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tbr tuesday [8]

the following lovely ladies have inspired this new meme for me - inspired by "a peek at my TBR" by Jen atMakeshift Bookmark, "Waiting on Wednesday" by Jill at Breaking the Spine and "Books to Pine For" by Kristi at The Story Siren.

here's a look at two books i have sitting in my To Be Read pile. i don't necessarily own these books, but they are books i intend to get around to reading soon!

April 2010, Amulet Books (imprint of Abrams)
In this funny, uncannily wise portrait of the dynamics of a sixth-grade class and of the greatness that sometimes comes in unlikely packages, Dwight, a loser, talks to his classmates via an origami finger puppet of Yoda. If that weren’t strange enough, the puppet is uncannily wise and prescient. Origami Yoda predicts the date of a pop quiz, guesses who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and saves a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice. Dwight’s classmate Tommy wonders how Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. With contributions from his puzzled classmates, he assembles the case file that forms this novel. 
[from Goodreads]

i want to read this one because i'm totally into the Middle Grade books lately, because Tom Angleberger writes some hilarious novels, AND i lurve me some Star Wars. yeah, this is pretty much my perfect storm.


December 2010, Dutton 

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?
[from Goodreads]

i know y'all. please don't take away my YA blogger card. i WANT to read it, i just haven't yet! i'm sure it's epic and wonderful and everything i hope it will be...i just need to get around to it!


are there any books that you've been wanting to read forever and ever that you think i might like? let me know in the comments!

Really Good Editing

back when i was just starting to shift this blog from a personal review archive into a place where i could share up and coming titles with others, i met Harrison from Bancroft Press. and by met i mean he approved me to read a book on NetGalley and then proved himself to be awesome beyond all belief.

so awesome, in fact, he did a little interview with me that was super insightful and helpful.

so when he told me he was starting a new project, i was SUPER happy to be a part of it. instead of me telling you what it's all about, allow the man to speak for himself.

Harrison: I'm launching a new enterprise called Really Good Editing. Really Good Editing is my freelance editing business. I'm not leaving Bancroft, but I mean to spend half my time there and half my time working one on one with writers, ideally providing extremely in-depth developmental editing for mostly works of fiction.
I think every would-be author needs a serious edit, and I'm hoping Really Good Editing comes to represent that for a great many people.

Lisa:  I like to think I know what an editor's job is, but I really don't. For those of us who have no idea what editors do (me), can you give a brief rundown of what an editor does?

Harrison: What an editor does varies a lot from company to company, and publisher to publisher, and even job to job. But a lot of people have the perception that editing is just correcting spelling and adding commas, and that’s not what I do at all. Or, rather, I do that, but it’s only a small part of the job.

Most simply, an editor does everything he can to make the manuscript he’s working with as strong as possible. A developmental editor like me will analyze story, structure, character, logic, and virtually everything about a piece of writing that is good or bad, diagnose the problems, and help the author understand the problems and what can be done about them.

Alongside exploring the bigger issues, I will fix sentences, cut unnecessary passages, move things around, and pretty much do whatever I can to the text itself beyond the substantive changes the author will have to do.

And of course, after that, the author will make changes and send back a new draft, and we do it all again. I’ve spent as long as two years editing single manuscripts in various drafts. Editing can be a very long job.

Lisa: What's the best part of your job, and the part of your job that you absolutely loathe?

Harrison: Since I started freelancing, I have rediscovered just how much I love purely editing. It’s downright meditative for me. I love sitting back and working with a manuscript, and I love figuring out how to help the author take the next step toward a finished product. It’s part creativity, part problem-solving, and for me it’s an ideal combination.

The part I hate is marketing. Marketing is actually one of the main reasons I’m shifting toward freelance editing. It’s an exhausting struggle, fighting for the success of books you’ve worked with for so long, and while that struggle isn’t typically part of the editor’s job, it is when you work at a small press. I believe in my books and want to do everything I can to help them, but I don’t enjoy the fight.

I think freelancing requires less marketing, but it’s still necessary. Otherwise, how is anyone to know Really Good Editing exists? So I’m looking forward to the day when I have enough clients that I don’t really need to worry about promoting myself.

Lisa: How much impact does an editor have on the finished product?
Harrison: That varies project to project. Every now and then, you’ll see a manuscript that’s already pretty close to finished, or one for which the changes are mainly a means of bringing out the incredible novel that’s already there. Other times, a manuscript will simply require a ton of work to reach its full potential, and on her own, the author may not know how to get there. Most don't.

In the latter case, a good editor will have a major impact on the finished product—but it will still be the author’s work, completely and entirely. One of the greatest thrills for me as an editor is when an author use a suggestion I made in a highly inventive way I’d never have imagined. I think that indicates the relationship between writer and editor.

Lisa: As a freelance editor, what makes what you're doing unique or different from editors affiliated with publishers?

Harrison: That depends a lot on the publishers. The kind of editing I do—complete developmental editing—is simply not done by the major publishers anymore. If they’re taking on a manuscript, they want that manuscript already very close to finished. I’ll work with authors far earlier in the process—and I’ll do so without a publisher’s consideration for whether or not a manuscript is commercial.

In the industry today, I think an author generally needs an editor before submitting to most publishers. If what they receive isn’t great, what they receive will not be published, and there are a lot of incredibly talented authors remaining unread as a result. And if an author is self-publishing, which so many more are doing now, then a freelance editor is the only editor they’re going to get.

As for me, I happen to be particularly good at working with authors and bringing out the best in a manuscript. I’ve never let an author down before, and I certainly won’t as a freelancer. And because I also have six years’ experience in the publishing industry, I can help authors figure out the next step once their manuscripts are truly ready to go.

Lisa: What's the last book you recommended to someone?

Harrison: I don’t know if it’s really the last book I recommended, but I’m always advocating for the work of the late Douglas Adams. Everyone knows The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but not enough readers have discovered the Dirk Gently books, and most specifically The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. I’m sure I must have recommended that to someone recently. If I haven’t, allow me to do so now. The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul: not just extremely funny, but brilliant and insightful in the very best way.

thanks to Harrison for sharing with me (and with y'all) more about what he does. should you wish to contact him for more information, here's how you get a hold of the man:

and now i'm off to add The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul to my tbr! HOLLA.

cover copy

so this isn't my usual scene, but i saw a cover duplicate that really steamed my broccoli. (see! i told you i'd use the phrase!)

and of course i'm here to share it with you. you're welcome.

          Not That Kind Of Girl

really. did they just take a bunch of up close pictures of these two kissing and touching faces? ugh.

that being said, i'm obviously going to read both of the books, but will be ashamed of the covers.

[images from goodreads]

add it to the list [21]

add it to the list is a variation of In My Mailbox hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren
i was super surprised to receive an email from an author this week regarding a request i sent months ago. i heard about a book that sounded like an interesting twist on a pretty standard tale, and i asked for a copy. due to issues with the publisher, i was unable to get one at the time. the author kept my email and followed up with me this week. yeah, MONTHS later. how amazing is that?

May 2011, Synergy Books
Every summer, fourteen-year-old Rachel leaves her home in England to stay with her grandparents in Florida. But this year, there's an exciting change when Rachel meets Jed, a brooding, cynical guitar player, and Kyle, an idealistic future soldier. Shy, lonely Rachel blossoms under the attention she receives from the boys, and she finds herself strongly drawn to both. But as the summer unfolds, so does the tension, jealousy, and attraction between them, and conflicts threaten to destroy their friendship. Things become even more complicated when Rachel is assaulted by one of Kyle's friends, spurring an explosive reaction from one of the boys, and consequences none of the three could have foreseen. 
[from Goodreads]


by now, y'all know i love Ginger of GReads!. and how could i not, when she keeps showering me with AWESOME?  not only did she send me two new CDs full of amazing music, but she also lent me another Jennifer Echols book! what a doll. i have a very special thank you in mind for her too...mwahahaha.

May 2011, Simon Pulse

Two irresistible boys. One unforgettable summer.
Lori can’t wait for her summer at the lake. She loves wakeboarding and hanging with her friends--including the two hotties next door. With the Vader brothers, she's always been just one of the guys. Now that she’s turning sixteen, she wants to be seen as one of the girls, especially in the eyes of Sean, the older brother. But that’s not going to happen--not if the younger brother, Adam, can help it.
Lori plans to make Sean jealous by spending time with Adam. Adam has plans of his own for Lori. As the air heats up, so does this love triangle. Will Lori’s romantic summer melt into one hot mess? 
[from Goodreads]


what'd y'all get this week? show me! and link it up over at The Story Siren.

SFF ftw

by now, i trust you know two things about  me.

1. i like nerdy things. this includes science fiction and fantasy.
2. i like lists.

behold, the best of both worlds! NPR put together their top 100 Science Fiction, Fantasy books. 

in case you're wondering, the books i'm most interested in checking out are The Lord of the Rings (i know. i obsess about the movies but i haven't read the books. for shame.), The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, The Kingkiller Chronicles (it's waiting patiently on my shelf), and The Once and Future King.

the ones i've read and highly recommend are Ender's Game, A Song of Fire and Ice, Frankenstein, The Gunslinger, Watership Down, and The Space Trilogy.

for what it's worth, the hubs is currently reading The Wheel of Time series and is loving it. he's also going to start A Dance with Dragons soon. yeah, we're both pretty nerdtastic.

thanks to Tor.com for the heads up on this list! and congrats for having 14 titles on the best 100! not too shabby.

you are what you read

image from Ginger at GReads!

you guys, this is my fave meme. and it's not just because i think Ginger is amazing or because tons of bloggers are linking up each week or because the image is so cute. it's not even because i love the word meme (which i pronounce may-may in my head). it's because some seriously rad questions are asked and everyone provides some insightful and funny responses. yeah, it's pretty cool.

this week the lovely Ginger asks:

Book Associations: Which genre, authors, or particular books do you think people associate with your reading style?

well, judging by my 'genre breakdown' widget on the side of the blog, i'd say i'm definitely a Fantasy Genre type of gal. i think for the most part, people would agree that if it has some sort of supernatural element or twist, i'm game to give it a read.

but for funsies, let's look at my top five labels for book review genres, shall we? yeah, we shall.

1. Fantasy. yeah, i dig the fantasy. this includes sci-fi fantasy, btw. and vampires and zombies and all that jazz. i like the supernatural, i like the paranormal, and i like the creativity of world building and mythos involved in that style of writing. 
2. Mystery. i like to keep guessing! surprise me with twists and turns and you've won my bookish heart.
3. Coming of Age. as i've said before, this is my favorite thing about YA novels. starting out as one person and discovering your true self along the way. i love the transformation that's almost inherent in YA literature and i never cease to find it inspiring and enjoyable.
4. Historical Fiction. not so  much as of late, but i do enjoy a period piece. looking at you, Pride and Prejudice!  oxoxo
5. Romance. this one really surprised me. i think it mostly has to do with the fact that so many books include romance in some form or fashion. or maybe that i've been getting pressured into reading more contemporary romances as of late...not that i'm complaining!

what about you? which genre's define you as a reader? are there any that you're hoping to branch out into in the future? 

be sure to link it up over at GReads! today and see what others had to say!

this made my day

nothing makes me quite so happy as when books i totally adore get the publicity they deserve.

today, Shelf Awareness did just that for A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.

review, interview, and more at the original post.

for my glowing review, check here.

Review: Forget You by Jennifer Echols

in a sentence or so: Zoey's got a lot going on before she gets into a car wreck and can't remember a full 12 hours leading up to the accident. while trying to keep her crumbling life together, she's attempting to put together the pieces of that night and figure out why it is she can't stop thinking about the brooding loner Doug - instead of her handsome beefcake boyfriend Brandon.

Zoey's life is full of drama. her dad knocked up his 24 year old mistress and left her mom. her mom soon after tried to commit suicide. and as if it's not enough for Zoey's home life to be in complete shambles, Doug - the angsty, angry, and admittedly gorgeous boy that's also on the swim team - is working the night her mother is taken to the ER. between trying to keep Doug quiet about the whole ordeal and navigating the waters of being the perfect girlfriend to Brandon, Zoey's got a lot on her mind.

determined to figure out the details of the night without letting anyone know she has amnesia, as well as keep the fact that her mother is in a mental hospital under wraps, Zoey puts on a brave face and keeps moving forward. after all, she's the captain of the swim team and they need her. and if she doesn't look out for herself, who will?

something i loved about this book was that all of the characters were flawed. some in a major way, like her dad who was a total dickface the entire novel. some in a minor way, like Zoey herself and her need to look and act perfect, no matter what. those complexities of characters makes them easy to connect to and the story that much more real for the reader.

while this book is definitely romantic, i would argue it's more about relationships and expectations of yourself and others. that might be the dorkiest thing i've written in a review...ever...but it's true! to simplify this book would not do it justice.

is this book going to change your life? probably not. but is this a typical contemporary romance? not at all. Echols creates some heartfelt characters, difficult decisions, and realistic teenage experiences and presents it in an addictive and easily devoured book.

fave quote: "No one would suspect the girlfriend of the star of the football team was falling for the boy who went to juvie. And the boy who went to juvie wasn't returning the favor." (pg 159)

fix er up: okay really, Zoey didn't realize the truth behind her relationship with Brandon? that is the only thing i find to be a bit far fetched in this read. well...maybe not far fetched as much as naive and borderline pathetic.

title: Forget You
author: Jennifer Echols
genre: Romance, Contemporary, Drama, Family 
publishing info: Simon & Schuster, 2010

[ftc notice: i borrowed a copy of this book from Ginger at GReads! so i obviously didn't receive any compensation for this review. thanks, yo!]

add it to the list [20]

add it to the list is a variation of In My Mailbox hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

and good news, y'all. i've edited my video this week! you can tell i have less than zero experience doing such editing, but never the less, it cuts the length down quite a bit!

Publishing Info: October 2011, HarperTeen

Publishing Info: August 2011, Quirk

Publishing Info: September 2011, MacTeen Books

impromptu blogathon? i'm in (obvs).

so you can tell that having A Real Job is harshing on my ability to keep up to date with the blog by the fact that i'm having bloggiestas and mini-blogathons and all other sorts of made up events to get my poop in a group.

alas. here we are.

Shanyn at Chick Loves Lit is hosting a blogathon this weekend. if you have stuff you need to get done, no matter how great or how small, link it up over there and find the encouragement you need!

as for me and my to-do list, this is what i'd LOVE to get done this weekend:

  • crosspost my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads (done!)
  • write my Hunger Games review
  • get book packages to the mailbox (it totally counts. shut up.)
  • finish Hold Me Closer, Necromancer
  • schedule posts through the end of the month
  • complete interview questions
  • write TBR Tuesday posts (3)

thanks, Shanyn, for giving bloggers another reason to bind together AND get stuff done! 

Review: Down A Dark Hall (vlog)

in which i review Down A Dark Hall by Lois Duncan in about a minute. i know, it's kind of a huge deal because usually my vlogs are HELLA LONG. so you're welcome.

Little, Brown Publishing

[ftc notice: i received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. i did not receive any compensation for this review. thanks, Little, Brown!]

living the dream

i kind of want to be best friends with this guy.

original article by Sean Fallon at fasionablygeek.com

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

in a sentence or so: Juliette can't touch people without killing them and the world is falling down around her. she doesn't realize she's desperate for purpose until she's recruited to be a weapon and a boy that's all too familiar reaches out to her.

Juliette's touch is fatal. her parents didn't know how to deal with her, so they were dismissive. her classmates didn't know how to deal with her, so they were harsh. eventually, Juliette wound up the only place the world could be safe from her - alone in a cell. this is how she's spent the better part of a year until a boy is tossed in there with her. it's been so long since she's spoken to anyone...touched anyone...had any sort of contact with anyone...that she can't believer herself when this boy looks familiar.

Juliette's world is tossed upside down, yet AGAIN, when she's recruited by Warner to be a weapon for The Reestablishment. the world needs order, and the fear of Juliette and her ability is a strong enough weapon that it just might get the job done...you know, if she actually wanted to hurt people. but she doesn't. Juliette is caring and good and just wants to be normal...which is something she can never be. so if she can't be normal, what else is there? turns out Juliette will have a couple different options on how she can fix what's wrong with the world.

the combination of gorgeous lyrical writing within a dark and desperate situation created a great dichotomy to set the tone of hopelessness and despair. every thought in Juliette's head was beautifully crafted, yet not lofty or out of place. we get a sense as to who Juliette is by the way she thinks and views the world, and herself. and i connected with her instantly

we've got a lot going on here in the plot, but it's never rushed or skimmed over. each element is handled carefully and examined to the fullest before moving on, but still keeps a steady pace that will hook you in like WHOA.

Mafi sets a seriously large stage with different sides going at each other, a large helping of complex and awesome characters, and a story line that has enough mystery to keep you hooked while providing enough answers to keep you happy. plus, a generous dollop of sexytimes doesn't hurt either.

for a lyrically written dystopian with a fresh take on the romance between the two main characters, plenty of people who are in the morally gray area, a touch of stockholm syndrome (LOVE YOU, WARNER) and a solid first book in a series that's sure to be obsess-worthy, give this a try! this is a book that was described as SO ME...and it SO was!

fave quote: "I know the sky falls down every day" (page 2)

fix er up: for the LOVE. that cover. GAGGGGGGGGG.

title: Shatter Me (#1)
author: Tahereh Mafi
publishing info: Nov 2011, HarperTeen
genre: Dystopian

[ftc notice: i borrowed an advance review copy from Yani of The Secret Life of an Avid Reader. i did not receive compensation of any kind for this review. unless you count chatting with Ginger about it CONSTANTLY as compensation...because that was fabulous.]

why i like to game solo

this article by Brandon Hoang at Dorkly had me loling something fierce.

while my brother and i rarely played video games together, we played enough to touch on just about all of these. particularly #5.

also, he uses the phrase "steams my broccoli". i am totally stealing that and using it as much as humanly possible...
"Nothing steamed my broccoli more than when I’d come back from a quick bathroom break (usually caused by chugging one too many Yoshi Berry sodas) only to see something was seriously wrong. I could have sworn we had eight guys left. Didn’t we? How do we only have seven now? Oh what the… did he use one of the Energy Tanks I was saving for when it was my turn!?"

to laugh to keep from crying, check the article for yourself. and then call your brother/sister/best friend and bitch them out because NO, JUSTIN, i still haven't forgotten that you turned off Final Fantasy 7 to play Oddworld: Abe's Odyssey and it took me FOREVER TO GET BACK TO THE SAME PLACE AND TO A SAVE POINT. <end nerdrage>

full article here via Dorkly.

(not) add it to the list

add it to the list is inspired by In My Mailbox hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

typically, this is a meme where you share the books/bookish things you got in your mailbox OR from the library OR from friends etc etc. but for me, i didn't get anything in my mailbox this week or add anything to my list.

and i'm okay with that. truly, i am. you should see my TBR stacks in the spare bedroom. i rearranged them today, so perhaps i'll share that with you sometime soon...if i remember (no promises).

but what i DID get this week was equally exciting, if not more so, than receiving books. i know, bear with me and swallow the sickness that there is something MORE exciting in life than getting more books.

Eric Smith, of Quirk Publishing and an author, recently wrote a pretty solid post over at his blog. you can peep the full story here. his article made my heart sing for several reasons.

1. it's in list form. y'all KNOW this girl loves lists!
2. the advice he gives to publishers and authors is spot on. seriously.
3. the advice and encouragement he gives to bloggers is spot on. i honestly need reminding at least weekly that having a small blog is okay and that size doesn't matter. and i'd totally be lying if i said i didn't giggle when i saw 'size doesn't matter' on his list. what can i say, i will always and forever have the personality of a 12 year old boy.
4. HE MENTIONS ME. yeah, it's kind of a huge deal. for me, anyway.

so if you haven't had a chance to check out the post, please do. and not just to see if i'm telling the truth about getting a shout out or not (i am) but to read the advice that he shares. it's good stuff.

another link to the full article right here.

and in case any purists are wondering, i did not link this up at The Story Siren this week. but that doesn't mean you can't share your mailboxes with me! share what you got in the comments, or leave me a link!

snarky is my fave

i got an email today from a friend that said this website reminded her of me.

Sarcastic Responses to Street Signs

i could not be more flattered.

Review: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

in a sentence or so: Minli searches for the Old Man of the Moon, famous from her father's many stories, so that her family may have good fortune and no longer have to spend their days laboring in the fields. it's a dangerous journey full of stories, adventure, and a dragon who can't fly.

Minli lives a meager life with her parents. they have just enough rice to eat and just enough space to live, but that's not enough for Minli's mother. Minli is inspired by her father's many fantastical stories and decides to search out the famed Old Man of the Moon. the Old Man is the only one who can change her family's fortune and give her mother the happiness she deserves. setting out with a few select items (selected for her by a talking goldfish), Minli bravely embarks on an adventure that will change her life. will she find the change she's hoping for, or will a new path be laid before her?

i (obviously) love stories. i also love stories within stories, which is what we get with this book. Minli's father kicks off the storytelling by sharing The Story of the Fruitless Mountain to explain why it is that he and Minli's mother must toil all day long. Minli's mother is annoyed by the stories as a way to explain their existence, but what else is there? the art of storytelling comes back again and again in Minli's journey, always to enhance and deepen the running narrative.

on the surface, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a fantasy journey where a young girl meets interesting characters along her quest. deeper below the surface, however, are messages and food for thought about what makes us happy and how that happiness can be attained.

you can't help but adore Minli. she's sweet, brave, and consistently considerate. the other characters along the way add their own spice to the story and help to create an imaginative and thoughtful read.

fave quote: "'You know where the Never-Ending Mountain is?' the dragon asked. 'I thought to see the Old Man of the Moon was impossible. You must be very wise to know how to find him.'
'Not really,' Minli said. 'I got the directions from a goldfish.'" (48-49)

fix er up: i would have liked a little more follow up with the characters along the way.

title: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
author: Grace Lin
publishing info: April 2011, Little, Brown
genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy

[ftc notice: i received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. i did not receive compensation of any kind. thanks, Little, Brown!]

add it to the list [19]

add it to the list is brought to you by In My Mailbox, hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. essentially, this meme allows bookish folk to share the goodies they got in the mail (or from other various sources). 

for those of you not interested in a massive TEN MINUTE vlog (sorry. this was even after 3 takes), here's some written action for you.

from Michelle at Macmillan publishing

50th Anniversary Celebration postcards for A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L'Engle! the first 5 people to email me and request one of these lovelies will get one in the mail. i can't believe this book is 50 years old...it's still one of my faves! it's one of those rare books that has a childlike fantasy element that's complimented by many levels of mythos and enjoyment. kinda like Chronicles of Narnia.

Without Tess by Marcella Pixley
Available Oct 2011
Two sisters share a fantasy world. One moves on, one does not.
why i'm interested: i love books that examine the relationships between family members. also, i'm not entirely sure if Tess actually escapes into the fantasy world, or if she just goes nuts. either way, i'm intrigued. also, we get to peep in her diary!

Body of Water by Sarah Dooley
Available Oct 2011
Ember's house is burned down and she has to rebuild her entire life from nothing.
why i'm interested: the cover is lovely. yeah, i said it. but also, it's a middle grade read about survival. typically the whole 'heading into the unknown' scene is YA, so i'm interested to see how a MG read handles that.

12 Things to Do Before You Crash and Burn by James Proimos
Available Nov 2011
Hercules has two weeks to accomplish 12 tasks before the summer is over.
why i'm interested: i love lists. A LOT. also, this little guy is a short read, so i'm interested to see how much we get in such a short frame.

The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter
Available in hardcover now! And in paperback this fall.
Three quirky siblings head to an aunt's mansion and discover spooky and scary things. Mystery ensues.
why i'm interested: i love books that are just a bit off the beaten path, and this certainly fits the bill.

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Available in hardcover now! And in paperback this fall.
A creepy and violent Douglas alerts Sam that he is a necromancer. He's pressured to join the dark side or face consequences.
why i'm interested: i've heard such good things from many bloggers, including Leila of Bookshelves of Doom and from April of Good Books and Good Wine. i trust their judgement for sure, and like a book with some spooky elements woven in.

from Eric at Quirk Publishing

Geek Wisdom by Stephen Segal
Available August 2011
Using quotes from Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, ThinkGeek, The Tick, and many more, this geekish goodness provides little nuggets of wisdom by musing on the nerdier elements of media and pop culture.
why i'm interested: hello? I'M A NERD.

from Jacinda of The Reading Housewives

Legend (Legend #1) 
by Marie Lu
Available Nov 2011 from Putnam Juvenile
A rich girl named June and a criminal named Day are on the run and are uncovering the nasty truths of their corrupt country.
why i'm interested: Jacinda and Yani highly recommended it to me! as if i need anything more than that. but if you need more than that, i love dystopian. i just cannot get enough!

from Yani at The Secret Life of an Avid Reader

The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa
Books 1-3 available now. Book 4, The Iron Knight, is available Oct 2011 from Harlequin Teen
An epic faerie series.
why i'm interested: this book has taken several of my book blogger friends by storm! i must know what all the buzz is about. plus, it's been awhile since i've read a faerie book. i'm due.

from Ginger of GReads!

this lovely lady sent me two separate mailings, BOTH with the ADORABLE Vera Bradley cards you see in the picture. seriously, it's an awesome week when you get new music and a new bookmark. thanks, Ginger!

from Markus Zusak (oh that's right y'all. from Markus FREAKING Zusak himself. sorry, i need to get my fangirl out.)

so i had just finished reading I Am The Messenger and could not stop thinking about it. i mentioned my adoration and fascination with the book, and then this happened.

Markus Zusak
 hi there, you can write to me about it, you made my day. I loved writing that book but inexperience got me in the end...

I KNOW. I DIE. anyway, i was put in contact with him and he was open, thoughtful, and shared with me some really cool pieces of his process and the characters and was just generally down-to-earth and as awesome as you would expect him to be.

and then, as if things couldn't possibly get any more amazing, they did. he said i could use any or all of our conversation on my blog. le sigh. so, here are some spoiler-free insights from Markus Zusak:

"To get to your questions now, it's usually the little things in characters that ring true. I will take a very small thing in real life (like a friend who is known to be very tight with money - a mate of mine called Bruce) and turn him into Marv. I'll give him a good reason to be tight with money. Then Ritchie. I knew a guy with a tattoo of Jimi Hendrix on his arm that we all said looked more like Richard Pryor...I had a German Shepherd-Rottweiler but it was a girl and she only lived to be about 11. But I had a border-collie who grew to be very old...and the characters take on new things every day. I think the point is, as soon as you make one thing up about a character, they're not really the person they're based on anymore. They are completely themselves.

As for Ed, Ed is me at that age, even if I never drove a taxi. His voice is me. If we bumped into each other today, you'd say, 'That's not Ed Kennedy!' But I think when we write, we channel memories of how we were. And the memories last longer than how we actually were. And the memory is what goes into the writing - if that all makes sense.

As for any other things I would change:
I'd probably change each and every chapter in some way - except the first one, in the bank. That was one of those chapters that wrote itself. I'm not sure I've had the experience since. It's also worth saying, too, that if I did change things in I am the Messenger now, the book wouldn't be better. At the moment I'm wrestling with a chapter in my new book (I've been fighting the same ten pages for a long, long time), and if I've learned one thing, it's that there's a big difference between writing something CORRECTLY and writing it RIGHT. And the second one is better. "

regardless of the fact that nothing, NOTHING, will top a conversation with Markus Zusak in your mailbox this week, i'd still love to check it out! link up at The Story Siren, or leave me a comment down below. 

thanks for stopping by! happy reading. 

gaming ftw

i recently changed jobs to work for a health care system that's pretty big (and still growing) in the midwest. so far, i am LOVING the job, and this little announcement in my work mailbox only made me more excited...

you guys.  my JOB is encouraging me to GAME OUT FOR A WHOLE DAY. how can i say no?

if you want to participate, be sure to sign up and get some sponsors! all the proceeds go to help kids, and who DOESN'T love the kids? 

books that stick to my ribs

image from Ginger at GReads!

you guys, this is my fave meme. and it's not just because i think Ginger is amazing or because tons of bloggers are linking up each week or because the image is so cute. it's not even because i love the word meme (which i pronounce may-may in my head). it's because some seriously rad questions are asked and everyone provides some insightful and funny responses. yeah, it's pretty cool.

this week the lovely Ginger asks:

Taking it Personal: Which books have effected you on a personal level and lingered in your mind long after you've closed the pages?

DANG GINGER. she really brought the business this week. which is one of the many reasons i adore her. the books she refers to are books i often call 'stick to my ribs' books because long after i've finished reading, pieces of them linger with me in the very core of my being. here are the top five books that stick to my ribs.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.  the whole story was different than anything i'd read up to that point. this was unabashedly science fiction and the main character, Andrew Wiggins, is a genius who is taken into a space academy to ruthlessly train. oh yeah, he's EIGHT YEARS OLD. what really stuck with me about this book was the moral and ethical questions that the author raises. starting with training CHILDREN to do the kind of things they do and finishing up with That Ending, Card gives you so much to think about while providing characters that take root in your heart.

I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak. oh this book. i listened to this book on audio, which i'm sure enhanced the experience. in it's basic form, this is a book about a 19 year old nobody completing tasks that change the lives of others. but personally, this book shook me. i cried listening to this book on more than one occasion. like, openly sobbing in my car. it was embarrassing. but it wasn't just the main character, Ed Kennedy, that i fell in love with. it wasn't just the people that he met along the way that i fell in love with. it wasn't just the journey of self discovery i fell in love with. it was the implications for MY life that the author brings to the surface. it was the challenges that the author issues in a subtle and emotional way. this is one of those books that i want to talk about the plot and THEN talk about how it applies to real life. because it most certainly does.

The Giver by Lois Lowry. awful cover aside, this book is perfect. this book calls to question moral and ethical responsibilities, fulfilling your destiny, and questioning the search for ultimate knowledge. it sticks with me because it has one of the most beautiful and inconclusive endings ever. i love the potential that Lowry leaves with me as a reader.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. seriously, you combine the unflinching emotional stories from the genius of Siobhan Dowd and the perfectly weighted storytelling of Patrick Ness and OF COURSE pure beauty is born. the emotions in this book are so raw, so vivid, and so authentic that it's almost painful to read...and that's the point. this is a book that will always stick with me because it drew out intense emotions and questions and hope from deep within me. 

Robot Dreams by Sara Varon. as my first graphic novel, this automatically scores a special place in my nerdish heart. but what really makes this a book that sticks with me are the combination of unique ideas (a dog who builds a robot) and the unspoken words and the range of emotions. 

what about you? what books stick to your ribs? tell me, and be sure to link it up over at GReads too!