Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday

Hosted by Breaking the Spine! Click HERE to join in!
This Wednesday I am waiting on...

Mastiff by Tamora Pierce

The cover I'm showing is actually the cover of the first book in the series, Terrier... because as far as I can find, Mastiff doesn't have cover art yet!
Beka Cooper is one of my all time favorite YA heroines! She is an amazingly strong, likable character and would be a wonderful role model for any young girl.
Not to mention that the supporting cast is AWESOME.

If you've never heard of these books, if you've never picked them up... DO IT NOW.

Also, stop by Tamora Pierce's website and check out what she's up to, what she reads, and what else she's done!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays and a Manga Review

First up...
Teaser Tuesday!
Go here to join in: Should Be Reading

My teaser this week is from Zombies vs. Unicorns:

"They go off and grab the first thirteen-year-old who coos at them, and then it's all, 'Their purity will lead the way,' blah, blah, blah. Lead the way to a whole bunch of dead baby unicorns, maybe."

This excerpt was from The Purity Test by Naomi Novik...
which was one pretty amusing, funny story.

Now for the Manga review!

Today I'll be reviewing Kobato, Volume 3, the latest release from CLAMP.

Kobato is a mysterious young girl who has been assigned the task of healing people's hearts. She has a tiny jar that collects tiny stars when she is successful. She is accompanied by a stuffed pooch named Ioryogi... who is obviously more than he seems. She has tasked herself with healing the hearts of the employees of a local Kindergarden...
but finds herself doing so much more.

Character Likability:
Kobato herself is adorable. She's naive, sweet, caring and pretty much like an overgrown child.
You can't help but like her.
Sometimes I find Ioryogi a tad annoying... he goes from extremes of quiet to yelling... and his yelling is often over the top. He's no Kero... but he's not entirely unlikable either.
The other supporting cast seems likable enough, but this is only volume 3, and you don't know quite enough about them yet.
Quality of Writing:
Easy to understand and easy flowing, this text isn't a bother to follow at all, and isn't choppy. Words are where you expect them to be and the dialogue is natural.
Since this is in the middle of a series, there is no true ending. Nothing is even concluded, and that really happens is more problems are introduced...
the equivalent of a TV episode cliff-hanger.
In the third volume of this series, the plot becomes more in depth. There are shocking revelations and what seemed like a simple situation becomes increasingly more complex. Personally, I'm both interested in and excited by the added depth to this story.
Quality of Illustration:
CLAMP has my all-time favorite Manga Illustrators on their team... I think their work is so flowing and beautiful... the line work is amazing, the detail is amazing, and their knowledge of the human anatomy is amazing :)

In Jane by Douglas K Pearson

My impressions after reading Chapter 1:

I was recently sent the first chapter of In Jane by Douglas K Pearson and asked to read and comment.

I had no idea what to expect, there was no preface as to what type of story it was... but I ended up being pleasantly surprised.

In Jane seems to be the story of a 17 year old foster child named Jane. At first you simply think she's another hard-case foster story... but then she begins revealing more about herself through inner monologue, and you discover that she's far from normal.

Jane sees what are, essentially, angels and demons. They populate the world around her, hovering among us without the common mortal being any the wiser.

And in the church of Jane's new foster family, the Winkerbeans... something is going terribly wrong.

The first chapter's premise intrigued me. There was turmoil, torture, light and dark... and it left you with more questions than answers.
I was left wanting to hear the reasons as to why the angel figures were bound and tortured, I wanted to know who the shinning man was... and more about Runt.
The prose flowed smoothly for the most part and the story was fast paced and interesting.

My only complaint was that Jane had too many bizarre little sayings. She was constantly throwing in things like "sure as shell-shack and quack" or "goth of the Gollums among us."... either things that seemed like strange colloquialisms I've never heard before, or references to other literature or pop culture that was tied into the story in such a way to be possibly not quite as descriptive as it was distracting.
They pulled me out of the story because I either had to wonder where all of these strange sayings were coming from... or I had to stop and wonder... "What exactly DOES Goth of the Gollums among us mean?"

I am hoping as the story continues, Jane will find less need for spouting out such bizarre sayings all of the time, and focus on the much more interesting, far more bizarre things going on around her, because the story itself seems very promising!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mini Challenge 1 from Princess Bookie

If you click the picture it will take you to the Challenge!

This Mini Challenge Consists Of:
Name Your Top 5 Books of 2011

Here are the books I'm anticipating:

1. Mastiff by Tamora Pierce
2. The Warlock by Michael Scott
3. The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
4. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
5. The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

Friday, September 24, 2010

Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday and a GIVEAWAY

Follow Friday!

What is your high fashion book? --- translation --- best book cover ever.

The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey would have to be my favorite cover. It's sleek lines and stylish color choice, along with the hauntingly mysterious imagery always works to pique curiosity and then highly disturb people unfamiliar with Mr. Gorey's work.
How could I ask for more from a book cover?

Blog Hop!
Book Blogger Hop

When you write reviews, do you write them as you are reading or wait until you have read the entire book?

I write them after I have read the whole book, but I have a series of questions that I answer for myself to try to keep things consistent. I've been pondering, though, if I shouldn't make more notes AS I read.

And please check out my giveaway here:
(I am giving away a copy of Coraline, and a Coraline Doll)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

100 Followers Coraline Giveaway

I have decided, for my 100 follower giveaway, to giveaway not only one of my favorite books... Coraline by Neil Gaiman, but also to give away an adorable, poseable 6 inch doll of Coraline as well!

(This IS an International Giveaway)

Now... THE RULE:
1. You must be a follower of this blog to enter
Just leave a comment letting me know you'd like to enter

... ok, that's it for the rule!

Although, if you'd like extra entries...

You will get two extra entries for posting about this on your blog

You will get three additional entries for tweeting about it

and you will get 4 additional entries for putting this giveaway button in your sidebar

So there is a possibility of ending up with 10 entries to win :)

Just make sure you let me know (in a reply to this message)
Where you have posted about this giveaway (for extra entries)

If you want to post in your sidebar or on your blog, you can use the above button!

You can enter the giveaway until October 14th,
on October 15th I will announce a winner!

Good Luck to any who enter!

As an added bonus... try your hand at these Coraline Papercraft by darkinthedark!

Click on the pictures to go to the pages where you can download for free the pdfs to make your own!

One is for an adorable Circus Mouse:

The other is for Coraline herself (yes, even the button eyes are paper!!!)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

REVIEW: The Poison Eaters by Holly Black

Let me say, this was an enjoyable book, but I feel the need to explain my Three Squid rating of it.

This is something that is actually a pet peeve of mine.
I got this book thinking "Yay! A bunch of new short stories from Holly Black!"
I was wrong.
Only 2 stories in here are new, and much to the wily wisdom of the publishers, one of them is a Tithe related story that probably would have made me buy the book regardless. Curse them.

All of the other stories come from other short story compilations, many of which I've read recently. It's very annoying to get a book that does not mention anywhere except the last page... that you are getting a bunch of reprinted stories that have surfaced in other short story compilations books (many of which I already own).

I didn't appreciate that at all. Therefore, the book itself gets 3 squids, because while the stories are entertaining, they aren't new... except for two of them... and those two are wonderful... but a tiny bit of a letdown in a sea of already read stories.

Stories Reviewed Individually:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Review: Spy Glass by Maria V. Snyder

**SPOILERISH NOTE!!** (if you do not care to see a spoilerish note, skip to the bold title, REVIEW)
This book contains some rather radical relationship choices... and while I thought that Opal's choices were justified through circumstances that occured (some of them things that one could relate to in this world, some of them through the benefit of the magical powers of people of that world), I've read quite a few other reviews of this book and find that it seems quite a few people were outright appalled.
If you are not a fan of radical, controversial relationship choices... and anything that deviates towards that will ultimately inform your decision about a book, regardless of quality of writing/character development, etc, then I suggest you steer clear of this series.
If this note is too vague... and you don't mind spoilers, email me and I will happily explain in more detail exactly what the situation is that has caused controversy.

The final book in the "Glass" series... this is the wrap up of the story of Opal Cowan, who you were introduced to briefly in the Study series... but who truly blossoms and is a wonderful character here in the Glass series.

All questions I had about this series going into book 3 were answered by the end, and left me an incredibly satisfied customer!

Like the Study series by Maria V. Snyder, I don't think I can recommend the Glass series enough. The only difference between the two was that I think, in the end, Opal ended up being a stronger character, writing wise, than Yelena did.

Yelena (from the Study series) who I love dearly as a character, had more to deal with her own inner issues and personal past, while Opal had to deal with other people trying to use her constantly and in bizarre ways as well as with her own issues.

Now, that's not to say that Yelena didn't have to struggle with a lot of external pressure... I just felt that Opal really took the brunt of being other people's play thing... and sometimes you truly wondered if she'd pull through, where you never quite truly worried for Yelena, because she was so powerful, and still discovering her powers.

I really can't recommend either of these series enough... and I will certainly be going out and buying Maria V. Snyder's next series, Inside out and Outside in.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday

Book Blogger Hop

Joining in on Book Blogger Hop!

In honor of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, let's take time this week to honor our favorite book bloggers and why we love them!
So, here are a few of my favorites (Click on the images to go to their blog):

Princess Bookie

YA Addict

{ a book whore}

And also Follow Friday!

Question of the week:

YA, or do you stick to the adult reads?

I actually love both... I just read more YA because they're quicker reads... but Joe Abercrombie, George R. R. Martin, Michael Chabon, Terry Pratchett, and Neil Gaiman are just a few of my favorite Adult authors.

Giveaway Winner... and a new giveaway to come!

First, thank you everyone who entered!!

I used the Random Number Generator to choose... and the winner was...

which worked out to be:

Congratulations Amelia!!! Please contact me with your address and I will ship out your prize asap! (I have sent you an email :) )

Now on to the new giveaway!!!

The rules will be the same as the last giveaway... but the prize will be different.

My next giveaway is called...
I reached 100 followers and felt the need to celebrate!

Stay tuned for more details... like... what the prize will be. I'm going shopping today XD

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Team Unicorn! Zombies Vs. Unicorns Challenge

There is a new challenge in town... and you are forced to take sides.
Do you choose the ethereal, beautiful, majestic Unicorn... who, admittedly, is often a bit too girly and froofy for my taste?
Or do you choose the lumbering, hungry, determined, Zombie... who, admittedly, is a little rank.

Well... Go visit vvB32 to take part in the challenge, and see what prizes you could win!
Then follow her links to the leaders of each challenge, and read their compelling arguments as to why you should choose one over the other.

Me? I chose Team Unicorn... because I felt BookRat made a strong case in their favor.
Had she not been so compelling... I would have been Team Zombie all the way ;)

But here are a few reasons why one SHOULD choose Team Unicorn:

1. Things with one horn are cool... Narwhals, Freak Goats, Rhinos... UNICORNS!
2. Do you see Zombie Tapestries? NO!
3. Makes it easy to find virgins... you know... for sacrifices and stuff.
4. They're easier to ride... seriously... have you TRIED riding a zombie...
5. You'll never need to find a stick to roast marshmallows over the fire again!

Those are just a few reasons... really... the list is endless.

Last day to enter my giveaway!!!!

Click the picture to go to the rules... but Thursday is your last day to enter... Friday I'll be choosing the winner!!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday

(this Waiting on Wednesday blog graphic comes from Bewitched Bookworms, who is kind enough to let others use it! Check out the blog HERE to ask to use this graphic on your blog)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine... click HERE to join in!

This week I'm waiting on...

The Search for Wondla also has it's own site here:
Go check it out!
Not to mention Tony DiTerlizzi's really fantastic personal site which should be seen... HERE!

I don't have much of a wait, mind you, it comes out next week... along with the other title I'm waiting for...

Zombies VS. Unicorns is the other title I'm excited about... mostly because the people participating are fantastic!

Here are some of the sites/blogs of people participating... most noteably, check out Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier's blogs, where they argue in favor of the side they've chosen!

On to the blogs/websites!

1. Holly Black
2. Justine LArbalestier
3. Meg Cabot
4. Kathleen Duey
5. Garth Nix
6. Naomi Novik
7. Diana Peterfreund
8. Libba Bray
9. Cassandra Clare
10. Alaya Dawn Johnson
11. Maureen Johnson
12. Carrie Ryan
13. Scott Westerfield

Margo Lanagan is also taking part, but I couldn't find her home website!
I'm really psyched about both of them and have to scramble to finish my latest purchases so that my plate is clear for when they come out!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday is sponsored by Should Be Reading: Click HERE to join in!

Here's my teaser, from Spy Glass again, because I had to put it down to read another book, and now I've picked it back up XD

I pulled my lock picks from the hem of my shirt. Using a diamond pick and my tension wrench, I unlocked the cabinet.

Review: Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang

Daughter of Xanadu
by Dori Jones Yang

I have to say, perhaps somewhat shamedly, that before this book I gave very little thought to the Mongolian empire in the times of the Great Khan Khubilai (Kublai Khan).

Beyond seeing them as the frightening, cruel people on Disney's Mulan... I really had very little to go on. My education was sorely lacking, having never discussed them in school, other than the passing comments that Kublai Khan was a powerful leader.

This book not only piqued my interest in Mongolian history, but it also, very skillfully, presented a culture who did, in fact, have some frightening war tactics... from the point of view of someone who saw those tactics as honorable and courageous... to the point where you too, as the reader, could understand that viewpoint and how one could be raised to see certain actions in such a glorious light.

This was the case of the main character, Emmajin Beki (or, Princess Emmajin), granddaughter of the Great Khan Khubilai. She wished to be a warrior and reveled in the stories told around the fire of great military wins for her people.

Then everything is thrown into new, confusing light with the arrival of a young Latin, Marco Polo. He looks on Mongolian practices at war as distasteful for the most part, and Emmajin is suddenly confronted with having to look at the military conquests of her people in a different light.

This book was fantastic. Emmajin was a wonderful, strong female character, worthy of any young girl's admiration. She dealt with the issues of obedience, love, loss, adventure, questioning her own beliefs and standing up for what she believed in, with grace and tact.

Not only that, but it provided historical terms and descriptions of traditions, buildings, outfits and other aspects of daily Mongolian life from the 1200s that I had never heard of before.

This story was both entertaining and informational, something that would keep teen readers deeply interested while introducing them to a world that, perhaps like myself, they never knew.

If there is ever a sequel, I would love to read it!

Book Cover: 5/5
Book Title: 4/5
Plot: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Ending: 5/5

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Web Comic Everyone Should Read

by Tracy Butler

is possibly one of the most beautiful, hilarious web comics I've ever come across.
It is updated regularly and really is an amazing piece of artwork.

Not to mention the story is fantastic.
It's about Prohibition in 1927 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Now... before you go thinking... 'Ew... but... cats... that's like, Furry or something...'
The reason the author/illustrator used cats as characters is because she is obsessed with rendering facial expressions, and felt that the addition of mobile ears, tail, and large eyes would help emphasize the expressions.
Not to mention

"When dealing in sociopathic criminalism and gratuitous violence, how could it not be cats?"
~Tracy Butler

Not into reading comics on the web?
Volume 1 is now out in Graphic Novel form, and it's BEAUTIFUL!

This is a series and an artist that should not be overlooked.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bitten by Books Kindle Giveaway! Also, Anya Bast KIndle Giveaway!

Bitten by Books is having an awesome giveaway... for a KINDLE!

Click the picture to go check it out!

And next... Anya Bast is also giving away a Kindle!!!

Click the picture below to be taken to the contest!

Book Blogger Hop ~ September 10-13

Book Blogger Hop

Today's Thing to Do:Post a link to a favorite post or book review that you have written in the past three months.
Well, here ya go:
My current favorite thing going on on my blog is my giveaway!
It's going on until the 16th, so please join in!


Also, I'm joining in the fun at Follow Me Friday!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Girlfriend is a Geek: Manga review

(I would have given this 1 Squid... but I actually finished reading it...)

So, I read the title of this on another blog in the writer's "To be read" pile, and got supremely excited over the name of the manga.

Promptly, I headed to the book store and purchased it... thinking she was going to either be some sort of math nerd, or be into Sci-Fi or something.

Oh did I learn my lesson.

No... no that's not what this manga is about at all. It's about a rather stupid guy who wants to date a cute older woman (yup... that is the extent of his requirement list) and ends up working with one... who happens to be a Yaoi fangirl.

This is NOT a manga to hand off to someone who knows nothing about manga... I mean, there are certain manga I'd give to people if I were trying to get them interested (Full Metal Alchemist, Host Club, DeathNote...) NOT this manga. Heck, I wouldn't even give this manga to half the manga readers I know. Here's why:

I cannot for the life of me figure out why the main character is still dating this girl. He's a cute guy, he shouldn't be desperate... and he barely even seems to like her. Other than her motivations for Yaoi fangirl squeeishness... she really has no personality. My only conclusion is that the main character truly is an idiot.

For me, this manga seems like some heavy Yaoi fangirl fanservice... and since I'm not a Yaoi fangirl, I really can't appreciate it.

Oh, and for those of you wondering, Yaoi is manga's term for Boy Love.

So... my advice on this one... don't waste your money. Buy Skip Beat, D. Grey Man... or any other more worthwhile title instead. (or hope you have a friend as dumb as I was, who didn't read the synopsis before buying!)

Oh, and also, check out my giveaway for Flora Segunda!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Giveaway @ Little Squeed!

I enjoyed this book so much, I just had to share!

I am giving away one copy of:
(exactly the cover pictured)

As you can read in my review, I rated this book highly. It's an amazing, well thought out world with complex characters and strange family situations.

Here is some of the praise for Flora Segunda:

"Thirteen-year-old Flora Segunda is a charming narrator...
Like Pullman's Lyra Silvertongue or Pratchett's Tiffany Aching."
-The New York Times Book Review

"Highly original, strange, and amusing."
-Diana Wynne Jones

"An utter delight! Crackpot Hall is even more fun than Hogwarts."
-Kelly Link

Now... THE RULE:
1. You must be a follower of this blog to enter
Just leave a comment letting me know you'd like to enter

... ok, that's it for the rule!

Although, if you'd like extra entries...

You will get two extra entries for posting about this on your blog

You will get three additional entries for tweeting about it

and you will get 4 additional entries for putting this giveaway button in your sidebar

So there is a possibility of ending up with 10 entries to win :)

Just make sure you let me know (in a reply to this message)
Where you have posted about this giveaway (for extra entries)

You can enter the giveaway until September 16th,
on September 17th I will announce a winner!

Good Luck to any who enter!

Countdown to Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Here is what I am waiting for:
(Click on the book cover to go to D.M. Cornish's blog)

Monster Blood Tattoo Book Three: Factotum
by D.M. Cornish
Release Date: November 2010

You have no idea how much I'm waiting for this book... supposedly being released in the US in November of this year... the first two books in this series are amazing... and I mean... AMAZING. Possibly 'Golden Squid' amazing (as ridiculous as that sounds).
But the world woven by D.M. Cornish is detailed, rich, believable and frightening.
Being in love with these books is an understatement.

If you've never heard of Monster Blood Tattoo... pick them up. PICK THEM UP NOW!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My Teaser for this week... probably not a shocker, comes from:

Spy Glass by Maria V. Snyder

"Hmm... My napkin folding skills are renowned. I can make a swan in seconds."

Yes, yes those are my two sentences XD It's more amusing when you know they're uttered by Valek... so long as you know who Valek is... but seeing as how this is the third book in the series... I really didn't want to give away too much, and I think napkin folding is pretty vague ;)

Made a button...

I made this button because The Story Siren voiced the desire to have a Pirates Suck! button... so I thought I'd mess around making one... anyone who wants to use it, have fun... and check out The Story Siren's post on Piracy HERE.

Monday, September 6, 2010

It's Monday, What Am I Reading?!

Hosted by Book Journey, click the picture to go join in!

This Monday comes with a little bit of panic... what AM I reading?!
I just finished and reviewed Flora Segunda, and now I have to decide... Flora's Dare... or Spy Glass?

I think it might have to be Spy Glass :)

Spy Glass by Maria V. Snyder

I also bought quite a number of comics I'll be reading and reviewing.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce

Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce

This book is... amazing. The story is so rich, detailed, full of mystery and intrigue. It has so many levels and layers to it that are constantly shifting back and forth, overlapping, twisting around eachother and then wiggling back to where they started.

A brief summary: This book is about Flora Segunda, she is from one of four magical houses and ancient family lines, and usually the houses are run by a magical butler... but in Flora's house her Butler has been banished and her house has fallen into disrepeair. Her mother is the General, possibly the most powerful person in their kingdom, and her father is a mad drunk who spends his time lamenting his loss of Flora and roaming about the house wrecking things and wishing to die.

Yes, you read that right, her father lost Flora, the first Flora... which is why this Flora is Flora Segunda. All of this is very strange and mysterious, and something that will keep me reading this series until I find some answers.

But don't get me wrong there were MANY answers in this book and it was wholly satisfying. It's a story as layered and intriquite as Howl's Moving Castle (which I hold to be one of the best YA books I've ever read)

Book Cover: 5/5
Book Title: 4/5
Plot: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Ending: 4/5

Friday, September 3, 2010

Princess Bookie's cover contest for Freefall

Click the original Freefall cover to go to the contest:

Princess Bookie is running a contest to redesign the cover of Freefall, it sounded like fun so I gave it a quick (er, not that great, sorry!) shot.

Here's the original cover and synopsis:

How do you come back from the point of no return?

Seth McCoy was the last person to see his best friend Isaac alive, and the first to find him dead. It was just another night, just another party, just another time where Isaac drank too much and passed out on the lawn. Only this time, Isaac didn’t wake up.

Convinced that his own actions led to his friend’s death, Seth is torn between turning his life around . . . or losing himself completely.

Then he meets Rosetta: so beautiful and so different from everything and everyone he's ever known. But Rosetta has secrets of her own, and Seth will soon realize he isn’t the only one who needs saving . . .

Here's my cover... the boy on the left I was thinking was more his friend Isaac... Seth being the one in the middle. I liked the breaking glass at the bottom of the original, so I left that.

Thanks for looking!