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Review: Snow White

November 3, 2016

snow-white

What I’m Reading: Snow White by Matt Phelan
Published By: Candlewick Press, September 2016

This is a graphic novel retelling the classic Snow White story in 1920’s New York. The year is 1928. Everything glitters and shines and it always will.
The Players: Samantha White, adored daughter who has been sent away to school.
The Stepmother, the so-called Queen of the Follies, star of the Ziegfield Theater.
Mr. White, Samantha’s father and the King of Wall Street.
indexThe book is almost all in black and white with just occasional splashes of red. The story is pretty much what you’d expect from Snow White, but most of it is told without words. Entire pages will go by with just one or two word balloons.

I really liked this book. It’s not probably one I’ll go back to frequently, but it’s stuck with me since I read it. The illustrations are beautiful and nuanced. I read Phelan’s Around the World last year and was very taken by the illustrations.
I especially loved the way the book opens. The NYPD investigating the mysterious appearance of a young girl in the Macy’s Christmas window display. It’s an amazing image.
If you’re a graphic novel fan, I highly recommend this one.

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Book Review – A Study in Charlotte

November 2, 2016

 

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What I’m Reading:
 A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Published By: Katherine Tegen Books, 2016

A Study in Charlotte is a modern, YA novel that features Jamie Watson, rugby player and descendant of that Dr. Watson meeting up with anti-social, drug using Charlotte Holmes at a prestigious New England boarding school. At first, Jamie doesn’t know how to approach Charlotte although he desperately wants to. Luckily for them the campus problem is found murdered and Holmes and Watson are the two primary suspects.
The killer has set the murder up to be reminiscent of one of Holmes and Watson’s famous cases – The Adventure of the Speckled Band. As the current day Holmes and Watson continue to investigate the murder they have to contend with fear from the other students, distrust and suspicion from the police, family difficulties on both sides, and worst of all, their own uncertain relationship, all while the murderer continues to plant clues taken straight from Dr. Watson’s memoirs.

I ended up rating this book a 3/5 on Goodreads. It just didn’t quite work for me. I liked the premise, but I felt like the author tried to jump through a few too many hoops to make things work out the way she wanted them to.

First – Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes were real men. Dr. Watson wrote down his reminiscences of the cases he worked on with his friend. But, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle also exists in this universe as either the publisher or the collator of the memoirs, I didn’t quite get that part.
Second – Charlotte is a little too much exactly like her forebearer. She is anti-social, blisteringly intelligent, a drug user, yet still a respected consultant for Scotland Yard. As a teenager. Jamie, on the other hand, is pretty much just a dude. With anger issues. That’s… it. He doesn’t have any sort of previous relationship with the Holmes family or special skills. He’s just a guy who has always wanted to meet Charlotte because she’s the only Holmes close to his age.
I get that Jamie is supposed to be the audience cipher, but it doesn’t work very well set next to Charlotte. At least, not for me.
Third – I know too much about actual police procedure, so none of the parts with the investigating detective worked for me. And yes, I read mysteries all the time, so I know how actual procedure gets bent like a pretzel for the sake of the plot, but again, this book tried a little too hard to have it both ways. Jamie and Charlotte get special treatment, but they also have a by-the-book detective to deal with.

It’s tempting to hand-wave all my problems with the book by saying, “oh it’s YA, so none of that matters.” But I’ve read YA that does all of this sort of thing in a way that makes me happy, so that just doesn’t work. I don’t think this is a bad book, it just wasn’t a good book for me.
If you did like it, then you’re in luck! The sequel, The Last of August, comes out next year.

November is Packed

November 1, 2016

It’s November. There are all kinds of things going on and I’m in the middle of several of them.nano

NaNoWriMo has started. I’m going to give that a try again this year. I’m working on a Fairy Tale ABC this year. So, it’s not really a novel, more a collection of short stories.blog

#bloglikecrazy is also happening. This is a challenge that was started by an awesome woman here in Birmingham. Javacia is an inspiration! She’s got her own blog, WriteousBabe, and is also the founder and editor of See Jane Write.
Blog Like Crazy is a daily blogging challenge for November.img_2697
I’m also doing the #grimdragon November Challenge. This is abook-based photo challenge over on Instagram. It’s hosted by grimdark_dad and the_infinite_book_dragon. There are daily prompts and most of the participants put together elaborate vignettes. Mine aren’t that impressive, but I did the October challenge and had a ton of fun.
Today’s prompt is: GOALZZZ! November TBR Pile.

makeoverWhich, leads me to the last, and most exciting part of November – Dan Wells has a new book coming out on November 15. And my bookstore is hosting the launch party!
Extreme Makeover starts off with a health and beauty company that has accidentally created a lotion that can overwrite your DNA. Naturally, the executives think they have the best product on the market. Who wouldn’t want to use a lotion that could turn them into someone else?
The various governments around the world see a way to create the perfect soldier. And then recreate them again and again.
And that is what apocalypses are made of.

We’ll be having Dan at the store to do a signing and chat with folks. I also went to LUSH and they gave us some lotion samples to give out. 100% guaranteed NOT to alter your DNA in any way!
If anyone would like a signed, personalized copy of any of Dan’s books shipped out, you can call ((205)870-7462) or email the store (lphomewood@gmail.com) to place an order.

MIGHTY JACK by Ben Hatke

August 1, 2016

jack

 

What I’m Reading: Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke
Illustrated By: Ben Hatke
Published: 
FirstSecond, September 6, 2016

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.jack 2

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!

 

 

2nd & Charles Haul

July 30, 2016

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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.
Then, Comics!!!

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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.)img_1513

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…

Pokemon Go

July 19, 2016

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.

ingressYeah… 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.

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:

To-Dos

  • 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!