Random (but not really)

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Books of May

Between family events and hiking and working on the house, I read a whole lot less this month.

And I’m good with that.

I enjoyed the The Geek Girl Mysteries by Julie Anne Lindsey. They solutions might have been a bit over-the-top, but I was perfectly OK with that, because they were fun stories, with a female lead who I really liked. Amy Stewart‘s Kopp Sisters mysteries are interesting in a different way, as they are based upon a real woman, who was one of the first women in NY to become a law officer. And finally, a M/M romance Family Man by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton was very sweet. It was also a little over-the-top at times, the characters were wonderful–and also complex, with complicated lives.

I also read some books that pissed me off, but those will be obvious from their ratings, and you’re welcome to read my reviews to see why I disliked them.


The Darkling Thrush (2012) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 5/10)
Ravensong (2018) TJ Klune (Rating: 4/10)

Romance, LGBT

Family Man (2017) Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton (Rating: 8/10)


The Geek Girl Mysteries
A Geek Girl’s Guide to Murder (2015) Julie Anne Lindsey (Rating: 7.5/10)
A Geek Girl’s Guide to Arsenic (2016) Julie Anne Lindsey (Rating: 8/10)
A Geek Girl’s Guide to Justice (2016) Julie Anne Lindsey (Rating: 8.5/10)

Mystery, Supernatural

Magical Washington
Fright Court (2011) Mindy Klasky (Rating: 8/10)
Law and Murder (2017) Mindy Klasky (Rating: 7.5/10)
High Stakes Trial (2019) Mindy Klasky (Rating: 7/10)

Mystery, Historical

Kopp Sisters
Girl Waits with Gun
 (2015) Amy Stewart (Rating: 8/10)
Lady Cop Makes Trouble (2016) Amy Stewart (Rating: 8/10)
The Summer of the Danes (1991) Ellis Peters (Rating: 8.5/10) (Brother Cadfael)

Mystery, LGBT

Hell & High Water (2014/2018) Charlie Cochet (THIRDS) (Rating: 5/10)


All ebooks. Not a surprise. Only one re-read, which is slightly more surprising.

eBook: 13
Re-read: 1

Split fairly evenly across the genres this month, with mysteries slightly ahead.

Fantasy: 6
Mystery: 10
Romance: 9
Boinking: 4

Almost no male authors this month. And sadly for them, it was one of the books I strongly disliked, mostly because the story went off-the rails right at the end, with several things that just PISSED ME OFF.

Male: 1
Female: 9
Male Pseudonym: 3

Male: 5
Female: 8
White: 13
Minority 2ndary: 2
Straight: 9

Variety of characters this month was a little low, but that happens. After all, I’m reading for fun.

Written by Michelle at 11:01 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
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Thursday, May 9, 2019


Here’s a question for you: What is horror?

Specifically, horror in books.

What qualifies a story as horror? Is it a feeling it gives you? Is it the presence of monsters? Is it terrible things happening to characters?

I’ve always had an odd relationship with dark fantasy and horror. I’m fine with monsters and murder (though not with details about torture) but because of my hatred of horror movies, I’ve always avoided anything categorized as horror. I am easily started and HATE that feeling, so I’ve always associated horror with monsters jumping out from behind doors.

But I’m not necessarily sure what I’ve been avoiding is the thing that I hate so much.

I love Simon R. Green and Thieves’ World. Mike Carey’s Felix Castor and Paul Cornell’s Shadow Police series are full of demons and monsters. And I think the movies based on Sergei Lukyanenko’s Night Watch series were classified as horror.

On the other hand, one of the most distressing books I’ve read was Joyce Carol Oates “Blonde” which was the fictionalized story of Marilyn Monroe. And I’d rather stab myself in the thigh with a fork than ever read China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station ever again.

Are those horror? I found them both horrific and they both made me completely and utterly miserable.

I enjoyed “The Sandman” comics but really disliked “Preacher”.

So what is horror? Have I been missing things I might have liked because they fell under the umbrella or horror? Or have I mostly been avoiding things that would make me miserable?

Written by Michelle at 6:25 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Books of April

Finally! Decent weather! That means less reading, but I’m OK with that.

I managed to read some new releases this months–including books that were published within the month!

So what did I really like?

Some very good historical mysteries, including the new Sebastian St Cyr mystery: Secrets in the Mist by Anna Lee Huber (Rating: 9/10) Who Slays the Wicked by C.S. Harris (Sebastian St. Cyr) (Rating: 8.5/10)

I am really enjoying Josh Lanyon’s writing, and I hope that this is actually a series:

The Haunted Heart: Winter by Josh Lanyon (Rating: 8/10).

And in the LGBT romance line, I want to mention a book that I really enjoyed, even if I don’t think it was that good of a book. How to Be a Normal Person by TJ Klune (Rating: 6.5/10). This book had one main character who was an ace, another who was probably along the autism spectrum, and some AMAZING supporting characters, including an elderly female biker (Vespa) gang. There was also a fair amount that annoyed me, including one of the characters being a hipster and smoking a LOT of pot. But it DID make me laugh out loud on multiple occasions. So I don’t know if I could read it again, but it was definitely worth reading once.

So what made the ranks of the read this month?

Mystery, LGBT

Hazard and Somerset
Reasonable Doubt (2018) Gregory Ashe (Rating: 7/10)
Criminal Past (2018) Gregory Ashe (Rating: 2/10)
Digging Up Bones
Bone to Pick (2017) TA Moore (Rating: 7/10)
Skin and Bone (2019) TA Moore (Rating: 8/10)

Mystery, Historical

Secrets in the Mist (2016) Anna Lee Huber (Rating: 9/10)
Who Slays the Wicked (2019) C.S. Harris (Sebastian St. Cyr) (Rating: 8.5/10)
The Potter’s Field (1989) Ellis Peters (Brother Cadfael) (Rating: 8.5/10)
An Artless Demise (2019) Anna Lee Huber (Lady Darby) (Rating: 8/10)

Mystery, Police

Death at Sea: Montalbano’s Early Cases (2014/2018) Andrea Camilleri translated by Stephen Sartarelli (Rating: 8.5/10)

Romance, Thriller

Scandal Never Sleeps (2015) Shayla Black and Lexi Blake (Rating: 5/10)

Romance, LGBT

The Haunted Heart: Winter (2013) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 8/10)
Wolfsong (2016) TJ Klune (Green Creek) (Rating: 7/10)
How to Be a Normal Person (2015) TJ Klune (Rating: 6.5/10)

Romance, Historical

Castaway Dreams (2012/2016) Darlene Marshall (Rating: 6/10)
A Modest Independence (2019) Mimi Matthews (Parish Orphans of Devon) (Rating: 8/10)

Fantasy, Supernatural

Inspector Hobbes and the Gold Diggers (2014) Wilkie Martin (Rating: 6.5/10)


All ebooks this month! I couldn’t find anything I wanted to listen to, so I’ve been listening to podcasts while I walk and do housework. And only one re-read this month!

eBook: 16
Re-read: 1

Oddly, almost no fantasy. Lots of mystery and lots of romance though.

Fantasy: 2
Mystery: 12
Romance: 10
Boinking: 8

Even more strangely, I read a fair number of male authors! However, when you take pseudonyms into consideration, I still read more female authors.

Male: 6
Female: 5
Initials: 3
Male Pseudonym: 2

As far as character breakdown, lots and lots of white characters. Not surprising considering the number of British historical I read, but still, very white. And very few female leads this month, which IS unusual, but then I have been reading a lot of LGBT romance.

Male: 11
Female: 2
Ensemble: 3
White: 16
Minority: 2
Minority 2ndary: 1
Straight: 11

So there you are, the books of April.

Did you read anything fabulous this month?

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
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Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Books of March

Lots of crappy weather this month, so I read a lot again. (We shall not mention the indoor projects I ignored for reading. Moving right along.)

Although I still haven’t settled on a final rating, I enjoyed Faith Hunter‘s latest Soulwood book, Circle of the Moon.

I read a LOT of LGBT books this month, and I particularly enjoyed Josh Lanyon;s All’s Fair series, which starts with Fair Game (but the last book is my favorite in that series).

I also really liked The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal by K.J. Charles which is a collection of short stories, and a prequel of sorts to the Green Man series. (Sort of) Plus the series Angel Martinez‘s Offbeat Crimes series, which had ALL the Michelle Catnip: supernatural police procedural. I really liked the world-building in that series.

So here’s what I read:

Fantasy, Supernatural

Circle of the Moon (2019) Faith Hunter (Rating: Undecided) (Soulwood)

Mystery, LGBT

All’s Fair
Fair Game (2010) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 7/10)
Fair Play (2014) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 8/10)
Fair Chance (2017) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 9/10)
Adrien English
Fatal Shadows (2000/2012) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 6.5/10)
A Dangerous Thing (2002/2012) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 7/10)
The Hell You Say (2011) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 7/10)
Death of a Pirate King (2011) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 8/10)
The Dark Tide (2011) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 8/10)
So This is Christmas (2016) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 7/10)
The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks (2011/2016) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 7/10)
The Ghost Had an Early Check-Out (2018) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 7.5/10)
Hazard and Somerset
Pretty Pretty Boys (2017) Gregory Ashe (Rating: 6/10)
Transposition (2018) Gregory Ashe (Rating: 6/10)
Paternity Case (2018) Gregory Ashe (Rating: 6/10)
Guilt by Association (2018) Gregory Ashe (Rating: 7.5/10)

Fantasy, Supernatural LGBT

The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal (2013) K.J. Charles (Rating: 8/10)
Offbeat Crimes
Skim Blood and Savage Verse (2017) Angel Martinez (Rating: 6.5/10)
Feral Dust Bunnies (2017) Angel Martinez (Rating: 8.5/10)
All the World’s an Undead Stage (2018) Angel Martinez (Rating: 8/10)

Audio Books

Salsa Nocturna: Stories, Audio Edition (2012/2014) Daniel José Older, narrated by Daniel José Older (Rating: 9/10)
Stiletto, Audio Edition (2016) Daniel O’Malley narrated by Moira Quirk (Rating: 9.5/10)
Half-Resurrection Blues, Audio Edition (2015) Daniel José Older narrated by Daniel José Older (Rating: 8/10)


Suffer Little Children (1995) Peter Tremayne (Sister Fidelma)
Unto Us a Son Is Given (2019) Donna Leon (Rating: 7/10) (Commissario Guido Brunetti)

Graphic Novel

Rivers of London Vol. 7: Action at a Distance (2018) Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel, Brian Williamson (Rating: Grrrrr)

Romance, LGBT

Short Stories: 2007 – 2013 (2015) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 7.5/10)
Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure (2019) Courtney Milan (Rating: 7.5/10)

And here’s how the stats came out:

Trade Paperback: 1
eBook: 26
Audio: 3
Multiple Formats: 2
Re-read: 4


OK. It was a comic, but still! Paper!

Fantasy: 10
Mystery: 21
Romance: 21
Comic: 1
Boinking: 18
Anthology: 1

Lots of mysteries this month, and lots of romance. And a fair chunk of fantasy so… pretty much everything. Plus a lot of boinking.

Male: 9
Female: 8
Initials: 1
Male Pseudonym: 12
Anthology: 1

More male authors than in past months, but adding in female pseudonyms, it’s still predominantly female authors.

Male: 24
Female: 4
Ensemble: 1
White: 26
Minority: 6
Minority 2ndary: 6
Straight: 10
LGBTQ 2ndary: 3

So lots of male main characters this month, mostly cuz I read a lot of M/M stories. And lots and lots of white characters, although there was a little bit of diversity with secondary characters. But still, pretty white.

And those are the books of March.

What did you read recently that you loved?

Written by Michelle at 2:26 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
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Saturday, March 2, 2019

The Books of February

Rain rain rain rain rain means lots of reading for me. Which is fine, but I’d rather have been hiking.

So I read some good books last month, and also a couple not so good, including a did not finish and a book I finished mostly out of spite. But the lets talk about the good!

I reread a couple historical mystery series that I loved, and I can highly recommend: The Thief-Takers Series by Alissa Johnson has private inquiry agents and a family of thieves and ends with a heroine with a neurological disorder. The Regency London Series by Michelle Diener is another series I love, and the middle book has a young woman hiding as a French chef.

I read a new K.J. Charles book, Any Old Diamonds which of course I enjoyed. Note: MM boinking here, but it’s also a heist book.

And I found a MM mystery author, Josh Lanyon, who I am enjoying. The first book in the series I wasn’t quite sure about, but by the second book I was all on board. (I just started a new series by her.)

As far as audio books, I’m having a hard time finding a cleaning/exercise book, so went back to The Rook, Audio Edition by Daniel O’Malley narrated by Susan Duerden, which I utterly adore, and which is so unlike anything else it doesn’t get mixed into whatever else I’m reading.

Historical Mystery

The Heretic’s Apprentice (1989) Ellis Peters (Rating: 8.5/10) (Brother Cadfael)
Dark Angel (1994) Tracy Grant (Rating: 8.5/10) (Lescaut Quartet)
The Thief-Takers Series
A Talent for Trickery (2015) Alissa Johnson (Rating: 8.5/10)
A Gift for Guile (2016) Alissa Johnson (Rating: 8.5/10)
A Dangerous Deceit (2017) Alissa Johnson (Rating: 8.5/10)
Regency London Series
The Emperor’s Conspiracy (2012) Michelle Diener (Rating: 8/10)
Banquet of Lies (2013) Michelle Diener (Rating: 9.5/10)
A Dangerous Madness (2014) Michelle Diener (Rating: 8.5/10)
Lady Arianna Hadley Mystery
Sweet Revenge
(2011) Andrea Penrose (Rating: 6.5/10)
The Cocoa Conspiracy
(2014) Andrea Penrose (Rating: 5.5/10)
Recipe For Treason
(2014) Andrea Penrose (Rating: 4/10)


The Overnight Kidnapper (2015/2019) Andrea Camilleri translated by Stephen Sartarelli (Rating: 7/10) (Inspector Montalbano)

Audio Books

The Rook, Audio Edition (2012) Daniel O’Malley narrated by Susan Duerden (Rating: 9.5/10) (The Rook)

Historical Romance

The Duke I Tempted (2018) Scarlett Peckham
DNF: The Curse of Lord Stanstead (2015) Mia Marlowe (DNF)

Supernatural Mystery (LGBT)

Offbeat Crimes
Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters (2016) Angel Martinez (Rating: 7/10)
The Pill Bugs of Time (2016) Angel Martinez

Romantic (LGBT) Mystery

Murder Takes the High Road (2018) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 7/10)
Holmes & Moriarity
Somebody Killed His Editor (2009/2016) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 7.5/10)
All She Wrote (2010/2017) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 8/10)
The Boy with the Painful Tattoo (2014/2018) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 7/10)
In Other Words… Murder (2018) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 8/10)

Romance, LGBT

Any Old Diamonds (2019) K.J. Charles (Rating: 8/10)
Another Place in Time (2014) by Tamara Allen, Joanna Chambers, K.J. Charles, Kaje Harper, Jordan L. Hawk , Aleksandr Voinov (Rating: 7/10)
Hexbreaker (2016) Jordan L. Hawk (Rating: 5/10)
Mr. Winterbourne’s Christmas (2018) Joanna Chambers (Rating: 6/10)

OK, the breakdown. Multiple re-reads (but some new releases as well) and almost everything was an ebook.

eBook: 24
Audio: 1
Multiple Formats: 1
Re-read: 7

Lots of romance and mystery and boinking this month.

Fantasy: 5
Mystery: 17
Romance: 22
Boinking: 15
Anthology: 1

Not many male authors this month, although there were several male pseudonyms.

Male: 2
Female: 15
Initials: 1
Male Pseudonym: 6
Anthology: 1

Now for the new categories I made last month. Lots of male leads (due to the MM romances) and lots of LGBTQ, but not many minority characters. Some of that has to do with reading historicals, but I’ll note that KJ Charles often has minority characters in her historicals, so it can be done, it’s just not necessarily easy.

Male: 13
Female: 1
Ensemble: 10
White: 24
Minority: 1
Minority 2ndary: 2
Straight: 14
LGBTQ 2ndary:

And that’s February in books.

Did you read anything last month you’d really recommend?

Written by Michelle at 11:24 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
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Sunday, February 17, 2019


This is because I keep forgetting what recipes I try and really really like.

Thin crust pizza, from Bread Illustrated by America’s Test Kitchen.

Written by Michelle at 7:17 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading,Food  

Friday, February 8, 2019

The Books of January! (Lots of ’em)

Bit late, but that’s because I was off in the north gallivanting.

I read a LOT this month. I mean a somewhat ridiculous amount. Partially because I read a lot light historical romances that I could down in a couple hours. And partially because the weather was not conducive to going outside.

So what was good this month? Quite a bit!

I read the latest Rivers of London book, Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch, which tied up a lot of loose ends. I’ll need to listen to it in a month or two, to catch all the bits I missed while roaring through to discover what happened. I also really liked the newest SPI files entry, The Phoenix Illusion by Lisa Shearin . It’s just a fun series.

I read a bunch of books by Lisa Kleypas, some of which I really liked, some of which were just fine.

And I read a new KJ Charles book, which I really really liked.

Fantasy, Supernatural

Lies Sleeping (2018) Ben Aaronovitch (Rating: 8.5/10) (Rivers of London)
The Phoenix Illusion (2018) Lisa Shearin (Rating: 8/10) (SPI Files)
Inspector Hobbes and the Curse (2013) Wilkie Martin (Rating: 6/10) (Inspector Hobbes)

Mystery, Historical

Brother Cadfael
The Hermit of Eyton Forest (1987) Ellis Peters (Rating: 7/10)
The Confession of Brother Haluin (1988) Ellis Peters (Rating: 7/10)

Romance, Historical

Mine Till Midnight (2007) Lisa Kleypas (Rating: 8/10)
Seduce Me at Sunrise
(2008) Lisa Kleypas (Rating: 6/10)
Tempt Me at Twilight
(2009) Lisa Kleypas (Rating: 8/10)
Married By Morning
(2010) Lisa Kleypas (Rating: 8.5/10)
Love In The Afternoon
(2010) Lisa Kleypas (Rating: 8.5/10)
The Ravenels
Devil in Spring
(2017) Lisa Kleypas (Rating: 8.5/10)
Hello Stranger
(2018) Lisa Kleypas (Rating: 7.5/10)
Devil in Winter
(2006) Lisa Kleypas (Rating: 7/10) (The Wallflowers)
Rule of Scoundrels
A Rogue by Any Other Name
(2012) Sarah MacLean (Rating: 7/10)
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
(2013) Sarah MacLean (Rating: 8.5/10)
No Good Duke Goes Unpunished (2013) Sarah MacLean (Rating: 7/10)
Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover (2014) Sarah MacLean (Rating: 7.5/10)
Wicked and the Wallflower (2018) Sarah MacLean (Rating: 7/10) (Bareknuckle Bastards)
The Providence Series
As Luck Would Have It (2008) Alissa Johnson (Rating: 7.5/10)
Tempting Fate (2009) Alissa Johnson (Rating: 7.5/10)
McAlistair’s Fortune (2009) Alissa Johnson (Rating: 7/10)
Destined To Last (2010) Alissa Johnson (Rating: 8/10)
Counting on a Countess (2018) Eva Leigh (Rating: 5.5/10)
The Governess Game (2018) Tessa Dare (Rating: 7/10)
A Christmas Dance (2014) Alissa Johnson (Rating: 7.5/10)

Romance, LGBT

Think of England (2014) K.J. Charles (Rating: 8.5/10)

Now to the stats!

Nothing but eBooks last month. Not a single paper or audio book. Eight of those books were re-reads, which is relatively low, considering my total numbers.

What kind of books? Well, I added some new categories for this year.

Fantasy: 3
Mystery: 6
Romance: 21
Boinking: 21

Lots of boinking books this month. Because there was a lot of romance read this month.

Male: 2
Female: 21
Initials: 1
Male Pseudonym: 2

Probably related to the number or romances I read, I had mostly female authors.

And some new categories. I’ve been wanting to track for awhile the characteristics of the books characters. I’m not quite sure if these categories are what I want, but they’ll work for now. I can always change them later.

Male: 5
Female: 1
Ensemble: 20

Although there were mostly romances, they generally switched between the male and female lead, hence the “ensemble” category. (I don’t like that term, but couldn’t come up with something else.)

White: 23
Minority: 3
Minority 2ndary: 0

White white white is what I read, with a smattering of minorities.

Straight: 25
LGBTQ 2ndary: 2

Most of the characters were straight, but there were two books with secondary LGBTQ characters. Those were, unsurprisingly to me, the supernatural fantasies.

So that sums up January. Anything you read that you’d recommend? (Because my TBR pile isn’t large enough)

Written by Michelle at 9:24 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
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