Mid Year Book Excitement recap

A co-conspirator from the Rogue Book Coven that I’m a part of suggested this great tag she saw from Emily Fox’s Booktube channel.

  1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2019
  2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019
  3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to
  4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
  5. Biggest disappointment
  6. Biggest surprise
  7. Favorite new author (debut or new to me).
  8. Newest fictional crush
  9. Newest favorite character.
  10. Book that made you cry.
  11. Book that made you happy.
  12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)
  13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

 

  1. Gideon the Ninth by Tasmyn Muir. It’s released in September by Tor.com, but I was able to get my hands on a digital ARC. Freaking fantastic and I can’t wait for you all to read it.
  2. Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean
  3. The Outside by Ada Hoffman. I have an ARC for it and just haven’t gotten to read it. I am here for #ownvoices representation.
  4. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. Are you kidding me?! A sequel to Handmaid’s Tale after 34 years? It’s hard not to have expectations.
  5. We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia. I wanted to love it so much, but the writing was boring.
  6. Middlegame by Seanan McGuire. I knew Seanan had skill. I knew that she is a fantastic author, but what she did with Middlegame BLEW MY MIND.
  7. Tasmyn Muir! If what she did with Gideon is just the beginning of what she has to offer, I can’t wait to watch her shape what Science Fiction is.
  8. Gideon Nav from Gideon the Ninth. As my friend said, she’s the jockiest jock to ever bro and even though I didn’t think she’d be my type, I’m so here for it.
  9.  I loved so many great characters that I’ve read this year, it’s hard to narrow it down.
  10. The Nickel Boys by Colston Whitehead almost made me cry. It was intense.
  11. The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal was fantastic. I loved Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows so much so I was excited to get my hands on her next novel and it didn’t disappoint. She’s a joy to read.
  12. Beautiful covers or beautiful prose?
  13. I don’t have a list of things I have to read. I would like to clear a lot of my digital arcs just to make things cleaner.

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.

 

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 

#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?

TBR reorganization

Remember the Great Read My 2016 Hardbacks Before They Go to Paperback Challenge? It worked so well that I decided to overhaul my whole TBR system. I was more specific in my 2016 books on month published, but kept it a little looser in prior years seeing as how those books are probably already in paperback so there isn’t as big of an urgency. I waited until my kids left for their grandparents’s for their summer vacation and then got to it. I have two bookcases in my living room where I keep my TBR books. A few years ago I found separating them from the read books helped me stay focused.

IMG_1779I used to have the nonfiction separated from the fiction, but I realized it made the nonfiction easier to ignore so I added them. This turned less into a hardbacks to paperbacks challenge as it was just a read my TBR shelves. Which lead to a few problems, one namely being not all the books on my TBR are hardback. So do I read them in the order of the book published originally? Or just that edition? For instance, I have some classics on my shelves so do I put that copy of Wuthering Heights in its original 1847 place or do I put it in 2004 which is when my Barnes and Noble Classics was published. I decided to keep to the publishing date of the actual copy I had. Otherwise I know it will be forever before I ever get to 1847.

IMG_1780

This also gave me an opportunity to update my database inventory. I had previously only been keeping track of books read, but recently decided to add books owned. Which makes it a lot easier when buying books. Too bad I didn’t have the app up to date on my recent trip to City Lights in San Francisco and bought a second copy of The Buddha in the Attic. I knew I loved that book, but this is ridiculous.

IMG_1777

The project only took me a day so it gave me hope. False hope as it turned out because I also have an e-library and still have no idea how to balance the two. July turned out to be a busy travel month for me so I stuck to digital except I kept getting hooked on new romance series and not really jumping into the stuff on there. Too bad the Kindle app doesn’t have a great way to organize your shelves.

The only bad thing about making July the month off ebooks is I got A LOT of book mail and traveled to new bookstores (I am newly in love with First Drafts Book Bar in Phoenix, AZ) where I’m obligated to buy a book (or four). So where my shelves started like this: IMG_1782

They now look like this: IMG_2021

This isn’t even talking about the stack of comics I need to catch up on (you see them, top shelf, right bookcase). So now that I don’t have anymore traveling until November (Any guesses? hint: I’ll probably be bringing back way more books.) I have some time to jump into this.

Enough chatter! I have books to read! How do you prioritize your TBR?

Upcoming July 2016 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 July.

 

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn. (Jul 5). The first in a new series about superheroes featuring a PoC main character. I’m so in. I’ve been jealous of everyone getting ARCs of this one.


Shiny Broken Pieces by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton. (Jul 12). Did you love Center Stage? Or the more modern Pretty Little Liars? This book is for you. It’s actually a sequel so go read Tiny Pretty Things first.


Mata Hari’s Last Dance by Michelle Moran (Jul 19). I’m a huge fan of Moran and have read almost all of her bibliography so she’s an auto read for me. I actually don’t know much about the Mata Hari so I’m looking forward to the nonfiction binge I’ll probably read right after this one as is my usual M.O.


Urban Allies: Ten Brand-New Collaborative Stories edited by Joseph Nassise (Jul 26). An anthology where your favorite urban fantasy characters from different series team up? I’m in. The story I especially have my eye on is the one where Verity Price from Seanan McGuire’s Incryptid series meets Elena Michaels from Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld.  Also included is Sabina Kane from Jaye Well’s series of the same name.

 

What books are you looking forward to in July?

Upcoming June 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 June.

The Gilded Years: A Novel by Karin Tanabe (Jun 7). Based on the true story of Anita Hemmings, the first black student to attend Vassar, who successfully passes for white- until she let herself grow too attached to wrong person. This sounds really interesting. It’s set in the Gilded Era which is also a selling point.


Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach (Jun 7). I love me some Mary Roach. So far, I’ve read or listened to everything except Spook. I’m especially interested in her latest as that was our life for ten years when my husband was in the military.


Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay (Jun 14). Remember how I said I love Mary Roach? Roxane Gay is also on my author goddess list. I have Bad Feminist on my list of Essential Nonfiction Reads that Shaped me as a Person and An Untamed State still makes me feel breathless when I think about it.


Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford (Jun 14). Another historical fiction, this one revolves around the upstart British Broadcasting Company and an American raised secretary who uncovers a conspiracy in the organization. I’m into it.


Curse of the Tenth Grave (Charley Davidson, #10) by Darynda Jones. (Jun 28). The adventures of Charley the Grim Reaper continues. I wasn’t thrilled with the amnesia plot in the last book, so hopefully things will be more of the Charley we all know and love.


Chasing Lady Amelia (Cavendish, #2) by Maya Rodale. (Jun 28). I adore Maya Rodale. I just read Lady Bridget’s Diary and I’m thrilled I don’t have to wait any longer to read the next one. Those Cavendish’s are my newest favorite historical fiction families.

What books are you looking forward to in June?

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?