Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Today is a Very Important Day...

You newbies may be thinking:

You: An important day? You mean the election right?

No, my friends. Today is important* because today was the release day of Laini Taylor's novel Days of Blood and Starlight, the sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone!

Just look at that beauty! If books were edible, am I right?
Just for fun, let's see the two of them together, shall we?

Gah, so gorgeous. I can't take it!

For those of you who don't know this series, it's about a girl named Karou whose life is far from ordinary. Besides having naturally blue hair, the ability to speak in a dozen languages, and a pair of tattoos on her hands that she's had since she could remember, Karou's family is not exactly human. She's never questioned their place in her life, though she does wonder where she comes from. These questions, as well as plenty new ones, are brought to the forefront when her life begins to turn upside down. That's all you get until you read the first book. 

So anyway, this post is just my general excitement that this sequel is out, and how I can't wait to get my hands on it. Laini Taylor's writing is superb. Every description and dialogue, fight scene or inner conflict is so detailed and colorful in my mind. I'd love to get a hold of her other work as well.

So don't forget to vote, but definitely remember to pick up a copy of Days of Blood and Starlight!

*Don't mistake this joking nonchalance as seriousness. Of course I realize that the election is very important, but aren't you tired of hearing about it? I know I am.

Friday, November 2, 2012

For the Love of YA

Part of Beth Revis's Library of YA Contest involves getting on top of a mountain and declaring with a sonic megaphone why you love YA so much. However, Ms. Revis has not anticipated that not all of us have a convenient backyard mountain, and that all the sonic megaphones are on backorder, so a blog post will have to suffice. I mean, it's basically the same thing, right?

Anyway, back to the task at hand.

The first time I remember reading a YA book was in sixth or seventh grade. I'd moved about five years before, and it had really taken a toll on the friend count (this was before Facebook, y'all). I'd always loved reading, but the wait for the next Harry Potter book was a bit too agonizing to just sit and wait for. I went to Barnes and Noble, and realized that I'd skimmed the children's sections so many times, I basically knew the shelves' line-up by heart. So I decided to venture out, into the teen section. Pretty intimidating for an 11-year old. I looked around, and finally picked up a little novel called I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter, and 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson. A girl spy and a trek across Europe? Sign me up! I completely devoured them, once I'd gotten myself a copy of them (saving up your chores allowance takes a while). It was incredible. I'm a pretty independent person, and these kickass, incredibly strong protagonists was like finding a dollar in the washing machine. More like a twenty-dollar bill, I guess.

The two years were years of firsts:
-First book I read with a curse word in it (A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly)
-First book with a makeout/sex scene in it (Again, A Northern Light, though I couldn't connect the dots at the time)
-First book with a boy protagonist (Eagle Strike by Anthony Horowitz)

The list goes on and on, but to be honest, I've lost track, since once I began YA, I never stopped. I've recently advanced to the level of the Neverending To-Read List, which comes with symptoms of buying one book one week, and about three more before even starting the first one.

And YA also helped me find a home in writing. I'd always wanted to be a writer, but I was directionless at the start of it. I actually thought once that I was so terrible, I should just write poetry for the rest of my life (there was no follow-through on that plan). With YA books came their authors, and their blogs, and the realization that they were essentially me, with the exception that they took their desire to write, and took the next step: they wrote. Nanowrimo 2012's going on right now, and as the waves of uncertainty try to beat my hands away from my keyboard, I just keep telling myself: write.

I'm actually Marlin in this gif.

Since that trip to Barnes and Noble, I've been to signings, I've cried over books, I've laughed out loud (usually embarrassingly, and in a public place), I've made this blog, and I've written the beginnings of a dozen stories (hopefully they'll all be finished one day). Since then, I've found books that have stolen my heart, books I couldn't even finish, and books that left me thinking (my favorite kind). YA lit has become my home, and I don't plan to move out.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Celebrate Books, and Maybe Even Win Some

This contest is just too good not to share. Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe and A Million Suns just recently announced that she's hosting a giveaway of fifty signed books. Fifty! A small library! And they're all pretty amazing books, if you ask me. Here's a quick glimpse at some of the titles:

Clicking the picture, aside from being aesthetically pleasing, will also take you to the page with information about the contest, in case you're interested.
So what do you have to do for a chance to win this lovely monstrosity? Simply spread the word. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, whatever your heart desires. You can share that big honking picture as well. The best way to score big with this contest, however, is to write a blog post telling the world why you love YA. Don't have a blog? Start one! There's tons of sites with easy set-up (how do you think this one's getting started?). Once you've promoted your brains out, there's a link to the entry form back on Beth's site. So get cracking, and good luck!