The Monday Check-In ~ 9/18/2017

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 last week?

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray: I finished the 3rd book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy. My wrap-up post is here.

I also read and reviewed two amazing novellas by Sarah Gailey, which are impossible to describe except as “Westerns with hippos”. Check out my post, here.

Outlander returns!

Was episode 1 great or what? My reaction post for the season premiere is here. Stay tuned for more — my reaction posts for each episode will most likely go up on Monday or Tuesday each week.

Here’s a peek at episode 2:

 

Fresh Catch:

One new book this week — can’t wait to get started!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

The Power by Naomi Alderman: I’ve read about half, and it’s pretty amazing.

End of Watch by Stephen King: I have a flight coming up later in the week, and for some reason I always enjoy reading Stephen King while I’m traveling. I’m saving the 3rd book of the Bill Hodges trilogy to keep me company on the plane.

Now playing via audiobook:

Venetia by Georgette Heyer: Almost done! Perfection — Georgette Heyer is always a treat, and Phyllida Nash does a superb job with the narration.

Ongoing reads:

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott: My book group’s classic read! We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week.

Lord John and the Hell-Fire Club by Diana Gabaldon: Outlander Book Club is doing a Lord John readalong — we’ll be reading all of the Lord John novels and stories in story chronology. This week, we’ll be finishing up the first Lord John novella, Lord John and the Hellfire Club. Next up: Lord John and the Private Matter. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to participate, so let me know if you’d like more information on how to join in.

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 9/11/2017

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 last week?

South Pole Station by Ashley Shelby: I started this one a couple of months ago as an ARC, but the formatting was so bad that I couldn’t enjoy it. I’m so glad I found it at the library and decided to give it another shot! A terrific read — my review is here.

In audiobooks, I finished listening to Rebel Angels by Libba Bray. I have very conflicted feelings about this series, but now that there’s just 1 book left, I think I need to finish.

Outlander returns!

Outlander is back! Season 3 premiered last night, and the first episode was wonderful, of course. I’ll be doing reaction posts for each episode, as I did last season. Stay turned for my episode 1 post, coming today or tomorrow.

Fresh Catch:

Two new books this week, both via Book Depository.

I’m so excited for both of these!

Elsewhere on the blog:

Make sure you check out this terrific guest post by Sarah Zama of The Old Shelter blog, all about fantasy writers and the worlds they create.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray: Book #3 of the Gemma Doyle trilogy, and it’s HUGE. I have to admit that the size (800+ pages) is a turn-off — I’m not that committed to the story to want to spend quite so much time on this book. But, I did decide to read this trilogy this year, so I might as well finish.

Now playing via audiobook:

Venetia by Georgette Heyer: Is there ever a bad time for Georgette Heyer? Her works are candy delights. I’ve just started this audiobook, and it’s already lifting my spirits.

Ongoing reads:

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott: My book group’s classic read! We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week.

Lord John and the Hell-Fire Club by Diana Gabaldon: Outlander Book Club is doing a Lord John readalong — we’ll be reading all of the Lord John novels and stories in story chronology. Our current read is the first Lord John novella, Lord John and the Hellfire Club. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to participate, so let me know if you’d like more information on how to join in.

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 9/4/2017

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 last week?

Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford: Gorgeous book. My review is here.

The Dark Net by Benjamin Percy: Techno-horror — my review is here.

Fresh Catch:

Have I mentioned yet this week that I love my book club? Well, I do. We do several secret exchanges during this year, and this week I received my summer book swap package in the mail from a lovely member of the group. So many goodies for me to enjoy!

And here’s a close-up of that awesome bookmark:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

I’m trying to decide which of two library books I feel like starting right now:

  • South Pole Station by Ashley Shelby: I started this one a couple of months ago as an ARC, but the formatting was so bad that I couldn’t enjoy it. Figure I’d give it another shot in hard copy form.
  • The Waking Land by Callie Bates: Isn’t that a gorgeous cover?
Now playing via audiobook:

Rebel Angels by Libba Bray: Book #2 in the Gemma Doyle trilogy — getting close to the end. This book seemed to drag a lot more than the previous one. I may skip the audio for #3 and just zip through it in paper format instead — not sure that I want to devote another 20 hours of listening time to this series.

Ongoing reads:

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott: My book group’s classic read! We’re doing two chapters per week. Really enjoying it so far.

Lord John and the Hell-Fire Club by Diana Gabaldon: The wonderful and lovely Outlander Book Club is starting its Lord John readalong, in which we’ll be reading all of the Lord John novels and stories in story chronology. We’re kicking things off this week with Hellfire! Anyone who’s interested is welcome to participate, so let me know if you’d like more information on how to join in.

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 8/28/2017

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 last week?

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles: My book group’s pick for August. My review is here.

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann: Fascinating and disturbing non-fiction. My review is here.

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin: The highlight of my week! My review is here.

And in audiobooks:

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray: I finished the audiobook over the weekend, and really enjoyed it. I’ll wait until I finish the trilogy before I write up some thoughts.

Elsewhere on the blog:

Want to save money on e-books? I put together a blog post about how to find e-book price drops. Check it out, here.

Pop culture goodness:

I’ve been absolutely drooling over the newest issue of Entertainment Weekly. Why? Well, here’s a wee clue:

From Entertainment Weekly: Outlander
Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan photographed on the Outlander set in Cape Town, South Africa on March 8, 2017 by Ruven Afanador

Click here to see the full gallery of photos on the EW website, or here to see what I posted yesterday.

The end of Droughtlander is nigh! Outlander season 3 starts in LESS THAN 2 WEEKS.

Apologies in advance… my Outlander obsession seems to be kicking back into high gear, so expect plenty of Outlander-related posts for the next several weeks.

Fresh Catch:

Two new graphic novels this week:

Plus an ARC and one more little book that I think looks amazing:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente: Just getting started.

Now playing via audiobook:

Rebel Angels by Libba Bray: Book #2 in the Gemma Doyle trilogy — continuing on with the series after finishing A Great and Terrible Beauty.

Ongoing reads:

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott: My book group’s classic read! We’re doing two chapters per week. Really enjoying it so far.

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 8/21/2017

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.

Aaaaaaand… another school year gets underway. Today is the first day of 10th grade for my kiddo. Where did the summer go? I’m not sure who’s dreading the homework routine more, me or him.

What did I read last week?

Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor: Very unusual science fiction. My review is here.

The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn: Contemporary fiction that’s not quite as funny as it tries to be. My review is here.

In audiobooks:

I finished listening to The Butterfly Effect by Jon Ronson. It’s an interesting look at today’s porn industry — specifically, the easy availability of free porn and its “butterfly effect” — all the various (and sometimes surprising) ways in which lives and industries have been changed in the years since porn became so readily available on the internet. There are some sad and disturbing bits, but also some moments that are unexpectedly funny or touching. Jon Ronson makes for an engaging narrator. Worth a listen (and currently available as a free download via Audible).

Fresh Catch:

I already had a free Kindle edition of Ivanhoe… but then someone in my book group mentioned seeing an edition with an introduction by Diana Gabaldon… and, well, you can guess what happened next.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

I’m flipping back and forth between two books right now:

  • Rules of Civility by Amor Towles — my book group’s pick for August, and I’m loving it. About 50 pages still to go.
  • Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann — still working my way through this non-fiction book, slowly. I have one more week until it’s due back at the library. Better get cracking… or throw in the towel.
Now playing via audiobook:

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray: I read this book years ago — and to be honest, didn’t love it. But, I’ve heard good things about the trilogy as a whole, and thought I should give it another try. So far, I’m enjoying the narrator, and the story is pretty good. I can’t remember yet why I didn’t like it too much the first time around!

Ongoing reads:

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott: My book group’s new classic read! We’re doing two chapters per week, and we’re off to a great start.

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 8/14/2017

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.

My baby boy is 15 today! We’re heading out to do some family ziplining to celebrate – wheeeeeeee!

What did I read last week?

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig: Brilliant. My review is here.

Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land: Thank you, Goodreads — I won this in a giveaway! My review is here.

Fresh Catch:

Two new books this week:

I love witty grammar books (such a nerd), and the other book is an ARC with a time travel theme. Fun!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

I’m flipping back and forth between two books right now — one sci-fi, one non-fiction:

  • Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
Now playing via audiobook:

The Butterfly Effect by Jon Ronson: A free download from Audible focusing on the unintended consequences of the spread of free porn. It’s pretty interesting — if I can just find time to listen, I’ll be done in about an hour.

Ongoing reads:

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott: My book group’s new classic read! We’re doing two chapters per week, starting today. I’m excited!

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 8/7/2017

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.

August already? How did that happen?

What did I read last week?

Abaddon’s Gate by James S. A. Corey: Loved it! My review is here.

Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn: Fascinating. My review is here.

In audiobooks:

I finished listening to The Golden Compass, and loved it. I’d decided to re-read the trilogy prior to the release of The Book of Dust in October, and thought I’d give the audio version a try. Philip Pullman narrates, along with a full cast for the various characters, and it was quite a good production. I’m looking forward to listening to the rest of the series as soon as the next volume becomes available at the library.

Pop culture goodness:

I randomly started watching The Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix and ended up watching all ten episodes over the weekend. It’s hilarious. Is something wrong with me?

I also thought I’d check out a couple of episodes of Will on TNT. Meh. I can’t decide if I like it, but I don’t hate it either. Maybe I’ll give it a bit more time.

Fresh Catch:

I bought one new book this week:

Ever since reading Binti, I seem to be collecting books by Nnedi Okorafor. This one caught my eye after I heard the news that it will be adapted for HBO, with George R. R. Martin as executive producer!

And hey, I won a giveaway! Thank you, Goodreads! I’m really looking forward to reading this one.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig: Absolutely loving it. I have about 50 pages left — can’t wait to get home from work today so I can finish!

Now playing via audiobook:

The Butterfly Effect by Jon Ronson: Probably a weird choice, right? It was a free download from Audible, and I’ve read some pieces by Jon Ronson before, so I thought it would be entertaining, at the very least. I’ve only just started — we shall see.

Ongoing reads:

My book group’s next classic read, Ivanhoe, starts next week!

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 7/31/2017

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.

You know what today is, right?

Happy birthday to Harry Potter!

Life.

Back from vacation. Back to work. Kiddo home from camp. It’s been a busy week!

If you’re interested, you can see my Montana photos here.

What did I read last week?

Fail. I’ve barely read anything (except for mountains of emails…). I’ve been on the same book all week.

Abaddon’s Gate by James S. A. Corey: Okay, granted, this is a 500+ page book, so I suppose I can forgive myself for taking a whole week to read it (and I’m still not done).

I posted a mini-review of a recent audiobook listen, Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris. If you’re convinced that grammar can’t be fun, then you need to check out this book, stat.

Pop culture goodness:

I’ve been playing catch-up on TV watching all week! I finally caught up on all episodes of Fear the Walking Dead (and my response is still meh… and yet I keep watching), and I’m now up to date on Killjoys as well. Next up, the kiddo and I have about six Doctor Who episodes to watch.

And on a more serious note, we saw Dunkirk over the weekend, and it was incredible. Unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, and structured in such an unusual way that I think I’ll need to watch it again at some point just to sort a few things out.

Fresh Catch:

One new book this week:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

Abaddon’s Gate by James S. A. Corey: Book #3 of The Expanse series. I have about 50 pages to go!

Next up will be Bannerless, the newest from Carrie Vaughn. Looks great!

Now playing via audiobook:

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman: I decided to do an audio re-read of the His Dark Materials trilogy, so I’ll be all ready for The Book of Dust this fall.

Ongoing reads:

My book group’s next classic read, Ivanhoe, starts in August. Meanwhile, I have no long-term reading commitments at the moment, and it’s kind of nice.

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 7/24/2017

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 8 glorious days in Montana, with visits to Glacier National Park and Yellowstone. So beautiful. I’ll share some travel photos later this week, once I’ve had a chance to unpack, do laundry, and settle into the nice cool fog of summer in San Francisco.

Old Faithful

What did I read last week?

A pretty varied crop of books for my vacation reading:

Finders Keepers by Stephen King: I’m loving this series, and can’t wait for book #3!

Waking Lions by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen: An interesting, thought-provoking Israeli novel. My review is here.

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner: This month’s book group read. My review is here.

In audiobooks, I finished Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris. Thoughts to follow…

And in graphic novels, I finally finished all existing volumes of The Walking Dead… and now have to wait until October for the next volume to be released.

Pop culture goodness:

Every year I swear that NEXT YEAR I’ll finally make it to Comic-con. Well, it still hasn’t happened, so I have to content myself with following the news from afar. I was thrilled to see these two new trailers:

Outlander returns in September! And…

The Walking Dead returns in October. Oh yes, it’s going to be a good fall!

Fresh Catch:

A couple new books arrived while I was away:

Two very different sorts of books, but I’m really looking forward to both!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

Abaddon’s Gate by James S. A. Corey: Returning to The Expanse series with book #3.

Now playing via audiobook:

Oh, I’m really not sure. I need to start something new, and I can’t quite figure out what I’m in the mood for. Probably one of these two, but we’ll just have to see what catches my attention when I get in the car Monday morning.

(I’m leaning toward The Golden Compass, because I do need to re-read all of His Dark Materials before the new book comes out!)

Ongoing reads:

My book group’s next classic read, Ivanhoe, starts in August. Meanwhile, I have no long-term reading commitments at the moment, and it’s kind of nice.

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 7/10/2017

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.

Well, the kiddo is off to camp for almost three weeks. Dropping him at the bus for camp has become a yearly ritual… and now I get to look forward to some grown-up vacation time too.

Meanwhile, my big adventure this past weekend was putting together some new shelves — because there’s no such thing as too many bookshelves, am I right? I bought a pair of spine tower shelves for my book nook, and I think they’re adorable.

And now I get to fill them up!

What did I read last week?

It’s been a SLOW reading week. Work, family, and TV conspired to take up all of my time!

South Pole Station by Ashley Shelby: DNFd at 15%. The premise sounded cute, but the story felt like it was going nowhere and the main character had no substance. And not that this should matter, but the ARC formatting was bad enough that it made me not want to put anymore effort into what was feeling like a mediocre read. So I moved on.

Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw: An entertaining, quick-moving story of a doctor who specializes in treating the supernatural set of contemporary London, healing vampires, mummies, ghouls, and more. A few pacing problems and lack of character development get in the way of what should have been a much more enjoyable read. If I have time, I’ll write up a proper review in the next few days.

I also kept on my with latest obsession:

Pop culture goodness:

I FINISHED WATCHING THE WALKING DEAD! I’ve now watched all seven seasons… which means I now have to sit around and wait for season 8 (coming in October), just like everyone else. Binges are fun, but it kind of sucks when you’re done!

I suppose I can start Fear the Walking Dead while I’m waiting, but it just won’t be the same without my favorite characters.

Fresh Catch:

I went to a book event for Al Franken, and he was awesome! The event ticket price included the book, so now I have a shiny new hardcover to put on my pretty shelves.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

Finders Keepers by Stephen King: The 2nd book in the Bill Hodges trilogy. Loving it so far.

Now playing via audiobook:

Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris: I’m still really enjoying this one. Perfect for word geeks everywhere!

Ongoing reads:

My book group’s next classic read, Ivanhoe, starts in August. Meanwhile, I have no long-term reading commitments at the moment, and it’s kind of nice.

So many books, so little time…

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