"To find out what a story's really about,' the Librarian said,

'you don't ask the writer. You ask the reader."

- SNOW & ROSE by Emily Winfield Martin

Thursday, April 30, 2015

5 Questions with Kids Comics Authors - THE GLORKIAN WARRIOR EATS ADVENTURE PIE by James Kochalka


I am so happy to be a part of the FIVE QUESTIONS WITH KIDS COMICS AUTHORS BLOG TOUR with First Second Books (Macmillan).

Rafael Rosado and Jorge Aguirre, authors of DRAGONS BEWARE! are interviewing numerous talented graphic novel artists throughout the month! Be sure to check out the schedule daily right HERE on MacTeen Books blog!!!

5 Questions with JAMES KOCHALKA

RAFAEL/JORGE: James, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. It's pretty cool for us to cyber-meet you after following your work for so long.

JAMES: Thanks! It's a pleasure.

*QUESTION: You jump between work for younger ages and work for adults. Is it easy to switch between audiences? Have you ever started writing something for kids then changed your mind and made it more for adults or vice versa or do you always know who the audience is going to be when you start a new work? 

JAMES: It's not too hard for me to switch back and forth between doing work for kids and doing work for adults. I think probably most parents know how to jump back and forth between both worlds in their real life. So, learning how to do it in your work is kinda the same deal. 

One of my books, famous for having a swear for the title, could have gone either way. I drew six pages as an all-ages comics, and six pages filled with cussing. I decided to go with the cussing. 

Lately, I've tried writing books that sort of straddle the two worlds. Things like FUNGUS: The Unbearable Rot of Being (or Elf Cat, still in progress) are definitely books for grown-ups but they're sort of written in the cadence and style of my kids books. I write them for adults, but with the intention that they might not be entirely inappropriate for children even though they may deal with more adult themes. I did this because they were originally serialized in my local newspaper and I knew kids would be drawn to it even though it wasn't meant for them. It makes the stories sort of weird, actually. My older son loves them.

*QUESTION: What was it like being the first Cartoonist laureate of Vermont? 

JAMES: It was incredible honor. I always say it was like being named the state flower. I feel like an honored special snowflake or something. 

Mostly it meant that I started being asked by libraries and schools to come and lecture or give cartooning classes. And I did a bunch of that, but I was limited by not having a driver's license. I had to rely on my wife to drive me places and she doesn't actually much enjoy driving either, so I had to decline as many offers as I accepted.

*QUESTION: You make graphic novels, for a while you had your daily comic strip you have a cartoon, video games, you teach, you perform music (have we left anything out?) - how do you switch gears? Is there such a thing as an average James Kochalka work day and if so, what does it look like? 

JAMES: Yeah, I also like to do painting, and dabble in prose writing and ceramics. When we go camping I dig clay out of the lake and make little sculptures and fire them in the campfire. I also like making jam and orange peel candy.

My work day... I walk my younger son to school, then do a quick run around the block, do some pushups, have breakfast, read the internet & answer emails for an hour or two, draw a few hours with a break in-between for lunch, pick my son up from school, work a bit more, play with them... video games, drawing games of my own inventions, toys, have dinner, read the boys bedtime stories, and then either read myself something, play a video game, or work some more before bed. But it also depends on where I am in a given project. 

After scripting a graphic novel I work very hard to finish it, but between projects I spend a lot of time just sort of puttering around in aimless confusion. It's good to have multiple projects going at once, so the in-between lulls are eliminated, but I always seem to lose steam a few times a year anyways and have to regroup. 

*QUESTION: Rafael always has to work with music or a podcast going in the background and Jorge mostly works in silence (except he usually listens to John Williams' score from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" when he's plotting a new story to get in the mood). Do you listen to music while you work? What's in heavy rotation from your music library these days?

JAMES: I never listen to music while scripting, but I do listen while working on the finished art. Lately I've been listening to the Super Smash Bros soundtracks for Nintendo Wii U and 3DS, the soundtrack to the Nickelodeon cartoon Over the Garden Wall, a rock opera called Shiprock and Anchordog that I traded another cartoonish for at the MICExpo, and also a lot of Ariel Pink and old albums by Renaldo & the Loaf and the new album Evermotion by Guster and The Next Instead by a local band called Swale. 

*QUESTION: What are you working on now?

JAMES: I'm working on a new animated cartoon for a major kids TV network. It's a new character I invented. I'm afraid they don't want me to talk about it yet. I invented a variation on Chess that I just started working with some guys to turn into an iPad game. I recently finished drawing the 3rd Glorkian Warrior graphic novel... but that won't come out until March 2016, and I just finished drawing Johnny Boo meets Dragon Puncher that should come out this June. I've written a bunch of songs that still need to be recorded. And I'm kind of puttering around drawing Elf Cat while I try to decide what my next major graphic novel project should be. Because I just finished work on two major books I feel like I'm in-between projects and have nothing to do... even though I probably have plenty to do.

Also, I have to do my taxes soon. I find it very hard to work on anything with that looming over me. Pretty much every winter and spring the approaching tax time throws a giant wrench into my creative process. I hate it, but I always do it all myself... no accountant. It's pretty much just simple math, but it's still emotionally draining. When you're self-employed there's all sorts of extra forms to fill out. I used to like to pencil and ink my taxes with a brush and india ink just like I do my comics... but that's rather insane so now I try to resist the urge. Turning my taxes into another art project seems like a gigantic waste of time, but there is some pleasure in it as well. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - James Kochalka

James Kochalka is an American comic book artist and writer, and rock musician. 

His comics are noted for their blending of the real and the surreal. Largely autobiographical, Kochalka's cartoon expression of the world around him includes such real-life characters as his wife, children, cat, friends and colleagues, but always filtered through his own observations and flights of whimsy. 

In March 2011 he was declared the cartoonist laureate of Vermont, serving a term of two years.

by James Kochalka
Release date: March 17th, 2015
Published by First Second Books (Macmillan)
Genre: Middle Grade Graphic Novel
Format: Paperback, eBook


Oh, Glorkian Warrior. You were doing so well! You almost had that rampaging space snake under control - when Buster Glark, your villainous rival in the Glorkian Corps, showed up to make fun of you! He laughed so hard at your misfortune that he gave himself the hiccups. 

And that was just on the first page of this book.

Things are only going to get worse from here, Glorkian Warrior. 
But we promise there will be plenty of pie at the end.

5 Questions with Kids Comics Authors Blog Tour is sponsored by

Children’s Book Week, (May 4-10, 2015) – 96th annual celebration!
Children's Book Week is the annual celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading. It is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country.

In 2015, official Children’s Book Week events – including appearances by beloved children’s book authors & illustrators, children’s open mic nights, read-alouds, book-themed costume parties, and much more – will be held in all 50 states. Photos from last year here. Event attendees receive complimentary Children’s Book Week posters and tote bags. You can see how the celebrations for 2015 are shaping up here.
Children’s Book Week is administered by Every Child a Reader (ECAR) and the Children’s Book Council (CBC) is the anchor sponsor.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Blog Tour (Review and Giveaway): ROOK by Sharon Cameron (YA)

by Sharon Cameron
Release date: April 28th, 2015
Published by Scholastic Press
Genre: Young Adult 
Format: Hardcover, eBook
Format read: ARC from the publisher.


History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. 

Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?

Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy's arranged marriage to the wealthy Rene Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiance is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and Rene find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse. 


Amazon / Barnes & Noble

ROOK Book Trailer


From the very first page I was kept on the edge of my seat anxiously awaiting for what was going to happen next! Again and again, with much anticipation, second guesses and charming moments - ROOK is everything that I wanted it to be and more... 

Now let me backtrack a bit for just a moment, I have to admit, the beginning took some getting used to. There is a lot of information and characters to take in; a lot of french names, words and phrases... Also, the story is told from multiple third persons - it took a while to get used to the writing style and catch on as to whose voice I was getting into. Once everything started clicking into place, oh my, there was no stopping on how quickly I was turning these pages! 

Our main character, Sophia, really took me by surprise. She is stubborn, determined, naive and so very brave. I was very impressed with her development and how her flaws were genuine and would sometimes work to her favor. 

And then we have our love interest, Rene. What starts out as a nuisance to Sophie slowly turns into a whole lot more. Their banter is fun and aspiring. He's mysterious and provoking. It wasn't hard for me not to fall for him and root for their budding relationship.

What I liked the most about ROOK was the sister/brother relationship between Sophia and Tom. Their banter and closeness was believable, sweet and the perfect touch of reality to the story. Also, Sophia's group of supporters all make a good and memorable impression - I was so pleased to see so many unique characters that stood out and helped with Sophia's cause.

And, the villains to the story, were outstanding! There are very few villain's that I despise and have a hard time forgetting... the things that happen are unimaginable!

Everything about the "Sunken Paris" is intriguing, unique and quite possible! Imagine the world we know now getting out of hand, where we let technology run wild, to the point where it destroys the earth, killing thousands and thousand of people. Which then leads the governments to unite and get rid of technology and all beliefs and go back to the way people used to live in colonial times (- history repeating itself!) And for those who oppose to the new laws will be beheaded in from of an audience. Like I mentioned about, the villains are to be despised... and feared!!! 

How can the Red Rook continue to save innocents and defy the new laws???

This is an amazing rendition of The Scarlet Pimpernel. I highly recommend this to all who not only love post-apocalyptic type stories, but to those who love historical fiction and fantasy too. And the biggest bonus, this is a standalone novel!

*I received an ARC from the publisher for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.


- 5 winners will receive a finished copy of ROOK courtesy of Scholastic. 
-US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Sharon Cameron

Sharon Cameron was awarded the 2009 Sue Alexander Most Promising New Work Award by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for her debut novel, The Dark Unwinding. When not writing Sharon can be found thumbing dusty tomes, shooting her longbow, or indulging in her lifelong search for secret passages. She lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads


ROCK STAR/ROOK's Blog Tour Schedule

Week One
4/20/2015- Xpresso ReadsInterview
4/21/2015- The Starry-Eyed RevueReview
4/22/2015- The Eater of Books!Guest Post
4/23/2015- Mundie MomsReview
4/24/2015- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post

Week Two
4/27/2015- FiktshunReview
4/28/2015- BookishGuest Post
4/29/2015- Bumbles and Fairy-TalesReview
4/30/2015- Chapter by ChapterInterview
5/1/2015- Winterhaven BooksReview

Waiting On Wednesday #130: LOIS LANE: FALLOUT by Gwenda Bond (YA)

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

This is where we get to 'spotlight' books that we are anxiously waiting to be released!!!
The ones that we are dying to get our hands on and read into the wee hours of the night!!!
And, quite possibly, to make our shelves look pretty too :) 

What I'm currently waiting for... 

by Gwenda Bond
Release date: May 1st, 2015
Published by Switch Press (Capstone) 
Genre: Young Adult 
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook


Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis.
An Army brat, Lois has lived all over - and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight.

As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won't be that easy.

A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They're messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive video game they all play. Not cool. 

Armed with her wit and her snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it's all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy.

Why I'm waiting on LOIS LANE: FALLOUT...

Someone has FINALLY written a book about LOIS LANE!!!

Do I need to say more???

AND! Can "SmallvilleGuy" please be Clark Kent/Superman?!?!?
PUH-leeeeze, I beg... I hope he is!!!

What are you waiting for this week?!?!?!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Release Day Blitz (Letter From the Author and GIVEAWAY): AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir (YA)

I am SO excited that AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir releases today!
And, that I get to share the news, along with a special intro from Sabaa herself!!!

If you haven't heard about this wonderful book yet by author Sabaa Tahir, be sure to check out all the details below!!!

This blitz also includes a GIVEAWAY for a signed copies of the book! and some of those awesome sword letter openers we have all seen around the internet - courtesy of Sabaa, Penguin Teen and Rockstar Book Tours!!!

SO, if you would like a chance to win, be sure to enter in the Rafflecopter below!!!

Dear Readers,

Today, my “baby” AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is finally out in the world! From inception to pub date, this journey took eight years. And what a journey it was: writing, rewriting, revising, editing, querying, submitting; Meeting other debuts, bloggers, booksellers and librarians, and hearing their thoughts on EMBER. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the radness.

And now, the book is here! I am so excited to see it in the hands of readers. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. To celebrate release day, I’m giving away two signed, first-edition hardcovers of the book. Details below!

All my best,

by Sabaa Tahir
Release date: April 28th, 2015
Published by Razorbill (Penguin Teen)
Genre: Young Adult 
Format: Hardcover, eBook and Audiobook


Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.




- 2 winners will receive a signed hardcover of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES. 
US Only.
- 3 winners will receive a hardcover of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES 
and a Sword Letter Opener! US Only.

- Ends on May 9th at Midnight EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
(Bumbles and Fairy-Tales will not be held responsible for any lost, damaged, unclaimed, etc. prizes.)


Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. 
There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. 
She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. 
She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. 

Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

* * * * *


Saturday, April 25, 2015

This weekend only! $2.99 eBook sale on Marie Lu and Sarah Dessen books from Penguin Teen!!!

For this weekend only!!!

This is your chance to either catch up on Marie Lu's LEGEND series 
read those Sarah Dessen books you've been dying to get to!!!

HURRY! Don't miss this wonderful offer!!! 

Available ONLY on April 25th!!!

Available ONLY on April 26th!!!

The Truth About Forever: http://bit.ly/1J6shx5
Lock and Key: http://bit.ly/1bfQkuM
Along For the Ride: http://bit.ly/1PbepSA
Just Listen: http://bit.ly/1J6s2SG 

Book Haul #91: The Shadow Races and More!

Hello booknerds!!!

Where did the week go???

I had some lovely personal memories happen this week...
my nephew, my one and only, turned ONE this week!
AND, he has started to let go and walk long distances like a wobbly pro :)
Yes, I know I have 3 boys of my own, but having a nephew is just the best bonus ever!!! I love him so much - it's such a different kind of love, but it is SO much! I am enjoying every minute watching him grow! And, it's bittersweet seeing my little sister being a mom and a grown-up now, lol! I'm 6 1/2 years older than her, she will always be the 'baby'... 
My baby bee is finally talking more! In between his baby gibberish you can make out words too, which means, he's trying to talk in full sentences already, lol! I really think he's going to outdo his brothers once he gets the hang of it... oh boy! 

I had some lovely bookish memories too!
Don't you just looove it when authors reach out to you, like your tweets or IG pics... 
OH! and when one of your favorite authors follows you back?! *flails*

And lastly, as you can see below, I got a good small stack of new reads this week...
my collection of The Scorpio Races has doubled! I'm hoping to now start collecting foreign editions!

I'm a happy bookworm... I hope you all are too!!! xo

*From giveaways...
DR. CRITCHLORE'S SCHOOL FOR MINIONS (ARC) by Sheila Grau, Illustrated by Joe Sutphin from Word Spelunking and Abrams... thank you!
- SHADOW SCALE (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman from Pure Imagination and Random House... thank you!

*What I purchased...
- THE SCORPIO RACES (HB) by Maggie Stiefvater
THE SCORPIO RACES (UK PB) by Maggie Stiefvater
- HAPPY AGAIN (This is What Happy Looks Like #1.5) (eNovella) by Jennifer E. Smith
- STATION ELEVEN (eBook) by Emily St. John Mandel (A)

* * * 

A few pics from this past week :)

My nephew turned ONE!!! He's a year old already!!! *sobs*
Re-organized my YA shelves again :)
There are about 12 books missing from this pic, lol!

* * * 

Please help Annie get her new lungs!

My husband's sister, Ann Marie, was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at the age of 2.
Until a year ago, she has been living a relatively normal and active life... 
Ann Marie is in need of a double-lung transplant now.
Any donations will be forever be appreciated.
Healing prayers too!

Please click on the link for more info!

And, thank you in advance for any and all contributions!!! 

* * * 

Thank you SOOO much for stopping by!!!

Don't forget to leave a comment with your links so I can visit your hauls too!!!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: ETERNAL SACRIFICE (Mortal Enchantment #4) by Stacey O'Neale (YA)

(Mortal Enchantment #4)
by Stacey O'Neale
Expected release date: September 2015
Published by Phoenix Reign Publishing
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: Paperback, eBook


Eternal Sacrifice is the last full-length book in the Mortal Enchantment series. 

It will be told from Rowan and Kalin's point of view.

Blurb will be added closer to the release date.



Seriously, you need to get in on this NOW!!!

First of all... Rowan is mine and no one can have him - not even Kalin! :p
He is so broken, and yet, still so determined and loyal... and scrumptious!!!

Second... the characters are SO good! Engaging, realistic and, to me, they're everything I would want them to be!
... the writing is quite alluring!
... and the world-building is imaginable and wondrous!

And lastly... have you seen these bookcovers!!!
How can you not want them embracing your bookshelves??? AND your eReader ;)
You cannot pass up the eBook deal going on now for the first 2 installments (see more info and links below!)

If you love the Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa, you will enjoy the Mortal Enchantment Series!!!

P/S - The lack of "summary" to ETERNAL SACRIFICE is KILLING MEEE!!!

Read my REVIEWS of the first 3 installments HERE!!!

*** EXTRA *** EXTRA *** EXTRA ***

The Shadow Prince AND Mortal Enchantment
eBooks are currently FREE on Amazon right NOW!!! 



Stacey O'Neale lives in Annapolis, Maryland. When she's not writing, she spends her time fangirling over books, blogging, watching fantasy television shows, cheering for the Baltimore Ravens, and hanging out with her husband and daughter.
Her career in publishing started as a blogger-turned-publicist for two successful small publishers. Stacey writes young adult paranormal romance and adult science fiction romance. Her books always include swoon-worthy heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of kissing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #129: NEVER NEVER by Brianna R. Shrum (YA)

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

This is where we get to 'spotlight' books that we are anxiously waiting to be released!!!
The ones that we are dying to get our hands on and read into the wee hours of the night!!!
And, quite possibly, to make our shelves look pretty too :) 

What I'm currently waiting for... 

by Brianna R. Shrum
Expected release date: September 22nd, 2015
Published by Spencer Hill Press
Genre: Young Adult Fairytale Retelling
Format: Paperback, eBook


James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.

When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child — at least briefly. 

James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.

But grow up he does.

And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.

This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.

Except one.

Why I'm waiting on NEVER NEVER...

FIRST... you guys must all know by now how HUGE my love is for all things PETER PAN!!!
This is ALL about HOOK!
The how and why he grows up and despises Peter Pan SO much!!!

Secondly... a different perspective of Peter Pan!
And, WHY didn't Peter Pan just let James go home???

Lastly... just LOOK at that COVER!!!

I am DYING to read this!!!

What are you waiting on this week?!?!?!

Imagination Designs
Images by LabyrinthofDreams