The Monday Check-In ~ 1/13/2020

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.

Well, once again — and for completely different reasons — this was a surgery week for me! Weird, right? I’d been on a waiting list for an elective procedure for almost two years, and right at the end of December got a call that my doctor had a cancellation coming up, and did I want it? I said YES and didn’t allow myself to do any second-guessing… and here I am, almost a week post-procedure, feeling fine and taking some time off work to rest and heal.

And hey, we all know that “time off” to “rest and heal” really just equates to more time to read!

What did I read during the last week?

Welcome to the Pine Away Motel and Cabins by Katarina Bivald: Sad to say, I didn’t end up loving this slice-of-life novel, which was a big disappointment to me, since I loved the author’s first book. Ah well, can’t win ’em all! My review is here.

Cibola Burn by James S. A. Corey: Ooh boy, I went a little Expanse-crazy this week, finishing not only this massive book (#4 in the series), but also 4 shorter works and a graphic novel. My review of Cibola Burn is here. The other stuff I read:

And also this week, after my Expanse binge:

Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire: The newest installment in the excellent Wayward Children series. I loved it! My review is here.

Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse: A fun middle grade adventure grounded in Navajo mythology. My review is here.

Pop culture:

Somewhat against my first instincts, I ended up watching The Witcher. After two episodes, I was convinced it was pure cheese, but then the story started growing on me, as did certain characters (especially Yennefer.) (And I’m kind of fascinated by the bard, too.) I’m on the fence about whether I actually recommend this show, but it did keep my interest. And I may even have to give the books a try. And yeah, I’m sure I’ll be back whenever season 2 comes around.

Oh, and in case you’re as obsessed with the bard’s song “Toss A Coin To Your Witcher” as the rest of the world seems to be, here’s a Twitter thread with versions of the song in twelve different languages: https://twitter.com/_lemonowa_/status/1210171703432765442

Fresh Catch:

One new book this week — Come Tumbling Down (above), already devoured! Yum yum.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Ooh, debating which of these two to start next!

They both sound great!

Now playing via audiobook:

The Book of Dust (La Belle Sauvage) by Philip Pullman: I just didn’t make much progress this week, considering I was out of commission for most of it. I’m hoping to get back into a daily walking routine this week, and if I do, it’ll be with this book plugged into my ears!

Ongoing reads:

Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck: My book group’s classic read! We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week. Really a fun book!

So many books, so little time…

boy1seria

The Monday Check-In ~ 1/6/2020

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 holidays are over, and now it’s back to the usual routine. I can’t complain too much — it was nice to have a couple of slower, quieter weeks to regroup, relax, and read!

What did I read during the last week?

Buried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2’s Deadliest Day by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan: Fascinating non-fiction. My review is here. (And no, I will never ever ever want to climb a mountain!)

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid: My first 5-star read for 2020! I loved this book so much. My review is here.

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman: I finished my audiobook re-read! The audio version is really suspenseful and enjoyable, and now I’d dying to dive into the 3rd book in the trilogy… but I know I should finish up a few ARCs first so I don’t fall behind so early in the year. Must. Control. My. Impulses.

Pop culture:

My son and I binged season 4 of The Expanse this week. Wow – fabulous season. It’s kind of funny watching it now that it’s moved to Amazon Prime, freed from TV restrictions, and hearing all the characters suddenly dropping f-bombs. I’m so grateful to Amazon for picking the show up after it was cancelled on Syfy. It’s an excellent adaptation, and I can’t wait for the next season!

Fresh Catch:

No new physical books this week… although I did take advantage of all sorts of year-end price drops to add yet more books to my Kindle!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Welcome to the Pine Away Motel and Cabins by Katarina Bivald: This small town slice-of-life isn’t quite catching my attention yet, but since I enjoyed the author’s previous book, I’m sticking with it and giving it a shot.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Book of Dust (La Belle Sauvage) by Philip Pullman: Time for another re-read! I’ve forgotten most of the detail already from this book, so I need a refresher before starting The Secret Commonwealth.

Ongoing reads:

Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck: My book group’s classic read! We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week. I think I’m enjoying this book more than most of my book group friends are — it’s just so funny!

So many books, so little time…

boy1seria

The Monday Check-In ~ 12/30/2019

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 got on skis for the first time in about 5 years! And I wasn’t… awful. It was actually pretty fun. My husband, kiddo, and I enjoyed a few days away in the mountains, skiing by day and relaxing by night.

I didn’t do much reading, but that’s okay! It was nice to have time together as a family.

What did I read during the last week?

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne. Absolutely a five-star read. This is the one and only book I finished this past week, and it may actually be my last complete book for 2019, which is not at all a bad way to end the year. I’ll try to write a review this week when I get some breathing space… but suffice it to say, this book is beautifully written, often funny, frequently heart-breaking, and simple a must-read.

Pop culture:

Along with the rest of the human population, I saw the new Star Wars movie this past week. I liked it, didn’t love it… but then again, I’m not a die-hard fan, so deep dives into mythology and the greater meaning of events are somewhat lost on me. I went to be entertained, and I was.

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week. Not that I lack for reading material…

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Buried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2’s Deadliest Day by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan: This non-fiction account of a major mountaineering disaster is fascinating so far!

Now playing via audiobook:

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman: Continuing my re-read of the first two books in the trilogy, before starting #3. I barely had any listening time this past week, so my progress is more like baby steps. I hope to finish this week so I can start The Toll finally.

Ongoing reads:

Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck: My book group’s classic read! We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week. I really like the writing, and I’m finding the characters really funny.

So many books, so little time…

boy1seria

The Monday Check-In ~ 12/23/2019

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?

Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn: Contemporary romance — my review is here.

Shrill by Lindy West: This collection of essays is a must-read. My review is here.

I read three graphic novels this week:

  • Poe: Stories and Poems by Gareth Hinds: Great illustrations for a selection of Poe’s best-known pieces really bring the stories to life. This might be a good choice for a teen reader who scoffs at reading anything that smacks of “classic literature” (like my own reluctant reader…)
  • Runaways, volume 4: But You Can’t Hide by Rainbow Rowell: The Runaways series is always fun, and it’s nice to revisit these characters, although the plot itself isn’t particularly memorable or earth-shaking in this volume.
  • The Magicians: Alice’s Story by Lev Grossman and Lilah Sturges: For fans of The Magicians, this book tells the same story as volume one of the trilogy, but from Alice’s perspective. It’s nicely done, but the story feels a bit repetitive, since we already know it all. (Also, I can’t help getting the TV series characters stuck in my mind as the definitive characters, so it’s jarring to see them illustrated so differently here.)

In audiobooks, I finished my re-read of Scythe. The audio version was terrific!

Pop culture:

I went to see this movie. It was excellent.

Fresh Catch:

Yay, Goodreads! I won a giveaway, and the book arrived this week!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne: My husband started this book last week, and convinced me to read it too, even though I thought I had all my end-of-year reading already figured out and lined up. Liking it so far!

Now playing via audiobook:

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman: Continuing my re-read of the first two books in the trilogy, before starting #3. The audiobook narrator is great!

Ongoing reads:

Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck: My book group’s classic read! We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week. I’m liking it so far, although it seems like the rest of the book group isn’t all that into it. Let’s hope it picks up as we go along.

So many books, so little time…

boy1seria

The Monday Check-In ~ 12/16/2019

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?

Two novellas — a sci-fi space adventure and a heart-warming personal story — reviewed here.

Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory: Simply terrific! My review is here.

I had one DNF this week:

 

I was struggling to get into this book, and ended up DNFing at 20% when I got to this passage and decided it just was not worth the effort:

A mother’s description of her daughter: Her hair was a dull shade of cornmeal, and her skin was pale, sallow almost, and sprinkled with freckles. She had Jack’s nose, flat and prominent as an Eskimo’s, and two lumps, tablespoons of flesh, that represented breasts.

Ugh. I just couldn’t any more.

 

 

Pop culture:

The two shows I’ve been watching this week are completely different in tone and content, but I’ve been having lots of fun with both:

V Wars (Netflix): It’s a little campy, and the series as a whole isn’t quite as good as the first episode made me hope for, but I’m still enjoying it.

Shrill (Hulu): I binged the first season (only six half-hour episodes), and can’t wait for season 2! Meanwhile, I really should read the book.

Fresh Catch:

More new books! It’s just so hard to resist all the deals on offer at this time of year.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn: I’m not entirely swept up by this story yet, but lately I’ve been enjoying romantic comedies, and this seems like a good fit for my mood.

Now playing via audiobook:

Scythe by Neal Shusterman: Really enjoying this audio re-read.

Ongoing reads:

Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck: My book group’s classic read! We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week. I’m liking it so far, although it seems like the rest of the book group isn’t all that into it. Let’s hope it picks up as we go along.

So many books, so little time…

boy1seria

The Monday Check-In ~ 12/9/2019

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?

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes: Entertaining contemporary fiction. Here’s my review.

The Deep by Rivers Solomon: Haunting and powerful. My review is here.

A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows by Diana Gabaldon: We finished our book group read of this excellent novella. This was my 3rd or 4th time reading this story, and I still love it. A must-read for Outlander fans.

The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher: Creepy in all the best ways. My review is here.

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood: Just finished the audiobook during a long walk on Sunday. Review to follow.

Pop culture:

Anyone else watching V Wars over on Netflix? I have to admit that back in the day, I was VERY into The Vampire Diaries for a while, and it makes me happy to have Ian Somerhalder back on my TV screen! I’ve only watched the first two episodes so far, but it’s good!

Fresh Catch:

Between Black Friday deals and a just-released book I had on preorder, my shelves are getting fuller and fuller. Here’s what arrived this week:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather: The first of four novellas I have lined up to read this week! Just getting started…

Now playing via audiobook:

Scythe by Neal Shusterman: Before reading The Toll, which wraps up the trilogy, I thought I should do an audio re-read of the first two books. I loved reading Scythe last year — here’s hoping it holds up the 2nd time around.

Ongoing reads:

Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck: My book group’s classic read! We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week, and I’m loving it so far.

So many books, so little time…

boy1seria

The Monday Check-In ~ 12/2/2019

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. 

Feeling recharged after a restful and happy long weekend, spent relaxing and enjoying family and friends.

A blogging question:

I wrote a post about this over the weekend — does anyone have any favorite WordPress themes to recommend? I’m looking for something clean and simple. I’m not 100% sure that I want to make a switch, but I’m thinking about options.

What did I read during the last week?

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss: Such fun! My review is here.

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes: Sweet! Finished late Sunday – review to follow.

Pop culture:

My family had a blast seeing this movie on Thanksgiving morning:

And on Saturday, my daughter and I had a wonderful time seeing…

Fresh Catch:

Amazon had a Black Friday buy-two-get-one-free offer on books, so naturally I took advantage! Here’s what I got:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Deep by Rivers Solomon: I’m just getting started, but definitely excited that my library hold came in this week.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood: I’ve listened to about 40% — really entertaining so far!

Ongoing reads:

Two ongoing book group reads right now:

  • A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows by Diana Gabaldon: The current group read for my book group. Such a great story! A must for Outlander fans.
  • Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck: Our new classic read, starting today. We’ll be reading and discussing two chapters per week. I’m really looking forward to it!

So many books, so little time…

boy1seria

The Monday Check-In ~ 11/25/2019

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. 

Happy Thanksgiving… a few days early! Wishing everyone a lovely week!

 

 

 

 

 

What did I read during the last week?

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo: Tense, violent, gory, and compelling. My review is here.

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle: Just finished the audiobook, and was surprised by how much I ended up enjoying it. My review is here.

Pop culture:

Is it cold out? I’m feeling kind of FROZEN.

Yes, I saw Frozen 2 on Saturday… with my teenaged son… who enjoyed it every bit as much as I did. Fun and sweet.

Fresh Catch:

A huge THANK YOU to Tammy at Books, Bones, & Buffy! I won this book in her monthly giveaway, and it arrived this week. I couldn’t be more excited!

I also indulged myself a little by getting carried away on the Book Depository site and ordering ALL of Christina Henry’s books, which arrived this week. These covers are so gorgeous! I’ve read two already, but I really needed all of these on my shelves.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss: I’m at about the 70% mark in this delightful Victorian romp. It’s the first in a trilogy, and I’ll definitely be continuing.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood: Another light listen from the library! I’ve just barely gotten started — so far, so good!

Ongoing reads:

A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows by Diana Gabaldon: The current group read for my book group. Such a great story! A must for Outlander fans.

So many books, so little time…

boy1seria

The Monday Check-In ~ 11/18/2019

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. 

Like the sun coming out from behind the clouds… this week was a definite improvement over the previous couple.

Vagueitup GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Still a lot going on (and yes, I’m vague-ing it up), but I’m starting to feel more upbeat!

What did I read during the last week?

If I Grow Up by Todd Strasser: A tough, compelling YA book that my teen son urged me to read. My review is here.

A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny: That’s it. I’m calling this one. I read something like 75% of this book, then kind of wandered off and didn’t get around to finishing… and at this point, I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to. I liked everything I read so far, but just can’t quite make myself pick it up again right now. Ah well, there’s always next October!

In audiobooks:

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman: I really enjoyed my audiobook re-read — can’t wait to read her new(ish) book about the Owens witches.

The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock: I loved this book so much when I first read it in 2017 (here’s my review), and I loved it all over again when I listened to the audiobook this week. The writing is beautiful, the characters are compelling and unique, the Alaska setting is magnificent, and the interconnectedness of all of the lives in this slim novel is truly remarkable.

Fresh Catch:

Tor has been releasing a selection of sci-fi/fantasy books in miniature hardcover format, and I couldn’t resist these two. I read Briar Rose years ago, and haven’t yet read Tooth and Claw, although I’ve been wanting to for ages. The format is so cute!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo: I’m STILL reading this book! I started it a week ago, but kept getting pulled away by other commitments. I’m finally really getting on a roll, and hope to steam ahead to the end!

Now playing via audiobook:

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle: I haven’t actually started this one yet, but (a) it sounded light and sweet, and (b) it was available to borrow from the library today, so off we go!

Ongoing reads:

A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows by Diana Gabaldon: The current group read for my book group. Such a great story! A must for Outlander fans.

So many books, so little time…

boy1seria

The Monday Check-In ~ 11/11/2019

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. 

Intense.

Just like the week before.

‘Nuff said.

 

 

 

 

What did I read during the last week?

The Mermaid by Christina Henry: Absolutely loved it! My review is here.

I loved both of these contemporary romances! Perfect choices for a week when I wanted some light, escapist reading. My two-fer review is here.

Pop Culture:

LOVED the first episode of His Dark Materials on HBO! I’m so excited to finally see these amazing books getting a worthy adaptation.

Fresh Catch:

Another new book from Subterranean Press — this one is a collection of stories by Seanan McGuire. It looks amazing!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo: I’ve never read anything by this author before. I’m only a couple of chapters in, but I like how gory and disturbing it is so far.

Now playing via audiobook:

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman: I haven’t had much listening time this week, so this book is draggggggging on for me. I like it, and the narration is great… it just feels like I’ve been listening to it FOREVER already. Should finish in the next couple of days, depending on how much driving I end up doing.

Ongoing reads:

  • A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny: I haven’t touched this book in over a week, and I only have about 50 pages left. I’m not feeling very motivated to finish… but I’m not ready to declare it a DNF just yet either. Will soldier on… for now.
  • A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows by Diana Gabaldon: This is a terrific novella set in the Outlander world, and while I’ve read it at least twice already, I’m enjoying reading it more slowly with my book group, discussing two sections per week.

So many books, so little time…

boy1seria