Book Review: Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam Trilogy) by Margaret Atwood

Title: Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam Trilogy)
Author: Margaret Atwood
389 pages, Published by Anchor Books
Margaret’s Info: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Year of The Flood
Buy The Book: Amazon | Indie Bound

Summary:

Oryx and Crake is at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey–with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake–through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining.(Summary provided by Anchor Books.)

My Thoughts:

Oryx and Crake is book one in Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy.  I found out about the MaddAddam Trilogy  when I picked up MaddAddam (book three of the trilogy) and read it’s part of a trilogy. Never has the title of this blog been less appropriate than now. Oryx and Crake  wasn’t on my radar when it was released in 2003, but I sure do wish it would’ve been.

Oryx and Crake is told from the point of view of a man who calls himself Snowman or Jimmy depending on whether he’s referring to himself in the present or in the past (when he was known as Jimmy). Snowman has been through a lot. Seriously, Snowman’s been through hell and lived to think about it. He lives in the aftermath of a plague that resulted in the death of most of the human population. His main purpose being to watch over the Crakes, a small population of genetically mutated humans who have been left to carry on civilization. As Snowman goes about life as he now knows it, he thinks back to the events that lead to the plague that wiped out most of the population, and he dreams about the woman he loved, Oryx.

This book scared the crap out of me. (Too bad I couldn’t eat it! – that’s a joke you’ll get if you’ve read the book. The Crakes can eat their poo. IKR?) There were so many warning signs/red flags that mankind was heading towards disaster in Oryx and Crake that we see in the news everyday on a daily basis: crazy weather patterns, genetic experiments, crop mutation, etc. There’s a bullet train in Atwood’s book that eerily resembles the tubes Elon Musk has been in the news about recently. Snowman’s memories piece together a picture of a society turning away from nature and heading rapidly toward destruction.

Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake is a beautifully written, cautionary tale. Lovers of dystopian fiction and Atwood’s other novels will enjoy this book. Actually, people who like reading in general will more than likely find this novel fascinating.

{Sorry about the poo joke. I couldn’t resist.}

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10 Great Holiday Books For Kids

10 Great Holiday Books For Kids

The Following is a fun list of 10 great holiday books kids ages 0 to 5 will love! Click the title to purchase a copy. Happy Holidays.:) – Mandy

1. Hanukkah!

Written by Ronni Schotter, Illustrated byMarilyn Hafner, Ages 4 – 8, 32 pages, $8.99, Published by LB Kids

2. A Christmas Carol: A BabyLit Colors Primer (BabyLit Books)

Written by Jennifer Adams,  Illustrated by Alison Oliver, Ages 0 – 3, 22 pages, $9.99, Published by Gibbs Smith

3. Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa

Written by Donna L. Washington, Illustrated by Shane W. Evans, 32 pages, Ages 4 and up, $10.39, Published by Katherine Tegen Books

4. Christmastime Is Here!: Lift the Flap

By Ellen Weiss (for Fisher Price Little People), 10 pages, Ages 2 and up, $9.99, Published by Reader’s Digest

5. Together for Kwanzaa

Written By Juwanda G. Ford, Illustrated by Shelly Hehenberger, 24 pages, Ages 3 and up, $3.99, Published by Random House Books For Young Readers

6. Charlie and the Christmas Kitty

Written by Ree Drummond, Illustrated by Diane deGroat, 40 pages, Ages 4 and up, $11.83, Published by HarperCollins

7. Happy Hanukkah, Corduroy

Written by Don Freeman, Illustrated by Lisa McCue, 14 pages, Ages 3 and up, $5.99, Published by Viking Juvenile

8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

By Dr. Seuss, 64 pages, Ages 5 and up, $10.20, Published by Random House Books For Young Readers

9. Pete the Cat Saves Christmas

Created and illustrated by James Dean, Story by Eric Litwin, 40 pages, Ages 4 and up, $10.40, Published by HarperCollins

10. Hanukkah Lights

Written by David Martin, Illustrated by Melissa Sweet, 26 pages, Ages 1 and up, $5.99, Published by Candlewick

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FTC Disclosure: Please assume that I received any book reviewed on the site for free from the publisher. Also, if you purchase books by clicking the Amazon links throughout the site, I get a small commission.


Book Review: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Title: Dark Places
Author: Gillian Flynn
368 pages, Published by Broadway
Buy The Book: Amazon

Summary:

I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club . . . and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer. (Summary provided by Broadway.)

My Thoughts:

I recently read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I was blown away by the novel, and I quickly devoured all three of her novels in one weekend.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, author of the bestseller Gone Girl, was Flynn’s second novel. Originally published in 2009, Dark Places introduces readers to Libby Day. Libby was a little girl when her mother and sisters were murdered in 1985. Libby’s testimony helped put her brother in jail for the murder of their mother and sisters. After the murders there is an outpouring of public sympathy for Libby, and monetary donations pour in. Years later Libby finds that the trustfund is almost gone and now she must come up with a way to make more money. She reluctantly takes a gig as a featured guest at The Kill Club, a convention of sorts for people obsessed with violent crime cases. A group of people who believe Libby’s brother is innocent approaches Libby to take a second look at the events that occurred the night her family was murdered. Libby agrees to look into the case, because she desperately needs the cash. What she doesn’t expect is to find that her original perception of the events that took place in 1985 may have been wrong.

Flynn has created a cast of wholly original and memorable characters within the novel Dark Places. Through flashbacks readers meet Libby’s brother Ben and Libby’s mother. Libby, however, is the most fascinating of the lot. With a tendency to steal and a bit of a violent streak, Libby is a survivor and does not want anyone’s pity. Libby’s reluctance to think back to the worst time in her life slowly subsides. As a result of facing her demons, she ultimately begins to heal and mature.

Gillian Flynn takes readers back to a time of satanic panic in the U.S. A time in the 1980s when teens who wore all black or listened to Judas Priest were accused of being satanists. Ben’s flashbacks provide readers with enough information to conclude that he is indeed a troubled teen, but was he disturbed enough to kill his own family? Flynn keeps readers in suspense regarding Ben’s innocence until the surprising end of the book. The end of Dark Places was shocking and left me wanting to read more Gillian Flynn. I will read anything Gillian Flynn writes. She is a master.

FTC Disclosure Statement: I receive a small commission from any purchases made by clicking through the Amazon links throughout the site.

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Book Review: The Thorn and The Blossom by Theodora Goss

The Thorn and The Blossom by Theodora GossTitle: The Thorn And The Blossom

Author: Theodora Goss

82 pages, Published by Quirk Books

Theodora’s Info: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Buy The Book: Amazon

Summary:

One enchanting romance. Two lovers keeping secrets. And a uniquely crafted book that binds their stories forever.

When Evelyn Morgan walked into the village bookstore, she didn’t know she would meet the love of her life. When Brendan Thorne handed her a medieval romance, he didn’t know it would change the course of his future. It was almost as if they were the cursed lovers in the old book itself…

The Thorn and the Blossom is a remarkable literary artifact: You can open the book in either direction to decide whether you’ll first read Brendan’s, or Evelyn’s account of the mysterious love affair. Choose a side, read it like a regular novel—and when you get to the end, you’ll find yourself at a whole new beginning. (Summary provided by Quirk Books.)

Book Trailer:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPP7f5DoaGg&w=450&h=315]

Please watch the book trailer for The Thorn and The Blossom (above) before reading my review.

My Thoughts:

The Thorn and The Blossom by Theodora Goss is a truly unique book. The book comes beautifully packaged in a box. When you are ready to read the book, you slide it out of the box and the book opens accordion style. It contains the same story told from two different points of view. If you open the book and read from one direction you get Evelyn’s story. If you open from the other direction you get Brendan’s story.

The Thorn And The Blossom is a tale of star crossed lovers, Evelyn and Brendan. Evelyn is a student studying abroad at Oxford when she meets Brendan while vacationing in the small town of Cornwall. Evelyn and Brendan have a very brief relationship but they are unable to forget each other and eventually reconnect. A story called The Tale Of The Green Knight shapes the love affair and the lives of Brendan and Evelyn. (Oh how I love a story within a story!) At times it seems as though they might be the fated lovers from the story.

Goss weaves a magical tale with The Thorn and The Blossom. At 82 pages it is a short read, however Ms. Goss injects brief flashes of fantasy throughout that had me rapidly turning the pages. At times certain elements of the book reminded me of the 80s classic horror/fantasy film The Lair of The White Worm. It wasn’t the actual plot that reminded me of the 80s film but rather the injection of brief flashes of fantasy into the story. I was absolutely dazzled by Theodora Goss’s storytelling ability and can’t wait to read more from her. This book would make a great Valentine’s Day gift. In addition to the romantic storyline, it is beautifully packaged and presented in such a unique way that it will be a treasured addition to anyone’s library.

FTC Disclosure: Please assume that I received any book reviewed or mentioned on the site for free from the publisher. Also, if you purchase books by clicking the Amazon links throughout the site, I get a small commission.

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Contest: Win A Copy Of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Fill out the form below to enter for a chance to win a copy of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Then keep reading to learn more about this fabulous book. I will accept entries until 11 p.m. central time Sunday, November 20th. The winner will be announced within this post on November 21st. Be sure to follow me on Twitter and “like” me on Facebook too! Congrats to Katie F. Katie won a copy of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

More about Ready Player One:

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready? (Summary provided by Crown/Random House.)

Check out the official Ready Player One website here and check out Ernest Cline’s website here. Also, be sure to follow Ernest Cline on Twitter, and “like” him on Facebook!

Click below to view the (quite awesome) Ready Player One trailer:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifXryyx4erU&w=560&h=315]
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