Month: October 2019

Top Ten Bookish Jack-o-Lanterns

Posted October 28, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 24 Comments

Happy Halloween week! This week’s TTT is a Halloween freebie, and I can only imagine some of the creepy topics that you’ve all chosen to write about! As for me, I’m not the biggest Halloween fangirl and I’m a major chicken when it comes to scary books. So I’ve chosen to share fun bookish jack-o-lanterns I’ve found online! I don’t think I’ll be carving a pumpkin this year, but if I do it won’t look nearly as cool as these ones. lol.

I’m super obsessed with Mary Poppins, and this pumpkin looks amazing!

Look at this cool Sleepy Hollow one!

LOOK at the detail on this The Hobbit jack-o-lantern. I’m amazed.

Love this one!

Look at our cute little Harry Potter!

I am super impressed by the typography on this one!

Charlie Brown!!

This Hunger Games one is really fun!

I love this Sherlock Holmes one. So simple, yet so recognizable.

My favorite bookish heroine, Belle, definitely needs a jack-o-lantern.

Happy Halloween!
What are your Halloween plans?


10th Annual Broke & Bookish Secret Santa

Posted October 23, 2019 by Jana in Uncategorized / 8 Comments

Surprise! #TBTBSanta has moved to That Artsy Reader Girl this year! I am SO EXCITED to be hosting this festive, cheerful, joyous Christmas event that has become such a tradition over the last ten years! For those of you who are new, for the last few years Jamie and I have hosted this together over at The Broke and the Bookish but she has decided it’s best for her to step away this year. So I’m doing it solo!

For the most part, this event will run as it always has. There have been a few small additions to the rules, though, as well as some clarification on things so please pay careful attention even if you’re a #TBTBSanta veteran.

Important Info:

1. Please only sign up if you are committed to sending off a package (on time). Really think about whether or not you’ll have the time and the money to send a thoughtful gift to your recipient–one you’d be happy to receive yourself. I really don’t want to hunt you down for not sending your package, or for sending one that does not meet the guidelines for the event. Think of how heartbreaking it would be to put time and effort (not to mention money) into curating a lovely box for your recipient, only to to be forgotten by your own Secret Santa. I keep track of those who do not follow the rules, and those people are banned from participating in the future.

2. I’m pairing and managing this event by myself this year, so please be patient with me. The pairings will likely trickle out over a few days. Please be understanding if it takes me a day or two to answer emails. Be as thorough as possible in your questionnaire (no amount of info is too much) so I don’t have to relay information between you and your Santa/recipient. Please utilize the event hashtag to ask questions and hope your recipient responds, or reach out to the contact they provide. You’ll get answers much faster this way.

3. A note to people outside of the USA: Please understand that I can’t guarantee that you will be paired with someone even remotely close to you. I try to work it out geographically, but it all depends on who signs up and which level of package they have signed up to send.

Countries are divided up into mailing groups to help with shipping costs. If you live in one of the locations listed below, you will be placed in that mailing group and could be sending to any of the countries listed in that group. If you sign up for a package type that nobody else close to you has signed up for, you might be placed in a different mailing group. If you are unsure as to whether or not you can afford the shipping, please do a a little research before you sign up. I will continually update this post with a list of countries where participants are from so you can see where you might potentially be sending your package.

Countries outside of the USA that people have signed up from:
– Canada
– Europe Mailing Group 1: UK & Ireland
– Europe Mailing Group 2: Mainland Europe (Belgium, Denmark, France, and Italy so far)

4. I’m capping this event at 400 participants this year.

5. I can’t ensure that you do not get paired with someone you’ve been paired with before, or who you’ve been paired with in other swaps/gift-giving events. It’s just too hard for me to juggle that while also trying to pair you with someone you have at least something in common with.

Sign-ups close at 11:59 PM MST on November 12th!

(Although, let’s be honest. I’m not going to be pairing while I’m sleeping
so if you sneak in on the morning of 11/13, I won’t mind.)

How to Sign Up:

Send an email to TBTBSecretSanta (at) gmail (dot) com answering the following questions. (NOTE: Please do not attach a Word or other kind of document to your email. Just copy and paste your answers directly into the body of the email. It’s so much faster for me.)

  1. Full Name & Mailing Address (Exactly as it should appear on the mailing label)
  2. Please choose what level of package you will be sending to your recipient (I will be pairing people accordingly, so plan to send out what you choose here. Please note that ARCs have no monetary limit and will, therefore, not count towards the book quantities listed here. Think of them as a fun bonus if you choose to include them.):
    a) 1 book and small gift
    b) 1-2 books and a couple small gifts/goodies
    c) 2+ books and small gifts/goodies
  3. Blog URL/Twitter username/Youtube channel/Instagram username: (Include any social media or online presences to help your Santa get to know you. You MUST be active on at least one platform.)
  4. List of 10-15 books you’d like to read, or a link to a wishlist: (Please include older and new releases and please do not ask for books that have not been released yet. Make sure your Goodreads profile or Amazon wishlist is public at least for the time this event runs. Double check that your links work while logged out of your account. Please keep your wishlists separate if you participate in other swaps/secret people events.)
  5. Genres you read the most: (Specify YA, adult, etc. as well.)
  6. List of your bookish preferences: (a few favorite authors, things you will not read, if you prefer hardback or paperback, if you don’t care about book format at all, if you are okay receiving something not on your wishlist that your Santa thinks you would like based on your questionnaire, etc.)
  7. Food and other allergies:
  8. All the things about yourself: (Please tell your Secret Santa about yourself. The more they know about you, the better job they can do picking out your additional small gifts/goodies. For example: general info about yourself (job, age, school/major, family, pets, etc.), if you celebrate Christmas, your hobbies, your passions, music you love, smells or flavors you like/do not like, TV shows you watch, favorite movies, things you collect, fandoms you’re a part of, if you would love something native to where your Secret Santa lives, coffee/tea you like, candy/snacks you like, favorite colors, shoe/sock size, favorite patterns, your style/aesthetic, favorite animals, things you are obsessed with, etc. Also, if you have an e-reader and would be happy to receive ebooks or a gift card mention that. The more info in this section, the better. I literally rejoice when I see a lot of words here.)
  9. Would you be able to send internationally if needed? (This question mainly applies to people in the USA, since I can’t guarantee that you will not be sending internationally if you live outside the USA.)
    Please answer with:
    A. Yes, I can.
    B. No, I cannot.
    C. Would prefer not to but will if needed (be careful with this one, as you could be shipping ANYWHERE)
  10. You are:
    a) Under 18
    b) 18+
  11. Have you participated in Broke & Bookish Secret Santa before, or is this your first time?:
  12. Please provide the contact information (name and Twitter handle/email address) of someone your Secret Santa can contact with questions about you: (This person does not have to know you well. They just have to be able to contact you with questions so I don’t have to relay information back and forth between you and your Santa. Please ask this person before you put their twitter handle or email address here so they are not confused. If you have no idea who to ask to be your contact, post to the event hashtag and ask for volunteers. You’ll find one!)
  13. Any questions, comments or additional things your Secret Santa (or I) should know?

 

Things You Need to Do:

1. When you receive your Secret Santa recipient: Have fun playing Santa! Please read the gift guidelines below. Send your package out no later than December 17th (perhaps earlier if you are sending internationally). The earlier the better, as the mail is always slow during the holiday season and it would be nice if it arrived before Christmas.  IF SOMETHING COMES UP PLEASE EMAIL ME. Communication is super important.

2. After you send off your package, please email a tracking number to TBTBSecretSanta (at) gmail (dot) com (this is required). Unless you have questions, I will not be responding to these emails.

3. Email me when you receive your package. Unless you have questions, I will not be responding to these emails either.

4. Be sure to thank your Secret Santa when you receive your package. You can do this via social media or reach out to me for their email address. I know this should go without saying, but we’ve had some ungrateful people in the past who never reached out to their Santa to thank them or even acknowledged that they received their gift. That’s completely unacceptable, not to mention rude.

5. If you have not received your package by January 3rd please email me and I will attempt to contact your Secret Santa. Please understand that I will try my very best to work it out, but there is only so much I can do if someone decided to be a punk.

6. FOR EXTRA FUN: We will use the hashtag #TBTBSanta again on Twitter & Instagram for this event! It’s so much fun see pictures and tweets throughout your entire gift-giving process — maybe a sneak peek of your Secret Santa skills in action (a picture of something you are sending, the wrapping paper you’re using, the box, etc.) and we’d all LOVE to see what you receive!

 

Gift Guidelines & Suggestions:

1. Books can be new or used. Use your discretion as far as used books go, but please be kind and don’t send something you wouldn’t want to receive. They should be in very good condition. ARCs have no monetary value and should, therefore, only be included in addition to the number of books you committed to send.

2. When I say “small gifts”, I don’t mean free swag or promotional items. If you want to add that stuff in after you’ve put in some thoughtful goodies because you think your person would really love those swag/promotional items, wonderful! Please just make sure that those additional goodies are not JUST things anyone could have picked up at a book event or received from publishers in the mail.

3. Be thoughtful. 99% of the time the gifts are really sweet and thoughtful and what you would expect, but occasionally someone just throws random crap in a box and ships it off to fulfill their end. I’ve seen people receive expired face masks, for crying out loud. Don’t be like that. Gifts should be thoughtfully chosen based on your recipient’s questionnaire and wrapped nicely. There should absolutely be some sort of note included.

4. Please do not ship directly from Amazon or elsewhere (unless you talk to me first).

5. If you aren’t sure what kinds of things to add for the additional small gifts, peruse the #TBTBsanta thread on Twitter or Instagram to see pictures of packages from previous years. There are lots of good ideas!

Please ask any questions in the comments!!


Five Books I’d Give Different Titles To

Posted October 21, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 13 Comments

So… This week’s topic is really, really hard. lol. I don’t know what I’m thinking sometimes when I write up these prompts! There’s a lot of titles out there that I don’t like/hate, but very few I’ve come up with a new title for. My list took way too long, but it was kind of fun to brainstorm and get creative… even if I could only come up with 5.

1. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett to I Wanted It to Be You
Alex, Approximately has always bothered me as a title. I never figured out where the “approximately” fit into the story. Since the book is a little bit You’ve Got Mail, why not title it Meg Ryan’s famous quote, “I wanted it to be you.” That would have been cute!

2. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas to The Stars Who Listen
I HATE the “A ___ of ___ and ___” titles. They’re so overused and unoriginal. But this alternate title that’s a piece of a quote Rhysand says to Feyre is thought-provoking and interesting. It also mirrors the dreaminess of the city of Velaris.

3. The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye to The Two Enchanters
I feel too many Hunger Games vibes from this title, and eh. I just like the feel of my alternate title more. Vika and Nikolai are the only two enchanters, and must fight to become the Imperial Enchanter. The loser dies. My title just seems more intriguing! I like the word “enchanter”.

4. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas to Toxic
This title makes the book sound juvenile and “girly”. But the one word that can sum up the entire books is “toxic”. I really like one-word titles.

5. Hunted by Meagan Spooner to Winter Forest
This book’s title tells you nothing. And you certainly have no idea the book is a lovely Beauty and the Beast retelling. My title just sounds more magical!

Ok, that was hard! What titles would you re-title? 


Ten Extraordinary Book Titles

Posted October 14, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 12 Comments

This week’s topic is “Top Ten Extraordinary Book Titles”, and was submitted by Elise @ A Book and a Cup! This topic is broad and “extraordinary” can be interpreted to mean a bunch of different things. I’ve chosen to pick titles that are really beautiful to me and don’t follow the normal title trends in the book world right now (I’m looking at you, _____ of _____ and _____ titles). There’s SO many really pretty titles out there, so it was hard to pick just ten. I’ve only read one of these books, and one is currently on my TBR. The others… kind of sound like I’d only like them for their titles. lol.

1. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
2. Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name by Vendela Vida
3. The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan
4. I Woke Up in Love This Morning by Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons
5. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray (I’ve read this.)
6. Chasing the Sea by Tom Bissell
7. The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton
8. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (on my TBR)
9. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
10. The Shape of Water by Anne Spollen

Have you read any of these?
What are some pretty titles you’ve come across?


Interview with Lauren Mansy | The Memory Thief Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Posted October 14, 2019 by Jana in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Giveaway / 6 Comments

Interview with Lauren Mansy | The Memory Thief Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Welcome to The FFBC’s blog tour for The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy! As the organizer for this tour, I got the opportunity to interview Lauren!


Interview with Lauren Mansy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

1. Your bio says you’ve spent years working with youth of all ages. How has this impacted your writing career?

LM: It has definitely had a huge impact on my writing! I’ve been very fortunate to have had the chance to work with youth since I was fourteen. I started out as a day camp helper then became a counselor when I was older. In college, I was involved in various activities with younger students, and after graduating, I began working with a local high school program. These were all wonderful experiences, and I’m constantly amazed by the youth of today. Their passion for what they believe in and willingness to take steps to make this world a better place is very moving to me. That grit and determination inspired many of the characters in TMT, and I couldn’t more grateful for the relationships I’ve made along the way.

2. Tell us what your debut year has been like! What have you learned so far?

LM: Incredible! Such a whirlwind of wonderful and surreal moments. I think one of the main things I’ve learned is how a writer’s journey can be so much like the stories we love to read. There are up’s and down’s, moments of difficulty and doubt, and faithful allies who help along the way. This year has been filled with a lot of reflection on my path to publication, and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for all the support and encouragement – there have been a lot of happy cry moments, and I’m totally not a crier! Writing fiction helped me express myself in ways I’d never done before, and it gave me a voice when I was still struggling to find mine. I’ll be forever grateful for that!

3. Where were you when you found out your book was being published?

LM: I remember this moment very clearly! I was actually driving in my car with my mom when the offer came through, and we both just started screaming. Then once I pulled over, the tears came! I spent the day celebrating with my family and I must’ve said, “I can’t believe this is happening!” a thousand times — those memories still bring the biggest smile to my face!

4. Which book(s) do you feel everyone should read?

LM: Ooo, great question! I’m going to throw us back to a classic and say The Chronicles of Narnia. Those books made me fall in love with storytelling, so they’ll always have a very special place in my heart.

5. What’s next for you?

LM: I’m currently working on a few projects that I’m very excited about! Now that TMT is on shelves (!!), I’m really looking forward to focusing on some new ideas that I’ve had rolling around in my head for a while. It’s so fun to be at the stage where I can really let my mind wander and see what happens!

ABOUT THE BOOK

1. Describe your book in five words or less.

LM: Betrayal, family, secrets, identity, and hope.

2. I understand that The Memory Thief was inspired by your mother. Can you tell us more about that?

LM: Absolutely! When I was a teenager, my mom was diagnosed with a heart condition, which led to an unexpected heart surgery. On the way to the operating room, her heart stopped six times, and the doctors warned my family that it was unlikely she’d survive. And if she did, she may not remember us due to the trauma she’d experienced throughout the ordeal.

I was sitting at her bedside when she first began to stir after her surgery, and I slipped my hand into hers and told her that it was me. Then she began to squeeze my hand three times, our signal for I love you! That collision of fear and joy was the moment which first sparked the idea for The Memory Thief.

Ever since, I’ve been fascinated by how memories make up so much of our identity and influence our relationships. It terrified me that my mom wouldn’t remember me, but I’m so thankful to say that she made a full-recovery. Though it was a long and difficult process, she never gave up hope that things would one day get better. Her unwavering courage inspired me to want to share this story.

COMMENT FROM JANA: Literal tears are flowing. This is so sweet and powerful!

3. Tell us about the kind of person Etta, our heroine, is.

LM: Etta is very much a flawed character, who has made a lot of mistakes in the past and struggles with how to deal with that. She’s haunted by guilt, but at the same time, she never stops fighting to save the people she loves. Etta is by no means perfect, but she’s definitely someone I’d want on my side :)

4. What’s your favorite thing about the world in The Memory Thief?

LM: My favorite thing would probably be how nothing is ever quite what it seems. This is a world where memories reign over everything, and the fact that they can be passed from person to person has created a society where one’s memories aren’t necessarily their own. Sometimes this can be good a thing (such as when someone who has lost their sight is given the chance to “see” a sunset through a memory), but other times, a person’s true identity can be all too easily lost as their own thoughts are buried by foreign memories. I really enjoyed brainstorming this element of the world, as well.

5. What message do you hope readers receive from reading The Memory Thief?

LM: There’s a line in the book that says, “It isn’t the hardships of the past which define us, but the strength we find in overcoming them.” I hope readers will be inspired by Etta’s journey to never lose hope, even in the midst of impossible odds.


The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy
Published by BLINK on October 1, 2019
Genres: Young Adult Fiction — Fantasy
Add to GoodreadsAmazonB&NBook Depository

In the city of Craewick, memories reign. The power-obsessed ruler of the city, Madame, has cultivated a society in which memories are currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please.

Seventeen-year-old Etta Lark is desperate to live outside of the corrupt culture, but grapples with the guilt of an accident that has left her mother bedridden in the city’s asylum. When Madame threatens to put her mother up for auction, a Craewick practice in which a “criminal’s” memories are sold to the highest bidder before being killed, Etta will do whatever it takes to save her. Even if it means rejoining the Shadows, the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier.

To prove her allegiance to the Shadows and rescue her mother, Etta must steal a memorized map of the Maze, a formidable prison created by the bloodthirsty ruler of a neighboring Realm. So she sets out on a journey in which she faces startling attacks, unexpected romance, and, above all, her own past in order to set things right in her world.


About Lauren Mansy

Lauren lives in the Chicago area, where she’s spent years working with youth, from young children to high schoolers. When she’s not writing, Lauren is usually with her family or exploring the city to find the best deep dish pizza. The Memory Thief, which was inspired by Lauren’s own journey with her mother, is her first novel.

Website | Twitter | Instagram

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Top Ten Things That Make Me Fall In Love with a Book Character

Posted October 7, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 12 Comments

Welcome, welcome! This week’s TTT topic was submitted by Hannah @ Books Life and Other Oddities! What makes you love a character in one of your books? What is it about their character or their personality that makes you pull for them or fall in love with them or want to make them your very own significant other/parent/best friend/etc.? That’s what this week’s topic is all about! I chose to narrow things a little and share what makes me swoon hard and add a character to my long list of book boyfriends. Funny thing is, most of these are things I look for in real life boyfriends as well!

Bookish

There’s just something about a guy who always has his nose stuck in a book. Like Dash from Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares (Cohn and Levithan) or Michael Tyler from Nocturne (James).

Nerdy/Intelligent

I love nerds! Just ask me to quote Big Bang Theory and you’ll know! Logan from The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller comes to mind when I think of nerdy characters I love. Sam from Jodi Meadows’s Newsoul trilogy is also really smart and I love that about him. OH and Thomas Cresswell from Kerri Maniscalco’s Stalking Jack the Ripper series!

Unaware of His Hotness

I love it when a guy is confident, but not dripping with it to the point that he thinks he’s God’s gift to the female eye. I know some guys like that in my real life, and gag me with a spoon. Ransom, the Duke of Rothbury from Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare is blind and scarred and has no idea how attractive he is! He’s not so egotistical that he thinks women should fall into bed with him. I don’t want a guy who is so insecure that he whines and moans, but someone who doesn’t think if himself as a present is very appealing.

Hero Complex/Protective

I love a big, protective man who wants to save me from whatever it is that ails me (whether that’s my own anxieties and struggles or something outside of myself). Thomas Cresswell from Kerri Maniscalco’s Stalking Jack the Ripper series comes to mind again, as does Rhysand in Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Loves Cats

I’m a crazy cat lady, so any guy that can appreciate that is welcome in my books. While I didn’t like Keane from The Trouble with Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis, I could at LEAST stand him because he loved Petunia the cat.

Slightly Mysterious

I like a guy I need to figure out a little bit! Maybe he’s really a jerk and I need to stay clear, or maybe he’s deep or shy or protective of his heart. A little danger is so appealing! Anluan from Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier is a GREAT example of a mysterious character.

Chivalrous/Respectful

I’m super traditional. I like guys who open doors for me and treat me like a lady! What can I say? Kadesh from Forbidden by Kimberly Griffiths Little is very respectful of women, and I loved that. And Finn from Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White is so chivalrous. I love it! Oooo. Nate from The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni is too… Maybe now we know why I love historical romances so much!

Romantic/Thoughtful

Romance. Thoughtfulness. It’s hard to come by. When a character says romantic things, I just melt. Here’s a TTT I did a while back with some great quotes.

Funny/Snarky

I love a great sense of humor. Thorne’s snark in Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series comes to mind. I also love Lucien from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Who else… Gideon from Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier… and a certain boy from Kerri Maniscalco’s brain (fine, I’ll stop mentioning him!), Hale from Ally Carter’s Heist Society books…

Sensitive/Intuitive

I love it when a guy shows signs of feelings! And that he notices something is wrong before you tell him! Matt Finch from Open Road Summer by Emery Lord is like this! And so is Duncan from Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Corriell. Oh, and Sean Kendrick from The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. OH OH. Wolf from Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles!!

There you have it! A list of reasons why I’m single… I mean. Well.
It’s hard to find guys like this, both in life and in books, so point me in
the direction of bookish or real men you think I’d like! 😂 

 

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