Archive | November, 2012

Why I Love The Clearance Section

The holiday season is coming up. Christmas lists are being formed. Wallets are shrinking. Some of you probably dove into the crazy Black Friday shopping, metaphorical guns blazing and literal elbows flying. I admire people who derive joy out of finding a good deal. I’m one of them, though I tend to value sleep over money.

I can’t offer much help when it comes to shoes or leather jackets or big-screen TVs. However, I can offer tips when it comes to books. Most tips are pretty common sensical. Watch for sales. Sign up for memberships when it makes economic sense. Buy boxed sets when possible. (They’re cheaper in the long run.) And, as much as it pains me to say it, always double check prices online (but make sure to factor in shipping).

But there’s one tip that people often ignore, one that I slacked on myself until recently. Always check the clearance section.

Despite what you may think, the clearance section isn’t just for old, rejected books that no one else wants. Okay, yes, the clearance section isn’t filled with new books, but hear me out.

How I view Corporate

In most stores, what happens is the corporate office buys up big bins of surplus books from the publishers. For one reason or another, the amount of books printed outstripped the demand from consumers, so all these books sit in some dusty warehouse, taking up space and wasting money. When stores buy books to resell as sale books, the producers get the extra shipment out of their warehouses for some money (so it’s not a total loss) and the stores get to sell cheap books that their customers will snap up. At least, that’s my understanding of the way things work. I just have to deal with those stupid, scanner-unfriendly sale stickers.

Still, you may be underwhelmed at the thought of picking through unwanted books. And granted, some of the books milling about in our clearance section aren’t very exciting. But there are also some hidden gems to be found.

For instance, over the last few months, I bought the following sale books:
Leviathan by Scott Westerfield
Behemoth by Scott Westerfield
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
Lionness Rampant by Tamora Pierce
Alibi Junior High by Greg Logsted
Heist Society by Ally Carter
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
– The Thief Queen’s Daughter by Elizabeth Haydon

All of those books I bought for $6 or less, and all (ALL!!) with the exception of The Lightning Thief were hardcover.

It gets even better. Take the day I bought I Am Number Four and Graceling. Ordinarily, hardcovers of each title would run… oh, say, $16 each in store? That day, they were each marked at $3.32. A STEAL. But then I also used my 20% off employee discount (only a bit better than the 10% store members get) and a $5 gift card. So those two books, which would have originally costed $32 plus tax ended up costing me $.32 plus tax. How nuts is that?!

Granted, the sale section doesn’t give you the same selection as the rest of the store, but it’s still pretty stinkin’ good! Just last week, we had hardcovers of Scott Westerfield’s Uglies and Pretties, as well as all of Lauren Kate’s Fallen series, P.C. Cast’s House of Night series, and Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush series. Again, ALL FOR UNDER SIX DOLLARS APIECE.

And don’t think that because we have a book displayed near the front that it won’t be back in the sale section. We’ve stocked books on our regular shelves and on sale shelves at the same time. I know. That’s tricky of us, but c’est la vie.

Therefore, for the health of your wallet and the happiness of your friends and relatives, I will repeat myself one more time: ALWAYS CHECK THE CLEARANCE SECTION.

You’re welcome.

What gems have YOU found on sale?


Wishlist Wednesday #17

Totally the property of Pen to Paper

“Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world.”

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power — and the courage to battle her own inner demons?

Oh guys, I kill myself sometimes. Believe me, it was not on purpose, but the irony of picking this for Wishlist Wednesday the week after Thanksgiving is not lost on me.

Anyways, Hunger came out in 2010, but I heard about it for the first time only recently. I find the book of Revelations completely fascinating, so I immediately perked up at the mention of the Four Horsemen. I think the idea of a girl with anorexia as Famine is interesting, but I hope Ms. Kessler isn’t too preachy. You know, “Why aren’t you eating your peas? There are starving children in _____ who would LOVE to eat your peas!”

Most of all, I can’t wait to see what the author does with the other Horsemen. War and Death probably won’t be too hard, but what on earth can she do with Conquest/Pestilence?

Has anyone out there read this book? And what are YOU wishing for this Wednesday?


Top 10 Tuesday: My Most Anticipated Books Of 2013

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Oh my goodness, can anyone else believe that it’s the last Tuesday of November already? What on earth happened to the last half of the year? Literally, once we passed July, it was like someone sat on the fast-forward button. In other news, I sound like an old person. Before I start moaning about how things were better “back in the day,” let’s skip on to my list for this week: my top 10 most anticipated books of 2013. (Rankings are VERY rough approximates.)

10. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. As the sequel to Cinder (which I greatly enjoyed), Scarlet is a retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood tale and features Cinder herself, a French girl named Scarlet, and a street fighter named Wolf. (According to the buzz on Twitter, he’s devilishly handsome.)

9. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. The sequel to Shadow and Bone doesn’t have a cover yet, but it does have more magic, more Darkling, and more MAL. Yay!

8. This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith. Though not a sequel, Happy is written by Ms. Smith, who also wrote previously reviewed The Statistical Probability of Falling in Love. Based on the synopsis, Happy sounds like one part You’ve Got Mail and one part movie star falls in love with a normal girl. Woohoo! Most of the books on this list are sequels to beloved books, but if any new book can break onto this list, it’s this one.

7. The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand by Gregory Galloway. Whereas the last book was all You’ve Got Mail, 39 Deaths is Groundhog Day all the way. Apathetic Adam Strand commits suicide 39 times and wakes up every single time without a scratch. Of course, there’ll be some kind of catalyst where he learns the joy of life, etc. etc. etc. But guys, Groundhog Day!

6. Also Known As by Robin Benway. Meep! A safecracker working as a spy to infiltrate a normal private school! I’m rubbing my hands with glee, because AKA sounds like it’s in the same vein as Ally Carter’s Heist books. Speaking of which…

6. Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter. Kat! Hale! A showdown where Hale ends up as the mark and potential heartbreak abounds. Ugh. Is it February yet?

5. The Archived by Victoria Schwab. The dead are shelved like books in a library called the Archive. A Scottish girl named Mac guards them vigilantly, and she must be wary, for something is alive in the Archive… (Thanks to Sarah from YA Librarian Tales, I’m getting a preorder. Yay!)

4. The Runaway King by Jennifer Nielsen. I’m so excited to see what Nielsen’s cooked up for the sequel to The False Prince. I adore our Sage and know he’s got all sorts of tricks up his sleeves.

3. Reboot by Amy Tintera. I just highlighted this book in a Cover Love post and can’t get it out of my head. Just look at that tagline: “Five years ago, I died. 178 minutes later, I woke up.” Eek!

2. The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson. The third book in the Fire & Thorns series has no cover and no synopsis. But does it matter? No. Guys, HECTOR!

1. Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers. I have no words to express how badly I want this book. If I had to pick ONE BOOK to read in 2013 at the expense of all others, it would be this one. I. Want. It.

Honorable mentions go to:
– Throne of Glass #2 by Sarah J. Maas (no title yet)
– Game by Barry Lyga
– Transparent by Natalie Whipple
– Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg
– The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf

What books are YOU looking forward to in 2013?


Review: THIEF’S COVENANT by Ari Marmell

Once she was Adrienne Satti. An orphan of Davillon, she had somehow escaped destitution and climbed to the ranks of the city’s aristocracy in a rags-to-riches story straight from an ancient fairy tale. Until one horrid night, when a conspiracy of forces—human and other—stole it all away in a flurry of blood and murder.

Today she is Widdershins, a thief making her way through Davillon’s underbelly with a sharp blade, a sharper wit, and the mystical aid of Olgun, a foreign god with no other worshippers but Widdershins herself. It’s not a great life, certainly nothing compared to the one she once had, but it’s hers.

But now, in the midst of Davillon’s political turmoil, an array of hands are once again rising up against her, prepared to tear down all that she’s built. The City Guard wants her in prison. Members of her own Guild want her dead. And something horrid, something dark, something ancient is reaching out for her, a past that refuses to let her go. Widdershins and Olgun are going to find answers, and justice, for what happened to her—but only if those who almost destroyed her in those years gone by don’t finish the job first.

I bought this book on a whim several months ago, goaded by recommendations and the book’s unique title. I’m a sucker for thieves, and a girl thief named Widdershins was too good to pass up.

The book opens with Adrienne (Widdershins) clinging to the rafters of a secret room in a blood-soaked gown. Below her, the room turns red as friends are slaughtered by an unidentified being. Then we watch as, some time later, the Davillon City Guard enters to view the carnage. Adrienne remains in the rafters, watching and conspiring frantically with the god inside her head.

I love an opener that encapsulates the feel of a novel.

Widdershins, we are told in the beginning, is an adverb that means “in a direction contrary to the apparent course of the sun; clockwise.” The girl Widdershins is certainly contrary enough to fit the bill. She was born to a poor family, made an orphan, turned into a thief, adopted by a member of the aristocracy, and then thrust back into the shadows again once she is suspected of playing a part in the deaths of her friends. She is snarky, headstrong, reckless, and frequently argues out loud with Olgun, the demi-god who takes a special interest in her survival.

The story jumps (somewhat annoyingly, at times) back and forth between the present and various times in the past. The bloodbath at the beginning of the book was labelled “Two Years Ago.” We then jump back further to “Eight Years Ago” and learn the circumstances of Adrienne’s orphanhood. Then, quick as a flash, we’re back in the present as Widdershins scopes out a jewelry heist. Fun lass.

I’ll admit, other than the chilling bloodbath in first pages, much of the beginning made me wary. I was thrown off-balance by the many changes in setting and time (a trend that continued the length of the book), and so much seemed set up to impress upon us how clever Widdershins is, how resourceful, how funny.

Still, I did find Widdershins/Adrienne to be very clever in a dry way and also very resourceful. Then again, when one resource is a demi-god, it tips the scales a bit. Olgun and his brethren reminded me of the system set up by Tamora Pierce in her Tortall books, with Olgun specifically linked with Kyprioth in the Trickster series. Olgun is neither omniscient, omnipotent, nor omnipresent. As Adrienne is his sole living believer, he focuses his attention on her exclusively (except in parts when he is inexplicably absent) and only has limited power. He is also a tad reckless, pushy, and sarcastic, which is always fun in a fictional god.

Other than Olgun, Adrienne’s friends total at three: Genevieve the tavern owner and requisite mother figure, her serving maid Robin, and fellow thief Renard. Genevieve and Robin are the ones our thief went to when she needed to rest or hide. Both are valiant defenders, and I enjoyed them greatly, but Renard was by far my favorite. Short and flirty, he has the knack of popping up right after Widdershins extricates herself from trouble. He has an obvious crush on our thief (as well as one other secret that I guessed almost immediately) and comes across as shallowly built in the beginning but is allowed to deepen some as the book progresses. My other favorite character, who isn’t precisely Adrienne’s friend, is Julien Bouniard, the captain of the Davillon City Guard. He is placed in the role of the respectful adversary to Widdershins’ honorable thief and does a marvelous job.

Back to dear Widdy. Despite some poor choices on her part, she was hardly a weak-wristed damsel in distress, which I loved. In fact, she managed to get into more scrapes in this book than I’ve seen a character manage in long time. In this story, she catches the attention of several different groups of unsavory characters. Well, the Davillon City Guard is hardly unsavory, but Julien has his sights set on justice for both Widdershins the thief and Adrienne the murder suspect. Then there’s the Finders’ Guild, a sort of thieves’ union that has it out for Adrienne when she falls behind on her dues. Its tax collector, Lisette, has had a grudge against Widdy for ages. Oh, and let’s not forget whoever ordered the violent murders of Adrienne’s friends, a someone who very much dislikes loose ends and living witnesses…

As you can see, our lady thief has quite a full plate. The three groups of antagonists twist around each other, weaving together until I wasn’t sure who to blame for what. This blending is important, as it helped keep the identity of the power behind the murderous monster a secret until the end. It also got a little confusing, so I’m still not entirely sure that all the threads were plausibly wrapped up.

The entire book was hard to follow in places, actually, and not just because of the different antagonists. In addition to the weaving threads, I also had to keep track of the shifting timelines and the different viewpoints. The shifting timelines were more annoying than anything else. Based on what happens in the present, I was able to construct what happened in the past long before the events were confirmed, which made the retelling drag in places. However, I will say that when the past wraps up into the moment when Adrienne becomes Widdershins, the emotional impact was worth it.

I can’t, however, say the same for the various viewpoints. The narration of Thief’s Covenant was a touch too omniscient for my taste. It’s one thing to ditch the protagonist and follow different people around from time to time. It’s another thing entirely to constantly be given direct thoughts from ancillary characters. I didn’t want to hear Renard think about how chagrined he was for doing something stupid in front of Adrienne. I wanted to see it through his actions and body language. Show not tell!

This book, in places

To be honest, I was a little stunned to find out that Thief’s Covenant was traditionally published. While an engaging and adventurous story, it lacked a great deal of editing that could have made it shine. The shifting viewpoints should have been cut, the details sharpened, the changing timelines streamlined. Even the language was off in places. Despite the thoroughly French names, Widdershins’ world is portrayed as straight fantasy. For the most part, the voice fits, but then the author would throw in strange things like a reference to castanets or an octopus or would use the word “weird.” Each time, I was jerked from my immersion as I stopped to wonder, “Would these characters REALLY know to use that word?”


Yes, this book made me grumpy and frustrated in places. Honestly, though, I enjoyed myself. It had hints of other books I adore, such as the aforementioned Trickster series and The Thief. However, I’d like to see a more professionally put-together story in the next book. (I’d also like a book told solely from Renard’s point of view, but I suppose I can’t have everything.) If you like snarky gods in a polytheistic society, even snarkier thieves, and gory mysteries, I suggest you check out Thief’s Covenant. Just don’t encourage Widdy to steal Julien’s keys. He hates that.

Points Added For: Widdershins in all her feisty glory, Olgun and his quirkiness, Julien and Renard, being able to work in an affable archbishop, the shrouded statue giving me chills, the overall entertainment factor.

Points Subtracted For: Lack of editing, including but not limited to word usage, omniscient viewpoints, tangled storylines, and shfiting timelines.

Good For Fans Of: Tamora Pierce, polytheistic societies, lady thieves, the trope of a mutual respect between a crook and a lawkeeper.

Notes For Parents: Language, gore, murder, polytheism, drinking. I also have some vague memory of certain inappropriate body parts coming up in conversation.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


Giveaways For The Weekend

I have to credit Lili from Lili’s Reflections for a great idea. You see, she did a post compiling some of the giveaways she’s entered recently, and I thought it was spectacular, especially for today.

It’s a holiday weekend. Thursday was food and family (and football!). Friday was shop til you drop (and football!). But today and tomorrow? Don’t you think you would enjoy something that requires a little less effort? Something that you can do while watching football? Something that might win you some really cool books?

I give you a list of cool giveaways to enter!


First up, Lili and her friend Jennifer give away over ONE HUNDRED BOOKS in a mind-blowing giveaway to help highlight their new venture, ARCycling.

Next, we have a GINORMO HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY from my pal, Gillian @ Writer of Wrongs! Enter to win 13 really awesome YA books. (Though I must admit I’m wishing against you all on this one. ‘Tis our Precious, and we wants it.)

Victoria Schwab (author of The Archived) is giving away a voucher for signed copies of any and all books she publishes in the next three years, AND she’ll donate a dollar toward charity for every entry!

Then the Book Belles celebrate hitting the 1,000 follower mark and giveaway one of six amazing prize packs.

Oh, and then Ems from In Which Ems Reviews Books is giving away an ARC of the cute-looking Decked With Holly. It looks like the perfect holiday weekend read.

Sparkles and Lightning is being super-generous this week with several fantastic giveaways. She has one for a mystery box o’ books, one for books from her TBR and wishlist shelves, and one celebrating her blogoversary! (Happy blogoversary to yooooooou!)

A whole slew of bloggers (including the delightful Jenna of MTG Reviews) is hosting a Thanksgiving scavenger hunt to win a bunch of awesome books.

Chapter By Chapter also has a couple giveaways going to celebrate their blogoversary. (Happy blogoversary to yoooooou!) One offers up four prize packs and advice for requesting ARCs, while the other involves a mystery box o’ book AND a $75 B&N gift card!

You can also win another mystery box o’ books from Escaping One Book @ a Time. It looks like a really nice mix. (I see Venom!)

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer is hosting one of her famous giveaway hops, but hurry! This one ends on Sunday evening.

Lastly, The Hollow Cupboards (whose design makes me drool with envy) is giving away 16 YA books!

ADDENDUM: Here’s another giveaway with awesome prize packs from Writer Quirk.


Whew. That should keep you all busy for a little bit. If you all liked this idea, let me know and I’ll do it again sometime.


Cover Love #16

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope your day is full of family, friends, and food. I considered going in theme with this week’s Cover Love pick, but this particular cover was just too wowza to be ignored.

Ida Mae Jones dreams of flight. Her daddy was a pilot and being black didn’t stop him from fulfilling his dreams. But her daddy’s gone now, and being a woman, and being black, are two strikes against her.

When America enters the war with Germany and Japan, the Army creates the WASP, the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots – and Ida suddenly sees a way to fly as well as do something significant to help her brother stationed in the Pacific. But even the WASP won’t accept her as a black woman, forcing Ida Mae to make a difficult choice of “passing,” of pretending to be white to be accepted into the program. Hiding one’s racial heritage, denying one’s family, denying one’s self is a heavy burden. And while Ida Mae chases her dream, she must also decide who it is she really wants to be.

I heart this cover. Like my last Cover Love post, it’s beautiful for its simplicity. Take one off-white background, one striking protagonist, one flight squadron, and one awesome typeface, and you have sheer beauty.

Though Ida Mae is American (and mixed race!), this cover makes me think of Maddie from Code Name Verity, which can only ever be a positive. I love that the model is pretty but isn’t all “This is me in my tight aviator jeans as I swish my long flowing hair suggestively.” And no pretty dress in sight!  Instead, she’s calm and cool, dressed for flight, for war. However, am I allowed to say she looked less white? I know that’s the point of her deception, but can’t the designers let her own her genetics just a itty-bitty bit?

I can’t even begin to express the amount of love I have for those plane outlines. They look like the kind of outlines you find on charts explaining the differences between different types of aircrafts, but they also look like they’re charging directly over Ida Mae’s head toward the front lines.

And the title font! It’s styled after the stenciled lettering they use to stamp supply boxes for the military. LOVE!

What covers do YOU love this week?


I Give Thanks For…

Hi all!

Thanksgiving is only a couple days away, and I thought about doing some big post listing all the things I’m thankful for. But while that’s a great personal exercise, I’m not entirely sure it would make for a fun read for you all.

Instead, I’ve decided to do a post about one particular thing that I’m thankful for: words.

I’m such a word nerd. I LOVE words. I love fun-sounding words, and words with cool meanings. I was the girl who would giggle with delight over GRE flashcards. Yeah.

Some fun (real!) words I’m thankful for:
– Expectorating
– Ubiquitous
– Opprobrium
– Spelunk
– Tartle
– Lugubrious
– Delugtition
– Ozostomia
– Maulifuff
– Collywobbles
– Quodlibetarian
– Booboisie

I also like learning how words evolve and change over time to encompass new meanings.

The Mysteries of Vernacular is a set of paper animations detailing the etymological roots of everyday words. That may not sound interesting, but it’s super-cool. As of this post, they only have 8 posts up, but they hope to have 26 at the end, one for each letter of the alphabet.

I’ve posted a few of my favorites below, but you can watch them all at


Word-wise, what are you thankful for?



In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the “thing” inside her. When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no “normal” Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch….

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she’s special, says she’s one of “them.” The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.

Griffin’s investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help–and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff’s little company of strays apart, and it isn’t long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she’s on–even if it seems no one believes her.

Uff da. I highlighted this book in a Wishlist Wednesday post a few weeks back, so I just HAD to snatch it up when I found it sitting atop my sister’s library pile. One week, an entire scrap paper full of notes, and a bemused brain later, I’m still eyeing The Girl in the Steel Corset (henceforth known as Steel Corset) with wary uncertainty.

Why? Oh dear, let me recount to you the reasons.
Continue Reading →


Book-To-Movie Soundtracks

This past weekend, I gave into the shameful spirits of procrastination and slothfulness. While my upcoming blog posts sat unwritten, I watched a movie. I blame Gillian and Ems. If they hadn’t mentioned this particular movie and started reminiscing about key scenes, I would have had a productive weekend. Instead, I sat down and watched all FOUR HOURS of the BBC mini-series North and South.

Based off the Elizabeth Gaskell novel of the same title, North and South is a masterpiece. The plot is more character-driven than action-driven, but the characters themselves are a triumph. For me, North and South trumps even Pride & Prejudice for swoony period awesomeness.

One key component of the movie is the soundtrack. There are a few musical themes that cycle in the background, and they’re all gorgeous. One in particular, entitled “I’ve Seen Hell (And It’s White)”, makes me want to die from happiness every time I hear it. The way the music swells with emotion, perfectly in synch with certain scenes, is indescribable.

Then I started thinking about other soundtracks. We talk so much about book-to-movie translations, but it’s rare to talk solely about the music. But the more I started thinking, the more I realized that it was those book-to-movie translations that boasted some of the most moving cinematic soundtracks on my iPod.

Below are just a few of my favorites.

1. “I’ve Seen Hell (And It’s White)” from North and South, based on North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.  Starting slow and then building to a climax, “I’ve Seen Hell” adds an extra punch to some of the more emotional scenes in the mini-series, especially those darn cliffhangers.

2. “Come Away to the Water” from The Hunger Games, based on The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. There are so many good songs on THG soundtrack. Each fit the movie perfectly and exceeded my expectations (holla, “Kingdom Come!”), but Adam Levine’s sinister and seductive “Come Away to the Water” is one of my favorites.

3. “Postcard for Henry Purcell” from Pride & Prejudice, based on Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Again, there’s a plethora of amazing songs to choose from, but “Postcard” is one of my favorites. That may or may not have anything to do with the insane amount of romantic tension between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy in that scene.

4. “Dance ‘Round the Memory Tree” from Prince Caspian, based on Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis. Another song that makes me want to dance, “Memory Tree” is slow, haunting, and perfect. “Lucy” and “The Call” from the same movie are also favorites.

5. “I Wanna Be Like You” from The Jungle Book, based on The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. Most of the music on this list is more pathos-driven, but “Wanna Be” is amazingly fun. I dare you not to smile while listening.

6. “Houses of Healing” from The Return of the King, based on The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien. Yet again, there are so many fantastic songs in The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. So. Many. I’m partial to “Houses of Healing” for several reasons. It’s gorgeous, for one. It also boasts vocals from Arwen (Liv Tyler). And it’s startlingly unknown, as it comes from the ROTK Extended Edition soundtrack rather than the theatrical release. (For a more kid-friendly take on LOTR, try “My Baby Elf” from The Lord of the Bean.)

7. “Masquerade” from The Phantom of the Opera, based on The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston LeRoux. Everyone has their own favorite Phantom song. Some love the tender romance of “All I Ask of You;” others prefer the dark seduction of “Music of the Night;” while still others delight in the rockin’ organ and electric guitar(!) in “The Phantom of the Opera.” I prefer “Masquerade” best of all. The characters are ebullient, drunk on their supposed freedom from the Phantom. They celebrate, taunting him with their masks. It reaches a fever pitch around 3:12, and every time my stomach clenches. It’s like watching the fall of Rome. They’re mad with power, balancing on the edge of their doom, and it’s all about to end with a violent crash.

8. “Cabin Fever” from Muppet Treasure Island, based on Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. You just can’t beat a big, bald man in a Carmen Miranda outfit. (For a sci-fi, steampunk version of Treasure Island, try “I’m Still Here” from Treasure Planet.)

9. “The Plagues” from The Prince of Egypt, based on the story of Moses from Genesis in the Bible. Heehee. I was very careful not to specify novels, because I badly wanted to include this song. It’s chest-poundingly powerful. Bonus for the Harry Potter geeks: the singing Pharaoh? That’s Voldemort, folks. (“Deliver Us” and “When You Believe” are two other masterpieces from the same movie. Oh, who am I kidding. They’re all awesome!)

10. “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” from Mary Poppins, based on Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers. Every kid knew how to say this word when I was growing up. Not everyone could spell, it though. Still, such a treat! (I also have learned to love the soft lullaby “Feed the Birds.”)

There are hundreds of other songs I could have mentioned. I’ve excluded fairy tales and myths, for starters, as well as Winnie the Pooh, Tarzan, and tons of other wonderful book-to-movie translations. What songs would be on YOUR list, and what did you think of mine?


Wishlist Wednesday #16

Hosted by Pen to Paper

I need to find something new to call you all. There’s only so many times I can hiss “Guyssssssssssss!” excitedly. But until then…


Tessa is a Variant, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she’s spent the last two years training with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI.

When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again.

Tessa hates everything about being an impostor—the stress, the danger, the deceit—but loves playing the role of a normal girl. As Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she’d do anything to keep.

Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human comes to a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself.

This book has been described as The Silence of the Lambs meets The X-Men. I’m a bit leery of superhumans in YA because they’re often not done very well. However, I don’t think I’ve come across a character who shifts solely into other people. Even more rarely do said characters work with the FBI.

Also, serial killers! Yay!

I just can’t believe I have to wait until July 2013.

What are you wishing for this Wednesday?


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