Shelfie by Shelfie // Shelf 1B

Last fall, Bibliobeth started a new book tag, Shelfie by Shelfie.  You can see her original post 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!

Welcome to another edition of Shelfie by Shelfie! As I mentioned in my first post, I have roughly a million shelves.  I’ve started with what I consider to by Shelf #1, because it’s where my shelved-alphabetically fiction begins.  Last time I did the top shelf, and today we are onto the second!

This is Shelf 1 (we’re remodeling, so there is kind of stuff everywhere)

In case you missed the last Shelfie post, basically I’ll post the picture of the shelf, and then answer some questions about it.

Shelf 1B

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

For the most part, I keep my fiction shelved alphabetically by the last name of the author, in traditional library fashion.  There are, of course, exceptions, but this particular shelf is pretty true to method.

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.

Oh wow, this is a tough one on this shelf, as there are some definite favorites here.  I love the Chronicles of Prydain so much, and C.W. Anderson was a childhood hero – I found those books at a library discard sale and was SO excited.  But I think I’m going to have to focus on Mr. Popper’s Penguins, which is honestly just a ridiculous story that I loved so much as a kid.  I very clearly remember Dad reading this one out loud to us kids and just how overwhelmingly silly the story was, but in a really fun way.  The illustrations by Robert Lawson also tell so much of the story.

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

Probably Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander, mainly because I’ve owned it for years and never gotten around to reading it.

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

I’m not hardcore attached to any specific edition of a book on this shelf, but probably one of the hardcover C.W. Anderson books, as they are the actual ones I used to check out of the library as a little girl!

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

I think the book I’ve owned the longest is The Mysterious Schoolmaster by Karen Anckarsvard.  You can’t see very well in the picture, but there are several books by her.  Set (and written) in Sweden, four of the books take place in the same town and involve some of the same characters, starting with Schoolmaster, which focuses on an unlikely duo of two children who end up helping to catch a spy.  This book is just so fun and happy and full of warm family moments.

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

The bright book towards the far right is actually a soft, leather-bound edition of Persuasion that I purchased with my birthday money last year (but of course haven’t gotten around to reading yet…)

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

It’s been a pretty long time since I’ve read any of these books, so I would be happy to pick up any of them.  Talking about The Mysterious Schoolmaster makes me want to read those books again, though!

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

Since these tend to be knickknack shelves as well as bookshelves, there always seem to be other objects!

The dragon picture is fancy-pants artwork created by my very own sister, who drew the dragon, and our cousin, who created the background.  I love that lil two-headed dragon!  The collie is a childhood companion who has traveled with me through the years – I’ve always had a soft spot for collies and border collies!  The rock in front of the collie is actually from England – a friend brought it back for me (I’ll get there myself someday!).  The teacup is my very own from girlhood – Mom used to have fancy tea parties with us (brothers included) and everyone had their own cup and saucer and we sipped hot chocolate and ate Little Debbies that had been cut into small pieces and felt very grown up.  The other photos are from our honeymoon in the Keys.

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

Um I guess that I like to keep things organized, and also that I hang onto to random little things that have happy memories associated with them.

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

Of course hopefully everyone will join in, as this is a super fun way to see everyone’s book collections!!  For a free question –

What is a quote that you love from one of these books?

I really love Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles, and Taran Wanderer may be my favorite of the five.  As Taran wanders through the country, meeting people and trying to understand life, he comes across many different philosophies.  One of the reminders that I love best is –

If I fret over tomorrow, I’ll have little joy today.

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On Swearing in YA …

Yesterday I grumbled a bit about swearing in a YA book I recently read (and greatly enjoyed), Kids of Appetite.  While I still don’t like swearing in general, and especially in YA, it was random because that same exact day I saw Maggie Stiefvater address the topic on her Twitter.  Someone had tweeted her saying that they had enjoyed the lack of profanity in Stiefvater’s most recent book, All the Crooked Saints.  Stiefvater replied:

Intentional! Scorpio Races is also mostly without swears. Pip Bartlett is 100% profanity free. I use it as shorthand — if I think a book has difficult content a younger reader ought to talk through with an adult, I throw in swears to make sure it gets labeled for older readers.

Difficult content, in my opinion: suicide, self-harm, abuse, drug or alcohol use, an excessive number of Latin verbs.

While I can’t imagine that every author uses (or doesn’t use) swearing as thoughtfully, I thought that it was an intriguing methodology, and a reminder that just because I like or don’t like something that an author has done, doesn’t mean that that thing was done thoughtlessly.

Opinions?

Shelfie by Shelfie // Shelf 1A

Last fall, Bibliobeth started a new book tag, Shelfie by Shelfie.  You can see her original post 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!

Luckily, my husband is pretty awesome at building shelves, and about three houses ago we had a really long, wide hallway that seemed perfect for bookshelves – and it was.  Except we were renters, which meant we were moving pretty much annually at the time.  The shelves have come with me for every move since then (and since we own this house, here’s to hoping they stay where they are for many years to come!), but haven’t always fit together in the same order as they did in that original hallway.  Still, they are pretty awesome, designed for both books and knickknacks.  So I’ll post a picture of the overall bookshelf, and then focus on just one of those shelves – hence the 1A.  ;-)

You’ll have to excuse the clutter – we’re still doing renovating (neverending) and this room is the current catch-all.  I’m sure taking these pictures will also inspire me to organize the clutter a bit, right??  (ha!)

Okay, here is today’s shelf – on to the questions!

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

The majority of my fiction books are shelves in alphabetical order by author’s last name, with some exceptions here and there.  I look at amazing pictures of people shelving books by size or color or other aesthetically-pleasing methods and I’m jealous, both of their creativity and the fact that if I did that I would never be able to find a book again because there are just TOO MANY.  :-D  So yes, alphabetical – and this shelf takes us from Adjordan to Alexander.

However, there are some exceptions to my alphabetical rule, and the three books under the moose are an example – those are three of the four Bayern books by Shannon Hale (the first one seems to have wandered off to introduce someone else to the magic of this series).  Sometimes books just fit in certain spots in the shelves!

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.

I think I’m going with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (by Joan Aiken) for this one.  I have so many memories of reading this with my Mom!  We used to read it together every winter, and even when I was too young to really ‘get’ the story, I still loved the feelings it invoked.  This is the first book I can remember reading that really had an ‘atmosphere’ – just reading it made me feel cold and made the room seem a little darker!

It’s a tough question, though, because I also have a deep attachment to all of the Louisa May Alcott books, especially Eight Cousins and its sequel, Rose in Bloom.

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

Well, it seems like the logical answer would be “one of my many copies of Little Women,” especially since the two copies on that shelf are not actually the only copies of that book that I own.  But that’s not the answer at all, because every copy of Little Women that I own has its own story and its own special place in my heart!  :-D  I suppose I would ditch one of the two Ginny Aiken books, mainly because I haven’t actually read them yet – picked them up at booksales somewhere along the line – so I don’t have an emotional attachment to them (yet).

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

Probably Rose in Bloom, which teaches me something new every time I read it.  That particular copy, as you can see from its rather battered condition, has been with me many a year.

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

I’m going to interpret that as “Which book have I owned the longest?” since they’ve all been there since I moved here.  I’ve had most of these books a long time, but the red copy of Little Women (illustrated by Jesse Wilcox Smith – gorgeous) – I received from my mom for my 13th birthday, so it’s been with me for over 20 years!

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

It’s actually the skinny blue book to the left of Jane Fairfax.  The blue book is a sequel to The Cat-Sitter Mystery (which I’ve owned forever, maybe even longer than Little Women), The Copy-Cat Mystery, which I just recently purchased when I was rereading The Cat-Sitter Mystery – I didn’t even know there was a sequel until this year!

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

Wow, this shelf actually has a lot of favorites, as I really love Louisa May Alcott’s works, and the Bayern books are fantastic – Dominion was also a gripping read, of course Wolves of Willoughby Chase is always perfect, and the last book on the shelf is actually the third book in Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain, which I also dearly love!  But if I really, really had to choose, probably Little Women as it has actually been quite a while since I’ve read it, and it’s a book that means a great deal to me.

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

These actually do tend to be knickknacky shelves as well, so there are indeed non-book objects…  the jar contains rose petals from various momentous events in my life; the stuffed bunny was a childhood favorite; the white dish has a cow on it because I collect cows; I also collect giraffes; the glass jars seem to have just appeared from nowhere as I honestly have no recollection as to where they came from or why I have them (apparently I just like dusting things); the framed motto was a gift from my mom; and the moose (which is incredibly soft!) was purchased on our trip to Colorado in 2015, when Tom and I saw our first wild moose!

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

Umm…  well, probably that I like things to be somewhat orderly, I have a love for Louisa May Alcott, and I don’t mind owning more than one copy of the same book.  :-D

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

Hopefully many of you will choose to participate in this fun book tag – and make sure you tag Bibliobeth (and me!) when you do!

For a free question – Which of these books do you think everyone should read?

I think I am going to go with An Old-Fashioned Girl for this one.  Polly’s adventures have gotten me through a lot of my life, and especially gave me encouragement and challenged me when I was single.  I love how she is independent and industrious, but still so kind and womanly.  And of course Polly ends up with a Tom as well.  :-D

Rearview Mirror // October 2017

This has definitely been my worst month blogging in quite a while.  I did a LOT of reading, but basically no reviewing except for a couple of minireview posts at the end of the month.  And even those didn’t come close to catching up on my reviews AND never actually covered the books I read this month that I loved!

Things have been quite crazy at the orchard, and also really busy in my Etsy shop, so those things have been taking a lot of my time.  Tom and I also went to Virginia for a long weekend over my birthday – our first ‘real’ trip in the Zeppelin, and it was a resounding success!

Favorite October Read:

Well, my favorite October reads haven’t been reviewed yet: The Night Circus, Only Dead on the Inside, and Dawn Study.  But out of the small, pathetic handful of books I actually managed to review, I would actually go with A is for Arsenic.  I was surprised at how thoroughly interesting I found this book that details the various poisons Agatha Christie used in her novels.  It was science-y and informative, but really readable and engaging as well.

Most Disappointing October Read:

I had a lot of really meh reads this month as well.  Out of the ones reviewed, I think I have to go with Thirty Days to Thirtywhich could have been a super fun little chick lit read, except it just got stupid.

Other October Reads:

  • Dot Journaling by Rachel Wilkerson Miller – 4/5 – the first book on the subject that actually felt legitimately practical for someone like me, who isn’t remotely artsy.
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – 3.5/5 – there were a lot of things I liked about this book, and it was definitely worth the read, but it wasn’t one I would consider a classic.
  • Indian Paint by Glenn Balch – 3.5/5 – a fun Famous Horse Story about a young American Indian boy and the horse he loves!
  • Lion of Liberty by Harlow Giles Unger – 3/5 – a decent biography of Patrick Henry, but really more of a review of the American Revolution and constitution.
  • Storm Glass, Sea Glass, and Spy Glass by Maria V. Snyder – 3.5/5 for the trilogy – interesting books and nice to have some other stories set in Ixia/Sitia, but I just didn’t really like Opal all that well, and the love triangles got ridiculously out of hand.
  • The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye – 3/5 – a children’s book that would have been a lot better if it had actually been about a turtle.

In Octobers Past…

Now that I’ve been doing my Rearview Mirrors for two years, I thought it would be fun to see what my favorite and least-favorite reads were from those years.

//published 2013//

In 2015, I read and loved The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness.  While a lot of times it really annoys me if I can’t figure out what a book is ‘about’, Ness managed to write a book that I felt like would be somehow different every time I read it.  It was a strangely magical book.

I was disappointed by Houses of Stone by Barbara Michaels.  I was hoping to get a book that was funny and engaging with a decent mystery, like I did in the Amelia Peabody books, but instead I just got a story about a whiny feminist.

Last year, I thoroughly enjoyed Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – it’s now my favorite book by her.  On the other hand, I was left confused by Magic Below the Stairs by Caroline Stevermer, which added nothing to otherwise beloved Cecelia and Kate books.

TBR Update…

Oh dear.

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:  821 (up ONLY eight!)
  • Nonfiction:  81 (DOWN one!!!)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  616 (up only three!)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  228 (up one)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 106 (up one)

Awaiting Review:

Quite the pile, actually.

  • Only Dead on the Inside by James Breakwell – quite entertaining even if you don’t have children or believe the zombie apocalypse is imminent.
  • Shadow Study, Night Study, and Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder – so good!  Dawn Study was even more satisfactory than I anticipated.
  • Miss Billy and Miss Billy’s Decision by Eleanor H. Porter – by the author of Pollyanna; Billy isn’t quite as engaging of a heroine, but pleasant books nonetheless.
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – what.  This book was so magical.  All the feelings.  Oh my gosh.
  • Still Life by Dani Pettrey – reread of book #2 to gear me up for reading book #3 which I received as an ARC.

Current Reads:

As a side note, I have been trying to do better at keeping up on Goodreads, so feel free to follow me there.

  • Miss Billy Married by Eleanor H. Porter – the final book in the Miss Billy trilogy, and my favorite so far.
  • Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey – alright so far.
  • Jackaby by William Ritter – reading yet again, this time so I can get the full build-up to launch in the fourth and final book, that will hopefully bring this series to a very satisfying conclusion.
  • The Pastor Takes a Wife by Anna Schmidt – time to read another lil batch of those crazy Love Inspired books so I can eventually get the pile of 5000 of them out of my house!

 Approaching the Top of the Pile:

The probable next five reads…

  • Four more Love Inspired books, determined by a random sticking-my-hand-in-the-basket.
  • The rest of the Jackaby books.
  • Heavier Than Heaven by Charles R. Cross – part of my goal to read my own books; Tom has had this biography of Kurt Cobain laying around forever.
  • The River Line by Charles Line – not sure what this one is even about.
  • Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars by Daniel Pinkwater – this one keeps getting pushed down the list by other reads, but I am going to get to it this time!

Happy November!!!

Rearview Mirror // September 2017

September has been a really busy month.  I work at an orchard, so we are in top gear there, plus the husband had a week off for vacation (which I took off, too) – we mostly spent it working around the house, although we did get a chance to camp for a couple of nights in the newest addition to the McCafferty clan – the Zeppelin:

Through it all, I have been doing some reading, but mostly short, snappy reads that don’t require a great deal of concentration.  I’ve finished the month strong with Maria V. Snyder’s books set in Ixia/Sitia – only three books left before I finish those.  It’s been good to dig into a solid fantasy series.

Favorite September Read:

Despite finding the Study series to be really good, I think I’m going with Vertigo for this slot.  It was a classic that I knew very little about, so I was completely sucked into the story with no idea where it was going.  At first I thought it was a little slow, but by about 2/3 through, I realized that I wasn’t actually getting anything done besides reading this book – and the ending was perfect.

Most Disappointing September Read:

I  had a lot of pretty meh reads in September, but none of them were particularly disappointing as I didn’t have particularly high expectations to start!  But I guess I would go with A Season to Wed.  I really enjoyed the first Year of Wedding novellas series, but the second year, which starts with Season, was really quite terrible overall, with low-quality writing, obnoxious main characters, and disjointed storytelling.

Other September Reads:

  • Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder – 4/5 – very enjoyable third book that had me scrambling to get to the end.
  • Fireman Dad by Betsy St. Amant – 2.5/5 – a story that could have been a lot better if the main character had just been a little more chill.  Way too much drama.
  • Homecoming Hero by Renee Ryan – 3/5 – a decent story that handled a few sensitive topics well, but that was just not terribly engaging.
  • Kiss the Bride by Melissa McClone, Robin Lee Hatcher, and Kathryn Springer – 3/5 – a decent trio of novellas that were ultimately forgettable.
  • The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman – 3.5/5 – beautifully told with an amazing setting, but just a little too sad for my personal taste.
  • The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler – 3.5/5 – Snarky and engaging.
  • Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder – 3.5/5 – a good second book, although it definitely felt like the ‘growing pains’ installment where I spent a lot of the story wanting to give the heroine a good shake.
  • Oklahoma Reunion by Tina Radcliffe – 2.5/5 – a really bland but ultimately inoffensive romance featuring one of my least-favorite tropes.
  • The Perfect Gift by Lenora Worth – 3/5 – a fine little fluff piece, even if it was lacking in basic logic at times.
  • Playback by Raymond Chandler – 3/5 – an entertaining mystery that lost at least half a star because of all the random sex.
  • Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder – 4/5 – really great start to a series that has solid world-building and an engaging protagonist.
  • Poodle Springs by Raymond Chandler and Robert B. Parker – 3/5 – a good conclusion to the Phillip Marlowe stories, but Parker tended to make Marlowe a bit too bumbling for my taste.
  • Toss the Bouquet by Ruth Logan Herne, Amy Matayo, and Janice Thompson – 2.5/5 – a trio of novellas that were alright but honestly were so lacking in logic that it made them rather unenjoyable.
  • An Unlikely Duet by Lelia M. Silver – DNF – super boring P&P sequel.  Like so boring.

In Septembers Past…

Now that I’ve been doing my Rearview Mirrors for two years, I thought it would be fun to see what my favorite and least-favorite reads were from those years.

In 2015, my favorite read was a haunting fantasy by Patricia McKillup – Solstice Wood.  My most disappointing read was Donna Leon’s Quietly in Their Sleep.  It was especially disappointing because I really wanted to like this mystery series, and actually did really like the main character and the setting a great deal.  But Quietly, and the book just prior to it (Acqua Alta) both just had really, really weak mysteries, which meant I basically just had to sit through a couple hundred pages of Leon ranting about the hypocrisy and stupidity of Christians without a whole lot of story to make up for it.

Last year, I was gearing myself up for the emotional devastation of reading the final Codex Alera book.  In the meantime, my favorite book of the month was Stormy, Misty’s Foal by Marguerite Henry – a surprisingly deep read for a children’s book, one that actually did bring tears to my eyes.  My most disappointing reading was definitely Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott.  I really wanted to love this book, a retelling of Cinderella set in an AU ancient Japan, but it was just too, too terrible – the story made no sense, the main character was dreadful, and Marriott definitely gave a thumbs up to casual extra-marital sex and also self-harming as an A-OK way to deal with problems: I just couldn’t get past those genuinely awful messages in a YA (or any other) book.  (Although I have to say that the cover is gorgeous!)

TBR Update:

I haven’t compared my TBR numbers lately, but I’m willing to bet that they aren’t good….

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:  813 (up eleven!)
  • Nonfiction:  82 (up three)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  613 (up fifteen… curse you, irresistible free Kindle books!)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  227 (up one)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 105 (up two)

Awaiting Review:

  • The Glass Trilogy by Maria V. Snyder – Storm Glass, Sea Glass, and Spy Glass.  Solid reads, but I didn’t like Opal as well as Yelena, so I didn’t enjoy them as much as the Study books.
  • A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie by Kathryn Harkup – I really enjoyed this nonfiction read, even if it made my husband nervous.

Current Reads:

  • Thirty Days to Thirty by Courtney Psak – I started this yesterday when I was stranded at the doctor’s office; it’s been a free Kindle book that’s languished for a while.  So far, nothing noteworthy – just eye-rolling fluff.
  • Only Dead on the Inside: A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse by James Breakwell – I follow this guy on Twitter and Instagram, and figured that since he makes me laugh almost every day, I should buy his book.  Luckily for me, it’s actually quite entertaining.
  • The Turtles of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye – a Bethany Beach Box book that’s pretty boring.
  • Lodestar Anthology #8 – New Zealand – not a book at all, but a sort of travel journal/magazine that I first heard about through my subscription to Slightly Foxed.  LA comes out three times a year, and each issue focuses on a single country.  I was very pleased when I received my issue because it is gorgeous!  However, you will have to wait until I finish and review it for more details… mustn’t get too carried away here!

Approaching the Top of the Pile:

The probable next five reads…

  • The Soulfinders Trilogy by Maria V. Snyder – Shadow Study, Night Study, and Dawn Study – super excited to read this, and super sad to realize that’s all I have left!
  • Lion of Liberty by Harlow Giles Unger – a biography of Patrick Henry that I found secondhand.
  • Miss Billy by Eleanor H. Porter – an old book that I’ve had on my shelf for quite some time, written by the author of Pollyanna.
  • Indian Paint by Glenn Balch – still haven’t read this Famous Horse Story yet.
  • The Jackaby Series – JackabyBeastly Bones, Ghostly Echoesand The Dire King by William Ritter – rereads for the first three books so that I can thoroughly enjoy the concluding book that just came out at the end of August.

Happy October!!!

Rearview Mirror // August 2017

August was kind of a weird month in relation to reading.  I hit a really major reading slump, which is kind of unusual for me.  It just felt like every book I picked up was very meh.  So then I started reading just random fluff books, and all of those were also very meh.  It made for boring times reading and boring times  blogging, and also explains why most of my book reviews this month were two-paragraph minireviews that basically said, “This book was quite meh.”

However, I have had two solid reads in a row, and am working through two books that also have started quite well, so I’m hoping that I am back on track.  It hasn’t helped that I’ve also been working quite a bit, have had a very busy month in my Etsy store, and had my brother come to visit from Seattle for a long weekend.  Lots of life happening!

Still, while I didn’t get a lot of awesome books read in August (or July, if I’m honest), I did work through a decent quantity.  So I am actually six books ahead of my Goodreads goal for 160 books in the year, aided by some shorter reads.

Favorite August Read:

I saved the best for last, I guess – Uprooted was my final August read, and it was FANTASTIC.  It’s made me believe in the concept that there are actually some worthwhile books out there.  It’s a really well-written fantasy novel that I would have gladly awarded five stars to if not for this one random and far-too-detailed sex scene out of nowhere.  Still, with that caveat, I highly recommend this book with great world-building, interesting characters, and a perfect ending.

As an aside, I think that that cover is gorgeous, but I can’t find anywhere for cheaper than around $60!  I really, really love simple covers without a lot of writing on them.  In my mind, a cover should have the title and the author’s name (preferably with the title in larger letters) and not a lot of other writing.  I hate it when covers are covered in random quotes and reassurances that I will LOVE THIS BOOK or THIS IS NOW AN AWESOME MOVIE – the cover art and title should speak for themselves.  This cover alone would make me way more likely to pick up the book than its current cover with a girl and a bunch of quotes on it.  Anyway.

Most Disappointing August Read:

I think The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler.  I enjoyed the earlier Phillip Marlowe books so much that this one came as a bit of a shock.  Unlike the earlier books, it was almost completely devoid of humor, and instead felt dark, depressing, and hopeless.  Later, I read that it took Chandler a long time to write this book, and his wife was dying (of cancer?  I can’t remember) basically the whole time, so I guess that all makes sense.  But it definitely made me take a break from the Marlowe series.

Other August Reads:

  • The Cat-Sitter Mystery by Carol Adorjan – 4/5 – a old childhood favorite that was still pretty fun as a reread.
  • A Dark Lure by Loreth Anne White – 3/5 – I paid $0 for this book, and that’s about how much I got out of it.
  • Fatal Trust by Todd M. Johnson – 4/5 – if I hadn’t read Uprooted right after this book, Fatal Trust would have been my best read of the month – engaging, perfectly paced, and just twisty enough to keep me guessing.
  • The High Window by Raymond Chandler – 3.5/5 – fun and engaging, but not brilliant.
  • The Lady in the Lake by Raymond Chandler – 3.5/5 – a little more graphic than the earlier books, but still quite solid.
  • Mail-Order Bride by Debbie Macomber – 3/5 – a good concept that set up well, but then got really sloppy.
  • Mind Your Manors by Lucy Lethbridge – 3.5/5 – an interesting nonfiction book about old-fashioned cleaning methods, but not as practical as I had hoped.
  • Nimona by Noelle Stevenson – 4/5 – a really delightful graphic novel that completely engaged me – the artwork is amazing and the setting fantastic.
  • Once Upon a Kiss by various authors – 2/5 – an overall rather weak collection of YA fantasy short stories, several of which I didn’t even bother finishing.
  • The Story of Amelia Earhart by Adele de Leeuw – 3/5 – a nice children’s biography but a bit scattered.
  • Summer of Lost and Found by Rebecca Behrens – 3/5 – just a little too disjointed for me to really enjoy.
  • This Love of Mine by Miranda Liasson – 3.5/5 – a fun little fake-relationship trope story.
  • This Loving Feeling by Miranda Liasson – 3/5 – a pleasant story but nothing exciting.
  • This Thing Called Love by Miranda Liasson – 3/5 – a decent start to an average contemporary romance trilogy.
  • The Whisky Wedding by Elizabeth Ann West – DNF – just why.
  • A Year of Weddings Novellas:  Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn – overall 3/5 for the collection.  Some were better than others, but only one or two were complete lemons.

In Augusts Past…

Now that I’ve been doing my Rearview Mirrors for two years, I thought it would be fun to see what my favorite and least-favorite reads were from those years.

Interestingly enough, August 2015 was a bit of a reading slump as well, which I was also slowly working my way out of by the time I wrote the Rearview.  My favorite read that month was a Wodehouse gem – Ice in the Bedroom.  My least favorite that month was a book that I think turned out to be my least favorite read of the entire year – the incredibly creepy Zel by Donna Jo Napoli, a book that still makes me a nauseous  if I think about it.

In August 2016, my favorite read was another Wodehouse!  This time Money in the Bank took the place of honor.  And in a weird turn of events, my most disappointing read that month was actually from one of my favorite authors – Agatha Christie’s Destination Unknownwhich had much less plot and much more lecturing than her stories usually do.

TBR Update:

Well, due to the reading slump, an ambivalent attitude towards blogging, and a lot of life craziness, I haven’t done many of my Tottering TBR episodes recently.  But items do keep going on and off the lists, so I’m actually intrigued to see where things stand…

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:  802 (up twelve!!!  Oh dear)
  • Nonfiction:  79 (holding steady)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  598 (up two)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  226 (up four)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 103 (holding steady)

Well, could be worse… I think…  ;-)

Awaiting Review:

I’m actually caught up on reviews right now!  Madness!

Current Reads:

  • The Light Between the Oceans by M.L Stedman – so far a really good story, but kind of stressing me out because I hate it when people are living a lie and the consequences are just slowly looming over them like a giant wave and I have to keep waiting for the crash!
  •  The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler – I decided to try the next Marlowe story and see if it was better than The Little Sister.  So far, so good.
  • An Unlikely Duet by Leila Silver – my current P&P variation read.  Alright, but honestly just kind of boring.
  • The Iliad by Homer – technically I’m still ‘reading’ this, but I haven’t actually read much of it at all this month.  I’m hoping to pick this one back up soon.

Approaching the Top of the Pile…

The probable next five reads:

  • Playback by Raymond Chandler – the last Marlowe book he wrote, although someone else has finished his partial manuscript, so I may read that as well.
  • The Noble Path by Peter May – I’ve had this one from the library for a while and read about one chapter of it a few weeks ago and just wasn’t feeling it.  I’m going to give it another go now that I feel more like reading in general.
  • A is for Arsenic by Kathryn Harkup – I read a review for this nonfiction book about the poisons in Agatha Christie’s books a while ago and it really sounds intriguing.
  • Indian Paint by Glenn Balch – my next book in my personal collection is another Famous Horse Story!
  • Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars by Daniel Pinkwater – Pinkwater has long been a favorite of mine, but he’s a very prolific author so I’m still finding and reading random books of his.  For me, his books are either so funny I can’t stop snickering the whole time, or they make no sense at all, so we’ll see where this one falls.

Happy September!!!