Sunday, January 30, 2011

Top 5 Sundays - Books You Loved and Were Surprised by It!

This feature was thought up by the awesome Larissa's Bookish Life

1 - Write a post listing your TOP 5 choices within the theme I chose (or was chosen on a poll) for the week.
2 - Mention this Blog on the post and link back to it.
3 - Fell free to use the Feature's image (there is a smaller size version of it bellow)
4 - After you've finished your post, add you link (of the post, not your blog's main page) to the Mr.Linky at the end of that week's post.
5 – If you don’t have a blog to post, just leave your list in the comments =)   

Books I Loved and Was Surprised by It!

I thought I would like this book but I was surprised to love it so much.  The journey and the ending make for a truly awesome read.  My review can be found here 
This was a really weird story but it definitely makes you think.  I loved the story of being a time traveling technician and having to figure out yourself and where you belong in the world.   Here's my review.
Not an ordinary vampire/werewolf story.  This book was surprisingly good and gives a new perspective on the genre.  Here's my review.
Really like this take on vampires, with them being venomous.  Tells a great story over 3 books and there's plenty of room for more stories in the future.  My review.
This book didn't sound like my cup of tea at all but I was pleasantly surprised by how funny and engrossing the story was.  My review.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sinister Sixteen

XVI by Julia Karr

*Read via ARC from Around The World ARC Tours

This book gets a not bad 3 out of 5 gnomes it has a pretty great concept and the characters are interesting, there's just not enough answers to the main character, Nina's questions.

I was disappointed by the book not being more like its description.  The description made it sound like she'd be on the run with her sister Dee but they just end up living with her grandparents.

Nina and her best friend are very different when it comes to their society's social norms for sixteen year olds.  Nina is of the view that just because getting a XVI tattoo on your wrist is mandatory, it doesn't mean that you should go right out and have sex.  She sees the tattoo as giving people an excuse to just go out and target girls.  Sandy on the other hand is a complete sex-teen and believes all the hype of the media and what they are taught in school.  They are basically encouraged to have sex as soon as they turn sixteen.

In the future the world is pretty much run by the media and strictly controlled by the government.  Freedom of speech is laughable and surveillance is everywhere.  People fall into different tiers in society that are much like a caste system.  The lower tiers which Nina is a part of, have almost no hope of rising to the top tier.

Also just like in any good dystopian society/future there is a rebellion fighting against the repression.  After her mother is killed and before dying she gives Nina an important task and tells her to keep her sister Dee safe.

Now Nina has to worry about Ed, her Mom's abusive boyfriend/Dee's father.  She's afraid that he will take Dee away to be a servant for him.  

Nina doesn't want a boyfriend but that starts to change once Sal comes into the picture.  He's different then anyone that she's ever know and knows a lot about the resistance.

I know that Ed's a horrible guy and he does make a great bad guy for the story.  The one thing I don't understand is why Nina seems so scarred from just seeing some of Ed's pornographic vids/videos by mistake one time.  It's not very plausible to be that messed up from accidentally seeing a dirty video especially with her not wanting to talk or tell anyone about it.  In this society with everything that we know about it and how sex obsessed it seems you would think that a fifteen year old would know that videos like that exist or at least not be traumatized by seeing one.

Secrets and mysteries abound but I just wanted more answers to be given.  Towards the end of the book it looks like some major questions are going to be answered and then it just ends.  I'm looking forward to the next book to see what happens next.  After lots of time spent looking for answers there are still plenty of questions left and the story stops on a positive note.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sentence Sneak Peek - XVI

XVI by Julia Karr

The first sentence from each chapter of XVI, it's a mini summary of what you can expect to read.

*All first sentences are from an ARC I read via Around The World ARC Tours
*A major spoiler is highlighted so read at your own risk.  :)
"Nina, look."

"It was late September, blue sky, crisp air—not at all typical fall weather in Chicago."

"I'd barely pressed the buzzer when the apartment door swung open and there stood Pops leaning on his crutch—holding the GI leg in his hand."

"There's Mike," Sandy said."

"Stop it!"

"You gotta listen to this one, Neens."

"Since Mike volunteered at the zoo, he had a digital code by his ID that allowed him access to restricted areas."

"Because of Sandy's tirade, we ended up on the later express and barely got back to Cementville on time."

"I clicked on the tiny video screen, I could see red hair sticking out from under her black-and-white-checked hatband."

"When we walked outside the Infinity machine room, Officer Jelneck was down the hall with a man and woman."

"Next morning I got up at the same time as Gran."

"I'd finally gotten all Gran's recipe chips loaded into the cook center and was busy cleaning the containers and filling them with ingredients."

"I contemplated diving for the notepad but thought better than to make a big deal out of it."

"On Monday morning, Dee and I stepped off the number 33 transit at the corner of Dickens and Clark and into our old neighborhood."

"The rest of the afternoon at school was uneventful."

"Next day in homeroom, Wei turned to me and said, "Sal told me about your mother."

"The next morning was pretty normal, though I couldn't stop thinking about Sal's kiss, and how it would be to see him."

"Gran and I moved Dee down the hall to her own room that evening."

"Wei caught up with me in the hall after the last bell."

"At about ten p.m. my PAV beeped."

"I'm a little nervous," I confessed, which was a huge understatement."

"I got up late, with plans to go back to Robin's Roost and poke around there."

"After my pathetic bathroom stay, I managed to sneak around Hal, the robotic hall monitor, and get into my next class."

"Sal hadn't called and I hadn't seen him at school."

"Dee pulled me into the living room; she was white as Gran's hair."

"Thank goodness the next morning was Saturday, because I'd barely slept the night before."

"Well, well..."

"No sooner had we gotten to the park than a police trannie cruised up in front of us—and stopped."

"You guys stay with Nina," Sal whispered to Derek and Mike."

"The green trannie was the only thing we saw, between the park and the apartment, that could've had anything to do with Ed."

"Sandy had fallen asleep while we were all still talking."

"Sal drove up a narrow gravel road lined with trees."

"When I finally got up the nerve, I lifted my head ever so slightly from Sal's neck and said, "You must think I'm—"
  "Amazing, Nina Oberon—absolutely amazing."

"I woke up to the tones of my PAV."

"Sandy called first thing next morning."

"Wei and I hardly said a word on the way to her house."

"Early Thursday morning, I was in the kitchen with Gran."

"I'm not ready."

"I grabbed Sal's jacket."

"We'd only had a half day of school on Friday, and I was home, in my room, sketching my makeshift dresser."

"The next morning, I was up early and had coffee ready when Gran came into the kitchen."

"Ed's LED wobbled across the floor, the light throwing shadows everywhere."

"The police found Sandy's body three days later, partially buried in a gravel pit outside of Cementville."

"December 10, 2150."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tee-rific Thursday - A New Look For Some Old Stories

Here are some great shirts from that feature some very good literary mashups or retellings of classic stories.
I love this shirt and with the way literary classics are being zombified it's just a matter of time before the title of this shirt becomes a reality, "Zombies in Wonderland" by Alice X. Zhang and Donald Lim.

I picture this shirt as being on the cover of some new YA retelling of The Wizard of Oz.  The shirt's called "Where Dreams Come True" by Nanda Correa and Ike Motta,

This is what I imagine Scarlett March from Sisters Red will look like all grown up.  So for any Red Riding Hood enthusiast out there, "RED" by Kneil Melicano would be the perfect shirt for you.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

**Guest Post from Susan Jane Bigelow, author of BROKEN**

Hi Bibliognome readers! Thanks a bunch to Becky for the opportunity to write a guest post here, and of course for the great review of Broken.

I admit it, I've loved superhero stories my entire life. When I was young, I couldn't get enough of the adventures of Batman, Wonder Woman, X-Men and more. I used to ride my bike up to town, buy comic books and some sort of horrible-for-you snack food, and sit on the rocks above the waterfall in the nearby park to read about superheroes and ingest toxic levels of sugar.

As I got older I found myself drawn to more complex interpretations and subversions of those familiar stories, and read works like The Maxx, Astro City and Watchmen. Even now, I love finding smart takes on super-powered people, like Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible and the brilliant, short-lived ABC Family series “The Middleman.”

What keeps drawing me back to these sorts of stories? Why do I write them?

Well, first off, they're a lot of fun. I love reading and writing about characters who can do astonishingly cool things! It speaks to my inner nine-year-old.

But also, I think a lot of the appeal for me lies in the incredible range of possibilities for fresh, exciting storytelling. In Broken there's a man who flies, a woman who can rapidly heal herself, and a kid who sees the future, among others, and their very existence raises all kinds of questions for stories to explore. How do these characters manage their abilities, and how integral are their powers to their personalities? How do they interact with an outside society that doesn't seem to like them very much? What do these characters actually do with their abilities, if anything, and why? Perhaps most importantly, how does each character deal with simply being different in a fundamental way from everyone else?

That combination of fantastic and human elements is one sure way that I get hopelessly sucked into a story. It's why I love science fiction and fantasy as much as I do. I honestly can't imagine writing anything else.

Superhero stories in particular can be simple morality plays, exciting adventure stories, or hokey good-guys-win fare. They can also be dark, hopeful, complex and engaging stories about human nature. I tried to put elements of both in Broken and other stories I'm writing about this world, and despite the dark setting I've tried to include moments of grace and hope.

In short, I tried to write the kind of book that a younger me would want to read in the park on a dreamy, hot summer day.

-Susan Jane Bigelow

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Interview - Susan Jane Bigelow, author of BROKEN

Broken Susan Jane Bigelow

Today at Bibliognome I have author Susan Jane Bigelow whose awesome book Broken celebrates its book birthday today.  Susan was nice enough to answer my questions and even wrote a guest post that will be posted tomorrow so remember to check it out.

Bibliognome: How did you come up with the idea for Broken?

Susan: I can remember a long while ago coming up with a list of superhero names that I thought would be cool to write a story about, and those included "Sky Ranger" and "Broken," along with a few others that show up in the book like Crimson Cadet. I've always loved superheroes, and I really wanted to write a story about them.

I'm also a huge political junkie, and I wrote the first draft of the story (for NaNoWriMo, I'm not ashamed to admit! I did it one year, and this was the result) in November of 2004, which for me was the end of a very depressing election season. I think some of that mood colors the dark political atmosphere in the book.

As for the plot itself, I have no idea. My writing process is really chaotic, I'll usually start with a character or a setting that interests me, and try to weave a story from there. It leads to a lot of false starts, but I've also managed to get some really great stories out of it.

Bibliognome: Which character did you think was the easiest to write for and why?

Susan: That's a good question, and not an easy one to answer! I'd probably have to say Michael Forward, because his motivations and mindset were the clearest to me. Also, writing Sky Ranger as he is in this story was really fun, because he's so utterly dense.

Bibliognome: Which character in Broken is your favorite?

Susan: Janeane, even though she's a bit player. She makes no sense and I love her to bits. Whenever she shows up, I'm like, "Yeah! Janeane!" She never disappoints me with how awesome she is.

Bibliognome: What author do you enjoy reading the most?

Susan: I have a lot of favorites, but I keep coming back to Lois McMaster Bujold, who writes the Miles Vorkosigan books among others. She has a talent for creating unforgettable characters in deep, well-though-out settings, and I love the sort of adventure stories she writes. Paladin of Souls might be the best fantasy book I've ever read. Some of my other favorites are Robin McKinley, Jacqueline Carey and Sharon Shinn.

Bibliognome: What's the best part of the writing process for you?

Susan: Finding out what happens next! I really love those moments of inspiration when I can take the story in a new and fascinating direction. I also really love editing, go figure. It's really satisfying to take a draft and make it a lot better.

Bibliognome: Seeing as your story is filled with extrahumans/superheroes, what superpower would you choose if you could?

Susan: Flight. Definitely. I'd love to be able to leap up into the sky and fly away whenever I wanted. To me that seems like one of the ultimate freedoms! I used to think being a telepath would be cool, but watching Babylon 5 cured me of that.

Bibliognome: What word is your favorite to say or write?

Susan: I have no idea! I can think of lots of words and expressions I overuse (like "quite" and "seeeriously") but nothing that's my favorite. Hm, maybe I need to develop a signature thing I say.

Bibliognome: Broken is a great stand alone novel that’s set in quite an interesting world, do you plan to write anything else set in this world or the alien worlds that you mention?

Susan: The book is set in one very tiny piece of a universe that I've been thinking about and developing for a long time. I've written other pieces set there, one of which is a follow-up to Broken (we'll see what happens with that--it's a very different story in many ways). It's a very diverse universe with a lot going on, so there's plenty of opportunities to tell interesting stories set in it.

Bibliognome: What are you writing currently or percolating in your mind to write soon?

Susan: I write in a number of different places, and that keeps me busy. I have a weekly column at a Connecticut political site called CT News Junkie and I've written a few pieces for the literary site I've got a couple of longer projects that I work on in fits and starts when I have time!

Bibliognome: Anything else that you would like to let people know?

Susan: Anyone who is on LiveJournal should feel free to friend me, I'm at, and I'm going to try and put lots of interesting thoughts about writing there when I can. I'm also @whateversusan on Twitter, where I'm pretty active! Broken officially comes out on January 25th, and you can head over to the Candlemark and Gleam website to get a preview and buy the book in all kinds of electronic formats. Thank you all for reading, and thanks to Becky for the opportunity to talk with you!

Quick Questions:
1.) dystopia or utopia?  Utopia, it sounds more relaxing (if a bit dull).
2.) pop or soda? Soda!
3.) silver or gold? Silver.  
4.) Starbursts or Skittles?  Oh, Skittles, no question. Who can resist the rainbow?
5.) pen or pencil? Pencil, with a good eraser.
6.) Future or past? I love history, but the possibilities of the future are what gives me hope.