Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Books and Sensibility is Going Strictly Indie !

 Books and Sensibility's month long dedication to indie novels !

It's hard to be in the YA book blogging world without noticing all the upcoming indie novels and novelists. So, to open myself up to  more independent and self published authors, I am   going Strictly Indie for the month of May. I will be focusing on reviewing, discussing and posting about indie novels and even have a few guest posts along the way. 

Check back tomorrow for my first Strictly Indie post !

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Books and Sensibility's 2013 BEA Tips and Advice !

BEA 2012 was our first BEA and you can read about our experiences here and here. It was definitely an experience and after a lot of debating we've decided to do BEA 2013 ! It's a big financial and time commitment  but we only do this once a year so we figured why not ? Here are some tips we picked up from last year:

Tote Bag + Rolling Bag

Last year we had no intention of getting a lot of books, but it just kind of happened.To help carry  books on the floor I used a good sized tote bag. I also checked in a rolling piece of luggage for 3$ so that when the tote got heavy, I put the books in the checked bag.

Business cards

Business cards are a must ! They are an excellent way to show off your blog and an easy way to exchange information with authors, publishers and bloggers you meet. I suggest ordering some from Zazzle.com, they offer customizable card for a decent price and quick shipping. Or print your own.

Business Card Holder

When it comes to handing out cards you don't want to fumble in your bag. Bring a lanyard with a card holder or something that can easily be slipped into a  pocket.

Phone Charger

Chances are you will be in the Javits center all day, so your phone battery will get drained. I would invest in either a case that charges your phone or one of those portable chargers.

Teen Author Carnival
This is a really fun author event held during BEA, but not hosted by BEA so you don't need a badge to get in.  I like this event because it gives you the chance to meet so many authors both  new and familiar in a calmer fashion than the BEA signing lines. This event is where I learned about books like Send Me A Sign, Burn for Burn and Pushing The Limits. Stay tuned to the TAC Twitter for the author list.

YA Editors Buzz
This was my favorite BEA event. It is a panel where you hear YA editors talk about what attracted them to a book and a little about the editing process It's nice to hear about a book from the editor's perspective. They also have ARCs at the event, but I don't suggest trying to get any of these unless you want to experience an ARC mob.

Talk to Publicists
This was something I wish I had worked on more. The publicists can tell you which books are going to be their imprints next big thing as well as give you some insight on what the publicity teams expect from bloggers.

Get in Line Early
 Most signings only have a limited number of copies for the author to sign, so it is smart to be early as lines form quickly. I always showed up  45 minutes to an hour early if it was an author I thought would be popular and it was nice to be first or second in line.

Talk to People in Line
Chances are you'll be in line for a while and chatting with people nearby passes the time. You never know what new bookish things you may discover.

Look out for Galley Drops
Be on the lookout for when galley drops are going to be, so you can get the book you want. Some are handed out at the booth and others are posted online, so be on the lookout

Look at Publisher's Weekly
They always have inside information on what goes on at BEA !

Don't Get in The Taxi Line outside Javits
This line is long, I suggest walking  a few blocks away from the center and finding one on the street if you need one.

These are just a few tips, but I think the most important thing is to have a good time and accomplish the BEA goals that are important to you. Whether it's meeting a specific author or just learning more about the business.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Sense List Vol.18



Book News

  • Disney Starlet Bella Thorne  (Shake It Up!) is set to publish a YA seriesAutumn Falls, with Random House.

On The Web

  • The most well read city in America ? Alexandria, Virginia and coming in 18th place is Richmond, VA. Does your city make the list ?

Cover Reveals

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Book Review : Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld and Illustrated by Keith Thompson (Leviathan #2)

"Gravity was something you could beat; all it took was hydrogen, hot air or even a bit of rope. But being a girl was a miserable never-ending struggle."
                                                  -Scott Westerfeld, Behemoth

  • Release Date: October 5th 2010                                                                 
  • Genre: Fantasy/ Alternate History
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Pages: 485

Synopsis: The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker powers. Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.
  The second book in the Leviathan series picks up where Leviathan left off. Together our protagonists; the exiled Austrain Prince Alek and the Scottish midshipman Deryn Sharp masquerading as a boy, land in Istanbul. This melting pot city steeped in tradition is about to get rocked at its center.

Here the two get wrapped up in secret military missions, a revolution and a conspiracy. This novel focuses on the growth of the friendship between Alek and Dylan/Deryn. Deryn now has to deal with figuring out how much longer she can lie to Alek and how her lies are impacting their friendship.

In the foreground however, The Great War plunges on. Battles are fought, lives are lost and the world is going (as Deryn would say) Pear-shaped. As always Westefeld is a master of language and world building. He works the intricacies of World War I into the story while still keeping it easy to follow.

Overall a great continuation for the series. A jarring action packed novel, you come for the plot but ultimately stay for the characters.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Excerpt : Undone by Elizabeth Norris + Giveaway

I picked up Unraveling Last year at BEA and while I'd always been a fan of the covers, what I found inside was even better. Ecspcially for an X-file fan like me. Undone is a novella from the series that will keep fans tied over until Unbreakable hits shelves on April 23rd.

Undone is only 1.99 at Amazon  and  B&N  ! Or you can enter to win below !


Certain moments in my life are imprinted in my memory.

They’re easy to recall with perfect clarify whether I want to remember them or not. Any small thing can trigger them: a phrase, a smell, a thought. It brings everything back like I’m reliving that moment, a brief scene in the movie of my life, complete with how horrible I felt at the time. And I usually felt horrible in those moments, because for some reason it’s the moments that I want to forget that stick around.

Like in eighth grade when I had my first kiss with Jane Sheriden and my arm got stuck awkwardly between her head and couch: just thinking about it still makes me cringe. Or when Ms. Wittak caught me cheating in Algebra freshman year because I’d saved the formulas I needed to remember in a fake game on my graphing calculator, and she tore up my test in front of the whole class.

Then there were memories that were more significant.

The pivotal moments that changed everything.

Those I don’t want to forget. Now that I’ve had too much time to think about them, to replay them over and over again in my mind, they’re the things I wouldn’t take back, that I wouldn’t do over.

Because of Janelle.

She saved my life when we were ten. She anchored me by being who she was, and somewhere along the line, I fell in love with her.

In just about every significant moment in my life, she’s there. Whether she knew it or not.


. . . Janelle Tenner, is used to having a lot of responsibility. She balances working as a lifeguard in San Diego with an intense academic schedule. Janelle's mother is bipolar, and her dad is a workaholic FBI agent, which means Janelle also has to look out for her younger brother.
And that was before she died...and is brought back to life by Ben Michaels, a mysterious, alluring loner from her high school. The more Janelle tries to figure him out, the more she starts to believe he's connected to a case her father is working on. The one where people are dying of radiation poisoning and the body count is rising. The one that involves a strange clock that seems to be counting down to the earth's destruction. If Janelle wants to stop the clock and save the world, she has twenty-four days to uncover Ben's secrets--and keep from falling in love with him

Unbreakable, the sequel to Elizabeth Norris’s Unraveling, blends science fiction, mystery, and romance into a thrilling story YA readers won’t be able to put down.
It’s been four months since Janelle Tenner stopped the earth’s destruction with the help of Ben, the boy who resurrected her after she died. Ben is gone now—disappeared through a portal to his home world.
Even though Ben broke her heart, Janelle refuses to believe it when Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay tells her Ben is suspected of running a human-trafficking ring across several universes. She vows to uncover the true culprit and rescue the people who have been sold into slavery on alternate earths—not to mention find Ben and prove his innocence.

WINNER : Linkin1582 !


Monday, April 8, 2013

Top Ten Favorite Books I Read Before I Was A Blogger

I have to say, doing this week's TTT has me seeing all the new covers of some of my old favorites. 

1. Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher
This is an amazing story and has some great characters.

2. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
This has been a favorite of mine since freshman year of high school (10 years ago ! ), I may do a re-read soon.

3. The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty
This was another book I read multiple times in high school.

4. Tears of A Tiger by Sharon Draper
This is an awesome YA told in letters, overheard conversations and phone calls.

5. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Jess recommended this book to me after seeing it on a list on ONTD.

6. Paper Towns by John Green
After watching Vlogbrother video for a year, I picked this book up. I honestly just wanted to get all the  white wall of cow and  black Santa Claus references.

   7. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night   Time
I read this in high school, at the time  I thought it was YA and not an adult novel..

8.  Boy Meets Girl by Meg Cabot
I randomly picked this book up at my library  when I was in high school. I'm pretty sure I read it twice.

9. Holes by Louis Sachar
I read this book so many times, the movie is great too !

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Head to Head Audiobook Review : Scarlet vs. Prodigy

Young rulers, fugitives on the run and war on the horizon. The  Legend by Marie Lu and Cinder by Marissa Meyer audio books wow'd the contributors at Book sand Sensibility last year with their intriguing worlds, complex story lines and smart plotting. In 2013, both series debuted their second installments and I'm ready to see how these sequels hold up to their predecessors.

Synopsis: Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

Synopsis: June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.
It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.


How to describe Prodigy ? ; ending makes you go "WHAT?!", love and loyalty are called into question and Day oddly gets upstaged... by his hair. Prodigy is certainly a "smart" sequel. It makes you look at Legend in a completely different matter and you learn that not everything is what it seems. We see June and Day actively  standing up for what they believe in while still being faithful to each other. We also get to see a bit more of the world they live in and it's very eye-opening. Lu's writing is visual and engrosses you into the plot. We are talking scaling buildings, explosions and high stakes. I have to admit I still want to know why Lu made the characters so young ? I have this theory that the next book will take place like a year or two in the future. I don't know why I just do. I'm a big fan of both of these narrators, but I wanted a little bit more from June's narrator, Mariel  Stern. Her voice just doesn't scream 15 year old girl.


Spaceships, evil aliens and cyborgs all add up to be a fast paced all-around epic Star Wars-esque space adventure. In Scarlet Cinder shares page-time (?) with Scarlet, a young French farm girl who is looking for her missing grandmother. This sequel answered a lot of  questions left in Cinder and did what good sequels should do; reminded me why I like the original story while throwing in a few curve balls and obstacles for the characters. Also did you wonder were the smarmy bad boy was in The Lunar Chronicles ? Well he shows up as the arrogant American, Captain Carswell Thorne.  Move over Prince Kai, who by the way doesn't have as much presence in this book. Narrator Rebecca Soler had her hands juggling different accents and inflections, but her performance was amazing and she ramps up her acting.

Final Thoughts

As sequels both novels take vastly different approach. Scarlet expands the story of Cinder while introducing new characters and story-lines. Despite all of this, it was much more of an origin story. We don't actually solve any problems, just build  stakes. The Lunar Chronicles feels more like a continuous story and we haven't arced just yet.

Prodigy starts off fast and ends in a rather clean story arc. I'm glad the story didn't go into the direction I thought it would. It was super intense and a fun read, but I just can't figure out where this story is going and that is what keeps me coming back.

Winner: This is a tough one, but I have to give it to Scarlet. I feel that Meyer has a better grasp of her setting and world-building. She makes space alien queens seem realistic. Not to mention Soler's phenomenal job on the audio book.

Either way if you don't have an Audible membership sign up for a free trial to experience one or both of these amazing audio books.

Side Note : Also check out Kat's review of Prodigy. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Book Review: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

“Curiosity is a gateway drug to sympathy.”
 ― Victoria Schwab, The Archived

  • Genre: Supernatural
  • Pages: 328
  • Publisher: Hyperion 
  • Release Date: January 22nd 2013
Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.
Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.
Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Inspired by Dr. Who and a performance to "Gravity" by Sara Barielles on So You Think You Can Dance, I was peaked by this book's inspirations before I even knew the plot.  I was a bit concerned about how it would all come together but, The Archived is an amazing speculative fiction novel, with a story all its own.

The Archive itself is a hidden place where the Histories of the dead are stored in unconscious bodies. When a History wakes and tries to escape the Archive, it's the job of 16-year-old Mackenzie Bishop to find and return them. It's a job she excels at until her little brother dies and her family moves to The Coronado, an old hotel renovated into apartments. Suddenly, things  are beginning to go wrong in the Archive and Mackenzie is sure it has something to do with The Coronado's past.

Mackenzie Bishop is a solid character and great protagonist. She's very present and it is interesting to watch how she deals with  keeping the secrets of the Archive and trying to maintain a normal face for her grieving parent. Even when a few love interest get tossed her way she doesn't let the story get away from her or lose her priorities. Throughout the story we follow her through a range of emotions from reckless vulnerability to strength.

Victoria's writing is excellent, she writes in a visual way which is important to this story because the only two places the story takes place are The Coronado and the Archive. At a signing I went to, Victoria said having a sense of place was important in her debut novel, The Near Witch and it's clear that has translated over to The Archived.

The POV will switch at times from Mackenzie's first person present to a second person POV where she is having a memory about  her dead grandfather. It is jarring at first, but the more I read it the more it seemed to flow and fit into the story.

The other characters in this story are equally dynamic. Mackenzie's new friend, Wesley Ayers offers a different side to the life Mackenzie lives. The character of Roland, one of the ageless Librarians who has given up life in the outside world to work in the library, has a pretty complex relationship with Mackenzie between parent and friend. At the signing Victoria said his character is based on David Tennant which isn't hard to guess when he is described as "built like a stick figure with a young face but old gray eyes and dark hair" and "dark pants [that] run right into a pair of bright red Chucks"

There are some plot points that  are never quite explained, like what the point of the Archive and what all of it's rules are exactly and I hope we can get further into in the next novel, The Unbound.

With a high stakes mystery, intense action and unexpected plot reveals,The Archived is an intriguing supernatural mystery that I can't wait to do a re-read on.


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