Monday, July 21, 2014

Bookstore Spotlight: Brilliant Books

Brilliant Books is an independent bookstore on Front St. in Traverse City, Michigan. They are located in the heart of the downtown shopping district- they've been there now for a few years and have really established a niche for themselves in the downtown area. From the moment you walk in it feels like you are entering a haven from the hustle and bustle outside. The store is peaceful and quiet, with hardwood floors and a large open area with couches and chairs to lounge in. It's one of those stores where they don't have everything- rather they try to carry the best of the genre as they put it- and of course they can order anything, if they don't have it. What they may not have in selection though they make up for in ambience- it just has a nice vibe to it, almost like a little coffeehouse shop.

Their children's section is quite good and very well stocked, and throughout the store are staff recommendations and helpful suggestions. My daughter was looking for the third book in the Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer, and after visiting the bigger bookstore down the street and being told they would have more in a few days, we came here and they had several in stock.

Among the services they offer is a Book of the Month Club, where you fill out a short questionnaire about your reading preferences and they then send you (or a loved one- great gift idea) a book every month, based on your responses. If it's a book you already have or don't like, send it back and they'll send you something else. They also work with book clubs and if you register your club or reading group they will make sure to have copies in stock and members get 20% off. I think it would be great to meet here and discuss books

Brilliant Books calls themselves "Your Long Distance Local Bookstore", as they realize that a large part of their clientele are the tourists who flood Traverse City every summer. They want to keep in touch with their far flung customers and do not charge for shipping, which I think is nice. They've come a long way from their humble beginnings and you can read a little about their history here, including the little story of how they spent their first Christmas in business without any shelves! It's a great story and I hope Brilliant Books remains a vibrant part of Front St. for many years to come. Their website is here and their Facebook page here. Their FB page in particular is worth checking out, just to see which authors have dropped in and the other cool stuff they have going on.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Post #53 Vacation

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

 We are back from vacation after a week up north in beautiful Traverse City MI. We had great weather after a rough start, and had a lot of fun. I'll be posting some pics as soon as I get them organized. And... I got some nice pics for my Bookstore Spotlight feature. We spent time in three (yes, three) indie bookstores this past week, and I'll be spotlighting them in the coming weeks. Of course, we got a few books too along with all the fun in the sun! 

I need to get caught up on COYER as well. I had a review last week so will be linking that up. I did have some prescheduled posts go up but didn't get around much, so I'll be catching up this week. Thanks everyone who stopped by and commented. If you missed my first Bookstore Spotlight you can check it out here


Review: Legacy of the Clockwork Key 
Top Ten Movies 
Review: All-New X Men Vol. 3 Out Of Their Depth   
Bookstore Spotlight: Vault of Midnight


Teaser Tuesday #30 
Bookstore Spotlight: Brilliant Books


Through the Door (The Thin Veil, #1)


Siren (Siren, #1) The Wild Dark Flowers: A Novel of Rutherford Park The Originals

Siren by Tricia Rayburn 
The Wild Dark Flowers by Elizabeth Cooke 
The Originals by Cat Patrick 


The High Summer Readathon is here- check out the starting line here. I had a lot of fun with this last year... 

Bronze Age Babies had some good posts this week- here they talk about the summer annuals of yesteryear. And Bronze Age Reprints, another fine retro blog, is counting down to The Guardians of the Galaxy movie with a look at the original Guardians- and some of Marvel's other cosmic heroes as well. Should be fun... 

Daily cosplay this week a fabulous Ms. Marvel 

So how was your week?  

Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: Legacy of the Clockwork Key

Legacy of the Clockwork Key (The Secret Order, #1)

Legacy of the Clockwork Key is the story of Meg Whitlock, a young woman in Victorian London whose life changed forever when her parents' watch shop was destroyed. All Meg has from her old life is a watch that she recovered from the ashes- the watch is precious to her as it reminds her of all she has lost. However the watch is more than it seems-as she soon discovers when she meets the stableboy Will, and and they discover a secret passage leading to a workroom of sorts- a workroom filled with all manner of strange devices. She soon discovers the existence of a secret society, a group of influential minds from al over the world who develop clockwork creations. What is the connection to her? She soon finds that her parents, and indeed her grandfather, were part of this secret order, and her whole life is turned upside down. She finds herself the target of a killer- someone who is killing society members, and wants her dead too.

I liked this story- the writing is good and there is atmosphere and tension. There are clockwork beats to contend with, a mystery to solve and even a sea monster! It's action packed but the romance also plays large part in the story. Perhaps too large a part- I just thought the romance was handled clumsily. For example, early on Meg is told to avoid the groom- so the very next morning she gets up extra early to- you guessed it, go see the groom. I mean, really? And the author lays it on pretty thick when he touches her and she gets all swoony- I was rolling my eyes a bit. That's my only real complaint. tHe story moves along, the secondary characters are fun and I really like the concept of the  secret order hidden in Victorian society.

The conclusion isthrilling and Meg must make an agonizing decision- the kind that makes you wonder what you would do. I really liked how the author focused on the social mores of the era. This is a good, fast paced adventure with nice period sensebilities, an occasionally silly romance, and some fun gearpunk elements. I liked ti and am looking forward to seeing what next for Meg.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top Ten favorite Movies

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new Top Ten list will be posted. Everyone is welcome to join. Link back to The Broke and the Bookish so everyone can check out other bloggers' lists. It's a fun way to get to know fellow bloggers.

This week is Top Ten favorite movies- yay! 

Gosford Park movie.jpg

Gosford Park is a mystery and a comedy of manners, and is probably my favorite movie. The cast is awesome and there is so much going on that even after repeated viewings, I still discover things. An inspiration for Downton Abbey, if you like that show at all you really should see this movie.  

SW - Empire Strikes Back.jpg

The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite Star Wars movie. I never tire of seeing the Millennium Falcon barely escape on Hoth

The Breakfast Club.jpg

Probably one of my top 3 movies ever... so many great lines in this movie, and the soundtrack is  great too.  

Desperately Seeking Susan movie poster.jpg

Yes I like Desperately Seeking Susan- this movie rocks. Okay maybe that's pushing it- but it has that 80's New wave vibe in New York City going for it, and it's just fun. It's one of those movies that if I'm flipping channels and it's on- I'm watching it.  


Definitely Maybe poster.jpg

Definetly, Maybe is one of my favorite comedies  

Grosse Pointe Blank poster.jpg

Grosse Pointe Blank is awesome. A professional hit man comes back to Grosse Pointe MI for his 10 year reunion- and runs into his old flame   

Serendipity poster.jpg

Serendipity is one of my favorite romantic comedies, and explores the question of how far will you go to reconnect with the one? Another John Cusack movie, and Kate Beckinsale too. 


Escape from New York just has atmosphere going for it. 


Review:All New X Men Vol. 3 Out Of Their Depth

All-New X-Men, Vol. 3: Out of Their Depth

All New X-Men Vol. 3 Out Of Their Depth starts right where Vol. 2 left off (my review here)- present- day Cyclops is recruiting students from the Jean Grey school, and Angel decides to go. This is the original Angel by the way- just to recap, the original X-Men have come forward in time to try and fix the future- so we have two versions of these characters running around! Jean stops Angel with her powers, and things get out hand. Emma Frost unleashes the telepathic Stepford girls on Jean, who due to her inexperience is an easy mark for them, and Angel leaves with Cyke's crew. Mystique meanwhile uses her shapeshifting powers to gain access to Tony Stark's personal fortune- uh oh! And original Cyclops meets his brother Alex when the Avengers reappear.

The meeting between the Avengers and the X-Men here is so much better than the first appearance in the last volume, although again Bendis writes Captain America like an ass. So aggravating! There are some nice moments this time around.

Rogue: "Well well out-of-control Jean Grey. It's like a high school reunion." 

Mystique is still framing the X-Men for her heists. I like how Scott wants to give Mystique the benefit of the doubt, she really go to tohim. Havok and young Scott hug after their meeting, and that was nice. I liked the interactions between the X-Men themselves, and with the Avengers for the most part. I also like that Wolverine takes the initiative to go after Mystique, and the scene where he and Kitty coach Jean on how to conceal their presence telepathically is great.

Bendis uses Jean's powers creatively, like when she makes Mystique fall asleep in mid battle. It's pretty funny when Wolverine has her do it to Sabretooth too, and he gets all sleepy. Really brings home how formidable Jean is. Kitty shines in this story as well, Bendis does her pretty well. I find Bendis' work uneven and I don't always think his stories live up to their potential, but he does dialogue well and humor Iceman hits Thor with a snowball and Thor says he is an odd little frost giant. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bookstore Spotlight- Vault of Midnight

Bookstore Spotlight is a new feature here at Book Haven. I'll be featuring local, mostly independent bookstores. I was surprised to realize just how many good indie stores we have here in Michigan- there are some in this area but also some nice ones "up north"- aka northern Michigan, where we spend vacation time. I easily thought of five right off the bat, and there are more throughout the state. I'll be including pics so read on and enjoy. And if you have any ideas for a good bookstore to spotlight- feel free to let me know, or share it yourself!

Vault of Midnight is the coolest comic store I've been in. They've been around Ann Arbor, Michigan for yearsand are considered by many to be the finest store in the area. Little did I know they recently opened a second location- in my town Grand Rapids. I was thinking of doing a feature on VoM and when I saw on their website that they were in town, I about fell off my chair. They 're downtown in a very happening area- I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship. :)

So we took the girls down there the other night to see what's what. My oldest daughter likes comics but not necessarily comic stores, and my youngest doesn't really care about comics at all. Well, until we walked into Vault of Midnight.

The first thing about VoM is- it's large. And clean. And the staff are friendly. The night we went there was a vampire behind the counter. Needless to say that upped the fun factor for the kids. They have all the new comics you could want- a full wall going all the way back, plus shelves of all the comics, graphic novels and toys you can imagine. Then there is a whole wall of games too- more games than I've seen outside of a convention. It's just a total destination if you like any of this kind of stuff.

I am beyond geeked that Vault of Midnight is in town. I'll be doing all my comic business there from now on- and just browsing all those shelves, trying new stuff. GRand Rapids just got a little cooler with Vault of Midnight in town.

Review: Gaurdians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 Cosmic Avengers

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1: Cosmic Avengers

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 Cosmic avengers is a relaunch of a series that has been around, in various forms, over the years. The original Guardians were around in the 70's and were a totally different team- this version harkens back to the 2008 version. I've only read the 2008 version sparingly so this was all new to me- I came into this one pretty new.

Cosmic Avengers gives us the origin story of Peter Quill, also known as Star Lord, the leader of the group. His dad, J'Son of Spartax, crashlanded on Earth 30 years ago, and was taken in by an Earth woman. They fell in love (or had a fling, anyway) and then J'Son had to leave, to return to his own world and the war raging there. Meredith realizes after he leaves that she's pregnant. Fast forward 10 years and young Peter Quill is growing up and restless. One day some Badoon (the race Spartax is at war with) show up and try to kill Peter- turns out he is the heir to Spartax- he escapes and we then see that in the present he is the head of the Guardians.

So in the present Iron Man (from the Avengers) has joined the team- or is just visiting. This is more a gimmick to sell more booksthan anything else- Stark doesn't add much here, although there is a humorous moment when he flirt with gamora and finds that he has taken on more than he can handle, perhaps. This group of Guardians are a pretty ragtag crew- besides Star Lord we have Gamora (an assassin known as the most dangerous woman in the galaxy), Drax (muscled guy), Rocket raccoon ( a talking raccoon who basically shoots everything), and Groot (a walking tree basically- not sure why). This group is pretty much just hanging out when Iron Man arrives, and then Star Lord's dad shows up. He basically tells Star Lord that the galacticv powers have declared Earth off limits, and Star Lord is not to go there- this doesn't sit well with Star Lord, and they pretty mch part ways angrily. Apparently the off limits thing doesn't mean much to the Badoon however, as they they saoon launch an attack on Earth- and the Guardians come to earth's defense.

I thought this started out well- the Star Lord origin was decent- but after that I got bored towards the end. I made myself finish it but it was not that great. The writer, Brian Bendis, tries to make Rocket raccoon funny and hip but I just yawned- he and groot do nothing for me. Gamora I like- she has a long history at Marvel and used to be a badass- she still is here, I guess, they are trying anywaybut she doesn't seem as dangerous and mysterious as she used to. She still kicks butt. Drax is also disappointing- Boooring. And lastly Star Lord- he's okay, portrayed as a somewhat dashing young guy, a rogue with a heart of gold maybe, not the serious Star Lord of old. He has potential. I'm not sure I would continue this series, frankly, not much is happening, but I know that this title crosses over with All New X-Men in the future and I like that book. I will continuwe reading this for at least that long. Plus it's a fun concept with potential- just not sure it weill live up to it.

I really wish they would have rebooted the older, classic Guardians team- thoser were all 30th century survivors of the Badoon wars, the last members of their respective races for the most part- they would come back in time to interact with the present Marvel universe- that was always fun. I think that Guardians team, done well, would be way more interesting than this crew. This version of the Guardians is just okay and this book is pretty lackluster, but not a bad place to start if you're interested in the movie.