The Monday Check-In ~ 10/18/2021

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.

Life.

After a week and a half away, I got home last Monday and picked back up with regular life right away. This weekend, I finally got a chance to breathe a little, spend time outdoors, go for walks, and just relax. I needed that downtime for sure.

What did I read during the last week?

Cackle by Rachel Harrison: Witchy goodness! My review is here.

Horseman by Christina Henry: An eerie riff on the legend of Sleepy Hollow. (Loved it!) My review is here.

Any Sign of Life by Rae Carson: A YA tale of a post-pandemic apocalypse. My review is here.

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley: This audiobook was a re-read for me, and I loved it all over again. My original review is here.

An Embarrassment of Witches by Sophie Goldstein and Jenn Jordan: A fun graphic novel that focuses on friendship, post-college soul-searching, and finding your way… in a world where magic and witchcraft are everyday parts of life.

Pop culture & TV:

I’ve mostly just been catching up on shows where I’d fallen a few episodes behind — Queen Sugar, Survivor, What We Do in the Shadows. Also, somehow I’ve managed to get sucked into the current season of Dancing With the Stars, which I do not usually watch. But hey, Sporty Spice!

Fresh Catch:

Two lovely new books were waiting for me when I got home:

The Vanished Days is even signed by the author!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis: I’ve only just started, but this book is sweet so far!

Now playing via audiobook:

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry: After listening to a couple of longer, heavier historical novels, a lighter listen seemed like a great choice. I’m about halfway through, and enjoying it.

Ongoing reads:
  • Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re reading and discussing 5 chapters per week. This week: Chapters 121 – 125.
  • Doctor Zhivago is our group classic read, two chapters per week. It’s complicated! Nerdy me started a spreadsheet to help me keep track of the characters. Don’t scoff — it works!
  • It’s October, and that means it’s time for A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny! The book is organized into chapters corresponding to each day of the month. So far, the chapters per day are short, so it hasn’t been a problem keeping up — but I know they get longer later in the month, so I hope I can keep up my motivation (and find the time) to see it through.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 10/11/2021

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.

Life.

What an amazing week! As of today, I’m flying back home after a 10-day visit to the East Coast. I was able to visit with my dad every day, and yesterday we had a family gathering to celebrate his 90th birthday.

Beyond that, I met up with various friends and family members for walks, dinners, and lunches, and even managed to get into the city and go to Broadway!

So much fun. It’ll be hard to get back to real life this week for sure.

What did I read during the last week?

So Many Beginnings by Bethany C. Morrow: A powerful “remix” of Little Women. My review is here.

Cackle by Rachel Harrison: A lighter read — witchcraft in a small town! Review to follow.

Pop culture & TV:

TV-wise, my son convinced me to watch Squid Game (Netflix). I’ve only watched two episodes so far… but I can see why everyone seems to be talking about it!

This past Friday, I went to see Hadestown on Broadway. It was amazing! Loved the music, the staging, the choreography…

Here’s a look at the show:

… and the cast’s performance at the 2019 Tonys:

I need to get the soundtrack!

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week — but there should be some waiting for me when I get home.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

I have a huge (virtual) pile of ARCs to read… but this book is due back at the library at the end of the week, so I think I’m going to read it first!

Now playing via audiobook:

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley: I am *this close* to finishing… it’s so good, even as a re-read!

Ongoing reads:
  • Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re reading and discussing 5 chapters per week. This week: Chapters 116 – 120.
  • Doctor Zhivago is our group classic read. We’re discussing twice per week, and expect to have the group read go through early 2022. Slow and steady!
  • It’s October, and that means it’s time for A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny! The book is organized into chapters corresponding to each day of the month. So far, I’m keeping up!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 10/4/2021

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.

Life.

For the first time since my high school graduation, I made it to a reunion! I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful it was to reunite with old friends and reconnect with people I haven’t seen in way too many years. Since I live on the other side of the country from where I grew up, it’s never worked for me to attend a reunion until now… I’m so glad I did!

I’ll be here (Connecticut) for another week, working remotely, but also connecting with family and friends, and then celebrating my dad’s birthday next weekend. It’ll be busy — but it’s so great to be here!

What did I read during the last week?

Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune: Loved it! My review is here.

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley: An audiobook re-read, so lovely to listen to.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: The first in a duology following up the Grisha trilogy, Six of Crows has excitement, danger, and great new characters. I really liked it!

Pop culture & TV:

I finished season 3 of Sex Education — terrific season! I started On the Verge on Netflix, which I’m still a bit half-hearted about. And I’m loving the new season of Survivor so far!

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Ack! I finished the book I was reading (Six of Crows) late last night, and I can’t quite decide which of these to start next!

Now playing via audiobook:

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley: Another re-read — after finishing The Winter Sea, I just had to continue the story!

Ongoing reads:
  • Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re reading and discussing 5 chapters per week. This week: Chapters 111 – 115.
  • Doctor Zhivago is our group classic read. We’re discussing twice per week, and expect to have the group read go through early 2022. Slow and steady!
  • It’s October, and that means it’s time for A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny! The book is organized into chapters corresponding to each day of the month. I know there are folks who re-read this book every October. I kept up with it through about half the month the last time I tried, but this time I want to see it through!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 9/27/2021

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.

Life.

Another busy week ahead! I’m heading back east — again!! — later in the week, and I’ll be there for about 10 days. We have a couple of family events coming up, and in between, I’ll be seeing how the working-remotely-from-another-timezone thing works out.

This past week flew by! I had a day off for a Jewish holiday (Sukkot), and we ended up getting together with friends we haven’t seen in a while. Nice and mellow, but really fun.

What did I read during the last week?

Miss Kopp Investigates (Kopp Sisters, #7) by Amy Stewart: Yet another terrific addition to a great series! My review is here.

An Observant Wife by Naomi Ragen: A follow-up to the author’s earlier novel, An Unorthodox Match. My review is here.

Puzzle of the Week:

Woo hoo! I did my first puzzle in about a month! It was nice to finally take some time, and this was a fun one:

Available via Ravensburger

Pop culture & TV:

Sex Education is back! Season 3 dropped on Netflix last week, and I’m about halfway done.

Fresh Catch:

Even though I already had an e-ARC, I ended up buying myself a physical copy of Miss Kopp Investigates from the author’s husband’s bookstore. It came signed by the author, plus “signed” by Fleurette Kopp too!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune: I haven’t had as much time as I’d wish for just sitting and reading, so I haven’t made a ton of progress… but I’m really liking this so far!

Now playing via audiobook:

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley: This is a re-read for me (first time on audio) — a book related to this one is coming out in two weeks, and I need a refresher!

Ongoing reads:
  • Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re reading and discussing 5 chapters per week. This week: Chapters 106 – 110.
  • Doctor Zhivago is our new group classic read! We’re just getting started this week.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 9/20/2021

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.

Life.

Photo by Genaro Servu00edn on Pexels.com

Hey, hey, it’s my birthday!

I don’t make much of a fuss about it, and my plans are pretty low-key. I’m working today, after all! But my husband and I did enjoy a nice pre-birthday dinner out this past Friday, at a favorite restaurant that has a really pretty outdoor seating set-up.

Other than that… 3 of the 4 of us on my work team have September birthdays, so we had a group lunch to celebrate last week.

And I’ve been told that we’ll do a family dinner out sometime this week, depending on everyone’s schedules.

Meanwhile, I feel blessed to have a wonderful family, all in good health!

Blogging update:

When it comes to blogging, I haven’t been feeling it, really, over the last couple of weeks — probably because I’ve been traveling and super busy. I just wrote my first review in about two weeks!

I’m still reading, but trying to balance reading the spur-of-the-moment books that I pick up with my ARC pile, so I don’t end up loaded down by obligation reading. It’s always a challenge!

All this to say — I’m still here, just pulled into too many directions right now to be very good about regular blogging or spending time keeping up with other people’s blogs the way I want to.

I’m sure things will settle down… eventually… and I’ll get back to (more or less) normal routines.

What did I read during the last week?

Rosemary and Rue (October Daye, #1) by Seanan McGuire: Super fun to go back to the beginning of this fabulous series via audiobook!

When Sorrows Come (October Daye, #15) by Seanan McGuire: In addition to listening to the first in the series, I read the brand-new release in the ongoing October Daye series. My review is here.

The Pick-Up by Miranda Kenneally: A fun, quick read by a terrific YA author. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

I watched the first 3 episodes of Y: The Last Man. Really liking it so far!

Fresh Catch:

I didn’t buy any new books this week, but I did treat myself to two new bookish shirts:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

An Observant Wife by Naomi Ragen: This is a sequel to An Unorthodox Match, which I found so interesting. I’ve only just started this book — looking forward to getting further into it.

Now playing via audiobook:

Miss Kopp Investigates (Kopp Sisters, #7) by Amy Stewart: A new Kopp Sisters book is always a treat, and I just love the narration for these audiobooks!

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re reading and discussing 5 chapters per week. This week: Chapters 101 – 105.

Haven’t started this one yet, but our next group classic read will be Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. We’re starting next week!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 9/13/2021

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.

Life.

I’m back!

I just spent a wonderful week in North Carolina with my daughter, splitting our time between Raleigh/Durham and the Asheville area. We hiked, shopped, enjoyed amazing views, beautiful outdoor spaces, read tons, and enjoyed each others’ company.

Now I’m home again, catching up on emails, blogging, bills, and laundry. Sigh. Back to the real world!

What did I read during the last week?

Between long hours on airplanes and quiet times where we both indulged our love of reading, I did manage to get through a few books this week. I wrote up a wrap-up post (here) with reviews of all my new reads from the past two weeks. These are the books I finished during my travels:

Pop culture & TV:

The only TV viewing I did this past week was watching the first couple of episodes of the new season of What We Do In the Shadows. Love it so much.

Fresh Catch:

Even though I read an ARC of this book, when I saw a paperback in a used book store, I had to have it:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Sunrise by the Sea by Jenny Colgan: I started this book on the flight home, and the hours zipped by!

Now playing via audiobook:

Rosemary & Rue (October Daye, #1) by Seanan McGuire: My daughter is as big a fan of the October Daye series as I am, so we decided to indulge in the first audiobook of the series while on our road trip.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re reading and discussing 5 chapters per week. This week: Chapters 96 – 100.

Haven’t started this one yet, but our next group classic read will be Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. We’ll be starting at the end of September. If you’re interested in participating, just let me know!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 9/6/2021

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.

Life.

(via Pinterest)

I’M ON VACATION!

Thanks to the good timing of Labor Day and Rosh HaShanah falling during the same week, I’m turning a five-day weekend into an entire week off.

I’m probably not going to be posting much this week — I’m spending the week visiting my daughter in North Carolina, and my focus is definitely not on blogging.

But yes, of course I’m reading a ton too. Just not worrying too much about writing reviews for now…

What did I read during the last week?

I’ll probably do a review round-up post once I’m back home, but keeping things simple at the moment… here’s what I’ve read since my last Monday Check-In:

Pop culture & TV:

I’m way behind the rest of the TV-watching world… but I finally started watching Killing Eve! Six episodes in, and I’m hooked. Taking a little break while I’m away this week, but I will definitely be continuing.

Fresh Catch:

One new book — just had to buy a copy!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle: A YA retelling of Romeo and Juliet. I’ve just barely started, but it’s good so far!

Now playing via audiobook:

A Killing Frost (October Daye, #14) by Seanan McGuire: A new Toby book comes out NEXT WEEK (yay!!), which means it’s time for an audio re-read of the previous one. I always love the Toby audiobooks — author Mary Robinette Kowal is the narrator, and she’s excellent.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re reading and discussing 5 chapters per week. This week: Chapters 91 – 94 plus the coda interlude.

Haven’t started this one yet, but our next group classic read will be Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. We’ll be starting at the end of September. If you’re interested in participating, just let me know!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 8/30/2021

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.

Life.

After a summer of gray, overcast skies, the sun finally came out this past week, and it’s been glorious! I managed to fit in a few beach walks and some outdoor reading time, and it’s amazing how little moments like those can instantly put me in a happy mood!

Of course, the sunny interlude didn’t last past Saturday… but I enjoyed it while it was here.

What did I read during the last week?

Ruin and Rising (Shadow & Bone, #3) by Leigh Bardugo: I suppose I’m glad to have read the trilogy, but overall, I thought the story was just okay. Yet another Chosen One? Ho hum. I’m interested enough in this world to read the other related books, but I can’t say I more than just liked the story.

Heroes by Stephen Fry: I finished the audiobook, and loved it. Stephen Fry is an amazing storyteller, and he’s a fantastic audiobook narrator for this collection of tales from Ancient Greece. My review is here.

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon: Lovely, moving YA. My review is here.

Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips: I’m a little late, but I finally read my book group’s pick for August! I’ll probably write up some thoughts later in the week — but first, I need to go catch up on the group discussion!

Pop culture & TV:

I finished the American-Israeli series Hit & Run on Netflix, and thought it was great, although it definitely fell outside the type of viewing I usually prefer. Check out my thoughts on the series here.

I’ve started watching Reservation Dogs on Hulu, but other than that, I’m in between shows. I suppose I could watch the season premiere of The Walking Dead, but I’m having a hard time building up any interest at all. Still, it’s the final season and I’ve lasted this long, so I suppose I should watch it.

Fresh Catch:

Once again, no new physical books! Although I have added a few more e-books to my Kindle library…

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado: I’m on a roll with reading my daughter’s recommendations, and this one just came in from my library holds list.

Now playing via audiobook:

A Killing Frost (October Daye, #14) by Seanan McGuire: A new Toby book comes out in September (yay!!), which means it’s time for an audio re-read of the previous one. I always love the Toby audiobooks — author Mary Robinette Kowal is the narrator, and she’s excellent.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re reading and discussing 5 chapters per week. This week: Chapters 86 – 90.

Also in book group, we’ve doing a group read of A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, and we’re finishing this week!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 8/23/2021

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.

Life.

What a week. My husband and I were supposed to be heading up to Yosemite for a 4-night stay starting yesterday, but due to smoke from wildfires and concerns about air quality, we decided very last minute not to go. So… there goes this week’s vacation!

What did I read during the last week?

Siege and Storm (Shadow & Bone, #2) by Leigh Bardugo: I’m continuing with the Grishaverse books as they become available from the library. Just finished #2, and I liked it enough to keep going, although I don’t feel hugely invested.

The Stand-In by Lily Chu (performed by Phillipa Soo): A fun contemporary romance audiobook. The narration is a treat! My review is here.

Feral Creatures by Kira Jane Buxton: Weird and wonderful follow-up to Hollow Kingdom. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

My son and I watched The Silent Place II, and I gotta say, it was pretty terrifying! I had a whole bunch of jump-scare reactions (leading to my son being very amused at my expense). I also started the series Hit & Run on Netflix, and so far, it’s really good!

Fresh Catch:

No new books! Unless you count all the Kindle deals I just couldn’t resist…

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon: Yay, I’m finally reading this one! I bought a copy several months ago, but it took a reminder from my daughter (who just read and loved this book) for me to remember to get to it.

And since this library book just came through, I’m flipping over to this one, once in a while, in between chapters of the other:

Now playing via audiobook:

Heroes by Stephen Fry: I really enjoyed listening to Mythos last year, and was just reminded that I never got around to listening to the next book. With Stephen Fry narrating, it’s a very fun way to absorb some classical storytelling!

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re reading and discussing 5 chapters per week. Let me know if you want to join in — the more, the merrier! This week: Chapters 81 – 85.

Also in book group, we’re doing a group read of A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen. We’ll be done next week.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 8/16/2021

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.

Life.

It was my son’s birthday this past weekend. My baby is 19!! Where did the time go?

Other than that, it’s been a busy week, catching up on work after being away, and always feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done and still have time to read, watch TV, and try to fit in a bit of exercise too!

What did I read during the last week?

She Wouldn’t Change a Thing by Sarah Adlakha: This time-travel thriller seems to have high ratings on Goodreads, but it just didn’t do it for me. My review is here.

Yours Cheerfully by AJ Pearce: A nice historical fiction follow-up to the 2018 novel Dear Mrs. Bird. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

This was the week I fell in love with Love, Victor! I also managed to catch up on season 2 of A Discovery of Witches, and I’m excited to start watching the first four episodes of the final season of Grace & Frankie (the rest of the season airs in 2022).

Fresh Catch:

No new books!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Juggling two books:

Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips: My book group’s discussion of this book is coming up this week, and I’ve barely even started! I need to get down to some serious reading if I’m going to finish in time.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo: I’m also continuing with the Grisha books. Onward to #2!

Now playing via audiobook:

The Stand-In by Lily Chu: I didn’t have much listening time this past week, but I’m really liking this super cute story of an ordinary woman asked to become a secret stand-in for a movie star. Lots of fun!

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re reading and discussing 5 chapters per week. Let me know if you want to join in — the more, the merrier! This week: Chapters 76 – 80.

Also in book group, we’re doing a group read of A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen. Two more weeks to go.

So many books, so little time…

boy1