Rearview Mirror // April 2016

Well, as of last weekend I had these grandiose ideas in which I would actually review the stack of 7 (!) books awaiting attention before I wrote April’s roundup, but seeing as it is already May 5, I think I will just finish April off and let those additional reviews fall where they may!

April was a super busy but honestly fantastic month.  I am still loving my new job.  I really hadn’t realized how much I hated sitting in an office all day until I stopped doing it.  I’ve switched from production work in the back to working the retail section (annuals).  That’s alright, but I am definitely homesick for production, which may be my life calling.  Still, even in retail I spend most of the day outside or in a greenhouse, playing with plants and listening to the life stories of random people who somehow think telling me about themselves will help me direct them to better plants (and maybe it does??).

Still, this whole “full-time” thing is for the birds!  So little time for real life!  I’m okay with it since it’s just temporary…  and the whole summer stretches out full of long days of being productive and happy around the homestead.  Yay!  I am really excited about devoting a lot of time to wrapping up some remodeling projects (read: SO MUCH PAINTING), playing in the gardens, and helping out my grandpa with his place.

As for reading, my job actually allows tons of time for it, as I have to take an hour lunch every day.  So I take my PB&J and a book (or two), and hide out on my favorite bench in the sample gardens – it’s tucked away under an arbor behind a nice screen of shrubbery – quite secluded and peaceful.  If one must take an unpaid lunch hour, one may as well do it outside with some good reading material!

Favorite April Read:

774175I think I’m going with A String in the Harp for this one.  Bond’s story was just so perfectly crafted.  Even though it’s not a book with a lot of action, the characters are so perfectly drawn, and the prose so wonderfully written, that I found myself slowing down so that I could drink in and savor every word.  Bond has created a beautiful story about grief, hope, and family that I highly recommend.

Most Disappointing April Read:

5116SCF7B2LI think I am going with Dragonsblood for this one.  I had really enjoyed Dragon’s Kin a great deal, and came into Dragonsblood looking forward to seeing what Todd McCaffrey would do next with Pern.  But at the end of the day, Dragonsblood felt like a lazy attempt to capitalize on the popular series.  The plotting was weak and full of gaps, the writing was emotionally distant, and there were far too many times where a character would conveniently guess the exact information they needed to know to solve a huge problem.

Other April Reads:

  • A Gift of Dragons by Anne McCaffrey – 3/5 – a solid but overall not super exciting collection of short stories set in Pern.
  • The Boomerang Clue by Agatha Christie – 3/5 – an entertaining read, but definitely one with several skeptical-eyebrow-raising moments.
  • Forest Patrol by Jim Kjelgaard – 4/5 – a really enjoyable (although not terribly thrilling) story about a young man working as a forest ranger in the 1940’s.
  • Dragon’s Kin by Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey – 4/5 – a really solid addition to the series that explores the intriguing (and hitherto somewhat belittled) watch-whers and their place in Pern.
  • The Diamond Secret by Suzanne Weyn – 3/5 – a predictable but still pleasant story based on “what-if” of Anastasia Romanov’s survival.
  • Emily’s Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary – 5/5 – an absolutely delightful tale of small-town life in the early 1920’s – a perfect family read-aloud.
  • Black Rainbow by Barbara Michaels – 2/5 – a book I thoroughly enjoyed bashing for its weak plotting, ridiculously boring heroine, long bouts of pointless ranting about the disadvantages of the female position in society, and an obvious villain.  Although I did learn about “moonbows” so there is that.
  • Murder is Easy by Agatha Christie – 3/5 – another solid and interesting read, but with a villain whose motives felt like a bit of stretch.
  • Martin Harbottle’s Appreciation of Time by Dominic Utton – 3/5 – an epistolary read that I quite enjoyed, even if it was rather impractical at times.

Added to the TBR:

Well, I’m still quite behind on reading reviews from other blogs, but fear not – the TBR is still getting longer!

Currently, I have my TBR on a spreadsheet with four tabs:

  • Stand-Alones:  797 (up from 778)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own, but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  548 (up from 529)
  • Series: 120 (no change)
  • Mystery Series:  50 (no change)

I also think that May may finally see the end of the Pern series.  I started reading Dragonheart today, and there are only three more titles after that one.  (So far… apparently Anne McCaffrey’s children have the rights to continue with the series should they so chose.)  While I’ve enjoyed (most of) this series, I’m also looking forward to getting into something new.  Maybe something a little less dragony and not over twenty books long!!  I started reading the Pern books last May, so it has literally taken me a year to get through the series!

Awaiting Review:

  • Dragon’s Fire by Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey
  • The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  • The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly
  • Be Buried in the Rain by Barbara Michaels
  • Dragon Harper by Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey
  • The Bronze Pen by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
  • Towards Zero by Agatha Christie
  • The Eternal World by Christopher Farnsworth