Saturday, January 28, 2012

Purchased for My Shelf

If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor by Bruce Campbell

Actually not so much purchased for myself so much as received as a gift for my shelf. And no, not as a gag gift. I've been curious about this book ever since I first saw it, oh, years ago. Since Bruce Campbell showed up as a slightly more serious act in Burn Notice, my favorite show since I-don't-know-when, I've been even more eager to read it. Bruce has had an interesting life, I'm sure, and he's a hilarious guy - not that I know him personally or anything. But you'd have to be a certain kind of ridiculous to willingly go into movies that are so, well, ridiculous that everyone loves you for them. If you don't know who this guy is, that's okay. He's a bit of a cult classic himself (I recommend starting with Army of Darkness and going from there). My father and I will watch absolutely horrendous movies if he's in them. I look forward to cracking this open and finding out what's behind the man who can get women into bed by saying, "Gimme some sugar baby." I don't doubt that I will be, at times, cracking up as well.

Notes from the playlist: "Gives You Hell" by The All-American Rejects

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Million Suns by Beth Revis - Where's The Doctor When You Need Him?

Pros: Just as riveting as the first book, nice twists and unexpected turns
Cons: Nope

The Bottom Line: I'm glad this got some promotion shelf space because it deserves a chance to be seen and enjoyed.

Originally I intended to read Catching Fire seeing as, you know, it’s been a year since I read The Hunger Games. Figured it was about time. But the second I walked into the back room and saw A Million Suns sitting there on my promo cart, I got all geeky and squealed like the girl I am and snatched it up. After all, Catching Fire had waited a year to shift to the top of my To Be Read List – it could wait a few more days.

A Million Suns is the second book in a trilogy by Beth Revis. The first book was Across the Universe, which I actually hadn’t planned on reading at all. The covers of these books are gorgeous, and I’ve had such fun in space with them (although the characters aren’t having any fun at all), I’m seriously considering purchasing them. In hardcover. Which I haven’t done with a fiction book since the last Harry Potter came out. Yeah, I know.

This time around, Amy laments being on a ship for however long it might take to get to the new planet while her parents remain in their frozen boxes. She’s an outcast, alone with only Elder on her side it seems. Elder is trying to adjust to being Eldest on the ship and in charge of everything. But since he’s given the people of the ship a chance to think on their own, they’ve started to rebel. Nothing is going on planned – least of which the truth Elder learns about the ship and where it’s going. But when Amy discovers clues left by Orion, together they’ll discover all the secrets the ship still has to offer – including a massive secret that will change the lives of everyone living on the ship.

Ooooh boy. If I didn’t have to work while having this book in my possession, it would have been done in a day, two at most. I kept getting itchy every time I had to put it down because I wanted to see what Orion knew. I wanted to know if what I was guessing was right (I WAS. Whoo hoo!). I wanted to know who was trying to stop them from learning these new secrets and how they would be stopped. I wanted to know if my guesses on the “whodunit” was right (almost).

Revis knows how to ratchet up tension and I kept reading and reading even when I knew I had to put my book down. She paints her characters just as they’re supposed to be and doesn’t let up or compromise. I kept sitting here wishing Elder would figure out how to craft a moving speech to get everyone back into line (I was sitting here crafting them myself), but then we wouldn’t have a book if he suddenly went all eloquent and pacified everyone. Likewise, he was just too insecure in his new role and not exactly Mr. Eloquent to begin with.

My only problem was when Amy knew something about a girl who’d been killed. As in, knew who most likely had done it. And she never said anything. That really, really bothered me. I know why it was done – for the story of course – but still. A girl is dead after being raped and you never tell anyone? Until much, much later when it won’t do anyone any good? Hmph. Oh well. At least that little problem resolved itself in the end anyway. Can’t say I’m sorry about it either.

Speaking of death, Revis is definitely not afraid to kill off people. She made some interesting choices that definitely left impacts, a few in particular. This book goes at an almost nonstop pace, which is part of the reason it’s so hard to put down. You never know just what might happen next or who’s on the chopping block. I had plenty of surprises to enjoy, which is always nice.

If you liked Revis’s first book, Across the Universe, then you’ll definitely enjoy this one. It’s not going to be until January 2013 when the final book, Shades of Earth is available, but hey, that’s just the way the writing world works. I’m most certainly willing to wait.


Originally posted on

Notes from the playlist: "Map of the Problematique" by Muse

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente - Long Title

Pros: Vivid, fantastical descriptions, good story, excellent end
Cons: Depends on what you're expecting...

The Bottom Line: Like the old classics, but so, so much better.

This was the final 2011 ABC Book Club book hosted by Calico Reaction. While I admit I didn’t vote for it, I am super happy it won because I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I’d heard of this book before, thought it definitely had a wacky title, figured it probably wasn’t for me, and moved along. Guess you just never know. The one word I noticed most of us using when discussing this book was "delightful." That's because it is. It's an excellent fairytale that stems from the old styles like Alice in Wonderland and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

In the vein of Alice in Wonderland and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Catherynne Valente takes us to the world of Fairyland alongside a girl named September. She’s whisked off by the Green Wind and discovers a world where there are forests in eternal autumn, cities named Pandemonium, where an evil Marquess rules, where things with wings are chained to never fly again, and meets some extraordinary characters along the way.

Initially I was worried that this book would make as much sense (re: not much at all) as some of the previous classics out there – like Alice and Oz. Because we just meet September when suddenly she’s on the back of a flying leopard talking to a man who is the Green Wind and going to Fairyland without any issues at all. It’s an abrupt start, to be sure, but soon we start to get more into the story. We learn a little more about September. We’re being narrated to by someone unnamed, but they’re a very charming narrator so it’s okay. Plus, September ends up being very well fleshed out as a character so we’re ready to go along with whatever she does and wherever she goes.

The characters she meets are fascinating and have their own powerful personalities. The Wyvern (or rather, Wyverary) A-Through-L is absolutely adorable and I loved Saturday as well, a wish-giving Marid. All the places that September visits are bursting with color and amazing things, food and scents. Wild bicycles roam the plains. Towns are built entirely of fabric. Shadows can be parted from you (painfully) and dance on their own like Peter Pan’s. This is the kind of book I know I would have loved as a kid because I love it as an adult. It’s fanciful, has a strong heroine, unique ideas, and an absolute whopper of an ending. No joke, I never saw it coming. Even more impressive is that you can sympathize with the people involved and wonder to yourself – what would you do in such a situation? Blurs the lines a bit, it does.

I recommend this to adults and children alike. It’s a fun ride and hard to put down. It’s the kind of thing that Hayao Miyazaki would have a field day with, though I think even he would have a hard time capturing all the colors. Oh, and there are even some fun references to other children who have visited other lands…like those kids who went through a wardrobe…


Originally posted on

Notes from the playlist: "Kill Your Heroes" by Awolnation

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Recommended for The New Year

Future by DK Eyewitness Books

Welcome to 2012! What better way to celebrate than with a book about the future? It doesn't matter if you're an adult or a child - DK Eyewitness books are excellent and I am ashamed of having never recommended them before (since I do all the time in the store!). This particular DK book may not be available anymore, as it was made in 2004, but the neat part is that because of it's printing date, some of the inventions that lurk within its pages are now very real and very much in use. That in itself is just plain cool - to see what used to be out of our reach now in our hands. Science is an amazing thing, and kids who read DK books will learn all sorts of cool things, no matter what subject the book happens to be on (Dog is my personal favorite!).

Notes from the playlist: "Auld Lang Syne" by Lifescapes - Fireside Jazz

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Whoops! I completely forgot to mention this. Last month I reviewed Stephanie Garber's amazing book Caraval for the web blog I curre...