Monday, September 29, 2014

Bloggers beware--unfortunately

The blogging world just became a little bit more forbidding and silencing. Ellora's Cave, a long running erotic romance publisher (I'm talking early 2000s here. I remember reading EC books shortly
Source
after high school, and I graduated in 2001) is suing Jane of Dear Author.

This is not good. Not good at all. It is a scary oppression on DA's First Amendment rights and not only that, but it is truly silencing bloggers who want to critique a book in the future. If you give a negative review, even with solid evidence pointing to the text, but the author or publisher does not like what you say, are you opening yourself up to a lawsuit?

How does this relate to the YA blogging world? Well, as many people are aware, there have definitely been kerfuffles (to put it mildly) between bloggers and authors. What if those authors, who do not like what you say, feel they can sue you for defamation? I have noticed that many of the issues the YA category goes through, well, most of them have already been experienced by the online romance book community. (Trailblazers in all kinds of trouble!). This of course affects any book blogging community so it is definitely something to follow and pay attention to.

For a way better breakdown of what is going on than I can provide, check out some of the following posts:

Ellora's Cave Sues Dear Author: Hello Streisand Effect

Little Miss Cranky Pants is (Almost) Speechless

The Book Pushers Reply to Ellora's Cave's recent actions

We're Small Bloggers, But We're Feeling the Fallout: Ellora's Cave and the Suit Against Dear Author

Also of importance to follow is author Courtney Milan's post, On Limited Purpose Public Figures #notchilled, and the #notchilled hashtag on Twitter. This post is exactly WHY bloggers do need to keep talking and discussing and not caving into pressure from publishers and/or authors. There is a lot at stake and I am not the person to articulate this very well, but hopefully we can all learn a lot from what happens in this lawsuit.

All I can say is I support Jane Litte 100% and I look forward to seeing justice being done, though I am sorry that she has to experience the personal, emotional, and financial costs that this lawsuit will take from her.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Review: One Night of Sin (an After Hours novella) by Elle Kennedy

One Night of Sin by Elle Kennedy
I discovered Elle Kennedy last year, when I fell in love with her Out of Uniform series. She is a very dynamic writer and I just adore her romance books. One Night of Sin is, I am presuming here, the start of a new series for her (unless other authors are going to take over the other characters). This story features club owner/MMA fighter Gage, and hard-working "good girl" Skyler. They meet at Gage's club, Sin, (yes I know, kind of a hokey name for a romance novel club). They meet when Skyler is on a date that is very much a dud. She can't take her eyes off Gage and he cannot take his eyes off her. It's standard romance fare, I admit, but I totally enjoyed it.

What I liked most about One Night of Sin however is the way Skyler pursued Gage and did not play any games with him. She was very up front that she wanted to have sex with him and then, as they got to know each other more, that perhaps they could pursue a closer relationship. She was candid about her lust for him and made him see that some of his earlier moves in their relationship were, well, a bit dickish. I really liked her character and I liked her with Gage. They definitely had some very strong chemistry.

Gage is a fairly typical Kennedy hero. He is all big and brooding and sexy. But he fit so well with Skyler that I didn't mind that he seemed somewhat of a blank slate. I didn't feel like I got to know him quite as well as Skyler. I admit, I could have totally done without the Irish mob suspense storyline. For me, Elle Kennedy is most successful as a writer when she focuses on her characters. The dialog amongst Gage and his fellow club owners, AJ and Reed, is well done. I feel like Ms. Kennedy must spy on her husband and male friends because it always seems so authentic.

This is a novella so there were a few aspects of the story I felt got short shrift (particularly Skyler's relationship with her stepfather). I want to make it clear though that I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Elle Kennedy is an author that always sweeps me into a glorious romance that is always a tad larger than life. One Night of Sin is not perfect but it definitely speeds by as Gage and Skyler fall head over heels in love.

ARC provided by Netgalley.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

ALA Annual in Las Vegas, a small recap

Well folks, my 2014 Printz year is officially done with the closing of this year's ALA Annual Conference. Hard to believe that the amazing year I spent reading is done with. Serving on the Printz is something I will never forget and I feel really lucky that I was able to participate in YALSA in this capacity. It's an opportunity I can't see anyone passing up.

Las Vegas was... hot. I am not a fan of Vegas by any stretch of the imagination so I can't say that I loved annual to pieces this year but there were definitely aspects that thrilled me. My hotel was always nicely chilled and I had a great roommate AND we were by the convention center and the monorail which definitely made things easier in terms of getting around. I will admit that I was a slight curmudgeon on this Annual experience though in general. Vegas just is not for me.
I'm up there!!! My name I mean.

I had the chance to meet several friends I have only known in an online capacity, including my good friend Kel, who I have known since I started on the internet way back in high school or at least early college. I have known her a long time needless to say and it was SO AMAZING to get the chance to meet her in person. I also had the chance to meet several librarian friends I know online which is also wonderful. That made the heat bearable in some small way.

Another great highlight was the Printz celebration on Friday night! YALSA tried a new format this year and while I admit to being a bit skeptical upon hearing about the new format, I did embrace it and enjoyed every minute of it. Marcus Sedgwick started the evening off with his Printz medal speech for Midwinterblood and it was wonderful. (I know, I'm biased.) I thought he hit the perfect combination of being gracious, funny, enjoyable and just fun to listen to. My committee had the pleasure of having dinner with him earlier that evening and let me just say, he is a gracious writer who has lots of sly wit and a genuine personality which came across in all his interactions. Anyway, that shined through in his speech I thought. I hope others enjoyed it as much as I did. Following his speech was a Q & A with the rest of the authors (Rainbow Rowell, Clare Vanderpool, Sally Gardner and Susann Cokal).

Vanderpool, Rowell, and Sedgwick
The authors did a great job of playing off each other and making the panel a lot of fun. It wasn't stiff and boring as I feared (yes, I admit I thought it could be boring). They all had a great rapport with each other which made the rest of the evening a success in my eyes. My personal favorite was Sally Gardner who was absolutely hilarious. Seriously, if you have not read Maggot Moon yet, please do. She has thrown pieces of her personality in it but also made it very dark and interesting. My committee had lunch with Sally and Susann on Sunday and while they were both amazing to listen to, there is just something about Sally Gardner that makes her someone you cannot stop listening to. She had some hilarious anecdotes during the Printz questions too!

I am not a reader who needs signatures or pictures with authors in general. For me, the text of the book itself is what keeps me enthralled BUT I have

ME AND RAINBOW ROWELL!
to admit, my goal that weekend was to get a photo with Rainbow Rowell, and I did! It is not a great photo of me but she looks fab in it. And I just feel lucky she was willing to take a picture. Otherwise, it was just nice getting to know the authors in a more intimate setting at the meals we were able to attend with them. SO MANY THANKS to the amazing publishers (Candlewick, Macmillan, and Random House) for hosting our committees. The time I got to spend with the authors and my fellow committee members is something I will never forget.

Otherwise, Annual went by very quickly. I spent some time in the exhibits hall on Saturday and picked up a few galleys (as seen below) and talked with some publishing friends. Since Annual was paid for by me I kinda took it easy honestly. The heat really tired me out easily so I went to my hotel and napped and relaxed a bit between various events. I just didn't feel like running around like crazy like I normally do during Annual.
Galleys I brought home
I was fine with that. I think I only ended up going to one session too. This will be my last Annual conference for awhile but despite the setting of Vegas, it was a great weekend. I felt really connected to my Printz committee and I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating all our hard work (because believe me, it's no easy task to be on the Printz!). I am not in general an overly sentimental person but I feel like we will always have this special connection between us and that is just amazing. I also want to say hi and thanks to all the amazing people I met over that weekend. As always, the friendships and connections at Annual is what makes the entire experience worth it. I cannot reiterate that enough and if you've ever been on the fence about going, I say do it because those face-to-face connections are what will make the experience priceless (yes, even in Vegas.)

So yes, there you go! ALA 2014 is finished but despite my initial doubts and well, grumpiness about having to be in the desert during summer, I managed to find things that made it all worth it. (And fortunately, Vegas does not mess around with its A/C which helped immensely!).

If you've ever thought about running for the Printz or really any awards committee, I highly recommend it as it is an amazing experience you will never forget. And there are definitely some fun perks once all the hard work is done.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

This and That

Paws to Read sponsored by iRead
Summer reading is upon my library once again. If you follow me on Twitter, you know this is a time of year I basically dread. HOWEVER, this year I am trying really hard to stay positive about it, despite its challenges. I really am tired of being defeated by summer reading so I am going to hopefully focus only on the awesome things about it, like sharing a new series with readers, or making a young reader's day by giving them a book about Minecraft. Those are things I can control and enjoy. I can't control how hot it will get, how cranky some parents become as summer wears on, or even how messy the children's area will be every.single.day. but I can grasp at the good moments. My library is doing the Paws to Read theme and during visits I was pleasantly surprised by how many children recognized Tad Hills as the illustrator. Rocket is more popular than I imagined!

I will also be attending ALA Annual in Las Vegas at the end of June. It is the celebration of my Printz year so I am excited. Not quite so excited about the fact that it is in Vegas but I know Vegas has a lot of A/C so that will help. I fly in Friday and fly out Monday morning so if you are attending, lets meet! This will be my last annual for awhile now. I need to save some money and I want to focus on travel opportunities for fun rather than work (though of course I do have fun at those too).

This year I will serving on two virtual committees which I am excited about. I am serving as CHAIR(!!!!!!!) of YALSA's summer reading taskforce. Holy cow, I was so excited by this opportunity. And, I am also serving on ALSC's Quicklist Consulting Committee. It's my first time volunteering with ALSC so I am excited to finally participate. I love what Quicklists puts out every year so I hope I can make a good contribution to the list.

Other than that, summer is a time for me to kick back, watch tv and well, normally, read. We'll see how much of that I get done. I'm heavy into watching Hart of Dixie right now and enjoying every minute of it. I also for the first time planted some flowers in pots and have those around my place and on my porch and they look so pretty in bloom. I am not a fan of summer but I will admit, the days I can laze around, summer isn't too bad!

The thing I am most excited about this summer is the season 4 premiere of Teen Wolf on June 23. It's coming! I am deep into Teen Wolf craziness still (as my Tumblr can attest to) and I just absolutely cannot wait for new episodes. I think this is how most women feel when expecting children. Me, it's all about the tv episodes!

I hope to get back to more reviewing on a steady basis this fall. That is a tentative goal at any rate. I invite you to chat with me any time on Twitter or Tumblr where I am as always very active. I do have a few romance reviews coming up on the blog too. To all my fellow summer reading librarians, we can do this!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Review: It Happened One Wedding by Julie James

It Happened One Wedding by Julie James
Julie James is one of my absolute, favorite romance writers. Her books have gotten progressively better (even as they were pretty top-notch to begin with). It Happened One Wedding is her newest book and it is utterly fantastic. So fantastic in fact that it is one of the few books I have read this year. There is no way I'd pass up a Julie James book.

Synopsis: SHE KNOWS BETTER THAN TO SAY “I DO”

After a humiliating end to her engagement, investment banker Sidney Sinclair is done with commitment-phobic men. But when her sister winds up engaged after a whirlwind courtship, she’s thrown in to close contact with exactly the kind of sexy playboy she wants to avoid—the gorgeous best man. She’s stuck with him, for better or worse, until her sister walks down the aisle, but that doesn’t mean she has to give in to his smooth advances, no matter how tempting they are…

BUT HE MAKES IT HARD TO SAY “I DON’T”

Special Agent Vaughn Roberts always gets his man on the job and his woman in bed. So Sidney’s refusal to fall for his charms only makes him more determined to win over the cool and confident redhead. Only what starts out as a battle of wills ends up as a serious play for her heart. Because the one woman who refuses to be caught may be the only one Vaughn can’t live without…(Goodreads.com)

Sidney and Vaughn have instant chemistry from their first meeting on the page. It is definitely a contentious meeting. Sidney is coming out of a broken engagement and Vaughn is, well he definitely appears to be the stereotypical romance guy who likes to play the field and has no desire to settle down. And he is that guy but he is also a lot different from that. Julie James knows how to turn an archetype on its head.

The characters are just wonderful. When I finished the story, I felt like I had truly gotten to know Sidney and Vaughn. The characters are put into settings where their true natures come through. Sidney and Vaughn are surrounded by friends and family, and also in their work settings. These are two very high profile career characters but that is just one facet of their characterization. I always feel like Julie James must go into full research mode when she writes her books because the careers she chooses for her characters seem like they are portrayed incredibly authentically. (I of course would not know the difference being that I know nothing about the law or crime solving but when I feel like I know more about these careers after finishing the book, it seems like a successful portrayal.)

Frankly, I just about loved this book. I even re-read it after finishing it. Sidney is a woman after my own heart. She knows what she wants and she is going to go after it with all her heart. I hate to fall into the "sassy" trap but Sidney has sass to spare and she is not afraid to use it on Vaughn which results in some hilarious dialog (and some very sexy dialog too!) Sidney is not going to just let herself settle anymore. She will find the man for her, who will support her and love her in the way she knows she deserves. Vaughn falls for her hard. That's about all you need to know. He is not expecting it but he definitely leans into it when he recognizes it.

Julie James writes amazing contemporary romance. I don't know how to say it any better than that. If you've been searching for a new romance writer to try, if you've never really read contemporary romance, you cannot go wrong with It Happened One Wedding. Though there are references to characters from Julie James' other books, they do not interfere in any way with the main story. This is a wedding story but you'll see no bridezillas or uncaring grooms here. Instead, you'll probably just fall in love with the story and characters, just like I did.

It Happened One Wedding is available now and believe me, it's one book you will want to read this year. I am very cautious about where I spend my book money (student loans, curse you!) so when I say that this book is well-worth its value, it's no lie.

Basically, I bow down to this book.

Other reviews:
Dear Author reviews It Happened One Wedding
Smexy Books reviews It Happened One Wedding
Fiction Vixen reviews It Happened One Wedding

ARC provided by publisher for review.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

BEA bound!

I'm attending my second BEA this spring (heck, at the end of this month!). I went way back in 2010 and I'm excited to be back. Good friends, NYC, and even books! Can't get better than that.

If you'll be attending BEA and want to connect, please let me know. Just email me. I'm happy to meet just about everyone though I will probably be shy and awkward in person. Alas.

Anyway, long story short, I am excited to be attending and to just be in the wonderful book atmosphere that is New York. There is nothing quite like it.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Join in the conversation!


I am never going to be an eloquent speaker or writer on this topic. BUT, this is a topic that is important to me and is crucial to libraries and the book world and it just so happens that there are some great voices in the blogosphere that you need to hear. I hope you will take the time to read more about this project and to support the authors and book lovers who are working so hard to spread the message.


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