Follow Friday

Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee's View and Alison at Alison Can Read. The point is to follow as many book blog as you can and make new friends! As part of the adventure, she gives a weekly question.

Here's this week's question:

Q: What is the first thing you would do if you woke up to find yourself in your favorite book?



 

A:

After secretly hoping that Vanyel wasn't gay?  Okay, after that, I would run down to the grove in order to be Chosen!  And I would not want to wake up in Fahrenheit 451!  Ha-ha, that's kind of a short answer :)
 
Much love, Sinn

Book Review — Plague Town

Title:  Plague Town
Author:  Dana Fredsti
Genre:  Urban fantasy/zombie apocalypse
Pages:  Paperback, 350
Publisher:  Titan Books
Published:  April 2012
ISBN:  9780857686350
Rating:


"In the small university town of Redwood Grove, people are succumbing to a lethal strain of the flu. They are dying—but not for long.

"Ashley Parker and her boyfriend are attacked by these shambling, rotting creatures that crave human flesh. Their lives will never be the same again.

"When she awakes Ashley discovers that she is a 'wild card'—immune to the virus—and is recruited by a shadowy paramilitary organization that offers her the change to fight back. Fatally attracted to her gorgeous instructor, and bonding with her fellow wild cards, Ashley begins to discover skills she never knew she had.

"As the town falls to ever-growing numbers of the infected, Ashley and her team fight to contain the outbreak—but will they be enough?"

~ Jacket copy



Thoughts:

*NOTE:  After thinking about this review for a week, I realized that the rating I originally gave it was too harsh.  While I had issues with parts of this book, it really does not fall under a one skull rating.  If you're interested in reading this book, please do!  Even though my review is my honest opinion, you need to make up your own mind about it and give it a chance.  If you really like it, awesome!  Again, while my review is harshly worded, it did not deserve a one skull rating.*

I got this book shortly after it was published. However, due to so many other books being in my TBR pile, it got set aside. While cleaning my house and going through old books, I found this book and a few other treasures! It is amazing what happens when we clean our houses! When I first picked this book up, the concept seemed neat and—for a zombie book—somewhat original. Unfortunately, after 350 pages, I didn’t find anything original in the book.

The prologue had me hooked! I loved seeing the zombie virus starting at such a small, intimate point. Something about that opening was extremely powerful and gripping. However, even with that amazing start, the book went downhill in a hurry. Looking back at it, the quote at the onset should have been a big clue into the rest of the book: “’That’s how it always beings. Very small.’”

One of the things that will really set me off with any novel is a whiny, sanctimonious, arrogant, and cocky heroine. Add to that heroine the fact that she has an entitled attitude and cannot understand why people don’t kowtow to her. For me, that is the perfect description of Ashley Parker. She is an extremely one dimensional character, lacks the maturity of a twenty-nine-year-old, and is downright annoying. I found myself getting excited when she was first bitten by zombies. I was completely baffled as to why a twenty-nine-year-old divorcee would act just like a fresh faced, eighteen-year-old freshman who expects the world to bow to them. After being married to a professor, I would have thought she might be a little more respectful. I guess I was wrong. Honestly, I could understand why her husband went after an eighteen-year-old coed.

The incident with her TA, Gabriel, almost caused me to choke on my water. I couldn’t believe that a TA would behave that way! Granted, he had every right to be pissed that she walked in late. He was also well within his rights to throw her out of the classroom. However, that being said, he was belligerent in his treatment of her diet in the classroom. Add to that, he was way out of line in the student union. There is no way in hell that he would have gotten away with that type of behavior! I also couldn’t understand why no one called the campus police when he assaulted Matt. To say I was appalled at the author’s treatment of this is an extreme understatement! When I read the incidents to my father, a professor, he was equally disgusted. Further, if Professor Fraser excused Ashley’s absence, her TAs would have been made aware of that. That being said, what is Ashley doing walking into class late? If she was too sick to make it class on time, stay home! In addition, if you’re late, don’t make lame excuses for your absence while holding a cappuccino and a muffin. It shows a deep lack of respect.

The whole conspiracy theory behind Pompeii and Atlantis is too farfetched; it made me suspend my disbelief too much. If the author had said that drawings and early writings led them to believe that Pompeii was overrun by zombies, they had reason to believe that this virus was traveling alongside the Bubonic Plague (maybe gaining a foothold due to decreased immune systems), etc., I could have handled that. As it is, I found myself thinking the author should have used Dan Brown as a consultant.

Aside from a terrible heroine and the ludicrous incidents with her TA, the pop culture movie references were way too much. Honestly, as a reader, I felt as though the author was beating me about the head and shoulders with them. It felt as though the author was trying to show off her movie prowess, and the fact that she was in one. Using actors to describe people is also a cheap way of not doing the work (14). As a reader, I felt kind of cheated. Further, for a book to last, it has to stand the test of time. Ten years from now, people will not understand over half of the references the author dishes out. It won't be culturally relevant. “’It’s okay, Rico . . . cough cough,’ Tony grinned at us. ‘I don’t mind dying, because I got to have you.’ Another dramatic cough.” (315) If I hadn’t seen Starship Troopers a few years ago, I wouldn’t have caught this reference. Before that, the last time I saw the movie is when it came out in 1997. To me, the quote only made sense in context of the movie, and, even with that, it was completely out of place. This is a prime example of the movie allusions throughout the book. They only make sense if you’ve seen the movie and sometimes that is a stretch. In addition, it was not lost on me that—after name dropping Evil Dead and the author’s role in the movie—the main character in a zombie book is named Ashley and called Ash. Obvious? Oh, wait, they decided to give her a codename of Ash because of Evil Dead  >.<   It was as though the author was saying, “Look, here are my credentials! I was in Evil Dead; therefore, I am an authority on zombies!” On top of that, when Tony wanted to listen to the score from Army of Darkness, I almost beat my head on the coffee table. If I thought it couldn’t have gotten any worse, it did . . .

And, just as an aside, the publisher needs to invest in a good editor. Wow, the inconsistencies between sentences in the same paragraph, pages, etc., were just priceless.

On all fronts, this book was a total bust. It was not an enjoyable read, the characters were one dimensional at best, the clichés were over the top, and the movie quotes/references were enough to kill anyone. I’m sorry to say this, but it felt as though the author was trying to cash in on the rising popularity in zombie fiction. This book wasn’t original, it was underdeveloped, and in serious need of major content editing. As it stands, Plague Town is on top of my “used bookstore” stack.

Current Pages: 1805
Current Progress:

6/50 books


Much love, Sinn

Theme Song Saturday (47)



Welcome to Theme Song Saturdays, a new weekly meme, hosted by yours truly, in which we share our love of music and books! Since I love books and music, this meme is for fun to try to incorporate those two loves! Whenever I read a book, a certain song -- kind of like a soundtrack or theme song -- plays through my head.

Want to know how to play? Head over to the Theme Song Saturday introduction post to read the rules and get the code.

Here is my pick this week:



Disarm by The Smashing Pumpkins kind of represents Eugenie standing at the crossroads in her life.  After a startling revelation in the Otherworld, she realizes that her feet are firmly planted in both worlds.  When she originally thought she was one thing, she finds out that she is not.  Even though she has a certain view of the gentry and Otherwordly creatures, she must face some hard realities and choose a side.  However, doing so could change everything.  And, in some ways, she would rather be a child and hide under the bed refusing to acknowledge the real world.  The song also makes me think of Dorian and the part he plays. 




What's yours?  Leave a link in the comments to your post ^_^

Much love, Sinn

Follow Friday

Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee's View and Alison at Alison Can Read. The point is to follow as many book blog as you can and make new friends! As part of the adventure, she gives a weekly question.

Here's this week's question:

Q: What is the last book that kept you up late into the night just to finish it?



 

A:

It has been awhile since I intentionally stayed up late to finish a book.  I think it was the Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor.  I was visiting my grandparents at the time I was reading it.  Their house has scared me since I was a small child.  When the opportunity presented itself to stay up most of the night to finish a book I was really enjoying, I took it!  Ha-ha!  
Much love, Sinn

Book Review — Storm Born

Title:  Storm Born
Author:  Richelle Mead
Genre:  Urban fantasy/paranormal romance
Pages:  Paperback, 361
Published:  August 2008
Publisher:  Zebra
ISBN:  0-4201-2579-6
Rating:


" Eugenie Markham is a powerful shaman who does a brisk trade banishing spirits and fey who cross into the mortal world. Mercenary, yes, but a girl's got to eat. Her most recent case, however, is enough to ruin her appetite. Hired to find a teenager who has been taken to the Otherworld, Eugenie comes face to face with a startling prophecy—one that uncovers dark secrets about her past and claims that Eugenie's first-born will threaten the future of the world as she knows it.

"Now Eugenie is a hot target for every ambitious demon and Otherworldy ne'er-do-well, and the ones who don't want to knock her up want her dead. Eugenie handles a Glock as smoothly as she wields a wand, but she needs some formidable allies for a job like this. She finds them in Dorian, a seductive fairy king with a taste for bondage, and Kiyo, a gorgeous shape-shifter who redefines animal attraction. But with enemies growing bolder and time running out, Eugenie realizes that the greatest danger is yet to come, and it lies in the dark powers that are stirring to life within her . . ."

~ Jacket copy



Thoughts:  I've wanted to read the Georgia Kincaid series for awhile; however, this book ended up in my hands first.  Having no experience with Mead before this, I cannot compare Storm Born to the other series.  A lot of reviews online say that something was lost between the Kincaid series and this one.  Unfortunately, I cannot address that.  That being said, I did enjoy this book.

Even though the plot was an old tried-and-true storyline, I felt that Mead was able to give it her own voice.  The land of the Otherworld being a living thing and choosing the ruler reminded me of older myths.  Calling on that gave the story a little more authority.  Further, it was an interesting idea to have the gentry/fairies have their own unique powers and not just the ambiguous magic.  Even though Dorian was strong, he could only control things related to earth.  The same went for Aeson and the other gentry Eugenie dealt with.

To me, little character quirks really flesh out a character.  Eugenie's obsession with puzzles made her more real and down to earth.  It made her not too big and too bad.  It reminded me of Anita Blake's her love for penguins and crazy coffee mugs.

The character development felt a little uneven.  Mead did a good job with Eugenie and an excellent job with Dorian.  However, she didn't spend anytime with Kiyo.  For a guy who was Eugenie's final choice, it would have made sense for Mead to spend a lot of time on him.  Further, if Kiyo loved her as much as he professed, why did he never spend time wooing her?  Dorian, while well within his rights to refuse her requests, moved heaven and earth (literally earth) for her.  Yet, through all of that, she still decided to distrust him.  In the end, Kiyo ended up getting on my nerves and pissing me off.

I loved how Mead wrote Dorian.  In his behavior and moods, he seemed to really exemplify the playful and mischievous nature of the sidhe in Celtic myth.  I am very curious to see him in later books.   

The whole rape storyline pissed me off.  Even though Mead explained the reason behind it, I felt it was weak.  In addition, it felt as though she should be honored that she was so desired for her bloodline and her womb.  At what point should a woman feel honored because people want to rape her?  That is ludicrous! 

Eugenie (despite the awful name) is a powerful heroine; however, I am afraid that her connection with Kiyo will just weaken her.  It will be interesting to see how the following books show her progression in magic and her new role.    

Current Pages: 1455
Current Progress:

5/50 books


Much love, Sinn

Theme Song Saturday (46)



Welcome to Theme Song Saturdays, a new weekly meme, hosted by yours truly, in which we share our love of music and books! Since I love books and music, this meme is for fun to try to incorporate those two loves! Whenever I read a book, a certain song -- kind of like a soundtrack or theme song -- plays through my head.

Want to know how to play? Head over to the Theme Song Saturday introduction post to read the rules and get the code.

I have two songs this week:






 

 Glycerine by Bush and Gone Away by The Offspring are my two picks this week.  These songs remind me of the relationship between Marcus and Maggie.  To me, they are more songs of longing and how Marcus might/does feel toward Maggie.  Her memory loss tore her away from him.  Even though she is physically there, she is still gone.






What's yours?  Leave a link in the comments to your post ^_^

Much love, Sinn

Theme Song Saturday (45)



Welcome to Theme Song Saturdays, a new weekly meme, hosted by yours truly, in which we share our love of music and books! Since I love books and music, this meme is for fun to try to incorporate those two loves! Whenever I read a book, a certain song -- kind of like a soundtrack or theme song -- plays through my head.

Want to know how to play? Head over to the Theme Song Saturday introduction post to read the rules and get the code.

Here's my pick this week:




 

Mad World by Tears for Fears is the song that came to mind while reading this book. The concept of time travel made me think of Donnie Darko, which reminded me of the cover of Mad World on the soundtrack.  In some ways, this song actually does fit.  When Maggie first sees Marcus, I could easily hear this song playing in the background. 





What's yours?  Leave a link in the comments to your post ^_^

Much love, Sinn

Book Review — Living Dead in Dallas

Title:  Living Dead in Dallas
Author:  Charlaine Harris
Genre:  Urban fantasy
Published:  March 2002
Publisher:  Ace Books
Rating:


"Sookie Stackhouse likes living in Bon Temps, Louisiana, and she likes working as a cocktail waitress at Merlotte's. But she is having a streak of bad luck. First her co-worker is killed, and no one seems to care. Then she comes face-to-face with a beastly creature which gives her a painful and poisonous lashing. Enter the vampires, who graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn't enjoy it).

"The point is: the vampires saved her life. So when one of her bloodsuckers asks for a favour, she obliges-and soon Sookie's in Dallas, using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire. She's supposed to interview certain humans involved, but she makes one condition: the vampires must promise to behave, and let the humans go unharmed. But that's easier than done, and all it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly . . ."

~ Goodreads



Thoughts:  The only reason this book didn't sit on my shelves after reading Dead Until Dark was the fact that it was in audio book format.  Plus, listening to books while running on the treadmill and lifting weights makes the time go faster.  However, I get rather strange looks when I snort at the dialogue and Sookie's rather ludicrous naïveté/actions.

Honestly, after the disappointment of the first book, I wasn't expecting much with this one.  However, it ended up catching my interest a little more than the first.  Since I have been sick and not going to the gym, it took me a lot longer to get through this book.  And, if I had sat down with it for an extended time, I might have different things to say about it.

For me, the book felt as though it was all over the place.  Sookie meets the maenad briefly in the beginning of the book and receives nasty, poisoned lashings as a message for Eric.  Instead of following that a little more, Harris rushes Sookie and Bill off to Dallas to deal with a kidnapped vampire.  After playing around in Dallas, she comes back to discover the sex club.  I felt that, if done correctly, Harris could have made a whole book on the occurrences in Dallas.  Honestly, she could have done the same with the maenad storyline.  With the switching back and forth, it felt as though there wasn't a complete story.  The fact that the sex club was rather sinister and involved important people was rather interesting, and I would have loved to see it play out.  Further, I couldn't understand the point of having the maenad.  The way Harris introduced her, it felt as though she was going to play a larger role.  As it is, she was just kind of a side character that didn't have too much importance.

The dialogue between Bill and Sookie was still pretty canned and campy.  There was still no real character development of the two, and they remained rather one dimensional.  Plus, their relationship just annoys me.  It seems to be based on sex and nothing else.  I would like a little more substance between them.  And, I'm sorry to say this, I don't like Sookie.

The saving grace was Eric.  I loved that he had more time in the book, and the audience was able to see a different side to his personality.  When he arrived in Lycra, I roared while I was shoveling my driveway!  Even from the HBO series, it is obvious that he has a lot more depth than we have yet to be shown.  Plus, a Viking will always get me excited!  Unfortunately, the narrator for the audio book slipped more into a Transylvanian accent, and I wanted to scream on multiple occasions!  

While this book had it's issues, it shows that they are getting better.  According to a close friend, the series gets progressively better and Eric has a much larger role.  So, with all of that in mind, I will continue to read the books.



Current Progress:
2/50 books


Much love, Sinn

Book Review — The Bone Collector

Title:  The Bone Collector
Author:  Jeffery Deaver
Genre:  Fiction, mystery
Pages:  Hardback, 418
Published:  1997
Publisher:  Penguin Group
ISBN:  0-670-86871-X
Opening Lines:  "She wanted only to sleep."
Rating:


"Lincoln Rhyme, ex-head of NYPD forensics, was the nation's foremost criminalist, the man who could work a crim scene and come away with a perfect profile of the killer, frozen in time. Now, Lincoln is frozen in place—permanently. An accident on the job left him a quadriplegic who can move just one finger, a great mind strapped to his bed, mulish and sarcastic, hiding from a life he no longer wants to live.

"Until he sees the crime-scene report about a corpse found buried on a deserted West Side railroad track, its bloody hand rising from the dirt. It belonged to a man who got into a cab at the airport and never got out. Reluctantly, Lincoln Rhyme abandons retirement to track down a killer whose ingenious clues hold the secret to saving his victims—if Rhyme can decipher them in time.

"The search leads him to the Bone Collector, whose obsession with old New York colors every scrap of evidence he leaves for Rhyme and his new partner, Amelia Sachs, whom he drafts as his arms and legs. But she's never worked a crime scene in her life—and he can only whisper in her ear as she does the exacting work he lvoed more than anything else."

~ Jacket copy



Thoughts:  On my seventeenth birthday, my parents (my mother was rather reluctant) took me to see The Bone Collector.  My mother sat through the whole movie with her hands covering her eyes, and my father and I were riveted.  I loved the movie.  I loved the combination of Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie.  However, I kind of lost track of the movie.  When HBO started airing it this past December, I decided to read the book.  Luckily, the local library happened to have a copy of the book!  Unfortunately, since I've been battling a nasty virus, it has taken me a long time to actually finish the book.

While walking her last beat, dispatch sends Amelia Sachs to the scene of a supposed crime.  What she finds is a mutilated hand rising from the ground.  Falling back on her academy training, she immediately seals of the area in hopes of preserving the scene and keeping any physical evidence intact.  Since there is a UN conference in NYC, her boss is quick criticize her actions and dismiss her concerns.  However, once the case is brought to retired Lincoln Rhyme, her quick thinking brings her to the forefront of his mind.  And, even though she is a beat cop about to be transferred to Publication Relations, Rhyme wants her to be his arms and legs while walking the grid as they chase an unsub that could be a serial killer.

I loved the character development in the book.  With little things like Amelia's love of fast cars and her nervous habit of picking at her fingers, he was able to make the character believable and three dimensional.  Further, it was neat to see how Rhyme and Amelia were able to grow through the book, and, in some ways, become different/better people.  After suffering from a debilitating accident, Rhyme was struggling with his new role and had a hard time finding a place in his life.  Through the work on the case and his connection with Amelia, he was able to recapture some semblance of life.  It was very neat to see him go through the change.  The way it was written, as a reader, I felt much closer to the character.

The law enforcement jargon was awesome!  When they talked about running prints and car plates through NCIC, I got excited.  After working emergency dispatch for awhile, it was nice to be able recognize some of the lingo and know what they were talking about.  That being said, however, a lot of the things were never fully explained and could easily cause confusion.  Even though Deaver had a lexicon in the back of the book, I felt he didn't do a good job having entries in it to explain all of the things he was discussing through the course of the novel.

The novel was suspenseful and kept me on the edge of my seat.  Several times I found myself staying up way too late reading "just one more page."  If you're reading this because of the movie, they are different.  Some of the crimes are similar, but there are a lot that were left out of the movie.  The motivation behind the killings is not the same, Amelia has a different last name and looks different, and so on.  That being said, I still loved the book!

Current Pages: 418
Current Progress:

1/50 books


Much love, Sinn

Theme Song Saturday (44)



Welcome to Theme Song Saturdays, a new weekly meme, hosted by yours truly, in which we share our love of music and books! Since I love books and music, this meme is for fun to try to incorporate those two loves! Whenever I read a book, a certain song -- kind of like a soundtrack or theme song -- plays through my head.

Want to know how to play? Head over to the Theme Song Saturday introduction post to read the rules and get the code.

Here's my pick this week:




The Man Who Sold the World covered by Nirvana kind of mirrors my thoughts about Lincoln Rhyme.  He is completely at odds with who he is now and who he was.  Even though he is able to put some things aside and concentrate on the case in front of him, his demons are still lurking in the shadows.  And, at some level, it feels as though he thinks of the man he was as being dead.  It is almost like he thinks they cannot coexist.  However, when you see him seamlessly running the case, the audience sees that the man Rhyme was is still very much there.  



What's yours?  Leave a link in the comments to your post ^_^

Much love, Sinn

Book Beginnings


Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader. Every Friday, we share the first sentence (or more) of the book we are currently reading. Be sure to share your initial thoughts and impressions!

Here's mine:
"She wanted only to sleep.
"The plane had touched down two hours late and there'd been a marathon wait for the luggage."
The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver


My initial thought was, I feel your pain!  Aside from feeling like a sardine, always ending up with the person in front of me in my lap, and major back pain from the horrible seats/cramped environment, waiting for my luggage is one of the worst parts of flying.  You are almost always guaranteed a twenty minute wait surrounded by people who tend to be assholes.  Come on, people, I know the plane was crowded, I know you have places to be, but please don't body slam/check me to get your luggage!  And, yes, that happens at least once whenever I fly . . .

Much love, Sinn

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    "If you’re a freak like me, Wave your flag! If you’re a freak like me, Get off your ass! It’s our time now, To let it all hang out!" I am a recovering English major, closet bibliophile, breve addicted, zombie lover with a rockabilly and heavy metal fetish.