What’s on my (mostly virtual) nightstand? 1-22-12

I am in Dallas at the American Library Association Midwinter Convention. Connectivity is decent, so this post is coming to you from my room, and not from the hotel bar. I’m not sure whether that’s the good news or the bad news.

The biggest problem with any kind of ALA Conference is the exhibit hall floor. The exhibits are miles and miles of carpet over concrete, and endless walking. There is no thrill of victory, there is only the endless agony of the feet.

And, because I want to get on more publishers’ direct lists for reviews, I left my card at every fiction publisher’s booth…and I picked up Advance Reading Copies. Well, I couldn’t very well say I wanted to review their books without actually picking up some books to review, now could I?

I just took a look at what’s on my TBR (is that To Be Read or To Be Reviewed?) list for January 31 and February 1 and wanted to avert my eyes. Then I scrolled through the rest of February and decided it’s not so bad after all. There’s a lot for 1/31 and 2/1, but not much after. I’ll catch up. But let’s just deal with the 1/31 books this week. February is a whole other month, right?

How to Dance with a Duke by Manda Collins caught my eye on NetGalley because the heroine is a wallflower and a bluestocking and involved an exclusive academic society. It reminded a tiny bit of Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody Emerson books. Whether the heroine does or not, well, the reading will be the proof of that.

Horizon is book 3 in Sophie Littlefield’s Aftertime series. Aftertime is a dystopian series about one of the few survivors of the zombie apocalypse, and I heard a lot of terrific things about the series. When this book popped up on NetGalley, I grabbed it. But in my usual completist fashion, I need to read through the series to get to it, so before Horizon, there is Survivors (prequel novella), Aftertime, and Rebirth ahead of me.

And slightly out of the usual for me, I have The Mountain of Gold by J.D. Davies. This is adventure on the high seas, similar to Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander series, which I read and loved, all 20 books of it. The difference is that O’Brian’s series took place during the Napoleonic Wars, and Davies series concerns the Restoration period, about a century and a half earlier. Yes, I said series. The Mountain of Gold is the second book. I still need to read the first book Gentleman Captain. (At least I don’t have to worry about running out of time on The Mountain of Gold from NetGalley. I found a print ARC at the conference.)

As I expected I haven’t been able to take many books off my nightstand while I’ve been at the conference. Too many meetings, too little time.

I did finish up Todd Grimson’s Stainless, because I started it on the plane from Atlanta. The story was weird, mostly in a good way. Obsessive love, obsessive hate and an endless quest to feel anything at all make for quite a story. I’m reviewing this for Book Lovers Inc, and I’ll write it up after I get home.

I’m in the middle of The Canvas Thief by P. Kirby, and so far, I like it better than a lot of the other reviewers did.  I’ve also finished The Stubborn Dead by Natasha Hoar, and that review will be up early this week. My short take on The Stubborn Dead is that it is excellent but too darn short!

I’ll need to pick one of the ARCs off the pile for at least part of the trip home. It is so annoying when they make me turn off my iPad. It’s not just any electronic device–it’s a book!

Tomorrow is Dreamspinner’s turn on Ebook Review Central, with a whopping 59 titles for December 2011. Don’t forget to tune in!