Thursday, April 30, 2015

Quote of the Week: Lies I Told by Michelle Zink

One of my favorite lines from Zink's LIES I TOLD: 

If my review didn't tempt you, perhaps this did?  Pick it up today

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Independent Bookstore Day is also May 2nd!

Check to see if your local Indie bookstore is participating in Independent Bookstore Day this Saturday!  (why they chose the same day as Free Comic Book Day is beyond me, but still... this is fun!)

Each store will have limited edition swag for sale starting May 2nd to celebrate.  My local Indie, Changing Hands, looks to have some really fun stuff that I wouldn't be able to procure via preorder (like a really fun set of literary tea towels) and a 15% off storewide coupon.  Which, can be combined with a full rewards card, per Facebook questions, so it's a steal of a day all around.

A little history:  Independent Bookstore day has grown from California Bookstore Day to stores from California to Maine, Washington to Florida.  It's a national movement that was started in California only last year.  It's quickly expanded.  Now, let's just hope they can get their dates sorted out with Free Comic Book Day for next year!

Tell us, will you be heading to your local Indie this Saturday?  If so, which one, and what are you going to grab?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sick by Tom Leveen

So, the thing you need to know about this book is that it's not a zombie book.  The characters that are infected are not dead/undead.  They're sick.  So, depending on your breed of zombie-aversion, you might want to give this a chance.  This review is based off of both the print version and the audio version as I switched back and forth several times using my Kindle and Audible apps via the Whispersync capability of which, but the way, I'm a TOTAL fan.

It's set in Phoenix.  At a fenced-in high school.  And the main character, Brian, has a sister named Kenzie, and a mom who is a doctor and works for the health department.  Weird things start happening to kids at school, and pretty soon, the stage crew for the drama department (including Brian) have barricaded themselves inside the innards of the auditorium to keep away from the sick kids who are eating people.

The story takes place over the course of less than 24-hours.  It's almost real-time.  As always with Tom Leveen, the dialogue is genius.  This may also very well be the most raunchy of all of the dialogues he's ever written too.  That's actually why it took me so long to finish the book... not because it was bad or I wasn't interested... but because it made me want to google things that are for sure NSFW* and for sure not appropriate around my toddler.  It's colorful, to say the least.

But, if you aren't turned-off by color, you're in for a treat.  SICK is probably Leveen's best plot arc yet, but it adds in the character motivation and depth that you find in ZERO.  You get to know these characters.  And when you lose one, you feel it.  You get that pang in your heart, you feel the adrenaline running in your veins, even though you're perfectly safe inside your home.

The thing I liked best about SICK was that you knew what was causing the sickness.  You knew what characteristics the disease had, the symptoms, and what you could and couldn't do to slow it down.  You got a feel for what it would be like to have to creatively solve your problems just to stay alive, amongst a zillion temptations that would likely end in your infection.  And the other thing I like is that even the characters you get attached to fall.  Loads of suspense, loads of action, I wish so hard someone would pick this up and make a TV series with it.  It'd be fascinating and new and twisty and just plain awesome.  Give it a try, whydontcha?  (Tom narrates the audiobook himself, which is such a treat, because you know exactly how it was supposed to be read and exactly the inflections that were supposed to be accentuated.)

Parents:  Language.  Strong language, bordering on crude (think high school dudes... it's legit).  Allusions to sex, sex drive, etc, but nothing graphic.  Lots of blood and gore and violence.  Not for the weak-stomached!

NSFW = not safe for work

Friday, April 24, 2015

Mark Your Calendars: Free Comic Book Day May 2nd

A week from tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day 2015!  Mark your calendars for May 2nd and don't forget to hit up your local comic book store or library for a free comic or two.

What is it?  And why is it that people give away free comics?  Watch this video to find out:

So basically, the movement is to introduce new comics and new series to established fans AND to introduce comics to people who haven't found a love for them yet or may not have found the comic for them yet.

It took a long time for me to find a comic that clicked with me.  A LONG TIME.  I was actually already blogging about books as an adult when someone from Titan Comics sent me a note to see if I would review a collection of Roman Dirge's LENORE.  I took the plunge (because dude, who doesn't love a cute little dead girl?) and have been a huge fangirl of his work ever since.  It was also a segway for me to check out THE WALKING DEAD and to start collecting some of my favorite classics in different languages when I travel.  So, someone sent me a free comic, and now I'm a fan.  I guess the method works!

My city's library system is having a TON of fun events to correlate with the day.  If you're in or around Mesa, Arizona, check these out:  (my fave is that James A. Owen will be at the closest branch to me!)

Free Comic Book Day comic books (one per person while supplies last): 
• Courtesy of Gotham City Comics at Main Library at 10 a.m.
• Courtesy of Samurai Comics and Mesa Comics at Dobson Ranch Library at 10 a.m.
• Courtesy of Mesa Comics at Red Mountain Library at 1 p.m.
• Courtesy of Mesa Comics at Mesa Express Library at 10 a.m.
Build-A-Lair Craft at Main Library from 10 a.m. to noon 
Superhero Cuffs for Kids Craft at Main Library from 11 a.m. to noon 
Superhero Fridge Magnets for Teens & Adults Craft at Main Library from 11 a.m. to noon. 
Superhero Costume Contest at Main Library from noon to 1 p.m. 
Create Your Own Comic Book Page at Dobson Ranch Library from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. 
Comic Book Swaps: bring one to exchange for another someone else brought: 
• 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.- 2 p.m. at Dobson Ranch Library
• 1 p.m.- 2 p.m. at THINKspot at Red Mountain Library
• 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. at Main Library
Cosplay Photo Workshop at THINKspot at Red Mountain Library from 2 p.m.- 4 p.m. Put yourself as a superhero into a cool background! Registration is required online at or call (480) 644-3100.
Meet comic book artist and novelist James A. Owen all day at Main Library
“All Things Comics” talk with a pro from Mesa Comics at THINKspot at Red Mountain Library 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. 
Take a selfie with a Character Cut-Out at Dobson Ranch, Red Mountain or life-size Deadpool at Red Mountain Library. 
Match the Superhero to their Superstrength - all day at Mesa Express Library

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Lies I Told by Michelle Zink

I. Am a sucker. For any story involving covert ops.  Period.  I don't care if it's Jennifer-Garner-in-Alias spycraft, Veronica-Mars-scoping private eye work, or a Grace-(Fontaine)-pretending-to-be-someone-you're-not con.  I love the mystery and suspense of it all and the feeling like if you put down the book, it's going to keep going on without you.  And that's the exact feeling I got from LIES I TOLD, the first of Michelle Zink's duology starring said Grace (Fontaine).

She's adopted into this family of con artists/grifters.  Previous to that, she was stuck in a myriad of foster care placements from not-so-horrible to pretty-darn-bad.  So, she's thrilled to be a part of a real family, and goes on about her business as a junior grifter because it means that she has a FAMILY! And people who love her!  And this story starts when that family, including her mom, dad, and adopted older (and kinda hawt) brother move to the exclusive Playa Hermosa community in California to start a brand new job.  Her assignment?  Get on the in with Logan Fairchild and/or Rachel Mercer.  It's high school, she's done it dozens of times, and her mark seems easy... until her conscience starts to get in the way.

LIES I TOLD is a fantastic specimen of young adult mystery with a side of romance in there too. Remember how I told you I start my summer reading in April?  Well, this is prime summer reading, spring reading, you name it reading.  I'm a Zink fan, and I believe it's her best work yet.  The teen characters are more complex than they need to be - in a good way.  You understand their motivations, the reasons they make the decisions they do, choose to trust who they trust, break the rules they break on purpose.  Zink masterfully crafts the tale with just the right amount of detail and clever dialogue.  Pick it up, you won't be disappointed.

If you're an Arizona girl like me, you might pick up on a couple of teensy mistakes like the fact that Chandler High School is actually in Chandler and not Phoenix, and is kinda ghetto these days, and wouldn't be a spot for the prepster community.  You might pick up on the fact that Grace seems thrown by a new encounter in Playa Hermosa with palo verde trees when, in reality, they are everywhere in Chandler, Arizona.  But aside from those few details that you wouldn't really fight if you weren't an Arizona native like me?  It's as nitpicky as I get, so there it is for you!  I found no flaws in structure, flow, pacing, narrative, dialogue, character development...  just a few of the details.

Parents: There is a bit of language, but not a lot.  There's an allusion to sex, but not a graphic depiction.  There's graffiti, and the inner workings of a complex con and all of the lying and deceit that goes into that.  But overall, it's pretty squeaky.  I actually think it would be a great book to team read because of all of the choices that Grace is faced with.  It'd be a great opportunity to chat with your pre-teen or teen about them.  

Friday, April 17, 2015

Quote of the Week: Lola & The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

This quote might be a bit of a spoiler, but it's so great, I had to share.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Royally Lost by Angie Stanton

It gets warm here in Arizona a little faster than it does in other parts of the US and world. It's tax day, but we've already seen temperatures of 98°F. This heat thing makes me like to start my summer reading a little bit earlier than most. Anything over 90°F makes me think escapism, air conditioning, and getting my brain to a place where I can fantasize about better weather, travel, and fun yet clean romance.

Angie Stanton's ROYALLY LOST fit the bill perfectly for my first summer read of the year.  Sure, it's old news.  It came out last May.  But it's a new adult* filled with European history (which I was off experiencing for myself when this launched last year!), bits of family drama, but best of all, summer romance, between two very unlikely characters.

This was unputdownable.  I'm sure it was a perfect storm of my longing for Prague (Budapest, I'm kind of with Becca on Budapest - it kinda sucked), royal romance, and something I could escape into while I was debilitated by the mumps (no, true story), but I found the characters unique and deeper than your typical summer book characters.  The main ones, anyway.  I found the family dynamic very believable and even though I couldn't connect with Becca (I'm a history fan for sure), I could connect with her plight, especially the lack of direction she felt after high school.  And I cared.  As always, I'm not a fan of incessant details, and this doesn't disappoint.  The picture is painted adequately for you to figure out where she is and what is happening with her and around her, but not painfully drawn out to describe the detail on every door she passes (which, really, having just visited, could have been a HUGE temptation for Stanton).

A bit ironically, the only things I found lacking in this wispy, whirlwind romance were some of the details.  They didn't mesh with my experiences during our trip to Budapest and Prague.  I'll not expound on them so that it doesn't ruin it for you if you don't know any better, but if you have been to either city recently, or any of them along the Danube in between, be prepared to use your imagination, not your memory.  

If you're planning a summer reading stint, add this to your list. I'm confident it won't disappoint.

*New Adult.  This category has emerged over the last couple of years.  It's post-high school, pre-real life.  Think college or college aged, with the characters making choices that address that awkward stage in adulthood. 

**I'm sorry for the lack of posts this year and the last part of 2014.  I was diagnosed with cancer in August 2014, and despite my most earnest efforts, reading during chemotherapy didn't work, much to my disappointment.  I couldn't focus my eyes or manage my nausea.  I'm 75% of the way through now  and have found some drugs that sure do help (feeling better than I have in over six months!).  So, hopefully, I'm at least back a little.  Thanks for sticking around through the drought.  I really appreciate it.  ♥