Talking Fandoms and “Worse” with Lily Anderson! *Guest Post*

The Only Thing Worse than Me is You guest post with Lily Anderson!

I’m SO excited to have Lily Anderson here today to talk about her new book The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You.

 Before I go further, I learned in her bio that she is an elementary librarian, so from one school librarian to another: THANK YOU for all you do to promote reading to kids!

The book is incredibly fun with it’s mention of different fandoms and nerd talk, so I loved reading it because it was JUST my language! The main character, Trixie, is just trying work hard to beat a classmate in rank who she has had a long-standing feud with, but she runs into a rollercoaster of a journey along the way.

Lily was kind enough to talk some about how she formed Trixie’s character and the  comparisons between her and the character.

Enjoy and be on the lookout for her book as it just released on the 17th!

-Melanie

Lily Anderson on Trixie and Fandoms:

Trixie Watson and I disagree about Spider-Man. Trixie loves Spider-Man in every incarnation. She’ll read anything that takes place in the Spider-Verse (except for Spider-Ham comics—even her love has its limits). She has Spider-Man stationery and Spider-Man t-shirts and Spider-Man pajamas and Spider-Man underpants. She’s seen every Spider-Man movie and every episode of every Spider-Man cartoon made in this century.

I have not. I really like Miles Morales’ Spider-Man and I’m down with Spider-Gwen, but I really, truly don’t care about Peter Parker. In fact, my favorite comic book character is Peter Parker’s opposite—Deadpool. (Not Ryan Reynolds, ya’ll. Deadpool.) ***PREACH…LOVE Deadpool!***

 

I think it’s important to disagree with your main character. As a writer, I always want to have some key differences between myself and my book’s narrator because those differences make me look closer at why they are the way they are. Trixie’s love of Peter Parker directly correlates to the similarities in their world view—quipping brunette nerds, high school outcasts, great power and great responsibility and all that.

 

There are a lot of things that Trixie and I agree on: the Whedonverse, Doctor Who, BBC’s Sherlock, the genius of Douglas Adams—but we have to come at those things from different perspectives because we’ve led very different lives. Even in the things we agree on, I had to figure out why she would like it, rather than just assigning her things that I already knew about. And in figuring out why she liked something, I started to get a fuller picture as to who she was as a person.

The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You

Hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about Trixie…now go pick up the book and read her story!

 

Monday Musings: National Library Week

Happy Monday!

Okay, let’s be real- Monday’s suck.

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BUT! This is National Library Week, so I’m partially biased towards trying to make this a fun week either way it goes.

As a high school librarian, there isn’t much that I love more than promoting libraries and reading!

Plus, Gene Luen Yang is the honorary chair that’s to his spot as children’s lit ambassador. I love him! I saw him at last year’s children’s book festival here in MS and he’s awesome and GREAT advocate to have representing reaching out to our young readers!

Whitley over at Reading With a Vengeance has a good NLW theme going this week that you should all go check out with different ideas for the week and got me thinking more about how I could participate in the week.

***AND she has a giveaway going on for it, so go give her a visit!***

She intended for the daily topics to be on Twitter, and I’ll tweet about them too, but be on the lookout for a post tomorrow about MY library! I think I’ve shared a couple pictures before, but nothing much. I’m in such a beautiful library that I’ve been trying to spruce up this year. It’s an old building, so it needs a little TLC, but it is beautiful nonetheless!

Also coming this week will be updates from the Children’s Book Festival that I attended last week. I got to see and meet some amazing authors that I’m excited to brag about, plus show off a couple books that I got.

There’s tons going on and I can’t wait to share more!

So let’s get national library week started off right!

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Review: When We Collided

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Summary:

Seventeen year-old Jonah Daniels has lived in Verona Cove, California, his whole life, and only one thing has ever changed: his father used to be alive, and now he is not. With a mother lost in a deep bout of depression, Jonah and his five siblings struggle to keep up their home and the restaurant their dad left behind. But at the start of summer, a second change rolls in: Vivi Alexander, the new girl in town.

Vivi is in love with life. Charming and unfiltered, she refuses to be held down by the medicine she’s told should make her feel better. After meeting Jonah, she slides into the Daniels’ household seamlessly, winning over each sibling with her imagination and gameness. But it’s not long before Vivi’s zest for life begins to falter. Soon her adventurousness becomes all-out danger-seeking.

Through each high and low, Vivi and Jonah’s love is put to the test . . . but what happens when love simply isn’t enough?


My Thoughts:

First…WHEN WE COLLIDED RELEASES NEXT WEEK!!!!

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Phew…enough partying…on to business.

I adored When We Collided. I’m always wary when I’m REALLY excited for a book because I’m scared that it won’t be nearly as great as I’m hoping. That said, I was scared going into this one because I LOVE Emery Lord’s past two books.

So, I did what any sane person would do…I didn’t even read the summary going into it.

Seriously.

I’m not going to lie, I wish that I HAD read the summary just so that I might have been a tiny bit prepared for what was about to happen to my heart.

So many books try hard to talk about mental illness and just come up short no matter how hard they might try.

This book though…it honestly hits the nail right on the head.

Sometimes people have problems for no reason at all. Sometimes they can bounce back- sometimes not. People get told to “get over it and move on.” There are so many ways to look at mental illness correctly and incorrectly. This gets it 200% CORRECT. We see both sides with the struggle and with outsiders learning how to respond to those that they love and it is just…beautiful.

I hate to say it, but I can relate to the descriptions of depression in the book, so I know how accurate the descriptions of feeling “nothing” are despite having no problems that SHOULD make one feel that way.

This is just such an important book and I can’t wait until the fall so that I can immediately purchase it for my library. I know tons of kids will be able to relate to the characters aside from the areas surrounding mental illness. These characters are living REAL lives that teens will be able to connect with!

Do yourself a huge favor and get When We Collided when it releases next week!

-Melanie

Friday Thoughts: SPRING BREAK, y’all!

SPRING BREAK TIME!!!

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…that still wasn’t good enough. Let’s try again….

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There. That one did it. Thanks, Dumbledore!

Now, on to business…

Tomorrow, or really NOW, starts my week off for Spring Break.

Now I’ll be the first to tell you- school work schedules are the BEST. Sure, I can only take vacations when places are crazy crowded, but it is still awesome!

But that’s not why I’m here…well, it is, but it isn’t.

I’m here to talk about my goal for the week…a goal that I need encouragement to meet.

I plan to use this week to binge read the Throne of Glass series.

You read that correctly.

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THIS.

I intended to read the first book a few months ago and got distracted and then…a phenomenon happened at work.

Or rather, this series happened.

I’m not even sure what happened. I ordered all 4 books in the fall and got them. Then I recommended it to one kid…she loved it.

And then…well…I honestly CANNOT keep these on my shelf!

So I’ve decided that it’s time to see what the hype is about. Sure, I’ve heard tons of great things about it in the book world, but my kids at work are LOVING these, so I’ve got to catch up to what they’re so excited for.

Also, (self gloating here…) that’s how you do it.

I hadn’t read them, but knew my kids would love it. I bought it and suggested it to the right person and now they’re all hooked.

KNOW WHAT YOUR PATRONS WILL LOVE, librarians!

Now, if you’ll excuse me—I have a book series to binge.

-Melanie

(Seriously though, I only anticipate being able to finish the first two this week, but we’ll see.)

Also, this is probably what I looked like when the bell rang to go home today..you know…only a tiny bit excited and all:

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Monday Musings: Stand-Alones vs Series

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Happy Monday and welcome to February!

The choice between stand alone novels or series is one that has come up quite a bit lately in conversations between friends and at work.

Quite overwhelmingly, my kids at work seem to prefer series against a stand along book and I can’t quite understand it based on the reasons I hear from people who prefer stand-alone novels.

For example, I have a friend who will purposely NOT read a series until the series is completed. It drove her nuts that she binged the Selection series only for the Heir books to happen—doesn’t matter that those can be read separately since the first series is completed and doesn’t have a cliffhanger to the next series.

Me, on the other hand, I’ll read a series as it releases and maybe I re-read before the next installment or maybe I don’t—but there is NO way that I could just wait for the entire thing to be done.

However, my kids at work are similar to my friend. I recently did a huge order at the library and several students just couldn’t handle having to wait for the next book in several series. The worst was when the next book released after I’d ordered and they couldn’t understand how school library ordering works and that I couldn’t just up and order the next one from Amazon.


In closing…

Truthfully, I read both- that’s kind of obvious around here, but I can absolutely see both sides of the argument. Sometimes you want more and sometimes the wait is just too agonizing with a cliffhanger.

I think this .gif pretty much sums up this endless debate…

giphy-4  the painful failure obviously being a cruel, cruel cliffhanger 🙂


SO which do YOU prefer?

-Melanie

Illuminae excitement!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Now on the the fingerling…

A month later and I’m still basically obsessed with Illuminae. 

In fact, I think I’m still in that “WTF did I just read?? That was AWESOME!” thought process.

It IS that awesome though.

But anyways, I’m here for two things…

THING 1:

Imagine my excitement when one of my kids at work comes in with, “hey I want to show you a picture of this book I found at Walmart and you tell me what you think about it”…..and the book was Illuminae.

She was beyond happy to learn that I plan to order it for the library in a couple months. I wish I could’ve got it this semester, but I ordered too far in advance to even attempt it. I did order a few things that weren’t released at the time, but they came out within a week or two of ordering.

Anyways…

THING 2:

THERE’S A MOVIE IN THE WORKS!!!!!

It is extremely long range, but when I read it I thought, “whoa. I don’t know how it would work, but I need to SEE this played out.” Now that is hopefully going to be a reality!

Go HERE for more information on the movie plans.

*calms back down*

well, that’s all of my follow-up Illuminae excitement! Now, it’s back to vacation for me. I’m enjoying not having to wake up to an alarm at 5 AM!

-Melanie

Thanksgiving break TBR!

Contrary to popular belief, librarians DON’T have time to sit around and read all day.

It’s true. We’re surrounded by books all day, but we don’t get to actually read while we’re in such a lovely place all day!

But now….it’s almost time for….THANKSGIVING BREAK!!!

I’m ecstatic! I love my job, but I’m excited to have some downtime and get to chill out. Sure, I’ll be out exploring Nashville, but I’ll also get to set aside some major reading time, so without further delay…he’s my Thanksgiving break TBR!

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands

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I’m SO excited to finally get to read this! I bought it at a signing at my favorite bookstore, Lemuria, in Jackson, MS, back in September. In fact, I even went ahead and ordered it for my library a week after the signing and it should *hopefully* be in within the next week or two. It’s a middle grade, but check out how fun it sounds:

Following a series of murders, an apothecary’s apprentice must solve puzzles and decipher codes in pursuit of a secret that could destroy the world in this suspenseful debut novel.

“Tell no one what I’ve given you.”

Until he got that cryptic warning, Christopher Rowe was happy, learning how to solve complex codes and puzzles and creating powerful medicines, potions, and weapons as an apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn—with maybe an explosion or two along the way.

But when a mysterious cult begins to prey on London’s apothecaries, the trail of murders grows closer and closer to Blackthorn’s shop. With time running out, Christopher must use every skill he’s learned to discover the key to a terrible secret with the power to tear the world apart.

In his stunning debut novel, Kevin Sands brings readers on a heart-stopping adventure rich with suspense, mystery, and unforgettable characters.

This sounds so fun and I’m glad to finally get a chance to read a book that has been waiting on me to get around to it for a couple months.

Also…I’ll know what this means:

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A Cannon?? Beats me!


The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

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This has been waiting on me to read since MAY! I went to the Teen Day at RT Convention and got a copy of this at the evening party. The friend who went with me had been excited to meet Kasie West and loves her books, so she was happy FOR me to get this in my bag at the party because then I could get on board with knowing how adorable these books are.

Again-that was in May….oops.

This may be my first read for the week off this weekend, so check it out:

Money can’t buy a good first impression.

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers learned early that the rich are not to be trusted. And after years of studying them from behind the cash register of her mom’s porcelain-doll shop, she has seen nothing to prove otherwise. Enter Xander Spence—he’s tall, handsome, and oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and the fact that he seems to be one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But just when Xander’s loyalty and attentiveness are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. With so many obstacles standing in their way, can she close the distance between them?

This sounds so great!


And finally…

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

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SO ready for this one. I hate that I even took as long as I did to read it because I’ve heard amazing things about it! I’m ready to be pulled in to it and not let go.

If for some reason you don’t know about this one then see what’s up:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

It. Sounds. AMAZING.

I’m ready!


Obviously, I HOPE to read more than just three books, but I also anticipate having a huge book hangover from Winter when I finish it this week, so it might be rough getting back into the swing of reading after that.

Either way, these three are my first stops next week when I have time to do more reading!

I hope everyone gets to read something great over the holiday!

-Melanie

Monday Musings!

So many things to talk about, so let’s jump into it…

First things first…

….I’m the realest?

No, that’s not right.

It’s Bookmail!!

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I requested this awesome ARC at the beginning of the month from Simon & Schuster and was excited to find it in my mail Friday! It. Sounds. Awesome. Sad! …but awesome.

Check it out:

In the tradition of Speak, this extraordinary debut novel shares the unforgettable story of a young woman as she struggles to find strength in the aftermath of an assault.

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.

In the tradition of SPEAK??? Don’t mind if I do! That’s one of my all-time favorites!


Second things…second?

CURRENTLY READING!

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Okay so maybe I’m too lazy to add the actual cover without the “first two chapters free!” at the top…oops?

Anyways!

My copy of Winter came on Wednesday and I immediately started it Wednesday, but I haven’t done much reading to make good progress on it. I think it’s almost like I’m scared to read it. This is honestly one of (if not THE) my favorite series, so I’m sad to see it end even thought I’m ecstatic to see how it all plays out. Hopefully I’ll be done this week and if not I’ll take it with me on vacation like I originally planned.


Speaking of vacation!

I know that Saturday I spoke of two bookstores that I plan to visit while in Nashville next week, but TOMORROW I’ll have a post about my vacation TBR!

Y’all.

A whole WEEK of no schedule!

I won’t have a 5 am alarm set so that I can leave by 6:30 to be at work by 7:15.

I love my job, but I’m SO READY for a break!


one last thing…

I have a book order coming in today at work and I’m so excited for it!

Some books are series additions that kids are ready for and some awesome series that I’m ready to get them hooked on. Either way, my kids at work are PUMPED to get some new books. I don’t know how their last librarians ordered, but I tried to genuinely choose things that I knew that they would love.

What? That’s what a librarian is supposed to do? I know that, but it shocks my kids when I give them recommendations and think SPECIFICALLY of them. It breaks my heart that they weren’t already used to that from previous librarians!


Until tomorrow with the TBR post…

-Melanie 🙂

Drama with substance! + HELP!

The ever (not to ME…) intriguing “drama” books.

WHY?

I get the appeal. Really, I do.

They’re meant for high interest-low level. I get it.

BUT WHY?

Here’s my main issue….wait!

I am NOT judging students by what they like to read. I promise I’m not. I’m happy they’re reading!

Okay now back to my point…I get that “drama” books, as my students call them, are close to reality for many of today’s teens. I understand. However, I also don’t really want them to think the rough lifestyles and poor choices found in those books are okay. I’m GLAD that they think they can relate to the characters in those books, but…I wish they’d aim higher? Is that terrible?

Here’s my aim…there is realistic fiction (oh, hey…look, y’all…that genre has a NAME!) that is both well-written AND still relatable. Personally, I also don’t want to read realistic or contemporary fiction that doesn’t seem, well….realistic. This is why we NEED diversity, y’all. I want these kids to have characters that they can relate to, but that aren’t miles beneath them in style and content. I love me some contemporary romance, but I need those stories to also have a broader range of characters at time that the average high school teenager can relate to.

Is that too much to ask?

What are some of your favorite contemporaries that I can get students hooked on?

-M

Random Update!

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Currently Reading:

In this asylum, your mind plays tricks on you all the time …

Delia’s new house isn’t just a house. Long ago, it was the Piven Institute for the Care and Correction of Troubled Females — an insane asylum nicknamed “Hysteria Hall.” However, many of the inmates were not insane, just defiant and strong willed. Kind of like Delia herself.

But the house still wants to keep “troubled” girls locked away. So, in the most horrifying way, Delia becomes trapped. And that’s when she learns that the house is also haunted.

Ghost girls wander the hallways in their old-fashioned nightgowns. A handsome ghost boy named Theo roams the grounds. Delia learns that all the spirits are unsettled and full of dark secrets. The house, too, harbors shocking truths within its walls — truths that only Delia can uncover, and that may set her free.

And she’ll need to act quickly — before the house’s power overtakes everything she loves.

Katie Alender brings heart-pounding suspense, gorgeous writing, and a feminist twist to this tale of memories and madness.

Updates:

I got Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall from Scholastic and am LOVING it so far. I’ve read a few of Katie Alender’s books before and always enjoy them. However…this one is my favorite of hers so far! Full review to come when I finish.

That said, I haven’t done much lately because I’ve been working on my first paper for Grad school. My class last fall didn’t require a paper and I didn’t take anything in the spring, so this is my first time to write a graduate level paper and it is kicking my butt.

Side note: Never read a Katie Alender book while also writing a paper on a Poe story…talk about creepy dreams!

ALSO!! I have a new library this year! I went one day last week for a brief while before a new employee orientation and I love my space, but I have a LOT of work to do. The school hadn’t had a librarian since around November, so tons of things were in the wrong spot on the shelves. I’m not OCD by any means except for when it comes to my shelving.

Which brings me to another point…I’m thinking of taking on the task of organizing my fiction by genre. I’ve searched pinterest and found several articles on it, but it still seems like a HUGE undertaking. If anyone has any tips on what to do then feel free to share because it seems like a huge idea.

I also have some crafting in mind for book ends and what not. I’m not crafty, so that should be interesting, for sure.

Well, back to Poe for now. I’ll be glad to finish this paper and get it turned in Thursday!

-M