For Princess Mia, the past five years since college graduation have been a whirlwind of activity, what with living in New York City, running her new teen community center, being madly in love, and attending royal engagements. And speaking of engagements. Mia’s gorgeous longtime boyfriend Michael managed to clear both their schedules just long enough for an exotic (and very private) Caribbean island interlude where he popped the question! Of course Mia didn’t need to consult her diary to know that her answer was a royal oui.
But now Mia has a scandal of majestic proportions to contend with: Her grandmother’s leaked “fake” wedding plans to the press that could cause even normally calm Michael to become a runaway groom. Worse, a scheming politico is trying to force Mia’s father from the throne, all because of a royal secret that could leave Genovia without a monarch. Can Mia prove to everyone—especially herself—that she’s not only ready to wed, but ready to rule as well?
Writing this post feels a little like writing about “some funny things happened on my way to the (book)store”. I’ve always enjoyed Meg Cabot’s books, so when TLC Book Tours asked if I’d like to be a part of the Royal Wedding blog tour, I jumped at the chance. I mean we’re talking Meg Cabot, we’re talking Mia all grown up, we’re talking about the transition of a much-loved YA character into the bright shining world of the New Adult.
How could I say no?
You know how sometimes you’ve decided to do something, but challenges keep popping up, obstacles that turn what is normally an easy, well-known road—get a book, read it, write about it—into a path fraught with obstacles? That about covers my book encounter with Royal Wedding.
First, I had problems with the courier company getting the book to me. I swear, I think Trish from TLC Book Tours sent Royal Wedding to me at least three, maybe four times. In the end she bought me a copy of the ebook—and then, the next day, the last book she sent actually arrived.
July’s been a busy month for me, but I really wanted to do this blog tour, so when she said she still had some dates available (since my original date had long slipped past), I picked the very last date she had, figuring that would give me time to read the book.
Which, unfortunately, I failed to do. Things just got too busy, with my writing course with Kelley Armstrong, and then with the aftermath, which has added a chunk of fiction writing time to my daily routine. So yes, I am writing this blog post having read only the first few chapters of Royal Wedding.
And last of all (because, of course, these things generally come in threes): My blog tour date was yesterday. I had added the date to Google Calendar—but for some reason, I didn’t get any reminders, which probably means I forgot to set the reminders. But still, at the beginning of this past week, I knew I would be writing this blog post. For Friday, July 31.
Then Thursday (and then Friday) rolled around and I forgot. So yes, I am a day late with this post.
See what I mean?
But I am here now, and ready to tell you more about Royal Wedding. And yes, I’ve only read a few chapters, so you’re probably wondering, what on earth can Belle tell us when she’s only read the first couple of chapters? But if you’re a Princess Diaries fan, I can tell you this: it’s Mia! She’s back! She’s grown up, but at her core, she’s still the same Mia we know and love. Just a little older, with more adult things on her mind.
It’s something each of us can relate to, I think.
I can already see the conflicts that are building up for her, and I’m eager to head deeper into her story—just need to find some time to grab so I can plunge in.
So, obviously this isn’t a review, since one can hardly review a book on the strength of a few chapters read. But if you’ve read and loved the Princess Diaries series, what I can say is this: Royal Wedding gives you the chance to enter Mia’s world again, and while she’s not a young adult anymore, her voice is just as endearing and engaging as always.
It’s #bookmail time! I don’t often get book mail, but I recently won a couple of giveaways, I’m participating in a book tour at the end of the month and a publisher offered me a book I couldn’t resist. So here they are, in no particular order (or rather, in the order I stacked them in, I guess):
Meg Cabot is one of my favourite authors, although I haven’t read anything new by her for a long while—years, actually. I’m not sure why. So when Trish from TLC Book Tours asked me if I wanted to participate in the book tour for Royal Wedding I said, “Yes!!” Trish had some shipping issues on her end—I think she tried to send me the book four times. I’m not sure what happened, but fourth time lucky (and I guess there’s a chance I’ll eventually end up with three more copies as they wander my way from wherever they ended up …).
The nice folks over at Simon & Schuster Canada emailed me to see if I’d like a copy of Hungry Ghosts, the third book in Peggy Blair’s Inspector Ramirez series. Know what I love about the publicists over at Simon & Schuster Canada? They seem to have a real feel for my reading tastes; they almost always send books my way that I’m really interested in reading.
Inspector Ramirez is a Cuban police inspector, and the stories in each of the books in the series takes place in both Cuba and Canada. I’ve enjoyed the first two books in the series, and I’m really looking forward to reading this third book.
I won the book of my choice from Book Depository from Andi earlier this year during Dewey’s Readathon. I had SUCH a hard time choosing, which is why I didn’t receive my prize until just recently. I finally opted for Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell; it’s been in my to-read stacks for ages. I have it in audio, too, so I’m thinking I might try both reading and listening to this one at the same time.
I was SO excited when Kathy (BermudaOnion) told me I’d won the giveaway on her blog for Sarah McCoy’s The Mapmaker’s Children. I’m friends with Sarah on Facebook and we’ve had some delightful chats on Twitter, but I’ve never actually read one of her books. This one sounds like a lovely read—I’ve been on hold at the library for it for quite a while now, and it will be nice to be able to cancel that hold!
So that’s it for my #bookmail. What books have come into your place recently?
I’m so happy to report I’ve broken out of my reading slump!
I tried a variety of things suggested in the comments to my Reading Slump post, including reading short stories and graphic novels. And no, not even Nimona, which I both loved but still haven’t finished, helped.
So I kind of let it go. Stopped fretting about the fact that I couldn’t find any book that could engage me for longer than half an hour.
And then? Book club!
I’m a newbie member of a sci-fi and fantasy book club, the result of me making a bookish friend IRL. The first meeting I’ll be attending is this coming Wednesday. And the book we’ll be discussing?
Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris.
This is one of those whopping big fantasy books, a good 600 plus pages. And on Friday I realized my husband, the former book-reading demon, had already started the book (he’s coming to book club with me) and if I didn’t start reading I might be the only one to show up with the book unread.
So I put aside my upcoming work deadlines yesterday, and plunged in.
I keep forgetting how the best fantasy novels are always page turners, even though they’re often large chunky books with tons of world-building thrown in. Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris is good. I mean, really, really good. I knew this by the end of the second chapter.
I devoured the novel. Last night, at 2:30 a.m. I reluctantly put it down—I’ve been waking up earlier and 2:30 a.m. is now rather late for me. But first thing in the morning? Forget e-mail. Forget all the links and news I like to read on my phone. Forget meditation. I reached for my e-reader and picked up where I’d left off the night before.
I finished the book this afternoon with a deep, satisfied sigh. I’ve heard about Sanderson’s fans asking when he’ll be writing the sequel, and now I know why. I’d LOVE another Elantris novel!
And I’ve now officially busted out of my reading slump. It happened in an unexpected way—I honestly thought I’d be dragging myself through Elantris, trying to get through it before Wednesday night rolled around. Hah! Little did I know.
I’m now on a quest to read more of Brandon Sanderson’s work. And more fantasy, too. The past two years, I’ve mostly been reading mysteries, thrillers and urban fantasies, with the bigger, chunkier fantasies languishing in my TBR, even though I love fantasy novels.
It definitely feels good to be out of that reading slump. And I’ll probably finish Nimona soon, too.
And there’s also the #AtlasRAL over at Book Chatter. I’ve been doing terribly with readalongs the past couple of months, but now that my reading slump is over, I have very high hopes when it comes to my reading!
Well, I’m still in a reading slump. I’ve been dipping in and out of various books, but nothing’s “clicked” so far. And it’s really frustrating, because I’ve got some pretty interesting books around that I KNOW I’ll want to read once I get out of my slump.
I’ve had some great books come in this past week from both the library and also from a mini online book-buying spree I indulged in earlier in the week, in the hopes of getting the reading mojo flowing.
Here are some of the books I have out from the library right now:
I, Ripper by Stephen Hunter. I didn’t track where I first heard of this book, but it’s a Jack the Ripper novel. Enough said.
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. I obviously have not perfected my “tracking where I heard about this book” skills, as I don’t have this on my Trello books board either. But it’s about a library that holds the secrets to the universe. Who can resist that? (Well, it appears I can, when I’m in the middle of a reading slump.)
Mislaid by Nell Zink. I do remember why I put this one on hold. I had read an interview with the author somewhere—I thought it was the New York Times but it appears my memory isn’t serving me right. This one’s not my typical read but something about it appealed to me in the moment of reading that interview.
The Year of the Storm by John Mantooth. No idea why I put a hold on this one. But now that I have it, it does look interesting. Just not enough to get me out of my slump.
And here are the books I recently bought:
A Woman of Independent Means by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey. Because it’s been on my want-to-read list for years. Years.
The Talented Mr. Ripley Omnibus Edition from Everyman’s Library by Patricia Highsmith. Because I’ve been reading Patricia Highsmith’s Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction which is more like a memoir of her writing process. And then I read Care’s post where she mentions how creepy The Talented Mr. Ripley is. I knew I wanted to read it. And I’m a sucker for omnibus editions.
To Sir With Love by E.R. Braithwaite. It wasn’t until I read the review of the book at Olduvai Reads that I even knew there was a book called To Sir with Love. I’ve seen the movie a few times, and I just knew I’d want to have my own copy of the book.
You’d think with this wealth of reading material surrounding me, I’d be out of this reading slump in no time flat, right? But that doesn’t seem to be happening. I WANT to read all of these books, i really do—but not right now.
Do you have any tips for coming out of a reading slump?
It really isn’t such a big surprise that I’ve been slacking off when it comes to tracking my monthly reads. I have these lovely reading spreadsheets, but they’re not much use unless I’m actually using them!
Last month I started keeping track of my reads by creating a folder for April reads on my laptop and then saving jpgs of book covers into the folder every once in a while when I was creating a blog post, since I normally talk about my reading so I usually need to download book covers to go with a post.
At the end of the month when I was writing my monthly wrap-up post, I had to spend some time entering everything in that folder into my spreadsheets (I use two because they track different things and I’m not Google spreadsheet-savvy enough to merge the two spreadsheets into one). A bit time-consuming and I’m not looking forward to going through the process again when I write my May wrap-up post.
So it occurred to me the other day that Goodreads might be a better way for me to track my monthly reads. I haven’t exactly been diligent about updating my bookshelves there, but the thing is, the Goodreads iPhone app is easy to use and I’m thinking the increased accessibility will probably make it easier for me to track my monthly reads. I’m thinking about using bookshelves tagged with the month and year, and I can sort other bookshelves (like “audiobooks” and “POV characters and authors”) by date so I can see what my stats are like for each month.
I also decided to see how other people were using Goodreads. This post, Get Organized on Goodreads, gave me some good ideas (like temporarily hiding my activity from my update feed so I don’t flood my friends’ feeds with all my changes—definitely going to do that when I roll up my sleeves and wade in to get my shelves organized!).
And there was a Bloggiesta mini-challenge on How to Make Goodreads Work for You from The Book Addicts Guide back in 2013! Very interesting read, and I learned something very helpful: in addition to the three “exclusive” shelves Goodreads gives you (Read, To Read, Currently Reading), you can make other exclusive shelves. Not that this has anything to do with tracking my monthly reads, but I’d love to set up an exclusive shelf called “TBR-Books Owned” so I can keep track of what books are on my to-read list that I actually own. That way, I can use the “To Read” shelf as my Wishlist.
I seem to go through phases with Goodreads, sometimes being very diligent about updating my currently reading progress, and sometimes not bothering to even add a current read. My Read shelf should hold so many more books than it currently holds. But it’s definitely an easy way for me to track my monthly reads, so come June, I’m going to get those shelves organized and start tracking my June reads!
How are you using Goodreads right now?
It’s been a while since I’ve read a novel I just couldn’t put down (although, life being what it is, I did eventually have to put it down). I love when this happens, though, because it usually means I’ve got a seriously good read going.
Going into it, I hadn’t realized The Fifth Gospel would be one of those books that are tough to put down. I mean, it sounded like it would be good, but lots of good books aren’t necessarily ones you can’t put down.
Here’s the summary:
In 2004, as Pope John Paul II’s reign enters its twilight, a mysterious exhibit is under construction at the Vatican Museums. A week before it is scheduled to open, its curator is murdered at a clandestine meeting on the outskirts of Rome. That same night, a violent break-in rocks the home of the curator’s research partner, Father Alex Andreou, a Greek Catholic priest who lives inside the Vatican with his five-year-old son. When the papal police fail to identify a suspect in either crime, Father Alex, desperate to keep his family safe, undertakes his own investigation. To find the killer he must reconstruct the dead curator’s secret: what the four Christian gospels—and a little-known, true-to-life fifth gospel known as the Diatessaron—reveal about the Church’s most controversial holy relic. But just as he begins to understand the truth about his friend’s death and its consequences for the future of the world’s two largest Christian Churches, Father Alex finds himself hunted down by someone with a vested stake in the exhibit—someone he must outwit to survive.
I’m halfway through, and while I have a busy week coming up, I’m hoping I’ll be able to grab some time to finish it.
And while the title and the synopsis might make you think, “oh, another Da Vinci Code kind of read”, I’m here to say, no, it’s actually not a Da Vinci Code kind of book at all.
I’ll be writing a review of this one, so stay tuned! I just have to finish it first—and even with all my upcoming deadlines, I’m definitely going to find the time to sit down with this one and finish it.
I hadn’t thought April was a good reading month for me. My mom broke her hip in the middle of the month and I’ve been running around pretty tired ever since. And when I’m tired, I tend to read less. I certainly didn’t think I spent much time reading—not even for the Readathon, where I managed to read only about 200 pages and didn’t finish a single book.
But when I took at look at my reading spreadsheet I was surprised: I read 13 books in April! It turns out audiobooks were what saved me. I’ve been way too tired to feel like reading much in print, but I listened to a lot of audiobooks, especially the first week after my mom’s accident. She was in a hospital out in the suburbs during that week, which meant an hour and fifteen minute commute there and back for me, and I visited her daily, so that added up to a lot of additional listening time.
Here are the books I read in April (not in chronologically-read order):
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (audiobook) (reread)
Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie (audiobook) (reread)
Black Coffee by Agatha Christie (audiobook)
Behind the Curtain by Peter Abrahams (paperback)
Leader of the Pack by David Rosenfelt (audiobook)
One Dog Night by David Rosenfelt (audiobook)
Dog Tags by David Rosenfelt (audiobook)
Unleashed by David Rosenfelt (audiobook)
Pet Sematary by Stephen King (paperback)
Working Stiff by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell (audiobook)
Motive by Jonathan Kellerman (audiobook)
Lumberjanes, issues 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, by Noelle Stevenson (counting these as one book)
So altogether, eight audiobooks this month! I’m actually finishing up another audiobook right now, but I’ll probably listen to less audiobooks in May.
How did your reading go in April?