Booked til Tuesday

Life, Law & Libros

Discussion: Adult Summer Reading Program

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Everyone remembers the B&N Summer Reading Program for kids, right? The one where you read six or seven books, fill out the form and get a free book? Libraries usually have something similar with free coupons or little trinkets. But what about adults?

To be honest, I hadn't really considered it. Kids are encouraged to read. Adults are expected to do so without reward. That's how it works. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised to find my library launching its first ever Adult Summer Reading Program.

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Fan Art Up! - Ariel

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Fan Art Up! is a weekly feature hosted by Tabitha @ Not Yet Read.

This week is #7 in the Disney Series. (Pretend you haven't read the post title for a second.)

Here are your hints:
She has daddy issues.
She's a hoarder.
She's often found herself at a loss for words.

That's right! From the 1989 film that launched Disney's Golden Age, "The Little Mermaid", she's....

Ariel

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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1 star)

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This book and I did not get along. I read it as part of a classics reading group on Goodreads. Had I been in a different reading mode, perhaps I would have been amused by the melodrama and constant bemoaning. But I wasn't. And I don't trust myself not to rant like crazy, so today's review is more of a summary brought to you by "The Emperor's New Groove" (awesome movie). Warning: many GIF's ahead.


Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
Series: n/a
Genres: Classics, Horror
Published on 1869 (first published 1818)
Published by Sever, Francis, & Co.
Final Rating: 1 star

Synopsis:
Written in 1816 when she was only nineteen, Mary Shelley's novel of "The Modern Prometheus" chillingly dramatized the dangerous potential of life begotten upon a laboratory table. A frightening creation myth for our own time, Frankenstein remains one of the greatest horror stories ever written and is an undisputed classic of its kind.

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Updates: Bad Book News

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...I finally read a Strange Chemistry book I really enjoyed! And found out the same week that Angry Robot was shutting it down. :( On the bright side, I saw a Golden Retriever/Husky puppy at the park and it was so cute! On to the status reports: I did less reading, but I started one of my review books (The Lazarus Machine) and it's pretty cool thus far. Automatons, Moriarty and impromptu skydiving. ;)

Read:
Blackwood by Gwenda Bond (Strange Chemistry)

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Top 10 Book Cover Trends

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A weekly meme by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's theme is "Top 10 Book Cover Trends (or just elements of covers) I Like/Dislike." First, full disclaimer: I haven't read any of these books, I have no idea what some of them are about and my comments are in no way, shape or form a reflection on their contents. I'm just offering my opinion about the covers. Extra emphasis on opinion. Not fact, not gospel, just thoughts. :)

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Discussion: When Publishers Go Under

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Angry Robot Books put out a press release Friday: they are shutting down their YA and crime/mystery imprints, Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A. Strange Chemistry launched in September 2012, and I've read four of their books.


It was strange seeing the news Friday, almost surreal. Just the night before I was at Barnes & Noble, noting several of their titles on the YA New Release shelves. I know it's not the first imprint/publisher to be discontinued, not by a long shot; but it is, I think, the first time I've seen it happen to a novel imprint I'm familiar with. Back in high school, when I was reading a ton of manga, I remember seeing at least three different manga publishers go under. Other publishers continued or reprinted and finished some of the resulting canceled series. Some fell into limbo and were only available on *cough not quite legal* fan translated scan sites.

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Fan Art Up! - Eilonwy

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Fan Art Up! is a weekly feature hosted by Tabitha @ Not Yet Read.

This week is #6 in the Disney Series. (Pretend you haven't read the post title for a second.)

Here are your hints:
In the books, she has magical powers and is a sorceress in training.
She takes a spherical flashlight everywhere.
She has a thing for assistant pig keepers.

That's right! From the 1985, truly '80's Disney film, "The Black Cauldron", she's....

Eilonwy

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Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund (3 stars)

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Let me start by saying I loved the first book in this series, For Darkness Shows the Stars; I thought Peterfreund did an amazing job reworking Jane Austen's Persuasion. Across a Star-Swept Sea is a retelling of Baroness Orczy's French Revolution spy tale, The Scarlet Pimpernel. It takes place in the same world as FDSTS, but on different islands that are more sci-fi than dystopian. This should have been a spy thriller like its source material- British aristocrats infiltrating revolutionary France with a touch of "Mission Impossible"-style missions and "Aeon Flux" technology. Unfortunately, it lacked the danger of the original and replaced dangerous rescue attempts with romance.


Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund
Series: For Darkness Shows the Stars #2
Genres: YA, Sci-fi
Published on October 15, 2013
Published by Balzer + Bray
Final Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis:
Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars—is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.

In this thrilling adventure inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, Diana Peterfreund creates an exquisitely rendered world where nothing is as it seems and two teens with very different pasts fight for a future only they dare to imagine.


Review:
What I liked:
  • The setting. It's the same planet as the first book, but you wouldn't know it for all the strange technology they use. It was like spending one week with the Amish and then getting dropped in the middle of Tokyo, circa 2100, but with nods to old world traditions and sensibilities. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the technology, the islands and the star cove. Cool stuff.
  • Overall, Persis is a decent main character. She's intelligent, determined and willing to make herself look ridiculous for the greater good.

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Updates: Riding in Cars with Audiobooks

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Busy week! We had friends and family in town over the weekend, so I lost a little page time to socializing, but it was worth it. :) I managed to get a few books in and am only three behind on my Goodreads challenge! And none of them were horrible. In fact, they were all pretty entertaining in their own ways.

Read this week:

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Top 10 Books On My Summer TBR List

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A weekly meme by The Broke and the Bookish

I can't believe it's already summer, but it is. Despite being a major planner, I don't often draw up official, organized TBR lists. But I do have a bit of a list for this summer, partly because I have review copies that need reading. And partly because I have some awesome books on my shelf and there are even more awesome books on sale this season.

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Discussion: Writing is Like Clay

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Last Friday, I threw a jar-mug-thing on a pottery wheel for the first time. (No, I still don't have pictures, which means my pieces either exploded or are still baking.) And I realized something: writing is gooey, obstinate dirt on a wheel.

Anyone who's ever had a hard time writing a story, a character, a scene, an essay or an article knows what I mean. It's why I have such great respect for anyone who can write a full length novel. Sometimes, the words and plot lines flow smoothly underneath your fingers. Sometimes the clay is a fluid, soft mass waiting to be molded.

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Fan Art Up! - Aurora

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Fan Art Up! is a weekly feature hosted by Tabitha @ Not Yet Read.

This week is #5 in the Disney Series. (Pretend you haven't read the post title for a second.)

Here are your hints:
She talks to strangers.
She steals several of Juliet's blunders (i.e., love at first sight, a poisonedmagic sleep, awaking to a kiss).
Her dress is blue at the very end because blue is better than pink.

That's right! From the 1959 Disney art fest, "Sleeping Beauty", she's....

Briar Rose/Aurora

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The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde (4 stars)

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Mini-reviews are tweaked versions of reviews I wrote before starting the blog. It's a good way to show some love to older books (and keep me from panicking when I slack off and don't have anything new). The originals remain on Goodreads (unless it was, like, one sentence), and the new reviews get posted here in between reviews of books I'm currently reading. How to tell them apart? The mini-reviews get this cool intro paragraph. :)


The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
Series: The Last Dragonslayer #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Published on October 2, 2012
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Final Rating: 4 stars


Synopsis:
In the good old days, magic was indispensable—it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians—but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam—and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as . . . Big Magic.


Mini-Review:
Jennifer Strange's dragon adventure is magic and snark at its very best. An irreverent satire on all the staples of our society with a healthy heaping of magic and set against the backdrop of the hilariously Ununited Kingdoms.

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Updates: Pottery, Lost Dogs & Books

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Hi, all! It's been another busy, but artsy week. Artsy, you say? Yes, artsy. And not just my Fan Art Up posts (which was Michael from "Peter Pan" this week).

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Friday night, I joined some gals from my church group for a pottery wheel workshop. It was really fun! Even if I did forget all the instructions the second I sat down. I started to feel more comfortable in the last five minutes. And I made three pot...mug...things. I'll find out when I pick them up. Of course, I forgot to take any pictures. Fail. But I'm planning to drag another group there soon, including my art major cousin who specialized in ceramics. ;)

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Top 10 Books I've Read So Far This Year

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A weekly meme by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's topic asked us to pick out the top 10 books we've read (so far) this year. According to my Goodreads Challenge counter, I'm only at 27 books total (and 5 behind schedule, yikes!), so the pickings were a little slim. Still, I found enough 4 and 3-star reads to fill it up.

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Discussion: Villains

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I saw "Maleficent" last weekend, Disney's new take on Sleeping Beauty featuring the evil fairy Maleficent as both villain and hero. I like fairy tale retellings, and I generally like seeing a previously flat character fleshed out- like when villains are given more depth and their motives explained in such a way as to make them more sympathetic. At the same time, it was strange to see "the Mistress of all Evil" turned into a tree-hugger who then became an angry, betrayed, hurt woman. What's the line? "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"? But yeah, from this:

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to this:

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Fan Art Up! - Michael

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Fan Art Up! is a weekly feature hosted by Tabitha @ Not Yet Read.

This week we welcome #4 in the Disney Series. (Pretend you haven't read the post title for a second.)

Here are your hints:
He can fly.
He turns teddy bears into weapons.
He wore pink before it was cool.

That's right! From the 1953 Disney classic, "Peter Pan", he's....

Michael Darling

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Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst (3 stars)

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I've only read one of Durst's other books- Ice, a retelling of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon"- which I enjoyed, though the pregnancy was awkward. I really like her writing style, and overall I enjoyed Vessel. It's a survival story with a magical twist and an epic quest. Gather the guardians, rescue the gods, save the worlddesert!


Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
Series: n/a
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Published on September 11, 2012
Published by Margaret K. McElderry
Final Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis:
Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. She will dance and summon her tribe's deity, who will inhabit Liyana's body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But when the dance ends, Liyana is still there. Her tribe is furious--and sure that it is Liyana's fault. Abandoned by her tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.

Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. The desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.

The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice--she must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate--or a human girl can muster some magic of her own.


Review:
What I liked:
  • On the whole, Liyana is a strong, practical protagonist I could root for. She's dedicated to her people and willing to sacrifice herself for them.
  • Jidali, Liyana's little brother. We don't see much of him, but he is a cute little four-year-old.

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Updates: Jumping into June

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It's been a busy start to a new month. BookCon was technically May, but close enough. ;)

I saw "Maleficent" yesterday and, while I wish it had more of the humor in the middle of the film (i.e., playing pranks on the three fairies and "hating" the baby), it was pretty decent. The visuals were good. And I think Disney's treatment of "the Mistress of all evil" may have inspired this week's Discussion post. >.>

So, I'm trying to get back on top of prepping the week's blog posts. The crazy weekend kind of threw me off, but I'm slowly returning to routine. Except for the fact that I have three rounds of tutoring at the library this week- two computer students and one ESL. I go straight there after work, so it means three long days, but it's worth it. :)

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Top 10 Beach Bag Reads

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A weekly meme by The Broke and the Bookish

Hi, guys! I decided to try a different method for displaying my Top 10 list this week. It links up to a list on my Riffle account (which I use almost exclusively for creating pretty lists that help keep me organized). So let me know what you think of this format. :)


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BookCon 2014 Recap

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Yesterday was BookCon at the Javits Center in NYC and my first book convention experience. And I have to tell you, it was pretty awesome.

It was like this giant scavenger/treasure hunt for books and swag and signings, but better because you get to talk with other readers and bloggers and publishing professionals who are all passionate about the same thing: BOOKS!

So, here's a quick little photo essay from the day. (I realized after the fact how few photos I took. Fail. ^^; )

The Javits Center is pretty cool-looking. It's big and bright and the Food Court on the lower floor was much appreciated. :)


I was so happy to meet up with Tabitha of Not Yet Read! (Which, incidentally, is a great blog, so go check it out.) She was so nice and gave us Book Convention 101, without which I probably would have been way too shy to talk to anyone or grab anything off the exhibit tables. Thank you again, Tabitha!

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