On the Shelf

This Page has always been about books - what's on my shelf, what I'm reading, and (sometimes) what my friends wrote. (To see/purchase what I have written - click here to go to my GumRoad page.) 

It may be because I was
born on a Thursday, but
Thursday Next novels rock!
I do like a good book. The last time I moved, the movers said "Ma'am, we moved a doctor last week. You have more books than he does."

They weren't wrong. My books are not my treasured possessions. They are my friends. My portal to new worlds (of imagination or knowledge - depends on the book.) I read when I'm happy; I read when I'm sad; I read when I'm tired. I read. When I have extra $$, I buy books (and perfume - but that's another story). I am "a book person". 

"She is too fond of books, and it has addled her brain."
- Louisa May Alcott

Books are my favorite reason to run out to the library on a weekend. My favorite life "rules" came from a book. Books are my favorite vice. Non-Fiction. Fiction. Mind-candy. Decorating. Kids books. Science books. Perfume. History. Self-improvement. Science. Cooking. Marketing. Wine. Etiquette. Poetry. Gardening. Stats. Pablo Neruda. William Butler Yeats. Sarah Addison Allen. Dr. Suess. Patrica McKillip. Malcolm Gladwell. Steve Chandler. Alexandra Stoddard. Lynda Resnick. Neil Gaiman. Lacey Baldwin Smith.

For 2019, I set an actual goal for reading. 52. One per week. This seems very reasonable - or at least did at the beginning of the year. (And blasted right past it.)

  • September 2019 - Continued binging on Linsey Hall  - all the series (The Dragon's Gift: The HuntressThe Dragon's Gift: The Amazon; and The Dragon's Gift: Queen of the Fae by Linsey Hall). I am a hard recommendation on that author! I just love her stories and the pacing. Mixed it up a little with JR Ward's Black Dagger series - The King - electronic, The Shadows - electronic , and The Chosen - physical. - which are always a good beach or escapist read. (And I needed that this month.) I'm also a hard recommend on Katherine Tree's The Bear's Wife. If you liked FireFly the TV series, I think this is your book. (And I can give no higher accolade. #BrownCoatForever) It's available on Kindle Unlimited! Also up this month on Kindle Unlimited (I got my money's worth this month!): a nice read with a bit of smart history in A Beautiful Poison by Lydia King (RECOMMEND); beach read recommendations on Southern Belles and Spells Matchmaker Mysteries by Amy Boyles; NEW SERIES ALERT on the Federal Bureau of Magic by Annabel Chase; picked up the fluffy next in line for Susan Harper's Beaten at His Own Game (BackRoom Bookstore #9); and my newly favorite series by  by  Ashley Beasley book 3 of the Eve Williams series - Shadows and Souls (RECOMMEND).
    • "Electric happiness mized in with the horrific, like when you saw a broken robin's egg on the ground in spring, full of smashed baby bird, and still thought - what a splendid color of eggshell." - A Beautiful Poison by Lydia King.
    • "I am the villain of my story."  Great Balls of Fury by Annabel Chase.(I feel like this ALL the time with my family!)
  • August 2019 - This was a digital month. Heavy on the Kindle Unlimited. The Wiched Witches of Destiny Cove by Sara Bourgeois. (Not recommending. It goes LEFT in book 3 and never comes back.) Jane Hinchey's Witch Way series, books 1-4. (I'm team Blake. I'm likely in the minority there) Recommendation level=Beach Read. Susan Harper's Back Room Bookstore series, books 1-8. Easy fluff but not a recommend as it needs editing. Finished out Olivia Swift's Blooms, Bones and Stones Cozy Mystery set books 3-6. Recommend level=rainy day. And then I found a new author and just freaking binged. If you need an escapist read that has a fast pace, Linsey Hall is the way to go! The Dragon's Gift: The Valkyrie (books 1-5), The Dragon's Gift: The Sorceress (books 1-5 and hello I'm team Declan), The Dragon's Gift: The Dark Fae (books 1 & 2). 
  • July 2019 - Highly digital, I finished out the rest of the Lainwich Witch books by Raven Snow (recommended for a beach read only). Bramble and Blood and Birdsong and Bone by Ashley Beasley which had extraordinary world building and I can't wait for the next one! (RECOMMEND. Big-time) The first 2 of Olivia Swift did a series of cozy mysteries - 6 total - called Blooms, Stones & Bones. I made it through the first 2 one weekend. Enjoyable.  In hard copy, just two books. Priam's Lens by Jack L Chalker from the Little Free Library (pass) and Create Your Own Luck by Susan Hyatt (recommend - I also love her podcast.)
  • June 2019 Another few of the Lainwich Witch books (Murder Comes Calling and Murder Before Marriage, both digital)  - Book and A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams. The Witch Cozies were obviously lighter reading but A Certain Age was more interesting. It would be a good summer read at the beach.
    • A man never knows how to say good-bye; a woman never knows when to say it. (Helen Rowland) - A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams
    • ...she had explored vast and intricate worlds from the worn cushions of the parlor sofa, only to return those worlds to the nearby public library a week later. Books after all, were expensive, and it was better to eat than read. So the little shelf in Sophie's bedroom contained a selection of volumes amassed lovingly over successive  birthdays, and Christmases, and the idea of an entire gilded library, old and venerable, covered with the fingerprints of one's ancestors, never needing to be returned to its rightful owner - why, it stole her will! - A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams.

  • May 2019 - This month, we went digital: Raven Snow's Lainswich Witches, books Number 5 through Number 17 so far. (Beach read recommendation). Shannon Mayer's Celtic Legacy trilogy. (Rainy day recommendation). Little Boy Lost by JD Trafford. Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs. Plus The Orphan Daughter by Cari Noga. (If you like Michigan and enjoy the twists of family, recommend). In physical books, Lysa TerKeurst's Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely. (Good perspective on life issues.)
    • She didn't like those little get togethers where everyone acted like they had always been close, not in the least bit estranged. - Cursed Romance by Raven Snow.
    • Let's look at the word terrified as it is used in these scriptures. It's tarasso, which means "to set in motion what needs to remain still." - Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst.
    • Heartbreaking seasons can certainly grow me but were never meant to define me. - Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst.

  • April 2019 - Moreau Factor by Jack L Chalker. The Now Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social by Jay Baer and Amber Naslund. Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. Race Against Time by Piers Anthony. (It was kind of awful. It didn't age well but was easy to read.)  Connections in Death by JD Robb. Hexes and Exes by Raven Snow. (Kindle Unlimited).And well, I really needed a break after a stressful month - so I ripped through the Kindle editions of all 4 of Shannon Mayer's Questing Witch series. Plus her The Venom Trilogy series. (Pick up any Shannon Mayer book. You won't regret it. But she is addictive. You are warned.)
  • March 2019 - Nada. I did start Blinkist so I read summaries of about 10 non-fiction books.
  • February 2019 -  Lewis Carroll's  classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland! was the book of the month - in part due to the gorgeous edition I got at Barnes & Noble. Apprentice in Death and Dark In Death by JD Robb were both great sick day reads - I love the series (Dallas and Roarke forever). All books for the month recommended! (Stamp!)
  • January 2019 - LaRae Quy's Mental Toughness for Women Leaders and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil were both good. (But, LaRae - call me. I can help with editing.) So I felt very tough and Southern. Not a bad combination! (MitGoGaE went back to the in-town Little Free Library.) If you would like a shot of thinking differently pick up LaRae's book.
2018 started off to be another slower reading year. Not even one book a week! (After college I remember reading 2 books a week at minimum. I wonder where that time went?) August Update - A friend told me her one book per week goal, and it seemed reasonable. So, now I'm hitting about 1 book a week if you average it. (But what I'm really doing is binging books. 3 one week, none for several weeks.)
  • December 2018 - The Art of Social Media: Power Tips by Power Users by Guy Kawasaski and Peg Fitzgerald; Crimson Death by Laurell Hamilton;  and Your First 100: How to Get Your First 100 Repeat Customers by Meera Kothand was a quick digital read - and nothing new to learn. In total, while I read, this was not the best use of my reading time as I did not love any of these.
    • "That's not fair." "Life isn't supposed to be fair." "What does that mean?" "It means children whine, That's not fair. Grown-ups understand that fairness is rare and good treatment must be earner." - Crimson Death by Laurell Hamilton
  • November 2018 - - The Colony by John Tayman was filled with personal accounts of the leper colony on Hawaii and was quite interesting. The Divine Secrets of the YA-YA Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells was a very enjoyable read from my local Little Free Library and is a recommendation! Lynchpin by Shannon Mayer via my Kindle Unlimited because I'm a finisher. I ran through the whole Blood singer series by CT Adams after finding Book 5 at the local Little Free Library the week before. Thanks to the awesome digital option - I was able to download the others to my Kindle for instant gratification. (Blood Song, Siren Song, Demon Song, The Isis Collar, The Eldritch Conspiracy, To Dance with The Devil, and All Your Wishes.) And here's what I thought of those - they were good. But full of character/plot holes. Seriously, they needed a chronology and outline as they went along because they kept getting details wrong from prior books. (A good editor is a valuable things) It did not get better on book 7 when it came down to 1 author as the vibe changed. And here's my comment - I'm team Creede. But I think I got out-voted (kind of like I'm team Ranger, and that won't happen.)
    • "I did not understand then that my mother lived in a world that could not or would not acknowledge her radience, her pull on the earth - at least not as much as she needed. So she made up her own solar system with the other Ya-Yas and lived in its orbit as fully as she could." - The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood  by Rebecca Wells.
  • October 2018 - believe it or not, nothing super quotable as a one off! Although I would say nearly all of Get Rich, Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield-Thomas  was worth paying attention to. But to pull out quotes would've been like excerpting the whole book! Great self-improvement read. Perfect for a beach! Big recommendation. It's Not About You, It's About Bacon: Relationship Marketing in a Social Media World by Brian Basilico by Laura Shapiro - was a decent re-read from about 8 years ago. The info holds up well. The Greensmith Girls: A Supernatural Witch Cozy Mystery (recommend) by Raven Snow (via Kindle Unlimited) which is shaping up to be a nice cozy mystery series. I like a series as it lets me get to know the characters in new ways. 
  • September 2018 - The Mermaid by Christina Henry (so-so recommendation - enjoyable but low depth); What She Ate by Laura Shapiro (total recommend - and OMG, I'm a Helen Gurley Brown feminist which shows my age); The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett (no). And... my Quotle app died... so I'm going to start adding delicious quotes here! This is Month 1 of that. Let me know if you like them here or would rather see them in the Book section of the monthly post.
    • "He would not be convinced. Amelia finally realized it was because he himself did not understand what it mean to be different and to have people expect you to change for their sake. She realized that no man could understand this, really, though they expected their wives to do so every day."  - The Mermaid by Christina Henry (This is a #MeToo moment in beautiful prose. We know this.)
    • "She had no ill will: she was merely incompetent and inflexible." - Eleanor Roosevelt chapter of What She Ate by Laura Shapiro (oh that reminds me of someone in my work world...)
    • “Life’s problems are often eased by hot milky drinks.” - Barbara Pym chapter of What She Ate by Laura Shapiro (Hello, Sheldon!)
  • August 2018 - And continuing my streak, I finished up that very dense book of economics - Local Dollars, Local Sense! (The last 60 pages are the easiest bit. And I disagree with his math on home ownership because it does not include repairs.) I also demolished The Elemental Series by Shannon Meyers, all 7 + the novella knocked out on the Kindle. I also ready Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs on the Kindle and re-read her Silence Falls digitally after catching a copy of Fire Touched on sale. My friends  - pick any long weekend or beach day and read any of these 3!
  • July 2018 - Joyous dancing on the streets! I finished the Retha Warnicke book on Queen Elizabeth! Still plowing my way through Local Dollars, Local Sense - whew, that one has ALL the maths! And added Empire Falls by Richard Russo (don't even see the movie on that one - no), and The Dark Sacred Night by Julia Glass (hard no), and the guilty pleasure of Blood Fury by JR Ward. I think that series is tapped out. The overlaps are huge - I literally spent 1/2 the book thinking I'd already read it
  • June 2018 - I'm done with the whole 10 minute reading technique experiment! It's too slow - I'm still on the Anne Boleyn and Local Dollars book (although that one is dense). I'm a power reader. Embracing it! Powered through Pamela by Shannon Meyer during a long DMV wait. And during a weekend trip got a few new books: The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne (recommend), Lab Girl by Hope Jahren, Brotherhood in Death by JD Robb and Promise Not To Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz. (The last two are guilty pleasures - and I don't apologize!)
  • May 2018 - We got kittens. Need I say more? (More: I'm still doing that reading technique with the 10 pages. I'm much less in love with it. Slooow going.)
  • April 2018 - I'm still trying the new, slower reading technique which combines ready 10 pages per book per day of up to 5 books. But it got interrupted by a binge of the Rylee Adamson series - all 10 of them plus 2 of the "after" novels! This is why we love ebooks! Also grabbed a few books for reading on my business trip: Norse Mythology from Neil Gaiman (recommend), Career Kred (recommend) and Build Your Dream Network.
  • March 2018 -  J.R. Ward's The Beast; Amber Hurdle's The Bombshell Business Woman (recommend); The Way of the Witch is actually 3 novels in one; and using the 5 books-10 pages-a day technique, tackled  The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn by Retha Warnicke and Local Dollars, Local Sense by Michael Shuman.
  • January 2018 - The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant, The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel (recommend), and The Speckled People by Hugo Hamilton (highly recommend, especially to anyone who grew up in 2 worlds). (I ranked those by enjoyed least to enjoyed most.)

2017 was like the year of reading that wasn't. Time has just been at such a premium! But what I did read has been documented a good bit via my new favorite app, Quotle. (I've also included links the books I loved.)

  • December 2017 - Bullet by Laurell K. Hamilton, Lagom by Linnea Dunne, The Furies by Natalies Haynes, The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, and  The Innocent Mrs. Duff by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding. (Ranked least to most enjoyed - totally recommend the last two) 
  • November 2017 - Twenty Three by Janet Evanovich and The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner.
  • October 2017 - An Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfield, The Immortals by Tamora Pierce (which actually has 4 books in one), Drafter by Kim Harrison, and The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld (I ranked those by least to most favorite - totally recommend the last)
  • August 2017 - The Third Translation by Matt Bondurant,  Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb, and The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George (which is a great read) 
  • June 2017 - The Job (Janet Evanovich), Broken Open (Elizabeth Lesser), The Ice Queen (Alice Hoffman), Silence Falls (digital edition) by  Patricia Briggs
  • May 2017 - The Danger Box by Blue Balliett
  • April 2017 - My Kind of Place by Susan Orleans and a "business" book, The Decision to Join by The Center for Association Leadership
  • February 2017 Not in Kansas Any More by Christine Wicker 
  • January 2017 - Patricia Briggs' Alpha and Omega series - Hunting Ground, Fair Game, Dead Heat; plus Fire Touched from her Mercy Thompson series.

I've read that Elon Musk is not a fan of business books. And so, I apologize not for the lessons I learn in other genres.

2016 was the year of fiction reading. (Business, too I expect - but it started with Irish literature.) But I didn't read enough books to do the write-ups I started a few years ago. So, I wrapped up notes on what I read in the monthly updates (Currently, Month) but here's the short list:

  • November 2016 - Night Broken by Patricia Briggs
  • July 2016 - Dead Deceiver by Victoria Houston (digital)
  • April 2016 - A Star Called Henry by Doyle
  • February 2016 Books - just a bit of reading on a plane. A reading tourney always seems to fit with a physical journey.
My "to be read" shelf

2015 started with a a bit of self-reflection in January and has progressed. 

  • October 2015 Books - And we are back! In a small way.
    • Extra: A list of ways to read more
  • July 2015 Books - Didn't happen. New discovery: yard sales are not good times to read. And perhaps I should have read this list on reading more sooner....
  • June 2015 Books - Bits and pieces of reading. Things captured on a summer day.
    • Extra - A reading list from a bank? Yes!
  • May 2015 Books - Reading is fundamental. For me it was fundamental to who I am.
    • Extra - A basketball coach's book list 
  • April 2015 Books - A good bit of reading happened this month. The best result of which was that I now have a vacation drink of choice - mint juleps  - as an ode to the historically significant main ingredient.
    • Extra - Marilyn Monroe's library
  • March 2015 Books - No reading happened this month. For several reasons. One good. One very, very deeply sad.
    • Extra - Secret libraries
  • February 2015 Books - what I haven't been reading and why cooking was a substitute this month.
    • Extra - Libraries to live in
    • On a more serious note, I read this enlightening article by The Atlantic Monthly about the fundamental state of ISIS. I strongly believe every American should read the article: "What ISIS Really Wants".
  • January 2015 Books - why I've been reading what I've been reading.

A list of readings from 2014 by month (+ assorted extras, like what I didn't say - a 2014 feature):
  • December 2014 Books
    • What I didn't say: I call certain genres "mind candy" but some books are more than that. Books that weave true science and true history into worlds of new making deserve respect for their creations.
  • November 2014 Books
    • What I didn't say: Oyi. I totally echo the sentiments of the reviewer who said about MaryJanice Davidson's Betsy series - "She needs to stop writing these so I can stop feeling I must read them." They are a trainwreck. And getting more incoherent and harder to join in progress as they go. Self-implosion pending.
  • October 2014 Books
    • What I didn't say: I started The Story Sisters on a plane to NOLA and finished it on the flight home. I cried. It's beautifully written. But privileged and a little unrelatable. Not everyone has grandparents willing to foot their housing bills and find them jobs. In Alice Hoffman's work, I often find this element of old money. For me, it's off-putting. (However, I adored that the wisest of the characters was of Russian extraction.)
  • September 2014 Books
    • What I didn't say: Laurell K Hamilton is a guilty pleasure. The books are not fabulously intricate. They are unlikely in the extreme for relationships - which are exactly the same in each series she writes. And yet, I read them eagerly!
  • August 2014 Books
    • What I didn't say: The Weird Sisters spoke to my heart. It was  - at the heart of it - about books! The relationships mirrored the ebb and flow of sibling relationships I've seen within my own family. I wanted to buy copies and send them - marked, of course, to certain passages - to family. They won't read them though or see themselves. It's funny what we choose to see in the mirrors of ourselves.
  • July 2014 Books
    • What I didn't say: First lines of books! Oh, what a delightful concept for a blog. Of course, the Wall Street Journal would think of it first. 
  • June 2014 Books
    • What I didn't say: I actually regret reading Shadow Spell. It was so predictable! I should've abandoned it and focused on another book. And oyi! Mad About a Boy? I should know I only like Helen Fielding's Olivia Joules book. (It does have my favorite rules.)
  • May 2014 Books
    • What I didn't say: Being Miss Rumphius may be my new life goal. To be surrounded by books, to live by the sea, and to make the world beautiful
  • April 2014 Books
    • What I didn't say: Reading kids books means pretty pictures. That's just fun. Yes, I "had" to read these for the Sunday school class I was teaching, but I enjoyed it.
  • March 2014 Books
    • What I didn't say: I Spy DYI Style was fun! I should've made a copy of a few projects! There is a scarf I want to make into a cute top...
  • February 2014 Books
    • What I didn't say: Green Eggs and Ham is probably the best sales book ever! And I love Dr. Seuss. 

Affiliate link to a favorite book source:  Better World Books

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