Archive for December, 2010

BOOK HUNGRY: the host

December 16, 2010

who says you have to be crowded into the living room, kitchen, and/or dining room to hold a book club? we are ladies of the 21st century. we don’t need no stinkin’ couches. so pull up a blog and join in the conversation.

the members of the BOOK HUNGRY are (alphabetically): patty blount, kelly breakey, karla nellenbach, vanessa noble, alyson peterson, cynthia reese, elizabeth ryann, and myself. here’s the deal. we pick a book to read. we discuss via email. we post a review on our individual blogs on the same day (3rd thursday of the month). we link to each other. done. i know, genius. click on each one of their names (above) and it’ll take you to their review. browse. enjoy.

this month’s BOOK HUNGRY selection is:

THE HOST by stephenie meyer

a quick synopsis from amazon: Stephenie Meyer, creator of the phenomenal teen-vamp Twilight series, takes paranormal romance into alien territory in her first adult novel. Those wary of sci-fi or teen angst will be pleasantly surprised by this mature and imaginative thriller, propelled by equal parts action and emotion. A species of altruistic parasites has peacefully assumed control of the minds and bodies of most humans, but feisty Melanie Stryder won’t surrender her mind to the alien soul called Wanderer. Overwhelmed by Melanie’s memories of fellow resistor Jared, Wanderer yields to her body’s longing and sets off into the desert to find him. Likely the first love triangle involving just two bodies, it’s unabashedly romantic, and the characters (human and alien) genuinely endearing.

i’ve now read this book twice. once, when it first came out and second, just before i wrote this review. i will say this for meyer, she sure knows how to create memorable characters. as with the TWILIGHT series, her writing isn’t the most luxurious or profound, but her characters jump off the page and nestle into your brain and you’ll find yourself thinking about them long after you’ve put the book down.

the first time i read this, i read it right after i had finished the TWILIGHT series. in that series (this won’t be spoilery, promise), there is a lot of talk about souls and who has them and who doesn’t, so when i went from that discussion to THE HOST, where the main character is an alien called a soul and well, the juxtaposition was fascinating. from no soul to all soul. the second time i read this, i seemed to focus more on the alien, sci-fi feel of the soul. i read it as more similar to ET than a heavenly being and that left quite a different flavor in my mouth. or my brain. or umm, yeah, you know what i mean.

the first time i read this, i (unintentionally) focused on the author. it was her first book that wasn’t part of her massively successful series and i wanted to see how she fared. it’s a hefty book at 656 pages and i felt like i was reading for weeks. that’s a really long time to be more aware of the author instead of the story. the second time i read this, i got lost in the story. i zipped through the book in a couple of days and yet the characters, their choices, their actions, their environment stuck with me. i couldn’t stop thinking about them and what it all meant and what would i do if i was them (aliens or humans) and where can i get some of their medicine and how do the aliens really work and why is Wanderer considered bad ass when she’s so gentle and caring and is it because of Melanie’s body or because of her (Wanderer) having lived on seven other planets and what are intersecting love triangles called and are these aliens really making Earth a better place and is that really an ethical decision?  THIS was what i was expecting that first read.

the first and second times i read this, i thought, man this is long. where were the scissors? i think a lot of passages could be cut out trimming this book down to a more manageable size without jeopardizing the integrity of the story. but, silver lining, i could multitask while reading because it doubled as a dumbbell. bicep curls, anyone?

the first time i read this, i read it to see where the story ended up. the second time i read this, i was able to look around at the scenery, stop and smell the caves, and get to know the secondary characters in addition to the primary ones. the second read was much more fulfilling and a lot more fun. as i read, i’d stop and think “what if” which in the context of this book is a very scary and, surprisingly, exhilarating question.

in short, give this book a read. an intriguing journey awaits. it’d be a shame to miss it.

p.s. see you next month when we read NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro.

//

brain candy

December 14, 2010

as was evident in my last post, i read a lot of YA books. i can only explain it like this…

ok, wait, C.S. Lewis says it SO MUCH BETTER. i’ll let him talk for me. why yes, i hired C.S. Lewis (from the grave) to be my press secretary. and without further ado…

*zombie C.S. Lewis steps up to the mic.*

“When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” — C.S. Lewis

if you look past the guyliner, the bloody face and messy hair, it really was a lovely speech wasn’t it? thank you, monsieur Lewis.

in order not to leave you with a bad taste (read: zombie) in your mouth, here’s this article, which also does a fine job explaining why adults are so into YA right now. two words? BRAIN CANDY. (but don’t say that too loudly. you don’t want zombie C.S. Lewis to realize how scrumptious your brain looks/sounds/smells.)

and here’s this. it’s rather soothing, no?

UPDATE: speaking of brain analysis, check this out. i don’t think it was accurate, but it sure was interesting. even more fun when you put in your own blog address!

tower of books

December 10, 2010

as most of you already know, i read A LOT. i pretty much have to read every day or i become one cranky monkey. on the worst days, all i get to read is a page or two before i fall asleep. on the best days, i read until i reach the end. although, sometimes, reaching the end really sucks either because i don’t like the ending or because i’m sad the story is over.

here’s a list of books i’ve read this year in no particular order:

adult:

GODS IN ALABAMA by joshilyn jackson

BECOME YOUR OWN MATCHMAKER by patti stanger (yeah, that one worked out well for me.)

THE HELP by kathryn stockett (started this as an audio book, which i highly recommend because hearing the southern accent really influences how you read the rest of the book.)

NO PLOT? NO PROBLEM! by chris baty

BEAUTY by robin mckinley

THE HOST by stephenie meyer

LIFE AFTER YES by aidan donnelley rowley

ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL by james herriot

WHERE LOVE GROWS by cynthia reese

young adult:

*HUNGER GAMES, CATCHING FIRE, and MOCKINGJAY by suzanne collins

*INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER by julie halpern

GET WELL SOON by julie halpern

THE SECRET YEAR by jennifer hubbard

*IF I STAY by gayle forman

WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON by david levithan and john green

BREAK by hannah moskowitz

*THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by jay asher

*BEFORE I FALL by lauren oliver

SEA by heidi kling

THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS by e. lockhart

SISTERS RED by jackson pearce

ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by stephanie perkins

PARANORMALCY by kiersten white

THE DUFF by kody keplinger

*THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO, *THE ASK AND THE ANSWER, *MOSTERS OF MEN by patrick ness

THE REPLACEMENT by brenna yovanoff

LINGER by maggie stievater

BALLAD, LAMENT by maggie stievater

GIRL PARTS by john cusick

ZOMBIES VS. UNICORNS, AN ANTHOLOGY edited by holly black and justine larbalestier

THE MOCKINGBIRDS by daisy whitney

YOU by charles benoit

HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT by natalie standiford

*LIAR by justine larbalestier

BRIGHTLY WOVEN by alexandra bracken

THE MAZE RUNNER by james dashner

*LOVE IS THE HIGHER LAW by david levithan

*THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by jandy nelson

FLY GIRL by sherri l. smith

FALLEN by lauren kate

HUSH HUSH by becca fitzpatrick

MERMAID’S MIRROR by l.k. madigan

*FLASH BURNOUT by l.k. madigan

WHEN YOU REACH ME by rebecca stand

THE DARK DIVINE by bree despain

IF YOU COME SOFTLY by jacqueline woodson

LIPS TOUCH by laini taylor

FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH by carrie ryan

MAGIC UNDER GLASS by jaclyn dolamore

THE DARK DAYS OF HAMBURGER HALPIN by josh berk

BIRTHMARKED by caragh o’brien

RAMPANT by diana peterfreund (first book in series is ASCENDANT)

MORNING GLORY by diana peterfreund (which, incidentally, was written from the movie script, not the other way around. i didn’t know this was an option. pretty interesting turn of events. now i have to see the movie to compare to the book!)

middle grade:

*PRINCESS FOR HIRE by lindsey leavitt

CAMILLE MCPHEE FELL UNDER THE BUS by kristen tracy

THE VIEW FROM SATURDAY by e.l. konigsburg

IT’S RAINING CUPCAKES by lisa schroeder

*AS IF BEING 12 3/4 ISN’T BAD ENOUGH, MY MOTHER IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT by donna gephart

*THE CASE OF THE CASE OF THE MISTAKEN IDENTITY by mac barnett

8th GRADE SUPER ZERO by olugbemisola rhuday-perkovich

audiobooks:

INSATIABLE by meg cabot

*IF I STAY by gayle forman (danger alert)

THE HELP by kathryn stockett (first two chapters. it’s all i could download. don’t mind me and my technological difficulties.)

HARRY POTTER AND THE HALFBLOOD PRINCE by j.k. rowling

i’m sure i’m missing some and as you know, december’s not even over yet so my reading continues, but sheesh, when i write it down like that, it looks like i have no life and all i ever do is read. not that there’s anything wrong with that. but maybe all this reading is getting in the way of me writing… OR…. it is research helping me to understand the industry better. all i know is thank goodness for the cambridge public library because if i didn’t have that, i’d be buried under a pile of books instead of typing this blog post.

what have you read this year? this month? this week? see any books not on my list that are must reads? i’m always open to recommendations.

*denotes the books i LOVED.

SURPRISE.

December 7, 2010

i took part in an unintentional surprise party this weekend. it wasn’t originally intended to be a surprise, but as the date drew closer and closer, C realized her BF had no clue what was going on.so she ran with it. (and we all managed to keep our mouths shut.) for about an hour after the surprise was revealed, he could barely talk, so thick was his shock.

SO FUN.

i unintentionally had multiple family reunions this weekend. first with my aunt and uncle (mom’s side) on friday night. then with my uncle (dad’s side) on sunday as i drove up the east coast from philly to NJ to boston.

SO FUN.

i also got to see the new tricks Baby Mac has learned. she waves hello, goodbye, and at any other random time that she wants your attention. she does so in the most adorable way possible because she’s (a) wearing a huge grin and (b) waves backwards, so she’s actually waving to herself. and the other trick is that she can now roll from her back to her stomach. previously, she could only roll from stomach to back.

SO FUN.

i walked into my apartment (ok, fine, struggled is a more apt word) under a laundry basket and two huge bags of weekend clothes, shoes, and a laptop and turned to say hello to roommate when BOOM. i saw it. a real, live christmas tree in my apartment.

SO FUN.

roommate is a christmas fanatic and i heart the season dearly, so it’s always been surprising we don’t decorate more. maybe it’s because we each travel for the holidays and so aren’t local on the actual date or because our landlord dresses up our house so much we didn’t feel the need to add more or i don’t know, but we have never put up true decorations in our own space. however this year, roommate took it upon herself to remedy the lack of christmas cheer in our apartment. it’s amazing what a real, pine smelling, needle dropping, festive tree can do for one’s spirit.

SO FUN.

the weekend started out as me being in on the secret and ended up with me being the one surprised.

SO FUN.

hodge podge

December 3, 2010

my brain is very scattered this week and thus, my blog post shall be too.

how come i always find the most comfortable position AFTER my alarm rings in the morning?

i’m typing this while wearing one fingerless glove. and doing the moonwalk. and singing billie jean. (seriously, i’m only wearing one glove because my right hand, my mouse hand, gets so cold being out in the open. yeah, sitting in my apartment is essentially the equivalent to sitting outside. gas heat is expensive!)

if i wasn’t me, i’d like to be carrie underwood.

i got my first squash win on wednesday (9-8) and then proceeded to get squashed on every other game. but hey, i finally won one, that’s what’s important here, isn’t it?

if i wasn’t in this state, i’d like to be on a beach, under a tree, slathered in sunscreen, reading a book.

the antivirus program on my laptop had run through its trial program, so i needed to update or download another trial or do something so my poor laptop was not running naked through the interwebs. i couldn’t figure out how i had downloaded a trial version but anyways, after 3 hours and lots of mad googling, i finally figured it out. it involved a lot of clicking and uninstalling and reinstalling and downloading and clicking. i don’t actually know what worked, but i do know i’m not afraid to touch my laptop for fear it is contagious.

if i didn’t work here, i’d like to be a professional athlete.

i wish this chair came in adult size. think of the possibilities.

if i didn’t live at this apartment, i’d like to be in one with a washer/dryer and a porch.

i don’t recommend listening to the audiobook of gayle forman’s IF I STAY while driving, unless you’ve invented some form of windshield wipers for your eyes.

i changed my phone’s ring tone to carol of the bells, my favorite christmas carol. well, after this, of course:

i recently received some bookmarks from carrie harris. they are full of the awesome. it’s not surprising really because take a look at her website. yeah, amazing! why oh why do i have to wait until July 12, 2011 for her book (BAD TASTE IN BOYS) to be released?

coffee (caffeinated and decaf) makes me feel sick. i couldn’t seem to pinpoint when it would affect me and when it wouldn’t, so i made the tragic decision to cut it out of my life. i was good for about 10 months, but then i went to italy. they make espresso like no other. SLURP. and i felt fine. so i came back stateside thinking i was cured. alas, i felt sick again. drat. off it again. then i went to colorado and my mom makes really good decaf so i drank some there. fine. and then over thanksgiving, i drank more of the mom-made coffee. YUM. and i felt fine. WHAT GIVES, body? why do you only accept caffeinated when traveling?

from my spam filter: “makes me want to drink alcoholic beverages” in response to the art of listening. i’m going to guess that this person is NOT a good listener.

another goodie from the spam box: “People go en masse to the movies to see tales about Narnia and Harry Potter, escapist fantasies that take us away from our real world of austerity, cuts and looming economic disaster. In these tales, on our side we have wizards both brave and powerful. In real life, we look upon our so-called leaders and despair. If we want there to be a Narnia to escape to, we must build it here. Ourselves.” this comment makes no sense in response to gangsta but hey, spam is as spam does. i’m not going to unleash it from the filter, but i figured posting it here might inspire a little healthy competition. i know my commenters can get a little more creative. GAME ON.