Saturday, June 30, 2012

Where's Your Bookmark (5 & 6)

My second video for the YouTube Book Club on Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett as well as my thoughts on the novel Beastly by Alex Flinn and its film adaptation.

Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday Words: The Passing of Giants

The world of writers has grown a bit smaller in the past few weeks, and some true giants of their professions have left behind legacies that will be long remembered and very large shoes to fill (if it's even possible).

June 5th brought the death of Ray Bradbury, a master of science fiction and a writer of what I consider to be the beginnings of today's current "dystopian" trend. I remember buying my copy of Fahrenheit 451 on a hot summer's day in Verona, Italy from the only English-selling bookstore that my friends and I knew of. I picked it because I felt that the title was an accurate reflection of the temperature during my stay, but the story captured me in ways that hit close to home. The imagining of a society in which the printed word is considered dangerous therefore it no longer exits and an obsession with constant entertainment and technology has taken over is hardly fiction anymore - this blog only serves as evidence of that. Bradbury's book on banning books is one that has spoken volumes beyond its short page count, and there's no doubt in my mind that it will continue to be a reference point for years to come.

Then yesterday, June 26, notable screenwriter Nora Ephron died. I should more accurately say that she was perhaps best known as a screenwriter, but her life-long love affair with words went far beyond that as she was also an actress, novelist, playwright, journalist, and blogger. Now that I'm in my 20s I am more fully able to appreciate Ephron's body of work, which isn't to say that I didn't enjoy it when I was younger. I remember many nights curled up on the couch when I was little watching Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail - these films were full of charming characters, smart dialogue, and had an amazing ability to allow viewers to escape their reality and into someone else's for a little while. She redefined what it means for a film to be a quality romantic comedy because it's not always smiles. When I first say When Harry Met Sally... in high school, it was like Ephron had crawled inside my brain and asked the question that once asked, will never go away: can guys and girls really ever be just friends?

The answer is a messy one: Yes, but no. Well, kind of. It depends. Hey, did you see the ball game last night?

Two very different writers and lives that aimed to explore different facets of the human condition, and both giants in their own rights. May today's writers learn by their examples, and may these souls rest in peace.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

So It Goes: Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Delacorte, 1969

Though I have always been a reader, I can’t say that many of my friends were growing up necessarily. I’d usually devour whatever I could get my hands on, but I must admit that the year Cat’s Cradle  by Kurt Vonnegut was on the summer reading list, I bought a copy but just couldn’t get into it.

Suddenly, my status as a “reader” was called into question by my non-reading friends. They read and loved Vonnegut, so how could I not? All I can say is that at the time, something just wasn’t clicking and I hoped to someday try picking up Vonnegut again and the results would be different.

Fast forward to spring break, 2012. My friend and I are in a used bookstore in Wilmington, North Carolina and I decide that the time is as good as any to accomplish my goal. I bought a copy of Slaughterhouse-Five, Vonnegut’s best known work that still remains an incredibly popular anti-war story, and braced myself.

Billy Pilgrim is an interesting (and yet ordinary) man by many accounts. He’s an optometrist. He’s incredibly average except for in three major ways:

1. He gets unstuck in time. He experiences his life out of order, going backwards and forwards, sometimes living the same parts of his life and death over and over again.
2. He’s been to the planet Tralfamadore and was abducted by the Tralfamadorians who see everything in the fourth dimension and house him in a sort of zoo.
3. He was a prisoner of war in WWII and survived the bombing at Dresden.

I wish I had something really clever or moving or profound to say about this book because I thoroughly enjoyed it. When time first started to become unstuck for Billy and the aliens were first mentioned, I expected to be lost or put off, but the plot flowed back and forth, exploring facets of humanity and horror in ways that I’ve never seen a book do before. It is also important to know that there’s an autobiographical slant to the story because Vonnegut actually was a POW who survived Dresden, so this is a man who knew of what he was talking about.

But my words are failing here where Vonnegut’s managed to soar. This book was constantly making me stop and think, which is very high praise coming from me. I can see why so many of my friends who weren’t, and still really aren’t, readers like this book – it does things that no other book I’ve read can and it takes the story on in a darkly humorous and poetic way. I’m now looking forward to finding my old copy of Cat’s Cradle and giving it another well-deserved shot.

Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Where's Your Bookmark? (4)

My thoughts so far on The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday Words: Done With Dystopian (For Now)?

Even if you have no particular aspirations to become a published writer yourself, it can still be really interesting and beneficial to follow the blogs and Twitter accounts of publishers, agents, and editors. Writers are of course fabulous to follow for more obvious reasons - they give agonizing peeks at what they're working on (or thinking about working on) and are often times quite colorful characters themselves. But publishers, agents, and editors are fascinating too and can provide an interesting perspective on the publishing world.

Namely, they let the world know what they are looking for, which many times can give the rest of us some kind of indication of what the next trends may be.

In a recent #askagent chat on Twitter, a number of agents, many of whom represent YA, answered questions about what they are looking for or what the next "big thing" is going to be. The gist of it, at least to me, seemed to be that they are dystopians are on the way out (at least for now).

The dystopian trend has had a tremendously successful run. I loved The Hunger Games. I'm a huge fan of other dystopian series such as Divergent, Delirium, and Matched and cannot wait to read their finales when they come out next year. But if I'm honest, I often find myself needing to read something considerably lighter in tone and mood following these stories to give myself a pick-me-up.

But on the other hand, I guess I'll believe that the trend has run its course when I see it. The lines between genres blur so much these days which makes fresh, new stories possible. Dystopians are part people, part science fiction. Debut novels such as Struck and Monument 14 are definitely books with an end of the world theme to them, and I believe they have strong futures ahead. Vampire novels and fallen angels seem to still be doing well, and these sort of go with the growing resurgence of the fantasy trend (though it's taken on a decidedly less magic-oriented theme as far as many of the blurbs I've been reading for the most part).

So what are your thoughts? Are you ready for dystopians to take the back seat for a while, or is this something you want to stay front and center for a while longer? Personally I think that variety is good, but this was an interesting trend to me because it's one that I didn't expect to like as much as I did and was pleasantly surprised. I think this has become a new staple for our bookshelves and while the big rush for these books may be beginning to wane, I highly doubt they will disappear from "new titles" lists all together.

Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fierce Reads Field Trip

A video I put together from when I went to a stop on the Fierce Reads tour at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, Illinois last week. You can read about the event at my other blog, here.


Authors Mentioned:
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon) - Website - Twitter
Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone) - Website - Twitter
Jennifer Bosworth (Struck) - Website - Twitter
Emmy Laybourne (Monument 14) - Website - Twitter

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Grissly Ghosts: Anna Dressed in Blood

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Tor Teen, 2011

I'm not usually one for horror books and ghost stories, but I can't say the same for the teens that frequent my library. They can't seem to get enough of them, and for the better part of a year, I've been able to scrape by based on the book jackets and blurbs I've read when helping them make book selections. But when this book finally made its way to our collection, I decided to give ghosts another try and was not disappointed.

Kendare Blake paints a dark, twisted picture in her novel Anna Dressed in Blood. Readers step inside the mind of 17 year old Cas Lowood - he hunts ghosts, just as his father before him did (until Mr. Lowood was murdered by a ghost). His jobs have taken him across America and now he's made his way to Thunder Bay, Ontario to kill off the evil Anna Dressed in Blood, the ghost of a 16 year old girl who was brutally murdered and has made a habit of killing anyone who enters the house she haunts. Everyone, that is, except Cas.

Overall, this story did a lot of things that I didn't expect it could do, and I really liked that. There's much more to Anna and Cas's situations than is originally let on, and I'm glad that this horror story really made me think about those predicaments and choices. This was a book I was not able to read quickly. Blake forces readers to slow down, take their time, and tread cautiously into this world of trying to kill the dead. She is descriptive and her choices seem to be meticulous. I liked that Cas was insulted by comparisons people made of him to Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Cas doesn't even try for a normal life because he knows it's not an option. It's what makes the minute pauses that resemble a normal existence so powerful to me as a reader. Cas is methodical, dancing on the line between caution when it's necessary and wanting to throw caution to the wind and destroy these things that cost his father his life.

I really enjoyed the secondary characters of the story, but I wish they would have been just a bit more fleshed out (however, the sequel Girl of Nightmares is due out later this year, so maybe readers will get more information then). I'm willing to concede to the idea that Cas doesn't say much about other people because he purposely tries to distance himself from them (he doesn't want anyone else to get hurt), but I hope to see a bit more dimension with them in the next installment.

Overall, I'm glad to have given this book a try and I'll absolutely be recommending to patrons who are looking for a story that will make their stomach churn. And while I'm still not really one for scary stories, you can bet Girl of Nightmares will be on my to-read list anyway.

Comments welcome and as always, happy reading.

Kendare Blake's Website 
Kendare Blake on Twitter

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Where's Your Bookmark? (3)

Talking about Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. This video is a little different from other episodes so far because it is my first contribution to the YouTube Book Club. Enjoy!

Comments welcome and as always, happy reading!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday Words: Thoughts on Armchair BEA

For those of you who read this blog or have happened to stumble upon it someway, somehow, you may have noticed an incredible increase in the amount of posting I was doing last week as a result of my participation in Armchair BEA, an online book blogging event for those of us unable to attend the real life Book Expo America in New York.

This was a first for me in that I've never participated in a blogging event before. I'm so new to this whole crazy thing of book blogging that I still feel very behind on the times. I don't do memes or have business cards or host giveaways. There are only so many hours in a day and dollars in the bank, and I'm just not at a point where those things are a possibility. Not that I'm entirely sure about if they're really for me, anyway. Not that it's incredibly likely by any stretch of the imagination, but I do hope that someday it will be my books hitting shelves that bloggers will be wanting to write about =) Someday... (for more news or really lack thereof on that front, check out my other blog here!)

But for my first time out, I'd definitely consider my Armchair BEA experience to be a success. For a change, it was nice not having to be the one to decide what I was going to post about because the organizers put together a really great calendar. Their website also made it nice and easy to share links to my posts with other bloggers, so I got to see a short spike in my readership too. Other bloggers participating left me some really interesting and insightful comments on what I was writing, and the whole week really helped me feel like I'm actually a part of this community. I made some great Twitter connections too, and I loved being reminded how even though so many people claim time and again that books are dropping in popularity and that in this age of technology the novel is becoming irrelevant, that sentiment could not be further from the truth. For five days I got to be part of a group that still has a voice that demands to be heard, shouting from the rooftops that books still do very much have a place in our world today and to ignore that fact is to refuse to see what is right in front of you.

So here's a hearty thank you to the amazing organizers of Armchair BEA. I enjoyed my 2012 experience and look forward to participating next year in 2013.

Armchair BEA website
Armchair BEA on Twitter

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Choices That Can Kill: Insurgent

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Harper Teen, 2012

Though I finished this book a while ago, I wasn't able to write my thoughts about it right away because I simply needed time to think about this roller coaster Veronica Roth had put me through as a reader. My brain had to process everything that happened and what it could all mean in this second  installment of the Divergent trilogy and what could possibly be in store the in series' conclusion.

Insurgent picks up where the first book left off - Tris, Four, her brother Caleb, and some other survivors of the simulation attack are making their way to the Amity faction's headquarters, seeking shelter and answers. But any sort of answers Tris does manage to find only lead to more questions, as is the nature of war. While the saying "faction before blood" still hangs in the air, its meaning begins to crumble as factions turn against each other and the members divide amongst themselves.

This book is incredibly emotional and raw, and I love how Tris isn't some kind of mindless killing machine but actually a sixteen year old girl who is rocked by her grief in the midst of chaos. The things she's done haunt her every day, every moment, and the choices she feels she has to make kill her metaphorically as well as sometimes resulting in the deaths of others. It is a sign of a good dystopian novel, in my opinion, when these choices are not easy ones. I didn't always like what Tris was doing, but I admired that she was always trying to do the right thing, be it honor her parents' legacies or try to keep those she loves safe. These are much bigger signs of her Dauntless bravery to me than her ability to physically fight.

We also get insight into the other factions as well as a lot more characters. Four/Tobias was well-rounded and full of depth in the first book, and he continues to fascinate me as more of his story comes to light. Readers also get keen insights on Caleb and as a reader who also has an older brother, I appreciated how Roth captures the dynamic of how two siblings, close in age and raised in the same house, can be so alike and dissimilar at the same time. Getting to see the inside of the other factions was also a treat to me, and I was fascinated by how much thought Roth has clearly put into her world building and into this society where people push their devotion to one singular virtue to the extreme. (Personally, if I had to choose a faction, I'd go for Amity, but like Tris, I think all of us are actually much more Divergent than we realize.)

There were two spots in particular that left me slack-jawed and thinking "What the hell just happened?!" but I won't say because spoilers are the worst. What I will say is that I cannot wait for the final installment (which Roth says she currently refers to as Detergent on her computer) to come out some time next year. I'm also incredibly grateful that I got the chance to hear her read and meet her at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, IL at the beginning of May (though I geeked out pretty bad, but what can I say? She and I are literally only a few days apart in age and her talent and accomplishments are impressive! I feel like I've seriously been slacking, and that she's definitely the kind of person I'd be friends with. And we both went to Big 10 schools! But anyway... haha)

If you are a fan of dystopian fiction showcasing strong yet incredibly realistic characters, then the Divergent series is something you must look into if you haven't picked it up already. Insurgent challenges readers to dig deeper and to realize that nothing is ever quite as black and white as people (especially those in Candor) might want to believe.

Comments welcome and, as always, happy reading!

Veronica Roth's Website
Veronica Roth on Twitter
Veronica Roth on Tumblr

Friday, June 8, 2012

Armchair BEA - Day 5: The Future of Book Blogging

Day 5 of the Armchair BEA schedule advises participants in this final post of the 2012 BEA season to ask our peers any burning questions we have on book blogging and how to keep things going.

My biggest question, by and far, is "How did you make your blog successful and get people to actually read it regularly?" and if anyone has an answer to this, please oh please leave your thoughts in the comments section here!

I never expected any of this to be easy, but building up a readership has been more challenging than I realized it would be. I know that there won't be payoff unless you put in the work, but to those of you who have been able to build up your blog, how did you manage to do it and still have a life? It's so easy to get wrapped up in all of this, and my fear is that if I do too much and feel like I have to force myself to do too much, this will start to feel like work. That is the last thing I want - the whole point of all of this was to be an escape from work, after all.

So that wraps up Armchair BEA 2012 for me! It's been a really fun week getting to "meet" amazing other bloggers out there, and I hope we all continue to make an effort to build up each other and our community in the months to come.

Comments welcome and, as always, happy reading!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Where's Your Boomark? (2)

My thoughts so far on Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen.

Armchair BEA - Day 4: Beyond the Blog

Today's post according to the schedule made up by those who came up with the Armchair BEA schedule this year is supposed to be about how we bloggers move beyond the blog. In the spirit of sharing tips and experiences, the task is to tell the group how they have managed to write for other organizations (maybe like a local newspaper) or even been able to turn their blog into something they make a profit on.

Unfortunately since I am so new to the blogosphere, I have no such sage advice to give. One thing I can express some opinions on is learning to embrace other mediums for blogging besides text. Book bloggers love the power of words - it's why we read - so it's no surprise that many of us like to write about these books that have captivated us. I must admit that I haven't thought a whole lot about seriously branching out too far and adding too many features I have to maintain here because I do harbor my own dreams of being an author, so I need to have time for my own story writing as well. However, it's okay to try something different, too. Maybe it's just the certified teacher in me, but there are many different kinds of learning styles, so why not come at blogging from a different angle every now and again too?

A fan of book trailers myself, I have found them to be effective in the school library I work in to get struggling reaers more enthusiastic about reading. They like the audio-visual representation of the story and it gets them interested in what lies on the pages. This is one of the reasons I recently decided to start posting content to my YouTube channel, much of it I plan on being book related. In my new video series Where's Your Bookmark?, I tell viewers some brief thoughts on the book I'm reading at the moment because otherwise my thoughts don't get shared until my review (if I choose to write one) is posted, and sometimes that can be months later. I'm very, very new to video making and editing and I have much to learn, but it's been one way I've branched out from the more traditional blogging world and I think it could end up being a pretty good thing.

I encourage you to please check out my channel and leave comments - I'm always hoping to get feedback and constructive criticism!

That's it from me for Day 4 of Armchair BEA. Take care, and happy reading!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday Words: Upcoming Film Adaptations

Even with my increase in blogging this week due to Armchair BEA, I still wanted to share this week's edition of Wednesday Words because it's something I'm very excited about - two fabulous looking film adaptations of books that have taken the world by storm at one time or another.

And so, with out further ado,
The Perks of Being Miserable! Oh wait, that's not right...
First up is the musically charged Les Miserables with a powerhouse cast. The teaser trailer came out not long ago, and I'm already pumped. Check it out:  

So rich and detailed and ah! I love it. I must admit that I've never seen a production of Les Mis before, movie, stage, or otherwise, so I'm just saying all of this as a person who is intrigued by this one trailer. (Though I have heard from others the general plot line before - I was a member of the International Thespian Society in high school, after all!) In anticipation for this film, due to hit theaters this Christmas, it is my goal to read the original Victor Hugo novel before then. We shall see how well that pans out, but I am giving myself quite a few months, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

Next up, with just as much anticipation especially from the younger set (or those who are young at heart) is
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. If you didn't get a chance to see this trailer when it premiered at the MTV Movie Awards last week or you just want to see it again, look here:

Now this is a novel I have read, and I know for sure that I will be rereading this before the movie hits theaters in September. This novel is one of those books that not only gains fans, but inspires devotion of epic proportions. Now when I first read it, it was for a class so I didn't get to properly savor Chbosky's words, but I'm anxious for the chance to change that.

Unlike the trailer for
The Great Gatsby that left me concerned about the book-to-screen translation, both of these have made me very excited and anxious to read and watch these stories unfold. But what about you all?

Comments welcome and as always, happy reading!

Armchair BEA - Day 3: Networking...In Real Life?!

Day 3 Topic: Share a positive "real life" experience with books! Either by way of partnerships in your community, a book signing you went to, or possibly even to a get together with fellow book bloggers.

This is definitely one of the areas in which I know my blog is lacking compared to a lot of the others out there. In addition to my lack of giveaways, I also don't have that many partnerships or connections with other bloggers (hence one of the reasons I've decided to participate in Armchair BEA this year!).

That's not to say that I'm completely out of the loop, just largely. Almost all of the book events I have gone to have been via Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, Illinois - this is by far my favorite independent bookstore, and if you're ever in the Chicagoland area, I couldn't possibly recommend it more highly. It is through Anderson's that I've gotten to meet some great authors who I truly admire as well as some amazing book bloggers who are more awesome than me in pretty much every way. In the signing lines and in the crowds waiting for the events to start is where I have made most of these connections, and I'm truly grateful for them all! To read more about the fantastic women I'm talking about, check out my post all about them here.

I also encourage you to check out the links to their blogs and Twitter feeds, too. You won't be disappointed.

Erin Brambilla: Blog - Twitter
Jen (Dream Reads): Blog - Twitter
Jacinda: Blog - Twitter
Laci Crawford: Blog - Twitter
Lynn Spinks: Blog - Twitter
Liza Wiemer: Blog - Twitter

So that's it from me for Day 3 of Armchair BEA. Comments welcome, and happy blogging!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Where's Your Bookmark?

Well I said I'd be starting a new feature on The Fuma Files, and here it is! This little series called Where's Your Bookmark? will be a video series where I talk about what I'm reading right now. These aren't reviews, just my initial thoughts on books (some of which I may end up writing reviews for when I finish, others maybe not). My thinking behind it was that since there's often a significant lag between when I write my reviews and when I post a new one every Sunday, I don't want to wait that long before my thoughts on it are out and to share with you all what I'm reading. So we'll see how it goes, but I'm really excited to finally share this!

And without further ado, the inaugural episode:

Comments welcome and, as always, happy reading!

Armchair BEA: Day 2 - Best of 2012

Welcome to the second day of Armchair BEA, an online event for those of us book bloggers unable to make the trip to the actual Book Expo America taking place in New York right now. Today's theme is Best of 2012, so let's get started!

Day 2: Best of 2012
Share some of your favorite books so far this year, and/or the books being promoted at BEA that you hope will end up among your favorites for the year!

As I said yesterday, my favorite book so far of 2012 is John Green's #1 New York Times best seller The Fault in Our Stars, but I've already written my thoughts on that in a blog post you can view here. So instead of talking more about that book (which I could honestly talk about forever - so good!), I'm going to instead express my total and complete excitement about Maggie Stiefvater's upcoming novel The Raven Boys.

The premise for The Raven Boys is an interesting twist on paranormal (as seen in her Wolves of Mercy Falls series) and more traditional elements of fantasy and a touch of magic (as beautifully illustrated in her most recent book The Scorpio Races). We will meet Blue, a girl who stands in a churchyard at night with her clairvoyant mother, a woman who can see the spirits of the people who will die in the upcoming year. Blue has never been able to See, until now, which can only mean one thing: either this boy is her true love, or she will be the one to kill him. Blue learns that the boys she sees is Ganesy, known as one of the Raven Boys due to the nearby elite school he attends, and soon she is wrapped up in a world she never thought she'd be a part of.

If that doesn't sound interesting to you, then I suggest you check out this book trailer made by Maggie herself (because she's just insanely talented and that's the way she rolls!):

Again, it looks awesome and that is one book that I'm particularly looking forward to in 2012. My only complaint is that it doesn't come out until September, but I have no doubt that it will be worth the wait.

So that's it from me for Day 2 of Armchair BEA! Happy reading and blogging, everyone!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Armchair BEA - Day 1: Interview Yourself

It's the beginning of June, which of course means it is time for that beautiful annual event known as Book Expo America where all the cool kids hang out - authors, bloggers, publishers. Now that is the place to be for my kind of celebrity sightings. But alas, I cannot be there this year, so instead I am participating virtually via Armchair BEA. So let's get the ball rolling, shall we?

Day 1: Interview Yourself!

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?
My name is Monica and I'm a bibliophile (which I guess really goes without saying). I've always been one though, because as a shy kid, books were the things that made me feel less alone. So I got my English degree and my library science degree to make my devotion college-approved. I'm very, very new to book blogging having only started this blog back in October, 2011, but I'm loving it so far. The Fuma Files came about because I am always reading and wanting to share my thoughts on books with people just as enthusiastic as I am, but there wasn't anyone around to talk to who seemed to be as crazy about books (especially YA) as me. And so the blog was born!

2. What are you currently reading; or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012?
My favorite book so far of 2012 is John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, hands down. That book explores the nature of the human condition in a way that had me laughing out loud on one page and balling my eyes out the next. Other books I've really enjoyed so far this year include A.S. King's Please Ignore Vera Dietz and Marissa Meyer's Cinder.

3. Tell us one non-book related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.
In high school, I was one of those people who lived at school. I was in student council, band, yearbook, drama, political club, web team, and I even got my JV letter on the bowling team. Also, I have a YouTube channel where I've recently started posting my own videos (though, admittedly, a lot of them are about books haha)

4. What is your favorite feature on your blog (i.e. author interviews, memes, something specific to your blog)?
As I said, I'm still really new to blogging so I don't have features really yet. I do have a segment called Wednesday Words where every week I talk about some book/library/publishing related item, be it something in the news or just something on my mind. I do hope to reveal a new feature I've been working on tomorrow though, so stick around! I'm excited about it!

5. Where do you see your blog in five years?
Hopefully bigger. I don't really have much of a following or readership right now (and I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I can't host any giveaways). I'd love for there to be many more comments and followers in the months and years to come!

6. Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read?
I'm not sure if I have a favorite post, but there is a clear winner as far as what my most widely read post is. A few months ago I wrote a review/my thoughts on The Element by Ken Robinson (which is one of the few reviews I've written that is not about a YA novel). That post has gotten over 1200 views since its original posting in February. A post that I'm particularly proud of is the review I did of Please Ignore Vera Dietz because Ms. King, being the amazing, incredible woman that she is, actually quoted me on her blog. I mean, come on, how cool is that?!

7. If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?
This is an impossible question! I guess....oh man this is hard!....I think it would be an amazingly hilarious time to eat dinner with Maureen Johnson and John Green - the pair of them are awesome. Or Elizabeth Eulberg! I have loved all of her novels, and I feel like her books and mine (incredibly unpublished, but whatever!) would get along haha

8. What literary location would you most like to visit? Why?
Again, a difficult one! I think Paris would be amazing, especially since it's the unofficial home of the Lost Generation. Watching Midnight in Paris only solidified that fact. Going to the bookstore Shakespeare & Co. has long been an item on my bucket list.

9. What is your favorite part about the book blogging community? Is there anything you would like to see change in the coming years?
I have loved meeting other bloggers because when I'm with them, I feel like I finally fit in. Finally, other people who are as crazy about YA lit and books as I am! The blogging community is mostly friendly, which is great. One change I'd like to see though is a willingness to reach out to each other and support people new to the community. It's been a challenge to gain an audience, and I'd love it if more bloggers gave each other a boost or shout-outs =)

10. Have your reading tastes changed since you started blogging? How?
I can't really say my reading tastes have changed all that much in the last eight months, but I do feel a desire to stretch outside my comfort zone more. While my heart seems to belong to YA, I'd like to stretch my wings and read more memoirs and some poetry, too.

So that's it for Day 1! Stick around for more excitement the rest of the week =)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Worth the Wait: Audrey, Wait!

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
Razorbill, 2008

My to-read list feels like it's about four miles long a lot of the time, and too often the situation arises where I am only able to get to a book years later because I keep getting wrapped up in new releases, series, and other things that make up my life. So when I was searching for something to read that would be on the lighter side but still a bit wacky, I was so happy to see Audrey, Wait! was on the shelf at my library because I've been meaning to read it forever.

Audrey is, by every measure, your average, ordinary girl. She goes to school (which is bearable enough). She has an after school job serving ice cream at the Scooper Dooper (which isn't exactly thrilling, but it's a paycheck). And she LOVES music. Concerts, cds, magazines, playing it so loud she's had to replace the speakers in her car twice loves it. She even dated Evan, guitarist and lead singer for the garage band, the Do-Gooders.

Emphasis on dated, as in past tense. She broke up with him. And then he wrote a song about it. And then everything changed because the song became HUGE. Suddenly people at school are taking her picture and selling them to tabloids, she's the center of attention, the paparazzi follow her everywhere, and normalcy becomes a thing of the past. It kind of makes dating James, her cute Scooper Dooper co-worker and fellow music-lover, almost impossible. Is there any way to get her life back?

All in all, this was a very light and fun book that I really took my time to enjoy over a long weekend. In an age where celebrity seems to be something that a lot of people strive for, Audrey's story shows why it's not as glamorous as you may think. She is adamant from start to finish that it's not like she's the one who wrote the song or sought any of this out - it found her. It's an extraordinary situation that Benway captures extremely well in that it's interesting to read about, but I'd hate it if it were me.

Another thing that I really, really loved about the story were the musical references. Every chapter starts with a song lyric and Audrey has exceptional taste in bands and music. The fact that Benway went with a lot of groups or songs that are already considered classics in certain circles will also help prolong the staying power of the book, and if people who read this don't already know much about classic rock, they'll want to by the time they finish.

So I consider this book a "better late than never" situation. I was looking for a light, one-time read to hold me over for a few days, and I definitely found that with Audrey.

Comments welcome and, as always, happy reading!

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