Happy 3rd Anniversary!

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Just wanted to take a moment and say thank you to all my followers as I celebrate the third anniversary of my blog Read What I Like.  So thank you for the likes and comments and I’m still thrilled that you find my opinion about what I read entertaining.

Refection

It seems hard to believe both that I have only been blogging for three years, it feels like it should be longer, and at the same time that it has actually been three years because I feel like such a novice to all this.  The blog still feels small to me and that is by design.  I’m not looking for major page hits or tons of comments, I simply want a small little corner where I can share my love or loathing for the books I read.  A highly successful blog is a lot of work and I’m not interested in that.  For now, I simply want my blog to remain an authentic extension of my reading hobby.  This space started out for me and it shall remain that way; that is probably why it still surprises me that almost 1000 people have subscribed.

Looking Ahead

Don’t look for a lot of changes.  I have scaled back some of my ambition over the past year as life continues to get in the way of my reading.  I will continue to be selective in my review request books and focus on reading all those titles I put on my TBR list ages ago.  The blog is named Read What I Like for a reason and I want to get that passion for reading books I like again.  In the beginning of the blog, I got too wrapped up in memes, givaways, review deadlines, challenges, etc. While all of that was fun, it was also a lot of work and sucked some of the joy out of simply reading.  Blogs come and go and I want to have staying power, so that means cutting some of the stuff that kills my joy.  I hope you understand, I appreciate you all but the blog is going to stay small scale.  I’m about authenticity in my reviews and when I get too gimmicky I feel like the blog doesn’t represent who I am.

My name is Amy and  I am a reader.  I read books and review them honestly for you.  Thanks for being a part of my passion.

Happy Reading~

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I have cancer.

Hello to my followers here at Read What I Like.  If you missed my Top Ten Tuesday post you might not know of my recent diagnosis. I have started a separate blog to journal my journey through cancer treatment and hysterectomy.  You are welcome to follow my journey or not, it is up to you.  This way I can keep Read What I Like a designated book blog and the cancer-related posts over there.

Thanks, Amy

 

I have cancer.  I can say that now without crying, most of the time…  I have used that word, cancer, so much in the past three days that I’ve managed to become desensitized to it a bit.…

Source: I have cancer.

Today I lost someone I loved.

*This is going to be a non-bookish post.

Today I lost someone I loved.  Someone that came the closest I will ever have to an actual child.  Someone that was my best friend.  I woke to find my cat Attilla, Tilla for short, paralyzed from the waist down.  I knew it wasn’t good.  Called the vet and then made my husband drive us because I knew I wouldn’t be safe to operate a vehicle.  Arrived at the vet and of course it wasn’t good news.  She had a heart condition, a coronary thrombosis broke loose early this morning and she had an embolism.  As he explained all that had happen to my baby I knew it meant one thing.  Today I lose my best friend.  I interrupted him and said “I have to put her down don’t I.”  “It would be best” he replied, “She was in a tremendous amount of pain and there would be little or no recovering.” I scooped her up and clung to her as they made preparations. Sign the paperwork, no I want to take her home, I don’t need a box and I will remain in the room.  I sent my husband out to pay the bill and held my girl as they took her from me. Carried her home and buried her in the pasture where she loved to hunt.  I haven’t stopped crying since.

I’m sitting here in shock because it was so sudden.  I need to processes this fast because life goes on.  It isn’t fair to the animals that remain to suffer while I mourn.  I still need to go to work and next week I am going to my  college’s homecoming, its my classes honor year celebration 20 years.  I sit here typing this with kittens on my lap because I don’t want to be alone, yet I don’t want to be around people.  I know she was a cat, and I have lost many before and there will be plenty to come.  Tilla was special.  Tilla was my favorite.  She truly was my best friend.  The one being on this planet that I know loved me above all others.  My cuddle kitty, who always went to sleep curled up under my arm.  She would insist.  Pawing at me if I didn’t let her in, under the covers of course.  I dread tonight when I go to sleep alone…  I’ve known many pets and loved them all in some way or another but every once in a while there is a special bond.  That one soul that connects with you on a deeper level.  The ones that can’t be replaced.  Today I lost someone who I had that special bond with and it broke my heart.  I will eventually be able to function again but I will never get over Tilla.

She has been in my life since she was four weeks old.  My brother brought her and her two siblings, only her sister remains, to come be barn cats after their mother was killed by a car.  I raised them and when her sister was hit by a car and had her leg in a cast I moved them both into the house (I had already lost their brother) and they became house cats.  Tilla chose me.   I didn’t stand a chance, she wormed her way into my heart and today she took a piece of it with her.

So today I say good-bye and know I did the right thing.  It wasn’t easy or fair, but it was compassionate.  I found the strength to say good-bye instead of holding on for selfish reasons out of love.  She is not in pain.  She is free.  I will move on all the while crying at everything that reminds me of her.  I will let love in again I can’t help it, even if it means more days like this in my future.  Because this is one painful day and all the days of joy she brought me so vastly out-weigh it in the end.  Love is worth the price.

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Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond (Possible Spoilers)

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I know, I know this is a book review blog so what the hell am I doing reviewing a movie.  Well, if you don’t know by now I’m a huge Trekkie (LLAP) and today I got to see the new movie and I feel like talking about it.  In case you didn’t read the title I may post spoilers, nothing too major, I don’t want to ruin the movie for you, but I want to have my bases covered.  So if you haven’t seen the movie yet and don’t want to know anything that goes on, leave now.  Go, watch the movie and come back to discuss.  You’ve been warned so no complaining in the comments.

 

 

 

Alright, hopefully,that’s enough space for most screens. Okay, shall we begin.

I loved this movie so much, as you could probably already predict.  I can’t say Beyond is my favorite of the three rebooted movies, Into Darkness probably is, but this movie was awesome on so many levels.  I think Abrams is the better director, but Lin still made a pretty kick-ass movie after Abrams left us for the dark side….  Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty, co-wrote this movie and he captured the essence of Star Trek beautifully.  Trek isn’t about the action, not that it can’t have good action, Trek is about the characters.  It is the bond and chemistry of this/these crews that brings us back. This movie goes into that aspect of Trek where the last two didn’t this rebooted Trek movie was for the fans and to celebrate 50 years of Star Trek.

The movie started off with a great opener that had the theater laughing out loud and quickly moved into a more somber tone as we see Kirk struggling with his reasons for being in Star Fleet and the daily grind of his job.  There were some cute segments here, but things didn’t start picking up until later.  We do get to visit a space station that took my breath away. Seriously this was the most beautiful imaginary I’ve seen for a location in this universe. I almost wish we could have explored it more.  Before we know it the crew is out on the ship again and racing off into danger. Since they show this in the trailers I think it is safe to say the Enterprise does not survive the movie. It has lasted through two whole movies, her days were numbered…, still it hurt me to see this ship I used to dream of living on as a child to be utterly destroyed in the way it was.

As I mentioned before Trek is about the characters and in this movie we got to see the bond that started the franchise come shining through with Spock, Bones, and Kirk. Spock and Bones actually got to spend a lot of time together which made my day as I love the bickering between these two.  We also get to see Kirk and Chekov (SO sad to see Anton Yelchin one last time…) team up to work together as well.  Scotty has a more significant role in the movie (I wonder how that happen….) and it was fun to see him get more screen time.  I think Pegg’s Scotty is a bit different from the original  but he does manage to capture the essence while making the roll his own.

There was a bit I didn’t care for in the movie, not much, but some.  The drama between Spock and Uhura didn’t add very much to the plot, in my opinion, except for some humor and a way to solve a plot problem.    The bad guy was also fairly flat for most of the movie.  In the last third, we get to see the motivation behind his actions and there is a nice twist concerning his past (I won’t say more because THAT would be a major spoiler).  He just didn’t make the movie for me, like Cumberbatch did in Into Darkness. Beyond is more about the bond of the crew than it is about defeating the bad guy.  Although that lead to some pretty kick-ass scenes that had me rocking in my seat and marveling at the imagery.  Beyond is a visually beautiful movie and they really did an excellent job of making it feel like the Trek universe.

Let me close by saying there was a touching tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy, and all the actors of the original series really.  They started this Trek journey if not for them and Gene Roddenberry we would not be celebrating 50 years of this beloved franchise that we Trekkies love so much.  To them I say thank you, thank you for the vision, thank you for the memories, thank you for showing us a society we could become.  You have enriched our lives and I am grateful.  Live long and prosper.

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!

Bookish Thoughts: BEA 16 Wrap-Up

Bookish Thoughts

Bookexpo America, Chicago 2016

Wrap-Up

Where do you begin when it comes to describing, putting into words perhaps one of the best weeks of one’s life.  I am at a loss for where to start.  I don’t want to bore you, overload you with information… So lets start with a brief summery of events followed by some pictures from the week.  I will post a separate haul post as well as a BEA tip post later on their own.

My BEA Week:

My BEA trip started on Monday.  One of my college girlfriends now lives in Chicago and works for Rush University Medical Center near downtown.  When I put out the plea for a place to crash during BEA she graciously opened her home and parking place for me.  So not only did I get to attend this amazing conference I got to spend a week hanging out with a dear friend.  No wonder I’m so tired.  Bed around midnight up around six everyday, wow!  Totally worth it though.

Thanks to my boss giving me the whole week off I went early and practiced my route to the conference on Tuesday before bumming around the city for the day.  Despite the rain it was actually a fun day.  This is the first time I had actually been somewhere on my own and it was interesting to go where I wanted, when I wanted and without having to compromise or negotiate the best course of action for the day.  Around five I headed back out to the suburbs and had a delicious meal at my friend’s home as we grilled out and visited.  Probably my earliest night to bed around 10 or 11 as I had an early morning the next day with the Blogger’s conference.

Wednesday was the first day of BEA and I left early, like on the train by 6:20 (I think) and arrived super early for registration to the conference.  Oh well, better than late also meant that there were absolutely no lines when I walked up to the counter to get my pass.  Nice!  Headed downstairs to wait for the blogger’s breakfast and spent a few minutes checking my social media.   Breakfast was nice muffins, danishes and bagels along with coffee or tea. It was nice to sit around the tables and chat with everyone.  The keynote speaker was alright, but I have to agree with some of the other bloggers that I’ve read and it would have been nice if they found a speaker that was an actual book blogger.  So most of her presentation went in one ear and out the other, but that’s okay.  The rest of the blogger’s conference was totally worth the extra ticket in my opinion.  The two break out sessions I attended had some interesting information and the table talk discussion in the afternoon even more so.  I enjoyed the three I attended: connecting with publisher, negative reviews, and blogger burnout.  Lunch was totally worth it for me as well as we had a nice group of ladies at my table and I won one of the $50 drawings (score!).  I did skip the last session as by three I was itching to get up on the floor.

Funny little side story about Wednesday.  In one of the break-out sessions my cell phone vibrated and I checked the screen to see my husband had called.  Oh no!  If he had actually taken the time to find his cell phone, turn it on and figured out how to call me something must be up or dead…  Between sessions I headed out into the hall to call him back.  Come to find out two library patrons had shown up at my house asking why the library wasn’t open!  He gave them my boss’s phone number (who was supposed to be working and forgot), and all was good.  He was a bit nervous, asking me that she did know I was going to be gone this week.  I assured him he did the right thing and everything was fine, my trip was on the calendar and being my normal day to work she must have just forgotten.  Made for a funny story to share all week though!  You know you work for a small library when your patrons know where you live…

Okay back to the wrap-up.  My Wednesday haul wasn’t that big, thankfully as I had not brought a bag to check yet and I headed back to the train and met up with my girlfriend at her work to attend a diversity award banquet that had an excellent spread of food (another score)!  Met some of her great co-workers and spent the evening hanging out with them at a local bar and didn’t get to bed until late.  Again, totally worth it!

The next day was my quiet day, no must haves or sessions to attend (actually all sessions were quickly wiped off my schedule as I spent so much time waiting in line).  I spent the day wandering from book-drop to signing and checking out the booths.  The day started a little later and I visited Disney first as they had an excellent breakfast of fancy croissants and coffee!  I came back a few hours later and helped myself again.  The second day many of the booths had food and I ended up nibbling my way around the center instead of stopping for an actual meal.  That evening they also offered more food and drinks!  I did abstain from that as I am not a big drinker and I didn’t feel like being wasteful.  My second day haul was pretty impressive and I struggled to get everything on the train and to my friend’s house afterward.  So many books and totes!  Having driven to Chicago I did not censor myself very much.  I did take books that didn’t necessarily interest me and every tote I could get my hand on.  I attended as a blogger, but I am also a librarian and knew these books would find good homes and who doesn’t love free totes! (we also use them to give away Summer Reading Program prizes in)  That evening my friend and I had some amazing Thai food and I was able to hit the sheets a tad earlier after emptying my haul to free up my bag for the next day.

The last day of BEA was my game-on day!  My two must-have authors were Friday and both were dropping tickets at almost the same time in different areas.  My plan was to swing by and score a Sylvia Day ticket and then rush over to get in line for Justin Cronin who would be signing around 10, Sylvia’s was at three that afternoon.  I did it!  I managed to get tickets to both of my must-have authors and I was going to meet them both!!  I was so thrilled.  Standing in line for Cronin I decided to turn on my data to check my push notices only to find my husband had been stalking me on social media.  When was the last time I talked to him?  Ops.  I couldn’t remember so I placed a quick call to him and made sure things were alright at home.  They were, but I could tell someone was missing me.  I said good-bye and shortly afterwards the signing started and I chatted with people in line.  This was a pretty popular signing so they didn’t allow pictures with the author, you could take one before or after, just not with him.  That’s alright.  I got to meet Justin Cronin!  I tried to keep the fangirling internalized, but I was shaking afterwards.  He was so sweet and I am thrilled I got to talk with him.  Came up to him and he said “Of course Amy (main character’s name in the book is also Amy)”  and I told him that I am also from Iowa (where the character is also from, go look it up already, The Passage Trilogy).  He quickly started searching my name tag to find out where and I told him I lived near Iowa City (where parts of book two is located) and said how I recognized locations in the book!  He was so cool about it all and even apologized for blowing up the dome on the capital building.  Like I said he was super sweet.  Later that morning, once I was coming down from my fangirl high I walked through the booth again and saw him sitting there with his handler.  Just sitting there !  Of course I found something very interesting to look at and tried to work up the courage to talk to him.  He started to leave, I followed and said ‘ Excuse me Mr. Cronin, but would take a selfie with me’.  He said yes and the rest is history (picture below).  That totally made my day and I will be gushing over it for some time.

My next signing was Sylvia Day at three so I bummed around the booths and tables picking up what ever caught my fancy.  I did manage to stop for food on Friday and filled up my suit case fairly early.  A lot of the booths started packing up and giving away early in the afternoon.  Before I knew it I was in line to meet Ms. Day.  This was probably the longest line I had been in and I was shocked to learn that I was surrounded by a ton of authors who were just as excited to meet Ms. Day as I was.  The woman who I had been chatting with for several lines that day ended up leaving early as her friend scored her a signed book early and she needed to leave for the author’s tea (a $ ticketed session).  She turned to me and gave me her ticket and that is how I ended up with two signed copies of One With You by Sylvia Day!!!  I will be giving the second copy away on this blog so be sure to keep an eye out for more information.

After that signing and two more passes around the floor I decided it was time to go.  I was a little sad that it had all passed so quickly, but also ready for it all to be over.  I still had a Science Fiction Writers of America book signing that night where I got to meet John Scalzi!!!  As well as two more days of fun with my college girlfriend.  I wrestled my bag home and headed back downtown for the signing and another ride back to Oak Park for the night.  I was beat.  My friend had her own event that night and I was on my own to start organizing my books and packing everything away that I would no longer need.

The rest of the trip was just normal sight-seeing (and a trip to Ikea!).  We had some great food, I got to treat my friend to our favorite Turkish restaurant and she gave me a tour of where she works.  The next day we checked out the stores in her town and had lunch around the time of a very sad phone call from someone’s husband wondering if his wife was ever going to come home.

I want to thank my friend again for inviting me to stay with her.  She not only saved me a ton of money, but make this trip even more memorable!  I will definitely be back for another girl’s weekend where we can see more of the sights around Chicago and perhaps another trip to Ikea…

Last week was the trip of a lifetime for me. I do hope to attend another BEA, but probably not next year.  New York intimidates me and I don’t think I feel comfortable going to that city on my own, maybe with my husband.  It doesn’t matter really as next year’s conference is a bit later and my library’s Summer Reading Program will have started and I’ve been informed not to take vacation at that time.  Quite frankly though I managed to bring home so much stuff that I think I’ll probably not be through all the books I snagged this year.  So maybe in a couple of years.  If you get the chance to attend the Bookexpo of America go.  You will not regret it for one instant.  This conference is a bookish person’s version of heaven and I loved every single minute of it!

Pictures!

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Happy Blogiversary & Giveaway Winner!

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Greetings everyone!  Two years ago today Read What I Like went live.  It seems hard to believe it has been so long, it might feel longer simply because I have been reviewing books since 2012, please if we are friends on Goodreads Do NOT go and read any of those old reviews…  Thank goodness most of them were short is all I have to say.  I’ve enjoyed blogging plan to continue.  Like I’ve said before even if no one reads my reviews or bookish posts I am mainly doing this for myself.  I am of course delighted though that so many of you take the time to read what I have to say and find it entertaining.

For my third year of book blogging I promise to continue to post my honest opinions of what I read and will work to keep the posts coming a little more regularly this year.  I feel like my reading slump might be ending so hopefully that will help.  Read What I Like will be attending the Book Expo of America this year.  I look forward to sharing all kinds of fun posts and giveaways afterwards.  I am going to simplify a bit this year and focus mainly on the reading and less about the challenges.  I need to also work out a schedule to go around the blogs I follow and read/comment more and will focus on that instead.

Thank you all for the support these two years. Here is to another great year of reading!

 

Did you think I forgot something?!  I haven’t.

I would also like to congratulate Marty C. on winning the blogiversary giveaway!  I will be getting you coloring book and Turkish good luck charm out to you shortly.  Thank you to all who entered.

 

 

 

2015 End of Year Survey

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Hosted by The Perpetual Page-Turner

I saw some of my fellow blogger posting this today and thought it looked fun and an interesting way to evaluate the year.  So I decided to put off reading for a few more hours and join in.

2015 Reading Stats

Number of Books Read: 87

Number of Re-Reads: 1

Genre Most Read: Romance

Best in Books

Best book read? 

Eighth Grave After Dark (Charley Davidson, #8) This was a tough call.  There were 17 books that I gave 5 star reviews to, but after reviewing the few standout’s reviews I have to go with this being the best book I read in 2015.

Book you were exited about & didn’t love?

The Rook (The Checquy Files, #1) I even started out my review that I was so excited about this book.  I struggled through 200 page of this book and DNF.  It was billed for the next great read for Harry Potter fans, it was not.

Most surprising book, good or bad, read in 2015?

The Diary of Adam and Eve This book surprised me by how much I truly enjoyed it.  I am not one to read “classics” of any sort, but this book was delightful and made me want to read some more of Twain’s work.

Book most pimped?

The Martian If you follow my Top Ten Tuesday posts this book will be very familiar to you.  There are other books I talk about frequently too, but when I take into account Facebook and library pimping this book is the hands-down winner.  I’m thinking it had to do with the movie coming out this year.  If you haven’t read it yet go do so now!

Favorite new-to-me author?

Sarah J. Maas Sarah J. Maas.  This one was tough, I also really enjoyed John Scalzi and George R.R. Martin, but when I look into who I read most of the three, Maas wins.  I LOVE her Throne of Glass series and think it might even be better than Martin’s Game of Thrones (I know that’s not the series’ name, but it is easier to remember).  Her world is much more approachable and far less frustrating.  Scalzi I’ve only read one book of something I hope to rectify this year.

Book I could not put down?

This one is tough.  Normally I have a handful of books that I’ve read in a year, but this year I suffered from a reading slump and everything seemed to take forever to read.  So while there were many books I enjoyed all of them had a tough time keeping my attention this year.  Hopefully 2016 is better.

Book most likely to be re-read?

Redshirts There are several books I read this year that I plan on re-reading, not that I’m a big re-reader mainly just series I own so I can justify buying them…  This book though I plan to go out and buy my own copy so I can re-read it in the future.  I’m a huge Trekkie and this book was perfect, simply perfect!

Favorite cover?

The Time Garden: A Magical Journey and Coloring Book  This was another tough call as there are several lovely covers on my read list for the year, and yes I almost picked The Martian again.  This however is my first coloring book and I thought the cover was beautiful and has the added bonus that I can make it more lovely…or leave it perfect as is.

Most memorable character?

I would have to say the Game of Thrones characters had me thinking about them the most while reading and for some time afterward.  Of them all Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen were my favorite.

Most beautifully written?

The Diary of Adam and Eve Okay there really isn’t a contest here.

Most thought-provoking/life-changing?

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)  This book fits the bill on both points.  It was definitely thought-provoking and had me obsessed with this new series.  It was also life changing because this book saved the high fantasy genre for me. I was burned by The Lord of the Rings and spent a long time shying away from the genre.  This book taught me that there are high fantasy books that I will enjoy.

Book I can’t believe it too me this long to read?

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, #1) Of all the books I read this year this was the one I put off the longest.  Which makes it even more disappointing that I didn’t enjoy it.  Just goes to show you that sometimes fate if trying to tell you something if a book isn’t a priority…

Favorite quote?

The Goldfinch “Every new event—everything I did for the rest of my life—would only separate us more and more: days she was no longer a part of, an ever-growing distance between us. Every single day for the rest of my life, she would only be further away.” from The Goldfinch    

This one was really difficult, if you would like to read other quotes I enjoyed check out Top Ten Tuesday: Quote Me

Shortest & Longest?

2015 long-short

Book that shocked me most?

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography Not for the subject matter, but for the fact that I enjoyed a biography so much.  I’m not a non-fiction reader and I zipped through this book in a couple of days.  I guess it could have also qualified as one I couldn’t put down.  Also a fun format with the choose your own adventure.

OTP of the year?

Dragonbane  (Dark-Hunter #25; Lords of Avalon, #4; Were-Hunter, #9, Hellchaser, #6) & Eighth Grave After Dark (Charley Davidson, #8) Okay I’m not sure I get what this means, but after some very brief internet research I’m thinking it has something to do with world I love most for the characters.  If that is the case it is a tie between these two series.  The characters are what make these series work for me.

Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship?

Eighth Grave After Dark (Charley Davidson, #8) Charley and Cookie.  Being a reader of mainly romance books most of the relationships I read about are romantic one.  I have however always enjoyed the dynamics and humor of these two.

Favorite book by an author I’ve read before?

Shadows Strike (Immortal Guardians, #6)  I could have easily picked Kenyon’s Dragonbane, but I went with this one because while I have really enjoyed this author since I found her, this is the first five-star rating I gave her.  Great book.

Book I read based upon recommendation?

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)  This one was recommended to me by several people so it wins for sheer frequency.

Best world building?

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) & Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1) Tie between these two, because duh…

Made me smile?

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography I even say in my review that I finished this book with a smile on my face, so it wins.

Made me cry?

The Goldfinch  True story.  I listen to this one in audio format and  began it during sheep shearing season.  Not to spoil the plot, but there is a very intense loss early in the book that I identified with deeply.  So there I am, out in my pasture with a sheep pinned to the wall by my knees as I cut off all her wool with hand scissors bawling my eyes out.  I’m talking big ugly cry where I can’t even catch my breath.  Poor ewe probably thought I lost it, I imagine her thinking what the hell is her problem I’m the one getting nicked here.  There were others where I shed a tear or two, but this one hit me the hardest.

Most unique?

Hillary Clinton Haiku: All Things Hillary in Zen-like Bites Haiku poetry book about Hillary Clinton,  yep can’t get much more unique than that.

Made me Mad?

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, #1) Simply because it was such a disappointment and took me so long to read.

 

Blogging and Bookish life in 2015

New Favorite Book Blog?

Oh I don’t know.  There has to be one…  Perhaps it was yours!  I’ve not been good about seeking out other blogs this year.

Favorite review I wrote?

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2) Personally I don’t have a favorite review that I wrote ,  so I am going to pick the review that received the most likes and comments.  This one is the winner.

Best discussion about a non-review post?

Bookish Thoughts: Bully Authors was the most liked, talked about and shared post of my year. Unfortunately.

Best event I participated in?

No contest here.  Going to see my favorite author Sherrilyn Kenyon for the book launch of Dragonbane was a dream come true.  You can read about it in Monday Morning Check-In: Dragonbane Signing.

Best blogging moment?

Giving away a signed copy of Dragonbane.  It was so much fun to do that for another fan!

Most challenging event about blogging this year?

See the link to the post in the answer for best discussion.  Having an author that wasn’t happy with my review track me down to work was not only challenging it was a bit frightening.  Result was no more posting reviews to Amazon.

Post I wish got more love?

Oh I don’t know, any of them…

Best bookish discovery?

Hmm.  IDK Star Trek graphic novels?

Did I complete my reading goals?

No.  I even revised my Goodreads challenge twice so I could get the shiny little badge for my profile.  No. More. Reading. Challenges.

Looking Ahead

Book I didn’t get to that is priority in 2016?

The Shadows (Black Dagger Brotherhood #13) There are several books that I didn’t get to that I wanted to, but I selected this one because it is the one that I am most nervous to read.  I so want to like it, but I’m afraid I won’t.  Will read it this year!

2016 I’m looking most forward to?

The Dirt on Ninth Grave (Charley Davidson, #9) As of this posting THIS is the book I’m most looking forward to reading.  Coming soon!!!

Series I’m looking for ending or next book?

See Above.

One bookish goal I hope to meet this year?

I really, really, really want to go to BEA in Chicago.  Only need to raise $1000 first.  It will happen. Finger’s crossed.

2016 I’ve already read?

The Good, the Bad, and the Vampire (Dead in the City, #4) Finished up this ARC on 12/31 and posted the review this morning.

Well this took a lot longer than I thought it would, but it was totally worth it.  I look forward to going through the other participant’s surveys.  Tomorrow.  Happy New Year everyone and Happy Reading!