Random (but not really)

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Sunday Flower Pr0n: Canaan Valley Edition

Our original plans for the weekend were thrown into disarray, so we went to Canaan Valley on Saturday for a little hiking, and to see what spring wildflowers were out.

Answer: lots and lots.






Written by Michelle at 9:55 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Sunday Flower Pr0n: Cacapon State Park

I really want an app that gives me the forecast for the state and tells me where it will NOT be raining over the weekend. Is that really so much to ask?

The forecast looked least wet in the Berkeley Springs area, so we headed east to do some hiking at Cacapon.




Pink Lady Slipper



Written by Michelle at 9:25 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

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
Categories: Books & Reading  

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
Categories: Books & Reading  

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Hiking WV: Cranberry Wilderness

The boardwalk is lovely, but .8 miles and flat is not a hike, so we decided to go out a bit on the Cow Pasture Trail, in the hopes there would be wildflowers.

There are LOTS of wildflowers.

We hiked parts of the other end of the trail, but hadn’t walked any of the western part of the trail.

It was gorgeous.

There are so many trails I want to hike in the Cranberry Wilderness, but most of them are long and would require an overnight stay–which we can do, but haven’t been able to do. (Because rain, work, reasons.)

Location: Cranberry Wilderness
Trail: Cow Pasture Trail
Distance: 4.9 miles
Elevation: 3347-3462 feet (364 feet rise)
Temperature: 59 F





Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Monday, April 29, 2019

Hiking WV: Cranberry Glades

If you haven’t been (and really, why haven’t you?), Cranberry Glades is an amazing area. It’s an area of bogs with plants typically found much farther to the north (like Canada).

It’s a very brief walk, and usually handicapped accessible, however, a section of boardwalk currently needs repaired, due to beaver activity.

It was a gorgeous day, and there were quite a few people on the boardwalk (by quite a few, I mean there there were about six cars in the parking lot).

If you have the chance, head there now, while the flowers are in bloom.

Location: Cranberry Glades
Trail: Cranberry Glades Boardwalk
Distance: 0.8 miles
Elevation: 3620-3659 feet (46 feet rise)
Temperature: 55 F





Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sunday Flower Pr0n: Cranberry Glades

Our last hike (Canaan & Blackwater Falls) were a dud as far as spring wildflowers went.

Our trip to Cranberry Glades was FULL of wildflowers. It was a gorgeous day.


Swamp cabbage Symplocarpus foetidus


Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris



Pitcher Plants Sarracenia



Trout lily!



Written by Michelle at 11:15 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  
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