31 January, 2010

In My Mailbox (2)

From paperbackbookswap.com:

My Aunt Debbie introduced me to John Bellairs (well, his books, not the author) when I was about 10. This was the first one I read, and it scared me so badly I had to sleep with the lights on for a week. I also learned to love Edward Gorey. ♥

This has been on my to-be-read list for ages. Finally got my hands on a copy after trading some old mysteries. Er, I don't even know what it's about; I just know it's supposed to be good.

From amazon.com Marketplace:

See previous post for Incarceron, Book One. (I haven't had time to write my full review, but I loved it!) Sapphique is the second book. Incarceron released in the US last Tuesday, the day I finished reading it--hooray for advanced reading copies--and I did not want to wait a year for the sequel to come out in the US, so I bought the UK one as a used book. But husband is holding me to the New Year's deal, which means I have to finish 4 more books before I can open this one.

Let's face it, I will probably buy the US one next year anyway, so my hardcovers can match :)

All above books traded or bought & paid for by moi.

In My Mailbox is brought to you all by The Story Siren. What's in your mailbox?

Incarceron Widget

27 January, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (1)

I haven't really participated in this meme before, but today I spotted this and just had to share it:

It's supposed to be out March 1st. I can't wait! Click on the widget to read the first few chapters.

Edit: I'm reading them right now and am anticipating that moment of disappointment when I reach the end of the sample. So far it's clever and funny. Penelope seems quite Jane-Eyre-inspired, the book implies she has read the book, which brings a strange and pleasing meta-book feeling to me. Readers who enjoy Lemony Snicket & Trenton Lee Stewart will like this too--readers who enjoy The Willoughbys will devour this with delight!

The artist for the book cover and illustrations is Jon Klassen; I had the pleasure of viewing his group show (with Scott Campbell and other favorites of mine) at Nucleus last year. (swoon!)

p.s. to zombie lovers: the next Nucleus art exhibition is Zombies in Love. Last one there is a zombie dinner!

Find more from Maryrose Wood on GoodReads.

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Contest Alert: Mega Book Giveaway at Teens Read & Write!

Teens Read & Write is giving away some of my favorite new books (ok, and some not so favorite ones) in this great contest--spread the word, and good luck! (though yeah, to be honest I am hoping that *I* win :)

25 January, 2010

When You Reach Me - Review

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Publication date: July 14, 2009
ISBN 10/13: 0385737424 / 9780385737425

Category: Middle Grade Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Keywords: Love, family, friendship, mystery, time travel, courage, identity

Find the synopsis on goodreads.com. 

How I found out about this book: I was flipping through the Ingram Kids' catalog (for you non-industry folks, Ingram is a big book wholesale distribution company) and the cover just jumped out at me. It was also touted as a Newbery contender, and guess what! It won! :)

Quickie: The moment I read the words, "It was a dark and stormy night," I was a goner. Miranda's favorite book was my favorite book at that age, too--all at once I knew we'd be friends. The story is surprising and uplifting--if you only read one "children's" book this year, read this. You'll come back to it again and again.

For more details, click on "Read More"

22 January, 2010


A good mail day at work: I snagged a hardcover promo of Incarceron. Yesss! Hahahahahaaha.

Incarceron (Incarceron, #1)

Firespell - Review

Firespell (The Dark Elite, Book 1) by Chloe Neill
Publication date: January 5, 2010
ISBN 10/13: 0451228863 / 9780451228864

Category: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: eBook
Keywords: Magic, Boarding School, Secrets, Power, Greed, Friendship

Find the synopsis on goodreads.com.

How I found out about this book: Listed on the 2010 Debut Author Challenge at thestorysiren.com and goodreads.com

Quickie: If you're still heart-broken over Buffy ending many moons ago, this new group-of-teens-fighting-evil give off a great Scooby-Gang vibe that will keep you coming back for more.

For more details, click on "Read More"

20 January, 2010

The Island at the End of the World - Review

The Island at the End of the World by Sam Taylor
Publication date: January 22,2009
ISBN 10/13: 0571240518 / 9780571240517

Category: Adult Dystopia
Format: Paperback (UK)
Keywords: Dystopia, Belief, Trust, Truth, Memory, Love, Sin, Rebirth

Find the synopsis on goodreads.com.

How I found out about this book: I don't remember. Ironically, this book is written by an amnesiac (or rather, Sam Taylor had a six-month period of his life that he remembers hardly at all, for reasons unknown).

Quickie: Deeply disturbing and beautiful. Not for those easily distracted by coarse language and perversity.

For more details, click on "Read More"

15 January, 2010

Liar - Review, Kinda Sorta

Liar by Justine Larbalestier
Publication date: September 29, 2009
ISBN 10/13:  1599903059 / 9781599903057


Category: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Keywords: Honesty, Lies, Truth, Secrets, Danger, Deception, Death, Fear, Family, Love

Find the synopsis on goodreads.com.

How I found out about this book: I can't remember. Someone posted or tweeted about the Liar Cover Controversy, so of course I had to see what all the fuss was about.

Quickie: Seriously, this book should win awards. Great storytelling, brilliant writing, bizarre plot twists make it un-put-downable.

For more details, click on "Read More"

13 January, 2010

The Pace - Review

The Pace (The Pace Series, #1)

The Pace by Shelena Shorts
Publication date: August 19, 2009
ISBN 10/13: 0982500505 / 9780982500507

Category: Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Keywords: Immortality?, Romance, Supernatural, Science Fiction

Find the synopsis on goodreads.com.

How I found out about this book: I noticed that it had a very high (4+ stars) rating on goodreads.com and that people with whom I shared interests really liked it. The author friended me there after I added her book to my TBR shelf.

Quickie: 2 stars? Yes, well. I will read the sequel, because I still want to know what happens, and I know a lot of readers will still like/love this book. It just wasn't for me.
For more details, click on "Read More"

11 January, 2010

Hasta Luego, Bloggiesta

Yay! Bloggiesta is over.

I clocked about 13 hours give or take the time it took to "feed" my crew in Restaurant City... oh, huh, I should probably do that now. BRB.


I'm back!

So I crossed a bunch of things off my to-do list: updated author/review links, labels (which was on a challenge too), posted my rating system, and changed my layout. While fixing my labels I also fixed some posts that I had re-posted from my Wordpress backup (I didn't move the whole year's worth of posts) that were looking a little funky after the journey over.

I played and finished all the mini-challenges except the comment one--I'm at 15 comments in 3 days which is sort of "at" goal but I thought I'd be able to do more. As it stands I am taking a Japanese class 4 days a week, plus I started working again so I need to discipline myself not to spend so much time online this week. This is another reason I wanted to do Bloggiesta--I needed to get some set-up done so I don't have to spend *so* much time each week on the blog. I can just post and begone.

I want to go back and see if I missed anything from the first Bloggiesta that I need to do on my blog.

All in all it was huge fun, extremely productive, and the interaction with other bloggers is always cool. The only not-fun part was when Twitter broke while I was trying to help Chrisbookarama. (>.<) You can read how we fixed her domain to her Blogger url here.

I will have to come up with a fun mini-challenge idea... at least one for June... (thinking cap *on*)

Handiest mini-challenge: Cheat Sheet
Funnest mini-challenge: Brainstorming
Challenge that was like a lesson learned ("That's why you don't forget to label"): Labels & Tags
boy, I hope I never have to do that again. I'm not saying I didn't need to do it, but ouch!

All right, I'm going to go practice my Japanese handwriting and then hit the sack!

Happy Bloggiesta! See you all in June.

If you wanna see my to-do list, it's here!

10 January, 2010

Brainstorm! Now to Bed

So here's what happened when I did Jenn's Bloggiesta mini-challenge.
I like it! I will have to wait until after I've done my Japanese homework for Monday before I can tackle any of these topics. Tomorrow is also my first day back at work (relax, it's only part-time... gulp) so between that and homework, I think that's it for me and Bloggiesta! Except for the wrap-up post, that is.

Thanks to Jenn from Jenn's Bookshelves for hosting this mini-challenge! I'll definitely be using this exercise again and again.

Click here to get back to my Bloggiesta to-do-list.

09 January, 2010

The Goodreads/Vroman's Book Swap - Best of RNSL

This is a re-post of something I wrote on October 17, 2009. I'm posting it from my Wordpress backup as part of the Bloggiesta mini-challenge "Put Your Best Forward".

Although the post doesn't represent the best of my review writing, it was a very memorable book event for me (I got to meet the creators and staff of Goodreads!) and Oblio and I made away with some valuable loot. Although, if the object of the exercise was to make more space on our bookshelves, it was a complete failure. Though we came back with less books some of them were bigger than the ones we swapped!

I look at this post whenever I need to get excited about books and community, and whenever I miss my copy of This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. 

Ok, so I hadn't blogged a whole lot about this before because

a) I've been really, really stressed out lately


b) I know most of you guys reading this don't live out here in sunny SoCal

but today from 4 to 6 pm was the 4th GoodReads book swap, held at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena.

Here is my special episode of In My Mailbox, as hosted by The Story Siren:

Jason and I headed down there to meet up with Jane and Alfonso (Dale came too!), load up on books, and chat up the GoodReads folks. Yep, I got to meet Elizabeth, Otis, and Jessica from the good ol' GR team. I feel like I met movie stars today--with less fainting and awkward silences, phew. They were very friendly and I wish I could remember to bring my darned camera to things like this. (It's ok, Otis had a camera.) They're just over there in Santa Monica so I'm sure I'll run into them at a future event.

Here's what we scored:
I'll trade you!

Yoinked from Dale Z, one of my favorite booksellers on the planet:

Yoinked from Dale Z, one of my favorite booksellers on the planet

Procured for me by the wonderful and thoughtful Jane:
Procured for me by the wonderful and thoughtful Jane

Yes, that is a math book. Math is *awesome*! Especially Trig.:Yes, that is a math book. Math is *awesome*! Especially Trig.

This will forever be burned into my memory as the book Paul Giamatti's son wanted when they came to my store. Ok, yeah, my old high school P.E. teacher's son also wanted it, as do a lot of other 12-year-old boys. But, I mean, Giamatti! *swoon*:This will forever be burned into my memory as the book Paul Giamatti's son wanted when they came to my store. Ok, yeah, my old high school P.E. teacher's son also wanted it, as do a lot of other 12-year-old boys. But, I mean, <i>Giamatti</i>! *swoon*

This was the husband's big score.This was the husband's big score.

Formulas for everything! We could make our own ink for crying out loud.Formulas for everything! We could make our own <i>ink</i> for crying out loud.

Anti-Kink Hair Cream? This book is now at the top of my TBR list.Anti-Kink Hair Cream? This book is now at the top of my TBR list.

- - -

Great fun was had by all, and I hope someone is enjoying my copy of Jonathan Tropper's This is Where I Leave You. I thought it would be good book karma to swap a book I loved and totally wanted to keep. (But just one, hehe.)

Anonymous swappers, thank you for your fine taste in books.

As soon as I find out where the next one is, I'll let you know. I do hope they have another one there--it was an excellent location!

Well It's Not as Bad as All That - Best of RNSL

This is a re-post of something I wrote on August 18, 2009. I'm posting it from my Wordpress backup as part of the Bloggiesta mini-challenge "Put Your Best Forward".
I really like this post because it's a quick reference to books that I love to read and recommend, and the links take you to my GoodReads reviews for each book.

I hope readers will find a good book to read from this list! (Hint: The best ones are at the bottom.)

I find myself constantly comparing YA fantasy books to The House of Night series by P.C. Cast. I am aware that there are many, many fans of this series (otherwise the publisher wouldn't keep printing the darn things) but it's just not for me. The writing style (style? somehow I don't think that's the right word) is agonizingly teenaged. As in, if I were a teenager still, I'd roll my eyes at it. And let's face it, I'd feel bad about not warning moms who are buying the book for their Twilight-crazed 9-year-olds that the first time you meet the protagonist's love interest, someone's kneeling in front of him and offering a blowjob. In the hallway. In school. He doesn't take her up on it, but still....

Marked (House of Night, #1) Betrayed (House of Night, #2) Chosen (House of Night, #3) Untamed (House of Night, #4) Hunted (House of Night, #5) Tempted (House of Night, #6)

I'll admit I still want to know what happens, so if you think you can sum up a pretty concise (10 sentences or less) summary of the last 4 books, feel free to comment. I'm not a prude, and I don't think there are any 9-year-olds around, so if you must comment on risque portions of the narrative, go ahead.

Anyway, the point I was trying to make an hour ago before I was distracted by Restaurant City is that House of Night provides me a handy measuring tool against which to compare other YA supernatural novels. For example, here's a list of novels I read recently that are not that fantastic, but are still better than Marked:

The Summoning (Darkest Powers, #1) Prophecy of the Sisters (Prophecy of the Sisters, #1)  Strange Angels (Strange Angels #1) Evernight (Evernight, #1) Thirteenth Child (Frontier Magic, #1)
And a bunch that I read which are much better than Marked, and definitely worth your time:
The Fetch Swoon Stargazer (Evernight, #2) Wake (Dream Catcher, #1) City of Bones (Mortal Instruments, #1)
And a bunch (including their sequels) that are infinitely better than House of Night, in language, plot, style and content:
Poison Study (Study, #1) Graceling The Hunger Games (Hunger Games, #1) Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1) Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy (Bloody Jack, Book 1)
I'm listed-out for the day. Tomorrow's new release Tuesday! So I'm sure you'll get a copy of my receipt about 24 hours from now...

Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge - 2010 Blogger Goals

• I will post at least 2 reviews per month from the 2010 Debut Authors Challenge.

January: The Dark Divine (audiobook) by Bree Despain & Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
February: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

• I will post at least one review every week, no matter how busy I am.

Week 1: Another Faust (audiobook) by Daniel & Dina Nayeri
Week 2: Liar by Justine Larbalestier
Week 3: Firespell by Chloe Neill
Week 4: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Week 5: Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Week 6: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Week 7: Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

• I will work to get readers and authors onto Goodreads...
Let's face it, I love Goodreads almost as much as I love books!

• I will make at least 3 more connections to receive ARCs... right now I am receiving them only at work and through My Favorite Author. And I get a ton of adult ARCs, but hardly any YA. : (

• I will promote reading and literacy... this one is going to take some more thought and planning, since I want to be able to track conversion somehow. Hmm.

• As part of the Comment Mini-Challenge, I will comment on at least 5 blogs per day, and spread the love!

• This last one's a secret! I'll let you know if I get it done. 

Well, that's it for my goals--I pretty much have daily, weekly, and monthly down. My Goodreads conversion one is going to be top priority, for sure!

Now let's see if I can stick to these resolutions... I'd like to say I'm doing pretty well so far, but it's too early to tell!

Thanks to Rebecca aka The Book Lady for hosting this Bloggiesta mini-challenge!
Click here to get back to my Bloggiesta to-do-list.

08 January, 2010

A Twitter Transcript, or, How to Get Your Domain Name to Work on Blogger

- - - THE PLAYERS - - -
Chrisbookarama: Blogger with troubles!
Bloggiesta: Blog improvement event extravaganza (with margaritas!)
Frootjoos: Blogger with relevant fix-it experience (!)


RT by Bloggiesta: @Chrisbookarama: I need some help! Someone familiar with blogger & domain names please DM me. Please! #bloggiesta

frootjoos: @Chrisbookarama Hi! what's the trouble? I went thru some shenanigans earlier this week with same. page not showing up?

(at this point, Fail Whale appeared on my screen for about 15 minutes. yikes!)

F: sorry! Getting fail whale. Email me at frootjoos at gmail or follow me so I can DM you.

C: I have a domain name but can't figure out how to replace my blogger address with it.

F: here's what I was going to say-Blogger Dashboard>Settings>Publishing tab>Switch to custom domain. then it gets a bit funky.
 below the orange line, right side click>Switch to advanced settings>click on Learn More link. 

C: Thanks. I'm at the funky bit.

F: DNS settings for your domain need to be updated first. Who's your registrar? Mine is godaddy.

C: Great! That's mine too.

F: ok, this is where it got funky. I updated the DNS, updated forwarding, waited... waited... waited... still not happening.
I went back to blogger, switched it all back to blogspot. view blog. hi blog! I missed you. then went back & did all over.
- voila! I basically turned it off on blogger, waited a few mins, then turned it on again. what is your url btw?

(at this point realized I could look at her Twitter profile. dur.)

C: That's the part that confused me. I updated the DNS to that ghs.google.com thing but it's not working.
I'm back to blogspot now too.
Right now I'm chris-book-a-rama.blogspot.com

F: this worked better with my blog than with another blog I manage w/c was already forwarding to ghs.google.com

C: Do you replace @ with ghs.google.com or put it beside it?

F: beside. leave the @.

C: That might be why! I'm going to try that.

F: ok! make sure you have the 4 A NAME listings also - @ - etc. They're on the page Learn More takes you to.

C: I need to do that

(At this point I tried to view her URL and got a Google 404 error instead of a totally blank page.)

F: You're getting closer! I get a 404, instead of zippo. update the 4 A NAME s, wait a bit, do over the blogger part once more.

C:  I don't see ANames just A (Host).

F: let me go look at mine. are you in Domain Manager or Total DNS?

C: Total DNS

F: ok! I see. Yes, it says A (host). If there is one that says 65. something-something, change that to one of the 216 #s from >
the learn more page. Then "Add a new record" until you have all 4 of the IP addresses updated. Then wait a bit. Redo blogger part.

C: Ok I did that. Now I'm getting a Google error page.

F: I only had to wait about 15 mins for my main blog, my bkclub one took hours!?! I don't know why.
ok, good. Go back to blogger. Switch Publishing back to blogspot. wait a minute. Switch it back to custom. see if it works?

C: Ok, maybe I'll wait awhile. Thank you soooo much! I really don't know what I'm going with this. :)  

F: I hope it fixes! It took me a bunch of trial and error. I think I'm going to repost our back&forth for my #bloggiesta

C: Thanks! Good luck!

F: I'm going to dr. appt for my thumb (long story) - if it's not fixed by the time I get back, let me know--will do diff. way!

C: OMG, OMG! It worked! I have a new domain name!!!! www.chrisbookarama.com Thanks @frootjoos #bloggiesta

F: yay!!!! hooray trial & error. I'm definitely posting this when I get home :) #bloggiesta success!

C: I'm sure it will help all the people out there like me :)

BloggiestaLoved the collaboration! @frootjoos Awesome. RT @Chrisbookarama That was a big accomplishment for me. Whew! #bloggiesta

- - - CURTAIN / APPLAUSE - - -

We hope you enjoyed our Twitterly tutorial!
Here's a shortlink to this post: http://bit.ly/domainblog

If you have any further fails/wins/questions, please comment below or email frootjoos at gmail.

You can tweet me, too!

Click here to return to my main Bloggiesta post.

Bloggiesta - Better Late Than Never

Hey, All!

I flubbed up my Bloggiesta start by oversleeping then spending the day on errands + Facebook games.

But now I'm rested and ready to work!

For more on Bloggiesta, click on Pedro over there to get to this year's starting line post.

First off, Chrisbookarama and I tweeted about getting your domain name to point to your Blogger blog. You'd think the simply-worded instructions would cover it, but both of us found some trial and error necessary to get it to work.

• My original to-do list... it seems to have snowballed since last week :(
A Twitter Transcript, or How to Get Your Domain Name to Work on Blogger
• will be adding more links as my posts are completed

• Updating my Author Links  (Done!)
• Updating my Review Links (Done!)
• Updating my Labels + Tag Cloud (Done!)
• Changing my layout  (Done!)
• Put rating system on sidebar (Done!)
• Reformatting posts I've moved from old blog(Done! Unbelievable!)

Mini-Challenges Bold = Done / Italic = Working on it

2010 Blogger Goals (hosted by The Book Lady) (Done!)

Comment Challenge (hosted by MotherReader aka Pam) (Done!) Updated 1/10 Well, for the day. Let's see if I can keep it up! (Current count: 12)

Cheat Sheet (hosted by There's a Book aka Theresa) (Done!) Updated 1/9 - I might do another one later.

Footer Challenge (hosted by Pam from Bookalicio.us) (Done!)
Updated 1/9 - Hrm, I think that's it for now. I'm not being that aggressive with Amazon + Audible affiliates, so hopefully the footer is all I need.

Labels/Tags Challenge (hosted by Beth Fish Reads) (Done!)
Updated 1/10 - It only took forever :( but now I'm organized! :) You can find my tag cloud on the left sidebar. This was awesome also because now I can use the search link to give my Ratings Bars (right sidebar, top) something to link to. Now I just need to review something with a 2 or 3, and all the links will have something to point to! I think this was the most useful mini-challenge I did, with a possible tie with Brainstorming, which I haven't finished quite yet.

Blog Backup Challenge (hosted by Jackie from Farm Lane Books) (Done!)

Dead Link Hunt (hosted by Karin from Karin's Book Nook) (Done! I did pretty good.)

Put Your Best Forward (hosted by Chelle from Tempting Persephone) (Picked the posts, but need to write about them. I think I will make this a monthly event, or maybe make a page out of it. I reposted a couple from backup blog and made an area on my sidebar for The Best of RNSL. Look to the left!)

Mentoring Challenge (hosted by Kristen at Bookworming in the 21st Century) (Done! Well, I signed up, anyway. I wonder who my mentee will be?)

Brainstorming Challenge (hosted by Jenn at Jenn's Bookshelves) (ooh! Done. I made it to 15, but I need to write a post. Was considering keeping them secret, but they're just too good not to share.) Updated 1/11 - I uploaded a scan of my notes. It's pretty! And hey, that was my 9th mini-challenge! Yessss. Now if only 19 more days could go by like the wind, I can finish the Comment one too.

I have to say, I'm a bit intimidated. But hopeful.

I'm putting on the Rodrigo y Gabriela 11:11 to keep myself going!