WWW Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Hey, it’s the middle of the week, so I’m told–I’m having trouble keeping track of the day anymore. Theoretically, it’s time for WWW Wednesday!

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived on Taking on a World of Words—and shown to me by Aurore-Anne-Chehoke at Diary-of-a-black-city-girl.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Easy enough, right?

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading The Poop Diaries by Abby Ross, Cheater’s Game by Paul Levine and am listening to Caliban’s War by James S. A. Corey, Jefferson Mays (Narrator).

What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished Chris Whitaker’s We Begin at the End and Heartless by Gail Carriger, Emily Gray (Narrator) on audio.

What do you think you’ll read next?

My next book should be Fake Truth by Lee Goldberg and An Unwelcome Quest by Scott Meyer, Luke Daniels (Narrator) on audiobook.

Hit me with your Three W’s in the comments! (no, really, do it!)

The Wanderlust Book Tag

The Wanderlust Book Tag
My general attitude toward traveling is, “Why?” Followed closely by, “Well, okay, but can I bring books?” Which is not to say that I have anything against the idea of other places, but they’re things best experienced by other people. Or vicariously.

Which brings us to this Book Tag, seen recently on Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road (but I’ve also appreciated Ola and Pio’s entry on Re-enchantment Of The World and The Orangutan Librarian‘s). Nothing better than exploring different environments than through novels.

The Rules

bullet Mention the creator of the tag and link back to original post [Alexandra @ Reading by Starlight]
bullet Thank the blogger who tagged you (see earlier mention of Bookstooge)
bullet Answer the 10 questions below using any genre
bullet Tag 5+ friends (the first five people who read this should consider themselves tagged. Not sure if you’re #3 or #17? Assume you’re #3)

The Settings

1. Secrets and lies: a book set in a sleepy small town

Paradox BoundParadox Bound

by Peter Clines
My post about the book.
A (seemingly?) typical small New England town is our entry point into a cross-country time travel adventure.

2. Salt and sand: a book with a beach-side community

The Dawn PatrolThe Dawn Patrol

by Don Winslow
I can’t believe that I’ve never written anything about this. Sigh. I read “beach” and it’s the first novel that pops to mind (also third, sixth, ninth-twelfth, and so on). A stylish, deceptively breezy PI novel centering on a group of surfers in San Diegeo is what made me a Don Winslow fan for life.

3. Here there be dragons: a book with a voyage on the high seas

Wake of the Bloody Angel (Eddie LaCrosse, #4)Wake of the Bloody Angel

by Alex Bledsoe
My post about the book.
This entry in the Eddie LaCrosse “PI in a fantasy world” series takes our redoubtable hero to the high seas in search of a missing person. There’s adventure, piracy, sword-play, banter, friendship, and a bit of betrayal.

4. Tread lightly: a book set down a murky river or a jungle

The InformationistThe Informationist

by Taylor Stevens, Hillary Huber (Narrator)
My post about the book.
I think there’s a nasty river, there’s jungle, and a good deal of urban settings. This first Vanessa Michael Monroe adventure introduces readers to a world not seen enough, as well as a heckuva character.

5. Frozen wastes: a book with a frost bitten atmosphere

Hell is EmptyHell is Empty

by Craig Johnson
My post about the book.
As Johnson tries to cycle through the seasons in these books, Walt’s actually had a few Wyoming-as-frozen-wasteland adventures. This one is just my favorite of them. Walt’s on the hunt for escaped federal prisoners in the middle of a blizzard. A gripping tale of man against nature, man against man, man against himself, told with Johnson’s signature style and wit, with one foot in Dante and the other in Indian folklore.
Runner up: Winterkill (Audiobook) by C. J. Box, David Chandler

6. The boonies: a book with rough or isolated terrain

A Star-Reckoner's LotA Star-Reckoner’s Lot

by Darrell Drake
My post about the book.
Set in Persia, full of rough and isolated terrain. Full of social mores that are just as foreign to Western readers as anything that the most imaginative novelist could invent, along with a magic system, a belief system, and a host of supernatural beings that are equally novel. Years later, I’m still in awe of what Drake did with this.

7. Hinterlands and cowboys: a book with a western-esque setting

The Shootout SolutionThe Shootout Solution

by Michael R. Underwood
My post about the book.
The beginning of the Genrenauts series, which I can’t summarize (I’ve tried). So, here’s a bit from the blurb from Underwood’s site:…our world is just one of many, and every other world is the home of a story genre — Science Fiction or Romance, Fantasy or Western — populated by archetypal characters and constantly playing out familiar stories.

The Genrenauts’ mission: find and fix broken stories. If they fail, the ripples from the story worlds will cause havoc and devastation on their home world.

This particular mission takes place on Western world, which is pretty much the definition of Western-esque.

8. Look lively: a book set across sweeping desert sands

Hunger Makes the WolfHunger Makes the Wolf

by Alex Wells
My post about the book.
A SF with a touch of fantasy set on a planet that’s basically defined by sweeping desert sands. Tanegawa’s World is a little forgotten backwater of a planet—think Tatooine—so forgotten that none of the colonists there really have a clue that there’s an interplanetary government, or what’s going on with any other planet. The company that runs the mines (and by extension, the farming communities that support the mines) runs the whole show. There are organizations of workers in individual towns, and there’s a loose network connecting them, for mutual assistance and support. And then there are the Ghost Wolves—a band of mercenary bikers. They are a law unto themselves, but have strong ties to the miner groups. They may be supported by/sympathized with by most people in the towns, but officially they’re outlaws.

9. Wild and untamed: a book set the the heart of the woods

Back of BeyondBack of Beyond

by C. J. Box, Holter Graham (Narrator)
My post about the book.
For those of us in the US (at least the lower 48), there’s nothing like Yellowstone National Park for wild woods. This adventure into the untamed wilds on the hunt for a murderer pits a bunch of people who have no business being in the woods (helped by a couple of pros) against the elements, their own incompetency, and a little bit of urban evil.

10. Wildest dreams: a whimsical book shrouded in magic

No Country for Old GnomesNo Country for Old Gnomes

by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne
My post about the book.
Yeah, I can think of a few other contenders for this. But “whimsy” is the best word to describe this book. And there’s loads of magic afoot (or is that a-beard?). Such a freakishly fun read, I have to throw in a reference to it whenever I can.

Saturday Miscellany—4/4/20

Update: Naturally, I opened up my Kindle and found something that downloaded yesterday (I’d ordered it so many months ago, that I’d forgotten it was coming), so updated the New Release bit.

Yesterday, I talked about being wiped out lately, and I set out to prove it apparently. I’m not sure what time I fell asleep last night, but it was a few hours earlier than I expected. Anyway, I woke up about 3 am and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I figured I’d read for a couple of minutes and drift off. I ended up reading for about 90 minutes, finishing a great read. I don’t remember the last time I did that–no interruptions (welcome or otherwise), no taking a quick peek at some social media, no anything. Just me and a book. It was so nice. Probably did more for my psyche than anything else in the last couple of weeks. Hope you’re able to find something like that yourself.

Also, while compiling this post, I’ve been listening to Joe Pug’s second concert from his Social Distancing Tour. I’m wagering that most of you haven’t heard of Pug before, take this opportunity to address that lacuna (loved the whole thing, but my favorite song from this group is around the hour and 10-minute mark although I almost revised that with the next song).

Enough of that, on with the post:

Odds n ends about books and reading that caught my eye this week. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:
          bullet Bookstores Can Be Saved—Dave Eggers provides the rare serious McSweeney’s post
          bullet Get Shorty at 30: Dennis Lehane on Elmore Leonard’s Hollywood satire—Doesn’t get much better than Lehane, unless it’s Leonard. The former writing about Leonard, much less about Get Shorty? I could end this post right here and be satisfied.
          bullet The best $193 I ever spent: A mountain of detective fiction when my wife was pregnant—although this is almost just as good
          bullet Crime writer Don Winslow leaves Trump behind, mostly, for the California cool of novella collection Broken
          bullet New Ways to Organize Your Bookshelves
          bullet 100 Fairy Books That You Should Read Before You Die
          bullet Sci-Fi & Fantasy Authors Share Their 2020 TBRs—some good looking stuff here
          bullet Reading comprehension, reviews, and jerks—I stumbled onto this again this week, still fun (but man, so glad I don’t have to read people saying things like this about my work)
          bullet Take this (weirdly precise!) quiz to find out which fictional character’s personality matches yours.—a fun little time-killer
          bullet Bearded by J. Billups Book Report—a very cool video version of Billups’ Bearded (and, yes, I’m envious of the beard).
          bullet How I Became A Book Blogger—who doesn’t enjoy a good origin story?
          bullet What Makes a Book Blog Readable?

A Book-ish Related PodcastEpisode (or two) you might want to give a listen to:
          bullet Blood BrothersEpisode 2 Featuring Noelle Holten—a few crime authors being very silly (and some good book talk, too). The first episode is worth your time, too.

This Week's New Releasesthat I’m Excited About and/or You’ll Probably See Here Soon:
          bullet Curse the Day by Judith O’Reilly—the first, Michael North thriller, Killing State just rocked, can’t wait to find time to read this one. A conspiracy thriller featuring an AI and a great former-assassin protagonist.

LastlyI’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome tosandomina, LDW, and just_tommye for following the blog this week. Don’t be a stranger, and use that comment box, would you?

March 2020 in Retrospect: What I Read/Listened to/Wrote About

It’s hard with work right now, but given COVID-19, Sheltering at Home—and a (no kidding!) Earthquake in Idaho (of all places)—man, I need books to escape to and lose myself in. So I’m pretty glad that despite everything going on in the world and my life, I somehow managed to finish one more book than last month—18—with 4903+ pages (one was an Audible Original, so I have no idea what the page count would be) with an average rating of 3.94. I’m guessing that’s 500 pages less than Feb, even with the higher book count. Still, not too shabby.

So, anyway, here’s what happened here in March.Books Read

False Value The In Between Avenge the Dead
5 Stars 4 1/2 Stars 3 Stars
The Starr Sting Scale Everyday Prayer with John Calvin Dead Wrong
3.5 Stars 3 Stars 4 1/2 Stars
The K Team Joker The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
3.5 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars
The Awful Truth About the Sushing Prize The Immortal Conquistador Back to Reality
3.5 Stars 3.5 Stars 4 Stars
Smoke Bitten The Identity and Attributes of God With All Your Heart
4 Stars 5 Stars 4 Stars
Paradise Valley Mortal Stakes Funny, You Don't Look Autistic
3.5 Stars 5 Stars 3.5 Stars

Still Reading

Tom Jones Original Cover Institutes of Christian Religion vol 1 A Bad Day for Sunshine


5 Stars 3 2 1/2 Stars 0
4 1/2 Stars 2 2 Stars 0
4 Stars 5 1 1/2 Stars 0
3.5 Stars 6 1 Star 0
3 Stars 2
Average = 3.94

TBR Pile

Mt TBR Mar 20


“Traditionally” Published: 12
Self-/Independent Published: 6

Genre This Month Year to Date
Children’s 0 (0%) 1 (2%)
Fantasy 0 (0%) 7 (13%)
General Fiction/ Literature 0 (0%) 3 (6%)
Horror 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Humor 0 (0%) 1 (2%)
Mystery/ Suspense/ Thriller 9 (50%) 20 (37%)
Non-Fiction 1 (6%) 3 (6%)
Science Fiction 2 (11%) 5 (9%)
Steampunk 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Theology/ Christian Living 3 (17%) 4 (7%)
Urban Fantasy 3 (17%) 11 (20%)

Review-ish Things Posted

Other Things I Wroteotherwriting

Other than the Saturday Miscellanies (7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th ), I also wrote:

How was your month? I hope you are all safe, healthy and finding solace in something right now.

Saturday Miscellany—3/28/20

I wanted to start with that, because…man, that’s exactly where I am. (although I know not all of us book nerds can do that, I’m so sorry for them that their typical escape isn’t working–hope that passes than the crisis does).

Odds n ends about books and reading that caught my eye this week. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:
          bullet 8 Ways To Support Your Local Bookstore While Quarantining—3rd straight week that I’ve started with something like this, but at least this week it’s from a different source (and I’m not planning on stopping this streak…)
          bullet When Libraries Close, It Feels Like the End of the World
          bullet Digital Library Cards—My local library has started this, which is a great idea. Have yours been doing something similar? Or equally helpful?
          bullet How to Catalog Your Book Collection—I know at least one person who’s taken the opportunity of sheltering to tackle this project.
          bullet Quarantine Book Club: It’s been impossible for me to read lately. Then I got in the bathtub
          bullet The Guardian has some handy posts this week: Tackle that to-be-read pile: the books to try if you’re self-isolating: From Nora Ephron to Thomas Mann, here are 12 books to entertain, challenge and inspire if you’re confined at home due to Covid-19; Got 150 hours? Great audiobooks to listen to on lockdown; and Let’s move to Mars: the best books about our future in space (for those ready to get off this crazy planet)
          bullet As does Read it Forward: 9 Books to Escape Into While You’re Stuck at Home: As you’re practicing social distancing, we’ve got your quarantine reading list right here.
          bullet Reading YA Books May Increase Empathy and Integrity—I’ve read (and linked to) this claim for reading in general before, but this is the first time I’ve seen it focused on one type of reading.
          bullet Sorry, but “you read too much YA” isn’t an insult
          bullet How Do You Define Genres : SciFi, YA, Fantasy, etc.—Nunc hoc in marmore non est incisum
          bullet 6 books I had to be talked into reading (that I’m so very glad I read).
          bullet Hyped Books I’ll Never Read – Spring Cleaning My TBR
          bullet Congratulations, You’re Moving In With A Reader!—closing things off with a little bit of levity (like anyone’s moving in with anyone right now…)

This Week's New Releases that I’m Excited About and/or You’ll Probably See Here Soon:
          bullet The K Team by David Rosenfelt—the Andy Carptenter series has spun-off a promising new PI series I blogged about it last week.
          bullet The Last Human by Zack Jordan—a space opera about the last member of a species that the rest of the universe decided was too dangerous to be left alone.

Lastly I’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome to J.R.Spiker, Caffeinated Reviewer (my first non-p0rnbot follow from Bloglovin’ in months!!), Odah Ebubechukwu Nelson, ontheshelfbookblog, and Rajesh khanna for following the blog (in one format or another) this week. Don’t be a stranger, and use that comment box, would you?

WWW Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Hey, it’s the middle of the week, and I need to think about something other than work. Time for WWW Wednesday!

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived on Taking on a World of Words—and shown to me by Aurore-Anne-Chehoke at Diary-of-a-black-city-girl.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Easy enough, right?

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs and am listening to Back to Reality by Mark Stay & Mark Oliver, Kim Bretton (Narrator)—I might finish it today, but am not holding my breath.

What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished Carrie Vaughn’s The Immortal Conquistador.

What do you think you’ll read next?

My next book should be A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones (I’ve read very promising things about this one, and am really looking forward to it) and Paradise Valley by C. J. Box, Christina Delaine (Narrator) on audiobook.

Hit me with your Three W’s in the comments! (no, really, do it!)

Down the TBR Hole (3 of 24+)

Down the TBR Hole

This meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story—but Jenna at Bookmark Your Thoughts is the one that exposed me to this, and as my Goodreads “Want To Read” shelf is scarily long, I had to do this.

The Rules are simple:

  1. Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf
  2. Order on ascending date added.
  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  4. Read the synopses of the books.
  5. Decide: keep it or should it go?
  6. Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week! (or whenever)

What distinguishes this series from the Mt. TBR section of my Month-end Retrospectives? Those are books I actually own while Goodreads contains my aspirational TBR (many of which will be Library reads). The Naming of the two is a bit confusing, but…what’re you going to do?

Here we are with another 10 books to choose the fate of. I’m forcing myself to be ruthless with this project. Mostly. (I really don’t want to)

(Click on the cover for an official site or something with more info about the book)

Shall We Gather Shall We Gather by Alex Bledsoe
Blurb: “When one world brushes another, asking the right question can be magic…”
My Thoughts: That’s it. That’s the whole blurb. Which actually makes me really curious. Also, it’s in the Tufa series, so I have to read it.
Verdict: No brainer. Also, I bought it this weekend to force my hand.
Thumbs Up
The Guts The Guts by Roddy Doyle
My Thoughts: What is wrong with me. There’s a sequel to The Commitments that was published four years ago and I haven’t touched it? This has gotta end soon.
Verdict: Have to keep this.
Thumbs Up
Dogtripping Dogtripping: 25 Rescues, 11 Volunteers, and 3 RVs on Our Canine Cross-Country Adventure by David Rosenfelt
Blurb: Subtitle pretty much says it all.
My Thoughts: Rosenfelt talked about this some in his Lessons from Tara which was great, and made the book sound like a must-read.
Verdict: Rosenfelt + dogs? Duh.
Thumbs Up
Stay Stay by Allie Larkin
My Thoughts: I wish I remembered how this ended up on the list. Looks like a rom-com about a woman trying to get over a guy, so she buys a dog and then falls for the vet? Or something like that.
Verdict: Probably cute enough, but it’s not really speaking to me.
Thumbs Down
The Bastards and the Knives The Bastards and the Knives by Scott Lynch
My Thoughts: So apparently this book didn’t get published, plans changed, etc., etc.
Verdict: Seems pretty obvious, no?
Thumbs Down
Other People's Weddings Other People’s Weddings by Noah Hawley
Blurb: A romance between a wedding photographer and a caterer, exploring loss, recovery, and I’m guessing, love.
My Thoughts: A few years back, I decided I needed to read the Hawley novels that I’d missed. So that’s how this one ended up on the list. Would probably enjoy it, but I have to admit to myself that I’m just not interested enough to track it down.
Verdict: Sorry, Mr. Hawley.
Thumbs Down
The Punch The Punch by Noah Hawley
Blurb: Hawley’s version of This is Where I Leave You, but not as light?
Verdict: Again, I’d probably enjoy it, but I have to admit to myself that I’m just not interested enough to track it down.
Thumbs Down
Death Watc Death Watch by Jim Kelly
Blurb: The disappearance of one sibling is followed by the murder of another 18 years later. But what’s the connection?
My Thoughts: I remember really enjoying the interplay between DI Peter Shaw and DS George Valentine as they investigated the crime in the first novel. No idea why I didn’t continue.
Verdict: Gotta get on it.
Thumbs Up
What Fresh Hell Is This? Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This? by Marion Meade
Blurb: A biography of Dorothy Parker.
Verdict: ’nuff said. Why haven’t I read this yet?
Thumbs Up
The Rules for Disappearing The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston
Blurb: A YA novel about a teen daughter in Witness Protection with her father—who refuses to explain why they’re in the program.
My Thoughts: Intriguing concept—good enough/popular enough to justify a sequel, too.
Verdict: Intriguing, but not enough to get me to move forward.
Thumbs Down

Books Removed in this Post: 5 / 10
Total Books Removed: 12 / 240

That’s an average of 4 books per entry. That’s not going to trim this down too quickly if I don’t get stricter (still, 40% down is better than nothing).

Anyone out there read any of these books? Did I make the right call with any of them?

(Image by moritz320 from Pixabay)