WWW Wednesdays – November 14, 2018

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What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I’m making progress on my Fall Reading list for sure. Still lots more to read!

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

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I will say off the bat that you HAVE to read this! I own Jenny Lawson’s (aka The Bloggess) first book but haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I saw Furiously Happy was available on audiobook through my Libby app and thought I could use a book of humor. This book was so much more than humorous. It made my commute to and from work so enjoyable. I laughed-cried so many times. Almost every day, I came home and made my husband listen to a part of it. As not to spoil some of my favorite parts of the book, I’m just going to list my favorite chapters: “Things I May Have Accidentally Said During Uncomfortable Silences”, “Koalas Are Full of Chlamydia” and “These Cookies Know Nothing of My Work.” I love the conversations and sometimes disagreements she has with her husband. I can so relate.

Most importantly, though, I believe that the way she addresses mental illness is so important. I have so many friends who turned to her long ago (when she was just a blog writer), as they needed someone who would understand that mental illness is a real thing and a difficult issue. It can often cost someone their life. Both my husband and I have lost people to mental illness. Her openly discussing her own mental illness has provoked so many people to discuss their own mental illness and has no doubt saved lives.

Strange Things Done by Elle Wild

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As the winter weather approaches, and the small town of Dawson in the Yukon of Canada is about to be cut-off from the rest of the territory, a murderer is on a killing spree. Can the murderer be caught before there is no way to escape?

I read this book for our mystery book club. It was a fast read, and the author really sets the scene beautifully. You really feel like you understand what life is like in Dawson. Her descriptions of the landscape and the local venues she discusses are true to the real-life city. Plus, having a murder mystery take place in a town that is about to be cutt-off with frozen rivers and impassable roads, is the perfect scene for a thriller of a story. However, outside of the scene itself, the author did not do a great job with developing the characters and the plot felt like it really fizzled out at the end. I also feel like there are some unanswered questions. Overall, the book was meh, but I did like learning a bit about the Yukon.

Reading Next

Another great reading week! What have y’all been reading this week? Any recommendations? Feel free to leave a link to your WWW posts in the comment section below if I haven’t already visited your site.

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WWW Wednesdays – November 7, 2018

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What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I’m making progress on my Fall Reading list for sure. Still lots more to read!

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington – audiobook

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After passing out from exhaustion and breaking her face (cheek bone), Arianna Huffington changed her lifestyle to incorporate more sleep. In The Sleep Revolution, she explores multiple studies that have shown the many positive outcomes to getting more sleep. She discusses sleeps relationship to daily productivity, dream analysis, insomnia.

If you are like me, you have used the phrase “if only there were more hours in the day” or are just constantly fatigued. I often want to sit and read my book and end up falling asleep. It isn’t because the book isn’t entertaining. I am just tired. In The Sleep Revolution, the ideal daily pattern should be 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work, and 8 hours of time for yourself. However, I don’t feel like that is a feasible pattern in society – especially in the US, where our lives are structured around work. Plus, how many of us get home from work and then have to cook, clean, take care of children, etc.? I feel that as much as we might try to manage our time better to include more sleep/rest, this has to be a change to our societal structure. I also am not into dream analysis, so I definitely could have skipped that section. Overall, though, I found this book full of useful tips (aka no reading your phone in bed) to getting a better night’s sleep and has convinced me to try to get the full 8 hours of sleep a night. This is definitely one book that we should all at least try to live by, because I think we would all be healthier, happier and more productive.

Murder Mile by Lynda LaPlante – book

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This is the fourth book in a series following a British police officer named Jane Tennison. Detective Sergeant Jane Tennison responds to a call, where a body of a woman was found in an alley. This discovery is followed by other bodies located nearby. Can they find the killer before he/she kills again?

I try not to read a later book in a series, when I haven’t read the previous installments. However, I received this book from BookishFirst and was anxious to read it. I thought the author did a fantastic job setting the scene and introducing characters. I felt this book was a well done stand alone. I didn’t need to read the first three books in the series to understand the characters and the plot. (However, there are spoilers throughout that will ruin the mystery of the first three if you are interested in reading those.) Jane is a fantastic detective with great instincts, but you feel her struggles as the only woman in a task force full of men. Somehow, even when her superior is rude and nasty to her, she continues to relentlessly search for the killer and follow her instincts. The story line was full of twists, turns, and red herrings. I wished that there had been a bit more of a twist at the end with some thrilling action, but it was overall a fantastic mystery thriller that is hard to put down.

The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard – audiobook

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This historical fiction is set during WWII, following the men and women that went to work in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which was a city constructed as a production site for the Manhattan project. This led to the city’s nickname The Atomic City.

I know I don’t always gravitate toward historical fiction novels, but I recently loved The Masterpiece and enjoyed reading All the Light We Cannot See (another novel set during WWII), so this one looked fascinating. I have enjoyed reading about women’s roles in advancing science and thought this would be similar. I was very much disappointed. My first complaint is that based on the title, I thought the perspective of the book would be solely through the women who worked in the factories in The Atomic City. This was not the case. My second complaint is the lack of factual details or really any details that might help the reader understand what work was going on in Oak Ridge. We are suppose to feel the struggles of the characters as some of them are aware that they are helping create a weapon that could cause death and destruction, and yet the reader isn’t given the details or background of the Manhattan project to really care about those feelings. I did find it fascinating that workers weren’t allowed to know or talk about the work they did (a repeating theme throughout the book), but I still feel like we could have been given information about the tasks the women did during their work shifts. Did they all just read meters and fix accordingly? It was hard as a reader to picture myself in that time and place, because the author did little to put me there. I think the author should have focused more on certain characters and their day -to-day activities and done more research about Oak Ridge and the Manhattan project to incorporate in this novel. I overall thought it was a boring read and lacked substance.

Reading Next

So many great reads coming up that I am looking forward to! What have y’all read this week? Any recommendations? Please feel free to post your WWW Wednesdays link in the comments below if I haven’t already visited it?

HAPPY READING!!!

WWW Wednesdays – October 31, 2018

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What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I did very little reading this week and weekend between work and travel. This past weekend, I took a trip to Austin, Texas for the 2018 Texas Book Festival. (See my post about that event here.) The festival kept me so busy with all the things to do and authors to meet, that I did not get much time to read. It was worth it though.

Currently Reading

Recently Finished

The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman – audiobook

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Sarah Weinman explores the theory that Nabokov’s Lolita was based off of the true story of the kidnapping of Sally Horner. This book provides an in depth analysis of Lolita and the story of Sally Horner, which I admit that I had not heard of before. I, overall, enjoyed hearing the comparisons between the two. However, I found two things rather annoying. First, trying to not spoil anything by giving away too many details, the author glosses over the fate of Sally Horner early on in the book and makes you wait until almost the end to find out exactly what happened to her. She should not have mentioned her fate at all until it was time to actually explain that. The second thing that I did not really enjoy was the end section that goes into details of what happened to characters in the book, many of whom were not very relevant to the story, so I cared little about what happened to them. It is a captivating read for readers like me who love true crime and also classic fiction.

Reading Next

I’m hoping to get a lot more reading done this week and weekend. What have y’all been reading this week? If you have a WWW post, please share the link if I haven’t commented already.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!

2018 Texas Book Festival

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I decided that this would be the year that I attend my first book festival, and the Texas Book Festival in Austin did not disappoint. There were so many different authors from so many different genres and activities for all ages. When you want to attend all the sessions, it is hard to narrow down your must see/do list. I was fortunate enough to attend the book festival with a friend, who help me have the best experience. Here is what we experienced:

DAY ONE – SATURDAY 10/27

Meet the Indie Next Authors! Featuring: R.O. Kwon, Tommy Orange, Nicole Chung

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Book signing

Earth and Beyond: A Conversation with Scott Kelly in the Texas State Capitol

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Litsy Meetup on the lawn of the Texas State Capitol

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Book signing with Sarah McCoy

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Souvenirs – thanks to Texas Book Festival and Book People Bookstore

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Lit Crawl Austin – American Short Fiction authors play Ex Libris at Stay Gold, featuring Jamel Brinkley, Rita Bullwinkel, Rebecca Makkai, Jennifer duBois, Owen Egerton and Tommy Orange

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Lit Crawl Austin – Noir at the Bar where crime fiction authors read from their recent their novels at Stay Gold, featuring Lou Berney, Max Booth, Meg Gardiner, Mike McCrarry and Scott Von Doviak

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Won a crime fiction novel raffle with signed copies!

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DAY TWO – SUNDAY 10/28

Alternate Realities: Sci Fi in 2018 with V.E. Schwab and John Scalzi

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John Scalzi taking a selfie wearing V.E. Schwab’s cat ears

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The last presentation was amazing, and we were too tuckered out to continue with any more sessions, so we wandered around Austin a bit longer and then hit the road back to Houston. All the author/presenters we listened to were amazing, personable and friendly. We just wanted to be friends with all of them. Now I have to find a place in my house for all my lovely new books!

 

 

WWW Wednesdays – October 24, 2018

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What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

Last weekend, I participated in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. It was so much fun! I got some good quality reading in. You can find my readathon wrap up here. Did you participate? Let me know and share any fun things you did during the readathon or helpful tips.

This weekend, I will be going to the Texas Book Festival in Austin, Texas. This will be my first book festival. Any recommendations from those who have attended book festivals before? Will any of you be there?

We are officially one month into Fall reading, and I have read 11 books on my Fall TBR. I am feeling pretty good about that progress.

Currently Reading

 

Recently Finished

The Personality Brokers by Merve Emre – audiobook

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If you enjoy Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies and Anne Bogel’s Reading People, this will be the perfect book for you. The Personality Brokers gives the history behind the creation of the Myers-Briggs Personality Test (MBTI – Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). I remember taking this test in high school and then again in college. I recently retook the MBTI and am an ISFJ. Have you taken the quiz? How accurate has it been for you? I found it interesting that the MBTI was created through the experiments and research by a mother and daughter. I was fascinated by famous people (especially authors like Truman Capote) who used personality testing. However, this book can be a bit dry, so I liked it but didn’t love it.

The Royal Runaway by Lindsay Emory – NetGalley ARC ebook

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Theodora is a princess in a land called Drieden. She is known for her antics of slipping away from the palace and doing her own thing. However, on her wedding day, she is not the one that runs away from the palace. It is her fiance that does not show up. Months after that horrible day, Theodora returns to her duties at the palace and again finds herself escaping the palace in the middle of the night. While out at a local pub, she meets a handsome and mysterious stranger, Nick. Turns out, Nick is not who he said he was but in reality is Theordora’s ex-fiance’s brother. Nick believes that his brother didn’t just runaway, but that there is a much bigger and also dangerous situation going on. As Nick and Theodora search for the truth, Theodora struggles with her loyalties to her royal position, her country and Nick.

If you like The Princess Diaries or the classic film Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, then you should definitely read The Royal Runaway. It is a fun romance with a thrilling mystery plot.

Kiss Me, Kill Me and Other True Cases by Ann Rule – audiobook

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This is a collection of true crime stories of “love” gone wrong like the Lonely Hearts Killer. These are crimes that occurred long before cases like the Laci Peterson murder by her husband, Scott Peterson. I love true crime and especially Ann Rule’s books, but I find this one more haunting than others, because these are crimes that could happen to any woman, who just wants to date. I myself went on a few blind dates back in the day. I would never have done that now after reading this book. Lots of trigger warnings for the descriptions of assaults. I still love Ann Rule. No true crime writer composes a story with such informative and useful information as she does. I always feel like I learn a bit more about detective work and forensic science when reading her books, but this one was a bit harder to stomach. SSDGM!

The Raven and Other Favorite Poems by Edgar Allen Poe – book

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I have had this book on my book shelves for, since I was very young. I loved poetry when I was in middle school and was introduced to Edgar Allen Poe in an advanced English class in high school. I will say his poetry really holds up for me. I still love The Raven as much now as I did then and I really remembered and loved A Dream within a Dream. I’m really glad I used the readathon to revisit Poe.

Reading Next

 

I hope you all had a fantastic week of reading! Any thoughts on the books I’ve listed? What are y’all reading? If I haven’t already commented on your WWW post, please include it in the comments below.

HAPPY READING!!!

24 Hour Readathon Wrap-Up – October 2018

Another Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon has come to an end. I am bummed that we have to wait until April for the next one. It is always so much fun, and this time was no exception. This is how I did on the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the readathon – 24 Hour Readathon Begins! October 2018:

Readathon Goals:

  • I want to read for at least 13 hours today. – I succeeded in reading more than 13 hours. I participated to Hour 19, but I read about 15 hours of that time.
  • I want to complete 3 books. – I did read 3 books: a physical book, an ebook and an audiobook.
  • I want to read at least 500 pages. – I read more than 500 pages.
  • I want to complete at least 5 mini-challenges. – This is the one goal I didn’t complete.
  • Get Bingo. – Got bingo: see pic below.

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Social Media Activity:

I am not good with balancing my reading time and social media time. I tend to just want to focus on the reading part. I only did one Mini-Challenge this year. Any helpful tips you fellow readathoners can give me to help me participate in more social media challenges, while still getting quality reading time in?

  • Goodreads: Commented on 12-15 threds, including more than 10 of the hourly threds.
  • Litsy: Posted 6 times.
  • Instagram: Posted 4 times.
  • Twitter: Posted 7 times.
  • Blog: Posted 2 times.

Helpful Tips:

  • Do an audiowalk – even if the weather isn’t nice, maybe you can walk inside somewhere. Take an audiobook and stretch your legs for a while.
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  • Have healthy snacks as well as fun and slightly unhealthy snacks. I balanced out my taco dip (pictured below) with a fruit platter.
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  • Try to minimize distractions. I love having my husband around. He actually keeps me awake during the readathon, so I can participate longer. However, sometimes he can also be distracting. Plus, this year, I actually took a few hours out of the readathon to watch a baseball playoff game (been a Milwaukee Brewers fan since birth).

Closing Survey:

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? I bailed at Hour 19, which was about 2am my time.
  2. Tell us ALLLL the books you read! I read The Royal Runaway (NetGalley ARC ebook), Kiss Me, Kill Me (audiobook), and The Raven and Other Favorite Poems (book). I did also start Different Seasons and Rooms.
  3. Which books would you recommend to other Read-a-thoners? I love everything by Ann Rule, so even though Kiss Me, Kill Me was a bit hauntingly disturbing and graphic, I would highly recommend it – especially for true crime lovers like me.
  4. What’s a really rad thing we could do during the next Read-a-thon that would make you happy? Have a record of what everyone has read during the readathon.
  5. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? Would you be interested in volunteering to help organize and prep? I’m already counting down the days until the next readathon! I might be willing to help organize and prep. I could maybe do an hourly question or two for Goodreads.

Things to improve on for next readathon:

  • I want to put in a bit more prep time. I had my TBR pile ready, but I waited until the last minute to get my snacks ready and was not prepared for updating on social media throughout the readathon. I appreciate any helpful tips y’all can provide me to improve my preparedness for the readathon.
  • I would like to actually participate in more mini-challenges.
  • I would like to have less distractions.

Next Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon = April 6, 2019

Here was the last book I picked up for the readathon:

It felt fitting for this Halloween season. How did you all do? Please share your readathon wrap-ups and any helpful recommendations and tips! Until next time….

24 Hour Readathon Begins! October 2018

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It’s that time!!!! Time for the semi-annual Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon!!!!  As always I’m super excited and ready to go! I’ve got my TBR pile, snacks, and clothing (see photo off to the right) all prepared. This is officially my 5th time participating in this readathon. I do not anticipate making it the full 24 hours, but I am geared up to get some quality reading time in that will help me achieve my yearly reading goals.

Readathon Goals:

  • I want to read for at least 13 hours today.
  • I want to complete 3 books.
  • I want to read at least 500 pages.
  • I want to complete at least 5 mini-challenges.
  • Get Bingo.

Bingo:

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TBR (soooo many to chose from):

Obviously I don’t intend to read all of the following, but I like to have a lot of options to chose from in all different types of reading tools, like physical books, ebooks, and audiobooks. I’ve learned that a variety helps utilize every moment of the readathon to accomplish all your reading goals.

Physical Books

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Ebooks

Audiobook

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If you have never participated in this readathon before, I would recommend that you try it! It’s so much fun!

Here is my first read of the day:

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