Archive | May, 2012

My Favorite Reads Blog Hop

There’s something about a favorite book. It may not be the fanciest nor the most well-written (though you’d swear it is). It may not boast a gorgeous cover or a big-name author. Others may not “get” your favorite book, but it doesn’t matter.

Just the mention of its title or one of its main characters and you’re transformed into a lovestruck fool. You’re like a new gramma with baby pictures – any unfortunate soul who blunders into your path is a potential audience, a potential convert, if you will.

This is the book that you have in multiple forms (autographed and plain, paperback, hardcover, e-copy, collector’s edition). This is the book you turn to when you need something comfortable, like the old stuffed animal that you pull out from your closet when you’re sick.

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Rachelle Writes understand, which is why they are co-hosting a giveaway hop to celebrate our favorite reads. I’m #85 on the linky list (it’s after the jump break), and I’ve chosen to host a giveaway where the winner will win one of my ten favorite books. The books I’ve picked represent long-lasting favorites, most of which have followed me from childhood to college and beyond; therefore, no recent favorites, such as the delectable Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers or Scarlet by A.C. Gaghen, are listed (though it wouldn’t hurt to check them out on your own time).


So what books are up for grabs? I’m glad you asked! In no particular order…

<----The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (or its sequel, Queen of Attolia, if you already own The Thief). You can read my review here, but this is the first book in my favorite series of all time. I literally read this book every 3-4 months. It’s awesome, and the sequels are even better.

Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery. This is the eighth and final book in the Anne of Green Gables series. While reading the rest of the series does help in connecting with the characters, L.M. writes such vivid, lovable portraits that you needn’t be afraid to dive right in. Rilla is Anne’s daughter through and through. She’s stubborn and impetuous, but also brave and selfless. There is heartbreak in this book but also triumph, and it’s all bound together by L.M.’s fantastic poetic descriptions. —>

<--- Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I don’t think there’s much I can say about this book that hasn’t already been said. Hunger Games is a masterpiece of dystopian literature, fraught with adventure, death, and just a smidgen of romance. It. Is. The. Bomb.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I read this book as an eleven year old to prove to my dad that I was old enough to watch the movie. I fell in love with Tolkien’s wordsmanship, his characters, and his delightful creation of Middle-Earth. I wouldn’t be half the nerd I am today without this book. —>

<--- An Assembly Such As This by Pamela Aidan. This book is the first in a trilogy that tells the story of Pride & Prejudice from MR. DARCY’S point of view. I’ve read many books with the same conceit, but none have pulled it off so masterfully as Ms. Aidan. This is my go-to romance series.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Another FANTASTIC fantasy book that is also a dang good romance. The heroine, Katsa, is kick-butt but perfectly matched by Po, her potential love interest. Cashore weaves fantastical Graces, harrowing suspense, tender romance, and breathtaking betrayal together in her tale. Warning: Some language and sexual content. —>

<--- And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. Dying for a good mystery? Then I’ve got you covered. In my opinion, this is Agatha Christie’s best work. Ten strangers are trapped on an island and mysteriously killed in gruesome ways. Fantastic! The suspense is killer, and I dare you to guess the murderer before the big reveal.

Terrier by Tamora Pierce. This is a book about a fiercely determined young woman on the hunt to track down a kidnapper and murderer with the help of her fellow Dogs and her unusual talents. What talents? Oh, she can talk to dead people in pigeons and pick up scraps of conversations stuck in dust devils. This is the first in the Provost’s Dog series. —>

 <--- Inferno by Dante Alighieri. To prove what a weirdo I am, this has to be one of my all-time favorite classics. It’s just morbid and awful and creepy and wrong… and freaking amazing. Dante, turned off the path of righteous, has to be guided to his love Berenice in Paradise by the philosopher Virgil. But first, he must descend into the bowels of Hell itself. (Oh, and this version offers side-by-side Italian and English translations. FYI.)

Beauty by Robin McKinley. Belle was always my favorite fairy tale princess, and McKinley’s classic retelling is the best version I have ever read. Eschewing the Disney tale, she instead draws from elements of the original fable, while putting an enchanting twist on things that’s all her own. Swoontastic. —>

~~*~~
So there you have it, ten of my long-time favorites, and one of them can be yours to own. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter and follow the rules:
  • You MUST live in one of the countries Book Depository delivers to.
  • You MUST be honest when entering. I will check to be sure you do what you say you’re doing, and I will disqualify cheaters.
  • And you MUST respond to my email within 48 hours of winning (so make sure that email address is correct!).
  • [Note: Most of the books, with two exceptions, are the exact same version that I own, which means most are paperback.]

    Click HERE to keep hopping!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    125

    Wishlist Wednesday #4

    Totally the property of Pen To Paper.

    I’m writing this a week or so in advance (proper scheduling = a less stressed Shelver), so the numbers may be off by the time this airs… but at the moment, my to-read stack is at 145. So many choices, so little time.

    I’ve been on a bit of a dark kick lately. I blame This Is Not A Test for starting it all, but really, can you blame me? Go back and look at that cover. Sigh.

    Anyways, I’ve continued the theme this week with a book due to come up just next month.

    Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.
    Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.
    But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.
    Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong. 

    In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.

    Tadaaaa! What about this book caught my attention? Let me tell you.

    1. The genre. It’s apocalyptical, not dystopian. Dystopian = the world is broken, we should fix it. Apocalyptical = Golly jeepers, we’re all gonna die. Run! Sometimes it’s nice to switch off your over-arching conspiracy theory brain (dystopian) and just let your fight-or-flight kick in.

    2. The setting. I think it’s really cool that the story is set in a superstore. I think it might have something to do with my preschool dreams of living in a Walmart. I mean, think about it. Everything you need – food, weapons, hygiene supplies – are right there. Also, it’s not as roll-your-eyes convenient as being trapped in a mall.

    3. The tone of the quote. We all like to think we’d stop to kiss our moms before the end of the world. But the whole point of the end of the world is you don’t get a warning. You run for your bus like every other day and only later regret your decision.

    4. The age range. 14 kids, and SIX of them are little? Man oh man. Can you say tension? Save the kiddos!

    5. The LACK of information. WHY/HOW is the world ending? How did these kids end up in the store? Where are the adults? Who the heck is narrating this thing? Are they even male or female? I want to know! And what on earth is Monument 14?

    Monument 14 comes out June 5th, and you can bet I’ll be counting the days.

    6

    A Memorial Day PSA

    Change to “Shelver’s Bookstore” and you’ve got it.

    Oh my gosh, this! THIS!!!!

    I didn’t write the above story, but I dang well could have.

    Dear Parents,

    Today is Memorial Day. School is out, which means there will be dozens of rugrats running around our store. No, literally, running. Like hellions in light-up sneakers.

    Now, I don’t mind kids. In fact, they’re awfully fun. I volunteered in a nursery for seven years, for goodness gracious. Kids are great. Parents? Not so much.

    Please, parents, control your offspring. I know that you’re probably tired. Maybe this holiday isn’t feeling very much like a holiday for you. But the hard truth is that you’re the one who brought the little hellspawn into the world, so it’s your job to keep it in line, not mine.

    Anyone who doesn’t work in retail might think I’m exaggerating, but I’m really not. I have watched with my own eyes as parents come into my store, gabbing away on their cell phone, and dump their kids in the aisle without a backward glance. And what do little Susie and Johnny do while Mommy gets her caffeine fix? Why, run wild, of course.

    Running, shouting up and down aisles, games of tag, oh and the mess they make! The mess! Toys flung onto the floor, pages ripped out, stacks of books knocked into the aisles, you name it.

    What’s even more depressing is when kids do the exact same thing when the parent is right there. We’ve caught parents shoving damaged books back onto the shelves, hoping we won’t notice and make them pay for it. Sometimes the PARENTS are the ones shouting from one end of the store to the other. And sometimes PARENTS are the ones telling their children to stop putting away their mess, because Dad’s late for an appointment. Yes, little Timmy, stop doing what you know is right, but know that if you try that same stunt at home, you’ll get in trouble.

    They watch you, parents. They know what’s okay and what’s not by watching YOU. They’re clever, your kids. They know what they can get away with.
    I watch some of these kids and even as an adult I can feel the hair standing up on the back of my neck just thinking about what my parents would do if I ever attempted to pull crap like those kids pulled. There wouldn’t be any “Now, don’t make Mommy tell you again,” no pleading, no threats. There would be one quiet warning, and after that? WHAM! Green eyes (or reeeeally dark eyes, depending on the parent present) flashing, a quiet order, and we’d be in the car. No more fun, the end.

    I’m not here to raise your kids. That’s not my job. My job is to offer customer service by finding books for you and offering pertinent reading suggestions.

    When your kids act like Bonnie and Clyde on a spree, we’ll all hear about it. We’ll talk about you when you leave our counter. It’s kids like yours that’s made our children’s department specialist a dedicated child-hater (no lie).

    But it works both ways. If your child is well-behaved and (gasp!) polite, we’ll talk about you, too.

    “Guess what? I just had a little kid, maybe seven, come up and ask for help with a book. He called me ma’am and said please AND thank you when I was done! How cute, right?”

    I kid you not, I’ve said those exact words with fervent awe, and my coworkers have as well.

    Remember, I love kids. I want them in the store. I want them reading. I just don’t want them turning my tidy store into a natural disaster area.

    So don’t expect me to raise your kids for you.

    Much love,

    Shelver

    Your turn! Share annoying kid stories, bemoan the state of today’s youth, crow about what you’re doing for Memorial Day… anything you want!

    6

    Review: THE RELUCTANT HEIRESS by Eva Ibbotson

    Being an heiress in 1920s Austria with nothing but a broken-down castle to your name and nary a penny in your purse could be frustrating for anyone but the Princess Theresa-Maria of Pfaffenstein. “Tessa,” however, is thrilled with her situation, as it allows her to concentrate on her love of the arts – and no one in the Viennese opera company need know that their delightful and charming under-wardrobe mistress is really a princess. But when the dashing self-made millionaire Guy Farne arrives at the opera in search of suitable entertainment for his high society guests, Tessa realizes that there may be more to life – and love – than just music. But while the attraction between them in undeniable, Guy’s insufferable snob of a fiancee only solidifies Tessa’s determination to keep her true identity a secret. Yet, after a chance meeting with the handsome Englishman, Tessa’s reserve begins to melt, and she starts to wonder if it’s not too late for a fairytale ending…

    This is such a strange book. Do you know how a cat will tip its head and jerkily poke an unfamiliar object? That’s how I feel starting this review.

    The writing style was… weird. I don’t know if it was a “I was written in the 80’s and we did things differently then” kind of weird or what, because I’m not an expert on the evolution of writing styles. Maybe it was an Austrian type of style (the story is set in Austria, and I’m willing to wager that Ms. Ibbotson is Austrian).

    Or maybe Ms. Ibbotson was simply doing as I suspect she was – writing a fairy tale.

    Continue Reading →

    6

    Cover Love #3

    This week I’ve chosen a foreign cover of a well-known book. In fact, it’s a book I’ve reviewed on this very blog. Okay, I lied. It’s actually a group of foreign covers. I went looking for one and found the others.

    And they’re so… so preeeeeetty…

    I reviewed Shatter Me in early February and complained even then about the cover. It fell into the fad of covers with pretty girls in pretty dresses without reason. Nowhere in the book did Juliette wear a dress like that. She wore dresses, but not that dress. And the model just didn’t look like the Juliette in my head.

    But hot-diggity-dog did the foreign covers ramp it up a notch. Most of them still use a pretty girl in a pretty dress, but the images are far more powerful than our American version. Sigh.

    Oh! So, for comparison, here is the American cover below, as well as the description of the book. I also suggest that you go back and read my review just for kicks. 🙂

    “You can’t touch me,” I whisper.
    I’m lying, is what I don’t tell him.
    He can touch me, is what I’ll never tell him.
    But things happen when people touch me.
    Strange things.
    Bad things.
    No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon.
    But Juliette has plans of her own.
    After a lifetime without freedom, she’s finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she’d lost forever.

    I kept it small because it doesn’t warrant as much room as the ones I’m about to show you. All of the foreign covers are at the Shatter Me Fans website. I just lifted a few of my favorites.

    The French cover, which is titled “Do Not Touch Me.”
    The German cover, which is “I Am Not Afraid.”
    The Polish cover, which is “Juli’s Touch.”
    And my personal favorite, the Swedish cover, which is “Do Not Touch Me.”

    They’re all so freaking evocative! I love the different typographies, especially how the Swedish cover utilizes Juliette’s distinctive marks. Also, the titles are great. They’re very straightforward but intriguing. The German one is a little more vague than the others, but both the French and the Swedish command of “Do not touch me”? Awesome!

    Though I do wonder about the character’s frequent hair color changes… Maybe the Germans and the Poles have a thing for gingers?

    Really, seeing all these covers makes me want to start a petition or something. How wonderful would it be, in this world of increased personalization, if we could choose which cover we wanted? I mean, they’re making them anyways, right? How spectacular if we could order, say, a collector’s addition where the book was in English and titled in English, but the cover was the Swedish picture with the same typography?

    Ugh, I would die happy. I can’t even read Swedish, but I’m tempted to hunt down a copy just so I can have that picture.

    To sign up for Cover Love:


    1. Follow Bookshelvers Anonymous as the host of the meme (my work, so I get credit. No stealing).
    2. Find a cover that just makes you go wild with designer delight.
    3. Highlight said cover in a Thursday post. Here and here are my two previous Cover Love posts for reference.
    4. Link back to Bookshelvers Anonymous somewhere in your post (when I do other blogs’ memes, I put the meme button at the top of the page and then link in the button’s caption).
    5. Consider adding the meme button somewhere on your blog so others can join also. This step isn’t required, but it’d be awfully nice. The HTML for the button is in my right sidebar, and I can help you through the adding process if you’d like.
    6. Add your blog to the linky list at the bottom of this post – it makes it easier for all of us to find each other AND it’s a great way to generate traffic for your blog.




    2

    When All Else Fails, Make A List

    There’s something very calming about a list. A simplistic structure to corral and confine information into an order that can then be mastered and utilized can turn the whole world into a different color. Instead of dark, tumultuous charcoal flashing with sparks of red, suddenly everything is calm and serene, a soft, sunlit off-white. Maybe that’s why I like parchment so much.

    Every now and then, I have a moment of utter terror. What am I DOING?! I’m writing a blog! Who told me I could write a blog?! I don’t know what I’m doing. Why would anyone bother to listen to me? Holy crap! I’m a fraud!
    Continue Reading →

    5

    Cover Lovin’ Had Me a Blaaaast…

    Tada! This is my new Cover Love blog meme button, and I made it all by me onesies. I’ve done two Cover Love posts as a dry run, and I’ve found that I love talking about pretty covers with you all, so – now that I have a spiffy button – I’m opening up the meme to you all.

    So what IS Cover Love?

    Cover Love is a bi-weekly meme used to discuss covers that we just can’t stop drooling over. Whether your thing is girls in pretty dresses, atmospheric fog, dainty and sweet illustrations, or even just really wicked font, this is the meme for you.

    “Great!” you say. “What must I do to join such a wonderful meme?”

    Luckily for you, it’s a very simple process.

    1. Follow Bookshelvers Anonymous as the host of the meme (my work, so I get credit. No stealing).
    2. Find a cover that just makes you go wild with designer delight.
    3. Highlight said cover in a Thursday post. Here and here are my two previous Cover Love posts for reference.
    4. Link back to Bookshelvers Anonymous somewhere in your post (when I do other blogs’ memes, I put the meme button at the top of the page and then link in the button’s caption).
    5. Consider adding the meme button somewhere on your blog so others can join also. This step isn’t required, but it’d be awfully nice. The HTML for the button is in my right sidebar, and I can help you through the adding process if you’d like.
    6. Add your blog to the linky list at the bottom of this post – it makes it easier for all of us to find each other AND it’s a great way to generate traffic for your blog.

    That’s all! Simple, right? This Thursday (5/24) will be your first chance to start, but feel free to sign up any Thursday. And please feel free to drop by or find me on Twitter to keep hyping your blog. Let me share the love for covers with you.

    2

    Review: CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein

    Oct. 11th, 1943—A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.


    As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?
    Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.

    This book was not what I expected. Now, for some people, that’s a good thing; for some, that’s a bad thing. For me, it was a bit of both, but even when it was bad, it was bad in the best way possible.

    I seem to be picking entangled books lately, because once again I find myself sitting here unsure of what to say first or even of what I can say at all. Have you ever tried to untangle a really gnarly knot? It all loops this way and that, and you can’t tell what’s connected to what. Code Name Verity isn’t complicated, per se, but there are so many little threads that loop and curl around each other that I’m not sure which is safe to tug on.

    Continue Reading →

    10

    Wishlist Wednesday #3

    Totally the property of Pen To Paper

    This is the week where my to-read book count hit 140. Eek! I blame Goodreads. I’d been ignoring the giveaways in favor of doing other things like writing posts and reading books and working and… you know, sleeping, but somehow I ended up on the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway page.

    Holy guacamole are there a lot of great books up for grabs! I entered thirty-four giveaways in one day. Thirty-four! Does that make me sound like a horrific, greedy mooch? Probably. The key distinction is that  I’m legitimately craving all thirty-four of those books. They sound amazing!

    In fact, the book I chose for this week’s Wishlist Wednesday is from that giveaway list…

    It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

    But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

    Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off the from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

    DUN-DUN-DUNNNNNNNN!! Can’t you just hear the deep bass rolling across the waters with that intro? Maybe add some sinister organ, a la Phantom of the Opera?

    Okay, clearly this book is a modern retelling of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Go on, read both descriptions and compare. Ten guests? Check. A mysterious invite to an exclusive weekend party? Check. Said party is being hosted on a private island? Check. Vengeance being threatened by the unknown host? Check. The ten guests then die off one by one in various gruesome ways? Check!

    I am SO in! Snap diddley, I’m excited. If you’ve been around this blog for any length of time (or even just glanced at my sidebar for a second), then you know that I am a HUGE Dame Agatha Christie fan. Ginormous. Rabid, even.

    Actually, they look like they’d make a charming couple.

    And Then There Were None started my obsession. It was the very first AC book I ever read, and I suspect it’s at least partly to blame for the Hitchcock obsession I picked up soon after. It was so sinister and creepy as the guests started dying off one by one, and you just know with this delightfully twisted sinking feeling in your gut that there’s no way to stop the murderer. [Insert malevolent cackle here.]

    The pessimistic side of me whispers, “No way it’ll be good enough. They want to take the varied cast of ATTWN and turn it into a bunch of teens excited about booze? And what about the nursery rhyme? Dame Christie gave her book a cool nursery rhyme!”

    But it could be awesome. It could be really freaking awesome. And what if this book in all its awesomeness turns teens onto Agatha Christie? I mean, let’s face it, haughty British people talking about tea and crumpets isn’t everyone’s… well, cup of tea. But a book that combines the typical horror movie trope of hot young things being picked off one by one with the truly frightening combination of Survivior and Lord of the Flies? Hot diggity-dog.

    4

    New Adult; or There Be Rough Waters Ahead, Matey!

    Something’s been bothering me for some time now. I’ve shoved it aside, stuffed it down, even tried to drown it with reassurances that I’m just being silly, but it just keeps popping back up.

    A few weeks ago, I was twiddling my thumbs on Twitter when it came to pass that wise agents from across the land were coming together for an #askagent conversation. These kind and knowledgable folks were holding a sort of impromptu summit, where the eager and groveling masses could come forth to pose questions about all facets of the publishing industry (except no questions involving queries – they were very specific about that).

    Pop! Out jumped my worry, the awful little hangnail that had been bugging me.

    If a protag. is older than high school age, but part of a coming-of-age/YA-like story, is the story YA or not?

    Sneaky me. I knew the answer, sort of.
    Continue Reading →

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