Monday, July 15, 2019

Midsummer Reading Update



Well, maybe not officially midsummer, but suddenly it's the middle of July! Can you believe that? Generally, my reading slows down a bit during the summer, but this year I seem to be slower than ever. And what with all the Wimbledon tennis to watch the last couple of weeks, I find I'm still reading the same couple of books I was reading at the end of June....

Mrs. Everything, by Jennifer Weiner

and...

Recursion, by Blake Crouch

I'm enjoying both of those, but for some reason I can't seem to keep reading either one long enough to finish. Hoping to get through them this week so I can start this one (a "win" from a GoodReads giveaway):

Curtains for Romeo, by Jessa Archer

That's the plan, anyway. So...back to the books.

Happy reading, everyone! And have a lovely week.



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. If you want to let the world know what you're going to be reading this week, head on over to her blog and leave your link. It's also a great way to discover new books and new blogs.


Friday, June 28, 2019

Book Beginnings: Old Baggage


Old Baggage: A Novel, by Lissa Evans (Harper Perennial, 2018). These are the book's opening lines:
Part I
1928
Mattie always carried a club in her handbag — just a small one, of polished ash. That was the most infuriating aspect of the whole episode: she'd actually been armed when it happened.
************

About the Book:
Matilda "Mattie" Simpkin is a woman with a thrilling past and a chafingly uneventful present. During the Women’s Suffrage Campaign she was a militant. Jailed five times, she marched, sang, gave speeches, smashed windows and heckled Winston Churchill, and nothing – nothing – since then has had the same depth, the same excitement. 
Now in middle age, she is still looking for a fresh mold into which to pour her energies. But what starts as a brilliantly idealistic plan is derailed by a connection with Mattie’s militant past, one which begins to threaten every principle that she stands for. (--excerpted from publisher's description)

Initial Thoughts:

I love a woman who can take care of herself! And Mattie Simpkin certainly seems to fit that description.

Lissa Evans is a new author for me, and so far I'm really loving her novel. Hoping to finish it up later on tonight.

Happy Friday and happy reading, everyone! And have a lovely weekend.



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday.  As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


Monday, June 10, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?



Didn't finish any books last week. I was involved in a poetry-reading get together this weekend, and I ended up spending a great deal of last week tracking down some poems to read. It was fun, but unfortunately cut into my overall reading time a bit more than I'd expected. By the way, if you're looking for poetry to read aloud, a couple of good online resources are:

So this week I'm pretty much still reading what I had going last week....mainly:


Recursion, by Blake Crouch



The Patience of a Dead Man, by Michael Clark



The Last Romantics, by Tara Conklin

Three very different books — a nice variety. That's probably more than I'll likely get through, but it's good to have goals. Right?

Happy reading, everyone! And have a lovely week.



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. If you want to let the world know what you're going to be reading this week, head on over to her blog and leave your link. It's also a great way to discover new books and new blogs.


Monday, June 03, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?



So here we are at the beginning of another month. June!!!  2019 is almost half over, and I'm nowhere near halfway through all the books I'm hoping to read this year. Which is pretty normal around here, actually.

May wasn't a terrible month for me, reading-wise — but it wasn't stellar. I managed to finish three books....


Light from Other Stars, by Erika Swyler
Little Darlings, by Melanie Golding
The Invited, by Jennifer McMahon

and almost finish one more:

The Vicious Vet (Agatha Raisin #2), by M.C. Beaton

My goal for this week is to get those reviewed, and then start on my June list which includes all of these:


We Were Killers Once (Brigid Quinn #4), by Becky Masterman
The Patience of a Dead Man, by Michael Clark
Mrs. Everything, by Jennifer Weiner
Recursion, by Blake Crouch

So I've definitely got enough to keep me busy for a while. And now I'm gonna go see what everybody else is reading — and probably add a few more books to my already ridiculously-huge "MUST READ" list.

Happy reading, everyone! And have a lovely week.



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. If you want to let the world know what you're going to be reading this week, head on over to her blog and leave your link. It's also a great way to discover new books and new blogs.


Saturday, June 01, 2019

Summer Reading Events

I really should not be looking at new reading challenges, since I haven't been doing all that well with the ones I've already signed up for this year. But a few interesting challenges/events have shown up on my radar recently. Don't know if I'll be joining in, but these look like fun....


The Sci-Fi Summer Readathon is hosted by Michelle @ Seasons of Reading, and runs from June 1st (hey, that's today!) through the 14th. Two whole weeks of reading devoted to sci-fi or fantasy. Click here for guidelines and sign-ups.



20 Books of Summer, 2019 edition — hosted by Cathy @ 746Books — runs from June 3rd to September 3rd. This sounds like a great way to knock off some of those books you've been meaning to get to all year, but just haven't managed yet. And it doesn't have to be 20 books — could be 15 or even 10, and you can change your target list at any time. Click here to read all about it.



Then there's also a summer version of the COYER challenge — the COYER Summer Hunt, hosted by Michelle @ Because Reading is Better Than Real Life. The regular COYER challenges are usually a little more structured than I like, but this one is much looser, as Michelle says: "Normally you’re only allowed to read eBooks that were less than $5 for COYER, but since this is Summer Vacation you can read whatever you want!"

Summer COYER begins June 1st and runs until August 31st, and sign-ups will be open until Saturday, July 6th. Click here for more guidelines and sign-ups.


Friday, May 31, 2019

Book Beginnings: The Vicious Vet


The Vicious Vet (Agatha Raisin series, Book 2), by M.C. Beaton (first published 1993). These are the book's opening lines:
Agatha Raisin arrived at London's Heathrow Airport with a tan outside and a blush of shame inside. She felt an utter fool as she pushed her load of luggage towards the exit.

About the Book:
Feisty Agatha Raisin, former London PR exec, has retired to a quiet Cotswold village. After handsome vet Paul Bladen accidentally kills himself while attending Lord Pendlebury's horse, Agatha and her attractive neighbor James Lacey investigate the curious lack of sorrow shown by Bladen's divorced wife. Meanwhile, a killer plans another "accident."
Initial Thoughts:

Well, that first paragraph seems perfectly plausible — Agatha Raisin generally spends a lot of time feeling foolish.

I read the first Agatha Raisin book (The Quiche of Death) earlier this year and loved it, so I thought I'd get on with another in the series. It's unusual for me to read cozies in the proper order — for some reason, I usually start with the most recent and then work my way back. But I think the Agatha series would be fun in any order you choose.

Hope you're enjoying all your current reading. Happy Friday, everyone! And have a lovely weekend.



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday.  As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


Thursday, May 16, 2019

Book Beginnings: Light from Other Stars


Light from Other Stars, by Erika Swyler (Bloomsbury Publishing, May 2019). Here's how it starts:
Aboard Chawla 
Nedda Papas rose to birdsong, the sharp, rasping call of a dusky seaside sparrow against a backdrop of waves — a reminder of home and things she'd never see again.
About the Book:
Swyler's new novel is "at once a wistfully nostalgic coming-of-age tale and a profound work of horror-tinged science fiction." (Kirkus Review)

Initial Thoughts:

I don't read as much sci-fi as I once did, but the sound of this one appealed to me. I read Swyler's earlier novel, The Book of Speculation, and didn't like it as much as most other readers seemed to. But so far, this one is definitely holding my attention.

Hope you're enjoying all your current reading. Happy Friday, everyone! And have a lovely weekend.



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday.  As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


Friday, May 03, 2019

Book Beginnings: The Invited


The Invited, by Jennifer McMahon (Doubleday, April 2019). This is the book's first sentence:
It had started when Hattie was a little girl.

About the Book:
The Invited is the story of a husband and wife who don't simply move into a haunted house, they start building one from scratch, without knowing it, until it's too late . . . (from GoodReads)

Initial Thoughts:

Well, of course I'm wondering who Hattie is, and WHAT started when Hattie was a little girl. And since this story is all about a haunted house, I'm thinking whatever it was is going to be nice and spooky.

Also thinking it's a little weird that I just got finished with a book called The Uninvited. Which was also a ghost story. Something of a pattern going on here, hmmm?

This is one of the books I was planning to read in April, so I'm a little late getting started. So far, I seem to be running late on just about everything this year. Just like last year!

Hope you're enjoying all your current reading. Happy Friday, everyone! And have a lovely weekend.



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday.  As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.

Monday, April 08, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?



OK, it's Monday! But also — it's APRIL!!!! This year is movin' along much too fast, and my reading is going much too slow. Yeah — what else is new, right?

So this week I'm trying to get myself back into the reading groove, and I'm doing it with something I'm almost certain to love — one of Rex Stout's classic Nero Wolfe mysteries from the 1950s:



I've read quite a few of the Nero Wolfe series, but this is one I've missed up to now. I'm only a few pages in, but enjoying it so far.

If I manage to finish that one quickly, I've got several books I need to read and review this month. Three likely candidates:


Little Darlings, the debut novel by Melanie Golding
The Invited, a suspense novel by Jennifer McMahon
We Were Killers Once, the latest Brigid Quinn mystery, by Becky Masterman

Hmmm. Just noticed how those covers for The Invited and We Were Killers Once sort of echo each other. Odd. Well, anyway....

Certainly enough to keep me busy. Now if I can just keep all that pesky real-life stuff from sneaking up on my reading, I'll be fine.

Happy reading, everyone! And have a lovely week.



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. If you want to let the world know what you're going to be reading this week, head on over to her blog and leave your link. It's also a great way to discover new books and new blogs.


Friday, March 22, 2019

Book Beginnings: Run Away


Run Away, by Harlan Coben (Grand Central Publishing, March 2019). This is the book's first line:
Simon sat on a bench in Central Park — in Strawberry Fields, to be more precise — and felt his heart shatter.

About the Book:
Simon Greene's college-age daughter Paige has gone missing. Addicted to drugs and under the control of her abusive boyfriend Aaron, she disappeared and made it clear that she didn't want to be found. 
But alerted by a conversation with a co-worker, Simon learns that Paige has been seen playing guitar in Central Park. He finds her but she's not the girl he remembers and was hoping to find. This new Paige is living on the edge, frightened, and clearly needs help. However, when Simon approaches her to beg her to come home, she runs away. And without really thinking, he follows her into a dangerous world, darker than any he ever knew existed. He feels he must try to protect her and save her from those dangers, but in doing so he puts his own life on the line, along with the lives of the family he loves.

Initial Thoughts:

I've been meaning to read something by Harlan Coben for years now. So when I was offered an advance copy of Run Away, I snapped it right up. And wow, I'm so glad I did. It took me a while to get started on it (too much "real life" stuff getting in the way of my reading), but I'm about halfway through now and loving it. Hoping to finish it up later today. Very happy to have found a new favorite author!

And I hope you're enjoying your current reading, too. Happy Friday, everyone! And have a lovely weekend.



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday.  As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.

Monday, March 11, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


I've been really bad about blogging this year (or maybe I should say I've been really good at not blogging). Too many "real-life" things going on, these last couple of months. I have been reading, but haven't had much time for writing about it. (Things might be settling down now — fingers crossed!)

In February I finished a couple of books, one new work...


Murder Theory, by Andrew Mayne
(Book #3 in Mayne's The Naturalist series)

and one classic:


O Pioneers!, by Willa Cather
(The first book in her Great Plains Trilogy)

Didn't enjoy Murder Theory as much as I was expecting to, probably because I haven't read the earlier books in the series. But it wasn't terrible. On the other hand, its cover gets my vote as one of the worst I've ever seen.

Fortunately, O Pioneers! turned out to be a glorious read — so all was not lost in February's bookish world.

Right now I've got two books going — The Last Romantics, by Tara Conklin, and The Stranger Diaries, by Elly Griffiths.




Both are ARCs that I really should have finished last month, but you know how that goes.

Happy reading, everyone! And have a lovely week.



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. If you want to let the world know what you're going to be reading this week, head on over to her blog and leave your link. It's also a great way to discover new books and new blogs.


Friday, February 22, 2019

Book Beginnings: Barry Lyndon


Barry Lyndon, by William Makepeace Thackeray (first published 1844). Also sometimes called The Luck of Barry Lyndon, or The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon. These are the book's opening lines:
CHAPTER I.  MY PEDIGREE AND FAMILY—UNDERGO THE INFLUENCE OF THE TENDER PASSION
Since the days of Adam, there has been hardly a mischief done in this world but a woman has been at the bottom of it.

About the Book:
"Barry Lyndon" is the fictional autobiography of an adventurer and rogue. Born into the petty Irish gentry, and outmaneuvered in his first love affair, a ruined Barry volunteers for the British army. After seeing service in Germany he deserts and pursues the career of a gambler in the dissolute clubs and courts of Europe. In a determined effort to enter fashionable society, he marries a titled heiress but only to find himself easily outwitted.
Initial Thoughts:

Well, that's certainly a very non-PC way of looking at things, isn't it?

I've been looking around for a 19th Century classic to read for the Back to the Classics Reading Challenge, and this might be it. Barry Lyndon has been on my "must read" list for decades. Loved the Kubrick movie, but somehow I've never gotten around to reading the book. Maybe this could be the year.

Happy reading, everyone! And have a lovely weekend.



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday.  As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Book Beginnings: The Last Romantics


The Last Romantics, by Tara Conklin (William Morrow, February 2019). These are the book's first lines:
Year 2079
At first I believed the girl to be an apparition. A ghost. She rose from the crowd in the auditorium and walked to the microphone.
About the Book:
When the renowned poet Fiona Skinner is asked about the inspiration behind her iconic work, The Love Poem, she tells her audience a story about her family and a betrayal that reverberates through time. 
It begins in a big yellow house with a funeral, an iron poker, and a brief variation forever known as the Pause: a free and feral summer in a middle-class Connecticut town. Caught between the predictable life they once led and an uncertain future that stretches before them, the Skinner siblings—fierce Renee, sensitive Caroline, golden boy Joe and watchful Fiona—emerge from the Pause staunchly loyal and deeply connected. Two decades later, the siblings find themselves once again confronted with a family crisis that tests the strength of these bonds and forces them to question the life choices they’ve made and ask what, exactly, they will do for love.  (—Publisher's website)
Initial Thoughts:

Haven't started this one yet, so I don't really know what I think of it. But it's an Early Reviewer book from Library Thing, and I've had it for several weeks now — so it's next on my to-read list. I've been in a bit of a reading slump lately, and I'm hoping this one will help nudge me out of it.

We'll see how that goes.

Happy reading, everyone! And have a lovely weekend.



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday.  As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Book Beginnings: O Pioneers!


O Pioneers! by Willa Cather (first published 1913). These are the first lines of Chapter One:
One January day, thirty years ago, the little town of Hanover, anchored on a windy Nebraska tableland, was trying not to be blown away.  A mist of fine snowflakes was curling and eddying about the cluster of low drab buildings huddled on the gray prairie, under a gray sky. 

About the Book:
Alexandra Bergson inherits the family farm when her father dies early. In spite of her brothers’ doubts, her ambitious vision for the land comes to fruition, but the price of success appears to be a small, quiet life. Then the equilibrium of country life is jeopardized by the return of Alexandra’s brother Emil and her childhood confidant, Carl Linstrum. 
O Pioneers! is at once a love letter to Nebraska and the tale of a remarkable heroine who remains resilient in the face of tragedy. (-- Penguin Books website)

Initial Thoughts:

I've tried to read Cather's O Pioneers! many times, but never got much farther than the opening paragraphs. I always found it just a little too — well, slow. Maybe depressing. Just take a look at those first sentences. See what I mean?

But I'm thinking of giving it one more chance this year, for the Back to the Classics Reading Challenge. It's a short book — I should be able to stick with it for the sake of the challenge. Maybe. We'll see....

Even though I've never managed to get all the way through the book, over the years I've bought several copies. The covers can be very seductive.


Happy reading, everyone! And have a lovely weekend.



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday.  As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.