Friday Face-Off: Year of the “Rat”


It’s time again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is: Chinese New Year – Year of the Rat

I thought I’d take this broadly/slightly sideways and look at a cover featuring a mouse–who would probably be offended to be called a rat!  I thought of Tucker Mouse, most famously from A Cricket in Times Square, but my favorite of the series is Tucker’s Countryside.  And it seems appropriate to pick the book with his name in the title!

This cover is fun–it’s an action scene and Tucker is front and center.  Though he’s not looking his best.  He may even look a bit rat-like!

Continue reading “Friday Face-Off: Year of the “Rat””

Blog Hop: Reading at Work?

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is:  Do you thing that readers make better employees, as opposed to non-readers? Why or why not?

My first thought on this question was…I don’t really see how the two ideas connect?  Unless you’re working in a job where a knowledge of books is particularly relevant (a school, a library or a bookstore seem like the most obvious examples), I’m not sure there’s any direct connection to whether someone likes to read and whether they’re skilled at their job.

I think reading is one way people can grow, gaining knowledge, new perspectives and greater empathy.  But it’s not the only way.  And I don’t think a love of reading automatically indicates higher intelligence over non-readers–again, there are  other ways smart people may choose to spend their time.

Good reading comprehension skills, the kind that they test on the SAT, are one skill that’s useful for employees, especially in any job with any element of admin.  I work in marketing and I’ve sent a LOT of emails over my career, and the ability to understand an email and to write a clear one back is in fact really helpful.  There probably is a correlation between people with good reading comprehension and people who love to read.  But–it’s just one skill, and it also feels like I’m really parsing this question to get to this point.  Also, many, many other things (work ethic, integrity, knowledge re: their actual job tasks) go into making someone a good employee.

After all that–I will say that I personally like working with readers because it gives me something to talk to them about.  Although when I think about it, my friends tend to be readers.  With the co-workers I’ve been closest too, we’ve usually bonded about something else; mostly the job, or occasionally geek TV shows.

So I guess that all adds up to a “no, not really” for this question!

Friday Face-Off: Star Trek Lives


It’s time again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is: Vintage sci fi – “Live long and prosper.”

With a prompt like that, clearly I have to share a Star Trek cover!  To keep it appropriately vintage, I went back to one of the very first Star Trek novels.  I like to think of the earliest ones as from the “Star Trek lives” era of fandom, before there was Next Generation and syndication, and Star Trek fandom seemed to involve a little more hopefulness and scrappiness–or so I suppose from the forwards I’ve read in these books.  It was before my time!

As to the actual book, I thought I’d go for the slightly ironically-named Spock Must Die! by James Blish, which holds pride of place as “Book #1” in the Star Trek novel universe.

This is the original cover, and…I have no idea what’s going on with all those blobs.  It looks like the image was damaged, except that every picture of the cover (and my copy) have the exact same damage, so…yeah, I don’t know how or why it got approved and printed that way!

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2019 Reading Round-Up

It’s the beginning of 2020, so that means it time to look back at the best, the worst and the sometimes weird of my 2019 reading. I always enjoy looking back and invariably discovering I read more really good books than I think.  January books seem very, very long ago, and I like the reminder.

1) Best of…
I’ve been splitting my “Best of” books for the past several years, so that I can highlight the ones that were best in very specific ways.

1A) Best Premise: Every Day by David Levithan – I was so intrigued by the concept of a lead character who enters a new body every day, and I really enjoyed how it was explored in this first book.  The rest of the trilogy was more mixed, but I still found that premise so fascinating.

1B) Best World Building: Jane of Lantern Hill by L. M. Montgomery – It might be odd to give this one to a book that isn’t sci fi or fantasy; it’s also the only re-read on the list, but I just loved the way Montgomery described the world of Lantern Hill and the people there.

1C) Best Romance: I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn – This was an adorable, delightful romance with a young adult couple who used words and were honest about their feelings.  Also, I never particularly liked mochi, the Japanese dessert, until I read this book and she made it sound so good!

1D) Best Hero(ines): Heroine Complex and Heroine Worship by Sarah Kuhn – Sarah Kuhn is clearly my new star author, because I also thoroughly enjoyed her superheroine series.  Besides Evie and Aveda as awesome lead characters, they’re surrounded by a whole lot of other cool women doing interesting things.  I loved that. Continue reading “2019 Reading Round-Up”

Friday Face-Off: Sparkles Abound


It’s time again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is: the festive season – a cover that is glittery or sparkling

With a prompt like that, I can’t resist sharing the covers from two of my recent releases!  Sparkles actually form a key part of the plot in The Servants and the Beast, as part of the fairy’s curse is an accumulation of sparkles gradually filling the Beast’s castle.  They even had to close one wing because it was so filled with sparkles!

Here’s the audiobook cover – which was just out this week!

Servants is a collaboratively-written novella with four other writers, but one continuous story.  We collaborated again recently to write After the Sparkles Settled, a Christmas epilogue to the story, also out this past week.  I designed the cover, modeled after the original, though less sparkly…

These were very fun stories to write, so it’s fun to have a chance to share the sparkly covers!

Blog Hop: Christmas Season in the Pages

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is:  What is your favorite Christmas-themed fiction or nonfiction book?

I only have a couple favorite Christmas books.  If I’m feeling traditional, I like A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  My other favorite is The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig, a very sweet Regency romance involving spies, set at Christmas with a cameo by Jane Austen.  It’s delightful.

This year I just finished reading Skipping Christmas by John Grisham, which was very funny, with a heartwarming ending.

What are your favorite Christmas books?  Evidently I could use some new ones!

The Phantom of the Opera Reading and Viewing Challenge

Are you intrigued by a masked man in the shadows?  Love being swept away by stirring musical tragedies?  Want to visit 1880s Paris?  Then this challenge is for you!

Join us to venture below the Opera Garnier and across the underground lake for a Phantom of the Opera Reading and Viewing Challenge.  Since Gaston Leroux’s first publication of The Phantom of the Opera in 1909, the story has been told, retold and continued dozens of times, on the screen, on the stage, and on the page.  Get a little more Phantom into your life in 2020 by participating in this challenge to go exploring through the many versions of the Phantom.  Maybe you’ll meet a new phan friend, or find a new version of the story to love.

I want this above all to be fun, so the rules (which are really more guidelines) are simple and, I hope, welcoming to all.

What Qualifies: Any book, movie or play based on Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera, or an obvious sequel or prequel to the story.  If there’s a masked man with a deformity in love with a singer, while hiding in an opera house, it probably qualifies.  I’ve provided a (non-comprehensive) list of ideas at the end of this post.  Rereads/rewatches are just as valid as new ones, although if you’re someone who watches the Claude Rains Phantom every Saturday, it still only counts as one.  The exception to that rule is if you see a play version more than once in the year, with different lead actors.

Continue reading “The Phantom of the Opera Reading and Viewing Challenge”