Thursday, February 26, 2015

Highlights & Lowlights: Author Events / Book Signings

Highlight: Behind-the-scenes info on your favorite books. I love hearing from authors about the writing process. Kristin Cashore's process with Bitterblue was especially interesting to hear. It's always cool to learn more about how the novel came to be, plus more about the novel itself. 

Lowlight: Lines. LINES OF PEOPLE EVERYWHERE. Depending on how famous the author is, things might get a little crazy. And by a little crazy, I mean very crazy. Pushing, shoving, stepping on toes, it can get out hand and a little ridiculous (fortunately, I've experienced very little of this). 

Lowlight: No Seating. Yeah, I'll be the one standing in the back of the room awkwardly trying to hold a huge bag of books. 

Lowlight: You can't hear anything. This tends to only happen at big events, where nothing is done to ensure we can actually hear the author. Or when there's a technical issue with the microphone. 

Highlight: One-on-one time. I actually don't have much to say here. I did chat with Lauren Oliver a way back when she toured for Before I Fall, and that was fun. But even when the crowds are small, I usually have to leave early, so I normally miss out on having a quick chat with authors. But, if you can snag it, chatting with your favorite author (even for a short time) is so much fun! 

Kimberly Derting, Jessi Kirby, Suzanne Young, Sarah Ockler, Shannon Messenger, Morgan Matson

Highlight: Authors. SO MANY AUTHORS. Book signings are a chance to stalk and stare awkwardly at meet your favorite authors and some new-to-you authors. It's fun to be able to put a face and personality to a name, and especially wonderful if the event features more than one author. More authors = more fun.

Lowlight: Social awkwardness. Maybe it's just me, but I'm incredibly awkward at book signings. I usually only know one person, if I'm lucky, and I hardly ever know what to say to the author beyond YOUR BOOK IS SO AMAZING. I usually just stand quietly by them, and mumble something nice...*sighs*

Highlight: Meet other bookworms / have bookish conversations. You're already all there for the same reason, so the book is at least one conversation starter! It's nice being able to talk about the books I love with people who love them, too.

Lowlight: You forget to have an author sign your book. You see that picture with all of the authors? Yes? That is the event where I forgot to ask Morgan Matson to sign my copy of Second Chance Summer. Which I bought, in that bookstore, on that day. I became so overwhelmed with all of the authors, I didn't realize until I was home that I never actually handed it to her to sign. That's one of my many epic book blogger fail moments. *cries*

Highlight: Bookish swag. Author events are the best places to get awesome bookish swag. I attended a Gayle Forman + Jess Rothenburg + Nina LaCour + Stephanie Perkisn event back in 2012, and it was awesome. I went home with cool posters, buttons, and bookmarks! At another event, I received a tote bag. At a Leigh Bardugo event, I snagged some cool buttons! It's a nice thing that authors / publishers / bookstores sometimes do in order to reward people who come out and see the authors.

Lowlight: Q & A's, where you can't ask questions. Some Q&A's are great, but sometimes the questions are so boring and I wish they would allow a few from the audience.

Highlight: Q & A's, where you can ask questions. It's always nice when the audience can ask questions, especially since you never quite know what someone will ask.

Highlight: Finding out what the author's are writing next. And if you're super demanding lucky, they might even share a little excerpt, title, or some other secret information about their next novel.

What are some of your highlights / lowlights for author events? 

Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: (161): DELICATE MONSTERS

WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

DELICATE MONSTERS by Stephanie Kuehn
June 9th, 2015 from St. Martin's Griffin

From the Morris-Award winning author of Charm & Strange, comes a twisted and haunting tale about three teens uncovering dark secrets and even darker truths about themselves.

When nearly killing a classmate gets seventeen-year-old Sadie Su kicked out of her third boarding school in four years, she returns to her family’s California vineyard estate. Here, she’s meant to stay out of trouble. Here, she’s meant to do a lot of things. But it’s hard. She’s bored. And when Sadie’s bored, the only thing she likes is trouble.

Emerson Tate’s a poor boy living in a rich town, with his widowed mother and strange, haunted little brother. All he wants his senior year is to play basketball and make something happen with the girl of his dreams. That’s why Emerson’s not happy Sadie’s back. An old childhood friend, she knows his worst secrets. The things he longs to forget. The things she won’t ever let him.

Haunted is a good word for fifteen-year-old Miles Tate. Miles can see the future, after all. And he knows his vision of tragic violence at his school will come true, because his visions always do. That’s what he tells the new girl in town. The one who listens to him. The one who recognizes the darkness in his past.

But can Miles stop the violence? Or has the future already been written? Maybe tragedy is his destiny. Maybe it’s all of theirs.

I was sold at "twisted and haunting tale" - plus, since I adored Kuehn's debut, I'm sure I'll love this one as well.

What are you waiting on?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Highlights / Lowlights: SNOW LIKE ASHES by Sara Raasch

Title: Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch (@seesarawrite)
Published: October 2014
Series: Snow Like Ashes #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
POV: 1st person, present tense
Pages: 432
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: electronic ARC
Source: Edelweiss / HarperCollins
Rating: The Royal Library, Top Shelf

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. The Winterians' only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been searching for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild their kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter’s future king—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again. So when scouts discover the location of half of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics, and to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Highlight: Secrets. MORE SECRETS. ALL THE SECRETS. Granted, I did guess one big one, but I was still intrigued from start to finish.

Highlight: Characters. Meira is stubborn, smart, determined, and my kind of narrator. And, the side characters are wonderful as well. From the good guys to the bad guys, Raasch makes everyone feel realistic and distinct.

Lowlight: Initially, confusing. Maybe it was just me, but reading the first chapter felt like I was stumbling around in the dark with a faulty flashlight and I had no idea what was happening or where everyone was. I think a map would have helped (which my ARC did not have, but I believe the final version does). I simply found it difficult to get into the beginning and to navigate the world, but once I went back and pushed forward, everything fell into place.

Highlight: World. Once I started to understand the layout and the differences in the various kingdoms, this world became quite fascinating. Raasch creates a lush world with magic, and such scenic kingdoms that I felt like I could see the ones that were described vividly. I cannot wait to explore the rest of this world.

Highlight: Adventure. Snow Like Ashes begins with adventure, and Raasch only continues to push Meira further out into her world. The search for part of the locket and goal of restoring the Kingdom of Winter drives Meira and her fellow Winterians throughout the entire story, but there are plenty of obstacles in their path.

Highlight: Fight scenes. I love a good fight scene, and Snow Like Ashes doesn't disappoint. Meira is confident in her abilities, especially with a chakram. This is a girl who does not wait around for the male characters to save her - she takes action, she argues, and she fights for everything she believes in.

Lowlight: Love triangle. I cannot wait until this stops being a thing in YA lit.

Highlight: Light + adorable romance. HOWEVER, Raasch writes it well. While there are two boys in Meira's life, one is a longtime crush with (unfortunately) little chance and the other is a an adorable, budding romance that has its own complications. Fortunately, this story kept the romance simple, sweet, and sometimes amusing. 

Highlight: Politics. It kind of reminds me a bit of Rae Carson's The Girl of Fire and Thorns, where there is some focus on politics and doing whatever is necessary to create peace between kingdoms. But, of course, things do not go completely as planned. Every deal and betrayal kept me hooked, and there are a few surprises.

Rating: The Royal Library, Top Shelf: Loved, 4+ out of 5. Once I pushed through the first few chapters, I was hooked. Snow Like Ashes is an action-packed adventure through a vivid world full of magic, secrets, and lies. Love, loss, betrayal, secrets, rebellions, friendship, evil rulers....this book has everything I love in a story, and I'm excited to have a new YA fantasy series & world to explore. 

I received an advanced copy of this novel from the publisher for review consideration. 
This is no way affected my opinion of the novel. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (160): A MADNESS SO DISCREET

WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

October 6th, 2015 from Katherine Tegen Books

Grace Mae knows madness. She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.

So this sounds kind of amazing. Secrets! Thriller! Historical! Mystery! And the cover is quite fascinating to look at.

What are you waiting on?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Mini-Review: VICIOUS by V.E. Schwab

Title: Vicious
Author: V.E. Schwab (@veschwab)
Published: September 2013
Series: N/A
Genre: Adult Fantasy
POV: 3rd person, multiple
Pages: 364
Publisher: Tor
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed from local library
Rating: The Royal Library, Top Shelf

A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.'

It's been a long time since I've read a novel that compelled me to keep turning the pages. You know - the type of book that makes you stay up late reading, wake up early to read some more, and sneak in a few pages when you should be doing anything else but reading. Even when you aren't reading, it's that story that lingers in the back of your mind when you should be thinking about something else. But, Vicious is simply one of those novels that demands your attention, and you'll be glad to give it. 

Highlights: Schwab writes the multiple points-of-view (and time jumps) expertly, and handles the complex issue of morality with ease. The lines between good and evil are muddy and blurry, which makes our "heroes" and "villains" all the more fascinating. Each 3rd person point-of-view is distinct, and every character is intriguing and unique in their own way. Plus, superpowers. That is always a highlight. 

Lowlights: I NEED A SEQUEL. Like, right now. 

Rating: The Royal Library, Top Shelf: Favorite, 5 out of 5. I was in the middle of a reading slump when I started this novel, and Vicious managed to snap me out of it. Schwab pulled me into this complex story of friendship, family, and good vs. evil. It was exciting, surprising, and completely captivating. I'd highly recommend Vicious.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Majestic Collection (4)

Sometimes I'm emailed interesting bookish information or simply stumble across cool posts, but I have nowhere to share them. So, The Majestic Collection is my digital cork board where I can effectively share fun links and news!

Discussions / Blog Posts

This is about a week old, but Hannah at The Irish Banana made a fun Blogger Bingo Card - can you get a Bingo?

Sandy from Pirate Penguin Reads wants to know how you came up with your blog name and shares her story for how she named her blog!

Hazel at Stay Bookish shares some Valentine's Day Cards for Book Nerds, and they are all as wonderful as you could possibly want them to be. The Sirius one will forever be my favorite!

The Fierce Reads Spring Fling tour was revealed! Check to see if there's a stop near you!

Cover Reveals

Second Position by Katherine Locke, Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch, Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett, The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore, Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul are some of the one's I've seen in the past few days, and I'm sure more will come! 

Even better? Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo will be revealed on Friday, and I cannot wait to see it! 


I still have a giveaway for two copies of Tuck Everlasting! This book is truly wonderful, so enter and maybe win a copy!

Hope all of you are having a wonderful week, and that you each have a lovely upcoming weekend!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (159): NOWHERE BUT HERE

WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

May 26th, 2015 from HarlequinTeen
An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

Katie McGarry's books are always entertaining, so I'm excited for her newest series!

What are you waiting on?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Review: CHASING POWER by Sarah Beth Durst

Title: Chasing Power
Author: Sarah Beth Durst (@sarahbethdurst)
Published: October 14th, 2014
Series: N/A
Genre: YA Paranormal
POV: 3rd Person
Pages: 376
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: eARC / Hardcover
Source: Author, Netgalley / Purchased
Rating: The Royal Library, Middle Shelf
Sixteen-year-old Kayla was born with the ability to move things with her mind-things like credit cards and buttons on cash registers-and she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again . . . which would mean grave danger for them both.

When she's caught stealing by a boy named Daniel-a boy with the ability to teleport-he needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it. Together, they embark on a quest to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel's kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family-and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive . . . or survive.

Kayla might seem like your average girl, but she has telekinetic powers, a penchant for thievery, and her father is out to kill her. But, Kayla still feels like she has the act of normalcy down, until a teleporting young man named Daniel shows up and threatens to blackmail her if Kayla doesn't help him find his kidnapped mother. Together, with a little help from Kayla's friend Selena, Kayla and Daniel travel the world in search of dangerous stones and Daniel's mother, before it's too late to save anyone. 

Chasing Power is an action-packed, thrilling, super-powered adventure. The characters have plenty of humor, resourcefulness, and determination. The settings are lush, vivid, and made me wish I had the funds to travel the world. Once the action begins, there's never a dull moment, and Durst keeps this whirlwind adventure thrilling and surprising until the very end. The secrets that are revealed are shocking, and I found it difficult to set this story aside because how captivating it proved to be. Superpowers, secrets, and one epic treasure hunt, Chasing Power is the epitome of entertaining. 

Highlights: The characters with special abilities were fascinating, but I loved how even with their talents, nothing came easily. Selena is easily the most wonderful BFF ever - she may be a privileged and wealthy girl, but she's genuine, smart, and more capable than most people might expect. The romance is only slightly starting to build by the end of the novel, and I appreciate the way Durst put the focus on family and the overall adventure/mystery first.  

Lowlights: Kayla falls victim to an unfortunately normal problem in YA lit - not reaching out to an adult when s#!* hits the fan. So much could have changed or been avoided had she reached out to her mother. But, that's just the reasonable part of me - the bookworm in me is grateful for her mistakes, because it helped create a thrilling story.

Cover: I had to take a moment to appreciate this outstanding cover. Very symbolic, very eye-catching, and it reminds me of Metric's album Fantasies, which is always great.

Rating: The Royal Library, Middle Shelf: Highly Enjoyed, 4+ out of 5. Action, adventure, awesome abilities, fantastic best friends, family, and plenty of secrets...Durst makes it easy to love Chasing Power. This is the type of novel that has it all, and leaves you with the urge to start rereading again. 

I received an advanced electronic copy of this novel from the author for review consideration. 
This is no way affected my opinion of the novel. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Highlights / Lowlights: LET'S GET LOST by Adi Alsaid

Title: Let's Get Lost
Author: Adi Alsaid (@AdiAlsaid)
Published: July 2014
Series: N/A
Genre: YA Contemporary
POV: five 3rd person narrations
Pages: 352
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Format: Print ARC
Source: Vine Program
Rating: The Royal Library, Middle Shelf

Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.

Highlights: I'm incredibly critical when it comes to novels with multiple points-of-view. So, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself thoroughly enjoying each perspective in Alsaid's Let's Get Lost. In each story, the characters find themselves traveling down quite a bumpy road. Their lives are messy, and Leila's attempts to help sometimes complicate things further. Each mini-story stands alone, but the themes in each connect them all to one another. Sonia's story is my favorite, although all five mini-stories are very well done. The truth about Leila's past is heartbreaking, and it made many small moments with her make so much more sense. 

Lowlights: Despite the many messy beginnings, things work out a little too perfectly to be realistic. But, I'm a sucker for a happy ending, so it didn't bother me too much. And, even though the multiple POV's were well done, I didn't feel like I spent enough time with each character to fully connect with them and their situations.

Rating: The Royal Library, Middle Shelf: Highly Enjoyed, 4 out of 5. Heartwarming and well-written, Let's Get Lost is a wonderful novel filled with traveling, shenanigans, and strong emotions.

I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
This is no way affected my opinion of the novel. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (158): P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU + VENGEANCE ROAD

WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU by Jenny Han
May 2015 from Simon & Schuster BYR
Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.

She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.

When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of makes it so amazing.

So glad there's a sequel! I need to know what happens next in Lara Jean's life.

September 1st, 2015 from HMH BYR

When her father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, eighteen year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers--and justice. In the spirit of True Grit, acclaimed young adult novelist Erin Bowman brings to life the unpredictable and cutthroat days of the Wild West.

Disguised as a boy, gritty plains, justice, Wild West...I'm sold. Sounds like it will be an exciting story!

What are you waiting on?