MUSING MONDAYS: EXPERIENCING MY READING…

Welcome to another Musing Mondays.  It has been a while since I participated.  To join in, click on over to The Purple Booker.

Here are some prompts:

 

I’m currently reading…
Up next I think I’ll read…
I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
I can’t wait to get a copy of…
I wish I could read ___, but…
I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEKS RANDOM QUESTION: How do you experience a book when you read? In general do you often find yourself being drawn into the story quickly or do you need more time to warm up to characters?

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My current read:

A Season to Lie, by Emily Littlejohn:

“Small town Colorado police detective Gemma Monroe is a human and fallible heroine I can’t wait to meet again, and Littlejohn’s prose is lyrical and gripping.”—Deborah Crombie

In Emily Littlejohn’s follow-up to her acclaimed debut Inherit the Bones, a twisted killer stalks his prey in the dead of winter.

 

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I like to experience a book by immersing myself in it.  I curl up with the book and a notebook…since I’ve been writing reviews for everything I read (since 2008), I like to jot down the characters’ names and their relationships to others in the story.  Setting is another piece I like to make note of…and as different plot points come up, I might write those down, too.

Does that sound like I’m not really enjoying the book?  Well, no, not if the writer captures my interest…and then the story flows around me, as if I am experiencing the moments.

When I have trouble losing myself in a story, that is a red flag that I’m not connecting with it…and I may, then, just slog my way through…or not finish the book. That doesn’t happen often, however, as I very carefully select the books I read.

Life is too short to read boring, overly pedantic, or poorly written books.

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How do you experience books?  What are you reading?

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MONDAY SPARKS: MUSING ABOUT BOOKS….

Welcome!  Let’s join Ambrosia, at The Purple Booker,   for our musings.

I’m currently reading…
Up next I think I’ll read…
I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
I can’t wait to get a copy of…
I wish I could read ___, but…
I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEKS RANDOM QUESTION: Do you like to read when you are feeling under the weather?

CURRENTLY READING:

 

What’s Become of Her, by Deb Caletti, is a book from Amazon Vine.  I’ve read just a few chapters so far, but I love the setting…one of the islands near Seattle.  The hint of secrets and mystery captured my interest.

 

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Synopsis:  Isabelle Austen returns to her hometown on a small, isolated Pacific Northwest island to take over the family tourism business after the death of her mother, a disapproving parent and a hard woman to love. Feeling lost, Isabelle is also struggling with a recent divorce and wondering if she’ll ever come into her own. Then her life takes a surprising turn: The mysterious Henry North arrives on Parrish Island, steps off a seaplane, and changes Isabelle’s world forever. From the beginning, their relationship is heady and intense—then Isabelle learns of Henry’s disturbing past, involving the death of a fiancée and the disappearance of a wife. Suddenly Isabelle is caught between love and suspicion, paranoia and passion, as she searches for the truth she may not want to find—and is swept into a dangerous game she may not survive.

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UP NEXT, I think I’ll be reading a NetGalley review book from Heather Gudenkauf, to be released on 5/30 Not a Sound.

 

When a tragic accident leaves nurse Amelia Winn deaf, she spirals into a depression that ultimately causes her to lose everything that matters—her job, her husband, David, and her stepdaughter, Nora. Now, two years later and with the help of her hearing dog, Stitch, she is finally getting back on her feet. But when she discovers the body of a fellow nurse in the dense bush by the river, deep in the woods near her cabin, she is plunged into a disturbing mystery that could shatter the carefully reconstructed pieces of her life all over again. 

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I am looking forward to the week ahead!  What are you musing about today?

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MONDAY SPARKS: MUSINGS….

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Welcome to Musing Mondays, hosted by Jenn, at Books and a Beat.  Here are some topics to ponder:

 

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What is/are your favorite book cover(s)?

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I am reading and enjoying The Perfect Neighbors, by Sarah Pekkanen, a NetGalley ARC of a book to be released on July 5.

 

 

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How well do you ever really know the family next door?

Bucolic Newport Cove, where spontaneous block parties occur on balmy nights and all of the streets are named for flowers, is proud of its distinction of being named one the top twenty safest neighborhoods in the US. It’s also one of the most secret-filled.

Kellie Scott has just returned to work after a decade of being a stay-at-home mom. She’s adjusting to high heels, scrambling to cook dinner for her family after a day at the office—and soaking in the dangerous attention of a very handsome, very married male colleague. Kellie’s neighbor Susan Barrett begins every day with fresh resolutions: she won’t eat any carbs, she’ll go to bed at a reasonable hour, and she’ll stop stalking her ex-husband and his new girlfriend. Gigi Kennedy seems to have it all together—except her teenage daughter has turned into a hostile stranger and her husband is running for Congress, which means her old skeletons are in danger of being brought into the light.

Then a new family moves to this quiet, tree-lined cul-de-sac. Tessa Campbell seems friendly enough to the other mothers, if a bit reserved. Then the neighbors notice that no one is ever invited to Tessa’s house. And soon, it becomes clear that Tessa is hiding the biggest secret of all.

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I love secrets, and finding out that the “perfect” neighbors have BIG secrets keeps me reading this delicious book.

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This week, I bought the following books:

 

Sunshine Beach (e-book), by Wendy Wax (I love this series, and I also want to continue with my beach staycation).

 

 

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Mystic Summer (e-book), by Hannah McKinnon

 

 

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Vinegar Girl (e-book), by Anne Tyler

 

 

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Here’s To Us (e-book), by Elin HIlderbrand

 

 

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Drinking Closer to Home (e-book), by Jessica Anya Blau

 

 

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I went a little crazy due to the Amazon credit. 

What are you musing about today?

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MONDAY SPARKS: MUSING ABOUT BOOKISH THINGS — JUNE 24

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Welcome to another Musing Mondays, where the sparks can fly as we chat about bookish things.  Head on over to Should Be Reading to find out more.

Here are some thoughts to ponder:

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

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Right now, I am reading a memoir by Joyce Carol Oates called A Widow’s Story. 

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I bought the book two years ago, and it’s been resting comfortably on my stacks ever since.  I wanted to read it because it’s Joyce Carol Oates, and it’s a memoir about a very difficult and challenging time in her life.  I was curious about how she would show us what she experienced.  I was sure that she might have something important to share.

Here’s a part of the blurb that grabbed me:

In a work unlike anything she’s written before, National Book Award winner Joyce Carol Oates unveils a poignant, intimate memoir about the unexpected death of her husband of forty-six years and its wrenching, surprising aftermath.

“My husband died, my life collapsed.”

On a February morning in 2008, Joyce Carol Oates drove her ailing husband, Raymond Smith, to the emergency room of the Princeton Medical Center where he was diagnosed with pneumonia. Both Joyce and Ray expected him to be released in a day or two. But in less than a week, even as Joyce was preparing for his discharge, Ray died from a virulent hospital-acquired infection, and Joyce was suddenly faced—totally unprepared—with the stunning reality of widowhood.

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Who among us hasn’t feared those infections that lurk in hospitals, the very places where we hope to find healing?  It is a grim reminder that medical facilities are also flawed, as well as places of care and nurturing.

As I read the book (I am halfway finished), I am captivated by the sheer honesty of the author as she shares her fears, her vulnerabilities, and how being alone has shaken her to her core.

As a bestselling author and the winner of numerous awards, I have never thought of JCO as anything but strong, independent, and able to handle anything.  I had never seen her as “needing” someone as much as she describes her need for her husband.  It lends an extra layer of humanity to someone who is one of the literary greats.

While the story is difficult, sad, and frightening at times, I am glad I am finally reading it.

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What is sparking your musings today?  Come on by and share your thoughts…and links.

 

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MONDAY SPARKS: MUSING ABOUT BOOKISH THINGS — FEB. 18

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Welcome to a Monday Sparks morning:  one in which we muse about bookish things.  Check out Should Be Reading for other participants.

Here are the choices for today:

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.

*NEW!*thanks to Caite, I’m adding a new weekly question to MM, and that is: Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!

*NEW!*Caite also inspired me to add:  Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

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I do love the extra options added…and while it’s tempting to rant, I’m more in the mood to talk about my current read.

Evil at Heart is the third book in Chelsea Cain’s series about serial killer Gretchen Lowell.

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I’m participating in a Sequel Challenge this year, so the two books shown above were borrowed from my neighborhood library for that purpose.

It’s been quite awhile since I read the first two books in this series.  I checked my Curl up and Read blog, where I have been listing my books read, purchased, etc., since 2010…and it’s not there!  How I wish I’d started tracking my books sooner.

But it hasn’t taken me any time at all to get into the story, and the author gives us enough info to catch up, so even those who haven’t read the first two books can enjoy this one.

Gretchen Lowell is one of those elusive serial killers that took FOREVER to capture…and then she escaped.  I think she has escaped a couple of times already.  But the most eerie thing is that she now has fan clubs all over the place, and has become a cult hero.

What I don’t particularly enjoy…the grisly details at the crime scenes, as Gretchen seems to relish shocking those in pursuit.  And she has also developed an eerie relationship with one of the detectives who has been chasing her, and who captured her a couple of times:  Archie Sheridan.  Now resting comfortably in a psychiatric hospital.

Catch your interest?

What is sparking your intrigue on this Monday?  Hope you’ll stop by and chat…or rant.

My Neighborhood Library
My Neighborhood Library

 

MONDAY SPARKS: IGNITE YOUR DAY WITH SOME MUSINGS — JAN. 21

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Welcome to another Musing Mondays from Should Be Reading.

Here are some possible questions to ignite your morning:

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.

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Today I’m going to talk about my reading habits.  I’m a bit obsessive/compulsive, so I like having visual images of the books I’m going to read next. 

First there are the lists.  And then I document what I plan to read at It’s Monday:  What Are You Reading?  It’s not as if I can’t change my plan, but it helps to have something in place.

Then I stack the books on my office coffee table, in order of my reading preference.  Again…I am not OCD to the extent that I can’t change things around.  In fact, yesterday I had a plan, but then started reading the first book and decided I didn’t want to read it….at least not now.

So I changed it up.

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Here’s an example of my visual stacks from a few months ago. 

What are your reading habits?  What helps your reading flow?

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR! IGNITE YOUR CONNECTIONS!! — DEC. 31

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For the New Year, I visualize more time spent in cozy surroundings, and I want to love and nurture my connections.

I also like making a few blog changes, so I altered the colors here.

Yesterday I took down the Christmas decorations.  As I boxed them up, I felt happy to see my usual space beneath, almost as if it had been waiting patiently.  But it looked slightly different, since, as usual, when I take away the ornaments, trees, etc., I see little tweaks I can make to the surroundings.  Nothing major or back breaking.  Just a little change here and there.  Like these:

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I have started reading my first book of the New Year:  Potboiler, by Jesse Kellerman.  I had mixed feelings about some of his previous books, but he is definitely a talented author.  And I love the blurb on this one.

Arthur Pfefferkorn is a has-been, or perhaps a never-was: a middle-aged college professor with long-dead literary aspirations. When his oldest friend, bestselling thriller writer William de Vallèe, is lost at sea, Pfefferkorn is torn between envy and grief, for de Vallèe not only outshone Pfefferkorn professionally, but married the woman Pfefferkorn loved.
Pfefferkorn’s decision to reconnect with de Vallèe’s widow sets in motion a surreal chain of events, plunging him into a shadowy realm of double crosses and intrigue, a world where no one can be trusted–and nothing can be taken seriously.

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What will your day and year bring?  I hope you will find the happiness, peace, and balance you desire.

MONDAY SPARKS — MUSING — JULY 11

Good morning, and welcome to another Monday…a day that could spark your creativity.  Join in for Musing Mondays, hosted by Should Be Reading.

Do you think it makes you NOT (or less) “well-read” if there are certain genres that you won’t read because you KNOW you won’t enjoy them? Why?

That’s a good question.

I suppose that, in my opinion, “well-read” would mean that a person has read a wide variety of books, from the classics to contemporary; literary fiction and nonfiction; and that encompassing all genres might balance out into being “well-read.”

However, at this point in my life, having read other people’s choices through high school, college, and graduate school, what I read nowadays is what I enjoy.  I choose to read some literary fiction, a lot of women’s fiction, many memoirs, some mystery to spice things up….and no vampire stories.   I’m not a fan of YA, and also would have included “no paranormal” in that list, but last week, I did a brief foray into that genre, and realized that I have done so off and on over the years.

I guess that if the characters intrigue me, I can read almost anything.  I am a big fan of character-driven work.

Here is a sampling of some of my favorites:

Favorite Books in May:

FICTION:  Love You More (Lisa Gardner), Once Upon a Time There Was You (Elizabeth Berg)

FAVORITE NONFICTION BOOK:  I’m Over All That, by Shirley MacLaine

Favorite Books in June:

FAVORITE FICTION BOOK:   Tied Between The Midwife’s Confession (Diane Chamberlain), and The Violets of March (Sarah Jio)

FAVORITE NONFICTION BOOK:  Seducing the Demon, by Erica Jong

Favorite Books So Far in July:

The Little Women Letters, by Gabrielle Donnelly

In my younger years, I was a big fan of Daphne du Maurier and Ayn Rand.  I dabbled in Jane Austen, etc.  I no longer feel the need to go there.

What about you?  Any thoughts about what you enjoy and what constitutes being well-read?