Summer TBR | Final Update

At the beginning of the summer, I posted a list of 9 books that I hoped to read. Then, I posted an update halfway through July. Now that summer is over, I just wanted to give a final update on how I did.

The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley – This was read from before. I’m continuing with my audio binge and am currently on #8
eBook | Paperback

Legendary by Stephanie Garber – Still waiting on my shelf…
eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo – I read this one as a buddy read last month and had some thoughts. Review coming soon!
eBook | Hardcover

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He – I checked this one out from the library. It took me longer than I thought it would to get through and I didn’t love it.
eBook | Hardcover

The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen – Read from before. Sarah Dessen is a queen and I really liked this one. Review
eBook | Hardcover

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo – Read from before. I was a bit disappointed in this one. Review
eBook | Hardcover

This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills – Read from before. I’ve read all of her books that are out now (I think?) and have enjoyed them all! Mini-review
eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black – I’m hoping to get to this one within the next couple of months!
eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi – Still haven’t gotten to this one unfortunately, but the eBook is like…always available from the library, so hopefully soon!
eBook | Hardcover | Paperback (Preorder)

With my last update, I’d read 4/9 and at the end of the summer I’d gotten to 6/9. Which I don’t think is too bad! Especially considering two of the three books I didn’t get to are currently sitting on my shelf, I think I’ll finish this list before the end of the year.

Let me know in the comments what your favorite 2019 summer read was!
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Reading through these Summer days | August TBR

I feel really good about how I did last month and I hope this month goes well too!

We’ll see how I do. I’m really hoping I can carry July’s momentum into August! (And I’m hoping to be a little more active on the blogosphere too…)

What are you guys reading this month? Let me know in the comments!

I’m back baby! | July Wrap-Up & TBR Update

The reading! It’s happening! I’m finding glorious pockets throughout my day to read and it’s making my life so full right now!

monthly tbr

Also read/reading:

Books finished this month: 11
Books currently reading: 4

Overall TBR:

TBR at the beginning of the year = 383
TBR at the beginning of July = 472
Books added to TBR = 8
Books read/deleted from TBR = 11
Total on TBR now = 469

How did your reading go this month?

How Ashley got her groove back | July TBR

I’m hoping I get my groove back this month at least. Towards the end of June, I felt my groove was on its way back, so we’ll see if that continues. It may get thrown off because we’ve got a family reunion to go to, but for now I think I’m getting into a rhythm and I hope that’s reflected by my reading.

Since I’m reading Jane Eyre through Serial Reader, it’ll probably still take me a month or two before I finish it. And I’m working through the Flavia de Luce mysteries on our morning walks, so those will be ongoing as well. Does anyone have any good, light series that they’d recommend as audiobooks? I’d prefer a series with lots of books that is different from the Flavia de Luce mysteries (and that won’t have a million holds on them *cough* Harry Potter *cough*). I could see myself getting tired of the Flavia mysteries and wanting to switch off every other book.

What are you guys reading this month? Let me know in the comments!

Why I Don’t Listen to Audiobooks

I’ve seen many people talk about how they love audiobooks and it helps them to read more throughout the month. Yeah, that’s great and all, but that only works for people who aren’t already using their time listening to something else like I am. I’m talking about PODCASTS.

Confession: I’m kind of addicted to podcasts? I can’t seem to stop subscribing. Even though my commute to work is literally like…less than five minutes, I turn on a podcast as soon as I get in the car. This is why I don’t have time to listen to audiobooks. I’m too busy using my 10 minutes of driving time and my 20 minutes of getting ready time a day listening to my podcasts.

What are these podcasts that are keeping me from being more productive in my daily reading? I’m so glad you asked. Here are the 8 podcasts that I listen to regularly along with a few that are more seasonal or I’m just getting into.

Podcasts That I Listen to Every Week

This American LifeI’m basic. Sue me.

Planet Money – I was an Econ undergrad, but you don’t have to be to listen to this podcast! Honestly, this is probably my fave. They have a few episodes a week that are 25 min max and they’re always SO GOOD. Super interesting/educational and also super easy to follow.

Criminal – I like true crime as long as it’s not TOO graphic and the thing I love about this podcast is that it focuses on all kinds of “crimes”. They have typical murdery type episodes, but they also had one on a streaker and the last one I listened to was about Sarah Winchester. Super interesting!

This is Love – This podcast is done by the same people and host as Criminal. I don’t like it quite as much, but I still find it pretty enjoyable.

Bookish Podcasts because I’m A Librarian

The Public Libraries Podcast – This podcast is great because it talks about various topics that public libraries deal with all the time (how to best serve the homeless population, how to get teenage boy of color interested in reading, how to teach teen parents about reading to their babies).

What Should I Read Next? – I really like this podcast because Anne Bogel (the host) is really engaging when she talks about books. Some book podcasts (like the two following this one) have hosts that tend to…fangirl over books for lack of a better term. That’s a bit of a turnoff to me. I want to listen to people talk about books, but I want to listen to them talk seriously about books. I don’t want to hear, “Ugh, you just have to read this book because it’s so great and…and the main characters are just so…ugh. You just have to read it.” Anne is super articulate when describing books and I appreciate that.

All the Books! – I listen to this podcast because I just want to be aware of what books are coming out and what might be popular.

Hey YA – Same as above except this one focuses on YA.

Podcasts That Are a Tad More Seasonal

Invisibilia – This podcast talks about the invisible forces that shape us. It’s a super interesting premise and I like that they kind of go all over the map. It’s not one that I would want to listen to always, though, so it’s good that it’s a little more seasonal.

Serial – If you haven’t heard of Serial, then you’ve been living under a rock for the last three years. Obviously, I thought the first season was super engaging. I only got like…2.5 episodes into season 2, though, before I got bored. Season 3 came back with a vengeance and I really liked following stories from the one court.

Found – This is a podcast based on found objects–letters, notes, flyers, receipts. Sometimes they’re actually able to track down the origins of the found objects, but other times they just discuss a broader theme based on the object. It’s made me a lot more aware of the “trash” that I might find laying around.

Revisionist History – This is Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast. I think I’ve read almost if not all of his books by now and I really enjoy them. His hosting skills are quite good as well.

New Podcasts That I’m Trying

Household Name – These guys teamed up with Planet Money for an episode on Panera Cares and I really enjoyed it. It talks about brands. I’m only a couple of episodes in, but I think this could be one that I add to my weekly rotation.

Endless Thread – Last Seen (below) played a preview of one of their episodes and I thought it was really well done. I think the premise is that it explores a different Reddit thread each episode? But I’ve only listened to the one, so I’m not sure about this one yet.

Podcasts That I’ve Finished

Last Seen – This podcast is about an art heist that occurred almost 30 years ago at the Gardner Museum in Boston. The art still hasn’t been recovered and the hosts detail the multiple theories that have crept up over the years.

Dirty John – This is now a television series and the story is CRAZY. It’s about this guy who cons a lady into falling in love with him and it doesn’t end well.

Dr. Death – This podcast is about a doctor who was operating in Texas but was causing all these problems and some of his patients even died. He clearly should not have been operating, but proper protocol wasn’t followed so he ended up operating on like…a ton more people than he should have.

S Town – This is by the same people who do This American Life and Serial so obvi I listened to it. You think the podcast’s going to be about one thing, but then it takes a turn and you think it’s going to be about something else, but then it takes another turn and ends up being about something else entirely.

Do you listen to podcasts? Which ones? Let me know what other podcasts I should be listening to instead of audiobooks!

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HW Assignment: The Future of Reading (Prompt #10)

My reading habits have changed a lot since I was younger. I’ve always been an avid reader, but I used to have a much narrower focus when it came to what I read. I would go through these phases. First, I would only read fantasy books, then I would only read books with maps in them, then I only wanted to read Newbery books, then I only wanted to read books from two different authors, etc. Since then, I have come to appreciate all genres and read a wide variety of them. I still sometimes will get in “moods”, but they don’t last as long as they used to. Another way that my reading habits are different is that I read a lot more eBooks than I used to–mostly because they didn’t exist when I was a kid. The change happened after my freshman year of college when I realized I hadn’t read a book for fun all year. That’s when I looked into getting myself a Kindle and once I did, I was back full-force. Now I’m not so picky about what format my books are in. I’ll read hardcover, paperback, or eBook. I’ll even read the occasional audiobook.

I definitely think books will still be relevant 20 years from now. I see about the same percentage of the population reading–perhaps a small dip due to the prevalence of video games and TV/movies. I think it will only get easier to publish books and that a lot of smaller publishing houses will start to crop up. With this happening, I think we’ll see a surge in the number of eBooks available, but I don’t see that causing a decrease in the number of print books being published necessarily. With the whole “retro/vintage/hipster” movement, I think reading has become cool again, and I think that sentiment will linger as Millennials get older. As far as reading becoming more interactive goes, I definitely see that as a possibility. Already an author who I follow via social media sites is using “#buildabook” to interact with her audience and to have her readers pick certain elements of the book she’s working on. She’ll present two options via social media and her followers will vote. So far, readers have had the chance to pick what the male and female leads look like, what the female protagonist’s name is, and what her best friend’s name is too. With eBooks becoming more prevalent, I think that they too may start to become more interactive with links and possible puzzles to be solved before you can move on–maybe like a combination of a book and a video game. The bottom line is that I don’t think reading is going anywhere. Maybe it will change, but I think books will still be around for another few decades at least.

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes [Audiobook]

Cassie’s mom was murdered. Ever since then, she’s been living with her Dad’s family and trying to fit in. When she receives an opportunity to work for the CIA as a profiler, she leaps at the chance. Almost as soon as she begins her work for the CIA, a serial killer in the DC area starts killing women that either look like Cassie’s mother or were in the same line of work as a psychic or medium. Cassie demands to be put on the case, but the CIA says it’s too dangerous.
naturalsdrop

This was the first audiobook that I listened to on our massive Disneyland road trip. The narrator was okay. Sometimes her voice was a little annoying, but overall it wasn’t so bad. The characters were all very interesting to me. All five had an interesting skill-set and distinct personalities. What I didn’t like was the forced love triangle between Michael, Dean, and Cassie. I liked Michael and Dean as characters, but I didn’t particularly like them as people and I ESPECIALLY didn’t like either of them as love interests. I feel that this book could have been greatly improved without the romance element. The romance made Cassie seem a lot weaker than I think she actually was. She’s working on some tough stuff as a profiler but there were still times when she just seemed like a wuss.

My other issue was that it’s never explained to us how “naturals” come to be. Cassie’s skill is explained and Dean’s is too somewhat, but how did Michael get so good at reading emotions? How did Leah get so good at lying and discerning the truth? How did Sloan get so good with statistics and remembering facts? What makes some people naturals and not others? And why do naturals peak during the teen years? These are questions that would seem important, but were never answered.

I felt that the plot was pretty suspenseful. It kept me wondering nearly the whole time. I started to figure things out in the last few chapters, but I still hadn’t put it all together when the reveal came. I don’t read a ton of mystery books, but I feel like a good mystery book has clues scattered throughout that the reader can put together as the characters are solving it. I wish this book had a little more of that, but that’s my only complaint in the plot area.

Overall, the book was pretty good. I just discovered that there are actually two additional books after this first one: Killer Instinct and All In which comes out November 3rd. At this point, I’m not sure if I’ll read the other two. I think I would if someone just gave them to me, but it’s not a priority of mine at the moment.

Overall Rating: 3
Violence: Heavy. A lot of gore, but not explicit descriptions.
Language: None
Sexual Content: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: None