Monday, July 23, 2007

Kissing Kate by Lauren Myracle



  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (April 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525469176
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525469179
  • List Price: $7.99
  • I finished this book on July 23
I'm not sure where I first heard of this book. It may have been from one of the many blogs I read, or from some list of gay teen books or even when I saw the author in Fairport at the Teen Book Festival. I didn't see Ms. Myracle's whole presentation but I thought she seemed funny and cool.
Anyway, because I have read many different YA books about gay boys and not so many about the ladies, well, I figured it was really my duty to do so. You know, to be fair. And cause I love the gays.
So, anyway: Lissa and Kate have been best friends for a long time. The kind of best friends I am always jealous of because the seem to get along so well. Anyway: shit goes sour when Kate gets snookered at a party and the girls kiss. A lot. Then, nearly busted, they stop snogging and Kate ignores Lissa, who slips away. Now they aren't talking, resulting in appropriate sturm und drang.
Did I mention that Lissa's parents are dead and she lives with her well intentioned Uncle who kinda sucks at parenting, leaving her to take care of her younger sister? Cause, you know, she needed more problems. Oh, and she's trying to figure out how to have lucid dreams. Or something.
I felt that the devices used in the story were kind of obvious; and while it's not groundbreaking I am still not mad at it. It's a simple story of a girl trying to figure out her sexuality. Some of the characters were interesting, and it was a quick easy read. I'm not sure this is making or breaking some kid's coming out or anything, but it's a good story nonetheless. And extra points for the cool cover. If you stare at it long enough it looks like the blue hearts are moving. Or maybe that's just me.
This did not touch me the same way that Annie on My Mind did, and that is certainly the most popular lesbian YA book I have heard of. For those interested, I suggest checking that one out as well. Here is a list of other gay themed books, and of course, there are lots more out there. Here's another list geared totally toward gay YA. For good measure here's links to resources for gay teens and local LGBT youth groups.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling




  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (July 21, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545010225
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545010221
  • List Price: $34.99
  • I finished this book on July 21
Well, my lovelies, it's finally here. I went to midnight madness at our local Borders and let me tell you, it was nuts. There were awesome costumes, my favorites were: a perfect Professor Sprout, a teenage Bellatrix Lestrange, and an amazing Luna Lovegood. There was also a tiny baby dressed up like a house elf: effin cute. Anywho: my boyfriend and I got our books and our complementary posters and ran home to read (guess who is a faster reader, and therefore way cooler? Oh, that's right, this girl). Let me tell you, my dears: we were not disappointed. Hence, the bee seal of approval.
Because you can find spoilers pretty much everwhere on the internet there will probably be a few light ones in here, so beware. However, if you're a diehard I'm sure you've finished by now (unless you're my dad, who will probably still be reading next week).
First off, several of my theories were right, because I am awesome. I liked to see Harry being a bit of a badass in this one. Who calls Voldemort "Tom Riddle"? Only badasses, that's who! Face! Anywho, Ron acts like a baby and then gets over it, and Hermione is a bit more emotional in this book than we've ever seen her which was very cool. Other acts of coolness were committed by: McGonagall, Momma Weasley and of course, Neville, the dark horse.
My favorite part of this book was that we got to see a lot more realistic, 3 dimensional portrayals of some of the characters. Was Dumbledore perfect? Nope, but he was still an amazing wizard and mentor to Harry. Oh, and my boyfriend Snape? Mmm, we are gonna make out (because, you know, he's real).
Overall I was very pleased with this book, though I will admit I'm awfully sad it's over. I will definitely have to reread this one, I'm thinking in the wintertime, when it will taste like comfort food. Anyway: just because it's over doesn't mean I can't yell spells all over the apartment. (the cats especially love this.) Bombarda!
Oooh! Oooh! I almost forgot, there was a bit of swearing in this one! Besides the normal ones like "bloody" (love the Brits) there were a few Bastards, several Arses and a few "effing" which had me cackling at my book. Oh, I love swearing and I love HP and when the two come together it's like a hug from Jesus. Anyway, if you were fighting the Dark Lord you'd be cursing too. I know I would be. And yelling spells. Expelliarmus!
Update: My boyfriend Stephen King has written an amazing review of this book here which you should read. Now. Go do it.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling


  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Paperback: 652 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (July 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439785960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439785969
  • List Price: $9.99
Okay, boys and girls. I have finished this re-reading this just in time to get my hot little nerdy hands onto the seventh and final in the Harry Potter series. The new book comes out tonight at midnight and I will be there with a big orange wristband and bells on.
I'm pretty sure that anyone who plans of ever reading HP knows what happens in this book and those who haven't have had things spoiled by them for sure. However: here is your spoiler warning! In this book HP and the gang are trying to get through a year where they don't battle Voldemort. Actually, they succeed, but fighting his death eaters is just as bad it turns out. Highlights of the book: I am happy to see Ginny and Harry snogging. Hopefully Ron and Hermione next? I am happy Luna made it through the fight. I like her, and I was worried that her secondary character nature might make her a target for J.K. Rowling's Hand of Doom. One more book to go, Luna, hang on! Total upsetting bummers. Um, gee, I dunno my boyfriend Snape killing Dumbledore? That's a pretty huge bummer. I definitely cried the first time I read it and almost became teary again this time during the funeral scene.
The coolest thing about this book is learning more about Voldemort's past. Also, Horcruxes are a very cool idea and completely badass. I also really liked getting to hang out with Dumbledore in this book. It was nice, and cozy, and I wish Dumbledore was my grandfather. Also, points to Fleur for still wanting to marry Bill even though his face is effed up. And p.s. I am totally psyched by the romance between Tonks and Lupin.
So, anyway: here are some of my theories, which are completely unsubstantiated and soon to be proven wrong. 1. Dumbledore really is dead 2. Snape is good. Those are basically the big ones. I have based my life on Snape being good, and will be seriously annoyed if this is not the case. Though, in all honesty, I would probably still make out with Alan Rickman if given the opportunity. I also think that Sirius might come back from the mystery grave. Here's why: that was the most bullshit death ever! Ooh, I got hit by a hex and stumbled into an archway of death. Balls! I say boo to it, and I hope he resurfaces. Also, who is going to be head of Gryffindor house now? I say maybe...Hagrid? I dunno.
So it's only a few hours away and I'm avoiding anyplace on the interweb that might lead me to a spoiler. So, if you are doing the same I send you to this completely safe place to take a fun sorting quiz (cause we can't all be cool enough to have a sorting hat at home like yours truly). Go here and see where you belong. The quiz said I was a Ravenclaw, which I buy. I like to think I'm smart but also acknowledge that I'm not as tough as maybe I should be. Okay, I'm off to nap in preparation for the late night of reading I will be doing. (p.s. I can't stop yelling spells in British accents) Sectusempre!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling


  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Paperback: 870 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (August 10, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439358078
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439358071
  • List Price: $9.99
  • I finished this book on July 16
Okay, as you may have guessed I am a huge Harry Potter fan. And, since the new book is coming out in 4 days I had decided to refresh my memory of the 5th and 6th books. Of course I waited too long and now I'm spending lots of time reading HP to get it done before midnight madness on Friday. My favorite thing to do lately since re-reading these is shouting spells at people. Stupify! Reducto!
Anyway, firstly I will confess that number 5 (OOTP) was not my favorite in the series. There is a lot of teenage brooding (Harry) and actually, a bit of adult brooding as well (Sirius) but rereading it after just seeing the new movie did bring some things back into light for me.
In this book Harry and the forces of good (AKA The Order of the Phoenix) battle the forces of bad (AKA Voldemort and friends) by staying in a dank house, getting lots of detentions and trying to pass exams. Worst synopsis ever? You bet! Anyway: I really liked reading about the Dumbledore's Army classes and hearing the Prophesy again. Also, hearing the Prophesy again made me revise a few of my theories about the upcoming last book (which I will share with you in my next review). Did you remember that the prophesy could have been about Neville? I totally forgot that!
We also get to hear a lot more about Dumbledore and his plans and reasoning for things, which I dig. He gets a bit sentimental in that scene, actually (Aww, someone lurves Harry.) However, one of my favorites dies in this book which pisses me off (also, they effed that bit up in the film).
I liked the new movie version of this a lot, mostly because it cut out a lot of the angsty whining of the kids and added a little more action. Though, I must say, Mr. Daniel Radcliff is looking a bit old to be the 15 year old wizard he is portraying. He looks like maybe we could date in real life. Not that I'm interested of course, cause, you know... I like the old men. So, yeah, that's right, I have my heart set on Snape. Or, as I like to call him, Alan Rickman, my boyfriend. Cause he's a kickass legilimens. Dig it.
If you haven't read the books I highly suggest doing so. Unless of course...you hate fun! If you have read the books and have questions try reading some Harry Potter wikis. Yeah, that's right, there are more than one. Good ones are here, and here. If you want to read college thesis level examinations and conspiracy theories about Harry Potter than go to this site whose very name used to be a spoiler. Or enjoy MuggleNet. If you are into board games I highly recommend Harry Potter Scene-It.
And, in case you guys labored under the delusion that I am anything other than a completely flaming dorky power nerd: please enjoy a picture of me in the sorting hat. Gryffindor!

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Secretary of Dreams by Stephen King illustrated by Glenn Chadbourne


  • Hardcover: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Cemetery Dance Publications (October 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587671409
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587671401
  • List Price: $75.00
  • I finished this book July 7th
Okay, friends and neighbors, you all know I'm a Stephen King "constant reader". Also, you know I dig on the graphic novels and comics. So, imagine my happiness last fall when I heard I could purchase some of SK's short stories newly illustrated. I hinted that I wanted this gift for Christmas (by hint I mean I sent the link to the Amazon page and where to buy it to my boyfriend via e-mail. cause I'm stealthy like that.) and his parents bought it for me. However, it was on this crazy backorder or something and I only just got it now. Let me tell you this, my lovlies, it is sexy! It's big and hard bound and came with this faux leather case deal. Fancy.
So, the actual stories are all ones I've read before, of course. I was impressed that they were some of his lesser known ones. The first is called Home Delivery and is actually from a collection called Book of the Dead which is all zombie stories from different authors. There are 6 short stories in all, 3 are just illustrated about every other page and the others are written as though they are comic books. So, it's a really cool idea. However, I'm not in love with the illustrator's work, to be honest. It's gory, to be certain, but it's all black and white sort of scratchy pen lines to me, and I didn't love it. Apparently Glenn (with 2 n's, why?) is an illustrator from Maine (shock!) and you can read an interview with him here. He has already signed on for volume two and is hard at work. These are put out by Cemetery Dance who is also putting out the Dark Tower Series as comic books (which, you know, I want super bad too).
Honestly, I will probably get the second volume too, though I'm not a huge fan of the art. Mostly because Stephen King is my boyfriend (I think you should know that when I say that I'm saying it in the Frau Bl├╝cher voice from Young Frankenstein) Maybe the artwork will grow on me. I guess I was expecting some super creepy art like from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Let's not pretend that stuff didn't scare the crap out of you when you were little (or last night, you wuss!). See creepy images, here, here and here. Hell's bells, creepy stuff, people.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Nymphos of Rocky Flats by Mario Acevedo


  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Rayo (March 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060833262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060833268
  • List Price: $13.95
  • I finished this book on July 7th
Okay, so right now you're shaking your heads. Another vampire sex romp? I know, I know. Here's the thing for a book with such a sensational title there is no sex in this book. Honest. There is some brief talk about it, but, in the end: no love. Weak.
The plot: Felix was a soldier in Iraq and he accidentally killed some civilians. Then an Iraqi dude turned him into a vampire. Seriously. So, now he's a private detective vamp who walks in the sun (sunscreen, ugh) and doesn't drink human blood (Oh! The Guilt! Double Ugh!) I must admit I'm a little sick of how every vampire in every book doesn't drink from people. Come on! That's what we're here for! You're not scary if I don't think you might attack me for my delicious plasma at any moment.
So anyway, Mr. Not Spooky Pants slaps on some sunscreen and tried to figure out why some broads at this military base have come down with nymphomania. Hehe. Eventually of course, he does figure it out, but the ending is not what you're thinking. Trust me.
This reminds me vaguely both of the Jack Flemming books and the Dresden Files books. I would recommend this book for vampire lovers like me, but the casual vampire reader may not need to go here. It's not the best example of the genre ever. The pros: moderately funny. Kick ass title/cover. Reasonably cool main character. The cons: did I mention the book is about nymphos and has no sex scenes? Mr. Acevedo you tease.
Apparently this is the first in a series. You can check it out, here. Also Mr. Acevedo writes a blog with another vampire writer, here.
This makes me miss my favorite animal drinking vamp: Edward. When oh when is Eclipse coming out (August 7)?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Photos

Hello my lovelies! I'm back from Florida and you can expect more books to be posted on a more regular basis now.
Here's the thing, I'm not one of those people who's gonna try to make you look at pictures of my vacation for hours, or my awesome amateur photography (but if you're interested, I do have a flickr, and you can check it out here also, I am awesome and so are my pictures). Having said that in Florida and we did Disney and Universal. I have to say I think Universal is cooler, and they have something I thought you'd enjoy, so I brought you back some pics.
That's right, Universal has a whole section dedicated to Dr. Seuss! I thought you'd enjoy seeing some pics of the Lorax since I have reviewed it on this site. And yes, he looks even more like Wilfred Brimley in person. The third pic is the Once-ler's House, and you can actually walk through the garden of Truffula Trees and stuff. Cool! Well, anywho: enjoy!


Monday, July 2, 2007

Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison


  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (January 21, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060521848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060521844
  • List Price: $6.99
  • I finished this book on June 30
When I was student teaching in a middle school this book was all the rage with the 8th grade girlies. So it came to me highly recommended as sort of a teen Bridget Jones. I must confess that while I see the fun in books like Bridget, I am not usually into such feminine fare. However, the confessions of 14 year old Georgia Nicolson are silly and fun. Also, quite innocent for such goofy and racy titles.
Basically, we're looking at diary style entries detailing Georgia, her cat, and Robbie: the Sex God (hehe) The British slang is funny and is explained with a little glossary in the back of the book. For your own amusement you can look up slang here. Even more bizarre is the Cockney Rhyming Slang I came across while researching, seriously: huh? P.S. Snogging = kissing, and really, it's an extremely satisfying word to say. Mmm...snogging....
Oh, sorry...anywho: Georgia is fun and she has a crazy cat who harasses people and eats things (but, regrettably, does not talk). Any reluctant reader teen girl would love these books. For me it was a plane ride to Florida read that was quick and funny and simple.
Apparently there are a thousand (or, you know, six) of these books out. Evidently they have some different titles here as opposed to the UK (or I'm making that up, but I definitely saw some weirdness with the titles on US sites vs. UK) my top two favorite titles are: Startled by His Furry Shorts (really, who isn't startled by that?) and Away Laughing on a Fast Camel (watch out, they spit!)
In addition: because every remotely popular thing is made into a movie, this book will be made into a movie sometime in the future. Currently the IMDB page isn't giving me much to go on. I'm hoping they do it justice, and that they don't cast sexy 20 somethings to play the awkward teens, because that annoys me. (Alexis Bledel in both Sin City and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in the same year, anyone?)
I'm super tempted to end this with some horribly cliched British phrase, but I won't. I want you to know I respect you, people, and I'm restraining myself with all my might. Cheerio. Dammit! That one slipped out.