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Cross-Platform Mobile Apps July 14, 2014

Filed under: Tech Talk — Heather @ 6:11 pm
Tags: ,

Welcome to the wonderful world of apps! We are here to help you find the official, and most popular, apps available in the “Big Three” app markets (Apple, Google and Microsoft), accompanied by a brief description. Whether it is Microsoft, Apple, or Google, these thriving ecosystems have some common apps that appear in their respective stores. We will also include “Windows 8.x/Pro/RT” tag as the operating system for desktops/laptops/tablets has a Store built in. As a disclaimer: These apps are free to download but some of these services may require a subscription (will be noted) to use their services. Check back as there will be updates to these lists.

Photo/Social:

               Instagram – Part social, part photo filter, all fun! One of the most popular services for sharing your photos and videos, Instagram adds flare to all your photos with many filters, tilt effects, stickers frames, and more. Lastly, users can upload quick videos. This app can feed into your other social circle(s), like Facebook and Twitter, to share with your family and friends. Available on iOS and Android. It is BETA on Windows Phone 8.x – limitation is no video upload but the team promises it in future updates.

               Facebook – Considered the biggest social network on the planet. With more than a billion users globally, this network gives you the ability to share photos, create/comment on posts, play games, create events, and see an innovative timeline of your friends and family “lifespan”. The service is available in app form on all platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT.

               Twitter – Another excellent network to interact with other members such as celebrities. In some cases they may tweet you back! You “follow” people and some “follow” you back, which creates a feed. This service provides quick news updates, as well as being social with other people using hashtags, links, and other methods. Available on iOS, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT, Android.

Vine – Owned by Twitter, created by you in 6 seconds! This mobile app is strictly video sharing. What makes this unique is the limitation of how short video clips need to be, which is 6 seconds. Users can share, comment, and favorite your videos. Adding to the appeal, sites have been created to pay homage to this service compiling “best of…” videos. Available on iOS, Windows Phone 8.x, Android

               Path – This is a lesser known network but growing nonetheless. Billed as an alternative to Facebook, this service aims to streamline content and be more personal to you without the barrage of ads, sponsored posts, and other content that tends to clog up your Facebook feeds. Path is also aimed to take the very best parts of Twitter and Facebook to give a simpler and easier user experience. Available in iOS, Windows Phone 8.x, Android

Pinterest – Social network dedicated in creating virtual corkboards. You “pin” your interests such as photos, recipes, and other materials. This site is excellent for gift ideas as well as projects for school, work, or for fun. You can follow people for quick access to see what your friends are pinning. Must be a registered member to surf the corkboards. Available on iOS, Android, and BETA for Windows Phone 8.x.

News/Weather:

               The Weather Channel – This is the official weather app from The Weather Channel. It is your one stop app to give your local weather forecast, extended forecasts, and radar maps. You can add various locations from across the globe too. Available of iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT.

               NBC News/CNN/FOX News Media – These apps all provide users with late breaking news as well as editorials, videos, photos, and other information from these leading news sources. Each app offers something a little different, but in the end you get your news. All provide push notifications, and ability to integrate into each respective platform. All for the news junkies (like myself!). All available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT.

E-readers/Media:

               Amazon Kindle - Most popular app for reading e-books, newspapers, magazines, and listening to audiobooks. This app syncs with your Amazon account, so the user can send any newspaper, magazine, book or audiobook, either purchased or borrowed, from the Amazon store to those devices. Available on Android, iOS, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT

               Overdrive Media Console – This app is a portal to your local library. You can browse all the e-books and audiobooks your local participating library has to offer. You can place holds, check books/audio in and out and has a built in player for audiobooks. Available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT

Audible, Inc. – This service, owned by Amazon, is strictly a collection of audiobooks, radio podcasts and audio versions of popular news magazines. You can choose from over 150,000 titles and listen to as many as you like. The catch is this is a subscription-based service, even though the app itself is free. Available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT

Barnes & Noble Nook – A direct competitor to Amazon, the Nook app is a portal for all this B&N. The user can purchase/download content much like the Kindle app. It also syncs with your B&N account to update all your electronic purchases. Available on iOS, Android, and Windows 8.x/Pro/RT (NOT AVAILABLE on Windows Phone)

Music:

Xbox Music – This app taps into the entire music collection that Microsoft offers. Competing with Apple iTunes & Google Play Music, Xbox Music aims for a subscription model and offers unlimited downloads and streaming to your favorite devices. Certain caveats to use the service on mobile devices include the requirement of Xbox Music Pass which is their subscription service. Free accounts . Available apps on iOS & Android.  BUILT INTO Windows Phone 8.x & Windows 8.x/Pro/RT.

Slacker Radio – One of my personal favorite music apps. Streams music directly to your device. Curated by the “geniuses” at Slacker Radio, Inc., the service offers many stations for you to listen to for free. They do offer two subscription-based plans called Radio Plus and Radio Premium . Free plans offer a limited, 6 skips per station, and ad-supported music. Overall Very good choice for a “set it and forget it” listening. Also has a search function to find your favorite artists, and will intelligently find similar artists to build a custom station. Available on Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT, iOS, and Android.

Pandora – One of the most popular music apps, and billed as music “personalized for you”. The user can curate their own stations, like and dislike artists/songs, and discover new music. This is a way for Pandora to track your listening habits and become more customized for your tastes in music. You are required to have a Pandora music account, but basic users can listen to ad-supported streams for free. Also offers a subscription-based plan for ad-free music via Pandora One; this service costs $4.99/month. Available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8.x.

Spotify – Another great service for streaming music with over 40 million subscribers, including 10 million premium members. Users can join for free or join their Premium Subscription plan to for unlimited, commercial free music. Also, listeners with premium accounts can enjoy music offline by downloading them to your connected device. Paid membership fee is $9.99/month. Lastly, connecting this service to your Facebook account will unlock its “social” aspects. Your friends can see what tracks/mixes you published to your timeline. It asks to use your Facebook account to log in  Available on Windows Phone 8.x, Android, and iOS.

Messaging/Video:

WeChat – This is a very popular app with 400+ million users globally. This app makes it easy to communicate with other users from around the globe. You can send voice notes, pictures, video and text.  A cool feature, called “Message in a Bottle”, lets users “throw” a virtual bottle into the digital ocean for a user to read (or hear if you send a voice message). There are many other features to check out that are more social networking. Mainly popular in Asia but gaining traction in other territories.  Available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x.

WhatsApp – Most widely known messaging app globally, with over 500 million active users. This app also lets users send and receive voice notes, texts, and pictures. This service has a 1 year free subscription which after that will charge $0.99 a year to continue using WhatsApp. They also note on their site that uninstalling and reinstalling the app will not reset 1 free year subscription. Lastly, this service is now owned by Facebook, Inc. Available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x.

Skype – One of the pioneers in cross platform messaging and video chatting apps around. Began as an independent company before being acquired by Microsoft in 2011, this service lets users send text messages as well as video calling with loved ones across the globe.  There is a subscription version of the software reserved for internet calling to users domestically and international; usually pay for the minutes. Free for just video chat with one user, and texting. Excellent choice for businesses as well as casual users. Available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT.

Viber – An excellent app for the traveler. This app enables users to send pictures/texts over the web as well as make free domestic voice calls over Wi-Fi to other Viber users. Users can send “stickers” with their texts too. Also offer cheap international plans for calling abroad. Lastly, a user can call someone outside Viber network, for a small fee. Available on iOS,Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT.

 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month May 28, 2014

iris

Nearly 5 million American children and adolescents suffer from a serious mental illness.  Here is a selection of fiction titles that touch on this subject.

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler

Things in Delilah Hannaford’s life have a tendency to fall apart.

She used to be a good student, but she can’t seem to keep it together anymore. Her “boyfriend” isn’t much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.

Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family’s painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?

I Will Save You by Matt de la Pena

“Kidd is running from his past and his future. No mom, no dad, and there’s nothing for him at the group home but therapy. He doesn’t belong at the beach where he works either, unless he finds a reason to stay.
   Olivia is blond hair, blue eyes, rich dad. The prettiest girl in Cardiff. She’s hiding something from Kidd—but could they ever be together anyway?
   Devon is mean, mysterious, and driven by a death wish. A best friend and worst enemy. He followed Kidd all the way to the beach and he’s not leaving until he teaches him a few lessons about life. And Olivia.”

Noble Genes by Rune Michaels

It’s tough to measure up to your parents’ expectations. Imagine how much harder it would be if your mother told you that your biological father—whom you’d never met—was a Nobel prize-winning genius? NOBEL GENES is the story of just such a boy. His life consists of a series of halves; his genes are half from a donor bank that featured Nobel winners. After years of testing and tutoring, he only lives up to his mother’s expectations halfway. He spends half his time sharing in his mother’s manic ups and the other half in her depressive downs. And he always has to be half-awake in the middle of the night so that when his mother wakes up and plays with her pills, he can count them and make sure the proper amount are still there before he goes to sleep. 

Perhaps him being a “Nobel son” is a dream. Or a hope. Or a delusion. No matter what it is to his mother, it becomes devastation when he learns that his genius history is a lie. And once the truth is revealed, there is no going back. Even when he thought he discovered the most important truth, in his dreams, he finds one answer that he never imagined. Does it matter who you come from? Or are we all just made from dust?”

OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu

“In this raw and relatable romance, Bea learns that some things just can’t be controlled.

When Bea meets Beck, she knows instantly that he’s her kind of crazy. Sweet, strong, kinda-messed-up Beck understands her like no one else can. He makes her feel almost normal. He makes her feel like she could fall in love again.

But despite her feelings for Beck, Bea can’t stop thinking about someone else: a guy who is gorgeous and magnetic…and has no idea Bea even exists. But Bea knows a lot about him. She spends a lot of time watching him. She has a journal full of notes. Some might even say she’s obsessed.

Bea tells herself she’s got it all under control. But this isn’t a choice, it’s a compulsion. The truth is, she’s breaking down…and she might end up breaking her own heart.”

Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes

September 1973: The beginning of Karl Shoemaker’s senior year in stifling Lightsburg, Ohio. For years, Karl’s been part of “the Madman Underground”- kids forced to attend group therapy during school. Karl has decided that he is going to get out of the Madman Underground for good. He is going to act-and be-Normal. But Normal, of course, is relative. Karl has two after-school jobs, one dead father, one seriously unhinged drunk mother . . . and a huge attitude. Welcome to a gritty, uncensored rollercoaster ride, narrated by the singular Karl Shoemaker.”

Click here for a more complete list of titles.

 

Memorial Day Reads May 27, 2014

This Monday, May 27th we honored those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  In keeping with the patriotic theme, here are some titles that highlight the sacrifice of service, past and future.

Torn by David Massey

“Witnesses to a mystery on the battlefield, a British medic and an American Navy SEAL confront Afghanistan’s fog of war.

In war-torn Afghanistan, a girl walks right into a hail of bullets: Elinor watches it with her own eyes. The young British army medic risks the line of fire to rescue her, only to realize the girl is gone. 

To find the missing, mysterious child, Elinor enlists the help of an American Navy SEAL. But in all the confusion, with coalition troops fighting every day to maintain a fragile peace, does Ben have something to hide? 

Elinor came to Afghanistan with the hope of changing hearts and minds: What she’s about to discover will make her question everything she ever believed about love and war.

A war thriller. A cross-cultural love story with an undercurrent of magic realism. A powerful debut set in modern-day, battle-scarred Afghanistan. This is TORN.”

Vietnam Book 1:  I Pledge Allegiance by Chris Lynch

Four best friends. Four ways to serve their country.

Morris, Rudi, Ivan, and Beck are best friends for life. So when one of the teens is drafted into the Vietnam War, the others sign up, too. Although they each serve in a different branch, they are fighting the war together–and they pledge to do all they can to come home together.

Haunted by dreams of violence and death, Morris makes it his personal mission to watch over his friends–and the best place to do that is in the US Navy. Stationed off the coast of Vietnam on the USS Boston, Morris and his fellow sailors provide crucial support to the troops on the ground.

But the Boston itself isn’t safe from attack. And as Morris finds his courage and resolve tested like never before, he keeps coming back to a single thought.

He made a pledge. He must keep them safe.”

The Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

“A fourth-generation German-American now living in easy circumstances on Cape Cod (and smoking too much), who, as an American infantry scout hors de combat, as a prisoner of war, witnessed the fire-bombing of Dresden, Germany, “The Florence of the Elbe,” a long time ago, and survived to tell the tale. This is a novel somewhat in the telegraphic schizophrenic manner of tales of the planet Tralfamadore, where the flying saucers come from. Peace.

Billy Pilgrim returns home from the Second World War only to be kidnapped by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore, who teach him that time is an eternal present.”

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

“The finest novel of the Civil War, and one of the greatest battle stories ever told

The question of courage enters Henry Fleming’s mind the moment he dons the blue uniform of the Union Army. But his first firefight reveals the emptiness of words such as bravery and fear. Pinned in by his comrades, he can only fire his rifle like a cog in a machine. There is no chance to run.

Then comes the true test. Waking from a nap, Henry sees the enemy advancing once again. Gripped by an unshakable terror, he flees—from his regiment, from duty, from everything he wanted to believe about himself. A corpse bears witness to his shame.

The nightmare has come true. Henry Fleming is a coward. Only one thing can save him now: a visible wound, the red badge of courage. With his regiment’s colors in hand, Henry looks the enemy in the eye—and charges.”

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

“If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl? 

As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight…for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom. “

 

2013 Teens’ Top Ten October 28, 2013

Filed under: Books — Heather @ 3:27 pm
Tags: ,

” The Teens’ Top Ten is a ‘teen choice’ list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year! Nominators are members of teen book groups in sixteen school and public libraries around the country. Nominations are posted on Celebrate Teen Literature Day, the Thursday of National Library Week in April, and teens across the country vote on their favorite titles each year.

You have voted and the results are in.  Without further ado, I present the 2013 Teens’ Top Ten winners:

1.  Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

codenameverity“I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.”

2.  The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

falseprince“In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.”

3.  Insurgent by Veronica Roth

insurgent book“One choice can transform you, or destroy you.

Every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves, and herself, while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.”

4.  Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

pushing the limits“No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with freaky scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.”

5.  Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Poison-Princess-183x300She could save the world—or destroy it.

Sixteen-year-old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side.”

6.  The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

raven boys“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.”

7.  Crewel by Gennifer Albin

crewel book“Incapable. Awkward. Artless.
That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: She wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen to work the looms is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to manipulate the very fabric of reality. But if controlling what people eat, where they live, and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and used her hidden talent for a moment. Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her dad’s jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because tonight, they’ll come for her.”

8.  Every Day by David Levithan

every day book“Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.”

9.  Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

kill me softly“Mirabelle’s past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents’ tragic deaths to her guardians’ half-truths about why she can’t return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.

In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who’s a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.

But fairy tales aren’t pretty things, and they don’t always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she’ll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.”

10.  Butter by Erin Jade Lange

butter book“A lonely obese boy everyone calls “Butter” is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn’t go through with his plans?”

For more details, check out the YALSA website:

http://www.ala.org/yalsa/2013-teens-top-ten

 

Zombie Fiction – Not Dead Yet October 22, 2013

Filed under: Books,Movies & TV — Heather @ 10:05 pm
Tags:

Zombies are more popular than ever.  Screen adaptations of novels like World War Z along with classic mash-ups like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies have extended the life on this monster genre, perhaps outlasting the vampire craze.

In the sprit of Halloween and riding the coat-tails of Zombie pop-culture popularity, I proudly present my top  titles featuring the un-dead.

5.  Zombie Blondes by Brian James

zombie blondes

 “From the moment Hannah Sanders arrived in town, she felt there was something wrong.  A lot of houses were for sale, and the town seemed infected by an unearthly quiet. And then, on Hannah’s first day of classes, she ran into a group of cheerleaders—the most popular girls in school.  The odd thing was that they were nearly identical in appearance: blonde, beautiful, and deathly pale.  But Hannah wants desperately to fit in—regardless of what her friend Lukas is telling her: If she doesn’t watch her back, she’s going to be blonde and popular and dead—just like all the other zombies in this town. . . .”

4.  Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

warm bodies book

“R is having a no-life crisis—he is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he is a little different from his fellow Dead. He may occasionally eat people, but he’d rather be riding abandoned airport escalators, listening to Sinatra in the cozy 747 he calls home, or collecting souvenirs from the ruins of civilization.

And then he meets a girl.

First as his captive, then his reluctant house guest, Julie is a blast of living color in R’s gray landscape, and something inside him begins to bloom. He doesn’t want to eat this girl—although she looks delicious—he wants to protect her. But their unlikely bond will cause ripples they can’t imagine, and their hopeless world won’t change without a fight.”

3.  The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman

the walking dead

“The world we knew is gone. The world of commerce and frivolous necessity has been replaced by a world of survival and responsibility. An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months society has crumbled: no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. In a world ruled by the dead, the survivors are forced to finally start living”

2.  Zombies Hate Stuff by Greg Stones

zombies hate stuff

“Zombies hate clowns. They also hate hippies, not to mention zip-lines, penguins, moon penguins, nudists, weddings, sharing, and kittens. They really hate unicorns, and strangely don’t mind Canadians. Each ghoulishly colorful painting reveals a funny and unexpected scene of zombie disgruntlement, cataloging the stuff that really riles up the walking dead (astronauts, rain, bagpipes, re-gifting, and more) with wit, humor, and, of course, brains. Zombies Hate Stuff offers an unexpected and irresistible perspective on the zombie apocalypse and the pop culture phenomenon that will not die.”

1.  Apocalypse Cow by Michael Logan

apocalypse cow

“If you think you’ve seen it all — WORLD WAR Z, THE WALKING DEAD– you haven’t seen anything like this. From the twisted brain of Michael Logan comes Apocalypse Cow, a story about three unlikely heroes who must save Britain . . . from a rampaging horde of ZOMBIE COWS!

Forget the cud. They want blood.

It began with a cow that just wouldn’t die. It would become an epidemic that transformed Britain’s livestock into sneezing, slavering, flesh-craving four-legged zombies.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, the fate of the nation seems to rest on the shoulders of three unlikely heroes: an abattoir worker whose love life is non-existent thanks to the stench of death that clings to him, a teenage vegan with eczema and a weird crush on his maths teacher, and an inept journalist who wouldn’t recognize a scoop if she tripped over one.

As the nation descends into chaos, can they pool their resources, unlock a cure, and save the world?

Three losers.

Overwhelming odds.

One outcome . . .

Yup, we’re screwed.”

 

Flat-Out Love July 20, 2013

Filed under: Books — Jessie @ 4:44 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love, #1)Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love #1) Jessica Park

When Julie arrives in Boston for college she finds out the apartment she has rented doesn’t exist.  Her mother’s former college roommate invites Julie to stay with her family; Matt, the quirky, cute and nerdy MIT student, Celeste, the super smart younger sister who has some quirk of her own, and Erin and Roger, the hardworking academics who rarely spend time at home.  As Julie starts to settle in, she starts talking to the one member of the Watkins family she hasn’t met yet, Finn, who’s rooms she is currently occupying.  Through emails, chats, and Facebook statuses, Julie begins to fall in love with Finn.  As Julie gets closer to everyone in the Watkins family she stirs up the family’s secrets.

It’s hard for me to express how great this book is without sounding like a squealing teenage girl!  This book exceeded my expectations with its great characters and plot.  Being somewhat of a nerd myself, I loved the humor and conversations between all the characters.  Julie was equal parts smart, funny and nerdy while still being completely relatable and realistic.  Matt was the typical MIT student, super smart and geeky but he was caring and funny too.  I did figure out one part of the plot about halfway through but it didn’t take away from the rest of the book at all.  There was still plenty of twists that kept things interesting.  I was so invested in this book that I read the majority of it in one afternoon because I had to know what happened!

I don’t want to say too much about what happens so I don’t spoil it for everyone that is going to read it! If you like great romance stories with smart and funny characters you have to read this.  It is a more sophisticated romance story that many young adults, and even adults, will love!

Flat-Out Matt (Flat-Out Love, #1.5)Flat-Out Matt (Flat-Out Love #1.5) Jessica Park

In Flat-Out Matt, Jessica Park has taken some of the chapters from Flat-Out Love and written Matt’s point of view.  She picks key chapters that coincide with pivotal moments from Flat-Out Love.  It’s great to have some insight into Matt’s mind and I loved him even more after reading this than I did after Flat-Out Love.  There’s also an extra chapter at the end that takes place right where Flat-Out Love ends and its the perfect ending. 

 

The Great Gatsby June 5, 2013

PG-13, 142 minutes, Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow

gatsby movieWhat’s that saying?  Everything old is new again?  Well, that’s certainly the case with The Great Gatsby.  The Roaring Twenties are hotter than ever – the music, the fashion, hairstyles - Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan!  Baz Luhrmann, the director famous for movies like Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge, has given us another visual masterpiece.

We all know the story of Jay Gatsby and his tragic rise and fall by know, right?  I’ll assume you do.  (I highly recommend you re-acquaint yourself with this classic if you don’t!)

Tobey Maguire is the perfect Nick Carraway, the fresh-faced narrator and witness to the escapades to come.  His cousin Daisy Buchanan is played by Carey Mulligan.  Her fragile beauty and breezy indifference add depth to this shallow character.  The real standout performances for me were Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan and Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson.

Fans of the 1974 Francis Ford Coppola version starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow and a more genteel portrayal of Fitzgerald’s novel need not despair.  The 2013 version is different enough not to diminish its importance.  Luhrmann is famous for lavish spectacles and he does not disappoint.  The party scenes are a feast for the senses.  The true depth to the decadence of the times is felt more than in any other film adaptation.  Whether you’re a die-hard Fitzgerald fan or not, this one is a must see!

 

 
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