The Midnight Kittens // by Dodie Smith

//published 1978//

Growing up, The Hundred and One Dalmatians was one of my very favorite books, and I read it so many times.  The amazing illustrations by Janet and Anne Grahame-Johnstone still make me so happy and the story is just too perfect for words.  More recently, I discovered that there was actually a sequel!  And while The Starlight Barking was a little strange (and had actual magic), it was still a lot of fun.  Now for some reason, Goodreads has The Midnight Kittens listed as Book #3 in the Hundred and One Dalmatian series, so I decided to give it a go.  I found a secondhand copy on eBay, and was curious to see how it tied into the other two books.  The short answer?  It doesn’t.  So that was the first disappointment.

The next disappointment was that this book just wasn’t… interesting?  I’m not even sure what the word is that I’m looking for.  I’ve only read a couple of Smith’s books.  Most recently, I read I Capture the Castlewhich, while it wasn’t an instant classic for me (as it is for so many others), I still found incredibly readable – the writing itself was a delight, and the story very well-crafted.  But The Midnight Kittens lacked that.  The story was directionless and the characters not particularly interesting.  I just couldn’t get into it.

Basically, Tom and Pam are twins (around 12 years old) who have been going to school in London, but live with their Gram in Suffolk, as their parents died when the twins were quite young.  The story revolves around a long weekend that they spend visiting Gram.  Except… not much actually happens.  They stay up late to see if they can see some wild hedgehogs come to eat the milk and bread Gram has set out, and instead see four kittens.  Pam immediately decides that they are magic kittens (??).  Over the course of the weekend, they take a tour of a local house, a run-down mansion called Freke Hall.  The next day they go with Gram to visit a friend of hers in a nursing home, and staying in the same home is a very old lady who once lived in Freke Hall when she was a little girl.  She tells Tom and Pam about a secret room where she once hid a painting.  Tom and Pam sneak into the house when when they get home and find the secret room, and also meet some friendly squatters who are coming there to live (??).  Meanwhile, the kittens appear at midnight each night, exactly at midnight, to eat their milk and bread.  Tom is afraid to tell Gram about the kittens, because he isn’t sure if she will adopt them or have them put down (??).  Eventually, the twins tell this whole story to Gram (along with some other side adventures I haven’t bothered to include) and Gram doesn’t believe them, because Pam used to tell made-up stories, and suddenly they are all emotionally devastated by the broken trust and Tom and Pam go back to school heavily burdened by the fact that Gram doesn’t believe them (??).  But then Gram sees the kittens and calls them and tells them everything is fine and then everyone is happy la-de-da.  ??????

It was all just so rambling and pointless!  The kittens weren’t really that much of the story, it’s mostly Tom and Pam being obnoxious children – this book made me feel so old, because all I could do was roll my eyes at the way the twins were so annoying condescending towards their Gram the entire time – explaining to her how Tom is now agnostic and Pam is an atheist and how sad it is that people still believe in God (despite the fact that Gram does).  They’re always giving Gram advice about how she should be running her household and ways that she could be saving money and I don’t know, they just seemed so bratty the entire time, which is probably why I found this book so tedious.  They were SUCH know-it-alls.

The whole book was very disjointed and kind of read like a weird dream.  It was fairly short, for which I was thankful.  I was quite disappointed in this story, but at least I don’t have to worry about making room for The Midnight Kittens on my permanent bookshelves.

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Shelfie by Shelfie // Shelf 1E

Last fall, Bibliobeth started a new book tag, Shelfie by Shelfie.  You can see her original post here (and her most recent Shelfie here) – and I’ve nabbed her image as well.  :-D  The concept is that you take a picture of a bookshelf, and then answer ten questions about the books on it.  I have about a billion bookshelves, so I thought that I would give it a go!

You guys aren’t going to believe this, but we are actually at the bottom of Shelf 1!

The second thing you won’t believe is that we actually reorganized the lower room, so when I do my next Shelfie, and you finally get to see Shelf 2, there will not be piles of junk surrounding it!  I am very excited about this.

Also, if you are interested in my past Shelfies, you can find the link to all of them here.

Anyway, for today, onto Shelf 1E, which you cannot even see in the picture of Shelf 1 because it is buried in random things that needed a place to live while we built our new storage loft.

And now, onto the questions!

1 – Is there any reason for this shelf being organized the way it is, or is it purely random?

As I have mentioned in the past, I tend to organize fiction in alphabetical order by the last name of the author when possible.  Sometimes I also will put a series of books together if they fit on a shelf particularly well.  So here we have my beautiful hardcover copies of the Chronicles of Narnia in a little spot just the right size, and then books whose authors’ names start with Burnett-Corbett.

2 – Tell us a story about one of the books on this shelf that is special to you; i.e. how you got it, a memory associated with it, etc.

There are actually several good ones on here, but I think that I will have to go with The Secret Garden and The Little Princess which my mother gave to me together.  They are both illustrated beautifully by Tasha Tudor, and when I was a girl we would all read these two books together every year, The Secret Garden in the early spring and The Little Princess in the winter.  I am much fonder of The Secret Garden because The Little Princess always seemed sadder.

3 – Which book from this shelf would you ditch if you were forced to and why?

Probably The Riddle of the Stone Elephant, which is a Bruce Campbell mystery.  I honestly have no idea why I purchased that book or even who Bruce Campbell is, and have never read it and probably never will if I’m quite honest.

4 – Which book from this shelf would you save in an emergency and why?

I feel like it’s a bit of a cheat to say The Secret Garden again, so this time I am going to go with Mr. Piper’s Bus.  This book is absolutely adorable about a bus driver who goes on a long holiday and collects an entire menagerie of pets on the way.  The illustrations are perfect and it’s one of those books that I believe is out of print as I never see it anywhere.

5 – Which book has been on this shelf for the longest time?

This is always a tricky question for me, as I have been collecting books for a very long time!!!  But, as so often happens, my earliest book is a gift from my mom, who definitely helped shape me into the book-hoarder I am today.  She gave me A Little Princess for Christmas in 1994, so I’ve had that book for 24 years!!

6 – Which book is the newest addition to this shelf?

Honestly, these are basically all oldies.  I think the newest one is The Case of the Fugitive Firebug by Scott Corbett.  I read his Inspector Tearle series a while ago (don’t be fooled, the “Inspector” is actually a teenager), and purchased this one secondhand at the time.

7 – Which book on this shelf are you most excited to read (or reread if this is a favorite shelf)?

There honestly aren’t any books that I am yearning to read on this shelf, although I do love them all!  Probably The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  I do love Narnia a great deal!

8 – If there is an object on this shelf apart from books, tell us the story behind it.

This is the bottom shelf, so I don’t have any knickknacks on this one.

9 – What does this shelf tell us about you as a reader?

That I have a great fondness for children’s books.

 – Choose other bloggers to tag or choose a free question you make up yourself.

I highly encourage everyone to give this lil Q&A a whirl, as it is great fun!

For a free question,

10 – In what order should the Chronicles of Narnia be read?

As you can see, my hardcover editions were published after it was mysteriously dictated that people should read Narnia in chronological order.  I think that that’s a bunch of hogwash.  These books flow together the best when read in published order, which is how I keep them shelved, because I’m passive-aggressive that way.  In general, I like to read series in published order first, and then later reread them in chronological order if it seems like it would be interesting.  There’s something very engaging about reading the ideas in the order that they were released from the author’s brain!

As always, thanks to Bibliobeth for coming up with this fun book tag.  And tune in next time to see Shelf 2!

July Minireviews + #20BooksofSummer

Sometimes I don’t feel like writing a full review for whatever reason, either because life is busy and I don’t have time, or because a book didn’t stir me enough.  Sometimes, it’s because a book was so good that I just don’t have anything to say beyond that I loved it!  For whatever reason, these are books that only have a few paragraphs of thoughts from me.

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine – 2*

//published 2006//

I recently reread Ella Enchantedwhich was a childhood favorite and is still a book that I love.  Full of delightful characters, fun world-building, and a really excellent story, I’ve read it many times and still enjoy it.  Somehow, I hadn’t realized that Levine had written another book set in the same world as Ella, although not a direct sequel.  Part of me wishes that I still didn’t know that, because Fairest was pretty terrible.  The main problem was the heroine, Ava, who was incredibly boring, and spent the entire book whining about how ugly she was.  I mean CONSTANTLY.  Every.  Page.  And it never really felt like a lesson came out of that, or if it did it was very muddled.  If the prince thought she was beautiful the first time he saw her… was she really not as ugly as she thought?  Because here’s the thing, ugly/plain people often DO become more beautiful in our eyes as we get to know and love them, but if you’re just sitting there and someone walks into a room – you don’t know anything about them, and literally just judge them on how they appear at that moment.  So the prince is either lying, has horrible taste, or Ava isn’t actually that ugly.  All of those answers annoyed me.

Anyway, the rest of the story was also very weak – I’m never a fan of a plot where the villain is actually NOT the villain but is being controlled by another, in-the-background villain.  This seems convoluted and confusing.  All in all, I skimmed large portions of Fairest, and had trouble focusing on the pages because I was so busy rolling my eyes at Ava’s endless whining about her appearances.

Frederica by Georgette Heyer – 4.5* – #20BooksofSummer

//published 1965//

This was my third read for #20BooksofSummer (you can find my original post here), and a thoroughly enjoyable one it was.  While I had read Frederica quite a while ago (2012), it had been several years.  At the time of my initial reading, it was actually one of the first Heyer books I had read (somehow, I didn’t discover her until adulthood!), but even after reading several of Heyer’s other books since then, I still found this one to be adorable and fun.  I think that part of the reason I love this one so much is that Alverstoke, the unwilling hero, falls in love not just with Frederica, but with her whole family.  I just loved the way that he went from being a selfish, lonely Mr. Grumpy-pants to being part of a happy, loving family.  While Alverstoke was a smidge *too* selfish to really be my favorite Heyer hero, he was still quite nice.  Frederica is a typical, but nonetheless enjoyable, Heyer heroine, being independent and intelligent without being too sassy and obnoxious.  She doesn’t take any nonsense from Alverstoke (or anyone else) and is such a wonderful sister.  My only complaint about her was how she could possibly be blind to her sister’s preferred beau??

All in all, Frederica is a delightful read for anyone looking for a bit of relaxation.  I wasn’t feeling super great over the weekend, and this ended up being the perfect book to devour.

Scotty by Frances Pitt – 3.5* – #20BooksofSummer

//published 1932//

I purchased this book years ago at a book sale somewhere, but somehow had never gotten around to reading it before.  This ended up  being a perfectly enjoyable, although not outstanding read about a Highland fox cub who is raised in captivity buy then escapes and adjusts to life in the wild.  It had a very Jim Kjelgaard-y vibe for me, and it was fun to read an outdoors book about an area of the world that is unfamiliar to me.  It was written between the Wars, so it was also an interesting, if somewhat limited, glance into life when things were starting to really undergo a big cultural change.  While I’m not convinced this will be a classic that I read time and again, it was still engaging – and also Book #4 for #20BooksofSummer!

The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit – 4.5* – #20BooksofSummer

//published 1907//

This book is so precious that I just wanted to eat it up.  Every time I thought the story couldn’t get more adorable, it did.  These are the kind of children’s books that I grew up with, and I can’t believe that I didn’t discover Nesbit until adulthood!  This wasn’t a story full of angst or the need for anyone to “discover” herself – just a roly-poly happy story about four children and some magical adventures.  I can’t wait to read more Nesbit!!!  #6 for #20BooksofSummer.

NB: #5 for the list is actually A Wrinkle in Time which I have already read but won’t be reviewing until I have finished some more books in the series.

The Tottering TBR // Episode 20

A weekly(ish) post wherein I pretend to lament the fact that I have so many books on my TBR… but in fact am secretly rubbing my hands together with delight that there are so many amazing books left to be discovered…

I haven’t had a lot of books to review this week, so the TBRs will only be on the rise, I fear…

Added to the General TBR:

I’m not exactly saying that I added nine books to my list this week, but I may have added nine books to my list this week.  I have a weakness for marriage of convenience tropes, and also a weakness for fairytale retellings, and I got my hands on lists of both??  I honestly thought I was pretty strong for only adding seven!!!

The other two books came from reviews from fellow bloggers.  I was quite taken by Cleopatra’s review of Take Me In by Sabine Durrant, which sounds delightfully creepy.  While I’m not always a fan of domestic thrillers, Bibliobeth’s review of Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris left me feeling very intrigued.

Off the General TBR:

Nothing…!!!!

Total for the General TBR:  846!

*****

Updates to the Personal TBR:

So I have been working on an ongoing project to organize all of my Kindle books.  I have a bad habit of picking them up for free or for 99c and now I own tons of Kindle books and half of them are part of a random series and some of them I’ve started to read but didn’t like but now I can’t remember if I did or not and the whole thing is the kind of disorganized mess that makes my soul shudder.

Determined to address this, I of course created a spreadsheet (two, actually, but that’s besides the point) and have been sifting through every book on my Kindle to find out if it’s part of a series or not, whether or not I’ve read it, whether or not I would ever read it again, and sorting everything into various collections.  I feel SO MUCH BETTER about the whole thing and also feel like I can actually read books on my Kindle and get somewhere.

Well.  All that to say, I didn’t actually purchase any new books this week, but the list did change as I added what is hopefully the FINAL round of books that I apparently own but didn’t have on this spreadsheet before.  I think my Personal TBR spreadsheet now truly has EVERY BOOK I OWN on it in some form!  I did actually get rid of some books from this TBR as well, as I apparently had added books that I intended to download via Bookfunnel that have since expired, and that sort of thing.  I’m also currently reading a batch of my own personal books, so hopefully a few more will actually come off of this list sometime!

So this number did go up this week, but hopefully from here forward it will actually genuinely reflect whether or not I have read or purchased books, and not just that I found another bunch of books that hadn’t been accounted for before!

Total for the Personal TBR:  687

*****

Series TBR:  No change – still at 228

*****

Mystery Series TBR:  No change – still at 106

*****

Updates to the Nonfiction TBR:

None added, but one off!  I finally finished How to Cheat at Everything by Simon Lovell, which was honestly a very fun and entertaining read.

Total for the Nonfiction TBR:  76

*****

Grand Total for the Week:  18 added and one up, so a net gain of 17!!!  I may have a problem!!!

How to Cheat at Everything // by Simon Lovell

A Con Man Reveals the Secrets of the Esoteric Trade of Cheating, Scams, and Hustles

//published 2003//

It’s possible that my love for reading nonfiction on completely random topics was inherited from my dad, who is the same way.  We are always reading books on obscure things and then recommending them to the other.  Dad read How to Cheat at Everything quite a while back and really enjoyed it, and it’s been on my list ever since.  It’s basically a back-stage pass to the world of swindlers.

Lovell sets up the book by introducing us to his friend Freddy the Fox.  Freddy is an expert in the world of scamming, but is now retired (mostly) and is willing to share his tricks and tips to the public, purely to help them avoid getting swindled.  Lovell emphasizes the foolishness (and illegality) of actually trying to perform these cheats yourself, and quite honestly while I think that you could learn and practice a few of things, like some of the bar bets (which also aren’t illegal), overall I doubt reading the instructions in this book would really enable you to learn how to stack a poker deck or load your own dice.

The book is divided into several broad sections:  bar bets, street hustles, fairs/carnivals, cons, cards, dice, and beating the system.  Some sections were more interesting than others.  For instance, I was quite intrigued by how a bunch of the fair games work, but found myself growing bored with descriptions of multiple ways to stack/fake shuffle cards.

The overall premise is sound:  con men consistently play on their victim’s greed.  They will present you with “fail safe” opportunities to turn a profit, be it a bet that seems like you can’t lose, a game that seems so simple, or the promise of a later reward.  Lovell repeated frequently that what will protect you from being a victim is your willingness to walk away from these types of “opportunities.”

It was super interesting to realize how swindlers really work, as far as gently leading their victims into the con with sweet talk.  I really enjoyed the section on the bar bets, which are probably the most harmless of the lot (usually very low money, and people don’t mind losing as much when they get to learn the trick), because not only are they fun, they are really more about the verbal set-up, persuading people that this is just a casual idea that has just popped into mind and convincing them how impossible it would be to, say, predict which side a match is going to land on.

My personal favorite bar bet, which actually made me get out of my chair and grab a tape measure and a glass, is for “Freddy” to casually begin musing as to whether the circumference of a glass or its height is a longer distance – at this point, it’s pretty obvious that it’s the circumference, but this is just the hook.  Pretty soon, Freddy slides a pack of cigarettes under the glass – what about circumference versus the entire height, including the cigarette package?  Basically, Freddy gets his victim hooked by just getting them intrigued about the answer to the question – and by the time there are multiple cigarette packages under the glass, it starts to look obvious that the height has overtaken the circumference… which is when Freddy starts taking bets.  The best part about this one is that there isn’t any trick – it’s just that the circumference of a glass is SO much longer than you think it is!  The pub glass I pulled out of our cabinet is 5 3/4″ high… and 10 1/2″ around!  Another glass I pulled out is less than 5″ tall, but over 11″ in circumference – so twice around as it is tall, which genuinely doesn’t seem possible.  It’s enough to make me want to head down to the pub on Saturday night and see if I can pull in a few extra bucks…

A disadvantage to this book is that it is a smidge dated.  A lot has changed since it was published 15 years ago, and it would be fun to get an expanded edition that talks more about internet scams (which weren’t touched on much in this edition) and doesn’t assume that everyone is carrying around a package of cigarettes (although maybe that’s just a sign of a con man).

Reading this book also really made want to watch The Sting again, as well as several other movies that Lovell mentioned in passing.  I also have a deep love for the Oceans movies (George Clooney <3), so maybe I’ll pull those out again.  These kinds of scams are always a lot more fun when you’re on the inside.

All in all, How to Cheat at Everything is a readable and interesting book that will help make sure that you’re the grumpy person everywhere you go, refusing to jump in on casual poker games, to attempt to win a stuffed animal for your child at the fair, or even to buy a train ticket for that nice old man who reassures you that he will mail you a check as soon as he gets home.  4/5 and recommended.

Shelfie by Shelfie // Shelf 1D

Last fall, Bibliobeth started a new book tag, Shelfie by Shelfie.  You can see her original post here (and her most recent Shelfie here) – and I’ve nabbed her image as well.  :-D  The concept is that you take a picture of a bookshelf, and then answer ten questions about the books on it.  I have about a billion bookshelves, so I thought that I would give it a go!

So right now all of the books that are in the to-be-reviewed pile are parts of series that I’m still in the midst of reading.  I’ve discovered that it’s easier for me, as a general rule, to review series all in one go at the end, so I’m stalling on reviews right now – which means it’s the perfect time for another shelfie!

Shelf 1, surrounded by piles of stuff thanks to never-ending remodeling projects.

I’m still working my way down Shelf 1 – a list of all the shelfies I’ve done so far can be found here.

Here’s today’s shelf – Shelf 1D!

And here are the questions!

1 – Is there any reason for this shelf being organized the way it is, or is it purely random?

This shelf follows my regular pattern of shelving my fiction by the last name of the author.  This shelf all B’s, except as I’m looking at it, I’m noticing that somewhere along the line two C books got left behind!

2 – Tell us a story about one of the books on this shelf that is special to you; i.e. how you got it, a memory associated with it, etc.

My edition isn’t this cool.

Emerson Bennett’s “Tale of the Ohio Frontier,” titled Forest Rose, is a book that you’ve probably only heard of if you’re from my home local of Fairfield County, Ohio.  Written in 1848, my copy (which, honestly, I stole from my mom a long time ago… our family has a long and noble history of book snitching from one another) is a reprint from 1976, undertaken privately by the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Lancaster, Ohio.  While some of the bits of the book are true – there actually was a battle between settlers and Indians on a large hill located in what is now Lancaster – Bennett took a great deal of poetic license to write his dramatic tale wherein a beautiful young woman is kidnapped by the Indians and then rescued by her young beau, with the assistance of a colorful backwoodsman.  While the story is, at times, ridiculous, and is full of language/concepts that may be somewhat offensive to our more cultured sensibilities, it’s still a rollicking good tale that I haven’t read in many a year but hope to reread soon.

Rose Forester, aka Forest Rose, the heroine of the tale, is a popular name for everything from schools to streets around here.  The two hills, Flat Rocks and Standing Stone (now Mount Pleasant) are both city parks (half of Flat Rocks is also the Forest Rose Cemetery, and a beautifully haunting place to walk).  The book itself is so fun to read if you are from the area, to recognize landmarks and names that still carry on even 150 years after the book was originally published.

3 – Which book from this shelf would you ditch if you were forced to and why?

Probably one of the Patricia Beatty books.  While I do like her books, I don’t LOVE any of them.

4 – Which book from this shelf would you save in an emergency and why?

Possibly Family Grandstand by Carol Ryrie Brink.  That’s such a fun copy of a super happy little book.

5 – Which book has been on this shelf for the longest time?

A lot of these are books I have had for a long, long time.  This question made curious as to which one really had been around the longest!  While not ALL of them have dates in them, most of them do – and I seem to have acquired the majority of these books in 1998??  Not sure what happened twenty years ago to trigger extra book purchasing, but go past-me!

Anyway, the actual winner of the longest-owned book goes to one that you can’t even see in the picture because it is on the very far right and hidden behind the Thornton W. Burgess books – Racketty-Packetty House by France Hodgson Burnet (who wrote The Secret Garden and A Little Princess).  This is just a small picture book about dolls living in a dollhouse.  The notation says that Mom gave it to me in 1993, when I was but a mere child of 11.

6 – Which book is the newest addition to this shelf?

White Cat and Black Heart by Holly Black.  I read these books (along with the middle book, Red Glove, recently and really liked them.  There are a couple places I purchase books from on eBay, where if I buy four books, I get a 15% discount, so when I had another book I really “needed” a little bit ago, I threw these in, too, which means I actually saved money, right??

7 – Which book on this shelf are you most excited to read (or reread if this is a favorite shelf)?

Oooo this is tough, because looking through the books on this shelf made me realize that I actually want to reread several of these!!  I LOVE Carol Ryrie Brink and am always up for reading one of her books again.  Two of the other books are ones that I’ve read within the last year or so and liked so well that I purchased them, and would love to reread them again as well.  They’re kind of completely opposite books, but both totally recommended – A String in the Harp by Nancy Bond and Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton.

8 – If there is an object on this shelf apart from books, tell us the story behind it.

Actually, while I do usually have knickknacks around, this shelf is just books.  Although if you look closely at the top of the picture you’ll see the bottoms of some snow globes that are on the shelf above it – they’re on of our favorite souvenirs to collect!

9 – What does this shelf tell us about you as a reader?

That I hang on to books FOREVER.

10 – Choose other bloggers to tag or choose a free question you make up yourself.

I highly encourage everyone to give this lil Q&A a whirl, as it is great fun!

For a free question,

Do you have some shout-outs for any of the other books on this shelf?

This shelf is so full of gems that I feel like I have to at least mention a few of the other books that didn’t come up in other answers!!

The Pink Motel by Carol Ryrie Brink is really one of my favorites.  It’s such a funny and adorable story about a family that inherits a small motel in Florida, and the adventures that ensue.  I think this book may be on of the reasons that I’ve always dreamed of owning my own little motel!

Thornton W. Burgess’s books are also childhood favorites.  His stories, which he illustrated himself, are all about a neighborhood of woodland creatures and are just fantastic.

Finally, out of all of these books, I’ve probably read Magic in the Alley the most number of times.  A girl and her friend discover a magic box in an antique shop, and this leads to an entire summer of finding something magical in every new alley they explore.  I’ve always loved alleys – it’s my favorite way to really get a flavor of a neighborhood – and this book is a perfect blend of adventure and magic.

*****

That’s all for this edition!  Next time, Shelf 1E – the last of the shelves on Shelf 1!!

The Tottering TBR // Episode 19

Happy Independence Day!!!

And what better way to celebrate than by attempting to reinstate my weekly(ish) Tottering TBR posts??!

A weekly(ish) post wherein I pretend to lament the fact that I have so many books on my TBR… but in fact am secretly rubbing my hands together with delight that there are so many amazing books left to be discovered…

I haven’t done one of these posts for almost a year, but now that things are getting under control (haha) on this blog, I thought I would give it another try.  I really do like linking to other people’s reviews to let them know that they’ve inspired me to add yet another book to the never-ending TBR!

For those who are unfamiliar with my weird TBR set-up, I kind of have five separate lists:

  • The General TBR – basically regularly, stand-alone books that I don’t own.  This is the big one.
  • The Personal TBR – all the books that I own… which is a LOT.  You can see more details on my Quest page, but basically I am slowly trying to read/reread every book that I own.  Theoretically, this is to help me cull some books…  ha ha ha
  • The Series TBR – pretty self-explanatory… series, rather than individual books.
  • The Mystery Series TBR – ditto, except mysteries instead of not-mysteries.

And for all of my TBRs, even if a series has tons of books, it only counts for one entry.  So even though I own like 30 Nancy Drew books, it’s only one entry on the Personal TBR.

Okay, enough with the boring stuff!  On to the goodies…

Added to the General TBR:

In the last week, I’ve added four books.

  • Uprooted was one of my favorite reads last year, so I was pretty excited to see that Naomi Novik is coming out with another book in July!  While she says that Spinning Silver isn’t set in the same world, I get the impression that it’s set in a similar world.  One of these days – hopefully soon – I’m going to get around to rereading Uprooted, too.
  • I had mixed feelings about Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood.  It was gripping – like I literally read it in almost one sitting – but I kind of hated everyone and didn’t really like the ending.  I haven’t gotten around to any of her other books, but I’ve added yet another to the TBR.  I’ve been seeing reviews come in for The Death of Mrs. Westaway, and it sounds like Ware may have created another gripping book full of kind of unlikable people.  :-D  We’ll see.  In the meantime, I read reviews by both Cleopatra Loves Books and Fictionophile this week, so be sure to check them out!
  • FictionFan is a regular contributor to my TBR problem.  The extra tricky part is that she has a knack of making me want to read books that I’m not sure I would pick up on my own!  I’m not sure that I would normally pick up a book about someone plotting to kill his aunt, but FF assures me that reading The Murder of My Aunt by Richard Hull is well worth it.
  • Finally, we all have those authors we are always meaning to read something by but haven’t gotten around to yet.  Erin Watt is definitely one of those authors for me.  I already have several of her books on my TBR, but what’s another?  Stephanie’s review of One Small Thing meant another Watt book got added to the list.  The odds of one of her books coming up on my random number generator has to be increasing, right??

Off the General TBR:

My personal rule is that books don’t get to be scratched off the TBR until I’ve actually reviewed them.  In the last week, I’ve mostly been reading/reviewing random books that I own or that just popped up not on the list.  So the only official removal I’ve had is Kasie West’s The Distance Between Us.  It was an alright, but not stellar read.  However, I’ve been reassured that it’s one of her weaker books, and I still definitely plan to read more of her books.

Grand Total for the TBR:  837 (!!!)

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Added to the Personal TBR:

Whilst rearranging some shelves this past week, I came across two nonfiction books that weren’t on my original list!  Apparently, they got set aside when I was teaching an Ohio history class.  But fear not!  Now both Ohio: Its People and Its Culture by George Crout AND Ohio: The Buckeye State by William Collins are on the list!  :-D

Off the Personal TBR:

Actually, I’ve been knocking off quite a few of these, as I’ve been on a bit of a Kindle kick.  Ring of Truth by Jaclyn Weist was an utterly ridiculous yet somehow endearing chick lit read.  The Second Chance by Joanna Starnes was a P&P variation that was almost amazing.  While Elizabeth Bennet’s Deception by Regina Jennings was so terrible that it was a DNF, that still means that it is checked off the list!  The Holiday Swap by Zara Stoneley was another random chick lit read, The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle was another so-so P&P variation, and Swamp Cat by Jim Kjelgaard was an enjoyable read by one of my favorite authors from childhood.  I’ve also been working my way through the Judy Bolton mysteries – this week I reviewed the first five books – but they won’t get checked off until I actually finish the series!  So, grand total off – five!

Grand Total for the Personal TBR:  678

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Added to the Series TBR:

Nothing this week.

Off the Series TBR:

I finished the Paper Magician series, which was so-so for me.  There were concepts I liked, but overall just found them to be boring.  I didn’t bother with The Plastic Magician, which is supposed to be a spinoff from the first three books.  However, my sister tells me that Holmberg’s stand-alone, Followed by Frost, is totally worth the read, so Holmberg may be getting one more chance…

Grand Total for the Series TBR:  228

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Grand Total for the Mystery Series TBR:  This one hasn’t really changed lately – holding steady at 106.

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Grand Total for the Nonfiction TBR:  Still plowing my way through How to Cheat at Everything, which is fun and interesting but taking forever to read.  So this list is holding steady also at a mere 77.

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Grand Total for the Week:  

Six added and seven off, so I’ve had a net of one book down this week!  Go me!  :-D

Keep those reviews coming, people – I obviously don’t have enough to read!