Sunday, June 30, 2013

Rewind & Review (14)


Ohhhh, what a beautifully languorous week this has been. The gorgeous thing about working 12-hour days is that that means I must only work three days a week. And sometimes on very rare occasions, my four days off line up consecutively, which is what happened this week. Ahhhhh. Despite (or perhaps because of) my many days off, I was surprisingly productive on the blog this week. Check it out.

Blog Posts You May Have Missed
Good week, eh? Can't be beat!

I'm still (thankfully) keeping the incoming book total on the low end. I broke my fast and requested four books on NetGalley, but only one has been approved thus far. I also found two How To Train Your Dragon books on sale for $3 apiece at Publix. As if I'd pass that up.


Stuff I Bought
How To Be A Pirate (How To Train Your Dragon #2) by Cressida Cowell
How To Break A Dragon's Heart (How To Train Your Dragon #8) by Cressida Cowell


Stuff I Received
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (via NetGalley)

Lots of happenings this week! Well, maybe no more than other weeks, but I've gotten better at remembering and writing them down. Take a look.

Miscellaneous Happenings
So that's the week. I hope yours was as fun and relaxing as mine was. Don't forget that ReReadathon 2013 starts TOMORROW, so sign up now! See you then!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Thursday Twitter Madness With #RBWL


It's Friday right now. It will be Saturday by the time this post appears. And I'm still riding high on giddiness from Thursday.


This last Thursday, a group of agents and editors got on Twitter and started posting their manuscript wishlists under the hashtag #MSWL. They've done things like this before, and I always love it, because many of the agents and editors who join in are specifically interested in YA and MG books, and I love knowing what's coming down the pike. However, the more they talked, the itchier I became. They were throwing out so many ideas, and I wanted to jump in the middle and scream, "I WANT THAT TOO GIMMEEEEEE!!"

Which, of course, I could not do, as that would be bad manners.

Apparently, I wasn't the only one who felt this way, because when I started listing premises that interested me under the hashtag #RBWL (reader/blogger wishlist), other people started joining in. Craziness! #RBWL officially started at 9:07 AM EST and went all. day. long. Admittedly, a lot of it was just me gushing about all the things I wanted to read, so much so that I got put into Twitter jail (my first time!), but I was tickled at how many people tweeted their own wishlist.

And may I just say that WOW, people are so creative! Here are a some examples of some of the things people want to read:



What really interested me was how variations on some of the same ideas kept popping up over and over again. Ideas like:

- Historical fiction. Historical fiction was BIG. But we all were asking for a very specific type of historical fiction. We want history from an ignored or less common era in time, history from a non-European nation, or history that focuses on a lesser historical figure. Give us something new!

- Space. Boldly go, y'all! Give us legitimate classic sci-fi with space travel and hyperdrives and anti-gravity and exoplanet exploration. Space travel and space operas came up again and again. The demand is there.

- Friendships. Romances are fine, but we want books about friendships. Tight female friends, bromances, platonic male-female friendships. Romance is allowed, but we want a book where it is NOT the focus.

- Family relationships. Good heavens, stop with the dysfunction already. Some families actually do get along, you know. Not all parents are absent or abusive. Not all siblings attempt to kill each other. (We may want to from time to time, but that's another story.)

- Retellings. All the retellings! Fairy tales are still wanted, but all sorts of retellings are welcome. Give us Little Women, Tarzan, The Count of Monte Cristo! Be creative! Dig deep!

I genuinely hope someone out there took notice of our requests. I'd love to see the type of books we asked for hit the shelves someday. Thank you to everyone who participated. As for the rest of you, #RBWL may have started Thursday, but hashtags never truly die. Scroll back through the archives to see the rest of the requests (make sure you choose "all") and add some of your own! I'll RT the ones that strike my fancy. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Better World Books

Not to brag, but in some areas of life, I have great self-control. Take sleep, for instance. It doesn't matter how behind on work I am or what needs to be done. If it's time to go to bed, it's time to go to bed. I compromise my sleep for no term paper! Or money. I can go MONTHS without spending a dime on anything outside of necessities. Clothes? Accessories? Makeup? Nails? Electronics? Who cares! I might stare longingly at that Doctor Who shirt or cute pair of polka dot flats, but I don't need 'em, so why bother?

For reals, sleep and I are biffles.

Self-control, I tell you.

The one area where I have next to no self-control is books. It's baaad. Someday I hope to do a virtual tour of my bookshelves; then you all can see what a problem I have. I mean, really. I'm not even twenty-three yet and I already know I'm doomed to die with books unread. And that's something I accept. The only time I really get mad at myself is when my desire for financial self-control clashes with my lack of bookish self-control. If I let them, books would drain my bank account in no time flat.

That's why I flipped when I found out about Better World Books. If there's one thing I love better than books, it's CHEAP books. That's why I practically live at our local thrift store and wrote an entire post about the clearance section at my store. And BWB has some pretty cheap books.


For instance, thus far I have placed two different orders with BWB. My first order cost a few bucks over $20 for the following:
  • Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter (hardcover)
  • The Winter Prince by Elizabeth Wein (hardcover)
  • Sabriel by Garth Nix (paperback)
  • Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter (hardcover)
Four books, three of them hardcover, for just over $20. The first three were $3.94 apiece, while the last one was about $7. I was still riding high from that purchase when BWB announced a sale. I went a wee bit wild and got:

  • The Quest of the Fair Unknown by Gerald Morris (hardcover)
  • Parsifal's Page by Gerald Morris (hardcover)
  • The Lioness and her Knight by Gerald Morris (hardcover)
  • Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R.L. LaFevers (paperback)
  • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (hardcover)
  • Rampant by Diana Peterfreund (hardcover)

Six books, five of them hardcover, for a grand total of... $12. Twelve dollars. You can't beat that. And you know what's even better?

Free shipping.

I kid you not. Free shipping WORLDWIDE.

I know, turtle friend, I couldn't believe it either.
The "catch" for some people might be that the books are not new. They're donated books. Used. Some of them are old library copies with the plastic covers. But each book is described on a scale from poor quality to like-new, so you know what you're getting into. Also, in most cases, those plastic covers come right off, leaving a pristine hardcover beneath. It's AMAZING.

Even better than cheap books and free shipping, though, is where the money goes. Of course, a portion goes to buying books and paying employees. But the rest goes straight to literacy campaigns and libraries around the world. They also purchase physical books and donate them to communities and people in need. According to their FAQ, the two big charities they send books to are Books for Africa and Feed the Children. Oh, and if you're worried about the environment, there's an option to tack on money to your bill to settle against the carbon footprint of your shipment.


I'm in love with this site, guys. Sure, you can't get the freshest releases, but if you're like me, you're constantly gathering recommendations from friends that have been out a few years. This is the site to grab those recommendations. Say it with me: Cheap books! YAY!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I'm not affiliated with BWB in any way, shape, or form. I just think that any way to buy cheap books and fund literacy in one click is worth sharing with all of you, my bookworm cohorts. Happy shopping!


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday #30

Hosted by Pen To Paper
Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever.
I can't, guys. I just can't.  United We Spy is the sixth and final Gallagher Girls book. Final. The end. No mas. I hadn't even heard of Ally Carter of the indomitable Gallagher Girls until early last year, but I can't bear the thought of parting with them.

Things are going to happen in this book. I know Liz will be valedictorian. I know she'll give a speech that will probably make me misty. The girls will graduate. Cammie will learn deep, startling truths. If we're lucky, she and Zach will have a heartfelt moment. If we're really lucky, Cammie's mom and Mr. Solomon will kiss passionately. It will be amazing and epic.

And then it will all be over.

I'm wishing so SO hard for this book, but at the same time, I'm afraid for the day that it appears in my hands.

What are you wishing for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Top 10 Tuesday: Best/Favorite Books Read In 2013 So Far

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Woo! Can you guys believe that the year is half over? I mean, really, what on earth! I will say that I have been exceptionally productive in my reading these last six months, and the list below is made possibly solely by the book log stored on my computer. Some books I couldn't have told you whether I read them this year or last, so thank heavens for spreadsheets.

I broke my top 2013 books into categories. Within each category, the books are listed alphabetically. Just narrowing them down this far hurt my head, so there was no way I was ranking everything. I also did not stop at 10 (though I was very, very close.)

Young Adult:



Arclight by Josin McQuein. Post-apocalyptic sci-fi with a nice twist, SUPER-creepy creatures called the Fade, and a very interesting look on what makes us human.


Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross. Paris! Fascinating characters, a great, even-handed discussion on beauty, and did I mentioned PARIS!


Bruised by Sarah Skilton. A rare "issue" contemporaries that grabbed me by the shirtfront from the start and refused to let go. Beautifully written, exquisitely crafted.


Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers. I almost didn't include this one. Don't get me wrong, it's an intense, gorgeously crafted book and does the series proud. However, it's very, very, VERY dark. But c'mon. Nun assassins. Of course I loved it.


Insomnia by J.R. Johansson. Creepers be creepin' as the hero, a dreamwalker, slowly devolves into insanity, inching closer to death as his insomnia destroys his mind and his relationships.

Middle Grade:



The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand. Gothic, sinister, and disgustingly delightful, this book packs in swoons, friendship, horror, despair, and the danger of perfection. LOVE.


The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick. [Review to come.] Take one part quantum physics, one part metaphysical nihilism, one part pagan mysticism, add a handful of truly fantastic fourteen-year-olds, and BAM! You have yourself an amazingly fun book.


The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand. [Review to come.] Yes, Ms. Legrand is on here twice. Don't interrupt me while I fangirl. It's dark and gloomy and fun and amazing and inventive all in the same breath. THERE IS A CAT WHO TALKS LIKE CARY GRANT!

Adult:


Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley. The latest book in the Flavia de Luce series is just as amazing as the rest. Flavia is at the peak of her game, we get more delectable chemistry tidbits, the murder is ghoulish, AND there are more intriguing de Luce family moments.

Audiobook:


The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefaver. [Review to come.] Cheating on this one, as I haven't finished it yet. However, I am completely entranced by this audiobook. The story is intricate and atmospheric, the characters are huggable in their own cockeyed ways, and the narrator is PERFECT. Perfect, I tell you!

~~*~~

Oh my lands, you guys, that was such a hard list to write. Even narrowing it down as far as I did was nearly impossible. So many good books this year! So many! I can't wait to dive into the rest of the year. Have you read any of the books on my list? What did you think? What should I check out in the next six months?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Review: THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS by Claire LeGrand

Victoria hates nonsense. There is no need for it when your life is perfect. The only smudge on her pristine life is her best friend Lawrence. He is a disaster—lazy and dreamy, shirt always untucked, obsessed with his silly piano. Victoria often wonders why she ever bothered being his friend. (Lawrence does too.)

But then Lawrence goes missing. And he’s not the only one. Victoria soon discovers that The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is not what it appears to be. Kids go in but come out…different. Or they don’t come out at all.

If anyone can sort this out, it’s Victoria—even if it means getting a little messy.
Why did it take me so long to read this book? Whyyyyyyyyyy?!

I knew I would like it. Other bloggers have raved over it, including the alarmingly adorably persistent Elena of Novel Sounds. I trust Elena. And I knew the book was icky and scary in a way not normally seen in MG books. I like icky and scary, for the most part. And I've talked to the author on multiple occasions through Twitter, so I knew for a fact that I liked her. The only thing I can think of is that I knew Cavendish was MG, so I, as a busy YA blogger, let it slide to the back of the shelf.

I am a stupid, stupid blogger.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Rewind & Review (13)


Welcome back to R&R, lovelies. We're short on stuff this week, but heavy on posts! (At least for me.) Make sure you pay attention to the last two posts especially, as they are MUY IMPORTANTE.

Blog Posts You May Have Missed
As much as I love receiving things, I'm very pleased with how small my stuff list is this week. I won two items that I am extremely excited for, and I didn't buy a thing! Okay, I did buy something, but it's not here yet, so it doesn't count.

Stuff I Won
  • Signed hardcover of The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken and character tote bag (from Jessica Silverstein @ Reading on the F Train)
  • All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrell and a postcard (from Cristin Terrell via Twitter contest)
A big thanks this week to Jessica and Cristin!

I'm still trying to get back in the swing of collecting happenings. BEA really threw me out of whack. Also, I tend to favorite things on my phone while at work to look at later, but my phone's taken to un-favoriting things when my back is turned. Ugh.

Miscellaneous Happenings
  • James Dashner inexplicably name-called a reviewer for her review of SOMEONE ELSE'S book! He later apologized.
  • Diana Wynne Jones is coming out with another book even though she's dead.
  • I found this amazing blog that discusses psychology and YA. Right now, the blogger in question is running an in-depth series on PTSD. It's incredible.
  • We saw Monsters University this week. Super-cute!
  • My boy Tim Tebow was picked up by the Patriots. This may have been news from last week instead of this one, but it bears mentioning. He's my dude!
  • I found some really cool science-y articles about space travel. AWESOME.
  • Kim Kardashian and Kanye West named their new daughter North. Yep, North West. It's silly, but I'm digging all the inevitable Hitchcock jokes that keep popping up.
  • More Divergent stills.
  • And the biggest news for me personally: I quit my job.
That's all I've got for this week. What about yours?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

ReReadathon 2013 - Introduction and Details

Button designed by the fab Lisseth from Read-A-holicZ
Hi all! Way back in January, I floated the idea to you all of an entire month devoted to rereading books.  As a blogger, I am so overrun with new books and review books and things I must read NOW that my beloved favorites sit neglected and alone. I want to visit with my old friends and visit my favorite haunts, but there just isn't the TIME.

The point of this ReReadathon is to MAKE time.

Don't worry. I know we all have many different commitments pulling us every which-way, and a month is a long time. The point of the ReReadathon is not to devote the entire month of July SOLELY to rereads. Instead, the idea is to give us all a guilt-free excuse to indulge ourselves in books we know and love.

Now for the nitty-gritty. What's in it for you?

1. You have the golden opportunity to dust off childhood favorites, comfort books, and old friends in paperback form.

2. You have an excuse to write reviews (if you want) about said favorites, comforts, and friends and share your overflowing love with the rest of the blogosphere.

3. I have prizes!!

That's right! Prizes! I'm giving away $15 worth of books to one lucky participant, and yes, it's an INTERNATIONAL prize. All you have to do to qualify for the giveaway is participate in the ReReadathon. You can participate by doing one or more of the following:

1. Write a blog post about your plan to participate in the ReReadathon. In that post, include the ReReadathon button from the top of my post, a link to my blog, and what you hope to accomplish during the ReReadathon (ex: why you're joining, what you hope to read). This entry is MANDATORY.

2. Write a review for one or more of your rereads. This is a great way to provide exposure for books close to your heart. Share the love!

3. Write update posts throughout the month about the ReReadathon. Some ideas include keeping us in the loop of what you've reread, how your opinions have or haven't changed since your first read, what you've learned, etc.

4. Anything else I think of throughout the month.

For the entries to count, they MUST be entered in the linky below between now and July 31. And again, your initial blog post is MANDATORY. It is also the only thing you must do to enter, if you wish. Clearly, I can't stop by your house and check to see if you're rereading books or not. :) Oh, and if more than twenty people sign up, I'll add another prize!

There are so many books I hope to read this month. If I could, I'd reread my entire library, but I'm limiting myself to this (rather ambitious) list:

  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
  • The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
  • Throne of Glass (plus prequel novellas) by Sarah J. Maas
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  • Fire by Kristin Cashore
  • Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
  • Heist Society by Ally Carter
  • Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
  • Terrier by Tamora Pierce
  • Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce
  • Mastiff by Tamora Pierce
  • The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
  • A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

As you can see, I'm delving heavily into series books. If I have little time to reread books, I have practically NO time to reread entire series, so I'm milking July for all its worth.

I'm so excited for this rereadathon, you guys have no idea. I can't wait to sink back into the comfortable, familiar worlds that I adore. July is going to be like the world's most fantastic reunion. Just me, Elisa, Hector, Gen, Sophos, Mal, Chaol, Sam, Celaena, Beka, Kat, Hale, and all their respective crews having a laugh and heading off for adventure. I hope you'll join us with a posse of your own.

~~*~~

Friday, June 21, 2013

Curveballs and Game-Changers

Life's a strange old thing. Just when I think I have the next block of time figured out, whoosh! Curveball!