Monday, November 30, 2009

WINNERS and I'm a bad blogger

So, I've been a bad blogger and a bad commenter lately. I've been doing my best for the month of November, but with NaNoWriMo and applying for schools in Japan and applying for student visas in Japan and applying for permanent residency in Quebec, not to mention Thanksgiving and all of the other bagazillion things going on in November, I just haven't had time.
I haven't been reading nearly as much as I'd like, and I haven't had time to think of things to post about aside from reviews. And I haven't had much time for commenting, either - although last night I went a bit comment crazy instead of finishing my NaNoWriMo book. I did manage to finish the 50,0000 words this morning, but it's unfortunately looking like I'll need quite a few more words to finish the book. I just hope I can keep the NaNoWriMo motivation rolling until the end.
You might have noticed that I even skipped French Friday and Sunday's Stars this week. I HAVE NO TIME!
So I apologize.
I can't promise that December will be better, as it's looking fairly hectic as well, but January definitely will be. In the meantime, I'll keep doing my best.

Also in the meantime, I've got some contest winners to announce! YAY!!!! I used The Contest Winner Picker for both of these.

The winner for a signed copy of "Deer & Other Stories" by Susan Tepper is. . .


I really hope you'll enjoy this little book of short stories. I thought it was just beautiful. :-) Aik, I have sent you an e-mail. You have 48 hours to contact me.

Now, if you'll remember, I also said that, as soon as I reached 150 followers, Evermore and the City & the Stars would come into play in my Super Mega Radical 100 Followers Contest. That happened a little while ago, but I've just had time to pick the winner now.

So, the winner of either Evermore or The City and the Stars is. . .


Wildflower00, you did not leave me an e-mail address. You have 72 hours to contact me (until Friday morning when I wake up). I don't want to haev to give the book to someone else. I have a surprise option I would like to give you, so please just shoot me an e-mail at zedster.tbb(at)gmail(DOT)com to let me know who you are.

If you didn't win, don't worry! You can still enter my giveaway of 7th Heaven by James Patterson.

And there are still tons of books up for grabs in my Super Mega Radical 100 Followers Contest. So what are you waiting for? Go enter now!

GIVEAWAY!: 7th Heaven by James Patterson

I've been feeling sort of guilty about my lack of interesting posts lately (will talk about in my next post), so to apologize, I've got a GIVEAWAY for you! YAY!!!!

Title:7th Heaven

Author:James Patterson

Summary:A terrible fire in a wealthy suburban home leaves a married couple dead and Detective Lindsay Boxer and her partner Rich Conklin searching for clues. And after California's golden boy, Michael Campion has been missing for a month, there finally seems to be a lead in his case--a very devastating lead.

As fire after fire consume couples in wealthy, comfortable homes, Lindsay and the Murder Club must race to find the arsonists responsible and get to the bottom of Michael Campion's disappearance. But suddenly the fires are raging too close to home.

Frightened for her life and torn between two men, Lindsay must find a way to solve the most daunting dilemmas she's ever faced--at work and at home.

Reading Group Guide:
1. Arson is a very curious crime to commit. Why do you think someone would be drawn to this crime? Do you believe in Freud’s theory as stated in the book?

2. In your opinion, would Junie’s occupation affect her credibility in the courtroom? Should it? For example, is a lawyer or doctor a more credible defendant/witness than a garbage collector?

3. In trying Junie Moon, Yuki tried to use public sympathy for Michael Campion to turn the jury against the defendant. What do you think of that type of tactic in a trial setting?

4. Conklin suspects Chuck Hanni, the arson investigator, for actually committing the arson crimes in the book. Why do you think serial murderers would choose professions close to their crimes?

5. Junie Moon’s intelligence and self esteem are brought up by the defense as reasons why she could have given a false confession. Do you think everyone who confesses is guilty? Do you believe interrogations should be taped?

6. In Junie Moon’s trial, much of the prosecution’s case is based on spoken testimony. What is your opinion on convicting someone for murder without physical evidence, but compelling testimony?

7. The Moluccan cockatoo Peaches, formerly known as Horndog, was described as depressed when it was living in the pet store. Do you think it is possible for animals to get depressed or have psychological problems like people?

8. Joe voices his worry that Lindsay’s relationship with Rich has become more intimate than the typical office relationship. Do you think Lindsay’s relationship with Rich could lead to something inadvertently? Should she request a change of partner out of respect for her relationship with Joe? Who do you think is better suited to Lindsay?

9. Connor Campion was very controlling of Michael because he feared for his son’s life. How can modern parents set appropriate boundaries with their children in an age where kids have access to cell phones, computers and other devices that allow them to live lives fairly independent of their parents?

10. As prosecutor it is Yuki’s right to believe the Junie is guilty and her duty to try her as such. There is a moral dilemma if a prosecutor feels that a defendant could be innocent or if a defense lawyer feels their client may be guilty. How do you think defense lawyers and prosecutors reconcile these conflicts?

Since this summer, when I read my first James Patterson book (Sundays at Tiffany's), I have become a total James Patterson fan, and I'm really looking forward to this one.

Now, thanks to Hachette Books, I have *5* copies of this book to give away!!!!
How awesome is that?!? And I'm going to make this entry thing easy for both you and me.

TO ENTER:Leave a comment with your e-mail address. If your e-mail address is easily findable in your blogger profile, you don't even need to leave that. Just a comment.

For ONE extra entry:Leave a SEPARATE comment letting me know that you follow.

This giveaway is open *ONLY* to residents of the *US* and *CANADA*. Sorry foreigners! No P.O. Boxes, please! It will end December 14, 2009 at midnight central time. Happy entering!

That's it, that's all, so easy! :-)

Be sure to visit, listen to a clip of the book, and download the podcast.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Contests in the Blogosphere

So as you guys probably know, I've got two great contests going on right now.

The first one ends tomorrow, November 28, and is for A SIGNED COPY of Susan Tepper's Deer. Enter HERE now!!!!

The other is my Super Mega Radical 100 Followers Contest for Hush, Hush, Ender's Game, Evermore, the City and the Stars, and some surprise books and swag! Be sure to enter HERE now.

I thought I would point out to you, though, that there are some other AWESOME contests going on in the Blogosphere as well.

1)The Enchanted Ink Pot had THREE super rad prize packs up for grabs, with tons of AWESOME YA and fantasy. It is NOT TO BE MISSED! So enter now!

2)Bloody Bookaholic has an AMAZING Holiday contest going on!
There will be three winners, each winning a mix of AWESOME YA books and a Ninja Gift Card. There is also a $30 Borders Gift card up for grabs! So enter now!

3)Books At Midnight is having a 100 followers contest. You get your choice of 1 out of 6 awesome books! It ends tonight, so go check it out now!!

4)Tynga is having an incredibly awesome 300 followers giveaway! There will be 4 winners, and there's a list of AWESOME books to choose from! Not to mention that one lucky winner will get a special made button. So go check it out here.

The list could actually go on and on and on - for more, go check out THE CONTEST LIST in my sidebar to your left!

And of course I can't forget to mention the e-reader giveaways going on. I know some of you out there don't think you want one, but GO ENTER ANYWAY! If it's free, it can't hurt, right? So go over there and enter now and make sure to tell them that BRIZMUS from Brizmus Blogs Books sent you!

Ends December 24

Win a brand new Kindle!
Ends December 10

Ends December 17

@ The Bibliophilic Book Blog!! Ends December 15.

Go enter to get your e-reader. You never know, you might end up loving it! Or if not, just think of what a great gift it would make!

And I'm pretty sure that's all for now, folks!
Question: Do you like posts like this? Or would you prefer that I leave the contest finding up to you? I know I love it when others post blog posts about contests, so I've started doing that a little bit. Let me know what you think.

100 Books to Read Before You Die

So, Ivana from Willing to See Less posted this list on her blog, but that's definitely not where it originated. I think it's actually Border's 100 Favorite Books of All Time. Let's analyze it, shall we! I'll cross out books I've read and put in bold books on my wishlist or in my TBR pile.
N.B. I actually really didn't like a couple of these books; those will have frowny faces beside them.

1. Jane Austen – Pride & Prejudice
2. Harper Lee – To Kill A Mockingbird
3. JRR Tolkien – Lord Of The Rings
4. Jodi Picoult – My Sister’s Keeper
5. Stephanie Meyer – Twilight Saga
6. JK Rowling – Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone
7. Audrey Niffenegger – The Time Traveler’s Wife
8. Markus Zusak – The Book Thief
9. George Orwell – 1984
10. Raymond E. Feist – Magician
11. Khaled Hosseini – A Thousand Splendid Suns
12. Paullina Simons – Bronze Horsemen
13. Gregory David Roberts – Shantaram
14. Margaret Mitchell – Gone With The Wind
15. Bryce Courtenay – Power of One
16. Dan Brown – The Da Vinci Code
17. Dan Brown – Angels & Demons
18. Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist
19. Charlotte Bronte – Jane Eyre
20. Tim Winton – Cloud Street
21. Khaled Hosseini – The Kite Runner
22. Emily Bronte – Wuthering Heights
23. Arthur Golden – Memoirs of Geisha
24. LM Montgomery – Anne Of Green Gables
25. Joseph Heller – Catch-22
26. Elizabeth Gilbert – Eat Pray Love :-(
27. Niv Mass Market Bible With Bible Guide – International Bible Society Staff and International Bible Society
28. JRR Tolkien – The Hobbit
29. Yann Martel – Life of Pi
30. AB Facey – Fortunate Life
31. Douglas Adams – The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
32. Lewis Carroll – Alice In Wonderland & Through The Looking Glass
33. Diana Gabaldon – Cross Stich
34. Rohinton Mistry – A Fine Balance
35. David Pelzar – A Child Called It
36. Li Cunxin – Mao’s Last Dancer
37. John Marsden – Tomorrow, When The War Began
38. Frank McCourt – Angela’s Ashes
39. Frank Herbert – Dune
40. JD Salinger – A Catcher In The Rye
41. F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby
42. Gabriel Garcia Marquez – One Hundred Years Of Solitude
43. Bryce Courtenay – April Fool’s Day
44. Ken Follet – Pillars Of The Earth
45. Patrick Suskind – Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer
46. Matthew Reilly – Ice Station
47. Carlos Ruiz Zafon – The Shadow Of The Wind
48. Stephen Hawking – A Brief History Of Time
49. Christopher Paolini – Eragon
50. Louisa May Alcott – Little Women
51. Mitch Albom – Tuesdays With Morrie
52. Jane Austen – Persuasion
53. Alice Sebold – The Lovely Bones
54. Ian McEwan – Atonement :-(
55. Leo Tolstory – Anna Karenina
56. George Orwell – Animal Farm
57. Anthony Burgess – A Clockwork Orange
58. Antoine de Saint Exupéry – The Little Prince
59. Roald Dahl – Charlie & The Chocolate Factory
60. CS Lewis – The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe
61. Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Love In The Time Of Cholera
62. Bill Bryson – A Short History Of Nearly Everything
63. Fyodor Dostoevsky – Crime And Punishment
64. Anthony Bourke – Lion Called Christian
65. Arundhati Roy – The God Of Small Things :-( WORST BOOK EVER!
66. Paullina Simons – Tully
67. John Grisham – A Time To Kill
68. John Grogan – Marley & Me
69. Vikram Seth – A Suitable Boy
70. Alexandre Dumas – Count Of Monte Cristo
71. Neil Gaiman – American Gods
72. Cormac McCarthy – The Road :-(
73. Aldous Huxley – Brave New World
74. Brendan Shanahan – In Turkey I Am Beautiful: Between Chaos And Madness In A Strange Land
75. Tim Winton – Breath
76. Bryce Courtenay – Jessica
77. Graeme Base – Animalia
78. Donna Tartt – The Secret History
79. Mario Puzo – The Godfather
80. Anne Rice – Interview With The Vampire
81. Steig Larrson – The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo
82. Stephen King – Stand
83. Helen Fielding – Bridget Jones’ Diary :-(
84. Eckhart Tolle – New Earth
85. Matthew Reilly – Seven Ancient Wonders
86. Jung Chang – Wild Swans
87. Nicholas Sparks – The Notebook
88. Bret Easton Ellis – American Psycho
89. David Eddings – Belgariad Vol. 1: Pawn Of Prophecy; Queen Of Sorcery; Magician’s Gambit
90. Louis De Bernieres – Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
91. Melina Marchetta – Looking For Alibrandi
92. Celia Ahern – PS I Love You :-(
93. John Irving – A Prayer For Owen Meany
94. Colleen McCullough – The Thorn Birds
95. John Kennedy Toole – A Confederacy Of Dunces
96. Terry Pratchett – Good Omens
97. Hunter S. Thompson – Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas
98. Joanne Harris – Chocolat
99. William Goldman – Princess Bride
100. Charles Dickens – Great Expectations

Wow! I've read 51 of them! Definitely not bad. And I think I only really disliked 4 of those that I've read. Most of the ones that aren't in my TBR pile or on my wishlist I've never heard of, but I guess I'll have to check them out.

How did you do?

Thursday, November 26, 2009


It's Thanksgiving, and even though I am living in France right now, I have decided to celebrate. I have a vegan pumpkin cheezcake in the oven and two artichokes on the stove. My sister and I tend to eat artichokes every Thanksgiving together. And so even though she's not here with me, I'm having one in her honor. With margarine and nutritional yeast! YUM! Aside from that, I'm not really doing anything special. In the past, when I was teaching English, we made turkey hands, and I made my students write something they were thankful for in each finger. That really reminded me that it was Thanksgiving, and that Thanksgiving is special. This year, I am jobless (:-( ) and broke, so I've got to find ways to remind myself.
I hope all of you guys in the U S of A are having a fantastic time with your friends and family!

Just try to tell me you don't feel sorry for that poor turkey.

And since it's Thanksgiving, I've been reading some great lists of things that other people are thankful for. I decided that I needed to make a list of 10 things of my own.
So, what am I thankful for this year?

1)The fact that there are more and more vegans out there every year meaning that more and more turkeys survive this holiday.

2)All of my friends and family who love me and care about me (and whom I love and care about) and who support me through all of the crazy things I decide to do, be it write a novel in 30 days or move to Japan for 9 months (Normally, this will be happening soon) without a job or a friend in sight. (And who take care of my cat, Zedster, while I am off doing said crazy things.)

3)Guillaume aka the greatest, most wonderful boyfriend a girl could ever ask for.

4)Discovering the book blogging community and all of the wonderful people in it.

5)The store Thanksgiving, in the Marais, which, I am convinced, is the ONLY place in all of Paris where you can buy grits and canned pumpkin. Even if they are ridiculously expensive.

6)Organic farmers.

7)Starbucks venti soy classic hot chocolate with peppermint syrup and no whipped cream.

8)My stuffed dog, Eva, who has lived with me through thick and thin since I was 4 years old, who was there for me when my real dog, Eva, a Brittany Spaniel, died. I had had her and loved her since I was 7.

9)Courage and the odd places in which I often find it lurking.

10)And, of course, no list of things I am thankful for would be complete without BOOKS!!!! I will put being able to see and knowing how to read along with this one as well.

X I am cross-posting this to Vegan in the Land of Frog Legs and Cheese. X

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Amazing deals and giveaways going on at Charter

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Charter Communication. All opinions are 100% mine.

Chartercom_black_friday__234x134Something REALLY exciting is going on over at Charter’s Daily Deal Web Site!!!! They are having some amazing giveaways going on between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and then on until the end of the year! There are two ways to win - first with the great deals on Charter Cable, Internet and Phone services, including FREE Gift Cards with special online deals; second all the amazing opportunities to win cool prizes for the holidays.

From Black Friday to Cyber Monday, they’re offering gift cards worth up to $200 with special online deals. What kind of gift cards, you ask? Everything from major electronics retailers, clothing, home, accessories, and restaurants. This is awesome for so many reasons. If you win, just think of all the money you could save to buy all those books on your Amazon Wishlist!

It doesn't end at Cyber Monday, though! For 38 days afterwards, they'll be giving away tons of great prizes and gifts everyday, not to mention all the great deals you'll find at their site. Everyday something different and exciting will be going on, so if I were you, I'd check back in on a daily basis!
What kind of great gifts and prizes, you ask? They're giving away everything from iPods to Camcorders to TVs to GPS units to webcams to photo frames and the list goes on.
You like TV? They've got some great Showtime schwag to give away like Dexter, The Tudors, and Californication. And if you're a fan of HBO - they'll be giving away Big Love and Entourage box-sets, too! I know I'll be entering the giveaway for Dexter! I'm so excited!

So you don't forget about all this awesomeness going on, become a fan of Charter on Facebook! It's a great way to keep up to date about all the super cool things they're giving away.

Over the last two years, Charter has outpaced the industry in creative and newsworthy Sweepstakes including great prizes like an HDTV-a-day, Toyota Prius, a new 2010 Chevy Camaro 2SS, Xbox 360s and more. Which means you know they know how to do prizes, and this is absolutely NOT something you want to miss out on. Especially with the holidays coming up. Like I said before: just THINK of all the money you could save to spend on books!

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NaNoWriMo and New Moon and doing the update kind of thing. . .

First, I'd like to start with a small apology about my lack of commenting lately. I've been participating in NaNoWriMo this month, and I find that it's taking a lot out of me. When I'm done writing, I just don't want to be at the computer anymore. Hopefully I'll be back to my commenting self in December, but in the mean time, I'll do my best.

And speaking of NaNoWriMo, I can't believe I haven't yet written a single thing about it. Last year, when I wasn't book blogging, I updated at least bi-weekly with a NaNoWriMo status. I guess I'm just not as excited about it this year. I started off with a great story in mind, and somehow that has turned into the non-fiction story of me. Yes, that's right - I'm writing an autobiography. I didn't mean for it to turn out this way, and I'm just not that excited about it. Especially since I had to interrupt my other WIP for it. And I am SUPER excited about my other WIP. I love my story and my characters and the dialogue and everything, and this is the first time that's ever happened.
In any case, if you're not my writing buddy yet, click on the link in my left sidebar to become my writing buddy!

Other than NaNoWriMo, I went to see New Moon again, and I made a few observations that I would like to share with you. Even though I've read a lot of other bloggers complaining that they are tired of hearing about it. You can see my original review here.
First, I watched Twilight before hand, for maybe the 18th time, and I noticed for the first time that Edward gets to be an angel for part of it. When they are sitting in the biology classroom at the beginning, there is one point where a stuffed owl/bird thing is aligned perfectly behind him so that it looks like he has wings. It was super cool.
Now, post-Twilight New Moon observations:
1)Charlie is hilarious and wonderful, and I am so glad they made him an integral part of the movies.
2)Kristen Stewart, while still regularly flitting her eyes and breathing far too heavily, quite probably got acting lessons. She is not as horrible, but she is still HORRIBLE.
3)When she is not looking high or cross-eyed, Kristen Stewart is actually quite beautiful.
4)Edward, while never a great actor, somehow got even worse. And I am very upset with whoever decided he should be mister perfectly gorgeously hot Edward. Because perfectly gorgeously hot he is not. I decided that the guy who plays Emmett should have played Edward.
5)Bella and Edward have no chemistry, and when they kiss, I feel like gagging. Bella and Jacob have so much chemistry that I just want to jump through the screen and make them kiss. Even in Twilight. Like when they were walking on the beach together. HOT! (See picture - I ADORE the jacket Bella is wearing in that picture)
6)Bella is already so pale that I have NO clue how they can make her paler when she will be a vampire.
7)Edward is going to have to mega buff up if he wants to look like the Edward vampire described in Eclipse. He should learn from Taylor Lautner and go to the gym.

Okay, I guess that's it on the New Moon front. But, um, how incredibly creeptastic is the story about the mom who asked him to sign the Team Jacob panties THAT SHE WAS WEARING. And right in front of her teenaged daughter, en plus. See the story here. It makes me feel less creepy about finding him hot.

This post is getting long, but before I go: SOME BOOK NEWS!
I've been really sick lately and going NaNoWriMo crazy, like I said, so I unfortunately haven't been reading much lately. :-( I am therefore probably be going to posting some mini reviews throughout the next couple weeks of books that I read a while ago. I hope you'll enjoy!

Remember: commenting on this post gets you 1 entry into my Super Mega Radical Contest

Ignore this post


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Another Kindle Giveaway!

So, I posted before about e-reader giveaway going on over at Park Avenue Princess. And about the kindle giveaway at Noobie.

But now I want to post about yet ANOTHER Kindle giveaway! Isn't the holiday time fantastic?!? Bibliofreak is going to be giving away up to *15* Kindles!!!!

So if you haven't already heard about it, click that banner RIGHT now to get your butt over there and enter. I mean, seriously - who doesn't want a free Kindle?!?

Sunday's Stars (3): Less Than Jake

Sunday's Star is a weekly meme that I host here at Brizmus Blogs Books. Basically, I feature a band that I love. In the hopes that you love them, too, or that you will grow to love them.

This week, I want to talk about LESS THAN JAKE!!!!

For those of you who are, like me, in your mid to late 20's, you probably remember Less Than Jake from back in the day. By back in the day I mean the high school years, of course. You might remember a little album called "Pezcore" aka one of the greatest albums of all time. Most likely, though, you've forgotten about them. Or you haven't heard about them for a very long time. Or maybe you've never even heard of them. For those of you that are younger, this is quite probable.
It is also very sad. Sad indeed.

Less Than Jake are one of the most wonderfully poppy and addictive ska punk bands to ever hit the scene. You hear them once and you will never forget them. It's just a fact (though, admittedly, not a scientifically proven one).
I've seen them in concert several times (the first was back at the second Warped Tour ever, if I am not mistaken!; another they played with Frenzal Rhomb, Australian punk rock, and I had the honor of hanging out with both bands for several hours), the most recent of which was about 4 years ago. At this time, the singer said something that I found very upsetting. They had just played two songs from their most recent album at the time, In With the Out Crowd, when they stopped to announce: "Don't worry guys, we won't be playing too much of our new stuff, because we know it's our old stuff that you love. It's our old stuff that we love, too."
I was all "SAY WHAT?!?" Now, don't get me wrong, I ADORE their old stuff. But I think that their new stuff is awesome as well. And, apparently, totally underrated. One of my favorite Less Than Jake songs, the Science of Selling Yourself Short, is actually from one of their newer albums. And my NaNoWriMo soundtrack this year has been going back and forth between NoFx, Green Day, the Backstreet Boys, Miley Cyrus, and, of course Less Than Jake. But not just any Less Than Jake - their newest album, "GNVFLA." Because it is so so so so SOOOOOOO good!

And there you have it, folks, "the Science of Selling Yourself Short." Awesome, right?
The story before the video is why I decided they needed to be posted this week. Because I have been loving them so much lately (and appreciating them acting as a pseudo muse for my writing), and they fact that they have become an unknown, underrated band makes me super sad.

So that's it for this week. Check out LESS THAN JAKE's website if you want to learn more about them!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blog Tour Review: Flesh and Fire by Laura Ann Gilman

Title: Flesh and Fire

Author: Laura Ann Gilman


Who should read it? Anyone who has ever loved a fantasy book or who thinks they might ever love a fantasy book.

What I Have to Say: I can't even remember the last time I wanted to give a book 5 stars; this book was such an amazingly wonderful pleasant surprise for me. The magic in this book is wine-based, and the magicians in this book spend the majority of time cultivating their vines and making this magical wine (and vin ordinaire). They story also takes place in a world that is governed by politics and religion; with extremely not-subtle references to Christianity - Sin Washer as Jesus, Washer as priest - that reign through the entire book. As an agnostic who hates wine, I was really expecting for this to be one of those books that I enjoy while reading and then forget about. NOT THE CASE!
This book isn't non-stop action packed, instead taking more time to focus on Jerzy's (our protagonist's) life as a student and his coming-of-age, the plot itself unveiling slowly and mysteriously thoughout the course of the book. Despite that it takes ages before seeing any semblance of a real plot, I couldn't put it down, couldn't stop turning page after page after page, DYING to know more about the world Gilman has created and the trials and tribulations of Jerzy and his Master, Malech.
It is one of the most exciting and creative books that I have read in a long time. Gilman's writing manages to be both simple and colorfully descriptive, creating an experience for the reader that is both visual and sensual. She casts a spell over the reader as she weaves her tale of innocence, confusion, destruction, and lies. The characters she creates are well-developed and likable, all slightly mysterious in their own way, all unique.
It didn't even bother me that this book didn't really end, not even with a cliffhanger. Yes, I WANT MORE!!!!!, and it would have been nice if she had given us something to go with, but in the end it didn't really matter. I'm going to be thinking about this book for a long time regardless.

Summary (from Goodreads): N.B. If you want to read this book, I wouldn't read this summary! It gives away the whole book!Fourteen centuries ago, all power was held by the prince-mages, who alone could craft the spell-wines. But the people revolted against harsh rule, and were saved by a demigod called Sin-Washer, who broke the First Vine, shattering the hold of the prince-mages.

In 1378 ASW, princes still rule, but Vinearts now make spellwines, less powerful than in days of old. Jerzy, a young slave, has just begun his studies to become a Vineart when his master uncovers the first stirrings of a plot to finish the work Sin-Washer began, and shatter the remains of the Vine forever. Only his master believes the magnitude and danger of this plot. And only Jerzy has the ability to stop it…before there are no more Vinearts left at all.

Final Question: How do you feel about non-Christian books with obvious references to Christianity, like this book, where the story of Jesus is paralleled by the story of Sin Washer? I'm personally agnostic, so I don't really care. I mostly find it interesting, but I know that it upsets some people. I have even heard it said that it is blasphemous. So you, my dear readers, what do you think?

Disclosure: This book was provided by Pocket Books so that I could give an honest review.


Guess who's having another contest. . .

That would be ****PRINCESS BOOKIE****!!!!!!!!!!!
Her contests are always so amazing, and this one proves to be even more amazing than usual!

She's giving away *8* mysterious but sure to be awesome books, which, I assume, will be announced when the contest officially opens. Before it opens, though, is the ONLY time to get extra entries!
So what are you waiting for?
Head on over there and ENTER NOW for those extra entries!!!! And don't forget to tell her that brizmus from Brizmus Blogs Books sent you!

Friday, November 20, 2009

French Friday (5)

French Friday is a weekly feature hosted by Charlotte at the Book on the Hill. We both live in France, so it's where we write about Frenchy bookish things.

So I was actually planning on interrupting my regularly scheduled French Friday programming today in favor of my New Moon pseudo-review and all, which I would have posted yesterday when I wrote it, but I had a blog tour to do. :-)

THEN, I saw this, and I decided, well, why not have a Twilight-themed French Friday? It's the trailer for New Moon, Tentation in French, dubbed over by the French voice actors. And it is HILARIOUS! What makes it so hilarious, you ask? Well, that would be the voices. I know that most of you don't speak French so won't be able to understand what is being said, but just LISTEN to Taylor's voice. It is SO not a Jacob voice. AT ALL! And Bella just sounds so overly feminine and dramatic. The dubbed thing really just doesn't work (which isn't a surprise, really, but Jacob's voice is even more hilarious than usual).

So watch and laugh. And I mention again, take special note of Jacob's voice.
And if you haven't already, check out my review of New Moon

And check out Charlotte's French Friday in which she talks about the Twilight books.


<3<3**New Moon**<3<3

Spoiler Alert: If you haven't read the books or seen the movie, I wouldn't read this post!!

New Moon came out in France on Wednesday, and I don't know why I didn't write about it before.
Well, yes, I do. When I got home from the theatre, I was planning on blogging about it immediately, but I was so tired that it just couldn't happen. And then I've just wanted to do nothing other than think about it and how wonderful it was since.
And maybe I just didn't want to make all the Americans jealous that I saw it before them. :-P


Okay, here goes. I'm going to try to make some coherent sense talking about what I thought of the movie. I'm so attached to this one, as it was my favorite book, so it's going to be hard. But alas, I will try, and I will start with the bad (agh!), so that I can end with the good, oh yes!
Kristen Stewart is still a terrible actress. Her fake attempts at stuttering, or sputtering out words, I guess I should say, do nothing but annoy me, and the way she breathes all heavily every time something intense is going on - ugh! And how she flutters those ridiculously overly small eyes that always make her look high (maybe she is always high?) - well, let's just say that I wish they would have chosen someone else to play the part of Bella. If Twilight could have been ruined, it would have been because of her. Luckily for us, it couldn't be.

Now, I also think that Bella and Edward have one of the most unhealthy relationships known to man.
Bella bella, Edward edward
It disturbs me a little bit, to see this portrayed as what eternal love looks like, and reading the books, this is why I was always Team Jacob. I have been there, done that (and burnt the t-shirt :-P), and I am SO happy to have escaped that. At the same time, because I know what it feels like to be left by someone with whom you are obsessively in love, I can also see the truth to the books. And in New Moon, Bella's pain over Edward leaving her is just so real. When she was moping around being depressed, it was the only time that I thought she got the acting thing right. Her pain became real for me, for the entire audience. So much so that it dredged up some of my old memories, and I cried at points where no one else was crying. Sure, there relationship is unhealthy, and the fact that, for her "without Edward, there is nothing" makes me want to reach out and shake some sense into her - but it's not entirely unrealistic. At one point in the movie, after she has been moping for about 4 months, Charlie says something like "Bella, it's not normal." And maybe it's not entirely normal, but it does happen. Maybe it's not normal for her to want to hurt herself in order to get to see Edward, but it DOES happen. I know from first-hand experience (I learned my lesson; Bella will never need to).

Enough about that, though. On to bigger, better things. Before this movie, I was sort-of hesitant. All this conversation about Team Edward and Team Jacob - it was hard for me. If I had had to choose, I would have said Team Jacob, if only because New Moon was my favorite book (which I had for some reason forgotten, thinking Twilight was my favorite; now I remember), but it would have been hard. After this movie, I am without a doubt hardcore 100% Team Jacob.
He was cute and sweet in the first movie, for sure. Watching him with Bella in New Moon, though - it just absolutely took my breath away. He's so innocent and sweet and caring, and he's just so good to Bella and good for Bella. Better for her than Edward has ever been. Even with Edward around, she is always "suffering" because of her love for him. With Jacob she's just. . .happy. And there doesn't have to be anything else.

And plus, Jacob is HOT! Edward is cute and pale and broody. Jacob is HOT! Whatever he did to get himself ready for this movie - he should totally keep doing it. (Somehow I feel creepy saying that, since he's 10 years younger than me and all). He's also really the only one that knows how to act.

Okay, a couple last things: the movie was beautifully filmed. The occasional special effect fit in beautifully with the overall theme of the movie. I can't stress enough what a great job the director did of making Bella's pain seem real and making Forks seem beautifuly and dreary and rainy all at the same time. Also, I was thrilled that Edward actually sparkled. He could have sparkled more, but at least it didn't just look like he was sweating (which is what I thought in the first movie).

And there we have it. Before I left for the movie, I realized I had nothing Twilight-themed to wear. So now I'm off to try to buy myself something for the next time I see it (which will probably be this weekend).

I hope this was coherent, and I hope you all love the movie as much as I did!

Disclaimer: with the exception of the stars, all of the photos in this post have been taken from other sites. Please contact me if you would like me to remove them.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blog Tour Review: The Evolution Conspiracy by Lisa A. Shiel

Title: The Evolution Conspiracy

Author: Lisa A. Shiel

Rating: 1/2

Who Should Read It? Anyone who has ever been interested in evolution; anyone who has ever questioned.

What I Have to Say: This book was decidedly informative. In some ways it read like a text book, but at the same time it made me laugh, and there were times when I was so interested that I really felt like I couldn't put it down.
When it comes to evolution, Lisa A. Shiel really does know what she's talking about. She presents her points in clear, concise chapters, using words and a writing style that are easily accessible to the layman. She tried to stay neutral, and for the most part, she did a good job of this. Occasionally, though, she would sarcastically refer to Darwin as "the evolutionist's god, Darwin" or she would say negative things about evolutionists from a standpoint that was obviously bitter as opposed to factual. This bothered me slightly, but it in no way negated her arguments. She also has a clear and concise biblography at the end of every chapter and a glossary at the end of the book, for some of the more difficult terms.
As a child, I never learned evolution (or creationism, for that matter) in school, and I have therefore never understood it to be fact. It's something that scientists think about, that they would like to prove, but that they are unable to prove. After reading this book, I have a much better understanding of why they are unable to prove it. And how they hide this inability from the layman, masking the incongruities with their fancy talk. Unfortunately, a lot what she said seemed to be based on the idea that EVERYONE is taught evolution as fact when they are in grade school. I wasn't, so this didn't really click for me.
Shiel concludes with "Evolutionists must stretch, manipulate, and outright ignore evidence to shore up established theories about life's origins and expansions. Myriad problems plague the research." If this is what she set out to prove, she succeeded. She more than succeeded. If, however, she set out to prove that there is no way that evolution could exist, she didn't quite reach her goal.
I found this book exciting, and I learned so much from it, things that I have always wondered about. This book is for anyone who ever wanted to know a thing or two about evolution.

Summary (from GoodReads):Evolution. One word, deceptive in its simplicity, has transformed the way we look at ourselves and everything around us. Once thought of as unique, man has become one of the animals with no special claim on the planet. As children, few of us question what we learn in biology class about the origins of life and the position man holds in the hierarchy. Science textbooks present evolution as fact--indisputable, inevitable, and incomprehensible to everyone outside the exalted few with PhDs in the appropriate fields.

Yet this book promotes one key premise--anyone can understand evolution.

Evolutionists focus their defensive efforts on Creationist claims, giving the impression that nobody except religious zealots disputes evolution. Shiel approaches the subject from a different perspective. Instead of criticizing evolution in an effort to promote my personal beliefs, I've chosen to critique evolutionary theories and the evidence attached to them through a secular lens.

Read. Think. Decide for yourself.

"Shiel is consistently convincing...evolutionary scientists have circumvented the true scientific method."--Dr. Quinton R. Rogers, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Dept of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California Davis

"A decidedly irreverent view of evolution...[Shiel] translates the off-putting jargon while outlining some major scientific hypotheses, warts and all."--Tyler A. Kokjohn, PhD, professor of microbiology, Midwestern University

"This book takes a fresh look at evolution, time, and human origins... I do completely agree that the evolutionary presuppositions of our age stand in dire need of a thorough scientific reevaluation."--Paul Abramson, editor,

"Shiel systematically dismantles the arguments that have long been the cornerstone of Darwinian hegemony in the biological sciences in workmanlike fashion, illustrating exactly what is wrong with the theory in a compelling and easy-to-understand text. A triumph of logic over dogma!"--Timothy Birdnow, freelance writer & American Daily Review blogger

Disclosure: This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

Final Question: At one point in the book, so shows pictures of the skulls of several different Hominids. She also regularly talked about what exactly a species is and how scientists are never in agreement about this. Some scientists, she said, would classify different sized humans as different species if they found our bones in the future. So my question is this - several million years in the future, do you think scientist will find human bones and classify Caucasians, Asians, and Africans as being from different species? Does the idea of this happening make you laugh or does it disgust you? Or whatever else? I think it's hilarious to think about. I was glad she broached this subject in the book, because it is something I have always wondered about.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Blog Tour Review: the Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate

Title: The Secret of Joy

Author: Melissa Senate

Rating: 1/2

Who Should Read It? Anyone who has a sister they love or has ever dreamed of having a sister; anyone who has ever over-analyzed their relationships.

What I Have to Say: Before reading this book, I had only read one other Melissa Senate book: Mary-Kate and Ashley Sweet 16 Book 5. While I loved that book, it was very much a guilty pleasure, and I wasn't really expecting good things from this one. I was wrong; it was amazing, a big, warm joy of a read.
The Secret of Joy is an incredibly touching story about two sisters who have to learn what it means to be sisters. Or rather, I should say, about two sisters who GET to learn what it means to be sisters. Because there is something amazing and beautiful and wonderful about having a sister. Despite the struggles that face these two sisters in their quest to get to know one another, when one of them doesn't really want to know the other, and despite the awkward circumstances surrounding how they meet, these two girls ARE sisters. And Melissa Senate's beautiful and fluid yet simple writing really allows the reader to feel the greatness of being a sister, of having a sister. The Secret of Joy will make you wish for the sister you never had. Or be more grateful for the sister you do have.
The awkward circumstances of their meeting and the interesting lesser characters (the hottie town carpenter, the Divorced Ladies Club of Wiscasett,. . .)introduced throughout the story turn this serious read into something that is also fun and, occasionally, laugh-out-loud funny.
This book isn't just about the relationship between sisters, though; it's also about relationships in general, and what it means to be there for someone and support them no matter what.
In the end, I think I loved this book so much for three reasons. 1)I am constantly overanalyzing all of the relationships that I have in my life, be it with my friends, my boyfriend, or my family. This book takes a really simplistic approach to stepping back and seeing what is right in front of you. 2)It takes place in the most adorable small-town in Maine. I LOVE Maine, and I dream of living in a cute small town. In a way, it reminded me of Stonybrook, Connecticut, the make-believe town from the Babysitter's Club that has always been the dream town of me and my sister. 3)My sister is one of the most important people in my life. We have worked hard at cultivating a fun, loving relationship, and I have come to learn through her and her awesomeness that NOTHING can replace having a sister. (Sorry to all ya'll out there that don't have one. :-( I will be giving this book to mine for Christmas. Shhhh, don't tell her!)

Summary (from GoodReads):When twenty-something New Yorker Rebecca Strand learns (her father's deathbed confession) that she has a twenty-six-year-old half-sister she never knew existed, she can't wait to meet her. With her lawyer boyfriend's protests ringing in her ears ("She's just going to want her share of his million-dollar estate!"), Rebecca drives to a small coastal town in Maine with the 26 letters her father wrote to Joy every year on her birthday. All alone in the world, Rebecca knocks on Joy Jayhawk's door, having no idea what to expect.

Turns out Joy, the separated mother of a little boy (Rebecca has a nephew!), isn't very interested in the "father" who turned his back on her existence from day one–or her "sister." But Rebecca is so determined to establish family bonds with Joy that she doesn't go home . . . and finds herself being welcomed into small life by some very loveable, quirky characters, including a sexy carpenter named Theo . . .

Disclosure:Thank you to Sarah from Pocket Books for sending me this book to write an honest review.

My 100 Followers Contest (More Giveaway Points!!)

So the mini button making contest for my 100 followers contest has officially come to a close. Nikola from Nikola's Book Blog (who has just posted his first vlog!) made me an awesome button and an awesome banner that I just LOVE!!!! I <3 Glee!
For +10 in my 100 followers contest, post the button in your sidebar. I'll post a place to grab it at the top of my left sidebar.
For +15, post a blog entry about my contest and use the banner. YAY!!!!

Just a reminder, some of the books that are up for grabs:


And some of the books that I might potentially be so kind to add if I get enough entries into the contest:

It all depends on how many followers and entries I get into the contest. So GO ENTER NOW!!!! It's open internationally!!

N.B. There will be between 2 and 4 winners, and all but 1 will get at least two books plus other surprises, and I promise, it will be 2 books they want (i.e. if you have no desire to read the City and the Stars, I won't be sending you that)!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Brizmus's Super Mega Radical Star-Studded 100 Followers Contest

So, last week sometime, I reached 100 followers, and, if you follow me on twitter, you'll know that I've been promising a super giveaway/contest/draw/whatever you want to call it to celebrate. Because I am SUPER excited about it!
I mean, I still remember how I ridiculously excited I felt when I got my very first follower (thank you Aimee from my fluttering heart) - and now I have 100 (or 117 to be precise) times that. Which means that I am 117 times more excited! So I'm hosting an INTERNATIONAL Super Mega Radical Star-Studded 100 Followers Contest!

I tried to make a Contest Button, but as you can see I kind of suck at that kind of thing. I tried, though, right. And that's what counts.

Here's what's up for grabs
-one lightly used copy of Hush, Hush (it's not lightly used yet because I haven't read it yet, but it will be)
-one lightly used copy of Evermore (my review here)
-one lightly used copy of Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
-one used copy of the City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clark (my review here)
one lightly used copy of the Over the Holidays (my review here)
-lots of surprise goodies - books and swag and all sorts of things!

Why the surprises, you ask? Well, first of all, I LOVE surprises! And second of all, I have a TON of stuff stocked at my Dad's house back in the states, and since I will be returning for Christmas, I'll pick some things out and surprise even myself.

Now, here's how it works.

There will be *2* winners!! Both will get some fun surprises from the surprise pile and after that, well, I haven't quite worked out the details, but it will be a mixture of randomness and what they tell me they want when I e-mail them.

1)I reached 150 followers and picked a first winner! wildflower00 chose "Over the Holidays," so that book is no longer an option.

2)I reached 175 followers, so now there will be *3*, not 2 winners! Yay!

If I manage to get to 200 before the end, I will do another right then and there contest where I will give the winner the option to choose one of three randomly selected books, at least one of which will be on the list above.

And when does this fabulousness end, you ask? It's December 18th, 2009 at 8PM Central time. I will do my best to announce the winners on December 19th. And hopefully, if the mail system isn't too overloaded, you'll get your books like a sort-of Christmas present. :-) Oh, and it's open INTERNATIONALLY! Meaning that, no matter where you are in the world, you can enter!

TO ENTER: All you have to do is leave a comment with your e-mail address. I haven't gotten the form thing worked out yet, but if you're uncomfortable leaving your e-mail address, just e-mail it to me. There are TONS of ways to get extra entries!


+2 if you were one of my first 100 followers (just let me know, but don't lie; I know who you are!)
+2 for befriending me on twitter (@brizmus) and spreading the word via twitter (leave a link!)
+2 for posting about it in your sidebar or wherever else you can think of(leave a link!)
+10 for posting my contest button in your sidebar (leave a link!)
+15 for posting about it in an actual blog post (with the banner if possible!) (leave a link!)
+2 for grabbing my button (left sidebar) and posting it in your sidebar (leave a link!)
+10 for following me via e-mail (upper left sidebar)
+2 for every entry of mine that you comment on (interesting comments only, please) between yesterday and December 18th (inclusive) - I'll keep track of this myself!
+3 if those entries that you comment on happen to be reviews or Sunday's Stars
+1 for linking your blog to mine via networked blogs (left sidebar)
+1 for entering to "win a brand new kindle" by clicking the picture in the left sidebar (not by clicking someone else's picture)

*PLEASE* read ALL of the rules before entering!
Now go enter!

Awesome Mega Contest from the Lateiner Gang!

So, you guys might have noticed a cute little Monopoly-style button under Fun Times in my left sidebar. Or maybe you haven't. Which is why I want to point it out to you now in a blog post.
Basically, there is a MEGA contest going on over at the Lateiner Gang's blog. They have TONS of awesome YA books that they are going to be giving away to tons of readers!

Click the picture above to go sign up, and don't forget to tell them that brizmus sent you.
If you want to, go here to read the rules.
I'm serious - go check it out now! This contest is AWESOME! I've already won one book just for going back and commenting.

My Contests

None for now!