20.1.16

Who Wore It Better, Book Covers: You'll Never Meet Me vs What We Left Behind

who wore it better             book covers


Books have so many options when they dress for their big debut, but sometimes, they end up wearing very similar styles.  In the vein of all my favorite trashy Hollywood magazines... 


who wore it better?  

you'll never meet me by leah thomas VS what we left behind by robin talley


 


c.j.'s vote 

These books showed up next to each other in my To Read shelf and actually inspired this post.  They both use very similar fonts with a relatively similar color scheme, but Because You'll Never Meet Me uses a simple silhouette-on-gradient while What We Left Behind goes for a classic sky and lens-flare.  While I like the texture in WWLB and the classic features, BYNMM wins for me because of the text art.  The tilted and askew placement of the title is simple but striking, as opposed to the rather flat title in WWLB.  There's just more movement.  Less is more, ladies and gents!


the winner:  because you'll never meet me 



the dark horse

If you're going with the silhouette, birds-on-a-telephone-pole though, I think How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon does it best, with its posterized image, gritty texture, bright colors, and chunky text art.  It's all about the accessories.  But I didn't think it was fair to pit this complex beauty against the two simpler styles above.





Which cover wins?  Are there similar covers you think did it better?  



Who wore it better #1?

Because You'll Never Meet Me
What We Left Behind
Poll Maker


19.1.16

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten books recently added to the infinity that is my to be read shelf

top ten tuesday                tbr



Hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  


Want to help support your broke blogger so she can host more giveaways and give swankier prizes?  Click the book covers.  If you like the book and choose to purchase it from Amazon, a little bit of the proceeds goes to Sarcasm & Lemons!   

I need a break in time to read them all...  



c.j.'s selections                         ten ten ten


one Ruined - Amy Tintera 

So there's a betrothal, and the wrong girl tricks her way into marrying the prince, all to save her war-ravaged kingdom.  The whole enemy-to-lover thing is done a lot, but I love the intrigue of this plot! 
two
The Last Life of Avrilis - Bethany C. Morrow 

This one's a crazy combo of repeated lives, subterranean cities, other planets, and a guy trying to end the world.  Perfect for my mission to read more sci-fi, and hugely compelling.  
three
Into White - Randi Pink 

A black girl at a mostly white high school prays for the power to change her race--and wakes up white.  I'm super excited to see how Pink handles such a daring angle on race and racism.  
four
Beyond the Red - Ava Jae 

An alien queen must save her people from her brother's tyrannical rule, but a captive from the very rebels she's trying to exterminate changes her mind, and heart.  Genocide is a big topic, and Jae tackles it on a huge sci-fi scope.  

five Wink Poppy Midnight - April Genevieve Tucholke 

I'm still not totally sure what this is about and that's half the fun.  It's a magical realism mystery with dark overtones and a whimsical backdrop.  It's like a freaking Tim Burton movie.  

six
Strange the Dreamer - Laini Taylor 


I added this just based on Taylor, whose Daughter of Smoke and Bone is an all-time favorite, but GR tells me it's about the aftermath of war between gods and men, a dangerous girl, a clever librarian, nightmares, and carnage, and I love all those things and want them in my life. 
seven
Thicker Than Water - Kelly Fiore Stultz 


A girl ends up selling her brother's prescription painkillers to pay the bills--and ends up on trial for his murder.  Break out the tissues on this one.  Or so I hear.  

eightNevernight - Jay Kristoff 

Half the mind behind the brilliant Illuminae brings the story of a fledgling assassin living in a city built from the freaking bones of a dead god.  My black icy heart is twitching in evil glee right now.  
nineHeartless - Marissa Meyer 

The queen of fairy tale retellings takes on Alice in Wonderland, aka the story that gives my body breath.  Poor Cath, heir to the Kingdom of Hearts.  All she wants is to bake tarts.  Until a romance starts.  

ten Shallow Graves - Kali Wallace 

Even though the MC's name is Breezy, I'm drawn in by the Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma comparison--and the premise, a girl waking up a year after her death who finds herself in a gritty halfworld, hunted by a cult.  Give me all the darkness!  



18.1.16

Discussion: Writing the negative book review without selling your soul (or making people cry...intentionally)



discussion             negative reviews



Reviewing books I hated makes me resort to Paint to show my sadness.


If you read here much, you might realize that I don't do fluffy gushy reviews.  I mean, sometimes I gush.  But even when I write a 5 star review, there will be something I complain about.  Maybe it's a quick complaint, and maybe it's implied, and maybe there were lots of others I thought about but didn't put in--but there's always something I pick at. 

My secret?  

I really hate it.  Usually.  Sometimes there are books I rage about (hem, After the Red Rain) but usually that's because I had such high hopes.  When I go into a hyped/anticipated book and don't like it, I feel angry and cranky and like I have betrayed the book and author with my lack of good feels.  Especially if it's an author I love.  Then I quietly write the review and hide and hope they never see it.  

So, from me (someone who feels icky about writing bad reviews) to you (someone who maybe feels the same), some tips on writing an honest review without curbstomping the writer's heart.  


1.  Don't tag the author 

Seriously, why is this still a discussion?  I can't believe how many people do this.  Just days ago, people were tweeting vitriol at Cassandra Clare about The Shadowhunters TV series...and she didn't even write the freaking thing!  Remember that authors are fragile fluffy bunnies with feelings, yo.  If this concept is alien to you, have someone tweet at you about how much your hair sucks and how you're a terrible person.  Then go write your meantweet. 


2.  Don't tiptoe around the obvious 

Um, yeah, so like, it was pretty good.  There were characters and stuff.  And you should totes check it out!  ...No.  We all know you're lying.  Just come out and say you didn't like it.  If you're ambivalent, fine, but you should never feel obligated to love a book.  Here, let's try it together.  "I didn't like this book."  Now let out a relaxing sigh. 


3.  Remember that your review might still convince people to read the book 

When I'm unsure about a book, I read the bad reviews.  Because no book is perfect, and because I'm a snob, and because I find it helpful as a reader to know what people didn't like about a book.  Because maybe it's something that I know will bother me--or maybe it's something that I know I won't care about and then I can just go read the book caution-free.  


4.  Don't attack the author either 

Again, this should sort of be implied.  But don't be a jerk.  "So-and-so is ugly and stupid and can't write" isn't constructive.  That said, it's okay to mention the author.  They did write the damn thing.  Maybe you want to comment that it didn't feel like they did enough research, or you feel like they're promoting some discriminatory views.  Say it--just use your respectful words.  


5. Remember that your rep is on the line 

I don't enjoy writing bad reviews.  (I mean, okay, sometimes it's therapeutic...)  But I write them anyway, because negative reviews are important.  As a reviewer, I don't want to be that person you can't trust because everything I say is glowing.  I mean, who seriously loves every book?  Some lucky person who never wastes a weekend reading something boring, but definitely not me.  People who 5 star everything are not people I trust for good recs.  


6.  You are a little fish 

Not to get all melodramatic on you, but keep in mind that you're one little person in a big sea of reviews.  Your one bad review isn't going to tank the book's hopes and dreams (three cheers for mixed water metaphors).  You are not that important.  I have acknowledged long ago that people are not living and dying by my opinions.  Come to the dark side and be free!


7.  Go read justinaireland 's twitter feed

Seriously, her crit is always so on point.  She's the master of calling people out for bad diversity writing without being nasty about it.  



How do you tackle negative reviews?
 What do you do to recharge yourself after hype-letdown?
What are some review no-nos you've come across?  
 













13.1.16

Cover Love: Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

cover love 


Don't forget to check out my review of Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley on Deadly Darlings today!  





So I still have no idea what this book is about, but the teasing mystery of the blurb really has me intrigued.  "What really happened?  Someone knows.  Someone is lying."  I'm maddened!  And I love the promise of something magical realism-y, quasi-supernatural.  Plus, to the point, this cover is a gorgeous quilt, an old fairy tale cut and Picasso-ed into something dark and entrancing.  Even though Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was just okay for me, it was mostly because of the characters.  I'm looking forward to more of Tucholke's gorgeous writing.  

x . x . x


with every book cover comes a music cover 








Yet another Marilyn Manson cover, this one of "Golden Years" by the most dear David Bowie, who left us yesterday.  Manson's tribute is so emotional and raw, and the creepy Alice in Wonderland video is pretty kickass too. A fitting memorial to the king of the strange and odd. 




12.1.16

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten 2015 releases that I was totally seriously for sure going to read, and then didn't

top ten tuesday                2015



Hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  


Want to help support your broke blogger so she can host more giveaways and give swankier prizes?  Click the book covers.  If you like the book and choose to purchase it from Amazon, a little bit of the proceeds goes to Sarcasm & Lemons!   

I was so close. 



c.j.'s selections                         ten ten ten


one The Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard 

Everyone read this but me!!! I kept almost reading this and then there'd be an ARC or I'd forget or the world would temporarily explode.  
two
Ice Like Fire - Sara Raasch 

I was totally going to read Snow Like Ashes so that I could read Ice Like Fire.  It turned out to be a warm, snowless winter... 
three
The Girl at Midnight - Melissa Grey 

This one, I even had in my apartment.  Then it was super overdue at the library and I returned it and everything went downhill from there.  
four
All the Rage - Courtney Summers 

I heard this one was super intense, and a little controversial, and you know how I love my issue books.  It just got dropped through the ARC cracks.  

five The Walls Around Us - Nova Ren Suma 

This was going to be my first Nova Ren Suma book and I can actually see it from where I'm sitting right now, and then there were too many books and my head went esplodey.  


six
Made You Up - Francesca Zappia 


I should probably be slapped for not reading this because it's literally a young adult book about clinical psychology stuff and I am a failure at reading life.  

seven
Rook - Sharon Cameron 


Speaking of books I both (a) own and (b) will obviously love (because her other two rocked)...  Seriously, what was I doing with my life this year?  

eight Lies I Told - Michelle Zink 

I even got this one early from a contest and didn't get to it.  I think I need to stop sleeping and just read from now on to get to all these... 
nine We All Looked Up - Tommy Wallach 

Why do I even bother going to the library?  Pretty sure I still need to pay the overdue fee on this.  Can I quit grad school and just read all the time?  Still want to read this, even though the author was apparently jerky.   

ten The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly - Stephanie Oakes 

So, I think I'm going to pick a month and call it "Hardcovers I bought in 2015 and didn't read month" and finally read this awesome Maiden Without Hands remake and EVERY OTHER BOOK ON THIS FREAKING LIST.  



10.1.16

Giveaway: The Ultimate Book Blogger Scavenger Hunt Giveaway, featuring Splintered by A.G. Howard

giveaway             splintered



I'll Meet You There

Welcome to the Ultimate Book Blogger Scavenger Hunt, brought to you by Alex at The Book's Buzz and a great group of bloggers.  Each blogger in the lineup has a post set up for the event. Their post will include a keyword that is highlighted in the bulk of the post. So keep your eyes open for that highlighted word! That keyword will be your entry for the giveaway! 

At the end of each post, there will be a list of the other bloggers that are participating and you can just follow the links to enter some of their giveaways as well! All giveaways end on January 31st, 2016, so you better get on it! If you're confused and still have questions or concerns, please contact me right away!  

My giveaway is U.S. only because it's a physical copy and I can't afford the international shipping :( but other people have INT giveaways, so check out everyone's post!  





the magic of splintered


I'm an Alice in Wonderland junkie.  From the actual book in all it's awesomeness to the Tim Burton movie to the creeptastic video game American McGee's Alice, I'm a sucker for anything Wonderland.  When I saw that a new author called A.G. Howard was coming out with a series about a descendant of Alice Liddell, I freaked.  

Three books and a short story collection later, I'm still in love.  I've read the first two twice and they get better every time.  Howard takes the Wonderland you know and twists it into a dark fairy tale dreamscape with twisted magic, nightmarish creatures, and the only love triangle in the history of literature that doesn't annoy me.  

Not convinced yet?  Sit back and let me tell you all the reasons you want this book.  Then enter the Rafflecopter to win a SIGNED paperback (previous post said hardcover; sorry, my mistake :( )!  


riddle me this: why splintered owns my heart

  • Alyssa.  She's the great-great-great-something-granddaughter of Alice Liddell, the little girl who inspired Lewis Carroll to write his story.  Her mother is in the loony bin for talking to bugs, and Alyssa has the same problem.  Only turns out, it's not the ordinary kind of madness she has to worry about... 

  • Jeb.  The hot next door neighbor skater boy with a talent for painting and a killer smile.  He's one of YA's genuinely good guys--but Alyssa doesn't let him get away with being overprotective, either.  She fights her own battles.  

  • Morpheus.  The wisdom keeper of Wonderland and a netherling, one of Wonderland's twisted residents, he's a sexy silver-tongued trickster with shifting motivations and uncertain loyalties.  He'll do anything to protect Alyssa, but his love for her wars against his selfishness and his brutal Wonderland instincts.  He's not the kind of guy I'd recommend if he were in the real world, but in Wonderland, he's the king of the joyful lunatics.  

  • Grit.  These books aren't glittery bloodless rainbow-fests.  Alyssa is no simpering princess.  She's a skater who makes mosaics out of dead bugs.  She's noble and courageous, but she also embraces her violent side.  And Wonderland is a madhouse of murderous flowers, double-crossing queens, and dangerous riddles.  

  • Whimsy.  But that grit is balanced by a technicolor day-glo frivolity that turns it from gore to dark carnival.  It's a beautiful nightmare, intricately and lovingly crafted by Howard.  Rabid White, the skeletal adviser.  Twid Sisters, arachnid guardians of the restless dead.  Looking-glass mutants and prisons of endless darkness.  It's a place you can imagine in your wildest acid dreams or a Salvador Dali painting, a place that calls to you with dark secrets.  

  • Legendary.  Splintered is the epic beginning to a sprawling saga that turns everything you knew about Alice onto its head.  It's breakneck and nail-biting, with battles, stolen kisses, riddles, nightmarish beasties, double-crosses, triple-crosses, and a story that devastates and echoes.  It's the reimagining that Alice deserves.  

  • Lingering.  Seriously, this is a book that stays with you.  I swear I cried a little when I finished the third book because there were no more adventures, no more Alyssa, Morpheus, Jeb, and Chessie.  I'm saving Untamed for when the feels really come back and I need more Wonderland.  


Welcome to Wonderland...  

Want to know more?  Check out my review of Splintered.   


Enter the Giveaway 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit the rest of the hop  

Alex @ The Book's Buzz 
Talina @ Sassy and Dangerous 
Claire @ Cover to Cover
Tori @ In Tori Lex



5.1.16

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten older books I resolve to finally, actually read in 2016

top ten tuesday                finally



Hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  


Want to help support your broke blogger so she can host more giveaways and give swankier prizes?  Click the book covers.  If you like the book and choose to purchase it from Amazon, a little bit of the proceeds goes to Sarcasm & Lemons!   

I swear.  I'm for real this time.  Seriously.



c.j.'s selections                         ten ten ten


one The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater 

Even though I didn't like Shiver, EVERYONE has read this but me!  I want to know who Gansey is and why all the swoons.  
two
Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell 

Landline was meh and Eleanor and Park was okay, but I'm not giving up yet!  Must read about fanfiction.  
three
The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodr Dostoyevsky 

I've started this book THREE times during grad school.  This time, I'm actually going to go through it instead of putting it off.  
four

Abarat - Clive Barker 

I got halfway through this my first year of grad school, four years ago.  I've been halfway through since.  It's not even that I didn't like it. I was just distracted! 

five
Legend - Marie Lu 


This goes both for wanting to read more diverse books by diverse authors and wanting to read this series that everyone and their mother raves about.  


six
The 5th Wave - Rick Yancey 


I can't in good conscience see the movie until I read the book.  

seven
City of Ashes - Cassandra Clare 


Speaking of books I've been halfway through for four years... 

eight Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein 

Again, everyone else has read it, and they say it's beautiful and full of friendship and love and maybe some dying and stuff.  I waaants it.  
nine Vicious - V.E. Schwab 

Seriously, why do I keep not reading books that I know I am going to like!?  It's like I want to torture myself or something.    

ten The Name of the Star - Maureen Johnson 

Things I've heard. "Good." "Dark as f**k."  Things I've decided. "GIMME."