Saturday, August 24, 2013

Moving Day!

Dear readers and friends,

We're moving! Yes, the time has come to pick up the suitcases and board up Bookshelvers Anonymous. But don't worry, we're just moving across the street to Wordpress and our spacious new abode, Shae Has Left The Room!

If I did everything right, all your subscriptions through Bloglovin' and email should transfer over. (Fingers crossed!) Unfortunately, since GFC has gone the way of the dinosaur, those particular subscriptions will not transfer. Sorry.

If for some reason your subscription did not transfer over, please visit Shae Has Left The Room directly and sign up via the widget in the sidebar. Be sure you don't delay. I'm hosting a major giveaway RIGHT NOW for all my followers!

Can't wait to see all your lovely faces on my new blog!


Friday, August 23, 2013

Down For Moving Day!

Hi all! Thanks for all the lovely birthday wishes yesterday. I had tons of fun and can't wait to share all my cool new books with you. First, though, I have some work to do.

Back at the end of June, I promised some changes. After quitting my job at the bookstore, there was no longer any need for anonymity. Since I was no longer anonymous or a shelver, keeping the same blog name seemed a little stupid.

I don't do change very quickly, however, so for the last two months, I've been mulling over a new blog name.

I found one.

Then I needed to figure out whether I was going with a normal Wordpress site or a self-hosted Wordpress site. (No way was I sticking with Blogger.)


Then, with my dad's help, I found some really cute images and pieced together a new header.

All I need to do now is transfer my posts, fix the formatting, change all my social media usernames, and get the word out. You know, the easy stuff. (She says with a roll of her eyes.)

I have the weekend off, so I'm going to try to get everything up and running by Sunday. I hope it doesn't take that long, but I fully anticipate setbacks. Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Totally Selfish Post (Happy Birthday To MEEE!)

WARNING: The following post is entirely and unapologetically self-centered with absolutely zero connection to books, reading, or the publishing industry whatsoever. And that's okay, because...

It's my biiiiiiirthday, it's my biiiiiiirthday!

I love birthdays, mainly because it means that people will give me pretty clothes and books for FREE.

Also, dessert! Birthdays are awesome.

This year, instead of having a birthDAY, I'm going to have more of an extended birthWEEKEND. As you read this, I'm actually at work pulling a twelve-hour shift (boo). But once I clock out for the day, I'll be off for four whole days.

I usually like to do a giveaway on my birthday, but I can't this time. Sorry. (See, I told you this post was going to be entirely self-centered. I can't even give things away to balance it out.) However, the reason I can't is that there's a MUCH BETTER giveaway coming your way as soon as I get my blog settled at its new domain.

I'll be back with (only slightly) less self-centered posts tomorrow. But until then...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday #34

Hosted by Pen To Paper
Of the various star systems that make up the Confederation, most lie thousands of light-years from First Earth-and out here, no one is free. The agencies that govern the Confederation are as corrupt as the crime bosses who patrol it, and power is held by anyone with enough greed and ruthlessness to claim it. That power is derived from one thing: metatech, the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light.

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of teenage mercenaries have survived in this world by stealing unsecured metatech, and they're damn good at it. Jeth doesn't care about the politics or the law; all he cares about is earning enough money to buy back his parents' ship, Avalon, from his crime-boss employer and getting himself and his sister, Lizzie, the heck out of Dodge. But when Jeth finds himself in possession of information that both the crime bosses and the government are willing to kill for, he is going to have to ask himself how far he'll go to get the freedom he's wanted for so long.
The more I reread this synopsis, the more I hunger for this book. At first I only paid attention because of the weird cover and the author. I really enjoyed Mindee Arnett's Nightmare Affair book, so while I wasn't sure about her switch from paranormal to sci-fi, I was intrigued.

But guys, this is SCI-FI, legit outer space SCIENCE FICTION. Even better, it's sci-fi in space with mercenaries. I love mercenaries! *cuddles Han Solo* Also, it appears crime lords are involved, which can only be a good thing. I even approve of the name Jeth.

O Avalon, why are you not in my hands?

Are you looking forward to this book? Why or why not? And what book are you wishing for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Top 10 Tuesday: Things That Make My Reading/Blogging Life Easier

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
The following things are written down in the order I thought of them. If I tried to do them in order of importance, I would drive myself nuts. I take rankings very seriously.

Goodreads - Oh my word. Goodreads can be such a mess, to be sure. Its search engine stinks, the details for each book are often wrong, and there seems to be a new drama every week, but I value Goodreads for one specific thing: my TBR list. I mourn for all those wasted years when I would get excited about a book and then forget its title. Such wasted potential! Now I just hop on Goodreads and add a book to my virtual pile.

Twitter - I also don't know how I lived before Twitter. It is overflowing with my people, my lovely, bookish people. I learn about the news through Twitter, discover new books through Twitter, enter giveaways through Twitter, and make new friends through Twitter. It's wonderful.

Notes app - My Notes app on my iPad is a lifesaver. Not only is that where I keep my list of Agatha Christie books (for thrift store trips), but it's also how I organize my ARCs. I have two lists, a "Read By" list and a "Review By" list. The dates may differ between lists, as publishers sometimes archive a digital ARC before the release date. By keeping both lists up to date, I make sure I don't forget my digital ARCs and then all ARCs, both digital and physical, are read and reviewed on time.

iCal - I think I may have written about my scheduling before, but my entire blogging life is planned through iCal. All my memes, discussion posts, blog tours, reviews, etc. are all carefully planned and dated at least a week before go-live. iCal keeps me sane.

Edelweiss/NetGalley - Hooray for e-ARCs! I must admit, I wasn't sold at first, because e-ARCs are often wonkily formatted, but then I realized that publishers are more likely to part with e-ARCs than physical ARCs. Win!

Fellow bloggers - I LOVE YOU ALL! Seriously, you are my people, and I love you.

My dad - When I first started my blog, I didn't tell my parents for three months. Three months is a long time when I'm used to telling them pretty much everything, but I kept my mouth shut because I wanted to see if I could do it without any help. And I did. I set it up, gave it a name, designed it, and even did some (very rudimentary) coding. But now my parents know, and all I can say is THANK GOD. Both my parents are great, but my dad is the Tech Guy of the house. He seems to know a little bit of everything (which makes sense, since he has multiple blogs and podcasts of his own), and I feel like I'm constantly going to him for help/advice. CONSTANTLY.

The library - Free books and audiobooks! Wheeeeeee!

Book Closeouts/Better World Books - Cheap used books with free shipping! Wheeeee!

Amazon Prime/Book Depository - Cheap new books with free shipping! Wheeeeee!

What about you? Please share your tips with me. I need all the help I can get.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: THE CHAOS OF STARS by Kiersten White

Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up.

Of course, as the human daughter of Egyptian gods, that pretty much comes with the territory. She’s also stuck with parents who barely notice her, and a house full of relatives who can’t be bothered to remember her name. After all, they are going to be around forever—and she’s a mere mortal.

Isadora’s sick of living a life where she’s only worthy of a passing glance, and when she has the chance to move to San Diego with her brother, she jumps on it. But Isadora’s quickly finding that a “normal” life comes with plenty of its own epic complications—and that there’s no such thing as a clean break when it comes to family. Much as she wants to leave her past behind, she can’t shake the ominous dreams that foretell destruction for her entire family. When it turns out there may be truth in her nightmares, Isadora has to decide whether she can abandon her divine heritage after all.
Before reading this book, there was very little I could say about it. If pressed, I would probably mention the promise of Egyptian mythology, because I have loved Ancient Egypt from a young age. I would probably also make a general comment about the pretty cover. Other than that, there wasn't much for me to say. Just based on the description, Isadora sounded bratty, her problems petty. Even the cover, while gorgeous, doesn't tie in to the actual book, so my overall expectations going in were meh at best.

Hooray for being proved wrong!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Rewind & Review (20)

Blog Posts You May Have Missed
Again, no vlog. I usually work on Saturdays, which makes filming difficult. Maybe one day, if I think ahead, I'll be able to whip one together. Maybe.

Stuff I Received
  • Henry Franks by Peter Adam Salomon
  • The Culling by Steven Dos Santos (both from Flux)
  • Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac (from Lee & Low via Edelweiss)
Thanks, Flux! Thanks, Lee & Low!

Books I Read This Week
  • The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
  • A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchison
Miscellaneous Happenings

Friday, August 16, 2013

How I Write a Review

Of all the different posts I put together here at Bookshelvers Anonymous, I think reviews may be some of the hardest. As much as I love reading books, talking about books, and dissecting books post-read to see what makes them tick, it's become harder and harder for me to formulate my thoughts when finished. I think part of the problem is I tend toward the verbose, and I abhor the thought of leaving out any point that affected me one way or another. All aspects of a book - writing style, plot, narrative arc, characters, moral content, relationships, adventure, believability, etc. - are so important to me when reading, and at least some of what's important to me may be important to you, so I don't want to leave it out. On the other hand, I don't want to blather on for pages and pages and end up retelling the entire story in order to cover all my bases.

Also, writing reviews is just plain hard.

I'm hoping that by dissecting my own review style here that I might be able to unclog my creativity. I'm currently three or four reviews behind and badly in need of a kickstart, so here it goes.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Cover Love #35

Ben could date anyone he wants, but he only has eyes for the new girl — sarcastic free-spirit, Ani. Luckily for Ben, Ani wants him too. She’s everything Ben could ever imagine. Everything he could ever want.

But that all changes after the party. The one Ben misses. The one Ani goes to alone.

Now Ani isn’t the girl she used to be, and Ben can’t sort out the truth from the lies. What really happened, and who is to blame?

Ben wants to help her, but she refuses to be helped. The more she pushes Ben away, the more he wonders if there’s anything he can do to save the girl he loves.
I think I like the simplicity of this cover best. We aren't subjected to a girl in a pretty dress, a smooching couple, a fanciful background, bloodstains, or any of the other thousand directions the designer could have taken. Instead, the formula is very simple. One dark blue background + one title and one author's name in simple font + one tiny tagline + one lighter recently lit = one very simple and very striking cover. I love the dark, somber colors and the sparking lighter. I love the way the lighter almost resembles the muzzle of a gun, promising violence and danger. This isn't a safe novel, and the cover makes no guarantee to the contrary.

Have you read Fault Line? What did you think? What do you think of the cover?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Top 10 Tuesday: Favorite Books Set In The Past/Future

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
I had such a hard time with this week's theme. I couldn't think of a setting that wasn't too broad or too narrow or too hokey. Finally, I decided to deal with the list temporally. Below are my top ten books set in the past. I excluded all books that might be dubbed alternate reality books. So no Something Strange and Deadly, because Philadelphia was never overrun by zombies. All books must also be from a definite time period, so nothing that just feels like it's from the past.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: THE BURNING SKY by Sherry Thomas

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to revenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.
Eek. Talk about a roller coaster ride of expectations. I went into The Burning Sky with high hopes. The author is well-respected, though in a different genre and age category. The synopsis sounded kickin', and the cover was pretty. Hiiiigh hopes! She had hiiiigh hopes! She had high, apple-pie-in-the-skyyyy hopes! And even though the book started with an unnecessary intro, it was at least interesting. Anything that promises a girl in disguise as a boy guarantees my interest, so I suppose it wasn't a hard target to hit.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Rewind & Review (19)

Blog Posts You Might Have Missed
Can I brag a minute, guys? I am ridiculously proud of that Living Characters post. It's not my prettiest post or my most interesting or my most well-written. But I like it, because it talks about a topic that deeply pleases me as a reader. Also, I get to talk about BBC's Sherlock, which is always a bonus.

No vlog this week. I'm currently out of town, so there was no opportunity to sit down and film anything. It wasn't a terribly overwhelming mailbox week anyways.

Stuff I Received
  • Audiobook of Enchanted by Alethea Kontis (from AudioSync)

Stuff I Bought
  • Gilt by Katherine Longshore
  • Strategy by B.H. Liddell Hart
  • How Wars Are Won by Bevin Alexander

Books I Read This Week
  • Margot by Jillian Cantor
  • The 100 by Kass Morgan [DNF]
  • Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black [DNF]
Seriously, Margot was my one saving grace this week. My other books just didn't grab me. Here's hoping I'll catch next week on an upswing.

Miscellaneous Happenings
And that's it for the week! Thanks for sticking around for another seven days. :)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Mini-Reviews: A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness and PERFECT SCOUNDRELS by Ally Carter

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming...

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.
Ugh. Just... ugh. You know the saying "Good things come in small packages?" Well, this small package contains a sparsely worded sorrow-bomb with a side of ugly tears. I've never read a Patrick Ness book before, but if A Monster Calls is a solid representation of his style, I completely understand the appeal.

A Monster Calls is probably one of the most beautifully written cancer books I've ever read. I almost called it MG, and while that's its official category, I hesitate to so narrowly confine its readership. Mr. Ness writes with a Bridge to Terabithia quality that children and adults alike will appreciate, though I suspect that appreciation only deepens with age. It reads like a fairy tale, but one that lacks clear-cut heroes and villains. There are stories inside this story, parallel worlds that mirror the whole, revealed by the monster to Conor. Good people do bad things. Bad people do good things. Motivation, thoughts, and actions snarl together to create a world less than black-and-white but entirely more similar to life as we know it, despite being narrated by a talking tree.

It is a small book, so it receives a small review. But do not mistake small for powerless. A Monster Calls will gut you as few books can.

Note: I received a digital ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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

Katarina Bishop and W.W. Hale the fifth were born to lead completely different lives: Kat comes from a long, proud line of loveable criminal masterminds, while Hale is the scion of one of the most seemingly perfect dynasties in the world. If their families have one thing in common, it's that they both know how to stay under the radar while getting-or stealing-whatever they want. No matter the risk, the Bishops can always be counted on, but in Hale's family, all bets are off when money is on the line.

When Hale unexpectedly inherits his grandmother's billion dollar corporation, he quickly learns that there's no place for Kat and their old heists in his new role. But Kat won't let him go that easily, especially after she gets tipped off that his grandmother's will might have been altered in an elaborate con to steal the company's fortune. So instead of being the heir-this time, Hale might be the mark.

Forced to keep a level head as she and her crew fight for one of their own, Kat comes up with an ambitious and far-reaching plan that only the Bishop family would dare attempt. To pull it off, Kat is prepared to do the impossible, but first, she has to decide if she's willing to save her boyfriend's company if it means losing the boy.
Ally Carter is awesome. Her series follow a fantastic pattern by starting out light and fun before progressively growing darker and more intense. I love it, because I grow more concerned with each book, so the series never loses its shine. Perfect Scoundrels stays true to form as the most intense Heist book to date. The stakes are higher than ever in every possible way. The typical don't-get-caught suspense abounds but is compounded by the thorny dilemma of treating Hale as a mark. Throughout the book, Kat questions if what she is doing is right. What if she loses Hale forever? What if she hurts him irrevocably? Ms. Carter also adds a level of physical danger that is both new and welcome. I've never truly feared for Kat's life before, so the tingles of fear up and down my arms were a welcome addition.

Ally Carter is and always will be my go-to for fun, adventure, and awesome hijinks. I'm so glad she kept the ball rolling for Kat and the gang in Perfect Scoundrels, and I look forward to their next adventure.

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

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Living Characters, Head Canon, and Anderson's Socks

I've said before that I'm a very character-driven reader. Plot, setting, and all the rest are very important to me, but if I can't connect to the characters, all hope is lost. I don't need to agree with a character's choices or even particularly like them (though liking them does help), but I need to be able to fundamentally connect with characters on some level to be able to enjoy a book.

I've extended this desire to the point that I can usually tell how beloved a book will become based on how highly I rate the secondary characters. Last year, I even made a spot in my end of the year survey for an entire secondary character lovefest. Unlike the main character, love interest, or villain, the secondary characters are too often ignored and underdeveloped. Instead of being treated as the living, breathing people that they are, they are relegated to mere props, pulled in to perform some task in a scene and then dismissed. If an author can make me believe in the secondary characters, then he or she is likely to take the same care with the rest of the story.

Until recently, I didn't give much thought to my love of secondary characters or my need for characters who feel alive. I like what I like. And then I found this Tumblr feed. For those who don't know, head canon is the stuff you fill in about established characters in your own imagination. As opposed to official canon, head canon can vary from person to person. So while official canon might state well-known details such as Sherlock's love of the violin or Watson's service in the war, your head canon can decide why and when Sherlock started playing the violin or who Watson served with.

A lot of head canon involves theories and backstories and crazy conspiracies. How else can we hope to explain the craziness that was The Reichenbach Fall? (No, I'm not linking anything to that. If you don't know, I won't spoil it. If you do know, I won't retraumatize you.) I enjoyed that part of the BBC Sherlock head canon. But in among the crazy theories and wild speculation are the quieter posts, the ones that make me the happiest. Ones like these:

And the one that started it all:

Anderson, a minor two-bit character, wears socks to bed. It's such a tiny detail, one that would never make it into the overarching narrative of the story, one that makes no difference whatsoever whether it's true or not. And yet when I read that simple sentence, I sat back in my chair, suddenly impressed by the absolute rightness of it all. Of course Anderson wears socks to bed. Of course he does. What a uniquely Anderson thing to do. Molly doesn't wear socks to bed. I doubt Lestrade does either. But Anderson does, because he's Anderson, and Anderson wears socks to bed whether the creators of the show tell us he does or not.

The best characters are like the characters on Sherlock. As readers, we may only learn the big things, like a character's love of the violin or previous opium addiction or service in the war. These details are the things that are necessary to the story at hand. But the best author will also know the little details, the ones that may never be revealed on the page but nevertheless give a character physical presence.

Authors, please, give your characters life. We may not need to know if your character wears socks to bed or if her aunt collects stamps or her love interest can speak Klingon. But you should know. They're your creations. They cannot truly come to life without you. True, full-bodied, autonomous life requires detail. When I read your books, I want to have the feeling that even once the book is done and my eyes are no longer upon them, your characters are still out there, walking about, living, breathing.

In other words, authors,

Time for your thoughts! What authors that you've read have embraced the principle of Anderson's socks? Do you look for this type of character autonomy when reading?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday #33

Hosted by Pen to Paper
Lost your way? Your dreams?


Welcome to Lost.

It was supposed to be a small escape. A few hours driving before turning around and heading home. But once you arrive in Lost...well, it's a place you really can't leave. Not until you're Found. Only the Missing Man can send you home. And he took one look at Lauren Chase and disappeared.

So Lauren is now trapped in the town where all lost things go-luggage, keys, dreams, lives-where nothing is permanent, where the locals go feral and where the only people who don't want to kill her are a handsome wild man called the Finder and a knife-wielding six-year-old girl. The only road out of town is engulfed by an impassable dust storm, and escape is impossible....

Until Lauren decides nothing-and no one-is going to keep her here anymore. 
I have no idea what's going on. I don't really know what Lost is or where it is. I don't know if this book is fantasy, dystopian, magical realism, or something else entirely. And I don't care. What I do know is that I want to know what Lost is and what it looks like and how it works. I want to know how Lauren Chase got there, and why the Missing Man (whoever he is) won't send her home. I want to know who the six-year-old girl with the knife is and how to become her friend, because she sounds awesome. And I want to know what kind of crazy book Sarah Beth Durst has written now, because after Vessel, I would follow her anywhere.

What do you think of Lost? And what are you wishing for this Wednesday?