BW52: 2022 Year End Wrap Up!

Wow. It's week 52 in our 52 books quest and it seems like this year just flew by.  My reading year was a mixture of new reads and rereads. I had a plan at the beginning of the year and was pretty good with writing some reviews until about mid year, then meandered completely off the path. 

My goal at the beginning of the year was to read and whittle down my physical stack.  I read a total of 160 of which 42 were physical books and 10 were over 500 pages.  I finished updating goodreads but their numbers and mine don't agree and I'm not quite sure what's up with that. 

I was good and read only from my physical and virtual stacks, and stuck to my buying ban until June. Then I went off the rails, especially by the end of the year. 2023 buying ban is now officially in force.  

Category breakdown's, (Not including entire series): Fantasy (17), Books about books (14), Science Fiction (11), Romance (11), Mystery (9), historical fiction (8), Thrillers (7), and police procedurals (6).   Included in those numbers are 26 new to me authors. 

Discovered that over the past few years I'd started several series, but not at the beginning, but somewhere in the middle, and I'm not sure how that happened. I'm a series completionist so once I discovered that, I ended up reading them from start to finish.  The series included:  

Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak (20) 
Devon Monk's Ordinary Magic (6)
Drew Hayes Super Powereds (4)
Ilona Andrews Hidden Legacy (3)
Keri Arthur's Lizzie Grace (9) 
Louise Penny's Armand Gamache (18)
M.L. Buchman's Miranda Chase (11)
Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter (15)

I started the year with Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel which I adored and was not a book to speed through. The story was complex and I read it in small sips, finding there were phrases and images which stuck with me. Quotes I wanted to save of Cromwell’s wit, reactions of his family, his thoughts pebbled throughout from childhood to adulthood.  

The read that stuck with me as well was Stabenow's Kate Shugak which not only pitted the characters against the elements, but involved mysteries as well as the politics and culture of Alaska and native Alaskans. I was totally emersed for a full month. It had all the feels and ran the gamut of emotions from surprise to tears to laughter to anger. 

Another entertaining series was M.L. Buchman's Miranda Chase series which was about an autistic woman who worked for the NTSB solving airplane crashes for the military mainly. The story delved into how her autistic nature affected her working and personal relationships and how she learned to handle them.

The story and character that made me want to live in their world was The Choice, part of  Nora Robert's Dragon Heart Legacy series which was set in Ireland. I loved all the characters and the fact there was a portal to fairy right next door to her house. Oh, and the dragons, of course. LOL! 

Michael Chabon's Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay left me with a book hangover and the feeling of having read and excuse the pun, an amazing, yet exhausting adventure.

In The Bookshop at Water's End, everyone down to the children had baggage of some sort and it was an emotional story which I usually wouldn't enjoy but the writing was so well done, it pulled me into the characters lives, rooting for them all the way. 

N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season was a dark story, but  oh my f''ing God, it was so good. The theme of slavery was pervasive through out the story, child were hated because of their ability to control the land, and unfortunately they were abused and or killed because of it.  The story was so well written and the author very bluntly showed the reader what was happening, without getting preachy.  There were several twists and turns and of course the story didn't end. It will be continued in the Obelisk Gate, which I have on the shelves for the new year.

I loved the cast of characters in Louise Penny's Armand Gamache series with the mystery playing out in the midst of some personal crisis, how they solved the crime. After a while the descriptors attached to some of the characters got a little old but other than that, each story's killer was unique. There were enough surprises and red herrings to throw every one off.

In Faith Hunter's Final Heir, the last book in her Jane Yellowrock series, there are so many moments. Moments that made me sad, moments that were so powerful. Moments that were amusing or scary.

Elizabeth Bear's Ancestral Night sucked me in and I had a book hangover when I finished.   My mind so full from the vastness of outer space and all that happened and I had to sit with the story for a little bit as it as was a very complex story involving philosophical, cultural, political, and psychological themes.  

Drew Hayes Super Powered series was a great series and however much I'd like to compare it to Harry Potter, there really was no comparison. The characters were college age kids, each with a special super power, no wands, who learned how to use their powers amidst the angst of college and real life battles. It will be well worth reading again. 

I had so many book hangovers this year.  LOL! 

Attica Lock's Bluebird, Bluebird was a disappointment and depressing because for a law abiding Ranger, he drank too much, suffered from black outs, didn't always follow the rules or the laws, and got himself into hot water. 

One book that I think everyone should read?  So so hard to choose just one but if  have to it would be Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak's A Cold Day for Murder. If you enjoy the first one, then get ready for a ride because you'll want to read them all.  

So many good books and I know I leaving something out. One of my goals for next year is to not fade mid year and at least try to write a mini review of each read so I can remember why I enjoyed it so much.  

Merry Christmas!


BW51: Wintertime


Happy Sunday! it's week 51 in our 52 books quest and Wintertime is upon us with the December Solstice.  Whilst we're preparing for Christmas and enjoying hot toddies by the fire, it's Summer in the Southern Hemisphere (those lucky dawgs), and folks are enjoying fruity rum drinks on the beach. 

For some reason, I've been in a winter mood all year long, indulging in reads set in frigid cold settings, characters braving the elements, all the while falling in love, finding killers, solving mysteries, or simply exploring.   I discovered a new to me series this year in Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak series which is 22 books long but well worth reading.  Once I started reading, couldn't stop.   

I finally dove into Katherine Addison's the Goblin Emperor and enjoying the heck out of it. Feel sorry for Maia but he's trying. 

I think my winter read will be Vinge's Snow Queen. Another dusty books that I'm finally ready to dive into. 

Dad gave me a big fat check for my birthday and this year I've spent it all on myself for once.   I've been adding oodles of books to my physical and virtual stacks in anticipation of my new year's buying ban. I may have gone overboard.  LOL! My will power is gone. Buying ban may be going into affect a few days early.  I start the year with absolutely nothing on my amazon wishlist in order to avoid impulse shopping. But of course it starts to get quite long by the end of May.  Don’t know if I saving money that way or just fooling myself, but it works. Most of the time.

BW50: Creativity and Books on the Nightstand


It's book week 50 in our 52 Books quest and our last 52 Books Bingo Category for the year is Creativity, my favorite subject. It's time to unleash your inner Creativity

Creativity takes all shapes and forms from the physical to the intellectual, from the deliberate to the spontaneous.  Whether you have a creative mind or creative hands, there are a wide variety of ways to be creative and things highly creative people do differently.   What is the difference between Artistic and Creative ability?   And then there is Creative Leadership Lessons from Star Trek.    What do you think? 

15 Books About Creativity to Get You Out of a Creative Rut.  One book I revisit over and over is The Artist Way by Julia Cameron which unlocked my imagination. 

Creativity books added to my shelves to read through out next year:

Another Julia Cameron - Write for Life: Creative Tools for Every Writer (A 6-Week Artist's Way Program), and  Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici’s Creativity Unleashed: A Woman's Guide to Unlock Flow and Finally Finish Creative Projects Every Day. 

Finished Louise Penny’s The World of Curiosities which was quite good which included the origin story of how Gamache met Beauvoir and brought him into the surete. How that origin story ties an old mystery and a new mystery together. A few red herrings are thrown in along with some vague clues, a few twists and turns, and it made for interesting reading.

The next book up is Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke 

"When it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules -- a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about growing up black in the lone star state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home.

When his allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he travels up Highway 59 to the small town of Lark, where two murders -- a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman -- have stirred up a hornet's nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes -- and save himself in the process -- before Lark's long-simmering racial fault lines erupt. From a writer and producer of the Emmy winning Fox TV show Empire, Bluebird, Bluebird is a rural noir suffused with the unique music, color, and nuance of East Texas."

James M's review of IDW Sonic issue 55


We're back, IDW Sonic's 55th issue has arrived and the fifth year of IDW Sonic is fast approaching as the year comes to an end. Plus, the story of Surge and Kit continues and, boy, it is intense with Eggman in the picture. In fact, he's teamed up with the heroes by the end of this one. 

Evan Stanley is knocking it out of the park, who cares about IDW Sonic's flaws and the lack of certain characters, the comic is performing well and its worth as Archie Sonic's successor has been solidified further. 

My thoughts on this?

The issue is fantastic, 10.5, the writing team is delivering real good and we fans keep scoring victories in many arenas one after another despite certain setbacks in some. Surge and Kit are really good villains just as Tangle and Whisper are cool characters. In fact, when are we gonna get these guys in the games. C'mon, SEGA, have 'em appear in Speed Battle and Dash like you did with Tangle and Whisper. Are they not as popular as them?

Tangent aside, I once again salute the IDW team and this comic deserves all the love and recognition as long as it keeps going since SEGA doesn't recognize defunct spin-offs due to their desire to always move forward. See you later!

-James M

James M's review of IDW Sonic: Scrapnik Island Issue 2 and Tails' 30th Anniversary Special

Welcome back, Sonic squad.
We have two Sonic comics, the second issue of Scrapnik Island and the Tails' 30th Anniversary Special, the latter of which is quite interesting to see at a time when it appears that Classic and Modern Sonic are merging back into one at last. Yes, Ian Flynn confirmed that SEGA has eliminated the Classic-Modern split just like with the two worlds canon nonsense. Y'know what this might mean?


In fact, Scrapnik Island's the perfect start to the reunification of Classic and Modern, especially since Classic Badniks like Mecha Sonic appear to serve as the villain.
Issue two continues the story that started in the first with Sonic and Tails getting to know the Scrapniks and they eventually encounter Mecha Knuckles from the Advance games, who eventually attacks Sonic. Mecha Sonic fights him and, while he ends up beating him, his original programming kicks in and he now has Sonic at his mercy as the issue ends.

Then we go over to the Tails story here.
It's basically a follow-up to Sonic 3D Blast and Tails' Skypatrol where Sonic and Tails visit Flicky Island from the former and deal with Witchcart from the latter. That's right, Witchcart, Wendy Witchcart, is finally back... in the Classic era anyway. Ian and the IDW got special permission from SEGA to use her in the story, they are strict after all and everything goes through SOA, Sonic Team and the Japanese branch. And no, Sonic Team is NOT the main authority, SEGA of Japan is, ST is there to help ensure that things are on brand and they too have to follow the rules.

Anyway, what did I think of both issues.
Scrapnik Island issue two, AWESOME! Great action, amazing plot, stunning artwork all around. Horror stories can be pretty cool, especially if they are done in a family-friendly way. The Mummy (1999) is technically a family-friendly horror movie, so too were the classic 30s and 40s monster movies. My score for it is a 9.5. 
The Tails story? Classic Sonic may be overused and old hat, but it was very entertaining and Sonic commenting on grinding the rales is how he will do so in the Modern era, this is helped by how the split has finally ended. 10/10, yep, I gave a Classic era story a ten.

Now, its time to breathe until the next big Sonic event.

Bye, folks!

A Hard day for a Hangover, Seven Days in June, and One Day all make for an interesting combination


Thought that would get your attention!  LOL! 

The third and final book in Darynda Jones Sunshine Vicram series came out called A Hard Day for a Hangover which has some laugh out loud funny moments. 

“Some people greet the day with open arms. Sheriff Sunshine Vicram would rather give it a hearty shove and get back into bed, because there’s just too much going on right now. There’s a series of women going missing, and Sunny feels powerless to stop it. There’s her persistent and awesomely-rebellious daughter Auri, who’s out to singlehandedly become Del Sol’s youngest and fiercest investigator. And then there’s drama with Levi Ravinder—the guy she’s loved and lusted after for years. The guy who might just be her one and only. The guy who comes from a family of disingenuous vipers looking to oust him—and Sunshine—for good.  Like we said, the new day can take a hike.”

Now that I've finished Hard Day for a Hangover, I want to go back and reread the trilogy in order.

Picked up and read Seven Days in June by Tia Williams which was quite good. Two very flawed, dysfunctional characters meet again after 15 years. Can they make a dysfunctional relationship into  a healthy one.

“Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling erotica writer who is feeling pressed from all sides. Shane Hall is a reclusive, enigmatic, award-winning novelist, who, to everyone’s surprise, shows up in New York.

When Shane and Eva meet unexpectedly at a literary event, sparks fly, raising not only their buried traumas, but the eyebrows of the Black literati. What no one knows is that fifteen years earlier, teenage Eva and Shane spent one crazy, torrid week madly in love. While they may be pretending not to know each other, they can’t deny their chemistry—or the fact that they’ve been secretly writing to each other in their books through the years.

Over the next seven days, amidst a steamy Brooklyn summer, Eva and Shane reconnect—but Eva’s wary of the man who broke her heart, and wants him out of the city so her life can return to normal. Before Shane disappears though, she needs a few questions answered…”

Williams recommended One Day by David Nichols as one of the books that inspired her writing, so that one is in the stacks now.

I'm enamored with the Queen Consort's The Reading Room where she talks about books, books, and more books. She picks four books a season which I think is a quarter and has a readalong with background and historical videos by the author. Her choices are  rather eclectic and it was just announced on Instagram the next season will start on Jan 13th and includes Labyrinth by Kate Mosse, Mrs 'Harris Goes To Paris by Paul Gallico. The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye, and Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead.  Which I just happen to have in my TBR pile.  Looking forward to reading along with the Queen consort.  

BW49: Plans for 2023


It's cold and rainy and we're tucked up, nice and cozy with books and family. The best place to be, whether it be physically or virtually.  Thanks to Sandy and Amy we've had a grand year, going on a crime spree.  It's week 49 in our 52 Books Quest and we talking December's Crime Spree recommendations. 

I’ve got my eyes are bigger than my stomach syndrome because I want to read all Sandy and Amy’s recommendations.  Think I’ll start with Water like a Stone, now in my virtual stacks and look forward to reading it this month.

Currently reading Nora Robert’s The Choice and love the characters and the storyline. Makes me want to live in Ireland and maybe by chance find a portal to the other side. 😊

Waiting on the nightstand is the newest Armand Gamache story, A World of Curiosities. I’m going to check out the first episode of Three Pines on Amazon Prime, think of it as a mystery series separated from the books,  and see how I like it. 

Saturday night, we watched Willow, the original 80's movie which James watched for the first time and greatly enjoyed. 

I've been planning for 2023 and combined with 52 Books Bingo and A to Z and Back Again, I'm going to attempt to read more nonfiction, as well as do another 10 x 10 all from my TBR virtual and physical stacks, quite a few which are dusty and/or chunky while extending my ban buying through the first half of the year.   

1001 Books Before You Die 

Baby It's Cold Outside 

Books about Books 

It's a Crime

Flights of Fantasy 

Tales of the Past 


Magical Realism

What a Mystery 

Thrills and Chills 

I usually start the year with a chunky and dusty book, so I'm contemplating whether I want to try again with Sharon Kay Penman's When Christ and Her Saints slept, since I didn't finish it this year. It got dumped by the wayside pretty quickly which was a shame.  I may attempt Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged or dive back into Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall series with Bring Up the Bodies,  and Mirror & the Light. 

BW49: December, December.


Hello December! We are on week 49 in our 52 Books quest and it's time to wrap up our Crime Spree with an assortment of recommendations.  I’ve got my eyes are bigger than my stomach syndrome because I want to read all Sandy and Amy’s recommendations.  Think I’ll start with Water like a Stone, now in my virtual stacks and look forward to reading it this month.

I've also decided it's time to hang up my hosting shoes, retired 52 books on WTM and let someone else take the helm. Especially since I've taken over Life and Liturgy and it's so much more work than expected.  The ladies actually expect me to talk more than I have been. LOL!  The internet somehow let's my introverted self be more extroverted online.  

Currently reading Nora Robert’s The Choice and love the characters and the storyline. Makes me want to live in Ireland and maybe by chance find a portal to the other side. 😊

Waiting on the nightstand is the newest Armand Gamache story, A World of Curiosities. I’m going to check out the first episode of Three Pines on Amazon Prime, think of it as a mystery series separated from the books,  and see how I like it. 

Tonight we watched Willow, the original 80's movie which James watched for the first time and greatly enjoyed. 

BW48: Best of for 2022


It's book week 48 in our 52 books quest and It's that time of year when all the best of the best 2022 book lists are popping up.   According to the Chinese zodiac 2023 is going to be the Year of the Rabbit, which is great for me since we all know how much I get lost following rabbit trails and jumping down rabbit holes on the internet.  

I'm resisting the urge to buy at the moment, adding books that sound interesting or intriguing to my wish list, and will revisit them later, rather than impulse buy.  My kindle is full of books that I look at and wonder what was I thinking.  But then again, I have a broad assortment to choose from, whatever my mood. I'll read them in the end, eventually. 

You'd think I'd be tired of reading about Kate Shugak and Alaska by now, but I'm not and currently on #19 Restless in the Grave.  I have the last three books in my virtual stacks to finish by the end of the year and  #23 Not the Dead ones will be released April 13, 2023.  

#19 Alaska aviation entrepreneur Finn Grant died in the fiery crash of his Piper Super Cub. Someone sabotaged his engine, and virtually everyone in southwestern Alaska has a motive, including his betrayed wife, his bullied children, and Liam's wife, bush pilot Wyanet Chouinard. With few places to turn, Liam asks his former mentor Niniltna post commander Sergeant Jim Chopin, for help, and Jim quickly brings Kate onto the case.

Working undercover as—of all things—a waitress at Bill's Bar and Grill, Kate learns over beer and burgers that Grant's business had expanded meteorically over the last two years. After buying the closed Air Force base south of town from the federal government at a bargain-basement price, he became a fixed-base operator running his fishing, hunting, and flight-seeing business, servicing planes flying through the area, and most interestingly and lucratively, getting into the air freight business. But what kind of freight was he moving, and where?

The answers involve Kate in her most challenging case to date, one that starts with murder and quickly sprawls into a much larger conspiracy ranging from the darkest family secrets to treason and beyond."

Nora Robert's The Choice, #3 in her dragon heart series has arrived and is waiting in the wings. 

We watched Hidden Figures: the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race tonight which was excellent, heart wrenching, and inspirational at the same time.  Looking forward to reading the book. 

Birthday Jolabokaflod

On today’s agenda is clean the oven. A dirty job but someone’s got to do it. Hee hee!

Jolabokaflod came early as my family gifted me with lots of books for my birthday yesterday!  James was excited Hidden Figures is also a movie so that’s what we’ll be watching this weekend for movie night.

We had a wonderful prime rib dinner and a delicious private label wine made and gifted to us by one of our customers. I’m a wine snob and usually stick to French wines because California wines cause headaches, hot flashes, stuffiness, and runny eyes. However, we decided to give this one a try and it was delicious. No hangover, no after affects. They did something right and it was very similar to a St. Emilion from the Bordeaux region. We’ll have to send him a thank you note. Sexy label.

BW47: Happy Thanksgiving


Happy Sunday! Did you know today is absurdity day, - do something silly. The 21st is World Hello day, - go out and say hello to people. The 22nd is Go for a Ride day, - take some time to explore.  The 23rd is National Espresso day - fix yourself a fabulous cup. The 24th is Thanksgiving so eat lots of turkey. The 25th is either Black Friday or Buy nothing day -  do or don’t, it’s up to you. Whispers – go buy lots of things.  *wink* 

On to #15 A Deeper Sleep in the Kate Shugak series. 

"Kate, a private investigator, has been working on a case for the Anchorage District Attorney involving the murder of a young woman by her husband, a man named Louis Deem. Deem has been the subject of investigations before, and he's never been convicted of a crime. But Kate and state trooper Jim Chopin, who arrested Deem, are convinced that this time it's different, and he'll finally be punished for his actions.

When the jury returns a verdict of not guilty, Kate and Jim are devastated, and like the rest of the citizens of Niniltna, Alaska, certain that a man has gotten away with murder. They can't help but think that it's only a matter of time before he's in the frame for another killing. Sure enough, a few weeks later a shooting leaves two dead in an apparent robbery. But this time Kate and Jim have a witness, and they're not going to let Louis Deem get away again. Or will he?"

Looking forward to # 3 in Nora Robert's Dragon Heart Legacy series, The Choice: The Dragon Heart coming out on Tuesday.

James M's review of IDW Sonic issue 54


Sorry I took a long time, fellow fans, but here is my review of issue 54 of IDW Sonic.

The story?

Oh boy, it is intense AF, especially when Kit finds that Surge is alive and rejoins her while Sonic is fighting the latter before the former arrives. And on top of that, Surge is dealing with hallucinations of the recently deceased Doctor Starline near the end of the story before Kit comforts her. 

Wow, ok, here are my thoughts in this relatively short review.

The issue wasn't half-bad, the writing is so way past cool to the limit, the game characters and the comic originals interact so nicely and there is so much action to enjoy. While Archie Sonic produced some engaging stories over the two decades of its existance, IDW Sonic has produced some amazing stories within four years of its run that could blow the Archie stuff out of the water. 

This year, we have seen some amazing content from SEGA and their crew. Sonic couldn't be more blessed and we fans can't get enough Sonic, the hedgehog is the king and the franchise is here to stay for a long time to come. Lets hope Surge and Kit eventually make their way into the games down the line, love to see them be playable alongside Doctor Starline and Belle just as Tangle and Whisper got lucky.

Now, its scoring time. This new comic issue, well, its getting a 9.5. Bravo, IDW! I salute you!

-James M

BW46: A little Bit of This, a Little Bit of That


Happy Sunday! I'm leaping down rabbit holes today on the internet, exploring this, that, and the other.  Kind of like my sleep lately.  Ever since the time change, I've been waking up around 4, unable to get back to sleep for a while. Ideas bounce through my head for the story I'm working on as well as book ideas and book bingo, too tired to write them down and hope I'll remember them in the morning.  Some ideas remain when I wake, others are still floating around in my mind, on the tip of my tongue but not quite there. Oh well. What was I saying. Oh yes. *grin*  I've been exploring, letting my fingers do the walking through the web.   A sample of today's finds. Enjoy! 

In Search of Marcel Proust

Where to Start with Nora Ephron

Entangled Publishing Launches Red Tower Books, Focused on Romantic SFF

On writing a New Take on the Thin Man, set in Space

Hungarian Speculative Fiction: Forceful, Vicious, Viscous

Murder in the Moors: Crime Fiction Books Set in the English Moors

True Life: I was a Dragon Book Kid

Antarctica Reading List.

25 Best Steampunk Books (2022)


So many books on the wish list with an ice theme as well as dragons and on the shelves including Proust's volume two in his Search for Lost Times Books -- In the Shadow of Young Girls.  I read Swann's Way a couple years ago and once I got used to his writing, got a lot out of it.  I'll be trying to get back into it come 2023. 

It’s all kindle unlimited fault. They sucked me in to Kate Shugak’s story through book 9 and I just couldn’t stop. It’s like an addiction now.  That happened and then this happened and oh my gosh,  what will she do, and I have to know what happens next.  And the only reason I’m buying the rest of the series is because I know down the line, I’ll read them again.  Currently on #13 A Grave Denied.

BW45: Cemetery of Lost Books by Carlos Ruiz Zafon


It's Book Week 45 in our 52 Books bingo quest and it's all about different cultures. 

I finished Carlos Ruiz Zafon's Angel's Game, #2 in the Cemetery of Lost Books in which Daniel slowly loses his mind as people he loves and those surrounding a long ago mysterious disappearance are never what they seem to be.

"In this powerful, labyrinthian thriller, David Martín is a pulp fiction writer struggling to stay afloat. Holed up in a haunting abandoned mansion in the heart of Barcelona, he furiously taps out story after story, becoming increasingly desperate and frustrated. Thus, when he is approached by a mysterious publisher offering a book deal that seems almost too good to be real, David leaps at the chance. But as he begins the work, and after a visit to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, he realizes that there is a connection between his book and the shadows that surround his dilapidated home and that the publisher may be hiding a few troubling secrets of his own. Once again, Ruiz Zafón takes us into a dark, gothic Barcelona and creates a breathtaking tale of intrigue, romance, and tragedy."

Next up #3 in the Cemetery of Lost books - The Prisoner of Heaven.

"Barcelona, 1957. It is Christmas, and Daniel Sempere and his wife, Bea, have much to celebrate. They have a beautiful new baby son named Julián, and their close friend Fermín Romero de Torres is about to be wed. But their joy is eclipsed when a mysterious stranger visits the Sempere bookshop and threatens to divulge a terrible secret that has been buried for two decades in the city's dark past.

His appearance plunges Fermín and Daniel into a dangerous adventure that will take them back to the 1940s and the early days of Franco's dictatorship. The terrifying events of that time launch them on a search for the truth that will put into peril everything they love, and will ultimately transform their lives."

BW44: November Crime Spree - Translated Mysteries


It's book week 44 in our 52 Books Quest and this month's theme is an international crime spree.

I finished Nalini Singh’s Archangel’s Resurrection about Zanaya and Alexander, two Archangels whose love affair lasted eons so it covered vast periods of time. Many, but not all of the other characters made appearances. It was different with a lot more telling than showing and angst over the relationship.  Not one I’d be eager to reread over and over again,  but good nonetheless.

I love reading translated books and Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s Cemetery of Forgotten Books are on my ebook nightstand.   Already read Shadow of the Wind so next up is The Angel’s Game.

It’s now 12:30 p.m. and its the first time I had to sit down all evening. Movie night was called on account of a plumbing emergency.   Hubby decided to use Liquid Plumber, even though a plumber told him in the past never to use.  He used it on the slow draining kitchen sink and snaked the outside drain, blasting the lines with water.  James goes into the bathroom and starts yelling.  The seal on his toilet broke and the bathroom was flooded.  Stuff had backed up in both the bathtub and the shower. We’ve spent the past few hours running snakes, wiping up messes for each try, and cleaning all the drains. It’s finally fixed.  Hubby’s bleaching everything now.  Lesson learned:  Don’t Use Liquid Plumber.  Ugg!

BW43: More spookiness. Yes, no, maybe!!!


It's book week 43 in our 52 book quest and continuing our October Spooktacular. 

I've been thoroughly enjoying M.L. Buchman's Miranda Chase series about an autistic NTSB agent and her cohorts.  I caught up with the series just in the time for book #11 Skibird which is being released tuesday.

"Those who work there call Antarctica “The Ice.” A secret Russian cargo jet crashes into a crevasse near an Australian Station. The Aussies call in the top air-crash investigators on the planet.

The best of them all, Miranda Chase, must face the Russians, Chinese, and use her own autistic abilities to keep her team alive. As the battle spreads across The Ice, are even her incredible skills enough?

Or will they all be buried in the frozen wasteland?"

And excited for the new release of Nalini Singh's 15th book in the Guild Hunter series "Archangel's Resurrection on the 25th as well. 

Tonight our family movie choice was Replicas with Keenu Reeves. It was quite intense as he is a neuroscientists and tries to clone his family when they die in an accident. 

James M's review of IDW Sonic issue 53 and Scrapnik Island issue 1


Sorry about this, IDW Sonic fans, been a while since we last did a review of IDW Sonic comics. I'm back now, with a double review of both issue 53 of the main series and issue 1 of the new Scrapnik Island horror miniseries.

So, what's the story of both?

Issue 53 continues where the last ended with Surge confronting Eggman, she then leaves him be after a time, gets confronted by a hallucination of Doctor Starline and then has a rampage in the city while Sonic, Tails and Belle keep Kit occupied until Sonic goes to confront Surge, then Kit leaves Tails' place despite Belle's attempts to stop him with the former (Kit) unaware that Surge is still alive as he currently thinks she died. The comic is pretty decently done again, bravo to good old Evan Stanley as she knows how to write something so moving and dramatic. 9.5 out of 10. Whatever happens in the next issue, its gonna be insanely epic.

Now lets go over to Scrapnik Island.

Scrapnik Island is a horror anthology miniseries about Sonic and Tails fighting to survive on an island filled with old Badniks from their past and they must battle an old enemy: Mecha Knuckles, who was last seen in the GBA game Sonic Advance. The story is written by Daniel Barnes, who previously wrote a story about Omega and Gemerl battling it out in a story of the IDW Sonic 2022 annual. 

Issue one showcases the duo making an emergency landing on the island and discovering the ruins of the Death Egg, they're surrounded by Badniks and then run into an E series robot whom fans initially mistook for Gamma. But this is not Gamma, this robot is E-117 Sigma (who was previously mentioned in Archie Sonic somewhere, making him the latest Archie Sonic-made character to finally be utilized in the IDW series. So far, the series is promising and seeing new talent write IDW Sonic stories is a perfect way to balance out the old blood i.e. a longtime writer like Ian Flynn. Issue one gets a nine.

See you later, fans. Sorry if we were short, but I don't have that many thoughts...

-James M

BW42: Noah Webster


Today is Noah Webster's birthday, the father of the American Dictionary. October 16 is named Dictionary Day in honor of Webster.  We have the second edition unabridged Webster's dictionary which is humongous at 3194 pages, and a slightly smaller fifth edition collegiate edition at 1274.  It's interesting to compare them to the modern 2022 edition of the Merriam Webster dictionary, a mere 960 pages.  I prefer the older versions which are much more fun to peruse. But I’d also like to get my hands on an Oxford English Dictionary one of these days.  When I'm writing, I always have or tabs open in my computer and explored different words. I prefer the online versions over the current Merriam Webster edition which has definitely been dumbed down.  

Noah Webster's Story

Noah Webster and the Dream of a Common Language 

Noah Webster’s Impact on Education

An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin & Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution

Project Gutenberg's A Collection of Essays and Fugitiv Writings, by Noah Webster

I'm currently reading Ghostrider, # 4 in M.L. Buchman's Miranda Chase Political Technothriller.

"When sabotage threatens the US Air Force’s newest gunship, there’s only one woman to call. An AC-130J “Ghostrider”—the latest variant of America’s most lethal aerial gunship—goes down hard in the Colorado Rockies. Except the flight data doesn’t match the airframe. Air-crash genius, and high-functioning autistic, Miranda Chase leads her NTSB team of sleuths in to investigate. But what they uncover reveals a far greater threat—sabotage. If she can’t solve the crash in time, a new type of war will erupt. One far too close to home which threatens to shatter her team."

BW41: Vampires, Werewolves, and Ghosts! Oh My!


Vampires, Werewolves, and Ghosts! 

Oh My!

Our spooktacular reading month continues and it isn't all about horror.  Oh no! Especially since I'm not into blood and guts violence.  I like the type of books that get your adrenaline going, keeps you guessing, finger nail biting, keep you up all night reading suspense.  There are a number of ways to go with psychological thrillers, gothic, paranormal reads that run the gamut from the supernatural to urban fantasies. Books full of bad guys, ghosts, and scary as well as delicious vampires, and werewolves.  

Clearing my palate with a fluffy romance before I dive back into James Rollin's thriller Kingdom of Bones.  Also on the nightstand is the suspense novel The Last Second by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison.  I like one author's writing and the other's not so much and I can tell the difference in their writing so expect I'll like only half of the book. LOL! 

"Galactus, France’s answer to SpaceX, has just launched a communications satellite into orbit, but the payload actually harbors a frightening weapon: a nuclear-triggered electromagnetic pulse.  When the satellite is in position, Galactus’s second-in-command, Dr. Nevaeh Patel, will have the power to lay waste to the world with an EMP. A former astronaut, Patel believes she is following the directions of the Numen, aliens who saved her life when she space-walked outside the International Space Station. She is convinced that with the Holy Grail, just discovered by the owner of Galactus—eccentric treasure hunter Jean-Pierre Broussard—she can be reunited with the Numen, change the world’s destiny, and become immortal with them.

The countdown has begun when Special Agents Nicholas Drummond and Michaela Caine are thrown into the pending disaster. They must stop the EMP that would wreak havoc on communication and electronic systems on Earth, resulting in chaos and anarchy.

Werewolf by Night


I wasn't ready to leave the world of Keri Arthur's Lizzie Grace series plus it is spooktacular so read the whole series again, delightfully finding there were one or two books I hadn't read in the mix. 

We watched Marvel's Werewolf by Night last night. A one hour special on Disney +.  I'd seen the previews and decided it was too scary for me. James insisted we watch it and held my hand. Turned out not to be so bad. It was scary mixed with humor. Enjoyed it. 

BW40: October Spooktacular and the Unreliable Narrator

October Spooktacular and the Unreliable Narrator

It's book week 40 in our 52 Books Quest and this month October's spooktacular is all about the unreliable narrator. 

This month is full of chills and thrills, spine tingling adventure stories, and unexpected, jump out and surprise you, don't turn the lights off reads. If you are anything like me, gruesome horror isn't your thing. However, psychological, mind bending, Hitchcock type thrillers full of suspense are my favorite type of reads, along with paranormal, ghosts, vampires, were wolves and the weird.

If you haven't read the classics, now would be a good time to read Frankenstein or Dracula, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Grey or Something Wicked This Way Comes to name a few. Put away your expectations because you may be surprised when they don't turn out how you suspect they will. 

And this month's crime spree category fits the bill with the Unreliable Narrator.

The first rule of reading books by an Unreliable Narrator is to not read anything more about it than a brief description. All the charm in this genre is surprise so you must be diligent in avoiding spoilers.

Currently reading James Rollins thriller Kingdom of Bones in his Sigma force series which fills the bill for a spooktacular read. 

"It begins in Africa . . .

A United Nations relief team in a small village in the Congo makes an alarming discovery. An unknown force is leveling the evolutionary playing field. Men, women, and children have been reduced to a dull, catatonic state. The environment surrounding them—plants and animals—has grown more cunning and predatory, evolving at an exponential pace. The insidious phenomenon is spreading from a cursed site in the jungle — known to locals as the Kingdom of Bones —and sweeping across Africa, threatening the rest of the world.

What has made the biosphere run amok? Is it a natural event? Or more terrifyingly, did someone engineer it?

Commander Gray Pierce and Sigma Force are prepared for the extraordinary and have kept the world safe, vigilance for which they have paid a tragic personal price. Yet, even these brilliant and seasoned scientific warriors do not understand what is behind this frightening development—or know how to stop it. As they race to find answers, the members of Sigma quickly realize they have become the prey.

To head off global catastrophe, Sigma Force must risk their lives to uncover the shattering secret at the heart of the African continent—a truth that will illuminate who we are as a species and where we may be headed . . . sooner than we know.

Mother Nature—red in tooth and claw—is turning against humankind, propelling the entire world into the Kingdom of Bones."

BW39: Bookish News


It's book week 39 in our 52 books quest and time for a bit of bookish news:

2022 Hugo award’s winner for best novel is A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine

Hilary Mantel, celebrated author of Wolf Hall, dies aged 70

Romance author Nora Roberts helps save Michigan library defunded over LGBTQ books

Chances Are, Your Favorite Book Is On This List Of Books That Have Been Banned For Absolutely Absurd Reasons

How independent bookstores help in the fight against book banning and why it matters

100 Years of Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha


And in anticipation of our October Spooktacular, check out

Goodread’s picks for Space Horror, and psychological thrillers.

75 Facts about Stephen King who just turned 75 last week.

Currently reading #9 in Keri Arthur's Lizzie Grace series -- Sorrow's Song.  

"Lizzie Grace is trying to get on with her life now that she and Aiden have gone their separate ways, but it’s a difficult thing to do when just about everything reminds her of the damn man.

The situation is made worse when a body is found, and her job as Deputy Reservation Witch means she has no choice but to interact with him. At first, the death seems to be nothing more than an accidental drowning in a remote location, but it’s soon evident a supernatural entity is involved.

As they race to uncover what is going on, it becomes clear that this evil is not only targeting werewolves, but one particular pack—the O’Connor’s.

And the reason might well be the song of sorrow. A song that Lizzie’s grief might have given birth to…"

Gearing up for October Spooktacular. Have Dean Koontz on the shelves calling my name. Will have to decide which one want to read. 

Diving through Urban Fantasies

Once I got up to date with the Devon Monk's Ordinary Magic series, dove into Ilona Andrews Hidden Legacy series with Sapphire Flame, Emerald Blaze, and Ruby Fever in which Catalina and Alessandro are tested time and time again.  Exhausted just reading their exploits. LOL! 

Jumping back into Keri Arthur's Lizzie Grace series with book 6 Deadly Vows. 

"Evil comes in all forms … and sometimes it wears a human mask.

When the body of a newlywed is discovered on the reservation, Lizzie Grace throws herself into the investigation, needing a distraction from what she fears is coming not only for her but also Belle—her best friend and witch familiar.

But as the body count grows and a desperate race begins to track down a supernatural entity capable of powerful magic, it becomes evident another deadly game has begun—one they may not win.

Because the past—and the man—they ran from thirteen years ago has finally caught up with them.

And he’s out for revenge…"

BW38: September Equinox

It's the changing of the seasons with Fall in the Northern Hemisphere and Spring in the Southern Hemisphere. Colorful seasons in which the palette for both fall and spring fall on the warm side.  Imagine my surprise years ago when I had my colors done and found out I was a spring.  Opened up my world to all kinds of color.  

I haven't picked out my fall read yet as I'm reading the Ordinary Magic series and currently on book 9 Brute of All Evil in which Delaney and Ryder finally get married... maybe. I think there may be a war coming but not sure yet. 🙂

"In two weeks, Delaney Reed will marry the man of her dreams. Everything is perfect. So why are the gods following her around like she suddenly needs a bodyguard?

It might be because her fiancé is forced to serve an outsider god who hates Delaney and the town she protects. It might be because the local Valkyrie hired a social media star who is determined to expose Ordinary’s secrets. Or maybe it’s because the king of hell wants to take over the world and Ordinary is standing in his way.

Whichever disaster has the gods on edge, Delaney isn’t going to let anything get in the way of walking down that aisle. But when an attempted murder and kidnapping hit with a one-two punch, Delaney must take on the pain-in-the neck gods, the nosy streamer, and all the demons in the Underworld before her chance to say “I do” is lost forever."

Book Review: Final Heir by Faith Hunter


Final Heir by Faith Hunter is the 15th and final installment of the Jane Yellowrock series.  It was so, so, so good. 

I did my usual read it once, fast, fast, fast on the ipad, then turned around and read it again, slow, slow, slow on paperback. It's not a story that's meant to be read fast because you'll miss a lot and it is so complex and action packed. It's the last book of the series, yet it was a great finale and answered so much. There are so many moments. Moments that made me sad, moments that were so powerful. Moments that were amusing or scary. I don't want to give too much away for those who haven't read yet, so... Jane and Beast, the I/We. Jane taking charge and also learning to let go and let others handle things. Leo and how he found a way to let Jane know what needed to be known. Angie, such a little girl but so powerful. Jane's relationship with the witches. The big bad who is trying to take over and how everyone teams up to fight him. I'm sad to see it end, but happy I can read the series over and over.  

"The stakes couldn’t be higher in the newest novel in the New York Times bestselling, pulse-pounding Jane Yellowrock series.

Jane Yellowrock is the queen of the vampires, and that makes her a target as she fights to maintain control and keep peace in the city of New Orleans. She has enemies at every turn, because vampires live forever, and they keep their grudges alive with them. That includes the Heir, the vampire sire of the Pellissier bloodline, which gave rise to Leo Pellissier himself—Jane’s old boss and the former master of the city.

With the Heir and all the forces of darkness he can muster arrayed against her, Jane will need all the help she can get. She’ll find it in her city, her friends, her found family, and, of course, the Beast inside of her."

Recommend starting with book 1 - Skinwalker. You'll be glad you did. 

Book thoughts and trip to Barnes and Noble for pick a book by the cover


I finished Desperation in Death and it has all the feels. Tough subject about sex trafficking especially with the viewpoint of the young girls. Of course brings back memories from the past, not only for Eve but Mavis as well. Totally captured my attention and couldn't put it down once I started. 

Bouncing between Final Heir and delving back into Devon Monk's Ordinary Series and currently on Rocks, Papers, Scissors

BW37: Pick a book by the cover!

It's book week 37 in our 52 Books Quest.  Did you know September is Self Improvement month, National Piano Month, Classical Music Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, National Sewing Month, Fall Hat Month, and Happy Cat Month. Lots to read and learn about. Today we remember 9/11 and all those who died, and everyone who came together to help. And take a moment to think about or pray for peace and strength for the family of Queen Elizabeth as they mourn the death of their mother. 

It's been a while since we've had a Judge a Book by the Cover or Pick a Random Book mini challenge and I'm in the mood for a book store adventure.  

Judge a book based on its cover:  The hardest part will be not reading the synopsis on the back or the inside flap. Yeah, I know. It’s really hard.  When you see the cover, keep in mind what captured your attention and tell us about it. What you thought the book was going to be about? When you read it, let us know if you were you close or no cigar? 


Pick a Random Book: Choose a random book based on its position on the shelf.  To choose a book: decide in advance which genre you are going to choose. Or leave it up to chance - pick a direction, pick an aisle.  Choose a number between 1 and 7 as there are about seven sections in each aisle. Decide which shelf you are going to choose from - top, 2nd, 3rd, fourth, or bottom shelf. Pick one number between 1 and 30 as I'm assuming there are about 30 books to a shelf. Use these numbers and count over a certain number of sections in the aisle, pick a shelf, and count to the chosen number and that's the book you'll get.

That's how I discovered Anne Bishop's Written in Red a few years back. I chose the science fiction/fantasy aisle, counted over 3 sections, then down 2 shelves and looked for the 15th book on the shelf.

I'll let you know how my next trip to Barnes and Nobles goes.

I finished my first read of Faith Hunter's Final Heir and now need to read it again, much slower.  Oh my goodness, don't know where to start. So much happens and Jane is really tested, as are all her friends.  Leaves the door open a little bit I think for more possibly. Who knows,

Read Ilona Andrews Blood Heir in which Julie has taken on a new name and new look and kicks butt in Atlanta. Don't know how she got away with Kate or Curran not finding out she was there since everyone else seemed to know. 

Currently reading J.D. Robb's #55 book in her In Death series - Desperation in Death.

"New York, 2061: The place called the Pleasure Academy is a living nightmare where abducted girls are trapped, trained for a life of abject service while their souls are slowly but surely destroyed. Dorian, a thirteen-year-old runaway who’d been imprisoned there, might never have made it out if not for her fellow inmate Mina, who’d hatched the escape plan. Mina was the more daring of the two—but they’d been equally desperate.

Unfortunately, they didn’t get away fast enough. Now Dorian is injured, terrified, and wandering the streets of New York, and Mina lies dead near the waterfront while Lt. Eve Dallas looks over the scene.

Mina’s expensive, elegant clothes and beauty products convince Dallas that she was being groomed, literally and figuratively, for sex trafficking—and that whoever is investing in this high-overhead operation expects windfall profits. Her billionaire husband, Roarke, may be able to help, considering his ties to the city’s ultra-rich. But Roarke is also worried about the effect this case is having on Dallas, as it brings a rage to the surface she can barely control. No matter what, she must keep her head clear--because above all, she is desperate for justice and to take down those who prey on and torment the innocent."