The Future of Books & Cleverness

Don’t worry — this post isn’t as ominous as the title makes it sound!! I’m writing this in part as a follow-up to my last personal update, and also to make some exciting announcements regarding Books & Cleverness, and its future.

I’ll start with my personal updates. I’ve been doing much better, and my AP exams are this week and next, and then I’m pretty much home free for the end of the school year! So after these next couple of weeks, I’ll most likely be blogging more, but I can’t make any promises. I’m really looking forward to summer, but while I was originally planning on blogging a ton, that will no longer be the case. Why? Well I’ve been accepted to a six week pre-college program basically as soon as school gets out for me. I don’t know as of yet how much free time I’ll have while I’m there, so again, I don’t want to make commitments about the blog. I am SO EXCITED about the program, though!

One thing I do want to announce is that mid-August, when I’m back home, I’m planning to revamp the blog! I’m planning on going self-hosted, custom domain name, pretty blog design, the whole shebang. I am planning on using Ashley when it comes to hosting, themes, domains, etc., and Hazel for a beautiful custom blog design. I’ve already chatted with both and they are wonderful. I cannot wait to start revamping when August rolls around! (I know it’s kind of far in the future, but I really wanted to share the excitement. The blog will be about a year and a half old at that point, which I think is the perfect time to do this!)

I just wanted to post this little update so all of you know what will be happening around my corner of the internet in the coming months! 🙂 There are some fun posts that I have planned coming up in early May, as well!

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Early Excitement: May 2015 (THE MONTH WHEN ALL THE BOOKS COME OUT!)

Early Excitement

ALL THE BOOKS are being released this May. Well, at least all of the ones that I’m OVER THE MOON WITH EXCITEMENT about. Seriously, though. ALL THE BOOKS.

  
May 5th

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas | The Heir by Kiera Cass | The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

These three books are enough to make me flail like the crazy fangirl that I am. I CAN’T WAIT for ACoTaR just like the rest of the world, but I’m also meeting Sarah J. Maas SOON (May 16th) so I’M FREAKING OUT. LIKE, IT’S SARAH J. MAAS PEOPLE! I’m really interested to see where Kiera Cass takes The Selection series, as originally it was supposed to be a trilogy. And Kasie West’s contemporaries are always at the top of my most anticipating when they are coming out!

   
May 19th & May 26th

Off the Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer | Illusionarium by Heather Dixon | The Cage by Megan Shepherd | P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

I read Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and her daughter shortly after it came out and loved it. Ever since I’ve been waiting to hear if there was going to be a sequel or companion, and when I saw that there WAS, I was freaking out! Illusionarium and The Cage are both by authors I have read and previously adored, but they’ve been getting very mixed reviews. I’m still super excited, but I probably will wait until I read more reviews until I pick those up. THEN P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU COMES OUT PEOPLE. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. MORE PETER K!!!

Those are the books that I’m fangirling over for May 2015. What books are you impatiently waiting to get your hands on?

xo

The Perils of ARC Envy

ARC

I have always found the book blogging community to be an extremely welcoming and loving place, allowing everyone to share their thoughts and ideas openly without criticism or fighting. Except for when the conversation shifts to two topics: plagiarism and ARCs. I’m not going to talk about plagiarism because that wave has passed for now. But, ARCs have recently become a topic of conversation once again. I don’t know all the details, but apparently there was a comment made on a photo of ARCs posted saying that it was inconsiderate and rude of bloggers to post pictures of ARCs and that they were boasting, etc. because the book was not yet out.

*Please note that these are my personal thoughts and feelings on the topic and don’t mean to offend anyone!*

Now, I can empathize with the person that posted that comment, but I don’t at all think that what they said was “right.” I was once the person that saw pictures of ARCs and drooled because I never thought it possible that I would ever get sent physical ARCs for review. Up until fairly recently, that was the case. And to this day I still get ARC envy; I think every blogger probably does at one point or another. But, it’s the way we handle it that matters.

Book bloggers that get sent books for review are sent them not only to read them and post their thoughts, but to bring about publicity and hype for the book. Lily talks in more depth about how bloggers posting images of ARCs is a good thing in her lovely post. I completely agree with everything she says, and wanted to strongly add one point:

Bloggers that get sent a coveted ARC clearly worked hard to establish a site and following large enough that the publisher deemed them worthy. I would know, because I am not one of those said bloggers (yet?). 

Also: Being sent books for free, whether they are ARCs or not, requires some kind of payment back to the publisher and author. ARCs are expensive to make, and being sent one is a privilege. Sharing the book and creating interest is the least us bloggers can do to repay them.

So, those are my thoughts on all of the envious and jealous folks out there that feel the need to call out bloggers for fulfilling their obligations to publishers. And a word of advice if that’s you: start a book blog! You could be the person getting sent ARCs someday! 😉

xo

Top [Eight] ALL TIME Favorite Authors

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.


Holy cow, this week’s topic is a bit crazy, but I shall try my best… These eight authors are my auto-buy authors, write works I cherish or that have blown my mind, or that I’ve had the amazing privilege of meeting in person. These are the authors I just can’t get enough of, and whose books will always have a special place in my heart!

These are in absolutely no particular order! I was actually surprised that I couldn’t pick ten, but that just shows just how much I love these authors for them to make my list!

1. Leigh Bardugo

Author of The Grisha Trilogy (Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising), Six of Crows

There’s just something about Leigh Bardugo’s books that are just AMAZING. I can’t quite put my finger on whether it’s her characters, her writing, or her plots, but the books are absolutely fantastic and she’s definitely on my auto-buy list!

2. Jenny Han

Author of the Summer series (The Summer I Turned Pretty, It’s Not Summer Without You, We’ll Always Have Summer), To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before & P.S. I Still Love You, and more!

Jenny Han is the author that made me fall in love with YA contemporary books. The Summer I Turned Pretty was the start, and I will now forever read whatever she writes! I had the amazing opportunity to meet her three years ago, and I’ll forever remember the experience!

3. Mindy McGinnis

Author of Not A Drop to Drink & In A Handful of Dust, A Madness So Discreet

I fell in love with Mindy McGinnis’ harsh storytelling and sharp writing with Not A Drop to Drink, and my love continued in In A Handful of Dust. Her next upcoming book is in a different genre of her first two, but I am still so excited because I’m convinced I’ll love whatever she writes!

4. Stephanie Perkins

Author of Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door & Isla and the Happily Ever After

I’m sure the lovely Ms. Perkins has made everyone’s list. I simply adore her adorable stories and cute romances. Another contemporary author that has made me fall in love with YA contemporary!

5. J.K. Rowling

Author of the Harry Potter series, The Casual Vacancy, Cormoran Strike series, and more!

Of course J.K. Rowling had to make my list. I don’t think she needs much of an explanation, really. All I think I really need to say is that the only books I’ve ever re-read for fun have been the Harry Potter series. Period.

6. Marie Rutkoski

Author of The Shadow Society, The Winner’s Trilogy (The Winner’s Curse, The Winner’s Crime & The Winner’s Kiss), and more!

I blatantly display my love for this amazing woman on my blog, so you already know that I adore her and her books. When I got the chance to meet her last year I was fangirling so hard on the inside oh my goodness! I actually hadn’t realized that when I was in elementary school I had read and loved her book The Cabinet of Wonders. I only realized it was her book when I read The Winner’s Curse for the first time!

7. Michael Scott

Author of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series

He’s an author that I started reading a LONG time ago. Many years before I got into blogging, just at the beginning of when I was transitioning to YA from MG books. I flew through his books, and I would eagerly rush out on the pub date of the next book in his series! I really hope he comes out with another YA book or series soon!

8. Jennifer E. Smith

Author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, You Are Here, This Is What Happy Looks Like, The Geography of You and Me, and more!

Another contemporary author who writes absolutely adorable romances that I just love to pick up when I want something fun and sweet. She writes books that have such unrealistic occurrences, but makes them seem like they could happen to you or me (and wish they did). I had the amazing chance to meet her as well, and I was my fangirly self as usual! Her next book looks amazing and I need it now! *grabby hands*

So that’s it! Those are my eight favorite authors of all time! Who made your list?

xo

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: May 12th, 2015
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn, #1
Pages: 388
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via First to Read
Genre(s): Fantasy, Retelling, Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

my rambles

Special thanks to Penguin Random House First to Read for providing me with an advance copy of this book for review!

From the moment I read that synopsis I knew this was going to be a book that I would love. And I was right. The Wrath and the Dawn was beautiful, consuming, and rich with its story, writing, world, characters, and romance. I think the best way for me to write this review is to break it down into those five categories mentioned above, as to not completely just write and incoherent fangirly review (although that would be quite entertaining and much easier on my part). This is also most likely going to be quite long because I want to highlight everything amazing about this book — and there are a LOT. Short version: I adored this book and you should rush out and read it ASAP, because it will surpass your highest expectations.

The story is a retelling of the A Thousand and One Nights. I hadn’t any previous knowledge of the story before reading this book other than knowing that it’s a middle-eastern tale. Therefore, I can’t really comment on how the author reimagined the original into The Wrath and the Dawn, other than telling you that THIS story is incredible!! There is a very rich feeling to the book, as I mentioned before, but somehow the story remained fast paced and kept me turning pages. I spent one day on my couch, committed to finishing the book because it was THAT good.

Renée Ahdieh’s writing is absolutely beautiful, and I think it really helped to create the vibe for the entire book. The descriptions were amazing, but without being too drawn-out. The word “sumptuous” was used in the description, and I think it fits this book perfectly, along with luxurious and lavish.

With great writing comes great world-building. I found the world in The Wrath and the Dawn to be extremely interesting, and I loved how as the book switched to different characters for some chapters, we got to explore. Throughout the book there are bits of fantasy and magic exposed, and I am really eager to learn more about those powers.

This book is definitely a character-driven one. The relationships between them were very much so that of political intrigue. We get to meet those at the Caliph’s palace, those from other lands, and those from Shazi, the main character’s past. One of my favorite characters was Jalal. He was flirty and fun, and definitely made me smile with his banter between him and pretty much every other character! There was only one character that I found had a presence that was annoying — Tariq. He’s Shazi’s lover from back home, and I just didn’t find his obsession to be appealing. As for Shazi herself, I loved her. She’s such an awesome main character who was fierce, fearless, and oh so smart. Khalid has been added to my ever-growing list of book boyfriends, because, well read the book for yourself and you’ll see the swoony appeal! Okay I’ll tease — he opens up to Shazi and we learn the kind of man he really is and you can’t help but fall in love with him. Plus he is hot.

Speaking of hot, can I talk about the romance between Shazi and Khalid? It is STEAMY. There’s angst. And more angst. And I love angst, so I was totally eating this up. I am a sucker for enemies to lovers storylines, and this is about as good as it gets! I fell in love with Khalid and Shazi’s romance…

Have I rambled on about The Wrath and the Dawn long enough to make you want to read it? Well, you totally should if fantasy, romance, and politics is your thing. While I was reading I kept finding parallels to the writing, characters and style of The Winner’s Curse/The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski (which I ADORE). If you’re a fan of those, definitely give this one a go! I also want to note that I loved the Middle Eastern setting and characters — yay for diversity! I haven’t read many books in that region of the world, but I really want to now.

So overall, I LOVED LOVED LOVED The Wrath and the Dawn, and I can’t wait for the next book. Could it magically appear on my shelf now?

xo