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So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Good Night!

It’s been almost two months since I put my blog on pause and almost three since I left my internship and started my job at Bloomsbury. Originally, the plan was to go on break, take a handful of weeks to figure out my life and rejuvenate, and then pop back into great with fingers blazing and engines roaring.

Well. The best-laid plans, eh?

I took longer than a few weeks, obviously, but these past two months have been AWESOME. I have two new roommates, a new apartment (with bookshelves!), and I’m settling in nicely at Bloomsbury. I have lunch buddies now! And access to a walk-in closet full of books! I live like two blocks from blocks of actual houses with actual front lawns and wrap-around porches! And you know what? As great as these things are, I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy them as much without the break. Because let’s be real, change—even fantastic, wonderful, mind-blowing, wish-fulfilling change—can be stressful. These two months have been full of so many emotions and experiences, like:

and

and

and

because let’s be real, food is a big deal in publishing

but sadly none of this:

because publishing is not kind, romantically speaking, to straight females

I love talking about books. I will ALWAYS love talking about books. I don’t think a power on this earth could shut me up once I get going. But at this point in my life, I don’t think blogging is a wise call for me anymore. I like having free time. I like not having to pound out five or six posts in a weekend. I like the thought of not having to second-guess bad reviews just in case I might someday have to work with the author.

So after almost four years and a bajillion posts and memories, I’m done, at least on here.

I’m still open to guest posting places or even teaming up elsewhere as a minor co-blogger (hit me up!), but I can’t run this blog on my own anymore, and I know if I try to bring someone in here under my name, I’m going to micromanage the sanity out of both of us. But don’t worry!

I’ll still be on Twitter and Tumblr, and I’ll still put up (short sound-bite-ish) reviews on Goodreads and Amazon—because again, you just can’t shut me up about books I love. But it’s time to put this blog to bed.

All that’s left is to say thank you. Thank you, guys, for sticking with me. Thank you for letting me be a part of this community. Thank you for squealing with me over book boyfriends, ranting over literary injustice, and pushing as many books on me as I pushed on you. And that goes for everyone I’ve met through this blog, from readers to fellow bloggers to authors to industry professionals. I literally would not have the connections and friendships that I have and be where I am without you all.

Peace out.

P.S. I’ll still check the email associated with this blog from time to time, but if you really want to reach me, use either Twitter or contact me for my personal email address. Don’t y’all dare lose touch!

18

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 →

7

If You Give a Nerd a Computer…

Found on Pinterest. If you made this, wave so I can credit you!

I’m gonna be straight with you; y’all are just here to indulge me today, okay? Because I know I’ve talked before about how much I love The 100, but I really, REALLY love The 100. If you don’t remember my eight very solid reasons for loving this show, you should check out this post, but today I’ve come to add one more reason.

One of the more fascinating things to me over the past two seasons of The 100 is the different alliances, groups, and found families within the universe. Though we start with one group (the people living aboard the Ark, a floating space station and humanity’s supposed last hope), we soon learn of other groups out there. Also, within all of the groups are subgroups that overlap in interesting ways. Being the nerd that I am, I decided to use Venn diagrams to graphically categorize every single named, onscreen character within The 100 universe through the finale of Season Two. Because I can. Continue Reading →

8

Burn, Rewrite, Reread

I have no idea who started this tag game [ETA: It was Lina!], so my apologies for not properly attributing it. It looks like so much fun, and while I haven’t officially been tagged multiple bloggers (Christina being the latest) have opened up the game to all of their readers, so I jumped on it!

The point of the game is to randomly choose three books that you’ve read and, of those three, decide which book you would burn, which you would rewrite, and which you would reread untouched. The general consensus seems to be that the tagged blogger can do five rounds and you can restrict the books used by any age category you wish. I’m going to stick with YA becaue, though I love MG, combining my shelves will just give me a headache. The easiest way to do this (as far as I’ve seen) is to use your Goodreads “read” shelf and a random number generator, so that’s how I’ll do it. (Bless all the clever people who have done this tag before me.)

Round One

  

Burn: The Merchant’s Daughter by Melody Dickerson

This book wasn’t bad at all, but it isn’t nearly as good as the other two books, making it the easy burn choice.

Rewrite: The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos

I really liked this book, but I did have a few requests at the end of my review regarding my connection to the protagonist. Punch up the emotion, and voila!

Reread: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Thank heavens, this was an easy decision the make. S&S is perfect. Nobody touch it.

 

Round Two

  

Burn: Talker 25 by Joshua McCune

Hahahahahaha I hated this book so much. I considered making it the rewrite for half a second, but my hatred won out in the end.

Rewrite: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

I would definitely rewrite this one, because it had potential. I liked the promise of what was there, just not the execution.

Reread: Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi

I think this is the only novella that made it into any round, but WHAT A NOVELLA. *snuggles Warner*

 

Round Three

  

Burn: Contact by Laurisa White Reyes

Gosh, this book was weird and boring. I don’t loathe it with the power of a thousand suns or anything, but it’s definitely the weakest of the trio in this round.

Rewrite: Splintered by A.G. Howard

GAH. I don’t actually want to rewrite Splintered because I like it and want to read it again someday. However…

Reread: Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

There’s no WAY I’m touching Princess of Thorns except to hug it and squeeze it and reread it a million times over. I love this book so much.

 

Round Four

  

Burn: Aurelia by Anne Osterlund

This one gets burned simply because I remember nothing about it. Ho hum.

Rewrite: The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

AUGH. SO HARD. Let’s say I rewrite this one and add EVEN MORE DANGER and EVEN MORE KISSING, k?

Reread: Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano

This book has flirting using chemistry terms. THERE’S NO WAY TO IMPROVE THAT, PEOPLE.

 

Round Five

  

Burn: Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Heeey, another book that I hated! I couldn’t even finish this one, honestly. Burn, baby, burn.

Rewrite: My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal

Again, didn’t hate it, but I wanted so much more than what I received.

Reread: Body and Soul by Stacey Kade

This entire series was so fun and swoony. I’d love to binge reread all of them.

There you have it! Now it’s YOUR turn.

I tag Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings, Molli @ Books and Whimsy,  Nikki @ There Were Books Involved, and any of you who want to join in!

2

Scheduling Tips

Recently, I’ve seen different blogs talk about scheduling, ask for scheduling tips, and generally bemoan how hard it is to remain on top of posts. I thought I’d chime in and offer tips on what works best for me. If it helps you out, great, and maybe I’ll learn something from you all in return. First, let’s talk about what I’ve done before. Then I’ll show you what I do now and what you’ll need if you want to try my way out.

When I first started this blog, I didn’t schedule posts at all. I tried to review books on Sundays (I later changed this to Mondays) and do Top 10 Tuesday posts on Tuesdays, but other than that, I did what I wanted. I’d write posts on the fly—the day before I wanted them to go up or even the day of.

Freestyling will work for you if you want to remain flexible. If you don’t have a lot of things that need to be scheduled (memes, ARC reviews, blog tours), then freestyling allows you to post whatever and whenever you please. It’s good if you don’t want to be boxed into writing a certain number of posts per week, if you like to write and publish posts immediately, or if you like to take a lot of breaks from blogging (be that due to wavering interest, busy life schedules, or whatever.)

Freestyling will NOT work for you if you need a lot of structure to stay committed, stay sane, or keep organized. It’s also not a good idea if you have a lot of promises, commitments, and plans you need to remember in the future. For instance, if you commit to blog tour spots in advance, without some kind of system, you run the risk of forgetting to write and publish your post on time. And lastly, if your life is too busy for you to write posts on the fly but you don’t want to go on frequent hiatuses, then freestyling is not for you.

About ten months into blogging, I hit a wall. My life schedule went from manageable to intense, and I knew that if I tried to freestyle, I would probably end up crying in a corner somewhere. Thankfully, I knew that the change was coming, so I made the radical switch from freestyle to hardcore prognostication. I sat down with my list of upcoming ARCs, any posts I had committed to for outsiders (giveaways, tours, interviews, etc.), and planned out two months straight. Memes were the easiest. I marked out which meme fell on which day of the week, with TTT posts already marked with their assigned topics. External commitments were next, marked on their promised days. Then I took out my reading list and marked out a rough draft of which ARCs would be reviewed when based on their release dates. Lastly, I looked at my discussion post drafts and tried to fill up any holes.

>With everything in order, then I could sit down whenever I had free time and knock out a good chunk of posts to queue. On a good day, I could write weeks of posts and just leave the final formatting details for closer to the post date. Some people are much better at this method than I ever was, though. People like Christina or Debby amaze me with all their planning and spreadsheets. They don’t just plan months out; they actually WRITE and QUEUE months out. It’s really impressive.

Hardcore prognostication will work for you if you crave structure. If you need to know exactly what’s happening weeks in advance, this is a great plan. If you love spreadsheets, color coding, or other forms of organization, odds are you’ll get along well with this method. If you’re about to enter a busy season or go on an extended vacation but don’t want to go on hiatus, you might want to switch to this method at least temporarily.

Hardcore prognostication will not work for you if the thought of planning that far out makes you feel claustrophobic. It will also be difficult if you don’t have a lot of content or commitments. This method relies on you having a list of things to post already on hand.

I’m ridiculous. I have no shame.

I kept up with the hardcore prognosticating for several months after my life eased up but soon found it too much to manage. I slipped to the point where I was frantically writing posts at the start of the week (and sometimes during the week), having planned in advance but put off the actual writing until it was nearly too late. I was able to keep on top of things, but this half-baked scheduling meant that, at best, I’d only have a day or two to rest before I needed to start planning and writing the next week. It was exhausting!

What I do now works a little better. I write my posts two weekends in advance with the help of my drafts folder and iCalendar. Okay, take this post, for instance. This post is part of the week that starts on April 19th. I’m writing it not that weekend (the weekend of April 18th and 19th) but the weekend before that, on the 11th and 12th. Psychologically, this produces way less pressure on me. I can still pound out my posts for the week in those two days, but I know that if I can’t finish one or two, I’m okay, because I have the entirety of the coming week to tweak them. I’ve also kept track of my commitments, just like when I was hardcore prognosticating, which means my meme and tour posts are already marked on my calendar. All I really have to figure out in the way of scheduling is which reviews I want where and what I want to discuss that week. (Unless it’s a New Releases week or I have an interview or something; then I allow those to have my discussion spot.)

So what does that look like on my calendar?

This is what my last month looked like. Blue posts are reviews and discussions. Green posts are memes, TTT and Cover Love for me. I don’t mark Rewind & Review on Sundays, but I should. If I had any blog tours or other scheduled events, they would be marked in turquoise. Guest posts I’ve promised to others on other sites are in orange. And any really extensive events get their own color when necessary–the Attack of the Assassins event was marked in (what else?) blood red. You can also mark hiatuses and vacations, if you like. My main concern is keeping a healthy balance between green (meme) posts and other kinds of posts. I don’t want to become too meme heavy, but they’re great fillers.

This is my upcoming month. As you can see, it’s pretty sparse. Up at the top, you have my week to come (last week for you all, as you read this.) That’s filled in prettily with two reviews (Monday and Friday), two memes (TTT and CL, with R&R unmarked), and one discussion post (my interview with Erin Fitzsimmons.) Next week (the week we’re in the middle of, as you read this) is almost done. Both reviews and my Cover Love are already written. I decided to skip TTT because the topic was too similar to one I’ve done before. All that’s left is to finish this post, and the week will be good to go. (That is, except for Rewind & Review. Since those are due on Sundays, I don’t finish them until Saturday, for obvious reasons.)

For the rest of the month, I only have my memes and two blog tour commitments mapped out. I’ll be able to fill in the review spots based on what I read in the weeks to come and my discussion posts will be pulled from my drafts and written based on what I feel like talking about. (Sidenote: Always keep a running list of drafts. Whenever you get a post idea, open up your drafts and write even just a sentence so that you’ll remember the idea for later.)

One last thing you should notice: until a post is written, proofread, formatted, and queued, I keep a “uw” before the post name on my calendar. UW = unwritten, so I can tell at a glance which posts are done and which ones still need work before they can be marked off. Though I’m writing this post now, it won’t get the uw taken off until I figure out my graphics, tag it, and plug in the scheduled date. And let me tell you, it’s really, really satisfying to delete that pesky little uw, let me tell you.

So there you have it! That’s my system. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below. Also, how do YOU keep track of your posts? Do you do something like one of the systems I’ve outlined above? Or do you do something radically different? Tell me!

1

An Interview With Erin Fitzsimmons

Today on the blog, I have a very special guest. Authors get a lot of time in the spotlight, as they should, but you know who else deserves some love? Designers! Most readers I’ve talked to are very visual browsers. We’re enticed by fresh, eye-catching covers, and these only come about the the hard work and expertise of designers. My guest today is possibly my favorite designer of all, Ms. Erin Fitzsimmons, the Associate Art Director at HarperCollins.

Odds are you know Ms. Fitzsimmons’ work quite well. She’s responsible for gems like Mindy McGinnis’s covers, Erin Bowman’s Taken series, Tease by Amanda Maciel, and many, many more. (You can check out her portfolio here.) If you’re like me, designing a cover sounds fascinating and fun but also a bit mysterious. What actually goes on in the brain of a designer? WONDER NO MORE!

Taken from her Twitter page.

 

Continue Reading →

7

Andrew Smith—What Is And Isn’t Happening

In case you missed it, there was another little brouhaha in the YAsphere this week. No, stop! Don’t roll your eyes. This isn’t a pitchforks-and-torches blog post for either “side.” In fact, I would argue that there has been very little of that, but more on that in just a moment. First, the background.

Andrew Smith, author of The Marbury Lens100 Sideways Miles, Winger, and, most recently, the lauded Grasshopper Jungle, gave an interview on Vice.com to talk about his work. It was all a fairly predictable and benign interview up until the last question and answer, which went as follows:

On the flip side, it sometimes seems like there isn’t much of a way into your books for female readers. Where are all the women in your work?

I was raised in a family with four boys, and I absolutely did not know anything about girls at all. I have a daughter now; she’s 17. When she was born, that was the first girl I ever had in my life. I consider myself completely ignorant to all things woman and female. I’m trying to be better though.

A lot of The Alex Crow is really about the failure of male societies. In all of the story threads, there are examples of male-dominated societies that make critical errors, whether it’s the army that Ariel falls in with at the beginning, or the refugee camp, or Camp Merrie-Seymour for boys, or the doomed arctic expedition, they’re all examples of male societies that think that they’re doing some kind of noble mission, and they’re failing miserably. – Link to the full interview

What rubbed people the wrong way was the first paragraph. On the surface, this is what Mr. Smith is saying (and most likely what he meant, though I can’t claim to know his mind):

I am a boy. I was raised with four brothers. Women are mysteries. I acknowledge my ignorance and don’t want to screw up.

Not bad, not bad. But let’s look a bit closer, shall we. Follow. Roughly half of the world’s population is female. (If you accept the census in the CIA World Factbook (2006), then there are roughly .014 more males than female.) This number includes a vast range of humanity, from mothers to nurses, engineers to shopkeepers, teachers to students, old and young, in all range of colors. What Mr. Smith seems to be saying is that somehow, despite being a fully mature adult, he has managed to completely avoid half of the seven billion people that live on this planet.

The general feeling I’ve been getting the last few days is not one of rage but of astonished disbelief. I have heard many people wonder the same things I’ve wondered: Did this man not have a mother? A grandmother? Aunts? Cousins? Female friends? Coworkers? He has a daughter (one that he evidently completely ignored for all seventeen years of her life), so surely at one point he had a wife? Girlfriend? Surrogate? Worse, Mr. Smith teaches high school students. Does he teach at an all-boys school with an all-male faculty and support staff? Do none of the boys have mothers? Is it an all-boy orphanage school, perhaps? It would have to be an all-boy orphanage school on a deserted island to avoid mixing with any unwanted female janitors, cooks, groundskeepers, medical personnel, state inspectors, or suppliers of any sort.

“Oh Shae, don’t be ridiculous. He’s not saying he’s never met a female. He’s saying he doesn’t understand them and is trying to avoid causing offense in his ignorance.”

Moment of blunt honesty here: That is the sorriest, laziest thing I’ve heard in a long time.

There’s a faulty premise here, but I can dismantle this excuse with or without it. First, the faulty premise: Women are unknowable mysteries.

Hi, I’m Shae. I am a human. I was born to human parents and have human siblings. I am not an unknowable mystery. I have thoughts and emotions, wishes and desires, likes and dislikes, a fully functioning personality, and twenty-four years worth of history and ingested social and cultural standards that can and do influence all of the previously mentioned items.

And so do you. You likely think, do, and say things that I don’t understand one iota. I think you’re weird. I think you’re weird no matter your sex, because you’re a human. The idea that women are mysteries is one perpetuated by, frankly, men too lazy to get outside their own heads. A whole bunch of that breaks down to gendered expectations and I really don’t have space for that, but the gist is that women are people just like men and should be treated as such, not as an unknowable alien species that speaks in unbreakable code.

BUT. BUT! Even if we accepted the premise that women are, in fact, alien invaders from the outermost reaches of the galaxy, Mr. Smith is a writer. He writes about giant, horny insects, alternate universes, ghosts, Middle Eastern refugees, 19th century arctic explorers,  schizophrenics, and bionic, reincarnated crows. He has imagination, creativity, and likely does a crap-ton of research to verify the plausibility of his creations. So why does he not do the same when it comes to writing female characters? Laziness? Arrogance? Apathy? Indifference? I don’t know and I can’t say, but the fact remains that Mr. Smith rests upon a faulty premise and a lack of effort and claims it’s not his fault.

PART TWO

That handles what Mr. Smith has said and the feeble justifications that should be swept out with other outdated, lazy ways of thinking that impede good writing. Now let’s talk about the rest of you. I’ve seen multiple people getting offended on behalf of Mr. Smith. You feel he is being mobbed, mocked, and cruelly attacked. Some have even jumped straight to calling it bullying.

Here are some of the arguments I’ve seen (paraphrased):

  • No context, no context!
  • Everyone is attacking the poor man!
  • Why don’t you give him a chance to explain?/Why don’t you hear his side first?
  • The poor dear has retreated from the outcry. Just leave him alone!
  • He’s not a bad person!
  • It’s not that big of a deal.

My rebuttals:

No context, no context!

Exactly what kind of context are you looking for? This is an interview. We have taken Mr. Smith’s full answer as presented within the context of the interview given. While it is possible that the interviewer grievously twisted and misconstrued Mr. Smith’s words, I have seen no evidence to that nature, nor are we required to wait a month’s grace period before we discuss a troubling reply.

Everyone is attacking the poor man!

“Everyone” is not “attacking” Mr. Smith. Any easy tell of a poorly constructed argument is the use of absolutes (always, never, everyone, no one.) I have yet to see anyone verbally or physically attack Mr. Smith personally for what he’s said, but as I am not all-seeing, I can’t deny that it hasn’t happened. I request the same honesty regarding omniscience from you.

What I have seen is a great number of people discussing amongst their friends, colleagues, and followers what Mr. Smith said and what it means both on an individual and societal level. We’re talking. That’s what you do. You talk. You discuss. You exchange opinions, facts, and ideas with those around you. That a great number of people are talking is due to 1) the impact of the claim (affecting primarily the ignored female half of the population but also the male half that will continue to see women as “mysteries” if they’re never allowed into their heads via fiction) and 2) the fact that Mr. Smith is a lauded author who “spoke” these words in a public forum with a large readership. If he’d whispered these words in an empty room, would people be talking? Probably not. If he’d said something controversial about, say, the chlorophyll production of a little-known subspecies of moss, would there be the same outcry? Probably not.

But a large group of people talking does not equal an attack. It just means that you were privy to a discussion that you don’t agree with.

Why don’t you give him a chance to explain?/Why don’t you hear his side first?

Okay, first, we are allowed to discuss a worrying comment made without waiting for the primary source to clear everything up. What’s said is said, regardless of intent, and can foster discussion. Also, without the discussion, who knows in the primary source would ever have felt inclined to speak at all. Waiting would have been nonsensical.

Second, as a reader, it is not my responsibility to personally email him and await his individualized response. By placing the onus on the general public to seek a response… well, it’s not like I have him in my address book, nor do I think Mr. Smith would like a horde on confused and upset readers camped out on his front lawn. Mr. Smith may speak up whenever he wants, but it is not my responsibility to solicit that response.

Third, Mr. Smith has already apologized, I’ve been told, and that’s good. I can’t vouch for the quality of the apology, as I’m still hunting for a link/screenshot, but apologies are good. That being said, a discussion about the overall impact of the mindset presented may still go on.

The poor dear has retreated from the outcry. Just leave him alone!

It was his choice to retreat, and I understand why he did. However, as I’ve said, the discussions I’ve personally seen have not been attacks. He is not, for instance, retreating from harassment or doxxing (which, regretfully, has been the case for many of his female colleagues in other situations.) He is retreating from the consequences of his own words. It sucks, but that’s life.

He’s not a bad person!

Stupid, ignorant, misinformed, etc. does not equal bad. A bad person is someone who purposely does wrong, a person who is malicious. I haven’t seen anyone in my feed call Mr. Smith a bad person. The issue isn’t about him. It’s about what he said. It’s about the biases and cultural influences that have convinced a educated adult male that he knows nothing about half of the world that he lives in every single day. Screaming that Mr. Smith is not a bad person for saying women are mysteries is akin to announcing that smoking is good for you and then, when corrected, claiming that everyone hates you and thinks you’re a bad person. No, they think you’re being willfully ignorant and perhaps a bit dense.

It’s not that big of a deal.

It is. I could go into an entire other post about this one, but I’m sure other people have and will. Buying into the notion that women are a separate, unknowable species is a big deal. Propagating that notion to the general public is a big deal. Saying this lie as truth when one’s target audience is youth is a big deal. Saying this as an educator (with presumably some female students) and as a father of a daughter is a big deal. And being unable to grasp the affects that all this could have—shutting women up and out, breaking down any understanding between the genders, splitting the human race into two alien, incommunicable classes—is just plain sad.

2

Have You Seen This?

Image and meme courtesy of Book Addict’s Guide and Andi’s ABCs

Last month, Brittany @ Book Addict’s Guide and Andi @ Andi’s ABCs did a wonderful/horrible thing. They started a new blog feature called Have You Seen This?, where readers can list book editions and old ARC titles that they need and hopefully have the holes on their shelves filled. The point of the feature is NOT for people to find unreleased ARCs or “in the wild” copies of new books. Instead, it’s for connoisseurs and collectors looking to fill gaps. It’s a horrible feature because it only fuels my bibliophilia, but it’s also wonderful because there are certain old ARCs I’ve been looking for for years, as well as international editions I would die to have. They are as follows:

Code Name Verity – ARC and certain foreign editions

First and foremost, I NEED an ARC. NEEEEEEED. I have my Rose Under Fire ARC and my Black Dove, White Raven ARC, so a CNV ARC would complete my ARC set. CNV came out while I was a baby blogger, so I don’t even know what the ARCs look like.

Secondly, there are some foreign editions I need to get my hands on. Specifically, the UK hardcover with the girl and the rose, the Netherlands hardcover with the planes, the Swedish version with Verity and Maddie, the Spanish paperback… pretty much any edition that isn’t American or Canadian or looks exactly like them but with a different title.

Update: I now have the Canadian hardcover of CNV, as well as the UK paperbacks of CNV and RUF.

Rose Under Fire – foreign editions

The same goes for RUF, except I’m focusing on non USA/CA foreign editions, since I already have an ARC. Goodreads only lists the Netherlands edition, but I’m sure there are more.

Grave Mercy, Dark Triumph, and Mortal Heart – ARCs

I shall be the fangirl to rule them all with my pretty ARCs. I actually have a GM ARC, but it’s the old, old one with the wolf, so I still need a “regular” ARC to go with my eventual DT and MH ARCs.

Megan Whalen Turner – ALL

This is the one that’s going to hurt me, just because there are SO MANY. I want every version that’s different, be they old American versions or new foreign ones. The American ones seem like they would be easier to find, but I mostly find them in old library sales with those awful plastic protectors glued on, and that just won’t work. Right now, I own the 1998 American paperback version of The Thief and the newest American redesigns of all four books. Below are just a few examples of what I would like to find (totally not an exhaustive list):

That’s my wishlist. I gave away most of my older ARCs before I moved, but I’m slowly building my supplies back up. Also, I think I miiiiight be able to convince myself that acquiring these beauties shouldn’t necessarily fall under my book-buying ban. So if you have any of the books I listed in your possession, give me a shout!

4

What’s Your Winner’s Curse?

Everything has a price. Be it money, time, energy, or something else, everything costs something. In finances, advisors often talk about opportunity costs. The $10 you pay for that fancy bistro sandwich that you eat and then push out later in the day could have instead been spent on a gorgeous paperback that you carry with you for the rest of your life. (But you also need to eat, so the bite of an opportunity cost goes both ways.) Energy and emotion spent rereading The Winner’s Curse could have instead been spent, I don’t know, watching a lush ASPCA commercial over and over. (But oh, it’s such a beautiful pain.)

Honestly, opportunity costs is a concept I wish I’d never learned. I am a notorious skinflint. I pinch a penny until it screams for mercy. So when the brains over at Macmillan gave me a prompt for the book tour, I cringed: What is your winner’s curse?

“The winner’s curse” is another economic term that actually jumpstarted the entire series for Marie Rutkoski, as she explains in the preface to the first book in the series. The idea is that in an auction, if a bidder becomes too committed, they will continue to bid in order to win the item but end up paying more than the item is actually worth. It’s a fascinating psychological phenomenon that is explored through Kestrel and, to some extent, Arin in both books. My problem as a cheapskate is that I purposely aim to get the best deal possible, making a winner’s curse type situation my worst nightmare. Willingly falling under the winner’s curse is a nightmare. But for the sake of argument, here are a few things I could see being worth the winner’s curse:

My family/friends

I think this is pretty common for most people. The human race as a whole can be pretty stupid, but everyone has someone they’d go to war for. My level of commitment and involvement varies based on my ties to the person in question, but by the time a person reaches family level (either through actual familial ties or by being such a good friend that I’ve figuratively adopted them), and I will be your personal, fauxhawkified bouncer. Make my baby sister cry and I will break you. Disrespect my mother and you can see yourself to the door, sir, and make it snappy before I decide to help you out.

 Justice

I’m a rules person. I like rules. I like it when right and wrong is clearly defined and expectations are bluntly stated. I like knowing where I stand in relation to everyone else. I like fairness and equality and seeing the spirit of the law being honored just as much as the letter of the law. Rule-breakers drive me nuts, as do stupid rules that weaken whatever code of conduct they’re a part of.

Many times, my anger over a lack of justice circles back to my friends and family, because I can see those broken rules eventually hurting those I love, or I can put them in the place of the people being wronged and boy do I get fired up.

Books

Oh, books. Books are the one loophole to my cheapness. Some days my mom can’t get me to buy a new blouse to save my life, but give me a book sale, and I go hog-wild. I love to own them, to see them on my shelf with their pretty spines, to have them close at hand and ready at a moment’s notice. Granted, I try to limit my book buying to good sales and moments when I have a gift card at hand, but still. I buy a lot of books.

The first two might cost me friends and acquaintances who disagree… well, and so might the third, but I think the cost is justified. Do I really want to hang around people who don’t value the things I value? I don’t think so.

But what about you? What would YOU pay too much to have?

Tell me in the comments below and enter to win a copy of either The Winner’s Crime or The Winner’s Curse (your choice). Don’t worry. All it will cost you is a couple seconds of your time and (once you read the book) a whole lot of delicious squeeing and heart-clutching. The price is worth it.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the rest of the tour for MORE chances to win, see the official Winner’s Trilogy website for more news about the trilogy, and watch out for The Winner’s Crime to hit shelves March 3rd!

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Why You Should Watch The 100

Once upon a time, a wide-eyed blogger went to BEA and got a whole stack of books. One of those books was a slender, white volume about criminal kids in space sent to explore a radioactive Earth. The blogger did not like the book. Fast-forward a year and some change, and the book is now a TV show. All of Twitter has gone mental over said TV show. The wide-eyed blogger was confused and wary. She gave into peer pressure. She watched the show. And now she’s going to school y’all on why you need The 100 in your life.

Seriously, I’m kind of obsessed with this show. I blame Gillian and her Bellarke tweets. (I’ll explain what a Bellarke is later.) The very brief synopsis is that Earth was destroyed by a nuclear war and the survivors fled to space and have orbited around Earth in a massive space station called the Ark. Now, decades later, the Ark is running out of air, so the Council has jettisoned 100 teenage criminals to the ground as guinea pigs to see if Earth is survivable. There are so many exciting twists and turns and plot threads that spin out of that basic concept, and I don’t want to ruin them all for you, but here are just a few reasons why I love this show. Continue Reading →

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