregrine has a very specific origin story. A few years ago, I started collecting vintage snapshots—the kind you can find in loose piles at most flea markets for fifty cents or a buck apiece. It was just a casual hobby, nothing serious, but I noticed that among the photos I found, the strangest and most intriguing ones were alwasy of children. I began to wonder who some of these strange-looking children had been—what their stories were—but the photos were old and anonymous and there was no way to know. So I thought: If I can't know their real stories, I'll make them up.

The photographs came first, but I never stopped collecting. Even as I was writing the story I was finding more photographs to work in. Ultimately, the photos and the story influenced each other. Sometimes I'd find a new photo that just demanded to be included in the story, and I'd find a way to work it in; other times I'd look for a certain type of photo to fit a story idea I had. It was a fun, strange, organic writing process, unlike anything I'd attempted before.

Borrowed from The Soul Sisters
Also, technically not from their Powell's stop,
but my camera refused to offer an in-focus picture.
But that's not all! Ransom also happened to stop by Powell's City of Books last week along with the talented and effervescent Tahereh Mafi and the two were kind enough to sign some books and answer some more questions.

Not only did we learn that Ransom is a giant among men, but also that both authors tend to evade tricky questions by complimenting the complexity of it. Okay, not really, but I did manage to ask a couple questions pertaining to both their books/series that had them a bit stumped (yay me!).

Firstly, was there a rule book for writing invisible characters — not a rule book, but definitely a council — and secondly, if their background or education had prompted their decision to write about the future (Shatter Me) or the past (Miss Peregrine) — not particularly, though Ransom's photographs obviously steered him towards the historical side.

Overall both authors did a great job offering insights into their novels and their writing, as well as keeping a humorous and personable atmosphere to the event. Though we didn't quite fill up Powell's Pearl Room in bodies, there were quite a few times we filled it with laughter.

Plus I got a really spiffy signature on my paperback! I was a little worried at first because most of the first few pages are completely dark, including the title pages, but Ransom obviously knows his own book and brought a gold sharpie for his signatures. Pretty nifty, no?

Unfortunately I haven't gotten my hands on the Shatter Me paperback yet, or else I would have gotten Tahereh's signature as well. Ah well, no harm in waiting a few more years, eh?

In closing, I'd definitely recommend grabbing copies of both authors' series. As far as Miss Peregrine goes, if you're looking for a very traditional copy that looks like it might be a classic, I'd go for the hardcover copy. But if you're looking for something a bit softer with just as much polish and extra goodies, I'd grab the paperback.

~Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children~
Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children
Book 1

By Ransom Riggs
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

My Review

~Shatter Me~
Shatter Me
Book 1

By Tahereh Mafi
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

My Review

Disclaimer: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children paperback was provided to me by Eric Smith at Quirk Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Audio Addendum: Shatter Me

Shatter Me
~Shatter Me~
Shatter Me
Book 1
By Tahereh Mafi
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

Juliette hasn't touched anyone
in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war— and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Original Review

Approximate Reading Time: 4.5 Hours

Audiobook Review
Read by Kate Simses
Length: 9.2 Hours
Listened at 2x Speed
(3x Audible Speed Setting)

After listening to a few middling audiobooks, I must say Ms. Simses gave a great performance. I was especially impressed with the variety and distinction she gave each of the characters, the men in particular. Just because the main character & narrator is female, doesn't mean the male voices aren't just as important to the overall work. The little boy, James, was quite possibly my favorite. Even though it's been proven time and again that women can do impeccable little-boy voices, it still took me aback by how genuine the 10-year-old character sounded, not just in voice but in personality and phrasing!

If it was unclear while reading the book what all those little scratched out passages were supposed to mean (I know I wasn't sure), this audiobook does its best to help clarify. I'll admit I wasn't sure how the struck through lines were going to work, since the book is so visual in that aspect. Turns out they simply recorded a sound of someone crossing out the line(s) with a pen, which plays following the words that are to be struck through. Granted, without the book in front of you, it's a little unclear how much preceding the strike is supposed to go, but the technique employed is still effective enough to get the point across.

Overall another audiobook I'd be remiss if I didn't recommend it. The emotion, the voices, and the attention to detail, even with the visual aspects of the book, all combine to make it an experience you shouldn't pass up if you have the chance.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Zombies Don't Collate

This review is for those who have read or are familiar with the previous book, Zombies Don't Cry, or don't mind knowing some spoilers for it. Even the book's cover summary includes spoilers. Zombies Don't Forgive, however, will remain spoiler-free.

Zombies Don't Forgive
~Zombies Don't Forgive~
A Living Dead Love Revenge Story
Book 2

By Rusty Fischer
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks
Zombies Don't Blog

Maddy Swift was just a normal girl—a high school junior surviving class with her best friend and hoping the yummy new kid, Stamp, would ask her out. When he finally did, her whole life changed.

On her way to the party, she was struck by lightning and awoke with no heartbeat and no breath in her lungs: the walking dead. When Barracuda Bay’s homecoming turned into zombie Armageddon, Dane helped Maddy and Stamp escape undead.

Now Maddy, Dane, and Stamp have fled to Orlando, where they work at a theme park, hiding in plain sight among warm bodies with their jobs in The Great Movie Monster Makeover Show. But all is not well as the three BFFs of the Living Dead cohabitate 24/7 trying to avoid curious Normals (humans), vengeful Zerkers (bad zombies), and equally lethal Sentinels (zombie cops).

While Dane and Maddy draw closer, Stamp drifts away—straight into the arms of a mysterious blonde with a permanent scowl. The girl puts their whole afterlife in danger, and before long Maddy’s ready to hunt her down to separate her from her head!

Starting off, I gotta get my first complaint out of the way: I couldn't find one time the word "forgive" showed up in the book. Not. A. One! How am I supposed to use book quotes as my review titles if you never say the key word from the title?! (The current review title came from a chapter name.) Now that that's out of the way...