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It is officially fall: I have had several pumpkin spice lattes, got a mani-pedi using Essie's Wicked instead of a bright orange or pink, and slept last night with the windows open and was cold. Yay fall! Yay! Soon it will be baked potato weather, too, and time for baked apples and roasted squash and roasted vegetables and after-supper mugs of hot tea and sweaters. I am pretty excited to pull out my favorite sweater.

Now: books! A while back, I had the pleasure of copyediting a book that I enjoyed reading. Sometimes the books I copyedit (for private clients or for publishers) are not quite to my personal taste. Hey, what are you going to do? Not everyone likes everything. But, luckily for me, when I copyedit for Baen, I pretty much always am working on books I enjoy!

Often I buy the books I enjoyed working on. The one I'm staring at right now, realizing I never talked about it, is Grand Central Arena by Ryk E. Spoor. It's standalone SF, about the test flight of a faster than light drive that fails, and transports the crew on the ship to a place they learn is called "the Arena," and there's no way to get home (or get out of the Arena) without either declaring allegiance to one of the alien groups also there, or beating the crap out of a bunch of aliens so they can be declared their own faction and have autonomy.

I can't say this is a perfect book by any stretch of the imagination (find me a perfect book, though, seriously), but I really enjoyed it -- the descriptions of space, a lot of the dialogue, the action sequences! What I really liked was more of a background point -- the exploration of the Arena itself, and the way that even though it's the setting, it's also a character, and never explained so much as to take away its mysteriousness.

I've never read anything else by this guy, but I have his first novel, which I downloaded for free from the Baen website, tucked away for after I finish the bulk of the work I have to do on the sequel to Salt and Silver - slash - when I go on vacation at the end of September.

I've also got my copy of Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien, which looks good!

I did open up Heist Society by Ally Carter. It looks like it's cute, but I expect a lot more from a book about thieves -- I was disappointed almost immediately by the lack of details about the thieving and cons. One of the highlights of books and movies (and TV shows!) about thieving and cons are the asides to the consumer with notes about the way things are "really" done -- think of the voice over about how to be a spy on Burn Notice, or the way they structure Leverage. It's a little harder to pull off in a book -- but Elizabeth Scott did it really well in Stealing Heaven. Too bad for Ally Carter that she is no Elizabeth Scott. I'm going to press on, though, because it's a cute premise and maybe it will get better.

Although... I'm definitely giving up on The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting. I haven't even gotten to the plot yet, but I can't suspend my disbelief long enough to get there. Kimberly Derting just did not convince me that the teenage heroine really has no idea what it could possibly feel like to have a crush on someone else. Even if the heroine really never had a crush on anyone before this point, has she never read a book or seen a movie or watched a television show? Okay, maybe she's never read a romance novel or a YA romance (really?) and maybe she never read the Harry Potter books (??!!!), or watched a Disney movie (possibly more believable, if her parents have Taken A Stand), or... yeah, I can't even keep going. It's just way too unbelievable. I could buy that she's never experienced the feelings for herself before, but to not even realize that she has a crush, that the tingling, stomach butterflies, new attraction, etc., logically add up to having a crush?

Even then, I guess I could believe it, if the author did it well and convincingly. But this isn't convincing. And if the author can't even pull off this, one of the first scenes in the book, how is she going to pull off the rest of the (cool-sounding!) story?

I'm just going to set it aside and maybe one day, if I'm feeling more forgiving, I'll give it another shot. Maybe it gets better? I want to believe that, but I don't have the free time to spend indulging books that still haven't grabbed me by page thirty, or whatever. Especially when instead of reading it, I could be reading really good books, or knitting Olatz with the repurposed purple yarn [personal profile] anatsuno gave me! My digital camera is down for the count right now, but as soon as I get a new one, I will be taking a huge number of pictures and posting them.
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Remember when my dear friend [ profile] doll_revolution sent me rhubarb for my birthday? I used it to make a rhubarb coffee cake for my birthday cake, which was delicious -- and I chopped the leftover pound of rhubarb into 1" pieces and froze them in hopes of making jam. Well, I have the recipe for jam that I want (which is actually a rhubarb-strawberry jam originally made by [ profile] _artemis's mom), and I have the rhubarb -- and after a trip to the hardware store, I have the 4 oz jars I wanted, as well as the tongs specially made for jam-making.

Now I just need pectin. I have been to every single store in my zip code, and more than a few outside it, and no one sells pectin. I am resigned to having to order it off the internet. But then! Then I will have jam, and nothing will stop me!

Day 25 - Any five books from your "to be read" stack

Ooh, my TBR stack is huge. Plus I am currently in the middle of five different books. I never used to read more than one book at one time, but right now I have a book in the upstairs bathroom, a book in the downstairs bathroom, a book in my bag, and two books by my bed.

Okay, five books from my TBR stack (in no order), annotated:

  • Rihannsu: The Bloodwing Voyages by Diane Duane -- technically this is three books in a collection, but whatever. All bound in one paperback = one book. I've had this for months already, but I've never started it. It's so huge that it will be difficult for me to hold in my hands, much less tote around. Eventually I'm going to read it, though.

  • Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy -- this was recommended to me by a dear friend who knows the sort of thing I like, and it looks pretty amazing just from the summary (30-something Chicana woman committed to a mental institution is actually not crazy at all and is talking to two different futures -- one beautiful and one horrifying!). I am super excited to read it -- it's what I'm bringing with me on the subway the next time I go into Manhattan. (From where I live now to Union Square is about 200 pages of a paperback, so one round trip = one book.)

  • The Collector by John Fowles -- this was recommended to me as something I'd enjoy since I like Criminal Minds. I admit, I've started it a couple of times and then shunted it right back to my TBR pile. It seems sort of... masturbatory. And they didn't have shows like Criminal Minds in 1963, so I can see how a book like this would be shocking or whatever to the average person, but I'm sort of like, "Oh, it's a book about a serial killer with OCD who's kidnapped a girl to keep? Ho-hum." Eventually I'm going to read it, though.

  • Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner -- I love stuff about spies and the CIA, what do you want from me? It's totally bulletproof -- put a character in the CIA and I will read your book. (Especially if it's a romance novel. What? It's good to know yourself, right?) I'll watch any movie about the CIA, too; it is no surprise that I've seen The Good Shepherd a whole bunch of times. (Well, I'd've seen it anyway -- Alec Baldwin in a dapper hat and suit? Yes please!) Anyway, I'm looking forward to this one, but it seems like it will be a bit of a slog, so I'm sort of putting it off until I can properly sit down with it and devote some time without having to stop after an hour or two to do work or cook supper or whatever.

  • The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth -- I've read this before and loved it and don't remember anything about it. I mean, I must have been... nine? Ten? I'm looking forward to reading this again and remembering it this time (I hope!). Fighting the Nazis, here I come!!

Plus, two books from my virtual pile of pre-orders:

  • Grace by Elizabeth Scott -- by far this is the book I am most excited about this year. The eponymous main character is a suicide bomber! Who runs away! Dreaming of freedom! And it's set in a dystopian near future! And it's by Elizabeth freaking Scott, one of my top three YA authors of all time!!!!! Um, give it to me now. (You cannot hear it, but my breath has sped up just typing these words!)

  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins -- yeah, yeah, I didn't really like the first two books in the Hunger Games trilogy. So what? I still want to see where she's going with it and what she's going to do and I want to know what is actually going to happen in the canon! Plus the whole internet is reading it, and I don't want to be accidentally spoiled. Blah blah blah. Team Haymitch! (Well, and Team Cinna!!)

Okay, you guys! Now you: what is on your TBR list/pile? Even if you aren't doing the other prompts of the book meme, you should drop by and talk to me (and the other people reading this!) about what you're going to read soon -- and why!

Other days of the book meme )
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Oh, Psych. I am done watching that show -- there is enough homophobia and anti-GLBTQ sentiment in the real world. I don't need it in my entertainment, too. Last night's episode is not necessarily horrifying as a standalone episode, but in the context of the show's run... I am pretty appalled. Blah.

Day 13 - Favorite childhood book OR current favorite YA book (or both!)

You know what didn't occur to me when I was writing this meme? Just how many of my answers would be Anne of Green Gables.

An incomplete list of YA books I've read and loved, in no order:

  • Bloom by Elizabeth Scott -- the setup is similar to other YA books about sad teenage girls, but the book itself is so different, and written so well... Loved it.

  • Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott -- This is the best book Elizabeth Scott has written so far, in my opinion. It's about a teenage girl whose mom is a conwoman, and the girl works with her to run cons in small towns -- until one summer, the girl is ready for a change. Funny and painful in turns, and, of course, extremely well-written.

  • Stay With Me by Garret Freymann-Weyr -- As some of you might remember, I read every single book by Garret and wrote long posts analyzing the books and describing what I loved about them, and also what I didn't like. They were pretty critical posts, and... that's how I became friends with Garret, who I adore beyond measure! So that worked out well for me. Stay With Me is undoubtedly my favorite of her books (although My Heartbeat is also amazing, and I really enjoyed her most recent book, After the Moment as well)... Garret's books are so powerful and great -- she should really be way more popular and famous.

  • The Girl in the Box by Ouida Sebestyen -- This book is creepy, and I guess I understand why it wasn't on the shelves at any of the public libraries I frequented as a kid and teen. By today's standards, it's pretty tame, but in the 80s and early 90s, I bet it freaked some adults out.

  • Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden -- I only just read this book last year, but I really wish I'd gotten to read it as a kid. It's super dated now (and sort of ridiculous on a lot of levels), but it's also from 1982, and about two lesbians who do not die or have unhappy endings as punishment for being gay. I wish I'd gotten to read it when I was seven or nine.

  • Gravity by Leanne Lieberman -- The coming of age story of an Orthodox Jewish teen girl who is also a lesbian. The writing is clunky, the plotting is not always as tight as it could be, some of the story and character choices the author made struck me as being extremely weird, but nevertheless I really enjoyed this book.

I really wanted to add Saving June by Hannah Harrington to this list, but apparently it's not coming out until 2011! What the heck is that about? I read it and loved it back in 2008, when it was a draft, and thought it was great and enjoyable. I'm pretty eager for it to come out so that my YA-reading friends can finally read it.

One thing this book meme is making clear to me is that I need to keep better records of books I've read, because even the books I really enjoy, I can't always remember off the top of my head. Oops!

How about you guys? Which YA books are your favorites? Which books -- YA or not! -- did you really love as a youth?

Other days of the book meme )
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Everyone is doing their holiday card address book updating, and it makes me want to send out holiday cards. I celebrate, in December, the Festival of Hecate, which is a holiday that [ profile] ethrosdemon and I made up for a Harry Potter fanfic we wrote a few years ago. I decided I liked it a lot, and appropriated it to be my holiday, kind of like Festivus, but not so annoying.

I would love to send out holiday cards, but -- but I am too lazy, basically. I mean, first one has to figure out what card. Then something to write inside each card. Then to the post office. And then! Money I could be spending on new tattoos is spent to mail things.

I don't think so!

Here are three things you should know:

(1.) Today I wore a plastic necklace, and looked freaking adorable. That is the necklace I am wearing to SFWA later this month! This was just a practice run. *g*

(2.) My sister and I have decided to go see an opera. [ profile] garretfw was talking about opera a few days ago, and since I've never been, I started talking about it, and now my sister and I want to go. Does anyone have suggestions for a happy opera that is not about infidelity? We are very picky. Nothing unhappy, nothing about infidelity. I feel like that cuts out 99% of all operas right there! I think we're doing to end up at die Walkuere, but we're open to your thoughts.

(3.) Bloom by Elizabeth Scott is up there in the top five books I've read this year, nestled right near My Heartbeat and Stay With Me by Garret Freymann-Weyr. Seriously. I can't believe how good it is; my mind is blown.


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anna genoese

November 2015

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