Sundays in Bed With...Extraction

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sundays in Bed With... is a meme/feature started by my friend Kate at Midnight Book Girl, where we can highlight the book that we're spending the day in bed reading (or the one we wish we could be reading all day in bed!).

I'm hoping to spend the day in bed with...

Extraction (Extraction #1) by Stephanie Diaz

So I should actually have plenty of reading-in-bed time for a while, because I'm 34 weeks pregnant and for the past month my blood pressure has been high, and now I'm on meds and "kind of" on bed rest for the time being.  So while it's not the best, it's still alright because it means lots of reading/blogging time!

What are you spending this Sunday in bed with?  Let me know in the comments, or leave a link to your post if you're participating in this meme and I'll try to stop by your blog!

Review: Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam Trilogy #1) by Margaret Atwood

Friday, January 23, 2015
Title:  Oryx and Crake
Author:  Margaret Atwood
Series:  MaddAddam Trilogy #1
Publisher:  Anchor Books, a division of Random House, Inc.
Publication Date:  2003
Pages:  374
Format/Source:  Paperback/Purchased  
Age Group/Genre:  Adult/Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian
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. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

Great Even When Reread...

Some books you just can't reread.  Or you have to at least wait a while before rereading them, because you remember the huge twist at the end and you really wish you could reread it for the first time, but you'll make do with just putting some distance between yourself and the book, so maybe you can just trick yourself into forgetting major plot points.

Luckily Oryx and Crake is a book you can reread again.  I first read it in 2010, and just reread it again at the beginning of 2015.  So maybe it helped that I had put some time between my reads, but I'm glad that although there were lots of things I did remember about this book, there were definitely things that I didn't remember, and therefore I was able to be surprised all over again.

In fact, there were parts of this book that I think I repressed.  This is definitely an adult book, with some really horrible things that happen to the characters, that I wouldn't want my son to read about until he's much much older.  Like 18 or so.  I'm sure lots of teenagers can handle these things but they were so uncomfortable, even for me at age 30 and 35, that I know they're not topics for everyone.  But even though there were those scenes in there that were hard for me to read, I still really enjoyed Oryx and Crake, even the second time around.

The world is just so vivid and horrifying in this series, and Atwood just paints such a detailed portrait of the world and its inhabitants (whether they're human, almost human, or animal) before, during, and after the apocalyptic event.  I love how Oryx and Crake lets us peek into this world, where we see Snowman/Jimmy as he is after the apocalypse, and yet we also see his childhood and the events leading up to the apocalypse.  But we still don't see a huge fraction of the world--that comes in the rest of the series.

Great Quotes...

Oryx and Crake is full of some really beautiful and humorous lines, but here are just a few of my favorites:

"So many crucial events take place behind people's backs, when they aren't in a position to watch: birth and death, for instance."

"That kind of cool slouchiness always impressed Jimmy, coming from another guy: it was the sense of energies being held back, held in reserve for something more important than present company."

"He came to understand why serial killers sent helpful clues to the police."

My rating for Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood:

4 big stars.  This world and the characters within it are just so compelling, and Oryx and Crake is a great start to this series. 
Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Random House

You may also enjoy:  Pure Not a Drop to Drink Vicious

Disclaimer:  I purchased this book myself.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.

Waiting on Wednesday (46): Soulprint by Megan Miranda

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week:
by Megan Miranda
Release Date:  February 3, 2015
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
From the author of FRACTURE, a riveting new thriller which draws on cutting-edge science.

Alina Chase has been contained on an island for the last 17 years—whether that’s for the crimes of her past life, or for her own protection, well, that depends on whom you ask. With soul-fingerprinting a reality, science can now screen for the soul, and everyone knows that Alina’s soul had once belonged to notorious criminal, June Calahan, though that information is supposed to be private. June had accomplished the impossible: hacking into the soul-database, ruining countless lives in the process.

Now, there are whispers that June has left something behind for her next life—something that would allow Alina to access the information in the soul-database again. A way to finish the crimes she started.

Aided by three people with their own secret motivations, Alina escapes, only to discover that she may have just traded one prison for another. And there are clues. Clues only Alina can see and decipher, clues that make it apparent that June is leading her to something. While everyone believes Alina is trying to continue in June’s footsteps, Alina believes June is trying to show her something more. Something bigger. Something that gets at the heart of who they all are—about the past and the present. Something about the nature of their souls.

Alina doesn’t know who to trust, or what June intends for her to know, and the closer she gets to the answers, the more she wonders who June was, who she is, whether she’s destined to repeat the past, whether there are truths best kept hidden—and what one life is really worth. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)
Ack! This book just sounds SO GOOD. And luckily we don't have long to wait for it to be published! My birthday is this Friday and I'm pretty sure I'll be getting some kind of gift card, so I'll probably wait to use it until February 3rd, so that I can go buy Soulprint and also Fairest by Marissa Meyer.

What book are you waiting on?  Let me know, or leave a link to your WoW post in the comments, and I'll try to stop by your blog! 

Review: Alistair Grim's Odditorium (Odditorium #1) by Gregory Funaro

Thursday, January 15, 2015
Title: Alistair Grim's Odditorium
Author:  Gregory Funaro
Series:  Odditorium #1
Publisher:  Disney Hyperion
Publication Date:  January 6, 2015
Pages:  412
Format/Source:  ARC/From publisher, via BEA  
Age Group/Genre:  Middle Grade/Fantasy, Paranormal
Grubb, age twelve (or thereabouts), has never known anything beyond his miserable existence as a chimney sweep, paid only in insults and abuse by his cruel master. All of that changes the day he stows away in the coach belonging to a mysterious guest at the inn that he is tasked with cleaning. Grubb emerges from Alistair Grim's trunk and into the wondrous world of the Odditorium. Fueled by a glowing blue energy that Grubb can only begin to understand, the Odditorium is home to countless enchanted objects and an eccentric crew that embraces Grubb as one of their own. There's no time for Grubb to settle into his new role as apprentice to the strange, secretive Mr. Grim. When the Odditorium comes under attack, Grubb is whisked off on a perilous adventure. Only he can prevent the Odditorium's magic from falling into evil hands—and his new family from suffering a terrible fate. Grubb knows he's no hero. He's just a chimney sweep. But armed with only his courage and wits, Grubb will confront the life-or-death battle he alone is destined to fight. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

Pleasantly Surprised...

I haven't read much Middle Grade (but some of what I have read, I've LOVED, like the WondLa series by Tony DiTerlizzi), but each time I pick up a new MG book, I'm pleasantly surprised.  I think it's because while YA books are slowly becoming recognized as not-just-for-teens, MG books are still thought of as books that really have no value to people over a certain age. We think that the story will be dumbed down, and won't be as thought-provoking or engaging as a YA or adult book.  But, in my experience of MG books so far, that's just not the case.

Sure, there may not be some really deep concepts like death and things like that in MG books, but from what I've read, they still deal with heavy subjects and keep me interested until the very end.  I don't feel like they're dumbed down for the reader, although maybe the twists are a bit more predictable. However, while reading Alistair Grim's Odditorium, I found myself having lots of theories, and while some of them definitely ended up being correct, several of them were not correct at all.

I picked up Alistair Grim's Odditorium at Book Expo America last year and knew nothing about it, other than it was the first book in a new Middle Grade series and the artwork on the cover kind of reminded me of the claymation in The Nightmare Before Christmas.  But as I started reading I was pleased in so many different ways.  I loved the setting, in London, sometime in the past (I'm not sure when), and I love that in this story, the fairy tales that adults tell the children are actually real.  I loved the artwork on the cover as well as inside the book, especially the full-page artwork.  I really loved a lot of the characters, like McClintock the magic pocket watch and Nigel the mysterious Hagrid-like character who works for Mr. Grim.  And Mr. Grim himself reminded me of a mixture of some great characters: Dumbledore, Willy Wonka, and the Doctor from Doctor Who.  I was happy with all the action throughout, and I really enjoyed the ending, which had some nice closure yet set us up for a sequel.

The only things that bothered me about the book is that Prince Nightshade always seemed to yell "MINE!" and it was really kind of weird. Like he was a toddler or something.  And Lord Dreary always said, "Great poppycock!" which was his catchphrase I guess, but to me, when people say poppycock they mean that they don't believe what you're saying to them.  And Lord Dreary said it in those situations, but he also said it as kind of a reaction to anything, and it felt like he didn't use the phrase correctly a lot of the time. But those are minor things, and then again, maybe my definition of poppycock is incorrect.

Bonus Points...

Gregory Funaro gets some of my Bonus Points for the following:

  • The beautiful illustrations (inside illustrations done by Vivienne To, and the cover done by Whitney Manger, Su Blackwell, and Colin Crisford) = 50,000 points
  • Secret passageways, hidden compartments, and trapdoors = 50,000 points

My rating for Alistair Grim's Odditorium by Gregory Funaro:

4 stars.  I can definitely see young readers enjoying this one, and as an adult, I enjoyed it very much as well.  It will definitely be one I recommend to my son once he gets a bit older.
Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Disney Publishing

You may also enjoy:  Harry PotterA Series of Unfortunate Events

Disclaimer:  I received this ARC from the publisher, via Book Expo America, in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review.

3rd Blogoversary Celebration + Giveaway!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hi everyone!  I'm so excited to be celebrating my third blogoversary!  This is definitely a hobby that I'm happy I started and will continue to work hard at for as long as I can!  I have a new baby on the way and I know it'll be hard to keep the blog up, but hopefully I can do it!

Yesterday I held my Second Annual Bonus Points Awards, and today I want to share some of the things that have happened to me and the blog over the past year, plus have a giveaway!

What's Happened at The Overstuffed Bookcase This Past Year

(Note: The first number is the data for the past year, and the second number is the total number as of January 7, 2015 for my blog.)

  • 139 posts (539 total) 
  • 51 reviews (161 total) 
  • Read 49 books (166 total books read in 2012, 2013, and 2014) 
  • 664 comments (5025 total) 
  • 85,653 page views (208,758 total) 
  • 7,705 unique visitors (18,309 total) 
  • Visitors from 13 new countries (137 countries total) 
  • 18 new GFC followers (526 total) 
  • 2 new Linky Followers (51 total) 
  • 5 new Networked Blogs followers (53 total) 
  • 2 new email subscribers (30 total) 
  • 336 new Twitter followers (1,132 total) 
  • 65 total subscribers via Feedburner (so sad how this went down so much because it included Google Reader stats) 
  • 150 new Bloglovin' followers (353 total) 
  • 179 total Facebook likes (previous data unknown) 
  • 392 total Instagram followers (previous data unknown) 
  • Number 1 keyword search leading to the blog: "letting ana go" 
  • Received 16 books for review, excluding BEA books (1 from author, 1 from Edelweiss, 14 from publishers) 
  • Participated in tons of events (Book Blogger Love-a-Thon, Levithan Loveathon, one Mini-Bloggiesta, one full Bloggiesta, one Dewey's 24-hour Read-a-Thon, NaNoWriMo, etc.) 
  • Attended BEA, and co-hosted the 2nd BEA Book Blogger Picnic and the 1st BEA Book Blogger Meet & Drink 
  • Had 4 giveaways 
  • Followed several more blogs, but failed to comment as much as I did in 2012 and 2013 
  • Met lots of other book bloggers, some in real life, including my BBFFL (Best Blogger Friend For Life), Jessie from Jessie Marie Reads! 
  • Got pregnant with my 2nd baby (and ended up taking some unintentional time off from reading and blogging)

Wow, lots of stuff!  My blog didn't grow quite as much as I wanted this year, since I took some time off and failed to comment as much as I should have, but I hope that 2015 will see lots more growth!  I just want to thank all of my followers, whether you stop by often or only once in a while or hardly ever, because you all help to make this blog what it is, and I couldn't do any of this without you guys!

3rd Blogoversary Giveaway!

Okay, now to what you've been waiting for--the giveaway!

What you can win:

There will be TWO winners!  One winner will receive the surprise stack on the left, which is all YA contemporary ARCs, and one winner will receive the surprise stack on the right, which is a mix of genres, Adult and YA, ARCs and finished copies.   This giveaway is US ONLY, please. Sorry, international friends!

Giveaway Rules (Please see my Contest and Privacy Policies on my My Policies page for more info.)

  • Giveaway is US ONLY.  (Sorry international friends, I'll try to have a giveaway for you guys soon!)
  • Ages 13 & up.
  • There will be TWO winners. One winner will receive a surprise box with 6 YA contemporary ARCs, and one winner will receive a surprise box with 6 books which are a mix of genres, Adult and YA, ARCs and finished copies.
  • Fill out the Rafflecopter(s) below to enter. There are two different Rafflecopters, one for each surprise box. Fill out one or both, the choice is yours!
  • The two winners will be contacted via email as well as announced on this blog following the end of the giveaway period.
  • The winners will have 72 hours to respond to the email or new winners will be selected.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to everyone who enters, and thanks again to everyone who follows my blog, or even if you've just stopped by once or twice.  I really appreciate it! Here's to another awesome year!
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