Life & Family · Reading

Reading Through A List of Authors My Mom Left Behind

The day my mom passed, I was standing in my parents’ kitchen aimlessly looking around. Under a magnet on their secondary freezer, I saw a couple sheets of notepad paper entitled “Grocery Author List”. I snuck it into my pocket as if my dad wouldn’t have let me have it if I had asked. I didn’t have a plan for it, I really just wanted her handwriting.

When I got home, I tucked it into the back of the little notebook I record all the books I’ve read (well, the past 2 years worth). I didn’t really forget about it, but also didn’t think about it much. At some point (I’ll have to check my twitter), I declared I would read through the list and I did indeed read a book or 2, but didn’t go further than that. I’ve thought about it off and on the past few months and decided to go for it.

Recently, I went through the author list and added the first books of series (or a stand alone if there wasn’t a series) for each author. I made a Goodreads list specifically for this little side project of mine, which topped out at 50 books. I did leave/add a couple of books that I’ve already read, since technically the authors are on the list. The authors write one of 3 genres: cozy mysteries (most with puns for titles), non-cozy mysteries, and fantasy. Luckily, I enjoy all of those genres, to varying degrees. I also have a soft spot for puns, so I’m not mad that a number of them are named things like “Thyme for Death” and “Lye in Wait” (both are actual titles on the list).

I’m a little concerned that I won’t be able to find a lot of the books, since a lot are from the 90s/early 00s and most don’t seem like they were best sellers. I haven’t checked the library yet, so hopefully several will appear there. I can think of a few that I know they have, though, so that’s promising.

Is this a weird thing to do? I’m going to do it anyway, but I do wonder about that a bit.

Read: 2/50

~Sarah

Reading

Summer Time Reading List

Summer starts on Saturday! I wasn’t going to post this until Friday, but I’m more interested in this than whatever else I was going to write this week.

I am a huge mood reader, so reading lists are generally not very useful for me. However, I love making them. Right now, I’m really into space fiction (I’m calling it that instead of sci-fi because I want it in space), the apocalypse, and fantasy so that’s what I’ve loaded this one up with. That’s no guarantee that I’ll still be into that next month though – I’ve been reading historical romance for most of this year.

Since I got a Kindle for Christmas, I’ve been reading a lot more ebooks than physical books, so I made sure I picked 5 physical books from my actual bookcase.

An Audiobook & What I’m Currently Reading

(Audiobook) SpecOps (Expeditionary Force #2) – Craig Alanson ~ I finished the first one in the series recently and seriously loved it. If you enjoy space-based fiction, aliens, alien invasions, physics that may or may not be real, and humor this is a series you should read.
Outbreak: A Post Apocalyptic Survival Thriller (Surviving the Virus Book 1) – Ryan Casey ~ Yes, I’m currently reading a book about an apocalypse caused by a virus during a pandemic. Don’t judge me.
A Year Without the Grocery Story – Karen Morris ~ Okay, not going to lie, the instability of the world has hit me. The Wendy’s down the road doesn’t even have hamburgers right now. While I think we’re good on food, I want to learn more so in the future

5 Physical Books

All The Weyrs of Pern – Anne McCaffrey (my favorite author OF ALL TIME) ~ I haven’t read Anne McCaffrey in so so long. My favorite series actually isn’t on Pern, it’s the Freedom series, but I want to reread all the books I used to love and this is on the list. It’s a definite comfort read.
Revenger (Revenger #1) – Alastair Reynolds ~ I’ve kind of put off reading his works since hard sci-fi has never been my favorite genre. I care that there’s artificial gravity, not how fast the habitat has to spin. I recently read a hard sci-fi book by Neal Stephenson (Seveneves) that I managed to really love even if I did have to re-read part of the book repeatedly to grasp the science, so I decided to try more hard sci-fi.
Altered Starscape & Darkness Falling (Andromedan Dark #1 & #2) – Ian Douglas ~ I’ve actually read Altered Starscape already, but it was long enough ago that only remember bits and pieces. It’s one of my favorite genres – a generation ship.
Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood – William J. Mann ~ I’m a huge true crime nerd, especially historical murders. William Desmond Taylor’s murder in the 1920s is generally regarded as unsolved and I think this book tries to lay out a solution, so I’m intrigued.

5 Ebooks

The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon ~ Did I already start this book and then stop for literally no reason? Yes. It’s supposed to be amazing, and the part I read was super good, so I’m stoked to pick it back up.
The Pioneer (The Pioneer #1) – Bridget Tyler ~ I love a good “humanity leaves Earth for the stars” novel, and I do enjoy a good YA book once in awhile, so this has made the list. I think this’ll be a good book to read while laying out in the backyard.
Children of Time (Children of Time #1) – Adrian Tchaikovsky ~ Another “humanity leaves Earth for the stars” story. Apparently when I decided I was back into sci-fi I went hard on those. In the description the phrase “mankind’s worst nightmare” so I’m even more into that.
Broken Lines – James Hunt ~ This is more of a novella, but I thought it would be fun to read a not-virus-related end of society story this summer. I don’t know much except for it’s about an EMP & the main character is separated from their family. These are incredibly hit or miss.
Spirit of the Bayonet (Ōkami Forward Trilogy, #1) – Ted Russ ~ This would be the military sci-fi entry for the summer. These are also hit or miss, because if the story skews too far military instead of science-fiction I stop being interested. Depending on the characters/character development though, I can take more of the military though, so we’ll see.

I’ll update at the end of the summer (if I remember, and if the world is still a thing) to let you know if I read any of these, and what else I read – if anything.

~Sarah

Life & Family · Monthly Recaps

January Wrap-up

What I Read

  1. Duchess by Deception ~ Marie Force {ARC from Goodreads}
  2. Alaskan Holiday ~ Debbie Macomber {ARC from Goodreads}
  3. Avalon ~ Mindee Arnett
  4. The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House ~ Stephanie Lam {begun, not finished yet}
  5. An Impartial Witness (Bess Crawford, 2) ~ Charles Todd {begun, not finished yet}

What I Watched

Movies:

TV Shows:

What I Cooked/Ate

  1. Hummus wraps with veggies and {a fairly mild} hot sauce. They also have cucumbers, onions, mushrooms, and banana peppers.
  2. Sweet potato hash with chorizo and eggs.
  3. Eggs Bennies, of course. We’ve been cutting back but it still happens.
  4. The traditional Steak n Shake monthly meal.
  5. We also had pizza twice and got Chinese take-out once. I’m trying to not eat out, but it was a rough month. This was not the total amount of fast food I ate in January.

What I Did

Image of a sunrise at the beach with a bird in the foreground

Sat on the beach with Shane as the sun rose on New Years Day. A super hopeful beginning to the year.

Visited Huntington Beach State Park with Shane and his mom. We went to see Atalaya again, since she’s never seen it. I love that park.

I also spent a weekend at my parents’ place. I stopped by on my way home from campus on Friday and left on Sunday morning. Shane even came and spent the night with me on Saturday night. This is big because my parents’ dog has a habit of biting at Shane.

I can’t talk abut a lot of stuff that happened this month, but basically it’s been a really rough month and I spent *a lot* of time sitting on the couch playing Solitaire on my phone.

Used a couple bath bombs from Christmas and they made the water look like Kool-Aid. Big fan.

Finally found a doctor down here. The appointment was rescheduled twice but 3rd times the charm. I really like my doctor and she’s super responsive.

~S~

Top Ten Tuesday

Books I Meant to Read In 2018 but Didn’t Get To

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

There are SO many books I wanted to read last year and wasn’t able to. I may not even get to them this year because the books never stop being published.

  • Jackaby by William Ritter
    • I’m not sure why this book caught my eye, but it definitely has. I can’t wait to read it!
  • The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
    • I love books with amnesia in them, but this one is even more interesting because my friends seem to either love this book or feel very ehhhh about it. The cover is super cool, too.
  • Florence & Giles by John Harding
    • In keeping with my newfound love of gothic horror novels, I had to add this one. It looks so creepy and good!
  • The Girl Without Skin by Mads Peder Nordbo
    • I mean, who doesn’t want to read a book called The Girl Without Skin? It has mummified Vikings, murders, and so forth. It looks super twisty and interesting.
  • Final Girls by Riley Sager
    • This looks like a great thriller that will be a really fun read.
  • No Exit by Taylor Adams
    • Another great thriller, with the added fun of being trapped in a rest stop with a kidnapper.
  • Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter
    • Just sign me up for any Karin Slaughter book ever. She’s an auto-buy author.
  • The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
    • Scalzi is hit or miss for me, but this looks like a book I could really enjoy.
  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
    • I legitimately don’t understand how I didn’t read this in 2018. It has such rave reviews, and I read the first few pages when I first got it which hooked me immediately. But I was reading a different book and it slipped off my radar.
  • Avalon by Mindee Arnett
    • I can’t wait for summer, because I think reading this on the balcony at night is going to be so much fun.

~Sarah~

Life & Family

20 Random Things About Me

As a child of the MySpace era, I did lists like this all the time as a teenager. I haven’t done one in so long, so this is pretty nostalgic for me. Maybe I should break out the 5000 Question Survey from LiveJournal – I was in college when that came out so I never actually did it, but I was aware of it. Okay, I won’t really do that – I have things to do in my spare time.

  1. The best day of my life was the day I picked Laurie up from getting all his teeth removed and he laid on my chest for about 30 minutes. He’s never done that before or since. Laurie is one of my cats, if you’re new here.
  2. My first job was as a maintenance worker with the Youth Conservation Corps at a Revolutionary War site. We did things like pull VW buses out of the woods, broke apart house foundations, spread mulch, and moved enormous piles of bricks by tossing them brick by brick at each other. I loved that job.
  3. My grandfather asked my mom to give her last baby his family name since his son wasn’t having children. My parents threw the name I was supposed to have (Victoria Elizabeth) out the window & let my oldest brother pick my new first name.
  4. I love archaeology/anthropology/history/anything old & follow a bunch of specialty news sites to keep up with developments. I wish it was a feasible career for me, but it isn’t for a variety of reasons.
  5. I’m really interested in the first half of the 1900s at the moment (especially the period between the World Wars), but will also happily read about any time period other than my own.
  6. I read/watch a lot of British media, and I’m not sure why. I think it’s because they do a lot more that’s set in the past, which lines up with my interests.
  7. I’m also obsessed with the future & space.
  8. I did not mean to become a web developer and am frequently surprised by how easily I slipped into the role. I never thought I’d work a desk job.
  9. As a kid, the first thing I can remember wanting to be when I grew up was a farmer.
  10. I spent the first 6 years of my life in Germany & the Netherlands and the only reminders of my time overseas are my intense love of Brie, a small Delft collection, and a plethora of pictures.
  11. The local German registrar rejected my middle name and my parents had to appeal to get it approved. Even though I’m not German and my name technically followed the German naming laws.
  12. I want to write at least a few novels, but I get so worried about being terrible at it that I never get past writing basic scenes or background information. One day.
  13. I have always wanted to do a 101 in 1001 project, but it’s never worked out with my life. I’ve been thinking about trying again starting on my 32nd birthday in March, because life is never going to settle down so I might as well try again now.
  14. I am a dog person who happens to also be a cat person. People talk about how unfriendly cats are, but I appreciate the sass as much as I appreciate a dog’s pureness.
  15. I’m using DuoLingo to start learning German. At different times in my life I’ve tried to learn French, German, Spanish, and Welsh. I decided to focus on one, and somehow German won. I think it’s mostly because it’s a fun language to speak. Welsh is like speaking in poems, so I’ll probably do that next. Neither of these languages will probably ever come in handy.
  16. I started Bullet Journaling this month, but haven’t really kept up with the actual planning part of it. It’s fun for brainstorming and making lists, keeping track of movies, books, etc, but I don’t really touch the weekly situation. I think I started too ambitious.
  17. We have moved every 9-12 months for the past 5ish years and I’m ready to stay in this apartment for another year.
  18. I love a good hot beverage – hot chocolate, tea, coffee – and generally have at least one cup of hot chocolate or tea in the afternoon/evening. Coffee every morning.
  19. My favorite genres are science fiction, fantasy, historical, and suspense/mystery. Both reading and watching. I love watching sci-fi as much as reading it
  20. I would love to travel all over the country and world, and I have a list of places I want to see. Mostly I want to go back to Maine, though.

~Sarah~

Reading · Top Ten Tuesday

Best Books I Read In 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Happy New Year!

I hope that 2019 is the best year yet.

I realized while making this list that I read very few books I really loved in 2018. I can do better in 2019. Obviously not every book I read will be a winner, but I can definitely choose books that are more likely to be ones I really enjoy. Anyway, I’m fairly sick (thanks allergies), so I’m presenting this list without commentary.

  1. City of the Lost – Kelley Armstrong
  2. The Broken Girls – Simone St James
  3. The Queen’s Poisoner– Jeff Wheeler
  1. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride – Cary Elwes
  2. Incendiary: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber, and the Invention of Criminal Profiling – Michael Cannell
  3. Classic Style: Hand it Down, Dress it Up, Wear it Out – Kate Schelter
  4. The Bullet Journal Method – Ryder Carroll
  1. Obsidio – Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman
  2. About a Dog – Jenn McKinlay
  3. Before We Were Yours – Lisa Wingate

I hope you have an excellent first day of 2019.

Recaps

2018 Recap

This is my end-of-year stat blog post. Mostly for future me, so sorry if you’re hoping for a thrill.

Coffee & Crows

  • First post: 10 Books to Pull You Out of a Reading Slump – August 21
  • Number of views {as of today}: 559
  • Number of visitors: 361
  • Number of posts: 60
  • Number of comments: 41
  • Favorite search term used to find the blog: “crows and coffee grounds”

Read

Watched

**Note: I didn’t watch many movies in 2018, and I’m not sure I even went to one in theaters. I stuck with Netflix titles here (except King of the Hill) because I didn’t track the movies I watched and Netflix’s watch history is the easiest to use.**

Travel

  • Washington DC for Code4Lib (Feb 2018)
    • I spoke here!
  • Atlanta, GA for Code4LibSE (?)
  • Myrtle Beach for Shane’s interview (April 2018)
    • Then we moved here.
  • Mountains of NC, to flee hurricane (Oct 2018)
  • Nashville, TN for WordCampUS (Dec 2018)
  • A bunch of trips to my old hometown to go to work on-site.

I didn’t know I would be making one of these, so I didn’t do a good job tracking anything but my reading. I guess that’ll change with the bullet journal, regular blogging, and keeping a journal.

Blogmas · Reviews

Catching Christmas {Review}

I accidentally read a Christian Christmas Romance novel, guys. I found this book while wandering the aisles of my local library and the book jacket only talked about the fact that there’s a taxi driver who has to ferry an old lady with dementia around town.

It was pretty cute though. The last half was definitely  heavier on religion than the first half, though. The main character/taxi driver/ex-chef is pretty funny in his determination to be mean while failing at it completely. He also has the deepest hatred of Uber that I’ve ever encountered. 

Miss Callie (the old lady with dementia) is a terror, and while she’s adorable in the novel, in real life I’d hate encountering her in real life. In the novel she’s a character that everyone loves and supports. Though her son-in-law kept her from seeing her granddaughter for most of her life (for good reason, really). That’s fairly glossed over.

I really love the trope of hating each other then loving each other, and Catching Christmas does that one really really well. The author does misunderstandings really well, too. They have a very realistic ‘bumping of heads’ in the beginning and get over it in a realistic way as well. 

There’s a moment where the book went from normal story to Christian fiction and it’s a fairly small part of the novel overall. This book is a really sweet Christmas tale that involves the elderly, a taxi, and a sweet romance. 

-S-

Blogmas · Top Ten Tuesday

My Top Ten 2019 Bookish Resolutions

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Today is a freebie for Top Ten Tuesday, so I thought I’d revisit one of my favorites (on another blog) – Ten Book-related Resolutions.

  1. I always do a Goodreads Challenge – mine for 2019 will be the same as 2018: 60 books.
  2. I’d like to (finally) complete a Popsugar Reading Challenge and/or a Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. I think I’ll bend the rules a little bit and let a book count for 2 categories on each list (if it can).
  3. Cut my ‘owned-and-unread’ list down a bit. I have way too many books to read that are already on my shelf.
  4. To go with that, I don’t want to buy any books in 2019. The exceptions are if I’m buying them for someone else, a book for book club, or if it’s a book by one of my ‘must buy’ authors (Karin Slaughter and Simone St. James). 
    • Note: Shane says this is impossible, and he’s usually right about these things, but I’ll be happy if the book buying is cut waaaay down.
  5. Get my Goodreads shelves figured out. I deleted 90% of my shelves awhile ago and it’s getting on my nerves.
  6. Along those lines, I need to go through my TBR pile on Goodreads and get rid of whatever I don’t want to read anymore.
  7. Read difficult books – I read a lot of mindless novels, but I’d like to learn something or have challenges to the way I think….or even just the hard sci-fi Shane reads that seems interesting but daunting.
  8. I want to get back to science fiction, fantasy, post-apocalyptic fiction, etc. Not that I’ve stopped reading it entirely but I tend to reach for something murder-y or romance-y.
  9. Read some non-technical technology nonfiction. I’m not sure what to call it – the philosophy of technology? I know what I mean, anyway.
  10. Read some non-fiction that will help me improve. 
Blogmas · Reading · Reviews

Christmas with You: Gabriel’s Angel / Home for Christmas {Review}

Cover image of Christmas With You by Nora Roberts

3 Stars because half the book wasn’t even about Christmas. It was wintery, but not Christmas.

Gabriel’s Angel is a really cute story and predictable in the best way. I love a good ‘rescue from a snowbank’ and this one delivered. It was a little bit ‘insta-love’, but I feel like that’s really due to the length. I wish it was about 150 pages longer. Everything just moved way too quickly. The resolutions were too fast, too unsatisfying, and just not super believable. 

Home for Christmas, the actual Christmas story, is next. Look, this is not a novella for those who want twists to come out of nowhere. I could tell you the big reveal within a few pages. But it’s a sweet ‘the one who got away’ and ‘we should probably have just had a simple conversation a decade ago and saved ourselves a lot of time and angst’ story that makes you believe that the two main characters are legit in love. I dated losers in high school so I don’t have that connection, but I’d say that if Shane bounced for an understandable reason (can’t think of one, but still) I’d still be in love with him if he showed up a decade later. So I can buy that, to a point. I wouldn’t say it’s the most likely scenario – it’s more likely that they’d have to fall back in love, but it’s groovy. 

Overall, I’d give it a 4 star rating *if* both of the novellas dealt with Christmas. I’d definitely recommend it for some fluffy, light, wholesome vacation reading. If you need something to do while avoiding your weird uncle, this is a solid option.

PS – I thought about giving you the description from Goodreads, but it’s honestly not a big deal.