Archive | January, 2011

Where Have I Been?

31 Jan

I decided to take a short break from this blog in order to get some prep work done for the upcoming season of New York Fashion Week. But I never thought I’d disappear for two weeks! For those that might not be aware, my “day job” is working as a photographer. Shooting cool stuff like this:

SNEAK PEAK: L.A.M.B 2
Gwen Stefani (and Kingston Rossdale!) at her L.A.M.B Runway Show, Sept. 2010.

I freelance, and maintain a fashion blog, so I sometimes have mountains of free time to do nothing but read, and blog, and other times…not so much. At times it’s definitely hard keeping two completely unrelated blogs regularly updated. But recently it became a bit impossible. Scheduling 40+ shows, and pre-show backstage visits between myself, and my second photographer is tough! Luckily, despite sending something obscene like 50 emails a day coordinating everything, I’ve kept reading books. So I’ll have plenty of amazing reviews to post in the coming days. I’m even scheduling some reviews to post during fashion week– a time when I definitely will not have a single free moment to blog. If you’re both a book and fashion lover like me, you can keep up with all my nyfw activities over at my photo blog, The Greyest Ghost.

In the mean time, thanks for being patient! Good thing this only happens twice a year! ; )

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Dear Publishers: E-Book DRM is Ruining My Life

14 Jan

Earlier this week, galley distribution site Net Galley announced they were temporarily disabling kindle access to their e-arcs. Last week, Simon & Schuster announced their Galley Grab program, letting reviewers request and access upcoming releases. Unfortunately for most kindle users, neither service is available to you. Instead, you get to read books on your laptop!

Last night, I attempted my first e-arc read on my mac book:

Two chapters in to a book I was very much looking forward to reading, I found myself in trouble.

Reading books on my laptop is going to make me go blind. I’m not exaggerating. When I first moved to NYC and spent my days slaving away as a magazine intern, spending 8+ hours a day online caused me to develop vision problems. After months of chronic dry eye, and a few days where I couldn’t even put my contacts in with out screaming in pain, I was finally told by a kind eye doctor my problems were caused by computers. I now can’t be on mine for more than a few hours unless I have incredibly bright lighting shining down on the screen. Even then, I have a short window free of eye strain. Many people who spend long days on computers or using back lit screens, develop similar problems.
Continue reading

Review Teaser: Pale Demon

13 Jan

Pale Demon

Last month, I received an e-galley of Pale Demon, and completely devoured it. I’ve been sitting on the review, waiting until it’s a bit closer to the release date. But the book was so good, I have to do some preliminary gushing about its amazingness.

Long time fans of the series should be pleased with the new plot developments. This is the most concise, quickly paced book in the series so far. No wonder it’s Harrison’s personal favorite. Old questions are answered, while even more intriguing new questions arise. Favorite characters are seen in a new light, and we finally get a sneak peak into the mind and motivations behind the mysterious Trent Kalamack. If you think you had him figured out before, you were probably wrong. Pale Demon is by far the best book in the series, and probably one of the funniest “road trip” novels I’ve ever read. It took all my self control not to instantly re-read it upon finishing. And left me wanting to shout from the rooftops how much I adore this series.

Stay tuned for my full review, coming soon!

Pale Demon will be released by Eos on February 22nd.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Bookish Resolutions

11 Jan

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1. Review books right after finishing them. #1 book/blog resolution. Hands down. I have a notebook of handwritten commentary about ten books that I’ve read in the last month, and still haven’t reviewed! This need to change asap.
2. Use Paperback Swap more/Keep my PBS lists updated. I go through phases where I get 10 books a month, and then the next month, 1. I’d like to take advantage of this “cheap” and easy resource more!
3. Shop more at Indie bookstores. This is much easier to do in NYC than anywhere else I’ve ever lived! I regularly shop in Strand and Books of Wonder. Sadly, where my parents live there is one indie bookstore in a 6 town radius. And it’s really a toy store that sells a few childrens books. In my midwestern home town? I can’t think of ONE.
4. Read 100 books in 2011. I *think* I can do it! I’m already on my 5th!
5. Read at least 10 books that I already own, and purchased pre-2010. I have sooooo many older books just languishing on my bookshelves.
6. Read more “physical” books. After buying my kindle, I went a little nuts with the e-books. In NYC it’s impossible to lug a 400+ page book around with you all day, so I use my kindle constantly. The (pre-kindle) purchase weeks when I was busier with my photography (carrying tons of equipment, while traveling on foot), I read next to nothing. I’d like to use the kindle for travel, and read more book books while at home.
7. Read on the subway more. This goes along with #6. I’d like to get back into reading more (books or e-books!) during my commute, and listening to my iPod less.
8. Read more classics. Pretty sure the last classic I read was in high school. Which was ten years ago.
9. Buy less books. I tend to go overboard and buy ten books at a time. And then only read half of them. Planning my book purchases in advance seems to help a lot.
10. Go to BEA. I never know what my schedule will be like in advance, since I mostly do freelance work. But I’d really like to make time to go to BEA this year. Especially since it’s in my hometown! : )

In My Mailbox #1

9 Jan

Since I’m a bit new to book blogging, this is my first weekly post of what’s “In My Mailbox” ! Excited to be joining in this meme, hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

I hadn’t bought any books in quite a while, so I went a little nuts with my Amazon giftcard, and some money I got for Christmas.

PURCHASED:

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Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern. I’ve heard so many good things about this book. And a TV show based on the book is in the works.

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Jane Eyre. I’m FINALLY going to read this this year!

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This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley.

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I already own an e-galley of Unearthly, but the hardback book is just too pretty to resist! I needed a physical copy to read.

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I read The Sky is Everywhere on New Year’s day and bawled my eyes out. I loved it so much, I needed a physical copy of this too. I love the story, and the gorgeous colors of the cover!

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Bloody Valentine by Melissa de la Cruz. Getting this book was a fiasco. One blizzard, two pre-orders, and two weeks of delays later, I finally got this book. I’m reading it now and loving every second of it.

I also picked up a few items from my wish list at Strand:
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A handful of books I discovered via their glowing reviews on Goodreads and various book blogs.

WON:
Across the Universe
An ARC of Across the Universe by Beth Revis. From A Casual Reader.
FOR REVIEW:

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The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder

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The Cellar by A. J. Whitten

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The Diviner’s Tale by Bradford Morrow

(All 3 Via NetGalley)

My TBR pile is already out of control. But I’m pretty excited to read everything I got this week. A few of these will totally be moving to the front of my pile.

11 Must Reads of 2011, Part Six: Die For Me

7 Jan

Die For Me

Die For Me, by Amy Plum, is another book I first heard about a few months ago via excited chatter from authors I follow on Twitter. It sounds quite different from anything else currently available in the genre, which is so refreshing!

“In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier’s parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life—and memories—behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate’s guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he’s a revenant—an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.”

So far, Die For Me seems to be flying under the radar of a lot of book bloggers. I have a feeling once it’s published, it’s going to be huge. You can’t beat the combination of supernatural mystery, a cute boy, and PARIS! And as for that supernatural element I mentioned? It’s ZOMBIES. Revenant is French for “one who comes back”. Creepy! But these aren’t your traditional zombies:

“I was drawn by the undead angle because, as a historian, I loved the thought of giving my characters backgrounds based in recorded history. But how could a zombie be attractive? How could a teenage girl fall for one without being worried that he would gnaw her face off during their first kiss? And what about that ultimate turn-off-y odor of decomposing flesh? I laughed my way through scenario after scenario before deciding I would have to come up with my own monster. And that is how my revenants were born.
I started writing the book with only a general idea of what my monsters were. As the story progressed, I honed the concept until the mythology began to come together and make sense. When I got stuck on a question like “why do they do this certain thing over and over again?” I would put on my tennis shoes and walk a few miles until it came to me. And it always came. It felt like I was uncovering something that already existed. I just had to be open to “receiving” it.” Via Amy’s Author FAQ

It’s like Anna and the French Kiss, meets Night of the Living Dead!

In this jealousy inspiring video (check out that library!) Amy tells us a little bit more about the book:

Not only does Die for Me sound like the perfect story to get me out of my “so many YA paranormal novels have become repetitive” funk, it comes out the week of my birthday. I know at least one present I’ll be asking for!

Die For Me is the first in the Revenants trilogy, and will be released May 10th by Harper Teen.

Pre-oder the book at Amazon.
Learn more about Amy and Die for Me here.
Or follow her on Twitter.

2011 Debut Author Challenge

7 Jan

I’ve decided to participate in The Story Siren’s 2011 Debut Author Challenge. Since a lot of the books were already on my “must read” list, it’s only natural to join in the fun!

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To “win” you need to read 12 YA or MG debut author’s books this year. That’s only 1 per month! I’ve made a DAC Goodreads list with (most of) the books I plan on reading. Which you can see here. There are a LOT of great titles on the full DAC list. I’ve already started my first—Across the Universe by Beth Revis! One of my 11 must reads of 2011. It’s set in space, and so far, it’s so creepy, and desolate, and GOOD.

You can join the DAC until November 2011. So no worries, you still have plenty of time to sign up!

I’ll be posting about my progress as the months go by. Anyone else taking part of the challenge? If so what are you most excited to read?

NYC Area Book Signings–Jan/Feb Edition

6 Jan

One of my very favorite things in the literary world is going to book signings. I’ve been to dozens over the years, and have developed a nice collection of signed books that I’ll keep for the rest of my life. You can’t beat meeting someone you admire.

Over the years, I’ve been lucky. I’ve met most of my favorite authors, musicians (including my #1 fave Gwen Stefani!), fashion designers, and even a few actors and actresses by working my butt off in my photography career, or just plain being in the right place at the right time.

I had my first brush with authors I love back in high school. (Back at Dragon Con ’97—Which seems like it was about 100 years ago.) I’ll never forget discovering Clive Barker was so incredibly…normal when I met him. I met a handful of my favorite fantasy and horror authors that summer at the Con, and haven’t looked back since. Spending so much time stalking the tweets and blogs of my favorites, I stumble upon a lot of event listings. And living in NYC, that means that usually includes a local area event!

There isn’t one comprehensive site for all NYC book signings. So I plan on making posts about signings a regular feature on my blog. Which will have a permanent spot on the homepage, and be continually updated with new events here.

Because no one likes to find out their favorite author was in town, one day too late.

JANUARY:

ELIZABETH EULBERGProm and Prejudice Publication Party
January 14th. 6-8pm. Books of Wonder, NYC

David Levithan— The Lover’s Dictionary
January 19th 7pm. Borders, Columbus Circle.

YA NOT? Reading, Q&A and Signing:
Featuring *Lauren Oliver— Before I Fall *Leila Sales— Mostly Good Girls and *Anna Jarzab— All Unquiet Things. January 28th 7:30pm. WORD Brooklyn.
Before I Fall

Cynthia Leitich Smith— Blessed
February 7 6pm. Borders Columbus Circle

Beth Revis— Across the Universe
February 9. NYC Location TBA.
Across the Universe

Kristi CookHaven Release Party
February 27 · 2:00pm – 5:00pm (TBC). The Voracious Reader, Larchmont, NY.
Haven

Resources:

NYC:
NYC Teen Author Festival Facebook Page
Gotham LIT
Teen Author Carnival
The Strand
Books of Wonder
WORD Brooklyn

Chicago:
Anderson’s Bookshop
See their “Coming Soon” list for upcoming events with Lauren Oliver, David Levithan, Rachel Hawkins, Courtney A. Moulton, Kimberly Derting, Lois Lowry, Veronica Roth, and Carrie Ryan!

Seattle and Portland:
Powells

This page is a work in progress, so be sure to check back regularly to see events as they are posted. : )To submit NYC, NJ, and CT area YA/Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Book Signings and events, please email me at bookshelflustATgmailDOTcom

Top Ten (Old) Books I Resolve to Read in 2010

5 Jan

I’ve been so busy pretending it’s still the holidays and speed-reading new books, I’ve forgotten to blog! To help get back in the swing of things, I’ve picked ten books I’ve been “putting off” reading, as part of The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday meme! Yes, I’m well aware today is Wednesday. Just this once, I’m going to cheat. I’m new at this! : )

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#1 and 2: Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre. I’m kind of embarrassed to say I’ve never read either of these. I absolutely adore the Pride and Prejudice movie with Keira Knightley. And think the upcoming Jane Eyre film looks spooky good. I even bought P&P three or four years ago, and never read it! I grabbed my copy from my apt. when I was in NYC for NYE, and ordered a special annotated copy of Jane Eyre, which should be at my door tomorrow. I’m excited to read more classics!

#3. The Stand by Stephen King. This probably has the most potential for failure. I love Stephen King, and enjoy long novels. But I’m a bit weary of this one. 1,000+ pages may just destroy me.

#4. Incarceron by Catherine Fischer. A book I picked up about a year ago, started, then forgot about. I’ve heard so many great things since, and I definitely prefer reading books before they become movies. In before Taylor Lautner destroys the fandom!

#5. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. I’ve never had so many friends tell me “Don’t read it, it’s terrible!” about a book before. Yet I see dozens of reviewers I respect and admire giving this high ratings. I don’t expect it to read like Shakespeare. So I’ve decided I’ll give at least the first book a chance this year. (Especially considering one of the people who told me not to read it said The Hunger Games wasn’t worth reading…)

#6 Anything written by John Green. I own a first edition of The Abundance of Katherines that I bought back when I worked at Barnes and Noble. In 2006. Why I haven’t yet it, or any of his other books yet (considering I live with a roommate who is a total John Green fan girl) confuses me.

#7 The Anita Blake series by Laurel K. Hamilton. Another thing I’ve been warned away from reading. A lot of fans say the series goes downhill, and crashes straight into porno territory after ten books or so, but I’m willing to give at least the first part of the series a chance. I’d like to throw in the Merry Gentry series too, while I’m at it. I used to own book one, but sadly it (along with about 700 other books I owned) was a casualty of our house fire in 2009.

#8 Going Bovine by Libba Bray. Another “Wait, why haven’t I read this yet” book. I heard Libba talk enthusiastically about this book back in 2007 at a signing for The Sweet Far Thing. Then I promptly forgot about it.

#9 A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. Another book that’s been on my TBR pile for over a year. Pretty sure I’ll be watching the new HBO series based on the books, and I’m betting reading this first will mean I’ll understand it a LOT better.

#10 The Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. I refuse to start this until the last book, Shadowfever comes out at the end of this month.

Runners Up: The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Wuthering Heights, More “classics” in general, and the 50 or so random older books laying around on my bookshelf that have been feeling neglected the last four or five years.