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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Giveaway & Excerpt: PERSEPHONE by Kaitlin Bevis

I'm not sure how it always works out this way, but it seems like every time I'm gearing up for a blog event, I have a ton of giveaways on the blog right before it starts - one went up on Monday for Sink or Swim, and now I'm back with another (and there are more to come before AIA begins!).
This time, though, the giveaway is based in mythology, which anyone who's spent any length of time with me will know, I'm a tad bit obsessed with. And when it comes to the story of Persephone? Well, that one's a long-time fave!
Today we're taking a closer look at that tale with the aptly titled Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis; below you'll find an excerpt of her mythological take, and below that, you can enter to win a copy!

Check it out:

The branch crashed in front of me, scraping my legs. I ran for the parking lot as fast as I could. The frost closed in, surrounding me. I’d never been claustrophobic, but as the frost cut off my escape path with a solid white wall, I panicked.
Fog rolled in, like cold death, cutting off my view of the park. It curled around me, brushing against my face, arms, and legs. I turned back to the tree and ran faster, my dress tangling between my legs as the fog and icy wind blew against my skin.
The parking lot is the other way! my mind screamed. The other way was cut off by a mountain of ice. I felt as if I was being herded. By ice?
I slipped on the icy ground, falling face first into the frost. Ice crept up my toes and along my legs. I thrashed and screamed. I felt the fog becoming a solid mass above me, pinning me to the ground. The ice piled around me. Am I going to be buried alive?
I dug my nails into the frigid snow in front of me and tried to claw my way out of the frosted death trap. I was so panicked I didn’t feel it when my nails broke against the impenetrable wall of ice, leaving red crescents of blood welling up on sensitive skin. An hysterical sob worked its way out of my throat as I gouged red lines into the ice. The ice was above my knees, snaking its way up my thighs. I shivered.
Shivering’s good, I reminded myself. It means your body hasn’t given up…yet. The cold was painful, like a thousand little knives pricking my skin. A violent tremor went up my spine, sending waves of pain through me.
“Help me!” I screamed, knowing it was futile. I was going to die here.
Except I couldn’t die. Could I? Mom said I was immortal, but was that all-inclusive? Did I have a weakness? Was snow my Kryptonite? If I got hurt, would I heal or would I be trapped in an injured body in pain forever?
I suddenly didn’t know if immortality was a good thing or a bad thing. The cold hurt. I was kicking, screaming, and clawing my way out of the frost, but for every inch I gained a mountain piled around me. I thought I heard a man’s laughter on the wind, the sound somehow colder than the ice freezing me into place.
The ground before my outstretched hand trembled. The shaking increased. The earth lurched beneath me. The surface cracked and the sound was so loud that for a moment all I could hear was high-pitched ringing in my ears. The ground split into an impossibly deep crevice. My voice went hoarse from screaming as I peered into the endless abyss, trapped and unable to move away from the vertigo-inducing edge.

Win a copy of Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis!
Fill out the Rafflecopter below to be entered to win a copy of this modern take on the story of Persephone. Winner will receive 1 ebook in their choice of format. Ends August 8th at midnight EST.
Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis
Get It | Add It
Mythology/Fantasy, 237 pages
Published July 6th 2012 by Musa Publishing
There are worse things than death, worse people too.

The “talk” was bad enough, but how many teens get told that they’re a goddess? When her mom tells her, Persephone is sure her mother has lost her mind. It isn’t until Boreas, the god of winter, tries to abduct her that she realizes her mother was telling the truth. Hades rescues her, and in order to safely bring Persephone to the Underworld he marks her as his bride. But Boreas will stop at nothing to get Persephone. Despite her growing feelings for Hades, Persephone wants to return to the living realm. Persephone must find a way to defeat Boreas and reclaim her life.


Kaitlin Bevis spent her childhood curled up with a book, and a pen. If the ending didn't agree with her, she rewrote it. She's always wanted to be a writer, and spent high school and college learning everything she could so that one day she could achieve that goal. She graduated college with my BFA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing, and is pursuing her masters at the University of Georgia.

Her young adult series "Daughters of Zeus" is available wherever ebooks are sold. She also writes for truuconfessions.com and Athens Parent Magazine.

Find her on:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Excerpt & Giveaway: SINK OR SWIM by Jamie Canosa | Blog Tour

Today I have an excerpt of the recently released contemporary New Adult book, Sink or Swim, from Jamie Canosa! So if you crave contemp. books in the summer (like me), and you're finding yourself in need of a summer read, then check out the excerpt below, and then enter to win a copy!


Allie Porter. Allie Porter was back in town. Well, hell.

He hadn’t seen hide nor hair of that girl in six damn months. Not a word. Not a friggin’ whisper. Nothing.

He’d heard about her mother a few weeks back, right after she’d been diagnosed. Small town news travels fast. And he’d wondered. It was the kind of town that people didn’t leave often. But when they did, they took off and never looked back. That’s exactly what Allie had done. Or so he’d thought. But then there she was, standing in her driveway and looking none too happy to be there.

How she even found out about her mama he had no idea. As far as he knew, her folks didn’t have any better idea where she’d gone than he did. But somehow she was back. Like magic.

Or a curse.

Christ, that girl. He’d made every mistake there was to make with that girl. The day she left, he’d made the biggest idiot mistake of them all. He’d told her exactly how he felt. Said those three little words that he knew would change everything. Just not how he had hoped. He’d opened his heart to her and watched as she walked right in and tore it out. It wasn’t even that she didn’t say it back. It wasn’t even that she’d broken up with him. No, not her. Not Allie. She’d run. For the fucking hills. As far from him as she could get. Those three little words had driven her right out of town.

SINK OR SWIM by Jamie Canosa
Contemporary/New Adult, 209 pages
Published July 21st 2013
Get It | Add It

There are some things you just can't walk away from.

When sleeping in vacant warehouses and dark alleys becomes preferable to living at home, something is seriously wrong. But when word reaches Allie that her mother is facing a life threatening illness, she has no choice but to return to the place of nightmares. Leaving wasn't a choice, it was a necessity, and if returning hadn't been equally necessary, Allie never would have set foot back inside that hell-hole.

Dean is no stranger to hardship, but the day Allie walked out of his life, taking his heart right along with her, was hands-down the most frustrating. Six months later, she's back and Dean refuses to rest until he figures out exactly what the hell happened.

Now, Allie's drowning. Drowning in lies. Drowning in the truth. Drowning in pain, and anger, and fear. But there comes a time when every drowning person must decide whether they will . . . Sink or Swim?

Click below to enter to win a signed copy or digital copy of Sink or Swim!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Jamie Canosa is a full time author of YA literature, which she absolutely loves. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. She currently resides in Ravena, NY with her wonderful husband and three crazy kids . . . plus the dog, the bird and the rabbit.
Find her on:

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bookshelf Tour: GREEN BOOKS, #2

It's been FAR too long since the last part of my bookshelf tour, so today it's definitely time to move on to the 2nd shelf of green books!
You're watching the full version; if you would rather watch a super quick version, a shortened version will be up soon. =)

The Last Dragonslayer | Jasper Ffforde
The Near Witch | Victoria Schwab [review]
Madapple | Christina Meldrum [review]
Strands of Bronze & Gold | Jane Nickerson [review]
Spindle's End | Robin McKinley
Solace of the Road | Siobhan Dowd
Wench | Dolan Perkins Valdez
Putting Makeup on Dead People | Jen Violi
Mr Muo's Traveling Couch | Dai Sijie
Un Lun Dun | China Mieville
The Year of the Flood | Margaret Atwood
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie | Alan Bradley [review]
The Goose Girl | Shannon Hale
Under the Lilacs | Louisa May Alcott
The Bards of Bone Plain | Patricia McKillip
Darkwood | ME Breen
The Thorn and the Blossom | Theodora Goss [review]
House of Many Ways |Dianna Wynne Jones
If You Follow Me | Malena Watrous
The Heart of the Matter | Graham Greene
The Neverending Story | Michael Ende
Dragon's Breath | ED Baker
Granny Torrelli Makes Soup | Sharon Creech
The Perks of Being a Wallflower | Stephen Chbosky [vlog]
Bridge to Terabithia | Katherine Patterson
Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging | Louise Rennison
Kabul Beauty School | Deborah Rodriguez
Liar | Justine Larbalestier
Skin | Roald Dahl
Heart of a Samurai | Margi Preus
Tender Morsels | Margo Lanagan
Being Henry David | Cal Armistead
Paradise | Toni Morrison
The Robber Bride | Margaret Atwood
The Merlin Conspiracy | Dianna Wynne Jones
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil | John Berendt
The Spellman's Strike Again |Lisa Lutz
Arthur and George | Julian Barnes
The Waste Lands | Steven King
Song of the Wanderer | Bruce Coville
The Drowned Cities | Paolo Bacigalupi [review]

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Patrick Ness is a Charmer; or, Things I Learned at ALA

If you follow me on youtube, you'll have already seen my ALA haul and to some extent, heard me babble about the goings on there. But do not underestimate my ability to babble - I may have already talked about it on video for mumblemumble minutes, but there's still plenty more to be said. So here it is, my play-by-play of ALA 2013, complete with instant replay (not really) and really bad calls by the ref (what do they know, anyway?); enjoy!

(This is a picture-heavy post, so I'm putting in a jump break - click it to read more and get book-geeky with me!)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Face Off: The Diviners redux - int'l edition

We've had Libba Bray's The Diviners on Face Off before, when the US and UK versions went head to head and gave us lots to talk about. But those two pretty covers are not the only pretty covers out there for this glorious beast of a book, and I have to say, the two covers I'm going to showcase today might just beat out both the US and UK as my favorites. Below are the Italian (love it!) and Australian (so cool!) versions of The Diviners. Take a look - and if you want, take a peak back at the US/UK versions, too - and then tell me in the comments which one you would reach for. Which makes you curious? Which has the better feel? Which gives you the best sense of story, and which would you proudly display on your shelves? In short,
Which one did it better?

Last Week on FFO: A couple of covers - Tana French's In the Woods and Lindsay Fairleigh & Lindsay Pogue's After the Ending - went head to head to represent the white background/black branchy-things trend. You guys had a lot to say about how this trend was implemented, and even had a few suggestions of other covers with similar styles, but in the end, more of you chose In the Woods.
Winner ---------->

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Really Very Late BOOK HAUL...

So.....this should have gone up AGES ago. Like, weeks before I went to ALA.
Anyway, here's yet another haul, because I CAN'T STOP AND YOU CAN'T MAKE ME SO THERE.

The Real Boy | Anne Ursu
Sylo | DJ McHale
Grave Mercy | Robin LaFevers
Forgotten | Cat Patrick
The Book of Blood and Shadow | Robin Wasserman
The Blessed | Tonya Hurley
Dark of the Moon | Tracy Barrett
The Wicked and the Just | J. Anderson Coates
The Dark Mirror | Juliet Marillier
Into the Wild | Sarah Beth Durst
Spirit Bound | Richelle Mead

Thoughts on any of the books I got? And have you gotten any cool new books lately?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

ExcerptVlogThing: ANTIGODDESS by Kendare Blake

I've been wanting to share more excerpts with you guys (let me know if this is a thing you want), so I figured what better time than now, when I've got a stack of books I want to feature before they come out?
Let me know in the comments if you intend to read Antigoddess, or what you thought of the excerpt! (Also, can I just take this opportunity to tell you how much I neeeeeed book 2 now!!)

Thanks for watching. =)

ANTIGODDESS by Kendare Blake
Get it | Add it
Mythology/Fantasy/Retelling, 336 pages
Expected publication: September 10th 2013 by Tor Teen
The Goddess War begins in Antigoddess, the first installment of the new series by acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake.

Old Gods never die…

Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.
Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god.
These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning.
Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out.
Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.

The Goddess War is about to begin.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Friday Face Off: In the Woods vs After the Ending

We're just going to pretend today is Friday, since I forgot your FFO yesterday, yeah? ;)

I've been seeing a LOT of these types of covers popping up lately - a stark white background with wispy black branches, veins, ice crystals, etc. This seriously could have been an endless Friday Face Off. But I chose just two examples: Tana French's In The Woods and Lindsay Fairleigh & Lindsay Pogue's After the Ending. I have to say, it is a trend that always catches my eye, so I can see why its become popular, from a design standpoint. But though these two are very similar, and give off similar vibes, they do have distinct-enough differences that one is more likely to stand out over the other to any given reader. So which would catch your eye? Which one makes you wonder what can be found between the covers?
Which one did it better?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Guest Post: Lisa & Laura Roecker, authors of This is W.A.R.!

Today, as part of the This is W.A.R. blog tour, sisters and authors Lisa and Laura Roecker are sharing some of their favorite things about their summers so far - including their favorite indie, The Learned Owl, and cute key necklaces that YOU could get your hands on!
More on that below, but first:

Want a key necklace of your very own? Buy a copy of This is W.A.R. and get a key necklace just like the book's main characters wear! Supplies are LIMITED and going fast, though, so gotta get a move on! You can order through any of these retailers, and then just fill out the form you'll find here.
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | BAM

Even cooler, you can also buy from a participating indie bookseller (find them here), each of which have their own supply to give to the first customers! (There are even some participating libraries, too!)

Pretty neat, huh? This one was already on my wishlist, and I have a thing for keys, so... even more incentive! ;)

This is W.A.R. by Lisa and Laura Roecker
Get It | Add It
Mystery/Thriller, 288 pages
Published July 2nd 2013 by Soho Teen

This is W.A.R. begins with a victim who can no longer speak for herself, and whose murder blossoms into a call-to-arms. Enter four very different girls, four very different motives to avenge Willa Ames-Rowan, and only one rule to start: Destroy James Gregory and his family at any cost. Willa's initials spell the secret rallying cry that spurs the foursome to pool their considerable resources and deliver their particular brand of vigilante justice. Innocence is lost, battles are won—and the pursuit of the truth ultimately threatens to destroy them all.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

WHY BLOG? - Day 9 of the 15-Day Book Blogging Challenge

Alrighty, it's day 9 of April's Challenge, and I'm actually on time for once. (What, it's still Tuesday for nearly 1.5 hours...); today, we're talking about why we book blog!

DAY 9 - Why do you blog about books?

I feel like I touched on this quite a bit in my vlog about how I became a "booktuber" (aka a vlogger on youtube who talks about books). So I'll go ahead and embed that video below, for those curious.
But the basics were:

  • Passion - I've always (and I mean it; from well before I could read) been passionate about books. Freakishly so. I've always needed to touch them, browse them, talk about them, share them, smell them - all the things you do besides reading them.
  • And I needed an outlet for that. I took every lit course I could, for that brief chance at discussion, but I needed something more. Goodreads came next, where I met a bunch of incredible, like-minded people - and some of them were doing this weird thing called blogging, where they just talked about books all the time.  And Lo, I had found my place. 
And I'm so incredibly happy I did. I've found so many new platforms to discuss books with people, and blogging about books has given me such a solid platform to bring books to people or recommend them confidently and readily.  And I gained an incredible community of friends, to boot! What more could a book lover ask for?

Monday, July 15, 2013

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU - Day 8 of the Book blogging challenge

I was originally going to double up today's post and do both the 7th and 8th prompts in one, but OH MAN, I talked too much.
So instead, you can find 7 here, and below is my answers for Day 8! And of course, make sure to check out April's Challenge for all the deets and links and stuffs.

Day 8: 15 Bullet Points of Things That Appeal to You on Blogs!

  1. I like a CLEAN blog. Not boring, and not necessarily minimalist, but just clean - not cluttered with tons of crap and flashing things and the world's busiest psychedelic background pattern.
  2. PERSONALITY. I don't want to read the same thing on every blog; I want to know who you are, and I want to feel like who you're showing isn't an act to lure people in - the point of blogging and vlogging - to me - is to connect, reader to reader.
  3. A decided DESIGN choice. This goes back to personality, a bit. Does your design reflect you and what you write about, because it's the first impression I get of the type of person you are. Everything from color scheme to banner to font choice says something - this isn't a make it or break it moment, of course, but when I come across one that really does say something about the blog owner, even subtly, it draws me in.
  4. PASSION. I don't care what it is you care about, when you're able to convey it, you may me care.
  5. CREATIVITY. It can be hard to come by, so when someone does something out of the box or just does what they like, whether it "wins" them followers or not, I take note and am much more likely to regularly visit.
  6. NO DRAMZ. I know it crops up now and again, and I'm not talking about rants here (see: next); I'm talking about those who seem to delight in stirring up drama, or try REALLY hard to garner attention, whether it be through negative reviews, puffed up angst, etc. I left middle school in middle school, and I'm content to let it stay there forever and ever, amen.
  7. RANTS. Sometimes you gotta vent. Plus, this goes back to #4, passion - if you're ranting, you're passionate, and I want to see what you're passionate about.
  8. HONESTY. In line with the rantingness, I just like people who are honest. Doesn't mean you have to be mean, if that's not your bag - but I don't want to be parroted the company line because you're afraid to step on toes, and I don't want to feel like I can't trust your reviews because I don't know whether you mean it or not. If you're honest about the good and bad, whatever they may be, then I can get a better picture of your tastes, and whether I'll like something based on that.
  9. NO CAPTCHA. Because captcha makes me go apeshit. True fact, I am 900% less likely to ever comment on your blog if it has captcha. I've even gone so far as to write out the entire comment, realize there was captcha, and then just say, Not worth it, and close the tab.
  10. NO NOISE. For the love of JEEBUS, bloggers, no autoplay! And you know what, I'm looking at you, too, Huffington Post. Fecking autoplay.
  11. VARIETY. I love niche blogs, too, and I love knowing I can go to a certain person for a certain thing. But I also like people who are just like, I'ma read what I want, whatever the hell that may be. It ups my chances of discovering something new.
  12. OPEN-MINDEDNESS. This goes a bit hand-in-hand with the above - I like people who are willing to give different stuff a try, and not sneer at YA/genre fiction/nonfiction/whatever's out of their niche. How do you know you won't like a genre if you refuse to try it*?
  13. HARD WORK. Now, blogging should be something you do for fun, so I'm not talking about slaving away and making this drudgery. But you can tell when someone puts their good stuff in - the work pays off, and I'm always impressed by it.
  14. DISCUSSION STARTERS. This is all about community for me, so I LOVE when someone takes the time to really think something out and try to create a dialogue and get people thinking and talking. Again: passion.
  15. OTHER THINGS. I dunno. What do I like about blogs? The ones I love may have some things in common, but they may not have a single thing in common - you never know. But they do have that intangible something that makes me glad they blog, and that makes me glad to have discovered them. =)
Those are numbers, not bullet points. But at least I didn't have to count!
*Yes, I know I've done this. We all have our biases. But I'm always impressed by people who will just dive in with a, why the hell not? attitude.

BLOGGING QUIRKS - Day 7 of the Book blogging challenge

Alrighty, time for the 7th prompt in April's 15-Day Challenge, and today we're taking about blogging quirks!

Day 7: Blogging Quirks:

Um, I dunno? Probably just about everything I do is quirky to someone else...it's hard to judge your own "quirkiness" because to you, you're normal (mostly). So I guess, here's some things about me as a blogger:

I procrastinate. Let's be honest, this is probably true of all of us. Except you freaks that have your blogs scheduled out until Christmas already, what the hell is that and howwww?  But yeah, like everyone, I'm a procrastinator. Really, it's more that I just can't write until I'm "ready," whatever that means. If I try, it just feels forced; things have to percolate for a bit. BUT I should make myself a little more consistently, because sometimes I don't think I'm ready, and then a few words in, I'm on a roll. So... Yeah, I procrastinate like a PRO.
And because I procrastinate...

I feel like I can't talk about a book after a certain point. Not across the board, of course. I'll still rave about the ones I love - and rant about the ones I don't - forever. BUT when it comes to reviews and procrastinating, there comes a point where I feel like I can't review it even more, that I won't remember it or everything I wanted to say, even if I do actually remember the book pretty well. I feel like I have to read it again, or I'm somehow not being honest? And once I've missed my chance... It's like the book is freaking Brigadoon, and once it's "gone" it won't be back for 100 years...
[Case in point: I have drafts in my post editor from last OCTOBER that are basically 90% there - I was busy, so I made copious notes on the books in question, so I could just link it all together in a review quickly when I had a chance - and then I never finished them (though they each got their vlog wrap-up reviews). Is it too late to review something from last Fall? O_O]

I don't really edit. Hell, maybe you  can tell. Lord knows, I do catch typos down the road. But I don't just mean surface editing - I mean, I'm not someone that sits down with an outline, or has to organize my thoughts - what you see in a review is how it comes out of my head, with very minor alterations. This is part of why I procrastinate, and feel I can't force it - I dwell on things and think them over for awhile, but once I'm ready, I'm ready. It's there, and I go for it.
Now, this may not be significant to you, but as someone who worked for YEARS as a college essay writing tutor, I shudder to tell you this. I know the benefits of an outline, and I know that people generally need some form of structure, whether they like to admit it or not.I taught the damn things, I know how invaluable they are. And I also know that blogging is generally much more informal, though I take a slightly essayist approach. But I have always loathed outlines. And mapping. And f*cking clusters. I just can't work that way, it seems like mess and wasted effort, and GAH I JUST WANT TO WRITE ALREADY, STOP IT WITH YOUR BUBBLES AND BULLET POINTS!
You know?
Was that too much? 'Cause that's what happened in my head every time a teacher mentioned outlining and crap. Brainstorming, I REBUKE THEE. (Except free-writing.)

Whatever, what all this means, is that basically whatever you see in a blog post is basically how my mind works. This is what the insides of my head look like.
Chew on that for a second.

But I do like notes though. And lists. Mostly I just like paper, and need an excuse to use it. (Paper and pen, for the win.)
Now, maybe this sounds like a contradiction of the last thing, but really it's not, 'cause I hardly ever use the notes I write. Hell, I can hardly ever find them. (Until after the fact. Always seem to find them then...) I just like writing them. And generally, once I've done so, I don't actually need them anymore - just getting it down kinda cements what I want to say.
These notes aren't really of the review/outline type, but more of the, Hey, I just came across this neat thing in the book, talk about it. The exceptions to this (ie, the time I will diligently keep notes AND use them) is when I really really really don't like a book (gotta back it up!) or when I'm going to do a vlog review, because otherwise I'll babble like a mofo.

So. Those are kinda boring for quirks, huh?  How 'bout one last one - when I'm doing any SERIOUS writing, everything around me has to be clean*, and I can't have any music or other words pouring in at me.

(*That may relate to the first quirk, if I'm honest...)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Book Chat: Literary Families [Tag]

This month's Book Chat as inspired by a random bit of fun that popped up in a Tea Time chat with Team Epic Reads - I thought it'd make a really fun chat AND a really fun tag, so I'm going to go ahead and call it both. As with any Book Chat, I tag anyone who wants to play along. Feel free to leave yours as a response, or as a blog or vlog on the linky below!

And of course, feel free to answer in the comments, or tweet at me @TheBookRat! (And hey - why not add @EpicReads in there, too? =D ) And check out the #TeaTime that started it all...

Dad Neil Gaiman
Mom L.M. Montgomery
Grandpa Maurice Sendak
Grandpa Dr. Seuss
Grandma Toni Morrison
Grandma Margaret Atwood
Brother Christopher Pike
Sister Sarah Beth Durst
Cousins: SE HintonRachel HawkinsMarissa MeyerA.S. King, and Bruce Coville
Aunt Tamora Pierce
Aunt Maureen Johnson
Aunt Shirley Jackson
Uncle Shel Silverstein
Neighbors - Jane Austen and J.K. Rowling
Pets - Marley and Christopher Hogwood
BFFs - Kiersten White and Kendare Blake
Crushes: THE PATRICKS! (Rothfuss and Ness)

TEAR JERKERS & BOOK BUYING - Days 5 & 6 of the 15-day book blogging challenge!

I know that today is *technically* day 7 of April's Challenge, but eh, I'm behind. So today I'm answering the prompts for days 5 & 6, and tomorrow you can expect days 7 & 8.

Alrighty. Let's do this thing!

Day 5 - Recommend a tear-jerker.

Funny you should ask, because I've found myself thinking about this book and talking about it a lot lately. It's also the current read-along book club pick for Epic Reads. And it is:

I have never been able to review this book. I've sat down to do so. I've made notes. I've discussed the book with myself in my head (don't judge me), and I've cried bucket loads. I even though maybe I could just review it in a vlog instead of a written review - maybe talking it out would be better than trying to sit down and stare at a screen, wondering where the hell could I possibly start? (But see: bucketloads, for reasons why I did not.)

I don't even know what to say, other than if you trust me at all, if you've ever read a book because I said it was awesome, or you've ever wanted to read a book because I said it was awesome, please read this one.
My brain can't function properly beyond that when it comes to this book, more than to tearfully but triumphantly physically push it into people's hands.

Day 6 - Describe how you shop for books.
and then

June Rewind - Mini Reviews of my June reads!

Alrighty, though it's up later than I had intended, ere's what I thought of the books I read in June! (For those wondering, this is just the wrap-up for the month - each book does get its own full review. Though I think I may skip one for the first book mentioned, all things considered...) Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and if you want to know more about anything mentioned, I've linked them below.
Thanks for watching!

Boy Nobody | Allen Zadoff
Hex Hall | Rachel Hawkins
A Matter of Days | Amber Kizer
There Must Be Murder | Margaret C. Sullivan

- list of ragequit books
- video review of Hex Hall
- interview w/ Amber Kizer
- Austen in August

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Face Off: Monstrous Beauty redux

We've had a Face Off for Elizabeth Fama's mermaid tail tale, Monstrous Beauty, on FFO before, back when its original ARC cover was changed to the cover it was eventually published wearing (below, left). But recently I came across the cover for the upcoming paperback edition, and my I turned into one of those little green alien guys from Toy Story. You know...

I mean... I would buy that on cover appeal alone in a second. But what about you guys? Last time, we were pretty split - and cover redos are always a bit controversial (though I'm not sure if this is a series, so as a likely-standalone, maybe cover redos are less a hot-button issue?). Would you guys reach for this new cover? Are you as captivated with it as I am?  Which would you want to display on your shelves, and which draws you in and makes you want to know more? (And for that matter, do either say "Monstrous beauty" to you?) Take a look, mull it over, and let me know in the comments,
Which one did it better?

Last Week on FFO: 3 very different covers for Kate Forsyth's The Gypsy Crown went head to head, and though everybody seemed to like all of them, for the most part, there was just something so magical and whimsical about the 3rd copy that really drew people in; it was our winner, but the simple silhouettes of #2 were hot on its heels!
Winner ---------->

Thursday, July 11, 2013

BOOK RAGE-QUITS: 15 Day Book Blogging Challenge, Day 4

Alrighty, so today is day 4 of April's Challenge, and though I skipped yesterday due to busy-overdrive (and a general panic that comes over me anytime anyone asks me to name BFFs* or absolute faves, or anything of the sort...), I'm going to jump back into the swing of things with today's question of ...

What was the last book you flung across the room?

I'll be honest, I don't know that I've ever** thrown a book. My REAL frustration in books, the point of no-return, guaranteed DNF-ness is apathy. If you can't make me give even a single, tiny bit of f*ck, then I will drop your book like it's [a] hot [steaming pile]... But those aren't books you necessarily throw. Apathy is apathy. I don't care enough to throw your book.  I care so little for the words you've somehow managed to muster up (by throwing darts at a board full of random sentences, presumably) that I'd rather consider turning your book into some fabulous book art - and I certainly wouldn't want to damage the book beforehand...

HOWEVER, there have been books that have come close. So I'm going to tell you about those:

The Da Vinci Code - I know, I know, that this book is a massively popular best seller. Which makes me seriously question what is wrong with the money-having, book-reading populace. I get that it is a pretty compelling concept - interesting enough that I actually read some (much better) non-fiction books when I was done. BUT DAN BROWN'S WRITING, THOUGH. Ugh, the man is a master of every pet peeve in the book. (And by "the book" I mean, The Book of Things to Piss Misty Off. But they're all in his book, too, so what do you know? One and the same!) UGH.
Thinking of that book and it's obnoxiously miniscule chapters and back-and-forth POVs makes me want to retroactively ragequit.

Charlotte and Pride & Prejudice & Zombies - two Jane Austen retellings that should have been good in theory, but their authors clearly didn't give a shit. I can put up with a lot in a book, but when you're already pissing me off with juvenile writing and piss-poor characterization, you had better make sure your editing is on point. Because when your character and town names change from one page to the next, as was the case in both of thse, there is NO clearer signal to me that you really don't give a shit. And if you don't, I sure as hell won't.
FUN FACT: My review of Charlotte was the single most scathing thing I've ever written (and if you've read my Hush, Hush review, that's saying something...), but the PAGE CRASHED and I lost the whole thing. And yes, that was a time I DID ragequit. Things may have been thrown that time...
[Side note: the 2 follow-ups to PPZ, written by someone else? Not bad.]

Betwixt - I had to finish this one because it was for a challenge where I had to blindly point to a book on the library shelves, and then read & review it. And it. was. awful. Really  l  o  o  o  o  o  n  g  book about teens, that sounds like it was written by someone who'd never been a teen. Hell, had never been human.
An alien, whose only concept of "teen" came from campy, cheesy, outdated sitcoms that had been beamed into space by generations past...

Carrier of the Mark - I made a chart for this one. Because reasons.

And, as mentioned above, and as I'm sure many of you were expecting:
Hush motherfreaking Hush - This book, man. THIS BOOK. This has come the closest to being thrown of any book I've ever read. I was willing to damage that gorgeous cover, that's how much I raged over this book.  I kept giving it chances, and it kept punching me in the face with idiocy, bad writing, horrendous characters, and one of the most disturbing relationships to ever be set up as swoonworthy that I've ever encountered. Apparently a lot of you agree with me on this, as it's by far my most popular review, and one of the most popular for H,H on Goodreads, period.
I was willing to go with it. I like an anti-hero. I like things to be a little boundary-pushing. I was even willing to just say, "Okay, Nora's a crazy person. That's what this book is, let's do this!" But the minute your main character, who has thought all along that the "hero" wanted to kill her, discovers that yes, he did want to kill her, takes that as a sign that he loves me and could never hurt me, we are f*cking done.
AND OMG GUYS, I kept going back. I finished the book - like an abused girlfriend, like the idiot I railed against Nora for being ... what if this was some strange piece of thought-provoking performance art? Pfft! Please. 
This book is one big bag of NOPENOPENOPE.

*I do have some people I consider blogging BFFs, whether they like it or not consider me to be one, too. Among them, people I've known since before blogging, via Goodreads, like Allison, Kristen and April (we all started blogging at about the same time, actually, because we're so cool like that, yo.), and Liz, who started after us but was right in the thick of things pretty early on. But there are also  a number of you I secretly stalk, or don't talk to nearly often enough, but love it when I do. Lots of you. So though I didn't name names yesterday, I want you guys to know you have all my lurves.
** Well, at least not out of frustration with the book. Have books ever been thrown at walls, objects, or people-shaped masses? ...no comment.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

HEX HALL by Rachel Hawkins [Review]

My thoughts on HEX HALL by Rachel Hawkins, which won June's Stack of Five vote!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and if you do your own Stack of 5 or Hex Hall review, feel free to link it up as a video response on youtube, or leave a link in the comments here, and I'll come check it out!
Thanks for watching!!

Hex Hall by Rachel Hakins
Get It | Add It
Supernatural/Paranormal, 323 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by Disney-Hyperion

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

This one gets a total BEACH READS stamp of approval.
Looking for more beach reads? *click*

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

BEDTIME READING - 15-Day Book Blogger Challenge, Day 2

It's Day 2 of April's 15-day challenge, and today we're talking about our bedtime reading rituals!

I actually wish I was more consistent in a bedtime "ritual"... As it stands now, my nightly routine is more of a Netflix binge, followed by "I should read for a bit, but it's so late," followed by about an hour of going back and forth with whether I should start reading so late, while I flip back and forth on pointless websites. This is then followed by either:
a) the decision to read "just for a little while" - at which point I promptly settle in and read until 3am or so, OR
b) the decision that, yes, I should have read before bed, but it's too late now, might as well just go to bed. *goes to bed and pulls out phone to play games*

I used to read every night before bed, and most mornings when I woke up, but I've gotten out of that habit. A librarian friend of mine told me once that she knew a schoolteacher who reads for three hours every night before bed. Every. Single. Night. And so is able to read roughly one googleplex of books every year.

Now, that would seriously cut into my Netflix-watching time, but I do want to get into a better habit when it comes to bedtime reading. It's a nice way to wind down the day, and if I'm exhausted the next morning, I feel better knowing it was because I said "Just one more chapter" rather than "Just one more episode..."  My goal for now is to start reading for 1 hour before bed at least 3 nights a week, and build up from there, until I'm reading every night before bed, at least for a little while.

[Plus, I used to consider my before-bed reading my "me" reading - no matter what I had due, or what I was "supposed" to be reading for class or a review or whatever, that was my relaxation time, and I could use it as I pleased, sneaking in guilty pleasure books like nobodies business. I want to get back to that.]

How 'bout you guys? Do you have a nightly ritual when it comes to reading, or a goal in mind to get you there?

Monday, July 8, 2013

15 Day Book Blogging Challenge: CONFESSIONS

April at Good Books and Good Wine is hosting a 15-day blogging challenge, and as I've been equal parts lazy, busy and indifferent, I figured it'd be a good way to get back into the swing of things and shake things up.

Today's challenge is to give 15 Book-Related Confessions:

  1. I used to feel guilty about DNFing books; I do not any more at all. Not a single f*ck, my friends. Life is too short.
  2. I have always "corrected" books in my head. I don't just mean grammar issues and whatnot here and there, but the stories themselves. As a kid, this meant I was able to 'like' a book I didn't really like, because I would just "fix" it; now it means that I read something and think, That's not how I would have done it... And my inner editor is opinionated, y'all.
  3. Related to that: I love to write, but I hardly ever do it. From the time I was very small, I told myself stories at night as I tried to fall asleep (which may be part of why I have trouble sleeping - if my story is good that night, I want to keep going!); but I tend to forget these stories pretty quickly, since nothing is ever written down. I need to get back into writing for pleasure, and giving Editor Misty something more substantial to chew on. 
  4. There are characters I've met in books that I'm truly, genuinely sad not to know IRL. 
  5. I have been known to buy or keep books I don't like, purely for the covers. Maybe I should just keep a scrapbook of the covers, or something...
  6. Many of you probably know this, but I organize my books by color. Yes, this looks pretty, but it also is the only way I'm able to keep track of them. I never realized just how much a visual person I was until I made the move to rainbow shelves and never looked back or had trouble locating things. (Mostly. There are times I have to search, occasionally, but they're few and far between.)
  7. I struggle to finish series that I love. The more emotionally-involved I am, the harder it is. Case in point: I preordered the UK edition of Monsters of Men (which came out over 3 years ago) so I would get it earlier, and still haven't read it. It's my version of putting books in the freezer.
  8. I don't like physical descriptions of people in books, unless it's something very significant to the story. I would much rather picture everyone myself. The same is true of the clothing they wear, music they listen to, and anything else that will eventually become dated.
  9. I do legitimately worry sometimes about the weight of my bookshelves.
  10. Book vlogging is sometimes more fun and rewarding than book blogging - for me, at least. I've found it's a format that lends itself better to discussion, which is what drew me to blogging in the first place.
  11. But related to that, I know that if I were more involved - and if I would just take the time to install a better comment-system - discussion potential on the blog would increase. But I'm lazy.
  12. Most people I know don't know that I blog. It was many, many months before anyone I physically knew found out about my blog, and even then, I kept it pretty quiet. The circle of people who know is  still pretty small, 4 years later. There are probably many reasons why this is, but I'm not going to analyze them.
  13. I love movies based on books, even when I hate them. I understand that the movie  is never anywhere near as good, and I know that the director/producers/actors visions are never going to be in line with mine, but it still feels like a chance to visit a world that, until then, was only in my head.
  14. I used to be really judgmental of the types of books other people read, and then when I started branching out into different genres, I sort of hid it. And then I was like, EFFFFFF THAT. Loud and proud, baby. Loud and proud: READ WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY.
  15. When I read something I want to see as a movie, I don't generally "cast it" - but I do compose a score or block out scenes and locations in my mind. I wish very much that I had the talent to make the things I see happen, so I could share it with other readers, and say, This is how I see the book; how do you see it? 
I don't know that I'll be able to participate every day of the challenge, but for today, at least, I'm glad I did. What are some of your book confessions? 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Friday Face Off: The Gypsy Crown

I mentioned in a recent book haul that I had picked up Kate Forsyth's The Gypsy Crown on pure cover-appeal. Well, not totally pure cover-appeal, as the reason I was looking into it to begin with was that Renee interviewed Kate for Fairy Tale Fortnight, and made me want ALL TEH BOOKS!!1! But The Gypsy Crown was the only one in stock on Better World Books when I was a-shoppin', and though they had both of the first 2 version shown below, obviously I had to go with the middle book and it's gorgeous silhouettes. I said when I bought it that it would be in an upcoming Face Off, and then when I went to grab the images for it, I also came across another gorgeous cover, which is the 3rd seen below.
So, below we have 3 fairly different takes: traditional fantasy, classic understated and contemporary cool - take a look at the 3 covers below, and tell us in the comments, which would you reach for? Which one makes you curious about the story, and which would you rather have on your shelves? In short,
Which one did it better?

Last Week on FFO: The original (sort of) and updated cover for Daisy Whitney's The Mockingbird's went head to head, and though you guys did have some issues with it, the publishers must have made the right call, because you guys went with the updated cover. [Mostly for that font, amirite?]
Winner ------------>

Monday, July 1, 2013

July TBR + Stack of Five!

Time to really dig in to all of my Jane Austen-y reads for this summer! Austen in August is all official-like, which means my TBR is chock-full of Regency romance... (aka I'm about to begin my yearly Jane-binge. =D)
If you want to know more about Austen in August, or want to get involved, go here!
And make sure to vote on this month's Stack of Five, below!

(Click on the pics to find out more & add them to your Amazon wishlist!)


Once again, I thought I'd let you guys vote on this month's Stack of Five. These all came from ALA this past weekend [YES, before you ask, I will be talking more about ALA. Promise!], and though I really want to READ ALL TEH BOOKS!!1!, most of my month will be filled with the above-Jane. YOU get to help me decide which ALA book I'll be reading first. ^_^

(Click the pic to add it to find out more & your Amazon wishlist!)

Let me know your thoughts & votes in the comments, and thanks for watching!


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