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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Rewind & March TBR vlogs + Linky

Here's a look at what I read in February, with a thumbs -up or -down, as well as a quick overview of why; if you want to know what I'm planning on reading for the month of March, skip down a bit.  And of course, if you want to share your own wrap-ups and TBRs, there is a linky at the bottom of the post.

DARKNESS FALLS by Cate Tiernan
HEART'S BLOOD by Juliet Marillier
DRAGON SLIPPERS by Jessica Day George

And now for the TBRy goodness:

Forgot to mention!!! THE HERO'S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINDGOM by Christopher Healy! (sorry!)

A WITCH IN WINTER by Ruth Warburton
MAGIC UNDER STONE by Jaclyn Dolamore
TENDER MORSELS by Margo Lanagan
ENTWINED by Heather Dixon
GIANTS BEWARE by Jorge Aguirre/Rafael Rosado
ENNA BURNING by Shannon Hale
LIES BENEATH by Anne Greenwood Brown
ENCHANTED by Alethea Kontis

And that's all from me!  If you did your own vlogs or blogs for either of these, feel free to link them up here:

Monday, February 27, 2012

Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan

You have to be active, not passive.  You can't just storm away from Meriwether, from Dray, from Reyn. You can make things right. You, Nas, actually have to grow the hell up. At last.

Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan
Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Fantasy, 400 pages
January 2nd 2012 by Poppy/Little Brown  BYR
Nastasya has lived for hundreds of years, but for some reason, life never seems to get any better. She left her spoiled, rich girl life to find peace at River's Edge, a safe haven for wayward immortals. There, she learned to embrace River's Edge, despite some drama involving the sexy Reyn, who she wants but won't allow herself to have. But just as she's getting comfortable, her family's ties to dark magick force her to leave.

She falls back into her old, hard partying ways, but will her decision lead her into the hands of a dark immortal? Or will it be her first step to embracing the darkness within her?

I think many of the things I said in my review of Immortal Beloved apply here as well.  I mean, as much as I loved Immortal Beloved, I still went into this one a little leery (she leaves Rivers Edge?  WTH?), so I was prepared to face some sophomore slumpage.  But again, Cate Tiernan thwarts me.  There was a teeny bit of the slump, but for the most part, I loved it again.

Here's the thing about the dreaded Sophomore Slump: it's nearly unavoidable.  The shiny wears off.  The things that made a book new and exciting aren't new any more, and so they're normally not as exciting either.  The courtship phase is over.  A second book in a serious really relies on growth and tone, and in the pursuit of one, authors often lose sight of the other.  Fortunately, Tiernan doesn't seem to have trouble with this. There is a good deal of growth, for all that Nas takes a huge step - well, maybe not wholly backwards, but sideways at least.  But the tone, Nas' fantastic voice, is still there and just as enjoyable as ever.

I chose the quote at the top because to me it represents the book - and what I love about it - really well.  As I've said before, Nas has the potential to be really annoying (460 yr old whiny club kid? Pass.) but she manages not to be, and part of it is that she does actually realize what a screw-up she is, and she does realize that it's time to stop being one.  It gives her just enough leeway for you to go with her and give her a chance, and see that she's not as big a screw-up as she thinks she is.  Just...profoundly damaged and ready to heal.

There's Whiny Nas. Scared Nas.  And it couldn have been much more annoying than it was, but it wasn't.  Nas is still Nas, and you always know that there's something going on, that her actions are a little more excusable because of the life she's had, and because you suspect someone is pulling the strings.  So even though she pushes people away, and even though you're screaming at her like a horror movie bimbo for the love of god not to leave Rivers Edge, you know that there's more to it.  And you also know that it really is necessary - it reconfirms that Nas didn't just overreact when she came to Rivers Edge, or when she started to doubt Innocencio.  It wasn't just melodrama, and it wasn't just a burnout.  There is something insidious going on, and she sensed it, and now it's come back for her.  So any steps back-and-siedways she may take are needed and not nearly as frustrating as you would think.  Plus they add great tension.

When I wrote my review for Immortal Beloved, I ended up tossing most of the notes I'd written in favor of a "just read it, gahhhh!" review, but a few that I didn't include I think remain true to this book. So I'm un-tossing them:
  • The side stories and bits of info on the other characters really round the story out and drive home my favorite thing about the series: everyone has shit.  Everyone has to deal.  There is still darkness and wallowing in Darkness Falls, but more than that, Nastasya starts to really see that everyone has shit to deal with, and everyone has darkness to battle.  Her understanding of this begins to pave the way for her to become a very sympathetic, more (I almost hesitate to use the word) enlightened character. I just love it when good world-building is combined with good character-building. Plus it just adds so much to the story for the reader; really enjoyable, and this coming from someone who often cringes when the word "flashback" is used...
  • It's less like a concrete episodic story, and more like a journey that is just beginning. This may bother some people, loose ends and all that, a fairly minor villain and a reversal of a bigger one in book 1, then an expansion of the one we thought was the Big Bad, while the a potentially Bigger Bad is out there roaming around off stage, etc. But I liked that. It made sense, and was a bit of a coming of age story, which is funny for someone Nas' age, but also just a bit...epic feeling.
  • It handles the concept of immortality better than most.  I mentioned this in the other review, but it bears mentioning again. There is thought to it, what it would really be like - pieces you would carry with you from your old lives, habits and thoughts, people you'd mourn, things you'd miss and how that would all shape you. All the way down to how tall you're likely to be if you were born 500 years ago. I really liked that it was clear Tiernan thought about these things.
  • And it's all super quick and fun to boot.
So yeah.  Once again, if you haven't picked up this series - what are you waiting for?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

IMM: 2/25/12

My voice isn't broken, and I got some books.  Yay, me!

(And In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi, of course)

Slated by Teri Terry: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
12.21.12 by Killian McRae: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads 
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Icefall by Matthew Kirby: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea by Sophia Nash: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Entwined by Heather Dixon: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Thanks to ~
Liz at Consumed by Books for being Ever-Awesome,
Eric of Eric Smith Rocks,
Killian McRae,
and the lovely folks at Hachette UK!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Face Off: Shadows on the Moon

Earlier in the week, I was going through my stack of fairy tales, reading the first lines of each in an effort to decide which to read next.  It was a wasted effort, because they all had effing amazing first lines.  Seriously, the quality of these fairy tales was maddeningly good. ;)  Anyway, I took the issue to Twitter and Goodreads and let The People (and The Tweeple) decide for me what to read, and they decided The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.  So, yay! Except...
Except I found that it just wasn't quite what I was in the mood for, so I kind of, um, cheated on you guys.  I picked up Zoe Marriott's Shadows on the Moon instead; it was sitting on my bed, at the top of the stack, and Suzume was making eye contact with me.  I found I could resist its siren song no longer...
So, to make up for the fact that I FLAGRANTLY DISREGARDED Liz everyone by not reading TGWCFiaSoHOM*, I thought I should at least give you a good Face Off for your troubles...
I give you, the UK (already out) and US (coming out soon) versions; personally, I feel like I maybe need to own them both**...So prettttty...
Which one did it better?

US version: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads 

*For reals. Longest title ever.
** Especially since the US version is hardcover, and the UK is paperback only...

Last Week on FFO: Well, it was a close one, and I thought for sure everyone was going to go for the more typical YA-ish cover of Sapphire Blue, but Ruby Red managed to just barely snag a win.  I think, though, that if those who voted for Sapphire Blue could see Ruby Red in person, more would have voted that way - a picture does not even come close to doing this beautiful book justice!
Winnah ------->

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

TBR Tuesday: Slated

TBR Tuesday is a way to talk about the books we own but haven't read, see what other people think about them, and help us decide whether to bump it up our list or knock it off completely.
[If you're more a book borrower than a book buyer, you're still welcome to participate with the books that you've been meaning to read and haven't!]

On my TBR

Slated by Teri Terry
Book Depository | Goodreads
Dystopia, 440 pages
Expected publication: May 3rd 2012 by Orchard Books
Kyla's memory has been erased, her personality wiped blank, her memories lost forever.

She's been Slated.

The government claims she was a terrorist, and that they are giving her a second chance - as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla's mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth?

This one is actually new to my shelves this very week (and will be in the next IMM...whenever I get around to recording that).  And it doesn't come out for awhile, so it'll be a bit before I read it or share my thoughts with you guys.  But I thought I'd put it up for TBR this Tuesday to see what you guys think of it.  I mean, setting aside the fact that the author's name is Teri Terry*, what are your impressions of this one?  Have you guys seen this around yet?  Anyone looking forward to it, or even newly welcoming it to your shelves like me?

What's on your TBR this week?

*Not that I'm making fun, mind. Especially since Terry was my Gma's last name.  But really?  Teri. Terry.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

“Now he was kissing me, not in a scary way, not with hostility, but with warm, seductive intent. In a hayloft, in the barn, in the middle of the night. This scene brought to you by the letters
W, T, and F.”

Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Fantasy, 407 pages
September 7th 2010 by Little, Brown BYR
Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl. She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something's got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past.

Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe--until the night she learns that someone wants her dead.

Weirdly, unexpectedly, I was sort of amazed by this.  I'd heard of Cate Tiernan but never read anything by her.  I'd had friends  that pushed this on me (especially one who shall remain Allison nameless).  It has a grandiose, somewhat silly title that I can't help but like because it reminds me of Gary Oldman and Beethoven.   But somehow I still just wasn't expecting much from it.  Maybe it was the idea of an eternal club kid that just made me turn up my nose and say, Um, no.  But for all of the good I've heard about Cate Tiernan, I went into this with my expectations low.  And the b*itch proved me wrong.
I friggin loved it.

There were so many times it could have gone wrong - even should have gone wrong.  So many pet peeves and really bad tropes that had the potential to just kill it dead. And yet, Cate Tiernan not only made those pet-peevish things work, she made me like them. She made me say, yeah, ok. I'm with you.
460 year old club kid? Sure.
Protag who is powerful and special and gosh darn incredible without realizing it?  Okay.
Melodrama, crazy instant attraction, and a healthy dose of angst?  Bring it.
Viking alpha male almost-rapeyness?  Why the eff not? 

I don't understand it.  If you had mentioned even one of those things, I probably would have quirked an eyebrow and said "Pass".  I would never have conceded to the possibility that I might end up liking any one of them.  But I did.  Like, a lot.
Cate Tiernan, you're a crafty one.  I understand why you write about witches, because clearly you are one.

I have to say, I love when someone proves me wrong. I love when someone takes something that I think is never going to work, and then makes it work.*  In less skillful hands, so much of this could have been very bad.  In less skillful hands, this book could have ended by being tossed against a wall, and this review could have been a rant.  But I wasn't irritated.  I didn't hate everything.  I didn't hate anything.  I feel vaguely warm and fuzzy. It's more than a little unsettling.

I could tell you all of the reasons that it worked, or all of the things I really liked, like how it was a great set-up for the series and had interesting world-building. Or how I really liked Nas and wanted to know more about her, and Reyn, and River and Incy, and all the rest.  I could tell you about how the flashbacks kept me intrigued and flowed well, rather than feeling abrupt and "foreshadowy" and pissing me off.  I could tell you about how it handles the concept of immortality better than just about any vampire/immortal/paranormal YA out there, or how it has this almost epic feel to it.

I could tell you all of those things, but what would be the point?  All I really want to tell you is to pick this one up and give it a chance, and let you find those things out for yourself.

Immortal Beloved was a strong start to a promising series - really really really readable and engaging, and I definitely get the appeal of Cate Tiernan now.  I love when something thwarts my inner bitch and robs me of a good rant.
I like you Cate Tiernan; I've got my eye on you...

~ Other shiny editions ~

*Did anyone else just hear Tim Gunn in their head?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Perception by Kim Harrington

"I thought about the events of the last few days and wished I could have pieced things together sooner. Maybe then, I wouldn't be standing here with a knife and a girl's life in my hands. Every muscle in my body tightened in preparation for what I was about to do..."

Perception by Kim Harrington 
(Clarity #2)
Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Fantasy/Mystery, 288 pages
Expected publication: March 1st 2012 by Scholastic Point

When you can see things others can't, what do you do when someone's watching you?

Everybody knows about Clarity "Clare" Fern. She's the psychic girl in school, the one who can place her hands on something and see hidden visions from the past.

Only Clare would rather not be a celebrity. She prefers hanging back, observing. Her gift is not a game to her.

But then someone starts playing with her head . . . and heart. Messages and gifts from a secret admirer crop up everywhere Clare turns. Could they be from Gabriel, the gorgeous boy who gets Clare's pulse racing? Or from Justin, Clare's hopeful ex-boyfriend who'd do anything to win her back?

One thing is certain. Clare needs to solve this mystery, and soon. Because the messages are becoming sinister, and a girl in town has suddenly disappeared.

Perception was one of my eagerly-awaited books of 2012.  I read Clarity last year for HH, and was pleasantly surprised to find that all of the people that pushed it on me were right.  I loved Clare's voice and Harrington's breezy, engaging storytelling.  I couldn't wait to get back into Clare's world.  And though I think Perception suffered a bit from sophomore slumpage, I have to say, it was nice being back in her world.

There were times when, I'm not going to lie, I was a little disappointed.  The book - and Clare - seemed somewhat lacking in spirit. I missed Clarity. In the first book, she reminded me so much of Veronica Mars - as this sassy, really smart, no nonsense, strong girl - and I loved that.  In Perception, she lost some of what made her stand out from the rest of the YA pack.  Her sassiness peaked through and definitely became more pronounced as the story went on, but for awhile she became just a little more typical, a little more predictable, and that made me sad.   Strong Clarity somehow lapsed into an average YA heroine, caught between 2 boys and the popular and unpopular groups.  She wasn't really her anymore.  Her spark was missing.

Now, she did reclaim it.  And part of me even thinks that, given all she went through in book 1, it kind of made sense for her to be a little...less, somehow.  But still.  Her voice was a big part of the reason I liked the series in the first place.  And part of it, too, was - OH GOOD GOD with the love triangle already. Don't get me wrong, if ever there was an excuse for a love triangle in a book, this book gets it.  Certain things needed to be addressed after how the 1st book ended, and it should have merited a good amount of page space - there were some major things to be worked through. But seriously. There's only so much you can take before you want to yell "Let's get on with it already!"
Also, NO WAY would those boys ever have been as saintlike as they were.

So, there was that.
But as for all the rest, it was just as enjoyable as ever.  It was strange, because much like book 1, I felt like  I had it pegged the whole way through, yet felt like I didn't.  I basically called it as soon as one specific character entered (because there was no other reason for the character to be there, really); but still...even though I was pretty sure, Harrington does a really good job arousing suspicion of everybody.  The red herrings are just a-flyin' and at some point, you doubt just about every damn body.  Part of me always knew, and part of me always doubted - it's a really interesting way to read a book.  I have to give Harrington props for that.

Another thing that got points was that there were good repercussions from book 1.  Some serious shiz went down, and there's bound to be fallout from that.  And I don't just mean where Clare is concerned.  Everyone went through some majorcrazyscary, and they have to deal with that.  And though, no, this is never going to be one of those books that wins awards for depicting How People Cope, Harrington (fortunately) isn't the type of writer that just throws the trauma away and lets the characters move blithely forward.  She not only didn't ignore the fallout and the trauma with the whole cast of characters, but she used it as a way to explore Clare and what she wants from life.  I so very much liked Clare's burgeoning sense of self and purpose as a result of what she went through.

So all in all, there's a lot of good growth, though it is a kind of in an in-between book. They're inevitable in a series, I guess, but a little slumpy all the same.  Still, it's worth the read, and Clarity does come back into her own (and makes a damn decision), and a lot of ground work is laid for the series to grow and for Clarity to become a really strong, kick-ass heroine.
Plus, despite any faults, it's always quick and engaging.

My verdict? Pick it up.

Friday Face Off: Ruby Red vs. Sapphire Blue

I came across this Face Off idea a couple weeks ago when I was putting together my TBR Tuesday for Ruby Red.  It worries me to note that a lot of the covers we've been having on FFO lately are books who's cover style has changed mid-series - and today is no different.  Here we have the cover for book 1, Ruby Red, and the as-yet-unreleased book 2, Sapphire Blue, of Kerstin Gier's worldwide best-selling series.  Now, this series - having been translated into a bajillion languages - has a lot of really cool covers under its belt (and I think next week we'll face-off a few of them), but the 2 below are for the US, and are...different.  And I don't know why, maybe there's some arc significance, but the first book was so effing pretty, and unique!, that I don't know why they'd want to change the design to something that is (yes, very pretty, but) more pedestrian.  I cringe saying that, because it is a very beautiful cover. But there's no denying that it's also a pretty common one, nowadays.
So what do you guys think?  Are you more drawn to Ruby or Sapphire? Do you see Sapphire as a progression of the cover story in some way, or is it too different?  And of course,
Which one did it better?

Last Week on FFO: Robin Wasserman's upcoming The Book of Blood and Shadow went US cover to UK cover, with the UK cover executing a clean sweep.
Winnah ---->

Thursday, February 16, 2012

See, here's the thing... (update on Graphic Novel Week)

And then this happened...

So, I will try to get GNW wrapped up as soon as I'm able, and until then I'll try to keep it business as usual here w/FFO tomorrow and maybe a review or two this weekend if I'm feeling up to the task.

Oh, and on another note: the Follower Love Hop ended on Vday, so the winner is...

EVIE W.!!!
(there were actually a couple of Evie's who entered, and 1 didn't provide a last name, so I hope there isn't more than 1 Evie W... O_O)

Thanks for entering, everyone, and Evie, your book will be on the way to you soon!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wishlis Wednesday: Graphic Novel Edition

Yesterday I gave you a post of the graphic novels I own that I need to get around to reading; today's focus is the ones I still need to get my hands on - the ones that have been pushed on me by friends, or that I have stumbled across and need to have on my bookshelves. ;)

If you have any up-and-coming or already-out-but-wanting graphic novels on your wishlist, make sure to let me know in the comments!

This is probably my most eagerly anticipated graphic novel, and the only one on today's
list that isn't out yet.  You can believe I will be reading it the second I get my greedy little paws on it.

This is by one of my favorite people.  I suppose I should say by one of my favorite
authors, but no, I'm sticking with people.  And anyone who's ever read her "silly afterword manga"
will understand why. I adore the Emma series, so I need to get my hands on this.

This one has been on my to-read list since before it came out.  
Kinda can't believe I still haven't read it.

Sorta just feel like I have to. Basically everyone tells me I will like it.

I'm a big Buffy nerd. BIG.  I routinely quote the show.  I'm currently rewatching all of them (thank you, Neflix.), and am loving it just as much now as I did a decade ago.
Need to read this and see where the story goes.
(And to prove my nerdery - I wrote that last line about seeing where the story goes, and immediately
got the song "Where Do We Go From Here?" in my head. Once More With Feeling, anyone?)

See above, re: nerdery. Replace Buffy with Firefly.
I worship at the altar of Joss Whedon.

So that's my (short) list.  There are many, many more I'd like to get my hands on. I think it's safe to say I am a graphic novel convert.

What's on your wishlist, graphic or otherwise?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Graphic Novel Week: Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

Graphic from Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks!

Welcome to day 3 of Graphic Novel Week! For those of you following along on the blog, there was a TBR post up today as well.

Here's my review for Faith Erin Hicks' FRIENDS WITH BOYS. (Book links below)

I'd love to hear your thoughts on FWB, or your recommendations for your favorite graphic novels. And remember, if you do your own reviews or vlogs, you can link them up here:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/vJxJut
Book Depository: http://dft.ba/-FWB
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11389398-friends-with-boys
:01 (publisher): http://www.firstsecondbooks.com/
Faith's site: http://www.faitherinhicks.com/index.php
The webcomic: http://www.friendswithboys.com/

TBR Tuesday: Graphic Novel Week Edition

Generally, when I get a graphic novel I read it pretty much immediately.  But I do have a few sitting on my shelves that I need to get around to, so without further ado, here's my TBR Tuesday: Graphic Novel Week Edition!

[I'm not going to give the descriptions and all that jazz on each of these like I normally would, because if I did, this post would be forever long, but I will put a little something on why I have it and want to read it, etc.]

Just got this one, actually. And I will read it soon, but  I am saving the actual reviewing
and whatnot for Fairy Tale Fortnight, because I think it would make a nice addition.

Got this one for Christmas. I l-o-v-e Gene Luen Yang, but I don't know all that much about this
particular work.  I am looking forward to it, though. I've been sort of saving it for whenever I
happen to be in a quick GN mood next. 

Bought this ages ago. Kinda can't believe I still haven't read it, because I've had a lot of
people push it and tell me it's excellent.  Fortunately, I think I have 1 little gap in the programming
this week that this would fit into rather nicely...

I bought this when Borders was closing because why the eff not, right?  Unfortunately, they
only had volume 2, and as I haven't read volume 1 yet, I haven't been able to pick this up.  I am
looking forward to it, though, because it's about a butler, and the first graphic novel I ever
loved was about a maid.  :)

So. What's on your To-Be-Read list, graphic novel or otherwise?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Review: Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

Welcome to Day 2 of my impromptu Graphic Novel Week. I thought I'd kick the review portion off with one I read recently and absolutely adored: Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on Zita, or your recommendations for your favorite graphic novels. And remember, if you do your own reviews or vlogs, you can link them up here:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/u3JdLf
Book Depository: http://dft.ba/-Zita
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8879121-zita-the-spacegirl
:01 (publisher): http://www.firstsecondbooks.com/
Ben's site: http://www.househatke.com/

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Graphic Novel Week: Favorites vlog!

Ugh. This one took just about forever.

Well, kiddies, this is the kick-off to Graphic Novel Week. These are some of my favorite graphic novels, the ones I recommend the most and have the biggest urge to reread and talk about.

I hope you'll share yours through out the week (or today in the comments!), and have provided a linky for you to do so. Click here to share your links!

A full list of the books mentioned (with links) will be up as soon as I finish my dinner - it's been a long day...
(Okay, they're up now):

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads  
Emma by Kaoru Mori: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads 
Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Bake Sale by Sara Varon: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Robot Dreams by Sara Varon: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads 
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads 
Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads 
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads 
Castle Waiting by Linda Medley: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads 
The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads 

*Title graphic from Faith Erin Hicks fabulous Friends With Boys!

Graphic Novel Week Linky Share!

Hey there!  Welcome to my little impromptu Graphic Novel Week!

Image from the fabulous FRIENDS WITH BOYS
by Faith Erin Hicks!

Through out the week, I'm going to be posting about some of my favorite graphic novels, some that I'm anticipating, what I look for, etc. I encourage any of you to do the same!  If you are so inclined to post your own reviews, wishlists or videos about graphic novels, please share them here so everyone can check them out!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

IMM: 2/11/12

Here's my quickie IMM for this past week, before we get into all the Graphic Novel Week madness. (Vlogging every day. Wish me luck!)

You know how this works, I'm sure...

Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
(btw, this is totally $1.99 on Amazon right now!)
Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Giants Beware! by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Also mentioned
Cinder by Marissa Meyer: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Austenland by Shannon Hale: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads (This is $2.99 on Amazon right now!)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Face Off: The Book of Blood and Shadow

I've had Robin Wasserman's The Book of Blood and Shadow on my wishlist for awhile now (pretty much as soon as I heard the title, 'cause, I mean, obvs).  But as much as I love some of the little details of the first (US) cover - that eye! - I have to say, I am much more taken with the second (UK) cover.  They definitely have very different feels, with one being rather unsettling and the other more typical, but also a little more magical.  So what say you?  Which one would you reach for on the shelves?
Which one did it better?

Last Week on FFO: I got a little over-eager, apparently, and the Face Off for A Temptation of Angels and Secrets After Dark went up a day early. So after an 8-day Face Off, my personal favorite, A Temptation of Angels, managed to snag a win.  Many of you liked the bright font on SAD, but in the end it just wasn't enough.
Winnah ------->

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss

The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss
Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
High-Concept/Folklore/Romanciful, 82 pages
Published January 17th 2012 by Quirk Books
One enchanting romance. Two lovers keeping secrets. And a uniquely crafted book that binds their stories forever.

When Evelyn Morgan walked into the village bookstore, she didn’t know she would meet the love of her life. When Brendan Thorne handed her a medieval romance, he didn’t know it would change the course of his future. It was almost as if they were the cursed lovers in the old book itself . . .

The Thorn and the Blossom is a remarkable literary artifact: You can open the book in either direction to decide whether you’ll first read Brendan’s, or Evelyn’s account of the mysterious love affair. Choose a side, read it like a regular novel—and when you get to the end, you’ll find yourself at a whole new beginning.

I'm a fan of Quirk Books. They're always looking for ways to challenge the status quo a bit, try something new, and I appreciate that.  (And with hits like Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children to their name, they aren't doing a bad job of it, either.)  So I'm always curious to see what they have planned next.  But The Thorn and the Blossom surprised even me.  I mean, I knew of accordion bindings in a sort of abstract way, as something that's just not done.  And yet, here they are, doing it.
And I have to say, I liked it.

I'm sure some will find the accordion binding gimmicky, and hey, maybe it is, but the fact is, it's also perfectly suited to the story that's being told.  Evelyn and Brendan's stories just ...wouldn't have been the same if they were just told in parts, rather than back to back.  I can't explain why, but it would have lessened it somehow.

Their stories fit together and complemented each other very nicely, and the unique format of the book helped facilitate that.  I was worried that it was going to be a little hard to read, but aside from a bit of flopping about when I first began reading, the book actually wasn't that hard to manage.  Also - it's a flipping accordion. I would have put up with a bit of frustration just to be able to play with the book like a magic deck of cards...

But onto the story itself.  You can start at either side, and I started with Evelyn. I have no idea how or if this colored my reading of the story, but I have to say I'm glad I started with Evelyn.  It felt right, starting with her, and plunged me into the magical feel of the book a bit more thoroughly than I think it would have if I'd started with Brendan.  Regardless of where you start, though, the story is very sweet and charming.  It's modern, but it reads a bit like a fairy tale, borrowing from folklore and adding in some magical realist bits that kept me completely engaged.  But light as it was, Evelyn and Brendan are adults and so are there stories - there were touches of darkness, little bits of doubt, but done so very lightly and subtly. It worked to make the fairy tale aspect seem heightened, but also more real.  It was that little bit of counterpoint to an otherwise almost airy story that helped ground it and make it have a little more impact.

It's an incredibly quick read, being only about 80 pages - a slim little novella easily read in 1 sitting.  I know some people don't like to read anything under novel length; they feel like they won't get enough meat to the story, that there's not enough depth or development in such a short span.  And yes, I suppose there isn't a ton of development going on in this book; there are things glossed over, large swaths of time skipped.  But it didn't feel like any negligence on Goss' part.  It just wasn't necessary.  As I said, it's very much like a fairy tale, like a story people would tell aloud, and those are never very lengthy.  They tend instead to be brief, succinct, relying on a few symbols and common tropes, and the reader's (or listener's) familiarity with them to give the story any import.

In this case, there can be no real conclusion to the story, other than the ones drawn by readers. I mean, with a story that is going to be retold as soon as you finish it (since you are merely flipping the book over and starting again), you can't know for sure how it ends, or it would give away the other half and render it pointless.  But it's the type of ending where all pieces are there, and it's up to the reader to determine how everything will go from there - whether the magic contained in this slim  book is worldly or otherworldly - and whether it matters at all, so long as there is love.

So, gimmicky or not, Goss carries it off well, and I think this would be a pleasant addition (perhaps even a necessary addition) to any bibliophile's coffee table.  And if you don't believe me, just wait until you see it in person.  See if you can resist the siren song of the accordion binding then...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

TBR Tuesday & Wishlist Wednesday

TBR Tuesday is going up a tad late because I didn't want to clutter up the page yesterday, with the Follower Love giveaway going on.
So today you're getting both a TBR and a Wishlist. :)

First up:

On My TBR:

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale
Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Contemporary Romance/Austenite! 288 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Bloomsbury USA
When Charlotte Kinder treats herself to a two-week vacation at Austenland, she happily leaves behind her ex-husband and his delightful new wife, her ever-grateful children, and all the rest of her real life in America. She dons a bonnet and stays at a country manor house that provides an immersive Austen experience, complete with gentleman actors who cater to the guests' Austen fantasies.

Everyone at Pembrook Park is playing a role, but increasingly, Charlotte isn't sure where roles end and reality begins. And as the parlor games turn a little bit menacing, she finds she needs more than a good corset to keep herself safe. Is the brooding Mr. Mallery as sinister as he seems? What is Miss Gardenside's mysterious ailment? Was that an actual dead body in the secret attic room? And-perhaps of the most lasting importance-could the stirrings in Charlotte's heart be a sign of real-life love?

Pretty sure I've featured this one on a Wishlist Wednesday post before. Well, now it's time to move it to the TBR Tuesday posts, cause you know whats? I gots it.  A beautiful, shiny, finished copy was sent to me by the lovelies at Bloomsbury, and though I won't be reading it until Jane in June, I will maybe have something else to share with you until then.  And, um, maybe an appearance from Shannon Hale in JnJ. I know.


On My Wishlist:
The Unnatruralists by Tiffany Trent
Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Steampunk, 320 pages
Expected publication: August 14th 2012 by Simon & Schuster BYR
In an alternate London where magical creatures are preserved in a museum, two teens find themselves caught in a web of intrigue, deception, and danger.

Vespa Nyx wants nothing more than to spend the rest of her life cataloging Unnatural creatures in her father’s museum, but as she gets older, the requirement to become a lady and find a husband is looming large. Syrus Reed’s Tinker family has always served and revered the Unnaturals from afar, but when his family is captured to be refinery slaves, he finds that his fate may be bound up with Vespa’s—and with the Unnaturals.

As the danger grows, Vespa and Syrus find themselves in a tightening web of deception and intrigue. At stake may be the fate of New London—and the world.

I mean, come on! OF COURSE I want to read this one.  Everything about this screams "Read me naoooo!!!" but even if the synopsis didn't grab me, this cover - this cover.  Unfortunately we've got a bit of a wait.

So what's on your TBRs and Wishlists this week?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

CLOSED Follower Love Giveaway Hop

Happy almost-V Day, all!  I participated last year in the Follower Love Giveaway Hop, and I thought I'd do it again this year.  (You know I luh you.)

If you follow me on Twitter, then you may know that earlier this year I bought some new bookshelves and cleaned out my stock in the process.  Lots of books were pulled in the Great Bookshelf Purge '12, and while many of them are going to the library or were stockpiled for a giveaway I have in the works,  I was able to squirrel away one for this giveaway...

(continued after the jump)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Book Chat: Negative Reviews & Author/Blogger Relations

So. This is the longest, ramblingest video I've ever made.  It's hard to discuss this without just devolving into aarchghghchshakfjdkvI.
So, uh...if you do a response, good luck with that...

Book Chat lasts all month, so you've got all of February to respond if you're so inclined. 
Looking forward to your thoughts and responses!

If you have suggestions for March's topic, please let me know in the comments! =)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Friday Face Off: Temptation of Angels vs. Secrets After Dark

Got a cover double for you this week. I feel like we've been doing a lot of remixes of covers for the same book (which is disconcerting, because it means a lot of covers are being given makeovers, which is a trend that tends to drive most readers - and nearly all book-buyers - insane). So I thought we would shake it up and do another double this week.  It's been awhile.  It's good to get back to the roots of FFO. At least for awhile. (aka There are plenty more remix face-offs to come.)
This week we're looking at Michelle Zink's upcoming A Temptation of Angels and Marie Higgins Secrets After Dark.  The similarities are obvious because, um, it's the same photo. But they do still have different feels to them, so the question is, as always:
Which one did it better?

Last Week on FFO:  Two covers for the upcoming apocalypsies release by Zoraida C√≥rdova, The Vicious Deep, went head to head, with the, um, head winning.
People did think the trident cover (which is the final cover, it seems) does have a broader appeal, and is probably more suited to a book with a male narrator.  But the fact was most of us found it plain and generic, where the face cover has a lot of subtle by awesome things going on. (Though a number of you did mention that you weren't fans of either.)
Winnah ------>

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

January Rewind / February TBR vlogs + Linky

*Linky at bottom of post for the sharing and the whatnot. :)

Well, it's the beginning of the month once again, so that can only mean it's time for a look back at what I just read, and a look forward to what I'll be reading.  First up, the January Rewind:

WHITE CAT by Holly Black (review)
THE HUMMING ROOM by Ellen Potter
FRIENDS WITH BOYS by Faith Erin Hicks
PERCEPTION by Kim Harrington
CHIME by Franny Billingsley
BY THESE TEN BONES by Clare B Dunkle

And now for what's coming up in February. I need your help with this one - what should I read?

Note: there is a LENGTHY list of fairytale retellings at the end - I will not be reading all of them in February, however I will be reading some (and some more in March), so if you have an opinion on any of them (love it, hate it, etc), PLEASE let me know in the comments!

DARKNESS FALLS by Cate Tiernan
HEART'S BLOOD by Juliet Marillier

And the MAYBES:
MAGIC UNDER STONE by Jaclyn Dolamore
ENNA BURNING by Shannon Hale
THE FAIRYTALE DETECTIVES (Sisters Grimm) by Michael Buckley
A KISS IN TIME by Alex Flinn
TOADS AND DIAMONDS by Heather Tomlinson
PRINCESS BEN by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
FAIREST by Gail Carson Levine
THE FROG PRINCE (a fairy tale for consenting adults) by Stephen Mitchell
SPINDLE'S END by Robin McKinley
TENDER MORSELS by Margo Lanagan
GODMOTHER by Carolyn Turgeon
DRAGON SLIPPERS by Jessica Day George
THE SWAN KINGDOM by Zoe Marriott
SISTERS RED by Jackson Pearce
BEASTLY by Alex Flinn

Link up YOUR January Wrap-ups/Rewinds and/or February TBR vlog or blog posts here:


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