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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

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.

Kimberly Derting, Lisa Schroeder, Adele Griffin, and Laurie Faria Stolarz at Books of Wonder

5 Jul

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At Books of Wonder, 6/30/11.

Last week, before the holiday madness began, I was able to stop by Books of Wonder to meet a quartet of amazing teen authors.

I had a photo shoot beforehand, which ended up running over time wise making me quite late. And left me without anything to get signed! Sadly, my books were left at home. But I did get some amazing photos, and had a chance to chat with each author about their books, and visit with some fellow blogger friends!

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I told Laurie her “Nightmares” series was one of the very first books/series I bought with my employee discount when I first moved to NYC and worked at Barnes and Noble! She gave me some signed book-plates to put into my forgotten books.

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Laurie chatting with a fan.

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Laurie and Frankie

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Lisa

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I was very upset that my copy of Tighter (which I loved!) was sitting on my bed at home, and not in my hands to be signed by Adele.

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Adele

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Kimberly. We had an awesome conversation about The Pledge, and how much we both love Target!

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The Body Finder goodies.

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Some of the prettiest bookmarks I’ve ever seen!

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Me, Rachael, and Frankie. (Photo via Frankie’s Facebook)

Even though I missed 3/4 of the event, I still had a blast! All of the authors were amazing, as usual. And it was great catching up with some bloggers I hadn’t seen since BEA. It’s pretty awesome how many great authors have made it to Books of Wonder this summer. Hoping there are still many more to come!

All Photos and Content ®2011 Rachel Scroggins/Bookshelf Lust.

Sexy Scenes in YA—What Are Your Favorites?

14 Jun

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HOT!

A handful of book blogger friends and I just had an epic conversation on twitter about “sexy scenes” in YA. It started after someone mentioned the upcoming release Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen– a book that’s become slightly notorious for being toned down from its original pre-edit incarnation.

Most of us said we actually appreciate “sexier” scenes in YA, and wish there were more! To clarify “sexy” scenes don’t have to mean sex. While I personally feel there are many books where that seems to be the natural next step, but the author shies away from it, it’s by no means a requirement for me to read a book. However, if there is romance in a book, I do expect at least a certain amount of tension.

There are dozens of great books where the sexual tension is so intense, it nearly lights up the pages. Sometimes little gestures like accidental touches, or covert looks at the love interest say more than taking things further could. I’ve even read books where– because the author knows what they are doing– simple hand holding is sexy! As a natural part of life, sex and sexual tension are of course quite common subjets in books, especially books about teens (whether parents like it or not).

On that note: what are your favorite “sexy” YA books?

Here are a few of mine:

* The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
* The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
* Firelight by Sophie Jordan
* Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter
* Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
* Nightshade and Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
* Shade and Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready
* The Duff by Kody Keplinger
* The Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz
* The Diary of a Crush series by Sarra Manning
* Falling Under by Gwen Hayes
* Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Note: With the exception of The Duff, most of the above books do not rank high on the actual sex scale. If you aren’t sure about what you’re about to read, or want to know more before your teenager reads one of the above books, I suggest paying a visit to Reading Teen, for their very detailed parental book reviews and ratings.

Stephanie Perkins NYC Meet & Greet

12 Jun

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Saturday, on what would have been just a boring and disgusting rainy day in NYC, I went to one of the best author/blogger events I have ever been to!

I started my weekend pretty bummed out about missing one of my other favorite author’s only nearby US appearance, due to transportation issues. It’s not always easy to get outside of the city when you’re car-less, and trains can get costly and complicated. Thankfully, there was still some hope left for my Saturday!

I’d read on twitter the day before that “Anna and the French Kiss” author Stephanie Perkins was coming to NYC, and would be having a meet and greet with fans uptown. So roomie Jenn and I made the rainy trek up to Bryant Park to meet up with Stephanie, and some fellow blogger friends of mine.

The park was out, so after wandering around a bit, we found a local Cafe with a large basement seating area to hang out in. A few fans drifted in and out, but total there were around 15 of us. It made for quite an intimate gathering, and we were able to ask Steph about her books, characters, future projects, and her writing process.

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3/4 of our group.

Stephanie is absolutely adorable in person. If you like her quirky, fun characters, after meeting her in real life, you will fall in love with her even more. She’s very big on hugs, and has a contagious, goofy laugh. Chatting with her feels like catching up with an old friend.

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We learned that she is in NYC doing research for “Isla and the Happily Ever After”, her 2012 release. Nothing has been officially announced about her next project after Isla, but she did say that she has an idea already planned, and whatever she writes will most likely be a stand alone novel.

That revelation earned quite a few satisfied comments from those of us in attendance. EVERYONE agreed that sometimes, there are just too many series in the YA world, and that stand alone novels are highly missed.

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We also got to hear about how meticulously researched the world-building in her books are. She was still working as a librarian while writing “Anna”. So Stephanie said she checked out every single fiction, non-fiction, comic, and children’s book she could find about France. She also watched every French film she could get her hands on, and analyzed things as detailed as what went on in the background scenes behind the actors to find out how the French lived their lives.

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Rachael’s coveted copy of Lola and the Boy Next Door. We all wanted to steal it from her! (Lola takes place in San Francisco, where Stephanie went to college.)

One of my favorite moments of the day: a fellow attendee compared Steph’s work to Jane Austen. You should have seen her face! She was shocked, but I have to say that I think the comparison is spot on. I can’t think of any other contemporary YA writers who capture the same feel of Jane’s work, yet also modernize a story in their own way. One of the reasons I love Stephanie’s writing so much is because it feels so REAL. I can imagine saying and doing the same exact things her characters do were I in their situations.

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Me clutching one of my most anticipated 2011 reads! It was really hard not to pet this book.

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After our big group discussion, Stephanie took time to sign our books, and chat with everyone individually. A few of us posed for photos with her as well.

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Steph and some new friends!

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Signing books.

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Talking with roomie Jenn. They have a TON of mutual friends, from the Harry Potter fandom and Wizard Wrock worlds.

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Steph and Damaris.

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With Mitali.

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Steph & Jenn again.

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Me and Steph. She’s so cute! And I look like a total nutter here. Thanks,rainy weather!

We had a brief chat about her bff Kiersten White’s “Supernaturally“, (which I’m reading now) and whispered about how awesome her favorite character in that book is.

Soon, it was time for Steph to go meet up with a friend. So we all said our goodbyes, and thanked her for an awesome time! Seriously, I don’t know many authors who would set up a spontaneous meet and greet with their fans during a whirlwind, last-minute book research trip. 😉
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Before she left, I photographed Steph’s crazy cool outfit for one of the fashion websites I shoot for. I’ll definitely be posting a link/photos once this week’s street style goes live on their site.

Thanks again to Stephanie for totally making my weekend, and making time for all of your fans. You were beyond awesome, and I hope some day soon you can make it up to NYC again! I had so much fun meeting you, and making some new blogger and publishing friends. ❤

And to everyone else: If Stephanie comes to your town this year, GO!

All Photos ®2011 Rachel Scroggins/Bookshelf Lust.
See the full album here.

In my Mailbox #4

12 Jun

Over the past three weeks I’ve received some really awesome books. Things have been slower book wise, compared to the insanity of BEA. But I am actually thankful for that! My TBR pile has taken over our dining room table, and is not dwindling anywhere near quickly enough. I’ve gotten some great books recently, including some highly anticipated sequels (a few that have cut to the front of the line in my TBR pile!).

FOR REVIEW:

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Supernaturally by Kiersten White (!!) and Hereafter by Tara Hudson. Via Harper Teen.

I’ve been waiting forever for Supernaturally. Reading it now, and of course, loving it. I’ve heard really good things about the ghost story in Hereafter as well!

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Forgotten by Cat Patrick, and Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. Via Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Two more books I’ve heard some great buzz about. Forgotten is a mystery, and Spoiled is by the hilarious Fug Girls.

PURCHASED:
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Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma. Found @ Strand– over a week early!

Can’t wait to read this. And seriously, that cover is one of the most beautiful book covers I’ve ever seen.

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Starcrossed by Jospephine Angelini.

After reading an E-Galley, I really wanted a signed copy of this book. Sadly, the Dark Days of Supernatural tour isn’t coming anywhere near NYC. I’m not sure why big book tours keep neglecting the entire East Coast, but it’s pretty annoying! Luckily, Josie (who is amazingly nice) offered to sign a copy for me if I had it sent to her. Her signature is so cute:

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Not pictured: Hexed by Kevin Hearne

GIFTED/OTHER:

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National Geographic Complete Photography.

My Dad bought this for my 29th birthday last month. Since it was a special order, it just arrived this week! I can’t wait to read it.

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The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy. Via Paperback Swap.

I have been wanting to read this forever. It finally popped up on Paperback Swap this week—along practically with every other book I’ve ever requested (Of course they show up when I run out of credits). Summer seems to be popular with book swappers.

I’m really starting to feel like I need a clone, so I can read and review everything much faster! 😉

Thank you to Harper Teen, Little, Brown and Josephine Angelini for making my 4th edition of IMM AWESOME!