The Monday Check-In ~ 8/13/2018

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.

Tomorrow is my baby boy’s 16th birthday! Where has the time flown? I couldn’t ask for a better, funnier, more amazing human being as a son. Just imagine, if he were actually a reader, he’d be perfect!

 

 

What did I read during the last week?

It’s been a slow reading week, due to crazy times at work and a bit too much TV binge-watching. But, what I’ve read, I’ve loved!

It’s been all about the re-reads this week. I don’t know about you, but for me, re-reading the previous book in a series gets me super-psyched and ready when there’s a new release, so that’s what I’ve been doing.

Imprudence by Gail Carriger: I listened (again) to the 2nd book in the adorable Custard Protocol series, and loved it completely. Narrator Moira Quirk is amazing.

The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire: I decided to re-read the 11th October Daye book before starting #12. I love this series and these characters so, so, so much — but #11 is such a heart-breaker. It’s been a rough week. My thoughts from my original read of this book are here.

Fresh Catch:

It’s the new Kopp Sisters book! An amazing package of goodies arrived — read more about it here.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire: As I mentioned above, I did a re-read of the previous book in the series to get read for Night and Silence, and now I’m diving in! I’m almost too excited to be actually reading this book. I love Toby. And I want her to be happy. That is all.

Now playing via audiobook:

Competence (The Custard Protocol, #3) by Gail Carriger: This series is just so much fun, and the audiobooks are amazing.

Ongoing reads:

Book group reads:

  • Classic read: My book group’s current classic read is Middlemarch by George Eliot.  We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week. I think we’ve finally passed the halfway point!
  • The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon. Continuing our group read of the Lord John works, it’s lovely to revisit The Scottish Prisoner, which stars Lord John Grey and everyone’s favorite Scottish laird, Jamie Fraser. Want to join in? Ask me how!

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 8/6/2018

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.

What did I read during the last week?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: Powerful and thought-provoking. My review is here.

Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley: Another delicious read by a favorite author. My review is here.

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week. Yay, me! Finally, a little restraint when it comes to my bookish habits. Although I did check out a few from the library…

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire: I just got this ARC, and have pretty much dropped everything else to read it! It’s the 12th book in the October Daye series, which is only my favorite thing ever. SO EXCITED TO HAVE THIS IN MY HOT LITTLE HANDS.

Now playing via audiobook:

Imprudence (The Custard Protocol, #2) by Gail Carriger: All of my audiobooks lately seem to be re-reads. I’m revisiting the world of Imprudence before I start reading the newly released 3rd book in the series, Competence.

Ongoing reads:

Book group reads:

  • Classic read: My book group’s current classic read is Middlemarch by George Eliot.  We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week… and we have a long way still to go.
  • The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon. Continuing our group read of the Lord John works, it’s lovely to revisit The Scottish Prisoner, which stars Lord John Grey and everyone’s favorite Scottish laird, Jamie Fraser. Want to join in? Ask me how!

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 7/30/2018

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.

Where did the summer go? Suddenly, it’s the end of July, soon to be August. My kiddo goes back to school in just three weeks, and let’s face it, that means my summer will be over too. Sigh.

What did I read during the last week?

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2) by Neal Shusterman: Terrific follow-up to Scythe. My review is here.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate: A book group selection — moving and tragic. My review is here.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang: A sweet and engaging YA graphic novel.

In audiobooks, I finished the 4th book in the Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce. What a great adventure! I can’t wait to read more of the Tortall books.

Pop culture goodness:

I wrote a post about my favorite summer TV viewing, here.

And… I finally got around to watching The Greatest Showman, and thought it was so much fun! I’ll definitely want to watch it again. Who else is a fan?

Fresh Catch:

I treated myself to one completely decadent book purchase, which arrived this week. It’s the Easton Press edition of Voyager by Diana Gabaldon. So pretty. And it’s signed.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: I know I”m late to the party, but at least I’m finally reading it!

Now playing via audiobook:

Imprudence (The Custard Protocol, #2) by Gail Carriger: All of my audiobooks lately seem to be re-reads. I’m revisiting the world of Imprudence before I start reading the newly released 3rd book in the series, Competence.

Ongoing reads:

Book group reads:

  • Classic read: My book group’s current classic read is Middlemarch by George Eliot.  We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week… and we have a long way still to go.
  • The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon. Continuing our group read of the Lord John works, it’s lovely to revisit The Scottish Prisoner, which stars Lord John Grey and everyone’s favorite Scottish laird, Jamie Fraser. Want to join in? Ask me how!

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 7/23/2018

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.

What did I read during the last week?

The Lido by Libby Page: Such a lovely story about friendship, community, and connection. My review is here.

The Custom of the Army by Diana Gabaldon: For my book group, another reread — continuing our group discussions of the Outlander-adjacent stories about Lord John Grey. So much fun.

In audiobooks, I finished two terrific books from the same series:

In the Hand of the Goddess and The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Song of the Lioness, books 2 and 3) by Tamora Pierce: Can’t wait to wrap things up with #4.

Pop culture goodness:

My two new TV obsessions this week are:

Harlots — currently in its 2nd season on Hulu. Powerful, entertaining, and visually a treat. Amazing women characters. Check it out!

CB Strike: The TV series based on the Robert Galbraith/J K Rowling books. I feel like this one snuck onto TV screens really quietly — I had no idea it had even been released until a friend mentioned it. The production is great, and really quick to get through. All three “seasons” are available, each based on one of the books from the series. I’ve watched seasons 1 (The Cuckoo’s Calling – 3 episodes) and 2 (The Silkworm – 2 episodes) so far. All are excellent.

Fresh Catch:

More new books! Now to find time to read them all…

So many shades of blue…

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

I’m bouncing between two books right now:

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate: For this month’s book group discussion. Maybe it’s just because I had an intense, busy week last week… but I’ve been having a hard time getting into this one.

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2) by Neal Shusterman: Loving the sequel to Scythe.

Now playing via audiobook:

Lioness Rampant (Song of the Lioness, #4) by Tamora Pierce: Just starting the final book in the Alanna quartet! I’ve really enjoyed my Alanna reread… and I think I’ll follow it up by delving into more of Tamora Pierce’s world of Tortall for the first time.

Ongoing reads:

Book group reads:

  • Classic read: My book group’s current classic read is Middlemarch by George Eliot.  We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week… and we have a long way still to go.
  • We’re continuing our way through all of Diana Gabaldon’s Lord John works. This week, we’ll be starting the novel The Scottish Prisoner, starring Lord John Grey and everyone’s favorite Scottish laird, Jamie Fraser. Want to join in? Ask me how!

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 7/16/2018

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.

What did I read during the last week?

Scythe by Neal Shusterman: Loved it. My review is here.

Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, #1) by Tamora Pierce: Finished the audiobook! This is a re-read for me, after many, many years, and I’m really enjoying it.

Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer: Noir detective fiction starring main characters Joe Biden and Barack Obama. Yes, it’s just as silly as it sounds… and so much fun. My review is here.

Pop culture goodness:

This week’s entertainment included a bit of live theater…

And a movie!

Elsewhere on the blog:

Phew! I finally did some major housekeeping on the Book Blog Meme Directory! I went through and tested all the links to verify that the memes listed are still up and active. If you’ve visited before, you’ll notice that the list has shrunk a lot… but those that remain all check out! So now, it’s time to add — if you know of other book blog memes that you love and think others will love too, please let me know! New additions always welcome.

Fresh Catch:

So many new books this week:

And what’s life without a couple of new Georgette Heyer books too?

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Lido by Libby Page: A lovely story about a friendship between two women of different generations who meet at the local pool. I’m at about the halfway mark, and really enjoying it.

Now playing via audiobook:

In the Hand of the Goddess (Song of the Lioness, #2) by Tamora Pierce: Continuing my adventures with Alanna! It’s so much fun to revisit this series after all these years.

Ongoing reads:

Book group reads:

  • Classic read: My book group’s current classic read is Middlemarch by George Eliot.  We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week… and we have a long way still to go.
  • We’re continuing our way through all of Diana Gabaldon’s Lord John stories, currently on the final week of The Custom of the Army.

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 7/9/2018

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! And finally starting to feel human again after a nasty, nasty week of jetlag. Want to know where I’ve been? Check out my vacation post, here.

What did I read during the last week?

First of all, I read a WHOLE BUNCH of books on vacation — you can see my wrap-up post here.

And since I’ve been back, I managed to finish two terrific books:

Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce: Captivating historical fiction by a debut author. My review is here.

Robots vs Fairies editied by Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe: A sci-fi/fantasy collection, including works by some favorite authors. My thoughts are here.

And, in book group news — we finished our group read of Lord John and the Haunted Soldier by Diana Gabaldon. Another outstanding adventure!

Fresh Catch:

New books arrived this week:

The Dreamers is a Goodreads giveaway! After entering these for years, I finally won something… and it’s something I’m really excited to read!

I also treated myself to a little something from Out of Print — they were offering mystery grab bags for $40, and I couldn’t resist… and I’m thrilled with what I ended up getting:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Scythe by Neal Shusterman: Ssh, don’t tell — I stole my son’s required summer reading book!

Now playing via audiobook:

Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, #1) by Tamora Pierce: It’s been at least 15 years since I read the Alanna quartet, and I’ve always meant to go back and read more of the Tortall books — but first I need to remember the basics. So, it’s back to the beginning I go! I’m enjoying the audiobook so far — we’ll see if I stick with the audio format for the whole series.

Ongoing reads:

Book group reads:

  • Classic read: My book group’s current classic read is Middlemarch by George Eliot.  We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week… and we have a long way still to go.
  • We’re continuing our way through all of Diana Gabaldon’s Lord John stories, currently on week 2 (of 3) focused on The Custom of the Army. Always great to revisit a favorite character.

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 6/11/2018

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 heading off on a journey this week, so this may be my last reliable post for a few weeks. Between some vacation-y travels and visits to family, I’ll be on the go for about three weeks. I’ll pop in when I can, but if you don’t see me around the blogosphere much — now you know why!

What did I read during the last week?

Dietland by Sarai Walker: An interesting read, but a little scattered and messy as well. It’s a great story, and I’m actually really enjoying the new AMC TV series adaptation.

Texts From Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg: Clever and funny. My thoughts are here.

A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer: Because I can’t seem to get enough Georgette Heyer. My review is here.

Quidditch Through the Ages by J. K. Rowling: I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Andrew Lincoln (who does an amazing job). My review is here.

And, in book group news — we finished our group read of Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade! While I’ve read the book before, reading and discussing it with the group over the last several months has been a fun and eye-opening experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Fresh Catch:

New books arrived this week:

I treated myself to a non-fiction guide to the world of Georgette Heyer, which looks like it’ll be so handy. I also finally gave in and bought myself copies of Mira Grant’s Parasitology books, so now I have zero excuses left for not reading these.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See: My book group’s June pick. I’ve read 30%, and I’m loving it so far.

Now playing via audiobook:

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire: I love this book so much. I’ve read it before, but thought I’d try the audio version as well, and I’m so glad I did. It’s narrated by the author, and it’s AMAZING.

Ongoing reads:

Book group reads:

  • Classic read: My book group’s current classic read is Middlemarch by George Eliot.  We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week… and we have a long way still to go.
  • Starting another Lord John story! We’re beginning Lord John and the Haunted Soldier this week, a novella found in the Lord John and the Hand of Devils anthology.

So many books, so little time…

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Audiobook Review: Quidditch Through the Ages

 

A perennial best seller in the wizarding world and one of the most popular books in the Hogwarts School Library, Quidditch Through the Ages contains all you will ever need to know about the history, the rules – and the breaking of the rules – of the noble sport of Quidditch. Packed with fascinating facts, this definitive guide by the esteemed Quidditch writer Kennilworthy Whisp charts the game’s history from its early origins in the medieval mists on Queerditch Marsh through to the modern-day sport loved by so many wizard and Muggle families around the world. With comprehensive coverage of famous Quidditch teams, the commonest fouls, the development of racing brooms, and much more, this is a must-have sporting bible for all Harry Potter fans and Quidditch lovers and players, whether the weekend amateur or the seasoned Chudley Cannons season-ticket holder.

Narrated by Andrew Lincoln, this is the first audiobook edition of Whisp’s book ever to be released

My Thoughts:

I read the Hogwarts schoolbooks ages ago, and thought they were good silly fun, if a bit inconsequential. BUT, when I heard that Pottermore was releasing an audio version narrated by Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes, yo), I was all in.

Rick is an avid Quidditch fan.

So was it worth it?

Well, yes. Clearly, this is a fans-only book for Potter-philes. A passion for the Potter-verse is required! An interest in the minutiae of Quidditch play might be helpful too. The book itself covers the history of Quidditch, modern teams, Quidditch equipment, the evolution of the racing broom, and famous (or infamous) examples of unusual World Cup tournaments.

The audiobook includes material not found in the original printed edition, but (I believe) available via the Pottermore website — coverage of the 2014 Quidditch World Cup, as told by the Daily Prophet’s sports reporter Ginny Potter, with occasional social commentary from gossip columnist Rita Skeeter. The Skeeter bits are particularly funny; Ginny’s coverage of EVERY SINGLE GAME in the tournament, which initially amusing, gets old really fast.

This was a good, fairly entertaining companion on my daily commute. Definitely doesn’t require much concentration! It’s a bit long for what it is — the concept wears out its novelty pretty early on. Also, the production includes sound effects (all sorts of whooshes, as if Quidditch players are zooming by… constantly), which I found annoying, but a less grumpy listener might find these amusing.

All in all? A fun listen, not essential, but not a bad choice for escapist fare while your mind is mostly elsewhere.

Worth noting: Proceeds from Quidditch Through the Ages benefit Comic Relief and the Lumos Foundation. It’s always nice to support a good cause while indulging Potter obsessions!

_________________________________________

The details:

Title: Quidditch Through the Ages
Author: Kennilworthy Whisp (J. K. Rowling)
Narrated by: Andrew Lincoln
Publisher: Pottermore
Publication date: Audible edition released March 15, 2018; originally published 2001
Length (print): 56 pages (2001 edition)
Length (audio): 3 hours, 10 minutes
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Purchased via Audible

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The Monday Check-In ~ 6/4/2018

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.

What did I read during the last week?

The Outsider by Stephen King: Awesome. Stephen King absolutely delivers in his ultra-disturbing new book. My review is here.

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson: I finished the audiobook this past week. A fascinating look at the phenomenon of public shaming — why people do it, how the internet has made it so easy, and how people who have been shamed either move on, or don’t. Jon Ronson narrates the audiobook, and he’s terrific — he really brings his own curiosity to life, and lets us feel connected to the various people he highlights. Definitely worth either reading the print book or listening to the audio version.

Fresh Catch:

Ooh, such fun book mail this week:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Dietland by Sarai Walker: After seeing commercials for the upcoming TV series, I just had to give the book a try. I’ve read about 75% — really enjoying it, and now I can’t wait to see how they translate it to TV.

Now playing via audiobook:

Quidditch Through the Ages: Narrated by Andrew Lincoln! His narration is really fun — but the book does seem to go on way longer than necessary.

Ongoing reads:

Book group reads:

Finally, the final week for one of these two!

  • Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon: Heading into the home stretch! We’ll be finished this week.
  • Classic read: My book group’s current classic read is Middlemarch by George Eliot.  We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week… and we have a long way still to go.

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 5/28/2018

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.

What did I read during the last week?

Every Note Played by Lisa Genova: Moving contemporary fiction about lives changed by ALS. My review is here.

The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth: Domestic drama set in an Australian suburban neighborhood. My review is here.

Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire: A ghost story from one of my favorite writers! The sequel comes out later this year, and I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next in the after-life of Rose Marshall, the ghostly prom girl who hitchhikes her way across highways, ghostroads, and between roadside diners everywhere.

In graphic novels, I read:

Runaways: Find Your Way Home by Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka: Such fun! It’s great to return to the world of Runaways. The story is in great hands with Rainbow Rowell, picking back up with the characters after a few years and setting up new adventures.

Fresh Catch:

Two non-fiction books arrived this week:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Outsider by Stephen King: Just started! My library hold came in much sooner than expected, so it feels like a treat to be able to dive in this week.

Now playing via audiobook:

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson: I’m really enjoying this non-fiction book which examines the phenomenon of public shaming. Ronson is terrific as a narrator.

Book group reads:

It feels repetitive to list these week after week… except I really am reading them week after week!

  • Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon: Outlander Book Club is doing a group read of LJ&BotB, two chapters per week. The end is in sight!
  • Classic read: My book group’s current classic read is Middlemarch by George Eliot.  We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week… and we have a long way still to go.

So many books, so little time…

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