Archive | January, 2013

Cover Love #21

I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.

Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.

A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.

And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they’ll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

I’ve highlighted a lot of covers here at Cover Love, but I think this is the first cover I’d enjoy framed on my wall. I could talk about the beautiful watercolors, the choice of model, the colors, the running ink, but I won’t. I’ll just stare and sigh.

What cover are you loving this week?

12

Blogger Tips

Study carefully.

Whoo! This blog is officially one year and a day old! If you haven’t already entered to win my One Year Blogoversary giveaway, I suggest you do so now.

I was thinking back over my first year as a blogger, reflecting on how much I’ve learned and how much I didn’t know when I first started. It’s a long list. Instead of doing a Top 10 Tuesday list today, I’ve decided to list just a few things that I wish someone would have told me as a newbie blogger.

* Generic backgrounds do you no favors. 
When I first started blogging, I used the generic Blogger bookshelf background. It’s free, it’s easy, it features books. What a win, right? Wrong. Having a generic background says that you’re a) a newbie, b) technologically incompetent, c) lazy, and/or d) unprofessional. I’m not saying that you should rush out and pay for a snazzy custom design, but a little bit of digging around the ‘net will uncover several quality design sites that offer free backgrounds.

* Plan ahead!

As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t start legitimately planning out my blog posts until last November. Between both of my jobs, holiday madness, and my volunteer work as the director’s assistant at a local play, I needed to streamline my process. Before, I would sit down the weekend before and pound out all my posts for the week. A meme or two here, a discussion post there, and one review as the cherry on top. But I was figuring everything out literally in 24 to 48 hours. That wouldn’t fly any longer, so I started mapping out my week ahead of time in iCalendar.

I still write my posts the week before, but I’m able to plan further and further ahead now. If I need to go on vacation, I can write and schedule EVERYTHING in advance. It also helps me visualize my meme-to-original-post balance. (I’m still working on that particular thorn in my side.) For reference, here’s a screenshot of my iCalendar plan for December.

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* Socialize. A lot.

Random, startling drama aside, the book blogging community is freaking awesome. Out in the wilds of the internet are hundreds – nay, thousands – of readers who want to squeal over books with you. By socializing through Twitter, Goodreads, and other places, you’ll make some great new friends. Socializing can also double as networking, though it’s best if networking comes around as a bonus rather than the main intent. The more people you talk to and genuinely befriend, the better chance you have at someone actually caring about what you write. And those people tend to write some pretty cool things themselves.

* It’s okay to review a book you don’t like.

It’s hard, I know. It can also be really scary to review books you don’t like. After all the author drama last year, every negative review feels like a land mine waiting to go off. I understand. However, you have the right to say what you think about a book. Your blog doesn’t have to be sunshine and roses. If a book is bad, say so. You’re a consumer advocate. Don’t be rude. Don’t be unnecessarily vicious. But speak your mind. It will be okay. (Also, as a bonus, negative reviews seem to garner unusually high traffic. I don’t know why.)

* CAPTCHA is evil.

Evil, I tell you! Eeeeeeviiiiiiiiil. I know you’re a newbie and freaked out about spam, but WordPress and Blogger have fairly decent built-in spam detectors. You won’t be inundated with poorly written invitations for dating sites, I promise. CAPTCHA, on the other hand, keeps out as many legitimate commenters as spammers. I hate trying to jump through the CAPTCHA hoops, and I know several people who flat-out refuse to try. Don’t hate your readers. Get rid of CAPTCHA.

* Take notes while reading.

Right, right, mind like a steel trap. You can remember every book you’ve ever read if given enough time. Got it. But you know what you can’t remember? Character names. You suck at remembering who was who after finishing a book. Also, it’s best to record personal reactions to scenes and motifs in real-time so that they translate well into a review later. Suck it up. Take notes.

* Authors are nice.

Authors are so, so nice. I know in your mind they’re like intelligent rockstars, but seriously, chat with them on Twitter. A surprising number of them are devoted Doctor Who fans, and all of them are genuinely fun people. Be polite, don’t infringe upon their time, and find common ground. The authors don’t bite, I promise.

* Pictures. Pictures are good.

Even the best, cleverest post will lose a reader if it’s boring. Long, unbroken paragraphs + boring. Add some visual interest. Even a simple stock photo will help break up the monotony. Pictures in a blog are like way stations on a trip. They give the eyes a chance to stretch their figurative legs. Also, GIFs are super-funny.

* Don’t be greedy.

I know everything is new and shiny and lovely, but don’t ask for all the things. Not only do you not have time for everything, but you probably won’t get even a fraction of what you ask for, you’ll be branded as a nuisance, and you may not even like what you do receive. Be selective when approached by self-published authors. It’ll save you loads of later guilt when you DNF their books. Also, as hard as it is to watch everyone else get all the new shinies, it’s better to build your blog before asking for things. You deserve nothing. You are owed nothing.

[Note: This is one I’m still working on. I’ve been lusting after one particular ARC since October and found myself pouting today when yet another person squealed over finding it in their mailbox. Sigh. I deserve nothing. I am owed nothing. I deserve nothing. I am owed nothing.]

* It never hurts to ask.

The flip side of the last point is you never know what you’ll get if you follow directions, show some respect, and ask politely.

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If only I’d known then what I know now. What tips do you wish you had known when you’d first started blogging?

26

My One-Year Blogoversary

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Wow. One year. I’ve officially been blogging for one year. I can’t believe it. One year ago today, filled with book love and desperate to share, I sat down at my computer and made myself a webpage. I honestly didn’t know if anyone would bother to read anything I wrote.

I hoped they would, but I didn’t know for sure.

For what felt like the longest time, I was alone on the blog. I would get a handful of views per day, and that was all. My very first comment was on my eighth post, a love letter I wrote to Megan Whalen Turner in response to a YA Highway prompt. The only reason the commenter even found the post was because I had talked about it on Sounis, an MWT fansite.

I’d like to say that Bookshelvers Anonymous exploded from there, but it didn’t. I retired back into quiet anonymity but kept plugging away on Goodreads and other places. With the exception of key events such as giveaways, I’ve only ever enjoyed a quiet, steady build, and I like it that way.

Steady builds feel stable and solid, and with steady numbers, it’s been easier to meet all of you. I’ve had fun looking back through the early comments and finding names that would become more and more familiar (and dear) to me over time. My lovely friend Ems from In Which Ems Reviews Books popped up waaaay back in April, as did Asheley from Into the Hall of Books. Linny, Emaginette, and Ms. Margo Berendsen were all wonderful at keeping up my spirits with their frequent comments. Even if no one else read what I wrote, I knew they would, and comment to boot!

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I wish I had the space and time to mention everyone whom I’ve met and formed relationships with thanks to this blog. However, 1) we don’t have the space, 2) I’d be sure to forget someone and kick myself for it later, and 3) I’m sure there are some of you out there who have lurked for months and simply never posted, which doesn’t make your contribution any less valuable in the least. (I don’t know why, though. I’m quite pleasant to socialize with.)

I’ve also gotten to know many delightful authors within the publishing industry. Some (like Dot Hutchinson and L.S. Murphy) I enjoyed long before I knew they were writers. Others I glommed onto as I squealed over their books. Three authors especially deserve my praise and admiration. A.C. Gaughen, Robin LaFevers, and Elizabeth Wein were my first author interviews. I was scared out of my mind when I approached each of them, but they were all professional, polite, and kindly to this baby blogger. Also, their books rocked my socks. Is it any wonder I champion them at every opportunity?

As far as industry professionals go, I haven’t met a publicist, intern, agent, or editor who has been anything less than professional and cordial. St. Martin’s Press deserves a special tip of the hat for sending me my very first review copy (a finished product, no less!), though at the time my numbers were less than sparkling and my blog had yet to prove itself.

I thought about doing a stats rundown for the sake of posterity, but after my big Numbers Game post, I don’t feel the need. Here’s all you need to know. At the start of 2012, I had written zero posts, reviewed zero books, and knew zero of you. As of today, I have published 195 posts, reviewed 50 books (and read far more!), and now know ALL OF YOU. I’d count that as an unqualified win, wouldn’t you?

So thank you all for an amazing year. I can’t wait to see what kind of crazy, wonderful fun the coming year brings.

~~*~~
And what’s a blogoversary without a giveaway? Here’s what you need to know.

  • The giveaway is international. That’s right, INTERNATIONAL. All the love to you abroad folks!
  • There will be one winner.
  • The winner may choose up to $25 worth of books.
  • The $25 must cover shipping (and tax, if you’re ordering from a place that charges tax).
  • The winner may order books from anywhere.
  • The books ordered can be in any format (hardback, paperback, ebook, audiobook, even preorders!).
  • The winner must be 13 or older.
  • The winner must respond to my notification email within 48 hours or lose the prize.
  • Once responding, the winner and I will agree on an additional deadline by which the winner will have to list all books he/she wishes and where he/she wants them from.
  • Cheaters will be drop-kicked.
The reason I’m letting you all order from anywhere is I think craftiness should be rewarded. If you want to splurge on bargain books and get a box of 10 books, go ahead! If you’re hungering after a collector’s edition book that comes in just under $25, be my guest.
For those within the continental US, I would suggest checking The Book Depository and Amazon first. TBD doesn’t charge for shipping, and I have an Amazon Prime account, so no shipping charges there either. International followers, TBD is your best friend. Shipping will really eat up your funds. 
Other great options included Book Closeouts, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, and Indigo. I’m sure I’ve forgotten great sites, so feel free to chime in in the comments.

Here is just a tiny, tiny sampling of the books I’ve found under $25, but basically any book you can think of can be found SOMEWHERE under $25.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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65

Review: CROAK by Gina Damico

Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex’s parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape.

But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than shoveling manure. He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach Lex the family business.

She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can’t stop her desire for justice – or is it vengeance? – whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again.

Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her reaper skills?

I must take a moment before starting my review to apologize to anyone who ever told me to read Croak. I’m so sorry that I didn’t do as commanded. I waited until the last week of 2012 to read it, and even then only because my sister got it from the library for herself. I’m so sorry. I should have believed all of you.

I. Love. This. Book.
Continue Reading →

14

More Shelver Confessions

You guys are better than therapists, you know that? It’s true. I can blab on about work, and you don’t mind, or at least you don’t mention minding. Because oh my GOSH work drives me insane sometimes. Also, I figure that if I can vent a bit about what drives me nuts as a shelver, it might help you guys become better customers as well.

Those two goals, venting and improvement, are why I do my Shelver Confessions sometimes. With that in mind, here are a few more.
Continue Reading →

13

I Have An Idea

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I have an idea. It’s a very nebulous, blobby idea, but I think I’ll find it easier to give it a shape if you all help me. We’ve all pretty much agreed that 2013 is going to be an awesome year for books. Between new books from favorite authors, sequels to beloved series, and stunning debuts, I’m going to be rolling in good reads.

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However, the more wonderful new books I read, the less time I’ll have for the wonderful old books sitting on my shelf. Yet with every day I feel the urge growing within me to revisit some of my favorite books. I find it very difficult to take time out for old books with unread books waiting to be reviewed, and I’m sure many of you feel the same way.

So here’s what I’m proposing.

Ahem

We dedicate one month this year to rereads. Right now, I’m thinking May, though if you guys have a better idea, please say so. So from now to May, we can read all the pretty new books and stockpile reviews like chipmunks storing up for winter. Then, starting May 1st, we get to dig into all the books we’ve adored and neglected. Of course, you’re allowed to read new books during May as well (I probably will), but the point is to allow yourself guilt-free rereading time.

I may even put up a linky and offer prizes. Like I said, this idea is still in the blobby stage.

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What I want to know is if any of you would be interested. Comment below if you’d like to join me in a month of rereading, and don’t forget to share with your friends. Also, any suggestions would be more than welcome. If I can get enough people willing to participate, we’ll get the ball rolling. If not, I may still devote May to rereads, but then you all will miss out on all the fun. 😉

22

Wishlist Wednesday #21

Hosted by Pen to Paper

I have wanted to highlight this week’s pick for several weeks now but I told myself to wait until closer to the release date. Clearly, that’s not happening.


A heart-stopping story of love, death, technology, and art set amid the tropics of a futuristic Brazil.

The lush city of Palmares Tres shimmers with tech and tradition, with screaming gossip casters and practiced politicians. In the midst of this vibrant metropolis, June Costa creates art that’s sure to make her legendary. But her dreams of fame become something more when she meets Enki, the bold new Summer King. The whole city falls in love with him (including June’s best friend, Gil). But June sees more to Enki than amber eyes and a lethal samba. She sees a fellow artist.

Together, June and Enki will stage explosive, dramatic projects that Palmares Tres will never forget. They will add fuel to a growing rebellion against the government’s strict limits on new tech. And June will fall deeply, unfortunately in love with Enki. Because like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.

 My thought process when I first saw this book went like this: Hmm, green cover is green. I like the green. Not pleased about that triangle atop the title, though. And what’s up with the glowing arm tattoos? Ooh, futuristic Brazil. That’s a new one. The name June isn’t even remotely Brazilian. Do I care? No. “Summer King” is a fun title. But why is he called a prince on the cover and a king in the synopsis? Lethal samba. *sniggers*

I was mildly interested with hills and troughs of excitement. Then I saw that last line. WOW. Now I’ve GOT to know more. The combo of Brazilian sci-fi and a fated-to-die hottie cannot be ignored.

What are you wishing for this Wednesday?

22

Top 10 Tuesday: Most Desired Settings in YA Lit

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Happy Tuesday! I’m so excited for this week’s Top 10, you all don’t even know. Whereas most Top 10 lists are a set of happy gushings, this one is essentially my list of demands. And what am I demanding? Epic settings, dagnabit! Here are my list of Top 10 Settings I Want To See More Often in YA Lit (listed alphabetically).

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1. Asia. More Asian settings, please. I’m not picky. China, Japan, India, Pakistan, Israel (part of Asia, you know), wherever. I just think the various facets of the collective cultures throughout the Asian continent are extremely fascinating. Be it the mountains of feudal Japan or the upper echelons of Qatar, Asia has the potential to wow readers. I love being wowed.

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2. The battlefield. Gimme the front lines. I love back room strategies as much as the next person, but there’s something about being in the foxholes, crawling through mud and barbwire, etc. etc. As I write this, I realize I’m picturing fairly recent battlefields, such as those of the Crimean War or the two World Wars. Hey, why hasn’t anyone written a non-Nightingale Crimean War book? Hmmmm?

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3. Beyond the borderlands. I always want to know what’s off the map, or at the very least at the corners of the map. While Frodo and his quest were fine and dandy, I wanted a story from an Easterling’s point of view, or that of a barbarian from the Far North. So many stories focus on the lands in the center, but what happens off the edges?

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4. College graduation. More specifically, I’d like a book to start at college graduation, because I want to see what happens after.

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5. Deserts. Over the last year, I have fallen in love with desert settings. I blame The Girl of Fire & Thorns and Vessel. While the desert can be a harsh, barren place, it can also be a setting filled with great beauty and history. Please, please, PLEASE, someone give me more desert books.

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6. Egypt. Specific location is specific. I ADORE anything to do with Egypt, especially Ancient Egypt. Not only is there the desert from #5, but you’ve got pyramids and scorpions and asps and pharaohs and mummies… Mmm, it’s all so delicious. I remember liking Mara, Daughter of the Nile, but otherwise Egyptian settings have been pretty sparse.

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7. Islands. I admit, I’m a sucker for a good deserted island. Unlike sprawling continents, islands are self-contained, which can be a very good thing or a very bad thing, depending on the plot. Ten by Gretchen McNeil makes being trapped on an island a very bad thing, whereas The Swiss Family Robinson makes living on an island seem pretty okay. (C’mon, who else wanted to race ostriches as a kid?)

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8. Non-Western European fantasy land. It’s no secret that I love a good fantasy setting, but most fantasies place their characters in a land that feels vaguely British or French. These locales are classics for a reason, but can’t we branch out? What about somewhere Asian, like Stormdancer? Or South American like The Girl of Fire & Thorns and The Crown of Embers? Or Australian? Polynesian? South African? Saharan? Antartican?!

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9. Outer space. I love outer space. I blame Star Wars and Doctor Who. The empty dark of deep space, unexplored worlds, asteroids, quasars, black holes, I want it all.

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10. Pirate ships. ARRRRRRGH! My favorite pirate book so far is Piratica by Tanith Lee. I would love books in a similar vein. Sailing books don’t really interest me, but add a roguish captain or a shy young cabin boy (who’s really a girl in disguise), and I’m there. I’m also willing to trade for the hearty pirate ancestors, the Vikings.

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What settings would you like to see more of? And if you have any suggestions for me that have one or more of the settings listed above, let me know in the comments.

32

Review: LEVEL 2 by Lenore Appelhans

In this gripping exploration of a futuristic afterlife, a teen discovers that death is just the beginning.

Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost—family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.

Then a girl in a neighboring chamber is found dead, and nobody but Felicia recalls that she existed in the first place. When Julian—a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life—comes to offer Felicia a way out, Felicia learns the truth: If she joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, she can be with Neil again.

Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself at the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind.

I must admit that my expectations were not high going into this book. I don’t really do afterlife books, and I certainly don’t do angel/fallen angel books. They’re just not my thing. The religion or lack thereof usually makes me cranky, as does the thought of angels getting goo-goo-eyed over some human, as is wont to happen.

The bad news is that I did not enjoy Level 2 as much as some people did. No raving here. However, the good news is that I liked it much better than I thought I would.
In a way, Level 2 is a dual-narrative story that alternates between dead drone Felicia in the afterlife and living girl Felicia on Earth. Thanks to the unique construction of the afterlife (drones spend their time accessing their own and others’ memories), we get to relive key moments in the last year of Felicia’s life as well as experience her struggle in the afterlife as she wrestles with trying to understand the rebellion growing around her.

I thought Appelhans’ construction of the afterlife as we first understand it was interesting. Clearly, it didn’t align with what I believe to be true, but that’s why it’s labeled fiction, right? The storyline takes the old cliche of your life flashing before your eyes to a whole new level. (Ha! Level. I’m funny even on accident.) People are grouped like bees into hives, each tucked into a separate chamber to watch their lives play before them for eternity. In Felicia’s hive are other people like her – young females who died in accidents. Her hivemate Virginia died in a freak cheerleading accident, while another, Bekah, died in a house fire.

However, her orderly, boring afterlife is rocked when a boy breaks into her hive. And not just any boy. Julian, a dark, mysterious and distinctly untrustworthy boy from her life on Earth. Turns out that the drones are having their memory energy harvested by fallen angels (the Morati) who will then use it to break into Heaven. Cue Bruno Mars.

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Of course, Felicia is the key to the rebellion. Isn’t that always the way? Along for the ride with Julian are Mira (who vacillates between being witchy and being kid) and Eli (who’s the boss and a straight-up scary jerk). It takes a good portion of the book to figure out what’s going on, because the threesome don’t seem to want to tell Felicia anything at all. Also, a great deal of time is spent in Felicia’s memories on Earth.

I was expecting the memories to drag, but they really weren’t bad. Yes, a few of them were a bit too on the nose (the Underground Church game memory comes to mind), but I liked getting to know Felicia. In her memories, we jump around between her time pre-exile with her family abroad where we get to meet her best friend Autumn and afterlife companion Julian and her life post-exile in the States with her gramma and perfect boy crush Neil. Pre-exile Felicia is plagued by nightmares and a bit reckless, especially when she’s sneaking around with Julian behind Autumn’s back. Post-exile Felicia is more cautious and even shy, especially around worship leader Neil.

A great deal of the post-exile memories center around church, either in theme or in location. I cringed at the first mention of a youth group, as most writers either portray youth group kids as snobby, holier-than-thou brats or wild-child hellions. Ms. Appelhans, I’m pleased to say, did neither. Neil is a little too perfect, yes, but the rest of the youth group, lightly sketched though they may be, were just normal kids. They go on campouts, they play games, they sing songs, they form crushes. The only thing I didn’t appreciate was the more heavy-handed, antiquated behaviors Ms. Appelhans brought in near the end. Yeesh.

I think, though, that while I found the construct unique and the writing solid, I failed to truly enjoy Level 2 because of two issues: my inability to connect and my inability to suspend disbelief. I never really cared about any of the characters, not even Felicia. I don’t know why. I would enjoy getting back to the book when I had a spare moment, but I can’t say my heart ever started racing. Julien was too untrustworthy and one-dimensional to warrant much of my attention, while Neil was a bit more fleshed out but too perfect. Their “love triangle” was too clear-cut. Should Felicia follow her head and go for the sweet and caring Neil or follow her libido and dive after sexy Julien? Blah. Mira and Eli were barely a blip on my radar.

As for my disbelief, I kept hoping Ms. Appelhans would pull out something that would really wow me. I so despise stories where the main character is The Center of the Universe for no apparent reason. I even set about constructing a reason for myself, one that was fairly exciting and novel. I figured all would be revealed at the end and I would have a predictable yet ultimately satisfying twist. Fortunately, a reason is given for Felicia being The Center of ALL. Unfortunately, the explanation caused within me even more scoffing and disbelief. Also, when we finally learn the details of Felicia’s exile, I was surprised to find an element that completely came out of left field. That said, it completely came out of left field and was never explained. Therefore, more disbelief.

So you see my dilemma. On the one hand, I didn’t have high expectations. In fact, I had expected to be fighting the urge to DNF part way through. Instead, I found myself willing and even somewhat eager to return to Level 2 to see what I would learn next. However, I don’t know why. The pacing was off, the characters didn’t thrill me, and I found myself scratching my head/shrugging in apathy more often than not.

My suggestion? Check out a few other reviews like the ones here, here, or here to find someone who can make up their mind one way or the other. I have a feeling I’ll be puzzling out this one for a while yet.

Points Added For: A non-dorky youth group, a wonderful father-daughter relationship (LOVED!), an interesting premise.

Points Subtracted For: Awkward pacing, Felicia being really slow on the uptake, characters I couldn’t connect with, Felicia being The Center of All Things.

Good For Fans Of: Love triangles, afterlife stories.

Notes For Parents: Some language, making out, underage drinking.

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

6

Blogger Spotlight – A Reader of Fictions

Whew! After a long holiday break, Blogger Spotlight is back and ready to celebrate the wonderful blogs that I love. If you’d like to check out the other installments, you can read my interview with Sunny of Blue Sky Bookshelf here and my interview with Ems of In Which Ems Reviews Books here. If you’d like to host a Blogger Spotlight post on your own blog, just ask!

This week, I’m visiting with Christina of A Reader of Fictions.

Fast Facts!

Name: A Reader of Fictions
Creator: Christina Franke
Start Date: August 4, 2010
Number of GFC Followers: 769 (as of 1/11/13)
Post(s) I Enjoyed: I love Christina’s posts in general, but her Cover Snark series KILLS me every single time. Seriously, check out her post from last week.
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Shelver: Would you please introduce yourself and your blog? 

Christina: Hi there! I’m Christina and I currently blog at A Reader of Fictions, but I will be moving to WordPress and a different web address sometime in the near future. Feel free to follow for now, as I’ll make sure to alert everyone to the switch of course.

S: You started blogging in 2010, which is a pretty impressive commitment! Why did you decide to start a blog?

C: Mostly out of boredom and a desire to pad my résumé. At that point, I had just graduated from my MLIS program and was job hunting. Basically, I was lonely, bored, depressed, and surrounded by a bunch of ARCs I’d gotten at ALA 2010, where, incidentally, I was part of the winning book cart drill team. I’d wanted to start a book blog for years, but I finally had the time and the motivation to do it.

S: I have an undying love for librarians. How does your job help your blog, and does it ever work in reverse? 
C: Sorry to disappoint you, dear, but I don’t actually work in a library. The job market for librarians from when I graduated to now is utterly miserable. Of my group of seven friends I graduated with, one of us found full time employment right away. Two of us, me included, found jobs in other sectors through connections. One found a full time library job that she hates over a year after graduation. Two are working a smattering of part time jobs, including some at a library. One had a position as a cruise ship librarian but could handle only so much of that and is now job hunting again. There are too many people wanting library jobs, many of whom have a lot of experience. Even worse, when people quit or retire from a library, the system often just redistributes the workload and doesn’t hire anyone else because of all of the budget cuts. Maybe I’ll end up in a library one day, but at the moment that’s a tough call.

S: Dang it! I thought I read… Oh well. I’ll still leave this one in because I liked getting a peek into the industry and because I could stand to learn some humility. *hides blushing face*

Moving on, what are your favorite genres? 

C: I love a lot of genres, but my top ones right now are dark contemporary fiction (the kind often termed ‘issues’ books) and dystopian/post-apocalyptic. Fantasy and science fiction are high on my list too.

S: Oooh, contemporary issue books, my Achilles heel.

What are your least favorite genres? 

C: Mystery: Serial mysteries annoy the crap out of me for the most part. Here’s the thing: they’re often comparable to watching Power Rangers. Every single episode, there’s a precise formula that you will follow all the way through. I guess I don’t hate mysteries, but their predictability tends to bother me. Also, they generally epic fail at characterization, which is my main qualification as a reader. The characters tend not to develop, because they need to keep being there to solve mysteries. When I do read mysteries, they’re usually standalones, like And Then There Were None, or hilarious, like the Stephanie Plum series.

Romance: When I was a teen, I read pretty much every romance novel from my mom’s personal collection. I was incredibly sneaky about it, so I’m pretty sure she knew. At the time, I also read every chick lit novel I could find at the library. Where I am in my life now, I just can’t handle either of these genres anymore, though maybe I’ll enjoy them again later. They’re too unrealistic for me to appreciate as a single girl in her 20s who has never been in love. [Shelver note: I’m currently pumping my fist in solidarity.]

Inspirational fiction: Not being of a religious persuasion, I just cannot handle most religious fiction, creatively referred to as “inspirational” fiction by my local library. Though I have no problem with people’s beliefs and minored in sociology, I do not appreciate being beat over the head with people’s religion either.

S: If the world and all its contents were about to be annihilated by aliens and you could only bring three novels (books, not series) into space with you, which books would you choose? 

C: Books, not series! You are a vicious, vicious person. Gah, I don’t know. War & Peace, The Complete Novels of Jane Austen (suck it!), and The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I’m going to need a lot of reading material.

S: Hee hee! No one likes that question, which makes me love it more.

Anything else you’d like us to know about you or your blog? 

C: That I’m awesome and have regular giveaways? 😉

S: You speak the truth. Thanks for coming by, Christina!

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Now off with all of you. Go follow Christina at A Reader of Fictions, on Tumblr, and on Twitter. She’s a fun person to chat with, and if you hurry, you can settle in and get your subscription set up before the next Cover Snark!
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