Monday, July 27, 2015

How We Spent Our Summer (For Most Of Us) Vacation

Wench Amanda's awesome book covers puzzle
Welcome back, Saucy Readers! For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, we took a nice long summer vacation from blogging, while Angela took a winter break. Either way, we've had time to read, catch up on our favorite TV shows, and maybe even pay a little attention to our families. I, for one, got a LOT of reading done, flying through books faster than I have in quite some time. It felt great, so thank you for giving us time off to breathe and relax.

Now we're back and ready to tell you all about what we've been doing, since we haven't been blogging. Click through to see what entertainments have delighted us in our time off.




Barb: As I said, I've read a lot so far this summer. I'm kind of excited about how much I've read, and how much of it is different from what I've been reading the past few years. It all started with Ugly Love, which knocked me on my ass. (Review here) That remains the best book I've read this summer, the standard by which I'm measuring all other books right now. I loved that Colleen Hoover book so much that I also read her Confess and Maybe Someday. Both were very good, both were New Adult books, which are much sweeter than I'm used to. Since I read some NA I decided to check another NA book off by TBR and read Beautiful Oblivion by Jamie McGuire. I liked that couple so much that I haven't been able to make myself read any of the other related couples she's written about. I'm so weird in my reading tastes. After Ugly Love ripped me open and put me back together, I finally felt ready to tacke Me Before You that Olga insists everyone needs to read. That fucking book snuck up on me. I was fine through most of it, pretty certain and prepared for where it was going, which is where it ended up. Then my brain processed the climactic scene at the end and it took me right back to the night I lost my dad, many years ago, and I cried like I haven't in a really long time. Needless to say, I won't be reading that again, much like I won't ever watch The Bridges of Madison County again. Both are amazing, but my heart can't take it. 

I saw the trailer for the upcoming movie adaptation of The Martian with Matt Damon, recalled that Anne loved the book, so picked it up. Loved it! I'm not usually much for sci-fi, but this was...IDK, something different. Something amazing. Look for Anne's review soon. Since I loved Gone Girl, I read Gillian Flynn's Dark Places, and THAT BOOK. Wow, that book gave me awful dreams, which so rarely happens. Fantastic book, but I couldn't read it right before bedtime. In the memoirs genre I read Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison (surprisingly good because of the juicy gossip. Don't judge me.) and Fat Girl Walking by Brittany Gibbons (read this book. If you are a human being who loves any female human beings read this book. She captures what it's like to be a woman, plus-size or not, in a way I've rarely seen). In the romance department I read On Dublin Street, Until Fountain Bridge, and Hero by Samantha Young (she is my new favorite romance author, since all of those were fabulous, and I cannot wait to read more of her stuff), Captivated by You by Sylvia Day (meh) and Rock Hard by Nalini Singh (best of the Rock Kiss series so far. Look for a review soon.). Whew! I told you, I did a lot of reading this summer. I also binge-watched the third season of Orange Is the New Black, and promptly started over at the beginning, because I wasn't ready to be done. Look for my Fangirl Friday on that show this week. I've also been listening to audiobooks during my commute. This summer I've listened to Shadowfever and Burned and am currently listening to Yes, Please by Amy Poehler.

Anne: Hello Readers! I've gotten through quite a bit of reading over our summer break. I re-read The Martian for my upcoming review. I finished up the first Outlander book, which I very much enjoyed. My husband and I listened to the audio books of Gillian Flynn's other books, Dark Places and Sharp Objects. I enjoyed them both, but I loved Dark Places. You can definitely see a progression in Ms. Flynn's style from Sharp Objects to Gone Girl. I started on the Dragonfly in Amber audiobook. I'm just a bit under a quarter of the way through it, I would guess. I also read a ridiculous amount of Supernatural fanfiction. I am slowly working my way through a very long piece that is a re-write of one of the seasons. It's very good. But, very long. But, I'm about to take a break from that and read a book that Head Wench Barb insisted I read called Fat Girl Walking. How were your summers so far, readers?

Angela: I wish I could say it was summer vacation here, but it's winter and it's been cold and rainy. However it's perfect for snuggling down in a cosy house reading. We've been in the midst of selling our house and I've found the perfect thing to take my mind from that is to read contemporary romances. Not too much brain power required and pretty quick to read. I've been binging on Jill Shalvis and Susan Mallery. Perfect for some light reading. I have developed an addiction to Shalvis though. There is only around 40 books to read and I'll have read all her work. That's doable isn't it?

Kathi: Life has been complicated and difficult the last couple of months, and I thought I’d need something light and fluffy to escape, but as it turned out I needed books that were complex enough to engage me completely but not too difficult to puzzle through. There were a couple of short, thoughtful books for a reading challenge: The Book of Barkley (Wench Merit found this for me because I have a dog named Barkley) and The Alchemist. I devoured Dark Places, perhaps because all the batshit craziness made my own family situations seem much less daunting by comparison. (I’m saving my remaining unread Gillian Flynn book for a family vacation…) Then Bring Up the Bodies, which was one of the very best books I’ve read this year. This is the sequel to Wolf Hall, which I found terribly difficult to follow because of an ambiguity within the narrator’s voice. With that problem resolved, I thought this telling of Henry VIII’s story with Anne Boleyn through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell was absolutely brilliant. (So was the BBC television adaptation!) I recommend that fans of this historical period or anyone who loves books that are works of art should read this one, even if you couldn’t finish Wolf Hall. And last but not least, I finally picked up A Storm of Swords and am back in Westeros!

Merit: It is a hot summer here, but no vacation for me. It's the busiest time of the year at work, my shifts are endless... Still, I find some free time to read. I read the next two books of Throne of Glass series by Sara J. Maas. Crown of Midnight (book 2) and Heir of Fire (book 3). I also read The Assassin's Blade, the action-packed five novellas of this series. Celaena Sardothien, our heroine, captured my imagination and I'm waiting anxiously for book #4, Queen of Shadows, coming this September. I read Boundary Crossed (Boundary Magic #1) by Melissa F. Olson. A fun paranormal novel with vampires, witches and a kidnapping story. Good summer entertainment.
The last one I read is Amanda Quick book,Garden of Lies. (Wench Zee wrote about this one). A typical Amanda Quick romantic suspense. Sometime it's good to go back to familiar grounds, you know what to expect and AQ delivers it. Another fun summer escape. I'm reading now another fun PNR series: London Steampunk by Bec McMaster. I've read the first 3 books, Kiss of Steel, Heart of Iron and My Lady Quicksilver. Great entertainment, funny and sexy stories set in an alternate Victorian London. Just starting book 4. Enjoying every minute.

Donna: I can't believe how fast this summer is whizzing by! My sister got married in mid-June, and my whole family came to town for the festivities. It was great to have everyone all together, especially since my parents are really "getting up there." June was also a bit of a traumatic time for me, since I hit the big 5-0. Honestly, my trepidation in turning 50 was much worse than the actual fact. I can't believe how much time I spent bothering about it. I can say with confidence that it's no big deal! My sister and I have a trip to Newfoundland planned for the beginning of August. It'll be great to see all the sites from our childhood. Memories...... On the reading front, I read an ARC of The Veil, Chloe Neill's newest novel. I'm sure someone (probably Barb) will be doing a post on it in the near future. (Yep! Wednesday! And blog tour stop next Tuesday!)  It looks like the start of a great new series! I've also discovered the joy of adult coloring books. I recently treated myself to Color Me Happy by Lacy Mucklow and Angela Porter - and a new box of pencil crayons! I think I'll be bringing it along on the airplane. All the other passengers will be so jealous!

Zee: So this hasn't been a very productive past couple of months. But I finally got around to Lisa Kleypas.. and I mean finally. I think Inga (a Wench friend all the way in Iceland) first told me to read Kleypas wayyyy back in 2010 when we first started talking books. So I started with her The Gambler's series, and I have been a complete goner. I LOVE HER. SO MUCH. I think she may have actually beaten Amanda Quick on my list of period romances. I ADORED The Hathaways series (I cannot explain how much), LOVED The Wallflowers, and am now on the Bow Street Runners series. I love her characters. The alpha males are never violently angry, rage filled, egotistical douchebags who act first and ask questions later. No marital night rape! (A lot of period romances have that... Ugh) just a lot of awesomeness. 

I also read a few of her one shot novels. Suddenly You is one of the most fun things I've read in a while. I also picked up Samantha Young's On Dublin Street series on a whim, and was not disappointed. Can I just say, book 3, Before Jamaica Lane is... just... wow. I can barely put in words how much I loved it. Samantha Young is now one of my new faves. I also got a Netgalley of Alisha Rai's Glutton For Pleasure, which was alright; the brothers factor turned me off a bit, but something made me pick up the second one, which was INTENSE. And amazing. I loved it. I then read her A Gentleman In The Street, which I also enjoyed a lot. Definitely will be reading more of her stuff. 

Other stuff I read: Samatha Towle's Mighty Storm, which was okay. River Savage's Incandescent, HAWT, but okay. Currently reading Sierra Simone's Priest, which is hardcore smut, that I am enjoying. And started Chloe Neill's The Veil AT LAST. But it's slow progress because I am still firmly in smutville and can't seem to move on!

Care: This fantastic Wench-cation was full of everything but reading. Gall bladder surgery, a trip to visit family, *fireworks!!* Two trips to the dentist, a new tablet - which broke, and now ANOTHER new tablet - baseball-baseball-baseball.... I've been running in circles! I'm so glad things are starting to get back to normal - I've missed our Book Club!!

Vale: Well, the weather has been unbearable here, overwhelming heat has me constantly swimming so my reading time is suffering. I've chosen to reread my fave, Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews and I've taken my friend's suggestion and got a book called Shifting Magic by Lynn Leite. I haven't started it yet, though. It's about shifters, and it's a novella. I know it's a part of a series, so hopefully, if it's good, l'll read the others.

Amanda: I've been enjoying my summer so far, but there hasn't been much reading going on. My girls dance competitively, so we were in Virginia Beach for a week for Nationals Competition. Baseball ended in June for my boys. Now, football for my 8 year old has started back up this week, which I'm really excited about! Dance never ended, just took a two week break. LOL

As far as reading goes, I am reading the fabulous Outlander by Diana Gibaldon. I really like it a lot! Jamie and Claire melt me...mostly Jamie, haha. I'm also proud of a 1000 piece puzzle I completed called "Vintage Best Sellers". I glued it and will frame it. I'm happy to be back from our Wench-cation! Happy reading, Saucy Readers!

Now it's your turn, Saucy Reader! What have you been doing while we've been away? Share your adventures below, and be sure and tell us what you've been reading. 

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