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Thursday, October 23, 2014


In which I break my not-ban on buying books, and go a little overboard with one in particular...

I know October's not over yet, but I'm not expecting more bookage, so thought I'd go ahead and share these lovelies. I did some fun things in October, and got some fun things from awesome people, so yay for these new additions! (And yes, I really did mean it when I said I wouldn't be really buying too many books for a bit... promise.)

Exquisite Captive | Heather Demetrios
(also had Something Real signed)
The Jewel | Amy Ewing
Anatomy of a Misfit | Andrea Portes
Asylum | Madeleine Roux
Blackbird | Anna Carey
(also showed Eve)
Prickle Moon | Juliet Marillier
The Madness of Mr Darcy | Alexa Adams
Shadow Scale (!!!) | Rachel Hartman


Monday, October 20, 2014

Excerpt & Giveaway: Redeemed by P.C. & Kristin Cast!

A few years ago, the House of Night series swept it's way right through my circle of friends. We read the first book, Marked, in our book club, and it seemed that many of the meetings that followed somehow ended with conversations about where everyone was in the storyline, or some thing that had happened that those who were still reading the series just needed to talk about!

With the series ending, I don't imagine those conversations will last too much longer (except for when noobs join the club, and have the series pressed into their hands...); I know there are a number of you out there who are big fans of the series, too, so I'm happy to share an excerpt of the final book with you today, as well as a chance to win a little something from the HON world!

Click through to read a little bit from Redeemed, and then enter to win!

LEVEL UP by Gene Luen Yang & Thien Pham | #GraphicNovelWeek

And we're down to our last vlog of Graphic Novel Week!
Thanks to all of you for sticking around and chiming in this week; I love hearing about your favorite graphic novels, and I LOVE getting recommendations from you!
If you missed anything or want more graphic novel love...

Thanks for watching!

LEVEL UP by Gene Luen Yang, art by Thien Pham
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Dennis Ouyang has always struggled in the shadow of his parents' expectations. His path is laid out for him: stay focused in high school, become a gastroenterologist. It may be hard work, but it isn't complicated … until suddenly it is.

Between his father's death, his academic burnout, and his deep (and distracting) love of video games, Dennis is nowhere near where his family wanted him to be. In fact, he's just been kicked out of college.

And that's when things get … weird.

Four adorable—and bossy--angels, straight out of a sappy greeting card, appear and take charge of Dennis's life. And so Dennis finds himself herded back onto the straight and narrow: the path to gastroenterology. But nothing is ever what it seems when life, magic and video games collide.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

FIVE IN FIVE: Super Quick Reviews of Recent Graphic Novels | #GraphicNovelWeek

5 in 5 time! It's pretty self-explanatory, but just in case it's not, here's the deal: I'm going to show you five graphic novels I've read recently and attempt to review them all in under five minutes. And accounting for a bit of extra time (say, 5 seconds intro, 5 seconds outra, and 43 bajillion seconds of rat-wrangling, I'd say I an in under budget! ;P )
Thanks for watching, and talk to ya in the comments! =D

IN REAL LIFE by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang
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Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role playing game that she spends most of her free time on. It's a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It's a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. Gaming is, for Anda, entirely a good thing.

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer - a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person's real livelihood is at stake.

THROUGH THE WOODS by Emily Carroll
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'It came from the woods. Most strange things do.'

Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.

These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.

Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there...

AMY UNBOUNDED by Rachel Hartman
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Belondweg Blossoming follows the lives of Amy and her neighbor Bran Ducanahan the summer they turn ten. Amy has begun reading the national epic, Belondweg, about a semi-mythical queen of the same name who united Goredd and saved her people from invaders. Amy only wishes her own life were half as exciting. But how is life supposed to live up to literature when your mother is a semi-domesticated barbarian, all the knights you know are banished, and the only dragon you have ever met is a geeky grad student?

Join Amy as she dances the Two-foot, wears a really ugly bridesmaid's dress, becomes friends (in spite of everything!) with Bran, imitates the patron saint of ducks, flees from rampaging sheep, learns that love doesn't always conquer all, chugs buttermilk, and begins to understand that even Belondweg didn't have to save the world all by herself.

Winner of the 2001 Xeric Grant.

THE WRENCHIES by Farel Dalrymple
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Meet the Wrenchies.

They're strong, powerful, and if you cross them, things will quickly go very badly for you. Only one thing scares them—growing up. Because in the world of the Wrenchies, it's only kids who are safe... anyone who survives to be an adult lives in constant fear of the Shadowsmen. All the teenagers who come into contact with them turn into twisted, nightmarish monsters whose minds are lost forever.

When Hollis, an unhappy and alienated boy, stumbles across a totem that gives him access to the parallel world of the Wrenchies, he finally finds a place where he belongs. But he soon discovers that the feverish, post-apocalyptic world of the Wrenchies isn't staying put... it's bleeding into Hollis's normal, real life. Things are getting very scary, very fast.

Farel Dalrymple brings all his significant literary and artistic powers to bear in his magnum opus—a sprawling, intense science fiction tale that has at its heart the uncertainty and loneliness of growing up.

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The Stratford Zoo looks like a normal zoo... until the gates shut at night. That's when the animals come out of their cages to stage elaborate performances of Shakespeare's greatest works. They might not be the most accomplished thespians, but they've got what counts: heart. Also fangs, feathers, scales, and tails, in The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth.

Ian Lendler's hilarious tale of after-hours animal stagecraft is perfectly paired with the adorable, accessible artwork of Zack Giallongo (Broxo, Ewoks). And with Romeo and Juliet coming in book two, this is a promising new series of graphic novels for young readers.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

FLASH GIVEAWAY! | #GraphicNovelWeek

Welp, I've had less time this weekend than I was anticipating, which means that today's intended Graphic Novel Week vlog just isn't going to happen (yet). But as I was scrolling through Amazon while putting together my graphic novel collection video, I noticed that one of the books on my shelves, by one of my favorite graphic novel authors, is on, like, super sale, so I thought, PERFECT! I'll make up for the lack of Saturday-vlog with a flash giveaway!

Someone's gonna get a copy of Prime Baby by Gene Luen Yang, who is amazeballs. US only (sorry, international peeps, I loves ya, but shipping), and I'm drawing the winner on Monday, so it's a SUPER QUICK GIVEAWAY DON'Y MISS OUT YO.
And since it's such a super quickie giveaway, I'm not even worrying about tweeting and all that jazz. Click and you're entered, done.
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prime Baby by Gene Luen Yang
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From the pages of the New York Times and the pen of Printz Award winner Gene Luen Yang comes a tale of math, aliens, and new siblings.

Thaddeus doesn’t like his new sister (she’s not that smart— and she gets all the attention). He likes her even less when he discovers that she’s an inter-dimensional conduit for peace-loving aliens (who are totally lame—all they want to do is knit socks for the homeless and have sing-a-longs!). But what’s even worse is that no one will believe him about any of this! How is he ever going manage to grow up to become the President of Earth?

First serialized in the New York Times Magazine, Prime Baby is a laugh-out-loud look at sibling rivalry.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Need-to-Reads | #GraphicNovelWeek

It's been awhile since we had an honest-to-goodness Book Chat, but now seemed like the perfect opportunity! So today, as part of Graphic Novel Week, I thought we'd do a bit of a Chat /slash/ a "reverse" genre push, in which we talk about gaps in my own graphic novel collection (see the full thing here), as well as what graphic novel/manga/comic you'd push into people's hands to convince them to give graphic novels a try.
Can't wait to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Conversation with Cory Doctorow

I'll be sharing my thoughts on Cory Doctorow's & Jen Wang's In Real Life this weekend, as we wrap up #GraphicNovelWeek, but today, Cory has dropped by to have a Very Serious Conversation as part of the 30 Questions with Cory Doctorow blog tour! I'm a fan of Cory's, and one of the major reasons for that is the way his passion comes through in every aspect of his online presence. In Real Life takes a relatable approach to a number of problems that are easy to keep at a distance, and today, Cory and I are going to dig into that a bit.
Check it out below, and make sure to stop back by this weekend for my thoughts on In Real Life!

Your work (both as a traditional author and as a journalist on Boing Boing) centers around tackling very modern problems — or, rather, new permutations of old problems — file-sharing and DRM (copyright), gold farming and in-game economics (exploitation, consumerism, actual-world economics), etc. They're all interconnected, of course, but if you could sit someone down and make them understand your passion about any one thing, what would it be? What would you want them to take away from your conversation?

My other fall 2014 book, Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free, tries to answer this question. Basically, my message is that the world is made out of computers. Our houses, cars, airplanes, etc are made of computers that we put our bodies into, and increasingly, our bodies are full of computers, from pacemakers to hearing aids. As estoeric as Internet policy and regulation are, they’re the secret forces that shape the whole world -- information doesn’t want to be free, but PEOPLE do, and in the information age, people can’t be free without free and fair information infrastructure.

The Internet isn’t a glorified video-on-demand service, it’s not a tool for organizing jihad, it’s not a better pornography delivery system, it’s not a platform for MMOs -- it’s the nervous system of the twenty first century, and when we treat its individual applications as the central fact of the net, we end up making decisions that undermine and redound through all of society and down through our future.

In the forward to In Real Life, you talk about how one of the huge changes we've seen as a result of internet access is the ease with which people can come together and join their voices. We've seen it in things like the campaign to stop SOPA, various grassroots social justice endeavors (like the Steubenville rape case, etc), and of course the plethora of petition sites we see nowadays. But as much as we band together and make our voices heard on things like DRM, exchange of ideas and internet freedom, it doesn't seem like any battles are ever really won; as soon as one piece of legislation is struck down, 3 more appear hydra-like in its place; wherever there is money to be made, it seems someone will be there to control, portion and profit... all of which is a really long-winded way of saying, are we fighting a losing battle? Will history remember us as lovable upstarts who ultimately lost, or pioneers in freeing up intellectual property?

The issue isn't copyright, or free speech, or social justice. These are all epiphenomena of a more fundamental issue: corruption.

Lawmakers represent an ever-shrinking cadre of rich and powerful investors who command more and more wealth, and who use that wealth to ensure that the law continues to tilt towards them, towards their continued enrichment and ongoing positions of power.

A free and open Internet through which we can organize to fight this rot is the prerequisite to solving all other problems. By definition, the rich and powerful are organized -- they have solved their coordination problems, the underlying problem of all human endeavor:
how to get stuff done by groups of people with a minimum of time stepping on each others' toes.

By definition, the opposition to the establishment is less organized than the establishment. The Internet radically lowers the cost of organizing (imagine making Wikipedia without the Internet!), and while that confers a benefit to the establishment, it confers a greater benefit to the opposition -- in that the establishment's just getting more of what it already has, while the opposition is getting something new.

I'm not an optimist and I'm not a pessimist. I'm *hopeful*.

If your ship sank in the open sea, treading water until you couldn't kick anymore wouldn't be an act of optimism. You know you probably won't be rescued. But you kick anyway. Because you haven't given up hope. Because not everyone who kicked was rescued, but because everyone who was rescued kicked.

And if you were supporting your loved ones -- your kids, your spouse -- you'd kick harder. Because you'd be hoping for them, too.

The alternative to fighting back is capitulating. To hell with that.

Will we get an follow-up stories, even brief web-comic style ones, from Anda and/or Raymond down the line? Or any side characters?

There's a new webcomic short up on Tor.com called Con/Game, that Jen and I did to promote the book. I'm generally not much of a sequels guy -- I'm more forward looking ("let the way of others be lit by the flames of the bridges I burned behind me!"). But never say never -- I didn't plan on writing a LITTLE BROTHER sequel, but when HOMELAND popped into my head, I wrote it in 8 weeks flat.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Cory!
Hope to see the rest of you this weekend, when I talk about In Real Life as part of my 5-in-5 vlog for #GraphicNovelWeek!

Check out the rest of the 30 Questions with Cory Doctorow tour stops at these awesome blogs!
Wednesday, October 8th – Bunbury in the Stacks http://bunburyinthestacks.com/
Thursday, October 9th – Stacked http://www.stackedbooks.org/
Friday, October 10th – Forever YA http://foreveryoungadult.com/
Saturday, October 11th – CBR Robot 6 http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/
Sunday, October 12th – The Midnight Garden http://www.themidnightgarden.net/
Monday, October 13th – Cuddlebuggery http://cuddlebuggery.com/
Tuesday, October 14th -- Guys Lit Wire http://guyslitwire.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, October 15th – Novel Thoughts http://www.novelthoughtsblog.com/
Thursday, October 16th – The Book Rat - Hey, you're here!
Friday, October 17th – Alice Marvels http://www.alicemarvels.com/

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang
Get It | Add It
196 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by First Second
Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role playing game that she spends most of her free time on. It's a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It's a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. Gaming is, for Anda, entirely a good thing.

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer - a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person's real livelihood is at stake.

From acclaimed teen author and digerati bigwig Cory Doctorow and rising star cartoonist Jen Wang, In Real Life is a sensitive, thoughtful look at adolescence, gaming, poverty, and culture-clash.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


So, I dug all of the graphic novels off of my shelves (or the ones I could find, anyway), and lemme tell you, they are going to be HELL to put away. The things I do for you...
*prepares for another month-long floor-pile* ;P
But while I've got this big ole stack taking up space, let's take a look at just what is in it!
Let me know in the comments which ones you love or have been wanting to read, and tell me titles you think I should look into and add to my collection!

Zita the Spacegirl
Legends of Zita the Spacegirl
Return of Zita the Spacegirl
Friends with Boys
Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong
Bake Sale
Robot Dreams
Castle Waiting, vol 1
Castle Waiting, vol 2
Same Difference
Delilah Dirk & the Turkish Lieutenant
The Eternal Smile
A Bride's Story, vol 1
Sailor Twain
This One Summer
Rapunzel's Revenge
Giants Beware
The Undertaking of Lily Chen
The Cute Girl Network
Amy Unbounded
Through the Woods
The Wrenchies
The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth
In Real Life
Prime Baby
Level Up
Boxers & Saints boxed set
Life Sucks
Clockwork Angel
The Year of the Beasts

Forgot to show:
Anya's Ghost
The Rise of Aurora West

Any reviews and guest posts mentioned can be found somewhere here on the blog; sorry, don't have time to dig them up individually at the moment!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Top Ten Graphic Novel Worlds I Want to Visit | #TopTenTuesday

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's Top Ten Tuesday prompt is "Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want to Visit," which is just perfect timing, because I'd wanted to talk about my favorite graphic novel worlds at some point during this week!
So here's a look at some of the places I want to get lost in; I feel like, if you rolled these all into one, it'd be the perfect quirky vacation...
Check it out, and let me know some of yours in the comments!

10. China 
. . . as painted by Danica Novgorodoff. I mean, I'm not in search of a ghost bride, so maybe the experience won't be quite the same, but it'd be pretty cool to roam the watercolor countryside all the same.

9. A robot competition
. . . with the folks of Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong. Antics and in-fighting abound, I imagine, plus sweet, sweet battling 'bots — I'm down for some hilarity and hijinks!

8. The Stratford Zoo 
. . . for a Midnight Revue. Zoo animals acting out Shakespeare in hilarious and pointed ways, because while the zookeeper's away, the animals will play. Or Play, I guess. ;)

7. Constantinople
. . . with Delilah Dirk & Mr. Selim at my side! I'm not gonna lie, getting caught up in Delilah's antics would probably give me a heart attack, but I can just picture sitting in the getaway carriage with Selim as we shake our heads in wonder that we ended up...wherever we ended up...

6. Acropolis
. . . with Aurora West, fighting monsters and being science heroes. SCIENCE. HEROES.

5.  Cupcake's Bakeshop
. . . for a quick bite to eat, followed by a night out listening to Eggplant's band. What more could a girl want, other than maybe some of that Turkish Delight recipe Cupcake has been working on?

4. Goredd
. . .  and do you know how happy it makes me that Graphic Novel Week gives me an excuse to think about visiting the location of one of my favorite books? For those of you who, like me, love Rachel Hartman's Seraphina, and can't get enough of Goredd, you may want to pick up Rachel's graphic novel, Amy Unbounded: Belondweg Blossoming. It's set in the same world, but much earlier, and adds nicely to the sense of the world Rachel has created. Plus it gives me Seraphina feels. Goredd!

3. Victorian England
. . . guided by the hand (and the passion) of Kaoru Mori. Fancy dresses! Class struggle! Up-dos! Illicit romances! Pet squirrels!

2. Castle Waiting
. . .  all of it. Just, every nook and cranny! I have never felt like a world is more FOR ME than Linda Medley's Castle Waiting, and I want to know all its secrets, friend all its peoples, no matter how odd (especially the odd ones), and never, ever leave.

1. Everywhere that Zita goes 
. . . OBVS.

So which graphic novel/comic/manga worlds do you want to get lost in for a day (a year, a life)?
Let me know in the comments, and definitely let me know if there are some worlds you think I'd happily lose myself in!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Stack Of Five (21): #GraphicNovelWeek Edition

For those of you who don't already know, I plan on doing a graphic novel loveathon this week. I get the urge for these from time to time, and I've read a lot of good ones lately that I want to share, so every day this week, I'll be posting a vlog or blog each day on something graphic novel related. Since I didn't have a #StackOfFive this month, I thought we'd kick things off with a Stack of Five graphic novel edition! Voting is TODAY ONLY (well, up until I choose the winner tomorrow, anyway), so make sure to let me know in the comments which one of these books you want me to read and review THIS SATURDAY!
And then stop back by throughout the week for more graphic novel and comic fun!


Monday, October 6, 2014

#ExquisiteNights Giveaway Winner!

I hope a fair few of you popped around the the 4 stops of the Exquisite Nights audiobook tour, because I have to say, I am in love with Erin Mallon's narration of Heather Demetrios' Exquisite Captive, and I want as many of you to experience it as possible. In case you missed it, you can find the first stop (mine) here, where you can begin the journey through the firsts four chapters, but for the rest of you, who've already listened and entered to win, I'm sure you want to get right down to business.

And so, the winner of my leg of the #ExquisiteNights tour is...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Your audiobook will be in your hands (err, ears...) shortly!

As for the rest of you, don't be too bummed that you didn't win — I'll be giving away a finished hardcover of the book in November as part of a HUGE Exquisite Captive month-long promo! So definitely keep an eye out for that, as well as my review of the book (and the audio!) next month!

Or, if you just can't bear to wait that long, Exquisite Captive will be in stores TOMORROW!


Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios
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Fantasy, 480 pages
Expected publication: October 7th 2014 by Balzer+Bray
Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself.

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.

Friday, October 3, 2014


So this a few days late, and I still haven't even thought about picking a stack of five, let alone recording one, but here is my stack of TBR potentials for the month of October. And yes, you've seen many of these book-faces before... ;)

Let me know your thoughts and your TBR picks for October in the comments!

Grave Mercy | Robin LaFevers
Tomboy | Liz Prince
Alice + Freda Forever | Alexis Coe
Seraphina | Rachel Hartman
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place | Julie Berry
Exquisite Captive | Heather Demetrios
Mortal Danger | Ann Aguirre
Conversion | Katherine Howe
Between the Spark & the Burn | April Genevieve Tucholke
Firebug | Lish McBride
Spirit's Key | Edith Cohn

Thursday, October 2, 2014

On Difficult Decisions . . .

So I've been thinking some things...

I'm generally a very private person (who makes videos on youtube - go figure), and fairly reticent to share anything IMPORTANT. I can talk to you all day about the little, silly stuff, but when it starts approaching something meaningful, true, and most of all, personal, I'm a clam. (I have actually been described as a clam by a close friend. Real talk.)
BUT you know what? EFF THAT. At some point, a clam has to decide whether to remain in her shell forever or open up and see what's going on around her - and let what's going on around her see HER.
...and we're gonna go ahead and drop the clam metaphor now, before I start making cheesy references to pearls, or something.
So, anyway, here's me. Here's something important and part of me at my core, and I'm not hiding from it any more.
In the words of Frank Herbert: FEAR IS THE MIND-KILLER.

If you feel so inclined, share something about YOU in the comments.

About BELZHAR by Meg Wolitzer:
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If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be at home in New Jersey with her sweet British boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing him in the library stacks.

She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.

From New York Times bestselling author Meg Wolitzer comes a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October's #WednesdayYA Is...

Liz and I were feeling something seasonally appropriate, but not necessarily scary for October (ie dark and atmospheric, yes; blood and guts, possible but not necessary). But we had a lot of options we were eager for, and couldn't quite decide one way or the other, so we put it to a vote and let you guys decide. And you made your decision loud and clear, with one of the four books getting well over half the votes.
So October's #WednesdayYA book club read is . . .


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