Random (but not really)

Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Books of November

As I was late in posting most of the individual reviews, it seems about right I’m late in posting the monthly wrap-up. Winter is a lovely time for reading. And even more reading is done when the weather is too crappy to go hiking.

I stumbled across a new series that I thoroughly enjoyed this month: Fred, the Vampire Accountant by Drew Hayes. The books are as silly as you’d expect from the title, but they’re also charming and sweet and quite a bit of fun. If you like supernatural fantasy, I highly recommend checking this out.

I also got the follow-up to The Gentleman’s Guide…The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, and it was FANTASTIC. It’s not romance (even though the first book was an LGBT romance), and unlike the first book, there are fantastic elements. It’s a story of friendship and being who you are. It’s marvelous.

I also enjoyed KJ Charles’ Band Sinister, which is an historical LGBT romance, and is a bit like Georgette Heyer’s Venetia, but also very much not.

Fantasy, Supernatural

Fred the Vampire Accountant
The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant (2014) Drew Hayes (8/10)
Undeath & Taxes (2015) Drew Hayes (8/10)
Bloody Acquisitions (2016) Drew Hayes (8/10)
The Fangs of Freelance (2017) Drew Hayes
Deadly Assessments (2018) Drew Hayes (8/10)
Very Important Corpses (2017) Simon R. Green (Ishmael Jones)
Diamond Fire (2018) Ilona Andrews (Hidden Legacy)

Fantasy, YA

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (2018) Mackenzi Lee (9/10)
Midnight Hour (2016) C. C. Hunter (Shadow Falls)

Mystery, Historical

Treacherous Is the Night (2018) Anna Lee Huber (8/10) (Verity Kent)
Inspector Hannasyde
Death in the Stocks (1935) Georgette Heyer
Behold, Here’s Poison (1936) Georgette Heyer
They Found Him Dead (1937) Georgette Heyer
The Raven in the Foregate (1986) Ellis Peters (Brother Cadfael)
The Duke’s Gambit (2018) Tracy Grant (Melanie & Charles Rannoch)

Romance, Historical

Not Quite a Husband (2009) Sherry Thomas

Romance, LGBT

Band Sinister (2018) K.J. Charles (8/10)
Wanted, a Gentleman (2018) K.J. Charles
A Gentleman Never Keeps Score (2018) Cat Sebastian

Audio Books

Rivers of London
Midnight Riot, Audio Edition (2011/2012) Ben Aaronovitch narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (10/10)
Moon Over Soho, Audio Edition (2011/2012) Ben Aaronovitch narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (9/10)
Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth, Audio Edition (2006/2008) Simon R. Green narrated by Marc Vietor (9/10) (Nightside)
Dead Men’s Boots, Audio Edition (2007/2009) Mike Carey narrated by Michael Kramer (8/10) (Felix Castor)

As usual, eBooks lead the day, but I finished four audio books.

eBook: 19
Audio: 4
Multiple Formats: 4
Re-read: 6

Pretty evenly split this month.

Fantasy: 12
Mystery: 10
Romance: 11
YA: 2

Women are still ahead as far as author gender. Including pseudonyms, I’ve read about 70% female authors this year. Not my highest percentage ever, but definitely up there.

Male: 10
Female: 10
Initials: 1
Male Pseudonym: 1
Joint: 1

And those are the books of November.

Written by Michelle at 9:22 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  

Friday, November 23, 2018

Thanksgiving Dinner

This is pretty much a note to myself, so I can figure out next year, what I made this year.

Ultimate Green Bean Casserole – The Science of Good Cooking, by The Editors of America’s Test Kitchen

This was really really really really good.

Poultry Gravy – The Joy of Cooking, by Irma S. Rombauer

My roux needed to brown just a little longer.

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes – The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2016 by America’s Test Kitchen

Bread Dressing didn’t follow a recipe (as usual).

Pickled Beets were my dad’s recipe.

Sweet Potato Casserole was my modified version of this recipe. (I use less sugar, and brown sugar, and whatever milk I had on hand.)

Written by Michelle at 5:16 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Food  

Friday, November 2, 2018

The Books of October

How is it November already?

I read some good books, and I also–for me–read a number of really awful books, including one DNF (did not finish). But let’s talk about the good ones!

Pyromantic by Lish McBride is a book I’d been holding off reading, because I tend to love her books, and so was saving it for unknown reasons. It’s a good book, and a good series, and now I want to go back and read the Necromancer series.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee surprised me. I initially had a very difficult time starting it, because the main character was kind of an annoying git. But then you discover more about him, and learn why he drinks so much, and suddenly I was halfway through the story and completely pulled in.

I’m also quite enjoying listening to Simon Green’s Nightside series. Marc Vietor is not an amazing narrator, but he’s solid and he does a good job with it. Plus, I’d forgotten how much I love this series.

So here’s what I read. You can see there were several books I REALLY did NOT like.

Mystery, Historical

An Excellent Mystery (1985) Ellis Peters (Rating: 7.5/10) (Brother Cadfael)
Malcolm and Melanie Rannoch
Mission for a Queen
(2016) Tracy Grant (Rating: 7.5/10)
Gilded Deceit (2017) Tracy Grant (Rating: 8/10)
Midwinter Intrigue
(2017) Tracy Grant (Rating: 6/10)

Romance, Historical

His at Night (2010) Sherry Thomas (Rating: 7/10)
The Luckiest Lady in London
(2013) Sherry Thomas (Rating: 7.5/10)
Lord of Scoundrels (1994) Loretta Chase (Rating: 8/10)
Captives of the Night
(1994) Loretta Chase (Rating: 7.5/10)
Let Me Be The One
(2002,2015) Jo Goodman (Rating: 7.5/10)
A Dangerous Liaison with Detective Lewis
(2012) Jillian Stone (Rating: 4/10)
A Code of Love  (2014) Jacki Delecki (Rating: 1.25/10)
DNF: An Indecent Invitation
by Laura Trentham

Romance, LGBT
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (2017) Mackenzi Lee (Rating: 8/10)
Unmasked by the Marquess (2018) Cat Sebastian (Rating: 5.5/10)

Fantasy, Supernatural

Pyromantic (2017) Lish McBride (Rating: 9/10) (Firebug)
(2012) Alex Hughes (Rating: 5.5/10)

Audio Books
Nightingale’s Lament, Audio Edition
(2004/2008) Simon R Green narrated by Marc Vietor (Rating: 8/10)
Hex and the City, Audio Edition (2005/2008) Simon R Green narrated by Marc Vietor (Rating: 8/10)
Paths Not Taken, Audio Edition (2005/2008) Simon R Green narrated by Marc Vietor (Rating: 7/10)
Vicious Circle, Audio Edition (2006/2008) Mike Carey narrated by Michael Kramer (Rating: 8/10) (Felix Castor)

And the stats!

eBook: 15
Audio: 4
Multiple Formats: 4
Re-read: 6

Lots of ebooks, fewer audio books, mostly because of the stupid rain.

Fantasy: 6
Mystery: 13
Romance: 9

Majority mystery this month, but quite a few romances in there (that category had the books I REALLY disliked).

Male: 5
Female: 12
Male Pseudonym: 2

Males continue to fall behind in my reading material, and sadly, the romance that I finshed off by hate-reading, was written by a guy. The romance was terrible, but the mystery was ALSO terrible, so theoretically it doesn’t mean that guys can’t write romance. But it really was awful.

And those were the books of October!

Written by Michelle at 7:13 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Best Lack All Conviction, While the Worst Are Full of Passionate Intensity

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
— W. B. Yeats (1919)

Written by Michelle at 3:27 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading,Politics  

Monday, October 22, 2018

Traveling WV: Paw Paw Tunnel

Technically, this is in Maryland.

But it is labelled the Paw Paw tunnel, and Paw Paw is in WV.

I can’t believe we’d never been there before.

When building the C&O canal, they were in a race against the completion of rail lines, so they decided the it would be easier to build a tunnel than to follow the river (understandable really, because the river is really twisty and the riverbanks weren’t necessarily good for canal building).

It’s pretty impressive.



We totally counted all markers and found the four markers for shafts.












Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Maryland,National Park / Forest,Photos  

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Traveling WV: Berkeley Springs

After a long search, we found that there was a break in the rain on Saturday in the Berkeley Springs area. So that’s where we headed.

This is a beautiful, and we spent some time wandering around the town. I wouldn’t want to live on the main street, but it is a lovely little town.

The pools fed by the springs were quite high–higher than I ever remember seeing them.


They were also as pretty as they always are.

For something different, instead of going to Cacapon, went up to what used to be called Panorama Peak. Still not much color, but beautiful never-the-less.




Written by Michelle at 7:24 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Monday, October 15, 2018

A Train! A Train! The Potomac Eagle

Our friends ended up with two extra tickets for the Potomac Eagle in Saturday, and asked if we’d be able to go with them. A train ride AND time with two lovely small people (and their parents)? Of course!

Three of them rode in the gondola through the trough. Michael and I and one of the small people declined. I was more interested in the scenery than the eagles, and the small person thought the gondola would be too loud, since it was behind the engine.

It was a beautiful day, and there were actually eagles, but I enjoyed the view (even if there was almost no fall color).

Look an old house!


Look! A couple of walls that used to be a house!


Interesting rocks!


The river!


Fields and mountains!


An excellent day!

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,West Virginia  
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