Saturday, April 20, 2013


Elsie Chapman is one of the first authors I ever followed on Twitter. I think it was 100 years ago.

I had just started to read YA and I was searching for other adults who might "understand me." I found them on Twitter.

I came across Elsie and read about her upcoming book, Dualed. The synopsis worked. I was hooked.

The downside to finding Elsie when I did was THE WAIT. It's like walking in to Chipotle, starving. And then seeing the extra long line, and the rookie employees's taking forever to fill burritos, and everyone in front of you paying with cash and taking for forever instead of swiping a card through Chipotle's lightning fast system.

Waiting sucks.

I started talking to Elsie on Twitter (at the time I was using a different Twitter account), and to my surprise she was kind enough to talk back!

That made me feel cool, so I legally changed the names of my three children to Elsie, Elsei, and ChipotleJessicaAlba.

A few weeks ago my son and I were in the YA section of BAM. That's right, my son and I were in the YA section at BAM with all the teenage girls. Normally, my 11-year-old son is only interested in the teenage girls who are there, but that particular day I was determined to get his attention with a book!! It was Dualed.

"Oh look, I've been waiting for this!" I said, pulling Dualed of the shelf and showing my son the awesome cover.

"Cool," said my son, still looking at a 13-year-old girl who was browsing the books on the shelf behind us.

Realizing that the simple mention of a book was no match for the mind control that the 13-year-old girl had on my son, I decided to bring out the big guns.

"Oh, yeah...I KNOW THE AUTHOR," I said, loud enough to grab his attention, as well as the attention of everyone in the store (including 13-year-old mind controller girl).

It worked.

"YOU KNOW THE AUTHOR? THAT'S COOL! It's really cool THAT YOU KNOW THE AUTHOR," he said (shouted), glancing back at 13-year-old girl.

13-year-old mind control girl looked at Dualed, then looked at me with doubt in her evil eyes. Then the little hater walked away. She was just jealous that I knew Elsie Chapman and SHE didn't.

"How do you know the author?" my son asked.


"So you don't really know her?"

I hesitated, then said, "Well...I mean...I...Oh, shut up, you're grounded."

Dualed by Elsie Chapman did not disappoint me.

In the world of Dualed, there are two of everyone, born to different families and living completely separate lives. Every person has an Alt, and at some point, the "Board" will push a button and it's Alt against the death.

So, you would basically be looking for you, even though it's not you, and trying to kill you, even though it's not really you, and other you is trying to kill you, too.

I'm making sound confusing on purpose (because that's how I am), but it's really not confusing at all when you read it.

It's a crazy idea. I'm not saying it makes much sense, but I don't analyze stories too deeply (as in, my brain don't be think'n), so it worked out. If a story keeps my attention, then I keep reading. If I like the characters, then I keep reading. Period (I spelled out "Period" to over-emphasize that I'm unwilling to discuss the matter further, not because it's the end of the sentence).

Seriously. What would you do if you had a short amount of time to hunt down a person that is exactly like you, and that person was hunting you at the same time? At some point you would find each other and be faced! Could you kill you?

Dualed is a fun read. Knowing that West either has to kill or be killed drives the story.

I don't recommend it for those who only like stories with complex worlds and 16-dimensional characters.

I do recommend it for those who like quick, action-packed reads that make you ask yourself, "What would it be like if that were me?"

I give Dualed 4 out of 5 stars. That's right, stars. I can give stars too, ya know.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Creepy Zombie Babies

In case there ever really is a zombie apocalypse...

Please, please don't cradle a zombie baby like it's a real baby. Just don't.

*As usual, there will probably be spoilers in this review.

I read The Forest of Hands and Teeth and loved it!

Wow. I read a zombie book. I never thought that day would come.

Let me be clear: I DON'T LIKE ZOMBIE STUFF. I think it's weird. I didn't like the zombies in the story, I liked everything else. If Carrie Ryan replaced "zombies" with "ghosts" or "little Ryan Seacrests," it wouldn't have made a difference to me (although imagining little Ryan Seacrests trying to attack people is kinda funny).

I loved the title! It's so perfect for the story.

I loved the cover, too. I have the one with the one-eyed girl that stares at me like she's gonna kill me.

The writing was great. I was never confused (which is easy to do!), and I was definitely rooting for Mary. I really liked how Carrie Ryan weaved a faith/religion aspect into a zombie novel. Very different, but very cool.

The romance part of the story was a bit odd. I wasn't always sure who Mary loved (if anyone), and thinking about it distracted me at times. But, trying to figure out how Mary's "brotherly love" thing was gonna turn out kept me guessing, and that obviously kept me reading.

There were multiple factors driving me through the story. Will she escape? Who will she marry? What the hell is that scary ass sister-nun-thing-lady gonna do next? Who is the girl? Tunnels? Gates?

While reading, I had a sense of fear. Not like overwhelming, terrorizing, nightmare fear, but like, "I think a spider just crawled across my face while I'm lying in bed" fear. The zombies were pulling at the fence, groaning and moaning and being zombies for THE ENTIRE FREAKING STORY! There was no rest from it, and I think the thought of that is what unsettled me. It would be like having to listen to Pitbull all day every day.

There was one super weird scene that had me all like, "WTF?!"

Mary finds a zombie baby and like...loves on it. It was so weird. That was the only part of the story that I really felt validated for not liking zombie stuff. Who hugs a freaking zombie baby? Just throw it's zombie baby ass out the window!

I give The Forest of Hands and Teeth 4 out of 5 Creepy Zombie Babies.

I strongly recommend it! Even if you're like me and you don't care for zombie stuff, there's enough going on in the story to win you over.

Also, I think there should be a ban on books that have creepy zombie babies.