Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Favorite Reads Blog Hop

There's something about a favorite book. It may not be the fanciest nor the most well-written (though you'd swear it is). It may not boast a gorgeous cover or a big-name author. Others may not "get" your favorite book, but it doesn't matter.

Just the mention of its title or one of its main characters and you're transformed into a lovestruck fool. You're like a new gramma with baby pictures - any unfortunate soul who blunders into your path is a potential audience, a potential convert, if you will.

This is the book that you have in multiple forms (autographed and plain, paperback, hardcover, e-copy, collector's edition). This is the book you turn to when you need something comfortable, like the old stuffed animal that you pull out from your closet when you're sick.

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Rachelle Writes understand, which is why they are co-hosting a giveaway hop to celebrate our favorite reads. I'm #85 on the linky list (it's after the jump break), and I've chosen to host a giveaway where the winner will win one of my ten favorite books. The books I've picked represent long-lasting favorites, most of which have followed me from childhood to college and beyond; therefore, no recent favorites, such as the delectable Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers or Scarlet by A.C. Gaghen, are listed (though it wouldn't hurt to check them out on your own time).

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday #4

Totally the property of Pen To Paper.
I'm writing this a week or so in advance (proper scheduling = a less stressed Shelver), so the numbers may be off by the time this airs... but at the moment, my to-read stack is at 145. So many choices, so little time.

I've been on a bit of a dark kick lately. I blame This Is Not A Test for starting it all, but really, can you blame me? Go back and look at that cover. Sigh.

Anyways, I've continued the theme this week with a book due to come up just next month.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Memorial Day PSA

Change to "Shelver's Bookstore" and you've got it.
Oh my gosh, this! THIS!!!!

I didn't write the above story, but I dang well could have.

Dear Parents,

Today is Memorial Day. School is out, which means there will be dozens of rugrats running around our store. No, literally, running. Like hellions in light-up sneakers.

Now, I don't mind kids. In fact, they're awfully fun. I volunteered in a nursery for seven years, for goodness gracious. Kids are great. Parents? Not so much.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Review: THE RELUCTANT HEIRESS by Eva Ibbotson

Being an heiress in 1920s Austria with nothing but a broken-down castle to your name and nary a penny in your purse could be frustrating for anyone but the Princess Theresa-Maria of Pfaffenstein. "Tessa," however, is thrilled with her situation, as it allows her to concentrate on her love of the arts - and no one in the Viennese opera company need know that their delightful and charming under-wardrobe mistress is really a princess. But when the dashing self-made millionaire Guy Farne arrives at the opera in search of suitable entertainment for his high society guests, Tessa realizes that there may be more to life - and love - than just music. But while the attraction between them in undeniable, Guy's insufferable snob of a fiancee only solidifies Tessa's determination to keep her true identity a secret. Yet, after a chance meeting with the handsome Englishman, Tessa's reserve begins to melt, and she starts to wonder if it's not too late for a fairytale ending...
This is such a strange book. Do you know how a cat will tip its head and jerkily poke an unfamiliar object? That's how I feel starting this review.

The writing style was... weird. I don't know if it was a "I was written in the 80's and we did things differently then" kind of weird or what, because I'm not an expert on the evolution of writing styles. Maybe it was an Austrian type of style (the story is set in Austria, and I'm willing to wager that Ms. Ibbotson is Austrian).

Or maybe Ms. Ibbotson was simply doing as I suspect she was - writing a fairy tale.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cover Love #3

This week I've chosen a foreign cover of a well-known book. In fact, it's a book I've reviewed on this very blog. Okay, I lied. It's actually a group of foreign covers. I went looking for one and found the others.

And they're so... so preeeeeetty...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

When All Else Fails, Make A List

There's something very calming about a list. A simplistic structure to corral and confine information into an order that can then be mastered and utilized can turn the whole world into a different color. Instead of dark, tumultuous charcoal flashing with sparks of red, suddenly everything is calm and serene, a soft, sunlit off-white. Maybe that's why I like parchment so much.

Every now and then, I have a moment of utter terror. What am I DOING?! I'm writing a blog! Who told me I could write a blog?! I don't know what I'm doing. Why would anyone bother to listen to me? Holy crap! I'm a fraud!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cover Lovin' Had Me a Blaaaast...

Tada! This is my new Cover Love blog meme button, and I made it all by me onesies. I've done two Cover Love posts as a dry run, and I've found that I love talking about pretty covers with you all, so - now that I have a spiffy button - I'm opening up the meme to you all.

So what IS Cover Love?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Review: CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein

Oct. 11th, 1943—A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.
This book was not what I expected. Now, for some people, that's a good thing; for some, that's a bad thing. For me, it was a bit of both, but even when it was bad, it was bad in the best way possible.

I seem to be picking entangled books lately, because once again I find myself sitting here unsure of what to say first or even of what I can say at all. Have you ever tried to untangle a really gnarly knot? It all loops this way and that, and you can't tell what's connected to what. Code Name Verity isn't complicated, per se, but there are so many little threads that loop and curl around each other that I'm not sure which is safe to tug on.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday #3

Totally the property of Pen To Paper
This is the week where my to-read book count hit 140. Eek! I blame Goodreads. I'd been ignoring the giveaways in favor of doing other things like writing posts and reading books and working and... you know, sleeping, but somehow I ended up on the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway page.

Holy guacamole are there a lot of great books up for grabs! I entered thirty-four giveaways in one day. Thirty-four! Does that make me sound like a horrific, greedy mooch? Probably. The key distinction is that  I'm legitimately craving all thirty-four of those books. They sound amazing!

In fact, the book I chose for this week's Wishlist Wednesday is from that giveaway list...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New Adult; or There Be Rough Waters Ahead, Matey!

Something's been bothering me for some time now. I've shoved it aside, stuffed it down, even tried to drown it with reassurances that I'm just being silly, but it just keeps popping back up.

A few weeks ago, I was twiddling my thumbs on Twitter when it came to pass that wise agents from across the land were coming together for an #askagent conversation. These kind and knowledgable folks were holding a sort of impromptu summit, where the eager and groveling masses could come forth to pose questions about all facets of the publishing industry (except no questions involving queries - they were very specific about that).

Pop! Out jumped my worry, the awful little hangnail that had been bugging me.
If a protag. is older than high school age, but part of a coming-of-age/YA-like story, is the story YA or not?
Sneaky me. I knew the answer, sort of.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Review: BITTERBLUE by Kristin Cashore

Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck's reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle--disguised and alone--to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck's reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn't yet identified, holds a key to her heart.
I know others have said that that you don't need to read Graceling and Fire before reading this book, and it's true. Cashore does an admirable job of making sure all three books can stand alone. However, I may throw around spoilers for the first two books (not Bitterblue, I promise) with breathtakingly reckless abandon, so I suggest that all Cashore newbies stay above the jump-break until you've been able to read the first two books. Okay?

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Shelver Secret

Would you like to know a secret? I mean, a real secret? A this-is-why-I'm-anonymous-so-I-can-say-stuff-like-this secret?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cover Love #2

I tell you, memes make me feel more like a newbie blogger than anything else. Not that memes are for newbie bloggers - quite the opposite, in fact. There's so much I don't understand yet, including how to make a proper blog meme button. O Photoshop, my arch-nemesis, I shall vanquish you yet.

Anyways, I say all that to say that once I do have a pretty little meme button, I'd like to share my meme with others. After all, a gorgeous cover is one of the easiest ways to draw someone into a great new book.   But until then, onward I charge with this week's pick...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Review: THE SELECTION by Kiera Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
I've heard several different people compare this book to Hunger Games + The Bachelor. Yeah, I get that. But to me, it was more Hunger Games + The Bachelor + the story of Esther + Miss Congeniality + Zero. Zero? What's Zero? (For an answer to that, jump to the very end of my review.)

In the country of Illea, citizens are categorized into numerical castes; unlike Zero, the lower the number the better. For instance, in America's world, Sixes are servants, Fives like her are poor, starving artists, and Ones are royal. Pretty interesting, huh?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Book Binges

Ohhhhhh my gosh. Oh, my poor aching head. My dry throat. My stiff back. My droopy, red eyes.

I binged last night. It was awful, yet soooo very nice. I just couldn't help it. I was having so much fun, and it was there for the taking and...

I book-binged.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday #2

Totally the property of Pen To Paper
Despite plowing through my to-read stack as diligently as I can, my to-read list has added two more books, giving me a grand total of 107. Glad to know I'll have material for this meme from here to eternity!

I was so pleased to be able to chat with some of you last WW about Bitterblue. That book is a well-known story on many, many wishlists, unlike my choice for this week...