Monday, April 30, 2012

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor [Book Inspection]

Plot Sketch:  Alyss Heart has an impressive, powerful imagination - perhaps the most fearsome Wonderland has ever seen.  Her mother, Queen Genevieve and her father, King Nolan have ruled over Wonderland and the noble families - Diamonds, Clubs, and Spades - since Genevieve's sister, Redd was banished because of her love for Black Imagination.  Redd exacts her revenge on her sister, and tries to kill all other Heart progeny, but Alyss escapes with Hatter Madigan through the Pool of Tears to our world.  The tale that follows is one of a disintegrating Wonderland, a poor orphaned Alyss unable to use her imagination in our world, and the search to oust Redd from the throne.

Verdict:  Even though I have never been an epic fantasy fan, I adored this story.  And even though this is technically epic fantasy, it could be considered epic urban fantasy because much time is spent in this world we live in here called Earth.  Yeah, I'm going with that.  I promised I'd read this before the next Phoenix Comicon, and boy am I glad I did.  The next in the series should be arriving tomorrow.  I hope.  Fingers crossed.  Though, The Looking Glass Wars does end nice and tightly and could be a stand alone.

I adored the vibrance of the characters, the distinct fullness each offered me as a reader.  I felt like even though I couldn't relate to the characters, I could understand fully their motivations and their psychology.  I could get behind them or chastise them or in some instances even get to be friends with them.

I think that the third-person omniscient viewpoint helped with both the character development and the escalating plot.  The vividness of the world still shocks me, and honestly, I don't know how Frank Beddor did it.  He jam-packed this world with color and glamour and all sorts of beauty and ugly, but I never felt like he forced it.  I think that's the key.  It all flowed, it all flowed together, and the use of the characters and imagery made a story I will never forget and have already recommended to people in my family.  In fact, I ordered the audiobook for Monster without even asking him.  So there.  And if he doesn't like it?  Off to Outerwilderbeastia with him!

Frank Beddor has a world of card soldiers, online game play, and all sorts of things in TLGW world.  Check out for all kinds of great information.  The Looking Glass Wars was published in 2005 by Dial Books for Young Readers.  I'd recommend it to fans of retellings, action movies, and The Hobbit.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dollhouse: Epitaphs Volume 1 [Comics]

So I saw an ad for Dollhouse: Epitaphs by Dark Horse Books in one of the industry newsletters I receive.  I was like, "Dollhouse, as in Joss's Dollhouse?"  Then I clicked on the ad and was taken to a page where I totally squeed.  Yeah, buddy.  It is totally a continuation of the two-season TV series on Fox.  So, I lightning fast went to my local comic book store to pick it up, but they had no idea what I was talking about and wanted to sell me the individual comics... which I had no idea were even out there, and I could get into a whole weird tangent, but I won't.

So, I kindly declined and went home and purchased the five-issue volume on Amazon.  I devoured the 160-page compilation in less than an hour.  Now.  I had just had surgery a few days before and I was high on Vicodin... but I really liked the series.  I'll definitely buy the next volume from Dark Horse if there is one.

It starts off slowly, reorienting you to a world that contains dollhouses and what's currently going on with Rossum and how they're furthering their hold on people's minds.  I'll admit that there was a point where I was confused as to whether or not this was the same story.  But that confusion was quickly diffused and I was immersed in a new conflict with Alpha, Echo, Zone and Rossum.

Now I'm not a seasoned comic-book reader.  I read them on a regular basis, but I sometimes have a hard time getting into them.  I know, blasphemy to some of you.  Apologies.  But the thing that was hardest to get into about this story was that the art for characters wasn't always consistent and I wasn't always sure where I was and who was talking as the scenes would change from page to page and some of the art work was so close to other characters.  Don't get me wrong, I figured it out, but I did have a hitch here and there.

That said, I was engrossed in the story and the artwork, and when I finished, I was super disappointed.  I wanted more.  So, I'd totally recommend this for fans of Dollhouse that want more of Echo, Alpha, and the world that Rossum wants to rule.

An aside:  I really like that they based Rossum in Tucson - the hippy, artsy, holistic-loving people of Tucson, two hours to the south.  It's kind of just another degree of sinister lent to Rossum.  And I really liked that they didn't neglect that fact from the show in the book.  They kept the vast majority of the things the same.  Also, the book was written by the same people who wrote the TV series.  So, that's another tally in the awesome column for me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

May The Odds Be More In Your Favor: Trivia Tonight at Bookman's Mesa [Leaks]

So.  You think you don't have an edge if you're an I Heart Monster reader?  Wrong.  I'm hosting The Hunger Games Trivia Challenge at Bookman's tonight, and I'm giving you a glimpse into some of the harder questions I'll be asking.  Am I telling you all of them?  Um. No.  Just a few to get you excited and researching and racking your brain.

Questions are limited to the first book and the first movie and maybe a little of the soundtrack.  They do not cover any of Catching Fire or Mockingjay.

Leaked Question #1: How many districts compete in the Hunger Games?

Leaked Question #2: What does District 11 send to Katniss?

Leaked Question #3: What is the name of the girl who gives Katniss the Mockingjay pin in the novel?

Leaked Question #4: Name the town in North Carolina where the District 12 scenes were filmed in The Hunger Games movie.

Leaked Question #5: Name the only artist that features two tracks on The Hunger Games soundtrack.

There's a Bookman's gift card and a special edition hardcover copy of The Hunger Games up for grabs for the person who gets the most questions right!

I'm going to try to sport this Katniss hairdo... we'll see how it turns out.    Hope to see you there in your costume!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Galahad Legacy by Dom Testa [Blog Tour] [Giveaway]

“Of course I did,” Gap said with a quick smile. “And had my dad honk the horn in
tunnels, too.” He turned back to Triana. “Did you have any sense of time at all when you
woke up? I mean, I can kinda tell the difference when I’ve slept for an hour versus six
hours, you know?”
“I know what you mean,” Triana said. “But no, I had no concept at all. I might
have been out for ten seconds, or ten days. All I know is that I woke up to see normal
space through the pod’s window. Well...maybe normal’s not the right word.”
She stood up and walked over to the water dispenser. The other Council members
waited patiently as she slowly sipped from the cup. She kept her back to the conference
table to hide the fact that her hand was shaking.
The Galahad Legacy, Dom Testa

I'm thrilled to bring you guys a fantastic six-book, entire series giveaway of the entire Galahad series by Dom Testa.  Just enter into the Rafflecopter below.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Divergent by Veronica Roth [Freebies]

I've been wanting to try out Divergent by Veronica Roth for a while, but I just haven't gotten around to it.  Last night a book group friend reminded me that I hadn't read it yet.  Then some little piece inside of me said, "Hey check out the Browse Inside Full Access titles at Harper Teen!" and I did. And guess what I found lurking there all by its lonesome? Divergent by Veronica Roth. You never know when these full-access rights will expire, but I thought I'd alert you guys that you can read Divergent online for free.  You know, until you can't anymore.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Survive The Hunger Games At Bookmans Mesa [Events]

I'm proud to announce that I'll be hosting The Hunger Games Trivia Challenge at Bookman's in Mesa on April 18th at 7pm. You guys! How fun is this? Mark your calendars. Show your faces. I wanna see you there!