Happy Monday! What are you reading?

I haven’t done one of these in a while, so it’s time for an update! I’m still working on my Read Your Shelf challenge, trying to finish some of the books I own before acquiring any more. So far I have avoided the library for a month, but I did but a couple on Kindle.

This weekend I finished In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors by Doug Stanton. Here’s the synopsis.

On July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed in the South Pacific by a Japanese submarine. An estimated 300 men were killed upon impact; close to 900 sailors were cast into the Pacific Ocean, where they remained undetected by the navy for nearly four days and nights. Battered by a savage sea, they struggled to stay alive, fighting off sharks, hypothermia, and dementia. The captain’s subsequent court-martial left many questions unanswered: How did the navy fail to realize the Indianapolis was missing? And perhaps most amazing of all, how did these 317 men manage to survive? 

If you like survival stories, this one is really good. It’s headed to the used bookstore now.

I am also listening to My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman. It’s okay, but I really liked A Man Called Ove better.

I’m reading Dominion, Book 4 in the Awaken Online series by Travis Bagwell. I’ve mentioned his series on here before. I also just started A Dedicated Man by Peter Robinson, a detective mystery. What are you reading? Let me know in the comments.

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Vacation Books!

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We’ve got our family vacation this weekend at a little, relaxing cabin in the woods! My sister is planning on going on a paddleboat, hiking with her dogs, watching movies on her tablet. I’m going to read. All right, I might do the paddleboat too, if it’s not too long a ride and I’m not feeling too sore. But I am so excited to get away from everything and dig into my TBR.

It’s not like I don’t read a lot at home. It’s just that at home, I’m always interrupted by having to drive someone here or there, buy groceries, make dinner, whatever. Sometime I do it to myself by staying on the Xbox until it’s too late to read and I have to get up in the morning. But up in the mountains, there’s no wi-fi, there’s no schedule, I can just relax. And that means read. 8) I’ve already loaded up my tablet with everything I want to get to, so I thought I would share my list here.

I went to Overdrive and checked out some ebooks. Here’s what I borrowed:

The Girl with the Ghost Eyes by M H Boroson

Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay

Snowdrift and Other Stories by Georgette Heyer

From A Certain Point of View (Star Wars) edited by Renee Adieh

From Kindle Unlimited I got:

Between Frames by W R Gingell

Apprentice of Magic by K M Shea

Awaken Online: Dominion by Travis Bagwell

And from my ebook library I have:

Absolution by Murder by Peter Tremayne

Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C S Forester

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

The Genius Plague by David Walton

One of Our Thursdays Is Missing by Jasper Fforde


I know you might be thinking, “Come on, I know you’re Speedy Reader, but seriously, how long are you going to be gone? That’s a lot of books!” And you’re absolutely right. There’s no way I will get through all these books. I probably won’t even finish half of them. But it’s all about options. After all, if I start a book and don’t like it, it’s not like I can go to the other room and grab a different book. I want to be prepared. Besides, if I ran out of books, I might have to go outside and do something, and that’s just not happening.

I am going to schedule a post for when I’m gone, but when I get back, I’ll let you know how I did on this list, what I liked and what I didn’t. Until next week, happy reading!

May Reading Wrap Up

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Hello readers! May is over so I thought I would do a wrap up of my reading month. It looks like it was a pretty good month, so let me get started.

Let me start with the bad, and work up to the good!

Books I DNF’d

The Christie Curse (Book Collector #1) by Victoria Abbott – I remembered why I don’t like modern cozy mysteries.

The Missing Guests of the Magic Grove Hotel (Ethical Chiang Mai Detective Agency #2) by David Casarett – just lost interest. It made me hungry though!

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis – flipped through a few pages, got the general idea.

Crossed Out by Kim Baccellia – didn’t realize it was a YA paranormal, didn’t fit for me.

The Invisible Hand (The Cost of Freedom #3) by Chris Northern – I loved the previous books in this series. What happened?

Not a bad amount, although it felt like there were more. There were a few books I read a few pages of and then decided I wasn’t in the mood to finish, so I decided to try later, but I’m not going to list them.


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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Audiobooks

The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place (Flavia de Luce #9) by Alan Bradley. Fun, but not his best. 2.75 stars

Captain’s Fury (Codex Alera #4)  by Jim Butcher. Still like the characters, but the writing is started to bug me. 3.5 stars

The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee. Dense, highly technical writing made relevant with personal stories. Mind blowing stuff. 5 stars

I’m kind of surprised the number is so low. What was I listening to? Did I just forget to track it? I don’t know.


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Books I read

Red Sister and Gray Sister (Books of the Ancestor 1 & 2) by Mark Lawrence. Freaking awesome! 5 stars each.

The Black Lung Captain (Tales of the Ketty Jay #2) by Chris Wooding. Lots of fun and I *loved* the ending. 4.5 stars

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America, edited by Ibi Zoboi. Not a bad story in here. 4 stars

Resorting to Murder: Holiday Mysteries, edited by Martin Edwards. Reviewed here.

The Sea Detective by Mark Douglas-Home. Promising series debut set in Scotland. 4 stars

Murder in Little Shendon by A H Henderson. Also a mystery debut, set in mid-20th century England. 4 stars

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina. Totally original teen dystopia by Australia writer. 5 stars

Napoleon’s Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History by Penny Le Conteur. Why chemistry matters! 5 stars

A Bone of Contention: The Third Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew by Matthew Gregory. Medieval mystery set in Oxford. 4 stars.


Longest book read: The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee, 592 pages

On my TBR the longest: Napoleon’s Buttons by Penny Le Conteur, since Feb 2012

Most disappointing: The Invisible Hand by Chris Northern. Went from a military fantasy fighting necromancers in book 1 to economic theory in book 3. Yawn.

Epic Awesome: Red Sister and Gray Sister by Mark Lawrence. You need to read these!

Coziest comfort read: Resorting to Murder. Perfect for a day sick in bed.


Like I said, a really good month! This month I’m hoping to stick to more of my own books, and not borrow from the library. I have so many physical book around here I would like to read. But I don’t make a specific TBR for each month. How was your reading in May? Let me know in the comments or post a link to your list. Happy reading!

10 Authors New to Me

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl that I sometimes join in. This week’s prompt didn’t inspire me though, so I came up with something totally different. Enjoy!

10 Authors I Tried This Year

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Ibi Zoboi. She is known for writing contemporary YA fiction, middle grade, and short stories. I read her book Pride,  a retelling of the Jane Austen classic featuring an Afro-Latina main character. I also have Black Enough from the library which I hope to get to soon.

Camron Wright. Wright is a local Utah writer who writes inspirational stories based on real life. Both The Rent Collector and The Orphan Keeper were book club picks. His books are great for promoting a good discussion.

Django Wexler. Wow, where has this guy been?! Amazing fantasy writer, versatile and complex stories. I tore through his first two books in The Shadow Campaign series. Fun to follow on Twitter as well.

Becky Wallace. Goodreads has been recommending her to me for years now, and I finally caved. Her YA fantasy duology  The Keeper’s Chronicles was solid and original.

Jason Reynolds. I know, he’s huge! But I only knew about his books told in verse and I am NOT a fan. Then I found out about his YA contemporary The Boy in the Black Suit and I was sold. Loved the MC, loved the writing.

L L McKinney. An Alice in Wonderland retelling with Black Girl Magic? Yes, please! I raced through A Blade So Black only to find out that book 2 doesn’t come out until this fall!

Mark Lawrence. Another fantasy writer that everyone seems to know about but me. I’m deep into The Book of the Ancestor series about assassin nuns, but I am not planning on reading his other series. Too dark for me.

W R Gingell. I don’t know why I love this urban fantasy series so much. It’s got a vampire, for Pete’s sake! But I am so anxious to read the next book in The City Between. I love that it’s set in Australia too.

Guy Fraser-Sampson. He is known for a mystery series that combines modern police methods with a Golden Age sleuth feel. If you love classic detective stories, you should check him out, and they’re on Kindle Unlimited.

Rachel A. Collett. I found her Blood Descent series on Kindle Unlimited, and it was another hit. YA fantasy with a nice love story. Unfortunately, only book 1 has been released, but it was very promising!


So those are 10 authors I have discovered this year. Who are you reading? Let me know in the comments!

Currently Reading

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Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

Hey! How’s everyone? I’ve been living the spring weather here in the Rocky Mountains. Lilacs and forsythias are blooming, the tulips just finished and the irises are starting. It’s great to have all the windows open.

I have a couple of fantasy series I’ve been steadily getting through this spring. The first is the Jim Butcher Codex Alera series. I’ve been doing then on audio and really enjoying them. I do think Butcher’s female characters are not his strong point, but I have loved the character growth in here. I’m also reading the Mark Lawrence series Book of the Ancestor. I flew through the first two books but I don’t have a copy of the third. Definitely recommended.

Right now I have 3 nonfiction books I’m reading. Syria’s Secret Library is from Net Galley. Very interesting so far, but I’ve barely started. Then I’m reading Power, Sex, and Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life by Nick Lane, also just started, and Napoleon’s Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History   from the library. I’m almost done with that one and it’s been fascinating stuff.

How about you? What are you reading? Tell me what’s good!

20 Questions About Books!

Hey fellow readers! I thought it would be fun to come with some random questions about Books and see what my answers are. Feel free to play along, just tell me your answers are!

Name a book you were supposed to read for school but didn’t.

Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad  Just ran out of time and bluffed my way through.

Name a book that made you cry.

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Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb Although, TBH, I probably cried through the whole series. The last one was the worst though. Full on sobs.

Name a book that surprised you.

Surprised in a good way, Between Jobs by W R Gingell.

Name a book that made you laugh out loud.

Probably something by P G Wodehouse. I find his books hilarious.

Name a book that made you furious.

The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee has a long section on eugenics. So upsetting.

Name a book that left you wanting more.

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Spirit’s End by Rachel Aaron was the last in the Eli Monpress series, but I really hated to say goodbye to those characters.

Name a book that fundamentally changed you.

The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis.

Name a book that was good for killing time.

Schott’s Original Miscellany by Ben Schott. Full of trivia and interesting lists .

Name the last book you paid full price for.

Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller. Got it signed too.

Name the last book you got as a gift.

The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans at a book exchange. I never get books as presents anymore!

Name a movie that was better than the book.

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Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown

Name a book that would make a great movie.

Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede. Western fantasy steampunk!

What’s the oldest book you own?

My grandma’s copy of William Shakespeare. She used it when she taught school.

What book has been on your TBR the longest?

Absent in the Spring by Mary Westmacott/Agatha Christie

What’s the next book on your TBR?

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Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh for the Asian readathon this month

What’s the most popular book you own?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J K Rowling

Which format of books do you prefer?

Honestly, I like ebooks more, but I also love audiobooks. And print books are good too, but not my favorite anymore.

Where do you get your books?

Library sometimes, Overdrive, Kindle Unlimited, and my favorite used bookstore, Pioneer Books in Provo.

Do you reread books? Yes, but not as often as I would like! There are so many new ones and it’s so easy to download a new book.

What do you do with old books? Mostly I trade them in at Pioneer Books, but I also donate them to the thrift store sometimes. I only keep book I’m sure I will want to reread.


I hope this was fun to read! I’d love to see your answers. I know mine are heavily weighted to fantasy, but that is what I read most of. Take care and happy reading!

Can’t Wait Wednesday

Can't Wait Wednesday
Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This is my first time with this meme, and I thought I would give it a try. I have lots of books on my TBR, but I’m going to highlight one that I’ve got a request in for at the the library. Who knows, maybe it will help me get it sooner!

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The book is Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman, book 2 in the Arc of a Scythe the series.

Book description:

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline? 

This one came out last year and the wait for a library copy is still pretty long. I may just break down and buy it. It’s a great cover too, isn’t it! I love the faces in there.


About the author:

Award-winning author Neal Shusterman grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he began writing at an early age. After spending his junior and senior years of high school at the American School of Mexico City, Neal went on to UC Irvine, where he made his mark on the UCI swim team, and wrote a successful humor column. Within a year of graduating, he had his first book deal, and was hired to write a movie script.

In the years since, Neal has made his mark as a successful novelist, screenwriter, and television writer. As a full-time writer, he claims to be his own hardest task-master, always at work creating new stories to tell. His books have received many awards from organizations such as the International Reading Association, and the American Library Association, as well as garnering a myriad of state and local awards across the country.

Wherever Neal goes, he quickly earns a reputation as a storyteller and dynamic speaker. Much of his fiction is traceable back to stories he tells to large audiences of children and teenagers — such as his novel The Eyes of Kid Midas. As a speaker, Neal is in constant demand at schools and conferences. Degrees in both psychology and drama give Neal a unique approach to writing. Neal’s novels always deal with topics that appeal to adults as well as teens, weaving true-to-life characters into sensitive and riveting issues, and binding it all together with a unique and entertaining sense of humor.


I have read several of Shusterman’s books. My favorite – if you can call such a disturbing book a favorite – was Unwind, but Challenger Deep was also really good. What about you? What’s at the top of your TBR?

Recent Acquisitions

Hey readers! So I don’t always list my book hauls, but I have bought a few new ebooks I wanted to talk about. I almost never buy new print

books because my shelves are so full. But I went on a bit of a splurge lately for my Kindle.

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The Mad Monk of Gidleigh by Michael Jecks. This one is a surprising #14 in the Knights Templar series. The first one is the best, but I have enjoyed most of these medieval mysteries.  I love looking at the covers as they contain all sorts of clues about the story.

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Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life by Nick Lane. I needed another good science book since I finished my last one and this has been on my list for a while.

One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde. I think this is number 6 in the series and I can’t wait to read it!

One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence. A YA science fiction thriller that sounds really good. Based on D&D.

The Genius Plate by David Walton. Two brothers may bring about the end of the world.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. I’ve heard great things about this memoir.


What have you bought recently? Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments.

DNF This!

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Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

I love this photo. I don’t know what she’s reading, but it is obviously NOT working for her!

I have about 8 books I was trying to read, and I think it was so many because I didn’t like most of them! But instead of just giving up, I kept telling myself, “Maybe it will pick up after this chapter.” ” I just haven’t given it a chance. ” Finally I finished one and I’m calling it quits on two or three more. Now I need to find something I know I’ll love to get me through this slump.

What about you? How long do you give a book before you DNF? What books have you given up on lately? For the record, mine were The Spanish Bride, Black Powder War, and Smoke And Summons.

Napoleonic Wars – Update

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The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries by Jacques-Louis David, 1812

I mentioned a little while ago that I wanted to read more about the Napoleonic Wars or the Peninsular Wars. I thought I’d post an update on how that was going. I realize that that post didn’t get a lot of love – sad! – but for those few of you who are interested, here’s the breakdown so far.

Finished:

Nelson’s Trafalgar by Roy A. Adkins, review here

His Majesty’s Dragon and Throne of Jade, both by Naomi Novik, alternate history of the conflict with dragons! Lots of fun, more about the dragons than the actual events of the war.

None But You, Captain Wentworth book 1 by Susan Kaye. Reimagining of Persuasion by Jane Austen. Wentworth is in the naval war against Napoleon but then retires, so there’s only a slight connection.

Currently reading:

The Spanish Bride by Georgette Heyer. Historical fiction based on real people. Lots of detail, lots of descriptions of Lord Wellington’s Spanish campaign.

Napoleon’s Wars: An International History 1803-1815 by Charles Esdaile. I gave up on this one, then picked it up again. Lots of information, but not presented in a context where I really understand what’s going on. Doubt I’ll finish it, but we’ll see how far I get.

To Read:

Napoleon in Egypt by Paul Strathern. Looking forward to this one.

An Infamous Army by Georgette Heyer. Also based around Lord Wellington but different emphasis.

For You Alone, Captain Wentworth book 2. Again, only slightly connected, but I’ve had this duology on my list for some time.

Black Powder War, Temeraire book 3. Not sure how much of the war is in this one, but I think it has some of the eastern campaign.

Decided Against:

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. Reading the book descriptions made me conclude that I wouldn’t enjoy this one right now. Maybe someday I will pick it up, but it sounds like a long saga of events with no conclusion and that doesn’t appeal to me.

Conclusions:

If you are interested in the war or the navy or 19th century history, I would recommend Nelson’s Trafalgar. Great book. If you are into dragons and like the idea of an alternate history with lots of locations, I would recommend the Naomi Novik series. It’s a lot of fun. If you want some romance with history added, I would recommend Persuasion by Jane Austen. The reboots are okay so far, but not anything like as a good as the original. If you like historical fiction with some romance, I would recommend the Georgette Heyer books. She also wrote historical romances, but the emphasis here is on the history, not the romance. Picky distinction, but it’s there.

I’m beginning to get a little tired of this, so I think I will just keep it as a interest for the rest of the year but not feel like I have to read all these books at once. We’ll see what else I can find.