By far the best time to buy or receive books is when wrapping up a writing project.

Here at The Honest Bookclub, July has been a bit quiet only because we both chose to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, with the regular 50,000 words per month for our goal. NaNoWriMo was never meant to be easy, and easy it was certainly not. But the nearer the ending drew, the more did I begin to understand John Irving's sentiment of "Nearly everything seems a letdown after a writer has finished writing." I have completed NaNoWriMo before. And that high of finishing a project was in many ways unmatched.

Except, of course, by the high of finally being able to read again, and receiving amazing books to read from overly generous friends. Some people can juggle reading with the month of sprint-writing. But alas, such talents have escaped me. All I could allow myself to read during July have been graphic novels (which have admittedly been excellent). But now the writing portion of this mad exercise is nearly over, and I get back to reading. I get back to books. And what incredible books they are!

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Do you ever look at a cover and wonder who ever thought that that would be a good idea? Much as we hate to admit it, the vast majority of us tends to gravitate towards well-designed covers, towards a meaning to the artwork on the front, and towards books that look amazing on our bookshelves overall. The more passionate the reader, the more likely it is that they have a massive, overflowing pile of yet-to-be-read books, and the more they will know that they should probably not be adding to said pile... unless the cover in question is beautiful enough to override that nagging inner voice.

Sometimes, however, the cover do the books no favors at all. Plain and simple, they're just a hot mess. In attempting to guess what sells or what a reader wants, some publishers and some designers get it disastrously wrong.

So this week, we have decided to pick our ten least favourite book covers, whether it's books we have still not read because the design is putting us off, or books we love that have non-deserving artwork on the front. These are our personal opinions, and something that just doesn't appeal to our aesthetic sensibilities. An ugly cover can be different for different people, but these are ones where we know for a fact that we are not alone.

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Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them. Home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all...

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If you're fans like us, you are likely aware that the new Mockingay Part 2 trailer debuted online today. As expected, it is everything we wanted it to be, and some things we hoped it wouldn't be quite yet (emotional; very, very emotional).

The finale of the series is nearly upon us, and it appears to be the action-packed ending we wanted and have been anticipating for so long. As the series draws to a close, the last posters and trailers are released, and the actors we've loved for so long are moving on to other projects (and winning Oscars, no big deal). And it is at times like these that we can't help but to look back to where it all began, marvel at how recent the very first movie feels, and start prepping for a major series re-read before the final movie lands in theaters worldwide. It only feels like yesterday when we first found out who was cast as Katniss, when we saw the first picture of Peeta and Gale, and when we got to see that teaser trailer that pissed everyone off so much. (You know, the one with shots of just trees and sounds of Katniss' feet crunching in the leaves. Definitely lived up to the name 'teaser' trailer.)

So, the time has come. The series is ending. The re-reads are imminent. And the full-length trailer is here.

If you have not seen the trailer yet and you're a fan of the books, we recommend breathing slowly and readying yourself before delving in. You know how the book goes down, after all. You know what's coming.

Hint: parachutes. Mutts.

*three finger salute*

If you've not read the Hunger Games series, we highly recommend it! It's never too late to get into them.

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In a previous Top 10 post, we have shared some of our (and the community's) favorite LGBT-themed Young Adult books. Thankfully (and mercifully), we have found the choices to be plenty, and the list still left us with many more to read, explore and choose from.

Our picks of our top 10 LGBT-representative characters in YA was, therefore, inevitable. These are the characters whose understanding of themselves and their sexuality was a new and refreshing take on how we see the LGBT community in general, and what we all should aspire to, gender and sexuality regardless. From gay to bi, from transgender to asexual, we've come across a bit of everything in our

Is the LGBT community fairly and commonly represented in literature? Clearly not. But are we taking steps in the right direction? Definitely. And the authors on this list are the ones we can thank the most for it (in terms of YA).

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Halfway into NaNoWriMo, it occurred to me to ask a friend and fellow writing buddy how she classifies her book. It was a routine question more than anything - her book deals with a group of twentysomethings navigating the intricacies of the Hollywood film industry. Some are old pros who have grown up to it, and some are newcomers to the scene, seeing it as daunting and majestic in turn. One of the daunted is the protagonist - who is new not only to this crazy world, but also to the region, to her job, to most aspects of her life as a new adult.

But then my friend replied with "Young Adult, I guess," and I began to question everything I knew about categories. "I mean," she said, "I know the characters are in the New Adult range, but it won't be NA because nobody will be having explicit sex."

It might not have struck a chord with me, perhaps, had I not been struggling with this question for a considerable while myself: do we have a genre on our hands defined exclusively by its sexual content?

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With the recent strides the US and Mexico have taken toward equal rights for all, sexual orientation regardless, it's safe to say that it has been the time of grand achievements for the LGBT community. But as one of the authors featured below points out in the introduction to her book (we're talking about Robin Talley) there are lots of strides yet to be made.

As book lovers and book bloggers, we know of one way to both celebrate and educate - to honor the steps taken and work towards the steps ahead.

Read LGBT literature.

And never has LGBT literature had as big of an impact as in the YA community, nor has it ever been as widespread in any other category. So this week for our top 10, we are choosing the 10 YA books which center - at least partially - around LGBT themes, and which everyone should read.

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"Don't go into the bookshop. No more books, you've got enough"

*ten minutes later*

"I'll just have a look, a quick browse"

*30 minutes later* 

"Just these please"

I need some self control. I can't help it but they were looking at me. I can speak to books and they tell me to buy them. I did behave and only bought two though, could have been worse!

Come inside!

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She was just a girl, standing in front of a boy . . . wishing he looked more like Hugh Grant. 

Scarlett loves the movies. But does she love sensible fiancĂ© David just as much? With a big white wedding on the horizon, Scarlett really should have decided by now . . . 

When she has the chance to house-sit in Notting Hill - the setting of one of her favourite movies - Scarlett jumps at the chance. But living life like a movie is trickier than it seems, especially when her new neighbour Sean is so irritating. And so irritatingly handsome, too. 

Scarlett soon finds herself starring in a romantic comedy of her very own: but who will end up as the leading man?


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In the past, we have shared our favorite real-world places which wanderlusty books have made us yearn to visit. We have also shared our favorite books set in non-USA (Europe specifically), and we are working our hardest to honor other continents and lands by finding literature as diverse in terms of place as it is in terms of cast.

But there is another kind of wanderlust entirely - one which we can never fulfill, but we do our damndest to try. One where the worlds are less real and tangible, but more engrossing and inviting than any we have come across in our own lives. These are the lands of magic, of beasts, of dragons, fairies, angels. And these are quite possibly our favorite places to be.

So this Tuesday we are sharing our ten favorite fictional lands which have stolen our hearts, in no particular order (except for #1, because let's be honest; we have made no secret of this).

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My bookshelf is overflowing with goodness. I don't know if it can handle any more books, but when you have a book buying problem, the fate of your bookshelf is second to your need for books. I decided to treat myself - because I never do that (note the sarcasm) - and I went on The Book Depository and got myself a few more books. Because why not? I've been working hard.

I also got sent a parcel from The Little, Brown Book Group, who are incredibly generous and sent me some upcoming releases. 

come look!

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One of the (many) reasons writing books is tricky business: a reader is shaped by the books (s)he reads, but a writer cannot allow to be overwhelmed by the books (s)he reads.

And reading and writing are inextricably linked. A good writer is always an established reader. And sometimes, an established reader is a good writer. As Stephen King put it - “If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write.”

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