Weekly Wrap Up + What We Read 3/20/16

Hey there guys! This week, it is SUPER IMPORTANT TO ME that you watch this video. Why? Because I’ve been on hiatus this week and Michaela has been pulling double time to make up for all the stuff I’m not posting. So please give her a round of applause! Stop by a video or post and tell her you love her. I haven’t seen her face all week because I’ve been roadtripping and it makes me sad. But anyways! Here’s what happened this week from (mostly) Michaela!

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Friday:

Saturday:

 

Worth It Wednesday: “Stormdancer” by Jay Kristoff

Worth It Wednesdays is a weekly post where I feature my favorite YA titles. Find out more about it here!

StormdancerTitle: Stormdancer

Author: Jay Kristoff

Goodreads Description: A DYING LAND
The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.

AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST
The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

A HIDDEN GIFT
Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

Why it’s worth it: If you know a thing about me, than it is probably already clear why this book made my Top 10 Series I NEED to Finish. For one thing, just look at it. I got an ARC of this book, originally, but I would gladly spend money to own a copy of this cover. LOOK AT IT.

Alright, listen.I admit that my original ARC review was extremely confused. I gave it four stars, but I spent a lot of times talking about the negatives. I don’t know why–I can almost sense that something else was happening to my emotional state why I was reading it. Trust me, that original emphasis does not hold up on subsequent readings.

Jay Kristoff is a fabulous writer. Just. His writing is beautiful and wonderful and of a caliber not often appreciated enough in young adult writing.I would read a menu or instruction manual written by him and it would be amazing.

Also, his world. This is one of the most amazing worlds I’ve ever encountered. Does it lean into some of my personal biases, i.e. Japanese inspiration and THUNDER TIGERS? You bet it does. Does that mean anything less than IT IS AMAZING? Absolutely not.

Oh yeah, by the way: THUNDER TIGER. Though I love Yukiko as a character, strong and fierce as she is, my heart forever belongs to the thunder tiger. His voice was so hilariously amazing that it made me legitimately sad that I did not have a friend like him. Okay, so no one really has a thunder-tiger but still.

So the beginning of this book is a little slow and the romance aspect is convoluted to say the least. IT IS WORTH IT. If you don’t believe me, just know that Taylor from Bibliomancy for Beginners also read and loved this series and we rarely agree on ANYTHING. It’s that good.

Read it if you’re looking for: fantastic writing, strong female characters, Japanese inspired mythology, steampunk, strong world building, action, adventure, THUNDER-TIGERS

Thesis Thursday: Babbling about YA Book Cover Trends

Thesis Thursdays is a weekly(ish) feature where I rant, love and talk about young adult books I’m reading because I’m conning my college into thinking this is all for academia! Find out more here!

After getting out of my thesis meeting today, it turns out that I have too many thoughts about YA book covers. I want to say too much about them, in too many angles, in too many ways. I could write a million papers about YA book covers.

So, while that is not productive to me, I’m going to talk about a few things that came up for me and see if you guys think I’m crazy or if you’ve noticed this too. I’m going to make a serious effort to stay quick and to the point–and not get my professorial lecturing on–so many of these ideas will stay surface level. Tell me what you find interesting!

  1. Book cover trends in general – like, literally, what is going on with this? Books that 51ocax0kjxl-_sx326_bo1204203200_are all different genres–dystopian, fantasy, paranormal, realistic–they all look the same. Each one of them was just as likely to have a “girl in dress” or “half girl face” cover as the next. That doesn’t help you figure out what the book is supposed to be about? Sure, those were some pretty dresses, but do we care? I’d rather see actual content related covers, if you don’t mind. Of particular concern to me:
    1. Book covers that partition the female body – Why do we need book covers that focus just on female torsos? Why not give them heads or full bodies? Fragmentation of the female body has been long studied in advertising as a way to help objectify it. Which is doubly weird, since most YA books are marketed towards female readers.
    2. the selectionGirls in dresses – Okay, on some overs this is fine. Like, for instance, Kiera Cass’s Selection series. That makes sense. But on books where we’re supposed to get a strong female character, why are they shown in inactive poses in dresses that will not be very helpful in a fight? Or, at the very least, they never wear in the actual book?
  2. Book cover changes mid-series publication – Am I
    insane, or did this never used to happen? I never used to have to flip out because I bought one book in hardcover,

    Throne of Glass

    The original ToG cover.

    but by the time the next book came out, the covers had completely changed. Now, oftentimes this change IS for the better (I’m looking at you, Throne of Glass), but … it’s annoying if you want your covers to all look the same. But seriously, help me out here. This is a rather new phenomenon, isn’t it?

  3. Book series repackaging through the years – This is more of a pet peeve with a related example. I will never forget standing in a Barnes and Noble with Tamora Pierce as she lamented about the new “Twilight covers” of her Alanna series where it looked like her characters were wearing clothes “from the Gap.” I understand that the Alanna series is older now, but packaging it to look like Twilight doesn’t seem to be the best marketing strategy. It’s a very different book series. Have you seen other books that have be repackaged in weird ways?Song of the Lioness
  4. The Immortal RulesBook cover white washing – this is very much a last but certainly not least moment. I know that this is a long and storied tradition of publishing, but it really hit home with me when Julie Kagawa’s Blood of Eden series came out. Why would you use the half face of a white girl on the cover of a book about an Asian-American character? Okay, I know the annoying answer to that question, but seriously. Then, after the uproar, the books got new covers–but not of an actual Asian-American half faced girl. No, the books went the route of the symbol covers instead. Yes, that’s a new fad, but I’m also going to add an eyebrow raise to that movement. What are some other whitewashed covers that have annoyed you guys?

I think I want to say something along the lines of how YA book covers have become really 9780547959214_hresfrustrating, because they–like the inside flaps of the books they contain–are starting to all look the same. Don’t get me wrong, there is some FABULOUS cover art out there, but there are also books that just seem so … samesie. I’m really not a fan of the new symbol art thing. It seems like too many books are trying to be The Hunger Games. At the very least, it seems the symbols are leading back around to more artsy designs than the half-girl faces used to give us.

26114463Can you see how my ideas are flip flopping all over the place? I understand that books can’t all be fabulous pieces of art like the Throne of Glass redo covers or literally anything written by Jay Kristoff, but …sigh. There is SO MUCH IMPORTANT INFORMATION tucked into these covers. I want to talk about it all with my scholar cap on, but I can’t cover all this stuff with the breadth it deserves in the same paper.

Sigh. I need to decide soon. Fingers crossed.

From the Notebook: Top 10 Series I NEED to Finish!

So, last week’s video was made of some rather unpopular opinions, as I discussed the Top 10 series I would never finish. On the heels of that, I boomeranged back the other way this week with a MUCH more positive (but no less expressive) video about the top 10 series I could have finished … but haven’t. Ergo, I need to get on finishing these series RIGHT THE HELL NOW. Ahem. Anyways, enjoy!

Continue reading

2012 End of the Year Book Survey

End of the Year Book Survey

The End of the Year Book Survey is hosted by The Perpetual Page Turner.

So, I found this survey on the blogosphere and thought, “You know, this would be awesome.” So I’m going to do it. Hopefully it’ll become an annual thing, and will help you guys find some new books to read. Oh, and cheating is going to be rampant.

1. Best Book You Read In 2012?

Cheating on the first question, ALRIGHT! Here’s my Top Ten Books I Read in 2012!

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Erm, there were a few of these. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins was one of them. The blogosphere blew up about it but I … wasn’t on board as much. Same with Defiance by CJ Redwine. I wanted so much more out of that one. More recently, Prophecy by Ellen Oh. I liked all these, I just expected more.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, most definetly. The way it’s written, I should hate it. But I LOVE IT.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

Depending on the person, it’s probably a tie between Code Name Verity and Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

Oof. That’s a hard one. What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang? Throne of Glass? Grave Mercy by R. L. LaFevers? The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa? I can’t pick one!

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Nina Berry (Otherkin), Kat Zhang (What’s Left of Me), Jodi Meadows (Incarnate), Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass), Jay Kristoff (Stormdancer)– I should probably stop at some point.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. I don’t particularly like contemporary YA and am very cynical about YA romance, but this one just turned me into a marshmellow.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Ohmygod.

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead. THE IDIGO SPELL IS COMING!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

Basically, my one goal here was to avoid a girl in a dress and that was REALLY HARD. This is Crewel by Gennifer Albin!

Crewel11. Most memorable character in 2012?

Eva and Addie from What’s Left of Me. These are two girls in one body. IT WAS FANTASTIC.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Hands down.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

Code Name Verity for sure. Also Pushing the Limits.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Yeah, I know, it’s THAT BAD.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?

ARE YOU CRAZY THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE? Uh.

“And this, even more wonderful and mysterious, is also true: when I read it, when I read what Julie’s written, she is instantly alive again, whole and undamaged. With her words in my mind while I’m reading, she is as real as I am. Gloriously daft, drop-dead charming, full of bookish nonsense and foul language, brave and generous. She’s right here. Afraid and exhausted, alone, but fighting. Flying in silver moonlight in a plane that can’t be landed, stuck in the climb—alive, alive, ALIVE.”

Code Name Verity

“Her shoulders never shook. No tears streamed down her face. The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see–the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life.”

Pushing the Limits

“The hand on my hair moved to my back, and I realized someone was singing softly. The voice was familiar, and something about it made my chest ache.  Well, that was to be expected. Angels’ songs would be awfully poignant.
“‘I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, when I met you…'” the voice crooned.
I frowned. Was that really an appropriate song for the Heavenly Host to be–”

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

(I think I’ll stop here…)

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?

Longest: Literary Theory: Anthology = 1,314 pages

Shortest: Shadowed Ground by Vicki Keire = 120 pages

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead. AGGHGHGHGH GUYS IT HAPPENED AND THEN AGHGHGHGH.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Endlessly by Kiersten White, because EVIE AND LEND. But also Syndey and Adrian from The Golden Lily. But then there’s Noah and Echo in Pushing the Limits. And Sophie and Archer from Spell Bound. And Ellie and Will from Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare or Wings of the Wicked or Spell Bound.

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, thanks to THE ENTIRE BLOGOSPHERE.

I’m going to hold this here because wow this is already long, but there are plenty of other questions about blogging and stuff on the whole thing, so check out The Perpetual Pageturner for more questions and blogs!

Top Ten New To Me Authors I Read in 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

Okay, this list is HARDLY the only awesome new to me authors I read in 2012. They’re just as far as I could go back in the year before I hit 10, and honestly I didn’t get very far.

1. Gennifer Albin (Crewel)

Yeah, I had my issues with Crewel, but I can’t deny the sheer awesomeness of this idea and the book and the cover and– and– just *drool*.

2. Jay Kristoff (Stormdancer)

GUYS. HE WRITES JAPANESE STEAMPUNK. THERE IS A THUNDER-TIGER. Enough has been said. (But I said more in my review!)

3. Kat Zhang (What’s Left of Me)

I have so much respect for Kat. Not only did she manage to successfully narrate this novel from a body that has 2 personalities inside, but she managed to write OTHER characters that have TWO PERSONALITIES. Oh, and did I mention the book is awesomesauce? Because it is. I said so HERE.

4. S. J. Kincaid (Insignia)

Not only did this book have me laughing out loud, but I gave it to my brother and it made HIM laugh out loud and it gave us something to talk about. Both him laughing and us talking are like miracles. Read more HERE.

5. Anna Banks (Of Poseidon)

Up until this point, I was NOT a fan of the new mermaid trend. But Banks won me over, and I actually really ended up enjoying this one! You can read why HERE.

6. Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits)

It takes a seriously good book to a) almost make me cry and b) actually like anything in the contemporary YA genre. McGarry did BOTH. I explain more HERE.

7. Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass)

I think this book is like my most recommended book all year. Like seriously. Because you know why? I CAN’T HANDLE HOW AWESOME THIS BOOK IS OHMYGOD I JUST– Ahem. Read my review for more (CAPS).

8. Nina Berry (Otherkin)

Okay, so for one, Berry wrote a school setting that I didn’t hate, and for that I give her huge props. Also, she’s awesome to talk to on Twitter, and that makes her doubly awesome. You can read more about the book HERE.

9. Elizabeth Wein (Code Name Verity)

Okay, we’ve discussed how hard it is to make me cry. WEIN ALMOST SUCCEEDED. Also, the way the book was written I should have HATED it. But I didn’t. I loved it. And I sang it’s praises so loudly and haven’t stopped since.

10. Robin LaFevers (Grave Mercy)

Basically anyone who writes historical fiction is instantly my bestie. But this was historical fantasy, which was even better, and then there was the ASSASSIN NUNS. It doesn’t get much better than this. Check out my review for more!

Top Ten Favorite Authors in YA Fantasy

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

Okay guys, this is going to be a fun one. There are SO many great authors in this genre it is going to SUCK to pick just one. But I’m going to try. So here we go!

1. Tamora Pierce

She’s my idol and an all around amazing person. (I met her! Did you not see?) I have also only ever disliked one book she’s written in like a gazillion. (And sadly that’s the only review of her stuff on the blog.) I have read and own everything she’s written anyways.

2. Cassandra Clare

Another idol of mine. Another person whom I have met (Did you miss that too?). I also own everything she has ever written. It is even more impressive that she managed to win me back over into the Mortal Instruments series after City of Fallen Angels and the whole three more books thing. City of Glass still had the perfect ending, but City of Lost Souls was actually really good! (See here.)

3. Rachel Hawkins

I cannot get over how much I love these books. It’s actually the only series I’ve read where my favorite book is the middle one. (Not that I didn’t like Spell Bound. Review here.) These books are SO quotable and fantastic and they make me laugh EVERY TIME. EVERY TIME. Most books get stale fast with me, but not these! Also, she’s a fantastic person to follow on Twitter.

4. Richelle Mead

While not solely a YA author, her Vampire Academy books and Bloodlines series are all the ones I’ve read and OHMYGOD I LOVE. After VA I thought I’d never love another character of hers like I loved Dimitri, but Adrian is just so … ohmygod. I prefer Rose over Sydney only because Rose is snarkier, but Adrian totally picks up the slack. (I have reviews of Bloodlines and The Golden Lily.)

5. Courtney Allison Moulton

Another writer whose work just never gets old. Ellie is as snarky as I like them, and Will is just hello-honey. Romance that I can stand in YA is few and far between, and this would be one of those select few. Courtney is also an AWESOME person to follow on Twitter, and I actually got to update a few things I said on my review of Wings of the Wicked because we discussed it. I had a moment right there.

6. Jodi Meadows

She may only have one book out so far, but she’s cemented her spot on my list like whoa. (There is too much CAPS in my review of Incarnate, for one.) I freaking themed my prom dress around that cover (albeit accidentally to begin with). I may have mentioned that Twitter is an awesome place. Well, Jodi happens to be another awesome person in the twittersphere who I’ve had awesome conversations with. Asunder can’t come out soon enough.

7. Julie Kagawa

Several people may kill me when they realize I have only ever read her book The Immortal Rules. It was actually one of the first books I was approved to review from NetGalley! I have her first Iron Fey book in my possession, though, and I plan to read it as soon as humanly possible. Either way, though, I can’t handle the way she writes. It’s beautiful. Therefore, spot on this list without further proof necessary.

8. Sarah J. Maas

While we’re on the subject of gorgeous writing, let’s skip on over here, shall we? Again, Sarah has only released (in full novel form anyways) Throne of Glass, but it completely blew me out of the water on so many levels. I appreciate good writing, and Sarah HAS IT.

9. Rae Carson

My review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns still makes me laugh. I mean really. It was one of my earlier reviews and its second in hystericalness only to my review of Anna and the French Kiss.  But I just LOVED IT. I have the next book in my possession RIGHT NOW but I’m so behind on reviews I haven’t been able to read it yet. I’m dying inside just staring at the pretty cover.

10. Jay Kristoff

My review of Stormdancer was a long and complicated thing, but that still doesn’t change how I feel about the way he writes. For me, a favorite author can have issues as long as the writing is solid and HOLY BANANAS. Jay can write me into deep jealousy.