Fantastic Writing Friday: Kiersten White

Hey everyone!  So we’re back for another look at some awesome writing and this week I wanted to focus on a very funny lady who writes all kinds of genres.  I haven’t read or even loved all of her books, but I respect her writing a lot.

Fantastic Writing

Kiersten White

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Author of: the Paranormalcy series, the And I Darken series, Chaos of the Stars, Slayer, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, Illusions of Fate, and the Mind Games series.

What I like most about White is her versatility.  She started her career writing paranormal stories (Paranormalcy), moved to writing suspense thrillers with a paranormal twist (Mind Games), then wrote a feminist take on Vlad Dracul (And I Darken), looked at a famous literary character (The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein), and is now writing about Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Slayer).  And her forthcoming series is going to be about Guinevere from the legend of King Arthur.

She’s the kind of writer where, if I had a student looking for a book, I could point them toward whatever genre the liked and it would include White.  (Well, minus contemporary stuff, but it’s close.)

She has a great sense of humor, which shows through early in her writing career.  One of the funniest books I’d ever read was Paranormalcy.  Here’s a taste:

“Oh relax.” I waved my hand dismissively. “If he wanted to kill me, he already would have. I brought him all these sharp pencils, ideal for stabbing, and he’s been a perfect gentleman.”

-Kiersten White, Paranormalcy

However, her writing completely morphs into whatever character is the narrator in that particular story.  This is especially evident in the And I Darken series, where the story is told between Lada and her brother Radu, who have vastly different personalities.  Lada is extremely tough and vengeful to the point of being unfeeling.  Radu has a good heart and cares, maybe not about everyone, but he can’t stand seeing people hurt.  Lada’s outlook on life is pretty well summed up here:

“Hold hands with the devil until you are both over the bridge.
Or kill the devil and burn the bridge so no one can get to you.”

-Kiersten White, Now I Rise (book 2)

And this describes the siblings perfectly:

“Lada had always known exactly what shape she would take. She had never let it be determined by the people around her. But Radu could not escape the need for love, the need for people in his life to help him see what he should—and could—be. Lada shaped herself in spite of her environment. Radu shaped himself because of it.”

-Kiersten White, Bright I Burn (book 3)

White is always in the process of writing what seems like five things at once.  She’s lately announced she’s going to be part of an anthology retelling many of Shakespeare’s plays, where she will be redoing Romeo and Juliet.  I’m excited to see what that looks like, not just from her but from all of those involved!

And on Twitter, White is hilarious to follow.  She uses her humor and storytelling to the greatest effect to write about the bizarre things that happen in her life.  It’s a lot of great fun.

Anyway, I think she’s fantastic!  What are your favorites from her?

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Help Wanted! Any Advice Will Do!

Hey everyone!  So I’ve recently been bitten by the Writing Bug and I’ve gone back to working on a story that I’ve been writing on and off for four years.  And…believe it or not…I think it’s nearly done.  I have over 50,000 words, I feel like the arc is nearly complete (I’m just filling in a few gaps and adding a few more things to the end), and I kind of want to share it with the world to see what people think.  However, I’m not interested in publishing it.  I wrote it because I wanted to and I simply want to share it.

So here’s my question:

Where does one post an original story?  Where do people look for them?

Most of my experience posting my writing (besides this blog) is about 10-12 years old and either don’t exist anymore or are too specific to a type (sorry, Leaky).

I’ve sort of thought of two possibilities: to create a blog completely devoted to the story where I post each bit weekly or whatever or Wattpad.  I’m incredibly not familiar with Wattpad, so I really don’t know the first thing about it except that a number of authors use it.

Thoughts?  If any of you read original stories online, where do you go?  Or if you post stories, all the better!  Any advice would be helpful!

***

Interested in my story?  Here’s a general synopsis of it:

Cassidy Hepburn’s life hasn’t been the same since her younger brother died two years ago.  Dealing with trauma and anxiety, she pretends to be a normal high school junior most of the time, but inside she’s broken.  With her parents constantly fighting, even home isn’t a safe place anymore.  Walking home one night, she meets Ezra Hardy and, even though he’s infuriating at times, he doesn’t see Cassidy as broken or even in need of fixing.  As their friendship grows and maybe turns into something more, will Cassidy be able to finally heal her heart?

(Contemporary YA)

(I also have ideas for at least 2 spin-offs, so I’m basically immediately starting on that as soon as I finish this.)

Fantastic Writing Friday: Libba Bray

Hey everyone!  So for this week’s Fantastic Wring Friday, I really wanted to highlight one of the authors who really got me into reading in middle school.  (Not that I wasn’t reading before that…I definitely was…but I could talk about these books with friends who were reading them too.)

Let’s take a look, shall we?

Fantastic Writing

Libba Bray

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Her books: A Great and Terrible Beauty (and its two sequels), Beauty Queens, Going Bovine, The Diviners (and its 2 sequels, with the final book coming soon).

Libba’s books tend to fall a little on the bizarre side, which is just fine with me.  A Great and Terrible Beauty is a historical fiction with magic.  Beauty Queens is about a plane of beauty queens crashing on an island and uncovering a plot.  Going Bovine is about a kid with Mad Cow Disease going on his own Don Quixote-esque adventure.  (“Who the heck is Don Quick-oats?” is a direct quote from that book.)  The Diviners series is a 1920s historical fiction where a bunch of kids have extraordinary abilities and take on ghosts, evil dudes, and the media.

Let’s take a look at some of the fun ones first.

“There is a hideous invention called the Dewey Decimal System. And you have to look up your topic in books and newspapers. Pages upon pages upon pages…”

Uncle Will frowned. “Didn’t they teach you how to go about research in that school of yours?”

“No. But I can recite ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’ while making martinis.”

“I weep for the future.”

“There’s where the martinis come in.”

-Libba Bray, The Diviners

Or this one that most girls can relate to:

“You want to know what pain is? Try running out of Advil when you’ve got a Category Five period. I’ve had cramps that would make grown men beg for a bullet between the eyes.”

-Libba Bray, Beauty Queens

(By far, Beauty Queens is the book with the fastest zingers.  Going Bovine is probably pretty high on that list too, but so is The Diviners series.)

But no matter how weird things get, there are always undeniable truths in her writing.

“And that is how change happens.  One gesture.  One person.  One moment at a time.”

-Libba Bray, The Sweet Far Thing

I use that quote every year at the end of the year with my students.  And I like this one too:

“There are no safe choices.  Only other choices.”

-Libba Bray, A Great and Terrible Beauty

And this one literally changed my life.  I don’t consciously think about it anymore, but the lesson is there:

“Why do girls always feel like they have to apologize for giving an opinion or taking up space in the world? Have you ever noticed that?” Nicole asked. “You go on websites and some girl leaves a post and if it’s longer than three sentences or she’s expressing her thoughts about some topic, she usually ends with, ‘Sorry for the rant’ or ‘That may be dumb, but that’s what I think.”

-Libba Bray, Beauty Queens

And there are so many more I could show you too!  The main characters may be dealing with a ghost or a disease or an evil corporation, but they’re still relatable people and Libba makes sure we understand that.  We are like them and they are like us.  It’s just gift-wrapped a little differently.

But this final quote, this final thought I leave you with, is the one she included in her author’s note at the end of the 3rd Diviners book.  And it’s all the more reason why I respect Libba.

“We are a country built by immigrants, dreams, daring, and opportunity. We are a country built by the horrors of slavery and genocide, the injustice of racism and exclusion. These realities exist side by side. It is our past and our present. The future is unwritten. This is a book about ghosts. For we live in a haunted house.”

-Libba Bray, Before the Devil Breaks You

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY! PART 28

HELLO!  It’s once again time for me to do my annual birthday post.

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So I can tell (a little) that I’m getting older, but like, I don’t feel it, you know?  I’m 28 years old and literally half of the things my parents say still makes me giggle from the double entendre.  (I went over there one Sunday for dinner and they were staining the deck while I was there.  Their stain stirring stick was like 3 feet long and my mom kept hitting it.  She said to my dad, “Would you get that stick out of my butt?”  I lost it.  And they called me immature for it.)

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My parents, talking about me.

Anyway, I’m 28, but I don’t necessarily feel like it.  I laugh at fart jokes.  I say slang that my family just looks at me like, “Huh?” for when they hear it.  I know what fashion trends are popular more now than I did when I was in high school.  And all of that is because of my students.  Middle school, man.  It’s interesting.

Oh, and for my birthday dessert?  I asked for homemade Rice Krispy Treats.  Of all of the desserts I could have asked for, that’s what I went with.  But they sound delicious, especially since my mom has a s’mores variation that’s delicious.

But also, there are times when I do start to feel my age.  Like when you realize a movie you grew up with turned 25 years old.  Or when I hear a song on the radio I haven’t heard in a while and then realize it’s because it came out 18 years ago.  Or when I realize that my students are now half of my age.  It’s horrifying stuff.

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Y’all, this debuted in September 1993.  Feel old yet?

Still, this has been a good year for me.  I bought a house, I’m now one of the choreographers for my school’s show choir (which was terrifying at first but I love that I’ll play a bigger role), and I really and truly feel like I’m becoming a better teacher.  My instincts have been honed after 5 years.  I feel more settled in my life than I have in a long time.  I love that I can decorate my house and make it feel my own.  (And I have a library!  In my house!  And a room I call my art studio for painting and other crafts!)

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Anyway, I’m pretty much going to be celebrating today as I do every day: by reading and trying not to melt in the heat.  This half-red head Midwesterner does not handle the heat well and it’s over 90 here.  So I’ll be inside reading and probably working on my choreography.

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The drama. The passion. The biceps.

Have fun today guys!  🙂  I will be!

Why I Can’t Watch Netflix’s Mr. Iglesias–Even Though I Want To

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Ok, I have to do this.  This is one of my pet peeves.

When I saw that Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias was getting a sitcom, I was stoked.  My family is a huge fan of Gabriel.  We quote him all the time.  (“HEY!…’Mere.”)  I think his jokes are on point, he’s got a good heart, and he’s just entertaining.

And I was so excited that his show was going to be about a history teacher.  Immediately, I started wondering what kind of history jokes he’d make, which are some of my favorite jokes of all time.  History + Comedy = Nerdy Fun.

…and then I watched the first episode.

Look, I think the show has a good heart.  It’s following kids who normally don’t do well in school.  Your slackers, your kids who have to work to support their families, your kids who simply struggle with school.  I love that, since those are the most like my students.  And being a comedy, I knew it would have heart while still being funny about it, which I appreciate.  (The really serious teacher movies like Dead Poets Society are great, but I can’t watch them often.)

But my God, this show plays into all the stupid–an inaccurate–teacher tropes.

Let me go through a few of them.

1. The principal gave the teachers an assignment on their hour long lunch break.

I literally almost laughed out loud when I heard that.  First of all, my lunch is 30 minutes at best, just like the kids.  If I need to make a call or run copies, that means I’m usually eating my lunch in about 15 minutes.  And also, if your principal is at all respectful, they’re not going to give you an assignment over lunch.  Most of the time, they give you longer than your lunch break to complete something unless someone screwed up.

2. Their “last day of school” was way more chill than I’ve ever seen.

The first episode takes place on the last day of school–which makes the rest of the plot that much more unbelievable.  On the last day of school, no one is just calmly walking around like that or even talking about school.   There were no finals, lockers were still full of books, and teachers didn’t look like they were about to die.  Clearly, none of the writers have been in school for a while (a point that was abundantly obvious).

3. Teachers were in the “break room” more often than their classrooms.

This irks me so much.  As a teacher, I rarely have any time to go to the bathroom.  Yeah, I said it.  So the fact that they’re all just standing around singing songs, making coffee, chit chatting, etc., it’s ridiculous.  We’re all frantically running around trying to get things done before the next class comes in in 4-7 minutes, depending on the length of your passing period.  Only one of your class periods is open as your prep, and more often than not, you have planning to do during that time.  That’s it.

4. PUBLIC SCHOOLS CANNOT COUNSEL ANYONE OUT.

Ok, let me pull in my rage here a little.  The entire crux of the show is that the principal and the guidance counselor are trying to “get rid” of the lowest performing students to boost the school’s numbers.  They delivered letters to those students via their lockers (um…unprofessional much?) and let the kids know they’d basically been “let go.”  Private schools can do that.  A student of mine came to my school from a private school because she broke dress code too many times.  Public schools are required to take everyone.  This is why public schools often have lower test scores.  By law, they are required to take anyone who comes to them.  We can expel kids for serious infractions, like drugs or weapons on school grounds.  Sometimes even bullying or fighting can result in that.  But let me tell you, even that doesn’t guarantee an expulsion.  One of my kids last year was so violent that we knew he was going to go off and hurt someone–an adult had to shadow him all day long.  But we couldn’t do much because he had an IEP–an Individualized Education Plan.  He had emotional issues that meant he was quick to anger, like trigger-quick.  We had to wait for the parents to pull him after he was suspended more often than not.

Excuse my language, but public schools get so much shit because we can’t help what we are.  All these politicians who keep saying public schools are failing (including John Delaney on the first Democratic Debate) simply fail to understand how public schools work.  They keep pushing for all schools to be charter/private schools.  But guess what?  If you’re going to make it mandatory that every child be in a school–and you do away with public schools–then your private schools are going to turn into public schools.  Someone has to take those students.

The fact that this show played it up like public schools could just “let go” of poorly performing students was insulting and severely misinformed.  I get that the point of the show is that Gabriel is trying to nurture those students, but this?  No.  Sorry, school doesn’t work this way.  And it’s just feeding the perceptions people have about public schools that are grossly misleading or plainly false.

*****

I think what the show is trying to do is good.  And Gabriel’s history jokes were so funny.  But I can’t watch a show that so inaccurately represents my profession and that of so many of my friends at a time when our jobs are being attacked on virtually every front.  I take so much crap for it and I’m tired.  I’m tired of defending myself and my students from outsiders.

Introducing…Fantastic Writing Fridays!

Hey everyone!  So I felt like I needed a little something extra to post about every week and I settled on focusing on writing.  Usually with this blog (and most others I see), we tend to focus on the characters, the plots, the conflicts, the themes, the books overall.  We rarely focus on the writing unless it’s bad.

I’ve been really moved by a lot of writing lately.  The complexities of it, the amazing metaphors writers come up with, etc.  I’ve been watching Songland on NBC (Tuesdays at 10!) about the songwriting process and I’ve got to say, every song I’ve heard on it has been beautiful.

On top of that, I just feel like writing in general is undervalued.  We should be celebrating authors that are amazing and who hit us square in the feels with a perfectly worded quote or advice or pose the question that just doesn’t leave us.

I’m going to have some fun with this.  I hope you will too.

Fantastic Writing

This week’s Fantastic Writer is…

Tahereh Mafi

This wasn’t even a question when I first actually sat down and started planning out this post.  Mafi’s quotes (especially from Juliette in any of the Shatter Me series) have always had a way of getting to me.  This one about loneliness painted such an amazing picture that I think about this a lot:

“Loneliness is a strange sort of thing.
It creeps on you, quiet and still, sits by your side in the dark, strokes by your hair as you sleep. It wraps itself around your bones, squeezing so tight you almost can’t breathe. It leaves lies in your heart, lies next to you at night, leaches the light out of every corner. It’s a constant companion, clasping your hand only to yank you down when you’re struggling to stand up.
You wake up in the morning and wonder who you are. You fail to fall asleep at night and tremble in your skin. You doubt you doubt you doubt.
do I
don’t I
should I
why won’t I
And even when you’re ready to let go. When you’re ready to break free. When you’re ready to be brand-new. Loneliness is an old friend stand beside you in the mirror, looking you in the eye, challenging you to live your life without it. You can’t find the words to fight yourself, to fight the words screaming that you’re not enough never enough never ever enough.
Loneliness is a bitter, wretched companion.
Sometimes it just won’t let go.”

-Tahereh Mafi, Unravel Me

Or this one about time:

“Killing time isn’t as difficult as it sounds.

I can shoot a hundred numbers through the chest and watch them bleed decimal points in the palm of my hand. I can rip the numbers off a clock and watch the hour hand tick tick tick its final tock just before I fall asleep. I can suffocate seconds just by holding my breath. I’ve been murdering minutes for hours and no one seems to mind.”

-Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me

I haven’t read much that Mafi has done outside of the Shatter Me series, so that’s basically what I’m going to be basing this on.

What I love best about Mafi writing as Juliette is how she plays with language.  Both of these quotes personify abstract ideas in a way that makes them feel so different from how we’re used to thinking about them.  And I love that.  I love that loneliness feels jealous of success, that time is represented as mortal.  It’s fascinating how she’s put that all together.

She also plays with language in the way she frames some of her writing in a way that feels like poetry.  She doesn’t always use punctuation, especially when she’s trying to show a decline in Juliette’s mental state.  She also plays with the crossing out of words in the story to show what Juliette feels and how she’s editing it.  It’s so bizarre to see this that I fell in love with it pretty quickly because of how it helped enhance the characters.  Here’s an example of that poetry sound:

“He’s breathing like he’s lost his mind and he’s looking at me like something has broken inside of him, like he’s woken up to find that his nightmares were just that, that they never existed, that it was all just a bad dream that felt far too real but now he’s awake and he’s safe and everything is going to be okay and
I’m falling.
I’m falling apart and into his heart and I’m a disaster.”

-Tahereh Mafi, Unravel Me

As Mafi has gotten older, her writing has tended to be more thoughtful.  She relies more on those Big Questions that drive most of us in some way, how we look for those universal truths in literature.  Who am I?  What do I want?  What does real love look like?  In A Very Large Expanse of Sea, she really dives into those questions as she writes (in a fictional way) about what she and others endured as Muslim women after 9/11 and the ignorance many people showed them.  Here’s a quote from that book that moved me:

“The more I got to know people, the more I realized we were all just a bunch of frightened idiots walking around in the dark, bumping into each other and panicking for no reason at all.
So I started turning on a light.
I stopped thinking of people as mobs. Hordes. Faceless masses. I tried, really hard, to stop assuming I had people figured out, especially before I’d ever even spoken to them. I wasn’t great at this—and I’d probably have to work at it for the rest of my life—but I tried. I really did. It scared me to realize that I’d done to others exactly what I hadn’t wanted them to do to me: I made sweeping statements about who I thought they were and how they lived their lives; and I made broad generalizations about what I thought they were thinking, all the time.”

-Tahereh Mafi, A Very Large Expanse of Sea

Mafi is a brilliant writer with stunning prose that leaves me captivated every time I pick up her books.  She twists language in ways that I didn’t know it could go and it makes me, as an English teacher, fangirl with delight as I read it.  Language is power and Mafi understands that.  Her metaphors are incredible and you end up seeing the world very differently after each book than you did before you started it.  That’s the sign of a powerful writer.

In the comments below, please leave your favorite Mafi quote!  What’s moved you?  (If you’re having trouble finding one, Goodreads has a lot of them!)

ThriftBooks: My Experiences With This Online Used Book Store

Hey everyone!  So I’m always looking for a way to buy cheap books (who isn’t?) and ThriftBooks got my attention on Pinterest one day.  Once I started digging around and placed a couple of orders, I started thinking it’d be good to let you guys know about it.

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What Is It?

Thriftbooks is an online used book seller, though they even have new books that you can order through them too.  Their used books generally run about $3.99-$4.50, but they also sell boxed sets, books in different languages, and collectibles (obviously, those tend to be a little more expensive).

With each book that you click on, they give you the option of getting the book in different conditions.  All of this depends on their availability, so this is subject to change by book.  First, you have a choice of hardback or paperback.  Then you can choose “like new,” “very good,” “acceptable,” “good,” or “new.”  Most of the books are going to probably fall in the “very good” or “acceptable” category, just from what I’ve seen.

My Experiences

To celebrate the end of the school year, I rewarded myself by buying a few books that I’ve been searching book stores for recently to add to my library.  I bought the following:

  • Soul Screamers Vol. 1 by Rachel Vincent (in “very good” condition)
  • Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay (in “like new” condition)
  • Drink Deep by Chloe Neill (in “very good” condition)
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (in “very good” condition)
  • Harry Potter a L’Ecole des Sorciers by J.K. Rowing (in “acceptable” condition)

There was a sale running at the time where you could get 15% off of $15 or more, so I got these 5 books for a grand total of $21, including tax.  That’s pretty good, considering these books would have cost me a lot more at my local Half-Price Books.  I was happy with my purchases and I was just waiting for them to arrive.

And then, of course, after the first bunch came, I put in a second order.  Because now I have a “problem.”  That order included:

  • Destined by Jessie Harrell
  • Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt
  • Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
  • Shadows in the Silence by Courtney Moulton

This order is currently being shipped, so I haven’t received any of these yet.

The Pros

When it comes to this site, they’re doing a lot of things right.  Here’s what I like.

  • The Wish List.  Once you make an account, anything you see that you might want to buy, you can just throw on your wish list.  If it goes out of stock (which a few of mine did after being put on my list), they will keep you posted about them when they get another one in.
  • Free Shipping.  If you live in the United States, all you have to do is spend $10 to get free shipping.  Seriously, how hard is it to spend $10 on books?  That’s like 2-3 books on their site, so it was pretty darn easy for me to reach that number.
  • Reading Rewards.  While I haven’t hit my reward yet, they give you points for each book you buy and when you reach 500 points (which seems to be surprisingly easy to hit), then you get a free book.  I really like that.
  • Easy To Get What You Want.  I’m trying to build up my library by completing a few of my series (see Soul Screamers above, where I already have volumes 2 and 3, but not 1).  So I was looking specifically for that volume.  Or with a few of them, I for sure want the hardback or paper back versions to fit with what I already have of that series.  This makes it easy to get what I’m looking for to best compliment my library.  I even can pick which covers I want, like if I want the movie tie-in or not.
  • They’re Upfront About Ex-Library Books.  Sometimes it bothers me to have ex-library books, sometimes it doesn’t.  So the fact that they’re so open about it being an ex-library book is nice.  It’s really hard to miss it.  They try to make sure you know all through the check-out process that it’s ex-library.  If that’s a problem, it’s pretty easy to go back and pick a different version.
  • Coupons.  I got both of my orders in during their 15% off coupon and that was really nice.  I don’t know how often they run sales like that (once a season maybe??) but I will definitely take advantage of their site during those times.
  • The Site’s Easy To Use.  There were a few times I’ve had to fight with the site, but mostly it’s really easy to use.  You can search by genre (and they have everything, from YA to romance to nonfiction to popular fiction) or you can search by title or author.  You can also search by language if you’re looking for Spanish or French versions of something.  In fact, it’s been a little too easy to add to my wish list.

The Cons

Ok, so while my ordering process was awesome, my cons come from what happened next.

  • Shipping Takes Forever.  The free shipping comes with 4-8 day shipping through USPS.  I placed my first order on June 2nd, which was a Sunday.  I didn’t get the last of my order until June 12th.  I don’t know why it took so long, though I’m not sure I can lay all of the blame on ThriftBooks for that one.  But basically, if you’re ordering something as a birthday present or whatever, plan a lot of time in advance, just to make sure you get it on time.  4-8 days isn’t a guarantee.
  • Tracking Is Useless.  They allow you to track your package through USPS (and again, this isn’t necessarily Thriftbooks’ fault), but the tracking was pointless.  It wouldn’t give me an arrival date until it was already in my city.  So I could see that it was coming from Nevada or Oregon, but it wouldn’t give me any kind of date until it was already out for delivery.  That’s just stupid.
  • My Order Came In 3 Different Packages.  I haven’t quite figured out where their warehouses are or how this all works, but my order of 5 books came in 3 different packages.  One was shipped from Portland, Oregon, another from Reno, Nevada, and the last from Dallas.  My second order of 4 books is being shipped from 2 different places: Reno and Baltimore, Maryland.  And since they were taking forever to arrive, it wasn’t even exciting when they finally arrived.
  • Your Books Are Shipped in Bags.  This is what irritates me the most.  When I knew my first package was in my mailbox, I was excited.  I opened the box…and my book was in a shipping bag.  The book inside, which was a hardback, looked like it had taken a bit of a beating.  (I don’t know how much of that was prior damage, to be fair.)  But my “like new” Of Beast and Beauty was definitely dinged up from its travels.  Corners were bent from the way it was shipped, I’m sure of it.  Is it a deal-breaker from ever using them again?  No.  But it does make me proceed with caution.  My last package’s bag had holes in it from where it had gotten caught on something else.  My books could have been destroyed if they’d been exposed to rain.  As someone who is very possessive of her books, this really bothers me that they were treated this badly.

Conclusions

As a company, I like them.  I like their selection, their rewards program, their ordering process.  It’s simple, inviting, and fun to just look through their options.  My issues come from their shipping process, which might be somewhat out of their hands.

I thought the books I received were pretty much what I was expecting.  My “acceptable” Harry Potter book was in better shape than I expected; on the flip side, my “very good” The Girl of Fire and Thorns wasn’t in the best shape.  If they had marked it as “acceptable”, then I would be fine with it, but having never used their site before, I’m not sure what each condition actually looks like with them.

But I like them.  Will I be ordering from them again?  Yes.  It’s going to be a while because I can’t keep buying books at this rate, but I like them enough to keep checking on their inventory.