Month in Review: May 2016

Book of the Month


It’s hard to ignore the pull of Jane Steele, Lyndsay Faye’s vivaciously dark riff on a theme from Jane Eyre. Reader, I loved it!

But there was a lot of other great reading this month as well, not to mention two fun blogging events, one online and one in person. Read on to discover more of my adventures…



  • From my new favorite author Frances Hardinge, The Lie Tree was a delicious treat.
  • For an author event at First Impressions Reviews, I talked about my first Georgette Heyer, False Colours.
  • I took a brief look at Four 2016 releases I liked but didn’t love.
  • For my Reading New England focus this month, I was delighted to discover a real hidden gem: the 2015 novel Hidden View from Vermont author Brett Ann Stanciu.

Other Books Read

  • The Inn at Lake Devine by Elinor Lipman – Reading New England
  • Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter – Reading New England
  • Ah, Wilderness! by Eugene O’Neill – Reading New England
  • Idyll Banter by Chris Bohjalian – Reading New England
  • A Man of Genius by Janet Todd – Review to come
  • The Summer Guest by Alison Anderson – Review to come
  • Lost in A Good Book by Jasper Fforde
  • Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
  • Soup by Robert Newton Peck – Reading New England
  • Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher – Reading New England
  • The Children by Ann Leary – Review to come
  • The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
  • Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson – Reading New England

Other Features and Events

Meeting up with bloggers Laurie from Bay State Readers Advisory and Charlotte from Charlotte’s Library

Shared in the Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer, the Month in Review linkup at The Book Date, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction

Month in Review: January 2015

One of my blogging goals this year is to write a monthly review post. Here I can keep better track of my reading overall, since I don’t post about every book I read. I would also like to highlight some of my favorite posts by other bloggers, and maybe some other fun things that I find. . . It will be an experiment! I’m planning to usually do it on the last Sunday of each month, so the “months” will be a bit off-kilter.

This month was the one where I “put the library on hold” to try to read the books that are piling up on my own shelves. There are still a few days to go, but it’s been a very successful enterprise so far. I would definitely consider starting out every new year this way.

I also joined the 2015 Book Blog Discussion Challenge to try to add more variety to my posts. Here’s this month’s discussion: What makes a great book blog design?. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll join the conversation.

Books I reviewed

Other books read

  • The Hollow Land by Jane Gardam (reread) – Review to come in Shiny New Books
  • The Rescuers by Margery Sharp (reread)
  • Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen – Review to come
  • How To Be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis – Review to come
  • Possession by A.S. Byatt (reread)
  • A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong – I need to read more in the Canongate Myths series, and may do a group review at some point.
  • The Dean’s Watch by Elizabeth Goudge (reread) – Gearing up for Elizabeth Goudge Reading Week in April.
  • Finding Zero by Amir Aczel – A pleasant mathematical read, but less substantial than I had expected.
  • The Bees by Laila Paull – Review to come
  • An Appetite for Violets by Martine Bailey – Review to come

Most popular ECBR post this month

Favorite posts from other bloggers

Some other cool things

  • There’s a handy new page listing book fairs and conventions at The Bookwyrm’s Hoard.
  • The line-up for this year’s Battle of the Books has been announced at School Library Journal. This time, I’m going to try really hard to read all of them so I can actually have an opinion about the winners.
  • And I also want to read the finalists in the Cybils Middle Grade Speculative Fiction category. I feel very out of touch with this genre lately.

That was quite a month! What were your highlights?

Linked in the Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Looking Forward and Back

A Janus coin

When I started blogging a year ago, I didn’t really have any particular goals in mind, other than to start posting and see what happened. Looking back, there are some things I’m really pleased with and would like to continue into 2015, and some things that I’d like to work on.

For more goals and resolutions from other bloggers, see this week’s links at Top Ten Tuesday.

Accomplishments in 2014

Kept to my intention of posting at least once a week, with a review every Friday.

Made a good start on my Classics Club list.

Read quite a lot of nonfiction books (for me anyway), and found many more that I want to read next year, thanks to Nonfiction November.

Joined in some great events, including Mary Stewart Reading Week and Willa Cather Reading Week, and hosted my own Witch Week. I’m looking forward to more of these, and plan to host an Elizabeth Goudge Reading Week in April as well as Witch Week II in October/November.

Sprung for a new blog design that I absolutely love.

Goals for 2015

Keep better track of what I’m reading, with notes at least on the title, author and date finished. I’m amazed by the detailed statistics some bloggers keep, but am not sure I’m up to that.

Do a monthly wrap-up post that includes books that didn’t get a full review, but are worth mentioning.

Request only ARCs that I know I will read — like many new bloggers, I got overexcited and now have quite a few review copies that I know I just will never get around to.

Read at least one book from all twelve categories in the Back to the Classics Challenge.

Read more from some genres that I neglected in 2014, including fantasy, children’s books and new releases.

. . . And just read more in general. I spend too much time looking for books to add to my list when I have plenty on there already! My personal “Put the Library on Hold” challenge in January (which anyone else is welcome to join) should help a bit with getting me to actually read books I already own.

What about you? What was your year like? What are you looking forward to in 2015?

Post No. 101: Favorite posts from ECBR’s first year

Northanger Abbey, by the Balbussos

The Emerald City Book Review is just about one year old, and I’ve done 100 posts! To celebrate, I thought it would be fun to look at the archives and see what have been the ten most popular posts in my first year of blogging (giveaways excluded). Perhaps unsurprisingly, they also happen to be some of my personal favorites. If you haven’t yet seen these, I hope you’ll take a look. Here they are, in order of appearance (or click here to see a handy preview all on one page):

 Beautiful Books: The Dark Is Rising

From Austen to Atwood: The Art of the Balbusso Sisters

My Life in Bookstores

Beautiful Books: Picturing Jane Austen (a three-part series)
Part OnePart TwoPart Three

Top Ten Classics You Might Not Have Heard Of

Suspense with Style: Four by Mary Stewart

Two from the Trail: A Walk in the Woods and Wild

Witch Week Day One: Fire and Hemlock (Guest Post)
…plus more wonderful Witch Week posts can be found here

Nonfiction November: Unconventional Biographies

Five Favorite Books about Books

What were your highlights of 2014, in reading or blogging?