Abbott is an Idiot: A Rant

Hello, hello! It’s Tuesday (March 2nd) as I’m writing this and I have to say that governor Abbott is a fucking idiot who has no idea what he’s doing or he just doesn’t care what he’s doing as long as he’s doing it for the highest bidder. Personally, I think it’s both of those things, but what do I know? Sane people wouldn’t reelect corrupt imbeciles over and over again. Oh, wait. My bad. They do it all the time. Anyway, in case you haven’t figured it out, I’m feeling a little ranty at the moment. I try not to blog when I’m in this mood because there are enough angry people on the Interwebz, but I don’t currently have anything else to talk about. So, feel free to come back next week when I’m in a better mood. Or read on. Your choice.

Me reading the executive order.

In case you haven’t been following things down here in Texas, after the atrocity that was Snowvidpocalypse a couple of weeks ago and the horrible handling of that by everyone involved, governor Abbott has hit a new low. Just because we’ve been in a slight downward trend of new Covid cases (which I believe has at least stalled if it hasn’t already turned upward again), he issued an executive order lifting all of the restrictions on businesses and getting rid of the mask mandate. If you don’t believe me, you can read about it for yourself here. There’s a link to the actual order at the bottom of that page. But anyway… His reasoning? Covid numbers have dropped, the vaccine rollout is going so well, and so many Texans have been adhering to the protocols for social distancing/mask wearing/etc. And that’s just a few of the ridiculous things he says. I don’t know what the guy’s been smoking, but he should probably share it with the rest of us.

Sure, let’s say the numbers are dropping. I’m too lazy to look it up, so I’ll ignore the fact that the US has surpassed half a million deaths due to Covid and I’ll take his word for it. But the vaccine rollout going well? That’s a joke. There were 29 million people in Texas as of 2019. Apparently there have been 5.7 million shots administered in Texas. Each vaccine requires two shots (at least until J&J’s vaccine comes out). We’re no where close to vaccinating everyone. I haven’t even tried to get the vaccine myself yet, but judging by the fact that I can’t even get my 92-year-old neighbor an appointment, I don’t have high hopes for me and Dad. Is Texas doing better than some other places? Yes, but it’s not doing well enough to brag about it. And it certainly isn’t doing well enough to tell people that the worst is behind us and that we can all burn our masks (I’m being dramatic, but you know that’s exactly what a lot of people are thinking now).

Feels like a good place for a dramatic sigh.

Also, I want to know where Abbott has been going in Texas that makes him think so many people are adhering to social distancing and wearing masks properly and all that jazz. I haven’t left the house much in a year, but videos and pictures and the rare occasion I watched people from parking lots while waiting for curbside deliveries have proven that to be a lie. Most people try, but they don’t seem to realize masks go over the nose. And lately, fewer people are even trying it seems. Of course, Abbott strongly suggests keeping masks and social distancing and all that, but without repercussions, most people aren’t going to do anything that slightly inconveniences them. I feel bad for the stores who keep mask policies, because a ton more asshats are going to throw fits when they run into those kinds of places. If Abbott really encourages masks, why is he ending the mandate? Who are these expert medical people he’s supposedly listening to that say everything is fine? I don’t get it. Show me proof that this crap is a good idea?

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I think I’ll stop ranting and go eat. If you made it this far, you must really like me. As always, feel free to leave your thoughts and comments here or on my social media pages.

Thoughts on VASILISA

Howdy, howdy! It’s the last Wednesday of February and we’ve pretty much thawed out here in Dallas (was around 80 yesterday). Anyway, it’s time for my last book review until the end of March. This time, I wanted something a little fantasy meets folklore, but something I’m not very familiar with (Russian folklore seemed like a good choice), so I decided to request Julie Mathison’s Vasilisa. It was released yesterday (February 23rd) from Mathison’s own imprint, Starr Creek Press. As usual, I must thank her and NetGalley for access to an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get to it!

Cute cover.

Vasilisa begins in 1919 in Edenfall, PA and follows our heroine (Vasilisa) as she struggles to come to terms with her father going missing in Flanders, a creepy suitor sniffing around her mother, her babka’s waning health, and learning who she can trust. Unfortunately, the answers to all of her troubles lie in Old Rus with the witch Baba Yaga. But Vasilisa doesn’t have to go alone when young Ivan appears by her side. Together, they set off on the adventure of a lifetime.

Plotwise, this one is a standard fairytale. There’s a maiden, a prince, some witches, a fairy godmother type character who happens to be Vasilisa’s grandmother, an ogre, a forest sprite, and even a dragon thrown in there for good measure. And that’s not even all of the fairytale stuff, just what I remember off the top of my head. Despite all of this, the story doesn’t feel cluttered or convoluted. It’s actually pretty impressive how much is crammed into this fairly short book (less than 250 pages) without making it a slog.

Me after counting all the tropes I could remember.

The pacing is quick. Sometimes a little too quick. Especially in the romantic development. It’s for younger readers, so I understand glancing over boring things, but it’s really weird how Vasilisa goes from not being sure she can trust Ivan to loving him in the span of a couple of pages without any real internal struggle. I think that’s due to the fact that a lot of this story is telling instead of showing. I’m not against that, but while it makes the story flow faster, it also makes it more difficult to express emotional growth within the characters. The POV probably also contributes to that.

As far as the characters go, they were a little flat, but still enjoyable. Vasilisa is basically the personification of kindness, which is a little boring if I’m being honest. She has zero flaws. She never does anything wrong except that one time she skips school to steal something from the bad dude in order to save her babka. It gets old fast. Ivan and Evelyn are better in that department. They at least have motivations that force them to straddle the line between right and wrong. Everyone else is pretty much a cardboard cutout of their fairytale roles.

Me when reading about Vasilisa.

The writing is clean and makes for a quick read. Sometimes I wanted more description, but it’s not bad. There’s nothing really special about it. No lines really jump out at me as quotable or memorable. But it’s smooth and works well for this story.

Ultimately, Vasilisa is not bad, but not great. The epilogue sets us up for book two, which I’m not opposed to reading, but I’ll probably forget this series even exists before it comes out. I’m not upset I read it. I don’t want those hours back or anything. It’s just kind of blah.

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Overall, I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. If you enjoy fairytales and want something quick and cute to read, go for it. If you have a youngster who’s into this type of stuff, I can definitely see kids enjoying it. The story’s fun, it just fell short for me.

Thoughts on THE ECHO WIFE

Hello, hello! I’m currently writing this review between power outages, so if it ends up being late, the power went out again before I could finish. If not, yay! And sorry if it’s a little shorter than usual because I’m rushing. Anyway, Jordan Hanley at Tor Books reached out through NetGalley to see if I’d be interested in reviewing The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey. It seemed like an interesting read, so I said sure. It was released yesterday (February 16th). As usual, I must thank NetGalley and Tor/Forge for access to an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get to it!

Cute and simple cover.

The Echo Wife follows Evelyn Caldwell as she struggles to pick up the pieces after her marriage fails, all while diving head first into her work. Enter Martine, who just brings more problems. Throw in a betrayal from the closest thing Evelyn has to a friend, a dark past full of secrets, and an experiment gone so right that she can’t even talk about it, and that pretty much sums up Evelyn’s life right now.

Seems like a fun little plot, right? It is, but it’s also super predictable. She works in clone science, which is made clear from the beginning, so all of the major twists are super easy to see coming. Even Evelyn’s backstory is easy enough to figure out when she mentions that her dad’s been missing for years. It’s a fun story, but if you have even a basic understanding of sci-fi, you won’t be very surprised.

Basically.

The characters were a mixed bag. Evelyn realizes she’s selfish and stubborn, but seems oblivious to the fact that she killed her marriage the moment she decided to have an abortion without telling her husband (not really a spoiler as much as something mentioned in passing). She told him she was pregnant, but didn’t bother including him in a decision that affects both of them. She doesn’t communicate and she doesn’t really think of anyone but herself, even her incentives for helping Martine are selfish. For a smart woman, she’s far too stupid a lot of the time. I like Martine a lot more. She’s really sheltered, but wants nothing more than to live and learn. Everyone else is basically just there to explain why Evelyn is such a crappy person.

Otherwise, the writing was lovely and made for a quick read. Things moved at a nice clip and kept me interested. It wasn’t anything new or insightful, but it was fun watching Martine grow and change over the course of the story. I just wish Evelyn would’ve evolved a little more.

Me to Evelyn.

Ultimately, The Echo Wife was just okay. It doesn’t really encourage me to look for other books by Sarah Gailey, but it wasn’t bad by any means.

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Overall, I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. If you don’t mind unlovable main characters and want something sci-fi, check it out. If not, you aren’t missing much.

Thoughts on THE GILDED ONES

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing? I requested this book from NetGalley back in June, but its release was pushed back until yesterday, so you’re getting an extra review this month. Anyway, I was looking for something fantasy at that time and ran across The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna. It’s YA (young adult). And it was released yesterday (February 9th) by Delacorte Press (an imprint of Random House). As usual, I must thank the publishers and NetGalley for access to an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get to it!

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Love the cover.

The Gilded Ones follows Deka as she struggles to find acceptance in a world that thinks she’s a monster. She’s always been an outcast, but she hopes that once she completes the Ritual of Purity and proves her blood runs red, everyone will acknowledge that she belongs. The only problem is that her blood is gold, signifying that she’s impure. After a hellish time in the church’s cellar, a mysterious woman comes to whisk Deka away with promises of a place in the world and answers to her questions, but Deka only finds new questions along the way. What are the Deathshrieks? What are the alaki? But most importantly, what is she?

The plot is an interesting mix of predictability and surprise. There are weird animals and goddesses and a bloody war and everything you could want in a fantasy novel, but it doesn’t feel overcrowded or convoluted at all. The friendship and family subplots are actually what makes this book worth reading. They’re extremely well done. There’s also a romantic subplot that randomly appears. You know it’s coming from the very first time we see him, but all of the actual budding romance happens off the page, so when we learn they’re closer than wary friends, it feels abrupt. That’s actually my biggest complaint with this book. That first time they hug instead of clasping arms is a huge step forward and we don’t even get to see it or hear about it. I honestly felt cheated when I realized they’d already moved past that point. But at least we get to see the first kiss.

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So cute.

I adore the characters. Deka and Britta make such a strong pair. I almost feel bad for Keita if he ever does anything stupid and hurts Deka, because Britta will tear him apart. I loved all of the girls, but I hope to learn more about Adwapa and her sister in future books. I get why they remain mysterious throughout this book, but now we know their secret, so their backstory could be super interesting. But if you know me at all, you’ll probably guess that Braima and Masaima (the snarky equus twins) and Ixa (Deka’s pet) are my favorites.

The pacing and the ending. The story moves along at a pretty quick pace that kept my attention. I don’t think there was ever a point where I didn’t want to pick it up the next day, which is honestly rare for me. I get bored easily which is why I only read a couple of chapters at a time. As I mentioned, the pacing of the romantic subplot is awkward, but the rest of the story moves along nicely. I will say that the ending is a little rushed, but it leaves some stuff open for the next book. I’m personally wary of the newcomers (don’t want to spoil it by saying who), but that’s probably just because I read a bunch of stuff where anything that seems too good to be true is a big old scam.

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The writing is lovely. There’s some gorgeous imagery and very poetic phrasing. It’s tight and keeps a quick flow. There are places where I wanted some more description to get a better grasp of the setting, but it isn’t a deterrent from reading on.

Ultimately, I loved The Gilded Ones. I’m looking forward to seeing where the series goes, so I’ll definitely check out the next book. I’ll also keep an eye out for other things by Namina Forna.

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Overall, I gave it four out of five stars. If you like fantasy or have a teen who does, this book is definitely worth checking out.

Top 5 Anime Sorted By Favorite Characters

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing now that we’ve entered the second month of the year? I’m doing okay. In one of those hurry up and wait situations, so that’s always fun. But otherwise, things are normal here. Except, I somehow ended up with books to review every week this month after today. I don’t know how it happened, but it makes my blogging life so much easier. Don’t worry. I’d never be able to keep up with a book a week, so that’s not going to happen. I’ll be reverting back to having no clue what to ramble about come March. But today, I’m taking a topic idea from my friend Jenae. She wanted me to list some of my favorite anime/manga by hottest character. I’m just going to call them favorite characters though, because many are under age and if people realize that, I don’t need them thinking I’m creepy. So, here are my top 5 anime (in no particular order) by favorite characters.

1. Angel Sanctuary (Kira Sakuya, Lucifer, Rosiel). So, it’s hard to pick just one character, especially when you love angsty and/or psycho males. This series is chockfull of them. And I know it’s more of a manga, but they did release a three episode OVA, so it counts as anime too. What with the corrupt angels, incestuous love story, and cross-dressing demons, it’s definitely not for everyone, but I love it. It’s one of my favorite end-of-the-world stories.

2. Yuri on Ice (Victor, Yurio). This anime is adorable and fluffy and I’d give it all the cuddles if it were a plushie. Victor is a flaky idiot who seems to do things on a whim. Yurio’s random violent outbursts are hilarious. Plus the animation is lovely. Who doesn’t want to watch something about the lives of figure skaters? It’s just a super fun show with lots of lovable characters. Judge me all you want.

3. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Ed, Winry, Hawkeye). Don’t get me wrong, either version of FMA is great and worth watching. I just prefer Brotherhood because it follows the manga and I feel like that’s a better story line. But I adore both the original and the remake. Ed’s hilarious and Winry and Hawkeye are a couple of my favorite female characters in general. If you haven’t watched either version, pick one and watch it! Then watch the other one.

4. Sailor Moon (Saturn, Prince Demande). Unless you’re new to stalking me, this one should be no surprise. It was my introduction to anime, so it will always be a favorite. Saturn is my girl because she’s sickly, but can destroy worlds. And Prince Demande was one of my first favorite psychopaths. Actually, this shows explains a lot about my weirdness. It’s the best.

5. Attack on Titan (Levi, Mikasa). I struggled choosing between this one and a few others, but decided I should include something that’s still on. It’s a bit confusing and I will probably rewatch it all once this season is over just to put together anything I miss/don’t understand. But it’s gory fun and we all know how much I like that. As far as the characters go, I think we’ve established that I have a type. We’ll see if this one stays on the list when it’s over, but I’m enjoying it for now. Also, I’m watching the dub with Dad, so no spoilers from anyone watching the sub or reading the manga.

There you have it. Some of my favorite anime sorted by favorite characters. You can blame Jen for this post. What are some of your favorite anime and which characters do you love? As always, feel free to share your thoughts or comments here or on my social media pages!

Thoughts on ONE POISON PIE

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing? So far, the year has been a mixed bag of meh and good. Nothing super bad for me yet. I hope it’s treating you okay. Anyway, it’s the last Wednesday of January, which means it’s time for another book review. This month, I was hoping for a quick, fun read to get me back in the spirit of cozy mysteries, so I requested an ARC of Lynn Cahoon’s One Poison Pie. It’s the first in her new Kitchen Witch Mystery series and was released on the 26th (yesterday) from Kensington Books. As usual, I must thank them and NetGalley for access to an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get on with it.

Cute cover. A little busy. Mostly has nothing to do with the story.

One Poison Pie follows Mia Malone as she strives to start a catering business in her grandmother’s small hometown of Magic Springs. Throw in an unexpected roommate in the form of her ex-fiancée’s little sister, some pushy guy trying to buy her new home/workspace out from under her, a hot grocer, and a nosy Gran and Mia’s life is complicated enough. That doesn’t stop fate from tossing another wrench in the works when Mia’s first catering client turns up stabbed to death. As a prime suspect, Mia sets out to clear her name, especially when it becomes obvious that she’s the next victim.

Sounds pretty standard, right? It is. Except for the whole witch aspect. I like the concept, but the execution is lacking. The magic system isn’t well thought out at all. In fact, for most of the book, it isn’t even really there. It feels like the magic is only mentioned when the author can’t think of any other way for the characters to get out of a situation. The random mind reading is weird and not explained well. At all. Trent doesn’t seem to need a special connection to someone in order to read their mind, so why didn’t he just scan people at the wake and be done with it? Unless maybe he can only read other witches? It’s confusing. Maybe it’s just because I’m used to elaborate magic systems that are discussed in detail, but I wasn’t happy with it. And don’t get me started on the random ghost visits. Otherwise, it’s a regular old cozy mystery.

Me trying to figure out the magic.

The characters themselves are okay. I like Gran and Christina. Mia is interesting even if she does fall in love super fast. She’s also weirdly trusting. On the other hand, she also locks her recipe book in a safe and makes a decoy one, so she isn’t entirely naive. The Major brothers are fun. The guy who’s trying to buy the building from Mia is way too obviously a douchenozzle. And a lot of other characters are not memorable at all. Like the bad people. I had no clue who they were at the big reveal, which isn’t good.

One more thing that I want to mention is the title. It has absolutely nothing to do with the story and that irks me worse than anything else about this book. There’s a mention of pies, but it’s not critical to the plot. And there’s no poison whatsoever. I even looked it up to see if maybe it’s a saying I’m not familiar with. If it is, Google doesn’t know it either, so I don’t feel bad. It’s completely misleading and not in a good “I see what you did there” way.

Me staring at the title after reading the book.

The writing is fine. There are some continuity errors that can be attributed to the fact that it’s an ARC. I go in with the understanding that these books haven’t had their final polish, but with all of the plot holes and seemingly random stuff, this book really feels like a first draft. Maybe a second draft. I hate saying that since they might have smoothed some stuff out with the final polish, but most ARCs are at least obviously final drafts. This isn’t.

Ultimately, I didn’t care for One Poison Pie. It had a lot of potential, but didn’t live up to it. If the next installment falls in my lap, I’ll read it to see if it gets better, but I won’t be spending any money on it. Cahoon’s other series might be better.

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Overall, I gave it 2 out of 5 stars. If you’re in to cozies and kitchen witches, maybe you’ll understand the magic system better than I did. Otherwise, there are better cozies out there.

One Of Those Days

Hello, hello! How is everyone doing? January is chugging along and it seems like nothing is getting done even though I know we’ve been doing things. Our things have mostly been stuff for the neighbor and Dad taking Lady for her grooming (need to find a new one since our usual one sold out) and for her yearly check up (she has some bad teeth, so she has to go in on the 4th to get them removed). Dad’s grumpy because he hasn’t really started a new project yet. And I’m slowly getting back into writing. Nothing regular yet. But I do have two short stories (probably flash pieces but with the potential to be longer if they decide they need more space) that won’t leave me alone. Anyway, it’s a blah day and I’m seriously out of ideas for things to blog about, so I’m just going to ramble about things I’d rather be doing. It seems like I do this a couple of times a year, but no one has complained yet.

1. I’d rather be reading. I need to read a few chapters in a book I picked up for an extra review in February. They’re pretty short. It’s around 20 pages total, so I’ll do that after I finish whining here. But I also just got an ebook copy of HP and the Goblet of Fire from the library, so I want to dive into that for fun. I only have 14 days before I have to return it. I still have all of my hardback HPs, so if I don’t finish in time, I can always ask Dad to pull it out, but ebooks are just easier. All this is to say that I’d much rather be reading HP4 right now.

2. I’d rather be writing. Yes, I know this is technically writing, but I’d rather be working on my Yuki-onna story or my end of the world story. They both have been annoying the crap out of me. Keeping me awake at night. One is ready to be written. The bones are all there, it’s the flesh that needs some time to grow. That usually happens as I’m working with it on the page. But the other still needs to incubate a bit. The beginning is there, but I’m only just beginning to see the end and have no idea how to get there yet. In other words, it’s missing a spine. Sometimes, when a story is being difficult, I need to get the beginning on the page and the middle will grow more easily from there. That’s what I should be doing right now.

New Tricks

3. I’d rather be watching TV with Dad. I’ll be honest, if I weren’t writing this, I’d most likely be watching TV with Dad. We’d catch up on a couple of things that aired in the last couple of days, then watch a couple of episodes of our latest British mystery obsession, New Tricks. We’re running out of episodes though. I guess we need to start looking for other ones to watch. But that’s what I would actually be doing.

I think I’ll stop there and go do the reading I need to do, then probably eat and watch TV. What would you rather be doing right now? Or are you doing exactly what you want? As always, feel free to share your thoughts or comments or your own lists here or on my social media pages!

35 Random Things

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing at the moment? As I’m writing this (the 12th), it’s my birthday. All I really want to do is watch The Untamed or some anime and maybe read some manhwa or manga, but it’s only my second blog post of the year, so I can’t justify taking the day off. Instead, I’m listening to the Japanese music playlist Spotify created for me for today and trying to think of something worth rambling about. I know I did it last year, but I think I’m just going to make a list of random facts about me. I’m 35, so that seems like a good number. I’ll try not to overlap with previous posts too much, but if you’ve been paying attention, you probably know most of these things anyway.

Who doesn’t need a little Deadpool on their birthday?

1. I’m far too lazy to go back and read previous posts to see if I’m repeating myself. If you stalk me enough to remember everything I’ve written in this blog, cheers to you and sorry for the repeats. If you’re new to stalking me, this is pretty much everything you need to know.

2. I’ve probably said it before, but I’m currently diagnosed with Ullrich Congenital Muscular Dystrophy (UCMD). It’s one of the rarer Muscular Dystrophies, so I don’t really talk about it in specific terms. No one knows what it is anyway.

3. UCMD is my fourth diagnosis, but I’ve been assured it’s the correct one. First, it was floppy baby syndrome, then congenital myopathy, then for about 18/19 years it was Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 2. A few years after they discovered UCMD, my pediatric neurologist asked if I would be willing to get tested for it. Surprise! For the last 11 or 12 years, that’s been what is supposedly wrong with me.

4. I enjoy listening to music in languages I don’t speak just to hear the rhythm of the words. When I listen to English music that way, people still expect me to know what a song is about. Like, sorry. I know every single word, but I’ve never actually paid attention to what was being said. I’m weird.

5. I like screamers and growlers (musicians, you pervert). I don’t have to know what they’re saying as long as I can rage vicariously through them.

6. I’m currently obsessed with the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack for some strange reason. It will pass.

7. I haven’t worn shoes (except fluffy slippers) since July. Haven’t had to go anywhere, so what’s the point? Thank you, Covid!

8. Despite the lack of shoes, I wear pants and a clean shirt every day. The plague won’t change that.

9. People are idiots. I know this. There’s nothing I can do or say to change this. That’s why I tend not to address all of the idiocy going on right now, especially on social media (I have no desire to feed the trolls). It’s not that I don’t care. I just don’t want to waste my emotional energy getting riled up about things we all knew would happen eventually. Because people are assholes. Sure, the majority of people are fine. But those extreme dickwads (on both sides) are the reason the rest of us can’t have nice things.

10. I do occasionally post political crap when I’m extremely bored and want to watch people argue, but it’s never serious stuff.

11. Even though I haven’t finished a single crochet pattern, I keep stocking up on free ones so I have stuff to make when I decide to stop procrastinating.

12. Stalking artists is one of my favorite pastimes lately.

13. I love it when people draw pretty things for me.

Jenae Barton drew us together. ❤

14. Norse mythology is currently my favorite and I love reading about the weird crap those gods got up to, like when Loki tied one end of a rope around his testicles and the other around a goat’s beard, then proceeded to play a kind of tug-of-war in order to make Skadi laugh. Those people were strange.

15. I had no idea what the random deluge of Twisted Tea memes were about until a couple of days ago.

16. I’ve never heard WAP and don’t ever plan on listening to it.

17. I’m in the middle of reading a craft book and, despite liking the author, it’s reminding me why I only read them once in a blue moon. It’s a slog and not particularly helpful.

18. Despite the fact that J.K. Rowling has gone kind of nuts, I’m really enjoying reading the Harry Potter series again.

19. I don’t wear jewelry often (aside from a ring I wear every day), but I still buy necklaces and bracelets that I know I’ll only wear once or twice.

20. It is taking me far too long to write this list and it’s just reinforcing the fact that I’m old.

21. I randomly want ice cream, but we have none. Sadness.

22. I don’t remember ever having a brain freeze.

23. I just ordered Thai/Japanese fusion for my birthday dinner (thank you, Dad!). They said they have mochi, so as long as the order shows up right, I’m getting red bean ice cream! Wootwoot!

24. I have a bunch of awesome people who wished me a happy birthday. I’ll respond to each of them, but I’m sorry if it takes a couple of days.

25. While you’re reading this, I’ll either be reading manhwa or watching The Untamed since I didn’t get around to it today. Or I’ll be a good little writer and read some stuff I’m supposed to then write some words. I haven’t decided.

26. I’m terrible at talking about myself and am running out of things to say already. Is it obvious? I feel like it’s obvious.

27. My dog learned quickly that cats are sharp and now boldly barks at the ferals only when they’re no where in sight or she’s safely in the house. I find this hilarious.

28. I hate The Great Gatsby. I know I’m supposed to love it and think all these things about it and what it portrays, but it’s not good. At all. I’ve read it twice in my life and each time I wished I had those hours back.

29. White chocolate KitKats are better than milk chocolate ones.

30. I post little anecdotes that I think are funny and get weirded out when people start commenting supportive and encouraging things. I guess my funny stories are depressing or too dark.

Oh well.

31. An example of the type of anecdotes mentioned above: someone once asked why I write horror and when I told them that when you keep getting told you’re going to die by a young age you turn out a little twisted, they gave me that deer in the headlights look people get when they have no clue how to respond.

32. Dinner was yummy. I had a dancing eel roll and yakisoba, plus a duck bun and some of one of Dad’s dishes. The mochi will be a reward when I finish scheduling this post.

33. I just checked my email and got a great birthday present! Well, great news on my birthday, so I’m claiming it as a present. I’ll make a post about it when everything is official.

34. Apparently I give off a dragon vibe even though I’m obviously an unknowable sea entity. What do you think?

The new stupid fun thing on social media.

35. I’m too old to be making lists like this. It took all afternoon. Maybe I’ll just take my birthday week off from blogging in the future. Or maybe I’m just being lazy.

And I’m done. Thank the gods and goddesses. As usual, feel free to share your thoughts or comments or own lists here or on my social media pages!

New Year, New Goals

Hello, hello! It’s another new year. We’re almost a week into it, so how’s 2021 treating people thus far? It’s been a mixed bag for me, but generally meh. I got some good news that I’ll share later. Aside from that, I started off the year with a rejection and am now up to three as I’m writing this (it’s just the 5th day of the year). Things have also been hectic for Dad because of some stuff with our neighbor that he helps out. So, yeah. I think meh is an apt description of 2021 so far. Anyway, since it’s the first Wednesday of the year and I have nothing to really ramble about, this is just going to be a yearly goal post.

I see a lot of people making vision boards and stuff like that for 2021, but I don’t really understand them, so I’ll just stick with written goals. But I think I’ll group them a little differently this year instead of just writing a random paragraph with multiple goals mushed together.

Writing Goals:

1. Write 3 short stories/flash fiction pieces. I need to replenish my stock of stories to send out into the slush void.

2. Finish the first draft of DS2. I lost steam on this one, but it’s not the story’s fault. I just need to suck it up and write words.

3. Dig out the sci-fi novel I stopped a few years ago because I couldn’t figure out how to fix it and see if I can rework it. I have a new idea that will require rewriting the whole thing, but it just might work. I’ll try, but I won’t force it if it fights me.

4. Pull out the “Lightning Bugs” novelette/novella that I haven’t worked on since Stonecoast (despite Nancy Holder’s cheerleading) and see if I can flesh it out and make it presentable. I’ve avoided it because, submission-wise, I don’t really know what to do with something of that length.

Shut up, Cass. I’m going to write. Soon.

Submission Goals:

1. Submit to two magazines or anthologies a week.

2. Query agents for DS1. I have about 10 to go on my list, but I’m at that point where I need to wait for responses before I can try other agents.

3. Query publishers for DS1. If I strike out with the agents, I have a few publishers I want to submit to before I debate trunking the book/series.

On my Kindle app, but yeah.

Reading Goals:

1. Read 35 books overall.

2. Of those 35, review at least 12.

3. Of those 35, I want at least 8 to be from my “want to read again” list.

Misc. Goals:

1. Finish the shawl of doom. This is entirely because I procrastinate too much, but I will finish the damned thing and move onto another project to procrastinate on.

2. Finish watching The Untamed. I don’t usually care about TV, but I’m behind on all of my foreign shows. It’s extremely rare for me to watch anything on my own (I’d rather read), but I will make time for at least The Untamed this year. I always need more adorable gay stuff in my life.

What about you? What are your goals for 2021? As always, feel free to share your thoughts or comments here or on my social media profiles!

Thoughts on TO FETCH A FELON

Howdy, howdy! It’s the last Wednesday of 2020. Just a couple of more days and we’ll get to see what fresh new hell 2021 can rain down upon us! I mean… 2021 will be better? I don’t know what you want to hear. But yeah, 2021 is coming. Before that, let’s squeeze in one last book review. This month I decided to request the first book in a cute new cozy series, A Chatty Corgi mystery series. Jennifer Hawkins’s To Fetch a Felon was released yesterday (December 29th) from the Berkley Publishing Group. As usual, I must thank them and NetGalley for access to an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get on with it!

Cute cover. And actually has stuff in common with the story.

To Fetch a Felon follows Emma and Oliver, her corgi, as they move from a fast paced city life in London to a small village life full of nosy neighbors and drama in Trevena. The goal? To start a tea shop complete with homemade treats. The problem? The village witch (read that with a b instead of w) owns the shop Emma really wants to rent, along with most of the rest of the village. After a brief altercation over Oliver getting in the woman’s garden, Emma loses hope of getting the space unless she can smooth things over with the woman. The bigger problem? Emma and Oliver find the woman dead when bringing her some reconciliation scones. Now, Emma feels compelled to help solve the murder with the assistance of Oliver’s superior sense of smell. It helps that he can tell her everything he knows (yes, she and Oliver can understand each other), but sometimes she has to interpret his doggy views of the world, which can be tricky. But together they can take on any case!

I admit that I’m a sucker for stories with cute puppers, so I was excited to dig into this one. The plot was nice and twisty, adding new layers every few chapters. Every time I figured things out, a new puzzle popped up. That helped keep me invested even when no one in the story had put things together. Whenever things started dragging, something new happened. The inclusion of the decades old disappearance subplot was nice as well. I also enjoyed that we got to see some of the story from Oliver’s point of view. Those were probably the chapters I enjoyed the most.

The butt waggle!

As far as the characters go, I loved most of them. Emma was interesting and well rounded, but I kept reading her as younger than she’s supposed to be. I don’t really know why. It’s probably just me, so I’ll just say she’s young at heart. Oliver was completely adorable. He deserves all the cuddles. I felt like Taite was too obviously a greedy, sneaky dick. I had zero attachment to him and certainly no sympathy. But I liked Victoria (the village witch). She didn’t get a chance to grow as a character, but the snippets from her past made her likeable in the end. Louise and Jimmy and the rest of the characters were also intriguing people. And the other animals were great as well.

Stairs are hard for short legs.

The writing was smooth and made for a quick read. It’s a relatively short book that’s broken down into 53 chapters. I actually prefer this to longer chapters because it’s easier to find a stopping point for the night (or to squeeze in just one more chapter). But there was a nice balance between description and dialogue that made the reading experience pretty pleasant.

Ultimately, I really enjoyed To Fetch a Felon. I’ll definitely be getting the second book in this series when it comes out next year. Have to get my cute pupper fix somehow and what’s better than reading about an excitable little corgi?

starstarstarstarstar outline

Overall, I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. Some of it’s a little predictable, but it’s fun and full of adorableness. If you’re looking for a quick cozy with cuddly animals, I definitely recommend checking this one out.