Going Overboard

Guys.

I think I went a little bit overboard at the library this week #understatmentoftheyear

Now I understand what people mean when they say they’re afraid their reading pile is going to crush them!

It’s not like they were going to disappear if I didn’t check them out of the library RIGHTAWAY but I just couldn’t stop myself. I don’t know where to begin! I was reading Lori Foster’s Back in Black but I had only picked that up on a whim whereas the other 13 books I just got were all books that have been on my wish list or I’ve been in line for through the library holds list for a while. Since they are all highly anticipated for me I just want to read them all at once.

I decided on To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis and am really enjoying it but…

My eyes keep straying to this stack of books. It’s distracting! (and this picture reminds me I MUST take down my Christmas decorations and tree this weekend, sigh) I got several of these a few days ago which are detailed in this week’s library loot post and I’ll include the rest next week. So I have 30 days to read these 14 books. At least it’s a 3 day weekend with the MLK Jr holiday. My only other plans are dinner with friends and seeing Beauty and the Beast rereleased in theatres (im very excited). I need to put a dent in reading these so wish me luck!

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December 2011 Reading List

To make up for not reading ANY BOOKS AT ALL (zip, zero, zilch) while I was travelling around so many campuses this past Fall *sob* I really made up for my lack of lusty reading by devouring *20 books* during the month of December! *smug face* I haven’t done a monthly reading roundup post since June 2010 which is positively shameful but I hope to get back on track. Ch-ch-check out the 20 that I read with some brief thoughts on a few as well:

December 2011 Reading List

  1. The Queen of Attolia, Meghan Whalen Turner (#2 in The Queen’s Thief quartet): A+ I loved this whole series, but adored this one the absolute MOST of the four because it really challenged me. Oh Gen, oh silly, clever, incorrigible, sneaky, sensitive, brilliant Gen, how I adore thee.
  2. The Thief, Meghan Whalen Turner #1: A
  3. The King of Attolia, Meghan Whalen Turner #3: A
  4. A Conspiracy of Kings, Meghan Whalen Turner #4: A
  5. Elemental Assassin Series Books 1-5, Jennifer Estep: A Gin is just plain cool (and not because she is part Ice elemental, ha). As soon as I finished reading the first in the series I immediately downloaded the next 4 and read them all deep into the night back to back in several days over the holidays. There are more books in the series after the 5th but one through five sees a particular storyline to conclusion.

10. Lion in the Valley, Elizabeth Peters: A Just started reading the Amelia Peabody series for the first time last month and this 4th installment is my absolute favorite in the series so far! It is the most salacious and dramatic so of course I loved it. Ooooo that Master Criminal!

11. Crocodile on the Sandbank, Elizabeth Peters (#1): A

12. What I did for a Duke, Julie Ann Long: B+ Very cute and got me intrigued to read more about the Eversea and Redmond families.

13. A Visit from Sir Nicholas, Victoria Alexander: B+

14. The Curse of the Pharaohs, Elizabeth Peters (#2): B

15. The Mummy Case, Elizabeth Peters (#3): B

16. Delicious, Sherry Thomas: B

17. Divergent, Veronica Roth: B- I was very into this while reading it (got a little sweaty, there are MANY tense moments!). Reminded me of Ender’s Game on a smaller scale. I liked it, didn’t love it as there were too many holes/unexplained things in the worldbuilding, but will definitely read the next book in the series when it comes out…from the library ;)

18. Lady Sophia’s Lover, Lisa Kleypas: B-

19. Angelology, Danielle Turssoni: C- The writing style for more was like a more annoying and condescending Dan Brown. I also thought it skipped between too many frame stories and flashbacks. And don’t even get me *started* on the ending, awful. That said, I read it in one sitting, it was riveting and original.

20. Under the Cowboy’s Control, Lynda Chance: D pretty painfully misogynistic and simplistic writing.

I’ve kept some of my notes in my Goodreads reading list so you can also follow me there for my more “real time” thoughts as I read throughout the month. And for those of you that are already friends with me on GR some of the above might look a little familiar as I did copy/paste some things for this post.

So have y’all read any of these???

Library Loot: diversity is the spice of life

No posts between last week’s library loot and this week’s, womp womp. But I’ll tell you exactly ONE reason why that is…I was too busy reading all the books I got last week in every moment of my spare time back-to-back to do much else!

In fact I already started reading one of this week’s new library loot when I got these yesterday because I just couldn’t wait, very few things make me as happy as a huge stack of GOOD books waiting to be read in front of me.

Now if you know anything about my reading tastes, you’ll know I read a little bit of every genre/sub genre as long as I think the book will entertain me. I also prefer happy/happier endings but a little 10% ish or more of “challenging” reads do sneak in to mix things up! So behold my diverse loot this week (only one YA this time but I have so many more on hold and on my TBR):

1. Dreams of Joy, by Lisa See – I haven’t read Shanghai Girls but I remember there was lots of buzz about it. So I picked this up with no research, other than it was on the end-cap of my library’s new releases , and I have a sinking feeling I should have read Shanghai Girls first. Oh well, I’m still looking forward to giving this much hyped author a try myself, can’t believe I haven’t read any of her much-lauded backlist yet!

2. Goliath, by Scott Westerfeld – ok so this is the book I started reading the moment I brought it home from the library. I got the 2nd in this trilogy, Behemoth, in last week’s library loot and I was completed hooked, enamoured, and obsessed with these characters, their intricate relationships, political drama, and of course the awesome fabricated creatures of this steampunk world. I was home sick yesterday and read Goliath for 6 straight hours pausing only to blow my nose or take a cough drop. It is one of the best books/series I’ve read in the past couple of years. Seriously. I loved it so much I live tweeted my favorite #Goliath quotes (without spoilers) as I read. The dedication page says it all *happy sigh*

3. Kindred, by Octavia Butler – so this is one of those 10% of books that sneak into my reading pile that challenge me. As a time travel novel that doesn’t focus on the sci-fi aspect of it, but rather as a method to explore slavery and african-american history, I doubt this will be my usual “reading for entertainment only” fare. But it was suggested by a friend at work and intrigued me.

4. Back in Black by Lori Foster – ok as a romance reader I’ve never read Lori Foster either *ducks in anticipation of rotten tomatoes* you want to know what prompted me to pick this up? I don’t usually like contemporary romances but my twitter feed has been full of people signing up for her conference so I thought I needed to see what the fuss was all about!

Library loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader and Claire from The Captive Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

Library Loot: return from hiatus

I love cleaning out the YA section of my local libraries (I’ve done it many times before), I swear the DC/MD/VA area public libraries have AWESOME Young Adult fiction selections (kudos to the buyers in charge!) but rarely have any of the adult books on my wish list. So I did it once again…check out my library loot (back on board with this meme 6 months after my last Library Loot post…)

I got some of the hottest titles right now (according to all the “best of 2011” posts in my google reader) and I wasn’t even on the waitlist, just grabbed these beauties right off the shelves.

And look at the gorgeous covers, YA really has the most beautiful and creative cover-art out there these days…that I regularly see anyways..

I thin my impetus to read all of these was mainly from The Book Smuggles (of course, they say jump and I say – how high?) but I think these are all fairly popular titles many of my bookish internet friends posted about that I missed while I was too busy to read these past 6 months!

1.  Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld – I read the first in this series, Leviathan, almost a year ago (my review here) and loved it so am super excited to finally get around to reading the next. I think the 3rd is already out too?

2. Legend  by Marie Lu – Hopping on board the “YA dystopia new release” bandwagon. Have low expectations for alllll of these so-called YA dystopias but looking forward to some entertaining brain candy at the very least with Legend!

3. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – All I know is that this review at The Book Smugglers made my fingers positively itch to pick up this more unusual read.

4. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa – This is one of those series where I feel like I’m the only one who HASN’T read them! Looking forward to discovering the hype for myself over this faery-world with secret princesses and Midsummer Night’s Dream inspired characters.

Library loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader and Claire from The Captive Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

Happy New Year

Yes – it has been 6 months since I wrote here.

No – this is not a New Year’s Resolution post to be better about blogging. I don’t do NY resolutions anyways, the only one I ever made that I can remember was that I would blog for all of 2009, which I did with an average of 15 posts a month (so shocking looking back on that now!) for the whole  year. I don’t do well with resolutions (see post on no willpower) so I just don’t make them, that way I can’t feel guilty about breaking them. This makes a lot of sense to me.

I don’t think I’ll ever blog full time again, I barely get on twitter more than a few times a week these days, but I’ve recently been thinking of imaginary blog posts that circle in my head when I’m trying to go to sleep which means it’s time to get some of them down on (e)paper.

So, it’s been awhile, huh guys? It’s not that I wasn’t blogging because I had nothing to say, I wanted to tell you about..

  • The time I hit the Ambassador of Chad’s car. In front of the embassy. And drove away. But came back later out of guilt. And they came out while I was leaving a note and made me go inside and tell him to his face. And he was really nice and told me to let him know if I ever wanted to visit Chad
  • I hit another parked car that same week
  • Had an amazing trip white water rafting in the Grand Canyon
  • Slept in a covered wagon
  • Went to Las Vegas for the first time and LOVED it
  • I lost my driver’s license in an airport
  • Lost my credit card in NYC
  • Went to the emergency room for a surprise minor surgery on my birthday
  • I worked 70+ hour weeks all Fall

So about that last one…instead of blogging I was on various college campuses every day and every night, which meant no reading, so no good books to blog about, and no life in general to blog about since my social life was absolutely non-existent. Over the past 6 months I have been here:

And here:

And here:

And many more…

But now I’m here *points to computer screen* so hopefully I’ll see y’all around online a little bit more these days!

Happy 2012!

Kevin Bacon please don’t kill me on this trip

Don’t get me wrong, this trip is going to be AWESOME! But as soon as my family planned it (none of this “vacation” was my idea) all I could do was watch clips of The River Wild over and over. This did not help with the nightmares let me tell you.

So today hubby and I fly 5 hours from DC to Las Vegas, where I have never been before! Hubby has only been once for a bachelor party where he slept on the floor and ate burgers for 5 out of his 7 meals while there.

After one night in Vegas we are going WHITE WATER RAFTING THROUGH THE GRAND CANYON. For those of you that know me even a little bit…ummm this is not my idea of a vacation. I’m also not athletic and haven’t worked out since our wedding, hmmm which was three years ago *shameface*

But I have also never been to the Grand Canyon and I already have anticipatory goosebumps just thinking about seeing this in person:

Seeing it? Amazing! Rafting on it, and hiking and camping next to it? Frightening. My outfits for the outdoorsy part of this trip? Hideous. My two new dresses purchased for the Vegas portion? ADORBS.

I am very very excited and very very lucky my parents are taking our whole family on this trip because I just know it will be an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience. But when I close my eyes at night I just keep seeing this:

So wish me luck, y’all!

An Evening at RWA11: A tale of Lines and Limes

Once upon a time, in a city not too far away, there was a hotel. And in that hotel gathered thousands of women with one unifying purpose: their love of books…This is a story of one such lusty reader in that city, in that hotel, with those women…

My journey on Tuesday began with a long bus ride, there are a plethora of clean, cheap, non-stop, cheap bus choices with multiple departure times that mainly yuppies take from DC to NYC – did I mention that they’re cheap? Less than half the price of a train ride! But sadly the bus takes about 5 hours, while the train barely takes more than 2. When I first moved to DC after college I was obsessed with the bus to NYC, but n0w (6 years later!) that I’m older, wiser, and have a steadier income I think that was my last bus ride. Sitting stock still on I-95 for over an hour while watching tons of other people on Twitter who are taking the train from DC to NYC for RWA11 zoom along will change a girl’s mind fast!

So while I was annoyed about the traffic I arrived without incident just in time to have lunch with the one and only Kate of Babbling about Books and More. It was the perfect way to kick off the day, sharing our similar thoughts on Kiss of Snow (Walker + Lara 4eva!), catching up on family and work life, saying hello to Mho Fho, and I learned tons of behind the scenes tidbits on being a writer and the publishing industry from Kate, and she was even generous enough to bring a few books for me!

Next I walked over to my bestie from college’s apartment, she and her husband live super close to Time Square where the RWA11 hotel was, and were so gracious in hosting me to stay at their place in the middle of the work week. Plus it was an excellent opportunity to hang out and catch up with them, albeit for such a short trip!

After showering, primping, charging my iPhone for the many tweets and pictures I’d need it for, and emptying out my tote to fit in all the books I was about to buy, I marched out of her apartment with purpose…only to be slowed by THRONGS of people in Times Square – more than usual! It turned out the 5:30pm start of the RWA11 Literacy Signing was the EXACT same time of the red carpet premiere of Transformers 3. That link has much better pictures but here is mine I snapped quickly, not wanted to tarry in that crush of teeny-boppers and annoying tourists any longer than I had to:

You can *kinda* see Bumblebee

Even as I drew in a breath to sigh in relief as the Transformers madness began to thin – my throat closed up as a HUGE CROWD of women clutching large empty bags appeared in front of me. The line snaked through the hotel lobby, doubled back on itself in the hotel breezeway before streaming out along the sidewalk in front of the theatres. I got quite an eyeful of all the advertisements for the Addams Family Musical, who knew it was staring Brooke Shields? Well now I know lots about it after STANDING IN LINE FOR OVER AN HOUR. Literally from 5:45 to just before 7 fucking PM I was in line, by myself, with a spotty connection on my phone no less.

These signs were HIGHLY necessary to direct the foot traffic

Everyone was polite, patient, and quiet while waiting, the buzz overheard from those around me was that the ballroom was too small to let the thousands of us in at all once. So those that got there early or had conference badges were lucky to be admitted right away, but I was really really close to giving up and just going for a drink at the bar, literacy signing be damned. Ever since I learned how to make margaritas from scratch a few weeks ago I have been addicted, I think about them all the time, and have made myself SEVERAL (yummy pic of ingredients at my house) in the past week and standing in that line I was positively salivating for one.

Anyhow, I was finally admitted after going up 6 escalators in stages, and the warm rush of air from the ballroom, heavy with feminine voices raised in excitement, immediately brought a smile to my face and wiped all annoyance of standing in line from my memory.

Clutching my list of the 21 authors I wanted to meet close to my chest, I navigated the byways between long tables laden with books, authors seated in alphabetical order around the ballroom. I met almost everyone I wanted to, and was sadly correct that lots of books would be sold out by the time I got there, specifically Thea Harrison’s Dragon Bound. But I really couldn’t be upset, the energy in the room was infectious, even though I didn’t see any readers/bloggers/twitterers I recognized, whenever I met eyes with a stranger we would both sort of grin at each other like, “can you believe we are here, surrounded by authors we love?!”

The highlight of the author signing was meeting my….what to call her *wracking my brain for something non creepy*…my idol? Hmmm, we’ll let’s just say I LOVE Victoria Dahl, I love her books and I love her on twitter and anywhere else she shares with us on a personal level online! As a reader I prefer not to interact with authors too much, just my personal preference, but I just HAD to take a picture with the esteemed Ms. Dahl, the creator of several of my most favorite books and characters of all time (I’m looking at you Jane, Chase, Marissa, Jude, and Emma).

im surprised im not blurry in this picture as im vibrating with giddiness!!!

I also met the following fabulous authors either just to say hi, or to pick up one of their new releases:

Here is all my fabulous RWA11 book loot – lots of signed copies, lots of personal notes from the authors, great bookmarks, and wonderful memories of getting them in person! 

The stack in front I purchased at the literary signing, and the stack in back were benevolently bestowed upon me by the lovely KatieBabs at lunch:

  1. A Courtesan’s Guide to Getting Your Man"" by Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan: reading this one right now, OH MY is it erotic *fanning self briefly before sticking nose back in book in rapt concentration*
  2. Follow My Lead"" and The Summer of You (Berkley Sensation)"", by Kate Noble: I am so frickin happy these are in mass market size now! My copy of her earlier release Revealed in trade size (that I actually got from her at RWA in DC in 2009) really messes up the neat row on my bookshelf.
  3. It’s Always Been You"", by Victoria Dahl: ARC from the author! *dies of excitement*
  4. Call Me Irresistible: A Novel"", by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

And then from Katie (thanks again m’dear *blows kisses*)

  1. A Matter of Scandal, Suzanne Enoch
  2. A Season of Angels, Debbie Macomber
  3. Under Her Skin, Susan Mallery
  4. Just Like Heaven, Julia Quinn
  5. Too Good to be True, Kristan Higgins
  6. Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart, Sarah MacLean
  7. The Tarnished Lady, Sandra Hill

But after all the chatting in the overpacked ballroom I needed that margarita! Visions of fresh limes were dancing in my head as I checked out and paid (no line this time) and headed up to bar. To be honest, I’m not sure which I was more excited for on this trip, meeting the authors and getting great books at the Literacy Signing, or seeing all the bloggers and twitterers I chat with online on the regular at the Blogger Bar Bash!

The gathering at the bar was super informal with people coming and going, stopping by just to say hi, or settling in with dinner and a drink for hours. We all stood or sat around a round table, greeting those we recognized by face, or using our twitter handles to jog memories. While some folks I knew from meeting them back in DC in 2009, I met quite a few people I’ve been talking to online, and also met plenty of people that for some reason I didn’t already follow and chat with! I would say 90% of the huge bar covering almost an entire 8th floor of the hotel were women from RWA, our corner had a lot of readers, but I know we were surrounded by other folks meeting up in their own little groups, like agents, authors, publishers, and other folks from the industry.

Here’s who I recall seeing while I was flitting about, but I didn’t get to meet everyone since we were all mixing and mingling so much:

Kate: so nice i saw her twice ;)

Wendy the Super Librarian: more like Super Blogger Bar Bash Organizer! and i was thrilled to congratulate her on being the RWA Librarian of the Year in person!

Christine: we met at BEA last year  so it was awesome to greet each other with a hug and chat all about our families, home life, and authors who make us *squee* ha.

Rosie: ok no one’s hug can beat Rosie’s hug. after meeting at RWA09 we’ve traded emails and chatted online when she’s actually online and although she had to run to another party just getting the hug and 5 minutes of conversation was worth it! 

Pearl and Sarah Tanner: i mean when else could you EVER meet Pearl from the Netherlands and Sarah from Switzerland?! they were definite winners for farthest travels that i met! And thanks Sarah for the recommendation of a present from  http://www.manor.ch/ for my friend who just moved to Switzerland.

Kristie: thanks for holding down the fort for all of us to have such a great corner to meet in!

And it was super fun to chat briefly with LB Gregg, Nath, Hilicia and Stacey as well!

@katiebabs, me and @ChristineA

 Very important to mention that I did finally get to order that margarita! And I was glad to have Wendy there to dissuade me from ordering two at once, so great was my craving, and I’m glad I didn’t because…sigh…it wasn’t that good *sad trombone* I think I’ve just gotten used to my oh-so-fresh ones at home that the pre-made mixed ones don’t taste great anymore, this one was too chemically. And when I had to call it a night to get back to my bestie’s apartment before it got to late it was quite the trial to find someone to pay for the drink. I felt terrible for the harried looking wait staff, and for any non-RWA peeps trying to get a drink at the Marriott that night, romancelandia seriously took over the place!

It was hard to say goodbye, I really think I made my trip too short, that even though I still don’t think I would want to invest in actually purchasing the full conference “ticket” to go to all the panels, I should have stayed an extra day to find time to meet with all the other twitterers and bloggers I missed seeing Tuesday night. But I was happy to get back home to my hubby, our puppy, and my margaritas with fresh limes of course!

And that is the (rather long and detailed) tale of my journey to one day of RWA11…and then I lived happily ever after with my new books.