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A Book Nerd's Valentine

This is the story of how a book I've been pining over, much anticipated YA sequel The Rose and the Dagger, came to be sitting in my lap four months before publication. Over the past year I’ve been working on building up my online book blog/review presence, starting on Goodreads and adding this blog to my personal website. I have a passion for all things creative, most fervently for books and a well-told story. While my own novel is slowly coming along, I also hope to have quite a presence by the time I’m published (because that fact is not in question). So it seemed to me that book blogging was an obvious outlet for my thoughts, and perhaps others would care to join me in conversation. That said, I’ve held off on barraging publishers and agents with ARC requests simply because in my opinion, if I expect to be taken seriously, I must have a serious portfolio to flaunt when I present my requests.


Ever the planner. Anyway, this is all about how I managed to attain a copy of The Rose and the Dagger, right? Not really an earth-changing event, but in a nerd’s world who cherishes all things books and fantasy, quite exciting. Especially when, in her mind, she hadn’t yet built up the credibility to go about asking for high-in-demand advanced copies of upcoming bestsellers. Enter said nerd’s husband, decidedly not a book lover, or nerd in any general sense at all. Polar opposite, you might say.

That’s him, Billy, isn’t he cute? He’s mine! :)

But at times when I’m rambling on (I can talk a lot, about a multitude of things, and with no small amount of enthusiasm) and I fully expect he has checked-out of the conversation, he can surprise me, even if the surprise happens weeks later. Such was the case while I was telling yet another story about my day, which included discovering the author Lauren DeStefano was giving away an advanced copy of a book I was dying for (plus an adorable little Shazi crochet doll).

How could I wait until May? Why hadn’t I read more books and reviewed more up to this point so I could request an ARC as a legitimate book blogger?


But maybe I could win one! So for the next week of the giveaway, I mentioned it here and there:

“That author tweeted about it again, and I’m basically stalking her page so maybe it’ll improve my chances…”

As if the giveaway wasn’t a completely random drawing. *rolls eyes* But this is where fellow book enthusiasts will understand. It’s an obsession. Not surprisingly, I did not win (I rarely win these kinds of contests, and have no solid hope at ever being one of those “lottery changed my life” people) but ah, such is life. I resigned to the fact that I’d have to wait, like most else, a few more months until official publication and in the meantime obsess over teasers and cover pictures. 

Fast forward to Valentine’s Day, yet another “holiday” that couples feel the need to splurge on expensive flowers and jewelry – and hey, I’ve got nothing against either of those things! But I like to think I’m a down-to-earth person, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve told my husband “It doesn’t matter what it is – if it cost a fortune or nothing, it’s the sentiment behind the gesture.”

Over the years, he’s done well – an autographed photo of Daenerys Targaryen (because the MOTHER OF FREAKING DRAGONS), a true first edition of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire *swoon* – and those things didn’t come cheap. Ah well, maybe he hasn’t grasped the “I don’t need expensive gifts” mentality, but he’s in the right gift department, that’s for sure!

So this year, when I opened a box fully expecting lingerie (nice, but let’s be real, that’s always a gift for him) and instead unwrapped A FREAKING ARC OF A BOOK I’D BEEN OBSESSING OVER, I got a little emotional.

It went a little like this:

Me: *stares with mouth open*
Billy: “What did you get?”
Me: *stares some more* “HOW DID YOU GET THIS?”
Billy: *laughs* “Well, what is it?”
Me: *starts slapping his arm* “HOW. DID. YOU. GET. THIS?!”
Billy: *laughs more* *gets slapped harder* “Ow! Do you like it?”

Um, DO I LIKE IT? Because I love a good story (obviously), I need to hear everything. So he explains how after I told him the story of not winning the Twitter giveaway, he emailed everyone he could think of including author Renée Ahdieh and Miss DeStefano, pleading his case that an advanced copy of The Rose and the Dagger would make the perfect Valentine’s Day gift (I don't even think he realized how fitting a story this is for the occasion, as the gentle romance in these books gets me more than anything). Billy, being adorable and if you remember the total opposite of his editor wife, even spelled the title of the book wrong (Dragger), which Miss Ahdieh if you read this I’m sure is why you never responded to him (no hard feelings!). But Miss DeStefano didn’t mind, and responded that while she could not help, she was putting him in touch with both her and Renée's shared literary agent, Barbara Poelle – who, lucky for him, seems to be quite the romantic! Behold, he receives the perfect gift, and by this point in the story I’m all teary-eyed because he freaking cares.

I don’t care how old you are, how long you’ve been in a relationship or how many you’ve had, when something happens that shows you just how much they listen, just how much they care…You. Feel. It.

Because is it just a book? Yes. Do many people all over the place get ARCs everyday and it’s no big thing? Sure. But this small thing was big to me. Because he had taken everything I said to heart and, quite literally, gave a gift that money could not buy (at least right now).

I said opposites above, didn’t I? But you see, he gets what these things mean to me…and that’s all that matters. It’s everything.

Now, go check out my review of this ever-so-special book here or on Goodreads! Considering the pressure to live up to expectations, especially with the delivery it had, The Rose and the Dagger did magnificently. 

Virginia DeFeoComment