I’ve loved books since I was a child. Even when others made fun of me for being a bookworm, I continued to carry books with me wherever I went. They were my escape from doldrums, from other people’s ignorance and cruelty, they entertained me during long train rides or bus rides to Virginia, they took me to places far more exotic than my actual destinations and allowed me to experience things beyond my wildest imagination.

No summer (no season, really) is complete without books. I love checking out which books make it to the New York Times summer reading list. And while the list is never really as diverse as I’d like it to be, this year stood out in particular for being completely white. Well, Janet Maslin has her taste in books. I have mine. So here goes…

There is no specific order to my list, so don’t spend too much time wondering if number 1 is better than number 5 The order is only based on when it popped into my head. 🙂

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.02.455. Kilt Tease by Melissa Blue

The latest instalment in Melissa Blue’s Under the Kilt series, Kilt Tease, is now available. I loved the first three books (especially book 3 – Kilted for Pleasure, featuring Victoria and Callan). I just started reading Kilt Tease and it doesn’t disappoint. This time the focus is on ex-rugby player Quentin and American Katherine Campbell (but don’t call her “Kitten”). It’s a story of opposites attracting and what happens when you open yourself to love. My kind of story. And who can resist a story that features a sexy Sottish rugby player? 🙂

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 10.38.484. That Girl from Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson 

I went through a period where I wasn’t so keen on Dorothy Koomson’s novels, and then suddenly I fell in love with her writing. I’m not sure which book did the trick, but I do love her “heart fiction” (as she calls her books). Like her last few books, That Girl from Nowhere is more mystery than love story or relationship story. I like how Koomson’s characters are always so wonderfully flawed. That Girl from Nowhere focuses on Clemency, a black woman who was adopted by a white family, who by chance comes into contact with her birth family. I won’t give away any further details, but you should definitely add this book to your Beach Read List.

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 15.29.403. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians has been on my TBR list since last summer. The more I read about this super-rich Chinese families in Singapore and what happens when the heir to one such family brings home his American-born Chinese girlfriend. I’ve only taken sneak peeks at a few chapters and I’m already hooked, so I know this will be one of my favourite books this summer. I love satirical novels and haven’t read a really good one in a long time.

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 15.51.092. Loving Day by Mat Johnson

Back in the day, Mat Johnson was the guy nearly everyone I knew had a crush on. We both grew up in Philadelphia and had some of the same friends who hung out on South Street at the weekends and went to the same parties in Center City, University City and Germantown/Mount Airy. Mat’s gone from being the comic book/graphic novel-loving shy guy all my girlfriends were in love with to a critically-acclaimed author. His latest novel, Loving Day, takes on pertinent questions of race as his narrator, Warren Duffy, returns to the US after the breakup of his marriage to a Welsh woman. Duffy inherits a half-renovated mansion in Philadelphia and finds himself confronting ghosts of sorts–both real and imagined. Another book that I’ve only read snippets of, but that I think will be a phenomenal summer read.

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 16.11.391. Chasing Moments by Tia Kelly

Any book by Tia Kelly is automatically on my 1-click list. Ever since I heard that Chasing Moments was on its way and available for pre-order, I placed my order. And while it’s not scheduled to be released until late August, I will wait patiently for its arrival. So what’s it about? A confirmed party girl whose fame precedes her, who is famous simply for being famous, and who wakes up one morning unable to remember what happened the night before. Now she must try to piece together memories of her life as she rediscovers who she is and what it all means. I seriously cannot wait to dip into this book. August can’t get here soon enough. 🙂

Now this is a short list. I am on vacation now and far too lazy to write more today. There will most definitely be a part two to this list.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 06.22.19
All that’s missing is Thor and his hammer. 😉

Sometimes I am a fast adaptor or fast follower. I find out about trend, it interests me and I either accept it or I follow it. This was the case with Pinterest and Facebook. As soon as I tried them, I was hooked. Other times, I am ornery and I just don’t give a fuck and I ignore it. This was how I felt about (and still feel) about the billionaire/stepbrother/dinosaur as hero book craze. I don’t really get all the fuss. But that’s just me.

A few months ago, people began asking me to support their ThunderClap campaigns. I had no clue what it was. Initially, I ignored all the requests. I was usually at work when I received them and I didn’t have time to find out what it was all about. By the time I went home, I’d forgotten about it. But then a fellow writer (Lisa Marie Rice) asked me what I knew about ThunderClap, and I figured I’d better look into it since other authors were now seeing it as something viable.

For those of you who have no clue what I am talking about, ThunderClap is a social media crowdspeaking platform–you start a campaign (for a cause, your gig, your book, etc) and you ask people to help you spread the word. In return, you help them spread the word about their campaigns via your social media networks. You set a deadline and you aim to reach a certain number of supporters by the deadline. With a little luck and perseverance, you will get your supporters, word will spread and thousands of people will find out about you and your campaign–and you hopefully will get some new followers and make a few sales while you’re at it.

So now I am trying ThunderClap for the first time. Yesterday, I set up a campaign for Maybe Forever and so far I’ve got 44 out of 100 supporters. I’ve got nine more days to reach my goal. Once I finish writing this post, I will return the favor to the people who’ve supported my campaign. If I’m lucky, by May 15 (the official release date for Maybe Forever) I will have reached thousands of potential readers and hopefully some of them will be intrigued and will have pre-ordered Maybe Forever.

Who knows? If I am really lucky, ThunderClap could help Maybe Forever become my breakout novel. A girl can dream, right? In the meantime, I’ll keep working on my near-future/SciFi-esque love story (working title: Under the Milky Way).

How many of you have tried ThunderClap? Drop me a line and let me know how it went for you.

Just found out I was tagged by Hermione Fowl for the

inside-out-book-tag

I’m ready to tackle the questions, so here goes…

Inside flap / Back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough (Discuss)

If the inside flap or back cover blurb tells the whole story, then I don’t buy the book. If the inside flap or back cover blurb only contains snippets of other authors saying how brilliant the author’s other books are, then I don’t buy the book. I want a taste of what to expect. I don’t think I’m asking for too much.

New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: audio book, e-book, paperback, or hardcover?

Lately, nearly all the books I buy are e-books. But I still love paperbacks and hardcover books. If it’s an author I adore, I will buy both the e-book and the paperback (or hardcover) edition.

Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books, taking notes, making comments, or do you keep your books clean clean clean? (Tell us why)

I write in my books. If I see a line or a passage that speaks to me, I underline it. I write notes to myself. If there are foreign words in the book, I look up the translations and write them in the margins. If I’m reading an e-book, then I put e-notes in the books for things I like or things that jump out at me.

In your best voice, read for us your favourite first sentence from a book.

My favorite first sentence from a book…? I’ve always liked the opening line of Bret Easton Ellis‘s The Rules of Attraction.

…and it’s a story that might bore you but you don’t have to listen, she told me, because she always knew it was going to be like that.

I’m also rather partial to the opening lines of A Nice Girl Like Me by Abigail Bosanko.

My best friend, Flora, is a professional whisky connoisseur. For around three hundred pounds you could spend some time with her at the Whisky Society in Edinburgh, sampling fine single malts while she explains the art of nosing and tasting…

Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when you’re deciding on a book? What if you’re unsure of the author’s gender?

A writer’s gender doesn’t make much difference to me. If their story sounds interesting, then I’ll buy the book.

Ever read ahead? Or have you ever read the last page way before you got there?

If I am not enjoying a book, I will read ahead just to get through it faster. Or if the sex scenes are way too long, then I will skip ahead. I love a sexy book; I don’t love when the sex scenes take over.

Organized bookshelves, or outrageous bookshelves?

Once upon a time, my bookshelves were perfectly organized. I love organized bookshelves–I used to maintain beautifully organized bookshelves when I worked in a bookstore. Now, I find my bookshelves are outrageously messy. Maybe that should be my weekend project: organizing my bookshelves again.

Under oath: have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?

Yes. And I’ve also NOT bought books because the covers were simply too tacky or too ugly for words. I can’t abide a tacky cover. I don’t care how good the story is–invest in a great cover! I know the old saying is that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but if the cover is messy or unprofessional-looking, then you’ve lost me as a reader.

Take it outside to read, or stay in?

I read everywhere. When the weather is nice, I read outside. When it’s cold, I find somewhere cozy to sip coffee and get lost in a good book. More often than not, you’ll find me reading on a bus or subway. Or a plane.

And now that I’ve answered every question, I encourage you to join in the fun! I’m tagging some of my other writer friends. I hope they’ll join too! 🙂

Are you up for it?

Xio Axelrod

Nia Forrester

Tia Kelly

Twyla Turner

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in last’s week’s cover survey. The majority of you (52%) preferred Cover 1. A little over thirty percent preferred Cover 2 and the rest didn’t like either cover and wanted another hottie. I think I will go in the direction of Cover 1 but look for another image. 🙂

Now, my Facebook author page hit the 900 fan mark last night and to celebrate it I posted a teaser from Maybe Baby. I decided to share the teaser here as well! Hope you like it! 🙂

Maybe Baby Teaser Jan 10 2014I’ll keep you posted on the actual release date for Maybe Baby. I initially planned a February release but it might take another month or two, depending on how busy things get at the office.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Happy reading (and writing)!