Quick Review: Lady Claire Is All That by Maya Rodale

Quick Review is a semi-regular feature of ARCs I’m loving. You should keep your eyes out for these! 


Lady Claire Is All That (Keeping Up with the Cavendishes, #3)Lady Claire Is All That by Maya Rodale

I have been really enjoying the shenanigans of the Cavendishes and this foray into their world was no different. I love that Lady Claire is basically Ada Lovelace. I also love that the book takes place at the exact same time as the previous two books so we can see what the other characters have experienced of the shenanigans that have ensued.

 

Publication Date: December 27, 2016
Format: Digital ARC from Edelweiss

Quick Review: A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

Quick Review is a semi-regular feature of ARCs I’m loving. You should keep your eyes out for these! 


A Closed and Common OrbitA Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

I loved The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet so much. So I was a little wary (yet excited) for this installment. I say installment rather than sequel, because it felt more like a book that takes place in the world Chambers created than an actual continuation of the first book. I thought it was a great way to go. The theme of identity was well thought out and executed. I hope there will be more stories to follow.

Publication Date: March 14, 2017
Format: Digital ARC from Edelweiss

Quick Review: Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

I don’t usually do reviews, but I might be changing that and this was a great book to maybe start the trend. I’m not going to waste time with bad reviews, so I’ll be only posting the books I really loved. I read Difficult Women both as a print galley as well as in digital format. It’s out January 3rd! Go get it.

Difficult WomenDifficult Women by Roxane Gay

The women in Roxane Gay’s recent short story collection are indeed difficult women. They are real women. They are multidimensional and flawed. As usual, Gay is able to use her talent to give distinctive voices to each woman in their respective stories. Once again I’m floored by how visceral her writing is, in the best way possible. These short stories make you feel a barrage of emotions, from discomfort to grief, to pity, to empathy and everything in between.

 

Rep Night is the Best Night

Monday night I experienced one of the coolest things ever. It’s called Rep Night. It’s when representatives from publishing houses come and basically showcase titles they think we should pay attention to so we can handsell them to the customers. I came in late, so I missed most of everyone’s names, but I did see that we had reps from Penguin Random (forever Random Penguin in my mind), HarperCollins, Hachette, and Chronicle Books. Forgive me if I missed someone.

There were a lot of great titles pitched. Here are a few that interested me. Some are out already and some will be published soon.

There were also a number of winter picks of books that are already out, but I might save that one for a big holiday post. 😉

So besides telling us which books they thought we’d like, they also brought ARCs. The greatest thing was watching all my coworkers load up bags of galleys all while saying “I really shouldn’t do this, I have a stack at home I need to get to” even though we do need to. Bookselling is not just looking up “the book with the blue cover that might be about mediating” or ringing up that stack of kids books. It’s also being about to make recommendations to the customers when needed. It’s what separates us from Amazon or even Barnes and Noble. We don’t carry every book obviously because its impossible, but what we can do, is have a carefully curated selection that at least someone in the bookstore can tell you something about and be passionate about it. Recommending books and handselling can be its own topic so I won’t go down that rabbit hole, so basically bringing home a bag of ARCs is fundamental to my job. At least that’s what I’m telling both myself and my husband when he side-eyes yet another bag of books coming into the house.

So I bet you’re asking what was in that bag? Have I ever let you down on not telling you about my literary loot? Some were ones mentioned before and some were new-to-me titles

Any of these sound like your bag? Let me know!

Slinging Books is Hard Work

As previously posted, I recently went back to work since my youngest is now in school. I got really lucky and was hired at my dream job, selling books at my local indie. So far the experience has been AMAZING. Tiring, but so much fun. There’s a lot to it (definitely not getting paid to sit around and read), but I feel pretty satisfied. No longer are my friends the only ones who are harangued into reading all the books, now random strangers are too as well as my coworkers (who do their own haranguing, so it’s fair). Whoopee!

I’m still rather new so mostly I’m filler for full time staff who need time off or what not. So far that’s meant that I’m working A LOT since we recently had some people leave at the same time others went on extended vacations. recently finished a  seven-day-in-a-row stretch. It’s a lot to get used to after 8 years of home with my kids.

There are awesome benefits in the way of access to books. We have access to ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) in both print and digital, which means I’m now officially on Edelweiss so look me up! We also have book borrowing privileges if we have plenty of copies on hand. And then there’s the best of all…the employee discount. My book budget really needed this.

Also I just started helping out with events which has been a lot of fun. I have done two so far with five more (I think?) this month. I love the experience of watching people interact with their favorite authors. I am an author fan girl as you might remember so these are my people.

Anyway, the staff is delightful, the customers a joy (except for the ones who shoplift or grump at me that the book is cheaper on amazon, they’re jerk faces), and the work is satisfying. I have a huzzah feeling every time I’m able to get the book a customer is looking for into their hands. Double that when they come up asking for a recommendation and they take it. So far, I haven’t been there long enough for those people to come back and either smack me with the book because they hated it or give me a high five because they loved it, but it’s only a matter of time (i’m practicing my ducking for the former).

Well, I’m out of here. Those books aren’t going to sell themselves.

 

Here and There

Hey bookworms. So I got a new job! And it’s at my favorite local indie so double yay! That being said, I just finished a 40 hour week of training and my kids start school this week so posting is going to be probably a little more limited. I’m going to try though! Let me get a feel for the new schedule and then we will be good to go! Also I’ll be doing Bout of Books this week when I can so go follow me on Twitter!

Upcoming August 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 August.

Betrayals (Cainsville, #4) by Kelley Armstrong (Aug 9). I have been a fan of Kelley Armstrong forever and though many were disappointed by this series, I was not one of them. I think a lot were expecting a Women of the Otherworld part 2, but Armstrong is not a one trick pony. Where she was a master of urban fantasy, she’s even better at blending genres like she’s done with this series. It doesn’t fit in one and I love it. It’s mystery, fantasy, a bit of romance all in one. I’m hooked.


Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson (Aug 9). I am newly into reading Jacqueline Woodson’s poetry with Brown Girl Dreaming and fell in love. Another Brooklyn is Woodson’s newest work and i’m looking forward to seeing her in novel form.


The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth, #2) by N.K. Jemisin (Aug 16). Can I tell you how excited I am for this? I’m a huge fan of Jemisin’s work. I’ve devoured everything so far and the world building in The Broken Earth series has been amazing. Give it to me now!!! My speculative fiction book club ate The Fifth Season up!


A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes, #2) by Sabaa Tahir (Aug 30). I have become a fan of YA fantasy and this series is probably what got me on that path. An Ember in the Ashes was probably one of my favorite books of last year. 


A Scot in the Dark (Scandal and Scoundrel, #2) by Sarah Maclean (Aug 30). Just go buy this. Sarah Maclean will never steer you wrong and neither will I. Remember, consent is sexy and so are punny titles so Sarah is your girl. Do it now!


 

What books are you looking forward to in June?

*edited to fix a pub date 

July Book Club Favorites

This month the Ladies Reading Speculative Fiction book club read Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston. We haven’t picked our August book yet so stay tuned!

Here’s what some of us enjoyed this month outside of our book club read.

Roses and Rot by Kat Howard. This hit all the right buttons for me: an artists’ colony on the edge of Faerie? Where do I sign up? Although, like any “true” tale of the Fae, that attractive idea is more of a snare than a treat. The voice of the novel manages to feel real and contemporary while weaving in all the peril and beauty of fairy tales. Excerpts of the main character’s own writing project insightfully explore the themes of those evergreen stories. Echoes of Tam Lin foreshadow the climactic struggle of artists from all disciplines competing to be good enough for the Fae. Anyone who has asked themselves why they work so hard to “make it” in the arts will understand the stakes. Add to the mix a “stage mom” worse than any stepmother, and a sister-love better than Anna and Elsa – Roses and Rot kept me enthralled. One of my top reads this year. –Juniper


Watership Down by Richard Adams. There’s a Seanan McGuire quote about Watership Down, which is roughly that it takes an extraordinary book and an extraordinary writer for a book about rabbits to be more reflective of the human condition than most books about humanity, and it’s completely spot-on. I’ve read this book so many times that I can’t even begin to count them all, and each time has been equally precious and important to me. There’s a tendency for people to look at Watership Down and think, “ah, a kids’ book about rabbits, this won’t be that rewarding,” and that tendency is incredibly unfortunate. Watership is one of the most rewarding books I’ve ever read, which is why I  keep coming back to it. It’s about rabbits, yes, and you can absolutely read it to your children. However, its success lies in things that appeal to ten-year-olds and fifty-year-olds alike: This is a story about danger, war, camaraderie, loyalty, death, and need. It’s about refugees setting up in new territory, being welcomed and rejected in turn, and figuring out how it is that they must live their lives in their new home. It leans heavily on the loyalty and love between those who leave home together and fight together to find a new place in the world, and it always returns to hope, joy in the smallest things in life, and the bonds between us. -Anie

As for me. I thoroughly enjoyed Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. It was a heartbreaking story told in 300 years of one family from Ghana. I loved the changing POVs as it moved from one generation to the next. You get a sense of how each character saw themselves and how then they were perceived by their descendants as well as how their choices (and in some cases their lack of freedom to make choices) affect the next generation.

What were your favorite books of the month?

WWW Wednesdays 7/27

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? It’s been a crazy week so due to lack of time I’m just going to name off my current reads. I’m not really far enough into any of them yet to give a lot of commentary. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano. Before the Fall by Noah Fawley. The Truth About Him by M. O’Keefe. Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroine by Mike Madrid.

What did you recently finish reading? Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is pretty much one of my top books of 2016. It was heartbreaking, but fantastic. I also read Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer which was another hard read, but an important conversation we need to have with our society. I also listened to The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life by Anu Partanen with my husband. It was enough to make me want to move to Finland, cold be damned (especially with the upcoming election).

What do you think you’ll read next? I have The Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel and Shrill:Notes from a Loud Woman by Linda West from Book of the Month. I picked up Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Lui since Lui will be at Book Riot Live so I was excited to see his writing.

What does your book life look like this week?

#24in48 2016 Summer Edition

Usually when I’m participating in a readathon, I do a few posts on prepping and talk about my proposed TBR. I’ve decided for tomorrow’s #24in48, I’m just going to play it by ear. I made a tentative collection on my Kindle app of books I’ve been meaning to get to, but my print pile is going to just be me working on the Great Read my Hardbacks before they Go to Paperback Challenge. I have a lot of great books published this year I want to get to. I probably will skip nonfiction this weekend, the only exception is Grunt by Mary Roach because she’s Mary Roach and I don’t need any reasons.

I also probably won’t even hit the full 24 hours. I know on Saturday I plan on going  with friends to see our local Shakespeare company Santa Cruz Shakespeare perform A Midsummer  Night’s Dream which is my favorite of the Bard’s plays. So I know there will be a few hours lost there. Maybe if I bring my copy of it and read along it will count?

So that being said, even not hitting all 24 hours, I plan to do as much as I can. 24 in 48 is one of my favorite readathons and I love checking in on Twitter and Instagram to see how everyone is doing, what they are reading, and give snack advice (always something you only need one hand to eat!).

I am not going to be posting updates here, so if you’re not already, find me on Twitter, Instagram, and Litsy as @KarenaFagan.

If you’re participating, please add your social media contacts so we can geek out together. Anyone want to share their book stack?