Wednesday
Jul162014

Author Blog Tour Review & CONTEST: Strange & Ever After by Susan Dennard

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on Susan Dennard's blog tour for Strange & Ever After, the last volume in her fantabulous Something Strange & Deadly series. You can see all the stops on the tour over here. I am so excited to be a part of this tour because this series has been one of my favorites in the last few years. It's full of adventure and romance and steampunk zombie goodness. I was both excited and sad to have the final volume in my hand.

Susan is hosting a great contest to win a copy of Strange & Ever After, which you can enter later on in the post. First my review.

Strange & Ever After
Susan Dennard

HarperTeen
Releases July 22, 2014
400 pages
YA / Steampunk / Zombies!

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Book Depository | Kobo

In the conclusion to the trilogy that Publishers Weekly called “a roaring—and addictive—gothic world,” Eleanor Fitt must control her growing power, face her feelings for Daniel, and confront the evil necromancer Marcus...all before it’s too late.

He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.

With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.

Susan Dennard will leave readers breathless and forever changed in the concluding pages of this riveting ride. 

It’s been a week since I finished this book and I still have difficulty putting my reaction to this final volume in Susan Dennard’s Something Strange & Deadly series into words. I mean, this is what I looked like when I finished the book far past my bedtime, thankful that Fernando had gone to bed early:

It was a perfect ending and I hated it. I hated that the Victorian zombie fighters have no adventures for me to tag along with. I was very unhappy with the body count by the final page. I was so wrapped up in these characters, in this series that it was like a part of me has been ripped away and now I’m left wondering, “What now?”

So in short – this book is fantastic. It’s action from nearly beginning to end. There are some key Eleanor/Daniel scenes that made me stupid giddy so that I wrote incomprehensible messages to the author on Twitter. Even the slower moments of the story were full of so much potential, so much build up to what was to come, that I couldn’t relax. This book took me to France and to Egypt and refused to let me go home until it was done with me.

I want to be Eleanor when I grow up. I want to be so completely head-strong and, while not confident, determined to do what needs to be done that I look at danger and then run head first into it. I want someone as rakishly handsome as Daniel to rescue me from a horde of zombies. I even started liking Oliver by the end, though his mood swings were out of control at points.

This book is full of zombies, gizmos, mummies and ancient Egyptian artifacts. Eleanor is bursting with secrets that she feels she can’t share with the others because they frown on her magic, only to have to save them with that same magic when the zombie force becomes too much. It’s adventure and comedy and drama and just a whole lot of amazingness within a couple hundred pages.

This is a series I will easily be able to come back to over and over again to revisit old friends. Dennard’s writing seems so effortless, moving from these giant action scenes with vast scenery to the quiet moments with two people in a room together on an airship high in the sky. I have no idea what she plans on doing next, but I will follow her wherever she intends to go. She is officially on my “Must Read” list.

 

Enter to Win a Copy of Strange & Ever After from Susan!

DETAILS:
1 HB copy of Strange and Ever After (Us only)
1 E-book of Strange and Ever After (INT)
SPECIFICS:
- Must be 13 or older to enter
- Giveaway starts July 14th to July 22nd
- All entries are double-checked and false entries will be disqualified
- Winner will be notified via email and needs to answer in 48 hours letting us know if he/she accepts the prize and send us his/her full name and address.
- Your personal information won't be used or be seen unless you're the winner of the giveaway. We won't sell it nor use it in a bad way.
- Tour Hosts are not responsible for any lost or stolen items

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

I am a writer, reader, lover of animals, and eater of cookies. I used to be a marine biologist, but now I write novels. And not novels about fish either, but novels about kick-butt heroines and swoon-worthy rogues (I really like swoon-worthy rogues).

I live in the Midwest with my husband and two dogs (Asimov and Princess Leia), and you can learn more about my crazy thoughts and crippling cookie-addiction on my blog or twitter.

My debut, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY is now available from HarperTeen along with the prequel, A DAWN MOST WICKED, and the sequel A DARKNESS STRANGE & LOVELY.

Look for STRANGE & EVER AFTER in summer 2014 and TRUTHWITCH in fall 2015!

Note: I am on Goodreads to READ. So, if you want to discuss books and the joys of literature, add me as a friend.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest | Youtube

Monday
Jul142014

Comic Con 2014: Last Minute Gadget Tips for Comic Con

People like to think that gadgets make life easier. I am not one of them. The thing that makes gadgets useful is, well, the user. So, with that advice I will tell you about some of the gadgets that we will be taking on our trip to San Diego Comic Con because they make our time there more enjoyable.

Know What Your Taking.

Before you start gearing up, you need to know what you have and especially know what kind of power it needs to stay charged. Pay special care with your phone's and camera's charging requirements. Go get the plug that came with said device and see what type of power it needs. As you start to look for supplemental charging devices, make sure it supports your gadget needs.

The Battery Charger.
The idea is simple - a portable charging power supply that you can use on the go. Most of them have at least one USB port if not more. The one we use has enough power to fully recharge our phones several times throughout the day. On a typical Saturday I fully charged my phone twice, recharged Leslie's phone once and recharged our digital camera once and it still had a little less than 50% of its power left.  

The Travel Power Strip
This one is more for where you set home base. Every hotel has outlets, but they tend to be scatted throughout the room. The power strip we chose has several usb ports and has a few extra plugs so that at night we can charge our stuff in one spot. Having everything in one location makes it easy to grab everything before we leave the hotel each day.

Travel Wifi
There are two distinctly different yet very useful devices in this section. First the straight forward one. Portable Wifi hotspots can be purchased from your cell phone provider and need a service plan. Most hotspots have data caps, but can be very helpful for getting wifi to laptops or tablets. If you approach your cell phone provider and ask what the return policy is, you might be able to score one for just this trip and rerun it without issue.

The second one is for home base: The travel wifi router. Why? The travel router we have repeats as well as extends hotel wifi. My reason for having the travel router is to make it easier to get connected to hotels free internet. Instead of having to login on every device I need, I only do it once. Both devices give you a way to get connected while traveling.

Technology can definitely make your experience at Comic Con a little easier and provide you with great ways to record your experience. Go for items that will make your life easier while still keeping in mind the weight of what you'll be carrying all day. If you need specific recommendations for brands or items, ask us in the comments.

Wednesday
Jul022014

Mini Review from a Mini Reviewer: Ninja! by Arree Chung

Ninja!
Arree Chung

Henry Holt
I received an advanced copy of this picture book from the publisher in return for a review.
Released June 3, 2014
40 pages
Children's Picture Books / NINJAS!

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

A ninja must be strong, courageous, and silent! He creeps through the house on a secret mission. There may be obstacles! But have no fear—a true ninja can overcome all challenges.

So we’ve never reviewed a children’s picture book here at Working for the Mandroid, but when I was approached with a list of books and say a picture book called Ninja, I knew that if we were ever going to review kid’s books, this should be the first one. But am I really the most qualified to review a children’s book? I mean, I’m almost 30, so I turned to one of my favorite little person, considering he was probably more in the target demographic.

So here is the very short review from my sleepy nephew, who read this book with me before bed:

I liked it. I have hiding places in the backyard, but I don’t think I’m a ninja. I don’t have a jump rope or ping-pong paddle, but I do have a screamy baby sister. I’m not supposed to eat cookies unless mommy lets me, so I wouldn’t do that, but maybe I could be a ninja and scare [sister’s name] or to hide my stuff. I liked the pictures and that it didn’t have a bunch of words on every page. Now let’s read the Angry Bird dinosaur book.

So there you go. That’s a glowing review from my nephew for something that doesn’t have dinosaurs in it. Personally I thought this book had some great art and didn’t try to pad the book with extraneous words. It would be a good book for smaller children due to their short attention spans and it’s full of colorful illustrations. I’m not an expert in picture books, but this one was a fun one that I think my nephew and I will revisit in the future.

 

Just as a note, my nephew is four and a half. That half is very important.

Tuesday
Jul012014

Random Tuesday: American Gods Is Back On, Lots of Batman Things & Good Books

No preamble today, just the best random thing I've heard this week - Starz has picked up the American Gods adaptation and Bryan Fuller has signed on to be co-showrunner. This thing just might happen after all.

Speaking of book to television adaptations, did anyone watch The Leftovers on Sunday? It felt really bland and empty to me, so I was wondering if anyone else had thoughts about it. Share in the comments if you watched it!

I haven't read this review of The Girl With All the Gifts because I'm currently reading the book, so I'm just going to leave this here for when I finish. I'm about half way done and all I can say is I do not recommend reading it while eating or right before bed. Even the author warned me! 

So first FOX picked up the Egyptian adventure series Hieroglyph and then they cancelled it months before it was even supposed to air. FOX business practices are weird.

Samantha over at I <3 YA Fiction is discussing bookish pet peeves. Go weigh in on insta-love, love triangles and more items that drive Samantha nuts. My worst pet peeve is probably asshat love interests that need to be punched in the face and yet are somehow desirable.

io9's compilation of many of the fantasy and science fiction books coming out in July. Because our TBR piles needed some new additions, right?

Because Gotham didn't already have enough comic series associated with it, DC is launching two more, including a YA-aimed series taking place in Gotham's most prestigeous boarding school. I rolled my eyes, then saw that Becky Cloonan is writing it and now... I'm probably going to have to read it.

Also in Batman, this is the cover for Batman Eternal #15, created by Dustin Nguyen. I want a big copy, so I hope he has prints for sale at SDCC. You can follow Dustin over on Tumblr.

Speaking of DC, the television branch associated with Warner Brothers announced yesterday that they are doing a MASSIVE panel at Comic Con that will cover Arrow, Constantine, Gotham and Flash. It will include screening both Gotham and The Flash, and I am already having panic attacks at the thought of what I will have to do to get into that panel. Comic Con doesn't start for more than three weeks.

 

I'm going to go lurk on some Comic Con news sites. What awesome random things have you found recently?

Friday
Jun272014

3 Tips to Prepare for Attending San Diego Comic Con

 

Say it out loud: It’s less than 30 days until Comic Con! All year there are other conventions and we hype ourselves up, but the reality is that it is all a precursor to San Diego Comic Con. Whether this is your first year or your 40th, it’s hard not to get excited and a little panicked. To help ease some of the Comic Con jitters, here are some tips to make sure you’re not overwhelmed when the big days finally arrive.

  1. Walking. Comic Con events, panels, screenings and off site events will be all over the Gaslamp and you are going to walk a lot. If you don't have a good pair of good walking shoes, get a good pair then start walking. Leslie and I take a 45 min walk every morning in the month leading up to Comic Con.
  2. Gear up. Start with a backpack, something comfortable and light weight. Then get a good lunch bucket, something insulated that will keep your food cool and compact. You probably already have a smart phone or tablet. You need a way to charge them. Get a portable USB charger that you can recharge from your room then use throughout the day to keep your gadgets at full power. Last year the one we used helped keep our phones charged well into the night.
  3. Map it out. By now you hopefully have a hotel. Learn where it is in relation to the convention center. When you arrive and see the con, it is going to be a sea of people and it is easy to get disoriented. The convention center will be easy to find but the offsite events, scavenger hunts and parties will be scattered throughout the Gaslamp.

In the forthcoming days we will elaborate and enhance on this basic list. Stay tuned for tips on snacks, gadgets and what lines start where in addition to a little extra tid bit or two.

 

Banner from the official San Diego International Comic Con website.