Weekly Wrap-up | May 24, 2020

Hi everyone! This past week was a really good one for me. It was days 65-70 of isolation, and I’m falling into a good groove. My reading has shot up incredibly. I finished six books this week: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Illuminae, A Conspiracy in Belgravia, A Study in Scarlet Women, and Bloom. I also started a book journal and if you’re interested, I’d be happy to post pictures.

Read more at Books on the Brain

Stay At Home Book Tag

I saw this floating around the blog-o-sphere and decided to give it a try. If anyone knows where it originated, let me know so I can credit them.

LAYING IN BED — a book you read in one day.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang. Prince Sebastian in in Paris so his parents can find him a bride. Sebastian, however, is looking for something else: someone who can sew him fabulous dresses. He finds that and more in the form of Frances, a talented designer who soon becomes his best friend.

I love this book. I read it on Wednesday night and it was delightful. I had only intended to read a chapter or two, but it was so good, I read through the whole thing all at once. Loved it.

SNACKING — a book that is a ‘guilty pleasure’ read.

I wouldn’t exactly call it as guilty pleasure read, but I frequently reread Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan by Vonda N. McIntyre and feel like I shouldn’t be. I love the movie novelizations so much and I read them probably more than I should.

NETFLIX — a series that you want to start.

I want to start reading the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare next. It’s on my TBR, but kind of far down.

 DEEP CLEAN — a book that has been on your TBR for ages.

I’ve been meaning to read American Princess by Stephanie Marie Thornton for quite some time.

ANIMAL CROSSING — a book you recently bought because of the hype.

I don’t know if it was hype, exactly, because the author is the only one who’s really been talking about it, but I pre-ordered Pandemica by Jonathan Maberry as soon as I heard the trade was coming out.

PRODUCTIVITY — a book you learned from or had an impact on you.

Atomic Habits by James Clear had a big impact. It changed the way I though of habits and habit-building, and it made me more aware of the things I say about myself.

 FACETIME — a book you were gifted.

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca was a gift from my mother. It’s the true life tale of a female lawyer and detective living in New York and one of her most famous cases. I’ve set it aside for now, but it really is very interesting.

SELF-CARE — what is one thing you have done recently to look after yourself.

I’ve been trying to get back into running and working out more regularly.

BONUS  an upcoming release you are looking forward to.

I cannot wait for Two Rogues Make a Right by Cat Sebastian. I love her romances, and I’m excited to see these two characters, who’ve been on the periphery of the other two book sin the series, finally get together.

I tag everyone and anyone who wants to do this tag.

Review: Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers

Title: Whose Body?

Author: Dorothy L. Sayers

Genre: mystery, detective story

Source: Amazon

Publication Date: 1923

When a dead body turns up mysteriously in a bathtub wearing a pair of pince-nez, Lord Peter Wimsey jumps at the chance to investigate. The police soon think they have identified the body, but Wimsey is unconvinced. He thinks the missing person the police have identified the body as is still missing. Excited by his first murder case, Wimsey dives headfirst into intrigue, deceit, and grudges long held.

When I bought this book, I really had no idea what to expect. I’d heard of Lord Peter Wimsey, but have never seen nor read anything of him. I went into this book blind.

Luckily, I was very pleasantly surprised. I love Wimsey. He’s easy-going, light-hearted, funny, sarcastic, and good humored. He pokes fun at others and himself. He’s a gentleman without a profession, so he’s turned his sharp mind to detecting. He also is a veteran of World War I, something that could not fail to leave its scars.

The mystery was well constructed. A body is found in a shared bath of a building. Another man fitting the description has disappeared. It seems like an easy match and the police are happy to rest there, but Wimsey is observant and soon discovers the man in the bath cannot be the missing gentleman. He works very well with a police detective, Charles Parker, and his valet, Bunter, and they soon untangle the mess.

I will say that I was uncomfortable by some period-typical anti-Semeticsm. The missing person is Jewish, and while everyone is complimentary, it’s in a sort of back-handed way that makes it clear that “for a Jew, he’s actually not bad.” That made me very uneasy because I was unable to decide if it was the characters or the author talking. My only solace was that Wimsey himself did not join in.

I also really loved the lighthearted digs at other detective novels the characters too. They weren’t mean-spirited, but all in good fun. The characters would mention how thing would go if this were a detective novel and how much easier it would be. It was a lot of fun. There was also a brilliant scene in which Wimsey and Parker question a witness. They start by saying how witnesses rarely have as good a memory as in detective stories, and then ask a series of questions that guide the witness deeper into his memory until he surprises himself at how much he knew. It was brilliant.

Yes. Whose Body? is a sharp, funny, and well constructed detective mystery. Wimsey is a delight, and I look forward to reading more of him.

WWW Wednesday May 20, 2020

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Each week, participants are asked three questions:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

So, I’m reading quite a few things right now. I’ve been listening to Illuminae by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff while following along with my copy, and I am loving my reread. Everything about it is fantastic. I’m also rereading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen in my new Penguin English Library edition and thoroughly enjoying myself. I’ve been listening to Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, and while I like it, I feel like I’ll never be done; I’ve listened to ten hours already and still have another twenty to go. I started reading My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which is a collection of things she’s written in her life. And, this morning, I started The Feminine Revolution by Amy Stanton and Catherine Connors, which is about reclaiming the feminine as powerful. I’m juggling a lot, but , hey, I’ve got time!

I just finished rereading Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, which was even more delightful than I remembered it being, and then I read Whose Body by Dorothy L. Sayers. This was my first Sayers novel and I enjoyed it so much, I became an instant fan of Lord Peter Wimsey. I cannot wait to read more.

Next, I’m going to start tackling my giant TBR pile (I really need to get me one of those TBR carts) with the book on top: The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang. I’ve been wanting to read it for quite a long time and totally forgot I’d borrowed it from my sister until last week. I’m super excited.

What are you reading this week?

Top 5 Opening Lines

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm. Each week, Shanah gives a topic, and participants are invited to come up with their top 5 for that topic. This week is Top 5 Opening lines.

For my first opening line, I’m going with something that I imagine might be on quite a few lists (although, I could be wrong.) But, I’d be remiss if I left the first line from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen off this list.

It is a truth universally acknowledge, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

Next, I am putting the opening line of one of my favorite children’s book, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi.

Not every thirteen-year-old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty. But I was just such a girl, and my story is worth relating even if it did happen years ago.

My third choice is Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted, which has a beautiful first line that perfectly sets the tone of the entire book.

That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to lay a curse on me. She meant to bestow a gift.

Honestly, I don’t know why I love the first lines of Beauty by Robin McKinley so much, but I love, love, love when books start with characters declaring who they are. I even copied that style when I was a baby writer of 17 and working on my first novel.

I was the youngest of three daughters. Our literal minded mother named us Grace, Hope, and Honour, but few people except perhaps the abbot who had baptized all three of us remembered my given name.

And, last, in a slightly different tone, is the first line from Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry.

When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week then there’s either something wrong with your skills or somethign wrong with your world.

And there’s nothing wrong with my skills.

And that’s it, my top 5 favorite opening lines. What are some of yours?

Review: The Hockey Player’s Heart by Jeff Adams & Will Knauss

Title: The Hockey Player’s Heart

Author: Jeff Adams & Will Knauss

Publisher: Big Gay Media

Genre: contemporary m/m romance, hockey romance

Source: Amazon

Publication Date: January 15, 2020

Caleb Carter is a hot shot hockey player out with a foot injury. He’s returned to his hometown for some rest. He never expects to run into an old crush, Aaron Price. Seeing him brings up a lot of old feelings, and he decides to go for it. But Aaron’s had some bad experiences and isn’t ready to jump into a relationship with a celebrity. The chemistry between them, though, is hard to deny and both become optimistic about their chances.

This was a very sweet story. Both characters were wonderfully well done and very believable. For all his fame and fortune, Caleb was very down to earth. He’s affable and outgoing, connects with those around him, and politely deflects attention that is unwanted. I also like how good he is with kids, both in Aaron’s third grade class and the local hockey team. There’s also a very sweet scene near the end of the book between him and a teenage fan that almost brought tears to my eyes.

If I had any complaint about the story is that it was almost too easy for Caleb and Aaron to get together. There were barriers, yes, but they all were easily overcome and there was no real drama. I would have liked to explore the depths more, especially Aaron’s troubled past.

However, this book had wonderful relationships between characters. I loved the main relationship, but also the relationship between both men and Caleb’s sister, Pam. I thought it really brought the characters alive.

Yes. If you want to read a lighthearted romance that will make you smile, this is a great book to pick up.

Weekly Wrap-up: Sunday, May 17

Got another week down. It was a great reading week because I’m setting more and more time each day to read. I’m also dipping my toes in the annotating pool, something I’ve really never done before. I started just by tabbing my favorite lines, but now am trying to get more organized and color coding and adding some thoughts. I’m doing it with a reread of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I’ve never been against writing in my books, precisely, I just never know what to write. But, I thought it might be interesting to give it the good old college try.

In other news, my dad started his daily radiation treatments on Wednesday and will be doing it for about three or four more weeks. It’s tough, not being around. And, by around, I mean not even being in the same town. Not that I could help if I was in town because of physical distancing and all, but I might be able to swing by and see him through the window or sit in the yard a safe distance away. Wish me luck; I applied for a few more schools down by my parents; I hope I at least get an interview with one.

Monday: Only Mostly Devastated by Sophia Gonzalez (review)

Tuesday: Top 5 Worst Rulers

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers (review)

Friday: Bookish Bucket List tag

Monday: The Hockey Player’s Heart by Jeff Adams and Will Knauss (review)

Tuesday: Top 5 Opening Lines

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers (review)

Friday: TBD

Saturday: TBD

How was your week? Anything great happen? Let me know!

The Bookish Bucket List Tag

Photo by Ichad Windhiagiri on Pexels.com

I saw this tag don by Evelynreads and thought it looked like fun.

The rules:

  • Link to the creator in your post (Madison’s Inkwell)
  • Link to the person who tagged you
  • Tag as many people as you want
  • Have fun!

What books or series that intimidates you (because of length, density, subject) would feel like an accomplishment to finish?

Up until last week, I would have said Middlemarch by George Eliot, but I’ve finished that, so…. I’m also listening to Anna Karenina, which is another book that intimidates me. So, I guess I’ll go with Cassandra Clare’s entire body of work. She’s written so much in her Shadowhunters universe that I don’t think I could ever get through it, but if I did, it’d be an accomplishment.

What author would you like to co-author a book with?

Hmm. I don’t work well with others, but… I guess Jonathan Maberry would be fun to work with.

f you could interview any author for your blog, who would it be? What’s one question you would ask?

I guess… KJ Charles. And I’d ask what her query letters looked like.

As a writer, what genre is out of your comfort zone that you’d like to conquer someday and write within?

I think I’d like to write a thriller. I’m more of a romance writer, but I like thrillers and think it might be fun to write one.

What specific edition of a book would you like to own someday? It could be rare, a first edition, an anniversary edition, signed, or one with a cover special to you etc.

I’d love the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkahban or Half-Blood Prince. Those two are my favorites.

Are there any books or bookish items that you’d like to collect?

None that I can think of.

 Name one bookish place you’d like to visit. (Not somewhere you’d like to visit because of a book and not a fictional place within a book. A library, bookstore, etc.)

Either The Last Bookstore in LA or Powells in Oregon.

 Name one bookish event you’d like to attend. (A festival, a signing, a book fair, etc)

So many. But, most recently, Y’All West.

Your WIP is getting published and designing the cover is solely up to you. What does it look like?

A giant orb, a man doing magic, a vampire.

What’s one thing you’d like to accomplish within the bookish world? As a writer, reader, blogger, whatever you want?

Publish at least 5 books in the next ten years.

I’m tagging anyone and everyone, but especially you!