Showcase Sunday

Showcase Sunday is a meme created by Vicky at Books, Biscuits, and Tea to share new book acquisitions, whether bought, gifted, received for review, borrowed, or won.

Bought

  • Missed Connections: Love, Lost & Found by Sophie Blackall
  • Casket of Souls by Lynn Flewelling
  • The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
  • The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
  • Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
  • Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
  • The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June by Robin Benway
  • Austenland by Shannon Hale
  • The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg
  • Illyria by Elizabeth Hand
  • The Demon’s Covenant (signed) by Sarah Rees Brennan

For Review

  • Good Bones by Kim Fielding (from NetGalley)
  • The Encyclopedia of Me by Karen Rivers (from NetGalley)
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (from NetGalley)
  • The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abé (from NetGalley)
  • The Amber House by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, and Larkin Reed (from NetGalley)
  • Asher’s Invention by Coleen Kwan (from NetGalley)
  • His Heart’s Obsession by Alex Beecroft (from NetGalley)
  • Scott Pilgrim Volume 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O’Malley (from NetGalley)
  • Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills (from NetGalley)
  • Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (from NetGalley)

Won

  • For Darkness Shows the Stars ARC by Diana Peterfreund plus tons of bookmarks (I think some giveaways might be in order) (Thanks to Diana!)

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish that allows us to list our top ten answers to a different question each week.

This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Trends You’d Like To See More of/Less of

Less

1. Love Triangles
For some reason, more and more authors (particularly YA authors) are becoming convinced

I prefer my novels team-free.

that this is the only acceptable form of romantic entanglement. I can’t speak for all readers, but I for one do not find it easier to relate to a character who can’t turn the corner without a new man falling in a dazed stupor at her feet. Perhaps if some of this page time were dedicated to developing the relationship between two characters rather than figuring out how to delicately remove the third side of the triangle, I would find more literary couples to cheer on.

2. Insta-love
Again, I’m looking at you, young adult authors, although I ultimately blame Shakespeare for this one. I’ve never found Romeo and Juliet romantic. They were two kids whose hormone-addled brains decided to get some action and give the finger to their parents all at the same time. They did not know each other, barely spoke to each other, yet died for each other. I rolled my eyes at this premise back in seventh grade, and I roll my eyes whenever an author resurrects it with characters who experience ALL-CONSUMING-LOVE within a week of meeting each other. Please see above re: relationship development.

3. Cheating
Adultery is not sexy. True, it is a part of life, but that doesn’t mean I want to read about it in romantic contexts. I give a slight pass to non-romance-centric genres, but only if they make their non-romantic status clear from the get-go.

4. E-books
There is no substitute for the feel of a book in your hands as the pages flip past, or for the anticipation of strolling through your local bookstore searching for a new release, or for the beauty of book covers that are an art unto themselves. E-readers are lightweight, perhaps cheaper…and offer absolutely none of this.

5. Series
When you find a great series, there’s excitement and comfort in knowing that you won’t have to say goodbye to your favorite characters when you turn the last page. Yet, now and then, I wish I could open an urban fantasy novel and know that there will be resolution come the end, without any loose threads or dreaded cliffhangers. If Neil Gaiman can do it, so can others.

More

I bet Mercy could use something right around now. Like a jacket.

1.Covers with clothing
Personally, if I were about to engage in hand-to-hand with a nasty beasty, I would want something covering my midriff. I’m sure some of the heroines could do with fewer tattoos as well.

2. The Anti-Mary Sue
Mercy, Kate, Cat, Mac…want to know what some of my favorite UF heroines have in common? They make mistakes. Why anyone would want to read about an infallible protagonist is beyond me, because what could you possibly learn from such perfection? There is a difference between a character that is perfect, and a character that is strong, assertive, and intelligent, for often it is in over-thinking things that one makes the biggest mistakes. The best characters may overthink, or they may (gasp) act human and not even think at all at times, but they own up to their mistakes, and therein lies growth. Please note: the same can be said for TSTL heroines.

3. The Beta Hero
Yes, we get it, it’s fun to fantasize about the brawny, bossy male. But how many of us would actually be able to tolerate that in real life? There is a dearth of Beta men, and I’m calling for that to be rectified. Strength is sexier when it doesn’t come in a domineering package, and it’s time that authors start romanticizing the heroes that are right next door.

4. Updated Mythology and Folklore
Newsflash: there’s more to the supernatural than the creatures that want to drink your blood. Greek, Egyptian, Celtic…there’s no end to the mythologies available for artistic interpretation, and I’d love to see more authors start to take advantage of that.

5. Loving Family Relationships
Estrangement, dysfunction, abuse…they are themes prevalent both in fantasy as well as young adult fiction, and sometimes they provide a necessary background for the protagonist. But more often than not, they seem gratuitous, as if by depriving their main characters of a loving family the authors can simultaneously secure audience sympathy and make their characters seem more capable and edgy. Yet, as I highlighted in my reviews for Audrey, Wait!, The Black Jewels Trilogy, and Blackout, family relationships often provide some of the most interesting dynamics among characters.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a meme created at Book Journey to catalogue everything read in the past week, what you’re working on now, and what you hope to get to in the coming week.

It wound up being sort of a crazy week in a good week, so I got lots of reading in. Fingers crossed for this week as well.

Past Week

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Audrey, Wait by Robin Benway

What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones

Peeps by Scott Westerfield

The Proposition by Judith Ivory

Fire by Kristin Cashore

Reading Now

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

 The Week Ahead

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

The Secret Countess by Eva Ibbotson

Simply Love by Mary Balough

Review: Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Audrey, Wait! is one of those books that seems to be sneaking its way onto lots of readers’ top ten lists, so when I found a copy at a local used bookstore, I knew I had to check it out. I’m glad I did, because amidst a deluge of YA contemporaries, Audrey,Wait! stands out among its peers.

I love music, but its never been one of my passions. While I understand many music lovers’ diatribes about its visceral power, I can’t say I’ve ever felt it to be a life-changing force in my

Audrey, Wait by Robin Benway

own life, and I am far too selective in my musical choices to truly appreciate the concept of music-as-a-lifestyle that permeates many YA novels. None of this impaired my enjoyment of Audrey, Wait!

Audrey is one of the most realistic protagonists I have encountered in contemporary teen fiction. She has a hobby she is passionate about, but it is not an all-consuming obsession that gets in the way of her studies or her personal relationships. She is sarcastic and self-effacing without ever being sour or apathetic. She has already experienced the trials of a first relationship, and embraces the developments in her love life without allowing them to cloud her judgment or impede her other aspirations. Most importantly, she has genuine, loving relationships with her friends and family that I wish more YA books would showcase, as I cannot believe that explosive friendships or antagonistic parental relations are the norm for most teenagers.

Audrey, Wait! uses a unique narrative format to allow Audrey’s voice to shine. While her story is not that of the typical high schooler, the cadence of her daily interactions is something that most teens can relate to: the inane conversations with your best friend in the hallway, the excitement of seeing someone in a new romantic light, the indignity of wearing your employer’s slogan on your shirt during an encounter with your nemesis. Benway manages to
convey the awkwardness and elation of such moments without every resorting to melodrama or forcing her protagonist to make mind-numbingly bad decisions. Audrey’s choices are not always perfect, but neither are they so far afield of what one might imagine oneself doing if in Audrey’s shoes.

Filled with humor and characters to root for, Audrey, Wait! is a great read that makes me excited to see what Benway comes up with next.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a meme created at Book Journey to catalogue everything read in the past week, what you’re working on now, and what you hope to get to in the coming week.

This upcoming week threatens to be super busy once again, so I’m not as optimistic toward my TBR list.

Past Week

Princess in Love by Meg Cabot

River Marked by Patricia Briggs

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Wages of Sin by Jenna Maclaine

Grave Sins by Jenna Maclaine

Re-Reading Now:

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

 The Week Ahead:

Bound by Sin by Jenna Maclaine

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Fire by Kristin Cashore

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a meme created at Book Journey to catalogue everything read in the past week, what you’re working on now, and what you hope to get to in the coming week.

This past week had a lot going on, so not much to report reading-wise, but I hope to remedy that this coming week.

Past Week

Lover Unleased by J.R. Ward


Major Crush by Jennifer Echols

Mia Tells It Like It Is by Meg Cabot

Re-Reading Now:
    
Princess in Love by Meg Cabot (you know you still love the Princess Diaries.  True, we weren’t all princesses in high school, but most of us were awkward, so it still brings back the memories).
The Week Ahead:
Princess in Training by Meg Cabot
River Marked by Patricia Briggs
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
Cold Magic by Kate Elliott
Divergent by Veronica Roth
What are you planning on reading this week?

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a meme created by Kristi over at The Story Siren to share new book acquisitions, whether bought, gifted, received for review, borrowed, or won.

This month’s post is a roundup for the past month’s book influx (it’s been a very good month).

Bought

  • Shadow Bound by Erin Kellison
  • Shadow Fall by Erin Kellison
  • Huntress Anthology
  • Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas
  • Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
  • When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James
  • Too Much Temptation by Lori Foster
  • Major Crush by Jennifer Echols
  • Princess in Waiting by Meg Cabot
  • Cold Magic by Kate Elliott
  • The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
  • The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
  • Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott
  • Are We There Yet? by David Levithan
  • The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan
  • Mia Tells It Like It Is (PD I & II) by Meg Cabot
  • Princess in Love by Meg Cabot
Gifted

  • Blood Challenge by Eileen Wilks
  • Wages of Sin by Jenna Maclaine
  • Grave Sins by Jenna Maclaine
  • Bound by Sin by Jenna Maclaine
  • Bitter Night by Diana Pharaoh Francis
  • Crimson Wind by Diana Pharaoh Francis
  • Reunion by Meg Cabot
  • The Proposition by Judith Ivory
  • Simple Jess by Pamela Morsi
  • A Summer to Remember by Mary Balogh
  • Simply Love by Mary Balogh

  • Fire by Kristin Cashore
  • Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr
  • The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade
  • Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
  • Where She Went by Gayle Forman
  • River Marked by Patricia Briggs
  • Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward
Won