Oct 27, 2011

It's Here....ZOMPACOLYPSE 2011 (Giveaway!)

Paranormal Wastelands

The Zompacolypse is upon us! 

My blog has been infected, and while this makes the cute zombie above sad, it makes me wanna do an embarrassing dance. A dance so crazy it might cause some of my rotting limbs to fly off! 

So, let's get our zombified freak on with my 1st ever GIVEAWAY!

And if you weren't already flailing around in excitement with me, my blog is also a BONUS STOP on this hop! 

Click on the candy bucket picture to enter for an Amazon gift card, and don't forget that there are 14 other bonus stops where you can collect more entries for the card. 
PRIZE: Fill out the form for a chance to win 1 of these 10 spooky books from the Book Depository! There will be 1 winner! 

*You may choose a sequel to one of these books to receive instead of the listed book if the sequel has already been released*

6. Soulless by Gail Carriger   *this is an adult book*

1. You DO NOT have to be a follower to enter, but I'd love it if you were! You must be 13 or older to enter.
2. Open to anywhere the Book Depository ships. Click here to check.
3. Ends midnight Nov. 1st. Winner will be chosen using random.org and announced and contacted by Nov. 2nd. 
4. If you win you must respond to my email from brainonbooks[at]gmail[dot]com within 72 hours or I will choose a new winner.
5. I am not responsible for prizes lost or damaged in the mail. It happens to all of us and it sucks but I can't do anything about it :(


The Dead-Tossed Waves

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
(The Forest of Hands and Teeth #2)
Published: March 9, 2010 by Delacorte Books

Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She's content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry's mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry's generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother's past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

       I had a lot of issues with The Forest of Hands and Teeth, but before I even read it I had The Dead-Tossed Waves from a swap. I figured it was a zombie apocalypse series so where could it go wrong? I am having a really hard time embracing the cheese factor here because it actually takes itself very seriously. I know a lot of people love these books, but I'm a fan of The Walking Dead and want my zombie books gory or at least way more action-packed than I am finding this series to be. This review is going to be full of SPOILERS, so I will try to warn you when a big one comes up!

Reasons I love this book:
  • Elias - I can't help but like the guy. He was so dedicated to righting the wrongs of his past - and he knew how to fight. He ended up on the path due to sense of responsibility, while Gabry was following her sense of guilt.
  • Gabry - I liked Gabry better than Mary. Even though both of them were in sappy love triangles, I felt like Gabry was just a little less pathetic about hers.
  • the sonnets - I really liked the way that the Shakespeare sonnets were connected to the story. It made me think that maybe Mary learned a little something after all, and I thought it was extremely clever. 
  • writing - I do enjoy the descriptions in these books, as you'll see in the favorite quotes section. Some of them are so dark and just really add to the creepy atmosphere of the forest. 
Huh, what?:
  • Gabry's mom - SPOILERS! The big reveal that Mary wasn't really Gabry's mom rocked Gabry's world. Uh...ok then. From the second the book said Mary had a daughter I was wondering who Mary had slept with. Her 2 "loves" were left behind by the time she reached the ocean, so is Gabry's dad the random guy Mary met at the lighthouse? If you mother was from the other side of the forest, wouldn't you wonder where you factored in?
  • Catcher - MORE SPOILERS! First of all, you live in a tiny village walled in against the ocean to protect you from the undead - and you can't tell a girl you have a crush on her? Man up dude! And when Catcher gets infected, he turns out to be the only known person who is immune? That's a huge honking coincidence. I would have rather he died so this wouldn't be another love triangle.
  • Gabry - OH HECK, THERE ARE PROBABLY SPOILERS HERE TOO! Oh Gabry. Why can't you get it through your thick skull that the guy you've only kissed once is now a walking Petri dish fro the infection that could kill you in a matter of hours? He is the one who convinced you to leave the village and you are so lucky you even survived that. I think it'd help everybody if you sucked it up and helped protect Catcher from the Recruiters instead of making the poor guy's "life" even harder. Gabry screams at her mother at one point to kill a washed up zombie, but she spends the rest of the book trying to kiss a guy who could turn her into a zombie. Error, does not compute.
  • Mary - Mary hasn't learned a dang thing since her trek through the forest. She's disappointed with herself for leaving her friends in the forest. So instead she leaves Gabry alone while she ventures back into the forest for her own selfish reasons. Abandoning another person kinda cancels out your quest to right abandoning those other people Mary!
  • the twist - Uh, way too confusing for me, but that may be because it was revealed near the end and I'd already given up hope. I just wasn't interested anymore.
Favorite quotes:
  • I fall, my face slapping against a wave, my knee scraping the sand. I scream into the water. The salt scratches at my eyes as I lunge for the surface. He grabs my arm and pulls and I try to fight. I kick and claw and thrash against him. I scream again, choking as a wave crashes on my face. I swing wildly, my fists connecting with flesh.         - pg. 82
  • The simmer of panic explodes. "Go!" I shout. "Run!" The old bridge sways under our weight and pounding feet as we sprint across it. In the gaps between the wooden planks the waterfall churns and roars, racing into the black emptiness below. I can almost feel the flames of the torches behind us as we reach the other side of the bridge, as Elias slams against the gate and struggles with the latch.         - pg. 225

2 Robots
Too much sappy love triangle and not enough action. This series is just not for me. Zombie book recommendations anyone?

Acquired: swap.com

Oct 25, 2011

Halloween Books (Top Ten Tuesday)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click the picture to visit them!

Top Ten Books to Read During Halloween

Halloween is in a week! I have nowhere to go so I'm not dressing up, but last year I was a Transformer - a costume I made out of cardboard boxes and spray paint. Anyone have any awesome costumes to share? Bonus points for book-related costumes!

1. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
This book is a crazy (in a good way) mix of Edgar Allen Poe and a sweet love story with a twist. It has the perfect eerie mood for Halloween.

 2. The Body Finder by Kimberley Derting
I'd say that a main character who has strange abilities to track down dead bodies is a good fit for Halloween, wouldn't you? 

3. Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
Not only does this book deal with some pretty nasty fairies, the plot involves stopping the opening of the Samhain Gate on Halloween, which was once known as Samhain. 
No review, but you can get this book for less than $4 if you click on the picture!

4. Devil's Kiss by Sarwhat Chadda
There are tons of different baddies in this book, and thankfully tons of action to go with it. Our heroine Billi kicks butt while dealing with exorcisms, vampires, and fallen angels. Don't let any of those creatures make you think it's anything like the overdone typical YA paranormal love story though. This book is in a whole different category and I really need to get my hands on the sequel. 

5. Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
This book has possessions, a ghost bent on revenge, and creepy dolls. Don't let the cover fool you, this book is pretty creepy and it's one of my favorite ghost stories. Although I will admit that I don't really seek them out too often. 

6. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
I included this one in last week's Top Ten for it's awesome cover, and the glaring werewolf is just a hint of what's inside. Sister's Red is a twisted adventure based on Little Red Riding Hood and full of butt-kicking, some gore, and the paranormal.

7. Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
Even though this was the only book I really enjoyed in the Strange Angels series, it's worth reading. This 1st book is exciting and has Dru facing off against the zombie version of her father, as well as tangling with vampires and werewolves. 

8. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
This one isn't YA, but it is awesome.  I absolutely loved the book, and that may be why I thought the movie was a little weak. Not that Leo DiCaprio isn't cool, but the book packed more of a punch for me. Anyways, mysterious disappearance from a psych ward for the criminally insane on an isolated island? Perfect spooky story. Throw in some questionable experiments and a narrator who may not be all there himself and you've got one heck of a book.

And some I haven't read yet:

9. Hollowland by Amanda Hocking
I just downloaded this one to read on my computer and I have high hopes that it's the kind of zombie book I've been looking for ever since my disappointment with The Forest of Hands and Teeth series. I want more action and less love triangle!
This one's available for Kindle for $1, just click the picture. 

10. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
So, a male main character who is a ghost hunter vs. a killer ghost sounds good enough to begin with, but I've also been reading rave reviews of this one all over the blogosphere and can't wait to read it!

Oct 20, 2011

Desires of the Dead

Desires of the Dead by Kimberley Derting
(Book 2, The Body Finder series)
Published: February 15, 2011 by HarperCollins

The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found. Violet can sense the echoes of those who've been murdered-and the matching imprint that clings to their killers. Only those closest to her know what she is capable of, but when she discovers the body of a young boy she also draws the attention of the FBI, threatening her entire way of life.
As Violet works to keep her morbid ability a secret, she unwittingly becomes the object of a dangerous obsession. Normally she'd turn to her best friend, Jay, except now that they are officially a couple, the rules of their relationship seem to have changed. And with Jay spending more and more time with his new friend Mike, Violet is left with too much time on her hands as she wonders where things went wrong. But when she fills the void by digging into Mike's tragic family history, she stumbles upon a dark truth that could put everyone in danger.

       I really enjoyed Kimberley Derting's 1st book, The Body Finder. It was just the right amount of creepy and romantic, even though that sounds weird. So I was looking forward to reading the sequel, which pretty much lived up to expectations. My only problem is with Violet and the fact that she doesn't seem to have learned anything from her scary encounter in the 1st book.

Why I love this book:
  • Rafe- A new character with a secret and maybe a secret ability? Yes, please. As long as this never becomes a love triangle because there are more than enough of those out there.
  • FBI- Sara Priest throws a huge blockade into Violet's attempt at a normal life, but her reasons for contacting Violet presents some interesting possibilities and moral questions for Violet.
  • 7 deadly sins- Each brief alternate voice chapter is titled with one of the 7 deadly sins, adding another layer of eeriness to the mystery person's strange confessions. This is very cool and I don't pay attention to chapter titles usually so I only caught this when I flipped back through the book.
Huh, what?:
  • Violet- Violet has a problem with listening to Jay or anyone else with good advice. Why does she have to have such a stubborn 'I have to do this by myself' streak? Her uncle is a cop and her family and boyfriend are always encouraging her to let them know if anything's going on with an echo. But. Violet repeatedly refuses to tell Jay that she's gonna go hunt down a dead body in the middle of the night because she doesn't want him to worry. Um, no Violet. You are the girl in the horror movie that dies because she went into the woods alone aren't you? You'd think she'd have learned to trust Jay and her family with such important info after the events of The Body Finder.
  • Chelsea- Violet's best friend is the typical, over-sexed annoying sidekick to your average inverted teen heroine. She got on my nerves. By page 5 I was sick of her. I admit, everyone seems to have a friend like this in high school so I guess it's realistic, but that doesn't make it any less irritating.
  • SPOILERS! NASTY BAD SPOILERS! Violet deciding that she and Jay were broken up just because they had a disagreement was infuriating. It's like she chose for both of them to suffer because she was too stubborn to listen to someone else's opinion.
Favorite Quotes:
  • Violet had only been six when her teacher had come to school carrying the shadowy aura that she hadn't worn the day before. The dark air that clung to her skin like heavy black smoke had terrified Violet, and she'd run from the classroom, forcing the school nurse to call her parents. By the time her mother had finished picking up Violet's class work from Mrs. Webber, the teacher had confided to her that she'd run over a raccoon on her way to school that morning.   - pg. 208
  • Violet clumsily shot to her feet, inhaling sharply as she clasped her fingers to her chest. When she felt someone grab her from behind, strong fingers gripping her shoulders, she gasped, choking on her own breath. Her heart pounded viciously, violently. How could she have been so foolish? Why hadn't she waited?      - pg. 283

4 robots
Still an interesting concept, a great mystery story, but suffers from Violet not learning from past mistakes

Acquired: bought


Oct 18, 2011

Book Cover Love (Top 10 Tuesday)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Top Ten Books Whose Titles or Covers Made Me Buy It
(more like Made Me Pick It Up and Read the Back and Then Decide to Buy It)

     So, I'm an art student. I loooove book covers and my dream job is to design book covers for YA books. Because someone gets paid to make all these awesome covers and I want to be that person. I want to be responsible for the epic cover that makes someone pick the book up to learn more about it.


1. The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman.   Most YA book covers on the shelf have photographic covers that tend to blur together when you look at them. It's the girl in the pretty dress syndrome. This book cover is beautiful because it's illustrated and the different colors and scenes tell a story before you even open the book. This cover is, I think, by Chris Stengel, associate art director of Scholastic but I can't find much about him, so here's an interview with him about the covers for Maggie Stiefvater's books: http://blogs.publishersweekly.com/blogs/PWxyz/?p=2507 See my review here: http://brain-on-books.blogspot.com/2011/05/big-crunch.html

2. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce.    Whoa. I love this cover. The colors and the shapes, the wolf and the girls. It's one of the best covers I've ever seen. Art is by strawberryluna, http://strawberryluna.com/gallery1.php

3. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.     The lipsticks instead of bullets had my attention immediately and made me want to find out what the book was about. Libba Bray has a talent for writing books that are all over the map in terms of subject matter! Review coming soon (after the creepy books for October!). Google has just informed me that this was designed by Elizabeth B. Parisi, executive art director at Scholastic, who also designed the cover for The Hunger Games. BUT this doesn't mean she was responsible for the creation of the art itself, as Tim O'Brien actually creates the art for most covers that Parisi designs.

4. Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev.     This is just so detailed and gorgeous. The blue hair and the vague setting combined with fairies makes this cover impossible to ignore. This illustration is breathtaking (at least to me, geeky art student) and you should definitely check out the designer, Jason Chan's website here: http://jasonchanart.blogspot.com/ He does a lot of book covers, trading cards, and video game art.

5. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld.    This was designed by Sammy Yuen, who is responsible for some great YA covers, http://www.sammyyuen.com/ This is in a word: epic. I'm so upset that they started changing the covers for these books (at least in the US). I could care less about another book cover with people's faces on it, but this is beautiful. Stupid publishers/marketers. 

6. Why I Let My Hair Grow Out by Maryrose Wood.     I can't get over the combination of photo and illustration, it just works so magically for this cover. I wanted it the second I saw it. The artist is Sarah Howell. BE WARNED! ARTISTIC NUDITY AT THE LINK! http://www.debutart.com/illustration/sarah-howell/7898#/illustration-portfolio

And the rest of these are books I haven't read but am interested in because of their covers:


7. Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale.     Google has just informed me that this is a YA contemporary coming out February of next year. It sounds really really sad actually. This cover is so simple and eye-catching. All of the chalk-like scribbling and writing just keeps me staring at it, even if I'm not sure the cover says much about the story. I'm not sure if this is the final cover because Amazon and B&N are showing a different cover completely. One I'm not so in love with. 


8. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.     This cover is not the US cover. The US cover is just ok, but this cover (which is British) is awesome. I've read more than a couple great reviews of this book and it sounds really good. This cover manages to weave in so many different things that make me want to find out where they come into the story. When I read this book, I'm going to buy it from the Book Depository so I can get this cover!


9. The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure by James Dashner.     I wasn't sure which cover to pick out of this series. They all just scream post-apocalyptic action adventure. This cover just looks so intense/epic/awesome, which the Maze Runner series is. If I hadn't been reading these books already, this cover would make me want to know what on earth is going on. 

10. The Game of Triumphs by Laura Powell.     The hand silhouette, the ornate jewelry, the whole composition of the cover - everything about it is pure genius. The 4 little symbols on the edges of the cards make me want to know what this is about. I am so glad this is a YA book because this is the kind of cover I would readily hang a poster of on my wall. And it's been out since 2009 and is being reprinted with this beautiful cover. How have I never heard of this book until now? Must investigate.

Bonus non-YA book cover!

11. Owly: Flying Lessons by Andy Runton.    Isn't this adorable? With the chubby owl and the blue background I was in love with this cover the moment I saw it. I love it and I want to go find some small children to show it to (but not in a creepy way). Here is a link to a gallery of more cute drawings by Andy Runton: http://www.andyrunton.com/artwork.html