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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Syria’s Secret Library: a Review

I received this book for free from Net Galley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. My thoughts remain my own.

Syria’s Secret Library: Reading and Redemption in a Small Town Under Siege by Mike Thomson

Book description:

The remarkable, improbable story of a small, makeshift library in the Syrian town of Darayya, and the people who found hope and humanity in its books during the four-year siege they endured.


My thoughts:

It’s hard to decide what would be the most critical item to have on hand if your city was under siege. Food, medicine, clean water? How about books? I bet you didn’t even think about books. For Darayya, a town right in the middle of Syria’s civil war, books were the thing that kept people going.

Some remarkable young men decided to save as many books as they could, gathering them from abandoned buildings, digging through rubble, even under the bombing. They did this to create a hidden library where anyone could come and escape into another world.
When the library became a hit, they started offering classes on reading, lessons in Engliah, and lectures on many subjects.

I found the story fascinating, but it was frustrating at times. It’s not organized well. They author skips from subject to subject. Sometimes the quotes are well used to illustrate a point, but often they’re just stuck in there and they go on too long.

It’s a sobering reflection on modern warfare. It makes me angry that the world stood by and did nothing. Now the flow of refugees is a crisis, but with timely intervention, perhaps it could have been avoided. Read this one not for the writing, but for the story of these brave individuals.

Vacation Books!

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Photo by Eneida Nieves on Pexels.com

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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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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!

Book Quote 4/5

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Photo by Andreea Ch on Pexels.com

“In a few hours’ time the secret library will open for business. Between twenty to thirty people arrive every day. All make treacherous journeys across the shattered city, braving snipers, bombs and missiles. Their reward – a few precious moments quietly choosing books, reading and exchanging news. Then they return to the streets and warily, block by block , inch their way home.

“The books Amjad so lovingly tends were not bought from shops or delivered by publishers. Most were bravely gathered from burning homes and bombed council offices, often under shelling and sniper fire. Filling this library was a dangerous business.”

Syria’s Secret Library by Mike Thomson

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.

Currently reading 2/18

Happy Monday. How was your weekend? My Saturday was a little busy, but Sunday was all about naps and PJs. Not bad at all. 🙂

Currently reading

Audio:

Grant by Ron Chernow. I swear, I really am going to finish this book. The story has Grant in the last days of his second term as president. They tried to get him to run for a third term, but he said no. I didn’t know that! I’m at 80% and I’m hoping some of the remaining portion is a bibliography which I can skip. It’s been great, but I’m ready to be done. Will definitely do a review when I’m finished.

Ebook:

The Song of the Dodo by David Quammen. I’ve been reading this one even longer, but this time I don’t mind. It’s one I read when I forget my other books and I always enjoy it. So many interesting stories and fact, and the writing is great.

Print:

Emma Brown by Clare Boylan. I’m doing a little mini challenge to read books off your shelf. My goal is 5 this month and I’ve already cleared off 3. This one is number 4. I’ve had it for several years, but never got around to picking it up. It’s historical fiction, based on an unfinished manuscript by Charlotte Bronte. So far it is really hitting the right tone. It’s been telling two stories, back and forth, and I’m curious about when they are going to link up.

Study in Brimstone (Warlock Holmes #1) by G S Denning. Recently bought, but I swear I have a good excuse! I was looking for my book club pick when this series caught my eye, and I HAD to pick them up. Not very far in, but it is hitting all the right notes with me. Take a look at the cover:

warlock
Sherlock Holmes is a genius. Warlock Holmes is something else.

So many fun details and the writing is really enjoyable. Not far along with this one either, but it’s off to a great start.

In other news, I’ve decided to add a new shelf to my GoodReads : READ SOON. I have 1800+ books on my TBR list there, and when I get to the library or decide to buy something, I get totally overwhelmed. I started a new shelf which I’m limiting to 10-15 books, no more. That way I can remember which books I really, really want to read soon. Then when something sounds AMAZING, I won’t forget about it.

What are you reading? Finished anything great lately? Tell me all about it in the comments and happy reading!

Book Quote

“There was a little girl … whose bird died. And when Fred came with his puppets, and she told Fred about the death of the bird—when he got the puppets out of his satchel, she found it urgent to tell each of the puppets about the death of the canary. “The children confided to Fred and to his puppets many important things,” she says, and then describes what gave Fred Rogers such rapport with little children: “Fred can recall—and can afford to recall—his own childhood.”

The Good Neighbor:  The Life and Work of Fred Rogers

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Top 10 Tuesday

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I don’t do memes very much, but I’d like to get into them as I think I might get more readers over here. This week’s them is Favorite Couples in Books. It’s hosted by That Arty Girl. Although it isn’t specified, for this list I’m going with couples in the romantic sense. These are in no particular order.

Princess Sarene and Prince Raoden, Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

elantris What happens to a society when their gods become monsters? 

I love the slow way that this romance develops. They become allies first, then friends, then more. Individually they are such strong, caring people, but as a couple they are so much more powerful. Knowing he is cursed, Raoden wants to hold back from loving her and revealing his identity, but Sarene just won’t give up. And I love Raoden’s determination to find a way to live instead of just existing. This book is a stand alone, (except for a short story), so if you’ve been wanting to try Sanderson’s writing, this is a good place to start.

Steris Harms and Lord Waxilium Ladrian, Mistborn Adventures, by Brandon Sanderson

24357485 I swear I do read other authors besides Sanderson! But this couple just grew on me so much. It’s meant to be a political match. He’s got the money; she’s got the influence. But they grow on you! I felt like I just didn’t get Steris at first. I kept expecting they would split up. But Sanderson does the unexpected, and instead of putting them with someone more suitable, he revealed the way they really were meant for each other. Steris grows so much over the series that you almost can’t believe she’s the same woman! I love her so much. And Wax learns to let go of his guilt and betrayal over his first wife’s death and realize that he can’t picture life without Steris. It’s just so perfect! Hard ship, right here.

 

Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase, Percy Jackson series, by Rick Riordan

Going in a totally different direction here, but I mean, come on, you can’t  help loving these two. Percy is a little slower to get there, but when he does, he is 100% on Annabeth’s side. They went through Hell for each other, literally, and if every a young couple deserved a chance to settle down and build a new life, it is these two. All the hearts.

Sir Percy Blakeney and Marguerite St. Just, The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy

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So swoon-worthy! I love the book and the movie version of this couple. Marguerite is passionate and fiery, Percy is daring and brave, and they have to overcome all these obstacles to find true love! The book and the movie have different ending, but each one has Percy rescuing Marguerite from the French Revolution. And they both look fabulous the whole time!

Annis Wychwood and Oliver Carleton, Lady of Quality by Georgette Heyer

I had to put a book by Georgette Heyer in here, as she is my favorite romance writer of all time. Finally I chose these two. Annis lives in Regency Bath with a companion. As a lady in her late twenties, she’s obviously a spinster, doomed to a life as a single woman. (How times have changed!) Oliver is a gentleman with reputation as being rude and unconventional. It is, if not quite love at first sight, a definite attraction. They share the same sardonic sense of humor, and that’s kind of my thing, because anyone who makes me laugh has already stolen half my heart. These guys are made for each other.

Amaranthe Lokdon and Sicarius, Emperor’s Edge series by Lindsay Buroker

Trigger warning for attempted sexual assault and torture.

She’s in the Imperial law force. He’s an assassin. She’s sent to bring him in. But it turns out, they both want the same thing – to protect the Emperor. This is definitely a slow burn. Sicarius has a really dark past and he’s very slow to trust. But Amaranthe just won’t give up on him.  I love this series, and it needs more love. If you like found family stories, with lots of humor and plenty of heist action (plus a little steampunk-y goodness), you should totally check it out.

The Entire Cast of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

OMG OMG OMG. I loved these ships so damn much. Wylan and Jesper, Nina and Matthias (my heart!), and especially Kaz and Inej. What makes these work is that each of them is broken in their own way, but they become someone better when they’re together. I don’t need to elaborate too much on this one, because so many people have read these books. If you have, then you know what I mean! Love these guys.

Scarlet Benoit and Wolf Kesley, the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

This one was hard, because I also love Thorn and Cressida, but I think Scarlet and Wolf are a teeny bit better. Scarlet is so feisty and so protective of her family. Once she decides that Wolf is part of her family, they become an unbeatable team. And poor Wolf – he’s been through so much, never dared to hope for anything better. Once he finds it though, he would do anything for Scarlet.

Capt. Cordelia Naismith and Admiral Adal Vorkosigan, Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold

Trigger warning for attempted sexual assault.

Cordelia, you badass. They are both amazing characters, but I love that Bujold really gives Cordelia a chance to shine. They’re not a traditional couple – she’s a career officer and he’s the Butcher of Barrayar. But once they decide they love each other, Cordelia especially will let nothing stand in her way of getting a life with the man she loves. Sure, there’s some fun sci-fi stuff in here, but it’s this relationship that makes the book worth reading.

Sarah Agnes Prine and Captain Jack Elliott, These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

Trigger warning for sexual assault, death of a child

It’s been a while since I’ve read this one, but they were so amazing that I have to give them some space here. Sarah and her family are on their way to new home when their wagon train is attacked by Indians and her father is killed. This is not a spoiler, it’s literally in chapter one. That’s your warning right there that this book is not going to be an easy ride. Stuff happens, and it’s hard reading sometimes. What makes it worth it is watching the relationship grow between Sarah and Captain Jack. It was so sweet and tender, and  he was so patient and kind. I just love this series so, so much.



So what do you think? Do we share any favorites? Who’s on your list? Let me know in the comments.

January Wrap Up

A month has gone into 2019 and now is a good time to see how my reading has gone.

 

Started 28 books

DNF 4 books

6 audio books (including one I’m still listening to)

1 graphic novel/comic book

best audio: The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons by Sam Kean

Best nonfiction: The Wicked Boy by Kate Summerscale

Best YA: The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

Book club: Children of Blood and Bone by Toni Adeyami

Overall, it was a slightly disappointing month. I didn’t have many absolute stinkers, but I also didn’t have any 5 star books and only a few 4 stars. I hope February will be better.