Giveaway!!! The Half-Made World

•October 14, 2010 • 4 Comments

I was recently contacted by the publisher for a review/giveaway opportunity for The Half-Made World (October 2010, Tor Hardcover) By Felix Gilman.

While I wish I could have gotten to the book and had a review up for you before I offered up one for a giveaway, I didn’t want you all to miss out on this chance.

From the publisher:
The world is only half-made. What exists has been carved out amidst a war between two rival factions: the Line, paving the world with industry and claiming its residents as slaves; and the Gun, a cult of terror and violence that cripples the population with fear. The only hope at stopping them has seemingly disappeared–the Red Republic once battled the Gun and the Line, and almost won. Now they’re just a myth, a bedtime story parents tell their children, of hope.

To the west lies a vast, unchartered world, inhabited only by the legends of the Hill People, immortal and powerful who live at one with the earth and its elements. Liv Alverhyusen, a doctor of the new science of psychology, travels to edge of the made world to a spiritually protected mental institution to study the minds of those broken by the Gun and the Line. In its rooms lies an old general of the Red Republic, the one man whose shattered mind just may hold the secret to stopping the Gun and the Line. And either side will do anything to understand how.

Exhilarating, refreshing and suspenseful, The Half-Made World is a fantastical re-imagining of the American West, which draws its influence from steampunk, the American western tradition, and magical realism.

Author Felix Gilman has been nominated for the John W. Campbell award and the Locus Award for best new writer. He is the author of the critically acclaimed The Thunderer and Gears of the City.

To enter:

Please comment leaving asking to be entered and leave a valid email address.  Contest ends Oct 22nd.  A winner will be selected via random number generator.  The book will be shipped directly from the publisher.

Want an extra entry…or two?

Tweet about this contest and leave the link in a separate comment.

Post on your blog and link back in a separate comment.

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Upcoming Reviews/Giveaways

•October 7, 2010 • 1 Comment

I’ve been working on setting up some reviews with giveaways in the upcoming weeks so be sure to check back frequently!

The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman

A fantastical reimagining of the American West which draws its influence from steampunk, the American western tradition, and magical realism.

The world is only half made. What exists has been carved out amidst a war between two rival factions: the Line, paving the world with industry and claiming its residents as slaves; and the Gun, a cult of terror and violence that cripples the population with fear. The only hope at stopping them has seemingly disappeared—the Red Republic that once battled the Gun and the Line, and almost won. Now they’re just a myth, a bedtime story parents tell their children, of hope.

To the west lies a vast, uncharted world, inhabited only by the legends of the immortal and powerful Hill People. Liv Alverhyusen, a doctor of the new science of psychology, travels to the edge of the made world to a spiritually protected mental institution in order to study the minds of those broken by the Gun and the Line. In its rooms lies an old general of the Red Republic, a man whose shattered mind just may hold the secret to stopping the Gun and the Line. And either side will do anything to understand how.

Click to visit the author’s website

The Lucifer Code by Charles Brokaw

An ancient manuscript has remained concealed for centuries — within its pages lies the key to the most unholy secret known to mankind.

A sacred brotherhood has sworn, generation after generation, to protect this terrifying truth from those who would use it to unleash doomsday upon mankind.

When the unthinkable happens, and the holy scroll is uncovered, the race is on to reveal the true meaning of the cryptic language. Only one man, Dr. Thomas Lourds, the world’s foremost scholar of ancient languages, who we first met in the bestselling novel The Atlantis Code, can safely decipher this most deadly scripture.

Lourds soon becomes the bait in the most lethal manhunt — knowing he must confront the true face of evil if the world is to be saved…

Click to visit the author’s website

Beat by Stephen Jay Schwartz

In his sophomore release, Los Angeles Times best-selling author Stephen Jay Schwartz, gives us another raw look into the haunting, personal journey of Hayden Glass, LAPD Robbery-Homicide detective in Beat.

A distinguished and gifted detective, LAPD’s Hayden Glass is a mental mess. Suffering from a deep desire to connect with anyone, Glass seeks refuge in a world where connection is a myth – the seedy world of strip-clubs, prostitution, and the one place where pornography reigns supreme, the Internet.

Glass becomes obsessed with Cora, a web-cam vixen and prostitute operating out of San Francisco. While on leave from the LAPD, he soon finds himself making weekly trips north, in attempts to save Cora from herself.  Instead, Glass falls deep into the grim hole of the se x-slave trade in San Francisco. In this sinister world run by a labyrinthine system of crime rings and corruption, his attempts to battle his own addiction get challenged like never before.

His struggle lives on beyond the pages with that age-old question: Just how do we beat our own personal demons?

Click to visit the author’s website

I look forward to sharing these reads with you.  Check back for more information.

~Jenn

The Hunger Games~ Book Review

•October 2, 2010 • 4 Comments

by Suzanne Collins
read August 2010

Paperback Edition
Published by Scholastic Press
Genre~ Young Adult Fiction
ISBN 10~ 0439023483
ISBN 13~ 978 0439023481
Source~ Self-purchased

Rating~

Why in the world it took me so long to read this series I do not know.  I LOVED it.

The Hunger Games is set in a post-apocalyptic future in which humanity nearly destroyed itself.  The general public lives in poverty, barely scraping by.  They’ve been divided into 13 separate districts, each producing one major industries.  Recently, there was an uprising which resulted in the demise of District 13, which was eliminated by the all-powerful Capitol.

Katniss Everdeen is a young girl in District 12.  She and her family are barely scraping by by her slightly illegal poaching and selling of wild game to the hungry shopkeepers.  Such activities have made her an excellent shot with her trusty bow and arrow.  Her best friend and hunting partner, Gale, also supports his family in this manner.  Both Katniss and Gale have taken on the burden after the loss of their fathers despite being both under 18 years old.

When the annual reaping comes around, both teens are nervous, and for good reason.  Each has their name in the reaping bowl more than most children their age.  Once for each year over 12, and once for each tessarae, emergency food rations,  they have traded for.  Trading for extra entries in the reaping is a dangerous thing, for each year two tributes, a boy and a girl, are picked to go into the arena and participate in the Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games is a brutal, vicious fight to the death.  Two tributes from each district are put into a closed off arena and are made to fight to the death.  Out of the 24 children (all entrants must be between 12 and 18) only one may survive.  The entire thing is televised and the families and the general public are made to watch as the children kill each other, are killed by natural events, or die from injuries.  Some areas, like the Capitol, love the games.  In areas like District 12, it is greeted with much less enthusiasm.

This year, much to Katniss’ dismay, her 12 year old sister Prim must have her name in the reaping.  But with one entry to Katniss’ many, her chances of getting picked are slim.  Of course, one entry is enough to be pulled.  When Prim’s name is selected, Katniss refuses to allow her to go and steps in to take her place.  Along with Katniss, District 12’s male tribute is Peeta, a kind-hearted boy who saved Katniss from starving right after her father’s untimely death.

The two are sent off to the arena to face the bloodlust.  Instead, they find an odd way to twist the Capitol’s game against them.

This book was very well-written.  It had me wanting more at every turn of a page.  It was definitely a “can’t put down” kind of read.  There was such creativity put into the storyline.  The story line was filled with a perverse sort of brutality.  The characters are well-written and complement each other well.  I just can’t ooze enough praise for this book.  Definitely one of the best YA Fiction books I have read in a while.

~Jenn

Welcome Back to Me!!

•October 1, 2010 • 3 Comments

It has been a crazy 12 weeks.  I can’t believe it has been that long since my daughter was born.  For those of you who have been following along, my youngest daughter, Cameryn, was born 7/7/2010.

I had some serious pregnancy complications and then she had some complications at birth and after a few weeks.  We’ve been back in the hospital already 😦  The good news is that she is doing well and recovering and I am going to slowly ease myself back into the blog-o-sphere.

In the next few weeks, I will be adding some reviews, having a few giveaways, and just catching up in general.

What kind of proud new mom would I be if I didn’t include some pictures?!  Shoot!  I seem to have forgotten how to blog…I think I have them viewable now.

All photos taken by my lovely husband.

~Jenn

Pretties (Uglies #2)~ Book Review

•June 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

by Scott Westerfeld
read April 2010
Paperback Edition
Published by Scholastic
Genre~ YA Fiction/Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
ISBN 13~ 978 0 689 86539 8
Source~ Bought second hand

Rating~

 

It’s been a while since I read Uglies, the first of this trilogy by Scott Westerfeld. I’ve read many books in between, so recalling exactly what happened in Uglies and how I felt about it took me a while. I remembered liking it, but not loving it.

Everywhere that Uglies failed me, Pretties won me over. The post apocalyptic look at our world and what might happen if we continue on or current path, hit home with this novel where as the first novel almost seemed to try too hard to make it real. In this dystopic future, everyone is made “pretty” when they are 16. They undergo extensive surgery to make everyone more alike both physically and mentally.

This book in the trilogy, picks up right where the first left off. David’s parents had discovered a cure for the brain lesions that the pretty operation caused. They discovered that the operation not lonely made everyone beautiful, it also made them mindless pawns. Tally surrendered herself to Special Circumstances to become pretty so that the cure could later be tested on her.

The fact that my details on the first book were kind of fuzzy didn’t matter because Tally’s brain is fuzzy too. In a way, I think it might have helped pique my interest in the beginning of the book. Tally seems to know something is different about her, but in her new life as a Pretty with her old friends Paris and Shay, and a new love interest Zane, it is hard to focus on anything else.

The rest of the journey Tally makes into trying to remember who she really is was highly intriguing. Westerfeld has a talent for really making you feel like you are involved in the story. As much as I felt…meh…about the first book, I really enjoyed this one. What made it different? I’m really not sure. The story was just better and more intriguing.

So, for anyone who felt ambiguous about Uglies as I did, give Pretties a chance. I’m certainly glad I did!

~Jenn

P.s. Sorry the posts have been a bit few and far between.  Bedrest and pregnancy have been….challenging. 🙂  I have a few reviews to catch up on

The Vampire Diaries, Season 1, Episode 15

•April 7, 2010 • 5 Comments

“A Few Good Men”
Original Air Date 3/25/2010 on The CW

The Vampire Diaries Pictured: Paul Wesley as Stefan, Nina Dobrev as Elena Photo Credit: Andrew Eccles / The CW © 2009 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Episode Synopsis

Harper, one of the vampires locked in the tomb…the one rejuventated by the blood Damon brought for Katherine, finds a man walking through the forest.  He asks a few odd questions about what day and year it is and then apologizes, and takes the man’s life…and then his clothes.

Jenna has done some research on Elena’s birth mother.  It appears that her mother’s name was Isobel and she has a friend named Trudy.  Jenna was able to use the wonders of the internet to find Trudy’s address.  Jenna decides to share the weird coincidence regarding Alaric Saltzman’s wife, who was also named Isobel.  On a side note, why Isobel?  Is that a common way to spell the name and I am just lost?  I would spell it Isabelle….but that is me.

Elena shares the information with Stefan and promises him that she will take him along when she goes to see Isobel’s friend Trudy.

Stefan goes off to deal with Damon who is wallowing in self-pity by fraternizing with some sorority girls in a drunken bite fest.  Damon admits to the partying, but says he hasn’t killed anyone in a long time and promises the Tri Deltas will end up back in their dorm room with no recollection of the events that transpired.  Stefan tries to ask Damon about Isobel and tries to see if he remembers anything about her.  Damon doesn’t have a clue.

Pictured (L-R) Melinda Clarke as Kelly and Dax Griffin as Bachelor #3 in The Vampire Diaries on The CW. Photo: Quantrell Colbert / The CW ©2010 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Matt and Caroline are watching tv at Matt’s house.  They are bored and begin to make out, topless.  Of course, you know someone is bound to walk in, and it happens to be Matt’s estranged mother.

Jenna is putting up banners for the towns bachelor auction with the help of Alaric.  He leans in an sweetly kisses her and she points out that she is ruining the moment, and yet still continues to pick THAT moment to tell him about Elena’s birth mother.  She shows him a picture of teenage Isobel, and he confirms that it is his dead wife.  To no one’s surprise, he is disturbed and leaves right away.

Elena has decided to make the trip to Trudy’s house without Stefan.  Trudy acts a bit weird as she invites Elena in, without actually inviting her in.  Watching Elena step through the threshold of the door intently.  Me thinks Trudy knows something about vampires.  The last time Trudy saw Isobel, it was right before she had Elena.  Trudy tells her a bit about her mother.  Including how she went to Duke.  The kettle whistles and she excuses herself and sends a mystery text “she’s here” to someone.

Matt’s mom is not impressed with his choice in girlfriends.  The odd role reversal explains a lot about Matt.

Stefan and Alaric meet to talk about Isobel.  Stefan tells him that Elena doesn’t know about Damon and Isobel.  Alaric pushes him for more information.  Stefan says that Damon isn’t stable, but he will try to get more information.  He has a picture of Isobel he gives to Stefan.

Flashback to Alaric and Isobel.  She is writing some sort of research on vampire legends.  She is explaining the legends to Alaric who takes it lightly.  It obviously means more to her.

Trudy takes note that Elena hasn’t touched her tea.  Elena takes a sip and is surprised to find that the tea has vervain.  She confronts Trudy, who kicks her out immediately.  A strange man is standing in the road while Elena gets in her car.

Alaric is drowning his sorrows and Damon pulls up a bar stool next to him.  They have an odd, hostile exchange when the sheriff comes up to ask Damon a favor.  She asks him to be an eligible bachelor in the raffle fundraiser.  He agrees but asks the sheriff to look into Alaric’s past.

Weird man is at Trudy’s door.  She says that she didn’t tell Elena anything.  She goes to close the door and the man blocks her way.  She screams, “I don’t invite you in” to which he replies, “I’m not a vampire”.  He comes in and slams her down, killing her.

Harper is wandering around the town in bewilderment after killing the man in the woods at the opening of the show.  I’m guessing Mystic Falls might have changed a bit since 1864.  He seems to see someone he recognizes, who nods at him.

Elena comes to the boarding house to find Stefan but finds Damon instead.  She helps him button up his shirt and tells him a bit about finding her birth mother.  He says, “Who cares” to which Elena has a very hurt look but then redeems himself by saying, “She left you.  She sucks”.  Damon goes off to the other room.  Elena tells Stefan about her visit to Trudy’s and then Stefan tells Elena about Alaric and Isobel, but not about Damon.

Jenna apologizes for “dropping the ball” with Alaric.  He is still a bit uncomfortable about the situation.

Pictured Mia Kirshner as Isobel in The Vampire Diaries on The CW. Photo: Bob Mahoney / The CW ©2010 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Stefan tries again to press more information out of Damon about Isobel and shows him a picture and tells him she was from North Carolina.

Matt’s mom comes to the raffle where she meets Matt, Elena, and Caroline.  She runs up to Elena and hugs her, but gives Caroline the cold shoulder despite Caroline’s best efforts to be kind to her.

The Sheriff catches up to Damon and tells him that Alaric checks out, but shares information about Alaric’s wife going missing.  Damon puts it all together and realizes the woman Stefan is asking about, was actually Alaric’s wife.

The auction is going on (do people really have these things?  I’ve never seen one other than on TV) and Mrs. Lockwood is introducing the men.  Damon has to make a comment regarding how he has been to North Carolina and met his wife.  Says he had a drink with her and she was….delicious.  Then ELENA makes the connection and realizes that Damon may have killed her birth mother.  As she runs outside, she notices the strange man from outside Trudy’s house.

Matt’s mom goes to turn in her tickets to Caroline who congratulates her.  She is very blunt and downright rude to her.  She tells her that she may be pulling the wool over Matt’s eyes with her fake nice act, but it isn’t going to work with her.

Elena confronts Damon and mentions to him that her birth mother’s name was Isobel.  Damon makes ANOTHER connection and realizes what has happened.  Weird man confronts Elena outside fo the grill and tells her to stop looking.  It appears that Isobel is alive, but not wanting or not able to meet Elena.  The man says, “I’m done now” and steps into traffic, killing himself.  Stefan says the man is under compulsion.  Stefan and Elena grab his cell phone from his pocket and then run off.

Jenna has won Alaric at the auction.  Mrs. Lockwood has rigged the auction so that she has won Damon.  Alaric apologizes to Jenna and says he will call her later and walks off.

Flashback to Alaric and Isobel.  They are arguing about the vampire research she has been doing.  She is consumed by it, and he wants some answers.  She says she wants more.

Matt is taking care of his mom who has had a few too many.  Her boyfriend she ran off with is gone, which is why she is back.

Alaric has a stake and comes to the boarding house to attack Damon.  Damon says, “Are you really this stupid?”  Damon admits to feeding on her and that she was, in fact, delicious.  He tells Alaric that he turned her, because she begged him to.  He tells Alaric that he knew this deep down.  Alaric is angry and goes for Damon, who turns the stake around on Alaric.  Alaric has been stabbed through the chest with the stake and now appears tobe dead.  Hrm…I liked Alaric.  I am not ready for him to be written off the show yet!

Stefan comes home and finds Alaric’s dead body on the floor.  Damon tells Stefan that maybe if Elena was related to Isobel, and Elena is related to Katherine, that maybe Isobel was related to Katherine and Katherine sent her to him.  Damon choses to see it as Katherine seeking him out.

Stefan is pondering what to do with the body when Alaric gasps and comes back to life.  (Ah ha!  I knew we weren’t ready for no more Alaric yet!)  Stefan is confused, along with me.  Alaric explains Isobel gave him a ring to protect him.  He has a mini flashback about when she gave him the ring and he promised to wear it always.

Pictured: Sterling Sulieman as Harper in The Vampire Diaries on The CW. Photo: Bob Mahoney/ The CW ©2010 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Elena is sad by the events that have happened.  She takes out the phone that she pulled out of the dead weirdos pocket and calls the last number.  It appears to be Isobel on the phone.  When she finds out it isn’t the man, and rather Elena, she hangs up promptly.

The episode closes with Harper joining several other vampires from the cave in a large farmhouse.  It appears there is a female human living there who is possibly under compulsion.  Pearl asks her to allow Harper in, and she obliges.  I’m slightly confused that there are that many vampires there when it appeared that only Pearl and Harper were saved.  Pearl through Anna and Harper through the blood Damon threw at the wall when he couldn’t find Katherine.

~Jenn

My other Vampire Diaries Reviews:

  • Season One, Episode One ”Pilot”
  • Book One~The Awakening and Season One, Episode Two ”The Night of the Comet”
  • Book Two~ The Struggle 
  • Season One, Episode Three ”Friday Night Bites”
  • Season One, Episode Four ”Family Ties”
  • Season One, Episode Five ”You’re Undead to Me”
  • Season One, Episode Six “Lost Girls”
  • Season One, Episode Seven “Haunted”
  • Season One, Episode Eight “162 Candles”
  • Book Three, The Fury
  • Season One, Episode Nine “History Repeating”
  • Season One, Episode Ten “The Turning Point”
  • Season One, Episode Eleven “Bloodlines”
  • Season One, Episode Twelve “Unpleasantville” Part 1
  • Season One, Episode Twelve “Unpleasantville” Part 2
  • Season One, Episode Thirteen “Children of the Damned”
  • Book 4, Dark Reunion
  • Season One, Episode Fourteen “Fool Me Once”
  • Please be sure to check out the link in the upper left hand corner for All Things Vampire Diaries for my most current reviews.

    It’s A……..

    •February 24, 2010 • 2 Comments

    Again!

    Well well have had some more problems.  Lots of them actually.  :/

    I had some more bleeding, which given all my previous problems was immediately concerning.  I went straight in to the doctor where they found that I am already dilating and effacing.  Unfortunately, I’m only halfway though this pregnancy and having this baby girl at this point would be very, very bad.  There was talk of a cerclage, bedrest, and all sorts of fun stuff.  It was decided to give medicine a chance and so it’s been twice daily doses of progesterone for me.  I will have to have regular ultrasounds and appointments from here on out, but she is staying put for the time being.

    With this being girl #3, my husband says I’m lucky he’s not King Henry the 8th and I still have a head.  I’m thinking this child should just be called “trouble”.

    ~Jenn