memes

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Top Ten Blogging Confessions

Published July 8, 2014 by Shannon

Oh, look, I remembered to look at the Top Ten Tuesday prompt on actual Tuesday. This meme comes courtesy of Broke and Bookish

Blogging Confessions

1. I really hate that gifs have become the way we express ourselves on the textual Internet. Finding and posting book covers is a good 40% of why I don’t review everything I read. Just getting past coding in the URL for a picture I can’t even see is sometimes more than I want to deal with.

2. I wish I were better at reading challenges. I can never remember due dates, or even what I signed up for. Every time I think about Wendy’s TBR Challenge I sigh wistfully and promise myself I’ll participate, but the date always slips my mind.

3. I’m so glad my regular commenters aren’t authors. It’s not that I wouldn’t welcome author voices, but even though I follow a bunch of authors on social media, the fact that they wrote books I love still intimidates me. I don’t consider myself a fangirl, but sometimes i worry that the authors who know how much I fangirl them don’t think I’m capable of having real conversations.

4. I do not always believe authors when they say they want honest reviews. When I google you and I see that you have reviewed your books on Goodreads, (sometimes modestly only giving them 4 stars like that’s supposed to prove your humility) I immediately don’t trust you not to come back with a scathing comment if I dare to give your book less than an A.
5. While I don’t consider myself one of the cult of nice shiny happy reviewers who never have a mean thing to say about anyone, there are some reviews I just don’t want to write. If I have had coffee with an author, I immediately feel uncomfortable writing about them. I worry that, if I go to romance conventions and actually do this more than twice, I will soon be left not reviewing anybody, because see also 4.

6. I am an aspiring writer. I don’t know if I’ve ever brought that up here. But I am working on edits for a paranormal romance I co-wrote with one of my BFFs. We are likely to self-publish it, and I will fail to market it effectively because I will be instantly afraid all my blogging friends will hate it.

7. I don’t use an RSS reader. All the blogs I follow are on live journal feeds, and I have an LJ for the specific purpose of reading my blogs. Even then, I often forget to actually check it, and end up going to people’s sites regularly.

8. Sometimes I miss group blogging. I would love for people to write guest posts for me, or to take on other reviewers. But more, I like the freedom to post as much or as little as I like without having to manage someone else’s posting schedule, too.

9. Sometimes a book will strike me as so amazing and spectacular that I can’t bring myself to finish because then it will be over. This is something I have to fight in myself. (Most recently, Victoria Dahl’s Close Enough to Touch has hit me that way. I love the heroine and her snarky thought processes so much, but even though I know there are other books in the series, leaving Grace is something I’m reluctant to do.)

10. According to my Goodreads shelves, my most read genre is contemporary romance. I mock contemporary romance all the time, but it does seem that I reach for contemps when I want a light, comforting and fluffy read. Maybe I just need a lot of those lately.

Today is the #Readathon!

Published April 26, 2014 by Shannon

(Note: I wrote this last night so I could schedule it for 5 A.M. I’m pretty sure if I even make it to the first hour of the readathon, I will be completely incoherent. But I’m scheduling it for the start of the event because I live in hope.)

Every year, I tell myself I am going to do all 24 hours of the 24 hour Readathon. Every year, I don’t make it.

This year, I am going to make a concerted effort. I have a list of books, I have snacks, I have the means of procuring lots of caffeine, and I have a can-do attitude.

What’s on my TBR:

  • The Crying Child by Barbara Michaels: I’ve read most of this already, but finishing it in the morning will make me feel accomplished.
  • Double Indemnity by James Cain: Because it’s a classic. Also it’s short.
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan: Because it is also short and I remember it fondly from my childhood.
  • Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume: I haven’t revisited any of Blume’s books as an adult. I’m curious as to how well they’ll hold up.
  • Deenie by Judy Blume: Because it’s the masturbation book!
  • Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume: I remember that I loved this book when I read it as a girl and that it was more sober and grown-up than a lot of her work.

I will probably read a few smutty novellas while I’m at it, too, but I figured a largish stack of short children’s books will keep my attention and provide plenty of places where I can stop to take breaks.

I’m probably going to keep modifying this post all day today, so that my regular readers don’t get spammed. So check back in for future developments.

Also, I did sign up to get cheered on via the blog, and I have to moderate all first comments. So if you’re my cheerleader, thanks in advance for stopping by, and your comments of cheering me on and encouraging me will be fished out of moderation as soon as I see them.

And now… let the reading begin.

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Added at 5:20 AM:

Here’s the intro meme.

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

Seattle.
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Actually, all of the Judy Blumes. It’ll be fun to revisit her.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

My snack options are fairly boring, but I do have a can of Pringles I’ve been saving.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

Right now the most interesting thing I can say about myself is that I would really like some coffee.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I haven’t done one of these in a while. I am looking forward to seeing how much I read and how long I can make it. I’ve never had a full day clear to do this until today.

So I guess that’s that. I’m off to read. And get coffee. Mmm, coffeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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7:02: I kind of cheated for the last hour. I went back to bed with a book on audio. It was the nonfiction book I’ve been reading for a while now. I’ll have to go back and find my place to figure out where I stopped, but I think I’m ready to try for some real reading. Or at least to finish my current book, which is Barbara Michaels’s The Crying Child, of which I have about two hours left on audio.

Catch you again in a while!

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8:12 AM: I finished The Crying Child by Barbara Michaels. I started it yesterday, but only had a bit left to go. I loved the gothic atmosphere, and I need to read more of her books, although I had to snicker at the heroine’s bitchy assessment of ’70’s chic.

Next up: Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.
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It’s now 10:20 here in ;the Pacific Northwest. I finished my first full-length read of the day, Judy Blume’s Are You There, God, It’s Me, Margaret. I want to review it more fully when I have a few minutes, because it surprised me in good ways.

Next up is James Cain’s Double Indemnity. Oh and I remembered I have copy of The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander, which I’ve never tried.

Anyway… here is the hour 6 mini challenge.. It’s a survey, so here we go:

Best book of your reading year: It’s only four months in, so I have no idea what it will be.
Best romance of your reading year: Probably Nowhere Ranch by Heidi Cullinan.
Best YA book of your reading year: Ask the Passengers by A S King.
Best nonfiction book of your reading year: Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi
Best sci-fi book of your reading year: J Fally’s Bone Rider
Best Fantasy of your reading year: I don’t know if I should classify this as fantasy or SF, but I’m putting it here. The Steerswoman’s Road by Rosemary Kirstein.
Best fiction book of your reading year: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler.
Best main character of your reading year: It’s still Roe from Nowhere Ranch because he wrote an essay as a form of foreplay.
Best author of your reading year: It’s a tough call between Heidi Cullinan who gives me all the feels and Vivian Arend, whose books fall into that category of awesome things I like.
Best supporting character of your reading year: Bel from The Steerswoman’s Road. I love that she is both cheerful and bloody-minded.
Best character you love to hate of your reading year: I should put Rose from Suzanne RTindell’s The Other Typist, because that book, and Rose herself, filled me with such rage.
Best setting of your reading year: The Outskirts in The Steerswoman’s Road.
Best storyline of your reading year: I think I have to give it to J Fally in Bone Rider.
Best Indie author of your reading year: A lot of my authors are indie. This time I really will give it to Heidi Cullinan, though.

Right. I’ve frittered away enough time. Back to the books!
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12:48: I finished James Cain’s Double Indemnity. I think I wouldn’t have powered through it if it were any longer. I am really not a fan of unreliable narrators. But it was suitably short, which was a plus.

Next up, Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan. Also a green bean casserole I made for lunch. I think I burned the fried onions, but it’ll still be tasty.

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1:34: Lunch was. Well, yeah, the onions were burnt, but what can you do? It was edible, and relatively easy to make. I want to experiment with casseroles more, because all you do is toss things in a pan and bake, and that’s about where my cooking skills are.

I read Sarah, Plain and Tall over my lunch. Why has no one written the adult version of this story, complete with angry sex? I wish someone would.

I might go with another Judy Blume book next. Deenie is next on my plate so we’ll start there. This whole picking short books thing is so working well for me. I know someone plowing through a J R Ward book this afternoon, and why she hasn’t been stopping to tweet snarky commentary is beyond me… except maybe that she has more ability to resist such things than I do.

Anyway. I’m doing OK. I haven’t gotten too tired yet, and the variety has been nice. Plus, I realized I have a couple of other short books in my TBR already, so when I run out of Judy Blume books, I’ll have a place to start.

Lastly, I bought Rhonda Vincent’s latest album via iTunes, mostly because of the title track, for which there is no youtube link, but it’s a duet with her and Willie Nelson, and the rest of the album is a great combination of country and bluegrass pieces. It’s pretty freaking fantastic.

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I’ve Avoided

Published July 10, 2012 by Shannon

I liked the idea of the Top Ten Tuesday meme, which is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. That link will take you to their latest TTT post.

I was going to write a post about authors I seem to have decided, for no discernible reason, that I wouldn’t like. In most of these cases, the reasons for not reading them are silly, so if you disagree with any of the names here, feel free to ply me with recs in the comments.

  • 10. Gena Showalter: I’m not sure why I haven’t tried her books out. She gets a lot of buzz around romance blogland, but for some reason the reviews never look particularly positive.
  • 9. Sherrilyn Kenyon: Everyone whose blogs I’ve kept up with seems to be a fan of her Dark Hunter books. There are also 87 billion of them. I’ve read some of her Kinley MacGregor historicals and thought they were OK, but the sheer voluminousness of her backlist terrifies me.
  • 8. E. L. James. To be fair, I don’t know that I would hate 50 Shades of Grey, and just because a ton of reviewers I trust thought that it was horrible doesn’t mean I will, but the combination of its being a fanfic with the serial numbers filed off and the multi-gazillionaire hero, (not a trope I want to read about) make me think I’m OK in this decision.
  • 7. Elizabeth Bear. I read Dust by her a few years ago, and while I liked the fact that the female leads were into each other, I remember being completely underwhelmed. Everyone I know who reads speculative fiction assures me that her books are wonderful, but I’ve hesitated to try another one.
  • 6. J. L. Langley. She’s a name that pops up anytime anyone discusses M/M romance, a genre I want to read more of. But My Fair Captain which was the only one of her books I’ve read, fell into the “Eww. Vaginas. Gross” category of M/M romance and slashfic, and while I kind of understand the sentiment, I don’t want to read internalized self-hatred with my hot boys kissing smexytimes.
  • 5. Josh Lanyon: the thing is, I keep buying his books. I keep telling myself I should read him, because he is well-loved in the M/M genre. I’m afraid I’m going to hate his books though. For no discernible reason other than the fact that he’s universally adored and the hatred I have seen flung at him reads a lot like, well, grapes that lack a certain amount of sweetness, if you know what I mean.
  • 4. Cassandra Clare: I know she plagiarized whole reams of text in her fanfic days, and I know the Harry Potter fandom resents that she parleyed her fanfic popularity into a publishing deal. I’ve hesitated to read any of her books because, again, it’s hard to know what to make of sour grapes. They could be awesome. Or they could be derivative and full of plagiarism, too. Not like I’d know.
  • 3. Penny Jordan. All of her books look fairly similar. All feature alpha hole heroes. I read a negative review someone posted of one of her books recently and thought, ‘Well, that’s not surprising’, but how would I know? There could be a gem among those Greek tycoons that I don’t know about.
  • 2. China Mieville: His books seem to be about high concepts. That’s what turns me off. I’m afraid that I’d have to work hard to read him, and I’m not quite ready to work hard in my pleasure reading yet. I just got out of school, after all.
  • 1. Maya Banks. Another author people in the blogging circles I lurk in love. I read one of her early ebooks and DNFedit in utter disgust, but to be fair, a different premise probably would have worked better for me.

What about you? Any authors you’ve been avoiding for possibly superficial reasons?