Mini-Review Monday

Yee-haw!  It’s a roundup!

I’ve been VERY busy the last two weeks, what with the end of the fiscal year at the library, ALA, kids, life, etc. and all, but  I’ve carried my trusty Kindle with me everywhere, so I’ve still gotten a lot of reading in (even if I have fallen asleep with it in my hand several nights in a row now…).  So rather than trying to write a full review for everything I read this month, you’re getting a quick and nasty (but in a good way, full of love) intro to what I read this month.

I know you’re all dying in anticipation for these reviews – I know I would be.  So, here goes:

dark duet

The second in a duology that started with This Savage Song, this was one of my most anticipated releases of the year.  I was not disappointed, though the ending left me with a broken heart.  In this world of darkness and shadows, the real question becomes: who are the real monsters?  Schwab is an amazing world-builder, and her characters are gritty and ruthless (even if they don’t want to be).  The (dark, dark) story follows Kate (a human) and August (a monster) as they negotiate the impossible world that pits them against one another as they try to save the broken souls of everyone around them.

starfall

This is also the second in a duology that started with Starflight, and I thought this was a fun follow-up.  I liked that it focused on different characters, rather than just continuing the story of the first installment; but the characters are the same, so familiar.  This has a little bit of a Firefly feel to it, with a ragtag group of misfits with prices on their heads flying around just trying to survive.  There’s adventure and danger and adorable flying rodents and princesses.  (There must always be princesses.)  Let me just say this: there are SPACE PIRATES.  Pirates.  In space.  That is all.

shadow bone

So, this book.  I have had this trilogy sitting in my TBR tower for a while now, and I finally decided to tackle it.  Oh, my heart.  This book was so unique, so different from other things I’ve read, I fell instantly in love with it.  For one thing, I ❤ the bad guy.  Like, completely.  He’s 100% dark and evil and murdery, but he’s an amazing character.  Snaps to Bardugo for making that happen.  I also like the heorine; she’s sassy, a little bit vulnerable, and makes mistakes.  I like it when the main characters make mistakes, and then actually learn from them. Also, the setting is amazing.

dark daysI did a full review of this book over on my other blog before I packed up shop and moved, and if you want, you can read that one here.  I can’t say enough good things about this series (a planned trilogy).  The authentic period setting is very well done, and provides the perfect backdrop to the plot.  The characters are fantastic; I especially love that there are several strong female characters who continually subvert the idea of a “proper lady” and show that their role in this world is just as important as their male counterparts.  The relationships are fun, and there is a refreshing lack of romance, with a focus on action.

strangeI went into this book with a little apprehension because I loved Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy to the godstars and back, and didn’t want to dislike something she had written.  I was anxious for nothing.  This book was as beautiful and melodious and magical as I could have hoped for.  Taylor has a gift for wordweaving and creating portraits with words; I envy this talent.  But I appreciate that I am the beneficiary of it.  This book was a fairy tale; a dark, bloody, beautiful fairy tale complete with monsters and heroes.  And even if I don’t love the cover (though I understand it’s symbolism), I am eagerly waiting part II.

pirate

OK.  Call me crazy, but I absolutely love Clive Cussler.  He’s this adorable, rosy-cheeked grandpa with awesome cars, and even awesomer stories.  I fell in love with Dirk Pitt when I was in high school, but I have a particular love for the Fargo adventures.  Sam and Remi are cool and clever, and are a great team.  I like that Remi retains her femininity, yet can still pull the trigger to ice a bad guy, and I like even more that Sam knows his wife is completely capable of taking care of herself, yet still wants to protect her.  The archaeological mysteries are right up my history-loving-heart’s alley, and I can’t get enough of them.

pursuit

Fox and O’Hare are one of my guilty pleasures.  No, Evanovich’s books aren’t strictly “literary gold”, but when I need to read something fun, or that makes me laugh, these books are a great choice.  This one particularly features sparkles and sparkles of stolen diamonds along with a missing vial of live smallpox virus (gasp!) – and only Nick Fox and Kate O’Hare (along with their merry band of mismatched misfits) can save the world!  A rollicking romp through Europe with sassy leads, a Snidely Whiplash-like bad guy, and lots of one-liners, I liked this installment in the series particularly.

 

So, there you have it – the June postmortem.  I enjoyed all the titles, and a couple of them spoke to my soul, and fed it cheesecake.

And tomorrow: doo-do-doo! Top 10 Tuesday!

I want to take a minute to plug my library’s blog – it’s a little tiny baby blog, and we’re just getting started, but here’s the link to it.  We’ll be talking about what life is like in a library (for all of you who have wondered about the secret library society, here’s your chance to peek under the cloak of invisibility…)

Peace out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALA Annual Conference Debriefing

Well.  I wish someone had warned me.  Or, at the very least, prepared me.

ALA isn’t like the other nice, civilized library conferences I’ve been to in the past.  It’s the library world’s version of the Thunderdome.  They may as well have had Tina Turner give the opening address.

Now, that’s not to say I didn’t have an absolutely marvelous, wonderful, extraordinary, magical, magnificent time; I certainly did.  I just think that, had I known what I was in for, I could have capitalized on my experience a little more.

THINGS I LEARNED AT ALA

  1. It’s every man for himself. While people are happy to smile and chat with you while waiting around, when the rope drops to the exhibit floor, there are no such things as friends.
  2. There are SO MANY giveaways.  I was astounded by the sheer volume of stuff vendors were giving away.  Books, bags, pins, pens, posters – any type of swag you can imagine.
  3. Don’t bother to try to schedule ANYTHING (except author signings, because that’s imperative – more on that later).  You can go into ALA with the best intentions, with a shiny schedule on your ALA app, and in ten minutes it’ll be shot to smithereens.  Scenario that may or may not have happened to me: OK, the session I want to attend starts in fifteen minutes – I better start heading that way.  (Overhears a conversation while walking.)  What?  Drew Daywalt is signing his new book over at the HarperCollins booth? I’m SO there!  (PS – this MAY OR MAY NOT have happened A LOT…)
  4. Work out your arms for a month solid before going.  I have a 9-month-old baby who weighs as much as a small unicorn.  I thought my arms were in shape.  I was very, very wrong.  At any one point in time, you may be carrying fifty pounds worth of books.  And unless you are conveniently parked in the ramp just outside AND don’t care that you’ll miss ALL THE THINGS while you’re gone dumping your #bookhaul in said car, you’re going to be carrying them around for a long time.
  5. There are SO MANY books.  If you’re a complete #booknerd like I am, you may go a little crazy here.  I learned that publishers use conferences like ALA, PLA, and Midwinter to do a lot of promotion for new and upcoming releases, and they have no problem giving away millions upon millions of books.  Every six hours of so, a new group of galleys drop, so by the time you get through one trip over the exhibit floor, you have to start again, so you don’t miss anything.  At last count, I came away from ALA with 115 books.
  6. There are SO MANY authors! I knew there were going to be authors at ALA, but I really had NO IDEA just HOW MANY.  I was only there on Saturday and half the day on Sunday, and these are the authors I saw/met/got signed books by, and what they are known for (and this is, by no means, a comprehensive list – just the ones I can remember): Angie Thomas (she is fabulous, btw) – The Hate U Give; Jason Reynolds (huge and imposing and so, so gracious) Ghost; Drew Daywalt (eeeeee!) he of The Day the Crayons Quit fame; Victoria Schwab (be still my fangirl heart) – A Darker Shade of Magic; Maggie Stiefvater (be still me second TimeLord fangirl heart) – The Raven Boys; Marie Lu (I don’t have any hearts left, but she was SO sweet) – Legend; Alexandra (“just call me Alex”) BrackenPassengers; Sharon Cameron (steampunk genius) – Rook; Cat Winter (lovely mind behind demon-slaying Victorian teens) – Odd & True; Kelly Barnhill (middle grade queen) – The Girl Who Drank the Moon; Melissa Albert (so, so grateful and humble) – The Hazel Wood; Cassie Beasley (cute as a button) – Tumble & Blue; Jen Lancaster (yes, THE Jen Lancaster) – The Gatekeepers; Amanda Foody (heroines can kick butt AND wear lipstick!) – Daughter of the Burning City; Tom Angleberger (he drew Rocket and Groot in my book!!!) of Origami Yoda fame; Matthew Cordell (drew a monkey in my book!) – Dream; and Julia Quinn (romance queen) – The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband.  And guys – this was just in a day-and-a-half.  SERIOUSLY.
  7. Be prepared to wait in line.  They move pretty quickly, but don’t be surprised if you have to hang out in line for a half-hour or firty-five minutes to see some of the authors.  I had my Kindle, so it wasn’t a big deal.  You can also usually find interesting people around you to chat up.  But don’t be surprised when things come to a standstill.
  8. Hydrate.  When I checked my step-counter at the end of the first day, I had walked the equivalent of nine miles.  NINE MILES.  I didn’t even bother to look at the end of day two, but I know it was as much, if not more.  Pack water; pack crackers.
  9. Do some sight-seeing.  ALA is always somewhere awesome.  As Chicago is the home-base for ALA, the conference is held there every-other year (as it was this year), but on the off-years, it travels around the country (next year it’s in New Orleans, my all-time favorite place YAY!!!).  Take some time (but don’t miss anything awesome at the conference!) to take in your surroundings!

So, on the whole, I am so grateful to have been able to attend ALA this year.  I learned a lot, met a lot of interesting people from all over the country, gained a lot of experience, made some great connections, and had a wonderful time.  And NEXT YEAR, I’ll be ready for the next edition of the Thunderdome.  “Two (wo)men enter, one (wo)man leaves!”

PS – this is my #bookhaul from #ALAAC2017

ala book haul

 

World Domination 2.0

This is one of those “welcome to my world” first posts – but not really.  You see, dear reader, I’ve been blogging for over a year now, over on Blogger.  Someone should write a manual for potential bloggers that warns of the dangers of not doing one’s research before jumping in with both feet.  (However, this may be problematic, because obviously people like me don’t do their research, anyway, so said manual would be useless…)  As much as I enjoy blogging, and considering the time I put into it, and the effort, I’d really like to draw a bigger audience than just my sister.  And that platform was just not the right one for me.  So, here I am, making the transition to WordPress, hoping it’s a little more shareable and follower-friendly.

I’ll often link to my Library’s blog, in the hopes of developing a cross-audience, and reaching people who are really interested in books, reading, and writing.

For those of you who are loyal subjects followers, thanks for making the jump with me.  For those of you who have yet to succumb to my spells, here is some recreational reading to help you decide to pledge me your allegiance.

There’s a schedule I will try to stick to: Monday – book review; Tuesday – Top 10 Tuesday; and Thursday – Writing/Discussion/Bookish.  However, things happen, so if you see me miss a post, don’t assume I’m dead.  I’m probably just buried under a mound of papers and books, and will eventually dig my way out.

The rest of this week I will be at the American Libraries Association annual conference in Chicago, and I’m not going to lie – I probably won’t be doing a post on Thursday.  However, there will be a bright, shiny book review of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo on Monday.

Cheers!