Posts tagged ‘carrieryan’

December 16th, 2010

Wishlist! Ya' Gotta Have One!

by Madeleine Rex

Alright, so I’m kind of hoping and kind of not hoping that my family will see this. I’m the sort of frustrating person that doesn’t want to tell people what they want for Christmas for fear it will ruin the surprise. My poor parents are left to their own imaginations.

However, I couldn’t resist this! There are a few books that I am just dying for (despite the fact that my bookshelves are full. Again.)…

  1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  2. Let it Snow by John Green (and others)
  3. The 3 A.M. Epiphany by Brian Kiteley
  4. Glamour: Women, History, Feminism by Carol Dyhouse
  5. The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
  6. Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link
  7. Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey

Yes, it is an odd list, isn’t it? You’ve got France, writing instruction, nonfiction, zombies, randomness, and books about magic with really creepy titles. Yep, those are my interests.

What books are you… craving?

June 24th, 2010

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Author: Carrie Ryan

Published: March, 2009 by Random House

Number of Pages: 320

Rating: 4/5


It’s not about surviving. It should be about love. When you know love…that’s what makes this life worth it. When you live with it everyday. Wake up with it, hold on to it during the thunder and after a nightmare. When love is your refuge from the death that surrounds us all and when it fills you so tight that you can’t express it.


I have never read a book quite like this one before. Obviously, all books are different.

Like snowflakes. Sort of.

Like snowflakes made by a little kid. All are different, but, somewhere, something behind the snipping little fingers is a driving force that has a tendency toward particular things. The snowflakes are different but similar. Certain characteristics reappear.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth has many new-to-me qualities. There was a mystifying “something” that gave me the feeling that I was watching an incredibly gripping horror/thriller movie. The action scenes between the Unconsecrated and the living humans were phenomenal. My throat clenched and my hands were shaking to the point that the book shivered apprehensively along with them.

(And now to plunge into the synopsis with little or no transitions because that’s how we do it, here at Wordbird.)

The Forest of Hands in Teeth has surrounded Mary’s village on all sides for generations, ever since the Return, to be precise. The fence that guards the living villagers from the living-dead Unconsecrated is the only thing that keeps the world from flooding with the flesh-eating, tattered monsters. No one’s entirely certain how the world became so dark and frightening, but the shock has worn off with the years. The fences, forest, Sisterhood, Guardians, and Unconsecrated are a seemingly irremovable part of everyone’s lives.

Mary, however, grew up memorizing stories of the world before the Return. Of the ocean. Ever since she was a little kid, she’s longed to see the monstrous expanse of water and waves. She never moved an inch toward her dream.

Until the Unconsecrated flood the village, ravaging the villagers and animals. Their blood lust never satiated. Mary, accompanied by a depressingly small amount of others, is forced to escape.

Into the forest. The mysterious, gratefully enclosed, paths that lead into the trees are finally put to good use. But the day will come when the group needs more than the meager supplies they can scavenge on the path. More of a life than one spent hunched over in the rain, trying to keep out of the reach of the dead people banging on the fences.

And, of course, there’s the issue of Mary’s duo of love interests. On one side, there’s the cute Travis, who Mary’s had a bit of a crush on for years. On the other, Travis’ brother, Harry, who’s never been anything more than a great friend. Right?

Here’s the deal: I found no fault with a majority of the plot. The Unconsecrated where phenomenal. Truly. I’ve never been so astounded by a “creature” in a novel. This book is incredibly gripping. As I said, it felt as though I were watching a horror movie, glued to my dad’s arm for comfort, wanting to look away but unable to. Carrie is a master at writing thrilling scenes, confusing us slightly at times along with Mary. The confusion only made the scenes more interesting.

As far as the remainder of the plot goes (i.e. the love triangle), I was highly disappointed. I dislike it when a main character teases the two boys, and Mary most definitely did a lot of teasing. When it came to love drama, she seemed so weak and, well, lame at times. I was really irritated on occasions. All in all, the love story was definitely lacking. There’s just something about a girl who can’t make up her mind and plays slave to her emotions constantly that irritates me. Hm.

Anyway, I loved the other relationships – particularly the one between Mary and her brother, Jed. It was complex and torn. There were moments of contempt, moments of longing. I absolutely loved the way the relationship was eventually tied together, and appreciated that it was understanding that brought them closer. Once they’d both gone through some incredibly tragic experiences and were on equal ground, they could more ably comfort each other.

I’m glad to say that The Forest of Hands and Teeth, though lacking in some ways, makes up for it with a fantastically gripping and thrilling plot. I couldn’t put this book down, and I seriously doubt many people will be able to, either.

There’s nothing like a book where the dead walk.

Not to mention eat people.

I’m eager to read the next book in the series, The Dead-Tossed Waves. I’d recommend this book to anyone with a strong stomach. You’ll be surprised by how creeped out you can be by a novel.

Overall, The Forest of Hands and Teeth is an intriguing, quick-paced, and frightening read with an intricate and beautifully laid-out plot. The bittersweet ending satisfied me – and left me wanting more.

May 28th, 2010

The Chirps of Other Wordbirds

by Madeleine Rex

Last week, I attempted my very first COOW (pronounced coo) post, in which I gathered my favorite posts of the week and their teasers. This week has been equally eventful and epic (is it possible to be equally epic?), and the following posts really struck me!

The Post: In What Flo Taught Me About Chemistry, Sarah Enni talks about how “Flo and the Motorcycle Dude” are a great example of fabulous chemistry between characters. And, honestly, who can not love a blog post that expertly combines writing and Flo?

The Quote:

Real-life couples have odd chemistry. So do our favorite fictional couples: The so-opposite-they’re-great Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy; the bizarre quirks that make Harry perfect for Sally; the passion that connects Claire Beauchamp and James Frasier through time.

The Post: Steph Bowe is arguably the driving force (online, at least) in the world of YA YA literature, as in young adults in the business of writing YA novels (such as myself). This week, she posted some uplifting and enlightening (two admirable qualities) tips for kids like me.

The Quote:

1. Don’t listen to a negative word anyone says. (With the exception of constructive criticism, obviously, you’ll figure out how to differentiate that from people being just plain nasty.) People will tell you that because you are young you can’t write because a) you have no life experience (as far as I’m concerned, you can have the busiest, most exotic life in the world and it doesn’t necessarily make you a good writer), b) because they couldn’t write as teenagers and c) because you should be studying to get into a good university/job or, if you’re a girl and have particularly old-fashioned acquaintaces, because you should be prettying yourself up to try and wrangle a husband. Because obviously that’s on the mind of all 16-year-olds. These people who say negative things? They aren’t going to stop when you get a book deal. If you get published as a teenager, it’ll probably get worse. Which is why you need to decide right now that what they say doesn’t matter – you know that anyone at any age can become a great writer, and they’re just jealous of your motivation.

The Post: I am simply blown away by Kiersten White. I cannot wait to read her debut novel, Paranormalcy. Luckily, I get a taste of her writing (though only a nibble) every day from her blog. This week, I loved her post, Reality. If editing’s got you blue, read this post. Remember why you’re wasting away in front of a computer screen in your pajamas. The reality in this post is the dream so many of us are working toward.

The Quote:

I know I’m living a dream (mine, and probably many of yours) and it’s incredible. It’s a buttload of work (and I never use the phrase buttload lightly), it’s exhausting, it can be very stressful, but when you get right down to the heart of it, it’s the best possible reality I could imagine.
And that’s saying a lot.
The Post: Carrie Ryan, author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves, posted a brief overview of the book writing/publishing process. From step one, when the author works on his or her own, to step ten, when the books are printed, shipped, and (hopefully) sold to the like mad.
The Quote:

Step seven: typesetting.  The manuscript is sent to be type set which is the point at which it starts to look like a book.  Sometime before this point all the aspects of the typesetting have already been chosen and designed (what font, the layout of the pages, any chapter headers or symbols between sections).  One thing I never realized is that new errors can be introduced at this stage so if you find a typo in a book, sometimes this is where it happens.

I am aware that many of the blogs mentioned here were mentioned last week.

Do you get the picture this time?

Those. Blogs. Rock.

Let us hope that next week will be another great one in the blogosphere, but, in the meantime, I have book reviews to write.

This is Madeleine, signing off.

(P.S. Have a fantastic Memorial Day weekend.)