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Exciting & IMPORTANT News!!!

As of tonight, I will be moving my blog to self-hosted WordPress! This is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time, and I’m super excited (and nervous!) about it. My main reasons for moving to self-hosted WordPress have to do with the fact that I want more creative freedom with my blog and to make it seem more professional to hopefully gain a greater following.

This seems like the perfect time to make my move. It’s a new year, I have the money for both the hosting and the Ultimate Book Blogger plugin by Nose Graze, and because I’m on a break I’ll have the time to goof around and figure out how everything works.

However, this move also means I will need your patience and support. I don’t really know how long it will take me to make the new look I have in mind for my site and to reformat posts and do all the technical stuff, so please stick with me through this process. I’d also like some help advertising my new site, which will be at http://www.bibliophilials.com. To my current followers, I think I will be able to get most of you transferred to the new site via a special plugin I’ve been reading about, but I’m not quite sure how to resubscribe my email followers. A smooth transition for my readers is important to me, so hopefully I’ll be able to get these issues resolved very soon, but please be patient while I figure it out.

If you have any tips for transferring WordPress.com to wordpress.org, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Thank you in advance for supporting me on my new adventure šŸ™‚

Worst Books of 2013

I’ve been debating with myself a lot lately about whether or not I should actually write this post. A lot of reviewers seem to have gotten shit this year on various social networks for negative reviews, and I certainly don’t want to cause any of that drama, and I also don’t want any fellow bloggers to think less of me for wailing on these books a little bit. I just felt so frustrated with YA last year and remember more of the really bad books than really good ones, and I feel like I need to vent a little. While there were a handful of really amazing books last year, some of the ones I disliked I hated with a passion. But I suppose this is my space to write whatever I want, and want I want to do is let out some of the negative feelings I have about certain books I read last year. Call it mean or rude; I just need to let it out.

Books pub’ed in 2013:

The+S+Word

I already tore this one apart in my review, so I probably don’t have to say much here. This is a book I wish I could wipe from my memory. I thought it had the potential to say important things about slut shaming and bullying, but in the end I felt it became all about the drama, and boy was the drama RIDICULOUS. You know the drama needs to stop when you start laughing about all the bad things happening to the characters because there are just so many of them. In addition, the writing was too sloppy and awkward for me, making this book a hot mess…just without the “hot” part.

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This was another major dud. I reviewed this title for a tour, but if I wasn’t already obligated to read it, I probably would have dropped it after the first sentence. Some of the writing made me cringe, the characters were undeveloped, the romance was contrived, and it was WAY too long. I think the fact that I had signed myself up for this tour made me dislike it even more, because I felt like it was my own fault I had to be subjected to such an awful, boring book.

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Oh. My. God. Zenn Scarlet. What can I say about you? Oh yeah: you had almost no plot other than saving space animals, your protagonist’s voice read like an 80 year old man trying to sound like a teenager, your romance had no spark, and you ended on a super cheap cliffhanger. Blacking out? I mean, really.

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My main issue with this novel was that the author’s voice read to me like an imitation of Francesca Lia Block’s style, but less good, because no one can do Francesca Lia Block except Francesca Lia Block. I just felt like this author was trying to write in the same way as another, but to such an extent her own voice didn’t show through. I also didn’t like any of the characters, and found myself irritated by the narrator’s relationship by her best friend, Aurora. The narrator basically worships Aurora, but I simply didn’t understand it, especially as I read more and more about her. If the narrator is so obsessed with another character that the author neglects developing her, maybe she should’ve written from the perspective of the obsession instead.

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I hate space books. Okay, maybe I just haven’t read that many that I like yet. Elissa wasn’t as interesting a protagonist as I hoped she would be, and though I was initially drawn in by the concept of two strangers being connected telepathically, the outcome wasn’t particularly compelling. I guess being a boring book isn’t such a crime, but it was enough to make me put it on this list.

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I hated pretty much everything about this book, but particularly the characters. I didn’t find Maddie or Bennett likeable, and hated how the author tried to portray a sixteen-year-old girl as some kind of temptress. I realize the point was probably to show that in a teacher/student relationship there is more than one side to the story, but there is never a time when such a relationship isn’t the adult’s fault. Bennett was naive and gross, and should’ve known better. On a lesser note, I had a really hard time believing Maddie was as smart as she claimed to be because the book read like a poorly-written novel for a much younger audience.

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The second book in Maureen Johnson’s Shades of London trilogy was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. The Name of the Star was the first book of hers I actually liked, and I was expecting to be equally enthralled by The Madness Underneath. Unfortunately, I am once again on shaky ground with Johnson’s books after reading this. I didn’t get the same thrill from the second book that I got from its predecessor, and another unnecessary romance caused much eye rolling. I just expected a lot more from this book, and still feel so disappointed in it that I doubt I’ll be reading the final book, much less buy it like I did the first two.

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I read Wither when it came out and felt compelled to read the second book, but ended up really regretting it. Fever is even more depressing than Wither, and I actually ended up throwing it at the wall a few times (or maybe that was Sever? Or both? Anyway). Sever, however, definitely takes the soul-crushing cake. NOTHING good happens in this series. I also felt guilty for kind of preferring Linden over Gabriel even though he was Rhine’s captor, and guilt is not something I want to feel while reading a book for pleasure. Something I hated even more though was how Rhine became more understanding of Vaughn, even though he was a horrible, terrible villain. I found it hard to believe she would let things go that easily. I certainly didn’t, and I still hate him even though I don’t have to read about him anymore.

Books pub’ed other years:

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My main issues with this book? Plot, characters…oh wait, that’s basically all the important stuff. The loose and slow plot did nothing to keep me interested, and I didn’t like any of the characters, even the protagonist. A character, especially the main one, needs to have personality, and Hester didn’t have an ounce. I thought this book had the potential to be interesting and different, but it disappointed.

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I really like books about unusual relationships (like between a 15-year-old and a 21-year-old, in this case), so I thought I’d go wild for this one, but it just didn’t do it for me. For one things, I was expecting there to be an actual relationship between Amelia and Chris, but it was pretty one-sided with Amelia the whole story. This is yet another title on this list where I didn’t like any of the characters. Amelia seemed even younger than 15, and her ridiculous view that feminism ruined her mom’s life definitely didn’t endear her to me either. Chris didn’t seem like such a catch either, as he tended to treat women poorly and then randomly set off for Japan. The lack of relationship made me feel like nothing really happened, so overall I wasn’t very enthused by this book.

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These narrators cannot possibly be in high school, especially Emily. Jesse I might believe, but Emily? Hell no. The way she was written made her sound like a middle schooler, and not a very smart one at that. I also didn’t understand why some characters were written in first person and some in third, as it really chopped up the flow of the story. In addition, I felt that both Emily and Jesse were overly stereotypical, and I didn’t find them at all genuine. I thought I was going to really like this book when I bought it (at least it was cheap), but between the choppy writing and the almost caricatured characters I felt no connection with, it was a huge dud.

Cover Twins

I understand that stock photos are available for anyone to use for their covers and this can lead to cover twins, but sometimes some books use them better than others…

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This set of twins is actually missing a third book, but I couldn’t find it again to use in this post. That cover used the same picture and proportions as the second cover, but had very obviously photoshopped red hair onto the girl and looked super cheap. I think the cover for Lovely Vicious is a lot better than that cover, but it’s a bit too teal for me and the font and title placement don’t really work for me. The Unquiet was a great book and also one of my favorite covers for 2012, so I might be a little biased, but for me it’s the clear winner in this set. The lighting and colors are all just right and it looks the most polished.

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I think Lauren Barnholdt’s cover works the best for me. It’s the sharpest and I like the saturation of colors. I also like the font and the colors of the lettering. Haruki Murakami’s cover is a bit too blurry for my taste, but Afterparty‘s cover is a close second to Barnholdt’s, which makes sense since they’re not all that different.

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I’m not really sure what’s up with the girl in these photos. What’s with the fingers to the mouth? Is she feeding herself something super slowly? Is she wiping something off her lips? Is she holding back vomit brought on by feelings of repulsion for the guy she’s leaning against? I don’t know. I don’t like either version that much, but This is Now is slightly better despite the cliche title because the colors contrast more. In black and white it’s just kind of boring, though the very brown-tinted twin isn’t much more exciting.

Help!

So it’s getting close to the end of the year, and I still have about…90 unread digital and print ARCs from 2013 (I counted). I know, shock horror, it actually makes me feel kind of irresponsible.

This, as you might have guessed, is a problem.

I don’t even have a whole month left of 2013 during which I could make significant headway into these books, and I’m kind of torn on what to do at this point. A lot of those ARCs are books I am no longer interested in reading, but I still feel bad icksnaying them from my TBR. Plus, most of the NetGalley books are archived, so I wouldn’t be able to put my reviews there anyway.

On top of that, I also have a decent number of non-ARCs and library books I want to read from 2013.

As a book blogger, I feel somewhat pressured to stay super on top of the publishing world at all times. But, since I love reading and have such a giant TBR list, it’s pretty impossible for me to read all the books I want to from a certain month and review them close to their release date. I don’t know why I’m worried about this now, since I never was before, but I need some serious help prioritizing.

To do that, I am going to list books in tiers (tier one being top priorities). Last winter break, I read 25 books, and I’m sure I can beat that this winter break, so I’ll be making three tiers that are five books each:

Tier 1:

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These are the books I feel like I absolutely NEED to read. The Bone Season has gotten so much hype that I can’t ignore it anymore, plus I have an e-galley on my Kindle. I bought The Beginning of Everything earlier this year and have been dying to read it, but somehow it keeps getting pushed to the backburner. Altered is the sequel to Crewel, Gennifer Albin’s amazing 2012 debut, which I got signed by her at BEA (she’s so nice!)! I also bought Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock on a whim, but it looks fantastic, and everything I’ve heard about it has been good.Ā Where the Stars Still Shine is a no-brainer, because Trish Doller’s Something Like Normal was one of my favorite reads of 2012.

Tier 2

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I love the first sentence of Pawn. I’m not going to share it here, you’ll just have to read it yourselves. I wasn’t totally sure about Charming when I picked it up at BEA, but I just wanted everything that day. Charming was another first sentence hook. I reread Just One Day a while ago, so my ARC of Just One Year can’t go untouched. One of my most desired ARCs for 2013 was Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, but like so many other books, it keeps getting bogged down on the TBR list. Ann Stampler of Afterparty is just as awesome as Gennifer Albin, so her book has been moved to the top, too. She sent me a message on Twitter saying she was happy to see someone under fifty calling herself a feminist, and I haven’t replied yet because I’m still squeeing from happy.

Tier 3

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I still have a couple 2013 debuts I want to read, though the DAC at Hobbitsies seems to be on hold (as does my prize pack…). The Promise of Amazing was a gift from Edelweiss, and I just bought Not a Drop to Drink on Amazon for $2! I also HAVE to check out Red from the library as soon as I get home, because it was one of my most anticipated debuts. Just Like Fate is co-authored by Cat Patrick, who wrote another book on my favorites list, Forgotten, so of course I need to read that, and Sarah Ockler is the writer of 20 Boy Summer, which left a lasting impression on me, but also made me afraid to read her other books because I’m worried they won’t be as good.

I’m really happy I’m going home again soon so I can snuggle up with all these books and my kitties (plus tea).

What 2013 releases are you still dying to read?

YA Cover Trends 2013 Part 2: Fringe, Font, and Flare, oh my!

Another post on cover trends for 2013!

A Romance of Redheads

YA seems to love redheads. There are probably more redheads in YA lit than there are in real life, but as a faux-redhead myself, I can certainly see the appeal. One author even wrote a whole book about redheads this year. Can you guess which?

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Put Your Best Font Forward

I’ve also been seeing a bunch of books where the type is the real focus of the cover. Some of these do have background images, but a couple of them only have the title and a plain background.

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Send up the flares

This is another trend I see growing: covers with a flare from a camera lens, or the sun, which often literally shines right out of the character’s asses. Sonya Sones’s books got makeovers earlier in the year to include lens flares, which definitely didn’t work for all of them, butĀ To Be Perfectly Honest has a decent cover with flare.

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DAC December 2013

Only three debuts releasing in December, but they all sound amazing, so that’s okay with me šŸ™‚ Five word summaries to follow.

December 10

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These Broken Stars – Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Intergalactic accidents, survival, and romance

December 26

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ControlĀ – Lydia Kang
Genetic “mistakes,” secrets, kidnapped orphan

December 31

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The Promise of AmazingĀ – Robin Constantine
Average girl + dropout = romance

I guess that’s kind of cheating since the symbols could actually be words, but whatever. I couldn’t think of anything else.