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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – 22 April 2019
2019-04-22 05:00 UTC by Michelle

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Button
Hosted by Kathryn from Book Date, “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” is a weekly event to share what we’ve read in the past week and what we hope to read, plus whatever else comes to mind. Here is what I read the week ending 22 April 2019. To learn more about each book, click on the book cover!

The last two weeks are a blur. I know I was really sick for a day, so sick that all I did was lay in bed with my eyes closed because anything else required too much effort. I know that it took me a lot longer to recover from that brutal sinus infection than I ever thought possible – because I am still recovering. I know that I lost both of the weekends to dance competitions. I feel like I could have read more than I did, but I’ll be damned if I could do much more than play Homescapes the last few weeks. I did not have the mental, physical, or emotional capacity to read more than a few pages at a time. I am improving and may be back to my normal self one of these days.


FINISHED SINCE THE LAST UPDATE:

Gimme Some Sugar A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World Little Darlings The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe The Invited


CURRENT READ:

The Binding


CURRENT LISTEN:

The Book of Life


NEXT UP:

The Last


What are you reading?

The post It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – 22 April 2019 appeared first on That's What She Read.

Sunday Reflections – 21 April 2019
2019-04-21 15:01 UTC by Michelle

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Happy Sunday!

We made it through the worst of the competition season and have one more competition to go before the regional season finishes. I can’t say that we came out unscathed, as I developed a severe sinus infection midway through the last two weeks that made me want to hide in the hotel room rather than socialize and watch dance all day. There was drama, as there always is, some tears of frustration, and more awards and trophies than one would think possible. The team is having an excellent year, as their hard work and dedication shows on the stage and off.

Now, we have two glorious weekends without the need to pack, rush around, or toss and turn in an unfamiliar hotel bed. Holly even had a whole week without dance classes. That was probably my favorite thing ever. No need to rush around in the evenings. Rather, I got the chance to slowly dig out of the mess of the house and the long list of chores that I was forced to neglect while Holly and I were busy with dance. It was a slow recovery, but I think I turned a corner and will go into the next week feeling pretty well caught up.

Even work seems to have taken a turn for the better. Again, it was a long slog to catch up on everything that I owed people, but I was able to cross the last item off that list on Friday. This means I get a full week to work ahead on things and start a project or two I have been wanting to tackle. I don’t feel like I am completely out of the woods quite yet. The past few months have been so hectic that I would be a fool to think those days are totally behind me. However, I feel like I have breathing room for the first time since November, and that is a good thing.

It seems that Winter finally decided to cede to Spring as well, but not without one last blast to remind us that she will be back all too soon. Last Sunday’s blizzard was not fun, especially as it caught us all unaware, without proper clothing or a scraper in the car to clear the windows. Yet, by the end of the week, the sun made an appearance for the first time in weeks and temperatures rose high enough to turn off the furnace and open the windows. Winter is still my favorite season, but I will admit to enjoying the feel of warmth on my skin.

Speaking of, I am off to enjoy the sun and warmth by doing nothing – because I can. I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday, celebrating however you see fit.

**********

Here are past posts from the last few weeks in case you missed them the first time:

The post Sunday Reflections – 21 April 2019 appeared first on That's What She Read.

Weekly Top Posts: 2019-04-21
2019-04-21 04:00 UTC

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Weekly Top Posts: 2019-04-14
2019-04-14 04:00 UTC

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  4. While You Sleep is a nope
  5. Sunday Reflections – 7 April 2019

While You Sleep is a nope
2019-04-09 05:00 UTC by Michelle

While You Sleep

No one who reads this site has any doubt that fantasy is my jam. Witches. Vampires. Demons. Ghosts. Fae. Dragons. I love it all. I also love a good thriller. So, While You Sleep should be a book I adored. After all, the entire premise is a haunted house and a mysterious death on a remote Scottish island. It all but screamed my name.

Unfortunately, as so many things in life, While You Sleep is missing that “it” factor that allows a mediocre book to become unforgettable. Rather, it is one of those books I finished and promptly forgot until I reread the synopsis in preparation for writing this review. It is not any one thing that dooms the book either. Instead, it dies by a thousand papercuts – or the literary equivalent.

For one thing, Ms. Merritt relies too heavily on the possibility of an unreliable narrator in Zoe. As we learn all the reasons why Zoe left the U.S., we must question her version of events, or so Ms. Merritt would have us believe. The thing is, I never bought into Zoe’s unreliability, and so everything that occurs in the house never becomes anything but a ghostly mystery.

Without the possibility of an unreliable narrator, enough crazy events happen to Zoe in her vacation house that should make While You Sleep a crazy ghost story, and it is. However, something happens along the way that is even a bit more than I was willing to accept. Ms. Merritt attempts to stay on that fine line of possibility versus probability by never actually introducing a ghost, something that drives me crazy in novels. It is a bit like having your cake and eating it too. If you are going to create a ghost story, then stand by that decision and stick with it. Do not create a ghost story and then never explain the ghost or try to pretend that it might all be in the narrator’s mind but probably not. She provides very heavy hints as to what is happening to Zoe, but she never actually comes out and says it. Plus, even at the end, long after anyone is willing to believe in Zoe’s unreliability, she still tries to convince readers that the entire story could still be a from Zoe’s unstable mind. Just…no.

I wanted to like While You SleepI wanted it to scare me in that delicious way a good ghost story can. Instead, I read a mildly entertaining story that tries too hard to put doubt into the reader’s mind and loses its way. I finished it to get answers, even as those answers left me disgruntled and disappointed. There is promise within the pages though that would make me willing to try another one of Ms. Merritt’s novels, although I would approach it cautiously just in case.

The post While You Sleep is a nope appeared first on That's What She Read.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – 8 April 2019
2019-04-08 05:00 UTC by Michelle

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Button
Hosted by Kathryn from Book Date, “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” is a weekly event to share what we’ve read in the past week and what we hope to read, plus whatever else comes to mind. Here is what I read the week ending 8 April 2019. To learn more about each book, click on the book cover!

There wasn’t much reading done this past week because my brain was mush at the end of each night. In fact, I think I developed tendonitis in my left wrist from all my time spent using the same two hot-key Excel shortcuts for ten hours each day all week long. This week will be better. I need to make sure of that.


FINISHED SINCE THE LAST UPDATE:

Inspection


CURRENT READ:

The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe Gimme Some Sugar


CURRENT LISTEN:

The Book of Life


NEXT UP:

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World


What are you reading?

The post It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – 8 April 2019 appeared first on That's What She Read.

Sunday Reflections – 7 April 2019
2019-04-07 14:00 UTC by Michelle

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Happy Sunday!

I have no idea what the weather is like right now other than looking at my weather app because Holly and I have been inside all weekend long. It is always discombobulating to enter a building in the early morning and leave late at night when that building has no windows. My weather app tells me that we are missing some gorgeous temperatures, but it also looks like we are missing rain. I am okay with that. If it were a sunny day, it would be so much more difficult to sit here for the third day.

We had a visitor from Ames towards the end of the week. It was so wonderful to see Connor other than on television. He is much more fun in person, but I know I have bias. He is still working on finding the right combination of medication, but I think he turned a corner and has more good days than bad.

Unfortunately, this was not the greatest week for Connor to come home for a few days with appointments and long work days and a dance competition. The days were long and grueling, with both Jim and me dealing with issues at work that kept us glued to our desks for the entire day and ready to collapse once we got home. I would say I never want to experience another week like that one, but I am afraid that for me at least our new owners will cause my work weeks to look more like this last one than anything I experienced last year.

There is not much else to report. We are all still keeping on keeping on, trying to keep the house intact and stocked with everything we need to run a household, trying to keep everyone fed, and trying to give the dogs as much attention and playtime as we can afford to give them. It does not leave much time for anything else, but that is life. We have three more years of this craziness before life for Jim and me dramatically changes once again. I will cherish the insanity while I can.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Sunday. If your weather is suitable, enjoy the outdoors for me, and I will see you back here next week.

**********

Here are past posts from the last few weeks in case you missed them the first time:

The post Sunday Reflections – 7 April 2019 appeared first on That's What She Read.

Weekly Top Posts: 2019-04-07
2019-04-07 04:00 UTC

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No readathon for me
2019-04-06 15:00 UTC by Michelle

To everyone participating in the readathon, enjoy!! May you fill your day with as many fantastic books and delicious goodies as possible.

Me? I am currently sitting in a darkened auditorium typing this between dances as Holly and I are at yet another dance competition this weekend. There will be little reading for me today, but that is how it goes. Daughters come first.

 

The post No readathon for me appeared first on That's What She Read.

            
 
 

Woman 99 brings nothing new to the table
2019-04-03 05:00 UTC by Michelle

Woman 99

The problem with not reviewing books right after finishing them is that some books have no lasting power. You don’t remember specifics and have nothing but impressions that also fade over time. Plot details go missing. While you can jog your memory by reading other reviews and the synopsis, you risk letting someone else’s opinion influence your own.

Such is the case with Woman 99. I read it approximately two months ago. I know I enjoyed reading it because I know it did not take me long to read. I remember the main plot points of the story. I have impressions of certain scenes that struck me as well-written and or beautifully descriptive. Unfortunately, when I go to describe it, two months after finishing it, I am ambivalent about the novel.

What sticks with me most is a lingering question about the story’s purpose. We know that in the past asylums were horrible places for the mentally ill.  We know women had few rights at the turn of the century and were at the mercy of the men in their lives. We know men admitted women for a myriad of reasons, including using it as a convenient method to get rid of a troublesome wife/sister/daughter. Woman 99 tells us nothing new about any of that.

Neither is Woman 99 a true story. The main character uses Nellie Bly as her inspiration, but it is not about Ms. Bly’s actual experiences going undercover in an insane asylum. Instead, it is an imagined story of what it might be like for someone else to infiltrate a mental institution. There was an asylum in Napa at the turn of the century, and some of the characters have a loose connection to real-life people from the area. However, the story remains purely fictional.

I now circle back to my initial comment about the purpose of Woman 99. Is it to entertain? Is it to educate? It did amuse me, but that lasted as long as it took me to finish reading it. I cannot even say I would recommend it to others because there are much better books out there that are more worthy of someone’s precious time. It did not educate me because there was little within its pages that I did not already know. It is not escapist literature; mental illness and how we treat it within society and medically are such hot button items these days that it is a timely book regardless of the historical setting.

All this leads me to conclude that Woman 99 is a decent book but one that is ultimately forgettable. While there is adequate development of the characters, none are truly memorable. There is nothing earth-shattering within its pages, nothing that makes it a book which entices you to drop everything and read. It is a fast-paced book, which may be its saving grace, in that the story does not take long to develop or move towards its conclusion. There are one or two mild surprises with the plot and characters, but mostly it is a simple story that will get lost in the shuffle of the dozens of other books you will read throughout the year.

The post Woman 99 brings nothing new to the table appeared first on That's What She Read.

My son was right
2019-04-02 05:00 UTC by Michelle

Leviathan Wakes

Many years ago, back when Connor was still reading a fairly ferocious reader, he came to me with a novel that he knew I would love. This was back in my “blogging is new, and I need to read all the review copies I can to establish myself because that is important” phase, so I kindly but gently said I would get to it one day.

Every few months, Connor would bring up the book, asking if I had read it yet. Meanwhile, he went on to reread it and the rest of the series. It became his favorite book series to date. Yes, it might even hold a higher place than Harry Potter for him. Meanwhile, I still pushed it to the side intending to read it at some point.

Cue January 2019. Connor was home from college for a brief visit, and he asked me to watch one episode of the television series based on the novels with him. Because I had nothing better to do, because I could give him an hour, and because it was so important to him, I said yes. One episode into the series and I was hooked. I loved discussing the science behind the stories with him, and I enjoyed talking about the characters. The television show was one of the most compelling shows I have seen in a while, and I devoured all three seasons as soon as I could.

While waiting for the fourth season to finish taping and air on Prime, I decided to read the first novel – the very same one Connor asked me to read all those years ago. I already told him this, but I will publicly say he was right all along. Leviathan Wakes is amazing. The television show is excellent, but the book is even better.

Called a space opera, Leviathan Wakes has pretty much everything between its covers. There is a noirish detective, a young captain with a considerable morality complex, politics, science, adventure, aliens, action, romance, and so much more. The characters are outstanding – fully fleshed and highly memorable. The science is even better, especially after Connor explained that most of the science in the novel and on the show is reasonably realistic. The worlds the two authors create are complex but evolutionarily derived from our current society. The whole thing is intense and engaging and utterly fantastic.

So, lesson learned here. My son knows my tastes in books better than I ever thought. The next time he recommends a book to me, I need to listen to him. Thanks to finally listening to him, I have five more books to read while I wait for season four of The Expanse series. I don’t mind though because I could follow the crew of the Rocinante around forever.

The post My son was right appeared first on That's What She Read.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – 1 April 2019
2019-04-01 05:00 UTC by Michelle

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Button
Hosted by Kathryn from Book Date, “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” is a weekly event to share what we’ve read in the past week and what we hope to read, plus whatever else comes to mind. Here is what I read the week ending 1 April 2019. To learn more about each book, click on the book cover!

I finished nine books in March. While that is not all that great for me, it is better than what I read in February, and I was able to finish all but one March review copy, which I at least started. I am getting better about making time to read or at least taking time for a break. I am also getting better about random scrolling through IG when sitting and waiting in any capacity. Those minutes help. April is going to be a busy month with little downtime, so squeezing in those minutes is going to be even more important!


FINISHED SINCE THE LAST UPDATE:

Sky Without Stars


CURRENT READ:

Inspection The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe


CURRENT LISTEN:

The Book of Life

I am listening to this one in small sections. I find it easiest when I am home alone, which does not happen that often, so I will keep plugging away at it a minute at a time.


NEXT UP:

Gimme Some Sugar


What are you reading?

The post It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – 1 April 2019 appeared first on That's What She Read.

Sunday Reflections – 31 March 2019
2019-03-31 14:00 UTC by Michelle

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Happy Sunday!

After some beautiful, spring-like temperatures, we are back into somewhat colder temps that make it difficult to spend any time outside. The sun is shining though so at least we are enjoying that, and the ground is getting a chance to dry out a bit. I will take it.

Holly and I started our Avenger project of watching all of the Avenger movies in chronological order, which meant going to see Captain Marvel in the theater this week after watching Captain America. OMG, what a fun movie! The nostalgia factor was huge with its 90s setting, and the soundtrack is AH-mazing. Connor felt that there was one scene that was a little too obvious, while I told him that for a girl, that particular scene is enormous. After being told almost from the minute after being born that you cannot do something because you are not strong enough, because you are too delicate, because you are a girl, that particular scene is everything. The no man’s land scene in Wonder Woman is still my favorite, but this comes in a close second.

Another fun happening this week is that I was a recipient of a random act of kindness. I was not expecting it, obviously, so it made my day. You would not think that someone paying for your food would be a big deal, but it meant all the world to me. I have not had a chance to pay it forward yet, but I will definitely do so the next chance I get.

The rest of the week was uneventful. Holly did not have school thanks to spring break, but it did not stop Jim and me from having to put in long work hours. Plus, Holly still had dance classes, so it was not like she was able to get a complete break. She will have to make do with no homework and getting to sleep as late as she wants for the week.

This upcoming week is month- and quarter-end for me. It will be another long and insanely busy week. Holly heads back to school for the final push before summer break, while Jim gets more of the same. Holly and I go right into a dance competition starting Friday night, so we better make the most of today because it will be our last break for a while!

I hope everyone is having a lovely Sunday. Rest, relax, and enjoy, and I will see you here next week!

**********

Here are past posts from the last few weeks in case you missed them the first time:

The post Sunday Reflections – 31 March 2019 appeared first on That's What She Read.

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2019-03-31 04:00 UTC

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  5. It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – 25 March 2019

 

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