Rearview Mirror – July 2021

Progress, friends!!!

Favorite July Read

Wow, I had a LOT of meh and so-so reads this months – and a lot that were perfectly pleasant but not particularly memorable.  Even my rereads of The Last Battle and Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix weren’t my favorites from those two series.  I think I’m going to go with The Summer Seekers.  Even though I had some issues with that one, it was still a really enjoyable read with likable characters.

Most Disappointing July Read

On the whole, I think Jane Austen Made Me Do It.  I always expect ups and downs in a short story collection, but these were pretty consistently downs.

Other July Reads

July Stats

  • Total Number of Books Read:  22 (6 Kindle, 16 physical)
  • Total Pages Read:  6237
  • Average Star Rating for July:  3.54
  • Longest Book: Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix (800 pages)
  • Shortest Book:  And All Through the House (40 pages)
  • Oldest Book:  The Last Battle (published 1956)
  • Newest Book: Caroline & the Colonel and The Summer Seekers were published this year.
  • Number of New-to-Me Authors:  3, plus several in the anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It

July DNFs

Three this month!

  • A Blissful Marriage by Lory Lilian – I’ve read other P&P variations by this author before that were okay, but this one was so cringe that I just couldn’t finish, even though I made it about halfway through.  I managed to roll with the absurdity of Darcy and Elizabeth adoption this truly random child out of nowhere only a few days into their marriage, but then it just turned into this whole thing with a secret pedophile ring run by Lord someone-or-other and Elizabeth confronts this guy all on her own and just… toooo much.  Also, it’s this running “gag” that things keep happening to prevent Darcy and Elizabeth from consummating their marriage and I think it was supposed to be funny but just felt really weird and awkward.
  • 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne – Ironically, another story with a Darcy in it… I’ve enjoyed a couple of Thorne’s other books, but this one just wasn’t working for me.  I got over a hundred pages in and realized that I didn’t like Darcy, I didn’t like Tom, I didn’t like Darcy’s brother – I didn’t like anyone!  The story just felt choppy and weird to me and I wasn’t into it.
  • Part of Your World by Liz Braswell – Apparently this woman is writing a bunch of variations of the Disney versions of fairy tales.  In July, someone on Litsy was having a challenge to read variations of The Little Mermaid so I thought this would be a good chance to try one of Braswell’s books since they actually do look intriguing.  However, this is on my short list of least-favorite Disney movies from my childhood, so the book wasn’t working for me.  It’s been probably close to 30 years since I saw this movie and I hated it then, so I couldn’t really remember the characters or their interactions from the original movie.  However, I thought the concept was really interesting and the writing wasn’t bad, so I definitely can see myself checking out another of her books for a movie that I’m more familiar with.

TBR Update

This I keep updated as I go, so it’s current as of today, rather than as of the end of July.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m weirdly obsessive with organizing the TBR, and have it on a spreadsheet divided into six different tabs:

  • Standalones:  500 (down three!!)
  • Nonfiction:  127 (holding steady)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  64 (down two!)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  254 (up one)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 113 (down one – I actually finished the 87th Precinct books!!!)
  • New Arrivals – (I have a lot of books that I have been gifted or that I pick up somewhere and they get put on my “oh I’m so excited about this shiny new book” shelf… and then of course don’t actually get read.): 148 (up two)

Current Reads

Not a lot of buddy reads going on at this exact moment, so I’m only in the middle of one book – The Safest Lies by Megan Miranda.  It’s a YA thriller and pretty good so far.

Last Time on “Up Next…”

Did I actually read my probably next five reads from last time?

  • The Shetland Island series by Ann Cleeves – this is a partial completion!  I’ve read 4/8.  They’re really good and not super long, but they seem to take forever for me to read!  So I took a break from them to read some other stuff, but I’m hoping to read at least a couple more this week.
  • Books 6-10 of Leaphorn & Chee – yes!!!  I just finished book 10 yesterday.  This set of five was even better than the first five, so I’m really excited about reading more of this series – honestly, I would have kept going, but I don’t have the next five from the library yet!
  • The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie – yes!! This was a reread for me but it had been a while, so I really enjoyed it.  Plus, I had a new gorgeous special edition to enjoy!!
  • The Jackal’s Head by Elizabeth Peters – yes!!  Another solid read, which was fun because Peters can be hit or miss for me.  I didn’t LOVE this one, but it was a solid one-off read.
  • The Birdwatcher by William Shaw – not yet!!  Still hoping to read this one this month, though.

Up Next…

The probable next five(ish) reads –

  • As mentioned above, The Birdwatcher by William Shaw, which I’ve owned since June 2020 and had on my TBR even longer haha
  • The rest of the Shetland Island series – book 4 took a very unexpected turn in the personal life of the protagonist (I honestly was not a fan of the decision but hey) so I am intrigued to see where these books go next.
  • Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys – Like I mentioned in my last Rearview Mirror, Litsy has a big readathon all of October so I’m focusing on getting some thrillers off my list.  This one has lingered for a while, and then I got an edition on the cheap from Book Outlet a while ago, so maybe I’ll actually get to it!!
  • The Third Victim by Phillip Margolin – I’ve really liked most of the Margolin books I’ve read, so I’m interested to read this stand alone.
  • Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall – this is my Traveling Book Club book for this month.  It looks like the rest of the group had mixed feelings about it AND it’s kind of fat, so we’ll see how it goes!!

So that’s the wrap for July + some random October news LOL  We’ll see if I can get through August reviews soon.  Thanks for sticking with me!!!