Thursday Quotables: The Long Walk

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Welcome back to Thursday Quotables! This weekly feature is the place to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week.  Whether it’s something funny, startling, gut-wrenching, or just really beautifully written, Thursday Quotables is where my favorite lines of the week will be, and you’re invited to join in!

NEW! Thursday Quotables is now using a Linky tool! Be sure to add your link if you have a Thursday Quotables post to share.

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The Long Walk by Stephen King
(published 1979)

I read this book on vacation last week, and it gave me chills in all the right ways! How had I never come across this book until now? I love so much about it, including the fact that I can flip it open to a random page and immediately find a paragraph to share for Thursday Quotables:

Garraty became entranced with the coming dawn. He watched as the sky and the land lightened by degrees. He watched the white band on the horizon deepen a delicate pink, then red, then gold. The guns roared once more before the last of the night was finally banished, but Garraty barely heard. The first red arc of sun was peering over the horizon, faded behind a fluff of cloud, then came again in an onslaught. It looked to be a perfect day, and Garraty greeted it only half-coherently by thinking: Thank God I can die in the daylight.

Such a creepy, haunting read!

What lines made you laugh, cry, or gasp this week? Do tell!

If you’d like to participate in Thursday Quotables, it’s really simple:

  • Write a Thursday Quotables post on your blog. Try to pick something from whatever you’re reading now. And please be sure to include a link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your post (http://www.bookshelffantasies.com), if you’d be so kind!
  • Click on the linky button (look for the cute froggie face) below to add your link.
  • After you link up, I’d love it if you’d leave a comment about my quote for this week.
  • Be sure to visit other linked blogs to view their Thursday Quotables, and have fun!

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Shelf Control #44: Reconstructing Amelia

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Welcome to the newest weekly feature here at Bookshelf Fantasies… Shelf Control!

Shelf Control is all about the books we want to read — and already own! Consider this a variation of a Wishing & Waiting post… but looking at books already available, and in most cases, sitting right there on our shelves and e-readers.

Want to join in? See the guidelines and linky at the bottom of the post, and jump on board! Let’s take control of our shelves!

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My Shelf Control pick this week is:

Reconstructing AmeliaTitle: Reconstructing Amelia
Author: Kimberly McCreight
Published: 2013
Length: 382 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

A stunning debut novel in which a single mother reconstructs her teenaged daughter’s life, sifting through her emails, texts, and social media to piece together the shocking truth about the last days of her life.

Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is stunned when her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, calls with disturbing news: her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been caught cheating.

Kate can’t believe that Amelia, an ambitious, levelheaded girl who’s never been in trouble would do something like that. But by the time she arrives at Grace Hall, Kate’s faced with far more devastating news. Amelia is dead.

Seemingly unable to cope with what she’d done, a despondent Amelia has jumped from the school’s roof in an act of “spontaneous” suicide. At least that’s the story Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. And overwhelmed as she is by her own guilt and shattered by grief, it is the story that Kate believes until she gets the anonymous text:

She didn’t jump.

Sifting through Amelia’s emails, text messages, social media postings, and cell phone logs, Kate is determined to learn the heartbreaking truth about why Amelia was on Grace Hall’s roof that day-and why she died.

Told in alternating voices, Reconstructing Amelia is a story of secrets and lies, of love and betrayal, of trusted friends and vicious bullies. It’s about how well a parent ever really knows a child and how far one mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she could not save.

How I got it:

I bought the Kindle version when I saw a price drop.

When I got it:

In 2014, I think.

Why I want to read it:

I’m pretty cautious about hyped books, but the description of this one caught my eye, despite the blurbs at the time of release which called it the next Gone Girl. (Ugh, when will thrillers stop being compared to Gone Girl? Enough already.) It sounds intense and disturbing and fascinating… and although I often shy away from books with daughters in peril, I think I’ll give this one a go sometime soon.

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Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link below!
  • And if you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and have fun!


For more on why I’ve started Shelf Control, check out my introductory post here, or read all about my out-of-control book inventory, here.

And if you’d like to post a Shelf Control button on your own blog, here’s an image to download (with my gratitude, of course!):

Shelf Control

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The Monday Check-In ~ 7/25/2016

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

In real life:

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I’m back! I had a wonderful time away. Isn’t vacation a great concept? I’m hoping this cheery, relaxed feeling will last me longer than my first day back at work.

What did I read last week?

Well, first of all, check out what I read on vacation! I wrote a wrap-up post, here.

Vacation Collage

Since getting home, I’ve also read:

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Nothing Gold Can Stay and Better to Rest by Dana Stabenow: I’m on a roll with the Liam Campbell mysteries, and just couldn’t stop until I finished #3 and #4! Nothing Gold Can Stay was particularly good, but really, I’ve loved them all.

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Emma by Jane Austen: Done! My book group’s group read of Emma ended this week, and it was sensational! I’ve read Emma a couple of times before, but this time around, we read and discussed two chapters per week, and it was a blast. Here’s a shout-out to my book group peeps, who are a fun, insightful, smart group of readers!

Outlander season finale:

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As I was dashing out the door on the way to the airport, I managed to put together my final “insta-reaction” post for the season. Season 2’s finale was everything I’d hoped for. Check out my post:

Insta-Reaction: Outlander Season 2, Episode 13, “Dragonfly in Amber”

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week. Hey, I was out of town!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 FellsideKaren MemorySalt to the Sea

I haven’t actually started my next book yet. It’s a toss-up between these three. Decisions, decisions…

Now playing via audiobook:

Agent to the Stars

I had to leave this audiobook on pause while I was away, but I’m excited to jump back into listening this week. It’s hilarious, and Wil Wheaton’s narration is a huge plus.

Ongoing reads:

MOBY

My book group is reading and discussing two chapters per week of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon. This is an online group, and anyone is welcome to join us — so if you’re interested, just ask me how! (We’re currently at chapter 55 or thereabouts, but feel free to jump in anytime.)

Farewell to Arms

Our next group classic read will be A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway, starting August 15th. Interested? Let me know, and I’ll give you the details!

So many books, so little time…

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Check out the cover of Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs!

I was so excited to see this on Facebook while I was away on vacation! As a big fan of the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, it makes me soooo happy to ponder the glories of this cover:

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Silence Fallen is book #10 in the series. The expected publication date is March 7, 2017… which can’t possibly get here soon enough!

Synopsis:

In the #1 New York Times bestselling Mercy Thompson novels, the coyote shapeshifter has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy’s bond with the pack—and her mate—is broken, she’ll learn what it truly means to be alone…

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes—only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe…

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…

Did you get chills? I got chills. I’m so scared for Mercy! This sounds amazing. Can’t wait!

Find Silence Fallen at:

Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

And PS – If you haven’t read any of the Mercy books, start with Moon Called and then keep going! Such an amazing series.

Vacation reading wrap-up

I just spend a glorious 10 days on vacation! Glorious, because VACATION. Also glorious, because my husband and I traveled to two beautiful southern cities, Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina, ending with a few days of utter relaxation at Hilton Head Island, doing not much more than sitting on beach chairs, wading in the ocean, and basking in the sun.

Oh, and did I mention reading? Because I did a little reading. Enough to cause darling hubby to shake his head at me a few times and lovingly call me ridiculous.

Here’s a quick wrap-up of what I read on vacation, with my take on the vacation-worthiness of each book. The number of little beach umbrellas reflects my own personal feelings about whether or not this is a good choice for tucking into your beach-tote!

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RainwaterRainwater by Sandra Brown: Set during the Depression in drought-stricken Texas, this is the story of a single mother who runs a boarding house while caring for her autistic son, and the stranger who comes to stay and ends up changing both of their lives. I’ll admit that I never would have picked this up if it weren’t my book group’s pick for July. It looks and feels like the kind of book you’d pick up in a supermarket check-out line. That said, I was surprisingly engrossed by the story. Rainwater‘s depiction of the historical setting was very interesting, and I learned a few things about the time period that were completely new to me. That may make the book sound stuffy, and it’s not. The love story is sweet and passionate and unexpected, includes some strong commentary on social justice issues, and has an ending at once tragic and uplifting. The writing isn’t exactly literary, but it’s a quick and compelling read.

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Liam1Liam2Fire and Ice and So Sure of Death, books 1 & 2 in the Liam Campbell series by Dana Stabenow. Big surprise for anyone who reads my blog from time to time — I’m a huge fan of Dana Stabenow’s Kate Shugak series, and have gotten far enough into that series that I needed to detour into her related series about Alaska State Trooper Liam Campbell. The Liam books did not let me down in the slightest, and are perfect vacation reads: Fast-paced, great characters, unusual settings, mysteries that kept me engaged, and personal relationships that are fresh, believable, and utterly engaging.

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Sandcastle GirlsThe Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian: This is a heartbreaker of a story, a historical novel focusing on the Armenian genocide of 1915, as seen through the eyes of a young American woman who travels to Aleppo to offer aid and assistance to survivors. Elizabeth’s eyes are opened by the horrors she witnesses, while at the same time, she discovers love in a most unexpected place. The historical elements are framed by a modern-day woman’s exploration of her grandparents’ histories. The modern-day story felt more like a distraction to me, as what really gripped me was the story of Elizabeth, Armen, and the other supporting characters we meet in 1915. The Sandcastle Girls is powerful, beautiful, and devastating, and is a must-read — and yet, I don’t think I’d recommend it as a vacation read. It’s an amazing book, don’t get me wrong, and I think everyone should read it — but the seriousness of the subject matter and the unrelenting suffering portrayed here don’t jibe very well with beach umbrellas, flip-flops, and cold fruity cocktails. Read this book — but read it at home.

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Crooked HeartCrooked Heart by Lissa Evans tells the story of a young boy evacuated from London during WWII. Noel is an odd little duck, and when his eccentric godmother/guardian dies, he’s left without a soul to care for him. Vee is a con woman who schemes to earn a little cash because she really has no other way of supporting her deadbeat son and her doddering mother. Vee takes Noel in so that she can collect the fostering fee for housing evacuees, but the two soon find that his brains combined with her slippery ethics make for successful money-making. This is an unusual and offbeat story, with a lot of charm, plenty of humor, and lots of heart-tugging sentiment too. The historical setting is nicely conveyed, and the mood is sincere and sometimes sad, but never so heavy as to make reading it a drag. I definitely recommend the book, and I enjoyed it while swinging in a hammock.

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Long Walk2The Long Walk by Stephen King: Ooooh. This is a good one. I’d never heard of this book, one of King’s earlier works (written under his Richard Bachman pseudonym), until I saw Bonnie’s review on For the Love of Words (check it out here — great review!). In The Long Walk, 100 teen-aged boys participate in a walk that continues until only one is left standing… because all the others are dead. The boys start at the Maine/Canada border, and walk. That’s it. They walk — and walk, and walk, never falling below a 4-mile-per-hour pace, because if they do, that’s a warning. And after three warnings, the next infraction means you’re shot to death by the armed guards who travel alongside the walkers. The boys never stop, not to eat, sleep, or pee. If they fall or pass out or get a cramp, that could mean the end. Wow, is this a disturbing book, and yet it’s so, so good. Meanwhile, the boys who walk talk and reflect and learn the truth hidden inside the deepest, darkest corners of their hearts and minds. Why they walk is only explained at a surface level (there’s a Prize), but it’s clear without ever being explicitly shown that this is an alternate version of the United States in which watching a group of boys walk to death is high entertainment, and which is bleak enough that the 1 in 100 shot at the Prize is enough to get more or less sensible boys to bet their lives.

You might think that all this makes The Long Walk too dark for a vacation read… but no. Stephen King is pretty much always perfect for vacation. The fast-paced storytelling and immersive experience makes you happy to glance up and see the sun still shining. It’s horror, but (oh, this makes me sound like a bad person) totally fun horror.

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sun-151763_1280Blue AsylumBlue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall: I loved this book! Set during the Civil War, this historical novel tells the story of Iris Dunleavy, a young woman who somewhat blindly enters into a marriage with a plantation owner, only to realize that his cruelty is more than she can bear. When she attempts to expose his crimes, he instead has her declared insane and sends her away to an island asylum to be “cured” of her irrational defiance and delusions. While there, Iris meets Ambrose, a Confederate soldier haunted by his wartime experience. Iris and Ambrose fall in love, but Iris’s determination to escape with her lover and start a new life is doomed from the start. It’s a haunting and tragic love story, beautifully written, with an unusual setting and a memorable and well-defined cast of supporting characters. I just adored this one. Sad? Yes. And still, I consider it a great vacation read. The asylum is set on Sanibel Island off the coast of Florida, and the descriptions of the beaches, sea, birds, and sky give Blue Asylum a feeling of sunshine and freshness, even when the plot makes me want to cry.

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And that’s my vacation reading wrap-up! As you can see, I read some amazing books — not all are books I’d describe as beach reads, but not a single dud among the bunch.

If I had to pick one to recommend the most, I’d say definitely check out Blue Asylum. For anyone who loves historical fiction, powerful love stories, and strong female lead characters, this is a can’t-miss book.

Hitting the road… See you next week!

Hello, lovely readers! Bookshelf Fantasies is taking a wee break for about 10 days as I head off on a much-needed vacation!

While I’m away, my two weekly memes, Shelf Control and Thursday Quotables, are taking a rest too — but if you do posts for either one while I’m away, please feel free to share your links in the comments!

Shelf ControlShelf Control returns July 27th!

 

quotation-marks4Thursday Quotables returns July 28th!

Have a great couple of weeks. See you soon!

A little hint about where I'll be...

A little hint about where I’ll be…

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Insta-Reaction: Outlander, Season 2, Episode 13

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The 2nd season of Outlander has reached its end. I’ve been writing an “Insta-Reaction” post for each episode right after viewing, to share some initial thoughts, questions, reactions — you name it.

Warning:

Spoilers

I may be talking about events from this episode, other episodes, and/or the book series… so if you’d rather not know, now’s your chance to walk away!

Outlander, episode 213: “Dragonfly in Amber”

The official synopsis (via Starz):

Flashing forward, Claire revisits the past and reveals to her daughter, Brianna, the truth. Back in the 18th century, the Battle of Culloden has arrived, and Jamie must do everything he can to save the ones he loves.

My take:

The Outlander season finale… sob.

Major plot points:

  • In 1968, Claire comes to Inverness with her grown daughter Brianna for the funeral of the Reverend Wakefield, where they meet the adult Roger (who was oh-so-adorable as a small child).
  • Brianna and Roger hit it off and go exploring, including exploring the secrets of Claire and Frank (who is apparently recently deceased).
  • Claire visits Lallybroch and Culloden, reliving memories of the past.
  • Brianna learns the truth about her parentage, but doesn’t believe Claire until she sees Geillis go through the stones.
  • Back in 1746, it’s the day of the battle of Culloden. Desperate, Claire and Jamie scheme to kill Prince Charles in order to stop the rebellion, but they are overheard by Dougal, who attacks Jamie.
  • Jamie kills Dougal. Rupert witnesses the death blow, and agrees to give Jamie two hours to get Claire to safety before he tells others of Dougal’s murder.
  • Jamie takes Claire back to Craigh na Dun. Claire does not want to leave Jamie, but he makes her go in order to protect their unborn child.
  • Jamie and Claire say good-bye, and she returns through the stones to the 20th century.
  • In 1968, Roger and Brianna tell Claire that they’ve discovered proof that Jamie did not die at Culloden, as Claire has believed for the past twenty years.

Insta-reaction:

Wow. What an intense and heart-wrenching season finale — the perfect conclusion to a tumultuous, emotional 2nd season.

Outlander Season 2 2016

Where to start? The 1960s are probably a good place. Well done, show, for the great use of period music, hair styles, and even TV programs. Claire looks amazing in her mod hair-do, silver streaks and all. Claire is one hell of a woman, no matter her age or the era.

Outlander Season 2 2016

Brianna… well, let’s just say that I may need time for her to grow on me. And it’s not the character — book Brianna is fairly bratty and abrasive at first too. No, it’s the actress and her acting. She wasn’t terrible, but she does come across as pretty strident, and I wish we’d had a chance to see positive interactions between Bree and Claire before jumping so quickly into Brianna accusing Claire of adultery, lying, and being a crazy-pants.

Roger is awfully cute, though, and he sang a terrific rat satire for Brianna. Adorable.

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Claire’s journey back through her memories is a heartbreaker. First, she visits Lallybroch, now a boarded-up, desolate shell, where she hears bits and pieces of past voices in her mind, including the romantic poem that is so important in the book.

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Next, she goes to Culloden, where she visits the stone marker for Clan Fraser and spends what appears to be hours telling Jamie all about his daughter and their life over the past 20 years.

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It’s clear that Claire has never gotten over Jamie. She carries such a heavy air of sadness with her. What must it have been like for Brianna to grown up with a mother whose heart was always elsewhere? And how did Claire and Frank manage to stay married all these years, when they both knew she loved someone else? On the plus side for Claire, apparently she focused all her pent-up passion and devotion into her career — she became a surgeon! You go, Claire!

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I got absolute chills in the scene where Brianna is waiting for Roger at the university and approaches a crowd to hear a charismatic speaker talking about Scottish nationalism. Just the sound of that voice — it’s Geillis Duncan, pre-time travel, going by her original name, Gillian Edgars. Wow. I didn’t realize she’d be in this episode (although I suppose I should have anticipated a brief appearance by Geillis, to match book events). Back in season 1 at the witch trial, Geillis told Claire that she’d come from 1968. Toward the end of the episode, Claire, Roger, and Brianna are just in time to see Geillis disappearing through the stones. It’s eerie and lovely all at the same time.

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Okay, back in the bad old days of 1746, the battle seems lost before it’s even begun. Seriously, I wanted to throttle the Bonnie Prince, who refuses to see that his army consists of starving, broken down men who stand absolutely no chance against British soldiers. This is just tragic, and it’s awful to watch, knowing what’s about to happen. No wonder Jamie and Claire feel desperate enough to consider regicide… too bad Dougal showed up in time to interfere.

The fight between Jamie and Dougal was well-done, with every ounce of Dougal’s passions, resentments, and jealousies apparent in every move.

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And oh, that good-bye scene between Jamie and Claire. What is there to even say about it? I thought it was done so beautifully, with Jamie guiding Claire to the stone and holding her hand up to it, knowing she doesn’t have the strength by herself to leave him willingly. Tears… all the tears…

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Insta-reaction wrap-up:

There are big moments — Claire and Jamie’s good-bye tops the list — but small moments of great meaning and power too.

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Jamie sending Fergus back to Lallybroch, after signing the estate over to Jenny’s son so the property won’t be lost to the family. The good-byes between Jamie, Claire, and Fergus. Murtagh agreeing to see the Lallybroch men safely away from battle, but vowing to return to fight and die by Jamie’s side.

A few great little call-backs to earlier themes and episodes… My favorite is Roger saying that Craigh na Dun (where Geillis has just set her husband on fire) is like a “f*cking barbecue”, echoing Geillis’s line from the season 1 witch trial. Having Roger and Brianna tour Ft. William, the scene of Jamie’s flogging, is all kinds of chilling. And let’s not forget that Geillis murdered one husband in season 1, so seeing her get her start by murdering her first husband here in season 2 seems appropriate (and disturbing).

I’m not sure I loved the use of the dragonfly in amber as a token from Claire to Jamie, later seen by Claire in the Culloden museum. It’s kind of a big chunk of rock to tuck inside one’s shirt and carry into battle.

And really, I’m not sold on Brianna, but maybe she’ll grown on me. It didn’t help that Claire has a couple of lines where she talks about Brianna being so like Jamie. It would be fine if there were actually a resemblance, either in looks or gestures or body language, but I’m sorry — apart from red hair, there really isn’t a resemblance, and it felt forced for Claire to act as if there was.

I know some critics and viewers are already complaining that the entire season was a build-up to Culloden — and then the battle didn’t actually happen within the scope of the show. I suppose that’s a fair criticism, but it doesn’t particularly resonate with me as a book reader. In the book (Dragonfly in Amber), we never actually see the battle of Culloden. Jamie forces Claire to leave before the battle, and all we know of it is what Claire knows from history — the British won, the Scots lost, and Jamie and Claire’s scheming and plotting were all for nothing.

I’m okay with the season ending as it did, particularly knowing that the 3rd book fills in so many of the blanks. We can only assume that season 3 will pick up with Jamie and Claire’s story and fill us in on the battle and all of those lost years for both of them.

And furthermore…

It’s been a beautiful, crazy, turbulent season, from Paris aristocrats and royalty, Versailles and brothels, to Scottish lairds and chieftains, Highlands and moors. Visually, it’s been stunning, and oh, the Paris costumes! Kudos and much love and admiration to all of the cast and crew and production team!

The idea of at least two more seasons of Outlander, as confirmed by Starz, is such a thrill. Bring on season 3!

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Yup, so do we all, Claire.

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The Monday Check-In ~ 7/11/2016

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

In real life:

It’s been an insanely busy week at work, and at home, I’ve been busy getting my kiddo ready for three weeks of sleepaway camp. Laundry, ironing on name tags, packing… it’s the annual ritual, lots of fun, but always with last-minute frenzy, no matter how well prepared we are. Still, as of yesterday, the kid is on his way, and pretty soon, I’ll be leaving on a trip of my own.

He and I did manage to finish our big huge Buffy watch this week (a re-watch for me, first time for him), and it was amazing! I’ll never get tired of Buffy, and it was so much fun to introduce another of my kids to one of my favorite geeky pleasures.

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Meanwhile, back to the books…

What did I read last week?

17A Night Too Dark18Though Not DeadRainwater

A Night Too Dark by Dana Stabenow: Kate Shugak, #17. Yes, I’m obsessed.

Though Not Dead by Dana Stabenow: The 18th Kate Shugak book was amazing! I’m always impressed when an author can keep a series going for so long and still present fresh and exciting storylines and great character development. Man, do I love this series.

Rainwater by Sandra Brown: I’ve never read a Sandra Brown book before — I associate her with the romance genre, which I usually avoid. Rainwater was a book group pick and I felt compelled to read it… and ended up enjoying it! I’ll write up my thoughts to share in the next few days.

Alison WonderlandAnd a DNF — I started a book that I’d featured as a Shelf Control pick recently (Alison Wonderland), and realized that it just did not appeal to me at all. I gave it 20 pages, then added it to the book swap shelf at work. Maybe someone else will enjoy it…

 

 

 

Outlander update!

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Excuse me while I wipe away the tears still running down my face…

Season 2 came to an end this weekend with a powerful season finale episode. Unfortunately, what with all of my real life craziness, I wasn’t able to watch the finale until late Sunday… so no reaction post just yet. But wow – what a great wrap-up to an amazing, heartbreaking season.

Fresh Catch:

Well, yes, I did get some new books this week. So much good stuff!

Two older Stephen Kings books, one new-in-paperback novel that looks great…

Bag of BonesLong Walk2Crooked Heart

… and two graphic novels that I’m really excited about:

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What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 Crooked Heart

I’m about to leave on vacation, and have been working hard on whittling down my stack of vacation reading! Here’s what I’m pretty sure I’m going to start with… and yes, about 4 more books plus my Kindle are all coming along with me on my travels.

Now playing via audiobook:

Agent to the Stars

This audiobook is awesome! It’s narrated by Wil Wheaton, and it’s making me laugh pretty much nonstop, which I really needed this week! Unfortunately, I think I’ll have to leave it on pause for a couple of weeks while I’m traveling, but I’ll be looking forward to picking it back up ASAP.

Ongoing reads:

MOBYemma

My book group is reading and discussing two chapter per week of both Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon and Emma by Jane Austen. This is an online group, and anyone is welcome to join us — so if you’re interested, just ask me how!

So many books, so little time…

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Thursday Quotables: Defending Taylor

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Welcome back to Thursday Quotables! This weekly feature is the place to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week.  Whether it’s something funny, startling, gut-wrenching, or just really beautifully written, Thursday Quotables is where my favorite lines of the week will be, and you’re invited to join in!

NEW! Thursday Quotables is now using a Linky tool! Be sure to add your link if you have a Thursday Quotables post to share.

defending taylor

Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally
(published 2016)

Hot off the press, here’s the newest in Miranda Kenneally’s terrific YA series! I’ve already finished the book, and reviewed it here. I always like this author’s writing style, as well as her great plots. Here’s a little snippet that I enjoyed:

“Taylor Lukens, come forward,” the judge in dark robes said. It was like approaching Professor Dumbledore for breaking school rules at Hogwarts. Honestly, that would have seemed more normal than going before a judge for possession of drugs.

PS – That tag line on the cover — “Is he playing for love or playing her?” — has really nothing to do with the story, so don’t be turned off by it! Taylor is a strong female lead character, with brains and integrity. The tag line just puzzles me.

What lines made you laugh, cry, or gasp this week? Do tell!

If you’d like to participate in Thursday Quotables, it’s really simple:

  • Write a Thursday Quotables post on your blog. Try to pick something from whatever you’re reading now. And please be sure to include a link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your post (http://www.bookshelffantasies.com), if you’d be so kind!
  • Click on the linky button (look for the cute froggie face) below to add your link.
  • After you link up, I’d love it if you’d leave a comment about my quote for this week.
  • Be sure to visit other linked blogs to view their Thursday Quotables, and have fun!

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Shelf Control #43: My Notorious Life

Shelves final

Welcome to the newest weekly feature here at Bookshelf Fantasies… Shelf Control!

Shelf Control is all about the books we want to read — and already own! Consider this a variation of a Wishing & Waiting post… but looking at books already available, and in most cases, sitting right there on our shelves and e-readers.

Want to join in? See the guidelines and linky at the bottom of the post, and jump on board! Let’s take control of our shelves!

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My Shelf Control pick this week is:

My Notorious LifeTitle: My Notorious Life
Author: Kate Manning
Published: 2013
Length: 448 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

A brilliant rendering of a scandalous historical figure, Kate Manning’s My Notorious Life is an ambitious, thrilling novel introducing Axie Muldoon, a fiery heroine for the ages. Axie’s story begins on the streets of 1860s New York. The impoverished child of Irish immigrants, she grows up to become one of the wealthiest and most controversial women of her day.

In vivid prose, Axie recounts how she is forcibly separated from her mother and siblings, apprenticed to a doctor, and how she and her husband parlay the sale of a few bottles of ‘Lunar Tablets for Female Complaint’ into a thriving midwifery business. Flouting convention and defying the law in the name of women’s reproductive rights, Axie rises from grim tenement rooms to the splendor of a mansion on Fifth Avenue, amassing wealth while learning over and over never to trust a man who says “trust me.”

When her services attract outraged headlines, Axie finds herself on a collision course with a crusading official, Anthony Comstock, founder of the Society for the Suppression of Vice. It will take all of Axie’s cunning and power to outwit him in the fight to preserve her freedom and everything she holds dear.

Inspired by the true history of an infamous female physician who was once called “the Wickedest Woman in New York,” My Notorious Life is a mystery, a family saga, a love story, and an exquisitely detailed portrait of nineteenth-century America. Axie Muldoon’s inimitable voice brings the past alive, and her story haunts and enlightens the present.

How I got it:

I bought it!

When I got it:

Sometime last year.

Why I want to read it:

A super enthusiastic coworker practically ran into my office one day to tell me about this amazing book she was reading, and gushed about it so much that I had to track down a copy. I love good historical fiction, especially when there’s a strong and notable woman at the center of the action. My Notorious Life sounds right up my alley.

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Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link below!
  • And if you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and have fun!


For more on why I’ve started Shelf Control, check out my introductory post here, or read all about my out-of-control book inventory, here.

And if you’d like to post a Shelf Control button on your own blog, here’s an image to download (with my gratitude, of course!):

Shelf Control

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