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

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…

boy1

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

Reading goals: Series to read in 2020

I always see a new year as a clean slate for my bookish dreams.

I tend not to set specific reading goals, other than keeping up with the books I buy and the never-ending ARCs waiting to be read.

But where I do like to plan ahead at the start of a year is with my series reading. A new year represents a chance to tackle a series that I’ve been wanting to get to. For me, series are most enjoyable when I can read all (or at least, a bunch) of the books in a row, or at least within a few months of each other.

Bearing in mind that none of this is written in stone, since my reading plans change with my changing moods…

In 2020, my priority series to read will be:

The Glamourist Histories by Mary Robinette Kowal – a completed five-book series:

The Interdependency Series by John Scalzi – the 3rd book in the trilogy will be released in April, so this might be a good time to get started!

The Expanse by James S. A. Corey: I’ve read books 1 – 3 already, and need to get back into the story! Watching season 4 of the TV series is helping a lot with my motivation! Next up for me is:

And who knows, maybe I’ll keep going. There are 8 full novels in the series so far, all over 500 pages, so I have my work cut out for me.

Poldark by Winston Graham – 12 books in all, and I’ve read 7. My understanding is that book #8 jumps ahead quite a bit and takes place after the events of the complete TV series, so I’ve been less eager to move forward with this one. Still, I really should see how it all works out!

Folk of the Air trilogy by Holly Black – I just bought myself a copy of The Cruel Prince, and assuming I like it (and why wouldn’t I?), I’ll want to read all three books!

 

That’s it for my 2020 priority list… but wait, there’s more!

I still have my eye on a bunch of series/trilogies/what-have-you that I intend to read… eventually. Maybe 2020 will finally be the year… and maybe not. My will-get-to-at-some-point list of series includes:

  • Kitty Norville urban fantasy series by Carrie Vaughn
  • Parasitology trilogy by Mira Grant (because even though the subject is totally icky, I think these are her only books that I haven’t read yet, which is unacceptable!)
  • Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness
  • The Last Policeman trilogy by Ben H. Winters
  • Wayward Pines books by Blake Crouch
  • Inheritance trilogy and/or Broken Earth series by N. K. Jemisin

Are you planning to start any new series this year? If you’ve read any of the series on my “priority” list, let me know what you thought!

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