Rearview Mirror // January 2018

I can’t believe an entire month of 2018 is gone already!  Time is zooming by.

This month has been much better health-wise, so I’ve actually been getting some things done.  January is always a good time for new resolutions, and I have a housekeeping method that is keeping me on track so far, which is simplifying so many other things in my life!  I’ve also had a very good month selling notebooks on Etsy, which is quite exciting!!

I’ve read a lot of perfectly nice books this month, but nothing that I really fell in love with.  Unfortunately, Mom has been cleaning out a bunch of her bookcases (I come by my book-hoarding tendencies fairly!) and somehow her way of getting rid of books is to give them all to me…

Favorite January Read:

I think I’m going with Kids of Appetite by David Arnold.  While it had its weaknesses, I overall really enjoyed this story, mainly because the characters felt like real people (even though it seemed like they should just feel like stereotypes).  Plus, there was snarky humor throughout, which I always enjoy.  In the end, though, it was the depth and thoughtfulness of this book that really pushed it to the next level.  While not preachy, there were a lot of issues that came up and were dealt with in what felt like a healthy way.

Most Disappointing January Read:

While Thornhill by Pam Smy had a really engaging (and fast) format, I just couldn’t get past the way the story ended.  It felt completely inappropriate for its target age group.  I think the creepiness could have stayed without the suicide.

Other January Reads:

  • The Bees by Laline Paull – 2/5 – what the heck!?
  • The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley – 3.5/5 – a good story, but slow in spots.
  • The Cat and Mrs. Cary by Doris Gates – 4/5 – a long-time favorite that is just good fun.
  • The Cinderella List by Judy Baer – 3.5/5 – with a little more fleshing out, this could have been a really good book – the bones were there.
  • Copper-Toed Boots by Marguerite de Angeli – 4/5 – a really sweet children’s book – the main charm is the amazing illustrations by the author!
  • The Cornish Mysteries (Manna from Hades, A Colourful Death, and The Valley of the Shadow) by Carola Dunn – 3/5 – just kind of meh cozies.
  • Deadly Safari by Lisa Harris – 3.5/5 – it’s just really hard to take a book seriously when that’s the title.
  • The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley – 3/5 – interesting, but disjointed.
  • The Irish Legacy Trilogy (Irish Thoroughbred, Irish Rose, and Irish Rebel) by Nora Roberts – 3/5 – pleasant for a one-time read.
  • The Lodger by Marie Belloc Lowndes – 4/5 – a gripping read, although a bit rushed at the end.
  • The Mapmakers by John Noble Wilford – 4/5 – a really interesting nonfiction book about the history of maps and the people who create them.
  • Montana Hearts by Charlotte Carter – 3.5/5 – pleasant but predictable.
  • Safe in His Arms by Dana Corbit – 3/5 – alright but boring.
  • A Time to Heal by Linda Goodnight – 3.5/5 – do you think her name really is Goodnight, or did she just make that up?
  • Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor – 3.5/5 – a good book, but not exactly a good children’s book, despite children being the audience…
  • Wrestling Prayer by Eric and Leslie Ludy – 4.5/5 – far too challenging.

Other January Posts:

I posted what will hopefully be the first in a series of Shelfies – a really entertaining book tag created by Bibliobeth.

My sister posted a guest review of Beauty and the Beast by one of her favorite authors, K.M. Shea.

Last January…

I couldn’t put down Michael Robotham’s Shatter.  I really, really enjoyed the Joseph O’Laughlin books, and hope another one comes out this year!  I was also completed weirded out but fascinated by The Shapeshifters by Stefan Spjut.  That book was weird but amazing.

TBR Update:

I’m not even sure we want to do this.  I’m blaming it all on my mom for giving me so many books!

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:  827 (up 7, probably because I finally caught up on reading everyone’s reviews!)
  • Nonfiction:  83 (down two!)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  691 (sigh)
  • 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): 104 (down one!  Two months in a row!  Progress!)

Awaiting Review:

  • Last Christmas in Paris by Elizabeth Gayner and Heather Webb – I really enjoyed this book until the last 20-25% when it just fell flat.
  • Something Fresh by P.G. Wodehouse – I’m in love with Lord Emsworth.
  • I’m in the middle of the Mountain Pony series by Henry Larom and have so far read Mountain Pony and Mountain Pony and the Pinto Colt.  Two more books in this series!
  • I am also in the middle of the Dreamtreader trilogy.  So far, I’ve finished the first book, Dreamtreaders.
  • Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry – enjoyable, but hasn’t aged as well as the Misty series that I reread last year.

Current Reads:

  • Mountain Pony and the Rodeo Mystery by Henry Larom – book #3 in the Mountain Pony series – these are actually quite entertaining.
  • Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life by Jenna Woginrich – overall interesting so far.
  • Search for the Shadow Key by Wayne Thomas Batson – book #2 in the Dreamtreaders trilogy.
  • Amazing Gracie by Sherryl Woods – one of those romance books I picked up for a dime somewhere and never got around to reading.

Approaching the Top of the Pile:

The probable next five reads…

  • The Basket of Flowers by Christoph von Schmid – published by Lamplighter, who really does an amazing job – their books are beautiful!  However, their books can sometimes be a bit to saccharine for me, so I’ve let this one languish on the shelf for years.
  • Lost States by Michael Trinklein – my next nonfiction read… just as geography-based as the last one!
  • Hidden by Karen Olson – the first in the Black Hat Thriller series.
  • I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith – somehow, I’ve never read this classic, despite the fact that one of Smith’s other books, The Hundred and One Dalmatiansis one of my all-time favorites.
  • Radiance by Catherynne Valente – I’ve heard mixed reviews on this one so I’m not sure if I’ll like it.  But GR describes it as “a decopunk pulp SF alt-history space opera mystery set in a Hollywood—and solar system—very different from our own” so it should at least be different.