Monday, October 31, 2011

"Go to hell! Oh! I've been there, thank you. I found it quite lovely."

by Neil Gaiman

When Coraline moves into an old house subdivided into four flats, she finds a locked door in the living room.

Later, when she's home alone, she tries the door and it opens. She steps through it to find a flat almost exactly like her own, complete with "other" parents. Everything in this alternate world seems to be better, even the "other" parents are more fun even though they have black shiny buttons instead of eyes.

But soon enough, the "other" parents want to call Coraline their daughter and that means trading her eyes for buttons.

If you ever want to be terrified by a children's novel, read Coraline. It didn't win the Bram Stoker Award for Works for Young Readers for nothing. I don't know what scared me more the kids trapped in the mirror or the buttons for eyes. This is another one of his novels that I truly like even though it scares me to bits.

If you like this one, also check out The Graveyard Book. I chose to put Coraline first since it's an older novel.


The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre
by H.P. Lovecraft
edited by August Derleth

It's an anthology of H.P. Lovecraft's most terrifying, most fiendish and most blood chilling tales. *cue crack of thunder*

I honestly didn't think they'd be very scary. I had this whole laugh-in-the-face-of-danger attitude going to read this book and I will admit that all his stories scared me. Especially, The Picture in the House. I'm still having nightmares about it.

Some stories included in the book are:
The Rats In The Walls
In The Vault
The Music of Erich Zann
The Call of Cthulhu
The Dunwich Horror

+ And many more.


The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales
by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Fairytales aren't just for kids. I say this because I know I'm not the only adult still reading and enjoying them. They're scary and strange but they're also fun to read.

It's also amazing to know that these stories have been around for so long and that they've survived the passing of time.

Some of the stories included in the book are Briar Rose, Snow White, Little Red Cap, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretal and Rapunzel.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dear Kate Beaton, I must confess that I did find Canadian history quite boring.

Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton is a thing of wonder. It is a collection of her comics, some of them old favorites and some of them new.

Now that I've gotten that quaint and sweet description out of the way, I shall move right along and say that it is an amazing book. I have not stopped laughing since I got it, which was roughly a week ago (so basically I'm dead. I am a spirit cackling from the grave).

Her comics and commentary on world history, literature, entertainment, life and everything are the funniest things I have ever seen. Kate Beaton even has me looking up historical figures and events on my computer (like Nikola Tesla. Now all I want to do is scream and throw my long johns at him but alas, he's dead).

Also, she's Canadian so I feel a little swelling of pride in my chest is apt. Or is that swelling love? I haven't the faintest idea. Maybe it's both.

If you want to see some of her work for yourself before you buy the book (and you shall feel compelled to...eventually), you can check out her website:Kate Beaton on the Internet

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Tears are the silent language of grief."

Mercy Lily by Lisa Albert: Lily's mom is fading away. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is taking bigger and bigger pieces of her each day. When traditional therapy doesn't work, Lily's mom turns to bee sting therapy in order to deal with the pain. Eventually that too fails and Lily's mom seems to give up.

On a spring day full of possibility, her mom asks for one of the most difficult things she's ever asked Lily for - mercy. Can Lily give her mom what she wants or will Lily hold on to her mom until the end?

Euthanasia is always one of those touchy subjects that no one particularly wants to handle and if they do, they do it with care. It's a pretty loaded issue with moral, ethical and (for some) religious ramifications. I give this author points for even tackling it. I look forward to taking a crack at this novel sometime soon.

Mercy Lily by Lisa Albert will be out on the 8th of October in paperback.

The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas : One of the only things Rose's mom leaves behind after she dies is a paper bag labeled Rose’s Survival Kit. Inside is an iPod, a picture of peonies, a crystal heart, a paper star and a kite.

Confused, Rose finds herself coming back to the items in the bag and trying to figure out what each of them could mean and what her mom is trying to say through them. Another strange source of comfort comes from the family gardener, Will, who is also her school's hockey champion. Unlike everyone else, he understands how she feels and what she's going through. Will Rose gain something new in her loss?

This one reminds me a lot of Maureen Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes in the way that a relative of the main character dies and they leaves a package behind. A small package that is supposed to lead to something bigger for the main character. I'm interested to see the thoughts behind the survival kit for Rose and what happens with Will.

The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas comes out on October 11th in hardcover.

Without Tess by Marcella Pixley: Tess and Lizzie are as close as sisters can be. They even have their own secret and made up world full of magic and fantastical creatures. As time passes, Lizzie is ready to leave their imaginary world behind and grow up while Tess isn't.

Tess clings to her delusions and won't let go. Deciding that she can't live in the real world, she takes her own life. Years later, Lizzie still struggles to understand what happened to her sister. With the help of the psychologist at her school and Tess's old journal, Lizzie searches for answers and for a way let her sister go.

I know, I know. What's with all the horribly doom and gloom novels for October? I don't really know. They all seem to be getting published this month and some of them even sound good enough to read?

Anyway, I really like the look (the cover is simple but pretty) and the sound (delusions!)of this novel. Mental health is something that affects a lot of people, not just the old. I think out of all of the novels I listed in this post, this is the one I'm most looking forward to.

Without Tess by Marcella Pixley comes out October 11th in hardcover.

(Note: title quote is from Voltaire.)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"I never did a day's work in my life. It was all fun. "

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber: Perry Stormaire is not one for adventure. His only concerns right now are his applications for college and practicing with his band.

Then on the night of his big first gig, Perry is forced into taking Gobi Zaksauskas, the Lithuanian exchange student who lives with his family, to the prom. He thinks it's going to be a boring night at the school gym with lame music and an even lamer date but he's wrong.

Gobi Zaksauskas is not the quiet and timid teenager Perry thought she was but instead, a calm and collected assassin with a list of targets she needs to take out before the night is done. Dragged along for the ride, Perry is sort of glad they skipped the prom.

This book sounds so insane that I have to read it. My prom consisted of a rickety limo ride, dance music, surprise waffles, watching tv awkwardly with my friend's parents and then passing out asleep (it'd been a long day, okay? I was tired) on my friend's bedroom floor. So Perry's prom night sounds a lot more exciting than mine ever was. I just hope this book turns out to be as fun as I think it will be.

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick comes out October 25th in hardcover.

Girls Don't Fly by Kristen Chandler: Myra isn't the type to have flights of fancy. She needs to keep her feet on the ground if she's going to take care of her four younger brothers and her pregnant older sister.

She's got mostly everything under control until her boyfriend breaks up with her. After that, she doesn't know if she can keep it together. Suddenly Myra starts doing things for herself, things she wouldn't have done before such as quitting her job, applying for a scholarship to study birds in the Galapagos Islands and falling for some new. A guy who wants nothing but for Myra to spread her wings and fly.

I really like how this book sounds. She gets thrown for a loop by the break up and then starts doing all these amazing things that I think will be beneficial for her. Myra needs to stop thinking about other people for a second and start thinking about her own life. Excited to see if Myra really does fly in the end.

Girls Don't Fly by Kristen Chandler will be out on October 13th, 2011 in hardcover.

Past Perfect by Leila Sales: Chelsea's goals for the summer are to hang out with her best friend, to spend some quality time eating ice cream and to get over her ex-boyfriend Ezra.
But not everything according to plan when Chelsea discovers that Ezra will also be working at the Essex Historical Colonial Village. With her. Which makes getting over him a little hard to do. Things become even more complicated when she meets someone new, someone who may not even be available.

Is history about to repeat itself? Chelsea hopes not.

What really drew me to this book was the setting. It sounds like it will be pretty awesome working at a historical reenactment village and I hope we get to explore that space. Secondly, I love the complication on top of complication going on here. And lastly, I like that Chelsea is going to realize that she still has a lot to learn about love and life and everything. Character growth and epiphanies are big with me.

Past Perfect
by Leila Sales comes out on October 4th, 2011 in hardcover.

(note: title quote from Thomas A. Edison )

Saturday, October 1, 2011

"They say the history of the West was written from the saddle of a horse..."

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: The Scorpio Races happen every November. It's a tradition so old, it's immortal. Riders compete to make it to the finish line. Some make it there alive and some do not.

Sean Kendrick, the 19-year-old champion, returns and is as fearless as ever.

Puck Connolly, however, is different. Luck has never been on her side but she enters the race anyway. She's the first girl to ever ride in it and she has no idea what she's just signed up for.

I love Maggie Stiefvater's books so it's no wonder why I'm checking this one out. That being said, the novel does have a lot going for it. I like the idea of this race and I want to know more about it. I also really want to know this world in which the story takes place. Every detail is really quiet and small about this book right now so naturally, I'm hooked.

The Scorpio Races comes out October 18th, 2011 in Hardcover.

And here's the trailer for the book and it's amazing, of course. The music and the stop motion images flow together perfectly. Really, it's just a pretty piece of video and it just intensifies my want for this novel.

(note: title quote is from the film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.)