Review ♦ The Ultimate Teen Book Guide

About the Book

Stuck for something to read? Whether you’re searching for a book to blow your mind and change your life or just a light read for the beach, The Ultimate Teen Book Guide is the perfect place to start.

This book includes recommendations from teen reviewers and your favorite authors – more than 700 books total – from true classics to must-read cult fiction, from the top award winners to up-to-the-minute bestsellers. Prepare to be inspired! Whether you like fantasy, horror, chick lit, graphic novels, sci-fi, or crime, there’s something for everyone.

You’ll also find special features written by expert authors – like E. Lockhart on books about love and relationships, and Patrick Jones on short and gripping books – plus Top Ten Lists by genre and the results of our Top Ten Surveys.

Each rave review comes with suggestions for what to read next, so with more than 1,000 recommended books total, you’ll never be without a book again!

My Thoughts  
I’ve always been addicted to lists, and being a book lover and voracious reader, books about books that contain lists are like heaven for me. I’ve seen, read and own lots of these books like 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, Book Lust, etc. But the only ones I came across that were specifically geared towards teens seemed to highlight the most obvious choices and weren’t all that informative. The Ultimate Teen Book Guide is exactly what I wanted. Not only does it contain the more traditional choices of reading recommendations for kids aged 12 and up, but it also features books that were originally written with adults in mind but that would be incredibly valuable for younger readers.

My own situation is that I have a thirteen year old son who came home from school, extremely upset because his teacher wouldn’t allow him to read his choice of book during independent reading time – every morning for 30 minutes the students must sit at their desks and read a book that they’ve chosen themselves for enjoyment reading. My son was told that it was an inappropriate book for his age, his grade and reading in general. He was reading Michael Crichton’s Next. After taking the book away from him, the teacher suggested he read a Goosebumps or Geronimo Stilton style book – I was shocked! My son read those books when he was about six years old. Anyway long story short I met with the teacher explained that there was so much that he was learning from the Crichton novels – he was spending hours looking up information on stem cell research, evolution, biology, genetic medicine – and I asked what he could possibly learn from the chapter books suggested to him. Also by making all the students in a class read according to the lowest students reading level, it’s only discouraging reading for some. My belief is that age range guides on books are only a guideline – they are not the bottom line – all kids are different and some will read below and others above.

By including adult titles and how they could be positive reading experiences for teens The Ultimate Teen Book Guide impressed me immensely! But along with that, I found this guide to be a treasure for myself. While reading it – and yes I read it front to back in a day! – I compiled quite the list of books I haven’t read before, both kids and adult reads. Each book gets a review style blurb from one of many different people that took part in creating this book, along with a related reading recommendation box which was really neat. It’s hard to describe exactly so I took some photos of the different page styles found throughout the book.

Click on any of the pictures to get a larger view.

This picture shows how the majority of the book is laid out. Something I liked was that the books are presented in alphabetical order by title – which gives it a nice mixture of authors, genres, levels and topics.

Then there is a whole section devoted to Subject lists. This would be really handy if you were looking for specific themes.

And the other thing I really liked was these 2 page spreads that were scattered throughout the book. The one I chose highlights the best in Graphic Novels, but there were many other types of reading spotlights as well.

My final thought – The Ultimate Teen Book Guide is a perfect treasure, and since it wouldn’t be very nice of me to keep the libraries copy, I fully intend to order one of my own :P
About The Editors

DANIEL HAHN is a writer, editor, and translator. He also works regularly with Shakespeare’s Globe and Human Rights Watch. He lives in Brighton, on the south coast of England.

LEONIE FLYNN us a librarian at a small private elementary and middle school in North London, where she spends most of her time reading, persuading kids to read, writing (about reading), and writing (about other things).

SUSAN REUBEN has been editing children’s books for 10 years and now co-owns a freelance editorial and design business. She lives with her husband and son in England.


Title: Ultimate Teen Book Guide
Editors: Hahn; Flynn; Reuben
Book Genre: Reference
Book Type: Hardcover 432 pages
Publisher: Walker Young Readers
Publication Date: December 2007
Other Reviews 
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© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

Review ♦ Angora Napkin

About the Book

Halloween is upon us.

It is on this fateful night that we find Beatrice, Molly, and Mallory, the pop music group known as Angora Napkin, running behind schedule for their performance at the big Halloween bash.

Taking a short cut on a dark, twisted mountain road, the girls cross paths with one of the wandering dead and offer him a lift to a secret underground party. It is there that they are introduced to a lonely, misunderstood zombie boy named Dennis who they unwittingly convince to eradicate life on Earth in order to keep the party of the undead going for all eternity!

Will Angora Napkin be able to set right the horror they’ve unleashed upon humanity and still make the show on time, or will we all become worm food in the wake of the new zombie apocalypse? 


My Thoughts    
This was a great find for me, it’s a graphic novel, there’s zombies, there’s rock n’ roll (well at least once the candy-pop lead singer gets possessed by an evil emo-undead guy) and best of all Angora Napkin is 100% home-grown Canadian! Hailing from Prince Edward Island, a small but beautiful eastern province, Troy Little has brought to life an all-girl group of musicians; Beatrice, Molly and  Mallory. They call themselves Angora Napkin and travel from gig to fan-filled gig in a very cool shaggin’ wagon. And yes they have been told that their name is reminiscent of feminine hygiene products.

Angora Napkin is a terrific graphic novel. The color style is especially eye-catching, done in black and white with splashes of blue tones. And the artwork is awesome! Each panel, no matter how simple it may look at first glance has so much going on, the detail really is amazing. The storyline is a little bit of quirky, a splash of weird and lots of fun. This book seemed like the perfect intro to the characters and I would love to see more further adventures with them. Some stories about how they got where they are would be cool – I’d really enjoy more about what made Mallory such a train-wreck of awesome, I could totally see her history being something along the lines of: Once known as the sweetheart of the island, Mallory couldn’t live up to her beloved fans, changing her name, and leaving Green Gables behind, Mallory found peace in the arms of drugs, alcohol and the undead!   But hey I’m just a reader, check out the real creator of Angora Napkin Troy Little on his website – Caffeine & Sleep Deprivation V2.0  - Oh and do browse the archives from his old blog too!

About The Author

Troy Little is the author of the critically acclaimed graphic novel Chiaroscuro.  He lives in Prince Edward Island, Canada with his wife, Carol, and twin daughters, Alicen and Hayden.

Troy is currently working on bringing Angora Napkin to life in an animated pilot. He plans on returning to work on the next volume of Chiaroscuro in early 2009.


Title: Angora Napkin
Author: Troy Little
Book Genre: Graphic Novel
Book Type: Hardcover 152 pages
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Publication Date: February 2009
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© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

Reading: a meme

 The Reading Meme

Today I came across a really cool meme that three of my favorite bloggers had done, and I’m going to borrow the idea – what’s that old saying “Imitation is the sincerest of flattery!” Check out the bloggers that I grabbed this meme from: Kailana and Chris and Maree.

1. What author do you own the most books by?
The two authors I own the most books by are Stephen King (54) and Richard Laymon (33)

2. What book do you own the most copies of?
Shakespeare – I have 3 different copies each of Othello, Hamlet, King Lear and MacBeth.

3. Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Not really, if we always spoke using perfect grammar the English language would sound weird!

4. What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Hah! None – although I had a slight book-crush on Bigby from Fables :P

5. What book have you read the most times in your life?
The one I’ve read the most would be Where The Wild Things Are. But the non-picture book I’ve read the most would be Geek Love or House of Leaves.

6. What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
Either Flowers In The Attic by VC Andrews or Stephen King’s Pet Sematary.

7. What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
Worst story would be The Shack, but worst quality of writing would be Breaking Dawn.

8. What is the best book you've read in the past year?
That’s such a hard question! I loved Audrey Niffenegger’s Time Travelers Wife, but Wally Lamb’s I Know This Much Is True was also amazing and The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson completely blew me away.

9. If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, it’s unbelievable touching.

10. Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for literature?
It would make no difference to me really. This is one award that I am completely uninterested in.

11. What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
Maybe King’s The Dark Tower series, anything by Palahniuk, Secret History by Donna Tartt, Huxley’s Brave New World. Oh and The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.

12. What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
Same as above - King’s The Dark Tower series, anything by Palahniuk, Secret History by Donna Tartt, Huxley’s Brave New World. Oh and The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.

13. Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
One night I fell asleep reading the bio page at the back of Angel Dust Apocalypse by Jeremy Robert Johnson and I dreamt that I was sitting beside him on a park bench. We were in a small park, facing a swan pond, we weren’t talking or anything, but there was an old fashioned popcorn box sitting between us filled with worms that we were throwing towards the swans for them to eat. What made it really weird was that as I looked around I could see that the park was circular and about 15 feet in diameter. Outside of that we were surrounded by a never-ending desert?! It didn’t seem weird at the time though, but I remember so vividly looking at the popcorn tub of worms squiggling and then turning toward Jeremy Robert Johnson and seeing that he had tattoos that were moving across his skin – it was fascinating!

14. What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
That depends on your definition of lowbrow. I have two ways of thinking - “lowbrow-camp” meant to be uncultured and “lowbrow-trash” trying to be legit but failing miserably – I enjoy the camp not the trash and I’d have to say that the Twilight series was the most uncultured thing I’ve read.

15. What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
Does the bible count?!

16. Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
Honestly I have no idea.

17. Roth or Updike?
I’ve enjoyed reading both, but if forced to choose I’d go with Philip Roth, I loved Portnoy’s Complaint.

18. David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
I can’t compare the two – they are both excellent.

19. Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
Shakespeare for sure.

20. Austen or Eliot?
Have to say Austen – although I’ve never read anything by Eliot.

21. What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
A mix of classics and prominent science-fiction/fantasy.

22. What is your favorite novel?
Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love, no book has effected me or left such a lasting impression as much as this one did.

23. Play?
Really silly, but in grade school we went on a class trip to see a stage production of Alice In Wonderland – I’ve never forgotten how much I loved that. And for musical it would be The Rocky Horror Picture Show! For a more traditional play I’d say A Streetcar Named Desire.

24. Short story?
Hmm, first that came to mind were Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery and The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. But I love all sorts of short stories.

25. Epic Poem?
The Divine Comedy by Dante.

26. Short(er) poem?
Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath, If You Forget Me by Pablo Neruda, I Did Not Die by Melinda Sue Pacho, there’s so many.

27. Work of non-fiction?
Anything by Hunter S Thompson.

28. Who is your favorite writer?
I really can’t say, there are hundreds of writers that I love each for their own particular style.

29. Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
Gonna have to go with Stephenie Meyer on this one. And sometimes I feel that Stephen King is overrated also. I’ve just always wondered if his fame would make anything he writes a bestseller despite the quality.

30. What is your desert island book?
Only getting to choose one book would be such a nightmare! Some of my ideas would be the original and complete collection of Grimms Fairy Tales, War and Peace (otherwise I will never read this) or maybe just the dictionary.

31. And ... what are you reading right now?
Got a few on the go, I’m almost done Enclave by Kit Reed and Wings by Aprilynne Pike. Just getting into The Man Who Forgot How To Read by Howard Engel and Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper.

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

Review ♦ Sister Wife

About the Book

I am consumed with impure thoughts.
My head is swirling with stories that would give
the Prophet heart failure if he knew of them.
I fear that I am destined for eternal damnation.

In the isolated rural community of Unity, the people of The Movement live a simple life guided by a set of religious principals and laws that are unique to them. Polygamy is the norm, strict obedience is expected and it is customary for young girls to be assigned to much older husbands.

Celeste was born and raised in Unity, yet she struggles to fit in and to accept her ordained life. At fifteen she is repulsed by the thought of being assigned to an older man and becoming a sister wife. She wants something more for herself but feels powerless to change her destiny because rebelling would bring shame upon her family.

Torn from the headlines and inspired by current events, Sister Wife is a compelling portrait of a community where the laws of the outside world are ignored and where individuality is punished. 


My Thoughts  
By now, you’d have to live under a rock to have missed hearing about the various controversies surrounding polygamy in North America. I think it’s fascinating from a educational point of view. The success that these different sects have is really unbelievable, living completely cut-off from the main-stream as they do. They live in their own self-contained worlds where family and community is of the utmost importance. What one person needs, the entire community is prepared to give. But does being part of a community like this take away your individuality? Is each member given the right to speak their voice, to make their choice? And what happens to the person whose thoughts do not reflect the entire family? Does this make them a traitor to their own community?

Sister, Wife examines these thoughts from three conflicting yet complimentary perspectives. Living within a polygamous sect this story gives voice to three young girls, each with a different opinion on how they think life should be lived and how they hope to live their own lives.

Celeste was born into The Movement and will soon be married into a family made up of one older male and a group of sisters. She will share the role of wife, mother and sister. However, she does not she this as the life for her, she dreams of boys her own age rather than old men. And hopes to experience falling in love, not having her husband chosen for her.

Nanette, a few years younger than Celeste sees The Movements way of life as perfect for her. She is happy that a man has already suggested that he may like her to join his family. The idea of living her life surrounded by sisters with one husband as head of the group to be comforting, perhaps because the presence of the other wives will provide her with a never-ending sense of belonging and safety.

Taviana, is the most interesting character to me. She was born into main-stream society and when she found herself in a bad situation a family from Unity adopted her into The Movement. Because of this she has seen both world’s that are open to her. However, because of her past, she wonders whether she could ever be welcomed into the group truly, as a sister-wife. Living in Unity seems agreeable to her at this point, she is cared for and no longer has to worry about staying safe in the world. Soon though, she must make a decision on where her life will lead.

All in all, Sister, Wife was an enjoyable read. It would definitly be a good way for younger readers to learn more of the situation regarding polygamy. The author has written this book in a way that doesn’t press any underlying opinion on the reader. It was not complicated, which I think makes it a good introduction for kids who are wondering exactly what all the media is buzzing about. It also made me, as an adult reader, feel that I would really like to delve deeper into this topic and take on some more serious non-fiction reading.

Just some thoughts that I jotted after reading – nothing to do with the actual book, but rather the topic.
This book and the subject it covers has been on my mind since finishing it. Specifically how to put aside all my previous thoughts on religions and/or organizations that support/practice polygamy. But then I started thinking about whether my thoughts are influenced by the mass-saturation of media coverage or actual fact. So I did a bit of reading. The conclusion that I came to is that polygamy may not be my thing, but in certain situations I can see that it is a reasonable (remember, my opinion only) way to live. Yes, some women (and men) may not want to live in this type of community but many, find it the perfect way to live. I think with any community safety and quality of life are the main things. Yet, consider last years giant raid in Texas, hundreds of children were taken from loving and safe families to be deposited in foster care/children’s centers, in some cases dangerous/abusive places with strangers who looked down on them and ridiculed them. Afterward, officials returned the children stating only that it was a case of misinformation. A year later some of these children are still suffering from the emotional damage of being protected by the Texas State CPS.  Anyway, polygamy isn’t something new, it goes back thousands of years, I do agree that it should come down to choice – but when it is part of a communities religious belief, that makes it so much harder. If the general public can tell the FLDS that they cannot continue on with their traditions, where does it stop? Either all religions are ruled by the state/governing body or none. It’s a can of worms that I’m glad I don’t have to open.

About The Author

Shelley Hrdlitschka discovered her love for children’s literature while teaching elementary school in the 1980s. Then, while on a parenting leave, she began writing children’s stories. It took ten years, but she eventually decided to focus on juvenile and young adult fiction and is now the author of six award-winning novels, all published with Orca Book Publishers.
Shelley offers school and library presentations on the value of perseverance. She describes the pitfalls she encountered on her path to becoming a published author and discusses where ideas come from using examples from her books. She touches on numerous literary devices, tailored to the age of the audience. Shelley also reads from some of her many rejection letters—the part of the presentation that students seem to like most. She is also available for writing workshops.
Shelley lives in North Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband, three daughters and menagerie of pets. When she’s not writing, she can be found hiking, sailing, snowshoeing or hidden away with a book and some good music. (Orca Book Publishers Canada)


Title: Sister Wife
Author: Shelley Hrdlitschka
Book Genre: Young Adult Fiction (12+)
Book Type: Trade Paperback 269 pages
Publisher: Orca Books
Publication Date: October 2008

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© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

Kitty Norville Giveaway Winners!

Well, aren’t I quite the moron this month. I hosted a giveaway awhile back and completely forgot to announce the winners. I used List Randomizer to shuffle all the names and put them into a spreadsheet and assigned each one a number, then I consulted the wonderful Random Number Generator.

The first three numbers and the people they correspond to will each be recieving a copy of Carrie Vaughn’s newest Kitty Norville book Kitty Raises Hell.

And the winners are:

#3 – Indigo @ Scream Quietly

#46 – Chris @ Stuff As Dreams Are Made On 

#121 – Not Nessie @ Today’s Adventure

And after consulting the Random Number Generator for the Grand Prize of the entire Kitty Norville series we have #155 which means …

The Winner of all 6 Kitty Books is….


Darla D. from Books & Other Thoughts

Darla D. says she would like to shapeshift into a dolphin or maybe if she was in the mood for flying she might like to be a dragon!

Congrats to the winners and thanks to everyone who took part in my giveaway. Huge thanks to Miriam at Hachette for organizing this blog tour and Ginormous Thanks to Carrie Vaughn for writing such a fantastically fun series of books. I will be emailing all the winners for your addresses, which I will forward along to The Hachette Book Group which is who will be mailing your books out to you.

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

Final Update ♦ Wrap-Up ♦ Read-A-Thon 04/09

Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon

Guess who fell asleep at hour … fell is actually a little too soft of a word. Plummet would be better. Around hour 15/16 I decided to cook up a stir-fry, thinking it would give me a nice boost and it worked – I read for about another 2 hours. After that I was out. Don’t think I’d moved until around noon-ish when the dogs starting wrestling on top of me and rolled me right off the sofa.


End Of Event Meme

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
Considering I remember being wide-eyed and awake one minute and the next thing I know hitting the floor under a pile of growling fur and teeth … probably the most daunting was long after the Read-A-Thon had ended :P

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
No specific titles, I think the key is to stock your pile with books you’ve been dying to read, various lengths, types and formats. Variety is the perfect way to tackle all your moods during the 24 hours.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
No. The Read-A-Thon was perfect. Organizers and Cheerleaders were amazing as always!

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
Everything worked well, the excitement and enthusiasm were the main thing that made this so great. Also it was totally awesome to see readers doing vlogs – those were too fun!

5. How many books did you read?
6 in total. Although one was an audio-book (On Writing) and one I listened to for an hour but then continued reading the actual book version (Haunting of Hill House)

6. What were the names of the books you read?
PrettiesDead Is The New BlackOn WritingLife Inside: A MemoirHaunting of Hill HousePride & Prejudice & Zombies

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
Actually, I enjoyed all of them.

8. Which did you enjoy least?
I’d have to say Life Inside: A Memoir – even though I enjoyed reading it, I think because it is a non-fiction dealing with pretty serious issues reading it slower and allowing for more time to digest the information may have made it more enjoyable.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
No way, the Cheerleaders were fantastic! They did a wonderful job!

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
Definitely I’d like to participate again. This time I enjoyed the Read-A-Thon in a relaxed manner, concentrating on having fun. So I would love to be a Cheerleader next time, visiting all the readers and offering support and enthusiastic motivation.


 Books I Read

 Thank You For A Fantastic Read-A-Thon

The following are people I would like to say thanks to, whether they were Read-A-Thon Organizers, Cheerleaders or they just stopped by to say hello. Thanks so much to all these wonderful people who offered support during the Read-A-Thon. And a huge thanks goes out to Dewey for inspiring so many people to follow in your footsteps and keep the Read-A-Thon going. Here is some more information on the History Of The 24 Hour Read-A-Thon.

B. Kienapple @ A Certain Bent Appeal Jessica @ The Curious Reader
BermudaOnion @ BermudaOnion’s Weblog Jodie @ Book Gazing
Bethany @ B&B Ex Libris Kailana @ The Written World
Blodeuedd @ Book Girl of Mur-Y-Castell Kim @ Sophisticated Dorkiness
BlondieRocket @ Reading Comes From Writing Kim L @ Blue. Bold. Adventure.
Buckeyegirl31 Kool-Aid Mom @ In The Shadow of Mt TBR
Bybee @ Naked Without Books Lena @ Save Ophelia
Care @ Care’s Online Book Club Lenore @ Presenting Lenore
Carrie @ Dark Novels Lezlie @ Books ‘N Border Collies
Chris @ Book-A-Rama Linda @ Silly Little Mischief
Chris @  Stuff As Dreams Are Made On Lorin @ Arch Thinking
Christina @ Reading Through The Night Maree @ Just Add Books
Dar @ Peeking Between The Pages Mari @ MariReads
DreamyBee @ Subliminal Intervention Megan @ Leafing Through Life
Elizabeth @ As Usual I Need More Bookshelves Melissa @ Melissa’s Bookshelf
Fyrefly @ Fyrefly’s Book Blog Nymeth @ Things Mean A Lot
Gavin @ Page 247 OlympianLady @ The Phantoms Lair
Hannah @ WordLily Stephanie @ Confessions Of A Book-A-Holic
IceDream @ Reading In Appalachia Trish @ Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'?
J.S. Peyton @ BiblioAddict Trish @ Trish’s Reading Nook

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

Read-A-Thon ♦ Mid-Event Survey

Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon Mid-Event Survey

1. What are you reading right now?
Life Inside: A Memoir by Mindy Lewis

2. How many books have you read so far?
So far I’ve done 3 - PrettiesDead Is The New BlackOn Writing

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
Probably Pride & Prejudice & Zombies or maybe Slumdog Millionaire

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?
Not really, I successfully worked the Read-A-Thon into my plans today.

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
No interruptions so far, everything’s going great.

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
Hmm, well last Read-A-Thon I got sorta stressed out about how many pages, how quickly I was reading. But this time I’m a lot more relaxed, enjoying my reading.

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
None, this is my second Read-A-Thon and it’s just as great as my first.

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader if you were to do this again next year?
Find out how to post updates on my blog from my BlackBerry :P

9. Are you getting tired yet?
It’s only just past 10pm here so no, I’ve just gotten my normal nighttime second wind.

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?
I think the best thing to remember for readers it that it’s not a competition or a race, for me the main idea behind the Read-A-Thon is to spend an entire 24 hour period doing what you love. And sharing that with all the other participants. It’s a celebration!

As for the cheerleaders – they’re always super amazing! Their enthusiasm is incredible and you can really tell how much fun they have motivating and offering encouragement.



Anyone who knows me (or read the title of my blog) knows that I love zombies with all my heart!

While browsing I found this poster available for order at the Demco website. It even has matching bookmarks. They have all kinds of neat library related things on the site.

Not sure what this has to do with the Read-A-Thon. Just a random thing that made me smile :)

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

Literary Letter Mini-Challenge

Literary Letter

Time for another very cool mini-challenge. This time around Shannon from Flight Into Fantasy would like for us to write a letter to one of the characters from a book we’ve been reading. It can be about nearly any topic we want, and any character we choose. I love this type of creative writing but let me warn you I may like it, but that doesn’t mean I’m not crap at it! Have fun everyone :)


My letter is going to be to Daisy Giordano from Dead Is The New Black, so for anyone not familiar with the book here is the synopsis from the back cover:

Dead Is The New Black by Marlene Perez

Fashion fad … or something freakier?
Everyone in the Giordano family is psychic – except for Daisy. When her mother, who uses her powers to solve crimes, enlists Daisy’s older sister to investigate a teenage girl’s mysterious death, Daisy feels utterly useless. But she takes matters into her own hands when she learns the victim has lots of company – teenage girls are being attacked all over town, including at Nightshade High School, where Daisy is a junior. And when she discovers a vampire may be the culprit, Daisy suspects head cheerleader Samantha Devereaux, who returned from summer break with a new ”look.” She looks a little … well, dead.

Is looking dead just another fashion trend for pretty, popular, Samantha, or is there something more sinister afoot? Daisy will stop at nothing to find out – she even joins the cheerleading squad. And with a little sleuthing help from Ryan, an old friend (who may be turning into something more), Daisy not only reveals the identity of the vamp, she also discovers powers that she never knew she had.

Dear Daisy,

It must really suck to be the only person in your family without any psychic abilities. I mean, really, your mom is like a super-sidekick for the local cops, and between your two sisters they can telekinetically steal the clothes right off your back while reading the outraged curses that are going through your thoughts. It must be kinda weird too, when you are thinking about boys or even just looking forward to the big party that’s coming up, knowing that you mom might be peeking inside your head. Do you guys have any sort of rules about respecting one another’s privacy? And can you trust them not to get in your head? I’d also be curious to know how it makes you feel – being the only normal one in the family. Are you envious of their powers? Or just glad that you don’t have to deal with the weirdness? Do you ever feel like your mom is disappointed in you for not being like your sisters? Must be really tough, plus what on earth was your mom thinking when she named the three of you?? Daisy, Poppy and Rose!! Gah, that’s is just too cutesy for me. Anyhow, that’s what I’ve been thinking of since first reading about your life, just how you deal with the circumstances of your family. Oh and I have to mention, Ryan? that hot guy you’ve been seeing – I think that he may be hiding something from you. I’m not sure why, but I’ve got this weird feeling about him. Then again, you live in a town called Nightshade, where coffins are considered the perfect accessory. You probably know better than me about strangeness!

Take care and watch out for those werewolves,


© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

Love Your Library Mini-Challenge

Library Love

What an awesome mini-challenge! Jessica of The Curious Reader works at a library (dream job) and is curious to hear what we all think of our own local libraries. She’s given us 4 questions to answer and we can be as brief or as detailed as we like.

So here goes:


1.  What is the name of your local library? What city is it located in?
My local library is known as The Halifax Public Library. It is a collection of 15 branches spread out over the entire Halifax Regional Municipality. My home branch is the Sackville Library, and since I’ve visited most all the branches I would say the one I like best is the Keshen Goodman Library.

Keshen Goodman Library Sackville Library

2.  How often do you go to the library? If you're a regular, do the staff know you?
Usually I visit the library once or twice a week depending on when my items are due back, if either of the boys want are looking for something specific, or if my holds list gets over 10. Yup, I would say most of the staff recognize me, probably as the crazy lady who has to bring 2-3 bags to get the books home, or as the person who racks up the highest late fees.

3.  Do you browse while you're there or just pick up items you have placed on reserve?
Most of my visits are to pick up holds, and I always end up browsing a little. Mostly checking out the new release shelf and the dvd section.

4.  What is your favorite thing about your local library?
Oh geeze, I would have to say my favorite thing is that the library has such a great amount of services available. Love the DVD and CD selection, the online catalogue is perfect and the selection of books is quite extensive. Another huge thing that really makes our library so great is the ability to download audio-books, e-books and MP3 (ipod/smartphone compatible) books.

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

Update 1 ♦ Read-A-Thon 04/09


Wow, my first update for the Read-A-Thon and we’re coming up on hour 9. So far, I haven’t read too many books, but that’s because I listened to an audiobook all morning. I did manage to finish off a book I totally forgot leaving in the glovebox of the car on the way home though.

The library sale was pretty cool – I did happen to pick up some paperbacks and the entire Wideacre trilogy (lol) And I bought a Library bag which is cool since it’s not even from my library system. But what was supposed to be a quick trip turned into a half-day jaunt since hubs and youngest son wanted to stop at some used bookstores – I was going to grumble and complain about being in a hurry (yeah right haha) So we had a very nice and totally bookish day :D

Now I’m all ready to be lazy and read the day away, after taking an hour or two to blog-hop first! Hope everyone’s having a wonderful time!

Title of book currently reading: Pretties
Title of books read: Dead Is The New BlackOn Writing*
Number of books read since you started: 1
Pages read: 474
Running total of pages read since you started: 474
Amount of time spent reading: 8 hours 
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 8 hours 



© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

Getting Ready For The 24 Hour Read-A-Thon ♦ 04/09

It’s almost that time … time to start reading for 24 straight hours! Or as close as I can manage. I’ve got everything prepared, all my books, snacks, drinks, cozy PJs and hopefully everything will go smoothly.

Oh but wait, I already ran into a glitch in my plans earlier this evening. Hubs mentioned to me that Saturday morning there was a Library Book Sale going on (o.O) Gee thanks, here I am a total book-geek hoping to read for an entire day and night, and he goes and tells me that! Thankfully we came up with a solution – he’s going to drive so that I can read in the car, then while browsing I will listen to an audiobook. :D Problem solved! I can still take part in the Read-A-Thon and I get to go to the Library Sale. It’ll Be A Perfect Day!

So what I’m hoping will happen is that I will take breaks from reading about every 2-3 hours to post my updates and do some blog-hopping and see how everyone else is making out. Last time I took a break every hour, but this time I want to concentrate more on reading so 2-3 should be good depending on what book I’m reading at the time.

My method for choosing my bookpile was a little bit erratic. I grabbed a bunch that I’ve been saving especially for the event and then I added some that will be good for when I feel tired. It’s a giant stack but I’m not too concerned with the number of books I finish, only that I stay focused on what appeals to me. I’ve taken some photos of all my books. Not too pretty but I wanted to have them all right where they are easy to grab – most of my reading gets done curled up at one end of our sectional sofa so all the books are sharing the other half today.

Good luck to all the readers! Hope everyone has a terrific Read-A-Thon :D

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

Tuesday Thingers – LT Style

To do a dull thing with style - now THAT'S what I call art.”
~Charles Bukowski

Time for another installment of Tuesday Thingers hosted by Wendi’s Book Corner! This week’s question has to do with visual styles and your library.

Have you explored the different styles? Have you customized any of the styles? If so, what are your favorite customized items (isbn, Dewey Decimal, Reviews, Book-Swap, etc)?

This was one of the first things I fooled around with on LibraryThing. For me everything I use whether it be a web-based application of desktop software must have lots of flexibility in terms of visual style. One of my major defects is that things which aren’t appealing format wise drive me nearly insane. I don’t want to see features I won’t be using and I also want the ability to style toolbars and such in my own way. LibraryThing has the perfect customization features for me and after fiddling with the columns I’ve come to find a great style that allows me to see all the information I want in the exact way I prefer.

The snapshot above is my preferred LibraryThing style. Cover, Author, Title – just the basics and sortable. I like the column for Awards & Honors which is helpful for quick reference. Next I have my personal Tags – I use like to keep track of all reads, along with year read, and whether they are owned or library books. The Subject column is really handy, often I will read a book on a certain topic and then I want to read another – Dystopian or apocalyptic is a great example. Then I have a column for Private Comments, I don’t use it all that often but it’s great for jotting down a note if I lend a book out to a friend or if I am looking for the same book but in a different format (for example, I prefer Trade PBs over Hardcovers.)

My one and only complaint is about the last column – Shared – I hate it! I wish there were some way to get rid of it, but if there is I haven’t found it yet. If anyone knows if it’s possible please, please, please let me know :)

So what about you? Have you found your personal style LibraryThing? Head over to Wendi’s Book Corner and share your thoughts :)

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

Review ♦ The Forest Of Hands And Teeth

About the Book

In Mary’s world there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.

The Guardians will protect and serve.

The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and it’s secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?



My Thoughts  
The Forest of Hands and Teeth starts out quite slowly, but not in a bad way, it’s more like the author really wanted to impress upon the reader just how different Mary’s world is from the one we are familiar with. We are given small glimpses at first of a secluded village of people, survivors who have come together after a catastrophic event has caused the dead to walk, to hunt, to prey on the living. Through the eyes and thoughts of Mary it is explained how this community works, what type of new society they have created in order to live on, despite the constant threat of violence from the bodies who should be unmoving, dead, at peace. Because we are learning about the village from Mary’s perspective, a lot of her doubts and worries color the descriptions of the the Sisterhood who seem to control everyone with their rules and enforce those same rules with the help of the Guardians. Mystery surrounds this entire world, curiosity is hard to avoid, as Mary truly believes that the people are not being given the whole truth about the situation. It seems that the fence which surrounds and protects them has also created a cocoon around the minds of the villagers. Most are so happy to have someone else responsible for their well-being, that they have chosen to ignore the old stories from before the Return of the dead. Over time, they’ve become so comfortable with the situation that the idea of questioning would be like admitting that their lives are not as satisfying as they’ve been led to believe. Mary, whose grown up hearing her mother’s tales of oceans, sandy beaches and a whole world beyond the fences, has only grown more curious. Rather than feeling protected by the fences, she feels trapped within a cage of lies. She can’t keep herself from her private spot atop a hill, searching the horizons and obsessing over what better world might lie beyond the fence, because surely the forest cannot go on forever.

No one remembers where the paths go. Some say they are there as escape routes, others say they are there so that we can travel deep into the Forest for wood. We only know that one points to the rising sun and the other to the setting sun. I am sure our ancestors knew where the paths led, but just like everything else about the world before the Return, that knowledge has been lost.

No matter how curious she is, her questions will never be answered however, because the world she lives in is a very structured one. The Sisterhood has been running the village forever now, and the structured life that ensures the living never join the legions of undead, means that Mary must be partnered with a fellow villager, to live as a married couple and create new lives to once again populate the earth. If a marriage is not arranged she will join the Sisterhood. Neither are choices that Mary would choose though, because the one she loves is not her intended, but her intended’s brother. Even in her grief over a love that cannot be, she is haunted by the thought that the Sisterhood is hiding something, and she begins to feel as though the Sisterhood are worried and a little more than threatened about how far she is willing to go to find uncover that truth. Mary knows the Sisterhood has been creating their own truth, and that truth is not enough for her.

We are our own memory-keepers and we have failed ourselves. It is like that game we played in school as children. Sitting in a circle, one student whispers a phrase into another student’s ear and the phrase is passed around until the last student in the circle repeats what she hears, only to find out it is nothing like what it is supposed to be.

That is our life now.

As I said earlier, this is a book that starts out slowly, creeping along and leaving bits of mystery along the way. But the reader can never forget that this is also a zombie story, and as the undead never give up in their relentless desire to overtake the living, the momentum is building quietly in the background. Being the huge zombie fan that I am, I was a little skeptical of how a young adult novel would pull off a serious zombie story. But I was more than satisfied, the undead action is excellent. I was also wondering exactly what species of zombie would be starring here. Would they be classic Romero shamblers, or the more modernized Rage-Runners that have all the gorehounds up in arms over. Unlike with the Zombie vs Unicorn debate (and by the way I’m 100% Team Zombie) I’ve never been a supporter of either the Rager or the Shambler – I love both equally and even after many a debate I see the positive aspects of both. So now I guess you’re wondering which type Carrie Ryan has chosen to highlight as the fence-shaking, villager-eating, villains eh? Well, you’ll just have to read The Forest of Hands and Teeth if you want to find out, but let me assure you regardless of whether you want your zombies sprinting or hobbling - these zombies are perfect!

The Forest of Hands and Teeth has earned a spot on my treasured zombie shelf and I cannot wait for Carrie Ryan to toss another zombie book towards this Book Zombie :)

About The Author
Born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, Carrie Ryan is a graduate of Williams College adn Duke University Law School. She lives with her writer/lawyer fiance, two fat cats and one dumb puppy in Charlotte, North Carolina. They are not at all prepared for the zombie apocalypse.

Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Author: Carrie Ryan
Book Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Book Type: Hardcover 310 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press 
Publication Date: March 2009
Other Reviews 
Becky's Book Reviews
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© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

Easter = Jesus? Zombies? Peeps? $$$?

Yesterday, it came to my attention that we were on the very last roll of toilet paper. Being the last shopping day before Easter, one needs to weigh out whether they are willing to grab a small two-pack from the corner store or brave the insanity of Wal-Mart for the super-strap-to-the-top-of-your-car-bulk package. (both costing around $10)  Needless to say I headed off to Wal-Mart… sigh I should have wasted the money at the convenience store.

Right away as I pulled into the parking lot, I knew it was going to be hell. No empty spaces for miles, cars honking and speeding around, pedestrians running to their cars pushing shopping carts piled high with toys, clothes and candy. I hadn’t even parked yet and I was already having trouble breathing.

Finally, parked and ready to walk through the magical doors of Wal-Mart whose cutesy slogan is: “Save Money, Live Better” or as I was thinking at the moment “Die Horribly, Trying to Save”. It was complete pandemonium, empty shelves, crowded aisles, parents looking violently at those lucky enough to have found chocolate, kids screaming that they wanted the newest, coolest whatever.

So I rushed quickly to grab our butt-wipe and thought to myself while I was there I may as well see if they had the ink cartridge we need for our printer – kill two birds and all that. I was shocked upon seeing the state of the electronics department! People were actually buying things for easter like big screen TVs, Nintendo WIIs, PS3s and laptops! This is worse than christmas! My boys, both too old for the whole easter bunny schtick normally usually always got something like a new bike if they’d outgrown theirs, now as teenagers they get some money for new summer clothes – both useful things that I would have bought anyways – but nothing of this scope or cost. People are insane!!

It’s sad in a way to see shopping centers and department stores filled to bursting with people, while church parking lots look practically deserted. As a non-religious person it’s not so much that people are forgetting the origin of the holiday, but more the fact that people fully embrace any event that allows them to spend money so flamboyantly.

For my family easter was celebrated for the fact that it gave us a long weekend to enjoy family, friends and relaxation. This weekend was just that, and today I will be doing more of it by enjoying some good old fashioned zombie books – cause really wasn’t jesus the first zombie (lol) I mean no offense to anyone who is celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ today. I may not be religious myself, but I have the utmost respect for others faith and beliefs.

Happy Easter, Resurrection, La Pasqua, Ostern, Pascua (I know I’m missing a few) and to those who consider it a pagan holiday or don’t observe Easter - Happy Sunday!

Oh and believe it or not people actually celebrate Zombie Jesus Day

If you are a member of the Everyday is a Wal-Mart Day Cult – Burn, Sinners, Burn :P

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

Review ♦ In The Forest

About the Book

Set in the countryside of western Ireland, In The Forest centers on unwitting victims for sacrifice: a radiant young woman, her young son and a trusting priest, all dispatched to the wilderness of a young man’s unbridled, deranged fantasies.

Edna O’Brien’s riveting, frightening and brilliantly told novel reminds us that anything can happen when protection isn’t afforded to either perpetrator or victim…



My Thoughts (could contain spoiler if the synopsis wasn’t obvious enough) 
The main plot of this story is about a boy who grows up completely out of control, bouncing from boys homes to lock-ups, acting crazy in front of everyone he meets. Most all of the townsfolk ignore or avoid his presence until he ends up on trial for murder. Much of the story is told from his point of view which can give the reader a glimpse into a mind that is quite obviously broken. The other part of this book concerns the mother and son who he will kidnap and murder. There is also a lot of other characters brought into this, with (in my opinion) a ton of meaningless happenings that really don’t add to the story or any character development.

You’ve probably gotten a hint that I wasn’t too impressed by this book, and you’d be right. I decided to read this because it has received many good reviews and it is listed on page 922 of Peter Boxall’s 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, but there were a few things that didn’t appease the book lover in me.

After reading In The Forest, I used my handy-dandy internet connected computer to research the history of the event the book was based on. In the 1990’s Brendan O’Donnell kidnapped and killed a woman, her child, and a local priest, after having been very well known as crazy in his town. The townsfolk, family, social services etc. did not attempt to help O’Donnell in any way during his adolescence or early adult life, even though it was painfully obvious that he needed help. Now In The Forest is identical aside from changing the names, and writing the story as a fictionalized account that includes possible interactions/thoughts that some of the characters may have had.

Okay, so there are many books to be found that create fictionalized stories of real events, but in this case I found it slightly annoying that it wasn’t more obvious (at least from my edition) that this was based on a true story. At the end of the book, the author has included a brief paragraph long Author’s Note that sums up the entire story with full names and dates. But that still wasn’t enough for me. I just have this completely irrational feeling that readers may end up giving credit where it isn’t due.

However, with that in mind, I will say that the author does indeed have a wonderful way with words. The writing found in this book was beautiful for such a horrible topic. Here is one passage that I found perfect as I’ve many colored or oddly shaped rocks that may seem a mystery to others but for me are a reminder of certain beaches and woods I’ve walked:

In the basket are the several stones that Eily collected on her journeys, stones sometimes chosen in the vertigo of love. She picks one up – round, squat, grey, inscrutable, its stony life locked within it, so that it tells nothing of its former whereabouts.

So there’s nothing negative I can say about the writing of In The Forest, it’s mainly the content, my own personal preferences in terms of fiction, non-fiction and the blurring of the two was offended. I enjoy books that draw upon true stories for inspiration, but with this particular book I felt there was not enough fictional input, or maybe not enough recognition given to the origin of the books plot. A truly talented writer can make a grocery list found in a trash can sound lyrical, but does that mean they should be applauded for improving on content they did not create? Where does the line between fiction and non-fiction fall?

Two local men interviewed by a reporter from The Scotsman said exactly what I am thinking after finishing this book:

"Most people want to forget about what happened," one man says, before correcting himself. "Not forget about it, just leave it alone."

"Why didn’t she write a well-researched book about it instead of making it a novel?"

Both quotes are from the article entitled “Making A Killing Out Of A Murder” by Tina Neylon (2002)

I’ve seen many comparisons between this book and Truman Capote’s famous novel In True Blood, but for me the main differences are the amount of consensual research Capote did for his book weighed against the fact that relatives and townsfolk pleaded with O’Brien to not write her book. I guess in the end it all comes down to the fact that regardless of how others may feel, a writer may write about anything they like, anyway they like. And only their conscience may tell them otherwise.

About The Author
In more than twenty books, Edna O'Brien has charted the emotional and psychic landscape of her native Ireland. Often criticized in her own country for her outspoken stance, she has forged a universal audience; the San Francisco Chronicle described her as 'a worthy heir to the great Irish forebears in Irish literature', while Le Figaro noted that 'the breathlessness of her language is comparable to Faulkner'. Awards and prizes include the Irish PEN Lifetime Achievement Award, Writers' Guild of Great Britain, Premier Cavour (Italian), American National Arts Gold Medal and Ulysses Medal 2006.

Title: In The Forest
Author: Edna O’Brien
Book Genre: Fiction
Book Type: Trade paperback 273 pages
Publisher: Phoenix
Publication Date: March 2003
Other Reviews
Reading Matters

Have you reviewed this book too?
Let me know and I’ll add your link to the list :)

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.