Some Things I Love About Working in a Bookstore

It was recently my second year anniversary at work and like all jobs there are some things that annoy you (messy clients) and many things that you come to love. Here are some of the things I love about working in a bookstore!

  1. BOOKS.
    A pretty obvious choice but come on. How can this not make the list? You’re surrounded by all kinds of books and everyday is an adventure! There are tons of books that catch your attention and all of a sudden your “To Be Read” Pile went from two books to forty in a week. Hand-in-hand with this point: Employee Discounts (especially during employee appreciation week) :D.
  2. MY COWORKERS.
    Being surrounded by people (Book Lovers) who have similar interests as you, who geek out with you no matter what time of the day it is (I work at 6 am… sometimes it’s hard to geek out so early in the morning) is amazing. I don’t know how else to describe it. The atmosphere at the bookstore I work at is something that will mark me forever. I mean, I don’t have much experience in retail, but the little I did have (before the bookstore) left something bitter in my soul if you know what I mean.
  3. HELPING/RECOMMENDING
    I’m not part of the Sale’s Team anymore, usually only during the holidays/peak season, but being that detective for all those: “The cover is blue with a bird on it i think?” cases and solving them correctly just fills you with pride (Or maybe that’s just me). That… And recommending books that people actually enjoy in the end and come back asking you specifically for another recommendation!
  4. ALL THE EVENTS WE HOST.
    -cough- Like Harry Potter events… I’m so sad that’s over. Does this really need elaboration?
  5. Last one: CUSTOMERS – (but not all of them)
    Most customers are pretty awesome, and I actually find a lot of my favourite books through their recommendations. You know, sometimes when they say “The customer knows best” it’s true! :D

Bookmammal made a similar list back in October and shared it with me so check it out [here] ! :D We have a few similarities~
That’s all for nowwww~
Until next time
Sam

P.S: Most of us on this Blog will be on “vacation” for a while because Finals are on the wayyyy… Most of us are busy studying our lives away haha. :)

Judging a Book by its Cover

We all do it.

We say we don’t, but we do.

Our minds are drawn to beautiful or interesting visuals.  That’s just the way it works.

So first, I want to look at those oh so beautiful ‘leather bound classics’ that Barnes & Noble sell.

They are wonderful.  I would buy them all, if it wasn’t for the terrible shipping rates to Canada!

Here are the ones I do have:

2013-07-30 15.57.312013-07-30 16.02.43

As you can see, I went for the same type of collections. Fairy tales and children’s stories!

This one, I’m hoping get rereleased.

narnia

Now, I’d love to talk fairy tales, and their impact on both writers and society as a whole, but I’ll save that for another post because I have tons to say about it!

This is all about the cover art.

I believe having shelves of old books, with decorated spines and beautiful imagery is a romantic idea that many people have.  Finding old books for a cheap price however is not easy! Now these books are not old, though the stories inside them are.  They are however beautiful, and are really like a piece of art in a way.

This brings me to a question though.  Do you prefer having your shelves filled with a variety of sized and styled books, or do you like the uniformity of having, let’s say, all the Barnes & Noble leather bound collection.  That would be all your classics, styled in this way.  Does that appeal to you?

As much as I think they’re beautiful, and I do want to get a couple more of them, I think having too much of the same would probably not be to my liking.  It would be too intentional, and would become more about the art, than the books themselves.  What do you think?

Another great cover:

Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane

This one is gorgeous.

ocean-at-the-end-of-the-lane-neil-gaiman

A.G. Howard’s Splintered

splintered book cover2

So I haven’t read this one yet.  This is one of those cases where my thought process went: Oh wow, that’s beautiful! Oh, it’s about Alice in Wonderland.  I’m interested!

So clearly, that’s good marketing!

Hopefully the book is gripping as well.

 

And of course, no post would be complete without a mention of George RR Martin’s book series A Song of Ice and Fire.  Walking into the fantasy section of a bookstore can feel overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for.  Though this is changing now (possibly do to Martin’s covers), most fantasy covers tend to feel like they all started from the same template.  There will be a guy (or once and a while a woman) wielding some fancy sword, hair whipping around in the wind, determined look on their face.

You see the same kind of generic art in Romance covers, and it can be off putting.  Maybe the book is great, but I don’t know that when I’m looking at a cover, and I will not be inclined to read it.  So what sets Martin’s books apart, at least until everyone catches on and does the same, is that they don’t have typical fantasy art . Just a single image, on a plain background.  That’s it. Nothing fancy, and yet totally gripping!

A_Game_of_Thrones_Novel_Covers

Another fantasy writer got me this way as well.  Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy:

the-first-law-trilogy

They are so simple, with only the title being the focus, that I immediately was drawn to them.  And that’s what a good cover does, it makes you pick up the book, and read the synopsis (which is hopefully well written!).

This has worked in many genres.  Just look at how Fifty Shades of Grey, and other erotic/romance novels have used this kind of cover to grab an audience.  It really works!

As I’ve said however, people will catch on to this, and soon there will be too many books using this kind of cover, and then its impact will be lost.

 

So, when you walk in to a bookstore, what catches your eye?

What book on your shelves do you think has the best cover design and art?

Let me know in the comments!

 

Until next time,

Sarah

 

Halloween Reads!

Halloween is just a few days away so I thought it’d be nice to list books that could/would/does get us all in the mood for this creepy holiday (and to be honest, my least favourite holiday from the bunch– I am the resident scaredy cat here…). * Note, I won’t be reviewing these books. Just naming some that I think are fun for the season.

First on my list is:

The Child Thief by BROM (I do have a review of this one from a while back).

This book makes the list because it’s a dark twist on a very mischievous character Peter Pan. I think that fits well enough with the season. Think of it as a nice blend of trick-or-treat and horror movies rolled into your favourite candy surprise.

Second:

One for the kids that’s pretty popular at work is:
Scaredy Squirrel prepares for Halloween by Mélanie Watt

It’s cute, fun, and prepares kids for Halloween! What’s not to like? I like this scaredy squirrel series because, as a scaredy… well I could have related very well to these books as a child.

Third:

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

This one also pretty much speaks for itself. I mean what’s not Halloween mood-ish about it? A boy lives in a graveyard and it raised by ghosts and stuff! If that doesn’t sound like a perfect spooky season read, I don’t know how to help you.

Fourth:

Another Neil Gaiman book, Coraline.

I’ll admit, I haven’t actually read the book… but the movie was pretty good and definitely something I think fits the Halloween criteria! Am I right or am I right?? Plus, how can Neil Gaiman NOT get on a list twice (look at Michelle’s list the other week!)?

Last one:

Let’s go with a classic —
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I think the title is enough of an explanation, no?
:)

What are your favourite Halloween Reads or Recommendations?
You probably noticed I didn’t suggest any horror stuff… well I stay true to my claim, I’m a scaredy cat… I don’t read horror. I barely watch horror movies haha.

Until Next Time!
Sam

Biggest Book Turn-Offs

Hey there!

So this is eight hours late, but better that than never??

So a while back I noticed some people posting their top ten book turn-offs (a Top-Ten Tuesday?), and wrote up this list.

So here it goes:

1) The line often seen in YA literature: “she let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding”. Why are so many teen girls holding their breath all the time? Is this a part of teenage development that I missed out on? Perhaps it’s just because almost EVERY teen book I’ve read has some variation of this line in it, but it’s an immediate eye-roller for me now. You’ll notice it too, from now on. I’ve ruined it for you. Sorry! (not really :p)

2) Characters losing weapons by accident, just to make sure their situation is more dire than it already was when they had one. Repeatedly in one book. So clumsy, guys… and yet these characters are also equally skilled with every weapon/tool you put in their hand. Incredible, but clumsy fighters? I am trying to extend my sense of belief here.

3) The character who is only in a book to give important information at the “right time”, even though the right time is really about two-hundred pages too late, cause the protagonist could have really used this info before everything went to hell.
I LOVE putting obstacles in my characters way, it’s what makes a story interesting, but I want to have a believable and intelligent plot line, that won’t make me go “BUT YOU COULD HAVE SAVED THEM FROM ALL THIS TROUBLE IN THE FIRST PLACE. NOW I MUST THROW THIS BOOK ACROSS THE ROOM”. The usual suspects: best friends, lost but found parents, wise old wizards…

4) The word “quest” in any title. Just no. I will judge this book by its cover. I’m sure many of the books out there with the word quest in the title are very well written, but when I see it, I just don’t even want to try. So let me know if you have any good recommendations! Free me of my prejudice!!

5) A POV that only shifts once or twice in a book because there was no way to communicate what happened through your protagonist. I’ve seem this done well, but more often than not, it’s done badly. Disjointed and sometimes even giving away important information about the antagonist that should have been given another way!

6) Long run on sentences that become paragraphs and that don’t end for over a page, and continue in this fashion for the entire novel, communicating a lot of unreliable nonsense and sometimes even describing things to death and all because stream of consciousness is so edgy that we absolutely need to forget the use of punctuation and refuse to give the reader a break because the mind doesn’t take breaks, now does it? I tried to make that sentence much longer, but just couldn’t. Hopefully you know what I mean!!
(Not referring to Woolf or Joyce. I bow down to their mastery of stream of consciousness. There are however, several classics that are written in this way. I can’t say it’s wrong. I just personally find it irritating. )

7) Endings that magically tie together all plot lines, often forgetting certain obstacles or character traits so that it can all be resolved in a way that was made clear to be impossible 200 pages before.

8) The too happy, happy endings. Unrealistic. I like when characters have reached their goal, become better people, fallen in love, sure. I just don’t want it to be “and they lived happily ever after, with all evil gone forever, and magical resolutions to all world problems.” I can just watch a classic Disney movie for that.

9) Flat, boring, unimaginative love interests. Can they not be more than what’s on the surface? And I mean more than just angsty boys with only sarcasm and brooding to offer.

10) This character never met one of their parents?! This parent is going to resurface at the climax of the novel!?! They’re evil too!?! Omg.
Okay. Stop. This totally easy to see coming plot line is overused. To be clear, I’ve enjoyed books that use this, but I definitely wish it came up less. Every time I hear a character never knew a parent, I get an anxious annoyed feeling that I’m about to read a book filled with all the other typical plot twists out there as well.

TO BE CLEAR, I’m not bashing the authors who choose to use some of these in their books. I have loved many a novel/series that have one, if not more of these used. Even my favourite books have things that can get on my nerves. I think as a writer though, these will be the things I look out for in my own writing, as things I don’t want to do.

So that’s it.

What are your biggest book turn-offs?

Let me know in the comments.

Have a great week!

Sarah

Michelle’s Tantalizing Treats

Because I have no time to read anything outside of the textbooks I need for class, I have decided to write about all the books that I want to read, but can’t because school is evil.

These books aren’t in any particular order. I looked around my room and picked the first four books I saw. Also note that these are not the only books that I own, but have yet to read. I have about thirty others, but that would make one hell of a long list and nobody likes long lists.

Firstly, there is Sever by Lauren DeStefano.

Though the second book was not fantastic, I have to finish the series. The last book ended on a cliffhanger, so I need to find out what happens next.

Then, there’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is my favourite author and everything he touches is magical, so why wouldn’t I want to read it. I am just waiting for the price to go down a little bit. It’s less than 200 pages and yet it’s nearly $30.

On the same note, The Graveyard Book also by Neil Gaiman.

Again, everything he makes is magical.

Lastly, I really need to read John Dies at the End by David Wong.

A friend of mine recommended this book to me during the summer, but I haven’t had time to dive into this one. I got through the first few pages and I was immediately hooked. It was a bit of a shame when I had to put it down, but Game of Thrones was calling me. This one is first on my reading list, though last in this list.

My Wandering eyes have found: Shadows

Title: Shadows
Author: Paula Weston
Publisher: Text Publishing
Type of book: Hardcover
Genre: Fantasy, paranormal, angels & Demons, Romance
Pages: 388

So I did a little indulging on the Chapters/Indigo website and bought 3 books, completely different from one another. My reasoning for such spontaneity are as listed: 1) it’s been a while. 2) I legit had read all which sit on bookshelf. 3) I look for any excuse to go book-shopping :). So This particular website was rather kind to me and introduced me to Shadows by Paula Weston. So once I foudn this little treasure I had no choice but to consult my book-guru Goodreads and what jackpot it came out to be. Needn’t I forget the fact that I bought this book despite it being a hardcover and that is a big time deal. For one simple fact {I may have mentioned it before but I will repeat} I ABHOR hardcovers.


It’s almost a year since Gaby Winters was in the car crash that killed her twin brother, Jude. Her body has healed in the sunshine of Pandanus Beach, but her grief is raw and constant. It doesn’t help that every night in her dreams she kills demons and other hell-spawn.
And then Rafa comes to town. Not only does he look exactly like the guy who’s been appearing in Gaby’s dreams—he claims a history with her brother that makes no sense. Gaby is forced to accept that what she thought she knew about herself and her life is only a shadow of the truth—and that the truth is more likely to be found in the shadows of her nightmares.

Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And most importantly, who can she trust?

-Goodreads

I do not know about you, but I get a feeling that this book will not be your typical girl meets mystery-drowned boy. I haven’t been interested in a book surrounding angels and demons since Daughter of Smoke and Bone and I think this could be it. Yes, I am getting my hopes up and yes, waves of chills went down my spine whenever I look at the cover. That’s just how they bait me I swear. It feels very much that it should not be in the YA section.

My hopes for this book is that I will get a series of unexplainable events, people ending up dead, maybe some whispers of Gabby Winter’s brother from a shallow grave {maybe even find out that he didn’t really die and is actually imprisoned in a dark place}. My aspirations on the romance are that I don’t want instant trust from Gabby. Goodness knows that a stranger coming into your life and talking nonsense isn’t someone you bring home to meet the folks. I basically I want this romance to build up and to make sense. I won’t accept reasoning that because she sees him in her dreams, that he is a good person. That’s just ridiculous-ness at it’s finest right there. {not to mention overdone}.

I do hope Gabby will after a series of horrible scary happenings have no choice and man up and become the warrior her dreams make her out to be. I want Gabby and her black knight go places no mortal has ever gone and maybe…just maybe end of the world happenings, but I think that’s a little stretch seeing it is the first book.

I really hope this book will standout and wow me, nay, I need it to blow my mind. {with old age comes picker times bwahahah} Doesn’t it sound sweet?! I am get hyped up! The proper review for Shadows will only follow sometime maybe next month, but warnings: I do have a book in between to get to beforehand so it might be pushed till December. It’s almost fitting though if it was ready for December don’t ya think? Nevertheless the more I read other reviewers comments basking the book in nothing but magnificence only furthers my anticipation.

Anyways that is where I will leave you all tootles!

-Meli

A Depressing Tale From Michelle’s Paper Garden

This is something I thought of when I am walking home in the middle of the night.
________________________________________________

The girl could not be more than sixteen years old yet she held a sleeping baby, a boy, wrapped in a plain blue pressed to her not fully developed breasts. He had been born only a few hours before she decided to take to the streets, an unwise action to be sure, but she deemed her task important enough to venture out on a cold winter night with a newborn. Foolish child was completely unaware of the predators who lurked just beyond her sight. Like myself.
I couldn’t help but smile a little. Merry Christmas to me, I thought wickedly as I began to follow her to the street at the edge of the park. I remained in the shadows of the trees, my feet never touching the ground.

She looked to her left and then to her right before crossing the quiet, snow covered street. It was a precautionary measure that had been etched into her head since childhood, but it did nothing to warn her of my presence or for that matter, of the presence of the others who were hovering about her: the homeless man whom to most would appear to be sleeping on the park bench was a ghoul, a creature whose enjoyment of the dead bodies is disturbing even to the most sadistic of night creatures; the unusually large stray dog who was sniffing around garbage cans in the park was a werewolf with hungry red eyes, and the old Santa Clause at the corner was no jolly old elf, but a redcap with a thirst for blood. All watched her carefully, all were aware of the others hanging about.

She raced up the steps of the large gothic building whose great towers seemed to reach the sky and stained-glass windows that were larger than any man; a church with all its stone glory. There were lights coming from inside the church, as it was Christmas Eve and midnight masses were popular for some reason. I would never understand Catholics.

With the utmost care — or at least the utmost care one can show when leaving a newborn on the front porch of a church— she placed the baby in front of the door. “I’m sorry,” she whispered to him before placing a kiss on the child’s forehead.
How sentimental, I thought sourly as the girl rose and slammed her fists against the wooden doors. Then, she rushed down the steps like a prankster who had just left a flaming gift on the doorstep of a hated neighbour and across the street. She quickly whipped past the homeless ghoul, who immediately perked up, as she vanished into the trees.

With a cruel grin of black pointed teeth, the creature rose from his bench and walked after her. The wolf growled hungrily from behind me, and proceeded to follow him, hoping to get a bite before the ghoul had his way with the young girl. No one would want to take a bite after the ghoul.

My head snapped back to the abandoned baby, and I immediately noticed that the redcap had moved from his corner. He had almost reached the staircase when the wooden door swung open, flooding the porch with soft candlelight and warmth from the many bodies that were seated in the pews. A man, a priest from him garb, stood in the doorway with a confused look on his elderly face. He spotted the baby and his expression changed to one of pity. He scooped up the child, mumbling comforting words that the sleeping baby would neither hear nor understand. He looked around, but saw no one, as the redcap had dropped his disguise and had ducked behind a tree.

It was my turn to act. I stepped out of the trees and walked to the edge of the park. “Good evening, father,” I said cheerfully as I walked across the street without looking one way or the other. I had no need to be cautious.

The priest pulled the child close to him, either because he worried that the baby would be cold or because the tiny voice in the back of his mind was telling him that I was not like him. Men of the cloth were not known to appreciate the unusual. “G-good evening, miss. Merry Christmas,” he replied with a forced smile. There was a twinge of fear in his dark blue eyes.
Hmm, so it’s the latter. I sighed as I walked up to the priest, who took an involuntary step backwards. He stared straight at me, and I in turn, stared right back.

My pupils narrowed to a thin slit. “You have nothing to fear, priest. I am just like you,” I told him, though the words made me want to gag. No one wants to be the equal of their food. “Now, give me the baby and then walk back into the church to finish your service.”

The priest nodded as he handed the baby to me and turned to renter the church. Some of the churchgoers asked him what had happened, but he ignored them all as he marched up to the alter. Paying no mind to the strange looks from his congregation, he began to preach. Those in the pews mumbled to their neighbours, but did nothing else.

The baby made a noise, rubbing his little nose with a balled fist. I glanced down at it. I could feel my fangs peeking out of my gums as I watched the blood rush through the tiny creature. There was nothing like the taste of a newborn.

There was a growl from behind me. I looked over my shoulder to see the redcap, thin and pale, standing at the foot of the staircase. His blood-soaked cap was clutched in a skeletal hand. The ghoul and the werewolf appeared on the other side of the road. The werewolf, now in human form, was covered in blood. The ghoul adorned a bloody skull on top of his head and the face of a pretty sixteen-year old girl was sewn to his bare chest. He chewed absently on a severed arm.

I turned to look back into the church. There were so many warm bodies that it sent chills up my spine. A low, content hiss escaped my lips. I smirked coldly. “Have at it, boys.”
A blur moved past me and the first scream followed as a large wolf tore into the jugular of a little old grandmother. The ghoul waddled over to the door, screeching gleefully at the mounting fear in the room. The redcap glided by me, turning in the doorway to face me.

“Coming, Camilla?” he asked, his voice was hoarse.

“No,” I replied as I lifted the baby. “This will be enough for me.”

The redcap nodded before closing the door. There was a soft click, trapping everyone inside like cows in a slaughterhouse. Screams and the sound of crunching bones were the only things that could escape the church.

Grinning like a schoolgirl, I spun around to make my way down the stairs, which I had planned on skipping down. I could have done a jig, I was so happy. Once I made it down the stony steps, I glided across the street and vanished into the dark, snowy park.