Friday Face-Off: Year of the “Rat”

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It’s time again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is: Chinese New Year – Year of the Rat

I thought I’d take this broadly/slightly sideways and look at a cover featuring a mouse–who would probably be offended to be called a rat!  I thought of Tucker Mouse, most famously from A Cricket in Times Square, but my favorite of the series is Tucker’s Countryside.  And it seems appropriate to pick the book with his name in the title!

This cover is fun–it’s an action scene and Tucker is front and center.  Though he’s not looking his best.  He may even look a bit rat-like!

Continue reading “Friday Face-Off: Year of the “Rat””

Blog Hop: Reading at Work?

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is:  Do you thing that readers make better employees, as opposed to non-readers? Why or why not?

My first thought on this question was…I don’t really see how the two ideas connect?  Unless you’re working in a job where a knowledge of books is particularly relevant (a school, a library or a bookstore seem like the most obvious examples), I’m not sure there’s any direct connection to whether someone likes to read and whether they’re skilled at their job.

I think reading is one way people can grow, gaining knowledge, new perspectives and greater empathy.  But it’s not the only way.  And I don’t think a love of reading automatically indicates higher intelligence over non-readers–again, there are  other ways smart people may choose to spend their time.

Good reading comprehension skills, the kind that they test on the SAT, are one skill that’s useful for employees, especially in any job with any element of admin.  I work in marketing and I’ve sent a LOT of emails over my career, and the ability to understand an email and to write a clear one back is in fact really helpful.  There probably is a correlation between people with good reading comprehension and people who love to read.  But–it’s just one skill, and it also feels like I’m really parsing this question to get to this point.  Also, many, many other things (work ethic, integrity, knowledge re: their actual job tasks) go into making someone a good employee.

After all that–I will say that I personally like working with readers because it gives me something to talk to them about.  Although when I think about it, my friends tend to be readers.  With the co-workers I’ve been closest too, we’ve usually bonded about something else; mostly the job, or occasionally geek TV shows.

So I guess that all adds up to a “no, not really” for this question!

Friday Face-Off: Star Trek Lives

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It’s time again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is: Vintage sci fi – “Live long and prosper.”

With a prompt like that, clearly I have to share a Star Trek cover!  To keep it appropriately vintage, I went back to one of the very first Star Trek novels.  I like to think of the earliest ones as from the “Star Trek lives” era of fandom, before there was Next Generation and syndication, and Star Trek fandom seemed to involve a little more hopefulness and scrappiness–or so I suppose from the forwards I’ve read in these books.  It was before my time!

As to the actual book, I thought I’d go for the slightly ironically-named Spock Must Die! by James Blish, which holds pride of place as “Book #1” in the Star Trek novel universe.

This is the original cover, and…I have no idea what’s going on with all those blobs.  It looks like the image was damaged, except that every picture of the cover (and my copy) have the exact same damage, so…yeah, I don’t know how or why it got approved and printed that way!

Continue reading “Friday Face-Off: Star Trek Lives”

2020 Reading Challenges

A week into January, it must be time (past it, in fact!) to talk about my reading goals for the new year.  Firstly, I’ve been reading less the last couple of years than I used to, so my first goal is simply to read more this year.  I’m setting a goal of 125 books (print or audio).  That’s a jump from the last two years, when I read about 100 books each year, but much lower than when I used to clock in around 200.  I’m hoping it will help motivate me to take the time to read more.

Now onto the specific challenges…

The Phantom of the Opera Reading & Viewing Challenge
Host: Tales of the Marvelous
Goal: Lon Chaney Level

First and foremost, I am hosting a challenge this year, focusing on the many versions of the Phantom of the Opera, seeing as my own version is coming out in the second half of the year.  I’m targeting the second level for myself, the Lon Chaney Level.  I’d like to reread Susan Kay, rewatch Webber’s 25th anniversary play, and perhaps rewatch Lon Chaney.  That would put me on track for one version of each type (book, play, movie), though I’d also like to seek out some new book retellings too.  We’ll see how the year goes–and you can of course still sign up for this challenge too!

Diversity  Reading Challenge
Host: Celebrity Readers
Goal: 18 Books

More diverse reading seems to be my perennial goal; this will be my fourth or fifth time with this challenge.  I’m pleased to have found a hosted challenge I like this year, over at Celebrity Readers.  I’m not doing the mini-challenge, with a monthly theme, but I like the overall challenge.

Tackle My TBR Reading Challenge
Host: Kimberly Faye Reads
Goal: 34 books

I’ve been keeping a running “To Be Read” list in my phone for, I don’t know, a few years now?  The thing is, I very rarely actually hunt up a book from the list and read it!  So I decided to set that goal for this year, to start reading at least some of that list.  To make it easier, I transferred the whole thing over to Goodreads, so that when I’m staring at a title I don’t even recognize, I can easily click into a plot summary and possibly figure out why I added the book to begin with (and get excited about reading it!)  I currently have 68 books on the list, so my goal is to read 34 books, half of the total–though probably more will be added to the list as the year goes on!  I’m joining the Tackle My TBR Reading Challenge, and my goal puts me in the First Down Level.

Those are all my goals for this year – more on quantity than specific focus, which is a bit different than usual.  We’ll see how that turns out!

Do you have reading goals for the year?  I’d love to hear about them!

2019 Reading Round-Up

It’s the beginning of 2020, so that means it time to look back at the best, the worst and the sometimes weird of my 2019 reading. I always enjoy looking back and invariably discovering I read more really good books than I think.  January books seem very, very long ago, and I like the reminder.

1) Best of…
I’ve been splitting my “Best of” books for the past several years, so that I can highlight the ones that were best in very specific ways.

1A) Best Premise: Every Day by David Levithan – I was so intrigued by the concept of a lead character who enters a new body every day, and I really enjoyed how it was explored in this first book.  The rest of the trilogy was more mixed, but I still found that premise so fascinating.

1B) Best World Building: Jane of Lantern Hill by L. M. Montgomery – It might be odd to give this one to a book that isn’t sci fi or fantasy; it’s also the only re-read on the list, but I just loved the way Montgomery described the world of Lantern Hill and the people there.

1C) Best Romance: I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn – This was an adorable, delightful romance with a young adult couple who used words and were honest about their feelings.  Also, I never particularly liked mochi, the Japanese dessert, until I read this book and she made it sound so good!

1D) Best Hero(ines): Heroine Complex and Heroine Worship by Sarah Kuhn – Sarah Kuhn is clearly my new star author, because I also thoroughly enjoyed her superheroine series.  Besides Evie and Aveda as awesome lead characters, they’re surrounded by a whole lot of other cool women doing interesting things.  I loved that. Continue reading “2019 Reading Round-Up”

2019 Reading Challenges: Final Results

Happy 2020!  The start of a new year means looking back at 2019’s reading, to see how I did on my reading challenges.  I read a total 105 books this year, similar to last year, lower than some of my previous, far more reading-extensive years.  Let’s see where those books fell in my reading challenge categories…

Nonfiction Reading Challenge
Host: Doing Dewey
Goal: 12 Nonfiction Books/At least one book for each “century” of the Dewey Decimal system

I completed my goals for this challenge by last October, but I continued reading a handful of nonfiction books in the last quarter of the year.  I far exceeded my goal number, so apparently my total reading is down compared to earlier years, but nonfiction is up.

  1. We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee (590.73)
  2. Level Up Your Life by Steve Kamb (158.1)
  3. Through Lover’s Lane by Elizabeth Rollins Epperly (813.52)
  4. Packing for Mars by Mary Roach (571.09)
  5. Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence (028.9)
  6. Love for Imperfect Things by Haemin Sunim (294.35)
  7. The Creative Life by Julia Cameron (818.54)
  8. Do Nothing by Siroj Sorajjakool (299.51)
  9. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (153.35)
  10. It’s Better Than It Looks by Gregg Easterbrook (306.09)
  11. Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin
  12. A Week at the Airport by Alain de Botton (387.73)
  13. Growing Up Again by Mary Tyler Moore (362.19)
  14. The Prodigal Tongue by Lynne Murphy (428.00)
  15. 30 Before 30 by Marina Shifrin (650.10)
  16. Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin (974.7)
  17. Alone Time by Stephanie Rosenbloom (910.40)
  18. I’ll Have What She’s Having by Rebecca Harrington (791.43)
  19. Quit Like a Millionaire by Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung
  20. Living a Life That Matters by Harold S. Kushner (296.36)
  21. There Are No Grown-ups by Pamela Druckerman (305.24)
  22. Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman (155.23)
  23. Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain by Elaine Fox (155.2)
  24. Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky (647.94)
  25. I Know Just What You Mean by Ellen Goodman and Patricia O’Brien (158.25)
  26. Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle by David Stashower (823.8)
  27. What Was I Thinking? 58 Bad Boyfriend Stories edited by Barbara Davilman and Liz Dubelman (306.70)
  28. The Dharma of the Princess Bride by Ethan Nichtern (791.43)

Continue reading “2019 Reading Challenges: Final Results”

Friday Face-Off: Sparkles Abound

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It’s time again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is: the festive season – a cover that is glittery or sparkling

With a prompt like that, I can’t resist sharing the covers from two of my recent releases!  Sparkles actually form a key part of the plot in The Servants and the Beast, as part of the fairy’s curse is an accumulation of sparkles gradually filling the Beast’s castle.  They even had to close one wing because it was so filled with sparkles!

Here’s the audiobook cover – which was just out this week!

Servants is a collaboratively-written novella with four other writers, but one continuous story.  We collaborated again recently to write After the Sparkles Settled, a Christmas epilogue to the story, also out this past week.  I designed the cover, modeled after the original, though less sparkly…

These were very fun stories to write, so it’s fun to have a chance to share the sparkly covers!