The Monday Check-In ~ 6/14/2021

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

Life.

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

What did I read during the last week?

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

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

Pop culture & TV:

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

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

Puzzle of the Week:

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

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

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

Now playing via audiobook:

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

Ongoing reads:

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

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

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 6/7/2021

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

Life.

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

What did I read during the last week?

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

I started and abandoned two books this week:

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

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

Pop culture & TV:

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

Puzzle of the Week:

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

Fresh Catch:

Three new books this week:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

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

Now playing via audiobook:

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

Ongoing reads:

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

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

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 5/31/2021

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

Life.

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

What did I read during the last week?

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

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

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

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

Pop culture & TV:

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

Puzzle of the Week:

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

Fresh Catch:

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

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

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

Now playing via audiobook:

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

Ongoing reads:

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

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

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 5/24/2021

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

Life.

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

What did I read during the last week?

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

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

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

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

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

Pop culture & TV:

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

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

Puzzle of the Week:

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

Fresh Catch:

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

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

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

Now playing via audiobook:

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

Ongoing reads:

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

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 5/17/2021

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

Life.

It’s been a busy, crazy workweek — but what else is new? I actually have a day off today, and I’m so looking forward to doing nothing at all…

In blogging news, I finally tackled a project I’ve been putting off for a while now. For the first several years of blogging, for whatever reason, when I posted book reviews, I used the book title but didn’t include the author name in the post title. I’ve been meaning to go back and fix this, but it seemed like a daunting task. But, this week, I finally did it — I went back through HUNDREDS of posts and added the author name to each post title… and I feel like I accomplished something!

What did I read during the last week?

When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn: The 6th Bridgerton book, read on my flight home last weekend. My review is here.

This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith: Powerful, engaging contemporary fiction. My review is here.

Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O’Neal: I loved it! My review is here.

The Album of Dr. Moreau by Daryl Gregory: Terrific sci-fi mash-up! My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

I just finished Shadow & Bone on Netflix. I’m not sure how impressed I am — a lot of it feels like a retread of typical YA fantasy tropes. But, I know there are tons of fans out there. Should I read the books???

Puzzle of the Week:

Back to puzzling! A sweet, fun, kind of simple one this week:

Fresh Catch:

One new book this week — thank you to Orbit for sending a review copy of this gorgeous book! Can’t wait to start it:

And book-related… I made an impulse purchase on EBay that arrived this week! I’m out of shelf space, yet again, and thought a library cart would make a cute addition to my book room. With special thanks to my son, who assembled it for me while I was in a long Zoom meeting.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren: A new book by this author duo is always reason to cheer!

Now playing via audiobook:

Golden Child by Claire Adam: My book group’s pick for May. I’ve made almost no progress, but I’m determined to get through it before my book group discussion.

Ongoing reads:

  • This is it! After over a year, we’re finishing Don Quixote this week!!! Only two chapters to go.
  • Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re doing 5 chapters per week. Let me know if you want to join in — the more, the merrier! This week: Chapters 11-15.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 5/10/2021

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

Life.

Aaaaand… I’m back!

After a quick one-week visit to East Coast family, I’m back home again. It was a great week — I got to see my dad, visited with other family in the area, and met up with dear old friends. Plus, mostly gorgeous weather, so I enjoyed my outdoor time too!

Now, back to the grind… unpacking, doing laundry, back to work.

Sigh. Why can’t every day be a vacation day?

What did I read during the last week?

To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn: The 5th Bridgerton book, read on my flight to New York! My review is here.

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave: Terrific read! I zipped through this book. My review is here.

Sorrowland by RIvers Solomon: A haunting, disturbing book that I can’t quite figure out how to describe. Review to follow, possibly, once I’ve had a bit more time to digest.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams: I finished the audiobook (narrated by Martin Freeman), and it was good, silly fun — but somehow, I seemed to run out of patience by the end. Probably my mistake was listening to two books from this series in a row. I think these books are best experienced in small doses!

This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith: I just finished this moving, sensitive audiobook on Sunday. Highly recommended. Review to follow.

Pop culture & TV:

I watched I Care A Lot while I was away — so dark and twisty, and really fun!

I’ve been watching The Nevers on HBO, and after 4 episodes, I still don’t know if I like it. Great cast, but the story doesn’t actually make a ton of sense. And why “The Nevers” as a title? So far, I haven’t heard that term used once during an episode. Still, it’s entertaining enough that I’ll keep watching for now.

Fresh Catch:

One gorgeous new book arrived while I was away:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn: More Bridgertons! This is #6 in the series, and I’m loving it so far.

Now playing via audiobook:

Golden Child by Claire Adam: My book group’s pick for May. Just getting started.

Ongoing reads:

  • My book group’s classic read is part 2 of Don Quixote. Continuing onward, 3 chapters per week. Current status: 93%. Only 5 chapters to go!
  • Outlander Book Club is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re doing 5 chapters per week. Let me know if you want to join in — the more, the merrier! This week: Chapters 6-10.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 5/3/2021

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

Life.

Wheeeeee…..

Back on the East Coast for another quick family visit!

Apparently, my new airplane habit is reading Bridgerton books! On all three flights I’ve taken so far this year, I’ve finished a Bridgerton book each time. They’re great for passing the long hours, even while cramped into a crowded economy seat!

What did I read during the last week?

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir: Loved it! What a great adventure! My review is here.

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim: Such a lovely book! This was my book group’s pick for April (very appropriate), and we all loved it. I didn’t get a chance to write up a review yet, but I may wait until I watch the movie version (from 1991) and then write something about both.

To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn: The 5th Bridgerton book! Review to follow.

Puzzle of the week:

Yes, I did one! I zipped through it — quite fun.

Pop culture & TV:

I have just two episodes left of Last Tango in Halifax — such a good show! Check it out if you have a chance.

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave: Just starting — but I’ve heard good things so far.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams: Book #2 of the Hitchhiker’s Guide books. I’m so close to my library due date — will I finish in time???

Ongoing reads:

  • My book group’s classic read is part 2 of Don Quixote. Continuing onward, 3 chapters per week. Current status: 91%. Only 8 chapters to go!
  • Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart: I haven’t made any progress in a long time, so I’m moving this back to the TBR pile. It’s interesting, but since it’s set up in encyclopedia format, rather than a narrative, it’s not something that builds any momentum or needs to be read in sequence.
  • Starting today, Outlander book group is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’re doing 5 chapters per week. Let me know if you want to join in — the more, the merrier! This week: Chapters 1 – 5.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 4/26/2021

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

Life.

Just another super-busy workweek! But hey, at least the weather finally cooperated enough for me to get a few walks in.

What did I read during the last week?

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Gorgeous and dramatic – a 5-star read! My review is here.

Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock: A wonderful collection of interconnected stories. And isn’t that an awesome title? My review is here.

The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan: Sweet, funny thoughtful romance. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

I finished watching Staged this week — and if you haven’t had the pleasure, you absolutely have to check it out! I’ve also been continuing my way through Last Tango in Halifax, which is really good — even though I expected something on the lighter side, and it actually gets quite heavy.

Fresh Catch:

I received a paperback ARC of The Quiet Boy, which sounds terrific, and I treated myself to one more L. M. Montgomery book!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir: Only a few chapters in, but I like it so far!

Now playing via audiobook:

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim: I’m almost done! I think I need just one more long walk, and I’ll be finished. A week late for my book group discussion, but that’s okay. It’s a lovely book, and this week we’re all going to watch the movie version too.

Ongoing reads:

  • My book group’s classic read is part 2 of Don Quixote. Continuing onward, 3 chapters per week. Current status: 90%.
  • Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart: Gotta be honest, I haven’t touched this book in a few weeks now. But it’s still on my nightstand, so I’m still considering it an ongoing read!
  • Coming soon: Starting next week, Outlander book group is doing a speed-re-read of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, #8 in the Outlander series. We’ll be doing 5 chapters per week. Let me know if you want to join in — the more, the merrier!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 4/19/2021

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

Life.

We had family visiting from the East Coast this week, which was oodles of fun. Beyond that, just the usual working, reading, and going for walks!

What did I read during the last week?

It’s been a romance-heavy reading week for me! Sometimes, a sweet escape is just what I need.

Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne: Very sweet! My review is here.

Maggie Finds Her Muse by Dee Ernst: A 48-year-old author seeking love and inspiration in Paris. Lovely! My review is here.

The Roommate by Rosie Danan: Explicit yet surprisingly engaging. My review is here.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams: I finished the audiobook, narrated by the awesome Stephen Fry. Just as silly and adorable as I remembered!

The Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian: An unusual subject and time period for this terrific author, but it ended up being a really interesting read. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

My daughter turned me on to Staged on Hulu. I’ve only watched a few episodes, but it’s delightful.

Fresh Catch:

I received two giveaway books this week! Plus, I treated myself to a used copy of yet another Georgette Heyer book.

Puzzle of the week:

I didn’t get to any new puzzles this week… but I did decide to torment myself with a Very Important Puzzling Question. Weigh in here, please.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Just getting started! But I like it so far.

Now playing via audiobook:

I’ve been alternating between two very different audiobooks:

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams: Onward with the 2nd Hitchhiker’s Guide book! This one is narrated by Martin Freeman, and it’s just as fun as you’d expect.

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim: I started this in print, but wasn’t in the right mood and had a hard time concentrating. I’m hoping I’ll have better luck with the audiobook, especially since this is my book group’s pick for April and the discussion is coming up this week!

Ongoing reads:
  • My book group’s classic read is part 2 of Don Quixote. Continuing onward, 3 chapters per week. Current status: 88%.
  • Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart: Gotta be honest, I haven’t touched this book in a few weeks now. But it’s still on my nightstand, so I’m still considering it an ongoing read!
  • On hold: Over at Outlander Book Club, we started our group re-read of Dragonfly in Amber a couple of weeks ago… but we’re putting it on hold now that a release date for the 9th Outlander book has been announced. To prepare for #9, we’ll be starting a re-read of #8 in early May. Stay tuned for details!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 4/12/2021

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

Life.

I got my 2nd vaccine! My immediate household is now completely vaccinated. Woo hoo! I had a rough 24 hours after the vaccine — lots of aches and chills — but it passed, and all is well. I’m just grateful to be able to have gotten vaccinated. Can’t wait to be able to connect with more far-flung family and friends!

What did I read during the last week?

The Light of the Midnight Stars by Rena Rossner: Some beautiful moments, but overall, this book didn’t wow me the way this author’s previous novel did. My review is here.

Near the Bone by Christina Henry. Unputdownable horror. My review is here.

The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski: My 4th Witcher audiobook. Very confusing, but I enjoy the narrator so much! My review is here.

And… I managed to finish two quick, fun, contemporary romances over the weekend. Reviews to follow! Both were very sweet:

Pop culture & TV:

I finished season 1 of Last Tango in Halifax. Definitely recommended!

And in terms of things I loved this week: I’m enjoying the current season of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, and this scene in particular made me so happy:

Confession: I think I’ve watched it 10 times at least!

Fresh Catch:

A lovely stack of new books!

Puzzle of the week:

Another fun puzzle this week! I do seem to have a lot that feature bookstores and libraries. Hmmm… maybe I like books or something?

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Roommate by Rosie Danan: I seem to be on a roll with the contemporary romance genre — maybe because I have a few longer, heavier books waiting for me, and I’m trying to extend the light reading just a bit more before I need to get serious again. In any case, I’ve just started this one, and it looks like it’ll be fun.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams: I’ve been wanting to re-read these books for ages, and I thought the audiobook would be fun — especially since Stephen Fry is the narrator!

Ongoing reads:
  • My book group’s classic read is part 2 of Don Quixote. Continuing onward, 3 chapters per week. Current status: 85%.
  • Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart: This is a fun little guide to all sorts of deadly and dangerous plants. I’m reading in very small bites, and making just teeny bits of progress each week.
  • Over at Outlander Book Club, we’ve just started our group re-read of Dragonfly in Amber, book #2 in the Outlander series. Anyone who is interested is welcome to join the fun — just ask me how! Coming up this week: Chapter 2, “The Plot Thickens”.

So many books, so little time…

boy1