Monday, May 31, 2010

And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman [Book Inspection]

Plot Sketch: It's not so hard being a half-Indian girl in Silicon Valley. I mean, even if your parents were the ubergeniuses behind TrueTech and make a few cents every time an email is sent, and you didn't inherit their geek gene. And your ethnicity doesn't stand out either. Life is pretty good for Delia in Silicon Valley. She's got smart friends, a good school, and she knows how to fit in. But all of that changes when her mom, T.K. Truesdale,takes off on an Atlantic exploration aboard the Polar Star and the whole vessel disappears. T.K. is declared dead and Delia is sent off to live with her aunties in New York neither of whom she has never met. There are some inconsistencies in the reports of T.K.'s death, so Delia takes it upon herself to investigate. There's a psychic, a kooky aunt, and a surfer boy in this mystery, and you'll enjoy watching Delia unravel as she does everything she can to find out the truth.

Verdict: Do you ever get in a reading rut where you're feeling like everything you read is the same? Where every YA author has the same formula for writing books? I was totally in that rut, until I read AND THEN EVERYTHING UNRAVELED and Ms. Sturman yanked me up out of that rut and onto the mountain where I'm proclaiming how great YA is again! Not only are YA mysteries rare, they're tricky. But Jennifer Sturman has pulled off a great work of fiction and should be totally proud of herself. She's got a good strong main character who acts like a teen. She's got great supporting characters that fill their roles, have strong personalities, but aren't overdeveloped. She's got a great plot that I didn't figure out in the first fifty pages. The writing is fluid, coherent, and made sense even when my eyes were drooping at 2AM because I wanted to finish it so badly and so quickly. I think my favorite element was that Delia had smart friends. Too often are teens underestimated and portrayed as ordinary. There are so many extraordinary teens out there and I was so glad to see some characters depicted as smarties. If you're in the mood for a mystery, go pick up this book. I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment in the mystery of the disappearing T.K. Truesdale and her daughter's mission to find out what really happened to her. I can't wait to dive into AND THEN I FOUND OUT THE TRUTH! Oh, and did I mention that I love the chapter art and the cover?

The Gauntlet:

Location: Silicon Valley, CA; New York City, NY
Main Character: Cordelia Truesdale. Love her. I really thought she was real. There were a couple of instances where I was like, "Um, yeah right, she totally wouldn't do that." and then I realized I was looking at her as an adult rather than as a teen and it fell into place. She's not written as a teen who makes adult decisions, she's written as a teen who makes teen decisions and I love that.
Favorite Character: Um. I think kooky Aunt Charley is my favorite. I would want an aunt like that, and I think that I'm going to try to be an aunt like that!
Time to Finish: About four hours. It moves. I like that.
Got Stuck On: No sticky parts here.
Would Change: I can't think of anything to change.
Favorite Line: "'Like should I keep my date tonight or stay home and eat left over Thai food with you. I bet you've never seen Valley Girl. It has Nicolas Cage before he got creepy, and you're in luck, because I own it on both DVD and VHS.'" --Aunt Charley p. 146, hardcover. Why is this my favorite? Um, I feel the exact same way about Nicolas Cage. Just ask Ella.
Good for Monster? You know, he might actually like this one a little more than I thought he would at first thought. When I told him about it, he seemed interested. And though the MC is a girl, the boys don't seem all too out there.
People Who Will Like This: People who consult psychics, hippie-ish peeps, people who ♥ Veronica Mars, those who indulge in Ben 'N' Jerry's on a regular basis.
People Who Won't Like This: The CEO of BP and his buddies over at Transocean, people who are scared of the dark, people who NEVER smile with their mouth open.
Chapters: 32. The chapter lengths were perfect and they broke when it made sense. It was never an awkward transition.
Author's Website:
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Point
Publish Date: July 1, 2009
ISBN-10: 0545087228

Acquire It:
Book Depository
Changing Hands


Thursday, May 27, 2010

We're Gearing Up For Phoenix Comicon '10! [Events]

Phoenix Comicon starts today and The Eclectic I and I are heading over starting tomorrow...check out the schedule below to see where we'll most likely be (some hours are going to be really hard to choose!).  We'll be attending Friday through Sunday, so drop us an email if you want to meet up!
Phoenix Comicon '10: Where We'll Be

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Quidditch Hits US College Campuses [You're The Expert] [News]

Middlebury College in Vermont is credited with forming the first-ever Quidditch team for Muggles.  Now, over 200 colleges across the country have active teams.  They hang hula hoops from trees, buy quaffles and bludgers from toy aisles, and must keep a broom between their legs at all times.  Oh, and the golden snitch?  It's a tennis ball stuck in a tube sock tied off of the waste of a runner clad in yellow or gold. Watch the video below to get an idea of how it came to the UC-Berkeley campus, and how they play it there. Oh, and via the SF Chronicle, here are the rules:
Rules of Quidditch

1 Instead of flying on broomsticks, muggle players must hold broomsticks between their legs while running on the field.

2 Players score goals by throwing quaffles (blue balls) through Hula-hoops hanging from tree branches. A goal is worth one point.

3 Players throw bludgers (red balls) at one another. If hit by a bludger, a player must drop whatever ball he is carrying and run back to his own goal hoops. Another player can then pick up the ball he dropped.

4 Instead of a golden flying ball, the snitch is a person dressed in gold who runs around the Quidditch field. A sock with a tennis ball in it is tucked into the snitch's waistband.

5 The game ends when a player catches the snitch by grabbing the sock. Catching the snitch is worth 30 points.

What do you think? Would you join a Quidditch league near you? I think it sounds like mighty fun!

[via San Francisco Chronicle]


amerce • \uh-MERSS\ • verb
: to punish by a fine whose amount is fixed by the court; broadly : punish

Example Sentence:
"A freeman is not to be amerced for a small offence save in accordance with the manner of the offence.…" (Magna Carta, 1215)

Did you know?
If you break the law, you could find yourself "at the mercy" of the court. As you await your punishment (hoping that the judge will in fact be merciful), you may want to ponder the history of "amerce." It begins with the Old French phrase "a merci," meaning "at (one's) mercy," which in turn gave rise to the Anglo-French verb "amercier" (same meaning as "amerce"). Middle English speakers adopted the French word as "amercien," which was later modernized to "amerce." In addition to the legal use, "amerce" can also be used in a more general sense for the infliction of any sort of punishment, monetary or otherwise.


Your turn to use amerce in a sentence... something like:

I went to court for my speeding ticket and was not only amerced for my infraction, but also for my impertinence.  

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I Went Shopping With Beatrice Shakespeare Smith #cupcakeathon [Character Shopping Trip]

In honor of Lisa Mantchev's Cupcakeathon, and since I cannot participate fully due to a lack of internet access and a general homesickness caused by my being on the road for gosh darn near three weeks, I have put together an account of the shopping trip that Beatrice Shakespeare Smith (forthwith referred to as Bertie) and I went on. Bertie is the main character in Lisa's EYES LIKE STARS and just-released-today PERCHANCE TO DREAM, and she definitely makes the IHM List of All-Time Favorite Characters!
First we decided that we needed some soap.  You know, for the fairies.  And after the catastrophe that happens at the end of Eyes Like Stars, Bertie and I thought that this soap was only appropriate.  Calming Waters Soap from karenssoaps, $5Being the Mistress of Revels can be difficult.  That's why Bertie decided maybe she should practice a little.  This blank book has almost 200 pages of practice space.  Enlightenment journal from Peter Pauper Press, Amazon $10.19
We of course had to pick up something sweet.  The decorations on top of these cupcakes reminded Bertie of Moth and Mustardseed, so she had to get a couple. Strawberry Lemonade Cupcake,, $3.25This scrimshaw necklace with a pirate ship on it drew Bertie in like a magnet.  She loves it.  She of course loves her necklace too, but thought that this might be a nice one to remind her of Nate. Scrimshaw Unisex Neckpiece, lindalayden, $75
The Easy Bake was a "WTF" moment for Bertie. She had no idea they made such things. She was like, "Gotta get me and the fairies one of those!" Easy Bake Oven, Amazon, $24.49Bertie loves Egyptian Plum. She loves Cobalt Flame too. She decided that I needed to pick up some of these extensions and give them away to you. I, myself, am going in for real purple extensions next week, so yeah. I don't need these.  But you do. Purple Clip-In Hair Extensions, leperqueen, $10. (to enter to win these, leave a comment that incorporates the word "cupcake" and refers to something in this post. don't forget to leave your email addy) open worldwide.  Ends 7/15.

Well, I hope you've enjoyed reading about our shopping trip!  We found some totally rad stuff, right?  Happy release day, Lis!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Budget Cut? Who You Gonna Call? [You're The Expert] [News]

Libraries all around the country are facing huge budget cuts. In protest to planned cuts for their local budget, the New York Public Library asked Improv Everywhere to do a skit as The Ghostbusters as part of their campaign objecting to a proposed $37,000,000 in budget cuts.  A lot of footage was filmed for the Ghostbusters movie inside of the NYPL, so it might have had an aire of authenticity?  Anyway, the proposed cut is the largest that the library has ever faced and will result in lay-offs, branch closures, and reduced hours.  The campaign is called Don't Close The Book On Libraries. The library is accepting donations to help offset the impact that the cuts will have. They are also asking New Yorkers to write their local officials, and have made it easy for them to do so with a webform that will locate your city councilperson for you.

Are state and local budget cuts affecting you and your library?  Have you ever seen as creative a campaign as this to save the libraries?  We're curious.  You're the expert on you and your town, so tell us what you think in the comment section.

Watch the video of the improv below, and to see more pictures, visit Improv Everywhere, they have about a zillion of them.  NYPL has some behind the scenes shots too. Oh, and the lyrics to the song are below the video so that you can play it again and sing along if you want!

If there's something strange
in your neighborhood
Who ya gonna call?

If there's something weird
and it don't look good
Who ya gonna call?

I ain't afraid of no ghosts
I ain't afraid of no ghosts

If you're seeing things
running through your head
Who can ya call?
An invisible man
sleeping in your bed
Who ya gonna call?

I ain't afraid of no ghosts
I ain't afraid of no ghosts

Who ya gonna call?

If ya all alone
pick up the phone
and call
I ain't afraid of no ghosts
I here it likes the girls
I ain't afraid of no ghost
Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah

Who ya gonna call?

If you've had a dose of a
freaky ghost baby
Ya better call

Lemme tell ya something
Bustin' makes me feel good!
I ain't afraid of no ghosts
I ain't afraid of no ghosts

Don't get caught alone no no


When it comes through your door
Unless you just want some more
I think you better call

Who ya gonna call?
[via Wall Street Journal]

Men And Dogs by Katie Crouch on Audiobook [Giveaway]

Description: In April of 1985, Buzz Legare went fishing. The next day all that was found was his boat and his waiting, faithful dog.

Twenty years later, his daughter Hannah still finds hope in believing, alone among her family, that he's still alive somewhere. She has a smart husband, a thriving business, a beautiful home in San Francisco-and a huge hole in her troubled heart. True to her trademark talent for self-sabotage, she finds herself one starry night climbing up the fire escape in a desperate (and drunken) attempt to win back her own husband--and failing disastrously.

Slightly worse for the wear, Hannah returns to Charleston to salve her wounds. There, old loves, unrepented crimes, and family legends are stirred up from the dust. Hannah's brother Palmer, the stoic with a secret of his own, cannot dissuade her from a manic search to uncover clues to the past, and they will both face shocking discoveries that lead them to reconcile their very different notions of loyalty and blind faith.

As she did so memorably in her bestselling debut, Girls in Trucks, Katie Crouch has created another great voice--spiky, tender, and hilarious--in the screwball heroine Hannah Legare. Much like Julia Roberts in My Best Friend's Wedding, Hannah follows the misguided impulses of a heart that's in the right place.

CTRL + click this link to open form in new tab.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Books I Bought For Phoenix Comicon '10 [Saturday Steals]

These steals should be like, secrets.  I really shouldn't tell you about these steals.  Really.  I really shouldn't.  You'll think less of me as a blogger because of them, I just know it.  But, in the interest of full-disclosure and in the interest of clearing my conscience, I'm going to share my secret steals with you.  I'm just gonna come right out and blame Camille too.  If it weren't for Saturday Steals, I wouldn't be disclosing this.  *sigh*

You see, I'm still off in Wyoming, and don't leave for home until Tuesday.  We get home on Thursday, and Phoenix Comicon '10 starts on Friday and runs through Sunday.  That gives me like no time to locate copies in my local bookstores before the event starts.  You already glimpsed some of the programming that we're going to see, but what I didn't tell you is that I secretly purchased copies of the books that James A. Owen and Frank Beddor authored and am planning on getting them signed (if it's feasible) and doing a giveaway for them.  I'm not sure if they'll have copies at the con, so I wanted to purchase copies ahead of time so I'd be prepared.  What I shouldn't tell you is that I bought them used.  *sigh*  Now you know. Oh, but you don't know everything, 'cause I'm holding back one of the books I'm hoping to get signed as a surprise... and it's not from who you think it's from if you've looked at the programming for authors, swear.

I'm not usually one to purchase books second-hand.  But when I saw that I could get "Like New" used copies of the books I wanted to giveaway and they were fulfilled by Amazon and thus eligible for my Prime membership free 2-day shipping, I jumped at the chance and saved some cold hard cash.  *hides*

So, I got The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor in hardcover for $4.70 (85% off cover price) & Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owen in hardcover for $7.20 (60% off cover price).  *fingers crossed I can get them signed for you guys*  Now you cross your fingers that Monster will let go of the signed copy of Here, There Be Dragons.  Monster ♥s dragons.

Oh, and Camille, we ♥ you, and know it's not your fault we told the world.  We did have some choice in the matter.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Bookworm, Omaha, NE [Indie Spotlight] [Travel] [Giveaway]

You guys know that Monster and I recently went on a long roadtrip. Monster's back at work, and I'm still in Wyoming for another week, but I wanted to share the awesome that is THE BOOKWORM in Omaha, Nebraska with you.

We spent a lot more time in Omaha than we anticipated, so I was able to squeeze in a trip to the local Indie bookstore. When I arrived, there was a book discussion group going on called Aardbaark (Amiable Adult Readers Discussing Books Almost Always Read by Kids). Unfortunately, I arrived in the middle of it, and didn't get to take part in the discussion, but I think that it's a nifty idea for a book group and an especially nifty name for one.

I walked around the upstairs and the bargain section for a while, and was kind of bummed when I didn't see a children's or teen section. I was heading for the door, when I noticed a staircase that led to the basement. Bingo. I went down the stairs, and then on the right hand side found a massive YA section. I started looking through it and was seriously impressed. Not only were there a zillion books, but there was typically no more than two copies of each book, and most of them were onesies. If you take a look at the video tour below, you'll see what I'm talking about.

Anyway, I started looking through the books for a YA book written by a Nebraska author (I so totally didn't do my research ahead of time) and I was failing miserably. Along came Ellen, the Manager of the Children's Department, and quickly gave me like four options for local authors. (you can catch a glimpse of her in the video below)  She's super knowledgeable and super great and I really enjoyed talking with her. In fact, all of the staff that I encountered, including the owner, were amazing. These folks know their stuff, are super friendly, and you can tell that they love what they do. So, if you're in Omaha, you should definitely check out The Bookworm! 8702 Pacific Street, 69114. 402.392.2877

Virtual tour of the YA section, with to A/B Machines by Sleigh Bells playing in the background.

We even picked up a Nebraska book for giveaway.  One lucky reader will receive a gift wrapped (one of the awesome free services that The Bookworm provides), signed, paperback copy of FIRESPELL by Chloe Neill.  Giveaway is open worldwide, and ends 7/11.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare [Audiobook Inspection]

Size: 1 MP3 CD
Length: 14 hours, 11 minutes
Author: Cassandra Clare
Narrator: Ari Graynor

Plot Sketch: Clary Fray is leading a seemingly ordinary life. She spends time with her best friend, Simon, and lives with her mom in their apartment just above the quasi-looney Madame Dorothea. Her life changes drastically when she sees two teenage boys (one of which is named Jace) and a teenage girl kill a demon. The problem is, no one else can see the teens and the body of the demon vanished. Then she receives a strange phone call from her mom telling her not to come home, which of course is the first thing she does. Upon her arrival, she finds the apartment empty save one fugly demon that attacks her and she is saved by Jace. After coming to her rescue, Jace rushes Clary to the Institute where Hodge is able to save her from demon poison. When she wakes, she finds herself plunged into a world of shadowhunters, myth, and finding out who she really is.

Plot Verdict: I enjoyed the book. It didn't take very long to get to the action which is very positive in my book. The characters were developed enough to the point where the story could move along and then the development continued throughout the book instead of the development happening all at the beginning. I like the way Cassandra Clare did this. There are a few unexpected twists to the story to keep it interesting, but contrastly* there are a few foreshadowed events that I felt took too long to get to and as a listener. I was a slightly annoyed (not put-off annoyed) that the story didn't get to those points in a timely way. It was well-written and as far as my literary experience goes, very original. I like the world that Clare has created and am already immersed in CITY OF ASHES. Not all of the audiobooks I listen to are ones that I would have finished reading had I paper copies, but this is definitely one that I would have finished reading.

Narration Verdict: The narrator, Ari Graynor, portrayed Clary almost exactly as I would have portrayed her in my mind had I read the book. She sounded like what I thought Clary should have, with the inflections and emotions being right on with what she was reading. I also thought she did a good job of portraying the other characters as well, even with the difficulty of acting several male voices. You know how some girls just can't do a very good male voice? I'm not saying she was manly sounding, but she did a great job with the male characters without sounding stiff or forced. I was disappointed when I found out that there is a different narrator for CITY OF ASHES. And just between you and me? I Heart Monster slept through a lot of it and has to start over. So give her a hard time for me okay?

People Who Would Love This: Buffy, people who like ancient mythologies, people who like faeries-are-among-us fantasies
People Who Would Hate This: people who love historical accounts, my boss, hardcore Christians who despise anything to do with magic or fantasy (aka Harry Potter haters)

Acquire It:
Book Depository
Changing Hands

We bought the trilogy on MP3 CD from Amazon.
*And IHM decided that contrastly is definitely a word even though Monster and every dictionary online disagree. So, it's here, I lost the argument.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


gravamen • \gruh-VAY-mun\ • noun
: the material or significant part of a grievance or complaint

Example Sentence:
The gravamen of Walter's letter to the editor was that the newspaper frequently reported on the school system's failures but rarely covered its successes and improvements.

Did you know?
"Gravamen" is not a word you hear every day, but it does show up occasionally in modern-day publications. It comes from the Latin verb "gravare," meaning "to burden," and ultimately from the Latin adjective "gravis," meaning "heavy." Fittingly, "gravamen" refers to the part of a grievance or complaint that gives it weight or substance. In legal contexts, "gravamen" is used, synonymously with "gist," to refer to the grounds on which a legal action is sustainable. "Gravis" has given English several other weighty words, including "gravity," "grieve," and the adjective "grave," meaning "important" or "serious."  [Source]

So your gravamen is really that you don't get enough attention?  

YOUR TURN!  Use GRAVAMEN in a sentence.  Try it out in the comments section, or in a conversation today and let us know how it went!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Phoenix Comicon '10 [Event Alert]

The Phoenix Comicon is the signature pop culture event in the southwest, focusing on comic books, anime, sci-fi, and film. Some of the biggest comic book creators, anime voice actors, and Sci-fi movie and TV actors will be in attendance. Our full guests list will surprass more than one hundred creators and actors from the comic book, anime, and sci-fi movie and TV worlds. The list is always growing, and you will never know who will show up unexpectedly. All of our guests are available to meet with fans during the convention, and many participate in various panels and workshops, giving our attendees an additional chance to hear them speak and ask them questions.
Phoenix Comicon '10 will be held at the Phoenix Convention Center & Hyatt Regency May 27-30, 2010.

Programming we're looking forward to:

For a full list of programming, visit!

We're attending.  Are you?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Trade Barriers: How Do They Affect You? [You're The Expert]

We know that a lot of our readers are based outside of the U.S.  Actually, when I look at the stats, it looks like at least 30% of you are.  I came across an article today at THE GLOBE AND MAIL in the Editorial section that pleaded the case for Canada to lift its rule forbidding booksellers from importing US-published books.   We're wondering how those types of trade barriers affect you?  And not just those of you in Canada, but those of you in other countries that have trade barriers.  How does it affect the timeline in which you can acquire a book?  How does it affect your selection?  Tell us all about it.  We wanna know.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

51st Annual Art, Book and Craft Fair at Wichita Riverfest [Saturday Steals] [Travel]

Last Saturday, after I went to Botanica, my sister-in-law and I went to the 51st Annual Art, Book and Craft Fair at Wichita Riverfest.  It's hosted by Friends of the Wichita Art Museum.  Besides the many many talented local artists, there is a used book sale that takes place on the balcony.  After we meandered through the arts and crafts part of the fair, we finally made it to the book section.  By the time we arrived, it was fairly well-picked-through, but it was still a lot of fun to look through.

I found three books that I wanted to take home and thought they were super steals...

The first, THE GRAVEDIGGERS OF FRANCE by Pertinax, was published January 1, 1944.  I can't wait to dig-in and learn more about the Maginot line.  I can get kinda lost when it comes to my WWII history.  Since this book only cost me $2, and the cheapest I can find it online is $4.50 + $3.99 shipping, and the highest price for a book in similar condition is upwards of $100 (the average for books in similar condition being around $25), I'm sensing a total steal.  I'm excited to read it, and will definitely treasure this tome. ($8.49-$2.00=$6.49 savings or 76% off)

Secondly, I found a fun little SCANDINAVIAN PROVERBS book, that I intend to give to my mother (don't tell her, mmmkay?) since she revels in our Scandinavian heritage.  It's got cute little translated sayings in it and I think she'll thoroughly enjoy it.  I can find it for 10cents online + 3.99 shipping, so I still saved by paying $2 for this one!  ($4.09-$2.00=$2.09 savings or 51% off)

Lastly, I found a great paperback volume of COMPLETE POETRY AND SELECTED PROSE BY WALT WHITMAN, edited by James E. Miller, Jr.  I've kinda sorta been a fan of Walt's since I was in elementary school and I spent time learning about poets out in my parents' Arizona room.  LEAVES OF GRASS always fascinated me, but as an adult, I've not studied or spent much time with Mr. Whitman.  So, I decided that for 50¢, I could totally afford to get reacquainted with him, especially since the cheapest copy of this compilation I could locate online was a total of $18.96 for book + shipping! ($18.96-50¢=$18.46 savings or 97% off)

So, I left with three books, for $4.50, and a big fat smile on my face. Super steals if you ask me!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Twilight, What Have You Done To My Wife? [Gone Viral]

All I know is that I laughed my head off at the last minute or so of this video and needed to share it with you guys. My favorite line? "Twilight! What have you done to my wife? She's got the hots for teenage boys and thinks it's alright." I saw it over on Janette Rallison's blog first.

Four Ways To Conquer Classics Without Spending A Dime [How To]

I'm sure I don't only speak for myself when I say that I wish I was more well-read. I was offered opportunity in high school and college, but the rebel in me made it difficult. I still pulled As in my classes by reading Cliff Notes versions of everything. Looking back, I regret it. Looking back, I wish I would have paid more attention to literature. Hey, hindsight's always 20/20, right? In an effort to become more well-read, I've issued myself a challenge (which is a lot better than someone else issuing me a challenge, I assure you) to read the ten books on Penguin Classics' Ten Essential Classics list by the end of 2012.

10. Inferno by Dante
9. Walden by Thoreau
8. Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
7. Metamorphasis by Kafka
6. Moby Dick by Melville
5. Hamlet by Shakespeare
4. The Odyssey by Homer
3. Pride & Prejudice by Austen
2. Jane Eyre by Bronte
1. Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck

To make the challenge a little more , I plan to do this without spending any extra money. Here's how:

  • Daily Lit. I can have it delivered to my email or RSS reader and conquer it in 5 minutes a day.
  • Librivox. I can listen to the audio versions for free.
  • Project Gutenberg. Full text of books in the public domain, free of charge.
  • The Library. Those are dirty words to me, my friends. I've written a post about my library before, but I'm going to try to get over it for my goal's sake.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Anastasia Hopcus of SHADOW HILLS [Debut Interview]

Hometown: Austin, TX
Astrological Sign: Libra ♎
Favorite Author: Anne George (She never did any YA---that I know of---but I adore her Southern Sisters Mysteries. They are my favorite comfort reads; I've read each one at least four times!)
Favorite Vacation Spot: Los Angeles or Massachusetts---depending on if I need some excitement or some relaxation.
Favorite Animal: Dogs---most definitely. Though I'm kind of allergic, so I don't have one of my own. It's terribly sad, but I make do with playing with other people's dogs, then going home and taking Benadryl.
Favorite Movie: There are way too many. I couldn't possibly choose. But here are (just a few) of the ones that come to mind: Adventureland, Lost in Translation, Grosse Pointe Blank, Garden State, Say Anything, Almost Famous, Valley Girl and everything by John Hughes. Except maybe for some of the stuff he wrote after 1990---not quite so stellar.
Favorite Musical Artist or Group: Again---I can't choose. But here is a teeny-tiny-baby list: Gogol Bordello, Passion Pit, Les Savy Fav, Lady Sovereign, Oingo Boingo, Santigold, The Misfits (only Danzig-era, though), The Adverts, Matt & Kim. I'm going to stop before I take up the entire internet with my list---hey, it could happen.
Favorite Painter: Can I say a photographer---world is her canvas, camera is her medium and all that? If so: Ellen von Unwerth. I saved up my allowance to buy one of her (rather expensive) coffee table books from Book People when I was in the sixth grade, and I've loved her ever since. If not: Mark Rothko
Place You Desperately Want To Travel: United Kingdom
Place Most Likely To Inspire: Anywhere and everywhere.
A Little About Your Book In Your Own Words:  When I was in high school I went through times when my group of friends did the dreaded 'girl thing.' Meaning, one of them would have gotten into a fight with me and then she would tell everyone else we hung out with not to talk to me. In those sucky times when my "real" friends were blowing me off, I took great solace in my imaginary ones. Shadow Hills is my baby and of course I love it and think the mystery, love story, what have you, is awesome---but I know not everyone will agree. And while I may not pull off everything perfectly in Shadow Hills (I'm still new to this and I'm nothing if not imperfect) I really hope the characters and friendships come across as real, because that is the most important thing to me in any story. Even in a bad review, if they liked one---or several---of the characters and connected with them, then I know I did something right. So while my book is a YA paranormal romantic mystery (I can't pick a genre and stick to it, can I?) it's also a book about a girl, who has had a really hard year, finally finding her place in the world with wonderful friends who care about her.

Anastasia's SHADOW HILLS debuts July 13, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Battle Royale Vol. 1 & 2 [Manga] [Book Inspection]

Title: Battle Royale Vols. 1-2
Authors: Koshun Takami, Masayuki Taguchi
English Translation: Keith Giffen
Publisher: TokyoPop

Description: It's the future.  Japan.  Military Dictatorship.  Bloodthirsty viewers.  Every year, one class of middle-graded school children are selected to compete in The Program.  It's considered an honor. It doesn't matter if you're the ambassador's son, the minister's daughter, a class is picked at random and highjacked on their way to school.  They wake up on an island, in a classroom, and are informed that the last one standing wins.  They're given bags with random weapons, and set loose upon the island.  This is the beginning of the class that's been selected for this year's edition of The Program.

Verdict: I am rather enjoying this series of Manga.  I'm into the third installment now, and am really enthralled with the graphic nature of this story.  The way it flashes back and forth between the contestants' histories and their current predicaments really does make the story deeper than it would be if it were only told in the present tense.  A fair warning for parents and those with weak stomachs, there is rape, death, and extreme violence depicted on these pages, so you'll want to screen it first to make sure that it's appropriate for your teen.  It's one of the things that I compared The Hunger Games to when I reviewed it (as I had seen parts of the movie) and I stand firm on my assertion that Battle Royale was the original Hunger Games.  It's much more heart-wrenching to me though, because these kids all grew up with each other.  It's an interesting dynamic, and I can't wait to read more.

People Who Might Like This: people who adored the Hunger Games, fans of The Power Rangers, people who loved Spartacus: Blood & Sand (graphic as it was).
People Who Probably Won't Like It: prudes, people who hate the dystopian genre, I can imagine a lot of parents deeming this unfit for their children.

Purchase: Amazon Book Depo


repine • \rih-PYNE\ • verb
1 : to feel or express dejection or discontent : complain
*2 : to long for something

Example Sentence:
"They saw less of each other, and Robyn was aware that this did not cause her to repine as much as perhaps it should have done." (David Lodge, Nice Work)

Did you know?
In longing, one can "repine over" something ("repining over her lost past"), or one can "pine for" something. The two words, used thus, mean close to the same thing, but not exactly. "Pining" is intense longing for what one once knew. "Repine" adds an element of discontent to any longing -- an element carried over from its first sense ("to feel or express dejection or discontent"), which has been in use since the 16th century. (Washington Irving used the first sense in his 1820 work The Sketch Book: "Through the long and weary day he repines at his unhappy lot.") "Pine" and "repine" are from Old English "pinian" ("to suffer") and probably ultimately from Latin "poena" ("punishment"). "Poena" also gave us our word "pain."

I repine for Monster when he is away at work!

Your turn.  Use Repine in a sentence... you can either do it in the comments, or in the fun linky below (where you can promo your blog by putting your url in the box!)


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Janette Rallison Red Carpet Book Launch [Book Signing Alert]

What? Red Carpet Book Launch for My Double Life
When? Thursday, May 13, 2010, 7pm
Where?  Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Arizona
Who? Janette Rallison
Find out what it takes to be a starlet at our red carpet release party for Janette Rallison and her latest, My Double Life. All her life, Alexia Garcia has been told she looks just like pop star Kari Kingsley, and one day when Alexia's photo filters through the Internet, she’s offered a job to be Kari's double. Soon, Alexia makes a startling discovery. Rallison’s superstar fans will experience the paparazzi on the red carpet, pose for pictures taken in front a backdrop of her new book, enter raffles to have your name immortalized in a future book, win a school visit, and more!

I'm totally jealous that you guys get to go and that I'm going to be in Nebraska!  Tell me all about it, k?

THE BRIDE COLLECTOR by Ted Dekker on Audiobook [Giveaway]

IHM had the honor of being part of Ted Dekker's THE BRIDE COLLECTOR book tour back in March.  Now, we're hosting a giveaway for three copies of the audiobook of this awesome thriller.

FBI Special agent Brad Raines is facing his toughest case yet. A Denver serial killer has killed four beautiful young women, leaving a bridal veil at each crime scene, and he's picking up his pace. Unable to crack the case, Raines appeals for help from a most unusual source: residents of the Center for Wellness and Intelligence, a private psychiatric institution for mentally ill individuals whose are extraordinarily gifted.

It's there that he meets Paradise, a young woman who witnessed her father murder her family and barely escaped his hand. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, Paradise may also have an extrasensory gift: the ability to experience the final moments of a person's life when she touches the dead body.

In a desperate attempt to find the killer, Raines enlists Paradise's help. In an effort to win her trust, he befriends this strange young woman and begins to see in her qualities that most 'sane people' sorely lack. Gradually, he starts to question whether sanity resides outside the hospital walls...or inside.

As the Bride Collector picks up the pace-and volume-of his gruesome crucifixions, the case becomes even more personal to Raines when his friend and colleague, a beautiful young forensic psychologist, becomes the Bride Collector's next target.

The FBI believes that the killer plans to murder seven women. Can Paradise help before it's too late?
So, sound good?  Wanna win a copy?  Enter your dets below.  Sorry, only open to US & Canadian residents.  There will be three winners.  Ends 6/6.

CTRL + click this link to open form in new tab.

How Do You Organize Your Bookshelves? [You're The Expert]

I saw this article about someone who organized their bookshelves by color.  I wanted to laugh, but then I thought, "Wait.  That's pretty darn cool."  My bookshelves are a complete and total mess at the moment, so I'm trying to figure out the best way to organize them.  So, why not ask you guys?  What is the most effective way for you to organize YOUR bookshelves?  You are, afterall, the experts on you, and I learn a lot from you every time we do Your The Expert posts! So, please. Share!
[Photo Credit]