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

The Monday Check-In ~ 11/4/2019

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 won’t get into all the reasons why, but this past week has been highly stressful, and so I’ve been quite distracted — and it definitely had an impact on my reading, since my concentration was pretty shot. Here’s hoping there are better days ahead!

 

 

 

 

What did I read during the last week?

  • Winterwood by Shea Earnshaw (review)
  • Marilla of Green Gables (audiobook) by Sarah McCoy (review)

I also read The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I started this book using the Serial Reader app, intending to read it in the nicely doled out daily installments… and then I just couldn’t stop reading! I ended up putting aside my other current reads over the weekend and read this one straight through to the end. What a story! The language is amazing, and it feels great to finally read the classic story that I’ve always heard about.

Pop Culture:

I started watching Modern Love on Amazon. I’ve only seen two of the eight episodes so far, but I really liked them!

Fresh Catch:

Three cheers for the arrival of this beautiful new book from Subterranean Press — a collection of Gail Carriger stories, including one new one about the infamous hedgehog encounter mentioned in Soulless. Can’t wait to read it!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Mermaid by Christina Henry: I haven’t had all that much uninterrupted time to focus on this book — but I really love what I’ve read up to now!

Now playing via audiobook:

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman: It’s probably 15 years or more since I first read this book, and since I want to read the prequel that came out last year, I decided a re-read was in order. I’d forgotten practically everything about the plot, so the audiobook feels like listening to a new story most of the time. Really fun.

Ongoing reads:

  • A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny: Oops. I meant to finish this book by the end of October… and failed. The chapters correspond to the days of the month in October, and I think I stopped somewhere around the 26th or 27th. Need to finish!
  • 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

The Monday Check-In ~ 10/28/2019

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. 

On the down side, I was home sick most of this past week. Nothing major, just a nasty cold that left me feeling wrung out for days and days and days.

Of course, the bright side is that I read. A lot! Being home all day does have its perks.

 

 

 

 

 

What did I read during the last week?

So many books! Here’s what I read:

  • The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones (review)
  • Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman (review)
  • The Beautiful Cassandra by Jane Austen (review)
  • Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren (review)
  • One of Us by Craig DiLouie (review)
  • Broken Strings by Eric Walters and Kathy Kacer (review)
  • Today We Go Home by Kelli Estes (review)
  • Bloodlust and Bonnets by Emily McGovern (fun graphic novel – not reviewed)

Pop Culture:

I watched all 8 episodes of the new Paul Rudd series Living With Yourself on Netflix. (The episodes are only 30 minutes each, so it was a quick and easy binge.) It’s funny and quirky, well-done, silly, and with some interesting messages and concepts underneath the surface comedy. Definitely recommended!

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week. My credit card thanks me.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw: Just getting started — but good and spooky so far!

Now playing via audiobook:

Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy: Because I was sick for so many days, with no long walks or driving back and forth to work, I did very little audiobook listening, so not much progress to report on this book. Looking forward to getting back into it!

Ongoing reads:

  • A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny: I keep falling behind! The book has 31 chapters, nicely labeled by the date in October, and my goal was to read one chapter per day for the whole month. Oops. Still, I haven’t quite missed the target entirely — I’m going to try to catch up and finish by Halloween!
  • 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.
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: On impulse, I started yet another book via Serial Reader! As if I don’t already have enough to read… If I stick to the serial delivery schedule, I’ll finish by late November.

So many books, so little time…

boy1seria

The Monday Check-In ~ 10/21/2019

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. 

It’s been a quiet week chez moi, which is nice for a change! Just working, hanging out at home, reading… and hey, I did a new jigsaw puzzle! The theme is the Women’s March, and I loved it:

Want a better view? You can find it on Amazon, here.

What did I read during the last week?

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy: My book group’s pick for October. My thoughts are here.

Ivory Apples by Lisa Goldstein: Sisters, magic, and a reclusive author! My review is here.

A Very Distant Shore by Jenny Colgan: At 160 pages, this is a sweet, light read, very enjoyable. It’s a nice little treat for fans of this author.

In audiobooks:

I just finished Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line over the weekend. What fun! And it doesn’t hurt a bit that Kristen Bell narrates the audiobook. My review is here.

Fresh Catch:

I bought myself a present!

SOOOOOO pretty.

And I confess, I got myself a couple of graphic novels while I was at it:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Bones Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones: Just starting, but I really like it so far!

Now playing via audiobook:

Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy: Now that I’ve finished the entire Anne of Green Gables series, I thought I’d check out this related release from 2018.

Ongoing reads:

Argh. I’ve fallen behind. My goal was to read one chapter of A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny each day for the month of October, but then I left my book at home while I was traveling and haven’t gotten back into it. I have a week and a half to catch up!

And in book group news:

We’re reading the Outlander-related novella A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows — it’s such a good one! I’ve read it before, but it’s really great to read and discuss it with the group.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 10/14/2019

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. 

Another travel week! This time, I had a few days off work for the Jewish holidays, so I took advantage of the time to fly east and visit my father in his nursing home.

Added bonus: It’s autumn in New England! The leaves have just started turning, so I didn’t quite get the full effect — but it’s still glorious!

And, I got to catch up with a bunch of other friends and relatives, so even though it was a short trip, I was able to pack a lot of great experiences into it.

(Plus reading. Always reading.)

What did I read during the last week?

Ghoster by Jason Arnopp: Thriller with a supernatural twist. My review is here.

Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas: I picked up this 90s-era YA novel because its author is Rob Thomas, creator of Veronica Mars. Strictly a 3-star, run-of-the-mill coming of age story; definitely a little dated.

Rilla of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery: The 8th and final book in the Anne of Green Gables series. It was wonderful! Rilla is set during World War I, so is much more serious and sad than the other books. A lovely finish to a beautiful series — once I’m back home and settled, I’ll write up some thoughts on the series as a whole.

In audiobooks:

I finished listening to the Amazon’s Forward series of short stories. All were terrific!

Pop Culture

Still with my Veronica Mars obsession… this week, I started watching the hilarious web series Play It Again, Dick. Didn’t have time to finish before leaving on my trip, but still – so much fun.

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week. Amazing.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

I’m flipping back and forth between two books at the moment:

  • A Very Distant Shore by Jenny Colgan: A short novel by an author I can always count on for sweet, light storytelling.
  • The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy: My book group’s pick for October. I missed the last couple of book group books, so I’m really determined to keep up this month!
Now playing via audiobook:

Yes, indeed… even more Veronica Mars! I’m listening to the first VMars novel – which is especially delightful with Kristen Bell as the narrator.

Ongoing reads:

Whee! I’m reading A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny, one chapter per day for the whole month. I forgot to pack my paperback when I left on my trip, so I’ll have about six days to catch up on once I get home… but in a way, reading a bunch of days in a row sounds like even more of a good time.

And in book group news:

We’ve just started the Outlander-related novella A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows — it’s such a good one! I’ve read it before, but it’s really great to read and discuss it with the group.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 10/7/2019

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. 

In the ongoing saga of my hand, I’m now wearing this little shield/brace on my thumb, probably for just a couple of weeks. And I started physical therapy too, slowly trying to get my opposable thumb movements back. Yay for getting better!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did I read during the last week?

The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss: Such a gorgeous book! My review is here.

The Institute by Stephen King: After a few false starts, I finally dug back into this book and finished it. Good and creepy! My review is here.

In audiobooks:

The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli: Oh, I had problems with this book. My review is here.

Also in audio — I’m listening my way through Amazon’s Forward series of short stories. So far, I’ve listened to these three:

Quick reaction:

  • Summer Frost: Emotional and chilling story set in the world of AI. Very easy to get caught up in this story!
  • You Have Arrived At Your Destination: About a couple considering a tech firm’s services to produce a designer baby. I’m not sure I really got it in the end.
  • Randomize: So much fun! All about a couple using quantum computing to scam a Las Vegas casino. Fast and enjoyable.

Pop Culture

Back to my Veronica Mars obsession! This week, I watched the 2014 movie. Love, love, love. (Or should I say, LoVe. If you watch the show, you get it.)

And, I finished season 2 of Fleabag. I’m ready for some more binge suggestions!

Fresh Catch:

My amazing daughter sent me this awesome present:

Also…

The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman arrived. I’d almost forgotten this was coming! I need to re-read La Belle Sauvage before I start this one…

Debbie Harry made an appearance in SF this past week, and while I missed the event, someone was kind enough to snag a copy of her book for me!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas: When I heard that the Veronica Mars creator had written YA novels in the 90s, I just had to try one.

Now playing via audiobook:

Continuing onward with the Forward stories — the remaining three are:

Ongoing reads:

Whee! I’m reading A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny, one chapter per day for the whole month. Apparently, this is a thing I’ve been missing out on all these years. Check out more info here. Fun so far!

And in book group news:

Our next group read, starting this week, is the novella A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows, reading two sections per week. I’ve read this story before (a couple of times) — but it’s a good one! I’m happy to be sharing the experience with the group this time around.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 9/30/2019

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. 

Wishing all who celebrate a sweet and happy new year!

And in other news…

No more cast! The cast came off this past Friday, and now I have a brace to wear for about six weeks. Freedom! You have no idea how great it feels to take a shower without having to wrap my arm in plastic first. Now comes the hard part — I start physical therapy on Tuesday, and I’ve been warned already that it will hurt.

But yay for being on the road to recovery!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did I read during the last week?

In brand-new fiction:

An Unorthodox Match by Naomi Ragen: Don’t be put off by the misleading cover image — this is a thoughtful, touching novel about a woman who chooses a new life in the ultra-orthodox Jewish community of Brooklyn. My review is here.

The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman: Beautiful and tragic. My review is here.

In audiobooks:

Kopp Sisters on the March by Amy Stewart: The Kopp Sisters series continues strong in this, the 5th installment, and the audiobook narrator is as terrific as always. My review is here.

Book group reads:

I couldn’t help it — I was so frustrated by reading The Pickwick Papers in tiny increments that I ended up reading through to the end. I suppose I’m glad to have read it, but of the four Dickens novels I’ve now read, this one would go at the bottom of the list for me.

We wrapped up our group read of Virgins by Diana Gabaldon this past week. For me, it was my 3rd time reading this novella. If you’re an Outlander fan and haven’t read this yet, definitely check it out!

Pop Culture

While on the plane traveling to a conference this week, I started watching season 1 of Fleabag.

Man, is it funny. And man, do you not want to be watching this in public! I didn’t realize how filthy (in a good way, IMHO) this show is, but watching on a plane, I felt like I had to keep hiding my screen — especially since I was using captions. Hilarious — can’t wait to continue!

Fresh Catch:

Hurray! My copy of the new Simon Snow book arrived this week while I was away.

And thank you, Orbit Books, for sending me a copy of Ghoster! Sounds creepy and delicious — can’t wait to start!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith: I’m only just getting started.. but a library in hell? Yes, please.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli I was in the mood for a light-hearted listen, and so far, this seems to be hitting the spot.

Ongoing reads:

None at the moment! My book group has a new novella starting next week, but our next classic read doesn’t start until December. What will I do with all my reading freedom for the next two months? (I’m sure I’ll figure it out…)

So many books, so little time…

boy1