Reviews to things like books, and movies... and stuff. Man, I'm hungry. I should get out of bed and eat. But not chickens. They are cute. But dogs are cuter. Ok. I go.

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itchy itchy crazy.

Contagious

Scott Sigler

Crown Publishing

So there’s this author I like. He’s short, bald, and he wants to take over the world with his plaid tanks. His name is Scott Sigler, and I’ve been following him since the early days. Since he started podcasting his fiction. Last year, he put out a new book call Contagious. Contagious is the sequel to the first book that came out from Crown Publishing, Infected. You really should read Infected, because it was good. Like, really freaking good. But that’s for a different post.

Contagious follows Scary Perry Dawsey, who was previously infected with a disease that thinks and eventually walks; Dr. Margaret Montoya and her team, as she tries to find a cure for the disease; and a creepy little kid called Chelsea; who is leading the infected people. Oh, and the heads at the US government, of course. At the start of the book, the disease is basically the same as the one that Dawsey had fought off in the previous book. But then there’s a new strand. One that is contagious.

Let me explain how creepy this disease is. This disease is smart. It invades your body and starts growing inside of you. The first symptom is itching. Itching to the point where you bleed, but you don’t stop. Then come the voices. Yea, they start talking to you. And learning from your memories. Oh, did I mention the paranoia that comes with it as well. And the absolute fear of medical personnel, law enforcement and the military. Not to mention the fact that the disease turned you into a violent person, no matter what kind of a person you were before.

Anyhow, the book is fantastic. Yea, freaking fantastic. It’s also scary. Especially when the disease becomes contagious. But it’s also has a thriller edge. It’s kinda like at the edge- of- your- seat combined with hurtling -towards -the -sun - at - the - speed - of - light - and- holy- shit- there’s- no -way- to - stop -this - thing. Yea, it’s like that.

So, let’s recap: this disease is creepy. Check. This book isn’t the greatest book to read before going to sleep. Check. This book isn’t a good book to read while eating, especially if you don’t have a strong stomach. Check. I really hate Chelsea. Check. I can’t believe you killed one of my favourite characters, Siggy. Check. Sigler wants to take over the world, starting with publishing. Check.

If you are too lazy to go buy the book, you can subscribe to the podcast version at scottsigler.com. Don’t worry, it’s unabridged and free. And all you really need is a computer with internet access. Which clearly you have.
But you should buy the book.

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Floaty thought bubbles

What Z Sees
Karen Rivers
Raincoast

So a while ago, I reviewed Karen Rivers’ other book Y in the Shadows.That book was awesome by the way. So obviously, I was excited when I saw this book on the Mini Book Expo site for grabs. Like really excited. So, I claimed it. And then school got in the way, so did the organization and running of an event called Trick or Eat. Which unfortunately meant, that reading this book got pushed to the major back burner. (and it probably means that I’ve been blacklisted from ever claiming another book from Mini Book Expo because I broke the rules)

Opps, digression. Now I un-digress (if there is such a word).

Like Y in the Shadows, What Z Sees also has 3 narrators and different point of views. After reading What Z Sees, I now know that it was the switching of narrators and point of view writing that made me dizzy in Y in the Shadows. Well, at least, I’m reasonably sure that that’s what was making my head spin. What Z Sees follows Zara, who after an accident gains the power to see people’s thoughts. Everyone’s thoughts, and not just her twin brother’s thoughts like before the accident. The other two narrators are Axel, Zara’s twin brother who has problems of his own; and Sin (short for Cynthia), who is Zara’s best friend and has a serious crush on Axel.

Zara’s narration is in 1st person; Axel’s is in third person; and Sin’s is in 2nd person. Which is like, huh? 2nd person? I haven’t read 2nd person since my childhood obsessions with those Choose your own adventure books. So it was a little weird reading in 2nd person. For a while, I would turn the page and expect there to be choices at the bottom.

Anyhow, What Z Sees was pretty good. My head did spin when I read the book this time. And there was a really good break-up scene in the book. It was awesome. I’m disappointed that we weren’t given an explanation on why she could see everyone’s thoughts all of a sudden. And why she stopped seeing everyone thoughts.

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Disappears in the Shadows

Shadow Song
Lorina Stephens
Five Rivers Chapmanry

Shadow Song by Lorina Stephens is about a young girl named Danielle, who is shipped off to Canada to live with her uncle when both her parents die. Set in the 1830s, the story follows Danielle’s life in Canada as she matures in to a young woman.

There isn’t much that I have to say about this book. First of all, I couldn’t even finish the book. I had put it down for 2 weeks and when I picked it up, I forget everything that had happened before then, and I wasn’t about to go back and re-read the previous content. The main reason for this, I think, was because I couldn’t make a connection with the main character. Or any of the characters for that matter. And I found that it also took a really long time to get into. And I mean a really long time.

This book, kinda reminded me of Jayne Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I only say “kinda” because while I couldn’t make a connection with Danielle, I didn’t hate her. I was just indifferent to her well being. Jayne Eyre, on the other hand, I really couldn’t stand her. But that’s a whole ‘nother rant that’s completely unrelated to this book. Anyhow, the writing style of the two books are similar. So, perhaps if you enjoyed Jayne Eyre, maybe you’ll enjoy Shadow Song as well.

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Not a Superhero Movie

Y in the Shadows
Karen Rivers
Raincoast

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book, much less finish one. So I’m glad that the first book that I pick up to read is Y in the Shadows. Y in the Shadows chronicles a teenage girl named Yale that discovers that she has the ability to disappear from sight. So, in a way it’s like most of the”I just go superpowers” stories out there. You know, the ones where the main character questions why they have the powers, and what they are supposed to do with them. Except that in this case, it was more character driven than other stories. The way the story is told is different as well.

Whatever made Karen Rivers decide to have 3 different narrators that are unique and distinct form one another should be worshiped. Seriously. I’ve never read a book that had 2 of the narrators written in 1st person and the third written in 3rd person. At least any that were good enough to remember. Honestly, I’m 99.9999% sure that I’ve never read anything that was written in such a way.

The story is told by Yale, the loner and freak of her high school (1st person POV); Tony, the athletic and popular guy (1st person POV); And Michael, the popular girl who’s overly obsessed with perfection (3rd person) (Yes, Michael is a girl. That gave me a slight jolt the first time I read it). I like how distinct they are from each other. Yes, I know I’ve mentioned the unique-ness of each of the narrators, but it’s seriously worth mentioning a few more times. One of my favourite things about this style of narration is how each character viewed each other and certain events. The only complaint I have about Rivers’ style of narration was that the very first time the story went from Tony to Michael. That first transition, I found, was jarring. I had to go back to check, to make sure that Tony really was told in a 1st person point of view, while Michael was told in a 3rd person point of view. But that was about it.

Another thing worth mentioning is the fact how vivid everything was. This ties in with how distinct the characters are, which you are probably sick of me mentioning (hey, one of my favourite writters is Joss Whedon, and he’s all about the characters. Have you seen Firefly?). But this was so cool. When one of the narrators was describing something, I understood how they felt and I was there with them. But more there than anything else. It was like I was in their head and in their skin. It made me kinda dizzy (but that might be because I was dehydrated). Honestly, I want to be able to write like this. To be able to actually take a reader into a character’s head and make them forget that they are actually reading, until their boss catches them doing so and-… so, yea, I want to be able to write like that.

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"Save Me Plz" from Escape Pod episode 124

"Save Me Plz" is interesting, that’s for sure. It follows a character named Meg who goes on a quest to find her lover Devon. It sounds very medieval adventure game like, but this quest takes place in real life. Apparently. In an effort to find Devon, Meg buys a game that Devon had obsessively played towards the end of their relationship. It’s the type of game that my parents would respond to with such words as: "waste of time", and "waste of energy" and "waste of brain power" and "don’t you care about us anymore" and "you still haven’t eaten anything!! When are you going to eat!!" But I digress. In the game, Meg finds Devon, who tells her to save him, in real life. And to get started, she need to find the gnome. In real life. Which is weird, I guess, if you ignore the giant spiders and the giant bats, among other things.

The story’s sweet. There are defiantly things that aren’t true in “reality”, our reality anyhow. But that’s really not a big deal to me. Because it works. It doesn’t at first, until you get to the end of the quest. And I won’t spoil it for you, because you should take a listen to the episode.

The only thing is, I’m not sure that I agree with Meg’s decision to go through with Devon’s plan. How can you have a relationship with someone where you are missing several days, months, years (the story wasn’t specific on how long the quest took) and they are not? How do you not have the same conversation with them when you do meet up with them again? How are you even supposed to trust someone who says, “this has happened before, many times”? Does it not become tedious explaining the missing memories again and again and again? Maybe it’s because I’ve never actually been in love. Or maybe it’s because I have less patience than I thought I had.

And finally, I’m not really sure if I could live in a world with out a computer with internet, iPod, and Podcasts. Materialize, anyhow. Oh, and everything Joss related. But I digress, again. If this story was true, which thank God it isn’t, I would never get my weekly dose of podcasts, like Escape Pod, Psuedopod, and Decoder Ring Theatre. If I’ve tickled your curiosity bone, visit www.escapepod.org and listen to “Save Me Plz”. It’s read by Mur Lafferty. And if you don’t know who she is, then you should find out who she is. And listen to her podcasts. They are awesome. And so is she.

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