Tag: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

What I’m Reading Now (9/24/18)

September 24, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 16

Well, I thought we’d escaped Hurricane Florence last week, but we got an out-of-nowhere (well, it was actually caused by Hurricane Florence, but no one was expecting it!) tornado blitz on Monday afternoon. The kids and I spent 2 hours in our basement storage room as funnel cloud after funnel cloud was spotted around town. There was some pretty severe damage, but thankfully nothing hit us directly. And, we do not live in tornado country, so this was pretty incredible.

I’m hoping my reading has gotten back on track…I feel like it might have! I just need these next couple books to fall in line. I’m also overloaded with listening at the moment. Serial just dropped Season 3 (covering the Ohio justice system), I’m listening to the Dr. Death podcast, and an audiobook library hold just came in (Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs). There’s nothing like a library due date to get me to push an audiobook ahead of all the podcasts I listen to!

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I have a finicky relationship with historical fiction. I used to LOVE it. But, I think I’ve gotten bored with it lately…and started to view the genre as perfect for my mother’s generation, but not edgy enough for me. ⠀ _⠀ ⠀ However, there are a few historical fiction novels that I’ve loved…and I finally figured out that they’re unconventional in specific ways. Check out my full blog post for the 6 Types of Unconventional Historical Fiction that work for me! (LINK IN PROFILE)⠀ _⠀ ⠀ How do you feel about historical fiction? Are there certain types that work better for you than others? ⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookgram #amreading #bookworms #instabooks #instabook #booktalk #booklovers #booklover #bibliophile #biblio #bookaddict #bookaddiction #badassbookbabes #historicalfiction @melaniebenjamin_author @georgiahunter @tjenkinsreid @ahoffmanwriter @johnboyne @stephenking @delacortepress @vikingbooks @atriabooks @simonbooks @simonandschuster @hogarthbooks @scribnerbooks @bookofthemonth

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I finished reading…

what I'm reading now

 

November Road by Lou Berney (October 2, 2018)
Just so-so. The page-turning vibe I thought I was getting didn’t show up until the very end and I didn’t really care by then. Mini review coming.
Affiliate Link: Amazon

A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl by Jean Thompson (October 9, 2018)
Whew! Lots of thoughts about this book, but I was overall pleasantly surprised (think a bleaker Anna Quindlen)…despite it’s unfortunate title and cover. I’m trying to decide whether to do a full length or mini review. Regardless, some type of review will be coming soon!
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Witch Elm

 

The Witch Elm by Tana French (October 9, 2018)
I’ve only read one Tana French (The Secret Place), but I’m in the mood for a good mystery (and my Instagram followers voted that this is what I should read next!). I’ve literally just started, so I don’t have any opinions yet.

Upcoming reading plans…

A Well-Behaved Woman

 

A Well-Behaved Woman by Therese Anne Fowler (October 16, 2018)
I absolutely loved Fowler’s last novel, Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, so I’m super excited to see what she does with Alva Vanderbilt.

was reading…

One Year Ago: I was reading an old school favorite author that I think I’ve now outgrown.

Two Years Ago: I was reading back to back 5 star memoirs!

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (9/17/18)

September 17, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 23

We were bracing for big impacts from Hurricane Florence in Virginia this weekend, but thankfully we just ended up with some rain…not even any wind to speak of. I’m so glad we escaped most of the damage (less glad that the kids’ school was needlessly canceled on Friday), but feel horrible for those in North and South Carolina who didn’t. I have a particular soft spot in my heart for Wilmington, NC as I lived there for a summer during college, so I hate to see Wilmington residents going through all this.

On a happier note, We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter (author Q&A), which I know many of you read and loved, was selected at the 2018 One Book for Thomas County, GA (home of The Bookshelf in Thomasville and From the Front Porch podcast)! 

Finally, I made my second guest appearance on a podcast last week…this time I joined Gayle Weiswasser and Nicole Bonia on The Readerly Report to break down Celebrity Book Clubs! Listen here (it’s the 9/14/18 episode).

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There’s something about the stage of life I’m in right now that really has me gravitating towards “women who get women.” _ I’m now experiencing marriage, motherhood, and a struggle to maintain my own identity through all of that. Seeing many things I’d been thinking and feeling put so eloquently on the page brought a tremendous sense of relief…and camaraderie that others struggle with the same things. This is one of my favorite joys of reading. _ All that being said, I don’t think these particular authors would have resonated with me before my thirties because I didn’t have the necessary experience under my belt to appreciate their wisdom. So, save these fantastic women authors for well after college… LINK IN PROFILE WITH FULL LIST _ What type of authors do you most identify with right now? What other “women who get women” authors do I need to read? * * * * * #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookgram #amreading #bookworms #instabooks #instabook #booktalk #booklovers #booklover #bibliophile #biblio #bookaddict #bookaddiction #badassbookbabes @megwolitzer @camille_pagan @cherylstrayed @kellycorrigan @randomhouse @scribnerbooks @aaknopf @vintagebooks

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I finished reading…

Tell Me Lies

 

Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering (June 12, 2018)
Tell Me Lies explores sociopathic behavior and the girls that get mixed up in it from Lucy’s and Stephen’s alternating perspectives. It was a somewhat uncomfortable read, yet I was absolutely riveted. Part of me thinks this is the kind of book every high school girl should read as a cautionary tale, but it might also completely destroy her capacity to trust. And, I’m sure the many women who have experienced this type of relationship at some point in their lives will identify (but also be totally frustrated with) Lucy.
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I’m currently Reading…

November Road

 

November Road by Lou Berney (October 2, 2018)
I’m almost three quarters of the way through my September Book of the Month pick…a historical fiction thriller centered around a cat and mouse chase connected to the JFK assassination. And, it’s just so-so. I expected it to have more of a page turning vibe than it does and I don’t really care what happens to these characters.
Affiliate Link: Amazon

I tried, but wasn’t feeling…

Bitter Orange

 

Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller (October 9, 2018)
DNF at 24%
Sigh…I loved Fuller’s previous two novels, Our Endless Numbered Days and Swimming Lessons, but this one was sloooow. The writing was too descriptive and focused too much on architecture. I also couldn’t get a good sense of Frances (the main character)…she felt vague and the whole story felt hazy. There was supposed to be simmering tension similar to Tangerine, but I felt absolutely zero tension.

Upcoming reading plans…

A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl

 

A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl by Jean Thompson (October 9, 2018)
This Midwestern family novel focusing on three generations of women came to me unsolicited from the publisher. It’s the kind of premise that I’ve absolutely loved before, but could also be the type of book where nothing ever happens. We’ll where it lands!

was reading…

One Year Ago: I was embarking on a bit of a reading slump…similar to this year!

Two Years Ago: I was reading a massively popular book that I didn’t love…and my review of it is still one of my best performing reviews of all time.

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (9/10/18)

September 10, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 18

The kids went back to school last week! Let me repeat, the kids went back to school last week! They were getting bored, restless, and less than well behaved the last few weeks of summer, so this has been a welcome change to our routine. My daughter started Kindergarten and boarded the bus without tears. And, my son started second grade and is thrilled to be back with his friends every day. And, I was more productive than I’ve been in a long, long time. My kids’ bus comes super early in the morning, so I have an extra hour and a half to get things done around the house or for the blog that I didn’t have last year.

On the reading front, I’m now able to return to my school year reading routine where I 100% know I’ll get in at least 45 minutes of reading every afternoon before the kids get home. I love knowing I’ll have this time. It also gets me in a relaxed headspace for the kids’ arrival home from school. And, I spent last week reading backlist and a library hold from earlier this year. Once I finish the library hold, I’ll start on October books…and, I’m glad I’m getting an early start because October has a jam-packed line-up!

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I asked my followers to guess which book in this picture fit the following categories…here are the answers!

1) My favorite: The Heart’s Invisible Furies
2) My least favorite: Circe
3) Most appearances as a celebrity book club pick (there are 2 for this category!): An American Marriage and Little Fires Everywhere
4) Most surprising: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
5) Most heart-breaking: The Girl Who Smiled Beads
6) The genre mash-up: After the Eclipse (memoir and true crime)
7) The prequel: The Rules of Magic

And, here is the follower who got all the answers right: @amysachs of Read a Latte (even pointed out to me that I’d forgotten to create a category for Startup!). PS – you should check out Amy’s blog, especially if you like thrillers!

 

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While I’m waiting for my September Book of the Month selection (November Road by Lou Berney) to arrive in my mailbox, I thought we’d play a little game with my previous BOTM picks! Whoever gets them all right will get shout-outs in my Monday blog post!⠀ _⠀ ⠀ In the comments section, guess which book fills each category:⠀ 1) My favorite: ⠀ 2) My least favorite: ⠀ 3) Most appearances as a celebrity book club pick (there are 2 for this category!):⠀ 4) Most surprising:⠀ 5) Most heart-breaking:⠀ 6) The genre mash-up:⠀ 7) The prequel: ⠀ – ⠀ OK, go!!⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ #bookofthemonth #bookofthemonthclub #botm #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookgram #amreading #bookworms #instabooks #instabook #booktalk #booklovers #booklover #bibliophile #biblio #bookaddict #bookaddiction #badassbookbabes @bookofthemonth

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I finished reading…

Loving Frank

 

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan (August 7, 2007)
Thank you, Annie Jones, for giving me the kick in the pants I needed to read this! It was fascinating, compelling, and had me Googling away (to look at architecture, no less!) after I finished. Mini review coming soon on Instagram and in a backlist round-up later this year.
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I’m currently reading…

Tell Me Lies

 

Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering (June 12, 2018)
Whew! I’m 30% into this story about a toxic relationship and boy is it ever toxic! I sense some sociopathy and reading this actually makes me uncomfortable, yet still riveted. This could end up being the kind of book every high school girl should read as a cautionary tale, but also it would completely destroy her capacity to trust.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Upcoming reading plans…

Bitter Orange

 

Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller (October 9, 2018)
I loved Fuller’s previous two novels, Our Endless Numbered Days and Swimming Lessons. Her writing is gorgeous and her novels usually have a slow burn. Plus, Annie Jones from From the Front Porch podcast (one of my best recommendation sources) just gave this one 4 stars.

was reading…

One Year Ago: I was reading quirky food fiction.

Two Years Ago: I was on vacation!

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (9/3/18) – A Double Shot

September 3, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 24

Happy Labor Day, everyone! I meant to get a Monday post up last week, but was traveling that weekend and ended up drinking wine with a friend on Sunday night instead of writing a blog post! Sometimes you’ve gotta just live life. So, you’re getting a double shot of books this week to make up for it…

My September books fell off a cliff with 3 DNF’s in one day! The good news is I now have time to fit in a backlist book and a library hold instead!

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Ever since we moved into a new house, I’ve been on a mission to create simple, little reading nooks all over the house and yard. Those reading enclaves you see on Pinterest are ridiculously amazing, but I’m not into decorating nearly enough to actually put one together. So, thank God you can totally get away with a comfy chair, a small table, and some good scenery! Here’s my latest addition…⠀ _⠀ ⠀ How do you create reading nooks where you live?⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookgram #amreading #bookworms #instabooks #instabook #booktalk #booklovers #booklover #bibliophile #biblio #bookaddict #bookaddiction #badassbookbabes #summer2018 #summerreading #readeverywhere #readingnooks

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I finished reading…

what i'm reading now

 

The Wildlands by Abby Geni (September 4, 2018)
I really liked this one and it wasn’t what I expected! It’s got little bits of a number of other books I liked (Before the FallWhere the Crawdads Sing, The Animals, and This Dark Road to Mercy), but is something all its own. Mini review coming.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Foe by Iain Reid (September 4, 2018)
Super creepy (but not in a scary way) and I flew through it. Mini review to come.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

The Residence by Kate Andersen Brower (April 7, 2015) – Audiobook
I love a good behind-the-scenes of anything Presidential book, especially the ones that don’t really get into politics…and I’ve read a lot of them. The household service staff brings a unique viewpoint, since they see the first families at their most unguarded. Perfect if you’re interested in the inner workings of the White House (especially if you liked Ronald Kessler’s books, In the President’s Secret Service and The First Family Detail)!
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Forever is the Worst Long Time by Camille Pagan (February 7, 2017)
I needed an easy read for my mini-vacation last weekend and had this one sitting on my Kindle from a $1.99 sale. I loved Pagan’s Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties, so was pretty confident this would hit the spot! And it was perfect for my vacation…I read it in 2 days. It’s the story of an epic love triangle and doesn’t go in the direction you think it will!
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Loving Frank

 

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan (August 7, 2007)
This historical fiction based on the affair between architect Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick Cheney had been on my TBR list for years and I probably would never have gotten to it, but Annie Jones talked about it on a recent episode of From the Front Porch podcast and it was a Kindle $1.99 deal soon after. The stars align! I’m about 35% through and am loving it so far. I’m still early in the book, but the affair has already progressed so far that I’m dying to know what will fill the remaining 65%. And, Annie said not to Google the real story, so I’m not!
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I tried, but wasn’t feeling…

what i'm reading now

 

The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman (September 11, 2018)
DNF at 34%
This true story of the 1948 abduction of Sally Horner and the connection to the classic novel, Lolita sounded incredibly fascinating and right up my alley (true crime and books? yes!). Alas, the execution wasn’t there. The sections about Lolita read like a term paper and the sections about Sally Horner were hit and miss…with frequent tangents that I didn’t see the point of.

The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling (September 4, 2018)
DNF at 3%
I immediately didn’t like the writing style…it was wordy, overly descriptive, and full of run-on sentences. I knew pretty quickly I wouldn’t be able to tolerate 300 pages of it.

Ordinary People by Diana Evans (September 11, 2018)
DNF at 1%
Yep, 1%. Again…writing style. And huge blocks of text about some party that sounded pretentious and boring.

Upcoming reading plans…

Tell Me Lies

 

Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering (June 12, 2018)
This novel about a toxic relationship is my sister-in-law’s favorite book so far from her newly discovered reading hobby (read more about her story here), so I thought I’d give it a try and my library hold just came in!

was reading…

One Year Ago: I was reading one of last year’s critical darlings that didn’t work for me.

Two Years Ago: I’d just finished Herman Koch’s latest novel!

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (8/20/18)

August 20, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 12

We were on vacation for part of last week and I think we’ve finally hit the point where our kids are old enough for vacations to actually be fun! For the past few years, they’ve felt like more work than fun and are definitely not relaxing for us parents. But, my kids are now 5 and 7 and they’re interested in doing some fun things that we’re also interested in (a new thing for us!).

My son is crazy about fishing. Luckily, my daughter wants to do what her brother is doing, so she’s taken up fishing too. And, we all love being on the boat. Highlight of the weekend was my son catching a small shark on his fishing rod!

And, I did manage to get some reading done, which always helps my vacation!

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⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐// I was worried Where the Crawdads Sing would be a beautiful, but boring book (I’d heard Owens was known for her nature writing and lots of description usually puts me to sleep), but I couldn’t be more wrong. The writing is gorgeous, the story is propulsive, and it’s 5-star immersive. _ Kya lives alone in a shack by a North Carolina marsh, shunned and ostracized by the town residents. So, she finds her home in the nature and wildlife of the marsh. Until she gets entangled in the death of Chase Matthews, the local star quarterback and golden boy… _ P.S. I had a massive reading hangover from this one! Couldn’t get fiction to work for weeks afterwards. Always a good sign 👍 * * * * * * #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookgram #amreading #bookworms #instabooks #instabook #booktalk #booklovers #booklover #bibliophile #biblio #bookaddict #bookaddiction #badassbookbabes @putnambooks #wherethecrawdadssing

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I finished reading…

 

Everything Here Is Beautiful

 

Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee (January 16, 2018)
I really liked this one, though it wasn’t a 5 star read for me. The dual perspectives of Lucia suffering from her mental illness (possibly schizophrenia or bipolar disorder) and her family responsible for caring for her was poignant. I felt terrible for all of them. The structure also kind of reminded me of the TV show The Affair…you’re seeing the same events from different characters’ perspectives. A good pick if you liked Dear Fang, With Love by Rufi Thorpe (my review).
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

The Wildlands

 

The Wildlands by Abby Geni (September 4, 2018)
I’m over halfway through this novel about siblings who lost everything in a Category 5 tornado. It was described by the publisher as a literary thriller and I’m not sure that’s quite accurate, but I really like it anyway! I read the first half in two days, which is quick for me. And, it’s got little bits of a number of other books I liked (Before the FallWhere the Crawdads Sing, The Animals, and This Dark Road to Mercy).
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Upcoming reading plans…

Foe Iain Reid

 

Foe by Iain Reid (September 4, 2018)
I didn’t read Reid’s best-seller, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, but Catherine at Gilmore Guide‘s book whisperer (Pam Cady, a Seattle bookseller), told her that Foe is a must-read. Since Catherine and I mostly agree on books, I’m taking Pam’s recommendation too!

was reading…

One Year Ago: I was reading the YA hit of last year.

Two Years Ago: I was on vacation!

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (8/13/18)

August 13, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 15

Summer is winding down and school is starting up for my kids in a couple weeks. So, while we have some free time, I’ve been trying to knock out a bunch of un-fun errands. But, I actually got a lot done and hope to enjoy the last few weeks of summer!

After flailing around with various books last week, the book I’d been waiting for (Everything Here is Beautiful) finally came in from the library and I feel like I’m back on the reading horse!

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I finished reading…

Living Out Loud

 

Living Out Loud by Anna Quindlen (August 12, 1988)
Steadfastly top notch Anna Quindlen, a charter member of my “women who get women” club. Even though these columns (originally published in the New York Times) were published in the 1980’s, they are still incredibly relevant today.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Everything Here Is Beautiful

 

Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee (January 16, 2018)
I’m about 25% through this debut novel about two sisters, one with a mental illness and am really liking it! It’s the first novel to truly grab my attention in the past 2 weeks and I’m so interested to see what happens with these two sisters.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I tried, but wasn’t feeling…

Ohio by Stephen Markley

 

Ohio by Stephen Markley (August 21, 2018)
DNF at 30%
I ended up picking this one back up last week after originally thinking I was done with it at 7%. There were long sections about the characters’ high school experience that sucked me in, but as soon as the story went somewhere else (these other places were generally pretty self-indulgent), I hated it again. After wrestling around with it for a few days, I finally decided that, if I’m going to invest my time into a 500 page novel, it shouldn’t be this hit and miss. One Goodreads reviewer said it perfectly: “This really needed to be tightened up. In places, it’s a total mess. In others, it’s brilliant.” I just thought the % mess vs. brilliant was too heavily weighted to the mess side. Ohio has gotten a lot of pre-publication buzz, but I think it’s one of those critical darlings that probably won’t resonate with many regular readers.

Upcoming reading plans…

The Wildlands

 

The Wildlands by Abby Geni (September 4, 2018)
I saw this literary thriller set during a Category 5 tornado in The Millions Great Second Half Book Preview and, though it hasn’t been vetted by any of my trusted recommendation sources, I was intrigued!

was reading…

One Year Ago: I read one of my very few 5 star thrillers!

Two Years Ago: I’d just finished a fun novel set in the political world.

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (8/6/18)

August 6, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 23

Last week, I mentioned I was having a bit of a hangover from Where the Crawdads Sing…and I’m now confident that I’m definitely having a hangover! I sampled a number of books last week and none really grabbed me. So, I reverted to an old favorite while I wait for some library holds to come in.

Also, I was a guest on a book podcast! I joined Laura Yamin on her podcast, What To Read Next (not to be confused with Anne Bogel’s What Should I Read Next?), and we talked about my all-time favorite books (talk about a hard question!), my auto-buy authors, what I think you should read now, a book I didn’t like, and some debut authors I’m keeping an eye on. This is the first time I’ve ever been on a podcast and listening to myself was no easy thing! I was cringing at all the “ums” in there…just thinking about what my high school teachers would think! I’ll have to tighten that up for next time…

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Book of the Month picks are due today if you haven’t gotten yours in already (check out my commentary on all the posts)!

August Book of the Month selections are here! We’ve got some chick-lity romance (not really my thing), books involving music (again not my thing), a Grit Lit that I’m about halfway through now, a police procedural, and a story about a complicated female friendship. And, shockingly, I’m not skipping this month! _ I’ve got commentary on all the selections (including my personal thoughts on the one I’m reading) AND my ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB JUDGES to help you choose the right book for your reading taste. LINKS IN PROFILE #affiliate * * * * * * #bookofthemonth #bookofthemonthclub #botm #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookgram #amreading #bookworms #instabooks #instabook #booktalk #booklovers #booklover #bibliophile #biblio #bookaddict #bookaddiction #badassbookbabes @bookofthemonth @davidjoy_author @chiquinhapeebles

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I finished reading…

what I'm reading now

 

The Line That Held Us by David Joy (August 14, 2018)
I liked this one, but the ending fizzled a bit for me. Prior to the ending, it was going to be a solid 4 star Grit Lit. I’m debating on whether dock a half star for the ending, but it’s not super straightforward (which I will explain more in an upcoming mini review).
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

A Beautiful, Terrible Thing by Jen Waite (July 11, 2017) – Audiobook
Waite’s memoir about her marriage to a sociopath had me riveted…I ignored a bunch of podcasts to keep listening (and I normally pause my audiobook to listen to the podcasts as soon as they drop) and was definitely thinking about people I know in real life who could be sociopaths based on their behavior.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Living Out Loud

 

Living Out Loud by Anna Quindlen (1994)
Y’all know I adore Anna Quindlen, so after sampling a couple books with no luck, I decided to revert to my old standby. Living Out Loud is a collection of her New York Times columns about life, particularly for women, and it’s just what I need right now! I’m almost halfway through…
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I tried, but wasn’t feeling…

what I'm reading now

 

These DNF’s are a little different than my usual. They’re both super long books (almost 500 pages each) and I have to REALLY love a book to make those 500 pages worth it. Both these books were okay and I probably would’ve continued reading if they were shorter…and I haven’t abandoned them for good. I’ve just put them down for now until other readers I trust vet them for me.

Ohio by Stephen Markley (August 21, 2018)
Possible DNF at 7%
Loved the first chapter, but hated the second chapter, which was told from a different character’s perspective. The character was obnoxious and the writing was pretentious.

The Air We Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles (August 7, 2018)
Possible DNF at 9%
I was kind of interested in the childhood friendship between a wealthy sugar heiress and her kitchen girl, but I wasn’t completely drawn in. I wonder if I’d feel differently once I got past the childhood stage…I’m hoping someone will tell me!

Upcoming reading plans…

Everything Here Is Beautiful

 

Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee (January 16, 2018)
This debut novel about two sisters, one with a mental illness, comes highly recommended by a number of readers I trust (Susie, Tara, Nicole Bonia, and Jan Belisle) and I’m finally at the top of the library hold list!  

was reading…

One Year Ago: I was starting a pretty good reading streak!

Two Years Ago: I’d just finished Megan Abbott’s fantastically dark gymnastics novel.

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (7/30/18)

July 30, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 27

I had two back to back outstanding reads last week and now feel like I’m having a bit of a hangover. It’s the first time this has happened to me in awhile and, despite the DNF’s that came along with it, it’s a welcome feeling to have read something that’s caused a hangover!

Last week, I posted my Ultimate Guide to Celebrity Book Clubs with a free downloadable template to help you find the celebrity book club that best matches your reading taste! And, my #1 celebrity book club is one that may not be on your radar, but should be!

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This post contains affiliate links (plus: here’s your Amazon Smile-specific affiliate link), through which I make a small commission when you make a purchase (at no cost to you!).

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I’m only 2 essays into I AM, I AM, I AM by Maggie O’Farrell and I’m already predicting a 5 star read for me. It’s the perfect book for this rainy day…one that’s powerful, unsettling, and makes you feel your own mortality.⠀ _⠀ ⠀ This is the first thing I’ve read by Maggie O’Farrell and I can’t wait to read more. This Must Be the Place is sitting on my Kindle (as it has been for months), but I’ll be making time for it much sooner now.⠀ _⠀ ⠀ How soon into a book are you tempted to predict your star rating?⠀ ⠀ Recommendation Sources: @keliteracy @annebogel and Read it Forward (Thank you!)⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookgram #amreading #bookworms #instabooks #instabook #booktalk #booklovers #booklover #bibliophile #biblio #bookaddict #bookaddiction #badassbookbabes⠀ @aaknopf #iamiamiam #maggieofarrell

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I finished reading…

what I'm reading now

 

I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell (February 6, 2018)
It took me awhile to pick up this memoir / essay collection because the whole “near-death experiences” premise struck me as a little melodramatic, but I shouldn’t have worried because they were powerful and unsettling in a way that had me riveted. Some experiences are more serious than others, but a couple of them will knock your socks off (the first two and the last were particularly powerful) and all impart some wisdom about life. Her writing is extraordinary and she makes you keenly feel your own mortality. Unquestionably 5 stars!
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (August 14, 2018)
This North Carolina marsh country debut completely surprised me in the best way possible! I’d heard Owens was known for her nature writing, so I worried this would be one of those beautiful, but boring books. I shouldn’t have worried because I couldn’t put this book down! Put this one on your list for August!
Affiliate Link: Pre-Order from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Line That Held Us

 

The Line That Held Us by David Joy (August 14, 2018)
I really enjoyed Joy’s debut novel, the gritty Where All Light Tends to Go (my review), so I’m excited to get into this novel about a hunting accident. I’ve just started it, so stay tuned for more thoughts.

I tried, but wasn’t feeling…

what I'm reading now

 

Anatomy of a Miracle by Jonathan Miles (March 13, 2018)
DNF at 21%
There were far too many tangents…like detailed family backstories of peripheral characters. I didn’t care about those and they took me out of the main story.

The Drama Teacher by Koren Zailckas (August 7, 2018)
DNF at 6%
I just didn’t care.

Upcoming reading plans…

Ohio by Stephen Markley

 

Ohio by Stephen Markley (August 21, 2018)
This debut novel about four friends who return home to their Rust Belt hometown is being billed as relevant to today’s economic and political issues facing America. We’ll see if the story brings the issues organically along (hopefully) or if the issues drive the train.  

was reading…

One Year Ago: I was reading one of the most hyped books of 2017.

Two Years Ago: My audiobook and TV shows were overshadowing my reading.

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (7/23/18)

July 23, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 14

Last week 3 out of 4 family members (including me) were sick. And, I mean 102 degree fever-type sick. I forget how much a fever like that takes it out of you, so I didn’t read as much as I’d hoped and I spent the second half of the week trying to get my energy back. But, the silver lining of the rainy weekend was we all got lots of rest and I did get some reading done!

Also, I added 4 new books to my 2018 Summer Reading Guide last week!

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I’ve been adding books to my 2018 Summer Reading Guide since I published it in May…and this is the last crop of books I’m adding to this year’s list! This group has some heavy hitters! _ The Book of Essie by @meghanmacleanweir is one of the best Brain Candy books I’ve read in a long time. It’s an easy read (great for the beach), but has heaps of substance as well. And Calypso by David Sedaris is an essay collection that is funny and inappropriate, yet poignant. Check out my blog post to see all the books I’m adding to my 2018 Summer Reading Guide! Thanks to @anniebjones05 for recommending The Book of Essie! LINK IN PROFILE _ What’s the best summer reading book you’ve read this year? * * * * * #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookgram #amreading #bookworms #instabooks #instabook #booktalk #booklovers #booklover #bibliophile #biblio #bookaddict #bookaddiction #badassbookbabes @aaknopf @littlebrown #davidsedaris @bookofthemonth #bookofthemonth

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I finished reading…

Distance Home

 

The Distance Home by Paula Saunders (August 7, 2018) 
I really liked this debut about a family living in South Dakota. It’s part coming of age / part dysfunctional family, but more subtle than many dysfunctional family stories. Saunders’ writing is excellent.
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I’m currently reading…

I Am, I Am, I Am

 

I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell (February 6, 2018)
I cannot believe I waited so long to pick this memoir/essay collection up. It’s excellent. I’m a little over halfway through, but am predicting it will be 5 stars for me.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Upcoming reading plans…

Where the Crawdads Sing


Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (August 14, 2018)
This debut coming of age story / mystery set in a North Carolina marsh town came to me unsolicited from the publisher and I’ve been seeing comparisons to Barbara Kingsolver. Apparently, Owens is known for her nature writing, which has me a little scared this book will be too slow for me. But, we’ll see!

was reading…

One Year Ago: I read a nonfiction about arson in the area where my husband and I got married.

Two Years Ago: I was reading a great vacation book set in Italy.

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (7/16/18)

July 16, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 20

Last week was filled with night-time activities, which aren’t my favorite because I love my downtime and sleep. My son had his first swim meet (which was fun, but looong), I had a night tennis match that ended at 10 pm, and we had a storm that knocked out power and A/C, so I didn’t get much sleep over the course of the week…which led to getting a summer cold. I’m hoping to rest up this week.

Last week, I shared my Q2 Go-To and No-Go Book Recommendation Sources (by tracking my recommendation sources using my Rock Your Reading Tracker, I’ve improved my “successful” reading by 43% over last year!) and my July 2018 Books to Read…and Skip.

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My not-so-new-anymore bookshelves got some accessories…including some cool bookends! Incidentally, we do not own an actual dog, despite having dogs on our bookshleves. I love dogs and would like one eventually, but I really don’t feel like taking care of one more living creature right now. The dog will have to wait until my kids are a little more self-sufficient…⠀ _⠀ ⠀ I’ve organized my bookshelves by color and only my very, very favorite books earned a spot (I read on a Kindle, so keeping my bookshelves selective is unexpectedly not that hard for me…I have to purchase hardcovers specifically to go on the shelves).⠀ _⠀ ⠀ On my rainbow shelf are:⠀ – 2 of my favorite books of 2014 (Station Eleven and Shotgun Lovesongs)⠀ – 1 of my favorite books of 2016 (The Mothers)⠀ – And the first Meg Wolitzer I ever read (and loved). She’s since become an auto-buy author for me!Sidenote: Since I took this picture, Meg Wolitzer’s The Female Persuasion has been added to my rainbow shelf.⠀ _⠀ ⠀ How do you organize your bookshelves? What are some of your favorite bookends?⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookgram #amreading #bookworms #instabooks #instabook #booktalk #booklovers #booklover #bibliophile #biblio #bookaddict #bookaddiction #badassbookbabes #shelfie #bookends #bookshelves @riverheadbooks @megwolitzer @britrbennett @aaknopf @emilystjohnmandel⠀

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I finished reading…

what I'm reading now

 

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras (July 31, 2018) 
This debut had all the pieces of a great book for me, but it was missing the intangibles. Check out my review for more details.

The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner (January 5, 2016) – Audiobook
I liked this memoir by a girl who grew up in a polygamist Morman family in Mexico and Texas…but, I think I read it too soon after reading Educated. They were similar for sure. I’d still recommend it, though, especially if you like fringe religion / dysfunctional childhood stories.

The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger (July 3, 2018)
Completely satisfying summer thriller that (shockingly) is not really domestic despite the unfortunate title! It’s set in the world of private Swiss banking. Review coming on Thursday.

I’m currently reading…

Distance Home

 

The Distance Home by Paula Saunders (August 7, 2018) 
Tyler Goodson, Manager at Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA (one of my go-to book recommendation sources) rated this dysfunctional family debut novel set in the American West 5 stars. I thought I’d knock out an August release while waiting for my next library hold to come in…

Upcoming reading plans…

I Am, I Am, I Am

 

I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell (February 6, 2018)
I’ve been hearing rave reviews of this memoir that I’ve had on hold at the library for months now. I kept suspending my hold (Did you know you can do this? Find out more here.) because I was drowning in new release ARCs. But, I have a bit of a break in my reading schedule and I think my hold should come in this week.

was reading…

One Year Ago: I was reading an awesome Swedish courtroom thriller!

Two Years Ago: I was reading a book featuring a totally demented psychologist.

How was your reading week?

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