Monday, March 26, 2012

A Great and Terrible Beauty.

Title/Author:  A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray.

Narrated by: Josephine Bailey.

Genre: Supernatural/YA.

Publisher: Listening Library.

Source: Library.

Favorite character: Felicity.  Miss Hester Moore.

Favorite quote:

It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?

My Thoughts:  I just loved this book.  Girls on the edge of adulthood, a Gothic boarding school, secrets, magic and choices. 

I avoided A Great and Terrible Beauty for a long time because I thought it just sounded like too many stories I've read before.  Maybe some elements are familiar, but I felt it was done so well. 

Gemma's voice took me in right away.  I liked her and wanted to know her.  I found her charming, and sensitive and very human with faults I find in myself.  She is a great main character to follow as she leads the reader through her mother's death, her newfound power, her return to London and her exploration of what comes after.  Now, usually when stories say "newfound power" I immediately get turned off.  Why is it that at age 16 or 18 or some other magical number, people suddenly turn into superheroes or pyschics?  It's just more believable to me when the characters have had their powers all along or at least a hint of it.  Anyway, I digress.  My point is that Gemma's "newfound power" was done extremely well.  Although it is a large part of the plot, it felt natural and believable.

I love stories that take place in England and I love stories that are set in the Victorian Era, so the setting is perfect for me.  The Gothic boarding school and the secrets it holds lends itself to the haunting, spooky feel of the story. There were some moments where I could not believe what was revealed and was really taken for a loop.  I also began to mistrust everyone because I suspected then of villainy or was just uncertain of their motives.

Although the book is exciting to me, the pace is...not so much as slow, but just moves at a leisurely, purposeful pace. It's a quiet book with beautiful language and so many layers to dig deep into. It touches on the status of women in the Victorian Era without being preachy or the main focus, the culpability of one's own actions and living with choices and even the self hatred some teens experience. 

So many other characters are just wonderful too.  I especially liked Felicity, the Queen Bee, mean girl.  I figured that's all she'd be for the entire book.  But she shows vulnerability, intelligence, insight and becomes just as important as Gemma.  I also loved their art teacher, Miss Moore, who is a smart, caring and calm woman and who wants her students to open their minds and give their own opinions, not just what society dictates their opinions should be.  Then there is Anne, Gemma's plain and dour roommate  and Pippa, another classmate, the great beauty.  They seem to be stereotypes correct?  But they give the story so much more than meets the eye. 

The narrator has such a lovely voice. I absolutely adored listening to her. Her performance is wonderful and she captures differences in tone with subtlety and finesse. All the girls sound a bit different and I love how she conveyed personality into all the characters. I especially loved how she portrayed Hester Moore. Even if I didn't love this book so much, I would probably continue with the series just to hear her melodic voice. I already have the next audio book waiting to be listened to.

I took a look on Goodreads to see what others thought of it.  There are quite a lot of varying opinions.  Some people just absolutely hated it and most of the elements did not appeal to them.  Others thought it was breathtaking.  You can check them out HERE.

Other editions:


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Halfway to the Grave.

Title/Author: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost.

Genre: Paranormal Romance.

Publisher:  Harper-Collins.

Source: Purchased. 

Favorite character: Cat.

Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father—the one responsible for ruining her mother’s life. Then she’s captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.
In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She’s amazed she doesn’t end up as his dinner—are there actually good vampires?

Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn’t have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side... and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat. ~Goodreads.

My Thoughts:
Cat and Bones this! Cat and Bones that!  Seems that's all I ever hear about!  Favorite couple, favorite paranormal couple, favorite smexy scenes, favorite bad-ass couple, favorite series.  Well I finally met them in their first book Halfway to the Grave which sets the stage for an epic adventure spanning many books. 

Cat is totally not what I expected.  I didn't think she'd be so young first of all.  I also didn't expect her to be quite as naive and I didn't expect her to be such a loner.  However, this wasn't a deterrant, I just readjusted my thinking a bit.  I found her very relatable in many ways and her voice is easy to follow.  There are other elements of her personality, however, that are contradictory and that kind of stopped me in my tracks. 

"But lots of people are contradictory." A friend of mine argued.  Yes, sure, I can certaintly see that.  However, this is MY reading experience and not everything makes sense to me.  In some ways she acts very immature in my mind and I have to say it irritates me and then when she is tough and brave it's hard for me to believe.

My friend sputtered at me. "But.  But.  That's her character.  She's brave when it counts and sensitive at other times."  I told my friend that we're going to have to agree to disagree.  I see that Cat is brave, but I needed something behind it.  Maybe her first experience at killing a vamp, where she realizes that she is strong and fast and can actually do it.   An epiphany that this is her birthright.  Or something like that.  I do like that she usually thought about others before herself, which made her sacrifices more realistic and honorable.  I also do love her clever subterfuges which I won't give away. 

I had to get used to Bones at first.  With the whole English accent, I envisioned him in a button up oxford and loafers with a very high class tone.  (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)  Then I realized that he isn't quite so proper and started picturing him talking like Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Yeah, that's a little better.

There are a few things about the plot that I feel are put in just for fun but for the most part I did enjoy it and there is some great action.  I appreciate how Bones trained Cat so her fighting forays are more believable.  I also really like the vampire mythology.   The story line is interesting and kept me engrossed when I picked up the book. 

The sex scenes were plentiful and while there was nothing trashy about them, they still made me blush a little and simply want to get back to the story.  My favorite romantic scene was when they were in the Club, their first kiss.  Obviously true fans of Paranormal Romance who like their books heavy on the Romance, will enjoy this.  For those who are more into Urban Fantasy, this may not quite be what you are looking for.

It's not that Cat and Bones disappointed me, I just went into the book with a vision of them that is not the same as the author's vision.  So yes, I do intend to continue with a few more books.  I do have to say though, even with some issues I have with the characters and plot, I *did* enjoy this book and found it a  very fun and fast read. 

Other editions:


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

2012 AAD NOLA Reading Challenge Contest #2

Here is my second New Orlean's themed charm bracelet that I made especially for my 2012 AAD NOLA Reading Challenge Participants.

To enter, you MUST already be signed up for my 2012 Authors After Dark NOLA Reading Challenge as of this post (March 20, 2012).

If you enter the contest and are not signed up, you will be disqualified.

You are only signed up if your entry leads to a blog post about the challenge (not just your blog), or leads to a Goodreads or Facebook page regarding the Challenge.   

But don't worry, I will be having more contests in the future and you can sign up for this challenge anytime during the year. If you are interested in signing up you can do so HERE.

I made this using a sterling silver bracelet, Swarovski crystals in Mardi Gras colors, and various metal and ceramic charms that represent the wonderful city of New Orleans.   I even found a magnolia charm (Louisiana's State flower) and a pelican charm (Louisiana's State bird).  The bracelet measures 7 1/2" long.

Please note: I am NOT a professional jeweler so if anything looks wonky on closer examination, my apologies.  

~This giveaway is for the charm bracelet pictured. 

To Enter:
~Leave your name and e-mail address on the Rafflecopter form and answer the question on the 2nd entry.
~Extra entries are optional.
~If you are choosing to do extra entries, please read the questions/instructions CAREFULLY! If you do not follow the instructions, I reserve the right to disqualify that entry.  (For example, if I ask you to leave a comment and you do not, or you don't answer the question, that entry will be removed.)

~Again, to enter to win this prize, you MUST be signed up for my 2012 Authors After Dark NOLA Reading Challenge as of this post -  today's date 3/20/2012.
~Winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter.
~This contest is international!
~Please see my contest policy HERE.
~This contest ends on March 26, 2012 at 12:01am EST.
~If winner does not contact me within 72 hours (3 days) of my first e-mail, unfortunately another winner will be chosen.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dusty Volumes Contest

I've been neglecting my poor little Dusty Volumes Challenge!  Good thing it's only March and I have time (hopefully) to fit more in by the end of December.

I listened to the audio book of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (published in 1953).  After I read it, I looked up reviews and discussions and was impressed at how much is written on this book, from prolific essays to very basic opinions.

Have you read any Dusty Volumes yet this year?  If you are interested in this Challenge please click HERE.

~I am giving away one book of your choice valued up to $15.00 from Amazon or Book Depository.   However, the book must be a Dusty Volume!  (Published before 1960.)

~You do not have to be signed up for this Challenge to enter, but you can earn extra entries.

To Enter:
~Fill out the Rafflecopter form.
~Extra entries are optional.
~If you are choosing to do extra entries, please read the questions/instructions CAREFULLY! If you do not follow the instructions, I reserve the right to disqualify that entry. (For example, if I ask you to leave a comment and you do not, or you don't answer the question, that entry will be removed.)

~Winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter.
~This contest is international.  (As long as Amazon or Book Depository delivers to your address.)
~Please see my contest policy HERE.
~This contest ends on March 22, 2012 at 12:01am.
~If winner does not contact me within 72 hours (3 days) of my first e-mail, unfortunately another winner will be chosen.

If you have any questions, please contact me.  Thanks for playing and good luck!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


The Book Bloggers and Publishers Online Conference ended Sunday evening yet my head is still reeling from all the information.  Not only did I have to let the panels, online chats and book recommendations sink in, but I had to bookmark all the links that were shared to be read at a later time not to mention try to follow all the amazing bloggers, authors and publishers I met online.  Whew!  I'm getting exhausted again just thinking about it. 

Luckily the discussions I missed are available online for a while so I can catch up, but what I did manage to listen to was very helpful.  What I also liked was being able to call in or post comments in the chat room to be addressed.

This was my third time that I participated in the Conference and I'm not sure if it's just me, but I felt this year was especially cohesive.  It could just be that the first year was my first year blogging so I was kind of cluless and the second year I could only log in briefly because of a busy schedule.  Anyway, I usually kind of hang back and lurk in chatrooms and online discussion groups, but each comment or observation from everyone (even opposing views) was met with positive feedback, respect and courtesy creating a very welcoming chat room and a warm fuzzy venue.  Everyone really seemed to connect with each other.

I'm looking forward to revisiting several panels that I missed live particularly Legal Issues Facing Bloggers with Caridad Piniero, Defining Your Blog with Cheeky Reads and Mary Jacobs from Bookhounds, and Creative Content: Stand Out.  Check out the full list of panels HERE.  If that isn't enough, we have another follow up panel regarding online safety.

I want to thank all the moderators, and a special thanks to YA Author Terry Kate (The Sanction Chronicles) and of Romance in the Backseat, Jessica from Novel Reaction and Barb from Sugarbeat's Books for all their hard work putting together this event.  I'm so glad I decided to participate again this year.  BBPOC is very cost effective ($45), worthwhile and I won't hesitate to join again in the future.

Winner (NOLA Charm Bracelet #1)

The winner of the Nola bracelet is Reanna! 

Please stay tuned for more NOLA bracelets!

Friday, March 9, 2012

From Taylor Kitsch to Edgar Rice Burroughs.



A few years ago I rented the movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  It was pretty cool and I really enjoyed it.  And, while I love Hugh Jackman, when the character Gambit (Remy LeBeau) came on the screen...I took notice.  "Who's that?"  I thought.  I was immediately drawn to him.  Long hair, lived in NOLA, um, okay I guess those are really my only two criteria...but seriously it was more than that. The outfit maybe, the accent he put on, but really, he has charisma.  I didn't run to the internet or anything to see who he was, I just...remembered him.

Fast forward to when the trailers of the film, John Carter, came out.  I thought, "Looks cool, but do I really want to see that?  The guy though...hmmm something about him."  Long hair...and just a certain something.  This time I did go to the internet to see what else he had been in.  To my surprise, same guy!  Taylor Kitsch! 

Fast forward another few weeks.  I'm at my brother's house and whenever a commercial for John Carter came on he exclaimed, "Alright!"  Then a few moments later, "Dejathors!"  I thought he was talking about a planet where the movie took place.  But no, the setting is the planet Mars he explained and Deja *Thoris* is the Martian princess, and also, he told me, every pre-pubescent boy's dream. Then another lightning bolt struck.  About 10 years ago I met a girl named Dejah and she told me she was named after a martian princess.  It all made sense!

Princess of Mars

My brother then showed me the book below, which belonged to our dad.  I felt so stupid.  I had no idea that John Carter was based on a series of books, which he rattled off.  A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars, Warlords of Mars.  There are a lot more as well.  Check out the copyright date on his edition of The Gods of Mars.  Some other facts about Burroughs that I shamefully didn't know either is that he also wrote Tarzan and named the ranch he lived on Tarzana.  The community living nearby voted to officially name their town Tarzana.   So a whole town is named after a book!

So, it is through Taylor Kitsch that I learned about Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Photos of Taylor Kitsch by:
Grant Brummett [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Book cover by Illustrator: Frank Earle Schoonover Book publisher: A.C.McClurg (BPK2 at en.wikipedia) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What the Night Knows.

Title/Author: What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz.

Narrated by: Steven Weber.

Genre: Supernatural/Horror.

Publisher: Brilliance Audio.

Source: Library.

Favorite character:  Minnie.

Favorite quote: "I want my candy." ~Alton Turner Blackwood.
"The bird had come to offer him the night." ~Journal of A. Blackwood.

In the late summer of a long ago year, a killer arrived in a small city. His name was Alton Turner Blackwood, and in the space of a few months he brutally murdered four families. His savage spree ended only when he himself was killed by the last survivor of the last family, a fourteen-year-old boy.

Half a continent away and two decades later, someone is murdering families again, recreating in detail Blackwood’s crimes. Homicide detective John Calvino is certain that his own family—his wife and three children—will be targets in the fourth crime, just as his parents and sisters were victims on that distant night when he was fourteen and killed their slayer.

As a detective, John is a man of reason who deals in cold facts. But an extraordinary experience convinces him that sometimes death is not a one-way journey, that sometimes the dead return. Here is ghost story like no other you have read. In the Calvinos, Dean Koontz brings to life a family that might be your own, in a war for their survival against an adversary more malevolent than any he has yet created, with their own home the battleground. Of all his acclaimed novels, none exceeds What the Night Knows in power, in chilling suspense, and in sheer mesmerizing storytelling.

My Thoughts:  This book started out very promising.  Detective John Calvino visits Billy, a young teen-age murderer in a pysch unit, but Billy isn't what he seems.  I thought it would be interesting to learn about Billy's struggle and perhaps ultimately his redemption.  However, Billy's part is very short. Oh well.  John suspects that these murders have to do with the slaughter of his own family twenty years ago and fights to secure the safety of his wife and children.  The supernatual and scary occurences happen rather quickly and as a Horror fan, I really appreciated the gorey elements in the book. The villain, Alton Blackwood is a pretty awesome bad guy.  Crazy and demented with appetites that are not for the weak of heart. 

My biggest problems with this story is the overkill of narrative, the language that Koontz sometimes indulges in and familiarity of the story.  I don't need to know every thought that John and each member of his family has.  A few will do and then I would like to get back into the story.  Also Koontz does have a gift with  descriptive, lovely writing but sometimes his play on words goes a bit unnecessarily over the top.  Also, there were certain elements of the story that I have seen before in Koontz books including the hero dog and other familiar players.  What the Night Knows also reminds me of the movie Fallen starring Denzel Washington. 
One thing I did like though, besides the wonderful gore and creepy bad guy that I mentioned above is how the family came together to fight the evil and ultimately for each other's lives.  I don't feel that the book concentrated that much on character development, but I do like the way that Koontz weaves John's backstory.  There are also chapters taken from Blackwood's journal which are truly horrific and provide insight into Alton as well.  These added an interesting background into the mind of the killer.  Another person that isn't very likeable, but I feel is a great character is the former Priest Father Abelard. He has a very small part but his revelations are frightening. He actually reminds me of someone I could find in a Stephen King book. (Sorry to compare.)

Steven Weber is one of the best performers of an audio book I've encountered (my first prize however, still goes to Luke Daniels) but Weber is definitely a contender.  He captures the characters well.  He is scary and eerie when he portrays the villain and strong and stoic when portraying John.  His inflections and differentiations are subtle however so you are not jarred from voice to voice.

Overall, the scary parts were good and the premise is a good concept.  I did like this book, but I think I may have liked it more if I hadn't read several of his other books.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Top 10 Tuesdays - My Favorite Covers of 2012 (That we know of so far).

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created and hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Please click HERE to view their Top 10 for this week and to join in!

I love this week's topic because, ooooh pretty pictures!  These are not in any specific order.  As I was skimming through images of book covers I started thinking about what catches my eye.  Definitely imagery is first.  I love eerie, haunting pictures.  Color is another factor.  I prefer a dark, moody palette like purple, black and blue.  What catches your eye when it comes to book covers?

(ps-Sorry about the formatting, Blogger is being wonky.)

1.  Even though I haven't read any of these,  I love all the covers in this series.

2.  I read the first book, The Restorer, and loved it.  The 2nd book is called The Kingdom and that's coming out this year also.  The Prophet, the third in the series is also supposed to come out in 2012.

3. This is part of the Dark Tower series.  It's the 8th book in the series, but it is set between books #4 and #5.  I read the first book in this series, but it was so long ago I should probably re-read it and catch up on these stories too. 

4. Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake.  This is the book that follows Anna Dressed in Blood.  I liked that cover better, but this one is cool too.  I hope I like this one as much as the first. 

5. I absolutely LOVE this cover.  I think it is perfection.  I love the colors, the picture and I love how the text is incorporated as graffiti on the bathroom stall.  Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues is the second book about Angel Crawford.  I read the first book My Life as a White Trash Zombie which is excellent!

6. Another series that I never started, but the cover is pretty. 

7.  I loooove this cover.  Can you guess why?  Creepy!

8. Charles de Lint is one of my favorite authors and the covers of his books are beautiful dreams.   This image evokes myths, magic and power.  Eyes Like Leaves was written in 2009, but is being released this year.  

9. Another creepy, eerie, terrifying image that makes an awesome cover.

10.  This is another cover I found.  It looks like Victorian, Steampunk enchantment.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Book Blogger Confessions #5

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme hosted by Tiger from All Consuming Media and Karen from For What It's Worth Reviews to discuss issues unique to book bloggers. To find out details, click HERE.

Q. Let's talk about the positive side of blogging! How has blogging influenced your real life in a positive way? (not related to books or reading) Have you learned to be organized or are you more social now for example?

A:   The positive side of blogging!  Yes, amidst all the deadlines, net drama, blogger drama, pressure that you put on yourself and overspending there is a positive side.  Many in fact. 

1. New projects and creative outlet.  Blogging has given me a chance to express myself in various different ways.  Not just in writing, but in the design, features and events I participate in. 

2. Feedback.  If I want to vent either on Twitter or personally to someone through an e-mail, I'll more likely than not get some kind of feedback.  Either if it's just to say someone is listening and understands or they like the earrings I've just made.

3.  Twitter.  And speaking of Twitter.  If it hadn't been for my blog, I probably would not have opted to sign up for Twitter.  Twitter has not just come in handy for blogging and meeting people, it is also a fast way to get information. 

4.  The people I've met, either in person or online.   This has got to be the absolutely most positive aspect I've found in blogging.  I have met so many awesome people through blogging, Twitter, book signings,  and conferences.  Many people have been so incredibly gracious, kind, and supportive that even though I have not met every one of them, I would probably do anything for them.


Title/Author: Perception by Kim Harrington. (ARC).

Genre:  YA/Supernatural.

Publisher:  Point.

Source: Gifted by Smash Attacks Reads.

Favorite character:  Gabriel.

When you can see things others can't, what do you do when someone's watching you?

Everybody knows about Clarity "Clare" Fern. She's the psychic girl in school, the one who can place her hands on something and see hidden visions from the past.

Only Clare would rather not be a celebrity. She prefers hanging back, observing. Her gift is not a game to her.

But then someone starts playing with her head . . . and heart. Messages and gifts from a secret admirer crop up everywhere Clare turns. Could they be from Gabriel, the gorgeous boy who gets Clare's pulse racing? Or from Justin, Clare's hopeful ex-boyfriend who'd do anything to win her back?

One thing is certain. Clare needs to solve this mystery, and soon. Because the messages are becoming sinister, and a girl in town has suddenly disappeared.

My Thoughts:
Reading Perception just made me happy.  Harrington uses a voice that is easy to read and connect to as Clare, the teenage psychic turned detective.  I thought Clare a little more pensive in this book, but she has been through a lot the previous months.  She broke up with a boyfriend, solved a murder mystery and almost got killed herself.  That's a lot to deal with.  Before that her pyschic abilities were used for "entertainment" purposes only for tourists and clients.  Now, with a taste of what she can do Clare seems to be seeking a little more.  She wants to help people on a greater level and I enjoyed her growing into these thoughts and into this role. 

I also liked how the story still keeps the events of the summer as a plot point with repercussions and natural progressions, but does not belabor it. Perry is changed, Clare is not only changed but things are a bit different for her at school and she explores a world where she may fit in a little more.  

Some scenes I feel are a bit forced or just read a little off to me.  Mostly with Mallory, a new friend she makes in school.  Her relationships and dialogues with the girls who have newly accepted her is more natural and entertaining to me.  I'm not sure, maybe this is done on purpose, since we only get the story through Clare who doesn't trust people easily.  So maybe this just came through in the writing organically.  I also should point out that I read an ARC, so the final edition may be a bit different.

There were times I thought Clare was too good to be true, but then I love how her mom calls her out for the fact that she has also judged some girls at school the same way she was/is judged.  I like how Mallory gets annoyed with her too for certain actions.  Again I also have to remember that this is from Clare's POV and of course we overlook our own foibles at times.  These actions helped her feel more real to me.

One of the elements I love in these books is her relationship with her brother, Perry.  They bicker and get annoyed at each other and act selfishly.  However, when they confide in each other it is truly sweet and comes off as very honest.  I love how Perry tells Clare that it is really she, not him, who is the strong one of the family.  I love this observation from him because it gives insight into what he is feeling and also, it gives the reader another opinion to Clarity.  I never thought of her as "strong."  Granted, I never thought of her as weak either, but by Perry pointing it out, I see something else in her. 

I loved Gabriel.  Team Gabriel!  He is so much more mature, worldly and let's face it, just a bit cooler than Justin.  Yes, Justin is nice and all that.  Owns up to his mistakes, but I just felt that Clare and Gabriel have more chemistry and fit together better.  She is trying to decide which boy she wants to be with and it is a difficult decision and one she contemplates with care and grace to the point of even getting both boys to help out other people as a favor to her. 

I guessed the mystery more easily than in the first book and some of Clare's actions I felt like I was watching a Horror movie yelling at the character, "No!  No!  Don't do it!"  However, it definitely helped build tension and excitement, and there are a few things that still kept me suspicious until the end.  Also, there are hints of what may be coming in future books.  And there better be future books! 

This is a super fun book that I couldn't put down.  I am hoping there will be at least one more in this saga because I really love knowing Clare and getting involved in her exciting adventures.

Thanks to Ash from Smash Attack Reads for sending me this book!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Life as a White Trash Zombie.

Title/Author: My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland. 

Genre: Urban Fantasy.  

Publisher: Daw Books.  

Source: Purchased.

Favorite character: Angel. 

Favorite quote: "Welcome to Death." ~Dr. Leblanc.

Synopsis: Teenage delinquent Angel Crawford lives with her redneck father in the swamps of southern Louisiana. She's a high school dropout, addicted to drugs and alcohol, and has a police record a mile long. But when she's made into a zombie after a car crash, her addictions disappear, except for her all-consuming need to stay "alive"...~Product Description

My Thoughts:  Braaaaaiiins!  Tomato soup with brains.  Brains in your coffee.  Frozen brains.  These are just some of the ways you can prepare brains if you ever become a zombie, which is what happened to Angel Crawford.  It took her a while to figure it out, but once she did she realized that she had been given a second chance at life...or rather, unlife...well she had a second chance. 

She is not educated, but she is smart, clever and it is easy to like her and to relate to her.  Her voice is clear and strong and I love her self deprecating attitude and sarcasm.  With the emergence of her new life she realizes that certain habits that she indulged in before do not have the same effect so she amends her behavior in part to better deal with her condition and in part because she doesn't want to screw up again.

I'm usually hesitant to read zombie stories.  Maybe it was the cool, pink rockabilly-esque cover that attracted me initially, but I also wanted to try it because the author will be at AAD.  Either way, I'm so glad I read this book.  I love the zombie mythology that Rowland came up with.  It is a nice change from the mindless killing machines with no consciousness that make up most of the zombie empire in movies and literature.

All of Ms. Rowland's characters in this book are believable, interesting and add to the story.  From co-workers to mentors to boyfriends to co-dependant relatives.  I truly felt immersed in the tale and enjoyed reading every page.

Angel's story is layered with a lot going on, just like in anyone's life.  However, it is easy to follow and is not bogged down.  The mysteries, yes plural, had me guessing until the end and that's all I'm going to say about it, except it is well done.  My favorite aspect of this book is the change and growth in Angel.  She was raised in a not so positive environment, has low self esteem and unstable relationships.  The reader is allowed to see her come to terms with and deal with her issues.  As she says, "I had no pride. No drive. I'd never been able to see a world beyond what I'd always known."  All she needed was a chance to believe in herself.  It took self preservation and a newfound sense of responsibility to achieve that.  What I really love is that I think a lot of people are in the same boat.  They don't realize that they can change or change their situation and I love how Angel has overcome her once narrow worldview.

There is no overt romance or sex in this book, but there is a love interest.  It is one of the many layers I mentioned, but really not the main plot, which I like as well.  What I also love is the details in this book.  Yes, they are about death, autopsies, and funeral procedures, but they are interesting and definitely add to the plot and give the story excellent dimension. I lapped up (no pun intended) the details of cutting into bodies, brain consumption and the like, but if you are squeamish just be warned.

My Life as a White Trash Zombie was my first Diana Rowland book, but I will definitely read the next one in this series Even White Trash Zombies get the Blues.   Again, another cool cover.  I think I'd like posters of them.  I'll probably check out her other books, The Kara Gillian series, which takes place in Louisiana - another selling point, as well. 

Also, extra points to the author for using the word "splorting."


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...