Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Noooooooooooooo!

 I thought I had it all worked out; I'd saved all my widgets to Word, my hit counter didn't even need to be reset, but something went wrong, terribly, terribly wrong! I lost my list of contests! 30 contest links in all!!! Gone, with a single, regretable click. Woe to me! Woe to y'all, too, if you were hoping to sign up for any of them. I'll try to find them all again, but I'm afraid that most are lost. So sad. -_-'
 On the bright side, I found a pretty, new layout and now all I need to finish my zombielicious makeover is a new header! BTW, how do y'all like my new profile pic? It's from The Night of the Living Dead. She's a little moody for my personality (okay, a lot moody), but I think it's cool.

Off to find linkies,
Zombie Girrrl

Ban This!

 I've written, deleted, and rewritten this post some six or seven times now, coming at it from a different angle each time, but I just can't seem to pin down my feelings on the subject of book banning and censorship beyond the obvious, "It's bad!"
 My main thought is: Banning books from the public1 is downright wrong. It's our right, not just as American citizens (for those of us who are from the US), but as human beings endowed by GOD with free will to ponder freely, and to share our thoughts with each other without interference from outside entities. The only acceptible form of censorship in my book is self censorship. I censor my reading; I avoid reading anything smutty. Why? Because I don't like it. People have the right to safegaurd their and their children's minds from material they deem unsavory, but they do not have the right to censor what other people might choose to read by banning books from the public.
 And what is it that people are banning, anyway? Here's a link to a sadly long list of banned or challenged books. The title that really jumped out at me from the list, though, was Harry Potter2. To me, and to many others I'm sure, this books isn't about witchcraft and satanic worship (something that was mentioned a grand total of 0 times thoughout the series), it's about the battle between Good and Evil. It's about the power of Love over Hate. How could you not want to share that with your friends and children?
 Below is an exerpt from a Catholic forum where a woman asked what the church's view on, "These Harry Potter books and movies," was. Her answer was found in an archdiocesan paper written on the subject by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver. The archbishop writes:

"So then, what's the verdict on Harry Potter?... A friend, his wife and youngest child recently saw 'Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone.'... The friend and his wife... came back baffled at criticism the film has received from some Christian quarters.  They found it to be a terrific fantasy yarn that kept them thoroughly entertained for two hours. They then went home, had dinner, and got back to the routine concerns of life. None of them, including the child, began tinkering with magic... (How do the parents know that about their child? They do what parents are supposed to do: They keep watch.)... My initial reaction to the first Harry Potter book was much the same. I read it on an airplane after another couple of friends had complained about it. I enjoyed it... I think people's uneasiness about Harry comes from the same root as our uneasiness about Halloween. Forty years ago, Halloween could be enjoyed as harmless fun. Many good parents still see it that way with no ill effects. But times have changed... [I]t's more important than ever for parents to scrutinize what their children read... The trick as a parent, I suspect, is... common sense. So what's the verdict on Harry Potter? That's a matter for parents, and not Bishops [or other firgures of authority], to decide. I think Harry Potter can be happily enjoyed as a children's fantasy movie [and book]. Nothing in the film [or book series] attacks the Christian faith, and good does win out over evil... magic and sorcery can be harmless if we understand them simply as story-telling superstition."
 Some other books that I felt had no business on that list were: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, The Giver by Lois Lowry3, The Bridge toTerabithia by Katherine Paterson, The Hot Zone by Richard Preston4, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain5.
 Many other fantastic titles that have been banned or challenged do not appear on that list. Most of them, it seems to me, deal with the very issue they are subject to; censorship. I'm currently reading Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, a futuristic story centering on Montag, a fireman whose job it is to burn books and the houses they dwell in. There are a number of deja vu worthy ellements throughout the story, thus far, such as a form of reality TV and people spending their lives tuned out from the world around them. It seems sadly ironic to me that a book broaching the subject of burning books might itself have been burned.
 I read something else the other day that threw me for a loop: The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien had been burned. Literally, chucked into a bonfire for supossedly being satanic. Sure, so it's not Christian allegory, but just becuase it doesn't have Jesus in it, doesn't mean it's about the devil. It's another fantastic book about the struggle between Good and Evil. And when did this travesty occur? Perhaps around it's innital release, way back when? Mayhap in the '60's, it was after all a very tumultuous period. No. It was set to fire in sunny Florida in the year 2001.

 My opinion on the matter of book banning is that the people who are banning these books are, perhaps, a mite weak of mind. Ideas, while they do carry a certain amount of weight, and can in fact wreak havoc if people allow themselves to be carried away, are things not to be burned or banned. Most books use fantastical settings and circumstances as a mode of transportation for some greater message, and, no, that message is not something that you'd hear if you played an AC/DC records in reverse. Harry Potter's message is love winning out over hate. The Giver's message is that life is painful, but if you take that pain away you lose what is it is to be human, you lose happiness and individuality because there's no contrasts between good or bad. Speak's message is obvious, and necssary; it's about being brave and speaking up, not just for yourself, but for those around you.
 Ideas are to be celebrated and shared. We have minds for thinking, voices for speaking, hands for writing, eyes for reading. Books are a gift.

Zombie Girrrl

footnotes___________________________________________________
1  Public: accessible to or shared by all members of the community


2  The Superintendent of the Zeeland Public Schools in Zeeland, MI imposed restrictions on the use of the Harry Potter books. School libraries were prohibited from displaying the books on their shelves, and teachers were barred from using them for classroom readings. Parental permission was required for students to check the books out of school libraries, and the Superintendent also indicated that the district would not purchase any future titles in the series. Following ABFFE's letter to the Superintendent and local advocacy efforts, the library restrictions were lifted.


3  Blue Valley School District in Kansas reviewed this futuristic novel about a young man’s growing disillusionment with an outwardly utopian society, following parent complaints that it was “lewd” and “twisted.” Parents also claimed it is “unfit for analysis by students because it is violent, sexually explicit and portrays infanticide and euthanasia.” One parent said, “This book is negative. I read it. I don't see the academic value in it. Everything presented to the kids should be positive or historical, not negative.” The novel, which has been compared to Brave New World, won the Newbery Medal in 1994. Proponents of the ban are asking that the book be removed from the entire district’s eighth grade reading list (1/6/05).


Parents of the Blue Valley School District in Kansas are currently petitioning for this and thirteen other books to be removed from all high school classrooms in the district due to "vulgar language, sexual explicitness, or violent imagery that is gratuitously employed."  I disagree with these and other statements made on this book. If it was as sexually explicit as they claimed, I wouldn't have enjoyed it so thoroughly. Furthermore, they need to wake and smell th e coffee, of course a book about a hemoragic fever is going to have bloody deaths!!!


This classic novel was removed from three Renton, Washington high schools after an African-American student complained that the book’s use of the word ‘nigger’ offended her. Teachers protested that Twain was actually attacking racism and opening the door for important discussions about American history. After reviewing the case, school officials have suspended use of the book in area schools until a panel of teachers and outside advisors develop a sensitive method of presentation.  Here's a sensetive method of introduction, tell them it was published in 1884! It was a different world back then. I'm sorry that people have been hurt by use of the N word in life or books, though.


6  This statement is based on the myth that rock music played in reverse sounds like the devil. It gained popularity in this age from the paranoia of subliminal messaging.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A New Look!

The poll results are in! Zombies will be my new theme, so I'm giving my blog a zombieliscious makeover! It'll take a few days to get the new header image just right1, so in the meantime, pease excuse the lack of matchy matchy-ness. Thanks for voting!
ZG

footnotes__________________________________________________
1  The zombie looks like he puked. I need to fix that.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Take On Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce



Beka Cooper is finally a Dog—a full-fledged member of the Provost’s Guard, dedicated to keeping peace in Corus’s streets. But there’s unrest in Tortall’s capital. Counterfeit coins are turning up in shops all over the city, and merchants are raising prices to cover their losses. The Dogs discover that gamblers are bringing the counterfeit money from Port Caynn. In Port Caynn, Beka delves deep into the gambling world, where she meets a charming banking clerk named Dale Rowan. Beka thinks she may be falling for Rowan, but she won’t let anything—or anyone—jeopardize her mission. As she heads north to an abandoned silver mine, it won’t be enough for Beka be her usual “terrier” self. She’ll have to learn from Achoo to sniff out the criminals—to be a Bloodhound. . .

 Now, don't let the synopsis, especially the full synopsis featured in the book, make you think that this is a silly story with skippy puppies and happy rainbows because it features a talking, purple-eyed cat and a bloodhound named Achoo. Quite the opposite. It's a gritty cop story based in the lowest slums of the shining medieval city of Corus. Tamora's books always feature two things: a kick-butt shero1 and an oft times magical managerie. But I digress...
 This is quite possibly my favorite Tortall series. It's so easy to put yourself in Beka's shoes, partly because it's told in journal format and her voice is so honest and quirky, partly because it's just an amazing book. Tamora Pierce never fails to create relatable, strong, and heroic protagonists. They're all worthy of rolemodelship2, but I think that Beka is the easiest to relate to, at least for me. Why? Because she's crippled by shyness. I'm outgoing when having fun or just talking to people, I have a firm handshake and will look ya straight in the eye, but put me in a situation where I gotta do business? Not so much. Beka's the same way; she's only comfortable around her close friends or when doing what she's best at, Dog work, but as soon as she puts on her Dog uniform, she transforms into a take charge, tough as nails gal. My favorite scene from the book relating to Beka's lack of confidence was when she and her partner, Clary Goodwin, went to the money changers bank. Beka was so unsure of where to go or what to do that my heart went out to her. I read that thinking, "That's me!"
 This book deals with some pretty hard issues; transexuality, bardashers3, "responsible" premarital sex, prostitution, slavery, drinking4, torture, etc. There's also murders, loose Dogs5, criminals of every make and model, and some pretty harsh language, though it can be forgiven because a) it adds so much to the realism of the story. No one tough enough to patrol the Cesspool6 is gonna say, "Gosh, mister, may you come back with that elderly woman's purse, please?". No. And 2) Pierce uses "authentic" language to the period, so it's not quite so bad. The characters cuss up a storm, but they don't use real curse words, if that makes any sense. In fact, there's so many new words in here, that she's included a glossary7. I do so love the glossary.
 As for the cove8, Dale Rowan, mentioned in the synopsis... Beka is more sure of herself when it comes nabbing Rats9 than flirting with charming, mischievous men. She learns that, just like putting on her uniform, a dress gives her another personality. She can be more bold with a little lipstick. I'm not sure this is a good outlook, but it helps her to be herself, or a bolder version of herself, around Dale, whom she really likes. But she has doubts about him. Could he be in the ring of colemongers, filling the moneystream with false silver coins and weakening the economy?
 There's plenty of crime solving, mystery, romance, and enough action to keep even the most fantasy-skittish reader satisfied. And despite all the warnings I gave about content, everything is dealt with descretely, there's nothing explicit, and I agree fully with the publishers recommendation that this book is suitable for kids 12 and up. And up, and up, and up! Pierces writing has no age limit10 and has remained relevant since she began writing about Tortall's sheroes in '83.
 I give Bloodhound...


...Five Zombies!
An excellent continuation to an excellent series. I look forward to reading Mastiff in 2010!

Happy reading!
Zombie Girrrl

footnotes_____________________________________________________
1  Literally; she hero. "Heroine" sounds too druggy.
2  It's a word. Trust me on this, no need to look it up!
3  Bardasher = male homosexual
4  Though, whether I can actually count drinking is a little ify because a) everybody drank back then because the water was not to be trusted, and b) Beka abstains from the hard stuff for the most part.
5  Loose Dogs = crooked cops
6  The lowest and crookedest slum of Corus.
7  Many of her books include both a glossary and a complete Cast of Characters. Very handy.
8  Cove = man
9  Rats = criminals
10  That's what the "A" in "YA" is for. Adults.

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Take On The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong


 If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl — someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I'm as far away from normal as it gets. A living science experiment — not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a sinister organization called the Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters, I'm a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control; I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever.
 Now I'm running for my life with three of my supernatural friends — a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch — and we have to find someone who can help us before the Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.

 Everything's out in the open in this sequel to The Summoning; Chloe's found out she's a powerful necromancer, and with her supernatural housemates from Lyle House1, they've escaped the clutches of the evil Edison Group. For the moment.
 There was a lot more Chloe and Derek time in this book, still not enough for my liking, but it prgressed at a realistic pace and I feel that it will reach its penacle in book three. The dynamic between Chloe and Derek is reviting. Although his initial jerkiness makes me not want to like him2, it can't be helped because there's a lot going on underneath the acne and overprotective rages. That's another thing I find so fascinating about ths series; it doesn't veil the story and characters behind a glamor of perfection. The characters are realistic, and the world is well developed, but that's to be expected since Armstrong has already written a series in this world before3.
 What really, really makes me happy about this book, though, is the Z Factor. Zombies. Yeah, I've got a one track mind. But seriously, I love seeing how people put zombies to use in different ways. Here, they're the result of souls being necromanced4 back into their rotting shells. They're none too happy about it either, but Chloe's such a powerful necromancer that it's dang near unavoidable. The Edison Group has pretty much fudged every experiment they've ever conducted. Either supernaturals wind up too powerful to control, in which case they must be "dealt with," or they're powers are sadly deminished. Chloe and the gang have to live with these results and try to prevent it from happening to anyone else by taking down the Edison Group.
 I give The Awakening...


...Five Zombies!
 I can't wait for the conclusion of this series! Although, I will be sad to see it end. Look out for The Reckoning in May, 2010!

Happy reading!
Zombie Girrrl

footnotes__________________________________________________
1  Or as I like to call it, "Lyle House: Home for Troubled and Genitically Altered Super-Teens.
2  My inner feminist cries foul when I try to say he's a nice guy underneath the cynism.
3  The Otherworld series which she would rate R in comparison to the PG she'd give Darkest Powers.
4  Yeah, I can use it as a verb! =9

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My Take On The Summoning by Kelly Armstrong

 After years of frequent moves following her mother’s death, Chloe Saunders’s life is finally settling down. She is attending art school, pursuing her dreams of becoming a director, making friends, meeting boys. Her biggest concern is that she’s not developing as fast as her friends are. But when puberty does hit, it brings more than hormone surges. Chloe starts seeing ghosts–everywhere, demanding her attention. After she suffers a breakdown, her devoted aunt Lauren gets her into a highly recommended group home.
 At first, Lyle House seems a pretty okay place, except for Chloe’s small problem of fearing she might be facing a lifetime of mental illness. But as she gradually gets to know the other kids at the home–charming Simon and his ominous, unsmiling brother Derek, obnoxious Tori, and Rae, who has a “thing” for fire–Chloe begins to realize that there is something that binds them all together, and it isn’t your usual “problem kid” behaviour. And together they discover that Lyle House is not your usual group home either…


 The first thing that struck me on reading this book was that it wasn't your typical supernatural book. Why? Because people actually reacted the way you'd expect them to if someone suddenly started seeing ghosts; they sent her away and gave her crazy pills. It was refreshing to see some realism. There was also very little sparkle in the plot, the writing was supurb, but I mean the world. No hallowed halls of learning, no grandios secret societies, no sparkly supernaturals or romanticised visions of shapeshifters. It was real and, at times, actually kinda gross.
 Another great thing was it was very easy to put yourself in Chloe's shoes1. She had realistic concerns, like not having her period at the ripe old age of fifteen2. The cast was all around great because they weren't typical. No Heart 'O Gold Jock, Witchy Cheerleader, or Hot Nerd here! No siree! Armstrong stepped out of the box and gave us something new. Hurray, new!
 Another new thing was the type of supernaturals. I know every author has their own take on all things super and or duper, but I really like Armstrong's. Their powers ranged from massively, terrifyingly strong to rating no more than eh on the shock and awe meter.
 The whole book took place in one week, which provided for a fast pace that damanded to be read in one sitting. The plot unfolded at a good clip and dialogue and character interaction kept me reading well into the wee hours. I inhaled this book and its sequel The Awakening, and they are now firmly planted in my Top 10.
 I give The Summoning...


...Five Zombies!
Highly recommended. Beg, borrow, or steal3 ask Santa for this book!

Happy Reading
Zombie Girrrl

footnotes____________________________________________________
1  Not that I've ever "seen dead people," I mean that's just crazy talk! *nervous-laughter*
2  Been there. Done that. Got the T-shirt.
3  This blog and its author do not condone theft and cannot be held responsible for the actions of overzealous bookaholics or kleptomaniacs.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekly Book Roundup

 Another week whizzed by, another post to share what I've gathered1.

 Library:

Beka Cooper is finally a Dog—a full-fledged member of the Provost’s Guard, dedicated to keeping peace in Corus’s streets. But there’s unrest in Tortall’s capital. Counterfeit coins are turning up in shops all over the city, and merchants are raising prices to cover their losses. The Dogs discover that gamblers are bringing the counterfeit money from Port Caynn. In Port Caynn, Beka delves deep into the gambling world, where she meets a charming banking clerk named Dale Rowan. Beka thinks she may be falling for Rowan, but she won’t let anything—or anyone—jeopardize her mission. As she heads north to an abandoned silver mine, it won’t be enough for Beka be her usual “terrier” self. She’ll have to learn from Achoo to sniff out the criminals—to be a Bloodhound. . .

 I requested this one from ye olde librarian, and they pulled through for me! I've been dying to read this book for like a year now, so it's a good thing I finally got my hands on it or I might not have made it to Christmas.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family . . . Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

 I got this book because it's illustrated by the same dude who did wonders with The Savage, Dave McKean. I was flipping through it at the library, and I stumbled across one of the illustrations and it was like, "Wait a second, I know this guy..." So turned it over and sure enough, there was Dave McKean scrawled across the cover. I got it without a second thought.

Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires... 
The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning...along with the houses in which they were hidden.
 Guy Montag enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs nor the joy of watching pages consumed by flames...never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid.
 Then he met a professor who told him of a future in which people could think...and Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do!

I'm reading this in honor of Banned Book Month which is going on right now and also because I've really wanted to for quite some time now. If you want to read some great posts on the topic censorship, click the Freadom badge on my sidebar. So far it's fantastic and thought provoking, and I totally recommend it even though I haven't finished it yet. Bradbury's style is unique.

Bought:


 Dru Anderson has what her grandmother called “the touch.” (Comes in handy when you’re traveling from town to town with your dad, hunting ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional zombie.)
 Then her dad turns up dead—but still walking—and Dru knows she’s next. Even worse, she’s got two guys hungry for her affections, and they’re not about to let the fiercely independent Dru go it alone. Will Dru discover just how special she really is before coming face-to-fang with whatever—or whoever— is hunting her?

I pretty much inhaled this book, it was so good. I'll be reviewing it some time this week.


Well, that's what I got this past week. I'd say it was a pretty good week!
Happy reading,
Zombie Girrrl

footnotes__________________________________________________
1  Kudos to The Story Siren for starting and promoting the IMM meme!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My Take On Never Slow Dance with a Zombie by E. Van Lowe

 Jinkies! If you're looking for a laugh-out-loud good time with zombie hijinks and capers, then look no farther my friend!

Principal Taft's 3 Simple Rules for Surviving a Zombie Uprising:
Rule #1: While in the halls, walk slowly and wear a vacant expression on your face. Zombies won't attack other zombies.
Rule #2: Never travel alone. Move in packs. Follow the crowd. Zombies detest blatant displays of individuality.
Rule #3: If a zombie should attack, do not run. Instead, throw raw steak at to him. Zombies love raw meat. This display of kindness will go a long way.
 On the night of her middle school graduation, Margot Jean Johnson wrote a high school manifesto detailing her goals for what she was sure would be a most excellent high school career. She and her best friend, Sybil, would be popular and, most important, have boyfriends. Three years later, they haven't accomplished a thing!
 Then Margot and Sybil arrive at school one day to find that most of the student body has been turned into flesh-eating zombies. When kooky Principal Taft asks the girls to coexist with the zombies until the end of the semester, they realize that this is the perfect opportunity to live out their high school dreams. All they have to do is stay alive....

 A nefarious plot is afoot. The entire student body has been turned into zombies, and it's up to four meddling kids to solve the who, why, and how!
 Margot, our completely self-obsessed protagonist, along with her BFF since 8th grade (and all around better person) Sybil, set out to have the best semester ever. With their peers turned into zombies, they have free reign of the school. They wear what they want without fear of retribution from the it-girls, plan dances with a strict NO ZOMBIE policy so the honor of Queen is in the bag, and (in Sybil's case) try to make a difference by bringing down the cliques and uniting the student body.
 Along with a couple fortunate geeks, the task of saving their peers from a life of flesh eating monotony falls to them alone. But does Margot really want to return the school to its prior state where she was a nobody? Or would it really be so bad to let them remain zombies, so she can be the popular girl who sets the trends and calls all the shots?
 This was a fun read that had me laughing out loud with its zombie antics. The methods employed in order to make living with the zombies easier were hi-larious. You could toss them scraps of meat, wear fish oil to ward them off, or, in case of emergency, wop 'em on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper with side-splitting results.
 Van Lowe also broached the subject of classism in schools and bullying in its most subtle forms. The book wasn't weighed down by it though, it got the message across without losing its fun vibe.
 At times I just wanted to throttle Margot, she was sooo self-centered. It was like all Margot, all the time! Sybil, on the other hand, was a much nicer character. She was a steady friend that anyone would be lucky to have. The cast featured the usual suspects; heart throb jock, witchy cheerio and posse, pining geek, socially conscious BFF, and of course, flawed protagonist who learns a valuable lesson about life, friendship, and self.
 I give Never Slow Dance with a Zombie...

...Three and a half Zombies.
This was a fun story with a Scooby Doo-esque mystery and lots of laughs. A great debut into the world of YA for E. Van Lowe.

Happy Reading,
Zombie Girrrl

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sooo Many Awards...

 I've been bad about awards lately1, so now I have to do a BIG HULLABALOO awards post.

 Zombie Chicken Award
The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace, and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all.

I received this award from the following bloggers:

Winners2:
Titania86

Heartfelt Award
Do you reach for a cup of cocoa or tea when your relaxing, seeking comfort, sharing a plate of cookies with family and friends? You know the feeling you get when you drink a yummy cup of cocoa, tea, or a hot toddy? That is what the Heartfelt Award is all about, feeling warm inside.


I recieved this award from the following:
Eli
Tachima
Velvet

Winers3:
Velvet
Sarah
Titania86
Pirate Penguin
Eleni

Me-To-You Award
I'm sure this award once had a very cute story to go along with its very cute badge, but sadly it has been lost somewhere along the way. It's adorable, though, and the name says enough, so who cares about cutesy stories!

I recieved this award from the following blogger:

Winners4:

Top Commentators Award(s)
This award honors my blogs top commenters, thank you for being a loyal follower and showing me love on a regular basis. You all make my blog exciting and fun, and I look forward to reading all of your thoughts and opinions. Without you my blog would just be ordinary, you all help me spice it up and I am thrilled to be part of book blogging.


I received these awards from the following bloggers:

Winners:
I'll pass this one along as soon as I can figure out how to install a Top Commentator widget. I've tried on numerous occasions, but my computer keeps giving me the red light, "Denied!" *stupid computer*

Lemonade Award:
The Lemonade award is a feel good award that shows great attitude or gratitude!

I received this award from:

Winners:
I've already passed this award on a couple times before, so I think it's safe to skip it this time. :)


Whoo! ^_^' That's all of 'em! I hope I remembered everyone...
Thanks for all the lurve, y'all!
Zombie Girrrl5

footnotes_____________________________________________
1  And be lately, I mean all summer long.
2  These are some of the lovely bloggers I met during Zombie Week!
3  These are some (but certainly not all) of the nicest bloggers I've met!
4  These bloggers deserve huggles!
5  Oh, and I'd like to thanks the Academy...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Take On The Savage

Mysterious and utterly mesmerizing, this graphic-novel-within-a-novel pairs the extraordinary prose of David Almond with the visual genius of Dave McKean.
Blue Baker is writing a story — not all that stuff about wizards and fairies and happily ever after — a real story, about blood and guts and adventures, because that's what life's really like. At least it is for Blue, since his dad died and Hopper, the town bully, started knocking him and the other kids around. But Blue's story has a life of its own — weird and wild and magic and dark — and when the savage pays a nighttime visit to Hopper, Blue starts to wonder where he ends and his creation begins.

 This book was amazing. The artwork, which was so raw and hard edged, was worth taking a second look at. I spent a few days after reading this book just flipping through and enjoying the pictures. At first, they made me feel like anyone could do it if they just found the right state of mind, but after further study I realized just how skilled the illustrator was in his execution. There were a variety of techniques and mediums, and among the seemingly quick sketches and splashes of emotion, there were glimpses of superb anatomical awareness1. My favorite panel was of the Savage raising his axe over his head. I wish I'd taken a picture of it to show y'all, but I didn't, so you'll just have to check this book out for yourselves!
 The story itself wasn't as gripping to me as the artwork was, but it was really good. It was told first person from Blue's perspective and the edict was very believable. The grammar and spelling in the "hand-written" bits that told the story of The Savage was atrocious, but legible. It really added to the overall feeling of angst. I also thought Blue's misused cursing was a nice touch2.
 This was a great, albeit short, read. I give The Savage...
...Four and a half Zombies.
I hope to find more YA picture books in the future, and I'll be using The Savage as the bench mark.
Happy reading!
Z.G.
footnotes_______________________________________________________
1  Okay, now that I've over analized the artwork...
2  He favored the "D" word. Remember Shia LaBouf's character in I, Robot? It was like that.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Weekly Book Roundup

 Is it that time of week again already?! Where does the time go! I feel like I just did this. Not that I don't have some wonderful things to share...1

 This week I recieved a couple books from Velvet of vvb32 reads. I won one of them during Zombie Week, and the other she threw in for my reading pleasure. Why? Because Velvet is super sweet and made of awesome!

InMyMailbox

Book the first:
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton-and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers-and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read.

 I hope y'all don't judge me too harshly for saying this, but that highlighted line totally applies to me. I can't get into the whole old English vibe2, but this was too good to pass up. I love the concept, and I can't wait to start reading it!

Book the Second:
Romy and Michelle's Hight School Reunion meets Night of the Living Dead in this laugh-out-loud debut YA novel by Emmy Award-nominated TV writer E. Van Lowe
Principal Taft's 3 Simple Rules for Surviving a Zombie Uprising:
Rule #1: While in the halls, walk slowly and wear a vacant expression on your face. Zombies won't attack other zombies.
Rule #2: Never travel alone. Move in packs. Follow the crowd. Zombies detest blatant displays of individuality.
Rule #3: If a zombie should attack, do not run. Instead, throw raw steak at to him. Zombies love raw meat. This display of kindness will go a long way.
On the night of her middle school graduation, Margot Jean Johnson wrote a high school manifesto detailing her goals for what she was sure would be a most excellent high school career. She and her best friend, Sybil, would be popular and, most important, have boyfriends. Three years later, they haven't accomplished a thing!
Then Margot and Sybil arrive at school one day to find that most of the student body has been turned into flesh-eating zombies. When kooky Principal Taft asks the girls to coexist with the zombies until the end of the semester, they realize that this is the perfect opportunity to live out their high school dreams. All they have to do is stay alive....

 I was so excited to see an ARC of Never Slow Dance with a Zombie in my mailbox along with P&P&Z, it was a total surprise and I Happy Danced sporadically for the rest of the day! So far, this is a really fun and cute book, and I'm loving the whole zombie clique angle. I bet that if the world was zombified, people would still remain with their respective cliques and classes, just like E. wrote.

Used Bookstore Score

 The Patron Saint of Uncompleted Book Series must have put in a good word for me with the Big Man when I visited my local UBS the other day. With a box full of used bookstore "currency"3, and a little searching, I managed to finish off one of my Tamora Pierce series! I found...
 Hurray! Now all I need to complete my pre-Beka Cooper collection is the Song of the Lioness series. Tamora Pierce is my favorite fantasy author, and has been since I first read The Protector of the Small4 when I was thirteen. Such a tumultuous time...

Oopsy:

New catagory! I forgot to post this along with The Summoning and The Awakening last week. In additon to those two books, I also received four Darkest Powers bookmarks and this awesome Edison Company tote! Thanks again to Sarah of Sarah's {random} Musings! I'll be reviewing these books soon5.

I also forgot to say that I got a hold of the last Mortal Instruments book, City of Glass. I already reviewed this, it was awesome6!

Happy reading,
Z.G.
footnotes___________________________________________________
1  Kudos to The Story Siren for creating and promoting the IMM meme!
2  The edict makes me sleepy.
3  (My mothers old romance novels.)
4  Dorky title, awesome series.
5  Hint: They were amazing!!!
6  Note to self: Find synonyms for "awesome."

Friday, September 11, 2009

My Take On City of Glass by Cassandra Clare


 To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters — never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and her best friend, Simon, has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight. As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City — whatever the cost?

 I forgot to include this one in my Weekely Roundup, oops! I was so excited when I finally got my hands on it, though! A friend was nice enough to grab it for me from the library because it's always checked out. Thanks, SWSNBNOTB1!
 This was the perfect end to the series2. By about chapter eight, I was practically doing cartwheels, I was so pleased. The writing was the best of the three books in my opinion, or maybe it was just becuase I'd finally gotten the narrator's voice out of my head3.
 The plot was a little predictable at times, but nothing too out of the ordinary for the last book in a series (of events), and the ending did peter out the tiniest bit, but I'm not gonna complain about that because this was still an amazing book. Clare did a terrific job of tying eveything together and leaving no loose ends. I applaud her literary prowess! This was an excellent series of books with vivid story telling and a great world. I'd group it with the likes of Harry Potter, and I don't toss things like that around lightly, mind you.
 I give City of Glass...
...Five Zombies.
The perfect ending to the Mortal Instruments  trilogy. I can't wait to read the further adventures of the Shadow Hunters in The Infernal Devices.
Happy Reading,
Zombie Girrrl
footnotes____________________________________________________
1.  She Who Will Not Be Named On This Blog
2.  Although there will be a fourth book, I consider this the end of the story because the next one is about Simon and not the Mortal Instruments.
3.  My first experience of City of Bones was as an audio book, and I couldn't get her voice out of my head!
4.   I must insist that you click this link for further details, I gaurantee you won't regret it. Two words: steam punk. ;}

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Weekly Book Roundup

It has been an excellent week for me! This past week was Zombie Appreciation Week, and I had a blast reading all the zombie fanatics posts and posting some things of my own. I also got a some new books! I love getting new material1!

Library Finds:

In this prequel to the acclaimed The City of Ember and The People of Sparks, Jeanne DuPrau investigates how, in a world that seems out of control, hope and comfort can be found in the strangest of places.
It’s 50 years before the settlement of the city of Ember, and the world is in crisis. War looms on the horizon as 11-year-old Nickie and her aunt travel to the small town of Yonwood, North Carolina. There, one of the town’s respected citizens has had a terrible vision of fire and destruction. Her garbled words are taken as prophetic instruction on how to avoid the coming disaster. If only they can be interpreted correctly.
As the people of Yonwood scramble to make sense of the woman’s mysterious utterances, Nickie explores the oddities she finds around town—her great-grandfather’s peculiar journals and papers, a reclusive neighbor who studies the heavens, a strange boy who is fascinated with snakes—all while keeping an eye out for ways to help the...

I've read and enjoyed the first two Books of Ember, so I was really excited to see that my library had the third installment. I'm really forward to starting this because it gives the history of the event that to the City of Ember.


Unbeknownst to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger. After centuries of stability, the balance among the Faery Courts has altered, and Irial, ruler of the Dark Court, is battling to hold his rebellious and newly vulnerable fey together. If he fails, bloodshed and brutality will follow.
Seventeen-year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their intrigues. When she is attracted to an eerily beautiful tattoo of eyes and wings, all she knows is that she has to have it, convinced it is a tangible symbol of changes she desperately craves for her own life.
The tattoo does bring changes—not the kind Leslie has dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that are more than symbolic. Those changes will bind Leslie and Irial together, drawing Leslie deeper and deeper into the faery world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils. . . .

I've been told that I could skip this book because it's only a companion, but then I remembered how much I usually enjoy companion books, so said, "Oh, what the H-E-double-hockey-sticks!" and got it anyway. I just hope it's a little faster than Wicked Lovely.

"At school I'm Aussie-blonde Jamie -- one of the crowd. At home I'm Muslim Jamilah -- driven mad by my Stone Age dad. I should win an Oscar for my acting skills. But I can't keep it up for much longer..."
Jamie just wants to fit in. She doesn't want to be seen as a stereotypical Muslim girl, so she does everything possible to hide that part of herself. Even if it means pushing her friends away because she's afraid to let them know her dad forbids her from hanging out with boys or that she secretly loves to play the darabuka (Arabic drums).
But when the cutest boy in school asks her out and her friends start to wonder about Jamie's life outside of school, her secrets threaten to explode. Can Jamie figure out how to be both Jamie and Jamilah before she loses everything?

My last choice came down to this and Randa Abdel-Fattah's other book, Does This Make My Head Look Fat?, but I liked the story for TTIHAM better, though I will admit there was some serious eeny-meeny-miney-mo-ing going on. I'm happy with my choice.
 
 
In My Mailbox:
 
After years of frequent moves following her mother’s death, Chloe Saunders’s life is finally settling down. She is attending art school, pursuing her dreams of becoming a director, making friends, meeting boys. Her biggest concern is that she’s not developing as fast as her friends are. But when puberty does hit, it brings more than hormone surges. Chloe starts seeing ghosts–everywhere, demanding her attention. After she suffers a breakdown, her devoted aunt Lauren gets her into a highly recommended group home.
At first, Lyle House seems a pretty okay place, except for Chloe’s small problem of fearing she might be facing a lifetime of mental illness. But as she gradually gets to know the other kids at the home–charming Simon and his ominous, unsmiling brother Derek, obnoxious Tori, and Rae, who has a “thing” for fire–Chloe begins to realize that there is something that binds them all together, and it isn’t your usual “problem kid” behaviour. And together they discover that Lyle House is not your usual group home either…
 
 
If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl — someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I'm as far away from normal as it gets. A living science experiment — not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a sinister organization called the Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters, I'm a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control; I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever.
Now I'm running for my life with three of my supernatural friends — a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch — and we have to find someone who can help us before the Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.

 I won these in a contest held by Sarah at Sarah's {random} Musings. Firstly, they are truly beautiful books, and they arrived in perfect condition. They are of the paperback-hardback-hybrid variety. I don't know if that makes any sense to y'all, but that's what they are, and I love them! The spines don't crease! It's a miracle of science! Secondly, they were signed! I was so excited, I had no idea they'd be signed. It was like Christmas morning! There was much happy dancing. I finished these within two days of recieving them, they were so good! Look for my review sometime this week. It usually takes me a few days post-read to write my review because I like to marinate on what I've read, disect what it was that I liked or didn't like about it, and hunt down a few choice adjectives.
 
Happy reading! And have a safe Labor Day weekend!
ZG

footenotes____________________________________________
1  Kudos to The Story Siren for starting and promoting the In My Mailbox meme.

Zombie Tunes: The P.L.A.N.

Preperation is the key. It is what gives me peace of mind, knowing that I'm prepared. I have the confidence that I would totally survive the Zombie Apocalypse. Why? Because I have a P.L.A.N.. Two of 'em, in fact. Both fool proof.
First off: What does P.L.A.N. stand for?
Play
Legendary
Anthem
Now





Plan A: Assess the Situation.
Before sharpening the ol' machete and fueling up the blow torch, I'd play Michael Jackson's Thriller for the approaching horde. If the zombies don't start dancing (as illustarted below), then I'd know the situation has gone critical, and it's time for Plan B.

Plan B: Bunker Down.
I'd go to ground with my family and ride out the walking plague in secrecy and seclusion. In short; I'd hide, and I'd hide well. I think I'm ideally suited for this. I'm self-amused, so it's not like I need a ton of people around to keep my entertained; I enjoy rereading books, which is good because I think in case of a zombie apocalypse, the library might be closed; and I'm not afraid of eating new things, a fact that will come in handy when the food runs low and we have to supplement the larder by eating pinecones and dandelions.

I'm kinda sad Zombie Week is over, it was so much fun, and Velvet was a wonderful host! I hope we can do this again sometime. But now it's time to say goodbye, to all our company. Z-O-M. Mmmuunggahaaum. B-I-E. Eeeeat braaaains. Ap-pre-ci-ation Weeeek!
Zombie Girrrl

Friday, September 4, 2009

Zombie Tunes (part 6)

 Good eeeeeeeeeevening. Too vampire? O_o
 In this segment, I'll be sharing with you two songs that were featured in one of my favorite books, World War Z by Max Brooks. The addition of music as a tool to purvey the emotional strain that the survivors and soldiers were feeling during the Zombie War was excellent. It added yet another layer of realism. Plus, they were some great tunes!

Song 1: The Trooper by Iron Maiden. This song was used as a means to pump up the troops and lure the undead menace to their final demise. It added a very real ellement to the fight scene, and who doesn't love a little IM?





Song 2: How Soon is Now by The Smiths. This song was used as a soundtrack to a zombie attack documentary in WWZ. The battle field was cloaked in fog, and the soldiers couldn't see the zombies till they were right on top of them. A true nightmare. The songs creepy guitar licks really worked for that scene.

I'm a big, big fan of book soundtracks. It adds another layer of immersion and demension.
Tomorrow is the last Zombie Tunes post, The P.L.A.N.
Happy Zombie Week!
Zobie Girrrl

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