Book release bouquets
June 2018 will forever go down as one of the most magical months of my life. My debut novel A STORIED LIFE went out into the world! I'm officially a novelist and also officially researching my next book. The reviews have been really positive and nothing beats hearing how much my story has resonated with someone. It's even better than I dreamed!
Read and Reading
Susanna Kearsley’s novels build in the loveliest ways. I loved the way The Rose Garden examined Eva’s grief after the death of her sister and the way her found family took care of her. Plus, time travel! And intrigue! And a tea house that I wish was real so I could visit! Every part of this novel just plain worked for me.
I inhaled The Kiss Quotient! Could not put it down. Definitely a favorite contemporary romance of 2018! I just adored this one. It gave me so many feels. I still can’t believe this was Helen Hoang’s debut! I loved how she built her story. Stella and Michael were incredibly endearing characters. I loved how kind they were to one another and how they looked out for each other. Autistic econometrician heroine and Vietnamese-Caucasian escort hero- what’s not to love about this set up?! They have so much to teach one another. (Note: I’m neurotypical so I can't speak to the autism representation but this is an #ownvoices book.)
Fortitude Smashed (Brooke) is an excellent MM romance with a hint of sci-fi! (The premise is sci-fi but it otherwise functioned as a contemporary romance.) Everyone gets a Camellia Clock implanted when they're born, which counts down to the second you'll meet your soul mate. Cop Shannon catches thief Aiden in the middle of robbing an art gallery when their Clocks run out. Cue panic because these two opposites are not having it. Except they're somehow still drawn to each other and the developing relationship was absolute perfection. Watching Shannon and Aiden fall for one another made my heart grow three sizes, I swear. The novel compassionately deals with grief and mental illness and I just wanted to hug everyone. The writing was phenomenal! It's the kind of writing that makes you want to track down everything the author has written. I cannot handle how much I loved this one!
Stalking Jack The Ripper (Maniscalco) lived up to all the buzz! I raced through this novel in a few hours, all because of the incomparable Audrey Rose. I loved that she cared about forensics as much as she cared about quality dresses. They’re not mutually exclusive and caring about how you look isn’t a negative, as she capably demonstrated. The mystery itself was creepy in the best ways- albeit bloodier than my typical books- and made me very glad I don’t live in Victorian-era London. The twists and turns kept me captivated, even though I guessed the big twist. It was such a compelling read, especially because of the character development and the way Audrey Rose chafed against societal expectations while defying them. However, as much as I loved Audrey Rose, I often wanted to strangle her. If there’s a serial killer on the loose, you don’t go to strange neighborhoods by yourself! I know it’s the title of the book but trying to actually stalk Jack the Ripper, especially on one's own, is more than a little naive and reckless. Still, I can't wait to read the next book in the series and see what more develops in her relationship with that dreamboat Thomas.
Librarian romance is my catnip! Bad Bachelor (London) was a fun and surprisingly moving read. It’s not perfect (heads up for bi-erasure) but it was filled with quirky, well-developed characters and backstories that made me want to know more. Reed and Darcy’s banter was on point (always the key to my heart) and I loved watching them go from reluctant colleagues to something more. I couldn’t put it down!
My reading goal for 2018 is to read a good chunk of my unread books. I decided not to make a TBR stack for June and I have to say the freedom to read whatever unread shelf book I want really agrees with me. I'm not going to designate a TBR stack for July either. Why not?
Currently reading: This Is Where You Belong (Warnick), Hot Mess (Belden), The Library: A Catalogue Of Wonders (Kells), The Line Becomes A River: Dispatches From The Border (Cantú), Unclaimed (Milan), Children Of Blood And Bone (Adeyemi), Visions Of Heat (this PNR series is so good on audiobook!)
The second season of Queer Eye is here! I've watched two episodes so far, which means I'm two for two on Episodes That Made Me Cry.
I started watching the comedy special Nanette on Netflix. I've been hearing such good things and I'm really impressed so far. I just need more time to watch!
Bad Wolves' cover of Zombie is giving me so much life.
Listen to the What I'm Into playlist.
I loved Zoraida Córdova's episode on Write Or Die! I'm a big fan of her Brooklyn Brujas series, which I read this past month. She's also an amazing romance writer.
Really grateful for Pantsuit Politics and their coverage of the families separated at the border.
Pop Culture Happy Hour had a thoughtful episode about Anthony Bourdain's death by suicide. (It's the second half of the Tony Awards And Remembering Anthony Bourdain episode.)
The oh so darling Lucy Parker was on Smart Podcast Trashy Books! It was so fun to hear her voice and learn more about her writing inspiration. She is a delight to follow on Twitter, FYI.
The Bias Series from Smartest Person In The Room has made for interesting listening and I would encourage you to listen to the whole thing if you haven't already. I thought Episode 34: Stop Saying "Down There" was especially compelling.
- I won a giveaway for Caraval, which I've been meaning to read for ages, and an ARC of Legendary from Paper Fury, one of my favorite bookstagram accounts. I can't wait to read them!
- Drinks on Marijke's porch. Great conversation and the weather was perfect!
- I went back to my hometown in the Chicago suburbs for book release week, which was one of my best decisions. Since I can work from anywhere, I might as well work there!
- I saw Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova, Samira Ahmed, and EK Johnston at Anderson's Bookshop. I loved The Belles, Labyrinth Lost, and Love, Hate & Other Filters, and I was thrilled to have Zoraida sign my copy of Bruja Born and then Samira signed my copy of LHAOF. It was such a great event!
- Running into Laura and Junice at Starbucks! I was taking advantage of the wifi and getting work done when who should appear at my table?! It was so fun catching up.
- Traditional dinner at Portillo's with Mom and Dad. Even though there's a location or two in the Twin Cities now, I swear it's just better at home.
- Pangaea Joy tea at Cafe K'Tizo. I love the sunny colors of the teapots and this was a delicious chocolatey coconut tea to try!
- Book Release Day!!! This was such a magical day. I wore my dress from Eshakti, which I adored. (This link gets you $25 off your first purchase. The dresses are customizable and have pockets, y'all!) I went to Cafe K'Tizo in the morning and got my pot of tea while I caught up on all the social media mentions and promo stuff. I still cannot get over how the bookstagram and romance communities supported me that day. Plus, all my friends were posting about it. It was so much more than I ever could have hoped for!
- My best friend Erin and her kids took me out for lunch at Front Street Cantina...but at the Naperville location, since the Wheaton location closed under strange circumstances. Same menu though so I got my usual burrito and was happy as can be. Then I stopped in at Adagio Tea and picked up some Irish Breakfast tea, since it was on the same block.
- Laura, Ellie, and Donna took me out to dinner at Cellar Bistro. We toasted to the book and laughed loud and covered every topic under the sun. It was the best way to celebrate!
- There has been so much positive feedback for A STORIED LIFE! Thank you to everyone who has let me know they've enjoyed reading it. If you wouldn't mind, would you take a minute to leave a review on Goodreads, Amazon, or any retailer that carries it? Reviews go so far in helping authors, especially self-published authors like me. Your review, positive or negative, only needs to be a sentence or two and it makes a big difference!
- People are telling me they've requested my novel from their library and their libraries are actually ordering it!! This makes me downright giddy. I'm going to put together a blog post soon listing the libraries I know about so please let me know if your library has it.
- Browsing at Prairie Path Books.
- Burger Social with Heather. She got me balloons! It was so much fun to catch up. Plus, they have the best Old Fashioneds there.
- Mago with Megan. Amazing tableside guacamole and I got a tequila mojito that was perfection. Always so good to see my MFC!
- Cornerstone Used Books with Mom. I got into trouble but there were so many books I've been needing to own and wanting to read!
- Spending Father's Day with my dad, grandpas, and other relatives. It's so rare that I get to be in town for days like this!
- I Skyped with Angela Hart who is doing her dissertation on romance. It was so much fun to talk about how I started reading romance and what I love about the genre. (I promise I'm still planning on these posts! With book release, I haven't had a chance to polish them or finish the recommendation post but it's coming soon.)
- My hair stylist remembered that my novel was going to be published. She must take notes on her clients or something! I was so touched when she asked about it.
- My dear friend Karin, whom I've known since we were freshman in high school, took me out for lunch at Good Earth and then we went to see the play Underneath The Lintel at Latte Da Theater in Minneapolis to celebrate my book release. It was a great, funny play about a librarian! Unexpectedly meaningful too. Then we got iced tea at Spyhouse Coffee. It was such a wonderful time. She is such a thoughtful friend!
- Highly recommend Lanolips Multipurpose Superbalm if you struggle with chapped lips. It has made a HUGE difference in the past couple of months.
Breaking News: Woman Takes Library Books With Her On Vacation
Look. Until April I had NEVER traveled with library books and although there are some horror stories out there, many people thought this was silly so I threw caution to the wind and took one on my trip. Which I didn’t even get the chance to read but whatever. The point is the book was fine and I was fine.
This time around I’m filling my beloved @overduepod tote with not one but three library books because I am wild and carefree! 😂 I’m heading to my hometown to celebrate my book release (ah!!!!!!!) and I cannot wait to be with my people. Do you travel with library books??
Joining @simoneandherbooks to share #awildbookishlife.
(If you want to follow me on Instagram, my user name is leighkramer.)
On The Blog:
On the Leigh Kramer FB page, we're pretty into the trailer for The Hate U Give (please go read the book if you haven't already!) This didn't get much traction (thanks a lot, algorithm) but I want to point you to Frolic, which started a cute serialized story. It's such a great site to follow, especially if you read women's fiction or romance. So many good articles and their Instagram account is on point!
(The best way to see updates in your newsfeed is by liking and commenting on my posts regularly.)
What I'm Into Link Up Guidelines:
1. This link-up will stay open for one week. The next What I'm Into link up will be Wednesday August 1.
2. Link the unique URL of your post, not your blog's home page. Readers peruse link ups months after the fact and you want to make it easy for them to find your What I'm Into post.
4. Visit at least 2 other posts in the linkup!
What have you been into this month?
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