Saturday, October 27, 2012

Trifextra: Halloween, Zombies and 33 Words

Hullo, Halloween.
You mean nothing to me except pumpkins and scary movies on English TV channels, and I find that a little sad, since you seem kind of fun. 

I first heard about you from R.L Stine's Goosebumps books when I was a kid. I thought of you as a mega costume-party. My favorite version of you is, of course, from Harry Potter- that isn't going to change- at least until I see you for real if I ever visit a Western country on Oct 31st.

That said, you inspire a lot of creativity, especially among writers, and there's nothing wrong with a good dose of creepy on a sleepy Saturday.

So here's the Trifextra Writing Challenge, this week in the spirit of Halloween: 

In 1937, a naked woman was found limping through the streets of Haiti. Upon interrogation, she was unable to give any details as to her identity. The woman was eventually identified in hospital as Felicia Felix-Mentor. The only issue is that Felicia Felix-Mentor had been dead for nearly twenty years. Felicia was, therefore, a zombie.

It so happens that well-known author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston was in Haiti researching a book at that time. Hurston met and photographed the woman/zombie, and pop culture took the story from there. Not surprisingly, there are a ton of internet articles discussing the authenticity of the claim of zombification, the chemical mix needed to create such a phenomenon, and then, of course, instruction on how we should all behave in the event of a zombie apocalypse. There is even a video on Youtube of Hurston describing the encounter.

Here is the photo that Zora Neale Hurston took of the supposed zombie.

Credit: Zora Neale Hurston 

We want thirty three words that are somehow related to Hurston's zombie sighting. How you structure your response is entirely up to you.

And my response to the prompt:




I don’t know the way.


They took that away.

I am lost.

Will you help?



Friday, October 26, 2012

(Review) Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan leaves me...very VOCAL!

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Goodreads Summary:

Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return. 

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

I am hysterical. This is a gush fest. You should probably go find a boat now so you can survive the ocean of adoration this review might possibly become.
Before reading this book:
ME:  Oh, look. Nice cover. Wonder, wonder…
REST OF THE BOOK-BLOGGERS: Read Unspoken! Read Unspoken!
ME: Meh, it’s just going to be typical YA.
REST OF THE BOOK BLOGGERS: Jared is hot! We love Jared! Kami is awesome! We love Kami!
ME: Meh. See what I mean?
REST OF THE BOOK-BLOGGERS: Unspoken is funny! Hilarious! Imaginary friends!
ME: Funny? Did you say funny? And imaginary friends? Ok- I love imaginary friends. Did you guys ever watch this cartoon show called Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends? I love that show. I’ll show you a screenshot. The little blue thing is imaginary, and his name is Blue. 

This is all completely unrelated to the book, of course, but hey.
Anyways. You win, big bad book-blogging world. I’ll take my chances with Unspoken, though I’ve never read a Sarah Rees Brennan book before (except her short story, “Let’s Get This Undead Show on The Road” which was really, really strange) and I loathe love triangles so much that I want to kill them all dead. Die, love triangles! DIE!

 “One of the lambs fixed its attention on Jared. “Baa,” it flirted.
“Boo,” said Jared.“Oh my God, Jared. Don’t tough talk the lambs.”“It was giving me a funny look.”

ME: Hee, I love Jared. That’s new in a YA book, me actually loving a leather jacket-wearing delinquent hero. Now let me call BEST FRIEND and gush.
ME: It’s funny! The world is brighter because Unspoken is so funny! Kami is a fun heroine. Ten and Tomo, her brothers, are adorable. Angela and Holly, her best friends, aren’t cardboard. So maybe the plot is a bit silly and kind of whatever…still. You have to read this!
BEST FRIEND: Why the hell are you texting me at midnight about some random book? But I’ll run along and get the iBook right now since you’re always so awesome…
ME: I know, I know.
(Okay, that didn’t actually happen- no proof- but we’re in each others’ heads all the time…)
BEST FRIEND promptly becomes silent, withdrawing into reading-mode.

“Why are you putting on lip gloss, my daughter?” Dad asked. “Trip to the library? Trip to the nunnery? I hear the nunneries are nice this time of the year.”

BEST FRIEND:  WHaaaaaaa.
ME: What?
BEST FRIEND (sobs uncontrollably): WHAT’s WITH THE ENDING? I HATE YOU FOR MAKING ME READ THIS BOOK! NOW I HAVE TO WAIT TILL…TILL…oh, forever, since the next book isn’t even titled yet…
(BEST FRIEND has serious problems waiting on sequels to arrive)
ME: Yeah, I know, what’s with the ending?
ME: It was funny, though. You have to admit that.
BEST FRIEND: Sob. Sob. Go away. Sob. Call me when the sequel comes out.

“Looks like an octopus made of smoke,” she said, and gave him a shiver of a smile.“I was feeling like a pretty badass sorcerer until you said that,” Jared told her.

So Unspoken is funny. That’s what you probably gathered from all the crazy-talk above. Kami is fun, Jared is fun, and the secondary characters are all amazing. You’ve probably gathered that too. My best friend does not like waiting for sequels, and if you haven’t gathered that, that’s okay. That’s lateral. We can still be friends.
Unspoken basically takes place in an invented town named Sorry-in-the-Vale somewhere in “Oxfordshire. Gloucestershire. Some place ending in ‘shire.’” The Lynburns have lorded over Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries, but before intrepid journalist Kami Glass was born, they left town. Now they’re back.
Kami Glass has been talking to an imaginary friend inside her head for years. The boy, Jared, is her closest companion. They’re like two halves of a whole, and although she pretends he’s real, she kind of knows he isn’t.
Until he appears in flesh. He’s Jared Lynburn, the delinquent son of Rosalind Lynburn, twin sister to the mistress of Sorry-in-the-Vale, Lillian Lynburn.
And suddenly, Kami’s world is tipped upside down.
Because, imagine yourself in her shoes. Your every secret, every joy, every sadness, every triumph has been shared with a boy you never thought would be real. He knows you as well as you do. He sees inside you. He’s a safe presence, like a diary, because he could never hurt her in any way. He’s imaginary. But then, suddenly, he’s not.
I loved that Jared and Kami both react to this situation in different ways. Jared is desperate and lonely, and losing Kami is unthinkable to him. He wants her to be happy that he is real. To both of them, they are each other’s most important person, but for Jared, Kami is the only thing that matters- unlike Kami, who does have other people to love her. He immediately cottons on to the idea of them being “soulmates,” a tried and tested YA cliché that Brennan gleefully leaves in the dust, but Kami is not a TSTL heroine who’d gush and follow Jared in whatever he does. She wants to get to the bottom of it all. She’s not ready to easily accept Jared’s corporeality and his individuality. It’s complicated for her.
I loved how difficult it was for Kami and Jared when they actually meet; I loved that they kept contrasting the ease of being imaginary to each other and being two different people.
Unspoken never veered too much into the territory of romance. There are hints, yes, but the romance didn’t kill the plot.

It is the plot that I have to frown at, a bit.

 It’s not a, “I’m blown away” kind of plot. Its more “all the characters are running around doing strange things and I’m laughing at the jokes” kind of thing. I saw the twists coming. I didn’t truly get what kind of magic the Lynburns can use. I got confused by the Henry Thornton character. The villains weren’t creepy enough, and the occurrences in Sorry-in-the-Vale wasn’t scary enough. It was simple, fun, the kind of plot you can shrug at and say “Okay, interesting.”
<spoiler> Why the hell did it take Jared’s group so long to get to Kami in the end when it took him only seconds to find her in the well? It was much annoying. I no like. I also got confused by who was doing what at the end. Where did Rosalind come from? Where was she in the first place? And I don’t get Lillian. Or Ash. And I don’t like them either</end of spoiler>
Only the end was kind of like kicking a sad, sweet puppy. My heart hurt a little. So did best friend’s.
All in all, for making me laugh, and for being so adorably quirky, 4 gold glowing stars. Seriously.     
One last funny quote? Awesome. All right, here we go:

“Is this true, Kami? Are you going out on a date?” Dad asked tragically. “Wearing that? Wouldn’t you fancy a shapeless cardigan instead? You rock a shapeless cardigan, honey.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday- Waves and Devils!

Here we are, post-hiatus! And what better way to be back in the blogosphere than with two awesome pre-publication can't-wait titles! Happy WoW guys!

(There will be more on the hiatus, and pictures, later. For now----here we go!)

This week both my picks have something in common: beaches. I'm in that phase where I'm finding books set by the seaside and devouring them.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
April Genevieve Tucholke (Goodreads Author)
You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town…until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery...who makes you want to kiss back. Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

Blending faded decadence and the thrilling dread of gothic horror, April Genevieve Tucholke weaves a dreamy, twisting contemporary romance, as gorgeously told as it is terrifying—a debut to watch

And this second one, guys, is an Annabelle Lee retelling. Love Poe retellings, so this one is definitely going to be on my shelves. Hope it's better than Masque of Red Death.

Ashes on the Waves
Mary Lindsey (Goodreads Author)
Liam MacGregor is cursed. Haunted by the wails of fantastical Bean Sidhes and labeled a demon by the villagers of Dòchas, Liam has accepted that things will never get better for him—until a wealthy heiress named Annabel Leighton arrives on the island and Liam’s fate is changed forever.

With Anna, Liam finally finds the happiness he has always been denied; but, the violent, mythical Otherworlders, who inhabit the island and the sea around it, have other plans. They make a wager on the couple’s love, testing its strength through a series of cruel obstacles. But the tragedies draw Liam and Anna even closer. Frustrated, the creatures put the couple through one last trial—and this time it’s not only their love that’s in danger of being destroyed.

Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s chilling poem Annabel Lee, Mary Lindsey creates a frighteningly beautiful gothic novel that glorifies the power of true love.

What are your picks this week? Leave your WoW links so I can check them out!


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Images used in this blog are either digital art created by the author or free photographs. Reviews and views expressed on this site are strictly personal. Text by Varsha Dinesh is copyrighted under Creative Commons.