Random (but not really)

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Books of 2019

It’s time for the yearly wrap up of what I read in 2019.

Covers I Hated
Fantasy Covers I Adore
Lovely Romance Covers
Mystery Covers
Fantasy
LGBTQ Fantasy
Romance
LGBTQ Romances
Mysteries
LGBTQ Mysteries
The STATS!

I read quite a bit this year, but there was a good deal of re-reading, so even if a book was excellent, it if was a re-read from a previous year, it most likely won’t make the round up.

However, you can go to my book blog and browse the categories for 8/10 and 9/10 and the re-reads I loved from this year will appear there.

And those are the books of 2019!

I’m always looking for recommendations–PLEASE tell me what awesome books you read this year and want to share!

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Monday, December 30, 2019

The Books of 2019: Stats Wrap Up!

It’s now time for me to GEEK OUT and talk about STATS!

I read a lot this year. Not as much as in 2017 when I was really struggling with, well, everything, but I hit 200 book read in November.

I did not read a single paper book this year.

To be clear, I got new cookbooks, which are paper, and which I used, but I didn’t read enough of the books to feel okay reviewing them. And I wanted to go back and re-read a couple series which I had in paperback, only to discover that I loaned out the first book in the series at some point, and have no idea where that book is. And those books aren’t available in electronic format. (Bruce Alexander‘s Sir John Fielding series, starting with Blind Justice for one.)

I did listen to audio books (five for the year) but when we started the bathroom remodel, I switched to podcasts, which are easily interruptible when using power tools or making a lot of noise.

Here’s a look at how my reading habits have changed since I got my first eReader.

There is a lot less variety in how I read than there used to be, and there is a two-pronged reason for this. First, I started needing reading glasses–but don’t need glasses at any other time. It is SO EASY to just make the font size larger on a kindle–no glasses needed! No worries about where I’ve set my reading glasses, no worries about having to take the glasses off to look at something away from the book–just reading. Second, even before the advent of ebooks, I rarely read hardback books. They were (even then) just too heavy and impossible to read one handed. Then reading paperbacks for extended periods of time started to hurt my hands, and that’s when the shift began.

The multiple formats and re-reads are related, but not always directly. Once I fell in love with eBooks, I started getting some of my favorite books as eBooks. In fact, I have an entire private wish list just to watch for old favorites going on sale. Also, I cannot listen to most fiction unless I’ve already read the book. Feel free to analyze, but it’s just how my brain works. So almost every audio book is also a re-read.

Also, now I’m looking at this data, I’m wondering where library books should fit in. If an ebook of a book I own in paper is very expensive, I’ll immediately see if it is available to borrow from the library, either as an eBook or as an audio book. So over the last couple years, a lot of library borrows were rereads. Plus, I’ve also been using the library to branch out my reading, borrowing books I’m not sure if I’ll like. If I don’t like it–nothing but time lost!

I can probably add this information on pretty easily going forward. We’ll see.

 



 

Next up–author gender and book genre.

I have always read a lot of female authors. In fact, when I first ran into the trope of guys talking about there being “no good female SFF authors out writing” I thought it was a joke. I’ve always read a lot of female authors, and assumed (correctly the overwhelming majority of the time) that an author publishing under their initials was a woman.

I fully admit this chart is pretty bad. There is a LOT of data here, and to make matters worse a single book can have multiple genres (a romantic fantasy, a supernatural mystery). This means the numbers in the right axis add up to half again as many books as I read this year, which can seem initially wrong.

The trend to note, however, is that even when I wasn’t reading romance at all, I was still reading mostly female authors. This year I overwhelmingly read female authors, partially because I read a lot of romance, but mostly because I have been trying to escape the toxic masculinity that has been saturating our culture. I just can’t handle ugliness in my escapism right now.

I’ve always wanted to read about women standing up for themselves and getting things done. I just have very little tolerance for male bullshit these days. Right now the only author I’m pre-ordering that might fit that stereotype is Andrea Camilleri (who died this past summer). And although he doesn’t do a good job with writing women, and the treatment of many of his female characters is not so great, the stereotypical masculinity of the characters is almost a parody. For example, Mimi isn’t lauded for sleeping with anything in a dress. Salvo is an asshole, but he’s equally an asshole to everyone (especially Mimi). Plus, he was 93 and mostly blind by the time he died, so I’m willing to cut him some slack.

 



 

Break time! Here’s my most insane chart. I keep it just for amusement purposes.

Genres by year

That’s the number of books I read each month. 2004 & 2017? Those aren’t typos.

 



 

OK, some numbers I just started tracking last year: Character Gender, Character Race, and Character Orientation.

Character Gender is skewed heavily male this year, even though I read so much romance, because I read a LOT of books with M/M romance.

character gender

That gave me far more male lead stories than in the previous year, although It’s not unreasonable–twice now I’ve re-read my collection of Robert B Parker Spenser mysteries (32 books). Another year I re-read all of Donna Leon’s Commissario Brunetti series (now 28 books).

However, for my sanity I didn’t go back to fill in those categories from past years. We’ll just see how these things go going forward.

Character Race is still skewed heavily white, but I have been trying hard to read more books with character of color.

character race

Part of my problem with this category is that I really do love historical mysteries and romance, but have zero interest in reading much set in the US prior to reconstruction, because it’s all but impossible not to bring up slavery if the book has any historical accuracy. I don’t want sanitized history, but I really can’t handle reading about the horrors and atrocities that happened in the US for so much of our history.

I know full well the world is and has been a horrible place. If I am to remain functioning, I have to push the bad things to the back of my mind. I know this is a weakness, but it’s one I accept to allow myself to get out of bed in the morning.

It’s part of my first-world white privilege and I am both aware of it and thankful for it.

(I’ll note, however, that KJ Charles does an excellent job of having characters of color in historical England. Just in case you were looking.)

As I noted, I read a LOT of M/M books this year, so that means I read a LOT of LGBTQ books.

character orientation

As I’d noted in earlier posts, I generally dislike boinking books, yet the overwhelming majority of LGBTQ books I’ve come across are boinking books. What this means is that they had compelling stories to keep me reading. So you might want to keep that in mind if you’re looking for a new author to read.

The Books of 2019

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Sunday, December 29, 2019

The Books of 2019: LGBTQ Mysteries

And the final category for the year: LGBTQ mysteries. I stumbled across Josh Lanyon and then went down the rabbit hole of some really excellent stories and mysteries.

As an FYI, these ALL have a LOT of boinking.

Mystery, LGBT (Boinking)

Single MaltLayla Reyne‘s series, Agents Irish and Whiskey, pulled me in quickly, with the first book, Single Malt (8/10), despite the fact that I generally HATE the trope of law-officers getting into a relationship. And then it kept going, with me starting the next book as soon as I finished the previous. Cask Strength (2017) (8/10) and Barrel Proof (2017) (9/10)

Aidan Talley is back at work eight months after the hit-and-run that killed his husband as well as his partner. His best friend (also his boss and his sister-in-law) has a new partner for him, but also a new case to work off the books: evidence that the hit-and-run wasn’t an accident, and that the car Aidan, Gabe and Tom were in was specifically targeted.

He’ll also be working as a mentor to his new partner, cyber expert Jameson Walker (also known as Whiskey). And if he’s lucky, he’ll be able to trust his new partner to help him discover who murdered his partner and his husband.

This series pulled me in and I read tore through all three books. Aidan is getting through his grief, which let me tolerate a lot of BS from him that I normally would. Jameson is just adorable. And Aidan has a very supportive (and amusing) family, which makes it all the better.

 


 

If you’d like to see if these stories and many of these authors are for you I highly recommend Footsteps in the Dark (2019), an anthology with stories by L.B. Gregg, Nicole Kimberling, Josh Lanyon, Dal MacLean, Z.A. Maxfield, Meg Perry, C.S. Poe and S.C. Wynne (9/10).

Many of the stories ended up making me laugh.

Mindy arrived a few minutes later and surveyed the situation, shaking her head. “Damn.”

Vernon said, “Indeed. What kind of gun do we need to kill this gator, Agent Leonard?”

“Our service weapons would work, sir. But it’s illegal to kill a gator without a permit.”

Vernon scowled. “We’re the United States Air Force, dammit. We’ll shoot whatever we like.

And considering the genre, there was a good deal of life advice.

Here’s the adult learning curve in life— or mine, anyway. Adulting is about facing hard tasks, difficult decisions, and unpleasant realities. Stepping up to the plate even when you don’t want to, because you have to. But sometimes adult life requires you to stand down, listen to others, and find the grace to compromise respectfully.

There are a lot of good mysteries here and there wasn’t a single story I hated.

 


 

Fair GameI read a LOT of mysteries by Josh Lanyon. The All’s Fair series was quite excellent. Start with Fair Game (2010) (7/10) and then dive into Fair Play (2014) (8/10) and Fair Chance (2017) (9/10).

Elliot Mills left the FBI after a career ending injury. He’s now teaching at the college where his father taught for decades, but gets pulled back into investigating and working with an old flame.

I particularly liked the interactions between Elliot and his father (an old hippe).

 

The Adrien English series was up and down for me. The first books in the series are really required to get the rest of the series, but they were nowhere near as good as my two favorites, Death of a Pirate King (2011) (8/10), The Dark Tide (2011) (8/10).

Adrien is a book seller and author and in the first book he is accused of murder and ends up in a relationship with closeted cop Jake Riordan. I almost actively dislike Jake in the first several books, but he does redeem himself.

Another thing that drew me in was that Adrien’s heart was damaged by rheumatic fever when he was a teenager, and that plays a very large part in the series.

 

The Holmes & Moriarity series was another good one, with All She Wrote (2010/2017) (8/10), In Other Words… Murder (2018) (8/10) being particularly good.

Christopher Holmes has always been a mystery writer, but his series has been dropped by his publisher. JX Moriarity is an ex-cop who became a mystery writer, who had a brief fling with Christopher right before he became published.

The series starts off with the two of them dealing with (essentially) a locked room mystery, and three other mysteries after that, as the two work out their differences and settle into their relationship.

 

There were also three stand-alone mysteries that I particularly liked.

Come Unto These Yellow SandsAll of Josh Lanyon’s characters are damaged in some way, but Sebastian Swift of Come Unto These Yellow Sands (2011) (8/10) was probably the most compelling.

Sebastian was a poet, but the largest part of his past was being an addict. He’s clean now, teaching at a college, and in a casual relationship with the town sheriff (it is a college town). But when one of Sebastian’s students is accused of murder, not only is there a strain between the two, but Sebastian begins to struggle more than he had in years since he’d gotten clean.

The mystery is interesting, but watching Sebastian slowly fall apart… that was hard. And very well done.

 

The Haunted Heart: Winter (2013)  (8/10) and Murder Takes the High Road (2018) (8/10) were also very good, and I’m hoping that there is eventually a sequel to The Haunted Heart.

 


 

The Mystery of the BonesC.S. Poe‘S Snow & Winter series was another favorite, and The Mystery of the Bones (2019) (8/10) was my favorite of the lot. Sebastian is a particularly interesting character, because he suffers from a specifically severe form of color blindness that makes him legally blind.

Sebastian owns an antique shop, and gets involved with a ridiculous number of murders, but as long as you’re ok with that over-the-top bit, it’s a lovely series, and I recommend reading it entirely, starting with The Mystery of Nevermore (2016).

 


 

Any Old DiamondsAny Old Diamonds (2019) (8/10) by K.J. Charles is an historical heist story.

There were a lot of unexpected elements here, and I very much liked all of them.

There are two additional stories in this series–a novella and a book which both recently came out, but I didn’t enjoy them anywhere near as much as the heist and surprises of Any Old Diamonds.

 

Proper English by KJ Charles (8/10) is the prequel to Think of England.

It’s a murder mystery, but that’s really secondary to the romance between Pat and Fen. There is also a good deal of brutal honesty about the place of women in society at this time, which is sometimes glossed over in historicals.

Pat did not corset. She had had no mother to train her waist to a span of eighteen inches or so; her father thought wasp-waists were for insects and preferred his daughter able to walk, climb trees, shoot, and run around the house.

Then after you read this, you can check out Think of England, which I keep dipping back into because I liked it so well.


The Books of 2019

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Saturday, December 28, 2019

The Books of 2019: Mysteries

There is a separate post for LGBT mysteries, because I read a LOT of them this year. Almost all of the LGBTQ mysteries have boinking. Almost none of these do.

 

Mystery

A Geek Girl’s Guide to MurderA Geek Girl’s Guide to Arsenic (2016) and A Geek Girl’s Guide to Justice (2016) by Julie Anne Lindsey (8/10) are the second and third books in the Geek Girl mystery series and have a wonderful and delightful heroine.

Mia Connors is the IT person for the Horseshoe Falls community, but she’s way way more than that. She’s also a gamer, an identical twin, a costumer, and CEO of her grandmother’s natural beauty products company.

The series opens with the discovery of a murder, and Mia a possible suspect (and also under suspicion for some of her other activities).

Here are two quotes that give you a good idea as to just why I adore Mia so much.

I nodded in full acceptance. “Whatever. It’s my circus. They’re my monkeys.”

“I don’t understand hipsters and their dull, underenthused lifestyle.”

It’s also a romance, but there is no boinking.

Start with Book 1, A Geek Girl’s Guide to Murder and then gobble up the rest of the series.

 


 

At Your Service (2018) Sandra Antonelli (8/10) had quite a different feel from the other mysteries I read this year.

For three years, Mae Valentine has been acting as butler, housekeeper, and cook for Major Kitt when he’s not away on assignment as a Risk Assessment Specialist. Mae had actually retired, but when she got bored she decided to take it up again, since Major Kitt is often away.

Both characters are older and both have strong personalities, and those personalities clash when Mae becomes caught up in a mystery. It’s actually rather difficult to describe the mystery at all without giving away and of the reveals (and there are many).

Did I mention that Mae is middle aged? She’s lovely.

There is some boinking here.

 



 

Mystery, Historical

 

Who Slays the WickedWho Slays the Wicked (2019) C.S. Harris (8/10) (Sebastian St Cyr)

This is the 14th Sebastian St Cyr mystery, and not the place to dive into this series, however, the first book is often on sale, and it looks like most of the series is available at my local library, so that gives you a WHOLE NEW SERIES if you haven’t read this before.

A lot happens has happened in this series, and although there are many threads that haven’t been resolved, each story arc is completed within its book, and there are no cliff hangers.

Also, Sebastian gets married several books into the series, and has a wonderful marriage, which is something I really love about this series.

Just a note, Grandmom enjoyed this series almost as much as I did.

 


 

An Artless DemiseAnna Lee Huber had a new Lady Darby mystery out this year, the 8th in the series. An Artless Demise (2019) (Lady Darby) (8/10)

This series, set in the 1830s, is an automatic pre-order for me. It’s also another series where you really should go back to the start of the series. Luckily, it looks like my local library at least has most of these available, so yours might as well.

Lady Darby was the widow of an infamous anatomist, and because suspect in society because it was assumed she willingly participated in the creation of her husband’s anatomy book. She meets–and eventually marries–Sebastian, an inquiry agent, which is how the two keep getting drawn into murders.

 

I also finally read her stand-alone, Secrets in the Mist (2016) (9/10), which is set in 1812.

This was an excellent mystery (and story) and if you like historicals, I highly recommend it (as well as her Lady Darby series).

Her Verity Kent series, set after The Great War is fine, I just don’t like it nearly as well as the Lady Darby series (Even though I do love the Post Great War setting.)

 


 

Girl Waits with Gun (2015) and Lady Cop Makes Trouble (2016) by Amy Stewart (8/10) are the first two books in the Kopp Sisters series. The books are loosely based upon the life of Constance Kopp and most of the events in the book actually happened.

I’ll note, however, that I stalled on the third book and although I haven’t quite given up, it’s getting close.

 



 

Mystery, Police

Death At SeaTwo Montalbano books were published this year, and I discovered that Andrea Camilleri died over the summer, so there are only a few books left to be translated and published in the US.

Death at Sea: Montalbano’s Early Cases (2014/2018) translated by Stephen Sartarelli (8/10) is a collection of short stories, and The Other End of the Line (2016/2019) (8/10) is the next book in the Montalbano timeline.

If you haven’t read any Montalbano stories, I’d go with the short story collection to see if they’re you’re thing.

The Books of 2019

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Friday, December 27, 2019

The Books of 2019: LGBTQ Romances

I read quite a few LGBT romances, and with the exception of the first two on this list, they are boinking books. I read far more than you can tell from this list, but a boinking book has a higher bar to reach for me so a lot I found just OK, many other people would adore. So if a book is missing, it’s probably because there was a lot of boinking and less of the bits that keep me interested (ie, the not boinking parts).

 

Romance, LGBT

 

His Quiet AgentHis Quiet Agent by Ada Maria Soto (8.5/10) is an Ace romance.

Arthur Drams has worked hard for The Agency and is hoping to move up in the ranks. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be happening.

“That’s…” Arthur didn’t want to rock the boat, complain or seem ungrateful, but it had been four years. “A bit more of a lateral move than I was expecting.”

His supervisor sighed. “Agent Drams, no one knows who you are.”

“We’re a black budget government agency. No one is supposed to know who we are.”

“To the general public yes, however, when your supervising agent and the promotion board have to ask ‘who’ at seeing your name and don’t even recognize your picture, you need to show your admittedly somewhat generic face a bit more. This is your entire file.” Agent Brown lifted three pieces of paper. “No notes against, no notes for, no citations, accolades or recommendations, no warnings, no nothing.”

So he decides he’s going to turn over a new lead and make an impression.

He ends up befriending Martin, who is referred to as the Alien by all his co-workers. Martin is incredibly intelligent but doesn’t bother to expend any effort at social skills, yet Arthur decides to take it as a challenge.

This book is incredibly sweet and although there are elements of mystery, it’s not a mystery. It’s a slow unwrapping the many layers of an incredibly private person.

 


 

Play It AgainPlay It Again: A Slow Burn Romance (2019) Aidan Wayne (9/10) is another Ace romance.

Dovid Rosenstein and his sister Rachel run the popular YouTube channel Don’t Look Now, with Rachel behind the camera and Dovid starring in the videos–many of which focus on accessibility and anti-bullying, since Dovid has spent most of his life navigating a sighted world.

Dontlooknowdovid: Oh yeah? Anything you can talk about? Or want to talk about? I’m all ears.

Dontlooknowdovid: (literally; I use a text-to-speech function)

Sam Doyle is a Let’s Play gamer, whose accent and way of describing his play appeals first to Rachel, and then to Dovid, who develops a bit of an instant crush on him. A long-distance friendship slowly develops, and grows into something more.

This is an adorably sweet story and I loved it.

 



 

Romance, LGBT (Boinking)

All of the following are boinking books.

 
 

Whiteout

Whiteout by Elyse Springer (8.5/10) opens with one of the characters waking up after suffering a blow to the head. But as Noah regains glimpses of memory, he discovers that nothing is as it seems.

I tried to stop reading this book, because I was freaked out when the big reveal came. Yet after setting it aside, I had to know what happened, and then pretty much finished it in a single setting.

 


 

Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy (2015) edited by Jordan Castillo Price (8.5/10) is a good anthology to read if you’re unsure how you feel about M/M romance and/or want to discover new authors. There was one story I absolutely HATED, two I was meh about, and the rest I really liked, and bought books by several of the authors.

 


 

Work for It by Talia Hibbert (8/10) is a M/M novella in her Just for Him series.

It tells the story of the brother of one of the women in that series—the brother who hid who he was from his family to protect his sister. I read this story before the rest of the series, and liked it, but I think it works even better if you know the sacrifices that Olu has made for his sister.

 


 

Family ManFamily Man by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton (8/10) is just very good. The romance is sweet and adorable, which is good because there are very dark and difficult underlying issues.

Vincent “Vinnie” Fierro has three divorces behind him, and is beginning to wonder if his large family and Catholic upbringing have kept him trying to date women and caused him to deny that he is attracted to men.

Trey Giles lives in the neighborhood with his mother and grandmother and is ever-so-slowly working his way through college. He’s not into hookups and doesn’t have time for a relationship, except that he and Vinnie strike up a friendship that slowly turns into something neither was expecting.

Trey’s mother is the reason he’s going through college one class at a time, and working multiple jobs to keep a roof over his and his grandmother’s heads. This book does an amazing job with Trey and his complicated relationship with his alcoholic mother.

I highly recommend this book—even if you don’t think M/M books are for you, just for the heartbreaking portrayal of Trey’s mother’s alcoholism and how dealing with it (and hiding it) overtook his life.

The Books of 2019

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Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Books of 2019: Romance

When I’m stressed and anxious, I have in the past turned to books I love, because I know things are going to turn out ok. Then I discovered that romance does the same thing–no matter what happens in the story, things are going to turn out okay in the end.

I’ve been reading a lot of romance in the past several years, in an effort to escape from the misery and anxiety that is the world right now.

Romance, Historical

A Modest IndependenceA Modest Independence (2019) by Mimi Matthews is the second book in the Parish Orphans of Devon series.

The half-brother of the hero from the first book, and the cousin of the heroine fell for each other in the previous story, but had a falling out, and now avoid each other at all costs. As with the previous book, this story makes clear just how powerless women were in society, which is depressing, and in this book, the heart of the problem between the two characters.

But that makes it sound all negative, and it isn’t a dark story. The heroine seeks as much power as the world will allow her to have, while the hero is a man who brought himself up from nothing, yet attempts to keep to his own morals and ethics.

 


 

Romance, Historical (Boinking)

Brazen and the BeastAnd speaking of women’s lack of power in historical times, in the latest by Sarah MacLean, Brazen and the Beast (2019) (8/10), I really want Hen to burn the world down around her.

 “Who’s made you feel this way?”

The question came like a threat, and it was one. Whit wanted a name. And she gave one, as though he were a child and she were explaining something as simple as sunrise. “Everyone.”

She is MARVELOUS.

I’ll note this is not the American cover. If it was, it would have made my good covers list.


 


 

Romance (Boinking)

A Girl Like HerI almost accidentally discovered Talia Hibbert though if I hadn’t read her when I did, I’ve heard so very many recommendations for her, I’m sure I’d have read her by now.

I started with her Ravenswood series, and read it completely out of order, starting with the last book in the series, That Kind of Guy.

The hero of the story is demisexual, but has a reputation in town as a slut. (He’s a guy, so of course he’s not described as a slut, but lets me honest about our words.)

These stories are fabulous.

The first is about a woman on the autism spectrum, who is proudly a geek and that story was a DELIGHT to read.

Now she didn’t know if she should laugh or gasp. She compromised by choking on her own spit.

The second story I almost refused to read, because I really dislike an unequal balance of power, yet the story drew me in and I enjoyed it–despite my issues with that trope.

A Girl Like Her (2018) (8/10), Damaged Goods (2018) (8/10), Untouchable (2018) (8/10), That Kind of Guy (2019) (8/10).

Fantastic!

The other series I read, Just for Him, was also very good, Undone by the Ex-Con (2018) and Sweet on the Greek (2018) (8/10) are excellent, and to be honest to reason I didn’t care for the first book is because I dislike the trope of boss + employee.

Although these are M/F romances, many of the characters are LGBTQ and all these books have at least one character of color.

The Books of 2019

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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The Books of 2019: LGBTQ Fantasy

Fantasy, LGBT (Boinking)

Now, onto LGBTQ fantasy, much of which I found utterly delightful and charming.

 

I discovered Angel Martinez mostly by accident. I picked up her Offbeat Crimes series because I love supernatural police procedural mysteries. I’ll he honest, the title of the first one, Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters, made me hesitant because it was so ridiculous and the covers were really not my thing. But the story was a delight, and I eagerly read the rest of the series—even the book with time travel (which I despise).

My favorite books in the series were Feral Dust Bunnies (8/10), Jackalopes and Woofen-Poofs (8/10), and All the World’s an Undead Stage (8/10), because my favorite character of the whole series is Officer Alex Wolf, who was changed into a human and then adopted by human parents.

He. Is. So. ADORABLE.

And his mom is WONDERFUL.

“Are you all right, sweetheart?” Mom stopped on her way past his room with a new book in hand.

“I can’t remember how to human,” Wolf said with a frustrated snarl.

“Oh? You’re still using your words. That’s good. What part of humaning is causing the problem?”

I really recommend you read the entire series.

Family Matters (8/10) is the second book in the Brandywine Investigations series, and although both are good, I liked Family Matters just a tiny bit better. Open for Business is the first book, and it opens with Hades being served divorce papers by Persephone and coming down to earth to give her the space she has requested.

In case you never read any mythology or folktales, gods are randy creatures and that is quite clear in this series. After all, the first story in Family Matters is the story of Dionysus falling in love. (If you don’t know Dionysus, there is no help for you. You must immediately go read Edith Hamilton’s Mythology.)

Uncommonly Tidy Poltergeists (8/10) is a fun novella about a secret lottery winner and ghosts that seemingly follow him from home to home around the world.

Also, he’s described like this:

Power-save introvert, that’s what Luka called him. He was “on” when he had to be, turned “off” the moment people left him in peace, and occasionally suffered shorts and power outages during which he couldn’t interact successfully with people at all.

Pick any one of these and you should be in for a fun read.


 

Charlie Adhara’s Big Bad Wolf series is not your typical werewolf story. Werewolves are still hidden from society at large, but the government helps to keep them hidden.

The public could never know about werewolves, though. That was one of the few things the BSI and the Trust agreed on. The panic, the prejudice, the senseless violence that would surely come if the truth was revealed.

That’s a sadly true thing.

The first story is The Wolf at the Door (8/10) and shares how Cooper Dayton, who had been attacked and injured by the joined the BSI to help police the supernatural world.

The Wolf at Bay (8/10), Thrown to the Wolves (8/10). In addition to policing and trying to work out if they can have a relationship, the two also have to deal with their families and the expectations that come from their families.

 


 

Last year I read a lot of K.J. Charles M/M supernatural fantasies and loved them all, but only finally this year got around to reading The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal (8/10), which is an anthology of stories about a mage and the journalist who becomes his lover. And the stories are set in England between 1894 and 1914 and is somewhat the prequel to the Spectred Isle. These are truly short stories, and might give you an idea as to whether you might enjoy her other stories.

 


 

I came across Nicole Kimberling reading Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy and decided I wanted to read more of her writing. Grilled Cheese and Goblins (8/10) is the story of Keith Curry, who is a supernatural food inspector.

Actually, that’s pretty much all I had to tell Tania and she wanted to read the book. What I love about these stories is that upon further thought, you know that if there were supernatural creatures secretly living in the world, there would totally have to be health inspectors who policed their businesses and looked into food poisonings and other issues.

I will warn you that despite how light the series title is, the details of how Keith discovered the existence of the supernatural is more than a little gruesome.

 


 

Marriage, Love and a Baby Carriage by C.S. Poe (8.5/10) is a M/M, fated mates, penguin shifter romance, with a surprise baby.

And it lives up to that description.

Just read it.

The Books of 2019

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