Monday, May 27, 2013

BEA Hiatus

Hi all!

As you read this, I am probably wandering dazedly from room to room in my house. That's my usual packing MO for the first six hours or so, and I'll be especially dazed this time, because I'M PACKING FOR BEA!! My gosh, you guys. My nerdy little planner brain is going into overdrive. There are so many variables, so many possible outfits, so many outcomes, and it all has to fit in my Big Red Monster suitcase (and matching mini-me carry-on). Let's just say that minimalist living is not my strong suit.

I'll be leaving tomorrow afternoon and arriving in NYC sometime that evening. Wi-fi at the hotel and Javitz may be a little spotty, but I'll try to check in with you all via Twitter. However, there will not be any blog posts this coming week.


I'm already working to get posts pre-written for after BEA, and I don't want to stress by adding another week. Besides, BEA week is usually pretty chill around the blogosphere.

So if any of you happen to notice how quiet it is around here, don't worry. I promise I'll be back and bubbling over with good tidings for you all after June 3rd. If you're going to BEA, send me an email or DM on Twitter with your phone number, and we'll meet up! If you're not going to BEA, definitely check out all the awesomesauce going down at Armchair BEA. You can also keep up with my adventures on Twitter, as I do my best to condense my over-the-top excitement to 140 characters. :)

I'll see you all in a week!


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Rewind & Review (10)

Time for another weekly Rewind & Review! I hope this layout is working for you all. If you'd like me to change something, just let me know. I'm supremely flexible. :)

Blog Posts You Might Have Missed
It's been a pretty quiet week, post-wise. I thought about doing a discussion post, but I was so pleasantly surprised by Rules that I didn't want to wait another week to get the review out on the 'net.

Stuff I Received
  • Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (via NetGalley)
  • Shadow & Bone nail polish (from MacMillan and Dreamworks)
As you can see, it was a quiet week stuff-wise, too. With BEA just around the corner, I tried to avoid spending money on books. However, the things I DID get made me very, very happy. A round of thanks to NetGalley, Disney Hyperion, MacMillan, and Dreamworks! I'm so, so excited!

Miscellaneous Happenings
It's been a big week, but next week's going to be even bigger. BEA OR BUST IN TWO DAYS!!!

Anyways, that's all for my week. How was yours?

Saturday, May 25, 2013


She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.

Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.

But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.
Whether we bloggers like to admit it or not, we sometimes start a book with biases. It's hard not to. I try to avoid reviews of books I know I'm going to read, but word gets around. I sort of stuck Rules on the backburner, because everything I'd heard or read about it had been tepid at best. I've had so many problems this year with uninspiring books, and I just couldn't bring myself to pick it up, despite being thrilled to pieces when it first arrived in my mailbox.

In this case, I think my biases worked in my favor, for while Rules didn't blow me away, I enjoyed myself much more than I thought possible.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cover Love #29

The mad Shōgun Yoritomo has been assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko, and the threat of civil war looms over the Shima Imperium. The Lotus Guild conspires to renew the nation’s broken dynasty and crush the growing rebellion simultaneously – by endorsing a new Shōgun who desires nothing more than to see Yukiko dead.

Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé
rebellion. But Yukiko herself is blinded by rage over her father’s death, and her ability to hear the thoughts of beasts is swelling beyond her power to control. Along with Buruu, Yukiko’s anchor is Kin, the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo’s clutches. But Kin has his own secrets, and is haunted by visions of a future he’d rather die than see realized.

Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun’s palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins.
A waif from Kigen’s gutters begins a friendship that could undo the entire empire. A new enemy gathers its strength, readying to push the fracturing Shima imperium into a war it cannot hope to survive. And across raging oceans, amongst islands of black glass, Yukiko and Buruu will face foes no katana or talon can defeat.

The ghosts of a blood-stained past.

Look at that cover, you guys. LOOK AT IT! I didn't know if the designers could top Stormdancer, BUT THEY HAVE. 

First of all, can we talk about the colors? Whereas Stormdancer was really playing up the blood-red motif, Kinslayer is dark and sinister, but it keeps the creepy splashes of red in Yukiko's clothing. And wowza, Yukiko! That girl looks ready to wreak some serious havoc. I love it when a cover model is rough and tumble, rather than sleek and shiny.

But the best part, in my opinion, is that background. WOW. WOW WOW WOW. Buruu looks positively vicious, and guys, he's fighting a sea monster! A SEA MONSTER! I have a feeling that particular beastie will haunt me in my sleep. As scared as I am to face the inevitable trauma awaiting me in Kinslayer, I am super-excited as well. What a cover. WHAT A COVER!

What do you think of the Kinslayer cover? And what cover are you loving this week?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Top 10 Tuesday - Fave Book Covers Of Books I've Read

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Today's TTT topic is favorite book covers. Thankfully, the gals at TB&tB narrow it down to favorite book covers of books I've actually read, or we'd all be in big trouble. Even still, this was a hard week for me. So many choices! Below are the ten books I've chosen. I've tried to keep explanations to a minimum. Also, if you like this sort of thing, be sure to check out my bi-weekly meme, Cover Love!

Even prettier in person, my lands!
Technically not a good fit for the story itself, but still gorgeous
Captures the tone perfectly, and Will is so hot.
All the covers in this series could have been chosen, but this one's best
The weight, the solemnity, the threat... It's all perfect
Sinister and intriguing
She's coming to EAT ME!!
Breathtaking and exotic
Well, that's all for me. What do you think of these covers, and what covers would you add?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: WILD AWAKE by Hilary T. Smith

Things you earnestly believe will happen while your parents are away:

1. You will remember to water the azaleas.
2. You will take detailed, accurate messages.
3. You will call your older brother, Denny, if even the slightest thing goes wrong.
4. You and your best friend/bandmate Lukas will win Battle of the Bands.
5. Amid the thrill of victory, Lukas will finally realize you are the girl of his dreams.

Things that actually happen:

1. A stranger calls who says he knew your sister.
2. He says he has her stuff.
3. What stuff? Her stuff.
4. You tell him your parents won’t be able to—
5. Sukey died five years ago; can’t he—
6. You pick up a pen.
7. You scribble down the address.
8. You get on your bike and go.
9. Things . . . get a little crazy after that.*
*also, you fall in love, but not with Lukas.

Both exhilarating and wrenching, Hilary T. Smith’s debut novel captures the messy glory of being alive, as seventeen-year-old Kiri Byrd discovers love, loss, chaos, and murder woven into a summer of music, madness, piercing heartbreak, and intoxicating joy.
Once again, I find myself not being entirely sure what to say about a book. As such, this will probably be a short review, though not entirely in a bad way, as is sometimes the case.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Rewind & Review (9)

Here we are at the second weekly Rewind & Review EVER. I hope you all are liking this new timing better. It's certainly a lot easier on me. So yes, check out the stuff that happened over the last week. I went a little review-wild (for me, anyways), and my discussion post at the end of the week got some GREAT comments, so be sure to chime in.

Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

I had a GREAT stuff week this week. My very first Better World Books package arrived this week and brought with it two Ally Carter hardcovers and two highly recommended books - all for $20! Also, Disney and MacMillan tag-teamed to make my review stack nice and sparkly this week. Preeeetty.

Stuff I Bought
  • Sabriel by Garth Nix
  • The Winter Prince by Elizabeth Wein
  • Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
  • Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter

Stuff I Received
  • Alienated by Melissa Landers (from the publisher)
  • An exclusive nine-chapter excerpt of United We Spy by Ally Carter (from the publisher)
  • Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts (Edelweiss)
A big thanks to Better World Books, Disney Hyperion, and MacMillan for my pretties!

This week, I tried to be more cognizant of interesting things floating about on the interwebs. This is by no means a conclusive list, but rather a collection of little things that caught my attention, as well as a few personal notes. Enjoy!

Miscellaneous Happenings
Well, that's my week! If you all have any wrap-up posts of your own, be sure to link up at the top of the page. Also, I'd love to hear all about your week in the comment, so say hello. :)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Author Behavior

A lot has been made about proper and improper author behavior. A lot is being said, and I'm sure the talk will continue for as long as there are authors to talk about. It seems like every week, some author is getting himself or herself in a jam.

Given my area of the universe, I most often hear about authors behaving badly when it comes to negative reviews. There is story after story after story of authors flipping out when their "baby" (their book, not their actual child) is received negatively by reviewers and bloggers.

Posts after post has been written about this subject. Advice has been given by people much wiser than I. Yet authors continue to make dumb choices, and to be honest, I understand why. They're people. They're people with feelings and egos just like the rest of us, and some of them simply don't consider the fact that when they send their books off to be published it is no longer merely their "baby."

But I don't want to rehash all that. Anyone wishing to know how to deal with negative criticism need merely conduct a simple Google search. The advice is out there. Instead, I want to talk about good author behavior and how it has affected me.

I am very fortunate in that I have yet to meet a bad author. I know many of my blogger friends are not so lucky, which makes me all the more grateful. Every author I have interacted with has been, at the very least, professional and polite, while many go above and beyond that simple benchmark.

I was thinking extra-hard about this topic last week as I drove home from the library. With BEA coming up and review copies eyeing me balefully from every corner of my room, I don't really have time to go requesting extra books from the library, but for these two books I made an exception.

Many of my favorite authors will attend BEA at the end of May, and I sincerely long to meet them all. Also attending are Claire LeGrand and Susan Dennard. Ms. LeGrand is responsible for The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, a delightfully squeamish MG, and Ms. Dennard is responsible for Something Strange & Deadly, a historical YA zombie tale. If you fail to see how this ties into author behavior, just hang on for a minute.

I shouldn't have time to read an MG. I am primarily a YA blogger. I also shouldn't have time to read a zombie YA, as this particular book is one I tried to read over a year ago and stopped, as I was in a funk and couldn't click with the book. But for over a year now, I have followed and interacted with both Ms. LeGrand and Ms. Dennard on Twitter. Though I am just a floating pair of glasses and had not read either of their books, they are both unfailingly polite, personable, and accessible. I have watched, and both have handled their criticisms (both good and bad) with aplomb. No blow-ups, no freak-outs, no tirades.

Good author behavior barely makes a blip on anyone's radar, as it is not nearly as sensational as bad author behavior. Good author behavior is also what is expected. It's like applauding someone for washing their hands before dinner. Washing your hands before eating isn't something out of the ordinary.You just do it. And yet when a person is conscientious, professional, and polite, people notice. I notice. Good author behavior has gained both Ms. Dennard and Ms. LeGrand a personal fan, and I hope to soon upgrade my status to a rabid, book-buying fan. In fact, this last weekend I read Cavendish specifically because I like Ms. LeGrand, and I ADORED the book.

In the same way, I interact with both Jessica Khoury and Amy Tintera. Both are debut authors. Both have written books that I've read and reviewed (Origin and Reboot, respectively). Unfortunately, I disliked/failed to connect with both books. They weren't awful books, but I didn't enjoy myself and don't really plan to read either book again. However, when Ms. Khoury and Ms. Tintera inevitably come out with other books, I will at least feel a spark of interest. Why? Good author behavior. Both ladies are - again - polite, personable, and accessible. To my knowledge, neither are drama queens nor prone to tirades or pity parties (at least not in public). I associate only good things with both their names, and as authors, their names are their brands. As such, I will be more likely to pay attention to their books and talk up their work to my customers, my followers, and my friends.

Good author behavior impacts the bottom line. I'm not saying an author has to be my bestie for me to check out his or her books. However, authors who put themselves out there and unfailingly show their best side to the world will gain a larger following as a result. It doesn't matter how good a book is. If I hear that an author is pulling shenanigans, I won't waste my time or money supporting their endeavors.

So authors, treat people as you would like to be treated, both in person and online. And fellow readers, be sure to celebrate good author behavior. Like well-behaved children, our well-behaved authors plug away and watch as the spotlight passes by to shine (however harshly) on their more diabolical counterparts. If you know an author deserving of a friendly pat on the back, perhaps this is the week to do so. In fact, you can start right here.

If you know of an author that has influenced your reading/buying/following habits with their behavior, tell me in the comments!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

2-for-1 Review: POISON STUDY and FURIOUS

Furious by Jill Wolfson 
Three high school girls become the avenging Furies of Greek legend.

We were only three angry girls, to begin with. Alix, the hot-tempered surfer chick; Stephanie, the tree-hugging activist; and me, Meg, the quiet foster kid, the one who never quite fit in. We hardly knew each other, but each of us nurtured a burning anger: at the jerks in our class, at our disappointing parents, at the whole flawed, unjust world.

We were only three angry girls, simmering uselessly in our ocean-side California town, until one day a mysterious, beautiful classmate named Ambrosia taught us what else we could be: Powerful. Deadly. Furious.
With its unnecessary prologue and stereotypical evil foster mom, Furious almost lost me in the very beginning. Fortunately, I did stick around and finish the book. Objectively, what I found was an interesting philosophical study. Subjectively... well, I'll get to that in a second.

What is true justice? Is it the eye-for-an-eye practice of ancient times? Is it the more benevolent justice refined by acts of forgiveness and mercy? How is justice enacted? Who enacts it? It's an interesting puzzle, if a bit muddled in the climax. Ms. Wolfson does a fabulous job of showing the seductive nature of vengeance. At first, vengeance feels right. It might even create something good. Attractive and addictive, the desire for revenge makes the justice-seeker feel powerful and in control. But instead, those who hunger for revenge are no more in charge than a junkie seeking her next fix.

So yes, from a philosophical standpoint, Furious was interesting. However, despite Ms. Wolfson's best efforts, I found I didn't care about the fates of the girls or their victims. I never connected with Meg, and I certainly had nothing in common with vindictive tree-hugger Stephanie or pugilistic surfer Alix. It is for this reason that I have very little to say in this review. However, I urge you all to try it for yourself, for I suspect the story and the characters will connect with you much better than they did with me.

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

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear...
Another short review, this time for a story with wasted potential that made me so very angry. The synopsis sounded incredibly promising, and I know many people across the blogosphere who adore Yelena's story. I was not one of them.

It's so sad. I wanted to join in the magic with everyone else, and at the beginning, I thought I would be able to. The opening of Poison Study was very reminiscent of that of The Thief, one of my favorite books. I also thought the world presented was fascinating. Though a fantasy kingdom, Ixia reads more like a dystopian regime. It is split into numbered military districts and ruled by the all-powerful Commander. However, unlike most dystopian realms, the Commander instills values that we as readers know we should applaud. In Ixia, laws are unbending no matter the circumstances involved, but that also means that bribes and nepotism are unheard of. Gender equality is also strongly encouraged.

My issues, I think, boil down to three main problems. First, I did not connect with Yelena as well as I would have liked. I found her to be inconsistent and almost colorless in places. I also found myself unmoved by the romance presented (though, to be honest, I'm hoping a reread very far in the future may help with that.)

Second, while there were unique aspects within the story, they did not combine to form a story that was unique overall. I was bored. I knew where everything was headed. And even when something did surprise me (hello, Commander tidbit), the surprise lasted only a moment before I was bored again. The stilted dialogue peppered throughout certainly didn't help matters.

Third, and this is the biggie, I was shocked and bothered by the amount of sexual violence present. While I understand that sexual violence must sometimes be tolerated in a book, especially when used as social commentary, that was not the case in Poison Study. It felt like Yelena was being cornered, attacked, assaulted, or otherwise threatened at every turn, past the point of usefulness and well into gratuitousness. I was disgusted and bored.

Once again, many readers disagree with me, so go ahead and check it out for yourself. However, I doubt this one will ever worm its way into my heart.

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday #28

Hosted by Pen to Paper
In addition to the P-38, there are four gifts, one for each of my friends. I want to say good-bye to them properly. I want to give them each something to remember me by. To let them know I really cared about them and I'm sorry I couldn't be more than I was—that I couldn't stick around—and that what's going to happen today isn't their fault.

Today is Leonard Peacock's birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather's P-38 pistol.

But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school's class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.

In this riveting book, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.

Not gonna lie, this one makes me very, very nervous. It's one thing to follow the story of a boy who ultimately commits suicide. That's sad, but somehow bearable. Following the story of a boy planning a murder-suicide, however, is a whole 'nother kettle of fish.

And yet, I'm still interested. I want to know what happens. I want to know what the secrets are. I want to know why the title addresses Leonard despite the book being from Leonard's point of view. I wanna know! And I want to see how Mr. Quick portrays Lauren, the Christian homeschooler. As a Christian who was homeschooled, I'm a stickler about that sort of thing.

What do you think about this book? And what are you wishing for this week?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Review: INSOMNIA by J.R. Johansson

It’s been four years since I slept, and I suspect it is killing me.

Instead of sleeping, Parker Chipp enters the dream of the last person he’s had eye contact with. He spends his nights crushed by other people’s fear and pain, by their disturbing secrets—and Parker can never have dreams of his own. The severe exhaustion is crippling him. If nothing changes, Parker could soon be facing psychosis and even death.

Then he meets Mia. Her dreams, calm and beautifully uncomplicated, allow him blissful rest that is utterly addictive. Parker starts going to bizarre lengths to catch Mia’s eye every day. Everyone at school thinks he’s gone over the edge, even his best friend. And when Mia is threatened by a true stalker, everyone thinks it’s Parker.

Suffering blackouts, Parker begins to wonder if he is turning into someone dangerous. What if the monster stalking Mia is him after all?

I finished this book over twenty-four hours before writing this review, and I'm still flailing. I've been stuck in a DNF rut over my past few reads. Nothing was grabbing me. The books I was reading weren't bad, but I was bored. But from the moment I picked up Insomnia, I was stuck to the page. The voice was authentic and natural, the writing flowed smoothly, and I was interested in the setup from the first paragraph.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Rewind & Review (8)

Welcome one and all to the very first weekly Rewind & Review! Per your votes last month, I've decided to post Rewind & Review more frequently to avoid those snarly bought-books lists that have been weighing me down the past few months. What can I say, I love thrift stores! Of course, anyone who wants to keep their recaps to once a month may do so. Just join in for the last R&R of the month rather than every week.

Some people might wonder, if I'm moving to a weekly meme, why I don't just join an already established meme like Stacking the Shelves or one of the others that cover a similar function as Rewind & Review. Simply, I like my button. I like my style. I like my format. Perhaps I miss out on some of the "exposure" my blog could get my joining others in an established meme, but that's okay. This is for me.

Let's dive straight into it, shall we? To cover what's happened since that last monthly R&R, I have to highlight the last week and a half, but I'm sure it won't be too overwhelming. ;-)

Blog Posts You May Have Missed

I've gotten better at discussion posts, which has been a great relief. I don't want to be a meme-heavy blog. Hopefully, the discussions have been ones that you all have enjoyed. If there's a topic you'd like me to cover, let me know!

Stuff I Received
  • Two Lies and a Spy by Cat Carlton
  • Earthfall by Mark Walden
  • The Year of Shadows by Claire LeGrand
  • Backwards by Todd Mitchell
  • Not a Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis
  • The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
  • The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
Click to enlarge
Stuff I Bought
  • Journey Under the Sea (Choose Your Own Adventure #2) by R.A. Montgomery
  • The Crooked House by Agatha Christie
  • The Under Dog and Other Stories by Agatha Christie
  • Kaiulani: The People's Princess (Royal Diaries)
  • Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie: The Oregon Diary of Hattie Campbell (Dear America)
  • My Heart Is on the Ground: The Diary of Nannie Little Rose, a Sioux Girl (Dear America)
  • Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
  • Anne of the Island (Anne of Green Gables #3) by L.M. Montgomery
  • Rainbow Valley (Anne of Green Gables #7) by L.M. Montgomery
  • Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon
  • Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon
  • Voyager (Outlander #3) by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Akhenaten Adventure (Children of the Lamp #1) by P.B. Kerr
  • A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle #1) by Libba Bray
  • Dogsong by Gary Paulsen
  • Amelia's 6th-Grade Notebook by Marissa Moss
  • The Borrowers Afloat (Borrowers #3) by Mary Norton
  • Aliens Don't Wear Braces (Bailey School Kids #7) by Debbie Dadey
  • Sea Monsters Don't Ride Motorcycles (Bailey School Kids #40) by Debbie Dadey
  • Angels Don't Know Karate (Bailey School Kids #23) by Debbie Dadey
  • Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
Stuff I Won

A big thanks to Jenn, Ashley and Sunny (for going thrift store hunting with me), Candlewick, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster for all my pretties this week!

I'm going to do better at the following section last week, since I just came up with it last night, but here are some of the miscellaneous happenings from the past week, both for me personally and the book world in general.

Miscellaneous Happenings

So there you have it. That's my week! Now it's your turn. How was your week? Anything awesome or awful? Did you get pretty things? Did you conquer a class or embark on something new? I want to hear all about it. :)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cover Love #28

A novel about the end of days full of surprising beginnings 

The world is living in the shadow of oncoming disaster. An asteroid is set to strike the earth in just one week’s time; catastrophe is unavoidable. The question isn’t how to save the world—the question is, what to do with the time that's left? Against this stark backdrop, three island teens wrestle with intertwining stories of love, friendship and family—all with the ultimate stakes at hand.

Alexandra Coutts's TUMBLE & FALL is a powerful story of courage, love, and hope at the end of the world.
If you'd asked me, I would have said that this cover went to a slow-paced, probably angsty contemporary. Modern clothing, a boy nuzzling a girl's neck. Contemporary! And yet I would have been entranced despite myself. I love their outfits, their expressions, the colors, the falling yellow glitter things, the FONT! I love it all.

And then I read that it's about the end of life on Earth (thanks to a rogue asteroid), which I wouldn't have guessed at all from the cover, and yet it fits. The falling sparkles, the way she's staring up, everything fits somehow. And yet the focus always goes back to him and to her, because while the asteroid might be the catalyst, the heart of the story is the relationships.

What do you think of this cover? And what cover are YOU loving this week?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

BEA Goals

If you all know me at all, you know that I like to organize things. I NEED to organize. Lists help me think and function, which is really helpful when it comes to planning for events in my life that incite high levels of emotion. And nothing is currently inciting high levels of emotion in me like BEA 2013.

BEA carries a lot of firsts for me. It will be my first time at a professional conference, first time in NYC, first time rooming with an Australian, first time meeting other people as a blogger, first time interacting face-to-face with publishing professionals, first time out of state on my own. (I've been out of the country all by myself, but never out of the state. It's scarier, somehow.)

I've been reading like a madwoman on different blogs to gather together the best tips and tricks for packing, what to expect when at BEA, what to see in NYC, etc. I've even put together an itinerary of the autograph signings I want to attend and programmed it into my phone, complete with times, locations, and pre-set alarms.

One thing I really need to get on top of, though, are the things that I have to do before I leave (as opposed to once I'm there), so I was super-excited when I came across a BEA Goals post on Hobbitsies. The point of a BEA Goals post is to list all the things that need to be done before leaving for BEA so that they'll be in one place and public, thereby keeping the goal-maker accountable. The biggest point of the post seems to be listing books that the blogger wants to read before going to BEA so that they'll be fresh and ready to dig into whatever books they receive in NYC.

Tara, the creator of Hobbitsies, borrowed the idea from April of Good Books and Good Wine, and I in turn am borrowing it from her.

Books I'd Like to Have Read Before BEA:
  • Furious by Jill Wolfson
  • The Rules For Disappearing by Ashley Elston
  • Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith
  • You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle
  • Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross
  • In the After by Demitria Lunetta
  • Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
  • The Cavendish Home For Boys & Girls by Claire LeGrand
It's not a huge list, but I only read 1-2 books a week, so I'll be pushing it right down to the wire. The first six are review books that release either the month before or the month after BEA. I'd like to have them at least read before I go so that they get their fair shake before I come home with an armload of new review books. The last two are books by authors that I'll hopefully meet at BEA. I've interacted with both authors on Twitter, and they're both ridiculously nice. I've also heard great things about their books, so I want to have them read and firmly cemented in my head so I can gush when I meet the authors in NYC!

Other Things I Need To Do:
  • Create a way to identify myself
  • Design and order business cards
  • Buy more business casual clothes
  • Buy a business card holder
  • Buy a straightener
  • Preschedule posts
  • Print out some resumes (because you just never know!)
  • Make a packing list
  • Make a sightseeing list
As you can see, I've already gotten a head start on this part of my planning. I was worried that it would be hard to find and connect with fellow bloggers at BEA since it's not like anyone knows what I look like, so I ordered a big lapel button with my Twitter avatar on it. Between the familiar picture and my badge (which lists me as "Shelver M."), I figure I have my bases covered. After much whining, complaining, and general anguished flailing, I also designed and ordered business cards.

I need to buy some clothes for the trip, as the unspoken dress code is "business casual" and my wardrobe needs a revamping anyways. [Completed this one in the time between scheduling this post and actually posting it!] I also need a cheap straightener, as I doubt Sunny will let me take hers with me, and my bangs take on a life of their own without proper handling. Prescheduling posts is a must, because while I'll let the blog take a little break while I'm out of town, I'll have to start back up again when I get back, and there's no WAY I'll want to write a week's worth when I get back in town. And I need to have some crisp resumes ready to go, because I do want to make connections while at BEA, and if one of them gets me started in the right direction career-wise, so be it!

And lastly, surprise surprise, I need to make more lists. :)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Top 10 Tuesday: Light/Fun Books

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Normally when I create a list for TTT, I'll write down an answer, then explain myself before moving on to the next answer. This week, I think it's necessary to switch it up. So don't worry, I'm not one of those people who just slaps ten things on a page and calls it a day. Just keep scrolling, my friends.

- Gallagher Girls series* by Ally Carter

- Heist Society series by Ally Carter

- Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot

- Croak by Gina Damico

- The Ghost and the Goth series by Stacey Kade

- The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

- Leviathan series by Scott Westerfield

- The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

- The Princess Academy** by Shannon Hale

- Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

The above ten items are ones that were written down as they popped into my head or were culled form my reviews or physical bookshelf. In putting together this list, I made several interesting observations.

1. Though I enjoy humor and happy things, I tend toward more intense reading materials. My books tend to be dark, intense, harrowing, angsty, scary, or just otherwise not light and happy-go-lucky. I'm okay with that. I like books that deal with deep things and/or keep me glued to the edge of my seat.

2. Apparently, if I do bother to read a light/fun book, it's probably going to be contemporary. Though nearly all have some other bent (paranormal, steampunk, hijinks, whatever), only three books on my list are NOT set in the present day. Of those three, two are set in an alternate version of our past (Leviathan and Etiquette & Espionage) and only one is truly in another world (The Princess Academy).

3. Many of my "happy reads" are either MGs or MG in feel. For instance, Leviathan, The Princess Academy, and Etiquette & Espionage are shelved in YA, but all three felt distinctly MG to me.

4. I really, really like Ally Carter. She makes me happy.

*Note: Though The Gallagher Girls definitely starts out light and fun, the books become progressively darker and more intense.

**Note: The Princess Academy isn't "light," per se, but rather soft and comfortable, like a beautiful fairy tale.

What about you? What are your light and happy reads?

Monday, May 6, 2013

American Girl Nostalgia

There are some days when the English vocabulary seems endless, as if there couldn't be one more word created. Then on other days, it's like there aren't nearly enough words in the world. For instance, what's the word for when you remember a piece of your past that you completely forgot and then it all comes rushing over you in this crashing wave of nostalgia?

Is there a word for that, because I need it. That particular sensation happens to me often. One week it's triggered by old Disney Channel movies like Johnny Tsunami and Smart House. The next, I'm floating in a pool of feelings over the old Nickelodeon Magazines. (Did anyone else enjoy finding Zelda the dog in each issue, or was that just me?)

Two weeks ago, my trigger was the American Girl dolls. There was a big stink about the company shelving the historical dolls in favor of more modern stories like Lainie the gymnast and Saige the organic gardener. Ick. Turns out the article in question was more than a bit sensationalist, but that didn't save me from my trip down memory lane.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Review: TRANSPARENT by Natalie Whipple

Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.

An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.

After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.

Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.
I don't know if I've said this before, but I have a thing for invisible protagonists. I don't know why. Maybe because it's one of the rare superhuman abilities authors choose, or maybe it's just because I feel like there is more opportunity for sneakytimes with an invisible main character. I do love sneakytimes.