The Monday Check-In ~ 6/13/2022

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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 ran errands all weekend, took care of some scheduled car maintenance, and even found time to go to a farmers’ market!

As of next weekend, I’m heading off on a mini-vacation with my husband, doing a Northern California/Oregon road trip for a week. We plan to keep it pretty mellow, with some walks in the Redwoods and a stop at the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon.

I will be basically off-line while I’m away, so as of a week from now, you won’t be hearing much from me!

What did I read during the last week?

New reviews:

Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean: I loved it! My review is here.

The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle by Jennifer Ryan: A heart-warming story of women during wartime. My review is here.

Audiobook rereads:

I listened to audiobook versions of two books I read (and loved) last year, in preparation for their sequels, both arriving this coming week. Check out my original reviews of A Spindle Splintered and The Witness for the Dead.

Also this week:

Himawari House by Harmony Becker: This is a graphic novel that I grabbed on a whim while at the library. I liked a lot about it, but the art style was often confusing. Still, worth checking out!

Heroic Hearts edited by Jim Butcher and Kerrie L. Hughes: Another library book — I grabbed this new fantasy anthology specifically to read its stories by Jim Butcher and Patricia Briggs, and once I’d done that, I returned the book. The stories were entertaining enough, fitting into the authors’ established fictional worlds without being super dramatic. A nice afternoon’s read.

On Rotation by Shirlene Obuobi : DNFd at 25%. The story seemed promising, but the author uses footnotes constantly, and at least in e-book format, it’s incredibly disruptive and made it impossible to establish a reading flow. I didn’t care enough to force my way through it, although based on the premise, it could be a good read. Maybe if I come across a print version at some point down the road…

Pop culture & TV:

I’ve just started watching The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem on Netflix:

I’ve only seen two episodes, but I like it so far. (Watching with my husband, who does not like to binge, so it make take a while to get through all 10 episodes.) I read the book several years ago and really liked it. I’m not sure why the trailer is set to Scarborough Fair, though…

Coming up this week, I plan to start watching Becoming Elizabeth on Starz. Looks like they’re releasing one episode per week, which can be frustrating in this age of binges. Still, it looks really good! Has anyone tried it yet?

Fresh Catch:

Three new books this week:

Classics Club Spin!

It’s time for a new Classics Club Spin! This is my 2nd time participating, and while it’s a fun challenge, at the moment I’m not entirely thrilled about my selection: Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. See here for my list; I’ll let y’all know how the book goes!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Book of Night by Holly Black: I bought this book as soon as it was released (early May), and I’m just now sitting down to read it. I’ve only gotten about 20% into it so far, but I’m certainly intrigued to see where the story goes. Very dark and grim!

Now playing via audiobook:

Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur: I was looking for a light romance for my next audiobook, and this one seemed like a good choice for Pride-month listening! Plus, it’s a spin on Pride and Prejudice (I didn’t know that when I started it), and that’s always fun.

Ongoing reads:

These books will be on my plate for months to come:

  • Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon: Over at Outlander Book Club, we’ve started our group read of BEES, reading and discussing two chapters per week. If anyone wants to join us, just ask me how! All are welcome.
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare: My book group’s current classic read. We’re reading one scene per week — now in the middle of Act III.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 6/6/2022

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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’ve been playing catch-up all week, but finally got time over the weekend to pause, take a deep breath, and even relax a bit!

What did I read during the last week?

Two of these are books I finished last week — but now I’ve found time to write reviews, so I’m including them again:

A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong: A time-traveling detective! I liked this book a lot — my review is here.

The House on Tradd Street by Karen White: This ghost story/mystery was my book group’s May book. Just an okay read, in my opinion. My review is here.

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall: A spur-of-the-moment borrow from the library — such adorable fun! My review is here.

Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean: Such a happy follow-up to Tokyo Ever After (which I loved). I’ll be posting a review later this week as part of the blog tour for this book’s release — stay tuned!

Pop culture & TV:

My son and I finished Moon Knight , which was consistently fun but also consistently confusing. I finally got around to watching the final batch of Grace & Frankie episodes. It’s been a fun show to watch, but it felt like it was time for it to end.

And, oh boy, The Boys is back, crazy and out-of-line as ever.

Puzzle of the week:

It’s another fun “world of” puzzle from Laurence King Publishing:

This one is The World of Charles Dickens — as with the other puzzles in the series, it has a ton of tiny details, including people and places from his novels. There’s a poster included that identifies who’s who, which is super helpful to refer to once the puzzle is done. This one was a bit more challenging than some of the others. All those roofs and windows!!

In case you’re interested, here’s the product image and purchase link:

Fresh Catch:

This hardcover (which I preordered ages ago) arrived this week:

(Yes, I already finished the audiobook… but I really needed a hard copy too!)

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle by Jenny Ryan: I’d planned to start this a week ago… better late than never!

Now playing via audiobook:

A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow: The second Fractured Fables book (A Mirror Mended) will be out mid-June, so this felt like the right time for a re-read of book #1. I read the print edition when it was released last year, and I’m enjoying the audiobook so far!

Ongoing reads:

These books will be on my plate for months to come:

  • Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon: Over at Outlander Book Club, we’ve started our group read of BEES, reading and discussing two chapters per week. If anyone wants to join us, just ask me how! All are welcome.
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare: My book group’s current classic read. We’re reading one scene per week — now in the middle of Act III.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

Book Review: The House on Tradd Street by Karen White

Title: The House on Tradd Street
Author: Karen White
Narrator: Aimée Bruneau
Publisher: Berkley
Publication date: 2008
Print length: 329 pages
Audio length: 13 hours, 10 minute
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Source: Library
Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Practical Melanie Middleton hates to admit she can see ghosts. But she’s going to have to accept it. An old man she recently met has died, leaving her his historic Tradd Street home, complete with housekeeper, dog, and a family of ghosts anxious to tell her their secrets.

Enter Jack Trenholm, a gorgeous writer obsessed with unsolved mysteries. He has reason to believe that diamonds from the Confederate Treasury are hidden in the house. So he turns the charm on with Melanie, only to discover he’s the smitten one…

It turns out Jack’s search has caught the attention of a malevolent ghost. Now, Jack and Melanie must unravel a mystery of passion, heartbreak, and even murder.

This contemporary novel might not have been an obvious choice for me, but since it was my book group’s pick for May, I felt compelled to give it a try. And while it held my attention, there were a few too many eye-rolling moments for me to feel that it was anything more than just an okay read.

In The House on Tradd Street, main character Melanie is a realtor who specializes in Charleston’s historical homes, although she secretly hates them with a passion. She may tell herself it’s because they’re all money pits, but in reality, as a woman who’s spent her whole life seeing and hearing ghosts, these old homes are just too fraught with supernatural encounters for her to ever be able to appreciate them.

As the book opens, a man she thinks is a potential seller ends up leaving her his beautiful but utterly decrepit home, as well a letter imploring her to find out the truth about his mother’s disappearance over 70 years earlier. The local gossip would have it that she ran off with another man, but her son never believed the story, and his dying wish is for his mother’s reputation to be cleared.

To complicate matters, a bestselling author who specializes in historical mysteries asks to partner with Melanie, offering to assist with the house restoration project in exchange for access to the house’s attic and stashes of old records. Stuck with an unwanted house and ghosts who don’t want to leave her alone, Melanie reluctantly agrees.

There are multiple mysteries to solve — what really happened to Louisa Vanderhorst? Are there really diamonds hidden somewhere in the house? What does the menacing spirit that haunts the house want from Melanie? And who will she choose in the evolving love triangle?

Sorry, that one’s not actually a mystery… it’s obvious from the start which way the love story piece of the plot is going. As is so much else of the novel, unfortunately.

The answer to Louisa’s disappearance is pretty clear from the get-go, with only the details needing to be spelled out. The writing makes it fairly obvious early on that the commonly accepted explanation isn’t the true answer. It’s amazing to me that anyone buys it, and it certainly takes Melanie long enough to clue into the truth.

I was caught up enough in the story to just go with it most of the time, and the investigation into the house’s mysteries includes some clever clues and interesting answers. Overall, though, the plot is on the hokey/cheesy side, and the book — written in 2008 — hasn’t aged particularly well.

Some of the datedness probably can’t be helped. If an author is going to include references to technology in a novel, chances are that it’ll feel out of date within a few years. Here, between mentioning her IPod and Blackberry and hanging up a call by “closing” her cell phone, as well as the office secretary handing Melanie a stack of message slips, it’s clear that the characters are not living in the same tech world as we are. Again, that’s not usually a problem for me, but maybe because these kind of things happen a lot in this book, it was distracting.

More problematic are some of the social/interpersonal descriptions that are not only dated, but also highly cringe-worthy. Jack, the main love interest, is such an alpha male, asserting his dominance in all sorts of irritating ways, including insisting on using a nickname for Melanie despite being asked repeatedly not too. I think his arrogance is supposed to make him sexy and roguish, but to me, he just comes off as an ass.

There’s also an awful moment where the main character mentions that she’s going to donate some of the proceeds of her inheritance to the Daughters of the Confederacy (because — spoiler!! — the diamonds were originally from Jefferson Davis, and his intent was apparently to use them to support war widows and orphans). I’m sorry, but I don’t care what the intent was… supporting anything connected to the Confederacy just is not a good look. Ick.

On top of this, Melanie is a bad friend. Her best friend is a historical preservation professor at the College of Charleston (convenient!), but in every single scene with her, Melanie thinks about how terribly she dresses or disparages her in other ways. It’s awful. Ick again.

As I said, this was mostly a quick read, and it held my attention — but the annoying and/or problematic and/or predictable aspects of the story keep this from being a great reading experience. There are more books in the series (presumably more stories about haunted houses), but I don’t intend to continue.

The Monday Check-In ~ 5/30/2022

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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.

It’s been a busy, jam-packed week. I did not finish reading a single book!! But I’m not complaining, since it’s also been pretty fun.

My family attended two different weddings this weekend — in both cases, the brides are the daughters of old friends, and had originally planned weddings for over a year ago before COVID changed everything. The brides both grew up with my daughter, and she came to town for the long weekend so she could attend, so that was an extra bonus for me!

What did I read during the last week?

So yeah, no books finished this past week! Too much going on, not enough time to read or go for walks (which is when I do most of my audiobook listening). So… I’m *this close* to finishing both of these (one e-book, one audiobook) — I hope to finish today or tomorrow.

Pop culture & TV:

An excellent wrap-up to This Is Us. I’m going to miss spending time with those characters!

Beyond that, my son and I have been watching Moon Knight — it’s fun, but confusing. And having now watched two episodes of The Time Traveler’s Wife, I’m mostly liking it. It’s not nearly as bad as some of the reviews have described it, but the fact that I loved the book and can already accept the weirder elements probably helps.

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

(These are my next-up books… haven’t started yet!)

Currently in my hands:

The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle by Jenny Ryan: This book releases tomorrow, and I’m excited to start it! Jenny Ryan’s books are always terrific.

Now playing via audiobook:

Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean: I’m excited for this audiobook too! This is the sequel to Tokyo Ever After, which I loved.

Ongoing reads:

These books will be on my plate for months to come:

  • Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon: Over at Outlander Book Club, we’ve started our group read of BEES, reading and discussing two chapters per week. If anyone wants to join us, just ask me how! All are welcome.
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare: My book group’s current classic read. We’re reading one scene per week — now in the middle of Act III.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 5/23/2022

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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.

It’s been another busy workweek, so I was happy to spend the weekend basically doing nothing but reading and getting outside to enjoy the sunshine as often as possible.

I went to my very first Zumba class this week! I decided I needed more cardio in my routine (I basically was doing none), and I know I tend to like dance-based workouts more than other types of group exercise classes. It was fun! Hard, but fun. I’m going to keep going! (And since I’m putting in writing and sharing it, I guess I’ll have to stick with it!)

What did I read during the last week?

Just Like Mother by Anne Heltzel: Ew. Creepy, but not in a good way. My review is here.

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker: A sweet, fun YA graphic novel featuring witches, werewolves, and lots of really positive and diverse representation.

In audiobooks, I finished books 3 and 4 in the lovely Mure series by Jenny Colgan. I wrote a wrap-up post (here), and now I’m just eagerly awaiting the release of book #5 in June!

Puzzle of the week:

Another good one from Laurence King (1000 pieces):

This one is called The World of the Tudors. It wasn’t particularly hard, but all the little details made it really fun to do. Here’s the product image:

Pop culture & TV:

Another movie! That’s two weeks in a row of seeing movies in an actual movie theater! I saw The Northman with a friend. It was so well done, but very gory and violent.

This last batch of This Is Us episodes are bringing on the waterworks! Can’t believe the series finale is coming up this week.

Fresh Catch:

I’ve won two Goodreads giveaway this month, when I haven’t won a single one in years!

I’d forgotten that I entered the giveaway for The Lioness! I’ve already read an ARC via NetGalley (and loved it), but it’s nice to have the actual Kindle edition now too. And this week, I found out that I’ve won a print edition of The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker, which is super exciting! It hasn’t arrived yet, but I’m thrilled to have won!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong: I’ve only read the first two chapters, but it seems interesting! I’m just a little bummed to see this book listed on Goodreads as the first in a series — when I requested it on NetGalley, I expected it to be a stand-alone.

Now playing via audiobook:

The House on Tradd Street by Karen White: My book group’s book for May — I’m a little behind. I’ve only listened to about 20% so far. I’m loving the Charleston setting (I lived there for a few years, ages ago), but despite being published in 2008, the book feels a little dated somehow. My book group friends all seem to really like the story, so I’m feeling hopeful overall.

Ongoing reads:

These books will be on my plate for months to come:

  • Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon: Over at Outlander Book Club, we’ve started our group read of BEES, reading and discussing two chapters per week. If anyone wants to join us, just ask me how! All are welcome.
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare: My book group’s current classic read. We’re reading one scene per week — starting Act III this week.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 5/16/2022

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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.

What a week! For the first time since 2020, I took a little vacation that was purely for fun, and loved it! My husband and I spent three days in the Palm Springs area (Southern California), and lucked into some great weather while we were there.

I’d originally thought we’d be mostly exploring Palm Springs itself, but we ended up spending most of our time outdoors, hiking and enjoying the gorgeous settings. We spent one day at Joshua Tree National Park, then did some other trails at a state park and a local canyon. Bliss!

A Joshua tree, at Joshua Tree National Park

It didn’t hurt that we stayed at a hotel with a lovely pool and some interesting spa/relaxation options, including a Himalayan salt room. I’m not sure that it was actually therapeutic, but it felt luxurious to lie there all the same!

And now, back to reality…

What did I read during the last week?

Seasonal Fears by Seanan McGuire: This story about living embodiments of Summer and Winter kept my attention, despite how confusing it all gets. My review is here.

Something Wilder by Christina Lauren: This author duo’s romances are always fun, but this one was less to my taste than some of their others because of the focus on an adventure story with a dangerous/criminal element. My review is here.

By the Book (Meant to Be, #2) by Jasmine Guillory: This retelling of Disney’s Beauty & the Beast for grown-ups is just as sweet and enchanting as you’d expect. My review is here.

The Emma Project (Rajes, #4) by Sonali Dev: This modern-day interpretation of Jane Austen’s Emma is a quick read, but I found some of the emotional entanglements overwrought. The main fun is figuring out how these characters relate to the Austen characters — it’s not always obvious! My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

First time in a movie theater in a year! My son and I went to see the new Doctor Strange movie and it was… okay. I’m not a big fan of the character anyway, and I really didn’t like who they chose to be the villain of the piece. It felt like very unfair treatment of a great character. But, there’s plenty of fun, some good actions sequences, and a few surprising cameos, so overall, still an enjoyable experience.

I think I’m going to start watching the new HBO adaptation of The Time Traveler’s Wife… but with severe trepidation. The reviews have been awful!! Still, at one point, it was a favorite book, so I’m curious enough to want to check it out.

Puzzle of the week:

It’s been a few weeks since I last did a jigsaw puzzle, but over the weekend, I indulged. This one was really fun! Another great puzzle from the Laurence King literary-themed puzzle collection — The World of Dracula. So many terrific details to pore over and enjoy! Here’s what my finished version looked like (excuse the shoddy lighting and photography…):

And here’s the product image:

Fresh Catch:

Haha, my new book makes me laugh just by looking at it! This is a graphic novel by Julia Quinn, bringing to life a story that her Regency characters read in various books. It looks incredibly silly… and who doesn’t need some silliness in their reading every now and then?

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Just Like Mother by Anne Heltzel: I’ve only just gotten started, so all I know so far is that it has to do with girls who grew up in a cult. And that it has a creepy cover!

Now playing via audiobook:

Christmas on the Island (Mure, #3) by Jenny Colgan: I don’t typically read Christmas-themed books, but I make an exception for author Jenny Colgan, especially when the book fits into a series that I love! This is the 3rd book in her lovely Mure series, and I’m so happy to be back with these terrific characters!

Ongoing reads:

These books will be on my plate for months to come:

  • Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon: Over at Outlander Book Club, we’ve started our group read of BEES, reading and discussing two chapters per week. If anyone wants to join us, just ask me how! All are welcome.
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare: My book group’s current classic read. We’re reading one scene per week — in the middle of Act II this week.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 5/9/2022

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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.

By the time you read this post, I’ll be on vacation! It’s just a mini-trip to spend a few days in the sun in Southern California, but as I write this post (Saturday), it’s making me happy just to think about it! This will be my first time traveling other than for family reasons in 2 years.

I’ll be away for three nights only, but in a shocking development, I’m planning to be offline for those days! I’ve never not traveled with a laptop, but this time, that baby is staying home without me.

Meanwhile, since we’re headed out of town on Mother’s Day, my husband and kids took me out for an early Mother’s Day dinner on Friday, which was lovely.

And now, all that I still need to do is pack and choose my books! (Kidding… I may still need to pack, but I’ve had my books picked out for weeks!)

What did I read during the last week?

It’s actually been a fairly slow reading week, with long hours at work and lots of busy-ness at home. Plus, I happened to have started longer books this week… so, I only managed to finish one book!

The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner: I love how this author captures family dynamics so well — the good and the bad, the funny and the tragic. The Summer Place was a great read! My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

This Is Us brought on the waterworks last week with its Miguel episode! Can’t believe the show is ending so soon — only three episodes to go!

I’ve started watching the final batch of Grace & Frankie episodes, but for whatever reason, they’re not loading on my TV… which left me sitting on my couch watching on my phone, definitely not ideal. I still have a bunch to go.

Fresh Catch:

Three new books this week! The first is one I preordered ages ago; the other two were spur-of-the-moment buys when I stumbled across a buy one, get one 50% off deal on Amazon.

I also made a last-minute impulse purchase of a jigsaw puzzle that caught my eye… but I’ll share that one once I actually get it done!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Seasonal Fears by Seanan McGuire: I started this as an audiobook, and as much as I liked hearing Amber Benson as the narrator, the story was just too complicated for me to be able to follow it by listening. After a day, I switched to print, and I’m having a much better experience! This book is long (over 500 pages), and I haven’t had very much time to really devote to it… but I hope to wrap it up shortly.

In related news, I attended an online author event with Seanan McGuire over the weekend, which was awesome! Her cat even made an appearance:

Now playing via audiobook:

By the Book by Jasmine Guillory: The 2nd book in Disney’s adult fiction Meant To Be series is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, featuring a 20-something editorial assistant trying to get an ill-tempered celebrity author to finish his memoir… by moving in with him in his gorgeous Santa Barbara mansion. It’s cute so far!

Ongoing reads:

These books will be on my plate for months to come:

  • Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon: Over at Outlander Book Club, we’ve started our group read of BEES, reading and discussing two chapters per week. If anyone wants to join us, just ask me how! All are welcome.
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare: My book group’s newest classic read. We’ll be going at a pace of one scene per week — now underway.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 5/2/2022

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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.

Oof. I got my second booster on Thursday, and it knocked me out for about a day and a half. I’m not sorry I got it — but I definitely did not feel okay the next day. I mean, my head was so fuzzy and achy that I couldn’t even read!

Other than that, it’s been another intense work week, and this coming week should be more of the same. Fortunately, I have a couple of days away next week to look forward to!

What did I read during the last week?

True Biz by Sara Novic: I absolutely loved this book set in a school for the deaf. Five stars! My review is here.

The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson: This follow-up to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is interesting, but lacks the emotional connection of the first book. My review is here.

The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian: Wow, talk about a page-turner! I couldn’t put this book down, despite how anxious it made me feel throughout the reading process. My review is here.

In audiobooks, I finished a re-read of The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan, the first book in the Mure series, and immediately started book #2, The Endless Beach, which I finished over the weekend. Not surprisingly, I’m loving this series. Jenny Colgan’s books are always a ray of sunshine! I can’t wait to start book #3.

Outlander!!

The 6th season of Outlander has now come to an end, after last night’s agonizing season finale. This episode covers a section of book #6 that I absolutely loathe — it feels like such needless torture for our belove characters. And on top of everything, the episode (and thus the season) ends without finishing this segment of the plot… which means we’ll be picking up this storyline again in season 7. Ugh! Make it go away so we can move on!

Pop culture & TV:

Drop everything and watch Heartstopper on Netflix! This series is short and so, so sweet! I was just a big pile of FEELINGS after watching it. It’s eight 30-minute episodes, adapted from Alice Oseman’s graphic novels and webcomics. Just loved it.

And of course, if you haven’t read the comics, why not start now? Check out the webcomic, or the four graphic novels (with the 5th and final due out in 2023).

Fresh Catch:

I bought myself a present! This is a “miniature” library of Jane Austen’s novels, and it’s adorable! (The photo of Persuasion with the Four Aunties book is included as a size comparison…)

(For sale from The Jane Austen Online Gift Shop)

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner: After reading this author’s most recent novel, That Summer, last year, I was eager to get my hands on an ARC for her upcoming new release. This one comes out later in May — I’ve only just started, but I like it so far.

Now playing via audiobook:

Seasonal Fears by Seanan McGuire: I’m actually just starting this audiobook today, with some hesitation, because I’m afraid it’s going to be more complicated than I can absorb via audiobook. That’s okay — I have both e-book and audiobook ARCs, so I can switch if needed… but Amber Benson is the narrator, which motivates me to at least give it a try! (Unfortunately, I barely remember the details of Middlegame, which this is the sequel to… I’m hoping I don’t find myself too lost.)

Ongoing reads:

These books will be on my plate for months to come:

  • Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon: Over at Outlander Book Club, we’ve started our group read of BEES, reading and discussing two chapters per week. If anyone wants to join us, just ask me how! All are welcome.
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare: My book group’s newest classic read. We’ll be going at a pace of one scene per week — now underway.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 4/25/2022

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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.

Getting back to normal… After a house full of guests the previous week, this past week has been relatively quiet, although work has been intense. It’s been lovely to have NO plans over the weekend! And especially lovely that the weather complied and gave me beautiful blue skies to enjoy.

What did I read during the last week?

The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan: A weird thriller that kept my interest despite not making a ton of sense. My review is here.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig: This was a re-read for me (in preparation for my book group’s discussion), and I loved it just as much the second time around! (My review from my first read is here.)

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher: A wonderful fairy tale adventure. My review is here.

Outlander!!

Wow, this season has sped by! Another powerful episode this week… but sadly, only one more left in the season.

Pop culture & TV:

There are times when I’m a complete sucker for sappy, plucking-on-the-heartstrings entertainment… so what better to watch than a dance competition show where talented kids invite their non-dancer parents to be their partners? Come Dance With Me is a little cheesy, but I’ve gotta admit it — I teared up a few times.

Fresh Catch:

No new physical books this week, but I did treat myself to a bunch of Kindle books that had price drops this week:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

True Biz by Sara Novic: This book is so good! I’m at about 75% — I had to force myself to put the book down and get some sleep last night, when what I really wanted to do was power through to the end.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan: I read the print version of this book several years ago, but decided to revisit via audiobook, and plan to continue with the remaining books in the series, which I haven’t read before. It’s a sweet and refreshing story, and the narration is terrific.

Ongoing reads:

These books will be on my plate for months to come:

  • Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon: Over at Outlander Book Club, we’ve started our group read of BEES, reading and discussing two chapters per week. If anyone wants to join us, just ask me how! All are welcome.
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare: My book group’s newest classic read. We’ll be going at a pace of one scene per week — now underway.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 4/18/2022

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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.

It’s been a whirlwind of a week! We had a full house for Passover, including out of town guests plus local family, and it was amazing (but also exhausting). It’s such a treat being able to gather again for the first time in two years!

What did I read during the last week?

Not Your Average Hot Guy by Gwenda Bond: A silly romance involving demon summoning and avoiding an apocalypse — super fun! My review is here.

The Midnight Bargain by C. L. Polk: I loved this stand-alone fantasy novel. My review is here.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows: This book was a perfect choice for a crazy week. I loved it so much. My review is here.

Outlander!!

No new episode this week, alas. Only two more left in the season!

Pop culture & TV:

Nothing much new here — I’ve caught bits and pieces of various shows, including the season finale of Abbott Elementary — which, seriously, you need to check out!

Fresh Catch:

Two new books this week:

Because OF COURSE I’m going to read the sequel to Not Your Average Hot Guy!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan: This book is weird and not particularly believable… but it’s holding my attention in the short chunks of time I’ve had to read over the last few days.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig: This is a re-read for me (first time via audiobook) — I need a refresher before my book group discussion later this month.

Ongoing reads:

These books will be on my plate for months to come:

  • Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon: Over at Outlander Book Club, we’ve started our group read of BEES, reading and discussing two chapters per week. If anyone wants to join us, just ask me how! All are welcome.
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare: My book group’s newest classic read. We’ll be going at a pace of one scene per week — now underway.

So many books, so little time…

boy1