Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Red Hill by Jamie McGuire | Waiting on Wednesday


How do you get me to read a romance? You throw in a zombie apocalypse. That's how!

Publication Date: October 1, 2013

When the world ends, can love survive?

For Scarlet, raising her two daughters alone makes fighting for tomorrow an everyday battle. Nathan has a wife, but can’t remember what it’s like to be in love; only his young daughter Zoe makes coming home worthwhile. Miranda’s biggest concern is whether her new VW Bug is big enough to carry her sister and their boyfriends on a weekend escape from college finals.

When reports of a widespread, deadly “outbreak” begin to surface, these ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances and suddenly their fates are intertwined. Recognizing they can’t outrun the danger, Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda desperately seek shelter at the same secluded ranch, Red Hill. Emotions run high while old and new relationships are tested in the face of a terrifying enemy—an enemy who no longer remembers what it’s like to be human.

Set against the backdrop of a brilliantly realized apocalyptic world, love somehow finds a way to survive. But what happens when the one you’d die for becomes the one who could destroy you?

I'm in.

What are you anxiously waiting for this week?


This post is being shared as part of Breaking the Spine's Waiting on Wednesday.

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Monday, July 29, 2013

July 29 | Currently Reading

I'm so happy to have my reading mojo back. I normally read much less in the summertime so I'm happy to be in a groove right now.

Last week I posted reviews for Joyland by Stephen King and Horns by Joe Hill. Hmm. I didn't even notice what I did there until just now.

I listened to The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson on audio. I seriously loved that book. I will have a review out for that this week.


I started reading The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau which is really great so far. I'm also still reading Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson. I just downloaded the audio for Hounded by Kevin Hearne from my library so I'll be listening to that this week as well.


I hope everyone is having a really great summer. Let me know what you are reading in the comments or leave me a link!


This post is being shared as part of Book Journey's It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Horns by Joe Hill | Audiobook Review


I hate when everyone loves a book but me!

Book Description

At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real.

Once the righteous Ig had enjoyed the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned musician and younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, he had security, wealth, and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more—he had Merrin and a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic.

But Merrin's death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. In the court of public opinion in Gideon, New Hampshire, Ig is and always will be guilty because his rich and connected parents pulled strings to make the investigation go away. Nothing Ig can do, nothing he can say, matters. Everyone, it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone, that is, but the devil inside. . . .

Now Ig is possessed of a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look—a macabre talent he intends to use to find the monster who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. It's time for a little revenge. . . . It's time the devil had his due. . . .

Review

After Ig Perrish's girlfriend is murdered, he wakes up with horns coming out of his head. He also notices that those around him openly share their deepest secrets and desires. Does everyone have such horrible thoughts? I don't know if it was because I was listening to it on audio, but uncensored people are not fun to be around. I fear how many wrinkles this book may have caused me.

I think part of my problem with this book is the humor was lost on me. All of the horrible thoughts people were having seemed like shock value to me. I love horror so it's not that I mind horrible thoughts or bad people, I was just having trouble getting behind everyone being that way. Every person Ig came across was worse than the last. I started wondering if my library had punked me.

This book wasn't entirely without merit. Ig is trying to discover what happened to his girlfriend the night she was murdered. He learns that his horns also yield power over others. I found myself getting sucked in, but then inevitably something would force me back to thinking I hate this book and I can't wait for this to be over.

Part of what made Horns so unlikeable was the characters were so unlikeable.

I forgot there was going to be a movie with Daniel Radcliffe until someone mentioned it in a comment earlier this week. I guess my relationship with Horns isn't over yet as I will likely still watch the movie. I'm too curious not to see Harry Potter with horns. I'll just get drunk before I watch it.

So, I'm obviously not recommending this to anyone. If you want to read Joe Hill, and I recommend that you do!, Heart-Shaped Box was a great debut and NOS4A2 was awesome. I'm apparently the only one who didn't enjoy Horns, but I still can't bring myself to suggest you give it a try for yourself.

3/10: Didn't Like it

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Joyland by Stephen King | Book Review


I was planning to read Joyland right after NOS4A2, but NOS4A2 felt so much like a Stephen King book, I decided to read a couple of unrelated books first. I couldn't hold off any longer than that, though, because I do love me some Stephen King.

Book Description

"I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts," says Stephen King, who has combined these elements into a wonderful new story. Joyland is a whodunit noir crime novel and a haunting ghost story set in the world of an amusement park.

It tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a 'carny' in small-town North Carolina and has to confront the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the way both will change his life forever. It is also a wonderful coming-of-age novel about friendship, loss, and your first heartbreak. Who dares enter the funhouse of fear?

Review

Devin Jones is the main character and narrator of Joyland. He is now in his 60s, and he's looking back on the end of his first love and the summer he spent working for the Joyland amusement park in North Carolina. That is also the summer he encountered the ghost of a young girl and helped solve her murder. I loved the beach-side setting and the relationships between the characters. Stephen King excels at nostalgia. I love how he can evoke that feeling of longing. He also enjoys breaking my heart. I'm not always a fan of that, but I am a fan of Joyland.

The cover is a bit misleading with the "Who Dares Enter the Funhouse of Fear?". Joyland has a suspenseful climax, but there's not a whole lot of fear going on in Joyland. If you've been too afraid to pick up a Stephen King novel, this is a great one to try especially if you like mysteries or coming of age stories.

This wasn't a spectacular novel. I'm not clamoring to get this book into everyone's hands, but I really loved reading it. If you are a fan of Stephen King, it's a must read, but I also recommend it to anyone looking for a great summer read.

8/10: Great Read

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Monday, July 22, 2013

July 22 | Currently Reading

Happy Monday! Last week was a great reading week. I even managed to write a review or two! It has been raining (storming) here. The rain makes for awesome reading weather, but I'm ready for everything to dry back up now!

I finished reading Stephen King's Joyland. I also listened to Jeff Probst's Stranded on audio.


I started reading Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson and Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman, and I'm listening to Horns by Joe Hill.


I hope everyone has a fabulous week this week. Let me know what you are reading or leave me a link!


This post is being shared as part of Book Journey's It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Book Review | Doll Bones by Holly Black


Holy crap nothing scares me more than dolls.

Book Description

Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . . .

Doll Bones was a very unexpected read for me. I've never read anything by Holly Black, but how could I pass up a creepy story about kids being haunted by a china doll?! It turns out Doll Bones was far more heartwarming and cuter than I expected.

The kids in Doll Bones are 12 years old and on the brink of leaving that phase of childhood where it's OK to use your imagination and play with dolls. They are growing up. Their lives are changing and their friendships are changing, but thanks to a doll created from the bones of a murdered girl, they get to go on one last quest together before leaving their childhoods behind them.

I loved reading this as an adult, but it is also a perfect middle grade read for kids who enjoy creepy tales.

8/10: Great Read

Discussion:
Are you a fan of Holly Black? I loved her writing in Doll Bones. Is there another Holly Black book you would recommend? I know she has written a few series of books.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Book Review | Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes


Viral Nation is the first dystopian book I have enjoyed in a long time.

Book Description

After a virus claimed nearly the entire global population, the world changed. The United States splintered into fifty walled cities where the surviving citizens clustered to start over. The Company, which ended the plague by bringing a life-saving vaccine back from the future, controls everything. They ration the scant food and supplies through a lottery system, mandate daily doses of virus suppressant, and even monitor future timelines to stop crimes before they can be committed.

Brilliant but autistic, sixteen-year-old Clover Donovan has always dreamed of studying at the Waverly-Stead Academy. Her brother and caretaker, West, has done everything in his power to make her dream a reality. But Clover’s refusal to part with her beloved service dog denies her entry into the school. Instead, she is drafted into the Time Mariners, a team of Company operatives who travel through time to gather news about the future.

When one of Clover’s missions reveals that West’s life is in danger, the Donovans are shattered. To change West’s fate, they’ll have to take on the mysterious Company. But as its secrets are revealed, they realize that the Company’s rule may not be as benevolent as it seems. In saving her brother, Clover will face a more powerful force than she ever imagined… and will team up with a band of fellow misfits and outsiders to incite a revolution that will change their destinies forever.

Viral Nation opens with a virus wiping out most of the world's population. I love a good apocalyptic virus so I was captured by Viral Nation right away. A suppressant for the virus was discovered when the main characters were very young so the focus is much more on the power held by the company who controls the suppressant than on the virus itself.

The main character (Clover) has autism which instantly sets her apart from all of the other YA characters I have ever encountered. Most of the characters were quite likeable, and since Viral Nation is the first book in a series, I get the impression we will learn a lot more about the "Freaks for Freedom" as the series progresses. Clover also has a service dog that assists her with her autism. I loved that. Even more so, I loved that Shaunta Grimes did not use the dog to toy with my emotions.

I'm excited that there is time travel in this series, but it doesn't work well for me yet. If I think about it too hard, I get a headache, but I was able to let go and just go with the flow most of time. In fact, I found Viral Nation pretty hard to put down.

As with most YA series books, I wish I would have gotten more of a complete story out of Viral Nation. That is starting to be a pretty huge gripe with me, but nevertheless, I am anxiously awaiting the next book and will definitely be carrying on with the series.

7/10: Recommended Read

Review copy provided by author via publisher

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Viral Nation Blog Tour | Inside the Walled City of Reno

I'm so excited to be part of the Viral Nation Blog Tour today! Guys, I'm reading Viral Nation right now and loving it! In Viral Nation, each state has a walled city that houses all of the state's survivors. Shaunta Grimes has written for us a peek inside the walled city of Reno.


Inside the Walled City of Reno


The Walled City of Reno is an awful lot like the current city of Reno, at least on the surface. It's beautiful, with parks and trees and lovely old houses. It has the downtown casinos, even the Biggest Little City sign, still. Clover Donovan spends her free time at the same library where I spend mine. The Truckee River still runs through it. It gets snow in the winter and sun in the summer. People still go to the University of Nevada campus to learn. They go to the Circus Circus casino to gamble.

Yes, the Walled City of Reno is familiar—but it's also very different. The Circus Circus is called the Bazaar, and people aren't gambling their money. They're gambling in the hopes of winning things they need. The UNR campus has been taken over by the Waverly-Stead Academy. The library is the only place you can get online, and it's the center for community education. Clover learns to set bones and raise bees there. Some of the houses have been torn down, to make room for gardens. There isn't enough food, and there aren't enough people to fill the houses anyway.

Everyone in the Walled City of Reno has a job. Every job is important. Every little cog turns and the city rolls on. It's a much more important city in the new America. Instead of just being a little mountain town, it's the Company's headquarters. The Company keeps the Virus at bay, and that makes them the strongest entity on Earth.

After sixteen years, though, the cracks in the utopia are starting to show. Cracks big enough for a bunch of kids who call themselves the Freaks to see through.

About the Author:

Shaunta Grimes has worked as a substitute teacher, a newspaper reporter, a drug court counselor, and a vintage clothing seller. No matter which direction she strays, however, she always comes back to storytelling. She lives in Reno with her family, where she writes, teaches, and perpetually studies at the University of Nevada. Viral Nation is her debut traditionally-published novel.

How to Connect with Shaunta:

Email: shauntagrimes@gmail.com
Twitter: @shauntagrimes
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Shaunta-Grimes/616126965080762
Blog: www.shauntagrimes.com
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/yEc11



About Viral Nation:

Synopsis:

After a virus claimed nearly the entire global population, the world changed. The United States splintered into fifty walled cities where the surviving citizens clustered to start over. The Company, which ended the plague by bringing a life-saving vaccine back from the future, controls everything. They ration the scant food and supplies through a lottery system, mandate daily doses of virus suppressant, and even monitor future timelines to stop crimes before they can be committed.

Brilliant but autistic, sixteen-year-old Clover Donovan has always dreamed of studying at the Waverly-Stead Academy. Her brother and caretaker, West, has done everything in his power to make her dream a reality. But Clover’s refusal to part with her beloved service dog denies her entry into the school. Instead, she is drafted into the Time Mariners, a team of Company operatives who travel through time to gather news about the future.

When one of Clover’s missions reveals that West’s life is in danger, the Donovans are shattered. To change West’s fate, they’ll have to take on the mysterious Company. But as its secrets are revealed, they realize that the Company’s rule may not be as benevolent as it seems. In saving her brother, Clover will face a more powerful force than she ever imagined and will team up with a band of fellow misfits and outsiders to incite a revolution that will change their destinies forever.

Book Details:

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Release Date: July 2, 2013
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0425265130
First in a series.

Two chapter excerpt available on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15985355-viral-nation



Thank you so much for stopping by today, Shaunta! You guys can find Viral Nation at Goodreads and Amazon. The full Viral Nation tour schedule can be found on Shaunta's blog here. She has also included some really nice points on how to support your favorite authors.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My Favorite Movie Adaptations

Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic over at The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations. I was afraid at first that I wouldn't have enough favorites, but I wound up with way too many. I did my best to narrow it down.

MY FAVORITE ADAPTATIONS

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy



This speaks for itself. If you haven't read the books, they are as beautiful as the movies. Usually the film makers have to add witty dialogue and perfect the timing for the screen. The best lines from the movies are taken straight from Tolkien. This is suddenly turning into a book promo.. you need to read LOTR.

Jurassic Park



I watched Jurassic Park before I read the book. I can guarantee you that made a huge difference in my love of the adaptation. My husband did the right thing and read the book first, but now too many things grate on his nerves about the movie. I simply don't have that problem.

The Firm



I loved reading The Firm, and I was psyched when it came to the theater. Tom Cruise was cast as Mitchell McDeere which was fantastic. The ending to the movie was entirely different than the book, but it really worked. The only change I wasn't happy with was his car. Two other Tom Cruise movies almost made this list, too: The Interview with the Vampire and The War of the Worlds. I know I'm flawed, but you'll learn to love me.

Stephen King



If I were to count all of my favorite Stephen King adaptations, it would take up the rest of this post. Instead, I'm just going to count "Stephen King" as one and post some of my favorite Stephen King movie adaptations. I'm certain I missed some.



The Hunger Games



Right? I imagine I will see this on a million lists today. I hope Lions Gate will do as much justice to the upcoming release of Divergent as they did to The Hunger Games.

Phantoms



If you haven't read Phantoms by Dean Koontz, do it. It's one of my favorite books. The movie was a little goofy, but I loved it anyways. It stars Mr. Ben Affleck and Rose McGowan.

Harry Potter



This list is in no particular order.

Where the Red Fern Grows



This movie is as equally tear jerking as the book. I ugly cry for days. This movie was my grandfather's favorite movie of all time. It has a solid spot on my list.

The Last Man on Earth



Out of all of the I Am Legend adaptations, The Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price is my favorite. I do enjoy the latest adaptation starring Will Smith, but the ending to the book I Am Legend is one of my favorite endings and The Last Man on Earth captures it the best.

THE WORST ADAPTATIONS

I had a list of worst movies, too, because I wasn't sure which direction I was going to take my post. Here are my top three worst movie adaptations:

Relic



Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child is a fantastic book. I cannot say the same about the movie. Like Jurassic Park, I saw the movie before I read the book. I'm a huge fan of Adventures in Babysitting. Do you remember Brenda? The girl who ran away from home instead of spiking her mother's Tab with Drano? Penelope Ann Miller. She stared in Relic so it was a must see for me back in the day. Wow, that movie sucked.

I Am Number Four



I loooove the Lorien Legacies series. I wish beyond comprehension that Hollywood had waited before doing an I Am Number Four movie. The movie sucked so hard core, and now they will never make another one.

Left Behind



The Left Behind books should have made for awesome movies. Instead we got a couple of movies that are barely fit for TV.

ALL TIME FAVORITE MOVIE ADAPTATIONSS THAT I'VE NEVER READ

I can't stop myself. Some of my very all time favorite movies were based on books, but I've never read them!

The Princess Bride



Holy hell is this movie quotable. If you put two Princess Bride fans in the same room together, the quotes could go on for hours. Trust me.

The Neverending Story



I love The Neverending Story so hard core. I am waaaiting for the day my kids are old enough to watch it. I've debated for a long time whether I should read the book or not. I'm still undecided. (Have you read it?) For one thing, I don't want to find out what on earth Bastian is shouting out the window. If you know the princess's name, don't tell me. It's probably my most favorite mystery.

Do you have any favorite film adaptations? Do you agree with mine or did you hate some of my favorites?  Do you have any favorite movies you still haven't read?

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Currently Reading | The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman



I'm still reading Viral Nation, but I really needed an audiobook to listen to while working around the house over the July 4th holiday. I thought it might be a great time to start The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.



Neil Gaiman is the narrator for the audiobook. The first thing I noticed was how fast he narrates. I love that! Slow narrators drive me batty. The second thing I noticed was simply how lovely it is to listen to Neil Gaiman. Midnyte Reader mentioned that just the other day in one of her BEA recap posts. This book could suck, and it's possible I wouldn't even notice. I think this book is actually really good so far, but I'm afraid I might be easily hypnotized.

What are you reading this week? Be sure to let me know or leave me link!


This post is being shared as part of as part of Book Journey's It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Storybook Sunday | Charlotte's Web by E. B. White




My kids and I started reading Charlotte's Web out loud together last week. I have always loved Charlotte's Web, and so far my kids are captivated. The possible death of a baby pig was a great hook. My kids wanted to rid the world of injustice right along with Fern. I saw Charlotte's Web was just named the number 10 best book of all time by Entertainment Weekly*. I'm not sure I would go that far, but it was nice to see it on the list. It has a lot of awesome qualities I'm happy to be revisiting.

Other Books We Read Last Week



My kids love Pete the Cat so we bought the new Pete at the Beach by James Dean. It has been a big hit at our house.



I am not a fan of Oswald. I just don't get it, but the Oswald books are actually pretty great for early reading. They have a lot of sight words so my oldest can read these with confidence. This particular book is Hooray for Fall. My kids love that there is a monster reference in this one. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

*More About the Entertainment Weekly 100 Greatest Books of All Time



I was hoping EW would have their 100 Greatest Books of All Time list online so I could share it, but they only have the top 10 list on their site so far. I also found their explanation on how they chose the top 100 books. Apparently I was not the only person wondering how on earth they picked the books the picked. They got a "landslide of mail" asking that very question. I love that they explained and even admitted "to some super-nefarious backroom dealings".

"You can’t please all the people all the time, but it turns out you can annoy a whole bunch of them."

We booknerds are an opinionated bunch.

Are you reading any kids books this week? What do you think of Entertainment Weekly's top 10 greatest books of all time?


This post is being shared as part of Teach Mentor Text's It's Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 2 | Currently Reading

How is it July already? Things have been crazy busy in the Book Den household this summer. I have a lot of catching up to do.

What I've Been Reading



I finally finished reading NOS4A2 by Joe Hill. I can't believe how long it took me to finish that book. It's a testament to how busy I have been because NOS4A2 was awesome. It was one of my most anticipated books of the year, but I underestimated just how awesome it was going to be. I couldn't help but make comparisons to Stephen King throughout the book. I'm so glad to know Joe Hill will be around if Stephen King ever decides to retire.



I just started reading Viral Nation (which was released today). I like it so far. I did a waiting on wednesday post about it awhile back. It's a dystopian virus story with an autistic girl and a dog. I'm certain dogs automatically make every book better.

Digg Reader


Were you a Google Reader user? If haven't fallen in love with a new reader like Feedly or BlogLovin', you should check out the new Digg Reader. It is definitely much closer to Google Reader than the other alternatives. You can even import your Google Reader feeds but only until July 15 so you need to be sure to check it out pretty quick.

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