Saturday, August 25, 2012


In Austenland, by Shannon Hale, we meet Jane Hayes:  30-something graphic designer living in New York.  Jane's had thirteen boyfriends in her life, and none of them ever quite match up to her idea of what a man should be.  And what's her ideal man like?  Mr. Darcy.  Yes, Jane has more than just a slight Austen obsession.  She's so obsessed with Jane Austen's novels and with Mr. Darcy in particular, that she goes so far as to hide her copy of the BBC Pride & Prejudice mini-series (ladies, you know the one...Colin Firth).  

During a visit from her mother and wealthy great-aunt Carolyn, the old woman notices the DVDs and knows immediately what is going through Jane's head.  Great-aunt Carolyn surprises Jane by booking a vacation for her at Pembrook Park, a sort of Regency reenactment resort in the English countryside, where guests and a staff of actors remain in period dress and manner for three weeks.  The clientele consists of Austen-obsessed women, who pay the exorbitant fee to be fake-courted by gentlemen like Austen's male characters.  

Jane isn't sure what to make of her great-aunt's strange gift, but the tickets and reservation are nonrefundable, and the prospect of being in the company of handsome men in breeches has piqued her interest.  Once she checks in, however, and the fantasy begins, the total immersion is a little more than she thinks she can really handle.  Will it help her kick her Darcy fixation, or will she just get even more sucked in than before?  

Friday, August 24, 2012


Released just this month, Dustin Thomason's 12.21 is a novel guessed it...the end of the current Long Count of the Mayan calendar.  We're in Los Angeles, and it's two weeks before the date that's been designated to be the end of civilization as we know it; even with all the hype the "2012ers" are making about the alleged prophecy, things are pretty much business as usual.  Until Gabriel Stanton, a prion expert for the CDC, gets a call from a resident at a hospital in East L.A.:  she's got a patient whose symptoms she can't pin down as anything known, but which are remarkably similar to the extremely rare prion disease, Fatal Familial Insomnia.  It doesn't take long to determine that this was serious, and needed to be contained.

The only problem, however, is that the patient doesn't speak any English.  Chel Manu, a linguistic researcher at the Getty Museum, is asked to act as translator, and as soon as she's told what he is saying, she agrees immediately.  A Guatemalan American, her academic specialty is in Mayan epigraphy, and she has recently acquired (under the table) a complete codex from the classical period.  A priceless artifact academically and an equally priceless piece of her people's history, and the hospital's new patient with the mystery illness seems to be connected to its discovery - the one word he keeps repeating is the Mayan word for "codex."

Before they know it, they're racing the clock to follow clues in the codex to the origin of the disease; without the origin, a successful treatment can't be made, and the infection is rapidly becoming an epidemic of epic proportions.  Could this be the collapse of civilization the calendar is thought to predict?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Reaping

Happy Hunger Games DVD release!  I can't swing buying a copy for myself right now, but you can bet your ass I went to Redbox and rented it yesterday.

Anyway, it is time to announce the winner of my Mockingjay Giveaway, so welcome to The Reaping.  A big thanks to everyone who participated, but our lucky tribute is...

Congratulations, Beth!  I've sent you an email; please respond within 48 hours, or I'll have to select a new winner.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Neuromancer by William Gibson is considered one of the Must-Read novels of the cyberpunk sub-genre.  In fact, the Internet tells me that this is really the Grandaddy of all cyberpunk novels.  It was also the first novel to win the "holy trinity" of science fiction awards:  the Hugo, the Nebula, and the Philip K. Dick awards.

Case was one of the best cyberspace cowboys, trained by the best.  As a thief, though, his mistake was not that he stole from his employers, but that he got caught.  He was punished for his offense by having a toxin introduced to his nervous system that made him unable to properly access his console interface, making him unemployable.  Since then, he spends his time in the Sprawl, slowly killing himself through substance abuse.

And then he's found by Molly, a hired gun of sorts with retractable claws under her fingernails, like some kind of female Wolverine.  They're building a small team for a big job, and they need a hacker to jack into the matrix for them.  With the promise of freeing him from the toxin sacs in his system, Case agrees to be their guy.  The Tessier-Ashpool dynasty has some AI that's apparently getting a little high on itself, but the closer the team gets to closing in on Wintermute and the program they're after, the closer they all come to being killed.

So, alright.  I had heard tons of amazing things about this book, and about the author.  When I saw that Neuromancer had won these impressive awards, I was sure that maybe I could not go wrong with it.  And okay, yeah, I can see where it became the catalyst of a whole new movement in the science fiction sphere.  The gritty, dystopian setting, with its futuristic technology is pretty fascinating, and so much of the book is very visual in nature.  This speaks volumes for Gibson's descriptive technique, and I think it would translate magnificently to film with the right production team.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Follow Friday #7

Wow, it's been a long time since I did one of these!  Anyway, this week's Feature & Follow Friday (hosted by Alison at Alison Can Read and Rachel over at Parajunkee) asks bloggers this question:
"What would you do over if you were to start your blog again from scratch?"
My answer?  I kind of already started over, in a way, when I completely revamped my blog.  I finally thought of a name and a theme I loved, and was kind of surprised I hadn't thought of it sooner...I'm terrible like that when it comes to naming things, though.  Since I'm still a relatively young blog, as far as post count goes, I felt it was safe enough to change things up without confusing anyone.

It was easier than I thought it would be to change my username and email account on all the different social media networks, so that was a convenient surprise.

Anyway, if I were to go back in time or something and start my blog knowing what I know now, I would have probably tried to do a little more research and put more thought into the setup and such - I went in thinking no one would ever read this except me and maybe a couple bored people on my Facebook friends list, so I figured I'd just put whatever and it wouldn't matter.

I'd also spend more time on some of my earlier reviews.  I'm not completely happy with some of them, especially some of the sequel reviews.  For me, reviewing a sequel is a little tricky, because no matter how old a book is, there will always be someone who hasn't yet read it, and I worry about inadvertently posting spoilers.  So my earlier sequel reviews were very brief and not nearly as thoughtful or potentially helpful as I would like; I think I've gotten a bit better with this particular thing, but there's still definitely some room for improvement.  Maybe someday I'll go back and review those ones again, but we'll see...after all, I have SO many books I haven't even had a chance to open yet!

What about you?  Is there anything you'd do differently if you were to start your blog again from scratch?  Leave me a comment or a link to your own FF post and let me know!  And don't forget to check out the "features" in Feature & Follow, Michael at The Bookshelf Review and Mandee at Compelled By Words.

And now a shameless plug:  I have a giveaway going on that will end on 18 August!  In celebration of the DVD/Blu-Ray release of The Hunger Games, I am giving away a prop replica of Katniss's mockingjay pin!  

In a couple of days I will be able to know if I can add to this prize the winner's choice of one of the books from the trilogy!  So if getting only the pin doesn't interest you, just check back in a day or two.  This giveaway is open internationally.  Just click the word "giveaway" in the above paragraph, or follow the button in the sidebar.  =]


Monday, August 6, 2012

Mockingjay (pin) Giveaway

As I am sure most (if not all) of you are aware that The Hunger Games movie is being released on DVD and Blu-Ray on 18 August!  I, for one, am pretty excited - I thought it was a great adaptation of a phenomenal book, and I can't wait to get my copy.

I am so excited about this movie release, in fact, that I decided to host a small giveaway in celebration!  When I say "small," I do mean VERY small, since I don't really have money for multiple winners and prizes at the moment.  If I end up with any extra money by the end of the giveaway, however, I will add one more winner, who will receive their choice of ONE of the books from the Hunger Games trilogy.

EDIT: I have added to the prize package the winner's choice of ONE of the Hunger Games books, in either paperback OR ebook format!

What I DO have, though, is one licensed movie prop replica of Katniss' mockingjay pin!  I have one for myself that I wear on one of my jackets; it looks nice, and I really love it.  It's roughly 1½" in diameter.  Here is a stock photo I grabbed from the internets:

- Open internationally
- Begins Tuesday, August 7th and will end at midnight (EST) on Saturday, August 18th
- One winner only, unless circumstances change
- Being a follower of Here Be Bookwyrms is NOT required for entry (although followers are always very much appreciated!) 

- One replica mockingjay pin
- Winner's choice of ONE of the Hunger Games books (either paperback OR ebook)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So...this is my third giveaway using Rafflecopter.  If the widget doesn't show up for you, or you have any problems trying to use it, please let me know!  Thanks for stopping by, everyone, and...

May the odds be ever in your favor!