Graphic Novel Challenge – Mini Challenge!

It’s almost April and that means it’s time for me to host my first ever Mini Challenge!!!  One of my favorite sub-genres in the Graphic Novel universe is the nonfiction.  There is so much great work going on here and, in my opinion, some of the best nonfiction out there.  Not only are you getting the story, you are getting images, making the story that much more powerful, moving, life-changing and unforgettable.

To spice things up a bit, I’m going to offer a prize pack. Yes, a PACK.  Just a little incentive to get you reading.  For every book you read for this challenge this month, you get one entry in the pot.

Oh, I figure a few goodies; a graphic novel or two, some book marks, and other bookish goodies.  Don’t worry, it’ll be good.  I’m just not exactly sure WHAT yet.   I expect I’ll tailor make it to the winner.  Don’t want to give girl things to a boy or vice versa!   But it will be good!

Here are some possibilities that you could read.  And I would love it if you could post some suggestions in comments; I’ll add them to my TBR AND my list!

  • Maus I & II by Art Speigelman
  • In the Shadow of No Towers by Art Speigelman
  • French Milk by Lucy Knisley
  • Blankets by Craig Thompson
  • Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
  • Persepolis: The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi
  • Chicken with Plums by Marjane Satrapi
  • Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi
  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
  • Stitches by David Small
  • Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughn
  • Satchel Paige
  • A. D.: New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld
  • Ethel & Ernest: A True Story by Raymond Briggs
  • Epileptic by David B.
  • The Imposter’s Daughter: A True Memoir by Laurie Sandell

And so many, many more.

So sign up here (any time between today and April 30) and I’ll be watching at the main Graphic Novels Blog to see what you read!  Have fun and GOOD LUCK!

Edit: So, Mr. Linky doesn’t seem to like me, so just sign up in comments. That makes things easier.  🙂

Weekend Cooking-Rosemary Cornbread

I just love cornbread, don’t you?  It’s one of those comfort foods for me.  Just makes me feel good and at home with myself.  This is a particular favorite for me, so I wanted to share it here today.  Plus, I was pretty much told to do it by folks on Twitter.  Those folks on Twitter…you gotta watch them.  They can talk you into almost anything!

Rosemary Cornbread (Copy Cat of House of Blues recipe)

  • 3 ounces frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh rosemary leaves (no stems!)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 package corn bread mix (Krusteaz is really good!)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red pepper (I never use it, not a pepper fan)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot or green onions

Spray 13×9 inch or 11×9 inch pan with non-stick oil and coat with granulated sugar.

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Pour the mixture into the pan and bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes at 300 degrees.

Raise temperature to 325 degrees and bake an additional 20 minutes.



Weekend Cooking hosted by BethFishReads every weekend.  It is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

Merlin's Harp

Summary: When I was yet a very young woman I threw my heart away. Ever since then I have lived heartless, or almost heartless, the way Humans think all Fey live.

Among the towering trees of magical Avalon, where humans dare not tread, lives Niviene, daughter of the Lady of the Lake. Her people, the Fey, are folk of the wood and avoid the violence and greed of man. But the strife of King Arthur’s realm threatens even the peace of Avalon. And while Merlin the mage has been training Niviene as his apprentice, he now needs her help to thwart the chaos devouring Camelot. Niviene’s special talents must help save a kingdom and discover the treachery of men and the beauty of love… — Sourcebooks Fire

I love Arthurian legend. I love Arthurian books.  I love the story, the mystery, the myth, the legend.  I wanted to love this book, but sadly, I did not.  When I read the summary I was just sure it was going to be another amazing entry into the canon of Arthurian literature and this time for teens! Not to mention being from the point of view of the Lady of the Lake, I can’t say I’ve seen that very much in the genre (not that I am like extremely well read!).  However, when I started reading the book, my excitement waned.  It’s not that the book is badly written.  It’s more like it is, well, excessively written.  The words are so flowery, so descriptive, that I kept getting lost within the text.  I had to reread whole paragraphs to make sense of what I had just read.   Finally I had to set the book aside unfinished as I just couldn’t get into the story at all.  It is quite possible it was a mood thing with me, I am normally a moody reader and here lately, well, I’ve been moodier than usual.

Sourcebooks Fire has set up a website website devoted to MERLIN’S HARP and you can read an excerpt of the writing so you can see what you think of it here: Merlin’s Harp Chapter 1 Excerpt.

Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire for sending me a review copy of this novel.

Merlin’s Harp
Young Adult Fantasy
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
Format: Trade Paperback
On Sale: March 1, 2010
ISBN: 1402237839

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if you buy a book through one of my links.

The King's Rose

I’ve read my fair share of Tudor England fiction.  Some were about all the wives, some focused on a particular one – most popularly Anne Boleyn.  The King’s Rose is the first, that I can remember, that focused on Henry’s fifth wife Catherine Howard.   Alisa Libby has done a masterful job of bringing Catherine’s story to the page.  This novel was written for young adult audiences but I think it perfect for adult audiences as well.   I am sure many fans of historical fiction would find this an engrossing, hard to put down, read.

Catherine Howard is fifteen, beautiful, and of noble blood.  And she has caught the eye of a most dangerous suitor…Henry VIII, the king of England.

The court of King Henry is a complex network of lies, deceit, and danger and Catherine, once a carefree, romantic girl finds herself on a dangerous crash course on how to play the game and to becoming a woman.  Even with all the jewels ,the power, and the love of the king of England, Catherine finds herself on shaky ground. She is asked to keep secrets, secrets that could be her undoing;

The king is in love with me. But who am I? Who is this girl that the Howards created out of their words, to whom the king has given his love? I am King Henry’s sweet wife–Catherine Howard, no more. I wonder if God can see me now, see the treason in my heart. I squeeze my eyes shut, pushing these thoughts from my mind. I am a player upon a stage, even when the stage is a bed, even in an intimate moment such as this, with no costume or mask to cover my nakedness, I must play my part well, especially in an intimate moment such as this. I must become my role, and nothing else. (56)

And the most dangerous secret of all is the kiss, and the possible betrothal, she shared with her cousin, Thomas Culpepper – the man who holds her heart.

My life will be more than I ever could have imagined–but perhaps it will also be a little bit less. All of this must be put aside now, the words and dreams that led to his perfect kiss, near midnight in the dark garden at Westminster, and all the happiness that kiss seemed sure to promise. This was a different Catherine who received these letters, who responded to that kiss–since then I have been transformed by the king’s eyes, by the royal jewels around my neck and a cloth-of-gold gown…but who is the real Catherine: the shadow or the light? The smoke or the flame? (44)

Poor Catherine.  She was only fifteen.  She had her own dreams, her own desires, and her family used her for money, position, and power.  She was naive.   She only wanted to make everyone happy.   She fancied herself in love with her cousin – and could have been happy if not for the King and her family.  And she wanted to make herself happy.  After everything she gave up, is that too much to ask?  Unfortunately, when you’re married to King Henry VIII, yes, it probably is.  Libby’s writing is pitch perfect here.  This is a lovely young adult novel – it’s quick and engaging, and it’s easy to find oneself caring about Catherine.  Libby does a wonderful job giving Catherine a voice, very believable and true.  I definitely recommend this for both teens and adults, or anyone who would be interested to learn Catherine’s perspective.

The King’s Rose
Alisa M. Libby
Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Published by: Dutton
Format: Hardcover, 297 Pages
On Sale: April 1, 2009
ISBN: 9780525479703

Purchase from

The Book Depository | IndieBound | Powells

Other reviews by:

Becky’s Book Reviews | Devourer of Books | The Book Vault |Melissa’s Bookshelf

I am a Book Depository, Powells, and Indie Bound Affiliate and will make a very small profit
if you buy a book through one of my links.

Guest Post – Alisa Libby

Author Alisa Libby is on tour with Traveling to Teens – and I’ll be reviewing her new book tomorrow!  Today, I would like to thank her for guest blogging here.

My writing process is relatively slow and deliberate – but it’s worked for me so far. I’ll write down some notes as an idea comes to me, and then I’ll try to sketch out the opening scene and the opening plot points. I won’t get the entire book figured out in that first outline, but I’ll at least have a map to follow when I start to write. This allows me to focus on other things, like the details of the scene and the character’s voice. Later in the process, I find that it’s useful to have an outline of the entire book—like a snapshot of the plot—before I do a revision.

Writing can be a long process for me. I still write very lousy, ugly first drafts. Sometimes my second and third drafts aren’t so great, either. It helps a lot of I’m obsessed with a book, or a character.

For my last novel, The King’s Rose, I did a good deal of research about the historical character on which it’s based, Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of King Henry VIII. I read and re-read Catherine’s story, in different forms and by different authors, and I can honestly say that I did not tire of it. I was obsessed with Tudor England, with the Tudor court and all of the nutso personalities living together, trussed up in tight corsets and drinking too much wine. It was a hotbed of drama, and the central characters—the aging, mad king and his vivacious, lusty little bride—certainly did not disappoint. That is the magic of writing for me, when you feel like your book has swallowed you whole.

Alisa M. Libby
Author of The King’s Rose and The Blood Confession

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Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

Or, what has now become





I’m feeling like maybe the slump is winding down, since I picked up Yann Martel’s new book Beatrice and Virgil (since I got 2 unsolicited copies, I thought maybe someone was trying to tell me something!) and sat down, only to get up after having read 50 pages.  Fingers crossed peoples!!

The real test?  Picking it back UP!

New checkouts

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter; The Complete Poems of Christina Rossetti (because I want to read Goblin Market for OUaT IV); Doors Open by Ian Rankin (Reagan Arthur Challenge); Goodbye Chunky Rice (Graphic Novel Challenge); Lips Touch, Three Times (OUaT IV); Many and Many Times Ago by Selcuk Altun (honestly, I picked it up on a whim! but it sounds good!); Next by James Hynes (Reagan Arthur); The Sky is Everywhere and Time of My Life (because of raves by some of my favorite authors).

Still sitting at home, unread

Um, let’s see…I didn’t keep very many.  When I get in a slump, I sometimes have to get ruthless.  If the book is not working it is thrown against the wall and then…no, I’m kidding. If it’s not working, I put it down and pick up another.  I kept Crossing Stones by Helen FrostCutting for Stone because I haven’t saved it to iTunes yet.  Because it is 24 HOURS LONG people!!!  Veracity because I haven’t glimpsed at it either.  Smile, because I, oh you get the idea.  And Num8ers. For the same reason. And Gone by Michael Grant. Same reason!

Go ahead, shake your head in disgust. I am!

Anyone up for a library book readathon? I think I need one.

Returned to the library, unread

I picked up all of these and they didn’t work.  So I went ahead and took them back.   I expect I will get the back, sooner or later.

Once Upon a Witch, Apple of my Eye, Going Bovine (only because I have the audio now!), The Postmistress, Prima Donna, and Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven.

What I managed to read

Because I feel like celebrating it!  I read a library book!  And it was good!


Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show by Frank Delaney

You want to know what I love about Frank Delaney?  He’s Irish.  And like a lot of the Irish, he’s a born storyteller.  And he’s a good storyteller.  No, a great one.  He has a way with words, a way with a story, and a way with history that is not to be missed.  I first read him when he published Ireland (which I have read at least twice and am thinking is due another read) and I’ve loved him ever since.  So when I got the email asking if I wanted to read this for the tour I was just a *little* bit excited.  What impresses me the most however, is how he is telling the tumultuous story of Ireland herself through of his books Ireland, Tipperary, Shannon and now Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show.

Venetia Kelly brings us to 1932.  Ireland is heading into the most important national election in the Republic’s history and Ben MacCarthy doesn’t know it yet, but is getting ready to be thrust, kicking and screaming, into adulthood.   For while attending Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show is father delivers a crippling blow; he’s not going home.  He’s going on the tour.  With Venetia Kelly.   And Ben has to tell…his mother.

She tells him to go.  Go and find him.  Go and find him and bring him home.

So Ben sets out on his own on a  journey to find his father and bring him home to his mother; not an easy task.  His quest crosses Ireland and politics, his path met with politicians, actresses, acrobats and a ventriloquist’s dummy.  His story is populated with such historical figures as W. B. Yeats and Eamon de Valera (an important figure is Ireland’s politics).   The novel teems with intrigue and Delaney’s trademark humor and explores two of the things Ireland is famous for: theater and politics.

Honestly, the politics part kind of left me cold.  I’ve never been very interested in it.  But Ben’s story, that, I loved.   It’s a coming of age story, the coming of age for the newly young, newly independent, Ireland and a young man who must grow up much faster than he should.   This is not a quick read.  Delaney is a true Irish storyteller.  He takes his time and tells the story proper and meanders through little side journeys along the way.   I don’t always like such a nonlinear book, but when it’s Frank Delaney and he’s telling me the story of Ireland, I don’t care.  My own Irish blood sings to hear the story of one of the many places my ancestors came from. Like Ireland, Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show left me yearning for more.   As the jacket copy says:

Frank Delaney once again delivers an unforgettable story as big and boisterous as the people and events it chronicles.

For more about Frank Delaney check him out on Facebook, Twitter, his website and on his Amazon Author page.

Also the publisher  is offering an extra copy of the book to each of you as a giveaway to you, my readers! (US/Canada only).  If you would like to win a copy of the book, please fill out the following form and I will pick a winner on Monday.  Thanks and may the luck of the Irish be with you!

Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show: A Novel
Author: by
Frank Delaney
Historical Fiction
Published by: Random House
Format: Hardcover, 448 pages
On Sale: February 23, 2010
ISBN: 978-1400067831

Purchase from

The Book Depository | IndieBound | Powells

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for supplying me with this book.

This also counts towards the Ireland Reading Challenge!

Other reviews on the tour:

Tuesday, March 16th:  The Literate Housewife Review

Wednesday, March 17th:  Luxury Reading

Thursday, March 25th:  Trish’s Reading Nook

Monday, April 5th:  Stephanie’s Confessions of a Book-a-holic

Wednesday, April 7th:  My Two Blessings

Wednesday, April 14th:  2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews

Thursday, April 15th:  Cheryl’s Book Nook

Monday, April 19th:  Fizzy Thoughts

Tuesday, April 20th:  Rundpinne

Wednesday, April 21st:  Worducopia

I am a Book Depository, Powells, and Indie Bound Affiliate and will make a very small profit
if you buy a book through one of my links.