Monday, June 8, 2020

It's Monday! What are you reading? 06/08/2020

Hosted by: Book Date

We are still having a rough time with my nephew and dad (who has been diagnosed with C. diff. in addition to his mental issues).

I got my last assignment in.  The next on isn't due for another week, although I need to start my research and observations ASAP.

I had started a garden in May.  I was excited at first, but this is my first time venturing beyond houseplants, and I don't think it is for me.  I planted half the garden late when the plants had started withering and discoloring (I tried to pay the kids $1/4 plants, but they didn't get them deep enough and gave up pretty quickly).  I haven't watered them yet (although it has rained quite a bit), I think I planted them too close together, and they are mixed so I don't know which plants are which.  However, I've had beautiful (if small) red strawberries.  Taste tests have shown them to be decent to thumbs up.  And some of the other plants have taken off - if only I can figure out what they are and what I'm supposed to do with them.  So maybe it isn't all that bad.

And on to the reading portion...

This week I read:

Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness  (Ordinary Terrible Things) by Anastasia Higginbotham.
- I saw this promoted on Twitter, and the publisher was offering a PDF version for free, so I decided to try it out.  It is very brief (it's supposed to be a kids book), and I appreciate the mixed-media type of art work.  As for the content, I was of mixed feelings.
Murder at an Irish Wedding
(Irish Village Mystery, bk 2) by Carlene O'Connor
- This is an autographed paberback cozy mystery.  Anyone interested in it once I'm done?  Send me a direct message via Instagram @ponderingbks or email (jump_up_thrice [at] hotmail [dot] com) with your mailing address.  I offered last week with no takers, so it is still available.

Murder on Pleasant Avenue
(Gaslight Mystery, bk 23) by Victoria Thompson
- This is a library copy.  I wanted to read more from my personal collection as part of my library "decluttering", but I can't resist a Victoria Thompson mystery.  I love this series and her Counterfeit series as well.

Currently reading:

I had the opportunity to hear Kekla Magoon speak at YALSA 2019, and I have a copy of Light It Up, but it is a second book, and I need to read books in order.  In early March, I checked out library copies of both the print and audio for How It Went Down (which is the book that introduces the situation/neighborhood for Light It Up).  It is pretty intense and on top of that Covid-19 was happening, and I just couldn't focus.  However, it is very relevant (a black teen is shot and killed by a white man - not a cop), and I do still have that second book in my collection, and it did sound really intriguing when Kekla spoke about it, soooo... I'm giving it another go.

Up next:

We'll see.  Maybe Light It Up.  Maybe a cozy.  Maybe another must-read library book.  Maybe a little fantasy or romance.

What are you reading?

Monday, June 1, 2020

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 06/01/2020

Hosted by: Book Date

I'm back at grad school online.  I'm horrible at distance education in any case (because I'm a horrible procrastinator), but it's been especially bad lately (beyond the back at work mostly, but still some at home balance, my dad and oldest nephew both had bad mental health weeks).  Anyway, I was mentally exhausted and submitted my first graded assignment several days late.  Which means I've been all the more exhausted.  It turned out okay (I was afraid the instructor wouldn't accept it because she had already graded, but thankfully she did accept it.)  Assignment two is due tomorrow, but unstarted.  Why do I do this to myself?

Read this week:
High Noon by Nora Roberts (re-read before it leaves my collection)

Currently reading:
Murder at an Irish Wedding (Irish Village Mystery, bk 2) by Carlene O'Connor
- This is an autographed paberback cozy mystery.  Anyone interested in it once I'm done?  Send me a direct message via Instagram @ponderingbks or email (jump _ up_ thrice @ hotmail . com - no spaces) with your mailing address.  I'll send it to the first message I receive.

Whatever whim strikes, apparently.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

2020 and Books 📚 It’s Monday! What are you reading? 05/25/2020

Hosted by: Book Date
2020 has been strange, sometimes unbelievable, sometimes trying for so many (if not most or all), and we are only rounding out of in Month 5. I haven’t posted anything yet this year. I had goals and ideas for what this blog would be for me this year and not one has panned out. (Actually, the last Monday post I made was me talking about blogging better.)

When I started the year 2020, I decided my only “resolution“ was that I would cut back on my library loans, so I could get to more of the books on my shelves. Then COVID-19 happened, and I checked out a huge stack of books and borrowed even more digitally, thinking I was going to get so much reading done. That did not happen.

Now I take a break and sit my home library, and I see I need to cut down on at least 200 books to make my shelves less cluttered and more in line with my visions.

I’m not sure how, or if, I can manage this time.  I’ve thinned my collection of books massively in the past 10 years (see Book Hoarding and check out the book hoarding tag to see some of this journey).  I feel especially overwhelmed during everything else that life has thrown toward me. However, if I’m going to manage, I believe the best tool may be this blog. I used to do a regular post called “Cozy Cull”, and perhaps I can reboot something like that.  At the least, maybe recording my reading more regularly might prompt me to read more frequently, as I used to do.

Which brings me to...*Note: This isn’t everything, but we’ll leave it at this for now. The goal is to have NO double stacked books, including paperbacks, and have some space for decorations and slow growth aka new books coming in...

Can you help me? What should I read first? 

Should I start with a cozy, fantasy, or YA?  Or I haven’t re-read the Nora Roberts books in forever, and there are a LOT of them, should I just start parting with them?

I just finished a library book, The Bookwanderers (Pages & Co., Bk 1) by Anna James (Pages & Co., Bk 1).  I have a number of partially started library books (mostly audio, some ebooks) that just keep getting put back on hold and checked out and returned over an over again as well.  These are titles that I've been working on over an extended period, some for years now. I also have that stack mentioned previously, but I'm thinking I might just return those unread (else, I might never make it to my own books).

Also, what are you reading? It’s okay to be an enabler.

Monday, December 23, 2019

It's Monday! What are you reading? 12/23/2019

Hosted by: Book Date

This has been a long year.  I sometimes feel like each year is longer than the next.  My blogging suffers as a result.  I have at least one book that I wrote about (physically - on paper) back when I read I that I should be posting for the Canadian Book Challenge. Otherwise, I hope to do better in the coming year.

I'm considering joining more challenges in hopes of encouraging me to come back to my love of reading and re-involve myself more in the world of books.  Don't get me wrong, I get and skim through MANY publisher and author emails, and I work in a library.  But I just don't read like I used to, and it makes me sad.

Anyway, if anyone follows me on Goodreads (Jo Book), I'm keeping that most consistently up-to-date.  I very rarely review anything, but at least I mark everything I finish.

So far this month I've been reading some Rebecca Raisin books, some of the Giant Days graphic novel series (for a discussion group), and catching up on some of Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin books.

Oh, and I have We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins At Breakfast by Jonathan Safran Foer in my car (on audio disc), but now that the author has gotten to his main point/argument, I'm dragging my feet about finishing the book. Environmentalism/conservation/etc. is exhausting.

I have so many books to catch up on, and the holidays are busy, so I can't say what I'll be reading next.

That being said, Happy Holidays! and Happy Reading! to you.

Friday, September 20, 2019

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley

Book 7 in the Flavia de Luce books, As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust has Flavia attending a boarding school in Canada.  This is the first of the books to be set in Canada despite Alan Bradley being a Canadian author. (Alan Bradley is originally from Ontario, although he has lived in Malta - Gozo - and apparently currently lives on the Isle of Man.)  I wasn't sure how the change in location would influence the story.  What happened is Flavia spent less time solving the crime in a lab (which she has scarce access to) and more time trying to navigate (both location, people, and social structure) while nosing out information to solve the murder. 

Jayne Entwistle did her usual excellent job of narration.  Flavia spoke less, and except for rare glimpses of other characters like Dogger and Mrs. Mullet, most voices are Canadian.  This seems obvious (duh, the book is set in Canada), but it was most apparent when the long loved characters had their brief voiced moments.  Just as Flavia was homesick, I missed them too.

I enjoyed the story overall, but I'm looking forward to the change the next book will bring.  I won't say more, lest there be spoilers.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

It's Monday! What are you reading? 08/26/2019

Hosted by: Book Date

In life:

I didn't have anything exciting or interesting happen during the week itself.  However, Friday I spent 5 hours hiking with friends (we may have gotten a tad lost on the trails), and Saturday I went with my sister and BIL to Wizard World Comic Con for my first time.  Both events were fun, but there was a LOT of walking involved.  Probably something I should be doing more often. 😊

My nephew (the one with autism) has been struggling lately.  He's been running (which is scary) and is on an emotional see-saw.  This became an issue while we were at the comic con and my mother had the kids.  Hopefully things will level out soon.

This week, I finished:

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (Read by Ann Marie Lee, Will Patton, and Danny Campbell.  This was a book discussion selection.  Very sad, very interesting.  In audio, it was a bit dry at first, but picks up as you go.  That may be partially as it was very descriptive setting the background, and I'm not really one for much description.)

Super Team by Bill Willingham et al. (Part of the Fables series.  The Fables are all in Haven, and will - maybe - be taking on Super Hero identities to fight the Dark Man.)

Bye-Bye, Black Sheep by Ayelet Waldman (Book 7 - and final - in the Mommy-Track Mystery series.  I really loved this series when I read the bulk of the books many years ago.  I had this one sitting on my shelves - obtained through - for many years, but never seemed to get to it.  I did enjoy it, but I think I would enjoyed it more without the huge gap in time between readings.  This author moved out of the cozy mystery genre after this book - she wrote a couple women's fiction, a historical fiction, and a couple nonfiction books - and I just never moved with her.)

Eye Spy by Mercedes Lackey (Valdemar: Family Spies, Bk 2... This wasn't my favorite Mercedes Lackey or Valdemar book.  It was kind of like multiple short stories in one, and did not have nearly the emotional impact and connection that I look for.  It was still a quick read, though and I will continue with the series.)

Sparkle Witch by Helen Harper (A novella following books 1-3 of the Lazy Girl's Guide to Magic series.  I purchased this ebook.)

Currently reading/listening:

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley (Read by Jayne Entwistle; Book 7 of the Flavia de Luce series)

The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean (This should have been on my "started but indefinite hold list", but I'm hoping to actually get back into it and maybe finish it this week.  I started it some time ago for a book discussion, but after the discussion happened, I never finished the book.)

Started but on indefinite hold:

I have three audiobooks that I started over the past  1 1/2 years but haven't finished.  Two of them were digital (a problematic format for me to do audio) and one of them is a hunkster:  

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II, and Moby Dick.

I'll get to these eventually, but I can't say when.

  • More Fables Books (I should be starting the Fairest spin-off next)
  • I still really need to read Penne Dreadful by Catherine Bruns (an ebook I got through NetGalley AGES ago). 
  • I have a personal library full of books that I haven't read yet, an extensive list of library books that I'm behind on, and I've been growing my Kindle library with freebie ebooks.  I'd be doing well to read any of these...

Sunday, August 18, 2019

It's Monday! What are you reading? 08/19/2019

Hosted by: Book Date

Ah, life.  I haven't participated in this since last October, and so much has happened, some bad, some good.
  • My father is in a nursing home now.  
  • We lost my 23-yo cousin to suicide at the end of July.  He had the same mental diagnosis as my father (who has made multiple attempts, but so far has only managed to compromise his health).  
  • And we've lost one dog and a bearded dragon.  
  • But a new beast - er, puppy - joined the family.  (She's a toy poodle, but she's LOUD and FEISTY.)
  • I started a new position (with the same library) in March (It is technically a promotion, but doesn't feel that way, just different.)
  • I took an online grad school biology class this summer.  I haven't taken any courses in 10 years, and I've never done so while working full time.  But I survived and even managed an A!  
  • Also, I finally (FINALLY!) got the helicopter ride that I won last summer. It was awesome.  We flew over my hometown and I loved it.
  • My work has occasional health challenges, and for the current challenge, we had to not watch TV for two days. I had no idea how difficult that would be! I very rarely watched TV as a child, even when my siblings did.  But I used this as an opportunity to re-discover my love of reading and got in 2.5 books during those two days.

This past few weeks, I've finished:

Star Witch
and Spirit Witch by Helen Harper (These are books 2 & 3 in the Lazy Girl's Guide to Magic.  I borrowed both of these through InterLibrary Loan at the Library.  I just saw that there is a novella following; I went ahead and purchased it on Amazon, which I rarely do.)

Where It Hurts by Reed Farrel Coleman (The first Gus Murphy book, I started reading this for a book discussion in June and only just recently finished it.  I'm not opposed to following up with book 2, but don't know when that is likely to happen.)

Werewolves of the Heartland by Bill Willingham et al. (Part of the Fables series, with a ridiculous amount of nudity - especially this issue - but a world and story line(s) I've been enjoying.)

The Long Way Home by Louise Penny (Read by Ralph Cosham; Book 10 in the Chief Inspector Gamache series) - My post for this can be found at:

Currently reading/listening:

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (Read by Ann Marie Lee, Will Patton, and Danny Campbell.  This is for a book discussion taking place Tuesday.)

Started but on indefinite hold:

I have three audiobooks that I started over the past  1 1/2 years but haven't finished.  Two of them were digital (a problematic format for me to do audio) and one of them is a hunkster:  

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II, and Moby Dick.

I'll get to these eventually, but I can't say when.


  • More Fables Books
  • and the Sparkle Witch eNovella I just bought,.
  • I really need to read Penne Dreadful by Catherine Bruns (an ebook I got through NetGalley AGES ago), and 
  • I just received the Eye Spy by Mercedes Lackey from the library.  
  • Oh, and I should be starting As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley in audio shortly.

13th Canadian Book Challenge

I am joining the 13th Annual Canadian Book Challenge.  I did not quite make the 13 books last challenge (I have no excuse... er, I have many excuses, but no good ones).  Anyway, I have from July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020 to read 13+ Canadian books AND review them.  Usually, there are some mini-challenges along the way as well (I especially haven't been good at that portion).  If you are interested in signing up, visit here.  This year's challenge is being hosted by Canadian Bookworm.

Here we go...

  1. The Long Way Home by Louise Penny (Read by Ralph Cosham).  Louise Penny is a Canadian (QuĂ©bec) Author.
  2. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (Read by Jayne Entwistle).  Alan Bradley is a Canadian (Ontario) Author.
  3. ...
  4. ...
  5. ...
  6. ...
  7. ...
  8. ...
  9. ...
  10. ...
  11. ...
  12. ...
  13. ...

The Long Way Home

It was time for me to revisit Gamache and the people of Three Pines.  I had halted in part because the storyline had become so difficult to process emotionally (a sign of good writing, I suppose), and in part when I learned that the narrator Ralph Cosham had passed.

But it was time to move on, and time to listen to the last of the Gamache books that Cosham did narrate, The Long Way Home (Chief Inspector Gamache, Bk 10).

This story is all about where Clara's husband Peter has gone to, and along the way, how everyone is living within their new positions and life roles after great turmoil, upheaval, and change of the past several books - Gamache, Beauvoir, and the several of the residents of Three Pines have adjustments to work through.  Which brings us back to Peter.  Clara and Peter had a trial separation of 1 year, and Peter was supposed to return to figure out where they go for now.  But he hasn't, and something must be wrong - but what?

There is a lot of symbolism in this story - in the title, the book cover, and the "clues" Peter has left behind.  

I do really enjoy this series.  During this particular book, I laughed throughout and cried once (I cannot say more without spoilers).  I will miss Ralph Cosham, but he did a beautiful job with this last book (and all those proceeding it). 

Going forward, I will be quicker to listen to The Nature of the Beast (Chief Inspector Gamache, Bk 11) and the other books in the series.  I hope narrator Robert Bathurst is a good fit (Louise Penny says he is), and I look forward to my next visit with Gamache and the residents of Three Pines.

Monday, May 27, 2019

City of Secrets

Title: City of Secrets

Author: Victoria Thompson

Publisher:  Berkley Prime Crime

Series: Counterfeit Lady, Bk 2

ISBN: 9780451491619

Length: 307 + "Author's Note"

Obtained: Library copy


I wanted to read this from the time I finished the first book in the series, City of Lies.  During the year I waited, I binged on Victoria Thompson's Gaslight Mystery series.  More recently, I've been on something of a reading slump.  I would read some, and even enjoy what I was reading, but I haven't had the same passion that I had in days gone by.  Yesterday (11/23/2018), I had gone Black Friday shopping and was home alone with the dogs, and I thought, "I should read that book that I've been waiting so long for and finally have checked out."  So I did.  I read straight through it, with only small pauses to nap (I was exhausted), let the dogs out, catch the dogs when they unlatched the gate and escaped the yard, take pictures of the dogs, or break up occasional dog-spats (those dogs are more than a handful). Finally.

The story jumps right in from the start.  Too bad I didn't remember the first book quite as well as I would have liked, but I picked up fairly quickly.  I think I needed the quick pacing of this story...

I wrote the above in November 2018 and never finished or published, so here it is...Since I didn't finish my thoughts, and don't remember what I intended to say now, we'll just say I'm a fan.