Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday: The Watchers

 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

It's been months since I last participated in this meme.  The book that brought me back which I desperately want to read now is...

The Watchers
(Delcroix Academy, Bk. 2)
by Inara Scott

Releases in August 2011.

I just finished the first book of the Delcroix Academy series, The Candidates (a review coming soon).  I'm excited to read what happens next.  I don't want to post the summary of book two because it would completely ruin the first book for new readers of the series. Let me leave the series premise at...girl with a secret power is recruited to attend an elite academy that holds it's own mysteries, and of course there are two hot guys in the picture.  Ok, maybe that's a complete oversimplification because the plot felt deeper than other books with the "supernatural chick at new school" storyline.

The cover is gorgeous!  It's dark and mysterious.  Love it!  I agree with author Inara Scott when she says it looks even better than the cool orange cover of The Candidates. Alas, this is not the final version yet but I'm hoping it will be.

Do I really have to wait until August?!?  Inara, can you hook a girl up with a copy now...please?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Coming Soon: Dewey's 24 Hour Read-A-Thon

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-A-Thon is coming up on Saturday April 9th. Nearly 250 readers signed up so far.  I hope they get 500 participants this year since 448 people signed up for the last one in October.  I haven't officially signed up yet, but I really want to participate in it again. It will ultimately depend on my school work load that week. With some planning and preparation, I should be able to complete (or at least organize) my assignments ahead of time.  This will be my third Dewey 24 hour read-a-thon.  It's addictive and such a fun event!  I love the hourly challenges, the cheerleaders providing encouragement, and sharing the reading experience with so many hardcore book devotees. Sign up and find the details on Dewey's 24 Hour Read-A-Thon website.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Review: Allison Hewitt is Trapped by Madeleine Roux

Allison Hewitt is Trapped: A Zombie Novel
by Madeleine Roux
St. Martin's Griffin, First Edition
January 2011, 348 pages.
ISBN: 987-0-312-65890-8

Description on the book:

Allison Hewitt and her five colleagues at the Brooks and Peabody bookstore are trapped together when the zombie outbreak hits. Allison reaches out for help through her blog, writing on her laptop and utilizing the military's emergency wireless network (SNET). It may also be her only chance to reach her mother. But as the reality of their situation sinks in, Allison's blog becomes a harrowing account of her edge-of-the-seat adventures (with some witty sarcasm thrown in) as she and her companions fight their way through ravenous zombies and sometimes even more dangerous humans.

My Review:

Madeleine Roux delivers a fun, kick-a** zombie apocalypse novel in Allison Hewitt is Trapped. Allison is a grad student working part-time at the Brooks and Peabody bookstore when the outbreak begins. The bookstore "was attacked by the infected" a.k.a. insanely hungry zombies. Along with three coworkers and two store regulars, Allison finds refuge inside the break room protected behind a heavy reinforced door. But how long will their resources last?  Of course, they must ultimately leave the room (and bookstore) due to supplies and sanitation issues (yuck!).  They find the outside world populated with "groaners" (loud quick zombies) and "floaters" (their quiet slower counterparts). While sometimes impulsive and stubborn, Allison is definitely a feisty leader and becomes pretty handy with an ax.  Despite overcoming many challenges, the characters make some major survival mistakes in the process. Obviously poor judgment leads to unfortunately gory circumstances. 

Written in blog posts, the book chronicles Allison's survival experiences using her laptop powered by electric generators and the military emergency wireless network SNET.  As I started it, I thought reading a whole book of blog posts could get really annoying, but I lost that concern halfway through.  I loved Allison's storytelling. It switched effortlessly from describing their daily events to sharing her feelings like a journal. The blog is Allison's connection to survivors around the world who stumble upon it.  It becomes a comfort to her and her readers, plus a way to share advice and information.

This is definitely NOT a YA novel. There is a lot of language, which isn't necessary a bad thing.  I would have many choice words if crazed zombies attack.  Each chapter title (or blog post) is named after a book: Heart of Darkness, In Defense of Food, Sense and Sensibility, etc.  As a self proclaimed bibliophile, I love this homage.

Allison is courageous (in a brash I'll-stick-my-neck-out-to-save-you sense) yet still approachable.  I felt most of the minor characters were believable (Holly, Ted, Julian) except for a few personalities that fell flat (Collin...I didn't really buy that storyline).  Even though I'm a new reader to the zombie apocalypse genre, this book was a fun, suspenseful read.  I look forward to Roux's upcoming sequel, Sadie Walker is Stranded.

My Rating: 4 out of 5

My Favorite Passages:

"I throw the nearest thing, a monster copy of Whitman's collected works, and it hits a zombie square in the face. It doesn't stop it but it sure as hell slows it down." (pg. 22)

"Here we meet a few of our undead friends and Ted and I get to practice our golf swings. I've never cared for golf much but I could certainly learn to love it. The driver is light but vicious." (pg. 53)

"I don't want to regret or hate, I want to be the person I was before all of this started: Allison Hewitt, Graduate Student, Student of Literature, Faulkner Enthusiast, Field Hockey Player, Daughter, Normal Person. Those titles don't exist anymore." (pg. 120)

For More Info:
Allison Hewitt is Trapped on: Amazon, Facebook, GoodReads
Madeleine Roux's blog

Friday, March 18, 2011

Katniss Casted in The Hunger Games Movie

Yesterday the world found out that actress Jennifer Lawrence was casted as Katniss Everdeen, the incredible heroine of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy.

The Hunger Games (HG) is my favorite book series, so as a fan I must admit I'm a little disappointed with the pick.  I haven't seen Winter's Bone, Lawrence's film that earned her an Oscar nomination.  But she just doesn't look like Katniss.  The movie's director, Gary Ross, says in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that "Jen will have dark hair in the role, but that’s something movies can easily achieve."  She will have to act her a** off to get this part right.  At 20, I think she's too old to portray Katniss.  Hopefully, she'll prove my assumptions wrong.  I really want to love the movie adaptation unlike my devastating letdown with the Twilight franchise. 

The New York Post reports that Ross said, "Katniss requires a young actress with strength, depth, complexity, tenderness, and power. There are very few people alive who can bring that to a role. Jen brings it in spades. She’s going to be an amazing Katniss."  I hope so.

The casting challenge will continue with finding the perfect Peeta and Gale.  I'm happy that HG author Suzanne Collins is a part of the movie process.  It'll be interesting to see the end result.  The movie is scheduled to release in March 2012.

Want more of a HG fix?  Check out the news and chatter on these links:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

2011 Challenges and Reading Progress

Spring semester is in full swing with a ton of required reading and papers due soon.  I haven't had much time for leisure reading (sad face) I'm looking forward to spring break.  I'll still have work, but at least I will hold my own little read-a-thon to catch up on my long TBR pile.

I'm participating in the same reading challenges as last year:
  • 2011 Pages Read Challenge: My goal is 15,000 (same as last year but I hope to actually reach it)
  • Read Ten 1001-Books (ditto above)
  • and continue the ongoing A-Z New Authors Read & Release Challenge
So far this year I've read 952 pages, about 6.3% of my pages read goal.  I'm hoping to actually reach that 15,000 pages read mark this year even though I'm behind in my pace from last year. I might try to focus on reading shorter books this year since I have a habit of starting 300+ page books and set them down without finishing.  It's not that these books are boring, but I sometimes get distracted with shorter stories which are faster to complete. Just an idea...we'll see what the year brings.