Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Harry and the Potters are hitting the West Coast [Music] [Events]

Ever heard of Wizard Rock?  We posted about Harry and the Potters a couple of years ago when we ventured over to Burton Barr Public Library to hit up the free show.  It was awesome.  A fun rock band dedicated to music about Harry, Hermione, Ron and friends.  If you're in the mood for some fun and a nice mental break, head over to your local gig and check them out.  For those of you in Arizona, the show is an all-ages FREE show!  Wanna know more?  Check out Harry and the Potters on Facebook and Twitter.

June 19 | Reno, NV | Holland | 140 Vesta St | ALL AGES | $10 | 7:30pm

June 20 | Gilroy, CA | THE BURROW | 1050 Bolra Rd | 7:30pm | ALL AGES | $whatever

June 21 | Los Angeles, CA | The LA FORT | 736 Ceres Ave., downtown LA  | $10 | All Ages | 7pm doors 8pm show

June 22 | Phoenix, AZ | Burton Barr Central Library | 1221 N Central Ave | 6pm | Free | ALL AGES

June 23 | Tucson, AZ | Hotel Congress | 311 E Congress St. | FREE | 1pm wizard events … 4pm rock show | ALL AGES

June 24 | Isla Vista, CA | Biko Garage | 6612 Sueno Rd | $5-10 sliding scale | All Ages | 7pm doors 8pm show

June 25 | San Francisco, CA | Brick & Mortar Music Hall | 1710 Mission Street | with James Rabbit | $10 | EARLY SHOW 5pm doors finished by 8pm | All Ages

June 28 | Portland, OR  | LeakyCon 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sanctum by Sarah Fine [Review]

The way this story is constructed makes it hard to give you a synopsis without spoilers.  Suffice it to say that Lela's first day at a new high school after exiting juvie is when she makes her first and only friend, Nadia.  Nadia just so happens to be trying to buy some oxy off of the school drug dealer when he tries to rip her off and Lela steps in.  Instant friendship.  Unlikely friendship.  Strong friendship.  One that Lela finds herself going to the depths of hell to save. [literally]  Don't worry, there's romance in there too.  And action.  Lots of action.  But if I tell you more, I'll totally spoil it.

Here's the deal.  Amazon Children's Publishing doesn't have a strong track record with me.  So when this was recommended to me as an AWESOME story, I checked it out, saw Amazon on it, and kinda just gave a huge internal 'meh.'  Let me be the first to say I was wrong.  But only after the first fifty pages or so.  You think you know how this story is going to go.  You think you have a concept of what's going to happen and how it will end.  And then comes the twisty, sassy ending that makes you want to read more right away.  You start out the story thinking Lela is just a poor abused stereotypical foster kid who has served time.  She's not.  I thoroughly enjoyed her character and her journey.  I enjoyed the peripheral characters and their quirks.  The amount of detail in the setting is just enough to give me a picture and not too much to make me think I'm picturing it wrong when the next detail rolls along.

Overall, I was surprised at how good of a read SANCTUM was.  I don't generally pick up anything that happens when people have to die to meet their journey or that has anything to do with the afterlife, but this one was different, and it kept me intrigued, and I bet it will peak your interest too... if you give it more than fifty pages.  But if you're anything like me at all, I'll understand if you bail after ten.

People who will like this are people who enjoy WWII history, world religions, Buffy fans (I know I say that a lot, but there's an actual reference to the HYENA episode).  Joss Whedon should totally get his hands on this.  For reals.

People who might not like this are people who have a closed mind about the afterlife, people who don't believe in aliens, and people who think heaven is a shopping spree in NYC.  

There is a short story called CAPTIVE that shows another perspective to some of the first events of the afterlife portion of this book.  It's free if you preorder the next installment of the GUARDS OF THE SHADOWLANDS series, FRACTURED.  It doesn't show up if you search for it, so follow the link to find it.  Additionally, for Kindle device owners who have Amazon Prime, SANCTUM is free to borrow.  

Have you read about Lela and Malachai?  If yes, spill.  Like/dislike, Love/hate, Guards/Mazikin?  Which side are you on?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd [Review]

Juliet's father was accused of Butchery.  They found the family dog (that really belonged to the servant boy, Montgomery) all cut up and resewn together.  The police decided that her father was a criminal and hunted him.  What had been a life as the daughter of the best surgeon in England quickly upheaved into being a daughter of a mistress, then after the death of her mother, further devolved into work as a scullery maid at King's College.  Juliet handled her fall from grace well until one night, she finds some medical students performing a vivsection of a rabbit... which gives her a lead to perhaps find her father, Henri Moreau, who she had assumed dead.  The chase takes her on an ocean voyage to a remote island full of creatures she has never before encountered, to the once-servant boy she knew as a child, and to a new and exciting gentleman who barely survived a shipwreck.

If you're familiar with H.G. Wells' The Island of Doctor Moreau, (or one of it's movie incarnations) you will figure out many of the plot surprises and twists. If you're not, and this whole concept is new to you, you will probably thoroughly enjoy the plot.  Shepherd gets kudos from me on the embarkation of a stupid fun concept and a decent execution.  My biggest beef with the novel is with the characters (and one specific plot flaw, which I'll point out after the graphic so as not to spoil for those of you who haven't read it).  I couldn't help but feel like many of the relationships were completely contrived and I kept getting frustrated with Juliet and her choices and thought processes.  I enjoyed the pacing, the action, the setting.  I enjoyed the story.  I just couldn't help but feel like the relationships were convenient and manipulated for the accommodation of the plot.  Still.  A fun read and one that you'll probably enjoy if only for the quirkiness of the approach.  

You'll like this one if you're a sci-fi fan.  Think Trekkies, Whovians, and Buffsters.  You'll hate it if you're a lit snob, if you go to a pretentious school and fit in, or if you are currently stuck in the middle of a love triangle.  Also, members of PETA need not apply. Animal cruelty abounds. Those with weak stomachs who can't read about surgery and/or blood?  Not for you.  

Also, this book would be a great pick for a book group.  There is a lot to discuss, both conceptually and linearly, and opinions are bound to differ.
The Madman's Daughter is part of our Summer Reading List:

(Spoilers Inside) The plot beef: Here's the deal.  Dr. Moreau makes Edward while Montgomery is off getting supplies and Juliet in London.  He makes Edward using his new process that doesn't involve animal cruelty, vivisection, or pain. And he's successful.  Yet, when Montgomery gets back, he goes back to his old tried-and-failed method of bone breaking and slicing.  He made a better being than Alice in Edward with the new method.  Wouldn't he keep working on that method with the new animals rather than return to the tried-and-failed method?  It just doesn't jive unless it's a convenient way to show what a villain and heinous person Dr. Moreau is.  It seems like a plot flaw for the sake of character development, and doesn't work either way.  Explain it to me. Tell me what I'm missing.  Please. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green [Young At Heart] [Book Group]

Young At Heart is an in-real-life book group for adults who love YA.  To join, you just have to show up.  And be 17 or older.  It's hosted at Bookman's Mesa by I Heart Monster and Bookman's on the 3rd Thursday of every month.  We meet in the area that used to be the cafe'.

You don't have to RSVP.  You don't have to make a commitment.  All you have to do is show up.  If you're in the Phoenix area, give us a try.  We're laid back, fun, and have really great discussions about the books, their worlds, characters, the authors, the writing, and basically everything in between.  Come try it out!

If you want to RSVP, you can.  Just let us know you're coming by joining the Facebook event.  Again.  You totally don't have to.  I just like the handy reminder in my Facebook stream.

This month's book is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  We will meet at 7pm at Bookman's Mesa on June 20th.  COME!

Monday, June 3, 2013

10(+) Books For Your 2013 Summer Reading List

There's a lot going on this summer.  We're going to need some reads that are out of the ordinary to get us through the heat, yes?  Here are some books that are on my summer reading list, that you might consider for yours as well:

1) The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd.  The Island of Dr. Moreau from Dr. Moreau's estranged teenage daughter's point of view.

2) The Language Inside by Holly Thompson. A novel in verse about an American girl raised in Japan returning to the United States during her high school years.

3) The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler. Jude's sisters made her swear (with candles and oaths and whatnot) to never date a Vargas boy.  But then her path is thrust into the path of one and her defenses start to crumble.

4) The Year of Luminous Love by Lurlene McDaniel. Love and the sacrifices that recent high school grads will make for it.  Apparently in the Eat, Pray, Love style.

5) Burning by Elana K. Arnold.  The cover says: Small-town boy.  Gypsy girl  Desert summer.  Enough for me.

6) Sanctum by Sarah Fine. "On my first day at Warwick High School, if you'd told me I would choose to go to hell for any of the students, let alone Warwick's queen bee, I would have laughed."  That's the first line.

7) Scarlet by Marissa Meyer.  A second in the Lunar Chronicles trilogy, set in a cyborg-existing future where fairytales take on a pretty awesome twist.  This one shifts perspectives and I can't wait to dive in. (Here's where a + comes in... read Cinder if you haven't already.)

8) The Beautiful and The Cursed by Page Morgan. Gargoyles.  Need I say more?

9) Rampant by Diane Peterfreund. Killer unicorns (+ this series includes Ascendant and Errant).  These books have been out for quite some time, but I have not had the pleasure of diving in, even though they've been on my shelf for what seems like ever.

10) Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger.  A finishing school for girls set in the same world as Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series.  So, steampunk, supernaturals, and it sounds like espionage and fighting.

What books are on your summer reading list?