Rearview Mirror // April 2019

The year is flying by!!  April was super busy with lots of good weather, which means lots of getting-outside-stuff for me.  Winter is always so cozy and leisurely, and then spring hits and ALL OF THE THINGS need to get done at once!!  But I actually love getting outside and getting my hands in the dirt, so it’s a good thing.

It’s been kind of a weird month on the blog – just haven’t felt like writing any major reviews, really, so I had three batches of minireviews, plus a batch of minireviews for a new mystery series I started to read.  This always seems to happen to me in the spring, though – just too many other things on my mind!

Favorite April Read:

While I don’t usually like to choose rereads for this slot, I simply have to go with The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  This book was just as magical and perfect the second time around, solidifying its position as a book I want to keep rereading in the future!

Most Disappointing April Read:

I’ve had a lot of books that left me feeling rather ambivalent this month, but I think Wednesday Riders was the one that dragged on the longest.  I was just soooo bored over the unnecessary angst.

By the Numbers:

In April…

  • I finished 27 books for a total of 6395 pages, which is pretty average for me – a little over 200 pages per day.
  • My average star rating was 3.67, so up again!  I have really been working on not finishing books I’m not enjoying.
  • As usual, my division between personal books and library/Kindle Unlimited books was about even – 14 from home and 13 from other sources – but I still read way more physical books than Kindle books – only four Kindle titles this month.
  • Funnily enough, I read two books published in 1920 this month – Bruce by Albert Payson Terhune, and Jill the Reckless by P.G. Wodehouse.  However, the 1950s were still by far my most popular decade.  I started reading the 87th Precinct books, so that was ten 1950’s titles right there.  Plus, I’ve gotten far enough along in the Judy Bolton books that they are 1950s publications as well.
  • Besides being my favorite book of the month, The Night Circus was also the longest at 490 pages.  The shortest was Brown Sunshine of Sawdust Valley by Marguerite Henry at only 79 pages (and those include a lot of pictures!).

April DNFs:

Since I’ve been making more of an effort to DNF books that aren’t holding my attention or that I simply don’t like, I thought I’d mention them here.  In April I managed to make myself DNF five books!  That has to be some kind of record for me, as I’ve always been the type to stick it out to the bitter end, which just isn’t a good use of my time!

  • Home Sweet Home by Kim Watters – a Love Inspired title that was just too absurd and also super boring.  I mean seriously, the main character is scared of shopping by because she got lost in a store when she was a toddler???  I really feel like she would have at least learned to deal with it a LITTLE in the intervening thirty years!
  • Libertine in Love by Caroline Courtney – a while back I purchased an entire box of Regency romances on eBay because it had several Georgette Heyer titles I didn’t own.  Now I’m reading through some of the not-Heyer titles, and most of them are TERRIBLE.  In this one, my notes say, “Obviously the responsible guy is going to turn out to be a jerk and the jerk is going to turn out to be super romantic, and I don’t have time in my life for STUPID.”
  • The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan – this one has been on my TBR for a while, although I did see mixed reviews for it from the blogs I follow.  It was an interesting concept but just wasn’t for me.  Sometimes books just weird me out in a bad way, and this was one of them.  There was a lot of Christianity mockery in just the first few chapters, and there was this bizarre thing where it felt like the author was trying to hint that the father of the main character’s baby was the bear…???  I read spoilers so that isn’t true (although the real story was almost as creepy), but the whole thing was just weirding me out.
  • The Telling Pool by David Clement-Davies – I’m usually fairly patient with low-key anti-Christian messages, but I think this book suffered from me starting it directly after DNFing The Gracekeepers, and I just didn’t have the patience to wade through an entire book where a big part of the message is that all Christians are money-grubbing, hateful hypocrites while people who are wiccan are gentle, peaceful, loving souls.  I’m not sure what the obsession is with refusing to write nuanced characters, or acknowledging that there are good and bad people in any category you choose.
  • Lo, Michael by Grace Livingston Hill – at the other end of spectrum, I usually also have a lot of patience of Hill’s sometimes overly-descriptive writing, but I literally could not read a single other sentence about how angelic Michael was in appearance.  I read almost half of this book, and I think half of that was talking about how beautiful Michael was.  I think there was a good story in there somewhere, I just didn’t have the patience to dig for it!

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:  417 (down SEVEN although I will say that I’m behind on reading everyone else’s reviews – my biggest source of TBR additions!!)
  • Nonfiction:  86 (holding steady)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  666 (down one)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  234 (down 20 because I’ve also been working on purging this tab as well, although I haven’t had much time to devote to the project!)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 116 (up one)

Awaiting Review:

I’ve read the next five books in the 87th Precinct series, plus four Pride & Prejudice variations (I’ve been on a kick, although I think I may be coming out of it for now).

Currently Reading:

The Indiscretions of Archie by P.G. Wodehouse, and it honestly hasn’t been my favorite of his as the humor is mostly everything Archie tries to do going wrong, which isn’t my favorite kind of laugh – I get secondhand embarrassment too much!!

I’ve technically started (and stalled on) Vietnam: A History, but I do want to pick it back up as well and at least get through the second chapter!

The Probable Next Five(ish) Reads:

I actually did pretty well reading what I anticipated last month, so let’s see what happens with this list!

  • I have the first three books in Claire McGowan’s Paula McGuire series (the library doesn’t have the most recent three), so I’ll be reading those if the first one strikes my fancy.
  • The next three books in the Judy Bolton series – these are the last ones that I own, and I don’t think I can justify purchasing the rest at $12-15/each, which is a shame since I’ve been enjoying the later ones more.  I may invest in them slowly over time!
  • Holiday Havoc by Terri Reed – another Love Inspired book.
  • The Villa by Nora Roberts – someone gave me an entire box of Roberts’s books (do you like how often I receive batches of books in boxes??).  She’s so prolific and I don’t really like all of her books, despite loving the Bridal Quartet so much.  Still, these are in my house, so they’re at least worth reading the first few chapters before chucking them into the Salvation Army bag.
  • Carousel of Hearts by Mary Jo Putney – the next book out of that Regency romance box.

May should be a busy month – my youngest two siblings are graduating high school, Tom and I are going on vacation (hello, Smoky Mountains!!), and I’m hoping to get all the rest of the vegetables into the garden over Memorial Day weekend (so far – onions, peas, radishes, and lettuces are coming up!).  Here’s to lovely weather and productive days!!  Happy May!