I’m not a writer, I’m a reader: Day 5

Today’s blog post is brought to you by a quote meme and written (typed? texted?) from my cellphone.

I browse social media regularly and I follow a lot of book loving sites. There’s one that posts memes on an daily (hourly) basis. So I came across this meme that says:

 

Read the books that make you happy even if they’re not classics or academic novels that won awards.

 

This got me thinking about my personal book reading preferences now in comparison to what I would read before. Romance novels used to be this taboo. It was that white elephant in the room that no one wanted to talk about. Whenever someone asked your book genre preferences it was always safe to say scif-fi or thrillers or fantasy. If you said romance people would instantly think of the Fabio covers and say you read those “trashy novels”.

Now it seems that you’re the weird one if you don’t read romance. It’s like the book reading world has suddenly embraced all things romance. Here I am thinking everybody is late to the party. I personally think that Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey can’t hold a candle to a whole host of romance novels by amazing authors. I hate how these are now the basis for a good romance story. Read a good Judith McNaught historical romance or a Sandra Brown thriller or hell a good Anne Rice paranormal to see how it should really be done.

I have my opinions, obviously, and I certainly never want to cause drama. I love that people are embracing little things like romance novels more and more and, like the quote says, aren’t ashamed to say hell yeah I love these books and you should too!

Forward

This post will probably be all over the place so fair warning.

I spend a lot of time driving. My job is 45 minutes away, one way. Five days a week. I spend a lot of that time just thinking. I think about past conversations I’ve had with people and wonder if I said the right things or if I could have said something different. I often press rewind in my head to review the past few day or two and analyze. For example, last night I had quite an interesting conversation with a friend of a friend. When you meet your friend’s friend, there is usually an automatic impression. Its human nature. We can’t help ourselves. I wondered what he thought of me as I sat there thinking about all of the things I’ve heard and placing it to the face. The content of the topics we discussed were baffling to say the least. Here you have two black people, (and I have to define race here), talking about their feeling regarding interracial relationships. I like to think I’m a general, open minded person. My views are simple. You love who you love. Race doesn’t matter. Why should it? If the person you love makes you happy, that’s all that matters. He asked me how I feel about gay marriage. Same answer. I don’t care what you do in the confines of your bedroom. I hope its sexy as hell because that would make both partners happiest. He tells me he doesn’t like the white race. I didn’t know what that meant so I asked. People with white skin, he says, mainly of European descent. How do you know someone is European descent, I asked. Because I can just tell, he says. Instead of getting angry, I ask, why do you feel the way you feel? He says because if “they” wanted to change the way they treat black people they would. So I asked him, what do you do to change the way people view you. And he felt that striving to become a history teacher and telling the “real” truth would bring about necessary change. I wished him the best.

There was a lot more commentary in there but that was the short of it. I understand to an extent why he feels the way he feels but most of me just thinks he lives a sad existence. Attraction to a race is one thing but to condemn the whole race for past transgressions that you were not even a part of is downright astonishing. Do I think history should be swept under the rug? No. Do I want history to repeat itself? Of course not. Change is necessary. It will always be necessary. That’s how we grow and get better. I believe our history shapes who we are today but I believe it does it unconsciously. When you decide who to befriend, you don’t ask yourself what your ancestors would do or how they would feel. You weigh how you feel and how that individual makes you feel. If they make you laugh, if they inspire you, if they tug at a piece of your heart in some way; things are the things that shape your future.

Besides going over interactions in my mind, I think a lot about my dream job. I used to think it was a veterinarian. I love animals. One of my favorite land creatures is the elephant and one of my favorite sea creatures is the sea turtle. After various jobs, some in vet clinics, I realized I don’t have the strength of heart to be a veterinarian. I’m an easier crier and dealing with death is just not for me. Shutting my emotions off is impossible. I also realized I hate school. I made it the first four years but I was not motivated enough to continue the other eight or so. From here I thought, well I’m pretty great with computers, I love staying updated in the tech world, maybe I can get an IT job. This comes from many years of pet retail and finally burning out. Technology is where the jobs are. I hear that a lot and maybe one day I’ll actually pursue that. Ultimately I’ve come to realize my dream job would be to read. I enjoy reading SO much. It gives me life. I can hardly step through my day without imagining how Astrid is going to solve her interesting dilemma. I read chapters whenever I get a free moment and binge read on the weekend. I’ve been told before that reading is not productive but I disagree. It’s way beyond productive! That piece of imagination is my expresso shot in the morning! It’s my midnight snack before I go to bed. It stimulates my dreams! I strive to emulate the characters in real life because that world is fantastic! I learn their histories and how they deal with their present. The stories I read are not always fantastic. I’ll admit, I’ve read some books and didn’t finish them because there just wasn’t a connection. Nine out of ten times though, I am living! And let me tell you, it feels GREAT to be alive!

To connect my two ruminations (in my mind anyway) I leave you with this. History is a part of us, yes, but you will never connect with anyone if you don’t leave it behind. When I say leave behind, I don’t mean forget it entirely. Remember it. Grow from it. Learn from it and make your life the better because of it. There are people who want to be in your life, real and imaginary that don’t care about your history. Open your arms, your eyes, and especially your ears. Free your mind or at least free up a portion of it for new thoughts and visions. You’ll love it, I promise.

Night Whispers

Over the past month and a half I’ve probably been in love with 4 different men. Here’s the best part…I’ve never met them.

If you’ve ever picked up a book you couldn’t put down you’ll understand where I’m coming from. If you’re looking for a book, or a series of books, that you won’t want to put down, I highly recommend trying Judith McNaught . If you like mystery entangled in romance dipped in rich character development this is your girl!

I just finished Night Whispers last night. I wanted to move to a different series this morning but couldn’t bring myself to leave my last relationship with Noah (and of course Sloan). The cool thing about this series is that no one book relies heavily upon another. You have bits and pieces of old relationships and characters that flutter in and out of view but none are really reliant on you reading her other books. …but I bet you’ll want to. 😉

Take this book to the beach, the waiting room, or to bed. …just make sure you grab a glass of wine and your robe because you’ll get sucked in.

“The two of them simply weren’t attracted to just any attractive, eligible man; they were attracted rarely, but when it happened, it was evidently a life-altering experience.” – Night Whispers, Judith McNaught

Book rant

I just finished a book series that took me longer than usual to read. It was by an author I’ve read before and absolutely loved the first series. My usual reading genres are paranormal romance, sci-fi and contemporary romance/thrillers; sometimes a little bit of historical romance thrown in every once in a while. There are many sub-genres off the main ones such as urban fantasy, steampunk and space operas. Then you have Adult, YA (young adult), NA (new adult) and so on.

The general basis of any book to determine the genre is characters and the world. If your book is set in the 1600’s  and has a Downton Abbey feel, you’re looking at a historical romance. But if it its set in the 1600’s and has boulders than can transport you back in time then you’re looking at a historical paranormal romance. Adult genres are usually based off the character’s age. Early 20’s and up is considered adult. 15-18 is young adult. Anything lower than age 15 is not usually a genre I explore; at least for now anyway.

The series I just finished was considered YA and NA. The character started the story at age 18 but ended up being about 23 or 24 by the end of the series. I’m not an expert but blending the lines between a young adult and a “new” adult can come easily to some authors and not so much for others. It’s that stage between leaving school and going off on your own whether it be college or some other route depending on the world you’re in. The story I read consisted of a young girl, a senior in high school, going through a transition from being a regular human to trying to find her place in the world with her friends. She ends up finding out she’s not completely human and that sets up the rest of the books in the series.

When you read a pilot or even watch a pilot you jump end expecting it to start out slow. You know the author (or director) is trying to build your imagination by creating a world and the characters in your mind. They want you to get to know the people and the places. They want you to grow attached to some and hate others. It’s necessary to keep your interest. They want to take you on this amazing, exhilarating, heart pounding, addicting ride. They usually succeed. You dive in deep, get comfortable and ready yourself to ride it out. You get so attached that you can hardly think of anything else except what is going to happen next. You expect the cliffhangers, crave them even because of the feelings they’ll leave you with.

And then you get to the last book in the series. The finale. The world was built. You have guesses, expectations, hopes. This is how I was feeling with the last book in my series. Halfway through I got excited, shocked, and sad. My guesses, expectations and hopes changed. I’m in the last 100 pages. This is it. The war is finally happening! THIS IS IT! And then — fade to black. What the hell? If you aren’t familiar with fade to black it’s essentially when you get the moment you’ve been finally waiting for but instead of getting the moment in detail you get a “5 years later” epilogue that looks back on your moment in a paragraph or two. I’m screaming inside. I feel like I wasted so many sleepless nights. I got past the YA/NA blend, the lame phrases and the questionable missing moments. I had my plot. It grabbed me and I held on! What do I get for that? A rushed ending. Why???

This pretty much ends my rant. I’m going to try a new series by an author I’ve never read before recommended by one of my favorite authors directly on Twitter. Crossing my fingers.

Eleventh Grave

If you are what you read…then what exactly am I? A romantic walk on the beach at sunset? A shattered glass of wine and a screaming wife? A paralyzed author entrigued by the owner of a publishing house? …the grim reaper? (The last one may be my personal fav.)

One of my latest reads has of course (like most of them) come from my bestie and partner in crime. You’ll all get to know her well if you choose to follow us in any capacity, and I encourage you to, because she’s great…and super helpful!

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by the talented Darynda Jones has definitely made my last week great! This is a book series of 11 books so far (soon to be 12) and is nothing short of romantic, thrilling, and mysterious. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and I’ve had major anxiety at times during this ride with Charley and Reyes. The two main characters come from two different worlds (literally) and have converged on earth to do some really wild and crazy stuff.

If you’re someone who likes authors who actually responds to their fans you’re in luck! The book I’m holding in my hands is an actual signed first edition copy. You can chat with Darynda, have webinars with her, and ask her any of the super important questions you have about her work! (She’ll even Tweet you back!)

If you’re looking for a fun, easy, romantic read this is a great series for you! You’ll get sucked in and really bond with the characters through all of their ups and downs! On behalf of both of us at RT, we highly recommend it!

Happy reading! 🙂

Anonymous Bookaholics Tag

Found this through a Discover search on books!

What do you like about buying new books?

The real question is what not to like? New books, whether they be hardcover or paperback just give you that new book feeling. It’s like getting a new car. You stare at it for a while, look inside it, smell it, debate how long it will take you to finish it, those kinds of things. The other nice feeling I get is great joy because I am supporting an author that I love by buying their whole series. I’m very active on Twitter so I send pictures of new books or series to my authors, with giant “MAAAIL” captions and getting that response back that I’ve made them happy with my purchase is one of the best feelings in the world!

How often do you buy new books?

Honestly, I didn’t buy new books very often because I couldn’t afford it before but now I buy them whenever the need arises or a coupon appears because I am a member of at least two local bookstores and there’s no way I’m ignoring those 20% off coupons! Also, I used to have a Sony e-reader and a Nook Color so I would purchase eBooks through their respective online stores.

Bookstore or online book shopping – Which do you prefer?

Most definitely both. As I said before, I am a member of two local bookstores. When I go to them in person and they don’t have the books I check their online marketplace. I like a lot of indie authors though and its very rare to find their books in a bookstore unless you’re super lucky so for them it is always online — Amazon or eBay or Half Price Books marketplace. Another, general, place I frequent is libraries. I bought my first historical romance at my college library which was having a book sale fundraiser. It was A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught. I bought it for 50 cents! To this day it is one of my favorite books and besides leading me to read every book she’s ever written, it lead me down a path of discovery to other authors! Now I frequent library sales as often as I possibly can thanks to a handy website that lets me know when, where and times. You can find some real gems in a library; even gently used gems!

I have to say, the best online bookshop occurs in my mailbox everyday courtesy of Bookbub. If you like ebooks, Bookbub is the best tool in your arsenal to obtain discounted ebooks as well as great recommendations.

Do you have a favorite bookshop?

The bookshops I most frequent are Half Price Books and Books-a-Million. On occasion I’ll hit up Barnes & Noble if I’m in the area. Local bookstores are awesome as well such as Loganberry Books and The Bookshop on main. I don’t really have a favorite. If I’m craving books and I have a full, empty day, I’ll plan a route and shop all of them. My best friend and I have an excel sheet that we keep on hand so when I go out and shop for books, not only am I looking for books for me, I’m looking for books for her as well.

I solemnly swear I don’t have a problem….

Do you pre-order books?

Again, I didn’t use to because of funds or I would bribe someone else to do it for me. When I was younger, I would beg my mom to pre-order the Harry Potter books because I had to have them the day of release. She always did even if the books arrived on a day I wasn’t home and would text me and let me know my book was there. I would get SO excited! Now I pre-order books if I know the author is going to sign them or I absolutely cannot wait to read the book because I’ve already waited a year plus to continue from that GIANT cliffhanger in the previous installment.

Do you have a monthly book buying limit?

I didn’t even know that was a thing. My husband doesn’t care how many books I buy. He often jokes and says we can’t possibly fit anymore books but I always find a way which most of the time just means buying another bookshelf. That would be like me telling him he can only buy one video game a month. It’s just not going to happen!

Book buying bans – Are they something for you?

I really don’t even know what that means. I guess if I don’t have a monthly book buying limit, I don’t have a book buying ban. My Goodreads list is constantly growing. I always scour my TBR list for a new read and then end up picking something not even on the list. You can’t imagine how hard is NOT to click the recommended books! The covers are so pretty and when you hover over it and see that snippet and star rating how can you not click it?! And then the next one from there and the next one….

How big is your wishlist?

As I said earlier, my friend and I keep and excel sheet of books we wish to have that the other can see when we each go book shopping in our respective states. Currently I have 36 books on my list and she has quite a few more. Its constantly being updated with additions and subtractions.

Which three books from your wishlist do you wish to own?

Image result for city in embers

 

City in Embers by Stacey Marie Brown is the first book in the Collectors series. I wish to own all four books in this series. I used a Google Play credit to buy the first book and it was a nonstop read from beginning to end.

End Game by Lindsay Buroker is a space opera, sci-fi type of series. It is the final book in the Fallen Empire series. I have the previous 7 installments on trade paperback and I’m just waiting for this last one to be printed. I read the whole series in ebook format first then decided I needed it in print form as well. If you’re interested in this series the first book is called Star Nomad.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas is a series full of just magic! Initially I had no interest in reading anything by this author because her Throne of Glass series just did not do it for me. A friend promised me that this series was different and assured me that I would love it. She turned out to be right and this series, so far, is fantastic. A Court of Wings and Ruin comes out May 2nd!

Since the blog is fairly new, I don’t have anyone to tag but feel free to like or comment with your bookaholics tag for all to see! 🙂

Good Read or not Good Read: Frustrations of a Book Nerd

We all know the platform Goodreads. (At least I hope you do! Shame if you don’t!)

I have been stuck in a bit of a book rut. Usually when one book finishes, I have another book lined up. My latest read was Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones. If you haven’t read the Charley Davidson series, I HIGHLY recommend that you do. I promise you’ll laugh, cry, sweat, curse and everything in between. Anyway, after coming down from my Darynda Jones high, I look to Goodreads for recommendations. We have our lists. Kind of like a Netflix queue of sorts. Shows your read books, currently-reading books and to-read books. Based off any books in your lists, you can gain recommendations based off the Goodreads algorithm that determines what you would like or dislike. Sometimes the recommendations are spot on. Sometimes they aren’t. The problem is when you have certain expectations. For example, I usually don’t look at a book if its rated 4 stars or less. My rule doesn’t apply to pilot books in a series. Why? I have no idea. Usually when you don’t like the pilot of a show you’re highly unlikely to continue watching right? For books it’s a little different especially when it comes to a series. You have to establish a feel for the writing style, get a good understanding of the world building and see how plot lines are handled. In that sense, you are giving the pilot of chance.

When exploring new authors, sometimes its good to look at the reviews and other times you probably shouldn’t. I personally skim through the reviews. Goodreads is great in that you can look at reviews without spoilers. If an individual leaves a review, they have to specify if there are spoilers in the review or not. Actually, if I’m not mistaken, I’m pretty sure there’s some kind of bot that will remove reviews if there are spoilers. I skim the star ratings to see what people say or if it was added to the DNF (did not finish) pile. The problem is how to decipher actual, GOOD, reviews from bandwagon reviews. If you want to know what I mean by “bandwagon” reviews, just look up Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James and you’ll see what I mean. I’ve explored many books this way but so far I’ve experienced one and dones. All of these were pilot books to 8+ book series’ and they weren’t bad, they just weren’t good…. I think my expectations are set too high because I’m constantly comparing new stories and writing styles to stories written by authors I love. How do you turn that instinct off? It’s not necessarily a bad thing (you like what you like) but it narrows your reading genre down significantly; makes you close-minded of sorts. That’s no fun.

As you can see from my picture, I have found something to read for now. I confess it’s just a pilot book for a different series from an author I already love but cross your fingers my next book will be something new! I have a 100 book 2017 Goodreads challenge and I intend to reach this goal!