Top 5 Tuesday – Top 5 Opening Lines

I love a good opening line. A solid opening paragraph or page is great, but an opening line that sells you on the next 200-500 pages? Magic. When I saw this list topic listed, these 5 jumped to mind—they may not be the best I’ve ever read, but they’re the most memorable.

(I tried, tried, tried to limit myself to the opening line, but I failed on a couple of them, couldn’t help myself.)

5 A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

I remember in our English class in High School when we were assigned this book, pretty much no one was interested. When Mr. Russo passed out the paperbacks, a few of us flipped it opened and read these first words—and suddenly we were open to the idea (didn’t last long for all of us, but that’s beside the point, we’re focused on the opening lines here). It’s stuck with me for almost 30 years, that’s gotta say something.

Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo….

Neuromancer by William Gibson

This sentence was love at first glance for me. Still love it. Naturally, no one knows what color this is referring to anymore.

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

Oft-parodied. Oft-imitated. Often-celebrated. Does it get better than this?

It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars.

Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

Why bother saying anything here?

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

I’ll go on and on about this book next week, so I’ll just keep my trap shut here. But man…there was something about these lines that got into my blood.

Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.

Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

Down the TBR Hole (5 of 24+)

Down the TBR Hole

Round 5 of this series…there were a couple I bounced back and forth on (to the good of one and the ill of another). There’s a couple of these that I’d really like to read, but I know I’m not going into it. At this point, I’ve looked at 50 books so far and have now cut about 10% of the total list, I’d hoped for more, but it’s a decent start.

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?

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

Chump Change Chump Change by G.M. Ford
Blurb: “Hearing a dying stranger call you by name would leave anyone full of questions. When it happens to private eye Leo Waterman, the more he learns about the late lottery winner’s rags-to-riches-to-ruination life, the more he wants not just answers but justice. That means a road trip to Idaho to find out how a good-hearted young man with millions got skinned–in more ways than one.”
My Thoughts: Why haven’t I read it yet? Honestly, this is the only one in the series my library doesn’t own, and when it came time for me to read this one, I was in a book-buying freeze. I’ll fix that soon.
Verdict: Nunc hoc in marmore non est incisum
Thumbs Up
The Prince of Venice Beach The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson
Blurb: A homeless teen runaway teams with a PI to help find a missing teen.
My Thoughts: Don’t remember how this ended up on my radar…just not seeing the appeal.
Thumbs Down
Nice Dragons Finish Last Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron
Blurb: “As the smallest dragon in the Heartstriker clan, Julius survives by a simple code: keep quiet, don’t cause trouble, and stay out of the way of bigger dragons. But this meek behavior doesn’t fly in a family of ambitious magical predators, and his mother, Bethesda the Heartstriker, has finally reached the end of her patience. Now, sealed in human form and banished to the DFZ – a vertical metropolis built on the ruins of Old Detroit – Julius has one month to prove he can be a ruthless dragon or kiss his true shape goodbye forever. But in a city of modern mages and vengeful spirits where dragons are considered monsters to be exterminated, he’s going to need some serious help to survive this test. He only hopes humans are more trustworthy than dragons….”
My Thoughts: I got the audiobook forever ago in an Audible sale. It’s the only audiobook I own that I haven’t listened to. Has to be done (if only to flatline that part of my Mt. TBR chart)
Thumbs Up
Bad Move Bad Move by Linwood Barclay
Blurb: “Bad Move introduces Linwood’s reluctant hero, Zack Walker, a science fiction writer and perpetually worried father who moves his family from the dangerous city to the peaceful suburbs, and runs headlong into the law of unintended consequence. The Walker family’s change of scene doesn’t bring about tranquility, but it does introduce them to political corruption, a marijuana-growing operation, the neighborhood dominatrix, and murder.”
My Thoughts: This sounds like a lot of fun. I’d probably be easily convinced to add this back to the list. But for now…don’t have time.
Thumbs Down
What Might Have Been What Might Have Been by Matt Dunn
Blurb: “…romantic comedy about two people in love. Though one of them needs a little convincing…”
My Thoughts: Have enjoyed Dunn’s work before, and am trying to read more of this kind of thing–books where no one is killing people make me feel a little better about life (not that I’m planning on stopping the other stuff anytime soon)
Thumbs Up
The Question of Canon The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate by Michael J. Kruger
Blurb: “Unlike many books written on the emergence of the New Testament canon that ask “when?” or “how?” Kruger focuses this work on the “why?”―exposing weaknesses in the five major tenets of the extrinsic model as he goes. While The Question of Canon scrutinizes today’s popular scholastic view, it also offers an alternative concept to lay a better empirical foundation for biblical canon studies.”
My Thoughts: I’m a giant fan of Kruger’s work (at least the stuff that’s affordable and approachable for non-scholars), gotta get around to this one.
Thumbs Up
Only The Good Die Young Only The Good Die Young by Chris Marie Green
Blurb: An urban fantasy focusing on a ghost PI
My Thoughts: I oringally added this one to make sure my (then) planned ghost novel didn’t get too close to it. But then I never got around to drafting that, and well…yeah. That’s that.
Thumbs Down
Canary Canary by Duane Swierczynski
Blurb: A college student forced to become a Confidential Informant for a cop too eager to make a bust becomes a target for killers and crooked cops.
Thumbs Down
The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81 The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81 by J.B. Morrison
Blurb: A home help caregiver helps an elderly man learn how to enjoy life again.
My Thoughts: It just seems like I’ve read too many books along these lines lately (which may contradict what I said earlier about the Dunn book–and probably does).
Thumbs Down
Bleed Like Me Bleed Like Me by Cath Staincliffe
Blurb: The second Scott and Bailey novel. Really don’t need to know more.
My Thoughts: This is a no-brainer. Just gotta find the time.
Thumbs up

Books Removed in this Post: 5 / 10
Total Books Removed: 23 / 240

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

(Image by moritz320 from Pixabay)

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

Well, this is more like it: 25 titles, 7290+ pages (there was one e-short story that I didn’t get a page count on)—three thousand more than March. My average rating for the month was 3.56, which isn’t exactly my goal—but it still means I enjoyed just about everything I consumed. I’ve made a more concerted effort to make time to read over the last couple of weeks—and it seems to be paying off.

As with just about every person on the planet, I have no idea what the next month is really going to look like for me day-to-day (and I’m not sure I could tell you what it was like the last month…), so I’m not going to pretend to have an idea what I’ll be reading/writing about. We’ll see, right?

So, here’s what happened here in April.
Books Read

Heartless A Bad Day for Sunshine The Time Traveler's Guide to Dating
3 Stars 4 1/2 Stars 3 Stars
Ice We Begin at the End Cheater's Game
2 1/2 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars
The Poop Diaries Alive Caliban's War
3 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars
The Identity Thief Fake Truth The Oracle Code
3.5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars
Bethlehem's Brothers An Unwelcome Quest Apex Predator
3 Stars 3.5 Stars 4 Stars
TITLE Grudge Match The Sword-Edged Blonde
4 Stars 3.5 Stars 4 Stars
Song of Songs The Misadventures of Nero Wolfe Of Honey and Wildfires
3.5 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.5 Stars
Demon Born Magics Stardust
3 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars
Promised Land
5 Stars

Still Reading

Tom Jones Original Cover Institutes of Christian Religion vol 1 King of the Crows
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness


5 Stars 1 2 1/2 Stars 1
4 1/2 Stars 1 2 Stars 0
4 Stars 8 1 1/2 Stars 0
3.5 Stars 6 1 Star 0
3 Stars 8
Average = 3.56

TBR Pile
Mt TBR January 20

“Traditionally” Published: 14
Self-/Independent Published: 11

Genre This Month Year to Date
Children’s 0 (0%) 1 (1%)
Fantasy 4 (16%) 11 (14%)
General Fiction/ Literature 2 (8%) 5 (6%)
Horror 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Humor 0 (0%) 1 (1%)
Mystery/ Suspense/ Thriller 10 (40%) 30 (38%)
Non-Fiction 1 (4%) 4 (5%)
Science Fiction 3 (12%) 8 (10%)
Steampunk 1 (4%) 1 (1%)
Theology/ Christian Living 2 (8%) 6 (8%)
Urban Fantasy 4 (21%) 13 (16%)
Western 0 (0%) 0 (0%)

Review-ish Things Posted

Other Things I Wroteotherwriting
Other than the Saturday Miscellanies (4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th)

How was your month?

Down the TBR Hole (4 of 24+)

Down the TBR Hole

What’s the fourth round of this going to look like?

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?

I didn’t expect that I’d be as wordy as I have been in the first three posts, but this installment being as succinct as it ended up being really was unexpected. I can’t imagine that will continue in the future, concise ain’t how I roll…

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

Turn Around Bright Eyes Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love & Karaoke by Rob Sheffield
Blurb: A follow-up to Love Is a Mix Tape, which crushed me, Sheffield’s account of falling in love and his wife’s death through mix tapes. This is about him moving on via karaoke.
My Thoughts: There’s no reason for me to have jumped on this 7 years ago. Shame on me.
Verdict: Gotta get on it.
Thumbs Up
The Iggy Chronicles, Volume One The Iggy Chronicles, Volume One by Spencer Quinn
Blurb: It’s a short story where Chet’s neighbor and pal, Iggy, is the hero.
My Thoughts: I wasn’t crazy about the two Chet & Bernie shorts that I’ve read, but they weren’t bad. I should probably just do it. Besides, Iggy’s fun.
Thumbs Up
Wounded Prey Wounded Prey by Sean Lynch
Blurb: A retired cop gets one more chance at the serial killer he couldn’t put away years before.
My Thoughts: I don’t remember how this popped up on my radar back in ’13, looks okay, but I read enough like this already, without remembering what originally drew this to me, I’ll probably just let it go.
Thumbs Down
Doctor Who: Eleven Doctors, Eleven Stories Doctor Who: Eleven Doctors, Eleven Stories by Various Authors
Blurb: This was released back for the 50th anniversary with one story per doctor, each by a different author.
My Thoughts: I really dig some of these authors and seeing them take on The Doctor still sounds like fun.
Verdict: Nunc hoc in marmore non est incisum
Thumbs Up
The Dark of Deep Below The Dark of Deep Below by Patrick Rothfuss
My Thoughts: I’ve been trying to get my hands on this since I read the first Princess and Mr. Whiffle, it’s just hard to find (and pricey). But still, it’d be a blast to read.
Thumbs Up
The Neighbor The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner
My Thoughts: In the short story I read about D. D. Warren, I really liked her. I like her character in the first two novels, but we spent far too much time with Bobby Dodge in both of those. If I knew he wasn’t around, I’d probably have read this by now.
Verdict: I’ll delete it, but may end up revising that decision later.
Thumbs Down
Love is a Canoe Love is a Canoe by Ben Schrank

The author of a classic self-help guide to love and relationships, Peter Herman has won the hearts of romantics and cynics alike. But decades have passed since Marriage Is a Canoe was published and a recently widowed Peter begins to question his own advice.

Much to his chagrin, he receives a call from Stella Petrovic, an ambitious young editor in New York City who forces him to reconsider his life’s work, not to mention the full force of his delusions. The book’s fiftieth anniversary is approaching, and Petrovic has devised a contest to promote the new edition. The prize? The chance for the winning couple—a pair of outwardly happy Brooklynites named Emily and Eli—to save their relationship by spending a weekend with the reclusive author.

If Peter is going to help the contest’s winners, he must discover what he meant when he wrote Marriage Is a Canoe—and also find a way for himself to love again…

Verdict: I’d probably like it, but at this point…eh, I’ve got enough on my plate.
Thumbs Down

Judgment Calls Judgment Calls by Alafair Burke
Blurb: Burke’s debut about a prosecutor on a mission who uncovers a lot more than she bargained for.
Verdict: Same as the above–Burke’s a sold writer, this is probably good. But I just don’t have the time, nixing this bugs me more than the rest.
Thumbs Down
The Case of the Missing Books The Case of the Missing Books by Ian Sansom

Israel Armstrong is a passionate soul, lured to Ireland by the promise of an exciting new career. Alas, the job that awaits him is not quite what he had in mind. Still, Israel is not one to dwell on disappointment, as he prepares to drive a mobile library around a small, damp Irish town. After all, the scenery is lovely, the people are charming—but where are the books? The rolling library’s 15,000 volumes have mysteriously gone missing, and it’s up to Israel to discover who would steal them . . . and why. And perhaps, after that, he will tackle other bizarre and perplexing local mysteries—like, where does one go to find a proper cappuccino and a decent newspaper?

Verdict: Seems charming, I guess? I’m sure this is a fun read, I wish I had a clue what put it on my radar.
Thumbs Down

Phoenix Island Phoenix Island by John Dixon

No phones. No television. No internet. No escape.

When his defense of a helpless classmate lands sixteen-year-old boxing champion Carl Freeman in real trouble – a two-year sentence at an isolated boot camp for orphans – he’s determined to tough it out, earn a clean record, and get on with his life.

Then kids start to die.

Realizing Phoenix Island is actually a mercenary training facility turning “throwaway children” into super soldiers, Carl risks everything to save his friends and stop a madman bent on global destruction.

Verdict: Say what?
Thumbs Down

Books Removed in this Post: 6 / 10
Total Books Removed: 18 / 240

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

(Image by moritz320 from Pixabay)

Top 5 Saturday: Sibling Relationships

Top 5 Saturday Sibling Relationships

The Top 5 Saturday weekly meme was created by Amanda at Devouring Books.


  • Share your top 5 books of the current topic—these can be books that you want to read, have read and loved, have read and hated, you can do it any way you want.
  • Tag the original post (This one!)
  • Tag 5 people (I probably won’t do this bit, play along if you want)

This week’s topic is: Sibling Relationships. If the Weasley family doesn’t immediately spring to mind once you think about siblings, there might be something broken in your mind—ditto for the Pevensies. But I wouldn’t let myself use them. The more I wrote in this list, the more relationships came to mind that I don’t have space for–that’s very annoying (a lot of fun, too), I hate to leave some of these off. I don’t know why I didn’t grab sibling relationships that are more than a pair (the aforementioned groups, the Spellmans or Tropper’s Altmans would’ve worked)—I’m assuming it’s because I had one sibling myself, so I tend to think of pairs rather than 3+?

Sibling relationships are tricky to depict—they’re all a little different, but there are some typical aspects. There’s a shared history (even if individuals react pretty differently to them, and remember them differently); jealousy/rivalry—usually tempered by some sort of affection and loyalty; usually a bit of reflexive self-sacrifice (frequently malgré lui); and a kind of honesty you don’t get from anyone else.

Raistlin and Caramon Majere

from: Dragonlance Chronicles, Dragonlance Legends
Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman

This is the first sibling relationship that really sticks out at me (post-juvenile fiction, anyway). They need each other (in healthy and unhealthy ways), but really don’t like each other. There’s a love and a bond that’s nigh-unbreakable, don’t get me wrong, but man…Raistlin treats his brother like trash. I remember regularly being so upset with him for that (and a little bit now just thinking about it), but Caramon keeps coming back for it. He never gives up on his twin. Even when—especially when—he absolutely should. It’s a nuanced and complex relationship and is likely one that I judge many other fictional representations by.

Side note: I really need to re-read the first couple of Dragonlance trilogies.

Jack and Jill Wolcott

from: Wayward Children
Seanan McGuire

(art by Rovina Cai)
While I do wonder if McGuire had come back to this well one time too many in this series, there’s clearly something about this fractured relationship (huh, another set of twins, with one more to come…didn’t mean to do that) that clearly resonates with readers and the author. If there’s anything healthy in their relationship when we first meet them, it’s gone by the most recent volume—but they’re the textbook definition of inextricably linked. To their detriment, yes, but that’s beside the point. Fascinating pair.

Scout and Jem Finch

from: To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee

Scout worships her brother (doesn’t stop her from being frustrated with him frequently) and Jem’s clearly devoted and protective of her. I’ve loved reading about these two since I first met them in Mme. Dobbs’ English class* in high school and I’ll probably love it for the rest of my life. They’re not ideal, but they’re pretty close.

* she also taught my French class, so I reflexively think of her with that title)

Doug and Clair Parker

from: How to Talk to a Widower
Jonathan Tropper

Alas, I don’t have a picture of them—Tropper doesn’t inspire a lot of fan art. Yeah, Doug and Clair’s relationship echoes any number of the sibling relationships in Topper’s work. This is honestly the first pair that jumped to mind when I compiled this list. The honesty, the humor, the prodding/pushing, and care between the two is one of the best parts of this novel (probably my favorite of his). Great interplay between the two. Neither Doug or Clair remind me of my sister or myself individually, but for some reason, their relationship made me think about our relationship.

Harry Dresden and Thomas Wraith

from: Dresden Files
Jim Butcher

(art by Mika-Blackfield)
Sure, these two weren’t aware of each other for most of their lives, so their shared history has only to do with their mother. Still, the bond, the love, the loyalty that everyone thinks of when it comes to brothers is perfectly depicted with these two. They’re probably my favorite sibling pair that’re still being written about—I just hope they both survive ’til the end.

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.

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.