The Monday Check-In ~ 8/12/2019

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. 

Later this week, I’m going under the knife! Nothing too dramatic — I’m having orthopedic surgery on my left hand. It should be a quick in-and-out procedure, home the same day, and then in a cast or splint for several weeks. I’ve been assured that I’ll still be able to type afterward, so yay for that. Still, I imagine that I’ll be less active than usual online for about a week or two, so if I’m not around much, now you know why!

 

What did I read during the last week?

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han: Enjoyable YA, but not nearly as captivating as the Lara Jean books. I liked it enough to want to read the rest of the trilogy, for sure.

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center: A lovely, powerful story. My review is here.

Pop Culture:

I spent the weekend binge-watching season 4 of Veronica Mars on Hulu. As I write this, I’m about to watch the season finale, and I’m terrified that something very bad is going to happen to one of the characters I love. Speaking of love… man, do I love this show. I’m highly tempted (meaning I’m not even going to fight the urge) to go back and start again from season 1. VMars for the win!

Fresh Catch:

A couple of used book orders arrived this week:

Plus, the eagerly awaited 4th and final book in the Custard Protocol series was released this week — and yes, I bought myself a brand-new hardcover edition, even though I’ll probably end up listening to the audiobook (since that’s how I enjoyed the other three books in the series).

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Our War by Craig DiLouie: Disturbing because it’s all so plausible. I hope to wrap up in the next few days and will share my thoughts. This is definitely one that needs to be discussed!

Now playing via audiobook:

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal: I love, love, love this book. This is a re-read, and I’m savoring every moment of the excellent audiobook version (narrated by the author, who is an amazing audiobook narrator, for her own books as well as many others — including the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire).

Ongoing reads:

Two ongoing book group read right now:

  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens — our current classic selection, reading and discussing two chapters per week.
  • Virgins by Diana Gabaldon: Our newest group read — a novella set during Jamie Fraser’s teen years.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 8/5/2019

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

What did I read during the last week?

Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar: Intricate science fiction involving alternate realities. My review is here.

Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh: Fascinating story of space exploration and interplanetary travel. My review is here.

Anne of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery: I finished this audiobook over the weekend. I didn’t love it quite so much as the earlier books in the series. I wasn’t quite prepared to spend so much time focusing on Anne’s children rather than on Anne herself. I do intend to continue with the last two books in the series, but I have a few other things to listen to first.

Fresh Catch:

Oh boy. I really over-indulged this week! I bought myself copies of…

Two “coffee-table” books:

And a couple of others to read:

Aaaaand, I also received a couple of ARCs from Orbit (thank you!):

Now if only I had time to actually read all of these…

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han: After some heavier reads, it’s nice to take a break with fluffy YA.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal: I loved this book so much when I read it last summer! I need to read the sequel, so I decided to do an audiobook re-read first.

Ongoing reads:

Two ongoing book group read right now:

  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens — our current classic selection, reading and discussing two chapters per week.
  • Virgins by Diana Gabaldon: Our newest group read — a novella set during Jamie Fraser’s teen years.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 7/29/2019

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 little vacation last week was lovely (but too short). Sun, sand, good books! Some strawberry tiramisu too. What more could I ask for?

What did I read during the last week?

My vacation reading (all reviewed here):

  • Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev
  • We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory
  • I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin

And since returning home, I’ve also read:

Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior: A sweet, engaging debut novel. My review is here.

Fresh Catch:

Oof. I bought myself a copy of Wanderers by Chuck Wendig. This book is BIG. I need to steel myself a bit before diving in.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar: Israeli science fiction revolving around alternate realities. Really mind-bending! I’ve read about 75% — can’t wait to see how it all works out.

Now playing via audiobook:

Anne of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery: The 6th Anne book! Loving the series, although I’m not sure that I love the shift of focus from Anne herself to her big brood of children. Still, carrying on…

Ongoing reads:

Two ongoing book group read right now:

  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens — our current classic selection, reading and discussing two chapters per week.
  • Virgins by Diana Gabaldon: Our newest group read — a novella telling the story of teen-aged Jamie and Ian during their time as mercenaries in France. I’ve read it before, but I”m excited to be sharing it with the group this time around.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 7/22/2019

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 away on a mini-road trip for most of this week, so my online presence will probably be pretty minimal. I’m off in search of sunnier scenery — I’ve had enough fog for one summer, thank you very much!

 

 

 

 

 

A programming note:

Since I’ll be away, there won’t be a Shelf Control post this week. Yes, I could set it up in advance. But hey, it’s a vacation week! So no, I’m not going to stress about it. Shelf Control will be back next week!

 

 

 

 

 

What did I read during the last week?

Finding Fraser by KC Dyer: A fun Outlander-flavored contemporary romance. My review is here.

Anne’s House of Dreams by L. M. Montgomery: I finished the audiobook of the 5th book in the Anne of Green Gables series. It’s quite a shift, seeing Anne as a contented wife, rather than as a young girl or a college student or a teacher. These books are consistently delightful, and the audiobook editions I’ve been listening to are so well done!

The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth: A really good, twisty mystery/family drama. My review is here.

Read but not reviewed:

In the Shadow of Spindrift House by Mira Grant: I always love her writing, but in this case, I just didn’t get it. Maybe because it riffs off of Lovecraftian themes, and I’ve never read Lovecraft — in any case, I feel like the point of this story went over my head. Still creepy, but not her best.

Book group update:

We finished our group read of A Fugitive Green, an Outlander-world novella available in the Seven Stones to Stand or Fall collection. A great story, finally giving Hal and Minnie’s backstory. A must-not-miss for Outlander fans!

Fresh Catch:

Once again, I had some credits to use on Amazon, so here’s what I got:

I’ve read Thunderhead already, but needed my own copy so I can do a re-read before book #3 comes out later this year. And even though I haven’t started Illuminae yet, I know I’ll want to read the whole trilogy in one big binge, so now I’m ready!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev: Just starting!

Now playing via audiobook:

Anne of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery: Onward with book #6! I started this one as soon as I finished the previous, but I doubt I’ll make much progress while traveling this week. Loving this series!

Ongoing reads:

One ongoing book group read right now:

  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens — our current classic selection. We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week, and we’re just about at the halfway mark!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten books on my TBR list for winter 2018/2019

snowy10

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 reading plans for this winter.

My main reading plan for this winter is to read the books I’ve recently acquired — basically, books that I had to have IMMEDIATELY and spent actual money on! My terrible tendency is to rush to buy books, and then once I get them, suddenly have other books that I need to read first… and so they sit there, unloved and unread, for months and months.

So, top priority for the next few months will be these books — my newest acquisitions:

1) Becoming by Michelle Obama

2) A Pocketful of Crows by Joanne M. Harris

3) Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar

4) The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

5) Death of an Eye by Dana Stabenow

6) In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire

7) Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

8) The White Darkness by David Grann

9) We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory

10) One of the Austen-inspired books I’ve picked up at recent library sales — either Darcy and Fitzwilliam by Karen V. Wasylowski or Definitely Not Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos… or both!

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

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 books on my TBR list for fall 2018

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 Books On My Fall 2018 TBR. So much to choose from! It’s hard to narrow my list down to just 10… but here are ten books, mostly new and upcoming releases, that I’m really looking forward to reading during the next few months. (Click on any of the book cover images to see larger versions.)

 

  • Elevation by Stephen King: Never a bad time for new Stephen King!
  • Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness: A new story in the world of the All Souls books.
  • Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling): This series is so good!
  • Someone Like Me by M. R. Carey: Definitely up for a new book by the author of The Girl With All The Gifts.
  • Pride by Ibi Zoboi: Sounds like an amazing, fresh retelling of Pride and Prejudice.
  • Someday by David Levithan: I loved Every Day; can’t wait for more of the story.
  • Dry by Neal Shusterman: Having just discovered Scythe a few months ago, I’m dying to try more by this author.
  • And Their Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness: Sounds like an upside-down version of Moby Dick, told from the whales’ perspective. Maybe? The synopses I’ve read aren’t crystal clear, and I only just realized now that this is an illustrated book. Maybe a graphic novel? I actually have no idea, but I’m intrigued anyway.
  • Pulp by Robin Talley: This author’s books are always powerful, and the premise sounds fascinating.
  • The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner: Folklore/fairy tale — sounds amazing, and I love the cover!

What books are you most excited to read this fall? Please share your TTT link!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten books added to my (never-ending) TBR list – fall 2016 edition

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Ten Books I’ve Added To My To-Be-Read List Lately. My TBR list seems to grow and grow, almost by magic! In no particular order, here are ten books I’ve added in the last month or so:

1)Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners by Therese Oneill: A non-fiction book actually makes my TBR! A look at the nitty gritty details of Victorian women’s lives sounds too good to miss.

unmentionable

2) The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan: A friend just recommended this one, and I have to admit, it sounds perfect for me.

bookshop-on-the-corner

3) The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse: I just happened to pick this book up when there was a Kindle price drop. The description says it’s “a chilling and spooky Gothic historical thriller “. Works for me.
taxidermists-daughter

4) Extreme Makeover by Dan Wells: Creepy, satirical sci fi. I love the description – can’t wait to see if the book lives up to its billing.

extreme-makeover

5) The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian: Okay, I’ll read anything by this author at this point.

sleepwalker

6) Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman: Yes, please.

norse-mythology

7) Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire: A follow up to Every Heart a Doorway, which was one of my very favorite things this year.

down-among

8) Lady Cop Makes Trouble by Amy Stewart: Book 2 about the Kopp Sisters, after the terrific Girl Waits With Gun. I won this in a giveaway, and have been waiting for the right moment to dive in.

lady-cop

9) What Light by Jay Asher: A new book by the author of Thirteen Reasons Why. Tissue box is ready, so let me at it.

what-light

10) Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton: I’m not sure that I know what this book is about, but I’ve read enough of the synopsis to be intrigued.

good-morning-midnight

 

Have you read any of my TBR books already? What books made your list this week?

Share your links, and I’ll come check out your top 10!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out my regular weekly feature, Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 books recently added to my (never-ending) TBR list

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Ten Books You Recently Added To Your To-Be-Read List. Since my list seems to grow day by day and week by week, this should be easy!

In no particular order, books I’ve recently added to my to-be-read list — some not yet released, some newly published, and some that have been around for a while but are still new to me!

1) Sweet Forgiveness by Lori Nelson Spielman

Sweet Forgiveness

2) Rook by Sharon Cameron: A YA re-telling of The Scarlet Pimpernel? Yes, please!

Rook

3) Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson: Because a little history is sometimes just what I need!

Dead Wake

4) Peace Talks by Jim Butcher: Can’t wait for book #16 in the amazing Dresden Files series! Not due out until spring of 2016, but worth waiting for!

Found on Pinterest...

Found on Pinterest…

5) A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Little Life

6) The Buffalo Soldier by Chris Bohjalian: I’ve been on a roll with books by this amazing author, and I need more!

Buffalo Soldier

7) The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Wrath & the Dawn

8) Winter by Marissa Meyer: Okay, technically this has been on my TBR list ever since I read the rest of the series, but since the cover was just recently revealed, I think it counts!

Winter

9) This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison

This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!

10) Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs: The 9th Mercy Thompson book doesn’t have a cover image yet and isn’t due out until spring of 2016… but you can be sure I’ll be preordering this one the second it becomes available!

My Briggs shelf... just waiting for new additions!

My Briggs shelf… just waiting for new additions!

 

What books made your list this week?

Share your links, and I’ll come check out your top 10!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out my regular weekly feature, Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

Book Review: War of the Wives

War of the WivesSelena and her husband have been happily married for close to thirty years and have three children. Lottie and her husband have been married for seventeen years and have one teen-aged daughter. Both women wish their husband could be home more often, but understand that his demanding job is important to him. Both look forward to the moment when he walks back in the door after his latest business trip to Dubai.

And both show up as the newly bereaved widow when Simon Busfield is laid to rest after a fatal drowning.

Yes, Simon was a busy guy. He lived in London with Selena in a beautiful, posh home, keeping Selena in fashionable clothing and expensive getaways to their house in Tuscany. Simon also lived with Lottie in a smaller flat, after living with her in Dubai for most of their marriage. Wife #1 knew nothing of wife #2, and vice versa. But an untimely death lets out all the secrets, and to say that chaos ensues is an understatement.

I’ll be honest: My first thought upon reading the synopsis was “Hmm. Sounds like a Lifetime movie.” I’m pleased to say that War of the Wives is a lot more than that.

In War of the Wives, author Tamar Cohen skillfully gives each wife a voice that’s distinct and true. We often get both women’s viewpoints on the same situation, and it’s enlightening to see how two people can interpret a statement or gesture so very differently. In what must be a very difficult feat, the author creates two sympathetic characters, almost daring us to take sides. And the truth is, it’s really impossible. Neither woman is culpable. Lottie didn’t know she was sleeping with a married man. Neither intentionally set out to steal the other’s husband. The guilty party here is Simon, but he’s no longer around to blame, so of course it’s the women who have to pick up the pieces.

There’s plenty of pain and remorse, doubts and anger. Both women remember Simon as a loving husband and father. Was one life a lie? Can Simon be faulted for loving both of his families so much that he couldn’t give either up? (Of course he can! Selfish beast.)

Selena and Lottie are wrecked not just emotionally, but financially too. The homes, the lifestyles, the luxuries all have to go. The legalities and taxes and mortgages are so intertwined that neither woman can walk away from the other, and so they have to navigate their post-Simon lives together, hating it every step of the way.

I do feel that the title of the book is a bit misleading. When I first saw the title War of the Wives, I expected cat fights, public scenes of bitchiness, scheming and nastiness. But that’s not what happens. The book ultimately is less about two women battling each other and more about them figuring out how their lives took such wrong turns and how to rebuild.

There’s a mystery here too: Simon died under suspicious circumstances — did he really just fall into the river, or did he commit suicide? Or was he pushed? Just what sort of shady business dealings was he involved in? Who keeps sending Selena all these random spam texts and emails? Who broke into Lottie’s flat? It all comes together by the end, and it definitely was not what I expected… which is a very good thing.

I love a book that keeps me guessing, that gives me plenty of clues but none that make an outcome obvious. The inner lives of Selena and Lottie are fascinating to read about, and I was invested in both women, their struggles to rebuild, to be good mothers, and to stand on their own two feet. Because they really were the victims of their husband’s deceptions, it’s easy to relate to both women and want both to find happiness and get a fresh start.

War of the Wives is a compulsively readable novel with a dark streak amidst the scenes of domesticity. I enjoyed the writing, the characters, and the unexpected plot twists. Author Tamar Cohen does a great job of taking a melodramatic, seemingly made-for-TV set-up and giving it an original spin that keeps the reader guessing.

Final note: Tamar Cohen is a new-to-me author, but I’ve now heard from other bloggers that she has some other can’t-miss books as well — and I’m looking forward to checking them out!

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The details:

Title: War of the Wives
Author: Tamar Cohen
Publisher: Mira
Publication date: January 27, 2015 (originally published in UK in 2012)
Length: 384 pages
Genre: Adult contemporary fiction
Source: Review copy courtesy of Mira via NetGalley

 

New! The Monday Check-In ~ 12/22/2014

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Shaking things up here at Bookshelf Fantasies! Don’t worry, I’m not getting too crazy — but I am reintroducing my regular Monday feature with a new name and slightly different focus. When I started blogging, I created a weekly Monday feature with a “back to the workweek” theme, and cutely (or not) called it The Monday Agenda. You know, setting out the agenda for my reading week… identifying the 3 or 4 books I planned to read each week, and then giving an update the following Monday on how far I’d come with my previous week’s agenda.

Lately, though, I’ve been trying to move away from over-planning, and want to continue working on not getting ahead of myself when it comes to deciding what to read. So,with my shiny new title, The Monday Check-In, I’m resetting my course. And – ta da! – here’s my new weekly feature, with thanks to all who offered me their opinions on what to call the darn thing.

The Monday Check-in:  My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

What did I read last week?

jinncinder

Jinn and Juice by Nicole Peeler: So much fun. My review is here.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer: And now I’m hooked. My review is here.

Pop culture goodness:

I saw The Hobbit with the fam this weekend. Um, it was long? The super-special high-def made me feel like I was watching my son play video games, and I was amused by how long the battle was, when it gets only five pages in the book. Oh well. New Zealand did look spectacular, didn’t it? I did love the Billy Boyd song at the end, and overall, having seen all three Hobbit movies makes me yearn even more for a LOTR movie marathon.

 

Fresh Catch:

New this week:

paying guests

One hard copy of a book I’ve wanted for a few months now… plus, did you see all the Kindle price-drop madness over on Amazon this past week? I went a little bit crazy, snatching up copies of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, two Patrick Rothfuss books, the Mistborn trilogy, and a whole bunch more.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

scarletcress

Continuing onward with The Lunar Chronicles — I’m about halfway through Scarlet, and have a copy of Cress ready to go.

glory

Meanwhile, I was about 35 pages into Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future when I got sucked into the Lunar world… and I hope to get back to it this week, because I really liked what I’d read so far!

Now playing via audiobook:

5th wave

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey: I loved this book when I read it last year. I bought a copy of the sequel, The Infinite Sea, but I’ve been holding off on starting it until I could squeeze in a re-read. A refresher via audio seems like the way to go!

Reading with my kiddo:

talking to dragons

Talking to Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles #4) by Patricia C. Wrede: Still slogging our way through this one. What with all the holiday excitement and general busy-ness, we’ve barely made any progress this past week. Still pressing forward!

Book club reading:

hyperbolescarletABOSAA

Fields & Fantasies Book Club pick for December: Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. We’ll have discussion posts up at the very end of the month, and you’re welcome to join in! Post your own piece about the book, or just come share your thoughts here. The more, the merrier!

Classic read: The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy. (One chapter per week)

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon: Reading and discussing two chapters per week, from now through the end of 2015!

Want to join any of the group reads? Let me know and I’ll provide the links!

So many book, so little time…

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