Thursday, April 16, 2020

Book Reviews | To-Read-Next Shelves

Over the past few months, I have been clearing space on my two shelves of To-Read-Next books. We have a small four-shelf bookcase in our bedroom that houses these books - the top two shelves are for me, the bottom two for Robbie. It's amazing how we can rearrange and pile books on these shelves to "temporarily" hold the books we're going to read next. (Y'all know what I'm talking about, right?)

However, I currently have some empty space on each of my shelves...because I've done lots of reading and less purchasing the past several months. The fiction books I've read the past few months arrived on my shelf from a variety of sources.


Instead of just reading The Last Star, which was a Christmas gift from Robbie (in 2017!), I actually reread the previous two books in The 5th Wave trilogy first because it had been so long since I originally read them. The 5th Wave is a fast-paced page-turner told from various character's viewpoints. The Infinite Sea is also told from different perspectives, although these are different than those in the first book. The Last Star brings everything to a satisfying, although sad, ending where there's still much to do to remake/rebuild the world after the five waves of the aliens' attack on Earth. These are good young adult apocalyptic reads, despite the fact that it is occasionally  hard to follow the logic of whether or not the aliens actually are on the earth and/or embedded inside some humans...or not.

Not A Sparrow Falls by Linda Nichols is a Christian fiction book that my friend Rita sent me sometime early last year. The story follows Mary Bridget Washburn who has a tough life after her mother dies of cancer leading to her falling in with the wrong crowd. She eventually runs away and assumes her mother's name to hide from that crowd. She lands a job at a pastor's home, caring for his children. Their mother had died two years earlier. This is great novel about how the Lord is working and everything comes together in the end as many of the characters, including Mary and the pastor, find healing.

Robbie and I heard about The River by Peter Heller on the What Should I Read Next Podcast and both wanted to read it. It's been on the shelf since we placed a rather large book order from Amazon last summer! Two friends (Jack & Wynn) are canoeing down a river when they discover a forest fire is coming their way. They find an injured woman and end up taking her downriver with them, barely escaping the fire. There are a myriad of adventures, including a run in with two other canoe-ers who camp with them one night and try to take advantage of the woman. This is a fast-paced read with well-written scenery descriptions ... but an unsatisfactory ending.

Robbie put Acres and Pains by S. J. Perelman on my to-read shelf after he finished it last year. This book was written in 1943 about the "joys and tribulations of country living" as told by a man who went from "city lazybones to country squire" - it's a small book, a quick funny read. The interesting fact about this book is that it was the basis for the radio program "Grandy's Green Acres" which eventually turned into the "Green Acres" TV show.

The Guardians by John Grisham is another book Robbie added to my shelf once he had finished it. This is a great legal thriller following a lawyer who does innocence work, which involves getting innocent victims' convictions overturned. Cullen Post, a lawyer with Guardian Ministries (& an Episcopal minister), is working to overturn the conviction of John Quincy who has been in jail for 22 years for the murder of a lawyer in a small town in Florida. The sheriff of the town had produced a flashlight as evidence - it was supposedly found in Quincy's trunk; however, the flashlight was lost in a fire before the "experts" could study it. They testified to the validity of blood stains anyway, based on a photo of the flashlight. This is a great read that involves drug cartels, crooked lawmen, cover-ups, felon snitches, lies, and a non-profit organization working hard to get innocent victims out of prison and off death row. John Grishman said this story was inspired by an actual organization and a similar conviction.

I can't remember exactly how The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh arrived on my To-Read-Next shelf, but it had been there for a while when I picked it up to read right before the new year. This story about Victoria begins as she ages out of the foster care system. She has severe attachment disorder, a great love of flowers and their meanings, and no place to live. She meets a flower shop owner who gives her a job and helps her find a place to live. Then the story begins to flash back to Victoria's childhood and the time she was almost adopted by a woman named Elizabeth. Both storylines are intriguing and eventually merge as Victoria continues to learn to trust and bond with others. I found the information on the meaning of flowers extremely interesting, especially the notion that there may be more than one meaning for a particular blossom.

Do you have a To-Read-Next shelf? Or pile? Or list? Have you made any progress on it lately?


  1. I'm participating in The Unread Shelf Project this year. January's goal was to get all of your unread books in one spot. There were actually too many to get on our bookshelf in the bedroom, but quite a few of them have now been 1) read or 2) given to the library so I will definitely be able to get them all in one place before the end of the year. This month there was a BINGO challenge, and I'm just about ready to finish my fifth book. I read The Language of Flowers several years ago and enjoyed it.

  2. As always, thank you for the recommendations. I've had to move my reading preferences to reading on my tablet as our library remains closed, once done commenting, I'll be over to the website to see about The Language of Flowers first.


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