The Monday Check-In ~ 5/10/2021

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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.

Aaaaand… I’m back!

After a quick one-week visit to East Coast family, I’m back home again. It was a great week — I got to see my dad, visited with other family in the area, and met up with dear old friends. Plus, mostly gorgeous weather, so I enjoyed my outdoor time too!

Now, back to the grind… unpacking, doing laundry, back to work.

Sigh. Why can’t every day be a vacation day?

What did I read during the last week?

To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn: The 5th Bridgerton book, read on my flight to New York! My review is here.

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave: Terrific read! I zipped through this book. My review is here.

Sorrowland by RIvers Solomon: A haunting, disturbing book that I can’t quite figure out how to describe. Review to follow, possibly, once I’ve had a bit more time to digest.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams: I finished the audiobook (narrated by Martin Freeman), and it was good, silly fun — but somehow, I seemed to run out of patience by the end. Probably my mistake was listening to two books from this series in a row. I think these books are best experienced in small doses!

This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith: I just finished this moving, sensitive audiobook on Sunday. Highly recommended. Review to follow.

Pop culture & TV:

I watched I Care A Lot while I was away — so dark and twisty, and really fun!

I’ve been watching The Nevers on HBO, and after 4 episodes, I still don’t know if I like it. Great cast, but the story doesn’t actually make a ton of sense. And why “The Nevers” as a title? So far, I haven’t heard that term used once during an episode. Still, it’s entertaining enough that I’ll keep watching for now.

Fresh Catch:

One gorgeous new book arrived while I was away:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn: More Bridgertons! This is #6 in the series, and I’m loving it so far.

Now playing via audiobook:

Golden Child by Claire Adam: My book group’s pick for May. Just getting started.

Ongoing reads:

  • My book group’s classic read is part 2 of Don Quixote. Continuing onward, 3 chapters per week. Current status: 93%. Only 5 chapters to go!
  • Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re doing 5 chapters per week. Let me know if you want to join in — the more, the merrier! This week: Chapters 6-10.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 5/3/2021

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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.

Wheeeeee…..

Back on the East Coast for another quick family visit!

Apparently, my new airplane habit is reading Bridgerton books! On all three flights I’ve taken so far this year, I’ve finished a Bridgerton book each time. They’re great for passing the long hours, even while cramped into a crowded economy seat!

What did I read during the last week?

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir: Loved it! What a great adventure! My review is here.

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim: Such a lovely book! This was my book group’s pick for April (very appropriate), and we all loved it. I didn’t get a chance to write up a review yet, but I may wait until I watch the movie version (from 1991) and then write something about both.

To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn: The 5th Bridgerton book! Review to follow.

Puzzle of the week:

Yes, I did one! I zipped through it — quite fun.

Pop culture & TV:

I have just two episodes left of Last Tango in Halifax — such a good show! Check it out if you have a chance.

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave: Just starting — but I’ve heard good things so far.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams: Book #2 of the Hitchhiker’s Guide books. I’m so close to my library due date — will I finish in time???

Ongoing reads:

  • My book group’s classic read is part 2 of Don Quixote. Continuing onward, 3 chapters per week. Current status: 91%. Only 8 chapters to go!
  • Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart: I haven’t made any progress in a long time, so I’m moving this back to the TBR pile. It’s interesting, but since it’s set up in encyclopedia format, rather than a narrative, it’s not something that builds any momentum or needs to be read in sequence.
  • Starting today, Outlander book group is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re doing 5 chapters per week. Let me know if you want to join in — the more, the merrier! This week: Chapters 1 – 5.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 4/26/2021

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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.

Just another super-busy workweek! But hey, at least the weather finally cooperated enough for me to get a few walks in.

What did I read during the last week?

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Gorgeous and dramatic – a 5-star read! My review is here.

Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock: A wonderful collection of interconnected stories. And isn’t that an awesome title? My review is here.

The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan: Sweet, funny thoughtful romance. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

I finished watching Staged this week — and if you haven’t had the pleasure, you absolutely have to check it out! I’ve also been continuing my way through Last Tango in Halifax, which is really good — even though I expected something on the lighter side, and it actually gets quite heavy.

Fresh Catch:

I received a paperback ARC of The Quiet Boy, which sounds terrific, and I treated myself to one more L. M. Montgomery book!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir: Only a few chapters in, but I like it so far!

Now playing via audiobook:

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim: I’m almost done! I think I need just one more long walk, and I’ll be finished. A week late for my book group discussion, but that’s okay. It’s a lovely book, and this week we’re all going to watch the movie version too.

Ongoing reads:

  • My book group’s classic read is part 2 of Don Quixote. Continuing onward, 3 chapters per week. Current status: 90%.
  • Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart: Gotta be honest, I haven’t touched this book in a few weeks now. But it’s still on my nightstand, so I’m still considering it an ongoing read!
  • Coming soon: Starting next week, Outlander book group is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’ll be doing 5 chapters per week. Let me know if you want to join in — the more, the merrier!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 4/19/2021

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.

We had family visiting from the East Coast this week, which was oodles of fun. Beyond that, just the usual working, reading, and going for walks!

What did I read during the last week?

It’s been a romance-heavy reading week for me! Sometimes, a sweet escape is just what I need.

Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne: Very sweet! My review is here.

Maggie Finds Her Muse by Dee Ernst: A 48-year-old author seeking love and inspiration in Paris. Lovely! My review is here.

The Roommate by Rosie Danan: Explicit yet surprisingly engaging. My review is here.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams: I finished the audiobook, narrated by the awesome Stephen Fry. Just as silly and adorable as I remembered!

The Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian: An unusual subject and time period for this terrific author, but it ended up being a really interesting read. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

My daughter turned me on to Staged on Hulu. I’ve only watched a few episodes, but it’s delightful.

Fresh Catch:

I received two giveaway books this week! Plus, I treated myself to a used copy of yet another Georgette Heyer book.

Puzzle of the week:

I didn’t get to any new puzzles this week… but I did decide to torment myself with a Very Important Puzzling Question. Weigh in here, please.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Just getting started! But I like it so far.

Now playing via audiobook:

I’ve been alternating between two very different audiobooks:

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams: Onward with the 2nd Hitchhiker’s Guide book! This one is narrated by Martin Freeman, and it’s just as fun as you’d expect.

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim: I started this in print, but wasn’t in the right mood and had a hard time concentrating. I’m hoping I’ll have better luck with the audiobook, especially since this is my book group’s pick for April and the discussion is coming up this week!

Ongoing reads:
  • My book group’s classic read is part 2 of Don Quixote. Continuing onward, 3 chapters per week. Current status: 88%.
  • Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart: Gotta be honest, I haven’t touched this book in a few weeks now. But it’s still on my nightstand, so I’m still considering it an ongoing read!
  • On hold: Over at Outlander Book Club, we started our group re-read of Dragonfly in Amber a couple of weeks ago… but we’re putting it on hold now that a release date for the 9th Outlander book has been announced. To prepare for #9, we’ll be starting a re-read of #8 in early May. Stay tuned for details!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 4/12/2021

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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 got my 2nd vaccine! My immediate household is now completely vaccinated. Woo hoo! I had a rough 24 hours after the vaccine — lots of aches and chills — but it passed, and all is well. I’m just grateful to be able to have gotten vaccinated. Can’t wait to be able to connect with more far-flung family and friends!

What did I read during the last week?

The Light of the Midnight Stars by Rena Rossner: Some beautiful moments, but overall, this book didn’t wow me the way this author’s previous novel did. My review is here.

Near the Bone by Christina Henry. Unputdownable horror. My review is here.

The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski: My 4th Witcher audiobook. Very confusing, but I enjoy the narrator so much! My review is here.

And… I managed to finish two quick, fun, contemporary romances over the weekend. Reviews to follow! Both were very sweet:

Pop culture & TV:

I finished season 1 of Last Tango in Halifax. Definitely recommended!

And in terms of things I loved this week: I’m enjoying the current season of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, and this scene in particular made me so happy:

Confession: I think I’ve watched it 10 times at least!

Fresh Catch:

A lovely stack of new books!

Puzzle of the week:

Another fun puzzle this week! I do seem to have a lot that feature bookstores and libraries. Hmmm… maybe I like books or something?

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Roommate by Rosie Danan: I seem to be on a roll with the contemporary romance genre — maybe because I have a few longer, heavier books waiting for me, and I’m trying to extend the light reading just a bit more before I need to get serious again. In any case, I’ve just started this one, and it looks like it’ll be fun.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams: I’ve been wanting to re-read these books for ages, and I thought the audiobook would be fun — especially since Stephen Fry is the narrator!

Ongoing reads:
  • My book group’s classic read is part 2 of Don Quixote. Continuing onward, 3 chapters per week. Current status: 85%.
  • Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart: This is a fun little guide to all sorts of deadly and dangerous plants. I’m reading in very small bites, and making just teeny bits of progress each week.
  • Over at Outlander Book Club, we’ve just started our group re-read of Dragonfly in Amber, book #2 in the Outlander series. Anyone who is interested is welcome to join the fun — just ask me how! Coming up this week: Chapter 2, “The Plot Thickens”.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 4/5/2021

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’s been a busy workweek, but I’ve managed to read some good books and go for a couple of long walks, so all is well!

What did I read during the last week?

Whisper Down the Lane by Clay McLeod Chapman: A creepy, compelling thriller. My review is here.

To Love and To Loathe by Martha Waters: Light and fun. My review is here.

The Christmas Surprise by Jenny Colgan: The 3rd book in the Rosie Hopkins trilogy is sweet and satisfying. My review is here.

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth: OMG. Could not put this book down. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

I watched the new movie Concrete Cowboy on Netflix. Guys, it’s so good! Definitely check it out.

I also watched the first three episodes (all that’s available right now) of Made For Love, and it’s trippy fun. Don’t watch the trailer though — too spoilery.

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week.

Puzzle of the week:

It’s been a while, but I did a puzzle! And it was so pretty!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Light of the Midnight Stars by Rena Rossner: The upcoming new release by the author of the fantastic The Sisters of the Winter Wood.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski: Back to the world of The Witcher! I enjoy these audiobooks so much — the narrator is great!

Ongoing reads:
  • My book group’s classic read is part 2 of Don Quixote. Continuing onward, 3 chapters per week. Current status: 84%.
  • Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart: This is a fun little guide to all sorts of deadly and dangerous plants. I’m reading in very small bites, very, very slowly.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 3/29/2021

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.

Happy Passover to all who celebrate! We had a lovely (small) seder at my house over the weekend. Looking forward to next year, when hopefully our more far-flung friends and family can be with us as well.

What did I read during the last week?

Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs: The 6th book in the fabulous Alpha & Omega series. I loved it! My review is here.

The Fall of Koli by M. R. Carey: The 3rd and final book in the Ramparts trilogy. Simply outstanding. My review is here.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: My book group finished our group read of Outlander this week — my 5th or 6th time through this book! 

To Love and To Loathe by Martha Waters: Sweet, sexy Regency romance — so much fun! Finished late Sunday — review to follow.

Pop culture & TV:

I finished up What We Do in the Shadows, and now I need something new to binge!

Fresh Catch:

One new book this week:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Whisper Down the Lane by Clay McLeod Chapman: After finishing a romance, it’s time for some horror! I’m looking forward to getting into this upcoming new release by the author of the terrific The Remaking.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Christmas Surprise by Jenny Colgan: I didn’t get as far I would have liked, because we had weirdly windy weather (okay, say that five times fast) this week and I couldn’t get out for walks most days. But now I’m back on track!

Ongoing reads:
  • My book group’s classic read is part 2 of Don Quixote. Continuing onward, 3 chapters per week. Current status: 81%.
  • Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart: This is a fun little guide to all sorts of deadly and dangerous plants. I’m keeping this on my nightstand and reading it in small bites.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 3/22/2021

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.

Today is my husband’s birthday! We went out for dinner over the weekend. You read that right — we went OUT for dinner! It was our first restaurant dinner in over a year — we went to a pretty French restaurant with a lovely patio garden, had outdoor seating with a heater nearby, and enjoyed some terrific food and drinks. It felt like such a treat!

Other than that, it’s been a mostly quiet week, with too many rainy days that interfered with my daily walks. And now, we’re gearing up to get ready for Passover!

 

 

What did I read during the last week?

The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers: A dual-timeline narrative about a magical circus and family secrets. My review is here.

There There by Tommy Orange: My book group’s pick for March. Very powerful and sad — I think I need a little more time to digest it and get my thoughts together.

Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop by Jenny Colgan: A terrific 2nd book in a terrific trilogy. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

It’s been a Disney+ week! After signing up last week, my son and I have been enjoying the Marvel universe, including WandaVision, the first episode of The Falcon & the Winter Soldier, and Iron Man 1 and 2. It looks like we’re going to do some sort of MCU watchathon over the coming weeks. Up next: Thor!

Also, I finally started watching What We Do In The Shadows, and I’m loving it. Almost done with season 1!

Fresh Catch:

One new book this week, and it looks amazing:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs: The release of a new Patricia Briggs is reason to celebrate! I just started her newest, the 6th book in the fantastic Alpha & Omega series.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Christmas Surprise by Jenny Colgan: Well, of course I’m listening to the 3rd book in the Rosie series! How could I not?

Ongoing reads:
  • Outlander Book Club is re-reading Outlander! We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week — the final chapter!! Chapter 41, “From the Womb of the Earth”. 
  • Our group classic read is part 2 of Don Quixote. Continuing onward, 3 chapters per week. Current status: 79%.
  • Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart: This is a fun little guide to all sorts of deadly and dangerous plants. I’m keeping this on my nightstand and reading it in small bites.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten books on my TBR list for spring 2021

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is about our spring 2021 reading plans. So many great books to look forward to! Here are ten I’m especially excited for:

1) Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs: The 6th book in the Alpha & Omega series. Releases today — can’t wait to get started!

2) There There by Tommy Orange: A book group selection for this spring.

3) The Fall of Koli by M. R. Carey: The final book in the trilogy. I loved the first two — so excited for the conclusion!

4) Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock: A new collection of connected stories set in Alaska, by the author of The Smell of Other People’s Houses (one of my favorite books!).

5) The Lighth of the Midnight Stars by Rena Rossner: I loved her debut novel, The Sisters of the Winter Wood.

6) Maggie Finds Her Muse by Dee Ernst: Looks like a sweet contemporary romance!

7) The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: I’m so looking forward to reading more by this author.

8) The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser: A bookshop? In Scotland? Yes, please!

9) The Album of Dr. Moreau by Daryl Gregory: Sounds too weird and amazing to miss.

10) One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston: The upcoming new release from the author of Red, White & Royal Blue. This one sounds just as sweet and adorable.

What books will you be reading this spring? Share your links, and I’ll come check out your top 10!

The Monday Check-In ~ 3/15/2021

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 home! I flew back from the East Coast on Tuesday, took a couple of days to unpack, do laundry, and settle back into my normal life, and went right back to work (from home). I also got my first vaccine dose! I’m so grateful and relieved that everyone in my household has now had at least one shot. Brighter times ahead!

What did I read during the last week?

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales: A terrific YA novel. My review is here.

Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn: The Bridgerton books are perfect for airplane reading! My review of #4 is here.

Sweetshop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan: Such a sweet, fun audiobook! My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

I watched all of Ginny & Georgia on Netflix — my reaction is here.

Also, I finally gave in and signed up for Disney+… and I’m now halfway through WandaVision (totally fun). My son is advocating for a Marvel movie watch-a-thon, starting with Iron Man and going through the MCU in release order. Gotta say, I’m not hating the idea!

Fresh Catch:

While I was away, all sorts of exciting new bookish delights arrived at my house. So much fun opening all the boxes! Here’s what I got:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers: The upcoming new release by the author of A Witch in Time, which I loved.

Now playing via audiobook:

Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop by Jenny Colgan: I don’t usually go for Christmas books, but this is the follow-up to Sweetshop of Dreams — and I just wasn’t ready to leave the characters from Sweetshop behind when I finished the book.

Ongoing reads:
  • Outlander Book Club is re-reading Outlander! We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 40, “Absolution”. 
  • Our group classic read is part 2 of Don Quixote. Continuing onward, 3 chapters per week. Current status: 77%.

So many books, so little time…

boy1