WWW Wednesday! 24.06.2014

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

How is it Wednesday again already? I mean, really! I’ve been so busy (good busy) again this week so I haven’t had nearly as much reading time as I would like. But anyway, enough whinging…here’s what’s been going on around here:

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Currently Reading: I’ve finally picked up Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer, but I haven’t even managed to read the first chapter yet. The universe is against me reading this book!

Recently Finished: I just finished Burial Rites by Hannah Kent which took me over a week to read, but not because it wasn’t good. It was totally gripping despite a slow plot, and it was written so beautifully that I didn’t want to rush it. A full review should follow at some point. I also finished Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozenieweski which was a great pulpy, horror. I reviewed it here. I am nothing if not eclectic.

Up Next: I’m not too sure this time. It will probably be either Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3), an ARC called One of Us which is released in August, or maybe The Fault in Our Stars.

Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski

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Title: Braineater Jones
Series: N/A
Author: Stephen Kozeniewski
Edition: e-book, 234 pages
Published: October 14th 2013 by Red Adept Publishing, LLC
Genre(s): Horror; Mystery
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy via the publisher/author in exchange for an HONEST review.
Goodreads
Amazon

Braineater Jones wakes up face down in a swimming pool with no memory of his former life, how he died, or why he’s now a zombie. With a smart-aleck severed head as a partner, Jones descends into the undead ghetto to solve his own murder.

But Jones’s investigation is complicated by his crippling addiction to human flesh. Like all walking corpses, he discovers that only a stiff drink can soothe his cravings. Unfortunately, finding liquor during Prohibition is costly and dangerous. From his Mason jar, the cantankerous Old Man rules the only speakeasy in the city that caters to the postmortem crowd.

As the booze, blood, and clues coagulate, Jones gets closer to discovering the identity of his killer and the secrets behind the city’s stranglehold on liquid spirits. Death couldn’t stop him, but if the liquor dries up, the entire city will be plunged into an orgy of cannibalism.

Cracking this case is a tall order. Braineater Jones won’t get out alive, but if he plays his cards right, he might manage to salvage the last scraps of his humanity.

Braineater Jones is a darkly comic, tongue-in-cheek mystery about a Zombie trying to figure out who killed him. What’s not to like!?

It took me a little while to get into the rhythm of this book, and I felt like it was trying too hard to be funny at first, but it didn’t take long settle down, and I ended up really enjoying the style of it.

Braineater Jones is set during the 1930’s and written in a simple diary-entry structure. It was interesting to have a narrator with amnesia who was documenting his ‘un-life’ as he calls it, day-by-day. Once Jones has come to terms with his new Zombie self, maggots and all, the first thing he has to do is find a steady supply of hard liquor to keep his brain nice and lubricated, but that’s easier said than done.

However, he soon finds a partner in talking severed head Alcibé (obviously) and together they find themselves starting up a half-arsed P.I business in exchange for somewhere to stay and the much needed Old Crow booze supply.

Whilst solving a crime here and there, and trying to find out how Jones died in the first place, him and the head meet a whole host of shady characters, and he’s never quite sure who to trust. He can’t even trust himself because he can’t remember who he is, or was.

I thought this was a really fun take on a zombie story. It kind of reminded me of a really messed up film noir. Place names like the Welcome Mat (the speakeasy) and Hat Scratch Fever (the zombie brothel where you can build your own prostitute limb by limb), along with the language Kozeniewski uses gave it a strong 30’s/ early 40’s vibe. All the guys are mooks and the girls are twists and skirts…I loved it.

I thought that use of language and style made the ridiculous, pulpy, plot seem a lot less ridiculous. I also liked how Jones answers all of the questions he wrote out in the earlier chapters one by one throughout the book.

If you’re a fan of light-hearted but gory horror with a sense of humor then give Braineater Jones a try.

Oh, and I didn’t even get round to the fetus-like old guy in a jar called ‘the boss’ who uses robotic arms and legs to get around and torture people with….like a cross between Benjamin Button and Dr. Robotnik. But in a jar. Why the hell not?

unicorn rating 4

Braineater Jones is available now in paperback, e-book and audio.

Zombies Vs Unicorns…if only it were that simple!

A Short Story Collection Edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

zomIt’s a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths–for good and evil–of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies. Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan. This anthology will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?

For me, the question of who is better Zombies or Unicorns is pretty ridiculous. I’m fairly renowned for my obsession love of unicorns so when I found out that Holly Black had compiled this collection of short stories I had to put it on my wishlist, even though I’m not a huge fan of the short story.

There were a lot of things I liked about this book, the set up for one. Holly Black is in charge of Team Unicorn (Yesssss) and Justine Larbalestier, Team Zombie (Boooooo). The stories are alternated between TU and TZ and have a little introduction (sometimes more like a pep rally cheer) by each respective Team Leader followed by a rebuttal from the opposing team. At first I found this a bit too kitsch. It felt like two friends playing up to a crowd. Oh aren’t we funny, how we love to bicker with each other…that kind of thing. But I warmed to them eventually. If you can’t beat them, join them, right!?

And the collection itself? It was definitely a mixed bag for me, as most short story collections are, and it really, really pains me to say that I found myself enjoying the zombie stories more than the unicorn ones. In fact, it really made me want to write a good unicorn story to prove that it’s possible.

That might be a bit harsh, they weren’t all bad. I really enjoyed The Care and Feeding of Your Killer Baby Unicorn by Diana Peterfreund – a spin-off to her Killer Unicorns series which I haven’t read but want to now. In Peterfreund’s stories ‘real unicorns are man eating beasts with razor sharp fangs and a fatal venom in their lethal horns. And they can only be killed by the virgin descendants of Alexander the Great’. Fun!

As for the Team Zombie stories, there were a few stand-outs but Maureen Johnson’s The Children of the Revolution was my favourite. A girl who had followed a boy out to England to pick berries all summer long finds herself needing to get away from him. Homeless and jobless, the perfect solution arises when she is offered the job of nannying the children of a Hollywood superstar. But of course, they are not normal children. Johnson totally nails the satire of the rich and the famous, and the celebrity in question bore more than a passing resemblance to Angelina Jolie. Picturing her amused me no end.

I also really enjoyed Alaya Dawn Johnson’s Love Will Tear Us Apart, a cute boy/boy zombie romance in a similar vein to Warm Bodies, and also Scott Westerfeld’s Inoculata which reminded me little bit of the film Stakeland, but with Zombies. See, there’s something for everyone!

Overall, I’m really glad I own this book, and not just because it looks pretty and sounds badass. I’d definitely like to revisit a few of these stories, and I feel like it’s getting me one step closer to embracing the medium of the short story.

I feel like maybe I should switch to a Zombie rating for this book, but alas, I cannot. Unicorns til I die!

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Disclosure?: Nope, it was a gift!
Title: Zombies Vs Unicorns
Author: Various
Details: Paperback, 418 pages
Published: April 3rd 2012 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
My Rating: 3/5

Horror October: Spotlight & Review – Darren Shan

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It’s pretty hard being a Darren Shan fan. His career may have been shorter by some years, but he gives Stephen King a run for his money in the amount of books he churns out. ‘Master of Horror,’ Shan has released over 30 books since 2002 (from 2 – 6 books a year). Woah.

I first noticed Shan in the midst of his break-out vampire series for children, The Saga of Darren Shan. Being a huge fan of the Vampire genre and studying Children’s Literature at the time led me to check it out, and I realised then that Shan had actually gone to same university as me which gave me hope for my own chances of making it as a writer. (Still working on that one!)

Even though The Saga of Darren Shan was clearly aimed at 12 year old boys, I really enjoyed it. He’s not afraid to use violence and gore and most of all they were a new, fun take on the Vampire myth.

But I didn’t completely fall in love until I read Procession of the Dead, Shan first book -and the first in the City Trilogy – aimed at adults.

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Procession of the Dead is a dark and twisted, gritty urban fantasy and one of my favourite books of all time. (Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the other two quite as much – still worth a read though!)

Young, quick-witted, and cocksure, Capac Raimi arrives in the City determined to make his mark in a world of sweet, sinister sin. He finds the City is a place of exotic dangers: a legendary assassin with snakes tattooed on his face who moves like smoke, blind Incan priests whom no one seems to see, a kingpin who plays with puppets, and friends who mysteriously disappear as though they never existed. Then Capac crosses paths with The Cardinal, and his life changes forever.
The Cardinal is the City, and the City is The Cardinal. They are joined at the soul. Nothing moves on the streets, or below them, without The Cardinal’s knowledge. His rule is absolute.
When Capac discovers how deeply The Cardinal has influenced his life, he is faced with hard choices that conflict with his soaring ambition. To find his way, Capac must know himself and what he is capable of. But how can you trust yourself when you can’t remember your past?

Since then, Shan has released one other adult book, Lady of the Shades (which I loved) but has mainly returned to his Kids’ series.

His latest offering is the 12 book series Zom-B, about a Zombie outbreak in Ireland where B Smith is learning to deal with a racist dad as well as a whole lot of zombies. The fifth installment, Zom-B Baby has just been released, only a year after the first book was.

I’ve just finished Zom-B Underground (Zom-B #2). Can’t keep up, yeah.

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Waking up in a military complex, months after zombies attacked school, B has no memory of the last few months. Life in the UK has turned tough since the outbreak, and B is woven into life- and battle- in the new military regime quickly. But as B learns more about the zombies held in the complex and the scientists keeping them captive, unease settles in. Why exactly was B saved? And is there anyone left in the world to trust?

I’m sure I would have loved these books if I’d read them when I was 13, as opposed to 30 (almost- ahhhh!) but they just don’t have enough substance to them to keep me wanting more these days. I liked the end of Zom-B #1 as it had a pretty good twist which is why I picked this one up too, but I don’t think I’ll be carrying on with the series.

There are definitely things to like here such as good action/violence which I’m sure will be a hit with younger audiences, and the turmoil B faces in trying to peel away the racist traits that have seeped into her from her father. But they are just too short. I feel like this whole series of 12 books should actually just be a trilogy or something, instead of these little snippets of stories.

So I think I’ll leave these to the kids and wait patiently for another adult offering from Darren Shan, Master of Horror.

Stalk Darren:
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Horror October 2013!

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Next month will be dedicated (of course) to the spooky, the creepy, the gory and the downright terrifying! I have quite a few books lined up so depending on how much I get through it may even spill over to November. I do love a good horror!*

Coming Up:

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Doctor Sleep (The Shining #2) – Stephen King
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black
The Wolves of Midwinter (The Wolf Gift Chronicles #2) – Anne Rice
The Foreshadowing – Marcus Sedgwick
Human Remains – Elizabeth Haynes
Zom-B Underground (Zom-b #2) – Darren Shan
The Dead in their Vaulted Arches – Alan Bradley
Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

* They are not exactly all ‘Horrors’

I’ll also be spotlighting my Favourite Freaky Reads and Films, discussing the weird and wonderful things I love (and probably hate) about the horror genre, and maybe even visiting some Graveyards. So watch this space.

Are you a Horror Fan? Get Involved: What to you think I should read first? Do you have a favourite on the list above? Want to discuss or rant about something Horror/Halloween related? I’m always up for guests posts. Get in touch!

xxLipsyxx

August Finds

I wanted to start sharing some of the books that I’ve found through fellow bloggers that I just HAD to add to my wishlist immediately.

In my short time as a book blogger I’ve been introduced to so many new books that would have passed me by and my book wishlist and to-be-read pile is getting a bit ridiculous now, so thanks for that everyone 😛 If nothing else, I’m hoping that this monthly post will remind me what books I got really excited about and why.

So better late than never, here are my favourite Finds from August and where I spotted them.

Click on the images to go to the original posts

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Found on: Chrissi Reads
Why: I loved Into the Darkest Corner by Haynes so I’m looking forward to this.

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Found on: Lost Inside the Covers
Why: Alice in Wonderland with Zombies. Nuff said. Plus look at that cover!!

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Found on: Book Nerds Anonymous
Why: Vampires & another cover swoon!

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Found on: Wrapped Up in Books
Why: The cover looks magical, like Christmas.

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Found on: Daisy Chain Book Reviews
Why: It sounds like YA royalty!

Thanks Guys!