May 1, 2012

School’s Almost Out Book List (Sp2012 edition)

Every summer I make a list of every book that I plan on reading over the summer; then while I’m at work I find all the books that have shiny pretty colors that I buy because they have shiny pretty colors.

Trapeze

The House of Velvet and Glass

Let’s Pretend this Never Happened

There is No Dog

City of Lost Souls (May 8th)

Abandon Book 2: Underworld

Hemlock

Size 12 and Ready to Rock (Jul 12th)

Throne of Glass (COME OUT NOW)

Abused Werewolf Rescue Group

From Bad to Cursed
(sequel to Bad Girls Don’t Die;
which was one
of those books that kept me up for
days because I was terrified)

I think I’m going to stop here, but there is so much to this list it’s a little bit embarrassing. I have it written down on a piece of paper, and  it’s a wonderful list that has a bit of everything.

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April 30, 2012

Publisher/Author/Agent internet Directory

I’m going to update this regularly, because there are A LOT of pages for these websites.

Egmont USA
http://pinterest.com/egmontusa/

Penguin
http://pinterest.com/penguinteen/
http://pinterest.com/penguinbooksusa/

Random House (Around the World)
http://pinterest.com/randomhouse/
http://pinterest.com/randomhousekids/
http://pinterest.com/randomhouseau/
Random House Twitter Directory

Scholastic
http://pinterest.com/scholastic/

https://twitter.com/#!/Scholastic

April 30, 2012

Book Marketing

I’ve been taking some advertising and marketing classes for pure entertainment, and I really actually like them. As a result, I took a gander at some book marketing strategies that companies, authors, and agents have been doing and I decided to do a quick rundown of the strategies they use.

First, the book trailer.
Possibly the most annoying thing every created by the internet. It’s a book commercial. These things can make even the best books look kind of boring, and I just have never really liked them. But I understand their purpose, these spots are usually only 30seconds, and whether they’re aired on TV or just on YouTube, they let people know that books are coming out.

Then, my personal favorite: Author interaction.
Plenty of famous authors have had websites since the internet began, but they couldn’t interact with their fans in a quick and convient way (yeah email existed, but who answered those?). Twitter, (which has connected me to many of my favorite authors in recent years) is an awesome way for authors to get in touch with potential readers, agents, and publishers. It’s also great for people who have already been published who want to let people know about their books!
One great example of this is an author who I began following recently, S.M. Boyce. Her book is a fantasy called The Grimoire: Lichgates (you can get it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords). She followed me on twitter, and I decided to follow back. Then a few days later she tweeted that her book was free on Amazon for the day. I downloaded it to my kindle, and I’m really enjoying it.

Third is publisher promotion:

Those are just published Pinterest pages, but you get the idea. Publishers spend time promoting their books in ways they havent before, and I love it. They promote new releases, and old titles, and just plain interact with fans of books. Except now, publishers aren’t these weird book middle-men. They’re these cool groups of people who are passionate about what they do, and they spend lots of time on twitter, Facebook and Pinterest letting people know about cool new products (aka awesome new books).

I miss my childhood though. When I would just go to the bookstore and see shiny new book covers, and choose them based on how cool they looked. I still do that a lot, but it’s getting harder since when I’m at school the closest bookstore is a Walmart.

This post is going to get a follow-up of all my favorite author/publisher twitter pages and Pinterests.

April 26, 2012

Black Heart by Holly Black

The Curse Workers series by Holly Black has held my attention for the past few years, and Black Heart, the most recent addition to the series came out last week. If  you havent read the series, it’s a  fabulously dark tale of Cassel, a curse worker in modern day America. The Curse workers are a group of people who with the touch of a hand can change your emotions, make you lucky, heal you, make you forget your life,  kill you, or change your physical appearance, at great risk to their own health, mentally and physically. The story line is amazing, with well thought out backstory of the discovery of curse workers, and the terror that the rest of the population had which forced them into work camps. From those work camps the curse worker Mob families flourished, and Cassel, the main character is a product of that Mob legacy. Each book focuses on him, and his struggle with the whole “my family is the mob” thing. That’s all I’m giving you non-awesome people who havent read this series, and I genuinely recommend that you read them all asap.

On to Black Heart!

Seriously though, there are spoilers in this review.

So Cassel is an FBI guy now, well an FBI trainee and Barron is actually an FBI agent, but he’s still corrupt as all hell, and using his memory work to avoid jumping through bureau hoops. He’s also (strangely enough) in love (and i won’t say with whom). Lila has begun her training as a ruthless mob leader, which was entirely expected of her. Cassel’s mother is in hiding and no one can find her, and Daneca and Sam are still broken up for no freaking reason.

Since you know the series, you know how Ms. Holly Black has consistently left things for the reader to guess, and mystery upon mystery to solve by the end of each novel. Black Heart was no different…I’m not telling you though, you have to find out for yourself dammit!

The series was amazing, and I’m going to re-read it so I can get more out of it.

In short. GO BUY THIS SERIES IRL. (in real life, for non chat-speakers out there) This series has what every good sci-fi/fantasy series needs. Strong story, strong characters, intriuging plot, and most importantly: well thought out backstory.

April 17, 2012

Comic Book Shenanigans

This past weekend I spent in my favorite city in the states (NYC) and I got to go to some of my favorite comic stores (Midtown comics, Forbidden Planet etc). As a result, i decided to do some nerding up, and do this lovely post about comic books. Whether you’re like me and enjoy the occasional comic, but are super lazy and don’t go out and buy them. Or you’re a new comic book reader, here are some sweet comics to check out!

The Scoobies are back and better than ever in the comic continuation of the series. If you were a Buffy fan (and in my opinion everyone should be) you will love having the characters back.

Skip Beat is one of my favorite comics, even though it’s not technically a comic, it’s a manga. The story follows Kyoko Mogami, a 16 year old girl who decides to follow her dream of getting revenge against her childhood love Sho Fuwa. Naturally since he’s a pop star, she auditions for a rival company. The story follows her through her journey to revenge, it’s light hearted and funny, and totally worth a read. It’s also been made into a hilarious anime series (same name) that you can typically stream on crunchyroll.com.

Read anything by this man; Frank Miller. He’s not literally a comic, but he has written some of my favorite comic books of all time: Sin City, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Daredevil. So check him out!

April 12, 2012

Munch n’ Read!

Brownies! (Adapted from Cooks.com)

1/2 cup butter softened (1 stick)
3 0z  baking chocolate (substitute 1/3cup  unsweetened chocolate powder)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
(or one cup of one kind of chips)

Preheat Oven to 350
First Mix the softened butter and the sugar together, till they’re a relatively creamy consistency. Add the vanilla and melt the baking chocolate and mix it in. Then add your eggs, one at a time and stir in. Finally add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Once all the important ingredients are mixed in add the chocolate chips. Put the batter into a greased pan, (I like using a medium sized pan, i think it’s a 5×5, or 8×8). Check the Brownies after 20minutes, and if you like them super soft and fudgey and slightly undercooked, you can typically take them out around then. Otherwise they need to cook for 30min.

I did some baking while I read Pure, and even thought I put chocolate fingerprints on the pages, these were tasty and totally worth it. :]

April 10, 2012

The McKittrick Hotel

The McKittrick Hotel is not some swanky resort, nor is it a broken down roach motel somewhere on route 66. The McKittrick is a theatre installation — if you accept the phrase, put on by Punchdrunk and Emursive (two sweet theatre groups). The show is called Sleep No More NYC, and it’s Macbeth. The point of the show is that you get to interact with the characters and witness the private moments in their lives. I watched a fight between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth over the decision of murdering Duncan. I watched the revelry of Hecate and the witches after Macbeth committed the murder. I wandered through the halls of the McKittrick, and read the secret papers of Macbeth, Macduff, and Banquo. Each room smelled different, each place had its own feeling, and it was all enhanced by the anonymity of the mask each guest of the hotel had to wear.

The feelings that place inspired in me, fear, excitement, curiosity, etc. reminded me of a book. Yeah, weird right? Most things remind me of books, but this time it was less of the idea of the book and more the feelings the places in the book were meant to inspire. That book is (drumroll please): The Night Circus

This story  has a specific feeling to it. There’s a storyline, and a cast of characters, but they almost take a backseat to the circus itself.
The circus is a greater character to follow than you would think. Through the perspective of the human characters you see the ways in which they are manipulating the circus. Adding rides and tents, and snacks. Morgenstern turns to a  third party at that point to show the circus through those who are unused to the  atmosphere, and you see it through a new set of eyes. First those of Heir Thiessen who stumbles upon the circus by accident and is so overcome by the sights and sounds that he takes to writing about them. Then a little boy who sees the circus for the first time, and most often a general third party voice that bids you to imagine yourself in the circus, and you follow your path as the section sees fit.

Going to the McKittrick, walking through each section of the warehouse, up stairs, through narrow hallways, and through strange doors brought back to me the feeling of the Night Circus. (Especially since I attended the saturday show in which “events culminate at 2am”) I was genuinely awed, particularly at one point when I was walking through a dirt-packed graveyard and thought “Wait am I still inside?” Mainly due to the scent of fresh damp dirt.

Essentially if you want a singular novelized experience, read the Night Circus, you won’t regret it.  It’s departures from its original narrative (think Steinbeck in Grapes of Wrath, but no turtles ambling across the street.) make the experience of the novel more complete.  Also If you get the chance to check out Sleep No More NYC, DO IT. Make a run to the warehouse now and buy your ticke. I guarantee you will love every second of the time you spend there.

My Souvenirs!

April 9, 2012

Finally – A Bookstore

Prior to yesterday’s visit to my favorite lovely bookstore. I hadn’t been book shopping in a legitimate place for about 2months — to me that’s a freakishly long time and I don’t know why it’s been that long. Nonetheless I picked up some books, and some nice gossip from my coworkers.

In case you haven’t heard about 50 Shades of Grey, (our main topic of discussion) it’s the erotic twilight fan fiction that gained it’s own (not very unique) cast of characters, that has a major BDSM (look it up I shall not discuss this) theme. Nonetheless the book’s been recognized in the NY Times. Our gossip ranged from the original print price of the book (over $30) to who bought it most recently (a 40 year old man who came in with his young daughter). It seems interesting from what I’ve heard, but I don’t think I’ll be reading it anytime soon. If anyone out there on the interwebs has gotten to it (and you aren’t embarrassed to admit it) let me know how it was!

On to things I did buy!

This is a brilliant sounding dystopian that I heard about a few months ago and never picked up because I’m cheap in real l life. I found a copy of it half off in my store. So add employee discout to that, and I bought it!

This book sounds like What Happened to Lani Garver and i LOVED that book. So I decided to give this one a shot too!

Can I also just mention how friggin pretty the covers of these books are? They’re so simplistic and gorgeous, and I love it!

April 5, 2012

Room for Debate – Reflection

One thing you may not know about me is that I’m an English major. I read Shakespeare for fun, and I genuinely think that counting the meter of a poem, and using it to come up with a theory about the authors mindset when he wrote it, is a good activity for an afternoon. When I read the Room for Debate series that specifically addresses Young Adult Fiction, I couldn’t resist seeing all they had to say. Only one author had a perspective that I found grating, in which he stated that “The only time I’m O.K. with an adult holding a children’s book is if he’s moving his mouth as he reads.”-Stein. As an adult, a relatively young one, but one old enough to vote, and not quite old enough to buy a bottle of wine (7months), that aggravated me.

I read a LOT of YA books, and I do prefer them to contemporary adult novels. For me, it’s not the quality of writing in YA that draws me, because as everyone knows the quality of YA writing can range from superb, to disappointing with an awesome storyline. It’s the story and the characters, and the feeling you get from reading the novel that keep people interested. For instance The Hunger Games isn’t good because it has a strong female protagonist. It’s good because I can relate to the way she thinks about the situation she’s been put in. I can relate to the way the has to rationalize killing other people; and most of all I understand her confusion. Katniss doesn’t get her role, she doesn’t understand love, and she certainly can’t focus on politics.

Those are all things that I can identify with. I also read books like Demi-Monde , The Brides Farewell, Room, and countless others that are not of the YA genre, and find commonalities to those characters. I can read them both from a regular readers standpoint, and from a literary critics standpoint. The fact that this one man dismisses a full genre, with absolutely no knowledge of what he’s dismissing (he states that he hasn’t read any recent YA novels, essentially because they’re beneath him) is ridiculous. It’s not only offensive to adults who enjoy YA, but to the authors of those novels, many of whom are well respected and have books written for both the YA genre and contemporary (often literary) fiction.

I personally would like so send him a copy of Deus ex Machina by Andrew Foster Altschul and Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, and tell him to compare the satire both novels provide about the falseness and commerciality of a consumerist lifestyle.

The other articles were more appreciative of YA, and the pains that authors have to go through to keep the attention of a generation that’s used to instant gratification. The two that I liked most were “Seeing themselves in Books” and “Social Media has Fed the Fever”. Those two articles were both delightfully insightful, the first having been written by a male author who found his calling (that’s the nerdiest way I can put that) in novels, the second written by a teen book blogger.

If you like YA, go forth and check out the debate in the comments of the articles. I’ll definitely be there.

March 22, 2012

The Benefits of Binge Reading

In the last 12 hours I’ve finished 3 novels. One of which I reread for my own pleasure, and the other two simply because I was in a ready mood. There’s really no other way to explain that. I lazed around my house with all the windows open, sun streaming in, and just felt like it was the perfect day to read things I wanted to read, and not homework that had been assigned by professors.

The first new book I read was Across the Universe by Beth Revis. It’s one of those books that’s been sitting on my shelf for a while. I was drawn in by the cover, so I bought it. Then I was put off by the corniness of the quote on the cover: “What does it take to survive aboard a spaceship fueled by lies?”. Then the second book in the series came out, a year later. Ladies and Gentlemen, this book  has been sitting there unread, for over a year. Now it wasn’t my fault! I was travelling after I bought it (in January 2011) and then I just, forgot. Nonetheless, I picked it up today, a full year and two months later, and actually loved it.

Let me give you a quick rundown of this book. Amy is a 17 year old girl who is given the choice by her parents (and I suppose the government) to be cryogenically frozen and travel with them to Alpha Centauri to inhabit a planet that is reportedly fit for human life. The novel opens with Amy watching first her mother, then her father, go through the freezing process before she inevitably decides to give up her life on Earth and stick with her parents. Once she gets frozen, the POV switches to Elder, the future leader of Godspeed, the ship that is taxed with the 350 year journey to Centauri-Earth. The population of the ship has been ravaged by a recent Plague that required a new system of leadership to be put into place, and he is the next in line. Elder is only 16, and like any young leader to be, he is reluctant to conform to his teachings, and prefers the company of his friend. He gets pointed in the direction of the cyro chamber, where he finds Amy frozen in her tube. A series of events takes place that involves Amy being reanimated incorrectly (and most importantly before her time). There’s some mystery, and some romance (dur) and the best part is the dictatorship that thinks that individual thought is the root of all fighting.

I loved how honest it was. The two main characters, Elder and Amy, have absolutely no problems about being honest with themselves. That’s rare, especially for a YA novel. Amy quickly comes to terms with the fact that she will never see her parents again after she is reanimated, and immediately throws herself into a project. Elder fights the hold that the Eldest has on him in order to keep Amy safe, and in doing so reveals to himself the truth’s of his little society.

It was a pretty quick read, and definitely one you want to do in one go, mainly because the narrative is a little stilted. The POV switches for every “chapter” and often the sections are quite short. The second book is called A Million Sunsand apparently the spaceship is no longer fueled by lies, but chaos.

The second book I read was Legend, by Marie Lu. I’ve followed her for a while over on Pub(lishing) Crawl which is by far one of my favorite writing/publishing blogs since it’s run by a group of ex-fictionpress authors (including the wonderfully talented S.J. Mass, whose book Throne of Glass is FINALLY being released later this year) but there are so many super talented ladies that have come out of both fictionpress, and Pub(lishing) Crawl that their work is always worth checking out.

Legend is about two people (look at me with my POV switching books) Day and June.

June a 15 year old prodigy who got a perfect score on the Trials, a government test that judges the line of work a child is worthy for. Now the trials sound truly horrible. At the age of 10 you are judged on your agility, reflexes, and intelligence. If you fail you’re sent to the labor camps. If you pass you get to go to school. June, the only one to get a perfect score of 1500, (SAT’s anyone??) is in her final year of university, and causing trouble. Her section of the novel opens with her being scolded for traveling off campus to scale a building. Day’s section opens with him looking over his family. Immediately setting the tone for his personality, he’s watching out for them as the soldiers go door to door checking for plague victims. He’s essentially Robin Hood, except he mainly only cares about his family, and his friends, and messing with the oppressive government. Of course, they have to be enemies. June is a military girl at heart, and Day is a rebel because of what his government has made him.

Legend was fab, because it wasn’t just the usual dystopian lone girl defies government and blah happens book. It was a political thriller, with twists and turns (even though a few of them were predictable). It was fun to actually go along with the characters and figure out what was happening, and there are hints dropped throughout the novel, and most importantly, it fun to read. There were plenty of sections that got my adrenaline up, and it was totally not a book you should read before going to bed… because then you won’t. You’ll actually be too hyped up to do anything but dance and wonder when the second book is coming out (Fall 2012).

There’s also a game of this on facebook (I’m totally a member of the Capitol ya’ll).

There ya go! two books in one review.

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