Random (but not really)

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Hiking WV: Cacapon State Park

We took time off last week and did some hiking, which was marvelous (and desperately needed).

One place we went was Cacapon State Park.

Location: Cacapon State Park
Distance: 4.2 miles
Elevation: 1079-2287 feet (1311′ gain), 20% grade on the uphill, 23% grade on the downhill
Trails: Ziller Loop, Ziller, and Central Trails

Up up up!

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And now down!

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Also, I managed to find the bog on the way back to the car. (“This looks like a shortcut!”)

Cacapon State Park Ziller Elevations

Written by Michelle at 7:53 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Friday, April 2, 2021

The Books of March

Rogue ProtocolI read some books last month! Actually, the shock is that I read some newly published books last month!

What Abigail Did That Summer by (2021) Ben Aaronovitch was as delightful as I was hoping it would be. Lisa Shearin latest entry to her SPI Files series, The Solstice Countdown wasn’t as good as her previous books, but I still enjoyed it. And the more I think about Patricia Briggs‘s latest Alpha & Omega book, Wild Sign the unhappier I get about it. (It’s already dropped from a 7 to a 6.)

Dahlia Donovan‘s Cosplay Killer was good, although it suffered a bit after reading it immediately following her Grasmere Cottage series, because both have autistic main characters so it was impossible not to compared them.

Roan Parrish‘s newest book in her Garnet Run series, Best Laid Plans was lovely as expected, and continues with this series being much lower angst that one expects from her. And K.J. Charles‘s newest book,
The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting was as lovely as you’d expect, despite being an enemies-to-lovers.

Also: MURDERBOT!

The Hanged ManSupernatural Fantasy

What Abigail Did That Summer (2021) Ben Aaronovitch (Rivers of London) 8.5/10
Family Matters (2018) Angel Martinez (Brandywine Investigations) 9/10
The Hanged Man (2019) K. D. Edwards (The Tarot Sequence) 8.5/10
Tarot Sequence novellas & stories (2020) K. D. Edwards (The Tarot Sequence) 8/10
The Solstice Countdown (2021) Lisa Shearin (SPI Files) 7/10
Wild Sign (2021) Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega) 6/10

Mystery

The Mystery of Nevermore (2016) C.S. Poe (Snow & Winter) 8.5/10
The Mystery of the Curiosities (2017) C.S. Poe (Snow & Winter 8/10
The Mystery of the Moving Image (2018) C.S. Poe (Snow & Winter) 8.5/10
The Mystery of the Bones (2019) C.S. Poe (Snow & Winter) 8.5/10
The Bellingham Mystery Series Volume 2 (2015) Nicole Kimberling 8.5/10
The Bellingham Mystery Series Volume 1 (2015) Nicole Kimberling 8.5/10
Grasmere Cottage Mystery (2018) Dahlia Donovan 8.5/10
Cosplay Killer (2020) Dahlia Donovan (London Podcast Mystery) 8/10
The Whispered Word (2018) Ellery Adams (Secret, Book, & Scone Society) 7/10
Death by Dumpling (2018) Vivien Chien (A Noodle Shop Mystery) 5/10

What Abigail Did That SummerMystery, Historical

A Dangerous Madness (2014) Michelle Diener (Regency London) 8.5/10
Banquet of Lies (2013) Michelle Diener (Regency London) 9.5/10
The Emperor’s Conspiracy (2012) Michelle Diener (Regency London) 8.5/10

Romance, LGBT

Waiting for the Flood (2018) Alexis Hall (Spires) 9.5/10
Best Laid Plans (2021) Roan Parrish (Garnet Run) 8.5/10
After the Scrum (2014) Dahlia Donovan 8/10
Sin Bin Series: Box Set (2020) Dahlia Donovan 8.5/10
The House in the Cerulean Sea (2020) T.J. Klune 8.5/10
Off Base (2017) Annabeth Albert (Out of Uniform) 6/10
Wheels Up (2017) Annabeth Albert (Out of Uniform) 4/10

Romance, Historical

The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting (2021) K.J. Charles 8/10
The Reluctant Widow (1946) Georgette Heyer 8/10
Friday’s Child (1944) Georgette Heyer 8/10
Just a Little Wickedness (2020) Merry Farmer (The Brotherhood) 6/10
The Lotus Palace (2013) Jeannie Lin 6/10

Digger Vol 2Science Fiction

Rogue Protocol (2018) Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries) 8.5/10

Graphic Novel

Digger, Vol. 2 (2006) Ursula Vernon 8/10
A Flight of Angels (2011) Holly Black, Louise Hawes, Todd Mitchell, Bill Willingham, Alisa Kwitney, Rebecca Guay
Bloodlust & Bonnets (2019) Emily McGovern

Written by Michelle at 7:52 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading,Monthly Round-Up  

Thursday, April 1, 2021

WV State Parks: Tu-Endie-Wei

We visited Tu-Endie-Wei several years ago, but somehow I failed to take any pictures. So we went down again so I could get some pictures for the hiking class I’m doing for OLLI.

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We saw some other stuff too, including this really disconcerting mural.

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But more importantly, we got more pictures at the Mothman statue.

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Written by Michelle at 7:36 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Prickett’s Fort State Park

Prickett’s Fort State Park

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Written by Michelle at 3:45 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Hiking WV: Beartown

Beartown State Park

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Written by Michelle at 3:36 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The Books of February

Artificial ConditionIt’s March. Again. Or perhaps still, I’m not sure. Whatever it is, I read a lot of books last month.

The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells are amazing. I read the second, Artificial Condition and it was just as good as the first.

If you’re interested in reading some LGBT fantasy, but don’t want to read the boinking, then I’ve got some recommendations for you. The Last Sun by K. D. Edwards (The Tarot Sequence) is a book I’d had for awhile but hadn’t read because the cover put me off. I’m sorry I waited. Another first book in a series is White Trash Warlock by David R. Slayton (Adam Binder) which didn’t end as cleanly as I would have liked but is still recommended. And if you wondered how cupid operated in the modern age—and were in need of a fluffy romance, may I point you to Making Love by Aidan Wayne

It looks like Wonderstruck by Allie Therin is the final book in her Magic in Manhattan series, and it was satisfying.

And two straight-up romances that I really enjoyed were The Husband Gambit by L.A. Witt which is a fake husband story, that I found extremely satisfying, and Grumpy Bear by Slade James (Bear Camp) which was the second book in a series. Both books are explicit.

Fantasy, LGBT

The Last SunOpen for Business (2016) Angel Martinez (Brandywine Investigations) 8.5/10
The Last Sun (2018) K. D. Edwards (The Tarot Sequence) 8.5/10
Grilled Cheese and Goblins: Adventures of a Supernatural Food Inspector (2018) Nicole Kimberling 8.5/10
Wonderstruck (2021) Allie Therin (Magic in Manhattan) 8/10
Making Love (2017) Aidan Wayne 8/10
White Trash Warlock (2020) David R. Slayton (Adam Binder) 8/10
Heir to a Curse (2020) Lissa Kasey (Romancing a Curse) 7/10
Marked by Death (2020) Kaje Harper (Necromancer) 7/10
Powered by Ghosts (2010) Kaje Harper (Necromancer) 6/10
Bound by Memories (2020) Kaje Harper (Necromancer) 6.5/10
How to Marry a Werewolf (2018) Gail Carriger (Claw & Courtship) 7/10
Marine Biology (2010) G. L. Carriger (San Andreas Shifters) 6.5/10
Fire Water (2015) Jaye Wells (Prospero’s War)

Fantasy, Steampunk

Soulless (2009) Gail Carriger (Parasol Protectorate) 7.5/10
Changeless (2010) Gail Carriger (Parasol Protectorate) 6/10
Blameless (2010) Gail Carriger (Parasol Protectorate) 7/10
Heartless (2011) Gail Carriger (Parasol Protectorate) 4.5/10

WonderstruckRomance, LGBT

Jericho Candelario’s Gay Debut (2018) R. Cooper 9/10
The Husband Gambit (2018) L.A. Witt 8.5/10
Dine with Me (2019) Layla Reyne 8.5/10
Grumpy Bear (2021) Slade James (Bear Camp) 8/10
It Takes Two to Tumble (2017) Cat Sebastian (Seducing the Sedgwicks) 8.5/10
A Gentleman Never Keeps Score (2018) Cat Sebastian (Seducing the Sedgwicks) 8/10
Candy Hearts (2000) Erin McLellan (So Over the Holidays) 7.5/10
Fake Date Flip-Flop (2021) Hank Edwards 6.5/10
The Hideaway Inn (2020) Philip William Stover (Seasons of New Hope) 6/10
The Hockey Player’s Snow Day (2021) Jeff Adams (Hockey Hearts) 6/10
Changing Colors & Heat Wave DNF (2018) Elyse Springer (Seasons of Love Book)

Romance, Historical

These Old Shades (1926) Georgette Heyer 9/10

Mystery

Mystery at the Masquerade (2021) Josh Lanyon (Secrets and Scrabble) 7.5/10
The Killings at Badger’s Drift (1987) Caroline Graham (Chief Inspector Barnaby) 7/10

Dine with MeMystery, Historical

At Bertram’s Hotel (1965) Agatha Christie (Miss Marple)

Science Fiction

Artificial Condition (2018) Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries) 8.5/10

Fiction

The Weddings (2019) Alexander Chee (Inheritance collection) 7/10

Non-Fiction

An Edible History of Humanity (2009) Tom Standage 7.5/10


Written by Michelle at 6:15 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading,Monthly Round-Up  

Monday, March 1, 2021

Broken Bottles

We’re getting our deck replaced.

Finally.

But that’s not really what this post is about.

When they tore off the old deck, they exposed the (pretty damaged) original house steps. And I noticed something bizarre: what looked like broken bottles embedded in the bottom step of each set of stairs.

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Front door

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Kitchen door

Upon closer inspection, they really do look like broken bottles.

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That almost looks like a Pepsi logo to me.

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And this one has writing.

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This is the same picture in mirror image.

The lower part of the text there looks to be “BOTTLE OF MORGANTOWN” but I could be wrong.

So, why on earth were there bottles embedded into the cement stairs? Since there is no cement in the bottle, I am guessing the bottle was broken after the cement was poured. It’s a 1930s house, so is this some weird Great Depression thing?

This house just has so many surprises.

Written by Michelle at 5:20 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: House & Garden,Photos  
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