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Monday, February 6, 2017

Covers According to Different Genres (Guest Post)

Hello everyone! You may (or may not) have noticed that my blog posts have been a bit sparse these days. That's because I'm back at school, where my life is moving approximately 4 gazillion miles an hour. Luckily, a handful of delightful people have volunteered their help to keep my blog at least a little active.

Today's guest post is coming at you from the lovely Anna at Adventures with a Book Nerd, and she's going to talk to y'all about some patterns she has noticed in book covers!
Covers According to Different Genres

Hi everybody, and thanks to Lefty for having me on her blog! It can be hard to fit blogging in around school, so I’m happy that I could help out. :)

I noticed something this month. I noticed that different genres have their own style of covers. Let me try to explain this better. YA romances often have covers with soft colors, couples, and landscape backgrounds. Fantasy covers will have weapons, symbols, and sometimes fighting. Horror covers will have dark colors, abandoned places, dolls, and other things like that. You see what I mean? I feel like the different genres have similar covers. Why?

My guess is that publishers know what will get books to sell. They found the right formula, and they stick to it. And while yes, no cover is exactly the same. There are definitely similarities.

Romance:

Horror:

Fantasy:

Science Fiction:


While it’s easier to see with more than three examples (thanks a lot, Anna), there is definitely a pattern. So what do you think? Do you see a pattern among the covers? Or am I just crazier than I thought that I was? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Schoolyard Treasures #2

This is a new feature I thought of in class, when I was supposed to be doing something that was not thinking of blog posts. Basically, since school started back up, I know I won't be doing much reading for pleasure, but, as an English major, I will be doing a ton of reading. I wanted to share with you all some of the new authors/stories/etc. I've read for a class and really enjoyed. I love that this gives me a space to talk about classic literature and short stories, which I usually don't talk about.

I'm only two weeks into this semester and I've already discovered two short stories I absolutely adored! 


THE PAPER MENAGERIE BY KEN LIU 

This is my new favorite short story! I've never felt this emotionally invested in such a short piece of fiction. I sobbed almost the entire time I was reading this. I'm looking forward to reading more stories by this author. 


L. DEBARD AND ALIETTE BY LAUREN GROFF

This story really sucked me in. It has a unique writing style and reads very quickly. In my fictin class we're going to be reading from her anthology, too, so I'm excited to get better acquainted with both of these authors. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Top Ten Book Boyfriends of 2016

I love me some swoon-worthy fictional boys. Here are my favorites that I met in 2016. 


Levi from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - He is probably my #1 book boyfriend of the year. He is so sweet and nerdy and I'M IN COLLEGE AND HAVEN'T MET ANYONE LIKE HIM THIS IS UNFAIR.

Eros from Beyond the Red by Ava Jae - He is loyalty and bravery and stubborness and flaws and I can't wait for the sequel when I get to see more of himmmmmm.

Jack from Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven - He is misguided, but overall caring and sweet. It was adorable to read his thoughts about Libby and the dates he took her on. Jealous, honestly.

G from My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows - OH LORD I LOVE G. He is so freaking funny and clever and when he gets really worried about Jane it is the most precious thing my heart has ever felt.

Frank from Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson - He's such a sweet lil cinnamon roll. He cares about the environment and being a good guy and I never thought I'd find anyone named Frank appealing, that's for sure.


Will Traynor from Me Before You by Jojo Moyes - I CAN'T TALK ABOUT HIM. Except I adore him. As problematic as his story may be, I found Will himself to be utterly charming and, even in his sassiest moment, an absolute delight.

Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen - I liked him more than the beloved Mr. Darcy, I think. So do with that information what you will.

Clark from The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson - He's a WRITER!!!! And a precious little bean who never had friends growing up and it's impossible, if you ask me, not to fall in love with him over the course of the novel.

Captain from Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell - Naughty? Nice? Who knows. All I can say is that he is a HANDSOME PIRATE WHO HAS STOLEN MY HEART.

Dimitri Belikov from Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead - Okay, okay, I know this is cheating because this is, like, my trillionth time reading this book, BUT in the 10th anniversary edition we got new stories with him in them, so I'd say it counts. I can't leave out my all-time bae, okay?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Lefty's Lowdown: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Looking for Alaska by John Green
(standalone)
Published: March 3, 2005 by Speak
Source: Purchased
Summary from Goodreads:
Before. 
Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . .

After. 
Nothing is ever the same.

A lot of people have dubbed this their Favorite John Green Book. This is the 3rd book I've read by him and the only title I can really give it is A John Green Book. I liked it a lot--as expected, Green does some really wonderful things in this novel. But, again, that's expected. Because it's A John Green Book, and you kind of know what you're getting before you crack it open. I've been procrastinating this review because I didn't know exactly what I wanted to say. I didn't (and still don't) know how to express that I found this book to be enjoyable on so many fronts and also underwhelming in other aspects. 

For me, the main appeal was getting to the "After" section. While I was pretty sure I knew what happens (because it's an old book and there are spoilers), I still wanted to see what changed and how it changed the characters. I was correct about the Big Event but it still hit me right in the stomach. But then it got kind of boring. I hate that that's the case because we have these teenagers trying to figure out grief, trying to figure out how to move on from tragedy and yet not move on at the same time. But by that point, the book had lost its appeal. I'm not sure why--I'm usually into introspection, but it became a little too much of solving a mystery everyone knows is unsolvable, I guess. It just felt sluggish at the end, and I put the last 20 pages off for almost an entire day because there was nothing tethering me to the story anymore. 

So what DID I like? In typical John Green style, the characters were a delight to read about. They are all above-average intelligence, having an existential crisis, and not even close to acting their age. It's like a formula with John Green, but you can't help but be swept away by the characters. Pudge, who is fascinated by people's last words. The Colonel, who has an incredible memory and cherishes loyalty. Alaska, who reads a ton and plans pranks and has mood swings. It's an intriguing cast and I admire the little quirks that John Green gives his characters. The life he gives them. The depth he gives them. 

What really differentiates John Green from other YA writers, though, are the ideas he brings to his fiction. Other people talk about death and dying and the meaning of life in their books, but not, from what I've seen, at the levels John Green does. Like I said, these characters are all basically having an existential crisis throughout the novel...but, like, SAME. I think, eventually, we all start to question what it mean to die and how that effects what it means to live. I just do it more than most people, so some of the sentiments in this novel were so very real to me. And I like that, I appreciate it, because it's hard to find someone else who has the same questions I do and is open about it. But at the same time, it caused me a lot of anxiety when I was reading it for that same reason.

Essentially, if you like John Green, you're definitely going to like this book, because it's so much like his others. If you don't like his other work, you're not going to like this one. HOWEVER! If you've yet to hop on board the John Green train, I'd say you should at least try. Looking for Alaska has depth and darkness and discovery. It has character that, while you may not love them, you'll most likely be charmed by. Yes, in some ways I was underwhelmed, but in other ways, I was wowed by John Green's talent.
4/5

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

New To My Wishlist #3

Welcome to a new feature at The Left-Handed Book Lover! Basically, this feature is meant to showcase books I really want to read, whether they were released years ago or don't come out for another six months. Enjoy!

Published: October 18, 2016 by Simon Pulse
Summary from Goodreads:A year ago, Rem Braithwaite watched his classmate Franklin Kettle commit a horrific crime.

Now, apart from the nightmares, life has gone back to normal for Rem. Franklin was caught, convicted, and put away in juvenile detention for what he did. The ordeal seems to be over.

Until Rem’s mother selects Franklin as a test subject for an experimental brain procedure intended to “cure” him of his cruel and violent impulses. Suddenly Rem’s memories of that day start coming back to the surface. His nightmares become worse than ever. Plus he has serious doubts about whether his mother’s procedure will even work. Can evil really just be turned off?

Then, as part of Franklin’s follow-up testing, he and Rem are brought face to face, and Rem discovers…Franklin does seem different. Despite everything, Rem finds himself becoming friends with Franklin. Maybe even something more than friends.

But when another of their classmates turns up dead, Rem’s world turns upside-down yet again. Franklin insists that he’s innocent, that he’s cured, but Rem doesn’t know what to believe. Is someone else responsible for this new murder, or is Franklin fated to stay a monster forever? And can Rem find out the answer to this question before the killer, whoever it is, comes after him too?

I heard of this book for the first time today and immediately added to my goodreads because it sounds exciting and mind fuck-y. Also, it has a LGBT romance and I AM HERE FOR THAT.


The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
Published: May 16, 2017 by Feiwel & Friends
Summary from Goodreads: There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.




This book sounds SO GREAT. It straight up makes fun of YA tropes and there's two boys falling in love and SPIESSSSSSSS.


 I See London, I See France by Sarah Mylnowski
Published: July 11, 2017 by HarperTeen
Summary from Goodreads: Nineteen-year-old Sydney has the perfect summer mapped out. She’s spending the next four and half weeks traveling through Europe with her childhood best friend, Leela. Their plans include Eiffel-Tower selfies, eating cocco gelato, and making out with très hot strangers. Her plans do not include Leela’s cheating ex-boyfriend showing up on the flight to London, falling for the cheating ex-boyfriend’s très hot friend, monitoring her mother’s spiraling mental health via texts, or feeling like the rope in a friendship tug-of-war.


In this hilarious and unforgettable adventure, New York Times bestselling author Sarah Mlynowski tells the story of a girl learning to navigate secret romances, thorny relationships, and the London Tube. As Sydney zigzags through Amsterdam, Switzerland, Italy, and France, she must learn when to hold on, when to keep moving, and when to jump into the Riviera… wearing only her polka dot underpants.



This book sounds delightful for so many reasons. I mean, first of all: that cover! Also, foreign countries and cute contemporary romance. Plus, mental illness. Sounds like a winner, for sure.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Top Seven Underrated Books I've Read In The Past Year Or So

One of my favorite things to do is push underrated books, so I got really excited about this topic. However, much to my dismay, I could only find seven lesser-known gems taht I've read within the past year to recommend to y'all today.

We Own the Night by Ashley Poston - (my review)
This novel is so sweet. It also has bi representation, and deals with Alzheimer's, body image, and death of a loved one. Very cute and touching. I have been singing this book's praises since the second I finished it, and I wish more people would read it.

Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell - (my review)
This book is good as shit, I tell you what. A peter pan retelling of sorts that is vastly different from the tale you probably heard as a kid. With a dark Neverland, a lush romance, and PIRATESSSS, this is not a book you want to sit out.

Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer - (my review)
Literally nobody talks about this book, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! The voices of the two protagonists are incredible and funny and HELLO NEW SHIP.


Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies by Laura Stampler - (my review)
This was a fantastic light, fluffy read with a New York City backdrop.

Beyond the Red by Ava Jae - (my review)
THIS BOOK IS FANTASTIC. Please, just...more people read it, please. Aliens and romance and non-stop action!!!! The writing is incredible. This deserves way more attention than it has gotten and I can;t wait for the sequel.

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman - (my review)
Oh my oh my do I love this book. I am HIGHLY anticipating the sequel because that ending left me in pieces. And I know the next book is going to be full of all the swashbuckling I crave in YA.

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley - (my review)
This was actually a recent re-read but it was SO AMAZING and in the entire time it has been out (since 2010 in Aussie and 2012 in the U.S.) I've rarely heard people talking about it, but IT'S BEAUTIFUL and deserves all the love forever and ever.

Monday, January 16, 2017

7 Reasons Book Lovers Are Actually Masochists

Book lovers obviously enjoy pain, because this hobby lifestyle is one of constant pain, and yet we keep coming back for more. Here are the reasons I think book lovers are masochists.

1) BOOKS ARE HEAVY.
And sometimes they cause great arm pain to transport around. Or they fall on your face while you're reading and you just pick it right back up and continue where you left off, knowing very well it could happen again. That's dedication. That's masochism. 

2) THE CHARACTERS CAN'T STICK AROUND.
We spend so much time bonding with these fictional people, getting to know them, giving them our time and our love, knowing from the very beginning that our time with them is limited. Sure, you could go back and re-read the book(s), but it's not the same. It feels like drifting apart from a dear friend, and yet we choose to do this over and over again. 

3) DO I EVEN NEED TO MENTION CHARACTER DEATHS???

4) DAMAGE TO THE BANK ACCOUNT
Who needs to pay tuition or bills when you can drain your bank account buying books and make a house & furniture out of them. But seriously, when I buy books, my bank account cries. When my bank account cries, I cry. It's a chain or masochist events. 

5) WE SACRIFICE OUR HEALTH IN THE NAME OF READING.
I dare you to tell me you've never ignored the urge to eat or shower or use the restroom because you were in the middle of a really good book. TELL ME THAT, I DARE YOU. I think every book lover has done this before. But who needs health or hygiene when you have fiction???

6) AND WHAT EVEN IS SLEEP? I HAVE NO IDEA???
I love sleep. Like, I really love sleep. I'm a 10-hours-a-night kind of gal, but I am willing to sacrifice that for a good book. Also, the eye-burning that accompanies staying up all night to read? It hurts like a motherfrogger, but I'm willing to deal with it, I tell you what. 

7) WE RISK THE WRATH OF DISGRUNTLED PARENTS.
I don't know about you, but occasionally my dad, like, wants to spend time with me or something. Usually I would go hang out with him because I love him and stuff, but sometimes I'M IN THE MIDDLE OF A REALLY INTENSE CHAPTER AND I CAN'T TEAR MYSELF AWAY and then my dad gets mad and only a person who likes pain would bring that on themselves. 
Well there you have it. 7 VERY convincing reasons that book lovers are actually masochists. Did I miss anything? Let me know down in the comments if you can think of anything else that makes book lovers masochists.  Also, how many of these actually apply to you? 

All joking aside, though--books are wonderful and I'm truly grateful to be a part of this community and to love books the way I do.