Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: The Familiars

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week's pick was inspired by Kristen at Bookworming in the 21st Century.  Last week she posted a review AND author interviews for the upcoming release The Familiars.  Check out both posts.  I can't wait to read it now...thanks Kristen!  Plus it's going to be made into a movie, directed by Sam Raimi.  How cool is that!?!

For more info on the book:
The Familiars - Official website (excerpt and trailer coming soon)

The Familiars
by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson
Releases on September 7, 2010

Description from Amazon:

THE FAMILIARS are the magical animal companions to a wizard or witch. When three young wizards-in-training get kidnapped by the evil queen of the land, it is up to their familiars to go a dangerous journey to rescue them. You'll meet Aldwyn, an orphan alley cat pretending to have telekinesis; Skylar, a know-it-all blue jay who can cast illusions; and Gilbert, a hapless tree frog with the ability to see visions of the future in pools of water. See what happens when these three animal assistants -- typically relegated to the background or found sitting quietly on their wizard's shoulders -- go on a heroic adventure of their own!

Some Love For Authors Who Love Vampires!

In honor of the release of Jocelynn Drake's Pray For Dawn yesterday and (of course) the movie release of Eclipse today, here's a few awesome authors explaining why they love vampires.

Justin Cronin, author of the new best-seller The Passage (which I have to add to my TBR list), shares his vampire inspirations. Oh, and the book has a movie deal! 

USA Today's PopCandy blog featured a guest post yesterday by Meg Cabot about her love of TV and movie vampires while growing up (she reminded me a little of Raven from Vampire Kisses). 

Why We Love Vampires:  This article profiles our obsession with vampires with insight from Nina Auerbach, a U Penn English professor and author of Our Vampires, Ourselves

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Summer of Reading Challenges

This summer is my chance to catch up on a bunch of books I want to read before starting grad school this fall (eek!). So here's two awesome summer reading challenges I found.  Compile your summer TBR list and join in!

Summer Reading Challenge 2010 - hosted by Julie at My Book Retreat. It kicked off last Monday, June 21 (the first day of summer) and runs until September 21.  Three whole months!  To participate, create a list of the books you’d like to read or finish during this summer season...there's no minimum and no requirements as to the type of books you put on your list. YAY!  See her blog for more details.

Summer Slimdown - Carina's (Reading Through Life) reading challenge starts TODAY June 29 and ends on September 6.  Her one rule: it has to be on your shelf already by June 28 to count. Check out blog and post your TBR list.

Since I seem to change my reading goals every few days, I can't guarantee I'll stick to it 100%.  The books with the asterisks (**) are titles that won't count toward the Summer Slimdown because they're not on my shelf yet (i.e. not yet released). 

My TBR list for these summer challenges: (in no real particular order)

The King's Mistress by Emma Campion - I won an ARC...this book releases on July 6!

Dawnbreaker (Dark Days, 3) by Jocelynn Drake

Pray for Dawn (Dark Days, 4) by Jocelynn Drake** Releases TODAY June 29!!

Dracula In Love by Karen Essex - I have an ARC. This book releases on August 10!

Dracula by Bram Stoker - I attempted to read it once but got sidetracked...need to read it before I start Dracula In Love. Plus, it's a 1001 book.

The Puzzle Ring by Kate Forsyth

Graceling by Kristin Cashmore - I feel like I'm the only person who hasn't read this one yet.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins** Releases on August 24!  I can't wait for this one!!

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - 1001 Book.  I'm behind in my 1001 book challenge (reading ten 1001 books this year).

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson - 1001 Book (part of an anthology with Frankenstein and Dracula)

That's 13 books!  I'll update my progress throughout the summer.  Happy readings!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Hottest Graphic Novels of Summer 2010 compiled a list of the Hottest Graphic Novels of Summer 2010. It's divided into the categories of kids, tweens, teens, adult non-fiction and adult fiction.  Plus there's a printable list of all the catagories, which might be useful on the next trip to the comic book store.  Here's a few that look really cool to me.

In the TEEN category...

Legends: The Enchanted
by Nick Percival
Radical Publishing
On sale June 29

Reinventing the popular Grimms’ Fairy Tale characters in a fantasy action-adventure that mixes elements of X-Men and Sleepy Hollow, this book is set in a post-industrial steam-punk backdrop. Supernatural immortals live in a dark, creature-infested world where nature, technology, and foul magic are in constant conflict. When the twisted, burnt remains of the half-wooden, half-mechanical warrior Pinocchio are discovered, wolf hunter Red Hood and giant-killer Jack realize the fragile rules of their existence have been shattered. With the help of other powerful Enchanted (the mercenary Goldilocks and psychic exterminators Hansel and Gretel), Jack and Red team up on an adventure to stop whatever, or whoever, is destroying their powers and murdering their kind.

Stuff of Legend
by Mike Raicht, Brian Smith, and Charles Paul Wilson III
Random House Publishing Group
On sale now
Originally published by indie publisher Th3rd World Studios, this gorgeous comic will make you rethink everything you ever thought about the Boogeyman and your childhood dreams and nightmares. On the outside, it looks like a child’s story: A child is kidnapped and pulled into The Dark by the Boogeyman, and his beloved toys try to rescue him. On their perilous mission, they will confront the boy’s bitter and forgotten toys, as well as betrayal in their own ranks. Can they save the boy from the forces of evil, or will they all perish in the process?

In the ADULT FICTION category...

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel
by Jane Austen, Seth Grahame-Smith; adapted by Tony Lee and Cliff Richards
Random House Publishing Group
On sale now
Based on the New York Times bestselling monster mashup! Who doesn’t love gory zombie mayhem with a dash of English manners?

18 Days
by Grant Morrison
Dynamic Entertainment
On sale August 10

From superstar creator Grant Morrison (All Star Superman, Batman & Robin, The Invisibles) comes 18 Days, the story of three generations of superwarriors, meeting for the final battle of their age. 18 Days is a reimagining of the great eastern myth Mahabharata and follows the course of the climactic war that concludes the age of the gods and begins the age of man. It is the prototype for every war ever fought. The scale is epic, wherein the biggest armies ever conceived of face one another across the ultimate battlefield to decide the fate of the future. This hardcover illustrated script book allows readers a first glimpse into the mythic animated series being developed by Morrison.

Monday, June 21, 2010

HUGE TBR Readathon Wrap Up PLUS A Summer Slimdown!

The HUGE TBR Readathon ended last night. A big thank you goes out to Bookworming in the 21st Century for hosting the event. I absolutely LOVE read-a-thons and I usually set my reading goals way too high.  This time I planned to read 4 books for the week and it was pretty unrealistic considering my weekend plans (I ran in a 5 mile race on Friday followed by throwing an awesome party for family and friends).  Anyway, I did read two of the four books:

I Was Amelia Earhart by Jane Mendelsohn  (146 pages)
Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber  (253 pages)

Total pages read:  399 pages
Time spent reading:  8 hours

Not my most impressive stats. I'm still reading The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors by Michele Young-Stone.  I hope to finish it this week. The fourth book on my list was The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine, which I'll definitely get around to reading soon. Right now, I'm working on several reviews and hope to post them soon.

A Summer Read-a-thon!

Taylor over at The Library Lurker decided to turn her entire summer into a read-a-thon to get through her huge TBR pile.  What a great idea!  Instead of a week, three whole months devoted to reading. Well, that's where I found Carina's comment from Reading Through Life about hosting a summer read-a-thon called the Summer Slimdown from June 29-September 6.  I can't wait to join!  I'll make a list of my TBR books that I've been dying to read (and some books I need to just bookcross already) and post it when the challenge begins.  I'd like to believe that I could get through my TBR pile without participating in challenges, but it provides so much motivation. I love that feeling of checking off books from your list, tracking the progress and then sharing it with other readers. It sounds like a lot of head over there to sign up!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

HUGE TBR Readathon Update

This week is flying by during the HUGE TBR Readathon, hosted by Bookworming in the 21st Century.  I originally set a goal of 4 books for the week.  So far I've finished one, I Was Amelia Earhart by Jane Mendelsohn.  I'm writing the review and hope to post it sometime soon.  I'm in the middle of The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors by Michele Young-Stone (this book is taking me a while).  Plus, I'm about to start Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber

Usually I read one book at a time...devote my attention entirely to one story.  Commit myself to that one author and become absorbed in the world they've created.  It also ensures I finish the book I've started. But I'll try something a little different now. Let's see how I manage two (or maybe even more) books at once.  Can I easily shift my focus from paranormal romance to realistic fiction and then back again?  I'm sure a lot of people probably read multiple books at once.

What's your reading preference and do you have any advice on how you manage multiple reads (especially in different genres)? Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Delcroix Academy

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week is...

Delcroix Academy: The Candidates
 by Inara Scott
Releases on August 24, 2010

Summary from Amazon:

Dancia Lewis is far from popular. And that's not just because of her average grades or her less-than-glamorous wardrobe. In fact, Dancia's mediocrity is a welcome cover for her secret: whenever she sees a person threatening someone she cares about, things just...happen. Cars skid. Structures collapse. Usually someone gets hurt. So Dancia does everything possible to avoid getting close to anyone, belieiving this way she can supress her powers and keep them hidden.

But when recruiters from the prestigious Delcroix Academy show up in her living room to offer her a full scholarship, Dancia's days of living under the radar may be over. Only, Delcroix is a school for diplomats' kids and child geniuses--not B students with uncontrollable telekinetic tendencies. So why are they treating Dancia like she's special? Even the hottest guy on campus seems to be going out of his way to make Dancia feel welcome.

And then there's her mysterious new friend Jack, who can't stay out of trouble. He suspects something dangerous is going on at the Academy and wants Dancia to help him figure out what. But Dancia isn't convinced. She hopes that maybe the recruiters know more about her "gift" than they're letting on. Maybe they can help her understand how to use it...But not even Dancia could have imagined what awaits her behind the gates of Delcroix Academy.


This is Inara Scott's debut novel and I'm dying to read it. I've been on a "special teenager starts a new school" kick you might be able to tell from some of my past WoW picks (Thresholds, Infinite Days, etc.). I love this cover!  You can feel the gravity of her powers and the mysterious (possibly evil?) secrets that the exclusive school harbors.  The author loves it too...check out the cover reveal entry on her blog. Go to Inara's website for a short teaser. Plus, it looks like this might be book 1 of a series...yay!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Getting through that HUGE TBR list...

I joined the HUGE TBR Readathon hosted by Bookworming in the 21st Century. It starts today and will run through Sunday June 20.  I'm setting a goal of 4 books this week, which is probably way too high (because I have friends and family visiting this weekend). Here's some potential titles (which may change depending on my mood):

- Finish The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors by Michele Young-Stone
- The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
- Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber
- I Was Amelia Earhart by Jane Mendelsohn

I've got so many other books cluttering my floor, but this would be a great start considering my reading pace slowed down drastically last month.  Can I blame the humid summer weather for that?  I guess not, so it's time to get down to work.  I'll update my progress throughout the week.  Happy readings! :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bloggiesta Finish Line!

I'm wrapping up my first Bloggiesta challenge. Thanks Maw Books Blog for hosting the festivities. Although I didn't finish everything on my list, I completed a bunch of important stuff including:

- Changed my blog template and color scheme. I think it's an improvement. Now the blog has personality it was desperately lacking.  It's bright and more welcoming (well, at least I hope it is).
- Edited and organized the sidebar. I rewrote the About Me, reduced the list of book titles to the last 5 books I read, consolidated the challenge progress bars, and rearranged the boxes.
- Added a Reading List page that features my books read in 2010 and my TBR list.
- Updated my Reading Challenges page.
- Changed my profile picture.
- Updated my BookCrossing extended profile.
- Brainstormed and wrote several future meme posts.
- Commented on other blogs (Bloggiesta participants and other bloggers).

Unfortunately, I didn't participate in any of the mini-challenges, but that's always something I can shoot for next time.  Still it was a very productive weekend.
Total Time: 10 hours.  I achieved my goal! :) 

From one challenge to another...I'm participating in the HUGE TBR Readathon starting tomorrow, Monday June 14 at 8 am through Sunday June 20 at midnight.  I'll post more details tomorrow.

Friday, June 11, 2010

My First Bloggiesta!

I'm participating in my first Bloggiesta challenge! It's hosted by Maw Books Blog, so head over there to learn all about it (and sign up). Now through Sunday, I hope to spend at least 10 hours blogging and work on the following blog stuff to improve my ramblings:

- Brainstorm and write future posts.
- Update my books read list
- Update my challenge page.
- Add more pages in addition to the challenges page (?)
- Reorganize the sidebar.
- Work on my review format and rating system.
- Look for a new profile picture to use.
- Update my BookCrossing profile.
- Register more books on BookCrossing.
- Update the spreadsheet of my books and BC status.
- Check out Goodreads and maybe make a profile (we'll see).
- Experiment with other design templates and colors.
- Catch up on my Google Reader subscriptions.
- Visit other bloggers and leave comments.

I'll cross off goals as I complete them and add updates to this post throughout the weekend.  It'll be great if I could get at least half the list done. Alright, let's get started!

Bloggiesta Update 1,  Friday 9:45pm
So far, I've updated my extended profile on BookCrossing including my pages read section.  I just realized that the new BookCrossing 2.0 doesn't have a preview option like it did before the upgrade.  Usually I catch a bunch of typos when I look at the previews.  Also missing: the preview for the journal entries.
Total time: 1.5 hours

Bloggiesta Update 2, Sunday 1:30pm
I couldn't spend much time blogging yesterday, but I brainstormed some future posts and new memes I might participate in weekly.  Today I've been on a roll.  I've knocked a bunch of goals off my list.  The biggest change is the blog template and color.  Orange is much brighter and lively than the drab gray before. I created another page for Reading Lists where I'll keep my "books read in 2010" (instead of listing it all in the sidebar) and my "TBR list".  Then I reorganized the boxes on the sidebar.  I still need to update my challenges page and visit other bloggers.
Total time: 6 hours

Bloggiesta Update 3, Sunday 4:00pm
Yes, I've made more progress!  I updated my challenges page and replaced some bad links that must have changed when BookCrossing upgraded to 2.0.  Then I transferred pictures from my camera to my laptop and changed my profile picture.  In this picture, I'm in the conservatory at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina (a beautiful place I visited over New Years).
Total time: 8.5 hours

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Crazy for Covers!

AbeBooks compiled a list of 25 iconic book covers they love. While these books are modern classics (like Catch 22, Brave New World, A Clockwork Orange, etc.), it got me thinking about book covers I really like.  I love beautiful, whimsical fantasy covers...the type the gets you daydreaming about living in another world, saving the someone's life, fighting for something righteous, or falling hopelessly head-over-heels in love. So with that in mind, I compiled this collage of my favorite book covers that I've seen lately.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Thresholds

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week is...

by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Releases on August 5, 2010.

Summary from Amazon:

Maya’s family has just moved from Idaho to Spores Ferry, Oregon. She’s nervous about starting middle school and making new friends, but soon that’s the last thing on her mind. First, a fairy flies into her room. Then it turns out that the kids in the apartment building next door do magic, and their basement is full of portals to other worlds. She’s bursting with new experiences and delight . . . and secrets, because she can’t breathe a word to her family, not even when she winds up taking care of an alien!

Imagine the family in Ingrid Law’s Savvy seen through the eyes of a young Ray Bradbury. Cross the Threshold!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My First Graphic Novel & Review: The Courageous Princess by Rod Espinosa

Last month my husband and I went to our local comic book store on Free Comic Book Day.  He used to collect comic books as a kid, so we figured we'd go over and check out what they have.  Besides the few comics-turned-movies I've seen, I didn't know anything about comics, comic book stores or graphic novels.  I was pleasantly surprised by the visit because it was a lot of fun!  I spent most of the time browsing the graphic novel section and I found several intriguing choices (Castle Waiting, Twilight, Pride and Prejudice).  After a while I finally decided to buy The Courageous Princess by Rod Espinosa. Why did I choose this one?  (1) It's colorful artwork is beautiful, (2) it has a fairy tale premise (and I'm a sucker for that), and (3) it's geared to a younger audience (a.k.a. it looked G-rated).  So here's my first take on a graphic novel:

The Courageous Princess
by Rod Espinosa
Publisher: Dark Horse edition, April 2007

Princess Mabelrose lives in New Tinsley, a small kingdom in the vast Land of a Hundred Kingdoms. She's a humble, kind-hearted young woman with loving parents.  One day Mabelrose is kidnapped by a ruthless, powerful dragon named Shalathrumnostrium (it's a mouthful so I'll refer to him as the dragon) who commands an evil army of creatures. The dragon routinely kidnaps and ransoms princesses throughout the kingdoms.  But Mabelrose is different from other princesses who wait for princes to come to the rescue.  When she sees the opportunity, Mabelrose escapes from the dragon's castle. So begins her journey back home crossing the Land of a Hundred Kingdoms. Along the way, the courageous princess makes friends, helps strangers, and dodges the dragon's many minions. Meanwhile, her father King Jeryk travels to find out who took his daughter and bring her back home safely.

From the very beginning, I really love Mabelrose. She has no airs and uses all her ingenuity to prevail over challenges. Even though she's a little clumsy, she's gutsy and her adventure is fun to read. Faith plays a big role in this story. She regularly prays before bedtime for the strength and courage to get out of her situations and to bless her parents and friends back home. It's refreshing because I haven't read much lately where characters embrace faith in this way.  The story doesn't end in this volume and I look forward to finding out what's next in store for Mabelrose.

Bottom Line: Charming fairy tale + beautiful artwork = a graphic novel that shouldn't be missed!
My Rating: 4/5

Reading a graphic novel was fun.  I loved the details of the artwork---the castles, the dresses, the characters' expressions.  It's a different experience from reading novels and imagining the entire world in my head. I'm definitely going to incorporate graphic novels into my TBR list.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Top Librarian Blogs recently came out with a Top 25 Librarian Blogs list.  Definitely check it out and go to the sites. Some of the blogs are hilarious and entertaining like A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette and Annoyed Librarian. Others blogs are really informative and useful, such as Library Link of the Day and Librarian By Day.

Then it got me thinking....what other librarian blogs are out there?  There are so many librarian/library-related blogs.  Here's a few older lists I found that feature top librarian blogs. Enjoy!

Top 200 Education Blogs (it has sections for "Library and Research" and "Librarian Blogs") - Guide To Online
100 Best Blogs for Librarians of the Future - Learn-gasm, August 2009
Top 50 Librarian Blogs -, April 2009
Best Librarian EduBlog - EduBlog Awards, 2009