Thursday, October 23, 2014

Semi-Charmed Winter 2014 Book Challenge

Thursday, October 23, 2014 with 4 comments

Hola, dear readers! It's time for another one of Megan's seasonal book challenges. If you're not familiar with her challenges, I highly encourage you to check them out - I always describe them as bookish scavenger hunts, which is basically what they are, since the point is to read books that fit into each of the given categories (and not your average categories like "romance" "drama" or "YA," but imaginative categories like "read a book that features mentions a type of weather in the title; i.e. rainy, windy, etc." or "read a book that depicts a famous landmark on the cover; i.e. London Bridge, Eiffel Tower, etc.").

I always have fun with these challenges, and recommend that if you haven't done one yet, you should give it a go. Here are the categories for this season's challenge, and some of the books I hope to read (which are subject to change at my whim):

*This Challenge Will Run From November 1, 2014 to February 28, 2015*

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that fits the general rules.
Fair Game by Patricia Briggs
10 points: Read a book written by an author who has published at least 10 books.
Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs
10 points: Read a book of short stories.
Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs
10 points: Read a book with a food in the title.
State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy

15 points: Read the first book in a series that is new to you.
Storykiller by Kelly Thompson
15 points: Read a book originally written in a language that is not your native language.
The Glassblower by Petra Durst-Benning (German)
15 points: Read a book written by a local author.
Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (El Paso)

20 points: Read a "bookish book" (in which books play an important role).
S. by Doug Dorst & J.J. Abrams
20 points: Read a book with a direction in the title.
Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz
25 points: Read a book from a genre you don't usually read.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon(Historical Romance)

25 points: Read a book with a song lyric in the title.
Ain't No Sunshine by Leslie DuBois (Ain't No Sunshine by Bill Withers)
30 points: Read two books with a different meal in each title.
Breakfast at Darcy's by Ali McNamara
The Girls' Guide to Love and Supper Clubs by Dana Bate


If you'd like to join in on the fun, please create your own preliminary reading list, and join the link up.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top 10 New Series I Want To Start

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 with 3 comments
I am a series addict. Lately, it seems like I read more series' novels than I do stand-alone ones. Nothing's wrong with that, of course - it's just that if I find a world that I love, I want to stay in it for as long as possible (I definitely view reading as an escape, lol). Anywho, if it weren't for the fact that this week's category, the Top 10 New Series I Want To Start, is limited to series that started in the past year or two, I probably wouldn't know where to start (as there are so many of them!) And to make things even easier, I'm only including series that already have at least one book out, not those that will be released soon. Here are some of the newer ones that are a part of my TBR list:

The Dark Elements by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I loved the Lux series so much that now I'm eager to read everything else Armentrout's written, especially this one!

Finishing School by Gail Carriger
I've actually never read anything by this author yet, but she's been on my radar for a long time now, and this seems as good a place as any to start.

The Winner's Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski
The synopsis for book one sounds sooo good!

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
I love post-apocalyptic fiction, and this series has so many good reviews that there's no way I could ignore it for much longer - I know I'll enjoy reading it.

The Kricket Series by Amy A. Bartol
It was actually the beautiful cover that drew me in, but the synopsis sounds so cute! Plus, its high ratings are in its favor.

Blythewood by Carol Goodman
I think I have a thing for supernatural/magical boarding schools....first there was Harry Potter, then a minor Winx obsession, and then a major Vampire Academy one. They just make such great settings!

Ghost Stories by Seanan McGuire
I like the idea of a ghost for a protagonist - ghost stories were always my favorite as a kid.

Night Owls by Lauren M. Roy
This series takes place in a book store which serves a supernatural clientele. 'Nuff said.

The Network Series by Katie Cross
See, what did I tell ya? Another magical boarding school series has made the list.

Cormoran Strike by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)
I can't believe I haven't read these yet - what's wrong with me?!

So, as I love to torture myself by constantly adding new series to my endless TBR list, please do let me know what new series' you're looking forward to reading next in the comments below! I will definitely check them out, and probably add a few of them to my Goodreads list.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

{Bingo!} Horror Reading Card

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 with 3 comments
It seems that Tanya @ has created a Horror Reading Card (inspired by the BINGO cards done by Stormy @ for this Halloween season. This isn't a competition, and there are no rewards, so I've decided I might as well give it a go - it sounds like fun! October is already almost half over, and sadly, I've only read two books, so I'm not gonna stress myself out over trying to compete for anything. Instead, I'll see how many of these I can mark off, and hopefully shoot for a regular ol' BINGO. Maybe I'll aim for completing row four. I'll list the books I read underneath the card once I complete them.

Creepy Cover
Small Town

Monday, October 13, 2014

Amazon | B&N | createspace
Elle is a survivor. Since the collapse of modern society, she's been living in the remains of downtown Hollywood, California, foraging for food and fighting for her life.

And then everything changes.

After she is forced out of her home, she heads north. What she finds is a group of bunker survivors, unlikely comrades, and the hope of a safe haven. Together, they journey toward the dregs of civilization, facing starvation, imprisonment and death.

They are alone, but they are ready.

Day Zero begins today.

Day Zero is a novella, the first installment in The Zero Trilogy, a novella series complementing the international bestselling Collapse Series.

And now a word from the author...

Why Post-Apocalyptic Fiction?

Many people ask me how I got started writing post-apocalyptic and survivalist fiction. The answer is that it found me. I have always loved survival and adventure stories – the more exciting, the better. I began writing my first post-apocalyptic story in high school, but I didn’t consider publishing a survival story until well after I had graduated. It occurred to me that people might ask themselves the same question as me: What would happen if the electricity went out permanently? What would happen if there were no cars, no food and no water? What if we were invaded by a shadow army and forced to defend ourselves?

These are all food-for-thought questions, and I got to play around with a lot of possible survival scenarios and conspiracy theories while building my story worlds. The more I wrote post-apocalyptic books, the more fascinated I became with the ideas, and the more I had to continue to write. I love the complete vulnerability that characters have when you remove them from their element of comfort on an entirely new level. Electricity? Cars? Cellphones? Computers? Running water? Get rid of all of it. It really strips characters’ humanity down and challenges their moral compass. Who will survive? Who will die? Who will learn to love and who will fall into the trap of hatred?

I love post-apocalyptic fiction because everyone can identify with the premise of what if? Day Zero fits into that niche perfectly! 

Writing about Post-Apocalyptic Hollywood and Santa Monica

Writers of post-apocalyptic fiction have the interesting task of taking the world in which we live and transforming it into an entirely different reality. For Day Zero, I chose Hollywood and Santa Monica, California, as the primary setting for my novella. Why those two cities? For one, I’m very familiar with them. I’ve spent a lot of time in southern California, visiting the Walk of Fame and Santa Monica Boulevard. It’s always best to base fiction on the legs of reality, so I went with what I knew.

I also recall asking myself the question, What would happen if Hollywood became uninhabitable? It’s interesting to think about the city without the glitz and glamour, with only the threads of civilization hanging on. I researched and visited famous places like Wilshire Boulevard, the Santa Monica Pier and Millions of Milkshakes on Santa Monica Boulevard. I believe grounding a story in something that exists makes it relatable to the reader – and fun for the author!

Summer Lane is the author of the international bestselling Collapse Series, which includes State of Emergency, State of Chaos, State of Rebellion and State of Pursuit. The fifth installment, State of Alliance, is releasing January 2015. Summer is also the author of The Zero Trilogy and an upcoming survivalist/science fantasy series coming in 2015. She owns WB Publishing, Writing Belle Magazine, and is an accomplished creative writing teacher and journalist.

Summer lives in the Central Valley of California, where she spends her time writing, teaching, and writing some more. When she is not writing, she enjoys leisurely visits with friends at coffee shops, dates to the movies, hiking in the mountains and strolling on the beach.

Author Links

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Friday, October 10, 2014

So, I was wandering around the blogosphere, randomly clicking on event links in an effort to discover new blogs (which, by the way, is a GREAT way to discover blogs), when I discovered this awesome event! Hosted by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books, Dani @ Entertaining Interests, and Mina @ Some Dark Romantic, Zombie Apocalypse: Survival Kit & Crew is an event that was created to celebrate premiere of the new season of The Walking Dead on AMC October 12th. Basically, bloggers must post their ideal crew & survival necessities based on the given categories. 

What makes it difficult is that you can only choose one person or item per given category, so you really need to choose wisely. After much careful thought, I have decided on the following:

*Items you already have on your person: undergarments, a shirt, bottoms, socks, tennis shoes, and a backpack

A Character from The Walking Dead
Daryl Dixon
Because he's Daryl Dixon, DUH!

A Character from a Book
Katniss Everdeen
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Katniss is an amazing shot with a bow and arrow, making her an excellent stealth fighter - when killing zombies, it's always better to be quiet so as not to attract the attention of even more zombies. Plus, she's a survivor.

A Character from a Movie
John McClane
Die Hard
John McClane is a complete badass, and he's also really great at getting himself out of dire situations. What's more - he's trustworthy, which would mean a lot during a zombie apocalypse. You'll always need someone who's got your back.

A Character from a Television Show
The 10th Doctor
Doctor Who
Because he's clever. And, TARDIS or not, if you ever find yourself needing to make a near-impossible escape, this is the guy/alien you'd want by your side.

A Loved One
My Brother Martin
Because it's always good to have a paramedic around.

A Friend
My friend Olga
Because I would miss our conversations. And I'd need someone to keep me sane.

A Freebie
Dean Winchester I was really gonna leave him out of this? Dean Winchester can kick some major ass, and he's insanely loyal.

1 Comfort Item
Space Blanket
It can prevent hypothermia, be used for warmth or insulation, become a makeshift waterproof bag, or reflect the sun to create a signal for other survivors.

1 Weapon
An all-in-one weapon. It's light, efficient, and can be used to both bash-in zombie brains and pry open doors.

1 Luxury Item
A 3L Bottle of Jack
Might as well go can be used as a disinfectant, but I can also drink it. So yes.

1 Food Item
It provides complete nutrition, which would be a rare thing in a world where you'd pretty much have to take what you can get when it comes to food.

1 Medicine/First Aid Item
Because why would I wanna make it through a zombie apocalypse only to die from a stupid wound infection?!

1 Hygiene Item
Hand Sanitizer
A simple and effective way to kill germs without having to waste my water supply.

1 Freebie
LifeSaver Water Bottle
Because water is a precious resource, and this would be one of the best ways of converting water sources you normally wouldn't touch with a ten-foot-pole into viable drinking reservoirs.

A small town somewhere in the middle of Texas, because Texas is bad-ass. And it'll be easier to find guns and ammo.

It probably started in China. Because why not? China is effing huge. Plus, the large population combined with globalization would ensure that the virus spreads quickly and efficiently. It's everywhere now.

I'm gonna say it'll probably be because of the money-hungry pharmaceutical industry. And bad hygiene. I can easily imagine some poor rotting corpse, pumped full of who knows what kind of drugs, causing some unsuspecting scavenger munching off of it (a rat, wild dog, etc.) to become a host to some freaky new strain of virus, that leads to re-animated (and hungry!) corpses once it mutates and carries over into humans.

Cure (if applicable)
Nope, there isn't one. The zombies may eventually rot away to extinction, but you'd have to survive long enough to see it happen. Sorry humanity, you did this to yourselves. Greedy bastards.

1 Item You NEED To Find
A silencer, because it would minimize the amount of nearby walkers that would hear you on that zombie killing spree you go on once you find some guns.

1 Item You WANT To Find
A cure. But you won't find it, because as I said, there isn't one. Sorry. You could continue to hope, though.

Method of Travel
Anything and, horse, feet, motorcycle, would depend on the situation, but I'd be inclined to use any and all available resources.