Moneypenny's 2023 ROOT Log

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Moneypenny's 2023 ROOT Log

1Miss_Moneypenny
Jan 1, 2023, 6:31 pm



Hello there and welcome to my 2023 reading log! I'm Caity, an IT project manager in beautiful Colorado. I'm married to a lovely man who works long, intense hours as a finance manager for Subaru. Mr. M has a crazy workload and my job is fairly fluid with workload and hours, so I've got more reading time than most. We've got a feisty French bulldog (Bibi) and a sweet kitty boy (Poptart) and in 2022, we added our first baby! If I'm not with them, I've got my nose in a book! I'll read anything and everything you hand me but am most at home in the fantasy/sci-fi realm.

I originally started tracking my reading here as a way to recover from the burnout of a particularly intense graduate program but quickly discovered that this is one of the best places on the entire internet. I've been participating in the ROOTs challenge since 2014. In 2022, I wound up inching past my goal of 80 ROOTs with a total of 88 ROOTs read!

This year, I'm setting my sights at 75 ROOTs read by New Year's Eve 2023. That puts me at right about a book and a half each week, which I think I can crank out even with Baby and the demands of my job.

I'm also determined to not increase my TBR pile too much. Right now, I have over 300 books in my collection that need to be read, with some of them languishing on my shelves for close to a decade now. I'm setting a monthly limit of 5 books or $25 spent on books, whichever comes first.

Thanks for stopping by! Drop a note so I can follow along with what you're reading!

2Miss_Moneypenny
Editado: Out 31, 2023, 11:30 am

Book Purchase Log (all purchased for my Kindle except where noted)

January (all purchased with Christmas gift cards, so not counting these toward my purchase total!)
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Babel by R.F. Kuang
Tai-Pan by James Clavell
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip
Night's Master by Tanith Lee
The Curse of the Mistwraith by Janny Wursts

February
Bad Blood by John Carreyrou
The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue
Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe
The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
Contact by Carl Sagan *read in 2023*
The Valley of Horses by Jean M Auel
River God by Wilbur Smith *read in 2023*
A Widow for One Year by John Irving
The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb
Whoops! I definitely went over my limit for February. Must rein this in during March.

March
Congo by Michael Crichton *read in 2023*
The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follet
Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
The Serpent and the Wings of Night by Carissa Broadbent
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas *read in 2023*
Micro by Michael Crichton
Pavilion of Women by Pearl S Buck
My only defense for all of these purchases is that I didn't pay more than $5 for any one of these LOL.

April
The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Magic's Pawn by Mercedes Lackey
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Honeys by Ryan La Sala
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
Little Green Vines by Britt Andrews
The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas *read in 2023*
Lords of the Bow by Conn Iggulden
A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas *read in 2023*

May
The Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams
The Hunting Wives by May Cobb
The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L Jensen
The River by Peter Heller
Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
The Beast by Katee Roberts
Good Inside by Becky Kennedy
Deacon King Kong by James McBride
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Winter of the World by Ken Follett

June
She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
A Winter's Promise by Christelle Dabos
Watership Down by Richard Adams
Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano
Imajica by Clive Barker
I Have Some Questions For You by Rebecca Makkai
Abandon by Blake Crouch
This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros *read in 2023*
Americanah by Chiamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix
Turning Angel by Greg Iles *read in 2023*
The Devil's Punchbowl by Greg Iles *read in 2023*
Natchez Burning by Greg Iles *read in 2023*
The Bone Tree by Greg Iles *read in 2023*
Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles *read in 2023*
Frankenstein The 1818 Text, Penguin Classics by Mary Shelley
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang
The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
Devil's Waltz by Jonathan Kellerman
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
American Queen by Sierra Simone

July
The Rise and Fall of DODO by Neal Stephenson
The World According to Garp by John Irving
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
Pale Horse by Agatha Christie
The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N Aaron
Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis
Blood Countess by Lana Popovic
Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Outsider by Stephen King
House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J Maas *read in 2023*
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn

August
March by Geraldine Brooks
The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker
Rock, Paper, Scissors by Alice Feeney
Heroes: The Greek Mythes Reimagined by Stephen Fry
The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese
Burnout by Emily Nagoski
The Children of Men by PD James
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
The Uncrowned King by Michelle West
Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
Salem's Lot by Stephen King
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
The Missing of Clairdelune by Christelle Dabos
Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Charles Sheffield

Ah, I think I might have a stress-related book buying habit. It's not really a problem in that these are all kindle books (paper books are just asking for Baby Boo to get her hands on them) and so I've got the space for them. And mostly these were less than $8 a book, plus the only things I buy for myself these days are kindle books and yarn, so financially it's not a hit at all. I feel like I should feel guilty but I don't. So I'm still going to track my book purchases here if only so I can convince myself to stop putting ebooks on hold at the ding dang library and read this (several hundreds of books long) TBR list! At this point, my kindle backlog is over 450 and who knows how many paper books are lurking in the moving boxes piled in my office?

September
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J Ryan Stradhal
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Ramses the Damned: The Reign of Osiris by Anne Rice and Christopher Rice
Modern Divination by Isabel Agajanian
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson
The Frugal Wizard's Handbook for Surviving Medieval England by Brandon Sanderson

October
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
Tomorrow Will Be Better by Betty Smith
Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub
Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub
The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling
The Cider House Rules by John Irving
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
Hidden Potential by Adam Grant
The Ferryman by Justin Cronin

3Caramellunacy
Jan 2, 2023, 5:29 am

Happy to see you're back! Looking forward to seeing what you're reading

4rabbitprincess
Jan 2, 2023, 7:33 am

Welcome back and have fun!

5Jackie_K
Jan 2, 2023, 7:40 am

Welcome back, I hope you have a great year! I like your monthly limit on book purchases - maybe I should try that, as my previous method (1 bought for every 2 read) didn't quite work last year.

6cyderry
Jan 2, 2023, 1:26 pm

Welcome back! Please don't forget to copy your ticker to the ticker thread.

7Miss_Moneypenny
Jan 3, 2023, 2:51 pm

>6 cyderry: Thanks for the reminder! Done!

8Miss_Moneypenny
Jan 3, 2023, 4:08 pm

January



We've been snowed in here in beautiful Colorado for the last couple days so I've been able to get a kick start on my 2023 ROOTs!

1. Along Came a Spider by James Patterson
2. Kiss the Girls by James Patterson
I've read at least some of the Alex Cross series in the late 90s/early 2000s (when I was definitely too young to be reading them!) but I don't think I read them in order. I found the series in my parents' book boxes and am enjoying them so far!
4 stars each

3. No Cure for Being Human by Kate Bowler
I'm sad to report that I found this pretty disappointing. Bowler is a religion professor at Duke who was diagnosed with colon cancer at 35 and given 2 years to live. She's mined this trauma previously and I just couldn't tell what the differentiating theme for this new book was supposed to be. I was hoping for more insight or more profound knowledge, but it just kind of fell flat for me.
2 stars

9MissWatson
Jan 5, 2023, 5:48 am

Happy ROOTing!

10connie53
Jan 5, 2023, 10:17 am

Happy New Year, Caity! Glad to see you here too.

Snowed in is not a nice circumstance but as long you are warm and dry and have books you should be all right. Food is nice too.

11Miss_Moneypenny
Jan 31, 2023, 12:37 pm

January con't

4. Jack and Jill by James Patterson
I definitely overdosed on James Patterson too quickly. These are good, but I think I need to space them out more in order to avoid burnout.
3 stars

5. More Than A Body by Lexi and Lindsay Kite
An interesting look at how self-objectification impacts mental and physical health. Nothing in here was new to me, but if you're new to the Healthy at Every Size movement or body image, this would be a good place to start.
3 stars

6. Cribsheet by Emily Oster
Oster's Expecting Better was really well done and helped me quite a bit as I went through pregnancy last year. This was less helpful, and I think it's because baby/toddler outcomes are much more nebulous than pregnancy/newborn outcomes. Still worth a read, but I wish I had checked this out of the library instead of buying it.
3 stars

7. Someday, Maybe by Onyi Nwabineli
This was recommended to me as "life-changing" and while it was good, it wasn't great. A woman's husband kills himself and leaves no note behind for his wife, sending her spiraling through grief and worry that she somehow attributed to his suicide. Not recommended because a book needs to be outstanding for me to sit through these kinds of triggers.
3 stars

8. The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle
A tidy little thriller about twins whose father has promised an inheritance of hundreds of millions of dollars to whoever gets pregnant and gives birth first. Very twisty and a lovely Australian setting.
4 stars

9. Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier
Hillier's last book was almost too much for me (child abduction) and this one also toed the line of too much (child abuse, sexual abuse). Hillier is a talented writer for sure, but like Karin Slaughter, she's too dark for me.
4 stars

10. Revenge by Tom Bower
I've been a "royal watcher" since my mother introduced the concept to me in grade school. Like many, I was thrilled when Prince Harry announced his engagement, but there was a lot about Meghan Markle that didn't ring true to me. This was a fascinating, gossipy, well-researched look into their life and how it all went wrong.
4 stars

12connie53
Fev 11, 2023, 7:30 am

Nice stats for January, Caity. Looking forward to read about your February reading.

13Miss_Moneypenny
Editado: Fev 28, 2023, 9:12 am

February



How on earth is it already the last day of February?! It turns out that working and parenting is no joke; I feel like I blinked and missed the entire month!

11. An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison
A classic memoir on a life with bipolar disorder from one of the leading researches of bipolar disorder. This is really well written and I'd love to see an updated edition.
4 stars

12. Nettle and Bone by T. Kingfisher
This is my third or fourth Kingfisher book and I think at this point it's safe to say their books just aren't for me. It wasn't bad by any means, but it just didn't thrill me.
3 stars

13. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
Another book that didn't thrill me. Groff's writing is good and I like the inclusion of a Greek chorus but over all I found myself bored while reading it. Never a good sign for me!
3 stars

14. Contact by Carl Sagan
The movie of this book is one of my favorites of all time and is one of the rare instances where I think the movie is definitely better. Sagan was a gifted scientific writer and the science-y parts of this absolutely shine, but the plot/dialogue is definitely more than a little wooden.
4 stars

15. Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
Wrapping up the month with a neat little thriller: a mother's son commits a murder and she goes back in time to prevent it. Twisty and very atmospheric.
4 stars

14rabbitprincess
Fev 28, 2023, 4:56 pm

>13 Miss_Moneypenny: Beautiful flowers!!

15Miss_Moneypenny
Mar 31, 2023, 10:27 am

March



These months are just flying by! I'm not anywhere near as active on here as I'd like to be, but between work and a new baby and general life stuff, it's a choice between having fun here or reading. Reading will nearly always win out for me!

With that said, I've got a whopping 9 ROOTs to report for March! Three of them are manga, which takes me under an hour to read with no interruptions so it definitely feels like cheating just a little.

16. Claymore volume 1 by Norihiro Yagi
17. Claymore volume 2 by Norihiro Yagi
18. Claymore volume 3 by Norihiro Yagi
My husband and I finished watching the excellent anime in February, but the internet tells me that the anime had to condense/leave out quite a bit of the original story. So here I am, working my way through the also excellent manga.
5 stars each

19. Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Reid is a bit hit or miss for me, but her newest book was a grand slam (pardon the tennis pun, I couldn't help it!). She follows the attempted come back of one of the greatest women's tennis players of all time and wow is Carrie a trip. She's prickly, angry, defensive, and kind of rude. She makes no bones about the fact that she's the best, even when it would clearly be better for her to "play nice". Carrie is a really refreshing female character to read and the examination of how the world treats highly capable, highly competitive women who are at the top of their field was really interesting. There's a line in here that I absolutely love: “We live in a world where exceptional women have to sit around waiting for mediocre men.” Absolutely gut punched me.
4 stars

20. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
21. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas
My younger sister roped me into reading these high fantasy romance novels and holy cow I wish I had read them sooner. Maas's world building is great, her characters are vivid and realistic, and her romance building is superb. We're currently reading the third and I can't believe how good these are.
5 stars each

22. Mrs. March by Virginia Feito
This weird little psychological horror story is really well written, but was really hard to read. Mrs. March is an appearances-obsessed woman married to a writer, and her world starts to fall apart when people start insinuating that her husband's latest character (a deeply unlikeable prostitute) was inspired by Mrs. March. She sinks into pure mental illness after that and the book is a wild but also kind of boring read.
3 stars

23. How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix
I have loved everything I've read by Hendrix. His send-ups of traditional horror genres/tropes is absolutely inspired and there's a lot of heart underneath the horror. His latest, about a brother and sister who are trying to sell their dead parents' haunted house, is another stellar entry in his catalogue.
4 stars

24. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
A childhood favorite for me, and one that I pulled out to put aside for the baby and had to re-read. A classic for a reason!
5 stars

16Miss_Moneypenny
Maio 1, 2023, 11:21 am

April

I think I set my goal for ROOTs this year too high. Between working, baby, and a new and addictive knitting hobby my reading time is shrinking day by day! I do have several work trips coming up this summer though, so I'm hoping to front load my reading for the rest of the year during the interminable airport waiting times.

25. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas
My sister and sister-in-law are doing a mini book club for the ACOTAR books and man is it a ton of fun. I really, really loved the first three-quarters of this book but then it was kind of underwhelming in the last quarter. Maas doesn't have the deft touch with big battle scenes that some fantasy authors have and I found myself wishing for more. But on the whole it was a terrific entry in the ACOTAR series.
5 stars

26. Congo
Michael Crichton has been one of my favorite authors since I was little and Congo is a comfort read for me. I love the idea of communicating with animals and an adventure to find diamonds in the Amazon with an ASL-speaking gorilla is just too much fun for me.
5 stars

27. River God
I first read this book when I was 9 years old. It was without a doubt completely inappropriate for a 9 year old, but the romance and adventure of star crossed lovers in ancient Egypt was absolutely captivating. I'm exceptionally pleased to report that it holds up almost 25 years later!
5 stars

28. Birth of an Empire
My husband is an absolute fiend for historical novels, particularly pre-history and very early human history. This series about the life and times of Genghis Khan is one of his absolute favorites and I'm kicking myself for not reading it sooner.
5 stars

29. A Court of Frost and Starlight
This was a puny little novella (compared to the absolute doorstoper lengths of the other books in the series at least) but it was still nice to hang out with Feyre and Rhysand for a little longer.
5 stars

17connie53
Editado: Maio 24, 2023, 7:22 am

Hi Caity. I hope you are doing fine and I think, reading your thoughts about them "I really should try a book by Sarah J. Maas". I've heard of her but don't know If I've ever read one of her books.

So thank you for that tip. I have a lot of her books digital but never entered them to LT.

How is your baby doing? I hope you enjoy motherhood to the fullest.

18Miss_Moneypenny
Editado: Jun 28, 2023, 4:43 pm

June



How exactly is it mid-June already?! My family has packed a heck of a lot of life in the last 2 months: I had my first post-baby work trip, traveled for my sister's bachelorette weekend, my husband was headhunted and accepted a new job that will take us from Colorado to Indiana, my parents (who watch our baby while we work) decided to move with us to Indiana, my sister got married, and my husband left yesterday to get our new house set up and start his new job. I'm exhausted just typing that all out! It's going to be a busy summer for sure as we pack up and move out to the great Midwest!

May catch up
30. A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas
The final (for now) book in the ACOTAR series was also my favorite. It's wildly more sexually explicit than the others and when I started it I was not thrilled to have almost 800 pages in Nesta's head. But by the 25% mark I was wildly in love with Nesta and her journey to overcome her traumas. This was a terrific entry and I really hope Maas isn't done with this series.
5 stars

31. Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell
A quick little murder mystery in the vein of Great British Bake Off, this was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon in the Denver airport.
3 stars

June
32. Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson
I love reading about rich people behaving badly and their problems. This unfortunately wasn't juicy enough to satisfy that itch.
3 stars

33. Sugar Daddies by Jade West
Warning: this is straight up porn. My sister's maid of honor distributed copies of this ebook at her bachelorette as a favor and I was surprised at how well-written it was and how the plot hooked me in spite of all the exceedingly graphic sex scenes.
3 stars

34. Stone Cold Fox by Rachel Keller Croft
This was a great way to spend a Sunday evening waiting for my latest work project to launch. Bea is a gold digger intent on marrying an old-money millionaire and working her way into his family. But her past is a shady one (mostly thanks to her mother) and her future husband's best friend is intent on exposing her. This was twisty and super quick and I really enjoyed it.
4 stars

35. Lost in the Moment and Found by Seanan McGuire
This is the latest entry in McGuire's mostly excellent Wayward Children series: novellas focusing on children who have gone through doors to other worlds, but then have come back to our world (think Alice in Wonderland). McGuire is one of the few authors who I don't even read the book jacket before purchasing. The last couple entries in this series were middling for me but this was a home run. McGuire handles gaslighting and child abuse with absolute tact and grace and the world the main character finds herself in is just enchanting and creepy enough to make it worth the price of admission.
5 stars

36. The Quiet Game by Greg Iles 5 stars
37. Turning Angel by Greg Iles 4 stars
38. The Devil's Punchbowl by Greg Iles 4 stars
39. Natchez Burning by Greg Iles 4 stars
40. The Bone Tree by Greg Iles 5 stars
41. Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles 3 stars
Iles's Penn Cage series had me in an absolute chokehold for most of June. I wound up working overnight releases for the last three weekends, meaning that my workload was light and my baby was sleeping so I could go hog wild for this (mostly) excellent series. Penn Cage is a lawyer-turned-writer who returns to his hometown and gets embroiled in local murders. Or at least, that's where it starts. The first three books are really excellent murder mystery/thrillers without much connecting them. The last three are a trilogy that starts with a murder but very quickly blows up into a meditation on the Civil War, slavery, race relations in this century and during the civil rights era, white supremacy, the Mafia, the crystal meth scourge, and the JFK/MLK/RFK assassinations. Natchez Burning and The Bone Tree had me positively racing through to see what would happen next and will definitely be on my end of year favorites list. The conclusion to the trilogy was a major disappointment. By the time Bone Tree concludes, there just wasn't enough story left to justify another almost 800 page book. Additionally, Mississippi Blood has Penn's character turn into another typical late middle aged "hero" who makes stupid decision after selfish decision and falls prey to the Bond curse (really young women just keep throwing themselves at him at a rate that I found preposterous). I think if Iles had cut back some of the sprawl from Bone Tree and worked in the most important plot points from Mississippi Blood, he could have had the best duology I've read in decades, maybe ever.

19Jackie_K
Jun 13, 2023, 4:27 pm

>18 Miss_Moneypenny: Wow, that is a huge amount of things to be going through all at once! I hope you're able to stop and breathe occasionally!

20MissWatson
Jun 14, 2023, 6:16 am

>18 Miss_Moneypenny: All the best that things go smoothly for you! That's a lot going on.

21Miss_Moneypenny
Jun 28, 2023, 4:44 pm

>19 Jackie_K: >20 MissWatson: Thank you both so much! We're 16 days out from leaving and I am absolutely fried. Very much looking forward to two weeks off work so I can get us settled and recovered!

22connie53
Jul 29, 2023, 5:37 am

Hi Caity, I just read what has been going on with your family. That's a lot, but all good things and I hope the move went smoothly and you are settled down by now.

23Miss_Moneypenny
Editado: Ago 30, 2023, 1:37 pm

August (with some July catch-up!)



Thanks for the good thoughts everybody! The move was an absolute disaster but I'm trying to put it and all the stress behind me and enjoy our new house and our newly mobile baby! She took advantage of all the chaos to learn how to crawl and wow, I didn't realize how much of the world is deadly for small humans.

42. Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner
A very tightly plotted little thriller revolving around a pregnant woman and another pregnant woman she meets at a birthing class. I find myself skipping anything marketing suspense or thriller these days because the twists are either too easy to spot or so outlandish that they wreck the book for me, but this was pretty great! The narrator is unreliable and the tension is high from the beginning. Highly recommended.
4 stars

43. Inheritance Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Had I read this when I was actually a young adult, it would have absolutely dazzled me. As a 37 year old grown up though, I mostly rolled my eyes. Seventeen year olds running charity foundations and being general "captains of industry", inheriting bazillions of dollars, and a barely twenty year old shark of a lawyer? No, thank you. This same premise would have been terrific if the characters had been adults, but as it stands I think I'm done with the YA category for good.
3 stars

44. House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas
45. House of Breath and Sky by Sarah J Maas
The sisters book club continues apace! After devouring ACOTAR this spring, we naturally turned to Maas's third series and I honestly think I liked it better than ACOTAR. The main character is a little "not like the other girls" and her "all the other characters find me absolutely perfect and irresistible EVEN MY HALF BROTHER" vibe is definitely weird. But I loved this world so much that I was able to look past both of those issues. If you liked ACOTAR or From Blood and Ash, you'll like this.
5 stars

46. Helen of Troy by Margaret George
I'm an absolute sucker for Greek mythology and this was a mostly good retelling of Helen's story. It dragged for about 100 pages in the middle between Helen's flight from Sparta and the actual war, but overall it was a solid entry in the Greek myths arena.
3 stars

47. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
The current crop of "spicy" high fantasy novels are absolutely hitting my sweet spot. This one features dragons, a war college, a kind of love triangle, and a heroine with what I'm assuming is Ehlers-Danos syndrome. I mostly skip the sex scenes because they're boring and they don't advance the plot, and the plot of this one was better than most. I'm eagerly anticipating the second book's release in November.

48. The Wishing Game by Meg Schaffer
I am not an author and I can't imagine the work it must take to write a novel or the bravery it must take to let that novel into the wild, so I try really hard to not be super negative in my reviews. But man, this book was just trite and sloppy and more than a little cheesy. I honestly don't know how it got published. The only saving grace was the snippets of the fictional children's books woven in throughout the story: I would read the hell out of the Clock Island series. As it stands, this was a hard pass and I'm going to heavily vet any recommendations from this particular friend in the future.
2 stars

49. Salem's Lot by Stephen King
This was a cracking good read! I resisted reading King for a long time because I was convinced horror wasn't my genre, but it turns out I like a little bit of spooky. This was a really good vampire story with some really excellent philosophizing about small towns thrown in for good measure. Very atmospheric and I'm kind of wishing I had saved this for my October/Halloween reads.
4 stars

24MissWatson
Ago 15, 2023, 2:54 am

It must have been an awful time for you. All my best wishes that life will be much more gentle to you from here on in.

25connie53
Ago 19, 2023, 8:32 am

>24 MissWatson: I second that thought. You deserve so calm and uneventful times now.

26Miss_Moneypenny
Editado: Out 31, 2023, 11:13 am

October



Woof, here we are at Halloween. The days are rushing by and I just can't keep up! I've got September and October to catch up on this blustery, cold Halloween day.

September
50. Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski
An absolutely excellent and practical look at what causes stress and burnout and how to combat it. This year has been very hard between becoming a parent, moving, and work absolutely blowing up. Reading this book saved my sanity this summer. Very, very loved.
5 stars

51. The Five Star Weekend by Elin Hilderbrand
I read my first Hilderbrand in the immediate postpartum stage last October, trying to keep myself awake during those middle of the night feedings. So when I saw her newest book, I decided to start a tradition of reading her summer soaked beach books around my baby boo's birthday. This was fun, although not as much fun as The Hotel Nantucket.
3 stars

52. Sick Girl by Amy Silverstein
A medical memoir of a woman who had a heart transplant at 23, this was fascinating. I developed MS in my late twenties and was a very sick child, so her story of resistance to being both sick and in the hospital was absolutely alien and quite off-putting to me. She honestly didn't seem like a great person to be around, but her courage in living her post-transplant life was fascinating to read.
3 stars

53. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
54. The Lost World by Michael Crichton
These are absolute comfort food for me. 5 stars for Jurassic Park, 4 for The Lost World

55. Troublemaker by Leah Remini
My husband and I have started watching King of Queens as our before bed show since it's light and mostly funny. Leah Remini's memoir mostly deals with her experiences in Scientology and wow does it sound terrible. She (or her ghost writer I guess) gets an extra point for really letting her voice shine through: most ghost written memoirs definitely have that polished sheen to them, but this felt raw and true to Remini's voice and not like someone was editing her too heavily.
4 stars

October
56. The Invisible Hour by Alice Hoffman
I typically love Hoffman's work, but this was a major disappointment. It was too short to really sink my teeth into and a solid 50 pages were wasted on a biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne that was wildly out of place in a book dealing with women's issues. This was a miss and I wouldn't recommend it.
2 stars

57. A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw
This was a creepy, atmospheric read about missing people and a cult and I was absolutely captivated by it.
5 stars

58. The In-Between by Hadley Vahlos
Nurse Hadley, as she's known on TikTok, is a hospice nurse and this is her memoir of several patients she's taken care of at the end of their lives. This was passably good and she raises some interesting questions about death and passing over, but mostly it was forgettable.
3 stars

59. The Killing Floor by Lee Child
I watched the Jack Reacher Amazon series with my Reacher-obsessed father this year and absolutely loved it. Imagine my surprise when the book was just as good! The series stuck very close to the book, and it was an absolute treat to be inside of Reacher's head. I don't think I'll read more of the Reacher series, but this was a great way to spend time in the airport while I traveled for work.
4 stars

60. Sleep No More by Seanan McGuire
It's October, and that means it's time for another October Daye book! Toby's been imprisoned in an alternate world and I was surprisingly tense as I raced through this book. This is far and away one of my favorite series and I'm a little shocked that the shine hasn't worn off seventeen books in. McGuire is publishing a companion book to this, telling the same story from Tybalt's point of view, and while I usually hate that (I'm looking at you Twilight and From Blood and Ash) I really can't wait to read this one.
5 stars

61. Skeleton Song by Seanan McGuire
My only complaint with this gorgeous, dream-like book about the Skeleton Girl's kingdom is that it's barely 30 pages long. I thought it was going to be a full length book! My fault for not reading the description better when I bought the Kindle version. Still, gorgeous.
5 stars

62. In My Dreams I Hold A Knife by Ashley Winstead
This is a new to me author and I was absolutely blown away by this book. A group of college friends (who are more than a little codependent) are torn apart when one of them is murdered in their senior year. This is twisty, super dark, and kept me guessing until the very end. I can't believe I had never heard of this author. Be careful though because trigger warnings abound in this: murder, suicide, sexual assault, addiction, and homophobia.
5 stars

63. The Last Housewife by Ashley Winstead
I immediately had to read her next book and again was blown away. This time, three college friends are lured into a sex cult but manage to break away. Two of the three commit suicide years later and the survivor decides to investigate because she suspects foul play. I think I read this in a day, no mean feat with an active one year old. Truly, this sucked me in and wouldn't let go. It's even darker than her first book and the trigger warnings are even more numerous here. But the end had me absolutely gasping and Winstead is now on my "will read anything they put out" list.
5 stars

64. The Davinci Code by Dan Brown
I read this with the rest of the world in 2004 when it was first published and it absolutely gobsmacked me. I was raised with absolutely no religious background whatsoever and the holy grail premise of this book was like catnip to me. Nearly 20 years later, it still holds up!
4 stars

65. Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire
I've already read through the entire Incryptids series, but was needing some funny comfort reading and this hit the spot. The Aeslin mice get me every time.
5 stars

66. The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward
This book was nothing that I thought it was going to be and wow am I grateful for that because this was absolutely terrific and scary. I'm already on the waiting list for her newest book.
5 stars

67. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
68. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
69. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
My husband has never read the HP books despite loving the movies but decided to get the audiobooks (the ones read by Stephen Fry, which are an absolute DELIGHT) to listen to in the evenings as a way to curb how much TV we've been watching. There is absolutely nothing cozier than curling up on the sofa after Boo goes to bed and listening to Harry Potter while I knit and he draws. These are the golden days for sure.
5 stars each

27MissWatson
Nov 1, 2023, 3:50 am

Congrats on getting so much reading and ROOTing done!

28Miss_Moneypenny
Nov 30, 2023, 9:50 am

November



Quick drive-by catchup for November! The days are speeding up even as they get shorter and you can tell by my log below that I spent nearly the entirety of the month finishing up my Christmas gift knitting. Thankfully, the last gift was bound off yesterday, so hopefully I'll have more time to read in December.

70. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
71. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
72. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling
The Harry Potter listen-along with Mr. M continues apace! It's been absolutely delightful to spend our evenings this way and we've already decided on Shogun for our next audiobook (to get prepared for the terrific looking FX adaptation in February!)

73. The Innocent Sleep by Seanan McGuire
I typically love everything McGuire puts out, but this was my first true disappointment. The Innocent Sleep is a rehash of the events of Sleep No More but from another character's perspective. This would have been an absolutely stellar novella (she typically includes a novella at the end of each October Daye book that expands on the plot or the overall story) but this was a massive, massive waste of time.
2 stars

Only 2 more books left to hit my ROOT goal for the year! I'm definitely going to put my ROOT goal for 2024 lower than 75 books as I wound up feeling guilty when I fell behind on reading in favor of my new knitting hobby. No guilt allowed next year!