Monday’s Minutes

“Monday’s Minutes” is a weekly post in which I track my bookish life.  All book covers are linked to Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

Current Reads:

  • An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
  • Bad Magic by Pseudonymous Bosch
  • The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

 Echo Bad Magic Dream Thieves

Finished:

  • Succubus Dreams by Richelle Mead

Succubus Dreams

Challenges:

Total pages read: 470

Total # of books for the year: 10.  This week has been interesting.  Just as I was beginning to figure out a new routine, I sprained my ankle and, due to a couple of other injuries and physical limitations, exercising went out the window.  Then, I went to a doctor’s appointment to meet my new PC, and I discovered that the quality of care at the VA clinic I go to has completely changed.  Before, many of the people working there were rude and not very helpful, wait times for anything were worse than the DMV, and my former PC spent more time lecturing me than working with me to improve my health or informing me about any of my lab results.  Now, every person I came across was friendly and more than willing to help, I never waited more than ten minutes for anything, and my new PC is the best doctor I’ve ever had in my life.  I was with her for an hour and left feeling as if, finally, I received the health care I needed.  On Saturday, the Boyfriend and I finally went to see Dead Pool.  Afterwards, we binge-watched the second half of the final season of Mad Men.  Both were amazing, but this is a book blog so I’ll spare you my ravings.

My Top Commenter: Is Shaina from Shaina Reads.

What are you reading this week?

#FitReaders Check-In

FitReaders2016
  • This check-in is for February 19th – 25th.
  • I sprained my ankle, so I’m a bit surprised I managed to do the amount of steps that I did.  It’s a very mild sprain, but still.
  • I’ve got a doctor’s appointment today, and so I should be able to add back in some legitimate exercise again, just in time to do a 1 Mile Fun “Run” before the end of February.
  • If you’d like to add me as a friend on FitBit, you can find me HERE.
  • Yoga Workouts: 0/5
  • Steps: 26,478/42,000
  • Miles: 10.87/17.5
  • Flights of stairs: 35/42
  • Active Minutes: 60/210
  • Monthly 5K Races Completed: 1/10
  • Monthly 1 Mile Fun “Runs” Completed: 1/10
  • Total Money Donated: $7.47/$100.00

DNF Review: Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic

Cupcakes

  • Author: Meghan Ciana Doidge
  • Genre: Paranormal Romance
  • Pages: 280

This book was my book club’s selection for February.  Usually, I wouldn’t read a book like this since it’s Paranormal Romance, but it was free on Amazon at the time, so I thought, “Why not?”

I did not DNF Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic because it’s Paranormal Romance.  Even though it’s not a genre I read much of, I figured this would be a nice, light-hearted read for around Valentine’s Day.  The reason I quit reading is because the MC deliberately did things she knew would get her into trouble and then didn’t understand why things spun out of control.  As with, The Magic Shop by Justin Swapp, another book I DNF’d for the same reason, I was beyond annoyed at the constant “I know I shouldn’t do this, but I’m going to do it anyway.”  On top of that, the plot seemed to be heading towards Jade falling in lust with the overly alpha male vampire who is just on the other side of being a controlling, abusive stalker.  I could be wrong about that, but since this is a Paranormal Romance, I could see that happening, and if there’s any Romance I despise, it’s the kind that involves the female lead hooking up with the A-hole for no good reason.  Besides, is there ever a good reason to do that?  The only example I can think of is when Buffy hooked up with Spike, but she never let him pull any of that supposed creepy “alpha” crap with her, at least not that I remember.

If you’re the type of person who fantasizes about being in a relationship with a possessive, violent stalker, then by all means, check to see if the book is still free on Amazon.  Otherwise, I recommend checking out a considerably better Paranormal Romance series.  Perhaps the Georgina Kincaid series by Richelle Mead.

Monday’s Minutes

“Monday’s Minutes” is a weekly post in which I track my bookish life.  All book covers are linked to Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

  • An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
  • Bad Magic by Pseudonymous Bosch – This is on hold until March since it’s an ebook and I’m participating in Feel the Paper Love February.
  • Succubus Dreams by Richelle Mead

 Echo Bad Magic Succubus Dreams

Challenges:

Total pages read: 206

Total # of books for the year: 9.  My first week of working full-time flew past.  I had a freak out moment Tuesday evening because I felt like I was never going to find enough time to read and blog or exercise again.  I managed to get through the week, and then on Friday night, I turned to the wonderful bloggers participating in #FitReaders as well as the Book Bloggers Do It Better group on Facebook.  I got lots of great advice, and I no longer feel overwhelmed.  Instead, I’ve got a plan.  We’ll see if it works.  However, because I haven’t gotten much reading accomplished this past week, I don’t have much to blog about for this week.  There will be some days that I don’t post anything, but I will try to space them out.  If my plan works, the sparse posting will only be temporary.

My Top Commenter: Is Shaina from Shaina Reads.

What are you reading this week?

Review: Stories I Told Myself

Stories

  • Author: Patrick E. McLean
  • Pages: 230

I listened to the free audio version available on podiobooks.com.

Funny, moving and always exquisitely well-produced, this collection of short stories and essays from the award-winning Seanachai podcast is not to be missed. If you like this American Life, but wish that Ira Glass’ voice was a bit softer on the ears, then this is the audio book for you. – Goodreads synopsis

Stories I Told Myself is a collection of short stories and essays that are chalk full of hilarity, even the slightly more serious ones.  Patrick E. McLean culled them from the results of his decision to write something every week, no matter how good or bad, to get past a writing block.  While I didn’t love this book quite as much as I did The Merchant Adventurer, I did enjoy it, and I especially liked that I could get through a story within the time it took me to drive to work.  Sometimes I could listen to two, maybe three, of them.  That means I was able to finish the podiobook version in about four days, and I didn’t have to leave off in the middle of a chapter and then have to wait until the end of the day or the next day to finish it (I rarely listen to audiobooks outside of my car).

The reason Patrick E. McLean is one of my favorite authors is that he writes about stuff that is bizarre, but in a way that makes sense and is oddly relatable in an extremely humorous way.  For instance, one story is about the problems of having a vampire living in your attic, especially if that vampire has horrible taste in music.  Anyone who has ever had a roommate, or even an annoying neighbor can understand what that experience might be like.  Another story shows how sharing candy can bring even the most unlikely people into a short-term understanding of each other.

A couple of the stories were a little off the mark, or just not that interesting, but that’s normal for a short story collection.  No matter how hard the writer and/or editor tries, there will always be a dud or two.  However, it is rare for all the others to more than make up for those one or two.  As a result, I highly recommend giving Stories I Told Myself a try, especially since the podiobook is free.

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#FitReaders Check-In

FitReaders2016
  • This check-in is for February 12th – 18th.
  • I only met my stairs goal this week, so I’ll be trying for an average of 6K steps per day again.
  • I started my new full-time job on Tuesday, and even though I take the stairs instead of the elevator and do other little things to get a few more steps, I’m still trying to figure out how and when I can workout during the week.
  • If you’d like to add me as a friend on FitBit, you can find me HERE.
  • Yoga Workouts: 0/5
  • Steps: 34,817/42,000
  • Miles: 14.29/17.5
  • Flights of stairs: 42/42
  • Active Minutes: 179/210
  • Monthly 5K Races Completed: 1/10
  • Monthly 1 Mile Fun “Runs” Completed: 1/10
  • Total Money Donated: $6.96/$100.00

Thursday’s Things

1001 Things
Original Image: Viktor Hertz

Normally, I only do one “Thursday’s Things” a month, but there are a lot of great things happening right now that I wanted to make sure all of my readers know about before the end of the month.

Classics Club: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Oz

  • Author: L. Frank Baum

I received the audiobook for free from audiobooks.com.

I enjoyed the story much more than I thought I would.  While I love the film adaptation, I had some initial reservations about the book considering I learned that L. Frank Baum wrote it as a political and economic statement in support of the Populist party who supported a bimetallic standard of gold (the yellow brick road) and silver (Dorothy’s silver shoes.  That’s right, they’re silver in the book, not ruby), instead of the Gold Standard.  However, I realized while listening to the book that, if there is some kind of statement at all, it’s not in any way obvious.

Maybe I missed something, though.  That’s possible for two reasons.  First, Brooke Shields narrated the book as if she were reading it to a very young child, and the majority of her male character voices were downright annoying.  Second, Dorothy has no agency.  She doesn’t do anything deliberately unless you count her following the instructions to walk down the yellow brick road to get to the Emerald City.  Everything else just sort of happens to her, or is an accident.  How did I miss that in the movie?!

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written in 1900, and it was meant to be a children’s book.  These reasons are the only ones for why I forgive Dorothy’s lack of legitimate action.  She is technically the main character, however, so there’s that.  Putting Brooke Shields’ narration aside, I would recommend the book to anyone who wants a quick Classic to read or wants a Classic children’s chapter book to give to a kid who might enjoy it.

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Monday’s Minutes

“Monday’s Minutes” is a weekly post in which I track my bookish life.  All book covers are linked to Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

  • An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
  • Bad Magic by Pseudonymous Bosch – This is on hold until March since it’s an ebook and I’m participating in Feel the Paper Love February.
  • Succubus Dreams by Richelle Mead – Since I DNF’d the piece of brain candy that my book club chose for this month, I decided to return to a Paranormal Romance series I actually like.  To give you an idea of how rare it is for me to read something like this, the Boyfriend saw it sitting on the table and exclaimed, “What the Hell is this?!”

 Echo Bad Magic Succubus Dreams

DNF:

  • Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge

Cupcakes

Challenges:

Total pages read: 352

Total # of books for the year: 9.  The Boyfriend and I celebrated Valentine’s Day on Saturday since he had to work on Sunday.  I made us a nice breakfast and then we went to look at an apartment that we’re planning on moving into next month.  After that, we got smoothies and headed to one of the many parks in Austin that has walking trails.  By the time we were done, we were ready for an early dinner at a little Cuban restaurant he found for me.  While I’m glad we went, I don’t plan on ever going back.  The food was only ok, and the highlight of our dinner was getting an ice cold can of Iron Beer, the Cuban take on root beer, and my favorite soda.  It was still barely evening, so we headed to the used bookstore to see if I could find a hardcover of Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.  I found a hardcover of the first three books instead, which is even better IMO.  It was supposed to be my one book purchase this year, and we had already exchanged gifts (he got me a hardcover edition of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon, and I got him A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin).  However, the Boyfriend bought it for me and told me to save my book money for something new ❤  After that we headed home to eat lots of chocolate and watch Shrek.

My Top Commenter: Is Shaina from Shaina Reads.

What are you reading this week?

Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge

Take Control of Your TBR Pile

The Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge is entering its fourth year, but this is the first year I’ll be participating.

The Rules:

For the entire month of March, read books in your TBR pile released before March 1, 2016. They can be eBooks, physical books, or audiobooks.

My Goals:

  • I will read nothing but physical books I already own.  That means no borrowed books, whether from the library, a friend, or the Boyfriend’s bookshelves.
  • I’ll update my progress in my weekly “Monday’s Minutes” posts, and write a final wrap-up post at the end of the month.
  • I’ll also write a review for every book I read.
  • I will participate in the 24-hour TBR Readathon on March 12th.
  • I will try to participate in the Twitter party on March 16th.

My TBR:

As you all know by now, I have an entire floor to ceiling bookcase full of books I’ve never read.  Thanks to the Boyfriend and giveaway winnings, I haven’t cleared out any space yet this year.  While I also haven’t run out of space again, that needs to change because we’re moving in March, and I’d love to have at least one box of books headed to the used bookstore before then.  While I don’t have any specific books I plan to read during the challenge, I do plan on attacking the paperbacks I’m pretty sure I won’t want to keep after I finish them.