Rearview Mirror // March 2022

Well, it took me seven weeks to get from February’s Rearview Mirror to March’s so… not a good trend LOL

Favorite March Read

Ironically my favorite March read was one I haven’t reviewed yet, because I’m going to post about the trilogy as a whole – Scythe by Neal Shusterman – that book was a total brain-trip and I couldn’t believe how hard it hooked me!

Most Disappointing March Read

Toss-up between The Priory of the Orange Tree and Prideboth of which I thought were overrated.

Other March Reads

March Stats

  • Total Number of Books Read:  16
  • Total Pages Read:  5569
  • Average Star Rating for March:  3.63
  • Longest Book: The Priory of the Orange Tree (806 pages)
  • Shortest Book:  Of Mice and Men (107 pages)
  • Oldest Book:  Ivanhoe (published 1819)
  • Newest Book: Into the Forest (published 2021)
  • Top Genre:  Fantasy, Romance, and Fiction (for me that includes books that generally say “A Novel” on the front haha) all tied at 3 each

March Challenge Updates

  • New states visited: Alaska, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, and Missouri
  • Chunksters read (800+pgs): 1
  • Almost-a-chunksters read (450-799pgs): 2
  • Classics read: 3
  • Nonfiction read: 2

TBR Update

This is current as of today, not the end of March.

  • Standalones:  482 (down six!!!)
  • Nonfiction:  130 (holding steady)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  626 (down two!)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  252 (holding steady)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 111 (holding steady)
  • 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.): 166 (up TWELVE?!!)

Current Reads

I’m in a bit of a lull right now – several chapter-a-day reads starting July 1, though.  Right now, I’m just reading Kasie West’s By Your Side, which is okay, but seriously, the main character gets locked IN A LIBRARY and spends the whole time complaining she’s bored and then watching TV in the staff lounge?!?! It’s been a while since I read a YA book that made me feel so old!

Last Time on “Up Next”

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

  • Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – Yes!! I ended up absolutely LOVING the entire Lunar series.  So fabulous.
  • Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith – Nope – I never got to this one during the month it was “assigned” so I sent it back to the library unread.  However, it’s still on my TBR as I really do want to read it sometime.
  • Harbor Lights by Sherryl Woods – Nope – this one is still on the shelf, though, as it’s the next book in the Chesapeake Shores series.  I just haven’t gotten around to it yet!!
  • The Lies We Told by Camilla Way – Oh man, another no! This one is also still on my imminent-TBR shelf – soon!!!

Up Next…

The probable next five(ish) reads –

  • The Color of Dragons by R.A. Salvatore – This one is for the traveling book club, so I’m going into it pretty blind.  It looks like the rest of the group really enjoyed, though – I’m the last person to read this one!!
  • The Hidden Hand by E.D.E.N. Southworth – Originally published in 1859, I have an edition that was released by Lamplighter press.  I read it a long time ago (back in high school) and it’s been on my reread list for a while.  I’m planning to delve into this one chapter-a-day to start.
  • Excellent Women by Barbara Pym – This is the next buddy read for the PemberLittens group, and will also be a chapter-a-day.  I don’t know much about this one, but I’m enjoying trying some different books by classic women writers.
  • A Tangled Web by L.M. Montgomery – This will be a reread for me, although it’s been quite a long time since I read it.  The Kindred Spirits on Litsy are still reading/discussing one Montgomery book a month, and this is July’s pick.  I’m looking forward to this one.
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde – The next round of traveling book club starts in July, and I joined two groups for contrast – one is vintage classics, and this one is my pick for the group.  I’ve never read it before, so I’m actually quite intrigued to see how it goes.  The other group is “happy” fiction – we have two Heyers, a Wodehouse, and another Regency romance fluff read, so I think that group will be a lot of fun as well.

Well, that’s (finally) a wrap for March – we’ll see how long it takes me to get through April reviews!!!

Rearview Mirror // February 2022

Hmmm… at least it isn’t May yet?? … whoops, I started this in April, but here we are LOL

Favorite February Read

Favorite reread was definitely An Old-Fashioned Girlalthough David Copperfield was also fabulous.  Favorite new read was Family for Beginnersanother winner by Sarah Morgan.

Most Disappointing February Read

Have to go with Star Sand for this slot.  It started so well and then just… fizzled.

Other February Reads

February Stats

  • Total Number of Books Read:  24
  • Total Pages Read:  8643
  • Average Star Rating for January:  3.58
  • Longest Book: David Copperfield (776 pages)
  • Shortest Book:  Star Sand (206 pages)
  • Oldest Book:  David Copperfield (published 1850)
  • Newest Book: Made in Manhattan and The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water were both published in 2022
  • Top Genre:  Fantasy and Romance (7 books each)

February Challenge Updates

  • New states visited: California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Tennessee (29% complete)
  • Chunksters read (800+pgs): 0
  • Almost-a-chunksters read (450-799pgs): 3
  • Classics read: 1
  • Nonfiction read: 2

TBR Update

This is current as of today, not the end of February.

  • Standalones:  488 (down seven!!!)
  • Nonfiction:  130 (holding steady)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  628 (down three!)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  252 (up two)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 111 (holding steady)
  • 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.): 154 (up six!)

Current Reads

  • My latest nonfiction, which I just started this week, is The Fall of the Ottomans by Eugene Rogan, a book focused on the Ottoman/Middle East region of World War I.
  • My current classic is Gone With the Wind and wow is Scarlett annoying!
  • Current fun read is Divots by P.G. Wodehouse.  Only he could make a collection of stories centered around golf still be fun reading!

Last Time on “Up Next”

Did I actually read my probable next five reads from last month?

  • In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan – nope, but I did start it.  This one sounds like it’s going to be a fun fantasy full of shenanigans but ends up being a book about a boy discovery his sexuality or something… it was so boring and kind of dumb.  A huge disappointment.
  • Pride by Ibi Zoboi – Yes! It was… okay.  The MC was just soooo bratty.
  • The Secret Road by Bruce Lancaster – Nope! But it’s still on the TBR windowsill so… soon haha
  • The Riddle of the Sands by Erksine Childers – Yes! It was a bit of a struggle, though, as this one really dragged in spots, especially if you aren’t really into boats.
  • Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah – Yes! I liked it but didn’t love it.  I’m not sure if I’ll try another Hannah or if she just isn’t for me.

Up Next…

The probable next five(ish) reads –

I’ve been putting all my “very soon” TBR books on my windowsill where I can see them – all the books I’m reading for challenges and such – and then I use a random draw to decide which of those is next!!  So here’s a guess as to which ones are going to come up soon…

  • Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – I read the first book in the Lunar Chronicles (Cinder) and really enjoyed it. I bought the rest of the series used on PangoBooks (I love that app!!!) and Scarlet finally came in on Friday!!
  • Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith – Litsy has a challenge called Author A Month where everyone votes in December for 12 authors to read throughout the year, one for each month. Many people use it as an opportunity to try new authors, but since I’m really trying to read down my TBR, I use it to read any books already on my list by that author – so some months I don’t participate, which is fine haha  Highsmith is May’s author, and I’ve had this classic on my TBR forever. The Hitchcock film is an old fave, so I’m interested to see how the book does or doesn’t match up.
  • Harbor Lights by Sherryl Woods – I’m reading the Chesapeake Shores series and this is the next one up.  I have mixed feelings about these.  I don’t exactly love them.  I think I may finish this series but not particularly read anything by Woods again haha  She’s very prolific and I’m always looking for another good contemporary romance author, but for some reason while her books are perfectly pleasant, they just aren’t magical to me.
  • The Lies We Told by Camilla Way – I haven’t had a lot of thrillers or mysteries on my short-term TBR lately, so I’m looking forward to reading this one just for a change of pace!!

Well, that’s a wrap for February, finished up on the first of May!!!  Happy spring, everyone!!

Rearview Mirror // January 2022

Well, here we are, the middle of March, and I’m ready to wrap up January!! Sounds about right!

Favorite January Read

January honestly wasn’t a super strong reading month – I had a lot of “whatever” kind of reads.  I guess Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts, which was a fun romance with a dash of thriller thrown in.

Most Disappointing January Read

Probably The Magic of Ordinary Days.  I couldn’t stand the protagonist pretty much from page one and she did NOT grow on me.

Other January Reads

January Stats

  • Total Number of Books Read:  17
  • Total Pages Read:  5704
  • Average Star Rating for January:  3.71
  • Longest Book: The Eight (598 pages)
  • Shortest Book:  The Old Man and the Sea (127 pages)
  • Oldest Book:  Wuthering Heights (published 1847)
  • Newest Book: The Trouble With Hating You (published 2020)
  • Top Genre:  Fantasy (5 books)

January Challenge Updates

  • New states visited: Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Texas, Washington DC, Wyoming (16% complete)
  • Chunksters read (800+pgs): 0
  • Almost-a-chunksters read (450-799pgs): 3
  • Classics read: 2
  • Nonfiction read: 2

TBR Update

This is current as of today, not the end of January.

  • Standalones:  495 (down two!)
  • Nonfiction:  130 (up one)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  631 (down three!)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  250 (holding steady)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 111 (up one)
  • 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 (down TEN!)

Current Reads

  • I am plowing my way through The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon.  Overall, I’m enjoying it, although I’m not sure I love it enough to make it one I reread.  We’ll see how it ends!
  • Ivanhoe is still meandering on – I started it at the beginning of February and have been reading a chapter a day.  I should finish it around the end of the month or maybe early April.  I’m glad to read it – I’ve always meant to ever since I read The Velvet Room as a child – but it’s definitely not my new favorite classic.
  • Into the Forest by Rebecca Frankel is my current nonfiction read, an account of a Jewish family in Poland during World War II.
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell – This is the PemberLitten’s February/March read, and is one of those classics that I’ve never read!  I’m actually really enjoying it, even if Margaret is a bit of a snob so far.
  • The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow – The PemberLittens are also reading this P&P variation focused on Mary Bennet.  The chapters are super short, so we’re reading two a day and I like it so far.  Hadlow is doing a pretty good job of keeping things interesting despite the fact that she’s just telling the same exact story as the original but focusing on a different character!

Last Time on “Up Next”

Did I actually read my probable next five reads from last month?

  • The Viscount Who Loved Me – Yes!  I enjoyed this Bridgerton novel as well, and I’m still planning to finish the series at some point.
  • A Deal With the Elf King – Yes!  This one was a traveling book club book so I kind of had to read it haha  I really enjoyed this fantasy story a lot – the sequel is on my short-term TBR!
  • Rose Daughter – Yes!  This was an okay Beauty & the Beast retelling, but the ending is kind of weird to me.  A pleasant read but not a favorite.
  • Family for Beginners – Yes!  I really loved this book by Sarah Morgan – she is becoming one of my favorite authors!
  • The White Cottage Mystery – Yes!  It was fun to check this classic off.  It was pretty obvious that it was originally published as a serial as it had a very episodic feel (and every chapter ended on a cliffhanger!) but it was good fun overall.

Up Next…

The probable next five(ish) reads –

I’ve been putting all my “very soon” TBR books on my windowsill where I can see them – all the books I’m reading for challenges and such – and then I use a random draw to decide which of those is next!!  So here’s a guess as to which ones are going to come up soon…

  • In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan – It’s time for a new round of traveling book club.  I’m only participating in one group this time around and we are reading fantasy.  This one is my pick as it’s been on my TBR forever!!
  • Pride by Ibi Zoboi – I got this one on the cheap from Book Outlet a while back, and when a Litsy group decided to buddy read it this month, I thought I would join, too, and get it off my TBR!!
  • The Secret Road by Bruce Lancaster – I’ve owned this historical fiction forever, and it’s finally come up on my TBR draw!!  Now I just have to actually finally read it!
  • The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers – I’m also trying to get some of my unread Kindle books taken care of – I’ve owned this one since 2016!
  • Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah – Hannah is one of those authors it feels like everyone has read but me.  I’m not sure if her novels are really going to be “my” thing, but someone gifted this one to me quite a while back, so I am going to give it a try!!

That’s a wrap for January – happy March!!!  :-D

Rearview Mirror // 2021

Well, here we are, better than a month into 2022, and I’m just now writing my summary for 2021!! It was another weird year, but not a bad one for me personally.  I made some more progress on our neverending house remodeling, did some gardening, learned some new skills, and of course spent a LOT of time reading!!

I completed 275 books (17 fewer than 2020), which ran to 82,465 pages (2647 fewer than last year).  June was, once again, my best month – I read 33 books.  June was my best month in 2020 as well, but I can’t explain why haha  September was my slowest month, with only 16 read, but that at least makes sense because it was one of my busiest months of work!

The burning question is, of course, did my overall TBR go up or down for the year?  First, a few thoughts on each month.  And then – the numbers!

Please note – I’m going to be lazy and not link to any of my reviews throughout this post.  But if you’re interested, you can easily find the book via one of the indexes, or by searching for the title in the search box.

January

Highs

I thoroughly enjoyed my reread of Patricia Wrede’s Sorcery & Cecilia books – they are just so funny and delightful.  My favorite new read for the month was a book I kind of forgot about until just now – Time & Time Again by Ben Elton.  That was such a clever, twisty book!

Lows

I finished Patrick McManus’s Bo Tully mystery series.  On the whole, I did enjoy it, but the final title, Circles in the Snow, was my most disappointing read in January.  It was just odd, and lacked some continuity with the earlier books in the series.

February

Highs

My two brilliant rereads for the month were 1984 and Murder on the Orient Express.  Both are absolute masterpieces in their own way.  My favorite new read of the month – and one of my favorite reads for the year – was The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold.  A complicated and layered dystopian tale with engaging characters – it’s one I’ll definitely be rereading at some point.

Lows

Ugh, The School for Good and Evil.  I’ve tried to put that one out of my mind, honestly, because it gave me the weirds in a very serious way.

March

Highs

I started rereading the Narnia books – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is just an amazing book throughout.  I love every page.  My favorite new read for the month wasn’t anything particularly brainy, but it was still one of my favorites for the year – The 26th of November by Elizabeth Adams.  This Pride & Prejudice variation was just so fun and clever, with a big dose of humor.  I loved it!

Lows

I read Peter Pan for the first time, and wow was it weird and creepy.  Did not like!  I also read a Nora Roberts story that was an unexpected loss – Tonight and Always, which I only gave 2.5*, probably the worst Roberts book I’ve ever read, which, considering I have read a LOT of her books, is saying something.

April

Highs

I reread both Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader, thoroughly enjoying both.  My favorite new read was Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater.  I really enjoyed the entire Raven Boys series way more than I was anticipating, with this one being my favorite of the four.

Lows

The middle book of a trilogy is often a low point, and Shoot the Moon was lower than most.  Annoying characters, poor continuity from the first story, and a kind of pointless plotline, I was not a fan of this one.

May

Highs

I reread both The Silver Chair and Carry On, Jeeves – both brilliant in their own way (truly, the Jeeves book is a work of art).  My favorite new read was another top book for 2021 – Project Hail Mary, which I was expecting to like, but was not expecting to absolutely love.  A surprisingly engrossing story, likable characters, a creative plot, and a huge dollop of humor made this book just so much fun to read – and I couldn’t believe how much I loved the way it ended!

Lows

I read six books that I rated at 3* – it really was just a month of ambivalent reads!

June

Highs

Like I said, this was my busiest reading month of the year.  I reread The Horse & His Boy and The Magician’s Nephew, both of which I love.  I also read the Pooh books, which were adorable and delightful.  Another TEN books rated 4* from me.  My official top book of the month was actually a nonfiction – The Perfect Horse by Elizabeth Letts.  It was so interesting to read about such a specific World War II aspect, and this book was just really well done.

Lows

With that many books, there were bound to also be some lows.  The two that I actively disliked were The Sleeper and the Spindle, which was just weird and creepy, and The Other Typist, which was just boring and pointless.

July

Highs

I finished my reread of Narnia with The Last Battle, which I do love but not as much as the rest of the series.  My favorite new book was The Summer Seekers by Sarah Morgan, although it wasn’t as strong of a pick as some of my other favorites of the month.

Lows

It was another month for ambivalent reads, with ten books ranking either 3 or 3.5*.  The two at the bottom of the list were Jane Austen Made Me Do It and All Through the House.  The Jane Austen one was a collection of short stories and pretty much all of them were terrible and/or pointless.  All Through the House was a short story for the 87th Precinct series that just seemed to go absolutely no where.

August

Highs

My rereads of Persuasion and Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince (my favorite of the series) were my top books for the month, but another nonfiction read garnered the top new-book slot – The Horologicon was just unexpectedly delightful and humorous.

Lows

This was kind of a bum month.  I forced myself to finish Leave No Stone Unturned so I could check Kansas off my book destinations list – it really should have been a DNF because it was dreadful.  Sail Away was a “romance” that just got worse and worse the further along it went.  Murder Most Unladylike was supposedly a middle grade read but it was full of murder and age-inappropriate topics, plus the main character was just a rather bullying character.

September

Highs

I had two fabulous rereads – Spindle’s End, which is one of my all-time favorite books, and Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, which I still think is a great conclusion to the series.  I also read the next Swallows & Amazon book, which was an absolute delight – The Picts & the Martyrs.  Finally, I started a new series and couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed the first book – Aurora Rising was creative, engaging, and snarky.  I loved it!!

Lows

Actually September was a decent month without a lot of reads I didn’t like.  I gave the most disappointing slot to When You Read This, mainly because it’s billed as a lighthearted romance but is actually pretty serious and somewhat of a downer.

October

Highs

The second book in the Aurora Cycle, Aurora Burning, was just as much fun as the first.

Lows

This was a month with some downer reads.  Emily’s Quest got the official pick because it’s by L.M. Montgomery, so the just dreadful story feeling was really compounded by the disappointment of it being written by an author I usually love.  I ranked two other books only 2.5*, though – Dangerous Crossing, which was boring and had a gimmicky twist at the end, and Disclaimer, which was just dumb.

November

Highs

Wodehouse to save the day yet again – Sam in the Suburbs was SO funny.  I don’t remember reading this one before, but I’ll definitely be reading it again.

Lows

I went with The Singles Table as my biggest disappointment.  I had really enjoyed the first two books in the series, but this one was uneven and not particularly interesting. It also didn’t really have any of the characters from the first two books, so I felt confused about why it was being billed as part of the series at all.

December

Highs

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas was just a delight of a Christmas mystery.  I also had several 4* Christmas reads – overall December was a solid month.

Lows

Obviously Mistletoe at Moonglow got on my nerves the most.  I feel like I should give a shout-out to the unfinished Flora’s Traveling Christmas Shop, because it featured one of the most annoying characters I’ve ever met on the page.

TBR Update!!!

Okay, so I remembered to note my numbers before I changed anything in January so that I could make an honest comparison from what I wrote down in my 2020 Rearview.  I’ve really been working on not adding books to my TBR unless they sound so amazing I don’t think my life would be complete without reading them (HA), so we will see if any of that paid off!!

  • Standalones:  494 – WIN!  Down 21!!!
  • Nonfiction:  130 – LOSE! Up 6!!!
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  639 – WIN! Down 8!!!
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  250 – WIN!  Down 5!!!
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 110 – WIN! Down 8!!!
  • New Arrivals (I just started tracking this in December, so this doesn’t have a comparison for last year – it’s so I can compare it when I wrap up 2021…): 148 – BIG LOSE!!! Up 33!!!

Okay, so apparently I’ve shifted from adding books to my TBR to just straight-up buying them!  Probably not a great trend!!  Still I am net -3 overall, so I am calling this year a overall win!!!

Thank you all so much for stopping by to read my rambling thoughts and opinions.  Here’s to a fabulous year of reading in 2022!!!

Rearview Mirror // December 2021

Woohoo!! I made it to the end of December’s reviews!!!  Thank you all for believing in me.  I thought this day would never come!

Favorite December Read

I actually loved Hercule Poirot’s Christmas.  It was clever, Christmasy, and full of Christie’s wry humor.  A definite win.

Most Disappointing December Read

Probably Mistletoe at Moonglow.  I still have no idea what was going on with Mist or why she was supposed to be somehow inspiring.  I just found her annoying.

Other December Reads

December Stats

  • Total Number of Books Read:  27 (six on Kindle)
  • Total Pages Read:  7910
  • Average Star Rating for December:  3.68
  • Longest Book: Forest of Souls (382 pages)
  • Shortest Book:  The Birds’ Christmas Carol (69 pages)
  • Oldest Book:  The Birds’ Christmas Carol (published 1886)
  • Newest Book: The Christmas Escape and The Holiday Swap were published this year.
  • Number of New-to-Me Authors:  8

December DNFs

I only noted down two, although I think there were probably more when I saw skimming through Kindle Unlimited options haha

  • The Christmas Room by Catherine Anderson – my only note here is “nope” so that’s my main review LOL  As far as I can remember this book, for the first hundred pages anyway, was not Christmasy in the least, and contained several characters who just annoyed me.  The supposed “meet cute” kind of situation of the younger guy meeting the rich guy’s daughter involved the dude straight-up asking her if she was a virgin???  So that already had me giving this book the side eyes.  The rich guy is just over-the-top obnoxious and mean to his daughter, verging on abusive.  And the younger guy’s mom or grandma or whoever she was was just as annoying.  The younger couple are always having to sneak around.  The dude has a teenage son who is spying on them and says it’s because he’s low-key hoping to catch them having sex?!!??!!?  That was when I jettisoned this one because that was just grade-A creepy.
  • Flora’s Traveling Christmas Shop by Rebecca Raisin – So this sounds like a book I would enjoy.  Flora loses her job before Christmas and decides to buy a camper van and travel to Lapland for a huge Christmas festival, selling little Christmas gizmos.  But Flora herself had me bailing on this book after just a few chapters.  She was SO. OBNOXIOUS.  Like I’m okay with Christmas romances having a character who is a little obsessed with Christmas – it adds to the fun.  The main character in The Little Christmas Shop on Nutcracker Lane was totally over-the-top with her Christmas love and it didn’t bother me at all.  I actually read that one shortly after I bailed on this one, so I thought quite a bit about why Flora aggravated the bejeezers out of me and Nia didn’t.  My conclusion was that, for lack of a better term, Flora is basically a Christmas gatekeeper.  She’s aggressive and demanding and if you don’t know the names of all of Santa’s reindeer then she literally considers that a good reason to not have a relationship with you.  She starts conversations with perfect strangers by shooting Christmas trivia questions at them like she’s some kind gestapo.  She has to sell some of her Christmas décor to fund her new camper van lifestyle, but acts like she is adopting out a child or something, trying to find “worthy” homes for her stuff.  She’s grating and obnoxious and acts like everyone else is the problem because they don’t have enough “Christmas spirit.”  It was horrible.  Nia, on the other hand, is warm and gracious.  She loves Christmas and loves sharing Christmas.  When the male MC of that story doesn’t like the holiday because of bad childhood memories, she doesn’t act like he’s stupid or unreasonable – instead, she invites him to join her in creating new Christmas memories while she shares parts of the holiday that are meaningful for her.  Yes, she loves to wear ridiculous Christmas sweaters, watch al the Christmas movies, and believes in a bit of Christmas magic, but she does it with a genuine warmth and a welcoming attitude that made her believable and made the male MC’s gradual warming towards Christmas (and Nia) also believable.  So yeah, that got a little rambly, but trying to read Flora made me kind of think about why some Christmas romances work for me and some don’t – and the difference in the way those two main characters handled their Christmas obsession was definitely a bit part of it.

TBR Update

This I keep updated as I go, so it’s current as of today, rather than as of the end of December.  HOWEVER I did have the forethought to note down my stats before adding my first January read, so my overall 2021 stats should be accurate for the year!!

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:  497 (holding steady)
  • Nonfiction:  129 (holding steady)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  634 (down six!)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  250 (holding steady)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 110 (holding steady)
  • 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.): 158 (up seven!)

Current Reads

  • David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – I’m doing a pretty good job of sticking to a chapter-a-day with this one and am better than halfway.  Uriah Heep!  I’m amazed at how absolutely creepy and believable he is as a character!  And what a name!  I’m actually thoroughly enjoying this book – I definitely need to read more Dickens!!
  • Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott – This was my February draw for the classics I’m trying to read this year, so it’s another chapter-a-day book.  It’s a little harder for me to get into than Dickens, but things are starting to happen now.  I’m amazed at how anti-Semitic it is (although so were the times so).  This is one of those random books that I have literally meant to read my entire life but just never have.
  • The Golden Road by L.M. Montgomery – February’s Montgomery book is the sequel to The Story Girl.  Episodic like the first book, it’s still full of fun little stories, although perhaps not quite as lighthearted.
  • An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott – Another reread for me, but it’s one of my all-time favorites, so when I saw it was a buddy read on Litsy, I jumped in.  I still absolutely love this story so much and have so many passages underlined.  One of the formative books of my youth and still a top-10 favorite of all-time.
  • The Duke and I by Julia Quinn – The Bridgerton series has been everywhere since Netflix decided to miniseries it.  I got this one in a book swap, so I decided to read it next as I was in the mood for some romance.  So far, I love the banter not just between the two romantic interests, but the entire Bridgerton family.  I do love some good sibling relationships!  My only concern is seeing how spicy these get.

Last Time on “Up Next”

Did I actually read my probable next five reads from last month?

  • The Fire by Katherine Neville – Yes!  I didn’t enjoy this one nearly as much as The Eight, though.
  • Sarah’s Ground by Ann Rinaldi – Kind of!  I started this one and bailed on it.  It just wasn’t for me.
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway – Yes!  I think I liked it??  It wasn’t a bad read, but it also wasn’t a story I see myself returning to.  But I Have to give it credit for lingering in my brain for quite a while after finishing.
  • For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten – Yes!  Mixed feelings on this one.  I liked the story and concept, but the world-building was super uneven and made it hard to get into the book.
  • The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water by Erin Bartels – Yes!  And I actually even already reviewed it!

Up Next

The probable next five(ish) reads –

So I have a huge list of books for February and am not exactly sure which order I am going to tackle them in!  But here’s a guess.

  • The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn – If the first Bridgerton book ends well, I’ll pick up the second since it’s already on my shelf – somehow I got gifted this one as well!
  • A Deal With the Elf King by Elise Kova – This is another traveling book club book, so I honestly don’t know anything about it haha
  • Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley – A group on Litsy does a Fairy Tale Reading Challenge where each month is a different fairy tale and you read the original and/or variations.  February is Beauty & the Beast and I have sooo many variations of that one on my TBR!  This one is a reread, but it’s been SO long that I don’t remember anything about it, just that I didn’t love it as much as McKinley’s other B&B variation, Beauty.
  • Family for Beginners by Sarah Morgan – I’ve really enjoyed Morgan’s Christmas books, so I’m looking forward to reading a not-Christmasy one!
  • The White Cottage Mystery by Margery Allingham – This one was also gifted to me and is just such a pretty edition that I really hope I love it and want to keep it forever haha  Allingham is another Golden Age mystery writer who I’ve never read, so I’m looking forward to this little dabble into her works.

So that’s a wrap for December!! Next, I’ll be back (someday) with a 2021 Rearview Mirror!!

Rearview Mirror // November 2021

Hmmm, a November wrap up, and it’s only halfway through January!  Amazing!  Only the sheer stubbornness and determination to actually someday be caught up on reviews is carrying me through at this point, but hey! Whatever works!

Favorite November Read

Honestly, it’s Wodehouse here – Sam in the Suburbs was such a delight, and I don’t remember reading it before.  I laughed on almost every page.

Most Disappointing November Read

Although I ranked a couple of other books lower than this one, I think I was most disappointed with The Singles Tablemostly because I had enjoyed the first two books so much, and found this one rather lacking.

Other November Reads

November Stats

  • Total Number of Books Read:  23 (one on Kindle)
  • Total Pages Read:  6529
  • Average Star Rating for November:  3.72
  • Longest Book: Aurora’s End (493 pages)
  • Shortest Book:  The Shallow Waters of Romance (65 pages)
  • Oldest Book:  Chronicles of Avonlea (published 1912)
  • Newest Book: Aurora’s End, Sleigh Bells Ring, and The Singles Table were all published this year.
  • Number of New-to-Me Authors:  5

November DNFs

Oh man, Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall!  I had almost forgotten about this one!  I hated to bail on it because it was actually for the traveling book club, but wow, it was maybe the worst book I’ve tried to read all year.  I absolutely hated it and wasn’t willing to put myself through an entire story with this whiny, self-entitled, obnoxious, snotty, judgy, touchy main character, even for the sake of the traveling book club.  She literally just sat around in every single freaking conversation adding up all the perceived slights from the other people there.  Rosaline is bisexual and spends all of her time looking for ways to condescendingly correct literally even complete strangers who make incorrect presumptions about her, all while explaining how long-suffering she is for having to put up with everyone else not magically knowing her precise sexual preferences.  Her daughter was an absolute horror, despite being extremely young, I can’t remember, younger than ten anyway, she talks like she’s 22 and is turning into someone just as judgy as her mother, constantly finding ways to shame everyone around her for not knowing obvious things, like the fact that her mother’s best (female) friend used to be her mother’s girlfriend but they decided they were better as just friends but still do everything together even though the best friend is now married to another woman.  Like, duh, why wouldn’t you just know that right off the bat?  Ugh.  People.  I’ve noticed this trend in modern romcoms to still write the main romance as being M/F but to make the female character be bisexual so the author can still get lots of props for being so modern and inclusive, but it really just turns into an opportunity for the author to preach at everyone and also to make the female MC be even more pervy than ever, because now she can spend all of her time talking/thinking about sleeping with literally EVERY PERSON SHE MEETS no matter their age, gender, or marital status (because in fiction, bisexual = horny for everyone, apparently).  I’m way over it.  I also just… I’m okay with reading a book that has some sex scenes, because they are easily skimmed/skipped.  But what I actually hate is when a book is just plain vulgar.  And that’s what this one is – it’s full of swearing (I counted 10 “fucks” on one page) and the characters are constantly thinking and talking about sex – having it, getting ready for it, who they wish they could have it with, whether or not someone would be good at it, how ridiculous it is that someone doesn’t realize that they enjoy having sex with all kinds of people, on and on and on and on.  It’s just gross and so unnecessary, and also – not a story??  If your main character trait is “talks about sex a lot,” I’m not sure you’ve really gone out of your way to actually create a real character.  After almost 100 pages of self-righteous Rosaline going around feeling soooo exhausted because she has to spend allll her time setting everyone straight on what bisexuality is really all about, I decided this book was not worth my time.

TBR Update

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

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:  497 (up three)
  • Nonfiction:  129 (up one)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  640 (up three)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  250 (down one!)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 110 (holding steady)
  • 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.): 151 (down one)

Current Reads

Quite a few because January always means I jump into a bunch of buddy reads, many of which fizzle out by the middle of the year haha

  • The Year-Round Gardener by Nikki Jabour – As always, one of my 2022 goals is to read more nonfiction. I’m really trying to constantly have a nonfiction book in the rotation, one chapter a day. This one is about extending the gardening season by using things like cold frames and row covers.  Super interesting, but not 100% sure it’s going to be for me haha
  • David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – Another goal for the new year is to check off some “difficult” books from my list, mostly older classics.  David Copperfield was my random draw for January, and I’m actually really enjoying it.  Dickens has such a wry sense of humor and does amazing character studies.  David himself is so likable as well.
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – The only Bronte book I’ve ever read was this one, back in high school, and I hated every page.  The Litsy group that read through all of Jane Austen’s books last year has decided to branch out into some other classic female writings, so I decided to join them for another tour of Wuthering Heights to see if it has improved as I’ve gotten older.  Short answer – no, everyone is still incredibly stupid.  But now I’m finding it rather hilarious.  The small chunks of just a chapter a day are definitely helping as well.
  • Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi – I’ve never read this children’s classic, so when a Litsy group picked it for January, I thought I would read along.  Believe it or not, it’s even more bizarre than the Disney version.
  • The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery – The Kindred Spirit Buddy Readers are continuing their way through Montgomery’s books, with The Story Girl and its sequel, The Golden Road, next in line.  I’ve read these, but it’s been a really long time, so I’m enjoying the revisit.
  • Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie – This is the actual book I’m “really” reading haha  I just started it after spending almost an entire week working my way through The Eight by Katherine Neville.  I really enjoyed The Eight and am looking forward to the sequel, but my brain needed a break, so I turned to some classic Christie instead!

Last Time on “Up Next…”

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

  • The Waterfire Saga – Yes!  I finished and really enjoyed this four-book series about mermaids!  Who would have thought??
  • All the buddy reads I just talked about up above – yes-ish!  They are all in progress!
  • From Blood & Ash – No, not yet!  It’s still on January’s hopeful list.
  • Dumb Witness – So random that this is the one I decided to start next!

Up Next

The probable next five(ish) reads…

  • The Fire by Katherine Neville – even though it took me forever to get through The Eight, I really did enjoy it and definitely am planning to pick up the sequel.
  • Sarah’s Ground by Ann Rinaldi – this is one of those books I picked up at a booksale in like, the 90s, and still haven’t read. With a major 2022 goal being to read from my own shelves, this one is next on the list, especially since it’s one of those books that I think will be fine to read once but isn’t going to be my new favorite that I need to keep around for another 20 years.
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway – you would think that since this classic is so short, I would have gotten around to reading it already, but no!
  • For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten – this is my traveling book club book for this month. So far, it’s gotten mixed reviews from our group, so we’ll see if it’s any good.
  • The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water by Erin Bartels – this is a copy from the publisher for review, so it needs to be read before the end the month!!

Well, that’s the November update – I’ll be back soon with loads of fluffy romance reviews from December!!!

Rearview Mirror // October 2021

Ack! It’s 2022!! What is happening?!

Well, if you wish time wasn’t going so quickly, enjoy a little trip down memory lane back to 2021 LOL

Favorite October Read

Gotta go with Aurora Burning for this one.  This series is just fantastic – it’s definitely one I’m going to purchase/reread at some point.

Most Disappointing October Read

I actually had a couple of bum reads this month, but Emily’s Quest was probably the one that disappointed me the most.  I didn’t end up particularly enjoying this series overall, and the final book just really sealed the deal, with Emily spending the entire time waffling between two honestly not-that-great marital choices all while acting like she’s super independent and adventurous.  Boring and repetitive, and I didn’t really like anyone.  A bummer of a book from an author I generally love.

Other October Reads

October Stats

  • Total Number of Books Read:  27 (none on Kindle)
  • Total Pages Read:  7824
  • Average Star Rating for October:  3.64
  • Longest Book: Aurora Burning (495 pages)
  • Shortest Book:  Cloaked in Red (127 pages)
  • Oldest Book:  Emily’s Quest (published 1927)
  • Newest Book: The Ex Hex and Well Met were published this year.
  • Number of New-to-Me Authors:  6

October DNFs

None!!!

TBR Update

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

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:  494 (holding steady)
  • Nonfiction:  128 (holding steady)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  637 (down five!)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  251 (down one!)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 110 (down two!)
  • 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.): 152 (up 8… but we did just have Christmas LOL)

Current Reads

  • The Trouble With Hating You by Sajni Patel – this one is for the traveling book club and it’s okay, but the main character is definitely one of those “I’m abrasive because I don’t need no man” kind of characters, which definitely gets on my nerves a LOT
  • Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly – I just started this one last night and am actually pretty into it – it’s a crazy mermaid story, but it’s quite engaging.  It’s the first book in the Waterfire Saga.
  • 20hrs, 40mins by Amelia Earhart – I’ve had this nonfiction on reserve at the library since like September and it randomly came in, just when I was beginning to think it would never exist haha  So far I’ve only read the introductions, but I’m looking forward to Earhart’s story of flying (as a passenger) across the Atlantic.

Last Time on “Up Next…”

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

  • The Dreamer Trilogy by Nora Roberts – Yes!! I really enjoyed these, actually.
  • The Copenhagen Connection by Elizabeth Peters – Oh my gosh, no! Two months in a row it was in this slot and still hasn’t been read!!
  • The House of Arden by E. Nesbit – Another one!! Two months in a row and still not read!!!  And it’s so short!!
  • Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie – yes!!  A solid Christie read.
  • Rosalind by Clarice Peters – another fail!! But I’ll get to it someday!

Up Next

The probable next five(ish) reads…

Sooooo I have tons of reading challenges starting in January and I’m VERY EXCITED and may do a post of my bullet journal pages for some of them!!!  We’ll see how well I do at actually sticking with them, but I’m really focusing on unread books from my own shelves!!

  • Finish the Waterfire Saga books – there are three more after the one I’m reading
  • Buddy reads for January – The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – I haven’t tried Wuthering Heights since high school, so I supposed it’s time to give those Bronte girls another chance.  I really hated this one back when I was 15, though, and I’m not confident I’ll like it better now haha
  • Another 2022 goal is to get some chunksters off the list – I’m significantly reducing my GR goal for the year so I feel less pressure to read a bunch of books.  I’m starting with Jennifer Armentrout’s From Blood & Ash which has been lingering on my shelf for quite some time.  I’m a little scared of it – it’s been a while since I just dove into a 500+ page book!!
  • Dumb Witness is January’s Agatha Christie book – another one I don’t own, so I may pick up a cheap copy from eBay.

That’s the wrap for October – we’ll see how quickly I get around to writing November’s reviews!!!

Rearview Mirror – September 2021

I was doing so well, and then fell back off the bandwagon!! But here I am with September’s wrap up, which means there is actually a decent chance that I’ll get around to reviewing some of October’s books only a month after I read them!!!!

Favorite September Read

Even though I read a few books I technically rated higher (two rereads and the next Swallows & Amazons book), I didn’t have high expectations for Aurora Risingwhich may be part of the reason it ended up being such a win.  I’m not always into space novels, but I absolutely loved the snarky characters and intriguing world-building.

Most Disappointing September Read

September was actually a pretty decent reading month, with nothing below a 3.5*.  I think this slow will go to When You Read This.  Even though it wasn’t a bad book by any means, it was definitely a downer when I was hoping for something kind of fun.

Other September Reads

September Stats

  • Total Number of Books Read:  16 (none on Kindle)
  • Total Pages Read:  5698
  • Average Star Rating for July:  4.00
  • Longest Book: Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows (620 pages)
  • Shortest Book:  The Duke’s Disappearance (222 pages)
  • Oldest Book:  Emily Climbs (published 1925)
  • Newest Book: Hostile Intent, Fallen, The Wisteria Society for Lady Scoundrels, and To Sir, With Love were all published this year.
  • Number of New-to-Me Authors:  7

September DNFs

  • Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson – Following my trend for books-focused-on-letters, I brought this one with me on vacation as well, but it only took a chapter or two for me to realize the (gloomy) direction it was going to go – I skipped to the end to confirm that yes, the female MC realizes that getting married at a young age when she found out she was pregnant ACTUALLY was the WORST DECISION EVER and being a wife and mother all these years has been a COMPLETE WASTE OF HER LIFE AND TALENTS and conveniently right when she discovers that it turns out that her  husband is actually a CHEATING BASTARD and has been the WHOLE TIME so that obviously justifies the fact that she’s been having an emotional affair with the guy she’s writing letters with for the last however-long.  Just UGH. NO THANK YOU.
  • The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman – This one has been on my TBR for quite a while and I gave it about a hundred pages before deciding that it really just wasn’t for me.  It wasn’t a bad book, it just wasn’t a good fit for me.

TBR Update

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

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:  494 (down four!!)
  • Nonfiction:  128 (up one)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  642 (down two!)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  252 (holding steady!)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 112 (holding steady!)
  • 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.): 144 (down two!!)

Current Reads

I had this month all planned out with books from the library and that sort of thing but actually have just been in a MOOD so instead I’m reading a random Nora Roberts romance trilogy and it’s the perfect fit right now!

Last Time on “Up Next…”

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

  • The Sentinels of the Galaxy series – Yes!! Not only did I read this trilogy, I thoroughly enjoyed it!!!
  • Waiting for Tom Hanks – Yes! And it was another win!  Not only did I enjoy this one, it was actually set in Columbus so I was really familiar with loads of the landmarks, which was super fun.  I didn’t enjoy the sequel as much (Not Like the Movies), mainly because that MC just drove me absolutely batty, but overall these were good fun.
  • The Copenhagen Connection – Nope!  It’s still here (checked out from the library) but keeps getting pushed back on the shelf!
  • Doctor’s Boy – Nope! Despite the fact that it’s a children’s book and quite short, I just still haven’t actually picked it up.
  • Rosalind – Nope! You would think that since I’ve been in the mood for romance I would have gone ahead and read this one but here we are!

Up Next

The probable next five(ish) reads…

  • I’m finishing the Dreamer Trilogy by Nora Roberts – I just started the second book, Holding the Dream, today.
  • The Copenhagen Connection by Elizabeth Peters – Wait, doesn’t this sound familiar??
  • The House of Arden by E. Nesbit – I have never met a Nesbit book I don’t like, and since it’s a children’s book, it should be a fast read, right??
  • Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie – This is the next Christie book in published order.  I kind of forgot that we were reading it for November!!  It’s technically a reread but I don’t remember this one at all.
  • Rosalind by Clarice Peters – Yeah, theoretically I’m still planning to read this one from the Regency box!!

That’s a wrap for September – I’ll be back soon with October reviews!!!

Rearview Mirror // August 2021

I was thinking that it felt mildly reasonable to be wrapping up August in October… except then I realized it’s actually already November!  Whoops!

Favorite August Read

Actually, I’m going to put a nonfiction read in this slot!  I just thoroughly enjoyed the humor and ridiculousness of The Horologicon so much.  While Persuasion was objectively my favorite read of the month, I always like to choose a new read when I can!!

Most Disappointing August Read

Weirdly, another nonfiction read!  While Leave No Stone Unturned was objectively a worse read, I didn’t have very high expectations for that one.  However, The Home Edit looks like it is going to be so useful and interesting, but it was pretty much just nice pictures without a lot of substance.

Other August Reads

August Stats

  • Total Number of Books Read:  21 (1 Kindle, 20 physical)
  • Total Pages Read:  5656
  • Average Star Rating for July:  3.57
  • Longest Book: Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince (542 pages)
  • Shortest Book:  The Bottle Imp (31 pages)
  • Oldest Book:  Persuasion (published 1817)
  • Newest Book: The Nature of Small Birds and An Irish Hostage were published this year.
  • Number of New-to-Me Authors:  12

August DNFs

None this month!!

TBR Update

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

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:  498 (down two!!)
  • Nonfiction:  127 (holding steady)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  644 (holding steady!)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  252 (down two!!)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 112 (down one!)
  • 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.): 146 (down two!!)

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

Right now, I’m only in the middle of two books.  A group on Litsy is reading through all of L.M. Montgomery’s books, and this month we are reading Chronicles of Avonlea (and Further Chronicles, but that will be the second half of the month).  My everyday book right now is The Ghost Bride, which has been on my TBR since 2014 and finally came up on the random number draw I use to determine my next book lol

Last Time on “Up Next…”

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

  • The Birdwatcher by William Shaw – yes!! 3.5*
  • The second half of the Shetland Island mysteries – nope! But they are still in a pile by the library bookshelf.  Hopefully this month!!
  • Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys – yes!! Slow overall and didn’t like the ending – 2.5*
  • The Third Victim by Phillip Margolin – yes!! 3.5* and guess what! It’s actually the first book in a series!! WHY
  • Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall – kind of! I “had” to read this one for traveling book club, but skimmed after about page 100.  Wow, the MC was SO TERRIBLE, plus the entire book was nothing but f-bombs on every page, which I just find SO annoying and completely unnecessary.

Up Next…

The probable next five(ish) reads…

  • The Sentinels of the Galaxy trilogy by Maria Snyder – this series has been on my radar for quite a while because I enjoyed Snyder’s Chronicles of Ixia soooo much.
  • Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey (plus the sequel, Not Like the Movies, if the first book is any good) – another one that has been floating on the peripheral of my TBR for a while, just because it sounds like my kind of fun.
  • The Copenhagen Connection by Elizabeth Peters – my next random TBR read.  Peters can be hit or miss for me, but when I like her books, I really like them.
  • Doctor’s Boy by Karin Anckarsvard – This one has been on my shelf for YEARS.  I really enjoyed Anckarsvard’s Nordvick mysteries, so whenever I saw this one back in the day at a library discard sale, I picked it up, yet have never read it!
  • Rosalind by Clarice Peters – the next book from my ebay box of Regency romances!!!

So that’s (finally) a wrap for August.  Time for September reviews!!!

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!!!