Monday Mix #9

1. I always enjoy All Things Urban Fantasy’s Cover Art Coverage posts. This week my favorite covers were MonstersInfinite, Waterfell, and All Our Yesterdays. My least favorite covers were Heart of Stone (I’m really not a fan of shirtless man covers) and Everything Breaks, which just looked totally ridiculous to me.

Best:

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Worst:

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2. In this post on One Four Kid Lit, authors shared why they enjoy writing and/or reading middle grade books. I thought their answers were very amusing and touching, and made me see middle grade books in a different way.

3. I almost bought Jacqueline Green’s Truth or Dare on a trip to the Strand the week of BEA, so I was glad to hear from this review that it’s at least worth a read. It certainly sounds like a fun, summer book.

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4. Jodi Meadows revealed the title and cover for the third book in the New Soul trilogy! I had mixed feelings about Incarnate, but I’ve found myself wanting to reread it, and I’ve been trying to get to Asunder since it came out, but no libraries in my state have it and I’m not sure if I want to buy it or not.

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5. I went to Romily Bernard’s signing at BEA, so of course I had to put Pitch Dark’s playlist for Find Me on this week’s MM. I love playlists inspired by books, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy the book behind it even more.

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6. Am I ever going to write a Monday Mix without a post from YALSA? Probably not. This week’s gem from YALSA is a post on trends from BEA, namely, crossovers. I didn’t know what they meant by crossovers at first, but it appears to be just another name for new adult, a genre I am quite intrigued by since that is the age I’m at. I was pleased to see Fangirl on the list (gotta love me some Rainbow Rowell) as well as a debut I received from Netgalley called If You Could Be Mine, a novel about two lesbian women in Iran.

7. Many of you probably remember the infamous article by the Wall Street Journal discussing the dangers of letting teens read such “dark” books. Kelly Jensen, a blogger at Stacked, discusses her love of dark contemporary YA in this guest post at Book Riot, explaining that the books are “anything but angst.” In Kelly’s view, so-called “dark” YA is disturbing for the characters and the reader. Two examples I’ve read recently that come to mind are Adele Griffin’s All You Never Wanted (probably the creepiest YA I’ve ever read), and Liz Coley’s fantastic debut, Pretty Girl-13 (which comes in as a very close second). She also provided a list of some of her favorites, forcing me to add even more books to my TBR list.

8. At the Broke and the Bookish, Tahleen posted her thoughts on reading large books as a blogger, making me think about my book length preferences as well. I think I was more willing to read longer books before I became a blogger, because I really try my best to get out at least a couple of reviews per week. I also prefer reading long books in print rather than on the Kindle, because I always find myself staring down the percent sign wondering when it’s going to go up a number.

9. Can I get an “amen!” to Stormy’s post about romance in YA? I don’t have a problem with romance in YA either, but I don’t understand why practically every young adult book has to have romance in it. I also agreed with what she said about most female protagonists never having dated before, and the guys in YA getting romance (or at least sex) first. Is romance more of a rite of passage for women than men? Is that the message of YA? It certainly seems that women are portrayed as more innocent than men. But anyway, thank you for starting this discussion, Stormy. You are cool.

10. Thanks to the gals over at EpicReads, I now know how to do a book shimmy. Or rather, I now know that’s one of the reactions I have while reading a really good book. My top three favorite shimmies are those of Lauren Oliver (cheeky shimmy), Kat Zhang (bouncing shimmy), and Romily Bernard (shimmy explosion). I myself find I most often do the shimmy explosion. And yes, I do have witnesses to back this up.

11. Tumblr post! Paper Lantern Lit did an author spotlight on Julie Anne Peters, who is known for writing books focusing on LGBT teens. This post also includes an interview with Peters and Malinda Lo, also a prominent writer of LGBT lit (y’all need to read her book Ash, just btw).

12. Katie Stout explained why she loves reading and writing YA here. I relate to all her reasons, in particular regarding creativity and the rawness of the emotion. I think writers in the YA genre almost have more freedom to be creative than authors of adult books, because YA is evolving, and it’s evolving now.

13. I totally agreed with Megan’s post at Book Brats about why John Green isn’t all that. Admittedly, I’ve only read three of his books, and while I did really like The Fault in Our Stars, I still think there are other YA contemp authors who are much better than John Green and get much less recognition than he does. I remember hearing and reading about lots of authors saying that Looking for Alaska “changed their lives” or whatever, but looking back, the only thing I remember about that book was the toothpaste blowjob.

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The Monday Mix #8

1. At Pretty Deadly Reviews, Bekka’s Top Ten Tuesday post was about unreliable narrators. I love an unreliable narrators, so I really enjoyed this list. I’ve only read two from the list, The S-Word and Beautiful Lies, but the others all sounded really good, too.

2. Hello Chelly compares her blogging from this year’s BEA to last year’s, explaining how her blog has changed.

3. I always love Anna’s posts, and her Top Ten Tuesday was no exception. I want to own all these graphics and put posters of them in my dorm next year, especially the first one and the Audrey Hepburn one.

4. I also liked Epic Reads’ post with pictures of shelves from bloggers and other people. I liked the ones organized by color in particular, since I organized my bookshelf that way when I got home from school.

5. As a book lover, I found Lori of Pure Imagination’s post about YA inspired baby names absolutely adorable. If I ever have kids, these will probably be on my list, too.

6. I haven’t actually read Moby Dick, but I love fashion inspired by literature, and thought all the jewelry inspired by this classic was gorgeous. Thanks Read. Breathe. Relax. for sharing this cool post!

Monday Mix #7

1. This post about the Watersong series basically proved to me again that Amanda Hocking is the coolest author ever. I definitely wouldn’t have known the series was partially based on The Taming of the Shrew (mostly because I haven’t read/seen it), but I love Shakespeare so that was an interesting bit of information. I’m also amused by the fact that Alex’s middle name is Leonard.

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2. I feel like a bit of a stalker for knowing what author Marissa Meyer keeps on her desk, but since she’s the one would told us in one of her recent posts, I guess it’s okay. Plus, author stalking is the best kind of stalking.

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3. I really enjoyed Ruby’s Reads’ adorable post about creating the perfect outdoor reading nook. This definitely makes me want to create my own nook for the summer.

4. I love cooking and baking, so I really liked this post on Epic Reads on YA inspired recipes. I’ll probably be adding these recipes to my arsenal over the summer.

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5. This post by The Grownup YA about books set in NYC will probably lead me to make my own post soon about books set in London. Coming up!

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6. I really, really like Jaime of the Perpetual Page Turner. Her post about “important” BEA info made me like her even more. All of her BEA faces are hilarious and super cute, and hopefully I’ll see some of them when I go to BEA!

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7. It really bothers me when people reduce YA to just a couple books. I totally agreed with everything Stacked Books said in their post “The Reductive Approach to YA.” This post was mostly about how certain reviewers are reducing all contemporary YA to “Green lit” (as in John Green, of course). I like John Green, personally, but I don’t necessarily think he’s the most amazing YA writer. Reducing a whole genre to one author or book is unfair, because books are so diverse and different.
8. I actually liked most of the cover changes in Pure Imagination’s most recent Cover Changes post. Usually, I don’t like cover changes, but this week, I liked most of the covers equally or better. I liked both covers for The Disenchantments, The Catastrophic History of You and Me, Perfect Escape, and Code Name Verity. First Comes Love by Katie Kacvinsky definitely needed a makeover from its first cheesy cover. The only cover makeover I didn’t like as much was the one for Just One Day, because I feel like I’ve seen that cover so many times.

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9. Oh YALSA, how I love you. This post pairing books and “table-top games” together was great, and made me want to try all the games listed. #whenyarelatestoreallife

10. I just have one question about the YA Sisterhood’s YA crush nominations: WHY IS NOAH SHAW NOT ON THIS LIST?!

The Monday Mix #6

The Monday Mix is a meme created by Alexa over at Alexa Loves Books. This meme post basically gives bloggers the opportunity to share some of their favorite posts from other sites from the past week. I love this idea because I often find posts that I love or want to read but don’t have time to, and The Monday Mix seems like a great way to keep track of things and share some blogger love.

1. Over at Presenting Lenore, Lenore Applehans (author of Level 2, a. k. a. The Memory of After), made a list of pitches that grab her and pitches that turn her off to a book. I’m definitely with her on fairy tale retellings, parallel worlds, travel, dystopia, and music/dance/art. I, however, would love to see the stream of consciousness style spread into the young adult genre, especially since I like writing quirky things like that myself. As shown by my review of Zenn Scarlett, I am also not a fan of books about animal (or in this case alien) cruelty/rights.

2. I’ve been thinking a lot about mood reviewing lately as more posts on the subject keep popping up on blogs like YA Book Lover. I don’t think mood reviewing is necessarily a problem as long as you’re aware that you do it. I know that I’ve done it sometimes. I’m sure most readers are more willing to bash a book in times of distress and turmoil, and even though we might try to ignore our own emotions and make objective judgements, you read with your heart, and if your heart’s not in the right place, it will probably affect how you feel about a book.

3. I also liked Book Chick City’s post on cliffhangers. I don’t always like cliffhangers. Sometimes, when I’m reading a series and the book ends on a cliffhanger, I end up remembering the cliffhanger and forgetting most of the story when I read the other books. I think that if your series is really good, you shouldn’t need a cliffhanger to keep readers interested, which is one reason I imagine authors do it. The one cliffhanger I’ve read recently-ish that worked for me was the ending to Pandemonium, which I honestly hadn’t been expecting at all. I thought it was funny that this book popped into my head right as I began reading Book Chick City’s post, and then she wrote that the cliffhanger in Pandemonium made her refuse to read Requiem.

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4. More about Maureen Johnson’s coverflip contest. She wrote about how even though we’re not supposed to judge a book by the cover, everyone does, and you base your expectations on what’s inside on the package it comes in. Of course, just because a book comes in a girly package doesn’t mean its contents are inferior, but people are more likely to judge them as such because of our patriarchal society. On YALSA, Julie included some of her own questions about covers and whether or not they really related to the author’s gender and/or the story inside. I was struck by Why We Broke Up and Looking for Alaska, which have covers no one would ever describe as “girly,” though one of them is narrated by a girl. For those two covers at least, I don’t see what the image outside has to do with the writing inside, and it does make me wonder how much cover designers are influenced by the author’s gender as opposed to the content.

5. Anna of Anna Reads wrote this cool post about traveling with books, something I imagine all book lovers need advice on now and again. Before I had a Kindle, I didn’t really think about picking books to travel with based on whether they were paperback or hardcover, although obviously one would be lighter than the other. When I’ve been abroad I’ve only every brought physical books, but depending on where I go next I might bring my Kindle instead. Traveling in the country, I always use my Kindle now because it’s light, though of course I do worry about losing it or breaking it.

6. At Reader of Fictions, Christina wrote a post about her appreciation for the blogging community. She talks about both positive and negative aspects of the community that I think are important to think about, such as how invalidating someone else’s review invalidates your own. Great blogger lessons to live by.

7. Lisa of Read. Breathe. Relax. was definitely a unicorn in terms of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday about books dealing with tough subjects. While everyone else was focusing in on the contemporary genre, she went rogue and talked about books from mainly the fantasy genre, which I thought was super cool. You go, Lisa!

8. I like Pure Imagination’s “Book Breakups” feature a lot. I always have a hard time putting down a book, even one I don’t like, because I feel like checking it out/getting it from a publisher/buying it means I need to commit to it even though it makes me crazy. I just feel bad when I don’t finish a book, even though I know no one else will know and sometimes you just don’t click with a book. Maybe I’ll adopt Book Breakups, too.

9. I did a presentation on YA adaptations of Jane Austen in my college writing proficiency course (ew, required courses), so of course I had to include YALSA’s post on Persuasion and For Darkness Shows the Stars this week.

10. In response to Cuddlebuggery’s post about book OCD, Jaime wrote a post about her lack of book OCD. She continued on that track this week in a post titled “Sometimes I Do Things That Would Probably Make Some of You Cringe.” I myself do all of these things, but don’t feel it means I don’t respect the book. Books are meant to be loved, so loving them is okay!
11. There’s this amazing post that features photos of handwritten outlines for novels by famous authors! I wish I could somehow zoom in on the pictures/decipher the terrible handwriting, because I’m really curious about each person’s system for novel-planning. My personal favorites are J. K. Rowlings chart for Order of the Phoenix and Faulkner’s notes on the wall of his office. <3Faulkner

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12. I am a big fan of flowcharts when they concern YA books, so of course I loved this one on finding the funny YA book that’s perfect for you. Super cute, plus, I was really happy to see Going Vintage on there, because that’s definitely been one of my favorite reads of 2013.

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13. I was very moved by E. M. Kokie’s post about female desire in YA as well. This is a topic I feel doesn’t get dealt with enough in YA lit, partially because it’s so overshadowed by frilly, substance-free romances. It’s certainly true that there are more books dealing with male desire in an open way than books dealing with female desire. I tried to think of some of those books but could only think of 3 off the top of my head (Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt, Judy Blume’s Forever (of course), and Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick). Authors seem to be much more willing to be sexually explicit when the narrator is male, but not so much for female narrators. I think that is partially because as a culture, we judge men less for their sexual actions and desires than we do for women. This post also made me think about how it’s very important for an author not to judge their characters, and in relation to this topic, maybe we again judge boys less harshly than girls for their desires and actions.

The Monday Mix #5

The Monday Mix is a meme created by Alexa over at Alexa Loves Books. This meme post basically gives bloggers the opportunity to share some of their favorite posts from other sites from the past week. I love this idea because I often find posts that I love or want to read but don’t have time to, and The Monday Mix seems like a great way to keep track of things and share some blogger love.

1. On Hello Chelly, Rachel created a post with book and bag pairings. My favorite bag is definitely the Eleanor & Park bag. It’s so colorful and cute! I like the Me Before You bag, and including that was a good reminder to me that I still have to read that book!

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2. I thought Cuddlebuggery’s post about “every YA book I’ve ever read” was pretty funny and definitely rang true for me. I’m not sure if this was intentional, but I liked that she pointed out how YA girls hardly ever come to their resolutions without the help of a hot guy. I also thought it was interesting that the “cover” for every ya contemp she’s ever read was a picture of a dreamy-looking, super-white girl with uber-blonde hair, since white-washing in YA is such an issue.

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3. Stormy’s opinion of The S-Word was definitely the closest to mine of any review I’ve read for it. Most posts say how well Pitcher handled certain “sensitive subjects” in the story, which, I’m sorry, is complete bullshit, and it really irritates me. I felt like all the drama made the more sensitive issues seem laughable and unrealistic, and I ended up feeling no sympathy for any of the characters. In terms of Stormy’s review, I definitely agreed about basically everything she said concerning Angie. She was a really difficult character to like because of all the terrible things she did. I didn’t even like her when she did terrible things that I felt like I was supposed to see as good or helpful. An ultimate disappointment.

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4. I thought Book Chick City’s post about bookish snobbery was good as well. Bookish snobbery is definitely something I’ve dealt with, since I basically only read YA, which is never counted as “good literature.” I also liked what was said about genre snobbery, and how one book in a genre does not represent the rest. This post basically confirmed what I already knew about myself (that I am a real reader no matter what I read), and generally left me with a greater feeling of empowerment as a YA reader.

5. Another great post from Book. Blog. Bake. (I’m really a fan of Stormy this week). When I read books, I also find I’m mostly able to guess the “twists” in the plot as well. I think that can partially be attributed to one’s skill as a reader and also the breadth of knowledge one has about a particular age/genre of book. I will say though, I wasn’t at all expecting a certain person in Pandemonium to return, so props to Lauren Oliver for twisting me on that one. I also thought the twist in Cinder was pretty easy to predict, but wasn’t as surprised by the Level 2 (excuse me, The Memory of After) twist. I didn’t know quite what was up with Julian throughout the story, but I most certainly knew he wasn’t telling the truth.

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6. I really related to Jaime’s before and after post about book blogging this week. One of my favorite parts about blogging is the connections I get to make with other bloggers, writers, and readers. Having someone tell me they liked a post or will read a book because of my review is one of the best feelings ever.

7. I absolutely loved Maureen Johnson’s coverflip contest. I felt that what she had to say about the devaluing of women’s writing through the production of “girly” covers was really sad, but also very true. Some of the coverflips were funny, but others were shocking, and really made me wonder how famous they would be if they had been written by women.

My personal favorite, of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road

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8. I definitely have Cuddlebuggery’s same OCD of picking a book. Her post made me feel both that I’m not alone, but also that maybe I need to tone down the OCD a bit when buying books. It also made me wonder how much influence things like font and title have over me.

9. Jaime of The Perpetual Page Turner also posted about books on grief for mother’s day because her mother died when she was 18. A sad but powerful post. My favorites? The Sky is Everywhere and Twenty Boy Summer, which I write about on this blog A LOT. Maybe I just have a thing for blue and pink books with hearts on the cover…?

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The Monday Mix #4

The Monday Mix is a meme created by Alexa over at Alexa Loves Books. This meme post basically gives bloggers the opportunity to share some of their favorite posts from other sites from the past week. I love this idea because I often find posts that I love or want to read but don’t have time to, and The Monday Mix seems like a great way to keep track of things and share some blogger love.

1. Jaime at The Perpetual Page Turner wrote about the book club she hosted for Suzanne Young’s The Program, released early last week. Included are some fun recipes and food ideas inspired by the book in case you want to host your own book club for this cool new read.

2. I was glad to hear that Wild Awake is good, because it’s a debut I’m particularly excited to read. I trust Pure Imagination‘s judgement, and I hope she’s right about this cool-sounding book!

2. At All Things Urban Fantasy, they posted about the cover art for some new books. Included was the sequel to Unspoken, called Untold, which is a little redundant. I personally like the style of the cover for Unspoken better, because it was really different, spooky, and cool. They also revealed the cover for the second book in the Splintered series (did you know there was going to be a second book? I didn’t), Unhinged. That cover isn’t as gorgeous as the first one either, but I think Splintered has a cover that would be pretty tough to top. But still: MORPHEUSISONTHECOVERMORPHEUSISONTHECOVERFANGIRLING@$&##*#@&Y!#@^&!!!!!
3. All the bad reviews for September Girls. Everyone hates it. (Well, except for Kirkus and Novel Sounds, apparently). But Cuddlebuggery and Finding Bliss in Books tore this book up, I mean, tossed it into the shredder and burned the pieces. It does sound like an awful book based on the quotes and the whole slut-shaming/sexism issue. It really concerns me that a book that’s this sexist would be supported by big reviewers like Kirkus. I mean, what kind of message does that send? Oh yeah, sexism, that’s really something to be proud of. It just feels like positive reviews of this book are endorsing the really misogynistic views presented by the douchebag main character, and I don’t think that’s a good thing. I think I’ll still read it, but I’m certainly glad that these other blogs have provided me with somewhat of a trigger warning beforehand.

4. And the one positive review of September Girls from Elena at Novel Sounds. Did she just not notice the slut-shaming…?

5. I was really sad to see that Invisibility wasn’t that good, at least according to Novel Novice. I was really excited about it because of the pairing of Andrea Cremer and David Levithan. I’ll probably still read this one as well, but at least now I’m a bit more prepared for the probable disappointment.

6. I keep meaning to read something by Lauren Myracle since she’s so highly praised, and I think GReads’ Waiting on Wednesday post on The Infinite Moment of Us has convinced me this is the book to start with.

7. Judy Bloom’s Tiger Eyes is going to be a movie? I don’t remember a whole lot about this book, which doesn’t necessarily tell me whether it was good or not since I read it such a long time ago, but check out the movie traier here.

8. Here’s a cool interview by Cuddlebuggery with Josin L. McQuein, author of 2013 debut Arclight, available now.

9. I really enjoyed Fiction Folio’s Top Ten Tuesday post about the top ten topics that make her pick up a book, especially because mental illness was listed. I feel like not enough blogs write about books about mental illness, so if you know of any book blogger with a passion for that topic, please throw ’em at me!

10. I absolutely loved Snuggly Orange’s post about her book DNA. It’s a really cool idea and I hope to make a similar post sometime within the next few weeks to give a shout out to the characters I really identify with.

11. Anna has a freakin’ adorable series called “Awful Drawings of Things I Like in Books.” This week’s drawing was for books set in bodies of water.

12. I thought Hello Chelly’s post of spring cleaning tips was helpful and entertaining. I think I’m going to do some of that when I get home because I’ve started double-layering my bookshelves and am running out of space again.

 

The Monday Mix #3

The Monday Mix is a meme created by Alexa over at Alexa Loves Books. This meme post basically gives bloggers the opportunity to share some of their favorite posts from other sites from the past week. I love this idea because I often find posts that I love or want to read but don’t have time to, and The Monday Mix seems like a great way to keep track of things and share some blogger love.

1. Pure Imagination did a post about some recent cover changes. I don’t know how I feel about the changes made to Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, because I thought the original cover of Lola was super cute. I think the original cover for Virals was better, as was the cover for Throne of Glass. I do like the new cover for Smart Girls Get What They Want because I like that style of image. I like the new cover for Level 2, but not the title, and I’ll probably keep calling it Level 2 forever. I don’t really have an opinion about the cover for Crank, but I like the new cover of The Symptoms of my Insanity better as well.

2. I am super jealous of Finding Bliss in Books’ book haul. I cant wait to read all six of those books and her review of The Program, released today. All those books sound fantastic.

3. This article wasn’t from last week, but I’m including it anyway because it’s about how GILES IS GOING TO BE IN THE SELECTION!!!!!! I’m not really sure how I feel about that casting choice for Maxon’s father, the king, but it’s Anthony Head and I love him, so I’m willing to give him a shot.

4. I really like the idea of making a to-read list of books to read before BEA that Hobbitsies created after another blog, since I have a lot of digital ARCs I still need to read. I also love making lists, so perhaps I’ll be publishing my own Books Before BEA list at some point soon

5. I thought this was a pretty good article about people who go into a movie without having read the book it’s based off of. This is particularly prevalent because so many great YA books have been optioned off recently, including Delirium (as a TV show), Forest of Hands and Teeth, and The Fault in Our Stars (how they picked Shailene Woodley for Hazel I don’t know). While it’s great that these books are getting attention, I’m afraid that people will see the movie rather than read the book, and I doubt any of these movies will be as good as their written inspirations.

6. This article from Between the Lines brought to my attention something I’d never consciously thought about before. I totally got what the author was saying about it being embarrassing for adults and teens to go into the children’s section for a YA book. I’ve also found that some books that get put in the children’s section really shouldn’t be there, and I wonder how they decided where to put the book. I was also shocked to find that adults make up the largest percentage of people purchasing and reading YA, and want to do some of my own research into this topic as well.

7. I liked the graphics in The Perpetual Pageturner’s Top Ten Tuesday post about books she thought she’d like more or less. This post also brought my attention to a couple books I want to try.

8. I enjoyed reading Chick Loves Lit’s blog tour post for The Rules by Stacey Kade. This book has been hovering around the edges of my radar for a while but now it’s definitely on my to-read list.

9. The Story Siren published her own BEA tips. I’m glad she talked about food, because that’s something I’m a little worried about. She advises against just bringing a granola bar and a water, which I totally understand because all that book excitement will definitely make me hungry. I don’t know if I’d go to the cheese-plate-and-crab place that Kristen went to, but the waffle place certainly sounded appealing. Got any other food recs for me?

10. I really enjoyed the post that Tara of Fiction Folio wrote about books on mental illness. I was pleased to see Freaks Like Us made the list, since I really liked that one as well. Mental illness is something I think should be covered more in YA lit, because it’s not always safe to talk about it in everyday society, and it’s nice to know that you’re not alone.

11. Earlier this week, The Examiner posted about the title of the third book in The Selection series. I suppose I understand why it’s being called The One, but personally, I felt like the title was a bit anticlimactic.