Random (but not really)

Sunday, May 8, 2022

The Books of April

It’s been a strange month.

Homicide and Halo-HaloI mean, the past several years have been weird, but this was personal oddity as opposed to (gestures at everything)

But I read some books. (Of course I did.) Just fewer than I have in awhile. Which isn’t bad, since I did go hiking every weekend.

And, I even read some new to me books, as well as a book that was published this year.

Because I was having a difficult time, you can see comfort reads there. To be honest, I’m not sure I can tie together why I love these books so much, but these are the books I’ve reached for when I just needed to be enveloped in a book.

And if anyone can tell me what Come Unto These Yellow Sands, Banquet of Lies, Waiting for the Flood, and Grilled Cheese and Goblins: Adventures of a Supernatural Food Inspector all have in common that make me reach for them as comfort reads, I would be delighted for THAT analysis.

Mystery

Come Unto These Yellow Sands (2011) Josh Lanyon 9/10
Homicide and Halo-Halo (2022) Mia P. Manansala  7/10

Waiting for the Flood
Historical Mystery

In a Treacherous Court (2011) Michelle Diener 8/10
Regency London by Michelle Diener: Emperor’s Conspiracy (2012) 8.5/10,
Banquet of Lies (2013) 9.5/10, A Dangerous Madness (2014) 8.5/10
Sins of the Cities by KJ Charles: An Unsuitable Heir (2017) 7.5/10, An Unnatural Vice (2017) 8.5/10, An Unseen Attraction (2017) 9/10

Supernatural Fantasy

Grilled Cheese and Goblins: Adventures of a Supernatural Food Inspector (2018) Nicole Kimberling  9.5/10

Romance

The Remaking of Corbin Wale (2018) Roan Parrish 8.5/10
Waiting for the Flood (2018) Alexis Hall  9/10

Nonfiction

Women Warriors: An Unexpected History (2019) Pamela D. Toler 8/10

Audio Books

Within the Sanctuary of Wings: A Memoir by Lady Trent, Audio Version (2017) Marie Brennan narrated by Kate Reading 9/10
The October Man, Audio Version (2019) Ben Aaronovitch narrated by Sam Peter Jackson 8.5/10

 

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Wednesday, April 6, 2022

The Books of March

In the Labyrinth of DrakesI didn’t read quite as much as I have been, but sadly, it wasn’t because I was doing other fun things. I was just too scattered to focus, and have several books I was determined to finish, even thought they weren’t working for me.

Luckily, there were some good books in there!

After four years, I thought that Jane Steen‘s Lady Helena series wasn’t going to have another entry, but there was one, and I was delighted by it!

I started (and finished) Amy Lanes Hedge Witches Lonely Heart Club, which had a world building that pulled me in and kept me thinking. I had issues with a couple of things, but mostly I wanted to know what happened, and so I couldn’t stop reading.

I found Sadie Bosque’s An Agreement with the Soldier fascinating, because it it had so many bits that I thought were going to follow the well-worn trope path, but then: THEY TALKED! They used their words and talked! And it was marvelous!

And apparently I’m reading non-fiction again. I highly recommend No Man’s Land: The Trailblazing Women Who Ran Britain’s Most Extraordinary Military Hospital During World War I, because I remain gobsmacked this is something I knew nothing about.

 

Lady Odelias Secret

Historical Mystery

Lady Odelia’s Secret (2022) Jane Steen (Lady Helena Investigates) 8/10
A Sanctuary for Soulden (2021) J.A. Rock and Lisa Henry (The Lords of Bucknall Club) 8/10
Lessons in Trust (2018) Charlie Cochrane (Cambridge Fellows) 7.5/10

 

Mystery

A Ghost of a Chance (2012) Josh Lanyon

 

Supernatural Fantasy

Hedge Witches Lonely Heart Club by Amy Lane: Shortbread and Shadows (2020) 7/10;
Portals and Puppy Dogs (2021) 7/10; Pentacles and Pelting Plants (2021) 7.5/10;
Heartbeats in a Haunted House (2022) 7.5/10;
Mistlefoe: A Mead Realm Tale (2021) Kimberly Lemming  7.5/10
Mysterious Charm by Celia Lake: Wards of the Roses (2019) 7/10, In the Cards (2019) 7/10
Whirlwind (2021) A. M. Rose (Daydream, Colorado) 7/10
Jane Yellowrock Short Stories Faith Hunter

No Mans Land

 

Romance

An Agreement with the Soldier (2021) Sadie Bosque (Necessary Arrangements) 8/10
Summer Makeover (2021) Kelly Fox  7/10
I’m So (Not) Over You (2022) Kosoko Jackson 7/10

 

Non-Fiction

No Man’s Land: The Trailblazing Women Who Ran Britain’s Most Extraordinary Military Hospital During World War I (2020) Wendy Moore 9/10
Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics (2014) Kathryn J. Atwood 4/10

 

Audio Books

In the Labyrinth of Drakes: A Memoir by Lady Trent, Audio Book (2016) Marie Brennan narrated by Kate Reading 9/10
Faith Hunter narrated by Khristine Hvam
Curse on the Land (2016) (Soulwood) 8.5/10; Jane Yellowrock:
Shadow Rites Audio Book (2016), 8/10
Cold Reign, Audio Book (2017) 7/10

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Wednesday, February 2, 2022

The Books of January (2022)

What did I read in January? Unsurprisingly, a whole lotta books. Let me tell you about them!

The Missing PageI seem to have been in the mood for mysteries, devouring a lot of cozies, including several new releases.

I’ve been a fan of Cat Sebastian for awhile, so I was delighted to see that she had another book in her Page & Summers series. Note it was a 2022 publication and I actually read it the week it was published. I also read the second Pentecost & Parker mystery, which was also good, although in a very different way, since the two are private investigators, and the story is set post WWII rather than post WWI.

I’ve also started a new Ellis Peters series. It was (at the time) a contemporary, and quite different from her Brother Cadfael series, but I’ll read another.

I’m all caught up on Charlie Cochrane’s Lindenshaw Mysteries, and very much enjoyed this cozy series. One partner is a teacher, the other in the police, and the ways Adam gets pulled into Robin’s cases is not utterly ridiculous. I’ve just started her older, historical series. It’s not quite as good as the Londenshaw series, but I did enjoy it.

I finally read the final Inspector Montalbano book. He had written it years earlier, and instructed his agent it was to be published only after his death. It is truly the final Montalbano story.

Valor Wands
Comics were more miss than hit this month, although I thoroughly enjoyed Valor: Wands, the second book in that series.

Finally, I want to mention Lissa Kasey’s Reflections on a Curse, which is part of an existing series, but can be read on its own. It’s set during the (continuing) pandemic, but I thought it was handled well. It’s also a story I read a segments after finally joining the Patreon community.

And if you don’t want to count–I read 33 books in January, which is a new high for the month. But to be fair that was 30% novellas and short stories.

Historical Mystery

The Missing Page (2022) Cat Sebastian (Page & Sommers) 8.5/10
Murder Under Her Skin (2021) Stephen Spotswood (Pentecost and Parker) 8/10
Lessons in Love (2008) Charlie Cochrane (Cambridge Fellows) 7/10
Death and the Joyful Woman (1961) Ellis Peters (The Felse Investigations)

Romance

And Everything Nice (2016) Ada Maria Soto 9/10
Jericho Candelario’s Gay Debut  (2018) R. Cooper 9/10
Christmas Wish List (2021) N.R. Walker (Hartbridge Christmas) 7.5/10
In the Winter Woods
Frog (2012) Mary Calmes
Life Saving Dal (2017) Ada Maria Soto
The Boy Next Door (2017) Josh Lanyon

Mystery

The Beat Goes On: The Complete Rebus Stories (2015) Ian Rankin 9/10
Lindenshaw Mysteries by Charlie Cochrane: Jury of One (2016) 8/10, Two Feet Under (2018) 8/10, Old Sins (2019) 7.5/10, A Carriage of Misjustice (2020) 8/10
Riccardino (2020/2021) Andrea Camilleri translator Stephen Sartarelli (Inspector Montalbano) 8/10
The Mystery of the Spirits (2021) C.S. Poe (Snow & Winter) 8/10
In the Winter Woods (2020) Isabelle Adler 7/10
The Postscript Murders (2021) Elly Griffiths (Harbinder Kaur) 7/10
Christmas Dessert Murder (2021) Joanne Fluke (A Hannah Swensen Mystery)
Stranger in the House (2019) Josh Lanyon

Historical Romance

Something Fabulous (2022) Alexis Hall (Something Fabulous) 7/10
A Marriage of Equals (2021) Elizabeth Rolls 7/10
An Irregular Arrangement (2021) A. L. Lester (Border Magic)
Mr Warren’s Profession (2017) Sebastian Nothwell

Witch Hat Atelier 1
Supernatural Fantasy

Reflection of a Curse (2022) Lissa Kasey (Romancing a Curse) 8/10
Conventional Shadows (2022) Lissa Kasey (A Simply Crafty Paranormal Mystery) 7/10
Threshold (2013) Jordan L. Hawk (Whyborne & Griffin) 7/10

Graphic Novel

Valor: Wands (2018) Isabelle Melançon, Megan Lavey-Heaton 8.5/10
Death Wins a Goldfish: Reflections from a Grim Reaper’s Yearlong Sabbatical (2019) Brian Rea 7/10
Witch Hat Atelier 1 (2017/2019) Kamome Shirahama
Moonstruck Volume 1: Magic to Brew (2018) Grace Ellis, Shae Beagle, Kate Leth

Audio Books

Broken Soul (2014) Faith Hunter narrated by Khristine Hvam (Jane Yellowrock) 8/10


Written by Michelle at 7:23 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Books of November 2021

Murder Most ActualI read some good books this month! And even some new releases!

Anna Lee Huber‘s newest Verity Kent book, was Murder Most Fair was (in my opinion) actually better than the previous several books in that series.

I’ve always liked her Lady Darby series better, but this book dealt with some of the nits I picked with previous books.

Alexis Hall has written a mystery, Murder Most Actual which is (among other things) a tribute to Clue. Although the couple in the midst of the murder mystery are married, they are at a point where they are having trouble with their marriage, and trying to decide if they should work things out or not.

Plus, it’s Alexis Hall, so what’s not to love?

I also came across the Bradfield Trilogy by A.L. Lester, which I enjoyed, even if I had some quibbles with the first book. It’s an historical paranormal mystery set just after WWI, and reading it I learned about he Scottish Women’s Hospital at Royaumont and the women doctors who served in WWI.

I also had some comfort rereads but I feel like I read more new and new-to-me books than I have in ages.

 

Dead Dead GirlsMystery

Murder Most Fair (2021) Anna Lee Huber (Verity Kent) 8.5/10
Murder Most Actual (2021) Alexis Hall 8/10
Pickled Petunia (2021) Dahlia Donovan (Motts Cold Case Mystery) 7.5/10
Dead Dead Girls (2021) Nekesa Afia (Harlem Renaissance Mystery) 7/10
The Murder Next Door (2021) Sarah Bell 5/10

 

Romance

Galaxies and Oceans (2018) N.R. Walker 9/10
Rend (2018) Roan Parrish (Riven) 9/10
Sweetest in the Gale (2020) Olivia Dade (There’s Something About Marysburg) 8/10
Learned Behaviors (2020) Jayce Ellis (Higher Education) 7/10
A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem (2020) Manda Collins (A Lady’s Guide) 6/10

Sweetest in the GaleFantasy

Shadow Police by Paul Cornell : London Falling (2012) 8.5/10; The Severed Streets (2014) 9/10; Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? (2016) 8.5/10
Discworld Terry Pratchett: Thud! (2005) 8.5/10 ; Making Money (2007) 8/10
Bradfield Trilogy by A.L. Lester : The Fog of War (2021) 7.5/10; The Quid Pro Quo (2021) 8/10
Faces (2021) A.M. Rose 7.5/10
The Silver Mark (2019) Sarah Painter (Crow Investigations) 6/10

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Monday, November 1, 2021

The Books of October 2021

Not only did I read new-to-me books this, month, I even read some new releases!

The Charm OffensiveWhat was particularly good this month? Let me tell you!

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun! THIS WAS DELIGHTFUL! First, I think it’s a decent comp for Alexis Hall’s Boyfriend Material (which I ADORE — and every time I mention it I want to reread it). Second, one of the characters is on the ace spectrum! Thirdly, despite the fact it is about being on a reality dating show, it isn’t really about being on a reality dating show. I mean, it is, but, still. Fourthly, this is AMAZING mental health rep. Both Dev and Charlie have issues that they have to come to term with, and… GAH! It’s just so lovely!

C.S. Poe has a new series that starts with Madison Square Murders and one of the main characters works on cold cases and (like most of her characters) had an issue that he has to deal with. In this case, a TBI caused him to have perfect recall of events. Which is not as good as it sounds, since he also has perfect recall of the emotions associated with those events.

I discovered a new historical mystery series. Fortune Favors the Dead by Stephen Spotswood. I am looking forward to the next book.

And then, Network Effect by Martha Wells. Because: MURDERBOT.

Fantasy

Fortune Favors the DeadPaladin’s Hope (2021) T. Kingfisher (The Saint of Steel) 8.5/10
Discworld by Terry Pratchett
Thief of Time (2001) 7.5/10, Going Postal (2004) 8.5/10

Supernatural Fantasy

Trailer Park Trickster (2021) David R. Slayton (Adam Binder)
Bodyguard (2021) Dassy Bernhard (The Bodyguards) 6.5/10
“Asil and the Not-date” (2020) Patricia Briggs 4/10

Romance

The Charm Offensive (2021) Alison Cochrun 9/10
Riven (2018) Roan Parrish (Riven) 8.5/10
After the Scrum (2016) Dahlia Donovan 8/10
The Sin Bin by Dahlia Donovan
The Wanderer (2017) 8.5/10, The Caretaker (2017) 8/10, The Botanist (2017) 8/10, The Royal Marine (2017) 7/10, The Unexpected Santa (2017) 7/10, The Lion Tamer (2018) 8.5/10
Not So Cookie Cutter (2019) Aidan Wayne 7.5/10
Paladin's HopeLet Me Show You (2019) Becca Seymour (True-Blue) 7/10
Open Hearts (2020) K. Evan Coles (Stealing Hearts) 6.5/10
The Love Study (2020) Kris Ripper 6.5/10

Historical Romance

A Gathering Storm (2017) Joanna Chambers (Porthkennack) 7/10

Mystery

Madison Square Murders (2021) C.S. Poe (Memento Mori) 8.5/10
Death of a Hollow Man (1989) Caroline Graham (Chief Inspector Barnaby) 7/10
Murder in the Cookbook Nook (2021) Ellery Adams (Book Retreat Mysteries) 6/10

Historical Romance

Fortune Favors the Dead (2020) Stephen Spotswood (Pentecost and Parker) 7.5/10

Science Fiction

Network Effect: A Murderbot NovelNetwork Effect (2000) Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries) 9/10

Audio Books

Jane Yellowrock by Faith Hunter narrated by Khristine Hvam: Raven Cursed (2012) 8/10, Death’s Rival (2012) 7/10
A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent, Audio Book (2013) Marie Brennan narrated by Kate Reading 8/10


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Friday, October 1, 2021

The Books of September 2021

The Lights on Knockbridge LaneAs noted by my earlier posts, I’ve been having a difficult time recently. Which means I’ve been reading a lot.

Shockingly, it wasn’t all rereads, but also new-to-me books as well as new releases. (I was shocked to discover that myself.)

The third book in Roan Parrish‘s Garnet Run series came out. This is the book that got all the publicity for being the first MM romance published under the Harlequin imprint (the earlier books in the series were under the Carina Adores imprint). It was, perhaps, a little less angsty than the earlier books in the series, and weirdly, I much preferred the Carina covers to this one. It’s very very busy.

Another new release was Jennifer Ashley latest entry into her Below Stairs Mystery series. There is a (very) slowly developing mystery with the main character here–and some secondary romances, but the main focus is on the mystery.

The other new release was the latest Ellery Adams‘ Secret, Book, & Scone Society mystery. This series has tons of representation and even introduced an ace character in the previous book, who has remained around.

In the car we’ve been listening to Murderbot. Although the voice doesn’t seem quite right to me, we’re still enjoying it very much.

Death at the Crystal PalaceAnd I did have one book that I finished only because it made me so angry it ended up being a rage read. But for the most part I reread some very good books, as well as some comforting books (I highly recommend Aidan Wayne’s Loud and Clear, which is fade to black and features two characters with seemingly incompatible disabilities. (The cover totally doesn’t reflect the story.)

Mystery

Hither, Page (2019) Cat Sebastian (Page & Sommers) 9/10
Death at the Crystal Palace (2021) Jennifer Ashley (A Below Stairs Mystery Book) 8/10
The Bellingham Mystery Series Volume 1 (2015) 8/10; The Bellingham Mystery Series Volume 2 (2015) Nicole Kimberling 8.5/10
Ink and Shadows (2021) Ellery Adams (Secret, Book, & Scone Society) 7.5/10
Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions (2015/2016) Mario Giordano translated by John Brownjohn (Auntie Poldi) 7.5/10
The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks (2008) Josh Lanyon 7.5/10
Homicide in Hardcover (2009) Kate Carlisle (Bibliophile Mystery)

Romance, Historical

The Turner Series, Cat Sebastian
The Lawrence Browne Affair (2017) 8/10; The Ruin of a Rake (2017) 8/10
The Remaking of Corbin WaleLilywhite Boys, KJ Charles
The Rat-Catcher’s Daughter (2019) 7.5/10; Any Old Diamonds (2019) 8.5/10; Gilded Cage (2019) 7.5/10
The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows (2020) Olivia Waite (Feminine Pursuits)
Mr. Winterbourne’s Christmas (2018) Joanna Chambers (Winterbourne) 7.5/10

Romance

Loud and Clear (2016) Aidan Wayne 9/10
Garnet Run, Roan Parrish
Better Than People (2020) 8.5/10; Best Laid Plans (2021) 8/10; The Lights on Knockbridge Lane (2021) 8/10
The Remaking of Corbin Wale (2017) Roan Parrish 8.5/10
Team Phison Forever (2019) Chace Verity (Team Phison) 7.5/10
All the Wrong Places (2016) Ann Gallagher (Bluewater Bay) 7/10
American Dreamer (2019) Adriana Herrera (Dreamers) 7/10

Fantasy

Discworld, Terry Pratchett
Carpe Jugulum (1998) 7/10; The Fifth Elephant (1999) 8.5/10; The Truth (2000) 8.5/10

Making LoveSupernatural Fantasy

Making Love (2017) Aidan Wayne 8/10
Love, Marriage, and a Baby Carriage (2016) CS Poe 9.5/10
Not Even a Mouse (2015) Dahlia Donovan 7/10
Grilled Cheese and Goblins: Adventures of a Supernatural Food Inspector (2018) Nicole Kimberling 9.5/10

Audio Books

Murderbot, Martha Wells narrated by Kevin R. Free
All Systems Red, Audio Edition (2017) 8.5/10; Artificial Condition, Audio Edition (2018) 8.5/10; Rogue Protocol, Audio Edition (2018) 8.5/10


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Friday, September 10, 2021

Book Round-Up, Spring & Summer 2021

Out of House and HomeFor somewhat obvious reasons I haven’t done a monthly round-up since March.

But as I’ve actually read some new-to-me books in recent months, I figured I might try to put together a round-up post.

And I’ve read some good stuff–even a number of new releases (though I also have some I haven’t been able to read yet, like the latest C.S. Harris.)

The romance I want to make note of is Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall. He’s a phenomenal writer, and this is the first MF story I’ve read by him. It’s lovely and does lots of unexpected things.

In mysteries I discovered Dahlia Donovan‘s Motts Cold Case series which are fun mysteries AND the main character is ace! I’m still enjoying Dianne Freeman‘s Countess of Harleigh Mysteries, which is a lovely historical cozy. And I want to note that book three of Ellery Adams‘ Secret, Book, & Scone Society introduce an ace character! Plus I started a new series, with Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala which was good, and I loved all the representation in the story.

In fantasy, I am still enjoying Drew Hayes‘ Fred the Vampire Accountant series, and Out of House and Home was a nice entry. And I discovered T. Kingfisher this year, and all of her books have been delightful. (Although I think A Wizard’s Guide To Defensive Baking is still my favorite of her books so far.)

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake
And you might want to check out some of the books I didn’t love, because my reading is off, so it might just have been a timing thing rather than a problem with any particular book.

Romance

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake (2021) Alexis Hall (Winner Bakes All) 8/10
The Queer Principles of Kit Webb (2021) Cat Sebastian 8/10
The Labours of Lord Perry Cavendish (2021) Joanna Chambers (Winterbourne) 7.5/10
The Day Pass (2021) Slade James (Bear Camp) 7.5/10
Red Dirt Heart (2014) N.R. Walker (Red Dirt Heart) 7.5/10
A Little Light Mischief (2019) Cat Sebastian (The Turner Series) 7/10
Daydream, Colorado: Blindspot (2021) A.M. Rose 7/10; Mischief (2021) A.M. Rose 7/10
Baldwin Village : One Bed for Christmas (2018) Jackie Lau 6/10; The Ultimate Pi Day Party (2019) Jackie Lau 6/10
A Lady’s Formula for Love (2021) Elizabeth Everett (The Secret Scientists of London) 4.5/10

Mystery

Arsenic and AdoboHaven Investigations: Model Citizen (2015) Lissa Kasey 8.5/10; Model Bodyguard (2016) Lissa Kasey 8.5/10;  Model Investigator (2017) Lissa Kasey 9/10; Model Exposure (2017) Lissa Kasey  9/10
Motts Cold Case Mystery: Pierced Peony (2021) Dahlia Donovan 8/10; Poisoned Primrose (2020) Dahlia Donovan 8/10
A Fiancée’s Guide to First Wives and Murder (2021) Dianne Freeman (A Countess of Harleigh Mystery) 8/10
Arsenic and Adobo (2021) Mia P. Manansala (Tita Rosie’s Kitchen) 8/10
Transient Desires (2021) Donna Leon (Commissario Brunetti) 8/10
The Book of Candlelight (2000) Ellery Adams (Secret, Book, & Scone Society) 7.5/10
An Unexpected Peril (2021) Deanna Raybourn (Veronica Speedwell) 7.5/10
Scandal at the Salty Dog (2021) Josh Lanyon (Secrets and Scrabble) 7/10
Ghost Light Killer (2021) Dahlia Donovan (London Podcast Mystery) 7/10
The Cook of the Halcyon (2019/2021) Andrea Camilleri translated by Stephen Sartarelli (Inspector Montalbano) 6/10

Fantasy
Paladin’s Strength (2021) T. Kingfisher (The Saint of Steel) 8.5/10
Minor Mage (2019) T. Kingfisher 8/10
Out of House and Home (2021) Drew Hayes (Fred the Vampire Accountant) 8/10
Where There’s a Kilt, There’s a Way (2021) Ella Stainton (Kilty Pleasures) 8/10

 

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