Friday Reads ~ in which I remember the Cat Who

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Do you have any fun things planned for this holiday? I do, and they are all food-related. For dinner tonight I am making Mr. Wyrm and my favorite stew, the Drunken Irish Stew, though I am making it on the stove-top instead of in a slow-cooker. (It works just as well, you just have to adjust cook times.) I am also making Irish Soda Bread. This will be a first time for this particular soda bread recipe for me – I have one that’s been passed down by a friend which I love, but I want to compare it to other recipes and see if I can pick up any extra tweaks. And then on Sunday, family is coming to visit, and I am going to make corned beef and cabbage for dinner that night. I’ll be trying a new (to me) slow-cooker recipe for that, too, again to see if I can pick up any tweaks to my standard version.

Anyway, enough about food before I make myself hungry. Now on to the books!

WHAT I READ:

I finished listening to The Silver Chair, the 4th of the Chronicles of Narnia. Still love that book. I think it’s my favorite of the series.

WHAT I’M READING:

I’m still listening to The Last Battle, the final Narnia book. It’s taking a while because I DO NOT LIKE the beginning of this story. I understand why it’s there, but the part with the ape and the lion skin drives me nuts. This time around I’m having one heck of a time getting to the part of the story I like. I might skip ahead, since I know well what happens in the story.

I’m almost-but-not-quite done with The Cat Who Could Read Backwards. This is a lot of fun. I enjoyed reading about Qwill and Koko when they were established friends; reading about how they got to that point is a lot of fun too. I’ve been remembering the feel I liked about this series when I read some of the books (in random order) the first time, and it’s nice to know I still like it.

And I’m still reading Kat Among the Pigeons on my eReader. Still enjoyable, just taking this at my standard slow eBook pace.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT:

Um. Oops. When I swung by the library to drop off books, I accidentally ended up in the Science Fiction / Fantasy section and two more books came home with me. So next up with be either The Ripper Affair (Bannon & Clare #3) or Trailer Park Fae, both by Lilith Saintcrow.

Next eBook will almost certainly be one of Lizette Gifford’s books that I have on my phone. No idea which one, though. I’ll pick among the two or three I have when I finish this one.

For my next audio book, I want to pick something fun. Something I will be able to just plain enjoy, no work required. I’m not sure what that will be. I might see about adding to my Harry Potter audio book collection, and picking up whatever the next in that series is which I don’t have. We’ll see.

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 lots of books get finished

So… a lot has happened book-wise since the last update. Are you ready? Then here we go!

Before I go into a recap of my reading for the week, here’s a quick look at how my 2017 Reading Challenge is going. I had said I wanted to read at least 3 new books for every 1 re-read. So, I want my percentage of new books to be 75% or greater. At the moment, it is exactly 75%! I have read 9 new books and 3 books I’ve read before, so I’m right on schedule.

WHAT I READ:

I finished the short story anthology Glitter & Mayhem. It was quite a wild ride, and you can find my full review of it here.

I also finished both Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in audio book form. I didn’t write reviews of either of them, because I’ve read them so many times that I don’t know if I could write a proper review of them. Still, very enjoyable to come back to these stories. And I love the narrations in the Harper Audio CD collection.

And in addition to those three, I finished A Darkness Absolute (Rockton #2) by Kelley Armstrong. She’s still one of my favorite authors, and I greatly enjoyed this book. Full review of it is here, though the short version is that if you enjoyed the first one (City of the Lost) you will probably enjoy this one. Also, they work best if you read them in order.

WHAT I’M READING:

I was planning on listening to The Silver Chair next, because that’s #4 of the Narnia series in my opinion. However, something weird appears to have happened when I imported the CDs into my iTunes library, because only the first two chapters are showing up. Therefore, I started listening to The Magician’s Nephew instead, and will get back to The Silver Chair later.

I have started reading Endless Blue by Wen Spencer for paper books. This is one of the ones I got out of the library with the second Rockton novel, so because the due date is approaching it’s higher up the TBR list than it was before (though it has been on my TBR list for a long time).

And I’m finally working on Nozy Cat #1 by Lyn Key on my eReader. Though as I warned you before, I tend to read very slowly on the eReader, because it’s not my preferred format.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT

The next eBook is unplanned. I have several queued up to read, but due to reading speed on the eReader I’m just going to decide what’s next when I actually get to that point.

The next paper book will be one of the remaining two novels from the library – The Witch and the Dead by Heather Blake or A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas  E. Sniegoski. Probably.

Any my next audio book will probably be The Horse and His Boy from the Narnia series (either #5 or #3, depending on your numbering preference).

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 the library throws a wrench in my plans

Well, before we get into this week’s books, let me give you a quick update on last week’s finished book. I have the review for A Journey to the Center of the Earth up here, if you’re interested. (If not that’s fine too. But since it wasn’t ready in time for last week’s Friday Reads, I thought I’d share just in case.)

And now for this week:

WHAT I READ:

I finished the 12th Girl Genius graphic novel last Friday (I think it was Friday). It was one of those “start reading with dinner and don’t stop until ‘THE END'” type of nights. It was lovely. I do still enjoy the series, but we’re in an enjoyment dip for me. (I tend to go from loving the story to liking the story and back again periodically depending on which sub-plots are being focused on. I’m currently in the “liking it” stage.)

I was listening to Fablehaven by Brandon Mull, but decided not to finish it. It’s interesting enough at the beginning, but it hasn’t caught my interest the way I suspect it would for someone of the target audience. (Does this qualify as a Middle Grade book? I’m leaning toward yes.) But I figure since I’ve gotten about a quarter of the way into the book, exciting things have started happening with fairies, and I still don’t care what’s happening, this book isn’t for me. However, for someone in the age range (and reading skill level perhaps?) I think this would be an enjoyable book. Things seem to be explained at a good enough level for pre- or young teens, and the actions of the pre-teen main characters are probably more interesting to readers in the target age range.

WHAT I’M READING:

I am still reading Wish You Were Here. I’m really getting into it now, though, and so the reading is going faster. (When it started, it was very much what a cozy mystery is to me – something fun to read, but without the suspense that keeps you from putting the book down.)

And on my eReader I am still reading Glitter & Mayhem. Remember how I said it was a larger book than I expected? It still is. I’m still enjoying it, and I’ll go into which of the stories I enjoyed the most when I eventually finish it and write a full review. (Because as with any short story compilation, there are some good, some great, and some meh stories. And, as is again normal for short stories, my opinions may or may not match yours. If this compilation sounds interesting to you, you should read it and make your own opinions. And then please explain the story about death/dreaming to me.)

And, since I’ve DNF’d Fabelhaven, I have started listening to Prince Caspian, which I REFUSE to refer to as Narnia Book #4. I’m sorry, to me this is still Book #2 (in much the same way that STAR WARS is STAR WARS and not A NEW HOPE). It’s narrated by Lynn Redgrave. I bought the Narnia boxed set of Harper Audio CDs, and I love them all. WELL WORTH a purchase if you like C.S. Lewis’ works and audiobooks.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT:

Well, I will read the next Girl Genius book at any moment. That one is on my “read in its entirety as soon as I have a whole evening free” pile, because I don’t like stopping half-way through these graphic novels.

EReader-wise, Nozy Cat #1 is still queued up next. Still waiting on me to finish Glitter & Mayhem first. (Ideally I would also finish Wish You Were Here before really getting into Nozy Cat, so that I only have one cat mystery going at a time, but we’ll see.)

I also have a change of plans for my next paper book read. I went to the library on a whim the other day, and they had A Darkness Absolute in stock. (This is the next Casey Duncan novel by Kelley Armstrong.) So I picked it up, but it’s not a renewable books (this copy is in a special “no holds, no renewals” section with other new and popular books) so I have to read it within three weeks. It will be my next paper book.

After that… well, when have you known me to go the library and come home with only one book? So after that I’ll start on one of the other three or four library books I picked up. And then I’ll go back to my personal TBR pile. Which keeps growing. Because I can’t stop going into bookstores, either.

Friday Reads ~ in which we take a journey (to the center of the Earth)

There was a little more progress this week, but again I’m spread too thin book-wise to get as much finished as I’d like. (There has also been much more video gaming than is helpful for reading.)

WHAT I READ:

I finished listening to Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth as read by Tim Curry. I went into this one expecting a different listening experience than I got – I don’t quite know how to explain it, but I’ll try. There are some actors who tend to play characters with a certain feel to them, and so we start to associate the actor with that kind of character, that kind of voice. Tim Curry is one of those for me. But for this book, he read it quite… normally. I could hear the inflections I’ve come to expect from him at certain points, but it’s like the difference between a movie and an interview. The actors sound familiar, but not the same.

In any case, I enjoyed the book and the narration. The book was about what I’d expected, and the narration was probably better than I’d expected. A full review will follow later.

WHAT I’M READING:

I’m still reading Wish You Were Here by Rita Mae Brown. I still like it, but there hasn’t been as much paper-book-reading time as normal.

I’m also still reading Glitter & Mayhem. There are more short stories than I expected in this compilation. Great for value, not so great for amount of time required to finish the book. Still, many of these stories are tons of fun.

I’m also technically still reading Nozy Cat #1 by Lyn Key. I haven’t gotten through the first chapter yet, though, because I started reading Glitter & Mayhem before I got very far with Nozy Cat. (No fault of Lyn Key, though. I had wanted to read the short story anthology and was unable to, so I started the cozy cat mystery before I’d planned. Then when G&M became available, I switched back to my original plan.)

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT:

Once I finish Glitter & Mayhem I will get truly started on Nozy Cat. So that’s really a “read next” instead of a “reading now”. (These are both ebooks. I think I forgot to mention that earlier.)

Also, I’m not sure if my original plan to read Neil Patrick Harris’ Choose Your Own Autobiography will stick or not. I just realized that Kelley Armstrong’s second Rockton book has been released in hardcover now, so if my library has A Darkness Absolute in stock next time I go, I might read that next instead.

And for audio, I will probably start the next Narnia book by C.S. Lewis next. (I’m on Prince Caspian next, since I read them in publication order and not chronological. I’m old-school that way.)

Have a great, book-filled weekend!

Friday Reads ~ in which nothing got finished

Well, there was reading this week. But sadly, not enough to have finished a book. Oh well, there has been progress anyway.

WHAT I READ:

Nothing to completion. Probably because I have been adding books instead of finishing them.

WHAT I’M READING:

I am still reading Rita Mae Brown’s Wish You Were Here. But for the bulk of last week, I didn’t have room in my purse for a paperback, so the book stayed home instead of coming to work to read on my lunch break.

Instead, I tried to read the anthology (in ebook version) Glitter & Mayhem, but I had issues with the ebook being messed up. (I had the Kindle version on my phone, and it wasn’t displaying any text except the intro page.) No one could figure out how to get it to work, but I still wanted to read something, so I moved on to another ebook and Cat Mystery #2 – Lyn Key’s Nozy Cat #1. While I’m not exactly enthralled by the book’s title, I am finding the read enjoyable so far.

And then, I got an email from the Amazon Kindle people, who told me that the issue had been fixed, so I re-downloaded Glitter & Mayhem and started reading that. I’m 4 short stories in so far, and am enjoying the compilation. Some stories make more sense than others (one still has me confused) and I like some more than others (the first story in the set is a 12 Dancing Princesses re-telling, and I LOVE THAT STORY so it gets high marks). That is normal with a short story collection. I’m looking forward to reading more of them and maybe finding some new authors from the set.

But these three books in progress still don’t include an audiobook. So of course I had to start listening to one. I went with Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth as narrated by Tim Curry. So far so good, though I think I won’t be able to listen to this one with as much multi-tasking as is my usual. Some classics require more attention than others, and this is one of the ones that needs a bit of focus.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT:

I’ve been missing my Seanan McGuire stories. (That’s why I elected to read Glitter & Mayhem – she has a story in there.) So I think my next book will be either the next October Daye book (I think I’m on Late Eclipses but I couldn’t swear to it) or Midnight Blue-Light Special (the second of the InCryptid books).

As far as audiobooks go, I’ve been eying Fablehaven by Brandon Mull from the library, so that might be next. Or I might continue with my Chronicles of Narnia audiobooks – I bought that set on CD long ago, and ten to listen to them all at least every 2 or 3 years. I listened to the first one again last year, but only the one. I still have 6 more to go.

Have a great weekend! Hard to believe it’s February already…