Friday, November 29, 2013

Bookish Buys: Penguin, Prehistoric, Potter

Friday, November 29, 2013
Each Friday/Saturday I 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.

Penguin bookmark, black and white polymer clay animal, bird,
Penguin Bookmark
This cuteness will make you smile each time you reach for your book.

Dinosaur bookmark, orange jurassic polymer clay animal, fun gift,
Dinosaur Bookmark
Or maybe you're more into prehistoric adorable bookmarks.

TFIOS Poster
Since it's from the DFTBA store, there should be some Black Friday bargains!

AlĂ­vio Imediato ,cheap fashion necklace
Snitch Charm
To wear while you watch the HP marathon on ABC Family this weekend, of course.

Do you have a favorite bookmark?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Bookish Thankfulness

Thursday, November 28, 2013
First things first...

Happy Thanksgiving!

food,holidays,special occasions,Thanksgiving,turkeys

Hope you're all gearing up for pounds of turkey and pumpkin pie (especially the pie). Maybe you have a few books tucked in your bag in case you need a break from boisterous family arguments discussions. Or maybe you're (gasp) putting aside the books today and donning a football jersey, or watching the Macy's Day Parade, or [insert something Thanksgiving-y here].

Anyway, I passed on this week's Top Ten Tuesday because the topic was too similar to the post I wanted to do today. Since it's the annual day of Thanks, here are a few (bookish) things for which I'm thankful:

1. Book Bloggers

To those of you who have been so welcoming and supportive, who run phenomenal blogs, and who have created an amazing community: thank you. You are wonderful and I'm so grateful for all the book bloggers I can call my friends!

2. Authors and Agents and Publishers

This is a very large category, but to everyone who spends hours writing, editing, and publicizing books, THANK YOU for all of the hard work you do!! 

3. Independent Bookstores, Better World Books, and Barnes & Noble

Indie Bookstores (especially Clinton Bookshop), you are the coolest. No one has charm or that personal touch like you do. Better World Books is awesome for a.) affordable books b.) providing books to people in need and c.) having environmentally friendly shipping. And BN because of your huge selection, coffee, and close proximity. 

4. Libraries and Librarians

Thank you for book recommendations that made me LOVE books and writing (ahem, Boxcar Children), for hosting author events and book clubs, for being a place to meet some of my closest friends... I could go on and on but just thank you.

5. You. 

Yes, you. The people who take the time to read and/or comment and/or tweet about this blog. I find it delightful and incredible that you take the time to read my posts and reviews, but I don't tell you enough how absolutely grateful I am for it. 

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Monday, November 25, 2013
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Series: Standalone
Age Group: YA
Source: Bought
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .
But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
Summary from Goodreads.

I can't say I've read much fan fiction, though I am a fangirl. Harry Potter defined my childhood (and I have the posters, Time Turners, Snitches, Hedwigs, and multiple copies of the books to prove it) so I could really relate to Cath in that aspect. And Fangirl has definitely piqued my interest in fanfic as I loved reading Cath's Simon/Baz chapters. Even though it's technically Simon Snow fanfic, it made me want to read Harry Potter fanfic ASAP. The best part about the inclusion of the actual fan fiction in the story, though, is how it parallels Cath's journey. It's not just the fanfic either, but the excerpts from the "actual" Simon Snow books, all of which combines to create a medley of awesome.

But that's enough about the fan fiction, I think. Let's talk about my favorite part, instead: The Characters.

First, of course, is Cath. I don't know that I've ever read a book with a character like her- she doesn't really fit into any of the YA protagonist stereotypes. She is so scared of change and new people (though her reasons are understandable and sympathetic) that with a less skilled writer, Cath could have been passive, but Rowell makes her jump off the page.

One character that really surprised me (in the best possible way) is Reagan, Cath's roommate. She's brutally blunt and the polar opposite of Cath, and yet their friendship just clicks. The relationships throughout Fangirl are all so complex and complicated and, well, lifelike.

What's really special about Fangirl is the family dynamic. Not only is Cath's dad a single parent, but they are coping with the backlash of a mom who abandoned them. Rowell fully explores Cath's relationship with her dad and with her twin sister, Wren. Wren's development revealed so many sides to her, some of which I didn't necessarily expect.

And then (and then, yes, we can talk about something other than characters, but they're all so good that I can't help it!!!) there's Levi. Reagan's best friend who is bouncy and ultra-personable and charming and super smiley. Levi who may just be one of my biggest book crushes ever. I really don't want to talk about his friendship with Cath too much because it's so special and I don't want to ruin your reading experience (!), but I will say that there should be more people like Levi in the world.

But with all of these relationships and subplots, the most important part is always Cath's personal journey. Fangirl is, at heart, a coming-of-age story, one made all the better with its setting: college. I think this is the first YA book I've read since the 4th Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books that takes place after high school and I LOVED it.

Since this is rapidly turning into a fairly long review, I'm going to start wrapping things up, but please, GO GET A COPY OF FANGIRL. You won't be able to put it down, you'll fall in love with the characters, and you'll fall in love with the book!
*5 stars*
A Quote from the Book: "Sometimes writing is running downhill, your fingers jerking behind you on the keyboard the way your legs do when they can’t quite keep up with gravity."

What settings would you like to see in YA books more?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

In My Mailbox (102) + Weekly Recap

Sunday, November 24, 2013
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Untold by Sarah Beth Durst (Thanks, Random Buzzers!)

Monday: Actually... no review this week because I wasn't feeling that well this past weekend (when I would have written it). But tomorrow I'll have a review of Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl!

Tuesday: Maybe you've been wishing on a star for these Top Ten YA Books for Disney fans.

Friday: Everyone (including me) seems to love this bookish watercolor.

Around the BlogosphereI loved this guest post on Stacked about feminism in YA books. Book Revels misses hearing about those special gem books.

What did you get in your mailboxes this week?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Doctor Who...and YA Books?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Today is the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who!!!!! 

Okay, I'll give you a moment to jump and down, maybe scream a little. Happy dancing is also acceptable.

Doctor Who is my favorite TV show, as in I can quote it, I have a TARDIS mug, my friend made me a River Song journal, and Sonic Screwdriver is an app on my iPod. Seriously, I love it and it is celebrating 50 years today! I mean, that's pretty fantastic.

So what on earth (or on Gallifrey) does this have to do with YA books? Well (yes, that was said in Ten's voice), the awesome PenguinTeen Tumblr encouraged bloggers to write their favorite book quotes in Gallifreyan, the language of the time lords. 

And guys, it's really cool.

Here are the ones I made using a handy online translator:
YA Book Quotes in Gallifreyan
"Books are the Ultimate Dumpees; put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they’ll always love you back." -John Green, An Abundance of Katherines
The Quote: "Books are the Ultimate Dumpees; put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they’ll always love you back." -John Green, An Abundance of Katherines

YA Book Quotes in Gallifreyan
"I know because I read… Your mind is not a cage. It’s a garden. And it requires cultivating."- Libba Bray, Gemma Doyle trilogy
The Quote: "I know because I read… Your mind is not a cage. It’s a garden. And it requires cultivating."- Libba Bray, Gemma Doyle trilogy

There are a lot of cooler ones (some handdrawn, one tattooed), some of which you can find on my Tumblr. A lot are in the Penguin Teen tag as well, so get looking and happy 50th!! 

Are you a Doctor Who fan?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Bookish Buys: Wonderland + Watercolors

Friday, November 22, 2013
Each Friday/Saturday I 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.

Down the Rabbit Hole Necklace
For all you Wonderland fans.

Holden Caulfield Necklace
This necklace isn't for phonies, of course.
Buy it here.

Harry Potter Inspired "Boastful" Ceramic Mug
Harry Potter Couples Mugs
For your Quidditch-loving beau.
Buy them here.

The Reader Watercolor - Bookstore - Fall Colors - Original Art - Painting 8x10
Reader Watercolor
This is just GORGEOUS.
Buy it here.

So, any of these Bookish Buys catch your fancy?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (110)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

TOP TEN Books for Disney Fans

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

1. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
For Fans Of: Aladdin
Royalty sneaks out to meet with an attractive thief? Check. (Admittedly, there's a LOT more to the book that just that, but it's still reminiscent in this aspect.)
Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)
2. Piratica by Tanith Lee
For Fans Of: Pirates of the Caribbean
Pretty self-explanatory.
Piratica: Being a Daring Tale of a Singular Girl's Adventure Upon the High Seas (Piratica, #1)
3. Splintered by A.G. Howard
For Fans Of: Alice in Wonderland
It's the darker sequel.
Splintered (Splintered, #1)
4. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
For Fans Of: Hercules
Finding out at least one of your parent is a Greek god, general mayhem, and a healthy does of humor.
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)
5. Poison by Bridget Zinn
For Fans Of: Mulan
Girl who doesn't necessarily fit society's norms sets off on a quest that her friends and family don't understand.
6. I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You by Ally Carter
For Fans Of: Sky High
Both set in schools for extraordinary kids destined to save the day.
I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls, #1)
7. The Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Robin Palmer
For Fans Of: Finding Nemo
Kids who have to come to terms with their single parents while also finding themselves.
The Corner of Bitter and Sweet
8. Also Known As by Robin Benway
For Fans Of: The Incredibles
A family who saves the day together, stays together.
Also Known As (Also Known As, #1)
9. Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
For Fans Of: Tangled 
Wait, what?! Not Beauty and the Beast, you ask? No that would be way too obvious.
So, why Tangled? Well, manipulative parental figures keep a girl locked away in a tower until a ruffian enters the scene and changes everything.
Of Beast and Beauty
10. Wicked Jealous by Robin Palmer
For Fans Of: Snow White
Snow White in the modern day with zumba. 'nuff said.
Wicked Jealous

What is your favorite Disney movie?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Weekly Recap: Nov 10-16th

Sunday, November 17, 2013
Did you miss something this week? Don't worry- everything that's been happening on the blog is down below! 


This past week's IMM- Gotta love Barnes and Noble trips.


The Infinite Moment of Us
Lauren Myracle is an amazing author and I loved The Infinite Moment of Us. Well, mostly.


Gorgeous blue book covers.


A new feature! This first instillation is all about Rainbow Rowell.



Rather Be Reading has a *beautiful* post about Katie Cotugno's How to Love and being a foster parent.

The newest Reader's Report (the newsletter for bloggers by bloggers) is out today!
Also, I'm all caught up with comment replies!!! Woohoo!

What's been happening on your blogs recently?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Inside the Industry: Editorial Assistant

Saturday, November 16, 2013
A look at the book business by the people who know it best.

Inside the Industry is back this week with Blair Thornburgh, Editorial Assistant at Quirk Books and author of the upcoming book, Stuff Every College Student Should Know. If Quirk Books sounds familiar, it might be because they published the incredibly popular YA novel, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. She gives us insight into what it's like to work for one of the most coolest independent publishers (in my unbiased opinion) and talks writing tips!

Describe a typical day as Editorial Assistant at Quirk Books. What does your job entail?
I do a lot of different things, so the only typical day for me involves a lot of typing! A lot of editorial-assistanting is writing copy: for the backs of books, for the catalog, for the website, and for the Quirk blog (which I love, because where else can you bang out a thousand ridiculous words about Pumpkin Spice Lattes as part of your job? This is a special place, people). I also review manuscripts along with the senior editors to help work on edit letters for authors, and I review new submissions from agents and authors as well—Quirk accepts unsolicited, unagented manuscripts, which is both exciting and a lot of work. I also attend to various sundry office tasks like shipping books, keeping track of contracts and payment requests, and preparing tip sheets for potential acquisitions.

What requirements does one need to meet in order to be an editorial assistant?
Working in editorial draws on a combination of critical thinking and attention to detail, to throw around a couple of resume buzzwords. Your job is to evaluate things, and you need to back up your judgments with specific evidence. This plot point doesn't work; this character does. Then, as you work further on a project, you need to switch gears into renovation mode: what's the core of the story? What's dragging the narrative down? What is the dynamic arc of the story, and how can you work with the author to refine it to its most effective and interesting? 

What advice would you give to an aspiring editor? What would you advise them to study in college?
Everyone will tell you to read, and this is good advice! But: read intelligently. Read critically. Read with an eye to reverse-engineering why some stories engage you and others bore you to tears. Pay attention to language! Prosody and word choice are undervalued as tools of great writing. As for college, well, I majored in Medieval Studies, so I'm either totally the wrong person to ask or exactly the right one. That is to say: study what you love, but don't neglect words and narrative—not that you would, of course.

What’s your favorite thing about being an editorial assistant? Your least favorite?
I love editing! When a book is good enough to make me excited about improving it, I will just throw myself into line-edits or brainstorming or full-manuscript editorial letters, because it's rewarding and a blast. I also love just plain reading submissions. Even when I pass on material, I really, really do enjoy looking it over. My least favorite thing is sending rejections, hands-down. I wish I could make everyone's dreams come true, and I hate knowing that I'm ruining someone's day.

Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesMiss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine, #1)William Shakespeare's Star Wars

Quirk Books definitely has a unique selection with titles such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and William Shakespeare's Star Wars. What makes a manuscript a Quirk Book?
This is such a tricky question! Each of our books is so different and singular that it's hard to sum all of them up with a neat little motto. Honestly, I think what makes a manuscript a fit for Quirk is when we see something we can bring to it: beautiful design or a topsy-turvy format or a bunch of science projects or an new approach to a classic topic. The wonderful thing about being a smallish company with a smallish list is that we invest a lot in making every book wonderful. 

Your upcoming book is called Stuff Every College Student Should Know. Can you share with us one piece of advice you wish you had had when starting college?
Get a writing partner. You really, really need a critical-but-friendly eye on your manuscripts, and not all other writers are sniveling lit-fic snobs with a congenital disdain for anything smacking of plot. Also: it takes a long time to finish a manuscript. As in years, plural. Don't rush, but don't give up, either.

Stuff Every College Student Should KnowWhile we're on the subject of advice, what's the best writing tip you've ever given or received?
Advice that hones in on specifics is my favorite, so: don't start a book with dialogue, and don't start a sentence with an -ing verb. Of course, there are exceptions (writing is art, after all), so don't cling to either of those as Gospel truth. I also keep Nora Roberts' advice in my head when I feel stuck: you can't edit what you haven't written.

What tools do you need to write? (A special playlist, a lucky pen, cool writing pants, etc.)
Man, I wish I had cool writing pants! (I have weird, too-small harem pants I bought at a flea market in Paris that I write in a lot, but I wouldn't call them cool.) Not to be all Virginia Woolf, but I really just need space away from people, earbuds, and Scrivener (God bless you, Scrivener). And since I write in the early morning, coffee. I buy the fancy kind as a bribe! 

Want to find out more? Check out Blair's Blog and Twitter!
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!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Intro to Author Adoration!

Thursday, November 14, 2013
I've been thinking about doing a feature like this for awhile and decided I might as well. So here goes...

You know when you're reading a book by an author you've read before and you're struck by how amazing it is? And you're doubly amazed because it's just as good as the author's other two, three, ten books? This feature will highlight those authors, those whose books are an automatic purchase, who you recommend to all of your friends, and push on your book clubs. There's no set schedule for this, but there will probably be about one of these posts a month.

So, who's the first author?

Since I've been reading Fangirl, the honor goes to Rainbow Rowell. (So I guess you could say I'm fangirling over Fangirl, or at least its author.) This is the third book I've read of hers and it is just as good as her previous two, which is to say it's completely awesome.

Her published works: Eleanor and Park (YA, 2013), Attachments (A, 2011), Fangirl (YA, 2013)

Eleanor & ParkAttachmentsFangirl

What's to Love

  • Witty dialogue
  • Complex, loveable, incredibly relatable characters
  • SO MUCH HEART in all of her stories
  • Great references (Fangirl includes Harry Potter allusions!!)
  • Eleanor & Park is set in the 80s
  • Attachments is set in the 90s
  • Fangirl is in a college setting
  • So basically, she doesn't do the usual realistic fiction settings

Some Favorite Quotes:

"Oh... Colin Firth. He should only do period dramas. And period dramas should only star Colin Firth. (One-star upgrade for Colin Firth. Two stars for Colin Firth in a waistcoat.)" -Attachments

"I just want to break that song into pieces,’ she said, ‘and love them all to death." -Eleanor & Park

So you might want to follow her on twitter or her blog:

And you should definitely read her books pronto!

Have you read Rainbow Rowell's books? Which is your favorite?