Friday, February 25, 2011

Congratulations! We Have A Winner!

Book Blogger Hop

Congratulations, Emi London, You've Won My Blogoversary Giveaway!

The winner was chosen using Random.org, and will be contacted by email shortly. She will have 48 hours to respond before I choose a new winner.

If you didn't win this time, don't worry, there will be other contests in the future (next week, in fact). If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to leave comments or send me an e-mail.

Thank you to everyone who entered!

I'm grateful to you all for your continued support.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Book Blogger Hop (12)

Book Blogger Hop

Do you ever wish you would have named your blog something different?

Definitely not.

To make a long story short, I've always had a love for wolves and werewolves. When I first started venturing online, I picked the screenname "StormyWolf" and used this for a few years at various RolePlay sites and made quite a few friends. When I was starting this blog, I reached out to some of these friends for advice (though all of them by this time knew me by Vicki) and one came back with The Wolf's Den. Since I couldn't deny my love for wolves, and the double-meaning of "Den" worked in my favor, I went with it. And I've never looked back since.

I've always considered myself EXTREMELY fortunate to be friends with the person who gave me my blog name. He's smart, funny, horribly sarcastic, and an all-around great guy. Even though we've never met in person, and he lives around 20 hours in the future, I still consider his friendship one of my greatest assets.

Thanks, Todd.


Feel free to post a link to your own blog in the comments,
and be sure to check out other blog-hoppers at Crazy-for-Books' blog!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hands-On Or Hands-Off?

I was reading a post about someone fondly remembering his time working in a bookstore. To quote a phrase or two:
I was surrounded by great books all day, and I could always snatch a few moments to write during the work day. Now, I worked a lot, six and sometimes seven days a week, without taking a break or vacation for five years. But those stolen moments during the day were wonderful. It made each work day somehow more alive.
Now, he's talking specifically about jobs vs personal writing time, but it got me thinking...


I visit a Borders store on average once a week. As soon as I walk into the store I'm usually greeted by an employee and asked if there's anything I need help finding. If this conversation isn't made near the door, I'm usually addressed as I'm wandering. Sometimes I'm asked multiple times (by different people). Employees are seldom stationary (unless working a busy register) and always seem to have a book or three (or a stack) in their hands to re-shelve. Even those 'stationed' at the information desk (recently renovated into an e-reader/e-book station) seldom stay there for long unless working with a customer. Actually, the few times I have needed help, there was no employee in sight and I ended up going up to the register (though I think this was due to the holiday rush and being understaffed).

From having worked in the customer service industry, I'm pretty used to the "connect with customers" angle that stores often try to enforce. It was the same where (movie rental store) I worked - we were supposed to say "hello" to everyone who walked in the door, offer our services in locating their wants, and suggest other selections that they might enjoy. Customer Service is about the customer...and what will make them come back and spend more.

Of course, just down the street from my local Borders is another bookstore that I visit quite often. Not quite independent, but not a corporation either, Powell's New & Used Bookstores are a proud staple around here, well, at least among the book-buying community. Often a cross between a warehouse (in size and inventory) and a coffee shop (in coziness and atmosphere), their stores are pretty much made of awesome.

The inventory of the stores is pretty even: Both have comparable new/current releases; Powell's has a good selection of older and used books while Borders has music and movies. However, the one difference that stands out (and what Bryan's Post made me think of) is the employee protocol.

Powell's employees don't usually make an effort to engage their customers. They either stay at the registers or they're stocking the shelves. They don't dress in uniform, and they're actually sometimes hard to spot if you don't happen to see their "Ask Me" sticker. Even if you do happen upon one in the aisles, they're more likely to apologize for needing to squeeze by than ask if you need help. And yet, I don't feel any less welcome there. Because there's usually someone posted at a register or information desk, they're easy to find. And if you do have a question, they're always very knowledgeable and friendly.

As far as working at a store goes, I think either one of these would be great. But I guess I'm curious...

Which would you prefer to shop at?

Assuming you're dealing with knowledgeable staff, would you rather the hands-on but endlessly-busy workers, or the hands-off but easy-to-locate workers? Have you ever felt intruded upon by inquiring employees, or been reluctant to bother those behind the Desk Of Power?


Sunday, February 20, 2011

In My Mailbox (10)

In My Mailbox
In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren
(Book covers are linked to their Goodreads pages)

In the Past Month I've...

Borrowed
Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell
Naked Heat by Richard Castle Virals by Kathy Reichs
Hunger ~ Jackie Morse Kessler
Hex Hall ~ Rachel Hawkins
Trickster's Girl ~ Hilari Bell
Naked Heat ~ Richard Castle
Virals ~ Kathy Reichs
From My Library


Bought
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll The Middle Passage by Julia Golding
Hunted by the Others by Jess Haines Bright of the Sky by Kay Kenyon Phenominal Girl 5 by A.J. Menden
Retro Demonology by Jana Oliver The Unsuspecting Mage by Brian S. Pratt Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble
Raising the Dead by Mara Purnhagen Don't Die, Dragonfly by Linda Joy Singletone Just As I Am by Virginia Smith
The Wild's Call by Jeri Smith-Ready Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz ~ Frank L. Baum
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland ~ Lewis Carroll
The Middle Passage ~ Julia Golding
Hunted by the Others ~ Jess Haines
Bright of the Sky ~ Kay Kenyon
Phenominal Girl 5 ~ A.J. Menden
Retro Demonology ~ Jana Oliver
The Unsuspecting Mage ~ Brian S. Pratt
Dreaming Anastasia ~ Joy Preble
Raising the Dead ~ Mara Purnhagen
Don't Die, Dragonfly ~ Linda Joy Singleton
Just As I Am ~ Virginia Smith
The Wild's Call ~ Jeri Smith-Ready
Treasure Island ~ Robert Lewis Stevenson
From Free Books For Kindle
Note: I do not own a Kindle, I use the free program, Kindle For PC.


And Received
In the Storm by Karen Metcalf The Fire Inside by Raymond Rose
In the Storm ~ Karen Metcalf
The Fire Inside ~ Raymond Rose
For Review From Their Respective Authors


So, tell me, what's in your mailbox?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Book Blogger Hop (11)

Book Blogger Hop

What book(s) would you like to see
turned into a movie?


Frankly, I'm torn about this. On the one hand, a movie adaptation can be an amazing spectacle that enthralls fans of the book. On the other, it can repulse fans due to huge (and seemingly random/needless) deviations from the book. Then again, some adaptations have taken enormous strides away from the original material, yet successfully produced a movie that appeals to book-fans and newcomers alike (such as How to Train Your Dragon or Ella Enchanted).

I guess, if we're hoping for the best, I'd love to see Tamora Pierce's Tortall books adapted into movies. I think with technology where it is now, Alanna's story would still be the best place to start, since it has minimal need for special effects. But I'd love to eventually see Stormwings and Spidrens running amok with Daine or Kel.

But please, PLEASE let the screenwriters be great!

Feel free to post a link to your own blog in the comments,
and be sure to check out other blog-hoppers at Crazy-for-Books' blog!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Long Time No See

So, I turned on the TV today while I fixed and ate my breakfast. 
Not too exciting, I know. But wait for it...





Wait for it...







Wait for it......










BLAM!

A commercial comes on for James Patterson's newest Maximum Ride novel, Angel.


Now, though I have seen this series at bookstores, I haven't read any of it. I've never had any interest in reading it.

But now...

Perhaps I'm intrigued by the people running around with wings (which I had no clue of before). Perhaps I'm just easily swayed. But now I kinda want to read it...

Is this the power of TV? And if so, why aren't they using it more often!? I mean, the last commercial I saw for a book was...Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows back in 2007. Not that it really needed it, but I'm sure the commercial didn't hurt things.

So what do you think? Is TV a powerful weapon in book-selling? Would you be more interested in a book you saw on TV? Or is the whole thing a waste of time since bookish people don't watch TV anyway?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Want To Find Where The River Comes From

SPOILER ALERT
This review is for those who have read the first book, Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure, or don't mind knowing some of what happens in it. Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country, however, will remain spoiler-free.
SPOILER ALERT

Disclaimer: I received this book from Bonnie M. Lenz, Editor at Earthshaker Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country
~Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country~
Zan-Gah
Book 2
By Allan Richard Shickman
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

The Ba-Coro tribe has enjoyed two years of peace and prosperity following the defeat of the Wasp People. And yet Zan can't help but feel suspicious at the vicious tribe's long-kept silence. With such a lush landscape and an ample food supply at their disposal, could it be that they are amassing another strike?

Determined to find the answer, Zan returns to the land of his captors. Little does he know that the biggest threat might lie closer to home...and his heart.

Dael's mind is more troubled than ever. After losing his wife during childbirth, all his inner torment and pent-up rage seems to have finally broken through to the surface. Now it's up to Zan to keep him in check. But how much is Zan willing to do when his brother's rampages turn deadly?


Right from the start, I could tell this book was going to be darker than the last. Whereas the first book focused mostly on Zan's journey and becoming a man, this one was more about the morality (or lack thereof) of war and whether a damaged psyche can ever recover. Such weighty themes make it harder for me to see this as a middle-grade novel, and possibly ranking it up in the high school ages would be more appropriate.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hunter Of The Rock

Disclaimer: I received this book from Bonnie M. Lenz, Editor at Earthshaker Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Zan-Gah
~Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure~
Zan-Gah
Book 1
By Allan Richard Shickman
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

Thousands of years ago, before there were roads or fences or even languages like English, Latin or Hebrew, there lived a boy named Zan. For Zan and his people it is a time of unrest. The tribes are consumed in an on-again off-again war, and temporary treaties are only forged to battle immediate threats.

When a lioness attacks and kills a child, the tribes have no choice but to confront the danger together. Zan, though normally too young for such an endeavor, is included in the hunt and, much to everyone's surprise, is the one to spear the lion.

Spurred on by this sudden accomplishment and his new-found prestige among the tribes, the newly named Zan-Gah sets out on a quest to find his long-lost twin. Along the way he'll encounter hardship, friendship, captivity, love, uncertainty, and triumph as his skills and wisdom are put to the test.


Before I begin, there's something I've got to get off my chest... The animal on the cover looks like a squirrel. I know it's supposed to be a lion(ess). I know it's blurred because it's in motion. But the fact remains that every one of my friends and family who saw this book asked about the squirrel on the cover.

That being said, it was a wonderful story. I honestly don't know why it took me so long to get through it. I first received it for review back in October and it's been rotating through a place on my shelf, on my desk, and my purse ever since. I'd read the first chapter online before accepting the books for review, and found it intriguing—in fact, it reminded me a lot of Peter Dickinson's The Kin, which I loved in middle school. And at 150 pages, the thought of sitting down and reading it was hardly daunting.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Book Blogger Hop (10)

Book Blogger Hop

Tell us about one of your posts from this week and give us a link so we can read it!

Well, this week was pretty slim pickings, so I guess you can all check out my Top Ten Character/Literary Names I'd Name My Children. I hadn't done any Top Tens in a while, and even though I'm not planning on kids any time soon, it was still a fun exercise.

Feel free to post a link to your own blog in the comments,
and be sure to check out other blog-hoppers at Crazy-for-Books' blog!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Character Names

Top Ten Tuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's theme asks for 10 names of characters we'd be willing to name our children after. Well, I personally don't ever plan on having kids, but if I did I don't think I'd mind calling out these names.

10. Remus
Harry Potter Series ~ J.K. Rowling
Remus Lupin AKA most awesome werewolf teacher ever. Thing is, with such a popular series, and popular character, everyone would know his parents were total fangirls nerds geeks bookworms. And no one wants that in their genes, no matter how much it may be true. Best if I keep my crazy fanatic tendencies to myself.

9. Cimorene
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles ~ Patricia C. Wrede
Okay, probably not the best choice for a kid's name. I mean, there's no good way to shorten it and good luck having anyone spell it correctly. Then again, Maureen is a 'normal' name, and giving a kid the nickname Simmer might be kinda fun... No, this one's probably best left in the books.

8. Seamus
Harry Potter Series ~ J.K. Rowling
I'm pretty sure I heard (and loved) this name before HP, but I can't think of where at the moment, so I'll just take the easy route. Thing is, I'm not Irish. At all. And as much as I love the accent and/or red hair, I don't anticipate marrying an Irishman. However, if I do, and if I have a son, this is definitely first choice!

7. Trisana
The Circle of Magic Quartet ~ Tamora Pierce
Absolutely love this character. She's a bookworm! However, the name Tris is a little out there, and I don't want any undue misspellings or WTF looks from teachers/other students... So this is another one that'll stay in the books.

6. Niko
The Circle of Magic Quartet ~ Tamora Pierce
Same series, similar problem. There's no way in hell I'm naming a kid Niklaren. Niko is pretty cute...but it's doubtful he'll appreciate having a cute name as a teenager. It's definitely a name for a specific personality type, so it's probably best not to print that on the birth certificate.

5. Lyra
His Dark Materials Trilogy ~ Philip Pullman
Now we're getting to the good stuff. Lyra is a realistic choice for me. Unfortunately, as much as I love the character, and love the name, for some reason I also associate it with whining. Too easy to stretch out the Y. Le sigh.

4. Artemis
Artemis Fowl Series ~ Eoin Colfer
This one would work for both a guy and a girl, but I'm going for a guy. Artemis has an old-world flair and a sense of sophistication to it. Perfect for a genius, wouldn't you say? Plus, I have absolutely nothing wrong with shortening it to Artie (Glee!).

3. Alanna
Song of the Lioness Quartet ~ Tamora Pierce
I was so stoked to find out that my first college roommate's name was Alanna. Unfortunately (for me) she hated the name, so went by Ally instead. Still, there's so much power and strength to this name, it's definitely a first choice if (by some fluke) a daughter of mine has red hair (or purple eyes!!!).

2. Jasper
Disney's 101 Dalmatians
Yes, I fell in love with the name Jasper WAY before Twilight. However, I do have to hand it to Meyer for giving him a complimentary ability. Even saying the name Jasper seems instantly soothing.
Ahem, anyway... Even as a baddie, Jasper still managed to exude charm and sophistication (being teamed with Horace helped a bit) (Plus he was played by Hugh Laurie in the live-action remake). So if I don't marry a Jasper (oh please, oh please!), I definitely wouldn't mind naming a kid that.

1. Tamora
Tamora Pierce
If you hadn't caught it by now, I'm a pretty big fan of Ms. Pierce. But even besides being a fan of the woman, I'm a fan the name. Tamora rolls off the tongue, even with its three syllables, and once again has that old-world feel to it. Even though Ms. Pierce prefers to go by Tammy with her friends, I'm much more in love with the full name.


Well, that's my list and I'm sticking to it.
Since I'm not planning on having kids anytime soon, I'll probably use these in my next rounds of pets.
I think these are all good cat names, don't you? Well, except maybe Remus *wink*.

So, what's your list?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Back In The Saddle

Just a quick update to say that I've fixed my laptop and things are back on track. The giveaway is still on, so be sure to check it out!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Let Me Hear You Howl! It's Been A Year!!!

That's right, as of today it's been a full year since I started blogging!
It sure has been one hell of a ride.

From Demonic Rambling to Angelic Reading

From Dodging Hitchhikers to Catching Mockingjays

From Hopping Around to Checking My Mailbox

I want to thank you all for coming here and joining along on my ventures. And what better way to do that than ask you to...

Venture to Win the Blogoversary & 150 Follower Giveaway

You can have your pick of one of the following four selections...

Blogoversary Pack
How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Trickster's Choice Zan-Gah Duet


Contest Is Now Closed

Entrants must be 13 years of age or older
Contest deadline is Midnight PST February 24, 2011
Winner will be chosen using Random.org
Contest open to US Residents Only
(Sorry to any Internationals out there, but I can't afford the shipping right now)
ONE ENTRY PER PERSON!

Once again, I want to thank you all for your continued support and feedback. If you have any questions, comments, advice or criticisms, please don't hesitate to leave a comment below.

Best of Luck!