Friday, November 30, 2012

Why I Love The Clearance Section

The holiday season is coming up. Christmas lists are being formed. Wallets are shrinking. Some of you probably dove into the crazy Black Friday shopping, metaphorical guns blazing and literal elbows flying. I admire people who derive joy out of finding a good deal. I'm one of them, though I tend to value sleep over money.

I can't offer much help when it comes to shoes or leather jackets or big-screen TVs. However, I can offer tips when it comes to books. Most tips are pretty common sensical. Watch for sales. Sign up for memberships when it makes economic sense. Buy boxed sets when possible. (They're cheaper in the long run.) And, as much as it pains me to say it, always double check prices online (but make sure to factor in shipping).

But there's one tip that people often ignore, one that I slacked on myself until recently. Always check the clearance section.

Despite what you may think, the clearance section isn't just for old, rejected books that no one else wants. Okay, yes, the clearance section isn't filled with new books, but hear me out.

How I view Corporate
In most stores, what happens is the corporate office buys up big bins of surplus books from the publishers. For one reason or another, the amount of books printed outstripped the demand from consumers, so all these books sit in some dusty warehouse, taking up space and wasting money. When stores buy books to resell as sale books, the producers get the extra shipment out of their warehouses for some money (so it's not a total loss) and the stores get to sell cheap books that their customers will snap up. At least, that's my understanding of the way things work. I just have to deal with those stupid, scanner-unfriendly sale stickers.

Still, you may be underwhelmed at the thought of picking through unwanted books. And granted, some of the books milling about in our clearance section aren't very exciting. But there are also some hidden gems to be found.

For instance, over the last few months, I bought the following sale books:
- Leviathan by Scott Westerfield
- Behemoth by Scott Westerfield
- Graceling by Kristin Cashore
- I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
- Lionness Rampant by Tamora Pierce
- Alibi Junior High by Greg Logsted
- Heist Society by Ally Carter
- The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
The Thief Queen's Daughter by Elizabeth Haydon

All of those books I bought for $6 or less, and all (ALL!!) with the exception of The Lightning Thief were hardcover.

It gets even better. Take the day I bought I Am Number Four and Graceling. Ordinarily, hardcovers of each title would run... oh, say, $16 each in store? That day, they were each marked at $3.32. A STEAL. But then I also used my 20% off employee discount (only a bit better than the 10% store members get) and a $5 gift card. So those two books, which would have originally costed $32 plus tax ended up costing me $.32 plus tax. How nuts is that?!

Granted, the sale section doesn't give you the same selection as the rest of the store, but it's still pretty stinkin' good! Just last week, we had hardcovers of Scott Westerfield's Uglies and Pretties, as well as all of Lauren Kate's Fallen series, P.C. Cast's House of Night series, and Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush series. Again, ALL FOR UNDER SIX DOLLARS APIECE.

And don't think that because we have a book displayed near the front that it won't be back in the sale section. We've stocked books on our regular shelves and on sale shelves at the same time. I know. That's tricky of us, but c'est la vie.

Therefore, for the health of your wallet and the happiness of your friends and relatives, I will repeat myself one more time: ALWAYS CHECK THE CLEARANCE SECTION.

You're welcome.

What gems have YOU found on sale?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday #17

Totally the property of Pen to Paper
“Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world.”

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power — and the courage to battle her own inner demons?
Oh guys, I kill myself sometimes. Believe me, it was not on purpose, but the irony of picking this for Wishlist Wednesday the week after Thanksgiving is not lost on me.

Anyways, Hunger came out in 2010, but I heard about it for the first time only recently. I find the book of Revelations completely fascinating, so I immediately perked up at the mention of the Four Horsemen. I think the idea of a girl with anorexia as Famine is interesting, but I hope Ms. Kessler isn't too preachy. You know, "Why aren't you eating your peas? There are starving children in _____ who would LOVE to eat your peas!"

Most of all, I can't wait to see what the author does with the other Horsemen. War and Death probably won't be too hard, but what on earth can she do with Conquest/Pestilence?

Has anyone out there read this book? And what are YOU wishing for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: My Most Anticipated Books Of 2013

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Oh my goodness, can anyone else believe that it's the last Tuesday of November already? What on earth happened to the last half of the year? Literally, once we passed July, it was like someone sat on the fast-forward button. In other news, I sound like an old person. Before I start moaning about how things were better "back in the day," let's skip on to my list for this week: my top 10 most anticipated books of 2013. (Rankings are VERY rough approximates.)

10. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. As the sequel to Cinder (which I greatly enjoyed), Scarlet is a retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood tale and features Cinder herself, a French girl named Scarlet, and a street fighter named Wolf. (According to the buzz on Twitter, he's devilishly handsome.)

9. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. The sequel to Shadow and Bone doesn't have a cover yet, but it does have more magic, more Darkling, and more MAL. Yay!

8. This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith. Though not a sequel, Happy is written by Ms. Smith, who also wrote previously reviewed The Statistical Probability of Falling in Love. Based on the synopsis, Happy sounds like one part You've Got Mail and one part movie star falls in love with a normal girl. Woohoo! Most of the books on this list are sequels to beloved books, but if any new book can break onto this list, it's this one.

7. The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand by Gregory Galloway. Whereas the last book was all You've Got Mail, 39 Deaths is Groundhog Day all the way. Apathetic Adam Strand commits suicide 39 times and wakes up every single time without a scratch. Of course, there'll be some kind of catalyst where he learns the joy of life, etc. etc. etc. But guys, Groundhog Day!

6. Also Known As by Robin Benway. Meep! A safecracker working as a spy to infiltrate a normal private school! I'm rubbing my hands with glee, because AKA sounds like it's in the same vein as Ally Carter's Heist books. Speaking of which...

6. Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter. Kat! Hale! A showdown where Hale ends up as the mark and potential heartbreak abounds. Ugh. Is it February yet?

5. The Archived by Victoria Schwab. The dead are shelved like books in a library called the Archive. A Scottish girl named Mac guards them vigilantly, and she must be wary, for something is alive in the Archive... (Thanks to Sarah from YA Librarian Tales, I'm getting a preorder. Yay!)

4. The Runaway King by Jennifer Nielsen. I'm so excited to see what Nielsen's cooked up for the sequel to The False Prince. I adore our Sage and know he's got all sorts of tricks up his sleeves.

3. Reboot by Amy Tintera. I just highlighted this book in a Cover Love post and can't get it out of my head. Just look at that tagline: "Five years ago, I died. 178 minutes later, I woke up." Eek!

2. The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson. The third book in the Fire & Thorns series has no cover and no synopsis. But does it matter? No. Guys, HECTOR!

1. Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers. I have no words to express how badly I want this book. If I had to pick ONE BOOK to read in 2013 at the expense of all others, it would be this one. I. Want. It.

Honorable mentions go to:
Throne of Glass #2 by Sarah J. Maas (no title yet)
Game by Barry Lyga
Transparent by Natalie Whipple
Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg
The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf

What books are YOU looking forward to in 2013?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Review: THIEF'S COVENANT by Ari Marmell

Once she was Adrienne Satti. An orphan of Davillon, she had somehow escaped destitution and climbed to the ranks of the city’s aristocracy in a rags-to-riches story straight from an ancient fairy tale. Until one horrid night, when a conspiracy of forces—human and other—stole it all away in a flurry of blood and murder.

Today she is Widdershins, a thief making her way through Davillon’s underbelly with a sharp blade, a sharper wit, and the mystical aid of Olgun, a foreign god with no other worshippers but Widdershins herself. It’s not a great life, certainly nothing compared to the one she once had, but it’s hers.

But now, in the midst of Davillon’s political turmoil, an array of hands are once again rising up against her, prepared to tear down all that she’s built. The City Guard wants her in prison. Members of her own Guild want her dead. And something horrid, something dark, something ancient is reaching out for her, a past that refuses to let her go. Widdershins and Olgun are going to find answers, and justice, for what happened to her—but only if those who almost destroyed her in those years gone by don’t finish the job first.
I bought this book on a whim several months ago, goaded by recommendations and the book's unique title. I'm a sucker for thieves, and a girl thief named Widdershins was too good to pass up.

The book opens with Adrienne (Widdershins) clinging to the rafters of a secret room in a blood-soaked gown. Below her, the room turns red as friends are slaughtered by an unidentified being. Then we watch as, some time later, the Davillon City Guard enters to view the carnage. Adrienne remains in the rafters, watching and conspiring frantically with the god inside her head.

I love an opener that encapsulates the feel of a novel.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Giveaways For The Weekend

I have to credit Lili from Lili's Reflections for a great idea. You see, she did a post compiling some of the giveaways she's entered recently, and I thought it was spectacular, especially for today.

It's a holiday weekend. Thursday was food and family (and football!). Friday was shop til you drop (and football!). But today and tomorrow? Don't you think you would enjoy something that requires a little less effort? Something that you can do while watching football? Something that might win you some really cool books?

I give you a list of cool giveaways to enter!


First up, Lili and her friend Jennifer give away over ONE HUNDRED BOOKS in a mind-blowing giveaway to help highlight their new venture, ARCycling.

Next, we have a GINORMO HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY from my pal, Gillian @ Writer of Wrongs! Enter to win 13 really awesome YA books. (Though I must admit I'm wishing against you all on this one. 'Tis our Precious, and we wants it.)

Victoria Schwab (author of The Archived) is giving away a voucher for signed copies of any and all books she publishes in the next three years, AND she'll donate a dollar toward charity for every entry!

Then the Book Belles celebrate hitting the 1,000 follower mark and giveaway one of six amazing prize packs.

Oh, and then Ems from In Which Ems Reviews Books is giving away an ARC of the cute-looking Decked With Holly. It looks like the perfect holiday weekend read.

Sparkles and Lightning is being super-generous this week with several fantastic giveaways. She has one for a mystery box o' books, one for books from her TBR and wishlist shelves, and one celebrating her blogoversary! (Happy blogoversary to yooooooou!)

A whole slew of bloggers (including the delightful Jenna of MTG Reviews) is hosting a Thanksgiving scavenger hunt to win a bunch of awesome books.

Chapter By Chapter also has a couple giveaways going to celebrate their blogoversary. (Happy blogoversary to yoooooou!) One offers up four prize packs and advice for requesting ARCs, while the other involves a mystery box o' book AND a $75 B&N gift card!

You can also win another mystery box o' books from Escaping One Book @ a Time. It looks like a really nice mix. (I see Venom!)

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer is hosting one of her famous giveaway hops, but hurry! This one ends on Sunday evening.

Lastly, The Hollow Cupboards (whose design makes me drool with envy) is giving away 16 YA books!

ADDENDUM: Here's another giveaway with awesome prize packs from Writer Quirk.

Whew. That should keep you all busy for a little bit. If you all liked this idea, let me know and I'll do it again sometime.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cover Love #16

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope your day is full of family, friends, and food. I considered going in theme with this week's Cover Love pick, but this particular cover was just too wowza to be ignored.

Ida Mae Jones dreams of flight. Her daddy was a pilot and being black didn't stop him from fulfilling his dreams. But her daddy's gone now, and being a woman, and being black, are two strikes against her.

When America enters the war with Germany and Japan, the Army creates the WASP, the Women's Airforce Service Pilots - and Ida suddenly sees a way to fly as well as do something significant to help her brother stationed in the Pacific. But even the WASP won't accept her as a black woman, forcing Ida Mae to make a difficult choice of "passing," of pretending to be white to be accepted into the program. Hiding one's racial heritage, denying one's family, denying one's self is a heavy burden. And while Ida Mae chases her dream, she must also decide who it is she really wants to be.
I heart this cover. Like my last Cover Love post, it's beautiful for its simplicity. Take one off-white background, one striking protagonist, one flight squadron, and one awesome typeface, and you have sheer beauty.

Though Ida Mae is American (and mixed race!), this cover makes me think of Maddie from Code Name Verity, which can only ever be a positive. I love that the model is pretty but isn't all "This is me in my tight aviator jeans as I swish my long flowing hair suggestively." And no pretty dress in sight!  Instead, she's calm and cool, dressed for flight, for war. However, am I allowed to say she looked less white? I know that's the point of her deception, but can't the designers let her own her genetics just a itty-bitty bit?

I can't even begin to express the amount of love I have for those plane outlines. They look like the kind of outlines you find on charts explaining the differences between different types of aircrafts, but they also look like they're charging directly over Ida Mae's head toward the front lines.

And the title font! It's styled after the stenciled lettering they use to stamp supply boxes for the military. LOVE!

What covers do YOU love this week?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I Give Thanks For...

Hi all!

Thanksgiving is only a couple days away, and I thought about doing some big post listing all the things I'm thankful for. But while that's a great personal exercise, I'm not entirely sure it would make for a fun read for you all.

Instead, I've decided to do a post about one particular thing that I'm thankful for: words.

I'm such a word nerd. I LOVE words. I love fun-sounding words, and words with cool meanings. I was the girl who would giggle with delight over GRE flashcards. Yeah.

Some fun (real!) words I'm thankful for:
- Expectorating
- Ubiquitous
- Opprobrium
- Spelunk
- Tartle
- Lugubrious
- Delugtition
- Ozostomia
- Maulifuff
- Collywobbles
- Quodlibetarian
- Booboisie

I also like learning how words evolve and change over time to encompass new meanings.

The Mysteries of Vernacular is a set of paper animations detailing the etymological roots of everyday words. That may not sound interesting, but it's super-cool. As of this post, they only have 8 posts up, but they hope to have 26 at the end, one for each letter of the alphabet.

I've posted a few of my favorites below, but you can watch them all at




Word-wise, what are you thankful for?

Sunday, November 18, 2012


In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one...except the "thing" inside her. When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no "normal" Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch....

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of "them." The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.

Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help--and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on--even if it seems no one believes her.
Uff da. I highlighted this book in a Wishlist Wednesday post a few weeks back, so I just HAD to snatch it up when I found it sitting atop my sister's library pile. One week, an entire scrap paper full of notes, and a bemused brain later, I'm still eyeing The Girl in the Steel Corset (henceforth known as Steel Corset) with wary uncertainty.

Why? Oh dear, let me recount to you the reasons.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Book-To-Movie Soundtracks

This past weekend, I gave into the shameful spirits of procrastination and slothfulness. While my upcoming blog posts sat unwritten, I watched a movie. I blame Gillian and Ems. If they hadn't mentioned this particular movie and started reminiscing about key scenes, I would have had a productive weekend. Instead, I sat down and watched all FOUR HOURS of the BBC mini-series North and South.

Based off the Elizabeth Gaskell novel of the same title, North and South is a masterpiece. The plot is more character-driven than action-driven, but the characters themselves are a triumph. For me, North and South trumps even Pride & Prejudice for swoony period awesomeness.

One key component of the movie is the soundtrack. There are a few musical themes that cycle in the background, and they're all gorgeous. One in particular, entitled "I've Seen Hell (And It's White)", makes me want to die from happiness every time I hear it. The way the music swells with emotion, perfectly in synch with certain scenes, is indescribable.

Then I started thinking about other soundtracks. We talk so much about book-to-movie translations, but it's rare to talk solely about the music. But the more I started thinking, the more I realized that it was those book-to-movie translations that boasted some of the most moving cinematic soundtracks on my iPod.

Below are just a few of my favorites.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday #16

Hosted by Pen to Paper
I need to find something new to call you all. There's only so many times I can hiss "Guyssssssssssss!" excitedly. But until then...

Tessa is a Variant, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she’s spent the last two years training with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI.

When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again.

Tessa hates everything about being an impostor—the stress, the danger, the deceit—but loves playing the role of a normal girl. As Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she’d do anything to keep.

Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human comes to a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself.
This book has been described as The Silence of the Lambs meets The X-Men. I'm a bit leery of superhumans in YA because they're often not done very well. However, I don't think I've come across a character who shifts solely into other people. Even more rarely do said characters work with the FBI.

Also, serial killers! Yay!

I just can't believe I have to wait until July 2013.

What are you wishing for this Wednesday?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop

Oh my gosh, you guys, this is exactly the giveaway I need right now. I have different books that I've gotten for review or as prizes that I need to give away. My shelf space is becoming frighteningly scarce, and I want my beloved books to find a good home.

I feel like being super-generous because, hey, it's the holidays! I've been blessed with some cool stuff, so it's time to share the love. I've decided to run TWO contests, one for USA/CAN folks and one for folks abroad. Please, please, please, be sure you fill out the correct Rafflecopter.

I'm going to pick two book winners and two swag winners. The book winners will get to pick one book from my stash and one piece of swag each. The swag winners will get to pick one piece of swag each. Below are photos of what I'm offering, as well as a list of both books and swag. Some of them are SIGNED, so pay close attention.

Also, before you go ogle, here are the rules. Learn the rules. Follow the rules. Love the rules.

- Book winners are USA/CAN only. I'm sorry, but postage is killer. Swag, on the other hand, is international. Make sure you fill out the correct Rafflecopter.
- You must be 13 years old or older.
- The chosen winners will have 48 hours to respond to my email with their mailing addresses.
- If said winners does not respond in the time specified, new winners will be chosen.

- A hardcover copy of Heist Society by Ally Carter (read my review here)
- An ARC of Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (read my review here)
- An ARC of Origin by Jessica Khoury (read my review here)
- An ARC of Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale (read my review here)
- An ARC of The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George
- A SIGNED paperback copy of The Order of Odd-Fish by James Kennedy

a Rafflecopter giveaway

- The Archived bookmarks SIGNED by Victoria Schwab
- The Archived sticker
- One bookplate SIGNED by Victoria Schwab
- Postcards of Firelight and Vanish by Sophie Jordan
- Vengeance Bound bookmarks
- Scarlet (by A.C. Gaughen) bookmark
- Reaper postcards SIGNED by L.S. Murphy
- Reaper bookmark

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now click this link to keep hopping!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Review: THE RAFT by S.A. Bodeen

Robie is an experienced traveler. She’s taken the flight from Honolulu to the Midway Atoll, a group of Pacific islands where her parents live, many times. When she has to get to Midway in a hurry after a visit with her aunt in Hawaii, she gets on the next cargo flight at the last minute. She knows the pilot, but on this flight, there’s a new co-pilot named Max. All systems are go until a storm hits during the flight. The only passenger, Robie doesn’t panic until the engine suddenly cuts out and Max shouts at her to put on a life jacket. They are over miles of Pacific Ocean. She sees Max struggle with a raft. 

And then . . . she’s in the water. Fighting for her life. Max pulls her onto the raft, and that’s when the real terror begins. They have no water. Their only food is a bag of Skittles. There are sharks. There is an island. But there’s no sign of help on the way.
This is going to be a short review, so I'm not going to bother with a jump break. I had middling hopes for this book when I picked it up, and a middling reward was what I received.

We meet Robie in Hawaii as she's getting her nose pierced. It's not exactly a parent-approved activity (she's only fifteen), but that's what visiting an aunt is for, right? I would've suggested she change her name as well, but I suppose that's not her fault. (Seriously, tailored from a traditionally male name AND missing a letter? This trend is getting old.) Like most people, the thought of a needle piercing her tender cartilage is unnerving, but she allows the exasperated green-haired man to pierce her nose after he mentions one thing worse. That's all she needs, just to know one thing worse to make the pain seem better.

When her aunt is called out of town on business, Robie is allowed the run of Hawaii. Like any young teen, she revels in her freedom until something scary happens. Then she just wants to run home to mommy. I'm being slightly sarcastic, but I really can't blame her. Fifteen, all alone, and scared silly? I'd want my mommy, too!

Unfortunately, the mom in question is back home on Midway, a teeny island in the middle of the Pacific, accessible only by supply plane. Robie manages to get a spot on the plane at the last moment so she can arrive home and surprise her parents. Of course, she doesn't quite make it.

It was a very Castaway setup. A traveler wanting to get home, a cargo plane that crashes in the middle of the ocean, fire, despair, etc. Unlike Tom Hanks, however, Robie has a fellow castaway in the form of Max, the co-pilot. He's hardly better than Wilson, however, thanks to the head injury he sustains in the crash.

Cue middling rewards.

Despite what the synopsis promises, this is not a harrowing book. Yes, she and Max face the very real possibility of death by drowning/starvation/dehydration/shark, but I can literally count on one hand the times my heart started pounding. (I'll get to those moments in a second.) From what I could tell, this lack of tension could be blamed on three separate issues.

1. The writing wasn't the best. Nothing felt immediate or important. I got the feeling that the author was adding descriptions for the sake of describing, which robs a story of the pace needed to keep the reader on edge. I don't need to know the specific color, style, and pattern of every bikini worn in the book. I can only take so many water or sun descriptions. There was also a lot of telling instead of showing, though I can't give specific examples. (Ha! Ironic.) I felt like partway through the author realized there wasn't enough story to meet her word limit, so she tried to fluff up the rest.

2. I didn't care. I just flat-out didn't care what happened to either Robie or Max. I couldn't connect with either of them at all. Robie is fifteen. She has parents who love her. She should have at least a portion of my sympathy, but I felt nothing whatsoever. And Max? Max was just weird and boring. Granted, a revelation about him at the end (that I totally saw coming) helped a teensy bit, but not nearly enough. Also, given that Max was 25 and Robie was 15, I squirmed every time there was any physical contact whatsoever between them.

3. Robie was a klutz of mind-blowing proportions. Normally, clumsiness doesn't bother me too much, but the number of times Robie completely blew any chance of rescue was RIDICULOUS. She dropped things, broke things, lost things, completely ignored survival instructions, mixed up flares... After a while, I nearly convinced myself that she deserved to die for botching things so badly, but then I reminded myself that it wasn't my fault that the author couldn't think of any less obvious ways to delay rescue.

There was only one aspect that I liked about the book, the same aspect that provided those heart-pounding moments. Sharks. Yeah, I know, sharks are so overdone, but Ms. Bodeen did a great job! I won't try to describe what all happened, but let me just say that it was very Jaws-like but did not involve Great Whites. (Thank heavens.)

Huh! This review ended up being longer than I thought. I'm sorry it wasn't very positive, but c'est la vie. Though who knows, maybe it'll end up being just the book for one of you. You never know.

Points Added For: The cover (so pretty), SHARKS!

Points Subtracted For: Mediocre writing, Robie's klutziness, Max, not making me care, the cover (where are Robie's cornrows?!).

Good For Fans Of: Survival stories.

Notes For Parents: Some language, scary moments.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Friday, November 9, 2012

Blogger Spotlight - Blue Sky Bookshelf

Happy Friday, all! Two weeks ago, I posted a big post highlighting several of the blogs I follow and enjoy on a regular basis. My thinking went that good bloggers deserve positive feedback. I don't do blog rolls and Follow Friday on Twitter is too easily ignored, so a post seemed like a good way to go.

Boy, did you guys take the idea and run with it! I was ecstatic at the number of you who bothered to comment to say that you were checking out new blogs from my list. Also, based on my stats, there was probably a whole lot of blog lovin' going on at the sites I mentioned. Again, I'm ecstatic. I highlighted these blogs for a reason, and they deserve every single new follower that they receive.

Now that I'm riding high on a flood of internal warm fuzzies, I'd like to expand just a bit. Every Friday (or every Friday that I feel like it), I'm going to devote a post to one blogger. I'll interview him or her, ask some basic questions, and then turn you all loose to check them out. My plan is to work my way through my original list and add new bloggers as I go along. My hope is that I can pass on some well-deserved love their way through you all. They get more traffic, you get a lovely blog to follow. Win-win!

For this, the inaugural post, I've chosen to highlight a baby blog, Blue Sky Bookshelf. Its creator, Sunny, also happens to be my little sister. Isn't nepotism grand?

Fast Facts!
Name: Blue Sky Bookshelf

Creator: Sunny Duvall

Start date: October 16, 2012

Number of GFC followers: 13


Shelver: Hello, Sunny. Would you please introduce yourself to everyone?

Sunny: My name is Sunny Duvall, but I'm actually anonymous. [Shelver note: So that's not actually our last name.] I'm a blogger and a college student. I wish I had a library like Belle's a la Beauty and the Beast, and I'm determined to one day meet Ally Carter, one of my favorite authors. I think of books as desserts, they're addicting but you can't devour them too fast or you won't feel so good. So I'm trying to balance reading and reviewing with everything else in my life.

Sh: Aren't we all. Now would you please describe your blog? I'd like everyone to get a feel for what they'd be getting.

Su: Blue Sky Bookshelf is all about reviewing YA fiction, from contemporary to fantasy to dystopian to whatever else, but there will never be a single poetry book. I share my opinions and stories with some memes sprinkled throughout. It's a place where anyone can share their own opinions in the comments and exclaim about their love for whatever book I posted about. It's a new blog, but I really do love having it and sharing with everyone.

Sh: I'm glad you're enjoying yourself. What made you decide to start blogging?

Su: Initially? You. When I suggested a few ideas, you told me to start my own blog. Then, whenever there was a chance, you told me again. So after thinking about it for a while, I started researching (which I love to do) and paying more attention to the blogs I read. I liked the idea of talking about books I've loved with other people who feel the same. With not many friends who read, it's hard to do that without a blog.

Sh: Do you all see that? PROOF! I have proof in writing that I suggested something worthwhile. Ha!

What's your favorite genre?

Su: Contemporary, fantasy, dystopian, and historical are the tops. I like pretty much anything, especially if romance is involved.

Sh: Least favorite genre?

Su: Poetry.

Sh: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have three novels (books, not series), which three would you choose?

Su: NO series? Ugh, that makes you leave off at a cliff-hanger. I know I'll later think of a book that would've bumped one of these off the list, but I can't think of anything else. Probably Catching Fire [by Suzanne Collins] because they're also on an island (maybe I could use some tips if there are any evil monkeys). Forever Princess from The Princess Diaries series [by Meg Cabot] just because of Michael. Gosh, I love Michael. And even know this is not a YA book, The Hawk and the Jewel [by Lori Wick] because it was the first book I truly fell in love with thanks to our mother.

 ...can I sneak Cinder on there too?

Sh: No.


So there you have it! Thank you, Sunny, for being my test dummy while I figure everything out. Now all of you, go check out Blue Sky Bookshelf and share the love! You can also find Sunny on Twitter. And if any of you would like to highlight one of your own favorite blogs, be sure to send me the link.

photo credit: amanky via photopin cc

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cover Love #15


That's me hissing with excitement, because I've found a humdinger of a cover this week. LOOK!

Cover from YA Highway
Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.
I'm drooling.

The beauty of this cover is its simplicity. There are no elaborate dresses, no lavish background, no half-dead girls, no swirly font. There's a black background, a barcode with key numbers highlighted, a tagline, the title, and the author's name. That's all. Red, black, white, heavy on the black and light on the white. It's dark, edgy, spartan. It's a good fit for the Rebooted Wren.

The best part, in my opinion, is the tagline. It's succinct, unique, and eye-catching. Tell me your attention wasn't caught the first time you read that line. She died and stayed dead for five years and then woke up?! Please continue.

Oh cover, how I love you.

What covers do YOU love this week?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: Freebie Topic!

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Today's Top 10 Tuesday topic is a freebie. Can I get a whoop whoop! After going back through the archives, I picked the topic "Ten Characters (or Literary Figures) I'd Name My Children After." I love names, so I was super-excited to be able to do this list.

But first, some disclaimers. I pick names because I think they're pretty. I do not pick a name because I admire the character. (Though, obviously, if I despise a character I won't like the name.) I also probably am not brave enough to actually use some of these names, but a girl can dream, right?

Why I Love YA Lit

Click to enlarge and
see all the pretties.
In case you haven't heard, something super-awesome went down on the interwebs last week. Beth Revis, author of the Across the Universe series, decided to celebrate young adult lit. Anytime someone decides to celebrate YA, it's awesome, but Ms. Beth went further. Way further. She's giving away fifty signed YA books. Let me repeat that.

She is giving away FIFTY SIGNED YA BOOKS.

And what must one do to enter? Share the YA love. This isn't about boosting blog traffic or raising awareness of her own books (though I'm sure that'll happen, too). You can tweet or share on Tumblr or whatever, but the big entry is writing a blog post about why you love YA. I, for one, am happy to oblige.

It's no secret that I love reading young adult books. I've dedicated my entire blog to the category. (Not genre. YA is not a genre. Don't make me hurt you.) But why? I'm an adult! Shouldn't I be reading adult things?

I'm so glad you asked. Here are five reasons why I love YA.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Review: LEVIATHAN by Scott Westerfield

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.
You know that moment when you finish a book that everyone's been talking about? That moment when you stop and scold yourself for waiting so long? Leviathan gave me another one of those moments to add to my embarrassingly long list.

I do have an excuse, though. All I'd ever heard about Leviathan was that it was a steampunk tale about a girl who disguises herself as a boy. Maybe that's not the best excuse, since I love disguised-girl stories. But no one described it to me as it really was - a dual-narrative steampunk alternative history of WW1 with genetically fabricated creature-ships.

I mean, who would say no to THAT?!