November 2017 Reading Tracker

You can also see what I read in October.

Books Read:

  1. Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
  2. Frau Faust volume 1
  3. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  4. Berserker by Emmy Laybourne
  5. Saints and Misfits by S. K. Ali
  6. Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman
  7. The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano
  8. Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson
  9. The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater
  10. Social Media Wellness: Helping Tweens and Teens Thrive in an Unbalanced Digital World by Amy Homayoun
  11. Nothing But Sky by Amy Trueblood

Books On Deck: 0!

Books Bought:

  1. Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel
  2. Golden Girl by Sarah Zettel
  3. Bad Luck Girl by Sarah Zettel

ARCs Received:

  1. The Witch Boy by Molly Osterag (not requested)
  2. The Radical Element edited by Jessica Spotswood (requested from publisher)
  3. The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton (requested from publisher)
  4. Weave a Circle Round by Kari Maaren (requested from publisher)
  5. The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange (not requested)
  6. Social Media Wellness by Ana Homayoun (vine)

November 1: I have like a mental block with these posts now so I’m wondering how accurate they even are but whatever. I’m a little overwhelmed by books right now. Shocking, I know.

November 2: Far From the Tree is interesting so far. I think it’s going to be deeper than expected.

November 23: I made a mistake thinking I could live without owning Zettel’s American Fairy books. Mistake rectified.

This One Time My Tweet Went Viral . . .

If you follow me on Twitter you may have noticed something interesting happen on August 9. I like hearing about what books people love and one night when I was not sleeping, I figured out the best way to ask would be for a top five (because honestly, what bookish person can pick only one?) After forgetting for most of the day, I remembered to post the tweet on Wednesday during a break at work. I also happened to post it on National Book Lovers Day which may be part of what happened next.

Here’s the original tweet and one of the first replies (so many props to some of the earlier respondents because they got so many comments as the tweet moved around):

From there I started seeing a few replies from twitter friends, book blogger types, and some authors who saw the tweet early either from me or friends of friends.

Here are some of the earliest replies. If these authors aren’t on your to read list yet, be sure to check out their books!

Then it kept going.

Replies trickled in for the rest of the afternoon and into that evening. I RTd as they came in, commented, and got on with the rest of my day.

Around nine o’clock, I noticed I was getting a lot more notifications than usual. A lot more.

While I was still able to sort through comments, I realized some authors with a significant reach on Twitter were also sharing their top five books.

As far as I can tell, it was Sam Sykes sharing that really set things off.

From there the replies started coming in faster and faster.

Then my phone started to break down under the sheer volume of notifications as people quoted my original tweet to share their faves, replied to me or to others on the tweet thread, and started other quote conversations talking about books. Twitter froze up and my phone started to overheat every time I checked what was happening.

It got so intense that Twitter prompted me to set up filters for my notifications.

Even now, months later, I haven’t been able to sift through all of the replies, shares, and comments. There are just too many.

Here’s look at some of the analytics when it started blowing up:

As I started writing up this post at the beginning of October, people were still sharing and RTing their favorite books. Since August the total impressions have jumped to 389,408 with 73,862 engagements. I gained almost 1000 new followers in the first couple of days.

Some people, including a favorite author, thought picking just five books was asking too much.

As with most sudden moments of fame, things quieted down after that first week and I was able to go back and catch a couple of the more surprising replies that didn’t register in the initial haze of going viral.

I’m not going to lie, I felt like had to lay down when I saw some of the people who had shared or replied. It was a very “is this real life?” moment for me.

In the thick of the initial madness some people were even doing other variants based on “my” top 5 books idea.

I’ll be the first to admit having anything go viral is not the same as fame. But for a week or so, it felt very similar. The support and love for this tweet was overwhelming and I got so many wonderful thank yous and compliments from people who found me because of it. (I only got one creepy message from a male identifying account but honestly, I get those without doing anything online so hardly shocking.) Still, I was hyper aware of the act of being followed on Twitter and people seeing my content. Was I being witty enough? Was I staying on brand? Was I expected to keep up this level of engagement moving forward? Just considering all of the questions was exhausting.

Things have settled down now and minus a few more followers and new replies here and there, things seem to have gone back to normal.I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to really sort through the data–Twitter isn’t kind to older tweets or tweets with thousands of replies–and this is both. If you have any ideas on digging into the data (or even finding it at this point) let me know in the comments

If you’re on Twitter and you haven’t yet, I’d love to see your own top five favorite books of all time. If you don’t feel like tweeting, let me know in the comments or just talk to me about what it means to have five minutes of Twitter fame.

Here are some of my own favorite books:

  1. All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin
  2. Ella, Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
  3. Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones
  4. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
  5. Sabriel by Garth Nix
  6. Emily of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery
  7. I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
  8. The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton
  9. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
  10. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  11. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  12. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
  13. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
  14. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Week in Review: October 27

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

This week I had an all day training, a meeting off site, and was lucky enough to go to Harper Collins’ Spring 2018 Librarian and Educator preview. In other words, it felt like I was barely in my office.

I’ve been having fun trying to be more active on Instagram so if you like pictures you should follow me there. (I’m @missprint_)

My books to read situations is getting out of hand. So it must be a day that ends in Y.

Tomorrow Nicole and I are going to see Spirited Away as part of Ghibli Fest. I’m excited!

Here’s my latest from Instagram:

If you you want to see how my month in reading is shaking out be sure to check out my October Reading Tracker.

How was your week? What are you reading?

Let’s talk in the comments.

Top Fives: Sourcebooks Spring 2018 #SBKSPreview

I can’t believe it’s already time to talk about Spring 2018 titles! Earlier this month I got to attend the Sourcebooks Spring 2018 preview for librarians and educators. The preview lets librarians and teachers learn more about upcoming books they may want to make sure to order for their library collections. At the preview we also got to hear Claire Legrand talk about her forthcoming YA Furyborn and Patricia Forde talk about her recent middle grade The List.

If you want to see all of the tweets from the preview, you can check out of the #SBKSPreview tag on twitter. (You can also find all of my tweets from the preview too!)

Sourcebooks is a smaller publisher so instead of a top 5 for each age level, here are the five books I’m most excited about from the preview:

  1. NY is for New York by Paul Thurlby: This alphabet book features page spreads for different NYC landmarks and places–including quite a few on the outer boroughs. Coming your way October 31, 2017.
  2. Women Who Dared: 52 Stories of Fearless Daredevils, Adventurers, and Rebels by Linda Skeers and Livi Gosling: If you liked Rad Women Worldwide or Boss Babes or the like, check out this one. I am not the most passionate non-fiction reader but I’m excited for this collection of short pieces on different women who . . . dared. On sale now!
  3. Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly: First book in a new dark middle grade fantasy where a girl can control shadows–except, perhaps, for her own. This book was compared to Doll Bones by Holly Black and The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill so watch for it if you like spooky, literary reads. First in a duology. Publishing January 2, 2018.
  4. The Doughnut Fix by Jessie Janowitz: For fans of Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt. A story about a boy searching for the perfect doughnut recipe and trying to sell them in his new small town. On shelves April 1, 2018.
  5. Now a Major Motion Picture by Cori McCarthy: If her grandmother’s bestselling books are made into a movie, Iris knows it’s going to ruin her life. The only question is if she’s up to the task of sabotaging the production. Fans of Geekerella by Ashley Poston and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, look out! Publishing April 1, 2018.
  6. Furyborn by Claire Legrand: This is a bonus one because I have been waiting years for a new YA from Claire. She describes this book as the book of her heart and the reason she started writing. If that doesn’t entice you enough: epic fantasy about two queens–one with the power to save the world and one with the power to destroy it. Add this one to your to read list now and watch for its publication May 22, 2018.

 

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow: A (Halloween-y) Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Morrigan Crow is cursed and doomed to die on her eleventh birthday on Eventide night. She is blamed for every bit of bad luck and misfortune that plagues the residents of the town of Jackalfax in the Wintersea Republic.

When Eventide arrives early ushering a new Age across the realm, Morrigan is faced with the prospect of her premature death until a strange man named Jupiter North arrives. Together the two escape the Hunt of Smoke and Shadow and arrive in the Free State city of Nevermoor. Miraculously alive and possibly no longer cursed, Morrigan can make a fresh start.

With Jupiter’s help she has the chance to compete in a series of trials for a place in Nevermoor’s most revered group: The Wundrous Society. If she makes it she’ll also earn her place in Nevermoor and finally have a home and family who cares about her.

Despite Jupiter’s assurances, Morrigan dreads the final Show Trial where the remaining competitors will have to demonstrate their astounding talents–something Morrigan is quite certain she doesn’t possess. Morrigan will have to step boldly and learn to trust her new friends if she hopes to pass the trials and join the Wundrous Society in Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (2017) by Jessica Townsend.

Find it on Bookshop.

Nevermoor is Townsend’s debut novel and the start of a middle grade trilogy. The story revolves around Morrigan’s struggle to find her place and discover her own worth. All while she completes magical tasks and investigates the strange world of Nevermoor.

This dynamic novel is filled with intricate and carefully detailed world building that brings the renowned figure of Jupiter North and the rest of Nevermoor vibrantly to life. Set over the course of Morrigan’s year of trials this entertaining and fast-paced story is filled with wondrous things like the Hotel Deucalion where Morrigan’s room changes to suit her mood, the Wundrous Society grounds which turns the weather up a notch, and even a giant talking “Magnificat” named Fenestra.

Nevermoor is filled with adventure, magic, and wonder. Readers, like Morrigan herself, will feel at home in these evocative pages where magic and confidence go hand in hand. Highly recommended.

Want to know more? Check out my interview with Jessica about her debut over at SLJ.com

Possible Pairings: Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee, The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon, Foxheart by Claire Legrand, Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi, A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty, The Keeper of the Mist by Rachel Neumeier, The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag, The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross, The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski

*A more condensed version of this review appeared as a starred review in the July 2017 issue of School Library Journal*

What to Say Next: A Review

Kit doesn’t know why she decides to avoid her best friends Annie and Violet at lunch. Or maybe she does. Ever since her father died in a car accident, it feels like no one knows how to talk to Kit or what to say to make it better. No one seems comfortable with Kit’s grief and sadness–not even her own mother.

David is floored when Kit sits at his lunch table–the first time anyone has in the 622 days he has attended Mapleview High School. David doesn’t necessarily mind sitting alone. It’s nice to have some quiet in the middle of a too-noisy day and sometimes it’s too hard to figure out what to say to people without being able to check his notebook to see if they are someone he–and his older sister Mini–thinks David can trust.

Nothing about Kit and David’s friendship makes sense on the outside but Kit appreciates David’s bluntness and his honesty. David, meanwhile, finally feels like he’s found someone who might be okay with David being himself. As they grow closer, Kit asks for David’s help understanding the inevitability (or not) of her father’s death which leads to a truth that might end their friendship forever in What to Say Next (2017) by Julie Buxbaum.

Find it on Bookshop.

This standalone contemporary novel alternates first person perspective between David and Kit.

David is smart and self-aware despite his lack of emotional intelligence. He knows his limitations and strengths. He also knows how people are likely to perceive him because of his position on the autism spectrum and the coping mechanisms he has employed to continue to function in a sometimes overly stimulating school environment. Kit is still adjusting to life without her father–the parent who was always the one to nurture in the past–while also negotiating life in her small town as a girl who is biracial (Kit’s mother is Indian).

Seeing a neurologically diverse male lead alongside a heroine who is described as curvy and having brown skin is fantastic and makes this an obvious book to highlight and promote. That said, Buxbaum tackles a lot in this novel with varying levels of success.

David and Kit have distinct voices but the way other characters engage with David is often frustrating and demonstrates a fundamental lack of both empathy and understanding a person on the autism spectrum may engage with the world. The fact that David’s behavior is used as a plot point for one of the main conflicts between himself and Kit makes this treatment even more frustrating.

What to Say Next is an entertaining novel with unique characters, an engaging plot, and a cute romance. Readers looking for a quick but substantive diversion will enjoy this story that blends themes of connection with grief and family. Recommended for readers seeking a romance that will broaden their horizons.

Possible Pairings: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett, Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley, The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen, Royals by Rachel Hawkins, Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer, Everything All at Once by Katrina Leno, The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord, This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills, Birthday by Meredith Russo, Lucky in Love by Kasie West, Instructions For Dancing by Nicola Yoon

Week in Review: October 21

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

 

This week was my big work training. I haven’t seen the evaluations yet but I think it went well! I really love the books I got to present and had a great time booktalking them.

This weekend I’m going to a book signing for R. L. Stine with his #1 fan Nicole. We’re going to try Shake Shack for the first time too!

Here’s my latest from Instagram:

If you you want to see how my month in reading is shaking out be sure to check out my October Reading Tracker.

How was your week? What are you reading?

Let’s talk in the comments.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond: A (Classic) Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Kit Tyler leaves her home in Barbados to travel alone across the ocean to colonial Connecticut in 1687. She has no reason to stay in Barbados with her grandfather dead and buried. With nowhere else to go she undertakes the long boat trip on her own assured that she will be welcome with open arms by her aunt’s family.

Her arrival doesn’t go as expected. Kit’s uninhibited childhood in Barbados has left the sixteen-year-old wildly unprepared for life among her Puritan relatives. Her cousins covet her beautiful clothes even while her uncle looks at the bright colors and luxurious fabrics of her dresses with scorn. Kit barely recognizes her aunt, struggling to see any hint of her own mother in her aunt’s weather worn face.

When she discovers a beautiful meadow near a pond, Kit finds some much needed solitude and a break in the monotonous drudgery of life with her relatives. Kit also finds an unexpected friend in Hannah Tupper, an old woman who is shunned reviled by the community for her Quaker beliefs and rumors that claim Hannah is a witch.

As she learns more about Hannah and her life by the pond Kit will have to decide what, if anything, she is willing to give up for a chance to belong in The Witch of Blackbird Pond (1958) by Elizabeth George Speare.

Find it on Bookshop.

Have you ever had a visceral reaction to a book. The Witch of Blackbird Pond is that kind of title for me.

This Newbery award winner came to my attention after my aunt gifted me a copy from her days working at Houghton Mifflin when I was in grade school. Like a lot of books back then I motored through it, eventually donated my copy to my school library, and didn’t think about it again for years. But because I became a librarian and worked briefly at a bookseller, I encountered this classic title again as an adult.

Every time I saw it on a shelf I would feel that jolt of recognition. Yes, this book was one that meant so much to me as a child. It also, if you pay attention to book editions, has had some hideous covers over the years. My most recent rediscovery of The Witch of Blackbird Pond happened when The Book Smugglers featured the book in their Decoding the Newbery series. I enjoyed reading Catherine King’s thoughts (and share many of them) but what really jolted me was the cover. Because finally it was the cover I had first read so many years ago!

Finding and purchasing that edition prompted me to re-read The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I discovered a lot of the things I remembered loving when I read the story the first time: Kit’s determination and perseverance not to mention her friendship with Hannah Tupper. I also love the push and pull Kit has both with her cousins and her suitors. This story is more purely historical than I remembered and Speare’s writing is starkly evocative of Puritan New England.

For readers of a certain age, The Witch of Blackbird Pond needs no introduction or recommendation. Younger readers will also find a smart, character driven story. Perfect for fans of historical fictions and readers hoping to discover (or rediscover) a charming classic.

Possible Pairings: All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry, Chime by Franny Billingsley, A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, Conversion by Katherine Howe, Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper, Witch Child by Celia Rees, The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni

The Traitor’s Kiss: A Review

Sage Fowler is all too aware that she isn’t a lady. She wants it that way. Orphaned at a young age, Sage has spent years dreaming of the day when she’ll be able to leave her uncle’s stifling household.

Her hopes are thwarted when her uncle sends Sage to a matchmaker to evaluate her marriage prospects (and hopefully make a match)–a practice that is become popular throughout the kingdom. Sage has no intention of having an arranged marriage or possibly any marriage. Both prospects are easily avoided thanks to Sage’s sharp tongue and nasty disposition.

Instead Sage finds herself in the unlikely position of matchmaker’s apprentice. When she and her mentor fall in with a group of soldiers, Sage also finds herself in the surprising role of spy. The course of true love, and espionage, never does run smooth as Sage is about to find out in The Traitor’s Kiss (2017) by Erin Beaty.

Find it on Bookshop.

The Traitor’s Kiss is Beaty’s debut novel and the start of a new series.

This book begins with an interesting premise that is soon mired in all-too familiar world building. Although Sage lives in an imaginary world it’s impossible to ignore the nods to English and (white) European cultures. This tired backdrop is compounded with dark skinned enemies and a “dusky” love interest who comes close to being described as exotic.

Unfortunately Sage herself does little to distract from this problematic world. Readers will either love or hate Sage, something that will likely determine how you feel about the rest of the novel. Sage is meant to be an independent and resourceful young woman. Which she could be if she weren’t busy being brash, thoughtless, and purposefully unkind.

After her parents died, Sage was taken in by her uncle. Early pages frame this arrangement as a nightmare for Sage where she is demeaned, belittled, and abused. Except we learn almost immediately that is not the case. Her uncle has done nothing but care for and tend to her best interests. So what is the meaning behind Sage’s simmering hatred for him and the rest of her family? No one knows. Sage continuously reminds herself and readers of her lack of agency but she also persists in making thoughtless decisions that speak to her inherent privilege in being able to do whatever she wants other peoples’ wishes be damned.

Almost every character falls victim to shorthand characterizations distilling them into a vague stereotype and not much else. Sage’s prickly personality and sharp observations serve her well in a plot that is murky at best as it moves vaguely through time leading Sage from apprentice matchmaker to would-be spy.

The Traitor’s Kiss is a disappointing fantasy that promises romance and adventure but fails to deliver on both marks.

Possible Pairings: All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry, The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead, The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes, Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*

Week in Review: October 14

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

Shockingly, this post is late, again. I’m working on it guys.

Last week was fun! I had an all day publisher preview on Wednesday. Thursday night I saw a special screening of Wonderstruck (watch for a blog post about it after this busy week is over). Then I had a three day weekend. I even set aside more books to giveaway.

Here’s my latest from Instagram:

If you you want to see how my month in reading is shaking out be sure to check out my October Reading Tracker.

How was your week? What are you reading?

Let’s talk in the comments.