Archive | June, 2015

Top 10 Tuesday – Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015

Oh hey, look, it’s time for the freaking hardest TTT of the year. Hooray. Seriously, this list kills me every year, because there are SO many books I want to love on. If you count ONLY blog books, I’ve read 52 books this year, including 8 DNFs. (Of course, if you want to count work/internship books and beta reads, that adds another 62 books to the stack. Oy.)

I managed to narrow this list down to the requisite ten, despite overwhelming odds, but you need to understand some things. 1. This does NOT include books read for my internship. There are so GORGEOUSLY WONDERFUL titles in that particular section of my spreadsheet, but I can’t talk about them yet. 2. This does not include the 3.25 How to Train Your Dragon audiobooks I’ve read so far this year, because all of them rightfully belong here but would’ve made the list too long.

In no particular order…
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Review: THE FIXER by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather’s ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess’s classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

Sometimes I can only describe reading books in food terms. When a book is good enough, I can feel my hunger to keep reading in the back of my throat like a gulp of hot chocolate. When a book is good enough, my inability to quit is like eating only one kernel of popcorn—impossible. That’s what this book was like. I read the entire thing, from beginning to end, in less than one work day, because I just couldn’t stop. Continue Reading →

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Rewind & Review (98)

Rewind & Review

Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Stuff I Received

Nothing, thank goodness. I love getting things, but a break is always nice, too. (But I did buy stuff that will come in the mail [and a later R&R] soon. Oops.)

What I Read

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley – I finished. I had such strong feelings that I immediately went to binge rewatch BBC’s Sherlock. I will gladly talk about this book with any and all of you, so hit me up!

How To Seize a Dragon’s Jewel audiobook by Cressida Cowell – Paused for the week. My life has been so crazy and my head has been full of so many good print stories that I didn’t think it wise to overload my brain any further.

The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – SO GOOD. Like nnnnnnnnnnngh, devoured in less than a day good. Can’t wait to write this review.

Simon Thorn and the Wolf’s Den by Aimée Carter – Another work book! I definitely see the Rick Riordan comparisons.

How to Capture an Invisible Cat by Paul Tobin – Work book! Ridiculously cute. And I like that I got to read about an awkward genius character who isn’t rude or condescending.

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George – Work book! Just started, so no thoughts yet.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – Yesssssss! Trying to start and finish this one quickly, but I have to fit it in among the work books, so I have no opinions yet as I’m not far enough into it.

I really like having a job where reading counts as work.

Added To My TBR

Thicker Than Water by Kelly Fiore – I have a feeling this one is going to make me uncomfortable, but I’m intrigued by the premise.

Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace – Sounds like a YA iZombie. I’m in.

Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw – Fanfic writer starts shipping IRL OTPs and BROTPs. Yes pls.

The New Guy by Amy Spalding – They had me at “passive-aggressive dog walking.”

Away We Go by Emil Ostrovski – I have a feeling the content will be too much, but again, I’m intrigued by the premise. Also, the title is clever.

Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn – Finally she gets a song-title title that doesn’t get stuck in my head for days! Also, the plot sounds FABULOUSLY twisted-magical realism-y, which she does so well.

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley Beaulieu – Desert fantasy. Girl from the slums. Blade Maidens. All of my tropey yes buttons are being pushed.

My Second Life by Faye Bird – OOOOH. It’s like Soulprint AND murder. Yay!

Winter’s Bullet by William Osbourne –  WWII thief-turned-spy = happy Shae.

The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine – Could be good, could be bad, but I’m intrigued enough to stick it on my list.

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit – I honestly didn’t understand the synopsis, but it sounds cool and it’s WWII, so okay.

Peas and Carrots by Tanita S. Davis – White kid gets placed in black foster home. Huh. Am trying this somewhat because I’m comfortable with the fact that a black writer is handling this rather than a white one.

Pax by Sara Pennypacker – GET THE TEARS READY.

The Last Boy at St. Edith’s by Lee Gjersten Malone – Makes me think of that lone boy camper from the Lindsay Lohan Parent Trap.

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig – First in a duology about a girl whose dad can sail literally anywhere, even if it’s not real. So cool!

Ravenous by MaryKate Connolly – *pinches the cover’s cheeks*

My Name’s Not Friday by Jon Walter Oh yay, another book to hurt my heart.

Tell the Story to Its End by Simon P. Clark – I was feeling the Monster comp even before the synopsis said so. Highly interested.

Shade Me by Jennifer Brown – Sigh. I’m a horrible sucker for synesthesia. And mysteries. And pretty covers.

In Real Life by Jessica Love – Ooooh, he’s a dirty, lyin’ dog. Can’t wait to see how the story actually plays out.

Curse you, cover reveals week. And curse you, Christina, for being so organized with Cover Snark! You have killed me!

Event Of The Week

I don’t even know. I mean, it’s been a great week. I completed my second week on the job, got a dinosaur nameplate and an existentially distressed penguin, Facetimed into family dinner for Father’s Day… It was a great week, but busy. I’ll be so happy when I’m settled in the job and the apartment.

 

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Review: FLIRTY DANCING by Jenny McLachlan

Bea Hogg is shy but fiery inside. When national dance competition Starwars comes to her school looking for talent, she wants to sign up. It’s just a shame her best friend agreed to enter with school super-cow Pearl Harris. Bea will fight back! But when school hottie, Ollie Matthews, who also happens to be Pearl’s boyfriend, decides to enter the competition with Bea, she will have more than a fight on her hands.

This warm, nuanced, hilarious story about friendship, fortitude . . . and dancing is impossible not to fall in love with. Jenny’s voice is fresh and convincing, and she handles both darker and lighter elements of the story with equal panache.

Note: I read this book and wrote this review many months ago. I now work for Bloomsbury, but my opinions here were set in stone long before, and I stand by them.

Cute book alert! Gosh, I was hoping for cuteness when I requested this title from Bloomsbury, and my instincts were right on the money. This book is like if Disney Channel made an Original Movie out of a one of those Georgia Nicolson books, and the book happened to be about dancing. It’s quirky, British, hilarious, and just offbeat enough to keep me grooving along. Continue Reading →

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Cover Love #101

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Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

Oh, this series. AGOS’s cover was released a while ago, but I wouldn’t even let myself read the synopsis until I finished ADSOM (which I finally did this month.) But now I can enjoy every square millimeter, because WOW, does Victoria Schwab have great luck when it comes to covers for this series.

This cover does a great job of carrying over the themes from the last cover (color palette, cool coat, maps) but does something new at the same time. First of all, LILA! HI, LILA, YOU BEAUTIFULLY CUNNING PIRATE THIEF QUEEN YOU! Way to rock the coat and the hat, girl! Also, A++ on the double-fisted daggers there. What really impresses me, though, are the hands. They’re freaking creepy and tie in nicely to the synopsis. Also, the continued use of red is great, given the color’s association with blood magic.

What do you think of this cover?

 

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You’re A What?

As many of you know, I spent the last four months interning at Greenburger Scouting, a literary scouting agency based in New York. Scouting is, by my reckoning, one of the least understood niches of the publishing industry. I did research before I applied, of course, but details were few and far between. Even people in the publishing don’t always seem to know what scouts do.

Helpful person that I am, I am here to educate you all. Of course, all the common sensical disclaimers apply. I am not a scout and have never been a scout. I interned for scouts. I am speaking based on what I witnessed while interning. For the best idea of what a scout does, ask an actual scout. Okay, now that that’s out of the way… Continue Reading →

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Review: A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

I feel like I’ve been waiting to read this book forever. ADSOM came out in February, but I’ve been making grabby hands since Ms. Schwab first mentioned her work in progress (then dubbed “Pirates, Thieves, and Sadist Kings”) on Twitter. Everyone I follow seemed to love it, so the longer I had to wait for my library hold to come in, the more nervous I became. What if I was the black sheep?

Guys. I am so not the black sheep. THIS BOOK ROCKS.

I’m a white sheep, hooray!

Continue Reading →

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Rewind & Review (97)

Rewind & Review

Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

This was a pretty chill week as I try to get a handle on all the changes in my life. Still, marking 100 Cover Love posts was pretty cool.

Stuff I Received

  • Every Word by Ellie Marney (from Tundra via NG)
  • The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley (from work)

SO excited to read the next Wattscroft book. Thanks, Tundra! And thank you to my wonderful boss for letting me borrow a copy of Watchmaker, one of Bloomsbury’s adult titles. I’m devouring it so far.

What I Read

Hidden Huntress by Danielle Jensen – The angst-monster in me is pleased. Review to come.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley – I sometimes have a hard time connecting with adult books but this one is just… mmmmm yes. Hoping it stays strong all the way through.

How To Seize a Dragon’s Jewel audiobook by Cressida Cowell – I’ve been putting off returning to this series because I only have three audiobooks left, and the story is getting progressively more harrowing. But oh, how nice it is to have David Tennant coming out of my earbuds again.

Honestly, this week was a blur. I’m preeeetty sure this is all I read?

Added To My TBR

Ha. Haha. HAHAHAHAHA. I’m strictly limiting this to books I added to my Goodreads TBR shelf this week, because (if you recall) I started a new job this week. I want to make sure I know about the books I’ll be representing, so my mental TBR EXPLODED. Honestly, I’m more than a little terrified (in the best, I’ll-never-run-out-of-things-to-read sort of way.) So yes, Goodreads TBR additions below.

The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner – Magical Romani meets heiress in the early days of the French Revolution. Okie dokie.

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King – TEENAGE PIRATE.

Event Of The Week

A photo posted by Shaelit (@shaelit) on


This week was aaaaaaaall about the new job. First weeks are always disorienting and stressful, but literally everyone I’ve met has been very friendly and helpful. I’m looking forward to learning all that I can and settling into my role.

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Cover Love #100

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Wow! 100 Cover Love posts! Whodathunkit. I had no idea I’d keep up with the meme for this long, but I’ve definitely enjoyed it. I couldn’t even remember what my first Cover Love pick was, so I went scrolling back through the archives…

Halo by Alexandra Ardonetto. My, how my tastes have changed. Contrast this with, say…

A Nearer Moon by Melanie Crowder, which is one of my most recent picks that still makes me sigh happily every time I look at it. Absolutely classic.

The nice thing about cover design is that it’s just as subjective as many other aspects of the industry. Often, most of us can agree about the most egregiously awful or stunningly good outliers, but the vast middle ground is open to interpretation. A cover that I love may be one that you hate and vice-versa, and that’s okay.

So whether you’re a fan of any of the covers I’ve chosen over the last 100 posts or none at all, thank you for sticking around and celebrating the creativity of design with me.

 

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Book Tag: How Far Would You Go For Your Favorite Books?

Created by: Christina @ Christina Reads YA

Found at: Great Imaginations

Before we start, let me note that it is only due to my EXTREME SELF-CONTROL that every answer does not relate back to Megan Whalen Turner in some way.

1. I would give up the internet for a month for a signed first edition of this book:

This was probably the easiest question to answer. Ugh, I can’t even imagine being able to own a SIGNED FIRST EDITION of any of the above books. I love my internet, but I could live without it for a month for a chance to own one of these babies. (I would also accept The Hobbit, please and thank you.)

2. I would give up pizza for a year if it meant I could sit next to this author on a long plane ride:

I would only agree to this if I could be assured that the author knew I was coming and didn’t mind talking to me the entire flight. Because if I sat down next to Megan Whalen Turner by pure chance, I would spend the entire flight being afraid to even breathe, because what if I disturbed her? I don’t want to be a bother! (Though can you imagine if I did just happen to sit next to her and she saw my KoA phone cover? Oh my.)

But oh man, if it were arranged so I could spend the flight talking to MWT, telling her how much her books mean to me, asking her about details in the books and her upcoming plans… Pizza, I’ll miss you.

Sidenote: I would also accept J.K. Rowling as a backup. I’d prefer to finish reading the books first, but even if I hadn’t, being able to make all my friends jealous with the selfies would be worth it.

3. I would sit through a thousand hours of commercials if it would ensure that Hollywood made this book into a (really good) movie:

I’m sticking close to the question and choosing only a book that I would like as a movie. (If this question were about TV series or miniseries, well, that’s a different story.) But if watching over a month of commercials is the only way to ensure that Hollywood makes the best possible Thief movie series in the entire world, then yes, I would do it. But son, that crap better be PERFECT. You don’t mess with my Eugenides.

I would also accept a bangin’ adaptation of All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, thanks.

4. I would never read a new book again if it meant I could live inside this book:

Okay, I don’t think I would give up reading new books for any fictional world, let’s be real. But if I could strike another deal in order to get inside Hogwarts? Sure, I’d do that. Magic, good friends, what’s not to like? I considered picking LOTR again for this one, but Hogwarts has indoor plumbing, so.

5. I would let my Google search history be made public if it meant I could be best friends with this author:

Nope, I’m good. My search history is really benign, actually, but I’m already friends with a bunch of amazing authors. I can’t think of anyone I would be desperate to add.

6. I would donate everything I own to Goodwill if it meant I could date this book character in real life:

Shoot and dadgum. Okay, first, can we agree that I would be donating my stuff before I nab that signed copy of LOTR? Yes? Good. Second, forget date. If I’m going to completely purge my life, I’m not settling for date. I better freaking MARRY this boy. Agreed? Splendid. In that case, I will happily accept either Hector from the Fire and Thorns series by Rae Carson or Finn from All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. Or both. Both are intelligent, kind, patient, understanding, and funny. Yes, I’ll take both.

Okay, it’s your turn. Tag, you’re it!

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