Sunday, September 30, 2012

Review: ORIGIN by Jessica Khoury

Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home—and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.

Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia’s origin—a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.
Woo! Amazon! Secrets! Forbidden love! Evil scientists! Yeah!

Those were my thoughts going into this book. I mean, everybody and his second cousin is talking about this book. It's one of those Big Deal books. Oh, and I follow the author on Twitter, and she's super-sweet, and her hair is so pretty it's distracting. Clearly, this book is going to be amazing, right?!

I'm sorry to say that amazing author does not always equal amazing book. Origin was by no means horrible (look at all the people that LOVE this book), but it just wasn't my cup of tea.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Borders - One Year Later

In memoriam
Can you believe it's been one year since Borders officially closed? I know! A whole year!

Let's go back in time to 2011 when the bankruptcy was announced. Remember the chaos, the horror, the grief? Moans over the end of traditional publishing, over books, over reading, over LIFE AS WE KNOW IT(!!) reached a fever pitch. Because if Borders, that noble box-store chain, could close, who would be next? 

Readers clutched their hardcover darlings to their chests and eyed the remaining stores fearfully. Would Barnes & Noble be next? Books-A-Million? WOULD AMAZON SEIZE THE ONE RING AND RULE THEM ALL?!

Well, that's what most people remember. (And in case anyone was wondering, Amazon did not turn into Sauron and squash competition with an iron fist. We're still here!) I remember one thing from the Borders incident: The List. More specifically, I remember "Things We Never Told You: Ode to a Bookstore Death."

You remember the list, right? Employees at some unidentified Borders store had used the freedom provided by the impending shutdown to write their manifesto, a list of all those things they wished they could've told their customers. (I'd have told them to just get a blog, but whatever.)

Ode To A Bookstore Death

When this list first appeared, I didn't have a blog. I couldn't really comment on its accuracy. (Well, its accuracy for me - I'm sure it was accurate for them.) But tada! I have a blog now! More importantly, I have a blog about being a bookshelver just like those poor Borders employees. So I thought that, in honor of the dearly departed Borders, I would go through each point and tell you my take.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cover Love #12

It's Thursday, and that means it's Cover Love time! This week I chose a cover that's atmospheric but not as dark as last my last Cover Love. (My mom was concerned by my taste in covers.)

Darcy Jones doesn’t remember anything before the day she was abandoned as a child outside a Chicago firehouse. She has never really belonged anywhere—but she couldn’t have guessed that she comes from an alternate world where the Great Chicago Fire didn’t happen and deadly creatures called Shades terrorize the human population.

Memories begin to haunt Darcy when a new boy arrives at her high school, and he makes her feel both desire and desired in a way she hadn’t thought possible. But Conn’s interest in her is confusing. It doesn’t line up with the way he first looked at her.

As if she were his enemy.

When Conn betrays Darcy, she realizes that she can’t rely on anything—not herself, not the laws of nature, and certainly not him. Darcy decides to infiltrate the Shadow Society and uncover the Shades’ latest terrorist plot. What she finds out will change her world forever . . .
Dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnnn! Do you see what I mean by atmospheric?

I have to admit, I first thought this book might be one of those depressing, introspective adult books. (You know, the kind where the woman spends the entire time complaining about her childhood and her marriage.) But the cover was just so pretty that I took a peek at the synopsis. Then BAM! I was seeing the cover in a whole new light!

The font should've tipped me off that it wasn't straight adult fiction. Its flourishes seem to say fantasy, but they're too angular, closer to the fonts used in This Dark Endeavour or Cinder. Finding out it's what seems to be a contemporary paranormal makes perfect sense. The cityscape at the bottom also gives potential readers the heads up that the book will be grounded (at least somewhat) in the real world.

More than anything, I love the combination of the gloomy, saturated colors and the reflection in the rain puddle. As the book is about an alternate world that touches the real one, the visual metaphor of a girl's reflection in a rain puddle is just perfect. It's like Alice and her looking glass, but for the teen set.

According to Goodreads, The Shadow Society comes out next month, and if it's anything as lovely as its cover, I think I'm going to pick it up.

What cover do you love this week?

To join Cover Love:

1. Follow Bookshelvers Anonymous as the host of the meme (my work, so I get credit. No stealing).
2. Find a cover that just makes you go wild with designer delight.
3. Highlight said cover in a Thursday post. Here and here are my two previous Cover Love posts for reference.
4. Link back to Bookshelvers Anonymous somewhere in your post (when I do other blogs' memes, I put the meme button at the top of the page and then link in the button's caption).
5. Consider adding the meme button somewhere on your blog so others can join also. This step isn't required, but it'd be awfully nice. The HTML for the button is in my right sidebar, and I can help you through the adding process if you'd like.
6. Add your blog to the linky list at the bottom of this post - it makes it easier for all of us to find each other AND it's a great way to generate traffic for your blog.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Happy Tuesday, everyone! Rub that sleep from your eyes, I have an announcement to make. Technically, I'm about to announce additions to the blog rather than changes, but "A-A-Additions" isn't as catchy.

Yes, there are two semi-big things coming down the pipe that I think you all should know about. At least, they feel semi-big to me because I'm super-excited for both of them.

The first addition is the new form on my Contact page. The whole reason I started this blog was to be able to connect with other book lovers. I get to talk to a lot of you through Twitter or the comments section on different posts, but I wanted to make it even easier to connect, especially if you have specific questions that don't relate to a post.

I wouldn't have a clue of what to do without the patience and support of other bloggers. I pestered them about blogging things (design, features, ARCs, etc.), book things (have you read this? is it good? oh my goodness, did you hear about...?), and other subjects, and everyone was so incredibly patient. I still don't feel like I know a heck of a lot, but I'd like to share what I do know if it would help any of you.

The form is pasted below and is also on my Contact page. If you have any questions about being a bookshelver, working in a bookstore, blogging, reading, or anything else, please drop me a note. Every single question you ask will be answered, either privately (if you give me a way to contact you) or in a post. Help me help you!

Second order of business. I've thought long and hard about how to best utilize my favorite aspect of the blog, the book reviews. I wanted to give people a way to buy the books immediately if the review so moves them, but in a way that doesn't benefit Amazon. As a bookshelver, I'm pretty much bound by oath to glare distrustfully at that site.

As of this week, I am a The Book Depository affiliate. What that means is that I'll be placing a widget and links to TBD in my sidebar and reviews. You may have already noticed them. Using the widget will give you all easy access to cheap books. TBD has low prices on millions of books, they don't charge shipping, AND they ship internationally. When you buy using my link, I'll receive 5% of the sale. So, say, for every $10 book sold, I'll get 50 cents. All of the proceeds will then be collected and funneled back into the blog to fund giveaways, so the more you buy, the more books I'll be able to give to you!

That's a win-win if I've ever heard one.

To recap, there's a new form on the Contacts page for any question, big or small, that you all might have. I'm also teaming up with The Book Depository to give my readers a way to buy books, and all of the net proceeds (still gotta pay taxes and tithe) will be used for giveaways. So there you have it. If you have any questions/comments/concerns, comment below... or use the handy-dandy new form!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Review: ALONG FOR THE RIDE by Sarah Dessen

It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.
I must tell you the truth. Please withhold any shocked gasps, looks of amazement, or head-shakes of disdain. Though I am a self-titled YA blogger, I tend to shy away from contemporary books and therefore... have never read a Sarah Dessen book.

Not one.

I know, I know. I knew I had to remedy the situation this summer, so I turned to Twitter for advice. Ms. Chandra from Indigo Teen Blog and Ms. Melanie Fishbane who knows practically everything suggested Along for the Ride. Yay them!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Stuck In A Good Book Giveaway Hop

Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Stuck In Books

Hooray, it's giveaway time! I'm so excited for this giveaway, because I've been holding on to one specific book that I've been dying to give away.

I have for one lucky lady or gentleman my beloved ARC of The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson. I was seriously stuck in this book. I didn't want to leave!

Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone's power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.
You can read my full review here, but below are just a few reasons why this book was so amazing.

  • The action. The story opens amidst the ruins of a past battle and quickly spirals into barely controlled mayhem. The rest of the book has intense fight scenes, death, betrayal, monster typhoons, and much more.
  • The continued themes. Ms. Carson worked with some freaking fantastic themes in her first book, The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Rather than either abandoning those themes or going down the same, tired road, she manages to revisit those questions and yet reveal angles that hadn't been discussed in the previous book. Continuity of that sort is amazingly rare.
  • The cunning. Elisa especially is fan-freaking-tastic. She's like a mini-Machiavelli, able to study all the angles and strike at her enemies' weaknesses. 
  • The characters. Again, I love Elisa. She has this deep, calculating mind, but her heart is so tender, and she has such human insecurities. Her supporting cast is filled with fun, detailed characters. Old friends come back to delight, and new friends make the story even richer.
  • THE ROMANCE. Trust me, there's enough of the action/adventure/mind games stuff to thrill anyone, but the romance! Oh my gosh, the romance will make you melt. Personally, my toes curled.

I've been loathe to give away my ARC, but now I can. Why? BECAUSE THE REAL THING IS FINALLY OUT, AND I BOUGHT MYSELF A COPY! *laughs crazily* I shall call it Squishy and it shall be mine and it shall be my Squishy. Yes, indeed, The Crown of Embers just came out on the 18th, and I'm trying my best to give it a boost by highlighting it here in a giveaway hop. Of course, if you don't win (or even if you do and want to own a finished copy), you can always click my Book Depository widget to the right and buy yourself a copy!

Now for the nitty-gritty. You do NOT have to be a follower to enter this giveaway! However, you WILL earn more entries by becoming a follower, so I strongly suggest it. :) Here are the other details:

- This giveaway is US/CAN only. (Sorry, shipping sucks.)
- You must be 13 years old or older.
- Only one IP address per entry. I'm sorry if you and your flatmate both want to enter, but this is my way to weed out cheaters.
- The chosen winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email with their mailing address.
- If said winner does not respond in the time specified, a new winner will be chosen.

Enter the Rafflecopter below, and then use this link to continue hopping.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday #12

Totally the property of Pen to Paper

Forget every other book I've ever whined about wanting on this blog. All of them. Forget them. The book I'm about to show you is THE book that I want. In fact, whenever I do finally get my hands on this book, I strongly suspect that I will just not show up for work for the first time in my entire life.

Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. Naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, the convent views Sybella as one of their most dangerous weapons.

But those assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

This heart-pounding sequel to Grave Mercy serves betrayal, treachery, and danger in equal measure, bringing readers back to fifteenth century Brittany and will keep them on the edge of their seats.
Is anybody else having trouble breathing? No? That's just me? I have literally been looking forward to this book from the moment I finished Grave Mercy. If you haven't read Grave Mercy, I suggest you read my review and then buy it post haste. I also suggest you read my interview with Ms. Robin herself!

But, you might be wondering, what has me so excited other than the fact that it's the sequel to one of my favorite books OF THE ENTIRE YEAR?

Okay, first, nun assassins. Really, how can you beat a hook like that? NUN. ASSASSINS.

Second, it's about Sybella. Grave Mercy was solidly Ismae's book, and Sybella had very few appearances. Yet every time she appeared, she stole the show. Frankly, she's a bit nuts! That and she's more powerful than even Ismae, which is saying something. I can't wait to see what kind of danger she puts herself into, especially considering I'm pretty sure I know who her father is...

Third, we're returning to Brittany, which is GREAT news. Ms. Robin has done her research to an extent that flabbergasted me. Despite being a solid six hundred years removed from present day, fifteenth century Brittany felt so very alive. I can't wait to disappear into that world again.

Fourth, the returning characters. I don't know who all will return, but we've already been promised at least a token appearance from Ismae and Duval. Anne will probably play a role in the proceedings, as well (and maybe Isabeau?). We'll probably hear from Annith, too, as the third book will be her story. I also can't wait to meet new faces, if they're anywhere near as fantastic as the returning cast.

Fifth, the wounded knight in the dungeon. I don't think I'm allowed to say who he is, but let me just say that when I heard, I was rendered speechless. Then, when I could speak again, I flipped out. I am SO excited to read what happens and to find out how he impacts man-hater Sybella.

At the moment, I'm kind of like this:

What are you wishing for this Wednesday?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Little Shelver And The Magical Library

Liō is the property of Mark Tatulli, and is a fantastic comic strip.
Like most people, I don't remember a lot about being really little. Even things I think I remember usually turn out to be false memories cobbled from old photo albums. But for all the gaps in my memory, I do remember going to the library with my mom.

When I was little, we would go to the library with the owls in the rafters. Sometimes they were there, sometimes they weren't, but it was always such a thrill to peer up into the shadows and see those fuzzy little creatures snoozing on the beam above the door. After looking for the owls, my mom and I would go inside, bag in hand, ready to snoop out new adventures.

I'm sure my mom kept an eye on me the entire time, but I remember going down each row, checking each shelf for a fun book. Sometimes, my mom would help me use the computer to find a specific book, but not always. The library was the first place where I started to notice the names of the people who wrote the books that I loved. Eric Hill's Spot books, H.A. Rey's Curious George, and all things Dr. Seuss and Patricia Polacco were special favorites. I knew exactly where to find each of those authors in my section and carefully checked to make sure I wasn't missing any of their new books.

Then, one glorious day, my mom decided it was time I get a library card. Actually, I think I remember begging vigorously, the same way I had when I'd wanted to learn to read. So, at the age of five, I went to the front desk and hid behind my mom as she asked for a library card. My mom signed the back and then put my name in parentheses. (You're not allowed your own library card for real until you're 12, much to my dismay.)

I still have that card. It's yellowed and faded, but it's mine. Before I started working at the bookstore, the library was the place to be. We went every two to four weeks to grab a fresh batch of books. I would troll each row as methodically as I had when I was five, scanning the titles for something new. That's how I found Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief, my favorite book of all time. That's how I found most of my favorite books, actually. And once I was done gathering my books (never more than fifty, as I found out after I hit the regulated limit), I would carry the bag to the counter and place my new books in a neat stack with my faded library card on top.

The library is a place of adventure. It's a place of learning and growth. It's a magical place where one little rectangular piece of plastic is the key to other worlds. Libraries, to be frank, are fantastic.

What's your first library-related memory? How long have you had your card?

You can find the rest of the Lio library series at GoComics (it ran 9/3-9/7/12).

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Review: THE GHOST AND THE GOTH By Stacey Kade

Alona Dare–Senior in high school, co-captain of the cheerleading squad, Homecoming Queen three years in a row, voted most likely to marry a movie star… and newly dead.

I’m the girl you hated in high school. Is it my fault I was born with it all-good looks, silky blond hair, a hot bod, and a keen sense of what everyone else should not be wearing? But my life isn’t perfect, especially since I died. Run over by a bus of band geeks—is there anything more humiliating? As it turns out, yes—watching your boyfriend and friends move on with life, only days after your funeral. And you wouldn’t believe what they’re saying about me now that they think I can’t hear them. To top it off, I’m starting to disappear, flickering in and out of existence. I don’t know where I go when I’m gone, but it’s not good. Where is that freaking white light already?

Will Killian–Senior in high school, outcast, dubbed “Will Kill” by the popular crowd for the unearthly aura around him, voted most likely to rob a bank…and a ghost-talker.

I can see, hear, and touch the dead. Unfortunately, they can also see, hear and touch me. Yeah, because surviving high school isn’t hard enough already. I’ve done my best to hide my “gift.” After all, my dad, who shared my ability, killed himself because of it when I was fifteen. But lately, pretending to be normal has gotten a lot harder. A new ghost—an anonymous, seething cloud of negative energy with the capacity to throw me around—is pursuing me with a vengeance. My mom, who knows nothing about what I can do, is worrying about the increase in odd incidents, my shrink is tossing around terms like “temporary confinement for psychiatric evaluation,” and my principal, who thinks I’m a disruption and a faker, is searching for every way possible to get rid of me. How many weeks until graduation?
Oh my gosh, what a fun book! I almost didn't pick up The Ghost and the Goth, because I really don't do ghost books. I'm so glad I did, though. It looked so light and fluffy, and it kind of is, but that's okay. I had a list of expectations ready as I settled down with this book, and Ms. Kade delivered.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cover Love #11

I've got a pretty, I've got a pretty, I've got a pretty hey hey hey hey. Go on, finish the song. I'll wait.

Anyways! I picked an awfully pretty one this week, in my opinion. Well, that is, my version of pretty. The kind of pretty that makes me sit back and go "Oooooooh" and then scramble for the synopsis to find out what's going on.

Aries, Clementine, Michael, and Mason have survived the first wave of the apocalypse that wiped out most of the world’s population and turned many of the rest into murderous Baggers. Now they’re hiding out in an abandoned house in Vancouver with a ragtag group of fellow teen survivors, trying to figure out their next move.

     Aries is trying to lead, but it’s hard to be a leader when there are no easy answers and every move feels wrong. Clementine is desperate to find her brother Heath, but it’s impossible to know where he’d be, assuming he’s alive. Michael is haunted by the memories of his actions during his harrowing struggle to survive. And Mason is struggling with something far worse: the fear that he may be a danger to his friends.

     As the Baggers begin to create a new world order, these four teens will have to trust and rely on each other in order to survive.
 Not much to say about this one other than "Lookee lookee lookee!" I'm a sucker for dark, saturated covers. Add a post-apocalyptic setting, a cracked and ruined road leading to a possibly abandoned metropolis, and a beat-up white van leaking blood, and I'm all there. Squee!

What cover are you loving this week?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Typical Shelver: Stereotypes Vs. Reality

I feel perfectly okay in my decision
to run from this guy.
Everyone has stereotypes, right? Sure you do. It's a basic survival tactic employed by our brains to categorize the world around us. Your brain takes everything and puts all the information into neat, clearly labeled Tupperware bins for easy sorting. Sometimes stereotypes and generalizations are good (guessing that dark alley + guy with a knife walking toward you = run away), sometimes they're bad (guessing that guy walking toward you in park is black + no other negative information = run away).

People make all sorts of guesses about other people based on their age, their race, their gender, their socioeconomic status, their education level, and, of course, their place of employment. Right? Right. You know you do. People who work at Home Depot are outdoorsy, hands-on people; baristas at little cafes are artsy-fartsy and probably stoners; people who work at vitamin and organic whole food shops are hippie, Mother Earth types.

Well, what about shelvers? I don't know what commonly held stereotypes/generalizations you were working with, but I can tell you what I gleaned from my own biases and from pop culture. And I can tell you what we're REALLY like... at least in my store.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Review: PALACE OF STONE by Shannon Hale

Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city seems a thrill beyond imagining. When Miri and her friends from Mount Eskel set off to help the future princess Britta prepare for her royal wedding, she is happy about her chance to attend school in the capital city. There, Miri befriends students who seem so sophisticated and exciting . . . until she learns that they have some frightening plans. They think that Miri will help them, that she "should" help them. Soon Miri finds herself torn between loyalty to the princess and her new friends' ideas, between an old love and a new crush, and between her small mountain home and the bustling city. 
Seven years after introducing young adults everywhere to Miri and The Princess Academy, Ms. Shannon Hale returns with its beautiful companion tale. Yes, beautiful. If any of you out there were worried about how Miri and her friends would be treated in Palace of Stone, you needn't be. Palace of Stone keeps the same simple, serene, almost fairy-tale-like quality of its predecessor while upping the stakes.

Friday, September 7, 2012

How The Random Customers Saved The Day

I wish I were this cute when grumpy.
I don't know about you all, but this week has not been fun. Nothing's been outrageously wrong. I'm just grumpy. At the moment, I'm blaming the weather, but I'll think of a different reason tomorrow. Unless, of course, the rain continues, and then I am totally blaming the weather. Stupid weather.

So I'm sitting here, staring at a blank screen, being generally grumpy. I need a Friday post, and I can't think of a single thing. Grumpy Shelver.

And then! Bam! I spot a note I jotted to myself months ago, and I'm instantly happy again.

You see, a few months ago I was feeling the exact same level of grumpiness. It was a bad day at work, the same day as the infamous Neon Orange Kiddie Barf Incident, and I was generally displeased with the entire world. And let me tell you, there's nothing worse than being displeased with the entire world and still having to smile pleasantly. Grumble grumble grumble.

And then! Bam! Sudden influx of freaking awesome customers.

In the space of one shift, I had encounters with four really amazing customers. (No, none of them were any of my regulars, though Red Dwarf Fan Guy may have come in later that evening.)

Picture the scene, will you? There I stand behind the register, glasses perched jauntily upon my nose, eyeing the damp, now-barfless spot on the carpet with disdain. To my left is a man talking with a woman. I pay them no mind until I realize that the man has tattoos on either shoulder.

Now I'm curious. Trying not to call attention to myself, I squint my eyes... Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is a grown man, probably 40+ years old, with a tattoo of the Starbucks logo on one shoulder and a dancing Max and Wild Thing on the other. A grown man! With characters from children's lit permanently engraved into his epidermis!

I confess to staring unabashedly until he left the store.

My next encounter was audial instead of visual. I had a lovely chat over the checkout counter with a semi-retired couple from England. I don't remember where they were from (Southampton, maybe?), but British accents are to Shelver's ears as Oreo truffles are to Shelver's mouth. Yummmmm. We just stood and chatted about their time in the States and my study abroad experience in Nottingham.

A few hours after they left, I met Aidan. Aidan was about seven or so and very shy. I could tell by the way he would flush and squirm as he grabbed the edge of the counter as if his life depended on it. "Um, ma'am?" he began. (Side note: Since when am I old enough to be called ma'am?!) "I'm looking for a book. Would you help me find it, please?" Well-mannered and a reader? I melted like an Hershey Kiss on a dashboard. I found him his book and a few more before biding him and his mother a good day.

Then, to top it all off, one of my final customers of the day was a guy in his 20's, real macho guy, who came up with one book - Mockingjay! He implied he wasn't much of a reader, but he really enjoyed the Hunger Games series and he wanted some recommendations for when he was done.

It was all I could do not to blurt out that I had a blog and that I LOVED dystopian books and ohmygosh I'll give him more recommendations he could read in a lifetime! Instead, I played it cool. Insurgent had just come out, so I plucked it from the front rack and told him about the series. Then, while he was preoccupied, I ran back to the YA section and gathered up copies of some of my favorite YA adventure books. His eyes may have widened a wee bit, but I enjoyed myself immensely!

I mean, gah. Just look at him.
There's really no point to this post. Writing it made me happy. I'm no longer grumpy (though watching Matt Bomer on TV may have something to do with that). And maybe wherever you are, it's raining like it is here, or you're sick of work, or you're just having a lousy week. Here's my contribution of happy. I hope it helps.

The comment section is now open. Comment below to contribute your own happiness.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday #11

Totally the property of Pen To Paper
Let's jump right to the good stuff, shall we?

The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever. 

The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger—a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her. 

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

You can't see me, but I'm currently sitting cross-legged on my couch, bouncing excitedly. Let's break this synopsis down, shall we?

Okay, so it's a dystopian. I love dystopians. Dystopians are exciting. But there are so many dystopians out there right now. What makes this one so special?

IT'S SET IN JAPAN! Okay, so maybe not the Japan that we know. But look at those proper nouns. Shima Imperium? Lotus Guild? Shogun? Yukiko? Totally Japan-flavored. I love a traditional US- or UK-based dystopian, but you have to admit that being set in the Far East kicks this story up to a whole new level of awesome.

Second, shoguns, in my limited experience, usually means samurais. Just the word samurai makes me want to perch on my ottoman and squeal, "Hi-yaaaaaaah!" Also, samurais have pretty awesome weapons, as shown by the wicked awesome sword the girl in the cover is unsheathing.

Oh, and what is she hunting with said sword? A thunder tiger! Is that an insanely awesome name for a species or what? Based on the description and the cover, a thunder tiger is what we usually refer to as a griffin. I've personally been in love with griffins ever since Quest for Camelot, so I'm excited. Even better, though, is that Yukiko and said thunder tiger aren't on the best of terms. I'm sure they'll work it out in the end, but we're not going to be thrown into a sweet, buddy-buddy story a la The Black Stallion or Old Yeller.

I could go on, but I think you all get my point by now. I'm super-excited about this book. We wants it, Precious.

What book are you looking forward to this Wednesday?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Doctor Who And Stories; or, Why I Love Doctor Who

This post is about Doctor Who. I'm sorry for all you suffering from Doctor Who social media fatigue, but I happen to love Doctor Who. The show is always this grand adventure that's exciting and hilarious and frightening and heart-rending, and the Doctor isn't so bad himself.

I just really want to talk about Doctor Who, but I have a duty as a book blogger to make it, y'know, relevant, so here it goes.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Review: MONSTROUS BEAUTY By Elizabeth Fama

This is the ARC cover, so it's the cover I own.
Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.
I am so glad I just wrote about my internal rating system, because I think it will be helpful for you all to reference that post while reading this review. Yes, this book was that kind of book.

I've known about Monstrous Beauty for some time now. Back when I was just starting to look into industry blogs, I came across a site where the blogger was talking about a mermaid book. I don't remember what blog it was now; I think it may have been Ms. Fama's agent's. Maybe. Either way, I remember the blogger talking about this fantastic-sounding mermaid book that had originally been called Syrenka and was now being changed to Monstrous Beauty.

And then I went on with my life, because the book wasn't out yet, and I was a reader who read things that were out, not a blogger who had to keep up, so what did I care?

Then, once I had a blog and started keeping up with things, that mermaid book kept popping up. People were talking about it. And then I won it! Woohoo!

You'd think with all that forewarning that I would have some idea what I was getting into.

Not even close.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Army of Ten!

Hi! So this is going to by my utterly and unabashedly shameless Saturday post, okay?

You see, there's this book coming out. I haven't read it. Not one line. But I did do a Wishlist Wednesday post on it. And I do follow the author on Twitter. And this week, I joined her Army.

Yes, dear friends, it is true. I have joined Gretchen McNeil's Army of Ten. I'm promoting a book I haven't even read, that could possibly be horrible, and I'm okay with that. BECAUSE IT SOUNDS AWESOME! Just look!
It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?
Who WOULDN'T be excited about this book?! Okay, possibly my mother (love you, Mom!), but anyone else? I love a good murder. Multiple murders are even better. Multiple murders by one psychopathic yet unknown individual are even better. But multiple murders by one psychopathic individual in a story based off of an Agatha Christie classic? My face melts from the thought of such sheer awesomeness.

So yeah, Army of Ten. I'm all in. Once the book comes out, I'll read it and review it just like I would any other book. If I don't like it, I'll say so. But until then, I'm working my way up the ranks. If you'd like to join me, check out the Army of Ten website and enter to win cool prizes. For instance, just for joining the Army, you'll be entered to win the last remaining ARC of Ten!

I thought about shouting "Ten-hut!" or something equally Army-appropriate yet punny and decided against it. Just... go. Or I shall resort to the punniness after all.

Okay, no way I'm doing an Army post
without adding the Choppa baby.