Posted by: Katie | February 9, 2014

Steal This Idea: Six Degrees of Movie Programming

I got this idea when I realized that both movies I’ve watched this afternoon, Romancing the Stone & Johnny Dangerously, both had Danny DeVito in them. I then got to thinking that I should spend one Saturday watching six movies that connected one by one. I gave it some further thought and figured it didn’t have to be limited to actors, but also include writers and directors. Mainly because if I wanted to continue on this thread, I could move on to Practical Magic because Griffin Dunne stars as Tommy Kelly in Johnny Dangerously and directed Practical Magic. Hopefully, you get the idea. The real trick is figuring out a sixth movie that somehow ties back into the first movie.

If you were doing this in a library, you could add another layer of fun by doing it over a six week period and give a prize to the patron who could guess the connections between the movies.

Posted by: Katie | February 1, 2014

January reads

New year, fresh start! I had a bit of a hard time sorting out what I wanted to start reading at the beginning of the year. I ended up deciding to ease myself into the new year with a couple of rereads. That helped. I think this year is going to see me reading more novellas and shorter novels, but we’ll see what gets published :D

Read

  • Thankless in Death by JD Robb – I’m all caught up in the series!! I really liked this one as it played with the concept of family and celebrations.
  • Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare – Full disclosure: I’m listed in the acknowledgements. However, this caught me by surprise when I opened the ebook to read it as I was waiting on the dentist to fit me with a temporary crown. As I wanted to keep reading the book while my mouth was pried open and getting worked on, that should give you an idea as to how addictive this story is. With *many* nods to fan fiction and the romance community, this is a very fun read.
  • River Road by Jayne Ann Krentz – This was an interesting read for me. JAK’s avoided paranormal elements for the first time in about five years, so this is a straight romantic suspense. What really struck me is that the main characters, while absolutely feeling adult, definitely felt younger than me–though absolutely appropriate for their ages. Definite props to JAK on that.

Reread

  • Triumff: Her Majesty’s Hero by Dan Abnett – When I realized this was the first time I’ve reread this book, I was a bit surprised. I really enjoy the crazy, almost madcap, adventure of it. What I was able to put my finger on is that this is a tough book to read due to the use of language. The fun is absolutely worth it, but it does take a bit longer to read than other books.
  • Archangel’s Storm by Nalini Singh – Another first reread of this book for me. I love Jason, and was shocked that I hadn’t reread it before. Then I got to the section at the end of the book which is like ten pages of ugly cry. Fabulous book, and worth it, but yeah, have the tissues ready.

Listened

  • None finished

Novella

  • Ashes & Alchemy by Cindy Spencer Pape – the latest in her Gaslight Chronicles series. I really enjoyed this one and look forward to the next one. I like that she stepped out of the inner circle she’s been dealing with in the last few stories, while at the same time still smoothly incorporating them into the story.

Children’s

  • A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant – Very interesting picture book. Great story of how to find a way to do what you love after significant disadvantages–in this case, no opportunity for formal training and permanent injury.

Total read in January: 7
Total read in 2014: 7

Posted by: Katie | December 31, 2013

2013 in books

So, my first book read in 2013 was a children’s book (The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce) and the last book I finished in 2013 was a children’s book (Flying Solo: How Ruth Elder Soared into America’s Hearts by Julie Cummins). There’s an obvious reason why I was never a math major (in fact, I got out of having to take the “remedial” math class in college by taking Stats). I just broke down the types of books I read in 2013. However, the total did not match the one I listed in the previous post done less than an hour ago. I went back through, and I messed up first in February by including the bullet points for the nones in my count, and somehow added an additional book in the total through the course of the year. Which means, my total read for 2013 is 75 and not 78. However, it’s a nice round number.

The breakdown of the types of books I read were:

  • 32 “Reads” which are essentially new-to-me novels.
  • 8 “Rereads” which are novels I’ve read at least once before the tally year.
  •  15 “Listened tos” which are audiobooks of any length, but typically are novels.
  • 12 “Novellas” which are typically under 40,000 words in length.
  • 8 “Children’s” which generally are picture books.

As usual, the overwhelming number of books I read were romance novels, though I do not keep specific count of genres. This year saw the month with the lowest number of total reads (4 in October), and is the lowest total since the year after I came off of a book award to committee. I did not keep annual counts before the committee year. The biggest reason for the decrease in total is because I recommitted to my writing career and focused on producing more rough work. I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams by writing just over 180,000 words. A little more than 175,000 of those words were written since June 1st. A number of those stories were polished up, edited, and submitted to various venues and one story was accepted for publication in an upcoming anthology. Since this is my fiction, feel free to ask me in person what my pseudonym is. If writing more means reading less, then I’ll have to accept that trade off. I’m eyeing 2015 as the year where I take a few vacation days from the day job and do nothing but work on decreasing the “to be read” pile. How was your 2013?

Posted by: Katie | December 31, 2013

November and December reads

Since I didn’t post November’s list on time, I figured I should probably get this post up a little early. Especially as I know I won’t be finishing any more books this year :) The majority (by a slight margin) of these were read in December. But that’s relatively easily explained by the fact I was writing the first draft of a novella at the start of November. Speaking of, the next post will be a reflective wrap up of the year.

Read

  • Kinked by Thea Harrison – Latest in her Elder Races series. Well worth the wait and very worthy of Aryal who I truly have enjoyed as a character since the first book.
  • The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas – I started reading this at work when I was only supposed to be editing the annotation (rather than annotating it myself) the day before Thanksgiving, and promptly bought a digital copy so I could finish reading it on the plane home the next day. Loved it.
  • Long Live the Queen by Kate Locke – Latest in her Immortal Empire series. I really loved it and am curious where the series is going to go next. I hope there’s more to it!
  • Hostage by Kay Hooper – Latest in her Bishop/SCU/Haven series. Really enjoyed it. Got it from the library.
  • If Wishes Were Earls by Elizabeth Boyle – ARC provided by the publisher – Released today – Completion of her Rhymes with Love trilogy. I enjoyed it a lot. I had to set it down after I first started it, and I think that had more to do with my mental state rather than the story as I really wanted to continue reading it. Obviously, I did come back to it and finished :)
  • Reaver by Larissa Ione – Latest in her Lords of Deliverance/Demonica series. Definitely better to read these stories in order as a lot of the base plot/characterization is built up in earlier novels. Really enjoyed and am looking forward to the next story.

Reread

  • None – Shocking. I know. Technically, I have been doing some rereading, but it’s mainly scenes rather than whole books. Though the two books in the next section are rereads.

Listened to

  • Manhunting by Jennifer Crusie – I got this through work, but it was the Brilliance edition. The narration was fine, and it was interesting to revisit Crusie’s earlier work.
  • Absolutely, Positively by Jayne Ann Krentz – Another one through work, but this was a work edition, so no comment on narration. This was from JAK’s iffy period for me, though I thought it was one of the better ones, and was the one that kept the spark alive through the low period. It’s kind of interesting to be reminded that while JAK’s core stories do age well, she becomes dated in clothing descriptions quickly.

Novella

  • Midsummer Night by Deanna Raybourn – Interim story in her Lady Julia series. Very enjoyable.
  • Silent Night by Deanna Raybourn – Interim story in Lady Julia series. Again very enjoyable.
  • The Principle of Desire by Delphine Dryden – #3 in her Science of Temptation series. Loved it!
  • The Seduction Hypothesis by Delphine Dryden – #2 in the Science of Temptation series. I’d forgotten I hadn’t read this yet until I started reading PoD. Obviously this is a series you don’t absolutely have to read in order, though the characters are all part of a close group of friends.

Children’s

  • Flying Solo: How Ruth Elder Soared into America’s Hearts by Julie Cummins – This is actually the last book I’ve completed reading. As I have a bit of a fascination with early aviators, especially those from the 1920′s, this was a fun little book. It’s got a great message of not letting a *huge* setback stop you from doing what you love.

Total read in November and December: 13
Total read in 2013: 78

Posted by: Katie | November 2, 2013

October reads

Well, this year is definitely shaping up to be one of my lower reads in my recorded history. Which, for as long as I’ve been reading, isn’t all that long. I’m just thankful I’ve broken through the 1 book/week average mark. This month was a low month for me. In fact, tallying them up, this may take the record for the least amount read in a month since I started keeping track. Looking back at what happened during the month, it doesn’t surprise me. Things did pick up toward the end of the month, so that’s something. Also, all of my new reads were in series I particularly enjoy. While not my usual comfort of rereads, but a very close second.

Read

  • Calculated in Death by JD Robb – Definitely more on the mystery side of the series. I liked the plot and appreciated the weaving in of elements from previous stories. One of these days, I think I need to tackle a reread of the whole series…at least the novels.
  • Archangel’s Legion by Nalini Singh – Latest in her Guild Hunter series. I may have purposefully gone to bed extra early Monday night so I wouldn’t be tempted to open my ereader at midnight to frantically download my pre-ordered copy. As it was, I fought with my various devices on the way to work on Tuesday to get it to load on one of them so I could read on my commute. I adore this series, and think this was a great entry into it with the way it advanced the relationship with Elena and Raphael, while at the same time raising the stakes in the world they inhabit.

Reread

  • None

Listened to

  • Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer – if you don’t know my feelings about this book by this point, you haven’t been reading this blog that long.

Novella

  • Dragos Takes a Holiday by Thea Harrison – ARC provided by author – I was giddy when I saw this went up for reviewers on one of the egalley sites, and even giddier when my request for it was approved. This is a favorite series of mine, and Harrison did not disappoint. When I finished it, I immediately went back and reread all of the parts with the Peanut. From an RA standpoint, I definitely would not hand this to someone who hasn’t at least read Dragon Bound and Lord’s Fall. Compared to those two, however, this is a very sweet story.

Children’s

  • None

Total read in October: 4
Total read in 2013: 65

Posted by: Katie | October 3, 2013

September books

Last month was a pretty good reading month for me considering how busy I was during it. With the exception of Labor Day weekend, I was out doing things every weekend of the month for the whole weekend. That I was able to read as much as I did, I’ll count as a total win.

Read

  • Delusion in Death by JD Robb – Really enjoyed this entry into the series. Definitely more mystery-heavy, and fairly gruesome details of the crimes.
  • Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen – ARC received from the publisher – I *love* Allen’s previous books and this is her first after dealing with breast cancer. The romance in this one was lighter than in some of the previous titles, and there were parts where I was ugly crying. So, yeah, good book. Out in February.
  • No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah Maclean – ARC provided by publisher – Another author I really love. This is the latest in her Rules of Scoundrels series. There were some really sweet parts of this story that went along with the spicy. Sarah’s definitely going to be nominated for awards with this one. The epilogue beyond the first page of it is embargoed, so I’m looking forward to when it releases in November to discover the true identity of the last Scoundrel.
  • Delia’s Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer – ARC provided by publisher – This was an unusual story. I enjoyed the author’s voice, and the premise of a serial killer in 1915 San Francisco. I had some issues with the structure of the story because of the glossing over of certain time frames. Mainly, the trainsitions in places were not as smooth as they could have been. However, definitely for those who like historical mysteries wih paranormal and romantic elements.

Reread

  • Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn – Reread of one of my favorite stories by Quinn. Sebastian rocks as a hero.

Listened to

  • What Happens in London by Julia Quinn – I’d actually forgotten this was the prequel to Ten Things until I started listening to it. Very sweet story, and the narrator was very good.
  • Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn – Acquired through work. This was an interesting story due to the setting and the eventual perpetrator of the crime Lady Julia and Brisbane are investigating. I also admit to ugly crying in parts.

Novella

  • None

Childrens

  • None

Total read in September: 7
Total read in 2013: 61

Posted by: Katie | September 2, 2013

August reads

It’s not much, but I feel like it’s a lot especially considering the length of a few of the books. Part of this is because I’ve been furiously writing my own fiction. I finished the first draft of a novel, and started a novella. The time that I’d usually be listening to audiobooks is also being used for listening to podcasts. This month I decided to focus on clearing out my To Be Read (TBR) mountain. This trend will be continuing in future months :)

Read

  • Alien in the House by Gini Koch – Latest in the Katherine “Kitty” Katt series. It took me a while to get into it, but I enjoyed it. The overarching story of the series continues to move along.
  • An Invitation to Sin by Sarah Morgan – copy provided by the author – Loved it. Both of the characters accept their flaws, and work at being mature. What I really love about Sarah’s Harlequin Presents titles is that I never feel like they’re angst for angst’s sake. Plus, she writes some very smoking scenes :)
  • Sinner’s Heart by Zoe Archer – Conclusion to the Hellraisers trilogy. I really enjoyed this. The whole series is an interesting mix of paranormal elements, adventure, and a not-common historical setting.
  • Rogue Rider by Larissa Ione – Conclusion to her Lords of Deliverance quartet. I’ve had this sitting on my ereader for almost a year, had started it and had never gone back. I thought I’d just skip over it and go straight to the sequel book, Reaver, that is releasing later this year. I’m glad I didn’t. There’s a lot of set up in this story for Reaver. However, I also feel like this set up pulled attention away from the main characters. As a long time reader of the series, I was able to (mostly) follow along, but if you were to pick this up first, you’d probably feel lost and not be a happy reader.
  • Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts – I enjoyed this. I’ve got other titles of hers I’d rank ahead of this one as favorites, but this is definitely one I’d reread before some others. I liked both main characters as well as quite a few of the secondary characters and they struck me as people I’d enjoy hanging out with if they were real people.

Reread

  • None

Listened to

  • None

Novella

  • None

Children’s

  • None

Total read in August: 5
Total read in 2013: 54

Posted by: Katie | August 4, 2013

March through July reads

Well, that absence was unexpected. It’s hard enough to get a monthly list posted in a reasonable time frame. When I miss a month, the pressure makes me feel even worse. When I miss a month and the “catch up” time to post is crazy with conferences, I obviously kissed it goodbye.  Didn’t really think I’d let it slide this long though. Anywhoodle, despite the long time frame, not much has been read. This is partially due to my schedule going crazy busy for six weeks in April & May. Point of fact, I did not read any new-to-me novels in April. I was a bit worried about the onset of another depressive episode when I realized that in May. Then in June, I made it a priority to start writing fiction again. Reading time got replaced by writing time until I realized I was really missing reading and the relaxation it gave me in July. I’m still not reading much, but I’ve got more mental energy with which to accomplish it. The writing is trucking along beautifully, though!

Read

  • Dangerous Refuge by Elizabeth Lowell – ARC from publisher – I had to remind myself what this was about, but once I did, I remembered a good chunk of the story perfectly. Enjoyable read for those who like romantic suspense.
  • Cards & Caravans by Cindy Spencer Pape – Steampunk fantasy, part of a series. I liked it, but due to the way the story’s set up, I don’t think non-fans of the story would get as much out of it as those who have read at least the preceding story.
  • The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh by Stephanie Laurens – ARC from publisher – I really enjoyed this book, but I’m a sucker for Laurens. This felt like one of her stronger Cynster stories.
  • A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams – ARC from publisher (also offered by the author if I couldn’t get it from the publisher) – I love Williams’ voice. This story did not have the paranormal element that her debut book did, but I think she did a great job in exploiting once again the parallel-storytelling style she used in Overseas to great effect. Definitely for historical fiction fans who enjoy a strong romance element.
  • Love Irresistibly by Julie James – Continuation of her FBI/US Attorney series. Loved this one!
  • True to the Law by Jo Goodman – Very enjoyable western romance.
  • City of Lost Dreams by Magnus Flyte – ARC from publisher – Interesting. The sequel to last years “City of Lost Magic” and continues with the cracktastic authorial voice. The characters are visibly experiencing growth, and I’m kind of hoping there will be more to come.
  • Skies of Gold by Zoe Archer – ARC from publisher – I found out this past week from the author that this will be the last in the Ether Chronicles series. I’m a bit sad as I’ve really enjoyed the adventure in them. In all the books I’ve read by her, Archer has always created heroines who are strong and empowered. I really felt she hit a pinnacle of the type with the heroine of this book as she has been dealt some severe blows in life but is focusing on her future, with or without the hero.
  • The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn – ARC from publisher – The latest in the Smythe-Smith quartet, this one features a romance of enemies, and people who have to come to terms with aspects of themselves that they don’t particularly like. Enjoyable. It could be read apart from the others in the series as there’s enough backstory to explain what’s happened up until this point, but I think the reader might best enjoy it having read the previous books.

Reread

  • The Ideal Bride by Stephanie Laurens
  • Soulless by Gail Carriger
  • Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
  • Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs
  • Fair Game by Patricia Briggs

Listened to

  • Wild Ride by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer – relisten
  • Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie – relisten
  • Northern Lights by Nora Roberts – relisten
  • Chesapeake Blue by Nora Roberts – relisten
  • The Perfect Poison by Amanda Quick – relisten
  • Don’t Look Back by Amanda Quick – I’ve read this in print before, and I think it might also be a relisten. Second in Lake & March series.
  • Late for the Wedding by Amanda Quick – Same as Don’t Look Back. Third in Lake & March series.
  • Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn – Obtained through work.

Novella

  • The Mad Earl’s Bride – ARC from publisher – This is the ebook version of this novella which has been in and out of print for I think around 10 years. It’s connected to “Lord of Scoundrels” and “The Last Hellion” as Bertie Trent is a featured character. Very enjoyable.
  • Tethered by Meljean Brook – Continuation story of Archimedes and Yasmeen from “Heart of Steel”. Loved it.
  • Beauty and the Blacksmith by Tessa Dare – I loved this story of a well-to-do young lady falling for and needing to convince the town blacksmith that she wants a life with him.
  • Wrecked by Meljean Brook – In the Fire & Frost anthology and part of the Iron Seas world. I really liked this side story that explored the effects of technology when it is used for both good and evil.
  • Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs – reread.
  • The Wicked by Thea Harrison – Part of the Elder Races world. I love seeing these side stories that give added depth to stories begun in the main series. This one is a continuation of events that started in “Serpent’s Kiss”.

Children’s

  • Back to Front and Upside Down by Claire Alexander – Great for kids dealing with dyslexia.
  • How to Babysit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan – Fun. I’m planning on getting this for my niece and nephews.

Total read March through July: 30
Total read in 2013: 49

Posted by: Katie | March 3, 2013

February reads

For a moment, I thought this was going to take over as my month with the least reads. You may notice my math for the total reads doesn’t quite match up from last month. This is because I read a short story as part of a new anthology of short stories back in January, but hadn’t marked it down since it was part of a set. Well, I decided I’d go ahead and count it in the total because I’ve read almost all of the other stories in the anthology when they were originally released as individual digital shorts. This month also was short on reads because I had so little reading time. I spent a good chunk of February dealing with outside work projects, and when I could read, I wasn’t reading as quickly as I normally do. My outside project work load has lightened considerably for the time being which means an uptick in reading time! Watch, I’ll probably have the same stats for March as for February despite having more days to read just because I said that.

Read

  • The Emperor’s Conspiracy by Michelle Diener – This was such a fast-paced book for me. It’s not really romance, but it’s also not super heavy historical, and there’s some suspense thrown in for kicks, too. I definitely plan on seeking out more of this author.
  • The Queen is Dead by Kate Locke – Second in her Immortal Empire series. I am very pleased to report the sophomore effort absolutely lived up to the first book. Second books in series, even by authors who have published other series and aren’t new to the game (Locke is also published as Kady Cross, Kate Cross and Kathryn Smith), are often iffy as to continuing the magic of the first book. This is definitely a series to watch.
  • The Last Renegade by Jo Goodman – Enjoyable. I’ve talked before about this one trope of Goodman’s that gets a bit on my nerves, but I accept it as part of the reading experience with her books. This book was one of the easier ones to read in terms of that trope, and I really enjoyed the lead male character. As her next scheduled book is also set in the same town as this one, I’m looking forward to revisiting these engaging characters.

Reread

  • None.

Listened to

  • Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer – you will pry this audiobook (and one other) from my cold, dead hands. This is one of two audiobooks that I try to make a point to listen to at least once a year because they give me such joy.

Novellas

  • With This Kiss, Parts One, Two & Three by Eloisa James – eARCs from publisher – This is going to be released in serialized format, so if that publication schedule annoys you, wait until it’s packaged up together. This was a sweet story and typical James. If you enjoyed The Ugly Duchess and the novella Seduced by a Pirate, definitely pick this up. It can stand on its own from those two, but I don’t know that I’d recommend this as an intro to James’ work.

Children’s

  • None

Total read in January: 7
Total read in 2013: 19

Posted by: Katie | February 11, 2013

A “secret” comes out…kind of

If you follow me on Twitter, you likely already know that I’ve been working on an article for Library Journal on the erotica genre. My joy knew no bounds when I was informed it was selected by the editorial board to be the cover feature for the issue–February 15, 2013.  The cover artist’s design is spicy, no?

Cover for February 15, 2013 Library Journal featuring a pencil/chalk drawing of a partially-clad man and woman behind bookshelves. The woman is wearing a mask and has a whip. The man is wearing a studded collar.

The article went live online today: Erotica: Full-Frontal Shelving. I am really looking forward to seeing the reactions from people both to the cover and the article. So far everyone who has seen either or both has been very positive, and I hope that continues. I am not naïve enough to think there won’t be pushback, but I hope people will see the article as useful to the decisions they make for their libraries whichever way they fall on the divide. All I ask of library professionals is that they make an informed decision about collection options. I fully recognize for some collections erotica is not the best option, but as long as library staff choose that route as fully informed as they can be, more power to them.

Some readers may note in the bio my “coming out” as an author of erotic fiction. Yes, I have been published under a pseudonym for over five years and even have a story in a recently released anthology. There are family reasons why I continue to choose to keep my pseudonym as separate from my real name as possible. At least publicly online. I’m happy to tell people my pen name in person. With this article and some potential future projects, there might be some further blurring of the dividing line of my personalities, but I will continue to do my best to keep my fiction as fiction :)

If you do have any commentary about the article, please toss it in LJ’s direction so my editor and her higher ups can see! Thanks!

PS – If you are a librarian and your library collects sex materials (books, videos, magazines, fiction, non-fiction), please consider participating in this research survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NZT9P79

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