Friday, May 24, 2013

Not Bummed About BEA

This is the first year that BEA has rolled around since I really got into the blogging community. Technically this blog was in operation for the last two BEAs, but I was totally out of the loop at the time and had no real idea how much of a thing it is among book bloggers. I'm not going this year, I'm not upset about it, and I'm starting to feel like I'm in the minority here.

The thing is, if I wanted to go, I easily could. I only live a few hours north of NYC and my parents' house is only a 30 minute train ride from the Big Apple. I lived a half hour outside of the city my entire life until my husband and I moved a year and a half ago. That might sound pretty great, but the downside to living 30 minutes outside of the city is that most of my generation can't afford to stay. Houses were affordable when my parents bought theirs almost 30 years ago. Now? Not so much. As a couple with "normal" college degree jobs, not being doctors, lawyers, stock brokers, etc. it just wasn't going to happen for us.

Anyway, my point is that I wouldn't have needed airfare, a hotel stay, or a roommate in order to go to BEA. Heck, I wouldn't have even needed to take off work because I work from home and could have shuffled around my schedule in order to fit it all in. The thing is I already have more ARCs than I ever expected to get as a small-time blogger. I know it's a great opportunity to meet other bloggers and people in the industry, but a part of me feels I'm not truly qualified to attend this sort of event. I'm not sure if that is actually true or not, but it's my gut feeling. Maybe I'll feel differently in 2014, but for this year, I'm going to stick to reading some of those accumulated ARCs beachside. Instead of attending the expo, I'll be on a Memorial Day week getaway in a lovely NJ beach town (a.k.a. my favorite place on earth -- I love it so much, my husband proposed to me there -- he knows me well!) It's a working vacation, but a getaway all the same. I'm looking forward to a week off from homeowner projects & troubles! So here's to sun, sand, surf, and lots of reading :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (#23): The Arrivals

I'm not caught up on all of her previous books, but I was still really excited to learn that Melissa Marr has a new adult book coming out. (For the record, I mean a NEW adult, not the genre new adult.) The book description is unlike anything I have ever read before and I really love the cover!

Expected Publication: July 2, 2013

For more informaiton, check this book out on GoodReads.
Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Spine Speak (#1): April Showers Bring May Flowers

Bookmark To Blog

I just love a creative challenge, so when I found out about this new feature from Alysia of My Little Pocketbooks, I knew I wanted in! It is hosted by Bookmark to Blog and the basic idea is to use at least 5 book titles to create a poem based on a suggested theme each month. (There are more specific rules if you want to be entered into a giveaway, or you can just have fun with it). You are more than welcome to use library books, but I've given myself the additional challenge of trying to use only books I already own (heaven knows I have enough of them!) I'm no poet laureate, but here goes nothing...

With The Passage of time,
Nights of Rain and Stars,
and Infinite Days of Splendor,
The Forgotten Garden 
transforms into Beautiful Chaos

This month's books:
The Passage, by Justin Cronin
Nights of Rain and Stars, by Maeve Binchy
Infinite Days, by Rebecca Maizel
Splendor, by Anna Godbersen
The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton
Beautiful Chaos, by Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia

Next's month's theme: Happiness is...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (#22): Wild Cards

Simone Elkeles's new book has a cover!

Expected Publication: 10/1/13

I wasn't really a fan of her How to Ruin... series, but I have loved all her other books since. This is the first in the new Fullriders trilogy. Doesn't matter much what this one is about, I will be reading it regardless!

For more information, check this book out on GoodReads.
Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (#20): Tough Subjects

I definitely do not have 10 books for today's Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish), so mine is going to be more like a top three. Many of the others I know will be on other bloggers' lists today are ones I haven't actually read yet, but hope to read soon.

Despite the brevity of this list, books on tough subjects are very dear to my heart. They are frequently the targets of book banning because they make people uncomfortable, but I think that is a real tragedy. These are the kinds of books that teach us about some of life's harsher realities, but more importantly, I think they help teach us empathy. Perhaps, that is a bit of a lofty goal, but fiction does allow us to see things from another person's perspective and if we take that to heart, I think much more good than bad will come of it.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower   Before I Die   You Against Me

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky -- Homophobia, bullying, rape, abuse in varying forms, abortion -- this book covers a LOT of ground. (That last one was completely left out of the movie version, by the way. It seems Hollywood wasn't willing to go there on that particular hot-button topic.)

2. Before I Die, by Jenny Downham -- This is the story of a teenage girl dying of cancer and it is heart-breakingly beautiful. I've recommended it a million times before and I'll recommend it a million times more. It is a book that will really make you think and feel (and cry).

3. You Against Me, by Jenny Downham -- Told from the perspectives of a rape victim's brother and the rapist's sister, this is a very thought-provoking book. Jenny Downham has a gift for telling stories that are not always easy and this is another perfect example. In light of various real news stories lately, I think this is very a powerful book that more people should read.

Friday, May 10, 2013

More Bookshelves!

It's been over a month since my first house/bookshelf update, so I think it's about time for a follow-up. If you thought nothing else could possibly go wrong (like we did!), that is unfortunately not true. Not to be a Debbie downer, but owning a house can be a real bitch sometimes. Seriously. On the upside, our basement has stayed dry and the sewer has remained clear -- thank God for small miracles! But on the downside...

1. On multiple occasions I have heard the tell-tale buzz of a bee. Cue the panic, heart palpitations, and shrieking. Ugh. I hate bees. I really hate being the only one home to deal with a bee, but such are the hazards of working from home. I know they are good for the environment and all, but they do not belong in my house. They belong outside in the environment, not freaking the living daylights out of me because we are in enclosed quarters together. At least they're not honeybees so I guess I don't have to feel too bad about being a bee-killer.

2. The laundry room has proven to be even more of a disaster than we thought. Not only did we need to run a new hot water line and clean/repair mold damage, but when we went to replace the floor and pulled up the insulation underneath, we found roots and leaves mixed in with the insulation. If you're thinking that roots and leaves on the inside of a house is a bad thing, you would be correct. It is a very bad thing. Turns out the sill and one of the floor joists is rotten and the great outdoors just creeped it's way in. Two months ago, I didn't know what a sill was. Come to think of it, I kind of wish I still didn't! We're getting that fixed this weekend though so the wall doesn't just crumble or collapse on us one day. (I said it's a bitch, didn't I?)

3. And the latest thing we spotted was some mysterious roof damage. Our starting-to-get-old-but-is-totally-fine-for-now roof no longer seems to be totally fine. No leaks yet, but we want to get this figured out before that happens.

It really is amazing how a home in "average condition" with a few issues to be addressed can so quickly start falling apart. It's almost like the house knew the old owners wouldn't bother to fix anything so it held itself together as long as it could and now that we're here, it's breathing a sigh of relief and saying, "I can relax now, these new people will take care of me if I break!" OK now that I am anthropomorphizing my house, I think it's time to move on to the fun stuff...

Despite all this craziness, bookshelves just make me happy. My dad would like to build us some bookcases for the living room, but he's helping us with so many other things (::cough:: fixing the laundry room floor ::cough::), that it's not really on the horizon yet. But I still have a few new photos to share.

First, we have a second cookbook bookcase in the kitchen. Yes, I have more than one bookcase just for cookbooks. (You can see the first one here. I've shuffled things around a bit, but they are still both full.) Ironically, we are so busy with house stuff I am mostly making grilled cheese sandwiches these days, but hopefully some more adventurous recipes will be in my near future.

And then we have matching bookcases in the master bedroom we are using in place of nightstands. We came to this "design" decision for purely practical reasons. Do you have any idea how much nightstands cost at a halfway decent furniture store? Way. Too. Much. They are like half the price of a dresser, but with only a fraction of the storage space. So I asked myself, what do I really need a nightstand for? To hold a lamp, a box of tissues, a cup of water, and a book or two. So swap in short bookcases for nightstands and voila! They can hold all those things plus waaay more than just one or two books. Did I mention that bookcases make me happy?

Also, we really need curtains...

My husband's side has some of "his" books. The Nicholas Flamel series, The Mysterious Benedict Society, Septimus Heap, I Am Number Four, & various Rick Riordan books. Harry Potter and Dan Brown are only there temporarily, because those will definitely be in the living room someday. We'll probably swap those out for the original Percy Jackson series which my aunt is currently borrowing. 

Then there is my side: 

I've used the top shelf for (mostly) review books.

The rest of the top shelf and the entire bottom shelf is dedicated to the non-review books I currently want to read the most. The tip of the TBR iceberg, if you will. It's a mix of new releases, recent acquisitions, next-in-a-series, and books I've chosen for various challenges. My side will definitely get shuffled around a lot more than my husband's!

It may be a while before the rest of our books come out of boxes, but I'm really happy with what we have so far. I'm a little afraid to see how many more bookcases we will need -- by the time this is complete, I really may have my very own library!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Clean Sweep ARC Challenge

Back in March, I joined Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer's Take Control of Your TBR Pile challenge and must admit I failed miserably at it. I only ended up reading one book and I didn't even get my review up in time. But now she's co-hosting the Clean Sweep ARC Challenge for the month of May and I have a pile of review books I'm dying to read, so I'm convinced I can do better with this one.


I have more than enough books to choose from, but here are a few at the top of my list:

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow   The River of No Return   A Hundred Summers
Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X, #1)   The Testing (The Testing, #1)   Icons (Icons, #1)

Apparently I have a blue theme going on here! Six books is probably a bit ambitious, but I'll see how things go. I also have plenty of others to choose from if I decide I'm in the mood for something else, so no worries there.

I have The River of No Return from NetGalley, but I've already jumped the gun and bought a hardcover copy, so I'm still counting it! I think that is the one book I am most looking forward to reading.

Click on the challenge badge above to learn more and join in the fun.
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (#21): City of Lost Dreams

I cannot even put into words how excited I was when I found out Magnus Flyte's City of Dark Magic has a sequel coming out! I stumbled upon the news buried in a cover snark post over on A Reader of Fictions' blog and it totally made my day.

 Expected Publication: 11/26/13

The first book didn't have any kind of crazy cliff-hanger and I would have been satisfied with it as a stand-alone, but I cannot wait to read more about this fabulous cast of characters and immerse myself in their world again. As much as I whine about everything being a series these days, I am SO glad I don't have to say goodbye quite yet. Is it November yet???

For more information, check this book out on GoodReads.
Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.