It’s a weakness…

So I checked out a book… It was a hold request, it would be wrong of me not to pick it up… Right? Yes, I think so. Good. All agreed.

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On reading off the shelf in 2014

In light of my decision to join ROOT (Reading our own tomes) challenge on LibraryThing (and my sudden realization that my cameras have been sorely neglected since I became a smartphone toting idiot), I present the shelves to be read!

Seriously, I have to start taking pictures with a real camera again. It’s sad how few high quality pictures are in my 2013 folder. No more of that sorry business! There will be pictures in 2014! And books! And CLASSICS! Yes, I will get around to reading those this year as well.

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And books on the overflow shelf…
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I told myself I would get through at least 30 of the books on this shelf (I haven’t actually counted them, so 30 seems like a good, general number). Maybe I can read them all? Perhaps? Hmm?

I will also find time to paint that shelf and primp it up a bit. It was a hand-me-down that needs some loving care.

New Year, Old Books

For a brief moment, I toyed with the idea of shuttering the blog… I’ve been reading just as much as always, but I’ve been blogging less and less over the years. I’m never going to be a book-a-week blogger, there are plenty of books I enjoy, but I don’t always have something to say about them. I decided against the shutdown, if only because I like the sense of community that comes with talking about books (even if it’s only via this blog). I’ll continue at my own pace and see how it goes.

In the meantime, I’ve joined the LibraryThing Read Our Own Tomes (ROOT) Challenge. My goal is 30 of my own TBR books. I’ve started with A Dance with Dragons.


in which I want all the books… and blue hair

Yesterday I attended the bookish event to beat all bookish events… the Miami Book Fair International! Which means all the bargain books and bookish paraphernalia my heart desires. I wait for this day every year and always feel infinitely satisfied afterwards.

And this year was no exception. Here are some highlights.

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Penguin Classics was giving away books AND tote bags. How can you beat that? I love me some totes!!!

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I got to meet Holly Black! This makes 2013 the best year for author events 🙂

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And look at all the stuff I got for under $40!! And some not pictured because they are oh so secret present books.

So, yes, I ❤ my local book fair.

Now, to wait for the library’s annual book sale…

sometimes, I enjoy a spot of romance

The Arrangement by Mary Balogh

arrangementI haven’t read many Regency romances, and I’d never read Mary Balogh before, so I don’t have much ground for comparison, but this was a sweet romance with a twist that made the relationship between Vincent and Sophia all the more believable.

Blinded during battle, Vincent Hunt, the Viscount Darleigh is plagued by relatives who want to compensate for his handicap by managing his life, but that is nothing to the potential for disaster when status-seeking acquaintances try to throw their eligible daughters in his path. Tired of being an object of scrutiny and pity, Vincent seeks the safety of his former home and is nearly snared by the power-hungry Marches, but is saved by the quick-thinking Miss Sophia Fry, neglected niece of the Marches.

More than grateful for Sophia’s intervention, Vincent feels it his duty to come to her aid when she is expelled from her home. He offers her a marriage of convenience, but they soon find that there is more between them than can be satisfied by mere companionship…

The relationship between Vincent and Sophia emerges slowly and grows through mutual regard, a nice change from the usual love-at-first-sight theme. I enjoyed the novel and found myself interested in reading the rest of the Survivor’s Club series. It’s a great weekend read when you need something warm and cozy.

Shadowdance by Kristen Callihan

shadowShadowance is the fourth installment in Kristen Callihan’s Darkest London series, which has just about everything you can want in a fantasy romance set in an alternate, supernatural-infested Victorian London.

Longtime adversaries, Mary Chase and Jack Talent are thrown together when supernaturals start turning up dead. Determined to prove herself, Mary stubbornly agrees to work with Talent, despite his constant haranguing, but there’s more to Talent and his attitude than Mary knows… and there’s more to Mary than Jack imagines.

Just… wow. I really enjoyed the first two books in this series (yes, I skipped ahead to this one, but you don’t really need to read them in order to follow along), this one went way beyond all expectations. If you’re looking for hot hot sex, this is it. Ditto, if you’re looking for strong characters who grow beyond their flaws. Angst, love, revenge, mystery, action… all there. And did I mention the sex? The tension between Mary and Talent is so well crafted, you just know sparks are going to fly. I love a sexy romance that features love between equals and Callihan definitely knows how to make that happen.

I received Shadowdance as a netgalley offer from Forever Romance, but will definitely be purchasing a copy for my collection.

Entwined by Kristen Callihan

entwinedEntwined is part of the same universe as Shadowdance, but serves as a companion story rather than part of the ongoing series. Not quite a prequel, Entwined introduces characters that are related to others in the series, but are not directly involved in the main storyline. It’s a quick read and can be read as a standalone. I won’t go into detail for fear of spoilers, but it follows a mixed-up, epistolary love affair between Eamon Evernight and his brother’s betrothed, Lady Luella. Like Shadowdance, there is a good mix of fantasy and romance, and a nice dash of sexytimes.

Thanks to Forever Romance and NetGalley for this one as well.

What I’ve been reading… another random mini-post

I’ve been reading plenty, but there is only so much time in a day and I’ve sacrificed book blogging for the sake of staying sane and not turning into a regimented oddball… So here is a mini-reaction post to keep the thrill alive.

Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman
Yes, I picked this one up after watching the show, and while it is vastly different from the sexed up dramady that is the Netflix original series, Piper Kerman’s memoir on her year spent in prison is incredibly sensitive to the reality of life in prison. She bears witness in a way that captures the stories of the women she meets without sensationalizing their experiences or victimizing them.

Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding
Bridget is back! I’ve been a Bridget fan for years… confession, it was Bridget who turned me on to Jane Austen. For a fictional character, she’s had a huge influence on my idea of womanhood. I was so excited when I learned that the sequel was coming out and I was not disappointed. Bridget has grown, but she is still the Bridget I love–flawed, slightly neurotic, but always funny and real. Loved it 🙂

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
I just had to read Attachments after reading Fangirl and Eleanor & Park. It was a bit slower than her other books, but still enjoyable and full of nostalgia.

Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss
In my effort to read more nonfiction, I checked out Salt Sugar Fat and became hooked. Moss’s style is journalistic and very detailed… it’s a history of the best/worst foods that most of us grew up with (especially, if you were a 90s child… terrible things came out of the 90s).

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
I received an advance copy of NOS4A2 from William Morrow but I regret to say that I couldn’t get through it. I read about half of it but just could not relate to any of the characters and gave up when it started to seem like a task to continue reading. Just lost interest and didn’t care what happened to any of the characters. I really wanted to like Joe Hill, but I don’t 😦

on connecting with a book (and author)

There are books you love, and then there are books that consume you.

I haven’t had that feeling in a good long time. There have been books I’ve loved, books I recommend, books I enjoy and worlds I will miss, but it’s been a while since I’ve had that grip you and won’t let go feeling after reading a book.

Rainbow Rowell has totally blown me to literary smithereens.

I read Fangirl a couple of weeks ago and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. Not only did I immediately connect with the story, it made me remember all the things I love about been a book lover, a writer, a fan, a geek, and a student all in one. The novel is emotionally charged and deals with some heavy subjects (depression, social anxiety, drinking), but Cath’s ability to overcome these things through writing and books is a powerful message in itself.

And then I read Eleanor & Park and there were so many feels, I’m still reeling. I just want to read these books again and let them wash over me.

These are the kinds of books I want to tell everyone about. I know I’m going to sound like a sales lady every time someone asks me for a book recommendation at work. It’s like when I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, or the Georgia Nicolson books, or Harry Potter and couldn’t stop trying to get all my friends to read them too. These books are an experience.

Some of the best books I’ve read lately

A quick round-up of some of the best books I’ve read in the past month… I’ve been speed-reading my way through my collection as I balance work, life, and writing. Can’t help myself.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Is pretty much perfect. In some ways, it reminds me of Atonement and Possession (two of my all-time favorite novels), with a heaping dose of string theory-ish, multiverse what-iffery thrown in for good measure. Ursula’s many lives are full of joy, frustration, heartache, danger, and a constant sense that any second, everything will change. I really enjoyed Atkinson’s writing and look forward to reading her other works in future.

Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher

The Dark Lord cometh! Doescher’s Shakespearean-inspired rendition of A New Hope is so well done, it completely rekindled my love of Star Wars. A great, quick read for anyone who loves Star Wars, Shakespeare, or both. (I am currently immersed in this play at work… we picked it for our campus read and it’s all Star Wars all the time for me at the moment.)

The Mysterious Madam Morpho by Delilah S. Dawson

A novella, oh my. I try to change up my reading every so often, which means that I’m trying to make a concerted effort to read outside my usual genres and styles. Novellas and short stories are among those styles that I generally avoid because they often leave me wanting more… The Mysterious Madam Morpho is just such a one. I’ve read several AU London steampunk fics, but Dawson’s world filled with bluds and carnivalleros is unlike any of the others I’ve read. This is a well-crafted story with fully realized characters and wonderfully realistic sexy bits (I do love me some realistic relationships where both partners are equals). The best part is that it’s a series! No sense of loss at the end of a great short.

Fall reading starts now

And now for something completely different…

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It’s been a while since I read some real sci-fi, but one of my work buddies recommended this one a while ago, and Heinlein was all over Jo Walton’s Among Others, so I took it as a sign.