Posted by: Katie | February 20, 2015

Monthly Twitter chats for RWA15 First-Timers

**EDITED: MARCH CHAT SCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY, MARCH 19TH 9 PM EDT/6 PM PDT

Saturday Night Live has the Five Timers Club, but everyone has to have a first time. I still remember my first time at RWA in Chicago, 1999. I was *fresh* out of college, and even fresher out of a semester abroad in England. I had absolutely no freaking clue what was going on. I had been given vague ideas from friends on the Nora Roberts chat board, but there was so much that people told me about at the conference that I wasn’t prepared for. These still way fresh for as old as they are memories, along with some conversations I observed on Twitter prompted me to propose monthly chats for first timers.

The way I envision these chats happening is that we collate everything under the #RWA15 tag along with #RWA1st. They will happen for one hour and will have varying start times on varying days of the week. I will Storify all of the tweets so people can refer back to them. First timers and “old” timers are encouraged to participate as it’s us “old” timers who will have the answers to the first timers’ questions. I’m doing this all on my own and this is in no way sponsored or endorsed by RWA.

The first chat will happen today at 4 pm Eastern/3 pm Central, etc., but I reserve the right to call out for another chat later next week. Future dates and times will be announced on Twitter with ample notice.

Storified chats:

  • February (2/20/15)
  • March – scheduled for Thursday, March 19th at 9 pm Eastern/6 pm Pacific
Posted by: Katie | March 1, 2015

January and February reads

This year is off to a very slow reading start which is fascinating as I started 2014 off with a bang. I’m actually feeling fine about this for the reasons I detailed in my 2014 reading round-up post. While I didn’t finish a lot of books the first two months of this year, I did start quite a few more and reread bits and pieces of others. As always, there’s more reading in my life than is truly reflected here :)

Read

  • Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare – A *very* fun novel where the hero is a former champion prize fighter and the heroine is into brewing beer. I learned about the history of IPAs!
  • Prudence by Gail Carriger – ARC provided by publisher – This is the first of a potential series (only one other book confirmed) starring the daughter of Alexia and Connall from the Parasol Protectorate series. It was an interesting read, and I’ll definitely be looking forward to reading the next.
  • [REDACTED] by [REDACTED] – This was a book that I was beta reading for an author friend of mine to help get some of the library details right. I literally *squeed* and seal clapped over this book and will give it a shout out to it when it’s published later this year.
  • Trust No One by Jayne Ann Krentz – Classic Krentz that would be a decent introduction to her style for new readers, and a comfort read for returning readers.

Reread

  • Written in Red by Anne Bishop – First in the Others series. Reread because the new one is due out on Tuesday.
  • Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop – Second in the Others series. This and Written in Red are cracky reads for me and I’m really hoping the third, Vision in Silver, is the same.

Listened to

  • None

Novella

  • None

Children’s

  • None

Total read in January and February: 6
Total read in 2015: 6 (Edited because I have proven once again that my counting skills when it comes to books is decidedly lacking.)

Posted by: Katie | January 12, 2015

Reads of 2014 Wrap Up

First, there *was* an accounting error. Yes, I hear you all laughing. I record my reads in LibraryThing and while it is usually very good at searching, there is some “loss” of hits. They very nicely display how many titles are associated with a particular tag, and when I totalled my 2014 tags, I was 4 books short with what I had recorded here. Three of the “missing” books were from October. Here are all of the missing books:

  • Playing Dirty by HelenKay Dimon (Read, Oct.) – ARC provided by publisher. Astute readers will have noted that I did refer to this book in the October/November list when I noted reading Running Hot, the prequel novella. I really enjoyed PD, and especially liked the heroine, Shay. Frankly, I was a bit jealous of her as well as HelenKay’s description of the hero, Ford, had me all drooly. Out in two weeks!
  • First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen (Read, Oct.) – ARC provided by publisher. This is the direct sequel to Allen’s first book, Garden Spells, which I loved. I also loved this book and appreciated the growth of the characters as this story happens about ten years after the events of GS. Definitely recommended for fans of sweet stories who can handle light fantasy elements. Out next week!
  • Natural Law by Joey W. Hill (Reread, Oct.) – I don’t think I noted this book when I first read it back in 2012. This is a book not for the faint of heart. There are deep BDSM elements that may make readers uncomfortable. I appreciated how Hill handled the emotional motivations of the characters, and I also liked the romantic suspense subplot. On rereading it, I want to read the other books Hill has set in this world at some point.
  • Wild Ride by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer (Listened to, Dec.) – Annual-ish re-read which I’ve talked about before.

So, with the addition of these books, my total reads for 2014 was 93. The breakdown between my five categories are:

  • Read – 44 (Third lowest annual amount, and 12 more than last year which was the lowest annual amount.)
  • Reread – 10 (Dead middle annual amount since I’ve been keeping track, and also half of the highest total.)
  • Listened to – 8 (Second lowest annual amount. Third lowest amount is nearly double this.)
  • Novella – 19 (Highest annual amount.)
  • Children’s – 12 (Highest annual amount, but I only started keeping track of this category in 2013.)

I’d say that this year was on the low end of my average range of reading. I was actually expecting it to be the lowest amount, partially due the the short bouts of depression that I dealt with through the course of the year, and also because of the amount of time I spent writing my own fiction this last year. I wrote three full novels of varying lengths, a couple of novellas, and a couple of short stories. Most of which will remain unpublished. That writing time cut into my reading time, so the fact that I managed to have an “average-ish for me” year in terms of reading is a win.

For 2015, I’m making a point to dial back on my reading. This is more because I realized around Christmas that I may finally be experiencing a bit of burnout with my preferred genre, romance, after 25 years of reading it. I’m in no way going to quit reading it, but I’m also not going to give it priority when deciding what to read next. I fully expect a lot of my reads to have some kind of romantic element to them as I do tend to enjoy a story better when that’s present, but I predict the majority of new-to-me authors to be in genres outside of romance.

That’s my 2014 in reading, for what I keep track of at least. How was yours?

Posted by: Katie | January 11, 2015

December reads

December was a light month for me, but not the lightest by any means. I’m choosing to blame this on the holiday season with *lots* of things happening (like going home for a family visit) and many people wanting my attention. In putting this list together, I know for sure that I will need to do a full accounting of the books I read in 2014, and reserve the right to change the final tally in my year-end round up.

Read

  • Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne – It had been a few books since I’d read JB. I read The Spymaster’s Lady and loved it, was a bit meh on My Lord and Spymaster, and could not get into Forbidden Rose. I skipped Black Hawk entirely when it came out, but I bought it. I saw my friends talking about RS when it released this year, and I decided to try JB once again. I’m so glad I did. I was reminded of the joy of reading TSL, and I immediately went to my bookshelf and grabbed BH as soon as I finished. Loved.
  • Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne – The structure of this story took a little while to get used to, but in the end, a very solid and enjoyable read. *Highly* recommend.
  • Haunted by Kay Bishop – The latest in the Bishop/SCU series, it wraps up and “reveals” some things I’ve suspected for a few books now. I enjoyed it, but I think this would be easier to understand if you were a reader of the series.
  • Her Ladyship’s Companion by Joanna Bourne – This was JB’s first published book (I think), and it occurs in the same world as RS and BH (Adrian from BH is even a secondary character), but you can tell that it is a romance of the 1980s. I’d suggest reading this if you have a love of old style regency romances or if you want to be a JB completist.
  • Revenant by Larissa Ione – Final in this cycle of the Demonica series. I really enjoyed it and it surprised me at points, but I thought Ione neatly wrapped up all of the threads of the series.
  • Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews – First in a new series. Urban fantasy with magic, and I really enjoyed how they’re handling the development of the main character. I like that there’s romantic tension, but I can also see where the main character hooking up with the potential love interest would not be in her best interests (and she knows this). So, thumbs up on a strong female lead for those who like urban fantasy.

Reread

  • None

Listened to

  • None

Novella

  • None

Children’s

  • Blizzard by John Rocco – A *very* cute picture book that I totally want to share with my currently 7yo nephews and my younger niece and nephew. Based on the author’s own experiences as a child during a blizzard.

Total read in December: 7
Total read in 2014: 89

Posted by: Katie | December 1, 2014

October and November reads

I’m squarely placing the blame of me not updating the October reads list on the fact that I was at home for a family-ish wedding the five days around November 1st. I thought I’d read more in October than I really did, and the only thing I can think of is that I started reading a lot more books than I finished, and I also reread a bunch of scenes from books rather than the whole book. I would have totally updated once I got home except writing alter ego got caught up in the frenzy that is Nanowrimo. Reading time consequently was compromised, but I still managed to get some new reads in. Funnily enough, there seem to be a couple of glitches with my tags in my LibraryThing account as two books I *know* I read in November aren’t coming back when I do a search combining the year (part of the tag) and the month (standalone tag). I may need to do an accounting at the end of the year to confirm that I have the correct numbers. Especially as I discovered I forgot to add a novella back in May and it’s included on this list.

Read

  • Rock Addiction by Nalini Singh – I was a bit leery of this because it’s described as being New Adult, and I’m not exactly a fan of New Adult, but it’s Nalini, so I gave it a try. I loved it. I really, really loved it.
  • Worth the Fall by Claudia Connor – I saw talk about this on Twitter and decided to give it a shot even though it’s not my usual cup of tea. It was very enjoyable, and I think I’m going to try the related story. What really interested me was how much I think the author got right about the kids. I’m the oldest of five and I clearly remember a family vacation when I was six (though Mom wasn’t as far along with #5 as the heroine is in this story) and mom had to wrangle the four of us for most of it by herself. However, my dad was at a convention (it was at/near Disney World, hence, the family tagging along) and not dead like the father of the kids in this story. What I also liked about it is the fact that the hero is a Navy SEAL, but the focus of the story isn’t on him being a SEAL–though it does come into play at the appropriate points.
  • Only by HelenKay Dimon – Sequel to Mercy, and really good. But in a different way. I think it’s because of the heroine’s age and different experiences than the heroine of the previous story. I’m *really* excited that there will be two more stories in this world, a novella and a full-length novel.
  • By Winter’s Light by Stephanie Laurens – ARC provided by author/publisher – I’m going to say this is only for fans of the Cynsters. It is very clearly a transition story. The “core” romance could have very easily have been a novella, and if you pull out the parts with the core romance, it’s probably only novella-length. A good deal of the story is setup for the upcoming novels and transition to the next generation of Cynsters.
  • Archangel’s Shadows by Nalini Singh – LOVED. However, I have yet to be disappointed by any of Nalini’s books in the Guild Hunter world. At the same time, this is probably in the first one or two of the non-Raphael & Elena stories that I’d go back and reread if I didn’t reread the series in order.

Reread

  • Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn – I’m not quite sure how I got sucked into rereading this, but it was available on the Scribd app for which I got a 3-month trial, and my paper copy is in storage in Chicago. This is probably my favorite of all of the Bridgertons and I’m definitely going to hold on to Scribd even after the subscription kicks in.

Listened to

  • The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn – I technically read the last two chapters in the paper copy I happened to have had lying around thanks to a booksigning or conference in the last few years. I did that so I could count it amongst my November reads :) The audiobook was through work, so no comment on the narration. I think this is the final full-length novel in Lady Julia Grey series, but Raybourn’s left the world open for her to easily return to it if she wants to.

Novella

  • The Kraken King: Part VIII by Meljean Brook – This is the May read. I may have been a bit too excited when reading it and went immediately back to reread this part without updating my reading list.
  • Rock Courtship by Nalini Singh – I adored this story. What really makes it is the memos between David and Thea. Even better is that Nalini’s added a few more memos to her newsletter if you subscribe to it.
  • Azagoth by Larissa Ione – This officially released back in June, but wasn’t available outside of Amazon until September. I do understand the business reasons for people to choose exclusivity to Amazon, but I avoid buying books on AMZ. If it’s only on AMZ, I’ll either wait until it’s available elsewhere or just not read it. I say this because I was really disappointed when I discovered on release day that I couldn’t buy this story which I had really been anticipating at my preferred outlets. In the end, the story was a really good addition to the Demonica world, but my enthusiasm for it had waned.
  • Seize the Night by Tiffany Reisz – ARC from publisher at BEA – Tiffany told me at BEA she thought this was one of the best stories she’d written. I haven’t read all of her stuff, so I can’t comment with regards to her whole oeuvre, but I can tell you this was a damn good story. It’s part of an unlinked duology with Megan Hart, “Captivated”, who you also can’t go wrong with if you like emotional erotica.
  • Running Hot by HelenKay Dimon – ARC provided by publisher – prequel novella to Playing Dirty which I read in September. While I obviously got what was happening in Playing Dirty with no problem, this novella tells the romance of two side characters in PD and introduces the PD hero. It’s not in anyway necessary to read before PD, but it will add a richness to the reading experience. Also, hot spies in the field.
  • Twelfth Night by Deanna Raybourn – Enjoyable little mystery featuring Lady Julia Grey and family. I’d suggest reading soon after Silent Night as the events in TN happen about a week or so after SN.
  • Bonfire Night by Deanna Raybourn – This is the final, for now, story in the Lady Julia Grey world. It offers some closure of events which happened in TN, and is a quick read.

Children’s

  • None

Total read in October and November (and May): 14
Total read in 2014: 82

Posted by: Katie | October 2, 2014

September reads

I went on a bit of a reading binge this last month as you’ll see. Well worth it.

Read

  • The Hot Zone by Jayne Castle – The latest in her Rainshadow arc on the Harmony world. Very quick read for me.
  • Night’s Honor by Thea Harrison – Interesting entry into the Elder Races series. I would definitely recommend reading this book before the next one, but I don’t think you necessarily have to read any of the other ER books before this one.
  • The Rook by Daniel O’Malley – I read this for a book club I’m in. Yes, shocker, I’m actually reading assigned books. This hooked me in while I was at the beach, and I could barely put it down. It (along with a few other books) has helped me to realize that I’m a definite sucker for procedural mysteries with a sf/fantasy bent.
  • Why Mermaids Sing by C.S. Harris – Third in the Sebastian St. Cyr series. I’d set this aside back in May or so for various reasons, and decided to give it another shot as I was feeling a bit hungover from The Rook. Definitely enjoyable, as this really felt like the overarching story of Sebastian gelled together. The primary mystery might include triggers for some people.
  • Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean – ARC provided by the publisher – I *may* have been stalking Edelweiss for this book. A fabulous conclusion to her Rules of Scoundrels series.
  • Where Serpents Sleep by C.S. Harris – Fourth in the Sebastian St. Cyr series.
  • What Remains of Heaven by C.S. Harris – Fifth in the Sebastian St. Cyr series.
  • Where Shadows Dance by C.S. Harris – Sixth in the Sebastian St. Cyr series.
  • When Maidens Mourn by C.S. Harris – Seventh in the Sebastian St. Cyr series.
  • What Darkness Brings by C.S. Harris – Eight in the Sebastian St. Cyr series. I gorged on this and the previous four in a little over a week’s time. I haven’t had a series read like that in some time, and I had fun doing it.
  • Why Kings Confess by C.S. Harris – Ninth in the Sebastian St. Cyr series.
    • After marathoning this series here are some observances:
      • Harris has stock phrases and passages for describing the main characters that appear in almost every book. I think it was because I was marathoning, I was able to gloss more easily over these. If I were reading the series with a longer period of time between each book, I think I’d be frustrated with the amount of words wasted in describing the characters in exactly the same manner as in previous books.
      • I love Hero. I really enjoy Sebastian, too, but I think Hero is the reason why I’m committing to continue reading the series.
      • I appreciate the length of time elapsed in the overall storyline to allow some change in the characters, and I’ll be curious to see where Harris takes them with the significant change in circumstances at the end of book nine.

Reread

  • None

Listened to

  • None

Novella

  • None

Children’s

  • You Are Not Small by Anna Kang – Very cute book to show kids how size is relative.
  • Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox – This is a great book for kids who enjoy animal stories.
  • Little Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato – I like how the author showed how you can still extend a kind hand even if you feel you haven’t been treated kindly.
  • I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel – *Fabulous* book about identifying as transgender at a very young age. Very matter-of-fact and good for helping kids develop empathy for people different from them in any manner.

Total read in September: 15
Total read in 2014: 68

Posted by: Katie | September 1, 2014

June, July, and August Reads

These were relatively low read months. While there were some touches of depression in there, which always lowers my reading output, I was also very busy with writing a novel, editing it, a number of family visits, and the RWA conference. Overall I’m pleased with the amount I did manage to read! Still no additions to the listened to list, but that’s mainly because the time that I usually would spend listening to audiobooks is being spent listening to podcasts and recordings from the RWA conference.

Read

  • In Want of a Wife by Jo Goodman – I liked revisiting the Bitter Springs setting. It’ll be interesting to see if Goodman goes back again for her next novel.
  • The Mystery Woman by Amanda Quick – I probably should have read this closer to the publication date as I was trying to recall connections between it and the related book, Crystal Gardens.
  • Written in Red by Anne Bishop – I finally read this in full. I’d skimmed it earlier in the year for work. Addictive.
  • Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips – ARC provided by publisher – While I was able to fall into the story because of SEP’s writing, I was getting really annoyed by the main characters. Right at the point where I was about to give up on it, the story came together.
  • The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane by Elizabeth Boyle – ARC provided by publisher – I enjoyed the slow build of the romance and the drawing out of the hero from his self-imposed isolation. Very well done!
  • Dreams of Lilacs by Lynn Kurland – It’s been a while since I’ve read one of LK’s books, and I really need to go back and read the ones I’ve missed. DoL reminded me of why I started reading LK in the first place.
  • Mercy by HelenKay Dimon – This was an interesting book for me. I had to keep setting it down as the emotions ran high. I’m kind of glad it took me a while to read as I don’t have to wait that long for the sequel!
  • Deception Cove by Jayne Castle – Enjoyable fast (for me) read.

Reread

  • Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs – Annual reread. So good.
  • Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs – See above.
  • Fair Game by Patricia Briggs – See above.

Listened to

  • None

Novella

  • Take Me by Maisey Yates – Intense quick story.
  • Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs – Prequel to the novels above. I’m totally blaming Nalini Singh for this reread as she suggested that she needed to do a reread when the cover for the next book was posted.
  • Fanning the Flames by Victoria Dahl – Dirty, dirty, dirty librarian and firefighter. *LOVED* this story!

Children’s

  • How to Cheer Up Dad by Fred Koehler – Very cute. May need to be bought for the niecelet and toddler nephew.
  • This Is a Moose by Richard T. Morris – Loved this picture book. The now-school-aged nephews may even appreciate it.
  • The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc – Very European in design and story.
  • Extraordinary Jane by Hannah E. Harrison – Very cute story featuring a dog.
  • How the Meteorite Got to the Museum by Jessie Hartland – Loved this. For those who like repetition in their picture books.

Total read in June, July, and August: 19
Total read in 2014: 53

Posted by: Katie | June 20, 2014

Author websites

Earlier today, I posted two related tweets:

The background for these tweets was that I was trying to find when a particular book was first published for something I was doing at work. I always treat the author’s website as the first source for authoritative information about her/his books. Sadly, not every author agrees with me on this. I was very frustrated because, not only could I not find the information I was looking for, but the website was flat out fugly. It looked like an amateur site from the 1990s, only missing the marquee and blinking text. This is for an author who I know damn well has done very well for herself monetarily if her rabid fans are anything to go by. I could not believe that someone who obviously has built her career up to this point on word of mouth could have such a shitty website. Note, I did not publicly name the author in my tweets, nor will I. Why? Because her website looks just fine on my home computer using the same browser. It’s shitty on my work computer because of various security lockdowns which do not allow the JavaScript in her menu to work as intended. That’s a very different issue from intentional bad design. The only comment I’ll say about that to authors whether you are doing your website yourself or if you’re contracting it out to someone: CSS (cascading style sheets) is your friend.

This all led to my asking on Twitter what information people expected to find on author websites. Here’s a list in no particular order, but I’ve starred the ones I think are especially important as a librarian who expects your website to be the authoritative information source about your work (yes, I’m trying to lay down some Irish Catholic guilt on you):

  • Information about upcoming releases*
  • Publication history about previously published works whether they are currently in print or not* – double points for printable (we librarians have patrons who still really prefer getting a piece of paper from us)
  • Reading order information for series* (this includes “you don’t have to read these in order!”) – again, printable
  • Contact information* – Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, other social media du jour, email (maybe I’d like to book you for a program if I were to book programs for my library), newsletter sign up link/form
  • Biography – @surlyspice suggests two: 1 brief and 1 expanded
  • Excerpts from past, current, and upcoming releases
  • Every cover that your book has ever had*
  • Direct links to where to buy your books

I especially liked this response:

Another common refrain in the responses is to keep your site updated. For example, on your upcoming releases list, the most recently announced book is from 2012. Really? Build it in to your schedule to update your website at least every six months, but you should really be doing it any time any information about your books changes.

For those who are considering building or rebuilding a website, I hope you find this information useful. My fellow librarians and I (as well as *your readers*) thank you.

Posted by: Katie | June 1, 2014

May reads

It’s a wonder that I’ve read as much as I have this month as alter ego spent a week in New Orleans attending the RT Booklovers Convention, and I just got home yesterday from four and a half days in New York for Book Expo America. Obviously, the depressive bug that hit me and that I talked about in my last post has gone into remission.

Read

  • What Angels Fear by CS Harris – I’ve been meaning to try this series for years. I can’t remember what made me finally read this, but I think I may have gotten the ebook on sale for something like $3. Suffice it to say that when I was coming out of the depressive episode, I wanted to try something new. This worked very well for me on a number of levels. I’ve got a soft spot for historicals where a main character is dealing with PTSD. I don’t know why, but I find it intriguing how an author deals with a condition that is relatively well-known, if not that well-understood, today, but few people could even claim to begin to understand prior to World War I. I like the range of characters in this series, and Sebastian St. Cyr is an intriguing main character. First in the Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series.
  • When Gods Die by CS Harris – Second in the series, this cements Sebastian’s interest in investigation beyond him having an immediate personal stake in discovering the truth of the matter.
  • Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop – This is the second in the series centering around the Others. I’ve heard about it from friends since the first, Written in Red, came out last year. You’ll note that I haven’t recorded Written in Red. This is because I annotated it for work and have yet to carve out the time to go back and read it fully. However, after annotating Written in Red, I *had* to find out what else is going on with the characters and brought MoC home with me. I promptly read the entire book that night and was up *way* too late. In other words, this is a series made of crack if you like urban fantasy.
  • It Happened One Wedding by Julie James – Fifth in her FBI/US Attorney connected series and another author that I find crackalicious. I waited until the RT Booklovers Convention so I could get a signed copy of this. I read about a chapter that night before I had to set it aside to continue with convention activities. I saved the rest of it for my plane trip home. I was thankful when the plane was delayed in getting into the gate once we were back on the ground at home so that I’d have more reading time. I read the last page as my second checked bag was making its way to me on the carousel. Julie writes fabulously sweet (in terms of the emotion, because she can write a damn hot sex scene) romance with characters who are assertive in what they want out of life. For fans of contemporary romance. Also, I bought a gift copy of the ebook for my parents, neither of whom are romance readers, to share with them a story I really, really enjoyed reading. Also, James has dropped in a couple of Easter eggs to books not directly part of the series.
  • Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick – This reminded me of Quick’s early novels from 1990s which I read in high school. Definitely a modern take, and I think one that might be enjoyed by many readers of historical romance. Though, I think the appreciation level might be higher with long-time Quick readers.

Reread

  • Love Irresistibly by Julie James – After reading IHOW, I decided I absolutely needed to reread at least this story which is the one immediately previous to IHOW. This reread then snowballed into the next two. Suffice it to say, that if you like one Julie James book, make time to binge on them.
  • Something About You by Julie James – The first of James’ FBI/US Attorney connected books.
  • A Lot Like Love by Julie James – The second in the series.

Listened to

  • None

Novella

  • The Kraken King, Part IV: The Kraken King and the Inevitable Abduction by Meljean Brook – see part 7
  • The Kraken King, Part V: The Kraken King and the Iron Heart by Meljean Brook – see part 7
  • The Kraken King, Part VI: The Kraken King and the Crumbling Walls by Meljean Brook – see part 7
  • The Kraken King, Part VII: The Kraken King and the Empress’s Eyes by Meljean Brook – As this serial continues on, I grow more and more impressed with Brook’s writing ability. She’s cemented me as a fan and I will trust her wherever she wants to lead me. I’ve greatly anticipated each Tuesday since the first part released and was cursing myself for forgetting to download part five before I left my apartment to fly to New Orleans. I thanked the airport gods for the free wifi. If you do not like cliffhangers (and see Brook’s discussion of how she defines them), you might want to save reading part seven until part eight releases, but that’s in two days, so most of you should be okay :) This is definitely a serial (it will be released as a full novel at some point in the next year) that will appeal to fans of adventure science fiction (steampunk) stories.

Children’s

  • None

Total read in May: 12
Total read in 2014: 34

Posted by: Katie | May 8, 2014

February, March & April reads

I so meant to post this a lot earlier, and monthly! March and April turned into nutty months for me with schedule disruptions between library and romance conferences, moving into a new apartment, and a coworker retiring. For the most part I handled it well, and attributed my low reading level to being short on time to read. For the most part, it was. Were it not for audiobooks and novellas, I don’t know if I would have finished reading anything in March or April. However, as is often the case with me, my low reads also signified a brief bout of depression. Since I have noticed the trend in the past, I did consider if depression was part of the cause, but, of course, depression lies. It told me it was nowhere in the picture. My low reading was all due to stress and just not having enough time. Think Carol Kane in The Princess Bride shouting “LIAHR!” It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago when I had the physical manifestations of depression (for me) with being unable to move my body when I knew I should be up doing something that I realized it was indeed depression I was dealing with. Thankfully for me, my bouts of depression are usually short-lived and the physical symptoms usually signal the end of them. I’m still stressed as alter ego will be at the RT convention next week, with a few days back in the office before heading out to Book Expo America which means May is virtually shot for me in terms of day job productivity. But! The depression has ebbed away so I’m feeling very positive and happy and am back to reading at a quicker pace.

Read

  • The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams – ARC provided by publisher. I loved this! Beatriz’s storytelling style really works for me. I enjoy the dueling timelines with the way her writing voice works. This storytelling construct is a hard one for an author to pull off for me as a reader. I especially liked Violet’s story, and how there was a loose tie to “A Hundred Summers”. Out 5/27.
  • The Masterful Mr. Montague by Stephanie Laurens – ARC provided by publisher. I was a bit disappointed with this story, and I think it was because it would have worked better as a novella since the romance was no more than 50% of the story and it felt like it was supposed to be the primary reason for the book. However, I obviously finished it, so I think this might work best for established fans of Laurens. Part of her “The Casebook of Barnaby Adair” subseries.
  • Vixen in Velvet by Loretta Chase – ARC provided by publisher. A rousing end to her Dressmakers series. I’m looking forward to rereading it.
  • Loving Rose by Stephanie Laurens – ARC provided by publisher. This worked *a lot* better for me than Montague’s story. I think because the romance story line was given more time on the page than in Montague and you could really understand why the couple was together. If this is going to be a continuing series, which I wouldn’t be opposed to, I’m perfectly fine with it having a stable main cast solving a “case of the week” with a side of romance here and there. Part of her “The Casebook of Barnaby Adair” subseries.

Reread

  • None

Listened to

  • Northern Lights by Nora Roberts – annual-ish re-listen
  • Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich – Because I love listening to Lorelei King.
  • Affair by Amanda Quick – I got this through work, so no comment on narration. This one took me a while to get through, but definitely a story that I’d recommend to historical romance readers who like a suspense element and would prefer a story on the edges of the typical society setting.
  • Trust Me On This by Jennifer Crusie – No comment on narration. Older story of hers and you can see a lot of the themes she’d go on to develop in later books.
  • Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie – annual-ish relisten
  • Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie – annual-ish relisten

Novella

  • The Peculiar Case of Lord Finsbury’s Diamonds by Stephanie Laurens – Self-published and part of “The Casebook of Barnaby Adair” subseries. Tightly focused on the romance, and it worked well.
  • The Kraken King, part I: The Kraken King and the Scribbling Spinster by Meljean Brook – See below
  • The Kraken King, part II: The Kraken King and the Abominable Worm by Meljean Brook – See below
  • The Kraken King, part III: The Kraken King and the Fox’s Den by Meljean Brook – The first three parts of this serial set in the Iron Seas world is working very well for me. Brook ends each part with you craving more, but not about to go insane from waiting. I like how she’s crafted each installment to move the story forward, but allow the reader some closure of plot points and character motivations. A must read for anyone who enjoys adventure stories.

Children’s

  • Crankenstein by Samantha Berger – Definitely a book I want to pick up for my nephews and niece.

Total read in February, March, and April: 15
Total read in 2014: 22

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