Random (but not really)

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
Categories: Books & Reading  

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  

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Visiting Fairbanks: Trees

Because I’m me, the other thing I paid a great deal of attention to in Fairbanks was the trees. The boreal forest (Taiga) is beautiful.The trees are very different from what I’m used to here, mostly being black spruce, white spruce, and birch, and all of them tall with thin trunks.





These last two are probably my favorite pictures of the trip.



I wish I’d been more acclimated to the cold, because I could have spent quite awhile wandering along this creek / stream and finding others like it. But hopefully we’ll get to visit again and I’ll be more prepared for the cold.

Written by Michelle at 8:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Alaska,Photos,Travel  

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Visiting Fairbanks: The Chena River

As I live along a river, I tend to orient myself to water. I found myself unable to do this in Fairbanks, possibly because much of the water was frozen. Also, because I didn’t walk as much as I normally do, because I wasn’t really acclimated to the temperatures during our short visit.

But I did get to walk along the river, which was good.








Written by Michelle at 6:36 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Alaska,Photos,Travel  

Visiting Fairbanks: The Roads

If I’ve been quieter than normal recently, it’s because we were getting ready for our big trip–heading north to visit Tania in Alaska! HUZZAH!

My goals were simple: Spend time with Tania and see the aurora. Both goals were accomplished! Although all my pictures of the aurora were blurry and out of focus, I didn’t mind, since I actually got to see the aurora, and it was amazing.

If you’ve spent much time reading here, you know that we spend a lot of time driving WV roads. Which are pretty abysmal. So of course I was interested in the Fairbanks roads and how very different they were from WV roads. First, being covered in snow was normal. Second, the scenery was so different from what I’m used to, I kept starting at it in fascination.

The angle of the light also made things look even more gorgeous than they already were.

Here are some of the roads Tania drives regularly.




Even more exciting, I got to expand my skill set and drive Tania’s car for a bit!

This may seem a strange place to start with our trip, but in rural areas transportation is how communities survive (or not) so I can’t help but be fascinated.

Written by Michelle at 12:28 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Alaska,Photos,Travel  

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
Categories: Books & Reading  

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Left Wanting More

I was recently thinking about books I really liked, and series that ended long before I was finished enjoying them.

Here are some series I wish the authors had continued.

Liz Williams‘ Detective Inspector Chen – Urban fantasy plus police procedural is always going to be catnip to me. This series is one of my favorites in that genre.

The trouble with Hell, Zhu Irzh reflected bitterly, was not so much the palpable miasma of evil (with which he was, after all, ingrained) but the bureaucracy.

It’s been more than eight years since the last book in Justin Gustainis‘ Occult Crimes Unit series.

These books have truly horrible covers, but what was inside I really liked.

Yeah, I really said, “heck”. I’m no Boy Scout, but it’s not smart to say words like “hell” in a supe bar. You never know what might be listening.

I really enjoyed CE Murphy‘s Magic and Manners and would LOVE more historical-fantasy-romance. Alas, it’s been three years and no signs of another book.

Another series I wanted more of was Susan Bischoff‘s Talen Chronicles. It’s got a feel in some ways to Rising Stars (which I love) in that it’s a look at how society would deal with the sudden appearance of children with super powers.

I stumbled upon Michaela Roessner‘s two books and was crushed to discover a third was never published.

As an honorable mention, I found on a single book by Pat O’Shea, and I loved it. I wish it would be converted to eBook format.

So are there any series you loved that were abandoned well before their time?

Written by Michelle at 10:20 pm      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  
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