Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Must Love Black

Philippa's father has just remarried. To avoid her father's and his new wife's sickening honeymoon, Phillipa takes a summer job as a nanny with an odd specification: must love black (which she totally does). When she gets to the client's residence, it turns out to be a very fancy spa called Chrysalis Cliff. Her charges are two 10 year old twins (named Rienne and Triste) who are intelligent, overly sensible, and share Phillipa's love for black. At the spa, Phillipa and the girls have very little area to roam around in and the girls' father is a workaholic. Will Phillipa get the girls to have a little fun and reconnect with their father? Is there a point at all to this book? No.

Phillipa immediately struck me as an ungrateful, whiny teenager. I'm willing to concede that it's because I can't really relate to her or because I'm not a teenager anymore. (I ran into the same problem with Shilo, the supposed protagonist of Repo! the Genetic Opera.) However, leaving in the middle of your father's wedding reception without saying goodbye before being away for an entire summer is just plain rude in my book. Her behavior was more tolerable when she started working (mostly because she wanted to keep her job), but I don't think she changed her attitude significantly. I really liked the quirky little twins, Triste and Rienne, with their solemn natures and sensible ways. They reminded me of little Edward Gorey type characters. They were the most enjoyable part of the book for me.

I felt that this book was incredibly incomplete. There were huge chunks of plot missing. Since the spa was called Chrysalis Cliff, I figured Phillipa would have some sort of change: a mental or emotional or physical change of some sort. I was wrong. There was a a couple incidences with a possible ghost following and interacting with Phillipa, but again, there was no follow through. It really didn't need to be there at all and just made the book kind of confusing. The end was missing at least a chapter. Very few of the problems were solved: Phillipa still has to return to her "evil" stepmother with the same mentality she had at the beginning of the novel. Lady BV, the father's partner who doesn't seem to like the children very much, remains unchanged and still works against the children, although her influence is a bit diminished. The romantic plot line was resolved in about a sentence. How hard is it to ask a guy if he's dating someone? Not that hard! This is what the problem with relationship between Phillipa and Geoff boiled down to. The writing just didn't flow very well.

The concept of the novel was interesting and had a lot of potential, but turned out to fall flat. I liked some of the story, but the holes and failed expectations overpowered the aspects that I liked. I only took about a day to read this, but I would recommend using that time to read something a little more coherent.

My rating: 2/5 fishmuffins

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holiday Break Reading Challenge #9

The assignment is to write about ZOMBIES or Christopher Moore. I like both, so I think I'll talk a little about both. If you follow my blog, you probably know what a huge zombie fan I am. I wrote many posts in August and September about various zombie books, movies and music. Here are my favorites from then, plus my brand new review of You Are So Undead to Me.

* Zombie Songs - Voltaire, Kirby Krackle, and Lee Press-on and the Nails
* The Zen of Zombie by Scott Kenemore
* Grace - a zombie baby film
* Dead Snow - a Nazi zombie film from Norway
* You Are So Undead to Me by Stacey Jay
* Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
* Zombieland - a heartwarming zombie movie

Zombie media I wish to experience in the future include: Undead Much by Stacey Jay, George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead, The Living Dead- an anthology, and The Art of Zombie Warfare by Scott Kenemore.


Christopher Moore is a hilarious author. If you haven't read anything by him, go out to the nearest library or bookstore and get his books now! I've read almost all of his books, including Island of the Sequined Love Nun, Practical Demonkeeping, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, and The Stupidest Angel. My favorite book was the first that I read: A Dirty Job. It's about Charlie Asher, death merchant, and his crazy adventures. I'm going to reread it sometime soon and post a review. Please, do yourself a favor and check out Christopher Moore.

I can't wait to read the sequel to Bloodsucking Fiends and You Suck, Bite Me! Christopher Moore has already posted his March and April 2010 Book Tour, so see if he's going to be near you! I saw him when Fool came out earlier this year and it was one of the most hilarious experiences of my life. You will not be disappointed. I'm definitely going to the appearance at Vroman's bookstore on April 9.

You Are So Undead to Me

Megan Berry is just an average, normal teenager, except for the fact that she is a zombie settler. Normal zombies are not the Night of the Living Dead, flesh eating variety. They are merely dead kids with unresolved issues who then go to settlers to get those issues of their chest and to be laid to rest. Megan just wants to be a normal teenager who goes on dates not interrupted by the undead and join the pom squad at school. However, someone else has other plans for her. Zombies of the flesh eating variety are only raised by black magic and are called reanimated corpses. When these creatures start attacking people around Megan, she has to find out who is doing and stop them before someone dies. Is it Monica, the vindictive popular girl who has it in for Megan? Or someone else entirely? And will Megan's social life stay intact through it all?

Stacey Jay has created a fresh, new take on zombies that I have never seen before. It's such an over-flooded genre right now, so this is like a breath of fresh air for me. The secret society of settlers was intriguing and also ominous at times. The story was a great mix of suspense, horror, romance, action, and mystery punctuated with moments of humor. The book was similar to Buffy the Vampire Slayer in that there is a girl who has a supernatural calling and tries to balance that job and her normal life. However, the narrative still held its own as a unique story by the strength and individuality of Megan.

I related to Megan, the narrator and main character. She was a teenager with crushes on boys and freakouts about what people at school will think about her. It's expected, but it didn't overpower the novel (which would have been annoying). There were no temper tantrums or super dramatic teen angst. She was very sensible and intelligent. She had depth and a traumatic past involving reanimated corpses. She also knew when to let go of the superficial in order to save people when the situation became really dangerous. She had depth and a traumatic past involving reanimated corpses. I was also enamored and intrigued with the ever changing relationship between Megan and Ethan. I could completely understand her confusion with his behavior and his feelings for her. I was completely emotionally invested in these characters.

You Are So Undead to Me was a great read. I had a lot of fun trying to figure out the mystery before Megan, but ended up being totally blindsided. Stacey Jay's writing flowed well and really sucked me in. If you like supernatural fiction, this book is the one for you. I'm really looking forward to the sequel, Undead Much that comes out next month.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Break Reading Challenge Activity #7

I need to choose the best and worst book to movie adaptation. So here are mine.

My best pick: Fight Club

My worst pick: Queen of the Damned

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Break Reading Challenge Activity #5

I'm reading You Are So Undead to Me by Stacey Jay. The challenge is to post the 22nd line on the 22nd page with the book cover.

"He'd evidently been talking for a while, but I'd been too freaked out to hear."

To join the challenge, click here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Reading Challenge Activity #4

This is the Holiday Reading Challenge Activity #4, which deals with finding pictures that reflect or remind you of the book you are reading. I'm currently reading Stacey Jay's You Are So Undead to Me.

Megan Berry is a Zombie Settler. She lays to rest the undead, but not this kind of undead. These are called reanimated corpses that are raised by black magic.

She wants to got to the homecoming in this dress...

with Josh, the quarterback of the football team.
BUT, when she is with Ethan, a boy she has feelings for but doesn't seem to reciprocate these feelings, a reanimated corpse shows up on fire at her house and attacks Ethan!! Plus, it's wearing her homecoming dress!

I'm really enjoying this book. I can't wait to see what happens next! If you want to get in on the Holiday Reading Challenge fun, enter here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lots O' Stuff!

Well, I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. This is the last week of school and then I can relax and actually read the things I enjoy reading. So, I am joining a couple of challenges starting after finals:

I'm doing the Speculative Fiction Challenge 2010 hosted by Book Chick City! I'm aiming for obsessed, with 24 speculative fiction novels. These books don't just include science fiction, but also fantasy and horror. Check out the possibilities on Book Chick City's page!

1) Evolution's Darling by Scott Westerfeld
2) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
3) Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi
4) Soulless by Christopher Golden
5) Chew by John Layman
6) Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford
7) The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had to by DC Pierson
8) Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith
9) Sleepless by Thomas Fahy
10) Need by Carrie Jones
11) Still Sucks to Be Me by Kimberly Pauley
12) The Curse Workers: White Cat by Holly Black
13) Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
14) Changeless by Gail Carriger
15) Captivate by Carrie Jones
16) The Host by Stephenie Meyer
17) My Name Is Memory by Anne Brashares
18) Rampant by Diana Peterfruend
19) Night of the Living Trekkies by Kevin Anderson and Sam Stall
20) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
21) Frankenstein's Bride by Hilary Bailey
22) Frankenstein's Monster by Susan Heyboer O'Keefe
23) Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
24) Happy Hour of the Undead by Mark Henry
25) My Zombie Valentine Part 1 and Part 2 by various authors
26) The Loving Dead by Amelia Beamer
27) Passing Strange by Daniel Waters
28) Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist
29) The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell

My second challenge is the Holiday Break Reading Challenge hosted by Karin's Book Nook! I've been suffering all semester reading books forced upon me. I really need a break and can't wait to get back into reading and reviewing for fun. My goal as of now is 20 books, but I may change it later.

I am also joining the Save Amanda Feral bandwagon. This series was recommended to me by Kat Richardson, author of the awesome Greywalker series, when I saw her on her last book tour. The first in the series is Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry. Here's the description from the back cover:

Donuts are deadly. One minute you’re getting your binge on, the next, you’re slipping on the box, cracking your skull, and in the weirdest turn of events, rising as a zombie. That’s just for starters. Now, the recently deceased Amanda Feral is trying to make her way through Seattle’s undead scene with style (mortuary-grade makeup, six inch stilettos, bangin’ Balenciaga handbag) while satisfying a craving for decent vodkatinis and the occasional human flesh—Don’t judge. And no, not like chicken.

Navigating a dangerous world of cloud-doped bloodsuckers, reapers, horny and horned devils, celebrity blood donors, and PR-obsessed shapeshifters—not to mention an extremely hot bartender named Ricardo—isn’t easy. And the minute one of Amanda’s undead friends disappears after texting for “help” (the undead—so dramatic!) she knows the afterlife is about to get really ugly.

Something sinister is at hand. Someone or something is hellbent on turning Seattle’s supernatural underworld into a place of true terror. And this time, Amanda may meet a fate a lot worse than donuts…

This book looks awesome! It's reviewed to be hilarious and disgusting AND it's coming out in mass market paperback in February. I'm totally buying it!

*Special thanks to Zombie Girrl for telling me about the Save Amanda project and reminding me that I should go buy this series. :)
So, that's all. I hope the rest of you are having a great holiday season. :)