Books

Books

Wed
05
Jul

Bob Batchelor Shines New Light on Mighty Marvel's Prodigious Progenitor, Stan Lee

Bob Batchelor in the Spidey Signal

With just a few scant hours until the release of SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, it behooves us to look back on the man, without whom, there would arguably be no Marvel Universe for a Marvel Cinematic Universe to have come. Stan Lee is sometimes a polarizing figure in the comic book industry, but no one can deny the influence he had on the direction it has taken.

And while there are several books and numerous convention tall tales told about the man, Bob Batchelor has set out to provide yet another perspective on the multi-faceted man behind THE FANTASTIC FOUR, THE AVENGERS, and, of course, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. We sat down for a discussion with the author of the forthcoming book, STAN LEE: THE MAND BEHIND MARVEL (September 2017, Rowman & Littlefield) to get some more of his perspective on the living legend.

Mon
26
Jun

Harry Potter and the Two Twenty-Year Anniversaries

Harry Potter and the First Adventure 20 Years Ago

I wanted to open this article with "It was twenty years ago today..." but every time I did so, Paul McCartney began to scream in my ear. Perhaps I could start with "One score and zero years ago," without raising zombie Lincoln, but it just seems awkward.

Was it really twenty years ago that I sat down with this unassuming title, selected with little fanfare and to which I quickly became hooked? That would have made me thirty years old. Which reminds me, I hate math.

But it was twenty years, and the Internet is happily buzzing with Pottermania once more. It's a testament to the storytelling that it is remembered this far out, and is still selling to a new generation of readers.

Mon
19
Jun

THE LITTLE MERMAID: An Under-The-Sea Coloring Adventure

Little Mermaid Coloring Book

The newest addition to the adult coloring book craze comes in the form of THE LITTLE MERMAID: A COLORING BOOK. However, don’t go into this looking for Flounder, Sebastian, and Ursula; this coloring book is based on the original story by Hans Christian Andersen, not the popular Disney movie. The illustrations seem to have been drawn by several different artists, and you can find the names associated with each page at the back of the book.

The Little Mermaid Coloring Book features full page (and many two-page spread) images to color. There are also colorable quotes from the original fairytale that make it look like a picture book. However it is not a complete story; think of it as a coloring book with random, eye-catching quotes from the original fairytale.

Mon
05
Jun

Stephen King and Richard Chizmar ask an interesting question with Gwendy's Button Box

"If you had a magic button that could kill anyone or destroy any place, would you use it?"

Whenever Stephen King has a new book out, it’s a pretty big deal for me.  Thanks to my mom, I have been a huge King fan since I was way too young to appreciate his books.  Not knowing much about Richard Chizmar, I was a little hesitant to pick this one up.  But, I have enjoyed King’s collaborations in the past with authors like Peter Straub, Stewart O'Nan, and Joe Hill. Besides, unlike some other authors (looking at you, James Patterson), King isn't inclined to just throw his name on a book.  If it says he co-wrote it, then he co-wrote it.

Fri
02
Jun

Lambdin's MORBID HEARTS Fun, Well-Written Series-Starter

MORBID HEARTS is the first book in the Dead Hearts series of novels by Susan L. Lambdin. Having read the second book in the series first, you may be thinking to yourselves, “Why would you read the first book now?” Well, that is a fair question that I will answer like this: Knowing what happens in the sequel lets me look at the first novel in a different light than reading it first. I get to look at it from the perspective of: How well does the author set things up for the sequel? How well does she develop the characters personalities in the first book, and did they carry over into the second book so that they did not appear as different people?

That, to me, is a refreshing look when reading a series of novels that I don’t get when reading them in series order.

Mon
22
May

The Black Light Express is Right on Time and Doesn’t Stop

The Black Light Express by Philip Reeves

BLACK LIGHT EXPRESS is the sequel to Philip Reeve’s critically acclaimed (and much loved by this reader) RAILHEAD novel. It picks up after that novel’s climactic finale with our hero and heroine, Zen Starling and Nova, now in a new world that they never knew existed -- and shouldn’t exist, for that matter. But their story is only half the tale, for back in The Great Network, plans are unfolding between the Prell and the Noons, the outcome of which will bring together old friends and enemies, along with some new characters and new trains, not to mention a Guardian or two, those “beings/caretakers/gods” in the great Data Sea who have more to lose than either Starling, the Noons or the Prell.

For those of you who have not read the first book, not to worry: you can pick up the gist as the book moves along; and to help out, Reeve’s includes a glossary of terms that will bring you up to speed on the important things you will come across to help you better understand things.

Mon
15
May

Brandon Mull Returns to Fablehaven with Dragonwatch

Dragonwatch Book 1

Seth and Kendra Sorenson are back, and the world is a better place for it.

The teenaged siblings who captured our hearts and imaginations in Brandon Mull's FABLEHAVEN series return in an all new adventure, DRAGONWATCH, and the dangers continue to mount. After having defeated the demons with the aid of the dragons, the dragons have decided they want more. They are no longer happy being confined to magical preserves, and are testing their limits. The wizard Agad comes to Grandpa Sorenson for assistance in finding caretakers for Wyrmroost, a dragon sanctuary where the caretaker duties are split between the wizard Marat and the dragon king, Celebrant. But the defenses of Wyrmroost have been weakening during this partnership, and Celebrant is probing those mystical defenses that would allow him to obliterate the walls of Blackwell Keep and release all the dragons of Wyrmroost upon the world, free once more.

Mon
15
May

Game of Thrones Anthology, BOOK of SWORDS is Coming

According to the website Winter is Coming, George R.R. Martin is releasing an anthology-style book titled BOOK OF SWORDS to give fans a pacifier as they anxiously await the next installment of the on-going A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series.

Martin's inability to finish a novel, in a reasonable amount of time, has infuriated fans over the years. This news will be met with both excitement and frustration.

Of the 16 stories included in BOOK OF SWORDS, Martin's is compiled from unused notes he wrote for THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE. Titled "Sons of the Dragon" and will tell the history of Aenys I Targaryen and Maegor the Cruel (the second and third Targaryen Kings that ruled from the Iron Throne).

Mon
15
May

Enter to Win All Four ANGST Novels signed by David J. Pedersen

Angst Contest with Logo

When the hero gets his calling, he has no choice but to answer it and commence to adventuring.

But it's not that easy when the calling comes after the hero is in his forties. That's the dilemma of Angst, the hero of David J. Pedersen's fantasy series chronicling "a midlife crisis in medieval times."

Now you have a shot at winning the first four books in the series, autographed by Pedersen. All you have to do is...

...well, why don't we just let David's Dangerous Muses explain what you've got to do. Watch the video below for instructions.

Take it away, ladies!

Wed
10
May

Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover - the Bestselling "Kissing Hand" Series Continues!

CHESTER RACCOON AND THE ALMOST PERFECT SLEEPOVER (written by Audrey Penn and illustrated by Barbara L. Gibson) is the tenth picture book in the #1 New York Times bestselling THE KISSING HAND series. 

Chester Raccoon can't wait to attend his friend Pepper Opossum's "overday" sleepover, with several other nocturnal friends. Not even Sassafras Skunk's "stinky puffs" can ruin the fun when Pepper Opossum, Stanley Squirrel, Sassafras Skunk, Amber Porcupine, and Chester play darts (using Amber's quills, of course), hang upside-down, skip stones across the creek, play follow the leader, and eat tasty rotten fruit and dead bugs (yum!). But when everyone gets sleepy and starts heading to bed, Chester feels homesick and misses his mom. 

Mon
01
May

Forsaken Hearts Has Something for All Fans of Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

Forsaken Hearts by Suzanne Lambdin

FORSAKEN HEARTS is the second book in the DEAD HEARTS novels by Susanne L. Lambdin, which takes place somewhere in the upper western portion of the United States a year or so after a devastating virus has destroyed most of humanity turning them into zombies and other creatures. The small pockets of normal humans left are trying to survive against the obvious threats, but also new and emerging ones as the virus continues to mutate.

It also takes place after a pivotal battle at Pike’s Peak in the first novel.

Now, admittedly, not having read the first novel, I was not sure how I was going to catch on to things--the characters, places, continuing story lines--but I will say Susanne did a very good job here of referencing just enough to the first book throughout the story to give the reader enough information to gain an understanding of what is going, on but not so much that the story would become a rehashing of the first book.

Mon
01
May

Wendy Spinale: Through the Looking-Glass, Darkly

Wendy Spinale

I'm a sucker for a remade fairy tale. Throw in that it's going to be a take on Lewis Carroll's Alice characters, and I'm going to be a first-in-line reader.

So when I saw that Wendy Spinale was going to follow-up her steampunk fantasy, EVERLAND, which put J.M. Barrie's characters through a dystopian steampunk adventure, with UMBERLAND, I knew I had to do more than just read the book -- I had to get inside the author's head and share some time with those characters.

Alas, I couldn't fit, so I settled for asking her questions instead.


How did it first occur to you to put these Victorian characters through the Steampunk engine?

Tue
25
Apr

Once (More) Upon a Time with Kiersten White's Bean Stalker

Bean Stalker by Kiersten White

Looking for a WICKED good read that will leave you FROZEN with fear while TANGLED up in a ball of laughter? Then you'll be ENCHANTED with these BEASTLY tales from Kiersten White (PARANORMALCY).

Surely you've read enough fairy tales that...

Scratch that. This is 2017. What was I thinking?

Take two.

Surely you've seen enough movies based on fairy tales (yes, that's much more millenial) that you've noticed trends that have caused you to ask questions. Like, "Just how many evil queens are there?" and "Did everyone name their son Jack?" And even, "What kind of twisted mind would think of doing all these horrid things to innocent (but oh-so-brave) children?"

Fri
14
Apr

New book release: 40 Years To Heal A Broken Child by Nichó Martin

Time for a little shameless self-promotion!

A few months ago, my cousin, Nichó Martin, reached out to me to read over and edit his manuscript for his first book, 40 YEARS TO HEAL A BROKEN CHILD.

Up front, I don't think it's appropriate for me to write a formal review of the book.  It was written by family, and I am credited as the editor. BUT, I will say that it is an excellent book. Nichó has written a very honest book about the many difficulties he has faced (and sometimes caused) in his own life. Once you start reading, you are going to blast right through it.

Thu
13
Apr

Star Wars Builders Sets Give Fans Information, Interactivity

Star Wars Builders Droids

Since entering fatherhood, I have encountered a new phenomenon in publishing. Well, it's new to me, anyway. Prior to my graduation, books were things that had a cover -- either hard or soft -- and pages in between. Sometimes pictures. (Okay, quite often lots of pictures. I read a lot of graphic novels.)

Once the short human took up residence, however, I found completely different kinds of books. Not just the kind where each and every page was a half-inch thick cardboard slab (that he still managed to chew the corners off of; beaver DNA, don't ya know?) . No, these were "activity" books. They had compartments in the back to store things, like miniature charactes and a roll out map of a scene on which the characters would play. Where was this when I was trying to map out troop movements while reading LORD OF THE RINGS?

Wed
12
Apr

Ready, Set, Squint! Draw Spider-Man Characters the Dot-to-Dot Way

Marvel Spider-Man 1000 Dot to Dot

Thomas Pavitte's MARVEL: SPIDER-MAN 1000 DOT-TO-DOT BOOK makes anyone able to render drawings of their favorite Spider-man characters. Featuring twenty scenes -- including a double-sized spread pull-out -- and printed on heavy stock, single-sided pages, each of these pages will keep you busily entertained for hours.

Yes, hours. Did I fail to mention there are 1000 connections in each drawing?

Now, any kid who's done dot-to-dots before can tell you -- the more dots you have, the more detailed your finished drawing will be. So you can imagine the kind of results you'll get with 1000 dots! The good news is that the pages are huge -- 9 1/2" by 14" -- so there's a large canvass to work on. The bad news is that, well, there are 1000 dots! And since some of the lines trace back over themselves, there's a handy color-coding in place so that you don't get lost.

Wed
12
Apr

Marvel Universe Felt All You Need for Making Cute Super Heroes

Marvel Universe Felt project book

Oh, Aimee Ray. You have such confidence in my cutting, stitching, and stuffing talents where I know there is none. Nevertheless, your project kit, MARVEL UNIVERSE FELT, appeals to me.

This boxed kit contains nearly everything you need to complete ten projects, each producing a huggable hero. Using the templates and the sheets of colored felt, you can cut out the pieces for Iron Man, Falcon, Rocket Raccoon (ohhhh yeahhh), Black Widow, Hulk, She-Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange -- presented in increasing order of difficulty. The kit also provides the stuffing and sewing floss, as well as instructions so simplistically presented that even I could follow them! All you need to bring is your scissors, your needle, and your willingness to take on the projects.

Wed
12
Apr

Be A Star, Wonder Woman! Teaches Pre-Schoolers Girl Power

Be A Star, Wonder Woman! by Michael Dahl and Omar Lozano

Continuing the project of using DC Superheroes as object lessons for young readers such as BEDTIME FOR BATMAN and GOOD MORNING, SUPERMAN, author Michael Dahl delivers an example for young girls with BE A STAR, WONDER WOMAN!

With delightful illustrations from Omar Lozano, BE A STAR, WONDER WOMAN! focues on a young Hispanic girl facing the challenges of her school day while, in parallel, Wonder Woman takes on the challenges of a fight between two monsters controlled by her foe, Circe. Readers will learn the lessons of peacemaking and bravery, while being shown that it's okay to ask for help from your friends when its needed (making way for a cameo appearance from Supergirl, Batgirl and Bumblebee in Wonder Woman's adventure).

Tue
04
Apr

Medieval Midlife Crisis Reaches Boiling Point in Pedersen's BURNING WITH ANGST

Burning With Angst

David J. Pedersen's ANGST saga continues to be a breathtaking adventure. The titular hero, Angst, is in his forties and living the life he dreamed of when he was younger -- being that of a hero saving his family, his friends, his country, and quite possibly all the world. Unfortunately, it comes at a cost far beyond creaking bones and physical exhaustion.

Angst is a magic weilder -- even a powerful one. But his magic became that much stronger when he bonded with Chrysleanor, a foci in the form of a sword as tall and as wide as a very tall and very wide man. This made Angst an Al'eyrn, a sort of super magic user of legend. Then Angst did the impossible and bonded with a second foci, Dulgirgraut, a sword of similar proportions but entirely different power. This made Angst something hitherto unseen in history, something that shouldn't exist.

Mon
03
Apr

ARGYLE FOX by Marie Letourneau - A Fun New Picture Book for Kids

From author-illustrator Marie Letourneau comes an adorable new picture book, ARGYLE FOX. 

Argyle Fox just wants to play outside. However, the gusty wind has other ideas. Despite his mother's warnings, Argyle Fox tries to build a card tower outside - but the wind quickly whooshes and blows the tower over. Determined to find a game to play on this windy day, Argyle Fox sets out to try different activities - but can he find something to do that the weather won't ruin?

Cute and whimsical full-page illustrations show Argyle Fox's adventures in enticing colors. This is a great story about using critical thinking to solve problems rather than giving up. While Argyle Fox's "answer" might be obvious to adult readers, children will love watching him think through his conundrum and try different activities. I loved the illustrations!

This is a quick read I think kids will really enjoy. 
 

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