Friday, July 13, 2012

"Enchanted Glass" Review and Follow Friday

Giveaway Reminders: 200 Follower Giveaway and "Pledged" Giveaway

Hello my little sunflowers!

Happy Friday to all of you. I'm very glad that this week is coming to a close. Not that it was a bad one! It just seemed so long. I'm happy for this weekend to be about.

We're skipping FEATURED FRIDAY today since we skipped TRILOGY TUESDAY this week due to the Read-a-Thon.

*"Enchanted Glass"*
* Diana Wynne Jones *
Title: Enchanted Glass
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Genre: Middlegrade Fantasy
Publication: April 6, 2010
Pages: 332

Something is rotten in the village of Melstone

Aidan Cain has had the worst week of his life. Creepy, sinister beings want him dead. What's a boy to do? With danger nipping at his heels, Aidan flees to Melstone, a village teeming with magic of its own. There he is taken in by Andrew Hope, the new master of Melstone House, who has some supernatural troubles too. Someone is stealing power from the area--mingling magics--and chaos is swiftly rising. Are Aidan's and Andrew's magical dilemmas connected somehow? And will they be able to unite their powers and unlock the secrets of Melstone before the countryside comes apart at the seams?

Auggie-Talk Quill Rating

Pure Diana Wynne Jones! An absolute delight! This book did not fail to impress me, enthrall me, and take me straight out of my own world and into a new one. Jones' books never do. The style is both eloquent and distinct. This work is proof that she was one of the best authors of our time.

The story is shared between Andrew and Aidan, a man and boy who share much more in common than they think. Aidan is a runaway. He left his foster family suddenly, pursued by phantoms, shadows, and social services. Something isn't right and he needs help. Andrew's grandfatherwas Aidan's only hope but upon arriving at Melstone Aidan finds, to his great sorrow, that the old man is recently deceased. But it seems that Andrew may be able to help after all.

A cast of fantastic characters makes the story fully enjoyable. The cranky Mrs. Stock, the gruph Mr. Stock (not related), the beautiful Stashe, Rolf the loyal were-dog, Tarquin the jovial one legged wise man, Shaun the simple minded but determined mechanic, Groil the vegetarian giant, Andrew the absent minded professor magician, and Aidan the orphan boy with curious abilities.

The antagonist? Oberon. Yeah. THAT Oberon. You know... Titania's husband, the
cranky king of the Fae. Titania makes an appearance too. Don't worry.

Anyway. This book, just as much as any other Diana Wynne Jones book, is full of rich imagery deserving of making another Ghibli film (PLEASE MR. MIYAZAKI! PLEASE!).  It is so easy to imagine the vast and beautiful landscape of Melstone. The forests, the hills, and even the silly Fete.

"Enchanted Glass" is a stand-alone book by Jones and a great start for any who haven't read her books before. It is a great addition to any library of a Jones fan and I HIGHLY recommend this book.

This was fun to do last week, so I'm looking forward to the fun hop again!

Q: What drove you to start book blogging in the first place?

Like many other bloggers out there, I'm a writer. I love to write. I'm the annoying woman that responds to a 3 sentence e-mail with 5 pages. I'm "long winded". Comp classes? Shoot. I could write a 10 page paper on the topic of "chalk". During the time when I had writers block I searched for an outlet. I'd always liked the idea of blogging so I messed around with personal blogging for a little while, though it never did me any good. I never really felt fulfilled by it and I didn't feel like I was accomplishing anything.  So, I started searching for a way to really bring something to readers...something that could make even a small difference to someone... Something that I personally LOVED. Then it struck me. A book review. Surely people read.

So I did a book review on my personal blog and really enjoyed it. Then I did another book review. The topic of books just kept coming up until I realized that this was it! This was the project I'd been waiting for!  I dove right in. It wasn't until after I'd already started book-blogging that I discovered that authors and publishers were actually interested in bloggers writing up reviews for their works. I hopped on board and got sucked in to a whirlwind of new books, new authors, and fun tours, hops, and challenges. Complete with a great group of other bloggers who are both supportive and encouraging.

Finally all of that time spent at the bookstore and local library was really paying off!

Now I can't believe it took me so long to do this and I'm fantastically glad that I finally started. I intend to keep it going, to help Auggie-Talk grow and evolve, and to enjoy every step of the way.

How about you?

That's all for this Friday's post dearlings!

See you tomorrow for Stardust Saturday!

Until Next Blog,

Read On!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Review: "Once Upon a Time Machine"

Giveaway Reminders: 200 Follower Giveaway and "Pledged" Giveaway

Happy Thursday lovedoves!

Today I've got a review of a bit of a different color.

When I received this book for review I wasn't aware that it was a comic. At first I was wary, but it was actually very entertaining and spectacularly well done.

*"Once Upon a Time Machine"*
* Lee Nordling*
*Jason Rodriguez*
*Tara Alexander*


Title: Once Upon a Time Machine
Authors: Lee Nordling, Jason Rodriguez, Tara Alexander
Genre: Futuristic Fable-Twist
Publication: October 10, 2012
Pages: 432

Synopsis: Fairy tales have fueled our dreams and fired our imaginations for centuries. Step inside a time machine built by a collection of today’s finest storytellers, and enter a range of futures where familiar tales are reimagined in an astonishing variety of styles. Editors Andrew Carl and Chris Stevens bring you the next wave of leading writers and illustrators working alongside superstar creators like Farel Dalrymple (Pop Gun War), Ryan Ottley (Invincible), Khoi Pham (Daredevil), and Brandon Graham (King City) to deliver a reading experience that will delight generations young and old.

Auggie-Talk Quill Rating
Without giving too much away, as this great title doesn't actually release until later this year, I want to tell you what a fun read this was! I was skeptical at first when I realized that it was a comic book. Not that I dislike comics. I used to read them all the time when I was younger, I just wasn't in the mood for one and wasn't sure how they were going to pull that one off...

But they did! I zoomed through the 400+ pages of AMAZING illustrations and FANTASTIC fable twists. It took a creative bunch of people to come up with such different perspectives on such old fables.

I can't tell you how impressed I was with the presentation of these stories. Just as the synopsis stated this comic is for both young and old. There is nothing particularly disturbing drawn so parents should have no problem with youngins picking it up, but there's enough meat in the story that older readers will find enjoyment just as readily.

Every fable rewritten is set to take place in the future. Very futuristic settings, very tremendously imaginative landscapes and backgrounds for the stories that most of us already know by heart. It gives you an idea of how strong a fable/legend is, how long lasting, how powerful it is even in its age. These are stories that are known throughout the world and ones that will probably not soon be forgotten. "Once Upon a Time Machine" seems to be a guesstimate of just how strong and timeless these stories really are.

I have to tell you my favorite story and my favorite depiction. My favorite story in the bunch was "Rikki Tikki Tavi" (I watched that movie over and over and over again as a little girl) and my favorite depiction was "Little Red Riding Hood."

While I was extremely pleased with this comic there were a few stories that I found to be rather on the boring side, but that's only because they weren't my setting preference. That doesn't mean that another person won't LOVE the stories I didn't enjoy as much. I know almost certainly that my younger brother would gobble up the stories that I didn't prefer.  "Once Upon a Time Machine" has something for everyone.

I do very much recommend that you snatch this up when it becomes available in October.
PRE ORDERAmazon: $13.99

I hope all of you have a fantastic Thursday! See you tomorrow with another FEATURED FRIDAY!

Until Next Blog,

Read On!


Monday, July 9, 2012

Once Upon a Readathon Kick Off and "Masque of the Red Death" Review

Hello my little sunflowers!

Today is a special post because today is the first day of the 3 day ONCE UPON A READ-A-THON.

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

This fun little adventure is hosted by Lori at Pureimagination, Angela at Reading Angel, and Candace at Candace's Book Blog.

My personal challenge is 3 books. 1 book per day. Normally this would be easy, but this year's Once Upon a Read-a-Thon falls right on a few days where I'm doing wedding things the majority of the day. That leaves little time for reading, which means that 3 books will be pushing it. But I'm going to try!

Anyway, the three book that I'm going to tackle during this Read-a-Thon are:

UPDATE: This one is slow going. Had to go pick up my wedding dress, write Thank You cards, do a few things at our new little house (like feed Ms. O'leary), and otherwise just get stuff done! But now it's almost 10pm and I'm ready to settle in and get this one read!
Update: I didn't realize this was a comic! Well, it's interesting anyway and an easy read! Almost done!

If I'm able to get to more (which is, of course, the goal since this is a self-challenge!) I'll be sure to post them up as well.

Alright *claps hands to get everyone's attention*. Here we go love doves!

First off! There are MINI CHALLENGES! The mini challenge I will be participating in today is hosted by IB Book Blogging.

For this challenge I have to answer two questions regarding covers. Here we go!

Once Upon a Read-A-Thon Mini Challenge!

Question 1:
What is your favorite cover that has been revealed this summer and why? Post a link or picture of the cover if you want.


Let's see,  suppose that I'll probably have to go with "BITTERBLUE" the 3rd book in the Graceling series. All of the Graceling book covers have been fantastic.  I like this on in particular because of the style, colors, and lack of a solid human form. Yes, you can see the girl's face, but just barely and at first all you can see is her eye through the keyring.

This cover looks magical, mysterious, and exciting. If I found this book while running my fingers across a book shelf I would feel compelled to pick it up.

Question 2:
Do you rely on the cover to help you choose whether you want to read a book or not?

I'm afraid that I can't help but pass miniscule judgement on a book by the cover that it boasts. If the cover is really poorly done, I have to wonder what the author was thinking and whether or not that taste for style is going to be represented in the book.

However, I know that there are plenty of writers out there who have a better skill in judging beauty than they do of writing a book. So just because the cover is lovely doesn't mean the book is good... but a nice cover helps.

I rarely ever pick up books with covers of teenage girls/boys embracing, looking at each other longingly, or with their actual faces on the cover at all. Honestly, I find these books repellant personally because I feel that all I'm going to find is a story of a young girl falling in love with a young boy, woohoo, done. No other plot. Now, I know that's not always the case! That's why I love reading other people's reviews! If a reviewer I trust says the book was good, I'll pick it up anyway despite.

*"Masque of the Red Death"*
* Bethany Griffin *
Title: Masque of the Red Death
Author: Bethany Griffin
Genre: Dystopian
Publication: April 24, 2012
Pages: 319

Synopsis: Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

Auggie-Talk Quill Rating

This one was a hard book to rate. There are so many reasons why I think this book deserves a 2/5 but then I actually think I'm going to pick up the next book in this series when it comes out. Not excitedly necessarily, but the ending was good enough that I'd want to read the next book.

So, I have to find myself at a 3/5 for this one.

A couple of things...

The main character of this book, Araby, is boring, flat, dull and completely lifeless. There is nothing interesting or unique about her at all. If I met someone like her, anywhere, I would NOT want to be around her. She would make me extremely uncomfortable with her listlessness. She's only interesting because of the surrounding characters and her qualms with the two love-interests.

There were unnecessary moments of weirdness. When I say "weirdness" I'm referring to a raunchy scene that Araby witnesses in a club that was barely a few sentences long and to me... completely unnecessary to the plot or the circumstance the characters were in at the time. I don't know if the author thought she'd be gratifying the raging hormones of the readers or what but I thought it pointless. I'm no prude, and I enjoy some romance just as much as the next girl, but  "We haven't mentioned sex in a while, let's just throw it in somewhere!" should never be a factor in constructing a paragraph, especially when no other part of the book has included that. That's my humble opinion, so take it or leave it as you will.

It just keeps coming back to Araby... I don't like her as a character. She wouldn't have been able to stand alone in any way. She has to have the constant uphold of her fellow characters or there's no spice at all.

What I liked:

Griffin's dystopian world is pretty intense. I can feel the desperation of the landscape in her imagery. She manages to put quite a bit of creepiness in just the right places.

Griffin also did a tremendous job in making the two love-interest situations really awkward and hard to deal with. There will definitely be a TEAM ELLIOT / TEAM WILL thing going on with this book.

The betrayal part, that was pretty good. Added a bit of needed "oomph" to the dwindling story line.

I was bored through 60% of this book. The 40% that was not boring to me was close to the end when everything was actually happening. I read the last 60 or so pages in a rush because it was actually getting interesting. Then it was over. Pretty good construction of the ending on the authors part though, because it did get me wanting to read the next one.

Oh. And the cover is fantabulous!

Anyway. This book wasn't terrible. Definitely readable. Most of my opinion about the main character is... well... my opinion, so remember to read the book for yourself if you were interested. You may not agree with me! If you don't, I'd love to hear why!  I enjoy good book discussions you know.

Well, then!

Masque of the Red Death
by Bethany Griffin
Powell's Books: $17.99
Amazon: $10.98
Kindle: $9.99
Nook: $9.99

That's all for today my bonnie readers!

I'll see you tomorrow for another TRILOGY TUESDAY!

Until Next Blog,

Read On!