Friday, October 28, 2011

Things That Make Me Snarf - The Walken Dead

This video combines two of my favorite things. Zombies...and Christopher Walken.

You're welcome.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Um. Er. It's Thursday, and that means Bookanista day, and I'm judging for the Cybils, and we have a bunch of monsters coming to our house this weekend for a costume party, and HALLOWEEN is coming, and...

Maybe you should just imagine me hyperventilating as I welcome you to this week's book recommendation for both the Cybils and the Bookanistas--DEADLY by Julie Chibbaro.

Bring on the book deets, courtesy of Goodreads:
A mysterious outbreak of typhoid fever is sweeping New York. Could the city’s future rest with its most unlikely scientist?

If Prudence Galewski is ever going to get out of Mrs. Browning’s esteemed School for Girls, she must demonstrate her refinement and charm by securing a job appropriate for a young lady. But Prudence isn’t like the other girls. She is fascinated by how the human body works and why it fails.

With a stroke of luck, she lands a position in a laboratory, where she is swept into an investigation of the fever bound to change medical history. Prudence quickly learns that an inquiry of this proportion is not confined to the lab. From ritzy mansions to shady bars and rundown tenements, she explores every potential cause of the disease. But there’s no answer in sight—until the volatile Mary Mallon emerges. Dubbed “Typhoid Mary” by the press, Mary is an Irish immigrant who has worked as a cook in every home the fever has ravaged. Strangely, though, she hasn’t been sick a day in her life. Is the accusation against her an act of discrimination? Or is she the first clue in a new scientific discovery?

Prudence is determined to find out. In a time when science is for men, she’ll have to prove to the city, and to herself, that she can help solve one of the greatest medical mysteries of the twentieth century.

Confession time--any book in which the science geek saves the day makes me feel cool by association. I'm a total science geek, and I NEED THINGS THAT MAKE ME FEEL COOL. PLEASE WRITE MORE BOOKS IN WHICH THE SCIENCE GEEK SAVES THE DAY.

But seriously, I seek out what I call "sciencey fiction," not the fantastic kind with spaceships and time travel, but books that are fictional but still full of medical mysteries and biochemistry and epidemiology so I can get my science fix without going back to school for a PhD. And this book is one of my favorites. The science is spot-on with the exception of a few liberties explained in the afterword, but don't worry because I honestly believe you don't need to be a member of the geek squad in order to appreciate it. Underneath the medical mystery is a darned good story.

Prudence is the kind of girl that I think we're all familiar with--she's spunky and smart and doesn't understand for a minute why she's doomed to a life of typing when she has a BRAIN, darn it. But I liked that Julie Chibbaro resisted the urge to make her a huge mouthpiece for feminist rights; instead, Pru says, "I want to do this, so why can't I?" and then proceeds to put her money where her mouth is instead of just ranting about it. I think that's a better story choice that keeps the action moving and gets us right into the meat of the story (and it's DISEASED meat). But the whole time, we're gently reminded that she's a girl, and she's breaking into what is predominantly a male profession, which is at turns scary and maddening and proud-making.

Typhoid Mary is not at all what you'd expect, and there are a lot of ethical issues brought up in regards to her treatment that are just plain fascinating. AAAAAAAH. I'm going to shut up on that account, but someone read it quick so we can talk about that. Please?

In short, I loved DEADLY, and it is totally worth checking out.

While you're at it, why not stop by the Cybils to see what the featured judges think of their recent reads? And then check out what the rest of the Bookanistas are up to!

Elana Johnson REVEALS something awesome!!!

LiLa Roecker announces a winner - plus a Past Midnight series giveaway

Christine Fonseca reveals books she cannot wait to read

Beth Revis interviews My Very UnFairytale Life author Anna Staniszewski

Shannon Whitney Messenger interviews Skyship Academy-Pearl Wars author Nick James & agent Jennifer Rofe – with giveaway

Jessi Kirby twirls for Audition

Shana Silver burns for Circle of Fire

Stasia Ward Kehoe travels to The Day Before

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bacon Parties 101

I get a lot of requests for bacon parties. We threw one a year-ish ago--it was a Roast of David Hasselhoff/Bacon Party. Because nothing goes better together than pork products and Baywatch jokes. The thing I like the most about bacon parties is...well, the bacon. But the second thing I like is that it's relatively easy to put one together. Here are a few bits of advice that I'd like to pretend is sage:Link
  • Obviously, the most important thing is the bacon! Here are some of my favorite bacon related staples (mmmm....bacon staples....):
  • Cream cheese and bacon dip
  • Bacon wrapped water chestnuts
  • German potato salad
  • Bacon cornbread
  • Maple and bacon cupcakes
  • Chocolate covered bacon...with sprinkles, of course
  • Under no circumstances should you try (unless there is someone you secretly hate at said party):
  • Bacon jellybeans
  • Bacon soda (shudder)
  • Bacon vodka
  • Bacon gum
  • I can't believe I'm saying this, but it's worth it to have something non-bacon on the table. We served raw vegetables with the bacon dip, but I noticed some people eating them plain to give their cholesterol a break.
  • You CAN decorate with bacon. I've heard of people buying bacon dolls and cardboard standups and things, but I made a centerpiece of bacon roses. There are a lot of bacon rose tutorials out there, some of which require the use of a drill!?! It's against my religion to drill with bacon. I just wrapped mine in a vaguely rose-shaped spiral, secured with toothpicks, and baked. Then I stuck them onto some wooden skewers and made leaves out of pipe cleaners.

And now I'm hungry.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bookanistas: DON'T STOP NOW by Julie Halpern

I have three kids, so I'm an expert at multitasking. When the twins were little, I learned that you CAN turn the pages of a book with your feet while you feed the babies with your hands. I can edit and cook dinner, sometimes without burning. And I can do Bookanista Thursday AND Cybils at the same time.

You HAVE gotten in your nominations for the Cybils, right? Saturday is the last day to get them in. RUN FORTH AND NOMINATE, PEOPLE!

And in the spirit of multitaskery, I am recommending a book that COINCIDENTALLY is a Cybils nominee. HOW DO THESE THINGS HAPPEN? Fate? Luck? Massive laziness? It's your call.

Today's book is DON'T STOP NOW by Julie Halpern.
On the first day of Lillian’s summer-before-college, she gets a message on her cell from her sort-of friend, Penny. Not only has Penny faked her own kidnapping, but Lil is the only one who figures it out. She knows that Penny’s home life has been rough, and that her boyfriend may be abusive. Soon, Penny’s family, the local police, and even the FBI are grilling Lil, and she decides to head out to Oregon, where Penny has mentioned an acquaintance. And who better to road-trip across the country with than Lil’s BFF, Josh. But here’s the thing: Lil loves Josh. And Josh doesn’t want to “ruin” their amazing friendship.

Josh has a car and his dad’s credit card. Lil has her cellphone and a hunch about where Penny is hiding. There’s something else she needs to find: Are she and Josh meant to be together?

This book has a road trip, cheese shirts, romantic tension, more cheese shirts, hotel rooms decorated like space stations, witty banter, and did I mention the cheese shirts? Unfortunately, the thing I liked the most about the book is the ending, and I refuse to be one of those spoilery types who spills it all. But I will say that the ending is not neat. It's not tidy. It's not romanticized. And I really respected the decision to write it that way.

Ultimately, this book was less about the search for Penny (which struck me as an excuse more than a mission) and more about Lil's desire to stop time before she goes to college and possibly loses Josh forever.

Dum dum DUUUUM.

Have you read this one? I'd love to hear about it. And while you're at it, check out the rest of the Bookanista awesome:

Elana Johnson offers a preview of upcoming awesome!

LiLa Roecker dances for Audition

Christine Fonseca is wowed by Witch Eyes

Beth Revis features a guest post by Darkfall author Janice Hardy

Carolina Valdez Miller steps up to Audition – with giveaway

Shana Silver contemplates The Future of Us

Corrine Jackson celebrates the success of Epic Fail

Shelli Johannes-Wells is psyched for some swell book launches!

Thursday, October 6, 2011



How am I supposed to choose my surprising mortal enemy (complete with bragging rights and free signed book)? YOU PEOPLE ARE FUNNY. You gave me epidemiology and statistics humor (did you know that I was a statistician working in public health before I became a full time writer?). You flung Richard Simmons's workout shorts at me. You filled my house with popcorn (unintentional Real Genius reference?). You prank called me. You signed me up for Fabio fan clubs. You wore kilts (and really, anything that involves kilts is a total bonus). You called me Puddles. You sicced roadkill zombie minions on me. You burnt my books and house down.

Uh. I hope you don't intend to ACT on these things, people. Have I mentioned lately that I know ninjas? LOTS OF NINJAS. *shifty eyes*

Anyway, I know I was supposed to choose my mortal enemy yesterday, but I kept reading the entries and giggling maniacally and reminding myself that it was NOT FAIR to choose the winner via eenie meanie meinie moe. I went to bed last night dreaming about your entries. Which was amusing, to say the least.

I'd love to be able to award a book to all of you, but it's just not going to happen. So I'm going to give this one to a longtime reader who clearly knows my sense of humor. As my surprising mortal enemy, she'll be leaping out of the rafters with a sharpened popsicle stick, or flinging Richard Simmons's shorts at me, or tossing dinner at my noggin. And then when I'm not paying attention, she'll dork up my blog. (And them are FIGHTIN' WORDS.)

Tere Kirkland, you'd better look out. I don't intend to just sit back and let you surprising mortal enemize me.

And if you didn't win this month, never fear! I'll be giving more things away in the upcoming months, and there are two opportunities to win open right now! Check out the Class of 2k11 giveaway and Patricia's Particularity blog hop!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Cybils...and other things

I predict that my October will be full of EEEEEEHALLOWEEN and BOOKSBOOKSBOOKS. That's because, well, Halloween is in October and people look at me funny when I go all EEEEHALLOWEEN in January. And it's my favorite holiday ever. Which won't surprise anyone.

But I'm also all about the books right now, because I was lucky enough to be selected as a first round judge for the YA panel on the CYBILS! It's the only award (that I know of) where book bloggers can directly nominate titles and be a part of the process. And I'm serving on a hecka awesome panel full of speed-readers that I suspect might be cyborgs. (Attention fellow panel members--this is a compliment.)

Anyway, don't forget to nominate your favorite titles of the year for the Cybils! And then laugh maniacally at those of us who are crazy enough to try and read them all in the space of a couple of months.

If that's not enough excitement, I've also learned that BAD TASTE IN BOYS has been nominated for the ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers list! Mystery-person-who-nominated-my-book, thank you so much! I'm making the EEEEEE sound again.

Get used to it. ;)