Tag Archives: Dead Wake

WWW Wednesday, 10-February-2016

10 Feb

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading 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!

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The Three Ws are:

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


ClashofKingsCurrently reading: It feels like I’m making good progress with Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling but I’m not even 100 pages in yet. It’s a chunk of a book and I wish I could report more progress with it. It will come in time, I’m sure. Let’s see how much I can get through before I have to pick up my next book club selection.
Only a few lunches reading Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and I’m over 30% of the way through it. This is flying by! It will probably be the next book I finish because of how long these other selections are.
Speaking of long, I started the audiobook of A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. This will be on here a while because it’s almost 40 hours of audio! It’s the only one I’m listening to so I hope it will move quickly between car rides and listening around the house. Fingers crossed!

BellwetherRecently finished: I finished Bellwether by Connie Willis which I really enjoyed. My review will be coming up after my vacation so you’ll have to wait for a little to read it but be assured it’s positive. It’s science fiction, but only in the sense that it’s fiction writing about science. It’s rather modern in my opinion.

So many reviews! I posted about A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab last week. I gave it 4 stars and really liked it. I can’t wait for the sequel.
I also reviewed Carry On by Rainbow Rowell earlier this week. I adored the book and read it super fast. A full 5 stars.
Finally, I posted about Dead Wake by Erik Larson yesterday. He writes a great historical narrative and if you’re interested in that at all, you should check out his work.

ShanghaiReading Next: I’ll pick up Shanghai Girls by Lisa See on Sunday. I hope it’s good, but not so good I finish it before my vacation’s over. See is coming to my area this year and I’m really excited to meet her.


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!

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Book Review: Dead Wake by Erik Larson (4/5)

9 Feb

My love for the Titanic and my adoration for Erik Larson almost overlapped. To his credit, the Titanic is a bit overdone and the Lusitania is a more unexplored ship with much more political sway. It was a great pick for Larson and another winner by him for sure.

DeadWakeDead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

Other books by Erik Lason reviewed on this blog:

The Devil and the White City

Summary from Goodreads:

On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love.

I knew the sinking of the Lusitania was a big reason the US got pulled into WWI, but I didn’t know much else about it. I wasn’t aware of the loss of life or that it was sunk by a U-Boat. The biggest shock to me was the time delay between the boat’s sinking and the US entering the war. As always, Larson did a great job of seeing the event from every angle. We had the British, German, American, passenger, crew, and politician sides of the story. He used as many first-person accounts as possible and helped us care about individuals on board who were saved and lost. Larson really is a master storyteller.

I liked hearing about Wilson best. I didn’t know much about Wilson except his starting the League of Nations. It was easy to like him as a person the way Larson described his courtship. It was all very relevant to know about the loss of his wife and his personal struggles which might have delayed US entry into WWI. He was feeling reluctant to cause anyone else the loss he was enduring and didn’t want to start a war. I wouldn’t have understood the delay if I didn’t have the whole story around Wilson.

It was hard to understand the anxiety the passengers must have been feeling. They had reason to suspect a torpedo attack but at the same time reason to suspect Germany wouldn’t dare. With no other means of transportation, what were they to do? The trip had to be made. Sinking passenger vessels wasn’t normal so it could be ignored. I have really bad anxiety and I can’t imagine myself on that ship. I would have been hyperventilating and wearing my life vest everywhere on board. I assume it has to be like flying after 9/11. It should be safe, you know that, but still…

Larson narrated the sinking very well. It took less than twenty minutes and he helped me understand the panic packed into that time and the fear the passengers experienced. There was so much going on at once. The Titanic took two hours to sink and the Lusitania went down in twenty minutes. That’s amazing and terrifying. The deaths due to incompetence were the saddest to read about to me. Crushes and capsizes were not the way these people thought they would go and it was wrenching to read.

There wasn’t a part of this book I didn’t enjoy. Larson is a really great writer who makes history come alive. I wish he wrote textbooks. Whoever says that history is boring has not read a good history. I highly recommend this book.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Scott Brick. I thought Brick did a good job. He maintained the ominous tone of the book when necessary, especially when talking about the happenings on U-20. I was never distracted by his words and he didn’t pronounce foreign words in such a weird way that it bugged me like some narrators do. He has a good voice for narrative non-fiction but I can’t say how he would be for a fiction work with more speakers.

Writer’s Takeaway: I think narrative non-fiction would be incredibly difficult to write and Larson does a beautiful job. He gives the people feelings and individuality like a real person would have. We hear about specific politicians and passengers and the reader grows to care about each one, hoping they survive the catastrophe. It was great to connect so well with the people in a book because much of history is very dry because the people in it seem so far removed.

A great narrative non-fiction book and recommended for fellow Titanic fans as well. Four out of Five stars.

This book fulfills the 1900-1919 time period for my When Are You Reading? Challenge.

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:
Review: Dead Wake by Erik Larson | Ranty Runt of a Reader
BOOK: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson (2015) | Senceless Pie
Dead Wake by Erik Larson | Maurice on Books

WWW Wednesday, 3-February-2016

3 Feb

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading 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!

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The Three Ws are:

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


PrincipeCurrently reading:  I’m really enjoying Bellwether by Connie Willis. The narrator is sarcastic and cynical but also very smart and determined. She studies fads and is always analyzing things around her to see what’s in style. It’s really fun.
I’m still at the very beginning of Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling. I can’t remember if I’ve read this once or twice before, but there’s always things you forget about a book between the times you read it and I love re-discovering those things. This will be fun.
I haven’t had a lot of time to read Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I can tell it’s going quickly, though. I think I’m already 8% into it and I feel like I’ve read three pages! I hope it goes by quickly.

DeadWakeRecently finished: As predicted, I finished Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. I actually finished it on Wednesday after I’d posted here. It was really great and I think I’ll have the review for it up as early as next week! I’m a bit short on material at the moment so reviews are going up quickly.

I’ve had one book reviews posted this week. It was One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The book club reflection should follow next week but be warned, I was not a big fan of this book. I gave it Two out of Five stars.

ShanghaiReading Next: Because of Spirit Airlines size/weight restrictions, I’m going to stop reading Potter when I go to Florida and start Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. It’s a nice, small paperback which will be good for the plane. If it doesn’t last me the week, I’m sure I can find another book to pick up in Orlando.


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, 27-January-2016

27 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading 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!

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The Three Ws are:

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


BellwetherCurrently reading:  A lot of changes this week! I’m super close to the ending of Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. I’m on the last disk and I’m tempted to sit in my car for a while just to finish it!
I grabbed a new audiobook this week, Bellwether by Connie Willis. I read Willis’s novel The Doomsday Book a while back and another blogger (and I, unfortunately, do not remember who) recommended this novella. It’s a short one, only five hours on audio, and I’m looking forward to it.
I’m finally picking up Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling. This will be my Spanish language book for the year and I’ll come and go with it for a while so I’m expecting this book to be on here long-term.
I picked up a new ebook as well. I decided on Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. It’s another classic book I’ve never read and I’m in the mood for a few more before I get over this kick.

A Darker Shade final for IreneRecently finished: Such a good week for finishing books! I finished A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab while cooking and working out early this week. I liked it a lot and I’m not on the bandwagon of those excited about the sequel. Turns out Schwab was in Michigan over the weekend for a con and my friend Rachel met her. Lucky girl.
It was a big push and I feel asleep once or twice in the process, but I finished One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez! My book club met on it on Monday so I cut it close. Phew.
I bunkered down on Sunday and finished Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I might have avoided some blog writing and chores, but it was totally worth it! I was never a slash fangirl, but I still enjoyed the story and know it must have made a lot of other Fangirls really excited.

ShanghaiReading Next: Hm, not anything major lined up now. I’ll probably be starting Shanghai Girls by Lisa See not too long from now. My book club is reading this for March so I’ll pick it up in the middle of April. See is coming to Detroit and I’m excited to meet her!


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, 20-January-2016

20 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading 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!

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The Three Ws are:

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


Carry OnCurrently reading:  I’ve tried to make progress with A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab while I’m cooking or working in my model, but it’s a slow process. I’ve got a lot of things I’m focusing on finishing before my semester starts in February and a lot of them aren’t mindless enough to listen to an audiobook. I’m still making forward progress, though!
I dedicated myself to One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the results were okay. I didn’t get to the end, but I made some headway. I’m hopeful I can finish this before the book club discussion but I’m not sure how much prep I’ll be able to do for the discussion.
I’ve gotten past the torpedo in Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson and I’m looking forward to getting to the end! Larson always writes an amazing book and I’m loving this one a lot so far.
I found a new eBook and I’m really excited about it! I was checking back through my TBR to see if there were library eBooks for anything on there and I found the eBook for Carry On by Rainbow Rowell was available! I’m just getting into it but I’m hopeful I’ll fly through it!

Recently finished: Nothing this week. I have a suspicion this section will be full of books in a week or two as they all seem to be getting close to the end.

I’ve managed to get two reviews up this week. The first is Yes Please by Amy Poehler which I gave Three out of Five stars.
The second is I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. This book was well done and I gave it Four out of Five stars.

PrincipeReading Next: I’m waiting to pick up Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling as soon as I finish Marquez. It’s taunting me on my bedside. I miss Harry and I really want to read this soon.


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, 13-January-2016

13 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading 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!

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The Three Ws are:

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


A Darker Shade final for IreneCurrently reading:  I haven’t had much time for A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab but I’m still enjoying the story. The main action is just starting and Kell and Lila just got to Red London together. I can tell it’s about to pick up quickly.
Again, small progress One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I’m not really getting into this one which is unfortunate because it’s keeping me from the books I want to read after it. I just need to power through but then I have to find the time! Ugh.
Decent progress with Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson due to errands and going out with my girlfriends a few times this week. I can feel the attack coming and I’m super anxious about it. I don’t know as much about this wreck as I do others so I’m not completely sure how devastating it will be.

MalalaRecently finished: I was able to finish I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai faster than I thought. The last 40 pages were a reader’s guide and some pictures which I skipped and flew through respectfully. I liked Malala’s words to describe the situation in Pakistan. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. Look for a review early next week.

I posted a review for David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas last Thursday. I’m glad that one is finally over! It’s been hanging over my head for months.

TruthBeautyReading Next: Still  Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling. As soon as I get through Marquez, I can’t wait to pick this up. I feel like I’m losing my Spanish a bit so reading it will help me with that. I hope.
I need a new ebook now that I’m done with Malala. I put holds on a few titles but I’m hoping the one that comes up next is Truth and Beauty by Anne Patchett. Someone recommended this title to me when I was talking about how much I love writer memoirs so I’m excited to 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, 6-January-2016

6 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading 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!

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The Three Ws are:

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


MalalaCurrently reading:  I found a small amount of time to read I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai during some down time through the week. Nothing major and I doubt I’ll finish before it’s due next week. Let’s hope for another renewal.
I finally got to the main adventure in A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. I had a suspicion that it might involve Black London so no real surprise yet, but I’m excited to see what happens to Kell and Lila.
Small progress One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez again. I’m almost 30% through it according to Goodreads and that’s slow progress! I need this one finished by the end of January for the book club discussion that I’m running so fingers crossed I have some time to work on it.
Not much wit Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson again. It’s good, but I haven’t had a lot of time alone in the car to work through it. I’m hoping I find some soon because I can see the sinking coming but can’t wait to hear Lason’s details.

PleaseRecently finished: My first book of 2016 is already complete! On the way home from Columbus, we finished Yes Please by Amy Poehler. It was a good book and it was great to hear Amy narrate, but it didn’t blow me away. I’ll probably have a review up next week.

My book review of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel went up last week. Expect a lot more from this book and author in the next few months as we get into the programming for the Great Michigan Read! I’m so excited.

PrincipeReading Next: Still planning on Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling. I got my book club picks for one through June and there’s a lot of overlap between my other group and some picks I’ve already read. That means I feel good about finding time for books in the 2016 When Are You Reading? Challenge. It’s the only challenge I do where I have to pick books to be successful so it’s hard to plan around book clubs. I host this challenge and you can read the details on this page. I’d love to have you join.


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, 30-December-2015

30 Dec

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading 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!

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The Three Ws are:

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


PleaseCurrently reading:  I got to check out I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and I had time to read it during lunch on Thursday, which was really nice. I got to read a bit before mass started on Christmas Eve, but that’s about it for the week. Not a great reading week in general.
I got through very little of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. I was with my family and friends almost non-stop this past week so it wasn’t a good time for audiobooks.
We all stayed up late talking so there wasn’t much time before bed for One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I’m guessing y’all are feeling like the excuses are in abundance this week. They are.
Minimal progress (again) with Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. I’m absolutely loving the story now but I have limited drive time. I hope this picked up in the new year.
My husband and I started a new audiobook for our long Christmas drive and New Years drive, Yes Please by Amy Poehler. I got the book through the Ford Audiobook Club before it ended. So far, it’s fun and enjoyable, though I liked Tina Fey’s better (just a bit).

Recently finished: Nothing finished. Poo. That’s what I get for all the traveling and family fun times.

And just one book review, Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. I gave the book 4 out of 5 stars.

PrincipeReading Next: I put Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling next to my bed. It’s pretty certain to be next. However, I’m hosting the 2016 When Are You Reading? Challenge so I might have to pick up some historical fiction books to fit the time periods. If you’re interested in joining, please let me know! I posted about it Monday and you can read the details on this page.


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, 23-December-2015

23 Dec

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading 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!

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The Three Ws are:

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


DeadWakeCurrently reading:  I placed a hold on I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. I hope it comes to me soon because I don’t want to start anything while I wait for it and I’m impatient.
I’m still listening to A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab around the house while I’m working out or cooking or cleaning, etc.It makes for some good listening. I think I’m finally getting into the action. I thought the build-up with Kel was a bit slow.
I’m slow getting into One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I’ve read the first two chapters, but it hasn’t grabbed me yet so I’m finding it easy to put down. I hope that changes.
I started a new audiobook on Thursday, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. I really enjoyed The Devil in the White City and I’m hoping I like this title just as much.

CloudAtlasRecently finished: I finished Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell!!!!!!!!!!! I’m so excited about this. I had twenty minutes to spare before I went to the gym and figured I could finish it off and BAM! Now I can watch the movie and indulge myself in that to remind myself how it started. It took me seven months to the day to read it and I’m so proud that I finished it.

Three book reviews for you as well. The first was Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. Thank you to those of you who read that review already. I welcome other opinions on my takeaway.
The second is All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I really enjoyed this audio, a lot more than I thought I would, too. I’m glad I jumped on the bandwagon and read it.
Finally, Animal Farm by George Orwell. I don’t plan on reading a lot of other ‘classics’ in the next few weeks so it will be nice to have that behind us.

PrincipeReading Next: The plan is still to pick up Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling. I don’t think I’ll finish Marquez before the beginning of the year so I’ll put some more ‘for fun’ books in the beginning of the year when my book clubs are overlapping.


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!