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.

Friday Reads ~ in which we throw out everything I said last week

So remember all of my predictions for this week that I made last week? Yeah. Now forget them. I certainly did when I was picking my new reads. Anyway, there was still a lot of fun reading happening.

WHAT I READ

I finished The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun. It’s a great start to the “Cat Who” series! Lots of fun to see how lifelike Koko (the cat) is. I’m going to enjoy reading more in this series, though it’s a LONG series so we’ll see how far I get in it. My full review is here. This is book #2 for my Purrfect Reading Challenge.

I also finished (and started, for that matter) Tuesdays at the Castle (Castle Glower book #1) by Jessica Day George. I love all of her stuff that I’ve read so far, and this one was no exception. I don’t have a full review of it up on my other site yet, but will link to it when I write one.

And I finished the final Narnia book by C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle. It… well. It doesn’t seem to be the same book I read as a child. I have a Misc Monday post in the works which should help explain that.

WHAT I’M READING

So, after The Last Battle I said I wanted a “fun” audio book, right? That must be why I just started The Great Courses: The Higgs Boson and Beyond (lecture series I found on Audible) by Professor Sean Carroll. Because nothing says “fun” like the Higgs boson particle.

I haven’t picked out the next paper book yet. My library book selection keeps shuffling around as I discover that I have checked out books I already own (The Ripper Affair) and as new holds arrive (Murder Past Due) and all that jazz. So we’ll see what I actually pick up when I’m ready for my next book.

And I’m still reading Kat Among the Pigeons in eBook format. I might concentrate on this one for a bit before picking out my next paper book, but we’ll see. I really prefer the paper to eBook format, though eBooks undeniably travel better. Hmm. At any rate, Kat has just gone to visit the pigeons, and it looks like things are about to get interesting. (Not that the beginning wasn’t interesting, but there’s a difference between background-set-up-interesting and action-adventure-excitement-interesting.)

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT

Next? Hmm. I can barely decide what I’m reading NOW. I think I’d better hold off on deciding what will come next for a week or two.

Have a lovely weekend!

Friday Reads ~ in which I change my mind

Today is a bit of a weird day. I have to admit that I’m letting a book hibernate for a while, and it’s a book that I anticipated loving. It feels strange. But, I have stopped reading Endless Blue by Wen Spencer. It just wasn’t catching my attention. So instead of slogging through it and resenting it, I have decided to stop for now and will come back to it later.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not reading anything now! Here’s a look at my week in books.

WHAT I READ

I finished both The Magician’s Nephew and The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis. These are the hardest two to fit into the Narnia series, in my opinion, since the others happen in a sequential order and come one after the other. These two that I just finished don’t fit as neatly in the timeline. (I refuse to read Nephew first before The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. It doesn’t belong there for all that it takes place earlier.) And so, I usually end up reading them smushed in among the others with no rhyme or reason. There was a reason this time that I listened to them when I did: there was a problem with my imported copy of The Silver Chair but not with either of these, so I could listen to these two while I dealt with re-importing the other. My review of Horse is here. (I haven’t reviewed the others in the series yet, but I might.)

I haven’t finished any paper books, since I don’t count putting Endless Blue in hibernation as having finished it.

Ebook-wise, I have decided I am done with Nozy Cat #1. I just couldn’t get into it, even with the book shop and cat involved. Having the main character compliment herself on her sensible choice of outfit killed the story for me.

WHAT I’M READING

I started a new eBook: Kat Among the Pigeons by Lazette Gifford. This is one that I’ve had for a long time but never got to because none of my friends were talking it up. I know Lazette from the Forward Motion community for writers, and though we never interacted much it resulted in me buying several of her books. I don’t remember which e-store I bought them from, but they are now on my Kindle app on my phone, and I’m enjoying this one so far.

I’m also still listening to the Narnia audio books. Currently The Silver Chair, which has now been re-imported successfully into my phone.

And for paper books, I have picked up The Cat Who Could Read Backwards, Lilian Jackson Braun’s first “Cat Who” mystery. I found a bunch of the older “Cat Who” books at my local used book store, so I decided to start at the beginning for Qwill and Koko and see how that goes. (And see when Yum-Yum shows up.)

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT

My next eBook is TBD. I have no plans for that, since I have no idea when I will finish the current one. However, since I’m enjoying my current read and I have a few more books by Lazette Gifford on my phone, I’ll probably pick one of them.

My next audio book is more obvious: I’ll finish out the Narnia series with The Last Battle when I’m done with The Silver Chair. After Narnia, though, I have no idea where my audio books will take me.

And my next paper book is also up in the air. I found used copies of the books I had on loan from the library and (in a moment of “I read too slowly for library book deadlines” brought on by being unable to get into Endless Blue) bought them. So the library versions have been returned and I now need to decide if those books are still at the top of the TBR pile now that I don’t have a deadline for getting them finished. I’m leaning toward either starting the next “Cat Who” book after I read book 1, or perhaps reading the NPH memoir (Choose Your Own Autobiography) which I’ve been wanting to read for some time now. (Random thought – is it a memoir or an autobiography? It calls itself an autobiography, but I get the impression that it has more of a memoir feel. Hmm.)

On the other hand, ever since reading “Bad Dream Girl” from Glitter & Mayhem, I’ve been wanting to pick up Seanan McGuire’s next InCryptid book and read that. The good (or bad?) thing is that all three of these book potentials are on my bookshelf upstairs, waiting for me to read them. We’ll have to see which one wins out when the actual time to choose comes.

Friday Reads ~ in which I ignore a book

Astute Goodreads friends will notice that I included a book for work on my “Currently Reading” shelf. However, I’m not including that here as I just don’t feel like it. So while I will track my progress on that one in Goodreads (to the extent that I track any progress there, which is seldom except when I start or end a book) but will be ignoring it here. I will also not be writing a full review of it, so as far as the blog is concerned, I’ll be ignoring it from here on out. (In all probability I will only mention work reading on here again if I need to provide an explanation of why the for-fun reading is moving slower than I would like.)

But other than that possibly boring work-related book, here’s how the reading is going.

WHAT I READ:

I finished Wish You Were Here, the first of the Mrs. Murphy Mysteries by Rita Mae Brown. It was cute, it was practically the definition of a cozy mystery, and the animal interactions were SUPER FUN. The full review is here. This is book #1 (out of 10) for the Purrfect Reading Challenge 2017 hosted by Socrates’ Book Reviews.

WHAT I’M READING:

I started Kelley Armstrong’s A Darkness Absolute, second in the Rockton (aka Casey Duncan) novels. Haven’t gotten very far yet, but if this is anything like the first one (and other Armstrong works) there will come a point when I CAN. NOT. PUT. THE. BOOK. DOWN. I’m both looking forward to and dreading that point in the book. (It usually comes at a bad time, like 11 pm on a work night or 5 minutes before I’m due back from my lunch break.)

I’m still listening to Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis. Still enjoying it. Almost done, but not quite.

I’m also almost done – but not quite – with the eBook of Glitter & Mayhem. (I expect to have both of those “almost” books done within a few days, so this should change for next week’s update.) I have finished Seanan McGuire’s story, which was the reason I picked up the anthology in the first place. I really enjoyed it, and it’s made me more excited than I was before to read the second InCryptid book. However, I have a few other things on the TBR shelf which have priority due to library due dates.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT:

The next audio book will be the third in the Narnia series (by the old reckoning), The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

My next paper book is a bit up for debate. I picked up 3 other fiction books when I checked out Kelley’s latest: The Witch and the Dead by Heather Blake, A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas  E.Sniegoski, and Endless Blue by Wen Spencer. Any one of the three could be my next paper book after I’m done reading about Casey Duncan. (The Spencer book is the most likely, but it’s not a given.)

Next eBook is still Nozy Cat #1. I’ll get there. One note, though: I usually read eBooks a lot slower than their paper counterparts. I just don’t enjoy the reading process as much on a screen as I do with a physical book. So you can expect this (and any future) eBook to move much more slowly without reflecting badly on the actual content. (Look at Glitter & Mayhem as an example. If this was a paper book, I am positive I would have finished it at least a week ago instead of still being in the process of reading it.)

Have a great weekend, and Happy Reading!

Friday Reads ~ in which I do a lot of listening

Hi there! It’s time for another look at my current books:

WHAT I READ:

I just finished In Shining Armor by Elliott James, Pax Arcana book #4. It was the audio version, read by Roger Wayne. I really enjoyed it, and the full review is here if you’re interested. I started this one last Friday, shortly after posting last week’s Friday Reads post, and finished it Wednesday morning. For an 11 hour audiobook, that’s not bad. Especially since I do a lot of listening while I do other things (busy work, knitting, etc) and had to rewind a lot because I got too distracted with the other stuff and lost the thread of the story. (Not the story’s fault, nor the narrator’s. Just an occasional side-effect of multi-tasking.)

WHAT I’M READING:

I’m still reading Mrs. Murphy #1, Wish You Were Here by Rita Mae Brown. I’m still enjoying it, but I haven’t had/made much paper book reading time lately. (It’s the Stardew Valley video game time getting in the way again. The past few weeks, instead of reading while I eat dinner, I’ve been gaming.) It’s still a lot of fun. I really like the characters, though I also am looking forward to reading future books in the series when the author has had a chance to grow a little. (This will be book #1 of 10 for my Cay Mystery Reading Challenge.)

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT:

I still think that Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris will be my next book. I’m not going to start reading that until I’ve finished the cat mystery book, though. And I’ve also decided that Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (and narrated by Tim Curry) will be my next audiobook. I’m not sure exactly when I’ll start listening to that one; possibly today, but also possibly not until next week. Sometimes I can move quickly from audiobook to audiobook, but other times it takes me longer.

Are you reading anything fun? I hope you have a great weekend!

Friday Reads ~ new for 2017

We’re going to try something new for Friday Reads now that it’s a new year. Previously, I was using my Friday Reads blog posts to post reviews and such. However, that also means that if I had no book to review, I had nothing to post.

Instead, this year, I will be posting every Friday (or nearly) with an update on what I have read, what I am currently reading, and what I hope to read next.

Early this week (or perhaps late last week?) I finished reading (or rather listening to) Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty & the Beast by Robin McKinley. A full review is here, but the short version is that I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to readers of all kinds. This is a very traditional Beauty and the Beast, yet with enough fleshing out that it is a full-fledged novel and not just a short fairy tale.

And then more recently I finished listening to The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher. That one was very bittersweet, given her passing last month. A full review of that one (read by the author and her daughter) is here. If you have any desire to listen to this one, I highly recommend it. If you want to read the book in some form but don’t have a preference as to format, I’d still suggest listening to it. I LOVE listening to memoirs as read by the author. You know you’re getting exactly the reading they intended.

I also finished reading the book of short stories, Project Elfhome by Wen Spencer. I had read some of these stories before, but not all of them. I did re-read even the ones I’d read before, since I’ve read either one or two more Elfhome books since the initial reading. (Full review is here.) It wasn’t as good as the full-length Elfhome novels, because part of what I love about those is how I get sucked into the world for the duration of the novel. Being short stories, it was harder to get fully immersed in the world. However, it was still very enjoyable and I’ll be happy to add this book to my set of Elfhome novels.

At the moment, I am currently reading Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This is slow going at the moment because I’m reading it for story research and not just for pleasure. I’ve read it before (at least once) and have seen the play performed as well, so there are no surprises for me in the plot.

And next, once I have finished Midsummer, I intend to read Wish You Were Here, the first book in Rita Mae Brown’s Mrs. Murphy series. That’s a cozy mystery series I’ve known of for a while, but never really considered reading until I joined the 2017 Purrfect Mystery Challenge, and committed to reading 10 cozy mystery novels that featured cats. I’m really looking forward to that one.

Have a great weekend, and enjoy your current reads!

2017 Reading Challenge Plans

Well, here’s another Friday without any Friday Reads book review update. I’ve been reading again this week, but not enough to finish any of the books I’m working on. And it’s come to the point where I’ve determined I’m not going to be completing my 2016 Reading Challenge. I think partly I got sick of reading what the list dictated I needed to read next. So that was a learning experience for me – don’t plan myself into a corner by getting too detailed with my plans. (You may recall from Wednesday’s blog post that I’d been doing the same thing with my knitting.)

Anyway, with that in mind, I have determined what my 2017 Reading Challenge will be. And it will have a lot looser rules than this year (they’re really more guidelines).

Part 1: I will be participating in the Purrfect Reading Challenge 2017. This is hosted by Yvonne over on Blogger (or she started a group over on Goodreads if you prefer that participation format). I will be doing the “purring” level, which means I am committing to read 10 cat mystery books. (The cat needs to be a main character in the book for it to count.) It sounds like fun, and I’ve enjoyed reading the “Cat Who” books in the past, so this should be a good way to find more enjoyable cozy mysteries for fun reads.

Part 2: for every book I re-read, I must read 3 new-to-me books. I’m hoping to use this part to knock down my TBR pile on my bookshelf a bit. I read plenty of new books when I come straight home from the bookstore or the library. But when I go to my bookshelf to find something to read, I’m more likely to pick up an old friend instead of something new… and there’s a growing pile of new books waiting on my shelf for me to read them.

So that’s my reading plan for 2017. I think it will be much more easily doable than this year’s challenge with its many specific requirements. Happy reading!