The Monday Check-In ~ 8/10/2020

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’m not sure why, but I feel like I’ve barely read this past week. I’ve been working a lot, and in my off time, I just haven’t relaxed enough to really sink into my books, I guess. Sigh.

What did I read during the last week?

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett: I’m reading Discworld! This is the first book in the series, and while it didn’t blow me away, I liked it enough to look forward to continuing onward. My thoughts are here.

Pop culture & TV:

I finished Schitts Creek! After binge-watching five seasons, I’m so in love with these characters. At least I can look forward to the 6th and final season, coming to Netflix in October. But meanwhile, what am I supposed to do now???

In other pop culture experiences, my son and I have been watching the Harry Potter movies for the past two weeks, sometimes just an hour at a time, sometimes the full movie and more in one sitting. This week, we wrapped up, and I’m left feeling bereft! I don’t think I’ve ever watched them all in a row like this before. It’s pretty amazing to see how the “kids” and the movies themselves grew and changed over time. I’m so sad to leave the HP world behind for now… until I next get the urge to watch them all again.

Other than that, I’m still watching Supernatural. Slowly. I’m still on season 1! I’m not hooked yet, which is why I’m only watching one episode at a time, once or twice a week. At this rate, it’ll take me years to catch up.

Puzzle of the week:

This one was tough! A lot of wood, a lot of shadows and reflections. But so satisfying when I finally finished.

Fresh Catch:

Oh yes I did! This week’s new book…

This will probably be my next read…

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Peace Talks (Dresden Files, #16) by Jim Butcher: Aaaaack. I’ve been reading this all week… but making such slow progress. And it’s not that I’m not enjoying it — my concentration levels just seem to be off this week, so I haven’t been able to settle in and just enjoy. Hoping to finish in the next day or so.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire: I’ve also barely had time for audiobooks this week, so I’ve barely made a dent on this book (which I love). I’m going to set an intention for myself to get out for walks at least every other day this week, which will (a) be healthy and (b) give me more time to listen!

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club’s re-read of Outlander is underway. We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 9, “The Gathering”. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to participate, so just ask me how.

Onward with Don Quixote! I’m so tempted to just give this one up. I’m behind my book group read by about 5 chapters now — but the group is almost done with part I and then taking a break, so I’m going to try to force myself to at least finish this part. We’ll see if I actually return for part II.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 8/3/2020

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.

This week’s theme was driving, apparently. My son has his learner’s permit, and practically begs me to take him driving every few hours. Plus, I’m tentatively looking for a new car, and actually did a (weirdly social distanced) test drive this week. No decisions yet… I’m very half-hearted about the whole idea.

What did I read during the last week?

The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss: Terrific wrap-up to a clever, fun trilogy. My review is here.

Florence Adler Swims Forever by Rachel Beanland: Fascinating, moving historical fiction. My review is here.

News of the World by Paulette Jiles: A short, beautiful audiobook. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

I’m halfway through the 5th season of Schitts Creek, and I love it so, so much. Congrats to the show and cast for all its well-deserved Emmy nominations.

And if you’re a fan, you must check out this amazing thread comparing Dan Levy to cake. Seriously, it’s just the best thing on the internet right now.

Puzzle of the week:

A fun one this week! Not particularly difficult, but I liked sorting through all the colors and patterns.

Fresh Catch:

Some of my book group friends competed in (and won!) a trivia contest, and the prize was copies of this book for all of us, and the organizer was kind enough to send me one! We’re going to read this as a group early in 2021, but I may need to read it on my own sooner. Sounds terrific!

And, I won a Goodreads giveaway! The book arrived this week:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Peace Talks (Dresden Files, #16) by Jim Butcher: A friend was kind enough to drop off her hardcover edition of Peace Talks for me to read (and we were able to have a lovely masked driveway visit, so that was awesome). I’m excited to read this… especially since my library hold is probably still months away from getting to me. Now, to remember what’s happened so far in the series…

Discworld!

I started my Discworld challenge on August 1st, just like I said I would. Go, me! First up is the very first book in the series, The Colour of Magic. I’ve only read the prologues so far, but hey, I’m doing it!

Now playing via audiobook:

The Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire: There’s a new October Daye book coming out in September, so you know what that means? It’s time to treat myself to an audio re-read of the previous book in the series! I love these books so much, and the audio versions are just so much fun to listen to.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club’s re-read of Outlander is underway. We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 8, “An Evening’s Entertainment”. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to participate, so just ask me how.

Onward with Don Quixote! I didn’t manage to read both chapters on the schedule this week, so I’d better get hopping. Don’t want to fall behind again!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 7/27/2020

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.

Back to the grind! It was hard to get back into the rhythm of working every day after a few days off the previous week. Since I stayed home for those days off, I’m still dying for a real getaway, someplace hot and sunny… where we can social distance and avoid contact with non-family members. I have no idea where yet, but I’m going to work on it!

What did I read during the last week?

Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald: Beautiful. My review is here.

The Blue Salt Road by Joanne M. Harris: A gorgeous selkie story. My review is here.

The Seventh Bride by T. Kingfisher: This was my audiobook listen for the past week — a really clever and engaging fairy tale. Definitely recommended!

Pop culture & TV:

Lots more Schitt’s Creek! I’m on season 4 now. Loving it!

Puzzle of the week:

Ah, an image of my dream location!

Fresh Catch:

I bought one Kindle book this week that my husband requested, but that’s it!

I’ll probably start this one during the coming week, once I finish my current read.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss: The 3rd and final book in the Athena Club trilogy. So much fun! I’m almost done, and will share thoughts on this book and the trilogy as a whole in the next few days.

Now playing via audiobook:

News of the World by Paulette Jiles: This has been on my to-read shelf for a few years now. I’ve only just started, but so far I’m liking this Western.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club’s re-read of Outlander is underway. We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 7, “Davie Beaton’s Closet”. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to participate, so just ask me how.

Onward with Don Quixote! Plugging away, two chapters per week. I can’t say that I’m deeply enthralled or anything, but I’m glad to be keeping up with the group read.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 7/20/2020

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 took a few days off work — my first days off since March! Not that we went anywhere, but it was good to have days to relax and not be on video calls all day long! My husband and I went for a walk in the redwoods at Muir Woods, and then my son and I spent a few hours at the (newly reopened) zoo. It was a little weird to be out and about, although crowd control and social distancing seemed mostly effective. Except for the few groups of people we passed who weren’t wearing masks. Grrrrrr.

My son got his learner’s permit this week, so we’ve been going out for practice drives A LOT. He’s doing pretty well! I guess all those years of non-stop video games have really paid off in terms of hand-eye coordination!

What did I read during the last week?

The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune: Just wonderful. My review is here.

What You Wish For by Katherine Center: It was okay, but I didn’t love it as much as her previous book. My review is here.

Agent 355 by Marie Benedict: A free selection from Audible that ended up being a terrific choice. My review is here.

10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon: Read but didn’t end up reviewing. Enjoyable YA with fake dating as the central plot element. It was fun, but didn’t rock my world. (Of course, maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood.)

Pop culture & TV:

A friend convinced me to give Schitt’s Creek a try… and I should know by now that she doesn’t steer me wrong! I’ve watched one season (of five) so far, and I’m loving it. Super funny, and I also love the fact that each episode is only about 25 minutes. Should be able to zip right through!

Aaaaand… I decided to finally give Supernatural another chance! I remember I watched the very first episode when the show premiered in 2005, and then never went back for more. I’m taking a slow but steady approach, watching one episode every few days. Considering there are 14 (?) seasons, this could take a while!

Puzzle of the week:

This one was hard, but so much fun!

Fresh Catch:

Hurray for the new Lady Astronaut book!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald: My book group’s book for July! Really good so far.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Seventh Bride by T. Kingfisher: This is such a fun fairy tale! I’m loving it — should finish up in the next day or two.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club’s re-read of Outlander is underway. We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 6, “Colum’s Hall”. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to participate, so just ask me how.

Onward with Don Quixote! Plugging away, two chapters per week.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 7/13/2020

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.

A quiet week, mostly — but hey, the sun was shining and I was able to get outside and enjoy it!

What did I read during the last week?

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss: Such a fun book! My review is here.

Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski: I love the audiobook narration for the Witcher series. My review is here.

The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune: Oh my gods. The most adorable thing ever! Review to follow.

Pop culture & TV:

I finally finished my binge of Jane the Virgin — so naturally, I had to write about it. If you’re looking for a perfect binge show, definitely check it out!

Meanwhile, my son decided that we should watch ALL the Harry Potter movies again. So far, we’ve just watched one… good times.

Puzzle of the week:

I’m still limiting myself to one puzzle per week. Here’s the latest:

This was fun! It’s all children’s book covers. It felt a little too easy when I started it, so to make it a challenge, I did the puzzle without referring to the picture on the box. I had a good time figuring out just how many beloved books were included.

Fresh Catch:

No new physical books this week, although I never can resist a good Kindle price break, so I ended up with a few new titles for my e-library:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

What You Wish For by Katherine Center: I’ve enjoyed this author’s previous books so much. I’m excited to be starting her newest!

Now playing via audiobook:

Agent 355 by Marie Benedict: My new listen is an Audible original, and it’s good so far! It’s just over 2 hours, so I’ll finish up quickly.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club’s re-read of Outlander is underway. We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 5, “The Mackenzie”. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to participate, so just ask me how.

Onward with Don Quixote! It feels really good to be caught up with the rest of my book group on this one.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 7/6/2020

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.

I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend! No (official) fireworks, but at least the skies here were blue and I was able to enjoy being outdoors in the sun.

What did I read during the last week?

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: SO good. My review is here. And I LOVE that the publisher has paper dolls to go with it! Check out how amazing there are, here.

Here’s a peek at page 1 of the paper dolls:

Okay, what else did I read?

Alice by Christina Henry. I’ll be honest — I just did not enjoy this book. I’ve loved the two other Christina Henry books that I read (The Girl in Red and The Mermaid), but this one just didn’t appeal to me at all. Violent and dark, but no characters to really care about. So far, I’ve yet to encounter an Alice in Wonderland retelling that I’ve actually liked, so maybe I should stop trying! Unfortunately, I bought the sequel to this book at the same time that I picked up this one, and now I have little interest in reading it.

Well Met by Mary Jen DeLuca: Fun, sweet audiobook set at a RenFaire. My review is here.

Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton: Why, oh why, did it take me so long to get around to reading this book? It was AMAZING. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

I’m STILL watching Jane the Virgin, but should be done this week and ready for something new to binge. Meanwhile, my son and I have been working our way through the Fast & Furious movies, which are ridiculous and yet so much fun. This week’s pick:

Yup, there’s a submarine in the middle of a car chase. It’s wacky.

Puzzle of the week:

Since I seem to be doing these weekly, I thought I’d make it part of my Monday routine to share my most recent:

Cute, right? This one was a lot of fun. My problem is that I’m a wee bit obsessive when it comes to puzzles, so once I start, I basically don’t do anything else until I finish. So, I’m allowing myself one per week for now. After all, puzzle time takes away from reading time, and we can’t have that.

Fresh Catch:

Why yes, I did get some new books this week!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss: I read the first book in this trilogy, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, about a year ago, and thought it was delightful. And now that the 3rd has arrived, it’s time to continue the series. Picking back up with book #2.

Now playing via audiobook:

Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski: And back to The Witcher I go! These audiobooks are so much fun.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club’s re-read of Outlander is underway. We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 4, “I Come To the Castle”. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to participate, so just ask me how.

I took Don Quixote off my reading list a few weeks ago, and then regretted it, so I’m diving back in. My book group is reading and discussing two chapters per week, and I was about 10 chapters behind… but after a big sprint of reading this weekend, I managed to catch up to the group!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 6/29/2020

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.

Another busy work week, but what else is new? I did get a little bit more time to relax and get outside this week, so things are improving.

And I did another puzzle!

Maybe you can’t tell from looking at it, but this one was hard! So many pieces of the same color… my poor eyes! And then there was the saga of the missing piece, which took three of us (and some daring lifting of the couch) to find. But I finished! I guess it’s a sign of these crazy times that a little thing like finishing a jigsaw puzzle can be my big accomplishment of the week.

What did I read during the last week?

Hella by David Gerrold: Exciting sci-fi that’s a little longer than it needs to be — but still a good read. My review is here.

The Fated Sky (Lady Astronaut, #2) by Mary Robinette Kowal: I loved this audiobook! It was a re-read for me, and so worth it. My review is here.

Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory: Sweet and sexy romance. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

I finished Jane the Virgin! LOVED it. But since I started my binge with season 2 (since I watched season 1 back when it first aired), I decided to wrap things up by rewatching season 1. Such an amazing, clever, touching show. I’ll write up some thoughts once I finish season 1.

Fresh Catch:

No new books! I didn’t even buy any e-books this week, and I’m always on the lookout for good price drops on Kindle books.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Ooh. I’m just about done, and I’m loving it. This is my first time reading a book by this author, but I have a feeling I’m going to want to read more!

Now playing via audiobook:

Well Met by Mary Jen DeLuca: Cute! I’ve been in the mood for light, breezy audiobooks lately, and this fits the bill! And hurray for my friend who told me to check Axis360 — I’d only borrowed from my library via OverDrive up to now, but Axis360 has a good selection too!

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club’s re-read of Outlander is underway. We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. Coming this week: Chapter 3. Loving it.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 6/22/2020

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, it’s been rough. This was one of the worst workweeks I’ve ever gone through. My “day job” is in human resources, and this week, my organization laid off 150 employees. While I feel fortunate to still have a job, it was awful being on the back-end of all these layoffs, especially since it also meant saying good-bye to people I’ve worked with for many, many years.

Anyway, I don’t come to my blog to dwell on real-life bummers… but between the mood and the sheer amount of work that needed to get done, my reading time this week has been pretty limited and sporadic.

But hey, I did a cute puzzle, so there’s that.

(Sorry, my lighting sucks, but the puzzle really is adorable.)

What did I read during the last week?

How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior: Just a perfect read for me this week — sweet and uplifting! You know those books that you just want to hug? This is one of those. My review is here.

And that’s it! I didn’t manage to finish anything else this week.

Pop culture & TV:

Even more Jane the Virgin! I’m THIS CLOSE to finishing the final season. I’m loving it, and also getting super sad that I’m almost done.

Fresh Catch:

No new books!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Hella by David Gerrold: Sci-fi set on a planet called Hella, because everything there is HELLA huge. (I have to wonder if the author is from the Bay Area… ) It’s entertaining, but I just haven’t made as much progress as I’d hoped to.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Fated Sky (Lady Astronaut, #2) by Mary Robinette Kowal: Getting close to the end! I’m enjoying the audiobook so much. Can’t wait for the next book in the series!

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club’s re-read of Outlander started this past week. We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. Woo hoo! It’s so much fun. And yes, I’ve read this book multiple times already, but it’s always a pleasure to go back to where it all began. Chapter 2 is coming up this week! If you’d like to join in, let me know and I’ll give you the links and info.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 6/15/2020

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.

Although school already ended and my son got his diploma the previous week, this past week we had the virtual graduation. So now it’s doubly official — my baby is a high school graduate!

What did I read during the last week?

Devolution by Max Brooks: Terrific horror from the author of World War Z. My review is here.

The Ghosts of Sherwood by Carrie Vaughn: A fun, entertaining novella about Robin Hood and Marian’s children. A terrific read! Part 2 of the story will be released in August.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: Just finished this lovely audiobook, right in time for my book group’s discussion this week. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

More Jane the Virgin! I’ve just started season 5 — the final season — and I’m already getting a little weepy at the idea of the story coming to an end.

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week. But I did treat myself to a few new jigsaw puzzles! And hey, here’s a tip for my fellow puzzlers out there: While prices are very jacked up on Amazon right now, Barnes & Noble has a good selection at normal, pre-pandemic prices. Score!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior: I adored this author’s debut novel, Ellie and the Harpmaker, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her new book, which releases this week! I’ve read about half. It’s adorable!

Now playing via audiobook:

The Fated Sky (Lady Astronaut, #2) by Mary Robinette Kowal: This is a re-read for me, although my first time on audio. The author narrates these books, and is wonderful. (She narrates many of Seanan McGuire’s audiobooks too — very talented!). Book #3 in the Lady Astronaut series (The Relentless Moon) comes out next month, and I needed a refresher.

Ongoing reads:

Who’s ready for a re-read? Starting this week, Outlander Book Club is doing a group read of Outlander, reading and discussing one chapter per week. Interested in joining in? Let me know, and I’ll share the details.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 6/8/2020

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.

In these disturbing times, it’s nice to find a ray of sunshine at home. Without ceremony of any sort, my son finished high school! There’s supposed to be a virtual graduation taking place later this week, although we don’t know any specifics yet. Meanwhile, the school year ended and he was able to pick up his diploma, so it’s official!

What did I read during the last week?

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins: I ended up loving this new prequel to the Hunger Games trilogy. My review is here.

Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuire: An excellent short story collection from an author who always makes me happy. My review is here.

500 Miles From You by Jenny Colgan: A sweet romance with a Scottish setting from one of my go-to authors! My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

Continuing my Jane the Virgin binge! I’m on season 4 now — still loving it.

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Devolution by Max Brooks: The newest from the author of World War Z. I’m just getting started, but I’m already hooked.

Now playing via audiobook:

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: Amazing! I’m at 80% — hope to finish in the next couple of days.

Ongoing reads:

None at the moment. But next week, Outlander Book Club is starting a group re-read of the book that started it all! We’ll be reading and discussing one chapter of Outlander per week. Interested in joining in? Let me know, and I’ll share the details.

So many books, so little time…

boy1