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!!!

Rearview Mirror // June 2021

Definitely not behind on these LOL  Okay, so this is the fourth post I’ve typed in two days, so maybe I’m kind of catching up???  We’ll see what happens.  In the meantime, some numbers that are only four months behind!!

Favorite June Read

Unusually, I think I’m going to go with a nonfiction book for this slot – I really enjoyed The Perfect Horse so much.  It was everything I want from nonfiction history: engaging, interesting, informative, and readable.  I probably enjoyed my rereads of the Narnia books more, but I like to choose new reads for this spot when I can!!

Most Disappointing June Read

The Sleeper and the Spindle.  It was just weird and creepy to me.

Other June Reads

June States

  • Total Number of Books Read:  33 (0 Kindle, 33 physical)
  • Total Pages Read:  9027 (highest for the year so far)
  • Average Star Rating for September:  3.69
  • Longest Book: Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire (627 pages)
  • Shortest Book:  The Sleeper & the Spindle (69 pages)
  • Oldest Book:  Emma (published 1815)
  • Newest Book: Written in Starlight, People We Meet on Vacation, Mister Impossible, Every Vow You Break, 10 Truths & a Dare, and The Soulmate Equation were all published this year.
  • Number of New-to-Me Authors:  3

June 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 June.

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:  503 (down six!!)
  • Nonfiction:  127 (up two)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  645 (down three!)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  253 (up one)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 114 (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.): 146 (up three)

Current Reads

Only reading two books right now – a lot of my series buddy reads have wound down for the year!!  I’m reading Emily’s Quest by L.M. Montgomery.  It’s the third in the Emily of New Moon trilogy, which I have somehow never read before… and am not planning to ever read again.  They are definitely more depressing and serious than the Montgomery books that I love.  I just don’t find Emily as likable as Anne, either.  They’re interesting and I’m glad to read them, but don’t see myself revisiting, especially since her one love interest is just DREADFUL.

I am also, believe it or not, on THE FINAL BOOK of the 87th Precinct series – book FIFTY-FIVE!!!!

Last Time on “Up Next…”

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

  • Lexie Star mysteries – I read the first one and it was DREADFUL! So that’s an entire series off the list!
  • The Duke’s Disappearance – Yes! I read this one and it was decent but not amazing.
  • Flint Spears – another yes!  This was a solid read – Will James’s writing is so different yet engaging.
  • Sam in the Suburbs – despite rather needing a Wodehouse fix, the answer to this one is no… but soon!!
  • Holdfast – another no.  This one just keeps getting ditched in line!!

Up Next…

The probable next five(ish) reads –

So for the month of October, Litsy has a giant “contest” called Scarathlon.  Everyone who wants to read along signs up to be on a team (one team focuses on horror/supernatural books while the other team focuses on mysteries/thrillers), so I decided to take October and focus on either wrapping up and progressing on a few of the mystery series I’m reading!!  So –

  • Beside finishing the 87th Precinct series, I’m also planning to read the entire Shetland Island series by Ann Cleeves.  I read the first book in September and really enjoyed it, so I’m intrigued to read the rest (eight books altogether).
  • I read the first five Leaphorn & Chee books in July & August.  There are 20-something of them altogether so I won’t be finishing this series this month, but I am hoping to read books 6-10!
  • The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie – this is the next book for the Agatha Christie club on Litsy; we’re reading all of Christie’s books in published order, although I’ve skipped a few haha
  • The Jackal’s Head by Elizabeth Peters – Peters’s books are hit or miss for me, but I’m always willing to at least give them a try.  This one has been on my TBR for quite a while and is due back at the library next week, so it’s actually probably going to be next up after I finish the last 87th Precinct book.
  • The Birdwatcher by William Shaw – I’m also hoping to read at least a few of the thrillers that have been on my shelf for a while, like this one – books that looked really interesting and that I really wanted to read when I acquired them (mostly through BookOutlet; curse those $2 books!) but still haven’t actually read!!!

So that’s a wrap for JUNE… stay tuned for July in October!! :-D

Rearview Mirror // May 2021

I just don’t seem to be getting any forwarder on my blogging!!  Ah well, here’s a recap from May, which was a stupendously busy month at my greenhouse job – definitely reflected in the overall amount of reading I got done, my lowest month of the year so far.

Favorite May Read

Although it was technically Carry On, Jeeves, I like to choose a new read for this slot when possible, which means Project Hail Mary is going to take the win.  This book ended up being funny, engaging, emotional, intense, and all game together in the end – a total win for me.

Most Disappointing May Read

Possibly Love at First by Kate Clayborn, which was honestly an okay read for me, but somewhat boring and just not that engaging.  However, as you can see from my little pile of 3* reads this month, it could just as easily have been any of the other meh reads I had.

Other May Reads

May Stats

  • Total Number of Books Read:  18 (1 Kindle, 17 physical)
  • Total Pages Read:  5361
  • Average Star Rating for September:  3.75
  • Longest Book: Project Hail Mary (476 pages)
  • Shortest Book:  Unicorn Famous (171 pages)
  • Oldest Book:  Happiness Hill (published 1932)
  • Newest Book: Unicorn Famous, Second First Impressions, Project Hail Mary, Anchored Hearts, The Dating Plan, and Love at First were all published this year.
  • Number of New-to-Me Authors:  5

May 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 May. I am also making progress on winnowing down the unread blog emails!!! Under 800!!! LOL

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:  509 (up one)
  • Nonfiction:  125 (down one)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  648 (holding steady)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  252 (up one)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 114 (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.): 143 (up six!)

Current Reads

  • I’m trying to have one nonfiction book on the go all the time right now, just a chapter a day.  It actually is helping me get through the ones both on my official nonfiction section of the TBR and some of the scores of nonfiction I already own!  Right now I’m reading The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson, about a preacher in the 1960s who ended up moving from rural Pennsylvania to New York City to work with a gang ministry.  This one has been on my shelf for literal years but I’m glad that I’ve finally picked it up as it’s thoroughly engaging.
  • The PemberLittens group on Litsy is on our final Austen read – Persuasion.  I quite like this one and am enjoying the gentle chapter-a-day pace.
  • Another Litsy group is reading through the Emily of New Moon trilogy by L.M. Montgomery.  Despite the fact that several of Montgomery’s books rate in my top books of all time, I’ve never read this series.  I think when I was growing up Mom told me that it was sad, so I never bothered.  But I’m probably old enough to handle the sad now haha  So far, the first book, Emily of New Moon, has been okay, but it really does have a down tone compared to many of Montgomery’s other books.  And Emily’s Aunt Elizabeth is just a terrible person.  Like Marilla without any sense of humor or empathy.
  • I’m also trying to check some classics off my list, also via the chapter-a-day method, and am currently read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, another of those classics I’ve just never gotten around to reading.  It’s short and snappy so I’m really enjoying it.
  • My “regular” book that I’m reading right now is The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan.  A while back I read The Joy Luck Club and enjoyed it so much more than I was anticipating – I’m usually not a fan of novels.  So far, this book is also drawing me in despite being a book it doesn’t “sound” like I should enjoy.
  • Finally, last night I wasn’t feeling sleepy and just wanted something happy and fluffy to read before going to sleep, and ended up getting about a third of the way through My Lady Jane, which I have been meaning to read forever.  So far, absolutely fantastic.

Up Next

The probably next five(ish) reads –

  • The next free Kindle book I’m planning to check off the list is a collection of the first three books in the Lexie Star cozy mystery series.  I can’t decide if I’m hoping that I enjoy them and read the whole series, or if I hope the first book is dreadful and I don’t need to read the rest! LOL
  • I still have a handful of books from the Regency book box I bought off of eBay a couple years ago.  They’ve ranged from “what even” to “pretty decent” so we’ll see what The Duke’s Disappearance has to offer.
  • A while back I read Smoky the Cow Horse and found it surprisingly engaging.  So, when we were in South Dakota in 2019 and I saw another of James’s books, Flint Spears, I decided to pick it up.  And two years later, I’m planning to actually read it!!  Actually not a bad timeline from purchase to reading for me.
  • My next Wodehouse book is one I actually somehow haven’t read before – Sam in the Suburbs.  I’m rather excited about it as I only have a tiny handful of unread Wodehouse books left.
  • Still working through my personal collection of unread books – the next will be Holdfast by Patricia Beatty.  Back in high school I purchased a bunch of library discards by Beatty but haven’t read them all (or at least not since the late 90s).  She’s a mixed bag for me – I’ve kept a couple and gotten rid of a couple, so we’ll see how this one plays out.  Many of her books are set on the west coast in the 1800s, so moving to early 1600s Ireland will be a definite change of pace!!

Well, that about brings you up to speed as well as summing up my May reading.  On to June!!!

Rearview Mirror // April 2021

Well, it’s been less than three weeks (barely) since I posted March’s Rearview Mirror, so that means I’m getting caught up, right???

Favorite April Read

If I’m honest, my favorite read was actually my reread of Prince Caspian, but since I like to chose new books for this slot, I’m going with Blue Lily, Lily Blue.

Most Disappointing April Read

I had a lot of reads I was ambivalent towards this month, but the one that really was the worst was Shoot the Moonwhich was especially annoying because it was the middle book of a trilogy.

Other April Reads

April Stats

  • Total Number of Books Read:  17 (9 Kindle, 8 physical)
  • Total Pages Read:  6075
  • Average Star Rating for September:  3.7
  • Longest Book: The Raven King (475 pages)
  • Shortest Book:  Mansfield Park Revisited (201 pages)
  • Oldest Book:  Parker Pyne Investigates (published 1934)
  • Newest Book: Off Script and A Lady’s Guide to Mischief & Mayhem (both published 2020)
  • Number of New-to-Me Authors:  4

April 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 April. I am also making progress on winnowing down the unread blog emails!!! Under 1000!!!

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:  508 (down three)
  • Nonfiction:  126 (up two)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  648 (down two)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  251 (holding steady)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 115 (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.): 137 (holding steady)

Current Reads

  • I’m trying to read some nonfiction every day while I’m on my summer break.  Yesterday I started a book about unusual words called Horologicon by Mark Forsyth.  It’s pretty entertaining.  So far my favorite new word is zwodder which means “a drowsy and stupid state of body or mind.”  I definitely suffer from zwodderness frequently!!!
  • Jane Austen Made Me Do It by various authors – I got this one on the cheap from Book Outlet, a collection of Jane Austen-inspired short stories by a bunch of different authors.  I’ve been reading one a day this month.  I’m better than halfway through, but so far not a single story has been over a 3* rating for me, and a lot of them have been more like 2*.  They’re just… boring and kind of pointless.  It’s quite disappointing.
  • Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken – after finishing Emma in June (and disliking it just as much as ever), I was interested to revisit this alternate story that focuses on “Emma’s other heroine – Jane Fairfax.”  It’s actually been pretty good so far, although a little slow in spots.
  • The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis – the final book in the Narnia series, and the one I’ve read the fewest times because it makes me SO sad.
  • Sons of Pemberley by Elizabeth Adams – I’m actually working my way through the next batch of 87th Precinct mysteries and thought I would take a little break from the gritty by reading another P&P variation.  This one isn’t exactly bad but it’s complicated because Adams has decided to add a BUNCH of Darcy family members (including more siblings for Darcy and Georgianna!) and has two timelines going with loads of names that are the same for the two different generations because basically everyone in the younger generation is named after someone in the older generation.  This is definitely a book that needs a family tree and list of characters!

Up Next

The probable next five(ish) reads…

  • The next two 87th Precinct books, The Big Bad City and The Last Dance.  After this, I’ll only have five books left!!!!
  • To Have and To Hoax, which is my choice for the next round of the traveling book club
  • Dance Hall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman – this is the next book in the Leaphorn & Chee series.  The first book was decent but not amazing, so I’m giving the next two books in the series a try.  If they’re also just meh for me, I’m not going to bother with the rest of the series, since there are around 20 books.
  • Abandoned by Lisa Jackson – a while back someone gave me a box of books, mostly mysteries.  I’ve never tried anything by Jackson before, but several of the books in the box are by her, so I’m interested to see if I like them, or if I’ll be adding several books to my giveaway box!
  • My Lady Jane has been on my TBR forever.  I actually ended up getting a copy from Book Outlet (okay, so I’m a sucker for brand new books that are under $5!) so I think I’m finally going to get to it!!!

So those are the current updates plus the April sum-up.  Doing May minireviews feels like it’s a lot closer to current, so I’m excited to delve into them next!!  Happy reading!!

Rearview Mirror // March 2021

Well, it’s been less than two week since I posted the February Rearview Mirror, so maybe I am catching up a little!!!

Favorite March Read

While I definitely am not picking this one for its depth and thoughtfulness, I have to say that The 26th of November was the book I enjoyed reading the most in March.  A fun and fluffy P&P variation that didn’t try to take itself too seriously.

Most Disappointing March Read

Probably Peter Pan.  While I wasn’t expecting it to be my new favorite, I honestly found parts of this classic to be on the disturbing side.  It’s a lot darker than I anticipated and I just wasn’t a fan.

Other March Reads

March Stats

  • Total Number of Books Read:  25 (10 Kindle, 15 physical)
  • Total Pages Read:  7258
  • Average Star Rating for September:  3.6
  • Longest Book: Mansfield Park (494 pages)
  • Shortest Book:  The Breakthrough (58 pages)
  • Oldest Book:  Mansfield Park (published 1814)
  • Newest Book: Unknown Threat (published 2021)
  • Number of New-to-Me Authors:  6

March DNFs

My only DNF this month was a P&P variation that I actually reviewed the other day – Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon by Maria Grace.

TBR Update

This I keep updated as I go, so it’s current as of today, rather than as of the end of February. Still a million years behind on reading blog posts, though! :-/  I’m sure I’ll get caught up over summer break, right?  RIGHT?!

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:  511 (down two)
  • Nonfiction:  124 (down three)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  650 (up one)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  251 (holding steady)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 115 (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.): 137 (holding steady)

Current Reads

  • Tips for the Lazy Gardener by Linda Tilgner – one I picked up at a booksale several years ago but never got around to reading.  So far, it’s more like “tips for getting organized when you garden” lol
  • Jane Austen Made Me Do It by various authors – a collection of short stories all inspired by Austen.  Another book I picked up on the cheap somewhere.  For fun, I’m just reading one story a day from the collection.
  • Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling – about 2/3 through this one.  It’s my least favorite from the series, but reading it only a chapter a day has been making Harry’s angst (and Umbridge) more bearable.
  • The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis – almost done with the chapter-a-day readalong of Narnia.  It’s actually been longer since I read this one than the others because the beginning of this one just makes me feel wretched.
  • A Blissful Marriage by Lory Lilian – I’ve been in the mood for more terrible P&P variations so I’m reupped my Kindle Unlimited subscription this month.  Not going to lie, this one is pretty terrible so far.

Up Next

The probable next five(ish) reads…

If I’m honest, more bad P&P variations.  Officially, per the TBR –

  • The Paris Library by Janet Charles
  • Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken
  • The Little Mermaid & Other Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Anderson
  • Meet Me in Bombay by Jenny Ashcroft
  • The next five 87th Precinct books

Well, that about wraps up March (HA) so I’ll be back soon with some April reviews!! Thanks for sticking with me!!

Rearview Mirror // February 2021

Well friends, we are better than halfway through June and I’m still super behind!! Part of me thinks I should just skip ahead but… I just can’t quite bring myself to do that!!  The good news is that work has calmed way down and I don’t start at the orchard until the beginning of August.  So I have over a month to get my life completely organized and caught up!! I’m confident that’s going to happen.  :-D

Favorite February Read

Even thought 1984 and Murder on the Orient Express technically rated higher, I think I’m going to go with The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold.  Something about the story and the characters just really drew me in, and it’s one I definitely see myself rereading, looking for more clues about the mind-bendy bits.

Most Disappointing February Read

Definitely The School for Good & Evil.  This one just gave me the weirds super hard, which is a shame because the concept sounds really good.  But it was not for me.

Other February Reads

February Stats

  • Total Number of Books Read:  17 (1 Kindle, 16 physical)
  • Total Pages Read:  6196
  • Average Star Rating for September:  3.5
  • Longest Book: Of Beasts & Beauties (810 pages) although it feels like a bit of a cheat since it’s an anthology haha
  • Shortest Book:  Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them (88 pages) and actually I never reviewed this one because it was just… there lol
  • Oldest Book:  Murder on the Orient Express (published 1934)
  • Newest Book: The Electric Kingdom and You Have a Match (published 2021)
  • Number of New-to-Me Authors:  10

February DNFs

Only had one DNF in February, a book that’s been on my personal shelves for a long time – The Covered Wagon by Emerson Hough.  I’ll admit that I wasn’t completely in the mood for a pioneer story, but this one, published in 1922, was absolutely absurd.  I read over a hundred pages and it was a complete soap opera, with two dramatic young men in the wagon train competing for the hand of a beautiful young woman.  I finally gave up when she wandered away from the camp, then looked and saw a prairie fire.  In order to alert the wagon train… she STARTED A FIRE AND USED SMOKE SIGNALS.  TO ALERT THEM ABOUT A WILDFIRE.  I just couldn’t deal any more!

TBR Update

This I keep updated as I go, so it’s current as of today, rather than as of the end of February. Still a million years behind on reading blog posts, though! :-/  I’m sure I’ll get caught up over summer break, right?  RIGHT?!

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:  513 (holding steady)
  • Nonfiction:  127 (up two)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  649 (up eleven!)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  251 (down two)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 115 (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.): 137 (up nine!)

Current Reads

I’m doing multiple buddy reads on Litsy.  I should finish a reread of Emma this week.  I’m about halfway through The Magician’s Nephew (CS Lewis) and maybe a quarter of the way through Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix (and yes, Harry is just as obnoxious as ever in this one).  I’m also reading Russian Magic Tales as part of the Food & Lit Challenge where we “visit” a different country every month.  June is Russia, and since I’ve had this one on my TBR for a while it felt like a good fit!!  I’ve also been reading a Nora Roberts romance series and am almost finished with the last book, Considering Kate.

Up Next

The probable next five(ish) reads…

  • The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell is due back at the library, so I need to get it checked off!!
  • The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer is my June book for the traveling book club, so also due soon haha
  • The Perfect Horse by Elizabeth Letts has been on my shelf (from the library) for literal months now and it’s about time to actually read it!
  • I’ve also had the first five books of the Leaphorn & Chee mystery series checked out for quite some time.  If I enjoy them, there are 24 books in the series sooooo
  • The World of Pooh is the next book on my quest to read every book I own.

We’ll see what happens!!!  Hopefully coming soon – March minireviews!!!