Random (but not really)

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Books of August

How is it September already? Where on earth has the year gone?!

I read some good books this month!

I read the rest of the Ravenswood by Talia Hibbert (ie, the first two books and the novella) and really REALLY liked them. In the first book, A Girl Like Her the female main character is on the autism spectrum and is a tremendous geek. I loved her SO. MUCH. The second book, Damaged Goods, I had concerned about, since the main character is the nanny. However, the two characters had known each other back in the school days (and had mutual secret crushes on each other) and he is really unhappy with the idea of having a relationship with his employee. So she did a really good job working out that aspect of the story. I highly recommend the entire series.

If you’ve read any KJ Charles you may already be aware of her new novella, Proper English. If you haven’t, it’s marvelous. It’s set before Think of England which is fantastic.

The final book I really enjoyed was Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy, which had a really nice variety of stories, some of which I loved, one of which I despised, and I found some new authors to look into.

Mystery, Historical

A Murdered Peace (2018) Candace Robb (Rating: 7/10) (Kate Clifford)
In Farleigh Field (2017) Rhys Bowen (Rating: 6/10) 

Mystery, LGBT

Snow & Winter
The Mystery of Nevermore (2016) C.S. Poe (Rating: 7.5/10)
The Mystery of the Curiosities (2017) C.S. Poe (Rating: 7.5/10) 


A Girl Like Her (2018) Talia Hibbert (Rating: 8/10)
Untouchable (2018) Talia Hibbert (Rating: 8/10)
Damaged Goods (2018) Talia Hibbert (Rating: 8/10)

Romance, LGBT

Proper English (2019) KJ Charles (Rating: 8/10)
Bone to Pick (2017) TA Moore  (Rating: 7/10) (Digging Up Bones)
For Better or Worse (2017) R. Cooper (Rating: 7/10)

Romance, Historical

Devil’s Daughter (2019) Lisa Kleypas (Rating: 6/10) (The Ravenels)

Fantasy, Supernatural  

Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy (2015) edited by Jordan Castillo Price (Rating: 8.5/10)
Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds (2018) Brandon Sanderson (Rating: 7/10)

And now: The stats!

All ebooks this month, and two re-reads. Although the second is iffy–it’s the Stephen Leeds story, and I have strong opinions about how it was published.

eBook: 13
Re-read: 2

Mostly mysteries and romance this month. And more than half boinking books.

Fantasy: 2
Mystery: 9
Romance: 10
Boinking: 7
Anthology: 1

Mostly female authors this month. I’ve picked up some hard boiled mysteries on sale recently, but haven’t really been in the mood to read them. But when I do, that’ll might swing me back to male authors for the whole years. :)

Male: 1
Female: 6
Joint + Anthology: 1
Initials: 5
Anthology: 1

And the book characters.

Male: 6
Female: 2
Ensemble: 5
White: 11
Minority: 5
Minority 2ndary: 2
Straight: 8

About half white males, but that’s mostly because I read several M/M mysteries. Otherwise, a decent amount of variety.

Did you read anything worth recommending this month?

Written by Michelle at 8:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  

Monday, September 2, 2019

Labor Day

Textile Mills









Triangle Shirtwaist Factory



Chimney Sweeps



Come all of you good workers,
Good news to you I’ll tell
Of how the good old union
Has come in here to dwell.


My daddy was a miner
And I’m a miner’s son,
And I’ll stick with the union
‘Til every battle’s won.

Breaker boys working in Ewen Breaker Mine in South Pittston, Pennsylvania, 10 January 1911, from a 1908-1912 series on...

They say in Harlan County
There are no neutrals there;
You’ll either be a union man,
Or a thug for J. H. Blair.


Oh workers can you stand it?
Oh tell me how you can.
Will you be a lousy scab
Or will you be a man?




Upper Big Branch


child labor today 1

child labor today 2

child labor today 3


child labor today 4




Just a reminder what we’re celebrating today.

Written by Michelle at 6:15 am      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Holidays,Politics  

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Jackson’s Mill

Went south yesterday for the Jackson’s Mill Jubilee. As noted in previous years, there are fewer crafters each time we visit. But lots of live music–and I saw quite a few younger musicians alongside the old bearded dudes.

Since we were wasting time waiting for the start of the game so we could go home, I spent lots of time wandering around the mill.

I love that place So. Much.







Written by Michelle at 4:37 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Hiking WV: Blackwater Canyon

As I mentioned previously, the monitor on my Asus laptop died, so although we did take a lovely hike a couple weeks ago at the Cranberry Wilderness, I did not manage to write about it or post any pictures.

This weekend Michael was still recovering from the start of school (couple weeks of 10-12 hours days. Ugh.) so we didn’t want to go far, so the Blackwater Falls / Canaan Valley area it was.

I remembered that it’d been a couple years since I’d taken any pictures of Douglas Falls, so that’s where we headed, and then continued out the defunct rail trail (it’s private property, so the trail is not maintained for 5 1/2 miles, but it was perfectly fine to hike).

The fun part was our argument as to whether Michael has seen Pace Point or not. I’m pretty sure he didn’t. We did definitely see Lindy Point though. (We’ve argued for years as to whether you can see Lindy Point from Pase Point. I say definitely not.)

Location: Blackwater Canyon Rail Trail
Distance: 6.2 miles (partial, out and back)
Elevation: 2755-2918 feet (410 feet gain)

Definitely Lindy Point, as seen from across the river.


This is what Michael says is Pase Point. I say NOPE.


The old coke ovens along the trail are AMAZING.


It’s actually a lovely trail.



Douglas Falls



Written by Michelle at 8:49 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday Flower Pr0n: Blackwater Canyon Edition

The monitor on my Asus laptop died, and although I did use my desktop computer for processing images, if I’m going to spend lots of time on the computer, I’d rather do so upstairs on a laptop, so Michael and I can be in the same room ignoring each other.

Saturday we hiked the rail trail along the Blackwater Canyon, and we did manage to see wildflowers (even if there were (sadly) no snacks along the trail).

Not *quite* UF, but definitely not high fantasy, I do recommend Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos series. I’ve fallen off keeping up with the series, because there were a LOT of delays for about a decade, but I need to pick it back up.






Written by Michelle at 8:24 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Photos  

Friday, August 9, 2019

Big Brother Is Watching Us! (But Thinks We’re Cows?)

I’ve been teaching tech security to older adults for the past year, so I’ve been reading lots of interesting (and terrifying) articles, and also attempting to answer even more interesting questions.

One question had to do with the high number of security cameras in the wild, and what computers could do with all that data.

As of right now, the answer is–think everything is a cow or a sheep or perhaps a bicycle.

There are security cameras everywhere–in 2018 it was estimated that the average Londoner was caught on camera 300 times per day. But what does that coverage mean right now? It means that a human needs to sit down and go through that coverage, sometimes frame by frame, before they can get any information out of that overwhelming amount of data.

The Elephant in the Image (Improbable Research)
Identifying the Elephant in Object Detection (VAST lab (Vision And Security Technology) at the Department of Computer Science, at University of Colorado, at Colorado Springs)
This Neural Net Hallucinates Sheep (Nautilus)
Gazing Back at the Surveillance Cameras That Watch Us

Written by Michelle at 9:03 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Computers & Technology  

Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Books of July

Easy summary–I only read seven books this month. Between remodeling the bathroom and some hiking and a mini-vacation (involving other people and being sociable), not much time for reading.

What was good this month? The LGBT Mystery Anthology Footsteps in the Dark was very good. A variety of stories–some with boinking, some without–and a variety of mysteries. I found some new authors I am very interested in reading. The only other new-to-me read was That Kind of Guy by Talia Hibbert. It’s the third book in a series, has a women of color as the heroine, and the hero is demi-sexual. I’m going to go back and read the first book (I think it’s the first) because the heroine is a woman of color and probably on the autism-spectrum. PLUS she’s a geek. I NEED to read this story.

Mystery, Historical

The Holy Thief (1992) Ellis Peters  (Rating: 9/10)

Mystery, LGBT

Footsteps in the Dark (2019) L.B. Gregg, Nicole Kimberling, Josh Lanyon, Dal MacLean, Z.A. Maxfield, Meg Perry, C.S. Poe and S.C. Wynne (Rating: 9/10)

Fantasy, Supernatural

The Rook (2012) Daniel O’Malley (Rating: 9.5/10)

Romance, Historical

These Old Shades (1926) Georgette Heyer (Rating: 9/10)
Love for the Spinster (2019) Kasey Stockton (Rating: 6.5/10)


That Kind of Guy (2019) Talia Hibbert (Rating: 8/10)

Audio Books

The Naming of the Beasts, Audio Book (2009) Mike Carey narrated by Michael Kramer (Rating: 7/10)

And now, the statistics!

eBook: 6
Audio: 1
Multiple Formats: 3
Re-read: 4

Half the books I read this month I own in multiple formats, and more than half were re-reads. Those things are not unrelated.

Genre-wise a variety. Romance is actually ahead this year by a few books. But I do get into a groove and want to read MORE like the book I just finished. We’ll see how the rest of the year goes.

Fantasy: 2
Mystery: 3
Romance: 4
Boinking: 2
Anthology: 1

Female authors are still significantly ahead of male authors. This number is not significantly related to the number of romances I’ve read, since much of the mystery and fantasy I read has been written by women.

I just pretend to prefer the style of female authors, but go ahead and tell me again how you can’t find any female SFF authors to read.

Male: 2
Female: 3
Anthology: 1
Male Pseudonym: 1

Finally, the gender of the main characters was pretty evenly split, but not a lot of minority characters this month. (Reading historicals has something to do with that.) And a third of the books had LGBTQ main characters. The historicals theoretically should have something to do with that, but one of the first LGBT characters I fell in love with was in an historical. So–who knows.

Male: 3
Female: 2
Ensemble: 2
White: 6
Minority: 1
Minority 2ndary: 2
Straight: 4
LGBTQ 2ndary: 1

And that’s what I read in July. Anyone read anything fantastic last month? I’d think that with the heat more people would want to be inside, huddled in front of the AC, moving very little, which is a good way to read.

Written by Michelle at 7:43 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  
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