Rearview Mirror: June 2015

So June – I finally feel like I am back in the swing of reading!  While April, May, and June were insanely busy around this little homestead (you should totally check out the house blog – all those posts under May and June??  I wrote them ALL over the weekend!  Just writing about all our projects wore me out!), the last two weeks have been basically solid rain.  That’s actually been nice because (a) it means I don’t have to spend 1-2 hours every evening watering gardens (which, when you don’t get home until 6, and then cook, consume, and clean up after supper, means that by the time you’re done in the gardens, it’s already 9:00, dark, and time for this earlybird to get to bed!) and (b) I’ve finally been able to catch up on some inside projects – including blogging!

I know the big question on everyone’s minds is – Is Waylon even cuter than the last time you posted a picture of him?  Answer – Yes!

002!!!!!!!!!!!!  I can’t hardly stand living with this much adorableness, guys.  Oh. My. Gosh.  So cute.  Wow.  So cute that I’m going to post more pictures of him.  Because obviously what this blog needs is MORE WAYLON.

013002Waylon’s big news for June, by the way, is that he is working on being a Frisbee dog.  :-D

In other random news, we got chickens, planted vegetables, made a blueberry patch, and painted our floors.  And that, my friends, is just the tip of the iceberg.  Team Awesome has been super busy lately!

It’s been a good busy, though, you know?  The kind that lets you go to  bed content because you’ve put in a good day’s work doing some actual things that you can see.

So yes.  I was too busy to do a lot of quality reading there for a while, but thanks to the rain, to projects shifting from the start up stage to the maintenance stage, and just an overall calming down (ha!) of life, I am back in the groove.

Favorite June Read:  Okay, so this was a month where I read several books that gave me happy feelings, but nothing that really filled me with passion like OH MY GOSH SO AMAZING YOU MUST READ THIS RIGHT NOW.  So…………..  actually, I think maybe Dragonsong?  I don’t know if it was because it was a reread, or just because the world of Pern makes so much sense in context (or maybe both!), but this time around Dragonsong went from being so-so to highly enjoyable.  I just really felt like McCaffrey was hitting her stride with Pern in this book, pulling together a lot of social/cultural threads within the world she’s creating – so, weirdly, the reasons I didn’t really like it the first time around were the reasons I really enjoyed it a lot the second!

Most Disappointing June Read:  So yeah, see above!  I didn’t have a lot of negatively emotional reads this month, either!  I think in the end, probably Heart’s Blood.  I really love fairy tales, and this book started really strong, but in the end it just felt too long and too complicated, and the story did nothing to get me on board with the primary romance, which left me skeptical of the entire rest of the story.  It was one of those books that I really, really wanted to like but just couldn’t.

Other June Reads:

  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – 4/5 – definitely my favorite of the three Rowell novels I’ve read, this one was just so fun, yet handled some deeper topics with grace.  I also felt like this one wasn’t as dated/striving for nostalgia as Eleanor & Park and Landline, which made it more enjoyable to me.  There are only so many 80’s references I can take in one novel.
  • Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater – 4/5 – the four book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy (yeah), I’m embarrassed to admit that it was a close contender for Favorite June Read – I have no idea why I enjoyed these books about werewolves so much, but they were completely engaging, and Sinner was a super fun read.
  • Dragonquest by Anne McCaffrey – Second Pern book – 4/5 – brilliant writing.  I am so enjoying these books now that I’ve started at the beginning!
  • Dressed for Death by Donna Leon – 4/5- the third book in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series – I’ve actually read the first two in May and June as well, but this was the first I reviewed – this whole series is just getting better as it goes along (I’m halfway through the fourth book) with Brunetti a delightful protagonist and the mysteries engaging without being so intense that I can’t sleep at night!
  • Haunt Fox by Jim Kjelgaard – 4/5 – a childhood favorite that stood up to an adult-perspective reread quite well.  Kjelgaard is an excellent place to start if you are trying to introduce young people in your life to the concepts of conservation and self-sufficiency in the package of an engaging story.
  • If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince? by Melissa Kantor – 3/5 – a fun but ultimately so-so little contemporary YA read.

See all those 4/5s??  See why I had trouble choosing a favorite this month?!

Added to the TBR:

Okay, so I just want to take a moment to say that because I have been so behind on, well, life, I haven’t really been able to visit was many posts as I like to do.  I subscribe to basically every WordPress blog I follow via email, so I read virtually every post, but for some reason WordPress and my phone don’t get along very well, so I can’t “like” posts from my phone, and that happens to be where I do most of my email-reading soooo all that to say – I like all your posts!  Everyone’s posts!  They’re brilliant!  Pretend I have clicked “Like” on all of them, because I’ve been reading them!  :-D

As you can tell from the TBR additions this month…!!!!!!

  • Cleopatra Loves Books always tempts me, and this month was no exception.  Thanks to her – THREE new titles!
    • I’m always up for a psychological thriller that is “clever but not too complex” – actually, those are my favorites!  A Game for All the Family sounds like it may fit the bill!
    • While Cleo said that this was a bit outside her usual penchant for books with a darker edge, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets sounded like a historical fiction I would really enjoy – especially since I’m slowly moving out of my World War II reading (haha, not that I’ve been doing much!) and into the 1950’s.
    • Finally, to get back to that darker edge, First One Missing sounds properly disturbing without being too gruesome, and I always enjoy a thriller along those lines!
  • But don’t think that Cleopatra was alone in her attempts to keep my TBR at a level of complete unattainableness (I’m working on expanding my vocabulary by creating my own words these days) – Reading, Writing & Riesling is always right there, throwing books on as well, like these FIVE titles!
    • Okay, so I’m a little terrified of reading The Killing Lessons…  but I still want to!!!
    • On a completely different note, The Soldier’s Wife sounds like an engaging read – I am way into reading historical fiction set in countries other than the US (so if you have some others – especially set in the 20th century – let me know!!).
    • I’m not always into domestic noir, but Carol made The Bones of You sound so appealing that I couldn’t resist adding it.
    • While After the Crash sounds like a bit out of my normal parameters, I am willing to be stretched a bit!
    • Finally, Carol snuck one last title on at the last minute (although I think it’s technically already July in Australia!) – Limbo sounds absolutely ridiculous, like nothing ever read before, and completely engaging.
  • Tales of the Marvelous tempted me with two fairytales, by different authors but from the same post
    • The Last Dragonslayer
    • The Sleeper & the Spindle
  • Stephanie usually has reading tastes similar to mine, so when she said that she never wanted The Fill-In Boyfriend to end, I decided it was quite likely to be a lighthearted romance that I would enjoy as well!
  • Bibliobeth’s review of Gretel and the Dark sounded completely engaging – magic and World War II??  Yes, please!
  • FictionFan’s post about Dark Matter convinced me that I definitely wanted to read this book with its “brilliantly executed build-up of psychological terror” – who doesn’t want that on their TBR?!

Do you want to know a secret?  Those are only some of the books I added!  So, yet another sign that I am out of my reading slump – books are clamoring to be added!  :-D

Thanks to everyone for all your awesome reviews – even when they are of books I know I’ll never read, I still greatly enjoy reading the reviews!

Here’s to a happy July!!