Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Alice In Zombieland






*SPOILERS: Here's my usual spoiler disclaimer.  If you think this is a book you might want to read, but  you don't want it to be spoiled, skip this blog post until later.*



Have you read Lewis Carroll's classic Alice in Wonderland?  Come on, show of hands!  That's what I thought!  I love Alice in Wonderland.  It is a magical book that can transport you into a world of pure fantasy and imagination, that can make you laugh, smile, cry and cheer.  But enough about Wonderland.  On to the real reason for this posts: the book Alice in Zombieland, by Gena Showalter.  

When I first saw the title of this book, I thought it was a new twist on Alice in Wonderland.  Let's clear one thing up right now: This book is absolutely NOTHING like Alice in Wonderland.  There's no fall down the rabbit hole, no twins who speak in riddles, no red queen, no white queen and no caterpillar.  Here are some things this book does contain:

*Be-headings
*A car crash
*Visions
*Swords
*Spirits

At the beginning of the book, Alice and her sister, Emma, are having a discussion about how Emma just has to go out at night for her dance recital.  She's begging Alice to talk to their parents.  Alice agrees, rather begrudgingly, and starts with her mom.  Alice figures her mom will be able to convince their dad to let them go to Emma's dance recital.  She convinces her mom, who in turn convince her dad.  The rule, however, is that they can't go by the graveyard lest the monsters attack them.  Yep, monsters.

So, Alice's mom drives.  Her dad sits in the passengers seat, a wreck of nerves for the entire evening.  When they leave the dance recital, Alice, Emma and their mom convince daddy that they NEED to go by the graveyard, because driving down the street past the graveyard is the quickest way home.  He concedes, and they drive down the road past the graveyard.  Much to the surprise of Alice, Emma and their mom, there are monsters in the graveyard.  Zombie monsters to be exact.  The monsters crawl out of the graveyard and scare mom so much that she ends up getting in an accident and the car rolls over on them.  Dad is thrown from the window of the car.  Emma and their mom both die, as does dad.  AND the zombies feed on their souls, which means there's a possibility that they could be turned into zombies as well.

After the accident, Alice spends a few days in the hospital.  While there, she meets Kat, who becomes her best friend.  After getting out of the hospital, Alice lives with her mom's parents - who she calls Pops and Nana.  They sort of skate around her for awhile, giving her the space she thinks she needs to get over losing her family.

Alice also has to start a new school.  On the first day of school, Alice sees a group of people standing in the hallway who are all wearing weather inappropriate clothing - long shirts, sweaters, etc.  She is intrigued by them.  Then she sees Cole - the fair skinned, blonde haired kid who makes eye contact with her while she's looking at him.  While they are staring at each other, Alice has a vision that she and Cole are kissing.  She believes that it feels so real that Cole has actually kissed her.  She is surprised when she opens her eyes and he is, in fact, staring at her like she's just run over his dog.


Now, in my true fashion, I hate to give away everything that happened in the book, so I'll list some highlights:

*Emma appears to Alice a couple times throughout the book.
*Cole and his friends are zombie hunters.
*The zombie hunters can (and must) leave their bodies to fight the zombies - because the zombies exist only in the spirit realm.
*Alice's father comes back - briefly.
*There is a rabbit cloud that appears in the sky every time the zombies are going to appear.
*There are hazmat's that exist to push zombies into human bodies, thinking that the human bodies will cure the zombies of their flesh eating ways.
*Alice almost dies
*Alice and Cole start dating


Now, my thoughts.  I think that Gena Showalter is a good writer.  I think that she does a decent job of bringing zombies to life. 

I started out not really liking Kat, but by the end of the book, I really loved her!  She became one of my favorite characters.  Alice was really struggling with a lot of things in the book, and I like that she had Cole on her side pushing her.  They were both excellent people, and really good for each other.  (Oh, teens in love....)

As far as Mackenzie, I can't help but wonder if it was the authors intention to make the reader hate her.  If so, she succeeded - at least with this reader.  She was absolutely insufferable.  The only characters I disliked more than her were Justin and his twin sister.

Overall, the story was a *little* cheesy, but, if you're a teenager (or just someone who likes YA books), this is a book you'll enjoy.  I'd give it a solid B rating!






 

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Classics Club

So, recently I stumbled across a blog called The Dead Authors Club.  The author of the blog has a bunch of posts about classic books she's reading, all for something called The Classics Club.  Of course, when I read her list of classics to read over the next five years, I was intrigued.  After all, I love me a good classic book.   SO, I decided I had to jump into this classics book club and start my own list of classic books to read over the next five years. 

The goal of The Classics Club is to read 50 classic books over a period of five years.  I wanted to go for a real challenge for myself and up it to 100 books over 5 years.  Now, I know that's a lot of books. But, as I said I love classics.  So, you better watch out, my blog is about to get a whole lot "older!"

I plan on making a permanent page on my blog as well, just for The Classics Club books.  But for now, here are my classic books that I will be reading. 

My start day will be August 1, 2013, and I plan on finishing these books by August 1, 2018. 

1. Dr. Zhivago - Boris Pasternak
2. Pickwick Papers - Charles Dickens
3. Nicholas Nickelby - Charles Dickens
4. The Old Curiosity Shop - Charles Dickens
5. Barnaby Drudge - Charles Dickens
6. Martin Chuzzlewit - Charles Dickens
7. Dombey and Son - Charles Dickens
8. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
9. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
10. Hard Times - Charles Dickens
11. Little Dorrit - Charles Dickens
12. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
13. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
14. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
15. Our Mutual Friend - Great Expectations
16. The Mystery of Edwin Drood
17.  Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
18. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
19. Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
20. Emma - Jane Austen
21. Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen
22. Persuasion - Jane Austen
23. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
24. Dead Souls - Nikolai Gogol
25. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
26. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
27. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
28. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
29. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
30. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
31. The Idiot - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
32. The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
33. Demons - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
34. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
35. Little Men - Louisa May Alcott
36. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
37. The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Victor Hugo
38. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
39. The Old Man and The Sea - Ernest Hemingway
40. The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway
41. A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway
42. For Whom the Bell Tolls - Ernest Hemingway
43. A Moveable Feast - Ernest Hemingway
44. The Complete Short Stories - Ernest Hemingway
45. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
46. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
47. East of Eden - John Steinbeck
48. The Pearl - John Steinbeck
49. Cannery Row - John Steinbeck
50.The Jungle - Upton Sinclair
51. The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling
52. Main Street - Sinclair Lewis
53. Babbit - Sinclair Lewis
54. Arrowsmith - Sinclair Lewis
55. Elmer Gentry - Sinclair Lewis
56. It Can't Happen Here - Sinclair Lewis
57. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum
58. Ozma of Oz - L. Frank Baum
59. The Marvelous Land of Oz - L. Frank Baum
60. The Road to Oz - L. Frank Baum
61. Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum
62. The Emerald City of Oz - L. Frank Baum
63. The Patchwork Girl of Oz - L. Frank Baum
64. Tik-Tok of Oz - L. Frank Baum
65. Glinda of Oz - L. Frank Baum
67. The Lost Princess of Oz - L. Frank Baum
68. The Scarecrow of Oz - L. Frank Baum
69. The Magic of Oz - L. Frank Baum
70. Rinkitink in Oz - L. Frank Baum
71. The Tin Woodman of Oz - L. Frank Baum
72. The Last of the Mohicans - James Fenimore Cooper
73. The Deerslayer - James Fenimore Cooper
74. The Pathfinder - James Fenimore Cooper
75. The Pioneers - James Fenimore Cooper
76. Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
77. To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf
78. A Room of One's Own - Virginia Woolf
79. Orlando - Virginia Woolf
80. The Waves - Virginia Woolf
81. The Voyage Out - Virginia Woolf
82. Night and Day - Virginia Woolf
83. Jacob's Room - Virginia Woolf
84. A Room With A View - E.M. Forster
85. Howard's End - E.M. Forster
86. A Passage to India - E.M. Forster
87. Maurice - E.M. Forster
88. The Longest Journey - E.M. Forster
89. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
90. Through the Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll
91. A Lost Lady - Willa Cather
92. My Antonia - Willa Cather
93. Sons and Lovers - D.H. Lawrence
94. The Rainbow - D.H. Lawrence
95. The Three Musketeers - Alexander Dumas
96. The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexander Dumas
97. The Man in the Iron Mask - Alexander Dumas
98. Twenty Years After - Alexander Dumas
99. The Divine Comedy - Dante
100. Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Books!!!

I am so excited to create this post!  Like, more than you know!  I have to tell you my Lunar Chronicles story first, though.

So, around the middle to end of 2012, I was posting on facebook that I was looking for a good book to read.  Around the same time I had seen a cover of Cinder, Marissa's Meyer's first book, on Goodreads.  My friend Kellie chimed in and said, "Hey, read Cinder!"  Now, Kellie, like me, is a total bookworm.  Also, I trust her judgment in books.  She has good taste.

So, I instantly bought Cinder on my Kindle, and whipped through it.  I then waited impatiently until February  of this year, when Scarlet was released.  I bought it, read it and fell even more in love with the Lunar Chronicles book.  Then, a few weeks ago, I noticed that Marissa Meyer was having a giveaway for an Advanced Reader Copy of Cress.  So, I entered the contest, not even thinking that I would win.

BUT, I did!  So, today, UPS delivered my nice, pretty ARC of Cress, which I can't wait to finish! 






If you aren't familiar with The Lunar Chronicles, my first suggestion would be to go out and read Cinder and Scarlet.  They are fantastic books!  Plus, when I finish Cress, I plan on writing a review, so that way, you'll know what's going on.

Another book I've got on the shelf right now is Alice in Zombieland.





I have become quite fascinated by zombies, so, really I am looking forward to finishing this book.  I am a couple pages into it, and so far, it is really funny.  To give you a general idea: it starts with a description of Alice talking about how her dad won't let them go out after dark because he doesn't want anyone to get attacked by monsters.  The book then travels through zombie battling and trying to save the humans.  So far, it's a cute book, and I can't wait to review it for you!




Sunday, July 7, 2013

Book Time - Gone Girl




*Spoiler Alert* If you have yet to read this book, and you don't want to know what happens, don't read this blog post!  I would hate to spoil anything for you before you read it!


Well, I mentioned that I was going to read Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn's most recent book - and read it I did!  I just finished, about 45 minutes before writing this post.  I had heard a lot about it from the ladies in my book club.  At our gather last month, a couple of them were talking about it, and I had to halt the conversation because I didn't want to know what happened before I read it!  So, now that I've read it, I can say that it is absolutely as good as I had heard. 

The two main characters are Nick and Amy Dunne.  Nick, a man originally from North Carthage, Missouri, marries Amy (then Elliot) after they meet and fall in love in New York City.  They are both journalists of a sort: Nick writes for a paper and Amy writes personality quizes for magazines.  The first time they meet, they hit it off, but don't see each other again for eight and a half months. 

After getting married, Nick and Amy live happily in NYC writing.  Amy thinks she is the cool girl Nick has always wanted, and so does he.  Amy's parents (Rand and Marybeth Elliot) are two people who got rich off of writing fictional books based off their daughter.  They, like Amy, majored in psychology and wrote a series of popular books called Amazing Amy.  The books all take events from Amy's life, fictionalize them and end in a manner that is different than how it ended with Amy.  For example, when Amy took, and then quit, ballet, Rand and Marybeth write an Amazing Amy book in which Amy sticks with ballet because hard work is always worth it. 

Amy's parents make enough money to set up a trust fund that has over $700,000 in it.  But, they are irresponsible with their money.  So, they borrow almost all the money in the trust fund.  At the same time this is happening, Nick loses his job.  Then Amy loses her job.  They also find out aroud this time that Nick's mom - Maureen - has cancer and is going to die.  So, with nothing holding them in the city, Nick and Amy pack up and move back to North Carthage.  Now, Amy gives the impression that she's happy with this move, and we all know people never lie, right?  Yeah, I'm laughing a little, as well. 

Not only is Amy miserable in Carthage, but her husband starts cheating on her with a student in his class.  He has started teach journalism at a local community college and meets Andie, a fresh faced 23 year old who turns him on.  They start seeing each other about a year after Nick and Amy move home.  Nick, of course, is naive enough to believe that Amy has no idea.  Men - let this be a lesson: If you're cheating - the woman always knows! 

Well, Amy, instead of confronting Nick, decides to do something that she thinks will even the score.  She decides to frame him for murder.  Now, there are a few things you should know about Amy's history: she was "stalked," and she had an ex who always creeped on her after their breakup.  You, of course, find out over the course of the book that these things never really happened.  Amy was pissed at things that Hilliary, her stalker, and Desi, the man who supposedly raped her, did, so she staged things with them and set them up.

Now really, you would think that Amy is head over heels about Nick.  After all, she wrote the following in her journal the day they met:
Tra and la! I am smiling a big adopted-orphan smile as I write this. I am embarrassed at how happy I am, like some Technicolor comic of a teenage girl talking on the phone with my hair in a ponytail, the bubble above my head saying: I met a boy!
But I did. This is a technical, empirical truth. I met a boy, a great, gorgeous dude, a funny,
cool-ass guy.


Of course, after this, they don't see each other for eight months.  Strike one.  After they get married, Amy celebrates their anniversaries by sending Nick on treasure hunts.  She writes out letters and hides them.  However, he never figures out what they mean.  Strike two.  Then, they lose their jobs and move back to Missouri, where Amy is miserable and has no friends.  Strike three.  And finally, the icing on the I-Hate-You-Nick cake: Nick has an affair. 

During the time in Missouri, Amy does much planning to frame Nick.  She writes diary entries about how she is afraid of blood.  She writes about how Nick is mean to her.  She tells her annoying neighbor that she is scared of Nick.  She makes plans to buy a gun.  She takes out credit cards in Nicks name, follows him when he goes on his trysts with Andie, buys a bunch of stuff with the credit cards, and when Nick is sleeping takes his hands and rubs it all over the things she bought.

During this time, Nick is also helping run the bar that he opened with his sister, Margo, nicknamed Go.  I liked Go.  I found her to be the best character in the book, or at least my favorite, because she had the balls to call Nick out on his shit.  She was the one who actually got on his case about the affair.

When Amy disappears, Nick finds out because a neighbor calls him at the bar, which is ironically named The Bar.  He heads home to find the front door open.  The cat, Bleeker, is sitting on the porch.  Walking in, Nick sees the furniture turned up in the living room.  He immediately suspects that it is staged, but of course, since he is the husband, everyone thinks that Nick is a wife killer.

Throughout the novel, many things happen that will keep you hooked til the end. 

* Amy reconnects with Desi
* Amy frames Desi for rape
* Amy kills Desi
* Nick breaks it off with Andie.  After all, only wife killers have affairs
* Amy fakes a pregnancy.  Not telling you how.
* Marybeth, Rand and even Go turn on Nick - for a while at least.
* After Amy returns, she really does get pregnant - with Nicks frozen sperm.  She uses this to manipulate him into staying with her, even though he is always scared he will kill her.

Now, let me tell you what I thought about this book. I loved it.  From beginning to end, I did not want to put it down!  I hated Nick and Amy, though.  I thought they were incredibly well written characters.  They both knew how to manipulate people, and they had some really screwed up character traits. But, I love this book.  I hate to admit that there were points when I laughed - LOUD! 

I love Go because she is real.  She tells it like it is, calls Nick out on his shit and isn't afraid to say what's what.  I think she adds something to the book that would be missing if her character weren't around.  Overall, I think this is an incredibly well written, suspensful and crazy book.  I am glad I read it, and I think that if you don't read it, you will be missing out on one of the best books of 2012.