My Magnificent Mailbox #30

literati_rain66 Sunday, June 19, 2011
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme brought to you by the Story Siren.

This week I got:

From Nantucket Bookworks:
ARC of The Fox Inheritance, by Mary E. Pearson (so excited for this one!!)
ARC of Hades, by Alexandra Adornetto
ARC of Rip Tide, by Kat Falls
ARC of Janitors, by Tyler Whitesides (looks hilarious)

From the library:
Black Butler, volume II, by Yana Toboso
Black Butler, volume III, by Yana Toboso
The Gathering, by Kelley Armstrong (can't wait!!)

What did you get this week?

Wonderfully Wacky Winners!

literati_rain66 Friday, June 17, 2011
And the winners are in! Thanks to everyone who entered my Big Bad Blogoversary, became a follower, or spread the word.

And now... the winners!

Tiger's Quest and Tiger's Curse go to: Theresa from Fade Into Fantasy!!

Mercy and My Almost Epic Summer go to: Diana from The Lovely Getaway!!

Mothers & Daughters and Pieta go to: Tanya!!

Congratulations ladies!

My Magnificent Mailbox #29

literati_rain66 Sunday, June 12, 2011
Holy chicken butt! I got a lot of books!

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme brought to you by The Story Siren.

This week (or past few weeks) I got:

From Sandy at Scribing Shadows:
The Girl in the Steel Corset, by Kady Cross
The Demon Trapper's Daughter, by Jana Oliver

From Aine at Aine's Realm:
Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits, by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson
The Off Season, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Arthur and The Invisibles, by Luc Besson
The Princess and the Hound, by Mette Ivie Harrison
Dairy Queen, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Godless, by Pete Hautman
If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince?, by Melissa Kantor
Alice's Adventures Underground, by Lewis Carroll
Aphrodite's Blessings, by Clemence McLaren
Sloppy Firsts, by Megan McCafferty
Bound, Donna Jo Napoli
The Wish, by Gail Carson Levine
Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine
Holes, by Louis Sachar
What The Dickens, by Gregory Maguire
The Passion, by Donna Boyd
The Promise, by Donna Boyd

From Brookline Booksmith:
Graveminder, by Melissa Marr
Zombie Butts From Uranus, by Andy Griffiths

From the library:
Black Butler, Volume 1, by Yana Toboso
The Night Bookmobile, by Audrey Niffenegger
Guardian of the Gate, by Michelle Zink
Desires of the Dead, by Kimberly Derting
Chime, Franny Billingsley

From Amazon:
Kiss Me Deadly, anthology
Magic Slays, by Ilona Andrews

Really Ravishing Review (The Night Bookmobile)

literati_rain66 ,
The Night BookmobileReview of The Night Bookmobile, by Audrey Niffenegger.

Quickie: Haunting and beautiful. It sticks with you.

Full: I picked up this graphic novel from the library the other day. It was on display on top of the graphic novel/manga shelves, and it caught my eye. First, the title- The Night Bookmobile? Why would a bookmobile need to run at night? Then the author- Audrey Niffenegger! I love her! Then the cover- Why does she look so sad? Then I picked up the book and looked at the back, where Neil Gaiman has a blurb. If I wasn't already sold, I was then.

This is what the brilliant Neil had to say:
"The Night Bookmobile is a love letter, both elegiac and heartbreaking, to the things we have read, and to the readers that we are. It says that what we read makes us who we are. It's a graphic short story, beautifully drawn and perfectly told, a cautionary fantasia for anyone who has ever loved books, and I hope the story of the library, of Alexandra, finds its place on the shelves of the night bookmobiles of all of us who'd care. It's a treasure."  --Neil Gaiman

After that, how could I not check this book out?

The story starts with Alexandra, our MC, wandering the streets of Chicago one night. She notices a Winnebego, all lit up and blaring "I Shot The Sheriff." As she passes by, she she can't help but steal a glance inside, as the door is standing open. There she sees an older man, and he invites her in to "see the collection". He hands her a card that reads:
The Night Bookmobile 
The Library 
Robert Openshaw, Librarian 
Hours: Dusk to Dawn

Once inside, she soon realizes that she's read every book in the bookmobile. Not just that, but it was everything she had ever read in her life. A complete history of her literary life. All there. Alexandra is fascinated, flipping through pages of her childhood story books, her most recently read novels, and even her diary. 

Too soon, it's time for her to go. The library is closing. She vows to return the next night and visit the bookmobile again, but alas, it isn't there when she tries to find it. Night after night she returns to the place where she first saw the Winnebego, but it's never there. She starts wandering the streets, searching. 

Eventually she does find it again, but this is where my synopsis ends. If I told you any more, it would spoil the story for you. 

So what's the haunting part of The Night Bookmobile, you ask? Well, remember the part in Mister Gaiman's blurb that describes it as, "a cautionary tale"? That's the haunting part. And you'll have to read it for yourself to know what that cautionary, haunting element is. It's worth reading, trust me.

When I first finished the book, I sat there and thought, "What?!"But now I get it. And believe it or not, I've already put Audrey's lesson in to practice. 

So yes, you should read it. You probably need Audrey's lesson as well. Maybe we all do. 

5 out of 5 stars.

Big Bad Blogoversary

literati_rain66 Thursday, June 9, 2011
Truth: My blogoversary was May 31st. I'm late.

Another Truth: I don't care, I'm having a giveaway anyway!! (can we say, "fashionably late?")

What you can win:

Prize Pack 1-
Tiger's Curse and Tiger's Quest, by Colleen Houck.
Tiger's Curse (Book 1)Tiger's Quest (Book 2 in the Tiger's Curse Series)

Prize Pack 2-
Mercy, by Rebecca Lim and My Almost Epic Summer, by Adele Griffin.
MercyMy Almost Epic Summer

Prize Pack 3-
Mothers & Daughters, by Rae Meadows and Pieta, by William Zink.
Mothers and Daughters: A NovelPieta

All you have to do is fill out this FORM.
US & Canada only.
Contest runs from June 9th - June 16th, 2011.
Three winners will be chosen shortly after the contest closes and winners will be notified by email.

Good luck and thanks for entering!!

You + YA = YES

literati_rain66 Sunday, June 5, 2011
If you're an author or a book blogger or any one following a book lover on Twitter, I'm sure you saw the EXPLOSION of tweets last night concerning the Wall Street Journal's article on darkness in YA literature. If you were living in a cave in a remote part of Neverland, you may not have seen it and you should check it out here.

On to my thoughts.

Originally, I wasn't going to do a blog post. I went to bed last night shaking my head, too annoyed to do much more than fire off a few tweets and retweet about a hundred others. But now, after reading even more tweets, I feel the need to blog. Honestly, my reasons for reading YA cannot be summed up in 140 characters. Here's why.

I didn't have a terrible childhood, not really. It was tough, it was confusing, it was a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions and feeling like a freak. Pretty normal. (now here's where we get to the nitty gritty, and where I sincerely hope my family never finds my blog) My mother is a hoarder. She doesn't clean. Maybe this means nothing to you. But for me, it seriously impacted my emotional life. I couldn't bring friends over to my house. I was ashamed of the filth, of the stacks and stacks of things that had been sitting there, untouched, my entire life. I said she didn't clean, and I'm 100% sure you cannot imagine exactly what that meant. I hated being at home. Everyone hated being at home. I used to use a washcloth and try to scrub the shower while I was taking a shower so that the stains wouldn't be so bad.

It made me feel... dirty. And what's more? Everyone knew. And they all talked. Now, I love my mom. She's my mom. But our kitchen should have been looked at by the health department. People didn't eat the food we'd bring to pot-lucks or parties. I felt shunned. Sure, people were nice enough. But there was always that look people gave each other. "Don't eat that pie... Shannon's mom brought it."

My siblings and I would try to clean, but we weren't allowed to throw anything out. So we'd try in vain, mostly just moving things around and stirring up dust and mold and then we'd get sick. We wanted a livable house. It wasn't something that we could do though. So we all found escapes. Mine was reading.

I could go to my room, open a book, and temporarily leave my house and be in a whole other world. It was bliss.

Recently I read White Cat by Holly Black. Dark YA? You BET. Good YA? GREAT YA. HECK YES. It was the first book I'd ever read that had anything close to what I grew up with. My house was chaotic and messy. (not in a good way) Cassel's house was chaotic and messy. My heart flew from my chest when I read about him moving stacks of things to sit down. He may not be real, but I felt so connected to him. I had an ally.

Now see, you may be thinking, "But she wasn't suicidal, or a drinker or a smoker, she has no right to say YA changed her life." And to that I say, dude. You don't have to have a touching story for YA to change your life. My story is one I don't tell. I'm still ashamed. My parents' house has only gotten worse since the kids have left.

I have many other reasons why YA changed my life. I was sick, I was a scapegoat, I was the forgotten fourth child. I was publicly humiliated by my mother. Called fat, called stupid. I was (am) dyslexic. I was shunned (for lack of a better term) by the church I thought had accepted me. (I committed a crime in having guys as close friends. Clearly, that meant I was a slut and not good enough to date one of their favorite guys in the youth group.) (Too bad for them, I ended up marrying him and multiple families left the church because of it.) I was a cutter. I was depressed. My self-esteem was beyond dismal. When I hit puberty, no one was there for me. No one explained anything at all. I was just... forgotten. I survived it because I read books about girls going through puberty. I used dictionaries, non-fiction and fiction to educate myself about myself. Books saved me in SO many ways.

The point is- My life wasn't great. It wasn't the worst, I know that. There are people with much more touching, much more traumatic tales than I. But if not for YA, I know for a fact that my life would not be as it is now. It would be so much worse.

I often thank authors for their honesty in my reviews. Nobody was honest with me when I was growing up, so I appreciate authors telling it how it is. Dark, it may be. But I'd rather know about the darkness than to walk blindly into it and stumble.

I think by now I'm rambling, so I'll bring this to an end. YA books are exactly what teens and young adults NEED. They need truth. They need honesty. They need to know that they are not alone, and that whatever they are going through, they can survive it and be stronger for it. They need to have a place to escape to when their life is getting to be too much for them. They need understanding and love.

Who, I ask, could take that way?

Passionate Prose Please

literati_rain66 Friday, June 3, 2011
So here's the deal. I'm a little burnt out on reviewing. *shock horror!* I know. I'm a terrible book blogger. I have no commitment, whatever. Truth is, I'm just plain tired of reviewing every book I read. My priorities are my family, my real life, and admining on This book blogging gig is something I started out doing for fun, and with all the other things going on in my life, I've decided to take a small step back and regroup. Don't get me wrong, I love book blogging. But I'm having a hard time getting up the energy to write out thoughtful, organized, and articulate reviews, especially for books I don't have many strong feelings about.

No, I'm not quitting. I'm simply explaining why my reviews-per-month have become a slow and steady drip instead of a constant flow. And I'm letting you know that it's going to continue as a drip. Things are going to change a bit around here. I'm not going to spend lots of time writing reviews I don't have strong feelings about. I think I might do a monthly list of books I read, enjoyed, and had no huge issues with, but didn't feel the need to write a review about.

In a nutshell, you should expect my reviews to be "HOLY FLYING MONKEY BUTTS, THIS WAS AWESOME!!" or "Don't. Read. It. EVER. Because it was so bad I wanted to CRY."With a few "I like it, but..." reviews thrown in when I feel like it. I generally go with the idea that spreading negativity is bad, so I try not to write negative reviews. But let's face it, they're fun to read. (Don't give me that look, you know you like reading them from time to time, especially if it's a book you strongly disliked too)

In my negative reviews I will not bash. That's not reviewing. That's being mean. So please don't expect me to rip apart a book, demean the author, or blatantly insult it. That's not my style. I will tell you what I did like, and what I didn't like. In the end, these are all just my opinions. You don't have to agree. Sometimes my future self and past self don't even agree, so I understand if you and I don't see eye to eye on a book.

Again, I'm not quitting. So please don't think I'm telling you to go away and stop reading my blog. That would be... stupid of me. Heh. I love books, I love talking about books. But lately I've not loved sitting at the computer, forcing myself to write about books I can't seem to feel passionately about. Thus, I'm cutting out the "meh" and sticking to the passion.

Yes, this will mean reviews will come in slower. But I think quality over quantity is really a good idea. :)

Love you all, my dear readers and friends.

Let the Passionate Blogging begin!