16 books finished in 2017: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Next

16 books finished in 2017

As I said in the review for book two, I’d lost all trust in the author and wasn’t planning to continue reading. But I didn’t expect a cliffhanger that needed this book to be resolved. Thankfully, the action continued, it became a courtroom mystery, and the story was well-resolved.

Overall, I liked the character of Lisbeth, and probably liked many of the other female characters. I felt neutral about Blom, mostly because he seemed to be over-hyped and I had a difficult time with EVERY woman offering herself to him sexually and then falling in love with him. But I have no desire to continue reading.

15 books finished in 2017: The Girl Who Played With Fire

15 books finished in 2017

Hmmm…same haiku as for the first book, mostly because I don’t want to come up with another.

My enjoyment of these books decreased significantly during the second book. As new characters were introduced and pieces were put into place for a new mystery to solve, there were many scenes that felt contrived and gratuitously sexual – meet a new character, have them hook up with someone, rinse, repeat. Also, though perhaps the author was attempting to present a new-found confidence within Lisbeth after the events of book one, I was unsettled as he kept describing her body in detail – how it looked naked, how it looked in her new clothes, how it looked when she moved. After discussing this with a friend, we also realized that the audiobook version, with a male narrator, might have emphasized this discomfort. But, once I lost my trust in the author, it wasn’t something that could be regained.

Once the story started moving, it was definitely compelling. But I didn’t plan to keep reading the series after this. (Of course, this book ended on a bit of cliffhanger, and the story was wrapped up in book three. I couldn’t resist, but after THAT book, I’m not going to continue with this author.)

house/plant updates

In the new house, Thursday night is plant watering night! This is also garbage/recycling night, and it might also become sweep/vacuum night. (It felt good to remove dust bunnies before they became dust monsters.)

Though I’m fully moved in, and mostly settled, there is still a lot of arranging and re-arranging happening. This week, I refreshed the guest room – moved the bed from one wall to another, shifted around furniture, swapped some old chairs for others.

My sewing room is almost ready to use – though I have to admit it still feels weird to NOT live in that room. I miss having a bed nearby for spreading out fabrics (though I’ll adapt to using the floor) and I finally realized that there are many more comfortable places in the house to watch movies on my computer. (Duh.)

Other things: have I told you about the neighborhood girl gang? They are all in 3rd or 4th grade, which means they’re all 8 or 9, and they were born in such-and-such year even though their parents THOUGHT they’d be born in such-another year. (This is the amount of information you get when you ask a grade school girl how old she is. I did not realize how important all of those details were.)

They said hi to some of my friends on one of the many moving days, asked if they were moving in, and friends said, “No, but our friend MAGGIE is.” Fast forward to every day after that, when I get out of my car and hear “HI MAGGIE!” from down the street, turn, and see a number of children waving. I finally learned all of their names, and told them about my future garden, and that’s all it took to guarantee my doorbell rings every day.

So far they’ve pestered me about the garden enough to ensure I bought dirt and put it in the bed (though they always seem to disappear on the days when I decide to do the work). They have also tried introducing me to music.ally though I HOPE they realized how pathetic I am in front of a camera. (That laughing outtake will probably be shown to their mothers, which will help increase familiarity within the neighborhood.) Also, one of them named her Fake American Girl doll after me, which might become the sweetest moment of 2017.

Okay, that’s enough of a life update. Here are some plant photos!


These are a few pothos branches that fell off the original plant – I put them in soil to see what would happen, and they seem to be very happy. (On the left, in front of the open leaf, you can see a lighter green shoot that is unfurling a new leaf.) This teapot came from my grandparents’ basement, and I’m so happy it finally has a purpose!


The lemon button ferns in my kitchen window are finally looking happy – I bought them a year ago, and have been pinching dry branches on a regular basis – you can see a little nub on the end of that center-of-the-photo branch which is new growth!


This chinese evergreen is my oldest houseplant, and I recommend them to anyone who is terrified of houseplants. It’s huge and beautiful and seems to adapt to any level of light. It’s also sporting some new growth on top!


Did I tell you I bought a palm tree at Ikea? It’s in the guest bedroom, and in the recent shuffle I have placed it on a chair so it’s even more intimidating.


Awww! The fiddle leaf figs! You didn’t think I’d leave them out, did you? This one is in the bathroom (morning light, filtered) and I’ve been trying to train it away from that pronounced curve to the left that it developed in the past year. I’m encouraged that the top branch is growing upward AND it’s already started some new growth! One thing I discovered during research is that this tree is essentially dormant during cold weather, but that it averages a foot of growth during warm weather months when it’s healthy.


And here’s the beautiful, perfectly straight fiddle leaf fig that’s in my sewing room. I think it’s really cute that they both have one giant leave, and I’m guessing this is the one that continues growing during their “dormant” phase.

FYI I have swapped out this rope basket with a metal planter (okay a trash bin because they are cheaper than planters) because it was starting to get dingy – in my experience, these trees hold very little water in the soil, so there’s always a LOT of run-off. That muddy run-off didn’t pair well with this white rope.

That was fun! Maybe I’ll start giving more regular updates like this!

14 books finished in 2017: An Acceptable Time

14 books finished in 2017

Made it through to the
final book in this series!
I might like it best.

Awww. Maybe I’m just used to L’Engle throwing characters back in time as a plot device? Maybe my heart is softened to the idea of soulmates (which seem to come up again). Maybe I am just thankful that there was FINALLY a flawed character who created deep conflict and had to live with the consequences of his actions? Yeah, that’s definitely what I loved most about this in comparison to the others. Also, I loved that I was tricked into fondness toward the character that turned out to be awful! Complex characterizations! Woo hoo! (I have no idea what I’m going to read before bed now.)