Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Favorite Womances

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
No, womance isn't a Princess Bride reference. It's actually super important and something that's not as prevalent in YA as it should be. So what is it?
Everyone knows what a bromance is, and a womance is just that, but you know, with ladies.

While I love a good romance, bromance, and boy/girl friendship, I'd love to see more womances in YA. There's too much girl-on-girl hate, you know girls who purposely don't have any girl friends, or proudly proclaim that they're "not like other girls."

Tea Time with Epic Reads talked all about womances yesterday and encouraged bloggers to make posts featuring their favorite ones. (Side note: If you don't watch Tea Time, you should amend that immediately.) So here are some of the "femships" I love!

 from The Daughter of Smoke and Bone
*mild spoilers ahead* In Days of Blood and Starlight, Zuzana risks her life for Karou. And Karou sacrifices her own happiness for Zuzana's safety. They also have a deep bond that comes from their trust of each other, which is just awesome.

from the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray
They don't always like each other and they have their disagreements, but these girls have each other's backs. And the bond they have from the Realms runs deep.

from The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter
Whether it's helping their friend with boy problems or stopping crime spy-style, the Gallagher Girls are there for one another, no matter what.

Audrey and Victoria from Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
Victoria has Audrey makes lists when she goes through a breakup. She comes over ridiculously early in the morning when Audrey needs her. And they are always brutally honest with each other. Is that the mark of best friendship? I think so. 

from the Eve series by Anna Carey
Initially Eve and Arden don't get along, but they learn to love each other. The best part of their friendship is that they have such different personalities and are still close friends. Celebrating differences for the win!

from the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares
These friends grow up together and sometimes grow apart, but they always manage to find their way back. 

from Also Known As by Robin Benway
Roux, as I said in my review, is a dynamic character. She's deeply flawed, but just as she accepts Maggie's crazy spy life, Maggie accepts Roux. After all, what are friends for?

from Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
The best part about the friendship between this pretty large cast is that they learn to look beyond each other's appearances and stereotypes to really get to know each other. 

from Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Angela isn't always the easiest person to deal with and Kami seems crazy to most people (even though she isn't). Still, these two girls are best friends no matter what.

So, what are you favorite womances/femships? 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (95)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Top Ten Best Beginnings
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Because I *hate* spoilers with a hatred that burns brighter than a dragon's fire, I'm doing my favorite openings so that I can share the first lines with you. :)

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
"Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank  you very much."

2. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
"It was a dark and stormy night." (Only this book can pull this line off.)

3. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
"If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book." (I just reread this one and it's still clever eight years later.)

4. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
"My name is not Mara Dyer, but my lawyer told me I had to choose something."

5. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
"This book begins with a plane crash."

6. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
"All children, except one, grow up."

7. Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
"The day I broke up with my boyfriend Evan was the day he wrote the song. You know, the song." (I can quote the opening page or two of this book.)

8. Paper Towns by John Green
"The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle."

9. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
"In these dungeons the darkness was complete, but Katsa had a map in her mind."

10. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
"Once upon a time an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well." 

Honorary Mentions (AKA I got carried away with this list and really love these even though I already have ten):
Every Day by David Levithan
"I wake up. Immediately I have to figure out who I am."

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
"Dear friend, I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn't sleep with that person at that party even though you could have."

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
"It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful field. Except for the body."

What are you favorite opening lines? 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Book Review: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Monday, July 29, 2013
Ruby Red (Ruby Red Trilogy, #1)
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Publisher: Henry Holt
Series: Ruby Red #1
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Won from Fierce Reads (thank you!)
Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!
Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.
Ruby Red is about time travel, which can either get far too complicated with plot holes (Stephen Moffat's Doctor Who) or be beautifully intricate and awesome (Russell T. Davies' Doctor Who). So did Ruby Red fall into the Moffat or Davies camp? Well, I can't say.

I mean, there is time traveling, but it's very controlled. Most of the book is just a setup for the rest of the trilogy. That's what the whole book is; an introduction to the characters and an idea of what to expect in the next two books. It's Harry Potter getting his letter and going to Diagon Alley, before the reader gets to see the action at Hogwarts. So yeah, it's interesting, but it feels like there should be more.

Ruby Red's prologue is actually reminiscent of Harry Potter (in that two people are temporarily depositing a future hero during the hero's baby years), though it gives away the twist (that I assume will be revealed in one of the subsequent books) before the novel has even begun. Some bloggers like that they knew a bit more than the protagonist, but I like to be surprised.

On the upside, though, the main character's family is involved and actually knows more than Gwen about the time travel. And the family dynamic is complicated. The tension between Gwyneth and her cousin Charlotte is tangible and I hope Charlotte's character is explored more in upcoming books. Another fascinating character (though not a member of Gwen's family) is Count Saint-Germaine because his history has so much potential. He is creepy and manipulative, but the reader can't tell who isn't manipulative in this book. Gwyneth herself is a well-developed character; she has this great quirk where she can reference movies for nearly every situation. This trait also adds to her friendship because, yes, the best friend knows from the start about Gwyneth's magical family! Woohoo!

And one thing that's really awesome about Gwyneth? Gideon makes a comment about how he knows a lot of silly girls like Gwyneth and she tells him off for being prejudiced. It was a definite fist pump moment for me as I read it.

I'm hopeful that the second book will be a more thorough novel instead of a setup book. If it has some meat to it, Sapphire Blue could be a great read. As it were, Ruby Red is fun and light. I just wanted something more.
*3 stars*
A Quote from the Book: "If we were in a film, the villain would turn out to be the least expected person. But as we aren't in a film, I'd go with the character who tried to strangle you."
Have you ever read a first book in a series that served mainly as groundwork the following books?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

IMM (94): New York, New York!

Sunday, July 28, 2013
This week's book haul is particularly exciting because of where I got it all. If you haven't guessed from the title already, I spent a couple of days in New York City, exploring all of its best bookish places.

Day 1

Where better to start than the Strand? The Strand is basically the heaven of all bookstores. It has four stories (the top of which is rare books, including a first edition copy of The Great Gatsby), an amazing selection, and great prices. I left the Strand after many hours with about twenty pounds of books (and a much lighter wallet).

 Keep Calm and Read On Magnet; The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket; The Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson; Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce; This is NOT a Writer's Manual by Kerri Majors; A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle; A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray; Rebel Angels by Libba Bray; The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

I now own every one of Libba Bray's books which makes me unbelievably happy as she is one of my FAVORITE authors EVER.

Next stop was to Books of Wonder, an independent bookstore that specializes in children and teen books. They, too, have rare and signed books, including a signed copy of The Prisoner of Azkaban (my favorite HP book) that I ogled for about ten minutes. Even though I was broke from the Strand and shouldn't have been spending anymore money on books that day, I did buy one book. A.) It's a sequel that I've been waiting for for a year. B.) Books of Wonder is awesome and I really wanted to support it, even if it was just one purchase. So what book did I buy?

A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard (rereading Something Strange and Lovely before I dive in and it's just as good the second time around!)

But that wasn't the end of my bookish adventures. After dinner with my brother, we went to see Potted Potter, an Off-Broadway show where two actors (Dan and Jeff) tell all 7 Harry Potter books in 70 minutes. It is *brilliant* and utterly hysterical. Seriously, if you get the chance you should go see it. 

Day 2

I've been to the city many times and I've walked past the NY Public Library countless times before. Somehow, though, I'd never been inside. First of all, it's gorgeous. Second of all, there was an awesome exhibit going on about Children's Literature, which included an ARC copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the author of Mary Poppin's umbrella, and the books Nathaniel Hawthorne (yes, that Nathaniel Hawthorne) wrote for his kids, among other books. 

After the library and lunch at the Mac Bar in Soho, we went to the bookstore next door called McNally Jackson Books. This was cool because it has a printing press and also because I spotted a Fierce Reads bag there. :) 

Next stop was the Scholastic Store which has a great selection of teen books as well as a Harry Potter section. (Unfortunately they were all out of Ravenclaw skip caps.) 

After all of this, it was time to gather all of my books (which my arms were aching from carrying all over the city as this point, but it was totally worth it) and head home. It's okay, though, because I have a lot of reading to do. 

What did you get in your mailboxes this week? 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bookish Buys: The Strand

Thursday, July 25, 2013
Each Friday I'll post a different collection of book nerd swag, from jewelry to action figures, that I find on the Internets. Please know that I am not getting reimbursed in any way, shape, or form if you choose to buy these items.

So on Tuesday I got to go to The Strand, an AMAZING bookstore in New York. (Amazing doesn't even begin to cover it, but I'm going to talk about it more this Sunday.) Thus, the theme of this week's Bookish Buys is The Strand!
Onto the Buys...
Tote Bag: Keep Calm Red
Keep Calm and Read On
I may have gotten this in magnet form... 

Tote Bag: Banned Books
Banned Books Tote
Say it loud, say it proud.

Typewriter Eco-Journal
Typewriter Journal
I love this journal's vintage feel. (Oh, and it's eco-friendly.)

T-Shirt: Women's Little Women Long Sleeve
Little Women Shirt
Stylish and bookish.

What's your favorite bookstore?

An Announcement!

Reader's Report

What is Reader's Report? It's a newsletter about what's going on in the YA book blogging community. It was started a few months ago by Nicole from WORD for Teens (one of my favorite blogs!). However, since she's started a new endeavor, she's had to give up Reader's Report. 

But this isn't the end!

So this is the announcement: I'm taking over Reader's Report for Nicole! Luckily, I also have Rachel from Rachel Reads to lend a hand in getting you the best newsletter we can!

If you want to be involved...

Well, first, you can sign up to receive Reader's Report and get updates on awesome blog posts, giveaways, and updates. 

Second, if you have a blog post or giveaway you want to promote, or are looking for a new co-blogger/help with a feature/etc., send an email with your links to

Will you be subscribing to Reader's Report? What do you hope to see in it?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (94)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Top Ten Words/Phrases That Discourage Me from Reading a Book
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Vampires


2. Werewolves
I've had bad experiences with these two. After Twilight, the YA market was way over saturated with these books, and the focus wasn't even on the cool paranormal aspect. No, it was on romance, and romance that tended to be unhealthy. Pass.

3. Dystopia

and similarly

4. For Fans of The Hunger Games
I know, I know. I always say that I'm done with dystopians, but then I'll pick up a great one and fall in love with the genre all over again. It's a complicated relationship. As for the second one, I've read The Hunger Games. I've read 15 other books that are supposedly like The Hunger Games. How many THG doppelgangers can there be?

5. Pride and Prejudice Retelling
This may sound weird because I talk about my love of Austen (and especially Pride and Prejudice) all the time. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is my jam. But when it comes to books, I don't want to read a story where I know exactly what is going to happen, you know? 

6. Angels
They just aren't my interest. This is actually a bit similar to vampires and werewolves because it's the romance that turns me off. If they were more like the angels in Supernatural, I'd be game.

7. Issue Books (Drug/drinking problem)
I love realistic fiction. I love light and dark realistic fiction. But Ellen Hopkin's books have never appealed to me, despite their acclaim, nor have any other books that are pitched as books about dealing with an addiction. This doesn't mean I won't ever read one, but they're not first on my TBR list.

8. World War II/Holocaust
I can't tell you how many novels set during the Holocaust that I've read. I've lost count, that's how many. (A lot of this is because the majority of the teen books in my temple's library are set during World War II and I read a lot of those books in middle school.) After a while, I think I'll read books on this topic again, but I need a break. (I am still reading nonfiction stuff on it, though. In fact, I'm signed up to take a Holocaust and Genocide course next year.)

9. For Fans of Twilight
No. Just no. 

10. The Next Harry Potter
If it's pitched as the next Harry Potter, odds are it isn't the next Harry Potter.

What words discourage you from reading a book? 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Review: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Monday, July 22, 2013
Of Beast and Beauty
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Series: Standalone
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Won from Random Buzzers (thanks!)
In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...
In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.
Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.
As secrets are revealed, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.
This is one of my favorite fairy tale retellings ever. Of Beast and Beauty just completely blew me away with its gorgeous prose, intricate setting, and complex characters. As its own story, not even as a retelling, it is a beautiful book.

And even though it's a retelling, the characters are so unique. Isra, especially, doesn't fall into the usual fantasy heroine trope (of an emotionally disconnected badass- which, while I love characters like that gets tiresome when all characters are like that). She's sensitive and doubtful of herself, desperate for freedom, but terrified to fight for it. Isra is far from perfect, but her journey to bravery is that much more poignant for it. Gem, meanwhile, is full of anger and grief, but as he learns from Isra, the reader gets to see how much he cares for his people. Even Bo, the Gaston to Isra's Belle, isn't drawn in black and white- he's infinitely more interesting than that.

The story is told from all of their perspectives and when it came to Gem and Isra (they tell the majority of the book), I could not stop reading. I would set out to read one more chapter, but would end up reading another fifty pages instead. Bo's perspective is rarer, which was fine by me. While his first few chapters are interesting, they drag towards the end.

One incredible aspect of this book is its setting. Isra lives in a domed city called Yuan, which is surrounded by a barren and dying desert (Gem's home). There's class conflict, as well as conflict between the Smooth Skins and the Monstrous. And all of it is born of the mysterious, magical roses that grow inside the dome. Needless to say, this setting has all the dark enchantment of an original fairy tale (before they were Disney-fied) and it emphasizes how high the stakes are for Isra and Gem. The only thing that confused me was the sci-fi angle. I know that Of Beast and Beauty has been advertised as a science fiction retelling, but there's no mention of anything sci-fi-ish until about page 250. If the (relatively small) sci-fi angle had been left out, the book could stand as a high fantasy, easily.

As I mentioned above, though, this is one of my all time favorite retellings. Why? Well, it includes all the best aspects of the original Beauty and the Beast (an outcast heroine, a Pride and Prejudice romance, magic, etc.), while including some awesome twists. For one, Isra (Beauty) is holding Gem (Beast) captive, instead of the other way around. There's also the inclusion of legends and rituals, conspiracies and sabotage. And unlike the Disney movie we all know and love, there's no guarantee of a Happily Ever After which means a lot of suspense.

Of Beast and Beauty releases this week, so go pick up a copy! But just warning you, once you do, you won't be able to put it down.
*4.5 stars*
For Fans Of: Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
What is your favorite retelling?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

An Intro to Inside the Industry

Saturday, July 20, 2013
a look at the book business by the people who know it best.
You love books. You love bookstores and libraries and gorgeous covers. But who’s responsible for getting those books on the shelves? What does it take to run a library? Who designs all of those covers? INSIDE THE INDUSTRY is a feature which will explore all these questions and more, by going right to the source. Through interviews with editors, publicists, librarians, booksellers, etcetera, we’ll get to discover what it’s like to work in the book business!

I already have a number of lovely professionals who you’ll get to meet in the upcoming weeks, including...

  • Dahlia Adler- Assistant Editor of Mathematics, freelance copy editor, and author of Behind the Scenes
  • Kelly Jensen- Librarian and Blogger at Stacked
  • Emily Keyes- Literary Agent at L. Perkins Agency
  • Meredith Rich- Digital Editor at Bloomsbury Spark
  • Jeremy West- Book Cover Designer and Blogger at Novel Thoughts
  • Margot Wood- Epic Reads Community Manager at HarperTeen
This is a feature I’ve wanted to do for a very long time, and I am thrilled that it’s now a reality! Hopefully you’re all excited, too.

So tell me: What questions do you have about the book industry?
If you work in the book business and would like to be featured, send an email to with the subject line “Inside the Industry.” I would love to hear from you!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Bookish Buys: Knee-Highs and Necklaces

Friday, July 19, 2013
Each Friday I'll post a different collection of book nerd swag, from jewelry to action figures, that I find on the Internets. Please know that I am not getting reimbursed in any way, shape, or form if you choose to buy these items.
Muggle Born Baby Clothes
This is super cute, unless, you know, you're not a Muggle. Or don't have a kid. But mostly the first one.

Superfudge Shirt
For all of you Judy Blume fans out there. 

Ravenclaw Knee Socks
Show your house pride... but maybe wait until it isn't so hot.

SALE Book Lovers, Book Necklace, Book Pendant, Bookish Jewelry So many books, so little time
Bookish Necklace
Story of my life.

Which House would you get socks for?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Author Interview: Francesca Zappia

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Debut Author Francesca Zappia's book, Ask Again Later, doesn't come out until 2014, but I'm already dying to read it. Why? Well just check out this summary:
Francesca Zappia's debut ASK AGAIN LATER, about the ultimate unreliable narrator, a schizophrenic teenage girl unable to tell the difference between reality and delusion who discovers -- thanks to her Magic 8-Ball, her little sister, and a boy she thought was imaginary -- that sometimes there really is someone out to get you.
I mean, how awesome does that sound? Francesca was nice enough to stop by to tell us a bit more about Ask Again Later, as well as to talk about writing, authors, and art!

About Ask Again Later 
One of the reasons Ask Again Later sounds amazing is that it has an unreliable narrator. How challenging was it to write a character like that, or was it easier in some aspects?
In some ways, it was difficult to write an unreliable narrator, but in others it was easier (and a lot of fun!). It's difficult if you think about it too much. Trying to think of ways to mislead an audience with a character's narration is like staring at a blank word document and trying to come up with a whole story idea. The secret is having a good grasp on what your narrator knows and what they don't before you ever start writing the story. As the writer, I knew all the details of the plot and how it would play out, but while I was actually writing, I had to stop being a writer and start being Alex, the main character. All first-person narrators are unreliable to some degree, but Alex's illness kind of bumps her up to the next level, and that put the pressure on to immerse the reader in her world, where you can never be sure what's real.

In Ask Again Later, the main character suffers from schizophrenia. How did you go about doing the research on this mental illness?
Artwork by Francesca Zappia
I wish I could say I got the chance to visit actual paranoid schizophrenics--or even talk to a psychiatrist or psychologist who had treated one--but unfortunately I didn't. All the information I used came from libraries and the Internet. I knew that if I wrote a book about something as misunderstood as schizophrenia, I couldn't shirk the research, so I made sure I learned everything from the symptoms to the (supposed) causes to effects on the family to types of treatment and therapy. In a lot of mainstream media, schizophrenia is a trait given to criminals or villains to explain why they're so messed up and dangerous. (Or, in some other books I've read, a way for a teenage character to be extra rebellious/quirky). I wanted to steer far away from using mental illness as a plot device, which meant even more research.

Ask Again Later is your debut novel. (Congratulations, by the way!) How did you celebrate your first book deal?
Thank you! To be totally honest, I think I sat at home and played World of Warcraft. (I was too much in shock to go out and do anything.) This was after I screamed a lot and jumped up and down on my couch. I imagine there will be a lot more "normal" celebrating when the book actually comes out.

According to this interview, Ask Again Later used to be called Alexithymia. What other titles were considered?
Oh, Alexithymia. We actually went through a few different ideas for titles before we went on submission to editors with "Ask Again Later", and all those other titles got shot down. (I'm not so great at titles, haha.) Examples of some of my really bad pseudo-titles: Lobsters, Germans, and Other Things I Made Up; The Exquisite Horror of Reality; From Inside the Lobster Tank. All sorts of fun stuff. But now it's with my editor, and who knows--Ask Again Later may not even be the final title!

About writing
You’re an artist (and a really good one, too) as well as a writer. If you had to decide between your writing and your art, which would you choose?
Thank you, again! I do love art and drawing--it's so close to my writing, and yet it's a completely different way of getting an idea on paper--but I would definitely choose my writing, every time. Writing is everything to me: it's how I function throughout the day, it's what I'm thinking about when I stare into space, it's influenced by everything I see and hear. My art is just an addition to that, an extra way to get my writing-related ideas out. I can go months without drawing anything, but I can only go a few days without writing. And I can't last any length of time without thinking about one of my stories.

Artwork by Francesca Zappia
What is your writing process like? (For example, do you need a playlist and a certain snack before you get started?)
Good question! I guess I've never really thought about it. I do, usually, have music playing. Every story gets its own playlist, since each one has a different feel. Sometimes I'll get lucky and find one song driving a scene, so I just play that song over and over again until I can't wring any more words from it. (Although sometimes the music sidetracks me into brainstorming rather than writing, and I have to turn it off.) I have noticed that I tend to write more (and better) late at night before I go to sleep. 

Will you continue to write YA in the future?
Most likely. All the ideas I have right now are YA. Maybe someday I'll try my hand at adult, but MG's probably forever out of the question--I like the option to curse WAY too much.

Random Question Time! 
You get to meet any author, living or dead, for lunch. Who do you choose and why?
OH. Okay, well, my top two are a living and a dead author, and they're so tied I don't know how I'd ever pick between them. The living author is J. K. Rowling, because she's an amazing human being and the Harry Potter series was what made me want to start writing in the first place. The dead author is Oscar Wilde, because he has the best ways of describing things that have been described a million ways, and any possible conversation you could have with Oscar Wilde would be an amazing one. 
Want to find out more about Francesca Zappia? Check out her blog, Twitter, and Tumblr. And don't forget to add Ask Again Later on Goodreads

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (93)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Top Ten Authors who deserve 

more Recognition
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Robin Benway
Books I've Read: Audrey, Wait!The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June; Also Known As
Reason: Audrey, Wait! is loved a lot by the bloggers who have read it, but it's not a big enough group for such an amazing book!
2. Kristin Cashore
Books I've Read: Graceling; Fire, Bitterblue
Reason:Yes, these books have a fairly large fan base, but enough people cannot read these books.
3. Elizabeth Laban
Books I've Read: The Tragedy Paper
This is a 2013 debut and it is stunning. It's described as being perfect for fans of Looking for Alaska and 13 Reasons Why, but doesn't have as many followers (although Looking for Alaska wasn't a best seller till 9 years or so after its release).
4. Gabrielle Zevin
Books I've Read: Elsewhere, Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, All These Things I've Done
Reason: While ATTIVD is a great read, but it's her former two books that I love. I reread Memoirs so many times throughout middle school and finished Elsewhere in one day. I probably didn't even fully appreciate them then, but I loved reading them.
5. Neal Shusterman
Books I've Read: Everlost, Full Tilt, Unwind
Reason: Unwind has gotten a lot of attention, but his other books are just as full of suspense.
6. Tanith Lee
Books I've Read: Piratica, Piratica II, Piratica III
Reason: Piratica I and II  are the best pirate books I've ever read. It breaks my heart that they're not well known. (But you should just skip Piratica III. Piratica II has a fine ending for the series.)
7. Laura Ruby
Books I've Read: Good Girls
Reason: This is an honest, feminist-without-being-preachy book that explores growing up and sexuality. Brilliant!
8. Sarah Rees Brennan
Books I've Read: Unspoken
Reason: Unspoken is beautiful and funny and magical and has this awesome Gothic atmosphere. For some inane reason, Barnes and Noble initially chose not to stock it nationwide, although its readers changed that (at least partially)! Still, this series should have even more readers!
9. Esther Friesner
Books I've Read: Nobody's Princess, Nobody's Prize
Reason: History, awesome women, great writing. Go read it!
10. Susan Dennard
Books I've Read: Something Strange and Deadly (the sequel is out on the 23rd!!)
Reason: This is one of my FAVORITE books from 2012. I want everybody to read it and love it as much as I do!

What authors do you feel deserve more recognition?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Book Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Monday, July 15, 2013
Eleanor & Park
Genre: Romance
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Series: Standalone
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Library
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.
Summary from Goodreads
There's a line in Eleanor and Park where, when Eleanor is describing her feelings for Park, she says, "I want to eat his face." Well, I want to eat this book.

From the moment I read the first page, I could not put it down. The chapters are short and the writing style is amazing, which basically meant that I was reading while walking and eating, and giving up sleep in order to read some more. I was so invested in the characters within the first few chapters that I just had to know what they were going to do next.

So yes, the characters really are the best part of the book (which is good because, you know, they're the focus). What makes them so interesting- them being the title characters, but also the supporting cast- is that they are all flawed, but nearly all of them are redeemable. Eleanor and Park help each other to overcome many of their insecurities, which is just one aspect of their relationship that is so touching. Meanwhile, you have their relationship with their parents (I love Park's parents), their classmates, and themselves, as they try to figure out their lives. So yes, there's a lot packed into this book. But with how seamlessly Rowell incorporates everything, it doesn't feel that way at all.

Another aspect of Eleanor and Park that is executed so extremely well is the pacing. Their relationship feels so natural even though- or perhaps, especially because- they're such an unlikely pairing. The pacing is  just another factor that made me want to keep reading because it just kept pulling me along, deeper into the story.

There's so much more I could say about this book, such as how much I loved that it's set in the 80s (mix tapes! phone calls instead of texting!). But one thing I really want to mention is that this book proves that not all romances are fluff, because this is anything but. There is a lot of serious content in here, which just adds to how poignant and realistic this book is. I laughed and gasped and cried while reading E&P; when I finished, I just sat there, trying to wrap my head around this story. That's how good Eleanor and Park is.

As for the ending, it's perfect. I won't say whether it ends happily or tragically- no spoilers policy and all that- but it fits the book. While it's clearly understandable, there's just the right amount of ambiguity, and it's really just perfect.
*5 stars*
A Quote from the Book: "I just want to break that song into pieces and love them all to death."
What makes a book un-put-downable for you?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

In My Mailbox (93)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

In My Mailbox

Won from Reading Teen (thanks!):
The Dust of 100 Dogs by AS King

Gideon's Trumpet by Anthony Lewis

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

weekly recap

Book Review: The Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Robin Palmer

Top Ten Book-to-Movie Adaptations

Blogging Game Plan
(Thank you to everyone who has filled out the survey so far. I greatly appreciate it- you're all lovely! <3)

Bookish Buys: Literary Prints

What's your favorite book you've read this week?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Bookish Buys: Literary Prints

Friday, July 12, 2013
Each Friday I'll post a different collection of book nerd swag, from jewelry to action figures, that I find on the Internets. Please know that I am not getting reimbursed in any way, shape, or form if you choose to buy these items.
PRINT - Literary, Quotes, Perks of Being a Wallflower -- We Were Infinite (Silver Grey) Linocut Art 8x10
Perks of Being a Wallflower
I would love to have this hanging up by my bookshelf.

Illustration, Jane Austen Quote Drawing, Fine Art Prints and Art Posters, Black and White Wall Art, Letter Giclee Print
Jane Austen Seal
The wax seal in the picture is the actual Austen family seal! 

Illustration, J.D. Salinger Quote, Fine Art Print and Art Posters, Umbrella Art, Umbrella Drawing, Poet Art, Spring Decor, Weather Art
JD Salinger Print
"Poets are always taking the weather so personally."

LINOCUT PRINT - Books, Reading, Library - A Good Book Is The Best of Friends (Violet) Linocut Art 8x10
A Good Book
True words.
Buy it here.

Would you hang any of these up by your books?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Blogging Game Plan

Thursday, July 11, 2013
I've been thinking a lot about The Page Sage lately- what I can do to improve it, what I can do to get more involved in the blogging community, and other things along those lines. Throughout all of this thinking, I remembered that Jamie of The Perpetual Page-Turner had done Blogging Manifesto. While I'm not going through a blogging slump, I thought doing a similar post- a Blogging Game Plan- would help me focus and reach my goals.

Bloggy Goals
1. Get over my self-consciousness
I have this issue where I'll write something and then stress about it. What if my blog readers don't interpret it the same way it sounds in my head? I'll think. What if it just sounds stupid or falls flat? So instead of thinking like that, I want to think, Well, what if, it just sounds stupid or falls flat? Would that really be the worst thing in the world? The answer is, of course not. This is also going to apply to Twitter.
 1a.. Don't be afraid to reach out to other book bloggers.
          While I'm usually pretty good at hiding it, I have a bit of a shy streak. Hopefully this game plan will            
          help me overcome it!

2. Comment on 1 new blog a day.
The blogging community is awesome! If I had the time, I would comment on All the Blogs! Unfortunately, there are some weeks where I barely have the time to write posts, reply to the comments on my blog, and comment on blogs I follow. So instead of stressing about how I don't comment enough, I'm just going to set a 1-new-blog-a-day policy, which I can definitely handle. (While still returning comments and commenting on blogs I follow, of course.)

3.. No more blog awards.
The fact that I've gotten blog awards from readers is beyond touching. I really, really appreciate it. But the last time I got a blog award, it took me three months to do the post. And then I never contacted the bloggers I nominated for it. It's not that I didn't care, but it was during the school year and things like exams, reports, and other homework had to come first. This was a tough decision, but I think it's one that will ultimately make me a happier blogger.

As the Beatles said, "I get by with a little 

help from my friends"

So now I want to hear *your* thoughts. What do you think I could do to improve The Page Sage? If you'd like, you can fill out the survey below, but you can just leave a comment. If you do either of those things, I'll A.) Really, really appreciate it and B.) Send you virtual hugs and cookies. But if you don't, I'll still send you virtual hugs and cookies, because I roll like that. (That last sentence is a prime example of stuff I would have deleted if I wasn't trying to get over my self-consciousness because I'd be afraid it would come across as weird.)

Bloggers: Do you have a Blogging Game Plan? 
Readers: Do you list your goals in order to help you achieve them?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (92)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Top Ten Book-to-Movie Adaptations
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

The Best
1. Perks of Being a Wallflower
Maybe it's because it was written, produced, and directed by the author, but this is a flawless adaptation.

2. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
So this isn't a movie, but it's still a video adaptation. And it is the best Pride and Prejudice adaptation out there.

4. The Hunger Games
Except for the fact that they left out Peeta's leg, this is solid.

4. The Help
There was one scene they changed that bugged me, but it is a great movie. Gets me crying every time by the end.

5. The Great Gatsby (the new version)
Yeah, some of the camerawork is just plain cheesy. Overall, though, this is awesome!

The Worst
1. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
This is bad enough that it could have all five of these spots. Seriously, not only did it reinvent the plot, but the new plot didn't even make sense. There was this meaningless time limit and- Spoiler Alert- they made Hades the bad guy. Like that's never been done in a story about Greek mythology. (Boring!)

2. Harry Potter and...(well, except for the 6th)
Mainly I don't like them because they left stuff out. I have a love-hate relationship with the movies.

3. Water for Elephants
The actual book is a perfect mixture of light and dark. The movie was just dreary and dark.

4. Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian 
There is no romance between Caspian and Susan. Come on.

5. Sherlock Holmes (the ones with Robert Downey, Jr.)
My friend really wanted to see one of these movies (I don't know which) and I have no words for how bad this is. This is not, in any way, shape, or form, Sherlock Holmes. You want to see a good- nay, great- adaptation of this detective? Go watch the BBC's Sherlock.

What book-to-movie adaptations do you love... or love to hate?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Review: The Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Robin Palmer

Monday, July 8, 2013
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Speak
Series: Standalone
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Bought
Sixteen-year-old Annabelle Jacobs never asked to be famous, but as the daughter of Janie Jacobs, one of the biggest TV stars in the world, she is. Growing up is hard enough. Having to do it in public because your mother is a famous actress? Even harder. When your mom crashes and burns after her DUI mug shot is splashed across the internet? Definitely not fun. Then your mom falls for a guy so much younger than she that it would be more appropriate for you to be dating him? That’s just a train wreck waiting to happen.
This is Robin Palmer's first YA book that isn't a fairy tale retelling, but her fans have no reason to worry. Everything that makes her books so great is still here, including her addictive writing style, quirky sense of humor, and the story's strong sense of heart. What is different about The Corner of Bitter and Sweet is that the subject material is heavier, though it doesn't always feel that way. Some books that deal with Tough Subjects tend to border on melodramatic, but TCoBaS manages to be realistic, without being depressing (which is why the title is so perfect).

The book's protagonist, Annabelle, makes a ton of mistakes, and understandably so. One of my favorite things about her is that she's real. This is shown in the details, too, from her Play Dough sniffing to her lists. A lot of book characters don't have idiosyncrasies like that, but seeing Annabelle's gives more insight into who she is and into her situation. We also get to see her interests, especially photography, which really contributes to the plot (unlike some books that throw in a MC's hobbies and it just feels like, "Look! Random characterization!") That to me is an honest character.

The mother-daughter relationship is so tangled and messy, but then there's a side of it that's touching and sweet, too. Even though Annabelle's mother is coping with mental illness and is also largely self-absorbed, she does really love her daughter. Their relationship is the crux of the book, of course, and it's just shown perfectly, in all of its good and bad.

There's romance in this novel, too, though it's not the focus. In fact, there's no chance of romance until about 200 pages in, which is actually a really, really good thing. Annabelle needs to work out her own issues before she gets into a relationship, which would make any earlier love arc an unnecessary distraction. Waiting until later in the plot ensured that it is not only meaningful, but also super sweet and fun, too.

Ultimately, The Corner of Bitter and Sweet is everything that I hoped it would be. Definitely giving this one...
*5 stars*
Other Books by Robin Palmer: Cindy Ella, Geek Charming, Little Miss Red, Wicked Jealous
What do you feel makes a realistic character?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

In My Mailbox (92)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

In My Mailbox
From Random Buzzers:
Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
The Necromancer by Michael Scott 

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay (you know how I love my serial killer books)

weekly recap

This week was busy! Noah won his second round of the YA Crush Tournament, and then lost his third. It was awesome to be an advocate, though. Thanks to everyone who voted! xoxo





What new read are you excited about this week?