Bookish Thoughts: 1,000 Followers!

Greetings everyone!  I was working on next week’s Top Ten Tuesday post and noticed that Read What I Like now has over 1,ooo followers!  YAY!  It might seem like a small number compared to other blogs the same age as this one but I’m impressed and thrilled that so many want to hear what I think about the books I read.  Especially since I don’t actively try to promote this blog and have long since given up on trying to respond to comments.  I read them and appreciate them but have poor blogging skills…  Anyway,  that so many people found this blog on their own and have managed to stick around is great!  Kudos to you, especially since I have been posting significantly less recently.  I hope that is about to change though.

I’ve been toying with adding new feature posts to the blog.  I do a weekly check-in post, participate in Top Ten Tuesday, and do a monthly wrap-up post.  This seems like a great opportunity to see what content you all would like to see at Read What I Like.  So please share in the comments your suggestions!  Would you like more blog memes (like Top Ten Tuesday, suggest other ones you either participate in or follow), challenges, giveaways?  Non-bookish posts, thoughts about reading in general, movie reviews? A monthly review of something Star Trek?  The possibilities are endless, kinda…within reason…  Or do you simply want me to get my act together and do a better job of responding to comments?

For the meanwhile, I do think a giveaway is in order for hitting 1,000 followers and I will think up something over the weekend.  Probably a gift card to Amazon so that it can be open to international followers.  I will also make following the blog a requirement for winning.  Look for more details next week.

For now,  thanks so much for making this hobby worthwhile!  Please, leave your suggestions for a new blog feature below.

~Happy Reading!

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So I’ve Been Busy…

Just thought I should perhaps think about posting something since I’ve been neglecting both my blogs this month.  I’m still here and still reading albeit slowly.  I’ve been busy with doctors appointments, work, the garden, and my birds.  Not a lot of reading going on but I hope to pick back up soon.

Last weekend my husband and I went to go see The Dark Tower, a movie loosely based upon Stephen King’s magnum opus Dark Tower series.  We both enjoyed the movie and were disappointed to see all the negative reviews.  Oh, sure it’s not the same as the books.  Movies based on books rarely are but I thought it captured enough of the essence of the series to be enjoyable.  Now I broke up with Stephen King a long time ago but the movie has inspired me to pick The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger up and read it again.  My husband has also decided to read the book so I gave him my copy that I read back in 1991 (!) and I checked out my library’s copy.  My husband rarely reads fiction so for him to be interested in this book is a BIG deal!  I was not going to pass up the opportunity for us to read the same book at the same time and discuss it.  It is a long series, seven books if I remember correctly, and I’m sure he probably won’t finish it, but I might.  I loved this series and the complete set remains in my personal library.  I think it is time to revisit this world and see if it still hold the same magic that a much younger Amy found.  It will be interesting to see if I still think it is as great as I once did.

I hope to return to normal posting next month.

Happy Reading~

Bookish Thoughts: Why I’m not reading…

…or doing anything really.  Depression.  Pure and simple I’m stuck in a bout of depression.  I thought I wasn’t reading because I was too busy.  Work in the garden, work on the house, work at the library. Then I thought I wasn’t reading because I needed new glasses with bifocal lenses.  Still, need those but I don’t think that is the reason anymore.  I find myself not interested in much of anything right now.  Could be due to changes in my life from my cancer diagnosis, hysterectomy, and now dealing with menopause, a major life crisis, and hormonal shift can do a number on someone’s attitude.  Then there is the 30 year anniversary of my mother’s death, get over it already… A couple other issues that I’m going to keep private.  The reason doesn’t really matter though the results are the same I am stuck in a dark place right now and I’ve lost interest in pretty much everything.  I’m still getting some things accomplished with the garden and animals but if something’s life doesn’t depend on me rallying enough energy to do what needs to be done the task just isn’t happening.  I am going to make an effort to stick to my commitments to read the review books I’ve been granted access to but other than that I just can’t’ make any promises right now.  I hope I come out of this funk soon but if I don’t I will be seeking out professional help through counseling.  I’ve done it before and it helped.  So thank you for understanding and don’t give up on the blog yet.  I plan to stick around through the ups and downs of my personal life.  Posting just might become more sporadic.  I do hope to finish up an audiobook soon and a review book that came out last Friday, I feel so bad that I didn’t finish it before the release date…

Thanks for listening, happy reading~ Amy

Bookish Thoughts: So Shiny

Bookish Thoughts

I may be requesting fewer review books through Net Galley but that doesn’t mean I don’t log in and check the new titles twice daily, once in the morning and again in the afternoon.  Today when I logged on to see what was new I noticed something on my dashboard.  This
Reviews Published

I earned a shiny new badge to go along with the five others they have awarded me.  This one means that at least three of my reviews have been featured on their title’s info page by the publisher.  Now I know, this is simply arbitrary rewards given by the company to encourage us to review…  Still, I’m excited as this is one that I was actually coveting.  So.  Yay me and thanks to the publishers for the books to review and then appreciating my feedback.  It is always nice to feel like the time and effort you put into a passion is noticed.  My next goal is to earn the 200 reviews badge.  Only 70 more books to go.

Bookish Thought: Confession…

Bookish Thoughts

Reading confession time.  I’ve not read a book in two weeks, not significant reading that is.  I haven’t found enjoyment in much of anything recently, actually.  It isn’t just the loss of Tilla, I think it is more than just her.  I don’t want to do anything at all.  Not chores, not reading, not much beyond sleeping and watching TV/YouTube.  I think I’ve slipped into depression.  I will get through it but I’m not feeling motivated to do any of the actual steps to overcome this funk.  I’m simply not happy.  I feel restless, I feel sad, I get angry and worry too much, I pick fights and unload my bad attitude on others.  I feel out of control and I don’t know what to do to get out of this downward spiral I find myself in.  I want to be happy, I want to be excited about things again, I want something to look forward to. I want to enjoy life again.  I know that I am the only one that can get myself out of this funk and part of that is breaking this unhealthy cycle I find myself in but quite frankly I’m not ready to leave this little dark cave I find myself in.  I just want life to continue with no surprises, no changes, no turmoil for a few months.  I also hate this time of year.  So depressing, everything is dying, its getting colder, chores are on the increase.  I just want to hibernate.  Maybe I need something new.  Maybe I need an amazing new world to explore…  Maybe I just need time.  Well thanks for letting me vent.  I hope to get to reading and reviewing again regularly.  If it gets too bad I’ll start limiting my tv and internet time to get back on track.

Bookish Thoughts: Bad Blogger…

Bookish Thoughts

Hello my name is Amy and I’m a bad blogger.  Specifically I’m bad at replying to comments.  So let me take this moment to apologize and say yes, I see you.  I do read and love all the comments that you all leave for me and about once a month the guilt racks up and I get around to a marathon reply session where I go through my blog posts and reply to all you that took the time to leave me a message.  So I’m off now to do some blogging housekeeping.  Such a bad blogger….

Bookish Thoughts: 30 Day Book Challenge

 

Bookish Thoughts

As I find myself itching to return to social media and follow the news I have begun pre-writing my Top Ten Tuesday posts.  Well I’ve about run out of them… So I’ve decided to do this 30 Day Book Challenge that I’ve seen other bloggers participate in.  I’ve not been tagged by anyone and do not know where it originated but I stole a graphic off the internet, made a banner, and started filling out my list of books for each day.  I was going to start this today, but I think I will begin Monday on the 15th.  That gives me a few days to write-up some posts and round-up some books for pictures.  I will be posting a blog post each day to talk about the topic of the day and I will also be posting a picture over on Instagram of the titles for the day.  So if you want to join me I’ve posted the graphic below feel free to copy it and leave me a comment to let everyone know you are joining in the fun!

30daybookchallenge

Bookish Thoughts: Did you hear?

Bookish Thoughts

That I am holding a giveaway!  Well, I am and not many people have signed up… So I would totally love you forever if you either 1) went and entered and/or 2)share with everyone you know, especially those you think might enjoy the book.  What book is that you might ask.  None other than a signed copy of One With You by Sylvia Day!!!  The last book in the Crossfire series. Yes, I got to meet her at BEA in Chicago this year and she is such a sweet person.  She would sign books people brought with them and posed for pictures with everyone.  I

Yes, I got to meet her at BEA in Chicago this year and she is such a sweet person.  She would sign books people brought with them and posed for pictures with everyone.  After waiting in line when it was my turn to get my book signed I, of course, blathered all over the place and told her how I was promoting her book in the library and patrons have really been enjoying it.  She put her hand on my arm and thanked me for what I’ve done and if I needed anything to let her know.  How. Cool. Is. That.  I’m sure that I’m not the only reader she told that to, but still she seemed so sincere I just melted for her.  She was one of few really awesome authors that I met during my trip.

So if you love this series and this author then why not enter for a free chance with pretty good odds to win your very own signed copy of her books.  You have my guarantee that Sylvia Day touched your book! So there are some rules you have to be a United States or Canadian resident and you have to actually make some selections on a Rafflecopter widget.  If you win you need to send me your mailing address and be okay about sharing your first name on the blog. So little that I am asking of you for a totally cool autographed book.  So do you want to see it? Here it is!

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Now follow this link and enter for your shot at this book

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you really want to make me love you why not use one of the little share buttons at the bottom of this post and encourage others to enter my giveaway.  Thanks~

Bookish Thoughts: BEA Tips

Bookish Thoughts

To wrap up my post-BEA posts I thought I would share the standard BEA tips for those of you that are thinking of attending.  There are tons of these posts and videos out there with lots of great tips for you all.  The following is just some of what worked for me, what didn’t and ideas that I thought might be useful for those looking for information before their first trip. So shall we begin.

My BEA Tips

  • Go Early:  Now you don’t have to be like me and go an extra two days before the conference starts.  I was lucky in that I was staying with a friend and had the whole week off work.  That being said arriving in town a day early is a great idea, gives you a chance to get settled, check in with friends also attending, go over your game plan one last time and do my next tip.
  • Practice public transportation:  This is a great idea if you are someone like me that doesn’t use public transportation on a regular (or at all) basis.  You can test your route to the convention center, time it to see how early you need to leave and make sure you know how to use your pass.  You will be more comfortable the next day when time counts and you need to be on time.  Also pay attention to your stops; where do you exit, is there an elevator (for when you are carrying your books home each night), how often do the trains run, which train direction do you need for where you are going, what is the name of your stops.  All good things you can learn on a test run.
  • Lodging: I put out a plea on social media months before my trip asking if any of my friends would be open to letting me crash at their place.  I was lucky in that one of my college friends lives in the city and let me stay with her.  You could also put an offer out there to share hotel rooms, but you will be surprised who might take you up on your begging for a place to crash.  You can also put out there that the perks of letting you stay is tons of free books!  My friend said it was the best conference she never attended and wished she had taken the week off work to go with me.  If you do find a friend to stay with it can save you so much money!  I save probably $700.
  • Backpack Vs Tote:  This was a tip that a lot of people suggested, using a backpack.  I think it could be a good idea for the right person, but personally I took my backpack one day and left it home the rest of the time.  It was just too awkward to take it on and off to put stuff in and my back was killing me by the end of day one.  I picked up two of the better totes and just carried them all day, stopping every so often dump books in my checked bag.  I stashed some treats in my purse and was good to go.  One tote I would put books in, the other was for lighter items like papers, bookmarks, and more totes.
  • Treats and Water:  I carried some treats with me, but quite frankly this is another area where I over did it.  Honestly most of the booths had something to nibble on so I could have done without bringing any really. The second day I didn’t even eat lunch I was able to fill up on food from the different vendors, plus I was saving room for the amazing Thai food we were having that night.   I would bring two bottles of water as well, tossed one when empty and the second I would refill at a fountain.  Worked great.
  • Shoes:  Okay I went out and bought a cute pair of business style loafers that had memory foam inserts and absolutely no heal.  My feet hated me by the end of day one, and I was sitting most of the day!  The next day I went to put them on and my feet said ‘Hell no’ and I ended up wearing sneakers for the last two days.  No one cared or noticed and I was actually feeling pretty good feet wise by the end of the conference.  So just wear the sneakers.
  • Business Cards: These are a great idea and people will ask you for them.  It also helped when you would catch a great picture that people wanted you to send them.  You could just give them your card and they can grab it off your social media account.  I did not do this, but I think it is a good idea.  Have two versions of your card; one with your mailing address and one without.  All of my cards had it so everyone ended up with my address.  I’m not too worried, but still better safe than sorry.  Next time.  Also take a stash of them and put them in your pocket for easy access.
  • Checked bag:  Do this.  Don’t even hesitate, bring a bag to check and stop throughout the day to dump books in your bag.  You will be amazed at how fast it will fill up.  Also if you are driving in like I did and can haul as much home as you want don’t bring one of those cute little carry on bags, bring a huge regular sized suitcase.  People will have them so don’t worry about looking odd.  I wish I had had a regular sized bag even with the fact that I was riding public transportation to and from the conference.  As it was I would cart home the carry on and a huge book filled tote on the train each night.
  • Explore: For us bloggers the main action at the convention is around the signing tables and the publisher’s booths, but I urge you to venture into the other half of the conference as well.  Sure it is more for industry people, but you can still find some interesting booths to check out and some cool freebies to grab.  I thought the international booths were really quite interesting.
  • Publisher Booths:  Each publisher had a different way they do things.  Visit each one and grab their book drop and signing lists and make a plan.  Even non-ticketed signings will end up having tickets.  Not that they cost anything, but usually there is a limited quantity.  Most publishers drop tickets about a half hour before a signing when most people start lining up, but sometimes the tickets drop in the morning hours before a scheduled signing.  If there is an author you really want to meet then ask them how that signing is going to work. They will let you know and usually point to the area and give you the time to show up.  I really liked how Harlequin handled their signings.  They would group four to six of the same genre together like all YA or Suspense.  You got in line and when the signing started you went down the line and exited with up to six books!  Sure you might have only wanted one, but being they are all similar styles you might end up with a great new-to-you author to try.  How cool!
  • Scan your badge:  Let them scan your badge as many times as they want. This is how they grab your contact information and see how committed you are to their authors.  If they see you are a repeat visitor they might take a second look at you and start sending you ARCs.
  • Bloggers Conference:  Being new to blogging I really liked the conference.  The floor doesn’t open until one that first day anyway so why not go and make some connections and meet other bloggers.  Personally I thought the sessions offered were great.  I especially liked the round table talks in the afternoon which were on various topics and were broken down into three half hour sessions.  If you are a more experienced blogger why not attend too and share all your wisdom with those just starting out!
  • Cell Phone: I have a new cell phone that offered an introductory plan of unlimited data for 45 days.  This was great!  I didn’t have to worry about eating up my data or searching for a wifi signal I could access the internet anytime I needed to.  So if you have the option for the week of the conference either purchase extra data or swing for unlimited for that month.  It also helped my battery which didn’t have to drain itself searching for a signal all day.  I carried a pocket charger with an extra long cord and just hooked it up once a day.  I would leave my charger in my purse and loop the cord around my neck and kept my phone in my jacket pocket.  Work amazingly well.
  • Display Only:  There are tons of books that are going to be available or pushed on you at BEA, but keep in mind not all books are free for the taking.  Some titles are clearly marked display only.  Leave them where they sit.
  • Rudeness:  Being in the mid-west I heard many a time at the conference how surprised people were at how nice everyone was.  Living here it came as no shock to me,  we tend to be nice, even in a big city.  95% of the people I interacted with were wonderful and so helpful.  That 5% though can ruin an entire trip if you let them, so don’t.  Do what I did, if a publisher gets a little snippy or someone a little obsessive about the ‘line starts here’ put your hands up and walk away.  I have to say the only booths I had trouble with were the American Library Association that took one look at my blogger badge and became snots.  Needless to say I stayed the hell away from them the rest of the conference.  Slight disappointment there, librarians are supposed to be better than that.  Then there was Penguin Random House. I’ve had some issues with this publisher online through their First to Read program so it didn’t surprise me that I didn’t care for my interaction with them in person.  Not all of them were awful in this booth, but some of the ladies made me turn on heal and search out friendlier waters.  As to fellow attendees most of the difficult people I interacted with were from the East coast.  Every single time.  You all must just live on top of one another and get used to be aggressive and abrupt with others.  Did not encourage me to visit this conference in New York some year…

I’m sure there is plenty of other tips I will think of later, but these are the main ones I wanted to share.  If you have questions feel free to ask in the comments.  This is an amazing experience and I am so glad I went.  I would love to go again some day, but if I don’t that’s alright.  I have actually been thinking of seeking out other conferences or conventions to attend, BEA isn’t the only one out there.  I was a tad disappointed that the genres I read were not well represented, so perhaps a romance or sci-fi conference should be on my list next!  Know of another great convention to attend, share in the comments!

Thanks for following my little adventure.  I hope you enjoyed the pictures and stories and be sure to come back on Monday when I will announce my first book that I’m giving away. I have the stack of titles listed on my social media accounts, go tell me which one you want me to giveaway first!   Happy Reading~Amy

Bookish Thoughts: BEA Haul

Bookish Thoughts

With the wrap-up post becoming ridiculously long I thought I would post a separate haul post for those of you that just wanted to see what goodies and books I brought home.  I am not going to list every single title or cover in this post ( I might do a top ten list of favorite covers from BEA some Tuesday).  The grand total of books I scored at BEA is 112!  One hundred and twelve books!  That is crazy.  Some I probably didn’t need, and many I won’t read.  I will see that if I’m not keeping a book, they get into the hands of someone who appreciates them or donate them to my library.  It is hard to turn down books at BEA; sometimes you feel sorry for an author with no one in line, sometimes they are pushing books into people’s hands in the aisle, and sometimes you just get swept away with the thrill of shinny free things…  There is a good chunk of books that I left with my girlfriend in Chicago.  After sorting out my books to keep or giveaway I let her go through my weeded box and take what she liked.  I also picked up a couple of totes for her as well.  She told me that this was the best conference that she never attended and if she had known they were giving away free books she would have taken the week off work. I did let her know she could have totally attended with me too, as BEA let bloggers bring a guest which was really handy for leaving someone in one line while you waited in another.  Next time…  Anyway on to the pictures.

BEA Haul

All these pictures open up to larger versions in new window and descriptions are below their pictures.

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This is my for me haul.  All of these books and …stuff (for a lack of a better term) are items I am going to keep.  some of the books I might giveaway after reading so keep an eye out for them over the next year or so…  Seriously lots and lots of books.IMG_3569

This haul is made up of items that I picked up for the Summer Reading program at work.  Can’t wait to give these items out to the teens that sign up!

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Next we have the stuff that I will be giving away here at Read What I Like!  Yes that’s right I totally kept you all in mind and managed to grab some items you all might like.  Where shall we start.  Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments on what you want to see me giveaway first.

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These are some of my favorite totes.  I carried a tote of totes at the conference and ended up with 38 of them!  Some went to the library, a couple to my friends and these are all mine!

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Here are the books that I picked up for my dear husband!  Not as many as I had hoped for, but I did bring him some other items from Chicago so don’t feel too bad for him.

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These are the books I’m not quite sure what to do with, but don’t worry I will find them good homes most likely at my library.

My total haul.  Glad I brought a truck!

My total haul. Glad I brought a truck!

 

There you have it most of the items I brought back from BEA.  The last post I’ll be sharing is some tips that I think might help future BEA attendees.  Sometime tomorrow… I have reading that needs to be done!