It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 24-Jun-19

As always, shout out to the Book Date, who hosts this meme!

Last Week In Review

Last week was pretty jam packed. I wasn’t able to get in as much reading time as I would have liked. All that adulting got in my way. But I did manage to finish listening to Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. This is such a fun book. The Amazon Prime mini-series was surprisingly faithful to the source material. I read somewhere that Neil Gaiman directed the show.

Hopes For This Week

This week I’m on holidays! Yay! I have today and tomorrow off work to prep for my annual family camping trip. The rest of the week I will be surrounded by the great outdoors!

My family and I like to tent. My hubby does not, ever since the great bear incident he only goes camping if there is a trailer or a cabin to sleep in. (A few years ago a bear decided to visit us in the middle of the night. He brushed himself right against our tent. It was terrifying!) But it’s good that he is staying behind, the bunnies need someone to look after them while I’m gone. I’m gonna miss these little monsters!

I am still finishing up China Rich Girlfriend. I hope to finish that today. Then I am going to tackle a little TBR pile I put together for my time off.

Other Bookish Things

I am so happy to have extra time this week! I would love to dedicate the vast majority of that extra time to reading, but I will also have to make sure I visit with my family and do camping things while I’m camping. Even so, its going to be more time then I normally get during a week.

A normal week for me consists of working full time Monday to Friday. I read on my breaks, so that’s at least an hour a day. I usually get about an hour to read in bed before I sleep too. Other than that I try to squeeze in what I can on the weekends. I tend to listen to audiobooks when I do my weekly clean the house and laundry marathon.

What does your weekly reading time tend to look like?

Thanks for reading!

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Review of: Key of Knowledge – By Nora Roberts

Short Synopsis

Dana Steel, librarian and massive book lover, gets her turn at the quest thrust upon them by the mysterious Rowena and Pitt of Warriors Peak.

Review

Dana Steele is my spirit animal. Seriously.  She has a home filled to the brim with books on shelves, and books piled in every room. She has a book to read in the bath, and a separate book to read at breakfast.  It’s a beautiful thing.  I’m probably biased, but it was Dana that I related to the most out of the three young women tasked with the quest to free the Daughters of Glass.

The stakes are higher for Dana than they were for Malory.  Kane, the evil sorcerer god who is responsible for trapping the Daughters of Glass, demigoddesses he punished for the transgression of their father who dared love a mortal woman, is mad. After underestimating Malory, he becomes bolder in his attacks and blood is spilled. The rules of the game so carefully explained by Rowena and Pitt begin to slip.

By this time, we the reader have the basic story pattern down and know now more of what to expect from the plot:  Dana must search or the second key, while also searching to better understand herself, and love. Despite this, Nora Roberts does an excellent job of bringing more pieces of the story together while continuing to build the mythology of the world(s), and increasing the overall tension and stakes.

Overall, this was an excellent second installment to the trilogy. Excellent progression of plot, and character development.  I love how the relationship between our three protagonists progresses from strangers, to friends, to more like family. The themes of teamwork are solid and uplifting.  While not as mind blowing as the first book, only because I was now familiar with the story patterns and the supernatural aspect of it, this is still a fun read.

Happy Reading

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 17-Jun-19

As always, shout out to the Book Date, who hosts this meme!

Last Week In Review

Last week I finished reading The Chalk Man by C.J Tudor and finished listening to Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter. Both very good books with excitement and mystery all wrapped up in secrets. I reccomend checking them out.

I jumped into China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan, the second book in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. I got a pretty solid start on that.

Lastly I started reading The 5 am Club by Robin Sharma. I dont actually think it will manage to inspire me to change my night owl ways. But I am interested in hearing the arguments for earlybird-ism.

Hopes For This Week

This week I am going to be pretty swamped with non reading life things. Errands, appointments, and preparing for a camping trip. But I’m hoping to carve out enough time to finish China Rich Girlfriend and The 5 am Club. I would also like to get a solid start on listening to Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

Other Bookish Things

Two more beautiful book sleeves have come in! A cute classic book themed one from BookBeau that fits most large-ish paper backs and standard sized hardcovers. And an adorable strawberry patterned one from Pam’s Craft Shelf on Etsy that fits mass market paperbacks perfectly. I love these things! I think these will come in especially handy for when I take books on my camping trip this summer. (Which I am super excited about, by the way.) Now I have a book sleeve for almost all sizes of book except really huge ones.

Happy reading!

Review of: Key of Light – By Nora Roberts

Short Synopsis

Following mysterious invitation to the equally mysterious mansion called Warriors Peak, Malory Price suddenly part of a quest with two other young women.  They must each find a key in order to free the souls of three demigoddess trapped by an evil sorcerer.

Review

I’m going to start by being honest with you.  While I enjoy Nora Robert’s work, I have come to expect a certain type of story from her.  She isn’t typically my first choice of author. However, as soon as I realized the supernatural edge inside this story, I was sold! As an avid reader of sci-fi and fantasy, I was beyond excited at the progression of this story.  It was still everything I have come to expect from Nora Roberts, plucky characters, charming romance, but it was also so much more!

As far as story line goes, it really kept me guessing.  Nora Roberts expertly weaved romance, personal development, and the quest for the key together in a way that felt believable. I particularly enjoyed the way the characters motivations began to change as the story progressed.  Each of the girls found themselves either in a place where they were about to lose their job, or they already had.  Malory was let go after a very entertaining incident where her dislike towards her boss’s new wife was not exactly filtered, and in sudden need of income. Conveniently, for just accepting the quest proposed by the mysterious and wealthy Rowena and Pitt at Warriors Peak, each of the three women were granted a fairly significant sum of money. They were also each promised an additional million dollars each upon the successful completion of the quest.  With that kind of offer on the table, whether they believed in the story spun about the cursed demigoddesses or not, how could they say no to money like that? I probably wouldn’t!

My only dislike was the consequence for failure of the quest presented to Malory and the others. They were advised that they would lose one year of their lives if they decided to quit the search for the key’s, or if they were unable to find them by the deadlines. It felt very vague. Was this a shortening of their life spans? Would a random year be taken away from them some where in their past, and if so what did that mean exactly? Did they physically lose one year of their age, or did they lose memory of that year?  Frankly I’m not sure this story needed a consequence for failure at all.

Really though, that was my only problem with the plot. I felt like the rest of the story did a great job of bringing to life the magical adventure of Malory Price and the other two women who quickly become close friends as opposed to the strangers they are initially.  At the risk of providing a spoiler, (Skip the below if you are worried!)

I thought it was unique how Nora Roberts made the search for the key a quest to find a physical object, but one not necessarily found in physical places from our world. It was also fun that in order to locate the key Malory first had to search within herself and discover things at the very core of who she was.

Happy Reading!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10-Jun-19

As always, shout out to the Book Date, who hosts this meme!

Last Week In Review

Last week I finished Crazy Rich Asians. It was a fun read. God, I can only dream of having that much bloody money! If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend picking it up.

I have also been listening to Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter, a fascinating story of secrets and mystery.

Hopes For This Week

I did plan to read the next book in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, but then I changed my mind. I decided I need finish reading The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor so I can lend it to a bookish friend of mine. I’m only a few chapters in. It sort of feels like It by Stephen King, minus the horrifying clown monster. It switches between scary events surrounding a murder when the main characters were kids, to our protagonist all grown up.

If I am able to finish Peices of Her this week I hope to start listening to Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Amazon recently released a show based on this book and my hubby and I just started watching it. I kind of hope to listen to the book before we get too far into the show.

Other Bookish Things

Last week I also got my first ever book sleeve! I love it so much I can’t even imagine why I never picked one up before. Such a good idea to put books in a sleeve to protect them from getting torn up in your purse or bag. I have two more on the way and I can’t wait!

Happy reading!

Review of: The Tattooist of Auschwitz – by Heather Morris

Short Synopsis

Lale Sokolov is taken to Auschwitz where he finds the position of tattooist…and love.

Review

This is a beautiful tale of love and survival during one of the darkest times in human history.  It always fascinates me how far people in the concentration camps during the Second World War had to go to stay alive. How much of their morals and values they had to bend if not shatter altogether for the sake of survival.

This story is filled with all those things and a twist…love.  In the midst of the horrors of day-to-day survival, Lale finds the love of his life and together they do everything in their limited power to keep each other alive. In a world where senseless violence and cruelty filled their every waking moment of every day, it seems like this new love should have wilted and died.  But where humanity is at its worst, stories of perseverance and hope burn brightest, and somehow in the middle of all the chaos and death, love survives.

Told with humor and a cutting wit, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a fantastic read from the first page to the last.  I found it to be a mixture of beauty and horror tied together with the sad reality that people really experienced the terrible things Lale describes.  It broke my heart to read about how simple everyday things we take for granted suddenly became objects to be dreamed about. The fear and constant threat of death was brought to live by author Heather Morris.  She described with clarity and detailed the horrors of concentration camps in a way that made me feel like I was there with Lale. One scene that stands out to me is the casual shooting of prisoners behind their bunkhouse whose only crime was the bad timing of relieving themselves when Nazi Officers happened to be walking by.

I 100% recommend this. Based off the real life story of the real Lale Sokolov, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is brimming with history, horror, passion and survival. You can’t go wrong with this read!

Happy Reading!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3-Jun-19

As always, shout out to the Book Date, who hosts this meme!

Last Week In Review

Last week I was able to finish Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks. I was told I would cry, and cry I did. I ugly cried for the last 50 or so pages!

I also started the first book in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. I had been hoping to finish it last week and start the second book, but time got away from me. I made it about halfway through.

I finished listening to Good Girls Stay Quiet. Holy crap! What a good story!

Hopes For Next Week

I should be able to finish Crazy Rich Asians early this week. After that I hope to finish the second book, China Rich Girlfriend.

I will be listening to Pieces of Her by Karen Slaughter. I dont know much about it, I’m pretty well going into this one blind. The synopsis tells me it is a mother daughter mystery. If anyone here has read it, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Other Bookish Things

Guys! Something exciting happened for me last week! I reached 100 followers on my bookstagram! Eeeeeee! I know that will probably go up and down here and there, but it is so cool to see that number! If you haven’t yet, please check it out!

I discovered bookstagram just this year. It’s ridiculously fun to take pictures of my books. I have no idea why I get so much satisfaction from taking and looking at book pictures, but I do. I really do. It’s kind of like walking into a bookstore or library. I get that little trill of joy every time. Books just plain make me happy!

Happy reading!

Review Of The Konmari Meathod Series

Like others, I watched the Netflix series earlier this year. Once I was finished obsessively folding all my socks I ran to the bookstore and picked up all of Marie Kondo’s work. Then promptly binge read them. These are my thoughts.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Synopsis

The first book. Marie Kondo discusses in detail her Konmari method of decluttering.

Review

I had managed to avoid the craze of this book when it first hit the shelves a few years ago. But then along came Netflix with a series…I was a goner!

With tons of practical advice on creative ways to store your stuff, I found I really appreciated the way Marie encouraged us to think of our things. She comes from a background of temple maiden training. Her faith takes the approach that all things have a soul of sorts. She teaches that when we get rid of any item we should first thank it for all it’s done for us. While I don’t share her belief systems, I feel this approach fosters a sense of gratitude for our things, and might even help us to think more carefully about items before we purchase them.

Like others in the book lover community, I was a little alarmed by her stance on tidying books. Rather than take to social media in outrage, I decided that I would take her most basic lesson to heart. Her main method for deciding what to keep and what not to was to hold each item and ask, “does this spark joy?” With that in mind I simply touched each of my books and asked that. In general, books and full book shelves spark joy. So I donated the few that didn’t and kept the rest guilt free!

If you are thinking about decluttering, you should read this book!

Spark Joy

Short Synopsis

An illustrated companion to The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Review

I found this book to basically be a repeat of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The biggest difference was the illustrations breaking down her folding and storage methods. Really though, most of her folding techniques can be searched out on YouTube where she provides step by step instruction videos. With that in existence, it’s difficult to justify the need for this book.

One thing about this book I found interesting, was that it updated her claim that no one had ever rebounded using her method. She shares a story about an instance of that very thing happening.

Good for if you need some visuals to help you understand the folding and storage concepts discussed in the original book, but not strictly necessary for learning how her method works.

The Life Changing Manga Of Tidying Up

Short Synopsis

The story of a young professional woman who is unlucky at love…and tidying

Review

This is a very cute story. Beautifully animated, the characters personalities shine through vibrantly. As Marie Kondo aka Konmari steps onto the scene and takes our protagonist through the steps of her tidying program we watch the evolution from messy disorganized klutz to well dressed, poised, young woman. The more her space is revealed, the calmer and more confident she becomes.

Basically this was a case study to show her Konmari Method in action. It was a fun little story that had me cheering for our plucky protagonist from start to finish!

Concluding Thoughts

Overall, these books are a thought provoking challenge. Not only does it challenge you to declutter, but also challenges us in how we think and feel about our stuff. I love the spark joy criterion. When I took my own Konmari journey to test out these books, I found after I decided what to keep that I just felt happy every time I looked at my stuff. Worth reading and trying!!

Happy Reading!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 27-May-19

As always, shout out to the Book Date, who hosts this meme!

Last Week In Review:

Last week I finished A House in the Sky. The heartbreaking memoir of Amanda Lindhout and her experience as a hostage in Somalia.

I also started Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks. I borrowed this from my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, with no idea what this was about. I have been told I will cry. 😢😢 It follows a young father and the ups and downs of his marriage and the raising of his young daughter after his decision to start his own business. I’m about halfway through and expect I will be finished by Tuesday-ish.

I also started listening to the audiobook of Good Girls Stay Quiet by Jo Cassidy. Told from the perspective of a young teenage girl who has a dangerous secret with the violent man she calls daddy. A secret she shared only with her journal…which has been stolen. So far I am finding this one riveting!

Hopes For This Week

I bought the Crazy Rich Asians boxset earlier this year but haven’t had a chance to get to reading it. So that’s the goal for next week! I’m hoping to finish the first book and at least start the second.

Other Bookish Things

So, today while scrolling through Facebook I came across a preview for a TV adaptation of Nancy Drew. You can watch it here. As a kid I devoured the Nancy Drew series, so naturally I am kind if interested. Looks like it is being done by the same people who did Riverdale. I’m expecting the TV series to be a somewhat bastardized version of the books, but even so, It would be neat if the books ended up back on people’s radar and gained some new readers.

How do you guys feel about it?

Happy reading!

Review of You’ve Been Warned by James Patterson

 

Short Synopsis

Kristin Burns is a full time nanny with a passion for photography. She is ambitious and has big dreams that are all starting to fall into place. But everything is put on hold when strange things start happening to her, starting with that dream…

Review

This felt a lot like reading one of R.L Stein’s Fear Street books from back in the day. It was rather nostalgic. Overall, this was a dark and twisty tale about Kristin’s actions and the consequences they lead to. While not particularly thought provoking, it was enjoyable.

You’ve Been Warned was fast paced and gripping. I was instantly connected to the character of Kristin, and even her questionable life choices become clear, it was hard to dislike her. We follow her through her day to day activities and really get a feel for the New York beat. This adds to the authenticity of her dream to be a photographer of the gritty city she lives in.

From the ominous dream in the opening scene to the twist at the end, James Patterson creates an overall otherworldly feel that hangs over the seemingly mundane situation Kristin brings upon herself. The odd warnings she receives throughout the story from the mysterious police detective keep an aspect of tension building as the pieces come together.

The themes of purgatory and punishment were a little cliché, but it fit with the plot so I can’t complain about that too much.

Overall, I felt this was a good story. A fast and easy read.

Thanks for Reading