Tag Archives: books

Good mail day

April 16th 2014

Today was an awesome mail day. First, I found a small box on my porch (coated in a thin layer of snow) with my new bookmarks! Pretty jazzy, right? I designed them myself and I triple-checked for typos. But I’m still paranoid there’s a mistake, so if you see one, don’t tell me.

Mah bookmarks!

Mah bookmarks!

And then this afternoon I went to my mailbox where I found a big box full of new books! A lovely gift from my fabulous CP, Leandra. The girl is an angel. She won several copies of these brandy-new YA hardcovers and gave me a set. I’m going to read them and then donate them to my public library whose YA collection is in desperate need of updating. It’s the ultimate gift for a YA author. I feel uber blessed. Now which one to start reading first?

A present from Leandra

A present from Leandra

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Where I bow down to Maggie Stiefvater’s greatness

July 30th 2013

Last night, I finished reading The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater — a book so creative and memorable that I doubt I’ll stop thinking about it for weeks.

First, I am so damn lucky I got a copy of this at Book Expo in June (Thanks, BEA!). I’m a little ashamed it took me so long to get to it. I’m not going to ‘review’ the book here. (I’d never do it justice). I guess I sort of want to gush about Maggie Stiefvater’s incredible talent at creating memorable characters, in particular, Ronan Lynch. Maggie Stiefvater is a genius when it comes to characterization.

Her characters are flawed, fully-dimensional people with personal tragedies and triumphs. They are not stereotypical, cliched versions of anyone. Ronan Lynch is not your typical bad boy. The middle child of a wealthy Irish family, Ronan’s father was violently murdered and only Ronan knows why. His mother is not in the picture. He detests his older brother, who he claims is a liar, but he’s kind and nuturing to his younger brother. Ronan drinks heavily to dull the pain and he’s reckless. He never attends classes, but is fluent in Latin. He’s also fiercely loyal to Gansey and Adam. He’s dark, mysterious, magnetic and utterly compelling. I’d say I have a literary crush on Ronan Lynch.

Nothing made me happier to discover that The Dream Thieves is largely about Ronan. The cliffhanger of a last line in The Raven Boys made me anxious to find out more about him in book 2 and Stiefvater didn’t hold back. Ronan is far more complicated than anyone could have imagined. And because Stiefvater writes in third person, we are left to dissect Ronan’s character on our own because we can’t get in his head. There’s still that distance there and it allows us not to have the entire picture. Therefore, I understand Ronan differently than someone else reading the same book. This is very different experience had Stiefvater written her characters in alternating first-person POVs. I don’t want to be told what Ronan is thinking; I want to wonder for myself.

On another note, Stiefvater should teach a workshop on how to write scenes with so many characters. No one is forgotten about and everybody is woven into the scene so effortlessly. Teach me, o’ wise one.

I once read an agent say that plot sold books to publishing houses. But in my opinion, characters are the ones who sell books to readers. And Ronan Lynch sold The Raven Boys to me.

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BEA Baby!

June 7th 2013

Last Saturday, I attended Book Expo in NYC. For me, BEA is equivalent to Christmas (or in my case, Hanukkah). Free books for the taking! It’s the best day of the year!

the spoils of BEA

the spoils of BEA

That pile may not look impressive, but it’s all YA, baby!  And it doesn’t include the four or five picture books I snagged for my boys.

Some of this year’s highlights (in no particular order):

I got to tell the Patricia Polacco how much The Keeping Quilt meant to my third-grade class of ESL students. That story stayed with them for a long time.

I met Ann Redisch Stampler, who signed an adorable picture book. Only later did I realize that I reviewed her YA book, Where It Began, for Bookpage.

I chatted up a lovely Month9Books author and got to say things like, “My book is coming out next year!” (I said this a lot actually to a bunch of people, but not all braggy as it sounds here.) I also met a book editor for a pop culture website who might review my book next year.

I scored a copy of The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. Holy hell. The whole trip was worth that one book.

I met up with some old friends and ate lunch without anyone crying or asking me for things the minute I sat down.

I spent the entire day hanging out with my pal, Zoe, who flew in from the UK and who happily stood on lines for author she didn’t know so that I could score an ARC. She also took home her own books and shoved them into her suitcase, which she then weighed on my bathroom scale to make sure she didn’t go over the allotted 23 kilos.

Next year, I hope to attend BEA as a published author. I probably won’t be signing books at a booth, but no matter. I get to be part of something truly incredible — books — and everything they mean to a nerd like me.

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