Friday, December 21, 2012

Review - Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.
I don't remember what made me pick up Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry. But I am definitely glad I bought it.

I was kind of annoyed at first by the use of the term "Zoms". Like they were just a casual thing. But then as I read I realized it was almost like it WAS a casual thing to the kids in this story. In the world they live in, the teenagers at least, the zombies have always been there. There isn't a time they can't remember them being around. They've gotten used to it.

The book started out kind of slow. But it didn't last long. It was just a momentary setting of the stage, so to speak. To give us an idea into the minds and lives of Benny Imura and his friends (and in very small part, his brother Tom). Honestly, once the action started, it never stopped. Or at least, it stopped long enough for us to take a breath before diving right back in to it.

You watch TV shows like The Walking Dead (or you read the comic) or you see movies like Resident Evil and those... they're zombies. They're walkers. They need to be complete eradicated and wiped off the face of the earth. In Rot & Ruin, bounty hunter - or "Closure Specialist" - Tom Imura, reminds us that though they may be just undead soulless creatures now they once were human. They had lives, friends, family, hopes.... and now that's all gone.

Tom's job is to find the undead family members of his clients and quiet them for good. And he's very good at his job. Benny, operating on a tainted memory of the night the dead rose again, hates Tom. In the beginning anyway. He's got a complete misunderstanding of what his brother does. And really, who he is. Tom just waits for the day when Benny decides to join the family business.

It opens up a new world for Benny. Not necessarily a good one. But in one trip out to the Ruin, Benny's life is changed forever. He's grown up so fast he can't really process it. Things are different he knows that. Soon after, something happens that changes him even more. Tests his mettle and the skills he's learned from his brother (who happens to be my favorite character).

I loved this book. Once I really got in to it I didn't want to put it down. At all. I really wish I could find book 2 (book 3 is out on shelves in the stores I frequent, but I can't find book 2!) so I could find out what happens when Benny and Co. decide to head east to find something they never thought they'd see in a million years. I would absolutely recommend this to any one. Walking Dead fans. Zombie fans in general. Anyone who likes paranormal things. Seriously, this was like a 10 star book for me.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Moment of Silence

Wanted to apologize for my absence the last few days. The tragedy in CT on Friday has just broken my heart and as much as I wanted to, I couldn't bring myself to come here and blog. I am reading though, so I will have a review to post soon. I love you all. Hug your kids tight if you have them.

~ Tara

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold

How many of you remember the 1977 animated version of The Hobbit? With the new live action film opening in just days I figured I'd post the two versions of the infamous tune about the Misty Mountains.

Skip to about 59 seconds if you want to bypass the dwarves and their cleaning of poor Bilbo's kitchen.

And now, for Friday's version.

Who's going to see the movie opening day?? This girl definitely is.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Review - Tough Girl by Libby Heily

Danger lurks everywhere in eleven year old Reggie's world—from the bully next door to the unwanted attentions of a creep at school. Raised by her mentally ill mother, Reggie is left to fend for herself in a rough neighborhood. She escapes in daydreams, battling aliens with her alter ego, Tough Girl.

When Reggie's mother disappears, her fantasy life spirals out of control and starts to invade reality. She is hunted by a creature of her own design, and even Tough Girl is not strong enough to stop him.

Will Reggie survive long enough for her mother to return, or will her dream world take over?
Tough Girl by Libby Heily was definitely not the book I was expecting. When I'd read the description I'd gathered it wouldn't necessarily be all rainbows and flowers, but the depths of this book went far beyond even what I'd imagined they would.

Reggie's basically taking care of herself, by herself. To say she's being raised by her mentally ill mother is quite a bit of an overstatement, as her mother mostly sits on the couch listening to static on the radio. Poor Reggie spends most of her time at home wondering if she's going to have enough food to last her until the next day. When Mona disappears on what Reggie originally thought was a shopping trip and fails to return, she is left with $10 to buy food for I don't know how long and in the end has to resort to stealing from the local convenience store.

Luckily, she makes a friend in DeShawn, who often shares his food or just brings extra for her. He's kind to Reggie when so many others treat her like she's less than human. So while she's hungry, it's more or less bearable.

Her only other constant companion is Tough Girl. Her alter ego, a human on the planet Girth in the army fighting aliens. TG gives her strength when she needs it and has always got her back in trouble. A lot of the time while reading I forgot that Tough Girl was supposed to be a fictional character to Reggie. She's strong and her personality is extremely well developed.

Reggie runs in to bullies all over the story. The apartments she lives in are the bad area of town and often on weekends she hides away from the fights and the sirens that follow. She's constantly trying to make herself invisible and worried about whether or not she's going to have to defend herself from Tara the Boulder or unwanted sexual advances from some of the meaner boys in the school.

It was a quick read, once I really got in to the story I couldn't stop reading it until it was over. Reggie's story and Tough Girl's story were incredibly enthralling despite the subject matter of one side of that coin. My heart broke for Reggie with every turn of the page and I couldn't help but marvel at  Tough Girl. Forgetting she was supposed to be a teenager because she was just that awesome.

I don't think I would recommend this one to a younger audience. Maybe 17 and above because of certain aspects of the story. But I would definitely recommend it as a fast and easy read that draws you in from the beginning. I'm really glad that I read it.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Walking Dead BlogNation Week 6

Ok, so it's week 6 for TWD BlogNation, but it's week 1 for me. If you want information on what exactly TWD BlogNation is go to Parajunkee's View and check it out!

For this week, I'm going to answer all of the questions from week 1 until now. Since I was slacking and just didn't do them.

  1. Favorite male character? Daryl Dixon. Hands Down.
  2. Favorite female character? Maggie. She's awesome. A little naive at first, but she smartened up.
  3. Which character would you like to see eaten? Andrea. She is too stupid for words.
  4. Nastiest or Scariest walker you’ve seen on the show? Hmmmm..... nastiest would have to be the Well Walker from season 2. Gross.
  5. If the SHTF which character would you want to have on your side via the zombie apocalypse? Again, Daryl Dixon. No question about it.

Now for question 6.

Best TWD scene? All seasons.

My first pick would have to be in season 2 where Daryl brings Carol the Cherokee Rose and explains to her the significance of it and promises to find Sophia for her. ::sigh::

Second pick would be in season 3 where Daryl finds Carol in the cell he's been sitting in front of and carries her back to the group.

Don't forget to go check out Parajunkee's View for details. Or to enter TWD giveaway!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Stacking the Shelves #6

Thanks to Tynga over at Tynga's Reviews for hosting Stacking the Shelves every week!

This week I went and bought Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry.

In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.
What did you all get this week? Expecting anything yummy for Christmas?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Follow Friday #45

Thanks to Parajunkee and Alison Can Read for hosting FF every week.
It's been a while since I've done one of these, and for a bit I couldn't figure out what my answer would be, but here ya go.
Q: Activity! Who do you want to be? If you could choose any character from a book. What do you think that character looks like and what do you have in common?
A: At first, I wanted to say Hermione. Because, let's face it, she's awesome. She has awesome friends. And she gets to go to Hogwarts. But I thought some more and decided on Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. It's hard not to picture her as Keira Knightly from the 2005 movie. She's not described fully aside from her eyes and her hair, but I'd imagine she'd be pretty (the book says as much). Not drop dead gorgeous, but pretty in a quiet sort of way, if that makes sense. She's smart and quick witted. And hey, she snags Mr. Darcy. Who wouldn't want to be in her place?
What about you guys? Who do you want to be? 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

2013 TBR Pile Challenge

That's right, I'm doing two challenges in 2013. They're similar in nature though, which is why it's ok. Right?

Evie over at Bookish is hosting the 2013 TBR Pile Challenge again next year and hopefully this time around I'll do a little bit better than I did this year.

Challenge Guidelines:
  1. This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2013 - Dec 31, 2013.
  2. Anyone can enter! You don't have to be a blogger, as long as you review the book you've read! (On your blog, Amazon or Goodreads/Shelfari!)
  3. Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that's been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2012 and earlier! NO 2013 ARCs and 2013 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!
  4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
  5. When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2013 TBR PILE Reading Challenge. (If you don't have a blog, post about it on Facebook or Tweet!)
  6. You can move up levels, but no moving down.
  7. Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2013, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
  8. On the 20th of each month one of the hosts will post a wrap-up. Every wrap-up will have it's unique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this month. For each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from Book Depository. It's open to INTERNATIONALS. The giveaway will be open until the next wrap up post goes up! (i.e. the entire month)
  9. If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice - we will be checking ;)
  10. December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you'll link up in December will be entered into a HUGE giveaway - a box of books.
  11. You don't have to follow all the hosts to join the challenge, but you do have to follow all of us to be entered in giveaways!
(how many books you're planning to read for this challenge in 2013)

1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children
So go check out Evie's blog post about the challenge and sign up!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review - So Silver Bright by Lisa Mantchev

Act Three, Scene One
Betrie thinks her quest is almost done. With the help of Ariel and the rest of her friends, she has managed to find her father and rescue Nate from Sedna, the Sea Goddess. Now, all she has to do is reunite her father, the Scrimshander, with her mother, Ophelia, and she will finally have a true family of her own.

Exit Stage Right
However, things are never easy for Beatrice Shakespeare Smith. Her father has vanished, Sedna is out for revenge, her own actions have trapped the Théâtre Illuminata in a strange kind of limbo, and the stress of her in-between state is tearing apart the fragile threads of her mother's sanity. Bertie's best hope for salvaging the situation may lie in a summons by Her Gracious Majesty, Queen of the Distant Castle, and the hope of winning the magical boon given to the best performance. Bertie is caught between her growing responsibilities to home and family, and the dream of flying free - just as her heart is torn between her two loves, Nate and Ariel. With so any forces pulling on her, how will Bertie be able to choose which wish to make come true?
So Silver Bright by Lisa Mantchev is definitely an amazing conclusion to the Théâtre Illuminata series. Somewhat heartbreaking, but absolutely amazing.

Bertie has rescued Nate and is in search of  a way to bring her family back together. The Scrimshander has disappeared though so that's a little difficult for Bertie. Not to mention things between her, Ariel, and Nate are as complicated as ever.

Personally, I've always been Team Nate. Sexy, rugged Pirates are kind of my thing. It honestly was never a question, even through most of book three. I always thought Ariel was cocky and arrogant and just a giant jerk. I hated the fact that he was pulling Bertie away from Nate. Hated it. But by the end of the book I was actually incredibly heartbroken that he was gone. I actually wished he'd come back. Don't get me wrong, I'm still totally team Nate... but it was a sad, sad ending.

Bertie is such a different person by the end of the series. At the beginning she seems a typical mischevious teenage girl up to no good but at the close of book three she's grown leaps and bounds beyond her years and I forgot she wasn't twice her age. From a bother to the Mistress of Revels who can bend and twist and move the earth with mere words, she's become one of my all time favorite characters.

Her silly little faerie companions are wonderful as always. And even seem to have grown up a tad themselves at times. But then they remember how hungry they are and all pretense of maturity is gone as they search for sweets to fill their bellies. I love them and their devotion to Bertie. They truly are wonderful little friends.

I think Nate has come to terms with the fact that Bertie isn't who she was before. She's not someone in constant need of a babysitter, a rescuer. Sure she gets in her fair share of seemingly impossible situations, but instead of fighting her battles for her, Nate has learned to fight along side her instead. He's there for her when she needs him and he knows to leave her be when she doesn't.

The series is, by far, one of my favorites to date. It ranks up there with the likes of Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia, The Wolves of Mercy Falls and The Hunger Games, etc. I was incredibly sad with the knowledge that once I turned the final page of the book, there would be no more to follow it. That it was over.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for something fantastical and magical to read. And even for those of you looking for the complete opposite. I don't think you'll be disappointed in the slightest.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Covers Around the World - Beastly by Alex Flinn

I decided this week that since I got my hands on such a good movie, I'd share all the different covers for Beastly by Alex Flinn.

English Language Edition

English Language (Movie) Edition

English Language Edition

Indonesian Edition

Portuguese Edition

Estonian Edition

Czech Edition

Thai Edition
So what do you guys think. Which edition is your favorite? 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Stacking the Shelves #5

Thanks to Tynga at Tynga's Reviews for hosting Stacking the Shelves every week!

No books this week, but I did get a couple of things that were book related. Which is just as good.

First, I got a signed Raven Boys bookplate from Maggie Stiefvater (if you haven't gotten one yet, check out THIS VIDEO for how to score one!).

Second, I brought home Beastly on DVD from Walmart (book is by Alex Flinn). 

I will admit, I've never read the book. But watching the movie makes me want to. It's been one of those books that I keep picking up off the shelf at the book store and then putting it back. I really loved the movie though. It was short enough so that I didn't lose interest in it and I think Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer were perfect in the roles that they played.

Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

So as far as reading challenges go, I didn't exactly do a stellar job this year in completing any of them. Sure I read, but not nearly as much as I had in 2011 where I was doing anywhere between 4-6 books a month (which may still not be a lot for some of you, but for me I was constantly found with a book in my hand).

I started out the year hoping to read 100 books by this month. According to Goodreads I've only finished 22 books this year. If I finish one of the ones I'm currently reading that will ALMOST bring me up to 2 books a month. But not quite. And it makes me sad. Because reading is like an escape for me. I probably wouldn't have been NEARLY as stressed out as I was this year if I'd been reading more.

But for some reason... I just didn't.

This coming year though, I plan to outdo myself. Which, honestly, won't be that difficult considering. I'm signing up for The Book Vixen's Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge. You can check out the details and sign up by clicking HERE.

2013 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge hosted by The Book Vixen

What’s your reading goal for 2013? If it’s to read more books, then this is the reading challenge for you! There have been almost 400 readers who wanted to outdo themselves so far. Are you up for the challenge?

Reading Challenge Details:

  • Runs January 1, 2013 – December 31, 2013 (books read prior to 1/1/2013 do not count towards the challenge). You can join at anytime. Sign up on The Book Vixen’s blog.
  • The goal is to outdo yourself by reading more books in 2013 than you did in 2012. See the different levels below and pick the one that works best for you. You can move up a level as often as you’d like but no moving down.
  • Books can be any format (bound, ebook, audio).
  • Novellas that are at least 100 pages in length, as well as full-length novels, will count for this reading challenge.
  • Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.
  • Grab the reading challenge button and post this reading challenge on your blog to track your progress. Please include a link back to this sign-up post so others can join the reading challenge too. You do not have to be a book blogger to participate; you can track your progress on Goodreads or LibraryThing.

Levels: Getting my heart rate up – Read 1–5 more books
Out of breath – Read 6–10 more books
Breaking a sweat – Read 11–15 more books
I’m on fire! – Read 16+ more books


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