The Monday Check-In ~ 3/16/2020

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.

It’s hard to focus on reading and blogging when real-life feels like something out of a sci-fi novel. So while reading is always my favorite distraction, I was actually too distracted to do more than a bit of reading this week.

What did I read during the last week?

The Deep by Alma Katsu: I’d been so looking forward to this book… but unfortunately, just didn’t enjoy it very much. My review is here.

The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt by Andrea Bobotis: My book group’s pick for March — which I actually managed to finish before our discussion date! My review is here.

Pop culture — Outlander, season 5:

Hey, hey — go me! I actually watched Outlander early enough on Sunday that I was able to write up my reaction post the same day! So, here’s the latest:

Episode 505, “Perpetual Adoration” (3/15/2020) – here

And here are my posts for the earlier episodes:
Episode 504, “The Company We Keep” (aired 3/8/2020) – here.
Episode 503, “Free Will” (aired 3/1/2020) – here.
Episode 502, “Between Two Fires” (aired 2/23/2020) – here.
Episode 501, “The Fiery Cross” (aired 2/16/2020) – here.

Other TV watching:

I finished my Gilmore Girls binge! Whew. What a ride! And I have feelings about it all, which I’ll attempt to write up sometime this week. I’m going to take a little pause before watching A Year in the Life… I think I need to allow a little time to pass.

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week… unless you count the few new Kindle books I scooped up!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Hearts of Oak by Eddie Robson: Just started late Sunday — it sounds weird and wonderful, and I love the cover!

Now playing via audiobook:

Becoming by Michelle Obama: Excellent! I have just a few hours of listening left.

Ongoing reads:

The Space Between by Diana Gabaldon: The latest in Outlander Book Club’s group read-alongs. A very fun re-read.

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: My book group’s newest classic read is now underway. We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 3/9/2020

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 been very distracted this week, which means not so much reading. At work, we’re in 24/7 contingency planning mode as the coronavirus spreads, and I ended up spending all weekend working on planning as well. Scary times. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!

What did I read during the last week?

I only managed to finish one book this week! It’s just been hard to concentrate, let alone find quiet time to curl up with a book.

A Murderous Relation by Deanna Raybourn: This Victorian romp was exactly the kind of escape from reality that I needed! My review is here.

Pop culture — Outlander, season 5:

You want to know how crazy this week has been? I didn’t even watch the newest episode of Outlander yet! Here are my reaction posts for the three that I’ve watched so far — hoping to get to episode 504 tomorrow night.

Episode 503, “Free Will” (aired 3/1/2020) – here.
Episode 502, “Between Two Fires” (aired 2/23/2020) – here.
Episode 501, “The Fiery Cross” (aired 2/16/2020) – here.

Other TV watching:

My Gilmore Girls obsession continues! I’m on season 7 now, and let me just say, I am NOT HAPPY with recent turn of events. Just a big NOPE. But I don’t want spoilers (although I kind of do), so I’m just silently fuming as I watch.

Fresh Catch:

Ooh, new books!

Now I just need the time to read them all.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Deep by Alma Katsu: Hmm. I’m at about 33%, and I’m not actually loving it so far, which is weird — hauntings and the Titanic should be a winning combo for me.

Now playing via audiobook:

Becoming by Michelle Obama: I’m loving this audiobook!

Ongoing reads:

The Space Between by Diana Gabaldon: The latest in Outlander Book Club’s group read-alongs. A very fun re-read.

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: My book group’s newest classic read is now underway. We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 3/2/2020

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.

 

Things only booklovers understand:

Waking up in the middle of the night absolutely consumed with worry about what happens next to the character in the audiobook I’m listening to… and tossing and turning for the rest of the night until I could finally keep listening. (It turned out fine, but boy, was I fretting!)

Being able to give her a hug would have helped a lot.

 

What did I read during the last week?

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi: The first book in a sci-fi trilogy that had been patiently waiting on my shelf for far too long. My review is here.

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle: Just gorgeous. My review is here.

In audiobooks:

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan: I know this author sometimes get pigeon-holed as “chick lit” (ugh, I hate that term)… but honestly, she just writes good, uplifting, heartfelt stories about interesting and unusual people. This one was a treat! My review is here.

Pop culture — Outlander, season 5:

I’m keeping up with my tradition of writing a reaction post after each new Outlander episode — and attempting to get them up the same night the episodes air, which isn’t always possible. So, here are my two most recent:

This week: Episode 503, “Free Will” (aired 3/1/2020) – here.
Last week: Episode 502, “Between Two Fire” (aired 2/23/2020) – here.

Other TV watching:

I’m so obsessed with Gilmore Girls that it’s kind of funny. I mean, I lost sleep over a few episodes in season 5 this past week because I was so upset by a break-up and was desperate to know if they got back together… but absolutely refused to Google it and look for spoilers. Anyway, I’m now on season 6, and loving it, of course.

 

 

 

 

Fresh Catch:

One new book this week:

Resistance is Futile by Jenny T. Colgan: Yes, the same author as the audiobook I finished above, but with a variation on her name that she uses for her sci-fi works. And I really need to start writing down who recommended books to me, because I first saw this book on on someone else’s blog within the past couple of weeks and knew I had to get it… and now I don’t remember who recommended it! Whoever you are, thank you!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

A Murderous Relation by Deanna Raybourn: The 5th book in the enchanting Veronica Speedwell series! These books are a hoot — I’m so excited to be starting the new one.

Now playing via audiobook:

Becoming by Michelle Obama: I treated myself to a copy of this book over a year ago. It’s about time for me to finally read it! I’ve just barely started, but I’m loving listening to Michelle Obama narrate her own book.

Ongoing reads:

The Space Between by Diana Gabaldon: The latest in Outlander Book Club’s group read-alongs. This is yet another terrific novella set in the wider world of the Outlander series. It’s a re-read for me, and I’m enjoying it all over again.

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: My book group’s newest classic read is now underway. We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 2/24/2020

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.

Where did my weekend go? I want a do-over!

What did I read during the last week?

Meat Cute by Gail Carriger: An absolutely adorable novella that finally tells the story of Alexia and Connal’s first meeting and that unfortunate hedgehog incident that started it all! And if you have no idea what I’m talking about… well, this is a prequel story set in the world of the Parasol Protectorate, which is one of my very favorite series of all times!

The Secret Commonwealth (The Book of Dust, #2) by Philip Pullman: I had such mixed feelings about this book. My thoughts are here.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver: Sad but life-affirming contemporary romance. My review is here.

When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk: Moving YA novel. My review is here.

In audiobooks:

Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs: This was a re-read for me, and I loved it all over again! And now I’m 100% ready for the new Mercy book coming next month!

Pop culture — Outlander, season 5:

We’re now two episodes into season 5 of Outlander! For past seasons, I’ve posted my reaction posts right after each new episode, but somehow Sunday nights have become extra hectic lately. So… while I’ve already watched the 2nd episode, my write-up will have to wait a day or two.

Meanwhile, from last week:

Episode 501, “The Fiery Cross” (aired 2/16/2020) – check out my thoughts here.

Fresh Catch:

One of these things is not like the others…

Oh, that sinking feeling when your book order arrives and you discover that one book in the series has different dimensions than the others. Why, book gods, why? Ah well, I’m still excited to have a bunch of Witcher books ready to enjoy.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi: Considering I bought this book about two years ago, it’s about time I finally read it.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan: I can always count on this author to lift my spirits!

Ongoing reads:

The Space Between by Diana Gabaldon: The latest in Outlander Book Club’s group read-alongs. This is yet another terrific novella set in the wider world of the Outlander series. It’s a re-read for me, and I’m enjoying it all over again.

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: My book group’s newest classic read is now underway. We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 2/17/2020

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.

Life.

Oh boy. This week was my husband’s turn to have surgery. It was a pre-planned orthopedic procedure, but still, I really need my family members (and myself) to stay out of the hospital for a good long while after this! Hubby is doing well, and I’m busy trying to keep him comfortable.

 

 

What did I read during the last week?

Two novellas (not reviewed):

  • Finna by Nino Cipri: A totally entertaining novella about wormholes opening up in an Ikea-like superstore.
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee: Or, basically, further adventures with Monty and Percy as they attempt to consummate their relationship. Fun for fans of the main books in the series.

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales: A super cute teen love story about two boys who have a summer fling, then have to deal with the fall-out when they end up at the same high school in the fall. My review is here.

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski: Filling the hole left in my life after I finished my Netflix binge of The Witcher! The audiobook was terrific — my review is here.

Outlander, baby!

IT’S BACK! The season 5 premiere aired this past weekend, and I am completely delighted to be back on Fraser’s Ridge! As I’ve done during past seasons, I’ll be writing up my reactions after each episode. And here we go!

Episode 501, “The Fiery Cross” (aired 2/16/2020) – check out my thoughts here.

Fresh Catch:

Ooh. Look what e-novella just got released! I’ll be reading this as soon as I finish the big, huge novel currently in my hands.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Secret Commonwealth (The Book of Dust, #2) by Philip Pullman: Almost done!

Now playing via audiobook:

Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs: There’s a new Mercy Thompson book coming out next month, which means now is the perfect time to revisit the last one via audiobook. I love these characters, and the narrator (Lorelei King) is terrific!

Ongoing reads:

The Space Between by Diana Gabaldon: The latest in Outlander Book Club’s group read-alongs. This is yet another terrific novella set in the wider world of the Outlander series. It’s a re-read for me, and I’m enjoying it all over again.

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: Hoo boy, wish me luck! My book group’s newest classic read starts this week, and we’ve picked a big one! We’ll be reading and discussing two chapters per week. Book one of DQ should take us about six months!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 2/10/2020

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.

My husband and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary this past weekend! What can I say? Not only is he kind, generous, funny, and sweet, but he also loves to read!

 

What did I read during the last week?

The Wicked King and The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black: I finished the Folk of the Air trilogy this week, and loved it! My review of books 2 & 3 is here.

A Witch in Time by Constance Sayers: I loved this book! My review is here.

Pop culture:

I finally got back to Gilmore Girls! After a rather long hiatus, I finished season 3 and started season 4. And while there’s so much else on TV and streaming these days, I’m just enjoying this show so much that I’d rather spend with Lorelei and Rory than catch up on the shows piling up on my DVR.

Fresh Catch:

I’m so excited for Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey! The book arrived this week, and the author is having an event at my favorite bookstore in a few days, so I’m hoping the stars align and I can manage to get there.

I also treated myself to this three-in-one volume by Holly Black (which includes the novels Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside). Now that I’ve finished the Folk of the Air trilogy, I need more of this author’s faerie stories!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Finna by Nino Cipri: Just getting started!

Now playing via audiobook:

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski: I’m almost done! I struggled a bit at the beginning, but once I slowed down my listening speed, I ended up really enjoying this audiobook. And it’s so great to indulge my Witcher obsession!

Ongoing reads:

The Space Between by Diana Gabaldon: The latest in Outlander Book Club’s group read-alongs. This is yet another terrific novella set in the wider world of the Outlander series. It’s a re-read for me, and I’m enjoying it all over again.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 2/3/2020

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 took advantage of some bright and sunny weather to check out the magnolias at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens. So pretty!

What did I read during the last week?

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black: Reading this trilogy was a 2020 goal — and book #1 is done! My review is here. Aaaaaaand… late Sunday (yesterday), I finished book #2 too. No review yet, and no time — I must charge ahead and read #3!

Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck: My book group finished up our group read this week. I really liked it! More Steinbeck for me, please.

The Dry by Jane Harper: Another book from my shelves, done. My review is here.

And in audiobooks:

I finished listening to The Book Of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman (which was a re-read for me). The audiobook was wonderful — narrated by Michael Sheen, who did a great job and kept the story exciting and completely enthralling. I can’t wait to finally read the next book in the series.

Pop culture:

Anyone else watching Avenue 5 on HBO? So silly… but really fun so far.

Fresh Catch:

Ooh. The graphic novel version of Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower came out this week. It’s a gorgeous hardcover, and looks amazing.

I won a book group giveaway! This book looks like so much fun.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black: I can’t stop until I finish this trilogy!

Now playing via audiobook:

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski: I’m just about to start this audiobook. After tearing my way through The Witcher on Netflix, I figured I should go back and give the source material a try.

Ongoing reads:

The Space Between by Diana Gabaldon: The latest in Outlander Book Club’s group read-alongs. This is yet another terrific novella set in the wider world of the Outlander series. It’s a re-read for me, and I’m enjoying it all over again.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 1/27/2020

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 went back to work this week after a couple weeks off. Even though I only worked half-days, I was exhausted! I should be back to my regular routine this week… although, let’s be honest, I’m going to miss those long quiet days at home, just me and my books.

What did I read during the last week?

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri: A powerful, important read. My book group’s discussion has been fabulous. My review is here.

No Fixed Line by Dana Stabenow: The 22nd book in the amazing Alaska-based Kate Shugak series. My review is here.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds: A must-read. My review is here.

Imaginary Numbers (InCryptid, #9) by Seanan McGuire: Another excellent installment in this terrific urban fantasy series. My review is here.

Pop culture:

Shrill season 2 dropped this week!

I only had time for one episode (out of 8), but I’m so excited for this show. Season 1 was awesome, by the way, so if you haven’t watched it yet, treat yourself!

Fresh Catch:

Book #8 in The Expanse series just came out in paperback, so I had to get a copy! And for those keeping score… that’s 4 in the series that I’ve read, and 4 more to go.

… and, my amazing daughter sent me this book as a gift! She rocks.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black: Once of my series-related goals for 2020 is to read this trilogy. Off to a good start!

Now playing via audiobook:

The Book of Dust (La Belle Sauvage) by Philip Pullman: Trying to make progress. It’s a great story — I just haven’t been spending much time in the car for the past few weeks, which is where I do most of my audiobook listening, so it’s slow going right now.

Ongoing reads:

  • Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck: My book group’s classic read. We’re finishing this week!
  • The Space Between by Diana Gabaldon: The latest in Outlander Book Club’s group read-alongs. This is yet another terrific novella set in the wider world of the Outlander series. It’s a re-read for me, and I’m enjoying it all over again.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

Top Ten Tuesday: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf

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 The Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf. I’m going to double up here and highlight two sets of ten — the ten most recent physical books I purchased, as well as the ten most recent Kindle books I added.

My most recent print additions:

And my ten most recent e-books:
[Note: I tend to grab e-books I’m interested in whenever I see a price break, which is the case with most of these…]

Have you read any of these? Which do you think should go to the top of my priority list?

And what are your most recent additions to your shelves? Please share your TTT links!

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The Monday Check-In ~ 1/20/2020

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’ve been home recovering from my minor medical procedure, and I can’t say that being stuck home with piles of books is too awful a way to spend a week! I did end up “working from home” about half the time, since work emails and work crises wait for no woman, apparently. Still, I was able to rest, stay cozy, and read, read, read quite a bit, and I’m feeling good!

Back to work this week. Sigh.

What did I read during the last week?

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid: Thought-provoking and engaging. My review is here.

The Toll by Neal Shusterman: The final book in the Arc of a Scythe trilogy. My review is here.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne: I’d love to hear thoughts from anyone who’s read this book. My review is here.

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez: Surprisingly beautiful science fiction. My review is here.

Pop culture:

What I’m watching:

Grace & Frankie is back! Season 6 dropped this week, and while I haven’t made it through all the episodes quite yet, I’m loving hanging out with these amazing women once again.

Reading a couple of excellent posts from Megabunny Reads recently reminded me that I’d been meaning to give Anne with an E a try. I’ve just watched the first episode, and loved it! I’ll definitely be continuing.

And on HBO, I’ve watched the creepy first episode of The Outsider. I loved the (highly disturbing) book, and have high hopes for this adaptation!

Fresh Catch:

I mean, yes, I still have two books in the series to read before I’ll be ready for Persepolis Rising (The Expanse, #7)… but my Amazon fingers got itchy and I couldn’t help myself.

And, as per usual, three of my library requests came in all at once. Which to read first?

General reading plans:

Despite my best intentions, I find myself suddenly buried in ARCs! I have 22 ARCs for books coming out between February – May, with a whopping 12 in March alone! I try my best to read and review ARCs around their release dates, but this feels really daunting and challenging at the moment.

I’m thinking I’ll try to space these out, starting now, by reading at least one ARC per week. I’ve never scheduled reviews before, but I think I’m going to have to make an attempt to write reviews as I go along and then hold them for posting until the release date is closer.

I know most publishers prefer that reviews not be posted more than two weeks before a book’s publication date. I’m curious how others handle this: Do you stick to the two-week rule, and if so, do you find yourself scheduling reviews and/or writing them in advance and then holding them for a later date to post?

If I don’t find myself a system, I’m going to end up really frustrated, really quickly. And I swore I would focus more on reading what I feel like this year, versus going by a schedule.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri: My book group book for January! Racing to finish before discussion starts this week.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Book of Dust (La Belle Sauvage) by Philip Pullman: I’m picking this back up after a couple of weeks without audiobooks. It’s nice to be back!

Ongoing reads:

Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck: My book group’s classic read! We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week. Getting close to the end!

So many books, so little time…

boy1