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Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Here's a look at the books that got added to my shelves in November. I'm still unpacking and settling, but hopefully back to regular videos soon!
Thanks for watching. =)

Tuck Everlasting | Natalie Babbitt
Jane Austen's First Love | Syrie James
Stitching Snow | R.C. Lewis
What Waits in the Woods | Kieran Scott
All the Truth That's in Me | Julie Berry
The Madness of Mr Darcy | Alexa Adams
First Frost | Sarah Addison Allen

Also Mentioned:
Syrie James guest post & giveaway

Monday, November 24, 2014

Guest Post & Giveaway: Jane Austen's First Love by Syrie James!

You all know I love me some Austen (*cough* understatement of the year *cough*), so of course, I'm very happy to be part of the awesome blog tour for Syrie James' latest Austenesque work, Jane Austen's First Love! This one has an amazing prize pack, guys gals — actually, a number of them, but that grand prize, though! Let's just say, I'm gonna be jealous of whoever wins these! =D

Anyway, before we get into all that, Syrie is here to tell us a little bit about what else she likes to do, besides match-making everybody's favorite Jane. Check that out below, and then come chat with me in the comments for a chance to win some lovely Austen goodies!!

My Top Ten Fav Things To Do When I’m Not Writing
(in no particular order)

By Syrie James

1. Go to the movies

My husband Bill and I are diehard movie fans. As a screenwriter I’m fortunate to belong to the WGA, which screens dozens of the newest movies every month for its members. We try to see everything that catches our fancy, which adds up to a LOT of movies. Our favorite genres are romance, historical, drama, biography, mystery, thriller, and action adventure. We also love selected comedies (not the raunchy ones), animated films, westerns, sci-fi, crime movies (if they’re not too graphic), and fantasy. My husband likes war movies; I’d rather skip those unless it recounts a part of history I’ve never seen.

In January, we go to the Palm Springs International Film Festival and see about 35 foreign films in ten days—crazy, I know, but so worth it! In one day, we might start with a film in the Netherlands, then go to Thailand or Belgium, Iceland or Egypt, and finish with a movie from Japan. It’s like traveling around the world in a single day, with breaks in between to grab food and chat with other film-lovers in line.

2. Watch TV

Is it kosher to admit that another fave thing is to just relax in front of the tube after a hard day’s work? We love shows like Blue Bloods, The Mentalist, and Nashville (and my husband loved Game of Thrones), but our top favorite is everything on Masterpiece Theatre. Sherlock! Downtown Abbey! Yeah!

3. Take in some theater

Lest you think we spend all our free time sitting in front of a movie or TV screen, may I add that we also adore live theater. There are so many opportunities here in Los Angeles to see the best that theater has to offer. We have season tickets to several theater companies. We often make a date out of it, with dinner before or after.

4. Eat good food

Which reminds me of another much loved thing to do: eating great food at one of our favorite restaurants, or trying some place new. I cook at home most evenings, but I don’t have time to experiment, so it’s fun to go out now and then. You can find any kind of food your heart desires in L. A.!

5. Play games

One of my fav ways to spend an evening is playing cards or board games with friends and family. I’m a fan of Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, Password, Rummy Royal, Wits and Wagers, and Boggle—although no one will play Boggle with me any more because they say I find too many words. I can’t help it. My brain is full of words. It’s a professional hazard.

6. Immerse myself in water

This includes swimming, relaxing in our hot tub, and taking long, leisurely baths (with bubbles, of course.)

7. Design and sew costumes

When I was in high school, my mother refused to let me to take a typing class (which I insisted I needed to become a writer) until I’d first taken an advanced sewing class. She said I’d need it when I was a mother some day. She was right. I used to sew all my sons’ Halloween costumes, and I had a blast serving as Costume Mistress for the dozens of plays and musicals they were in. Today, I have fun designing and sewing all of my (and my husband’s) Regency attire, which we wear to dance the night away at Jane Austen balls!

8. Miscellaneous fun stuff

Regency country dancing (see #7.) Photography. Taking walks. Visiting beautiful gardens and museums.

9. Read

This will not surprise anybody: I love to read. Every night, I spend an hour or two reading in bed—you will always find at least one or two books on my nightstand (along with my Kindle) as well as a few magazines. Reading is the best training ground I know for an author. And when I’m writing a Jane Austen novel (as in my latest, Jane Austen’s First Love), I reread Austen’s books over and over to help me keep her writing style in my head.

10. Down time with family

My favorite thing of all is to spend time with my husband, our sons, and their wives (who fortunately live right down the street or around the corner), and our friends—doing any or all of the activities above!

**** Grand Giveaway Contest ****

Win One of Five Fabulous Jane Austen-inspired Prize Packages

But wait! There's more!!
To celebrate the holidays and the release of Jane Austen's First Love, Syrie is giving away five prize packages filled with an amazing selection of Jane Austen-inspired gifts and books!
To enter the giveaway contest, simply leave a comment on any of the blog stops on the Jane Austen's First Love Holiday Blog Tour.

Increase your chances of winning by visiting multiple stops along the tour! Syrie's unique guest posts will be featured on a variety of subjects, along with fun interviews, spotlights, excerpts, and reviews of the novel.
Contest closes at 11:59pm PT, December 21, 2014.
Five lucky winners will be drawn at random from all of the comments on the tour (so come back and chat with me and other Janeites frequently!), and announced on Syrie’s website on December 22, 2014.
The giveaway contest is open to everyone, including international residents. To see more about the prizes, make sure to check out this post.
Good luck to all!

Jane Austen's First Love by Syrie James
Get It | Add It
Austenesque Fiction, 400 pages
Published August 5th 2014 by Berkley Trade
In the summer of 1791, fifteen-year-old Miss Jane Austen is determined to accomplish three things: to do something useful, write something worthy, and fall madly in love. While visiting at Goodnestone Park in Kent for a month of festivities in honor of her brother's engagement to Miss Elizabeth Bridges, Jane meets the boy-next-door—the wealthy, worldly, and devilishly handsome Edward Taylor, heir to Bifrons Park, and hopefully her heart! Like many of Jane’s future heroes and heroines, she soon realizes that there are obstacles—social, financial, and otherwise—blocking her path to love and marriage, one of them personified by her beautiful and sweet tempered rival, Charlotte Payler.

Unsure of her own budding romance, but confident in her powers of observation, Jane distracts herself by attempting to maneuver the affections of three other young couples. But when her well-intentioned matchmaking efforts turn into blundering misalliance, Jane must choose between following her own happily-ever-after, or repairing those relationships which, based on erroneous first impressions, she has misaligned.

Syrie James, hailed as “the queen of nineteenth century re-imaginings” by Los Angeles Magazine, is the bestselling author of nine critically acclaimed novels that have been translated into 18 languages. Her books have been awarded the Audio Book Association Audie, designated as Editor’s Picks by Library Journal, named a Discover Great New Writer’s Selection by Barnes and Noble, a Great Group Read by the Women’s National Book Association, and Best Book of the Year by The Romance Reviews and Suspense Magazine. Syrie is a member of the WGA and lives in Los Angeles. Please visit her at syriejames.com, Facebook or say hello on Twitter @SyrieJames.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Q&A with Cat Patrick, author of COURT!

On Monday I shared a an excerpt of Cat Patrick's Court with you (and gave you the opportunity to win signed copies of Cat's other books — woot woot!), and I promised I'd be back again, with another little spotlight.
So today, we're having a bit of a Q&A sesh with Cat, and since this month is NaNoWriMo (and since yours truly is crazy enough to try to take part, even in the middle of a huge move), I thought we'd focus on some writing & process bits!

So if, like me, you always find other people's "process" fascinating, or you're in the middle of the NaNo doldrums and need a kick in the pants, then please to enjoy: this. =D

-Advice for aspiring authors
From one of my six-year-old daughters: “Think of something that happened to you. Touch and tell across pages. Write a quick sketch so you don’t forget. Then write the words.”

I’m not kidding. She just said that.

For me, I think the most important thing is to just do it. I hear from people all the time: “I want to publish a book.” And they haven’t written the book yet. Also, unlike my kiddo, I purposely don’t write down book ideas—or sketch them. If I forget them before it’s time to write then you’ll forget them before it’s time to read.

-Do you have a special time to write? How is your day structured writing-wise?

As a mom, I have to be really flexible. Ideally, though, I write first thing in the morning before anyone else is awake, in my jammies. I’m definitely most productive in the morning.

-When you start a book, do you already have the whole story in your head or is it built progressively?

Most times, it’s built progressively. I outlined Revived, and it was the most difficult book I’ve written.

-Writing mentors?
I find inspiration from every good book I read. I’d recently finished Justin Cronin’s The Passage as I was getting going on Court, and it inspired me to be more thoughtful about description of landscapes, for example.

-Does music play any type of role in your writing?

I find inspiration from alternative bands like The National, Arcade Fire and Band of Horses, but I can’t write with music or noise of any kind. My daughter wants to tell you that she is inspired by, “we will we will rock you.”

-What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

Something crunchy, like gluten free pretzels or popcorn, and something warm, like green tea or coffee.

So, any fellow WriMos out there who want to weigh in? I'm a bit process-obsessed at the moment, so I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
And of course, don't forget to go enter to win in the big ole' Cat Patrick giveaway!


Court by Cat Patrick
Get It | Add It
277 pages
Published October 23rd 2014
For more than 300 years, a secret monarchy has survived and thrived within the borders of the US, hiding in plain sight as the state known as Wyoming. But when the king is shot and his seventeen-year-old son, Haakon McHale, is told he will take the throne, becoming the eleventh ruler of the Kingdom of Eurus, the community that's survived for centuries is pushed to the limit. Told through four perspectives, Court transplants us to a world that looks like ours, but isn't. Gwendolyn Rose, daughter of the Duke of Coal, is grudgingly betrothed to Haakon -- and just wants a way out. Alexander Oxendine, son of the Duke of Wind and Haakon's lifelong best friend, already grapples with internal struggles when he's assigned to guard Haakon after the king dies. And commoner Mary Doyle finds whispers in the woods that may solve -- or destroy -- everything, depending on your bloodline.

Money. Love. Power. Community. What's your motivation?

Raised in a house that was struck by lightning–twice–Cat Patrick is the author of young adult books Forgotten, Revived, and The Originals, and the co-author of Just Like Fate.

As a child, Cat could be found making up stories like her first book, Dolly the Purple Spotted Dolphin; growing corn in the backyard; or performing with a traveling sign-language troupe. She earned a journalism degree from the University of Wyoming and a master’s degree from Boston University, and worked in public relations for fifteen years. She lives outside of Seattle with her husband and twin daughters, and is on Twitter @seecatwrite, or Facebook at authorcatpatrick.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios!

You guys may recall me hinting during my audio preview / giveaway of Heather Demetrios' Exquisite Captive that there'd be another copy coming your way (hopefullyfingerscrossedamIright?). Well, by *another* copy, what I really meant was: 24 of them.
For serious.
Heather's Blogger Caravan is giving away TWENTY FOUR signed copies of Exquisite Captive this month, as part of a giveaway relay, which is pretty damn awesome, if you ask me. Basically, every week day throughout November (and a bit into December), a different blogger is hosting a flash giveaway, and then passing the torch off to the next blogger to giveaway the next copy, and so on, etc., etc., amen.
If this is confusing at all to you, don't worry — some awesome person made a video explaining how the whole thing works (hint: it's me). Check it out below, and then skip down to find out who won yesterday's giveaway, or enter to win in mine!

Pretty nifty, right? I KNOW.
And so, the winner of yesterday's giveaway over at The Nerd Herd Reads is *drum roll please*...
Ashley Ferguson!
Congratulations, Ashley! Keep an eye out for an email from RachelMarie about your winnings. =)
Bummed you didn't win yesterday's giveaway? HAVE NO FEAR, it's my turn to give away a copy now!

If you've been following the caravan, you're used to the drill by now, but if you're new to it: for day 12 of the giveaway relay, I am offering up one hardcover copy of Exquisite Captive plus a bookplate, signed by Heather! This giveaway is US only, and ends at midnight tonight! Enter on the Rafflecopter below. The winner will be announced in tomorrow's giveaway, so make sure to stop by Book Chic tomorrow to see if you won (or to enter again if you didn't!)
You can see the whole list of stops here.
Also, if you missed that audio preview, you should totally go check it out, 'cause the narration is FAB, and it'll give you a taste of the book!
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios
Get It | Add It
480 pages
Published October 7th 2014 by Balzer+Bray
Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself.

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.

When she's not traipsing around the world or spending time in imaginary places, Heather Demetrios lives with her husband in New York City. Originally from Los Angeles, she now calls the East Coast home. Heather is a recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her debut novel, Something Real, which Publisher's Weekly calls “[An] addictive yet thoughtful debut” about reality TV stardom. She is the author of EXQUISITE CAPTIVE, a smoldering fantasy about jinn in Los Angeles and what Kirkus called in its starred review "an intoxicating, richly realized realm of magic, politics, spirituality and history" (#1 in the DARK CARAVAN CYCLE). She is also the author of the upcoming I’ll Meet You There (Winter 2015). I’ll Meet You There is a love story about a young combat veteran and a girl trapped in their small town, both struggling to escape the war at home. Heather is the founder of Live Your What, an organization dedicated to fostering passion in people of all ages and creating writing opportunities for underserved youth. She is proud to have an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. You can always find her on Twitter (@HDemetrios), ogling the military dogs she wants to adopt (but can’t because her NYC apartment is way too small). Find out more about Heather and her other books at wwww.heatherdemetrios.com and www.darkcaravancycle.com.

Monday, November 17, 2014

COURT by Cat Patrick Excerpt & Giveaway!!

I was a big fan of Revived by Cat Patrick, and have had her other books on my wishlist for some time, so when the opportunity came along to share a bit of her latest book, Court with you — and give you the opportunity to get your hands on her books as well — of course I jumped at the chance.
Add in the fact that I love a good bit of fantasy coupled with court intrigue (perfect. combo. -- and a US monarchy, say whaaaa?!), and this one has definitely been added to my wishlist — and I'm thinking after this excerpt, it might land on some of yours as well.
(Plus: maps!)

So check out a bit from Court below, and then enter to win some signed Cat Patrick books for your own shelves!

And make sure to stop back on Wednesday for a quick spotlight on Cat!

Before he was the enemy, James Haakon McHale III was just a seventeen-year-old in what most people knew as the state of Wyoming, wishing he was somewhere other than the predawn forest with a rifle in his grip.
“It’s colder than moonlight on a tombstone,” Haakon muttered, blowing on his fist. His thick-soled boots swish-thumped on the hard earth as he skillfully avoided twigs, rocks, and low branches.
Alexander Oxendine—youngest son of the Duke of Wind, wide receiver, video game button masher, and Haakon’s best friend—laughed into his collar. It could’ve been mistaken for a cough.
“It’s colder than a whore’s heart,” Alexander said, his tone cautiously low. They were the youngest members of the hunting party, and were only allowed to take part because of their rank. Haakon could think of a thousand superior privileges.
He glanced around to make sure none of the other men were paying attention—especially his father. Smirking, he said, “Colder than a polar bear’s balls.”
The pair stifled laughter.
“Than a witch’s—”
“Too easy.”
“Colder than a dead woman’s touch,” Alexander said.
Haakon checked again, dialed down his voice even more, and said, “It’s colder than Gwendolyn Rose’s kiss.”
It was Haakon’s father: dictator, fun-spoiler, and—regrettably for his son—the tenth ruler of the Kingdom of Eurus, also known as the Realm, the monarchy hiding in plain sight in the depths of the Democracy known as the United States of America.
Every schoolchild knew the story. In 1670, after Joseph Dyer’s wife died in the Great Plague in London, he brought his five daughters to what would become the United States one hundred years later, seeking a better life. But it soon became apparent that his family would never thrive under strict Puritan rule in New England–which banned higher education for girls and taught submissiveness above all else, and which centered around extreme religious beliefs that were counter to Dyer’s own.
A friend, John Seymour, who was—controversially—married to a Native woman, suggested that they set out together in search of a new home deep within America’s treacherous unknown. Seymour’s wife had been attacked; her family persecuted. Seymour believed that rather than fighting the Natives, they should live in harmony with them.
Dyer, Seymour, and several other men and their families snuck away. After a long and dangerous journey, together they created their version of paradise: a kingdom that blended the best of England with Native cultures. Dyer was thought of as the Father of the Realm, and Seymour’s Native wife, who ensured their survival through tribal relations, the Mother.
Rather than cause a revolution, the founders decided to keep the kingdom secret. Inside the borders of what they’d eventually stake claim as Wyoming, they’d follow their own rules. Outsiders wouldn’t know they were different because they wouldn’t understand.
Outsiders weren’t to be trusted.
Dyer’s youngest daughter, captivated by the ancient Greek she wouldn’t have been allowed to learn in Puritan society, named the new kingdom Eurus, meaning east wind. She pronounced it “air-us.”
“But the winds here blow from the west,” Haakon had asked his father once—before Dad was King James. That was when it was okay to ask questions. When curiosity wasn’t an imposition.
“That’s right, Haakon,” his father had replied, straw between his teeth. They’d gone on a walk together. The sun was setting on an easy day. His dad had pointed toward the eastern horizon. “The wind here does primarily blow from the west, but our founders blew in from the east. That day, the wind changed directions.”
Haakon frowned away the memory of days never to return, and refocused on the trees. He walked as soundlessly as he could in his camo fleece jacket and vintage Levi’s, his rifle nestled in the crook of his left arm, a round in the chamber. He was on the left edge of the group, three rows behind his father. Evenly spaced gaps between them, the men were like migrating geese, locked in formation.
Geese hunting deer.
“Were you drinking last night?” Haakon’s father had demanded on the way to the meeting point that morning. “Is that why you’re so tired?”
“I’m tired because it’s so early that the birds aren’t even awake yet.”
“Good. Because you know what the consequences will be if you start drinking again.” They’d shared the backseat of the armored SUV; Haakon had done his best to preoccupy himself with his cell phone.
“Yes, sir, I know.”
“You need to turn that thing off before we arrive. And when’s your next haircut? You look slovenly.”
Will you just get off my back? Haakon had thought at the top of his lungs. What he’d said, though, was simply, “Yes, sir.”
There, in the forest, Haakon toyed with the idea of raising his gun and shooting King James square in the back of the head. Right there under his hat, just above the rise of his custom down hunting vest. He could do it. Even with the others present, he knew there’d be no trial, no trip to Corby. But offing his father wouldn’t solve anything. In fact, it would make life a lot worse. Because with his father gone, Haakon would be in charge.
Haakon would become the King of Eurus.
The thought made him want to puke.

To celebrate the release of Court, you can enter to win 1 of 2 signed prize packs of Cat's previous books, Revived, Forgotten, The Originals and Just Like Fate!
Open to US entries only. [International entries will receive a gift card instead.]
Ends Monday, November 24th at midnight EST. Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Court by Cat Patrick
Get It | Add It
277 pages
Published October 23rd 2014
For more than 300 years, a secret monarchy has survived and thrived within the borders of the US, hiding in plain sight as the state known as Wyoming. But when the king is shot and his seventeen-year-old son, Haakon McHale, is told he will take the throne, becoming the eleventh ruler of the Kingdom of Eurus, the community that's survived for centuries is pushed to the limit. Told through four perspectives, Court transplants us to a world that looks like ours, but isn't. Gwendolyn Rose, daughter of the Duke of Coal, is grudgingly betrothed to Haakon -- and just wants a way out. Alexander Oxendine, son of the Duke of Wind and Haakon's lifelong best friend, already grapples with internal struggles when he's assigned to guard Haakon after the king dies. And commoner Mary Doyle finds whispers in the woods that may solve -- or destroy -- everything, depending on your bloodline.

Money. Love. Power. Community. What's your motivation?

Raised in a house that was struck by lightning–twice–Cat Patrick is the author of young adult books Forgotten, Revived, and The Originals, and the co-author of Just Like Fate.

As a child, Cat could be found making up stories like her first book, Dolly the Purple Spotted Dolphin; growing corn in the backyard; or performing with a traveling sign-language troupe. She earned a journalism degree from the University of Wyoming and a master’s degree from Boston University, and worked in public relations for fifteen years. She lives outside of Seattle with her husband and twin daughters, and is on Twitter @seecatwrite, or Facebook at authorcatpatrick.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The True Stories blog tour & giveaway!

As some of you may know (and as evidenced by the fact that this is the first thing on the blog in all of November...), this month is going to be a chaotic one for me. But for those of you not in the know:
From Alice + Freda Forever by Alexis Coe
1) I'm moving, which is difficult at the best of times, but makes you want to cry a lot when you have hundreds and hundreds of books to slog up and down stairs,
2) I was out of town for days on an unexpected work trip (the last of the work for that job, though; whoop whoop!), and
3) I decided to take on NaNoWriMo, because clearly I'm insane.

All of this has meant that I am behind in, well, everything, and so though I had wanted to do a video discussion of these books, Tomboy and Alice + Freda Forever, I can't do that: my camera is packed away, and I've had no time to record anything, anyway. (And I still need to finish Alice & Freda!)
From Tomboy by Liz Prince
But I don't want to just do a regular ole review, either, because I do want to actually talk about these. Tomboy especially. Maybe it's because they're true stories, and so that feels more discussion-worthy, or maybe it's just a mood I'm in, but either way, I have things to say, and I want to say them.
(Also: non-fiction! Yay!!)

So for now, I'm saving my review/discussions of Alice + Freda and Tomboy until I'm settled in my house and can unpack and talk to ya, but trust that whenever something provokes enough of a reaction out of me that I have to actually, physically talk it out, that's a good thing. I like things that make you feel something, that make you have an opinion. So I'm hoping you'll join me in that little discussion when it comes about, but until then, take a look at the two fascinating books below, and then enter to win them!


Alice + Freda: A Murder in Memphis by Alexis Coe
Get It | Add It
223 pages
Published October 7th 2014 by Pulp/Zest Books
In 1892, America was obsessed with a teenage murderess, but it wasn't her crime that shocked the nation—it was her motivation. Nineteen-year-old Alice Mitchell had planned to pass as a man in order to marry her seventeen-year-old fiancée Freda Ward, but when their love letters were discovered, they were forbidden from ever speaking again.

Freda adjusted to this fate with an ease that stunned a heartbroken Alice. Her desperation grew with each unanswered letter—and her father’s razor soon went missing. On January 25, Alice publicly slashed her ex-fiancée’s throat. Her same-sex love was deemed insane by her father that very night, and medical experts agreed: This was a dangerous and incurable perversion. As the courtroom was expanded to accommodate national interest, Alice spent months in jail—including the night that three of her fellow prisoners were lynched (an event which captured the attention of journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells). After a jury of "the finest men in Memphis" declared Alice insane, she was remanded to an asylum, where she died under mysterious circumstances just a few years later.

Alice + Freda Forever recounts this tragic, real-life love story with over 100 illustrated love letters, maps, artifacts, historical documents, newspaper articles, courtroom proceedings, and intimate, domestic scenes—painting a vivid picture of a sadly familiar world.

Tomboy by Liz Prince
256 pages
Published September 2nd 2014 by Zest Books
Growing up, Liz Prince wasn't a girly girl, dressing in pink tutus or playing pretty princess like the other girls in her neighborhood. But she wasn't exactly one of the guys, either. She was somewhere in between. But with the forces of middle school, high school, parents, friendship, and romance pulling her this way and that, "the middle" wasn't exactly an easy place to be.

Tomboy follows award-winning author and artist Liz Prince through her early years and explores--with humor, honesty, and poignancy--what it means to "be a girl."

As part of the True Stories blog tour, Zest Books has offered up winner's choice of Tomboy: a graphic memoir by Liz Prince, or Alice + Freda Forever: a Murder in Memphis by Alexis Coe!
US only, ends November 22 at midnight, EST. Fill out the Rafflecopter to enter.
Good luck!!

And make sure to check out the rest of the stops on the True Stories tour for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 23, 2014


In which I break my not-ban on buying books, and go a little overboard with one in particular...

I know October's not over yet, but I'm not expecting more bookage, so thought I'd go ahead and share these lovelies. I did some fun things in October, and got some fun things from awesome people, so yay for these new additions! (And yes, I really did mean it when I said I wouldn't be really buying too many books for a bit... promise.)

Exquisite Captive | Heather Demetrios
(also had Something Real signed)
The Jewel | Amy Ewing
Anatomy of a Misfit | Andrea Portes
Asylum | Madeleine Roux
Blackbird | Anna Carey
(also showed Eve)
Prickle Moon | Juliet Marillier
The Madness of Mr Darcy | Alexa Adams
Shadow Scale (!!!) | Rachel Hartman


Monday, October 20, 2014

Excerpt & Giveaway: Redeemed by P.C. & Kristin Cast!

A few years ago, the House of Night series swept it's way right through my circle of friends. We read the first book, Marked, in our book club, and it seemed that many of the meetings that followed somehow ended with conversations about where everyone was in the storyline, or some thing that had happened that those who were still reading the series just needed to talk about!

With the series ending, I don't imagine those conversations will last too much longer (except for when noobs join the club, and have the series pressed into their hands...); I know there are a number of you out there who are big fans of the series, too, so I'm happy to share an excerpt of the final book with you today, as well as a chance to win a little something from the HON world!

Click through to read a little bit from Redeemed, and then enter to win!

LEVEL UP by Gene Luen Yang & Thien Pham | #GraphicNovelWeek

And we're down to our last vlog of Graphic Novel Week!
Thanks to all of you for sticking around and chiming in this week; I love hearing about your favorite graphic novels, and I LOVE getting recommendations from you!
If you missed anything or want more graphic novel love...

Thanks for watching!

LEVEL UP by Gene Luen Yang, art by Thien Pham
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Dennis Ouyang has always struggled in the shadow of his parents' expectations. His path is laid out for him: stay focused in high school, become a gastroenterologist. It may be hard work, but it isn't complicated … until suddenly it is.

Between his father's death, his academic burnout, and his deep (and distracting) love of video games, Dennis is nowhere near where his family wanted him to be. In fact, he's just been kicked out of college.

And that's when things get … weird.

Four adorable—and bossy--angels, straight out of a sappy greeting card, appear and take charge of Dennis's life. And so Dennis finds himself herded back onto the straight and narrow: the path to gastroenterology. But nothing is ever what it seems when life, magic and video games collide.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

FIVE IN FIVE: Super Quick Reviews of Recent Graphic Novels | #GraphicNovelWeek

5 in 5 time! It's pretty self-explanatory, but just in case it's not, here's the deal: I'm going to show you five graphic novels I've read recently and attempt to review them all in under five minutes. And accounting for a bit of extra time (say, 5 seconds intro, 5 seconds outra, and 43 bajillion seconds of rat-wrangling, I'd say I an in under budget! ;P )
Thanks for watching, and talk to ya in the comments! =D

IN REAL LIFE by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang
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Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role playing game that she spends most of her free time on. It's a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It's a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. Gaming is, for Anda, entirely a good thing.

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer - a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person's real livelihood is at stake.

THROUGH THE WOODS by Emily Carroll
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'It came from the woods. Most strange things do.'

Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.

These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.

Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there...

AMY UNBOUNDED by Rachel Hartman
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Belondweg Blossoming follows the lives of Amy and her neighbor Bran Ducanahan the summer they turn ten. Amy has begun reading the national epic, Belondweg, about a semi-mythical queen of the same name who united Goredd and saved her people from invaders. Amy only wishes her own life were half as exciting. But how is life supposed to live up to literature when your mother is a semi-domesticated barbarian, all the knights you know are banished, and the only dragon you have ever met is a geeky grad student?

Join Amy as she dances the Two-foot, wears a really ugly bridesmaid's dress, becomes friends (in spite of everything!) with Bran, imitates the patron saint of ducks, flees from rampaging sheep, learns that love doesn't always conquer all, chugs buttermilk, and begins to understand that even Belondweg didn't have to save the world all by herself.

Winner of the 2001 Xeric Grant.

THE WRENCHIES by Farel Dalrymple
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Meet the Wrenchies.

They're strong, powerful, and if you cross them, things will quickly go very badly for you. Only one thing scares them—growing up. Because in the world of the Wrenchies, it's only kids who are safe... anyone who survives to be an adult lives in constant fear of the Shadowsmen. All the teenagers who come into contact with them turn into twisted, nightmarish monsters whose minds are lost forever.

When Hollis, an unhappy and alienated boy, stumbles across a totem that gives him access to the parallel world of the Wrenchies, he finally finds a place where he belongs. But he soon discovers that the feverish, post-apocalyptic world of the Wrenchies isn't staying put... it's bleeding into Hollis's normal, real life. Things are getting very scary, very fast.

Farel Dalrymple brings all his significant literary and artistic powers to bear in his magnum opus—a sprawling, intense science fiction tale that has at its heart the uncertainty and loneliness of growing up.

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The Stratford Zoo looks like a normal zoo... until the gates shut at night. That's when the animals come out of their cages to stage elaborate performances of Shakespeare's greatest works. They might not be the most accomplished thespians, but they've got what counts: heart. Also fangs, feathers, scales, and tails, in The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth.

Ian Lendler's hilarious tale of after-hours animal stagecraft is perfectly paired with the adorable, accessible artwork of Zack Giallongo (Broxo, Ewoks). And with Romeo and Juliet coming in book two, this is a promising new series of graphic novels for young readers.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

FLASH GIVEAWAY! | #GraphicNovelWeek

Welp, I've had less time this weekend than I was anticipating, which means that today's intended Graphic Novel Week vlog just isn't going to happen (yet). But as I was scrolling through Amazon while putting together my graphic novel collection video, I noticed that one of the books on my shelves, by one of my favorite graphic novel authors, is on, like, super sale, so I thought, PERFECT! I'll make up for the lack of Saturday-vlog with a flash giveaway!

Someone's gonna get a copy of Prime Baby by Gene Luen Yang, who is amazeballs. US only (sorry, international peeps, I loves ya, but shipping), and I'm drawing the winner on Monday, so it's a SUPER QUICK GIVEAWAY DON'Y MISS OUT YO.
And since it's such a super quickie giveaway, I'm not even worrying about tweeting and all that jazz. Click and you're entered, done.
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prime Baby by Gene Luen Yang
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From the pages of the New York Times and the pen of Printz Award winner Gene Luen Yang comes a tale of math, aliens, and new siblings.

Thaddeus doesn’t like his new sister (she’s not that smart— and she gets all the attention). He likes her even less when he discovers that she’s an inter-dimensional conduit for peace-loving aliens (who are totally lame—all they want to do is knit socks for the homeless and have sing-a-longs!). But what’s even worse is that no one will believe him about any of this! How is he ever going manage to grow up to become the President of Earth?

First serialized in the New York Times Magazine, Prime Baby is a laugh-out-loud look at sibling rivalry.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Need-to-Reads | #GraphicNovelWeek

It's been awhile since we had an honest-to-goodness Book Chat, but now seemed like the perfect opportunity! So today, as part of Graphic Novel Week, I thought we'd do a bit of a Chat /slash/ a "reverse" genre push, in which we talk about gaps in my own graphic novel collection (see the full thing here), as well as what graphic novel/manga/comic you'd push into people's hands to convince them to give graphic novels a try.
Can't wait to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Conversation with Cory Doctorow

I'll be sharing my thoughts on Cory Doctorow's & Jen Wang's In Real Life this weekend, as we wrap up #GraphicNovelWeek, but today, Cory has dropped by to have a Very Serious Conversation as part of the 30 Questions with Cory Doctorow blog tour! I'm a fan of Cory's, and one of the major reasons for that is the way his passion comes through in every aspect of his online presence. In Real Life takes a relatable approach to a number of problems that are easy to keep at a distance, and today, Cory and I are going to dig into that a bit.
Check it out below, and make sure to stop back by this weekend for my thoughts on In Real Life!

Your work (both as a traditional author and as a journalist on Boing Boing) centers around tackling very modern problems — or, rather, new permutations of old problems — file-sharing and DRM (copyright), gold farming and in-game economics (exploitation, consumerism, actual-world economics), etc. They're all interconnected, of course, but if you could sit someone down and make them understand your passion about any one thing, what would it be? What would you want them to take away from your conversation?

My other fall 2014 book, Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free, tries to answer this question. Basically, my message is that the world is made out of computers. Our houses, cars, airplanes, etc are made of computers that we put our bodies into, and increasingly, our bodies are full of computers, from pacemakers to hearing aids. As estoeric as Internet policy and regulation are, they’re the secret forces that shape the whole world -- information doesn’t want to be free, but PEOPLE do, and in the information age, people can’t be free without free and fair information infrastructure.

The Internet isn’t a glorified video-on-demand service, it’s not a tool for organizing jihad, it’s not a better pornography delivery system, it’s not a platform for MMOs -- it’s the nervous system of the twenty first century, and when we treat its individual applications as the central fact of the net, we end up making decisions that undermine and redound through all of society and down through our future.

In the forward to In Real Life, you talk about how one of the huge changes we've seen as a result of internet access is the ease with which people can come together and join their voices. We've seen it in things like the campaign to stop SOPA, various grassroots social justice endeavors (like the Steubenville rape case, etc), and of course the plethora of petition sites we see nowadays. But as much as we band together and make our voices heard on things like DRM, exchange of ideas and internet freedom, it doesn't seem like any battles are ever really won; as soon as one piece of legislation is struck down, 3 more appear hydra-like in its place; wherever there is money to be made, it seems someone will be there to control, portion and profit... all of which is a really long-winded way of saying, are we fighting a losing battle? Will history remember us as lovable upstarts who ultimately lost, or pioneers in freeing up intellectual property?

The issue isn't copyright, or free speech, or social justice. These are all epiphenomena of a more fundamental issue: corruption.

Lawmakers represent an ever-shrinking cadre of rich and powerful investors who command more and more wealth, and who use that wealth to ensure that the law continues to tilt towards them, towards their continued enrichment and ongoing positions of power.

A free and open Internet through which we can organize to fight this rot is the prerequisite to solving all other problems. By definition, the rich and powerful are organized -- they have solved their coordination problems, the underlying problem of all human endeavor:
how to get stuff done by groups of people with a minimum of time stepping on each others' toes.

By definition, the opposition to the establishment is less organized than the establishment. The Internet radically lowers the cost of organizing (imagine making Wikipedia without the Internet!), and while that confers a benefit to the establishment, it confers a greater benefit to the opposition -- in that the establishment's just getting more of what it already has, while the opposition is getting something new.

I'm not an optimist and I'm not a pessimist. I'm *hopeful*.

If your ship sank in the open sea, treading water until you couldn't kick anymore wouldn't be an act of optimism. You know you probably won't be rescued. But you kick anyway. Because you haven't given up hope. Because not everyone who kicked was rescued, but because everyone who was rescued kicked.

And if you were supporting your loved ones -- your kids, your spouse -- you'd kick harder. Because you'd be hoping for them, too.

The alternative to fighting back is capitulating. To hell with that.

Will we get an follow-up stories, even brief web-comic style ones, from Anda and/or Raymond down the line? Or any side characters?

There's a new webcomic short up on Tor.com called Con/Game, that Jen and I did to promote the book. I'm generally not much of a sequels guy -- I'm more forward looking ("let the way of others be lit by the flames of the bridges I burned behind me!"). But never say never -- I didn't plan on writing a LITTLE BROTHER sequel, but when HOMELAND popped into my head, I wrote it in 8 weeks flat.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Cory!
Hope to see the rest of you this weekend, when I talk about In Real Life as part of my 5-in-5 vlog for #GraphicNovelWeek!

Check out the rest of the 30 Questions with Cory Doctorow tour stops at these awesome blogs!
Wednesday, October 8th – Bunbury in the Stacks http://bunburyinthestacks.com/
Thursday, October 9th – Stacked http://www.stackedbooks.org/
Friday, October 10th – Forever YA http://foreveryoungadult.com/
Saturday, October 11th – CBR Robot 6 http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/
Sunday, October 12th – The Midnight Garden http://www.themidnightgarden.net/
Monday, October 13th – Cuddlebuggery http://cuddlebuggery.com/
Tuesday, October 14th -- Guys Lit Wire http://guyslitwire.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, October 15th – Novel Thoughts http://www.novelthoughtsblog.com/
Thursday, October 16th – The Book Rat - Hey, you're here!
Friday, October 17th – Alice Marvels http://www.alicemarvels.com/

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang
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196 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by First Second
Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role playing game that she spends most of her free time on. It's a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It's a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. Gaming is, for Anda, entirely a good thing.

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer - a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person's real livelihood is at stake.

From acclaimed teen author and digerati bigwig Cory Doctorow and rising star cartoonist Jen Wang, In Real Life is a sensitive, thoughtful look at adolescence, gaming, poverty, and culture-clash.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


So, I dug all of the graphic novels off of my shelves (or the ones I could find, anyway), and lemme tell you, they are going to be HELL to put away. The things I do for you...
*prepares for another month-long floor-pile* ;P
But while I've got this big ole stack taking up space, let's take a look at just what is in it!
Let me know in the comments which ones you love or have been wanting to read, and tell me titles you think I should look into and add to my collection!

Zita the Spacegirl
Legends of Zita the Spacegirl
Return of Zita the Spacegirl
Friends with Boys
Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong
Bake Sale
Robot Dreams
Castle Waiting, vol 1
Castle Waiting, vol 2
Same Difference
Delilah Dirk & the Turkish Lieutenant
The Eternal Smile
A Bride's Story, vol 1
Sailor Twain
This One Summer
Rapunzel's Revenge
Giants Beware
The Undertaking of Lily Chen
The Cute Girl Network
Amy Unbounded
Through the Woods
The Wrenchies
The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth
In Real Life
Prime Baby
Level Up
Boxers & Saints boxed set
Life Sucks
Clockwork Angel
The Year of the Beasts

Forgot to show:
Anya's Ghost
The Rise of Aurora West

Any reviews and guest posts mentioned can be found somewhere here on the blog; sorry, don't have time to dig them up individually at the moment!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Top Ten Graphic Novel Worlds I Want to Visit | #TopTenTuesday

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's Top Ten Tuesday prompt is "Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want to Visit," which is just perfect timing, because I'd wanted to talk about my favorite graphic novel worlds at some point during this week!
So here's a look at some of the places I want to get lost in; I feel like, if you rolled these all into one, it'd be the perfect quirky vacation...
Check it out, and let me know some of yours in the comments!

10. China 
. . . as painted by Danica Novgorodoff. I mean, I'm not in search of a ghost bride, so maybe the experience won't be quite the same, but it'd be pretty cool to roam the watercolor countryside all the same.

9. A robot competition
. . . with the folks of Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong. Antics and in-fighting abound, I imagine, plus sweet, sweet battling 'bots — I'm down for some hilarity and hijinks!

8. The Stratford Zoo 
. . . for a Midnight Revue. Zoo animals acting out Shakespeare in hilarious and pointed ways, because while the zookeeper's away, the animals will play. Or Play, I guess. ;)

7. Constantinople
. . . with Delilah Dirk & Mr. Selim at my side! I'm not gonna lie, getting caught up in Delilah's antics would probably give me a heart attack, but I can just picture sitting in the getaway carriage with Selim as we shake our heads in wonder that we ended up...wherever we ended up...

6. Acropolis
. . . with Aurora West, fighting monsters and being science heroes. SCIENCE. HEROES.

5.  Cupcake's Bakeshop
. . . for a quick bite to eat, followed by a night out listening to Eggplant's band. What more could a girl want, other than maybe some of that Turkish Delight recipe Cupcake has been working on?

4. Goredd
. . .  and do you know how happy it makes me that Graphic Novel Week gives me an excuse to think about visiting the location of one of my favorite books? For those of you who, like me, love Rachel Hartman's Seraphina, and can't get enough of Goredd, you may want to pick up Rachel's graphic novel, Amy Unbounded: Belondweg Blossoming. It's set in the same world, but much earlier, and adds nicely to the sense of the world Rachel has created. Plus it gives me Seraphina feels. Goredd!

3. Victorian England
. . . guided by the hand (and the passion) of Kaoru Mori. Fancy dresses! Class struggle! Up-dos! Illicit romances! Pet squirrels!

2. Castle Waiting
. . .  all of it. Just, every nook and cranny! I have never felt like a world is more FOR ME than Linda Medley's Castle Waiting, and I want to know all its secrets, friend all its peoples, no matter how odd (especially the odd ones), and never, ever leave.

1. Everywhere that Zita goes 
. . . OBVS.

So which graphic novel/comic/manga worlds do you want to get lost in for a day (a year, a life)?
Let me know in the comments, and definitely let me know if there are some worlds you think I'd happily lose myself in!


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