Rearview Mirror // May 2019

May was a good month.  The weather was excellent, tons of projects got checked off the list, and we took a vacation that was topped off by a four-day weekend at home.  The gardens are 98% in, the camper (AKA the Zeppelin) is cleaned up and ready to go, we ordered a canoe rack for the 4Runner, and all in all we are ready for summer adventuring!  Also, my sister got a new kitten and he is PAINFULLY adorable.

Our trip to the Smokies was full of waterfalls, elk, and relaxing.  A definite win!  When we got back, we got a TON of stuff done around the house and yard, and that was basically just as much fun, as it’s incredibly satisfying to get stuff checked off the list!


I am legit excited about gardening this year.  We are getting ready to celebrate our fifth anniversary of moving here, and it feels like most of our hardscaping – raised beds, fences, fish pond, paths – are settling into place.  Some of the things we planted four and five years ago are really maturing, and all in all this place is suuuuuper happy in the summer.


I’ve still been doing tons of reading, but the outdoors calls to me too much for me to really have the patience to sit and write thoughtful reviews.  Plus, while on vacation, I did several rereads of old favorites, which means I pretty much just say, “THIS BOOK IS AMAZING” and the rest is more or less incoherent.  However, I did actually read all the books on my Vacation TBR, although the Books of Bayern carried over into the next week!

I discovered Litsy, and highly recommend it if you are someone who enjoys Bookstagram, or if you are just looking for a very friendly book community.  It’s more or less Instagram for books, with every post linking to a book.  You can post thoughts or quotes or short reviews (Litsy uses a four-rank system:  Pick, So-So, Pan, and Bail), and there are tons of conversations and book swaps and reading challenges and photo challenges, and people working together to listen to audio books while exercising, and everything else you can think of.  It’s a little confusing to find your way around at first.  They could really use some sort of homepage that lists different current challenges and groups and whatnot, and what I really, really wish they had was a way to bookmark posts so you can find them later, but it’s also a somewhat new website, so they are still getting things sorted.  It’s both an app and a website, so you can use it however works for you.  I’m there as @aromaofbooks, so be sure to give me a shout if you try it out!!

Favorite May Read:

Usually I don’t choose rereads, but because I had so many this month – and they were all favorites! – I am definitely going with Indiscretion by Jude Morgan.  This book is just so funny and fun, with likable characters and entertaining dialogue.  This is the third time I’ve read it, and each time has been delightful.

Most Disappointing May Read:

Probably The Trail of the Green Doll by Margaret Sutton.  I read another three books in the Judy Bolton series, and didn’t actually review them here, as they were pretty much more of the same in that series!  But The Green Doll was even more ??!!!?? than usual, as there was a character who grew up with these two neighbor guys (brothers) and ended up marrying one and moving away, but then he died and she came back and married the other brother because she’d secretly been in love with him all along??  Or something??  The whole thing had a much weirder vibe than these books usually have!

By the Numbers…

In May:

  • I finished 25 books for 6944 pages.
  • My average star rating was 3.9, probably thanks to rereading a bunch of 4.5* favorites!
  • This month I read a lot more books from my personal collection than the library/Kindle Unlimited, with 20 books from home.  As always, way more physical books – 19 this month.
  • The honors for the oldest book again go to P.G. Wodehouse – this month it was The Indiscretions of Archiepublished in 1921.
  • This month’s longest book was The Villa by Nora Roberts at 486 pages, while The Treasure is the Rose by Julia Cunningham was the shortest at only 105 pages.

May DNFs:

I had two DNFs this month, both Kindle books.

  • The Darcy Legacy by Joana Starnes – I’ve read a few P&P variations by this author and enjoyed them, but this one was just a little too far.  It starts with the fact that Darcy’s parents are both ghosts and can hang around Pemberley and watch over their children (although not really interact with them).  I was going to ride with this and see where it went, because I really liked the rest of the premise, where Mrs. Bennet has passed away, leaving her husband to raise their five daughters.  But then, around the 36% mark, through a weird series of events, the author decides to have Mr. Bennet marry Lady Catherine?!  For basically no reason – so Anne will have sisters?!  What?!  At this point I finally threw in the towel.
  • Steamborn by Eric Asher – this is a Kindle book I’ve had forever.  It wasn’t a bad story, but it just was not holding my interest at all, and I gave up about 30% in.  I’m also not a huge fan of giant bugs, so that could have been part of it!  I may return to this one at some point, but I was not feeling it at the time.

#20BooksofSummer

It’s time for the annual 20 Books of Summer challenge, which is the only one I participate in regularly!  I chose my list, and the challenge starts tomorrow!  We’ll see how I do. I always read more than twenty books in the summer, so for myself I choose some random books on my upcoming list, and those are the twenty, even though I’ll be reading other books in between!

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:  424 (up seven, which is mostly funny because last month I was down seven so)
  • Nonfiction:  89 (up three, mostly due to some intriguing reviews on Litsy)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  664 (down two)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  234 (holding steady – I still want to do some serious purging on this list, but just haven’t had time)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 115 (down one)

Awaiting Review:

I’m actually caught up, other than the Alpha Girl series (by Aileen Erin), which I’m currently reading.

Currently Reading:

Speaking of the Alpha Girl series, I’m currently on book #4, Bruja.  I read this series last summer, and even though I don’t read a lot of paranormal fiction, I really enjoyed these.  Erin is getting ready to publish the eighth book in the series this month.  I received it as an ARC and decided to reread the series before reading and reviewing the newest book.

The Probable Next Five(ish) Reads:

My newest round-robin method of book reading is doing really well for me, so I’ve actually been following my next five reads pretty closely!!

  • Planning to finish the rest of the Alpha Girl books.
  • Cliff’s Edge by Meg Tilly – the second book in the Solace Island series, and my first book for #20BooksofSummer.
  • Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills – I’m still trying to read all of Mills’s backlog, as I’ve enjoyed both of her books I’ve read so far.
  • Dreamology by Lucy Keating – I don’t remember how this book ended up on my list, and I think it will be one I either really like, or one that I don’t even finish haha
  • Up From the Sea by Leza Lowitz – this is a book in verse, and kind of outside my normal realm of reading, but I got it in a book box a while back, so I’m going to at least give it a go.

So there’s the report!  Happy June everyone!!