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Saturday, January 31, 2015


Bonus Saturday video!
Here's a look back at what I read in January, and my general thoughts on whether it's a book to get or skip! But this year, with my rewinds, I want to give you an overview of my month in general, so below the video, check out some of my January highlights!

Shadow Scale | Rachel Hartman
Amulet, vol 1 | Kazu Kibuishi
Tuck Everlasting | Natalie Babbitt
Shadowfell | Juliet Marillier
Seducing the Enemy | Noelle Adams
Legend | Marie Lu
Olympians series | George O'Connor
Homemade Decadence | Joy Wilson

Also Mentioned:
Seraphina | Rachel Hartman
Zita the Spacegirl | Ben Hatke
Legend liveshow
Olympians series tour (will go live 2/6)

Some of my highlights from January were:

~Blogging Highlights~

Posts like the new Friday Five feature and BookLooks, where I get to showcase random little things I'm loving (or hating), and work in some photog funtimes, too. And I love (LOVE!) how you guys have responded to things like this, and the general injection of non-bookish me-ness. =D

I did one of my favorite book spine poems to date, so that's cool. And some of you have been trying your hands at them, and that's even cooler!

I've been vlogging, which has been a really interesting experiment for me, and I like how it makes me more aware of what's going on in my life, AND make me try harder at making things happen in my life - we all know I can be a recluse. (And the next vloggy installment will be up on Thursday!)

And I've actually been (mostly) keeping up with my 2015 goals! Anyone who has ever set a New Year's goal or resolution knows what a rarity that is, so woo hoo! February is looking to be a packed month, so here's to hoping I can keep with this trend! ;)

~Life Highlights~

I had a fun day out with my bestie and her fam to the Henry Ford Museum, which you'll see snippets of in the upcoming vlog. I also learned how to make tamales, and made one of the best tasting things I have ever put in my mouth, omg.

I've also fallen in love with the show Hart of Dixie -- a love that was immediately cemented by seeing the Stars Hollow gazebo in Bluebell's town square. It's the same set!

And I've been painting a lot lately, which always makes me happy, so even though I wasn't on instagram too much this month, when I was on, there was a 1/4 chance it had something to do with paint. =D

And for those who ask, yes, I have been writing, and trying to build better habits where that is concerned, and I think I've found the perfect tool for myself to help me do it. It's called WriteTrack, and it works similarly to the NaNoWriMo bar graph, to give you an idea of what you need to write each day to meet your goal, and where you stand. It's simple, no fuss, self adjusting and you can weight the days, and it's basically what I love about NaNo as a motivator, in non-NaNo months. Pretty sweet.

And lastly, I can't get enough of this:

For serious repeat status.  It's excellent live, too.

So, what was your month like? Chat with me in the comments about all of the cool things you got up to this month!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Book(Spine)Porn... | The Friday Five

Voting is still open on the first of this year's Friday Face Offs, featuring a cover series both creepy and chaotic... The winner will be announced in next week's Face Off, but until then, it's time for a brand new Friday Five!

This week I'm taking a look at some of my favorite book spines. Now, this post could go on for much longer than just five books; in fact, it's something I covered more in depth a few years ago, in one of the very first Book Chat videos. (Anyone remember those? ;P ) A lot of you know that I currently organize my books according to color, but before I had the space to fully taste the embrace the rainbow, I used to have a special section, all on a shelf of its own, that highlighted my favorite book spines. I figured, if most of my book organization was going to be chaotic, I might as well have one spot that brought me nothing but joy. [Not coincidentally, that "shelf" was actually the top of my TV, so basically anytime I watched something, I was also staring pretty much directly at some gorgeous book spines! It was a good system.]

I have a lot of books on my shelves, and am a sucker for good design, so posts like this are always something I stress over a little bit: how can I include this, but not that, etc., etc. But to save myself the heartache, I'm just going to be straightforward and tell you that this is not necessarily my all time favorite five, but the first of what is likely to be many groups of five awesomely designed book spines. Pressure off, crisis averted, let's get on to the gorgeous books!!


The first month of 2015 is drawing to a close (already!!), so that means it's time to take a look at the new additions to my shelves! Lot of goodies this month, and since I kinda wanna dive into all of them right now, I'm going to have to be really careful not to slide back into Ooh Shiny Syndrome...

Let me know your thoughts on these books in the comments, and of course, thanks for watching!

The Art of Asking | Amanda Palmer
Return of Zita the Spacegirl (signed!) | Ben Hatke
Beastkeeper | Cat Hellisen
Stone in the Sky | Cecil Castellucci
Skandal | Lindsay Smith
Velvet | Temple West
Rebel Mechanics | Shanna Swendson
The Boy Who Lost Fairyland | Catherynne M. Valente
Tuck Everlasting | Natalie Babbitt
We Can Work It Out | Elizabeth Eulberg
The Zodiac Legacy: Convergence | Stan Lee, Stuart Moore & Andie Tong

Thursday, January 29, 2015

LEGEND Wrap-up and Liveshow! | #WednesdayYA

So, last night, Liz and I did a thing. It was a thing in which we acted ridiculous, talked (somehow? IDEK) about furries and YA love octagons, and had a little vent sesh about a book we were looking forward to. That's right, it's our discussion of the first #WednesdayYA book of 2015, Legend!

Make sure to stick around to the end, when we pitch our book picks for next month in a pretty fun way: no titles, no covers, just an excerpt for you to choose! Let us know in the comments or on Twitter whether you want us to read book 1 (Misty's Pick) or book 2 (Liz's pick)!

(Also, please ignore the horrible thumbnail; here's to hoping Liz changes that... ;P )

About the book:
Legend by Marie Lu!
305 pages
Published November 29th 2011 by Putnam Juvenile
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Just a heads up, guys, the #WednesdayYA discussion for this month is happening TOMORROW at 8:30 EST. We'll be discussing Marie Lu's Legend, and judging by the little conversations and venting sessions that have gone on throughout the month, it promises to be a lively one! We'll also be battling it out to see whose pick, mine or Liz's, will be our February read!

We will once again be discussing the book LIVESHOW style, so you can join us on Liz's Consumed by Books youtube channel to see us (actually see us, in all our shenanigan-filled glory), or if you're more Twitter-inclined, we'll be following along and answering your questions & comments there as well, when you use the hashtag #WednesdayYA.

Last month's liveshow chat was a BLAST, so we really hope to see you there, but if you're unable to make it but still want to weigh in, I will be posting the video of the chat right here on Thursday morning.

Monday, January 26, 2015

FIRST FROST by Sarah Addison Allen | excerpt

I promised a teaser of Sarah Addison Allen's First Frost awhile back, so here we go!
A few things to note:
That is NOT the final cover (the final has a frosty red apple, and is just darling, and super, super ***SHINY*** — you can see it below), and because I am reading from an ARC, the wording may differ from the final version.
Also, I said it would be out soon, but you can actually grab it now, it came out this week!

FIRST FROST by Sarah Addison Allen:
Get It | Add It
From the New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells comes a story of the Waverley family, in a novel as sparkling as the first dusting of frost on new-fallen leaves...

It's October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly. As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree... and all the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store.

Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley’s Candies. Though her handcrafted confections—rose to recall lost love, lavender to promote happiness and lemon verbena to soothe throats and minds—are singularly effective, the business of selling them is costing her the everyday joys of her family, and her belief in her own precious gifts.

Sydney Waverley, too, is losing her balance. With each passing day she longs more for a baby— a namesake for her wonderful Henry. Yet the longer she tries, the more her desire becomes an unquenchable thirst, stealing the pleasure out of the life she already has.

Sydney’s daughter, Bay, has lost her heart to the boy she knows it belongs to…if only he could see it, too. But how can he, when he is so far outside her grasp that he appears to her as little more than a puff of smoke?

When a mysterious stranger shows up and challenges the very heart of their family, each of them must make choices they have never confronted before. And through it all, the Waverley sisters must search for a way to hold their family together through their troublesome season of change, waiting for that extraordinary event that is First Frost.

Lose yourself in Sarah Addison Allen's enchanting world and fall for her charmed characters in this captivating story that proves that a happily-ever-after is never the real ending to a story. It’s where the real story begins.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Face Off: Abarat series

Alright, it's been aaaaaages since we've had a proper Friday Face Off, but I said they were coming back this year, and (for the time being, at least) I meant it. And we're going to start it off with a series overhaul that I came across recently, which is...eye catching, to say the least. I'm talking about Clive Barker's Abarat series, which has gone from colorful multi-pictured, almost playing card-style covers to monochromatic and startlingly creeptastic in cover design. Both have their weird elements, which I'd imagine suit the story (don't know, haven't read), but though I'm not sure how I feel about the current design — which I'm guessing is a permanent change, as the 3rd book has only that style available — I will say, one of them is definitely more likely to catch my eye. And maybe give me nightmares, tbh.
But what about you? Take a look at the two cover styles below and let me know in the comments which would catch your eye. Which would you be curious about, which would you be more likely to pick up, and which would you rather stock on your own shelves?
Which one did it better?

Previously, on FFO: Honestly, who even remembers; it's been ages! BUT, I may not have a winner to share with you, but I do have a plea for help -- if you see something that should be on Face Off, let me know! I only come across so many books, and I like to keep it diverse, so if you see a book or series that has had a cover change, has drastically different editions available, or even a stock photo used for multiple different books, please let me know, and I'll try to include it in a Face Off!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Conquest | #BookSpinePoetry

I've been wanting to do some book spine poetry with you for AGES! I love sitting and staring at my shelves when I'm in a lazy mood, and just matching up titles into potential poems, so these little BSPs are something I do on occasion, and share to instagram & the blog. You can find more of them here.

I highly encourage you to do your own, and if you DO, please send me a link or tag me in it, so I can come check it out! =)
Thanks for watching!


The Conquest

Kill me softly, burn for burn.
Shatter me,
Die for me,
Breathe my name...
Possess my last kiss, eternally yours.
Midnight never come.

Books Featured: Kill Me Softly // Burn for Burn // Shatter Me // Die for Me // Breathe My Name // Possess // My Last Kiss // Eternally Yours // Midnight Never Come

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cover Reveal: Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen!

It's probably no surprise to you that the follow up to Danielle L. Jensen's Stolen Songbird is at the top of my list of books to try to get my hands on for this year's Fairy Tale Fortnight, considering that it was in my list of my five most anticipated 2015 releases. So obviously, when Danielle released the cover of the second book in the Malediction series, Hidden Huntress (yay!) on her website yesterday, I experienced a little thrill — a cover means it's one step closer, and you know I was all about that!

If I haven't already convinced you to give the first book, Stolen Songbird, a try, then allow me to take the opportunity to encourage you to do so, again. And also allow me to point out that as part of the cover reveal, there are a bunch of chances to win a copy of said first book, so you might want to visit that link you see above...  But first, I give you:

Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen
Expected publication: June 2nd 2015 by Angry Robot
Sometimes, one must accomplish the impossible.

Beneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation.

Recovered from her injuries, she now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. But by day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs to those she cares about will be high.

To find Anushka, she must delve into magic that is both dark and deadly. But the witch is a clever creature. And Cécile might not just be the hunter. She might also be the hunted…

Anyone else as eager as I am for this one?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A funky kind of funk...

We've talked about reading ruts before. We've talked about those inescapable lazy modes, where we just can't be bothered to pick up a book. We've talked about those books that you stall on, and even though you want to finish so you can move on already, you just can't make yourself sit down and finish the thing. (I'm having a bit of one of those at the moment, unfortunately...) We've talked about required reading, and how, even if you like the book, the very fact of it being obligatory makes you dig in your heels and not get any reading done. We've talked endlessly about funks and funk-breaker books to get you out of them.

We've talked about all of those rut-related things, but today I want to talk about a different beast entirely. A new funk. A funky funk, unlike the usual readerly rut. A funk that swallowed up half of my 2014.
I want to talk about the 'I want to read everything, and so somehow am reading nothing' funk. It is a strange one.

Yes, the fact of the matter is, for the last 6 months, at least — for the last year and then some, if I'm honest — I've been suffering from a major case of O.S.S.:

It goes something like this:
I'm going along like normal, reading a perfectly enjoyable book. I like it. I may even sorta love it. I'm totally gonna recommend this book to all my friends, you guys!
****** S  H  I  N  Y  ******
Did you see that? That shiny, shiny book that just flew into my hands, out of nowhere? It wants me to read it, now, right now, forget about that other book, that other book is nothing to me. This. This shiny golden god of bookstuffs, this is the ticket.
It brought shiny, shiny friends! Obviously, I should read this shiny book! Or no, maybe that is the shiny book I should be reading; it's gotta be better than all the others, right?
But look there! Even. More. SHINY!
And so it goes, on and on until I find that I haven't read much of anything, really, and all of those lovely, shiny books, all of those books that I honestly know will suit me, will make me love them, have been abandoned, callously tossed by the wayside, in my pursuit of shiny.
It's like a bookish mirage, and as soon as I reach my oasis, I see that really, it's still off in the distance, with a new face and a snazzy title and fancy foil lettering.

There are so many books that got left in the dust of 2014, and part of my mind is still latching onto them. Whether it's readerly guilt (finish them!), bloggerly guilt (omg Misty, finish them!), an inkling that there's something really stellar in the pile (come back! look back at me!), or some as yet undiagnosed affliction, my brain doesn't want to let them go, but they're keeping me from moving on. These books, these shiny, abandoned books, have got me in a funky funk, and like Elsa (sorry not sorry), I've got to let it go.

I may come back to you, shiny books. And others may join you in the meantime — O.S.S. is a difficult malady to shake — but for now, I've got to leave you to your shiny ways and move on. I've got to shake off this restless, wandering spirit and ignore your siren song. . .
As soon as I find a way to do that.

So, I know I'm not the only one to come down with a case of the Shinies from time to time. Since this is different than your run of the mill rut, tell me, how do you shake it off?  Does the traditional advice of "read something fun and fluffy" still apply?  It's not a case of losing the joy of reading, it's a case of being spoiled for choice. So how do you deal when your brain is bouncing off the walls of your inner library and you're in total book floozy mode?
Help me.


Thanks to Juskteez Vu and Luca Zanon for sharing amazing photographic work under a Creative Commons license, enabling me to have some silly fun making banners in this post! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Vlog #3: Snow Days, Tamales and Frozen Lakes...

Here's a look at what I got up to in the first half of January! And lemme tell you, those tamales were one of the single best things I've ever eaten... om nom nom.

Let me know in the comments what you guys prefer for vlogs - more frequent but shorter, less frequent but longer, or sporadic and however long it happens to be. =)
I'll see you again on Wednesday for a brand new video, but in case you missed it, here are some of the recent videos and posts mentioned:
December Vlog
2014 Hits & Misses
2015 Goals
Tuck Everlasting
January WednesdayYA
Friday Five

Music from the Youtube Creators Library

Thursday, January 15, 2015

On Mortality & Beginnings, Middles and Ends | #Tuck40th

So, today's video... existential crisis, or rereading of Tuck Everlasting? It's anybody's guess... ;)

The list of books that made me cry as a child (thus cementing their places in my all-time favorites, because: obviously) is not an exceptionally long one, but it is headed off by an exceptional book: Tuck Everlasting. Other books may have been first to make Itty Bitty Misty ugly-cry — that distinction probably goes to one of a number of books where one of the main characters was an animal, which made you love it and then died, nobly, because always, always, why do they do that?! — but there are two books that stand in my memory as books to make me cry for all the right reasons; to make me connect with the characters and feel for the things they went through, not in a false, pulling-your-readerly-strings way, but in an honest, pure, really-good-story-well-told way, and those two books are Tuck Everlasting and The Bridge to Terabithia. Man, they just killed my 9 year old self. (Well, that seems like a poor choice of words, all things considered, but you know.) And these are books which have stuck with me in the long years since. Books I've come to appreciate even more as an adult, and whose authors I've come to respect for the work they did in the stories they told.

Needless to say, I'm very happy to be taking part in the discussions around the 40th anniversary of Natalie Babbitt's amazing classic, Tuck Everlasting, and I can't wait to hear your thoughts on the book and on all of this VER SRS STUFF in the comments! ^_^

(But seriously, thanks for joining me for this Serious Misty moment, and thanks, of course, for watching!)

So, VER SRS MS.T has one question for your VER SRS selves: would you drink from the Spring. and what would you do with your endless life if you did?
(Okay, so it's a two-part question — still one question.)

Chat with me about it in the comments, and follow along on the rest of the Tuck Everlasting Anniversary tour on social media with the hashtag #Tuck40TH!

TUCK EVERLASTING by Natalie Babbitt:

Get the 40th Anniversary Edition

Add it to Goodreads

Doomed to—or blessed with—eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Impromptu Love Fest #1

Ages ago, I used to have a monthly feature called "Bragging Rights," where I invited people to link up a post or two from the prior month that they were proud of, so that I (and other linkers) could visit them, leave some love, tweet them out, etc., but also just because I think it can be a really good thing to look back at what you've done and be bold enough to say: I did this thing and I'm proud of it.

It fell by the wayside for silly little reasons, as any number of things do, but I've always liked the idea and have been wanting to come back around to something similar. And as I mentioned in my 2015 mission statement, one of my goals this year is fostering and participating in community, so now seems like the perfect time to resurrect it, in a shiny new form...
A little love fest!  Basically, the idea is akin to Bragging Rights — I'm going to post these little love fest linkies from time to time, whenever I'm feeling in need of a good comment spree, and what to know what all you guys are up to.  When I post one, I invite you to link up something that you'd like some love on: a post that you loved, that didn't get enough comments, a vlog you want more people to see, even instagram posts that you think are pretty special and you want to acknowledge!

This isn't like all of those Hop features I see out there, which (aside from giveaway hops, which I think are pretty damn neato), I've never gotten into. Now, I'm not talking about regular memes like Top Ten Tuesday, or even IMM. I mean things that seem to be just for the purpose of dropping a link and gaining a few followers, ala the good ol' I-followed-you-now-you-follow-me. It's like the blogging world's version of a Ponzi scheme; you just keep trying to pull people in, but it's substanceless.  ( And I'm sorry for anyone that offends. If you participate, I get it, and if it works for you, then embrace it. And hell, maybe there's more to the whole thing that I've just missed, but it's just never been for me — I want you to follow me because you want to follow me; and I shudder at the words #followforfollow and #likeforlike...)

So, this isn't one of those. This is purely about community — about recognizing and talking about the awesome things you guys are doing! I can't possibly keep up with everybody, so this is a nice way for you to curate for me the things you think represent you, and you want me (and anyone else who stumbles across it) to see.

I would hope that some of the posts may catch your eye, and your own bookish community may grow as a result, or even that some of you may be inspired to spend a bit of time bouncing around and leaving some comment love, too, in the same spirit of community, but that's not in any way a requirement of leaving a link.
There's no catch.
There are no hoops.
I just want to get to know you better, and want to see what it is that you're proud of, what makes you tick.

And all of that to say: I'd love to come and chat with you in your space! Leave a link below to something you're proud of, or something you think needs a bit more love, and I will do my best to stop by, engage in the convo, tweet it out, or whatever may strike my fancy!

There will be no set schedule to these Love Fest posts, just whenever I'm feeling the need to see what you've been up to, so keep an eye out, but in the meantime, feel free to explore the links and happenings of the people who've dropped in to this Love Fest! =D

Monday, January 12, 2015

2014 HITS and MISSES!

Here's a look at some of the hits (and sad, sad misses) of my year of reading in 2014! It's too many books to list entirely, but I've linked my 10 favorite below.

It was a sometimes-weird year of reading for me, because I had huge swaths of time where, even though I liked what I was reading, I wanted to move on. As I mentioned in my 2015 Mission Statement, I left a bookish body trail in my wake last year, and I'm not entirely sure why that was. But I did manage to make it through a nice chunk of books, and below we're going to take a look at which of them were faves, and which of them totally flopped.

Thanks for watching, and let me know your best from '14 in the comments!

(okay, actually I listed 11 in the video, so...bonus!)
The Lost
Keturah & Lord Death
Tin Star
In the Age of Love and Chocolate
Titan Magic: Body & Soul
Grave Mercy
Please Ignore Vera Dietz
Stolen Songbird
The Return of Zita the Spacegirl

I also mentioned that a number of these have sequels in my 2015 Most Anticipated list, so here's to looking forward to an excellent year of reading those in 2015!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The lights, the cookies, the Xmas action | vlog

I've been dutifully recording (and editing! whoop!) vlog-stuffs for 2015, but before we crack into that, here's the promised December vlog! Sorry so long, guys, I promise to not let that happen again. But 20 minutes out of an entire month of stuff? 'S not so bad. ;)

***Warning: I visit an after-dark Christmas parade in this, so there are lots of flashing lights starting around the the 3:00 mark; if you're prone to seizures or migraines, beware.

Videos mentioned in the vlog:
December Liveshow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVuFt0OORNU
Book Haul & Unboxing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYm7OC_gyfA

I'll see you again on Sunday for a look at some of my bookish hits and misses from 2014!
Thanks for watching!!

About the float mentioned in the video: CHELSEA BRUCK is a girl who went missing at a Halloween party near where I live, and has yet to be found. HUNDREDS of people were at this party, and of course, in costume, so leads are few. Please check out this facebook group for info, and share it if you can:

And I forgot to add in a picture of the ninjabread, so: http://instagram.com/p/iNrhfeRu9I/?modal=true

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Introducing the January, 2015 #WednesdayYA Book Club Pick!

As Liz and I mentioned in our retrospective live show (so fun!) last month, we're kicking off a brand new year of #WednesdayYA book club with a book we *almost* read as the first choice last year! Apparently we have a thing about starting the year off with dystopias... Maybe something about the barrenness of the landscape, or the winter SADs? WHATEVS, this month's book is one I've been wanting to read for a long time, and have heard endless good things!
We'll be reading...

Legend by Marie Lu!
305 pages
Published November 29th 2011 by Putnam Juvenile
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Because we — and many of you — seemed to like the way the live show went last time, and because it gives more of you an opportunity to participate (even if you can't make it to the chat, you can still see everything that happened and chime in!), we've decided we're going to continue that into the new year! This month's discussion will be hosted on Liz's youtube channel, where you can chat along right there on the page, ask your questions to us, talk about us with other chatters...
But if you're more comfortable with it, you can also follow along and chat on Twitter, same as always. We'll be manning both fronts, and trying to engage and answer as many of you as possible.

As always, the monthly discussion will take place on the last wednesday of the month, at 8:30 EST, so in this case, it will be on
Wednesday, January 28th

We hope to see a lot of you there, whether you're reading it for the first time along with us, or you've read it before and just want to chime in. But if you can't make it, rest assured the video will be shared and available for your thoughts and comments the following day.
Until then, pick up a copy of Legend and join the #WednesdayYA book club!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Because I Am A Girly-Girl... | #BookLooks (1)

...I have a little bit of an obsession with nail polish. (Well, and makeup, too. Any means of putting bright color upon your person, I'm a fan of.) This is not news to anyone who follows me on instagram, or has ever had a girls night with me, and been witness to the suitcase of *stuff* I bring. And I love, love, love when people combine this love with my love of books. I am forever in awe of the BookishManicurist instagram account (how does she do that?!); I got a little thrill this morning when I saw that one of the prompts in this month's Booksoulmates Photo-a-Day challenge was a book and lipstick pairing.  When these two worlds meet...there is my happy place.

You guys have probably had an inkling of this, too. I do my fun little character lookbooks for FTF / AIA; I reviewed fairy tale themed makeup; and though I don't post them here, on the vlog channel, I do have videos devoted solely to all this glorious, glorious *stuff*.

So, as I mentioned in my 2015 Mission Statement, one of my goals this year is to break down the barriers on the blog, and bring more of my personality as a whole (and not just as a book lover) into this whole shebang, and since this is a big part of who I am (and because, as you may know, I am a color coder), I thought I'd do occasional posts with makeup and nail polish picks to go along with my pretty, pretty books. (And since one of my smaller goals of the year is to get more use out of my camera & build my picture-taking skills (ie learn all the damn SLR has to offer), this is another ✔  to check off!) If you're like me, you can love the book porn/color porn/makeup porn aspects of the pictures, and if not, well... there will be a brand new post up tomorrow, hope to see you then!

So here is the first of my random BookLooks posts, and much wordier than they will generally be. I wanted to give you a bit of an intro, but in future, we'll jump straight to the good stuff! (And it's probably no coincidence that all of these first round of picks tend to be my favorite Spring colors... out with the winter blahs, in with the winter brights!)

I love all of the slightly different shades of aqua mottled together in the cover of Cat Patrick's Revived, so I thought a few variations on aqua (which, clearly, I love. This didn't make a dent in my aqua collection...), sponged over a white base would be a great nod to the book — and a speckle of black at the tips, if you can bear to break up the color!
Featuring Revived and Studio M 'Age of Aquarius,' China Glaze '
Too Yacht to Handle,' and PaintFab 'Teal the Show.'

Well, hello there, my favorite color...
Featuring The Sky is Everywhere and Zoya Mitzi

There's nothing I love more in the dead sameness of winter than adding the BRIGHTEST pop of color I can find, and since the film version of The Duff will be coming out soon, it seemed like the perfect choice to shake up the winter ho-hum humdrums.
Featuring The Duff and Studio M 'Infusion,' Julep 'Abbie,' and Color Club 'Blue Ming.'

So, does anyone else get a giddy little thrill when their nail polish (or lipstick!) matches the book they're reading? Or do you think I'm totally crazy?
(It's the little things, man. I'm tellin ya.)

Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 MISSION STATEMENT: Goals & Plans for a New Year!

I've said in the past that I'm not really a "resolutions" person, because I think they box you in and take what's fulfilling out of making change in your life. But I do like to reassess, set myself goals, and just generally rethink things from time to time, and the beginning of a new year is as good a time as any to do it. (Better, even; it's all fresh and nicely round, which if you're the least little bit anal/OCD/finicky, you know exactly what I mean by that.)

For 2015, I have a number of goals I want to achieve and habits I want to lay the groundwork for, and I think putting them out there into the world forces a measure of accountability — so I intend to do just that.

Find out more about my goals in the video below, and the after that, I discuss them a bit more, add in some caveats, and invite you to weigh in!

A lot of what I mentioned in the video applies to both the blog and vlog fronts (well, actually, a lot of it can be applied to life in general), but since you're on the blog right now, I'd like to discuss that a bit more. My catch phrase for 2015 is definitely QUALITY  OVER  QUANTITY, and though I'm setting out to do 5 posts/week (2 video, 3 written), that is subject to change if I find that quality is still taking a hit, OR if the pace is keeping me from my biggest goal of this year, which is finishingeditingpolishingperfectingLOVING a novel. I've gotta keep my eyes on that prize, and though I love you and love talking to you, I can't use all of *this* as a distraction.

(And thank you to all of you who still check in on the writing, ask me how it's going, keep me on my toes, send words of encouragement, etc. You guys are awesome and an unexpected help, always right when I need it, so thank you.)

I talk about a number of other goals in the vlog, too, but for the purposes of this post, we're taking a look at the scheduling thing, and we'll assume that I'm going to be able to keep at the rough pace I've set, in which case a rough weekly schedule will be something like this:

Sunday (vlog): My Sunday vlog (could be anything, really)
Monday: Sunday's vlog posted and discussed
Tuesday: "Free" day, could be anything. Reviews, discussions, probably something meatier to start the week off, but not always.
Wednesday (vlog): My Wednesday vlog (likely a WednesdayYA live show or something WYA related, or general life vlog, could be anything else vloggy)
Wednesday (here): WednesdayYA post on the first, fun stuff the rest of the month. Loosey goosey
Thursday: Wednesday's vlog posted and discussed
Friday: Friday Face Off OR The Friday Five
Saturday: Freedom! Glorious, glorious freedom! Or household chores. One of the two...

And ideally, I'll always have these things posted in the early morning, but...you know. I'm a night owl who forgets to set times in advance, so... I'll try.

As I mention in the video, any of this could be (and will be) shaken up by blog tour posts and my two little events I hold, so things can and will change. And I guess flexibility is also a buzzword of this year, but I'm aiming for a built in, knowing flexibility (and not a, man, I really got lazy there, didn't I? flexibility). I've had plenty of feast-or-famine days/weeks/months here on the blog over the years, but I'm trying to really build some good habits and a lasting (and achievable)  outlet for my bookery.

And I hope you'll join me in that!

Let me know what you think of my plan in the comments, and if you've set yourself goals or resolutions for the year (or if you steadfastly refuse to!), chat with me in the comments about them!

Friday, January 2, 2015

MY MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2015! | #FridayFive (1)

An-tici-patiooooon! An-tici-pay-yay-tion is... waiting for awesome books to come out, amirite?
So here, for my first post in a new feature called The Friday Five, I'm telling you about some of the ones that, like Kylie Minogue, I just can't get out of my head...

So, in no particular order, just grabby hands all around...

1. THE MISSING. I've thought about Sarah Beth Durst's first adult book, The Lost, probably more than any other book in the last year. It would just randomly pop into my head and I would be hit with a wave of just missing these characters. Maybe that's why its sequel is called "The Missing" — it's not about finding what's missing, or whatever the synopsis will tell you; it's about how much those of us who read and loved The Lost are missing these characters and this world, and desperately want to get back to it already...

2. HIDDEN HUNTRESS. And the runner up for book that popped into my head the most in 2014, and probably the winner of book that I was most surprised to obsess over, is definitely Danielle L. Jensen's debut, Stolen Songbird. I thought I'd probably like it, but without even being able to pin down just what it was that won me over so much, I loved it. And then came the crushing news that Strange Chemistry, the imprint that published it, was going under, and the panic set it. What was going to happen to the rest of the Malediction trilogy? I needed the second book, dammit! Thankfully, Angry Robot, SC's mothership, picked up the series, and though there's no cover yet (that's book  one, over there) publication of book 2, Hidden Huntress, is set for this summer.

3. WINTER. (And 3.5: Fairest.) I was already anticipating that there wouldn't be review copies of the final Lunar Chronicles book, Winter, so when news broke that a different book, Fairest, would be published first instead, I realized Winter had been postponed to god knows when, and I was ready to mutiny. Storm the castle, take the book by force and free it to the fangirls with the proclamation WINTER IS COMING. Or something. I dunno, I probably would have just waited in misery like everyone else, tbh, but inside, I would have been storming the castle. (Not that I'm not eager to read Fairest, you know. But...Winter... *sobs pathetically*) But the postponement wasn't quite as long as I was anticipating (but long enough), and Winter is coming. I suppose my fangirling heart can hold out for a little longer. Probably.

Err...4ish. STONE IN THE SKY, maybe? Or LAIR OF DREAMS? Or A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC? Or... I mean, let's face it: there are a lot of amazing books coming out, from a lot of authors whom I eagerly follow. I know I always somehow cheat, but any of these books could nab a spot in the top anticipated books this year, and the answer could change from one minute to the next.

And then 5: I DON'T EVEN KNOW YET. There are so many books I'm eager to read, and some of them I'm sure I haven't even come across yet. There are probably more. (Well, there are definitely more, but you know what I mean). There are probably even some that, when I remember them, I'll be like, wait, that SO should have been on the list! How could I neglect [BOOK]? Alas, alack! But for now, these are the books that I started eager-wiggle-dancing for when I realized it was 2015. (Don't judge me. You know you do it, too). But the last spot on this list goes to one I haven't even heard of yet, one I'll come across a few months in and be frantic to get when it comes out. I know 2015 has one of those books in store for me, and I eagerly await meeting it.

And ONE LAST NOTE: Many of you may be like, but soft! what light through yonder window breaks? wait, why didn't you list the sequel to Seraphina, since you loved that so much and never shut up about it? I mean, you do know that Shadow Scale comes out this year, right? To which I say: yes, I do and: nyah nyah nanyah nyah.

So yeah, totally was one of my most anticipated books of 2015, but I ain't anticipatin' no mo'. (But you should, it's great!)

So I've showed you mine — how 'bout you show me yours? What are some of your most anticipated reads of 2015?

The Friday Five is a new feature here on The Book Rat. It will be alternated every other week with my normal Friday feature, Friday Face Off. Let me know what you think in the comments, and if you want to weigh in on this week's topic, either here or in your own post, please feel free to do so!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

JANUARY TBR [2015] + A Question

First stack of the new year, and I'm hoping to really get the ball rolling (right after it finishes dropping -- ba dum tss)!
Let me know what YOU'RE planning on for your first books of 2015, and while you're at it, please also let me know whether you'd like to see "Stack of Five" videos or general viewers choice videos this year!

The Definites:
Amulet, vol 1: The Stonekeeper | Kazu Kibuishi
Olympians boxed set (1-6) | George O'Connor
Ares | George O'Connor
Shadow Scale | Rachel Hartman

The Maybes:
Life Sucks | Jessica Abel & Gabe Soria & Warren Pleece
Boxers & Saints boxed set | Gene Luen Yang
Castle Waiting | Linda Medley
Bone | Jeff Smith
Shadowfell | Juliet Marillier
Exquisite Captive | Heather Demetrios
and then, who knows!

I have some plans to change things up this year, which I'll be talking about more in the days to come, but until then, definitely chat with me in the comments about your plans for January reading and 2015 living! =)


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