ARC Readathon Update

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  • Ascension of Larks, by Rachel Linden (June 20, 2017) Surprised by this one’s complex approach to grief, unexpected responsibilities, and re-evaluating one’s dreams as life progresses.
  • Hate to Want You, by Alisha Rai (August 2017)
  • Are You Sleeping, by Kathleen Barber (August 1, 2017)
  • The Heart’s Invisible Furies, by John Boyne (August 2017)
  • My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent (August 29, 2017) Very upsetting. I saw this on a lot of 2017 lists, but I’m unclear as to why, as I disliked it vehemently.
  • Any Dream Will Do, by Debbie Macomber (August 8, 2017) Meh.
  • The Arsonist, by Stephanie Oakes (August 2017)
  • Unraveling Oliver, by Liz Nugent (August 22, 2017)
  • Sip, by Brian Allen Carr (August 2017)
  • Rebellion, by Molly Patterson (August 2017) A little disappointed by the abrupt stop, but the weaving together of four story threads was well done, in my opinion.
  • A Stranger in the House, by Shari Lapena (August 15, 2017) Fully expected to ditch this after a few chapters, but HOLY LAST MINUTE PLOT TWISTS, BATMAN. Could NOT put it down.
  • The Blinds, by Adam Sternbergh (August 2017)
  • The Daughters of Ireland, by Santa Montefiore (August 2017)
  • Something Like Happy, by Eva Woods (September 5, 2017) Inspirational feel-goodiness at its best. Eyes leaked for the last 100 pages.
  • The Golden House, by Salman Rushdie (September 5, 2017) Gorgeous prose. Couldn’t get interested in the story. Did not finish.
  • A Casualty of War (Bess Crawford Mystery #9), by Charles Todd (September 2017) I’m just loving this series about a WWI battlefield nurse who keeps finding herself in the middle of mysteries. Can’t wait for book 10.

DAYS UNTIL I PICK UP THE NEXT BATCH OF ARCS: 9 (ALA Midwinter 2018, Feb. 9-13)

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Etsy Donation 2017

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Thanks to all of you who have supported my crafting and Etsy presence in any way, from picture likes and kind words to purchasing pieces from me.

Earlier this year, I announced my intention of donating 10% of sales from Etsy to the Trevor Project.

Thanks to all of you, I just donated $54 to this much-needed service.

ARC Readathon Update

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  • Sins of Empire, by Brian McClellan (released March 7, 2017) I wasn’t convinced, at first – turns out this is the start of a second series placed in the world created by the author, so I had some catching up to do about the social and magical structures, but man, did it hook me.
  • Ascension of Larks, by Rachel Linden (June 20, 2017)
  • Hate to Want You, by Alisha Rai (August 2017)
  • Are You Sleeping, by Kathleen Barber (August 1, 2017)
  • The Heart’s Invisible Furies, by John Boyne (August 2017)
  • My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent (August 29, 2017)
  • Any Dream Will Do, by Debbie Macomber (August 8, 2017)
  • The Arsonist, by Stephanie Oakes (August 2017)
  • Unraveling Oliver, by Liz Nugent (August 22, 2017)
  • Sip, by Brian Allen Carr (August 2017)
  • Rebellion, by Molly Patterson (August 2017)
  • A Stranger in the House, by Shari Lapena (August 15, 2017)
  • The Blinds, by Adam Sternbergh (August 2017)
  • The Daughters of Ireland, by Santa Montefiore (August 2017)
  • Something Like Happy, by Eva Woods (September 5, 2017)
  • The Golden House, by Salman Rushdie (September 5, 2017)
  • A Casualty of War (Bess Crawford Mystery #9), by Charles Todd (September 2017)
  • The Black Painting, by Neil Olson (January 9, 2018) Well. That was a weird little story. Severe family dysfunctionality + inheritance issues + possibly cursed painting = a cold case whodunnit with a paranormal twist. Huh.
  • The Last Suppers, by Mandy Mikulencak (January 2018) In 1950s Louisiana, Ginny works in a prison kitchen, and finds herself compelled to make EXACTLY what death row prisoners want for their last meals, to the point of tracking down relatives and learning family recipes, and damaging her own mental and physical health.
  • All Things Bright and Strange, by James Markert (January 30, 2018)
    If you’ve ever wondered what happens when you combine Southern Gothic and magical realism, well, I think this might be it.
  • Tarnished City (Dark Gifts Trilogy #2), by Vic James (February 6, 2018) A kind of violence and darkness that just doesn’t work for me. Pity.
  • Rosie Colored Glasses, by Brianna Wolfson (February 20, 2018) I’m glad nobody witnessed me reading this, because it reduced me to a sniffly, weepy mess.
  • The House of Impossible Beauties, by Joseph Cassara (February 2018) A novel based on the real-life House of Xtravaganza in the eighties and nineties, with all the struggles, tragedies, and joys.
  • Tangerine, by Christine Mangan (March 2018)
    Another one that didn’t work for me. Two unreliable narrators – one gaslighting the other. There was nobody I could like, or even hate enough to want to follow.

DAYS UNTIL I PICK UP THE NEXT BATCH OF ARCS: 40 (ALA Midwinter 2018, Feb. 9-13)

ARC Readathon Update

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  • Sins of Empire, by Brian McClellan (released March 7, 2017)
  • Ascension of Larks, by Rachel Linden (June 20, 2017)
  • Hate to Want You, by Alisha Rai (August 2017)
  • Are You Sleeping, by Kathleen Barber (August 1, 2017)
  • The Heart’s Invisible Furies, by John Boyne (August 2017)
  • My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent (August 29, 2017)
  • Any Dream Will Do, by Debbie Macomber (August 8, 2017)
  • The Arsonist, by Stephanie Oakes (August 2017)
  • Unraveling Oliver, by Liz Nugent (August 22, 2017)
  • Sip, by Brian Allen Carr (August 2017)
  • Rebellion, by Molly Patterson (August 2017)
  • A Stranger in the House, by Shari Lapena (August 15, 2017)
  • The Blinds, by Adam Sternbergh (August 2017)
  • The Daughters of Ireland, by Santa Montefiore (August 2017)
  • Something Like Happy, by Eva Woods (September 5, 2017)
  • The Golden House, by Salman Rushdie (September 5, 2017)
  • A Casualty of War (Bess Crawford Mystery #9), by Charles Todd (September 2017)
  • Fever, by Deon Meyer (September 2017) Nope, I still don’t like post-apocalyptic stories.
  • Bonfire, by Krysten Ritter (November 2017) Grim, but significantly better than I expected for a first novel by someone I’m familiar with as an actor.
  • The Gift, by Shelley Shepard Gray (November 2017) Oh man it was saccharine.
  • The Library at the Edge of the World, by Felicity Hayes-McCoy (November 2017) I tried. So bored. Couldn’t bear to finish.
  • The City of Brass, by S. A. Chakraborty (November 2017) Marvelously jewel-toned start to a trilogy firmly rooted in Muslim and Arabian mythologies, featuring a strong, independent main character who is a Muslim Egyptian woman from the early 19th century. #weneeddiversebooks
  • The Black Painting, by Neil Olson (January 9, 2018)
  • Everything Here is Beautiful, by Mira T. Lee (January  16, 2018)Passionate and tactful depiction of sister relationships, mental illness, and immigrant experiences.
  • The Last Suppers, by Mandy Mikulencak (January 2018)
  • All Things Bright and Strange, by James Markert (January 30, 2018)
  • Tarnished City (Dark Gifts Trilogy #2), by Vic James (February 6, 2018)
  • Rosie Colored Glasses, by Brianna Wolfson (February 20, 2018)
  • The House of Impossible Beauties, by Joseph Cassara (February 2018)
  • Tangerine, by Christine Mangan (March 2018)

DAYS UNTIL I PICK UP THE NEXT BATCH OF ARCS: 71 (ALA Midwinter 2018, Feb. 9-13)

ARC Readathon Update

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  • Sins of Empire, by Brian McClellan (released March 7, 2017)
  • The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband, by Julia Quinn (Undated) Good fun.  Not as funny as some of Quinn’s others, but as always, compelling characters in an interesting setting. This time with amnesia! (Because of course there’s amnesia.)
  • Ascension of Larks, by Rachel Linden (June 20, 2017)
  • Hate to Want You, by Alisha Rai (August 2017)
  • Are You Sleeping, by Kathleen Barber (August 1, 2017)
  • The Heart’s Invisible Furies, by John Boyne (August 2017)
  • My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent (August 29, 2017)
  • Any Dream Will Do, by Debbie Macomber (August 8, 2017)
  • The Arsonist, by Stephanie Oakes (August 2017)
  • Unraveling Oliver, by Liz Nugent (August 22, 2017)
  • Sip, by Brian Allen Carr (August 2017)
  • Rebellion, by Molly Patterson (August 2017)
  • A Stranger in the House, by Shari Lapena (August 15, 2017)
  • The Blinds, by Adam Sternbergh (August 2017)
  • The Daughters of Ireland, by Santa Montefiore (August 2017)
  • Something Like Happy, by Eva Woods (September 5, 2017)
  • The Golden House, by Salman Rushdie (September 5, 2017)
  • A Casualty of War (Bess Crawford Mystery #9), by Charles Todd (September 2017)
  • Fever, by Deon Meyer (September 2017)
  • The It Girls, by Karen Harper (October 2017) Slightly disappointing… historical fiction based on real women, but the character development took some jarring turns. Could use a little smoothing out.
  • House of Shadows, by Nicola Cornick (October 17, 2017) Loved it! Multi-timeline romance and historical speculation, with a little of the supernatural thrown in for good measure.
  • The Rift Frequency (Rift Uprising Trilogy #2), by Amy S. Foster (October 2017) Enjoyed the first one, too, and glad to hear that part 3 is already underway, because HOLY PLOT TWISTS, BATMAN.
  • The Last Mrs. Parrish, by Liv Constantine (October 2017) A good one for those who enjoyed Big Little Lies or My Husband’s Wife, but wouldn’t mind a similar story that involves less death.
  • Bonfire, by Krysten Ritter (November 2017)
  • The Gift, by Shelley Shepard Gray (November 2017)
  • The Library at the Edge of the World, by Felicity Hayes-McCoy (November 2017)
  • The City of Brass, by S. A. Chakraborty (November 2017)
  • The Black Painting, by Neil Olson (January 9, 2018)
  • Everything Here is Beautiful, by Mira T. Lee (January  16, 2018)
  • The Last Suppers, by Mandy Mikulencak (January 2018)
  • All Things Bright and Strange, by James Markert (January 30, 2018)
  • Tarnished City (Dark Gifts Trilogy #2), by Vic James (February 6, 2018)
  • Rosie Colored Glasses, by Brianna Wolfson (February 20, 2018)
  • The House of Impossible Beauties, by Joseph Cassara (February 2018)
  • Tangerine, by Christine Mangan (March 2018)

DAYS UNTIL I PICK UP THE NEXT BATCH OF ARCS: 101 (ALA Midwinter 2018, Feb. 9-13)

ARC Readathon Update

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  • Sins of Empire, by Brian McClellan (released March 7, 2017)
  • The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband, by Julia Quinn (Undated)
  • Ascension of Larks, by Rachel Linden (June 20, 2017)
  • Hate to Want You, by Alisha Rai (August 2017)
  • Are You Sleeping, by Kathleen Barber (August 1, 2017)
  • The Heart’s Invisible Furies, by John Boyne (August 2017)
  • My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent (August 29, 2017)
  • Any Dream Will Do, by Debbie Macomber (August 8, 2017)
  • The Cottingley Secret, by Hazel Gaynor (August 2017)
    Intoxicating and sad and full of hope and fairies. Really lovely.
  • The Arsonist, by Stephanie Oakes (August 2017)
  • Unraveling Oliver, by Liz Nugent (August 22, 2017)
  • Sip, by Brian Allen Carr (August 2017)
  • Rebellion, by Molly Patterson (August 2017)
  • A Stranger in the House, by Shari Lapena (August 15, 2017)
  • The Blinds, by Adam Sternbergh (August 2017)
  • The Daughters of Ireland, by Santa Montefiore (August 2017)
  • Dinner at the Center of the Earth, by Nathan Englander (September 2017) A strange and thought-provoking story of Israeli and Palestinian espionage and extralegal activity, though occasionally a bit difficult to keep track of who is who.
  • Right Where You Left Me, by Calla Devlin (September 2017) Didn’t realize this was YA when I picked it up, but enjoyed the quick read anyway. Extraordinary circumstances but realistic teens – about family, friends, and finding your way as high school ends.
  • Solar Bones, by Mike McCormack (September 2017)
    It comes well-recommended, but the author made some stylistic choices I found very distracting. Did not get past the first few pages.
  • The Blind, by A.F. Brady (September 26, 2017)
    Utterly repellent narrator. Neither chilling nor suspenseful (as billed) but definitely psychological – study in self-destructive behavior that’s all Magically Cured when she decides to stop drinking (which is apparently easy to do for a raging alcoholic?).
  • The Space Between Words, by Michèle Phoenix (September 5, 2017) Thoughtful look at the struggle to keep going in the aftermath of a trauma. Main character is an American woman wounded in the mass shooting at the Bataclan, trying to deal with what happened to her in both body and mind, and she gets caught up in historical research after finding handwritten pages from 1695 hidden inside an antique sewing box.
  • Keep Her Safe, by Sophie Hannah (September 2017) More complex and compelling than I expected it to be. Strange and often uncomfortable, but keeps you turning pages.
  • The Child Finder, by Rene Denfeld (September 2017) Beautiful and eerie – somehow the pages radiate the particular silence of snowfall.
  • The Thing With Feathers, by McCall Hoyle (releases Sept. 5, 2017) I like the creation of a main character coping with a chronic condition like epilepsy, but the story as a whole was kind of pat and too easy. After 10 years of self-imposed isolation from her age group, this teenager’s able to manage attending a large public high school with relatively little turbulence? Possible, but seems unlikely.
  • The Way to London, by Alix Rickloff (September 2017) Second book by this author I’ve read in the past few years, and I like her style. Lucy is an unusual lead for a book set in 1940s England, especially for an upper-class woman, but she’s fun. I’m reminded very slightly of Good Night, Mr. Tom.
  • Thanks, Obama: My Hopey Changey White House Years, by David Litt (September 2017) Why yes, he DOES explain how he ended up singing the Golden Girls theme song in the Oval Office. Processy and interesting.
  • Something Like Happy, by Eva Woods (September 5, 2017)
  • The Golden House, by Salman Rushdie (September 5, 2017)
  • A Casualty of War (Bess Crawford Mystery #9), by Charles Todd (September 2017)
  • Fever, by Deon Meyer (September 2017)
  • The It Girls, by Karen Harper (October 2017)
  • House of Shadows, by Nicola Cornick (October 17, 2017)
  • The Rift Frequency (Rift Uprising Trilogy #2), by Amy S. Foster (October 2017)
  • The Last Mrs. Parrish, by Liv Constantine (October 2017)
  • Bonfire, by Krysten Ritter (November 2017)
  • The Gift, by Shelley Shepard Gray (November 2017)
  • The Library at the Edge of the World, by Felicity Hayes-McCoy (November 2017)
  • The City of Brass, by S. A. Chakraborty (November 2017)
  • The Black Painting, by Neil Olson (January 9, 2018)
  • Everything Here is Beautiful, by Mira T. Lee (January  16, 2018)
  • The Last Suppers, by Mandy Mikulencak (January 2018)
  • All Things Bright and Strange, by James Markert (January 30, 2018)
  • Tarnished City (Dark Gifts Trilogy #2), by Vic James (February 6, 2018)
  • Rosie Colored Glasses, by Brianna Wolfson (February 20, 2018)
  • The House of Impossible Beauties, by Joseph Cassara (February 2018)
  • Tangerine, by Christine Mangan (March 2018)

DAYS UNTIL I PICK UP THE NEXT BATCH OF ARCS: 132 (ALA Midwinter 2018, Feb. 9-13)

Yom Kippur

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Avinu Malkeinu: A Prayer of Protest

Avinu Malkeinu

Hear our voice:

Some of us have cancer.

Some have lost strength of body; some have lost memory and speech.

Some of us are in pain.

Some can’t find work.

Some of us bear the marks of human cruelty — inside, where the scars don’t show.

Some live with depression; some battle addiction; many feel alone.

Some have known shattered marriages, trust betrayed, hopes destroyed.

Some of us have lost the ones we love, far too soon.

And some of us have lost a child.

All of us have seen suffering in our midst.

All of us know the ravages of war — for which there are no words.

 

Avinu Malkeinu, why?

Avinu Malkeinu, are you there? Do you care?

Avinu Malkeinu, Hear our pain.

Hear our anger. Hear our grief.

Avinu Malkeinu, here is our prayer:

Give us the strength to go on.

Give us reasons to get up each day; give us purpose and persistence.

Help us to fend off fear and to hold onto hope.

Help us to be kind.

Don’t make us bow or grovel for your favor. Give us dignity and give us courage.

 

Avinu Malkeinu

Show us the way to a year of goodness.

Renew our belief that the world can be better.

Restore our faith in life. Restore our faith in you.

 

Mishkan Hanefesh, author unknown.

Rosh Hashanah / Yom Hazikaron

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Let us ask ourselves hard questions

For this is the time for truth.

How much time did we waste

In the year that is now gone?

Did we fill our days with life

Or were they dull and empty?

Was there love inside our home

Or was the affectionate word left unsaid?

Was there a real companionship with our children

Or was there a living together and a growing apart?

Were we a help to our mates

Or did we take them for granted?

How was it with our friends:

Were we there when they needed us or not?

The kind deed: did we perform it or postpone it?

The unnecessary gibe: did we say it or hold it back?

Did we live by false values?

Did we deceive others?

Did we deceive ourselves?

Were we sensitive to the rights and feelings

Of those who worked for us?

Did we acquire only possessions

Or did we acquire new insights as well?

Did we fear what the crowd would say

And keep quiet when we should have spoken out?

Did we mind only our own business

Or did we feel the heartbreak of others?

Did we live right,

And if not,

Then have we learned, and will we change?

— An interpretation of Unetaneh Tokef by Jack Riemer

ARC Readathon Update

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  • Sins of Empire, by Brian McClellan (released March 7, 2017)
  • The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband, by Julia Quinn (Undated)
  • Dark Saturday, by Nicci French (Undated)
    Dark indeed. Sixth in a series, and refers heavily back to previous stories.
  • Ascension of Larks, by Rachel Linden (June 20, 2017)
  • Séance Infernale, by Jonathan Skariton (August 2017) Are you a ghost story or a Criminal Minds-style procedural? MAKE UP YOUR MIND.
  • Hate to Want You, by Alisha Rai (August 2017)
  • Are You Sleeping, by Kathleen Barber (August 1, 2017)
  • The Heart’s Invisible Furies, by John Boyne (August 2017)
  • My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent (August 29, 2017)
  • Any Dream Will Do, by Debbie Macomber (August 8, 2017)
  • The Cottingley Secret, by Hazel Gaynor (August 2017)
  • The Arsonist, by Stephanie Oakes (August 2017)
  • The Half-Drowned King, by Linnea Hartsuyker (August 2017) OMG SO GOOD. Part one of a trilogy based on the sagas of Norwegian king Harald Fairhair. Eager for part 2!
  • The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes, by David Handler (August 2017) Comfortable, gossipy mystery. One of a series, apparently. A smattering of chuckle-worthy moments.
  • Pieces of Happiness, by Anne Ostby (August 2017) Lovely and wistful story about old friends reconnecting after life has taken them in different directions. Have chocolate nearby while reading.
  • Unraveling Oliver, by Liz Nugent (August 22, 2017)
  • Sip, by Brian Allen Carr (August 2017)
  • Rebellion, by Molly Patterson (August 2017)
  • A Stranger in the House, by Shari Lapena (August 15, 2017)
  • The Blinds, by Adam Sternbergh (August 2017)
  • The Daughters of Ireland, by Santa Montefiore (August 2017)
  • Dinner at the Center of the Earth, by Nathan Englander (September 2017)
  • Right Where You Left Me, by Calla Devlin (September 2017)
  • Solar Bones, by Mike McCormack (September 2017)
  • The Blind, by A.F. Brady (September 26, 2017)
  • The Space Between Words, by Michèle Phoenix (September 5, 2017)
  • Keep Her Safe, by Sophie Hannah (September 2017)
  • The Child Finder, by Rene Denfeld (September 2017)
  • The Thing With Feathers, by McCall Hoyle (releases Sept. 5, 2017)
  • The Way to London, by Alix Rickloff (September 2017)
  • Thanks, Obama: My Hopey Changey White House Years, by David Litt (September 2017)
  • Something Like Happy, by Eva Woods (September 5, 2017)
  • The Golden House, by Salman Rushdie (September 5, 2017)
  • A Casualty of War (Bess Crawford Mystery #9), by Charles Todd (September 2017)
  • Fever, by Deon Meyer (September 2017)
  • The It Girls, by Karen Harper (October 2017)
  • House of Shadows, by Nicola Cornick (October 17, 2017)
  • The Rift Frequency (Rift Uprising Trilogy #2), by Amy S. Foster (October 2017)
  • The Last Mrs. Parrish, by Liv Constantine (October 2017)
  • Bonfire, by Krysten Ritter (November 2017)
  • The Gift, by Shelley Shepard Gray (November 2017)
  • The Library at the Edge of the World, by Felicity Hayes-McCoy (November 2017)
  • The City of Brass, by S. A. Chakraborty (November 2017)
  • The Black Painting, by Neil Olson (January 9, 2018)
  • Everything Here is Beautiful, by Mira T. Lee (January  16, 2018)
  • The Last Suppers, by Mandy Mikulencak (January 2018)
  • All Things Bright and Strange, by James Markert (January 30, 2018)
  • Tarnished City (Dark Gifts Trilogy #2), by Vic James (February 6, 2018)
  • Rosie Colored Glasses, by Brianna Wolfson (February 20, 2018)
  • The House of Impossible Beauties, by Joseph Cassara (February 2018)
  • Tangerine, by Christine Mangan (March 2018)

DAYS UNTIL I PICK UP THE NEXT BATCH OF ARCS: 192 (ALA Midwinter 2018, Feb. 9-13)