The Micro Reviews From Planet Procrastination: Escape from the Bloodthirsty Giraffe of the Hunger Games Nebula!!!

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Last time on The Micro Reviews From Planet Procrastination:

Our intrepid heroes inadvertently opened up a wormhole while journeying to the planet Neptune in the Solar System (so named by the “dominant” inhabitants of the third planet). Due to a badly planned mass nap, none of the crew discovered they were grossly off-course until the Lieutenant in charge (an incompetent but generally well-intentioned individual named Huh) awoke from his slumber to the sight of a huge blue planet, very unlike the frozen Neptune, looming in front of him.

Despite knowing his crew would not be pleased with him for falling asleep on the job and in doing so pressing the Create Wormhole controls, Huh wasted no time in awakening them by activating the ship-wide alert siren. Waking up suddenly from a good nap is not the most pleasant experience, and being woken up suddenly via a load siren trumps the plain sudden awakening in order of unpleasant experiences. As the standard alert siren for the Micro Reviews ship is the high-pitched, and impossible to ignore, shriek of Procrastination’s native Skreeeeeeet (a small animal similar to Earth’s bats, named in a onomatopoeic manner because its discoverers were too busy fleeing the awful noise with all six of their arms blocking their ears to come up with a more fitting one), the crew did not exactly wake up in good moods.

Commander Whatzat Distraction stomped down the corridors to the main control room, steam positively erupting from his three sets of ears (this may have been just a figurative expression of anger, but then again the siren could have been so piercing it heated his brain and caused some of it to reach a gaseous state and flee out the nearest exit. Most likely the former). He arrived to the already chaotic scene of several senior crew members, in various states of undress (and various very embarrassing sets of bed attire) talking all at once, and quite loudly at a cowering Lieutenant Huh. When the Commander finally got all the crew members to calm down (one of the first things one learns in Commander training) and heard the whole story from the stuttering mouth of Huh, he quickly decided that an irritating awakening was of no importance when ones ship is in an unknown section of the Universe, about to collide with a pretty intimidating, and very blue planet.

Showing a rare moment of decisiveness, Commander Distraction ordered the crew to ready the landing gear and scan the planet’s atmosphere and surface to see if it was suitable for an exploration team – in his expert opinion if they were going to crash-land on a strange planet anyway, they may as well land with style and investigate a little. An initial scan showed what Lieutenant Huh had first suspected – the blue planet was quite dead, and there were none of the basic requirements for sustaining life. The exploration team donned their survival suits and helmets and when the ship landed with barely a bump, disembarked. When the Chief Scientist, Doctor Flurry Waitawhile took a sample of the blue earth she discovered that it was in fact a fine dust of organic, and recently living, matter covering the surface of the planet which itself was hard, inorganic, and not very kind to her six feet. A spin through the Universal Microscopic Matter Machine (or UMMM) told her that the blue powder use to be a large cold-blooded life form (or several of them in fact) which were most likely the former inhabitants of the planet (this made her feel a bit uncomfortable and she sorely wished she could rush back onto the ship and wash her shoes).

As the team explored the surface further they started to ponder what could possibly wipe out the natives of an entire planet so seamlessly, because there was nothing as far as their collective eyes (four each) could see except the blue dust of the deceased and the sinister black trees. Doctor Waitawhile scanned one of the trees with the Handheld Material Matching Machine (HMMM) and found that whatever it was composed of wasn’t on their vast database. They certainly weren’t trees, living or otherwise as the make-up wasn’t close to any organic material, but it also wasn’t similar to any known minerals the Micro Reviews had encountered in their millenia of voyaging through the Universe.

It wasn’t until Assistant Geologist Ponder  noticed a gold glint on one of the “trees” branches that they had any clues to what had occurred there, and the clue was certainly not a happy one. Closer examination of the gold object showed that it was a tiny pin, the kind often seen attached to clothing for decorative, or bragging purposes (in the case of an awarded pin) which showed the simple design of a sleek bird flying through a hoop with an arrow held in its sharp beak. At the sight of the pin Chief Cultural Advisor Daydream McDillydally turned from his healthy natural shade of green to a pale, soupy grey. He recognised the pin as a key cultural symbol from the Earth craze “The Hunger Games” and if it indicated what he thought it did, then they were all in serious danger.

Quickly and breathlessly he told the rest of the team about The Hunger Games Nebula, a bizarre dust cloud located on the edge of the Milky Way Galaxy which had spontaneously appeared shortly after the Hunger Games fandom on Earth had been established. He had heard about the fascinating phenomenon from a colleague who had been studying it for several years. Apparently the cloud was formed from pure fan energy and was composed of hundreds of details from the books and subsequent films which the fandom embraced. Aliens from all over the Galaxy flocked to the Nebula as tourists, wishing to see the miracle, but this activity in turn attracted a deadly predator, a by-product of the fandom’s creation.

The predator was referred to only as the Bloodthirsty Giraffe because it somewhat resembled the tall, placid animals that dwell in Earth’s continent of Africa. The beast was said to be a terrifying thing that towered over many smaller ships, its long serpentine neck supporting a massive head filled with rows of dripping teeth. Personal accounts varied as not many who had encountered it survived, and those that did were too traumatized to give a clear description, but the repeating characteristics were its immense size, deadly jaw, anywhere from a dozen to a hundred legs that propelled it toward its victims, a set of black, fathomless eyes and the blood-curdling scream it emitted before attacking. McDillydally had heard that little could stop the beast in its rampage, it didn’t obey the basic laws of Physics for it was a creature formed from pure energy, and that when it ate its prey only a fine dust remained, adding to the famed Nebula.

The exploration team looked down at the blue film of dust covering the planet with new-found disgust and horror, and McDillydally began to sweat profusely, his wire spectacles slipping down his double nose. In a moment of unanimous terror the team forgot their exploration and hurriedly headed back towards the ship just as a bone-chilling scream sounded behind them…

And now for the reviews:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

hungergames

A thrilling start to an amazing YA dystopian trilogy. Even though I had seen the film adaptation previously I was still hooked in the whole way through, and emotionally invested. Suzanne Collins has earned another fan girl!

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Cover - Catching Fire

Wow. Even better than the first book with further character and plot development and insight into the different districts. I read it in 3 days and whenever I wasn’t reading it (like when I was at work) I wanted to get back to it as soon as possible. I can’t wait to see how they bring it to the big screen 😀

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

MOCKINGJAY-jacket

An action-packed and highly intense final installment to the trilogy. I shed a few tears at several points near the end, both out of sadness and joy and I gasped so many times its surprising that I didn’t pass out from excess oxygen O.O

Blood, Guts & Whiskey by Various

Blood, Guts and Whiskey

A fine collection of Neo-Noir short stories. Some were sad and tragic, others were bizarre and funny, and pretty much all of them included crime (usually of the bloody and organised variety) and alcohol so it certainly lived up to its name.

Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith

tears of the giraffe

Another lovely book in this very entertaining series. McCall Smith’s words drip with a deep love of Africa, its culture and its people and this instantly transports you there. I am completely in love with the clever and kind-hearted Mma Ramotswe, her hilariously uptight Secretary/assistant detective Mma Makutsi, and the sweet Mr J. L. B Matekoni and I am so glad there are many books in this series 🙂

So there you have it my splendiforous Bookbaggers – the second installment in the rebooted Micro Reviews Saga! Sorry this one’s a bit longer than the last – as the action continues I suspect that will happen more and more, but I’ll try to keep them relatively short for you – I know I don’t like to read giant slabs of text in a blog post! Also a special shout out to Vasiliki– I know I said it was less sinister than it seems, but then it just sort of turned (as stories do) and ended up MORE sinister…opps 😛 Hope you enjoyed it ‘tho!

As with the last installment, feel free to sound out your opinions or predictions in the comments, or in an email and as always:

Happy Reading!

Happy 2nd Blogiversary to me and all my Bookbaggers! :D

Salutations one and all! Welcome to  a very special event: Book Polygamist’s 2nd Blogiversary!!

To celebrate I will be doing my first giveaway competition where one of you will get the book of their choice off my Top 10 Reads of 2012 list plus a bookmark, and two runner-ups will also get a bookmark!! YAY! Bookmarks are fun!!

According to The Wedding Anniversary site the traditional gift for a 2nd anniversary is cotton/straw and the modern one is china O.O hmmm seems like this competition would’ve been more suited to the 1st anniversary (since the traditional gift is paper) but oh well.

In case you haven’t read my Top 10 Reads of 2012 the choices are:

1. The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternThe Night Circus

2. American Gods by Neil GaimanAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman

3. The Raven’s Heart by Jesse Blackadderravens heart

4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Leeto-kill-a-mockingbird-by-harper-lee

5. Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbinsstill life with woodpecker

6. Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjaliansecrets-of-eden

7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collinshungergames

8. Catching Fire by Suzanne CollinsCover - Catching Fire

9. Mockingjay by Suzanne CollinsMOCKINGJAY-jacket

10. The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groffmonstersoftempleton

How to enter/how this will go down:

1. First off if you don’t already follow Book Polygamist please do so 🙂 If you’re a WordPresser then just click the “Follow” button at the top of the page. If not you can follow me on Networked Blogs (via Facebook) by clicking on the widget at the side of the page, or by email subscription (also at the side of the page). You’re also welcome (AKA encouraged; pressured; sad-pleading-puppy-dog-eyed) to Like me on my brand spanking new Facebook page, or subscribe to my RSS feed

2.  Like this post so I know exactly who has entered at a glance

3.  In the comments (or if you’d prefer email me at bookpolygamist(AT)gmail(DOT)com) tell me how you follow me (so you’re easy to find 🙂 ); the book off my Top 10 that you want; the reason you want to read/own that book; and a vague subject matter for the bookmark (i.e. I like fairies; something a bit badass; I hate those zodiac ones/I love those zodiac ones [I’m a Leo] etc. etc.). Please include your prefered email address with your comment as once I have announced the winners I will contact them via email to acquire delivery info

4.  Inspired by Natalie Dee of STUFF I PUT ON MYSELF: a make-up blog I will be assigning every entrant a number starting at 01, in the order of receiving/reading your comment or email. I’ll then put the numbers through a random number generator with the first generated number being the grand prize winner and the next two being the runner-ups. I thought this was a nice and fair system rather than just picking the ones I liked the most (pretty darn biased) or putting your names in a hat (pretty out-dated and easy to cheat). If the first winner is chosen again for one of the runner-ups I will generate a new number. Even if its random it’s not fair if one Bookbagger gets all the goods

5.  You have from the moment this post goes up until the end of the month to enter. On the 1st of April (according to the Perth, Western Australia timezone) I will not accept anymore entries. The numbers will then be crunched and I will announce the winners in a follow-up post as soon as possible

6.  The books will come from bookdepository.co.uk for a few reasons:
A. I love Book Depository
B. They’re cheap but of good quality
C. They deliver really quickly so I can receive your book and send it out to you nice and swift

7.  All books will be paperback and will have the cover shown above, except for Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian because I couldn’t find that cover on book depository. The cover I chose for Secrets of Eden is this. As you all know I am finickity when it comes to covers, and I totally understand if you are too, so If you desire a different cover from the one shown let me know in the comment/email (along with a picture of your desired cover) and I will endeavour to get that one instead

8.  Once I have announced the winners I will contact them via email and ask for their best delivery address to send the prize(s) to and they will be sent out ASAP. Estimated delivery times will be discussed, but keep in mind I’ve never done a competition before so I’m just kind of flailing around during this process

So there you go!

I hope that all of that made sense and I look forward to reading your entries 😀

If you have any questions/queries/concerns/grumbles/funny animal pictures feel free to send me an email at bookpolygamist(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Happy Competition Entering!!!

The 2012 Book Polygamist Awards!

Welcome one and all; ladies and gentlemen, and those in between; Bookbaggers of all shapes, sizes and reading patterns, to the 2nd Annual Book Polygamist Awards!

Last year the awards graduated from a simple jotting in my book journal, or list on Facebook, to its inaugural seat on Book Polygamist, and here they will stay for the foreseeable future 🙂

As with last years Awards there are the Annual Awards, which are the same each year, and the Special Awards, which reflect the uniqueness of the books that year (with a few which may also be repeated annually depending on what I read)

So without further ado I present The 2012 Book Polygamist Awards!!!

Annual Awards

Shortest Read:curses and blessings

Curses and Blessings for All Occasions by Bradley Trevor Greive – approximately 20 minutes

Honorable Mentions:

The Bippolo Seed and other Lost Stories by Dr Seuss – Approximately 1 hour off and on

Blue by Pat Grant – Approximately 2 hours

Longest Read:

Blood, Guts and Whiskey

Blood, Guts & Whiskey (Anthology) by Various – 40 weeks and 3 days!! O.O

Honorable Mentions:

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen – 25 weeks

Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe – 41 weeks, 4 days and counting!!! -.-

Most Books Read by a Single Author:

cassandra-claresuzanne collins

Cassandra Clare & Suzanne Collins – 3 books each
(Cassandra Clare: City of BonesCity of Ashes; and City of Glass.
Suzanne Collins: The Hunger GamesCatching Fire; and Mockingjay)

Best “New” Author Award:

Each year I try to discover new authors (that is authors that are new to me) and then at the end of the year I compile a list of ones that I want to read more of, and choose one “winner” from that list. This year was a tricky one because I read quite a few debut authors, authors I had never discovered before, and starts to a series, but in the end I went with the author I was the most excited to discover, and one who had a significant backlog of works for me to feast on in the near future 🙂

tom-robbins

Tom Robbins (Still Life With Woodpecker)

Honorable Mentions:

Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus)

Cassandra Clare (the Mortal Instruments series)

Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games series)

Lauren Groff (the Monsters of Templeton)

Gail Carriger (Soulless)

Special Awards

The Best End to a Series Award:

Unusually this year I only came to the end of one series, but it was such a good one I thought it deserved a reward. Unfortunately it is on its lonesome without any honorable mentions, but hopefully I will finish a series or two this year 🙂

MOCKINGJAY-jacket

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

The Best Start to a Series Award:Soulless_by_Gail_Carriger

Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate, Book 1) by Gail Carriger

Honorable Mentions:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

The Longest and Strangest Title Award:still life with woodpecker

Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins

Honorable Mention:

The Bippolo Seed and other Lost Stories by Dr Seuss

The You’ve Gained Another Fangirl! Award:

As I said in my Top 10 Reads of 2012 this past year will go down in my own personal history as the year I was initiated into the Hunger Games Fandom, which definitely warrants a Special Award 😀

The-Hunger-Games-Trilogy-Classic-Box-Set

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

The Tick That Off The Bucket List Award:

2012 will also be memorable because I finally read one of the books from my Top 10 Classics I Want to Read list. Since just recently I started reading Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, which was second on the list, reading all 10 may actually happen! Huzzah!

To Kill a Mockingbird

 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Blue Award:

Another highlight of the year was my Blue Period which was both an amusing coincidental reading pattern, and a shock out of my reading rut, leading me to some of my top reads of the year. Because of this I must acknowledge the book/graphic novel that started it all, as well as the other blue covered darlings that made the pattern possible.

blue_cover_lg

Blue by Pat Grant

Honorable Mentions:

Curses and Blessings for All Occasions by Bradley Trevor Greive

The Bippolo Seed and other Lost Stories by Dr Seuss

The Templeton Twins: Have An Idea by Ellis Weiner

Best Cover Art:The Night Circus

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus front cover. Image used with permission of Aleksandra @ Aleksandra's Corner

The Night Circus front cover. Images used with permission of Aleksandra @ Aleksandra’s Corner

The Night Circus back cover. Seriously go check out Aleksandra's Corner http://my-book-obsession.blogspot.com.au/

The Night Circus back cover. Seriously go check out Aleksandra’s Corner: my-book-obsession.blogspot.com.au

Honorable Mentions:

to-kill-a-mockingbird-by-harper-lee

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

sense of an ending cover

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

monstersoftempleton

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

2012 has had its ups and downs, and while I may not have read the quantity of books I have come to expect, the quality of most of the books has been excellent. This has also been a year which sparked wonderfully fun new features such as the (now sadly deceased) Save The Words Saturdays; Notable Quotables; and Micro Reviews from Planet Procrastination, as well as the subsequent rise in followers, comments and likes these features have caused. For this I am grateful and I say a sincere thank you to all of my delicious, hilarious and loyal Bookbaggers, both new and old who have supported me in 2012 and beyond 🙂

Now almost 2 months into 2013 I already have high hopes for this year and cannot wait to see how it unfolds.

I hope you all read some wonderful, award-worthy books in 2012 and the remainder of your 2013 is fantabulous (or your own made up adjective for wonderfulness 🙂 )!

Top 10 Reads of 2012!

1. The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternThe Night Circus

I absolutely adored this book (which is clearly apparent in my review ) and even though it was one of my first reads of the year (read from mid-January to mid-February) I knew even a few chapters in (heck, maybe even a few pages in!) that It would be in my Top 10 reads of the year. Since I read The Night Circus I have recommended it to friends and family, and the three that followed my recommendation loved it as well. My mind boggles every time I remember that this is Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel and I look forward to more delights from her in the future. According to her website’s not really a FAQ page, she is working on a book which is a “film noir-flavoured Alice in Wonderland” (squee!!) and she is also painting a black-and-white tarot deck inspired by her work (double squee!!) so I’m sure many delights with be had in the near future, and in the meantime I’m glad I own The Night Circus so I can read it again 🙂

2. American Gods by Neil GaimanAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman

Another book I knew would be on the list early on (I started it at the same time as The Night Circus) because even after a few chapters it blew me away. You can see a succinct summary of what I thought of American Gods in my latest Micro Reviews post, but let me just say this – American Gods now one of my favourite books of all time as well as of 2012. Neil Gaiman is slowly becoming one of my favourite authors (I say slowly because I have only read a few of his books and I personally like to read all of an authors works before they are officially one of my favourites), and American Gods was a big part of this. Unlike The Night Circus I borrowed American Gods from the library, so this year I’ll have to find and purchase it so I can read it again and again!

3. The Raven’s Heart by Jesse Blackadderravens heart

Another debut novel (in fact 4 of the books on this list are debut/only books of their authors and all but one – American Gods – are books by authors I hadn’t read before!) and one by an Australian author too, this book was a gem and the only true Historical novel I read in 2012. As I said in my Micro Review post, it is set in Scotland during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, which I found really interesting as I had never read a book exploring that particular period. I will certainly keep a keen eye out for any other novels by Jesse Blackadder!

4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird

Reading this classic was a big moment for me this year as I have been meaning to read it for many, many years (unlike many schools mine sadly didn’t designate it as required reading). As I said in my Micro Review (wow a lot of these are on the same Micro Review! O_o) because of the language and subject matter it is sometimes hard to stomach, but nevertheless I am glad I did. Now I just need to tackle the other 9 classics on my list !!

5. Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbinsstill life with woodpecker

I have to say a big thank you to the person who gave this book to me and so introduced me to Tom Robbins – thank you Shayne if you happen to read this! 🙂 I am very glad that Still Life With Woodpecker is not a debut or single-child-novel because of all the “new” authors I have discovered this year, Tom Robbins is the one I most want to read again (ooo spoiler for the upcoming Book Polygamist Awards!). I haven’t yet written a review of this wonderfully quirky little book, because every time I try it’s so hard to fully capture and explain the bizarre story, hilarious characters and thought-provoking prose style. I promise I will get around to it at some point (and when I do it will definitely be a full-length one as a book this unique can’t be summed up in a Micro Review) and I hope to read more of Tom Robbins works this year.

6. Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjaliansecrets-of-eden

This one was a surprise highlight of the year for me. The subject matter (domestic violence; murder/suicide) was quite heavy and the plot wasn’t particularly complicated, but it was the way it was arranged and written, and the distinctly different voices of the main protagonists/antagonists that made it memorable. Because the book was broken up into quarters narrated by four different main characters (the town priest who was close to the abused/murdered wife; the detective investigating the crime; a renowned author who had experienced  the  murder/suicide of her parents when she was a teen and took an interest in the couple’s daughter and the priest; and the dead couple’s teenage daughter) a simple and tragic event morphed into a complicated whodunnit, where I doubted the “facts” of the crime and changed my mind over what really happened at every turn.

7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

hungergames To me 2012 will be the year that I finally read The Hunger Games trilogy, and Suzanne Collins claimed another fan girl for her growing horde! 😀 I had an inkling that I would love this book/trilogy because as I’ve said before I have been meaning to read them for a while following some glowing recommendations from fellow book nerds, and I really enjoyed the film, but I didn’t suspect that I would love it as much as I did, especially considering the fact that I knew the progression of the plot beforehand! In fact I became so engrossed that when it came to key heart-breaking moments (which I won’t spoil here in case any of you are yet to read the book or see the movie) I actually became quite emotional, as if it was a surprise. Bravo Ms Collins, that is a fine feat 🙂

8. Catching Fire by Suzanne CollinsCover - Catching Fire

As sometimes happens with a trilogy (at least a good one) I loved this second installment more than the first and devoured it over three days. This may be in part due to the plot being completely unknown to me, as the second film has not been released yet and I managed to avoid the spoiler landmines littered around the Interwebs, or purely because the world and plot were more expanded in this book, and the final setting was amazing! Either way, despite the first and last books being equally amazing, I think this was my favourite of the trilogy, and I am positively bursting to see how they managed to convert it into a film 😀

9. Mockingjay by Suzanne CollinsMOCKINGJAY-jacket

As I said above, this final installment was just as brilliant as its predecessors, and a fitting end as it was extremely intense and wrapped up all the loose ends that had developed over the series (whether they were wrapped up positively or negatively I won’t say :P). Of the three this one took the longest to read (in saying that it still was only a little over a week), mainly because of the intensity of most of the scenes, and I will be very interested in seeing how it is adapted for the screen, and more importantly what rating they’ll be able to give it!

10. The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groffmonstersoftempleton

This was a last-minute gem as I only started it at the end of the year (November) and finished it a couple of days into January, even though it has been on and off my library To-Read pile for a really long time. Barely a page in I already knew I was going to love it because even the first line was alluring: “The day I returned to Templeton steeped in disgrace, the fifty-foot corpse of a monster surfaced in Lake Glimmerglass.” What followed was a beautifully written and ambitious novel (especially for a debut!) which gave me countless delicious lines, some of which I made into Notable Quotables, and a story which was an interesting blend of contemporary and historical novels, including old photographs, a map (you know I love maps!) and other tidbits to deepen the historical parts of the story.

So, there you have it: my Top 10 Reads of 2012! If you have read my recent update post you will know that these books will play a very important role in the 2nd Anniversary of Book Polygamist celebrations – one of my fantabulous Bookbaggers (that would be you guys!) will win the book off this list of their choice!! The competition will officially begin on the date of the anniversary (March 5th) so you have a couple of weeks to think about which book you would want the most, and why and I’m really excited to see all your choices 🙂 In the meantime I would love to know what your top reads for 2012 were – did we have any in common? Did you have a fantastic batch this year or a sort of crummy one? And what books are you looking forward to as 2013 trundles on? Feel free to sound of in the comments, and as always I wish you all:

Happy Reading!

Quote

Notable Quotable #33

I have plenty of fire myself. What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again.