Monday, November 30, 2015

Book Review: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley (#NaBloPoMo)

I've basically decided to give up on the synopses on the backs of books. It's really a 50/50 shot they they are going to tell you anything meaningful besides the names of the characters and MAYBE the setting. But, I digress... before I even get started. Hoozah!

This book was a lovely little ditty about a man, Nathaniel who works as a telegraphist in London in 1884. There's all kinds of stuff going on the world at that time. Irish bombs, women's suffrage, and Japan's civil war. Thaniel (yes, he's called Thaniel because his father was Nat) gets thrust into the role of detective/ hapless spy and meets a man who most certainly changes his outlook on things. He also meets his future wife. I assure you, that's not a spoiler to be up in stitches about.

I love historical fiction that's a bit speculative. [In fact, Speculative Historical Fiction is a better genre sticker for this book's spine than simple "Fantasy."] I've only recently discovered this proclivity of mine so sorry if I seem a little enthusiastic about it. I should probably started writing these Things down, so I'm not constantly surprised by The Things. 

Anyway. This one is well written with a dash of mystery. There's advanced clockwork technology, a female physicist, and a clueless man all wrapped up in a story that pulls you forward wondering what is going to blow up next. Tamely. They're English. There's also a beautiful hint of ambiguity the reader is left with making this a good pick for a discussion group. There's also the touches of cultural relevance of the day that keep it realistic: the women aren't thought of as competent enough for property ownership; the Japanese are all called Chinamen and the women think they're all dirty; the perceived role of nationalism and the danger of it's extremes. These aren't heavy handed or used in an preachy or distracting way, but allow you to better immerse yourself in the story and the time period, so you're not going "Wait... wouldn't she have needed a chaperone?"  

I believe this was on a list of must reads, or good reads, or something, which is what led me to pick it up. If it's not, it should be.  I got a little bogged down with the names and the details and it needed a chapter or two to pick up a bit of pace. And the resolution of one of the story lines was meh. It's a solid 4.5 out of 5 starts. This was well worth the 70 cents in library fines I accrued because I wanted to finish it. If the author ever writes another fiction novel, I'm definitely in!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Emergency #NaBloPoMo Post!!

I've got 13 minutes to get this bad boy "published" and no idea what topic to chat about.

Ooo. How about an update on my 14 - in-4 Book Challenge. This is my third one and I am determined to read a book for each category this time. See my Time 1 (Winter 2014) and Time 2 (Spring 2015) posts for the previous attempts. You would think it would be easy since IM THE ONE THAT MAKES THE CATEGORIES!

So, I've read 6 books for this current challenge, with started on the first of this month. (SIX MINUTES!) even though I will probably change some of the books around depending on how things go with other books.

2. *Mathilda Savitch (dont recommend. at all.)
6. *Ready Player One (old school gamer geeks will love)
7. Octavian Nothing (meh)
8. Reconstructing Amelia (good, kinda pissed me off)...

11. *Apocalypticon (good)
13: Queen of the Tearling (Loved)

Starred books have been reviewed on this blog.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Oh Sweet Irony: How Twilight Zone is my life (#NaBloPoMo)

You remember that episode of the Twilight Zone where the guy survives a nuclear bomb, wakes up and realizes that there are no more people on the planet?

He he now has all the time in the world and access to all the books? And he's so excited about being able to read? And he sorts them and stacks them and prepares for a life long reading frenzy. And then right at the end he sits down, picks up a book and his glasses break?

That is pretty much me with finding a comfortable reading position four days after surgery.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Post- Op #NaBloPoMo

Captain's log: the decision to not pick up the Percocet on the way home from the hospital was a bad one. I hate Percocet but I hate pain more and coughing hurts like a bitch. It was also a bad decision to eat so much food, yesterday. But Thanksgiving is the over-eater's holiday, is it not? Can't let a little thing like surgery and agony get in the way! And the Mac and cheese was calling my name. Like a soft smokey cartoon hand.

Other bad planning decisions include: not stocking up on coffee and creamer and not twisting up my hair before surgery. It. Is. A. Hot. Mess. No pictures, please.

I finally watched The Boxtrolls; wasn't missing anything. The animation is cute, but I bet the book (Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow) is better. I've added it to my TBR list, which is farcical at best. 

On the plus side, I'm sitting up a little bit better and may be able to actually read today. I've been a little motion sick since surgery. I'm still working on The Child Thief. But may switch to something due back to the library sooner. Plenty of options, didn't forget to stock up at the library! My original plan had been to have no library books out so that I could focus on my books shelves. That would be a failed goal. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

If I die before reading all these books - Books in Progress (#NaBloPoMo)

A few years ago, I heard someone say something like: After a person dies, you can tell what they loved by how they spent their time and their money. I was already a pretty active volunteer at that time (I think I was at a Girl Scout event) but I also set up a few automatic charitable donations shortly thereafter. I realized that I didn't want the useless junk I buy for myself to speak louder than the causes I care about. Thinking about that today, before I head into surgery, led me to thinking about what my current Books in Progress would tell someone if they were looking after I died. Just to clarify, though, I have no worries that this surgery is going to go badly and I know I'll be super healthier once my defective uterus is feeding the fishes. So to speak.

Anyway, Here's what I'm reading... kind of.

Clockworkers by Ramsey Isler. Now, I added this book to my #TBR list at the end of 2014. And the last time I posted that I was supposedly reading it was August 2015. The problem is not the book. I really like this cute story (it's cute so far) about a girl who finds out her father new elves. Suspicion and high jinks ensue. It would be a quick read if I would just sit and read it. I have it on my kindle app on my phone and have been slowly working my way through it whenever I am stuck somewhere without a regular or audio-book. But I ALWAYS have a book, so it's like the pretty girl at the dance with an empty dance card. I will read this. I will. I've nominated it a couple of times for the #BlerdBookClub chat just to give me a deadline!! It didn't work.

The Pox Party: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing by M.T. Anderson. Matt is a writer I admire for his work but also for his way with the kids. But this audio-book is kind of boring. I'd tried to read it in print form and that was kind of boring, too. I think it's because of the style of the language. The shitty thing, for me though, is that I really want to know what happens!! Again, I like his style and his stories. I'm just not that into Octavian.

The Child Thief by Brom. This book has been getting a lot of buzz, lately. Or maybe that's just in my world. I've only made a small inconsequential dent in this massive tome. Massive. It's almost 500 huge pages. It's a Peter Pan horror retelling and I really like it so far. The author is also an artist and the pictures in the books are beautiful. But it's too big to carry around for general purpose. I'm taking it to the hospital with me. 

So basically, if someone were to take a look at my reading in progress, they'd think I was into fairy tales (true), have trouble finishing things with no clear deadline (true), and love reading (true). Maybe they would see me as whimsical, a fun- loving kind of gal. I think those are the nice words for Heads in the Clouds and immature, right? The thing about being judged is that judgments really tell you as much about the judge-r as they do about the judge-ee. 

Ultimately, and most importantly, if I ever don't make it home for whatever reason, someone please return my library books!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

So long, uterus. (#NaBloPoMo)

Tomorrow's the day. I'm getting a wee bit nervous. It is an organ, after all. It's done some good work, carried two beautiful baby girls. And I'm just going to toss it aside like an old, worn out leathery painful enlarged shoe? Yes, yes I am. Bye bye, uterus. It's been real. 

(Picture found through Internet search.)

Friday, November 20, 2015

I give money to panhandlers (#NaBloPoMo)

I give money to panhandlers. I do. Their story doesn't even really have to be that good. I'm pretty sure the guy at grand central station was not really the guy that directed the 1992 Blockbuster hit, Boomarang. But he asked me for a couple of bucks because he was down on his luck. I had a couple of bucks and my luck's not too bad, so I gave it to him. Because whatever. I was going to lose that two bucks, anyway.

Well, tonight there was a dude and his lady in the parking lot of Wallmart. They had a good story. They incorporated props. They had kids ages and the name of the shitty hotel they stay in. If you live in The Roc you know you don't want to hear about kids living in The Cadillac Hotel for Thanksgiving. They were asking me to help them out. I had just bought some crappy, useless tree ornament earrings. So, obviously, I went back into the store to get some cash back and grab a load of bread and some chicken because who doesn't like chicken? And the lady in Wallmart starts telling me how there's people out there begging all the time. "They don't want your food, they want my money." Not a news flash, they ASKED for the money. 

I know she thought she was protecting me from myself. And maybe I need that. I'm not rich, I'm usually broke, and I'm in debt to my eyeballs. But I have more than enough. I have enough to spend extra on useless crap. I have way more than enough useless crap, in fact. If I couldn't spare it, I would have just said no.

When I give money, it's not because the story is great, or heart wrenching, or even true. It's not because it's the holiday season or because I expect to get it back. 

It takes so little to give a little extra. I give because I love to give. Because I can give. Because that's why we're here. Because if we all do a little, no one has to do it all. I hope everyone can have enough. And can build a bigger table.
I did not give them a ride, though. Let's not get crazy.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Books in Review: Mid November #NaBloPoMo

Ok. TECHNICALLY, this isn't quite the middle of the month. But shuddup.

Since it's #NaBloPoMo, I've been doing more full book reviews lately, but this is just a recap of November Reads, thus far. Books with their own previous review post are linked. 

Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis- It got better with age.

Mathilda Savitch by Victor Lodato- I would not read this book again. I don't really read books twice, anyway. But I definitely wouldn't with this one.

Ready Player One by Clive Ernest - I liked this much more than I would have thought if someone had told me what it was about. 

Apocalypticon by Clayton Smith - Let's admit it. I read this because I thought the author and his friends were adorable at Book Riot Live. That's also why I'm going to read the books of the other two guys. #DontJudgeMe #OrDo #IDontCare

Not- Reviewed 
Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead: I have read other things by this author. Here we've got some sort of genetically/ chemically enhanced female military/ body guard and a scoundrel of a man (also near perfect genetically) she has to protect. I think you know what happens. Plus there's some good social caste system stuff thrown in. Despite the fact that your predictions are absolutely correct about how the basic story goes, I've already checked out the second one from the library. 

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight: This one was a little heart- tuggy for me because I'm a working mom with daughters who I sometimes miss. Kate, the mother in this book, is struggling with relate guilt while she tries to piece together what led to her daughter's death, which was deemed a suicide. On one hand, I really liked this book. It's one of those books where you already know the girl is dead and now the living people are all giving their pieces so we can figure out what happened. And everyone is lying about something. So, if you like that kind of book, you'll probably like this one.

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen - I hope I review this one soon. Before I forget everything.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay - Ms. Gay presents a set of essays that discuss race, class, poverty, and feminism and their representations in popular culture. I laughed, I fumed, I agreed with almost everything. I might make my daughter read it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Writers Write: Sticking to my #NaBloPoMo goal

When setting goals it is best to set them in such a way that does not depend on your mood. You see, people think about what they want to accomplish and get all gung-ho about everything and excited. Then, some time later, their mood changes and they just don't feel like doing The Thing any more. Maybe they're tired, or busy, or just feeling unmotivated.

But (effectively) setting a goal means that you give yourself a structure and, hopefully, a reminder about doing The Thing even when you don't feel like doing The Thing. Even if you're tired or busy or unmotivated, if you have set a goal to jog three days per week, then you get up and do it. If you were just going to depend on your mood, your perceived motivation, and your flexibility, you're not really working toward your goal, you're just doing what you feel like doing, when you feel like doing it. Do you see the different? It's an important one and one I have to talk to parents about ALL THE TIME. Your rules and goals should not mood- dependent. This is usually how I fail at 30-day challenges. Once the going gets tough, or inconvenient, I'm out.

I say all this because I don't really feel like blogging today. I'm tired. I'm in the middle of a good book and I want to finish it TODAY. It's The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, by the way. Don't you hate when someone references a book they like and then don't tell you the stinking name!! TELL ME WHAT BOOK IT IS... 

But I digress.

So, even though I'm tired, I'm posting this blog. Because that's what I said I was going to do for National Blog Posting Month. And Writer's Write.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Book Review: Ready Player One by Earnest Cline (#NaBloPoMo)

Internet search for pictures suggest that this might be on the road to becoming a movie. I wish I had already written about the rage that happens in my brain when books I like become movies so that I could just link to that here... but I have yet to do so... but trust and believe I will shave my left labia before I watch another movie based on a book that I liked. Too much? I'm fricking serious. But, getting to the getting on.
This pic is amazing. I found it via general search. Let me know if you know who I should credit. #TeamAech
If you were a full on computer/ gamer geek in the 80's you will like this book. If you were a little bit of a nerd in the 80's and geek out over tech now, you will like this book. If you think that nerds or geeks are ridiculous and should grow up and get real jobs, this is probably not the book for you.

Ready Player One, basically, is about a reclusive man on the Autism Spectrum who is OBSESSED with 80's pop culture and creates a video game and becomes rich. Then Sheldon (that's not really his name) creates a simulated world that allows people to work, live, and connect in a virtual world (the O.A.S.I.S) all the time. Then the man dies. He hides virtual prizes ("Easter Eggs" for you egg-heads) in the virtual world and promises in his will that whoever finds the Egg gets his fortune and control of the OASIS. This takes years and hell breaks lose when the contest begins in earnest. 

Now, geeks everywhere can relate to the fantasy that they can create and live exclusively in a world of their creation, with an avatar of themselves that conforms to their desire. You can mute bullies, hide your screen name, and jump virtual worlds. The social commentary bit, of course, is that the real world is going to hell in a hand basket and no one really cares because they've got the fake world to escape into. There's also a brief reflection on how we choose what our "Face" is based on how people will treat us based on appearances. There was no time to follow this thread further, but it was a nice touch. 

Our main dude, obviously, faces some obstacles, overcomes most of them, and learns a lesson. There's one female that the MC knows (who knows about anyone else, since avatars hide your real self) and since she's a gamer and hardcore Egg hunter, they are all about each other. But what about when they meet in person, blah blah blah. 

The book is well written and held my attention. Full disclosure, I was a gamer/ geek's girlfriend, not a hard core gamer myself. So I "got" some of the references and followed along with no problem. But like I said, if you didn't live at all in the life, you might feel a little above it all. This was a solid 4 stars. 

Selling point: Will Wheaton narrates the audiobook. Yesh. Mr. Wheaton is, in my opinion, our nerd leader. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

More Me! Getting to Know You Questions- Goodreads Challenge Post (#NaBloPoMo)

Lucky you! Another getting to know you #NaBloPoMo post
This one also comes curtesty of my Goodreads Novel Books and Reading Challenges group: Team Bastet. (This challenge is intense, y'all!)

Getting to Know You Questions - 2

1.Do the TV shows you watch resemble the books you read? (Example ; watchingLaw&Order SVU and Criminal Minds, and reading Mystery and psychological thrillers.)

I don't watch a lot of TV. Usually, I have just a couple of shows that I keep up with as they are running, right now that's The Librarians and The Walking Dead. And I have a couple of shows that I binge when the season is complete: Supernatural and Once Upon a Time. I take the same approach to comic, I only follow a few in single issues but I follow more in trade paperbacks.

To actually answer the question, I guess it would have to be yes. The kinds of stories that I like cross media. I enjoy books about books and bookish people (The Librarians);  zombies, dystopian communities, and apocalypses (The Walking Dead); fairy tales (OUAT), and the supernatural (Supernatural).

2.If you could have any character from a book as a best friend, who would you choose, from what book, and why?

This one is kind of hard. I don't really think I have one. If I had to pick, though, my #BookBestie is probably Hermione from HP, if I'm going to be like everyone else in the world!

3.What book has been on your TBR shelf the longest?

According to Goodreads, It's running with Scissors. It was, apparently, the first book I added when I joined in 2009. I'm sure there are books that I have wanted to read for longer than that.

4.If you had to pick one author to take out on a date, who would you choose and why?

It would probably be Neil Gaiman, Neal Shusterman, Maggie Steifvater, or Daniel Jose Older. Someone whose work I enjoy but also those authors I follow online mostly because of their people-ness, opinions, and personality. And Mr. Older's arms. Obviously. (His wife probably likes them, too.)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Book Review: Mathilda Savitch by Victor Lodato (#NaBloPoMo)

I'm not sure where I picked up this book. I thought I got it from a sale at the book store but there's no tag. I love the cover (it's adorable!) so that's probably why I have it. I also really like the name Mathilda... 

Mathilda is a young teenager (I don't think there's a hard answer about exact age from the book) whose sister was killed approximately one year before this story opens. She is struggling with the loss, especially because her parents appear to be "disappearing" in front of her eyes. They are certainly having a hard time with the loss and don't know how to handle Mathilda, especially because Mathilda's genius idea to help "wake up" her parents is to misbehave.

The hook of the book, supposedly, is that Mathilda is trying to find out the truth of what happened to her sister. And I wanted to know, too... That bit seems to resolve and then there's little to hang the rest of this story on, except that Mathilda is still a little shit. You're trying to feel sorry for her, you really are, but it's just not working out.

Mathilda's story is told in a stream of consciousness sort of style for much of the book, an interesting choice that works well in some parts but not consistently throughout. There are times when you feel sorry for her and other times, when she's being unnecessarily mean, that you just want her to sit down and shut up. Mathilda is the kind of character that would work better as a main character's best friend, someone you can love to hate, who sticks up for the person you actually do relate to. Someone you hope the protagonist can get away from. As a main character I lost patience with her. 

I agree with many reviewers who felt that Mathilda's voice fluctuated between that of a teenager and that of a bitter older person (the author perhaps). Bitter might not be the right word. The problem is, I think, that there were moments of social commentary that seem out of the blue, included for the sake of making Mathilda seem aware when she is generally clueless. At times there were pieces that just didn't fit, just didn't make sense, or were just distracting. What the hell was that basement scene?! And why are we talking about the world trade center attacks? For depth? I don't even know. 

Overall, I liked the writing. I also liked the idea of the story and of the character. I just didn't really like how it all came together. I'm giving it 3 out of 5 stars. 
I donated this book to the Harry Potter Alliance's Apparating Library at Book Riot Live last weekend. This is basically a book exchange program. If you haven't seen the other amazing things that the Harry Potter Alliance are up to, you should definitely check it out! 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

What I do When I'm Not Reading (or blogging!) #NaBloPoMo

#NaBloPoMo happens every month. Can you imagine challenging yourself to participating every month and blogging every single day? Well, some of you might do that anyway but there’s no way I could for many many many reasons. As I was thinking about all the things that get in the way of me posting as much as I would like to: EUREKA! Post idea!

What I do when I’m not reading.


Spending time with my family! I've got two teenagers and their dad. My oldest offspring just went to stay with her grandparents for a while. She turned 18 and NEEDED TO GET OUT!! But before that, we were into zoos, and road trips and sitting around doing nothing. And me taking books to sports events. 
Hubbo isn't into having his picture taken! (Red Wings game)

Technically, I hang out with most of my friends as part of Book Club, so it's reading related! But last month we also went on a wine tour!! 

I'm into theatre and try to attend shows that come through when I can. I have gotten into community theatre recently and would love to be able to be more involved on the stage, but my schedule doesn't always allow me to. Last month I did a children's show called The Trial of the Big Bad Wolf, which pretty much sent me completely behind in all other areas of my life (including my reading time!). But it was totally fun and I loved working with the people in the cast. When I can't commit to doing a show, I bug the hell out of the theatre people I know so that I can be part of the crew or help out with the show in other ways. 

Trial of the Big Bad Wolf

Mary Poppins craziness!
Selling merchandise for James and the Giant Peach
Waiting in the wings for our cue to move set pieces! 
I'm putting this at the end but really, the bulk of my time is spent as a psychologist. I work mostly with children, teens, and families who are struggling with some sort of behavioral or emotional concern. I provide psyc services in an outpatient clinic and in a doctor’s office. I also spend a lot of time with trainees as a supervisor helping clinicians- in- training become the best clinicians they can be! I’m also involved in a few extra projects at work that let me work in Head Start centers and doing more research – kinds of activities.  I love my job(s) but it’s long hours, sometimes, and much much much more paperwork than I would prefer to have to do. I also have a private practice and try to have a pretty active professional Facebook profile page. I also have a professional blog with is woefully neglected. Maybe I will pick a month to #NaBloPoMo for that one! I'm a child, family, and mental health advocate and most of my non-reading extra- curricular activities stem from my work.

For example:

I run the facebook page for the clinic where I work and am the media maven for the Genesee Valley Psychological Association. I’m also the immediate past- President. I’m on the Board of the New York Chapter of the Association for Family and Conciliation Courts, a group of people focused on making court systems work better for the children and families that come through them. I volunteer as the facilitator of The ACT program, a workshop for parents who are getting divorced that teaches them about the legal process but also how to help their children manage their divorce.  I’ve just been asked to join the Mental Health and Wellness Board for a new girl’s Charter School. I also live tweet when I attend community mental health presentations @KMalcolmPhD.

And of course, there's this:

Friday, November 13, 2015

Book Review: Apocalypticon by Clayton Smith (#NaBloPoMo)

I have started a running list of popular characters that I hate. These are characters that I think would wear on my nerves quickly and should not be allowed to be friends with people until they learn how to get their shit together. On this list is one Shawn Spencer from the USA network show Psych. The show is about a man who grew up training his observation skills because his police officer father is obsessive about that sort of thing. Shawn is an asshole, to be honest. He is generally unconcerned about how his immature, reckless behavior put people in danger and messes up their lives. His best friend, Gus, played by the wonderful Dule Hill, is the usual victim of his assholery. Shawn steals from him, puts his job and life in jeopardy in almost every episode and just basically manipulates Gus at every turn. Now, I'm not saying that Gus is blameless. He loves the adventure and is loyal to his friend. I'm also not saying that Shawn doesn't have his charms.

Apocalypticon is Shawn and Gus three years after the Jamaicans release a biological weapon that wipes out most of the population of the U.S. They decide to trek from Chicago down to Disney World on an adventurous quest. Shawn, I mean Patrick, doesn't tell Gus, I mean Ben, exactly why they need to go, but they set off. On the way, they are told they will face great peril, and they do. They narrowly escape death a few times though booze is easy to come by. Remember The Walking Dead tagline: Kill the Dead, Fear the Living? It holds true in this world, too, though also true is that friendship and companionship will help get you through the roughest patches. 

Apocalypticon is a funny take on a serious condition. The story itself started off a little campy (maybe that's not the right word, but there's a ridiculous scene with fake drugs that made me roll my eyes) but gets better. Patrick is basically a good person, struggling with his own stuff (it is the apoc after all) and becoming a better friend over the course of the book. He was likely always a good friend, it's just hard to see underneath the crappy person exterior. Ben, too, sticks by his friend's nuttiness but develops a bit more backbone. The characters talk a lot of shit about a lot of things. [Although the negative comments about Arkansas are clearly not funny, Mr. Smith.] They get into trouble and look out for each other. And they help each other deal with the shit they have to deal with.
Each group of people they meet is really an example of different ways that groups of people might adjust to the hell they live in. But seriously, there's only so many times one person can be hit in the face with a hammer, bat, or wrench, and keep on keeping on, amIright?

I also consider this cover porn. Great concept. Love it. Solid four out of 5 stars. I LOL'd a few, undisclosed number of times. 

I met the author of this book, Clayton Smith, at Book Riot Live 2015 (yes, I'm still talking about it, get off my back!) last weekend. He and two of his author buddies had this little schtick. It might not have been a schtick. But basically, rather than telling me about their own books, they took turns telling me about each other's books. I can't guarantee you that they actually read each other's books. But I can guarantee you that the energy and enthusiasm they had for each other was real and I bought a book from each of them. Mr. Smith thinks he's funny. And he is, though I've been tweeting him comments to the contrary to help keep his ego in check.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

#BRLive Unofficial Book Crawl: Bookstores in Review (#NaBloPoMo)

At the first Book Riot Live event last week, one of the participants, Alyssa, put together a map for a Book Crawl. We were all super excited about it but by the time Saturday evening rolled around, many brains were mushed! But a few of us adventurous types made it out! The stores were ordered in order of closing times so we'd have time to browse around. Point A is Metropolitan West, the location of the Book Riot Live panels, events.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mission: #ROCTBF2016 Already!! (#NaBloPoMo)

Each year we have an annual event in Rochester called the Teen Book Festival. I say "we," but I really have nothing to do with it, except that I volunteer every year. It's kind of a big deal. Here's a recap from a real life teen, Emily (whom I know not), of last year's event. She did a great job, and this is her pic of the opening ceremony, also known as Truth or Dare with the authors. 

Last year, I challenged myself to read one book by each of the 30 authors that were scheduled to present in what I called Mission: RocTBF2015 (click for my recap). Genius title, right? I almost made it, too, if it weren't for those meddling kids and their dog! Oh, wait. That was something else. Anyway,

This year is Mission: RocTBF2016! The confirmed author list is up to 25 already!! I've read books by six of the authors and pending how I do with the rest of them, I might challenge myself to read a new one by each of them. Here is my pre- Mission prep table. Clearly, It's a work in progress. #JudgeMe

Top Picks
Jesse Andrews

Me, Earl and the Dying Girl (own)
Cathleen Davitt Bell

I Remember You
Charles Benoit*
Fall from Grace

Anna Breslaw

Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here
Tim Federle

Tequila Mockingbird
K. L. Going

Pieces of Why, Garden of Eve
Harriet Reuter Hapgood

The Square Root of Summer

Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall
Ellen Hopkins*     

A. S. King*
Reality Boy; Ask the Passengers

Justine Labalestier

Mercedes Lackey

Carolyn Mackler     

Kekla Magoon

How it Went Down (own)
Ridley Pearson

Disney After Dark
Tamora Pierce*
Song of the Lioness 1-4

Gary Schmidt     

Ok for Now, Orbiting Jupiter
Steve Sheinkin

Alan Sitomer

Jessica Spotswood

Born Wicked
Robin Talley

Lives We Tell Ourselves, What We Left Behind
Janet B. Taylor

Terry Trueman*
Stuck in Neutral

Scott Westerfeld*
Uglies, Afterworld, Peeps

Suzanne Young

The Program