Thursday, January 27, 2011


An update is coming... but last week monday I got some rather bad medical news and it threw me off!
Things are finally getting back to normal though... but I'm on a diet that is Gluten and Dairy free.

If anyone has any awesome resources for recipes or anything, I'd really appreciate it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Inspirational Characters
Ok, here goes:

Atticus Finch
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
For me, he's the most Inspiration Fictional Character out there. To this very day, I use him as a moral compass... and often wonder... "Would Atticus disapprove?" Atticus inspires me to be a better person, always.

Marmalade Boy by Wataru Yoshizumi
Ok... so this may seem silly to a lot of people... but I was absolutely inspired by this character to work harder and stop complaining. I know it's dumb... but... the dogged perseverance that is shown by quite a few shojo manga girls actually has made me stop and think, "What the heck AM I complaining about?"

Animal Farm by George Orwell
Hmm, maybe this wasn't what was meant by Inspirational... but... Boxer has always inspired me to look out for those who, for whatever reason, cannot look out for themselves. The world is full of hard-working, just people who get trampled and discarded for reasons that are unbelievable. Boxer inspires me to pay attention.

The Lorax
The Lorax by Dr. Suess
No character has ever struck the fear of global destruction at the hands of man into me the same way that the Lorax did. I was a child, I was petrified, and after reading this book, I took The Lorax's words to heart.

Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Suess
Ok... listen... we're talking about Inspirational characters, and I'm not picking ones that I *think* other people will go, "Oh yeah... Soooooo inspirational"... I'm picking ones that have influenced me personally to a degree where it actually changed my thinking, or my way of life.... so... on to another Dr. Suess character. Horton changed my way of thinking with one little sentence.
A person's a person, no matter how small.

Big Brother
1984 by George Orwell
No other character has inspired me to spend more time looking over my shoulder, checking behind paintings and being suspicious of television. Seriously. I spent weeks being paranoid after reading this book... Big Brother struck a fear into my heart like no other character ever has.

Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto
I know. Trust me, I know... but hear me out. He's a ninja... a good ninja... in an orange jumpsuit. ORANGE! It's not so much that he profoundly changed my world... but he made me realize that a lot of the time, things are mostly about perspective. Sometimes, it really is effort and will that carry you through. Not everything is going to be easy. Not every ninja gets a camouflage jumpsuit to work with.

Ebenezer Scrooge
A Chirstmas Carol by Charles Dickens
He's a fascinating character... spending most of the book as the villian... he teaches us all that redemption is possible... no matter how cold and cruel one might be.

Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
He inspires me, every day, to not become obsessed with possessions and material things. Yikes.

The Nac Mac Feegle
The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
These small, goofy characters have been the inspiration for many of my mad, hair-brained schemes that I pull off without apologies. They have taught me never to apologize for doing what needs to be done, that it's ok to steal from those who deserve stealing from (ok, maybe that's not such a great lesson... but it is applicable, sometimes, really it is) and that sometimes you just have to shout 'ACH CRIVENS' before everything will seem ok again.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Book Blogger Hop, Follow Friday and a Giveaway

It's time for another Follow Friday
This weeks question: 
What makes up your non-human family?
Two cats:
William the Bloody and
Domo: "Oh Hai!"
Will: "WTF is this thing?"

 The Salacious Crumb
Crumb: "I like to read a good novel... so what?"
Crumb: "Ooooh, Zombies are interesting..."

And Book Blogger Hop!
This week's question:
"Why do you read the genre that you do? What draws you to it?"
I mainly read fantasy because I read to escape.

I do read non-fantasy all the time... but I like fantasy best. There are usually epic journeys involved... and while I have found stories of women living in Walmart very interesting... it just didn't hold the same appeal to me that fantasy did.

Now, I'm not saying that if it's well done, I'll still poo-poo it... that's not the case at all. If it's well written and holds my interest, I'll love it... but generally, I find real life is sad enough, I don't need to read some fictional character's epic struggle with real world sadness to add onto that.

Also, Don't forget my current giveaway, 
part of a giveaway hop with lots of awesome prizes!

Click the picture above to be taken to the giveaway!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dreaming of Books Giveaway

It's that time again!
 Another Giveaway, from January 14th until January 17th 

The Prize:
ONE book worth up to $15 from the Book Depository.
The book will be the winner's choice.

How to Enter:
To enter:
1. Be a follower
2. leave a comment with your email address below

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday

Ok, I have been waiting for this book since 2004!!!

Finally, it has a September 2011 release date!
What is it?

Why, it's...

Abarat: Absolute Midnight 
by Clive Barker

No, of course they haven't given us cover art yet (what you see above are the covers to book 1 and 2)... why would they do a silly thing like that. :(
I've heard it's going to be a very black cover, though.
Back to the point though, I've been waiting for this book, which is number 3 in the series, since 2004! I was beginning to think it would never be made... although sadly, there are still 2 more in the series after that, but hopefully those ones will have 2 year printing gaps (like the first two did) and not 7 year gaps.

The series is really amazing... and don't be turned off by the main character's name (and it's truly stupid... her name is Candy Quackenbush)... keep reading. It gets to be elaborate, amazing and very dark, ala Clive Barker's usual style. PLUS the books are peppered with amazing paintings by Barker himself, representing the characters and events that take place in the book.

Check them out, they're worth the read, and worth the wait.
As aggravating as that wait may be.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

This week I have decided to participate in

Click the Picture to join in

and the topic for this week is:
Top Ten Bookish Resolutions 

  1. Review more manga:  I read manga ALL the time... and do I usually review it? No. Why not? Because I read so much of it, and so fast... that often I forget about it because I'm already trying to work on my next book review... so I am going to try to be better about sharing the manga I do read with the rest of you.
  2.  Check out more Library books:  My boyfriend WORKS at a library for goodness sake... all I have to do is ask him to pick me something up. I *have* been asking him to check me out Terry Pratchett audio books (how many times have I listened to the Wee Free Men now?!) but I need to utilize this option more.
  3. Work hard to keep to my "daily theme":  This is something new that I've just implemented this year, in an effort to try to keep my blog posts on track. Often I feel like I'm just flailing about, trying to remember to do this or that. Well... now I have a schedule. :)
  4. Buy Bookshelves:  Oh yeah, it's time. I have too many books, not enough bookshelves.
  5. Buy a Kindle:  I have all these awesome downloads waiting for me at NetGalley... but I can't... CAN'T (thanks to migraines) read pdfs on my computer... and I'm certainly not going to print them all out! So... it's time to bite the bullet and buy a Kindle.
  6. Work on my review style:  Right now I'm ok with my review style, but I'm not loving it. I've set it up in an 'answer the question' sort of style, mostly so people reading my reviews can just skip to the parts they're interested in. I HATE when I'm reading a review and can't ever actually find the person's opinion on the book... I'm going for ease for the reader here. At the same time though, I want a more informed review. I've read some really wonderfully intelligent reviews and I feel mine are still just sort of namby-pamby and stupid sounding. I need to work harder.
  7. Really *think* about why do I or don't like a book:  A lot of times, when I finish a book, I just have this gut feeling about my overall attitude towards it. "It was boring" "The characters were lame" "I really loved this" "It was action packed"... but responses like that really aren't any better than reviews that say "OMGZ I LUV THIS!"... and that bothers me. I've read reviews by bloggers who have HATED books I love... and after reading their reviews, I sat there thinking, "Oh, yeah, I absolutely see where they're coming from..." and can agree with them... while still loving the book. So I'd really like to spend more time focusing on the whys, and what informs those whys, and where they come from... and how I can write my reviews so as to get the right person to the right book... and not just direct everyone to a book that I love because I love it for reasons I can't even explain to myself.
  8. Work on the style of my book blog:  I think it could be a little cooler. I've seen quite a lot of blogs with some pretty neat features. I don't want it to be confusing though. I've also stumbled across A LOT of really confusing to navigate book blogs, and to be honest, when I can't find something after about 30 seconds, I give up.
  9. Research and participation:  The book blogging world requires quite a lot of research and participation. I need to sit down and schedule time to work on this book blogging stuff... not just throw it in when I can fit it.
  10. Read Faster:  I average about a book a week... but, I want to read more. I've set my goal for this year at 55 books. I want to surpass that. At the same time though, I don't want to miss out on aspects of the story because I was reading too fast. GAH.
Now on to "Currently Reading Tuesday" 
 Right now I'm reading Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. It's a steampunk novel, and I've never read one of those before, and so far, I'm loving it. There are interesting little mechanical gadgets everywhere, and I can just imagine the outfits, with the worn leather and faded colors.
The story itself is pretty interesting. It's set back in Civil War period Seattle, and the city has been destroyed, divided, and in some parts, overrun with zombies.

Last night I just finished up The Walking Dead: Compendium 1... and I have to say, Compendium 1 went out with a bang. A terrifying, terrifying bang. This one is a good read, but not for the weak stomached. There is blood, gore, violence of all kinds, sex, and murder. Not to mention sadistic acts, insanity and overall wickedness of the human spirit.
I also am reading Bakuman!... which is the next Manga by the creators of Deathnote. So far, it's pretty entertaining, although I am suspicious of it taking a darker turn. I'm not sure it will... but considering the source of its creation (Deathnote was pretty dark) and the fact that there are already obviously insane characters in it... I'm a bit worried that I'm going to see these main boys spiral into insanity... then again... a friend of mine read the same series in Shonen Jump and said to me, "Is it wrong I just thought it was an uplifting story of two boys trying really hard?" and I told her, "No, no it is not. I hope that's what it is" :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

REVIEW: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

 Across the Universe 
by Beth Revis

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Supposedly accidentally awoken 50 years too soon, Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next. Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets.

Character Likability:
Amy: One of two alternating voices that told this story for us, the beginning of the book, where Amy is frozen and realizing that she'll be 'awake' the whole time, slipping in and out of nightmares and dreams... was the most terrifying part of her story for me. She was a nice enough, likable character... but once she woke up, she ceased to increase my interest in her. I still liked her... she was still an interesting voice... but I kind of wish her panic had been played up a bit more, especially in the sense of the claustrophobia of the place... and the 'recycled' stale feeling of everything.
Elder: The other main voice of the story, Elder's half, for me, was much more intresting than Amy's. He had lived there his entire life, so everything he was finding out was shattering his existing world, ripping apart what he felt was safe... not only that, but he was filled with a lust and longing for Amy that was far more powerful than anything she seemed to have felt for him. Overall, Elder just felt more real.
Eldest: The current leader of Godspeed... he was a bit terrifying in how he retold Earth's history to Elder, and a bit terrifying in how he expected to be obeyed... he also was keeping secrets, acting devious and trying to control everything.
The Doctor: I'm not really sure how I felt about this character, he was a bit wishy-washy. He was neck deep in the machinations of Eldest... and yet at the same time, he kept doing things to defy Eldest and ruin their setup... even though he seemingly agreed with them. He was a bizarre character, and for me, not too likable, despite his help.
Harley: Possibly my favorite character in this book. He is Elder's best friend, and a "mental patient" living in the hospital. What he truly is, though, is an artist and a kind soul. He helps Amy adapt and is possibly the most compassionate voice in this entire story.
Victria: Another "mental patient", she's a story teller, a bit bitter about life, and an avid reader.
Orion: A record keeper... the only one we ever meet, in fact, despite the fact that it seems like there should be more of them. Orion is mysteriously helpful in pointing out things for Elder to question
Luthe: Another "mental patient" and possibly the only one who really deserves to be locked up in a psych ward, Luthe is a predator... he gives off a creepy vibe the entire story.

Quality of Writing:
I read this book really quickly. The alternating view points from chapter to chapter help both to speed up reading and shorten chapters... I really love this style of storytelling.

Sad, terrifying, believable enough... but left me questioning how it would all play out. The most unbelievable part was the "mystery" aspect of the story.

Amy is frozen for a 300 year trip... and the book starts out with a bang when Amy overhears, as she's being frozen, that the trip has been delayed a year, so she'll be frozen for 301... the book begins with Amy trying to cry out to get her life back... then realizing she would have a certain level of consciousness for the entire 301 years.
Skip ahead in time and we begin to see things from Elder's point of view. He's a defiant youth who is destined to be the next leader of Godspeed, the ship that carries Amy and her family and the other frozen passengers to their new planet.
As he's finding out new things about his life on the ship, Amy is awoken and starts to confuse him even more with stories of Earth that he'd never heard before. On top of that, she is telling him things like "The mental patients aren't the crazy ones..." despite the fact that Elder has always been told he is, and had actually spent time living in the Hospital Ward.
She also points out how things like "The Season" are absolutely not normal... and begins Elder questioning whether or not the way the people around him act is natural or not.
At the same time, Orion, a record keeper, is pointing out things like hidden ship levels to Elder... and making him realize that Eldest is truly holding back the truth.

This story really has quite a lot of levels to it. It's complexity was, frankly, shocking and very warmly received. When I first heard about this book, I saw it described as "Avatar meets Titanic" and was immediately turned off to the idea of reading it. I was afraid this was going to be another sappy, stupid romance masquerading under the title Science Fiction. A Twilight of the future, if you will.
It was not that at all. Really, the only one I really felt romance from was Elder. He was obviously infatuated... but as far as relationship development went, I think Amy and Harley had more potential.

The "mystery" part of this story wasn't really very mysterious... and it wasn't entirely believable either. Especially since it was such a small environment, and certain characters (like Eldest) were such controlling busy-bodies.

That being said, this book was TRULY Science Fiction... not some namby-pamby romanced down version of it. I was actually shocked... no... blown-away by the fact that it really was a Science Fiction novel and not something vaguely resembling one. This is what made it amazing... because you can tell Revis really worked on, and considered the world she was putting these characters into. It made the book an enjoyable, fast read, and insured I'd be willing to pick up other books by Revis in the future. Not only that, but I was able to pass it on to my SciFi loving friends without feeling any shame, lol!

Believability of World:
The ship environment was both interesting and believable. The Feeders were terrifying... and the belief systems that people operated under were equally so. The only thing that fell apart for me in this world, believability-wise, was the 'mystery'. Otherwise it held together really well.

Overall Grade: A-

It's Monday!

This week I'm reading:


I hope to have the Graphic Novels done by the end of the week (ok, I'm CONSUMING Yotsuba... so it will be done as soon as I buy the next one!)

As for In My Mailbox Monday

This Week I have gotten...

and I hope to be reading them shortly :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

REVIEW: Yotsuba Volume 1

Yotsuba &!
by Kiyohiko Azuma

Yotsuba is moving to a new house... this means new neighbors, new experiences, new everything!
She lives alone with her father, who is often called Koi for short. She quickly meets the adorable girls who live next door and her adventures truly being.

Character Likability:
Yotsuba: This kid is adorable. She's really quite weird, totally clueless, and yet, cute as heck. I found myself laughing several times while reading this first volume, because she IS so childlike and adorable. The author has really captured the wonder and awe that children experience when discovering new things... and the gullibility and ability of adults to amuse themselves by misleading children. At the same time, I would blame the neighbors if they found Yotsuba totally annoying... but they seem to be good natured... although inexplicably tolerant of how negligent Yotsuba's father is... perhaps this is something more to do with Japanese culture?
Yotsuba's Father: He seems a bit lazy, and doesn't really have any idea how to care for a small child... but everything seems to work out fine in the end... because this doesn't seem like the kind of story where bad things exist in the world to hurt Yotsuba.
Jumbo (Takashi Takeda): A friend of the family, Jumbo keeps showing up to help them move in, or to do other random things. He's a wee bit girl obsessed though, and falls for Ayase's older sister, Asagi.
Ayase: Yotsuba's neighbor and the middle daughter. She is in High School, incredibly polite and helpful, and often left to take care of Yotsuba in some way or another.
Asagi: Ayase's older sister, in College and very pretty. She's a bit more twisted and prone to teasing Yotsuba without Yotsuba understanding that she's being teased. However, you can tell she has a true affection for the girl and is overall very kind to Yotsuba.
Ena: Ayase's youngest sister, she often plays with Yotsuba and is very kind and tolerant as well.

Quality of Writing:
The writing really works wonders on making Yotsuba both really likable and really childlike. These are quick, entertaining reads... and I want more of them!

This is the first in a series of I am not sure how many... and due to the nature of the way these are written, there isn't really an 'end' or a 'cliffhanger' or anything. Each chapter is Yotsuba discovering a new thing... such as, the first is Yotsuba & Moving!, the next is Yotsuba & Greetings! This continues through the entire book, each chapter not directly connected to the chapter before it. I think this helps to make it more childlike and cute... since Yotsuba has a fairly short attention span herself... it would be hard to follow a continuous story of her... since she probably doesn't actually do to much during a day if she's not discovering something exciting and new.

It's a simple plot revolving around each chapter having us follow Yotsuba discovering something new. Her story is progressed just in so far as she is slowly learning about the world around her... where the characters around her have some story progression, but it is not as important as Yotsuba having fun. 
Truthfully, I picked this series up because I saw so many people on the internet raving about it, and wanted to know what the deal was. What I didn't realize, until after I'd finished this first volume, was that it is by the creator of Azumanga Daioh... which I saw as an anime and, at first, hated. Nothing happened, it was just a bunch of girls running around being dumb... but as I watched the series more, their antics grew on me, until it was possibly my favorite anime of the season (when I went to our college anime club). These characters have an endearing, honest quality, and are genuinely funny.
However, if you're looking for an intensely deep plot with layers and layers of meaning... this isn't for you. It truly is VERY light-hearted.

Illustration Quality:
I LOVE the illustrations in this book. The characters are adorable, and the artist really has expressions down well... Niko goes through such a constantly changing array of facial expressions that it is endlessly entertaining. Proportions are well done, line quality is lovely, and detail is amazing.

Believability of World:
Very believable, and truly enjoyable in a fun, simple kind of way.

Overall Grade:

Friday, January 7, 2011

Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday

This week's Follow Friday question is:

What book(s) have you discovered lately from someone's book blog?

 Across the Universe, A Slice of Cherry, The Hunger Games series, The Familiars

The Blogger Hop is running a little late this morning, but as soon as she updates, so will I :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Author Spotlight: Tamora Pierce

I have decided, to help me keep on track with what I want to talk about, to "theme" my days... Thursday will now be dedicated to directing readers towards authors that I think should have their praises sung!

First up?

Tamora Pierce

Born in Pennsylvania in 1954, Tamora was initially supposed to be named Tamara, but due to a nurses spelling error, she became Tamora (pronounced like camera) and much prefers it.
That's barely the tip of the iceburg, though, and there is a very full bio written by Tamora Pierce here:
which notes some of her early reading influences, as well as pop culture influences... and how she found her way to the science fiction/ fantasy genre.

If you go here: you can find her 2011 touring schedule. I am *really* hoping at some point this year to find her on tour and get her to sign my Beka Cooper series... Beka being one of my favorite heroines ever. Strong, brave and worth the admiration and adoration of every little girl.

Her entire website can be found here:
and is just overflowing with both information on Tamora, as well as information on other books and things she loves. You can also find her on Goodreads here:

What can you expect from a Tamora Pierce book?
A strong, likable female character that you WANT your daughter to emulate. 
If I had a daughter, and I hope that someday I do, I will read her these books... and hope that when she can, she will reread them again on her own.

Monday, January 3, 2011

REVIEW: Flotsam & Jetsam by Carrie Ryan

 Flotsam & Jetsam
by Carrie Ryan

From the Anthology:

You can read the story for free HERE

Their Cruise Ship overrun, Jeremy and the main character (who I believe remains unnamed throughout the story) are adrift on a life raft, waiting for rescue.

Character Likability:
Narrator: A seemingly typical teenage boy, he spends his time being annoyed by his companion, thinking about sex and wondering what's going on in the rest of the world. As the story progresses, he breaks down, becoming more childlike.
Jeremy: The main character's only companion, he wants to go back to the boat, spends the nights tossing and screaming from terrible nightmares, does an excellent job of getting on the Narrator's nerves and he's hiding a terrible secret.

Quality of Writing:
Easy, quick flow. I find Carrie Ryan's works very quick reads, the action is constant, even when nothing is going on... she keeps it mentally engaging.

Just a wee bit terrifying.

This is a short story about two boys on a life raft... and admittedly, while their story is engaging, I would *REALLY* like to read what happened before the infection spread... and I would have liked to have skipped around between what was happening on several of the other life rafts as well.

That is NOT saying that this story was dull... but I just wanted to see more.

This is pretty much following one boy's decent into madness...and given the circumstances, you can hardly blame him. The ending is both tragic and terrifying...

Believability of World:
Carrie Ryan's world of zombies has always been believable, that's what makes it so frightening.

Overall Grade: B