Top 10 Tuesday: Visual Elements

This week’s Top 10 focuses on visuals!  Which is awesome because there are so many fun books that I’ve collected and read based on artwork.  See where the meme started here!

This is just a brief listing of some of my absolute favorite art accompanied stories 🙂

Princess Ai: Ultimate Edition

A manga that featured an art style that embraced music, pop rock, girly pretty things, and gothic lolita fashions.

Kitty & Dino

Not only is this a cute picture book about a cat that finds itself sharing a home with a newborn dino, but the art is gorgeous enough to frame.

Gotham City Sirens #1

My favorite trio of characters from the Batman universe presented in a lovely art style.

Stardust

There’s a lovely illustrated novel of Stardust that features the art of Charles Vess.

Flora and the Peacocks

Another picture book, this one tells the tale of newly formed friendships without using words.

MeruPuri, Vol. 1 (MeruPuri, #1)

I fell in love with author/artist’s art back in high school, and I still re-read this manga series occasionally.

The Tiger (Love, #1)

This graphic novel tells the everyday life stories of various animals without using words.  It focuses on the main animal but shows the environment and other animals in the area as well.

Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery

Here’s a graphic novel series that’s basically Dungeons and Dragons with an all-female, butt-kicking cast!

Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening (Collected Editions)

The art is actually what drew me to this graphic novel, and now I can’t wait for volume 2.

Return to Labyrinth, Vol. 1

If you love the Labyrinth movie, then you’ll love this sequel manga series.

Sailor Moon, Vol. 01 (Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon #1)

So no visual favorites list would be complete without a Sailor Moon reference, so here’s one of my oldest, favorite manga of all time.

 

What books drew you in based on the artwork?  Share your lists below!

Top 10 Tuesday: Favorite Covers from Favorite Authors

We all know the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  And, we all know that we do the exact opposite all the time.  And part of this is because we are visual creatures, but another aspect is targeted marketing because, to be honest, covers are made to sell.  There’s been a lot of talk lately about covers, but today I want to focus on my favorite covers from some favorite authors.  Some of them are older publications, some foreign editions, and some are just the original cover I remember reading!

Magic Study (Study, #2)

I found the original covers from Luna Books to be much more visually appealing than any of the newer ones.  There was so much to look at and it gave more emphasis to the fantasy aspect.

Cinder (Cronache Lunari, #1)

I can’t remember which language this is, but I love the swirliness and intrigue portrayed.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)

While not my favorite cover as it doesn’t do the story justice, I admit I picked this book up because of the cover.  And was so glad I did as Laini is now one of my top favorite authors.

Image result for japanese green rider coverImage result for green rider covers

I love almost all of the covers for the Green Rider series.  The artwork is amazing and fits that story so well.  And the foreign editions hold up nicely.

In the Hand of the Goddess (Song of the Lioness, #2)

After finding Tamora Pierce, I started collecting all the Tortall books and this is one of the covers I found at my favorite second hand bookstore.

Acorna's Rebels (Acorna, #6)

Acorna was one of earliest favorite series and this was my favorite book of the series and also my favorite cover.

The Black Swan (Fairy Tales, #2)

I LOVE this cover!  And it’s my favorite book by Lackey!

Wolf Captured (Firekeeper Saga, #4)

This cover features everything I loved about the Firekeeper Saga: wolves, big cats, and talking to animals.

The Fire Opal (Lost Continent, #4)

I love all the covers that were painted by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law,  but this one in particular was very appealing.

Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson, #9)

This is probably my favorite of the Mercy Thompson covers, but they’re all pretty amazing.

That’s all for this week, next week the planned theme focuses on art in graphic novels and picture books.  To see all the chosen themes, check out the site that originated the meme.  I hope you’ll share your lists as well.

 

Top 10 Best Book Covers of 2016

Today’s Top 10 in 2016 topic is best book covers! “Best Book Covers of 2016 (MUST be a book released in 2016. Would be best if it’s a book you’ve READ in 2016, but it’s not required).”

Since yesterday’s post wasn’t a true top 10, today’s should make up for that 🙂  Here’s my favorite 2016 release book covers, most of which I was able to get read already!

The Transference Engine

I haven’t read this one yet, but look at that hummingbird!Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5)

So, I really like the covers for the whole Throne of Glass series, but I was at the reveal for this one, which makes it a little more special.A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1)

I actually like Breath of Fire‘s cover better, but it’s a 2017 release and this one is also really good.Heartless

The Owlcrate exclusive cover is simple yet has good composition.A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, #1)

I love the colors in this fiery rose!Shadow Magic  (Shadow Magic #1)

This cover gives such a fantastic intro to the actual story, plus who doesn’t love a giant bat.Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)

I haven’t read this one yet, but the cover is very alluring.The Sleeping Prince (The Sin Eater’s Daughter, #2)

I haven’t had a chance yet to read this one, but the cover is just as amazing as The Sin-Eater’s Daughter, which was a great read.Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson, #9)

I love every cover in the Mercy Thompson series, but this one was incredibly powerful and really stuck with me this year.Heroine Complex (Heroine Complex, #1)

I found this book because of the cover artist and everything about this cover is awesome, which makes it my ultimate favorite 2016 cover!  Look at those demon cupcakes!!

Top Ten Things I Like About Covers

It’s been awhile since my last Top Ten, so today I wanted to talk about things I like about covers.  Next week, I’ll share what I don’t like about covers.

Covers are a fantastic marketing tool, and everyone knows the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” even it we don’t follow it.  I’ve seen plenty of lists on blogs, GoodReads, and other social media where people have discussed what they like and don’t like, and I mostly agreed with what other people are saying but wanted to share some specific examples.

Here’s some of my favorite covers with why I am drawn to them!  Feel free to leave your opinions in the comments about what you like and dislike about the following covers.

Breath of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #2)

 

This cover was just revealed TWO WEEKS AGO!  And while I liked the first book’s cover, A Promise of Fire, this one is even more striking.  The model’s pose doesn’t look stiff or impossible, and those blues really pop.  I don’t know much about Greek clothing, but this matches what little I have read about, so kudos for matching the outfit to the setting as well.

 

 

 

 

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)

 

 

Here’s a cover that’s non-gender specific, so hopefully even more people will read and enjoy this story.  I like that the symmetry is actually asymmetrical because it keeps bringing my eyes back to the cover.  Plus, I have a soft spot for wings, especially butterflies & moths.

 

 

 

 

Beneath the Fall

 

 

With this cover, I like both the font and the color contrasts.  Paring warmer purples with a splash of red is visually stunning, and when you add in the interesting font of title and series, you get an eye-grabbing cover.  Also, the art style matches the 40 full-color illustrations on the inside!

 

 

 

 

Shadow Magic

 

 

Here’s another cover that features contrast and great font; however, I really like the image on this one.  The characters have enough definition to be recognizable, but the shadowy aspect of the figures still allows the reader to fill in those details while reading.

 

 

 

 

Artemis Awakening

 

 

I can’t quite describe what I like about this cover, just that it draws me in.  And I like cats. And swirling patterns.  And Jane Lindskold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Selection (The Selection, #1)

 

 

There’s a lot of hate for ballgown covers, but I think that was mostly because it became a trend and showed up on books that had no ballgown described or situations that called for them.  I do like these kinds of covers when it matches the story inside the book though.  Especially this one 🙂

 

 

 

 

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

 

 

This was not the original cover!  I was much happier with this one because it lent itself to the plot so much better.  And it’s more visually appealing.  The rest of the stories followed this example with a dressier version of the character shown on the back cover.

 

 

 

 

 

The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil, #1)

 

 

The like the juxtaposition and manifestation of good and evil on this cover.  The detail for both Schools is exquisite and interesting.  This book also had lineart throughout the text, which I enjoyed while reading.

 

 

 

 

 

Poison Study (Study #1)

 

 

I really liked the original cover for Poison Study back when Luna was still an imprint with Harlequin.  It gave a better sense of the setting and world building aspects.  The YA cover wasn’t terrible, just extremely vague.  And the new MIRA covers were pretty but featured the main character in long flowing dresses/robes, which never happened in the story.

 

 

 

The High King's Tomb (Green Rider, #3)

 

 

I really like all five of the Green Rider covers, but this one is my absolute favorite due to the fantastic rendering of this black stallion.  It’s such a powerful image and matches the tone and plot of the book.  Great pairing!

 

 

 

 

 

Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson (Mercy Thompson #0.1, #0.6, #0.8, #1.5, #4.5, #5.5, #7.4)

 

 

The artist that creates the covers for the Mercy Thompson series does a great job with the subject matter.  I love the attention to detail and the backgrounds.  I do wish he was more consistent with the portrayal of Mercy’s tattoos, but otherwise the covers do a great job of introducing the reader to the story inside.

Top 10 Tuesday: 2016 Picture Books

Today, I want to share some of my favorite picture books from 2016.  As a cataloger, I see quite a few, but here are some that I thought really stood out.

  1. Goodnight Unicorn: A Magical Parody by Carla Oceanak

Goodnight Unicorn: A Magical Parody

An adorable parody of Goodnight Moon with beautiful illustrations perfect for any unicorn fanatic or fantasy-lover.

2. Quackers by Liz Wong

Quackers

A fun tale about a cat who is raised by a bunch of ducks.

3.If I had a Gryphon by Vikki VanSickle

If I Had a Gryphon

Adorable read-aloud, good for sharing with any young child who is interested in pets or just a good story.

4. Little Butterfly by Laura Logan

Little Butterfly

Fun, wordless picture book about kindness and compassion.

5. This is Not a Picture Book! by Sergio Ruzzier

This Is Not a Picture Book!

A cute and enjoyable read about what books can mean to you, the reader.

6. Fabulous Frogs by Martin Jenkins

Fabulous Frogs

This is a beautifully illustrated introduction to frogs, which are so much fun!

7. A Fairy Friend by Sue Fliess

A Fairy Friend

Disney-esque illustrations couple well with lyrical, rhyming text that would be great to read-aloud.

8. The Cloud Princess by Khoa Le

The Cloud Princess

Another beautifully illustrated picture book; this one introduces the reader to the water cycle in a fantasy format.

9. The Storybook Knight by Helen Docherty

The Storybook Knight

I really enjoyed this fun, rhyming tale!  It’s not due out until October, but you should put it on your pre-order/TBR list right now.

OK, so I didn’t quite make it to 10, but we’re only part way through 2016.  I’m sure I’ll do another post like this later in the year as well.

What picture books have stood out to you?  Do you have a favorite already?  Reply in the comments below!

Top 10 Tuesday: Childhood Characters You’d Love To Revisit As Adults (Or View As Kids)

Today’s Top 10 is actually taken from The Broke and The Bookish, who apparently started the trend and has weekly themes that other blogs can use.  Click the link to find out more about this fun practice.  This is my first time participating due to my recent discovery, and I’m excited about today’s  topic.  Childhood characters you’d love to revisit as adults (or view as kids) gave me the opportunity to stroll down cherished childhood memories and reconsider books that I’d re-read every year or two because I loved those characters.  So, without further ado, here’s my list of “favorite” characters I want to know more about (in no particular order)!

  1. Lily and Thorn from Shadow Magic : Having just finished their story, I find myself wondering how they’ll turn out once they’ve had 10 years to grow up and evolve.
  2. Talia from Queen’s Own: One of the first series I read set in the Valdemar universe, I would love to have another story that shows her in later years.
  3. Molly from Castle Hangnail : A great standalone, which leads me to wonder how Molly and her friends will get along after 10 years.
  4. Mercy Thompson from Patricia Briggs : Watching Mercy grow and mature over the last 9 books was awesome, and she occasionally talks about her childhood, but I would love to read a story that featured her in adolescence.
  5. Rachel Morgan from Kim Harrison : Another character that I loved reading about and also hinted at childhood happenings, I would love to read something written about Rachel’s younger self.
  6. Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone : I would love to read an early story of Karou as a chimera.  Laini Taylor does such a great job with her writing that it would be amazing!!
  7. Sarralyn & Rikash Salmalin (Daine’s children) from Tamora Pierce : Daine’s Immortals series is one of my absolute favorites, and I really hope Tamora Pierce is planning to write up her children’s stories.
  8. Kendra and Seth from Fablehaven : This one feels like cheating as Dragonwatch is coming out soon, but I’ve wanted more from the Fablehaven universe since book 5 came out.
  9. Firekeeper from Jane Lindskold : I enjoyed this series as a whole, although it always felt like there was more story to tell after book 6.  Besides, I’d love to see Firekeeper 10 years in the future.
  10. Jimena from Daughters of the Moon : Honestly, I’d like to see all of the Daughters of the Moon in their futures, but Jimena’s future means seeing the new crop of Daughters.
  11. Ari from Unicorns of Balinor : Ended before the author had finished telling the whole story, the world of Balinor was a lot of fun, and I would love to see Ari either in the future or as a young child.
  12. Holly Claus from Brittney Ryan : The story of Holly Claus was beautiful and left me wondering what other adventures awaited her.

Bonus: Here are a few more that are special cases!

Karigan from Green Rider : Since this series isn’t finished yet, I’m not sure how far into Karigan’s future it will go (especially since it messes with time travel), but I already know I will be sad to see the series end.

Acorna from Anne McCaffrey : We did get to see some of Acorna in the follow-up series Acorna’s Children, but no matter how hard I wish, Anne McCaffrey is no longer here to write more Acorna stories.

Sailor Moon from Naoko Takeuchi : We did get to see some of Sailor Moon’s grown-up version in Crystal Tokyo, but I’d like to see a spin-off series that focuses on how Crystal Tokyo came to be.

There’s my list, and I had so much fun putting it together!  Do you have any favorite characters you’d like to visit 10 years in the future?  Or maybe as a child/young adult?

Top 10 Tuesday: BEA/BookCon 2016 Authors

So, next month BookExpo America & BookCon gust into the Windy City, which means it’s close enough that I can attend!  While work could not afford to send me, they were willing to let me take Thursday and Friday off.  So, I’m going to BEA & BookCon!!

Although BookCon has been announcing guests for several months, BEA just released its initial schedule and app this past weekend, and I’ve been playing with schedule stuff all day!  While I definitely don’t have ANYTHING finalized yet, I have squeed like the excited fan girl I am over how many authors I really want to meet.

And, I’ve decided to share the 10 I’m most excited about with all of you.

Brandon Mull

10. Brandon Mull-Fablehaven continues to be one of my favorite series, and I’m waiting rather impatiently for the follow up series, which should be coming soonish.  I met Mull at ALA 2013 and collected his signature in book 5, but I would love to have him sign book 1 and to ask about the follow up 🙂

Kendare Blake

9. Kendare Blake-While I haven’t finished any books by Blake, I started Antigoddess and was intrigued by the whole concept.  I’m also looking forward to her newest book, Three Dark Crowns, which might be available at the conference.

Susan Dennard

8. Susan Dennard-Another author that I haven’t read, but Truthwitch sounds like my kind of fun, so it’s high of my TBR list right now.

Gene Luen Yang

7. Gene Luen Yang-Yang would be higher on this list if I hadn’t already met him once and collected his autograph on the first 9 Avatar: the Last Airbender graphic novels.  He’s pretty awesome, and AtLA is one of my favorite cartoons/worlds ever.  Also, another series came out, and I need more Appa!

Victoria Aveyard

6. Victoria Aveyard-Red Queen was one of my favorite debut reads from last year, and Glass Sword was interesting as well.

Shannon Hale

5. Shannon Hale-I was really excited to see Hale on the list for author signings at BEA because I had almost given up acquiring her signature.  You might think that I want her signature for Princess Academy or The Goose Girl, but I actually loved her take on Ever After High the most.

Danielle  Paige

4. Danielle Paige-I got my boss hooked on Dorothy Must Die, and the dark take on Oz turned me on to her writing style.  Which means, I’m super excited to read her take on one of my favorite fairy tales, The Snow Queen, in the form of Stealing Snow later this year.  When I met her at ALA Midwinter 2015, she was adorable.

These last three are all tied up, so I’ll just label them all as #1.

Marissa Meyer

  1. Marissa Meyer-The Lunar Chronicles were a fantastic sci-fi take on several fairy tales that were seamlessly blended together.  Although I already had her sign that series, I’m hoping to meet her in person and learn more about Heartless, which comes out later this year.

Sarah J. Maas

1. Sarah J. Maas-I’ve been kicking myself since I read Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight and A Court of Thorns and Roses, all within the last year and a half.  I’ve become obsessed and can’t wait to meet her in person.  (I hear she’s a little crazy 🙂

Laini Taylor

  1. Laini Taylor-I can’t bring myself to read Dreams of Gods & Monsters because I loved the writing that Taylor brought to her amazing world and characters, and I’m not ready to say good-bye yet.  However, Strange the Dreamer sounds AWESOME, so I guess I’m going to have to say bye pretty soon.

 

Are any of you going to BEA or BookCon?  Who are you excited to meet?  Are there any ARCs you hope to see?  I plan to blog about my time there either during or just after, and I’m sure to host a giveaway from my book stash and/or swag the week following the event.

 

All photos taken from GoodReads.com.

Top 10 Backlog

Today for Top 10 Tuesday, I want to share the top 10 books on my backlog TBR list, which will hopefully get crossed off throughout 2016.  I want to know if you’ve read these titles or if they are also lurking on your TBR list.  (Order based on publication date.)

10. Paper Mage

Found this one at a used bookstore many years ago.  The magic system has something to do with origami, so it’s survived several purges.  Not sure why I haven’t read it yet though.

9. Sign of the Crescent

I really don’t remember much about this one, but I’ve owned it forever at this point, so I really need to read it.

8.Tiger Moon

I’m pretty sure this one is based around a Hindu myth or Indian fairy tale.  Probably going to feature this one when I do a post about all the backed-up fractured fairy tales/retellings I need to read.

7. Bloodhound (Beka Cooper, #2)

I fell behind on this series, most likely because Tamora Pierce stopped releasing new books as frequently and I don’t want Tortall to end.  EVER!  But she’s a favorite author, so it’s time to catch up.

6. Storm Glass (Glass, #1)

Another favorite author, but I have truly only read the original Poison Study trilogy.  Although I started collecting her books almost immediately 🙂

5. The Legend of Eli Monpress (The Legend of Eli Monpress, #1-3)

I started reading the first book in this omnibus a couple years ago, and I enjoyed what I was able to read.  Unfortunately, I was in the process of moving and set aside the book, so I need to pick it back up.

4. God Save the Queen (The Immortal Empire, #1)

I’ve started this one several times, but always seem to get interrupted before the story truly grabs me.  The beginning is certainly interesting, so this year I plan on finally finishing it!

3. Stormdancer (The Lotus War, #1)

This one I haven’t actually owned very long, but I’ve wanted to read it for awhile now.  Who wouldn’t like a story that’s steampunk Japan?

2. Fangirl

This book feels like it was written specifically for me, so I know I’ll like it once I read it.

  1. Mirror Sight (Green Rider, #5)

The one author I will wait forever for as each book is written with such detail and intricacy that rereads are mandatory and appreciated.  And with Firebrand in the editing stage, I want to be ready.

 

Top 10 Tuesday: Fairy Tale Retellings

I’ve been busy with adulting, but I’m hoping that this is the start of weekly or bi-weekly posts featuring Top 10 Tuesdays, Waiting on Wednesday, and Throwback Thursday.  Top 10s will feature themed lists, but may include more than just books.  Waiting ons will be a mix of books I’m looking forward to reading and book reviews for upcoming books (my first review in this setup will be The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine).  Throwbacks are going to be reviews of books that I’m rereading or books that came out 2 or more years ago.  So, here’s my first Top 10!

Fairy Tale Retellings Through the (Reading) Ages
1. Holly Claus: The Christmas Princess by Brittney Ryan / The Legend of Holly Claus by Brittney Ryan

Holly Claus: The Christmas PrincessThe Legend of Holly Claus

The young readers have so many fairy tales and their adaptations to choose from, but during this holiday season and point to a lovely little story about Santa Claus’s daughter, Holly.  Maybe not exactly a fairy tale, but it is a different look at a familiar tale 🙂  First released as a middle grade novel before being adapted into a picture book, the story of Holly Claus really hits on the topics of identity, self-worth, and sacrifice as well as what the holidays really mean.  I love both editions, but I was very happy when Laurel Long’s illustrations were colored for the picture book release.  (If you don’t know about Laurel Long, go Google her work RIGHT NOW!)

2. Sleeping Cinderella and Other Princess Mix-Ups by Stephanie Clarkson

Sleeping Cinderella and Other Princess Mix-ups

This story actually mixes up four different fairy tales as the current trend in retellings, but the art by Brigette Barrager works really well with the story and it’s rather humorous in nature.

3. Flunked by Jen Calonita

Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School, #1)

Here’s an early middle grade retelling that doesn’t have a well-known trope as the main character, but rather the shoemaker’s daughter.  Oh, there’s plenty of well-knowns in the background, but the story features a reform school where the teachers are famous ex-villains.  My last post actually featured a cover reveal for the sequel, which is definitely going to be a fun read!

4. The Ever Afters by Shelby Bach

This series was Awesome!  I loved the after-school program nature of it, and I loved that it played up the Snow Queen tale.  Four books, all well-written–it’s a complete set that you can go out and buy right now 🙂

5. The Storybook of Legends (trilogy) by Shannon Hale

Shannon Hale introduced the world to Ever After High’s world and characters, and it was spectacular.  Ever After High is a spin-off of Monster High, but instead of the children of monsters, EAH features the children of fairy tales.  There is another series being written by Suzanne Selfors, but it’s definitely written for a younger audience (early middle grade) unlike Hale’s (young adult).

6. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil, #1)

The third and final book of the series just came out this past July, but, honestly, the first book was the best.  It really takes a look at what makes a character good and what makes them evil.  I loved how Chainani took fairy tale tropes and turned them on their head.  The second book focused on gender stereotypes in fairy tales, so that was fun.  But, book three was less satisfactory.

7. The Phoenix Dance by Dia Calhoun

The Phoenix Dance

A young adult retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses from the view of the shoemaker’s apprentice, who is suffering from bipolar disorder.  It puts the whole story into a new perspective while addressing a common problem that doesn’t get talked about much in popular fiction and fantasy in particular.

8. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)

This was a great re-imagining of Cinderella set on a futuristic Earth.  Each consequential book adds a new set of characters and points of view storytelling based on another fairy tale, including Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White.  Amazing!  Any age reader will enjoy this four book series.

9. The Stepsister’s Scheme by Jim C. Hines

The Stepsister Scheme (Princess, #1)

Here’s an adult take on fairy tale retellings, where Jim Hines takes a firm stance on gender roles in fairy tales and delivers some great fun with a lot of action as well.  His other series about books and librarians is awesome as well, just saying.

10. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

Daughter of the Forest  (Sevenwaters, #1)

This series starts off with the Six Swans steeped in Celtic mythology and delivers a rousing tale that really captures the setting and the original tale.  Perhaps a bit more description than I usually like, but the storytelling is fantastic.

BONUS: The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey

The Black Swan (Fairy Tales, #2)

One of my favorite stand-along retellings that features one story: Swan Lake.  I love the music, the setting, the swans, the main character (Odile), and the ending.  I wasn’t a big fan of the prince, but Odette and Odile were strong, independent women.  And Mercedes Lackey is one of my favorite authors, so I might be a little biased 🙂

 

Tune in tomorrow for Waiting on Wednesday: The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine.