Listmania Monday: How to have a successful book conference experience

While in the midst of the oh-so-hectic-and-fun TLA '13 conference, I started making a list of all the tips I wish I'd known ahead of time to make the most out of my experience. If you haven't attended a conference/convention before, these tips and tricks will hopefully help you map out your plan for tackling one. Trust me, it's so worth it!

1. Prioritize your schedule. Decide what's important to you, be it panels, signings, arcs or a mix of your favorites of each and let those take a higher priority over everything else. A signed arc from an author you don't know might not make up for you missing your favorite author or the arc of the final book in a series that you've been dying to get your hands on.

2. Wear comfortable clothing! No one cares what's on your feet, unless they're crocs, which shouldn't be worn under any circumstance EVER anyway. Wear comfy flats,  sandals or sneakers. Keep clothing relatively loose instead of form fitting. Dress nicely, but casually. This isn't a business meeting, exactly, but it's not a day at the beach either. Wear layers. Panel rooms are cooler (you'll be sitting for a while), but the exibit hall is warm (lots of bodies, lots of walking and standing).

3. Bring snacks and water. You may not have a lot of opportunities to eat or drink, except in line. Stay hydrated!! I didn't each lunch for two days because of the lines, but I didn't get mind because I drank lots of water. And when I did get hungry, I pulled out a granola bar.

4. Bring plenty of canvas bags and totes. Some booths provide cool bags, but they go early. Be prepared and bring your own. A large suitcase is also good to bring as you can keep it at a bag check and unload books there periodically. 

5. Bring cash. Most everyone only deals in cash. There are great deals (paperbacks as low as $2, hardcovers for $5!), but only if you've got the dough on you. This is especially true for the last day. SAVE UP for that because publishers don't want to ship books back home so they'll sell them off early and cheaply on the last day. So you should....

6. Bring your own books, if you can. You'll be able to save your money for new stuff instead of buying a second copy of what you already own. It also helps to prep books early. I was complimented several times for having my books post-it-noted early. I spent about an hour two days before the conference deciding which books to get signed and sticking post-it notes on the title page. Also, prep your books to be signed, whether in advance or in line, by flipping them all to the title page and having them open. It can be a pain, but it'll help lines move more quickly if you do it yourself instead of relying on someone else do it.

7. Arrive early!  Early birds get the best parking spots, places in line, seats in panels, and arcs!

8. Make friends with fellow attendees. Trade blog addresses and Twitter handles. You may want to print up business cards in advance for this. These people will help up blog readership AND let you in line with them if you're running late. Be kind and return the favor.

9. Talk to publishers at the booths. Tell them some info about yourself so they can make recommendations. Ask probing questions, and you are so much more likely to get more books. Ask for business cards, and follow up with an email asap letting them know who you are, reminding them what you talked about. This is good networking for future arcs OR if you are at all interested in the publishing idustry, be it behind-the-scenes or as an author. Trust me, they'll remember you and appreciate your interest and initiative.
          9a. Know your publishers and their authors. If you can be specific about the books a publisher has put out, they'll be so much more willing to help you out. If you know that an author has a book coming out with a publisher, but you don't see it, ASK. The worst they can say is they don't have it, BUT if you ask, they might have some copies hidden. They'll be impressed that you know who their authors and upcoming releases are.
          9b. Make a list (and check it twice! Sorry, I had to) of all those authors and upcoming releases ahead of time so you don't forget in the stress of the moment. If you can be specific and focused with what you're asking for, you are so much more likely to get what you want. Sometimes that means you get the book. Sometimes that means you don't, but the workers at the booth might tell you when they're going to "drop" the book, giving you an opportunity to show up a little early.

10. Don't be a jerk. No pushing, shoving, or name-calling. Publishers and attendees will remember you if you're cool or if you're a pain in the butt. You do not want to be the latter. Be patient and wait in line like everyone else. Speaking of not being a jerk...

11. Don't be greedy. There is no possible way you can get a book for you and your five closest friends or even just you and one friend. All the other attendees paid for their admission just like you. Sorry if your friend couldn't make it, but they should consider going to the next one. There are plenty of books for everyone, but not enough for everyone to have multiple copies. Share the book with your friend instead of grabbing two. If your friends are present, it's good to divide and conquer but that still doesn't give you free reign to unlimited books. Be sensible because you still have to carry everything all day (even with a bag check you'll be carrying a daunting quantity and it gets heavy fast) and possibly ship your books home at the end of the conference. The books may be free but shipping isn't!

12. Say the magic words. Please, thank you and sorry will get you a lot of credit with everyone, from fellow attendees to publishers and authors,  conference workers to security staff. You're all there for the same reason so be polite and enjoy the awesome trait you've got in common: a supreme passion for reading!!

Weekly Wrap-Up: April 21-27

I seriously underestimated how worn out I'd be after TLA each night, which is why I haven't posted more daily recaps, but they're coming and they're really fun! In the meantime,  this is what I have managed to read this week.

Article 5 (Article 5 #1) - Kristen Simmons: 4 stars. Great book AND it's set in my hometown,kKnoxville, Tennessee, for the last few chapters. Can't wait to get started on Breaking Point. 

The Host (Host #1) - Stephenie Meyer: 5 stars. This is one of my favorite novels of all time. I was craving rereading it after seeing the movie. Ian, ftw!

Currently Reading:
If I Should Die (Revenants #3) - Amy Plum. Many thanks to the people of HarperCollins for carrying this arc at TLA. I almost cried when I got it.
Elegy (Hereafter #3) - Tara Hudson. HarperCollins also had copies of Elegy at TLA,  but my copy came from Tara directly from winning her giveaway during the 2012 winter ya scavenger hunt.

New to my bookshelf this week:
Too many to count! Book conventioms are great places to pick up new reads and I got them for me and for my blog. I am most excited about (in addition to the two listed above):

Dirty Little Secrets - Jennifer Echols
The Book of Broken Hearts - Sarah Ockler
Goddess (Starcrossed #3) - Josephine Angelini
The Moon and More - Sarah Dessen

TLA Conference: Day 2

This morning I hit up TLA with a lot of anxiety going in because traffic was a mess (all 5 living presidents were in town for the grand opening of a new library, then Obama flew down to Waco for the West memorial service), and I was stressed about being late. I had a carefully crafted schedule that was completely destroyed by said traffic and by the fact that once I got into the exhibit hall, I couldn't tear my eyes away from the glorious sights that they beheld (except for when I left to stash my bags at the bag check. I may be young and strong, but my arms were breaking only 20 minutes after walking around).

So what were these glorious sights? I'll take some pictures tomorrow, but let me describe it to you: books, as far as the eye can see, book nerds, authors. The very first thing I did this morning was slip over to Penguin Group's booth to pick up a copy of the MUCH ANTICIPATED The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (who sadly cancelled so no autograph :( ). One of the women working the booth, Mary (ironic, right?), spoke to me for a few moments and helped find some other books for me to read & review (SARAH DESSEN!!!). Thanks, Mary! *waves*

Next, I found my way to Simon & Schuster, where I found a couple new books, including Winger by Andrew Smith. Thanks for all your help, Justin! I also chatted with the ladies at Sourcebooks about my love of Miranda Kenneally and how ridiculously excited we all are for Racing Savannah

At this point, I realized my arms couldn't handle the weight anymore so I had to drop off a couple bags at the bag check. See, as a newbie blogger/book convention attendie, I had NO IDEA what to expect. I had a LOT of books with me for various signings, both for me and for you, dear readers. So I had to drop off the books meant for later signings and then rotate the books in the bags I carried to the bags at the check for the rest of the day. Many people showed up with suitcases, which sounds extreme and looks kinda crazy/too expectant, but by the end of the day, I realized it's a good idea!

Then I got in line for signings, which went really quickly, but there were so many that I'd scheduled today. I realized there was 0% chance of me attending any of the panels I'd planned since so many authors were here for today only. :( Definitely an overachiever. Scheduling is SO important, but it's also important to be flexible and decide what's more important at any given moment: publisher booths (arcs!), authors, or panels. I chose authors and arcs because I knew I'd hear news from the panels, but I only had this one opportunity to meet some of the people I admire greatly.

Authors I met throughout the course of the day: Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, Ilsa Bick, Ally Carter (!!!!), Rachel Caine, Cynthia Leitich Smith (who came to me to sign my book when she was leaving. I almost missed her because I was stuck in Rachel's line, which was monstrous. Thanks, Cynthia!!!), Kiersten White, Marissa Meyer, David Levithan, Tera Lynn Childs, Mary Pearson, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Heather Burch, Robin LaFevers, and Andrew Smith. Bonus round: I ran into debut Disney-Hyperion authors Ashley Elston (The Rules for Disappearing) and Polly Holyoke (The Neptune Project) in line for Ally Carter. I also saw John Corey Whaley running around, and ran into A. S. King in line for Andrew Smith. I got really lucky. I only missed two authors that I'd scheduled. It was a bummer not to talk to Jennifer Ziegler and Cornelia Funke, who my mom and I both love, but I can't complain when I met so many other people.

When I got to HarperCollins' booth, I ran into editor Sarah Shumway and spoke with her for a long time. I did get some great books from HC (If I Should Die, which nearly killed me, I was so excited for it), but I think I most enjoyed speaking to Sarah about the publishing industry and editing, since that's something I've always been interested in. She had a lot of fantastic advice and was so ridiculously kind. Also, for any Forgive My Fins fans out there, Sarah is Tera Lynn Child's editor. While talking to TLC while she was signing my books, I expressed my joy and anticipation for Goddess in Time, aka Nicole's story, as well as "Pretty in Pearls," which is the short FMF story about Periwinkle and mer-Jack Sparrow aka Riatus. I asked if PiP would ever be extended. TLC waved me to Sarah. I informed her that I want it, you want it, she wants it (even if she didn't know it yet), everybody wants it. So....hopefully that will happen. :) Thanks for everything, Sarah!!

I have more stories and more awesome new books to talk about, but I can't remember them all at the present moment. I don't have all my notes on me right now! So Day 2 Part 2 will be forthcoming, with more descriptions and pictures. You guys. I cannot stress enough the awesomeness of the Texas star made up out of cowboy hats that I discovered. It's...wondrous. Breathtaking. Glorious to behold. Also, today solidified the fact that I'm going to be set with AMAZING giveaways for the rest of forever so there's that. Get excited! Mostly, you know, about the hat-star thing, but the promise of new books too. ;)

TLA Conference: Day 1

Day 1 of the Texas Library Association annual conference in Fort Worth. Today was a slow day with only 2 panels for me. The exhibit booths (read: magical land of arcs) aren't open until tomorrow, as is the author area, so not much interaction going on yet.

My first panel was Teen Book Festivals 101, which was a behind-the-scenes look at how to plan and execute festivals. Since it was only an hour long, there wasn't much time for nitty gritty details, but the panelists did have lots of great advice for details that should be kept in mind. I'm not necessarily going to set up my own festival as they do take a lot of time and money, but it was cool to see jist how mich work goes into them. Also, it got me really excited for the big book festivals in Texas that are coming up soon.

My second panel was a replacement panel as my first choice was cancelled as the moderator is busy planning for the presidents' (all five of them) visit to Dallas tomorrow.  So instead of going to a panel about blogging, I went to a HIGH-larious panel called Middle School is Epic: Sagas, Heroes and More featuring authors Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, Gennifer Choldenko, John Stevens, Clete Smith, Chris Rylander, Peter Lerangis, and Jacqueline Davies. Basically, this panel reaffirmed that authors are not only the most creative people, but also the funniest. Sure, singers can sing, athletes are fit, actors are gorgeous, and comedians are funny (also usually pretty obscene), but authors are so thoughtful and funny in that awesome nerdy bookish way. The moderator kicked the whole thing off by reading ridiculously silly bios for each author and having them give a small blurb about upcoming books or most famous work or something else notable. Comments about fainting goats, immortal goats, Canada, and my-kid-asked-me-to-write-her/him-this-book reigned supreme.

Next the authors discussed their favorite childhood books, which included every single notable book you can think of: anne of green gables, little women, little house on the prairie,  goosebumps, nancy drew, hardy boys, etc. Then they all listed the books they wish they'd had growing up like Harry Potter (duh), Eoin Colfer, Philip Pullman,  etc.

Finally, the authors discussed school visits and advice to young writers.

Bonus! Last week, while shopping in anticipation for the conference, I discovered that Marie Lu was coming into town for a signing. She also is coming to TLA, but this was an event just for her at my local Half-Price Books.

The first thing Marie said was how excited she was to do an event in Texas since she was raised in Houston (Texas, represent!). She said she got her start writing because her mother had her find five words a day to translate so she could learn English, but that she always found really hard, specific words that can't be found in the dictionary (I missed where she said she went to find the words, but it was out and about). She enjoyed the writing process so much that she began to write little stories to herself and doodled them on the sides of her notebooks and her homework. She never considered writing as a career because apparently (she totally cracked up saying this) she believed books were created by robots in factories until high school. Yeah. That's hilarious. She realized that "real people wrote books" when she read an article about a 14-year old girl who had just gotten her first book deal.

After that, Marie began setting her alarm clock for 2 AM each night. She would stuff a towel or bathrobe against the crack under her door so her parents wouldn't see and would write for about 2 hours. She said she was constantly sleep deprived throughout high school. Her first manuscript, in her words, was terrible and she knew it (she said it was a Lord of the Rings ripoff). She still has it saved on her computer because she can't fathom ever deleting something that took so much time and effort and came from her. She went on to write three more manuscripts during high school. She did query agents and publishers but was turned down.

After college, she became an artist in the gaming industry but eventually got an agent. Her first queried novel Kingdom of God was rejected by publishers. Then, while watching the older Les Miserables, she got the idea for Legend. She wondered what it would be like to have a teenage criminal and a teenage detective trying to catch him. Then she read an article about global warming. The article contained a map of what the world would look like if all the fresh water ice melted. Europe was completely under water and the US was gone from Florida to Virginia, with a giant chung missing, and there was a lake from Los Angeles all the way up to San Francisco. Sound familiar? She said that LA is its own kind of dystopia so she wanted to make it more so and said, "Oh cool, let's destroy my town!"

Legend was her fastest manuscript so far as it only took 5-6 months to complete and went through two rounds of big revisions. Now that the series is almost over, she said the feeling is bittersweet, but a good bittersweet, and that she feels like an empty nester.

Q/A session (she requested no spoiler questions):
side note: She was so happy with all the questions. Seriously, she thanked everyone for each question, and gave everything a thoughtful and complete answer. Seriously, she is a dynamic speaker.

Q. What's the main plot for Champion?
A. There will be more romance, more explostions and a happyish ending, sorta.

Q. (my question) Will there be more novellas like "Life Before Legend"?
A. "I would love to write more novellas! I have more stories from before Legend." So sounds like that is a definite maybe!

Q. Is there a gaming influence on your writing?
A. She thinks very visually and must see the characters before she can write them. The fighting scenes were straight up Street Fighter.

Q. How long did you continue to work on video games after you became a writer/started working on Legend?
A. About 1 year because of the travel. No one wants to keep an employee who can only stick around for 2 weeks at a time.

Q. Any advice for young writers?
A. "Be brave. And when I say be brave, I mean don't be afrraid to write something bad." She held onto that first manuscript for a year longer than she should have, trying to make it work. She said authors get stuck in a "cycle of revising" and rework scenes and chapters over and over instead of letting it go and moving on to finish it. Keep pushing to the end.

Q. What books do you read and do they influence your writing?
A. In high school Marie exclusively read sci-fi/fantasy and now has gravitated to young adult. She loves Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone series (The Grisha) and recently read an arc of Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave, which is apparently amazing. There aren't really many conscious influences, but lots unconsciously. She loved Ender's Game growing up and loved the idea of a prodigy.

Q. Why a plague?
A. "I like plagues! Wait, that sounds bad." She said plagues are "fascinating in a disturbing way." She took the idea from the viruses and stronger bacteria caused by new farming methods and used newer outbreaks of bird flu in China as a kind of example.

Q. Are these the original titles and did you create them?
A. There were other titles and lots of them. Legend's working title was Republic, which her agent said made the whole thing seem like a boring history novel. She told Marie to come up with a list of 30 titles that she liked. Marie did so and they were bad. Some examples were: Daylight, Daybreakers (whichi s a movie about vampires), and The Criminal and the Prodigy (which she said sounds like a historical romance title). Her agent quickly sent back an email, frankly stating, "These all suck." Her agent came up with Legend, and the publisher decided on Prodigy (the first title was Patriot, which I actually kind of like). Champion was the only title on which Marie had any say as she had considered it for Prodigy.

Q. Which character do you see yourself as?
A. "I see myself in bits and pieces in all of them, but I am most like Tess, or she is like I was in high school. Kind of shy." Wishes she could be like Kaede (KIE-uh-die). She wanted to be a pilot, but her mom told her that she has terrible eyesight. So instead she wrote a ridiculously awesome dogfight scene with planes and said she had way too much fun with it, which is why it just kept going (she grinned gleefully talking about flying).

After she told us how to pronounce Kaede (which I always said as "Kady")....
Q. How do you pronounce your characters' names?
A. Mateus = Muh-TAY-us. (some people squealed joyously that they'd gotten it right)

Q. Why a reference to San Angelo?
A. "I just looked at a map and chose towns that were close to the cutoff on the map I saw in that article."

Q. Where did you work when you did video games?
A. Worked with Disney and D Gamer. Helped with avatar creation.

Q. How did you develop your world for Legend?
A. "I always get asked 'Do you think this dystopia could really ever happen?' and I always answer that it already has." She used the map and dystopian elements in history and today to create the world of Legend. Used North Korea, early US, and the Holocaust (research into eugenics) as source material. Did research on Sparta, where they used to leave weak infants outside at night to either strengthen them or kill them. An early draft had those who score a perfect 1500 like June labeled as Spartans.

Q. If the movie is made, who do you see as the characters?
A. The film has been optioned by CBS and the script has been completed (!!!!!!). She said Day is difficult do to his mixed ethnicity, but sees a mixed Romeo + Juliet Leonardo DiCaprio as kind of close. Haylee Steinfeld or a young Morena Baccarin (Inara from Firefly/Serenity) as close to June.

Q. Did you design the covers?
A. No, that was the publisher. She liked the idea of the symbols instead of people, though, so readers can imagine June and Day on their own without influence from a cover.

Q. How did you develop your relationnship with Kristen Nelson (her agent)?
A. Met Kristen at a conference, then they went their separate ways. After Marie wrote Kingdom of God, she sent out query letters and wrote one to Kristen as well, saying, "You may not remember me, but we met at a conference a few years ago?" Kristen is a very hands-on agent and helped with Legend's big revisions BEFORE they submitted to publishers so there werent many revisions afterward.

Q. Do you think a movie ever will be made?
A. "I hope so. I'm always surprised when any movie gets made because all the ways it can go wrong. Like everything can go right, but if one little thing breaks down, it could all go wrong, like if an actor isn't available because they've already signed on to 12 other projects."

 Q. What is your work ethic like now that you don't write 2 hours at 2 AM anymore?
A. "The advantage to being an unpublished author is naivity because you don't realize how hard it is." Marie said she had no idea when writing her first manuscript that it would take her 12 full years to publish a book. She said authors are generally very optimistic as it's an unstable profession, that there's always hope for the next one (manuscript). Now that she's a full-time writer, she still only writes the same amount daily as when she worked full-tim, but she has realized there's only so much creative juice. It can be hard to get things done when deadlines are like a year away, but she considers writing to be her desk job and makes herself write.

While she was signing my books, I asked if there would be more about the trials in Champion as it definitely seems like something is "screwy" with them. She gave me a sly grin and said, "maybe."

Weekly Wrap-Up: April 14-20

Got some good reading in this week, but I'll have to kick it up a notch to finish my tbr list forthe TXLA conference this week!

The Supernaturalist: The Graphic Novel - Eoin Colfer: 2stars. I highly recommend the novel, but this adaptation leaves a lot to be desired.
"What Really Happened In Peru" (The Bane Chronicles #1) - Cassandra Clare & Sara Rees Brennan: 5 stars. Magnus's adventures are hilarious!
Sever (Chemical Garden #3) - Lauren DeStefano: 3 stars. Not the ending I had expected or hoped for, but it was okay. I was rather gutted when DeStefano killed off one of my more favorite characters in kind of an anti-climactic way. Not the death I think s/he deserved. :(
Broadway Lights (Secrets of My Hollywood Life #5) - Jen Calonita: 4 stars. This series is lighthearted and sweet. I adore it!

Currently Reading:
The Host - Stephenie Meyer. Rereading for about the 6th time. This is one of my all-time favorites.  I just love it so much!

New to my bookshelf this week:
A Midsummer's Nightmare - Kody Keplinger

The Non-Update Update

So. Regular readers will notice I did not do a Listmania Monday post this week. I probably will not do one next week either. Also, I'm not sure if I'll be posting any new reviews during that time. This is for several reasons:

1. Work. Like, a lot of work.
2. Also, taxes, blech.
3. I've been reading a lot, but I haven't found books I really want to review. Even if I like a book, sometimes I just don't have a desire to do a review. It happens. But I have some not-so-recent reads that I'm working on reviewing.
4. I've been doing some site updates instead of new posts. This means in part updates to the site design that you may or may not notice, but mostly, I'm updating Listmania posts. I don't just do a list and forget about it. I like to keep them updated so as I get new post info, I'll update it. Likewise, if you have any updated info for any Listmania post, let me know and I'll include it (I LOVE comments!!)! These are the posts I have updated so far so check them out for the most up-to-date info I've got!
     -YA novels by state
     -YA novels by country
     -YA graphic novel adaptations
5. The biggest and best reason that I'm not putting out posts, though, is I am preparing for the Texas Library Association annual conference next week. That means I'm reading as many books by the authors I'll be meeting as I can as well as prepping interview questions. Also, buying books because author event = signed books and swag. You know what that means! In the meantime, you can really help me out by filling out my Giveaway Survey. This thing is ONLY three questions so it shouldn't take long. This survey is to let me know what YOU, my reader, want out of my next giveaway. I've been getting some, but not a whole lot, of feedback so please please please take 5 minutes to let me know what you think. Even if you don't have a preference, let me know!

Basically, I've got a lot of awesome things coming up so please bear with me through a week of relative quiet.

Happy reading!

Weekly Wrap-Up: April 7-13

Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) - Tahereh Mafi: 5 stars
Paper Valentine - Brenna Yovanoff
Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) - Marissa Meyer

New to my bookshelf this week:
My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century - Rachel Harris
Innocent Darkness (The Aether Chronicles #1) - Suzanne Lazear
Ruby Red (The Ruby Red Trilogy) - Kersten Gier
Article 5 (Article 5 #1) - Kristen Simmons
Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) - Robin LaFevera

Review: Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally

Rating: 4 stars
Pub Date: March 1, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: contemporary romance, young adult/new adult (straddles the line), chick lit
Format/Source: Paperback, my own copy
Status: Book 3 of the Hundred Oaks series. This is techinally a companion series, but each book features a new protagonist and will spoil the preceeding books. So no, you don't have to read Catching Jordan or Stealing Parker, but Things will tell you how each ended. Just fyi.

Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…

This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt--with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…

I have to give Kenneally credit: religion is a HARD topic to broach in current literature, especially in fiction and particularly in young adult at that. I think of it as the last great topic we have left. Race, sexual orientation, gender, politics...these topics have all been brought to light fairly equally in ya, but I think religion is sooo much harder because how intensely passionate people are about it. Not that we aren't intense or passionate about the other things as well, but there's a...I don't know, more personal aspect to one's view of religion. I guess because religion or spirituality in general is more sacred to religious folk than their race or gender. Not always, but usually. I mean, I consider myself to be religious (one of the reasons I enjoyed this read so much), and white girl jokes don't bother me as much as wayward comments about my beliefs. I can't speak for everyone, but this has been my experience. Also, there's still a feeling that if an author discusses religion in a ya novel, they're pressing their personal beliefs on you (be honest: how many of you have made that comment about Twilight?) and thus the subject seems to be somewhat taboo. I am impressed with Kenneally's ability to balance and intertwine religion with other more typical ya fare like views on teen sex, homosexuality, friendships, etc. After all, one's system of beliefs is usually what shapes and defines one's views on those topics.

Listmania Monday: Cover redesigns

An open letter to young adult publishers.

Dear publishers,

We, the readers, have a serious bone to pick with you. You publish so many amazing books for us to read. You hold giveaways and send your authors out on cross-country tours that allow us to interact with our favorites. You give us series, even when it's not entirely necessary, just because you know we want more. Thanks for all these wonderful things. In return, we buy these books. We anticipate releases years in advance and wait anxiously for our beloved characters' return in each new adventure. We share our favorites with our friends, request that our libraries buy each new installment,  and sometimes, we buy multiple editions just so we can own that super-exclusive content, be it a new extra short story, a scene from another character's pov, the first chapter of the next book in the series, or even just a special holographic version of the color. Or maybe we also want an ecopy so we can take it on vacation without lugging the physical book.

Whatever our reasoning may be, please believe us when we say you really don't have to worry about our buying your books. What we DON'T like is having to buy multiple copies because your design & marketing teams changed their mind about the covers midway through a series and now you're publishing an entirely different set of covers. Sure, the new covers are sometimes lovely, but we readers are actually quite visual. We like our bookshelves to be perfect. We'd like the covers to match, please-and-thank-you. We also like the format to match, and that gets wonky when you republish the older book(s) with the new covers only in paperback. Dedicated fans loooove a matching hardcover set, particularly first editions, if we can get them so we'd really appreciate it if you would desist with the crazy redesign trend because it's driving us crazy and hitting us in the wallet...which affects our future book budget. So please, when you think you should go in a new direction with the covers, think of us fans first. Publish the rest of the series to match....and then redesign for a special edition. Let us pick our favorite cover design and have a matching set, instead of two partials created from an eclectic mixture of two sets of covers and formats.

your customers

Okay, guys, you know the drill. Which cover redesign broke your heart the most? Beth Revis's Across the Universe trilogy destroyed me upon redesign. I know she loved it, but the covers for AtU and AMS were GORGEOUS while the redesign was just okay. I mean, I get it, but I am still not over it. Vampire Academy was frustrating, particularly as I can't get hardcovers of Frostbite and Shadow Kiss, but at least I had Richelle sign my first editions. That made me really happy. I'm pleased with both the redesigns for Jackson Pearce's Fairytale Retellings and Stephanie Perkins's Anna/Lola/Isla, but that whole matching set thing will elude us all with those, unless anyone is patient enough to wait for all the paperbacks. Thoughts? Did I leave any out? Let me know!

Weekly Wrap-Up: March 31 - April 6

I spent half my week just reading the titles. I spent the other half loving the stories that came after the titles.

Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality - Elizabeth Eulberg: 5 stars just isn't enough. See review.
Things I Can't Forget (Hundred Oaks #3) - Miranda Kenneally: 4 stars.
I Now Pronounce You Someone Else - Erin McCahan: 5 stars. A surprisingly good read. I had no idea going into it that I'd love it that much. Many, many similarities to Things I Can't Forget, in one of those weird reading coincidences that I talked about here. 18-year old girl, 20 year old boyfriend. Girl doesn't want to have sex before marriage. Boy was cruelly dumped by an ex-girlfriend.... Anyway, it's definitely worth a read.
"Die for Me" (Revenants #2.5- Amy Plum: 5 stars. Oh, Jules. You are so darling. Too bad you're on the losing end of the triangle (at least, that's my theory for If I Should Die...). But hey, you have rabid fangirls who would love to take your mind off, what was her name again?
Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: The Book - Joss Whedon: 5 stars. This movie is amazing and so are all the side projects associated with it.
The Vincent Brothers - Abbi Glines: 3 stars

Currently reading: 
Unravel Me - Tahereh Mafi

New to my bookshelf this week:
"Die for Me" (Revenants #2.5) - Amy Plum
The Vincent Brothers (Vincent Boys #2)- Abbi Glines
Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) - Tahereh Mafi. I do own a copy of this book, but I had to leave it behind at my parents' house in Tennessee 2 months ago...before I could read it. I've been waiting impatiently ever since for my local library in Dallas to finally get its copies in.
Falling in Love with English Boys - Melissa Jensen
Sever - Lauren DeStefano
'Til the World Ends - Julie Kagawa
After: Nineteen Tales of Apocalypse and Dystopia - Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Giveaway Survey

Review: Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg

Rating: 5 stars
Pub Date: March 1, 2013
Publisher: Point (an imprint of Scholastic)
Genre: contemporary young adult, chick lit, humor
Format/Source: Hardcover, my own copy
Status: Standalone novel (a rarity!)
Don't mess with a girl with a great personality!

Everybody loves Lexi. She's popular, smart, funny...but she's never been one of those girls, the pretty ones who get all the attention from guys. And on top of that, her seven-year-old sister, Mackenzie, is a terror in a tiara, and part of a pageant scene where she gets praised for her beauty (with the help of fake hair and tons of makeup).

Lexi's sick of it. She's sick of being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them. She's sick of being ignored by her longtime crush, Logan. She's sick of being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom. And she's sick of having all her family's money wasted on a phony pursuit of perfection.

The time has come for Lexi to step out from the sidelines. Girls without great personalities aren't going to know what hit them. Because Lexi's going to play the beauty game - and she's in it to win it

If I could give Elizabeth Eulberg more than 5 stars for this masterpiece, I would. I fell in love with Elizabeth's writing when I stumbled upon The Lonely Hearts Club two years ago, and it's been a steady love ever since with solid stories from Prom & Prejudice and Take a Bow, but I think Revenge is the book that proves how savvy and brilliant a writer she really is.

Monthly Wrap-up: January - March

Since I just started doing wrap-ups, I'm including January and February in this post.

Brodi Ashton - "Neverfall" (Everneath 1.5): 3 stars
Meg Cabot - The Merlin Prophecy (Avalon High: Coronation #1): 3 stars
                   - Homecoming (Avalon High: Coronation #2): 3 stars
                   - Hunter's Moon (Avalon High: Coronation #3): 3 stars
Jen Calonita - Secrets of My Hollywood Life (Secrets #1)  ): 5 stars
                     - On Location (Secrets #2): 4 stars
                     - Family Affairs (Secrets #3): 3 stars
Ally Carter - "Double Crossed: A Spies and Thieves Story" (Gallagher Girls #5.5/Heist Society #2.5): 5 stars
Cassandra Clare & 
Gayle Forman - Just One Day (Just One Day #1): 5 stars
Cynthia Hand - "Radiant" (Unearthly #2.5): 3 stars
Ann M. Martin - Baby-Sitters' Winter Vacation: 4 stars
Richelle Mead - Succubus Dreams (Georgina Kincaid #3): 4 stars
                        - Succubus Heat (Georgina Kincaid #4: 3 stars
Richelle Mead, Emma Vieceli & Leigh Dragoon - Vampire Academy: The Graphic Novel
                                                                               - Frostbite: The Graphic Novel: 3 stars
 Beth Revis - "As They Slip Away" (Across the Universe #0.5): 4 stars
                    - Shades of Earth (Across the Universe #3): 5 stars
Antoine de Saint-Exupery - The Little Prince: 5 stars
Marjane Satrapi - Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood: 3 stars

Brodi Ashton - Everbound (Everneath #2): 5 stars
Jen Calonita - Winter White (Belles #2): 4 stars
Ally Carter - Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society #3): 5 stars
Susane Colasanti - Keep Holding On: 4 stars
Eoin Colfer -The Arctic Incident: The Graphic Novel (Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novels #2): 5 stars
Lauren Conrad - The Fame Game (Fame Game #1): 3 stars
Jennifer Echols - Star Crossed (Stargazer #1): 5 stars
Emily Giffin - Where We Belong: 3 stars
Cynthia Hand - Boundless (Unearthly #3)
Marie Lu - "Life Before Legend" (Legend #0.5): 5 stars
                - Prodigy (Legend #2): 5 stars
Isaac Marian - "Boarded Window" (Warm Bodies #0.6): 5 stars
                      - Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1): 5 stars
Richelle Mead - The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3): 5 stars
Jodi Meadows - Asunder (Incarnate #2): 4 stars
Lauren Morrill - Meant to Be: 4 stars
Jodi Picoult - My Sister's Keeper: 5 stars
Veronica Rossi - Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2): 5 stars
J.K. Rowling -  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: 5 stars
                      - Quidditch Through the Ages: 5 stars
                      - The Tales of Beedle the Bard: 4 stars
Louis Sachar - Stanley Yelnats' Survival Guide to Camp Green Lake (Holes #1.5): 4 stars
Marjane Satrapi - Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return: 2 stars
Kiersten White - Mind Games (Mind Games #1): 3 stars

M. Molly Backes - The Princesses of Iowa: 2 stars
Judy Blume - Forever: 4 stars
Meg Cabot - Boy Meets Girl (Boy #2): 5 stars
                   - Every Boy's Got One (Boy #3): 5 stars
Jen Calonita - Paparazzi Princess (Secrets #4): 4 stars
Kiera Cass - "The Prince" (The Selection #0.5): 4 stars
Cassandra Clare - Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3): 5 stars
Elizabeth Eulberg - Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality: 5 stars
Melissa Jensen - The Fine Art of Truth or Dare: 3 stars
Lauren Oliver - "Annabel" (Delirium #0.5): 4 stars
                        - "Raven" (Delirium #2.5): 4 stars
                        - Reqiuem (Delirium #3): 3 stars
 Megan Shepard - The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter #1): 4 stars
Scott Westerfeld - Goliath (Leviathan #3): 5 stars
Zack Whedon - Dr. Horrible and Other Horrible Stories: 5 stars