Monday, October 28, 2013

A Study In Emerald

Are you interested in a
Sherlock Holmes/H.P. Lovecraft
style short story?
How about one written by Neil Gaiman?

If so, head on over to check out 
A Study in Emerald

Which you can read for free HERE

and just in case the link doesn't work:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Book Signing with James Dashner

Last night, James Dashner
was kind enough to stop by our local bookstore.

(The lady you see in the pic is our very awesome bookstore rep... who gets all these cool folk to stop by and chat with us)

I have to say,
his books may be bleak,
but he's a pretty funny guy.

Oh, and he *REALLY* wants you to know he's on Twitter.
(LOL... he kept referencing his Twitter account...
evidently it's the place to be for breaking Dashner news)
(his avatar is his new puppy, lol)

He is the author of 
The Maze Runner

which is being made into a movie that will come out
in November 2014.

He also recently released a new book
The Eye of Minds

He went on to describe it as an homage to his love of The Matrix and Inception,
(evidently Mr. Dashner is quite the movie lover)
and when I read the inside cover I immediately thought of

Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
(which is a friggin awesome read, if you haven't read it)

I'll be interested to see how the two compare.
(FYI, James Dashner has *not* read Ready Player One (although he owns a copy)...
so his book was not influenced by the other...
I'm just curious to see how these two books focusing on
virtual reality compare and contrast)

Mostly though, he talked about The Maze Runner series...
saying Minho was his favorite character,
explaining his reasoning behind things like 
naming WICKED, the slang the kids use and the Grievers.

He also discussed how his goal was to create a sort of
anti-Lord of the Flies...
where instead of degrading into violence and wickedness,
these boys worked together to survive.

He answered quite a few questions and talked for a good hour
about a multitude of topics (he might be a rambler, hehe).
If he ever happens to be swinging through your neck of the woods,
I highly recommend stopping in to see what he's got to say.

 Not related to Mr. Dashner, but I just had to share...
While I waited for the signing to begin, I went over to check out the 
YA Used Books section and found this:

All of the Used YA books were gone... and this note was left behind:

It's a joke, of course,
they're just rearranging...
but it cracked me up.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday

  Follow along here:

Q: What are some of your favorite magazines?

Oh man... here we go!
I am both a Graphic Designer and a photographer...
so I have a lot of interest in Magazines... 
and really, this just happens to be the favorite of what I have on my desk at the moment.

 Are you interested in things geeky? This magazine is for you!
It covers just about everything from gadgets to girl-geek culture.
I've had a lot of fun reading it so far. :)
Plus, this month's issue features Daryl (Norman Reedus)... how can you not love them?

 Filled with delicious recipes, bon appetit is a lovely magazine,
but unlike other food magazines,
this one is not always good for you in terms of healthiness or time consumption.

I love that you can choose pretty much anything in here and it's not going to be *terrible* for you.
Lovely photography, tasty recipes... it's a nice cooking magazine. 

Again, another enjoyable, healthier food mag. Like bon appetit, they often have very eye catching photography.

This magazine is so well organized... it's very user friendly, starting right out with a picture index to guide you to each recipe. Someone was using their noggin when they put this magazine together.
Plus, you know, tasty recipes XD

I like to pretend I know things.
Hahaha, no no, this magazine often has interesting infographics in it...
plus, I really do like the content. :)

 A magazine all about plushies... yes... yes, sign me up.
Put out by the Somerset folks, this is a cleanly designed magazine with large, lovely photos.

 Sorry to all the Martha poo-poo'ers... but this woman is still a domestic GOD.
Her magazine is beautiful too, with amazing photography and lovely layout.
Plus it's only $10 for a year subscription.

Fun design, and super informative. I love me some Wired.

National Geographic
Tried and true, if you want amazing photography, this is the place to go.

A different beast than Martha Stewart Living...
Martha Stewart Halloween is a magazine I look forward to all year long...
her ideas are great, and it comes out right when Fall is settling in.

Advanced Photoshop
I love this magazine for Photoshop tips and tricks.

Imagine FX
If you're at all interested in the digital art medium...
this magazine is something you should seriously look into.
Tips and tricks from experts, as well as a really great companion website.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hollow City The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children

Cover Revealed!

Here's an excerpt on

Hollow City

The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children

from Quirk Books:

 Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was the surprise best seller of 2011—an unprecedented mix of YA fantasy and vintage photography that enthralled readers and critics alike. Publishers Weekly called it “an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters.”

This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.

Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.

RANSOM RIGGS is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California film school and is a writer for He lives in Los Angeles.

Here's a link to my review of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday, What I'm reading and last week's Feature & Follow

Top Ten Books You'd Pair With A "Required Reading"

Warm bodies is an interesting twist on the tragic romance, not to mention an interesting twist on zombie novels.

Admittedly, thematically, these two books are not discussing the same things, but the setting is similar, and I think they would work as a reading pair for a lovely compare/contrast.

Both books focus on a group of children abandon on an island.
In Lord of the Flies, they are shipwrecked and left to their own devices... in which the societal structure they create degrades rapidly.
In Battle Royale, the children are forced onto the island to play a terrible game of kill or be killed... a game run by their government to keep the masses in check.

I think it would be interesting to look at the differences and similarities between these two books... to question why the boys in Lord of the Flies and the kids in Battle Royale ended up in similarly murderous situations. What was William Golding saying about his society? What was Koushun Takami saying about his?

Two ladies, outcasts in their communities because they have done something that is socially taboo.
It's not really that hard to draw the parallels here.

Again, not hard to draw the parallels between these two.
Both books are coming of age stories, both dealing with life as a teenager, that odd stage between childhood and adulthood,
and touching on the social awkwardness of the teenage thought process as it struggles to fit into an adult world.

Two orphan tales, in which the orphans leave behind abusive, cruel lives in exchange for something more wonderful and magical.
It would be immensely fun to compare and contrast these two English novels.

An oppressed, carefully controlled society in which truths are hidden and fear is the weapon used to keep the masses in check... the fact that that could be describing either of these books, I think, would make for an interesting compare/contrast.  Or maybe I'm just hooked on slipping zombie novels into this week's top ten since it's coming up on October -_-

 Both of these deal with societies where everything about the people living in them is controlled, where everyone is being lied to... and in which there is one person who retains all the knowledge of the past, uncensored.

Bridget Jones's Diary IS Pride and Prejudice with a contemporary spin.
It was a riot to read, and made me like the classic even more than I already did.
It did a beautiful job of making what are now the strange and awkward social customs of Jane Austen's time into things we can understand, like family holiday gatherings and office parties.

Or The Iliad, or the Odyssey... really, I just want to pair Riordan's Percy Jackson series with all the stories of the mythological characters that show up in them. I LOVE books that make kids want to learn, and Riordan's series has sparked an interest in the old Greek and Roman mythologies... so I think it would be a fantastic way to introduce kids to the original stories.

Ok, this is a pair that most likely won't happen... because the dream discussion on these two would be about varying opinions on religion, and various takes on belief, and what those beliefs might actually represent... but boy would it be fun to discuss what each of these authors was saying about religion.

For the record... I love this top ten question.

 This week I'm reading

The Apothecary
by Maile Meloy

Why did I choose this book:
It was one of Schuler Books Staff Picks.

Schuler Books & Music is our local book store,
with 3 locations here in Michigan.

I have yet to go wrong choosing one of their YA section staff recommendations.

Does anyone else have a non-chain bookstore that they love to frequent, and trust the staff picks from there?

So far this book is interesting, action packed and adorable.
It features an American heroine in England... something I don't run across often.


Just as a side note...
I don't know why I do this...
I read all of the time, but am constantly forgetting to share it here on the blog as a review.
Example: I recently read all 4 books in The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld... but have I made a single review of them? Nope.
This blog's main purpose is for me to keep track of what I've read, and the details of that book...
so GAH! What the heck is wrong with me!!

Do any of you guys do this when it comes to your blog?
Not keep up with things they way you'd like to?


Something I find interesting:
Last week I decided to participate in 

in which my book selection was

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
by Susanna Clarke

This book came out 9 years ago, in 2004...
and I have to admit, I was a bit shocked to see that *most*
of the replies to my F&F post were something along the lines of,
"Wow, I've never heard of this before!"

The book won at least 6 awards
and was nominated for several more
(not small awards either, but some of the top in the industry)
and is currently being made into a BBC miniseries.

This really led me to wonder about the bloggers who populate
the Feature and Follow Friday.

Quite a lot of them listed a Harry Potter book as their choice,
the last one having come out in 2007,
only 3 years after Susanna Clarke's book...

I have to believe that most of them were reading at least the later Harry Potter books as they came out... which puts them on the literary scene during Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell's time.

So have they truly never heard of this highly acclaimed, much talked about book?
Is it simply because they weren't blogging at the time?

I had one comment saying
"I haven't heard too much about it review-wise"
and that just made me wonder...

How many of you follow blogs that pretty much only review current YA novels?

How do you choose the books you read?
Just by the reviews you read on other blogs?

How long have you been blogging, and has it affected how you choose books?

How did you choose the books you read BEFORE you got sucked into the world of book blogging?

When you start following a new book blogger,
do you ever look back through their reviews to see what they've read before?

How do you select book bloggers to follow in the first place?
Is it simply through hops, or do you research what the blogger likes to read and write about, and follow them based on common interests? 

I'm not criticizing the people who responded to the F&F by saying they'd never heard of the book...
there are plenty of amazing books I've never heard of.

I really am just curious about how people go about selecting books these days... 
and the turn-over rate of book bloggers and/or
the rate at which new book bloggers are hitting the scene.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday

It's time for Feature & Follow Friday!
Go HERE to join in!

This week's question:
If you could only have ONE – one book – for the rest of your life, don’t cheat…what would it be?

Hrrrrm.... this is a tough one.
Really... reallyreallyreally tough.
My first instinct is to name a Harry Potter book,
namely, The Prisoner of Azkaban...
but if I really, really, really thought about it,
I think I'd want something with more to it... something that was a complete story, so that I didn't find myself longing for the other books in the series...

So my choice has to be:

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
by Susanna Clarke

 It's filled with elements I love,
it's long and beautifully written,
it's complicated and layered
and it's a complete story...
 Something I feel I could read over and over if it were the only thing
I could ever read again.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Secondary Characters

Every week, The Broke and the Bookish hosts Top Ten Tuesday.
This week, the topic is:

Top Ten Favorite Secondary Characters:

1. CooRoo from The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O'Shea:
CooRoo is the children's guide through the mysterious world of fey,
and I love him to death.

2. Puddeneen from The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O'Shea:
Puddeneen is a bewildered frog who is put to work by The Morrigan.

3. The Nac Mac Feegle from Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching Series:
There have never been secondary characters that make me laugh so danged much.
Now, you might argue that they're the main characters as well... but really,
these books are about Tiffany, and she is THE main character... so I'm counting the Feegle as supporting cast, HILARIOUS supporting cast.

4. Belen and The Monkeys from Maria V. Snyder's Healer Series:
Ok, time to fess up... it's safe to say that when reading these guilty pleasures (aka, any book written by Maria V. Snyder)... I always seem to like the secondary characters more than the main ones... so I put a few of my favs on this list... but it really counts for every book she writes, LOL.

5. Dog from Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett:
Really... the whole concept is just too funny.

6. Tom Bombadil from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien:
There, I said it, I loved Tom Bombadil...
was I sad they left him out of the movies?
He would have been a bit too wacky for the mood Jackson was setting,
I think, but I still love his character.

7.  Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
What can I say, I love the quirky oddballs :)

8. Mouse from The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher:
Harry's pet Foo Dog... Mouse is just about the coolest dog EVER.

9. Beth from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott:
She was just such a tragic sweetheart, and my favorite sister.

10. Nico di Angelo from The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan:
I also like the darker characters... lol.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Recently I got an email from Quirk's Social Media and Marketing Manager
asking if I'd be willing to review the newly released paperback copy of

 Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs

Amazon Synopsis:
Amazon Best Books of the Month, June 2011: As a kid, Jacob formed a special bond with his grandfather over his bizarre tales and photos of levitating girls and invisible boys. Now at 16, he is reeling from the old man's unexpected death. Then Jacob is given a mysterious letter that propels him on a journey to the remote Welsh island where his grandfather grew up. There, he finds the children from the photographs--alive and well--despite the islanders’ assertion that all were killed decades ago. As Jacob begins to unravel more about his grandfather’s childhood, he suspects he is being trailed by a monster only he can see. A haunting and out-of-the-ordinary read, debut author Ransom Rigg’s first-person narration is convincing and absorbing, and every detail he draws our eye to is deftly woven into an unforgettable whole. Interspersed with photos throughout, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a truly atmospheric novel with plot twists, turns, and surprises that will delight readers of any age. 

The story follows Jacob, a young American boy, on his journey to not only find out more about his Grandpa, but more importantly, his own sanity. As it turns out, the two go hand-in-hand.

Middle Grade or Young Adult?
Based on the way the action paces itself, and how long children linger on terrible events, I'd actually classify this as more of a bridge book between Middle Grade and Young Adult, rather than a flat out YA novel. In other words, I think this book would appeal to both younger and older children... and I think it would be an excellent "read aloud" bedtime story book. (Er... for the children who aren't easily scared.... because while this book isn't a horror story, there is some very creepy imagery going on in it)

The storyline is adventurous, mysterious and fraught with perils, not to mention laced with history.
I always appreciate a book that can tie in real world history in a way that makes children more curious about the past... and if listening to Grandpa's stories, or the scene with Adam and the bomb doesn't do that, then I would think the Bog Boy at least would spark children's interest and imagination. Plus, the series promises to deliver quite a lot more in terms of historical referencing with the upcoming sequel.

The love story:
There are several love stories that unravel through the book, which for me was the more "YA" aspect of this story... but even though Jacob's own love story happened rather quickly, I found it entirely believable. For once, there was a YA love story with a good, solid reason as to why the girl would fall in love so quickly. All too often I read YA novels where the characters seemingly hate each other, and then three sentences later, they're in love. In Rigg's book, Jacob's "love" story is, as one would expect from a teenage boy, really something that began more with lust (as in, he thought she was really hot... and then all the "Oh, and she's pretty cool too" stuff came later). Maybe that is because this novel is written by a man, who actually had the benefit of experiencing life as a teenaged boy? I don't know, I just know when I read YA love stories, more often than not, I'm very aware that the teenaged boy in the story is acting NOT like an ACTUAL teenaged boy, but like a sappy, boring page from some starry-eyed teenaged girl's fantasy.

The Magic:
This book is fantasy fiction... and it uses the fantasy aspects to propel the story in compelling ways. Often times I read YA novels that have fantastical aspects and feel like I've read the same story I've read a million times over, except this time it was a Mermaid instead of a Vampire. The "Fantasy" is just a gimmick to draw kids in, but could easily be replaced with a million other things.
In Riggs' book, I felt that the fantasy was an integral part of the storyline. It wasn't thrown in casually, it was the mechanism that made this story run. Riggs was able to take moments in history and make them even more real to the reader by not only giving us characters who had been there and lived through it, but by using the magic in this world to allow the main character to experience it as well. The same magic will also allow the main character to delve into the past even farther, and that's something that I'm rather excited about.

The Villains:
I'm not going to say too much, that would be a bit of a spoiler... but I will say I really loved the villains of this story. Their whole reason behind doing what they do is perfect, and reflects a kind of child-like mentality.

The Writing:
I really enjoyed Ransom Riggs writing style. It's fast paced, with page after page of action to pull the reader along. He also does a great job of creating an eerie atmosphere. The book reminded me of one of the haunting stories from A.S. Byatt's Little Black Book of Stories... the forest is filled with monsters, BEWARE!

READ THIS BOOK! Read this book aloud to children!!! Everything about this story was a pleasant surprise, and I can't wait to read the next one.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

REVIEW: The Age of Ra by James Lovegrove

The Age of Ra
by James Lovegrove

Synopsis from Amazon:
An alternate history of the world where the Egyptian gods have defeated all others and have carved up the planet between themselves. Only a band of Freedom Fighters and their enigmatic leader can free the Earth from their divine tyranny.

So, first off... tell me what you think when you look at that cover... no, really, stop and think about it?
What do I think? Kurt Russell, James Spader... Stargate... yes. There I said it. Stargate. 

That aside, I'm not sure how I feel about this book. Due to my own confusion over how to feel, I went out and read several other reviews... some of which loved the book, and some of which hated it... and here's what it boils down to for me: I agree more with the folks who didn't exactly enjoy it.

I think this review by Nathan Brazil over at The SF Site really sums it up... the book just did not reach its full potential. Any veteran Science Fiction reader should have been able to see the plot twists coming from a mile away... and the things I *hoped* would happen to add variety and originality to said twists did not... instead they followed a very cookie-cutter path.

There was so much potential in the character of David Westwynter, and how he could have interacted with not only other main characters, but with the gods themselves... but it just felt like none of that was really explored. When he did interact with the gods, it left me wanting more... a lot more, and a lot more explanation as well... and when he interacted with the other human characters... well... it left a lot to be desired. Other than knowing that he's a "Generally good guy who doesn't like deep emotions"... well, David didn't strike me as much of anything special. By the time we reached the end of the book, I barely cared what happened to the humans in the story anymore.

The gods were a lot more interesting to me, but mostly because I enjoy reading the tales of different mythologies... and this was no exception when it came to filling you in on a bit of the Egyptian Gods history with one another. I was disappointed though, by who the "Big Bad" turned out to be. This is probably a bit of a spoiler (this next sentence)... but yeah, if you know anything about Egyptian Mythology... and who their prime betrayer often is... well... it's not much of a shocker. It's kind of like any story about Norse Mythology... you can pretty much expect Loki to be in there, causing major trouble somehow.

The most interesting part of the book to me, sadly, was the very end when there is a meeting between a human and a god (unknown to the human)... but by that point, I found I just didn't care that much anymore... plus, as far as I can tell, "The Age of" god series that Lovegrove has going is just filled with one-offs that are bound together by theme only... so why should I care about the end of the book or what happens to the character? I don't... and it's sad.

I'm still going to read the second book, and hope for something better, since I've heard good things about Lovegrove... because I'm not going to lie, I really want to get to the third book in the series (The Age of Odin)... and I hate reading things out of order... even if it's just the order they were written in.

In Conclusion:
I don't think I'd recommend this book... perhaps if the second book is excellent, I'll still recommend the series and just tell people to skip the first book... but I just felt like I learned very little about the characters. Their motivations all felt superficial, or totally dictated by their nature... and when it comes to "The Ancient Gods have returned" type books, I've read better.

Top Ten Tuesday

 Click the image above to visit The Broke and the Bookish, and join in the fun!

Top Ten Books on my TBR List for Summer 2013!
1. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Have I been hearing anything other than rave reviews about this book?
Nope. I want it, I want it now!

 2. The Long War by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter
I'm always up for some Pratchett, and with Baxter's tendency to blow up the world,
this could prove to be an interesting book.

 3. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
I received this one as a request to review... so it's next on my list. :)
The funny thing... even though I was contacted to read this... I'd always wanted to read it anyways.

4.The Age of Zeus by James Lovegrove
So, I read The Age of Ra... and honestly, I'm still not sure exactly how much I did, or didn't, like it... so I figure I'll at least try to make it through two or three in the series before making any final decisions... the story was amusing, but of course, the gods were entirely predictable.

5. Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey
I just read the first in the Sandman Slim series... so, yeah... all the Kadrey books on this list are part of Sandman Slim's book series. I loved the first one, it's a GREAT summer read. I devoured book one in a matter of hours.

6. Aloha from Hell by Richard Kadrey

7. Devil Said Bang by Richard Kadrey

8. Kill City Blues by Richard Kadrey

9. The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
I LOVE Leviathan, Goliath and Behemoth... soo, so, so much, so I figured I'd give another Westerfeld book a try and see if I love his writing style as much as I love those books.

10. We, THE DROWNED by Carsten Jensen
I'm going to be honest... I don't know a thing about this book. I saw it on the shelf... and lately I've just not been feelin' the YA genre, so I've been branching off and grabbing adult fiction (Sandman Slim, The Age of Ra? Yeah...) and this just happens to be one of them.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Book Blogger Hop and Feature & Follow

To join in the Book Blogger Hop, click the image above!

This week's question:
What is your favorite series that you've
finished all the books (more than 3 books) to?

Well, I'm sure the obvious answer is going to be Harry Potter... and I admit I'm on that bandwagon too :) but there are a few more I'd like to share as well, so here's a list:

1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
2. Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori
3. Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi
4. Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
5. Discworld by Terry Pratchett
6. Sandman by Neil Gaiman
7. Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan
8. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
9. The Nicholas Flamel Alchemyst Series by Michael Scott

Now, I'm reading quite a few other series that are more than three books that I love, but they're not finished yet, so technically, I haven't finished all of the books XD I didn't include those. The stories above are strictly finished series... welllll.... except Discworld... but man... I *HAD* to include Pratchett. I'm not even sure it counts as a series... but I've been reading them in chronological order, so I'm counting them that way.  :)

To join in the Feature and Follow hop, click the image above.

This week's question:
What blogger would you most like to meet in real life?
Tell us about him or her.

I'm going to be honest, I've never really thought about it.
Meeting new people in general gives me a mini panic attack.
I'm not saying I'm a shut in, I get out, I socialize... but all with people I've met in person first.
For some reason, I have real anxiety about meeting people I've only talked to online.
It's not a safety thing, it's a "Man, what if I totally disappoint them?" thing.
Crazy, I know.

Also, please check out my review, HERE, for the upcoming release,

The Wells Bequest
by Polly Shulman

ARC REVIEW: The Wells Bequest by Polly Shulman

The Wells Bequest
by Polly Shulman
 Release Date: June 13th, 2013
This ARC was provided by the publisher at my request.

Leo never imagined that time travel might really be possible, or that the objects in H. G. Wells’ science fiction novels might actually exist. And when a miniature time machine appears in Leo’s bedroom, he has no idea who the tiny, beautiful girl is riding it. But in the few moments before it vanishes, returning to wherever—and whenever—it came from, he recognizes the other tiny rider: himself!

His search for the time machine, the girl, and his fate leads him to the New-York Circulating Material Repository, a magical library that lends out objects instead of books. Hidden away in the Repository basement is the Wells Bequest, a secret collection of powerful objects straight out of classic science fiction novels: robots, rockets, submarines, a shrink ray—and one very famous time machine. And when Leo’s adventure of a lifetime suddenly turns deadly, he must attempt a journey to 1895 to warn real-life scientist Nikola Tesla about a dangerous invention. A race for time is on!

In this grand time-travel adventure full of paradoxes and humor, Polly Shulman gives readers a taste of how fascinating science can be, deftly blending classic science fiction elements with the contemporary fantasy world readers fell in love with in The Grimm Legacy.

Leo: The main character, Leo is pretty level-headed for a teenaged boy. He's sweet and swooning over the girl he likes, and smart to boot. He comes from a family of incredibly intelligent people where he's a bit of an outcast, not because he isn't smart, but because his brain works in different ways. However, when he's visited by his future self, his life becomes a tad bit more interesting as he learns about a library that will change his life. He's a likeable kid, cautious and respectful of things like Time Machines and Death Rays... you can't help but admire those qualities.

Jaya: Headstrong and defiant and the girl that Leo is swooning over, Jaya is a character from The Grimm Legacy, the companion book to The Wells Bequest. At first I was worried I wouldn't like her, since headstrong girls are often obnoxiously portrayed in books... but I found Jaya completely likeable.

Simon: Simon is the villian of the story, but one could more aptly call him "The Teenaged Boy of the story" and be totally accurate in their description. He's actions are ruled totally by hormones, unfortunately, he just so happens to be a bit more connected than your average teenaged boy, so he can cause a bit more trouble.

For me, this book cleared up the issues I had with The Grimm Legacy, I didn't read this one thinking, "Wow, they just solved that HUGE problem really easily..." I felt like a little more time was taken in this one to really craft each encounter that the characters had. This story was cute, the adventures were well paced and I truly enjoyed their historical and present-time interactions.
All around, a lot of fun, and I can't wait for more in this series from Polly Shulman!

After reading this book, I've also decided I need to figure out a new rating rank that is around 4 Squeeds, but instead of saying (but probably wouldn't read again) it needs to say (and will absolutely read this to my children). :)

This is a book I highly recommend to not only friends, but also to the teachers I know. The combination of classic literature along with historical figures will entice any kid to want to learn more about these topics. Much like The Alchemyst series by Michael Scott, this is the kind of book that is going to make kids sit up and take interest in the past.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Review: Spook by Mary Roach

by Mary Roach

The best-selling author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers now trains her considerable wit and curiosity on the human soul. What happens when we die? Does the light just go out and that's that—the million-year nap? Or will some part of my personality, my me-ness persist? What will that feel like? What will I do all day? Is there a place to plug in my lap-top?" In an attempt to find out, Mary Roach brings her tireless curiosity to bear on an array of contemporary and historical soul-searchers: scientists, schemers, engineers, mediums, all trying to prove (or disprove) that life goes on after we die. She begins the journey in rural India with a reincarnation researcher and ends up in a University of Virginia operating room where cardiologists have installed equipment near the ceiling to study out-of-body near-death experiences. Along the way, she enrolls in an English medium school, gets electromagnetically haunted at a university in Ontario, and visits a Duke University professor with a plan to weigh the consciousness of a leech. Her historical wanderings unearth soul-seeking philosophers who rummaged through cadavers and calves' heads, a North Carolina lawsuit that established legal precedence for ghosts, and the last surviving sample of "ectoplasm" in a Cambridge University archive.

I have to admit, this one was slow going for me. There were bits and bobs along the way that were fascinating (and I flew through those chapters), but I think the fact that Roach seemed to think this was all hokum herself made this book dull when compared to books like Stiff.
There seemed to be a lot more by way of techno-babble, I'm not sure if this was due to the lack of legitimate scientific findings in the realm of there being an afterlife (other than the resounding "No, there doesn't seem to be one" that usually was what the evidence pointed to)... or if it was because Roach herself is a skeptic, so chose to focus on things that gave more substantial output than peoples feelings and experiences.

I'm not saying this book isn't worth reading, it still has quite a few interesting ideas to present the reader with, but it was definitely a slower read for me than Stiff.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Feature & Follow and Book Blogger Hop

Click the image above to hop on over to Coffee Addicted Writer's blog
and join in!

This week's question:
What book have you've been meaning
to read forever AND you finally did?

I can answer this because I *JUST* did this!

The first book in the 39 Clues series is one I've been meaning
to check out FOR-EV-ER.
I finally did last week, and I LOVED IT!
Read my review HERE!  

  Next up is Feature and Follow Friday:
Click the image above to join in the fun!

This weeks question:
Have you ever read a book that you thought you would hate — ? Did you end up hating it? Did you end up loving it?

Yes, I was given a book by my neighbor, and when
looked at the synopsis I ABSOLUTELY didn't want to
read the book... but I read it to be a good neighbor...
and I really liked it, way more than I expected!

What was the book?
 Warm Bodies
by Isaac Marion

It was a really pleasant surprise!
Read my review HERE!