Month: October 2013

Oct 31

Blackout by Mira Grant

Frightening, Zombies 13

Happy Halloween, Bookworms!

I’m looking forward to trick-or-treaters tonight! It’s supposed to rain, so perhaps we won’t reach our record of 300 ghosts and goblins, but it should be fun regardless. Anyway, today also marks the end of my all-scary-all-the-time reading binge. I’m celebrating by discussing the final installment of Mira Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy, Blackout. 

blackoutAs I mentioned when we discussed Deadline, it’s impossible to discuss the final installment of a trilogy without spoiling things at least a little bit… Particularly in the case of these books. So, here we go again. SPOILER ALERT! IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE FIRST TWO BOOKS READ AT YOUR OWN RISK! SPOILERS ARE INEVITABLE. WARNING WARNING WARNING! I WILL NOT TAKE RESPONSIBILITY IF YOU DON’T LISTEN TO MY SHOUTY CAPITALS! 

When we left the crew, Shaun was holed up at Dr. Abbey’s lab- the renegade mad scientist studying Kellis-Amberlee. He’s recently been proven to be immune to zombie disease.  Too bad he’s still grieving George so heavily that he doesn’t want to poke dead things with sticks. But wait… What’s this? The plot THICKENS. It’s a veritable STEW right now! So the CDC is even MORE evil than we’d thought, because Deadline ends with George WAKING UP!

WTF? It turns out, George has been cloned by the CDC. Holy crap on a cracker! The girl has been friggin resurrected! Unfortunately, she’s also being held prisoner, and can’t get in touch with anybody to let them know she’s alive…Luckily, all evil organizations have their weaknesses, and the CDC has been infiltrated by another organization. George is confused about who to trust, and all she wants is to get back to Shaun.

Excitement and drama and conspiracies and zombies abound! And then… Mira Grant threw me a plot twist I wasn’t expecting. I mean, it was sort of alluded to, when I look back, but I’m still not sure I’m not bothered by it. I’m slowly coming to terms… But… Yeeeeeeeeeah… Still- I cannot get enough Mira Grant and I can’t rave enough about these books. Egads, just read them already! Read them! Best decision I made all Halloween season.

So Bookworms, who’s excited about Halloween? Who has mentally prepared for the idea that a zombie apocalypse might just occur during trick-or-treating?! 

If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of Blackout by Mira Grant, copies are available on Book Depository. If you order using this link, I will receive a small commission, which will most likely be invested into more books. Help me help you, y’all. 

Gratuitous Le Kattoo photo!

Gratuitous Le Kattoo photo!

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Oct 29

Top Ten Tuesday: Literary Costume Edition

Top Ten Tuesday 36

Howl do you do, Bookworms?

Today is Tuesday, and, as is traditional, I’m going to be making a list with the fabulous ladies at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic was supposed to be Top Ten Spooky Book covers or Top Ten Halloween Reads. However, I’m feeling rebellious (and I pretty much covered Top Ten Halloween reads in This Post.) I’m going rogue because I can do that, saucy minx that I am. I’ve been thinking about how much FUN it is to do bookish Halloween costumes, so I’m going to show off some fun ones. Ready?

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1. Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. Alice is my homegirl. This homage? It surprises nobody. That doesn’t make it any less fun, though!

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2. Mary Poppins from Mary Poppins by P.L Travers. I must confess I’ve not read any of the Mary Poppins books. HOWEVER. Disney’s Mary Poppins has held a dear place in my heart for many many years. It also makes for a seriously cool Halloween costume. My pal Lyssa over at Psychobabble has some of the best Halloween costumes, and she graciously allowed me use of her pictures.

3. Little Red Riding Hood from Little Red Riding Hood by the uh, folklore of Europe? Fairy Tales lend themselves to fabulous Halloween costumes! Take, for example, this gem I donned in college.

How much do you love the bathrobe and towel in the background? College.

How much do you love the bathrobe and towel in the background? College.

4. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter by JK Rowling. The Harry Potter series provides ENDLESS opportunity for kickin costumes, but Hermione is something special. Here, my for-real-in-person-friend Chrissy of Quirky Chrissy gets her Hogwarts on in a Hermione Costume.

Hermione Granger

5. The Cheshire Cat from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. So I might be a bit of an Alice fan… Last year at DisneyWorld, I went to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party dressed in honor of the sneakiest of cats, that of the Cheshire Cat. I got the Queen of Hearts to pose with me, as an extra bonus.

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6. Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Lyssa seriously outdid herself this year with this killer Effie Trinket costume! She brought the crazy promoter of District 12 to life!

7. Peeta from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Some guys (like my husband) are NOT into costumes. The dude Lyssa married? Totally down with costuming. Brian got his Peeta on to go with Lyssa’s Effie, and I’ve got to say, it’s pretty impressive.

 8. Tweedle Dee from Through the Looking Glass, And What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll. Are you telling me that you and your high school friends DIDN’T put together the greatest group costume known to mankind in which you and your pal battled with kitchen utensils?! You missed out! (And no, I don’t think three Alice costumes is repetitive in the slightest.)

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9. A PENGUIN and we’ll go ahead and claim it’s from Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard & Florence Atwater.  Yes, I wore a penguin costume. To work. As an adult.

Penguin Katie!

 

10. The Cat in the Hat from The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. This is a really fun costume. I wore it my junior year of high school. Unfortunately, photographic evidence is not in my possession at this time. Just trust me when I tell you that it was really stinking cute, okay?

 Seuss-cat-hat

 

So my little Bookworms, what are some of your favorite literary inspired Halloween costumes?

*FTC Disclosure- Links in this post may direct you to the Book Depository. If you choose to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. The better to buy more books with, my dears. *

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Oct 28

Deadline by Mira Grant

Blogging, Frightening, Zombies 30

Hey There Bookworms!
You’re reading Words for Worms from my new self hosted site. Eeep! I tried to post a notice on the old account, but it errored out, so ignore that if you saw it. You probably don’t need to do a darn thing to keep following me as I’ve been using wordsforworms.com as my site address for well over a year. I’m neurotic, I believe in overkill. I want to send a shoutout to Spencer at Toastedlime who did all the hard stuff for a modest fee. I highly recommend getting in touch with Spencer for anybody afraid of the tech stuff involved in switching to self hosting. I PROMISE, he’s NOT Nick Burns, Your Company’s Computer Guy. (I’d also like to thank Rebecca from Love at First Book for sending me Spencer’s way. Thanks, doll!)

As you may recall from last week, I have gotten crazy super into the Newsflesh series by Mira Grant. Now, because this is a series, it’s damn near impossible to avoid spoiling book 1 in order to talk about book 2. So. If you’re concerned about having Feed spoiled for you (and I highly recommend reading it, so proceed with caution) this is your official SPOILER ALERT. SPOILERS AHEAD! SO MANY SPOILERS! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SPOILERS! IF YOU KEEP READING AT THIS POINT AND SEE SOMETHING YOU WISH YOU HADN’T, I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY, BECAUSE OF THE MANY, MANY BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS I JUST SCREAMED OUT. 

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Deadline by Mira Grant picks up where Feed left off. The beloved leader of After the End Times is gone, leaving a grieving brother and a hole in the site’s infrastructure. The remaining team members have picked up the slack, but nothing is quite the same. Shaun has taken a distinct turn toward the mentally unstable, as he regularly converses with his dear departed sister Georgia. (I talk to myself verbally all the time… It’s just that there isn’t a voice in my head answering me… Which puts me firmly in the “eccentric” camp… Or so I like to tell myself.) All is shuffling along until one day Dr. Kelly Connolly shows up at After the End Times seeking asylum. You remember Dr. Connolly- she was working at the CDC when Dr. Wynn got George, Shaun, and Rick out of that little assassination attempt on the highway? What EXACTLY a CDC doctor could need from a rag tag team of journalists and self proclaimed “zombie pokers” is unclear, and they don’t have the time o find out since shortly after the Doc arrives, a full fledged zombie outbreak gets in the way of storytime.

As it turns out, the conspiracy George and Shaun were chasing down in Feed didn’t end with the death of the Vice Presidential candidate/Batman Villain. Oh yeah. And Rick? The journalist the team picked up from that stripper lady’s campaign? He’s totes the VEEP now. So. That’s not weird or anything. But you know. When the dead are walking, all bets are off. Anywho. The team goes traipsing around in dangerous territory, always one step ahead of being eaten by zombies… Well. Not everyone is ALWAYS one step ahead of the zombies, but if I told you everything, you wouldn’t want to read this. And believe you me, you WANT to read this.

All the things I loved from Feed still apply to Deadline. The conversational tone of conversation the bloggers employ. The cheeky pop culture references (Becks, head Irwin, has a blog called Charming Not Sincere. I’m choosing to believe that’s a clear reference from Into the Woods because musical theater tickles me.) The zombie lore and the conspiracies. It’s downright delicious.

Has anybody else out there been bitten by zombie fever? I feel like The Walking Dead was my gateway drug and now I’m kind of obsessed. Anybody noticed the prevalence of zombie costumes on their Facebook pages? Let’s talk about the undead, Bookworms! 

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Oct 25

Confession Friday: I Eat Kiddie Cereal

Blogging, Confession Friday 32

Confession time, Bookworms!

I think there’s a law of the universe that says once you’ve reached a certain age you’re supposed to develop a taste for boring grown-up cereals. It would seem I fail at being an adult. Keep your bran flakes! Anything with chocolate and/or marshmallows is what strikes my fancy. The thing is, I don’t normally eat cereal for breakfast. I’m bad at mornings, so I pretty much just want coffee and for nobody to talk to me for a couple of hours. Mid morning I’ll have a snack, and then lunchtime is when I’ll indulge in a big old bowl of cereal. Sadly, kids aren’t technically supposed to eat this stuff because it’s full of sugar and processed-ness and it’s HORRIBLE for you. Ah the joys of being an adult. I can make all the bad decisions I want with nobody but the entire internet telling me that I shouldn’t.

I love you, Count Chocula.

I love you, Count Chocula.

In other news, this weekend Words for Worms will be making the switch to being a self hosted blog. What does that mean?! From your perspective, very little. Same blog, same content, still wordsforworms.com. It’s just a back-end change that allows me more freedom to play around with some snazzy tools and maybe bring in a teeny bit of cash on the side. I am a filthy, money-grubbing weasel. Confession #2. Now. Wish me (and the super smart techie guy I hired to do the hard work) luck. See you Monday!

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Oct 24

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Children's Fiction, Frightening 37

Salutations Bookworms,

Coraline I love October. The air is getting crisp and apples are in season. It makes me want to snuggle up and read even more than usual! In continuation of my dark and spooky October reading fest, I decided to pick up Coraline by Neil Gaiman.

Coraline is a little girl who is bored out of her mind during a school vacation. Her parents both work from home, but they are both too busy to amuse her one afternoon. She sulks around for a bit and eventually runs across the key to a mysterious door in their flat. Instead of containing the brick wall that normally lives behind the door, our little heroine discovers a dark passageway. Her curiosity simply won’t allow her NOT to find out what’s going on…

She discovers her “Other Mother”… “Other Mother” makes roast chicken and allows Coraline to play with all sorts of toys. She offers Coraline the opportunity to stay forever- if only she’ll sew black buttons in place of her eyes. Coraline is understandably creeped out, so she decides to go home. Only, once she’s home? Her parents have disappeared. Because “Other Mother” is evil and stuff.

It’s Neil Gaiman, y’all. The button eyeballs and evil surrogate parents are to be expected. To quote the perennially brilliant Joni Mitchell, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Our little heroine has to use her wits to save her parents, and some other lost souls along the way.

I thought this book was a lot of fun, but I wasn’t quite as blown away as I’d expected to be. It was a cute, fun, and appropriately creepy for the season. Just don’t go in expecting your socks to be blown to Neptune. My socks stayed somewhere between Mars and Jupiter.

What about you, bookworms? Anybody else read Coraline? See the movie? Tell me about it!

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Oct 22

What's In A Name? Top Ten Tuesday Talks Literary Names!

Top Ten Tuesday 53

How Goes It, Bookworms?

Things are lovely here in my neck of the woods. Fall is in the air, Halloween is around the corner, and all is well. The only way it could be any better? A LIST! That’s right y’all. It’s TOP TEN TUESDAY and I’m joining up with the ladies of the Broke and the Bookish to play along. This week’s topic is Literary Names We Love or Unusual Character names. Now. When it comes to naming children, I’m super old school and wouldn’t consider anything that hadn’t been regularly used as a first name for at least 200 years. Literary characters, however, are not subject to such silly rules. I’ve got reasons I like the names, I swear. They just might not be good reasons. Ready?!?!

toptentuesday1. Cath and Wren from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  Cath and Wren are twins… By surprise. That’s right. Despite modern technology, occasionally things slip by sonogram techs… Like spare fetuses. Anyway, their mom didn’t have two names chosen for her girls, so she split the one she had, “Catherine” in half.

2. Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell– Fun fact! Scarlett’s first name is NOT Scarlett. It’s KATIE. That’s my name too! Whenever we go out, the people always shout, there goes John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt KATIE! Da da da da da da da!

3. Olivia Joules from Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding- Back when we thought Bridget Jones was done adventuring, Helen Fielding introduced us to another quirky heroine by the name of Olivia Joules. Now, Olivia was born with a different name, but she wanted to start fresh. How can you go wrong with naming yourself after the unit of measurement for kinetic energy? I know my own personal Joules (from Pocketful of Joules, of course) is the bee’s knees.

That's Joules on the left. And Lauren on the right. And Chrissy photobombing.

That’s Joules on the left, me, Lauren, and Chrissy sticking her tongue out. Plus obligatory photo bombers.

4. Fergus from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  Sometimes you need to escape your past as a child prostitute, and the only way to make a clean break is by taking on the name of a Scottish warrior-type, okay?! Gosh!

5. Peeta from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I really like puns, right? And Peeta’s family runs a bakery. Pita is a bread. I just tell myself that his parents were lousy spellers. District 12 isn’t exactly known for its educational system.

6. George from Feed by Mira Grant. I simply adore the idea that George Romero zombie movies proved vital in the war on Kellis-Amberlee. Naming children after various zombie movies (because Shaun is OBVIOUSLY named for Simon Pegg’s masterpiece)? Hilariousness. Mira Grant is crazy clever.

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7. Minerva McGonagall from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. I really like alliteration, and it would seem Rowling does, too. Why does the coolest professor at Hogwarts get the honor of being on this list instead of, say, Severus Snape, if the only qualifier is alliteration? Because she’s awesome, and I said so. Soooo. Yeah.

8. Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Wuthering Heights and I have a complicated relationship, BUT. Heathcliff is a cool name, and it totally reminds me of that kickin’ 80s cartoon with the orange cat.

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9. Coraline from Coraline by Neil Gaiman. I’m still working on writing up my review for this one, but I really like the name Coraline. Gaiman said he came up with the name by butter-fingering the name “Caroline” while writing a draft. I tend to think faster than my fingers can type, so I’m prone to typos too. For a while I found myself typing “Kaite” instead of “Katie” pretty regularly, at which point I started pretending to myself that “Kaite” was simply a Gaelic spelling of “Katie.” I’m deluded.

10. Wendy Moira Angela Darling from Peter and Wendy by JM Barrie. I’ve got to give it up to the girl. If you can successfully rock two middle names and introduce yourself as such without a hint of irony? Girl’s got swagger.

What do you think, Bookworms? Have you got a favorite literary name? Let’s name us some houseplants! (Because that is a completely normal activity for college aged girls. What ELSE would you name a spider plant if not Charlotte?!)

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Oct 21

Contributing to the Literacy of a Minor

Children's Fiction, Family, Personal 48

G’day Bookworms!

It’s Monday, which is not fun. However, I had a fabulous weekend, and that helps make up for it. I went back to the homestead in the Chicago burbs. There I spent some QT with the fam, met up with some pals from high school who also happen to read my blog (Jackie and Ashley kind of rule), AND I had a fabulous brunch with the one and only Quirky Chrissy.

I’m going to pull the proud Auntie card an monopolize this post, because I love the crap out of my nephew. He has a real, honest-to-goodness name, but I refuse to use it. Instead I refer to him as “Squishy.” “The Squish,” “Squisherson,” or some other ridiculous variation. Why? Because THIS:

I basically nicknamed my nephew in honor of a jelly fish. But he’s so CUTE and he has the best CHEEKS and I LOVE him. So there. Anyway, this weekend Squishy and I did some reading. He was REALLY into One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue FishHe was flailing and pointing excitedly as only a 5 month old can do. What’s that you say? Of COURSE I documented our reading session!

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I’m a very animated reader when it comes to Seuss, and Squish is clearly a fan.

Squishy's talents include smiling, being cute, and diaper blowouts.
This book had a mirror in it, so it was a hit with Squishy. It also had a penguin in it, so I was a big fan, too! Now, being 5 months old, he was a pretty captive audience. It’s not like he’s capable of physically escaping my grasp or anything, but there were some happy coos going on, so I’m confident he enjoyed himself. At least, I’m confident he enjoyed himself with the reading. I take no responsibility for subjecting the innocent child to the abject humiliation that followed. THAT was Grandma’s doing. (I take no responsibility, but I did take JOY. So much joy. Have you ever seen a cuter sock monkey?!)

Sock monkeys haven never been so adorable.

This poor kid. He’ll probably hate us for this when he gets older, but how could we be expected to resist? That was my stellar weekend. How was yours, Bookworms? Anybody do anything awesome? Hang out with a monkey? C’mon, share with the class!

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Oct 18

Feed Me, Seymour! (Feed by Mira Grant)

Friendship, Zombies 43

Hidey Ho, Bookworms!

feedI’ve been having an absolute blast reading all these scary books lately. I kept hearing great things about the Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant- I simply couldn’t stop myself from picking up a copy of Feed.  The Zombie Apocalypse? Been there, done that. This book takes place 30 years post outbreak. Apparently the virus that causes people to rise from the dead was caused by an interaction between two genetically engineered viruses: one that cured cancer, and one that cured the common cold. Everybody has the virus in their system, but it only goes into amplification (read: zombification) when you’re bitten by a zombie… Or die of something else.

Georgia and her brother Shaun run a news blogging site. They spend their days chasing stories, exposing the truth, and poking dead things with sticks. Georgia and Shaun, along with their tech guru Buffy, manage to land a spot on the presidential campaign of a popular Wisconsin senator and are thus rocketed into the big leagues of media. Politics and conspiracies and ZOMBIES, oh my! There was SO MUCH I loved about this book that I’m going to have to get my list on…

1. The Pop Culture References: George is the new Jennifer. I was positively tickled when it was revealed that an entire generation of children were named in honor of George Romero, undisputed king of the zombie film. Apparently Night of the Living Dead became an incredibly useful field guide. I can only assume the spelling of “Shaun” was in reference to Simon Pegg’s hilarious zombie masterpiece, Shaun of the DeadAnd Buffy? She downright OWNS that her nickname is after the iconic and only Vampire Slayer. Also, the thrill seeking dangerous reporter types are referred to as “Irwins.” I can only assume this is a nod at the late great Crocodile Hunter.

Halloween Katoo

What? Le Kattoo likes Halloween as much as the next penguin.

2. Science: I loved the explanation of how the zombie virus came into being, The cures for two of humanity’s main nemeses combine to create the great its great downfall? Ah hubris. I don’t know just how accurate the virology stuff in the book was, but it sounded pretty plausible to this uneducated plebeian. The way it could lie dormant in the bloodstream, the desire to spread, the infection of other mammals… (As I was watching The Walking Dead on Sunday night, I thought for sure the ailing pig was turning zombie. My current theory on that is good old swine flu, but I digress.)

3. Realism: I happen to think that any mass contagion (influenza, smallpox, zombie-virus) would certainly pose a big problem to humanity. HOWEVER. I find it harder to believe that in an age of kevlar, body armor, and advanced weaponry, that the entire world’s infrastructure would crumble. I think the isolation, extensive blood testing, and attempts to prevent the spread of contagion are a more likely scenario… Though perhaps that’s just wishful thinking. In this world I could just stay in my house, order in groceries and mood stabilizers, and avoid anything that might eat me.

I’ve already started the second book in this series- I cannot get enough. I highly recommend this book, and I want to give a shout out to everyone who recommended this to me (including, but not limited to, Charleen from Cheap Thrills. She also wrote a companion post on The Passage for The Fellowship of the Worms this month, and you should go read it.)

Let’s talk about GERMS! Anybody out there gotten their flu shot yet? Anybody already been sick this season? Anybody want to give out their recipe for the world’s best hot toddie so we can all be prepared when the inevitable sniffles hit this winter? Talk to me, Worms!

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