Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Beach Reads

 Sooooo. I'm a weird girl in that I don't really like the beach. I mean, I'll go. But I don't want to spend an entire week or month or, really, an entire day at the beach. I think this partially has to do with the fact that I am very fair skinned, and therefore the sun and I don't really like each other, and partially with the fact that I hate sea creatures. Like. HATE them. I also didn't grow up anywhere near the beach, so maybe that factors in too.

However, I do understand the appeal of the beach. Warm sun, nice sea breeze, ogling good looking men (or women!) in almost no clothes . . . there are a lot of things much, much worse than that, right? Despite my weird distaste for beaches, there are some books I've read where I've thought, "You know, this would be a fun book to read on a beach." Most (okay, all) of these books fall into the adult chick-lit category.

The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Back when I was about 15 and decided to make the leap from YA to adult fiction, (also, the leap from Seveteen mag to Cosmo...I thought I was sooo grown up.) this was the book I jumped off with. It's a pretty good little read, and super duper different than the God awful movie adaptation. It's light, breezy, funny, and fun! However, if you've ever considered being an au pair, it might make you think twice about it . . .

Anything by Candace Bushnell

Say what you will about Ms. Bushnell, but I like her books. She crafts female characters that are interesting women with varying ideas about love, sex, career, and just life in general, and knows how to write a delicious bedroom scene. And let's be honest--when you're on vacation, you want to read something a least a little bit titillating.

The Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella

These books are just cute. And waaaaaay better than the movie. (I think this is a theme...)

Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger

So, Weisberger is the lady who wrote The Devil Wears Prada, which I also read and very much enjoyed. However, I liked Everyone Worth Knowing MORE. Mostly because of her uncles. When you read it, you'll know what I mean. :)

The Georgia Nicholson series by Louise Rennison

Alright, I can't help myself! I'm throwing in some YA! I effing LURVE these books. I would read them ANYWHERE. Including the beach.

Even though I'm not a big beach fan, it looks like I might actually find myself on quite a few beaches this summer! So I would LOOOOVE to have your suggestions for great beach reads I should check out, in comments!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Story of How I Found a Clockwork Prince Teaser at BEA

Title: Clockwork Prince
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster)
Release Date: December 6, 2011 (SO FAR AWAY!!!!)

While many-a-blogger who attended BEA had a FANTASTIC experience meeting authors, having books signed, networking with publishing reps, and having a great time with each other, I was at BEA going to trade meetings and presentations...which was fun in its own way. But not nearly as fun as hanging out with super awesome book people with whom I do not work. :/

However, that does not mean that I did not pick up at least a little bit of swag.

Although I completely missed the unveiling of the cover for Clockwork Prince because I was being whisked away to meet sales reps and wholesale vendors [aren't those words super fun?] that work with the publishing house I work for, I did make my way over to the Simon & Schuster booths to check out the cover and the weird guy dressed as Will they had hanging around taking pictures with people. I did not take a picture with him.

So I'm walking through their aisle of booths and chatting with some reps, when tout a coup I spy a thin, paperback with the Clockwork Prince cover art on the front. Having zero idea what it was, but knowing that I HAVE TO HAVE IT!!!!!!, I nonchalantly grab it. At least, I hope it looked nonchalant. If someone had looked into my eyes, they would have known that it was, in fact, a rabid, burning desire that shouted "OUT OF MY WAY BEFORE I END YOU." But I digress.

So it wasn't until I had actually left BEA that I realized exactly what I'd perhaps-not-so-nonchalantly grabbed: the prologue and first three chapters of Clockwork Prince.

Once I realized what it was I dashed through the throngs of people in Midtown to the nearest place to sit quietly (The Borders at MSG)  and read the damn thing. And lemme just say.


I really love Will. And I SUPER love Tessa. And I loved loved loved Clockwork Angel. And I LURVE what I've read of CP and where the storyline is headed. :D

And that is all I'm going to say! If you've also read it, or don't mind spoilers, feel free to DM me on Twitter or hit me up via gmail (bookishbethie@gmail.com) to discuss!

TGIF w/ GReads: Author Love

Y'all. This is an exceptionally great Friday. I'm gonna get out of work at 3:00 today! And then I have friends coming in town tonight! AND THEN I get to go home to Arkansas for the first time since Christmas for a three day weekend!! So what could possibly make this Friday even better? Why talking about my new favorite authors, of course. This week, Ginger (GReads!) has asked: 

In 2011, which new/old authors have you discovered and loved?

WELL! After being in grad school for a year and not having a ton of time to just read whatever I wanted, late 2010/all of 2011 have been quite the re-introduction to reading for me. As such, I've discovered a good amount of authors that I'd never read before and with whom I am now OBSESSED. 

1) Myra McEntire. Myra McEntire. Myra McEntire.

Omg y'all. This woman can effing WRITE. I had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy of her debut novel Hourglass for a blog tour (my review will be up in June!) and it is just.....whoa. Like. WHOA. I was all kinds of swooning over this book. And still am, really. Bonus: she's really fun to follow on Twitter. Double bonus: She's Southern. xD

2) E. Lockhart

I'll be honest, I've only read The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by her. But it is just so damn good. I read it, like, a couple months ago and I'm already wanting to read it AGAIN. I'm definitely going to pick up her other books, which I've heard super great things about, and I'm going to continue pimping The Disreputable History. Because it is THAT GOOD.

3) Gayle Forman

Oh Gayle. You break my heart. You make me cry. But I love it. It's so good. And so worth it.
For reals, y'all. If you've never read If I Stay and Where She Went, get thee to the nearest bookstore/library post-haste!! And don't read it in public. You will regret that decision. But you will not regret reading it.

4) Paul F. Tompkins

Alright, so I'm gonna mix it up a little bit. Mr. Tompkins is technically a comedian, but he wrote all of the American Idol recaps for Vulture, New York Magazine's culture blog. You guys. They are hilarious. He is seriously one of the funniest writers I have ever, ever, ever read. Every single recap he wrote had me crying I was laughing so hard. He's just the best. Love it. Love him. If you've never read his recaps, go! Go now!! 

So those are my fave thus far this year! I'd love to know all of the fantastic authors you've fallen in love with in comments, and have a FREAKING FABULOUS Memorial Day Weekend!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Series Crush: The Body Finder Series

Titles: The Body Finder, Desires of the Dead
Author: Kimberly Derting
Publisher: Harper Teen

I like books. I like mysteries. I like things about serial killers. Kimberly Derting's The Body Finder series has ALL THREE. *swoons*

The series takes place in the Pacific Northwest, where main character Violet Ambrose lives. In most ways Violet is a normal teenage girl; what separates her from others is that she has the uncanny ability to locate dead bodies. Their "echoes"--sounds, images, tastes, or smells left behind by the body--call to her, making it easy for her to locate them so that she can help them find peace. But with every echo, there is also a complimentary imprint left by the body on the person who killed it. Violet grew up with the ability and became comfortable with the idea of death--that is until she started finding dead bodies.

But, because Violet is a teenage girl, there is, of course, a guy in the picture. Her best friend since she was seven, Jay Heaton, has suddenly become more than just her goofy best friend to her. She (and every other female in her town) has all of a sudden found herself intensely attracted to him. So, in the midst of trying to figure out where all of the bodies are coming from, she's also trying to figure out where all of her feelings are coming from. I do not envy her plight.

Derting does a terrific job with creating characters--every single character is multi-dimensional and has personality ticks and flaws and habits. It's nice to feel like you know not just the MC, but the other characters on that level as well. But outside of the great, layered characters, Derting throws in another narrative device that really sets these books apart--every so often, a chapter is told through the point of view of a serial killer. You get inside their head, know exactly what they're thinking, how they're feeling, and what their motivations are. It provides a sort of sense of dramatic irony, without the reader knowing exactly who or where the killer is. Yes, it's eery. Yes, it's creepy. Yes, it's awesome.

So, if you're looking for a series that isn't exactly contemporary, but isn't entirely paranormal, I whole-heartedly recommend The Body Finder.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


OMG you guys. BEA is upon us. OMG OMG OMG.

I really don't know how the end of May got here so quickly, but it's here anyway. And I am EXCITED.

I'm mostly excited that so many super awesome bookish people are converging on the bright, shiny city I call home (I know, I'm spoiled) to talk about books.

Sadly, I work in publishing and therefore I'm only going to be at ONE DAY of BEA. I will be there on WEDNESDAY*, but will mostly be in and out of trade meetings instead of hanging out with bloggers and chillin' with authors. :/ But! Maybe we can still meet up at some point! Even in passing!! I'll give you a hug or something.

HOWEVER. I do LIVE here, so if you are in NYC this week and want to meet up for dinner/drinks/chit-chat of any sort, please, please hit me up on Twitter (@bethanyelarson) or leave a comment!

*I will be making a beeline for the Penguin table to snag a copy of The Name of the Star. However, if they are not there on Wednesday, I will give lots of shiny things to the person who gets a copy for me. LOTS OF SHINY THINGS.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Review: Playing Hurt

Title: Playing Hurt
Author: Holly Schindler
Publisher: Flux
Pub Date: March 8, 2011
Pages: 308
Format: Finished copy provided by author for blog tour

Star basketball player Chelsea "Nitro" Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college-and everyone's admiration in her hometown. But everything changed senior year, when she took a horrible fall during a game. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family.
As a graduation present, Chelsea's dad springs for a three-week summer "boot camp" program at a northern Minnesota lake resort. There, she's immediately drawn to her trainer, Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player who's haunted by his own traumatic past. As they grow close, Chelsea is torn between her feelings for Clint and her loyalty to her devoted boyfriend back home. Will an unexpected romance just end up causing Chelsea and Clint more pain-or finally heal their heartbreak?--Goodreads

This post will most likely contain minor spoilers. 

This book is not AT ALL what I thought it was going to be. I figured it'd be this sports-centric book about these two people who meet and have something in common and help each other through it and then that's that. Instead! I ended up with a super, uber-steamy romantic book about having an intense, instant physical and emotional connection with a person, and struggling with the decision of whether or not to cheat on a significant other who doesn't deserve to be cheated on. 

This book is actually pretty heavy, thematically-speaking.

Playing Hurt is told from Clint and Chelsea's alternating perspectives on their three-weeks spent together. Personally, they're both recovering from two very different, but equally devastating wounds--one physical, one emotional--and find the answer they have both been searching for in each other.  They need each other's strength and competitive spirit and faith to move forward with their lives. In that aspect alone, it's a gorgeous, empowering story. 

However. There has to be a wrench thrown in, otherwise it'd be a little too . . . well, Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul-ish. This wrench comes in the form of Chelsea's adoring boyfriend of two years, Gabe, who has been by her side since her injury, and has been a source of support and comfort for Chelsea. Though Chelsea knows she has something special with Gabe, when she meets Clint, she feels an instant chemistry. Neither of them can deny that they are attracted to each other, despite the fact that they both try pretty hard to ignore it. 

Because they have to spend time together at the camp, it becomes harder and harder for Chelsea and Clint to suppress their feelings and desires toward one another, and eventually, they do give in to each other. And whoa baby, does Schindler not back away from the sexy-times. In fact! There were times where I could feel myself blushing while reading some of the steamier passages of this book.  It's awesome. But despite the fact that this book GOES THERE, it also deals with the extreme guilt and not-guilt and the guilt that accompanies the fact that you don't feel guilty in a very realistic way. I won't spoil the way it ends, but it is really close to how this scenario would most likely play out in reality. 

Overall, this book is emotional, touching, very mature (I mean it. I was blushing. It is seriously sexual.), and totally worth your time if you like realistic, contemporary fiction. 

Thank you SO MUCH to Holly Schindler, for providing the book for the blog tour, and to Tara at Fiction Folio for hosting it! Be sure to check out the other blogs involved in this tour

Friday, May 6, 2011

TGIF: Book Blogger Identity

This week, the wonderful Miss Ginger over at GReads! has decided to dig a little deeper and find out who we book bloggers are and what we're about besides, you know, BOOKS. The question for this week is: 

Book Blogger Identity: 
What occupies your time when you are not reading and/or blogging?

WELL. When I'm not reading/blogging about books (which has been much of the time recently as I popped a blood vessel in my right eye [Yes, I look like a zombie] and was afraid it was due to eye strain...so I cut back on the reading. Turns out, it's not due to eye strain! It just happens sometimes!)  I am watching TV/movies oooooor I'm playing/blogging about World of Warcraft. Or I'm out drinking with friends. :)

I'm a huge pop culture junkie, and typically have at least one show I watch each day. (See list below) I love geek culture as well, so if you ever wanna talk about THAT, feeeeel free. 
Bethie's (Current) TV Watch List
Monday: Chuck; Castle
Tuesday: Glee; The Voice
Wednesday: Well, I watched American Idol, but now Casey is gone. So I did not watch this week. 
Thursday: The Vampire Diaries
Friday: Friday Night Lights 
Saturday: Doctor Who!!!!
Sunday: Game of Thrones

Mhmm. I watch A LOT of TV. And that's just the shows I'm watching right now. I also enjoy Pretty Little Liars, Fairly Legal, White Collar, True Blood, Dexter, Covert Affairs, aaaand I'm starting to get into Sons of Anarchy. My all-time faves are Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Veronica Mars, and Gilmore Girls.Yep. I'm a crazy TV-watchin' lady.

ALRIGHT! That is all. Go outside and enjoy your Friday! You know, if weather permits.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Pledge

Title: The Pledge
Author: Kimberly Derting
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry for Simon & Schuster
Pub Date: November 15, 2011

Words are the most dangerous weapon of all. 

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she’s spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed. 

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can’t be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country’s only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.--Goodreads

There are three reasons I want to read this. 

1) I love languages and linguistics. 
I find the fact that there are different languages AT ALL completing and utterly fascinating. I love etymology and language origins and learning how different languages intersect with and differ from each other. Mhmm. I'm a nerd. 

2) I love female characters with masculine names. 
When I was twelve, my mom told me she almost named me Reagan. Not that Reagan is a particularly masculine name, or that I dislike my name, but I remember saying "Why did you not name me that?!" proceeding to be annoyed for a day or two. ANYWAY. I super effing dig it when girls have boyish names. It makes me immediately like them THAT MUCH MORE. 

3) I love edgy books. 
Class issues. Language barriers. Drugs. Underground clubs. Boys with secrets. If you tell me that doesn't peak your curiosity, I will immediately tell you that you are in denial. 

So that's my pick for this fine week! Now I just have to wait until mothereffing NOVEMBER. Grr! Argh!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine