Top Ten Best Bookish Memories

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For more information about Top Ten Tuesday and a list of upcoming Top Ten Tuesday topics, click here.
Top Ten Bookish Memories

(And I promise not all of them are Harry Potter memories!  Just four of them…)

Persuading my Little Brother 
to Read Harry Potter
I’m beginning with my Harry Potter memories.  I wish I had more documentation of this part of my life in photographs, but I don’t think I realized at the time how much this period of my life would end up meaning to me.  I began reading Harry Potter in 8th and 9th grade.  And after plowing through the first three books, I wanted other people to read them.  Especially my younger brothers.

I’m pretty sure I got one younger brother to read them fairly easily.  But my other brother, who is four years younger than me and would have been in 5th or 6th grade was a much tougher audience to persuade.  I think Harry Potter might have been too challenging for him to read at the time because he was still reading mostly Magic Treehouse books.

But I was relentless.  I turned to bribery.

My brother is going to be a magnificent game designer someday, and even back then at age 11, he was creating made-up games for us to play.  His favorite made-up game at the time was called “Pokémon LIVE!”  Which pretty much involved him acting like Pokémon and me being the trainer and acting out the video game.  I hated playing this game because every time we played I had to start from the beginning again because we didn’t have a good method of recording our progress in Pokémon LIVE!

So my form of bribery was that I would play one whole hour of Pokémon LIVE! for every chapter of Harry Potter that he read.  I was such a good sister.  And it turns out… I converted him… As you can see from the evidence below…

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 
Book Release
I actually wasn’t allowed to go to the midnight release party for Goblet of Fire.  We were at my grandparents’ house at the beach, and my parents told us they would go and pick up the book at midnight so that it would be waiting for us in the morning.  

Well, we might not have been allowed to go to the release party, but we definitely didn’t go to sleep like we were told.  My brothers and I shared one bedroom at my grandparents’ house, and we spent the night talking.  It is one of my favorite childhood memories: staying up with my brothers, rebelling against our parents’ wishes, too excited to sleep over a Harry Potter book.  

When we heard our parents get back, we all pretended to be asleep.  They put the book on our bedside table, and as soon as they were out of earshot, we crowded together to read the first chapter.  We didn’t do more than the first chapter because I think we got frustrated that we all read at different speeds (and we couldn’t read aloud because our parents would hear us).  But that excitement and bonding moment with my brothers is definitely one of my favorite bookish memories.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 
Book Release
This is another memory that involves the beach, my brother, and Harry Potter.  Notice a trend?  This summer, I spent entirely at the beach with my youngest brother (the one pictured above).

And this time, we did attend the midnight release party at the same bookstore that my parents had purchased Goblet of Fire.  We made a whole evening of it.  First going out to dinner and then strolling the boardwalk and buying huge bags of Jelly Belly’s to eat while we waited in line (and pretend we were eating Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans).  We didn’t dress up, though I distinctly remember a Bellatrix being near us in line.

I accidentally drove North instead of South for several miles on the way home that night because I was so distracted by my excitement.  But I treasure that I got to spend this final book release with my brother at one of my favorite bookstores, munching on jelly beans.  Good times.

Harry Potter World
I made the trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter last year for my birthday.  My whole family went with me, and we experienced the magic together.  I chronicled my trip in a series of blog posts (with lots of pictures!) below:

Rereading these posts makes me want to go back!  Can you be homesick for a theme park?  Because I am… sigh.

National Book Festival 2009
I am a Washington D.C. native, which makes me one very lucky girl.  Why?  Because every year I’m able to go to the National Book Festival and hear amazing authors speak for free.

In 2009, it was freezing cold and rainy.  I was not a veteran Book Festival attendee back then, and silly me brought a whole backpack of books to be autographed.  Backpacks full of books are heavy.  My shoulders were sore by the end of the day, and most of my books had some sort of water damage from the rain soaking through my backpack.

Nevertheless, this was the year that I met Lois Lowry and Shannon Hale for the first time.  Lois Lowry was such a trooper signing for hours in such cold, damp weather.  Shannon Hale was so incredibly cheerful and adorable and delightful, that after this meeting I went on to read all of her books.  (I’d only read Princess Academy when I met her, but her Books of Bayern series is outstanding!)

Below is a picture of me (with wet hair and my heavy backpack of books) with the legendary Lois Lowry:

National Book Festival 2010
This year was probably my favorite in my National Book Festival experiences so far.  I learned my lesson about lugging around books, and this year I didn’t bring any.  Instead, I brought snacks and water, which was incredibly smart of me because this year it was hot.  And instead of standing around in lines all day, I parked myself in the Children’s/Teen Tent all day and heard so many fabulous authors speak.  (This is the way I recommend doing the National Book Festival: find a good seat and stay there all day.)  Some of my favorites of the day include Suzanne Collins, Phillip Hoose & Claudette Colvin, Rebecca Stead, M.T. Anderson, and Michael Buckley.

Below is a picture of the wonderful Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal winner for When You Reach Me.

National Book Festival 2011
This year I was really a pro at the Book Festival, and so was my mom, who is a fabulous photographer.  So for the 2011 National Book Festival, I actually did an entire blog post on the day with clear photographs (I didn’t really have many good photos from the previous years).  Authors include: Sarah Dessen, Katherine Paterson & John Rocco, Jack Gantos, Gordon Korman, Cassandra Clare, Brian Selznick, Rita Williams-Garcia, Kazu Kibuishi, and Rachel Renee Russell.  You can read my full post with details on each of the authors:

And here is a picture of Brian Selznick because he was my favorite of the weekend:

National Book Festival 2012
This year I didn’t see quite as many authors speak because my friend, Caroline, was visiting and she really wanted to get autographs, and I stood in line with her.  But I did hear John Green (and I had just finished The Fault in Our Stars), so that was especially amazing because I’d never had the pleasure of hearing John Green speak.  The crowd reacted to him as if he were a ROCK STAR.  Screaming and shrieking.  And it was 10am.  Pretty wild.

I also heard Lois Lowry speak about her new book, Son, which is a sequel to The Giver.  She was wonderful.  You could tell she really enjoyed writing this book, and she seemed so happy to be there and in a much better mood than the rainy day I first saw her on in 2009.

The last speaker I heard this year was Maggie Stiefvater, who I’ve seen before.  She was energetic and entertaining and brilliant as always.

Below is close-up of John Green that my mom took:

Meeting Kristin Cashore
I just met Kristin Cashore this past year when she was touring for Bitterblue, and it was extra special because she was in part responsible for how I managed to find my MFA program in Children’s Literature.  If you want to hear the whole story, you can check out my post on meeting her:

And here is a picture from the event:

Meeting Maggie Stiefvater (the first time)
Maggie is one of my favorite authors, and I first met her when she was on tour for Scorpio Races in 2011.  Maggie lives in Virginia, so she’s actually in my area quite often, but I kept missing her because I’d always have things going on when she’d have an event.  She is such a great speaker, and you should definitely hear her if you get a chance.  Not only was meeting her great, but I also won a doodled on copy of Scorpio Races at this event.  You can check out the whole post on meeting Maggie here:

And a picture from the event:

I’m so excited to read about other people’s best bookish memories!  Feel free to share in the comments or leave me a link to your post!

Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For more information about Top Ten Tuesday and a list of upcoming Top Ten Tuesday topics, click here.
Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters

These are in the order that they occurred to me…

1. Umbridge from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
She was the first person to pop into my mind, likely because she’s so evil… yet so pink… and a cat lady… She made all those rules and called Harry a liar.  And yet there was nothing we could do to stop her.  She wasn’t your traditional villain that you could fight back against, and so she was FRUSTRATING.  You wanted to fight back and couldn’t.

2. Rita Skeeter from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
This was another frustrating character because she was a liar.  I must not like characters who lie.  I understood Harry’s frustration as she kept publishing false articles about him.  And just the image of her sucking on her Quick Quotes Quill makes me want to seethe.  And who wears lime green all the time?  Really?

3. Bella Swan from the Twilight series
Oh, Bella.  You frustrate me in so many ways.  I’m sure she is going to be on a lot of people’s lists.  I wish she’d been a stronger character.  I wish she stood up to Edward when he was being a manipulative boyfriend.  I wish she hadn’t just moped for months when Edward left her.  I wish she hadn’t been so focused on having sex with Edward.  I wish she had some interests outside of becoming a vampire.  I wish she had a vampire power that was better than making protective bubbles.

4. Seth from the Fablehaven series
I seriously LOVE this middle grade fantasy series, but I don’t think I reviewed it here on the blog… Need to remedy that!  Seth is a GREAT character, but I found him frustrating because he was a rule breaker.  If you tell him not to do something, he’ll do it.  If you tell him “SERIOUSLY! DON’T DO THIS OR YOU’LL DIE!” Seth will still do it.  He was the perfect balance to his rule following sister, but he still drove me nuts with all his rule breaking.  Though he made for great conflict and tension.

I seriously LOVE this series.  The later books are so, so good!

5. Romeo from Romeo and Juliet
Gah!  Romeo!  You are so emo and mopey and moody.  And you jump from girl to girl.  And then you do stupid stuff like kill your wifey’s cousin.  And then even stupider things like buy the most deadly poison to kill yourself.  You pretty much ruined your own life as well as Juliet’s in my opinion.  Poor Juliet.  She was by far the stronger character.

6. Tris in Insurgent
I did not understand why Tris was making certain choices in Insurgent.  I don’t have my copy of the book because it is loaned out, and my memory isn’t good enough to cite specific examples.  But allow me to quote my review:

“Four keeps showing Tris that he stands by her and cares about her, and honestly, I don’t know if I would have put up with some of the things Tris did.  Granted she just lost her parents and killed someone she didn’t want to kill, but some decisions she made caused my brain to scream a little in frustration.”

 7. Miranda from This World We Live In
Miranda went through so much in book one, and grew so much as a person, and then in book three she seemed to revert to her self-centered, immature self.  I was incredibly frustrated by this, and it kind of ruined the book for me.  A book I’d really looked forward to.

8. Cassia in Matched and Crossed
Cassia frustrates me because I don’t understand what she sees in Ky.  I like Xander, who is handsome, clever, and loyal.  But for some reason Cassia likes Ky the martyr.  I still haven’t read Reached, and I am still debating whether I want to invest time in finishing this series because I had a hard time with book two.

9. St. John Rivers in Jane Eyre
St. John Rivers is such a cold and emotionless character.  He has the makings of a good man: how he wants to be a missionary and how he looks after his sisters and Jane.  But he is so strange and cold.  When he is asking Jane to be his wife and to go to India with him, I wanted to scream at Jane because she couldn’t possibly be happy with such a cold man.  So I was probably mostly frustrated by him because I didn’t want Jane to end up with him!

10. Miss Havisham from Great Expectations
On the one hand, she’s a very memorable character.  On the other hand… GET OUT OF YOUR FREAKING WEDDING DRESS ALREADY.  Don’t you want to shake her and tell her to live her life???  Being jilted at the alter is terrible, but wasting your whole life because of one event is an even bigger tragedy.

I’m so excited to see everyone’s lists this week!  What characters were you frustrated by?

Top Ten Settings I Want to See More Of

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For more information about Top Ten Tuesday and a list of upcoming Top Ten Tuesday topics, click here.
Top Ten Settings I Want to See More Of…

These are in the order that they occurred to me…

1. Alternate History
After finishing Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series and being in total awe of how he created his own story within the context of history, I want more stories like this!  I love the idea of looking at how history could have turned out differently.

2. Time Travel
I love the idea of time travel and think there are so many possibilities to explore.  Not only could this encompass a variety of different settings, but I also love the idea of what you do in one setting impacting the future setting.  Butterfly effect.

3. Ancient Times
Ancient Egypt, Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, Ancient China… I want to go back to these great empires.  No doubt these were exciting times.  I’m a fan of escapist fiction and any of these ancient times would make for a great escape from our technology driven reality.

4. Victorian Era
This somewhat translates into my desire for more steampunk.  This period fascinates me, from the style of dress, to the fascination with spiritualism and natural history, to industrialization.  It was such an exciting time of growth and discovery with so many possibilities.

5. World War I
This probably comes from my current love of Downton Abbey.  I see plenty of literature focused on World War II, but far less about World War I.  I can see strong tragic romance possibilities because so many young men died.

6. Futuristic, but not Dystopian/Apocalyptic
I’m a huge fan of dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction, but it might be fun to explore a less grim view of our future.  I still want conflict and challenges, but maybe something that isn’t “the government is out to get us” or “the world is ending.”  Perhaps something with awesome gadgets and mystery and adventure.

7. American Revolution
This is another time period that I think is really exciting and inspiring.  Felicity was my favorite American Girl, and I loved how exciting her stories were.  I’d love to see some spunky heroines, perhaps on both sides of the Revolution.

8. Wild West
Trains, cowboys, pioneers in the rough and expansive landscape of the Wild West are full of possibilities.  This is a unique setting that we see little of in YA.  And hot cowboys?  Yes, please.

9. During Travel (Trains, Planes, Zeppelins, Ships)
There’s something romantic about long trips because it’s just long enough to establish a connection, and then there’s the threat of what to do when you arrive at the destination.  Titanic is an obvious one, but I also read this book a long time ago called Hindenburg, 1937 that was a romance aboard a doomed zeppelin (with Nazis) and it was such an engaging setting!  I’d also love to see some stories aboard trains.  I really like trains.

10. Sports Arenas
I want more books featuring girl athletes.  One of my favorite movies is Bend It Like Beckham.  I played on travel volleyball teams and even though that movie was about a soccer team, it still resonated with me.  I can’t think of a single book I enjoyed about a girl athlete…  So clearly we need more!

Top Ten 2013 Debuts I Want

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For more information about Top Ten Tuesday and a list of upcoming Top Ten Tuesday topics, click here.
Top Ten 2013 Debuts I Want

(In order of release date, and book titles link to Goodreads)

1. Pantomime 
by Laura Lam 
(Feb. 5)

Goodreads Summary:

R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass—remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone—are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.
Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.
But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.

What grabbed me:
This sounds like such an imaginative and unique story, and I love the cover!

2. City of a Thousand Dolls 
by Miriam Forster 
(Feb. 5)

Goodreads Summary:

An exotic treat set in an entirely original, fantastical world brimming with deadly mystery, forbidden romance, and heart-stopping adventure.
Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.
Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life.

What grabbed me:

This sounds like a gripping and suspenseful read set in a fantastical world. Add a dash of romance to the adventure and mystery, and this sounds like my ideal read!

3. Pivot Point 
by Kasie West 
(Feb. 12)

Goodreads Summary:

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.
In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

What grabbed me:

I love this concept of two completely different lives stemming from a single choice and how intriguing that she can see the possibilities and both options have serious pros/cons. I love everything about this premise!

4. Dualed 
by Elsie Chapman 
(Feb. 26)

Goodreads Summary:

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.
Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.
Elsie Chapman’s suspenseful YA debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better.

What grabbed me:
Yikes!  Killing your twin?!?!  Definitely sounds similar to Hunger Games.  Looks like a fast-paced and exciting read!

5. Poison 
by Bridget Zinn 
(Mar. 12)

Goodreads Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.
But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.
Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?
Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

What grabbed me:

I love this cover and the protagonist sounds like a strong and conflicted character. Elements of adventure and hints of fairy tale lore, I want to check this one out!

6. The Collector 
by Victoria Scott 
(Apr. 2)

Goodreads Summary:

Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence has made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple, weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big, red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.
Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal opportunity collector and doesn’t want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment:
Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within 10 days.
Dante doesn’t know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky, Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect—he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector, and uncover emotions deeply buried.

What grabbed me:
This is my guilty pleasure, swoony bad boy read for the year.  I enjoy books from the male perspective, and I’m looking forward to reading about this guy with an attitude go soft and get in touch with his emotions.

7. Taken 
by Erin Bowman 
(Apr. 16)

Goodreads Summary:

There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.
They call it the Heist.
Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.
Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?

What grabbed me:

The high stakes and intriguing dystopian world make this a must read for 2013. I’ve already heard lots of buzz for this book and I’ve got my fingers crossed that it will be a favorite.

8. The Ward 
by Jordana Frankel 
(Apr. 30)

Goodreads Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Ren is a daredevil mobile racer who will risk everything to survive in the Ward, what remains of a water-logged Manhattan. To save her sister, who is suffering from a deadly illness thought to be caused by years of pollution, Ren accepts a secret mission from the government: to search for a freshwater source in the Ward, with the hope of it leading to a cure.
However, she never expects that her search will lead to dangerous encounters with a passionate young scientist; a web of deceit and lies; and an earth-shattering mystery that’s lurking deep beneath the water’s rippling surface.
Jordana Frankel’s ambitious debut novel and the first in a two-book series, The Ward is arresting, cinematic, and thrilling—perfect for fans of Scott Westerfeld or Ann Aguirre.

What grabbed me:

Disaster/Survival novels terrify me, but I can’t help myself. I devour them. The Manhattan setting and need for freshwater are total pulls for me, and the reference to Westerfeld definitely caught my eye.

9. Reboot 
by Amy Tintera 
(May 7)

Goodreads Summary:

Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).
Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.
The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

What grabbed me:

This is a totally strange but interesting idea. Humans being rebooted and made stronger. And I love novels that make you think about what it means to be human.

10. Linked 
by Imogen Howson 
(Jun. 11)

Goodreads Summary:

Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.
Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes.
Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.
Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.
Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.

What grabbed me:
I love the idea of mysterious links between human beings, and this sounds like a suspenseful read with hints of dystopia.

Which debut novels are on your list?

Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For more information about Top Ten Tuesday and a list of upcoming Top Ten Tuesday topics, click here.
Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2013

My goals are a mix of “personal bookish accomplishments” as well as how many books I want to read and where I want to purchase my books.

1. Finish novel and begin querying in Fall 2013.
I’m writing a steampunk novel for my Masters thesis.  It’s a retelling of a classic piece of literature, and I’m having a total blast writing it.  I’m setting aside the entire months of June and July for revisions (summer vacation from teaching), and August is my deadline for completion!  Wish me luck!

2. Graduate with my Masters in Children’s Literature.
Once I have my Masters in hand, my goal is to find a job in Children’s Publishing.  I would love to work with middle grade or YA in an editorial or marketing role.  I’m currently exploring different avenues and entry level positions.

3. Post at least one book review a week.
My schedule for January has me posting two to three book reviews a week because I’m trying to catch up from my hiatus.  Reviews are slated in my posting schedule for Mondays, occasional Wednesdays, and Saturdays.  I’d love to keep up a two a week schedule, but as it’s tough for me to READ two books a week (with teaching middle school and writing my thesis), I didn’t think that was a realistic goal for me to maintain.

4. Read 12 debut novels.
Last year was my first year attempting the Debut Author Challenge.  I purchased 12 debut novels… but didn’t get around to reading 12 debut novels.  This year I’m setting a goal to post a “Debut Review” on the last day of every month.  This is a way of setting a deadline for myself, and I work well with deadlines (even the self-imposed kind).

5. Read 3 Newbery books and 3 Printz books.
I took a graduate course in Newbery books as well as heard a guest speaker who served on the Newbery committee.  It gave me a real understanding and sense of honor for these awards.  I’m always excited to hear what books are awarded medals each year, and I want to continue reading Newbery and Printz award winners each year (not just when I’m taking a class!)  I also enjoy trying to figure out why this book was chosen/selected versus other books, and identifying the winner’s merits.  I’m a total nerd!

6. Read 7 steampunk novels.
I am likely going to be doing an independent study in the Spring on steampunk, and therefore know I will be reading a bunch of it.  I also want to read what is out there in terms of YA steampunk so as to place my own novel in context.  Is it similar to what’s already been published?  What does it have to offer that’s new?  I have some theories, but I really need to read more in order to prove my assumptions correct.  Some books on my list: The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron, The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress, Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve, and The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann.

7. Read 3-5 contemporary novels.
This is a genre that I’m slowly growing to enjoy.  This year I read Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, The Fault in Our Stars, and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (review forthcoming).  All of which I enjoyed, despite not being an avid contemporary reader.  This year I will undoubtedly be reading Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen, and Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry.  I’ll be watching for a few more contemporary reads to add as well.

8. Read 3-5 historical fiction novels.
This is a genre that I used to love.  I totally grew up on the American Girl series. (Felicity was my favorite.) I’d love to renew my love of historical fiction because lately I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy and science fiction.  I’ve heard great things about Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly and Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson.  But I’ll gladly take recommendations of great historical fiction.

9. Do majority of eBook purchasing from indie booksellers through Kobo.
I’m a little upset by what I’ve read about Amazon’s business practices and their interactions with publishers, authors, and booksellers.  Despite loving my Kindle Touch, I want to shift my book purchasing to support independent booksellers.  I got an iPad for Christmas and downloaded the Kobo app.  Through Kobo, I can purchase eBooks from my favorite indie stores, like Browseabout Books in Rehoboth, Delaware or Politics and Prose in Washington D.C.  I want to purchase eBooks from the stores that offer me great book events, opportunities to meet my favorite authors, and a great shopping experience.

10. Start novel #2.
I’m not even done with book one, and I’m already thinking ahead to book two!  That’s partially because book two was started before I even began book one.  But then there was the “Dystopian Boom” and I realized I had to figure out a way to make my dystopian trilogy different from all the others being offered.  I had a unique premise, but I needed a different ending.  Most dystopians end with either the protagonist running away from the dystopian society or rebelling against the dystopian society.  I wanted an ending that would be neither of those.  And I found one!  A fantastic twist!  I can’t wait to return to this project when I finish my steampunk novel.

Whew!  Does anyone else feel like they need to print out all their goals and resolutions and post them on the walls to keep them in sight?  I have a lot I want to get done this year!

What are your Bookish Goals?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Resolve to Read in 2013

A HUGE thank you to my awesome brother for my new Top Ten Tuesday button  🙂

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For more information about Top Ten Tuesday and a list of upcoming Top Ten Tuesday topics, click here.

Top Ten Books I Resolve to Read in 2013

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Yeah. I am the only person in the world who hasn’t read this series. I resolve to fix that!

Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers
I’ve heard such great things, but have allowed the length of this book to intimidate me.

Eon by Alison Goodman
Another chunky book that I haven’t tackled but heard wonderful things about, and I love a good fantasy.

Legend by Marie Lu
I love sci-fi and dystopian novels, so I purchased this eBook awhile ago… But still haven’t read it.

Savvy by Ingrid Law
I try to make a point of reading Newbery Honor books, and I purchased this one a VERY long time ago. I want to finally get around to reading it.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Both my mom and other bloggers have raved about this book, and rumors are this book is a tear-jerker.

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Another book that I’ve heard great things about and I’m really making an effort to try more contemporary fiction.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
I heard Sarah Dessen speak in 2011, and have since wanted to read one of her books. This one I already downloaded as an eBook but I’d take recommendations of other books by Dessen.

Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Another series that I feel like I’m late to discover, but would really like to check out because it screams everything I like.

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
So many people say this series is exceptionally well done and one of their favorite, plus this book has been sitting on my shelf for ages.

Any recommendations on what to start with?
What are you resolving to read?

Top Ten Books I Read in 2012

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  For more information about Top Ten Tuesday and a list of upcoming Top Ten Tuesday topics, click here.

Top Ten Books I Read in 2012

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Laini Taylor blew me away with the beauty of her language while maintaining an engaging plot filled with high stakes and conflict.  The ending was the most satisfying puzzle being put together, leaving me satisfied but also craving the sequel.  (Which I’ve bought and will hopefully savor over the Christmas holiday!)
Read my review: Book Review of Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
I was skeptical when I heard the concept of a cyborg Cinderella, but Marissa Meyer pulled it off.  Cinder was a refreshing and original fairy tale retelling while also being an engrossing piece of science fiction.  I highly recommend this fun read, and I’m eagerly awaiting getting my hands on Scarlet.
Read my review: Book Review of Cinder

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
I’m not a big reader of contemporary fiction, but this book won me over.  It may even have made me want to become more open to contemporary fiction!  I loved all the quirky characters, and I especially loved Cricket.  I’m a new Stephanie Perkins fan!
Read my review: Book Review of Lola and the Boy Next Door

Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
This book came out awhile ago, and I finally had to read it for my graduate class on dystopian lit.  I absolutely love how this book made you think about big ideas, like the very essence of humanity.  I recommend to all fans of science fiction.  A sequel came out this year, and I definitely want to check it out!
Read my review: Book Review of Adoration of Jenna Fox

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
In our technology driven society, this book is a MUST READ.  An action packed story that shows how the technology we use everyday can so easily be used against us.  Doctorow does a great job of making techie language accessible to any reader.  A great book to get for the guys in your life.  I’m so excited there is a sequel coming out, Homeland, in 2013.
Read my review: Book Review of Little Brother

Feed by M.T. Anderson
This book also came out awhile ago and I’d heard a lot of buzz but never picked it up.  This was one of those books that I finished in tears, though most people find it memorable for its use of language and the world Anderson creates.  I’d say this is another MUST READ for our technology driven society.
Review is forthcoming…

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Like pretty much everyone in the universe… I think John Green is genius and this book is a work of art.  I simultaneously laughed and cried while reading about Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace.  John Green is a master of characterization.  If haven’t read this book because you’ve heard it will make you cry… JUST READ IT ALREADY.
Review is forthcoming…

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
I read this entire series and enjoyed every minute.  While it’s no Harry Potter, I still was enchanted with a juvie boarding school for teens caught displaying their magical powers.  Sophie is a likable heroine complemented by a fun cast of characters.  But the standout feature of the Hex Hall series is how FUNNY the books are!  The books are filled with humor that caught me giggling unawares.
Review is forthcoming…

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I blew through Obsidian, Onyx and Shadows (prequel) in just a few days.  These are guilty pleasure books.  They are meant to be fun and not taken too seriously.  Aliens… who happen to be really good-looking teenagers with amazing superpowers.  The action and romance are both intense and will keep you furiously flipping the pages.  I’ve bought book three, Opal, and am restraining myself from picking it up before I finish the book I’m currently in the middle of.
Review is forthcoming…

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
This is the amazing true story of a boy named Salva who escaped civil war in Sudan.  Salva went through so much hardship, but became a truly inspirational person who has had an astounding impact on the world.  This book is written for a middle grade audience, but can be appreciated by anyone.  A short, quick read that will inspire you.
Review is forthcoming…