A Court of Mist and Fury Review

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Title: A Court of Mist and Fury

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Flap Copy:  “Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court–but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms–and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future–and the future of a world cleaved in two.”

So I’ll admit, I was not looking forward to reading this monster of a book. It is over 600 pages!  I’ve been finding myself getting really annoyed at the editor of Maas’s books because she is not pulling it back. The Throne of Glass series books just keep getting bigger. And since this book is not the end of this series, I will admit to fearing that the next book is going to clock in at 900.

But I was pleasantly surprised.

I don’t remember being in love with the first book. It was good, but it didn’t have the punch in my mind as other books did (Hello, The Winner’s Curse). I have to say though, this book is BETTER than the first one. Much more character work and relationships. I found myself saying out loud, “I love that bitch” about one of my favorite new characters.

Could I have done without a lot of the sex scenes? Yes. This book is definitely for older teens, but even then it just started to really annoy me. I also would have cut a few lines and there is one line in particular that stands out as god awful that I am still not sure what the author meant.

One thing I am learning at work is how to look at book pages shortly after being designed to see how they look when they read, i.e. does an italicized word look the same size as the rest of the words. Whoever did that for this book FAILED.  SO many italicized words and they looked weird on the page.

I still thinking that the editorial team needs a refresher course and to pull the author back, but this is one of those reads that if you like commercial books, and need more sex scenes in YA fantasy, it will be right up your alley.

I love Sarah J. Maas, and I would love to have her as an author, but I also think someone needs to reign it more when editing.

Side note: still not a fan of the covers.

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Alternating POV: What’s up with that?

I have to get something off my chest: I am really not into with alternating points of view (POV) and it seems to be EVERYWHERE!

Hello all the books with multiple POVS.

Unless it is done well, and I will admit there are times it is done well (The Winner’s Curse, An Ember in the Ashes, etc.), I just cringe when I see that a book is going to do an alternating POV.

I am finally coming out of my series fatigue, and now I think I am starting to have POV whiplash (I’m coining that phrase).

POV whiplash can be avoided three ways:

  1. Just don’t read books that have multiple POVS
  2. Only read single POV books
  3. Only read authors would write multiple POV well.

So why do author’s do multiple POVs?

Honestly, I have no clue. When it works, it works really well. And when it doesn’t, I feel like you wasted all these pages that could have been put to better use.

Looking at my NYC bookshelves (for those of you wondering, I have the majority of my library still in Texas), I notice that I favor single POV books. There is something so intimate with only having one POV. You are right there with that character and feel their emotions and confusion that much more powerful.

And some stories really require only one POV. I recently tweeted that I would love to see a YA from a villain’s perspective. That is one area that the POV should just focus on the villain and no one else.

When did alternating POV or multiple POV become so popular? My brain is saying with Breaking Dawn though I am sure authors have been doing it much longer.

I am just over the POV whiplash.

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On the Downside of Being in Editorial

So recently I devoured this book for my job. Just know you should definitely read it.

The downside of being in editorial reared its head when the sequel came in the office. I eagerly devoured that as well. After episodes of fist pumping and clenching my kindle as events unfolded, I finished and eagerly looked around. I needed to fangirl so hard over it.

And I was the only one who had read it.

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I know, you are probably thinking, gosh, it must suck to read for a living. I am not complaining about that. Love my job.

BUT when you are the only one who has read something and you desperately want to share your love of a book, it can suck. No one can understand why you have been ruined for the day. RUINED. The book was so good, all you want to do is talk about it, and instead you have to sit there quietly since no one has read it. NO ONE.

So now I wait for you guys to read the first book, so I can fangirl about that one at least. But still…

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Sarah Fine, I blame you for my lack of productivity on the submission pile lately.

Another Year, Another BEA

As the title suggests, another year has passed, and one of my favorite events of the publishing industry has arrived: BEA (Book Expo America). What is BEA, you might ask? Well it is a trade show where publishers from all over come together. There are panels, author signings, free books, everything you can possibly imagine.

Last year, I made out like a bandit. Last year, I went as a volunteer for two days and had one day to just spend fangirling over books. Last year, I didn’t work for a trade publisher.

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This year was a whole new ballgame.

This year, I could only attend for 3 hours, on a shared pass among the other staffers. This year, I didn’t have a suitcase to fill, only a canvas tote. Whatever I took needed to be worth it to haul across town later and back to work.

This was not the BEA I was used to but the one I should probably come to expect.

First off: some of the books I wanted were not available until later in the day when I was going to back at work. Some of the books are only available certain days, and some of the books were already gone.

So what did I grab? What was worthy of going into the tote?

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  1. Heartbreakers by Ali Novak. I have wanted to read this forever. I heard about it last year when I was an intern at Sourcebooks and it is FINALLY here.
  2. Symphony for the City of the Dead by M.T. Anderson.
  3. A Whole New World by Liz Braswell. Disney is doing this re-imagined YA series about some of their films. EPIC.

These were the books I wanted. But I had to hunt down one of my favorite smaller publishers, Thunderbay Books, to get to their line, World Cloud Classics.

Honestly, if you are looking to buy some classics for your home library or as a gift to someone, ALWAYS opt for these bad boys.

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Every year, I swing by and pick up a ton of these. They are gorgeous to look at; they are gorgeous to touch; they rock.

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This year, they have something new: Novel Journals. Same basic design style as the other line, BUT the lines where you usually write is the TEXT of the novel.20150529_144508

This is too beautiful. They gave me two bookmarks and a tote bag but let’s be honest:  I LOVE these people and their design team.

Unlike in year passed when I was on a roll for books, this year I slowed it down. I talked to people I know, I fangirled at Adam Silvera (I totally showed him the notebook), looked at a book I might want to buy (::gasp::), and I got a back massage.

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BEA as a working professional was different, but some things stay the same.

And I earned a post BEA treat.

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Fangirl Review

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Title: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (Macmillan)

Flap Copy:

“In Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life–and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?”

So I hopped on the Rainbow Rowell love a little late. I had been toying with the idea of reading this book for a while, but you know how it goes, so many books, so little time. But I decided to take the plunge and download the eBook. Side note: eBooks feel like not as much of a commitment. I can just read it on my phone as I wait for the train or during lunch.

My pet peeves with this book were all the Simon Snow excerpts. We get, she is a fan. It did not need an excerpt t the end of every chapter. I felt like that wasted space could have actually gone into more story.

I have to say, I know someone like Cath and it was a nice change to read about an introvert. I loved the attraction between Cath and Levi (the always around boyfriend); it was sweet. I just wish, instead of having those dang excerpts, we got some actual meat on that relationship instead of the entire lovey dovey relationship.

Elements of this book worked for me: the new roommate, the issues with her sister. Those were all great. But I feel like I wanted other aspects explored as well. Cath’s issues with her mother: she writes a short story about it and yet, I did not see the full scope of that piece of writing.

Would I have acquired this? Maybe. Rowell’s approach to plot makes me feel the same way as I do about my mom’s creamed spinach: not sure if I like it, but darn if I will stop until I know.

Magonia Review

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Title: Magoina

Author: Maria Dahvana Headley

Publisher: HarperCollins

Flap Copy:

“Aza Ray Boyle is drowning in thin air. Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live. So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—but as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war between Magonia and Earth is coming. In Aza’s hands lies fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?”

What to say about this book? I love the cover. The story was neat. BUT…I kind of felt like it was really preachy, if that makes any sense. The message of environmentalism felt very heavy handed and at times, I grew weary of it.

That being said, it is an interesting story. I like the idea of revisiting naval exploration, but through the sky and a race of people who live there. That is a very fresh idea. Based on the book, I suspect there will be a sequel, which I hope explores more of Magoina.

Was it my favorite book of the year? No, surprisingly not.

Don’t get me wrong, Headley’s writing style is gorgeous, like Kristin Cashore’s style. But I was not a fan of the preachiness I felt from the book. Honestly, that kind of knocked it down a few pegs for me.

Would I have acquired this? Yes, I would have, if only to move away from the heavy message of environmentalism. I liked most everything else about it.

My Fantasy Publishing Team: Meg Cabot

There are some writers that come along and, as a reader, you just fall in love with them. You can fall in love with their writing style, their stories, or their personality. For me, Meg Cabot is that author. I not so secretly wish could work with her.

Ever since I read The Princes Diaries, I have wanted to work with Meg Cabot. I even have the story I want to work with her on planned out (Look for that post later). Her writing has  humor and heart. I absolutely adore her all her books. But Meg Cabot is a cool author. Check out her blog! It is hilarious!

Let’s be real: Meg Cabot just looks like a fun person.

If I were her editor,  it would be one of the highlights of my career. The people who get to work with her are to be envied!