Friday, 30 April 2010

Interview Alert!!

No Fairytale today, but I wanted to let you know to keep an eye on this blog as on Wednesday there will be an interview with Laura Bickle, author of Embers!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Book Review

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

What is it about:

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 its 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?


What did I think of it:

I had seen this book many times in the bookstore, but the above description sounded like the story was some clone of 'The Village'.
Imagine my surprise when I read in another review that it was about zombies! So I decided to pick it up

This book has lots of things that make a good zombie story, zombie mayhem being one of them. The story is quite good: dark and disturbing at times. So I should LOVE this book and I wanted to, but instead it fell short of that and I thought it was ok. Why is that?

It has to do with two things.

First: Present tense!
I have mentioned before I'm no fan of stories written in present tense. Once in a while there's an author who can handle present tense and write in such a way I don't even notice the present tense being used, but most authors fail in this and Ryan is among them. I kept getting pulled out of the story by the use of present tense. It just didn't feel natural.

Second: The viewpoint!
I read a lot of stories that use one person as the focus of the story and let him/her tell the story to you. Usually I do not have a problem with this and even love it as it gives you a great deal of insight in the workings of the lead character's mind.
In this book however I really missed the viewpoint of other characters besides Mary. This has to do with the fact I kept thinking Mary was not being honest in how she viewed the other characters. I felt like there should be more to the other characters than only Mary's view of them. This too kept me from losing myself in the story.

And lastly (ok, I said two things, but this one isn't really about me not loving the book, but just a pet peeve): Did you see the cover?! Again no zombies!!

All in all I'm really on the fence about this book and I'm not sure I'll read the next book 'The Dead-Tossed Waves'.

Why should you read it:

It is a very decent zombie story, so if you don't mind present tense you might love it.


Character Connection

We all have characters we love. Let's spotlight these fantastic creations! Whether you want to be friends with them or you have a full-blown crush on them, you know you love them and want everyone else to love them too!

Character Connection host by
TheIntrovertedReader.blogspot.com

The above picture is drawn by Bianca Siercke

Voodoo Bride chose the character for today's Character Connection and she picked Derek from 'the Darkest Powers' trilogy by Kelley Armstrong.

Why does Voodoo Bride love Derek, she'll tell you:

"I've heard lots of people say they only started to like Derek at the end of 'the Summoning', but I loved Derek from his first appearance. He's the kind of guy I like reading about in my Urban Fantasy books: Silent, gruff, mysterious and a bit of an loner. You've got to work to get to know him, but you can sense from the start it will be so worthwhile if you do. I also really liked how he wasn't a pretty boy, but even had acne and other teen growing into his body problems. He's far from the perfect, gorgeous looking, charismatic dream of every woman you find in so many other books and that makes him so much more realistic and made me connect with him right from the start."

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Soulless by Christopher Golden - Book Review

Soulless by Christopher Golden

What is it about:
Times Square, New York City: The first ever mass séance is broadcasting live on the Sunrise morning show. If it works, the spirits of the departed on the other side will have a brief window -- just a few minutes -- to send a final message to their grieving loved ones.

Clasping hands in an impenetrable grip, three mediums call to their spirit guides as the audience looks on in breathless anticipation. The mediums slump over, slackjawed -- catatonic. And in cemeteries surrounding Manhattan, fragments of old corpses dig themselves out of the ground....
The spirits have returned. The dead are walking. They will seek out those who loved them in life, those they left behind...but they are savage and they are hungry. They are no longer your mother or father, your brother or sister, your best friend or lover.

The horror spreads quickly, droves of the ravenous dead seeking out the living -- shredding flesh from bone, feeding. But a disparate group of unlikely heroes -- two headstrong college rivals, a troubled gang member, a teenage pop star and her bodyguard -- is making its way to the center of the nightmare, fighting to protect their loved ones, fighting for their lives, and fighting to end the madness.


What did I think of it:
This is what a good zombie story should be! No teens falling in love with zombies, but zombies hungry for human flesh, a country in chaos and a hand full of unlikely heroes who try to save the day.

It's suspenseful, has plenty of zombie mayhem, likeable characters and also characters you'd gladly push in front of a herd of hungry zombies. Apart from the really cool zombie mayhem Golden put a lot of work in the way people react to everything that's happening and in doing so he gives a very believable insight in the workings of the human mind during a catastrophic happening like a zombie outbreak.

One big negative thing: The cover!
What's up with that? Does it say zombie in any way?
If I hadn't known this book was about zombies I'd never would have guessed just from looking at this cover and possibly could have missed out on a great book.

Why should you read it:
Zombie Mayhem!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


"Do you ever wonder if there is an end to the Forest?" I ask her. I have asked her this before and I already know what her answer will be.
page 83, 'The Forest of Hands & Teeth' by Carrie Ryan.



Monday, 26 April 2010

Zombie, an Anthology of the Undead - Book Review part 2

Zombie, an Anthology of the Undead edited by Christopher Golden

Find part 1 here
So here are my thoughts about the second half of this anthology:

'Second Wind' by Mike Carey - The main character in this story just wants some peace and quiet now that he's dead, but that's something he has to work for. A nice story, but a bit slow at times.

'Closure, Limited' by Max Brooks - A short story about a man who visits a ship that caters to some special needs. Didn't much care for this one. It's mostly talking, not much actual action.

'Among Us' by Aimee Bender - Some impressions on the theme zombie. I thought this one was disturbing, but beautiful.

'Ghost Trap' by Rick Hautala - A diver finds a corpse at the bottom of the sea that is tied down to a block of concrete. A decent, suspenseful story in my opnion.

'The Storm Door' by Tad Williams - A paranormal investigator is looking into a strange possesion case. The story idea was cool and this story showed some potential, but in the end it fell flat and maybe it's just me, but I also found it very predictable.

'Kids and Their Toys' by James A. Moore - A couple of young boys find a corpse which turns out to be a zombie. A very disturbing story! Ugh...

'Shooting Pool' by Joe R. Lansdale - This story doesn't even have zombies!! What is it doing in this book? Or am I really missing something here?

'Weaponized' by David Wellington - The military is experimenting with a new kind of warfare. Didn't much like this one. The story isn't bad, but the writing didn't grab me.

'Twittering from the Circus of the Dead' by Joe Hill - A teenage girl twiiters about a trip she has to make with her family and their visit to a Freakshow. Once you get into the twitter update style of writing this story is quite cool.

So what's the end score?

The second part of the book has 4 stories I liked if not loved, 1 I found quite disturbing and 4 I didn't much care for.

That makes a total of 10 cool stories, 1 decent story, 1 disturbing story and 7 I didn't much care for.
My favourite still is 'Family Business' by Jonathan Maberry.
Not a bad score I think.

Why should you read it:
If you like a good zombie story, this book will surely entertain you!


Sunday, 25 April 2010

Soulless by Gail Carriger - Book Review

Soulless by Gail Carriger

What is it about:
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?


What did I think about it:
This book was a pleasant surprise. It's witty and funny and has a very original story. Not many writers seem to have the courage to join supernatural beings with Victorian times, but Carriger rises to the challenge and even manages to sprinkle a dash of Steampunk into the mix with very satisfying results. The story was engaging and there was even enough romance to keep Voodoo Bride happy too. The one thing I could say against the book is that the humorous tone kept me from being worried about the outcome.

There's a second book released named 'Changeless', which is in my 'To Be Read' pile and a third book 'Blameless' will be released later this year.

Why should you read it:
If you like stories set in Victorian times and you like werewolves and vampires you will most certainly like this book.


And coming soon:
A review about a totally different kind of book also named 'Soulless'.



Eternal Moon Giveaway Winner!

And the winner of the Eternal Moon giveaway is:

Christa Holland

Congrats Christa!
I will send you an email to ask for your snailmailaddy.
Thanks everyone for participating!

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Zombie, an Anthology of the Undead - Book Review part 1


Today I'll make a start in reviewing 'Zombie, an Anthology of the Undead'. As it has about 20 stories and I want to tell a bit about each one I'll tackle 10 of them today.

Zombie, an Anthology of the Undead edited by Christopher Golden

What is it about:
RESURRECTION! The hungry dead have risen. They shamble down the street. They hide in backyards, car parks, shopping centres. They devour our neighbours, dogs and policemen. And they are here to stay. The real question is: what are you going to do about it? How will you survive? How will the world change when the dead begin to rise? Bram Stoker-award-winning author Christopher Golden has assembled an original anthology of never-before-published zombie stories from an eclectic array of today's most popular horror, fantasy, thriller and literary writers.

What did I think of it:
Some of you may know by now I love zombies! So this book with lots of different zombie stories is right up my alley. I will list the first 10 and tell you my thoughts about each one.

'Lazarus' by John Connolly - A short, melancholic tale about the biblical Lazarus. Well written and beautiful in my opinion.

'What Maisie Knew' by David Liss - A suspenseful story set in a world where the dead have gotten a new function as brainless lackeys. But are all of them as brainless as it seems? I thought this one was very cool and original.

'Copper' by Stephen R. Bissette - I must confess this one didn't grab me, so I skipped it after the first few pages. (Yes, I know: I'm bad.)

'In the Dust' by Tim Lebbon - Three survivors of a viral outbreak that turns people into zombies try to stay alive and find their missing loved ones while dealing with the military who're investigating the outbreak. A well written and enjoyable story.

'Life Sentence' by Kelley Armstrong - A corporate bigshot uses his money and power to try to cheat death and doesn't mind if there are some casualties along the line. I really enjoyed this story, as I have all of Armstrong's stories sofar. I do wonder if people unfamiliar with Armstrong's other books won't miss out on some details.

'Delice' by Holly Newstein - A Mambo (priest of the Voudou) creates a zombie to let her have her revenge. As you might guess this story is about the original sort of zombies. It's a decent story, but I'm more for the brain eating kind of zombies myself.

'The Wind Cries Mary' by Brian Keene - Another beautiful, short, melancholic story. This one set in a post apocalyptic world.

'Family Business' by Jonathan Maberry - Ok, I got still 6 stories to read, but sofar this story is my favourite. It's the story of how a teenage boy (Benny) tries to find a job in a post apocalyptic world full of zombies, only to finally be accepted by his older brother (who is a bountyhunter who kills zombies) as an apprentice. It's beautiful, well written, the jobs Benny tries are bizarre, but original and I loved how the two brothers get to know each other while trying to work together. My one objection was that it was much too short, but luckily Maberry wrote a whole book about Benny that will be released in october this year called 'Rot and Ruin'. Something to look forward to.

'The Zombie Who Fell from the Sky' by M.B. Homler - As the title may give away: a town is surprised one day by a zombie falling out of the sky. Cool concept, not so cool story. It's chaotic in the way it's written and I didn't really care for it.

'My Dolly' by Derek Nikitas - Another story that didn't make much sense to me. A guy tries to revive a dead girl to ehm.... do something I'm sure, but this story lost me after the first couple of pages.

That's for the first 10 stories. All in all 6 stories I really liked if not loved, 1 that was ok and 3 I didn't care for. Not a bad score at all.

Part 2 of this review will come as soon as I've read the last 6 stories.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Fairytale Friday - The Fox and the Geese


Welcome to Fairytale Friday, my weekly post about fairytales.

The Fox and the Geese by The Brothers Grimm
translated by Margaret Taylor (1884)

The fox once came to a meadow in which was a flock of fine fat geese, on which he smiled and said, "I come in the nick of time, you are sitting together quite beautifully, so that I can eat you up one after the other." The geese cackled with terror, sprang up, and began to wail and beg piteously for their lives. But the fox would listen to nothing, and said, "There is no mercy to be had! You must die." At length one of them took heart and said, "If we poor geese are to yield up our vigorous young lives, show us the only possible favour and allow us one more prayer, that we may not die in our sins, and then we will place ourselves in a row, so that you can always pick yourself out the fattest." "Yes," said the fox, "that is reasonable, and a pious request. Pray away, I will wait till you are done." Then the first began a good long prayer, for ever saying, "Ga! Ga!" and as she would make no end, the second did not wait until her turn came, but began also, "Ga! Ga!" The third and fourth followed her, and soon they were all cackling together.

When they have done praying, the story shall be continued further, but at present they are still praying without stopping.


Why do I like this fairytale:
I must confess I would love this fairytale just for the illustration that's in my book of fairytales alone!

But I also like this fairytale as it is about brain winning out over brawn. I like a story where that's the case as I myself am not such a brawny creature myself, so it's good to be reminded that you can beat someone stronger than you by being smart.

I must add I do hope if I ever have to outsmart someone I don't have to do so by praying for the rest of my life.

How about you:
Do you like this fairytale? Do you feel sympathy for the geese or the fox?


Thursday, 22 April 2010

Character Connection

We all have characters we love. Let's spotlight these fantastic creations! Whether you want to be friends with them or you have a full-blown crush on them, you know you love them and want everyone else to love them too!

Character Connection host by
TheIntrovertedReader.blogspot.com

Ok, can't help it, but this pic is just too good not to post! It's made by Chicxulub

Anyway:
I love Severus Snape!
And nope, not in the sex god kind of way.
I think he's the best worked out character in the whole Harry Potter series. I can actually understand why he acts like he does and I can't judge him for the choices he makes especially as he isn't too foolhardy to realise the mistakes he made and redeems himself in the end. I can tell you I wouldn't have read all the Harry Potter books if it wasn't for Severus as none of the other characters spoke to me the way Severus did.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

The Reckoning - Book Review

The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

What is it about:
Only two weeks ago, life was all too predictable. But that was before I saw my first ghost. Now along with my supernatural friends Tori, Derek, and Simon, I'm on the run from the Edison Group, which genetically altered us as part of their sinister experiment. We're hiding in a safe house that might not be as safe as it seems. We'll be gone soon anyway, back to rescue those we'd left behind and take out the Edison Group . . . or so we hope.

What did I think of it:
A thrilling conclusion of an amazing trilogy!

I like how sensible Chloe and her friends act and how they're not barging off without thinking as happens in so many movies and books, but still they're not perfect and in their trying to be sensible they sometimes muck things up. Armstrong manages to write a convincing, realistic story even with the supernatural elements.

I can't go into the story without giving too much away to those who haven't read it, but there's lots of cool action, my favourite monsters and a romance that got Voodoo Bride all happy.

Why should you read it:
It's the best young adult series out there at the moment in my opinion.

So start reading 'The Summoning' today and then go on to 'The Awakening' and finish it with the amazing 'The Reckoning'

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Teaser Tuesdays


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


He'd never been closer than a hundred yards from an active zom before. The older kids said that if you looked into a zom's eyes, your reflection would show you how you'd look as one of the living dead.
page 177, Zombie an Anthology of the Undead (edited by Christopher Golden), from the story 'Family Business' by Jonathan Maberry.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Interview with Author Gini Koch

Even though 'Touched by an Alien' is a bit of a girly book with the romance stuff and Voodoo Bride and my owner made me read it, I loved it as it has a kick ass story and lots of cool action. I was wondering how anyone can come up with the weird, but fun ways in which Kitty handles things so I decided to ask the author Gini Koch and ask her some other questions too.


Gini, welcome at Pearls Cast Before a McPig and thanks for dropping by and letting me pester you with questions. Let me dive right into them:

So Gini, how did you come up with this story?

It started as a dream -- about half of my story ideas do. I’d originally intended it to be a dark short story, probably horror. The original title was “Killing Superman”. Needless to say, Kitty’s voice took over, and the moment Martini stepped onto the page it was all over for dark, or short, or horror. LOL

I must say I’m glad Kitty and Martini took over and made your short story into a whole book even though the horror part sounds cool.

Thanks. I tried to go back and actually write that short horror story, but it just didn’t want to cooperate. I think all the horror in it went into the fuglies in “Touched by an Alien”, particularly the first one Kitty kills and Mephistopheles.

Any first hand experience of having to fight nasty critters of any kind?

Hmmm…well, I do teach all my pets to ‘bring it’, but…well, there were a few ex-boyfriends, but I think the hubs would prefer if I not relive the past in that way. ;-D

And what's up with Kitty's purse? Is Kitty really related to Mary Poppins?

*cough* Um, are you insinuating that Kitty’s purse might be too large and/or heavy? ‘Cause I based it on, well, my own purse…(and, yeah, the hubs feels it’s too large, too heavy, and impossible to find anything in…)

And, you know, she *could* be related to Mary Poppins. I mean, I consider Kitty practically perfect in every way, and I know the boys from Alpha Centauri agree. Besides, well, you know, you never know when you’re going to need, really need, something like a can opener, a bottle opener, your iPod speakers, a slide rule, the latest X-Men comic, a Glock, and so on. Really, being prepared is half the battle when fighting the fuglies. You need a big purse for that sort of thing.


All very good points I must agree. As a purse like that really exists, can you tell me where Kitty and you get your purses as my owner never can fit all her stuff into her purse.

Let me stress that I have no endorsement deal (sadly, especially considering the money I spend there), but Kitty gets her big ol’ bags at Target. These days, she’s sporting a Limited Edition Gini Bag, too. It’s all in how the mood, and the fuglies, strike her.



A more serious question:

Dang. LOL

There's going to be a sequel in December 'Alien Tango', which me and Voodoo Bride already put on our list of books we must buy. Can you give us a teaser?

December 7th, to be exact. (Did you know it’s available for pre-order right now? No? Well, it IS.) And, since it’s already on both of your book lists, I think I can be persuaded.

For Katherine “Kitty” Katt, Alien Super-Being Exterminator, anti-alien conspiracies, threats from outer space, and a couple of killer alligators are all in a day’s work. But internal alien schemes and some major romantic complications bring new meaning to the term ‘chaos and confusion’.

It’s been five months since Kitty joined Centaurion Division, working with the aliens from Alpha Centauri. She and Jeff Martini have grown closer as a couple and life looks rosy. But when an experimental spacecraft is mysteriously returned to the Kennedy Space Center, Kitty and the rest of Alpha Team are called out to investigate and are immediately embroiled in life or death situations that scream ‘political conspiracy’.

The team must survive repeated murderous attacks, remove a mysterious space entity from a group of astronauts, and avoid an unhinged woman with a serious crush on Kitty’s old high school boyfriend. And that’s all before the masterminds decide Kitty’s extermination is vital -- and take matters into their own hands.

BTW…you heard it here first. This all isn’t even up on my website yet. (What can I say? I have a soft spot for McPigs.)


I’m feeling honored. Thanks for this great teaser, I’m looking forward to the book even more now, especially the killer alligators sound very cool.

I am very partial to the alligators myself, but I think I tell no secrets when I say that my crit partner loves them even more than I do.

Your crit partner is a wise person.
On to a follow up on the last question: Are you planning more books in this series after 'Alien Tango'?


Oh, heck yeah. Stay tuned to my website (http://www.ginikoch.com) for up-to-the-minute breaking news. I’m hoping to have such news in the May/June timeframe, but can make no guarantees. I have a LOT of books planned for this series. Hopefully I’ll get to share them all.

That is great news! I’ll be stalking your website.

Awesome! I love website stalkers, they make all the work we put into the website worthwhile!

Have you got any other books planned besides this series?

Yes, I write all the time. What gets bought isn’t up to me, however. So, again, watch my website. As soon as there’s news, it’s posted there. Or, if you want it even faster, sign up for my Hook Me Up! subscribers list -- send an email to gini@ginikoch.com with Hook Me Up! in the subject line and you’ll hear it all first and fastest.

On your website it says you are inspired by Louis L'Amour, mostly because of his persistence. Any other authors who inspire you or who you admire? And have you got any recommendations for books to read while waiting for 'Alien Tango'? (No need to mention the possibility to re-read 'Touched by an Alien' as that option is already covered.)

Well, dang, you beat me to my best answer, re-reading “Touched by an Alien”. Now I have to think and all that…lucky I like you.

Like with my musical tastes, my reading tastes are also wide-reaching. I adore Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, and since there are a LOT of books in that series, a reader could at least get a start on those before “Alien Tango” comes out December 7th (probably sooner in the Netherlands…I’m just sayin’, based on some prior experience).
(Have I mentioned “Alien Tango” is available for pre-order right now? I have? Well, let me mention it again. Hint, hint.)


(I must say your book being available in stores here in the Netherlands before the official release date must have been an all time first as normally I have to wait much longer or even order the books I want online, so I think I’ll go for pre-ordering ‘Alien Tango’ just to be sure.)


I have three authors highlighted on the Spotlight page of my website. Would recommend their books (and I’m going to make you go there to see who they are, ’cause that’s just the kind of girl I am: http://www.ginikoch.com/spotlight.htm).

I’d take a look at what websites Dark Wyrm Reads, The Galaxy Express, and Dark Faerie Tales recommend, too. And, since I love the funny, Dave Barry, David Sedaris, and P.J. O’Rourke are always great.

As for who I admire besides L’Amour and why, I have a variety of answers to that. I could go and look at all my books and list the authors I like best, but we don’t have all week. So, I’m going to go for the same kind of thing as why I admire L’Amour.

I admire ANYone who’s got a book on the shelves, ‘cause it’s harder than you can imagine to do that. And then I admire those authors who have more than one book in them and keep on writing and writing, book after book, entertaining millions along the way. Perseverance is more impressive to me than talent, because writing is a craft as well as an art, and to become a craftsman takes work and an unwillingness to quit.

BTW, in terms of non-authors, in that sense, I admire Winston Churchill and Eleanor Roosevelt immensely. Their biographies are fascinating, and they’re two people who NEVER gave up, even when it would have been far easier to do so. So I recommend reading up on them, too.

I’m stopping here, because, as more and more authors and public figures pop into my mind, clearly I could go on about this question for the foreseeable future.


If faced with a zombie, would Kitty be able to stand her ground and more importantly will we get to read about it? Maybe an idea for a book 3: The aliens and Kitty get to fight zombies! And while I'm giving suggestions: fitting in a pig is always a good idea too.

I actually have an undead series being shopped. So, you know, you might get your wish, or at least part of your wish, somewhere down the line. And while Kitty absolutely could and would take on a zombie army if such reared its ugly heads at her, her stories won’t be going into undead territory.

Don’t worry…there will be alligators, more and different aliens, and some other interesting beasties in the coming books in the Alien series. And, I will indeed consider adding in a pig, or at least a pig-like creature. So, keep your eyes peeled and snout sniffing.


An undead series?! And a possible pig-like creature?! You made my day! If I wasn’t stalking your site already I’d be doing so now. You sure know how to please your fans, well…this one at least.

:-D We do our best here at Team Gini.


Back to 'Touched by an Alien'. Music is an important ingredient to the story and I must say I loved the musical choices you made. Was the music picked to fit the story or was it the other way around and did the music influence the story? And will there be more music in 'Alien Tango'?

Music is a vital and integral part of Kitty’s life and she runs her life on a soundtrack, so absolutely there will be more music in “Alien Tango”, and lots of it.

As for music picked for the story or influencing it, the answer is both. In terms of what I listened to most of the time while writing “Touched by an Alien”, it was actually all of Smash Mouth’s CDs, particularly “Get the Picture?”, all the time. And I DO mean all the time. Individual songs were played, particularly to ensure they’d fit into the scene as it was being written. And, of course, if there were gaps, Aerosmith filled them.

Music affects everything I write. There are some bands and/or albums that only work for one book or series. If I hear them, I’m writing on that book or series in my mind, or I’ll flash to certain scenes, etc. There are other bands, like Aerosmith and The Counting Crows, that work for me for almost anything and everything.

I’m glad you liked the music in the book, so to speak. This is a case of write what you know, and Kitty’s tastes match mine pretty much 100% in terms of music. If a song or artist is mentioned in the books, then it’s on my personal iPod, as well as Kitty’s. I post play lists and albums of the week up at my website, too, for those interested in what I’m listening to at any given time.


And the final question:

Oh nooooos! This was fun.

I've read you wanted to buy a fridge to celebrate the publishing of your book. Did you get it and is it black?

*LE SIGH* No. The hubs has been mean and cruel and miserly and has REFUSED to allow me my precious new, black fridge until the old one dies. I was really working the whining on this one, too, but then I had to get my edits on “Alien Tango” done and in and the promotion for “Touched by an Alien” started, and dang it all if the last thing I have time for right now is whining about the fridge.

But one day I SHALL have my new precious. But, um, if the old one could hang on a little longer, at least for a couple more months, that would be nice, ‘cause I just don’t have the time to measure and shop and all that right now. (Watch…new fridge, coming right up, because I KNOW how these things work…)



I’ve heard that overstuffing a fridge and leaving the door partly open from time to time are important factors in getting a fridge to give up the ghost. Just saying, I never did anything like that on purpose.

*cough* I am NOT going to tell the hubs I read that…(tucking the idea away for later, though)

Gini, thanks again for dropping by and I must say it’s been great fun to have you here. I’m really looking forward to your next book, be it ‘Alien Tango’, the yet unnamed undead story or something else. Even if they’re only half as fun as ‘Touched by an Alien’ I’ll enjoy them.


As for those of you out there who haven’t read ‘Touched by an Alien’ yet: What are you waiting for?


Sunday, 18 April 2010

Lamb - Book Review

Lamb by Christopher Moore

What is it about:
The birth of Jesus has been well chronicled, as have his glorious teachings, acts, and divine sacrifice after his thirtieth birthday. But no one knows about the early life of the Son of God, the missing years - except Biff, the Messiah's best bud, who has been resurrected to tell the story.

Verily, the story Biff has to tell is a miraculous one, filled with remarkable journeys, magic, healings, kung fu, corpse reanimations, demons, and hot babes, Even the considerable wiles and devotion of the Saviour's pal may not be enough to divert Joshua from his tragic destiny. But there's no one who loves Josh more - except maybe 'Maggie,' Mary of Magdala - and Biff isn't about to let his extraordinary pal suffer and ascend without a fight.


What did I think of it:
I really enjoyed this story. It's humorous, witty and original. My favourite part was early on in the book when Biff and Joshua play 'Sodom and Gomorrah' with their younger brothers. I laughed out loud at that scene, I must confess. The whole book is fun though, not just this particular scene and there's enough humor for lots of laughs and chuckles before you reach the bitter sweet ending (this is the gospel after all). This was my first trip into the writings of Christopher Moore, but I can tell you it won't be my last!

Why should you read it:
If you're interested in a humorous, well written tale about the life of Jesus be sure to pick up this book.
If you however think the gospel has to be taken seriously, stay far away from it.


Don't forget to tune in tomorrow for my interview with Gini Koch!


Saturday, 17 April 2010

Embers - Book Review

Embers by Laura Bickle

What is it about:
Unemployment, despair, anger--visible and invisible unrest feed the undercurrent of Detroit's unease. A city increasingly invaded by phantoms now faces a malevolent force that further stokes fear and chaos throughout the city.

Anya Kalinczyk spends her days as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department, and her nights pursuing malicious spirits with a team of eccentric ghost hunters. Anya--who is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern--suspects a supernatural arsonist is setting blazes to summon a fiery ancient entity that will leave the city in cinders. By Devil's Night, the spell will be complete, unless Anya--with the help of her salamander familiar and the paranormal investigating team --can stop it.

Anya's accustomed to danger and believes herself inured to loneliness and loss. But this time she's risking everything: her city, her soul, and a man who sees and accepts her for everything she is. Keeping all three safe will be the biggest challenge she's ever faced.


What did I think of it:
I really liked this story. It's well written, has a great and suspenseful storyline and has one of the coolest familiars I've come across (the demon duck in 'A Nameless Witch' by A. Lee Martinez is even cooler, but that story isn't as good as this one.) I must confess at this point I pictured Sparky (the familiar) as a small Komodo Dragon, which is one of my favourite animals.

Voodoo Bride wants me to tell you that she wasn't very happy with the romance in the book. She didn't feel Anya had any real connection to either one of the love interests, but I told her that's because of some emotional issues Anya has so it fits in with the story. Well, just read the book to see if you agree with me or Voodoo Bride. Even without a convincing romance storyline, it's well worth the read.

Why should you read it:
Because it has Sparky, the cool familiar!
And because it's a very well written and engaging Urban Fantasy.

There's going to be a second book in August: 'Sparks'
And coming in June: 'Dark Oracle', Laura Bickle wrote this book under her alias Alayna Williams (I must confess I got high hopes for this one.)

Friday, 16 April 2010

Fairytale Friday - The Steadfast Tin Soldier

Welcome to Fairytale Friday, my weekly post about fairytales.

Today's Fairytale is The Steadfast Tin Soldier.
(click the link to read the fairytale)

Why do I like this fairytale:
This fairytale shows how it doesn't matter if a character in a book or story is human or not. If written in the right way even the adventures of a toy can be gripping and can make you cry. Anderson is a master when it comes to that btw, he even wrote a story about a daisy where he had me sniffle a bit at the end when the daisy ends up withered on the side of the road.

So did you read this fairytale and what did you think of it. And how do you think about stories that feature objects, plants or animals as the lead character?

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Character Connection

We all have characters we love. Let's spotlight these fantastic creations! Whether you want to be friends with them or you have a full-blown crush on them, you know you love them and want everyone else to love them too!

Character Connection host by TheIntrovertedReader.blogspot.com

The character I want to tell you about because I think he's super cool is Chrestomanci from Diana Wynne Jones' book Charmed Life.

Chrestomanci is a powerful enchanter who seems to always appear when his name is mentioned. He's delightfully vague and mysterious, but can be really ruthless when he has to be. He loves fancy clothes and is often seen wearing extravagant robes. I'd love to live at Chrestomanci Castle for awhile and get to know him better if such a thing were possible.

And if that's not enough to think he's cool: just look at the cool picture I posted that's in my Dutch version of this book!


ps:
Coming this Monday at Pearls Cast before a McPig: an interview with Gini Koch, author of 'Touched by an Alien'.


Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The Last Town on Earth - Book Review

The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen

What is it about:
A killer is stalking the country - taking young and old alike ...
It is 1918 and the remote American mill town of Commonwealth has shut itself off in a self-imposed quarantine against a deadly and pitiless enemy - a killer influenza that has made a tragedy of everyday life.

But Commonwealth is no ordinary town - it is built and run on principles of freedom and democracy. It's inhabitants, desperate to escape the terrible fate of neighbouring towns, have voted to seal the town off - no one enters, and if anyone leaves they may not return. So when armed sentries are confronted by a starving soldier begging to enter the town, two men are forced to make a decision that will have profound consequences for them, the town, and all who live in it ...


What did I think of it:
This is a beautiful story. At times sad, at times hopeful, at times grim.
The choices the people of Commonwealth face are hard and I for one couldn't blame those who made a wrong choice and it's even up for debate if they actually made a wrong choice. Because this story does not divide the world in clear cut black and white, but instead it paints an all too realistic gritty world where shooting a man in cold blood may be the heroic thing to do, while showing mercy may be the thing that condemns you. But who will know for sure?

Apart from the really tense and psychological story this book also gives a disturbing view of the 'Spanish flu'. I had read about the Spanish flu before, but never realised how nasty this disease actually was. The way the information about the flu was written in to the story didn't distract from the story and even added more tension as you could fully understand why the people of Commonwealth made the decision in the first place to seal off their town.

Why should you read it:
If you like a story that makes you think about human behaviour and that's also full of suspense I'd advice you to give this book a try.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


"'Is he dead?' the centurion asked.
Joshua was blinking as if he'd just been awakened from a deep sleep. 'We're never sure, sir,' I said."
- page 37, "Lamb", Christopher Moore.


ps: don't forget to check out my giveaway

Monday, 12 April 2010

MUSING MONDAYS

Another meme I decided to join.

MUSING MONDAYS is hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page.

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about the ‘best’ books'.

What elements do you think lands a book in that ‘best’ category? Think of your top 5 best books and tune in next week to see the collated list.


For me the best books I've read were books that were well written, had cool characters, a great story and made me want to read them again really soon after finishing them.

To give a top 5 is always difficult, it changes a lot, but here's my current top 5:

1 - American Gods by Neil Gaiman
2 - Ride the Wind by Lucia St. Clair Robson
3 - Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines
4 - Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
5 - Hasse Simonsdochter by Thea Beckman (a book by a dutch author, too bad it's not available in english as it's a great book)


Tangled Webs - Book Review

Tangled Webs by Anne Bishop

What is it about:
The invitation was signed Jaenelle Angelline, she who had been both Witch and Queen.

It summons her family to an entertainment she has specially prepared. Surreal SaDiablo, the former courtesan and assassin, is the first to arrive. But as she and her escort enter the house, the door disappears. Surreal finds herself trapped in a nightmare created by the tangled webs of Black Widow witches...a nightmare where the monsters are all too real, and if she uses Craft to defend herself, she risks being sealed in the house forever.

But Jaenelle did not send the invitation.

Now, Jaenelle and her family must rescue Surreal and the others inside without becoming trapped themselves—and they also must discover who created such an evil place, and why. Because there is one thing they all know about this house: no matter who planned it as a way to kill members of the SaDiablo family, only one of the Blood could have created the trap…


What did I think of it:
This is the first book by Anne Bishop that I read after reading her short story 'Stands a God Within the Shadows' which I absolutely love!

I soon discovered this book is part of a series (The Black Jewels series) and it's not the first book in the series. And let me tell you: if you're going to read any book in the Black Jewels series I can advice you to start with the first book and work your way through the books in the right order. I'm telling you this as I reread this book after reading the original Black Jewels trilogy that started this series and not only made a lot of things in the book more sense the second time around, I also wasn't as distracted from the storyline by the characters as the first time.

I mean: the story is quite good, it has lots of suspense and creepy stuff happening, but the characters are what make this book. They're all very intriguing and well written. Not knowing who they were the first time I read the book I kept getting sidetracked wondering who they were and why they acted like they did. Having read the original trilogy my questions had been answered so second time reading the story I could give my attention to the story instead of just the characters.

So in conclusion: cool story, even cooler characters!

Why should you read it:
Well.....
I advice you to start with the original trilogy: 'Daughter of the Blood', 'Heir to the Shadows' and 'Queen of the Darkness'.
If you like those books then you should pick up 'Tangled Webs' next.


Sunday, 11 April 2010

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus - Book Review


Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

What is it about:
In his winning debut, Willems finds the preschooler in a pigeon: a cajoling, tantrum-throwing, irresistible bird. "I've got to leave for a little while," says a uniformed bus driver as he strolls off the opening pages. "I thought he'd never leave," says the big-eyed pigeon as he marches onto the next spread and begins his campaign to drive the bus.

What did I think of it:
Yes, this is the Dutch version of this brilliant children's book, but it's also available in English.

I love this book! The drawings are simple but effective and the pigeon and his tricks to get to drive the bus are genius. I have to smile each and every time I read this book.

Why should you read it:
If you like children's books you will love this one. And otherwise you can always get it for a younger familymember and read the book to him or her. it will be a success.

Eternal Moon - Give-away

I'm in the process of reducing my book pile and decided to have a give-away for the following book:

Eternal Moon by Rebecca York

What is it about:
Good and evil clash down through the ages in a struggle for supremacy. Renata Cordona is the reincarnation of an ancient goddess. Werewolf Jacob Marshall is a dog whisperer and her true consort. They have met countless times through the centuries in different lives. And each time, a demon steps into the equation to keep them from fulfilling their destiny. They've never been strong enough to fight the ancient evil. But can a werewolf change the equation? Or will they repeat the pattern of destruction and doom humanity along with themselves?

What's the deal:
I never actually managed to finish this book as it's just not my kind of book. (So it's a second hand book, but in as good as new condition.)
If you however think it sounds interesting and are interested in winning this book leave a comment before April 25th and a way to contact you and I'll pick one of the commenters at random on April 25th and send him/her the book.

This is open for everyone and you don't have to become a follower to enter. I'd rather you only become a follower because you like my blog, not because I give away free stuff.



On another note:
Coming soon to Pearls Cast before a McPig - interviews with some authors of awesome books.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Size 12 is Not Fat - Book Review

Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot

What is it about:
Heather Wells Rocks!
Or, at least, she did. That was before she left the pop-idol life behind after she gained a dress size or two -- and lost a boyfriend, a recording contract, and her life savings (when Mom took the money and ran off to Argentina). Now that the glamour and glory days of endless mall appearances are in the past, Heather's perfectly happy with her new size 12 shape (the average for the American woman!) and her new job as an assistant dorm director at one of New York's top colleges. That is, until the dead body of a female student from Heather's residence hall is discovered at the bottom of an elevator shaft.


What did I think of it:
To be honest I skipped over this book in the store as reading the title and seeing the cover I thought it would be a much too girly book about fashion or female drama or something.
But then a friend told me to read it as it was really cool, so I gave it a try.

And let me tell you: looks are deceiving!
It's not about girly issues at all, but instead this book is a very funny and decent murder mystery. It has some romance too, but it has lots of action and amateur sleuthing. Cabot's writing style is witty and humorous and even though you want to hit Heather over the head as she's acting without thinking sometimes, she's also very likeable.

All in all a fun read!

Why should you read it:
If you like murder mysteries that are written with lots of humor, you will most probably like this book. There's two more books in this series sofar and at least two more to come according to Meg Cabot's website

book 2: Size 14 is not fat either
book 3: Big Boned / Size doesn't matter(Great Brittain and Australia)


And here's a sneak peek of some books I hope to be reviewing somewhere in the (near) future, but expect other reviews before that time:

The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

Soulless by Christopher Golden

Zombie, An Anthology of the Undead edited by Christopher Golden

And I can tell you I also got something else planned, but I won't tell you what exactly yet, but it's going to be fun I hope.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Fairytale Friday - Bluebeard


I decided to start my own weekly returning post and it will be about fairytales!
I'll try to make a post about a fairytale every Friday as I think fairytales are really fun to read.

Today's Fairytale is Bluebeard.
(click the link to read the fairytale)

Why do I like Bluebeard:
It's got suspense and mystery and a cool, strange character:
I always wondered why Bluebeard had a blue beard! I've heard it say that Bluebeard is based on Gilles de Rais who seemed to have been quite a nasty person, but that still doesn't explain the blue beard.

Have you ever read Bluebeard? And what did you think of it?
Leave a comment if you want.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

The Sword of Maiden's Tears - Book Review


Another 'oldie' today:

The Sword of Maiden's Tears by Rosemary Edghill

What is it about:
Stumbling across a mugging victim in New York City who turns out to be a being from the world of Elphame, student librarian Ruth Marlowe and her friends learn that the muggers stole a magical sword that changes mortals into grendel-like monsters.

What did I think of it:
This is the book that started my love for Urban Fantasy!
It's the first book of a trilogy (although this one can be read on it's own too) and the best of the three I think.

Ruth is a likeable character and she's faced with some very though choices throughout the story that makes you really feel for her. Edghill's writing style is a treat in itself, add a really engaging story to that and you got me hooked.

The one negative thing I can say is that the viewpoint switches between Ruth and one other person and when reading the viewpoint from the other person I got impatient at times and wanted the story to switch back to Ruth.

Why should you read it:
It's got elves and monsters running around in New York!
I don't know if this book is still available as a new book, but if you run across it somewhere I can really advice you to give it a try.

And here's all three of the books in 'The Twelve Treasures' trilogy:
- The Sword of Maiden's Tears
- The Cup of Morning Shadows
- The Cloak of Night and Daggers

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The Fire Rose - Book Review

The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey

What is it about:
Accepting employment as a governess after hard times hit her family, medieval scholar Rosalind Hawkins is surprised when she learns that her mysterious employer has no children and only wants her to read to him through a speaking tube.

What did I think of it:
This book in the The Elemental Masters series is often overlooked as it is published by Baen and not by DAW as the rest is and I think that's a shame as I think this one is the best!

Now I must confess that Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite fairytales so that might be why I love this book as it uses that fairytale as a basis for this story.

The story is set in 1905 and Lackey sure did her research to create a believable setting and her characters are all well thought out and vary from likeable to so despicable it makes your skin crawl.

All in all this is a rich and engaging story, well written and despite using a fairytale as it's basis very unique.

Why should you read it:
If you like fairytales and want to read a story that gives an old tale a brand new jacket and plays around with it you should read this book and after reading this one you should pick up the rest of this series.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Teaser Tuesdays

I decided to join in in a weekly bookish meme:

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

So here it is:

"The three of them froze. As Lucivar stared at the boy and pup, who were staring back at him, he thought, Mother Night. I sound like my father."
- page 101, "Tangled Webs", Anne Bishop (Black Jewels series).


Sunday, 4 April 2010

The Machine Girl - Movie Review

The Machine Girl

What is it about:
The life of a young, Japanese schoolgirl is destroyed when her family is killed by a Ninja-Yakuza family. Her hand cut off, she replaces it with various machines-of-death, and seeks revenge.

What did I think of it:
This movie is a silly, over the top, total mayhem, bloodfest!
It's highly entertaining and shouldn't be taken seriously for even one second.

Why should you see it:
As I said: Total mayhem, bloodfest!
Do not watch this movie if you can't stomach the sight of blood and severed body parts.