Monday, January 30, 2012

REVIEW: Jellicoe Road (or, I feel like I've cheated on Melina Marchetta)

Jellicoe Road
by Melina Marchetta (website | twitter)
Released: 03.09.2010  (U.S.)
Publishers: HarperCollins, 492 pages (U.S.paperback)
Awards & Honors: Australian Book Industry Award Nominee for Book of the Year for Older Children (2007)Cybils Award Nominee for Young Adult Fiction (2008)Printz Award (2009)Queensland Premier's Literary Awards Nominee for Young Adult Book Award (2007)W.A. Young Readers Book Award (WAYRA) for Older Readers (2008), W.A. Young Readers Book Award (WAYRA) for Older Readers (2008), ALA's Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults (2009)
Source: Giveaway I won through the Aussie YA Reading Challenge 2011

In this lyrical, absorbing, award-winning novel, nothing is as it seems, and every clue leads to more questions.

At age eleven, Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother. At fourteen, she ran away from boarding school, only to be tracked down and brought back by a mysterious stranger. Now seventeen, Taylor's the reluctant leader of her school's underground community, whose annual territory war with the Townies and visiting Cadets has just begun. This year, though, the Cadets are led by Jonah Griggs, and Taylor can't avoid his intense gaze for long. To make matters worse, Hannah, the one adult Taylor trusts, has disappeared. But if Taylor can piece together the clues Hannah left behind, the truth she uncovers might not just settle her past, but also change her future (from GoodReads).

REVIEW: Confession time: I have an Author Crush on Melina Marchetta.  Oh, it's amazing.  You ever feel like you know an author just by reading the books she writes?  That's me and Melina.  We could be sitting across from each other in a cafe, look up and see each other.  She'd wave, and I'd wave back, because you know, we know each other, the author and her reader.  And then she'd look at me like I was crazy, and then I'd realize that she was waving at the person behind me.  And I'd feel like an asshole.  

And I do.  Feel like an asshole that is.  Because me and Jellicoe Road?  We didn't work out. And now I feel like I've book cheated on Melina, the author who brought me true love with Saving Francesca and The Piper's Son.

How?  How did this happen?  This book is almost universally praised.  And here's the odd thing: it still made me bawl like a little baby.  This book haunted my thoughts after I closed the back cover.  I thought about it all night.  I was deeply emotionally invested in Taylor's welfare.  And I hated it, hated that, except for Jonah, Taylor didn't get a break once in the book.  I wanted to wring this book's neck like a chicken and stick it in the oven, but not to eat it.  I just wanted to make sure the book was really dead so it would stop pecking at my mind.  Because it's still haunting me. I've got a ghost book chicken standing behind me, and it keeps following.  Which is why I am writing this review.  I'd originally planned on rereading Jellicoe Road later in the year, thinking that a second go would be just the thing.  I think I still will, but I have to put this one to rest for the time being by writing it out.

The prologue?  Heartbreaking and beautiful.  It sold me, and convinced me to read the entire story in one sitting.  And then the confusion started.  The story is told primarily from Taylor's point-of-view, but mixed in at a steady pace are these italicized stories that don't seem to have anything to do with the present.  Since they didn't seem to have anything to do with Taylor, I found myself in a 'what-the-hell' state because of them.  When the connection was made, I was too far into the book to really care about the characters much except for backstory.  Which is a shame since the backstory is majorly connected to Taylor and who she is.  I would've never guessed it from the first half of the book, which centers on a territory war between Taylor's school, the townie kids, and the cadets from a military school who camp nearby for part of the year.  The territory war had a serious tone to it, like Richard Cormier's The Chocolate War.  It felt very dark and ominous to me, and it was over something that I would have loved had it been more 'capture-the-flag', but instead, it was a serious issue where people got hurt. Mixed in were Taylor's reoccurring dreams about a mysterious boy, and I was at loss as to where the plot was going.  All I knew was that Taylor was adrift in a large state of confusion and emotional turmoil, and the one adult she could depend on (her house leader, Hannah) had disappeared without a way to contact her.

While some of the humor that Machetta so masterfully can mix into realistic and difficult situations started appearing in the second half of the book, by that time I was. . . reading just to finish it, because I did want to find out where this was going and what would happed to Taylor.  She's a hell of a character - tough, anti-social, practical, and has aching well under her heart so well-covered that she doesn't even know it's there until Hannah splits.  And I really, truly loved her.  I realize that love-interest Jonah gets a lot of praise from readers, but the real hero here is Taylor.  No person should face everything she had thrown at her, and while, yes, this does happen, taking it all in one book is what kept me up after finishing it.  I would write you a list of all the horrifying things that she had to deal with, but it would be spoils galore.  By the time I got to one of the final things, I just threw up my hands and said, "Really!  Really?!"  It was punch, after punch, after punch.  And I know it's a bit bizarre to talk about characters like they're real people, but there could be a real Taylor.  I'm sure there is.  I just kept thinking about how she is going to have to deal with theses losses again and again throughout her life, and my heart just kept breaking for her more and more.  And that's why I was angry.  Because no matter how good she can get her life to be, it's never going to come close to the life she deserves.  

I vow to read this book again,  I keep feeling like there must be something I missed, some redemptive quality that would tell me that Taylor's future would bring the love and heartbreak of Hannah, her parents and their friends' full circle, that I could bet that her future would be better supported and nurtured than her past.  Based on past precedent, I couldn't, and more than anything else, that's the thing that's kept this book haunting me: doubt that Taylor will get some measure of happiness in her life.  


"It becomes one of those defining moments in your life, when your mother does that.  It's not as if I don't forgive her, because I do.  It's like those horror films where the hero gets attacked by the zombie and he has to convince the heroine to shoot him, because in ten seconds' time he won't be who he was anymore.  He'll have the same face but no soul.  I don't know who my mother was before the drugs and all the rest, but once in a while during our splintered time together I saw flashes of a passion beyond anything I'll ever experience." 
-page 20

"It's like she never really managed to grab hold of me with a firmness that spoke of never letting go."
-page 190


"'Don't listen to Santangelo.  Once he was convinced that a girl he was going out with looked eactly like Cameron Diaz and, I swear to God, my father looks more like Cameron Diaz.'"
-page 221


"I remember love.  It's what I have to keep on reminding myself.  It's funny how you can forget everything except people loving you.  Maybe that's why humans find it so hard getting over love affairs.  It's not the pain they're getting over, it's the love"
-pages 261-62

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

REVIEW: Crossed by Ally Condie

Matched #2
by Ally Condie (website | twitter)
Released: 11.01.2011
367 pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Source: library

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever. (from GoodReads).

REVIEW: This middle book unfortunately turned out to be middle of the road for me.  I truly enjoyed its predecessor, Matched, and I eagerly looked forward to seeing how Cassia would develop further in book two.  Sadly, I think she went stagnant.  I know middle books often act as bridges, but wow, characters can hop off the bridge at some point, right?  With a limited number of major players, very few twists, and little character development, Crossed turned out to be a prettily written, but ultimately, superfluous book in the trilogy.  And trust me, I am very disappointed that it was as I thought Cassia was turning into someone more kick-ass in the first book.

Don't get me wrong.  I don't need all my female leads to be full of charisma and feel they are **different**.  I like the quiet girls with invisible steel.  In book one, it seemed like Cassia was gaining a growing awareness of her world, its origins and limitations.  While her confusion and attractions to both Ky and Xander were very significant parts of the story, I thought that storyline paralleled Cassia's growth as a character and her burgeoning dissatisfaction with the Society.  The bulk of Crossed was made predominately of her quest to find Ky.  The other part of the book focuses on her and the other characters' ponderings about the rebellion against the Society, called the Rising, and its fabled leader, the Pilot.

The 'yea' things about the book are the alternating first-person points-of-view from Ky and Cassia.  Loved hearing Ky's thoughts directly from him and learning a bit more about his background and secrets.  However, the lack of action mixed with Condie's lovely and lyrical prose made most of the book feel anti-climatic and seem like a serious study on constant introspection.  Almost EVERY LITTLE THING said was thought upon by either Ky or Cassia.  So, if Ky said paragraph A in Cassia's chapter, then Cassia in turn thought about it, and often, it was simply a reinterpretation of what Ky already said, as if she was retelling herself so she could really soak it in.  And vice versa when it was Ky's chapters.  A little of this is lovely, particularly with Condie's soft and impressionistic writing style.  A book full of this understated narrative with a steady and quiet plot made for dull reading at times.

I will still read book three.  I've read the first two, and I want to know what happens.  I realize that three books is a nice number for a series, but like Lauren DeStefano's Wither, I think the plot of the entire series would have been better served if it was limited to two books.  At the very least, I think Crossed could have been shortened, thus creating a more urgent and exciting plot while keeping Condie's lyrical writing in tact.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

REVIEW: You Against Me by Jenny Downham

You Against Me
by Jenny Downham
Released on 12.02.2010 (U.K.)/09.13.2011 (U.S.)
413 pages
Publisher: David Fickling Books (website)
Source: gift from family

If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother's been accused of a terrible crime and you're the main witness, then you banish all doubt and defend him. Isn't that what families do? When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her at a party, his world of work and girls begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the crime, but says he didn't do it, her world of revision, exams and fitting in at a new school begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide. Brave and unflinching, this is a novel of extraordinary skillfulness and almost unbearable tension. It's a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love - for one's family and for another. (from GoodReads).

REVIEW: There's a lot to really like in this one, and even some moments to really, truly love.  You Against Me is a well-written and poignant book about the people who stand behind, beside and against both the victim and the accused of a heinous crime.  It's rare for me to appreciate what I view primarily as a plot-driven book.  I was surprised myself, but Jenny Downham has crafted a sensitive and realistic story about what happens when two people, two families and an entire school face each off and take sides over an accusation of rape.  Bear with me.  I feel the need to use bullet points on this one:

The Good Stuff
  • every character is realistic, and not a single one is angel or a demon.  They are fully rounded characters regardless of their importance in the story.  Downham nails the notion that there are no easy decisions and everyone is susceptible to bad decisions and good actions
  • going with that same theme, Downham really shows through character interaction that slippery slope question of what is good-natured teasing/flirting and what is harassment, and it seems like each individual has their own definition of what is going 'too far'.  She truly shows through her characters how society views the treatment of women in many, many shades of grey.  And quite a bit is really ugly.
  • Mikey and Ellie are fabulous foibles to each other.  Their families' circumstances are incorporated into their characters with such good planning that this also turns into a story beyond rape and into one that also draws distinctions about social and class differences
  • I love the growth of Mikey in particular!  The beautiful, touching scenes between him and Ellie were absolutely some of the best parts of the book.  And the ones with him and another girl really show his none too savory characteristics.  
  • Ellie is amazing.  I want her for a daughter and a friend.  It's not that she doesn't screw up, it's that she comes full circle and eventually gets to where she needs to go
The Eh Stuff
  • Part of the reason that I am using bullet points for this review is because I failed to become fully emotionally involved in this story.  I read it one sitting.  As much as I appreciate the book and the plot, there lacked an essential hook for me.  The 'it' glow that takes it from being a book that I like to one that I love wasn't there.
  • I really appreciated that this book showed the 'other' people affected by rape, but I think it would have been a fuller, more emotional story if both Mikey's sister and Ellie's brother had bits told from their points-of-view.  Perhaps then it would've have been too much, but I struggled with finding an emotional center that tied me to the book the whole way through, but not including the people directly accused and primarily affected made the story feel like it had something missing.
  • Didn't buy the ending.  After everything, I just don't see how. . . 
Do I still think you should read this one despite me 'eh' points?  You bet.  Although I didn't love it, given that I STILL liked this one even though it's carried by the plot means it's made of WIN for you good plot lovers.  You Against Me has clear, meaningful writing that will make you think, question, be angry and give thanks.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Weekly News Roundup ~ 01.12.2012


Post To Note

Movies & TV
General News

From YouTube

Author Jessica Martinez offers a grand synopsis of her novel, VIRTUOSITY, a story of love and addiction woven into the lives of musically gifted teenagers.

and the trailer for There Is No Dog by Meg Rosoff was released - the book is out on 01.24.2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tempting Tuesday ~ Chapters 5-8

Woot!  Here we are for week two of our Some Girls Bite read-along!  Hope you enjoyed last week's answers.  Tina from Tina's Book Reviews is hosting this week with the questions for Chapters 5-8.

1. In what is a make you blush, steamy scene in the book- Chapter 5 has Ethan and Merit sharing a few hot moments after Merit's hunger strikes...that is until Ethan becomes a total cad! What do you think of him so far? Strong, masterful vampire, conceited playboy.....lover boy in disguise?

MUHAHAHAHA, oh Ethan, you friggin' dumbass.  If vamps are going to go public, perhaps they ought to familiarize themselves with modern attitudes, no?  Poor Merit, being asked to stand in as an official mistress?  I'd be gobsmacked, too!  I generally like Ethan, but this is not one of his better moments.  I mean, c'mon, ewwwwwww!  Nothing says love like putting you on the sexual satisfaction payroll.  How romantic!  I guess 'relationship' is not in a Master Vampire's lexicon.  I'm sure he didn't think of it as an insult, but man, mistress?  That's cold.

Maybe he should've started with coffee?

2. Merit and Mallory begin some major training in these next few chapters, resulting in cool Katana Sword facts and Ninja moves. What is the most physically challenging or adrenaline fueled event/activity you have participated in?

Don't laugh, but I for real hurt myself doing Pilates.  I was lying on my back doing some sort of leg stretches where you keep your leg straight and gently pull it towards your face as much as you can, and I heard and felt a pop!  I immediately felt pain behind my knee (and nausea - I don't deal well with this stuff), and I couldn't straighten my leg.  It swelled up and I had to have an MRI. Turned out that I pulled my meniscus in my knee and tore some tissue.  It's okay know but acts up when my knee is in one position for too long.

Haha, that wasn't the most mentally challenging, though!  That one just had the worst outcome!  I actually used to rock climb - the shoes, the chalk and the harness, and that kicked my ass, big time.  It used my entire body AND helped me deal a little with my fear of heights.  I had to zip line off the top of a tower, too, and THAT was the most challenging.  I was scared to death. I was bawling my eyes out at the top, and a group of five-year olds shamed me into going through with it with their chanting: "Go, Lindsay, Go!"  Color me humbled. 

Speaking of katana swords, here's a lil snippet of a Merit inspired conversation with my hubs from last week.  Enjoy:

Me: So I think I want to take a self-defense or beginner's martial arts class
Le Hubs: like Roseanne? Poke eyes and knee some guy in the groin?  But seriously, why?
Me: because I've wanted always to (kick ass, that is). And you won't let me have a katana so this is the next best thing.
Le Hubs: fine with me
Me: If I'm good at it, can I get a sword?
Le Hubs: no swords
Me: you have a gun, and we have a boning knife. I should have a sword to smite mine enemies with
Le Hubs: I don't have a gun...I have a Kentucky rifle that takes about 20 minutes to load and is 50 pounds...and it's not even in the house
Me: So what's your dysfunctional gun have to do with my kick-ass sword? If I am going to be a proper samurai, I need a sword. You can't argue with logic, babe. It just is.

I rest my case.

3. Mallory and Catcher have sparks so intense they almost fly off the page.....what do you think of this cozy couple? Did you like the insta-love between them? Do they add to the story?

That wasn't love, that was totally lust!  And Cather, wow!  At least Mallory uses her lust judiciously, hehe.  I think it became love, though.  It was a convenient storyline, but it was a hilarious one, so I didn't mind.  Like Mallory, I get the allure of a guy who won't put up with bullshit (hence, my husband).  Plus, um, Cather. . .  yeah, boyfriend needs his own series, don't you think?

4. Lets talk Bff's....Mallory is hands down a terrific friend to Merit, the girls relationship is real, down to earth and fun....not to mention hysterical. What is your favorite memory or favorite thing to do with your bff? Feel free to share pics!

HAHAHA, I wouldn't tell some stories publicly in a million years!  BUT, I had a grand adventure with her when we were on a school trip to Quebec City in Canada during high school.  We were seniors, and we snuck away to this beautiful, picture perfect little cafe where we had wine and desert.  Neither of really had much alcohol before, so we felt like we were being so bad, especially since we would've been suspended if caught.  And, as we were in a little French cafe, we felt like we were so sophisticated, as well.  Ahhhh, I miss those days!  Still one of my fondest memories, and anytime we are together and we see a print of Van Gogh's Cafe Terrace At Night, we just look at each other and smile.  Over ten years later, and she's still my bestie.

5. Things are starting to heat up in the mystery department...the set up at Red, Morgan's flirty appearance.... Catchers vague correlation day gets closer for Merit do you think someone is out to get her...or maybe recruit her to another house? Or PS- feed her some more food...because goodnight this girl likes to eat!!!

Honestly, I had no idea as I read, and I actually thought the connections between it all turned out to be one of the weaker points of the plot.  Did I think someone was out to get Merit?  Seemed that way to me.  I really have never bought that her being attacked was a random act of violence, so we shall see!

That's it for the questions on chapters 5-8!  Join us next Tuesday for more Chicagoland Vampires goodness!   Also, be sure to also check out Tina's request for help and support of her best friend's family as they care for their beautiful, but terminally ill daughter.  Please keep them in your thoughts.

Monday, January 9, 2012

GIVEAWAY + Q&A with Alex Givarry, Author of "From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant"

Alex Gilvarry might not be the typical author you read if your normal fare is YA.  He's debut novelist and his new book,  From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant, hits the shelves today .  However, his work is creating major buzz with its 'coming to America' story infused with politics, satire and a heady dose of fashion.  I'm a third of the way into the book, and twenty-something Filipino implant Boyet Hernandez is charming me with his humor, naievete, and his devotion to succes and all things beautiful.  I'm happy to host Mr. Gilvarry on Bibliophile Brouhaha today. Be sure to read to the end for a chance to win a copy of From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant and to view the book's trailer!  For more, check out this nice piece from The New York Times, "The Tale of a ‘Fashion Terrorist’".  My full review is coming soon!

Q: How did you come up with the idea of having a fashion designer get caught up in a terrorist plot?

A: When I thought of the book I was working for a children’s publisher in SoHo where I was surrounded by fashionable people—models, designers, boutiques—and my girlfriend was a model, therefore I spent a lot of time at fashion shows and parties. I was an observer, really. This was during 2004-2007, which, in my mind, were some of the most violent years in Iraq and Afghanistan. Every morning there was a report on the radio of the war against terror. Guantanamo was also ever-present, specifically the stories of innocent men mistakenly locked up or sold for bounties. Men imprisoned without due process. This really struck a cord with me, to the point of obsession. So when I started writing the novel, the two worlds met in my mind and somehow they made sense to me as a storyteller. The plot grew out of the convergence of these two worlds.

Q: This story was, by turns, funny and frightening. How did you balance these two extremes without losing the impact of either?

A: That's the line you walk in satire. A comedy needs to know when to be serious for it to have any lasting impact, emotionally or politically. Lenny Bruce, Joseph Heller, Gary Shteyngart. Along with laughs, they're hitting a nerve that’s wired into some kind of truth. Now while there's nothing funny about what happens at Guantanamo Bay, the situation is absurd, it almost sounds made up… It feels like fiction, but it is real. I just needed to know when to hold back on the funny and simply describe the place and the state of the men who are there. The prisoners as well as the guards. One of the characters, a guard named Cunningham, has several funny exchanges with the narrator, Boy, his prisoner. It's the situation which remains frightening. In my novel it was important for me to have fear and comedy side by side.

Q: Why did you decided to make Boy an immigrant? What do you feel his experience as someone new to America added to his story?

A: A lot of my favorite novels are about immigrants, people on the periphery, trying to get in. This is what Boy, the narrator, is trying to do in the fashion world, and through a turn of circumstances winds up a suspected terrorist. I also wanted to write about the Philippines, where my mother is from, and where some of this book takes place. Because the Philippines has a lot to do with America. When I go there everyone speaks English, what I described in the book as an “American English.” I wanted to touch on America's hand in that country, and more broadly what America means to a Filipino man like Boy. I wanted to imagine America today through an immigrant's eyes in the aftermath of September 11, not just for the purpose of the novel, but for myself too.

Q: What sort of research did you do while writing this novel, both with regard to the fashion industry and the life of Gitmo detainees?

A: Well I didn't go to Guantanamo. It’s not a place where they let novelists in. So I read anything I could. Books by lawyers who represent detainees—Clive Stafford Smith, Joseph Marguiles. Also memoirs by former detainees such as “Enemy Combatant” by Moazzam Begg and “Five Years of My Life” by Murat Kurnaz.  These are some of the most important books about America written in the last decade in my opinion. On the fashion side I simply read about women's fashion. Boy is a designer of women's wear, and so I read what I thought he would read. Fashion magazines and biographies. All of this helped make everything more real and suspend disbelief.

Q: Boy makes sure to tell everyone that, though he is a fashion designer, he isn’t gay. How did you go about confronting other stereotypes that might creep into characters like those in this book?

A: I love narrators that lie to you much more than the ones that tell you the truth. It was important to me that Boy be in a sort of denial with the reader, and himself, yet to project a machismo attitude that we find in many American Bildungsroman tales. Boy’s story is not so much a manual of how to be a man, but how to be a man if you're a designer of women's wear. He's not your stereotypical fashion designer. Really, I don’t see him as straight or gay. In the end of the book he ends up falling in love with a transvestite. I saw Boy as a different kind of man. A more modern man. Like David Bowie in the 1970s.

A: I share a childhood with the hero of my novel, even though he’s a fashion designer from Manila and I’m a novelist from Staten Island. Like my hero, I wasn’t a big reader when I was a kid—YA fiction wasn’t as tremendously diverse as it is now—but when I finally fell in love with books as a teenager, the age of the protagonist didn’t matter to me. Good stories transcend any genre and tend to stick around. Here are some of the books that shaped my head and prepared me to write novels.   

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster & Jules Feiffer
Initially, it was the art of Jules Feiffer that drew me in. Illustrations were a break for a kid like me who couldn’t sit still for very long, but Feiffer’s art reacts so well with Norton Juster’s text. If I ever write a YA or fantasy novel, this will be my guide. Eventually I watched Feiffer’s Carnal Knowledge, which had a huge impact on me, dramatically. The film was a lesson in good dialogue.

Getting Even by Woody Allen
One of the first story collections I ever owned. This is how I learned the power of comedic timing, at least on paper. There are plenty of classic Woody one-liners, but the way he litters them throughout the narrative is just masterful. Especially good are “A Look at Organized Crime” and “A Twenties Memory.”

This is a novel of class and immigrants in 1940s Montreal, following the young entrepreneur and social climber, Duddy Kravitz. Like the hero of my novel, Duddy is driven, and sometimes blinded, by the need to succeed. He’s the classic underdog, perhaps Richler’s alter-ego, and he makes an appearance in several other Richler novels.

I was twenty-one when this novel came out, and I thought to myself, finally, here is a man writing the kind of books I want to read. The rise and fall of Valdimir Girshkin, from New York to Prague, from lowly clerk to feared gangster, is a classic for our time. Shteyngart is a master of tempo, comedic timing, and language of Nabokovian scale. I later got to work for him as a research assistant, where he taught me much about the writer’s life. Work, drink, therapy—it’s not as easy as it sounds. 

Well, Alex just put that last one on my list!  As promised, please find the book trailer below in which the author pokes fun at himself and the book a bit (disclosure: language - I wouldn't play this one at work (like I did - whoops)).  

From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant
by Alex Gilvarry

High fashion and homeland security clash in a masterful debut. 

Boyet Hernandez is a small man with a big American dream when he arrives in New York in 2002, fresh out of design school in Manila. With dubious financing and visions of Fashion Week runways, he sets up shop in a Brooklyn toothpick factory, pursuing his goals with monkish devotion (distractions of a voluptuous undergrad not withstanding). But mere weeks after a high-end retail order promises to catapult his (B)oy label to the big time, there's a knock on the door in the middle of the night: the flamboyant ex-Catholic Boyet is brought to Gitmo, handed a Koran, and locked away indefinitely on suspicion of being linked to a terrorist plot. Now, from his 6' x 8' cell, Boy prepares for the trial of his life with this intimate confession, even as his belief in American justice begins to erode.

With a nod to Junot Diaz and a wink to Gary Shteyngart, Alex Gilvarry's first novel explores some of the most serious issues of our time with dark, eviscerating wit.

A native of Staten Island, New York. His novel has been selected as a Barnes & Noble Discover pick, and an Indiebound Next pick. He's been a Norman Mailer Fellow, and his writing has appeared in The Paris Review and on NPR. He lives in Brooklyn and Cambridge, Massachusetts.


This contest is open to all U.S. and Canadian addresses.

To win a brand-spanking new copy of From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant courtesy of Penguin, leave a comment below with some reaction to what you read in the Q&A session above.  Be sure to leave your name and email address, as well.

For an extra entry, tweet this post and leave a direct link.

Giveaway will be open until Wednesday. January 18th at noon EST.

IF YOU have trouble posting a comment, please email me ASAP at OR tweet me @bibliobrouhaha.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Weekly News Roundup ~ 01.05.2012

In Memoriam
The 2011 Cybils Finalists have been announced!  Here's the list for the Young Adult category:
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys 
  • Bunheads by Sophie Flack
  • Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
  • Frost by Marianna Baer
  • Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen
  • Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach
and for the Fantasy & Science Fiction (Young Adult) category:
  • Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, Book 1) by Susan Ee
  • Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake 
  • Blood Red Road by Moira Young
  • Misfit by Jon Skovron
  • Red Glove (Curse Workers, Book 2) by Holly Black
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
  • The Shattering by Karen Healey
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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Book Boyfriend ~ Roarke

My Book Boyfriend is a Wednesday meme hosted by The Unread Reader, in which we drool over fictional male characters who make us swoon.  Please, come join our SqueeGirl infatuations and show us your favorite men of lit!

My boyfriend this week is so hot he only needs one name.  I've been dishing into J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts's In Death series on and off since the late Summer, and I can't get enough or keep my metaphorical hands off the enigmatic, the sophisticated, and just possibly, the reformed ROARKE.

Official Statistics
  • Date of Birth: October 6, 2024
  • Residence: 222 Central Park West
  • Roarke Industries Headquarters: 500 Fifth Avenue
  • Established Roarke Industries in 2042
Physical characteristics
  • Eve looks up his statistics in Naked in Death. They are as follows:
  • Height: 6 feet, 2 inches
  • Age: approximately 34 years old 
  • Weight: 173 pounds
  • Eye color: blue
  • Hair color: black

Roarke is from the back allies of Dublin.  He's a former thief and murderer and is a successful businessman.  Fiercely loyal to a select few, he loves Lt. Eve Dallas with everything he's got and helps humanize her to readers.  In a future world where everything is fake and manufactured, he prefers the old school finer things in life that have stood the test of time.

“I want to see you again." He stopped, took her face in his hands. "I need to see you again."

Her pulse jumped, as if it had nothing to do with the rest of her. "Roarke, what's going on here?"

"Lieutenant." He leaned forward, touched his lips to hers. "indications are we're having a romance.

-Naked In Death

My pick for Roarke is English model David Gandy.  Do a google image search for him - there are AMAZING pictures of him.  He's a naughty boy. . .