Hot Off the Proverbial Presses: October 14, 2014

In Real LifeIn Real Life by Cory Doctorow, illustrated by Jen Wang

Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role playing game that she spends most of her free time on. It’s a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It’s a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. Gaming is, for Anda, entirely a good thing.

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer – a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person’s real livelihood is at stake.

From acclaimed teen author and digerati bigwig Cory Doctorow and rising star cartoonist Jen Wang, In Real Life is a sensitive, thoughtful look at adolescence, gaming, poverty, and culture-clash.

WHY WE’RE EXCITED: Gorgeous artwork meets an intriguing premise all tied up in what sounds like a thought provoking exploration of some of our favorite things.

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My Year in Reading: Cassie-la’s Cassie-la’s Best and Worst of 2013 Wrap Up

Fairytales for Wilde Girls Black MilkHo, ho, ho, merry 2014!


If you know me, you will know that the only New Year’s Resolutions I set for myself are reading based ones. If not, then you do now. Since 2008 when I started keeping track of my literary conquests (when my goal was a mere 50 books for the year) I have been nailing my reading goals. Although most of my other reading resolutions usually fail.

For the second year in a row I set my reading goal at 150 books and for the second year in a row I succeeded in that goal. Although by the skin of my teeth. However, it wasn’t my fault, I had a wedding to plan. My wedding to be precise, so you could imagine why I was a tad busy.

Regardless, I did it!

In 2013 I read a grand total of 150 books (see full visual list HERE), hitting my goal but just barely. 33 of those were novels, 2 were anthologies, 10 were non-fiction, 42 of them were young adult novels, 53 were graphic novels and trades, 6 were middle grade books and 4 were poetry collections or plays.

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Around the Interwebs: Volume XLI

There’s a Hilarious Rap Version of the “Misty Mountains” Song From The Hobbit (via Topless Robot)

We’ve posted our fair share of nerdy rap songs (including that amazingly epic “Game of Thrones” birthday rap), but you can never have enough, so here’s a rap version of “Misty Mountains” from The Hobbit. If Thorin Oakenshield explaining that his back story is as dark as the beard on his face doesn’t excite you, we just don’t know what will. Bonus: there is a super sexy dwarf in this version too. And rapping Gandalf. So much rapping Gandalf.

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New Comic Book Day Roundup: December 11, 2013

In this post, from IDW Publishing: Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland #2 and from Image Comics: The Walking Dead #118. AKA it’s the bestest and bloodiest week of comics ever. Even if there’s only two of them.

IDW Publishing

Wraith Welcome to Christmasland 2Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland #2 by Joe Hill, illustrated by Charles Paul Wilson III, cover by Charles Paul Wilson III
Genre: Fiction, horror, Christmas, vampires
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

In the continuing prequel to Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, we are introduced to Denis Sykes, the King Geek of the Daniels and Howard Circus who took his love for biting the heads off chickens and turned it into a life of crime and robbery. While still biting off the heads of house pets. Hey, you gotta keep your signature. Now he’s on his way to prison in a Department of Corrections vehicle with some fellow damaged criminals and even more damaged correctional officers. Be warned, this is the most horrifyingly bloody issue yet (I know it’s only one of two, but still), complete with sassy, older female you’d like to hug and all the raw dialogue you would want from a prison movie. Minus jokes about bunnies and boxes.

Whereas the first issue of Wraith was completely dedicated to the horrifying and feel-inducing back story of the charismatic villain Charlie Manx, Wraith #2 follows a decidedly different course and for a few pages there I wasn’t even sure if I was reading the right comic or not. Where’s the Christmas? Where’s the Wraith? Don’t worry though, if you’re confused, you’ll eventually get to that fabulous ending and it will all start to make sense. And then you will immediately want to read issue number three. It’s going to be a long month isn’t it?

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J/K, This is So Much More Than a Vampire Novel: Cassie-la Gets Sucked Into ‘NOS4A2’ by Joe HIll

NOS4A2 Joe Hill CoverNOS4A2 by Joe Hill
: Fiction, horror, suspense, you thought A Nightmare Before Christmas was the most terrifying thing to happen to Christmas
: 4.87 out of 5 stars

Summary: Seemingly immortal Charlie Manx is a possible serial-killer and even more likely vampire who lures children into his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the vanity plate NOS4A2 and takes them to a supposedly magical place called Christmasland inside his mind to save their souls from the dangers of their parents. And everything was going fine until the Brat arrived at his Sleigh House and changed both their lives forever. For good or bad. Set across the decades and in various worlds, this is the frightfully jolly Christmas novel you’ve been waiting for.

There’s not much to say about Joe Hill’s newest novel NOS4A2 except everything, and to gush that it’s my favorite of his novels, even if it forced me to change all my computer passwords just in case. And I thought I was being so clever with my hilarious letter and number combination for the past five years.

It also features some fabulous artwork from the co-creator and illustrator of Joe Hill’s “so damn good” Locke & Key comic book series, Gabriel Rodriguez who fills the pages and the endpapers with terrifying artwork. If you were one of the lucky ones to get your hands on the Subterannean Press special edition of the novel (cover below), which I sadly was not (and I might still be crying about it), you are in for even more illustrated treats, as well as the novel’s alternate ending and the original novella which inspired the story-heavy 700-page tome.

Me? I’ll be over here checking eBay until someone decides to sell one.

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Kelly’s Last Minute Gift Guide for your Literary-Minded Loved Ones

grumpy-cat-christmas-themeIf you celebrate Christmas, I’m sure the constant barrage of emails, 5 pounds of fliers in your newspapers, and incessant commercials promoting the LOWEST PRICES OF THE SEASON FOR REALSIES THIS TIME have alerted you to the fact that you have NINE days to shop for your loved ones. And perhaps you are like me – procrastinator extraordinaire with no stomach for advertisements hawking soda machines.  (Personal soda machines are like fetch, they’re never going to happen). Also, since you are presumably a fan of books and literary fun times, maybe you want some cool gift ideas for the bibliophiles in your life. You are in luck, my friend.

Below, I’ve compiled a pile of presents any book lover would love to see under his or her Christmas tree. And any applicable discount codes if I could find them. Happy procrastinating, friends!

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Jingle Brains, Jingle Brains: Cassie-la Dissects “I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus” by S.G. Browne

I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus: A Breather’s Christmas Carol by S.G. Browne (Advanced Reader Copy)
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Genre: Fiction, zombies, dark humor, satire, Christmas but with more brain munching
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

SummaryFormer zombie rights activist and member of the undead Andy Warner wakes up to find himself dressed like Santa with a giant gaping hole in his head and no idea how he ended up on a body farm. All while his elf helpers chow down on some brains next to him. What follows is a Christmas novella of love, redemption, equality, and the unbreakable nature of the undead human spirit. It will have you smiling, cheering and gagging in equal measure as you find yourself siding with the decomposing corpses who populate its pages.

This sequel to Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament (S.G. Browne’s first published novel) is every bit as wonderful- if not more wonderful than its predecessor. I could read a whole series of books set in the Breather‘s universe! Set one year after the first book, I Saw Zombies contains some spoilers to the original including the fate of its main characters. But, if you merely want to read a, “… Holly-jolly- zombie Christmas” story about a girl and her zombie who spreads Christmas cheer you don’t necessarily need to read the first book. But you should.

The novel and the novella are both set in a world where resurrections are a semi-regular occurrence, but beyond researching on the undead and locking them up in pounds, not much structure is in place to deal with them. Having been officially labeled dead by the government, all zombies are stripped of their social security numbers and their rights. They are literally the living dead in the eyes of the world. It’s enough to break your still beating heart.

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