Friday Reads ~ 15 December 2017

I think this will be one of the last of this kind of Friday Reads post I do, or at least that I do on a regular basis. I might do another next week, but then I’m going to move on to other styles of Friday Reads posts. I’m looking forward to it! In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been reading…


I finished A Scandal in Battersea by Mercedes Lackey. This is the 12th (or 13th, depending on whether you count The Fire Rose) in her Elemental Masters series, and it will be my last of them. The new books in this series are no longer interesting, instead following a boring pattern which is incredibly predictable. Plus, the accents. Oh god, the accents. Someone stop her from writing in accents, and I might consider reading new Lackey again. Otherwise? Hell no. (The full review is here.)

I also finished Rest in Pieces by Rita Mae Brown, which completed my 2017 Cat Mystery Challenge. Yay! Full review is here, but the short version is that this is a really cute book in a really cute series, and I’ll be continuing with it. Solid 4 stars for this one.


I started Warcross by Marie Lu. (Don’t judge me. I know I said that The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid or To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis would be next. They’re still on deck, so they will be next after this.) I’d heard so many good things about it, and my last paper books only took 2 days to read, so I thought I’d try to squeeze this one in during December as well.

I’m still listening to Second Hand Curses by Drew Hayes, but I don’t think I will be for much longer. It’s so fun that it’s easy to listen to it. I’m enjoying the book but I also want to know how it ends, so I’ll finish this one soon. I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys slightly different takes on fairy tales. So far there hasn’t been anything to make me limit my recommendation much. I’d say YA at the youngest, because there are a few mentions about unsavory things, but nothing has been overtly described. Still. Great fun.

And I’m still reading Lazette Gifford’s Raventower and Merriweather #1: Secrets. I feel bad for not giving this as much love as I could be, but mobile games have been distracting me lately, and so even when I pick up my phone intending to open my Kindle app, I open the games instead. Bad me.


In paper books, The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid or To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis really ARE next this time. Promise.

For audio, I think I might try Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress next. I’ve been enjoying fiction, though I think swapping to sci-fi might be a nice change. Besides, I already own that one on Audible and I want to get my queue down before I buy any more audio books if I can help it.


Top Ten Tuesday ~ Best of 2017

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday!


Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017

These are my favorites of the books I’ve read in 2017. I didn’t include any re-reads in this list. (The ones with asterisks are audio book versions.)

  1. The Girl Who Drank the Moon ~ Kelly Barnhill
  2. NPCs ~ Drew Hayes
  3. Down Among the Sticks and Bones ~ Seanan McGuire
  4. The Princess Diarist ~ Carrie Fisher *
  5. Beware the Wrath of Bunny Hopper ~ Lazette Gifford
  6. Bellwether ~ Connie Willis
  7. Going Rogue ~ Drew Hayes
  8. Norse Mythology ~ Neil Gaiman *
  9. Beauty ~ Robin McKinley *
  10. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry ~ Neil deGrasse Tyson *

Have you read any of these books? What was your favorite read of 2017?

Friday Reads ~ 8 December 2017

It’s snowing on WordPress again! Yay! I don’t know why, but that always makes me happy.


Since last week, I finished Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire. It was a great novella. My full review of it is here, but it’s safe to say that if you like McGuire’s other work and are willing to read a shorter stand-alone story instead of a full-length novel, you’ll probably enjoy this one, too.

I also started and finished The Squirrel on the Train by Kevin Hearne. This is a short story (which I listened to) in the Iron Druid Chronicles. It’s also the second of Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries. It’s highly amusing, especially since Luke Daniels narrates it in Oberon’s voice. Oberon (the Irish wolfhound) is one of my favorite characters in the series, so getting more from him is always fun. I kinda hope that we continue to get Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries even after the Iron Druid Chronicles come to an end with the next novel.

Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh got finished as well. Granted, I switched from the audio version to the hardback part-way through. And I also skimmed some of it once I’d switched to the paper version. But still, it’s finished (and not DNF’d). I’m… still not sold on it. There was too much “do I despise him or desire him?” in it for my tastes. Yes, the setting was beautiful. Some of the story was beautiful. But in a story where you are trying to show a girl break out of the controlling atmosphere she grew up in, is this book really the best way to do it? I sincerely hope not. (Full review is here.)


I’m still working on Lazette Gifford’s Raventower and Merriweather #1: Secrets. Now that I’m done with the McGuire ebook, I’ll be able to focus on this one more, and will hopefully make good progress.

And I’m nearly done with Rest in Pieces by Rita Mae Brown. Highly amusing again, like the first one. It’s a classic cozy cat mystery, though. Don’t expect much depth out of it, though it does provide an engaging read.

And lastly, for audio, I recently started Second Hand Curses by Drew Hayes. I needed something fun, and I’m curious to try something by him that’s not in the Spells, Swords, and Stealth series.


The next paper book is going to be A Scandal in Battersea by Mercedes Lackey, since I saw that at the library and it fits the BookBum Club‘s December theme. After that will be either The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid or To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis. (And whichever one isn’t next will be after that.)

Other than that, however, I don’t think I’m going to make “what’s next” predictions right now. I’ve been in a fickle book mood, and have tended to pick up whatever book was shiniest at the time. I guess I’m just in that kind of mood.

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Book Vacation

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday!


Ten Bookish Settings I’d Love to Visit

Well, some of these will be on most (if not all) of the Top Ten Tuesday lists this week. I’ll try to make at least a few of them original, though.

  1. Rivendell from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings
  2. Hogwarts Castle from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series
  3. Inside Charles Wallace in Madeline L’Engle’s A Wind in the Door (mostly because I want to meet the mouse-like farandolae)
  4. The Bog from Kelly Barnhill’s The Girl Who Drank the Moon, but only if I have Glerk to guide me
  5. Benden Weyr from Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series (or really anyplace there where the dragons are)
  6. Elfhome from the Wen Spencer series of the same name, though it would take some extra safety measures since it seems everything native to there wants to kill you
  7. The titular Secret Garden from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s book. I didn’t like the story much, but the garden sounds lovely.
  8. The 100 Acre Wood from A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh
  9. Another planet (or moon) from pretty much any book set in space. Because space.
  10. The Dawn Treader from C.S. Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I have recently discovered that I like cruising, and that would be an amazing ship to cruise on.

Where would you go if you could vacation somewhere literary?


Friday Reads ~ 1 December 2017

I’ve mentioned before that I’m going to be switching up how I do my Friday Reads blog posts, and I’ll go into more detail on that later this month in preparation for the New Year. For now, however, I’m going to continue with the three reading status updates.


I finished reading Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower. (#1 of the Magical Bookshop Mystery series and #9 for my Cat Mystery Reading Challenge.) It was really cute and I really like the bookshop and the cat. I’m not as interested in the likely love triangle between the humans, though, so we’ll see if I decide to continue with the series.


I’m currently reading Rest in Pieces by Rita Mae Brown. (#2 of the Mrs. Murphy Mysteries and #10 for my Cat Mystery Reading Challenge.) It’s really cute, and it’s refreshing to have the pets’ POV again rather than relying on the humans to interpret the pets. I’m sad that it took me so long to get back to this series, but at least I can fully appreciate it now (after having read many books where the humans have to interpret the animals).

On my eReader are two books, Lazette Gifford’s Raventower and Merriweather #1: Secrets and Senana McGuire’s Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day. I’m much further into the McGuire one, but they’re both enjoyable at this point.

I’m also still listening to Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh. I want to like it as much as I liked the beginning. But right now I’m only still listening to it because I want to know how it ends, and not because I’m enjoying the journey. (I’m really not sure how much of this is the book and how much is the narrator. Right now I’m annoyed enough at the package of it that I can’t separate the two.) I am sick of YA angst, and there is more of it continually developing in this book. The setting is great. The first couple of chapters were great. But now, several chapters in… I might DNF this one if I can’t bring myself to enjoy the next chapter or two.


I really want to read The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid. It was on my “eventual” TBR pile, but it’s been recommended by several people (some IRL and some online) so it’s been bumped up higher. Now that I’m on my last Cat Mystery book for that reading challenge, I think this will be one of my next two paper books. The other paper book I want to read in 2017 is To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis. We’ll see which of the two I get to first (or if I completely change my mind. Again.)

It will be a while before I have to choose another ebook. I’ll determine what that will be once I’m closer to done with these two.

And my next audio book needs to be a not-an-angsty-YA-book*. I’m not sure yet what that will end up being. I have a Robert Heinlein sci-fi in my Audible queue which might be next. Or there are also a couple of non-fiction books which might be good choices. But I’ve had enough of YA book angst for now.

*Note: I have no problem with YA books. I love YA books. But there seems to be a hidden sub-genre of YA that thinks that all youth emotions need to be portrayed as angst. Or perhaps authors think that because there is so much angst portrayed in YA books / TV / movies, that is what is desired by the readers. They are wrong, if that is the case.

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Welcome Winter

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday!


Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

Now, as I see it, Winter starts at the beginning of December and runs through February. (I’m in California. Our winters give way to spring comparatively early, in my eyes. Sometimes January is even a “mini spring” stuck in the middle of winter.)

This means that “winter” encompasses both my 2017 and my 2018 Reading Challenges. That doesn’t really mean anything to anyone but me, but it’s true nonetheless. I’ll make a note of approximately when I intend to read it, if I know, or at least which year it should be read in.

  1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien ~ I plan to read this one in 2018, but whenever, really.
  2. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis ~ this one should be read in 2017 in order to fit the challenge criteria.
  3. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis ~ I want to read this one early in 2018. I know, it’s technically #1 in the series where To Say Nothing of the Dog is book #2, but there you have it. I want to read them out of order and I’ve been told it’s okay by people who have read both.
  4. Rest in Pieces by Rita Mae Brown ~ I need to finish this one in 2017 for my cat mystery challenge.
  5. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens ~ this one should be read around Christmas for maximum timeliness. But really, any time is fine.
  6. The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid ~ this one doesn’t fit my 2018 Reading Challenge, so I want to read it (or at least get a good start on it) before the year is out.
  7. Dracula by Bram Stoker ~ it has been a long time since I’ve read this book, and I think it’s time for a re-read. I know Halloween is a traditional time to read vampire stories, but I think winter is a good time for them, too. The nights are long, and even the days are dark… vampire books work really well. If I don’t read this one this winter, I think I’ll save it for next fall.
  8. whichever the next Girl Genius graphic novel is by Phil & Kaja Foglio ~ I don’t remember where I am in this series, but I have the next book on my shelf ready to read. I’d like to get to it before the end of the year.
  9. a play by William Shakespeare ~ on my list for my 2018 Reading Challenge are all of Shakespeare’s plays. I think I still have my Complete Works volume, and (assuming I do) I intend to start at the beginning and read the entire volume. I don’t know what order they are in, but I’ll read them in the order printed. (The only exception is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which I’m skipping since I just re-read that one.) There will be pauses between works, and I might not be reading Shakespeare exclusively when I am reading it. And I may change my mind. But that’s the plan.
  10. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams ~ Mr. Wyrm and I started watching the short BBC series based around this, and it’s been ages since I read the book. I probably won’t get to this until 2018, but that’s okay because it fits in either Reading Challenge.

What will you be reading this winter?

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Thankful

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday! This week the prompt is pretty self-explanatory.


Top Ten Books I’m Thankful For (Happy Thanksgiving week in the USA!)

  1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien ~ this one was such a huge part of my youth that I can’t ignore it. Plus, it is why we have amazing LOTR movies.
  2. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ~ I can’t even say how much I love this book. Or how many ways it influenced my school years. I re-read it probably once every 5-10 years… and every time the impact is huge.
  3. Eragon by Christopher Paolini ~ I only ever read a very small portion of this book. However, what I read (“the elf moved with inhuman speed” sticks in my mind) proved to me that I can write as well as some published authors. This is the book that inspired me to continue writing fiction despite the difficulties.
  4. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling ~ this was a fresh breath of air when I needed one. I’d been getting into more “adult” books and away from “children’s” books, because I thought I was outgrowing kids’ books. Then I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and I remembered that sometimes books aimed at kids can still be fun for adults.
  5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens ~ I hated reading this book. If I never read this book again it will be too soon. But… this book helped teach me the value of discussion and compromise. My 9th grade teacher, who had assigned the book, let us compromise with her. (We were an AP class, with a small student count, and none of us liked reading it.) We came to the agreement that the students would take turns reading chapters and giving mini book reports to the rest of the class. That way none of us had to read the entire thing, but we all still learned the content. It was a great look into the power of discussion. (How powerful? It’s still a fond memory now, a quarter of a century later.)
  6. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie ~ this book freaked me out when I read it the first time. I got all the way to the end, just before the Big Reveal, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I put the book on time-out until my parents convinced me to finish it. And you know what? I’m glad. I’m glad it scared me so much, I’m glad I finished reading it, and I’m glad I re-read it years later. This one taught me about follow-through on something you’re scared to do. Sometimes it can be worth it.
  7. the encyclopedia ~ I don’t remember if we had the Encyclopedia Britannica, or a different version, but I remember loving them when I was a kid. I remember that they helped with so many projects, and I think we always took them a little for granted. (The way we currently take Google for granted.)
  8. Joy of Signing by Lottie L. Riekehof ~ (I think this is the copy I had… not positive now, though.) It helped foster my love for languages. I’m not doing anything with it now, but I did use it at one point.
  9. Bitten by Kelley Armstrong ~ this is a good book, don’t get me wrong. But the reason I am thankful for it is because it is what led me to an online writing group that got me started in my fiction writing.
  10. Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne ~ this is another case where the contents of the book aren’t the reason I’m thankful for it. This book is what comes to mind when I think of books my parents read with me when I was young. It was my dad who read this one to us (me and Sister Wyrm) and we loved it. (Except for the very last story. That one always made us cry, so we usually pretended it didn’t exist.)

This is interesting. I didn’t expect to be thankful for books that aren’t necessarily on my favorites list. However, there it is. I guess it makes sense, when you think about it, but I’d never thought about it.

Are there any books you’re particularly thankful for?

If you’re in the US and celebrate, have a Happy Thanksgiving!