Rearview Mirror // February 2020

Wait, you may be saying – didn’t we just finish March, not February?  Yes, you are correct!  However, here on TheAromaofBooks, I’ve only just finished reviewing the books I read in February!  So one month at a time!

Favorite February Read

I think I’m going with Free to Fall.  This book was surprisingly deep, and while it didn’t fall into a few cliches, I found myself really engaged with this on-the-brink-of-dystopia novel.

Most Disappointing February Read

The Intuitionist is going to slot in here.  It was just an odd book that I was never really able to connect with.

Other February Reads

February Stats

  • Total Number of Books Read:  19 (15 physical; 4 Kindle)
  • Total Pages Read:  5668 (BIG drop from January)
  • Average Star Rating for January:  3.66
  • Longest Book:  The Starless Sea  (494 pages)
  • Shortest Book:  Hail to the Chief (151 pages)
  • Oldest Book:  The Secret of Chimneys (published 1925)
  • Newest Book:  Lucky Caller (published 2020)
  • Number of New-to-Me Authors:  3

February DNFs

Only one for February – The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons.  I think part of the problem was that I just wasn’t in the mood for this one.  It’s 560 pages long, an epic fantasy with complicated dual storylines, more footnotes than most nonfiction, multiple pages of glossary terms in the back, etc.  Sometimes I really enjoy immersing myself in a world like this, but other times I just don’t have the patience for it, and this was one of the impatience times.  It’s a shame because I own a beautiful hardcover copy of this one that I got in a random book box, but I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to it.  The dual timeline was a real turn-off, with multiple characters overlapping in both, some in first person, some in third person – it was just toooo much.

TBR Update

This I keep updated as I go, so it’s current as of today, rather than as of the end of February.  I’m sure it’s off-kilter, though, because I get most of my TBR additions from reading book reviews on all of your lovely blogs, and I haven’t read anything in weeks!!

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

  • Standalones:  480 (down three)
  • Nonfiction:  117 (up two – it would probably help if I read nonfiction like ever)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  672 (up twelve– mostly Kindle books and old gardening books from my grandma’s house)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  242 (down one)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 114 (down one)

So overall some downward trends… although I’m sure that will change whenever I get around to reading blog posts!

Reading Challenge Updates

  • #ReadingEurope2020 – visited zero countries (total 2/46 complete – this is definitely my weakest challenge so far!)
  • #ReadtheUSA2020 – visited four states: Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, and North Carolina (total 11/50 complete)
  • #SeparatedbyaPondTour – visited the four states above, plus two English counties (Gloucestershire and Hertfordshire). (Total 20/159 complete.)
  • #LitsyAtoZ – 1 book (18/26 complete)
  • #BackwardsAtoZ – 8 books (No L – No S complete – I’m trying to do this one in order)

I’ve also been doing a bunch of book bingos, which are kind of my new favorite thing!

Current Reads

Just one – I’m reading my way through an old children’s series from the 1960’s, the Robin Kane books.  Currently I’m on book #4 out of 6 – The Candle Shop Mystery.

Up Next

Besides finishing the Robin Kane books, the next few reads will probably be –

  • White Tiger by Kylie Chan – for another Litsy challenge I’m trying to read my five oldest unread Kindle books – this one is from 2016!
  • The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg – an #LMPBC book
  • The Last Equation of Isaac Severy by Nora Jacobs – a random TBR book
  • Moonlight Becomes You by Mary Higgins Clark – someone gave me an entire box of mysteries, including a bunch by Clark
  • Leave It to Psmith by P.G. Wodehouse – I’m still (very) slowly working my way through all of Wodehouse’s books in published order.  I’m looking forward to this reread as I always find Psmith particularly entertaining.

Well, that’s the February update – up next, minireviews from the books I read in March!  I may catch up one of these days!!

Rearview Mirror // January 2020

Well, well, here we are, a whole week into February!  Of 2020!  Seriously, 2020 doesn’t even sound like a real year, and I definitely can’t believe that over a month of it is gone already!  January was a busy month.  I wrapped up my season at the orchard, and worked a few random days at my new spring job at the greenhouse (regular hours should start late Feb-early March).  Tom built a crazy cupboard for the end of the lower room AND a gorgeous sideboard.  I’m actually filling them with stuff today and it’s SO exciting!  It finally feels like things are coming together in this crazy lil house.  We actually have snow today, which is exciting – we didn’t get any to speak of in January, kind of weird.  I love snow when I’m not driving in it, so I’ve been happy looking out my window today.

Favorite January Read

My overall favorite read was a reread, The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery.  But my favorite new read was A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, mostly surprising because I wasn’t even expecting to particularly like that one, much less absolutely love it.

Most Disappointing January Read

Probably How to Stop Time by Matt Haig.  I know that part of my problem with that book was reading it at the same time as Stoner, but still the overall down tone of the book, combined with some ?!?! moments left me feeling a little underwhelmed.

Other January Reads

January Stats

  • Total Number of Books Read:  29 (25 physical; 4 Kindle)
  • Total Pages Read:  8030
  • Average Star Rating for January:  3.72
  • Longest Book:  Jurassic Park  (448 pages)
  • Shortest Book:  A Mouse Called Wolf (98 pages)
  • Oldest Book:  Around the World in Eighty Days (published 1872)
  • Newest Book:  Off Balance (published February 2020)
  • Number of New-to-Me Authors:  11

January DNFs

Only one this month – Not the Girl You Marry by Andie Christopher.  It was SO. AWFUL.  I don’t mind a little bit of steamy in my books, but this one was wayyyy on the vulgar side of the line and led to me instituting a new personal rule: If a book uses the phrase “dipping his wick” more than once, it’s not for me.  Geezy crimeny, it was dreadful.  Every single page was just about sex – having sex, finding sex, wishing for sex, wondering if someone else was thinking about sex, angling for sex.  UGH.  After a multi-page dissertation about the main character’s “bush” and whether her embarrassment about how “out of control” it was would be enough to keep her from giving into her desperate inclination to have sex with a guy that she apparently shouldn’t, I threw in the towel.  To top it off, both main characters were just horrible, obnoxious people.  I despised Hannah, who was abrasive, vulgar, selfish, and annoying.  Jack was also vulgar, selfish, and annoying, but instead of being abrasive he was slimy.  And of course the entire premise is that they are both lying to/using each other.  Setting aside the utter vulgarity of every page, it felt like the whole story would have read better as a fake relationship story, where they both knew the other was using them?

In fairness, there are LOADS of good reviews for this one – I’m definitely in the minority.  But I have zero regrets about bailing on this one, and wouldn’t touch another of Christopher’s books if you paid me.

TBR Update

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

  • Standalones:  483 (up THIRTY-SEVEN!  This is because I finally transferred random books I’ve been adding from Litsy onto my official TBR.  Sigh.)
  • Nonfiction:  115 (up ten… see excuse above!)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  660 (up fifteen – this one is because Mom was getting rid of a bunch of gardening books and also Ohio history books… my weaknesses!)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  243 (up six)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 115 (up three)

Okay, so not so hot on reducing the TBR this month (despite reading 29 books!), but I’m sure I’ll see a difference in February, right??

Reading Challenge Updates

  • #ReadingEurope2020 – visited two countries: Belgium and Sweden (total 2/46 complete)
  • #ReadtheUSA2020 – visited seven states: California, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Vermont (total 7/50 complete)
  • #SeparatedbyaPondTour – visited the seven states above, plus one Canadian province (Ontario) and three English counties/regions (Bristol, Devon, and Greater London). (Total 14/159 complete.)
  • #LitsyAtoZ – 17 books (17/26 complete)
  • #BackwardsAtoZ – 11 books (No A – No K complete – I’m trying to do this one in order)

I’ve also been doing a bunch of book bingos, which are kind of my new favorite thing!

Current Reads

I picked up The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons last night.  I’ve had it on my shelf for a while (one of those random book subscription box books).  It’s a gorgeous hardcover copy, and the premise sounds intriguing, but it’s almost 600 pages long, has multiple narrators/timelines, has 10+ pages of glossary information in the back, is full of footnotes, and of course is set in an entirely different world from our own.  All that to say, I’m not completely sure this book is for me, but I’m going to give it a hundred pages to see how it rolls.  My usual method of reading is snatching pages here and there all day, but this is NOT that kind of book, at least not to start, so it’s currently my eating book (because yes, I’m one of those terrible people who reads every time she eats… my husband does, too, so we get along fine haha), and I’ve picked up Well Met (by Jen DeLuca) for my floater book.  It’s lighthearted and fluffy, so a perfect counterbalance.

Up Next

On deck…  probably going to be –

  • The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehad (he’s Litsy’s #authoramonth for February, so I’m interested to try some of his writing)
  • How to Save Your Child From Ostrich Attacks, Accidental Time Travel, And Anything Else That May Happen on an Average Tuesday by James Breakwell – I have a lot of love for this guy, whose weekly newsletter totally makes my day.  Even if this book ends up terrible, it’s still worth the price just to thank Breakwell for all the laughs he gives me for free.
  • The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern – this one came in for me at the library right around Christmas/New Year’s, and I just didn’t have the head space for it.  I sent it back and put my name back on the list, and here it is again!  I think I’m ready to actually give it a go this time.
  • Jane in the Orient by Louis Swinehart – I’ve had this book forever, picked up at some yard sale or something, and have never gotten around to read it.  Funny story, the only place I can find it is on ebay for almost $200, and my edition happens to be signed by the author so.  Now I need to get on Antiques Roadshow, apparently.
  • Summer by the Tides by Denise Hunter – I have an up and down relationship with this author’s books, but this one should at least be worth a try.

So that’s the update here!  Hope all is well with all of you out there,  Happy reading!

Rearview Mirror // 2019

Here it is, folks, the post you’ve all been waiting for – the summary of my 2019 book blogging/reading life!

Okay, so maybe you haven’t been waiting, but it’s what you’re getting anyway.  2019 was a year like any other, really – some parts of it were awesome, some parts of it were tragic, and most of it was just pretty solid.  It’s amazing to me how some areas of life can be as awesome as you can imagine, while other parts, simultaneously, are dreadful.  I guess overall life is just weird!

This was the first year that I really was industrious about tracking my personal reading statistics.  I’m a total geek about that kind of thing, and honestly can’t believe it’s taken me this long to create a spreadsheet!  Planning, making lists, and reviewing information is all just about as enjoyable to me as actually reading the books.

2019 Numbers

Last year I completed a total of 295 books, which comes to a stunning 81,770 pages!  I’m starting to worry about what I’m doing with my life!!

Out of those books, 145 were ones that I already owned, while the rest came either from the library or Kindle Unlimited (mostly the library).  So pretty close to 50-50!  While I do love my Kindle, the vast majority of the books I read were in physical format – 215 of them.

For the first time, I also tracked the books I didn’t finish – I averaged almost two books a month that went in the DNF pile – 23 of them throughout the year (not included in the 295 total books read).  Training myself to not finish books is still an uphill battle, but honestly worth it.  There are so many fantastic books out there, I just need to stop wasting my time on books that aren’t working for me, even if it is hard to not finish something.

This year’s longest book came at the very end of the year – Northern Lights by Nora Roberts, at 637 pages.  My shortest book was a short story by Linda Castillo that I read all the way back in January – Long Lost was only 52 pages long.

According to Goodreads, the most popular book I read this year was The Night Circus, while once again my least popular book was one I had to add to the database myself – The Wonderful Tumble of Timothy Smith.  

2019 Highs & Lows

Overall, this was kind of a weird reading year for me.  Most of my highest-ranking books were actually rereads, not new discoveries.  If I had to sum up this year it would be “3.5*” – it felt like almost every book I read could be described with words like “solid,” “decent,” and “readable.”  My brightest discovery this year – Arthur Ransome’s Swallows & Amazons books.  Those have been, so far, a delight.  I still have several more to carry me through 2020 as well!

Here are my favorite books from each month (links to reviews) –

  • January:  Eagle & Crane by Suzanne Rendell – honestly, I still think about this book from time to time.
  • February:  Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills – ah, the banter!
  • March:  The Rosemary Tree by Elizabeth Goudge – I just don’t understand how she can make regular people doing regular things so beautiful and readable.
  • April:  The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – was it a reread?  Yes.  Was it still perfect?  YES.
  • May:  Indiscretion by Jude Morgan – another reread?  Yes.  Best dialogue ever?  YES.
  • June:  Swallows & Amazons by Arthur Ransome – I don’t understand how I waited so long to read these!
  • July:  The Eyes of Tamburah by Maria V. Snyder – ridiculous yet delightful romp of a story.
  • August:  Swallowdale by Arthur Ransome – >>I<< want to be a kid who lives in a fun camp built with my siblings and my best friends for the entire summer, wandering about the British countryside having adventures!
  • September:  My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George – a childhood favorite that completely lived up to being reread as an adult.  Still want to run away and live in a tree btw.
  • October:  The Dry by Jane Harper – I love it when the setting of a book is its own character.
  • November:  A Cruel Deception by Charles Todd – this whole series was just brilliant.
  • December:  Winter Holiday by Arthur Ransome – haven’t actually written the review yet, but it was SO fun.

The book that earns “Most Disappointing” each month is just that – not necessarily the worst book I read, but the book that let me down the most.  I’ve really tried to increase my rate of not finishing books I’m not getting along with, but sometimes I just have to finish anyway!

Here are the books that left me feeling disappointed from each month (links to reviews) –

  • January:  All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson – engrossing and also gross.
  • February:  Thanksgiving Groom by Brenda Minton – look, I have low expectations concerning plot lines and logical character development for Hallmark-movie-ish reads, but I do have some expectations!
  • March:  Pearls of Lutra by Brian Jacques – definitely a low point in the Redwall series.
  • April:  Wednesday Riders by Tudor Robins – Sometimes YA books make me feel so, so, SO old.
  • May:  The Trail of the Green Doll by Margaret Sutton – I apparently didn’t even review it – honestly, I think Sutton was taking drugs while she was writing this one.  WHAT was going on!?
  • June:  Dreamology by Lucy Keating – so much potential, so little follow-through.
  • July:  The String by Caleb Breakey – great concept that devolved into chaos.
  • August:  The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck – oh wow, I’d forgotten how much this book depressed me.  So, so depressing.
  • September:  The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware – I know this is a popular one, but it had so many ??!?!? moments (not in a good way) and I just could not figure out how this was the most efficient way to murder the person he was trying to murder.  Like, what?!
  • October:  The House of a Thousand Lanterns by Victoria Holt – wow, maybe the slowest book ever written.
  • November:  Aquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill – long on gorgeous artwork and in-your-face conservation message, short on actual story.
  • December:  The Coat-Hanger Christmas Tree by Eleanor Estes – what is WRONG with you, mom who won’t let her kids have a Christmas tree for no good reason?!

TBR Update

So back in the spring I did a GIGANTIC cull on the TBR (eliminated literally around 600 books).  So I’m actually going to base my up/down numbers (let’s be honest, up numbers) from my low point in March…

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

  • Standalones:  448 (up 24 – that seems reasonable, right??)
  • Nonfiction:  106 (up a mere 20…)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  654 (actually down 13!  I really am trying to read my own books, and I don’t buy as many as one might think)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  237 (down 17 – I’ve read a lot of series this year, started and DNFed a few more, and simply purged several without bothering to read them)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 112 (down 3 – slowly reading!)

2020: The Year of the Reading Challenges!

Thanks to Litsy, for the first time I’m actively participating in a bunch of reading challenges.  One might even say I’m participating in too many reading challenges!  But you’ll have that.  Here’s the link to a post where I summarized some of them.  Since then, the main thing I’ve added is a long-term challenge – #SeparatedbyaPondTour, which I am going to try to complete by the end of 2022.  Basically, the goal is to read a book set in every state/region/county in the countries traditionally considered to be “separated by the pond” – i.e. the US, Canada, England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.  Yes, I have maps in my reading journal.  :-D

Also, it turns out that I love Book Bingo cards!  Here are a few that I’m trying to fill.  The goal for the January one is a bingo by the end of January; fill the card by the end of the year.  Winter Book Bingo runs for the actual official season of winter.  For the rest, I’ll be working on them all year.

I actually have bingo cards for every month of the year, so I’ll be adding one a month as I go along.  My book journal is SO MUCH FUN right now!

And On To 2020

Well, friends, thanks for sticking with me through 2019.  I know my posting schedule is completely erratic, I read books from all over the place, I rarely review new releases, and I sometimes get super ranty, but through it all you all just keep coming back!  I really appreciate it, and I love it when I hear back from you all, so remember that you are always more than welcome to comment on a post, or send me an email.

I anticipate 2020 being another year full of books – and I’m already a dozen reviews behind!  :-D

Happy New Year!!

Rearview Mirror // December 2019

The end of the year!  The end of the decade!  How does time go so fast??  This year has FLOWN by.  It has had its ups and downs, but so much of life is learning to embrace the good while learning from the bad.

December was a super busy month with lots of family shenanigans.  I still managed to wedge in a lot of reading, though!

Favorite December Read

(pictured with my readathon time at the time haha)

So basically Arthur Ransome has been my favorite for the second half of 2019, and December was no exception.   Winter Holiday was an absolute delight that I wanted to have last forever.  I can’t wait to continue this series in 2020!!

Most Disappointing December Read

As usual, I had several meh reads.  But I think I have to tag The Coat-Hanger Christmas Tree for this slot.  I’m still not over the mom in that story and how unreasonable she was about her kids having a Christmas tree!  I expect better from Eleanor Estes!

By the Numbers

In December –

  • I read 8254 pages across 28 books.  That’s my second-biggest reading month (June had more).
  • My average star rating was 3.8.  I had a lot of enjoyable 3.5* and 4* reads this month.
  • Once again, I only read one Kindle book.  I seem to go through cycles of Kindle reading, and I have not been on one for a few months!
  • This month’s oldest book was Susan Coolidge’s In the High Valley, originally published in 1890.
  • Nora Roberts captured the longest book yet again with Northern Lights which clocked an impressive 637 pages!

December DNFs

I had two this month, and they were right in a row.  I’ve had The Fairest of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon on my shelf for quite some time – it came in some book box or another.  I loved the concept – a mashup of Rapunzel and Snow White, wherein Rapunzel ends up being the evil stepmother from Snow White.  However, the story was just too angsty and ridiculous for me.  About 70 pages in, I finally started skimming to see if things were going to get better and instead they got worse, including a completely bizarre and creepy incest situation, so I called it quits.

My second DNF was Match Made in Manhattan (by Amanda Stauffer), which sounds like it should be up my alley.  Alison decides to try an online dating service, and the book is comprised of the different guys/dates from the website.  I read about half of this book before again skimming through the rest.  Alison got on my nerves from the first chapter, and then continued to get on my nerves throughout the book, and it didn’t look like that was going to change.  There were several things that annoyed me right off – the whole set up for this book is Alison breaking up with her boyfriend of several years because he doesn’t want to move in with her until they get married.  Like literally the guy mentions getting married as part of their future relationship, but because he wants to postpone their plan to move in together, Alison decides he isn’t committed enough and breaks up with him.  So in my mind she’s already set herself up as kind of ridiculous, because that’s the reason she throws over her boyfriend of several years?!

Next, the actual format of the book was confusing, which also ties in with reason #3 that this book wasn’t for me.  Each chapter is a different guy that Alison meets.  But it turns out that Alison has decided that the most efficient way to do this dating thing is by setting up multiple dates at a time (reason #3).  I can understand this (kind of) for just a first date, since frequently the first date shows that there will be no second date.  But there were several times that Alison went out with the same guy several times in a row, but was also continuing to meet/date new guys on the side.  This felt extremely strange to me, like “I’ll stick with this guy unless something better comes along”??  It also made the format of the book very choppy, as it moved forward and backward in time since various relationships were overlapping.  A more linear viewpoint would have made the book easier to read, and also made it more obvious that Alison was somewhat of a jerk.  I just felt like if the story was about a dude doing this, the concept would be presented as him being a player trying to get around, and I didn’t like it.

There were some decent parts about the story – this could easily have devolved into Alison sleeping around, and it didn’t, because she had some standards/rules that she stuck with.  There were several side characters that I liked, and some of the dates were fun ideas.  But I just didn’t like Alison ever, at any point of the story.  She was consistently self-centered about every relationship and frequently unreasonable in her demands.  And after skimming through to the end, I was even more glad that I didn’t bother to actually read it.  Ah well, at least it’s another book off the TBR!

TBR Update

Speaking of which!  I’m slowly (SLOWLY) getting caught up on reading everyone else’s blog entries.  I’m in the middle of November now!!  However, it does mean that more books have been creeping onto my lists!

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

  • Standalones:  446 (up eight)
  • Nonfiction:  105 (holding steady)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  655 (up one)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  236 (up one)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 112 (down one)

Awaiting Review

I did a lot of reading in December, so there is still a little pile of reviews that need to happen –

  • Mariana by Susana Kearsley – this is a book I wouldn’t have picked up on my own, but had to read it as part of a Litsy traveling book club I’m in.  I ended up really enjoying it, even though it isn’t my usual type of romance.
  • Little Face by Sophie Hannah – I feel like I see Sophie Hannah’s books around the blogosphere a lot, but this was my first time actually reading one.  Not a bad mystery, but it also wasn’t for me.
  • 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston – okay, honestly this is more of what I was expecting when I read Match Made in Manhattan.  This story was SO adorable.
  • The Martian by Andy Weir – I wasn’t sure that I was going to like this book, but it actually ended up being a lot of fun.
  • Winter Holidays by Arthur Ransome – like I said at the beginning of this post, this book was just too, too fun.  I love this series so much.
  • Northern Lights by Nora Roberts – I’m almost through the box of random Nora Roberts books that someone gave me.  This one was romantic suspense and was pretty fun.
  • The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie – a reread of one of my favorite Christie books.
  • The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle – a decent middle grade book that I liked but didn’t love.  There’s a sequel that I would like to read to find out what happens, but the library doesn’t have it, so I haven’t decided if it’s really worth $8 to find out the end.

Currently Reading

Although I don’t usually read ARCs, I have two to read this month.  One of them is Off Balance by Aileen Erin, which is the sequel to Off Planet, which I read last year.  I’m currently rereading Off Planet so I can remember more of the details of what was going on!

The Probable Next Few(ish) Reads

I have not been doing a good job sticking with my list lately, but we’ll see what happens!!  These may not be the actual next few reads, but here are the books I’ve committed to reading sometime in January, mostly thanks to Litsy –

  • Not the Girl You Marry by Andie Christopher – I’ve heard mixed reviews, so we’ll see what happens.  This is the next book for my Litsy traveling book club, and out of the two people who have read it before me, one loved it and one hated it!
  • A Man Called Ove; Beartown; and Us Against You by Fredrick Backman – again, thanks to Litsy!  One of the members there has an author a month.  I’ve always meant to read some of Backman’s books, so this seems like a great chance to try them out, especially Beartown.
  • How to Stop Time by Matt Haig; Cogheart by Peter Bunzl; The Explorer by Katherine Rundell – along with The Storm Keeper’s Island, these are all books for a Litsy group called #NewYearWhoDis.  Another Litten is hosting the group, and basically she had people sign up and list several books they LOVED in 2019.  Then, she took the time to carefully match people together who she thought would enjoy each other’s lists!  So these are the books on my match’s list, mostly middle grade reads, which I actually quite enjoy.
  • Off Balance by Aileen Erin and Collateral Damage by Lynette Eason – two ARCs this month, which is kind of weird for me.
  • Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne – I’m hosting my own fun on Litsy by having a book spin every month, based on the book spin I’ve seen the Classics Club do here on WordPress.  Anyone who wants to chooses 20 books from their TBR and posts the lists, then I draw a number and everyone reads that number book.  80 Days is my draw – I’ve really been meaning to read some more Verne!

Well, happy January everyone!  I’ll try to get a 2019 Rearview out soon!!

Rearview Mirror // November 2019

It’s December already!!!  I can hardly believe it.  November was a weird month.  It was super, super cold at the beginning of the month, so it felt like winter appeared out of nowhere.  Work at the orchard has slowed down a lot, and I had a job interview for a spring job – I’ll be working at another greenhouse!!  I’m pretty excited about that.

Reading this month has been pretty average, but I at least have been able to post some reviews! It’s felt good to get back into a (sort of) blogging groove again.  Whenever I follow someone else’s blog on WordPress, I always set it to email me blog entries, and then I can read them whenever I get a chance.  Well, I’m still reading blog entries from back in September!!!  I really do enjoy reading everyone’s book reviews.  Maybe someday I’ll be caught up!

Favorite November Read

I think probably the final Bess Crawford book, which I haven’t reviewed yet –  A Cruel Deception.  (My review for the first half of the series can be found here.)  This series is really going from strength to strength.  This one was just published this year, so I have high hopes that more are to appear in the future.

Most Disappointing November Read

Another book I haven’t reviewed yet – Aquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill.  It’s a graphic novel by the same person who wrote/drew The Tea Dragon Society.  While the artwork was gorgeous, the story was quite flat.

By the Numbers…

In November:

  • I read 25 books for a total of 6254 pages.
  • My average rating was 3.76*.  I had a lot of 3.5* and 4* this month, but nothing higher than 4*.
  • I didn’t read any Kindle books this month, execpt for part of one I ended up not finishing.
  • The oldest book I read this month was  Swiss Family Robinsonwhich was originally published 1812.

November DNFs

Two this month, although since I only read the first 18 pages of  Side Effects May Vary (by Julie Murphy), I’m not even sure it counts – just… already the main character was incredibly annoying AND we find out that her mom’s having an affair, all in those first 18 pages, and I just wasn’t feeling it.

The other DNF was a free Kindle book from quite a while back called  By Magic Beguiled (by Maggie Shayne).  I got about 20% into this one before calling it quits.  I just wasn’t in the mood, and the pacing was kind of slow.  I may pick it up again at some point, but not any time soon.

TBR Update

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

  • Standalones:  438 (DOWN one!)
  • Nonfiction:  105 (up two)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  654 (DOWN twelve!)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  235 (holding steady)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 113 (holding steady)

Awaiting Review

I have whittled the pile down quite a lot, but there are still several titles in the wings, although in fairness three of them have been read in December.

  • The rest of the Bess Crawford series by Charles Todd – I enjoyed the second five books even more than the first.
  • Strange Planet by Nathan Pyle – if you’ve never checked out Pyle’s comics, you should go do it now.  They’re perfect.
  • Aquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill – beautiful artwork, but basically a bunch of preaching about conservation with very little story.
  • The Stand-In Boyfriend by Emma Doherty – a little too long but not a bad contemporary YA.
  • The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere – not my usual fare, but someone loaned it to me so.
  • The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie – I always love revisiting a classic Christie.

Currently Reading

I just started Trading Christmas by Debbie Macomber.  I’m involved in a crazy month-long reading challenge thingy on Litsy (seriously guys, you ALL need to join Litsy!), so I’m actually reading Christmas books at Christmas, something I pretty much never do.  I could use some Christmas spirit, so it’s probably a good thing!!

The Probable Next Five(ish) Reads

  • Fatherland by Robert Harris – because who doesn’t like a good alternate history read?
  • The Fairest of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon – a book I got in a book box a long time ago.
  • The Coat-Hanger Christmas Tree by Eleanor Estes – more holiday fare
  • Come to Me Alive by Leah Atwood – it’s the first in a series, so if I like it, there are three more!
  • In the High Valley by Susan Coolidge – actually, these books should have gone on the Awaiting Review list – I read the first four books in the series back in September, but didn’t own this one.  Since it finally arrived, I just haven’t taken the time to pick it up!

Thanks for sticking with me, readers!  Here’s to a lovely December and happy Christmases all around!

Rearview Mirror // October 2019

Well, we are quite a ways into November, but I suppose an October recap is due, even if my posting in that month was virtually nonexistent!  October took some strange and difficult turns that didn’t leave me with a lot of spare time or emotion for blogging, so I have been taking it easy.  However, since reading is somewhat of an addiction, I still did plenty of that, completing 18 books for a total of 5625 pages.  I may or may not ever get caught back up on reviews, but that’s the way life is sometimes!

October had some lows (The House of a Thousand Lanterns by Victoria Holt) and some highs (The Dry by Janet Harper), and plenty in between, since my average star rating for the month was 3.52.  I only had one DNF for the month, Maxa’s Children by Johanna Spyri, and I believe it was the fault of the translation rather than the author, since I have found other of Spyri’s books to be delightful – but all of those were translated by Charles Tritten, unlike this particularly edition.

I really like to do the TBR number update for my own personal record, even if it’s over a week late, so here are the numbers –

  • Standalones:  439 (up four)
  • Nonfiction:  103 (holding steady)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  666 (up ELEVEN?!  How is that possible?!)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  235 (down one!)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 113 (down TWO!)

So that’s the skinny for October’s reading.  I’m hoping to get through a few batches of minireviews this week, now that life is somewhat entering a new regular.  I’m about a million years behind on reading everyone’s posts, but since I get them all as emails (like a creeper), I’m still working my way through them, so I am anticipating some jumps in the TBR per usual.  :-D  In the meantime, hopefully all is well out there in blogger world!

Happy November!

Rearview Mirror // September 2019

Well, gang, I did a puh-retty terrible job of being a book blogger in September, but that’s typical for me this time of year – September is one of my busiest months of the year, and this year I compounded it by going on an epic journey to Wyoming and back!  It’s been a great month overall.  Vacation was awesome; I love my job at the orchard; and we’ve managed to get a few projects checked off here at home, too.  I’m still reading a lot, pages wedged in whenever I can, but haven’t had a lot of time for blogging.  I managed to get two batches of minireviews accomplished in the last two days, so you at least have had a taste of what I’ve been reading!  Here’s the list of books still waiting to be reviewed, as some of them may play into the rest of this entry’s stats…

  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, plus two sequels and two children’s picture books
  • Bloodlust and Bonnets by Emily McGovern
  • The Clue of the Broken Wing by Margaret Sutton
  • The Fugitive Heiress by Amanda Scott
  • Me, You and Tiramisu by Charlotte Butterfield
  • The Katy Did series by Susan Coolidge

I also reread Nora Roberts’s Bridal Quartet, but I probably won’t bother reviewing those again.  They were relaxing vacation fare.

Favorite September Read

I had a few 4.5* reads this month, but I think I’m going to hand this slot to My Side of the Mountain.  It’s a childhood favorite that has worn very well through the years.  I was delighted to be reunited with Sam and his woodsy wisdom.

Most Disappointing September Read

Probably The Woman in Cabin 10.   I was left feeling confused at the end of this one, and was frequently aggravated while reading it, neither of which are signs of a good thriller.

By the Numbers

In September…

  • I only read 5511 pages – my lowest monthly count this year by quite a lot.  Like I said, busy busy busy!!
  • However, I had my highest average star rating of the year – 3.8!
  • This month most of my books were from my own personal library – 16 out of 23 books.  I only read one book on my Kindle.
  • September’s oldest book was originally published in 1872 – What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge.
  • Nora Roberts snagged the longest book slot with Three Fates checking in at 472 pages, while Jean Craighead George’s Frightful’s Daughter was only 27 pages, with lots of pictures.

September DNFs

I only had one this month – Pippa’s Cornish Dream by Debbie Johnson, which I got as a free Kindle book a long time ago.  It wasn’t a bad book, but it was just SO boring that I couldn’t bring myself to care about what happened to anyone.  I slogged through 70% of it as a bedtime read before realizing that I just didn’t want to even finish.  But isn’t that cover adorable??

TBR Update

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

  • Standalones:  435 (DOWN one!)
  • Nonfiction:  103 (up three)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  655 (DOWN four!)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  236 (up one)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 115 (DOWN one!)

Awaiting Review

Besides the books listed at the beginning of the post, which I read in September, I’ve read three books in October so far – I’m just getting more and more behind on reviews!!!

  • The House of a Thousand Lanterns by Victoria Holt
  • The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross
  • Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson

Current Reading

Today I started Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George.  I remember vaguely reading this as a youngster and not liking it, which is weird because I have always liked wolves.  I’m interested to revisit it as an adult and see if it has improved with time for me.

The Probable Next Five(ish) Reads

I’ve been doing really terrible at sticking with my short TBR as I just haven’t been in the mood for… well, anything, really.  But these *may* be what I read next…

  • Double Folly by Marnie Ellingson – I bought this one a while back after rereading The Wicked Marquis and remembering how much I enjoyed it. We’ll see if this one lives up to the standard.
  • Lord Brocktree by Brian Jacques – I still want to finish the Redwall books, but I just wasn’t in the mood for this one this summer, so I pushed it down the list.  We’ll see how I feel about it this time around.
  • Magnolia Wednesdays by Wendy Wax – this one came in a book box a year ago or so.  I’m not completely sure it is going to be my kind of fare, so it may end up as a DNF.
  • In the Forests of Serre by Patricia McKillup – I’ve had mixed results from this author in the past, but when I like her books, I REALLY like them, so I’m least going to give this one a try.
  • The Dry by Jane Harper – I feel like this book was on every blog when it was published back in 2016.  As usual, I’m way behind on reading new releases (actually, I think I’ve waited so long there’s a sequel out haha), so it’s about time to see if it lives up to the hype!!

Rearview Mirror // August 2019

Well, another busy month has come and gone!  I can’t believe that summer is over and fall is here already.  August was a very busy and somewhat weird month.  It’s always a busy month at the orchard for me, because we aren’t quite at full staff yet, so I actually work more days in August than I do throughout the regular season in the fall.  However, I do it because I actually love working there and love my employers, so even though it’s been hard work it’s been good fun.

I’ve still been doing plenty of reading, but not as much reviewing!!  I’ll get caught up one of these days, as I always do eventually.

Favorite August Read:

I think I’m tagging  Swallowdale for this slot, even though I haven’t reviewed it yet.  It was such a warm, fun read – an excellent sequel to Swallows and Amazons, which I also loved.  I am so excited about continuing this series.

Most Disappointing August Read:

The Wedding Chapel ended up being a real downer of a read, that left me feeling so sad that I didn’t even bother reading the final book in the series.

By the Numbers…

In August –

  • I read 6231 pages – over a thousand less than July, but I’m not surprised, considering how crazy busy things have been.
  • My average star rating is 3.6 again, although closer to 3.7.  While I did have a few books I really enjoyed this month, it was overall a lot of just pretty average reads.
  • This month the majority of the books I read were from the library – out of 23 total books, 16 of them came from the library, and only one book this month was a Kindle read – the rest were all hard copies.
  • This month’s oldest book was The Story of a Whim by Grace Livingston Hill, published in 1903.
  • As well as being my favorite read this month, Swallowdale was also my longest at 453 pages – and I enjoyed every single one of them.
  • The shortest book this month was a graphic novel that I also haven’t reviewed yet, called The Tea Dragon Society.  It was only 71 pages long, but every single page was full of the most adorable illustrations you could imagine.

August DNFs:

  • I started to read Rachel Hauck’s The Wedding Shop, but just couldn’t get into it, especially with the bad taste of The Wedding Chapel lingering around.
  • I was planning to read another Redwall book, Lord Brocktree, but I just wasn’t feeling it.  I’ve put it back on the list for a later date.
  • My book blogging buddy Stephanie sent me a copy of The Killing Tide by Dani Pettrey.  She and I have both enjoyed Pettrey’s books in the past, but she warned me that this wasn’t one she particularly enjoyed.  I didn’t even bother finishing it – the main character was incredibly annoying, way too many characters and plot lines were introduced in the first 25 pages, and there were some serious issues with civilians and criminal investigations going on!  This one just wasn’t for me.

#20BooksofSummer Update:

I don’t think I’m going to quite make the list this summer!!  I’ve completed 16 books (although I’ve only reviewed 14), and I’ll probably finish #17 today.  Although I won’t have the full twenty read by the official deadline, I’ll get to them eventually and it’s all good fun.  You can see my list here.

TBR Update:

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

  • Standalones:  436 (up six)
  • Nonfiction:  100 (up ten)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  659 (up one)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  235 (up one)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 116 (up two)

I definitely blame the uptick of ALL the TBR tabs on Litsy!  I’m still really, really enjoying the book loving community over there, even if it is wrecking my resolutions to get TBR numbers DOWN!  :-D

Awaiting Review:

  • The Flatshare  by Beth O’Leary – loved this one
  • Those People  by Louise Candlish – great pacing, weird ending.
  • The Tea Dragon Society  by Katie O’Neill – as mentioned, an absolutely adorable graphic novel.
  • Swallowdale  by Arthur Ransome – so much love for these books.  I can’t wait to read  Peter Duck.
  • The next five 87th Precinct books – I really have been enjoying these a lot.
  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George – a childhood favorite that was a great reread.

Currently Reading:

I’m in the midst of another delightful Wodehouse read, The Girl on the Boat.  I just don’t understand how Wodehouse can be so perfect all the time.

I’m also finally making progress on my Vietnam book ( Vietnam: A History ), also thanks to Litsy – I’m part of the Book Fitness Challenge right now, and my reading goal is 100 pages a week from  Vietnam!  Goodreads tells me I’m 35% of the way through!

The Probable Next Five(ish) Reads…

  • There are actually two sequels to  My Side of the Mountain, so I am going to read those as well as soon as they come in at the library.
  • The Lady Vanished  by Gretta Mulrooney is supposed to be the first in my next mystery series – if it’s any good, I’ll read the next six books in the series as well.
  • My next Judy Bolton book is  The Clue of the Broken Wing.
  • I’m still working through that random pile of Nora Roberts books, and the next one in the stack is  Three Fates.
  • My next crazy Regency book is The Fugitive Heiress by Amanda Scott.  The title alone is perfect.

That’s all for this month – hope everyone has a fantastic September!!!

 

Rearview Mirror // July 2019

Summer continues to race by!  We had some super hot weather in July, but things are back to regular-hot now.  I’m getting ready to go back to work at the orchard next week, so things will get much busier.  In the meantime, the garden is going crazy, and I’ve been getting caught up on random projects around the house.  We’re also gearing up for a big westward trip in early September – I just came home from the library with a dozen travel guides!

Reading wise, things are pretty normal.  I didn’t really have any huge wins or losses this month – it was mostly just regular, enjoyable books.  I’m still really active on Litsy and thoroughly enjoying the community there.

Favorite July Read:

I think I’m going with The Eyes of Tamburah by Maria V. Snyder.  Although the book definitely had some pacing issues, overall it was just an incredibly fun romp with a main character that I liked a lot.

Most Disappointing July Read:

Probably The String by Caleb Breakey.  I thought this book had a lot of potential, but broke down in the details.

By the Numbers:

In July…

  • I read 26 books for a total of 7308 pages – down from last month by over a thousand pages!!
  • My average star rating was 3.6, which is alright, but not great.  It’s also down from 3.7 last month.
  • I read way more of my own books this month than I did books from elsewhere – 19 of my 26 books were from my own shelves or Kindle library.
  • This month’s oldest book was The Clicking of Cuthbert by P.G. Wodehouse, published in 1922.
  • My longest book was Winner Takes All by Nora Roberts at 537 pages, while the shortest was The Haunted Fountain by Margaret Sutton at 92.

July DNFs:

  • I gave up on K.M. Robinson’s The Siren Wars at 38% of 340 Kindle pages.  The story just wasn’t holding my interest, and it felt like the plot was never going to go anywhere.
  • I read almost a hundred pages of I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella before throwing in the towel.  I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book, but Fixie was driving up the wall, and I just wasn’t in the  mood to deal with her.  I may pick this one up again at some point.

#20BooksofSummer

As usual, I’m reading plenty of books, but not necessarily the chosen twenty!  This month I’ve finished five more off the list, although I haven’t reviewed them all yet.  Both my DNFs were also on the original list, so I’ve updated it to include a few different ones – you can see the full list here.

TBR Update:

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

  • Standalones:  430 (up two)
  • Nonfiction:  90 (holding steady)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  658 (down six!)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  234 (holding steady)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 114 (holding steady)

Awaiting Review:

  • The Fairfield Orchard series – happy little romance books – a trilogy so far, but I think there may be more to come someday.
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss – the best book about militant punctuation that you’ll ever find.
  • Gentian Hill by Elizabeth Goudge – a little different from her other books I’ve read, as this one is historical fiction, but still an excellent read.
  • You Don’t Own Me by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke – a new addition to the Under Suspicion series that I read and really enjoyed last year.
  • The Story of a Whim by Grace Livingston Hill – what are the odds of me reading TWO book set in early 1900’s Florida practically in a row?!

Currently Reading:

I’m getting ready to start The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck.  I’ve had mixed experiences with her writing before, so this may or may not end up being a DNF.  I’m also working through the pile of Yellowstone travel guides! :-D

The Probable Next Five(ish) Reads:

  • The Wedding Dress is the first in a trilogy, so I may read all of them if the first is any good.
  • Lord Brocktree by Brian Jacques – I have mixed feelings about continuing the Redwall books as they are somewhat samey, but I really like the badgers the best so I may give this one a go.
  • A while back I picked up two books in a quartet from the library booksale for a total of fifty cents, and it’s about time to see if they are any good.  The first is Simply Unforgettable by Mary Balogh, and they appear to be romance of some type.
  • The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin – a book I read a really, really long time ago and remember nothing about.
  • A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson – despite the fact that I’ve had some serious issues with the other two Ibbotson books I’ve read, someone commented on one of those reviews and insisted that I give this one a try.  It’s my FINAL chance for Ibbotson!

That’s about it for July!  I genuinely can’t believe it’s August already.  I’m way behind on reading other people’s reviews (as usual) so don’t be surprised if you see me popping up on your older posts. :-D Hope everyone is well – Happy August!

Rearview Mirror // June 2019

Halfway through the year?!  I am so not ready for life to be going this fast!  July 1 is always kind of a mini New Year’s for me, a chance to assess how the year has been going and see what I would like to change for the second half.  This will probably come as a surprise to everyone, but I’m still not doing so great on the exercising front.  :-D

This was a weird reading month because I have just been super busy with household and garden projects.  I haven’t really felt like reading anything particularly serious, so a bunch of my reading involved what were honestly kind of trash Kindle Unlimited reads that I didn’t even bother reviewing haha  It’s basically been like eating a bunch of Skittles, so now that I’m a little nauseous, I think I’m ready to get back to a more regular reading schedule!

However, I do have to say that the gardening work is paying off, thanks to an incredibly rainy month.  June was rather cool and damp, but this past week we switched over to summer in a big way, and it looks like the hot, humid weather is sticking around for a while!

The garden is looking SUPER magical!

Favorite June Read:

I am going with Swallows and Amazons for this one.  This book was just an absolutely delight in every way, and I can hardly wait to get to the sequel.

Most Disappointing June Read:

Probably Dreamology by Lucy Keating.  It was a book that felt like it had a lot of potential, but didn’t know where it wanted to go.  And it’s never good when you hardcore prefer the “wrong” guy to the “right” one!

By the Numbers…

In June:

  • I finished 27 books for a total of 8554 pages, which is my highest page count yet this year.  However, I ended up reading several large print books, thanks to my library’s unwillingness to stock non-LP versions of the 87th Precinct books. Plus, although I always use the page count from Goodreads for Kindle books, I’m never super confident about how accurate they are.
  • This month’s average star rating was 3.7, the first month that it’s gone down instead of up.  That’s what I get for reading goofy KU romances instead of books I think I’ll genuinely like!
  • This is also the first month that I read more Kindle books than physical books – only 11 physical books, which is super weird for me.
  • Swallows and Amazons won the oldest book slot by quite a lot, once again thanks to the huge pile of KU reads.  It was published in 1930.  The next closest were the 87th Precinct books from 1960.
  • Being Alpha was the longest book at 412 pages, while the shortest was Alpha Unleashed at 221.  Both are by Aileen Erin and are part of the Alpha Girl series.

June DNFs:

I had three books I didn’t finish this month, two of which were originally on my #20BooksofSummer list, so they’ve been replaced by different titles (more on that later).

  • Made to Kill by Adam Christopher was a book I got in a book box a while back.  It’s supposed to kind of be a riff on the classic Raymond Chandler novels, which I read and enjoyed last year, so I thought I would give this one a go.  However, it wasn’t particularly interesting, and really lacked the gently snarky humor that kept me reading Chandler’s works.
  • A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay was on the 20 Books of Summer list, but I definitely had some reservations about it as I’ve had rather meh experiences with Reay’s writing in the past, despite the fact that all of her books sound like stories I should love.  I just wasn’t connected with the main character in this book at all, and the first few chapters felt really choppy.  I’ll probably still give Lizzy and Jane a go eventually, as I got it as a free Kindle book a while back, but unless that one is amazing, I don’t really see myself seeking out any more of Reay’s books.
  • The other 20 Books of Summer read that I gave a pass to was Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike, which I mostly picked up because it claimed to be a sort of retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel.  However, I was honestly just bored out of my mind, plus found the one main character, who is a literal ghost, to be suuuuper annoying.  It was definitely one of those YA books that just made me feel like I’m too old to read YA.

#20BooksofSummer:

Speaking of 20 Books of Summer, I’ve only knocked five books off the list so far.  After eliminating the two DNFs above, I added The Lady Vanished by Gretta Mulrooney and Three Fates by Nora Roberts.  We’ll see what happens!

TBR Update:

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

  • Standalones:  428 (up four)
  • Nonfiction:  90 (up one)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  664 (holding steady)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  234 (holding steady – the purge still hasn’t happened here!)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 114 (down one)

Awaiting Review:

The main review I have left to write is for the next five books in the 87th Precinct series.  I actually really enjoyed this set of five – it feels like McBain is seriously getting into his groove.  More on that to come soon!

Currently Reading:

Just staring Patricia Wrede’s Shadow Magic, which is the first in her Lyra series.  I’ve been meaning to read these for quite some time, so I’m excited to see what they are all about.  I’ve heard that they aren’t as strong as Wrede’s later books, many of which I’ve enjoyed, so I’m trying to keep my expectations reasonable.  I’d also really like to continue reading my Vietnam book, which has been on hold for like three months.

The Probable Next Five(ish) Reads:

Hopefully I’ll get back on track now that I’m feeling all funned out on KU reads!!

  • Shadow Magic and it’s four sequels, as long as they aren’t terrible.
  • The Clicking of Cuthbert by P.G. Wodehouse
  • Judgment Calls by Alafair Burke, and it’s two sequels
  • The Haunted Fountain by Margaret Sutton
  • The Reluctant Witness by Kathleen Tailer