September has been a really busy month. I work at an orchard, so we are in top gear there, plus the husband had a week off for vacation (which I took off, too) – we mostly spent it working around the house, although we did get a chance to camp for a couple of nights in the newest addition to the McCafferty clan – the Zeppelin:
Through it all, I have been doing some reading, but mostly short, snappy reads that don’t require a great deal of concentration. I’ve finished the month strong with Maria V. Snyder’s books set in Ixia/Sitia – only three books left before I finish those. It’s been good to dig into a solid fantasy series.
Favorite September Read:
Despite finding the Study series to be really good, I think I’m going with Vertigo for this slot. It was a classic that I knew very little about, so I was completely sucked into the story with no idea where it was going. At first I thought it was a little slow, but by about 2/3 through, I realized that I wasn’t actually getting anything done besides reading this book – and the ending was perfect.
Most Disappointing September Read:
I had a lot of pretty meh reads in September, but none of them were particularly disappointing as I didn’t have particularly high expectations to start! But I guess I would go with A Season to Wed. I really enjoyed the first Year of Wedding novellas series, but the second year, which starts with Season, was really quite terrible overall, with low-quality writing, obnoxious main characters, and disjointed storytelling.
Other September Reads:
- Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder – 4/5 – very enjoyable third book that had me scrambling to get to the end.
- Fireman Dad by Betsy St. Amant – 2.5/5 – a story that could have been a lot better if the main character had just been a little more chill. Way too much drama.
- Homecoming Hero by Renee Ryan – 3/5 – a decent story that handled a few sensitive topics well, but that was just not terribly engaging.
- Kiss the Bride by Melissa McClone, Robin Lee Hatcher, and Kathryn Springer – 3/5 – a decent trio of novellas that were ultimately forgettable.
- The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman – 3.5/5 – beautifully told with an amazing setting, but just a little too sad for my personal taste.
- The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler – 3.5/5 – Snarky and engaging.
- Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder – 3.5/5 – a good second book, although it definitely felt like the ‘growing pains’ installment where I spent a lot of the story wanting to give the heroine a good shake.
- Oklahoma Reunion by Tina Radcliffe – 2.5/5 – a really bland but ultimately inoffensive romance featuring one of my least-favorite tropes.
- The Perfect Gift by Lenora Worth – 3/5 – a fine little fluff piece, even if it was lacking in basic logic at times.
- Playback by Raymond Chandler – 3/5 – an entertaining mystery that lost at least half a star because of all the random sex.
- Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder – 4/5 – really great start to a series that has solid world-building and an engaging protagonist.
- Poodle Springs by Raymond Chandler and Robert B. Parker – 3/5 – a good conclusion to the Phillip Marlowe stories, but Parker tended to make Marlowe a bit too bumbling for my taste.
- Toss the Bouquet by Ruth Logan Herne, Amy Matayo, and Janice Thompson – 2.5/5 – a trio of novellas that were alright but honestly were so lacking in logic that it made them rather unenjoyable.
- An Unlikely Duet by Lelia M. Silver – DNF – super boring P&P sequel. Like so boring.
In Septembers Past…
Now that I’ve been doing my Rearview Mirrors for two years, I thought it would be fun to see what my favorite and least-favorite reads were from those years.
In 2015, my favorite read was a haunting fantasy by Patricia McKillup – Solstice Wood. My most disappointing read was Donna Leon’s Quietly in Their Sleep. It was especially disappointing because I really wanted to like this mystery series, and actually did really like the main character and the setting a great deal. But Quietly, and the book just prior to it (Acqua Alta) both just had really, really weak mysteries, which meant I basically just had to sit through a couple hundred pages of Leon ranting about the hypocrisy and stupidity of Christians without a whole lot of story to make up for it.
Last year, I was gearing myself up for the emotional devastation of reading the final Codex Alera book. In the meantime, my favorite book of the month was Stormy, Misty’s Foal by Marguerite Henry – a surprisingly deep read for a children’s book, one that actually did bring tears to my eyes. My most disappointing reading was definitely Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott. I really wanted to love this book, a retelling of Cinderella set in an AU ancient Japan, but it was just too, too terrible – the story made no sense, the main character was dreadful, and Marriott definitely gave a thumbs up to casual extra-marital sex and also self-harming as an A-OK way to deal with problems: I just couldn’t get past those genuinely awful messages in a YA (or any other) book. (Although I have to say that the cover is gorgeous!)
I haven’t compared my TBR numbers lately, but I’m willing to bet that they aren’t good….
For those of you who don’t know, I’m weirdly obsessive with organizing the TBR, and have it on a spreadsheet divided into five different tabs:
- Standalones: 813 (up eleven!)
- Nonfiction: 82 (up three)
- Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…): 613 (up fifteen… curse you, irresistible free Kindle books!)
- Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 227 (up one)
- Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 105 (up two)
- The Glass Trilogy by Maria V. Snyder – Storm Glass, Sea Glass, and Spy Glass. Solid reads, but I didn’t like Opal as well as Yelena, so I didn’t enjoy them as much as the Study books.
- A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie by Kathryn Harkup – I really enjoyed this nonfiction read, even if it made my husband nervous.
- Thirty Days to Thirty by Courtney Psak – I started this yesterday when I was stranded at the doctor’s office; it’s been a free Kindle book that’s languished for a while. So far, nothing noteworthy – just eye-rolling fluff.
- Only Dead on the Inside: A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse by James Breakwell – I follow this guy on Twitter and Instagram, and figured that since he makes me laugh almost every day, I should buy his book. Luckily for me, it’s actually quite entertaining.
- The Turtles of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye – a Bethany Beach Box book that’s pretty boring.
- Lodestar Anthology #8 – New Zealand – not a book at all, but a sort of travel journal/magazine that I first heard about through my subscription to Slightly Foxed. LA comes out three times a year, and each issue focuses on a single country. I was very pleased when I received my issue because it is gorgeous! However, you will have to wait until I finish and review it for more details… mustn’t get too carried away here!
Approaching the Top of the Pile:
The probable next five reads…
- The Soulfinders Trilogy by Maria V. Snyder – Shadow Study, Night Study, and Dawn Study – super excited to read this, and super sad to realize that’s all I have left!
- Lion of Liberty by Harlow Giles Unger – a biography of Patrick Henry that I found secondhand.
- Miss Billy by Eleanor H. Porter – an old book that I’ve had on my shelf for quite some time, written by the author of Pollyanna.
- Indian Paint by Glenn Balch – still haven’t read this Famous Horse Story yet.
- The Jackaby Series – Jackaby, Beastly Bones, Ghostly Echoes, and The Dire King by William Ritter – rereads for the first three books so that I can thoroughly enjoy the concluding book that just came out at the end of August.