The Monday Check-In ~ 2/20/2017

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:

presday

Three-day weekends rock. Sleep, read, repeat.

What did I read last week?

birds-of-a-feathergirl-before

Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear: Done! I’m participating in a blog tour celebrating the Maisie Dobbs series, and will be posting my thoughts on book #2 on Tuesday.

The Girl Before by JP Delaney: Done! Check out my review, here.

In audiobooks…

Fire Touched

I finished listening to Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs, from which I realized that (a) I read this book so quickly when it was first released that it just didn’t sink in, and (b) my love for the Mercy Thompson series is eternal. I really hadn’t remembered much about the plot of Fire Touched (except the opening scenes — who can forget a giant green troll on a bridge?). I’m glad I revisited this book, so I’ll be 100% ready for the next book as soon as it’s released… March 7th!

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week.

Bookish tech fun:

libib2

My latest obsession is the Libib app (which I heard of thanks to someone else’s blog post this week, and now I can’t remember whose it was!). I’m happily scanning all of the unread books on my shelves so I’ll have a way of keeping track. It’s quite fun. Can’t wait until I’m done and I see how the total number has changed from my last count a year ago.

Oh, and thank you, Goodreads, for finally adding in rereading capabilities! Check out the post about it on the Goodreads blog, here. So now I can document just how much times I’ve read Outlander (5 or 6?), Harry Potter (at least 7 or 8), and all my other faves.

Bookish news:

pullman

Anyone else squeal and/or jump up and down when they heard about Philip Pullman’s upcoming release, The Book of Dust? Just me? Yes, October’s still a long way off, but considering it’s been 17 years since The Amber Spyglass came out, I’m willing to wait just a bit longer to finally get a companion series. Check out the latest news, here.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 mothers-promisesparrow-hill-road

Haven’t quite decided what I feel like reading next — something to pull on my heartstrings or a spooky ghost story?

Now playing via audiobook:

prudence

Prudence by Gail Carriger: After listening to all of Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series audiobooks, I decided to go back to Prudence. I didn’t love it all that much when I first read it (as evidence, check out my original review), but perhaps I just wasn’t in the right mood at the time. I’ve listened to about 25% by now, and it’s quite fun.

Ongoing reads:

MOBYOne Hundred Years of Solitude

My book group is reading and discussing Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon — 2 chapters per week — with an end date coming up in June.

It’s week #2 of Outlander Book Club’s group read of One Hundred Years of Solitude. If you’d like to join in, just ask me how!

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 2/13/2017

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.

Bookish complaint:

Goodreads, stop telling me I’m behind on my 2017 reading challenge! I know I’m behind, okay? Life’s craziness on the rise means my dedicated reading time is in decline. Argh. I’m sure I’ll catch up, but meanwhile, I don’t need the reminder every time I log in!

What did I read last week?

alwaysdevils-cub

Always by Sarah Jio: Finished! My review is here.

Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer: Finished! My first Georgette Heyer… but it won’t be my last. What fun! Check out my thoughts on this book, here.

finishing-school-collage

I finished these audiobooks the week before last, but finally got around to writing about them just now. Check out my thoughts on the terrific Finishing School series, here.

And as for books that I didn’t love… there were a couple I didn’t finish:

gilded-cagefirst-grave

Gilded Cage by Vic James: I didn’t really read enough to justify calling this one a DNF. I picked it up, started it, and realized it just wasn’t working for me. I doubt I’ll come back to it. I know a lot of folks loved this book, but the magical world it describes doesn’t interest me.

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones: Now this one counts as a DNF. I read about 125 pages before the constant snarkiness and silliness got to be too much for me. I decided I wasn’t having enough fun to spend any more time on it.

Fresh Catch:

One new book this week!

norse-mythology

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 birds-of-a-feather

Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear: I’m participating in a blog tour celebrating the Maisie Dobbs series! I’ve only read the first book (review) so far, and I always meant to continue, so I’m delighted to be hosting the blog tour stop, coming up later this month, for book #2 of the ongoing series.

Now playing via audiobook:

Fire Touched

Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs: Finishing up my audio re-read. Man, do I love this series!

Ongoing reads:

MOBYOne Hundred Years of Solitude

My book group is reading and discussing Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon — 2 chapters per week — with an end date coming up in June.

And new this week: Outlander Book Club’s group read of One Hundred Years of Solitude is just getting under way, with discussion of one chapter per week. If you want to join in, let me know. All are welcome!

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 2/6/2017

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 last week?

leviathan-wakesmanners-mutiny

Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey: Loved it! Check out my thoughts on the book (and the TV series based on it), here.

Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger: I just finished the audiobook of the 4th and final book in the charming, delightful Finishing School series. I’ll write up some thoughts as soon as I have a moment to breathe.

Bloggy happiness:

I woke up to this nice notification in the middle of the week:

followed-blog-1000-2x

My little home-grown blog, Bookshelf Fantasies, has hit the 1,000 followers mark!

Thank you to one and all who’ve read my posts, shared some thoughts, and made my blogging life such fun over the past four years! I appreciate you all.

Fresh Catch:

No new physical books this week, but I did snatch up a few e-books with Kindle price drops:

the-last-one lyradirk-gently

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 alwaysgilded-cage

I’m trying not to let myself fall behind on my ARC reading schedule. Next up are two February new releases:

  • Always by Sarah Jio
  • Gilded Cage by Vic James
Now playing via audiobook:

Fire Touched

The next Mercy Thompson book comes out in March, which means it’s the perfect time for me to revisit Fire Touched via audiobook. This series can go on and on forever, as far as I’m concerned!

Ongoing reads:

MOBY

My book group is reading and discussing Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon — 2 chapters per week — with an end date coming up in June.

And an upcoming group read:

One Hundred Years of Solitude

Outlander Book Club has just selected One Hundred Years of Solitude for our next group classic read. We’ll be starting in mid-February, reading and discussing one chapter per week. Interested in joining in? Ask me how!

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 1/30/2017

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 last week?

dusk-or-darkfinishing-3

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire: Done! My review is here.

Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger: Absolutely loved book 3 of the Finishing School series. Onward we go!

Pop culture goodness:

Two more of my favorite TV shows are back!

the-magicians-season-2

The Magicians, season 2 — and…

blacksailsposter

Black Sails — the final season!

Fresh Catch:

Two new books this week!

needful-things kindred-gn

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 leviathan-wakes

Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey: This is a BIG book. I started four days ago, and have only made it to about 50% so far. (Granted, it’s been another busy week with not enough time to read, but still.)

Now playing via audiobook:

manners-mutiny

Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger: I’m on Book the Fourth in Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series — and I have such mixed feelings! I’m loving the book… but I’m sad that I’m almost done! Whatever will I do without Sophronia and the girls of Mademoiselle Geraldine’s?

Ongoing reads:

MOBY

My book group is STILL reading Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon — 2 chapters per week — and will be until June 2017!

And an upcoming group read:

One Hundred Years of Solitude

Outlander Book Club has just selected One Hundred Years of Solitude for our next group classic read. We’ll be starting in mid-February, reading and discussing one chapter per week. Interested in joining in? Ask me how!

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 1/23/2017

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 I couldn’t make it to a march in person, I was with the marchers nationwide in spirit.

pink-pussy-hats

It’s going to be a long four years…

What did I read last week?

martians-abroadsleepwalker

Read and reviewed:

Martians Abroad by Carrie Vaughn: Finished at the end of the previous week; here’s my review.

The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian: Done! My review is here.

Curtsies & Conspiracieslucy-barton

Read but not reviewed:

Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger: I finished the audiobook at the beginning of the week, and adored it.

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout: This was a book group read, which I read all in one day (it’s under 200 pages). I think I need some time to digest it and try to figure out what it all meant. Can’t wait to hear what my book group buddies have to say!

Pop culture goodness:

Three cheers for Amazon Prime! I finally got around to two series I’d been meaning to watch:

mercy-street

I loved season one of Mercy Street! So glad I watched it in time for season 2.

wolf-hall

Wolf Hall — wow. I just finished it last night. Amazing performances.

And on regular old TV, I really enjoyed the premiere of Victoria last weekend on PBS. Looking forward to the whole season!

victoria

Fresh Catch:

I picked up two used books this week. And apparently, I’m very into Civil War-era historical fiction.

sisters-of-shiloh the-march

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 dusk-or-darkleviathan-wakes

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire: Just getting started, but I love the eeriness right from the start of this novella.

Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey: Reading the first book in the series that inspired The Expanse TV series. Season 2 starts soon, and I need to be ready!

Now playing via audiobook:

finishing-3

Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger: Book the Third in Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series is just as delightful as the previous two audiobooks. I’m having a total blast listening to the series!

Ongoing reads:

MOBY

My book group is STILL reading Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon — 2 chapters per week — and will be until June 2017!

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 1/16/2017

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.

Whew. I’m back. I had an intense couple of weeks in Florida, working with my sisters to move our folks into an assisted living facility, close out their old house, and get all the million details of their lives straightened out. It was insane and exhausting, but ultimately went really well. And now I’m home, back to my regular life! Which means I’m easing back into my blogging life as well.

Apologies to anyone who was looking for Shelf Control and Thursday Quotables in the last two weeks — I just couldn’t keep up with my normal blogging routine while I was away. But have no fear! All will be back to normal as of this week, with my Wednesday and Thursday features up and running on schedule.

What did I read last week?

bear-the-nightingalemartians-abroad

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden: Lovely book. My review is here.

Martians Abroad by Carrie Vaughn: Just finished – review to follow.

Fresh Catch:

Two books arrived this week by the same author — one an older book, and one a shiny new release!

sparrow-hill-roaddusk-or-dark

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 sleepwalker

The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian: Planning to start today. A new book by one of my favorite authors is always reason to cheer!

Now playing via audiobook:

Curtsies & Conspiraciesfinishing-3

Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger: I am *this close* to finishing the 2nd book in Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series, and it’s such great fun that I’ll be continuing straight on with book the third, Waistcoats & Weaponry.

Ongoing reads:

MOBY

My book group is STILL reading Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon — 2 chapters per week — and will be until June 2017!

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 1/9/2017

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 away all week on the opposite side of the country from my home, working with my sisters (and my amazing daughter) to move our folks into an assisted living facility. It’s been an intense week of hard work, but also some great family togetherness. Heading back home in a few days. We’ve been putting in very long days, so almost no reading, but I guess I’ll start making up for that on the plane ride home.

So, needless to say, not much bookish news to report this week!

What did I read last week?

second-mrs-hockadayBook Review: Etiquette & Espionage

The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers: I managed to finish one book this past week — a brand new historical novel set during the Civil War. My review is here.

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger: I had a great time with my E&E audiobook reread!

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 bear-the-nightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden: I’ve read about 25% so far, and I’m really loving the fairy tale feel of this novel.

Now playing via audiobook:

Curtsies & Conspiracies

Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger: Continuing onward with my Finishing School series audiobook binge! I never read past book 1, and now I feel silly, because book #2 is off to a fun, sly, quirky start.

Ongoing reads:

MOBY

My book group is STILL reading Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon — 2 chapters per week — and will be until June 2017!

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 1/2/2017

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.

new-year-1904770_1920

Wishing all my bookish friends a healthy and happy 2017!

On a programming note: I’m heading out of town on a family matter, and will be gone for pretty much all of the coming week. My posts here may be few and far between — but I’m sure I’ll be reading plenty!

Year in review:

goodbye-2016

I started working on a year-in-review post to sum up the highs and lows of my 2016 reading… and then I just ran out of steam and didn’t bother finishing it. But even without a year-end post, I’m happy to say that I read lots and lots of amazing books last year! Probably my biggest bookish achievement of 2016 was finally reading Moby Dick — but really and truly, I read a ton of books that I ended up loving.

According to Goodreads:

gr-challenge-2016

Granted, those 190 books includes a whole slew of graphic novels, novellas, and short stories, but still — not too shabby!

What did I read last week?

A graphic novel binge!

buffy-s10

I read all six volumes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – season 10 and the five volumes of Angel & Faith season 10. The Buffy books are phenomenal, showing our beloved characters trying to figure their way forward in the weird dimension known as adulthood. Along with slaying and exploring magical portals… ya know, the usual. The Angel & Faith books are okay. The storyline is somewhat of a parallel to the Buffy books, so I feel like I need to read them, but they’re not nearly as good.

lies-of-lizzie

I also read the new YA release The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti. It was strictly a “fair” read for me. Quick moving, but the story and characters felt forced. The main character is unconvincing, and I just didn’t buy into the basic premise of the plot.

Fresh Catch:

Lovely new books!

buffy-s10v6miniatureswomen-in-the-castle

I’m pretty sure I won The Women in the Castle in a  giveaway, but I never got an email confirmation — the book just showed up in the mail! I’m thrilled of course… but just a little puzzled.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 second-mrs-hockaday

The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers: I’m trying to start the new year right by making a concerted effort to stay on top of my ARCs! This one sounds right up my alley — historical fiction set during the Civil War, centered around a marriage and a mystery. Really looking forward to digging in!

Now playing via audiobook:

Book Review: Etiquette & Espionage

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger: I thought I’d have time to finish E&E this past week, but life got in the way. I’ve listened to 75%, so a few more days should do it… and then I’ll probably move on to the 2nd book in the series.

Ongoing reads:

MOBY

My book group is STILL reading Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon — 2 chapters per week — and will be until June 2017!

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 12/26/2016

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 joy to all, in all of your celebrations!

hanukkahmerry-christmas4

What did I read last week?

Read and reviewed — two terrific books:

perilous-undertakingextreme-makeover

A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn: Done! My review is here.

Extreme Makeover by Dan Wells: Done! My review is here.

Read but not reviewed:

wishful-drinkingws-star-wars

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher: After reading Carrie Fisher’s newest memoir last week (The Princess Diarist, reviewed here), I felt that I just had to hear more! Carrie Fisher is a funny, frank writer who present a straightforward, humorous look at her life, despite all the very non-funny episodes she’s lived through. I read this book just days before Fisher’s current health crisis, and can only hope that we’ll hear good news about her condition shortly.

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars (“Verily, A New Hope) by Ian Doescher: Clearly, I have Star Wars on the brain right now! This Shakespearean retelling of the original Star Wars movie (you know, the first movie… which is #4… whatever) is rather brilliantly written and conceptualized. A play in five acts, this version of Star Wars is written using Shakespearean language and iambic pentameter, with bits of pieces of reworked Shakespearean quotes as well as plenty of movie lines cleverly recast into moving soliloquies and more. It’s just pure geeky fun, and it totally works. For a few samples of the wonders of this quirky book, check out my Thursday Quotables post, here. I understand that there are volumes of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars for each of the six movies in the first two trilogies, and while I loved this one, I’m not quite sure that I could stick with the concept long enough to read all of them. Still, it might not hurt to keep an eye out for The Empire Striketh Back and The Jedi Doth Return, just in case.

Pop culture goodness:

Given what I just wrote above, you may not be all that surprised to hear that I saw Rogue One this week! I’m not a huge, obsessed Star Wars fan or anything, but I did really enjoy the new movie.

rogue-one

In other movie-going news, my son and I went to see Passengers, which was much better than many of the reviews had led me to believe.

passengers

In TV viewing, I binge-watched season one of The Expanse, and loved it. I can’t wait for season 2 (coming in February) — and meanwhile, I may need to give in and read the book it’s based on, Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey.

the-expanse

And finally, it just wouldn’t be the holidays without the Doctor! My family loves to gather round for the Doctor Who Christmas special each year.

doctor-who-xmas

 

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 WWZ

World War Z by Max Brooks: This book has been sitting on my shelf for YEARS. We finally watched the movie version last week (wow, creepy!), and I decided it’s better late than never for reading the book.

Now playing via audiobook:

Book Review: Etiquette & Espionage

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger: I was home sick for a good chunk of last week, and made very little progress with the Etiquette & Espionage audiobook. (I can only focus on audiobooks when I’m up and about and on the go — otherwise, I just fall asleep.) I’m really enjoying the narrator so far. If all goes well, I may keep going with the Finishing School series audiobooks when I’m done with this one.

Ongoing reads:

MOBY

My book group is STILL reading Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon — 2 chapters per week — and will be until June 2017!

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 12/19/2016

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.

spongebob-nervous

Today. Last chance for sanity in this country. I mean, I’m not really holding out hope for a miracle or anything, but still.

I think this SNL skit says it all:

 

What did I read last week?

princess-diaristafter-i-do

Read and reviewed:

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher: Done! My review is here.

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid: Done! My review is here.

howls-moving-castleFarewell to Arms 2

Read but not reviewed:

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones: I started the audiobook but didn’t care for the narrator, then finished this book the old-fashioned way. I can see, in a distant sort of way, why so many people consider it a must-read. The book is quite charming, and I wish I’d read it with my kids when they were the right age. Reading it as an adult, the tale just felt a bit simple and juvenile, although I did enjoy the clever word play and unconventional gender and age roles.

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway: I finished! I feel a bit like a cheater, though. I’ve been reading this with my book group, two chapters per week… and this week, I got to within the last ten chapters and just kept going. So yes, I finished the book early, but I’ll still be a good book group member and participate in the ongoing discussions, and I promise not to reveal any spoilers! So what did I think of it? Well, I’m glad to have finally read this one, but didn’t exactly love it. Objectively speaking, I can see why it’s considered a modern classic and appreciate Hemingway’s unique writing style, but as for my own preferences and enjoyment, it didn’t particularly rock my world or anything.

everything-but-the-squeal

In short fiction, I read Everything But the Squeal by John Scalzi, a novella about a Biological Systems Interface Management worker (in other words, a pig farmer) in the high-tech walled city of New St. Louis. Great fun, especially if you’re already a Scalzi fan.

 Pop culture goodness:

Despite finally catching the cold that everyone else in my household has already had, I did manage to get out to see a movie — and totally loved La La Land!

 

In TV news, I finished watching season 3 of Mozart in the Jungle, which continues to be fabulous. Although I’ve been grumbling… I hate waiting all year for a new season, then bingeing it all in about 4 days and having to wait another year for more new episodes. Grumble, grumble…

mozarts3

Fresh Catch:

I hadn’t been on NetGalley in a while… and went a bit overboard with requests. These requests all came through in the past couple of weeks:

mothers-promisealwaysbear-the-nightingale waking-godsgilded-cagemartians-abroad

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 perilous-undertaking

A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn: This is the second book in the quippy, fast-paced Victorian-era Veronica Speedwell mystery series. (Check out my review of A Curious Beginning, the first in the series).

ws-star-wars

And just for fun, I’m also read William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, which is totally silly and a great diversion. Yea, verily, ’tis a pleasure to read.

Now playing via audiobook:

i-give-you

Just finished: “I Give You My Body”: How I Write Sex Scenes by Diana Gabaldon. I’m a completist, okay? If Diana Gabaldon writes it, I pretty much have to read it. I’m not a writer, but I did find DG’s explanations of technique quite interesting, and I’d imagine someone trying to write effective sex scenes would find something to learn from this book. The audiobook is narrated by Herself, and includes lengthy selections from various works in the Outlander world with the original audiobook narrators, so all around, lots of fun.

Book Review: Etiquette & Espionage

For my next audiobook, I’m about to start Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger. I read Etiquette & Espionage when it first came out, and didn’t love it enough to continue with the series. However, after my Gail Carriger binge last week, I thought I should give the Finishing School books another try, and audio seems like a good approach.

Ongoing reads:

MOBY

My book group is STILL reading Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon — 2 chapters per week — and will be until June 2017!

So many books, so little time…

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