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Archive for July, 2012

  • THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater (a book review)

    Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

    So, I have another book recommendation for you, preciouses. But this one comes with a confession:

    *looks guiltily at the floor* Ahem. Um . . . I started out bothered at this book. Like REEEEALLY confused by it. In fact, at one point a few chapters in, I set it down, saying, “Seriously? What kind of YA is this? The writing’s gorgeous but where’s all the action?”

    And that’s the moment when I realized Maggie Stiefvater’s THE SCORPIO RACES was different from any other YA I have read. And the whole point is that it deserves to be savored.

    The Scorpio Races

    “It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.” – Maggie Stiefvater

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    QUICK  SUMMARY:

    Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean sits the tiny island of Thisby. Wild, salt-swept, and surrounded by a frothy sea from which huge, beautiful, flesh-eating water horses (called “capaill uisce”) periodically clamor onto the shore in search of meat. Meat which is often found in the form of men along the beach who’ve come out to capture the majestic animals for the Scorpio Races.

    Every November, mainland tourists converge upon Thisby to watch her men ride the capaill uisce in the seaside races. And every November they watch a few of the island men die, attacked in a split second of distraction, or drowned when the siren’s call of the water becomes too great and the horses drag their riders beneath the waves. 

    Puck Connelly has spent her whole life on the island, scrounging to get by with her two brothers after their parents were killed by one of the capaill uisce. When the oldest and most financially supportive sibling decides he’s no longer cut out for the raw, harsh life of the island, Puck’s only means of keeping him longer and saving their about-to-be-foreclosed-upon cottage is to enter the deadly Scorpio Race. She is the first female to do so, and she’ll do it on her own little island mare, Dove.

    However, the man to beat is hardly older than herself. Stoic, silent, and the Races’ reigning champion, Sean lives, loves, and breathes water horses. This year, when he wins, he’ll have the chance to gain his freedom and purchase the only family he knows—his capaill uisce, Cor, who once belonged to his now-deceased father.

    But as Puck and Sean train for the races, a friendship begins to bloom between them. And from friendship, the possibility of love. Which wouldn’t be a problem except that neither of them can afford to let the other win in the race.

    WHAT  I  LOVED:

    1. That the book is unlike the average YA novel. It’s slow. It’s sweet. It’s sultry in a raw, atmospheric, salt-tarnished, blood-stained, running, breathing, pulsing through the very heartbeat of nature sort of way.
    2. The Irish-flavored villagers. They remind me of the folk in the movie “Waking Ned Devine.” They are more subjects of their island — of her moods and whims — living life as part of her landscape, lending their stories to the stormy romance between her and the sea.
    3. The boiling, frothing, storm-inflicted ocean churning up its water horses and then calling them back.
    4. The prose. It is SO what Maggie Stiefvater is known for. Her absolute pure perfect poetry. In this case, THE SCORPIO RACES is poetry about life in all of its elements.
    5. The characters. Puck and Sean are wonderfully well-developed, headstrong, and easy to adore.
    6. The unique twist on the YA supernatural genre. Water horses? Freaking brilliant.
    7. The romance. Subtle and slow and reminiscent of childhood.

    MY  SUGGESTION:

    One should read this story while tucked beside a cozy fire on an autumn eve. When the air’s too cold and the wind too loud and the day too harsh to bear repeating. In those few hours, the tired spirit will find respite and a borrowed sense of falling into bed having tasted the salted air and sweat and blood given for the sake of loving a world that is wildly dangerous and beautiful.

    And that’s pretty much all I have to say on the subject.

    What do YOU think, preciouses? Have you read it?

    ;0) 

    *Cover pic from Goodreads

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    Posted in Book Reviews | 14 Comments »

  • An Author Interview with Marissa Meyer!

    Thursday, July 19th, 2012

    I’d just logged on yesterday to put up the week’s blog post, when the cutest email reply popped up from Marissa Meyer! So of course I squealed and scrapped said blog post and decided to give you a super special treat today by introducing you to the very fabulous, very funny, Ms. Marissa Meyer, New York Times bestselling author of CINDER (book one in the Lunar Chronicles series).

    You know of whom I speak  —>  She’s the author of that book I’ve been chatting about for the past two weeks. Yes. That one.

    And here’s a picture of her:

    Totally adorable, right?

    And here’s my interview with her! Feel free to giggle and groove with us and also to join in on my Joss Whedon Cupcake Campaign in which I manipulate him suggest he make CINDER into a movie ;0). As per the usual, her comments are in color, mine in white. Enjoy!

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    (1)  OKAY, word on the street is you’ve got a serious soft spot for fanfic and cosplay. So picture this with me: Comic Con San Diego has just kicked off when a sudden a horde of Queen Levana lookalikes appears blasting David Bowie music and threatening to purge the world of cute cats and ice cream. Do you:

    • (A) challenge them to a dance-off for the sake of ice cream and cat lovers everywhere
    • (B) go helpless at the sight of their unbelievable beauty and fashion sense
    • (C) realize it’s actually Lady Gaga with her entourage, in which case you’ll have to improvise (seeing as a dance-off is entirely too dangerous)

    MARISSA:  A! Let’s turn on some Labyrinth and get this party started! “You remind me of the babe – WHAT BABE?” *grooves*

    Oooh, a Labyrinth dance party?! BEST EVER. *slaps on eyeliner, puffs big hair, and hitches up tight tights* Let’s do this thing.

    By the way, have you seen this? (from frabz via my sweet sister)

    Um, I think we can all agree that’s just supremely awesome.

    •  

    (2) Speaking of David Bowie, tight tights, costumes, and Comic-Con, what’s the best cosplay costume you’ve ever worn? Do you have a pic for us?

    MARISSA:  My all-time favorite was Princess Zelda from the Legend of Zelda video games. I did her super fancy grown-up version and yes, I do have a picture!

    *dies* This is AMAZING! (And you look quite lovely!) My 6-year-old son just became your biggest fan. He says he hopes your husband is very much like Link (except hopefully he talks more).

    •  

    (3) I’m always curious to know what books my favorite authors are reading. Can you share with us the title of the last novel you read?

    MARISSA:  The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. (Really enjoyed it!)

    Oh, oh, oh! *raises hand and waves* Me too! I know that one! I just finished it!!! So good. :0) (“Hmm…so, does this make me cool and up-to-date in the author-reading-book-world?” she wonders to her geek self…)

    •  

    (4) Favorite fictional boy hottie of all time?

    MARISSA:  Han Solo. With Tuxedo Mask coming up a very close second.

    Oh Han. *sigh*

    And Marissa, if we ever meet in person, I must buy you one of these (via geek alerts):

    Star Wars Han Solo Carbonite iPhone Case

     Every time I look at it I want to save him, cuz I know he’d be all like, “Leia? Who’s Leia? I only have eyes for you.”

    •  

    (5)  On the subject of attractive boys, what’s your favorite thing about Kai and Cinder’s friendship?

    MARISSA:  I love how much admiration they have for each other. Cinder sees Kai as a total hottie, sure, but she also respects him as the next leader of her country. She recognizes that he is smart and honorable and capable of being an amazing emperor. On the other hand, Kai (who has probably never held a screwdriver in his life) completely admires Cinder’s ability to assess problems, fix things, and be resourceful. They have two very different skill sets, and each recognizes the brilliance of the other.

    I loved how you developed this in their relationship, and I actually think it’s one of my favorite things about the book. Not only do their characters feel authentic, but so does their friendship. :0)

    •  

    (6)  Speaking of friendship, who would win in a karaoke sing-off – Cinder or Iko? Which song would they sing?

    MARISSA:  Iko. She would OWN that stage. And now that you have David Bowie on my mind, I think she would probably go with “Fashion.” (“Turn to the left – FASHION!”) If you could convince Cinder to sing at all, which would be no small accomplishment, she would probably get all smart-allecky and sing “Domo Arigatou, Mr. Roboto” or some such.

    *grins* Which is why we like them both so much.

    •  

    (7)  So, tell us what we can expect from the rest of The Lunar Chronicles series!

    MARISSA:  Four awesome heroines, each with their own talents and dilemmas, four gush-worthy heroes, a world in chaos, and a wicked queen who will stop at nothing to get her way. And a spaceship.

    Talented heroines, gush-worthy heroes, wicked queen, spaceship. I’m in.

    •  

    (8)  USA Today recently interviewed you and posted an excerpt from SCARLET online, but rumor has it there’s a prequel to the series out there as well. Can you share the link with us?

    MARISSA:  Gladly – the prequel is called “GLITCHES” and it tells the story of when Cinder came to live with Adri and her family. It can be read on Tor.com: http://www.tor.com/stories/2011/12/glitches. And keep your eyes out, a second prequel will be coming out later this year!

    *gushes* Oh, I just clicked over and read the first one on Tor! I love it! And what a gorgeous  illustration!

    •  

    Okay, last questions…

    (9)  As you may be aware (from my whole cupcake campaign thing), we kinda have a thing for eating on this blog. It’s more of an addiction, really. Can you tell us your top three favorite foods?

    MARISSA:  That’s good, because I kind of have a thing for answering questions about food. Top three: Reese’s peanut butter cups, this amazing peanut butter-chocolate treat my mom makes for the holidays, and… peanut butter. With chocolate.

    *drools* *looks up* * wipes face* Um, you’ve officially been inducted into the blog’s food hall of awesomeness.

    •  

    (10)  And do you cook for your cats?

    MARISSA:  Psh. Cats think highly enough of themselves as it is, so I try not to spoil mine too much. They’re lucky if I put in the effort to open a can, rather than just giving them the dry stuff!

    •  

    And there you have it, preciouses. I TOLD you she was fabulous! For more on Marissa, you can stalk visit her website, or find her on twitter and facebook.

    Thanks for hanging with us today, Marissa!!! And thanks to all of you preciouses for grooving along. <3

    ;0)

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    Posted in A bit of brag, Author Tidbits | 13 Comments »

  • In Which We Start a Cupcake Campaign Directed at Joss Whedon

    Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

    As you’ll recall from last week’s review of Marissa Meyer’s book CINDER, I demanded suggested that Joss Whedon make said book into a movie. So of course now I’m all busy contemplating exactly HOW many cupcakes a stalker-ish perfectly normal type person would have to send Joss to garner his attention for this genius sci-fi/dystopian book-to-movie idea.

    Especially if I sent him cupcakes that look like

    THIS LOKI CUPCAKE!!!

     

    Via the Avengers Cupcake Line at Nerdache Cakes (a website that is WAY too addicting).

    Fabulous, right? These cupcakes would make a bold statement by (1) complimenting Joss (Hey, nice job on the Avengers!) and (2) tempting him into a sugary haze with sweet amazing gloriousness.

    In other words…

    He’d be insane not to submit to our movie plan.

    MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Um…excuse me for a moment.

    *runs off and places order for Avengers cupcakes to be delivered to Joss’s house via a singing telegram type person dressed in a Buffy suit*

    *sits back*

    *relaxes*

    *looks at watch, then at phone*

    *checks phone for dial tone*

    *sits back and waits some more*

    Ahem. SOOOOOO…while we wait for Joss to give us his over-the-top gushingly positive response to my cupcake manipulation (and we also wait for all of our geek friends to get back from Comic-Con), I’ve got a couple of sci-fi books-becoming-movies-I-really-want-to-see that we can talk about.

    Okay, actually, let me rephrase that: The first one I really want to see. The second? I’m completely obsessing over in an OMG  PLEASE  BE  AMAZING  BECAUSE  I NEED  TO  SEE  IT  RIGHT  NOW kind of way.

    Firstly: Stephenie Meyer’s THE HOST

    I haven’t read this book in a while, but it’s one I enjoyed, especially as a Stargate nerd (is it just me or did she give a nice nod with the whole alien in the neck thing?). Although, adjust yourselves because there’s a complete lack of sparkly vampires in it. Dost I hear some of you cheering? And others are crying I see. Well, vamps or not, I’m uber excited to see it on the big screen.

    Here’s the trailer:

    •  

    It looks awesome, yes?

    Yes.

    And secondly is only just my very favorite sci-fi novel of all time: ENDER’S GAME!!!

    AGH! I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS MOVIE. And I love that Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, and Asa Butterfield are starring in it. November 1, 2013 – you cannot come soon enough. *sigh*

    For that matter, neither can the movie trailer (*hint hint,* movie people).

    *stops to pick up phone and check dial tone again*

    Well, at least we have our Joss Whedon action figure to eat leftover cupcakes with while we wait.

    (purchase at Toys R Us)

    •  

    *salutes you* Long may our sci-fi (and cupcake) geek flags wave, preciouses.

    ;0)

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    Posted in Genre Savvy, Uncategorized | 15 Comments »

  • CINDER by Marissa Meyer (a book review)

    Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

    Oh you guys.

    *hugs book tightly and sighs*    I LOVED this one.

    So. Very. Much.

    Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)

    CINDER cover pic from Goodreads
    •  

    QUICK SUMMARY:

    Mysterious Lunar people watch from the moon as Earth’s inhabitants battle a deadly plague. The Lunar queen is waiting for her chance to strike, if not through the heart then at least through the throne of Prince Kai.

    On Earth, Linh Cinder, a brilliant mechanic, lives in Prince Kai’s Eastern Commonwealth city of New Beijing. As a cyborg and second-class citizen, her work financially provides for her embittered stepmother and stepsisters as well as (hopefully) a little extra to purchase newer metal parts for her cyborg body — such as a much-needed leg. When a chance encounter in the marketplace sends the Prince and Cinder’s worlds colliding, they find themselves facing an onslaught of feelings, disease experimentation, power plays and political intrigue far beyond what either of them are prepared for.

    All of which revolve around Cinder’s hidden past.

    And the Prince’s very public future.

    •  

    WHAT I LOVED:

    1. Um, let’s see…you mean besides the fact that this is Cinderella as a CYBORG living in a futuristic plague-ravaged world with a hot prince on whom the entire survival of the human race is politically dependent?
    2. The third-person point of view, which rotates (lightly) throughout the story. So much YA is written in the first person (which I am completely and unabashedly partial to), that it’s refreshing to read a great, well done third-person narrative in the genre.
    3. The New Beijing and Lunar colonies, which are incredibly cool. This book is a fabulous example of creative world building. As a reader, I was engrossed and wanted to explore more (which could be either frustrating or a good thing).
    4. The characters. Thank you, Ms. Meyer for creating characters who are believable, intellectual and hard working (versus accidentally awesome because of some newly discovered ability), useful for something beyond brooding and good looks, and not obligated to fall madly into make-out-obsessed-love in the first five pages just because they’re stuck in a story together. Oh, and Iko rocked.
    5. Prince Kai in his hoodie sweatshirt. To say that Kai is totally hot in that casual, Ryan Gosling “Hey girl, I’m a prince but I’m really just a guy needing a girl to share my inner feelings with” kind of way might be an understatement. *sigh*
    6. The creepy cultish Lunars.
    7. Queen Levana. She is So. Deliciously. Evil. With her magical charms and use of glimmer.
    8. The ending. Not the happily-ever-after ending we’ve all come to know and expect. Which both infuriated and thrilled me all at once. Ergh. Second book please.
    •  

    WHAT I CANNOT FREAKING WAIT FOR:

    1. The next 3 books in the series: Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood), Cress (Rapunzel), and Winter (Snow White).
    2. More YA sci-fi books. Yes, CINDER is technically a sci-fi/dystopian mix (blended oh-so-nicely), but mark my words: Sci-fi is the next YA genre on the horizon.  
    3. For Joss Whedon to make CINDER into a movie. Oh wait…he’s never thought of doing that? Well, he should. Because I would watch it. Again and again.

    **Post update: Check out USA Today’s cover reveal for SCARLET (2nd in the series) along with an excerpt from chapter 2 and an interview with Marissa Meyer!

    ;0)

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    Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized | 21 Comments »

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