We take our leave once more

Amidst the lashing rain

And return our borrowed vessel

To the myth from whence it came

As I glanced behind a final time

Aella turned to me to say

“What a wondrous home it was

For however brief a stay”

I had no choice but to agree

And give a wistful sigh

Before remarking that

“Of course this isn’t just goodbye”

We would like to give you all our thanks

In a form more tangible this time

For your companionship on this venture

And for bearing through this dreadful rhyme

We hope you’ll follow us into the arms

Of our familiar storm-laced sea

Where our beloved Maelstrom awaits the end

Of this not-so-epic odyssey

Your Whirly-Girls,

medsandael

…but the Charybdis looked at me forlornly (as much as a blog can look forlorn), and I just couldn’t resist. I have honestly read a million books, but whenever I try to do that massive review post something inevitably interrupts me. I think it’s one of those unwritten laws…like the one where you finally run out of patience and buy the book that you’ve been waiting for the library to get for AGES and the next week (as you are waiting nail-bitingly for the shipment to come) the book appears on the shelf.

So this isn’t the huge post that I’ve been promising, but instead a review of a book that we got over the summer and never got around to reviewing. Basically, there’s this girl, Shelby, who’s part of the “Queen Geek Society” with her friends, who are all geeks evidently. One has a crazy tattoo (apparently that makes you a geek now), an “artful goth poetess”, a math-lete, and a computer nerd from Australia. They’re getting together to host an alterna-prom (Which is a cool idea IF it’s all clandestine and secret-like) BUT *cue dramatic music* the non-geeks at school don’t like that the “Geek Prom” is actually competing with the real prom in popularity. O M G.

For starters: really. Can you say stereotype?I know I can. And I did. Frequently. Secondly: really. Can you say cliche? The book is a mix of “omgsupergeekpromawesome! lykomgmyboyfriendwantsmetogototherealpromwhatdoido? waitthere’sanewgirlwho’sgonnareplacemeWHAT? andIhazarobotmaidcuzmydadsamadscientistguy”. It then proceeds to degenerate into the old “I have to be in two places at once”. Like we’ve never read/seen/heard that one before. Prom Queen Geeks, I award thee with 3 neon green Converses out of 7.

~Medeia

Seeing as there’s only about a week to go in the NaNo-ing frenzy, Aella and I figured that we should probably get something more done than three character sketches and around 2000 words.

*cue frantic NaNo-fest!*

The Siofras graciously offered their residence as a place for our festivus, and so it began with me on a post-music, pre-drawingfail high (I was sing-song-ing everything for about an hour) and Aella in a nervy room-cleaning spaz brought on by:

Medeia: “How many words do you have, exactly?”

Aella: *nervy-spastically throws hands in the air* “Q! I have Q words!”

And then I couldn’t find the forum on the NaNo website that just lists a bunch of random conversations that people overheard and posted (ex. “So, where did you put the body?”, “He was murdered to death”, “You may have to stab some clowns.” etc) . It’s amazing and I still CAN’T FIND IT. Then Aella pulled out her million year old laptop. The combined Medeia-Aella awesomeness had kicked in by that point and I’m sure you would have been amused by a video of us NaNoificating, but as I remarked, “I don’t think they had cameras in that laptop’s prime”. Once Aella woke up her compy and we both started NaNo-ing… things got interesting. Some quotes from us at around midnight:

-”I just drooled ALL OVER my laptop!”

-Aella *reading some of her file names*: “Grimm Tale 1, Grimm Tale 2, My god it’s BACK, My god it’s BACK 2, and I FRICKIN HATE THIS STORY”

-Medeia: *lycanthropes into an evil llama*

- Aella: *notices that it is past midnight* “Happy October 23rd!” Medeia: *realizes right away that it is indeed November 22nd and bursts into gales of laughter* Aella: *looks puzzedly at me* “Why do you mock me?”

Oh, but the best part was that we actually got stuff done. Not nearly as much as needs to be done by the 30th, but something. Aella doubled her wordcount in just a few hours (from Q words to… uhm… several thousand more than Q words…) and I now have a character sketch of Ilse… and many many doodles reeking of unadulterated fail. So expect some… thing. I might post some of those drawings once I wash the awful out and maybe I can get Ael to share some of her story.

And now I ask, as we come upon the end of the month, how goes it? Anyone done NaNo-ing or are you just reading this as something to do while you procrastinate? …Okay, yes… I might also be procrastinating by writing this post. But on an English paper. That’s totally different.

~Medeia

Meeeeh. I am not a big fan of books that make me go “meeeeeh”. Which is depressing, because I was expecting so much from this one.

Aidan wants to be a monk more than anything else in the world. Then he would be able to handle the beautiful books of the abbey, perhaps even create them. But there’s something different about Aidan. He can hear the numbers of the world. Everything hums out a specific and mathematical tone to his ears. All is at peace. Until the 11 arrives.

Lana is an entirely different sound and an unfamiliar number altogether. Aidan is intrigued and entranced. In completely unmonkely fashion, he dreams of the special girl and agonizes over his womanless fate. But everything changes in a flash when the Vikings invade. Aidan and Lana must find a way to save what remains of their home and everything they want to reach or escape from will be compromised in the process.

This book was kind of bipolar. It would go from super interesting to completely flat in the space of a paragraph. Must be a record. But after enough of that, I got a little tired of it and instead began to pick up on the inconsistencies. Aidan being the biggest one. Sometimes he struggles with his hormones and hopes and then the next chapter he couldn’t care less about being monk. So sad to see the mental process of a perfectly promising character reduced to “Woman…need…snogfest…” You guys are probably familiar with my opinions on random kissing in books. I have a few.

The writing was a little weak as well. For such an awesome premise I was hoping for some gorgeous and epic-esque, Icemark-esque Viking hardcore writing style. But it didn’t happen. I’m distressed by the loss, even writing this review. Thor would be displeased.

So. Here’s the part I’ve been deliberating on. 2 out of 7 humming trees. ZAP! ouch. It’s been a bit since we’ve seen that number. All the same. I have heard mixed views on this so I’d still recommend you try it if you’re dead set on plowing through the good ole TBR pile.

 

Listening very closely and restraining the meeeh reflex,

Aella Siofra

I knew right from the first chapter that this was going to be my eerie-fest of the month. I mean honestly, the story starts with… well. You’ll just have to find out.

Tomas and Peter are humble woodcutters, burying themselves in the woodlands outside of Chust, a small town hemmed in by the darkness of the great forest. They share everything in the sparse area, except for the past behind one secret. A long wooden box belonging to Tomas. Peter is never allowed to look within his father’s box, but as strange occurences herald the coming of the winter, the contents prove more important than he ever could have known. A man of Chust is slain… and then another… and then another. In horribly gruesome ways. But no one will acknowledge it as a terrible magic until the coming of the gypsies. Peter and an enigmatic, alluring Gypsy girl enter into several long deep nights of terror and discovery in a story of vampires, night queens, and deep winter.

 

I LURVE a good scary book. Personal favorite is Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. Anyway, ze town librarian recommended I pick up this slim Sedgwick volume and take it for a ride in the days before Halloween, to usher in the fool spookiness of the season. And I did. And it was awesome. I’ve never read any Sedgwick books before, but his writing style was beautiful and full of incredible descriptions of the night. Plus, he did some incredible research into vampire legends in the bleak landscapes of Eastern Europe. And what could possibly be more awesome than zombie-esque vampires? Other than zombie-esque werewolves of course.

 

The writing style was detached, but you still felt for the characters. Reading it like a classic fairy tale, if not an incredibly dark one. I cannot recommend My Swordhand is Singing for people weak in the knees, weak at heart, or at all unnerved by bloody death scenes. I was just a little jumpy after tucking in *cough* two in the morning *cough* after the conclusion. But. Completely and totally worth it. I might have even cried a little at the end.

Definitely a recommendation, although I kind of have the feeling this is the sort of book you love or hate. Just make sure you have time to read it all in one night. Preferably while not alone in the Transylvanian forest. 6.7 out of 7 Epic Magical Swords! Plus. Awesome cover.

 

Inter-Library Loaning Every Other Sedgwick book I can find,

Aella Siofra

So, I finally return to the blog-o-sphere and what do I find waiting for me? A meme-tag. Now, normally I hesitate to do memes anymore, but this one involves music and that’s fun so here we go.

Rules:

1. Put Your iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp, etc on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS.
4. Put the artist after a dash following the song name.
5. Put any comments in brackets.
6. Tag some lucky people to spread the disease.

How would you describe yourself?

The Running Free – Coheed and Cambria

[Oh great. Now it'll get stuck in my head... "you're going home, you're running freeeeee" until the next question at least]

How do you feel today?
Firefall – Ah Nee Mah

What is your life’s purpose?
Walking Contradiction – Green Day

[Ahahaha]

What is your motto?
There and Back Again – Daughtry

[I love the title of this song simply because it is the alternate title of the Hobbit]

What do you think about very often?
Island in the Sun – Weezer

[Well, with this weather *looks out window into perpetual greyness* who wouldn't?]

What is your life story?
Under the Gun – The Killers

["kill me now kill me now kill me now" ? I don't think so.]

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Scream – Avenged Sevenfold

[In case being an artist doesn't work out...]

What will you dance to at your wedding?
Black Magic Woman – Santana

[Me, dance? Ahaha ha ha]

What will they play at your funeral?
Jamming – Bob Marley

[*raises eyebrow*]

What is your hobby/interest?
Long Road to Ruin – Foo Fighters

If you could do anything right now, what would it be?
Papercut – Linkin Park

What do you want most of all?
Take a Bow- Muse

["you will burn, you will burn, you will burn in hell for all of your sins"... ??]

What is your greatest fear?
A Little Priest- Johnny Depp and Helena Bohnam Carter

[Oh no, my weakness has been revealed! I do fear being cooked into meat pies!]

What is your darkest secret?
Atrophy – Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

What is your favorite thing in the world?
Miss Murder- AFI

[okaaay then...]

If you could have one wish, what would you wish for?
We Are Broken – Paramore

What is your theme song?
Children of the Grave- Black Sabbath

The next time you hear this song (aside from now, that is), you must dance.
I Will Possess Your Heart – Death Cab for Cutie

[Wow. I hope I don't hear that one soon, then. It's loooooong. No one wants to see me dance for any length of time.]
What will you post this as?
Smile Like You Mean It- The Killers

Thanks Rae!

~Medeia

Attentionattention, this is not a test! Tell everyone! Everyone you know in the cybernetoblogosphere! ‘Tis the season to be writing. Alot. And quickly. All in one month. Because it is November! Also known as a month entirely made of awesome due to NANOWRIMO!! Now for all of you depressing types who don’t know what NANOWRIMO is, see my fabulous acronym breakdown below:

 

NAtional

NOvel

WRiting

MOnth

 

 I, Aella Siofra, will be participating this year, walking in the footsteps of the many brave typing sorts who have gone before me. So I hope you will check out my profile every so often and see how I’m coming along. But there is a sort of dilemma connected to this. I have two stories that I want to write and no way to choose between them. I am completely in love with twists on an old theme (when done correctly) So *snazzy used car salesman voice* it’s up to you!

Plot A) a sort of twisty Alice in Wonderland dystopia. Many years following Alice’s own adventures and It concerns the kidnapping of Alice’s nephew, Maximillian and the Mad Hatter’s child. A new political landscape for Wonderland and alot of intrigue and secrets

Plot B) Brothers Grimm weirdness. I don’t even know how to explain it, but it uses some elements of some of the stories and changes them until they barely bear sembelance to their usual selves. But. There are werewolves. And bandits. And a rather hardcore version of Little Red Riding Hood.

Leave your thoughts in the comments or I’ll be forced to choose all by myself. And I really don’t want to do that.

 

ALSO COMING UP THIS MONTH!!

The one year anniversary of the Maelstrom crew. Charybdis Book Blog, as you may know, is still being considered as a temporary location, if something should change with the Maelstrom situation. *sniff* I miss it so. But. This year we will be having our first contest ever and on the first anniversary as well. So be on the lookout. November 23rd is the day we consider the beginning. Observe the epic/not-so-epic first post if you will.

Back to business with reviewing. The flow has slowed quite a bit recently due to- dare we say it- life. I have read all of two books in two weeks. Ze horror! But! I have a stack of gorgeous copies just calling out to me for the reading and there will definitely be a more steady supply this month.

Thirdly, I’m working on rebuilding the link lists. If you would like to be included on our side bar and blog rrrrroll, then leave a comment and we’ll check out your blog as soon as possible. And try to remember that we are YA book centered.

Finally, I am resurrecting the myspace this month. I hope there are some new blogs out there with profiles that will consider friending us. It was one our best networking tools and I’m not even sure how I could have let it fade so sadly.

 My apologies for that long and obnoxiously demanding post. Pleasepleasepleaseplease leave your thoughts on everything or anything in the comments. It would be much appreciated.

 

READING! FINALLY!

Aella Siofra

Sorry about the image issues in this post

Sorry about the image issues in this post

I think some of you may know of my previous lurrrrve for this series, but if you don’t than I reviewed Death By Bikini in May. If you haven’t read the first book yet, than that might give you some background.

Aphra is back and she is still awesome, still funny, and still getting into trouble. Determined to find her elusive mother, Natalie, she hops a plane to Seattle without permission. But when she discovers her mother she also realizes her timing couldn’t be worse. Something big is up and Natalie and her secretive fellow agents can hardly wait to get Aphra away from the trouble. But when Agent Watts appears out of nowhere and Seth Mulo steps rather rapidly… and urgently… back into her life, things get more complicated. And when one of Natalie’s close friends and partners is poisoned through basic morning routine, leaving only a garbled cryptic message in his wake, there is no turning back.

As I said before, I really really like the first book in this series. The SASS books of Linda Gerber are also really fun and quick reads. But I couldn’t help but feel that Death By Latte was just a tad bit too quick. Some events seemed kind of crushed together to make space for a large, fabulously dramatic scene. Nyah. All the same, I LOVE Aphra. She’s easy to relate to and consistently witty, although not to the point of being irritating. Also, there is Seth. Oh Seth. He is so difficult to read (haha..bad pun…) which makes him a more engaging beautiful boy character than in alot of books. Veddy nice. The dialogue makes me jealous. I can’t write dialogue to save my life, but Linda Gerber rattles out hilarious and taut conversations in turn, like it’s nothing.

Like it’s predecessor, Death By Latte is a great beach or AGH-I-must-finish-this-paper-but-must-read-something-in-between-so-that-my-head-doesn’t-explode-with-unnecessary-knowledge read (NOT like I’ve ever been there) and reminds me why I loved mystery books growing up. 6 out of 7 Poisoned Cups of Orange Mocha Frappucino (time for another round of naaaamee thaaaaat reference!!!)!

Does anyone have any good mystery novels to recommend for a lonely and Nancy-Drewless reader?

Waiting impatiently for Death by TK,

Aella

I am one of those irrational people who sees a book by a young author and immediately wants to read it. Amelia Atwater-Rhoades in all her incredible. Christopher Paolini during the hype of the initial release. Flavia Bujor and my short-lived obsession with her story the Prophecy of the Stones (that sequel has been 4 years in coming). You get the picture. So, of course, when I read that Isamu Fukui was only 17 years old, I commandeered the library copy of Truancy as soon as I was possibly able. The cover art didn’t hurt much either. I’m a sucker for brooding colors and silhouettes.

Tack is a victim of the system. Just another kid going to school within the confines of the experimental City. His main concerns have to do with increasingly difficult exams, the usual brutality and unjust actions of teachers, and his mysterious new friend from the abandoned District 19. But there are far more sinister things happening in the City. A group of school-hating, gun-slinging, ex-students have gathered one banner of Truancy and pose a challenge to the safety of the city’s adults and Enforcers. The despot Mayor will stop at nothing to put an end to the uprising and keep it a secret from the people of the City. And how better to challenge the Truancy than to threaten the welfare of the very thing they are trying to change- the school children. A new No-Tolerancy policy is put in place and the changes begin. But nothing seems all too real to Tack until his sister dies as an innocent in the underground conflict. Near mad with grief and anger, he breaks loose from all he has known and turns to Truancy.

I had heard a lot of negative reviews on this book. Too violent. Too young. Too ill thought out. But I really didn’t think it was that bad. I actually enjoyed it. I don’t claim to be an expert on books, but I’m glad that I wasn’t put off by all the grumpiness circulating about it.

The characters were almost type cast, but managed for the kind of slam-bang dystopia audience that this book will appeal to.  The plot was interesting and the dialogue quick. The action was constant, but with sufficient background. My only shared complaint with much that remains of the blogosphere was in the violence. There was a lot of it. Some scenes were definitely not for the weak of stomach or easily disturbed. Hardly Lord of the Flies, but little frolicking was attended to in the course of events. Still, I was intrigued for the outcome and only moderately disappointed at the violence.

Not a deep book, but a promising start. Rumor murmurs of a prequel sort of publication buzzing about that I would like to get my hands on. 4.7 out of 7 Ninja-Like Assistants. Decent.

Not skipping school- merely putting off homework by reviewing,

Aella

Today, I actually dared to watch the trailer for the upcoming City of Ember movie. I’ve been putting it off because I love the first book so much and didn’t want to ruin it for myself. BUT! The trailer actually looks alright. The characters look a lot like I’d imagined and Bill Murray is rather fawesome in most movies. Even if trailers are rarely a fantastic reflection on the movie itself. Any opinions to share?

Plus. I’m reading through the whole series again to prepare. Any opinions on Diamond of Darkhold? I haven’t even touched a copy yet. Nyah. It’s driving me crazzzy.

Pensively,

Aella

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