Tag Archives: The Scorpio Races

A Monday with Maggie Stiefvater

 

Yes, I know it’s not Monday today but I simply have to tell you the story of my Monday afternoon from a few days ago! It all started around 3pm on Monday afternoon…

I got a phone call from my husband telling me that Maggie Stiefvater’s car was at his shop right. now.  Maggie Stiefvater is into cars (though I’m sure you knew that, considering she has some seriously cool vehicles that she posts about and even has a hashtag #stiefvater cars on her Tumblr account) and her car with the notorious “THIEF” license plate just so happens to be a type that my the company that my husband works for works on (okay, that was a horrible sentence, but you know what I mean). I had seen in a tweet before where she mentioned the shop by name so I knew that she had been there before (where I promptly freaked out) so I quietly reveled in the fact that she had been to my husband’s work before and they had helped tune the THIEF car!

So it’s Monday afternoon and I didn’t even think about making this connection between the shop being near Chicago, knowing Maggie often drives her cars to events, and the fact that I just saw her on Saturday at ALA in the city. I got a phone call from my husband saying that his company just posted a photo of her car on the dyno (a dynamometer that in short, measures the power of the engine and spits out reports that help tuners see and maximize performance) and tagged her in it on their Instagram story. Now I’m guessing that most people who follow the shop’s account are car people, not book people, so if they know Maggie Stiefvater, they probably know her for her cars and that fact that she writes articles for Jalopnik from time to time, probably not for her books… But since Shane knows that I love her books and that she’s taken her car to his shop before, he knew exactly who that tag was and immediately let me know.

We had a few excited and maybe incoherent phone calls back and forth when I realized she was at the shop that was currently ten minutes away from me and literally on my way home from work. Like, I would pass the shop — and her — on my way home. “Would it be weird if I asked to go over there?” I asked him, thinking that maybe I could swing by and say hi but truly not wanting to be creepy and dropping in out of nowhere, being a fan that was invading her privacy. I knew it wasn’t like I was following her and trying to figure out where she was but in this crazy turn of events, it just so happened to be a place that I knew, frequent, know the employees, and my husband freakin’ works there, so it’s not so crazy after all. “Let me make a few phone calls!” Shane said, and got on the phone with his co-workers.

His closest friends were in meetings or on conference calls and was having a hard time getting a hold of them so after a few phone calls to them and then back to me, I told myself it was totally okay if this didn’t happen. It was purely coincidental and again, didn’t want to be a creepy fan and just show up. I definitely wanted permission from the shop to drop in and of course, Maggie’s permission herself as she would be giving up her time to talk to me, a complete stranger.

Finally at 4:51pm, he called me back and said, “She’s waiting for you. Go right now!”

“RIGHT NOW?” I said, trying to mentally prepare myself because I had just spent the last 30 minutes at my desk pretending to try to do work but really trying to think of conversation starters in my head so my first words to Maggie Stiefvater weren’t “werjleksdjkhakjsdjf”.

“Yes, right now!” He said. “They’re waiting to close up the shop. There’s only a few minutes left of the work day. Just go!”

So not wanting to just skate out of work early and look bad, I popped into my boss’s office to ask if I could leave a few minutes early. He told me “of course” without even asking why (sometimes this place really is great) and I immediately packed up my stuff and got in the car. I texted my friends that IT WAS HAPPENING, freaked out for a while, chastised myself for not wearing a better outfit that day, and promised everyone I’d take a picture. I tried to put my audiobook on in the car but how can someone concentrate on listening to a book at a time like that!? So I gave myself a pep talk on the way over, still racking my brain for something on this Earth to talk about. I raced down the street, trying not to speed too much, knowing that MAGGIE WAS WAITING FOR ME, and then I got STUCK BY A FREIGHT TRAIN. Fortunately it was moving quickly but the whole time I was shouting to it “go go go go gooooo Maggie is waiting!!!”

I finally pulled into the shop and I was so dazed that I didn’t even notice Maggie’s car sitting out front, tucked behind another car (unless they had pulled it around when I was inside), and I walked in the front office to go find the sales manager who had set this all up on the shop’s end. I walked in the front door and THERE SHE WAS. I waved to the sales team and then Maggie turned around and I possibly gave the either creepiest or most excited wave I’ve ever given in my life.

“Are you here for me?” She asked.

“Yes, hi! I’m Brittany!” I replied, and we launched into conversation from there.

I thought I would be totally tongue-tied but we actually had some really nice conversation! I was a little awkward at first but I told her that she might know me from my candles because I run and own Novelly Yours.

She said “Yes! The candles! Blue and Her Boys,” with little bit of a grin at the name.

AHHH she knew my candles!! She knew who I was, in a way! She told me she had received three of them so far (So thank you to everyone who gave her one!!!!) and she’ll be burning them for the rest of the year! She asked me what other kinds of candles I made so I had told her about the other Raven Cycle candles that I make and she seemed excited to hear of them. We actually talked about candle-making a bit, asking me if I stirred a giant pot of wax like a witch’s brew (I wish. That would actually be pretty cool) so I detailed the candle-making process a bit and we talked about how I got into making candles of my own.

“So how did you get into making candles?” She asked me. “I’m sorry, I’m sure you get that all the time.”

“Not at all!” I told her, and launched into how I got my start making candles and starting Novelly Yours. I’m sure she answers the same questions over and over way more than I do and who doesn’t want to tell a favorite author about the candles that you made specifically because of their books? It was truly a dream to be able to discuss. I told her about the November Cakes and Scorpio Sea candles and she asked me what the November Cakes candle smelled like, excited about the scents that I described. I told her I’d be happy to send one her way and she said she would love that!

We continued to talk about books — what I was reading (I showed her my copy of THE WICKER KING and forgot to tell her that the friendships in it so far remind me a little of all of the Raven Boys combined), what book I was most looking forward to in the fall (I drew a TOTAL BLANK and helloooo I couldn’t say ALL THE CROOKED SAINTS?) and told her that I was so deep into candles right now that I haven’t been keeping up with my TBR.

“So deep into candles — that’s a sentence I didn’t expect to hear when I woke up this morning!” she said with a laugh. I explained how I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks, especially while I work.

We ended up talking about ALA and I told her that I saw her there on Saturday (as pictured above!). She had asked if she asked me what my favorite book was and I said she hadn’t! So I told her my favorite of the Raven Cycle is BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE  — “Ah, the unfinished sentence” — and overall, my favorite is probably THE SCORPIO RACES. I shamelessly told her that I’ve actually only ever listened to the audio because it’s so good and that I listen to it every year. We launched into a conversation about the audio for that book and she shared some funny anecdotes about a bunch of 90-year-old librarians swooning over Steve West at an event at which Maggie, Steve West, and Fiona Hardingham were present for an award. She told me that she actually had gotten to choose the narrators for that book and that it was the first audiobook that Steve West had done so I profusely thanked her for that because I love his narrations, trying to contain my creepy and refraining from telling her that I just listened to eight books narrated by Steve West in the past three months.

I embarrassingly didn’t recognize Courtney Stevens who was with her (I think it was a combo of sunglasses and the fact that I was so starstruck) and we were introduced somewhere along the way of the conversation! I apologized for not recognizing her and told her that I had read THE LIES ABOUT TRUTH and loved it! She mentioned her upcoming novel DRESS CODES FOR SMALL TOWNS which comes out in August and said, “You know what? Let me grab it for you. I was going to give it away anyway,” and went out to her car to grab an ARC for me. “It has a Doc Martin on the cover so you know it’s good,” Maggie said. Courtney even signed it for me, “to make it more valuable when you sell it on eBay,” Maggie joked to which I gasped, “I would never!” though we both knew of course I wasn’t selling it on eBay.

A post shared by Brittany S. (@bookaddictsguide) on

“I actually am more surprised when someone does want an ARC personalized,” Maggie told me. She said she doesn’t even keep copies of ARCs of her own books anymore because it’s just too many copies and she understands that most people pass an ARC along or it just falls apart over time so it makes more sense to get a finished copy personalized.

We started winding down the conversation and although I was having so much fun, I really didn’t want to keep her there any longer than she wanted to be. We wrapped up our chat and I told her I didn’t want to hold her up so with a quick few words back to the shop’s sales team, we parted ways, but not before I asked if she would mind if we took a photo together. “I would not mind at all,” she said, and Courtney was nice enough to take a photo of us…. as my phone once again ran out of space. Thankfully she took two before my phone decided to be so rude (“I knew it would do that,” I told them. “I was deleting things on the way over here!”) and then it was time to go.

I neglected to take a picture of Maggie’s car on my way out because she was already in it and felt like that would be a little weird so I just admired it as I pulled out of the parking lot and reveled in what had just happened. I called my husband on the way home to share some of the details and then tried to listen to my audiobook on the way back home but was admittedly a little too dazed and starstruck to really focus.

It was a crazy whirlwind of events that totally brightened up an otherwise stressful and frustrating Monday. Shane was so wonderful to set that all up for me with the phone calls back and forth to his shop and I thanked the shop and Maggie and Courtney for taking the time out of their days to make this happen for me. It was so nice of everyone to stay at the shop and let me stop by to say hi to one of my favorite authors. I can’t even say it was a dream come true because I would have never thought that this would be something that would have happened, so I guess I have to say it was beyond my wildest dreams!

Thanks again to Maggie Stiefvater for making my day and for making this incredible story happen. It’s always wonderful to fall in love with an author’s work but it just makes reading their books that much more special when you know how much they appreciate fans and give up their time to do things like this for me. It was a truly unique and special experience!!

YA Aesthetics: The Scorpio Races

One of my favorite things to peruse on Tumblr is a little thing called the “YA Lit Meme” or “YA Aesthetics“. I haven’t seen much of it on book blogs outside of Tumblr but every time I see one, I pretty much fall in love. In case you’re not familiar with the masterpieces on Tumblr, YA Aesthetics are essentially photo collages (as well as other representations — but my favorites happen to be the collages) featuring physical representations of prominent things in the book — important places, what a character might look like or wear, special objects, even quotes.

I recently re-read THE SCORPIO RACES, bringing my total read count up to three. When I first read it a few years back, I wasn’t quite prepared for the beauty of the story. Once I re-read, I was totally in love. On my third read, I vowed to re-listen (yes, I listen to the audio each year because Steve West + Fiona Hardingham = perfection) every year and I hope that’s a tradition I will continue!

The story has really come to life for me and I love picking up more each read. I can really picture Thisby, Puck, Sean, the scenery, and the horses so instead of reviewing the book for a third time, I decided to share more the visual side and how the book comes to life for me!

YA AESTHETICS: THE SCORPIO RACES

the scorpio races aesthetics

So what do you think? Is this how you pictured The Scorpio Races? 

And if you love collages for YA Lit, you should definitely check out What Sarah Read! She’s been creating photo collages for her reviews and they’re just lovely! I adore this one she did for PASSENGER by Alex Bracken!


What do you think of YA Lit Memes & YA Aesthetics? Have you seen some awesome ones on Tumblr? Which books do you want to see represented next?

Re-Read: The Scorpio Races – Maggie Stiefvater

Re-Read: The Scorpio Races – Maggie StiefvaterTitle: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Publishing Info: October 8, 2011 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Library
Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: November 1, 2014
Related Posts: Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls #1), The Scorpio Races, The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1), The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2), Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3), The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1), The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2), The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4), All the Crooked Saints

     It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.
Some riders live.
Others die.
    At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.
    Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn't given her much of a choice. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

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Naturally, I felt the draw to re-read THE SCORPIO RACES in October and November. It’s been a while since my first read and to this day, this is still one of the audiobooks I push the most due to its amazing narrators (Steve West as Sean and Fiona Hardingham as Puck) and of course, Maggie Stiefvater’s gorgeous prose and amazing story-telling.

A book about horse races. Not something I’d normally gravitate to much less fall in love with, but Maggie’s magical realism is supreme. There’s so much more to this book than just horse races — mythical water horses, the first girl to enter the annual Scorpio Races, a fight for the proper place in the world, bravery, loyalty, love. THE SCORPIO RACES is just the kind of book that draws you in and really gets you lost in the world that the author creates. Both times I’ve read this book, I could truly feel like I was on Thisby, watching these characters, running with the horses. I could almost taste the salt of the sea and feel the chilly November wind in my hair. Just thinking back on it now brings all of those feelings back and this book is definitely one I just love to tuck myself into.

This was actually my second time not only reading the book but listening to the audio. After reading it for the first time via audiobook, I couldn’t get it out of my head. The voice actors were just amazing and really brought the book to life. There’s no way I could read this book again and not have it be through the audiobook. It was a very familiar experience re-reading in the same format (lately I’ve been reading in print the first time around and then re-reading via audio, most often) and yet it was really a brand-new experience as well. Firstly, somehow in the this crazy reading world of mine, I had forgotten how the book actually ends. Obviously I knew it ended with the Scorpio Races themselves, but… did Sean win? Did Puck win? Did someone die? Did something insane happen? Somehow I didn’t remember the details and I don’t know how that happened but it did. That was kind of a good thing in a way though. The ending was suspenseful and emotional and like a brand new book. The second thing was that during my first read, I really wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into. I had a brief understanding of what the book was about but I really wasn’t sure what the feel was going to be like or where the story would go. It was nice to know exactly where I was putting myself when picking this book up for the second time (well, aside from the ending, apparently) so it felt much more secure and there was a lot more excitement on my part as well.

I really just LOVE everything about this book. I was a bit hesitant during my first read simply because I didn’t know what to expect. THE SCORPIO RACES does have its action but it’s also a very character-driven book. It caught me by surprise when I first read it and I felt like it took a while to get into but knowing that during my re-read and pining for these characters and the magnetism they have towards one another (and to me as a reader), I was already head over heels for the both of them and for this entire story and setting and feeling before I even started.

THE SCORPIO RACES might end up being a re-read every year book for me! I absolutely loved reading it during the months that it took place. I think the more I read this book, the more I’ll fall in love with it. If you’re looking for a great audiobook, this is definitely one I’d recommend to sweep you off your feet!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Puck // Character Obsessions: Family, Dove, riding, the house, bravery.
I adore Puck (real name Kate). She’s brave, fierce, loyal, and so dynamic. After losing her parents, she fights to keep the family together, especially when there are so many obstacles in their way. I LOVE her ferocity and determination. She never stands down (almost to a fault) and she goes after what she wants in life. She’s just such a wonderfully strong character.
Sean // Character Obsessions: Corr, horses, racing, freedom. 
Sean — or should I call him Sean *dreamy sigh* Kendrick — MAY be one of my favorite broody characters of all time. He’s definitely broody but not in a pouty or annoying way like some male characters tend to end up. Oh, no. Sean has a reason to brood and he keeps to himself and he’s quiet but strong. (And let’s not forget the strong jawline, oh yes.) I just love him and fell even more in love with him during this read. (Doesn’t hurt that Steve West’s voice is amazing and I may be in love with him a little too.)

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Kept Me Hooked On: Magical realism. When I first read this book, I honestly didn’t even know how to classify it and then I finally read a few books with more magical realism elements and thought that might fit in. Thisby is a unique place. You almost can’t even tell in what time period the book takes place and the wonderful thing of it all is that the only magical element, really, is the presence of the water horses. It’s perfect for those who like a mix of everything and maybe just a touch of fantasy. (I also love how unique and unclassifiable Maggie’s books are.)
Left Me Wanting More: Thisby. I finished my re-read and immediately wanted to listen to it again. This book has really become so magical for me. I want more Thisby, more Sean, more Puck, more everything.

Addiction Rating
BUY IT!

I really enjoyed my first read but this is a book I will want to re-read many, many times! I fell in love with it even more this time and I think it’ll hold that same magic each time I come back to it.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE THE SCORPIO RACES

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        GRAVE MERCY       FAIRYTALES FOR WILDE GIRLS

The Scorpio Races – Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races – Maggie StiefvaterTitle: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Publishing Info: October 18, 2011 by Scholastic Inc.
Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 29, 2013
Related Posts: Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls #1), The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1), The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2), Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3), The Scorpio Races, The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1), The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2), The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4), All the Crooked Saints

    It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.
At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

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THE SCORPIO RACES was magical. I’m not entirely sure what I had expected when I started, but I really ended up enjoying it! I actually felt like it took me a little while to get into it — not because it wasn’t good, but because it took a while for me to “meet” the characters and get to know them. I felt like both Puck and Sean have a really tough exterior so even to the reader it takes a little bit to break that shell. I was never really going to quit it, but I can’t seem to think of different wording than I’m glad that I stuck with it. The writing is simply beautiful and whereas I did not really enjoy the only other Steifvater book I’ve read so far (SHIVER) I was totally captivated by the beauty of Maggie Steifvater’s writing and her character development.

Even though THE SCORPIO RACES ultimately boils down to a race, exciting action, and violent sea horses, I think was I was really sold on was the character development. We really get to know Puck and Sean separately until the races intertwine their two lives. They’re both in different yet similar predicaments — they must win the races and the monetary prize that goes with winning in order to maintain their currently lives and not lose a valuable piece of their family (or whatever they consider their family after everything they’ve already lost). Watching the interactions between Puck and her family and Sean & his horses was the most magical part of this book for me by far. As far as their romance goes, I loved that it wasn’t rushed and it wasn’t even the main focus. It fit in perfectly and easily, without being forced at all.

For some reason, I was totally caught up on the logistics of the water horses. How did they survive in the water AND on land? Did they have gills to breathe in the water? Were their lungs adapted to both land and water? It was never explained and somehow I was a little stuck in the fact that I didn’t know the details.

A big part of the magic of this book for me was Thisby itself. I have no idea in what time period this was supposed to take place but I very much pictured something in the 1930s or 1940s – a time before technology started coming through and the automobile was just becoming a part of every day life. I loved the atmosphere that this setting created. It was such a personality in itself and I loved the feeling of Thisby.

I was REALLY hesitating how to rate it. I was caught somewhere between liking it and loving it, but overall, I think I’m leaning more towards loving it. Thinking back on the general feel and the emotions I felt toward the end, I’ll lean towards the higher rating!

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Yes. Get this as an audiobook. Steve West reading for Sean Kendrick and Fiona Hardingham reading for Puck Connelly was superb. I absolutely loved the British accents and for some reason it just made the story flow. Is it weird that my favorite part of the narrating was George Holly’s American voice? I don’t what it was, but for some reason I found it weirdly sexy….. Anyone else? No? Just me? Okay, awkward….

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Puck: Even though both characters alternate narrating, I really felt like it was more Puck’s story than Sean’s. I just felt like she had more going on as far as a conflict goes and more of her personality came across to me. She was so spunky and determined and I loved her spirit. She was definitely a ton of fun to read about/listen to.
Sean: Sean was a lot more reserved and a little bit brooding… I loved his quiet strength and his passion for looking after the horses. My heart went out to him the whole book and I just felt like there were so many emotions bubbling under the surface for Sean. He brought so much passion to the story and really made me FEEL for the characters — even the horses!

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BUY IT

This book was so magical… and the audio was just fantastic. I’m highly recommending this one — a magical realism I can get on board with!

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