Sunday, February 22, 2015

Five Authors I Have on Auto-Read

You have them, you know you do. Authors whose books you crave. Authors whose books you go to the bookstore for on release day. Or, even better, wait impatiently for by the mailbox because you ordered it months before. Authors you have on auto-read. Here are the authors I auto-read, and why I MUST HAVE THEIR NEWEST BOOK AS SOON AS IT RELEASES. (Yes, all those caps are necessary.)

Ally Carter
Ever since I got my hands on Heist Society, Ally Carter has been on auto-read for me. That series was just so me (not that I’m Robin Hood or anything), but Kat and Hale and ugh! It’s like Ocean’s Eleven for teens, but so much better. Plus, I’ve read and enjoyed Gallagher Girls. I rarely pre-order books (bad, Jamie!) but I did pre-order All Fall Down (signed edition!) and it was so worth it! I can’t wait for more Heist Society novels and the sequel to All Fall Down!

Gayle Forman
I realized as I was making this list that I’ve read all of Forman’s novels. Honestly, I was surprised. I consider Just One Day and Just One Year two of my favorites (definitely my favorites of her collection) and even though I don’t fangirl over her as much as some authors, Forman is a consistently great author. I know when I pick up a Forman novel (just as I did recently with I Was Here) that it will be a thought-provoking, soul-searching journey, and I love that about her.

Sarah J. Maas
Celeana. Chaol. Dorian. If you haven’t read the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, you must. This series is enthralling. You will read it fervently. The characters will make you gasp, laugh and cry. Oh, what I’d give to have Queen of Shadows, the fourth book that comes out this fall, in my hands. Also, my desire for A Court of Thorns and Roses haunts my soul daily. (I just pre-ordered it yesterday!)

Rainbow Rowell
I’ve read every single book that Rainbow Rowell has published, which is rare for me since her novels are all stand-alones. Eleanor & Park was my first Rowell adventure, and that impressed me so much I read an ADULT FICTION NOVEL. Whaaaaat? I know. I read Attachments, and loved it. I held off on Fangirl for a while because I knew it would be THE ONE for me. But I did eventually read it and I was right, it's my favorite Rowell so far! Then I read Landline (another adult fiction novel!) last summer. You can bet that I’ll be reading Carry On shortly after its release!

J.K. Rowling
I mean, duh. Harry Potter is the end-all be-all, and even though J.K. Rowling has yet to impress me following Deathly Hallows, I will read everything she publishes. Yes, I read Casual Vacancy and ehh. Yes, I read The Cuckoo’s Calling and was mildly intrigued. I haven’t yet read The Silkworm, but I will. Rowling writes across genres, and I’m ready for something science fiction. Or solidly YA. (Squeee!)

What authors do you have on auto-read?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Ten Book Related Problems I Have

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday! Yes, yes, I know it’s Sunday. But I post on Sundays and this way I’m prepared for Tuesday, once it rolls around. Anyway, TTT is a great thing hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic: Ten Book Related Problems I Have. As they say, more books, more problems…

1.     Too Many Books
There are too many books to read!!! I’m not complaining about how many books there are in publication, or how many I own. I’m just saying I’ll never be able to read all the books I want to, and that scares me. It scares me to my very core.

2.     Not Enough Time
Stupid work. Okay, I’m exaggerating, I like my job. But working 40 hours a week and writing and boyfriend time, well, it really infringes on my reading time.

3.     Reading as an Editor
I’m not an editor by trade, but I am writing/editing my own book and sometimes I catch myself editing as I’m reading a book that’s not my own! Ugh.

4.     Protecting my books/nook
Water is an ever-present danger, mostly when I’m in the bath. Reading in the bath is relaxing, but sometimes I fear dropping my book. And of course, if I’m reading something on my nook, I don’t take it into the bath—that's far too risky!

5.     Space
I have hundreds of books. I have three bookshelves, at least seven bins of books, books at my parent’s house, books stacked in random places on my desk, nightstand, a small shelf here, there and everywhere! I shove books in any available space, and someday I may run out of space. L

6.     Waiting
Books have release dates, and sometimes it’s torture waiting for them!

7.     Love Squares
Anything more than a love triangle really pisses me off. (To put it delicately.) I’ve only seen a few, but seriously, a love square? A love octagon? Too much.

8.     Shotty World-Building
I’m a fantasy reader, and nothing turns me off like a world that isn’t fully-formed, or one that doesn't make sense. World-building takes time and effort, as I'm discovering while writing my own fantasy novel.

9.     Inability to Sacrifice
Character death is hard to write and to read, but unfortunately it’s realistic. When an author can’t part with their characters, when the happily ever after seems a little too happy, it alienates me pretty quickly.

10.   Haters
Haters gonna hate, but I’m convinced that fellow readers shouldn’t get down on each other for what they read. No matter if it’s Twilight, 50 Shades, or even Jonathan Franzen. If you read, you’re cool with me!


What are some of your book related problems?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Red Queen and her Silver Lining

Recently I’ve been overwhelmed by the sea of new fantasies. So many amazing books are coming out the next few months—debuts, series beginnings, series continuations. It’s almost too much for me to handle! But in the midst of it all, there are a few that stand out, and Red Queen is one of those books. The concept is creative and the tension high, so I was thrilled to find myself in possession of an ARC of this lovely title and with just enough time to read it before it comes out Tuesday!

Red Queen

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.


My Thoughts
Red Queen is eloquent and fantastical with an intricate and interesting world. It tells the story of one girl, Mare, who's different, and what that means in her world, the land of Norta, where those with Red blood serve those with Silver blood.

Instead of diving into the story the moment Mare learns she’s different, Aveyard builds the world around Mare’s life. We learn about Mare's family—her three brothers who were conscripted into the King’s war, her younger sister who’s going to be a seamstress, her mother’s sorrow and her father’s war injury. Mare herself has made peace with the fact that she’s going to war, until a meeting with a mysterious stranger changes her course. This is world-building at its finest. Even though Aveyard doesn’t jump right to the moment Mare discovers she’s different from her friends and family, the seventy pages before that moment aren’t boring in the least. Plenty happens, including First Friday, in which we learn that those with Silver blood have powers like enhanced strength and the ability to control minds.

“The gods rule us still. They have come down from the stars. And they are no longer kind.” –page 11

The moment everything changes is a big one, and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, actually I rather enjoy wetting your appetite for this amazing and powerful scene. Mare’s ability, witnessed by many Silvers, becomes the means by which the King of Norta blackmails her. From this point on, I couldn’t put Red Queen down! Mare’s strong and stubborn, and the fact that she’s strung between the King and the rebel group, the Scarlet Guard, meant I needed to know what happened. The intrigue and tension only got higher and better as the book continued! Plus, Aveyard's words are full of imagery. There were so many descriptions and metaphors that popped, making me love her style of writing.

Then there are the boys. Prince Cal is destined to be King, and while he’s loyal to his father, he has a soft spot for Mare. Prince Maven, Cal’s younger brother, is now betrothed to Mare, and even though she doesn’t feel connected to him at first, she gradually comes to realize they have a lot in common. And that’s not all! Kilorn, Mare’s childhood friend, was once an innocent apprentice to a fisherman, but now he’s joined the rebellion, and Mare can’t protect him anymore. Aveyard is setting up a killer love story, as well as a killer fantasy trilogy!

“I’m a Red girl in a sea of Silvers and I can’t afford to feel sorry for anyone, least of all the son of a snake.” –page 106

Red Queen comes out this Tuesday, February 10th, and I recommend it if you love intricate storylines, lovely descriptions and fantastical fantasies! Just remember, “anyone can betray anyone.”

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Futuristic Fairy Tales: Marissa Meyer in Cincinnati

Yesterday Marissa Meyer, author of the Lunar Chronicles series, was in Cincinnati! She visited the amazing Joseph-Beth Books, who threw a Lunar Ball in honor of the release of Fairest, Queen Levana’s story.


Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told... until now.


My Thoughts

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to like Fairest. (Spoiler alert: I loved it!) A tale from the point-of-view of an evil queen? I didn’t need her back story to dislike her. The first three books of the Lunar Chronicles had already proven to me she’s not a nice person. But as I read, I came to realize that Levana’s story is important. It gives her dimension, though not a flattering one. In sharing what happened to Levana before we met Cinder, Meyer emphasizes that it wasn’t in Levana’s nature to be an evil queen, but it was how she was nurtured (or the lack of nurturing) that transformed her into the villain of the story. Levana suffered from the fact that her parents didn’t care for her, and then were assassinated when she was sixteen years old. Levana suffered from her older sister, Channary’s torment, the details of which are divulged in the book. Fairest doesn’t have a main character we root for, but it gave us a villain to root against. I recommend it to all fans of fairy tales, villians and of course, the Lunar Chronicles!


The Event!

First order of business: THE RUMORS ARE TRUE! Winter will be over 800 pages! Shortly after Marissa came out (to clapping and cheering), she shared with us that she finished writing Winter just last week! This is, of course, thrilling news and November can’t come soon enough because I need to know what happens to Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and I’m excited to dive into Winter’s story.

But I got a little ahead of myself... Last night, the Lunar Ball kicked off at 6PM, with two games of trivia and a costume contest. Joseph-Beth Booksellers went the extra mile to welcome Marissa and readers to the event. I grabbed a trivia packet, which included a word search, crossword and code-breaking game that used Fairest to decipher a secret sentence. After using my exceptional skill (this is where sarcasm font would come in handy) and my copies of the books, I won a small Lunar Chronicles gift bag with two postcards, two stickers, a bookmark and a button. Swag is the best!

The event got underway when Marissa Meyer joined us to judge the costume contest. Cheers to all those who dressed up—I saw some amazing Queen Levana, Scarlet, Cress and Cinder costumes as well as some generally fancy folks! Marissa talked a little bit about Fairest, and how the story came to be. Then she shared a special excerpt from Winter, one that isn’t in the three chapter preview at the end of Fairest! I’m not going to spoil it, but let’s just say that Jacin might not be quite the heartless jerk that he’s been portrayed as so far…

Talking to the crowd!

After reading the excerpt, Marissa answered some questions for the crowd. She’s an expert question-answerer by the way—it was quick-fire and she probably got through twenty-five questions in twenty minutes while still giving satisfying answers. Marissa talked about how the series came to be (she wrote a Puss in Boots short story set in the future then had a dream where instead of losing her slipper, Cinderella’s whole foot fell off—she’s a cyborg!). Marissa talked movie rights (which sold a few years ago, and last she heard they were working on a script 18 months ago) and that she would love to see Emma Watson play Scarlet in the movie version (which would be a dream come true!). Marissa also shared what she’s working on in the future! In 2016, she’s releasing Heartless, a prequel to Alice in Wonderland focused on the Queen of Hearts and how she got a proclivity for beheading. Marissa’s also working on a trilogy about superheroes, super villains and the gray areas in between. Umm, can I have all five books (Winter, Heartless and the hero trilogy) now please?

Of course, even though members of the crowd asked, Marissa didn’t divulge any Winter spoilers—we don’t know how it will end or if anyone dies but she did say, unfortunately, that “it’s a revolution and sometimes people die in revolutions.” Nooooo!

Then came the signing!

Check out the gorgeous backdrop!

Marissa and me!
My lovelies.
Signed copy of Fairest plus swag!

Thanks Marissa for writing the Lunar Chronicles, coming to the Midwest and generally being awesome!


Disclaimer: This post is an unofficial account of the event with Marissa Meyer on January 31, 2015 at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati, OH. The views that I present in this post are my interpretations of the event, and they do not necessarily represent the opinions of Marissa Meyer, her publisher or any affiliates.