Letting Go

I’ll just say it–I’m a book collector. I’ve felt comforted by books, both buying and owning them. I guess I was working with the philosophy that I needed plenty of books to choose from. When I was in college, I would go to a used bookstore a few times a year and come home with a plastic bag full of books. More than a decade later, I had shelves and shelves and shelves of books that I hadn’t read. Still more shelves and shelves with books I called “keepers” because my experience reading them moved me in some way.

Then I started reading ebooks. I started by printing them out and reading them as if they were paperbacks. Then I read PDFs on computer. Eventually, I switched to an ereader. By the time I bought a tablet, I realized something: the books I chose from my TBR pile were most often ebooks. I wasn’t reading much in print any more.

One of the reasons was that I was overwhelmed by print books. When you have more than a thousand to choose from–and I don’t think this is an exaggeration–how do you decide on one? My answer was that I didn’t. I’d choose an ebook instead.

This past month I had a major asthma attack, and that led to more reevaluating. I needed to do something about the books that were doing nothing more than taking up space and collecting dust. That meant tackling the TBR pile and deciding which books I still wanted to keep. It also meant looking at my keeper shelves and asking myself which ones I had really read again in the past five or so years.

All of this has led to the great book sorting.

Book Sorting

It’s still a work in progress, but I’m letting a lot of books go. Hundreds of them. It’s scary, but it feels good too. I don’t want to deal with so much dust. I want to be able to find a book I want to read. I want to share books I don’t need with someone who will use them. So I’m sorting.

And I’m learning to be OK with letting go.

Confronting the TBR

Since I didn’t go to this year’s RWA conference, I thought the books on my TBR shelves would decrease. And they have, but now I’m just adding books to it that have been in boxes until now.

I told myself this would be a great opportunity to read some of those books. I have been reading some of them, but¬†there are so many that I get overwhelmed. Where in the world do I start? Whatever I try, I decide I’m not in the mood for contemporary, historical, or whatever I chose. More often I find myself reading newer books I check out of the library.

I need TBR motivation.

So let’s hear it. What are some good books you’ve read from your own TBR shelves?

Giving In

I’m finally reading this.

Half-Blood Prince

I’ve heard so much about it; it will be interesting to see what parts of the plot (if any) surprise me.

May 2007 Romantic Times

I’ve had the May Romantic Times for a while and thought I’d thumb through it for the blog and point out things that jump out.

  • Cover: Every time I look at this cover, the picture seems odd. Maybe the background is a little too busy.
  • Page 15: Here’s an ad for Cerridwen Press and their traditional Regency line. I’ve got to check out some of these books.
  • Page 18: Looks like Bonnie Dee’s got more work out. I liked Bone Deep, so I’ll stop by Liquid Silver to check these out.
  • Page 20: The urban fantasy article is the first one I read instead of skim. It’s an interesting genre.
  • Page 22: I like the Q&A with urban fantasy authors. In the next few weeks, watch for an interview with one of these authors . . .
  • Page 24: I’ve heard Jim Butcher’s name a lot, but haven’t read any of his books. They might be worth seeking out . . . but then I look at my current TBR list. Maybe if I ever whittle that list down, I’ll think about it.
  • Page 29: Interesting article about Shanna Swendson. I liked Enchanted, Inc., but still have the second book in that series TBR. Must get to it soon since the third book is out now.
  • Page 30: Author Toni Blake announces she also writes as Lacey Alexander. I don’t think I’ve read either author. Anyone have any recommendations?
  • Page 53: I like the cover of Jade Lee’s Tempted Tigress.
  • Page 69: Julie Kenner’s The Prada Paradox receives a lukewarm review. I’m still going to read the book, because I liked the first two. I also find myself disagreeing with a lot of RT’s reviews in general, so the rating doesn’t often keep me from trying a book.
  • Page 102: I read and enjoyed Sharon Cullars’s Again, so I’m intrigued by The Object of Love. I bought the book this week.
  • Page 109: I want to get Stephanie Rowe’s He Loves Me, He Loves Me Hot.
  • Page 110: Must get Nalini Singh’s Visions of Heat.
  • Page 111: Here’s a good review of Erin McCarthy’s Bled Dry. I read the first two books in this series. While I like them, they don’t have the same punch as her straight contemporaries. I hope she doesn’t stop writing contemps.
  • Page 111: A couple of books on this page look interesting: Jenna Black’s Secrets in the Shadows and the anthology Wild Thing.
  • Page 113: Here are reviews for two of Bonnie Dee’s books: Measure of a Man and Fruits of Betrayal. Yes, I need to check these out.
  • Page 115: A glowing review of Kelley Armstrong’s No Humans Involved. I’ve preordered this book, and I’m dying to read it.
  • Page 115: I’m stuck on this line in the summary of All Together Dead, by Charlaine Harris: “Eric the Norseman begins making moves that suggest he’s still interested in Sookie.” Yay! Looks like I may get my Eric fix. We’ll see. :)
  • Page 118: Here’s a review of a book by one of my autobuy authors, Sarah Mayberry. I wonder what this means: “the overall tone if this book is somewhat depressing.” I love Mayberry’s writing, and I love angst, so I’m buying it.
  • Page 129: How is RT defining Erotica? The list of reviews for this section is a full page long, in stark contrast to several of the other sections. I’m curious . . .
  • Page 134: I’m interested in Samhain‘s Talons anthology. I’ll have to get this.
  • Page 146: Can’t remember the last time I saw a one-star review in RT, and here are two in a row. Wow.
  • Page 150: Looks like there are good reading opportunities ahead–new books from Julia Quinn, Jacquie D’Alessandro, Kelley Armstrong, and Marjorie M. Liu.
  • Page 152: Kate Douglas’s Wolf Tales series must be popular. She’s on book IV. Based on the story I read in Sexy Beast, I don’t think these are for me.

That’s it for this issue.

Stuck

Did a little blog surfing last night, and I stumbled across a few reviews for the latest book in a popular series. This reminded me that I’ve read only #1 in the series and haven’t read any more. And that got me thinking–there are several series I’ve stopped reading because I’m stuck somehow.

Black Dagger Brotherhood
I read J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover and loved it. I own Lover Eternal–an autographed copy, no less–but haven’t even started it. Why? I’m not sure. I think it’s partly because I’ve seen so much written about them that I wonder whether they’ll live up to the hype. Not sure why I’m concerned, since I enjoyed Dark Lover, but oh well. There’s also the cliffhanger aspect that I’m not too fond of. I imagine I’ll get back to the series sometime. I’m just not sure when.

Harry Potter
I bought book #6 within days of its release but haven’t read it yet. At first, it was because I didn’t want one of my favorite characters to die, and I figured it was his time. Turns out I was right. I still haven’t read the book, but a coworker let that one slip. Now I’m not reading it because of the rumors that Harry will be killed off in #7. I may get to it . . . or not. We’ll see.

Troubleshooters/Team 16
I love Suzanne Brockmann’s books but stalled completely once I hit Breaking Point, Gina and Max’s story. I didn’t love the direction the couple took in Gone Too Far, so I’ve been reluctant to read Breaking Point. I’ve picked up the book half a dozen times but keep putting it back on the TBR shelf. I’ve considered skipping that book and moving on to the next one, but haven’t had luck with that, either. One of these days, I’ll start reading Breaking Point, and once I do that, I figure I won’t stop. Until then, there are so many TBR options . . .

Anyone else have a series they’ve stopped reading not because they stopped liking the series, but because they are stuck somehow?

Black Ice

Black Ice 

After seeing so much talk about Anne Stuart‘s interview, I finally decided to read Black Ice, which has been languishing in my TBR for more than six months. I’m glad I did, because I enjoyed the book: 4 out of 5.

Living paycheck to paycheck in Paris, American book translator Chloe Underwood would give anything for some excitement and passion–even a little danger. So when she’s offered a lucrative weekend gig translating at a business conference in a remote chateau, she jumps at the chance to shake things up.

Then by chance Chloe discovers her employers are anything but the entrepreneurs they appear, and suddenly she knows far too much. Her clients are illegal arms dealers, and one of them is ordered to kill her. But instead, Bastien Toussaint drags Chloe away, and the next thing she knows she’s on the run with the most terrifying and seductive man she’s ever met. What were his motives–and would she live long enough to find out?

One of the biggest strengths of the book lies in its uniqueness–Bastien and Chloe are far from your typical hero and heroine. Bastien more so than Chloe, and watching his character evolve from someone who is cold, cynical, and uncaring to someone who is capable of love is fascinating to watch.

Chloe also changes during the course of the novel–she’s grows tremendously from someone who is a bit naive to a strong survivor.

There’s a rather famous (infamous?) scene where Bastien walks away when he knows that something bad is happening to Chloe. Things I’d heard about the scene were one reason I put off reading this book. In the end, I was disturbed by the scene, but not as much as I anticipated. Not sure why, other than that all the hype about it prepared me for it, and also made me expect something worse.

In any case, Black Ice is well worth reading, especially if you enjoy unconventional stories. I’m now reading Cold As Ice, the next in the series.

Harlequin Marathon

As I previously mentioned, this month I’m reading a book from as many Harlequin/Silhouette lines as I can. Here’s an update, with the books I’ve read marked in bold. I’ve also added a few books to the list.

  • Dawn Atkins: Wedding for One/Tattoo for Two (Harlequin Duets)
  • Jessica Bird: Beauty and the Black Sheep (Silhouette Special Edition)
  • Donna Clayton: Thunder in the Night (Silhouette Romance)
  • Justine Davis: Midnight Seduction (Silhouette Desire)
  • Janelle Denison, Tori Carrington, and Leslie Kelly: That’s Amore (Signature Select Collection)
  • Pamela Ford: Dear Cordelia (Harlequin Superromance)
  • Virginia Kantra: Stolen Memory (Silhouette Intimate Moments)
  • Leslie Kelly: Her Last Temptation (Harlequin Temptation)
  • Reading now: Alison Kent: Kiss & Makeup (Harlequin Blaze)
  • Miranda Lee: Fugitive Bride (Harlequin Presents)
  • Jo Leigh: Not-So-Secret Baby (Harlequin Intrigue)
  • Susan Mallery: There’s Always Plan B (Harlequin Next)
  • Tanya Michaels: Spicing It Up (Harlequin Flipside)
  • Gena Showalter: Jewel of Atlantis (HQN)
  • Deborah Simmons: The Squire’s Daughter (Harlequin Historical)

Must get reading.

Harlequin, Harlequin Everywhere

I’ve accepted a challenge to read at least one book in as many Harlequin/Silhouette lines as possible this month. If I succeed, I will read 13 books from my TBR shelves this month. Here’s what I’ve selected:

  • Jessica Bird: Beauty and the Black Sheep (Silhouette Special Edition)
  • Donna Clayton: Thunder in the Night (Silhouette Romance)
  • Justine Davis: Midnight Seduction (Silhouette Desire)
  • Janelle Denison, Tori Carrington, and Leslie Kelly: That’s Amore (Signature Select Collection)
  • Pamela Ford: Dear Cordelia (Harlequin Superromance)
  • Virginia Kantra: Stolen Memory (Silhouette Intimate Moments)
  • Leslie Kelly: Her Last Temptation (Harlequin Temptation)
  • Alison Kent: Kiss & Makeup (Harlequin Blaze)
  • Miranda Lee: Fugitive Bride (Harlequin Presents)
  • Jo Leigh: Not-So-Secret Baby (Harlequin Intrigue)
  • Susan Mallery: There’s Always Plan B (Harlequin Next)
  • Tanya Michaels: Spicing It Up (Harlequin Flipside)
  • Deborah Simmons: The Squire’s Daughter (Harlequin Historical)

I’ve read Fugitive Bride already and have started Stolen Memory. Still, I have a fair amount of reading ahead of me. Anyone want to take up the challenge with me?

In other news: check out my new website!

Happy Thanksgiving!

My blog images are back! Well, mostly. I ended up having to transfer them again using FTP, and there are some I haven’t transferred yet. But at least my blog has stopped looking like a big blank screen with red Xs where the images should be. I’ll get the rest transferred this weekend, I hope.

I’m closing in on my 50,000-word NaNoWriMo goal; I’m at 45,596 words and counting. I will probably get a fair amount of writing in tomorrow as well. I’m having a hard time imagining life post-NaNo, simply because I’ve gotten into a routine. However, my housecleaning will probably improve immensely.

This month’s TBR challenge has been to read review books and to finish books I started in the past. I’m not doing so well with either goal. I’m in a reading slump, it seems. I’ve picked up half a dozen books in the past week, read a few chapters, then set them down again. I think it’s me. I just haven’t been sure what I’m in the mood for. I am about halfway through Susan Donovan’s Knock Me Off My Feet, and I’m optimistic that I will finish this one, even though it isn’t a review or a previously started book. Oh well, at this point, I will be grateful to finish something.

Tomorrow I will be enjoying Thanksgiving holiday with my family. If you’re celebrating it, hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Books and Book Signings

I’ve been looking at lists of books that are coming out early next year, and I’m asking myself: Do I buy the ones I want when they come out? Or do I wait and get them at next year’s RWA signing? I haven’t actually made a decision about next year’s RWA signing, but this seems like a good time to decide.

Last year, I decided that holding off on buying books would be a good way to work on my TBR pile. It didn’t work. I still bought some books, and my TBR list kept growing. It exploded after the RWA signing, too. At this point, I think I could easily not buy another book and still have reading material for two years.

So, I’ve decided to get serious about this. I’m going to cut down on the books I buy and save the money for the RWA trip. This means I’ll be turning to the library for more books, or attempting to trade for them through my trading group. And I’ll be reading from my TBR pile.

I’ll also be cutting down on my trips to the used bookstore. I love going, and I enjoy finding books for other people in the trading group. But I keep using up all of my credit finding books for others, so I’m going to cut back both on trips and on buying for others.

As for upcoming book signings, I learned that Carrie Vaughn will be signing in Denver on December 4. Driving would take almost eight hours, so that’s out. The flight is more money than I want to spend right now. So I’m planning to check out last-minute flights as the day approaches to see what I can find. I’m not sure if I’ll make the trip or not, but it’s fun to think about it.

There is a nearby multiauthor signing in February, so I’m definitely planning to attend. I’m not sure if there are enough authors to warrant an appearance of the cart, but I have plenty of time to decide.

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