My Rules for Being a Pretty Princess Review

Pretty Princess

Title:  My Rules for Being a Pretty Princess

Author/Illustrator: Heath McKenzie

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Flap Copy:

Rules are meant to be broken in this laugh-out-loud picture book about staying true to yourself.

One little girl gets her greatest wish of becoming a princess – only to discover that the rules of royalty are no fun. She has to have perfect hair and eat daintily and dance gracefully — boring! So, she decides to make up her own rules… A delightfully subversive picture book that teaches girls to be themselves — clumsy dancing, crazy scribbling and all.”

This was soooo cute! I love McKenzie’s drawings and the ironic spin on Cinderella. Even if you dream of being a princess, sometimes it is more fun to do it your way. This is perfect if you want to teach your child to just be themselves.

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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Print vs eBook

As a book lover and publishing person, I adore a beautiful book. I’m not just talking about the quality of writing or the story; I am talking about the total package.

When I see a beautiful book.

I love how a matte cover can deepen and enhance the colors on a book cover.  (If you have the book The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist, you should go get it. Touch the cover to feel the smooth silkiness of the matte finish, and look at how it deepened the dark colors.)

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I love how the endpapers on the covers can be beautiful selected to complement the book. Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Perason blew my mind, in part because of the end papers, which I just flipped by initially for the story.

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A little hard to see, but beautiful.

Even deckled edging (when a book’s pages look like the printer didn’t do a good job cutting) can enhance the aesthetic of a book. Side Note: I am not a fan of deckled edging and often had heated debates with my classmates about whether to deckle or not. I just love a beautifully designed book.

But…then there are eBooks. I got my first e-reader in 2006: a Sony Reader. I upgraded in 2011 to a Kindle. I have been a fan of eBooks from the very beginning. They have allowed self-published authors to distribute their books to a wider audience, and I love that. I do not want to take my beautifully designed book to the gym to sweat all over it, but I will happily take my Kindle. Same goes for the subway and all the grit. Reading at lunch? Going to go with my Kindle then, too. But all the design elements of the print book are lost in the eBook.

So what is the purpose of this post?

Book bundling. Want it. Need it.

Have been saying it for years now, and I have witnesses to my long drawn out soap box moments.

Comics have been doing it for years. Same goes for movies, where you buy the DVD and get a digital copy.  HarperCollins has even started testing it out on select books.

I know some editors are adamantly against it. An Editorial Director at my publishers told me she is in the business of selling a product and she will not devalue it by giving you two for one because it doesn’t make business sense. I can see her point.

However, as a consumer of books, I demand book bundling. There are just some books that you want in multiple forms so you can read in bed, and then get up and go to the gym with the eBook and continue where you were.

Breathe, Annie, Breathe Review

Warning: ***Minor Spoilers***

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Title: Breathe, Annie, Breathe

Author: Miranda Kenneally

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Flap copy on the back cover:

“Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind-and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.”

So to be honest, I read this book on a day when I was feeling terrible about life. The week before had really been one of the worst, and I decided to have a Staycation. This book ended up being the perfect book, not only to read on a snowy day in bed, but also to improve my mood.

I really connected to Annie. She had depth; her emotions were strong and not overly dramatic. Here is someone, with the day I was having, that I could connect with. She was feeling overwhelming grief, but pushing past it to honor Kyle. She didn’t give up, even though it was hard. Annie is someone I would want to know and be friends with.

Annie’s relationships with the characters around her were authentic. Who hasn’t said something terrible to a parent and regretted it, but not known how to take it back? Who hasn’t grown apart from a friend and then awkwardly tried to move past it?

That being said, there were aspects to the story that frustrated me. Keneally took a long time to fully divulge the full story of how Kyle died. While this works, and maintains the very authentic narration from Annie and her grief, I did hypothesize a lot of scenarios that ended up worse than what happened. Did this ruin the overall enjoyment of the book? Not necessarily, but I would have liked to have the all the cards on the table so to speak.

Final Question: Would I have acquired this book if it had come across my desk? Note: Acquiring a book means you become the internal champion of a book for sometimes more than a year. You have to work with the author to get the best book and work to get great books noticed.

Yes, unequivocally. This book deserved to be published and read.