The Monday Check-In ~ 4/27/2020

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.

We had a pretty goofy family Zoom this week — the first one we’ve managed to pull off. It was fun and silly, and just so nice to see everyone’s faces, even from far away.

What did I read during the last week?

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix: Loved it. My review is here.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison: I’m in love with this book! Why didn’t I read it years ago? My review is here.

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor: Really enjoyed this audiobook, and can’t wait to listen to #2! My review is here.

Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally: Wonderful YA. My review is here.

I also had one DNF this week:

Siri, Who Am I? by Sam Tschida: DNF’d at 20%. It was just so dumb. I couldn’t take it a second more.

Pop culture — Outlander, season 5:

Season 5 of Outlander is getting close to the end!

Outlander, episode 510, “Mercy Shall Follow Me” — my reaction post is here.

Only two episodes left this season!

Other TV watching:

I finished Sex Education. Loved it — bring on season 3!

Fresh Catch:

Ooooh. My copy of The Last Emperox arrived! This is the 3rd book in the Interdependency trilogy (my reviews of books 1 & 2 are here and here). So excited to read the conclusion!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

I started reading Of Literature & Lattes by Katherine Reay, and then realized that it’s the follow-up to her previous book, The Printed Letter Bookshop, which I haven’t read. So… I’m detouring back to the first one, before I return to the second!

Now playing via audiobook:

Educated by Tara Westover: Okay, so I’m only about two years behind everyone else! I’m glad to finally be experiencing this powerful memoir. I’m about halfway through the audiobook — it’s great.

Ongoing reads:

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: My book group is reading two chapters per week. I’m still about six chapters behind… but slowly, slowly making an effort to catch up.

Past Prologue by Diana Gabaldon and Steve Berry: Also in book group, we’re doing a group read of this short story featuring the King of Men (Jamie Fraser).

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 4/20/2020

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.

New week, same as the old week! I worked from home, went for walks on sunny days, and that’s it!

I had a couple of Zoom calls with family and friends — it was nice to use Zoom for fun reasons rather than just for work all day, every day. Looking forward to the day when we can see one another’s faces again in person, not just on screens!

What did I read during the last week?

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth: Awesome! My review is here.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman: Such a terrific audiobook. My review is here.

The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi: Book #2 in the Interdependency trilogy — what a great adventure! My review is here.

Pop culture — Outlander, season 5:

Season 5 of Outlander is moving right along. Here’s this week’s newest episode:

Outlander, episode 509, “Monsters and Heroes” — here.

Other TV watching:

I’ve been loving Sex Education on Netflix! I’m almost done with season 2… great to know that there will be another season.

Fresh Catch:

I treated myself to this illustrated edition of Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle. So pretty…

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix: I’m THIS CLOSE to being done. Loving it! I’ll probably have a review up in the next day or two.

And now I’m trying to decide which ARC to read next — I think it’s narrowed down to one of these two:

So much pink!

Now playing via audiobook:

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor: I’ve had this book for a few years, and finally decided to listen to the audiobook. It’s great! So long as it’s sunny enough to go for a walk, I think I’ll finish tomorrow.

Ongoing reads:

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: My book group is reading two chapters per week, and I’ve fallen so far behind! I did manage to squeeze in one chapter during this past week — only 6 or 7 to go until I’m caught up. I think.

Past Prologue by Diana Gabaldon and Steve Berry: Also in book group, we’re doing a group read of this short story featuring the King of Men (Jamie Fraser).

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 4/13/2020

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.

Another week at home! What is there to say? I feel fortunate to still have a job, so I can’t complain.

We had a scare about my father this week, but fortunately, it looks like he just had a day of not feeling well and not something worse. Fingers crossed. Meanwhile, three cheers for the brave and hardworking health care workers in all of our lives!

What did I read during the last week?

The Book of Koli by M. R. Carey: Loved it! My review is here.

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey: Awesome novella. My review is here.

Fantastic Hope edited by Laurell K. Hamilton and William McCaskey: The whole reason I requested this anthology from NetGalley was to get my hands on the new Patricia Briggs story — and I was not disappointed in the slightest! Asil and the Not Date is a fun, exciting adventure for the dangerous old werewolf, and I always love getting to see him in action. A must for fans of the Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega series! I’ll pick my way through the rest of the stories in this collection, but the Briggs story was what motivated me, and I loved it.

Pop culture — Outlander, season 5:

After a week off, Outlander is back! Here’s my reaction to the newest episode:

Outlander, episode 508, “Famous Last Words” — here.

Other TV watching:

Hey, I posted a thing about why I love Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist so much — check it out!

And…

I watched Little Women! I have… thoughts about it. I loved it, but also kind of didn’t — not that that makes any sense. The sequencing of the story really changes some of the impact of the plot elements, and I just couldn’t get over the portrayal of Amy or the ending of the movie. But I’m glad I saw it!

Also, I finished Derry Girls! Which, if you haven’t watched it yet, is a two-season series about girls growing up in Northern Ireland in the 90s, and it’s hilarious. Now streaming on Netflix…

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week… but I decided to order a few books through my favorite local bookstore, now that they’ve reopened for mail order business, because I love them and want them to thrive. See, I get to buy books and feel good about it! Can’t wait for my orders to arrive.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth: I put in a request for this e-book at the library earlier this week, and the confirmation message said it would take about 20 weeks for my hold to come in. And then two days later, it was available! I have no idea how that worked out, but I’m glad it did. Really enjoying the book so far!

Now playing via audiobook:

Beartown by Fredrik Backman: I’m so close to being done! I have to resist the urge to finish up via my paper copy to see how it all turns out. I’m really enjoying the audiobook.

Ongoing reads:

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: I don’t know why I’m still including this book as if I’m actually reading it. It’s my book group’s ongoing read, and I’m at least three weeks behind. Will I ever catch up? It remains to be seen… but I’m not feeling especially motivated at the moment.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 4/6/2020

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.

Well, that was a week. Insane. I won’t bore you with the details, but despite getting to work in my sweats all day, every day, it’s still been the most intense workweek of my life.

Fortunately, I got to more or less take the weekend off, except for answering emails and trying to catch up on a few odds and ends.

In terms of reading and blogging, I barely did either one! I don’t think I touched a book at all from Sunday until Thursday, which gives you a sense of just how crazy things have been. And I apologize for how absent I’ve been from the blogging community! I usually love to visit everyone’s blogs and keep up to date, and this week, I just couldn’t. But I promise — I’ll be back! Can’t wait to catch up on what everyone else has been reading and blogging about.

The good news is, I think I’m past the worst of it, work-wise… We shall see. And meanwhile, I hope to at least be able to read every day once again!

What did I read during the last week?

Honestly, almost nothing.

The Space Between by Diana Gabaldon: My book group finished our group re-read of this Outlander-verse novella this past week. It’s an interesting story, but doesn’t feel essential to the greater world of Outlander… unless somehow these events end up connecting to the plot of book #9, whenever that comes along.

Pop culture — Outlander, season 5:

No new episodes this week, but here’s my reaction post from last Sunday’s episode:

Outlander, episode 507, “The Ballad of Roger Mac” — here.

Other TV watching:

I finished re-watching The Witcher. And yup, it’s just as good the 2nd time around! Plus, there are timeline and story hints that are much more obvious with repeat viewing. I think I’ll head back to the books pretty soon, because I need me some more Witcher in my life, and it sounds like it’ll be a while before we’re gifted with season 2.

My daughter convinced me to watch Derry Girls. It’s a hoot! And I love that (a) episodes are 30 minutes, and (b) there are only six episodes per season.

And, I watched Emma — the new movie version! Somehow, the 1996 version with Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam is the one that is firmly stuck in my brain as THE Emma adaptation, but I did enjoy this one a lot. Interesting visuals and direction, talented cast — all-around entertaining.

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Book of Koli by M. R. Carey: I had a very slow start because of my super intense week… but once the smoke cleared a bit, I dove back in, and I’m loving it!

Now playing via audiobook:

Beartown by Fredrik Backman: I’ve only made the slightest dent in this audiobook, but I’m hoping to get back into a regular walking and listening pattern this week!

Ongoing reads:

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: My book group’s current classic read. I’m a few weeks behind already, but I swear I’ll catch up. Eventually.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 3/30/2020

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.

Hey, hey, check out my groovy home office! I’m not really as techie as this makes me look — The laptop and one monitor are for work, and the other monitor is connected to my home computer. (Yup, that’s the one with Goodreads up on the screen!)

It’s been an insane week, and an even more insane weekend. I don’t talk about my day job too often here on my blog, but I work in HR, and this week a lot of stuff came to a boiling point. ‘Nuff said.

I’m hoping that by next weekend, I can actually have a weekend!

What did I read during the last week?

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune: 100% loved this book! My review is here.

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert: Parts of this audiobook were super cute, and parts were absolutely cringe-worthy. My review is here.

The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren: Light, fluffy fun. My review is here.

Pop culture — Outlander, season 5:

My brain was ready to explode by Sunday night, so I did not even watch the new Outlander episode yet! If that doesn’t tell you what kind of week I had, nothing will.

Other TV watching:

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is just the cutest thing ever! Okay, sure, the plot doesn’t totally make sense (young professional suddenly starts hearing everyone’s innermost thoughts as songs that they sing and dance to her), but it’s really, really fun and upbeat. And the music is amazing!

Also, my son decided that he finally wanted to watch The Witcher, and I was happy to agree to keep him company while he watched. Now I have an excuse to bask in the glory of Geralt and Yennefer again… and to sing “Toss A Coin To Your Witcher” at every waking moment.

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Book of Koli by M. R. Carey: Just getting started. I love the strange world-building so far, but I’m afraid that this book might take more concentration than I’m capable of right now. Deep breaths…

Now playing via audiobook:

Beartown by Fredrik Backman: Also just starting — I haven’t had time to listen for the past couple of days, so I may have to start again from the beginning. But I’m excited to finally read/listen to this book!

Ongoing reads:

The Space Between by Diana Gabaldon: The latest in Outlander Book Club’s group read-alongs. Almost done.

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: My book group’s newest classic read is now underway. We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 3/23/2020

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, that’s one week of sheltering in place! Who knows how many more to go… I hope everyone is staying safe and cozy and healthy at home, with lots and lots of books to keep you company.

What did I read during the last week?

Hearts of Oak by Eddie Robson: Loved it! So weird and amazing. My review is here.

Becoming by Michelle Obama: Incredibly powerful and inspiring. My review is here.

Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson, #12) by Patricia Briggs: I love this series, and this new book was exactly what I needed this week! My review is here.

Read but not reviewed:

Nevertheless, She Persisted: This e-book freebie is a collection of flash fiction by some amazing writers, all starting with those famously awful words: She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted. Definitely worth checking out!

Alone With the Stars by David R. Gillham: This Audible original was free last month, and I’m glad I gave it a try! This brief story (under 3 hours) cuts back and forth between Amelia Earhart on her final flight and a teen-aged girl in Florida who picks up her distress signals. It’s moving and nicely narrated — and made me want to find more to read about Amelia Earhart.

Pop culture — Outlander, season 5:

Here’s my latest Outlander reaction post:

Episode 506, “Better To Marry Than Burn” (3/2/2020) – here

Other TV watching:

My son and I watched Jumanji: The Next Level, and you know what? It’s a perfect diversion for these crazy days. We laughed. A lot.

A Quiet Place was so creepy! I’m glad we watched during the day while the sun was shining.

And…. I watched To All The Boys – PS I Still Love You. It was cute, but considering how much I loved the first movie, this one was just okay.

Fresh Catch:

Thanks, Orbit, for sending me this:

Can’t wait to get started!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune: Really fun so far. And another book with a terrific cover!

Now playing via audiobook:

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert: Sometimes, light and sweet is exactly what’s needed. Even though it’s a little more explicit than I tend to prefer in my romance stories.

Ongoing reads:

The Space Between by Diana Gabaldon: The latest in Outlander Book Club’s group read-alongs. A very fun re-read.

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: My book group’s newest classic read is now underway. We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 3/16/2020

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.

It’s hard to focus on reading and blogging when real-life feels like something out of a sci-fi novel. So while reading is always my favorite distraction, I was actually too distracted to do more than a bit of reading this week.

What did I read during the last week?

The Deep by Alma Katsu: I’d been so looking forward to this book… but unfortunately, just didn’t enjoy it very much. My review is here.

The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt by Andrea Bobotis: My book group’s pick for March — which I actually managed to finish before our discussion date! My review is here.

Pop culture — Outlander, season 5:

Hey, hey — go me! I actually watched Outlander early enough on Sunday that I was able to write up my reaction post the same day! So, here’s the latest:

Episode 505, “Perpetual Adoration” (3/15/2020) – here

And here are my posts for the earlier episodes:
Episode 504, “The Company We Keep” (aired 3/8/2020) – here.
Episode 503, “Free Will” (aired 3/1/2020) – here.
Episode 502, “Between Two Fires” (aired 2/23/2020) – here.
Episode 501, “The Fiery Cross” (aired 2/16/2020) – here.

Other TV watching:

I finished my Gilmore Girls binge! Whew. What a ride! And I have feelings about it all, which I’ll attempt to write up sometime this week. I’m going to take a little pause before watching A Year in the Life… I think I need to allow a little time to pass.

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week… unless you count the few new Kindle books I scooped up!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Hearts of Oak by Eddie Robson: Just started late Sunday — it sounds weird and wonderful, and I love the cover!

Now playing via audiobook:

Becoming by Michelle Obama: Excellent! I have just a few hours of listening left.

Ongoing reads:

The Space Between by Diana Gabaldon: The latest in Outlander Book Club’s group read-alongs. A very fun re-read.

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: My book group’s newest classic read is now underway. We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 3/9/2020

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 been very distracted this week, which means not so much reading. At work, we’re in 24/7 contingency planning mode as the coronavirus spreads, and I ended up spending all weekend working on planning as well. Scary times. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!

What did I read during the last week?

I only managed to finish one book this week! It’s just been hard to concentrate, let alone find quiet time to curl up with a book.

A Murderous Relation by Deanna Raybourn: This Victorian romp was exactly the kind of escape from reality that I needed! My review is here.

Pop culture — Outlander, season 5:

You want to know how crazy this week has been? I didn’t even watch the newest episode of Outlander yet! Here are my reaction posts for the three that I’ve watched so far — hoping to get to episode 504 tomorrow night.

Episode 503, “Free Will” (aired 3/1/2020) – here.
Episode 502, “Between Two Fires” (aired 2/23/2020) – here.
Episode 501, “The Fiery Cross” (aired 2/16/2020) – here.

Other TV watching:

My Gilmore Girls obsession continues! I’m on season 7 now, and let me just say, I am NOT HAPPY with recent turn of events. Just a big NOPE. But I don’t want spoilers (although I kind of do), so I’m just silently fuming as I watch.

Fresh Catch:

Ooh, new books!

Now I just need the time to read them all.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Deep by Alma Katsu: Hmm. I’m at about 33%, and I’m not actually loving it so far, which is weird — hauntings and the Titanic should be a winning combo for me.

Now playing via audiobook:

Becoming by Michelle Obama: I’m loving this audiobook!

Ongoing reads:

The Space Between by Diana Gabaldon: The latest in Outlander Book Club’s group read-alongs. A very fun re-read.

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: My book group’s newest classic read is now underway. We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 3/2/2020

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.

 

Things only booklovers understand:

Waking up in the middle of the night absolutely consumed with worry about what happens next to the character in the audiobook I’m listening to… and tossing and turning for the rest of the night until I could finally keep listening. (It turned out fine, but boy, was I fretting!)

Being able to give her a hug would have helped a lot.

 

What did I read during the last week?

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi: The first book in a sci-fi trilogy that had been patiently waiting on my shelf for far too long. My review is here.

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle: Just gorgeous. My review is here.

In audiobooks:

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan: I know this author sometimes get pigeon-holed as “chick lit” (ugh, I hate that term)… but honestly, she just writes good, uplifting, heartfelt stories about interesting and unusual people. This one was a treat! My review is here.

Pop culture — Outlander, season 5:

I’m keeping up with my tradition of writing a reaction post after each new Outlander episode — and attempting to get them up the same night the episodes air, which isn’t always possible. So, here are my two most recent:

This week: Episode 503, “Free Will” (aired 3/1/2020) – here.
Last week: Episode 502, “Between Two Fire” (aired 2/23/2020) – here.

Other TV watching:

I’m so obsessed with Gilmore Girls that it’s kind of funny. I mean, I lost sleep over a few episodes in season 5 this past week because I was so upset by a break-up and was desperate to know if they got back together… but absolutely refused to Google it and look for spoilers. Anyway, I’m now on season 6, and loving it, of course.

 

 

 

 

Fresh Catch:

One new book this week:

Resistance is Futile by Jenny T. Colgan: Yes, the same author as the audiobook I finished above, but with a variation on her name that she uses for her sci-fi works. And I really need to start writing down who recommended books to me, because I first saw this book on on someone else’s blog within the past couple of weeks and knew I had to get it… and now I don’t remember who recommended it! Whoever you are, thank you!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

A Murderous Relation by Deanna Raybourn: The 5th book in the enchanting Veronica Speedwell series! These books are a hoot — I’m so excited to be starting the new one.

Now playing via audiobook:

Becoming by Michelle Obama: I treated myself to a copy of this book over a year ago. It’s about time for me to finally read it! I’ve just barely started, but I’m loving listening to Michelle Obama narrate her own book.

Ongoing reads:

The Space Between by Diana Gabaldon: The latest in Outlander Book Club’s group read-alongs. This is yet another terrific novella set in the wider world of the Outlander series. It’s a re-read for me, and I’m enjoying it all over again.

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: My book group’s newest classic read is now underway. We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 2/24/2020

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.

Where did my weekend go? I want a do-over!

What did I read during the last week?

Meat Cute by Gail Carriger: An absolutely adorable novella that finally tells the story of Alexia and Connal’s first meeting and that unfortunate hedgehog incident that started it all! And if you have no idea what I’m talking about… well, this is a prequel story set in the world of the Parasol Protectorate, which is one of my very favorite series of all times!

The Secret Commonwealth (The Book of Dust, #2) by Philip Pullman: I had such mixed feelings about this book. My thoughts are here.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver: Sad but life-affirming contemporary romance. My review is here.

When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk: Moving YA novel. My review is here.

In audiobooks:

Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs: This was a re-read for me, and I loved it all over again! And now I’m 100% ready for the new Mercy book coming next month!

Pop culture — Outlander, season 5:

We’re now two episodes into season 5 of Outlander! For past seasons, I’ve posted my reaction posts right after each new episode, but somehow Sunday nights have become extra hectic lately. So… while I’ve already watched the 2nd episode, my write-up will have to wait a day or two.

Meanwhile, from last week:

Episode 501, “The Fiery Cross” (aired 2/16/2020) – check out my thoughts here.

Fresh Catch:

One of these things is not like the others…

Oh, that sinking feeling when your book order arrives and you discover that one book in the series has different dimensions than the others. Why, book gods, why? Ah well, I’m still excited to have a bunch of Witcher books ready to enjoy.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi: Considering I bought this book about two years ago, it’s about time I finally read it.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan: I can always count on this author to lift my spirits!

Ongoing reads:

The Space Between by Diana Gabaldon: The latest in Outlander Book Club’s group read-alongs. This is yet another terrific novella set in the wider world of the Outlander series. It’s a re-read for me, and I’m enjoying it all over again.

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: My book group’s newest classic read is now underway. We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week.

So many books, so little time…

boy1