Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Freebies: January 31, 2014

Click on each title to go to the Amazon Kindle edition listing. Be sure to double-check the price before you download!

by Mande Matthews

Available as: Kindle edition
Pages: 73
Publisher: Guardian Tree Press
Publication date: December 24, 2012
Suggested tags: young adult, fantasy, romance

First in the Queen's Honor series. From Amazon:
"Seventeen year old Lady Guinevere holds the crown to an ancient kingdom. Without brothers to ascend the throne, marriage to her will assure any man the right to rule.

Arthur Pendragon has won his power through battle. His legions have elected him their king and protector but he seeks to legitimize his claim to High King through marrying Guinevere.

Lancelot, a valiant knight with a broken past, is driven by his desire to protect those in need. He's joined Arthur's forces because he believes in Arthur's dream of peace for a war-torn country.

But Lancelot possesses something that Arthur can never win...Guinevere's heart.

QUEEN'S HONOR is told from the point of view of a young Guinevere as she is caught between the responsibility of her crown and the desires of her heart. This fantasy romance is imbued with Celtic lore and magic, as Guinevere discovers she holds an ancient power--a power of the old ones, the Druids. But without a reliable guide to develop her power, she finds herself caught in a dangerous web of ambition and manipulation. Queen's Honor puts a fresh spin on an age-old tale of love and honor.

In Your Dreams
by Amy Martin

Available as: paperback, Kindle edition
Pages: 252 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: unknown
Publication date: August 5, 2012
Suggested tags: young adult, paranormal, romance

First in the In Your Dreams series. From Amazon:
"Sixteen-year-old Zara "Zip" McKee lives for three things: basketball, books, and bailing out of tiny Titusville, Illinois, where the junior high and high school are in the same building and everyone's known everyone else since birth. But when Kieran Lanier moves to town and passes out on her desk on his first day at school, Zip's life gets complicated in a way she never dreamed.

Kieran has narcolepsy, and although he sometimes struggles to stay awake, he has no trouble capturing Zip's heart and trusting her with his most guarded secret--he sees bits and pieces of the future in his dreams.

But just when Zip thinks that maybe she can handle having a boyfriend who sees things before they happen, her budding relationship with Kieran gets a jolt when Kieran's parents reveal that his sleeping disorder is not what it seems and may be putting them in harm's way. And when Zip begins to have unsettling dreams, she must decide if she can live with knowing the future in advance when she's afraid of what might happen.

*Recommended for Young Adult readers 13 and up (mild cursing, some adult situations)

by C.L. Stone

Available as: paperback, Kindle edition
Pages: 276 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Arcato Publishing
Publication date: December 23, 2012
Suggested tags: young adult, mystery, romance

First in The Academy series. From Amazon:
"With an agoraphobic mother and a barely-there father, Sang abhors the isolation keeping her in the shadows. The only thing Sang craves is a fresh start and to be accepted as ordinary by her peers, because for her being different meant being cast out alone.

When her family moves to a new school district, Sang infiltrates a group of boys nearly perfect in every way. Grateful for an influence outside of her parents’ negativity, she quickly bonds with the boys, hoping to blend in and learn from them what it means to have a natural relationship with friends.

Only the boys have secrets of their own and they’ll do anything to keep her safe from the knowledge of the mysterious Academy that they've sworn allegiance to. Bit by bit, Sang discovers that her friends are far from the normalcy she expected. Will her loyalty change when she's forced to remain in the dark, or will she accept that she's traded one house of secrets for another?

Meet Kota, Victor, Silas, Nathan, Gabriel, Luke and North in a story about differences and loyalty, truth and mystery, friendships and heart-throbbing intimacy.

The Academy, ever vigilant.

Phantoms In Philadelphia
by Amalie Vantana

Available as: Kindle edition
Pages: 322
Publisher: TVAAW
Publication date: December 1, 2013
Suggested tags: young adult, historical fiction, mystery

First in the Phantom Knights series. From Amazon:
"When you live a life of secrets, you trust no one and question everything

Nineteen-year-old Bess Martin has many secrets. She can outride, outshoot, and outsmart most people, but her greatest secret...she is the leader of the Phantoms, a spy organization.

After spending three years fighting in a war, eighteen-year-old Jack Martin returns home to Philadelphia with his sister Bess, ready to live a life of ease, but what is waiting for them is a task more difficult than any other battle they have fought.

When people start disappearing and the weather turns unusually cold, the city is in a panic. They believe the war angered a deity and that the disappearances are the sacrifices, but who will be next? When presidential hopeful James Monroe is targeted, all clues lead to the mysterious secret society known as Levitas. It is up to Bess, Jack, and their team of Phantoms to uncover a dark and winding plot that reaches further than they could have ever imagined. As their journey draws them deep into secrets of the past, Bess and Jack may come to find that a normal life is not possible when you are a spy.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"Waiting On" Wednesdays: January 29, 2014

"Waiting On" Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each Wednesday, you share upcoming releases that you're eagerly anticipating.

by Katherine Howe

Expected release date: July 1, 2014
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 448
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Suggested tags: young adult, mystery, contemporary

From Goodreads:
"From the New York Times bestselling author of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane comes a chilling mystery—Prep meets The Crucible.

It’s senior year at St. Joan’s Academy, and school is a pressure cooker. College applications, the battle for valedictorian, deciphering boys’ texts: Through it all, Colleen Rowley and her friends are expected to keep it together. Until they can’t.

First it’s the school’s queen bee, Clara Rutherford, who suddenly falls into uncontrollable tics in the middle of class. Her mystery illness quickly spreads to her closest clique of friends, then more students and symptoms follow: seizures, hair loss, violent coughing fits. St. Joan’s buzzes with rumor; rumor blossoms into full-blown panic.

Soon the media descends on Danvers, Massachusetts, as everyone scrambles to find something, or someone, to blame. Pollution? Stress? Or are the girls faking? Only Colleen—who’s been reading The Crucible for extra credit—comes to realize what nobody else has: Danvers was once Salem Village, where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago . . .

Inspired by true events—from seventeenth-century colonial life to the halls of a modern-day high school—
Conversion casts a spell. With her signature wit and passion, New York Times bestselling author Katherine Howe delivers an exciting and suspenseful novel, a chilling mystery that raises the question, what’s really happening to the girls at St. Joan’s?"

Monday, January 27, 2014

New Release Round-Up: January 27-February 2, 2014

Young Adult

Cruel Beauty
by Rosamund Hodge

Release date: January 28, 2014
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 352
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Suggested tags: young adult, fairy tales, retellings

First in the Cruel Beauty Universe series. From Goodreads:
"Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

by Sophie Jordan

Release date: January 28, 2014
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 384
Publisher: HarperTeen
Suggested tags: young adult, science fiction, romance

First in the Uninvited series. From Goodreads:
"The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan's chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she's destined to become a murderer.

When Davy Hamilton's tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn't feel any different, but genes don't lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he's not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature. Steeped in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan's trademark mix of gripping action and breathless romance, this suspenseful tale is perfect for fans of James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann.

Other YA new releases for this week:

Middle Grade

by Crystal Chan

Release date: January 28, 2014
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 304
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Suggested tags: middle grade, realistic fiction

From Goodreads:
"Nothing matters. Only Bird matters. And he flew away.

Jewel never knew her brother Bird, but all her life she has lived in his shadow. Her parents blame Grandpa for the tragedy of their family’s past; they say that Grandpa attracted a malevolent spirit—a duppy—into their home. Grandpa hasn’t spoken a word since. Now Jewel is twelve, and she lives in a house full of secrets.

Jewel is sure that no one will ever love her like they loved Bird, until the night that she meets a mysterious boy in a tree.

Grandpa is convinced that the boy is a duppy, but Jewel knows that he is something more. And that maybe the time has come to break through the stagnant silence of the past.

Entrenched secrets, mysterious spirits, and an astonishing friendship weave together in this extraordinary and haunting debut.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy
by Karen Foxlee

Release date: January 28, 2014
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 240
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Suggested tags: middle grade, fairy tales, retellings

From Goodreads:
"A modern-day fairy tale set in a mysterious museum that is perfect for readers of Roald Dahl and Blue Balliett.

Unlikely heroine Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard doesn't believe in anything that can't be proven by science. She and her sister Alice are still grieving for their dead mother when their father takes a job in a strange museum in a city where it always snows. On her very first day in the museum Ophelia discovers a boy locked away in a long forgotten room. He is a prisoner of Her Majesty the Snow Queen. And he has been waiting for Ophelia's help.

As Ophelia embarks on an incredible journey to rescue the boy everything that she believes will be tested. Along the way she learns more and more about the boy's own remarkable journey to reach her and save the world.

A story within a story, this a modern day fairytale is about the power of friendship, courage and love, and never ever giving up.

Other Middle Grade new releases for this week:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Review: The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison

The Rose Throne
by Mette Ivie Harrison

Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 400
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Publication date: May 14, 2013
Suggested tags: young adult, fantasy, romance

First in The Rose Throne series. From Goodreads:
"Richly-imagined fantasy romance from the author of Princess and the Hound, a tale of two princesses--one with magic, one with none--who dare seek love in a world where real choice can never be theirs. For fans of Megan Whalen Turner, Catherine Fisher, and Cassandra Clare.

Ailsbet loves nothing more than music; tall and red-haired, she's impatient with the artifice and ceremony of her father's court. Marissa adores the world of her island home and feels she has much to offer when she finally inherits the throne from her wise, good-tempered father. The trouble is that neither princess has the power--or the magic--to rule alone, and if the kingdoms can be united, which princess will end up ruling the joint land? For both, the only goal would seem to be a strategic marriage to a man who can bring his own brand of power to the throne. But will either girl be able to marry for love? And can either of these two princesses, rivals though they have never met, afford to let the other live?"

{ I received this as an ebook ARC from NetGalley. }

I was honestly expecting a lot from that synopsis, so perhaps I set my sights too high, but The Rose Throne did not deliver for me. That synopsis sounds like the story will be full of struggle, desperation, and passion, but I didn't feel any of that as I read. The characters never really seem to struggle so much as just go with the flow, the romance is bland and forced, and even the fact that the kingdoms are in jeopardy and the girls are supposed to be rivals is brushed over and muted.

There are some good things going on in The Rose Throne. The idea of two kinds of magic being thrust out of balance was interesting; the idea that one could have the wrong kind of magic and be seen as a dangerous abomination was great. I would have loved for these aspects to be handled with a bit more... I don't know... dedication? I was really into this aspect of the story and just wanted more from it. Perhaps more explanation of the magic system in general (which I think I'm still a bit confused about) or a deeper exploration of the consequences of a character being revealed as having no magic or the wrong kind of magic.

The romance was just blah. It was as if Harrison knew she needed romance in the story to incorporate the "marrying for love" theme mentioned in the synopsis, but she didn't really want to focus on it, so she just thrust a few characters together and wrote the obligatory "falling in love" scenes and moved on. I never felt the romance between any of the characters that were set up together.

The writing style also was a bit off for my tastes. The dialogue was awkward at times, and the narration often left me wanting more. Perhaps Harrison was trying to channel Tudor England which this world (or at least some of the characters) seems to be based on by writing in the style she did, but I just found some of the phrases and comparisons to be very odd. For example:
The words tasted like large, whole eggs in her mouth. She was afraid of cracking them and spilling the yolk down the sides of her face.
I also found it hard to get into the characters' heads, because there were not enough details for me to work with. And that is really frustrating for me, because I liked to get invested in characters and their thoughts and motives, and I like to feel something when they encounter difficulties. In The Rose Throne, I had a hard time caring about the characters because their situations tended to just get glossed over. I was really thrown off when a character died, and there was little reaction from Ailsbet before moving on to her next thought.

The end, unfortunately was also quite unsatisfying. (SPOILER - highlight to read: Essentially, Ailsbet and Issa just run away from their problems. The kingdoms they had been so invested in for most of the book apparently were not that important to them.) I realize this is the start of a series and perhaps the final actions of the characters will be better explained in the next book, but honestly, I don't think I'll be continuing the series. I'm sorry to say The Rose Throne left me rather indifferent to what will happen to this world and the characters in it.

Overall rating: 2 out of 5 stars

More about Mette Ivie Harrison }

Mette Ivie Harrison's website
Mette Ivie Harrison's Goodreads profile
Follow Mette Ivie Harrison on Twitter

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Pinterested in Books #3

According to Urban Dictionary, you're "Pinterested" when you're "too distracted by Pinterest to be bothered to do anything else." I find I have this problem quite a bit. I also find that I get too distracted by books to be bothered to do anything besides read. So I thought, why not share some book-related finds from Pinterest on my blog? Today's pin is a photo of a dreamy library in Ireland. Can I go there now, please?

You can check out my Pinterest, where I've got bookish boards as well as lots of other assorted collections. Feel free to share links to your own bookish pins and boards in the comments!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Pinterested in Books #2

According to Urban Dictionary, you're "Pinterested" when you're "too distracted by Pinterest to be bothered to do anything else." I find I have this problem quite a bit. I also find that I get too distracted by books to be bothered to do anything besides read. So I thought, why not share some book-related finds from Pinterest on my blog? Today's pin is an adorable DIY mitten bookmark!

You can check out my Pinterest, where I've got bookish boards as well as lots of other assorted collections. Feel free to share links to your own bookish pins and boards in the comments!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Review: Aire by Lena Goldfinch

by Lena Goldfinch

Available as: paperback, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 350
Publisher: Indigo Road
Publication date: April 22, 2013
Suggested tags: young adult, fantasy, romance

From Goodreads:
"Annalisia is a seer, a princess with a courageous spirit—and a soft spot for Legends.

Jovanni is a Legend, a commoner with no patience for pampered royals.

Principessa Annalisia is stunned and conscience-stricken when an unknown enemy mistakenly abducts her maidservant. Determined to find the girl, Annalisia disguises herself as plain Anna and slips away from the palace. She tracks down Jovanni, her maidservant's daring older brother, and they soon begin to search together. As they uncover clues, Anna also discovers a kindred spirit in Jovanni. But would he be so free with her if he knew who she really was? Doubtful. Even so, she reveals her secret gift of visions to him, and in so doing disobeys the orders of her beloved grandmother, the queen.

With Jovanni, Anna can almost imagine she’s like any other seventeen year old girl, free to pursue the longings of her heart. When she learns that he also has a secret—he's a sentinel, an ancient shapeshifter who can take the form of a falcon—it seems as if they were destined to be together, as in the legends of
il Sentiro. Though Anna is tempted to wish otherwise, she can’t forget that she’s a princess and it's her duty to marry another. Meanwhile, their hunt leads Anna ever closer to danger, for she herself is being hunted.

A princess and a commoner.

They never should have fallen in love...but they did.

{ I was kindly provided an ebook ARC by the author in exchange for an honest review. }

Aire is a wonderful story set in a beautiful, richly detailed fantasy world. This world is similar to ours, but it's full of magic and myth - or rather, Legends. In the kingdom of Isalla, Annalisa is a princess who is expected to do her duty by accepting an arranged marriage and hiding the fact that she is a seer. But Annalisa finds it difficult to adhere to either one of those responsibilities. When her friend and cloth maiden Mira is kidnapped, Annalisa takes it upon herself to find her, and in the process finds mystery, danger, and romance.

I can't say enough about how beautiful this book is. The world, the culture, the language - it's all blended wonderfully to make a truly lovely story. Isalla seems to be inspired by Italy; for example, the words they use seem quite similar to Italian words, and some of their customs and clothing seem like they may have been drawn from Renaissance Italy. I love all things Italian so I really loved reading about a place that was sort of Italian-but-not, familiar yet with its own unique feel.

The magic and mythology of the world Goldfinch has created is fantastic. It's talked about as something far in the past, something that doesn't exist anymore, and perhaps it was all only a legend... but some believe there are still sentinels and seers. I liked seeing Anna and Jovanni slowly reveal their secrets to each other as their relationship progresses, and I especially liked the scenes where we got to see Jovanni shapeshift into a falcon.

Aire truly has a little of everything. The synopsis focuses on Anna and Jovanni's romance (which is a big part of the story and is very sweet), but there is also the mystery of Mira's kidnapping (which becomes more involved as they go along), suspicion of who is after Anna (which includes suspicion of some in the palace's employ), and the adventures and dangers Anna finds herself in with both Jovanni and her friend Ilan, the falconer's apprentice. (SPOILER - highlight to read: And am I the only one who secretly wanted perhaps an alternate universe where Anna and Ilan end up together? I like Anna and Jovanni and the idea of them coming together as kind of a fulfillment of the legends, but I think I would have liked Anna and Ilan just as much.)

I really enjoyed spending time in Anna's world and the creative magic and mythology that Goldfinch added to it. I would definitely read another book by Goldfinch. I can sometimes be a bit picky with fantasies, but I'd read another of hers without question.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

More about Lena Goldfinch }

Lena Goldfinch's website
Lena Goldfinch's Goodreads profile
Follow Lena Goldfinch on Twitter

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Pinterested in Books #1

According to Urban Dictionary, you're "Pinterested" when you're "too distracted by Pinterest to be bothered to do anything else." I find I have this problem quite a bit. I also find that I get too distracted by books to be bothered to do anything besides read. So I thought, why not share some book-related finds from Pinterest on my blog? Quotes, art, photos, DIYs, whatever - if it caught my eye and it has to do with books, I'm sharing it here. You can also check out my Pinterest - I've got some bookish boards as well as lots of other assorted collections. Feel free to share links to your own bookish pins and boards in the comments!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Friday Finds #43

Friday Finds is hosted by Should Be Reading. Each Friday, you share the great books you heard about or discovered over the past week: "books you were told about, books you discovered while browsing blogs/bookstores online, or books that you actually purchased."

A Cool Moonlight
by Angela Johnson

Available as: hardcover, paperback
Pages: 144
Publisher: Dial
Publication date: September 29, 2003
Suggested tags: middle grade, fantasy

From Goodreads:
"With breathtaking lyricism, Angela Johnson shares the thoughts and dreams of an extraordinary girl named Lila. Born with an unusual and dangerous allergy to the sun, nine-year-old Lila can only be outside at night. She plays by the light of the moon, and her playmates are two mysterious girls who wear tutus and costume wings, and often show up when Lila is alone. Lila longs to feel the warmth of the sun on her skin, and with the help of her friends she is making a plan to do so.

Uniquely touching,
A Cool Moonlight is that rare novel that wraps tightly around you and leaves you forever changed. A novel about courage and hope and the healing power of love."

Immortal Beloved
by Cate Tiernan

Available as: hardcover, paperback, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 407
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: September 7, 2010
Suggested tags: young adult, paranormal, romance

First in the Immortal Beloved series. From Goodreads:
"Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl. She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something's got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past.

Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe--until the night she learns that someone wants her dead.

Cate Tiernan, author of the popular Sweep series, returns with an engaging story of a timeless struggle and inescapable romance, the first book in a stunning new fantasy trilogy.

Mister Monday
by Garth Nix

Available as: hardcover, paperback, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 361
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication date: July 1, 2003
Suggested tags: middle grade, fantasy

First in the The Keys to the Kingdom series. From Goodreads:
"On the first day, there was mystery.

Arthur Penhaligon is not supposed to be a hero. He is, in fact, supposed to die an early death. But then his life is saved by a key shaped like the minute hand of a clock.

Arthur is safe - but his world is not. Along with the key comes a plague brought by bizarre creatures from another realm. A stranger named Mister Monday, his avenging messengers with bloodstained wings, and an army of dog-faced Fetchers will stop at nothing to get the key back - even if it means destroying Arthur and everything around him.

Desperate, Arthur ventures into a mysterious house - a house that only he can see. It is in this house that Arthur must unravel the secrets of the key - and discover his true fate.

The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place
by E.L. Konigsburg

Available as: hardcover, paperback, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 304
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date: February 1, 2004
Suggested tags: middle grade, realistic fiction

From Goodreads:
"I Prefer Not To....

That's Margaret Rose Kane's response to every activity she's asked to participate in at the summer camp to which she's been exiled while her parents are in Peru. So Margaret Rose is delighted when her beloved uncles rescue her from Camp Talequa, with its uptight camp director and cruel cabinmates, and bring her to stay with them at their wonderful house at 19 Schuyler Place.

But Margaret Rose soon discovers that something is terribly wrong at 19 Schuyler Place. People in their newly gentrified neighborhood want to get rid of the three magnificent towers the uncles have spent forty-five years lovingly constructing of scrap metal and shards of glass and porcelain. Margaret Rose is outraged, and determined to strike a blow for art, for history, and for individuality...and no one is more surprised than Margaret Rose at the allies she finds for her mission.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

{ bon voYAge! } January 2014

The destination for December 2013 was

{ Texas, USA }

And here are the YA & MG books we found...

The destination for January 2014 is...

{ Canada }

Some examples of YA & MG books set in Canada:

Please send me links to your posts and reviews by Thursday, January 30 so I can add them to the next { bon voYAge! } post!

Want to play? Here's how it works...

{ } At the beginning of each month, I'll post the name of a destination: a city, state, region, province, country, etc.
{ } Throughout the month, you can:
       1. look for a YA or MG book (or books) set in that destination to share.
       2. read a YA or MG book (or books) set in that destination and write a review.
{ } You can post the books you found or the reviews you wrote any time during that month. Just send me a link so I can link back to your post!
{ } At the beginning of the next month, I'll share everyone's books and reviews. Then I'll post another destination and we can start again! :)

Want to check out the books we've already discovered? Browse all the locations that we've explored on the { bon voYAge! } tab above!

Have a location you'd like to explore? Let me know in the comments here or on the { bon voYAge! } tab above, or email me at pidginpea (at) yahoo (dot) com!

Want to put a { bon voYAge! } button on your blog? I'd love that! I made it using deviantART stock resources from SneakyTomato and artist00 and fonts from

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 2014!

I feel like even-numbered years are better than odd-numbered years for me. Don't ask me why. I don't even know if I have any evidence from previous years to back that up. But I get excited when an even-numbered year comes around on January 1 because I just have this feeling that it's going to be a good one. Not that 2013 wasn't good - I got married, which was good! :) - but there were some other things in 2013 that could have been better, and I feel like 2014 will be better. I've made some resolutions, in case you're curious:

- Lose weight. Because this is kind of standard, and also because I do need to. Maybe 10-15 lbs. Good start.

- Blog more. I keep saying this. But I do want to blog more, and blog more regularly.

- Blog differently. Because just repeatedly saying "I want to blog more" clearly hasn't fixed anything, since I only put up 3 posts in December. December is a busy month, but that's still shameful. I've realized that feeling like I need to post reviews often starts to weigh on me, because I'm one of those people that kind of shut down under a long to-do list. With a flawed reasoning along the lines of, "omg I have so much to do, if I just did something instead of sitting here thinking about how much I have to do, part of it would go away... but there is too much to do and I don't know where to start so I'm just going to do nothing." So maybe I won't try to do so many reviews. Maybe I'll post more news stories, or more discovery posts where I share new books I've found. Because I get as much happiness out of finding new books and drooling over covers and making collections of books with similar features as I do actually reading them and reviewing them.

- Choose books differently. Because my NetGalley habits have gotten a little out of control. I started requesting every new book that popped up that I was vaguely interested in, because I wanted to keep up with all the new stuff coming out. I did the NetGalley Wellness Challenge because I fully intended to read and review all the books I request, and I wanted to shape up my profile to get approvals from some of those big publishers that haven't let me into their club yet. However, as much as I hate to say it, I don't just read. I have a full-time job, among other obligations that suck time away from reading. So I found that keeping up with all my requests was not easy. And, looking at my To Read list which is still a mile long, clearly I did not do a very good job. And some of those books on that list... I hate to admit this, but I'm not even that excited to read them. So I need to start choosing differently. From now on, I'm only requesting books that I'm freaking dying to read. If I don't dance in my chair when I see a book pop up on NetGalley, I'm not requesting it - I'll wait till I can buy it or get it from the library to read it. And on that note, I'm going to do more buying/librarying. Because there are a lot of books that are already out (and have been out for a while - like, in some cases, years) that I am freaking dying to read! And I feel like I can't read them because I need to get through all these other books (that I'm not necessarily freaking dying to read) first. Which is frustrating. And I feel like I'm missing out on good books. Which is really frustrating. So. Change of strategy.

I guess that about sums it up. So I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes ever and a wish that you have a happy and wonderful new year!

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art  write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

     ― Neil Gaiman