The Monday Check-In ~ 7/26/2021

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

Life.

I have barely had time to read this week! We have family visiting, which is awesome, but also means that my usual “me time” has kind of disappeared. I’ve also spent most of the week working at my office rather than at home, and while it’s been fun to be back and see coworkers again, it’s a BIG adjustment in terms of lifestyle. (Whaaaaat??? I can’t wear pajama pants and slippers all day?)

What did I read during the last week?

Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell: The 3rd and final book in the Simon Snow trilogy! I’m so sad to see it come to an end. I love these characters so much! My review is here.

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix: Just as weird as you’d expect a new horror novel by this author to be! My review is here.

Bookish events:

This past weekend, my book group had a Zoom discussion with William Kent Krueger, the author of the beautiful This Tender Land. He was witty and engaging, very open to answering our questions, and so smart and kind. As if I had any doubt, I absolutely need to read more of his books! (I haven’t gotten around to writing an actual review of the book yet, but my two-word version is: Loved. It.)

Pop culture & TV:

I’ve been watching season 2 of Never Have I Ever on Netflix, and it’s just as good as season 1! I’d hoped to finish already, but well, life gets in the way.

Puzzle of the Week:

This week, I did my 4th and final puzzle in a series (The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady). This was a tough one — so much grass! Green, green, and more green. But I really liked it.

Fresh Catch:

Related to my recent puzzles, I only just learned that the puzzles are based on illustrations from a book — and once I knew that, I just had to have it. I bought myself a copy this week, and it’s beautiful:

I also treated myself to another book by William Kent Krueger, after our amazing book group discussion with him. Although I think the group may select this one as a monthly read for next year, so now my dilemma is — read now, or wait for the group?

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig: I loved Wanderers when I read it last year, and I’m really excited to be starting this new book.

Now playing via audiobook:

Mistletoe & Mr. Right (Moose Springs, #2) by Sarah Morgenthaler: I’ve listened to about half so far. It’s sweet and charming — definitely light entertainment, which is something I needed this week.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re reading and discussing 5 chapters per week. Let me know if you want to join in — the more, the merrier! This week: Chapters 61 – 65.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 7/19/2021

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

Life.

A busy workweek, but what else is new? The sun finally came out over the weekend, and I spent every second I could outside!

What did I read during the last week?

Flash Fire by TJ Klune: The 2nd book in The Extraordinaries trilogy. I just want to give this book a hug — I love it so much. My review is here.

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger: Wonderful book. For once, I finished my book group book ahead of schedule! I haven’t had a chance to write up a review yet, but I’ll try to get to it this week.

Pop culture & TV:

I binged season 3 of Virgin River this week, and loved and was annoyed by just as much as with the first two season! I wrote up some thoughts here.

Puzzle of the Week:

This is the 3rd of a series of 4 puzzles (The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady). I finished Winter last week, and am almost done with Summer.

Fresh Catch:

I love The Extraordinaries books so much that I treated myself to hardcover editions of books 1 and 2. What can I say — I had Amazon credits burning a hole in my pocket!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell: The 3rd and final Simon Snow book! I only had time to read about half this week, but I’m loving it so far (and so sad this is the end of the saga!).

Now playing via audiobook:

Mistletoe & Mr. Right (Moose Springs, #2) by Sarah Morgenthaler: After a more serious audiobook this past week, I’m starting a light and fluffy romance. I don’t usually go for Christmas stories, but I liked the first book in this series, and what’s not to love about finding romance in Alaska?

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re reading and discussing 5 chapters per week. Let me know if you want to join in — the more, the merrier! This week: Chapters 56 – 60.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 7/12/2021

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

Life.

I ended up under the weather on Saturday, but at least I got to read and watch TV! Unfortunately, I missed out on spending the day at a park, but I guess it can wait until next weekend.

What did I read during the last week?

Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev: A terrific Sense and Sensibility retelling that works on its own as well. My review is here.

While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory: The 6th book in the loosely-connected The Wedding Date series is fun and romantic. My review is here.

Beth & Amy by Virginia Kantra: A really enjoyable follow-up to Meg & Jo. Definitely recommended for Little Women fans! My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

What impact did the pandemic have on my pop culture life? For one thing, I’d never seen a Fast & Furious movie before, and now I’ve seen them all! This past week, I ventured out to a movie theater to see the newest, F9, and it was just as dumb and just as much fun as I’d expected.

I mean, what are the laws of physics when you’ve got family?

Puzzle of the Week:

I actually wrote a whole post about why I love this Shakespeare puzzle so much! See it here.

Fresh Catch:

I continue to indulge… new books this week include a travel guide I’m excited to put into action and an illustrated version of a favorite:

The new Simon Snow book came out this week, and I couldn’t resist getting a copy of the 1st book in the series to match #2 (that I already owned) and #3 (that arrived this week). Look how awesome!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Flash Fire by TJ Klune: This is the sequel to last year’s The Extraordinaries, and it’s off to a great start. (I had intended to start the Simon Snow book next, but I’m trying really hard to not fall behind on my ARCs…)

Now playing via audiobook:

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger: My book group’s pick for July. I have two weeks to get it done!

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re reading and discussing 5 chapters per week. Let me know if you want to join in — the more, the merrier! This week: Chapters 51 – 55.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 7/5/2021

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

Life.

Happy 4th of July! I hope you all did something fun to celebrate! Picnic? Fireworks? Hiking? Whatever it was, I hope it was fun.

As for me, I’m just psyched to have a 3-day weekend. More time to read!!

What did I read during the last week?

The Witness for the Dead by Katherine Addison. A new story set in the world of The Goblin Emperor. My review is here.

Questland by Carrie Vaughn: A quest set on an island that uses technology to create fantasy worlds. A fun adventure – my review is here.

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell: I finished my audio re-read! I love these characters and the story so much. (If you’re interested, check out my review from when I first read this book, here.) Can’t wait for the 3rd and final book in the trilogy to arrive this week!

Pop culture & TV:

Continuing our MCU watching, my son and I started watching Loki on Disney+ this week. Four episodes are available so far, and it’s good! Although a bit weird to see Loki wearing a button down shirt and tie.

I also started watching Kevin Can F**k Himself (yes, that’s the actual title, asterisks and all). It’s so strange and completely absorbing, and Annie Murphy is awesome in it.

Puzzle of the Week:

I’m on a roll! Here’s this week’s puzzle:

Big surprise – I’m always drawn to bookstore-themed puzzles!

Fresh Catch:

Two new purchased books plus an ARC arrived this week:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev: These Austen retellings are so much fun!

Now playing via audiobook:

Beth & Amy by Victoria Kantra: I guess this is a good week for retellings! This contemporary retelling of Little Women is the author’s follow up to Meg & Jo, which I really enjoyed.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re reading and discussing 5 chapters per week. Let me know if you want to join in — the more, the merrier! This week: Chapters 46 – 50.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 6/28/2021

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

Life.

Another busy workweek… with not a ton of reading time. Sigh.

What did I read during the last week?

The World Gives Way by Marissa Levien: Surprising and fascinating. My review is here.

Skye Falling by Mia McKenzie: Entertaining contemporary fiction — my review is here.

A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier: My book group’s pick for June. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

My son and I finished our on-again, off-again rewatch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. We watched in chronological order — gotta say, it was quite fun to watch them all again, and I realized that I’d forgotten a ton of the details. Now I’m all ready for TV Loki and for the release of Black Widow next month!

Puzzle of the Week:

I actually finished two this week! (Hmm, maybe that’s why I didn’t have much reading time…)

This one was super fun:

And I really enjoyed this one too:

Fresh Catch:

I treated myself to a bunch of books this week — just couldn’t resist some of the Prime Day deals!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Witness for the Dead by Katherine Addison: A short-ish novel set in the world of The Goblin Emperor. I haven’t gotten very far just yet, but I love being in this world.

Now playing via audiobook:

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell: The 3rd Simon Snow book comes out next week, which means it’s time for me to re-read #2! I just started this audiobook yesterday, and I’m already loving getting back to Simon and Baz.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re reading and discussing 5 chapters per week. Let me know if you want to join in — the more, the merrier! This week: Chapters 41 – 45.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 6/21/2021

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

Life.

Wishing a Happy Father’s Day to all the dads in our lives! Here at home, my husband was treated to a barbecue that he didn’t have to cook himself! Our (adult) boys planned and prepared a yummy dinner. I graciously offered to do the dishes.

I wish I’d been able to see my own father in person, but since we’re on opposite coasts, I had to settle for a FaceTime visit.

Meanwhile, I don’t know why, but once again it’s been a slow reading week. I feel like I’m always falling behind!

What did I read during the last week?

Rabbits by Terry Miles: Such a strange book. Great cover, though — right? My review is here.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison: I finished my audiobook re-read! I love this book so much, and listening to the audiobook is an amazing experience. There’s something so magical about hearing all the names and places and strange concepts spoken aloud. Highly recommended!

Pop culture & TV:

My first post-COVID movie theater outing! I went to see In the Heights — loved the movie, but it took a bit for it not to feel strange to be sitting in a theater with other people. (And I kind of missed the watching-from-my-couch experience, where I’m able to hit pause and go get snacks whenever I want…)

Puzzle of the Week:

I’m getting back to my puzzles! I even got myself a new table for puzzling on, just the right size. I’m working on a puzzle with the theme “Inspirational Women”. Fun!

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The World Gives Way by Marissa Levien: Not what I expected, but it’s holding my interest! I thought I’d finish on Sunday, but ended up busy with family and didn’t read at all. I’m almost done — should have a review up in the next few days.

Skye Falling by Mia McKenzie: Just getting started!

Now playing via audiobook:

A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier: My book group’s pick for June. I’m a little behind, but I’ll catch up to the group soon, I hope.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re reading and discussing 5 chapters per week. Let me know if you want to join in — the more, the merrier! This week: Chapters 36 – 40.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 6/14/2021

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

Life.

Another busy workweek, but I managed to get outside a bit and enjoy the nice weather. And yet again, I somehow ended up with far less reading time than I expected.

What did I read during the last week?

The Ninth Metal by Benjamin Percy: Terrific science fiction! My review is here.

I Don’t Forgive You by Aggie Blum Thompson: Suburban thriller — could be a good beach read. My review is here

Pop culture & TV:

My son and I have been watching the MCU movies in release order, on and off, over the last couple of months. We got back into it this week, and watched Doctor Strange, Spider Man: Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnorak. Good times!

I also started Sweet Tooth on Netflix, and I’m loving it! I think I have three episodes left.

Puzzle of the Week:

Once again, none. It’s been a busy week!

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Rabbits by Terry Miles: I’ve read about 50% so far. All about a secret, underground game that seems to be altering reality. It’s weird, but oddly compelling.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison: This is taking me forever, which sucks, because I love this book! I just haven’t had much listening time.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re reading and discussing 5 chapters per week. Let me know if you want to join in — the more, the merrier! This week: Chapters 31 – 35.

As for my other ongoing book club read, I’ve decided to quit our classic, Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth. It just wasn’t catching my attention, and there are plenty of other books for me to read!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 6/7/2021

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

Life.

With my daughter home this past week, my reading time was pretty limited — and I’m fine with that! We had a wonderful visit (until I threw my back out — ugh), and I can’t wait for the next visit already.

What did I read during the last week?

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid: Talk about an author who never disappoints! I loved this book. My review is here.

I started and abandoned two books this week:

The blurb for The Chosen and the Beautiful caught my interest, but it definitely did not specify that it’s a Great Gatsby retelling — which doesn’t appeal to me at all. For the Wolf looks promising as well, but I DNFd at 20% once I realized that I had no strong picture of what was going on and didn’t care all that much about figuring it out.

If you’ve read either of these and think I should give them another shot, let me know!

Pop culture & TV:

As of this writing, the series finale of Pose is just a few hours away. I’m so sad it’s coming to an end! (I probably won’t stay up to watch it tonight… 10 pm is too late to start a 2-hour episode!)

Puzzle of the Week:

Once again, none. It’s been a busy week!

Fresh Catch:

Three new books this week:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Ninth Metal by Benjamin Percy: The first book in a new sci-fi trilogy — I’ve only read 40% so far, but it’s pretty frikkin’ cool.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison: As with all my other reading, I just didn’t have much time this week to listen to The Goblin Emperor, but I’m loving what I’ve heard of the audiobook so far.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re reading and discussing 5 chapters per week. Let me know if you want to join in — the more, the merrier! This week: Chapters 26 – 30.

My book group’s new classic read, Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth, started this past week. I haven’t started yet, and I’m still on the fence about whether I want to put in the effort or not. I’m leaving this book here for now, mostly just to prompt me to make a decision!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 5/31/2021

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

Life.

I’m one happy mama! My daughter is home for a week — our first time seeing each other in a year and a half! (Three cheers for vaccinations! Yay, science!).

What did I read during the last week?

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley: A sweet, off-beat love story. My review is here.

The Apocalypse Seven by Gene Doucette: Terrific story of the “whateverpocalypse”. Loved it! My review is here.

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston: A love story perfectly timed for Pride month, with some timey-wimey weirdness adding an unexpected twist. I’m not sure yet if I’ll be writing a review: I enjoyed the book, but it drags in places, and the timeslip elements don’t make a lot of sense. Still, the two main characters and the supporting cast are all charming!

The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler: I just finished the audiobook — a fun little romance set in an Alaskan tourist town. It’s a fairly formulaic romance, but I enjoyed the setting and the characters enough to want to listen to the next in the series.

Pop culture & TV:

I finally bit the bullet and decided to watch season 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale after all. I’m all caught up now. This show is so brutal… I’m curious to see when and how the series will end.

Puzzle of the Week:

Nope, none this week. Too many other (wonderful) distractions.

Fresh Catch:

I treated myself to one new book, and it looks amazing:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid: A new TJR book is reason to celebrate! I’m just getting started…

Now playing via audiobook:

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison: With the follow-up novel coming out in June (The Witness for the Dead), this seemed like a great time for a re-read of the glorious The Goblin Emperor!

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re reading and discussing 5 chapters per week. Let me know if you want to join in — the more, the merrier! This week: Chapters 21 – 25.

And finally, my book group’s new classic read starts this week: Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth, originally published in 1800. Gotta be honest, I’m not feeling particularly enthusiastic about it, but I’ll give it a try. We’ll be doing two chapters per week for the next few months.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 5/24/2021

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

Life.

Just work. But I actually worked in my office one day this week, and it was fun to get out of my basement (and out of my slippers) and see other people!

What did I read during the last week?

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: DONE!!! After over a year, my book group has finally finished our group read of this classic. I’m thrilled to be done, and I have to grudgingly admit that I’m glad to have read it. Yet another reason to be thankful for a book group — I never would have tackled this huge book on my own.

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren: Really fun contemporary romance. My review is here.

Golden Child by Claire Adam: My book group’s selection for May — powerful and thought-provoking. My review is here.

Day Zero by C. Robert Cargill: An excellent book about a robot apocalypse! My review is here.

The Quiet Boy by Ben H. Winters: I was interested, but ultimately gave this legal thriller just 3 stars. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

I finally got around to writing up my thoughts on Last Tango in Halifax — a show I highly recommend!

Also this week, I watched Rutherford Falls (streaming on Peacock), and thought it was terrific! Here’s the trailer:

Puzzle of the Week:

A good challenge took up waaaay more of my hours than I expected:

Fresh Catch:

One new book this week — thank you to Redhook for the review copy!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley: I’m at about 25% at this point — it’s sweet!

Now playing via audiobook:

The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler: This was a total impulse borrow from the library, but it’s suiting my mood this week. It’s light and silly, no effort required!

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re reading and discussing 5 chapters per week. Let me know if you want to join in — the more, the merrier! This week: Chapters 16 – 20.

So many books, so little time…

boy1