Skip to content

Habitica Guild

July 18, 2016

sea-creatureI’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.
Rock_scene_by_cosmic_caterpillar-d8gjmgc.pngWhy 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!

Summer Giveaway – Necessity by Jo Walton

July 17, 2016

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. necessity
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.

New ARCs 7-3-16

July 3, 2016

img_1262We 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.

plotDie 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.
planetsThe 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!


The Adventures of Miss Petitfour

June 9, 2016

miss petitfourWhat I’m Reading: The Adventures of Miss Petitfour by Anne Michales.
Illustrations by: Emma Block.
Published By: Tundra Books , 2015

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?
miss-petitfour_670The 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!

catsWhat 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?

ConCarolinas 2016

June 7, 2016

I’m back from ConCarolinas and I have many wonderful things! And stories. Oh, the stories.
First off, I got to see Ursula Vernon and her husband, Kevin Sonney. I’ve met Ursula before when she signed at Little Shop of Stories, but my only interactions with Kevin had been through the podcast when I sent in terrible, terrible food. Or duck jerky. I still introduce myself to them by saying I’m the Duck Jerky Lady. dryKevin and Ursula were delightful and they did the voices of their characters from the Hidden Almanac for me. I squeed.
I got lots and lots and lots of art from Ursula. I’ll add a slideshow down below. I also picked up a copy of Dry Season Only, which is a sort of travelog of a bunch of artists and creative people going on a safari in Africa. The book was originally a Kickstarter project that I missed, so I thought I would never get a copy. But I did!
It’s so pretty. I’ll probably do a post just on it once I’ve finished reading it, but if you’re at all interested in African safaris or any of the artists involved, I’d recommend it.
Conveniently located directly beside Ursula’s table was artist & author K.B. Spangler. the creator of the web comic, A GIRL AND HER FED. And she had plushie Speedies! Speedy, for those who don’t read the comic, is a super-intelligent, angry koala.


Art by K.B. Spangler on

And now, I have one! She told some fantastic stories in one of the panels about the logistics of ordering custom plushies. Apparently, you can only get them in quantites exceeding 1,000 units. Think about having that many angry koala dolls delivered to your house…
Did you think about it? Did you imagine swimming in them like Scrooge McDuck? Because I did. That’s… probably not what she did. Or if she did, she didn’t admit it to us. But I like to dream.
I also picked up all of her books. There are currently three in the Rachel Peng series plus one fantasy novel.

::Bounce, bounce, bounce:: AND, just this moment, when I went to Goodreads to get the cover images, I found out that she’s got an ebook called The Russians Came Knocking about a guy named Josh Glassman. Josh GLASSMAN. My name is Glassman! I studied Russian! It’s like it was made for me and I DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT IT UNTIL NOW! So, I’m going to go fix that ASAP. (Also, I just noticed that the italics WordPress gives me are really weird. That title looks weird, right? It’s not just me?)

The rest of the con was really fun. I entered the costume contest. It was my first costume contest and I did not shame my ancestors. I also didn’t win, but that’s ok. I didn’t expect to, but many, many, many people admired the awesome leather work done for me by Silver Cicada Designs, so that was good!
img_0934I went to some panels, which were very fun. I got Chelsea Quinn Yarbro breakfast on Friday and got to chat with her while she ate. And, I went to see a concert by This Way to the Egress, which is a band it is hard to define. But, they are fronted by an accordion player, have a banjo, trumpet, keyboard, violin, and a headbanging tuba player. So they’re pretty awesome. Unfortunately, they’re so awesome that I pulled some muscles in my hip during the concert.
However, it was during the last song, so that wasn’t too bad. And between a very nice fellow attendee and ConCarolinas security I made it out of the hall and into a wheelchair that got me up to my room. It also turned out that the woman who was running the awesome hair accessories booth is also a physical therapist. So she checked me over and made sure I didn’t have to go to the hospital. So that was very kind.
And the best part about the whole weekend was that I was with my best friend. So, no matter what, it was going to be pretty great.

Here is some of the art I got from Ursula. You can get her prints from TopatoCo now! This is easy and convenient and you should go do it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Raven and the Reindeer

May 19, 2016

T. Kingfisher has once again reached into my hindbrain and pulled out the fairytale I always wanted. She twists and turns these stories that have lived in our bones and our blood and brings common sense, cranky animal sidekicks, and the inevitable power of plants into the mix to create something so much more than the sum of its parts. I also want to hang out with her heroines, which I can’t say for most fairy tales.

The Raven and the Reindeer is a retelling of The Snow Queen and it is delightful. From a Gerta with more sense than usual to Mousebones the sassy raven, I enjoyed every line. Even the ones that made me cry.
And don’t mistake that, she will make you cry. It’s something she’s good at, but it’s always a necessary pain. The story could not be this story without the tears it charges you.

Bring Your Own Book Giveaway

May 18, 2016

bring your own

It’s time for a new giveaway and I have been so excited about this one! The Bring Your Own Book Kickstarter rewards have finally gone out and so I’ve got an awesome boxed copy of the game to give away!
Bring Your Own Book is a game where you take phrases from books way, way, WAY out of context. It’s a little big like Cards Against Humanity, but instead of answering the prompt card with another card, you answer it with a line from a book. Any book you happen to have with you will do. Or, you can gather a specially curated selection just for the game. Either way, it’s tons of fun.

For example, if I got the prompt, “A phrase you wouldn’t want aliens to judge humanity by,” and grabbed the book sitting next to me…
I might come up with the line, “Ole Fatty here might run out of hardtack and eat ye both as a snack.”

Someone else might come up with, “The dragon paths have allowed Earth’s parasites to come swarming over the bones of the once great Martian civilization, despoiling it and looting its treasures.”

And a third player might use,”When all else fails, play crazy.*”

We then decide on who has the best answer, and they get the point for that round. It’s an easy game to carry with you and, if you’re anything like me, you can put a game together on very short notice since all you need are the prompts, a timer, and some books.
So, what I’m giving away is one brand new, boxed copy of the game with all it’s bits and bobs.
To enter, leave a comment below answering the prompt: The name of the next big indie game from the first book you lay your hands on.
Then, pop over to the Rafflecopter giveaway
and put in your entry!



BEA Haul Day 3

May 14, 2016

I had a much lighter day yesterday because I had meetings. But, I did get to meet Wesley Chu.

I also went to the mass autographing at the Nebulas! Is that an ARC of GHOST TALKERS? Yes, yes it is. 

BEA Haul: Day 2

May 13, 2016
tags: , ,

I was more restrained today for two reasons:

1: my shoulders really hurt after Wednesday. 

2: I spent half the day at the SFWA Nebula conference instead of at BEA. (More on that later.)

So, today I got: 

 It was all kids books today. Not intentional, it just worked out that way. 

After I left BEA I went to the Palmer House Hotel for the Nebula conference, where they handed me a giant bag of books. 0.0

In case you were wondering, yes my back hurts. No, I don’t really care. Look what I got!!

BEA Haul: Day 1

May 12, 2016

Yesterday was the first day of Book Expo America. I flew in and went straight to the convention center from the airport. I spent most of my afternoon exploring the expo hall and talking with authors, sales reps, and other convention attendees. And, of course, picking up goodies.