Friday Reads ~ 1 December 2017

I’ve mentioned before that I’m going to be switching up how I do my Friday Reads blog posts, and I’ll go into more detail on that later this month in preparation for the New Year. For now, however, I’m going to continue with the three reading status updates.

WHAT I READ

I finished reading Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower. (#1 of the Magical Bookshop Mystery series and #9 for my Cat Mystery Reading Challenge.) It was really cute and I really like the bookshop and the cat. I’m not as interested in the likely love triangle between the humans, though, so we’ll see if I decide to continue with the series.

WHAT I’M READING

I’m currently reading Rest in Pieces by Rita Mae Brown. (#2 of the Mrs. Murphy Mysteries and #10 for my Cat Mystery Reading Challenge.) It’s really cute, and it’s refreshing to have the pets’ POV again rather than relying on the humans to interpret the pets. I’m sad that it took me so long to get back to this series, but at least I can fully appreciate it now (after having read many books where the humans have to interpret the animals).

On my eReader are two books, Lazette Gifford’s Raventower and Merriweather #1: Secrets and Senana McGuire’s Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day. I’m much further into the McGuire one, but they’re both enjoyable at this point.

I’m also still listening to Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh. I want to like it as much as I liked the beginning. But right now I’m only still listening to it because I want to know how it ends, and not because I’m enjoying the journey. (I’m really not sure how much of this is the book and how much is the narrator. Right now I’m annoyed enough at the package of it that I can’t separate the two.) I am sick of YA angst, and there is more of it continually developing in this book. The setting is great. The first couple of chapters were great. But now, several chapters in… I might DNF this one if I can’t bring myself to enjoy the next chapter or two.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT

I really want to read The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid. It was on my “eventual” TBR pile, but it’s been recommended by several people (some IRL and some online) so it’s been bumped up higher. Now that I’m on my last Cat Mystery book for that reading challenge, I think this will be one of my next two paper books. The other paper book I want to read in 2017 is To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis. We’ll see which of the two I get to first (or if I completely change my mind. Again.)

It will be a while before I have to choose another ebook. I’ll determine what that will be once I’m closer to done with these two.

And my next audio book needs to be a not-an-angsty-YA-book*. I’m not sure yet what that will end up being. I have a Robert Heinlein sci-fi in my Audible queue which might be next. Or there are also a couple of non-fiction books which might be good choices. But I’ve had enough of YA book angst for now.

*Note: I have no problem with YA books. I love YA books. But there seems to be a hidden sub-genre of YA that thinks that all youth emotions need to be portrayed as angst. Or perhaps authors think that because there is so much angst portrayed in YA books / TV / movies, that is what is desired by the readers. They are wrong, if that is the case.

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Friday Reads ~ 17 November 2017

I am running out of days in the year to read cat mystery novels. Good thing I only have 2 cat mysteries left to read to meet my goal.

WHAT I READ

I finished reading The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. LOVE THIS BOOK. I think it’s my favorite of the books I’ve read this year. It’s a beautiful story, but it’s also deep and imaginative and touching and sweet. I highly recommend this one. Yes, it’s a middle grade book, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from enjoying it. And yes, the titular “girl” is our main main character, but our secondary main characters are adults, so it’s not like the adults who read it have no one to connect with. This came very highly recommended to me, and I pass along that recommendation to you.

WHAT I’M READING

I started Crime and Poetry by Allison Flower. I recently met the cat which makes this a cat mystery novel, and I really like him (Emerson). I think I might like the protagonist, and I probably like her grandma. This is a nice change from some of the other recent cozy mysteries I’ve read. Hopefully I keep liking them and can break that “like the animals but not the humans” trend.

I’m still listening to Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh. I don’t like the middle of the book as much as I liked the beginning. It seems more cliched now. However, it had great promise at the start, so I do intend to keep reading. I am having a really hard time believing the main character now, though. She doesn’t seem all that realistic for her universe.

And in addition to Raventower and Merriweather #1: Secrets by Lazette Gifford, I picked up the ebook version of Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire. That one is a shorter book, so I’ll probably switch to that one and finish it first.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT

Another cat mystery. Probably the second Mrs. Murphy novel by Rita Mae Brown or the next Black Cat Bookshop mystery by Ali Brandon. Other than that, I’m not focused on my next read.

Happy weekend, and may you have lots of time to read!

Friday Reads ~ 2017 Reading Challenge Update

We’re into the end of the third quarter of the year now, so instead of another weekly post about what I’m currently reading (you’ll get another one of those next week, probably) I thought it was a good time to do a look at where I am with my 2017 Reading Challenge Goals.

You may recall that I had two goals for this year:

  1. Read 75% new books
  2. Read 10 Cat Mystery books

I also have a book quantity goal listed on Goodreads, but that’s not something I am tracking here. In any case, how am I doing on my challenge goals?

Read 75% new books

I have read a total of 49 books so far this year. (This total is not counting short stories. I know that Goodreads counts them, but I am not tracking them here.)

Only 8 of these 49 books have been ones I’ve read before, so that means 83.67% of my books this year (so far) have been new books. I’d say I’m doing very well on that part of the challenge!

Read 10 Cat Mystery books

I have read 6 cat mystery books so far this year. 2 more have been checked out of the library and 1 more is on my TBR pile. If I finish all of those, that’s a total of 9. I’ll still need to pick up one more, but that seems doable. I just need to stay interested in cat mysteries…

I think I’m in a good place to succeed at my challenge this year. It’s nice to know that I can set reasonable goals for myself when I try. (Last year’s reading challenge forced me to think about what exactly defined “reasonable”…)

Have a great weekend!

Friday Reads ~ in which we have another review catch-up

I had previously finished reading Xenation: Draw the Line and Farstep Station, both by Lazette Gifford. At the time, I didn’t have the time or energy to write book reviews for them. I’ve since found both time and energy, though. The reviews for each book can be found in the links in their titles above.

And a quick update on the 2017 Reading Challenge: I have finished reading 5 of 10 Cat Mystery books, and have started my 6th. I’ve also read 81.4% new books this year, which is over my 75% goal for the year. I guess I haven’t been as tempted to re-read books as in years past! We’ll see if I can keep that up, though. All it will take is getting into one long series of books I’ve already read to throw that off… and I’ve been considering re-reading The Chronicles of Prydain this year. That would mess up my percentage right there.

WHAT I READ

This week I finished reading Doctor Who: City of Death by James Goss (full review is here). It was enjoyable, though not a new favorite book. (Mostly because it’s not a favorite episode of Doctor Who.) The writing was good and the humor was great, though, even if it isn’t my favorite story plot.

I also finished the audio book Split the Party, the second of Drew Hayes’ Spells, Swords, and Stealth series. (The review is here.) Love it! This one is a new favorite book, and it (as well as the first in the series, NPCs) is in the running for Favorite Book Read in 2017.

WHAT I’M READING

As soon as I finished Split the Party, I started listening to Going Rogue, the third Spells, Swords, & Stealth book. There’s a fourth one coming out either later this year or next year, though the release date hasn’t been announced yet. I suspect this 4th book will be an instant purchase for me, too.

I also started to read Black Cat Crossing (A Bad Luck Cat Mystery #1) by Kay Finch. This will be another book for my Cat Mystery Reading Challenge. It’s amusing so far.

For ebooks, I just started Lazette Gifford’s Beware the Wrath of Bunny Hopper, mostly because the title made me laugh. I haven’t gotten far enough into it yet to tell you what I think of it other than that.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT

My next audio book might be another non-fiction book. I’m thinking it will be the Great Courses book The Search for Exoplanets by Joshua Winn. I’m not positive yet, though.

And my next paper book will almost certainly be Bellwether by Connie Willis. It’s been all I can do to not start reading it (even without having finished my current paper book) ever since Amazon delivered it to me.

Friday Reads ~ in which lots was read but no reviews were written

I have finished a lot of reading this week, but I haven’t yet written up the reviews for any of those books. I plan to do that this weekend, so I’ll have the links to the review (hopefully) with next Friday’s post.

As far as a quick 2017 Reading Challenge update goes, you may remember that I’d decided to:

  1. read at least 75% new books; and
  2. read 10 cat mysteries

So far, I have read 4 cat mysteries (and am in the middle of my 5th) and have read 77.14% new books. I’d say I’m on track so far.

WHAT I READ:

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire was released this week, and it put all my other reading on pause. It’s the second of the Wayward Children stories, and it provides back-story for Jack and Jill, two of the characters in the first story. I really enjoyed it, even though it’s more novella-length than novel-length. Definitely worth reading. The storytelling style is really neat, too.

And then because I hadn’t had enough of that world yet, I re-read Every Heart a Doorway, the first of McGuire’s Wayward Children stories. (That one I reviewed back when I read it the first time, and my original review is here.) Still love that story, too.

I also finished reading all of the InCryptid short stories that I can read without spoiling the rest of the series novels. So that’s done for a bit.

And I finished listening to NPCs by Drew Hayes, the first of the Spells, Swords, & Stealth series. That was A LOT OF FUN. If you are a D&D gamer, you should really read this one. If you are a DM, this is practically required reading. Granted, a lot of the story is pure fantasy novel and not game-related, but there are so many little jabs at the game (AND ITS PLAYERS) that make it a lot of fun. I’ll be continuing with this series. And the narration (by Roger Wayne) was a lot of fun, too.

WHAT I’M READING:

I’m currently listening to Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher. It’s enjoyable. It’s eye-opening. It’s still darned hard to listen to her narrate her own life.

I’m also still reading The Cat Who Saw Red by Lilian Jackson Braun. Still fun, but the Cat Who books can be a little formulaic if you read too many of them in too quick a succession. I’ll be taking a short break from this series after this book.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT:

My next audio book will probably be a Great Courses lecture series. I’m not sure which one yet, though. Audible had a 2-for-1 sale on the Great Courses series, so I have a few of them to choose from.

My next paper book will be… hopefully fun. I’m not sure what it will be, to be honest. I think I’ll be taking a break from cat mysteries for a book or two, but that’s about as far as I can guess right now.

Have a great weekend!

Friday Reads ~ in which I have a lot of reviews

So, about the title. I finally took the time to write up my reviews of Seanan McGuire’s Midnight Blue-Light Special and Half-Off Ragnarok, InCryptid books #2 and 3. (Links are to the reviews.) And there is still more! Details below…

WHAT I READ

I also finished reading The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern, (Cat Who #2) by Lilian Jackson Braun, and wrote up the review here. If you don’t feel like reading the whole review, the short version is that I liked it for the colorful characters and for the cats, but found the plot a little on the predictable side.

And I finished reading (well, listening to) The Seventh Bride by T. Kingfisher. Good story, but I’m not sold on the narration in all cases. (full review here)

AND I finished reading The Diabolical Miss Hyde (Electric Empire, #1) by Viola Carr. It’s a book I’ve wanted to read for a while, and I finally went ahead and asked Barnes & Noble to order it for me. Once I got it, I bumped it to the top of the TBR pile. And then I started reading it, and decided not to put it down. I did skim the middle section a bit (I went back and finished it later, but that’s part of how I kept my interest up to read nearly the whole book in one evening) and read the end before I read the middle. Still, an enjoyable read. (full review here)

WHAT I’M READING

I’m taking a deep breath before I start another paper book. I just devoured two in a very short period of time, and need to catch my breath. Also to, you know, catch up on chores and things.

However, I am listening to a book – Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Because Neil deGrasse Tyson. It’s a short book, but informative so far. I think I might need to also buy the hard copy version for reference later.

And I’m still working on Seanan McGuire’s InCryptid short stories in ebook form. (I’m only reading the ones that happen before the next of the novels, so I won’t be finishing the short stories yet. I’m also only reading the ones I can get as individual ebooks instead of the ones I need to get an entire short story compilation for.)

Once I’m done with the InCryptid shorts that I’ve caught up to, I’ll get back to Paid in Gold and Blood by Lazette Gifford. I have no issues with this ebook; I’ve just discovered that I am a LOT more likely to read short-format fiction on an ereader than a full-length novel. Short stories are perfect. Novellas are okay. But full-length novels? Those take me a while.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT

I think my next audio book will be Drew Hayes’ NPCs. It’s been tempting me for a while, so when Audible had it on their one-day sale I bought it. I’m really curious how it will read (and it might make a GREAT gift for my family members that I used to play D&D with) so I think it will be soon, if not next.

For paper books, I want something a little slower-paced than what I’ve been reading. Not boring, just not something I’m tempted to read in one sitting. Maybe I’ll re-read something? Or maybe I’ll move on to another Cat Who mystery… I like those, but I can put them down when I want to.

Friday Reads ~ in which Audible has a great sale

I am a sucker for audio books. I love how I can multi-task that way. I can read while knitting, or exercising, or driving. Awesome. (Don’t get me wrong, I also knit while reading paper books and magazines, but the audio format makes it much easier.)

And so every now and then, Audible has a sale that I can not resist. The current can-not-resist sale is their “Spring Cleaning Sale,” which is 50% off “sitewide,” and runs until April 24 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time. It’s for members only, but if you’re an Audible member and have a wish list a mile long, like I do, you may want to take advantage of it. As they say in their advertisements, it’s “time to clean out your wish list.” I already picked up a few books, but I might go back before the sale ends and buy more.

WHAT I READ:

I finished Murder Past Due, first in the “Cat in the Stacks” cozy cat mystery series by Miranda James. It was really cute and fun, though not necessarily a new must-read series for me. I haven’t even decided yet if I’ll read Book 2 in the series, though I did enjoy Book 1. My full review is here.

I also took a break from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea to listen to the audio version of Kevin Hearne’s The Purloined Poodle, which is either #1 in Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries or #8.5 in the Iron Druid Chronicles. Way too much fun! I wasn’t going to buy the audio version, but when this was on Audible’s 50% off sale, so it was too good a deal to pass up. I probably won’t do a full review of it, since it’s so short (just under 3 hours narrated) but it was a LOT of fun.

WHAT I’M READING:

I’m still on Kat among the Pigeons for my ebook reading. Maybe if I bring my tablet to work for lunch reading, I’ll actually remember that I can read ebooks on a bigger screen than my phone (which is the main reason why it takes me so long to read ebooks).

I’m still listening to the audio book of Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, too. This is a longer book than I always assumed it would be. (I’m not sure why. The other classic adventure novels I’ve read haven’t exactly been short books.) I’m also not sure I can associate with any of the characters, so it’s not easy to get totally absorbed in the story.

And I’m still enjoying the hardback version of NPH’s Choose Your Own Autobiography. I’ve been reading it straight through instead of turning to the pages directed*, so it means there are times when I get confused from hopping from one career/hobby/era to another, but it’s a bunch of fun. And the writing is perfect, both for the person it’s an autobiography of and for the “choose your own adventure” books it’s mimicking.

*If you don’t know what I mean about turning pages, go find one of the old Choose Your Own Adventure books and read that. It will explain better than I can.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT:

I’m pretty sure that Gaiman’s Norse Mythology will be my next audio book. I love hearing him narrate his own work, so that’s the direction I’m leaning for books to listen to.

And I think I’ll go with Midnight Blue-Light Special (the next InCryptid book) by Seanan McGuire for my next paper read. I need a good paranormal paper book to balance out the mystery and non-fiction books I’ve been reading.