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A Difficult Week

Last week wasn’t the best reading week, again. I was feeling under the weather and just in case I self isolated. It was a very anxious week, not helped by all the news reports, which I switched off by Thursday and tried to manage my news intake. I’m feeling fine now, luckily.

I did get some reading done. I read V.E. Schwab’s A Gathering of Shadows, the second book in the Shades of Magic trilogy. I enjoyed it very much, a bit more than the first in the series. I also started Lincoln Child’s Utopia, a thriller set in a state of the art theme park. Despite it being written in 2002 it doesn’t feel as dated as I expected. It also reads quickly, which Child’s book usually do for me.

I think I’ll be reading easy reads for a while. My reading challenge is on hold for now. Anything I read is great. It’s an anxious time for me, which means I can read a lot more than normal or stop reading at all, or anything in between. Animal Crossing New Horizons also came out last Friday, which is a great game but takes up some time to keep up you island.

My only reading goal for now is to have fun.

Muddling On

Even though I finished two books this week it isn’t much of an achievement. I took a bread from Makaryk’s Nottingham to read Black Canyon by Jeremy Bates, which was less than 100 pages long. Today I finished Nottingham. I really enjoyed it, even if it was a slow read. I liked how it wasn’t your typical swashbuckling Robin Hood story. But the story was told from the point of view of various characters. Dealing with the motivations, insecurities and the misunderstandings that can happen.

To be honest it wasn’t just the book that caused it to take me over two weeks to finish it. The stress of the Corona virus, having a family member who’s very much at risk if she contracts it, is causing a lot of anxiety for me. I’ve found that diamond painting whilst listening to podcasts is a better distraction for me than reading (also it’s less easy to pick up a tablet and check the Corona virus news when doing that).

I wouldn’t be surprised if within the next couple of days it will be announced that all stores except supermarkets and pharmacies are to close for at least several weeks. Including our store. Yes, it would be difficult, but with the current measures I don’t expect it will be very busy anyway. I’d rather have the government announce stricter measures sooner rather than later. I think it would also give me some peace of mind; not having to come in contact with customers, hoping they’re responsible and not ill.

My next book is a lighter read; V.E. Schwab’s A Gathering of Shadows, the second book in the Shades of Magic series. The first book was a quick read, so hopefully this will offer more of a distraction than Nottingham.

Doing Well

The past week has been a good reading week, each day I’ve read enough for me to log as a reading day. Today I haven’t read anything yet, but I’m planning to read for a while tonight. I’m not back at my old level of reading, it’s unlikely I read my average for February (2744 pages), but at least I’m back to reading again. As long as I pick books I like. When I pick a book I’m not liking very much I tend to stop reading I’ve noticed. So one of my goals will be to stop reading a book when I’m not enjoying it and not keep plodding through it.

Last week I finished the first book of the Lady Darby series, The Anatomist’s Wife, by Anna Lee Huber. I really enjoyed this book and have added the series to my series waiting list. This means I crossed off a book from my huge first-in-series list, which I hope to bring down a bit this year. Although I probably end up with a huge series waiting list.

Currently I’m reading the latest book in the Agent Pendergast series, The Crooked River, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. The last couple in this series I found at best okay. But I’m liking this book a lot more, though I’m only 60% in. Hopefully I can finish it tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest.

After my current book I plan to read the second book in Desmond Doane’s The Graveyard: Classified series. In March I want to read at least one long book, probably Robert Galbraith’s Lethal White, which was released about a year and a half ago. In February all books I’ve read were part of series, to prevent me from burning out on series again I want to read some of my stand alone books in March. I won’t limit myself to those, but I’ve got quite a few stand alones on my Kobo.

I already know that in late March I won’t do much reading; on the 20th the latest Animal Crossing game is going to be released and I expect that I’ll spend a lot of time playing the game the first couple of weeks after the release. I’m also going away for a couple of days, since my vacation in January was partly spoiled due to a nasty cold. It’s the weekend after the Animal Crossing release, so while I normal read more than normal on a city trip I expect I won’t this time since I’m bringing my Nintendo Switch with me.

Although I have to wait and see if my reading slump is nearing its end the signs are positive. Though with my new hobbies and the game release I might end up reading less than over the last couple of years.

First DNF

For the first time in over a year I didn’t finish a book. I was really interested in Lucinda Riley’s The Seven Sisters, and I liked the first part of the novel, but then it went downhill for me. In the second part the romance started, I can see how someone who loves the romance genre would love this. But the long, draw out build up was just too slow for me. Almost half way through the book I decided to take a break, read something else. But then I realized that it’s unlikely I’ll ever return to it, so I DNF’ed it, I did count the number of pages I read towards my pages read total for this year.

Right now I’m reading the second book in Paul Cornell’s Shadow Police series, The Severed Streets. The series currently has three books released and I went on a search if more were ever going to released. On Cornell’s blog he explained that the series was supposed to be five books, but that the publisher dropped the series after releasing three books. He’s uncertain if the other two will ever be released. His Witches of Lychford series, which is apparently popular is taking priority right now. I did read the first book of that series back in 2015, not long after it was released and gave it 4 stars, so I liked it. Reading the description it doesn’t ring a bell. I will have to reread that book before continuing with the series (after I finished The Shadow Police). The books in The Witches of Lychford series are relatively short, so it’ll be a nice change to read those between longer reads.

Today is a great day for reading. Like last Sunday there’s a storm (though not as heavy as last week). It’s grey, rainy and windy and not the least bit inviting to go outside. I’ve done all my Sunday chores so I’m going to curl up and see how far I can get with The Severed Streets.

Silver Lining

I had an okay reading week. I did procrastinate on finishing The Dark Man by Desmond Doane. I probably could have finished it on Tuesday. But I didn’t know what to read next, only that I wanted to tackle one of the longer books on my Kobo. Eventually I decided on Lucinda Riley’s The Seven Sisters. The latest book in the series was recently released, with a lot of publicity, even in the Netherlands, and I wanted to see what the fuss is about.

I’m already almost a third into the book. And I’m enjoying it, though I’m not sure if I enjoy it enough to put it on my Active Series list. To be honest I got this far because what I thought was a cold, but realized is probably the worst hay fever I’ve ever experienced, has returned. It causes me to cough a lot. Especially at night, making sleeping very difficult. So far non of the hay fever pills that used to work has worked this time. No cough syrup or lozenge works either. I did find that my coughing fits quiet down quickest when I’m reading. So I’ve spend a lot of hours at night reading, hoping the coughing will stop and I can get a bit of sleep. Tomorrow I’m making an appointment with my doctor, to hopefully confirm what is the problem and get something for it.

In other reading related news I had the fun plan to have movie week. Each night I wanted to watch a movie based on a book I’ve read but haven’t seen before. I went through several “Best movies based on books” lists. And the only book I’ve read but haven’t seen the movie yet is The Joy Luck Club. There are several Stephen King films I haven’t seen before, but I know I need to be in the mood to enjoy those. So now I have to think of something else. I can watch the Studio Ghibli movies that Netflix released last week. Or maybe watch those classic movies I have had on my to watch list for an eternity. With the Oscars being tonight I might also watch Best Film winners I haven’t seen before.

My plans for today are to spend a lot of time reading. A storm is coming later in the day, it’s already very windy, with lots of rain. So ideal weather to curl up with a good book, a snack and a big mug of hot chocolate milk.

Comfort Zone

It’s the first time in quite a while I stepped out of my reading comfort zone. I usually read horror, mystery, crime, ghost stories or thrillers, sometimes mixed with some (urban) fantasy, history, or a teeny tiny bit of romance.

I do not read romance books. I just don’t enjoy those. But I just started Lucinda Riley’s The Seven Sisters series, the first book being The Seven Sisters. This tells the story of Maia. She and her five (six?) sisters were adopted by Pa Salt and grew up in a mansion situated on an island in a lake in Switzerland. None of the girls seem ever to have been interested enough to found out about their birth family. That is until Pa Salt suddenly dies and he leaves each of them with an envelop with a clue about their heritage. Each book is about one of the sisters following the clue to their birth family.

The historical part is that besides telling the story of one of the sisters it also tells the story of one of their ancestors. I haven’t gotten that far in the book, I’m only twelve percent in and all the sisters have been just introduced and have gotten their envelop. I expect from now on the story will focus on Maia and her ancestor.

Reading the reviews on GoodReads it seems you either love or hate the book, so I’ll have to see what I think of it. I just hope the romantic parts aren’t too predictable/sappy/over the top.

It’s the first book of several longer books I plan to read in the near future. I’ve been delaying reading them and it’s time to get them read. There were years when I read a bunch of 800+ page books a year and considered 700+ pages a long book. At the moment I think a long book is 450 pages or longer. Probably all due to my reading slump, which I can get rid of as soon as possible.

Do I want to read more books out of my comfort zone this year? I’m not sure, it sounds nice but reality can be different.

January Reading

The first month of 2020 has come and gone, I’ve been on my annual Reading Retreat and I’ve had (am still having, actually) a bad cold and respiratory infection. But how did I do? Since August I’m having a reading slump, September was okay, but I did go on a Reading Retreat. And even taking that vacation week into account I did read less than average that month.

The past month has been so-so. Up until my vacation, starting on the 13th, I didn’t do a lot of reading. Which is normal, the first week of year it was still a school vacation and thus busy in the store. Which resulted in less time off, so less time to read. And because it was busy I was tired in the evenings and didn’t have the energy to stay up late to read. The week after I was busy preparing for my vacation and reading a book that was slow going for me.

During my vacation I did do a lot of reading; I finished six books. My cold started on Thursday and by Saturday I was sick enough for it to start slowing down my reading. The week after my vacation I didn’t read; I was too sick to care. I’m still not completely better, but I’m feeling good enough to read.

In the end I managed to read ten book and a total of 2897 pages. Which means that the average book was less than 300 pages. My average since 2012 is 360 pages per book. I also read about 800 pages less than an average January. However, since August I only read this much in September, when I read just over 3000 pages.

I did have some longer books planned for after my vacation, but that didn’t work out due to that nasty cold. I plan to start working on those after I finish my current book.

My favourite book of the month was Five Nights in a Haunted Cabin by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross. Their account of staying in a friend of a friend’s supposedly haunted cabin for several days and nights. I like how they don’t attribute all strange happenings to the paranormal, but also offer everyday possible causes.

My least favourite book was a short story by Carrie Bates, The Haunting of Maple Mansion. Which felt like the start of a nice haunted house/horror story. But instead that the main character would start their adventure from there (fighting the haunting/stubbornly trying to ignore the haunting/getting help/etc) the main character was like: “Nope, not doing this. Bye bye.”. Which I thought was a bit of shame, but the story had potential.

February I started with the second book in The Paper Magician series, by Charlie N. Holmberg. Which I really enjoyed. After finishing that I started to reread Desmond Doane’s Graveyard: Classified Files trilogy. I read the first two books years ago, and although I really enjoyed those I never got the last book until recently. But I first want to reread the first two, since it was so long ago and can’t remember exactly what it was about. After that I’ll tackle one of the longer books I have on my TBR pile. I’m not sure which book, it really depends on my mood.

Best Intentions

There goes my plan of posting every weekend (Sunday or Monday). I didn’t post last week because I had a nasty cold/throat thing. It involved lots of coughing and very little sleep. Last weekend I didn’t feel good. Add to that that Sunday was the last day of my vacation and on Monday I went home and had to unpack and do laundry, I just didn’t have the energy to write a blog. I didn’t read much last week. I did manage to finish one novella yesterday.

Luckily my vacation week, my annual Reading Retreat, gave me enough time to read. I read one novella and finished five books. The books weren’t long, but all in all I read just over 1600 pages. Which isn’t bad considering the last couple of months in reading for me. Of all of what I read that week I think I like Five Nights in a Haunted Cabin by Tamara Thorne & Alistair Cross most. It recalls their five night in a cabin owned by a friend of a friend, supposedly a haunted cabin. They retell what happened during those days and nights. Thorne turns out to be paranormal investigator besides a writer and it’s refreshing not everything they experience is immediately chalked up to ghosts. They always try to find a logical reason for the happenings.

I also finished the first series of the year; Ambrose Ibsen’s The Ulrich Files. There seems to be a follow up series about the same main character. After I finish my current book I want to start getting back into my series again, though not as fanatically as last year. I think my slowing down of reading last year was due to my focus on finish several series. I simply burned out on those. This year I want to have more space for stand alone books and choosing books I feel like reading, instead I feel I have to read. Hopefully I can get out of my reading funk that way.

Here We Go Again

After a good start, having finished two books in the first seven days of 2020, my third book isn’t going well. Despite me having had more time this to read. It isn’t the book, which is interesting. Probably just my reading slump rearing it’s head, telling me it just had a bit of a post-Christmas break.

Today, after I’ve done my laundry and packed most of my things for my vacation I can get some reading done. I’m aiming for 40% into the book. Which is The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring.

Tomorrow I don’t think I’ll have much reading time. In the morning packing the last couple things, going to the supermarket to get a couple of things I’m not sure the on-park supermarket sells and then the trip to the vacation park. My father is dropping me off. So after we’ve had a bite to eat I’ll unpack and then probably watch some TV and finally have some time to read. The weather prediction isn’t great for next week. If it’s reasonably dry I might go to the nearby town of Apeldoorn on Wednesday or Thursday. But otherwise I plan to stay in and relax.

On another note. I watched the first episode of the new TV series Lincoln Rhyme and the Hunt for the Bone Collector, based on the Lincoln Rhyme book series by Jeffery Deaver. It was quite good, despite some characters having been replaced by characters that probably appeal more to a TV audience (Mel!). My biggest gripe was that Amelia didn’t walk/wasn’t taught to “walk the grid” when collecting evidence. She just barged in the crime scene and immediately found the evidence. Walking the grid is very important in the books, and integral part of how evidence is collected. Other than that I enjoyed it.

A Good Start

The past week has been good, reading wise. Better than the last couple of months anyway. On Monday I finished my last book of 2019, The Haunting of Hilltop Manor by Carrie Bates. It was the 12th book I read in 2019 where the title started with “The Haunting of”, no points for guessing what my favourite genre was that year.

On Tuesday I started Year Zero by Jeff Long. Since I count a book for my challenge on the date I finish it, this means that this was my first book of the year, despite starting it in 2019. On Wednesday I spend the morning in bed reading, something I hadn’t done in a long while. The next three days I didn’t read much. The store was open again and since a lot of people still were off work it was busy. I did manage to read a little bit each night. I finished the book this morning. I really enjoyed it, it was the right book at the right moment.

I started the latest Rizzoli & Isles book, I Know a Secret, by Tess Gerritsen. It was released in August 2017 and missed its release. I only found out a little while back. I’m already at 53% tonight. But when you wake up at 5am in the morning and can’t fall asleep again you have plenty of time to read. The book is great, a shame it escaped my attention for so long.

I’m trying to read the books I have on my eReader already, instead of finding new books to read and adding them. I make an exception for series I’m either in the process of reading or those that have new releases. With my reading retreat coming up in just over a week I might fail, and treat myself to something new.