Week in Review: July 19

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

This week was an annoying combination of way too fast and much too slow. Work was weirdly busy and involved a lot of interviews with teen volunteers (I’m excited to be working with them but it is a big process getting everything rolling!).

Last Friday I went to a book signing with Victoria Schwab, Megan Miranda, Elle Cosimano and Lissa Price at McNally Jackson. Getting to the store was kind of a pain (so many delays!) but I made it and the panel was delightful. Seeing Victoria is always fun as an author I interviewed and sort of know through Twitter. I also finally got to meet Megan Miranda in person after interviewing her on the blog back when her first book came out. I also recently realized I still had my ARC of Fracture so it was fun to get that signed.

On Saturday Nicole and I headed to The Hunger Games Exhibition which was absolutely amazing. I’m planning on writing up a recap but I am still working on how to do it and what to say. But watch for it!

This week I started getting real about BEA books I’m not going to read. I’m planning a sort of giveaway for bloggers but I’m also waiting to be sure I don’t have a swap I signed up for where someone desperately has those books on their wishlist. SO just keep your eyes peeled I guess.

This week all I read was A Curse as Dark as Gold and I am still not done with it. Partly this is my own lack of attention span during this busy, busy week. Partly I think the book is maybe quieter than I’ve been used to lately. I’m liking it but also am at the point where I’d like to be finished now.

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

How was your week?

The Disney Book Tag

This tag was created by Katytastic over on YouTube to celebrate the release of The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz. I was tagged by Nicole @ Nicole’s Novel Reads (you can also check out her post).

The Little Mermaid – a character who is out of their element, a “fish out of water”

  • Eva in Don’t Ever Change by M. Beth Bloom
  • Kate in Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
  • Verity in Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

Cinderella – a character who goes through a major transformation

  • Jude and Noah in I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
  • Charlie in Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot
  • Clara in Winterspell by Claire Legrand

Snow White – a book with an eclectic cast of characters

  • Seraphina and Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
  • The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
  • Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis

Sleeping Beauty – a book that put you to sleep

  • The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
  • Planesrunner by Ian McDonald
  • Where it Began by Ann Redisch Stempler

The Lion King – a character who had something traumatic happen to them in childhood

  • Rosalinda in A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
  • Frances in Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan
  • Gaia in Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien

Beauty & The Beast – a beast of a book (a big book) that you were intimidated by, but found the story to be beautiful

  • Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
  • The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  • Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Aladdin – a character who gets their wish granted, for better or worse

  • Penelope in Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt
  • Clariel in Clariel by Garth Nix
  • Emmy and Teo in Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein

Mulan – a character who pretends to be someone or something they’re not

  • Flynn from This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
  • Arin from The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
  • Mary from A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee

Toy Story – a book with characters you wish would come to life

  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P. S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han–I’d love to be friends with Lara Jean.
  • Pivot Point and Split Second by Kasie West–Laila and Addie are great and maybe I’d get a cool ability with their brain training tips?!
  • Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins–who doesn’t need a Lola and Cricket in their lives?

Disney Descendants – your favorite villain or morally ambiguous character

  • Victor and Eli from Vicious by V. E. Schwab
  • Mori from Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty.
  • Jackdaw from I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

I’m Tagging:

Black Dove, White Raven: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

“They can make you stay, but they can’t make me go.”

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth WeinEmilia and Teo have been in the soup together since their mothers first put them in an airplane as children.

After years of performing together as the Black Dove and White Raven, Rhoda finds herself alone when Delia is killed during a freak accident. Shattered by the loss of her best friend–her better half, her soul mate really–Rhoda clings to the dream Delia proposed just before her death: moving to Ethiopia where they could live together exactly as they liked without Delia’s son Teo ever being discriminated against because he is black.

When they finally get to Ethiopia, Em and Teo think maybe they can be at home there watching their mother, dreaming of flight and writing The Adventures of Black Dove and White Raven together. As long as Em and Teo have each other, they know they’ll be fine.

But Teo’s connection to Ethiopia runs deeper than anyone can guess. As war with Italy threatens to break out in the peaceful country, Em and Teo are forced to confront undesirable truths about their own lives and the legacies of their parents.

Em and Teo know they can depend on each other for anything, just like White Raven and Black Dove, but with so much changing neither of them knows if it will be enough to save themselves and the people they love in Black Dove, White Raven (2015) by Elizabeth Wein.

Black Dove, White Raven is an engaging and fascinating story about a largely unknown setting and an often forgotten moment in history. Detailed historical references and vibrant descriptions bring the landscape of 1930s Ethiopia and the politics of the Second Italo-Ethiopian War to life set against the larger backdrop of a world on the brink of war.

Like Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire, this novel is an epistolary one comprised of letters, essays and notebook entries written by both Emilia and Teo. Interludes between their story come in the form of Adventures that Em and Teo wrote for their alter egos White Raven and Black Dove.

Within the story of Emilia and Teo dealing with the coming war and all of its trappings, Wein also provides flashbacks to Em and Teo’s childhood both in Pennsylvania and Ethiopia. These contrasts help to highlight the idyllic life that the family finds in Ethiopia. At the same time Wein also plays with the idea that equality doesn’t always mean perfectly equal by examining the different ways Em and Teo are treated in Ethiopia and the varied obstacles they face throughout the narrative.

Black Dove, White Raven delves into the grey areas in life as Emilia and Teo try to find their proper place in Ethiopia and also come to realize that Delia’s dream for them all was a flawed one even as their mother Rhoda continues to cling to it.

Throughout the novel, both Em and Teo also often refer to their stories about Black Dove and White Raven as they try to decide what course of action to take. Wein explores the ways in which both characters, particularly Em, can manipulate different identities to get what they need.

Both Em and Teo have distinct voices in their narrations. While Emilia is often rash and flamboyant, Teo is introspective and thoughtful. Their dynamic together underscores how best friends–and here the best family–help each other to be more and achieve more together than they would accomplish apart.

Black Dove, White Raven is a powerful, beautiful story of friendship, family and learning how to soar.

Possible Pairings: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken, All Fall Down by Ally Carter, Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt, The Archived by Victoria Schwab, The Space Between Trees by Katie Williams, Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff, How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

Summer Reading Display with Reader’s Advisory Fortune Tellers (Library Life)

In the midst of summer reading madness at the library, I finally had a chance to make a new display (now that Ingrid’s epic glittery GLBT display is ready to come down). Summer is crazy at my library (and every public library) so I knew I wanted something that would be simple to stock and require minimal upkeep.

For me this summer, that meant a summer reading display because it allows me to pull titles from our summer reading section (a list I helped make so I like all of the titles already!) and also anything else that looks cool on the shelves.

I decided to skip the trivia/giveaway portion I’d been adding to my displays because it’s just too busy to expect staff to run around getting free books while doing all of their other work. But I still wanted to do something fun.

Several months ago I read an article from Molly Wetta (she blogs at Wrapped Up in Books and maybe you recognize her from when she contributed to Poetically Speaking 2015?) called “If Books are Magic, Librarians are Wizards: Readers’ Advisory as Fortune Telling.” The article has a lot of great ideas, but what really spoke to me was the idea of passive reader’s advisory with paper fortune tellers (or maybe you know them as cootie catchers?).

This is a picture of the fortune teller Molly talks about in her article.

I decided to adapt that idea for my Summer Reading Display. I wanted something that could be easily reproduced so I started by finding a printable template. And, believe it or not, there’s a site for that.

DownloadableCootieCatchers has a blank template you can download and edit. They also share a lot of fun user-created fortune tellers. In retrospect I could have edited mine a bit more to make it a little cooler but I decided to keep it basic.

Pick a color . . .

Pick a color . . .

Now pick a number . . .

Now pick a number . . .

Until you get your answer!

Until you get your answer!

I included a blend of titles from my system’s summer reading list (like All Our Yesterdays). And some reader’s choice options (in addition to Graphic Novels I also included fantasy, mystery or adventure).

Here’s the full display:

The image is from my library's summer reading art. I adapted it using PicMonkey.

The image is from my library’s summer reading art. I adapted it using PicMonkey.

And here’s a close up of the sign:

I added all of the text here except for "Summer Reading 2015" which is part of the original graphic.

I added all of the text here except for “Summer Reading 2015″ which is part of the original graphic.

I made two versions of my sign. One with the text above and one that just reads “What will you read this summer?” That way, if the fortune tellers become more trouble than they are worth (or just aren’t a hit) I can still keep the display without it being inaccurate. I added the white text suggesting people pick a display book just in case someone is drawn to the display when the fortune tellers are not fully stocked.

Like my Blind Date with a Book Display I really like this idea and I’m hoping I’ll be able to use the fortune teller aspect again in future displays.

What do you think? Would you be into an RA fortune teller? If you work in or use a library, have you seen/tried passive RA ideas before?

Week in Review: July 12

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

This week I pushed Rebel Mechanics for all I was worth (if you like alternate history, historical fantasy, steampunk, romance, or basically anything that is right in the world you should be reading this book when it releases next week). I also interviewed Shanna about the book which was a lot of fun. I almost never buy finished copies of books I receive for review (I know, I know) but I will definitely be picking this one up.

Speaking of books, this week I started to KonMari my to read books and my owned books. I got real with myself and admitted there are a lot of books I am just never going to read. Looking at my owned books to say “Does this spark joy?” also helped in really deciding what books should be on my shelves. (Spoiler: Little Elliot was an obvious and immediate “keep” decision.)

So far my to read list is down to 193 (it had bloated to 206 after BEA, I usually want it to be under 100) and got rid of about 20 books. I’m working up to dragging them all to the Strand to sell and also am selling some on Amazon.

And, I know I sound like a crazy person with all this KonMari stuff. But all of the areas I’ve already tidied are still really neat. Which never happens. I’m really excited even though it’s still a work in progress.

This week I bought myself a Fan BingBing Barbie that I have been wanting for years. (I also got my mom an Insurgent Tris and Four but Tris didn’t get delivered yet.)

And on Friday I got to see Nicole for a signing at McNally Jackson (I’m writing this on Friday so I’ll either recap it next week or I won’t. I’m sure it will be fantastic). Then on Saturday I saw Nicole again so we could check out The Hunger Games exhibit at Discover Times Square.

This week I was in an “I don’t want to read, but I am behind and have to read” mood so I motored through a lot of titles including Red Rising (meh), The Eleventh Plague (fun like The Fifth Wave without the aliens but not really my bag which I expected), Trial by Fire (I realized this was only on my TBR list because others added it and I had no real interest–oops), and The Paper Magician (I suspect this is not the best writing or the best book but I am enjoying it SO MUCH.)

I also think I’m going to sign up for Dandelionn Wine’s Blogger Pen Pals (I started sending postcards via PostCrossing and writing to friends again and I really like that aspect of corresponding even if it doesn’t lead to me getting mail–there is something very liberating in writing to someone without an expectation of a reply). If you are a blogger and want to sign up too, details are here: https://dandelionnwine.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/blogger-pen-pals/

I’ll also be signing up for OTSPSecretSister again (this program is organized by Alyssa at Books Take You Places, Amy at Tripping Over Books and Brittany at The Book Addict’s Guide). If you want more info you can check out the FAQ. I didn’t blog about it much but if you follow me on Twitter you probably saw me using the hashtag. Basically it’s a 6-month-long secret swap. And it was kind of a blast. I met so many new bloggers through it and made a lot of new friends. I was debating on if I could afford signing up again but I decided since I am working on a perpetual book buying ban (for the rest of my life lol) it would work out. Plus with all of the holidays coming up in this round I’m super excited for theme package possibilities. (Again this is more about my loving to send things. The fact that I get something is almost secondary.)

Anyway, this was a super chatty Week in Review but now you know everything.

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

How was your week?

Let’s Talk About: Reading Deeply vs. Widely

I’m sure this doesn’t cast a wide enough net to catch every reader, but I have a working theory that there are basically two types of readers.

There are readers who read deeply and there are those who read widely.

Deep Readers are the readers who read everything an author has ever written. While they may not always read a variety of genres they will make the exception for select favorite authors. These readers will stick out a middling book waiting for the series to return to its previous glory and will follow an author’s oeuvre despite bumps in the road.

Wide Readers are readers who look to a variety of authors and genres to find books. Sometimes they will finish a series or read multiple books by an author. But just as often they will read one to see what the buzz is about and move on. While there is still room for favorite series and even authors, these readers are much quicker to walk away when a series/author’s work becomes frustrating or dull.

In tracking my reading habits more closely here on the blog, I know that I am a Wide Reader. It is rare that I will have read every book in a series but if you ask me about the first book the odds are good I’ll have an opinion. Similarly I might not read every book by a bestselling author but chances are high I’ll have read at least one or read some reviews on it.

In trying to work through some of my owned books to read I have been finishing more series as I get to sequels but generally I am okay with walking away from a series in the middle. I also have a very select few authors from whom I will read anything they publish (middle grade is still an exception to this and a weak spot, but who knows. That might change.)

So tell me: Do my reading types seem accurate? Do you read deeply or widely?

Let’s talk about it in the comments!

 

Rebel Mechanics: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Rebel Mechanics by Shanna SwendsonSixteen-year-old Verity Newton is certain that her university-quality education and the numerous novels she has read will be preparation enough to work as a governess among the upper class magisters who rule Britain and its American colonies with magic in 1888.

Soon after arriving in New York City, Verity learns that unrest is growing and a group of colonists calling themselves the Rebel Mechanics hope to use ingenuity and mechanical inventions to unseat the magical might of the magisters.

After securing a job as governess to one of New York’s premier families, Verity finds herself caught directly between the magisters and the mechanics. Although she is sympathetic to the rebel cause, she also realizes there is more to the magisters than anyone might think–particularly when it comes to her new employer Henry.

When Verity is drawn into the fledgling rebellion as a spy, she learns that anything goes when it comes to revolution–and love in Rebel Mechanics (2015) by Shanna Swendson.

Swendson blends historic details and steampunk sensibilities perfectly in this novel to create a fun alternate history New York filled with magic and powerful inventions. Verity’s sense of wonder at everything she sees in the city will capture similar feelings from readers.

Verity starts out as a naive heroine with little life experience and a lot of uncertainty about her place among the magisters or the mechanics. Although she makes a few blunders along the way, Verity learns from her mistakes and her character development is perfectly paced throughout the novel. Despite her naivete she is a pragmatic and thoughtful narrator who refuses to let things like bandits or revolutionaries fluster her.

Although Verity’s love interest for much of the novel is not ideal, the story is still filled with enough swoony moments and excellent characters to forgive Verity’s lack of good taste. Henry, a magister with rebel sympathies and Verity’s unlikely employer, is guaranteed to be fan favorite.

Rebel Mechanics offers a perfect blend of fantasy, action and romance that is sure to leave readers smiling. This book is currently a standalone (with a largely self-contained plot to prove it!) but we can only hope Verity and her friends will eventually return with new stories and adventures.

Rebel Mechanics is a delightful steampunk novel filled with adventure and magic. Highly recommended for readers looking for an effervescent read as well as fans of fantasy/steampunk or historical fiction/alternate history novels.

Possible Pairings: The Shadows by Megan Chance, Scarlet by A. C. Gaugen, The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg, This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee, Winterspell by Claire Legrand, Clariel by Garth Nix, Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski, Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood, Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

You can also read my exclusive interview with Shanna about the book!

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