Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Fyre

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I am eagerly waiting on...
Fyre, by Angie Sage

Summary (from Goodreads):
Now that Septimus, Jenna, and Beetle are fourteen years old, they have assumed larger roles in their Magykal world. Beetle has become the Chief Hermetic Scribe of the Manuscriptorium and Jenna is waiting to be crowned Queen, but Septimus is still battling the remnants of the Dark Domaine, which will remain until the power of the evil Two-Faced Ring is destroyed forever. To accomplish that, the ancient Alchemie Fyre must be relit—a task that sends Septimus to the very origins of Magyk and Physik, testing both his skills, and his loyalties to ExtraOrdinary Wizard, Marcia Overstrand, and Alchemist Marcellus Pye.

In a journey that encapsulates the entire Septimus Heap series, Septimus will continue to discover the truth of who he is and expand upon his Magykal power and skills. Septimus Heap, Book Seven: Fyre weaves together every singular character from the entire series and incorporates many of the Magykal places from each book. Written with Angie Sage’s distinctive humor and heart, Fyre is the grand finale that celebrates the greatest Magyk of all: When the Fyre inside is kindled and when the Time is Right, anything is possible.

Fyre will be released April 16th 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books.

What are you guys waiting for this week? Leave thoughts and links in the comments!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I am eagerly waiting on...
Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltlskin, by Liesl Shurtliff

Summary (from Goodreads):
In a magical kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone's joke.

Rump has never known his full name—his mother died before she could tell him. So all his life he's been teased and bullied for his half-a-name. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. For Rump discovers he can spin straw into gold. Magical gold.

His best friend Red Riding Hood warns him that magic is dangerous—and she's right! That gold is worth its weight in trouble. And with each thread he spins, Rump weaves himself deeper into a curse.

There's only one way to break the spell: Rump must go on a quest to find his true name, along the way defending himself against pixies, trolls, poison apples, and one beautiful but vile-mannered queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—Rump just might triumph in the end.

An inventive fairytale retelling, perfect for fans of Gail Carson Levine or Shannon Hale.

Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin will be released April 9th 2013 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers.

What are you guys waiting for this week? Leave thoughts and links in the comments!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Dark Triumph

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I am eagerly waiting on...
Dark Triumph, by Robin LaFevers

Summary (from Goodreads):
Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. Naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, the convent views Sybella as one of their most dangerous weapons.

But those assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

This heart-pounding sequel to Grave Mercy serves betrayal, treachery, and danger in equal measure, bringing readers back to fifteenth century Brittany and will keep them on the edge of their seats.

Dark Triumph will be released April 2nd 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children.

What are you guys waiting for this week? Leave thoughts and links in the comments!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Review: Reached

by Ally Condie
Series: Matched #3
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Penguin
Age Recommendation: Young Adult

This review will include spoilers for Matched and Crossed.

After leaving Society to desperately seek The Rising, and each other, Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again. Cassia is assigned undercover in Central city, Ky outside the borders, an airship pilot with Indie. Xander is a medic, with a secret. All too soon, everything shifts again.

Reached was a slow read, but it was worth the time it took to get through. Although I was not initially impressed, it grew on me, especially during my reflection after finishing it.

The chapters were divided between Cassia, Ky, and Xander, who each had a separate role to play in dealing with the revolution and the plague. In Crossed, I preferred Cassia's voice to Ky's, but in Reached, I looked forward to Xander's chapters most. Additionally, in Reached, the three voices seemed much more distinct and individual. I could usually tell who was speaking without relying on the context.

I loved that Reached stayed true to the series, and did not veer off into the average dystopian plot. From the beginning, the characters' journey is centered not around violence but about discovering beauty despite captivity. Thankfully, Reached does not become violent either. Amazingly, Reached is not about destruction but about healing. This distinction is amazing to me, and is what sets this series apart.

I was satisfied with the resolution to the love triangle, but found that the triangle was not what kept me going through the story. In fact, I would not have minded no matter who Cassia ended up with. Mostly, Condie kept the characters true and focused on each character's development rather than the drama of the love triangle.

Overall Thoughts: Reached was definitely a slow read, but if you're a character person, it may just be the story for you. It certainly gets better upon reflection, so I'd be happy to chat with you about it and see what you think.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: In the Shadow of Blackbirds

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I am eagerly waiting on...
In the Shadow of Blackbirds, by Cat Winters

Summary (from Goodreads):
In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds will be released April 2nd 2013 by Amulet Books.

What are you guys waiting for this week? Leave thoughts and links in the comments!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Poison

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I am eagerly waiting on...
Poison, by Bridget Zinn

Summary (from Goodreads):
Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

Poison will be released March 12th 2013 by Disney Hyperion.

What are you guys waiting for this week? Leave thoughts and links in the comments!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Strands of Bronze and Gold

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I am eagerly waiting on...
Strands of Bronze and Gold, by Jane Nickerson

Summary (from Goodreads):
The Bluebeard fairy tale retold. . . .

When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.

Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world.

Glowing strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this breathtaking debut—a thrilling retelling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tale.

Strands of Bronze and Gold will be released March 12th 2013 by Random House Children's Books.

What are you guys waiting for this week? Leave thoughts and links in the comments!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday Face Off: Staring Eyes

Friday Face-Off is a weekly feature hosted by Misty at The Book Rat

This week's FFO compares Peeps by Scott Westerfeld and Gothic!, a short story collection by Deborah Noyes (Editor), Gregory Maguire, Garth Nix, Celia Rees, Barry Yourgrau, Janni Lee Simner, Vivian Vande Velde, Joan Aiken , M.T. Anderson, Neil Gaiman, and Caitlín R. Kiernan. Both covers give me the creeps. Which do you prefer?

Now it's your turn to choose...
Which cover did it better?

Click on any cover to enlarge.
Leave your thoughts in the comments!

On the last FFO: Ordinary Magic won against Rump: The True Story of Rumplestilskin with three votes to none. It's been quite a while since then!

As usual, you are still welcome to comment with your thoughts on old FFOs, and I will update this page accordingly.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Requiem

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I am eagerly waiting on...
Requiem, by Lauren Oliver

Summary (from Goodreads):
Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

Requiem will be released March 1st 2013 by HarperTeen.

What are you guys waiting for this week? Leave thoughts and links in the comments!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Trailer for Dark Triumph now available!

The first book in Robin LaFevers' His Fair Assassin triology, Grave Mercy, was one of my top 12 of 2012. I loved it, as I wrote in my review. And now we are approaching the release date for Dark Triumph! I can't wait to read about Sybella, who was one of the most interesting characters in Grave Mercy. I am so excitied to dive back into LaFevers' world. I may even reread the giant Grave Mercy before I pick up Dark Triumph.

Anyway, today, the trailer for Dark Triumph was released on Entertainment Weekly. Check it out here!

There's only a few short weeks until Dark Triumph comes out on April 2nd! Mark your calendars, everyone!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Review: Article 5

by Kristen Simmons
Series: Article 5, #1
Hardcover, 362 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Tor Teen
Age Recommendation: Young Adult

Summary (from Goodreads):
New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard for her to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved.

Looking over the summary now that I've finished Article 5, I wonder what initially drew me to it. Although I don't really understand my reasoning now, for some reason, it stood out among the many, many dystopians published in the last year or so. Whatever the reason,  I had high hopes for Article 5. While it was not a great read, it managed to avoid completely falling flat.

In the beginning, I had some hope for an interesting and engaging dystopian, but what I got was a medium-boring romance that I felt like I'd read before. The book was pretty evenly split between the two main characters trying to find their way to a safe house (pretty much the entire plot) and Ember trying to figure out exactly how she felt toward Chase. That said, in terms of keeping me interested, it was fine, but it wasn't amazing.

The main drawback for me was that I never felt really invested in the characters. Had Article 5 ended with Ember's capture and Chase's death (spoiler: it doesn't), I wouldn't have minded much. Perhaps if there had been more complex characters (and complex supporting characters as well, something Article 5 was noticeably lacking), I would have cared more, but I never connected with Ember or Chase enough to care about their fates.

Another thing Article 5 seemed to be lacking was a reason for the dystopian setting. There was very little explanation either for how the world worked or even why the characters were living in a dystopian society to begin with. How did this highly regulated and militarized society come to be? Without these answers, the dystopia seemed like little more than a backdrop. You could stick the characters into any setting or time period and the story would work with very minor adjustments.

Overall Thoughts: Article 5 wasn't a terrible read, but it wasn't great either. I would recommend it to dystopian fans who have high tolerances for wishy-washy characters.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Runaway King

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I am eagerly waiting on...
The Runaway King, by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Summary (from Goodreads):
A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive? Find out in the highly anticipated sequel to Jennifer A. Nielsen's blockbuster THE FALSE PRINCE!

Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?

The stunning second installment of The Ascendance Trilogy takes readers on a roller-coaster ride of treason and murder, thrills and peril, as they journey with the Runaway King!

The Runaway King will be released March 1st 2013 by Scholastic Press.

What are you guys waiting for this week? Leave thoughts and links in the comments!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Madman's Daughter

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I am eagerly waiting on...
The Madman's Daughter, by Megan Shepard

Summary (from Goodreads):
In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.

The Madman's Daughter will be released January 29th 2013 by Balzer + Bray.

What are you guys waiting for this week? Leave thoughts and links in the comments!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bookish Quotes: Fly By Night

Hello Readers! I decided to try out a new feature:

My first attempt at this feature is from Fly By Night (click for my review), one of my all-time favorite books, which I happen to be rereading right now.

This quote is one of so, so, so many that I could have picked. I could probably pick out a quote I love from every single page. I feel that this quote is particularly significant, however, because it is, in a way, the centerpiece of the story: the power of language. I especially like the keys in the image (which I found and does not belong to me!) because it underlines the connection between power and literacy.

What do you think? 
Should I continue with this feature?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars

by Diana Peterfreund
Series: For Darkness Shows the Stars #1
Hardcover, 402 pages
Published June 12th 2012 by Balzer + Bray
Age Recommendation: Young Adult

Summary (from Goodreads):
It's been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family's estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot's estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth--an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret--one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen's persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

I was initially unsure about this retelling, but in time it won me over completely. In the beginning, there were a lot of names thrown out and things mentioned that weren't explained until later, so I felt a little lost going into the story. Everything was soon cleared up, however, and I was able to enjoy it very much.

The combination of retelling and new material seemed very well balanced to me. I loved connecting events and characters to their Persuasion counterparts, but the story seemed very fresh and new. I especially liked the moral dilemmas and the conflict lent by the post-apocalyptic setting that was incorporated into the story.

I found the whole Reduction / technology struggle fascinating, and it seemed to fit perfectly into the class struggle between the Reduced and the Luddites and into the Persuasion story.

I really enjoyed the added element of the letters between Elliot and Kai from their childhood, as I felt it gave insight into Kai's character whereas without the letters he would have been nearly unreachable. In the main narrative, Kai reveals very little, so I enjoyed seeing what he was like by the letters he wrote years earlier. I didn't find Kai's final letter to be quite as powerful as Wentworth's original, but in large part because of the letters, I grew quite fond of Kai.

The other characters as well were quite likable, although I wouldn't have minded more development for most of them. Ro was the kind of character you couldn't help but like, and her relationship with Elliot definitely became one of the reasons I grew to like Elliot. The Innovations and the other Posts were great characters as well and I loved reading about them. My favorite secondary character was probably Tatiana, though, because she was so incredibly oblivious and so much fun to roll my eyes at (I enjoyed her character equivalent in Persuasion as well).

Overall Thoughts: An excellent retelling of Persuasion with just enough new elements to create an original and thought-provoking story. I recommend reading Persuasion first, though. Although prior knowledge of the story is not at all essential, it seems that a reader would get more out of For Darkness Shows the Stars if they were familiar with Persuasion.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Everbound

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I am eagerly waiting on...
Everbound, by Brodi Ashton

Summary (from Goodreads):
Nikki Beckett could only watch as her boyfriend, Jack, sacrificed himself to save her, taking her place in the Tunnels of the Everneath for eternity — a debt that should’ve been hers. She’s living a borrowed life, and she doesn’t know what to do with the guilt. And every night Jack appears in her dreams, lost and confused and wasting away.

Desperate for answers, Nikki turns to Cole, the immortal bad boy who wants to make her his queen — and the one person least likely to help. But his heart has been touched by everything about Nikki, and he agrees to assist her in the only way he can: by taking her to the Everneath himself.

Nikki and Cole descend into the Everneath, only to discover that their journey will be more difficult than they’d anticipated — and more deadly. But Nikki vows to stop at nothing to save Jack — even if it means making an incredible sacrifice of her own.

In this enthralling sequel to Everneath, Brodi Ashton tests the bonds of destiny and explores the lengths we’ll go to for the ones we love.

Everbound will be released January 22nd 2013 by Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins.

What are you guys waiting for this week? Leave thoughts and links in the comments!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Mind Games

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I am eagerly waiting on...
Mind Games, by Kiersten White

Summary (from Goodreads):
Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways… or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

In a stunning departure from her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Kiersten White delivers a slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.

Mind Games will be released February 19th 2013 by HarperTeen.

What are you guys waiting for this week? Leave thoughts and links in the comments!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Graphic Novel Readathon Wrap-Up

The Graphic Novel Readathon is finally over! I personally didn't read nearly as much as I'd hoped finishing the readathon with only 3 books, but Logan, the other participant, read 5 books during the readathon. Congrats, Logan!

I wish there had been more participation, since my favorite part of readathoning is the community of readathoners who cheer each other on. I hope to host another GNR in the future, and maybe more people will be interested next time.

Missed anything? Here are all the readathon posts:

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Author Interview: Nathan Hale

Here is is at last: the highlight of the Graphic Novel Readathon. Please welcome Nathan Hale, amazing author of many graphic novels and picture books.

You can find him drawing daily comics on his blog, Space Station Nathan, or pick up one of his fantastic books (pictured below).

Who is your favorite character to draw?

Right now, the Hangman from Hazardous Tales. He's sort of like the Devil from THE DEVIL YOU KNOW and Yellowbelly from YELLOWBELLY AND PLUM smooshed together in a black executioner outfit. I could draw that guy all day. Actually, I DO draw that guy all day.

Which of your books was the most fun to create? Which are you the most proud of?

Fun to create? FRANKENSTEIN. Why fun? Because it was a loosey-goosey, scribbly style (after the style of Ludwig Bemelmen's MADELINE) it was quick, easy and fun to do. It took about a month to do and was a joy to work on. (Note to illustrators: scribbly, sketchy styles go a lot quicker than fussy, over-detailed styles. If you can work loose--DO IT!)

I'm the most proud of THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, because it was my first. It was an unagented slushpile manuscript. Getting a picture book published out of a slushpile is pretty exciting. It wasn't a big seller, and it got a bad review or two. But it's my first, and I'll always be proud of it.

What are some of your favorite graphic novels (to read, not write)?

I grew up reading newspaper comics. I didn't start reading comic BOOKS until I was in college. The school I went to, Cornish College of the Arts is in Seattle, where Fantagraphic Books is located. Fantagraphics publishes classic golden age comics, Little Nemo, Krazy Kat, Pogo etc. and underground/alternative comix. Both of which I really got into.

Right now I'm reading the Carl Barks Duck cartoons (the old Disney comics that Ducktales is based on) and re-reading Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki which just came out in a GORGEOUS new hardcover set (go out and buy it, you won't regret it--1000 pages of epic Miyazaki adventure!)

How has the rise in ebooks affected your job as an illustrator / graphic novelist?

So far there has been little effect. Picture books and graphic novels are still very tactile objects (especially picture books) so, unlike novels, my market hasn't changed too much (yet.) I think most smart parents are now looking for ways for their children to spend LESS time with screens (not more.) So hopefully the traditional picture book market will continue to stand. Now, that said, my Hazardous Tales books are out in both Nook and Kindle versions--I haven't see either. I don't own a tablet. But if any of your readers have seen the ebook versions, I'd like to hear how they look.

You have mentioned in other interviews that you listen to audiobooks while working. Which are your favorite books to listen to?

I'm a genre jumper. I don't like to listen to books in the same genre back-to-back. For years, I just took whatever the library had in unabridged audio form. So I read all over the place. Now it's habit. I like everything. Mostly, I like crime, war, horror, and westerns--gritty tough guy stuff. Right now I'm in the middle of the latest Harry Bosch detective novel THE BLACK BOX.

Do the books you are listening to affect your work at all?

Nope. I guess, sometimes it makes working more fun. But the work has to be consistent with it's own story, not with what I'm listening to.

Which comes first, the idea of an illustration or the idea of the story?

For me, story first. Every time.

What is your work day like? Do you draw all day or just a couple of hours each day?

I work all day, every day. If you want to make a full-time career as an illustrator, you work ALL THE TIME. I once saw the great illustrator Wendell Minor speak, he said his work schedule was 12 hours a day, seven days a week. The audience laughed--they thought he was joking. He wasn't joking. And he doesn't do graphic novels. Creating a graphic novel takes hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours. It's a major time commitment. There's a manga series out there called BAKUMAN, about some kids who want to be Manga creators. One of the kids has an uncle who draws manga--he literally DIES from working too much. It is labor. I tell my writer friends it's like writing a novel using macaroni and a glue gun for the letters.

Do you create multiple drafts of each illustration or just begin drawing?

Everything I do is sketched out and reviewed by the publisher before final art (except for my blog posts.)

What is coming up next for you?

I JUST finished Hazardous Tales #3, which I'm VERY excited about. And I'm moving right into #4, which I'm even MORE excited about because I'm just about to jump into final illustrations for it. #3 will be out this summer and #4 in Spring '14. The second Hazardous Tales book, BIG BAD IRONCLAD was just shortlisted for a Cybil award, and I'll be watching excitedly to see if it wins.

And, of course, I'll be blogging new comics and stories on my site.

Thanks for the interview!
Thank you, Nate!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Graphic Novel Readathon Mini-Challenge #3

Here we have the third of three mini-challenges during this readathon. Each frame shows the main character(s) of a graphic novel that I loved, and you can guess the books that they each come from below.

There are two different giveaways you can win entires for if you participate in this challenge. You get an extra entry for the main readathon giveaway if you just participate, regardless of how many you get right, AND if you can guess all five books for any of the three challenges, you will be entered into a separate giveaway to win a graphic novel of your choice! For every mini-challenge you complete correctly, you receive an extra point for this giveaway.

Hint: If you're stuck, all of the books come from this list.

Good luck!
Book #1

Book #2

Book #3

Book #4

Book #5

And now it is time for you to guess! fill in this form with your answers.

 Are you participating in the Graphic Novel Readathon? Sign up or get more information here.

The readathon is 4 days of graphic novel fun, giveaways, interviews, and more!

Happy readathoning!


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