2015 List of Awesome: Television

You know we've been doing our annual "List of Awesome" every year and it's always been books, but since I'm tinkering with the focus of CEFS moving forward (more on that later), I thought I'd highlight some of the things I really enjoyed this year that aren't books in these lists.

Also, I really like lists. If you've missed previous years' installments, they're all archived here. 

For the first 2015 List of Awesome, I wanted to spotlight some of the fabulous television that I've enjoyed this year. It goes without saying that we're spoiled for television these days--so much so, it sometimes seems overwhelming.

Guest Post: TOWARD THE SKY by Cordelia Jensen

I'm happy to host Cordelia Jensen as part of YA Readers' Debut Author Bash event. I read and loved Cordelia's debut, Skyscraping, and am thrilled to introduce her to more readers. 

It is hard for me to describe my debut YA verse novel SKYSCRAPING (out this June from Philomel/Penguin) without telling my life story. This is what happens:

“You have a book coming out! How cool, what’s it about?” asks Random Stranger.

I think it’s important to know that I’m sort of a people pleaser. So I hesitate, partly because I think they might want me to tell them a high-concept story summary and partly because what I am about to share feels too personal for this level of exchange.

Episode #31: Chatting Books & Libraries with Molly Wetta

Awesome librarian, Tumblr rockstar, YALSA's The Hub editor and all around awesome human being Molly Wetta was on our "hit list" of dream podcast guests and we're so, so, so thrilled she was finally about to join us for a chat!

This is a pretty freewheeling discussion, with topics ranging from what it's like to work with books professionally (buying books with someone else's money seems like a dream job, but it's also really hard!), library school, how to make book recommendations and some of the more interesting questions she's gotten on Find Your Next Book. It was a whole lot of fun!

Win it! Black Widow: Forever Red

We all know that Black Widow is the most awesome lady in the Marvel cinematic universe (ummm... can we talk about what they did with her character in the last Avengers movie, because I have THOUGHTS) and we are thrilled to partner with our friends at Big Honcho Media to give away a copy of Margaret Stohl's the new book Black Widow: Forever Red along with a $50 Visa gift card to get your Black Widow costume on. Enter below using our easy-peasy Rafflecopter form.

Stream-It Saturday: Mr. Robot

Laura was harassing me to watch Mr. Robot--USA Network's new show--so aggressively that she was basically interrogating me about whether or not I'd watched the first episode every time we talked or texted. Then another friend (Hi, Jennifer!) also started raving about it. And my father-in-law started talking about it, too.

Obviously, Laura was right. Which is additional evidence that you should just listen to Laura the first time. Mr. Robot is one of the most interesting shows I've watched in a long time, and one of the hardest to talk about. Because, you see, it's a show ostensibly about hackers. But it's also about a whole lot more. It's about mental health and perception and corruption and corporate greed and a whole bunch of other things. 

Recommendation Tuesday: Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

Recommendation Tuesday started as a joke and is now an official thing. Basically, this is my way of making Tuesday a little more awesome. If you've got a book to recommend on this or any Tuesday, tweet me at @SarahSMoon or tag me on Instagram @sarahbethmoon and I'll help spread the word.

View all of the past recommendations over here. 

Stephanie Tromly’s first novel, Trouble is a Friend of Mine, packs clever dialog, great characters and a complex mystery into a quick paced and excellent read.

Fun + Games: Sunshine Blogger Award

The marvelous ladies at The Book Wars tagged me in this Sunshine Blogger award thing and I really don't know what it is, but I love The Book Wars, so I'll play!

1. To be eligible for this award you must like pineapple. Do you like pineapple? No? How about oranges? Grapes?

Duh. Pineapple is awesome. People who don't like pineapple are untrustworthy. Pro tip: Put your pineapple on the grill and brush it with honey. It is amazing. Also, if you are one to partake in Jamba Juice on occasion (as one does), ask for a Razzmatazz, no banana (because banana is the devil's fruit, obvs), add pineapple. You'll never go back to standard Jambas. 

Recommendation Roundup: Summer 2015

Hi folks! I'm happy to share our summer recommended reads with you. It's funny, I keep saying that I haven't gotten super excited about many books this year, but here we have 20+ books that we feel good about recommending--I guess are some good ones out there after all!

Reading has been tough this summer--I took on some huge projects that have competing deadlines and that means my eyeballs aren't too happy with me by the end of the day, so I haven't been reading as much. Plus I've been (intentionally) checked out from a lot of the book chatter online, so I haven't been as on it with regard to what's new and buzzed. (Not necessarily a bad thing.)

Onward to the recommendations!

This is pretty great...

Instead of defending romance books to those who’ve never read one, I’d like to say this instead: grow up. The categorical dismissal of the most-read genre in the world reveals ignorance, not intellectual superiority. This is a billion-dollar industry, and it’s not built on vapidity and cliché. It exists and thrives because romance authors offer readers an emotional experience that mirrors an elemental desire in life: to find a constant and loving companion; to become our best selves; to forgive our mistakes of the past and learn from them.

Book Snapshots: Quick Thoughts on Recent Reads

Hey y'all! I know it's been quiet around these parts as of late--I have no excuses except that my workload has been CRAZYPANTS as of late. We do have a new podcast episode coming at you, basically a follow up to some of the discussion around the first two episodes of this season and I'm also working on retooling the focus of CEFS a bit as well, so it is in more alignment with what feels more "right" for us these days. 

But, I have been reading and posting some quick thoughts on Instagram, but since most of you aren't over there, I thought I'd share some of my recent reads over here with recommendations for who'd like them. Enjoy!

Podcast Episode #29 (Season 3, Episode 3): Talking Cultural Appropriate, Diversity & Publishing with Nafiza (Part 2)

We couldn't be more excited to have the brilliant blogger Nafiza of Bibliographic Monologues and The Book Wars fame join us for the second in a two-part podcast series on diversity and cultural appropriation.

Nafiza is one of the smartest ladies in the bookish blogosphere, complete with a Masters in Children's Literature, and we're so happy to have her join us for this discussion. If you'd like to hear more from Nafiza (and you really should), visit her online at Bibliographic Monologues and The Book Wars and check out all her smarty pants tweets at @Nafizaa

Recommendation Tuesday: Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen

Cordelia Jensen's debut novel first got on my radar thanks to Stasia Ward Kehoe's guest post for our Verse Week celebration this year.  While I don't read all the blogs, it seems like it's not received much attention and I'm here to remedy that, because folks, Skyscraping is a special book. 

I coined the term "nostalgia lit" on a podcast episode a couple years ago, and I'm generally a fairly reluctant about books set in near history, but Skyscraping is a wonderful example of this particular almost-contemporary setting.

BEA, NYC & Falafel

I really enjoyed my trip to Book Expo America and have so much to say, but, honestly, I just need to talk about falafel for a minute. Because, hot damn, I had a lot of awesome falafel in New York. Guys, I just really love falafel a whole lot. 

My source was Taim, which was conveniently located in the nifty West Village neighborhood I stayed in. (Seriously, guys, if you go to NYC, skip the hell that is Midtown and stay in the Village, it's so pleasant.) Here are some of my falafels. 

 

Listorama: 11 Romance Novels for Clever Ladies

Recently, The Mary Sue--a website I have deeply conflicted feelings about--posted a super-ignorant, click-bait-y piece about romance novels and romance readers.

Rather than rebut the silliness (because what's the point), I thought I'd offer some recommendations for clever ladies looking to try out the genre, want to try a new subgenre of Romance or who want to revisit it after an absence. I'm not an expert, but I've read reasonable widely in the genre and appreciate that it is, in many ways, a deeply feminist field of offerings, particularly in recent years. 

The following are 11 smart big-R romances (read: happy ending of a central love story, as defined by the Romance Writers Association) I recommend for Clever Ladies who are interested in the genre. Keep in mind that there's just about something for everyone in this genre, so if there's not something that's up your alley on this list, there's probably something out there--leave a note in the comments and I'll see what I can do.