Rearview Mirror // February 2018

I can already tell that 2018 is going to be a year that zooms by.  Although honestly it feels like the older I get, the faster time goes in general, so there’s that.

February was overall a pretty quiet month (thankfully).  Apple season has lasted a lot longer than average because of the huge crop, so I have still been delivering apples and cider throughout the month, but we finally sold the last of them, so Monday will be my last day for the year.  Luckily, spring is on the way, so I will soon be very busy with various gardening plans – I already have some seeds planted in the windowsill!!

Book-wise things have been pretty normal.  I’ve read 50 books so far this year.  On the blog, I’m a bit behind with reviews.  February saw three minireview posts just to try and get things caught up!  (However, I was unsuccessful.)

I’ve subscribed to two different book boxes that send random used books, so those have been fun.  I’ve only gotten a couple of boxes so far, but I really like Yureka – you fill out a book-related questionnaire and they send books they think you will like.   If you’re organized, you can go back and fill out a review on the books later so they can continue to send you books that you’ll like even better.

Used Books Monthly is a little more vague – you just check off genres you like – but really inexpensive: three books for $12.49.  I’ve only gotten one box from them so far, and we will see how it goes.  The first month only had one book that I will probably actually read, so this one may end up getting unsubscribed from if I still feel like most of the books are meh.

Finally, I have an on-and-off subscription to LitCube, depending on my budget!  This is more of a traditional book box that sends you book-related goodies as well as an actual book.  I really like how the book is just completely random each month (I don’t like being tied down to a genre), and how most of the goodies tie in with where the book is set.  I’ve enjoyed both books that I’ve received from them as well (The Viking’s Chosen and Last Christmas in Paris).  You also earn points each month, and can use the points to get additional swag or free boxes, which is fun.  However, it’s more expensive than the others, which is why I don’t do it every month.  Luckily, it’s really easy to subscribe and unsubscribe, but still save all of your information (and points).

Favorite February Read

I had a lot of 4* reviews this month, but none of them were just WOW reads.  Still, I think I’m going with Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.  This story was an incredibly fun romp with enough intensity to keep me glued to the pages.  I didn’t agree with all the philosophy, but definitely found it entertaining.

Most Disappointing February Read

Weirdly, I didn’t read any terrible books this month!  So I think I’m going to go with Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb, mainly because I enjoyed the first 3/4 of this book SO much, and then the ending just sort of petered out.  It felt like the characters all suddenly changed into different people, which was disappointing, as I had really gotten attached to everyone.

Other February Reads

  • Amazing Gracie by Sherryl Woods – 3/5 – chick lit at it’s most regular.
  • The Basket of Flowers by Christoph von Schmidit – 3/5 – not a bad story, but quite prosy.
  • Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry – 3.5/5 – a nice story (with beautiful illustrations), but not as strong as the Misty books.
  • Dreamtreader Trilogy (Dreamtreaders; Search for the Shadow Key; and War for the Waking World) by Wayne Thompson Batson – 3/5 – interesting and decent for a one-time read, but not really that memorable.
  • Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica 3.5/5 – interesting, but I wasn’t convinced about the motive of the villain.
  • I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith – 4/5 – beautiful writing, but slow in parts.
  • Japanese Fairy Tales by Yei Theodora Ozaki – 3.5/5 – apparently stepmothers are despised all ’round the world.
  • Lost States by Michael J. Trinklein – 4/5 – entertaining nonfiction about places that almost were.
  • Made from Scratch by Jenna Woginrich – 4/5 – a really fun place to start if you are looking to become more self-sufficient in steps that are actually doable.
  • Mountain Pony series (Mountain Pony; Mountain Pony and the Pinto Colt; Mountain Pony and the Rodeo Mystery; and Mountain Pony and the Elkhorn Mystery) by Henry V. Larom – 4/5 – fun, although somewhat dated, western adventures with a likable protagonist.
  • The Mystery of the Empty Room by Augusta Huiell Seaman – 3.5/5 – fun children’s mystery wherein the main characters needed to converse with one another more.
  • Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend – 4/5 – Engaging children’s fantasy – I need the sequel!
  • An Odd Situation by Sophie Lynbrook – 4/5 – a unique P&P retelling that was fun, although not strong on action.
  • Psmith, Journalist by P.G. Wodehouse – 4.5/5 – almost listed as my favorite book this month.  Such a fun romp.
  • Something Fresh by P.G. Wodehouse – 4.5/5 – I really love this book, which introduces Lord Emsworth and Blandings Castle.  All the usual Wodehouse chaos.
  • The Viking’s Chosen by Quinn Loftis – 3.5/5 – not the kind of book I would usually pick up, but it ended up being a fun read.
  • Wedding Date Rescue by Sonya Weiss – 3.5/5 – fun chick lit.  I would totally read the sequel if it was actually published yet.

Other February Posts

I participated in my second Shelfie by Shelfie post – hopefully more to come!

Last February…

I really enjoyed reading Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Clubeven though it isn’t exactly my usual type of book, being rather serious and novel-y.  I still haven’t gotten around to reading any of Tan’s other books, but I do have several on the list!

TBR Update

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 (holding steady!)
  • Nonfiction:  82 (down one!)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  701 (up ten… Mom is still giving me books!)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  229 (up two)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 104 (holding steady!)

Awaiting Review

  • Curse Workers trilogy by Holly Black (White Cat, Red Gloves, and Black Heart) – um.  I wanted this series to be like ten books longer.
  • The next set of five Love Inspired books – an overall better batch this time
  • George Washington’s Secret Six by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger – a really engaging nonfiction book about the spy ring in New York City during the Revolution.
  • No One To Trust by Lynette Eason – the first in a trilogy, this one will get reviewed when I’ve finished the other two.  Good so far.
  • Tulipomania by Mike Dash – I really do love nonfiction about random things, and the tulip mania in Holland during the late 1600’s is about as random as it gets!
  • Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu – a nice children’s fantasy book, but lacking the magic.

Current Reads

  • This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills – just started this one this morning, and I’m already in love with Sloane.
  • Nowhere To Turn by Lynette Eason – so intense.
  • Black Beauty by Anna Sewell – really looking forward to revisiting this childhood favorite.
  • I See You by Clare Mackintosh – super creepy.

Approaching the Top of the Pile

The probable next five reads…

  • The Night Ferry by Michael Robotham – whenever I finish at least one of the thrillers I’m already reading.  I can handle two at a time, but three??
  • Uneasy Money by P.G. Wodehouse
  • Black Beauty’s Clan by Diana and Josephine Pullein-Thompson – long story, but I was lead to remember these Black Beauty sequels recently and immediately found and purchased them on eBay.  Totally ready for a trip down memory lane!
  • Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana – a Yureka book box book – wild card!
  • Beauty and the Beast by K.M. Shea – my sister has been on my case to read these fairy tale retellings FOREVER so I am finally going to do it!

Happy March!!!