The Monday Check-In ~ 12/18/2017

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 Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond: A dark thriller that becomes disturbingly sadistic. My thoughts, here.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee: A light and engaging book that was a great antidote to the awful taste left behind by my previous book. My review is here.

In audiobooks, I finished The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede: Beautiful, moving, inspiring non-fiction. My review is here.

Pop culture goodness:

Well, of course I saw this:

Fresh Catch:

New books!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich

I also just started making my way through Paperbacks from Hell by Grady Hendrix, a non-fiction look at the truly horrific horror novels of the 70s and 80s. Fun stuff!

Now playing via audiobook:

180 Seconds by Jessica Park: YA fiction, pretty compelling stuff so far.

Ongoing reads:

Book group 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 Succubus by Diana Gabaldon: We’ll be starting our group read of the novella Lord John & the Succubus in January — contact me if you’d like to join in.

So many books, so little time…

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Audiobook Review: The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland


When 38 jetliners bound for the United States were forced to land at Gander International Airport in Canada by the closing of U.S. airspace on September 11, the population of this small town on Newfoundland Island swelled from 10,300 to nearly 17,000. The citizens of Gander met the stranded passengers with an overwhelming display of friendship and goodwill. As the passengers stepped from the airplanes, exhausted, hungry and distraught after being held on board for nearly 24 hours while security checked all of the baggage, they were greeted with a feast prepared by the townspeople. Local bus drivers who had been on strike came off the picket lines to transport the passengers to the various shelters set up in local schools and churches. Linens and toiletries were bought and donated. A middle school provided showers, as well as access to computers, email, and televisions, allowing the passengers to stay in touch with family and follow the news.

Over the course of those four days, many of the passengers developed friendships with Gander residents that they expect to last a lifetime. As a show of thanks, scholarship funds for the children of Gander have been formed and donations have been made to provide new computers for the schools. This book recounts the inspiring story of the residents of Gander, Canada, whose acts of kindness have touched the lives of thousands of people and been an example of humanity and goodwill.

I can’t say enough good things about this moving, uplifting book. It documents human goodness and kindness in the face of tragedy, and is, pure and simple, a marvelous listening experience.

As the book opens, we meet an assortment of passengers and crew members from the 38 planes, as well as some of the locals in Gander. The initial chapters recount the start of these flights from Europe to various points in the United States, and the slowly spreading news that some sort of catastrophe in the US has forced a closure of all US airspace, requiring all planes in the air to land elsewhere. Gradually, the pilots and then the passengers start to learn about the terrorist attacks. The fear and disbelief and outrage are palpable, as is the very real fear that — given all the unknowns of events still occurring — there could be terrorists on board any of the planes still in the air.

As the planes land in Gander, we see the amazing efforts and generosity of the townspeople, both those in official capacities as mayor or police officer or customs official, and those who are simply people whose hearts are open to the strangers who arrive by the thousands in their small town.

The acts of kindness are beautiful to hear described. Townspeople drop off towels and linens by the carload at the shelters, with no thought of getting them back. Local pharmacists work round the clock to contact passengers’ physicians around the globe so that they can get copies of their prescriptions and make sure they have their needed medications. Local animal shelter volunteers care for the stranded animals who’d been in transit in the airplane cargo holds. A local retailer is instructed by headquarters to give the “plane people” everything they need, no money necessary. Toys are delivered, so that every single child from the planes has a new toy to play with. When it’s discovered that two Orthodox Jews are among the passengers, extraordinary efforts are made to make sure kosher food is delivered for them. The care and love, given so freely to complete strangers, is just beautiful.

Two of the most moving stories are about passengers going through extreme stress in an already stressful situation. First, there’s the couple returning from visiting relatives abroad whose son is a New York firefighter. They know he was likely one of the first responders who entered the towers, and through the time of their stay in Gander, his fate remained unknown. Second, there’s a couple from Texas on the way home from weeks in Kazakhstan where they’d just adopted a daughter. What should have been her first entry into the US and an introduction to her new life turns into an extended stay in a shelter with parents she barely knows. In both cases, as with really everyone there, the support they receive is heartwarming and unforgettable.

The book is filled with story after story of the amazing interactions between the “plane people” and the “Newfies”. The book was published just about a year after 9/11, and the author includes some follow-up in the epilogue to let us know how certain people’s lives changed since those fateful days. I’d love to know now, so many years later, how they’re doing, and whether the bonds formed in Gander have stayed strong over the years.

The Day the World Came to Town is an amazing listen. No matter how many years have gone by, the images from 9/11 remain indelible. and I found it particularly chilling to listen to the chapters which described the initial attacks and the various ways in which the passengers and flight crews heard the news. Despite the sorrow of the tragedy, this book is a lovely reminder of the good that exists in the world and the huge difference small acts can make.

Side notes:

First, a big thank you to author Dana Stabenow, whose review of this book on her blog is what made me find a copy in the first place!

Second, the musical Come From Away, now on Broadway, is also based on the events in Gander during the week of 9/11. I’ve heard such wonderful things about the show! I really hope to get to New York in the coming year — and if I do, seeing Come From Away will be high on my “must” list!

_________________________________________

The details:

Title: The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland
Author: Jim DeFede
Narrator: Ray Porter
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication date: September 3, 2002
Length (print): 256 pages
Length (audiobook): 6 hours, 27 minutes
Genre: Non-fiction
Source: Purchased (Audible)

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The Monday Check-In ~ 12/11/2017

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.

Life.

My husband is traveling for a few weeks, so I’m single-parenting. Geez, it’s tiring! I guess I’m usually super spoiled, because my hubby is the family cook and all-around food person. Having to do the food shopping and make dinner after a day of work is exhausting! (I’m very challenged when it comes to the kitchen, which is why my meal-related chores are usually limited to washing the dishes.) Okay, I’ll stop whining now!

What did I read last week?

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway: Moving and powerful. My review is here.

The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza: My book group’s December book. I listened to the audiobook, and was surprised by how much fun it was. Check out my review, here.

The Girl in the Tower by Katherin Arden: An engaging follow-up to the beautiful The Bear and the Nightingale. My review is here.

Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon: Also in book group updates, we finished this installment of our Lord John readalong. It was a great experience, and I’m looking forward to our next book in January!

Outlander !!

That’s a wrap — season 3 has come to an end. What will I do now?

My reaction post for episode 313, “Eye of the Storm”, is here.

Here’s a little peek at the episode:

Elsewhere in pop culture:

Anyone else watching The Crown? I’m so excited for season 2!

Fresh Catch:

New books!

Other new stuff:

My friend gave me a SLOTH BOOKMARK and it is the best thing ever!

 

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond: Good and ominous so far!

Now playing via audiobook:

The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede: Non-fiction, telling the story of the amazing experiences in Gander, Newfoundland when planes diverted due to 9/11 stranded passengers from all over the world in this remote town.

Ongoing reads:

Book group 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 Succubus by Diana Gabaldon: We’ll be starting our group read of the novella Lord John & the Succubus in January — contact me if you’d like to join in.

So many books, so little time…

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Audiobook Review: The Knockoff


An outrageously stylish, wickedly funny novel of fashion in the digital age, The Knockoff is the story of Imogen Tate, editor in chief of Glossy magazine, who finds her twentysomething former assistant Eve Morton plotting to knock Imogen off her pedestal, take over her job, and reduce the magazine, famous for its lavish 768-page September issue, into an app.

When Imogen returns to work at Glossy after six months away, she can barely recognize her own magazine. Eve, fresh out of Harvard Business School, has fired “the gray hairs,” put the managing editor in a supply closet, stopped using the landlines, and hired a bevy of manicured and questionably attired underlings who text and tweet their way through meetings. Imogen, darling of the fashion world, may have Alexander Wang and Diane von Furstenberg on speed dial, but she can’t tell Facebook from Foursquare and once got her iPhone stuck in Japanese for two days. Under Eve’s reign, Glossy is rapidly becoming a digital sweatshop—hackathons rage all night, girls who sleep get fired, and “fun” means mandatory, company-wide coordinated dances to Beyoncé. Wildly out of her depth, Imogen faces a choice—pack up her Smythson notebooks and quit, or channel her inner geek and take on Eve to save both the magazine and her career. A glittering, uproarious, sharply drawn story filled with thinly veiled fashion personalities, The Knockoff is an insider’s look at the ever-changing world of fashion and a fabulous romp for our Internet-addicted age.

If not for my book group, I probably would never have considered this book. The Knockoff checks a lot of boxes for topics I usually avoid: the fashion world, corporate life, women being catty, descriptions of what people are wearing, focus on millennials… Still, in the spirit of being a good book group-ie, I plunged right in. Surprise! I ended up having a lot more fun with this book than I could possibly have imagined.

The story is fairly straightforward: Imogen Tate has been the editor-in-chief of Glossy for years, connected with all the top names in the fashion world, guaranteed a front-row seat at Fashion Week, and considered one of the biggest names in the world of fashion media. But after a six-month medical leave, she returns to work to find that nothing is as she left it. Her former assistant Eve is now basically running out the show, throwing out the physical magazine in favorite of an app whose raison d’etre is their BUY IT NOW tagline on every single item in every single photo shoot. Suddenly, Glossy is Glossy.com, staffed by interchangeable millennial 20-somethings who are all looking for their breakthrough into tech gold.

Imogen is immediately out of her depth, helpless with anything related to technology, and being made to feel like a dinosaur. (Literally. Eve has a toy dinosaur on her desk with “Imogen” printed on the side.) But Imogen isn’t without allies and resources, and she sets out to become relevant, going from hopelessly inept twitterer to Instagram idol practically in the blink of an eye.

What I liked:

The characters and the dialogue are bubbly fun. The writing is snappy and witty, moving quickly from scene to scene. The story is mostly told from Imogen’s point-of-view, but we get occasional sections narrated by Eve or by Imogen’s new assistant Ashley, and their voices are distinct and finely honed.

Imogen is a strong lead character, and I loved seeing a woman at the helm of a business, with all the respect and acclaim she deserves. It’s also rewarding to see a powerful businesswoman with a home life. She works hard, but she’s also got a great, supportive husband, and is a devoted mom to two young children. The other thing that’s great about Imogen is that she’s NICE. She’s not the cookie cutter mean boss, the woman who has to be a bitch to get ahead. Imogen believes in treating people kindly and with respect, no matter their role, and it pays off for her tremendously, both in terms of actual results and in the good will generated.

I can’t say that I “liked” Eve — but I think the authors did a great job with her character. She’s completely insufferable, but she’s supposed to be. As written, Eve is simply an awful person, shouting “GO GO GO” at her staff, forcing them to attend spin classes with her and admire her every move, and ready to fire people at a moment’s notice for really no reason at all. She’s abrasive and totally oblivious to the horrible impression she makes on fashion world movers and shakers — she’s all about her Harvard MBA, and can’t see beyond her adorable selfies for more than a moment. So while I despised Eve, kudos to the authors for creating such a thoroughly unlikable character!

Side characters are quite well-drawn as well, from the anxious, eager-to-please young women who follow Eve’s every move, dreaming of their own big breakthroughs, to the supermodels who are Imogen’s friends and the tech gurus whom Imogen finds surprisingly agreeable, each has interesting quirks and personalities. I got a big kick out of Imogen’s nanny Tilly, who becomes Imogen’s emergency social media advisor, teaching her how to hashtag like a boss.

What I didn’t like so much:

Certain parts of the premise just didn’t ring true for me. Imogen is 42 years old. 42! That’s not ancient! There’s no way that a 42-year-old should have to have her assistants print her emails before she reads them. She may not have rocked social media previously, but I simply found it incredible that a woman in business, in her early 40s, would be that incapable of using and understanding technology.

Imogen is out on medical leave for six months, and returns to find her business completely revamped — and no one let her know ahead of time? Is it realistic that over the course of half a year a well-established magazine would completely throw out its business model and turn itself into an app? Didn’t feel that way to me.

The focus on Eve’s wedding toward the end creates the climactic moments of the story, but honestly, the wedding shenanigans seemed overblown to me and beyond the point of credulity. It’s hard to believe that the wedding would have created that level of buzz or attracted the who’s-who of attendees — although Eve’s wedding plans, from choosing only size 2 bridesmaids to dictating guests’ outfits, are kind of hilarious in their awfulness. As the madness piles up, it goes beyond funny to overdone… but yeah, not entirely unfunny either.

Okay, and I have to point out — back in the Glossy office, where is HR in all this? Don’t Imogen and Eve have bosses? How can Eve be managing the staff and the company the way she does for so many months with no intervention? I call poppycock. It’s just not realistic for this size corporation to have absolutely no oversight in place. I was more than a little horrified to read about Eve’s management practices (if you can even call it that). The company should have been swimming in lawsuits.

A note on the narration:

Katherine Kellgren is a terrific narrator. She gives Imogen a posh London accent, then switches gears to portray Eve’s mean girl American drawl and Ashley’s millennial-speak. I often find narrators distracting when they over-do their versions of the opposite gender, but in this case, the narrator’s male voices were well-done without sounding fake.

The voice for Eve was strident and shouty — but that’s Eve. We’re supposed to be that irritated by her.

Wrapping it all up:

The Knockoff was an unexpectedly fun listen. It’s definitely not my usual subject matter, but the mix of humor and personalities really worked. Yes, I had quibbles about the plot, but this is meant to be entertainment, not a true study of the state of corporate America. Imogen’s personal journey is a hoot to witness, and I couldn’t help but cheer for her (while gleefully waiting for Eve’s downfall). The ending is wickedly satisfying, and there’s really never a dull moment. It’s not a particularly deep read, but The Knockoff sure is enjoyable.

_________________________________________

The details:

Title: The Knockoff
Author: Lucy Sykes & Jo Piazza
Narrator: Katherine Kellgren
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication date: May 19, 2015
Length (print): 352 pages
Length (audiobook): 12 hours, 10 minutes
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Source: Library

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The Monday Check-In ~ 12/4/2017

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?

Odd & True by Cat Winters: Another fascinating book from an amazing author! My review is here.

Here’s Negan! by Robert Kirkman et al: The Walking Dead‘s super-villain gets a backstory. This is a quick read, and I liked it! I’ve seen some grumbling (and honestly, if I’d paid for it instead of reading a library book, I might be grumbling too) — but I thought it was pretty fascinating to see Negan’s transition from asshole gym teacher to most dangerous guy post-zombie-apocalypse. TWD fans should check it out!

Geekerella by Ashley Poston: Amazingly cute and fun! My review is here.

In audiobooks, I finished listening to The Bear and the Nightingale, and loved it all over again! The audiobook narrator is wonderful. And now I’m ready for the sequel!

Outlander !!

My reaction post for episode 312, “The Bakra”, is here.

Here’s a little peek at the episode:

Fresh Catch:

Cyber Monday included a deal on books, so I bought myself volumes 2, 3, and 4 in the Finishing School series by Gail Carriger. Yes, I’ve read them all… but now I actually have a complete set for my shelves!

Also as part of my Black Friday/Cyber Monday binge, I took advantage of a buy one, get one free offer on shirts from Out of Print (and if you haven’t heard of them, check out their fabulous bookish goodies here.)

(PS – In case it’s not obvious, the shirt on the left is Romeo and Juliet!)

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

I have two books in my hands right now:

  • Far From the Tree by Robin Benway: A YA contemporary read; and
  • The Girl in the Tower by Katherin Arden: Book #2 in the Winternight trilogy, which starts with the beautiful The Bear and the Nightingale.
Now playing via audiobook:

The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza: My book group’s December book — just getting started.

Ongoing reads:

Book group 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 Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon: Our group read of Private Matter ends this week! We’ll be moving on to Lord John & the Succubus in January — contact me if you’d like to join in.

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 11/27/2017

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.

Home sweet home! I had a great week visiting East Coast family — but it’s lovely to be back, sleeping in my cozy bed!

What did I read last week?

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant: Finished last weekend and thought it was brilliant! I just posted a review this past week — check it out here.

Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny: My book group’s November read. It was entertaining, but didn’t actually make much of an impression. Skippable.

The Café by the Sea by Jenny Colgan: Nice, sweet romance. My review is here. I read this book all in one gulp while flying home from Thanksgiving week, and it was a great choice for travel reading!

Outlander !!

My reaction post for episode 311, “Uncharted”, is here.

Here’s a little peek at the episode:

Yup, that’s a snake slithering across Claire. Yikes!

Fresh Catch:

I received an unexpected credit from Amazon, so immediately bought myself a treat! I’ve been re-reading Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials recently, and realized that I’d never read this version — so happy early Hanukkah to me!

And even more exciting — I’d been saving up a few giftcards, and finally splurged on a brand new Kindle Oasis! After years of dedicated service, my Kindle Keyboard is about ready for retirement.

My preciousssssssss…

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

Odd & True by Cat Winters: I had planned to read this book a couple of weeks ago, but got sidetracked by killer mermaids (Into the Drowning Deep!) and my various holiday commitments of the past week — but now I’m back on track! I’ve loved everything by Cat Winters so far, so I’m excited to finally devote myself to her newest.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden: I read this book at the beginning of 2017 (review), and loved it. I’m doing an audiobook re-read now before diving into the sequel, but really didn’t get much time to listen this past week. I should be finishing up by next weekend.

Ongoing reads:

Book group 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 Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon: Our group read of Private Matter is almost done — just three chapters to go! We’ll be moving on to Lord John & the Succubus in January — contact me if you’d like to join in.

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 11/20/2017

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.

Greetings from Connecticut! I’m on the East Coast spending Thanksgiving with family. Wishing everyone a peaceful and joyful turkey day! My blogging will be minimal this week, but I hope to read lots and lots.

What did I read last week?

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant: If mermaid horror isn’t already its own genre, this book should change that! Absolutely loved it. Review to follow.

Outlander !!

My reaction post for episode 310, “Heaven and Earth” is here. Not the best episode of the season, but hey — all Outlander is good Outlander.

Here’s a little peek at the episode:

Fresh Catch:

No new books this past week! Although I did indulge a bit when it comes to Kindle daily deals.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

Odd & True by Cat Winters: So excited to finally be reading the newest release from Cat Winters!

Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny: A book club read for November — seems like a lot of fun.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden: I read this book at the beginning of 2017 (review), and loved it. I’m doing an audiobook re-read now before diving into the sequel — although my listening will be pretty limited while on vacation this week.

Ongoing reads:

Book group 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 Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon: Our group read of Private Matter is almost done — just three chapters to go! We’ll be moving on to Lord John & the Succubus in January — contact me if you’d like to join in.

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 11/13/2017

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… and a programming note.

I’ll be away for Thanksgiving week, and may not be keeping up with my regular blogging activities. We shall see. Meanwhile, I’m enthusiastically building piles of paperbacks to throw into my suitcase!

What did I read last week?

The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay: My review is here.

Artemis by Andy Weir: My review is here.

Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger: A sweet, sexy novella. My review is here.

In audiobooks:

Indexing: Reflections by Seanan McGuire: Wow, what a great listen! My thoughts are here.

I also did a quick listen to Once Upon A Time in the North by Philip Pullman, a novella that’s a prequel to the events of His Dark Materials. Excellent, as are all of the audiobooks in the series. The full-cast recordings are just amazing, with terrific narration by the author himself and some very talented voice actors in the cast.

And in graphic novels…

The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship by Philip Pullman: A fun, quick graphic novel aimed at middle grade to young teen readers — an adventure story involving time travel, a mysterious ship, and bad guys set on world domination. I’ve been on a Pullman roll lately, so I just had to check this one out.

The Walking Dead, volume 28: A Certain Doom: Well, I binge-read and binge-watched The Walking Dead this year, so I just had to read the newest volume as soon as my library got it in stock.

Outlander !!

My reaction post for episode 309, “The Doldrums” is here. Great episode!

Here’s a little peek at “Doldrums”:

And in case you missed them, here are my reaction posts for the previous two episodes:

Fresh Catch:

First, I received a copy of Paperbacks From Hell by Grady Hendrix, courtesy of the lovely folks at Quirk:

And just yesterday, a special treat (from me to me) arrived in the mail — a signed copy of the 25th anniversary edition of Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon!

BTW, did you know that you can get signed copies of pretty much all of Diana Gabaldon’s books from the Poisoned Pen bookstore in Phoenix? Check out their web info, here.

Last but not least, a delivery of a book I’m so looking forward to reading — Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant, a full-length novel that’s a follow-up to the excellent novella Rolling in the Deep.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

Odd & True by Cat Winters: So excited to finally be reading the newest release from Cat Winters! I’ve loved every single thing she’s written so far, and this one is off to a great start.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden: I read this book at the beginning of 2017 (review), and loved it. I’m doing an audiobook re-read now before diving into the sequel!

Ongoing reads:

Book group 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 Private Matter 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. Let me know if you’d like to participate! All are welcome.

So many books, so little time…

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Audiobook Review: Reflections (Indexing, #2) by Seanan McGuire


“For her to love me, she had to be willing to kill me. Anything else would show that her heart was untrue.”

The struggle against not-so-charming storybook narratives isn’t the only complicating factor in Henrietta “Henry” Marchen’s life. As part of the ATI Management Bureau team protecting the world from fairy tales gone awry, she’s juggling her unwanted new status as a Snow White, dealing with a potentially dangerous Pied Piper, and wrangling a most troublesome wicked stepsister—along with a budding relationship with Jeff, her teammate.

But when a twisted, vicious Cinderella breaks out of prison and wreaks havoc, things go from disenchanted to deadly. And once Henry realizes someone is trying to use her to destroy the world, her story becomes far from over—and this one might not have a happily ever after.

Indexing: Reflections is New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire’s continuing new urban fantasy, where everything you thought you knew about fairy tales gets turned on its head.

Book 2 of the fabulous Indexing series is just as fun and dangerous as the first! The story continues, as Henry’s field team is back out there fighting the good fight to keep fairy tale narratives from killing lots of innocent people. The gang is back together, along with a few new folks (including the HR lady who also happens to be a Bluebeard’s Wife).

It’s not all silly games, though — the stories become dark very quickly, and the various characters, especially Henry and the ever-fascinating Sloane, must face down the demons of their darkest secrets and the scary bad guys of their pasts in order to save the day and save themselves.

Sloane is technically a secondary character, but in Reflections, she gets to take the first-person narrative for several chapters, and she’s a hoot, particularly in the audiobook, where her voice comes across as a potty-mouthed, spoiled, super cranky Valley Girl. Kudos to narrator Mary Robinette Kowal for making Sloane just so excellent.

The voice-work throughout is pretty terrific, only faltering a bit for some of the male characters. This didn’t bother me as much in the 2nd book, because overall the narration is just so compelling and captivating, really capturing the humor and the tension and the darkness so convincingly.

I really ended up loving both of the Indexing books, and want more! Will there be more? Please tell me there will be more! While Reflections comes to a very satsifying conclusion after a truly epic adventure, there’s plenty of room for further adventures of Henry and her field team.

See my review of book #1, Indexing, here.

_________________________________________

The details:

Title: Indexing
Author: Seanan McGuire
Narrator: Mary Robinette Kowal
Publisher: 47North
Publication date: January 12, 2016
Length (print): 325 pages
Length (audiobook): 12 hours, 18 minutes
Genre: Urban fantasy
Source: Purchased

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The Monday Check-In ~ 11/6/2017

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?

La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust, volume 1) by Philip Pullman: Amazing! I loved this book. My review is here.

Outlander !!

I’m finally posting a reaction post on the same day an episode airs! I have two episodes covered since my last Monday Check-in:

Click on the links to see my reaction to these two episodes, and let me know your thoughts as well!

Here’s a little peek at “First Wife”:

Fresh Catch:

My Kindle preorder of the newest Gail Carriger novella landed over the weekend!

More Parasol-verse, please!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay: Just getting started. I’ve read a few of this author’s books, and really enjoy her way of incorporating Jane Austen and other classics into contemporary stories.

Next up will be Artemis by Andy Weir. Can’t wait!

Now playing via audiobook:

Indexing: Reflections by Seanan McGuire: The 2nd book in the super-fun Indexing series. Loving it — should finish by the end of the week.

Ongoing reads:

Book group 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 Private Matter 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. Let me know if you’d like to participate! All are welcome.

So many books, so little time…

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