Blog News, and Photo Shoots!!

9 May

Stephanie Perkins New Covers (Including my Head Shot)

So as many of you in the book world have already seen, Stephanie Perkins’ books will be getting new covers. What you might not know, is that I photographed the author photo that will (last I heard) be featured in the back of the book!!

I do a lot of fashion photography here in NYC, but I also do fun things like events, and head shots! Even a wedding or two, when I know it won’t get too crazy.😉 I’ve been speaking to some fellow bloggers about possibly doing a group shot, and individual head shot sessions while they are in town for BEA. If you are a blogger or author in need of a head shot, contact me! bookshelflustATgmail.com

You can see more of my photography at my portfolio site: http://www.rachelscroggins.net

Here’s a sneak peek / clip of the new head shot:
Stephanie Perkins Headshot Clip

With more info about the new covers in Steph’s blog post.

Upcoming NYC Bookish Events!

9 May

As most of you know, Book Expo American is coming up later this month! For everyone else, there are still plenty of fun local area events and signings you can attend:

May 16th at Books of Wonder:
Andrea Cremer and David Levithan signing “Invisibility”!
6-8pm

May 16th at The Strand:
OK Cupid Book Swap for Passionate (single) readers. 7pm.
More info here.

May 20th at Books of Wonder:
YA ICONS TOUR, Featuring Margaret Stohl, Gayle Foreman, Tanya Hurley and Barry Lyga!
6-8pm

I’ll be at both Books of Wonder events (along with a few off-site events during BEA, like the S&S Teen Blogger Preview). If you see me, be sure to say hello!🙂

Insurgent Release Day: Veronica Roth in NYC!

24 May

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One of my favorite YA authors, Veronica Roth *finally* made it to NYC earlier this month to promote the release of her new book Insurgent. Book 2 in the Divergent trilogy. If you’ve been living under a rock, and somehow haven’t ready Divergent yet— go buy it asap! It is one of the best, most absorbing dystopian novels I’ve ever read. It *gasp* may even be better than The Hunger Games!

It’s hard to really review Insurgent without spoiling major plot elements from both it, and its predecessor. But suffice to say, it was even better than book 1. Veronica Roth really understands the motivations and psychology behind ALL of her characters, something I find some authors to really struggle with. Every single person in her books if a fully fleshed-out, realistic character. And she also gave the reasonings and rationale behind the basis for every faction.

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Quite a few people turned out for the release day signing, at Barnes and Noble Tribeca. Veronica read from one of the earlier scenes in Insurgent, then did a short Q&A with the audience before beginning the signing.

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Getting excited about an audience question

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About to sign

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Veronica meeting her fans!

If you get a chance to catch Veronica on her tour–take it! I hear she may be at BEA 2012 too. Her interaction with the audience was candid, informative, and brutally honest about all things Tris, Divergent, and even a little about her personal struggles as an author, and human being.

I gave Insurgent 5/5 STARS. And Veronica 5 stars as well.😉

NYC Teen Author Festival

12 May

Last month, one of my favorite NYC bookish events returned for it’s annual appearance! The NYC Teen Author Festival.

It was a busy work week for me, with back to back photo shoots mixed in with author panels. But I managed to catch a group of authors at a NYPL panel, and the “finale” Mega-Signing at Books of Wonder!

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Elizabeth Eulberg, Tara Altebrando, Jenny Han, and Stephanie Perkins at the NYPL.

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Stephanie Perkins.

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Sarah Mlynowski.

At Sunday’s mega-signing, there were almost too many authors to count! I hauled a giant grocery tote full of books half-way across NYC to have signed by those appearing.

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The always amazing Gayle Forman.

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Jocelyn Davies and Anna Carey.

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Kim Harrington.

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Stephanie Perkins! Who I took a million photos of, because 1. She is adorable and SO BRIGHT. And 2. She’s awesome.

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LOLA

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“Fixing” a book for a fan who purchased a book from Barnes and Noble, already signed to some random dude!

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Another great redhead: Andrea Cremer!

The funky lighting in Books of Wonder made a few of the authors rather “glowy”.

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Barry Lyga.

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David Levithan.

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Jenny Han.

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Corey Whaley and Jennifer E. Smith, with Mitali in the middle!

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Jon Skovron with his awesome book, Misfit! (One of my 2011 faves.)

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Jeri Smith-Ready

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Melissa de la Cruz, who signed every.single. Blue Bloods book for me! –Ok, except the 2 I’d already had signed.😉

We snagged Stephanie again after the signing for some fun portraits:

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Michelle, Stephanie, and Bethany.

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Me and Stephanie

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Getting goofy!

See the full photo set here.

And my 2011 TAF post here.

Amy Plum’s “Until I Die” Book Release Party

8 May

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On May 8, NYC’s Books of Wonder hosted a launch party for Amy Plum’s second book in the Revenants series, “Until I Die”. She was joined by local authors Jocelyn Davies, and Kristi Cook, along with plenty of macarons, and European candies to complement the evening’s Paris theme.

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The lighting in BOW leaves a bit to be desired, but they are there, I promise!😉

Amy read a selection from her new book, and spoke a bit about the world of the Revenants. Followed by more book discussions from Jocelyn and Kristi. All 3 are lovely women, and amazing authors that I highly recommend catching in person if they come to your town.

In fact, I missed Amy in 2011 after a transportation snafu, but was excited to finally meet her during her second book tour trip to NYC. Amy was actually one of the very first authors I ever interacted with on twitter, back when I first started this blog!

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Macarons! They were delicious.

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Amy and I. Finally, we meet!

I haven’t had a chance to read Until I Die yet, but I’m hearing it’s even better than Die For Me. I can’t wait to check it out!

All Photos and Content ®2012 Rachel Scroggins

Asylum Blog Tour: Guest Post Featuring Author KA Tucker

8 Jan

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Welcome to today’s stop on the Asylum blog tour! Author KA Tucker has written a lovely guest post delving deeper into the magic system used in her intriguing, heart-pounding paranormal series. I’m also happy to announce the winner of the print copy of Asylum! Read on to find out more, and be sure to enter to win an e-book copy of Asylum too!

My question for the guest post:
How did you invent a whole original world with unique magic rules and formats, as opposed to earth and wicca-based magics like many authors use?

Well, as with everything else in this series, I like to take basic concepts and twist them into something that I can stamp my own fingerprint on. In this series, the common concept of spells and gifted individuals holds true, as well as the idea that it’s a skill one must learn vs. just ‘knowing how’.

I began with these basic concepts in my own magical world and then I took it further, adding twists and turns. For one, my own vision of magic is that there are ‘small spells and big spells” requiring different level of skill and power. Just as humans have different skills and strength, so should sorceresses and sorcerers.

It wouldn’t be fun if all witches were created equally. Most sorceresses can learn the ‘small spells’ -starting fires and disguising themselves – without too much trouble. But a whole different level of skill and strength is required for the big spells – the ones that change the course of fate .

These are the Causal Enchantments – the spells that are driven by a deep-seeded need or desire. Enter the Fates – the God-like beings with power to alter the future. The Fates have no limitations and no boundaries. They truly are God-like. Wait, actually, that’s not true. They do have one boundary. But I’m not telling you what it is… yet.

When I was developing this part of the plot – the idea of the Fates – it made sense to me that Causal Enchantments couldn’t be granted without some sort of drawback, a negative to gaining whatever ‘wish’ the sorceress or sorcerer has asked of them. It also made sense to me that the Fates weren’t your typical fairy godmothers, happily waving their magic wands.

They needed to be a bit vindictive, a tad… evil. I’ve provided only small hints about the Fates in the first two books and I don’t want to say too much more other than to say that in the third book, you will learn A LOT about them.

The other major unique piece to Causal Enchantment’s magic system is the idea that magic has some sort of formation. To me, there needed to be something beyond just a bunch of words – a chant – to spark a spell.

If the sorceress held the magic within them, it only made sense that they needed to call on it somehow. When I imagined what magic would look like in its physical form, glowing pinkish purple DNA-like helixes was the first thing I pictured. Hence this is what Sofie plucks from within her body.

There are many other elements to this magic – how Causal Enchantments are delivered to the caster, how new types of magic can materialize (like ‘the Tribe’), and how a highly-skilled sorceress like Sofie can experiment to create her own spells – that make this magical world its own. All of these elements came about as the plot was developed, as ideas were formed, and solutions to problems brainstormed.

I wanted to ‘think outside the box’ but more importantly, I wanted to have fun with it. I definitely succeeded with that!

I’m not sure if the above explains anything or made it more complicated … LOL… it’s tough to explain the ‘why’ and ‘how’, other than to say that I knew what I wanted to begin with and I let the story take the magic where it needed to go. A unique world came out of that.

Thanks, Rachel, for having me here today!

Thanks to all who have already picked up a copy of Anathema and Asylum! For those who haven’t yet,
Anathema is currently free on Kindle, Nook, Sony, Apple, and Smashwords so grab your copy today! If
you enjoy it, Asylum is only $2.99

As for the print copy: the winner is…. JONELLE DYER!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!

Don’t forget to enter the Asylum giveaway here.

See the other blogs on the tour here.
And stop by again tomorrow for my review of Asylum!

Blog News:

25 Dec

Due to an illness in the family, I am taking a short hiatus from blogging.
I hope to return soon, with more reviews and author event recaps!

Updated NYC-Area Author Signings and Events Listing

6 Oct

I’ve been MIA for most of the summer/early fall do to an increase in work responsibilities (Fashion Week, and all the pre-planning involved in attending and photographing over 40 shows pretty much kicked my ass), and some family stuff I had going on. I’m happy to say I’ll be back to posting regular reviews soon. But first, one of my favorite things: I’ve updated my NYC area author event listings!

There are dozens of AMAZING events and signings coming up in the next two months. Be sure to check back regularly, as I update the listing frequently, whenever I come across new information.

You can see my book signings page here.

Maureen Johnson’s Name of the Star Publication Party

4 Oct

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Last week, Books of Wonder in NYC hosted what has to be one of the most interesting and entertaining book signings I’ve been to yet for Maureen Johnson’s new YA novel “The Name of the Star”.

A huge crowd of fans waited for Maureen’s arrival, while two “Jack the Ripper” impersonators roamed around and scared audience members.

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There were plenty of awesome buttons for “survivors” of the event to wear.

After a short wait, Maureen finally emerged to a cheering crowd, and entertained us with tales of Ripper research in London, her writing process, and how she’s always shocked when people actually READ the stories that come out of her head. Like magic!

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After the somewhat crazy and incredibly lively Q&A, Maureen began to sign. The line was quite long, so fellow book blogger Bethany and I decided to indulge in some cupcakes and wine (which, at least for me, was a Books of Wonder first). There is just something *naughty* about drinking wine in a children’s book store.

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We all know what wine looks like. These cupcakes were much prettier.

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Not pretty: the table “decorations”.

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More pretty.

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Maureen signing.

By the time it was my turn to meet Maureen, I was slightly tipsy, and remembered why I don’t usually have wine (and sugar!) before dinner. Or at public events. Pretty sure I mumbled something about how her “rambling, Mean Girls word vomit style stream of consciousness speeches make me feel better about my own propensity to talk too much made me feel as if I’d met a kindred spirit” scared her.

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And then someone took a very blurry photo of us together.

Luckily, I learned a long time ago, there is always someone weirder or more intense than you in the audience. Case in point: this dude, who had Maureen sign his forehead.
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Awesome. But weird.

After much more book talk, and a very in depth discussion about Game of Thrones with some new bookish friends, Bethany and I realized the store was about to close, so it was time to go home. We took the conversation outside, and ended up looking like creepy stalkers who were waiting for Maureen, probably scaring her once again. But I feel like if any author would understand this, it would be her.

The Name of the Star is out now, in bookstores everywhere.

®2011 Bookshelf Lust

Review: Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

22 Jul

Dearly, Departed

Dearly, Departedwill forever be remembered as the novel that made me fall in love with zombies. I’m actually not a very big fan of zombies. At all. Much like my fear of heights, which unexpectedly showed up one day the first time I attempted rock climbing, I’m not sure where my zombie fear came from. One night I was re-watching 28 Days Later, and then next thing I knew, I was terrified, and having re-occurring zombie nightmares on a regular basis.

Dearly, Departed definitely has it’s freakier moments–and quite a few straight up nasty scenes–but the love story surrounding it all is so cute and refreshing, it’s easy for a zombie-phobic girl like me to overlook.

The story starts out a bit slow. Lots of background info is given about the protagonist Nora, her recently deceased father, and their futuristic world. But Habel doesn’t fall into the usual debut author traps, so it never feels info-dumpy. Thankfully after Nora’s world is introduced, the action really picks up around chapter 4, and even more so once Nora first encounters zombies.

The action does irregularly jump around from multiple points of view, which can be jarring and get confusing at first. But I also managed to get used to that aspect after a few chapters, after I “got to know” who each of the characters were.

Once Nora is abducted, and begins to interact with the ragtag band of zombie army men and women, the story really hits its stride. The secondary characters have amazing, hilarious personalities, and the camaraderie between them is endearing. I found myself laughing out loud on many occasions.

And the boys? When discussing this book with a fellow blogger friend via twitter, I, much to the amusement of Lia Habel herself, described the male characters of Dearly, Departed as boys “so hot, you’ll forget they are rotting!”.

Obviously, it helps to have a story full of plenty of hotties. Yet it’s the interaction between Nora and Bram, the love interest that really won me over. Their slowly developing (and strangely realistic considering one of them IS DEAD!) love is adorable. Nora is a strong, kick ass protagonist, and independent woman. But with Bram, she really begins to come into her own, and discover who she really is, and what she truly believes in.

I can’t remember the last book that had me giggling, and squeeing like a 12-year-old schoolgirl this much. (Actually, there was one book that similarly affected me, last year—Anna and the French kiss.) Everything from brushes of arms, to sniffing the shirt of the boy you like, to the eventual first kiss was both realistic, and adorable. Seriously, this story can only be described as epicly cute.

In the beginning, Nora thinks Bram is downright disgusting and terrifying. Lia Habel is such an amazing writer, who understands the psychology and motivations behind her characters, that you get exactly why Nora would become attracted to Bram, and find yourself falling in love with him much in the same way. There are dozens of books where teenage girls fall in love with the undead, weirdos, and just plain freaky men that just leave you shaking your head and asking “WHAT?!”. Never have I seen fear and disgust lead so naturally to true love.

Other things I liked: this book had some of the best and most original world building of anything I’ve ever read. It’s steam-punky, but without alienating people who might not be into the Victorian era and clockworks. (I admit I’ve only read a few steam punk short stories, but found my limited exposure to the genre to be weirdly repetitive.) The Neo-Victorian futuristic world Nora lives in is fully developed, and seems 100% logical considering the back-story that led to its creation.

Overall Dearly, Departed was an adorable, unique love story and survival tale that captivated me from page one. Lia Habel, a first time author (who FYI is just as adorable as this book!), has earned a place on my “auto buy” list. I wanted to re-read Dearly, Departed as soon as I finished. And of course, it’s safe to say I am now “dying” for the sequel.

5/5 Stars!

Dearly, Departed will be released on October 18, 2011.
Thanks to Del Rey for providing me with an ARC for review.