In Which Ella Goes to the Rock God Book Launch, Sees Tiger Beat Perform, Talks to Libba Bray, and Gets Books Signed

This afternoon after spending five hours perfecting a powerpoint presentation for a writing workshop I’m running tomorrow, I put on something that wasn’t a leotard and cashmere sweater, painted my nails silver and black, and took off into the city.

I like going to book events. I like going to them a lot. I like going to them so much that I will do it alone and travel for several hours just to see an author I like. I know the whole routine of listening to the author talk about the book, read a section, answer some questions, and then sign and talk with fans. While each author is incredibly different and the events are always extremely enjoyable, the format is mostly more or less the same.

Enter the Rock God (by Barney Miller) book launch and Tiger Beat.

I spent my evening watching a rock concert and listening to Libba Bray, Natalie Standiford, Daniel Ehrenhaft, and Barney Miller play covers of hits from the eighties and read from their books. It was–in a word–awesome.

And while I will admit that I am automatically biased towards any person that can play Velvet Underground songs, or any good music from the eighties, I can say with confidence that objectively they play very, very well!

Libba Bray remembered me from the Maureen Johnson, The Name of the Star, book launch back in September and from Twitter, greeted me by name, and introduced me to Natalie Standiford and Daniel Ehrenhaft, telling them that I was a “very good writer,” which was incredibly surreal. And wait until you see what she wrote in my books!

Authors, man, they’re the best.

My ability to take pictures with my iPhone needs to seriously improve.

Inside of Beauty Queens

And then because I was thrilled to see all of these books, a lot of which I’ve reviewed, here’s a picture of Barnes and Noble’s “Can’t-Miss Books.”

You can also find me bopping about on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/.

In Which Ella Falls in Love with Happiness

I have blisters on my feet, my eyes are seeing double, and I’m so tired I could fall asleep without a pillow on the kitchen’s tiled floor.

But none of that matters.

I had the most terribly perfect, horribly wonderful, and awfully amazing day today. There were books and there were parks and there was shopping and there was walking and there was modern art and there was meeting some of my literary idols. Libba Bray and I had a conversation so awesome that it nearly made me cry later on when I was walking back to the subway. On the train home, I figured out part of my novel that I had been struggling with and was suddenly struck by an idea for another book. And now, I’m in bed with my beloved laptop ready to relish the night and darkness before I go to sleep.

Every year, I have a few days like this, where nothing in the world goes wrong and everything just feels good. It doesn’t last, but, in a way, I don’t want it to. It wouldn’t be as lovely if everyday were perfect. It’d just be a monotony of joy. I want my happiness to be shocking, like ice water on a hot day or an unexpected present. And that’s what today was: a genuine surprise of wonderful.

But I am tired and babbling. My eyes keep drifting shut, and I feel the urge to hum a long, contented “mmhm” until I run out of breath. So I will. I’ll be just like a purring cat or a dog thumping his tail or a rabbit doing whatever weird happy thing rabbits do.

Mmhm. Happy.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if you’re into that kind of thing.

In Which Ella Reviews Daughter of Smoke and Bone

I bring you my review of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, written for my local bookstore. It’s the first one I’ve ever written, and I had a lot of fun. I don’t think it’s all that bad for a first review.

Seventeen-year-old Prague art student, Karou, has some curious pictures in her sketchbooks. Her “gorgeously rendered and deeply strange” drawings of fantastical creatures tell the story of a devil’s workshop where Brimstone, a wishmonger, grants wishes and strings gems and teeth for mysterious purposes. Trained in martial arts, knife-fighting, and fluent in many languages, Karou’s adventures keep the reader riveted and on the edge of their seat as Karou discovers the ancient battle between the angels and chimera, learns of her past, and meets Akiva, an angel with whom she just might be in love. Every teenage girl will wish she had Karou’s spunk, strength, and independence and a friend as loyal and kind as “Rabid Fairy” Zuzana, and boys will enjoy the fast-paced action and suspense. From the book’s first lines, Laini Taylor reels the reader in with her excellent word choice, quick wit, and loveable characters. Karou’s world is so beautifully imagined that at times it seems real. This book could quite possibly be the next big young adult fantasy series. The book’s conclusion just leaves you begging for more.

I just got the ARC for Pure, a novel by Julianna Baggott, so we’ll see how the next one goes. It looks like it’ll be a good read. Of course, I’m also in the middle of The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, Poetry 180 editted by Billy Collins, and Humor Me edited by Ian Frazier. I’m in such an happy avalanche of books.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if you’re into that kind of thing.