Raven King Giveaway!

By now, you probably know about my obsession with the brilliance that is Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle series. If you don’t, you can check out my reviews from when I first discovered each book:

Book One: The Raven Boys

Book Two: The Dream Thieves

Book Three: Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Book Four: The Raven King

Weeks after finishing the final book, The Raven King, I am still trying to come out of the fetal position as I sob about the series ending. I’ve been fortunate to read some pretty great YA lately, but this series in particular has truly reinvigorated my love of the young adult genre.
One of the great things about being a librarian is getting to know some of the wonderful families who frequent the library. It’s even better when those families share your taste in books and authors, and one family in particular thinks of you when they get to meet the fabulous, rockstar author that is Maggie Stiefvater and decide to surprise you with a personalized and signed copy of The Raven King. I’m still in awe!
But since that personalized copy will now hold a coveted spot on my bookshelves (which have very limited space), I need to find a new home for my other, unsigned copy of The Raven King. So, I’m giving it away to one lucky reader! To sweeten the pot, I’m adding in some rather fun Raven Cycle stickers from artists at Redbubble. Check it out:

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No purchase necessary, but the contest is only open to US residents (no P.O. box addresses, please!). You can enter once per day until 12AM on 6/1. Good luck! I hope this will be the first of many future giveaways at Among the Authors. Click here to enter:

CLICK HERE TO ENTER Raven King + Raven Stickers Giveaway

 

 

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Off the Shelf: A Review of The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Goodbye beautiful Cabeswater.
Goodbye impossible dreams.
Goodbye to my ravens and lily, the ones who let me be a part of this magical adventure, and the ones I laughed, cried, and loved with.

It’s over… It’s really over. The Raven Cycle has come to an end, and in a way, I’m having a hard time dealing with the loss. There’s still so much more left that could be explored. So many questions I have that are going unanswered. So much potential for MORE. And yet, no. I’m comfortable with the way we, the readers, left Henrietta, and I want to celebrate the magic that is this series coming full circle.

“Depending on where you began the story, it was about this place: the long stretch of mountain that straddled a particularly potent segment of the ley line.”

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Caution: As this is the last book in the series, to talk about it fully and do it justice, there may be spoilers ahead….

Continue reading Off the Shelf: A Review of The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Off the Shelf: A Review of Paper & Fire by Rachel Caine

I was blessed beyond measure to receive an advance read copy of Paper & Fire from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

You can read my review of the first book in the Great Library series, Ink and Bone, by clicking here.

As someone who grew up with an immeasurable amount of love for books and reading, I remember the fiery passion with which I first devoured Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. To this day, it is still one of my favorite books, and I think the reasoning for that is because it sends a message…a message that Rachel Caine clearly communicates throughout the Great Library series as well: If you take away a person’s right to knowledge, you also take away their freedom. Nothing could ever be more effective at controlling a population.

I share Ink & Bone with everyone that I possibly can. It’s my go-to recommendation for young adult readers in the library. It’s a book that I feel very strongly about, and that I know will have a lasting impression on my life the way Fahrenheit 451 did. When I received the ARC of Paper & Fire, there was nothing that could hold me back from jumping right in, desperate to see if it lived up to the glory of book one. At the same time, I had one of the most demanding projects of my grad school career thus far due, but even that couldn’t stop me. I read the book from my phone in snippets of stolen time whenever I ate lunch, whenever I used the restroom, whenever I was fighting sleep, etc. This book absolutely lives up to the first one, if not surpasses it in greatness.

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Summary (via Goodreads)

With an iron fist, The Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion, forbidding the personal ownership of books in the name of the greater good.

Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower and doomed to a life apart.

Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London.

But Jess’s home isn’t safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, or the Library willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control…

Continue reading Off the Shelf: A Review of Paper & Fire by Rachel Caine

Off the Shelf: A Review of Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Well, I did it. I managed to complete all three Raven Cycle books just in time for the release of the final book – The Raven King (which will be out April 26th). I thought that life might steal this book away from me, as I’ve had a lot of extra work here lately on top of dealing with some ongoing health problems, but I triumphed. Book #3 of the Raven Cycle – Blue Lily, Lily Blue – is setting up some major events for the grand finale so let’s jump right in to the good stuff…

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Synopsis (via Goodreads)

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

Continue reading Off the Shelf: A Review of Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Off the Shelf: A Review of Ink & Bone by Rachel Caine

Usually, I like to stick to posting reviews and such on Wednesday – a little pick me up for me on hump day when I’m struggling to make it to the weekend. I decided to wait an extra day this time – because I knew THIS would be hitting the newsstands this morning:

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I’m pretty excited to have another review featured in the local paper. It’s always a big deal to me when I see my name in print. Maybe one day it will actually be about one of my own books. We will see.

Anyway, here’s the full text (which was limited to around 400 words…of course I went over) of my review, and you can also check it out on the Herald-Dispatch by clicking here:

It may be hard to imagine a librarian advocating for a book that includes a library as a nefarious, corrupt entity, but I can assure you that, not since Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, has there been a book with a more powerful message about the importance of the printed word. Rachel Caine’s Ink and Bone is categorized as a Young Adult novel, but readers of all ages, adults included, will feel challenged by the heavy themes of freedom, the ties of family and friendship, and the average person’s right to knowledge.

In this alternate history, the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time and become a supremely powerful presence in every major city, controlling the public’s access to its knowledge. Personal ownership of printed books is expressly forbidden, and the Great Library controls what books can be read on each person’s Codex, a device similar to the modern e-reader. In this fantasy dystopia, people are either committed to the ideals of the Library, black market book thieves, or Burners – radical extremists who would rather destroy rare books than allow the Library to control their usage.

Enter Jess Brightwell, who believes in the Library’s values but also comes from a family of book smugglers. His conflicted loyalties are put to the test when his father pushes him into training to enter the Library’s service, expecting Jess to be a spy for the family business. Jess is fascinated by printed books and feels a natural draw towards protecting and preserving them, but the friendships he has gained in Library training and all that he has been taught to believe are suddenly challenged when Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe knowledge to be more valuable than any human life.

Ink and Bone will have even the most avid reader questioning how far they would go to protect a book and a person’s right to read, and by the end, the reader will be clutching each page just a little bit tighter.

The complex motives of certain characters and the ominous atmosphere throughout the story will keep readers anxious for Jess, and the world that Caine has created will mystify, providing a dark and intriguing backdrop for the dangers that Jess encounters.

Ink and Bone is recommended for lovers of fantasy or dystopias, but it should definitely find its way on to the reading list of anyone who possesses a deep appreciation of books in general. Fans of this new series won’t have to wait long to find out what happens to Jess and his friends – the sequel, Paper and Fire, is due out in early July.

Continue reading Off the Shelf: A Review of Ink & Bone by Rachel Caine

Off the Shelf: A Review of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

701930_10208898432764109_1965720434203096203_oI have loved the Merry Fates for a long time. When Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff got together and started writing short stories together as the Merry Fates, it was like a blissful literary union that was simply meant to be. I loved their website (merryfates.com), where they each frequently posted new short stories, and I was even so inspired by it that, for a short time, I had a similar website with two close friends (spellboundscribblers.com). I’m hoping that sometime soon we can revive that site, but two of us being in grad school and the other in her senior year of undergrad while all three working full time…well, it just didn’t pan out time-wise.

But are you ready for a major confession? As much as I love the Merry Fates, and I enjoy all of the anthologies they’ve put out together, I have never read any of their individual works. Why not? I’m not really sure. I think I stumbled into loving them while I was majorly on a short story kick, and I just never pursued it past that. A ridiculously stupid excuse, I acknowledge, because I finally picked up Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys, and all I want to do is scream, “HELLO, BEAUTIFUL, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL OF MY LIFE?”

To which the book would respond, “On the shelf, you idiot. Why don’t you listen when people talk about how good I am?”

Or at least it would if books could speak. So, while it has taken me some time to come around to picking this book up, and even though it’s not a new release (not even remotely close…although book 4 soon will be), let’s go ahead and take a look at why this book is so amazing. Shall we?

Continue reading Off the Shelf: A Review of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Waiting on Wednesday #2

A new year is just around the corner, which means all sorts of new releases! I, for one, can’t wait. I fully expect this winter to be an outrageously snowy one, so I’m planning on plenty of days spent inside with the heat turned up high, a giant mug of coffee, and something good to read.

At work, I keep a document on my computer that is a calendar for the entire year. When a book description strikes my fancy, I enter the book’s release date on the calendar. For January, my first notable release date happens to be for the 12th. What book is it?

Bookishly Ever After

By Isabel Bandeira

Publication Date: January 12, 2016

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Synopsis (via Goodreads)
In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary. But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing?

Why I’m Waiting

Hold up…what? A book about a girl who loves books? I’m a girl who loves books!  This book seems like it might be the perfect fit for me, as well as any other girl who has ever had a crush on the fictional boys in books. I’m dying to know what characters Phoebe turns to for advice (Elizabeth Bennet, perhaps?). Ratings from those who have received ARCs are altogether positive, but nobody seems to be revealing additional snippets or details from the book yet, which makes me all the more excited to get my hands on it come January 12th. Goodreads has this marked as Ever After #1, which is a good indicator that this is the start to a new series. Also, I feel I just have to mention this… if you’re browsing Goodreads, you might see the author, Isabel Bandeira’s, profile picture. Is she or is she not dressed like Belle from Beauty and the Beast?! No wonder she wrote a book about a girl who loves books.

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Add Bookishly Ever After to your to-be-read shelf on Goodreads

Pre-order via Amazon

Pre-order via Barnes & Noble