Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sextastic Mr. Fox

While I enjoy a fun romance novel every so often, I definitely do don't erotica. Mainly because I think it's kind of boring. 50 Shades of Yawn. Sex isn't fun to read about. There are only so many ways you can put all those words into sentences. It all gets repetitive. Even when I read romance novels, I kind of skim over the sex because I'm always like "who cares that the Countess du'Obbressey is doing Clive, the stable boy? They left that part about Lord Willinghamfordshire on a cliffhanger and I want to know if he escapes the bandits!".

As you can see, I am bad at reading romance novels. I'm worse at reading erotica. "Ugh, who cares about all that bondage, did the sub do well on that job interview she had last chapter?". I want to read those books for the characters, not for the sex. (Is "reading romance novels for the characters" the new "reading Playboy for the articles"?)

You can imagine my apprehension when I heard an author I adore, Delilah S Dawson, had dipped her toe into the world of self-published erotica. I was torn. I LOVED Dawson's amazing steampunk Blud novels but... erotica? I figured taking a peek couldn't hurt and threw her first two books in the Geekrotica series onto my Kindle and hoped for the best.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

It's Easy Being Green with this Delightfully Random Earth Day List

by Sara N.

Today is Earth Day, and in celebration, here's a totally random list of my favorite green people, places, and things from comics, movies and TV.

Poison Ivy

The Green Lantern's bling

The Incredible Hulk

The Credible Hulk

She Hulk

Keep reading for many, many, many more ...
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Monday, April 21, 2014

Sock It To Me

by Megan S.

Lilly wonders how she could ever have thought eating all those salmon flavored jelly beans was a good idea.
Well kids, another Easter has come and gone and we here in the S. family are experiencing the crash that comes after a sugar high.  I've had more than enough ovum-shaped confections to last me 'til next year,* but I'm still craving candy-colored goodies.  Thank goodness I stumbled upon these adorable, brightly hued geeky socks over at ModCloth.

I want them all.
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Friday, April 18, 2014

A Guide to (Mostly Evil) Bunny-Themed Jewelry, Clothes and Other Goodies

by Sara N.

The Season of the Bunny is upon us. Last year, Megan warned us about the evils of their hoppy legs and twitchy little noses. This year, I'm celebrating them instead with a collection of bunny merchandise that mostly features rabbits that are up to no good — with a few positive role models mixed in for good measure.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Adding to the Bookshelves

Using the Scholastic book fairs at school, coupons from B&N, sales on Amazon and some of my ebook settlement credit, I've been steadily adding new books to the kids shelves in preparation for summer reading.

Annnnnd maybe I'm passing my book hoarding onto my children. I can live with it.

This week, THE FORBIDDEN LIBRARY by Django Wexler arrived. A girl, a mysterious library, and getting sucked into books. Literally. We've already started reading it. Still in the early chapters but liking it so far.

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound
Also newly discovered, the Samantha Sutton series by Jordan Jacobs. Book one, THE LABYRINTH OF LIES, is on the shelf. The description says it's "Indiana Jones meets Nancy Drew." Yes, please! Action, myths, mystery and archaeological adventure, this is perfect summer reading.

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound

AKATA WITCH by Nnedi Okorafor is set in Nigeria where a young albino girl feels completely out of place until she discovers she has magical abilities. Okorafor is a phenomenal storyteller, so I'm very interested in this tale. The kids are also into learning about different parts of the world and other cultures. Throw in the fantasy and we have a perfect fit.

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound

WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON by Grace Lin is a fantasy crossed with Chinese folklore. It follows a young girl and her fantastical journey to find the Old Man of the Moon. Lin has quite a few books that I'm interested in getting for the kids, but I thought that the journey aspect as well as the Chinese folklore would most pique their interest right now.

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound
THE POWER OF POPPY PENDLE by Natasha Lowe looks adorable (yes, I'm totally judging the book by its cover).  I took the book to school to show the girlchild and her friend was drawn to it right away. She's getting a copy for her birthday next month. A powerful witch who doesn't want to be a witch, even though her parents and teachers tell her she should. She'd rather bake. Includes recipes.

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound

**Another phenomenal source of recommendations for fantasy for young readers is this SF Signal Mind Meld.**

What books are you adding to your shelves for summer reading?
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hogwarts Is Here!

Are you a muggle that's always been a little sad that your Hogwarts letter never came? Did you get sorted at Pottermore, only to be disappointed by the site's lack of anything to really do? Well friends, you are in luck because Hogwarts Is Here!

Hogwarts Is Here is an incredibly ambitious fan project that dreams of a digital Hogwarts designed like an online college. Finally embracing the digital age, Hogwarts has made it's courses available online so muggles can gain the same education as their wizard friends. You receive your own Hogwarts acceptance letter and a whole schedule of courses. There's no sorting involved, you pick your House and work to gain points. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that my house, Slytherin, is currently leading the point total for House Cup.

What makes Hogwarts Is Here stand out from other fan projects is the fact that you actually have to take the classes! You can't advance in the game without doing homework, writing essays and taking tests! That sound you just heard was one Hermoine Granger fainting from sheer overwhelming joy.

That's right, when you sign up to become a student at Hogwarts you REALLY become a student. You're given books, dorms and a class schedule. None of the courses are exactly strenuous though they can be challenging. My day has been spent getting texts from my sister complaining that she got a C on her Potions quiz and lost her house points (she's a Gryffindor. I'm the black sheep of the family). If you progress enough with your classes you even get the opportunity to take your O.W.L.S and N.E.W.T.S! When you become a third year, you can also begin to write for the school paper, the Daily Owl!

Like any website that involves being even vaguely social, you get a profile page and your points and scores are displayed proudly. Besides the classes, you also get to set up a Gringotts Bank account and buy books, potions and wands. The site is free so the money is as imaginary as your degree will be.

The site is being hammered right now by all the activity as people sign up to begin their illustrious wizarding careers but it's worth the wait! After an influx of publicity from muggle publications like Slate, Buzzfeed and Mashable they are adding additional servers and professors to handle the load of new prospective students.

Join other wizards and witches and get ready to do some homework! Harry Potter fans are the best fans because we find doing fake home to be incredibly exciting.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a three hundred word essay for Defense Against the Dark Arts class due. 
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How Frozen Should Have Ended

Like most of the world, I am currently still obsessed with Frozen. It was a well crafted movie with killer songs and a great cast. What's not to love?

Even better are the parodies that are still coming out about it. They range from "eh" to outrageously creative. This is one of the latter.

From the twisted, terrible minds that have brought us the "How It Should Have Ended" animated series on Youtube comes "How Frozen Should Have Ended" and it's EXCELLENT.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

The Secret's Out, Megan Loves "Twisted Miracles"

by Megan S.

I'm absolutely horrible at keeping secrets, so I'm pretty proud of myself for keeping this one for as long as I have.*  I purchased AJ Larrieu's new novel, Twisted Miracles, and I loved it.

So, what was with all the sneaking around?
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Funding a New Adventure in Kate Milford's Arcana

I adore Kate Milford's writing. Her middle grade (but still enjoyable for adults) books are full of intriguing characters and marvelous adventure, with the right mix of darkness and hope.

The work-in-progress cover.
Last year, Milford launched The Arcana Project, funded on kickstarter and resulted in an amazing story and artwork (the artists include illustrator Andrea Offermann and very talented reader artists). She is back again with Bluecrowne. You can view the Kickstarter page here.

There are still 2 weeks to go and the project is about 44% funded. At 50%, the bonus short stories start.

A little bit from the page (and Kate) about the history of the project:

"Bluecrowne is the second self-published (print and digital) book in the Arcana Project series. The Arcana Project books take place in and around the world of my traditionally-published novels The Boneshaker and The Broken Lands, and the forthcoming Greenglass House (Clarion, 2014) and The Left-Handed Fate (Holt, 2015). For those who've read my earlier books, Bluecrowne will act as a sort of connector from those books to the two that are coming out next. However, Bluecrowne is a stand-alone novel. It is not necessary to have read any of my other books to read and enjoy it.
The big idea:

As I explained last year when I launched the Arcana Project with The Kairos Mechanism, I want to experiment with self-publishing as a way to promote and enhance traditional releases by providing extra content to readers in the form of complete, related tales. I want to create these extra stories in ways that involve readers directly, and to use resources that support independent bookstores. In 2014 and 2015 I have two books with new protagonists that are (sort of secretly) related to the world of The Boneshaker. Bluecrowne is your road map to how they are connected, and also a stand-alone story in its own right. With your participation, it will be released in April.

The Kairos Mechanism (Arcana #1), was funded and published in September of 2012, and it got some fairly impressive accolades from folks at Kirkus, Bookslut, and BoingBoing. It was nominated for the Cybil Awards and included in BoingBoing's holiday gift guide as well as NYPL rock star Betsy Bird's 100 Magnificent Children's Books of 2012. People liked it, is what I'm saying. Kickstarter backers received a digital edition with a bonus short story. The illustrated edition included original art from fifteen young artists (see below for more on the Illustrated Kairos). Good times were had by all.

So now it's time for Volume 2."

Awesome story by a gifted author + phenomenal artwork from Andrea Offermann and reader artists = SO MUCH WIN

I'm still a relative newbie to the whole kickstarter phenomena, but so far have had excellent luck with all of the projects I've backed.

If fantasy rooted in folklore is your thing, might I suggest reading THE BONESHAKER and THE BROKEN LANDS, and then hopping over to Kickstarter to back BLUECROWNE.

Kate Milford:

THE BONESHAKER  Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound

THE BROKEN LANDS Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound

Note: Although there is a note in the "Rewards and Money Stuff" about mailings to bloggers, I am not in that company. I am just a happy reader and a backer of the project and I'm not getting anything extra for posting this.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

The 20 Best Siblings in Science Fiction and Fantasy

by Sara N.

Have you appreciated your siblings enough recently? If not, now's the time; April 10 is National Sibling Day.

Let's keep that festive mood for this completely made-up occasion going by celebrating the good (and so bad they're delicious) examples of siblings in science fiction and fantasy books, movies and TV shows. Read on to see if your favorites make the list.

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