"The Month I Finally Read John Green" – February/March Wind-up

March Wind-up

In this month’s (double) wind-up: Jackson Pearce (surprisingly) doesn’t trigger my wolf!hater alarm, Ally Carter continues to be up to no good (but still in a really good way), and John Green ruins my life. Meanwhile, BEA beckons…

The Reads

Because of a super-intense exam season, my February TBR pile turned into my March TBR. Alas. Thank goodness everything I read was amazing, else I don’t think I would have made it through a single book! First off, there was Quantum Drop by Saci Lloyd (review). I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. It was high-tech sci-fi that seemed very “of the moment”. Up next was Sweetly by Jackson Pearce, which I was stunned by. I had no desire to read her book Sisters Red because I have serious issues with negative portrayals of wolves in literature/movies/life. It’s a serious issue for me – I even did my Masters dissertation on it! But Sweetly, despite having a few “wolf” mentions, didn’t hit any of my triggers. As a result: I could enjoy it as the great book it was! Then, breaking my habit of storing series I love for years upon years, I read two books in a row from Ally Carter’s Heist Society series (review of first book here): Uncommon Criminals and Perfect Scoundrels. I’ll be reviewing them both tomorrow, but “brilliant” will suffice for now.

Stitch finishes “The Fault in our Stars”

March will also go down in history as “The Month I Finally Read John Green”. I was utterly hooked by The Fault in Our Stars, even though I knew he was manipulating the hell out of me emotionally. I felt like a total masochist while reading this book, and oh-my-GOD I would totally do it again.

On the Blog and around the blogosphere

I’ve had a bit of a flurry of author interviews lately: Ally Carter, Saci Lloyd and Julianna Scott all stopped by the blog. My first Shelf Analysis of the year went up last month, covering typography on this year’s YA covers. Typography is kinda my new obsession and suddenly I am seeing it everywhere. If you’re a still in a rut about Google Reader’s demise, check out my post about where I’ll be headed next. Feedly seems to be the new “it place”, though it will continue to be tied to your Google Reader until July 1st. March also saw Amazon buying up GoodReads and I… am feeling iffy about it. I was ready to recommend Librarything as an alternative but, while putting this post together, have discovered that Amazon own 40% of them as well! I don’t hate Amazon at all, but I don’t like the monopoly they have on the online book business. Remember 2011 when Goodreads and BookDepository were the free peoples of the internet?! Sigh. Check out Shelf Awareness’ great post for more on the subject.

BEA Beckons!

That’s right folks: I’m going to Book Expo America! I’ve wanted to go forever, but could never justify the flight to all the way to the US. But my mother and I have wanted to go back to NYC for years (we went when I was a wee child) and when she suggested we do it this year I may have adjusted our flights to coincide with BEA. Mwaha! I know she’ll have a blast as well, but I for one cannot contain my excitement!!!

Of Sherlockians and White-Collar Criminals – January Wind-up

In this month’s wind-up: Kim Newman steals the stage at the House of Commons (he get’s that from Moriarty’s side), Ally Carter reveals herself to be up to no good (but in a really good way), and George R. R. Martin continues to torture me (unsurprisingly).

The Reads

I started with my first Sarah Dessen book, Last Chance (review here), which was rather sweet and certainly left me wanting more from the author. I then started on Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles by Kim Newman. The book is basically a recount of the Sherlock Holmes cases from the point of view of his Sebastian Moran. Unfortunately I only read the first few stories in the book, as you really need to have a good knowledge of Doyle’s canon to appreciate them. As I have yet to finish all of the original stories – and didn’t want to encounter any spoilers! – I decided to put the book on hold. Shame, as I was really loving it! I also got a chance to meet the author this month (more below!).

Next up was A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin… which I still haven’t finished. But not for lack of trying, however. I am enjoying many of the narrators – but others just drag the book out like mad. But I did finish Season 2 of Game of Thrones this month so… that kinda counts, right?

As Clash of Kings took up so much of my reading time – despite not being finished – I only got two other books finished this month. First of these was Heist Society by Ally Carter – which was OMG amazing. Seriously, I absolutely adored this book. Next up was The Holders by Julianna Scott, which I had trouble getting into at first, but then absolutely flew through. Reviews for both of those books coming up soon.

The Events: The Stranger’s Room Repast

Earlier this month, my mother invited me along to a rather special literary dinner: The Sherlock Holmes Society of London‘s annual dinner in the House of Commons. It’s an annual tradition for the society and, every year, they invite a special guest to address the society. Past guests include Stephen Fry, Colin Dexter, Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, to name but a few! This year, author Kim Newman was invited.

Kim Newman was an absolute treat: he gave a very funny talk, spinning a tale about Moriarty and where he may well be now. It was so well thought out, and so well delivered, it made me want to finish his book! (Something I plan to do in parallel with reading the rest of ACD’s work.) Perhaps I should also pick up his Anno Dracula?The evening was a black tie event for members only and I expected great things. The preparation alone was great fun, and the dinner itself was everything it claimed to be: fantastic food in a stunning setting, rich in history, and a night of people speaking about literary characters.

Society member Calvert Markham also gave a fantastic toast in honour of Doctor Watson – I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. He is not a writer (to the best of my knowledge!) but he could sure spin a tale. He had the room hanging on his every word – it was one of the highlights of the evening!

In short, a great night – thank you mum!

The Blog

Highlights from the month:

The Challenges

Double Dog Dare: 2 books taken off my TBR pile.
New Authors: 3 new authors read.
Personal challenges: I’m still working on A Clash of Kings, dammit!