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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Magic Under Glass


Magic Under Glass
by Jaclyn Dolamore

Summary (from Goodreads):
Nimira is a music-hall performer forced to dance for pennies to an audience of leering drunks. When wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to do a special act - singing accompaniment to an exquisite piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it is the start of a new life. In Parry's world, however, buried secrets stir. Unsettling below-stairs rumours abound about ghosts, a mad woman roaming the halls, and of Parry's involvement in a gang of ruthless sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. When Nimira discovers the spirit of a dashing young fairy gentleman is trapped inside the automaton's stiff limbs, waiting for someone to break the curse and set him free, the two fall in love. But it is a love set against a dreadful race against time to save the entire fairy realm, which is in mortal peril.

Review:
Magic Under Glass was a quick-read. It had all the elements of fantasy, characterization, and plot that I love in a novel. Between the action, the slight romance, and the plot, I simply devoured this book in two days. I like the idea that Nimira is from another country, with darker skin, but not looked down upon by everyone. If anything, she is more insulted in terms of her being a woman than the color of her skin. Nimira is happy to find a new life with Parry, but she doesn't love him. When she starts to spend more time with the enchanted automaton and finds the truth behind what he really is, it's no surprise that she finds herself less interested in Parry.

When things start going awry, Nimira must choose between saving herself or the automaton. I love the strength of her character in this book. She is multi-faceted and is not just the stubborn woman, but a woman who has her own hopes and dreams. Also, Nimira knows when to be cautious, she's a realistic character in that sense. Too often you find characters that just charge into a plot and for some reason that works for them. I think the book was a bit of a quick read and I can't wait for the next book - the ending makes me assume there will be a next book.. hopefully.

4/5 Roses

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*If you buy this book on Amazon through the link above, I will receive a small portion of the sales.

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Amulet: The Stonekeeper's Curse, Book 2 (Graphic Novel)


The Stonekeeper's Curse
by Kazu Kibuishi


Summary (from Goodreads):
In this thrilling sequel to AMULET #1: THE STONEKEEPER, Emily and her brother Navin head for Kanalis, a beautiful and mysterious city of waterfalls, where they hope to find the antidote for the poison that felled their mother. That cure lies in the eggs of a giant serpent atop Demon's Head Mountain, but the kids' archenemy, Trellis, is headed for the peak, too. A battle that will engulf all of Kanalis is looming. It's up to Em to triumph over evil while controlling the amulet's power . . . without losing herself!

Review: Another fantastic adventure lies in wait for Emily and her family and friends. This series is full of adventure and really sucks you into the story. The full color graphics of the book are stunning. I love the illustrations and the overall feel it gives the story. Definitely will be looking forward to the third one when it comes out.

Recommended for 3rd grade and up.

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*If you buy this book on Amazon through the link above, I will receive a small portion of the sales.
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Dragonbreath (Graphic Novel)


Dragonbreath
by Ursula Vernon

Summary (from Goodreads):
It’s not easy for Danny Dragonbreath to be the sole mythical creature in a school for reptiles and amphibians—especially because he can’t breathe fire like other dragons (as the school bully loves to remind him). But having a unique family comes in handy sometimes, like when his sea-serpent cousin takes Danny and his best iguana friend on a mindboggling underwater tour, complete with vomiting sea cucumbers and giant squid. It sure beats reading the encyclopedia to research his ocean report . . .

Review:
I really got a kick out of this book. It's half graphic novel, half chapter book format. It features different creatures, including our main character who is a dragon. Only, he's having some problems learning how to breathe fire. When him and his best friend take a tour of the ocean with his cousin, a sea-serpent, he manages to almost breathe fire - only he's underwater.. so it sizzles out right away. The water is full of fascinating and frightening creatures, but will Danny survive to write his report on the ocean?


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*If you buy this book on Amazon through the link above, I will receive a small portion of the sales.
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Lunch Lady (Graphic Novels)


by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Summary (from Goodreads):
Hector, Terrence, and Dee have always wondered about their school lunch lady. What does she do when she isn’t dishing out the daily special? Where does she live? Does she have a lot of cats at home? Little do they know, Lunch Lady doesn’t just serve sloppy joes—she serves justice! Whatever danger lies ahead, it’s no match for LUNCH LADY!

Review: This graphic novel is hilarious and fantastic! You discover that the Lunch Lady has some seriously cool super powers and a sidekick that invents all sorts of cool gadgets. They have a secret room behind the broiler where they meet. Some awesome gadgets found in this book: spatula that turns into a mini-copter, milk-cam, lunch-try laptop, mole communicator that goes to a Spork Phone, rubber glove suction cups, cannoli-oculars, chicken nugget bombs, fish stick nunchucks, hairnet net, and an electronic bananarang. Just what you need - a lunch lady who fights evil. :)

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by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Summary (from goodreads):
Serving justice . . . and lunch!

Lunch Lady can sniff out something rotten like no one else—and there’s definitely something rotten going on in the library. The usually friendly librarians have become cold and secretive. Even Dee can’t seem to crack a smile out of them. What darkness may lurk in the hearts of librarians? Lunch Lady is on the case! And Hector, Terrence, and Dee are along for a wild ride!

Review: Another fantastic adventure leads the Lunch Lady to try and stop the Librarians from forcing kids to only read books and take over the world! There are a ton more fun gadgets found in this graphic novel as well: taco-vision night goggles, apple alarm, refridgaportal, hover pizza, linguini lasso, celery staff, smoke can of peas, and a sonic boom juicebox. The Librarians have they're own weapons too - Dictionaries! Will they get away with their devious scheme? I hope not! I've bought these first two for my library and the kids are loving them so far!


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*If you buy this book on Amazon through the link above, I will receive a small portion of the sales.

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In My Mailbox - January 31st

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

I like the way I'm doing this now. You're getting a taste of my music as well as the books I got. Enjoy!


video

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Sunday Spotlight - Reversing the Monotony

Today I have an Australian teen blogger! She loves reading and wants to share what she's reading with you. Check her out below.


Name: Amy
Nickname and/or blog name: Aye.Me?
Blog URL: http://reversingthemonotony.blogspot.com/




Tell me a bit about yourself.
I’m a sixteen year old Australian girl who lives in the country with her mum, dad and big brother who is severely autistic. Having a brother with a disability has made life very different for me compared to that of other people my age. I never had anyone to play with as a child so I turned to books. These days I love being outdoors and my sport of choice is golf. I still love reading and I think that a world without books wouldn’t be a world worth living in.


When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog at the end of November 2009. Before I buy a book, I always look online at other people’s opinions and reviews of it to make sure I won’t be wasting my time and money. I started my blog because I wanted to help get my opinion out there on books I loved and hated.


What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
My blog is pretty much all about young adults books and my opinions of them. As for cool features... none yet! So far I’m just trying to make sure I blog regularly and read as much as possible, I’ll worry about features when I’m a bit more experienced! I hope to host some author interviews and giveaways in the future.


What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?
My favorite genre is definitely fantasy; it always has been and probably always will be. At the moment the books I read need to have a bit of romance mixed in with the plot to keep me interested (...maybe I’ve just gotten to that age? haha).


How do you find out about the books you read?
I find out about books I read through blogs! I see someone review a book and give it 5 out of 5 and I think Geez, that must be good. So I read their review, decide if it’s for me or not, and then go out and buy/ borrow/find/steal/grab/take the book by any means necessary (the first two options are the most likely!). I’m also a sucker for in-store advertisements!


Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?
As Nike says, JUST DO IT! The blogging community is wonderfully friendly and helpful – don’t be scared, very few of them bite! Also, if you worried about getting more followers, go around and follow other blogs, read what they have written and type meaningful comments to them. If you do that, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll be interested in seeing what you have to say on your own blog!



Thank you Amy for telling us all about you and your blog! Take a moment and check out her blog. You won't regret it!


Are you a new blogger too? Or just getting back into the swing of blogging? Do you want to be featured on my blog? Shoot me an email at dragonzgoil (at) gmail (dot) com.


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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday Spotlight - Ruby Loves Adventure

Today I have with me an old blogger, but new book blogger! Ruby just started to focus on her books a few months ago and would love to share more of her book love with other bloggers. Check her out below.


Name:
Ruby E
Nickname and/or blog name: Ruby E (Ruby Loves Adventure)
Blog URL: http://rubylovesadventure.blogspot.com


Tell me a bit about yourself.
Gosh, I'm Ruby, and whilst I was having a quarter-life crisis, I finally realized what I wanted to do in my life =) So, after LONG hours of working, I needed an outlet to put out some of my thoughts, what I'm currently doing, and other stuff under the sun, I became my other persona, Ruby Loves Adventure.

When and why did you start your blog?
I first started my blog out in 2007 as some of my friends wanted to find out which concerts I've been to, where I've been, recommendations for books and telly shows: basically what I've been up to. So, instead of telling them all what I've been doing on Facebook, I decided to put up a blog and redirect them all there. It's better for all of them to just read all my adventures rather than me telling them over and over again, it gets boring after a while.


What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
At first, I've no clue what my blog would be all about. But then around 3-4 months ago, I realized I needed to focus more on book blogging since I'm more active in reading books rather than the other activities.
There's no particular blog feature that I have in my blog. I'm still a wee bit of a newbie on this [even though the blog has been up for 2 years now], so I'm still learning new things. Eventually, I hope I could think up of a cool feature soon. :)


What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?
Anything historical -- I love them. That's how bit of a nerd I am. Then there are some times when I would just love to leave reality, so Fantasy/Paranormal comes as a close second. Aside from those two, I am not really that picky with any of the other books I want to read. As long as the synopsis is good for me, then the other reviews don't matter that much.


How do you find out about the books you read?
The bookstore at first. Then I started getting into the book blogging scene, so I'm getting to know more books through blogs. I try to find some books that were reviewed in my favourite blogs at the used bookstore too, which is more of a priority for me. :)


Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?
For those starting a blog - make sure you just have fun with what you're doing. Don't think of it as some chore and feel pressured that you have to update everyday, update when you have time, and you have content that you want to share with the world. Please don't include the self-playing music playlist in your blog. Gah. It makes me jump when music comes out of nowhere!


Thank you Ruby for sharing more about your blog!


Are you a new blogger too? Or just getting back into the swing of blogging? Do you want to be featured on my blog? Shoot me an email at dragonzgoil (at) gmail (dot) com.


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Friday, January 29, 2010

Lost Worlds by John Howe

Lost Worlds
by John Howe

Summary (from Goodreads.com):
From the world of Aratta and Mohenjo-Daro to Atlantis and Camelot, this visually stunning book is a window with a view that takes readers on an historical, archaeological, and mythological journey through lost worlds, those abandoned in time, buried and forgotten, and the ones that live in the imagination. Attempting to put the most plausible pieces of history together, John Howe, concept artist for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, begins the journey that will move readers to explore these lost worlds even further.

Review:
This book is spectacular. The illustrations are out of this world and the background behind each of the lost worlds is eye-opening. The entries alternate from a story-like tale to a more non-fiction type writing that gives you a great deal of history and information about these worlds that may or may not have existed. Definitely a book I will reread again and keep in my collection. Visually stunning. If you love to learn about a combination of history and fantasy, you will enjoy this book immensely.

Buy it on Amazon*
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*If you buy this book on Amazon through the link above, I will receive a small portion of the sales.
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.
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Recommend Me (2)


Kate at The Neverending Shelf is hosting this new and fun weekly meme where you recommend a book, old or new, that you really enjoyed.

Today, I'm going to introduce you to THE graphic novel series that truly started my journey to graphic novel addiction.


Fables
by Bill Willingham

#1 Legends in Exile
Summary:
When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters have created their own peaceful and secret society within an exclusive luxury apartment building called Fabletown. But when Snow White's party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it is up to Fabletown's sheriff, a reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf, to determine if the killer is Bluebeard, Rose's ex-lover and notorious wife killer, or Jack, her current live-in boyfriend and former beanstalk-climber.

I just love my fairy tales...

Currently, there are 12 titles in this series out with #13 being released next month.

Also, there is a spin-off series called Jack of Fables - also highly addicting.

What do others think of this series?
Bart's Bookshelf
The Book Smugglers
Graphic Novel Challenge


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Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Elsewhere Chronicles: The Shadow Door


The Shadow Door
(The Elsewhere Chronicles, #1)
by Nykko

Summary (from Goodreads):
It's bad enough when Max, Rebecca, Noah, and Theo just think Grandpa Gabe's house is haunted. But then the old movie projector in the library opens a passageway to a world of monsters and creatures made of shadows - a place of secrets and dangers set loose when the sun sets. The only weapons to fight them lie in the land on the other side of the Shadow Door. . .

Review:
A fun adventure that involves some seriously creepy fantastical creatures. I loved the illustrations in this graphic novel. I have a thing for full color graphics and I really liked the style of it. It was a lot shorter than I was expecting when I ordered it from the library, but I know there's a second out that I will now need to procure. I think my students would really enjoy this one.

Recommended for 2nd Grade and up.

Buy it on Amazon*
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*If you buy this book on Amazon through the link above, I will receive a small portion of the sales.
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Link a Contest Thursday



Rules (or at least STRONG suggestions):
1. Name the item being given away (instead of the blog name)
2. Give the end date in () after the name
3. Make sure to link DIRECTLY to that contest post - if you don't know how to do this - just click on the title of the contest blog and it will give a direct URL you can use.
4. If you want to post a contest you've found, make sure it isn't already posted.



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Traveling to Teens: Freaksville by Kitty Keswick


Freaksville
by Kitty Keswick

Summary (from goodreads.com):
High school is hard enough when you’re normal. There’s peer pressure, book reports, the in crowd and the enormous zit that has a life of its own. Having a family whose skeletons in the closet lean toward the paranormal is not a topper on anyone’s list. Sophomore Kasey Maxwell is busy juggling the typical teen angst. Add visions, ghosts and hairy four-legged monsters into the mix and you get FREAKSVILLE. It’s a wonder Kasey has survived.

Every woman in the Maxwell family has the gift of sight. A talent sixteen-year-old Kasey would gladly give up. All she wants is a normal life. Shopping and talking about boys with her best friend and long-time sidekick Gillie Godshall consume her days. Until Kasey has a vision about Josh Johnstone, the foreign exchange student from England. The vision leads her into new waters, a lead in a play, a haunted theater…and into the arms of the Josh. Yet, both Kasey and Josh have secrets lurking in dark corners. Can Kasey’s new romance survive FREAKSVILLE?

Review:

When I started this book I was a bit skeptical. The first 50 or so pages take place on one day - in that day you discover Kasey has visions, so when she randomly touches the hot British guy in front of her, she has a vision of him in pain. So she follows him for the rest of the day, thinking she can prevent him from getting hurt. He confronts her a few times, but she insists she is not following him. Then, they end up at the theatre where she is forced to try out for Juliet and ends up with the role on the spot. And.. Josh, the hot exchange student from England.. snogs her. After this first part, you can maybe see why I was skeptical. It's a little too perfect and I really enjoy having realism, even in my paranormal reads.

That being said, it got better. Kasey proves to be her own person, ditching Josh on a date to save her friend Gillie. The added aspect of Josh being a werewolf (you get it with all the hints dropped right off, I'm not spoiling anything) also moved the plot right along. If you need all things werewolf right now, this is the book for you. I like Kasey and Gillie's personalities, they're teenagers who are fairly girly and driven by fashion, but their friendship is rooted deep and they're pretty strong in general as events unfold.

I like the format of it being a blog, although it didn't read like a real blog I thought, more like a story with the added comments. I liked how you could see the characters commenting on her blog at the end and could figure them out by their screennames. Probably not what you'd see on a regular blog, but a cool concept nonetheless.

3/5 Roses

**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Researching with Kitty Keswick

If I could get a job where all I did was dream up plots and characters and got to research that world, I’d be a happy girl. I love writing, but my favorite part of the journey is the research. Digging around discovering little tidbits of information, finding that one piece of gold that marries the entire story together is magical.

Freaksville, although written rather quickly, I can safely say was a long time coming. The general idea arrived whilst I slumbered warm in my bed. I do my best plotting in my dreams. (Now, if only I could translate doing laundry and other tedious household chores from my dreams to reality, I’d be set.) Turning the dream into a finished book, however, involved research.

Many moons before I wrote Freaksville, I had written a historical novel (It will never see the light of day and is safely filed away in my what-the-heck-were-you-thinking? box. So don’t even ask!) I’d spent countless hours researching the year 1571 and the events that had transpired on the borders of Scotland and England. It was during those early library-filled days, I was first introduced to the Maxwells and the Johnstones, who became the main families in that dead book that’ll never come out of its dark box.

I’m a green girl and like to recycle, take care of Mother Earth, so what better way than to recycle my research. I’d spent YEARS working on that novel…mostly researching it, and I really liked the Maxwells. I have a huge five-inch-thick binder filled with research from that book. That was before I started saving files on my computer (I might have to rethink that, though. My main computer was stolen last week…urgh!) Anyhow, back to my other ramblings…research.

So I saved one little thread from that story. Grannie Maxwell had visions. And in my twenty-first-century story, her great, great, great granddaughter Kasey Maxwell had them, too. Only I threw in an extra twist:

I so needed a filter between my brain and my body, one with big flashy lights and blaring sirens that ruptured my eardrums if I was about to do anything stupid.

The last six months had been a regular freak show, as if being me wasn’t already strange enough. On my sixteenth birthday, I got the gift. Not a gift, but The Gift, as in the gift of sight. Now that was something I totally wished I had a receipt for, so I could return to sender. Unfortunately for me, it was in the family genes. Every female of the Maxwell clan had the gift. My great, great, great, a million-times-back grandmother—in the sixteenth century—Grannie Maxwell was the first to have the gift of sight, premonition, the sixth sense. Whatever way you spun it, it still ranked big time, as in stunk.

That was last July. Now, luckily, the January cold gave me an excuse to wear gloves. The kicker was if my fingertips touched something, I got hit with a whammy of a vision, not to mention a killer migraine. The school nurse wouldn’t let me keep aspirin in my purse or locker anymore. Let’s just say life’s peachy when your head’s splitting in four directions. I kept my hands to myself. There’s such a thing as TMI. Believe me.

I was minding my own business, praying fourth period would end, because fifth period was my Photography class and sixth period was Yearbook. Anyhow, that was when I made my mistake. I had taken off my gloves because I was in the classroom. In the seat in front of me, inches from my touch, sat Josh Johnstone, the English hottie foreign-exchange student. The highlights in his jet-black hair shifted from blue to black. It looked so silky, like the fur of a black cat. I reached my hand out to run my fingers through the softness before my brain registered what my fingers were about to do. I stopped with my fingers inches from him.

Suddenly, Josh dropped his pencil. The darn thing rolled right under my foot.

“My pencil is under your shoe,” Josh said.

I tried to ignore him, which was about as easy as ignoring a zit on the middle of your forehead, but far more enjoyable. He was totally drool worthy—broad shoulders, dark hair that shaded beautiful blue eyes, and his accent! I’d seen enough British movies that it made my toes curl.

I stopped taking notes, and, before I knew what I was doing, I had my hot little hands on his pencil. And that’s when it hit me, full force like a hurricane.

A vision.

They were usually much clearer than what I saw for Josh. I had choppy little fragmented images all jumbled up together. Josh. Josh smiling. He had a great smile, cute dimples. Josh sprawled out on his back on the floor. Not smiling. In a lot of pain. I couldn’t tell what had happened to him, when, where, or by whom. All I knew was I had to help him. I waited for the bell to ring and slunk around the corner to follow him.

I didn’t just research the Maxwells and Johnstones for Freaksville. I dove in and read Norse mythology, perused fashion books from the 1940’s, sat at mall and people watched, and devoured books on the supernatural. I even interviewed three firefighters to get a scene in the book correct. Every page of Freaksville contains the fruits of my research. I hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.



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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Life of Glass Review, Interview and Giveaway



The Life of Glass
by Jillian Cantor

Summary:
Melissa's father died nearly two years ago in April. The last words he spoke were spoken to her and involved a small piece of glass she found in The Wash - a nearby dried up riverbed. Now her life is changing. A new girl moves into town - Courtney and becomes a close friend. The only problem - she likes Melissa's best friend Ryan and he's a bit taken with her as well. Her mother is now dating again and the guy may be younger but her mother seems to be taken with the man. Melissa's older sister Ashley is the same old annoying older sister - never giving her a ride to school and calling her the "imp" whenever talking to her friends. All this and it's her freshman year of high school. But a few different events change the life of Melissa and those around her, will their family work through it in the end?

Review:
The Life of Glass is a gorgeously written book about one girl's journey into coming into her own. Melissa is driven by what she enjoys, but she doesn't fully recognize herself for who she is yet. When Ryan gets pulled away from her, she finds that her feelings for him are deeper than friendship but she rather have him by her side in any way possible than not at all. None of the characters are really two-faced. Yes, there's some pettiness involved in the book - her sister being popular and hanging out with the crowd that is snobbish and self-centered. But there's a little more to each of them, a bit of depth.

The point of view of this book is really something else. You get this foggy sense of Melissa's personality and as the novel unfolds, it becomes clearer and clearer - like you are taking the journey with her into realizing who she really is. I like the realism, the interesting characters, and the overall story of this novel and I will definitely be picking up more of Jillian's novels in the future.

5/5 Roses

Buy it on Amazon*
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Find it on LibraryThing
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*If you buy this book on Amazon through the link above, I will receive a small portion of the sales.


Interview

Where did the inspiration for Life of Glass come from? There were a few sources of inspiration, actually. The first was that just before I started writing the book my grandfather died. He was really the first person in my life who I was close to that died, so I sort of took that experience and from that, created Melissa, who was still searching for answers after her father’s death. The other source of inspiration was just this image I had kicking around in my brain for a while of a teenage girl riding her bike through a desert wash while wearing a prom dress. This image never actually made it into the book, but it was the source of inspiration for Melissa and what kind of girl she was – someone who would not be afraid to ruin a dress by riding her bike in it!

Are there any characters in Life of Glass that were built off your own personality and/or experiences? Not really, no, in terms of the personality. There are some similarities between Melissa and me and our feelings about beauty in general, but she really wasn’t built off my personality at all. As for experiences, I did include the character of the grandmother with Alzheimer’s disease because I was/am going through a similar experience with my own grandmother. Just around the time I started writing the book, I’d begun to find it very tough to talk to my grandmother because she couldn’t remember anything from one minute to the next. It struck me the way that our memory encompasses so much of who we are. For Melissa, who feels like everyone’s left her behind, this felt like a particularly important character to include – a grandmother who has literally forgotten her.


Are there any times where you feel unmotivated to write? How do you get back on track if this happens? Honestly, it’s not usually motivation that’s the problem but time-management. I almost always want to write, but I have to squeeze it in when my kids are sleeping, so usually it’s more an issue of making sure I sit down and do it, even if there are other things that need to get done around the house or if I’m tired. I’m a pretty self-motivated person, so I always try to set goals and deadlines for myself and treat writing like a job. I pretty much always make myself follow these “deadlines.” I’m motivated by fear, too. If I don’t write/revise/promote/succeed, then I’ll have to get another job, and really, there’s nothing else I would enjoy doing even half as much as writing!


What are some necessary items you need in order to write? I’m pretty low-maintenance. Give me a computer and some quiet, and I’m good! But coffee always helps, especially first thing in the morning. I find I get a lot done if I can write just after I first wake up as I drink a cup of coffee.


Anything else you want to tell your readers? The Life of Glass will be out on February 9, and if you want to know anything else about me, check out my website: http://www.jilliancantor.com Thanks so much for having me on your blog today!


THE LIFE OF GLASS GIVEAWAY

Enter to win free copies of Jillian Cantor's books and cool prizes! One grand prize winner will receive two glass spirit stones (one for you, one for a friend) from Arizona, where THE LIFE OF GLASS is set, along with an autographed copy of each of Jillian's novels: THE LIFE OF GLASS and THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS. Two lucky runners-up will receive a signed copy of THE LIFE OF GLASS. To be eligible, send an email to contests@jilliancantor.com with the subject line "The Life of Glass Giveaway". All e-mail entries must be received by midnight (PST) on February 14, 2010. The winners will be selected at random on February 15, 2010. Be sure to include your name and e-mail address with your entry (If you're under age 13, give your parent's contact info). One entry per person. Jillian Cantor's complete blog tour schedule can be found at www.jilliancantor.com. Good luck!

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Waiting on Wednesday - Lonely Werewolf Girl


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



Lonely Werewolf Girl
by Martin Miller
Release date: March 4, 2010



Teenage werewolf Kalix MacRinnalch is being pursued through the streets of London by murderous hunters, while her sister, the Werewolf Enchantress, is busy designing clothes for the Fire Queen (who is unstoppable in battle yet can be reduced to floods of tears if someone wears the same designer outfit at a party).

Meanwhile, in the Scottish Highlands the MacRinnalch Clan is beset with internecine conflict after the Thane of their clan dies intestate. Scandalously, the Thane's death was the result of a mortal injury inflicted by his emotionally unstable teenage daughter, the afore-mentioned Kalix, who it turns out is on the lamm.

As the court intrigue threatens to flare into civil war, the competing factions find that Kalix is the swing vote necessary to assume leadership of the clan. Thing of it is, quite apart from her fear of reprisals, she was never much into clan politics, especially after her father banned her from seeing her boyfriend Gawain. But she is rather into laudanum.

Lonely Werewolf Girl is an expansive tale of werewolves in the modern world—elegant werewolves, troubled teenage werewolves, friendly werewolves, homicidal werewolves, fashion designers, warriors, punks, cross-dressers, musicians—an entire Clan of Werewolves, getting in trouble from the Scottish Highlands to London, and in several dimensions beyond...

*Description taken from Soft Skull
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Going Bovine


Going Bovine
by Libba Bray

Summary: (from goodreads.com)
Cameron Smith, 16, is slumming through high school, overshadowed by a sister “pre-majoring in perfection,” while working (ineptly) at the Buddha Burger. Then something happens to make him the focus of his family's attention: he contracts mad cow disease. What takes place after he is hospitalized is either that a gorgeous angel persuades him to search for a cure that will also save the world, or that he has a vivid hallucination brought on by the disease. Either way, what readers have is an absurdist comedy in which Cameron, Gonzo (a neurotic dwarf) and Balder (a Norse god cursed to appear as a yard gnome) go on a quixotic road trip during which they learn about string theory, wormholes and true love en route to Disney World.

Review:
Did you read that summary? Seriously, this book was out of this world. It takes a great writer to write a book that you literally are not sure at the end if everything WAS a hallucination or not. Or maybe I really just want it to be real. The adventures Cameron and Gonzo embark on are hilarious, definitely full of fantasy, and always quite strange. They meet a famous musician who is supposed to be dead, end up on Spring Break with a MTV like television show, and are fighting fire giants on and off all this time.

The only disappointment was when the book ended... I won't reveal any spoilers, but the ending really was not satisfying in any way to me. But, I will put that aside because this book was outstanding. A must-read for lovers of well.. realistic, fantastical fiction.

5/5 Roses


Buy it on Amazon*
Find it on Goodreads
Find it on LibraryThing
Find it on Shelfari

*If you buy this book on Amazon through the link above, I will receive a small portion of the sales.
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Author Safari Winners (1)


Last week, Kate and I launched a new bi-weekly event where we explore the habitat of a newer or less-known author. We find one picture, give two clues and then send you out on the hunt. Last week's author was Jaclyn Dolamore, the author of Magic Under Glass. Kate has delved into the novel and from our conversations, has thoroughly enjoyed it. Take a look at her review of Magic Under Glass.

Now, last week we gave two clues:
Clue #1: I come from a galaxy far...far away.

Clue #2: I may not always look or act it, but I am actually a princess.


The Prize:
Jaclyn has graciously donated a signed bookplate with a character sketch and some Magic Under Glass bookmarks for two winners.


Read more...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Contest Winners!!!

Sorry about the not announcing these sooner!

Chloe Neill Giveaway Winner!
#15 Lisa


600+ Follower contest!!! I didn't hit 800 followers, but that's okay, there are STILL three winners!

Some quick stats:
273 people entered
1429 Total entries

WOW - I have never had a contest THIS big.. seriously.


Onto the Winners!!

1st place winner: #1072
B Sharp
(book of their choice from either The Book Depository or Amazon under $25)

2nd place winner: #1263
Lucy
(a book from The Book Depository or Amazon for under $20)

3rd place winner: #951
Sherry
(Cool tote bag and two books from this pile)


I'm too tired to email everyone tonight, but if you see this, shoot me an email first with your mailing information. Otherwise, look for an email tomorrow!

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It's Monday, What are you Reading?


J.Kaye hosts this wonderful meme.

Read this past week:
Island Sting by Bonnie J. Doerr
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John
The Elsewhere Chronicles: The Shadow Door by Nykko

Currently Reading:
Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert
Captivate by Carrie Jones
Freaksville by Kitty Keswick
Meridian by Amber Kizer

Upcoming:
Unsure...

Quick Update:
  • Things are getting a little crazy. I'm going to be teaching some parent night classes and so twice a week I won't get home until after 8 pm. So I apologize in advance if I don't answer emails right away.
  • Also, I will be picking winners for my two contests that ended Friday sometime this week, so look out for that.
  • Kate and I will be emailing partners for our Mentor program this week. :)

Read more...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

In My Mailbox - January 24th

video

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Trying something new again.. what do you think?

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Recon Academy: Shadow Cell Scam


Shadow Cell Scam (Recon Academy)
by Chris Everheart

Summary: (from goodreads)
The US Navy is launching a secret spy satellite near Seaside High School. However, the Recon Academy is distracted. Each member has just received a brand-new laptop computer - for free! When the machines go haywire, the team must scramble to save themselves and the satellite.

Review:
This book was a fun, engaging read involving four high school students that have different superpowers. It probably would have helped if I had read the first book, but I got into the story nonetheless. I love the feel of this graphic novel, it's fun and adventurous and great for kids who are fans of comic book heroes. There are some great resources at the end for librarians and teachers - discussion questions, writing prompts, and a glossary.


Recommended for 3rd grade and up.


Buy it on Amazon*
Find it on Goodreads
Find it on LibraryThing
Find it on Shelfari



*If you buy this book on Amazon through the link above, I will receive a small portion of the sales.
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Eek & Ack vs The Wolfman


Eek and Ack vs The Wolfman
by Blake A. Hoena

I have to admit this book cracked me up. Eek & Ack travel to earth in their spaceship - that really looks like a washing machine - to discover why it is so hard to conquer. Their disguises are hilarious - one wearing a tutu and the other in a hooded robe of sorts. They end up traveling to earth on Halloween and meet up with a wolfboy. Let's just say, they're not staying long on this Earth.

This graphic novel is comical and fantastical, elements that I both enjoy. These books will be great for kids who like something a bit more funny. And this is another great book for librarians and teachers - including a glossary, a section talking a bit more about werewolves, discussion questions and writing prompts. Probably a book I'll be purchasing for my school library.

Recommended for 2nd grade and up.



Buy it on Amazon*
Find it on Goodreads
Find it on LibraryThing
Find it on Shelfari



*If you buy this book on Amazon through the link above, I will receive a small portion of the sales.
Read more...

Sunday Spotlight - Star Shadow Creative Mishaps

Today we have a blogger who just got back into the swing of reading and blogging in October. I'm loving her blog so far and hope you guys learn more about this great blogger today.

Name: ReaganStar
Nickname and/or blog name: ReaganStar/StarShadow
Blog URL: http://star-shadowcreativeconcepts.blogspot.com/

BWS tips button


When and why did you start your blog?
I started in October of 2009, I had a minor back surgery keeping me at home so I figured why not...I can share my Reads, Creativeness and Favorite Authors


What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
I am trying to keep my blog about books, I am not a huge reviewer I will give a few opinions if I truly love the book. I have a weekly Author Spotlight that doesn't just focus on a book or a series. Instead, it focuses on both the Author and ALL of the books they have written, as well as a little FAQ's for the Author. Most authors have agreed to some book or swag type of giveaway and so I look forward to showing each and every one of them off in the Spotlight.


What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?
When I was younger I was only into mystery and thriller type books such as Christopher Pike. Then this past year, thanks to my wonderful boyfriend, I have gotten back into books and reading. I am enjoying most Young Adult books as well as some Paranormal or Fantasy Romances.


How do you find out about the books you read?
I actually find most of them through favorite bloggers. Their reviews and their favorites make me look into books I would of never found otherwise.


Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?
I would just have to say email some of your favorite bloggers, ask questions, get tips and advice from them. After all, most bloggers love speaking with there followers.

Thank you ReaganStar for sharing more about your blog! I love her weekly author events, they're great fun!


Are you a new blogger too? Or just getting back into the swing of blogging? Do you want to be featured on my blog? Shoot me an email at dragonzgoil (at) gmail (dot) com.


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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Spotlight - Good Golly Miss Holly

Today I have a very straight and to the point blogger who is just getting back into reading and blogging! Give her a warm welcome back to the world of book blogs.


Name: Holly
Nickname and/or blog name: Good Golly Miss Holly
Blog URL: http://goodgollymisshollybooks.blogspot.com/

Tell me a bit about yourself.
For the last couple years, music has been the focus of my spare time, I only recently discovered books again and am now quickly catching up on everything I missed.


When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog quite a few years ago but I didn't start blogging regularly until a few months ago.

What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
I share what I read and anything interesting I find.

What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?
Realistic Young Adult Fiction.


How do you find out about the books you read?
Mostly online.


Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?
Start a blog simply to share your favourite reads!



Thank you Holly for sharing more about your blog with us! Check out her blog and leave her some comment love!


Are you a new blogger too? Or just getting back into the swing of blogging? Do you want to be featured on my blog? Shoot me an email at dragonzgoil (at) gmail (dot) com.


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Friday, January 22, 2010

Recommend Me (1)



Kate at The Neverending Shelf is hosting this new and fun weekly meme where you recommend a book, old or new, that you really enjoyed.

My first pick (or push) is as follows:

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jackie" Faber, Ship's Boy
by L.A. Meyer
Summary (from Goodreads.com):
Life as a ship's boy aboard HMS Dolphin is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of scavenging for food and fighting for survival on the streets of eighteenth-century London. Instead, Jacky is becoming a skilled and respected sailor as the crew pursues pirates on the high seas. There's only one problem: Jacky is a girl. And she must use every bit of her spirit, wit, and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret.

My goodreads review (from September, 2007):
I loved this book. There's some romance, a lot of cussin' and some action too! I just loved it and can't wait to start on the next one in the series. I enjoyed how it was written in a way that showed her accent and progressed as she started to talk more properly. A must read for adventure and pirate lovers.


Recent thoughts (aka. why you need to read this!): I have read all but the latest in this series and lately I've been having an ache to finally get around to reading the last one. And why is that? I need some serious adventure, wittiness, and a bit of romance in my read. These books deliver all of that and more. This series mixes some historical events with the insanely adventurous life of Mary "Jackie" Faber - an orphan who goes from being homeless to pretending to be a boy on a ship for the British army and then later on in the books revealing herself for who she is and gaining her own reputation as quite the swashbuckling criminal.

If you are in desperate need of some high-seas, historical, or simply witty and whimsical adventure.. this is your book. You will NOT regret reading this series.. well you might.. because you'll probably be dying for the next book.. and then the next.. and the next..

Read. This. Book.

What others say:
Library Ninja
My World of Books
The Page Flipper
WORD for Teens


When you read this fantastic book....

You can use it towards the HMS Challenger and/or join in on Literary League Book Club's March discussion of this wonderful book.

So, go to your local library, bookstore, or e-book store - and READ THIS BOOK! :)
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Traveling to Teens - Island Sting



Island Sting
by Bonnie J. Doerr


Summary: (from Leapbks.com)
Kenzie didn’t expect her first summer in the Florida Keys to be murder. Cute guys, awesome boats, endangered species, gun-toting thugs...

When city girl Kenzie Ryan moves to a Florida wildlife refuge, she plunges straight into an eco-mystery. Kenzie trades New York streets for Keys pollution cleanup, and now, instead of hailing cabs, she’s tracking down a poacher of endangered Key deer.

Her new home does have some benefits—mainly Angelo, an island native, who teams up with her to nab the culprit.

But will they both survive when the killer turns from stalking deer to hunting humans?

Review:
When I read this book it reminded me a bit of Hoot by Carl Hiaasan in the way that Kenzie and her new friends are trying to stop something harmful going on in a natural environment. What's different is that it is centered around trying to find the one person that is set on poaching these endangered deer.

I admit I was a bit skeptical after reading the first two chapters - thinking I really wouldn't like this one. As the story progresses, however, I really started to enjoy what was going on. There's a bit of crushing on Kenzie's part when she meets the good-looking boy Angelo, but it's not the main focus. I was worried that it would become more of a center to the story line then the more interesting plot of poachers and a plan to help clean up the island - of both a poacher and trash.

Island Sting was a fast and engaging read that involved a bit of mystery, some adventure and a teensy bit of a possible budding romance. It will be interesting to see what Bonnie's next book holds for Kenzie and her new life in the Florida Keys.

4/5 Roses

**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.

And here's a treat, Bonnie has written up a bit about the research she did while writing Island Sting.

In many ways, I enjoy the research for my books more than the writing. I think it’s because I’m happier doing most anything outdoors than sitting inside at a desk. Since most of my work concerns environmental issues, in particular struggling animal species, research takes me to their specific habitats. I interact with and learn from specialists in exotic locales who share my concerns. How cool is that?

When I was planning Island Sting, I spent days in the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key, Florida. I visited neighborhoods where people interacted with the tiny deer on a daily basis, and I collected their deer tales. In Island Sting when you read a story like deer stealing eggs from the breakfast table, that’s a local resident’s actual experience.

I observed the deer’s behavior in their endearing moments and their destructive ones. They stand on their hind legs and paw at shrubs, trees, and vines to pull the more tender tips down to their three-foot reach. It’s amazing! They’re a gardener’s nightmare. But they’re so darn cute. It was unbelievable to watch such dainty creatures devour spiny cactus and bougainvillea vines that bear two-inch long thorns. After you observe that habit, it no longer amazes you that the toy-size creatures can actually swallow the dangerous garbage they gulp. I watched them wade and swim in the shallows, beg from tourists, gallop and play in open fields, and bound fearlessly in front of moving vehicles. While observing, I made notes describing their behavior and habits for use in the text.

I visited the triage center where injured where deer are brought. There I noted the stock of medical supplies and equipment while I interviewed wildlife officers who cared for the deer. I read research reports on the Key deer study and articles about the history of the refuge, even spoke with researchers and long-time residents who had fascinating stories to tell. My favorite tales celebrate the fierce and formidable Jack Watson, first official protector of the species.

Of all my research, what was the most fun? Easy—the hours and hours I spent on the water with local fishermen. While I enjoyed the sport, I also photographed the open-water environment and wildlife. These captured memories were later useful to the illustrator of Island Sting and the creator of my book trailer.

The most fascinating fisherman I observed was one of the few spongers left in the Keys. He used no fancy gear, but deliberately and gracefully pursued his livelihood with the humblest of equipment—a simple outboard engine, an old wooden skiff, a line, and a long-handled pole with a hook on its tip. This unknown man was my inspiration for the gentle character, Fisher.

When I wasn’t live on location, I voraciously read feature articles about island events and issues, hung around listening to locals discuss the latest threats to their way of life, and never turned off my ears in a waterside restaurant or local watering hole. Let me tell you, fishermen love to talk! And cell phone conversations, well, they really fed my imagination. What fun to consider the other end of the conversation.

Yes, how I enjoy research! I leave you with this warning: monitor your conversations wherever you go. You never know when you might be immortalized in someone’s novel.


Thank you Bonnie for that great information! I think research is one of my favorite topics when it comes to talking about books. :)
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Link a Contest Thursday


The winner has been chosen!!! Amber from Page Turners is the creator of this cute button! So she gets to choose 2 books from my pile o' giveaway books.

Rules (or at least STRONG suggestions):
1. Name the item being given away (instead of the blog name)
2. Give the end date in () after the name
3. Make sure to link DIRECTLY to that contest post - if you don't know how to do this - just click on the title of the contest blog and it will give a direct URL you can use.
4. If you want to post a contest you've found, make sure it isn't already posted.



Read more...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Merlin's Harp


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



Merlin's Harp
by Anne Crompton
Release date: March 1st, 2010



Among the towering trees of magical Avalon, where humans dare not tread, lives Niviene, daughter of the Lady of the Lake and apprentice to Merlin the mage. Her people, the Fey, are folk of the wood and avoid the violence and avarice of man. But the strife of King Arthur's realm threatens even Avalon's peace, and Merlin needs his apprentice to thwart the chaos devouring Camelot. And so Niviene must use her special talents to help save a kingdom and discover the treachery of men and the beauty of love. A mystical love story, now back in print, sure to become a modern teen classic.

*Description from goodreads.com
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Calling all Bloggers!

Hi guys!

A few weeks back, Kate from The Neverending Shelf and I revealed our new discussion board called The Bloggie Cult.

There's a section of the boards that's all about our mentoring program. Basically you can sign up to be a mentor or mentee and for about 4 weeks you will learn or help teach someone about blogging. We're trying to round up our first round of participants and have more mentees that mentors.

Also, we would really like a few more mentors familiar with Wordpress. So, if this sounds fun, interesting, or you're just really really bored... check it out over at The Bloggie Cult...

OR

You can simply fill out a form right here...

Mentee form

Mentor form



And that will help up get you all signed up!
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The Awakening Winner!

I have drawn a winner for the contest with Jenn at Book Crazy. The winner of The Awakening is....


#95 - Debbie

I'll be shooting an email soon! Make sure to check out my other two contests!!


600+ Followers contest ends January 22nd, 2010. 11:59 CST.

Awesome Swag contest with Chloe Neill! Ends January 22nd, 2010. 11:59 CST.

Read more...

AS (1)


Come take a journey into the undiscovered territory of the Author. Authors are an interesting species... they provide readers with hours of entertainment... yet they remain mainly aloof from the public eye. Based on years of research, Kate and I discovered that the secret to learning more about these aloof creatures is to observe them in their natural environment. Therefore, dear readers, we will be hosting an Author Safari twice a month to lead readers into this unexplored territory. So grab your equipment and let's head off for an adventure!

Rules of the Safari:

* Adventurers must leave all hands and feet inside the vehicle, and may only travel on the below mentioned paths.
* 2 clues will be given regarding the item that we are searching for: one on The Neverending Shelf and one on Bookworming in the 21st Century. Items will generally be in image form.
* In order to be entered for this week's prize, readers must venture out to the hosts and author's sites listed. Once the adventurer believe that they have found the item in question, they must fill out the form listed on either host's Safari page. Please enter only once on either of the forms.

Author of the week:
Jaclyn Dolamore

Profile:
She is the debut author of Magic Under Glass. An amazing author with tons of spunk and personality. This amazing author with tons of spunky and personality. This author should be approached with caution; however, please feel free to shower her with cupcakes... I think she would love you for it. Adventurers will be able to explore the following sites, once the vehicle comes to a complete stop:

http://jaclyndolamore.com/
http://fabulousfrock.livejournal.com/


For Clue #1, please visit The Neverending Shelf

Clue #2: I may not always look or act it, but I am actually a princess.


Prize:
Jaclyn has graciously donated a signed bookplate with a character sketch and some Magic Under Glass bookmarks for two winners.

To enter:
Please fill out the below form. Contest is open internationally until Monday January 25th @midnight CST.


Happy Hunting!



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Perseus and Medusa (Graphic Novel)


Perseus and Medusa
by Blake A. Hoena

Summary (from goodreads.com):
Young Perseus grows up unaware of his royal birth. Before he can claim his heritage, the hero is ordered to slay a hideous monster named Medusa, whose gaze turns men into solid stone. How can he fight an enemy he cannot even look at?

Review:
A great retelling of the famous myth in graphic novel format. This is a Stone Arch publication so it has all the extra goodies teachers and librarians want to see at the back as well - more about the myth, discussion questions, writing prompts, and a glossary! Definitely a fun story for kids to read about and a great way to learn about mythology. And did I mention it was a graphic novel? *loves graphic novels*

Recommended for 3rd grade and up.

Buy it on Amazon*
Find it on Goodreads
Find it on LibraryThing
Find it on Shelfari


*If you buy this book on Amazon through the link above, I will receive a small portion of the sales.

Read more...