The Monday Check-In ~ 10/19/2020

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.

The sun came back out this week, and it’s been glorious. Doing my best to walk every day!

What did I read during the last week?

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow: Beautiful and powerful. My review is here.

Murder by Other Means by John Scalzi: A really enjoyable Audible Original. My review is here.

Over the Woodward Wall by A. Deborah Baker: This book is by Seanan McGuire, using a pen name that’s also the name of a character in her novel Middlegame — a character who wrote a book called Over the Woodward Wall, a bestselling children’s book that also secretly a guide to alchemy. Confused yet? I can’t believe I’m saying this about a Seanan McGuire book, but I didn’t particularly enjoy reading this. There are some clever bits, but mostly it feels like a journey to Wonderland, with lots of nonsensical elements and magical moments. It just never really came together for me, sad to say.

Pop culture & TV:

I finally got around to watching season 3 of The Crown, and ended up enjoying it much more than I thought I would. It was a little jarring adjusting to the cast changes for this season, but they’re all so talented that it ended up being a great watch. Educational too — I find myself Googling details during every episode to find out more about the people and events. Can’t wait for season 4 to drop next month!

And in my lighter moments when I just need a quick and easy piece of entertainment, I’ve been watching The Legend of Korra. I didn’t care much for it at first, but it’s growing on me!

Puzzle of the week:

For a city dweller, I sure seem to be drawn to country settings. Here’s this week’s puzzle. Cows! Quilts! What more could I want?

Fresh Catch:

I’ve been splurging. So excited for my new books! Now I need time to read them.

 

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Beloved by Toni Morrison: My book group’s book for October. I read this book when it was first released, and still have my old hardcover edition! It’s been a long time, and I’m enjoying experiencing the beautiful writing all over again.

Now playing via audiobook:

Valour and Vanity (The Glamourist Histories, #4) by Mary Robinette Kowal: Onward with the series! These books are so good.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is re-reading Outlander! We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 19, “The Waterhorse”.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 10/12/2020

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.

Thinking about the election is kind of taking over all my brain cells, making it hard for me to read or concentrate on other things. Still, this was a favorite moment of the week:

I think every woman in the workworld can relate.

What did I read during the last week?

Equal Rites (Discworld, #3) by Terry Pratchett: Finally, a Discworld book that I really wholeheartedly enjoyed! My review is here.

I’m not quite sure why, but I ended up reading these three classic horror stories. My thoughts are here.

Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal: Finished the 3rd audiobook in the Glamourist Histories series, and will definitely be going on to #4 in the next week or so. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

After reading the play, my book group decided to watch the 2002 movie version of The Importance of Being Earnest this week. Fun, funny, a little strangely put together, but what a cast!

And… I finished Schitt’s Creek! Yes, I may have shed a few tears. Love this show so much.

Now what do I watch?

Puzzle of the week:

None! I got caught up in reading and watching the news, and just didn’t get around to starting a new puzzle at all. My eyes will probably thank me.

Fresh Catch:

Two new books this week — so excited for both!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow: It took me about three tries to actually get past the first few chapters, but that’s because of my overall sense of distraction, not any fault of the book’s. Now that I’ve made some progress, I’m really enjoying this tale of sisters, witches, and women’s rights.

Now playing via audiobook:

Murder by Other Means by John Scalzi: This is a sequel to the excellent The Dispatcher, and it starts with a bang. Literally. I’ve only listened to about 10% so far, but it seems great.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is re-reading Outlander! We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 18, “Raiders in the Rocks”.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 10/5/2020

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.

Life imitates art…

Anyway… what’s new in your neck of the woods? It’s been a quiet week here. Work, read, watch TV, repeat. Exciting, right?

What did I read during the last week?

The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher: Super creepy horror, with a heaping helping of snark. My review is here.

Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade: Fun, geeky, body-positive romance. My review is here.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde: My book group’s classic read — so delightful.

Well Played by Jen DeLuca: Super fun audiobook. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

I’m all caught up on The Boys. Season finale next week!

And… I’m thrilled that season 6 of Schitt’s Creek dropped early! Starting it tonight.

Puzzle of the week:

This puzzle makes me yearn for the day when we can travel again…

Fresh Catch:

Can’t wait to start!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

It’s Discworld time again! Reading book #3.

Now playing via audiobook:

Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal: I’m going back to the Glamourist Histories series for book #3. It’s so much fun.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is re-reading Outlander! We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 17, “We Meet a Beggar”.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 9/28/2020

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 not actually observing, and I haven’t fasted in years, but still…

Hope all who observe are having a meaningful Yom Kippur and an easy fast.

What did I read during the last week?

Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell: This was a book group book, and I ended up loving it. My review is here.

Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo. Terrific debut fiction. My review is here.

Snow Falling by Jane Gloriana Villanueva: A very silly audiobook treat for Jane the Virgin fans. (I thought it was great!). My review is here.

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren: Christina Lauren books are always great fun, and this holiday-themed romance (with a touch of Groundhog Day too) is no exception. My review is here.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke: This slim book is weird and wonderful. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

I finished Avatar: The Last Airbender! You know what? It’s not just for kids — I really enjoyed it (and I’m glad my son convinced me to watch).

Who else watched Enola Holmes this week? Wasn’t it fun? I hope there’s a sequel in the works.

I also started watching The Boys, and despite the incredible amounts of gore, I’m liking it so far!

Puzzle of the week:

Two this week! First, a puzzle that my amazing daughter sent me for my birthday:

My 2nd puzzle is pretty much my dream cabin (minus the fish on the wall):

Fresh Catch:

New books this week — a trio of older books by Jenny Colgan:

Plus, I was thrilled to receive this advance copy from the publisher:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

What to read? I’m ready to start a new book — it’s between these two ARCs.

Flip a coin, maybe?

Coming soon:

Thursday will be October 1st, and that means it’s time for another Discworld book! I’m starting a new volume in the series on the 1st of each month. Coming up for October, book #3:

Now playing via audiobook:

Well Played by Jen DeLuca: I really enjoyed Well Met, and this sequel is off to a good start!

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is re-reading Outlander! We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 16, “One Fine Day”.

It’s our 3rd and final week for our group read of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. So much fun!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 9/21/2020

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.

What a week.

Such a terrible loss. There are no words.

Meanwhile, wishing all who celebrate a sweet and happy new year… it can only get better, right?

What did I read during the last week?

The Remaking by Clay McLeod Chapman: Awesome horror. My review is here.

Glamour in Glass (Glamourist Histories, #2) by Mary Robinette Kowal: I’m just loving this series! My review is here.

The Trials of Koli by M. R. Carey: An excellent continuation of The Book of Koli. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

I’m on season 3 of Supernatural! Other than that, I haven’t been consuming much pop culture this week — but hey, I’m having fun.

Puzzle of the week:

My amazing daughter sent me a puzzle! I’m just getting started, but it’s very sweet.

Fresh Catch:

I treated myself to two new books:

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke: This looks amazing!

When I found out that a collection of Seanan McGuire’s non-fiction writing was out there in the world… well, of course I had to have it.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell: My book group’s pick for September. I didn’t think it would appeal to me, but now that I’ve started, I can’t put it down!

Now playing via audiobook:

This one is strictly for the Jane the Virgin fans:

Falling Snow is the first novel published by Jane Gloriana Villanueva, the main character in Jane the Virgin. So yes, this audiobook is the story that Jane wrote, and it’s just pure silly fun. Especially since it’s read by one of the TV series actors, with the amazing narrator of the show adding his thoughts here and there. Really a delight.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is re-reading Outlander! We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 15, “Revelations of the Bridal Chamber”. Get ready for the romance!

This is week 2 of our group read of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. It’s amazing!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 9/14/2020

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.

This has been the weirdest week. You may have seen news coverage of our crazy day this past Wednesday in San Francisco. This was the view from my back porch at noon:

I’ve just never seen anything like this. It was dark all day — we had to keep the lights on in the house, and everyone was driving with headlights. It’s still pretty bad air quality here, even days later, but at least the sky isn’t orange.

What did I read during the last week?

The White Coat Diaries by Madi Sinha: Not really what I expected. My review is here.

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman: A little too much whimsy for my taste, but still an enjoyable read. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

I didn’t do a whole lot of TV watching this week, so I’m still on season 3 of Avatar: The Last Airbender (the final season) and season 2 of Supernatural.

But in other pop culture news, did you see the trailer for the new version of Dune???

Looks amazing! But it’s been DECADES since I read Dune, so I think I need to plan a re-read, stat. Anyone want to buddy read? I think I’m going to need some real motivation if I’m going to dig in.

Puzzle of the week:

This made my eyes hurt. Someone please remind me to never do another undersea puzzle!

So. Much. Blue.

Fresh Catch:

No new books. But hey, I finished all the puzzles in my house, so of course I had to get a few more.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

I haven’t quite decided which of these two books to start next. Maybe I’ll just close my eyes and point.

Now playing via audiobook:

Glamour in Glass (Glamourist Histories, #2) by Mary Robinette Kowal: Making such tiny bits of progress, not because I’m not loving it (I AM!), but because I mainly listen to audiobooks when I go for walks or drive my car, and I didn’t do much of either this past week, thanks to the poor air quality and the needs to stay indoors. Ugh, now climate change is even affecting my reading!

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is re-reading Outlander! We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 14, “A Marriage Takes Place”. Yay! I love the wedding scene.

Also this week, we’re starting a group read of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Should be fun!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 9/7/2020

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.

Ah, a three-day weekend! I mean, I’m home every day anyway, but having an extra day with no work and the ability to sleep in still feels like a treat!

This past Friday, we had our first dinner out in about five months. We went to a friend’s house, who set up separate tables in his backyard for each family. It was a little funny talking across a six-foot distance, but still felt great to socialize.

What did I read during the last week?

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides: Hard to put down, but also, super annoying. My review is here.

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett: My 2nd Discworld book. I didn’t love it, although I’m always amused by the author’s gift with words. My review is here.

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal: I loved this audiobook! My review is here.

The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry: 5-star horror! I loved this book (scheduled for release this week). My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

Continuing with Avatar: The Last Airbender — on the 3rd (and final) season. It’s fantastic.

Puzzle of the week:

Another fun one! I love puzzles with lots of color and tiny details.

I seem to have finally finished every jigsaw puzzle in the house! What am I supposed to do now? (Well, other than waiting for the ones I just ordered online to arrive…)

Fresh Catch:

I bought one new book — a new paperback released last week. It sounds amazing!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The White Coat Diaries by Madi Sinha: Just starting!

Now playing via audiobook:

Glamour in Glass (Glamourist Histories, #2) by Mary Robinette Kowal: Since I enjoyed the 1st book in this series so much, I just have to continue.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club’s re-read of Outlander is underway. We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 13, “A Marriage is Announced”. The action is ramping up!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 8/31/2020

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 bought a car! I’m so excited. We tend to drive cars forever in my family. My husband is still driving the “new” car I bought 18 years ago, but it’s on its last legs (last wheels?), so it’s time for our ritual passing of the vehicles. We’re selling his, he’s getting my 9-year-old car, and I get a shiny new one. It’s cute and it makes me happy… but now I have to learn how all the technology works. Silly high-tech car.

In other family news, my son is starting college today. It’s all remote and he’s still living at home until campus reopens, but still — my boy is a college student!

What did I read during the last week?

It’s been another slow reading week for me, so I only managed to finish one book. Luckily for me, it was a great one!

A Killing Frost by Seanan McGuire: The October Daye series is my absolute favorite, and this new book (#14!) does not disappoint in the slightest. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

Continuing with Avatar: The Last Airbender — I’m almost done with season 2. It’s so good!

I also finished Indian Matchmaking on Netflix — which was fun, but also frustrating, since none of the main storylines get any closure. (I looked it up after I finished, and guess what? None of the matches from this show ended up staying together.)

Puzzle of the week:

This one was really challenging!

Fresh Catch:

I treated myself to paperback editions of two books I’d already read:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides: My book group’s book for August, so yeah, I’m a little behind. I’ve only read a few chapters, but it’s off to a good start.

Coming soon:

Tomorrow is September 1st, and you know what that means? It’s time to continue my Discworld journey! I’m starting a new volume in the series on the 1st of each month. Coming up for September, book #2:

Now playing via audiobook:

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal: I’ve barely made any progress this week, but I like what I’ve listened to so far.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club’s re-read of Outlander is underway. We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 12, “The Garrison Commander”. Thinking about this chapter in advance is giving me chills, because I can’t help thinking of the TV series episode of the same name, which included some of the most powerful performances of season 1.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 8/24/2020

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.

Once again, I just didn’t do a ton of reading this week. No idea why — just busy and distracted, I suppose.

Oh, and remember about a month ago when I complained about creepy people on Goodreads? Well, another one popped up!

Actually, I do mind.

And please note how considerate I’m being by not posting the sender’s profile name and picture.

Blocked and deleted.

What did I read during the last week?

Bookish and the Beast by Ashley Poston: Loved it! This may be my favorite of the series so far. My review is here.

The Switch by Beth O’Leary: Sweet contemporary fiction. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

My son convinced me to watch Avatar: The Last Airbender, and you know what? It’s good! We just finished season 1.

Also, I randomly started watching Indian Matchmaking on Netflix, and got sucked right in.

Puzzle of the week:

Finished this one:

… and then started another that’s going to take me ages. But hey, at least it keeps me off the streets!

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

A Killing Frost by Seanan McGuire: It’s the new October Daye book (#14)! I’m thrilled beyond words.

Now playing via audiobook:

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal: Reading this book (and the other four books in the series) was one of my 2020 goals, so I’m excited to finally be starting!

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club’s re-read of Outlander is underway. We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 11, “Conversations with a Lawyer”. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to participate, so just ask me how.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 8/17/2020

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.

Blogging:

I’m been having a minor freakout (minor? well, depends what you’re comparing it to…) because my WordPress has been hating me since Wednesday. I’ve tried updating some posts — I get “updating failed” error messages. Tried to copy and create a new post — same thing.

I just logged completely out and back in, and I’m cautiously optimistic that I’m back in business. Fingers crossed.

Life.

My son turned 18! I’m no longer the mother of minor children! But he’ll always be my baby. (Don’t tell him I said that.)

On his birthday, he took his driving test and passed, and we helped him purchase the used car he’d been saving towards. So, all in one day, he’s a driver, a voter, and a car owner! Pretty sweet!

What did I read during the last week?

Peace Talks (Dresden Files, #16) by Jim Butcher: Finally finished! I didn’t write an actual review — it’s hard when you’re up to the 16th book in a series, right? What I can say about this book is that while it is totally entertaining, it feels very incomplete, like it’s only half a story. Which I guess makes sense, since the 17th book will be out next month. At this point, there’s no way I’m NOT going to read Dresden Files books whenever they come out, even though I fee like I need a crash course in Dresden history if I’m going to keep all the events and people straight.

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer: This book is LONG. But I didn’t hate it. My review is here.

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: Finished with Part 1! My book group’s classic read of Don Quixote has been going on for months, and I finally caught up in time to reach the end of Part 1 with the group. Considering that Part 1 was originally published about 10 years before Part 2, and is about 450 pages, I feel like I’ve read an entire book already. We’re taking a bit of a break, but we’ll be continuing with the book this fall. Meanwhile, I’m happy to be able to put it aside for a bit.

The Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire: I finished my audiobook re-read, and loved it all over again. My review post from last year is here. Still a 5-star read! I love this series so much.

Pop culture & TV:

I went back to Supernatural this week, and am SO close to finishing season 1. Which means… only 14 more seasons to go? Sheesh. That’s a steep hill to climb.

Meanwhile, I watched the first few episodes of One Day at a Time on Netflix, and was completely charmed. Except for the laugh track. Why are comedies still being made with laugh tracks? It seems so archaic.

Puzzle of the week:

I got too wrapped up in my reading this week to get around to starting a new puzzle until Sunday morning, and I’ve barely worked on it — but here’s what I’m puzzling this week:

Fresh Catch:

No new physical books this week, although I did manage to load up my Kindle. How can I resist when good books keep being offered for $1.99 and then there are special buying incentives too?

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Switch by Beth O’Leary: I’m so happy to be starting this book! I shared an excerpt a few weeks ago, and I’m glad to be diving in. It’s off to a great start!

Now playing via audiobook:

Bookish and the Beast by Ashley Poston: I’m just about to start, and I’m so excited!

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club’s re-read of Outlander is underway. We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 10, “The Oath-Taking”. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to participate, so just ask me how.

So many books, so little time…

boy1