August Reading Tracker

You can see what I read in July. I decided I did want a plan and since I am having reader burnout on every imaginable level I decided to throw in some books I’ve been desperately looking forward to.

Here’s what I’m reading in August:

  1. Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson
  2. The Glass Sentence by S. E. Grove
  3. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
  4. The Jewel by Amy Ewing
  5. Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper
  6. Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst
  7. Tape by Steven Camden
  8. Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher
  9. Can’t Look Away by Donna Cooner

Blog 7th Birthday Book Giveaway!

Well, dear readers, it’s that time again. My blog is seven! (Check back on the actual birthday August 12 so some yearly stats.)

To celebrate I am once again hosting a giveaway bonanza here on the blog. I’ve been squirreling things away for this giveaway for the past year, so I hope you enjoy all the prizes up for grabs.

This giveaway is open to any readers over the age of 13. US only.

Giveaway will run from August 1 to August 31. I will pick seven winners–one per prize pack. Winners will be notified September 1. If I don’t hear back from the winners by September 3, I will pick a new winner from the entry pool as needed.


I’m running the giveaway through a Rafflecopter giveaway. Details on how to enter can be found by clicking “enter” above!

Without further ado here are your prize pack options:

Prize Pack #1: Wonderful Witches


  • Hexed by Michelle Krys (hardcover)
  • Conversion by Katherine Howe (ARC)
  • Novl tote bag
  • assorted swag bookmarks

Prize Pack #2: Fantastic Fantasies


  • The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkoski (ARC) (Signed!)
  • Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (ARC)
  • See Books Differently tote bag
  • assorted swag bookmarks

Prize Pack #3: Marvelous Mysteries


  • The Archived by Victoria Schwab (paperback)
  • The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (hardcover) (Signed!)
  • Soho Crime tote bag

Prize Pack #4: Greetings from the End of the World


  • Tumble and Fall by Alexandra Coutts (ARC) (signed!)
  • Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant (ARC)
  • The Giver tote bag
  • assorted swag

Prize Pack #5: Awesome Action


  • Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (hardcover) (signed!)
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (ARC) (signed!)
  • Throne of Glass tote
  • assorted swag

Prize Pack #6: Marvelous Middle Grades


  • Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz (ARC) (signed!)
  • Magic in the Mix
  • The Perfect Place by Teresa E. Harris (ARC)

Prize Pack #7: Sensational Samplers


  • The Young Elites by Marie Lu sample
  • The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon sample
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han sample
  • Clariel temporary tattoos

Once again, here is how to enter:

Giveaway is open to any readers over the age of 13. US only.

Giveaway will run from August 1 to August 31. Winners will be notified September 1. If I don’t hear back from the winners by September 3 I will pick a new winner from the entry pool as needed.


I’m running the giveaway through a Rafflecopter giveaway. Details on how to enter can be found by clicking “enter” above!

In which I have thoughts about steampunk as a genre.

I love Steampunk. There is something very appealing about the steampunk aesthetic that combines modern technology with very Victorian sensibilities. I like that the books have a historical feel without quite being historical but also fantasy elements without quite being that either.

You can browse my “steampunk” tag to see all of the related reviews and posts (there are some book lists and Linktastic! posts as well). Yesterday I reviewed Etiquette & Espionage which is my most recent steampunk read.

Keeping in mind my deep and abiding love for the genre in general and the Leviathan series in particular, I’ve noticed something.

Steampunk books usually involve an English setting and in order to get in the right head-space, the narrative also involves a certain tone–you know, an English/Victorian tone. (It sounds made up but, trust me, if you read enough steampunk books you will see it.)

The problem I’ve noticed is that in adoption that tone and talking about those things that are inherent to steampunk (the clothes, the manners, the steam-powered inventions) it feels like a lot of steampunk books also become somehow flippant. Not that the writing is low quality or that anything about the book is cut-rate. It just feels, sometimes, like because the book is genre fiction (sub-genre fiction really since steampunk is so specific) that it isn’t allowed to take itself seriously. Instead of a deadpan (as it were) presentation of events we get a tongue-in-cheek kind of story.

Then I consider the fact that I didn’t notice that flippancy in Leviathan or its sequels. Which brings to mind other gender issues. Does Leviathan come across as more serious because it’s written by a male author? Does it come off that way because of a male protagonist? Does the focus on a military airship necessarily preclude elements that might create a flippant tone in other novels?

I don’t really have any answers here but it’s just something I noticed and wanted to talk about.

Do you ever think books don’t have permission to take themselves seriously? Does it matter? Is this all in my head?

Let’s talk it out in the comments!

Is all of this just in my head?

Etiquette & Espionage: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail CarringerFourteen-year-old Sophronia is used to her mother’s disapproval and punishments. Even the idle threats of being sent to live with vampires hold little sway when Sophronia is faced with a situation in which she can attempt something daring instead of being painfully, boringly proper.

What Sophronia could not have guessed is that Mumsy would take matters further by sending Sophronia to a finishing school. Nor could she have anticipated exactly what that will mean when the initial pronouncement is handed down.

Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality is unlike any finishing school Sophronia could have fathomed. While she can’t be completely sure, Sophronia is fairly certain Mumsy didn’t have this kind of finishing in mind when she sent Sophronia away.

But then who is Sophronia to argue when there are friends to be made with fledgling evil geniuses, inventors with whom to collaborate and all manners of conspiracies to investigate. Manners and dress will certainly be in the curriculum. But so will diversion and deceit in Etiquette & Espionage (2013) by Gail Carringer.

Etiquette & Espionage is the first in Carringer’s YA Finishing School series. It is set in the same world as her bestselling Parasol Protectorate series for adults.*

Carringer has already mastered the skills required to write a supernatural, steampunk, historical fantasy. Her alternate history with elements of steampunk and fantasy tropes blend together exceptionally well with the Austen-like tone of her narration.

The world is well-realized and fascinating although often under explained. It’s impossible to say for sure but it seems likely some shorthand was used in world building (or at least world explaining) since so much groundwork has been laid in the earlier Parasol Protectorate books.

With virtually zero romantic entanglements and numerous high-action sequences Etiquette & Espionage is ideal for readers of any age. The story handles several topics (race and class divisions, friendship, wealth and status) very well adding a nice dimension to the plot. At the same time, unfortunately, the pacing often feels off with an immense amount of  setup in the first half of the novel only to lead to a plot resolution that feels rushed in the final pages.

Etiquette & Espionage is a fine start to a series with a cast of characters that are appealing in every sense even if their world might take a bit too long to come fully into focus.

*Etiquette & Espionage functions as a standalone but readers of both series will likely recognize characters in common.

Possible Pairings: I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter, The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani, Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey, Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist: Flight of the Phoenix by R. L. LaFevers with illustrations by Kelly Murphy, The Agency by Y. S. Lee, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevemer

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Owned Authors

Top Ten Tuesdays img by Miss Print

Top Ten Most Owned Authors: This is pretty timely because Kayla posted something similar recently and I was getting ready to put something together myself.

  1. Gabrielle Zevin (a million Books): I actually have no idea how many but it’s multiple copies of everything because my interview with Gabrielle is in the paperbacks of Birthright books 1 and 2.
  2. Carolyn MacCullough (more than five): I have everything MacCullough has written except for Falling Through Darkness. Also I have several copies of her galley of Always a Witch because I’m quoted on the cover.
  3. Maggie Stiefvater (9 books): Thanks to BEA, judicious purchases and generous gifts from Nicole, I currently own everything Stiefvater has published. Given how much I love her books, this will likely continue and eventually pose a terrible problem for me and my shelves.
  4. Victoria Schwab (4 books): Everything Victoria has written except her middle grades and a number that is sure to only climb from here.
  5. Robin LaFevers (7 books): These are arcs so maybe they don’t count? But I have LaFevers’ entire Nathaniel Fludd series to date as well as her His Fair Assassin books.
  6. Garth Nix (5 books): For those of you keeping count that is everything Nix has written about the Old Kingdom to date. (OMG Clariel was so good. Someone else read it so we can talk!)
  7. Elizabeth Eulberg (5 books): I am in the dangerous habit of buying everything Eulberg writes which should probably stop for my shelves’ sake.
  8. Melina Marchetta (5 books): I haven’t read past Finnikin but I have her entire Lumatere Chronicles as well as Saving Francesca and the Piper’s Son which are two of my favorite books of all time. I sometimes regret not buying her other two books when I had the chance to get them signed but I’ll live.
  9. Sarah Beth Durst (4 books): Maybe four? I don’t know. I have Enchanted Ivy, Drink Slay Love, The Lost, Chasing Power and I think there might be another one floating around. (This is what happens when your bookshelves have no discernible organization.)
  10. Sarah Rees Brennan (5 books): This includes Sarah’s Demon series and Unspoken and Untold. Obviously it will increase when her next book comes out because duh.
  11. Maureen Johnson (4 books): This was higher until I decided I was so mad about The Madness Underneath that I decided I would not buy the rest of the series nor keep The Name of the Star. I still have the first two Scarlett books and The Last Little Blue Envelope.


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

(Image made by me.)

Week in Review: July 27


This week on the blog you can check out:

This week I finished getting together items for my Summer Box Swap package that I need to mail. I also finalized my blog birthday giveaway packs and am getting some features ready to roll out after the big birthday :)

At work with the help from superstar-work-BFF-coworker MagpieLibrarian, I suggested some new ideas for shelving in the YA space and the two of us have been power weeding the non-fiction. While it’s great to get a lot of gnarly books off the shelves it’s also sad to see some of the dated materials that slipped through previous weeding attempts. But whatever. The main takeaway is we are rockstars.

I also feel like I might be getting sick again and might I say it’s possibly the worst time for that to happen. I have a rattling/congested cough going and a sore throat which I think wants to become a cold. I’m drinking a big glass of orange juice every morning and taking zicam lozenges to hopefully knock this out and fast.

I’ve been reading a lot of mediocre books but I did some serious damage with my July Reading Challenge so there is that.





Conversion: A (Rapid Fire) Review

Conversion by Katherine Howe (2014)

Conversion by Katherine HoweThis book had a lot going for it. The cast of characters is diverse. The story is set in both present-day Danvers and the Salem village when the witch panic starts. The narrator is reading The Crucible. (Which the book mentions isn’t really about Salem but the 1950s.) On top of that, I really enjoyed Howe’s debut The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and was incredibly excited to hear she was writing a YA novel.

Sadly, this one wasn’t for me. While it had all the right pieces, none of them came together quite right. Colleen and her friends never quite sounded like authentic teens. The plot never felt quite as urgent and compelling as it should. The writing did not come across as strong as it did in The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. Furthermore, this book felt stilted as if you knew the author was new to writing teen voices.

The story is still exciting and interesting but it was, sadly, not a good fit for me. Readers with an interest in the area will enjoy the evocative settings and readers with a fondness for Salem-themed stories will still find a lot to enjoy here.

Possible Pairings: The Fever by Megan Abbott, A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, The Glass Casket by McCormick Templeman, The Crucible by Arthur Miller (or the play or the movie), The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni, The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare