I ♥ Monday & Contest Updates

First: congratulations to Jessica Boulton, who won a signed ARC of BORN WICKED and a pre-order of DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE.

Second: I’m donating a BORN WICKED ARC plus an ARC of CINDER by Marissa Meyer (Cyborg Cindrella!) for the Read 4 Relief auction later this week. I will be sure to tweet when it goes up! There are lots of amazing things up for grabs, and the proceeds all go to the Red Cross’s Hurricane Irene efforts, so you should check it out.

Third: I’m giving away a copy of Gretchen McNeil’s POSSESS over on The Nightstand blog. There are only 7 entries at the moment, so your chances are good! Contest ends Friday morning at 10 AM EST.

It’s been ages since I’ve done a proper I ♥ Monday post, possibly because I get confused about what day of the week it is now that I work from home. But here are some things on my list:

♥ yoga. This little studio opened up 6 blocks from my house. They offer $10 classes and pay-what-you-can classes, and classes from 1:30-2:30 three days a week. I’ve been wanting to get back into a regular yoga practice for ages, and I realized my life has been missing any kind of spiritual practice lately. For me, yoga is a great way to silence my mind’s anxious chatter and just be present in the moment. I finally went today and it felt amazing.

♥ Journaling. I found several abandoned, half-full journals while I was cleaning my room. I read some entries from last summer (June 2010). So much has changed, and yet, you know, so much hasn’t. I’m still struggling with some of the same things. I’m still me. But it definitely made me want to journal more. I’d love to have a record of this crazy year, and again with the spiritual practice and time for reflection.

GOLIATH by Scott Westerfeld. In the final installment of the trilogy, the Leviathan goes to America, and Prince Alek finally figures out that his best friend is a girl. Deryn Sharp, the brave girl who masquerades as a boy in order to be able to do the thing she loves (be a midshipman on the airbeast Leviathan), is one of my all-time favorite characters, and she’s especially sympathetic here as she tries to figure out her future, and whether it will involve continuing on as a boy. Westerfeld’s created a rich, fascinating world, and the illustrations are lovely, even in e-galley form. This series has great crossover appeal–my dad and a lot of my college friends who don’t normally read YA love it. (releases Aug. 20)

ARTICLE 5 by Kristen Simmons. This is a gripping, unputdownable dystopian about a world governed by morality police and increasingly strict morality statutes. The action is full of twists and turns, but it never sacrifices character for plot. I loved the romance between fierce, determined Em and strong, broody Chase, and I’m already eager for the sequel. (releases Feb. 14, 2012)

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor. This book. OMG. Laini Taylor is an incredible wordsmith; the prose is breathtakingly gorgeous. I want to live in Prague and be best friends with mysterious blue-haired art student Karou. Both Prague and the Elsewhere of Karou’s strange family are invoked with charm and depth. The world-building is just–it’s amazing, and enveloping, and I loved it. One of my favorite books of the year. (releases Sept. 27)

There are a bunch of other books I’ve read recently & enjoyed–more recommendations coming soon! But these were my very favorites.

What are you hearting this week?

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