Random (but not really)

Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Books of June

This year is insane. But you already knew that.

I read some good books this month–even a newish release!–but I re-read a lot, so only a few new reads I want to mention.

Turning Darkness Into LightOddly enough, it was all fantasy that floated to the top this month.

NPCs by Drew Hayes is the first book in his Spells, Swords, & Stealth series, and it is (unsurprisingly) wonderful. It’s sword and sorcery, except that the actions of D&D gamers are able to affect the people who live in this world. Like everything Drew Hayes, it’s a delight.

Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan is a sequel of sorts to her Lady Trent series, where we follow Lady Trent’s granddaughter, as she and a friend attempt to translate some ancient tablets that were discovered.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune is a fantasy that seems like it wants to be YA (since many of the characters are teenagers) but with all the bureaucracy, really isn’t quite one. It is, however, fun and well-worth reading.


NPCs (2014) Drew Hayes (Spells, Swords, & Stealth) 8/10
Turning Darkness Into Light (2019) Marie Brennan 9/10

Fantasy, Supernatural

The Grimrose Path (2010) Rob Thurman (Trickster) 9/10
The House in the Cerulean Sea (2020) TJ Klune 8/10

The House in the Cerulean SeaMystery

Death in D Minor (2017) Alexia Gordon (Gethsemane Brown Mysteries) 7.5/10

Mystery, Historical

Miss Marple
4.50 from Paddington (1957) Agatha Christie 9.5/10
A Caribbean Mystery (1964) Agatha Christie 9/10
The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side (1962) Agatha Christie 8.5/10,

Romance, Historical

As Luck Would Have It (2016) Alissa Johnson (Providence) 8.5/10

Romance, LGBT

Upside Down (2019) N.R. Walker 8.5/10
Blank Spaces (2016) Cass Lennox (Toronto Connections) 8.5/10
Sins of the Cities
An Unseen Attraction (2017) 8/10
An Unnatural Vice (2017) K.J. Charles 8/10
An Unsuitable Heir (2017) K.J. Charles 7.5/10
Society of Gentlemen
A Fashionable Indulgence  (2015) K.J. Charles 8/10
A Seditious Affair (2015) K.J. Charles 8/10
Upside DownSeducing the Sedgwicks
It Takes Two to Tumble (2017) Cat Sebastian 8/10
A Gentleman Never Keeps Score (2018) Cat Sebastian 8/10
The Turner Series
The Lawrence Browne Affair (2017) Cat Sebastian 8/10
The Ruin of a Rake (2017) Cat Sebastian 7.5/10
Behind These Doors (2018) Jude Lucens (Radical Proposals) 7/10
The Boy in the Red Dress (2020) Kristin Lambert 6.5/10

Audio Book

The Night Watch, Audiobook (1998/2006/2010) Sergei Lukyanenko translated by Andrew Bromfield, narrated by Paul Michael (Night Watch) 9.5/10


The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History (2004/2009/2018) John M. Barry  7/10

And now, the stats!

eBook: 23
Audio: 1
Multiple Formats: 6
Re-read: 17

NPCsLots and lots of re-reading this month. In fact, 37% of the books I’ve read this year are re-reads.

Fantasy: 6
Mystery: 8
Romance: 14
Boinking: 11
Historical: 15
YA: 3

The majority of what I read was historical in some form, mostly romance, but a lot of mystery as well.

Male: 3
Female: 14
Initials: 5
Male Pseudonym: 1

Male authors are unlike to catch up with female authors this year, since only 11% of the books I’ve read this year have been by male authors.

Male: 14
Female: 7
Ensemble: 2
White: 13
Minority: 5
Minority 2ndary: 5
Straight: 8
LGBTQ 2ndary: 1

As far as characters go, guys are edging out gals. Mostly because I’ve been reading a lot of MlM romance.

And that’s June.

What have you read recently that was particularly enjoyable?

Written by Michelle at 3:38 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading,Monthly Round-Up  

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

The Books of May

It’s June. And I’m once again recovering from a broken appendage, unable to hike or do any of the fun things one wants to do in the spring.

SpellboundIn short: I read a lot again.

Mysteries have always been comfort reads for me, and Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple series is the coziest most comforting read there is.

Andrea Camilleri died last year, so his Inspector Montalbano series is quickly drawing to a close. Although some of the most recent stories have been on the weaker side, I very much enjoyed The Safety Net the most recent English publication.

Slippery Creatures is a new series by K.J. Charles and I very much liked it. The Will Darling Adventures are set just after The Great War, which is a time period I really like reading about, since it balances between modern and what we traditionally think of as “historical”.

Of course this crappy time needs romance. I very much recommend Throwing Hearts by N.R. Walker, Love in 24 Frames by C.S. Poe, and the He’s Come Undone: A Romance Anthology by Emma Barry, Olivia Dade, Adriana Herrera, Ruby Lang, and Cat Sebastian. Especially Throwing Hearts because NR Walker writes the sweetest romances, with almost no angst at all AND this one had an sweet secondary romance.

The Immortal ConquistadorI finally read a bunch of the new supernatural fantasy releases that came out in the past several months. There was a backlog because I kept putting off reading the most recent Jane Yellowrock because I knew it was going to be dark and a hard read, which meant I then put off the others. But I finally got through them and of the lot The Immortal Conquistador by Carrie Vaughn was fantastic. It’s the backstory of Rick the Vampire, and has one of my favorite short stories embedded in it. Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs is the latest Mercy Thompson book, and was also good and enjoyable.

I read Joanna Chambers Capital Wolves Duet with Gentleman Wolf and Master Wolf and really liked them. There have been a lot of shifter and werewolf books in the past decade or so and fated-mates is a trope I really dislike. This book does werewolves AND mates extremely well. And the last historical was Allie Therin’s Magic in Manhattan Spellbound and Starcrossed which was also set after The Great War and was an historical urban fantasy with a m/m romance where the boinking was fade-to-black.

Anyone got any amazing recommendations for me to escape the awfulness of the world right now?

Mystery, Police

The Safety NetThe Safety Net (2017/2020) Andrea Camilleri (Inspector Montalbano) 8/10

Mystery, Cozy

Miss Marple
The Murder at the Vicarage (1930) Agatha Christie 7.5/10
The Body in the Library (1942) Agatha Christie 8/10
Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories (1985) Agatha Christie 9/10
The Moving Finger (1943) Agatha Christie 7.5/10
A Murder Is Announced (1950) Agatha Christie 8/10
They Do It With Mirrors (1952) Agatha Christie 7.5/10
A Pocket Full of Rye (1953) Agatha Christie Rating: 8/10
Apple Cider Slaying (2019) Julie Anne Lindsey (A Cider Shop Mystery) 7.5/10
Murder in G Major (2016) Alexia Gordon (Gethsemane Brown Mysteries) 7/10
Too Big to Miss (2006) Sue Ann Jaffarian (An Odelia Grey Mystery) 7/10
The Secret, Book, & Scone Society (2017) Ellery Adams (Secret, Book, & Scone Society) 6/10

Graphic Novel

Heathen: Volume 2 (2019) Natasha Alterici, Rachel Deering 7.5/10

Murder in G MajorMystery, LGBT

Slippery Creatures (2020) K.J. Charles (The Will Darling Adventures) 8/10
Principles of Spookology (2020) S.E. Harmon (The Spectral Files) 7.5/10

Romance, LGBT

Throwing Hearts (2020) N.R. Walker 8.5/10
Love in 24 Frames (2019) C.S. Poe 8/10
His Grandfather’s Watch (2015) N.R. Walker 7.5/10
Five Dates (2015) Amy Jo Cousins 7/10

Meet Cute Club (2020) Jack Harbon (Sweet Rose) 6.5/10


He’s Come Undone: A Romance Anthology (2020) Emma Barry, Olivia Dade, Adriana Herrera, Ruby Lang, and Cat Sebastian 8/10

Fantasy, Supernatural

The Immortal Conquistador (2020) Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville) 9/10
Smoke Bitten (2020) Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson) 8.5/10
Shattered Bonds (2019) Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock) 7.5/10
Capital Wolves Duet
Gentleman Wolf (2019) Joanna Chambers 8/10
Master Wolf (2020) Joanna Chambers 8.5/10
Magic in Manhattan
Spellbound (2019) Allie Therin 8/10
Starcrossed (2020) Allie Therin 8/10

And the stats!

Trade Paperback: 1
eBook: 26
Multiple Formats: 7
Re-read: 7

One comic this month, and all the re-reads I own in multiple formats.

Fantasy: 9
Mystery: 13
Romance: 11
Boinking: 8
Historical: 11
Comic: 1

Lots of mysteries. Lots of historicals. Lots of romance. Lots of fantasy. Lots of everything, really.

Male: 2
Female: 21
Initials: 4

Another bad year for male authors it looks like.

Male: 13
Female: 11
Ensemble: 3
White: 13
Minority: 7
Minority 2ndary: 7
Straight: 15
LGBTQ 2ndary: 1

I’m still reading a fair amount of M/M romance, so lots of male characters. Still lots of white characters, but a some minority representation here, and not too shabby as far as non-straight representation.

And that was May.

Written by Michelle at 7:27 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading,Monthly Round-Up  

Friday, May 1, 2020

The Books of April (Reading in the Time of Covid)

Yup. Read a lot of books in April.

Small VicesHere are some of the best.

First up is a comfort listen, Small Vices, Audio Edition by Robert B. Parker narrated by Burt Reynolds. This was my first Spenser book and remains my favorite. Parker hit every note perfectly on this story, and Burt Reynolds managed to perfectly voice Hawk and Spenser for me.

I read quite a few comics last month. Best was finishing Check, Please! Book 2: Sticks & Scones by Ngozi Ukazu Y’ALL. This is SO ADORABLY CINNAMON BUN GOOD. At the other end of the spectrum is Heathen Volume 1 by Natasha Alterici, which is a young woman’s coming of age adventure.

Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It by Gina Kolata. I’ve now started John Barry’s Influenza book.

I started re-reading Courtney Milan‘s Brothers Sinister so I could re-read The Countess Conspiracy and A Kiss for Midwinter.

Several new mysteries from series I’ve been reading came out last month, and shock of all shocks, I read them immediately. A Stroke of Malice by Anna Lee Huber (A Lady Darby Mystery) and Secret at Skull House by Josh Lanyon (Secrets and Scrabble)–there was also a CS Harris new release, which was good, but nowhere near as good as the earlier Sebastian books.

Family MattersSupernatural Fantasy, LGBT

Brandywine Investigations
Open for Business (2016) Angel Martinez 8/10
Family Matters (Brandywine Investigations (2018) Angel Martinez 8.5/10
Gumption & Gumshoes (2013) Alex Kidwell 7/10


Naked Once More (1989) Elizabeth Peters (Jacqueline Kirby Mysteries) 8/10

Mystery, Historical

A Stroke of Malice (2020) Anna Lee Huber (A Lady Darby Mystery) 8.5/10
The Guilt of Innocents (2006) Candace Robb (Owen Archer) 8/10
Who Speaks for the Damned (2020) C.S. Harris (Sebastian St. Cyr) 7.5/10

Mystery, LGBT

Secret at Skull House (2020) Josh Lanyon (Secrets and Scrabble) 8/10
P.S. I Spook You (2019) S.E. Harmon (The Spectral Files) 7/10
Grasmere Cottage Mystery
Dead in the Garden (2018) Dahlia Donovan 7/10
Dead in the Pond (2018) Dahlia Donovan 7/10
Dead in the Shop (2018) Dahlia Donovan 7/10

A Stroke of MaliceRomance, Historical

Brothers Sinister
The Duchess War (2012) Courtney Milan 8/10
A Kiss for Midwinter (2012) Courtney Milan 8.5/10
The Heiress Effect (2013) Courtney Milan 8/10
The Countess Conspiracy (2013) Courtney Milan 9/10

Romance, LGBT

Connection Error (2016) Annabeth Albert (#gaymers) 8/10
Goalie Interference (2019) Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn (Hat Trick) 5.5/10
Bookmarked (2015) Piper Vaughn (Heartsville) 5.5/10


Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It (1999) Gina Kolata 8.5/10


Check, Please! Book 2: Sticks & Scones (2020) Ngozi Ukazu 9.5/10
Lady Mechanika Vol 3: The Lost Boys of West Abbey (2017) Marcia Chen, Joe Benitez, Peter Steigerwald, Marcia Chen 7.5/10
Lady Mechanika Vol 4: Clockwork Assassin (2018) Joe Benitez, Peter Steigerwald, Mike Garcia 8/10
Check Please Sticks and SconesLady Mechanika, Vol. 5: La Belle Dame Sans Merci (2019) Joe Benitez, M. M. Chen, Martin Montiel 7/10
Heathen Volume 1 (2017) Natasha Alterici 8/10
Jessica Jones Vol. 1: Uncaged! (2017) Brian Michael Bendis, David W. Mack, Michael Gaydos 6.5/10
Rivers of London: The Fey and the Furious (2020) Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel, Lee Sullivan 6/10

Audio Books

Small Vices, Audio Edition (1997) Robert B. Parker narrated by Burt Reynolds (Spenser) 10/10

There are some good books there, if you’re looking for something to read.

Now, the stats!

Format had actual paper books this month! (Because I generally dislike reading comics digitally.)

Trade Paperback: 6
eBook: 21
Audio: 1
Multiple Formats: 3
Re-read: 10

Genres were pretty evenly split.
Fantasy: 11
Mystery: 13
Romance: 15
Boinking: 11
Historical: 8
YA: 1
Comic: 7
Non-Fiction: 1

Authors have women leading the pack. As usual.
Male: 6
Female: 19
Initials: 2
Male Pseudonym: 1

Characters are male heavy, cuz I’ve been reading lots of M/M mysteries and fantasy.
Male: 15
Female: 8
Ensemble: 4
White: 15
Minority: 6
Minority 2ndary: 6
Straight: 13
LGBTQ 2ndary: 1

That’s it. The books of April. What have y’all been reading? ANy good escape recommendations?

Written by Michelle at 8:13 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading,Monthly Round-Up  

Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Books of March

Wow. That was a month, wasn’t it?

In what is a surprise to probably no one, I read a LOT this month. Reading is my escape. What else can I say?

What did y’all read this month and what do you recommend to others trying to deal with being cooped up?

So did I read some good stuff this month? YES! Since there was a LOT of comfort reading, I’m only going to talk about the new-to-me books I read and loved. Which is still a lot of books.

For the first time in months I read some comics.

Lady Mechanika Volume 2: Tablet of Destinies by Joe Benitez, Marcia Chen, Martin Montiel is steampunk about a woman who remembers nothing of her life before her limbs were made biomechanical. She wears a few ridiculous outfits, but not all the time. And it’s a fun story. I have volume two waiting for me. Trickster: Native American Tales by edited by Matt Dembicki

takes 21 stories told by Native Americans and pairs them with 21 different artists. Each tale is unique, except that one of the main characters is a trickster.

Because I need the HEAs, I have been reading a LOT of romance.

Rend by Roan Parrish is the second book in the Riven series, and made me cry. This M/M romance has a married couple who had a whirlwind romance, but now one husband is on tour, the other is attempting to deal with his past–now he can no longer hide from himself. Did I mention all the crying? The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang was particularly interesting because the hero is Asian and the heroine is on the autism spectrum.

And Everything Nice by Ada Maria Soto is a novella that I absolutely adored. This M/M romance has no boinking, and kept making me laugh.

Hey! I read some new fantasy releases!

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing by Charlie Adhara is the 4th book in the series and I am really enjoying this series. It’s got M/M boinking, but the world building is very good. And after a long wait, I finally got False Value by Ben Aaronovitch the latest Rivers of London book.

Murder at Pirate’s Cove by Josh Lanyon

is the first in her new cozy mystery series. A widower sheriff and a guy who inherited a book store. What’s not to love?

Supernatural Fantasy

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing (2010) Charlie Adhara (Big Bad Wolf) Rating: 8/10
False Value (2020) Ben Aaronovitch (Rivers of London) Rating: 8/10
Mating the Huntress (2018) Talia Hibbert Rating: 7/10


Murder at Pirate’s Cove (2020) Josh Lanyon (Secrets and Scrabble) Rating: 8/10

Mystery, Police

Trace Elements (2020) Donna Leon (Commissario Guido Brunetti) Rating: 7.5/10

Mystery, Historical

Regency London
The Emperor’s Conspiracy (2012) Michelle Diener Rating: 8.5/10
Banquet of Lies (2013) Michelle Diener Rating: 9/10
A Dangerous Madness (2014) Michelle Diener Rating: 8/10
Owen Archer
A Spy for the Redeemer (2002) Candace Robb Rating: 7.5/10
The Cross-Legged Knight (2003) Candace Robb Rating: 7.5/10
Kat Holloway Mysteries
Death Below Stairs (2018) Jennifer Ashley Rating: 7.5/10
Scandal Above Stairs (2018) Jennifer Ashley Rating: 7.5/10
Death in Kew Gardens (2019) Jennifer Ashley Rating: 7.5/10


The Kiss Quotient (2018) Helen Hoang Rating: 8.5/10

Romance, Historical

The Lost Letter (2017) Mimi Matthews

Romance, LGBT

The Agency
His Quiet Agent (2017) Ada Maria Soto Rating: 9/10
Merlin in the Library (2018) Ada Maria Soto Rating: 8/10
Play It Again (2019) Aidan Wayne Rating: 9/10
Rend (2018) Roan Parrish (Riven) Rating: 9/10
Band Sinister (2018) KJ Charles Rating: 9/10
Work for It (2019) Talia Hibbert (Just for Him) Rating: 8.5/10
And Everything Nice (2016) Ada Maria Soto Rating: 8/10
Finders Keepers (2018) N.R. Walker Rating: 7.5/10
Small Change (2017) Roan Parrish (Small Change) Rating: 7.5/10
Hottie Scotty and Mr. Porter (2016) R. Cooper Rating: 7.5/10
For Better or Worse (2017) R. Cooper Rating: 7/10
Color of You (2017) C.S. PoeRating: 7/10
Checking Out Love (2015) R. Cooper Rating: 7/10
Dads with Benefits (2019) Jason Collins (Fairview Single Dads) Rating: 5/10

Graphic Novel

Lady Mechanika Volume 2: Tablet of Destinies (2016) Joe Benitez, Marcia Chen, Martin Montiel Rating: 8/10
Trickster: Native American Tales (2010) edited by Matt Dembicki Rating: 8.5/10

And now the stats:

TWO paper books! Two! (and eleven re-reads)

Trade Paperback: 2
eBook: 29
Re-read: 11

As I mentioned, lots and LOTS of romance. Anything remotely resembling a cliff-hanger is RIGHT OUT.

Fantasy: 4
Mystery: 12
Romance: 21
Boinking: 13
Historical: 12
Anthology: 1
Comic: 2

Lots of books by female authors.

Male: 3
Female: 19
Initials: 6
Anthology: 1
Joint: 1

And the breakdown of characters. Still a predominance of white characters, but that’s hard to avoid in historical romances, when I personally can’t read stories set in the Americas (Because slavery. IN general it exists and deeply upsets me, or it DOESN’T exist and I get mad the author is hiding it. Hey. I never claimed to be rational in what I like.)

Male: 17
Female: 7
Ensemble: 7
White: 20
Minority: 9
Minority 2ndary: 2
Straight: 11
LGBTQ 2ndary: 3

And those are the books of March.

Written by Michelle at 8:04 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading,Monthly Round-Up  

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

The Books of February 2020

Even having an extra day, February flew by. Very little hiking this month because it WON’T STOP RAINING, so once more an absurd amount of reading.

So what was good last month? A lot!

Blank Spaces

The Trouble Brewing series by Layla Reyne was almost as good as her Irish & Whiskey series. Imperial Stout, Craft Brew, and  Noble Hops were all fun and thrilling, although lots of boinking.

I finally broke down and purchased Rob Thurman’s Trickster series as ebooks, and   Trick of the Light was just as good as I remembered. 

Because I was talking about it with Michael (and because there was a new book coming out) I re-read Charlie Adhara’s Big Bad Wolf, which I enjoyed just as much the second time around.

I’ve found a lot of Ace romances, and most of them were very good. I definitely recommend Upside Down by N.R. Walker, Three Stupid Weddings by Ann Gallagher,  Blank Spaces by Cass Lennox, Uncommonly Tidy Poltergeists by Angel Martinez , and  All the Wrong Places by Ann Gallagher

I even read some comics last month. All were new-to-me series, and I do want to read more of Lady Mechanicka

Here’s what I read by category. The Ace romances may or may not have boinking, so check the tags / categories if you want to be sure.

Mystery, Historical

Owen Archer
The Riddle of St. Leonard’s (1997) Candace Robb Rating: 8/10
A Gift of Sanctuary (1998) Candace Robb Rating: 7.5/10

Trick of the Light
Mystery, LGBT

The Art of Murder
The Monet Murders (2017) Josh Lanyon Rating: 8/10
The Magician Murders (2019) Josh Lanyon Rating: 8/10
The Monuments Men Murders (2019) Josh Lanyon Rating: 6/10
Trouble Brewing
Imperial Stout (2018) Layla Reyne Rating: 8/10
Craft Brew (2018) Layla Reyne Rating: 8.5/10
Noble Hops (2019) Layla Reyne Rating: 8.5/10

Fantasy, Supernatural

Trick of the Light (2009) Rob Thurman (Trickster) Rating: 9.5
Big Bad Wolf
The Wolf at the Door (2018) Charlie Adhara Rating: 8.5/10
The Wolf at Bay (2018) Charlie Adhara Rating: 9.5/10
Thrown to the Wolves (2019) Charlie Adhara Rating: 9/10
Uncommonly Tidy Poltergeists (2017) Angel Martinez Rating: 8.5/10
Known Devil (2014) Justin Gustainis (Occult Crimes Unit Investigation) Rating: 8.5/10
The Alpha and His Ace (2015) Ana J. Phoenix Rating: 5/10

The Wolf at the Door
Romance, LGBT

Upside Down (2019) N.R. Walker Rating: 9/10
Three Stupid Weddings (2018) Ann Gallagher Rating: 8.5/10
Blank Spaces (2016) Cass Lennox (Toronto Connections) Rating: 8.5/10
Dine with Me (2019) Layla Reyne Rating: 8.5/10
Arctic Heat (2019) Annabeth Albert (Frozen Hearts) Rating: 8/10
All the Wrong Places (2016) Ann Gallagher (Bluewater Bay) Rating: 8/10
Candy Hearts (2020) Erin McLellan (So Over the Holidays) Rating: 7/10
Save the Date (2017) Annabeth Albert & Wendy Qualls

Romance, Historial

The Winter Companion (2020) Mimi Matthews (Parish Orphans of Devon) Rating: 8/10


Lady Mechanika Volume 1: Mystery of the Mechanical Corpse (2015) Joe Benitez, Peter Steigerwald Rating: 7.5
Check, Please!: # Hockey (2018) Ngozi Ukazu Rating: 7/10
Mooncakes (2019) Suzanne Walker, Wendy Xu Rating: 7/10

So what good did you read last month? Or did you have decent weather and were able to leave your house?

Written by Michelle at 2:44 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading,Monthly Round-Up,Yearly Round-Up  

Saturday, February 1, 2020

The Books of January 2020

I believe I am going to remain in denial about it being February for another few days. Because WHERE HAS WINTER BEEN? I have not been able to take a SINGLE HIKE in the snow.


Because of the super crappy weather, and because the news has been destroying my calm, I’ve been doing a LOT of reading. I’ve been aiming for comfort reads, and mostly found them, but there were a couple of books that really fell short for me (including a DNF).

What was good? Talia Hibbert is marvelous. I’ve almost read my way through her backlist and then I’ll be stuck waiting for her to write more.

I hate waiting.

C.S. Poe wrote several books that were just what I needed. (I still think her fated-mates penguin shifter tales was one of my favorite stories to read last year). She writes LGBT mysteries and romances and the mysteries are good, but the romances are lovely. And if you don’t like boinking in your books, Joy (States of Love) is boink free.

Although I was kinda MEH on Annabeth Albert‘s Portland series, her Alaska series has been lovely (there is HIKING!) and I’ve really enjoyed reading it.

ThawElyse Springer‘s Thaw is another LGBT romance without any graphic boinking–because the main character is Ace. So lovely.

Last year I re-read Drew Hayes Fred, the Vampire Accountant series, which I loved, because Undeading Bells was coming out. This wasn’t my favorite book in the series, but it was still quite good and enjoyable and you should really read the series.


Merry Inkmas (2017) Talia Hibbert Rating: 8/10
Get a Life, Chloe Brown (2019) Talia Hibbert (Brown Sisters) Rating: 8/10
RAFE: A Buff Male Nanny (2018) Rebekah Weatherspoon (Not Rated)

Romance, LGBT

Joy (States of Love) (2017) C.S. Poe Rating: 9.5/10
Hither, Page (2019) Cat Sebastian Rating: 8.5/10
Arctic Sun (2019) Annabeth Albert (Frozen Hearts) Rating: 8.5/10
Arctic Wild (2019) Annabeth Albert (Frozen Hearts) Rating: 8.5/10
Status Update (2015) Annabeth Albert (#gaymers) Rating: 8.5/10
Thaw (2017) Elyse Springer (Seasons of Love Book) Rating: 8.5/10
The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky (2019) Mackenzi Lee (Montague Siblings) Rating: 8/10
American Love Story (2019) Adriana Herrera (Dreamers) Rating: 7/10
A Matter of Disagreement (2018) EE Ottoman Rating: 5.5/10

Hither, PageMystery

Murder by the Seaside (2013) Julie Anne Lindsey (Patience Price Mysteries Series) Rating: 6.5/10

Historical Mystery

The Nun’s Tale (1995) Candace Robb (Owen Archer) Rating: 7.5/10
The King’s Bishop (1996) Candace Robb (Owen Archer) Rating: 7/10
The Art of Theft (2019) Sherry Thomas (The Lady Sherlock Series) Rating: 5/10

Mystery, LGBT

Southernmost Murder (2018) C.S. Poe Rating: 8.5/10
Ramen Assassin (2019) Rhys Ford Rating: 8.5/10

Supernatural Fantasy

Evil Dark (2012) Justin Gustainis (Occult Crimes Unit) Rating: 8/10
The Night Raven (2018) Sarah Painter (Crow Investigations) Rating: 7/10
Black Dog Blues (2014) Rhys Ford Rating: 6/10
Undeading Bells (2019) Drew Hayes (Fred, the Vampire Accountant) Rating: 8/10

Supernatural Fantasy, LGBT

Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters (2016) Angel Martinez (Offbeat Crimes) Rating: 8/10
The Pill Bugs of Time (2016) Angel Martinez (Offbeat Crimes) Rating: 7/10
Skim Blood and Savage Verse (2017) Angel Martinez (Offbeat Crimes) Rating: 7.5/10
Feral Dust Bunnies (2017) Angel Martinez (Offbeat Crimes) Rating: 9/10
Jackalopes and Woofen-Poofs (2017) Angel Martinez (Offbeat Crimes) Rating: 8/10
All the World’s an Undead Stage (2018) Angel Martinez (Offbeat Crimes) Rating: 8/10
Undeading BellsDim Sum Asylum (2017) Rhys Ford Rating: 7.5/10


DNF: His Convenient Husband (2017) Robin Covington

And now: the stats!

All ebooks this month, with 9 re-reads. I’ve got some comics lined up to read, but the burden of having to find my reading glasses has kept bumping them down my TBR pile.


Lots of romance this month, because I desperately need the HEAs. Even the straight-up mysteries I read I was certain were going to end on a positive note. Because I just cannot with anything dark or depressing right now.

Fantasy: 12
Mystery: 15
Romance: 22
Boinking: 17
Historical: 6

Almost all female authors this month. You’ll note that the numbers don’t add up, because I read one book by a non-binary author, and I don’t have a category for that, so I’ll just note it when it happens.

Male: 2
Female: 25
Joint + Anthology: 0
Initials: 1

Since most of the romances were M/M it was mostly male characters. A high number of white characters with no minorities, but I read six mostly British historicals, which is going to heavily skew those numbers. (NOTE: I have several historicals set in Asia, they just aren’t what I’m reading right now.) And unsurprisingly, I read only seven books that didn’t have any LGBT representation. Interestingly, the Candace Robb’s Owen Archer (Set in England in the 1360s) series has had gay characters, including a very complicated character who has been redeemed over several books.

Male: 20
Female: 4
Ensemble: 5
White: 12
Minority: 16
Minority 2ndary: 1
Straight: 7
LGBTQ 2ndary: 3

And that’s what I read the first month of 2020.

Any recommendations for me?!

Written by Michelle at 10:09 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading,Monthly Round-Up,Yearly Round-Up  

Sunday, December 1, 2019

The Books of November

I may just refuse to acknowledge it is now December, and that Christmas is really close.

Nope. Still October. I’m sure of it.

I reached 200 books this month–205 at month’s end.

There was a fair amount of re-reading there, but I also managed several new releases (all of which were borrowed from the Library).

What was good this month?

I’m rereading the Fred, the Vampire Accountant series, which is tremendous fun (and there is no boinking!). It starts with The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant and is just as over-the-top as it sounds.

Being a vampire grants you many things. A sudden burst of intuition and confidence with the opposite sex sitting directly on top of you is sadly not one of them.

You should definitely read that series.

I’m also re-reading Justin Gustainis‘s Occult Crimes Unit Investigation series, which starts with Hard Spell. It’s a supernatural police procedural, set in Scranton, and it’s also marvelous.

My name’s Markowski. I carry a badge.

Also a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9 mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets.

Just ignore the covers, because they’re really awful, although they’re bad in an amusing over-the-top way, rather than taking themselves seriously.

And I read what may be the best short story I’ve read in a long time (and I read quite a few short stories). Marriage, Love and a Baby Carriage by C.S. Poe is a short story about gay fated-mate penguin shifters and an unexpected baby. It is an utter delight. (There is boinking here, but even that ended up being charming).

I was attending a singles’ convention for special people like me to find their forever penguin partner. But after I paid the attendance fee, got a hotel room, and booked my flight, I found out it was specifically for guys and gals.

I actually read it twice, because it was so fun. Also, I would TOTALLY read a series about penguin shifters.

Just sayin’.

I also want to mention Whiteout by Elyse Springer, because a couple chapters in I was all, “Oh. No. I do not like where I think this is going. No. No I do not. And then read the remained of the book in a single sitting. This is very much a boinking book.

So here’s what I read:

Supernatural Fantasy
Fred, the Vampire Accountant
The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant (2014) Drew Hayes (Rating: 8.5/10)
Undeath & Taxes (2015) Drew Hayes (Rating: 8.5/10)
Alpha & Omega
Dead Heat (2015) Patricia Briggs (Rating: 8.5/10)
Burn Bright (2018) Patricia Briggs (Rating: 6/10)
Hard Spell (2011) Justin Gustainis (Occult Crimes Unit Investigation) (Rating: 8/10)

The Other End of the Line (2016/2019) Andrea Camilleri translated by Stephen Sartarelli (Rating: 8/10)

Mystery, Historical
Penny for Your Secrets (2019) Anna Lee Huber (Verity Kent) (Rating: 5.5/10)

Mystery, LGBT
Murder Takes the High Road (2018) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 8.5/10)
Adrien English
Fatal Shadows (2000) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 6/10)
A Dangerous Thing (2002) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 7/10)
Death of a Pirate King (2011) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 7.5/10)
The Dark Tide (2011) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 7.5/10)
So This is Christmas (2016) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 8.5/10)
The Art of Murder
The Mermaid Murders (2015) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 8/10)
Holmes & Moriarity
The Boy with the Painful Tattoo (2014/2018) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 6/10)
In Other Words… Murder (2018) Josh Lanyon (Rating: 8/10)

Romance, Historical
Brazen and the Beast (2019) Sarah MacLean (Rating: 8/10) (Bareknuckle Bastards)
The Wallflower Wager (2019) Tessa Dare (Rating: 6/10) (Duchess Deal)

Romance, LGBT
Whiteout (2017) Elyse Springer (Rating: 8.5/10)
Marriage, Love and a Baby Carriage (2016) C.S. Poe (Rating: 8.5/10)
Kneading You (2019) C.S. Poe (Rating: 7.5/10)
American Fairytale (2019) Adriana Herrera (Rating: 6/10) (American Dreamers)
Portland Heat
Served Hot (2015) Annabeth Albert (Rating: 5.5/10)
Baked Fresh (2015) Annabeth Albert (Rating: 7/10)
Delivered Fast (2015) Annabeth Albert (Rating: 6/10)

And… the stats!

I’m almost certainly read a couple more books than I did last year (I’ve already finished one book today) but won’t break my all-time record, which would be 2017’s 230 books. That’s a lot of books, but since I don’t watch video, I squander my time this way.

eBook: 25
Re-read: 13

All eBooks again, and half of them were re-reads. But I did also read six books that were new or new-ish releases, so there’s that.

Genre-wise romance lead the pack, with lots of boinking. Lots of mysteries in there, and fantasy opened and closed the month, with finishing my reread of the Alpha & Omega series and starting two other re-reads.

Fantasy: 6
Mystery: 13
Romance: 20
Boinking: 18

Male authors are simply not going to make 50% of my reading this year.It’s possible they won’t even make 15% of the books I’ve read. And I’m ok with that.

Male: 4
Female: 10
Initials: 2
Male Pseudonym: 9

Character-wise, guys are doing much better, since I’m still reading lots of M/M romance. Not unexpectedly, all the books but one had at least one white main character. But there was pretty good representation with secondary characters.

Male: 20
Female: 5
Ensemble: 0
White: 24
Minority: 7
Minority 2ndary: 2
Straight: 9
LGBTQ 2ndary: 4

And that closes out the pent-ultimate reading wrap-up of 2019. Anything you read that was particularly good?

Written by Michelle at 7:22 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading,Monthly Round-Up  
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