Tuesday, May 31, 2011

quick post to let yall know...

...that the comment wackness (yes, I just said wackness, because yes, it is still the 90s up in here) is fixed. I'd still be boohooing myself if and shaking my fist at the computer screen if it weren't for Jillian @ Random Ramblings, who completely sorted me out.
Comments are now working!! YAY!
Here is a picture of Fievel. He's happy, and so am I.

Pictures from BEA Part II

BEA was one of the greatest experiences, and I am already eagerly anticipating BEA 2012.
I cannot say enough how grateful I am to the awesome posse of the smartest, sweetest, most amazing girls (too many adjectives?) who took me under their wing and made the whole experience less daunting.
I'm glad I didn't have to trek it alone!
Tuesday Highlights
  • Arriving at Javits bright and early and meeting up with the girls - Jennifer from Reading with Tequila, Emily from Red House Books, Eleni from La Femme Readers, Taschima from Bloody Bookaholic, Lexie and Tegan from Poisoned Rationality, Briana from BAM Book Reviews, Nikki from Wicked Awesome Books, and Danielle from Frenzy of Noise.
  • Walking briskly (absolutely no running - we're not on a track team!) with Tasch and Tegan to the Scholastic booth and absolutely spazzing over galleys of Forever, which I did not expect them to have (usually final books in a series market themselves!)
  • Seeing the rest of the floor, saying "pardon me...excuse me...thank you very much" so many times that one of the publicists from Macmillan said I sounded like Kyra Sedgwick's character from "The Closer." Haha
  • Signing lines with Ilsa Bick (Ashes and Draw the Dark), Cara Lynn Shultz (Spellbound) at the Harlequin booth (or should I say, the Harlequin Headquarters. That place is bigger than the Batcave!), Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl), Leigh Fallon (The Carrier of the Mark), and Jeff Hirsch (The Eleventh Plague)
  • Sat in on the YA Editor Buzz Panel, which was a godsend because for some reason, my feet didn't hurt but my back sure did. Sat next to the wonderful team from Girls in the Stacks - who just so happen to be Texas bloggers. Some drama with galleys - "do they or don't they?" and almost getting squished, but I'm small so I made it out alive.
  • Had an amazing hotdog, even if I did shame myself by forgetting that I was in New York City and asking for mayonnaise.
  • Me and Jennifer braving NYC's idea of a "mall" for dinner and having what was easily the funnest, most interesting conversation of my year (you just don't get good conversation like that where I'm from...lol...unless you're talking about how hot it is, how amazing the Rangers are, or something to do with politics)
  • Galleys I swooned over: The Carrier of the Mark, Legend, The Scorpio Races, Forever, Wonderstruck (today belonged to Scholastic!), Variant (so excited to see this one) and The Eleventh Plague
Jacob Javits, the larger-than-life NY senator who did so much for education - especially G/T education.
Way to represent, HarlequinTeen!
So excited to see this cover!
Abrams booth - Dairy of a Wimpy Kid
The enormous autographing area. Reminded me a lot of Disneyworld, only no fast passes
Me, Taschima, and Danielle
Me and Tegan - love her. I was this close (thumb and forefinger) to bringing her back to Texas with me to be my little sis. Buuut...that's kidnapping, and is indeed illegal in every state.

The dashing Eoin Colfer
As surprised as he looks, at least the flash wasn't on.
At the YA Editor Buzz Panel. By the way, I absolutely adored that emcee guy. Woulda liked to bring *him* back to Texas too!
Man, Jason Valdez is hot. He almost reminds me of Percy...
Leigh Fallon - and her accent - were so charming and sweet! Meeting her and getting a copy of Carrier of the Mark was a great end to a great day.

Wednesday Highlights
  • Got to Javits at 5:50 in the morning. No, I wasn't crazy, I was just paranoid about somehow not getting Rick Riordan and Scott Westerfeld tickets.
  • Having the absolute BEST cab driver in the world. He got me from 5th Ave to the Javits in 4 minutes (aaaand had to outwit a firetruck that blocked three lanes of traffic down a narrow street). I love you, Alfonso!
  • Breakfast run to Dunkin' Donuts (still ain't got nothin on Krispy Kream) with Tasch and Tegan
  • Getting career advice from Rick Riordan...RYE-or-dan... (who knew exactly where my hometown is) and getting to take a picture with Julie Kagawa (her publicist-person actually let me and Tasch take a picture with her, and didn't look at my camera like it had Anthrax on it like Rick Riordan's publicist-person. Ha!)
  • Jennifer and I meeting the funnest Macmillan publicist-person in Ally Condie's line and the *ahem* absolutely high-five-worthy conversations we had. We wondered if, in the future, we'll all be wearing yoga pants like the cover model. Gah, I hope not. I'd never be able to pull that off. Plus...that sign that was right across from us that we kept guffawing over. Well okay, they laughed and I guffawed.
  • other Cool author signings: Scott Westerfeld (Goliath), Kady Cross (The Girl in the Steel Corset), Ally Condie (Crossed), Marie Lu (Legend)
  • Hanging out at Mars - the eatery of the future! Our hilarious server who thought that snorting was the funniest thing ever (and when I say "snorting", I mean the sound that emits in between laughs...not the other verb meaning), and that slightly eccentric martian who danced with all those kids. LOL.
  • M&Ms store!
Wednesday looking @ Javits
Stood in front of a cute little kid in the Rick Riordan line with Tasch.
Easily the best thing about BEA. My kids at YG were like "when you meet Rick Riordan, make him do the 'hook em horns' sign!" As I am an adult and really do want people to take me seriously, I nixed asking for the hook em horns sign.
Julie Kagawa! Got moving advice from her - the verdict? Kentucky is a cool place to live, especially the Louisville area.
I honestly don't remember of Jane Lynch was Wednesday or Thursday...but there she is!

The eatery of the future!
Thursday Highlights
  • Just managing to get through the day without bursting into tears at the thought of this being the last full day of BEA was an accomplishment
  • Made the rounds - Little Brown wins the 'Best (Booth) in Show' for Thursday - and had the good fortune of our group being "line-heckled" by Maureen Johnson, who by the way has fabulous taste in dresses. Apparently there was some kind of drama that went down today, but I don't feel like it's my business or right to pass judgment on other people, so...I really don't know!
  • Left BEA early to figure out how to ship the bountiful booty home. Note to those who may attend next year: do.not.use.FedEx. Ever. Ever, ever, ever. We shipped two boxes - one that weighed 70 lbs and the other that weighed 35 - to Texas, media mail (and we shipped them THURSDAY and they arrived the very next TUESDAY, gaw I love our USPS!) for around $50.
  • Had the absolute BEST pizza at Lombardi's because Tasch's mother has amazing taste! Good call on Lombardi's
  • And now...the only real drama of the trip, and it was all my fault. Sometime shortly after 11:00, I managed to get myself lost in a really unfamiliar part of the city. When the streets aren't numbered anymore, it easily happens, and I scared myself into hyperventilation at not being able to hail a cab. I swear, every episode I'd ever seen of "SVU" came back to mind. But I had guardian angels in Lexie and Chaz and the sweetest cab driver - once I did manage to hail one down - who told me about the first time he got himself lost in the city when he first came over to America. That was the sweetest thing.
Me and Jennifer
Maureen Johnson, hard at work being one of the nicest, sincerest authors in the industry
Contrary to what Randy Newman sings, short people DO got people to love them!
Maureen thought Nikki and I were cute

This is *not* my stack, this is LEXIE & TEGAN'S...holy smokes!
That is BEA talent right there.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Pictures from NYC/BEA Part I

Last Sunday I was able to venture back to New York City for the first time in about five years. This time around, I was determined to take more pictures! We stayed in a different part of the city from the other times - near Bryant Park in Midtown, away from the fun/crazy atmosphere of Times Square and all that jazz.

Sunday Highlights
  • Swapping 90 degree weather for overcast 60something-degree weather
  • Eating at Tir Na nOg Irish pub
  • Realizing that the Mapquest app is the most amazing invention ever
  • Shopping at this humongous department store called Century 21, which is actually across the street from the WTC
  • trying to eat scrumptious clam chowder without slurping at our hotel's seafood restaurant and eavesdropping on the funny drunk people's conversations at the bar
Tir Na nOg & inscriptions on the wall...reminds me of something out of LORD OF THE RINGS
View of our hotel near 5th Ave.
A really cool, huge department store that is good for finding amazing deals, but not good if you're a slight germaphobe like I am and get nervous being squeezed next to sweaty strangers
View across from the store, looking at the WTC site
How coincidental! In town for a book expo, and our hotel is right across from a branch of the NYPL :)
This picture weirds me out because I'm not really sure what I was looking at...moving on...
Chocolate store! Chocolate store! And they had huge bowls of oatmeal for like $1.50. DEAL!

Monday Highlights
  • Checking in at BEA, finding out that I did register correctly and, after months of being confused and hearing all sorts of differing accounts from different sources, finding out that press attendees did get in free (Eleni and Jennifer, if you're reading this by chance...HIGH FREAKING FIVE), and getting to see what the Javits looked like when it pre-show
  • Having the whole day to mill around the city, walk and shed off some of the graduation cake that I'd previously devoured...and not getting lost (yet).
  • Walked down to the Strand bookstore - 18 miles of books. Fascinating! I bought 2 totes, 3 shirts, but only 3 books - Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink; The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide by Stephenie Meyer (because it was only like $10) and, ahem, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
  • Went straight from one bookstore to another - Books of Wonder on 18th Street. Okay guys, the Strand is cool and everything (like, astronomically cool), but Books of Wonder is without a doubt, the BEST BOOKSTORE IN THE WORLD. Yes, it is cooler than London's Travel Bookshop (you know, "the one that only sells travel books." - Notting Hill). Seriously, if you guys have seen You've Got Mail...I originally thought that this was where they filmed Meg Ryan's Shop Around the Corner. It wasn't, but it was that kind of atmosphere. And joy of all joys, they had a cupcake bakery-cafe adjoining the bookstore. Yeah, I spent upwards of 3 hours in here after almost bankrupting myself with The Cabinet of Wonders and The Celestial Globe by Marie Rutkoski, Unwind by Neal Shusterman, Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness, Entwined by Heather Dixon, and The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman.
  • Because I was too lazy to go back uptown, I didn't go to the Harry Potter Exhibit...but I heard it was pretty cool :)
  • Went to the Teen Author Carnival, got within a few feet of some of the coolest YA authors without any weird business happening on my part, and met up with my future BEA coaches, support group, and friends: Jennifer from Reading with Tequila, Taschima from Bloody Bookaholic, Lexie from Poisoned Rationality, Emily from Red House Books, and Briana from BAM Book Reviews.
  • Being in New York and highly anticipating the beginning of BEA the next morning did NOT, however, keep us from catching the finale of "Dancing with the Stars." Go Hines & Kym!
Walking down 5th, I noticed a bunch of people standing in the middle of the street, taking pictures of a big, brown and kind of dirty-looking building. I was like, "Why are they all taking pictures of that big, brown, dirty-looking building?" then realized it was the Empire State Building. Ahh! And then I just *had* to take a picture too - after all, that's where the Greek gods live!
The Strand, 18 miles of books!

The coolest, Hugh-Grant's-bookshop-ain't-got-nothin-on-this bookstore in the world!
Books of Wonder!
Inside Books of Wonder, right in front of their enormous Dr. Seuss section
Hey Big Spender! Those are just about the cutest cupcakes I've ever seen!
The books I bought at Books of Wonder, plus my cupcake!

One of the few only-semi-blurry TAC pictures.
From left: Malinda Lo, Carol Estby Dagg, Michelle Zink, Courtney Allison Moulton, and Andrea Cremer
Looking into Bryant Park, which was right across the street from our hotel

BEA Pictures - Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday - will be uploaded shortly!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

back from nyc

Hey everybody! We got back from New York last night and I've spent today pretty much sleeping and crying over the fact that our high today was 110 degrees. You absolutely suck, West Texas.
Bad news? I miss New York like crazy...what an amazing town! Good news? I am this close (thumb nearly touching forefinger) to finally finishing Divergent.
This week I'll upload pictures from the city and when I get my stuff in the mail, I'll post a late IMM.
Hope everybody had a good last week! Stay cool and drink lots of water!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Question of the Midweek: If you could recommend ONE YA book...

...to anyone (let's assume it's someone who actually *likes* to read), what would it be?
Because let's face it, I bet several of you have heard some kind of disparaging comment about YA literature, how it's beneath one's level, how it's superficial, how it's light reading, how it's *gasp* "kiddie lit." What one book would you recommend that proves those thoughts wrong?

My answer...
I'm going to fudge a little, and I'm going to give a whole series instead of just one book.
The one series I'd be able to recommend to the greatest number of people, with the greatest possibility of favorable reception, would be the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. They are so extremely fun, have a witty and endearing cast of characters...but above all, the reason I think adults would be able to appreciate the series...is because it's so clever. The way Riordan seamlessly weaves myth after myth together into modern day America is just pure genius.
I already know several professors (people who read AND WRITE those long academic articles that appear in journals and whatnot FOR FUN!) who swear by this series.
(I gotta admit, though, I'm a little nervous about where the spinoff series - The Heroes of Olympus - is going! I almost wish some of the characters from the original werent in this sequel series!)

So what say you all? What one book or series would you recommend, if you could ONLY recommend one?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

In My Mailbox [9]

In My Mailbox this week! (started by the Story Siren)
Divergent - Veronica Roth
^^it was just so pretty and shiny! I couldn't help but buy one

Supernaturally - Kiersten White
^^thanks Khadija!

So Silver Bright (Theatre Iluminata #3) - Lisa Mantchev
Special thanks to Macmillan Children's USA!

--and this has absolutely nothing to do with mailboxes or book-buying, but I made a crazy-mad exhibit hall map for Javits, and I wanted to show it off, because this is the closest I ever get to making artsy stuff... :P

What did everyone else get this week?

Friday, May 13, 2011


The Goddess Test - Aimee Carter
Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy/Mythology spinoff
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
# of pages: 304
The Goddess Test @ Parental Book Reviews
Recommended for: HS & Beyond
It's always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests. Kate is sure he's crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.

Raise your hand if you check out reviews of a book right before you read it. I must have read at least fifteen reviews for The Goddess Test on Goodreads and the blogs and many if not most of them said the same things: the mythological characters (Greek gods, in other words) are portrayed very differently from the real myths, Hades in particular doesn't seem very Hades-ish, and there's a bit of religion-mixing with regard to the plot.
Now here's where I come in: yeah, all of those things are true, and for me, they totally worked.
Yep, there was something very 'cool' (for lack of a better word...it's been a long day) about this book, about its plot, about the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed it and read it pretty fast, too!
For one thing, The Goddess Test was consistently (read: always) interesting. The main character, Kate Winters, was one of the more cheer-worthy heroines I've encountered lately. She possessed a lot of the qualities I like to see in a protagonist: she was kind and considerate of others (read: 'I'm not the orbital center of the solar system') and she had a sense of loyalty that would make Lassie herself seem like a flake. However, the girl really needs a self-esteem injection. It didn't always seem like she was the most balanced character, because several times throughout the story she would let other characters completely walk all over her, which made her seem kind of weak. But I thought the way she wanted to help her mom (and Henry) really sweet.
Henry/Hades was actually my favorite character. Depending on how many other reviews you've read of The Goddess Test, you may have noticed some disappointment over his portrayal. Honestly, I kind of liked the way Henry was portrayed here, even if he didn't seem very Hades-ish. And there was one thing about him in particular that I really liked, but hardly see anymore in YA lit, so that was fun. However, the synopsis labels him "dark" and "tortured," which I did not think he was. Actually, he was more gentlemanly and distant; I didn't get much of the 'tortured' vibe.
When you think of Hades...you think Hades and Persephone, right? Maybe? Well, The Goddess Test is not supposed to be a retelling of that myth. Just thought I'd reiterate that, because I definitely expected it to be. I actually thought this book had more in common with the myth of Cupid and Psyche (girl goes to a big palace-y place and befriends the staff...has to pass all these tests...falls for an elusive guy she doesn't know all that well...angry/jealous family members wreak havoc...). The tests that Kate had to pass were kind of downplayed throughout the story, and you didn't really even find out what they were until the very end. I would have liked to have seen the tests take more focus, but I have a feeling there will be way more in store for Kate and company later!
My word to those fellow mythology lovers who gobbled up Percy Jackson and are looking for the newest must-have myth-based book: go into The Goddess Test with an open mind. Ms. Carter certainly is a creative girl who has a fascinating story to tell, so I wouldn't expect the "god/goddess" characters to be too similar to their real myth counterparts. If you have to, imagine them as completely separate characters.
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