The Evil Queen (The Forest of Good and Evil, #1)

Amazon.com: The Evil Queen (The Forest of Good and Evil Book 1 ...First Lines: Why do we love fairy tales?  Oh, let me count the reasons.  Magic. Inspiration. Adventure. True love.  But there are reasons to hate these stories, as well.  Murder. Betrayal. Heartbreak.  Some characters live, some die, but all suffer in one way or another.

This was one of the books I managed to check out from the library like a month before the doors closed for the pandemic.  And I was actually trying to decide if I even wanted to read it.  Showalter can right an amazing story (Alice in Zombieland, anyone?), but with so much bad in the world right now, did I really want to read about an anti-hero, an evil queen?  Somewhat reluctantly, I dug into this.

In the realm of Enchantia, mythical creatures and magic run rampant.  And those fairy tales you know?  Those aren’t just stories here–they’re prophecies of the future.  Everly Morrow is only just learning all of this.  Raised in the mortal world, Everly thought she was normal…until she developed the ability to commune with mirrors.  Turns out she’s a real-life princess of Enchantia.  The bad news?  She’s fated to the Snow White’s nemesis, the Evil Queen.  With amazing abilities, Everly returns to the land of her birth and meets Roth Charmaine, who is clearly Prince Charming.  Even as sparks fly between them, their relationship is doomed.  And as the betrayals mount, it gets harder for Everly to turn away from the dark magic she knows she can harness.  Can she resist or will she become the villain everyone expects her to be?

I’d be lying if I said I was immediately sucked in. I wasn’t. It took days for me to feel like I wanted to keep reading. Everly is immediately reviled by everyone who meets her for no real reason. No matter how good she tries to be, everyone hates her. It was hard to want to keep reading when there were a lot of negative emotions like that so fast. But I kept at it, hoping it would get somewhere.

And then it did. I can’t say when exactly I started falling into the story, but there was definitely a point where I wanted to start reading about what happened next.

The characters weren’t always as deep as I wanted them to be. Like, outside of maybe 3-4 characters (and even that might be a bit optimistic), we didn’t really get to know any of the characters behind the basics. This story is ambitious. There’s a lot happening in the plot. Ergo, there was little time to really delve into character development. Plot twists and betrayals? Sure. But actually feeling a connection to multiple characters? Didn’t happen.

That’s not to say I didn’t like the characters we did get to know. Everly is an awesome character who fights that tension between good and evil the whole story. What makes someone good? What makes them evil? The fact that she asked this question the whole time added another level to the story. I liked that it played with that question so much because it really is about perspective–how do you justify what you’ve done when it means hurting someone else?

The connection to Snow White, while absolutely prevalent, isn’t quite what you think it’s going to be.  (Which was good.  Snow White is not my favorite fairy tale.)  It’s not clear who is who and that’s intentional. I kind of liked that, the puzzle of trying to put all that together while reading.

I really enjoyed the fantasy elements and the morality of the story. I’m eager to see what the next book brings.

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Discoveries of 2019

Hey guys!  Look, I don’t think I can turn this into a Top Ten list, but I kind of like the topic.  So I figured I’d talk about what I did discover this last year, even if I’ve already done an essayish post on this before.  It’s worth mentioning again.

Thriftbooks.com

Look, I’m cheap.  I’ll own it.  I’m a millennial who only last month finally paid off all college loans and I now have a massive mortgage I’m working on.  I want to get books for a good deal and Thriftbooks helps me do that.  But there are some pros and cons.

Pros: Thriftbooks has a pretty wide selection of books.  Hardback, paperback, and even collector editions if you’re interested in that.  Prices most often fall around $4.29 per book if you want it to look newish, but they can go lower than that.

You also earn rewards points as you buy.  When you earn enough rewards points, they let you pick a free book under $5 in value, which is most of their site.

They also have a wish list feature, where if you see something you’re interested in but you’re trying to avoid temptation, you can add it to the wish list for now and decide on it later.  This feature also tells you if the book is out of stock (like if it’s been on your list for a while) and will show you when it’s back in stock.

Cons: For purposes of keeping it cheap, I assume, they ship the books in these bags, not boxes like I was expecting.  That means sometimes your books get a little beat up at the corners before they get to you.  I’m not a big fan of that.

Also, shipping takes an incredibly long time, in my opinion.  My first order took about 10 days to get to me.  Most of my orders take about a week.  I think once it came in 5 days and I was surprised.  And the books typically ship separately, so you’ll get one and then a few days later get more.  (They come from various warehouses, which I understand, but then it’s harder to watch for 3-4 different packages.)

But perhaps my biggest beef is that sometimes I get what I’m not exactly expecting.  I’ve gotten ex-library copies when I specifically tried to not choose those.  It literally tells you when you’re buying it that it’s ex-library and I picked a different version to avoid that.  Nope.  Also, one time they sent me an ARC copy of a book, which you’re not even legally allowed to sell.  That was a shocker, let me tell you.

They do have a return policy, but at the time I received the ARC copy I was unaware of it and missed the deadline for returning it.

Overall: Look, I know I just aired a lot of complaints, but the truth is that I do get a number of really awesome books from there that I have no complaints about.  I got the entire Girl of Fire and Thorns series from them for like $14 total.  I picked up 2 of the Harry Potter books in French for pretty cheap.  I’ve been using the site to try to complete series that I have 1-2 books for but not the other 1-2 books and that’s been working out for me pretty well.

Yes, I have complaints, partly from the fact that I can’t pick the books out myself.  I’m very picky about these things.  But honestly?  The complaints I listed above are the only complaints I have.  Those were my only bad orders and I’ve ordered like 5 times now.

Top Ten Most Anticipated Book Releases of 2020

Hey everyone!  Now that we’re all loaded up on Barnes & Noble gift cards after the holidays (or is that just me?), we definitely need to take a look at some awesome books set to come out in the next few months.  And there are a few coming out this month that I could not be more excited about.

So let’s go!

Top Ten Most Anticipated Book Releases of 2020

1. A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers, #2) by Brigid Kemmerer

Release Date: January 7 (TODAY!)

The first book in this series, A Curse So Dark and Lonely, was my favorite book of last year.  So I am very, very much looking forward to this book.  Please pause while I go reread the first book.

2. The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious, #3) by Maureen Johnson

Release Date: January 21

I’ve been a fan of Maureen Johnson for years, but this series about a kidnapping in the 1930s and a copycat killer in the present is so intriguing.  I’ve actually bought the previous two books in this series now, so I have them to hunt for clues one more time before I read this one.  I hear the clues are there, but I’m completely clueless about who the murderer is.  And that’s a sign of some excellent writing.  At least all the questions should be answered with this book.

3. The King of Crows (Diviners, #4) by Libba Bray

Release Date: February 4

What I said about Maureen is true for Libba as well.  I started reading her stuff in 7th grade, way back in like 2004.  The Diviners series isn’t my favorite of her works, but I can’t deny they are still pretty awesome and show a different side of American in the 1920s than we usually see.  Not only do we have flappers and speakeasies, but we get to see the reemergence of religion, Harlem, Chinatown, mental illness treatments, and so much more under the guise of battling evil (and murderous) spirits and other baddies.  It’s truly fascinating, even if it’s sometimes hard to keep straight over so long.  (I read the first book in, I think, 2013.)

4. Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta’s Academy, #1) by Sandhya Menon

Release Date: February 18

I’m not sure why this is now exploding, but looky here!  We’ve got another Beauty and the Beast retelling!  Although, in a sense, this is a little more like Romeo and Juliet, kind of.  Whatever.  Princess Jaya wants revenge on the Emerson clan for targeting her little sister.  So, upon discovering she’s attending boarding school with Grey Emerson, Jaya comes up with the completely-foolproof-and-not-at-all-weird plan of making Grey fall in love with her so she can break his heart.  Only Grey’s a brooder (and somehow cursed, though Jaya doesn’t know this) and he’s just dreading each passing day.  So yeah, I’m in.

5. The Upside of Falling by Alex Light

Release Date: February 18

I do like my standalone romances and this one got my attention.  It follows one of my favorite tropes.  When Becca’s former best friend laughs at her for not having a boyfriend, Becca decides to lie and say she’s seeing someone.  Brett is the captain of the football team and hates that everyone teases him about not having a prom date.  So when he overhears Becca’s lie, it seems like as good an opportunity as any to get his teammates off his back.  But of course, it’s not going to be as simple as all that, right?

6. Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis

Release Date: March 3

I actually have the ARC for this and I plan on reading this soon.  (I don’t like reading them months and months before the book actually comes out.)  I like McGinnis for crafting unusual female protagonists.  In this book of survival, Ashley hikes into the Smokey Mountains for a night of partying with her friends.  Only later, after a few too many drinks, Ashley spies her boyfriend with another girl and wanders off into the forest alone.  Lost and alone come morning, Ashley needs to find her way home with nothing but the clothes on her back and the infection slowly spreading up her leg.  I like it.

7. House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Release Date: March 3

The Queen is back with another fantasy series and, while I’m still mourning the end of ACOTAR, I’m really looking forward to this one.  In this fantasy world, we’re dealing with demons and fallen angels, a marked transition from the fae-heavy series she’s done so far (though our main character, Bryce, is half-fae, half-human, so maybe it’s not all that different).  Bryce’s friends are murdered by a demon and, when the crimes start up again despite the accused being behind bars, she’s determined to stop it.  But she’s going to need the help of Hunt, a fallen angel who is enslaved by the Archangels for trying to overthrow them.  So yeah, this looks interesting.

8. All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban

Release Date: March 17

Ooooh, y’all, I’m so glad I have this ARC too.  This story is like Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None meets The Breakfast Club, from what I understand.  (I haven’t read it yet.)  Six high schoolers from different cliques (a queen bee, a stoner, a loner, a music geek, a star athlete, and a valedictorian) are invited together for a dinner to try to win a scholarship.  Only it’s all an elaborate trap.  They’re stuck in a room with a bomb, a syringe of poison, and a note saying they need to choose someone to kill or they all die.  No one knows what connects all six of them together, and they all have their secrets.  I’m actually jumping with excitement over this one.

9. The Court of Miracles (Court of Miracles, #1) by Kester Grant

Release Date: June 2

Every time I see this title, I think of the song “Court of Miracles” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Only this book is an alternate history/alternate fiction story about Eponine from Victor Hugo’s other famous story, Les Miserables.  (It’s also billed as a reimaging of The Jungle Book, though I have absolutely no idea how.)  In this book, Eponine (Nina) is forced to go to the underbelly of Paris in order to save her adopted sister Cosette’s (Ettie’s) life.  Apparently it’s gritty and dark, which are two things I’m absolutely fine with.

10. You Say It First by Katie Cotugno

Release Date: June 16

And we’re back with one more standalone romance.  Meg’s life is all planned out, down to the last detail.  She has a perfect boyfriend, a perfect best friend, and plans to go to Cornell with that best friend as her roommate.  But things turn upside down at Meg’s job, where she works at a voter registration call center in Philadelphia.  Colby’s life has been in turmoil since a family tragedy.  He’s not sure what his future holds, but he certainly doesn’t have time for the snobbish rich girl calling him to talk about the importance of the election process.  So he says the worst thing he can imagine and hangs up.  But what starts as a heated phone call turns into more, sometimes candid, sometimes heated.  There’s just something different about this book that draws me in.

Top Ten Rereads of 2019

I know there’s a constant debate out there–to reread or not to reread?  That is the question.  Personally, I love to reread.  If a book, the plot, or the characters managed to worm their way into my head and/or my heart, you can betcha I’m going to go back and check in on them again at some point.  There was something special about them and I’m not going to let that disappear.

For me, rereading is a lot like watching a favorite movie over and over again.  Sure, maybe I know all the words to When Harry Met Sally or Willy Wonka, but that doesn’t mean I get less enjoyment out of the experience.  In fact, it usually makes it better because I’m anticipating things.  And I’m catching the details I missed last time.

So in honor of all of that (and because I had an unusually high number of rereads this year), I figured I’d devote a list to the books I reread and enjoyed.  Not all are YA, but I hope I can introduce you to something new and worthwhile.

Top Ten Rereads of 2019

1. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

This year marked my sixth time reading this book.  Before you start thinking I’m nuts, I teach this book.  I know it backwards and forwards at this point, but the ending still gets me every time.

2. The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

As I mentioned last week, this is truly becoming my new Christmas tradition.  Only the second time I’ve read it, it has become a cute, touching Christmas read for me.  Some people read A Christmas Carol or Pride and Prejudice for the Christmas season, but this one is mine.

3. Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks

Ok, this is one that’s a romance novel, but it’s so good.  I won’t get on my soapbox about why romance is so underrated when it shouldn’t be, but I’ll simply say that romance shows us a world where women are listened to and treated with respect.  In this book, we’re introduced to two Scottish clans were fight like the Hatfields and McCoys.  The King declares that the two families must unite, if only so they can’t rise up against him.  And that’s how we meet our two heros, particularly Eveline, who is deaf and no one knows it.  (Everyone thinks she’s addled from the fever that nearly took her life.)  I can’t tell you how much I love this representation of Eveline.  Her story alone, her strength, guts me every time.

4. Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt

It’d been ten years between readings of this book and I remembered loving it the first time.  Perhaps not as much the second time around, but I always like to read a story where Death is personified as a person.

5. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

I’ve talked before about how much I love this story and how much it means to me.  Much like what I said about #3 on this list, I just love the representation and the heroine’s journey.  Elise starts off the story meek, passive, and insecure, but she doesn’t end it that way.  I love her story arc.  This was one of the first stories I ever read where I discovered my love of fantasy.  If it hadn’t been for this book, I might never have read Sarah J. Maas.

6. Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill

This is an old favorite of mine, hearkening back to the days when vampires were hot.  (So about ten years ago.)  In this story, we’re introduced to Merit, a college doctorate student who is nearly murdered on campus, only to be saved by vampires she now has to pledge her undead life to.  It’s clever, funny, and cute in a lot of unexpected ways.  But mostly I love Merit’s sarcasm.  It’s charming.

7. Destined by Jessie Harrell

One of my favorite retellings, this is a retelling of Eros (Cupid) and Psyche.  It’s not modernized in the least, preferring to stick with the Greek cities.  It stays very true to the myth, only embellishing where the original myths lacked detail.  It can fall into the cliches and it is sometimes pretty corny, but I still love it.

8. On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

Another romance, this is a modern love story with a dark side.  I’m not sure why, but I’m really drawn to stories with a dark side.  In this, we’re back in Scotland (I’ve got a thing for Scotland, ok?) and a bartender named Jocelyn who has no one.  With her family dead, she’s very closed off to everyone who tries to get to know her.  Enter Braden, who doesn’t take no for an answer and is determined to get past Jocelyn’s defenses.  Braden’s a bit of an alpha, which I typically don’t like, but there’s a lot of heart to go with him and that makes up for it.

9. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I teach this book too, but even if I didn’t, I would have read it this many times.  This is one of my favorite books.  So beautifully written, so marvelously told.  Again, I love that Death is personified (here, he’s our narrator), but I adore Liesl Meminger and the years we spend with her and Rudy and Mama and Papa and Max and everyone else.  They all become so real and I can’t ask for more than that from a book.

10. Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

Rarely anymore do I read this book cover to cover, but that’s just because I know which scenes are my favorite.  (I pretty much skip most of the first hundred pages to get to the action.)  But this book, no matter how many times I’ve read it, makes me shiver each time.  Each and every time.  It comes back to something about the writing.  And, once again, Death is personified.

****

Apparently my two favorite things are Death personified and Scotland.  And while maybe I should be weirded out by the former or at least the combination of these two, I can’t say I am.  If you pitch me a book with either of these two things as part of the premise, you’ll probably have my attention.  And I’m not ashamed of that.  Books about Death (as a person) seem to have such a unique and interesting perspective on life, which appeals to my philosophical side.

And the ones about Scotland, well, I just can’t pass up a good brogue.

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.

Image result for thriftbooks

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.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Things That Make Me Pick Up a Book

Hey everyone!  So even though I’m just getting settled into my new house, I’m still on Spring Break and I literally want to do nothing but talk about books.  It’s ridiculous.  So I’m going to embrace my obsession for the time being.

So today’s Top Ten theme is things that make me pick up a book.  And seeing as I just got 5 new books from the library today when I wanted to pick up like none (I know, silly me), I think I’m well versed on this.

Top Ten Things That Make Me Pick Up a Book

1. The Title

Bar none, this will get my attention first.  The title tells you so much about the book.  A book called The Art of Falling is going to have a very different feel to it than a book called A Curse So Dark and Lonely.  I tend to stay away from the very long, silly titles like The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things.  Especially right now, I am totally digging fantasy novels and suspense, so I know those titles aren’t going to bring it.

2. The Author

I have a really good memory for authors I’ve read before, so that’s something that definitely plays into my picks.  If I liked something else that author wrote, why not pick up their next book?  That’s especially true of contemporary romance writers, like Kasie West and Sarah Dessen and Morgan Matson–I loved many of their other books and I will probably pick up their new ones without reading the blurb.

3. The Cover Art

Let’s not lie–everyone judges books by their covers.  That’s kind of the point.  And cover art is fabulous.  There are some amazing, fascinating covers out there and I do love looking at them before I’ve read a book and trying to figure out what it means.  The harder it is for me to figure it out, the more interested I am in reading it.

4. The Genre

I absolutely choose books based on their genres.  It’s not something I’m doing necessarily to rule books out without giving them a chance, but I know what I like.  I know that, like right now, I’m in the mood for fantasy.  This’ll last probably 2-3 more months and then I’ll be on a different kick.  And because my genre love changes, I do try to expose myself to as much in that genre as possible while I’m on that kick because I know I’ll find some things there I wouldn’t have normally picked up.

5. My Mood

My mood plays a huge role in what I pick up.  Like if I’m in a relationship, I’m going to avoid books like How We Broke Up or if I’m tired of seeing pictures of couples on Facebook, I’ll avoid romances for a while.  If I’m feeling ansty and angry, I go for books that have a lot of action in them–I want to root for someone like Tris Prior or Katniss who can kick butt when maybe my life isn’t letting me do that at the time.  So I try to take stock of my mood before I start a new book.

6. The Length of the Book

I have a wooden plaque in my library that reads “I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie” and it’s true.  I know a lot of people–my students especially–like super short books.  But I’ve learned that longer books have what I crave most: character development, slow burning plots/romances, and a fleshed-out plot with probably multiple subplots to keep my attention.  I’m not saying I never read shorter books, but I’ve just learned what I like.

7. If It’s Faced Out

This goes back to the cover art one, but I like to see books.  I like to see what it looks like as I walk up to a shelf.  My eyes naturally go there because the cover is easier to read than one that is only spine-exposed.  It doesn’t determine for sure whether I take it or not, but it does help.

8. Displays

I love themed displays.  When my library does a themed display (Rainbow Covers!  Winter!  Summer Romance!), I always have to take a look, even if that’s not what I’m in the mood for.  I just have to know what someone else has chosen as a recommendation, even if it was only because the cover was purple or something.  They still chose it.

9. C O L O R S

Speaking of colors, I love eye-catching, colorful covers.  A ton of books right now are black or dark, and that definitely adds to the suspense and mystery they create, but there’s something to be said about a cover that just makes you happy by looking at it.

10. The Blurb

Let’s not forget that, most importantly, the blurb is going to be the deciding factor here.  No matter how much I love the cover, the author, the title, and all the rest, if the blurb doesn’t do it for me, I’m not picking it up.  Why bother with it if it’s crap that’s been nicely decorated?  It’s not worth it.