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March Wrap-Up

And with a blink of the eye, the first quarter of the year is over. and I have to say this, holy shit, time is flying! This month seemed to speed by – of course, it helped that I was traveling for two weeks so I had nothing to really do but go to the class I was attending, workout and read – without all the distractions of home (although I missed my pup like mad) – see obligatory picture…this is her common pose while i’m laying on the couch reading (or working out in the basement). The end of March saw a most gorgeous weekend with temps in the 70’s – which meant I got to sit outside, get some Vitamin D and finish up the month with some solid reading. Overall for March, my total was 29 books – so right in line with what I read last month and in January (for a current total of 89 books for the year).

New Authors Discovered:
I kick off the month with two new to me authors – that I know I will definitely read more of in the future – my first experience with reading Sylvain Neuval came from his dystopian novella set in the UK where immigrants have to sit a test to determine if they are worthy enough to be granted citizenship. I followed very quickly with The Girls of 17 Swann Street (Yara Zgheib) – which was an emotional look into a residence facility for women with eating disorders. For me it provided a very stark reminder of how fragile life is and how eating habits can transition over time into an eating disorder – but how there is help available. I don’t know if the author had ever been in one of these treatment facilities – but she had an insight that seemed to be very realistic. Finally, while I was traveling, a book that I had on reserve on overdrive for like 2 months came available for me to listen to – so I also discovered Dani Shapiro – though her memoir, Inheritance.

Diversity Challenge
One of my favorite books of March was one that I found when I was scrolling through a list of new releases for March – which was also one of the new to me authors I discovered – The Girls of 17 Swann Street which helped me with my diversity challenge as it featured characters who suffer from a mental disorder (anorexia, as it has a heavy mental component). This was one of those books that I started reading Sunday morning and by that evening, I had finished. It was a can’t put down book for me and I know that I’ve recommended it to several people already. I also read Lion by Saroo Bierdley – this book was the basis of a movie that was released a few years ago where a young Indian man, who had gotten lost as a child was adopted by an Australian couple, finds his childhood home through the miracle of the internet and google maps. In addition to The Test (Sylvain Neuval) mentioned above, I also read two books where main characters who are the children of immigrants or members of another culture (in these instances, specifically Chinese with American Panda (Gloria Chao) and Indian with When Dimple Met Rishi (Sandhya Menon)). I’ll admit that 3 months in, I’m really enjoying this diversity challenge as its making me look more closely at the books i’m picking to read, because previously I was definitely stay within a relatively narrow scope of authors/genres.

Series Continued
March was pretty much a solid hit for series that I’m in the process of continuing. I finished up 2 books in a trilogy that I’d been waiting to finish for a couple of months; I also listened to do more additions in J.D Robb’s In Death series (the end is actually nearly in sight with listening to books 38/39 and currently 48 books in the series available! honestly I catn’t believe that the author still keeps me intrigued with all the different storylines!) My enjoyment of Lisa Kleypas and her historicals continued with the most recent in her Ravenel’s series – but the best part of the entire book for me was seeing Sebastian and Evie from The Devil in the Winter (which is like one of my favoritest historicals romances of all time).

Tackling the TBR
Of the 29 books I read this month, 8 of them were books that had been on my TBR/TBL pile since before January 2018 (because hey, I figure more than 15 months counts being lost on the TBR). The book that has been on the TBR pile the longest that I read this month was Red’s Hot Honky-Tonk Bar – which I bought wayyyy back in 2008-09 (I think it was potentially one of the first books I bought for the kindle way back when. it always surprises me when I enjoy books that have loitered on my TBR for that long – especially authors like Pamela Morsi – who I have read books by before and always enjoyed (yeah, i’m kind of a doofus…lol).

When all was said and done, I think March was a fairly successful reading month and I can’t wait to see what April brings for me – especially since April features the first of the two Dewey Readathons for the year 🙂

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2019 in Month in Review

 

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February Wrap-Up

Ahhh, February – the shortest month of the year and the one that a) either feels like it is going to last forever or b) just flies by – you never know. Its also the month where it can be 60+ degrees somedays and on others snowing and storming. I know I don’t regret the snow day we had last week from work, or the fact that I had several days where we had a delayed work start (which is solid because I can get my workout in earlier in the day rather than in the evening). February saw me read (or listen) to 30 books – which is on the lower side of my normal reading (of course it doesn’t help that I have like 10 different books in progress…lol).

New Authors Discovered
February definitely was a GREAT month for discovering new authors – Of the 30 books that I read, 9 were by new to me authors, and at least 4 of them have been added to my read more in the future pile. I already have several books by Fredrik Bachman checked out from the library and on the pile for March and waiting (impatiently) for the next book by Helen Hoang. The Kiss Quotient (Helen Huong) gets the award for the most unique but likeable characters; and Saving Meghan (D.J. Palmer) for the most unlikeable characters (and yet I found myself completely sucked in). I also forsee a binge read of the J.A. Jance series that I started (Joanna Brady series)

Series Continued
I continued to dig into the multitude of series that I have in progress this month. I binged on books 2 and 3 in Kristi Belcamino’s Gabriella Giovanni series and then bought the remaining books in the series so that I could finish reading it in March. I also read the next installment in Rosalind James’ Escape from New Zealand series (I totally fall into the delayed gratification for this series, by trying to ration the books that have been released). I finished up Lauren Dane’s Ink and Chrome Trilogy (although I’ll flat out admit that it wasn’t my favorite book in the series) and jumped back into Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles (the third book def. suffered from that transition in series weakness – or at least I think so). I also continued with the next book in Lucy Lennox’s Made Marian series. JD Robb gave a solid installment to the In Death series with Thankless in Death (I finished up the last chapter of that on the first of the month) Finally, after discovering him in January, I buddy listening to the remaining 2 books in the Reckoner’s series by Branden Sanderson (although technically I finished up the last bit of the third book on the first day of March).

Diversity Challenge
February saw me read a book that hit both a neurodiverse character and by an author that identifies as such – I think of the 30 books that I read this month, The Kiss Quotient was in my top 3 favorites for the month. I loved Stella as a character and the romance between her and Michael had the right amount of sexual tension building throughout. I laughed out loud in several places, in particular, her lesson plans that she made for her sexual experiences. In addition, to the Kiss Quotient, I also rediscovered my enjoyment of m/m romances (specifically this month ones by Mary Calmes) and I’m part-way finished with Halsey Street (Naima Coster) which showed up on my kindle screen one night and caught my eye. I should have it finished in the next couple of days.

Tackling the TBR
Of all my various reading goals, this month my goal of tackling Mt To-Be-Read/Mt To-Be-Listened was the most successful. Of the 30 books that I read, 9 had been on my TBR pile for longer than three years and another 3 for longer than a year. I already mentioned it, but Thankless in Death was probably my favorite lost on Mt TBL that I got to this month (even though I did technically finish it up in March, over 90% of it was listened to in February). I also started Maya Banks KGI series (the first book has been on Mt TBR since 2012 and for some reason and I don’t remember buying them all, but I own books 1-8…I think I might have a TINY problem…) I also had to laugh when I requested a book from the library (The Winter Over) to discover that I had actually bought back in January 2017 (and I have now created a shelf on Goodreads called – “totally forgot I bought that” for those random finds).

My Top 3 Reads for February:
The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang
Beartown – Fredrik Bachman
From Lukov With Love – Mariana Zapata

What About You? How was your February Reading? Did you discover any new must-recommend authors?

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2019 in Month in Review, Uncategorized

 

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January Wrap-Up

I don’t know about you guys, I’m still kind of in shock that its the last day of January – I mean, this first month of the year just flew by…it seems like just yesterday we were ringing in the New Year (or in my case, sleeping through the new year after falling asleep during my Captain America binge). While its not as cold in DC as other parts of the country (my sister informed me that with the wind-chill it was -50 in her neck of the woods this week) – we are still suffering some of the “polar vortex” and I’m having visions of the blizzard from the movie, The Day After Tomorrow (which is a great watch if you have never seen).

And now onto the summary of my January reading and listening…overall, i’m going to call it a successful month with 24 books either read or listened to.

New Authors Discovered:
Brandon Sanderson – I finished up the month listening to the first book in Sanderson’s Reckoner’s series (YA dystopia set in what was one Chicago). It was so good that I’ve already requested the second book in the series and can’t wait to listen to it in February (yay for a road trip next week). I also FINALLY read Angie Thomas‘ The Hate U Give (yeah, I’m pretty sure i’m the last person in the country to read it), but it lived up to the hype (which is what I was afraid of and why I put off reading it as long as I did).

Series Continued:
This month saw me continuing several series that I had in progress – including the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs; The Department Q series by Jussi Adler-Olsen and the Shadowlands series by Cherise Sinclair. I was kind of disappointed in the middle of the series Kate Daniels book (which was really all about her best friend Andrea) – I mean, she was ok as a secondary character in the series, but a full-novel just didn’t work for me, I think I like her even less as a character right now…which is disappointing since I love the rest of the Kate Daniels series.

Diversity Challenge:
One of my goals for 2019 is to read more books by diverse authors and with diverse characters (thanks Robin Covington for that awesome challenge!). I read several books this month that fit into the bounds of that challenge – specifically, The Poet X about the daughter of Dominican immigrants trying to find her place in the world, told through poetry; as well as The Hate U Give which fit both an author and character of color categories. I also added more books than I can count to my list of prospective books that will fit into the challenge.

Tackling the TBR
One of my others goals for this year is to start digging into my epic kindle archives for books to read (because I have like 5000+ at last count)…i’m giving myself a personal goal to read at least 5 books each month that I have had on the pile since before January 2017. I fell slightly shy of that goal this month, with 3 books complete and 1 still in progress. The oldest book off my shelf that I read was Silent in the Sanctuary, by Deanna Raybourn, that I added to Mt TBR in November 2011. The other two books I finished were purchased in 2014 (Gunmetal Magic – Ilona Andrews) and 2015 (Extreme Love – Abby Niles). But I’m not too worried, because right now I have at least 5 books slated into my February reading that will help me with this goal.

How was your reading month? Stop by and tell me what your favorite read was or how you are doing on your reading goals for the year!

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2019 in Month in Review

 

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First Line Friday – 15 June 2018

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books

I don’t know about you guys but i’m struggling with the fact that we are officially halfway through June as of today. They say time flies as you get older (and heck, i’m not even officially that old) – but its sooo true! Although (just a secret between us girls – and guys…I accidently wrote June 2017 on a document at work the other day and didn’t realize it for like 3hrs). Anyways – I had a tough time figuring out what first line I wanted to feature this week because I have two books that I am going to be starting either tonight or tomorrow (depends on how I feel after I get home from the movies…Incredibles 2…heck yeah!). So I figured – why the heck not and featuring both of them! (because everyone who knows me, knows that i’m a bit of a rebel).

The Year 2083 dawns in the icy shadow of winter’s crystalline wings.
From: Ocean Light – Nalini Singh

Description:
Security specialist Bowen Knight has come back from the dead. But there’s a ticking time bomb in his head: a chip implanted to block telepathic interference that could fail at any moment–taking his brain along with it. With no time to waste, he should be back on land helping the Human Alliance. Instead, he’s at the bottom of the ocean, consumed with an enigmatic changeling…

Kaia Luna may have traded in science for being a chef, but she won’t hide the facts of Bo’s condition from him or herself. She’s suffered too much loss in her life to fall prey to the dangerous charm of a human who is a dead man walking. And she carries a devastating secret Bo could never imagine…

But when Kaia is taken by those who mean her deadly harm, all bets are off. Bo will do anything to get her back–even if it means striking a devil’s bargain and giving up his mind to the enemy.

There was a darker brown stain on our brown suede couch.
From: How To Behave In A Crowd – Camille Bordas

Description:
Isidore Mazal is eleven years old, the youngest of six siblings living in a small French town. He doesn’t quite fit in. Berenice, Aurore, and Leonard are on track to have doctorates by age twenty-four. Jeremie performs with a symphony, and Simone, older than Isidore by eighteen months, expects a great career as a novelist. She’s already put Isidore to work on her biography. The only time they leave their rooms is to gather on the old, stained couch and dissect prime-time television dramas in light of Aristotle’s Poetics.

Isidore has never skipped a grade or written a dissertation, but he notices things the others don’t and asks questions they fear to ask. So when gedy strikes the Mazal family, Isidore is the only one to recognize how everyone is struggling with their grief and perhaps the only one who can help them–if he doesn’t run away from home first.

Why I’m Looking Forward to these Books
So the first one was pretty much a given for me – Nalini Singh is on my auto-read list (although unfortunately, since her psy-changling series moved to hardcover I tend to borrow from the library rather than buy). I’ve had this reserved since it popped in my library’s catalogue a month or so ago – which means i’m one of the first to get to read it 🙂

My other choice this week is a book that I requested through Inter-library loan about a month ago and it finally came in the other week (and since those loans tend to have a short timeframe for the loan, I knew I needed to get it read). But in general – I picked this off a list of books for a challenge because the cover caught my eye – I’ve never read of the author, but after reading the description I was intrigued!

What About You Guys – What is the first line from your current read?

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2018 in First Line Fridays

 

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First Line Fridays – 8 June 2018

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books

I have pretty eclectic reading tastes – unless its horror because no thanks! Typically, my current read is related to one of the various challenges that I am part of it. My pick this week surprisingly enough fits one of those challenges, but it wasn’t on my initial list of potential books – rather, I discovered it, when I signed up for a challenge where readers are paired up and a book off their pile is picked for them. My book this week is the book that I recommended for my partner and we are going to be buddy reading it starting this weekend!

It is nearly dawn, and the semidarkness casts strange shadows along the footpath.

From: White Chrysanthemum – Mary Lynn Bracht

Goodreads Description:
Korea, 1943. Hana has lived her entire life under Japanese occupation. As a haenyeo, a female diver of the sea, she enjoys an independence that few other Koreans can still claim. Until the day Hana saves her younger sister from a Japanese soldier and is herself captured and transported to Manchuria. There she is forced to become a “comfort woman” in a Japanese military brothel. But haenyeo are women of power and strength. She will find her way home.

South Korea, 2011. Emi has spent more than sixty years trying to forget the sacrifice her sister made, but she must confront the past to discover peace. Seeing the healing of her children and her country, can Emi move beyond the legacy of war to find forgiveness?

Thoughts:
I don’t know a lot about the Japanese invasion of parts of Asia – so when I read the description for this book, I knew that I had to add it to my pile. I think it will be interesting to see how the present and past POV’s play out – I find its a method of storytelling that can be highly successful or a huge flop. It was a bonus when my pickee, asked if I wanted to do a buddy read with her on it. I can’t wait to start reading it in the next day or so.

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2018 in First Line Fridays

 

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First Line Fridays – 1 June 2018

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books

I’m definitely scrapping in under the wire with my post today – since its 11:31pm…and i’m sitting in my base hotel room in Ohio after my monthly trek for reserve drill. I’ll have to admit that I definitely wasn’t in the mood for that long drive today (normally takes about 5.5 hours) – but in true Washington DC fashion – what normally takes me an hour to get out of the city was closer to two hours…so my drive ended up over 6.5 hours (including my stop in Breezewood…BTW don’t get even me started on the idiocy that is that intersection to get on the Pennsylvania turnpike…) Anyways – enough complaining about that! thankfully, I have a hopefully good book waiting on my kindle to start reading tonight – so without further ado, here is my first line Friday!

Tate Grayson drummed his fingers on the steering wheel, barely resisting the urge to curse

From: Tell Me Something Good – Jamie Wesley

Goodreads Description:
In a moment of restlessness, Tate Grayson sold his multimillion-dollar company and spun his love of sports into a radio talk show. Life, and love, is too short to take seriously—a fact he enjoys rubbing in uptight radio host Noelle Butler’s face.

After the death of her parents, a tragedy she blamed on herself, Noelle vowed to live a controlled, focused life. Now a psychologist, she channels her need for connection into her radio show. But when the arrogant sportscaster next door tells listeners men shouldn’t get married, she’s all too happy to yank the silver spoon out of his overprivileged mouth.

Their heated on-air arguments are a hit, but when the station director forces them to do a joint show for two weeks, Tate and Noelle object. They can’t stand each other, despite the attraction sizzling beneath every interaction. But if they can’t pull the struggling radio station back from the brink, they’ll lose their jobs. Or worse, their hearts.

Thoughts:
so this book has been hanging out in my kindle archives for a couple of years now (apparently I bought it in 2014…) – but it fits a category for the quarterly challenge that I do and it was also picked by a fellow Goodreads-er for a challenge (based on Monopoly). I’ll admit that i’m also a sucker for a enemies to lovers type romance – its one of my favorite tropes – so I hope this one lives up the other books with similar themes 🙂

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2018 in First Line Fridays

 

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First Line Fridays – 18 May 2018

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books

Honestly, I wasn’t sure if i was going to do a post this week because its been a relatively slow reading week (meaning I’ve only finished 1 audiobook and that’s about it)…which is probably why I’m so far behind on my reading challenge for the year. But my first line Friday is from my current lunch book (aka, the book I carry in my bag because I can’t have my kindle in the office…)

“Regan?” Dr Lee arched an eyebrow and rested the tip of his pen against his pad. The ink slowly seeping into the paper, a small pool of blue against a yellow backdrop.

From: Life Unaware – Cole Gibson

From the Goodreads description:
Regan Flay has been talking about you.

Regan Flay is on the cusp of achieving her control-freak mother’s “plan” for high school success―cheerleading, student council, the Honor Society—until her life gets turned horribly, horribly upside down. Every bitchy text. Every bitchy email. Every lie, manipulation, and insult she’s ever said have been printed out and taped to all the lockers in school.

Now Regan has gone from popular princess to total pariah.

The only person who even speaks to her is her former best friend’s hot but socially miscreant brother, Nolan Letner. Nolan thinks he knows what Regan’s going through, but what nobody knows is that Regan isn’t really Little Miss Perfect. In fact, she’s barely holding it together under her mom’s pressure. But the consequences of Regan’s fall from grace are only just beginning. Once the chain reaction starts, no one will remain untouched…

Especially Regan Flay.

Thoughts:
so I’m about halfway through this book so far and its intriguing – because rarely do you see (at least in my experience) the bullying of a popular kid because of something that happened…admittedly the alternate titles Blacklistee or The Social Media Experience caught my eye and I want to see if they maybe fit better than Life Unaware (because from my observations so far, I don’t think Regan is really that unaware…i think she likes her place in the world and feels the pressure to maintain it)…but who knows…

What About You – what is the first line of the book you are reading today?

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2018 in First Line Fridays

 

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