August 31, 2015

Elevator Reviews #2

Elevator reviews are my idea for mini reviews. Basically, I pretend I'd be able to impart all the information I relay below from the time you enter the elevator until you get off at, say, the fifth floor of a building.

A Whole New World by Liz Braswell
Grade: D
An ARC was provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: A retelling of Disney's Aladdin with a twist. Jafar has the lamp from practically the minute Aladdin retrieves it and he does not have good intentions.
Review: Cool concept, but it turned out to be fairly boring. The first few chapters recount the movie with a few unnecessary changes. Jasmine has lost some of her spunk, and I wasn't feeling most of the dialogue or plot. I had to take a lot of breaks in between reading this one.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: Nope.

Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt
Grade: DNF
An ARC was provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Alma and her family are illegal immigrants. Evan is the nephew of a U.S. senator. Star-crossed love ensues.
Review: One of the things that drives me nuts is a book that copiously intersperses another language with English and then doesn't translate most of it. Not everyone speaks Spanish. So I spent a lot of Dream Things True trying to guess what was being discussed. In addition, I felt like I was being told Evan and Alma had chemistry and what-not. I didn't feel their relationship was realistic at all. I stopped at about page 141, and there wasn't much else besides the romance happening.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: Nope.

Whippoorwill by Joseph Monninger
Grade: C-
An e-galley was provided by HMH Books for Young Readers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Man and son next door are abusing their dog. Girl gets involved. Romance between boy and girl ensues as they train the dog.
Review: Whippoorwill seemed to lack a solid plot. Stuff happened, but I felt there was no end goal. It was a short book that probably could've used an additional 50 pages. Clair, the protagonist, didn't take action or wasn't as decisive as I wanted her to be. The writing style was very stilted and distancing. Overall, I wasn't a big fan of this one.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: No.

Daughter of Dusk by Livia Blackburne
Grade: C+
An ARC was provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: After the events of Midnight Thief. I don't want to say much at the risk of spoiling the first book.
Review: I think my one problem with this duology is that there don't really seem to be many consequences for actions. Things came too easily to the protagonist and her friends. I liked the clan elements and the parts with the felbeasts, but there weren't enough of those.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: Probably not.

August 30, 2015

Rewind & Review #44

Rewind & Review

Well I'm back at school! Classes started on the 17th, and I've mostly settled into the swing of things. I'm working every week night from 4-7, but I want to drop Fridays from my schedule soon. It's been nice to be back with my friends and on campus - although I haven't really left campus yet since I returned (walking to the library boxes and the grocery store do not count). I miss having my mom to drive me places. Not having my license or a car is a real drag.
I've had a fair amount of homework, so I haven't read quite as much as I wanted to. I have started a new cross-stitching project, though! It's bigger than my normal ones so I think it'll take me awhile longer than my previous ones.
I also discovered my new favorite (non-book) store. On Friday night, I went to the mall with my former TAG leader and one of my friends, and we went to Altar'd State. It's a very cool store. I saw some pieces I liked but they were out of my budget. I did try on a dress, and it looked great...except for the sleeves. They were just a wee bit too billowy. But I'm definitely keeping them in mind for future clothing needs and also cute home-decorating needs.

Books Received for Review
None! :(

Books I Won/Traded for/was Gifted
Promises I Made by Michelle Zink (traded with @irish_banana)
Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson (traded with @YAIndulgences)
Very in Pieces by Megan Frazer Blakemore (won in @edenjeangrey's Twitter giveaway)
The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes (traded with @BSweetReads)
Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson (traded with @disquietus)
Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
The Nightmare Charade by Mindee Arnett (traded with @JacklinU)
Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel (gift from my parents)

Books I Bought
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Deceptive by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Stray by Elissa Sussman
Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
One More Wish by Robin Jones Gunn

Books I Read
Sekret by Lindsay Smith (DNF)
The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout (reread)
A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin (3 stars)
Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
Very in Pieces by Megan Frazer Blakemore (2 stars)
The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson (4 stars)
The Icing on the Cake by Deborah A. Levine and JillEllyn Riley
One More Wish by Robin Jones Gunn (3 stars)
Sparks in Scotland by A. Destiny and Rhonda Helms (2 stars)
The Trials by Stacey Kade (3 stars)
A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard (3 stars)

Blog Posts You Might've Missed
   (From 8/10-8/15)
   (From 8/16-8/22)
  • More Elevator Reviews
  • TTT: Characters I Didn't Click With
  • Review: Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty
  • Random Friday: Recipes
  • The Final Sixteen 2016 Reads
  • Fall 2015 Classes
  • TTT: Finished Series I Haven't Finished
  • So You Like... #18
  • Review: Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales
  • DNF Review: The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

August 29, 2015

So You Like... #17

As of this spring, I have a new TV show for my list of favorites. Unfortunately, it's been off the air for quite awhile although there was a recent movie. Y'all can probably guess what I'm talking about. This post is all about what you should read if you like...


The Fixer (The Fixer, #1)



The Nightmare Affair (The Arkwell Academy, #1)



Lois Lane: Fallout (Lois Lane, #1)


For those of you who have seen Veronica Mars, do you agree that these books are good fits?
And for everyone else, did you find any new reads? Do you have any suggestions for So You Like... topics?

August 27, 2015

Interview with Rachel B., a Bookseller

So earlier this month, I interviewed a cover designer. And I realized I want to interview more industry professionals. So today on the blog, I have Rachel B. She's one of the booksellers at my favorite indie ever, Read Between the Lynes.


Born and raised in Woodstock, Rachel ventured to warmer climes for college. She recently graduated from Tulane University with an English degree, or as she likes to say, earned a very expensive piece of paper that says she likes to read. She particularly delights in escaping into books with a fantasy element, although she also enjoyed the occasional foray into other genres - including acquiring a taste for non-fiction. When not reading, she can usually be found yelling about whichever sports team is currently playing.

Emma: Currently, you're a bookseller at Read Between the Lynes. What's the best part of working at an independent bookstore?
Rachel: The best part, by far, is helping get kids into reading. Being able to guide them toward the right book, that book that’s going to make them fall in love with stories. When a kid comes back all excited about how much they loved the book and what else they can read like it - there’s no better feeling. There’s one specific young customer who hadn’t been much of a reader until she picked up Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly. Then the reading bug bit her, and her mom was more than happy to oblige by purchasing her a nice stack. She ended up reading The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste, whose agent knows Arlene (the owner), and we had her write a review of the book. We posted it in the store as well as sending a copy to Tracey, who then sent a letter and some swag back. This young customer was absolutely delighted, and I have it on good authority that she completely freaked out when she was no longer in public. I feel truly lucky to have played even a small role in nurturing her budding love of reading.

Emma: What led you to work at a bookstore?
Rachel: Ha! There are a few versions of this story. One of them is that I always wanted to work there and had wondered how one got hired. The answer turned out to be walk in the door to preorder Ruin and Rising and walk out with a job offer. After growing up with the store (it opened the year I turned 13), there was nothing more natural than the idea of working there.

The less glamorous version is that I’d ended up with an English degree at college, thought the logical path was to work in publishing, realized it wasn’t actually what I wanted to do, graduated college clueless, moved back home, and stumbled into the job as described above.

Emma: What's one thing you wish more people knew about working at a bookstore?
Rachel: Just because you love reading doesn’t mean it’s the perfect job for you. Contrary to popular belief, we DON’T get to sit around reading all day. It’s a lot of work, and it’s definitely still a retail job. Especially at an independent bookstore, customer service is everything. It can be exhausting, because on top of interacting with customers, you also have to do a little of everything. There’s no chance to just sit around and see a task through. So it takes a different kind of focus, to be able to leave something in the middle multiple times to help a customer and then go right back to it. I’m constantly swapping out ‘hats’ throughout the day.

Emma: I know you also worked for a literary agency. Can you tell my readers about that?
Rachel: Absolutely! I interned at Dunham Literary in NYC. I’m going to reveal how absolutely not on top of things I am here, but rather like my job at RBTL, I kind of stumbled into this one. I came home from studying abroad in Dublin for a year and within a week was going stir crazy. So I applied to any and all internships that were still available, and was stunned when I actually got one! I’d never even been to New York City before, and suddenly I was on my way to live there for a summer!

My primary duties (aside from office stuff as necessary) were managing the slush pile and reading manuscripts. Not to brag, but I was REALLY good at the slush pile. I’m a pretty critical person, so it was no trouble for me to pick out the good from the bad without trying to be overly sympathetic to the author. I don’t mean for that to sound harsh, but your query has to be as amazing as your book. Write it, edit it, polish it as shiny as it can possibly be. It’s not my job to overlook the cracks in your query. At the same time, there is a lot of utter crap that agencies get. So at least having something that follows the agency’s rules and sounds vaguely coherent gets you past the first stage of screening. The part a writer probably doesn’t want to hear though is that there’s a certain element of luck involved. Your query may come at the end of a long day when the agent (or intern) reading your query just wants to go home. Your query may come after one that was utterly spectacular. But at the same time, your query may also come with a bunch of bad queries, making yours seem extra special by comparison. As much as I tried to read everything on a fair and even scale, it’s never entirely possible.

I did have a really good time during my internship, and at the end of the summer, I thought for sure I was going to be back after graduation. But when I was settled back at school and did some more thinking, I decided that at this point in my life, publishing wasn’t the right path for me. Kind of like bookstores, reading books is the fun part of the job. There’s a lot more work to it than that. And unfortunately, it’s an industry that doesn’t pay all that well. You have to really, really, REALLY love what you’re doing, because you’re probably going to be living with roommates and scraping by for the first decade of your career. New York was also just not the right place for me to live. A lot of things went into that decision. But it led me to Read Between the Lynes to see how publishing worked on the OTHER end of the production line. It’s definitely been cool getting to see the whole process of how a book becomes real.

Emma: Did any of the manuscripts you read get picked up by publishers?
Rachel: In fact, two of them have. First & Then by Emma Mills was the very first manuscript I read, and she definitely set the bar high. I had no idea how much I needed this book until I read it. How it was pitched caught my eye immediately: Pride & Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights. Although I love books, I’m arguably even more passionate about sports. I went to every home football game in high school, and a good number of the away games too...and was one of the loudest ones there. In so many schools, sports are an enormous part of the culture, whether one is a fan or not, and we don’t often see that reflected in YA books. First & Then managed to capture that spirit perfectly. Also, it’s just plain cute and wonderful and swoony. EVERYONE MAKE SURE TO PICK IT UP IN OCTOBER.

The other one that’s due for publication in February 2016 is The Last Boy at St. Edith’s by Lee Gjertsen Malone. I’m almost more interested to read this one when it comes out, because I didn’t actually recommend it. I had some big problems with it, although the writing was clearly good. I’m excited to see how it got edited and changed to make it better. Remember how I said I was very critical? Perhaps on this one I was a bit TOO critical.

Emma: What advice do you have for teens who want to work in the book industry someday?
Rachel: Read a lot, and force yourself out of your comfort zone. I know, I struggle with this one too. But it will be useful in any job you have, whether you’re selling books to people or helping make them happen. If all the books you read are in an echo chamber, that’s all you’ll ever produce. Also, make yourself present. I got hired at the bookstore because I went in there constantly, I bought books there, I talked with the employees. They knew me. Get on Twitter. Talk to authors, talk to agents, talk to editors. While that won’t help get you a job directly, it’ll help you know about the industry before you even try to join it. I even learned about the internship I ended up getting because someone tweeted about it in my feed. Just because you don’t work in the industry yet doesn’t mean you can’t still participate in it.

Emma: Any recent or upcoming releases you're excited about?
Rachel: SIX OF CROWS SIX OF CROWS SIX OF CROWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*takes deep breath*

Okay, now that that’s out of my system. It’s no secret that I love Leigh Bardugo’s grishaverse. I was honestly a bit scared to read Six of Crows because of how much I loved the trilogy. I didn’t want to be disappointed. And boy was I not. The word ‘swoon’ is used a lot for YA books, but it’s honestly been a long time since I’ve swooned like this over a book. I told Leigh after I finished that I’m very bad at books with a group cast. I can never keep them all straight. For Six of Crows? I feel like I know each of the characters personally. Plus, my Kaz feelings are through the roof. He’s EXACTLY my kind of character. I can’t wait for this book to be in the world.

And what would be my favorite fall release if not for Six of Crows, I can’t wait for the release of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This book works its “found file” style to the max, making for perfect dramatic pacing and information reveal. If my Kaz feelings are through the roof, then my AIDAN feelings are through the walls of the spaceship and floating around in the infinite black. You can definitely draw some conclusions about my character from my love of these two. Please don’t.

Emma: And standard question time: do you have a favorite fairytale?
Rachel: I admit, this is the question that stumped me. I’m a wordy person, so the previous questions challenged me to not write a novel for each answer. I never especially loved any “classic” fairytale growing up. I actually prefer fairy stories, like the real ones. Don’t ever screw with a fairy. Don’t walk home alone from the pub at night through the open field. I loved hearing about how one town banded together in Ireland when they were going to tear down a tree to build a road. It was a fairy tree, and no way were they going to risk that. Instead the road splits to go around the tree.

I did always find fascination with Diamonds and Toads (Charles Perrault), otherwise known to myself as the story of the witch at the well. One daughter is kind to the witch and fetches her a drink of water, and she blesses her to have precious gems spill from her mouth at every word. Then when her sister goes to the well, the witch appears differently and she scorns the witch, and is cursed to have toads and vipers come from her mouth when she speaks. Gross but cool, right?

Emma: Thanks so much, Rachel!
Rachel: Thanks so much for having me! It’s been fun! If anyone has anything else they want to know about working in a bookstore or interning at an agency, I’d be happy to talk with you in more detail!

Emma: Yes! Let me know if you want to chat more with Rachel, and I shall get you in contact with her.

August 25, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: The Syllabus of Saving the World 101

I was so excited about this week's topic that I actually made a literal syllabus. Yeah. I'm geeky that way. So if you're interested in seeing it, here's the Google Doc link. Otherwise, here are the ten books that would be required reading for Saving the World 101!

1. Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones

2. Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond

3. Sidekicked by John David Anderson

4. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

5. The Archived by Victoria Schwab

6. Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

7. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

8. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

9. The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

10. Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

So what class are you teaching at our fictional university? What books are on the syllabus for it? Can't wait to read everyone else's posts!

August 24, 2015

Review: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith
Grade: B-
Release date: September 1, 2015
An e-galley was provided by Little, Brown via NetGalley and an ARC was provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they'll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I am a sucker for Jennifer E. Smith's books. It all started when I first entered the world of YA and read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. I haven't actively disliked any of her books, but Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between was not one of her stronger titles. Its characters were realistic, its plot was a fun idea, and it was a recipe for the perfect Emma book. But I found myself irritated with the characters a lot, and I was especially frustrated with Clare on several occasions. I get why Hello was more realistic than romantic, but I would've liked a little more fiction and wishful thinking rather than realism and a bittersweet ending. The one part I appreciated that was realistic and smart was the whole plot about Aidan not actually applying to Harvard and Clare not getting into Stanford. Their thoughts about all of that worked nicely; I'd elaborate but I'll be spoiling some big stuff in just a few sentences, so I'll leave this as a surprise. There was much discussion between Aidan and Clare about their potential break-up and I just wanted it to happen or not. So when, SPOILER ALERT, they actually broke up partway through the book, I was pleasantly surprised. That worked out nicely. But then, ANOTHER SPOILER ALERT, they slept together again after they'd broken up, and that left me confused. They were just a confusing couple in general. I never could quite figure out why they were even together. Now, Scotty and Stella actually kind of made sense. Their part in the plot was good, and I liked Scotty and how he reacted to feeling left behind and not as good as his friends.
There was more foul language than Jennifer's books normally have, but it still wasn't much. Like I mentioned above, one of the couples sleeps together (it's fade to black). There's a sort-of drunken fight and underage drinking.

The Verdict: Good, but this didn't top Statistical Probability and You Are Here as my favorite Jennifer E. Smith novels.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: Yup, but not until it's in paperback. (Long story.)

August 23, 2015

The 1989 Book Tag

Until last month, I hadn't done a single book tag. And now I'm on my third. In my defense, all three play into my deep love for Taylor Swift and Disney. So I felt it was necessary to do them. This is gonna be a long one, but I'm super excited. Charnell (the blogger) themed each number after a specific song lyric, which I thought was pretty smart.

Welcome to New York

1. A book with LGBT themes
"You can want who you want, boys and boys and girls and girls"
My choice would have to be Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley, which I actually love for its setting and discussions of segregation and racial integration.

Blank Space

2. A book that hit you right in the feels but was totally worth it
"You can tell me when it's over if the high was worth the pain"
Yup. The Wrath and the Dawn is totally worth reading but it'll kill ya.

3. A book you hated but loved the cover
"I'm a nightmare dressed like a daydream"
Seeker was awful. I DNFed it because it was so confusing and weird. But the cover on the other hand...

4. Your latest book boyfriend/girlfriend
"I've got a blank space, baby, and I'll write your name"
My latest is actually from a book I read almost a year ago, but he's still the latest that actually makes my main list. Ladies and gentlemen, Max Watson from The Start of Me and You.


5. A timeless classic you love
"We never go out of style"
Totally Emma. I will never get tired of this one. Or retellings of it.

Out Of The Woods

6. A book which had vivid world-building
"The rest of the world was black and white
But we were in screaming color"
All those parallel universes, omgsh. A Thousand Pieces of You had some brilliant world-building.

7. A book where things weren't exactly how they seemed
"The monsters turned out to be just trees"
I had to go with All Fall Down because of those plot twists and that ending.

All You Had to Do Was Stay

8. A book you were eagerly anticipating but ended up being disappointed by
"You were all I wanted...but not like this"
Totally Don't Ever Change. I liked the idea of writing a novel, but Eva was a terrible person with no growth and this book crashed and burned.

Shake It Off

"The haters gonna hate"
9. A book/series everyone seems to love but you can't help but hate
This book. I wanted to throw The Jewel against the wall so many times. The only reason I want to read the sequel is the Duchess of the Lake, and she's the villain so I should hate her.

10. A book/series you love but everyone else seems to hate
I saw so many negative reviews for Stray right before and after it released, but I really enjoyed it! It seemed more original than a lot of fantasy YA these days, and I appreciated that.

I Wish You Would

11. A book/series you know you'll always love
"I wish you knew that I'll never forget you as long as I live"
Totally Morgan Matson's most recent. I love Since You've Been Gone with every fiber of my being.

12. An upcoming release you wish you could have right now
"I wish you were right here right now"
There are a couple books I really wanted to pick for this one, but I think the novel I'm dying for most is Winter (although, Queen of Shadows, All In, and Ice Like Fire are pretty close behind).

Bad Blood

13. A character you once loved but grew to hate
"Now we've got bad blood
You know it used to be mad love"
I wouldn't necessarily say I hate Isla. But I don't have mad love for her anymore. She was great at the start of Isla and the Happily Ever After and then I feel like she lost character development and wasn't as great as I first thought.

14. An author you haven't forgiven for the things they did to your favorite characters
"Did you have to do this, I was thinking you could be trusted"
Sarah J. Maas
Let's be real: I adore Sarah J. Maas. She's cool and writes awesome books. But after the events of Heir of Fire, I no longer trust her to leave my babies unscathed.

Wildest Dreams

15. A book that was far too predictable
"I can see the end as it begins"
I'm gonna have to go with Pulled Under for this one. I could totally see where the end was going, and it annoyed me so much.

16. A book/series you wish could go on forever
"Nothing lasts forever but this is getting good now"
I'm so sad this series is only getting 4 books because I could read about Cassie, Lia, Dean, Michael, and Sloane forever.

How You Get the Girl

17. One of your favorite books where they 'got the girl'
"That's how it works
That's how you got the girl"
I'm gonna go with The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Hadley and Oliver fit so well together, and I was so glad the romance worked out in this one.

This Love

18. A book that completely shocked you
"In silent screams, in wildest dreams, I never dreamed of this"
The love interest and that conclusion were not what I was expecting in Mortal Heart.

I Know Places

19. A book you thought you loved but quickly came to hate
"Love's a fragile little flame, it could burn out"
Suspicion was pretty good until the paranormal aspect started up.

20. A book you didn't want to be seen reading
"Something happens when everybody finds out
See the vultures circling dark clouds"
This was a great book, but with a cover and title like that, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father is not one I wanted to read in public.


21. When the wait between books made you forget everything that happened
"The drought was the very worst, when the flowers that we'd grown together died of thirst"
17334538 23262675
So I absolutely loved Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke but it's been so long since I last read it that I only remember the bare bones of the plot. I'll have to reread it before I read Resonance.

22. A book/series you wiped from your memory
"By morning, gone was any trace of you, I think I am finally clean"
I liked the first book but really didn't like the second two in this trilogy, so I've pretty much wiped out all memory of Matched.

I'm not going to tag anyone, but if you want to do this one, too, feel free to mention you found it through me! :)