Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Miracle by Elizabeth Scott

Miracle by Elizabeth Scott
"Megan is a miracle. At least, that’s what everyone says. Having survived a plane crash that killed everyone else on board, Megan knows she should be grateful just to be alive. But the truth is, she doesn’t feel like a miracle. In fact, she doesn’t feel anything at all. Then memories from the crash start coming back.

Scared and alone, Megan doesn’t know whom to turn to. Her entire community seems unable—or maybe unwilling—to see her as anything but Miracle Megan. Everyone except for Joe, the beautiful boy next door with a tragic past and secrets of his own. All Megan wants is for her life to get back to normal, but the harder she tries to live up to everyone’s expectations, the worse she feels. And this time, she may be falling too fast to be saved...."- summary from Amazon

Elizabeth Scott is such a good author; I love that she can switch between romantic comedies and darker, heavy material. Miracle is the latter and is fantastically written.

I was riveted to Megan's story- it was just so well-written and realistic. I really felt for Megan and whenever I read one of Scott's stories like this (Living Dead Girl, Grace), I get so involved in the story, like I'm actually there. I know nothing about the situations these girls are in, yet reading these books, Scott does a great job showing the reader these situations and how the girls are coping (or not coping).

I really enjoyed the relationship between Megan and Joe and how it grew steadily throughout the book. It's a short book yet Scott did a good job of showing the chemistry and depth between these two.

Overall, another winner for Scott. I can't wait to read what she has coming out next!

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Timepiece by Myra McEntire

Timepiece by Myra McEntire
"Kaleb Ballard was never supposed to be able to see ripples--cracks in time. Are his powers expanding, or is something very wrong? Before he can find out, Jonathan Landers, the man who tried to murder his father, reappears. Why is he back, and what, or whom, does he want?

In the wake of Landers's return, the Hourglass organization is given an ultimatum by a mysterious man. Either they find Landers and the research he has stolen on people who might carry the time gene, or time will be altered--with devastating results for the people Kaleb loves most. Now Kaleb, Emerson, Michael, and the other Hourglass recruits have no choice but to use their extraordinary powers to find Landers. But where do they even start? And when? Even if they succeed, just finding him may not be enough ..."- summary from Amazon

I absolutely loved Hourglass and simply flew through that book and was so excited to read Timepiece. I will say that while I didn't feel the same page-turning intensity I did with Hourglass, this was still a great book.

I think perhaps part of that had to do with Kaleb narrating, and I just didn't feel the same connection I did with Emerson. In fact, most of the time, I forgot he was narrating until he'd mention or talk to Emerson and I'd be like "Why are you talking to yourself, Emerson? ... Oh, right." I don't know why I couldn't grasp that simple fact, but oh well.

But it was nice to see things from Kaleb's perspective and it really fleshed him out. I loved his interactions with Lily and seeing that relationship develop. Seeing his relationships with everyone was really interesting.

We do find out some really interesting things throughout the course of the book and the ending is a total cliffhanger. I must get the third book now!

Overall, while I didn't enjoy this as much as Hourglass, it's still worth a look. If a star rating system were in place, I'd give 3.5 out of 5.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Book Expo America 2012 Recap Part 1

This was my third year going up to BEA and it was the best one yet! I woke up VERY early Monday morning to take the train up to New York City. I meant to get a bunch of reading done since my e-galley of Timepiece by Myra McEntire was going to expire in a few days, but instead I spent the vast majority of my time checking email and on Twitter.

I did however finish Don't Breathe a Word and got a good chunk of Timepiece read. I arrived in NYC on time and stopped at the McDonald's in Penn Station for a quick bite. I was going to be meeting my friend Susan (Wastepaper Prose) at Penn Station to help me walk to my hotel but she got held up. I found the hotel REALLY easily and that gave me confidence that I could actually find things in NYC by myself. I checked in with no problem and then hung around the room a bit before heading to Scholastic. I did have to ask the concierge how to get there by subway though because I had no idea. He was very nice and helpful and gave me a subway map with directions.

Now, I left the hotel around 5 for the Scholastic event at 6 because I wasn't sure how long the train ride would be. Guess when I arrived at Scholastic? 5:20. Both subway stops were like right next to my locations and there were only 4 stops in between. So I entered and wandered around the Scholastic shop for a bit, but you can only do that for so long.

Around 5:35, I just went back to the lobby and stood around, fiddling with my phone trying to look busy. Eventually, my friend Rachael (Book Muncher) came by and we chatted a bit before heading up to the event.

Like last year, it was held on the Greenhouse level, which is absolutely gorgeous and I wish I had gotten a picture of the view. But it basically overlooks Soho and at evening time, it's simply beautiful with the sun setting. They had set out popcorn, cookies, pastries, and cotton candy as well as drinks. I grabbed some food and drink and attempted to mingle. As Rachael and I came to realize later, we're not good at mingling when we don't know anybody.

I did however get to see publicists Sheila Marie, Becky, and Charisse, who introduced me to James Dashner (who I think is pretty darn cute). Surprisingly, James actually remembered me from his BEA signing two years ago because he had mispronounced my blog name as "Book Chick" not "Chic" and asked why I had "chick" when I was a guy. His publicist informed him of the correct pronounciation and he felt silly. But it was a funny story and, honestly? All too common. Ah well. We had a nice little chat and then we separated to mingle with other people.

I also talked to Maggie Stiefvater about our train rides; I thought it would be awesome if we ended up on the same train up to NYC, but alas, we were on different routes. I ran into Donna Cooner, author of Skinny, and chatted with her a bit about her book and how I can't wait to read it.

I also talked with some bloggers, like Mitali and Erica, and it was so good to see some familiar faces! Eventually though, it was time for the presentation to begin. I loved what they did this year. There were 8 authors presenting and they were broken up into two groups of four.

Each author got a chance to talk about their book and then the whole group would read a scene from it. It was a lot of fun and I loved some of the authors' interpretations of the words and character actions. By which I mean, I enjoyed seeing Maggie fall down several times during the James Dashner reading of The Infinity Ring where she played two characters, and when I say she fell down, she FELL DOWN. Completely committed to it, especially when the two characters she played landed on each other during an earthquake. She deserved an Oscar.

Anyway, after the event, I snagged a quick picture with James Dashner and then I headed out to Junior's Cheesecake where I met up with my roommates, all of whom I had never met before, as well as Susan and her posse. Here's the complete list of people who were there: Susan, Miranda, Jess, Kat, Jessica, Stacey, Emily, Yara, Allison, and Wes. You can also check out this video to see us at Junior's (thanks Emily!)! It was an AWESOME time and I loved meeting new people and seeing old friends and talking about books. I want to do that every night!!

Afterward, we parted ways and my roommates and I got distracted by Ricky Martin coming out from the Marriott as well as Obama driving by around the corner. We eventually made it back to the hotel and prepared for the first day of BEA, which involved asking me a lot of questions since I'd been twice before. I love answering questions so I enjoyed it. Finally, around midnight or so, we got into bed and slept.

To see more pics, go to my Facebook album for it! If the link doesn't work, let me know!

Pic 1- My view after getting out of Penn Station
Pic 2- A view of the Scholastic store
Pic 3- Rachael eating ALL the cotton candy! (Actually, the one on the right is mine.)
Pic 4- Raina Telgemeier, Jeff Hirsch, Kate Messner, Donna Cooner (Raina's book is on the screen)
Pic 5- Maggie Stiefvater, Eliot Schrefer, Sharon Cameron, James Dashner
Pic 6- James Dashner and I!
Pic 7- Outside of Junior's.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

In My Mailbox- Weeks of June 10 and 17 + Retrospective

I have a vlog and a picture this week. Below the list of books shown in the vlog is the picture of the books I got the week of June 10.

Books Shown:

Feedback by Robison Wells (ARC, Oct 2012)
One Shot Away: A Wrestling Story by T. Glen Coughlin (ARC, Oct 2012)
Breathe by Sarah Crossan (ARC, Oct 2012)
Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson (ARC, Oct 2012)
Through to You by Emily Hainsworth (ARC, Oct 2012)
From What I Remember... by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas (hardcover, May 2012)
Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot (paperback, July 2012)
Sophie's Mixed Up Magic: Wishful Thinking and Under a Spell by Amanda Ashby (paperbacks, May 2012; signed!)
Outpost by Ann Aguirre (ARC, Oct 2012)
Homesick by Kate Klise (ARC, Sept 2012)
Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride (ARC, Sept 2012)
Have a Nice Day by Julie Halpern (ARC, Oct 2012)
Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown (hardcover, June 2012)
The Master of Misrule by Laura Powell (hardcover, June 2012)
Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson (hardcover, June 2012)
Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel (hardcover, June 2012)
The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando (hardcover, June 2012)
Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer (hardcover, June 2012)
A Want So Wicked by Suzanne Young (hardcover, June 2012)
I Hate Everyone... Starting With Me by Joan Rivers (hardcover from library, June 2012)
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews (hardcover from library, May 2012)

Books Shown:
Eve and Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant (ARC, Sept 2012)
Rapture by Lauren Kate (ARC, June 2012)
Zoe Letting Go by Nora Price (hardcover, June 2012)
Rift by Andrea Cremer (ARC, August 2012)

and here's my retrospective:

Monday- I posted about how I'm cutting back on blogging and going to focus more on writing.

Tuesday- I took part in the Sirenz Back in Fashion blog tour where I reviewed the book and interviewed the author.

Wednesday- Meagan Spooner stopped by the blog to talk about what to do with ARCs when you're done reading them.

Friday- I celebrated my 5 years of blogging!

Friday, June 22, 2012

5th Year Blogiversary Post

Can you believe it? It's been 5 years!! Well, as of tomorrow. It's been such a fun ride and I love blogging so much. While I am cutting back on my blogging, it doesn't mean that I don't love it any less. I wish I could post every day with reviews 3 times a week but it's just not possible with my current schedule and goals.

But anyway, let's focus on the good stuff. In the past 5 years, I've:

- been quoted on/in three books: Invisible Touch by Kelly Parra (inside), Going Bovine by Libba Bray (on back of paperback as GuysLitWire), and Forever Summer by Alyson Noel (on back of book as Book Chic). It's thrilling to see my words and blog name in print on the back of or inside these awesome books.

- been to BEA 3 times (recap of this year's to start soon!), and ALA and RWA once. Every conference I go to is a blast and I love meeting fellow bloggers as well as awesome authors and publicists. It's also fun to be recognized, whether it's fellow bloggers who are fans of my blog or authors (Jennifer Echols literally yelled my name and waved at me at RWA during the literacy signing).

- done interviews and guest blogs and vlogs for authors and bloggers. You can go to my About Me page for links to all of them (it will be updated soon with 3 new interviews, so come back). I love doing these, so if you ever need someone, let me know!

- reviewed over 500 books! I don't know the exact number since I've been very lazy in updating my review page, but I do believe it is getting fairly close to 600. :)

- had some amazing experiences with authors, such as Maggie Stiefvater doodling in my copy of Shiver and it's now my header and on my business cards! There's also been Diana Peterfreund treating me to lunch (McDonald's but still!), Lisa McMann giving me $5, and having dinner at Shake Shack with Susane Colasanti and Elizabeth Eulberg which was totally unplanned and coincidental!

- made friends with some really wonderful bloggers, including Susan (Wastepaper Prose), Emily (Emily's Reading Room), Meaghan (A Bookworm's Haven), Kristi (The Story Siren), Cat (Beyond Books), Devyn, John (Dreaming in Books), Brent (Naughty Book Kitties), Pam (Bookalicious), Mitali, Lynsey (Narratively Speaking) and so many more.

- been a very lucky guy. There's a lot of blogs out there, especially now, and I'm extremely grateful to all my readers for staying with me and commenting as well as the authors and publishers who supply me with my reading material. It amazes me still that I'm able to get advance copies of books and I don't think that will ever change. I get so excited whenever a package appears on my doorstep or in my mailbox. This blogging journey has been so much fun, and I hope it continues for years to come.

Here's to 5 years (and 5 more!)!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Blog Tour- Guest Blog by Meagan Spooner (Skylark)

What to do with ARCs once you’ve read them!

In the wake of BEA, and as ALA comes upon us, my brain’s been lingering on the subject of ARCs, or Advance Reader Copies. They’re in such high demand—at the end of the YA Editors’ Buzz Panel at BEA this year, for example, there was a rush for the ARCs at the back that resulted in more than one (thankfully minor!) injury here and there. At the Lerner Booth where I spent much of my own time, we ran out of every single advance copy of SKYLARK that we brought. At other booths, folks would line up as much as an hour in advance before the ARC “drops,” when publishers would release a new stash of highly sought-after ARCs.

And now, bloggers everywhere are talking all about the books they brought home—I’ve seen counts totaling upwards of 200 ARCs! Which, to me, begs the question: what do you do with all those books after you’ve read them?

They’re not intended for resale, so you can’t trade them at used bookstores or on sites like PaperbackSwap.com. You can’t donate them to public libraries, either. But if you want to support the author by buying the finished copy when it comes out, you’ll end up with two copies—and that takes up valuable shelf space! So what to do with those stacks of ARCs once you’re done devouring them?
Here are some ideas!

1. Give them away. This is probably the best thing you can do in terms of building buzz for the book. If you enjoyed it, consider offering it in a giveaway on your own site or blog! It’ll pull in traffic for you, and generate buzz for the book. ARCs are meant to be reviewed, and they’re expensive for the publisher to produce, so the more people who review each ARC, the better.

Reading Teen has an awesome recurring feature called Second Hand Saturday, in which they put their entire back catalogue of ARCs they’ve acquired on offer. Commenting on the post gets you an entry, and the winner gets to pick one of their huge listing of ARCs they’re done with.

2. Donate them. I struggled for a while to find anywhere that would take my ARCs—I tried to trade them in at my local used bookstore, but they wouldn’t even take them for free because they couldn’t legally resell them. I tried the public library, but they’re not allowed to put ARCs on their shelves either. So, where do you go? Here’s a quick list of some places to donate!

a. Schools! This is my favorite. School libraries are allowed to have ARCs on their shelves, as well as individual teachers. And many amazing teachers keep a classroom library stocked with a wide variety of books to encourage kids to read, often purchased with their own money. Help them create a new generation of book lovers!

b. Juvenile detention facilities. This is, in particular, for YA fiction—prisons in general are a great place to donate ARCs of adult fiction.

c. Books for Soldiers. I found out about this one from YA Highway, which has a fantastic post on things you can do with ARCs, including many more places to donate. Books for Soldiers is pretty self-explanatory—registering for the site lets you browse through book requests from soldiers posted in places where their access to new reading materials is limited.

3. Recycle them. This one makes my heart ache just thinking about it—throw away a book? NEVER! But the truth is that ARCs weren’t made to last forever. They’re usually cheaply bound, and after a few reads they tend to start falling apart. Just make sure that if you throw them out, you recycle them so all that paper doesn’t go to waste.

4. Keep them forever and ever and ever and… Yeah, okay, I have a couple ARCs that you’ll have to pry out of my cold, dead hands. I keep them for sentimental value, despite having since purchased the finished versions of them. They’re books I want to have so I can say “I read this when…” because I loved them so much I know they’re going to be huge someday. And that’s totally okay. Just, you know, you probably don’t want to do that with every ARC you get, or you’re gonna need to buy a second house just to fill with your reader copies!

The important thing to note here is that you shouldn’t try to sell them, whether on eBay or Craigslist, or by passing it off as a finished copy to a used bookstore. We all love books here—that’s not really a question, in this community! So why not share the love, and get books into the hands of others who love books too?

Meagan Spooner grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a degree in playwriting, and has spent several years since then living in Australia. She's traveled with her family all over the world to places like Egypt, South Africa, the Arctic, Greece, Antarctica, and the Galapagos, and there's a bit of every trip in every story she writes.

She currently lives and writes in Northern Virginia, but the siren call of travel is hard to resist, and there's no telling how long she'll stay there. 

In her spare time she plays guitar, plays video games, plays with her cat, and reads.
She is the author of SKYLARK, coming out August 1 from Carolrhoda Lab/Lerner Books. She is also the co-author of THESE BROKEN STARS, forthcoming from Disney-Hyperion in Fall 2013.

You can find her on the web at http://www.meaganspooner.com as well as on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Blog Tour- Sirenz Back in Fashion by Natalie Zaman and Charlotte Bennardo

Sirenz Back in Fashion by Natalie Zaman and Charlotte Bennardo
"In Sirenz, boarding school roomies Meg and Shar learned the hazards of making a deal with Hades, Lord of the Underworld. The wearing of a Tiffany's diamond ring in Sirenz Back In Fashion reactivates their contract, they find themselves back in his employ as sirens. And things are a little different this time; Shar is whisked off to the Underworld to play hostess as the dark god attempts to win her affections, while Meg is stuck topside, obligated to send spoiled rich girl Paulina Swanson to the Underworld. Hot gods, mere mortals and the Underworld have their secrets. Will Meg and Shar ever ditch Hades, and keep their wardrobes and souls intact?"- summary provided by author

I absolutely loved the first book Sirenz and the sequel is just as good, if not better. It was such a pleasure to read and get back into Meg and Shar's world. They're wonderful characters and I love that the chapters flip flop between their perspectives, especially since in this book, they spend most of it separated.

The humor also makes the book zip on by; any story with a good amount of humor gets my attention. I was laughing out loud multiple times during the book, especially the interactions between Shar and Hades. The inclusion of the various gods and goddesses with their larger-than-life personalities throughout the book is just such fun to read.

Overall, if you haven't checked out this series, please do! It's amazing, funny, and there's some great adventures. Perfect for the beach or pool this summer!

and here's my interview with Natalie and Charlotte:

1) How did you two get the idea for the Sirenz series? Is it difficult to co-write the books?

Originally Sirenz was supposed to be a vampire novel, but seeing how many lined the shelves, we wanted something less visited, and 'siren' popped up when we were reminiscing about Xena Warrior Princess.

It's only difficult to co-author if you don't set the ground rules first; which ranks higher--book or friendship, how will you resolve your differences on edits and direction, and can you block where you put the sharp objects when disagreements arise.

2) Will there be more Sirenz books after the third? Or will you guys move on to other co-written or solo projects?

We planned four books in the series (with the possibility of more), but will have to wait to see how Sirenz Myth Appropriated shakes out since it's going right to e-book. We are both working on a number of other projects, both solo and co-authoring, which are in varying stages of planning, writing, revisions and on submission. We'll keep you posted!

3) What is your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor?

Nat: Sizzling Cinnamon :) I really need to try the Unbearably Hot Cinnamon Bears...

Char: Amaretto!

4) What book(s) are you currently reading, or are about to start?

Nat: My Favorite Dress, coauthored and curated by Gity Monsef, Samantha Erin Safer and Robert de Niet, A Vintage Tea Party Book by Angel Adoree (The Jubilee is upon us!) and Chime by Franny Billingsley. Wow, just... wow.

Char: I'm reading Innocent Darkness (ARC) by Suzanne Lazear, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, and Underworld by Meg Cabot (I like to juggle depending on my mood and which is at hand.)

To find out more about Charlotte and Natalie, click on their names. For more on the Sirenz series, click here.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Meandering Monday- Blog Update

This is just a short update that I wanted to post. I've been thinking a lot lately about my blogging, especially while I was at BEA and networking with everyone and talking about blogging.

So you know that I took a break just like two months ago, and I won't be taking another break but I will be cutting back on my posting. My plan is just to post Mon/Wed/Fri with the occasional In My Mailbox on Sunday. Monday will be Meandering Monday still, and then Wed and Fri will be reviews (maybe the occasional Cat Friday).

This week is a bit weird though because I agreed to a blog tour when I still had the previous layout of reviews on Tu/Th/Sat, so this week will have 4 posts. But after this, it'll be on a MWF schedule.

I'm doing this because I need to focus on my writing. I had a plan to be done with two novels (first drafts obviously) by the end of June. As of right now, I am only 11,000 words into one novel most of which was written last year. Because here's the thing, I would say to myself "Oh, once I get ahead in my reviews, I can focus more on my writing." Yeah, I never really got around to that because I was trying to do at least 6 posts a week with 3 of them being reviews.

So I'm hoping that with this new schedule, I can easily be staying ahead on my reviews while also making some great progress on my writing. I'm really excited about this novel (and everyone I tell seems to love the idea too) and so want to keep working on it daily (or at least M-F) until it's done. I'll be doing some tweeting about my writing progress so keep an eye out for that.

Anyway, I hope you'll all continue to keep coming here and commenting. I absolutely love my readers and am very grateful to all of you because you keep me going. It was such a fantastic feeling to have people come up to me at BEA (or recognize me in a signing line) and say how much they loved my blog. Thank you.

Wish me luck!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Don't Breathe A Word by Holly Cupala

Don't Breathe A Word by Holly Cupala
"Joy Delamere is suffocating.

From asthma, from her parents, and from her boyfriend, Asher, who is smothering her from the inside out. She can take his cruel words, his tender words . . . until the night they go too far.

To escape, Joy sacrifices her suburban life to find the one who offered his help, a homeless boy called Creed. He introduces her to a world of fierce loyalty, to its rules of survival, and to love—a world she won’t easily let go."- summary from Amazon

Wow. That's about all I have to say about this book. Cupala did such an amazing job handling the emotional abuse, homelessness, the romance, becoming stronger that it just felt like such an effortless book. Nothing was forced here, and I couldn't put the book down.

I also liked that things were revealed slowly and it flashes back and forth between the present (with Joy running away) and the past (when Joy meets and dates Asher). The past part is done pretty much chronologically, so we don't find out the inciting incident for her running away until much later in the book. It was an interesting way of telling the story.

The small homeless family that Joy gets involved with (Creed, May, and Santos) made a big impact with me. Their trials and tribulations, their secrets, their occasional moments of joy- Cupala did a fantastic job creating these characters, making them fleshed out and memorable. I particularly liked Santos. Creed, of course, is in his own realm of greatness too. But every character in this book made me feel something and I was completely invested in all of them.

Overall, this is definitely a book to pick up and I urge everyone to read it. It has a powerful message told through this beautiful, heart-wrenching story. Cupala is fast becoming one of my very favorite authors.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hollyweird by Terri Clark

Hollyweird by Terri Clark
"My best friend, Des, and I totally freaked when we won the contest to meet THE Dakota Danvers in Hollywood. But now we’re finding out he’s SO not the angel everyone believes him to be. In fact, Dakota is the son of Satan, wreaking havoc on Hollywood and creating an evil army hellbent on world domination.

Lucky for us, Dakota’s super-cute personal assistant, Jameson, is a fallen angel trying to get his wings back, and he’s working undercover to squash his demon boss’s plan. If Jameson hadn’t taken me under his wing I’d be in serious trouble, because I’m a total newb when it comes to conquering evil. But, truth be told, that sexy angel’s got me all aflutter and may be one temptation I can’t resist."- summary from Amazon

I absolutely loved Clark's debut Sleepless and have been looking forward to a new book from her for years! Finally, we have a second book and it's such a fun, paranormal read which is hard to find. I loved the humor in this book though it never detracted from the serious nature of what Dakota was doing.

Aly was a great main character and I loved her voice, but I especially loved her friend Des and their interactions together. Clark did a good job making their very close friendship show. I also really enjoyed seeing them give into temptations, which I probably shouldn't but I did anyway.

Overall, the book was really fun to read and I think it's the perfect summer read to bring with you to the pool or just your backyard. I really hope Clark doesn't take too long between books this time because I definitely need more of her witty writing!

FTC: Received e-galley via Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Meg Cabot Story: A Meg-A-Readers Blog Hop Post

My Meg story starts about 10 or so years ago. I saw The Princess Diaries movie and absolutely loved it, but it took me a while before I found my way to the book. There was actually a time where I wasn't much of a reader and like all I read was V.C. Andrews and Terry Pratchett.

Eventually I did find my way to the Princess Diaries series but since I had no idea how book-to-film adaptations worked (and also thought the first book was in prose, for some reason, and I didn't like that, I guess), I skipped the first book and started with the second. I was in for quite the change. But even so, I LOVED it and continued reading all of Meg's books that were out at that time and kept tabs on her upcoming books, buying each new release the day it came out. In 2004, I joined Meg's new book forums and have been a member of it since then and that broadened my perspective on reading, giving me more new authors to read like Louise Rennison, Rachel Vail, and Michele Jaffe.

In 2007, I started this blog a month before Meg's stand alone release Jinx came out and I wanted to interview her to help promote the release, though she doesn't really need promoting. I emailed her a month before I wanted to post the interview because I knew she'd be busy. She replied less than 48 hours later, saying yes and also offering an advance copy of Jinx. I, being new to this whole blogging thing, was like "Oh no, I'm just a regular person. I'll buy the book." But she was having none of it, saying that ARCs were for people like me (i.e. bloggers/reviewers). I'm not gonna argue with Meg, so I gave her my address. She ended up sending me all her 2007 summer releases and lots of swag- it was my first package as a blogger. Meg continues to be a champion for bloggers and I absolutely love that she values all that we do.

Since then, we've kept in touch (I've interviewed her like 3 more times) and I absolutely love that I can email with one of my favorite authors. We've met in person twice, once in 2005 at the National Book Festival and the other time last year at a Scholastic blogger event. It was fantastic having Meg recognize me immediately and give me a hug. It was amazing to chat with her in person and we got a picture together, which made me happy!

Meg Cabot has been a huge influence on me and I cannot thank her enough. My life would've been so different without her books and support. Meg, you're an inspiration and I hope you continue writing books for a long time to come!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

In My Mailbox- BEA Edition

I have two parts of my BEA haul- so many books! I also didn't realize that I was holding the books too high- sorry!

Books Shown:

Beta by Rachel Cohn (signed)
The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
Once Every Never by Lesley Livingston (signed; thanks to Cindy of Cindy's Love of Books!)
Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible by Tim Gunn (signed sampler)
Skylark by Meagan Spooner (signed)
The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison (signed)
When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle (signed)
Burn for Burn by Siobhan Vivian and Jenny Han
Daylight Saving by Edward Hogan
Freakling by Lana Krumwiede
Gold Medal Summer by Donna Freitas
Devine Intervention by Martha Brockenbrough
The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Matched by Ally Condie
Stella Batts #1 and 2 by Courtney Sheinmel (#2 signed)
Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr
Demon Eyes by Scott Tracey (signed)
The Blessed by Tonya Hurley (signed)
Venom by Fiona Paul
Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear (signed)
Drink Slay Love by Sarah Beth Durst (signed)

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick
Rift by Andrea Cremer (signed)
The Future We Left Behind by Mike A. Lancaster
Hourglass by Myra McEntire (signed)
Narc by Crissa-Jean Chappell (signed)
Ferocity Summer by Alissa Grosso
Flock by Wendy Delsol (signed)
Prodigy by Marie Lu (signed)
Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate (signed)
The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer (signed)
The Diviners by Libba Bray (signed)
Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger (signed)
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth (signed)
Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (signed)
False Memory by Dan Krokos (signed)
Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone (signed)
The Innocents by Lili Peloquin (thanks Emily of Emily's Reading Room!)
Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Adaptation by Malinda Lo (signed)
Origin by Jessica Khoury
Eternally Yours by Cate Tiernan
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken (signed)
Fathomless by Jackson Pearce (signed)
The Art of Men (I Prefer Mine Al Dente) by Kirstie Alley (signed postcard)
Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt
Redemption by Veronique Launier

3 Below by Patrick Carman
Willow Springs by Toni Blake
And When She Was Gone by Laura Lippman
Welcome Back to Pietown by Lynne Hinton
And Laughter Fell From the Sky by Jyotsna Sreenivasan
Because Sometimes You Just Gotta Draw a Cover With Your Left Hand: A Pearls Before Swine Collection by Stephan Pastis (signed; not shown)

Monday, June 4, 2012

BEA Fun!

I will be at Book Expo America this week so there will be no posts unfortunately! But when I get back, I'll have tons to tell you. I'm so excited to be going.

If you're going, I hope to see you there!! I'll be on the BEA floor every day and then in the evenings, I have a Scholastic party on Monday night, Teen Author Carnival and a Little, Brown party Tuesday night, and then an Author/Blogger Rooftop Party on Wednesday night.

If you're not going, be sure to check out Armchair BEA for tons of awesome stuff (including giveaways!!)!

See you next week!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

In My Mailbox- Week of May 27 + Retrospective

I did a vlog this week to show off all my pre-BEA books so that when I get back from BEA, the video will only be 16 minutes long instead of 20 minutes. :) Enjoy!

Books Shown:

Beach Colors by Shelley Noble (paperback, June 2012)
Dreamless by Josephine Angelini (hardcover, May 2012)
Arise by Tara Hudson (hardcover, May 2012)
The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson (hardcover, May 2012)
Until I Die by Amy Plum (hardcover, May 2012)
Insurgent by Veronica Roth (hardcover, May 2012)
The Turning by Francine Prose (ARC, Sept 2012)
Glass Heart by Amy Garvey (ARC, Sept 2012)
Ten by Gretchen McNeil (ARC, Sept 2012)
Crown of Embers by Rae Carson (ARC, Sept 2012)
The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox (ARC, Sept 2012)
Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs (ARC, Sept 2012)
Fang Girl by Helen Keeble (ARC, Sept 2012)
What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang (ARC, Sept 2012)
The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini (ARC, Sept 2012)
Hidden by Sophie Jordan (ARC, Sept 2012)
A Fractured Light by Jocelyn Davies (ARC, Sept 2012)
All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin (paperback, June 2012)
Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin (ARC, Sept 2012)
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield (ARC, July 2012)
Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn (ARC, June 2012)
No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz (hardcover, May 2012)
Rescue Me by Rachel Gibson (paperback, May 2012)
Destined by Aprilynne Pike (hardcover, May 2012)
Arranged by Catherine McKenzie (paperback, May 2012)
The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee (ARC, July 2012)
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (hardcover, June 2012)
Ascendent by Diana Peterfreund (paperback, June 2012)
Delirium by Lauren Oliver (paperback, February 2012)
The Selection by Kiera Cass (hardcover, April 2012)
Rivals by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur (hardcover, March 2012)
The Fame Game by Lauren Conrad (hardcover, April 2012)
Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris (hardcover, April 2012)
Summer and the City by Candace Bushnell (paperback, March 2012)
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (hardcover, March 2012)

and here's my retrospective:

Tuesday- I reviewed Another Jekyll, Another Hyde by Daniel and Dina Nayeri, which is out in stores now!

Thursday- I reviewed Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti, which is out in stores now!

Saturday- I reviewed The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, which is out in stores now!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
"Some race to win. Others race to survive.

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.

Some riders live.

Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn't given her much of a choice. So she enters the competition - the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen."- summary from Amazon

So I read this book in a weird way- the first half on audio, then finishing with my ARC because I had to take the audiobook back to the library. But it was a nice way. I keep meaning to listen to Stiefvater's books on audio and I heard such wonderful things about this one, I decided to give it a try. I really thought the voice actors did a great job reading the book. I seriously felt as if I were there, which in part is due to Stiefvater's atmospheric prose. Both actors did their respective parts well (I particularly enjoyed hearing the Sean narrator say "Sean" at the beginning of each of his chapters- I know, weird.) and kept the secondary characters' voices consistent throughout the book. The audio is definitely worth a look; plus, there's music by and an interview with Stiefvater included.

Reading the book was different. It was interesting seeing all the names and places that I'd heard spelled out in front of me. I did still feel the same way though, as if I were there on Thisby with these characters following their story. Stiefvater did a great job writing both Puck and Sean and I liked seeing their perspectives on the same events. I also liked their relationship- it felt natural with how slow it moved and what eventually ended up happening. It was handled really well.

I will say though that this book took me like a month to read/listen to because I just didn't feel compelled to read on. I was interested while I was reading, but it wasn't necessarily an appointment book for me. So that's a bit of a drawback.

Overall though, a good standalone effort from Stiefvater.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher (at BEA last year!); audiobook came from local library. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.