Tag Archives: Before the Fall

Challenge Update, January 2019

4 Feb

The year has started off great! Or at least as great as it could have. I’ve read some great books so far this year and I hope it’s a harbinger of the year to come. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in January:

Furiously Happy // Jenny Lawson (4)
Bird by Bird // Anne Lamott (3)
Before the Fall // Noah Hawley (4)
Where’d You Go, Bernadette // Maria Semple (5)

A lot of audio here, which says a bit about my book-time versus my bike-time. Time inside in the winter is time with audio in my world. I think it’s start to show. And I think it’s bound to continue for a while.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

2/12
Starting off strong! I know it’s almost by default, since any book I read first will fill at least one time period. I’ve got two more lined up and ready to go so I’m doing much better than I thought I would this early on. Hopefully I make this with a bit more of a margin than I did last year.

Goodreads Challenge

4/52
After missing last year’s goal of 55 and ending with 51, I’m re-grouping this year and I’ve decided on 52, averaging one per week. I think this is very doable, especially with no school, but it also means less driving and fewer audiobooks. I’m on pace now; I’m just hoping I can stay there.

Book of the Month

I had a lot of good books this month so this is a hard decision. I think I’ll have to pick Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. Enjoying this book with my husband and my book club was a great experience and I enjoyed the story a lot. It may not be my highest rating, but it brought me the most joy in January.

Added to my TBR

None! I’m down to 85 and feeling great about it. I know I’ve got a season of book club reads to add soon, but for now I’ll do a happy dance and celebrate getting that TBR under control.

Personal Challenge

I’m gearing up again to track personal goals here. I love connecting with some of you over non-book related things. I posted about my goals last week but in case you missed it, here’s a summary and status.

  • Finish 70.3 Half Ironman: Today is the first day of my training plan! We’ll see how it’s going in a few weeks.
  • Attend six weddings: No update yet, which means no conflicts yet.
  • Finish a weather blanket: Still buying yarn, so not a lot of progress here. I’m hoping to start soon and I know I’ll catch up quickly.
  • Write: Still picking my day. I let myself take January off like I would have if school were still in session. February is time to buckle down and get started!
  • See my friends more: My husband has a very busy social life which is letting me pick more time to spend with my friends while he’s away. I had a great weekend last week where I saw three different friends and it was wonderful. I’ll try to keep it up going forward.

How are your challenges going so far? I hope you’re off to a good start If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for 2019, it’s fun!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 23-January-2019

23 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m at about 1/3 of the way done with The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan. I’m starting to enjoy it a bit more, but this one overall isn’t on a topic I’m enjoying much. That’s what I get for not reading blurbs and blindly buying books by authors I’ve heard positive reviews of or have read one book by. Oh well.
I’m surprised how much of Origin by Dan Brown I’ve been able to read through. My lunch breaks are becoming very productive! Maybe this won’t take me the five months I originally predicted. I’m still less than a third through it, but that’s much faster than I would have predicted.
I’m going to have to stick with YA books for my Spanish annual read because it’s going really well with Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I’m following the plot and I’m already over 100 pages in and I can’t wait to read some more tonight! I might actually finish this one in a reasonable amount of time. Shock!
I’m trying to power through Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple so I can start a book club pick. It’s easy with a book that’s so enjoyable. I like the diary/email/letter format this one follows and it keeps me pressing forward to learn what happens next.

Recently finished: Nothing new finished but I got some book reviews written so I can catch up! Last week I reviewed Before the Fall by Noah Hawley in anticipating of my book club meeting. I really enjoyed this book and my book club loved it, too. Four out of Five Stars.
I also got the review written for my first book of the year, Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. This was a great laugh and I really comforting read. Lawson’s humor and resilience are amazing. Four out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: Both of my book clubs are reading Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani in anticipation of her visiting the area. I found an eaudiobook copy so I’ll start this as soon as I finish Bernadette. It looks like it will help me knock out another time period to be sure.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Club Reflection: Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

21 Jan

We had our biggest group ever for our discussion on Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. We had to be moved to a bigger room to accommodate all of us. I missed taking notes for the first part of our meeting because I was eating an amazing crab cake BLT (yummmmm) so I apologize if I missed anything and I hope any fellow readers from the meeting can add what I may have missed.

We noticed that Gil was the only character whose body wasn’t recovered or found from the crash. If he has ‘gills’ like a fish, did he maybe escape? He had the skill set to do it and be stealthily hidden away! He was very perceptive and seemed to be the only one who was suspicious of the fight between Charlie and Emma. He was a very thorough person. We had a debate if he’d been able to find out about Charlie if he’d known the personnel for the flight. He knew about the co-pilot that was booted. If he’d stopped or even delayed the flight, would he have dug up anything about Charlie? Personally, I doubt it. The FBI had weeks to look into Charlie after the crash and didn’t turn up anything suspicious. What would he have found in five minutes about Charlie?

Scott’s character is very central to the plot. His relationship or lack thereof, with Maggie becomes the first mini-mystery. Why would she invite him on the plane? We felt that Scott could tell that Maggie was more grounded than the people she was surrounded by. He knew that she understood him and his working-class life even though she lived in the big house. Some readers felt that the Jack LaLane plot line was a bit too much. If Scott was inspired by him to swim, then what motivation did he get from his sister’s death? Couldn’t the death of his sister be enough to encourage him to swim and join the team? I’ll give my personal opinion here again. I’m a swimmer. I can see being motivated to fitness by LaLane. I can’t see being motivated to swimming for fitness by the drowning of another. I can see that as an encouragement to learn to swim for survival. Survival swimming would not take you eight miles in open water. That requires a level of fitness that LaLane inspired in Scott. I think both were necessary.

The book itself was both a mystery and a thriller. We felt it was a bit more of a mystery, though. The ending was abrupt and came just after the mystery of who crashed the plane was solved. A lot of plot lines were left unfinished. Was Bill arrested? Did Eleanor and Scott have a romantic relationship? The abrupt ending was much like a tragic accident. It happens without warning and changes things. One reader felt that sudden, drastic life changes were the major recurring theme of this book. Ending the story like one was keeping in line with this theme. The ending also started rearranging events. Many readers (including me) were confused about the timeline of Scott hearing about the black box recordings. At first, I thought Scott remembered what had happened. The more I thought about it, I realized that Gus had told him, that the reader had gotten the story out-of-order.

The criticisms of the conservative news were very thinly veiled. I jokingly called Bill Cunningham Bill O’Reilly and for the rest of the meeting, people would mix them up and refer to the character as O’Reilly. We were all disgusted that Bill would parlay the death of his ‘friend’ into a way to keep himself on the air. He was supposed to be taken off the network but with David’s death, he became a personal touchstone and was able to prolong facing consequences for wiretapping. We were all surprised that Scott would agree to speak to such a man, especially on television. We reasoned that he did it for JJ. Scott felt that he needed to clear the air about himself and Maggie so that JJ wouldn’t grow up with the idea that his mother had ever been unfaithful or that Scott was in some way involved with the crash. He wanted JJ to grow up in a world where people didn’t whisper behind his back.

The sudden, dramatic change of circumstances of the characters developed as the plot went on. On top of the crash, we saw Kipling face pending charges that would make him lose his business, Maggie marrying a billionaire, and Scott’s sister’s death. Scott’s paintings continued this trend, covering sudden, irrevocable changes and loss. It was his way of processing the sudden death of his sister. The last painting in the series said ‘We are sorry for your loss.” This is what we say when we don’t know what to say. It’s what we say when we are not affected and can’t understand the sudden change someone else has gone through.

It was a great discussion this month. I apologize for anything I missed because my food was so delicious. It was worth it.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (4/5)

17 Jan

I saved this book until the last minute to read for my book club, which isn’t like me. It made a good listen while my husband and I drove to Cincinnati for Christmas but I delayed finishing it until I realized how soon my club meeting was. Thankfully, I had some long runs and housework to do so I could listen to a large chunk of it in a week.

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Summary from Goodreads:

On a foggy summer night, 11 people – 10 privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter – depart Martha’s Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later the unthinkable happens: The plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs – the painter – and a four-year-old boy who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members – including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot – the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers’ intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.

Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.

As I like to do, I knew nothing about this book going into it. I didn’t even know it was about a plane crash. That made the whole thing even more exciting because I wasn’t ready for the aftermath of the fall or even who would live. I enjoyed Scott’s story and Hawley’s commentary on modern media. Scott was very much the ‘every man’ and I thought a painter was a good choice for that. Artists see the world through a different lens and Scott’s was very interesting. The commentary on modern media, especially larger-than-life media figures, was almost too heavy-handed for me. Bill Cunningham seemed like a very obvious Bill O’Riley character (I mean, the name, come on!) and as much as I agree that biased news is terrible, I didn’t think it was needed in this story. Though, that’s the only thing I’d take out. The rest of this book was well done and really enjoyable.

Scott was a very believable person and I liked him in this story. He had his demons, he messed up from time to time, but he was trying. He wanted to do the right thing and he spent a lot of time finding out what that was. One of the faults of the novel was pointed out to me by my husband. The rest of the characters were very polarizing. You liked Maggie,  you hated Ben. David was a bit in between, but he was mostly likable. I thought that was a bit unbelievable, that people aren’t so easily sorted into ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ I wish there had been a few more people that were hard to put your finger on.

Scott was my favorite character and that’s probably because he was so dynamic. You liked him for one thing he did despite the flaws he had throughout his life. While one action doesn’t make a person good, it can make him a hero. I liked exploring what this meant with Scott and how his demons haunted him even when he’d done something so incredible.

My husband laughed at me because I was comically involved in the early descriptions of Scott and swimming. Maybe that’s why I liked him so much. I related to the laps and the peace he felt in the water. I understood how he could swim as far as he did. I understood why he had trained himself to do that. I loved how he dove under the wave and I knew how he’d surface again. It was a great way for a water-lover like me to be introduced to a character and be thrown into a plot.

Noah Hawley
Image via Twitter

I enjoyed Emma’s flashback the best. She’s closest in age to me out of any of the characters and I thought her story said a lot about her character. She liked to have fun and party, but she was practical and smart. She had a degree in Finance, she was just enjoying life while she was young. The way she reacted to Charlie played well with her character and I liked how she described her feelings. I could see something like that happening to a friend of mine.

I thought the Ben Kipling plotline was a bit too much. It fizzled out very fast. Now, that may have been a part of the message on the media, that the dead are old news and while Kipling likely would have had more of a reason to crash the plane or been the reason for it, the media was going to focus on Scott because he’s still alive. I felt it could have been left out. Kipling could have been a ‘bad guy’ for another reason, or maybe he could have been a fine person but with a really aggressive macho-man personality. I would have still disliked him.

The audiobook was narrated by Robert Petkoff. I liked his narration well enough. I didn’t like the voice he used for women very much, it sounded very condescending. I know he didn’t mean it that way, but it came off as flippant and a bit aloof. I would listen to another book narrated by Petkoff but I’d prefer it be a book with primarily male narrators.

The media commentary was hard to ignore. David and Bill purposefully spun the news to be in their favor time and time again. People who had the same ideas as they did were heroes and patriots. Those who didn’t were suspected terrorists or ‘in it for the money.’ The arrogance he projected was unnerving and it made me honestly uncomfortable. It’s the same discomfort I feel watching news segments so I felt that was well written. I’ve taken to reading my news because I feel I’m less enraged by the opinions involved. Again, I thought Hawley addressed this well but I wasn’t sure it had its place in this story.

Writer’s Takeaway: The back-and-forth timelines of the book was really enjoyable. I was only tripped up a bit at the end when I couldn’t figure out the series of events when Gus figured out what happened and Scott was being interviewed. The rest of the time, I felt it was well done and very clear. It helped build tension and made the ending very eventful and exciting.

This was a really enjoyable book and it did make me take a closer look at the media I consume and how it affects me. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Before the Fall, by Noah Hawley | Taking the Short View
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley | Tonstant Weader Reviews
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley | FalmouthBookBaristas
Book Review: Before the Fall by Noah Hawley | Karissa Reads Books
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley | Book Addiction

WWW Wednesday, 16-January-2019

16 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: It’s a little depressing to think about how long The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan will be on this list. I’m going through it very slowly in my car. I’m about 20% done at this point and it’s already been on my list the longest. Get settled in, folks!
I’m enjoying Origin by Dan Brown and I’ve made lunch reading time so I can keep working my way through it. I’m about 20% done, which is fast for me with an ebook! It helps that I’ve had a lot of time alone at home to work on it, too. I’m trying to keep the TV off when I’m home alone and I’ll read a few pages on my phone instead.
I feel like I’ve forgotten Spanish completely when I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. There are a lot of slang words I don’t know and I’m having to look them up. When I find how colloquial they are, I usually feel a bit better about not knowing them, but I still feel like I need a refresher course.
I’ve only just started Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. I’m sure I’ll get some more of this under my belt soon but it’s too early to make a call on it.

Recently finished: I was able to wrap up Before the Fall by Noah Hawley on Saturday, just in time for my Monday book club! I liked this one a lot and my husband and I had some good discussion on it. I wrote my book review, which will be up tomorrow, before my book club met in order to keep my opinions separate from theirs. I gave the book Four out of Five Stars.

I managed to get two book reviews up already this week. The first was People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. I liked this one a lot (ignoring the last few paragraphs) and I hope my review explains my rating. I gave the book Three out of Five Stars even though I enjoyed it so much. Read the review to see why!
I also reviewed Henry VIII by William Shakespeare. This was the last book I needed for the 2018 When Are You Reading? Challenge and I finished it just in time! Unfortunately, the review is quite delayed. I also gave this one Three out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: Book club on Monday means I got a new book to read. This time it’s Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani. Trigiani will be coming to my area to speak early this year so our club is reading this in anticipation. Look for several more posts about it as the year goes on!


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 9-January-2019

9 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m moving steadily through The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan and I’m on the third disc now. That doesn’t feel that great when I look at how long this book is, though! I hope I can renew this one a few times.
My husband and I have split our listening to Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. He’s on his own now and I’m heading through by myself as well. I’m still enjoying it and I’m curious what kind of conclusions will come from this book.
I started a new ebook, Origin by Dan Brown. I’ve read and moderately enjoyed the other Langdon books in this series so I’m excited to see what else he can discover and defeat. I expect I’m in this for the long haul.
I’ve only just started Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, my Spanish read for the year. No word yet on how I feel about it, I’m less than a chapter in!

Recently finished: I’m sad to have finished Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson because I enjoyed it so much. This book made household chores and working out so much better. Lawson talks about mental illness in a very real way but also with humor and love. I love her books and I hope there are more to come.
I finished Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott Sunday night. I would have finished it sooner if I hadn’t been sick and too tired to read. I wish I could have squeezed it into last year, but it’s still a solid book finished.

I wrote reviews, too! Well, one, which I’m considering a major win since I’m rather far behind. I posted a review of Sara Donati’s The Gilded Hour. I didn’t like it in the ending as much as I did at the beginning. I’m having mixed feelings about it now because I’ve heard this is the first in a series, not a stand-alone book. That changes how I felt about a lot of things being left unfinished. I’m going to stick with my original rating, though, of Three out of Five stars.

Reading Next: I know I’m a bit late on this one, but I’m going to listen to Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple next. This one had such hype a few years ago and I’d like to read it before it becomes the movie it’s likely to be. Unless that’s already announced. Then it’s very likely to happen.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 2-January-2019

2 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’ve been moving slowly through Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott because of the holidays. With no work, my days are much less structured and I’m not getting anything done. Oh well. This has wonderfully short chapters that make it far too easy to put down and take a nap.
Without work, I’m not driving much so The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan has been slow to start. I’m still on the first disk and I know I’ll get into it soon but I’m enjoying the exposition and not rushing it for now.
Bad weather means more indoor workouts and that’s helping me move through Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson quickly. I’m also getting an added ab workout by listening to this while doing other things. It’s kind of wonderful.
My husband and I started Before the Fall by Noah Hawley on the 26th and we made some pretty good progress driving to and from Christmas. I don’t know how much more of it we’ll listen to together before we go our separate ways, but we’re enjoying it for now.

Recently finished: I pushed through and finished Henry VIII by William Shakespeare so I could wrap up my 2018 When Are You Reading? Challenge. I’m so glad I’m done! I’m also glad I rearranged the time periods so I don’t have to squeeze in a late Shakespeare in December to finish it again. It was interesting to get yet another take on the Henry VIII/Katherine of Aragon/Anne Boleyn time. I read a lot about that period already.

No reviews this week though I owe you a few. I’ll work on them and get them out to you next week, promise!

Reading Next: I’ll start my annual Spanish read as soon as I finish Lamott. It’s going to be Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I bought a Spanish copy last summer when I visited Powell’s and I’m so excited to finally read it!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 26-December-2018

26 Dec

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m out of lunch breaks for the year and I really have to finish Henry VIII by William Shakespeare! This is my last book for the When Are You Reading? Challenge 2018. If this isn’t finished before the end of the year, I’m going to be very mad at myself.
I’m enjoying Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott but the holidays have kept me busy and away from it more than I’d like. I’m sure I’ll get it wrapped up, it may just be in January.
I started two new audiobooks! I finished my physical audiobook in my car and decided to start on another whopper, The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan. It’s a whopping 21 disks long (though I swear the book doesn’t look that long!) so I’ll be on this one for quite a while.
I started a new eaudiobook as well, Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. I read Lawson’s first book for a book club a few years ago and loved it. My brother gave me a signed copy of this book for Christmas a few years ago and I’m finally listening to it because I’m paranoid about a signed book being damaged.

Recently finished: I was able to finish up The Gilded Hour by Sara Donati while baking Christmas cookies, which was a wonderful way to finish a book. I was really disappointed in the ending despite great writing and good characters. I debated my rating for a while but ultimately ended on Three out of Five Stars. I’ll be reviewing more books in the new year.
I wrapped up People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks over the weekend as well. I liked the ending of this one more, but there was one flaw in the main character that really peeved me right at the end. Another Three out of Five Stars rating.

Reading Next: I’ll start Before the Fall by Noah Hawley later today as my husband and I head to Ohio for family Christmas. I’m getting excited!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 19-December-2018

19 Dec

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I have been utilizing my baking time to listen to The Gilded Hour by Sara Donati. I felt like I was absorbing the story well, but there’s a new character and I can’t remember where she came from. Maybe I’m not as great at audiobooks as I thought.
I’m still making progress with People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks though it has slowed down. I think I’ll finish by the end of the year. I think.
There have been a lot of lunches where I don’t read Henry VIII by William Shakespeare which has slowed me down a bit. I’m determined to finish this one so I can wrap up my reading challenge, so I’m still confident I’ll finish it!
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott has been enjoyable so far. She’s very funny and I like her simple writing advice. It makes me feel like I can still be a writer!

Recently finished: Nothing this week. I’m feeling good about next week, though! I think I’ll have a fair number to put here, at least one with a goal of up to three!

I was able to post my review of Brainiac by Ken Jennings on Thursday. It was a really fun read, great for vacation. I gave it Four out of Five stars.

Reading Next: I found a copy of Before the Fall by Noah Hawley and convinced him it will be an awesome one to listen to in the car. Honestly, it didn’t take a lot of convincing, he’s pretty relaxed and trusts my book recommendations. Smart man.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 12-December-2018

12 Dec

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m a bit slower with The Gilded Hour by Sara Donati now that I can’t run outside. I’m avoiding the ‘dreadmill’ as much as possible. I got a few hours in while running on vacation, though!
Being out-of-town didn’t help me make progress with People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. I’m optimistic about finishing it now that I’m over halfway through. I’ll have to run some errands, I guess!
I made it to Act 2 of Henry VIII by William Shakespeare. I think I’m finally catching on to the plot. It helps a lot to know the time period well! I’ve read too many books, seen too many movies, and watched too many shoes about Henry VIII to be completely clueless!
I just started reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. This was one a writer-group friend brought up constantly and I figured I had it read it. It may have taken me five years, but I’m getting to it!

Recently finished: I utilized my vacation time well and got through a whole book! It was perfect because I finished Brainiac by Ken Jennings while waiting for our ride to pick us up at the airport once we landed in Detroit. I celebrated by starting the Netflix episodes of Jeopardy! that are available. I think Ken will be in the Decade Tournament that’s available. My review will be up tomorrow.

I got a few reviews posted as well. Monday I was able to post about Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. I gave it Four out of Five Stars because I liked the adventure and I appreciate all the pirate references that were taken from this classic tale.
I also reviewed The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl on Tuesday. Honestly, this isn’t one I enjoyed so much. I gave it only Two out of Five Stars and even then I was thinking I might lower the rating.

Reading Next: I’m taking my husband into listening to Before the Fall by Noah Hawley with me when we make our annual Christmas drive to Southern Ohio. To those who have read it, is this one we could both enjoy on a long car ride?


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!