I cannot believe that June is over already! The summer is slipping through my fingers!
Things are super busy as always here at the homestead. Summer months are the time for outdoor happenings. The garden is thriving – we’ve had tons of rain this month – things are blooming, painting is getting accomplished (seriously, we’ve been painting things for the four years we’ve lived here – is it EVER going to end?!), and we’ve had a few Zeppelin adventures.
Reading-wise things have been a little weird. I’ve just seemed to read a lot of books that I feel so-so about. Not terrible, not awesome, just books – which meant I wrote a lot of minireviews. It’s been quite a while since I’ve read something that was super magical. Maybe in July…
Favorite June Read:
I blew through a LOT of P&P variations in late May and early June, but the pick of the bunch was also my favorite read this month – Unequal Affections by Lara Ormiston is not just a good P&P variation, but a very good story in its own right.
Most Disappointing June Read:
This is a tough one – I read soooo many meh reads! I think I’m going with Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff. It really annoys me when a book has a great concept, but then decides to try and jam a bunch of buzzword-issues into it just to make it “relevant.” Falkoff had a great opportunity to write a thoughtful book about suicide and the people that action leaves behind, but instead went off the rails by letting gay-rights issues take over. It wasn’t that I disagreed with what she had to say, but just that it didn’t fit with the story she had started to tell, which was quite aggravating – especially when her initial story was solid.
Other June Reads:
- Alone With Mr. Darcy by Abigail Reynolds – 3* – a P&P variation where Darcy has a stepmother for literally no reason.
- Bluebells in the Mourning by KaraLynne Mackaroy – 4* – a great P&P variation if Lydia has always annoyed you.
- The Child by Fiona Barton – 3.5* – engaging but not riveting.
- The Distance Between Us by Kasie West – 3* – pretty average YA chick lit.
- Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine – 4.5* – so fun.
- Elizabeth Bennet’s Deception by Regina Jeffers – DNF – I can only take so much nonsense, people.
- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – 4* – Weird and quite interesting, yet somehow depressing.
- The Holiday Swap by Zara Stoneley – 3* – happy but nothing spectacular.
- Judy Bolton Mysteries #1-#5 by Margaret Sutton – 3* – ridiculous but adorable.
- The Man With Two Left Feet by P.G. Wodehouse – 3.5* – decent collection, but not as lighthearted as some of his later works.
- Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner – 3.5* – a decent mystery with a bit too much about Manon’s sex life.
- Mr. Darcy & Mr. Collins’s Widow by Timothy Underwood – 3* – turns out P&P isn’t that exciting if Elizabeth never hates Darcy.
- Mr. Darcy’s Letter by Abigail Reynolds – 3.5* – what if Elizabeth never reads the Hunsford letter?!
- My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse – 4* – fun collection of shorts.
- Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner – 3.5* – a good second book, although it did drag a bit in spots.
- Planting With Perennials by Richard Bird – 3* – very basic beginner’s guide.
- The Possible by Tara Altebrando – 3* – not bad, but very scattered.
- The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle – 3* – a fun P&P sequel focusing on Mary, but kind of dull.
- Rain & Retribution by L.L. Diamond – 3.5* – a P&P variation where Elizabeth finds out that Darcy isn’t as bad as she thought.
- Remembrance of the Past by Lory Lilian – 2.5* – a pretty obnoxious P&P variation.
- Ring of Truth by Jaclyn Weist – 3* – utterly ridiculous yet still adorable.
- The Second Chance by Joana Starnes – 3* – brilliant concept, poor execution.
- The Squire’s Tale Series by Gerald Morris – 4* – really excellent series focusing on King Arthur’s round table.
- Swamp Cat by Jim Kjelgaard – 3.5* – lively story about a cat and a muskrat farm. Good times.
- An Unpleasant Walk by C. Rafe – 3.5* – fairly average P&P variation.
- An Unwavering Trust by L.L. Diamond – 3.5* – if all the original characters are dead, is it really a P&P variation?
- The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – 3* – so slow that I didn’t even bother reading the sequel.
Weirdly, I was painting a bunch of stuff then, too! I was also reading Michael Robotham’s Joseph O’Laughlin series and a LOT of Dee Henderson. While both had their ups and downs, my favorite for the month was Robotham’s Watching You – delightfully creepy. Meanwhile, Henderson’s Full Disclosure was one of my least favorite books of the YEAR.
And, as a side note, I’m SUPER excited because Robotham is publishing another O’Laughlin book in July!!!!
Other June Posts:
I managed to post my next Shelfie! At this rate, I should have gotten through all my shelves sometime in 2025.
I was a little late picking out my list of 20 books, but I finally got around to it here! My challenge is to read twenty of my own, personally-owned books – while still sticking to my (very loose) reading method which involves reading books from all of my TBR tabs. So far, I’ve only read two books on the list, but I have several coming up soon! Originally, Elizabeth Bennet’s Deception was also one of the twenty, but I DNF’d that one and have substituted Infinity Lost instead. Here’s the updated list:
- The Vanishing Shadow by Margaret Sutton
- Ring of Truth by Jaclyn Weist
- Frederica by Georgette Heyer
- Scotty by Frances Pitt
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
- The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit
- Everblue by Brenda Pandos
- Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
- Mystery Over the Brick Wall by Helen Fuller Orton
- When Patty Went to College by Jean Webster
- Kilmeny of the Orchard by L.M. Montgomery
- Until There Was You by Kristin Higgins
- Young Pioneers by Rose Wilder Lane
- Utah Lion by James Ralph Johnson
- Saving Mars by Cidney Swanson
- Collie to the Rescue by Albert Payson Terhune
- Early Candlelight by Maud Hart Lovelace
- Smoky by Will James
- Brown Sunshine of Sawdust Valley by Marguerite Henry
- Infinity Lost by S. Harrison
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: 836 (up ten!? Legit don’t know how that happened…)
- Nonfiction: 77 (down two)
- Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…): 678 (down eight!)
- Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 230 (holding steady)
- Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 106 (holding steady)
I’ve actually gotten pretty caught up on reviews – it’s somewhat easy when I don’t have a lot to say about the books! I finished the Paper Magician trilogy today, mostly be skimming the last book because it was boring me out of my mind. I also have the first book from Mary Freeman’s gardening series (I had to actually buy the second book from ebay and am still waiting for it to arrive – the library had books 1 and 3 but not book 2?!), and will review it whenever I get to finish the series. I also somehow started reading this werewolf book that I got for free, Becoming Alpha by Aileen Erin. It actually was pretty good, so now I’m on book four… what is my life.
- The Yellow Phantom by Margaret Sutton – Judy Bolton mystery #6
- How to Cheat at Everything by Simon Lovell – this book is super interesting, but a lot of information to take in.
- Bruja by Aileen Erin – I can’t explain why I’m totally enjoying these books right now.
- Fairest by Gail Carson Levine – even though this isn’t a direct sequel to Ella Enchanted, it’s apparently set in the same world, and I don’t remember reading it before!
Approaching the Top of the Pile:
The probably next five reads…
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – this is the next book I’ve received from The Traveling Book Club (Playlist for the Dead was the first). I’ve always meant to read a Gaiman book, and even have a few on the TBR. I’m not sure this is the one that I would have chosen, but I’m still intrigued to read it.
- Alpha Unleashed by Aileen Erin – let’s be real, I’m going to finish this series.
- The Mystic Ball by Margaret Sutton – I still have plenty of Judy Bolton mysteries to roll through!
- Frederica by Georgette Heyer – a reread I’m really looking forward to, plus it’s #3 for #20BooksofSummer!
- Scotty by Frances Pitt – I’ve owned this book for Y E A R S and have never read it. Time to knock this one out PLUS check another book off the #20BooksofSummer list!