WWW Wednesdays 5/25

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

Every week I’m going to jump on here and talk about the week’s books. So let’s get to it shall we?

What are you currently reading? I’m reading The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert in a probably doomed attempt to read all my 2016 hardbacks before they go to paperback. So far, I’m into it.

What did you recently finish reading? Just finished Ancient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura Salaam for the book club.Wasn’t overly fond of it. I also finally finished All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. I’m putting it solidly in the so-so category. I didn’t hate it, but it also didn’t blow my socks off. The characters all felt particularly overwrought. I know there was some crazy environmental stuff going on, but wow.  Also right before publishing this post I read The Earl Next Door by Charis Michaels. I love renovation romances, but I was disappointed there wasn’t more of the renovation in this one. The overall plot was pretty good though so I’ll forgive it this time.

What do you think you’ll read next? I’m gonna try to pick up Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein again. I got kicked out of a nonfiction mood the last time I tried reading it. I’m okay now.

 

What does your book life look like this week?

WWW Wednesdays 5/18

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

I’m trying to get more into the habit of writing on here and thought this blog hop might be a great way to do it. Every week I’m going to try to jump on here and talk about the week’s books. So let’s get to it shall we?

What are you currently reading? I’m working on a story a day from Ancient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura Salaam for my book club. It’s going very slowly. The prose is not my usual so I’m taking my time breathing it in.

What did you recently finish reading? Truthwitch by Susan DennardI love the portrayal of a friendship between two teen girls, but the book didn’t blow me away. There was no real interest for me in the main plot, which really didn’t seem like it was much of anything.

What do you think you’ll read next? The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye. I was lucky enough to meet Evelyn through a mutual friend and I was able to go to her book launch of this YA fantasy novel about two magicians that are dueling to the death in Imperial Russia. Off the cuff it sounds like a YA version of The Night Circus meets A Darker Shade of Magic, both books that I loved so hard. I can’t wait to jump into this story.

 

What does your book life look like this week?

Bout of Books: Five Fun Flirty Faves

For today’s Bout of Books challenge, they want us to list our five faves. It can be anything and yet I’m still sitting here trying to figure out what books I haven’t pushed in your faces already.

Fun romances.

 Faking It by Jennifer Crusie. Honestly, usually I say Bet Me because it’s one of my favorites, but the crazy in Faking It is too good to pass up. Really most of Crusie’s books could make up this whole list. They are just too fun. Put it this way, when I got rid of all my romance novels during my I hate romance phase (I know, I’m kicking myself too), I kept all of Crusie’s. There is something about her writing that makes me extremely happy. I also will take this time to beg her to write a new book for us.

 

 


The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey. Okay, I know what you’re thinking, this is fantasy. Except it’s based on fairy tales and the hero and heroine get together in the end. So it counts. While the later books in the series started waning for me, the first in the series The Fairy Godmother and the second One Good Knight are books that I think about all the time. I love the concept of The Fairy Godmother which is what if Cinderella’s prince was unsuitable, what would happen? And also I might have harbored fantasies of becoming a Fairy Godmother myself, but that’s neither here nor there. (Don’t act like you haven’t.)


Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean. The last book of MacLean’s The Rules of Scoundrels series delivers a fun surprise people have been waiting to discover from book one, Chase’s identity (it’s in the synopsis so no one can get upset with spoilers). The fact that Chase is actually Lady Georgina is fun, but what is really fun is watching the rules of society get bent and manipulated by her.

 

 


Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey. I’m going old school here, and introducing another Georgina because there is nothing more fun than a Malory, especially if that Malory is James Malory, gentleman pirate. If you’re just getting on the romance train, you need to go back and devour this series. Gentle Rogue is actually the third in the series, so start with Only Love Once, following James’ niece, Regina.

 

 


Living the Fantasy by Kathy Lyons. A video game entrepreneur falls instantly for a PR rep when he thinks she’s come in to audition for a character of his new video game. The dude falling in love before the lady, I don’t see a whole lot of and I’d love to see more. Also the geek angle makes me smile. Now I’d like to see more lady geeks.

 

 

 

 

 

Pick a category. Then tell me your five favorites. Or tell me your favorite fun romances. Tell me something!

WWW Wednesdays 5/11

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

I’m trying to get more into the habit of writing on here and thought this blog hop might be a great way to do it. Every week I’m going to try to jump on here and talk about the week’s books. So let’s get to it, shall we?

What are you currently reading? As I’m in the middle of Bout of Books there are a few books going on. I am reading Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein. Not too far into it, but so far, my impressions are that it would make a great read to go with Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagasaki if you’re wondering what sex is like for the modern woman. I’m also reading Ancient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura Salaam which is a collection of short stories for my book club. I’m trying to read a story a day so I can fully experience each one. My historical romance pick is Falling into Bed with a Duke by Lorraine Heath. I’ve been reading her Scoundrels of St. James series and the following series Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James which follow a group of connecting families and now I’m on another tier of the series. I’m enjoying the unconventional family dynamics that Heath puts into her books. I only had one in all the series that didn’t win me over, so those are good odds!

What did you recently finish reading? I just finished Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor. I am a big fan of Nnedi’s work. This is my fifth. I also recently finished Binti which was so wonderful. Lagoon basically asks the question, “What will you do when the aliens come?” In fact that question is on the back of the book. Nnedi recently came to speak at University of California, Santa Cruz and I was lucky enough to attend. She told us how this book was her response to District 9 as she was unhappy with the movie. I loved the book. It was great. She is one of the best world builders in the business. Her characters are fully developed. Just go get this book now.

What do you think you’ll read next? As I’m also reading all the books my friends have lent me, I have a few to choose from. I think the next will be Tarnished by Rhiannon Held. It’s the second in a werewolf series and I had a good time with the first one. If I finish Falling into Bed With a Duke, I’ll moving onto the next in the series, The Earl Takes All.

 

What does your book life look like this week?

When Excel Sheets Aren’t Enough 

I have a secret and not all the way expressed infatuation. I like stats. I especially love book stats. I like seeing how many books I read in a certain amount of time and I like breaking it down into genres, author nationalities, etc. I’m not alone. I know so many book nerds who have Excel, Numbers, or Goodreads accounts to keep track of their books. I took it a little bit deeper. My hubs works for Apple and uses the program Filemaker all the time so when I expressed a better method of keeping track of my books, he jumped at the chance to make me a book database. (This is one of the many reasons he’s a keeper.)

Screenshot 2016-05-09 11.38.57

Screenshot 2016-05-09 11.39.11Screenshot 2016-05-09 11.38.57

My database is no way complete. I’m always adding things I want to keep track of, always changing how I want the data to be displayed, or taking out things that I thought I would use and I don’t. For example I’m tempted to take out the author website and just put in their Twitter handle. I’m on Twitter enough and their websites are generally in their bios. Also I need a better way of tracking my diversity stats. I only have AoC right now, but have notes for others for my husband to add (let’s face it, he’s better at tech, I’m better at the words).

Screenshot 2016-05-09 11.58.02

I have to add prices in, and covers. I lost a bit when I exported from Goodreads to Filemaker and it can be tedious, yet when I need those stats for a post or when talking to other people, it’s so easily accessible that the work is worth it. It allows me to put in multiple “read dates” for rereads. I can say if it was print or if I got it at the library. I also have tabs if it won awards like the Pulitzer, or if it’s on one of the best of lists or even the Rory Gilmore reading challenge. I can put in associations. Need books with witches? I can find them.

Right now I mostly just have books read, but I’m working on a total inventory of both comics and books. Now that I have more bookish buddies close by I also want to add a lent/borrowed function to keep track of who and what goes where. I’m tempted to also add on the inventory where the book is. Is it on the third bookcase in the office? On the TBR shelves in my living room? The bottom shelf in my bedroom. I’m probably going overboard there, but it’s tempting.

There is even an app I can use to access it on my mobile device so when I’m out at the library or bookstore I can quickly check if I have a certain book already. There are possibilities of being able to take the information and export it to charts when it’s time to calculate my end of the year stats. I’m looking into it.

Do you keep track of your reading? What do you use?

 

*I am not being sponsored by Filemaker, but if they want to send money my way so I can buy more books, that would be awesome.

Bout of Books

Bout of Books

I know we just finished Dewey, but now it’s time for another favorite readathon of mine, Bout of Books. What’s Bout of Books? Luckily they made a blurb to tell you about it.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 9th and runs through Sunday, May 15th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 16 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I’ll be putting my TBR together this weekend. There are definitely going to be a few titles that I didn’t finish during Dewey. I also have to plot my reading time wisely when it’s a whole week there is a lot of room for getting distracted. It’s also a lot harder to harass ask my husband nicely to take on some tasks that are usually mine.

How do you plan weeklong readathon reading?

Independent Bookstore Day

What a day. If you’re a book nerd (which you’re here, so I’m gonna assume that’s a yes), you know that April 30th was Independent Bookstore Day which basically as you can tell from the name, celebrates our indie bookstores. It started in 2014 as California (hells yeah) Bookstore Day, but quickly the whole nation got jealous on board with the awesome. I’ve been going to my local indie Bookshop Santa Cruz from the first year. Usually there are exclusive items you can only buy on that day, games to play, prizes to be won, and other fun activities. This year BSC kept up their reputation for awesome. There was a wheel to spin if you bought at least one of the exclusive items and were a part of their reader’s club that awarded fabulous prizes. I won a tote which I swapped to my bestie for a 20% off one item since she wanted a tote and I have approximately one million of them.

The exclusive loot
The exclusive loot

We also did a fun scavenger hunt around the bookstore where they gave us a partial thumbnail of  several book covers and hints where to find them around the store. We ran into a few problems when books had been moved from their places, but I worked with two of my buddies (and fellow Ladies Reading Speculative Fiction members) and we prevailed. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of it.

Then there was the photo booth! I gathered part of the book club and we got our glam on.

IMG_1250
I’m a little sad you can’t see my bunny ears!

After an afternoon of haircuts and other fun errands, we gathered back at Bookshop for Trivia Night. Armed with free beer from Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery, six of the Speculative Fiction book club came and we almost conquered. After three rounds of literary trivia, we came in second place. I’m pretty proud of that. We won the third round after a tie breaker and won fabulous BSC mugs.

Some sample questions:

  • Richard Bachman is the pen name of what famous author? (I spit out almost half his bibliography before I could remember his name.)
  • A round robin where the teams in turn had to name all 24 of the characters who had a POV chapter in the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. We won that one by pulling out Areo and Arianne.
  • What family from Harry Potter lived at 12 Grimmauld Place?
  • Another round robin where we had to name the author of the book our Trivia Master Thomas gave us. Kon-Tiki was our downfall.
  • Name a book that won the Pulitzer Prize in the last three years.
  • What was the secret identity of the pulp hero Don Diego de la Vega?
  • What Dr. Seuss book character had 5o0 hats that he sold for 500 gold coins?
  • Who put a fatwa on Salman Rushdie?

Without googling see if you can answer these! Put your answers in the comments. If you love me though, you’ll skip the GoT one though.

IMG_1263 trivia scoreboard

How did you celebrate Indie Bookstore Day?

 

April Book Club Favorites

This month the Ladies Reading Speculative Fiction book club read The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. It was a club wide hit. Our next book will be Ancient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura Salaam.

Here’s what the ladies enjoyed this month outside of our book club read.

Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1) by Mark Lawrence. I don’t know if you have to come into this book already liking “grimdark,” but I’m sure it helps. Jorg is the ultimate anti-hero, especially considering he’s only 13 in the first book. Looking at who he is from the outside, he’s utterly repulsive. So what makes Jorg charming despite his deeds? A cheerfully self-incisive voice, and the enigma of his free will. It also doesn’t hurt that Mark Lawrence has an incredibly deft hand with prose. Just about every paragraph is a lean, mean vehicle that delivers characterization, worldbuilding, and plot advancement with a clever twist of gallows humor. This was a fast-paced and disturbingly compelling read. Juniper



The Fifth Season
(The Broken Kingdoms, #1) by NK Jemisin.
 This was everything I wanted and more. A non-linear tale with three perfectly converging stories; imaginative, gorgeous world building; characters that I adored and who developed so brilliantly over the course of the book; amazing suspense; graceful prose that I kept pausing to mark down; and the best god damned last line. Add in the part where Robin Miles is an immensely talented narrator and I just – everyone read this book, now. Anie

 


Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson, #9) by Patricia Briggs. I like the series because Mercy Thompson is a shapeshifting coyote in a werewolf world and she’s sort of an underdog compared to the werewolves, however, she always manages to pull off whatever it is she is trying to accomplish through sheer will and the occasional help of fey friends. I enjoyed the mixing of Native American lore around Coyote with the lore behind werewolves, witches, vampires and the fey. Patricia also imagines what life would be like both politically and emotionally for those who chose to “come out” as less than human. –Karly


As for meHamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter. Remember how I said i liked behind the scenes stories, this is a great piece about  the hit Broadway play Hamilton from its inception to closing curtain on opening night on Broadway. Filled with essays about the cast and costumes and staging as well as personal annotations from Lin on the full lyrics from the play, if you’re a Hamilton fan, you need this book. Be warned it is out of stock on several places so you may need to do some digging.

What were your favorite books of the month?

Upcoming May Books

Every month I try to make a list of all the books coming out that I’m excited to read. Let me know in the comments about any you’re excited about. Here’s what’s coming up in May.

 

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero (May 3). I love celebrity biographies, yet this one is especially important as Guerrero (you’ll recognize her from Orange is the New Black) recounts her family’s experiences in being undocumented workers in the United States.

 

 


We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl®, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement by Andi Heisler (May 3). I have this one preordered since someone declared May to be feminist manifesto release day and I’m here for it. I like Bitch Media and feel like there’s going to be a lot to say in this one.


Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen (Six Tudor Queens, #1) by Alison Weir (May 5). I have to confess something. I have an addiction. I am addicted to books about the Tudor reign in England. Doesn’t matter how many books have been published about the fickle king and his doomed wives and daughters, I’m there for it (Henry the VII is a little less on my radar atm). Alison Weir is a great source  for this era so this is sure to be a great read.


The Inquisition (Summoner, #2) by Taran Matharu. (May 10).  I really liked Matharu’s first book The Novice (which comes out in paperback this month as well if you missed it) so I’ve been waiting patiently for the sequel. If fantasy is your genre of choice, I suggest picking this series up.

 


The Crown’s Game (The Crown’s Game #1) by Evelyn Skye (May 17). I may be a bit biased about this one since Evelyn is a friend of a friend and a local Bay Area author, but I hope that doesn’t stop you from picking her debut YA novel up. Taking place in Russia, there is magic and intrigue afoot along with a bad ass lady main character.

 


How May We Hate You: Notes from the Concierge Desk by Anna Drezen (May 17). As someone who travels at least a couple times a year, this title fascinated me. I have a love of behind the scenes sneak peeks, whether it be a documentary about backstage  at Disneyland, a tweet about Book Riot/Slack shenanigans, or a book about hotel hooliganism (whether it be from the staff or the guests).

 


Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2) by Lisa Kleypas (May 31). I have to say, you really can’t go wrong with a Kleypas romance and I have a feeling this is going to be no different. The hero is not a duke or an earl or even a viscount, but a self-made man which is a fun change from the aristocratic world we usually see. The heroine is a shy lady with a secret. I’m ready to see what these two will get up to.


The Geek Feminist Revolution: Essays by Kameron Hurley (May 31). Did you hear that? Those were all my bells ringing. I’ve been hearing good things. This one is already on preorder as well.

 

 

*edited to fix a publishing date error.