July Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered my July giveaway of Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz and a signed The Espressologist by Kristina Springer. The results have been tabulated, and with a little help from Random.org, the winner is…

Congratulations Liz! Be sure to check your email so I can get your books out to you as soon as possible. Happy reading!

Starting tonight at midnight, I’m participating in the Summer Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer! and Bookhounds. It’s running all week long, so be sure to check back here to enter!

Amazingly beautiful and painstakingly crafted signature courtesy of Small Review

TGIF at GReads! (6) & Weekly Recap

This Friday blog hop is run by Ginger at GReads! (who also created this beautiful button). Each week she posts a new question for us to ponder.

Click the button to join in!

This week’s question is:

Character Envy: If you could be one character from a book, who would you choose & why?

I was going to be very obvious and choose Claire Fraser from Outlander, but then I thought twice about it. I don’t want to overtalk that book to death for fear that some of you will get sick of it. Sooooo.

I choose Sookie Stackhouse of the Southern Vampire mysteries (and now True Blood). She has a simple life (albeit occasionally complicated by life-threatening encounters with the paranormal) and can read people’s minds. Sure, she thinks it’s a hassle, but I would love to hear what people are thinking. Plus, everyone in her life is goodlooking and/or interesting. Sign me up!

What character would you choose to be?

My weekly recap is inspired by the phenomenally talented, kind and generous Small Review. If you are not already following her, you are really missing out. Also, have I mentioned how much I love Cool Text? They’re the folks that allow me to make these cool (and simple) text buttons – for FREE!

If you’re a first time visitor, or just didn’t get the chance to stop by this week, here’s what you missed:

Writing Wednesday – Get Organized!
Want to snoop? I share pictures of my bookshelves and talk organization.

In My Mailbox

4/5 stars
Vacation Reads Challenge
I Read Banned Books Tour

RAMPANT by Diana Peterfreund
4/5 stars
2011 Fantasy Reading Challenge

Last chance to win SPELLBOUND and a signed copy of THE ESPRESSOLOGIST for my July giveaway. Ends 7/31! Hop on over and enter.

Enjoy your weekend everybody!

Amazingly beautiful and painstakingly crafted signature courtesy of Small Review

Review: Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Book: Rampant
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: August 25, 2009
Source: Ebook borrowed from library
Series: Killer Unicorns #1
Summary: (from Goodreads) Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns… Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they’ve been extinct for a hundred and fifty years. Or not. Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother’s stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriendâ??thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the promâ??Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries. However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters toâ??perhaps most dangerously of allâ??her growing attraction to a handsome art student … an attraction that could jeopardize everything.

First impressions: From page one, I knew I was going to like this book. Astrid is reading a gag-inducing unicorn tale to her babysitting charges, and introduces us to her feelings on the subject. She’s snarky, irreverent, and convinced that her possibly crazy mother has warped her with tales of man-eating unicorns while growing up. I. Love. Astrid.

Lasting impressions: Diana Peterfreund has managed to blend the most ridiculous fantasy element of all time – unicorns – with the most realistic portrayal of a teen I’ve ever read. Sheer genius.

Conflicting impressions: Virgins! Again with the virgins! Puh-lease. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Overall impressions: One of my favorite scenes in all of comedic film is in the movie Dodgeball, when Vince Vaughn’s character goes to Christine Taylor’s character’s house for the first time and discovers her eerie obsession with unicorns. Do you know why that scene is so damn funny? Because no self-respecting grown woman would surround herself with that much lavender, sparkles, and horned white horses. It would be like carrying a Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper into a business meeting.

Astrid would find that scene funny. She practically chokes on the words while reciting that same kind of fluffy unicorn tale to the kids she’s babysitting. You see, in Astrid’s mother’s world, unicorns are fearsome fanged beasts that survive on the flesh of mammals. Astrid, of course, thinks her mother is a whack-job. While everyone else grew up thinking unicorns were majestic, beautiful creatures, she wound up with the mom whose unicorn stories were completely terrifying.

I loved Astrid’s healthy skepticism. It made the story more believable, and allowed her to make all of the snide, disparaging remarks we readers are wont to do when confronted with reading material about unicorns. When I gleefully showed off the cover and first page to my husband, I think he actually considered divorce.

Once I settled into the narrative, things moved right along. Astrid almost immediately encounters a breed of unicorn called a zhi, which not only doesn’t attack her, but bows. Like, might as well wear a skirt and curtsy, bows down to her. Right before lunging its fanged mouth at her boyfriend and roughing him up pretty good. After this near-death experience, Astrid’s boy toy ostracizes her and her mother sends her to Rome for unicorn huntress camp.

I know. Stay with me.

Because Astrid has managed to stay a virgin (sigh), and because she comes from a long line of fancy pants unicorn huntresses, she dutifully goes off to Rome. She figures she’ll spend her time learning Italian and seeing the sights. When she arrives, she’s in for a rude awakening. Her roommate is an even more emphatic huntress than her mother, excitedly blabbing about killing and training and displays an act of Pure Crazy so shocking I almost stopped reading. I’m glad I didn’t.

This book is not lacking in the blood-and-guts department. It’s a book about hunters. They hunt and kill. It’s what they do. So there should be no surprises on the violence front. Perhaps the thing I struggled with the most, however, was how easily Astrid came to accept this part of her duty. Natural instinct kicks in when she gets around unicorns, and I get that killing a beast that’s trying to kill you is easier than killing an innocent puppy. But although she experiences remorse after her first kill, she did seem overly accepting of her killer instince and the training aspects of her time in Rome. I was surprised at how quickly she just jumped on in, especially given her prior skepticism.

Don’t get me wrong. Astrid struggles with this decision. She doesn’t want to commit her entire life to remaining a virgin and hunting unicorns. The difference is that while I bought her struggle over the decision to commit to a life of hunting, I didn’t buy her lack of real rebellion at going to unicorn camp in the first place and killing lots of animals once she got there, despite her life being endangered several times. I wanted her to be a bit more rebellious, other than sneaking out to make out with cute boys.

Which brings me to Giovanni. He’s an American student studying in Rome, who along with his friend, starts double dating Astrid and her cousin, Philippa aka Phil. Giovanni represents all that she can’t have if she hunts – love, sex, companionship. She flirts with using him to take her virginity so she can avoid hunting, and also agonizes over accepting her destiny while still truly loving him.

The boys manage to complicate things in meaningful, and also hurtful, ways. It’s in the exploration of these relationships that Peterfreund shines. Astrid is a teenager – nervous around boys, overanalyzing their every move, questioning the path to physical intimacy. She is insecure about reading the right signals or how to communicate what she wants. I absolutely loved the time she spent with Giovanni, and her internal thoughts just made me want to hug her and tell her that when she grows up she’ll look back on this with a smile. Of course, what dogs Astrid is that she might not grow up with that kind of knowledge. It’s very bittersweet.

The action ebbs and flows, and at times I found the narrative a bit confusing and wandering for me, but I still give it a solid four stars. I liked the exploration of teen sexuality (minus the emphasis on virginity) and the mythology built around the unicorns. There were lots of surprises throughout the pages that made for an exciting read, and I recommend this one to those who like their fantasy with just a hint of mocking.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system     Amazingly beautiful and painstakingly crafted signature courtesy of Small Review

Writing Wednesdayâ??Get Organized!

Writing Wednesday 2 

Welcome to Writing Wednesday, my feature where I discuss my works in progress, project ideas, editing struggles, or anything else related to writing. This also serves as a place for general discussion posts.

The return of Writing Wednesday is here! Now that school is done and my writing group is starting up with biweekly meetings, I hope to have more things to discuss related to my writing projects. This probably won’t be an every week thing, but I’ll revive it from time to time to keep you posted.

This week I want to talk about organization. As some of you may have read last week in my TGIF post on bookshelves, my bookish life has been a bit…cluttered. This includes reading AND writing. Not only were my books shoved willy nilly all over my living room, but so were my writing drafts, critiques, notes and prompt books. It was insanity. This weekend I took advantage of my husband being out of town to pull some old books to sell, reorganize a couple of shelves, and buy a new bookshelf. Though I still didn’t get close to solving the problem, I got a lot closer, and moved some of the things I need to easily access to more appropriate locations.


This is the one in the worst shape. The top shelf contains an overly stuffed shelf of religious books. The second shelf contains all of our plays (two deep, and you can literally see that shelf bowing under the weight!), the fourth shelf has art supplies and school books, and the last shelf has music and more textbooks. On the floor in front of this shelf are my review copies I donâ??t plan to keep. (Thatâ??s why theyâ??re on the floor â?? to remind me they are GARBAGE! Iâ??m kidding.) The third shelf is where I did the most work, moving a bunch of mass markets around and adding bloggy TBR books.
This next shelf got the best of the makeover treatment. (Seriously. I promise you this is an improvement.) I moved all of my logic puzzles to the top (which also holds random trinkets from India and some candles), moved around and got rid of some lit fiction Iâ??ll never read, and put all of my anatomy, food, and language materials on the bottom shelf. None of it is alphabetized or in much of an order, and itâ??s still overflowing, but itâ??s definitely an improvement. If you look closely you can see my Harry Potter collection and nerdy Final Fantasy game guides. Also wave to the husbandâ??s small amp on the right. Iâ??m not sure why itâ??s there. Donâ??t worry, the massive one is sequestered in the nightmare that is our office.
That last shelf I think is going to be moved over here instead. The white shelf on the left is the new one I bought this weekend and given the layout here I think a taller shelf would look better. The open shelves are our display shelves (remember my fun Disney hat? Top shelf!). You can spy  a copy of my favorite meant-for-adults picture book, Itâ??s a Book by Lane Smith. The white shelves will be used for games, writing materials, cookbooks and comic book storage (my new box for this is on the bottom.) Since Iâ??ve already amassed a healthy amount of comic books, I decided to get organized earlier rather than later and bought the storage container, boards and bags to get me off on the right foot. On top is a wedding photo, but itâ??s too far away to see. Suckers!
This is a closer look at the books that have temporarily been moved to the open shelves. The upper shelf has writing books and the lower shelf has autographed copies and other â??keeperâ? books. These shelves wind up being catch-alls (iPod box, computer headset, puzzles, dog collar, business cards, tape measure, framed photo of the sis and I with a Jubilee! showgirl in Vegas), which I donâ??t want. I plan to move the puzzles, card deck, writing books and some of the keeper books to the white shelves. Iâ??m getting a little worried about the load bearing capacity of that bottom shelf.
So thatâ??s where Iâ??m at. Things need to get shuffled, and the white shelves will quickly fill up at this rate, but thatâ??s okay. My five different writing folders are going to be combined into a binder or two â?? a system I hope to keep up rather than having loose papers shoved in folders. I also love the idea of having writing materials and notes next to books, so I can grab what I want easily and get working with minimal fuss.
I already feel better having more books off the floor and onto shelves. I canâ??t read them if I donâ??t know that I have them or canâ??t find them, so by getting a bit more organized I will lower my stress! Organization is a biggie for me to stay focused and motivated, and since my writing was scattered across multiple folders, email accounts, and flash drives, it was overwhelming me to the point where I wasnâ??t doing anything. Not cool.
Does organization help you? What are your strategies for getting and staying organized in your reading/writing life?

In My Mailbox (13)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme devoted to sharing the new books we’ve received, borrowed, or bought. For more information, visit IMM’s fantastic host, The Story Siren. You can visit other blogs that are participating in this weekâ??s IMM here.

Received for trade:
Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
The Candidates by Inara Scott
Immortal by Gillian Shields
all from Ruby’s Reads

Thank you Ruby! She also sent me a note guaranteeing that she loved just one of the books I sent her more than all three of these. We’re both hopeful that I love them more than she did. 🙂

Received for review:
Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey from I Read Banned Book Tours

This one has been out for a while, but when I found out Jen was willing to keep circulating older titles after they’d gone out on tour, I jumped on this one. I’m expecting Beauty Queens by Libba Bray for the same reason.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Greene & David Levithan
from author Stasia Ward Kehoe at A Year of Auditions
The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer and Secrets (The Ivy #2) by Lauren Kunze & Rina Onur from One Pushy Fox at Bewitched Bookworms

I was super excited to receive a bunch of signed bookmarks for Stasia Ward Kehoe’s Audition, which comes out this fall, which she sent tucked into the copy of Will Grayson, Will Grayson I won. Thank you Stasia!

I also want to mention that I had won a copy of The Uncoupling from the publisher, which unfortunately never arrived. Big, big, HUGE thank yous to Pushy at Bewitched Bookworms who would not take no for an answer and insisted on sending me her ARC of the title AND a hardcover she made me choose from her list. I chose Secrets because it sounds awesome (college setting, yes!) and since I didn’t have the first one…

The Ivy by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur

Graphic novels:
American Vamire, Vol. 1 by Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque and Stephen King
Kill Shakespeare Vol. 1 by Conor McCreery, Andy Belanger, Anthony Del Col
The Unwritten Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity by Mike Carey, Peter Gross
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Eric Shanower, Skottie Young, L. Frank Baum

Comic books: (links to comiXology)
Captain Swing & the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island by Warren Ellis & Raulo Caceres, issue 3
Lady Mechanika by Joe Benitez, issue 2
Ruse by Mark Waid, Butch Guice, and Mirco Pierfederici, issues 1-12, 14, 15, 20, & 26 of original run, issues 1-4 of new run

Haunted City by Peter Johnson, Michael Ryan, and Peter Steigerwald, issue 0
Batman: Gates of Gotham by Scott Snyder, Kyle Higgins, and Trevor McCarthy, issue 1
The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde by Cole Haddon & M. S. Corley, issue 2
Sherlock Holmes: Year One by Scott Beatty and Daniel Indro, issues 1 & 3

American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy, issues 1 & 2
Scarlet by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, issues 2-5
Caligula by David Lapham & German Nobile, issues 1 & 2

And because today is my BIRTHDAY, on Saturday I used some gift cards I’d been requesting from friends/family to go buy the Barnes & Noble Nook Color and a simple cover:

I was trying to make the cover legible, but it’s too dark. It’s an espresso brown color, faux leather, and says “A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it. Samuel Johnson.”

It looks pretty bare so far. Library book, Galley Grab books, the one NetGalley book I can’t read on my Kindle, and some apps. I’m still learning how to use the darn falutin’ thing.

That’s it for now. What books did you get recently?

Review: The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen

Book: The Mephisto Covenant
Author: Trinity Faegen
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release date: September 27, 2011
Source: ARC received from I Read Banned Books Tour
Series: The Mephisto Covenant #1

Summary: (from Goodreads) Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger â?? Sasha is Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryxâ??s biggest threat.

A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant â?? Godâ??s promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, heâ??s finally found the girl heâ??s been searching for: Sasha.

With the threat of Eryx looming, Jax has to keep Sasha safe and win her over. But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?

First impressions: I tweeted and blogged already about the exhilarating opening to this book, but it bears repeating. Few novels have been able to draw me in so completely. Sasha, determined to find out what happened to her dad, sets out to a secret meeting of Eryx devotees who promise to fulfill your dreams. Almost immediately they turn on her, and she is caught up in a brutal stoning. A stoning! It caught me completely off guard and told me that this book was going to be full of surprises. Loved that aspect.

Lasting impressions: Trinity Faegen put the effort into creating this fully developed mythology, and it shows. The character arcs are nuanced and proceed at an appropriate pace, and she never lets the story get away from her.

Conflicting impressions: The flip side of that mythology coin is that because the background needs to be explained to us, there wind up being a lot of info dumps. I would have liked to see this information more seamlessly blended with the action instead of feeling like “Oh, now they’re going to explain who Eryx is.”

Overall impressions: Everything about this book seemed fresh, different, and unique, while also simultaneously feeling like this was not new ground being covered. I hate when stories feel as if the author was trying to go so hard against the grain that they wind up with a story that doesn’t work. Here, Faegen instead blends exciting new elements with a story that felt comforting and familiar.

Sasha is the daughter of an American insurance salesman (or is he?) and a Russian mother who defected and now works for the State Department in San Francisco. Sasha’s father is recently deceased, and the circumstances seem too bizarre for Sasha to just let it go. She wants to find out what happened, and in the process stumbles into this club for followers of Eryx, who promises the world to these kids and then takes their souls. He is a corrupted son of Mephistopheles and Elektra who is trying to gain enough souls to take over hell from Lucifer.

Enter Jax. Also Mephisto, though not corrupted, he and his brothers fight against Eryx, taking the souls back from him and depositing them in Hell on Earth – sort of the permanently sealed Tupperware for these bad egg humans that sold their souls. He saves Sasha from the Eryx followers that are attacking her, explaining that as Anabo – a pure soul – she is a target for them. She also happens to be destined for love of a Mephisto, and that Mephisto is Jax.

It gets a little complicated here (see info dumps), so I’m not going to get into the details, but Jax must convince Sasha to love him (and he must love her) in order to find redemption and a path out of hell and into heaven. By doing so, however, Sasha must leave her old life behind and lose some of her pure Anabo self. She must join the Mephisto and capture lost souls, while also taking on some of their hellish characteristics. It’s a choice that dogs her throughout the narrative, as she struggles between wanting her old life back and wanting to be with Jax.

Their love happens quickly, but believably. It seems they are fated from the beginning, and I bought into that. Though Jax gets moony quite quickly, Sasha is more reserved with her feelings, so when she finally needs to make a choice her anguish seemed honest. There is a lot of talking about sex in this book (as, of course, it carries significant plot consequences) and I should also mention that this is definitely a book for older readers. There’s a scene toward the end that borders on romance novel territory.

Did the book have more complications than it needed? Yes, but I was thoroughly engrossed in what was happening. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen to Sasha, whether she would find out about her dad, and how many characters would make the mistake of succumbing to Eryx. When Sasha’s mother is deported and she moves to Telluride, Colorado to live with a family friend, the threat of Eryx goes up by a thousand points. The tension is palpable and as the stakes get bigger Sasha’s timeline gets shorter.

I highly recommend this one to fans of Unearthly and Angel Burn, or anyone with an interest in mythology. I can’t wait to read the sequel!

Rating: 4/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

San Francisco is my favorite California town, and someplace I’m dying to visit with my husband. I’ve never been to Telluride, but I love Colorado and definitely want to go back. For both of those reasons, I’m counting this toward the Vacation Reads Challenge.

Thank you to I Read Banned Books Tour for lending me this copy!

Amazingly beautiful and painstakingly crafted signature courtesy of Small Review

TGIF at GReads! (5) & Weekly Recap

This Friday blog hop is run by Ginger at GReads! (who also created this beautiful button). Each week she posts a new question for us to ponder.

Click the button to join in!

This week’s question is:

Bookshelf Tour: Where do you keep your books at home?
Are they organized?

So. I didn’t realize until this morning that I hadn’t actually scheduled a post for today. Whoops.

That means I don’t have any pictures to show you of the chaotic disorganization that is my bookshelves. I have two IKEA bookcases that house most of my books, and some open shelving in my living room that now hosts my prized YA collection and a few other pretty adult books. It’s become a de facto storage place for beautiful covers, books I really want to read, and signed copies.

The other two nightmares are crammed full in whatever way made the most sense when I unpacked. Three years ago.

Case 1:
As degree holders in the always useful theater field, the hubs and I have amassed an incredible amount of play scripts, that sit two deep on one shelf with some monologue books stacked on top. That case also houses a shelf devoted to religious material (having gone through a conversion or two we now have a range of texts and prayer books for both Jewish and Catholic faiths – it’s a long story). There is also a shelf for mass market paperbacks (also two deep) and beyond what is visible I actually have no idea what books are there. Finally, it houses reference books from the hub’s grad program, my grad program, and undergrad books that were too tall to fit anywhere else. It’s the boring textbook shelf, and it’s at the bottom.

Stacked in front of this case are my review and giveaway piles.

Case 2:
This bookcase has a mishmash of books acquired over the years, and features more of the books I’m proud of and/or am collecting. It has my still-not-complete Wizard of Oz series, the Harry Potter series, some TBR books I amassed from my university press gig during college, some of my prized nonfiction books, and other cool or interesting books I’ve read over the years. The bottom shelf holds lots of my anatomy coloring books (I have been collecting/coloring in them since I was a kid), old French language study books, and lots of books on vegetarianism/veganism/animal cruelty from that one time I tried to go vegan (also a long story).

Most of these shelves are CRAMMED full with other books piled on top and shoved in where they can fit. It’s a mess.

I think I have a project for the weekend now.

What’s your bookshelf situation?

My weekly recap is inspired by the phenomenally talented, kind and generous Small Review. If you are not already following her, you are really missing out. Also, have I mentioned how much I love Cool Text? They’re the folks that allow me to make these cool (and simple) text buttons – for FREE!

If you’re a first time visitor, or just didn’t get the chance to stop by this week, here’s what you missed:

Comic Books – Yay or Nay?
I talked about a new genre I’m exploring and asked for your thoughts.

In My Mailbox
Waiting on Wednesday – Dearly, Departed

BETWEEN by Cyndi Tefft
1/5 stars

I’m giving away SPELLBOUND and a signed copy of THE ESPRESSOLOGIST for my July giveaway. Hop on over and enter!

Enjoy your weekend everybody!

Amazingly beautiful and painstakingly crafted signature courtesy of Small Review

Comic Books – Yay or Nay?

It’s all Lia Habel’s fault.

I was happy with my comic book ignorance up until yesterday. I didn’t need to know about the vast array of characters, plots, and settings they explored. I was blissfully unaware that comic books had anything to offer other than superheroes and skintight clothing. If you had told me that I was missing an opportunity to experience an exciting genre of literature in comic books, I’d have told you that if I wanted my stories envisioned for me I’d watch the movie.

Oh how I have been humbled.

On Tuesday, Lia Habel tweeted her enthusiasm for Ruse. Perhaps “enthusiasm” is the wrong word. More like “rabid fangirly devotion.”

If you are a #steampunk or into comics drop everything NOW and GET THEM. It was the best series EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER. –via @LiaHabel

What else is a girl to do on her lunch break besides search Google for more information on this series? You say steampunk, I come running.

Image courtesy Marvel Image Gallery

Ruse is a Victorian-era comic that follows renowned detective Simon Archard and his partner, Emma Bishop. The book is told from Emma’s spunky perspective, which allows us to admire Simon’s intellect and problem-solving while feeling her frustration over being called the wrong name and getting ignored by society and the press for her contributions. She’s also hiding a secret from Simon about some mysterious powers she wields…

Ruse originally ran from 2001-2004 and in March, Marvel issued 4 new books (this was the news that got Ms. Habel so excited). The series sounded cool and with such a glowing recommendation I decided I’d check it out. After work I headed to a nearby comic book store for the first time. I was quite nervous, worried the fanboys would peg me as the outsider I am and chase me off with pitchforks.

My fears were unfounded. The store was busy (Just after working hours in the Loop? You don’t say!) so I was able to wander and browse free of any hairy eyeballs or raised brows. As luck would have it, the store had not only all four issues of the Ruse new release, but issues 1-12 of the original run. At about $3 a pop, I figured I’d just buy them all. I spend that much on books all the time without batting an eye, so why not comic books as well?

When I got home, I read numbers 1 and 2 of the original and number 1 of the new series. And I was shocked to find I actually really enjoyed them. Like, really enjoyed them. Instead of being annoyed at the lack of words, I let myself relax and get into the illustrations and see what wasn’t being said. Normally I despise having words interpreted for me, and prefer to put my own slant on things (see: why I hate movie adaptations; why I like reading plays instead of going to the theater) but in this case, it was an entirely new experience.

I’ve read a couple of graphic novels in the past, usually because they had been or were going to be turned into movies (300, V for Vendetta, Watchmen, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns) and I had the hardest time getting into them. Maybe it was the length that was the problem. Maybe I just wasn’t reading the right story for me. Whichever it was, my attitude toward the genre has undergone a complete 180 degree shift. I went to another store near my house last night and picked up a few new books that caught my interest. I’m even considering starting a collection of a series that is adapting the L. Frank Baum Oz books, which I already collect and adore.

I’m so new to this that I’m kind of stumbling around in the dark. Other than Alison Can Read’s Manga Mondays feature, I’m not aware of any bloggers focusing on graphic content. Do you read graphic novels, manga, or comic books? Would you be interested in hearing more from me as I explore this genre? I’m curious to hear what you think about it.

Amazingly beautiful and painstakingly crafted signature courtesy of Small Review

Waiting on Wednesday – Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme run by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we discuss the books we’re anxiously awaiting for release.

Book: Dearly, Departed
Author: Lia Habel
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Release date: October 18, 2011

Summary from Goodreads: Love can never die.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupidâ??s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the deadâ??or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoriaâ??a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her countryâ??s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune, and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horribleâ??until sheâ??s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, sheâ??s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting â??The Laz,â? a fatal virus that raises the deadâ??and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, thereâ??s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

In Dearly, Departed, steampunk meets romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.

I have been excited about this book since December, when I saw an interview with Lia Habel on Badass Bookie’s blog. She is seriously the coolest up-and-coming writer (in my humble opinion) and to top it off, she is seriously nice and talks to people on Twitter. I heart her, and I desperately want to read this book. Is it October yet?

And seriously? That cover makes me swoon. I love the color scheme, the font, the parasol. Someone buy me a parasol! I need one. STAT.

What do you think of the cover? The summary? What books are you waiting on?

Amazingly beautiful and painstakingly crafted signature courtesy of Small Review

In My Mailbox (12)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme devoted to sharing the new books we’ve received, borrowed, or bought. For more information, visit IMM’s fantastic host, The Story Siren. You can visit other blogs that are participating in this weekâ??s IMM here.

Relic Master: The Dark City by Catherine Fisher
from Reading with Tequila

I loved Catherine Fisher’s writing in the Incarceron series so I’m looking forward to checking out something different from her.

Received for review:
The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen
Torrent by Lisa T. Bergren

IT’S HEEEEEEERE! It’s here! It’s here! Torrent is here! First, though, I’m reading The Mephisto Covenant and it’s AWESOME. In the first 15 pages there’s a stoning. A STONING!?! Love.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (via NetGalley)
Rampant (Killer Unicorns #1) by Diana Peterfreund (via Overdrive/library)

Killer. Unicorns. I had to try it.

That’s it for now. What books did you get recently?