Weekly Reads – 30 January 2022

14 years ago, when Pat and I bought this house, we decided not to have a TV in every room. I don’t know what Pat’s reasoning was (or if he really cares that much). I, however, was pretty firm on the “no more than 2 TV’s” rule because I grew up in a house where there was a TV in every room without a sink. Well, we had one in the kitchen too and that had a sink. So, every room except the bathroom.

I haven’t regretted that until today because right now I AM NOT WATCHING FOOTBALL! Pat is playing video games upstairs and the kids are watching some Anime show downstairs and I had really hoped to be writing this post later tonight. Sigh. I did watch part of the Cleveland/Kansas City game, but it was rather dull so I turned it off (then, of course, it went into overtime and the Bengals made a huge upset).

I’m a little more invested in the California game (which I am not watching). I don’t have strong feelings about either teams…but can we talk about the 49ers for a second? I’m sorry if I’m about to get on the wrong side of any SF fans, but here it is: As a team, the 49ers are good. Not, in my mind, the best. But pretty darn good. But their quarterback is terrible. I don’t say this from any moral standing (such as everything I say about Tom Brady or, when my feelings for Aaron Rodgers turned south on a dime), but because he’s just objectively a bad quarterback. To me, to have a quarterback that inept in the Super Bowl would be an insult to the NFL. I’m fine with the 49ers in the Super Bowl, or even winning it…but not with pretty boy Jimmy G. (Just my luck…the NFL website says they are up 10 to 7 right now…)

Okay, okay…enough football (for now!) In other news, wine will be flowing tonight! It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to go wine tasting (other than tasting all the fruit wine Pat has been making…with mixed results), but my dear friend has come to my rescue. We’re doing a chocolate and wine tasting on zoom tonight! Yesterday, I picked up my little bag of goodies and my little vials of white are chilling. If this is a success, we may plan another because the same winemakers do a “wine and Girl Scout cookie” tasting and Lord knows I’ll have enough Girl Scout cookies in about 2 weeks!

The kids are in the midst of another 4 day weekend–this time because we’re at the semester break. We don’t get report cards until next week, but I can pull up Lillie’s grades on the ParentVue app and she has straight A’s. There was only one class that was giving her a problem–PE! Middle School PE is always a nightmare, but I’ve learned it is a nightmare for different kids for different reasons at different schools. For me, it was because the PE teacher liked to be the Queen Bee of a clique and, if you weren’t in that clique, life was just so much harder for you. For Lillie, it is because her PE class is HARD. I’ve done a far number of bootcamp classes in the past and none of them were as hard as what she describes. Then, 25% of their grade is based on a test that only kids who play aerobic sports like soccer or basketball can hope to do well on. Lillie is fit and fairly athletic (a volleyball player), but she could not seem to break through to the “A” territory on this test.

She does have some new classes next semester–still PE, of course. But, instead of Creative Writing and Drama, she’ll be doing Art and helping out at the Student Store. I know she’s looking forward to Art and her teacher is “TikTok famous” for drawing butts on things. Her math teacher runs the Student Store and personally asked her to help out, so she is honored to do so. They didn’t offer a full slate of electives this year because of Covid (how often do we say that? “Because of Covid…”) so she didn’t have a lot of choice with what to take. I am glad she was able to get electives that she likes.

Okay, enough blabbering. Onto the books!

As usual, I’m linking up with Kathryn at Book Date and her It’s Monday…What Are You Reading? blog hop.

Last week, I finished:

The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke
Date Finished: January 26, 2022
Star rating: 4.5 stars

This is one of those books that straddles a number of genres–thriller, mystery, horror, and a tad of historical fiction–which is pretty much a recipe for a book that I would love.

I don’t want to go too far into the contents of this book beyond the summary because I think the less you know ahead of time, the better. But I will tell you this: there are creepy kids. Personally, I’m all for a creepy kid or two, but I know that is not every reader’s jam…so consider yourself warned.

The trick with a book like this is to balance all the different facets of the story and Cooke does it with skill. This book sucked me in and wouldn’t let me go. It also led me down all sorts of roads as I tried to figure it out and dropped me into a satisfying ending.

Even after I’ve finished this, I’m still thinking about it. And I want to go to some remote Scottish Island that may or may not be haunted.

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
Date finished: January 27, 2022
Star rating: 3 stars

You know how, when watching gymnastics, a gymnast can struggle through a routine but then nail the landing and are hailed a success? And then, a gymnast is on-point for their entire routine and then face-plant at the end? That, the latter case, was this book for me.

It started strong. I was very interested in the plot and the predicament in which Hannah finds herself and what happened to her husband. My former employer is even name-checked (let’s just call them the Crooked E) and my time there made this story especially interesting to me.

Then, about 2/3 of the way through, it just went off the rails for me. Hannah’s choices made no sense to me. I couldn’t figure out what she was trying to accomplish and, even when she had accomplished what she wanted, I couldn’t figure out why she would have gone about it the way she did. It was like she added 1 to 1 and got 17. I think this was all the more frustrating because the first part of the book started so strongly for me.

I will say that Hannah and Bailey’s relationship, which is at the heart of this novel, is incredibly well-written, emotional, and realistic. Honestly, if it weren’t for this feature of the book, I would have DNF’d it when things started to go south.

I know so many people loved this book and I’m glad. I enjoyed most of it. I just wish it wasn’t the face plant that I remember.

Last week, I started:

  • The Stranger Diaries (Harbinder Kuar #1) by Elly Griffiths
  • 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard
  • Pony by R.J. Palacio

5 thoughts on “Weekly Reads – 30 January 2022

  1. Yes sometimes in a family there is not enough TV’s. Mind you I watch mostly on my iPad these days. Lillie sounds like an ideal student. I have The Last Thing He Told Me sitting waiting for a read. Will be interesting to see. Love your analogy.

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  2. My dad was a big TV watcher so there was a lot of that growing up. Not so much TV’s in every room as much it was always on.

    Middle school… such a minefield for some kids. I often wonder in 2022 can’t we do things better?

    That’s too bad about the Dave book. I’ve been curious since I liked her Eight Hundred grapes. I may get to this one eventually…

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  3. PE is the one class I don’t care what grade they get as long as it’s a pass. The teacher all four of my children have had never gives anything more than a C to a child who isn’t part of a school sport team, luckily when combined with the theory their final grades evened out to a B
    I’m not a fan of creepy kids, but The Lighthouse Witches sounds interesting

    Wishing you a great reading week

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  4. I really appreciate your thoughts on the books you read. We are a 3-TV, 2-person household. I did watch the football games and am looking forward to the Super Bowl. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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About Melinda