Stacking the Shelves (125)

Stacking the Shelves

In my template for Stacking the Shelves, I have “XXX” to mark the place of my commentary. I live in fear that one Saturday I’m going to publish the post with that “XXX” still in place. And I have had Saturdays when the “XXX” was more cogent than anything I might otherwise say. Hopefully this isn’t one of them.

After finishing Hush Hush by Laura Lippman earlier this week and loving it, I decided that I wanted to read the middle books in her Tess Monaghan series. So I went a bit crazy with the library ebook site, or I tried to. I have access to two local libraries, one because I live in the district, and the big one next door because I pay for it. One problem, and its a big one. My local library has had some serious funding issues over the years, so their collection is not as robust as I would like. The big library next door does a much better job (they have a much bigger budget) but I can only check out 5 ebooks at a time. And since I can’t return ebooks early, this is a serious limitation for me. Also drives me crazy. I understand that usage is greater than can be supported, and that everyone is looking for ways to keep from breaking the bank, but 5 is just too low of a limit. At least for this volume consumer.

C’est la (in this case slightly frustrating) vie.

For Review:
All the Wild that Remains by David Gessner
A Blink of the Screen by Terry Pratchett
Claimed (Servants of Fate #2) by Sarah Fine
Cowboy Heaven (Cowboy Heaven #1) by Cheryl Brooks
The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg
The Fifth Heart by Dan Simmons
Grave Phantoms (Roaring Twenties #3) by Jenn Bennett
Hissing Cousins by Marc Peyser and Timothy Dwyer
How to Catch a Russian Spy by Naveed Jamali and Ellis Henican
Keepers by Richard Schickel
Lion Heart (Scarlet #3) by A.C. Gaughen
The Lost Boys Symphony by Mark Andrew Ferguson
Marked (Servants of Fate #1) by Sarah Fine
The Mechanical (Alchemy War #1) by Ian Tregillis
Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg
Shadow Ritual by Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne
Ten Windows by Jane Hirshfield
Unchained Memory by Donna S. Frelick

Purchased from Amazon:
Cowboy Delight (Cowboy Heaven #0.5) by Cheryl Brooks
Her Best Mistake by Donna McDonald

Borrowed from the Library:
Another Thing to Fall (Tess Monaghan #10) by Laura Lippman
Charm City (Tess Monaghan #2) by Laura Lippman
The Girl in the Green Raincoat (Tess Monaghan #11) by Laura Lippman
I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman
In Big Trouble (Tess Monaghan #4) by Laura Lippman
The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman
The Sugar House (Tess Monaghan #5) by Laura Lippman

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 1-11-15

Sunday Post

It’s Sunday and it’s freezing – do you know how your pipes are doing? We’ve lived in both Anchorage and Chicago, so it is always amusing to hear people get freaked when the temperature just drops into the 20s for a day or two someplace that normally has much better weather in the winter. (The first time I heard a freeze warning in Florida I had to pull my car over, I was laughing so hard).

But isn’t all this cold weather a perfect time to curl up with a good cat and a great book? Or the other way around, just ask the cat.

Current Giveaways:

$25 Gift Card + a copy of The Yankee Club by Michael Murphy

dirty deeds by rhys fordBlog Recap:

B Review: The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore
B+ Review: All that Glitters by Michael Murphy + Giveaway
A Review: Dirty Deeds by Rhys Ford
A Review: Digging for Richard III by Mike Pitts
B+ Review: Down and Dirty by Rhys Ford
Stacking the Shelves (117)



dreaming-of-books-2015Coming Next Week:

After the War is Over by Jennifer Robson (blog tour review)
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (review)
Windy City Blues by Marc Krulewitch (blog tour review
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (review)
Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop
City of Liars and Thieves by Eve Karlin (blog tour review)

Stacking the Shelves (111)

Stacking the Shelves

Madness in Solidar won’t be published until May, 2015, but I’ve already finished it. I was in the middle of one of this week’s books which was totally and utterly  meh (although Cass and I will probably skewer it) and I needed to read something I knew would be good. Modesitt’s Imager Portfolio is always good. If you are a fan of epic fantasy and haven’t started this series, you have plenty of time to grab a copy of Imager and get caught up.

I couldn’t resist Horrorstör. We’re moving next month and I just know there’s a trip to Ikea in our future. I need to be properly prepared. Or properly horrified.

For Review:
Cowboy, It’s Cold Outside (Montana Born Christmas #4) by Katherine Garbera
Deadly, Calm and Cold (Collectors #2) by Susannah Sandlin
Epitaph by Maria Doria Russell
The Hanged Man by P.N. Elrod
Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix
I Am Sophie Tucker by Susan and Lloyd Ecker
Long Walk Home (River Bend #5) by Lilian Darcy
Madness in Solidar (Imager Portfolio #9) by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
Officer Elvis (Darla Cavannah #1) by Gary M. Gusick
Phoenix Legacy (Phoenix Institute #2) by Corrina Lawson
Phoenix Rising (Phoenix Institute #1) by Corrina Lawson
Tethered by Pippa Jay
Tolkien by Devin Brown
Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman

Borrowed from the Library:
Doc by Maria Doria Russell
Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin
House Immortal (House Immortal #1) by Devon Monk

Stacking the Shelves (100)

Stacking the Shelves

After I read The Hexed this week, I realized how much I’d been missing by not getting into Graham’s Krewe of Hunters series. So I started picking them up everywhere. I think the series is going to be my next binge-reading. The Hexed was just so much chilling fun!

Not that I didn’t pick up a few other titles this week, as usual…

For Review:
After the War is Over by Jennifer Robson
Alex (Cold Fury Hockey #1) by Sawyer Bennett
Archangel’s Shadows (Guild Hunter #7) by Nalini Singh
Artful by Peter David
The Betrayed (Krewe of Hunters #14) by Heather Graham
The Bully of Order by Brian Hart
Core Punch by Pauline Baird Jones
Empire of Sin by Gary Krist
Fish Tails by Sherri S. Tepper
Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer
Hope Burns (Hope #3) by Jaci Burton
House of the Rising Sun (Crescent City #1) by Kristen Painter
Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott
Lives in Ruins by Marilyn Johnson
Mort(e) by Robert Repino
Martyr (John Shakespeare #1) by Rory Clements
A New York Christmas by Anne Perry
One of Us by Tawni O’Dell
Reaper’s Stand (Reapers MC #4) by Joanna Wylde
The Red Book of Primrose House (Potting Shed #2) by Marty Wingate
Ryder (Ayesha Ryder #1) by Nick Pengelley
Spirited Away (Psychic Detective #3) by Angela Campbell
Truth or Dare (Dare to Love #1) by Mira Lyn Kelly

Purchased from Amazon:
Kodiak’s Claim (Kodiak Point #1) by Eve Langlais
The Majat Testing by Anna Kashina
Sacred Evil (Krewe of Hunters #3) by Heather Graham
Unbound by Cara McKenna (review here)

Borrowed from the Library:
The Evil Inside (Krewe of Hunters #4) by Heather Graham
The Heart of Evil (Krewe of Hunters #2) by Heather Graham
Phantom Evil (Krewe of Hunters #1) by Heather Graham

Stacking the Shelves (72)

Stacking the Shelves

A slow week. I’m trying to find things more “resistible”, but it may also be that there wasn’t much new listed at NetGalley and Edelweiss.

We all have our temptations. It could be booze, it could be drugs. For me, it’s books. These were all ebooks. I want to read them all, not necessarily own them all.

For Review:
Breakaway Hearts (Kelly Brothers #2) by Crista McHugh
Four Friends by Robyn Carr
Heart of Stone (Gargoyles #1) by Christine Warren
Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space by Lynn Sherr
Steal Me, Cowboy (Copper Mountain Rodeo) by Kim Boykin

Borrowed from the Library:
Dark Matter: Reading the Bones edited by Sheree R. Thomas
Futureland by Walter Mosley
If Kennedy Lived by Jeff Greenfield

You Have No Idea

You Have No Idea by Vanessa and Helen Williams  may be the perfect book for Mother’s Day reading. Why?

As the long, but very accurate subtitle says, it’s about “a famous daugher, her no-nonsense mother, and how they survived pageants, Hollywood, love, loss (and each other)”

This story is both autobiography and biography, as Vanessa and Helen take turns writing about their own lives, and then say what they did, and more importantly, how they felt, as they weathered the storms of their life together.

Because there were definitely storms. Some were the typical battles between teenage daughters and their moms. And college-aged young women and their moms.

And then, there’s the big, famous one. Which, when you read the Williams’ story, actually started because a typical college-aged young woman wanted to prove her independence. And it came back to haunt her at the worst possible time. Doesn’t it always?

Reading the events of Vanessa Williams’ life pre-Miss America, it’s easy to see the events from her perspective. A young woman looking for scholarship money, she entered the contest thinking she didn’t have much of a chance against the veterans of the pageant-circuit. Then she won, and her life changed forever. Fame, fortune and notoriety, all embodied in those words, “There she is, Miss America.”

The first African-American Miss America. The first Miss America to receive death threats. The first Miss America to resign after nude photographs of her were published in Penthouse.

The autobiography she wrote with her mother Helen is not just about her year as Miss America, and the aftermath. It’s about how she pulled herself up afterwards.

Vanessa Williams had always intended to be on Broadway. She never meant to be a pageant queen. The story is about picking herself up, dusting herself off, and getting her dream back. No matter how many detours it takes.

If you detour often enough, the wreckage isn’t even in your rear-view mirror any longer.

Reality Rating B+: I read this pretty much straight through, which isn’t something I often do for biography, so that’s a big plus. The parts where Helen and Vanessa (I can’t call them both Ms. Williams, it’s just confusing) gave different perspectives on the same events, was absolutely fascinating! Being a daughter and not a mother, I saw Vanessa’s side so easily, I wonder more what my mom was thinking about some of the things I did at those same points.

I really felt for both of them at the sudden loss of Mr. Williams. I lost my own dad in similar circumstances, and I teared up in those scenes.

There’s a lesson in Vanessa Williams’ story, one that made me think. When those photos were taken, she trusted the person who took them, and assumed they’d never come to light. If she hadn’t become famous, they would probably have been lost forever. They only had value because she became famous. She (and I) grew up at a time when one’s youthful excesses were not recorded. No Facebook, no cellphone cameras. You embarrassed yourself in front of your friends and they would probably remember, but there wouldn’t be any actual evidence to haunt you 5 or 25 years later.

Today, with Facebook and cellphone cameras the Wayback Machine, does anything ever really go away? Especially the stuff that you really wish would?

***Disclaimer: I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own.

If you want to join this month’s discussion of You Have No Idea on the BlogHer Book Club, you can join the discussion by following this link to the Book Club. If you want to connect with Vanessa Williams, you can connect with her on Twitter at @vwofficial, or by liking her Facebook page.