I went to ALA Annual Conference and gathered 43 books.

Fact: ALA Annual Conference was in Anaheim, CA this past weekend.

Fact: I am blogging about it here. Go read it.

Fact: there were 5,000 vendors in attendance and many, many, many of them were publishers.

Fact: these publishers give away a lot of Advanced Reading Copies (or ARCs), or books not yet published, but almost there, for reviewers to…read and review.

Fact: I have a lot of these ARCs

Fact: I’m going to Read and Review them here on my book blog.

Be prepared.

Ra(w)R: Jane Slayre

Jane Slayre by Charlotte Bronte and Sherri Browning Erwin

Publication date:  April 13, 2010

Publisher: Gallery

Allie Stats:

Difficulty level: only that I had to make myself stop giggling so I could focus

Time to completion: a week maybe

1-10 rating: 5 and a half, plus a quarter point for good effort, so 5.75

Review:

I’ll start with freely admitting that I loved Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The integration of zombies was nearly seamless in my opinion, the language stayed the same, and overall I just really liked it. I know quite a few people who thought that PPandZ was cute  but now that there are a whole bunch of re-written classics, its done and over and we all need to move on. They’re probably right, but that didn’t stop me from reading Jane Slayre anyways, because Jane Eyre is one of my all time favorite books and I really like Buffy so why the hell not.

Well, it wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t fantastic either. Not only were there vampires (vampyres, we’re old fashioned here), but also house-cleaning zombies and insane werewolves. A little much in my opinion, but I like to deal with one monster at a time. I’m a girl with simple tastes.

Recap: Jane Slayre is an orphan, raised by her vampyre relatives, the Reeds of Gateshead. At a young age she gets sent off to Lowood Institution, where she finds that as girls die, they get turned into zombies. With the help of the wonderful Miss Temple, she kills all the zombies and sends them off to their heavenly rewards. When she’s 18, more or less, she decides she’s bored with being a teacher, and thinking of the ghostly visit she had from her dead uncle (killed by a vampyre slayer in a moment of repentance, which guarantees him an in with the Big Man upstairs), she sets off looking for another stepping stone to finding her family and becoming a vampyre slayer. She is employed, of course, at Thornfield Hall as the governess for Adele, the maybe-bastard offspring of Mr. Rochester. They fall in love, but are stymied by the fact that Mr. Rochester’s wife is living, and not only is she locked up in the attic because she’s insane, but because she’s a werewolf. (I kid you not.)

Further madness ensues.

So, knowing all that and knowing that the most famous line that even my sister can quote is redone as “Reader, I buried him,” what can I say about this book? I laughed the entire time and it was totally wack, but I knew that going in (check out the cover below. Girlfriend is a vampyre slayer and she dusts them just like in Buffy- why the hell are is her hand covered in blood? Never happens in the book). The downer for me was the transition between the original and the new stuff wasn’t as seamless as I wanted it to be. Some of the language was just way too modern and the new thoughts Jane had weren’t true to the original character.

 I suppose if your book club wanted to do a compare/contrast thing, it would be fun. But I’d read the real thing if I were you.

Check out this cover!

 

Bonus Ra(w)R: An Abundance of Katherines

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Release date: September 21, 2006

Publisher: Dutton

Allie Stats:

Difficulty level: Oh John-Green-YA-Novels, how I love your vocabulary. It all sounds fancy, and there’s probably a 7th grader out there somewhere who has to use the dictionary attribute on the kindle for this, but my 13 years in the public school system didn’t fail me! I may have done some eye-glazing with the math bit, but I did try to read through the appendix. And then skipped to the end. Just keeping it honest.

Time to completion: about three hours.

Ugh, Meh, Whatever, Yeah!, or OHMIGOSH: This is somewhere between an Yeah! and an OHMIGOSH. The scale may need some revising.

Review:

An Abundance of Katherines  is this completely adorable book by John Green, an author I’m coming more and more to love. If you paid attention, you would notice that this is the second John Green book on the blog (and as such, this is a bonus review and doesn’t count towards the goal). John Green is a favorite with the Cloyd ladies, but it took many, many years for me to read his first book, Looking for Alaska. I think this is because I knew B loved it so much, and I knew we have really, really different tastes in books, and I knew that if I read it and hated it, she’d be really disappointed, and if I read it and loved it, I’d not want to love the same exact thing as my sister and would probably hate it anway. Which is why last summer out of the clear blue sunny skies I picked it up and read Alaska in about two hours while no one was home. And loved it. But not like in a whoa-life-changing-way, which is what I think it was for B and R, but in a I-really-had-to-think-about-what-high-school-was-like-and-I-don’t-like-it kind of way. Oddly enough, that worked for me, and I joined the TFiOS countdown. But for some reason I decided that going from Alaska to TFiOS was ok, and I could just skip the other books John Green had written or co-authored in between. So I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson over break, and then just now I read Katherines and next up is Paper Towns.

Point is, I really like John Green. But I digress.

Katherines is different than other John Green novels because of its basically cute, rom-com storyline that follows a washed up child prodigy name Colin who has been dumped by a Katherine 19 times. And no, that isn’t the same girl who gets a kick out of on-again, off-again relationships, but 19 distinct relationships. Wowza. Post-high school graduation, Colin takes off on a road trip with his good buddy Hassan, looking for a distraction and possibly a job.

TFiOS not withstanding, this may be my favorite John Green book. I read most of it on the train going in and out of the city today and I felt like an idiot pretty much the whole time because I could not stop laughing. I’m not gonna say that I think at anywhere near the level Colin does, but when he makes random connections and then has to say it out loud and then nobody gets what the crap he’s talking about- I can relate to that. Everyone can relate to wanting to matter, but maybe if you’ve always heard that you’re supposed to matter, the pressure is even more on and you can relate even more to Colin.

If you have some free time and you just want to laugh, I’d highly recommend this book. Also, there’s stuff about oral history (awesome!), places where famous people are buried (always interesting), anagrams (which I suck at but am impressed by people who can do it), and capitalism.

ps. still working on Atlas Shrugged. I needed a break from that, my head was gonna explode. Messy.