You may or may not have noticed an absence of Romancing the Weekend last weekend – that’s because I was in Dallas at the RT Booklover’s Convention (and I don’t plan ahead). I went with my Sister-in-Law/BFF, Hannah, and we roomed with Sabrina (The Geeky Junkee), Jannelle (Jannelle Reads), and Michelle (Sporadic Liaiason).
(The view of the lobby from our room door)
There was so much going on, I don’t even know where to begin… I guess let me start with the trip to Dallas – I drove from NOLA to Houston to pick up my BFF, then from Houston to Dallas. So here I’ll address the beaver in the post title: HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THE AWESOMENESS THAT IS BUC-EE’S? I’m talking to you, Texans. Seriously, it’s awesome – all that beef jerky, barbecue, “road food”, knick-knacks, and souvenirs. (I may have purchased a necklace but I’m not confirming or denying that.)
Okay, so, the convention… it was Amazeballs! I am a very shy person, so I can say I saw a lot of authors, like Grace Draven, Molly Harper, Chloe Neill, and Patricia Briggs, but I didn’t approach them. They weren’t in a panel setting so I was too nervous to say hi. I did meet Ilona and Gordon Andrews at a panel, and Jennifer Estep, Kresley Cole, Alice Clayton, Lauren Dane, Tiffany Reisz, Victoria Dahl, and Sophie Jordan at signings – where I stared a lot but didn’t say much 😉 At one point during the week, Patricia Briggs and her husband sat down and waited in line a few feet ahead of us! They were there for hours chatting with their group, just like the rest of us. *mind blown*
In addition to my favorite authors, though, I got to meet so many bloggers – I knew Lupe from Hot Listens last year, but I got to meet her co-blogger Melanie. Melanie and I share the same birthday so we had birthday shots at the hotel bar. I also got to meet Stephanie, who was so funny and nice. I met Mandi from Smexybooks at RT in New Orleans last year, but I ended up sitting next to Tori at dinner Friday night which was a pleasant surprise. I also have to mention Felicia the Geeky Blogger, whose room was across from ours – sorry we were so loud!
I also got to meet some of wonderful women who work at Berkley and Harlequin. It was nice to put a face with the e-mails and they were so gracious and friendly.
I didn’t attend many panels this year – mostly I did the fun stuff: Gay Cards Against Humanity, Books Booze and More, Cover Model Karaoke, and of course, Entangled‘s Candy and Spoons -Last year I was the first one out at our table. This year? I won! I was so surprised, I didn’t even realize I had won It was a fierce competition; we’d been trash-talking each other all year. Someone may have left the table with a bruise…
One thing they don’t tell you about RT is that there are a lot of lines. If you want to get in to the popular events, you’ve got to get there early:
(This is the line for Saturday’s Book Fair. We were at the very front of the line, but we got there very early.)
You know what, though? I had fun doing that too. Hanging with my roomies, sending someone on “booze runs” so we could drink while we were waiting, chatting and having fun:
While we were waiting for one event, we were interviewed by Buzzfeed, and Michelle and Jannelle made the articles!!! Check it here (#9 and #15) and here (#2; #7 was my answer but I didn’t want my picture taken – shy, remember?). Now they’re #internetfamous
The books – oh the books! There were so many books, people were worried about how to get them home. And many times you had the opportunity to have the authors sign them, which was great.
The award for Best Swag goes to Jessica Clare and Jen Frederick – The Last Kiss Eos were fabulous. My kids wanted to fight me for mine when I got home I also love the pretty pink nail polish from Romance at Random.
I need to give a shout-out to one of the volunteers at the convention – Jane L. – she was EVERYWHERE! She was friendly and helpful and never seemed to be tired or grumpy. I honestly don’t know how she did it.
I have to say it was so much fun, we’re already planning for next year – in Las Vegas!! This time the husbands want to come along…
I want to end on this note: One thing I was surprised about was that I walked away from the convention with not only a sense of community, but of body-positivity and self-confidence. When I sit at home and blog or tweet, I feel like a big old ugly lump while imagining all these other bloggers/authors/readers are beautiful and perfect. Guess what? They’re not. They’re just like you and me and they come in all shapes and sizes. You’re not perfect? No one cares as long as you’re not an asshole. And it felt good to be a part of it.
I came home from RT with a bunch of books to give away. Unfortunately, I do not get paid to blog, nor am I independently wealthy, which means I’m going to space the giveaways out over the next couple of weeks so that the postage isn’t too painful for my wallet I have two giveaways today for readers with a US address (sorry international peeps), enter via rafflecopters below:
Print copies of:
Rules of Entanglement by Gina L. Maxwell;
Cat’s Lair by Christine Feehan;
An American Duchess by Sharon Page; and
Last Kiss by Jessica Clare and Jen Frederick.
I’ll also throw in a shot glass, a silly highlighter, a cup koozie, and a cup.
Bonus – an ashtray made by inmates out of a licence plate (not RT related but I’m including it anyway).
a Rafflecopter giveaway
A thumb drive from Carina Press with 18 e-books on it (epub format), including:
Radio Silence by Alyssa Cole;
Ripped by Edie Harris;
Heat Exchange by Shannon Stacey;
and Game Play by Lynda Aicher.
I’ll also throw in some lip gloss, a pair of margarita earrings, and some dog tags.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I apologize for not being here last week, but I had a huge Math exam! It’s all done now. I am back!!!
What is this feature?
This is a new feature, where you can participate, telling us your craziest confessions. Here’s how it works. Write a post about your most eccentric bookworm confession, and put your post link below. I will go around checking your blogs, and choosing the craziest bookworm confessions, and featuring them into our next post.
This feature will help create a bond between bookworms, because at the end if we don’t understand one another, then who is going to understand us? Plus we get to see how crazy we really are, and still call that normal. (haha!)
This week’s confessions:
Jade: I make sure I have a book with me everywhere I go, just in case I get the chance to do a little bit of reading whilst waiting for a friend, etc.
Ashley : I’ve been reviewing books for 2 years, and I’ve never requested an ARC. I’ve been given a few ARCs by authors, but I’ve never actually tried to get one. I’m scared of reviewing ARCs. I think it’s because I don’t like due dates or the pressure to review something. I know that I’m perfectly capable of reading a book, writing a review, and posting it on a certain date, but the thought of doing it is stressful for some reason. I should just join NetGalley and get it over with. It won’t be stressful once I’ve done it a few times.
Andrea: I’ve always had this weird habit of when I find a book that I want to read I’ll write it down in a notebook. I even have a special notebook I use that nothing else can be written in it, it’s just for my books and I’ll get kind of crazy if anyone tries to mess with it. Well, ever since I’ve started blogging and connecting with other book bloggers, I’ve began to start going to every blog page I follow and I’ll sit and write book titles into my little notebook, and the more books in there the better lol.
Lizzie: The only reason I like ebooks is because they are much more portable than physical books. I like actually feeling the pages. So I pretty much only like ebooks is because I have them with me everywhere and can easily read a chapter or two between classes. Plus people can’t bug me by asking what I’m reading!
Last Week’s question: “Do you prefer using bookmarks, or bending the book page?”
Ashley: “Bookmarks, definitely. The only time that I bend the page is when I can’t find a bookmark and don’t have time to look for one.”
Jade: “When I’m reading hard books instead of eBooks, I love using bookmarks, because I can use a different one each time and they always look really nice. The only time I ever bend the book page is to mark a book permanently to save a page with a good quote (The Fault In Our Stars has a lot of folds in it!)”
Lucy: “I hate when I loan out a book and it comes back mauled and I include bending the pages in the category of mauling. Most of my books look new from the bookstore. I wish loaning out electronic books was a little easier. I love that I always get it back and that any marks can be removed.”
Jen : “Bending the pages is a no-no for me. I get unreasonably angry and upset when I lend out my books to people and they do this to my babies. Absolutely agree!”
Andrea: “Definitely bookmarks! I’ll use whatever I can find to use as a bookmark: business cards, scraps of paper, gum wrappers, and unopened band-aids. I use the unopened band-aids the most because my kids love to play with them so there are always some lying around. When I was in grade grade school I used to dog-ear the pages, but I thought that was how you were supposed to do it because everyone else in my class did it. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I started to use a bookmark. Now that’s all I’ll use because when I started buying my own books I tried to keep them in the best possible condition”
Lizzie: “Please do not bring up bending book pages around me. I feel like I’ve been punched in the heart when I see a bent page. If I accidently bend a page, I feel terrible. I apologize to the book and ask for its’ forgiveness. I know it’s a little extreme, but hey, I love my books! And I usually use receipts as bookmarks. I used to have so many bookmarks, but I’ve somehow lost them all…”
Marsha: “I raise my hand and swear I just got the shivers like fingernails on a blackboard at the very thought of bending book pages. *visible shudder* I have a lovely collection of bookmarks from vacations, presents, saw it and just had to have it – that is the only way to mark the place in one of my books. I get violent when a book is returned to me with bent pages. My own mother used to do this and it drove me crazy. Needless-to-say, she got pretty new bookmarks every single Christmas. On the now rare occasion when I do loan out physical books, several bookmarks go with them – with stern instructions to use them or else no more books loans for you. I will be frank in that I am anal retentive about never bending or folding down book pages. Never, ever.”
Terri : “Bookmarks. I have a whole stack of them on my bookshelf. :)”
Elizabeth: “I dog-ear the pages unless I borrow from a friend. I feel badly about it, but whenever I try to use a bookmark I lose it. Maybe I should get a clippy one. It’s really bad, too, because I’m often the first person to check the book out of the library. When that happens I usually start off w/ a bookmark and good intentions, but then lose it.”
This Week’s question: “Which character would be your best friend in real life?”
Uhm, I know I am always saying “Dracula” for everything, but yeah, it is him. I actually have a feature in my blog called “If Dracula was my BFF”. Haha! He is actually quite the bookworm. If you have read the book (and not seen the movies), you know that he has a huge library in his castle, and he has read all those books.
Yesterday started banned book week, the week where book lovers across the globe come together and celebrate the “freedom to read.” Banned Books Week is the week that you say NO to censorship and YES to reading, because people can easily be sucked into “for the good of the children” and “for the good of the community” arguments…and all I want to respond with, “let them read!” So here is my TOP TEN list of the MUST READ books on the TOP 100 Most Banned / Challenged ALA List.
Top 10 Must Read Banned Books
1. Harry Potter Series
Number 1 on the Top 100 List in 2001 & 2002 – The Harry Potter series is a must read, do I really have to tell you this? The reasons for it’s banning was because of occultism and satanism.
2. Forever by Judy Blume
I read this baby when I was twelve years old and it didn’t scar me for life or turn me into a promiscuous, loose morals woman. There is — yes — sex in it!!!! The book was number 2 in the most banned book list of 2005 for offensive language and sexual content.
3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games has been on the Top Ten list of most challenge books in 2013 & 2010, challenged because of being sexually explicit (don’t remember that), unsuitable for the age group, religious viewpoint and violence. Yes, this book has a bit of violence in it – but so does the REAL WORLD. Again, do I have to tell you to read this series? I didn’t think so.
4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
This treasure is usually banned for racism and offensive language. I’m glad the people that read this book and challenged it really understood the text. Just shows off the intellect…
5. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Again, a display of the challenger’s intellect, the book is often challenged because of the offensive language and being sexually explicit. If you have ever read this book and really understood what this one is all about, well you would be shaking your head. It might not be one of my favorite books to read, it is really hard to read. But it is a must read.
6. Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
Gaining attention because of a movie that was popular in the early 2000s, Klause’s story about werewolves and love that was published way before Twilight was added to the banned list in 2001 because it was sexually explicit and unsuitable to the age group.
7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
This is a life changer type of book, the one that you read as a teenager and it makes you question life, liberty and all that existential stuff. I do recommend that this goes to an appropriate age group, like all of these books on this list. But, it’s not about censorship, it’s more about grasping the meaning. If these books are read at the right moment, they shape thinking and understanding and expose them to something real. Most of these books aren’t that violent, lewd or pornographic, which is a shame, because at least that is a reasonable reason to slap an 18+ label on it for censorship’s sake. Because, most of them will make that child think, it might not be pretty unicorns, happy rainbows, where everyone wins and triumphs as they cash in their lottery checks…but at least it’s real. At what age will a child be given “real” that is up to the parents to decide, but I know for a fact – the later in life they get real, the harder it is. But, that is my humble opinion. BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley is on the banned and challenged list most of the time, citing things like insensitivity (what is that?), nudity (is that a joke?), racism, religious viewpoint and sexually explicit content.
8. The Witches by Roald Dahl
THE WITCHES by Roald Dahl is what myself, and a few other million readers would call a literary classic, even though it is only about 30 years old (1983). Dahl’s work has been celebrated and hated since he published his first work in 1953, because Dahl wrote children’s books with an adult mind, meaning he didn’t write “down” to children. THE WITCHES is no different. Winner of numerous awards in both the U.S. and the U.K., the book is the story of a young boy who learns about witches from his grandmother and then has to later confront them. Witches hate children. Witches are quite evil. Some parents don’t like this book. A lot of parents don’t like the book, in the 90s, THE WITCHES consistently appeared on the banned and challenged list, it has dwindled down lower on the list in the 2000s, but that doesn’t mean it still isn’t controversial. The majority of the controversy comes because of the fact – well it’s about witches. And witches are naturally Satanic. So are the Smurfs by the way, if you didn’t get that memo. And when children read about Witches they might want to grow up and become a witch. Because these witches are so appealing. But, it’s also a bit scary, the witches don’t play quiddich and have cuddly friends.
9. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Another children’s classic, A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle has everything I wanted in a book when I was a child: fantasy, adventure and a girl with BRAINS! I’m not alone in my worship of this book, also. Wrinkle won the Newbery in 1963, just a year after it’s publication. The book is the story of Meg and the adventure she must go on to save her father. Her father is a scientist and his research had him discovering that the universe is under attack. Upon discovery he is taken by what is attacking the universe and Meg, her little brother, Charles Wallace and a new friend Calvin must find him. It is a wonderful story, but it is also a controversial one, appearing high on the banned and challenged lists in the 1990s. The book is considered “different” and that it undermines religious beliefs and promotes occult practices.
10. The Lorax by Dr. Suess
This one gets a BIG WTF? Right? The funny thing, it was banned in California of all places, because it painted logging in a bad way. Wouldn’t want to indoctrinate our children, would we? Because if something goes against our opinion, we must ban it.
I hope you enjoy this list, some of these books are just for enjoyment and some will change your life. The only thing they have in common is that a few people thought that these books were so bad that they must strike them from existence. Which no one has a right to do. At least not in this country. I am all about a person taking an active roll in their child’s reading life, I am a firm believer that you have to read the books before your children read them. Because there is always a time and a place. I wouldn’t hand my child IT or a Nora Roberts novel at the tender age of 8, even if she possessed the skills to read them. But, I also would not wish that those novels were banned from libraries just because my child goes there. No, it is my responsibility as a parent to watch what books or movies or video games my child rents or owns. And if there are controversial topics or things that go against my religious or political beliefs, to make another choice – do I block my child from being exposed to these “other” opinions or ideas, or do I let them make up their own minds? This is the question every parent must make and whichever way you fall on this issue, that is your right. Your opinion. But, when you try and block everyone from reading this opinion, idea or belief – well then you have a right to hear my opinion also and that is “get your narrow-minded belief system out of my sphere of existence.” Have your child take a 0 in that class if you feel that strongly, or request that your child read their own book…but don’t force the entire class, or school to bend because of your opinion. You have a right to it, but that doesn’t mean you have a right to force it on others.
Fight for the right to read.
If you think that this doesn’t happen, that there are not groups that actively try to restrict our exposure to some topics, ideas or beliefs, think again. ALA.org cites that from 2000 – 2009 there were over 5000 challenge or ban reports to the Office for Intellectual Freedom. This office is dedicated to fighting censorship and promoting intellectual freedom in libraries. It also happens quietly, a mother raises the question that the book is too gruesome for her sheltered youth, or that it promotes bad behavior or language, that a child shouldn’t read books like JUNIE B. JONES, because they might get the “wrong idea.” It doesn’t have to be some conservative Christian sect that hates homosexuals and perceives FROZEN as promoting same-sex marriage (don’t laugh – this is a true story!). A lot of the times it is just a few parents that want to protect their children from not so sparkly vampires and the parents that don’t agree with them are too scared of being perceived as bad parents to speak up against them. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
The Black Cat by Edgar Allen Poe
For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet, mad am I not –and very surely do I not dream. But to-morrow I die, and to-day I would unburden my soul. My immediate purpose is to place before the world, plainly, succinctly, and without comment, a series of mere household events. In their consequences, these events have terrified –have tortured –have destroyed me. Yet I will not attempt to expound them. To me, they have presented little but Horror –to many they will seem less terrible than baroques. Hereafter, perhaps, some intellect may be found which will reduce my phantasm to the common-place –some intellect more calm, more logical, and far less excitable than my own, which will perceive, in the circumstances I detail with awe, nothing more than an ordinary succession of very natural causes and effects.
From my infancy I was noted for the docility and humanity of my disposition. My tenderness of heart was even so conspicuous as to make me the jest of my companions. I was especially fond of animals, and was indulged by my parents with a great variety of pets. With these I spent most of my time, and never was so happy as when feeding and caressing them. This peculiar of character grew with my growth, and in my manhood, I derived from it one of my principal sources of pleasure. To those who have cherished an affection for a faithful and sagacious dog, I need hardly be at the trouble of explaining the nature or the intensity of the gratification thus derivable. There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man.
I married early, and was happy to find in my wife a disposition not uncongenial with my own. Observing my partiality for domestic pets, she lost no opportunity of procuring those of the most agreeable kind. We had birds, gold fish, a fine dog, rabbits, a small monkey, and a cat. This latter was a remarkably large and beautiful animal, entirely black, and sagacious to an astonishing degree. In speaking of his intelligence, my wife, who at heart was not a little tinctured with superstition, made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion, which regarded all black cats as witches in disguise. Not that she was ever serious upon this point–and I mention the matter at all for no better reason than that it happens, just now, to be remembered.
Pluto–this was the cat’s name–was my favorite pet and playmate. I alone fed him, and he attended me wherever I went about the house. It was even with difficulty that I could prevent him from following me through the streets.
Our friendship lasted, in this manner, for several years, during which my general temperament and character–through the instrumentality of the Fiend Intemperance –had (I blush to confess it) experienced a radical alteration for the worse. I grew, day by day, more moody, more irritable, more regardless of the feelings of others. I grew, day by day, more moody, more irritable, more regardless of the feelings of others. I suffered myself to use intemperate language to my wife. At length, I even offered her personal violence. My pets, of course, were made to feel the change in my disposition. I not only neglected, but ill-used them. For Pluto, however, I still retained sufficient regard to restrain me from maltreating him, as I made no scruple of maltreating the rabbits, the monkey, or even the dog, when by accident, or through affection, they came in my way. But my disease grew upon me–for what disease is like Alcohol!–and at length even Pluto, who was now becoming old, and consequently somewhat peevish–even Pluto began to experience the effects of my ill temper.
One night, returning home, much intoxicated, from one of my haunts about town, I fancied that the cat avoided my presence. I seized him; when, in his fright at my violence, he inflicted a slight wound upon my hand with his teeth. The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body; and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fiber of my frame. I took from my waistcoat-pocket a pen-knife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket! I blush, I burn, I shudder, while I pen the damnable atrocity.
When reason returned with the morning –when I had slept off the fumes of the night’s debauch–I experienced a sentiment half of horror, half of remorse, for the crime of which I had been guilty; but it was, at best, a feeble and equivocal feeling, and the soul remained untouched. I again plunged into excess, and soon drowned in wine all memory of the deed.
Hear the Audio Here | Read more of Poe’s short works here
The works of Edgar Allen Poe are within the public domain.
Share With Me Sunday
I’ve mentioned before that I read a lot more books than I review here on PJV. Part of the reason I had to leave my own blog *sniff* was because between obligations to family, work, and actually reading, I had less and less time to blog about the awesome books I was reading…
And while I have some pretty good books scheduled for review in the next few weeks, this week has been a little hectic on a personal level and I don’t have an actual review this weekend.
So, I thought I’d share what I’m currently reading, and maybe we can discuss a little problem I’m having…
What I’m reading now:
(links through clicking covers are amazon affiliate links)
While I was running errands yesterday I picked up Jaci Burton’s One Sweet Ride. I’m only up to page 50 but am enjoying it so far. I’ve read and enjoyed the other books in her Play by Play series (swoony sports heroes) so I’ve been looking forward to this one.
I also picked up Stay with Me by Elyssa Patrick because I love NA and rock-star heroes, although this has a twist and the heroine is the rock star (I think). I’m only a few pages in to this one but I have high hopes; I like the author’s writing style so far. (Is it just me or does the cover model look kind of like KStew? I’m pretty sure this book is vampire-free though)
I’m also getting ready to start The Long Way Home by Tara Brown. Anyone who knows me knows I love hockey romance! Love it!!! So this was kind of a no-brainer for me, especially at the cost of $1. (I’ll admit I’m nervous as it’s self-published so I’m hoping the editing is ok)
Your turn to share with me: So this little problem I’m having? I’m dying for a great shapeshifter romance or highland historical romance. Can you recommend something? Or feel free to mention any books you’ve read recently that knocked your socks off..
Despite the terrors of her past, Vanora has managed live a normal life in Austin with her roommate Rhonda and her boyfriend Dan. When it all falls apart and Armando comes back into her life, she realizes that she can't escape her destiny. Evil threatens her family, and Vanora must venture into the darkness to save everyone she cares about.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
So I thought I’d kick things off with the giveaway first. But yeah anyway this is the In Darkness We Must Abide read along!!! If you haven’t read any of this serial yet, I don’t know what you are waiting for.
What did I think? Hmm. This episode was so emotionally draining that I kind of want to block it out. Rhiannon Frater knows how to push my emotional buttons and she was all over it in this episode. She literally takes Vanora through the emotional ringer in all ways. Her boyfriend is kind of a sha-douche. Armando is well Armando, and she once again loses someone close to her. It really is Destruction and it’s something that Rhiannon does so well.
Discussion: How will the move back to her home affect Vanora?
In this episode for reasons left unsaid (by me) Vanora must return home. I’m hoping this means she gets to spend more time with Armando. But let’s face it, this is Rhiannon Frater. IF and that is a very big IF Vanora and Armando are to end up together they will have to work for it. What I actually thing is going to happen is more chaos. Seriously people Rhiannon Frater has the talent to torment her readers and leaving them begging for more. She is a true master!
Go check out the series!
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