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Showing posts from 2012

Making Time

One of the problems of owning a bookstore is being surrounded by books but never having time to read. I am very adamant with the people in my life that they DO have time to read, they just fool themselves into thinking that they don't. Therefore it is my solemn duty to follow my own advice. Hypocrites are so tacky. And/or human (you decide). So I have been trying to read for at least ten minutes 4-5 nights a week before bed. Do you want to know what happened? I actually found more time to read and started reading in other slow moments! Ah, the power of making room to read in your life. My favorite part about reading is sharing authors I love with new people and I have whole new platform for doing that. It is funny how sometimes I get in a great conversation with a customer and they leave and I scold myself remembering that I didn't even bring up Cindy Pon one time. Right now I am obsessed with a new author. Her name is Lindsey Leavitt and I may want to try and have her ch

Three Months

I have owned a bookstore for three months. Wait, let me try that again. I have OWNED A BOOKSTORE for three months. Me, an owner. Living my dream for one quarter of a year and let me tell you, it has been amazing. There are hard days and good days and tired days and magical days. But what am I doing now? How am I celebrating bookstore ownership? I am on vacation! I am huddled away in some deep dark hole resting and thinking about every nuance of change that has come in the past few months. Running away like this for the moment is a luxury. I am still in partnership with the previous owner and I can feel a certain sense of confidence in leaving the store in his extremely capable hands. I have been wanting to blog about this experience as a way to share it with others and gain perspective for myself, but there just doesn't seem to be enough time in the day to deal with everything that needs to be dealt and sleep anywhere near enough. This is all, of course, part of what I signed u

Pictures As Promised

I have owned a bookstore for one month and nine days. It is 10:09 PM and I am in the basement of the store. I wasn't lying when I said this is my home now. Tonight was our first annual Lit Fest! Hopefully I will post more about that later. I can't have another post get high jacked because I have promised you pictures! My pet project! I love children's and young adult books. I have made this section all my own. This picture of the store represents my proudest contribution to the bookstore. Kids and literacy have been a passion of mine for over a decade now. I have been able to explore this passion from all different angles. Now I have a new opportunity.  Sharing books with the youth of my community is one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given. In just a number of weeks since this picture was taken the section has grown and evolved even more. I am realizing now the print I am making on this space and store after I realize how quickly this picture has become out

Braun Books

I have a new home! Or a home away from home. Braun Books in Cedar City, Utah has stolen my heart. I have been shopping there for over 13 years. And now I am the boss! Things are a little different on this side of the counter, but I have been wanting to own a bookstore for a long time. One of the most surreal feelings you will ever have in your life is living your dream. It comes in two parts, first the dream like not quite real quality your life takes on, but also the sheer sense of panic when you realize you have no idea what you are doing. The panic is easy to deal with. The joy overcomes everything else. I can't help feeling like I am doing what I was meant to do. On the other hand I am doing something that I never had to do before. Selling to people. Talking about books has long been a passion of mine and in the past month I have gotten so many compliments about my passion, but it is hard to not wonder if people think I have an ulterior motive. Probably only a few p
I am facing a day of a work after a sleepless night. This is not the first sleepless night and it won't be the last. I haven't updated my blog in close to four months because I have been living my dream. So many people in life know about the recent changes in my life, and you might already too. There is one thing I can tell you, life your dream is amazing but exhausting. For years my life has been mainly book focused. I am about to take that to a whole new level. About two weeks ago I dove in and bought an independent bookstore in Cedar City, Utah. Over the past 13 years Utah has become my home in a way that the place I was born could never match. And over the past 13 years I have been a customer of the very bookstore I now own. It is surreal and amazing all at the same time. Previous to working in the store for a few months I knew that owning a bookstore was something I always wanted to do, but would probably never be able to accomplish. But buying a bookstore with a built

Kindles for Kids

Starters ARC Winner

Congratulations to  Jamie Krakover ! Jamie just contacted me saying she already won a copy of the book. Amy is our new winner! Jamie  Amy has already been contacted. Thank you to everyone who entered. I hope you get a chance to read Starters soon. If you do, please let me know what you think! I finished the book just the other day and will have my review up soon. Thank you also to Lissa Price for suggesting I do this giveaway in the first place. I really liked hearing what interested each of you about the book!

Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn

I have to admit that I have a soft spot for indie/sulf published books. I admire the people who take control of their writing life and make the best of it. I also think that people often get a false sense of their ability when they don't go through the proper channels to publications. I love hearing about the stories that prove me wrong. Now that I have an ereader, self published are a little more in the forefront. They tend to have a much better price point than a lot of the other books that interest me. One of the first thing that struck me about Open Minds was how much I liked the cover.  I have never been ashamed of judging a book by its cover. And this cover of Open Minds words for me.  Usually I am not a huge fan of photos on the cover of books. They can kick me out of the story a little bit by demanding me to conform the character to the picture on the front. Lately I have seen a lot of photo covers that worked for me, most of them utilize a really strong focus on the

Guest Review of Filaria

Dystopian February is great because it enriches my love of reading other people's takes on dystopian books. As always I would like to express my appreciation to Lenore for coming up with the idea in the first place! Her posts and those who have shared their posts on her blog make it fun to see what everyone is reading and reviewing for dystopian fiction.   Today I am honored to have  Joanne Renaud  visiting on the blog for a review of an adult dystopian novel she recently read. I think Joanne definitely has a unique (and honest) view on what she reads. For another example of this you can check out her review of The Hunger Games . Thank you Joanne for sharing your thoughts with me and the rest of my readers! I picked up "Filaria" by Brent Hayward as part of ChiZine 's Friday the 13th giveaway. The book stood out to me because I was in the mood for a science fiction dystopia, as it seems that many young adult dystopias these days are, more or less, Sweet Valle

World Building a Dystopia

The problem and the promise of a dystopian novel both stem from the same place. When we start a book with dystopian themes we generally recognize much about the dynamics of the world, whether it is like ours or the opposite of ours, we as readers understand it through the lens of our current world. All speculative fiction, but especially dystopian novels, rely heavily on world building. This has long been the keystone to beloved fantasy and science fiction novels.  The issue with the dystopian novel is that the world building in away has to be even more detailed. I think it is easy to assume that the reader is able to fill in the blanks more easily when they are presented with a world that is like their own, but different. But actually I find the opposite to be true; the more like our world the future world is the more questions I have about the transition between the two. Previous to my recent exploration into speculative fiction I had never really heard of the concept of world bu

Dystopian February - Possession by Elana Johnson

It has been over a year since I first met Elana Johnson . It was one of the most exciting author meetings I have ever had! I think because it took me by surprise. When you go to a book event you know the authors who are going to be there. But Elana was attending an event and I had no idea she was going to be there. I remember my hands shaking while holding an ARC of Possession . I loved the cover so much (and still do)! I think this will always be one of my favorite book related memories. The cover was so striking and appeals to my personal aesthetics, on the front of dystopian book, written by a Utah author. I talked with Elana once about the pressure of reviewing a book by an author you have met and feel friendly with. I know I am not the only blogger who feels an obligation to give a better review because an author is overwhelmingly awesome, but a person are not the words on the page. Though they are intimately entwined they are not synonymous. But this pressure had me concerned

The Sunday Salon - Impending Reading Slump

It has been a busy couple of days for me here. February has definitely not stat out as I had hoped reading wise and the month feels like it is racing by faster than I can catch up. I am worried I have stumbled across another reading slump. I am pushing to get through it but every day I am losing more reading time. Life gets busy and those kind of distractions don't bother me but not FEELING like reading concerns me. The year has started strong reading wise. I finished 12 books in January, which is just under half of ALL the books I read last year. But my slump started to peek in on me at the end of the month and I have felt it like a presence looming over me ever since. I really hope I can break out of it soon because there are so many great books I want to read. One of my favorite aspects of February is Presenting Lenore 's dystopian themed month filled with reviews, interviews, and giveaways. Please make sure you check it out along with my own reviews of dystopian books

Dystopia's Umbrella

In September of 2010 I wrote a post called The Problem with Dystopia where I addressed some of the issues with the term as a definition and a literary term. In it I said, "Dystopian literature is gaining momentum, especially in the young adult market, yet no one seems to have a grasp on what words to you use to define, understand, and categorize dystopia." And the interesting thing is that nothing much has changed. People are still struggling to pin down what makes dystopia dystopian. Yet, we have also come to accept the word into our speech patterns. We use it without being overly concerned with definitions. The more we try to pin down our understanding of the term and concept the more variations of it emerge. This is both confusing and amazing. I am curious if and why people feel they have a firmer grasp on understanding dystopia than they did in the past. What has changed? I guess we all have that moment when dystopia is defined for us and whatever words were used in

PREVIEW - Starters by Lissa Price

I had the pleasure of meeting Lissa Price at a Mysterious Galaxy meet and greet in San Diego during the World Fantasy Convention. I wasn't able to attend WFC but I had a great time at the Mysterious Galaxy store seeing Cindy Pon again and meeting TONS of other great authors. It was a wonderful experience, full of surprises. Meeting Lissa was definitely one of those surprises. When I went to this event at the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore I hadn't been keeping up with forthcoming books so when Lissa told me she had a dystopian novel coming out I was REALLY excited. We had a great time discussing the genre and she told me to get a sample chapter booklet out of the store. The first thing that struck me about Starters was the cover. I have seen pictures of it online and it just doesn't show all the amazing detail that you can really see in person. I begged Lissa to sign it for me and she was more than happy to. I was instantly in love. The cover was overwhelming me, Li

How I Turned a New Page

Fantasy novels have been the bane of my existence since the creation of my blog. Why is that? you ask. Well, maybe bane is a bit over reaching but when it came to fantasy novels I had a huge road block keeping me from reading them. For me fantasy novels are often challenging because of the level of trust a reader must leave in the hands of an author.  The world can be so unknown with character names that are spelled weird and names of places that are insane to pronounce. It is odd, because at it's core, there is something inherently appealing about fantasy concepts. What little girl doesn't go through the unicorn stage, or love fairies? But I often found that what I was reading didn't match the pictures on my wall. Or if they did, I couldn't read long enough to get to those parts. And since then I have tried to avoid fantasy books. I even resented when people recommended them because I was so convinced that these books weren't for me and never could be. I can

Plum Wine Review

Plum Wine by Angela Davis-Gardner is a historical novel set in Vietnam Era Japan. Like the author once was, the main character, Barbara, is an English teacher at a Japanese university. An interesting aspect of the main character's situation is that she speaks very little Japanese. I could not imagine living in another country and not speaking their language, especially in the predigital age. I was lucky enough to share my reading experience with Carrie at Books and Movies after she read a post where I listed some books I wanted to try and read and she shared she had Plum Wine to read as well. As the story begins, a wine chest is being delivered to Barbara that belonged to her friend Michi. Michi has recently passed away and left this wine and chest behind. Though Barbara loves the gift she isn't entirely sure why she received it. One of the main themes in the book is the revelation of different layers of meaning.  After the chest had been delivered, Barbara looks around


One of the amazing things that a book can do is give you a glimpse of something that you desperately need to know more about. It might just be one little line or paragraph but your interest has been piqued.  Plum Wine did this for me with its thread about the different fox mythologies in Japanese culture. The book is set in Vietnam Era when an American woman, Barbara, goes to teach English and Literature at a Japanese university. I was fascinated about the superstition and mythology of foxes in Japanese culture as presented through the book. As always with fiction, I wonder where the facts end and fiction begins. But it was nice looking it all up when I was done with the book.  I found these fox stories were mostly called Kitsune myths. There are many different kind of Kitsune myths but as Lafcadio Hearn wrote in Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan " All foxes have supernatural power. There are good and bad foxes. The Inari-fox is good, and the bad foxes are afraid of the Inari-fo

Lenore's Dystopian February - Coming Soon

When it comes to books there are a lot of little milestones that happen every year, or a few times a year, that make me very happy. There is always the two book fairs at my local elementary school (especially the Buy One, Get One Free one in March) and LTUE - a symposium formally at BYU focusing on speculative fiction and featuring panels from some of Utah's best authors. But there is another semi annual event that is near and dear to my heart. And the best thing about it? You can be part of it too! It is happening right here on the interwebs and is hosted by Lenore from Presenting Lenore . Do you know what it is? OF COURSE!   IT IS DYSTOPIAN FEBRUARY. Lenore and I first met through twitter shortly before she had her first dystopian month. I remember it quite clearly, someone started about dystopia and SUDDENLY the topic blew up for 40 minutes on my Twitter stream and I had made at least a dozen new friends. When Lenore had her first dystopian February I was beyond