Sunday, May 11, 2014

How to Get Books for Cheap or Free! Part One

On my new Youtube Channel: I Read Good, I just posted a video about how to get book for cheap or free. Sometimes I would rather just read about an article I'm interested in so I'll also going to write about it here.

1. Use the Library!: 

This is self-explanatory but if you are like me and are trying to limit the book you buy to only ones you really love, the library will be your best friend. How else are you going to know you love a book unless you READ it first? It's like getting a sample of steak at Costco except you get to take the whole thing home and if you like it, you can go back and get more! Win Win.

2. Buying Used Books At the Library: 

A lot of times, libraries have a used book section. This is a great place to get cheap books (a hard cover for less than two dollars). YA sections are usually not that great but sometimes you can find real gems. 

3. Book Giveaways: 

Book Giveaways on blogs and vlogs are great ways to get books someone else buys FOR you. What could be better? However, there is some etiquette when it comes to book giveaways.

a. Don't use fake accounts (FB, Twitter, etc.) to enter the giveaways. It's not cool cause other people won't see your shared post. If others don't see it, what was the point?
b. Only enter for books you really want.
c. Think about why this person is doing the giveaway. Are they apart of a Giveaway Blog Hop and are just looking to increase their follower numbers? Enter as many of those as you want! But if they are trying to get genuine followers who will return and participate, think carefully about entering that giveaway if you don't plan to be a true follower.

4. Make Book Friends!: 

This ones a little tricky but if you go to book events or are apart of the book community, you can meet a lot of people and someone is always willing to give books away. I'm apart of a book club and we did a White Elephant Christmas where I got a some pretty good books. Bloggers are also usually happy to give away books they aren't interested in or they just won't get to. 

5. Get the Membership!: 

If you are like me and like to buy your books online, getting a membership to Barnes and Noble or Amazon is just the best way to go. If you always have to spend $25 to get free shipping, most likely you are going to buy books you don't want or at prices you feel are too high. I promise you will save at least $25-$75 a year if you get the membership. Also remember to compare different websites for different prices. Plus, you'll get coupons. 

6.  A Regular Used Book Store: 

You won't support the author any more but you will get nice books for cheap! Most books are under $5 at a used book store, so roll up those sleeves and don't be afraid to get a little dirty. 

I thought of a few more tricks after I did the video so I'm sure there will be a Part Two coming soon!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

AuthorsRMyRkstars: Stephanie Perkins, Victoria Schwab, Marissa Meyer and more!

February 1st 2014

Megan Shephard and Jessica Spotswood

Ellen Oh, Victoria Schwab, Megan Shephard, Stephanie Perkins and Jessica Spotswood came to the Bethesda Library in the beginning of February. It was quite the mixture of genres and styles. From mainly romance novels like those of Stephanie Perkins, to ancient Korean warriors like Ellen Oh, to retellings of classic novels like Megan Shephard, it was a great selection of authors no matter what you like to read.

Stephanie Perkins, Victoria Schwab, Ellen Oh
I have heard of all these ladies' novels but had only read Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. I am on a book buying hiatus while I try to read the all the ones I already have, so I was determined not to buy anything unless it sounded wonderful and I had to have it signed!

Megan's thinking face
I was weak, however, once Victoria Schwab talked about her love for darkness in books. I knew I had to get The Archived (also it has an awesome cover). Dead people housed like books at a library? Disturbing and intriguing. Here is my post (totally out of order) where I met Victoria for the second time at NoVa Teen Book Festival if you are interested.

Anyway, I knew Stephanie Perkins would have the longest line so I hopped right up to that one! She was so sweet, complimenting my fox shirt and showing me her fox necklace. During the panel portion, she talked about how she wrote Lola and the Boy Next Door for ten years then wrote Anna and the French Kiss which got published first. I told her I've been writing the same thing for 5 years and she said maybe I should set it aside and work on something new until I was inspired again.

When we went to take the picture, Stephanie had to lean over the table since she was in the middle and there was no way to get behind her. She leaned over, I put the book up and BAM. Smacked her right in the face with it. -_- Good going Markella. Author abuse.

Although I didn't get their books, I still got a picture with Megan Shephard and Jessica Spotswood. I vow to read their books one day! 

Victoria was very nice and we had a good conversation about wanting to read darker YA. Victoria and I are actually about the same age (she might be a year or so older) which surprised me because I always think of authors as older than I am. I need to stop thinking like that since I am now on the WRONG SIDE of 25.

Last I went to talk to Ellen Oh. She asked if I come to these events often. I said I did. She said she recognized me from other things. I was surprised cause I don't think I've seen her in person before. Maybe she was just making small talk. It was still a nice thought that an author would recognize me. 

February 12 2014

I saw Marissa Meyer in Bethesda last year when she was promoting Scarlet. This post here recaps that time. This time she was promoting Cress with a special guest, the narrator of the audiobook Rebecca Soler! Let me tell you, the narrator was awesome. The amount of voices she could do and they way they captured each character was great. (Sorry not talking about Marissa much because I covered a lot of what she said in my first post.)

Rebecca talked about the most difficult scene in the book to do and she said there is a conference call with a ton of different countries in Cress and she had to do different accents for each character. She also said her favorite character voice to do is Iko, Cinder's android friend. 

I made sure to tell Marissa happy birthday since she had come to the area around the same time last year and we had a birthday dinner with her. 

Here's a video of the narrator I stole from someone else. Enjoy!

Next up!

Day Days Tour: Tahereh Mafi, Veronica Rossi, Kiersten White and Sophie Jordan

Jenny Han

Thursday, April 17, 2014

How A Library Changed My Life: For National Library Week

Before the age of 14-15, I don't think I read a book for fun once in my entire life.

My New York City library card is unusable TO THIS VERY DAY because I never returned the books on Native Americans I took out in the fifth grade. Not that I cared at the time. I remember kids talking about Harry Potter during a book report and I thought is he a gardener? (I also didn't pay much attention to my classmates). My family were TV people, not book people.

When I moved to Ohio to start High School, I met a girl who would be become my best friend; her name was Brittani. Brittani's mom was a librarian at the Warren Trumbull Public Library and had asked Brittani to join the Teen Advisory Board (TAB) to which, as any good friend would do, she then dragged me to. Once a month, we did things like write letters to soldiers to accompany the books we picked to send them and discuss books we read recently and liked. 

My old library

I never had anything to say in the meetings because A. I didn't read for fun and B. I don't talk easily in groups of strangers.

However, I do remember two teenage boys regulars who were so enthusiastic and vocal about the fantasy novels they had read (and possibly Dungeons and Dragons too). Their little seen, highly unacceptable public display of love for all things geek was something I couldn't understand or fathom expressing myself. At the same time, I was jealous of how they had this thing in their lives that made them so excited and happy they didn't care what others thought. I didn't have anything like that in mine. I wanted to see if I too could find that in books.

So after a meeting where we talked about fantasy novels specifically, I went to the Young Adult and Adult sections and looked through the mixed genre books, trying to find something that interested me. This was about 2003 so the YA section is not what it is now. Lots of Young Adult books were mixed in the Adult section. The Young Adult section was filled with the Babysitter's Club and dull covers from the 1960's. Neither really appealed to me. 

I just grabbed a bunch a books at random that looked interesting. I remember only one called Mother Ocean, Daughter Sea.

Mother Ocean, Daughter Sea

I never did read Mother Ocean, Daughter Sea. I don't remember what exactly I did read that made me come back for more but soon I was taking 10-15 books home every week, reading maybe 2-4 that interested me and returning the rest. I remember walking to the library in the summer heat a few times a week and staying up to 4-5 in the morning to finish a book.

I still do these things to this day. Well, except the walking part. I can drive now. And the staying up all night. I can't take a messed up sleep schedule anymore (that makes me feel old to admit).

So what am I trying to say? I'm trying to say the library made me the person I am today. That if it hadn't been for that Teen Advisory Board or my friend's librarian mother, my life would be different. Would I have started reading for fun? Would I have found my love of Young Adult? Would I known what it was like to have something you can squeal to others about even if they'll think you're a nerd or uncool? I'm not sure and that makes me sad. It makes me sad that if libraries close, other shy lonely kids won't be able to find what I did.

As an adult, I still read Young Adult. I spend weeknights reading until I'm too tired to keep my eyes open. Or working on my book blog. Or writing my own novel. I spend weekends at book events or my YA book club. Reading is a part of my life and who I am.

So thank you so much libraries and librarians for giving this girl something in life that feels like her own and makes her happy.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Who will be at National Book Festival 2014? Ask and you shall receive

The list of authors for the National Book Festival 2014 has just been released! The Festival will be at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (not the mall!) on August 30, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. If you don't know, the National Book Festival is a HUGE event with author talks, signings and a host of other things to do. It's usually only in the day time but this year they have extended their hours to 10 p.m. The theme is Stay Up With A Good Book so the later hours are fitting. Also, it is kid friendly!

If you are a YA lover like I am, I don't see anything to freak out about just yet but it's still months away and I'm sure they will be adding authors until then. 

First, check out my recap of last year's festival where I got to meet Veronica Roth!

Anyway, here are some YA/ MG authors to look forward too (the ones I looked up anyway):

The one name I recognized!

Kendare Blare author of the Anna Series and Goddess War Series

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)Girl of Nightmares (Anna, #2)13246736Mortal Gods (Goddess War, #2)

Others that I thought YA lovers would be interested in: 

Kate DiCamillo author of Because of Winn Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux and more

Because of Winn-DixieThe Tale of Despereaux

Gene Luen Yang author of American Born Chinese and Avatar Comics

American Born ChineseAvatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, Part 1 (The Promise, #1)

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

List of all author scheduled as of today (good luck sorting this out):

Jonathan Allen, Amie Parnes, Peter Baker, Ishmael Beah, Kai Bird, Billy Collins, Kate DiCamillo, Francisco Goldman, Henry Hodges, Siri Hustvedt, Cynthia Kadohata, U.S. Reps. John Lewis and James Clyburn, Alice McDermott, George Packer, Lisa See, Maria Venegas, and Gene Luen Yang. Bob Adelman, Paul Auster, Andrea Beaty, Eula Biss, Kendare Blake, Paul Bogard, Jeffrey Brown, Peter Brown, Eric H. Cline, Bryan Collier, Raúl Colón, James Conaway, Ilene Cooper, Jerry Craft, H. Allen Day, Liza Donnelly, Margaret Engle, Percival Everett, Jules Feiffer, David Theodore George, Carla Hall, Molly Idle, Peniel E. Joseph, Nick Kotz, Nina Krushcheva, Louisa Lim, Eric Litwin, Adrienne Mayor, Meg Medina, Claire Messud, Anchee Min, Elizabeth Mitchell, Richard Moe, John Moeller, Bryan Lee O'Malley, Alicia Ostriker, Laura Overdeck, Dav Pilkey, Paisley Rekdal, Amanda Ripley, Cokie Roberts, Ilyasah Shabazz, Lynn Sherr, Brando Skyhorse, Vivek Tiwary, David Treuer, Ann Ursu, Lynn Weise, Rita Williams-Garcia, Natasha Wimmer, Jacqueline Woodson and Tiphanie Yanique.

Library of Congress website for you to look over if you want more info though there's not much on there right now :

Also, check out my TAB above for more author events in the area. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

NoVa Teen Book Festival: A Day of Panels and Attempted Witticism

NoVaTEEN Book Festival | March 8 2014 | Arlington

NoVa Teen Book Festival was on March 8th in Arlington, Virginia. Some of my book club buddies were going and the girls from Books and Sensibility (link to their post about the event at bottom) Jess and Kat were too. The day promised a heaping butt load of author chats and personal time with some favorite writers.

The Festival started at 10:00 am with the opening remarks from Phyillis Reynolds Naylor, author of the "Alice" books and "Shiloh." I had seen Phyllis talk at The National Book Festival, heard of "Shiloh" but never read it and never heard of "Alice" so I wasn't too interested. It was a Saturday; my ten hours of sleep could not be compromised. 

The halls of the high school transformed into a book store
When I did get there at 11:00, I caught Kat and Jess going into the first panel with Lamar Giles, Ellen Oh, Sarah Guillory as speakers and Meg Medina and Diana Peterfreud as moderators. They were talking about diversity in YA. Lamar brought up that his book was about a little seen member in YA, the young black male protagonist. He commented that he hadn't seen many YA books that were accurate for that voice. Ellen Oh also talked about wanting to see more Asian main characters. Not really sure what Sarah Guillory said about her book since I don't think it sounded like it had too much diversity in it (small town white girl wanting to get away from guessed it, small town.) 

The role of the moderator got a bit confusing in this first panel as Diana and Meg were as large a part of the conversation as the actual panelists.

Anyway, next I went to a smaller Breakout Session with Ellen Oh and Marie Lu. Marie was the big attraction of the event so her first breakout session was full by the time I got there (damn you beauty sleep!). I knew I had to get to the next one since it was her last. Kat, Jess and I raced out of the auditorium to get a seat in the classroom the session was being held in. 

We got some of the last seats in the back. That's Kat, Jess and I in the right corner of the photo!

Taken from
 I didn't realize that "Legend" was so popular! I guess I got out of the loop about that somewhere. I had tried to read it a while ago but it didn't keep my attention so I was onto the next. I bought a paperback copy to get signed at the Festival since I know Marie lives in Los Angeles and I might not have the chance to meet her again if I did like the book. Also, I usually buy at least one book at events like these. 

Marie just seemed like the sweetest person ever. Ellen Oh was her usual outrageous self, telling it like it is. They shared that they are critique partners; you could tell how proud they were of each other and how close they are. Definitely an interesting dynamic between them .

Marie talked about a future book set in Renaissance Italy that was like the X-men. She divulged how her main character in the book was going to turn evil (guess it's not a spoiler?). It sounded so interesting to me. I would definitely pick it up. 

When the session was over, Marie was pretty much chillin' so I went up to her. I told her how young she looked compared to her author picture (Compliment? Dunno. I meant it to be though I'm not good at the whole talking to other humans thing). She seemed to take it as one. I honestly didn't recognize her from her author photo. 


I think she looks better naturally but whatever. 

Here's pictures of me getting my picture taken. Thanks stranger for the picture Inception!
I ended up staying in the main auditorium for most of the Festival instead of other breakout sessions. I had heard the authors I'm interested in talk about their books at other events (except Marie Lu) so I just wanted to hear their opinions on other topics instead. 

The next panel was on Survival: How dire circumstances and high-stakes situations unite and shape characters to defeat the odds with Kristen Simmons, Claudia Gray, Meagan Spooner and moderators Lisa Maxwell and Jessica Spotswood. The moderators in this panel really pushed the questions back to the panelists; it was endearing to see authors wanting to help promote other people's books. Don't ask me what was actually said at the panel. 

The last panel I listened to was about Bad Boys. I like Victoria Schwab a lot after seeing her the last time she came to the area (only a few weeks before the festival) and thought she would be fun to listen to about this topic. And of course she was. This panel had Elisa Nader and Aimee Agresti as moderators and featured Elle Cosimano, Erica Cameron and Victoria Schwab as panelists.

Marie Lu was the last speaker of the day. She was introduced by Ellen Oh. Marie talked about the books from her childhood that affected her, the weirdly grim stories she used to write when she was younger, and about her books. 

The day ended at the Arlington Library across the street from the high school the Festival was held in. I thought it was going to be really busy and crowded but it was actually really quick. Two minutes in the Marie Lu line and two in Victoria Schwab's and I was done. 

When I was getting "The Unbound" signed by Victoria Schwab I said I had just seen her at the Bethesda library. She said that she remembered me because I have a memorable....

I thought she was going to say face Which is better thing to be memorable for in my opinion. I thanked her for coming back to the area because she knew I wanted my book signed. Since I got "The Achived" at her last signing (I just liked how she described it), I said she must have known I now wanted "The Unbound" signed. So kind of her to come back just for me. 

She laughed. Oh Markella, your attempts at witty banter is even more embarrassing when recounted. 

All the authors

Anyway, it was a great event! About 300 people came for 24 authors. This was the first all day panel event I have ever been to. I thought it might feel a bit like school. Luckily, it didn't. Hope I can go back next year!

More posts about NoVa Teen Book Festival:

Also, I made a tab about author events coming the the Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia area. I don't promise I get everything but it's a good place to start. Email me if you hear of any others!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Divergent Movie Review

2 days ago, Sandie (thanks again!) from the YADC Facebook group posted a message to ask if anyone wanted to see the Divergent screening as a plus-one on a press pass.

1 day, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds later, I replied:

Stephanie from the blog No BS Book Reviews also got a ticket so we decided to meet up.

After a few issues with a guy who thought he was the movie theater's bouncer (Hey, Efff you guy! I'm a semi-VIP yo), Sandie breezed in with her press pass and Stephanie and I got to our VIP seats. And I saw no less than 3 of my fellow book-clubers there!

Photo: VIP movie premiere for #Divergent Fangirling right now.

Now I'll be honest, I was a teeny tiny bit less excited by this movie than I had been when the Hunger Games came out. However, I was still embarrassingly, pee-my-pants, over-the-top, a-25-year-old-shouldn't-fangirl-so-hard-for-a-book-for-teens excited!!

So yeah....

On to the review!!

I think this was one of the best executed YA adaptations to screen I've seen yet! I actually got bored with the Hunger Games movie part way in (but I also get bored easily). Catching Fire is probably my number 1 adaption but this is a really close second. Don't get me started on some of the others.

What I loved about the casting:

1. Shailene Woodley was awesome as Tris. I think she had the whole un-compassionate but still loving characterization down. She was weak in ways but so tough. I loved her acting in this movie.

2. Theo James was delicious as Four. I had my doubts because of how much older he looks than Tobias is supposed to be, but I think it worked. He was strong, sensitive and charismatic.

3. All the other characters, especially Peter and Christina, were cast perfectly! Peter was so absolutely hilarious that, at times, I really wanted to root for him.
4. The dynamic between Tris and her Mom was awesome and heart-breaking. 

What I loved about the story/plot:

1. It was still exciting even though I knew how it would turn out! Though I haven't reread the book since the first time, I do remember most of the story. Yet still I held my breath when Tris is about to choose her faction or hoping some characters make it to the end when I knew they wouldn't.
2. I think it would be easy to follow for someone who hasn't read the book.
3. The pacing was good consistently.
4. Stuck very close to the book but didn't include so much info as to overwhelm (Cough* Vampire Academy* Cough)

What I loved about the movie visually:

1. The costumes were great for each faction. I think they really represented them well.

2. The Ferris wheel scene was perfect.

3. They used the Chicago skyline and surrounding area. You had no doubt where this was set.  

What I loved most:

1. It was FUNNY! When it MEANT TO BE FUNNY. Sometimes you watch these movies and the serious scenes make you laugh. I think once or twice the audience laughed during a smexy scene with Tris and Four, but for the most part, the humor was spot on.
2. The relationship building between Tris and Four was adorable and well paced but maybe a teeny touch of insta-love. Them holding each other at the end of the movie was incredible.

Not my favorite things:

1. Some of the smexy parts with Tris and Four were awkward...but still hot so it's forgiven. There were a few cheesy lines too.

2. The science/ society explanation was lacking. If I didn't read the book, I don't know if I would have known what was going on on that front.
3.Errrmmm can't think of anything else....I missed the scene with Veronica :-(((

Things they changed:

1. Some of Tris' fears were cut out. It didn't bother me. 
2. In one of Tris' fear landscapes, Four is in it and it was a little weird. (no spoilers). You'll see what I mean. 
3. Four and Marcus didn't look similar at ALL.
4. Some characters are left out.


I give the movie a solid A! 

It was heart:

Go see it now* and bring you're non-bookish friends too! Everyone will love this one!

*Okay, not NOW now since it comes out tomorrow but you know what I mean....