Bibliomantic Book Club: “The Archived” by Victoria Schwab

The Archived - Victoria SchwabThe Archived by Victoria Schwab
Release Date: January 22, 2013
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult Fiction

Summary: Welcome to the Archive, a library for the dead. Spending your afterlife in a library sounds like a pretty sweet deal, right? Endless books and comfy chairs! Caveat – it’s spent as a History, an exact physical replica of every person who’s lived. Histories contain the memories of each life and are usually in a deep sleep. Except sometimes the dead wake, and they want more than anything to get back to the world they knew. First, they must get through the Narrows, the shadowy realm between the Archive and the Outer. And that’s where Keepers come in. Keepers stand between the real world and the Histories, and must get them back to Returns before they become violent.

Mackenzie Bishop is a Keeper, inheriting the position from her grandfather. After a family tragedy, she moves to a new apartment building with the fractured remains of her family. She quickly discovers her new home is directly connected to the Narrows, which should make her job easier. Except more and more Histories seem to be waking, overwhelming Mac with work. And that’s not the worst part – someone has been altering the Histories, wiping memories from the dead. Mac has to find the culprit before she becomes a History herself. 

Libraries! Tragedy! Intrigue! Special powers! Snarky guys in eyeliner! This book has it all.

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Bibliomantic Book Club: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

The_Hobbit-_An_Unexpected_Journey_74The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Release Date: December 14, 2012
Genre: Epic fantasy, Is “Lord of the Rings” a genre now?

Summary: Bilbo Baggins is just your average hobbit who enjoys eating, smoking a pipe, sitting around, and that’s pretty much it. His quiet, peaceful life is very suddenly disturbed when Gandalf the Grey appears at his doorstep inviting him on an adventure. Soon his home is invaded by thirteen dwarves who are on a quest to reclaim their home from the dragon Smaug. A grand journey commences – encounters with trolls, capture by goblins, and of course the discovery of a certain all-powerful ring start us off on the first leg of the tale. Bilbo must learn to be brave and everyone must learn that friendship is magic.

The excitement and nostalgia levels were high among the Bibliomantics as we ventured to the midnight showing of the highly anticipated movie adaptation of The Hobbit. As we settled into the theater, we reminisced happily about our trip to see Return of the King at midnight. How Stephanie and Cassie-wa’s father had to drive us all squished into the car because we weren’t old enough to drive more than one person or after 10pm. How Cassie-la had walked up to a stranger and started eating his pretzel bites. (Okay, she knew him.) And then we mostly just realized that we are really old because that was NINE YEARS AGO.

It was surreal to be back in a theater at midnight – going back to Middle-earth. Despite our complaining about the pointlessness of the 3-D, our bafflement at how Peter Jackson could possibly stretch the story out into three movies, and even though it wasn’t perfect, I think we are damn glad that the story’s not over yet. Plus there’s musical numbers and shenanigans.

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Book Giveaway: “The Jane Austen Handbook” by Margaret Sullivan

Jane Austen Handbook Giveaway - Margaret SullivanOn January 28th Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice turns 200 year old. That’s right, Mr. Darcy is still sexy despite being as old as dirt. No judgement ladies and gentlemen.

To celebrate this momentous feat- in conjunction with the amazing marketing team at Quirk Books- we are giving away not one, not two, but THREE copies of The Jane Austen Handbook: Proper Life Skills from Regency England by Margaret C. Sullivan.

Hit the jump below to find out how to enter to win and see all pertinent rules. The contest begins on January 8th and ends on January 22nd.

Newly published with a revised cover, The Jane Austen Handbook offers step-by-step instructions for proper comportment in the early 19th century. Readers will discover:

• How to Indicate Interest in a Gentleman Without Seeming Forward
• How to Ensure a Good Yearly Income
• How to Ride Sidesaddle
• How to Behave at a Dinner Party

Full of practical directions for navigating the travails of Regency life, this charming illustrated book also serves as a companion for present-day readers, explaining the English class system, currency, dress, and the nuances of graceful living.

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Bibliomantic Book Club: “Days of Blood & Starlight” by Laini Taylor

Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
Release Date: November 6, 2012
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Drama, Awesomeness (That’s a genre, right?)

SummaryAfter the stunning revelations in Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Karou has a new purpose in life: doing whatever she can to help the remaining chimaera of Eretz survive to fight another day. Unfortunately, none of her newly re-discovered brethren seem to trust her. Especially not rebellion leader Thiago, who had her executed a lifetime ago. When Thiago’s attacks against the enemy become increasingly pointless and disturbing, Karou begins to question whether what she’s doing is right or only driving her world further and further away from the dream she and Akiva shared years before.

Since losing Karou for the second time, Akiva  is once again forced to question his own place in the war. He gains fame amongst his brethren as the “Beasts’ Bane,” but nobody but his brother and sister know of his true skill with magic, and that he’s using it to help chimaera civilians escape from the slaughter his father has commanded. Can he continue to fight for his father… or can he do the unthinkable and fight against him? 

In this thrilling sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, it’s time for everyone to pick a side. But who says the war only has two sides?

After much anticipation, we finally got our hands on the phenomenal book known as Days of Blood and Starlight. From the gorgeous language to the Monty Python references, to the heartbreaking reality of a war torn world – everything about this book was just epically awesome. Laini Taylor has captured our imaginations and we hope she never lets us go! Guys, we loved this book a lot. Slightly spoiler-y reviews ahead!

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Bibliomantic Book Club: “Dearly, Beloved” by Lia Habel

Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel (Galley)
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Genre: Young adult, zombies, romance (ZOM ROM), dystopia, steampunk

Summary: Picking up where Dearly, Departed left off, this sequel deals with growing anti-zombie sentiments and the after effects of the attack on the Elysian Fields. Nora is having problems dealing with her newly resurrected father, her enemy Vespertine Mink is busy making alliances and Nora’s zombie boyfriend Bram is spending his time heading a zombie task force and being the most attractive member of the undead possible. Subterfuge, opposing factions and intermingling plots abound in this steampunk zombie romantic comedy. Who doesn’t love a good zom-rom-com?

The second book in the jokingly titled Gone With the Respiration series finds our heroes Bram and Nora in a world full of zombie haters and lovers alike. They are forced to deal with both groups, from the Changed, zombies who are into zombie philanthropy to an upper-class zombie murdering group called the Murder. With fun new characters, a complicated new plot and a fabulous combination of the old and modern this is the end all be all young adult zombie series. We just can’t get enough of it!

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LeakyCon 2012: Day Three

Faster than a sexy chupacabra, our last full day of LeakyCon was upon us. While we were excited for the day ahead and all the shenanigans that surely awaited, it was tempered by the knowledge that too soon it would all come to an end. But the encroachment of real life would not give us the wizard mopes. With caffeine firmly in hand, we set forth for more wonderful LitTrack panels, the hilarious Mark “Reads” Oshiro, and cosplay!

I Was a Teenage Author
Moderator: Maureen Johnson
Panelists: John Green, Holly Black, Margaret Stohl, Daniel Ehrenhaft, and Stephanie Perkins

Last year’s runaway favorite, this panel was repeated with some new faces and some familiar ones. Daniel Ehrenhaft read some “rock” lyrics from his days as a former song writer, complete with a song about McDonald’s. That boy was really wed to his job, even if he never stole the salad bar. Margaret Stohl read some truly painful teenage angst poetry, which was rife with ridiculous symbolism and metaphor. Thank you for all your readings about scratchy lamps and particularly about erect pens. John Green read from a story about fireflies and lost youth. Although somehow the reference to “‘Firefly’ metaphors” made the audience think immediately of Nathan Fillion and not the insect. Once again Stephanie Perkins read from her teenage diary about her then boyfriend and now husband Jarrod (happy face!) and Holly Black read from her ridiculous fantasy novella. Specifically about potions that could make you fall asleep for a few minutes OR FOREVER!

Hearing the ridiculous stuff your favorite authors wrote in their youth is a hopeful experience for any aspiring writer, that’s for sure.

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LeakyCon 2012: Day Two

Day two started off bright and early (well, early for people who watched vampires eat placentas until 3:00 AM) with the second annual Lit Day. Or rather “Lit Track” as it was called this year as the event was expanded to a whopping two days. Seriously, Lit Day = love.

The D Word: Diversity
Moderator: Kate Schafer Testerman
Panelists: Rebecca Sherman, Jennifer Laughran, and Maureen Johnson

Kelly and Cassie-wa had big plans of waking early, showering, grabbing breakfast, and getting to this panel on time. They made it to the last 20 minutes (we blame it on Twilight). Which they were kicking themselves over, because it was such a fantastic group of authors and agents. The panelists frankly discussed problems in the publishing industry, like how does one change an industry that says black people on covers results in fewer sales? Authors want to write stories that speak to their readers, but how can they do this when others are worried about the finances? Maureen Johnson lightened the mood (of course) by talking about how one could reveal aspects of a character without it being too overt. Like how could JK Rowling have revealed Dumbledore was gay without it being awkward in terms of narrative. Her point was that JK couldn’t write about Dumbledore’s dating profile on or anything like that. Diversity is an incredibly tricky concept to define and create authentically. Really thought-provoking and excellent discussion was happening, and then some over-eager Ravenclaw raised her hand. She prefaced her question by saying it may be too advanced for the panel (oooof), and then blathered about privilege. Kelly and Cassie-wa cringed a little, but the panelists were pros and answered with ease.

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