Hello, hello! How is everyone doing today? Things are pretty good here. This week, I’m just writing a short post with lots of pictures to brag about Dad. He finished his room! Mostly. He still needs to make a vent cover and nightstands. But it’s looking lovely and ready to show off! As many of you know, pretty much anything with wood in our house was made by Dad. His room is no exception. Most of the wood (cabinets, bed, etc.) is pecan from the Trinity river basin that was super rough. He planed it into usable boards and built/stained/etc. everything. The ceiling has MDF that he painted. He even made the doors. Also, he sewed the curtains himself a while back, but they’ll eventually be replaced by shutters when he makes those. He put up the grasscloth wallpaper and the mural too. Basically, he designed, built, and/or installed everything himself. Just wanted to let you all know how talented he is and show off his room. As always, feel free to comment or ask questions or whatever here or on my social media pages!
Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone today? I’m still being lazy and avoiding productive things by doing other (sometimes) productive things. As I’m writing this, I’m also getting ready to fill out Christmas cards. I know it’s a little late for that, but I originally wasn’t going to do it at all. Then, I was just going to do three for special people. In the end, I made Dad sit and fill out 48 of them with me. Yeah. Since I wrote the first few sentences of this post, I wasted two and half hours getting infested with glitter in the name of not completely failing as a human this year. Go me! But anyway. A couple of days ago, I received a gift from my friend Enza. She got me a Box of Maine! So, I’m going to spend this post rambling about the box and how much I miss Maine. You have been warned.
The box contained two whoopie pies (chocolate and maple), coffee, mustard, clam chowder, a Maine Woods candle, blueberry soap, blueberry pancake mix, popcorn, a Moxie bandana, a little balsam fir pillow, and a decal that says “The Way Life Should Be” followed by “Maine.” I’ve already eaten the maple whoopie pie (yes, I shared it with Dad). Despite some shipping issues, it was still moist and tender and absolutely delicious. I’m looking forward to the regular whoopie pie. I can’t wait to dig into the rest of the stuff. Enza also sent some Moxie too! It’s definitely an acquired taste. I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about it when I first tried it up in Maine, but over the years it’s grown on me.
I love my box, but now I miss Maine. The people were always friendly. I miss lobster rolls and bisque and fried clams and blueberry soda and everything else. I miss the Harraseeket Inn and Broad Arrow Tavern. I even miss the fancy McDonald’s. We never did get the chance to visit the desert of Maine or check out Bangor or do a bunch of other things. I never had the chance to eat fresh strawberries from a roadside stand because Dad ate them all while I was in class (dick move, right? And yes, he’s reading this, so he knows I just called him a dick), then he went on about how they were the best he’s ever eaten. He still talks about them. And, of course, the stand was always closed when we drove by after that. Don’t get me wrong. Maine isn’t perfect. I know. I’m not idealizing it. For one thing, accessibility is horrible up there compared to down here. But I love it, flaws and all.
Maybe one day, if the plague ever ends or the vaccines prove to be effective, we’ll make it back up to Maine. Maybe we’ll be able to spend a month or so up there just exploring and catching up with people from Stonecoast. I’ve been in the house for the better part of a year, so even an introvert like me can dream of getting out and doing things. Until then, at least I have my Box of Maine. Thanks again, Enza!
What about you? Are there any places you’re missing? What do you miss about them? As always, feel free to share your thoughts or comments here or on my social media pages!
Hello, hello! How is everyone doing today? I have nothing to ramble about, so here’s a short post for the sole purpose of shameless self-promotion. As some of you know, I’m one of an amazing team of first readers for the wonderfully horror-filled podcast Pseudopod. In this past Friday’s (Dec. 4th) episode, I was lucky enough to write a review of The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror: Volume One (edited by Paula Guran). The review is at the end of episode 734, after the delightfully creepy story “Anatomist” by Couri Johnson and a review by Kitty Sarkozy of Couri Johnson’s collection I’ll Tell You a Love Story. I’m not one for reading out loud, so Graeme Dunlop narrated my review. You can listen pretty much anywhere you stream your favorite podcasts or you can go here! My review is near the end, so be sure to listen to the whole episode. And tune into episode 736 on December 18th for another review by me after a great story by Lee Murray.
Hello, hello! And welcome to December! Didn’t November start like two days ago? How is it already over? I’m really struggling to find the motivation to be productive. Needless to say, my writing goals will not be met this year, even if I manage to write every day until January. Don’t get me wrong. My word count for the year (thus far) isn’t too shabby, I just haven’t finished the first draft of DS2 yet. But my reading goals have been surpassed, so at least there’s that. Crochet is done in random spurts, so I’m super behind on that too. Submissions and queries are still going out regularly. I missed two weeks because I am a lazy bum, but I caught up by sending out extras this week. So, that’s where I am at the start of December. Now, I have to write an actual blog post for you. Luckily, the gift I bought myself arrived recently, so I’m going to show it off with a little review!
As some of you know, I actually bought something for myself that wasn’t a book, food, or something I needed. Like many people, I constantly look at pretty things and declare my love for them (and I don’t just mean pretty people, I do it with objects too), but rarely buy the objects (I don’t pay for pretty people either because I don’t have an OnlyFans account). Anyway, when I do talk myself into buying something, it’s like pulling teeth. This was no exception.
I was scrolling through some of the crochet pages I stalk on Facebook when I came across a gorgeous choker (those necklaces that fit snugly around the throat). It was thin silver wire that had been crocheted and moonstone with a wire tree wrapped around it. I can’t wear chokers, but I still wanted it, so I asked if the creator had a website. That led me to Jessy Herc’s Etsy page. There are so many pretties on there! Everything from chokers to pendants to rings to armbands. She even has bracelets. I tend to avoid buying everything except pendants because I’m super tiny, so rings and bracelets and stuff like that tends to fall right off me unless I get them customized. But I fell in love with a particular bracelet and a lot of the reviews said her bracelets run small, so I talked myself into spending the money.
And I’m so glad I did! It fits my tiny wrist perfectly and the band is stretchy, so Dad (and his big fingers) can get it clasped easy enough. The labradorite is so shiny and pretty. It’s mostly green with a gold sheen and hints of blue. I haven’t taken it out in the sun yet, so I don’t know if any other colors will make an appearance. The copper wire is a lovely contrast to the stone and beads. The design is intricate and the craftsmanship is wonderful. I’m so happy with the piece. I have nowhere to wear it right now, but maybe one day the plague will be under control and I’ll be able to leave the house again. Until then, I can admire my little tree (I’m calling it Yggdrasil) on my own.
Have you recently splurged and bought yourself something pretty? Is there anything you’re considering buying? As always, feel free to tell me about it or share your thoughts and comments here or on my social media pages!
Howdy, howdy! It’s the last Wednesday of November, which means it’s book review time! It also means that tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so have a safe and happy holiday. Dad and I are staying home and he’s going to cook a few favorites. It’s okay to be jealous. But back to bookish things. This month, I decided to go with a new cozy mystery series. Open for Murder is the first in Mary Angela’s A Happy Camper Mystery series. It was released yesterday (the 24th) from Kensington Books. As usual, I must thank the publisher and NetGalley for access to an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get on with it!
Open for Murder follows Zo Jones, a former journalist turned gift shop owner, as she gets reacquainted with her old friend Beth, who has just moved back to Spirit Canyon in order to open the lodge her late aunt left her. Unfortunately, there’s a murder during Beth’s grand opening on Memorial day weekend. Zo must find the real murderer before all the suspects return to their normal lives, so her childhood bestie doesn’t go down for a crime she didn’t commit. Or did she?
The plot is fairly standard on this one. There’s a sexy forest ranger in place of a lead detective for the budding romance aspect, but he does his fair share of the police work. The supportive bestie happens to be the main suspect, which is fun. And there’s some ghostly weirdness with the late aunt popping up in Beth’s mom’s dreams. But otherwise, if you’ve read a few cozies, it’s not hard to see where everything is going pretty early on, even if you’re not quite sure why until later.
I admit the characters are enjoyable. The background on Zo makes her a likeable and fleshed out person. She’s a free spirit and open to all sorts of things without being naive. While she indulges in stuff like dream reading and ghost stories, she takes those things with a grain of salt. She’s a realist, but doesn’t let that squash out all the fun in her life. Beth is definitely a planner, but she rolls with the punches. A storm interrupts the outdoor festivities? She has a backup plan. She doesn’t let anything get her down. Max likes rules and structure, but he’s the first to point out when something isn’t fair even if it goes against those rules. They make the story worth reading.
The writing itself is fine, but the pacing is slow. Things happen in every chapter to push things along, but the story just drags for me. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I guessed so much early on. It wasn’t bad, though. I was simply a little bored towards the end.
Ultimately, I was kind of meh about Open for Murder. I liked the characters enough that I’ll give it a second chance if another one comes out, but if things don’t pick up, I won’t go looking for more.
Overall, I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. It wasn’t a bad story and I loved the characters, but it didn’t strike my fancy the way I was hoping it would. If you’re looking for a cozy mystery with interesting people, check it out. If you’re in it for the plot, there are better stories out there.
Howdy, howdy! I struggled to find something to ramble about today. Writing has been hard, so I’ve been procrastinating by taking on some extra reading (then writing a couple of short blurbs/reviews for Pseudopod). But otherwise, I’ve been blah again. I had a good month of regularly writing, then it went downhill. I’ll get back on track soon. But it leaves me with nothing to blog about either. Luckily, I’ve been listening to Barenaked Ladies the last couple of days and apparently Amazon likes their song “If I had a Million Dollars,” so I thought I’d make a short list of things I’d do with a million dollars. Be aware that these are all separate scenarios because it’s only a million dollars.
1. Save most of it. Let’s be honest… a million dollars won’t get you very far these days. Especially people like me because if I randomly came into any money, I’d lose my benefits (including Medicaid and probably Medicare). That would mean a bunch of things would go wrong and that million dollars would disappear pretty fast just to cover living and medical stuff. But this is a fantasy, so in my pretend world, I’d get save most of it and let it slowly collect interest and all of that because I like seeing money in my accounts. Or I would like it if I had any money.
2. Pay stuff off. Jeez, my fantasy worlds are so boring. But yeah, I’d pay off the vehicles that we still owe money on. I’d also pay for all the stuff Dad needs in order to finish his projects around the house. And then I’d save whatever was left because that’s just how I am.
3. Buy a fancy cripple friendly RV. Aside from the fact that having our own portable hotel room would make traveling easier, they look pretty. And of course if we had an RV, we’d have to take a road trip out west. There’s always more of Canada to explore too. As well as the rest of Texas. Then we could always go back east. Not sure when the money would run out, but I’d still put some away before we started our trip(s).
4. Go back to school. Not sure if I would just go for some kind of PhD (what useful degrees can you get with a background in English that won’t lead to teaching?) or if I’d start all over with something in physics. It could be fun either way.
5. Stop feeling guilty about buying myself little things. That’s the biggest fantasy of all. Even if I were rich, I still think I would hesitate when buying things just because I want them. It’s weird. I had a hard time ordering a bracelet I wanted recently. Why? Because I’ve done nothing to deserve the splurge and we’re in the middle of a pandemic, so it’s not like I’ll have anywhere to wear it. I ordered it anyway, though. Maybe if I had money, I’d stop thinking that way, but I doubt it.
That’s my boring list of things I’d potentially do with a million dollars. As always, feel free to share your thoughts or comments or lists here or on my social media pages!
Hello, hello! I have nothing worth rambling about, so I thought I would just do one of those random “about me” questionnaires that spontaneously float around social media. Yes, I know all the warnings about people using these things to guess at your passwords and security questions, but I don’t care. None of these answers have anything to do with my passwords/security questions. Don’t waste your time. And if you do waste your time with it, well… I told you so. But seriously, I’m bored and enjoy filling these things out.
1. Were you named after anyone?
Sean Connery (RIP) and Nichelle Nichols.
2. When was the last time you cried?
I’m not entirely sure. Probably the last time someone made me want to punch them in the throat. I’m an angry crier. Leave me alone.
3. Do you like your handwriting?
It’s legible. That’s all that matters. If I can easily reach the page and write at a proper angle, my writing is nice enough. If I have to write upside down or sideways, it’s crap but you can still read it.
4. What is your favourite lunch meat?
I don’t really have a favorite. If you mean the super processed stuff, we don’t eat that very often anyway. But I just like meat, so I wouldn’t have a favorite anyway.
5. Do you have kids?
Nope. I’ll just borrow some if I want the experience, that way I can give them back to their parents when I’m tired of them.
6. If you were another person, would you be friends with you?
Probably not. I’m kind of a dick. >__>
7. Do you use sarcasm a lot?
I don’t use sarcasm. I’m sarcasm incarnate.
8. Do you still have your tonsils?
9. Would you bungee jump?
No, not even if I could. Being a human yoyo doesn’t appeal to me.
10. What is your favourite cereal?
I don’t eat cereal, but I used to like Rice Chex. I guess I still do when it’s mixed with stuff and drizzled with chocolate. Oh, and I like rice krispie treats. Does that count?
11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
Depends on the shoe. My Converse, yes. My boots, no because they also have zippers.
12. Do you think you are strong?
Physically? Nope. Emotionally? I have super strong and unhealthy coping mechanisms, so probably not.
13. What is your favourite ice cream?
Coffee? Cookies and cream? Both? Both. Both is good. Preferably mixed together.
14. What is the first thing you notice about people?
It really depends on whether they’re facing me or not and whether they’re sitting or standing. I should probably say something stupid and mysterious like their aura or vibe, but honestly… usually the ass. I’m at the perfect height for it. If they’re sitting, then probably their hair.
15. Red or pink?
Red. Dark red.
16. What is your least favourite thing about yourself?
Aside from everything? Uh… I guess that I don’t keep up with people even though I know I should. I’ve said it before. I’m a shit friend.
17. Who do you miss the most?
No one I’m willing to talk about.
18. What is your favourite tea?
Does boba count? I like tea, but I don’t drink it enough to have a favorite.
19. What colour shoes are you wearing?
Invisible? I’m not wearing any.
20. What was the last thing you ate?
Nuggets (catfish) and shrimp with a side of fried pickles. Mmm… be jealous. It’s okay.
21. What are you listening to right now?
The whoosh of my ventilator because I didn’t think to turn on the radio when I started working on this post.
22. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be?
Probably one of the glittery ones. I’m partial to the purples, but anything is fine as long as it’s sparkly.
23. Favourite smells?
Rain. Fresh cut wood. Old books. Roasting garlic.
24. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?
I don’t talk on the phone unless I absolutely have to, so probably Dad.
25. Mountain hideaway or beach house?
Beach. Ocean view, please.
26. Favourite sports to watch?
Sports are not my thing. Baseball is okay if I’m actually at the game. Is skateboarding still a thing? I don’t mind watching that. Dancing is okay too.
27. Hair colour?
Somewhere between blonde and brown, I guess.
28. Eye colour?
29. Do you wear contacts?
Nope. I don’t like being touched at the best of times. You really think I want someone jabbing their fingers in my eyes?
30. Favourite food?
Food in general. I just like to eat.
31. Scary movies or happy endings?
I don’t watch enough movies to have a strong preference either way, but I guess happy. I like my horror in book form.
32. Last movie you watched?
No idea. Troop Zero? I don’t remember any movies since then.
33. What colour shirt are you wearing?
Black with a red Oz logo. A Japanese band that’s no longer around.
34. Summer or winter?
Summer. Bring on the heat!
35. Hugs or kisses?
Like the candy? I’m on team Hugs. The actions? Please don’t.
36. Favourite dessert?
37. Strength training or cardio?
Cripple privilege allows me to not exercise and no one says anything about it.
38. Computer or television?
39. What book are you reading right now?
Open for Murder by Mary Angela for this month’s review post and HP and the Chamber of Secrets for fun.
40. What is on your mouse pad?
I don’t have one.
41. Any tattoos?
Not yet. But I want one.
42. Favourite sound?
I’ve never thought about this. Water sounds, I guess.
43. Rolling Stones or Beatles?
44. What is the farthest you’ve been from home?
Out of the places I remember, Wiscasset in Maine is around 1,900 miles from us, but so is Quebec, so one of those two places.
45. Do you have a special talent?
I can turn pretty much anything into something perverted, but otherwise no.
46. Where were you born?
47. Where are you living now?
The same place I have always lived.
48. What colour is your house?
If you had stalked me properly, you would know the answer to this question. Step your game up.
49. What colour is your car?
I don’t have a car.
50. Any pets?
A dog and a bunch of fish.
As always, feel free to share your thoughts and comments here or on my social media pages!
Howdy, howdy! It’s Tuesday November 3rd as I’m writing this and I have no idea how all of the election crap is going. I don’t particularly care either. We’re all screwed for the next four years no matter who gets in, so why waste time worrying? As you’re reading this, it’s the 4th or later, so you probably already know who won. If it was the ancient white dude you were rooting for, congrats! If it was the other ancient white dude, better luck next time. But as with all election years, I’ve spent my day avoiding politics as much as possible. Here’s how I did it this time.
1. I helped Dad uninstall a switch from SmartThings and connect the new switch when he got it in. He’s finally remodeling his room and my job in the process is to figure out the smart home aspects. I’ll post pictures of the room when he’s done, but it’s coming along nicely if I do say so myself.
2. I read some manhwa (Korean graphic novels/webtoons). Okay, so I was actually procrastinating on writing this post, but it also kept me away from election stuff too. No one wants to know what kind of BL (if you know what that is and want to squee over it with me, message me on one of my social media pages) I was reading, but a few of my favorites had updates, so it kept me amused for half an hour.
3. I watched BritBox with Dad. During breakfast/lunch (same meal), we watched an episode of Shakespeare and Hathaway. It’s a fun show and you should be watching it. For dinner, we’ll probably watch an episode of the Inspector Lynley Mysteries. It’s an okay show, but there are better mysteries out there. They keep changing his wife (not the character, just the actress), which is distracting. We’ll probably watch some stuff on Hulu too.
4. I scrolled through Facebook. Yes, I saw a bunch of people freaking out about election day stress, but I only stopped scrolling for cute memes and pictures of pretty people. I also made sure to stop before the main media coverage of the day started, so I could avoid all of the madness. I’ll scroll through it after a decision is made.
5. I read and wrote this post and did some other things I needed to do. In other words, I adulted. This is not something I recommend, but it’s necessary and better than watching election crap.
I have no idea who’s ahead in the polls as I’m writing this. I’ll find out who wins later. For now, I’m going to go relax and avoid everything. If you avidly kept track of everything, I hope you didn’t stress yourself too much. If you just bided your time until everything was over, feel free to share what you got up to here or on my social media pages! I need new ideas for how to avoid the next election.
Howdy, howdy! It’s the last Wednesday of October, which means it’s book review time! I wanted to take a break from cozy mysteries and dig into a nice juicy fantasy book, so when I found a new trilogy revolving around Norse mythology, I had to request the first book. Northern Wrath by Thilde Kold Holdt is the first book in the Hanged God trilogy. It was released on the 27th from Solaris Books. As usual, I must thank NetGalley and the publisher for access to the ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. So, let’s get on with it.
Northern Wrath follows a number of mortals and giants and monsters alike as they prepare for the final battle. The Runes are fading, signaling the weakening of the bond between humans and the gods. Some want to save the nine worlds, others want to save themselves, and a handful just want to watch the worlds burn. Who will prevail? Only time will tell.
I’m not usually one who likes a story that’s split between more than two or three POVs, but I really appreciate the different glimpses we get in this book. There’s a name at the beginning of each chapter to let us know who we’re with, so it doesn’t get too confusing. And all of the characters are so well rounded that I can’t pick a favorite. I will say that Hilda, the young woman we’re with the most, kind of gets on my nerves. The whole “I don’t need anyone’s help” thing gets annoying, but she’s in the middle of learning her lesson, so I’m hoping I’ll eventually love her like I love Einer and Siv and the rest of them. I even like Finn even though he’s kind of a dipshit.
The plot is fun and twisty and has a lot of familiar Norse mythology sprinkled throughout as well as some stuff I am not entirely familiar with but that I vaguely recognize. It helps keep things interesting when I can tie into the story with stuff I know, but I don’t think any knowledge of the mythology is actually necessary to enjoy the book. The author does a wonderful job of explaining or showing the important points (like Ragnarok or Loki and Odin’s relationship) without feeling infodumpy. Everything is woven together and works to fully immerse the reader in this violent and lovely world.
I admit the writing is a little dense at times, but it doesn’t get in the way of the story. It’s almost 500 pages, but it manages to keep the reader’s attention with no problem. I have to say, there aren’t many books that keep me thinking about them when I’m not actively reading them, but this one did. Also, it’s a fast-paced story despite its length.
Ultimately, I loved Northern Wrath. I’m a tad bitter that I have to wait for the next two installments. But I did notice Thilde Kold Holdt is also planning a fantasy set in Korea which I will also be checking out when it becomes available.
Overall, I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. I knocked off one because things could have been tightened up a bit and because of my own feelings toward Hilda. But it’s totally worth picking up if you’re into Norse mythology or just looking for an interesting new fantasy world.
Hello, hello! I know it’s not the last Wednesday of the month, but St. Martin’s Press offered me access to Diane Kelly’s latest canine police procedural mystery, Bending the Paw and I couldn’t say no (I actually could say no, but I wanted to read it). It’s the ninth book in her Paw Enforcement series about a Fort Worth police officer and her K-9 partner. Publication isn’t until the 27th, but I was told an early review was fine. I received access to the ARC through NetGalley, so I must thank them as well as Sara Beth Haring at St. Martin’s Press for the chance to read it in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get to it!
Bending the Paw follows Officer Megan Luz and her K-9 partner Brigit as they try to help detective Jackson solve what appears to be a grizzly murder. The problem? There’s no body, only ludicrous amounts of blood. Throw in an engagement and wedding prep, plus a hailstorm and the onslaught of both legitimate and scam artists roofers, and you’ve got everything you need to keep this pair busy.
I’ll say it. I knew what was going to happen from the first couple of pages. The whole main plot was fairly standard. However, the subplots with Megan’s engagement and the whole roofing company thing kept the story interesting even though they were pretty predictable as well. It might just be all of the stuff I read and watch, but it wasn’t hard to see where everything was going. But again, that didn’t make it any less enjoyable to read.
I don’t want to give everything away if you’re going to read it, so feel free to skip ahead to the end of the spoilers, which start now.
My biggest complaint with this book is that despite all of the tests they do on the blood, no blood thinners are detected. Blood coagulates! In order for it to be collected over a period of time, something has to keep it thin, especially in this instance. And I’m sure a seemingly legitimate excuse for the presence of blood thinners could have been devised by the “killers.” They seem smart enough for that.
Beyond that, I didn’t really have any major problems with the book. I love Brigit. Megan’s a little annoying with her whole making it known she’s a K-9 officer so she can take Brigit in restaurants and other places when she’s off duty, but other than that she’s an interesting character. Frankie and Seth seem cool, but I’ll have to go back and read the first eight books to get a better grasp of them. That being said, it’s fine starting at book nine. It works well as a standalone.
The writing was tight and fast-paced. Kelly does a wonderful job at giving you pertinent details from previous books to help make reading this one possible without having to start from book one. It’s a quick and fun read.
Ultimately, I really enjoyed Bending the Paw. In fact, I’ve added the first couple of books to my want-to-read list so I can pick them up soon. I might also check out some of Diane Kelly’s other series.
Overall, I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. Probably closer to 3.5, but that’s just because I figured it out so early. If you want a quick, fun read, you should check it out.