Ben Hatke has once again created magic in his fifth graphic novel. I’ve talked about my love of Zita the Spacegirl and Little Robot before. Mighty Jack is actually the first of his books with a male protagonist, and he’s a fantastic one.
Jack is a regular kid with an unusual situation. His mom has to work all the time, so Jack has to take care of his sister Maddy. Maddy is autistic and doesn’t ever speak.
Except, one day, at the flea market, she does. She tells Jack to buy a box of seeds. Which he does, by trading the family car.
If you know Jack & the Beanstalk, you’ve got a pretty good idea where this is going… Jack and Maddy plant the garden and what grows is nothing like they’ve ever seen. Giant snails, moving plant people, magic power producing peppers; the garden has them all. But magic never comes without a price and Jack has to make sure that Maddy isn’t the one who pays it.
I loved this book and I cannot wait until I can share it with everyone! The folks at FirstSecond were nice enough to send me a review copy, and, the best part: BEN HATKE IS COMING HERE IN SEPTEMBER!!!
We’ve got some school visits and then a signing at the Homewood Public Library on September 29! I’m so excited about this, you have no idea!
I went to 2nd & Charles today for a Bioware fan meet up. It was pretty awesome to hang out with some of the super-cool people from Magic City Con. However, since we were at 2nd & Charles hanging out in casual cosplay, I brought out the four bags of stuff I had to trade in. (Mostly DVDs I just don’t watch along with some books from my last major book purge.
I got a very nice amount of store credit, so I picked up some stuff.
First up, Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum. This is one of the Oz books that can still frequently be found, but usually only packaged together with a few of the others.
The Unbelievable Gwenpool, two issues of the Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy crossover, which I didn’t know was a thing! And another issue of Lumberjanes. So happy! In line with the comics purchase, I also got a pack of the DC Bombshells playing cards. I’ve already got the tradepaperback of the comic and a poster for their Wonder Woman. (I have strong feelings about this line.)
Then, from the clearance section, I found this:
I don’t really know what I’m going to do with it, but it was $2.00. Maybe I’ll use it as research for a story. Or I may just look at it, but I couldn’t pass it up.
Other than that, I also got two Disney toys because I like toys. They’re mystery vinyl figures and I’m saving them for when I need a pick-me-up, so I don’t know what they are yet. AND! I still have $15.00 in credit for next time. I shall have to contemplate what to spend it on…
Everyone else has had a Pokemon Go post, so here is mine.
I started playing a little over a week ago. I’m very lazy about it though, so my Pokemon are not especially impressive. But, I’ve got the three available eevee evolutions, so I’m pretty happy.
The bookstore is a pokestop, which helps a bunch since I haven’t had the time to go walk much.
So, why am I, an adult woman, playing Pokemon Go? Well…
I like to collect things.
I like things that look like they would make adorable stuffed animals.
Yeah… that’s basically it. They’re cute and I can get medals for collecting them.
I also enjoy Ingress, which is Niantic’s previous augmented reality game. So the idea of wandering around with my phone up and then doing specific stuff at random locations isn’t really new to me.
The idea is to get more exercise. And it kind of works. A little bit. Hopefully, with two games that encourage walking, I’ll actually start to get a reasonable amount of exercise.
What about you? Are you playing either of these games? Or something else entirely? (One thing that’s great about both games is that you can listen to audiobooks while the game apps are open. I got through a couple of chapters of Stiletto on my last poke-hunt.
I’ve talked about Habitica before. It’s the website/app that helps you turn real life into a game in order to help you form good habits and get things done. I tend to refer to it as gamifying being an adult.
You get a tiny avatar that can find pets through loot drops. Loot drops happen when you complete a task on your to-do list or check off one of your daily habits. You can also get your friends involved through guilds and parties. Parties are relatively small groups that get together to do quests. The more things you accomplish each day the more damage you do to the boss. However, if you fail to complete some of your daily tasks, you and your party members take damage. Guilds, on the other hand, are large groups of people that have come together out of a common interest.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, I started a guild. It’s called the Little Professor since that’s the name of the bookstore I work at. The guild is designed to celebrate books. We’ve got a reading challenge running until the end of August. It’s designed to expand your literary horizons.
The challenge includes:
Give or loan someone a book you love
Discuss a book you have read with someone else
Read a book by someone from a different country
Ask for a book recommendation and actually read the book
Read a book with a color in the title
Read a book outside your usual genre (non-fiction, mystery, romance, sci-fi, whatever it is you normall read, grab something else.)
Read a book by someone of a different gender
Read a book in translation
Read a book set at least 100 years away from the present moment (forward or backward)
Read a book by a person of a different race
Look through your shelves for books you haven’t read
If you’re on Habitica and this looks like fun, then please come join us!
I know, I’ve been gone awhile. This summer has been full of conventions and projects. I had Con Carolinas in North Carolina, Magic City Con here in Birmingham, and LibertyCon in Chattanooga. So there has been a ton of prep work, packing, traveling, unpacking, restocking, etc. And it’s all sapped my energy in a big way.
BUT! I’m back now. I’ve got a pretty big break until DragonCon in September and we’re going to kick off with a giveaway. Thanks to the kindness of my Macmillan rep, I’ve got a few ARCs for upcoming books to giveaway.
We’re going to start with Necessity by Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author, Jo Walton.
This is the third book in the Thessaly series. Here is the publisher marketing:
More than sixty-five years ago, Pallas Athena founded the Just City on an island in the eastern Mediterranean, placing it centuries before the Trojan War, populating it with teachers and children from throughout human history, and committing it to building a society based on the principles of Plato’s Republic. Among the City’s children was Pytheas, secretly the god Apollo in human form.
Sixty years ago, the Just City schismed into five cities, each devoted to a different version of the original vision.
Forty years ago, the five cities managed to bring their squabbles to a close. But in consequence of their struggle, their existence finally came to the attention of Zeus, who can’t allow them to remain in deep antiquity, changing the course of human history. Convinced by Apollo to spare the Cities, Zeus instead moved everything on the island to the planet Plato, circling its own distant sun.
Now, more than a generation has passed. The Cities are flourishing on Plato, and even trading with multiple alien species. Then, on the same day, two things happen. Pytheas dies as a human, returning immediately as Apollo in his full glory. And there’s suddenly a human ship in orbit around Plato–a ship from Earth.
As usual, I’m running the giveaway through Rafflecoptor. There are several options to earn entires. You can do one or all of them. The giveaway will run from today until midnight on July 31.
Click here to enter.
We got a box from MacMillian yesterday and it had so many goodies in it! This is my stack. I lost out on a few books to one of my coworkers, but I forced myself to not be greedy.
I also have a few things squirreled away that I’m hoping I can use as giveaways. I’ll talk about that more once I hear back from my sales rep to know if it’s ok.
Obviously, I’ve already got a copy of Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal, so this copy will either be a loaner or a giveaway. But I couldn’t not take it! And the cover art is just amazing. I rarely want posters of book covers, but this one is one I’d put in my house quite happily. I’ll probably nominate the artist, Chris McGrath, for a Hugo next year on the basis of it.
Die Like an Eagle is the 20th Meg Langslow book from Donna Andrews and I’m completely obsessed with this series. The only other book in the pile that I was anticipating is The Family Plot by Cherie Priest. I’ve been looking forward to this one for quite some time! This one is a haunted house story in the best gothic tradition. I’m actually headed to Cherie’s stomping grounds next weekend, so I may have to take this one with me to read while I’m there.
Then we get to the books that I didn’t really know much about, but look amazing:
Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia looks astounding. It’s about a Mexico City that is a lone sanctuary in an area overrun with vampires. I really haven’t read enough books set in Latin America and this one looks like a great place to start.
The Librarians & the Lost Lamp by Greg Cox is a tie-in novel to the television show, THE LIBRARIANS, which I really liked. So I grabbed it just to see what it’s like. I haven’t read that many tie-in novels outside of the early Star Wars books and the novelization of WILLOW back in the day.
Invisible Planets is an anthology of contemporary Chinese science fiction edited and translated by Ken Liu. He is an author in his own right with the recent novel The Grace of Kings being the first in his Dandelion Dynasty series. He is also known for being the translator of the Hugo Award winning Chinese novel, The Three Body Problem written by Liu Cixin. I’ve read Russian science fiction before, but never Chinese sci-fi, so I’m really looking forward to this one.
And finally, The Motion of Puppets by Keith Donohue. This novel sounds creepy and possibly slightly terrifying. I can’t wait!
Miss Petitfour is seems like a cross between Mary Poppins and Vianne from Chocolat, but with cats. She travels by tablecloth, changing out the pattern based on the season or the weather. She has a string of cats who like to dress up and ride along with her on her errands.
Miss Petitfour is adorable and has great fashion sense! The book is made up of several short stories each of which is full of lovely illustrations from Emma Block as well as some great vocabulary. Who doesn’t want to know what a perambulator is or what “digression” means?
The stories are not terribly complex in and of themselves, but they are sweet. I will say, this is definitely a book for those who enjoy whimsy and sugary stories. The peril is rarely perilous and there is always a delicious snack at the end. Actually, they remind me of what the Aunt Dimity stories would be like in Aunt Dimitys Death. It took me an hour or so to read this book, but it would probably make a great bedtime story book since each individual story has some lovely pictures, but isn’t terribly long.
If you like Emma Block’s illustrations, which I do, she has an Etsy store where you can get prints and cards!
What are some of your favorite illustrated storybooks? It seems to me like there aren’t as many books of linked stories coming out these days. I’m thinking about books like this one, Paddington, or Doctor Dolittle where there is a central character, but each chapter is a self-contained story. Can you think of any others?