Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Yo, Sucker!

I was about to read Sucker Literary an anthology, so I looked up "anthology" to see what it meant.

Wikipedia, here I come.

I accidentally typed in "anthropology" and I was like, "Oh, shit...this is gonna suck." Of course, I eventually realized I caan't speelll, and picked up the book.

After I finished staring at the multi-colored sucker on the cover (and licked it twice), I began to read.

This is the second volume of Sucker Literary. It contains nine short YA stories, all very different from each other.

I haven't read many short stories, just the Harry Potter series, so this was exciting for me.

I experienced a range of emotions. I went from laughing my ass off at the end of the first story, to checking the cover to make sure I wasn't accidentally reading 50 Shades of YA, to deep thinking on some of life's important questions (which doesn't take much for me).

I love Sucker Literary. I love that aspiring (or established) YA authors have an opportunity to submit their writing, and potentially be showcased in a blossoming anthology (not anthropology!). Soon after, they're sure to find fame and fortune and TMZ weirdos following them around.

All the stories were excellent. And, in the back of the book, everyone involved in this volume has a picture of themselves with a sucker. I know you probably haven't seen it yet, but I'm awarding Laura Jones the Eyes Closed, Nice Lips, and About to Kiss a Sucker award.

No one asked me to suggest this, but I think all of you should support this YA anthology and not only order it, but submit your writing to it.

Go to the Sucker Literary website and give em' hell.

Also, their t-shirts are awesome.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Insignia

*Spoilers

The moral of the story is: DON'T LET ANYONE PUT A FREAKING COMPUTER IN YOUR BRAIN.

There. I had to get that off my chest.

This is not my kind of book, but I really liked it.

I don't play video games and I'm not interested in technology or politics. Insignia is full of all these things (and much more).

I struggled in the beginning of the book. I liked the main character, but I wasn't sure how to picture the video games he was playing. It reminded me of Ender's Game, which I hated (I know...crucify me). But, it ended up being a million times better than Ender's Game.

As I read more I began to easily picture what was happening and I became accustomed to the cool "tech" talk. I actually started feeling cool myself, but then I remembered I wasn't. (This is the part where you feel sorry for me and think of really neat-o ways to describe how cool I am in the comments section.)

I loved the characters. I like books that give me more than one or two characters to be friends with. And even a few to be enemies with.

I liked that Insignia had me guessing. Who is Medusa? What the hell is wrong with Blackburn? Is someone a spy or not? Does Wyatt like Tom or Yuri?

I didn't like the idea of having a computer thingy stuck in a person's brain. But, it was kinda interesting to see the characters giving each other viruses (get your mind outta the gutter!).

I really, really liked the main character Tom and his friend Vik. They made me lol ("laugh out loud" for you older folks) multiple times. They were realistic teenage boy characters.

I think my favorite part of the book is when Tom had to have his brain scanned through all his memories and Blackburn could see them playing out on a screen. What does Tom think about? What every teenage boy thinks about: his sculpted abs blazing as his female classmate's clothes fall off and they run to him for protection. I was like, "Damn! S.J. Kincaid stole my teenage mind."

Let's all agree that if the technology to do that ever shows up, we destroy it. Agreed?

I'm giving Insignia by S.J. Kincaid 4 out of 5 viruses.

And with that, it's good to be back.

P.S. When I left this city six months ago, there was no Chipotle. There is now a Chipotle. This may or may not have had something to do with my willingness to move here.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Short Break

Hello.

Unfortunately, I will be taking a short break from posting on this blog.

We've had a family emergency and are moving back to Wisconsin this weekend.

I'm a bit overwhelmed with packing and cleaning and supervising the wrestling matches between my sons.

Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated. If you don't pray, then your thoughts will do. If you don't have thoughts, then...

:)

See ya in a few weeks.


Aaron

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Something Like Freaking Awesome

*Spoilers

When I read a contemporary novel, I want more than anything to believe in the characters. I want them to be authentic.

With Something Like Normal, Trish Doller nailed it like Paige on spring break.

I didn't care much for the cover (but I must admit, the girl has nice eyelashes).

There are two blurbs on the back of the book. One starts with "Unflinching," and one starts with "Unflinchingly." Is it just me, or is that weird?

I LOVED this book. I loved the characters, the setting, the plot, the humor, the style, the words, the letters, the punctuation, the font, the page size, the everything.

I laughed at Travis's friend Kevlar every time he was mentioned. I could see and hear the all the characters. I was disappointed the book was so short.

I have no idea how Trish Doller wrote from a 19-year-old male Marine's POV so accurately. I honestly stopped reading a few times and re-checked the part of the cover that says, "She lives in Fort Myers, Florida, with her two mostly grown children, two dogs, and a pirate."

I was like, "Damn. So it is a she." It's amazing how well she pulls it off!

The main character, Travis, is home from Afghanistan. He's suffering from the effects of war. His welcome home gift is finding out his asshole brother is banging his super hot ex-girlfriend, and his dad is still the biggest jerk-ass in town.

There are more layers of drama in this book than there are at an 8th grade dance.

Harper. She's the love interest. The introduction of Harper to the reader is probably the best introduction of any character ever. She's so awesome. I loved how every time Harper did something that made me think she was cool, Travis would say something about how cool she was.

The relationship between Travis and Harper developed rather predictably, but I never felt like that took away from my interest in it.

Travis. He's tough. He's very honest about getting erections (which is like every other second). He's respectful to his Mama. And my favorite, when the drama in the story reaches new heights, he ADMITS he made a mistake, CONFESSES to Harper, and takes RESPONSIBILITY for his actions. RealMen.

I'm from Wisconsin, so I was disappointed that Travis's jerk dad was a former Green Bay Packer. Trish Doller loses a point for that.

I give Something Like Normal 5 out of 5 Green Bay Packers (Clay Matthews, Aaron Rodgers, Charles Woodson, Greg Jennings, and Jordy Nelson).

I strongly recommend this book.

Also, Trish, I'm sorry, but every time I say your last name I think "dollar." I picture you as like...a rapper.

$T-Dolla'$ or Holla' Dolla'

So, I thought it might be a good idea to challenge you to a rap battle. I'll rap my case for Harper. You rap your case for Travis.

We'll throw down in the comments section of this blog post. We'll drop a couple rhymes, then anybody and everybody jump in and declare your allegiance for either Harper or Travis by dropping a rhyme.

I'll start.
Whaaaaaaaaaaaat!
Yo, Harper is a queen
She's smooth 'n' clean
She's ahead of the pace
And when Travy come-a-callin' she be SMACKIN' his face!








Something Like Normal Rap Battle Tonight

Yo, tonight on the blog I'll be posting my review of Something Like Normal by Trish Doller.

Many people told me to read this book and went on and on about Travis. After reading it, I decided that Harper is a much better character than Travis.

So, I've challenged Trish Doller to a rap battle. She has accepted.

In the comments section of the blog post, I will rap my case for Harper, while Trish will rap her case for Travis.

You are encouraged to join in and support either #TeamTravis or #TeamHarper with your own rapping skills.

Bring you best rhyming skills (because we don't have any) and throw down.

7:00 p.m. (Central)

Please join in, otherwise Trish and I will look like two big dorks rapping back and forth by ourselves.




Sunday, March 3, 2013

Wet Dog Smell

*There might be spoilers in this review. *

I went to the bookstore the other day to buy Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, but on the way from the parking lot to the front door I was attacked by a pack of wolves. They were snarling and growling as they surrounded me. I taunted them, removing my shirt to reveal my sculpted...ribs. I pounded my chest like a gorilla and roared like a lion. No pack of wolves was gonna stop me from getting that book.

They jumped on me, but I was able to wrestle them off and get inside the bookstore.

All I could think about on the drive home was that I smelled like dog. How would I explain this to Jessica Alba?

As soon as I walked in the door, Jessica's head snapped in my direction. She ran to me. Her cheeks were pink and she was putting her face right up to my clothes and taking deep sniffs.

"You smell SO good," she kept saying. She started kissing my face and neck and tugging at my shirt.

"What the hell has gotten into you?" I asked.

"Ohhh, you smell like dog," she moaned.

And this is where the story ends.  Because right now, if you haven't read Shiver, you're probably like WTF?! But if you've read it, you're probably laughing at the similarities between Jessica and the main character in the book: Grace.

I'm not sure how anyone can read this book and not be at least slightly disturbed at how much Grace loves wolves. I completely understand that she was bitten by a wolf and was still like 1% werewolf, but still, she's a freaking teenage girl talking about wolves (actual animals) like she wants to go all Ke$ha on them.

Gross.

Other than Grace wanting to give new meaning to "doggy style", there was one other thing that I found to be extremely unbelievable. There was a sister of a boy that had been bitten by a wolf. Everyone thought the boy was dead. When the sister found out he was alive and also happened to be a werewolf, she handled it like it was totally normal.

There's actually a scene where the werewolf brother confesses to the sister that he ate the family dog. She responds like, "Oh, silly boy. Why did you have to eat the dog?" This aspect of the story was SO weird. I needed the characters to at least try to doubt.

Other than those two things, it was really good!

Seriously, I think Maggie Stiefvater did an amazing job creating Mercy Falls, MN (which, if it was real, would not have been far from where I grew up in Wisconsin). I loved the scenery. It was easy to picture and at times I almost felt the cold weather being described.

The story was interesting. I'm not into paranormal so much, but amazingly, I wanted to keep reading this book. I literally lol'd a few times at myself. I would read a doggy love scene and be like, "Why do I wanna keep reading this?"

But, I did.

When that happens I give mad props to the author for doing a lot of things right. I didn't finish the book merely because I wanted to "get it over with." I genuinely wanted to know what was gonna happen. Maggie Stiefvater hooked me and I had to keep going. I pushed past the parts I thought were silly, and in the end I actually enjoyed the read.

I'll probably never completely heal from having the "teenage girl seems turned on by wolves" scenes, but, hey, I made it through Twilight.

I give Shiver 3 out of 5 Wet Dogs.