January Minireviews

So I find that I not-infrequently read books that I just feel rather “meh” about and they don’t seem worth writing an entire post about.  However, since I also use this blog as a sort of book-review diary, I like to at least say something.  So I’ve started a monthly post with minireviews of all those books that just didn’t get more than a few paragraphs of feelings from me.

Crazy Kill Range by Rutherford Montgomery


//published 1963//

When I reviewed an earlier book of Montgomery’s, Midnight: Wild Stallion of the WestI talked about Grosset & Dunlap’s “Famous Horse Stories.”  Crazy Kill Range is another of these books, set in the same region as Midnight, and tells the story of one of Midnight’s sons.  Actually, Crazy Kill Range is a story that is almost exactly like Midnight.  A mare escapes captivity and is added to a wild stallion’s band; her son grows into a strong and mighty stallion.  In the meantime, there are little stories of wilderness life in the west.

All in all, Crazy Kill Range wasn’t a bad book, but it also didn’t really feel different enough from Midnight to justify its own story.  Interestingly enough, this book is not on GoodReads at all, so I must not be the only person to feel rather ambivalent towards it.

Not George Washington by P.G. Wodehouse and Herbert Westbrook


//published 1907//

This was a strange sort of book, billed as “semi-autobiographical,” I think it’s mostly because it’s about a young man struggling to make it as a writer in the same time period as Wodehouse and Westbrook were doing so.  So while I’m sure some of those aspects were drawn from life, the actual story of James doesn’t seem to particularly parallel Wodehouse’s all that much (although I don’t know anything about Westbrook).

It’s funny because Wodehouse was quite insistent that Westbrook have equal or greater credit for writing this book, but my Kindle edition only shows Wodehouse as the author (as does the picture of the cover I found)!

All in all, this is a book that I wanted to like better than I did.  I realized at the end that the problem was that I didn’t really care for the main character.  James is a bit of a self-centered jerk, so I didn’t really care all that much about his problems.  It’s interesting because the reason that Wodehouse’s books are such a delight is because basically no one is a jerk – even the “bad guys” are sincere.  So it was intriguing to see an earlier stage of this, or maybe it’s due to Westbrook’s influence, where several of the characters weren’t particularly likable.

While it was good to get away from the school stories, Not George Washington didn’t particularly capture me.  It had its moments of interest and humor, but overall James was just too obnoxious for me to really enjoy the story.


Flipped // by Wendy Van Draanen


//published 2001//

Quite a while back I added this book to the TBR after reading Sophie’s review.   I was really just anticipating a fluffy little story, and while I did get that, there were some solid bones underneath.  Despite the book’s short length, there is really excellent character development in a way that flows naturally and made the story super easy to read.

Juli and Bryce are the main characters of the story, and they tell their tale in alternating chapters – usually about the same event or period of time.  Although the book covers several years, it never felt bogged down or like the story was being rushed.  Instead, Van Draanen does an excellent job of hitting the high points that kept the story moving without feeling like we were just skimming on the top of the characters’ lives.

When Juli and Bryce first meet, it’s because Bryce and his family have just moved in across the street from Juli’s house.  Julie is super excited about having a playmate so close by who is her age (they are both in second grade), but Bryce, as is typical with boys his age, is kind of weirded out by Juli because she is not only a girl, but an extremely enthusiastic and friendly girl.  Throughout the next several years, Juli is convinced that she and Bryce could be the best of friends, while Bryce spends most of his time trying to avoid her.

But this story is so much more than just girl meets boy and boy needs a little persuasion before falling in love.  Instead, it manages to really look a lot at family relationships, at the importance of embracing who you are, and how easy it is to just assume that you know all about a person from just a glimpse of his or her life.

I loved the way that Juli’s parents are presented.  It was so, so refreshing to come across a couple who are still happily married after many years and many hard times.  They are amazing parents, so supportive of their children, but also good at discipline and providing parameters.  A huge part of the reason that I loved this book was because even though Juli’s life and family weren’t perfect, her parents were fantastic role models.

Gah!  I’m doing a really bad job with this book!  I just enjoyed it so much, and I can hardly even explain why.  It was just so well done!  And while it was mostly reviewing lessons that most adults have already learned, I think this would be a great book if you have a middle schooler or even someone a bit older than that in your life.  This book absolutely never comes across as preachy, but does a really great job nonetheless of teaching about looking beyond the superficial in someone’s life – both the negative and positive superficials – to see who they are underneath.

This is a short book that I breezed through in a single afternoon, but still manages to pack a powerful punch.  I think it’s a book that should be added to every elementary school’s reading program.

The Tottering TBR // Episode XI

A weekly post wherein I pretend to lament the fact that I have so many books on my TBR… but in fact am secretly rubbing my hands together with delight that there are so many amazing books left to be discovered…

I’m back!  The Tottering TBR hasn’t been so much of a weekly post these last few weeks because I haven’t been much of a blogger these last few weeks, either!  But that’s all water under the bridge, and I am really feeling like getting back in the groove.

As to be expected, the TBR has grown astoundingly since I last updated you all – it’s been three weeks, after all!  Strangely, I haven’t been checking books off the list in the same proportion…  hmmmmm…

Added to the General TBR:

Okay, so I personally feel that sixteen books in three weeks isn’t too bad – that’s only five(ish) books a week, right??  There have been some really great reviews out there, so I definitely blame all of you!  :-D

Off the General TBR:

51hxd4eaesl-_sx329_bo1204203200_The Travelers is my only reviewed book, although there are a couple more on the stack.  I have to confess that I have also been reading lots of comforting fluff, most of which isn’t on any of my lists at all.  One would think that with almost 900 books on the list, I could find one of those to read!  Ah well, such is life.

However, I also realized that I had three separate books on the list by the same author – and all three of them actually belong together in a series!  So I was able to knock three off the General TBR and kick them over as one entry to the Series TBR, which somehow gave me the illusion of actually accomplishing something…

I also read and reviewed both Volumes One and Two of The Magician’s Workshop, neither of which were on a list at all!

Total for the General TBR:  Well, for those of us who can do math, you’ll see that I had a net gain of twelve, which means I’m up to 881!


Added to the Personal TBR:

Free Kindle books are still slaughtering my attempt to keep this tab under control – I added thirteen titles!

Off the Personal TBR:

51zdbg9-lal-_sx258_bo1204203200_However, I did make a smidge of progress at this end, having read and reviewed both Terms & Conditions and The New Way Things Work.

Total for the Personal TBR:  605 (up eleven!)


Added to the Series TBR:

The only addition here was kicking those books over from the General TBR – so Melanie Dickerson’s Hagenhiem series is now on this list.  I actually did read one of the books from this series quite a long time ago and kind of didn’t like it a whole lot, so there is a really good chance that if I ever get around to reading this series, I won’t actually end up reading it.  My original review even says that I wouldn’t read it again…  but the premises for her other books do sound intriguing…  even though I’m pretty sure they’ll end up being terrible… ah well.

Off the Series TBR:

No progress here.  I’m in between series since I abandoned one and had to wait for the first book for my next series to come in the library.  I should be starting Thorn Jack very soon, though.

Total for the Series TBR:  147 (up only one!)


Total for the Mystery Series TBR:  Nothing added or removed from this series (although I did review the next book in the Joseph O’Laughlin series, Shatterwhich was fabulous), so we are holding steady at 71.


Added to the Nonfiction TBR:

Three titles here, two of which are due to fabulous reviews:

  • FictionFan reviewed Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson.  Besides sounding like a really intriguing look at a pivotal point in history, I’m anticipating determining whether or not President Wilson really was as useless as FF seems to think he was.  ;-)
  • Lady Fancifull waxed eloquent in her review of The January Man by Christopher Somerville.  As someone who loves to be outdoors for any and all reasons, this book really does sound lovely.

Off the Nonfiction TBR:

Nothing here, as the two nonfiction titles that I read were actually listed on the Personal list (the Nonfiction list is only nonfiction titles that I don’t personally own, you see!)

Total for the Nonfiction TBR:  61 (up three)


Grand Totals for the Last Three Weeks:  Up 33 and down 6 for a grand total of up 27, which means only an average of 9 per week…  I believe that I am showing amazing restraint!

The Travelers // by Chris Pavone


//published 2016//

Okay, I think I am working through this blogging slump – this is post #4 in as many days!  Woot!  It’s really great to get some of these to-be-reviewed books off the pile, too.  Always satisfying.

So.  Will Rhodes works for an old, well-established traveling magazine that has been around for decades.  He travels around the world, interviewing people and writing articles, and he’s done it for several years.  All in all, he’s a normal kind of guy – married to a woman he loves, trying to fix up an old house that they inherited, thinking about starting a family.

But then, while he’s in Europe, Will meets Elle.  She’s stunningly beautiful and more than a little alluring. Will has never cheated on his wife before, and he resists Elle, too – this time.  But when they coincidentally (???) meet again in South America, Will finds himself falling down the rabbit hole – into way more of an entanglement than a one-night stand.  Suddenly, Will finds himself embroiled in international intrigue and espionage, completely unwillingly.  As the lies and secrets begin to pile up, it becomes increasingly difficult to know who is working for whom.

All in all, The Travelers was a fun book.  For me, espionage books should be a romp.  I don’t necessarily expect a lot of in-depth character development from these types of books – just lots of action and twists.  And while this book had both, it somehow just didn’t have enough to really engage me.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I was bored by the book, because I did definitely keep reading it and was curious to see how things played out – but it somehow lacked the tension that a really good spy book needs.

Part of it may have been the present tense (thankfully first person) narrative, which is just 100% getting on my nerves.  Just why.  Please stop.  EVERYONE please stop.  I have picked up so many books written in the stupid present tense narrative lately and it is getting quite old.

But I think a bigger part was that Pavone didn’t (for me) completely strike that balance between revealing enough information to keep the story going, but keeping enough hidden to keep things tense.  At times, a twist could be seen coming a mile away.  At others, I would get very frustrated because it felt like I couldn’t really get into the story without knowing some information that was being withheld.  But it’s that balance that makes thrillers what they are, and can make a story that I don’t necessarily like still incredibly readable.  (In a Dark, Dark Wood comes to mind – I didn’t particularly enjoy the story or like any of the characters – but if you had told me halfway through that I wasn’t allowed to finish it, we would have had to take that issue outside and duke it out!)  In this case, the magical balance just wasn’t quite right, so while I was interested to see what was going to happen, I never felt desperate to know what was going to happen.

I think that the book could have been much improved if we had spent more time with Will’s wife, Chloe.  We get little snippets of what is happening with her, but it’s actually an important part of the story and was one those aspects that Pavone was kind of keeping hidden for dramatic effect but would have actually been more dramatic if we had actually known what was happening at her end.

Overall, though, it was a solid 3/5 read.  I really liked the ending, and would actually probably even pick up a sequel to this book if one ever appeared.  I liked a lot of the characters, and despite Will’s moment of infidelity, this was overall a book that was surprisingly positive towards marriage.  In many ways, Will and Chloe are at a crossroads in their relationship, and a decision to remember the things that brought them together initially and to go forward from there was so refreshingly mature.

While I don’t really intend to purchase The Travelers and read it over and over again, I’m interested to pick up another of Pavone’s books and see what else he has written.  In the  meantime, this one gets a moderate recommendation, and I would love to hear if anyone else has read it – did you find it more exciting than I did?

The New Way Things Work // by David Macauley


//published 1998//

This is one of those books that I’ve been reading off and on for literal months.  It’s a huge, bulky, heavy book, so I only read it if I’m going to be sitting for a while.  Luckily, it isn’t necessary to read this book cover to cover – and actually, after doing just that, I don’t even particularly recommend it!

Macauley has done a fabulous job taking some complicated things and explaining them in layman’s terms.  With the aid of his brilliant illustrations, Macauley works his way through simple machines, showing how complicated machines are actually several different types of simple ones linked together.  Thus, his book is divided by the mechanics behind a machine’s abilities, rather than by types of machines.  For example, wheelbarrows, pliers, nail clippers, and pry bars all make use of levers and consequently are found together.

Throughout the book, Macauley presents himself as a scientist who is living among a tribe of people who use woolly mammoths in their every-day lives.  At the beginning of each section, Macauley aids these people in working with their mammoths by teaching them a new principle of machines.  The illustrations are delightful and educational, especially for a visual learner like myself.

In some ways, though, I found myself thinking that this book would probably be better as a reference than as something you just sit down and read, as I was.  Because Macauley doesn’t go into a great amount of detail on any one thing, reading more than a few pages at a time could be overwhelming, which is part of the reason that it took me so long to work through the book.

The book is slightly dated.  Obviously the sections on inclined planes and zippers are still completely relevant, but the final section on “The Digital Domain” is bound to be out of date almost before it is published.  The original book was published in 1988, and this edition appeared in 1998, and it could use another refresh.  While I don’t think of any of the digital information is wrong, some of it may be a bit incomplete.

Still, it is definitely a book worth checking out.  Macauley combines entertainment and education quite well, and I came away with a lot more knowledge than at the beginning!

Terms & Conditions // by Ysenda Maxtone Graham


//published 2016//

It occurs to me as I am writing this that this is actually the second book I have read by this title in the last few months, which seems peculiar.  It also has absolutely nothing to do with this review, as Robert Glancy’s Terms & Conditions was absolutely nothing like Graham’s!

Some of you may remember, back in the mists of time (and by that I mean in December), that I received my first issue of Slightly Foxed, an absolutely delightful literary magazine.  I enjoyed it so much that I actually wrote a review of a quarterly full of reviews!  SF publishes a special edition book every quarter as well, and for this winter it was Terms & Conditions.  Everyone spoke so warmly of this volume that I felt that I had to have it – and when it comes to books, I nearly always indulge my whims!

First off, we simply must address the physical perfection of this book.  Everything about it is exactly as it should be, from grey-blue cloth-bound cover to the ideal size (perfect for slipping into a pocket or reading in bed) to the book-marker ribbon to the excellent quality binding that allows the book to lay flat no matter where it is opened.  I wish all books would be published with such care!  All this meant that reading this book was always a lovely experience.  Every time I picked it up, my spirits were lifted before I even opened the book.  It is that perfect!

As for the book itself – well, conveniently, that is delightful as well!  This is a nonfiction book, a memoir of sorts, although not in the traditional sense as Graham has mostly collected the memories and stories of people other than herself.  So in a way it is a memoir not of a specific person, but of a type of person – of a group of people who all went through a similar experience.  And while each of them brings her own voice and memories, together they create a type: Women who attended British boarding schools between 1939 and 1979.

Before I began this book, I found myself wondering if I would really relate to anything it said.  After all, I’m an American who was home-educated and wasn’t even alive during the first seven decades of the twentieth century!  But to my delight, reading this book reminded me afresh that the simple kinship of being a woman is frequently enough of a bond to make the stories of other women relevant to me.

Graham’s book doesn’t really follow a linear story, a specific character, or even a particular location.  Instead, she has divided her book into chapters that each delve into an individual aspect of boarding school life during this period.  Throughout there are quotes from women who were students at this time, all with their own memories and stories, a rich reminder of how childhood experiences and friendships can stay with us throughout our lives.

I was a bit afraid that Graham was going to use this book as a platform to rant about the educational inequalities between girls and boys during this time.  But while she did discuss this – as it was an important aspect of boarding school life – I never felt like the book ventured into the polemic.  Instead, Graham balanced much of what she was writing with the concept that while some of the girls did suffer educationally because they were ambitious and their ambitions were dismissed merely because of their sex, other girls genuinely did want to find a nice husband and settle into their homes and raise their children, so for them an education that focused more on the social rather than the scientific was not detrimental to their future lives.

And in the end, I appreciated many of Graham’s conclusions –

These women were trained not to see themselves as the centre of the universe, but always to think of others, even when it came to the method for being passed the salt.  They learned early that ‘it’s not all about me’.  This lack of self-centredness is, I think, the biggest difference between privileged childhoods fifty or sixty years ago and privileged childhoods today.  Yes, these boarding-school girls came from affluent families, but they did not go on skiing holidays every year, and they were not given the idea that things should be arranged mainly for their benefit and delight.  Their schools taught them that their duty was to be of service to the community: they learned to look outwards and away from themselves rather than to wallow in introspection.  Thus they grew into an unselfish, un-self-pitying generation.

A while back I worked for an elderly woman (born 1919) who was born rich, raised rich, married rich, and is probably going to die rich (last I checked, she was still going strong!).  But what really amazed me about this woman was how despite the fact that she definitely felt entitled to a great deal (and honestly it was kind of hilarious to work as a servant…  like if she had people come to visit I would legit bring them tea and then go hang out in the kitchen until they left haha at least I didn’t have to wear a uniform), she believed it was so important for her to give back to her community.  In her lifetime she had personally overseen the purchase and restoration of a beautiful historic home that was slated for demolition in our downtown – it’s a museum now, and it was amazing to take her there for different events and listen to her stories about how even though other people helped, she almost single-handedly had done this.  And that wasn’t the only thing – she led committees and fundraisers that benefited all sorts of different local charities and organizations.  She was wealthy and privileged (she drove a custom-made Lincoln Town Car with her name engraved on the dashboard for pity’s sake!), but like the women in this book, she was also raised with the concept that being wealthy and privileged meant that you had responsibility.  And while she – and most of the women in the book – didn’t have a career, that did not stop her from being a productive, intelligent, competent citizen who devoted hours every week of her life to bettering her community and the lives of the people who lived in it.

All that to say that I do think that it is excellent that girls are given equal educational opportunities nowadays, but it does sometimes feel as though we have sacrificed that ingrained knowledge (in both girls and boys) that if you have, you are responsible for helping the have-nots.

My only complaint about this book was that I somewhat felt that Graham did not establish context.  I mean, yes, these girls definitely had a hard time of it – but so did almost everyone in those war/post-war years.  I don’t think going to a boys’ school at that time was a bed of roses, but at times the book edges towards implication that girls had it so much worse than the boys.  I don’t think they had it worse – I think they just had it different.

But on the whole, this was a delightfully entertaining and interesting read.  Plus, it’s nonfiction, so I’m already working on my goal of reading more nonfiction in 2017 – bonus!  I definitely recommend this book that manages to take a very specific piece of societal history and place it in relevant terms.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to seeking out more of Graham’s works soon – not to mention more of Slightly Foxed’s lovely special editions!

The Magician’s Workshop – Volumes I & II // by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr

So I have still not been in a super blogging mood of late.  I’ve been busy teaching myself to play bass guitar (with the help of Rocksmith on the PS4, brilliant) and making adorable notebooks to sell in my Etsy store.  (Guys – people have actually purchased some of my notebooks!  Such a thrill!)  Blogging blehs usually go along with somewhat of a reading bleh – I never stop reading, but sometimes I go through periods where I only read fluff, evidenced this time around that I reread the entirety of Nora Roberts’s Bridal Quartet in five days.  Whoops.

However, I have every intention of catching up on a backlog of reviews soon, and today I was inspired to sit down and actually finish this review which I started two or so weeks ago(!), so that, if nothing else, you all would know that I am still alive… and reading!


//published 2016//

As soon as I heard the premise of The Magician’s Workshop, I was intrigued.  A world comprised of islands that are peopled by individuals who all possess, at some level, magic?  How fun is that?  The answer is that it is quite fun, actually.

There is a lot going on in these books, so I am not really going to try and summarize them a great deal.  Suffice to say that the story focuses on several young people from all over O’Ceea.  In O’Ceea, there is a big event at a certain age where young people go through a ceremony that evaluates their level of magic, which in turn helps determine what they do with the rest of their lives.  Our story begins with several of these teenagers approaching the ceremony.

The story jumps all over O’Ceea, and many of the characters don’t know each other (yet).  Volume I, especially, is definitely focused on setting the stage, and I felt that it somewhat lacked in action because of that.  There were a lot of characters to meet and a lot of information to assimilate, but once I got into the groove of the story, I found myself enjoying it.  However, the broad cast of characters did mean that sometimes I found myself trying to remember where I last saw this character – I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that I was reading this on my Kindle.  If I had a physical book, it would have been much easier to flip back to where I last saw this character and then transition into what that character was doing now.  My Kindle isn’t as page-flipping friendly.


//published 2016//

The second volume had a lot more action and not as many new characters to meet, so I was more engaged in the story.  The big ceremony occurred, with lots of drama centered around that, and I was really excited to see what directions the characters were heading – and how their storylines might start to collide.

These are definitely stories that are teaching a lesson.  That aspect could probably be a little more subtle, but on the whole it doesn’t distract from the actual story too much, although I did find myself thinking about Dr. Seuss’s sneeches pretty regularly.

yearn for a map of O’Ceea.  I LOVE maps, and being able to better understand the geography of this world would be fabulous.

All in all, 3/5 for Volume I and 4/5 for Volume II.  The authors aren’t sure if they are going to continue with the series, but I most certainly hope that they do as I am quite curious to see how things play out.

NB: Volume I was given to me by the authors, which obviously does not impact my review.

Shatter // by Michael Robotham


//published 2008//

Well, look at this!  I promised you all this morning that I was going to start getting back into the blogging groove, and here we are with an actual book review already!  :-D

The third book in Robotham’s Joseph O’Laughlin series was absolutely addicting.  I had trouble putting this book down.  It was terrifying in that way that really good thrillers can be.  Robotham managed to create a story where the reader knows who the bad guy is pretty early on – and it only adds to the tension..

Overall, the premise of this book – that this murderer controls his victims through fear and manipulation and never actually physically sees or touches them – and yet they die – is so scary.  It was brilliant.  From the very beginning, when Joe watches a woman jump off a bridge, the fear ratchets up with every chapter.  With snippets of narrative from the killer, we get glimpses into the why and how of what is happening.  This isn’t a gory book at all.  Robotham doesn’t need it to keep his readers glued to the pages.

The first-person-present-tense continues to nag (why, why, why), but I found myself liking Joe even more in this book.  It was great fun to see Ruiz from the last book – now retired but just as Superintendent Battle-ish – and to see how character lives in general are progressing, because despite the excellent pacing of the book, there is still time for character development and background that really helps to fill out the book.

Speaking of which, I ended the book feeling quite frustrated with Joe’s life.  Mild spoiler, but his wife decides that they should separate at the end, and part of her reasoning behind this is because Joe got involved with this case at all.  But this made no sense to me.  Literally, a woman died because no one cared to find out what was happening with her – that’s the whole point of the first death.  Several people saw this woman on her way to jump off the bridge, and despite the fact that there were all these suspicious signs that something wasn’t right, no one cared.

But Joe cares, and it’s that caring that drives him to continue to assisting with the case.  In the end, I felt like his wife didn’t appreciate or deserve him.  Her attitude towards Joe really aggravated me, and he’s just so patient and resigned like, “Oh, she’s probably right, I’ve been rather self-centered lately worrying about the fact that I’m dying of Parkinson’s disease, so I suppose it’s perfectly reasonable that she wants to throw away our twenty years of marriage instead of trying to work through our problems, nbd.”  Except he said all that with no sarcasm.

Still, in the end this was a solid 4/5 read and I’m intrigued to continue with the series.  This book could be read as a stand alone, but I think that reading it in context of the preceding books helps to give it context.

Blogging Blehs

Sometimes I go through phases where blogging just sounds like so much work and ick, so that’s why I haven’t been posting much the last week or two.  Because, frankly, I only do this for fun, so if it isn’t fun…  there isn’t much of a point!

But I’m starting to feel the reviews simmering inside of me.  Writing is one of those things that I can’t help but do; I’ve done it my whole life.  And while I have no real skill for writing fiction, I’ve always enjoyed reviewing, summarizing, writing reports, all those sorts of things that help you through college.  And it’s part of why I started this blog – so I would have an outlet for my writing, and a place to practice it, because writing is definitely a skill that begins to fade away if it isn’t used regularly!

At any rate, I have some great books in the review queue, so I thought I would let you know what is upcoming, if I ever get around to it (links to Goodreads)….

  • 32948256The Magician’s Workshop, Volumes I & II by Christopher R. Hansen and J.R. Fehr – these books were sent to me from the authors with a request for review.  I don’t always do this (and I honestly don’t get a lot of requests because I’m not like a crazy popular blogger), but I really liked the concept of these stories, and they ended up being a lot of fun.  I actually did write a Goodreads review for the first book, but I wasn’t really in a blogging mood when I did so, so that will probably be edited and then a review for both books posted here.  Someday.
  • Shatter by Michael Robotham – the third Joseph O’Laughlin book was some A+ creepy shizznizz that I totally enjoyed, except for the part where they get divorced in the end.  What the heck.
  • Terms & Conditions by Ysenda Maxtone Graham – this is my first Slightly Foxed edition book, and it was so much fun.  Just the physical act of reading this book was a delight because it is PERFECTLY bound.
  • The New Way Things Work by David Macauley – Two nonfiction books in one month??  Yes!  I’ve been working through this book forever, and finally finished it off!
  • The Travelers by Chris Pavone – this book was interesting, but I also felt like it should have been a lot more exciting for being a book about spies and all.  It somehow lacked that can’t-put-down-ness that really good thrillers have.
  • Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen – I was expecting some little chick flick fluffiness, but this ended up being a surprisingly good story with a really excellent message that still wasn’t preachy.

termsconditionsAs you can see, my blogging blues haven’t impacted my actual reading!  We’ve had some lazy weekend days here with really lousy weather.  The husband has been teaching himself to play bass on Rocksmith on the PS4 (surprisingly good?  Now I’m teaching myself guitar!), so I’ve been curled up in a fluffy recliner with a pile of books and a soft blanket, reading away and listening to the bass line of Roger Miller’s King of the Road repeatedly.

Hopefully all is well out there in the blogger world…  I should be back in the groove soon…

The Tottering TBR // Episode X

A weekly post wherein I pretend to lament the fact that I have so many books on my TBR… but in fact am secretly rubbing my hands together with delight that there are so many amazing books left to be discovered…

My tenth installment of the Tottering TBR already!  It’s hard to believe.  It’s also hard to believe how much my list has grown just in those ten weeks!  :-D

Also, this has nothing to do with my TBR at all, but I did have one other exciting event this week – I opened a small Etsy store!!  I am making and (hopefully) selling notebooks, the kind that are very popular as inserts for Midori or traveler’s notebooks.  Feel free to stop by and take a look at ThreeTreeWhimsy.  I’m still working on international shipping, but that will hopefully be coming soon as well!


Added to the General TBR:

Besides adding three books due to random advertising emails, I was inspired to add three other books by different reviews around the blogging neighborhood!

  • It’s no surprise that Cleopatra inspired me to add another thriller to the list – Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson sounds delightfully shivery.  This isn’t the first Swanson book I’ve added to the ol’ TBR, so we’ll see when one finally crops up!
  • 31394845While Sarah over at the Critiquing Chemist gave it a middling 3/5, I still thought her review of The Ill-Kept Oath by C.C. Aune sounded intriguing.  I do love books set in a magical Regency period!
  • I’m almost positive that someone else I follow read The Book of Strange New Things by F.F. Sunland and didn’t care for it, but nevertheless was intrigued by the Weird Girl’s review over on That’s What She Read.

All in all, six new titles on the TBR.

Off the General TBR:

19286545Actually a decent week here.  I reviewed The Shapeshifters, Bitter Greensand also Not George Washington, which will appear in January’s minireviews at a later date.  I also reviewed The White Featherbut it sadly wasn’t on the official TBR…

So, three off!

Total for the General TBR:  869 – only up three!


Added to the Personal TBR:

Free and 99¢ Kindle books are killing me!  Six more this week!  I can’t resist them!  (Okay, that’s actually a lie.  I resist tons of them.  I just can’t resist all of them!)

Off the Personal TBR:

I reviewed another Rutherford Montgomery/Famous Horse Story book, Crazy Kill Range, which will appear in January’s minireviews.  So, one off!

Total for the Personal TBR:  594 – five up!  This one is creeping up when it really ought to be creeping down!  *shakes fist at Kindle*


Added to the Series TBR:

Nothing added this week – go me!

Off the Series TBR:

15850894I removed one series that, on closer review, looked extremely boring (the English Ivy series by Catherine Palmer).  I also removed the Lyra Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede because I got all five of them for $2.99, which means they shifted to the Personal TBR instead.

Total for the Series TBR:  146 – DOWN TWO!!!  Woot!


Added to/Off the Mystery Series TBR:

Nothing here, and I actually still haven’t read the next Joseph O’Laughlin book yet, either; I’ve been plowing my way through Bitter Greens and also trying to catch up on a few Kindle books… I have a bad habit of adding them and then never actually reading them!

Total for the Mystery Series TBR:  Holding steady at 71.


Added to/Off the Nonfiction TBR:

No changes here.

Total for the Nonfiction TBR:  Holding steady at 58.


Grand Totals for the Week:  Up twelve and down seven means I’ve only gone up by five for the second week in a row!  Go me!  :-D