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!




Impossible Mission

I plan to carry out an impossible mission in this post. Not the kind where the “Secretary will disavow all knowledge of my actions,” although there will be some “Secretaries” involved. So this mission will not involve either Peter Graves or Tom Cruise. Nor will there be any spies.

By the time you read this, I will either be flying between Atlanta and Dallas, or already in “The Big D” and in the midst of the madness that comprises the American Library Association Midwinter Conference. A madness that is only exceeded by the insanity of the American Library Association Annual Conference, which will be in hot, dry Anaheim California, in June. Look out, Mickey Mouse!

ALA Midwinter originally came into being for the Association to conduct its business. And there are a LOT of committee meetings. But since everyone was there anyway, the vendors who sell to libraries also come to the conference to exhibit their latest and greatest. The publishers come to promote their new books. There are usually LOTS of Advance Reading Copies free for the taking. Stacks and stacks of them!

About that impossible mission? Attempting to make my ALA Midwinter Schedule sound interesting. Please don’t stop reading now!

I said that ALA conducts a lot of its business during the Midwinter conference. I am proud to say that I am part of that business. This year, I am the Chair of the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services Affiliate Relations Committee. Whew, that’s a mouthful. It’s abbreviated as ALCTS ARC. You can imagine why.

Being Chair of an ALCTS committee means that I go to the ALCTS Board meeting on Friday afternoon and Monday afternoon. This year, ALA is promoting the theme of “Transforming Libraries” and a big part of that theme is “Transforming Collections”. ALCTS, well, remember that word “Collections” in the name? We’re all over that “Collections” thing. So we’ll be talking about our role in ALA’s initiative.

The Affiliate Relations Committee is something different. We gather information about continuing education that happens all around the country, and distribute it to everyone. So that folks in California know what’s going on in Maryland and vice-versa. You might think that’s not all that relevant, but with webinars, location is not quite the factor it used to be. And if someone in Oregon knows of a good speaker on a hot topic, the speaker might very well be willing to travel to conduct a similar workshop. Networking is everything!

(I’ll be doing two webinars for the Maryland Library Association, one on genre selection on Jan. 31 and one on Ebook Collections on Feb. 9. The webinars are from Maryland, but I’ll be in Atlanta!)

What else will I be doing in Dallas? Seeing colleagues I only see at conference. Going to sessions on topics that interest me, like ebooks and collection development.

And oh yes, I’ll be walking the floor. Not like that. The exhibit hall floor. A chunk of the publishers I regularly cover in Ebook Review Central will be at the Conference. Kristina from NetGalley will be there. And I want to visit all the print publishers and get on their lists to get review copies, too.  There’s miles of walking in my future, but it will be so worth it.

I just have to restrain myself from bringing home too many ARCs. Those suckers are heavy.

What’s on my (mostly virtual) nightstand? 1-15-12

Martin Luther King Day is tomorrow. No mail. No school. It’s a day off for a lot of people. But I’ll be working, Galen will be working. There’s no rest for the wicked, as my mom usually says to me. (And I fully recognize the implication!)

Mid-January in this library household means one other thing–the impending doom of the American Library Association Midwinter Conference. January 20-24, this year in Dallas, Texas. At least it might be warm? (2010 was in Denver, 2013 will be in Philadelphia, this point is very much NOT moot.)

ALA Midwinter is a major household disruption. We bring out suitcases. The cats hate suitcases. The suitcases take their people away! They might have to train new staff. This is very bad.

But the conference represents major headaches all the way around. In June in New Orleans, our hotel did not have connectivity in the rooms, so I only posted once, using Galen’s iPhone as my net connection. Not fun. This conference, I admit I’m going to queue up as much as I can, just in case connectivity is a tad “iffy”.

On the one hand, plane rides are still a terrific opportunity for reading. Not to mention that lovely extra two-hour wait ahead of the flight for “security”. On the other hand, ALA conferences are a sea of Advance Reading Copies, unfortunately all print. What’s a girl to do?

I have four books to read on the airplane on my way to and from Dallas, because these are scheduled for release January 24. Except I really only have three.

Heiress Without a Cause by Sara Ramsey popped up on NetGalley as a historical romance debut that just sounded interesting. According to the blurb copy, it was selected by Barnes & Noble for an exclusive release on the NOOK beginning Jan. 23rd.

The Stubborn Dead by Natasha Hoar was featured in January 2012 print issue of RT Book Reviews as one of the five debut authors not to miss in 2012. So I couldn’t resist picking up first book, about a “rescue medium” when it appeared on NetGalley. Whether this is urban fantasy or paranormal romance or a combination, it looks like a terrific start for this new author.

Daughter of the Centaurs by Kate Klimo is the first book of the Centauriad. It’s YA and it’s something I pulled from NetGalley when I was researching YA genre lit for a table talk I did for the South Carolina Collection Development mini-conference. Since this is definitely fantasy, I’m going to give it a try.

Banshee Charmer by Tiffany Allee is the last book on my calendar for January 24. I had downloaded it from NetGalley because I liked the premise, an urban fantasy about a half-banshee detective solving a serial killer murder. Sounded cool. Then Book Lovers Inc asked me to review it for them. Cool beans, I already had it.  I’ve read it, loved it, and written both reviews already, one for my blog and one for BLI. Done and dusted. I just can’t queue anything up here until the BLI review is posted.

And now for putting the cap back on the old recap.

My review of Nick Marsh’s Soul Purpose is already scheduled to post on Tuesday. I’ll get to Past Tense after I come back from Dallas. BLI says I can have two months. I promise I won’t take anywhere near that long! Besides, Soul Purpose was too much fun for me to wait that long to read the sequel. I want to see what happens next.

And I received an unstained copy of Todd Grimson’s Stainless this week. Woo-hoo! I take one “dead-tree” book with me on the plane, so I have something to read for those horrible minutes when they make me turn off my iPad. Stainless might be it.

I also finished A Lady Awakened and Don’t Bite the Messenger from last week, so reviews for both those books will be part of this week’s postings.

Reaching back, to the Christmas Nightstand, I’m in the middle of J.L. Hilton’s Stellarnet Rebel. As a blogger, and a science fiction fan, I’m caught up in the story on multiple levels. I mean wow, living on a space habitat, kind of like Babylon 5 or Deep Space 9. And, earning your living by being a blogger, live, full-time pretty much, total life immersion blogging. 3,000 posts or 3 years until she can go back to Earth. And will she want to?

Going even further back, I took a look at the 12/17/11 Nightstand and read Forever Mine, the prequel novella to Delilah Marvelle’s Forever and a Day. Yes, I’m a completist. I have to read the whole series.

That’s all we have time for in this pre-conference madness issue of the Nightstand. We’ll see you next week, live from Dallas, hopefully not blogging from the hotel lobby. The bar, on the other hand…

Tomorrow will be the Carina Press December 2011 edition of Ebook Review Central. And it will seem like Christmas all over again.